A student and I were making our way through a large outdoor rifle simulator at Gunsite called the Vlei when the student dropped into a sitting position to make a shot on a distant steel target. Instantly, I heard the buzz of an angry rattlesnake and spotted the largest Mojave rattlesnake I have ever seen coiled within inches of the shooter’s butt. Although we managed to extricate ourselves and dispatch the snake, the point of the story is that my student, who was wearing earplugs, had never heard the rattler and had no idea of the danger he was in. Fortunately, I was wearing high quality electronic ear muffs and heard the snake.
Many companies market electronic ear protection, but only recently has Brownells introduced a brand of their own. Looking suspiciously as though they are made for Brownells by Pro Ears, one of the top companies in the field, the Brownells version has stereo microphones, a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 26, include batteries and have a lifetime guarantee. These electronic ears work great and with a list price of $139, they are a bargain.
Bottom Line: If you’re not using electronic ears, you should be. They’re a must for range work, instructing and to keep handy with your home defense firearms should an emergency arise.
Brownells sells a huge selection of shooting accessories, parts and gunsmithing tools through their monster catalog and superb website. I recently discovered they have begun marketing their own brand of 7 and 8 round 1911 pistol magazines. Featuring a slick black coating over stainless steel called Xylan to smooth operation and prevent corrosion, the 7 round magazines I have been using feed and function flawlessly in two Ruger SR1911s I have been testing. The 7 round magazines have a flat, non-removable base plate drilled for bumper pads and the 8 round magazine has a removable, extended base-plate.
Bottom Line: Priced competitively at $19.99 for the 7 round version and $24.99 for the 8 round rounder, these are excellent 1911 magazines that should last a lifetime.
Many years ago I was attempting to clean the bore of an AR-15 rifle with an aluminum screw-together cleaning rod found in a cheap, generic cleaning kit. As might be expected, the rod bent, then snapped off, prompting me to purchase my first Dewey cleaning rod. Since then, I have bought and used nothing but Dewey one piece rods for all of my rifle cleaning. J. Dewey Mfg. Co. offers just about everything you need to clean a rifle, from their superb cleaning rods, to patches, rod guides, cleaning jags and specialty kits. A new field kit for the AR-15 features a nylon coated flex cleaning cable and everything else you need to clean the rifle, all in a 4″ X 5″ nylon belt pouch. It’s so small and handy that it has become a permanent part of my range bag. Suggested retail is $39.95 and it’s a lot of gear for the money.
Bottom Line: Junk the discount store cleaning kits. Buy quality rods and cleaning gear that won’t break, won’t wear out, protects your firearm and makes your cleaning chores a lot easier.
As everyone knows by now, the little Ruger LCP .380 pocket pistol has been wildly successful and remains in high demand. The pistols come with a 6 round magazine with a flat baseplate and an additional slightly extended baseplate that can be installed on the magazine. The gun is so small, and the grip so abbreviated, that it tends to be hard to hang onto with just a couple of fingers. Now, Ruger has produced an extended baseplate model of the LCP magazine that provides extra purchase for the fingers and holds one more round of ammunition, making the LCP an 8-shooter. Available at www.shopruger.com, and selling for $39.95 this magazine looks good, with the checkering pattern exactly matching the pistol, feels good in the hand and functions flawlessly.
Bottom Line: What’s not to like? The pistol is easier and more comfortable to shoot with this magazine and there’s the added benefit of one more round. It’s the magazine I use in my carry LCP.
If you have a flat-top AR-15 rifle you may want to fix it up with a set of back-up iron sights. Referred to as BUIS by the tactical crowd, who have an acronym for everything, iron sights that fold down, flip up when needed and can be easily removed from the rifle when mounting long riflescopes are the way to go. Weight being a consideration on tactical rifles, most of the BUIS being offered these days aren’t “iron” but are made from durable forms of polymers (okay, its plastic). Ruger has now introduced their Rapid Deploy front and rear sights weighing a scant 2.1 ounces per set. These sights clamp onto the Picatinny rail in any position you might like. Folded down, they are out of the way of your optical sights and won’t snag, yet can be popped up (deployed) with the push of a button. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and the front sight is a standard AR pattern post that turns and adjusts for elevation.
Bottom Line: Available through www.shopruger.com, the front sight assembly lists for $29.95 and the rear for $49.95. These are well made, rugged and versatile AR pattern sights. I have added them to my flat-top Ruger SR556E rifle.
I use these products and recommend these three companies to you. All make high quality gear and are a pleasure to deal with. Good to go.
About the Author:
Ed Head is a regular on Shooting Gallery and Down Range TV. He has worked for almost 30 years in law enforcement, first in the United States Air Force and then with the United States Border Patrol, retiring as a Field Operations Supervisor. During his Border Patrol career, Ed worked in a variety of patrol, investigative and training capacities. Ed has an extensive background as a firearms instructor, having trained thousands, ranging from beginners to police, military and special operations personnel. Having taught at Gunsite for 20 years, Ed first trained there under the world famous shooting school’s founder, Jeff Cooper, then later ran the school as the operations manager for more than five years. Ed lives in Chino Valley, Arizona, where he continues to teach and write.