Tim Lau has over a decade of LE experience as an end user, armorer and instructor. He has worked for several well known firearms training organizations, and holds multiple firearms instructor certifications. He owns and operates 10-8 Consulting, LLC, which provides industry consulting services as well as marksmanship and specialized firearms training to law enforcement and military personnel.
Recently, I got a call from an officer from a neighboring PD asking if I could take a look at his 1911. You know, because it wasn’t working. I asked him a few questions, and it turns out this particular example was a Colt Rail Gun, but really it could be any permutation of a 1911 Government Model that populate the local gun shops. He said the pistol was giving him fits, he had lost confidence in it, and asked if I could take a look at it.
Of all the 1911 pistols out on the market, Colt probably does the best job putting out guns that generally work out of the box, as seen in my article: Colt Reliability Out of the Box. But they aren’t perfect. So I asked this officer (over the phone), what is it doing? He said it was having feeding issues and also “jamming a lot.” I told him that doesn’t really tell me anything. His response, “Well, I’m not a gun guy.” Continue reading →
87 Industries Gas Block Kit comes complete with the gas block, set screw, cross pin, gas tube pin, and hex wrench.
Our dedicated followers know that a pinned gas block is cheap insurance that your gas system won’t leak or come apart at the worst possible moment. Popular extended hand guard systems don’t make it easy to check if your set screws or gas block is loose, and a cross pin is the most reliable way to ensure your gas block is snug. However, for end users that don’t have access to custom fixturing or a mill, pinning a gas block on your own build can be a hassle. Enter 87 Industries.
They offer a Pinned Gas Block Kit which is set up so that the end user can install a pinned gas block with nothing more than a vise and a drill press. The owner tells me that it can even be done with a steady hand and a hand drill in a pinch. The kit includes a drill bit, tapered cross pin that eliminates the need for reaming, Loctite 262, set screw to hold the block in place during drilling, and allen head wrench. The gas block is made of very tough 17-4 Stainless finished with black oxide. The block works with .750″ diameter barrels.
I will be installing one of these with a drill press on a future build, so stay tuned.
Though Mac doesn’t write for us, Hilton and I are big fans of his training philosophy of using timed performance metrics as well as competition to sharpen mechanical skills and stress management. If you haven’t had a chance to train with him, go check out the TMACS website and find a class. If he doesn’t offer one in your area, don’t be shy about traveling.
Mac’s latest drill involves moving to expose an occluded target, and of course, a timer to measure your performance. Rather than try and explain it, I’ll just say: check out the video here:
I set the time machine back about 10 years to revisit with the very first full house custom 1911 that Hilton built for me. I carried it on duty for a few years before retiring it to range duty. Before its retirement, it got shot quite a bit. Over 20,000 rounds through it, including a fairly steady diet of my agency’s then-issue Winchester 230gr Ranger +P (RA45TP) round. Eventually it was too much for the Kart barrel, which cracked from the barrel lugs to about halfway down the barrel.
The pistol went back to Hilton, who tightened the slide to frame fit, and fit up a rare National Match barrel and bushing set produced on contract by Israeli Military Industries. These barrels look and shoot great. The pistol also wears a prototype rear sight that later became the production 10-8 sight. Continue reading →
If you have been following our posts here, you’ll know that we are pretty big on maintaining some modicum of physical fitness as part of our overall survival strategy. Good physical health will not only increase your survivability in a deadly force encounter, it will increase your overall quality of life. How many times have you gone to a class and seen the student that would more likely face a cardiac arrest than a home invasion robbery in the next 24 hours? Before learning how to be a ninja with that new wunderpistol, maybe that guy should go out and walk around the block a couple times.
Years back, Hilton got heavy into CrossFit and has made some great fitness gains by training smart. Since my college years, I have been training one martial art or another, starting with traditional Japanese arts, and eventually settling with Thai Boxing and Filipino Martial Arts. About six years ago, I found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and haven’t turned back.
I’m not saying everyone needs to start grappling. But go find a physical activity that you enjoy and get out and do it. Preferably it will be something that you can immerse yourself into for an hour or two several times a week, and will motivate you to stay fit so you can perform your best. Training and competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu helps motivate me to stay in shape and watch my diet. While it is good physical activity, it does not replace the need to do some regular PT, so I still hit the gym.
Shooting is fun and rewarding, and can develop the skills necessary to defend yourself and your loved ones. But don’t forget to stay in shape. As my buddy Joe says, “Round is a shape.” Hopefully, that doesn’t describe you.
Ok, in reality it has been a few weeks with the M&P Shield, including a couple range days. I am generally a proponent of carrying as close to a full size service pistol as possible, even for off-duty/plain clothes work. But I also understand that there is reality, and sometimes it is just too impractical to attempt to conceal a Glock 19 and still be appropriately dressed. In this role, and that of a second gun, the M&P Shield is certainly a viable choice. Continue reading →
After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, I finally received my M&P from the custom run by my buddy Hilton at 10-8 Performance. For those who don’t know, from time to time, 10-8 Performance releases a small run of M&P pistols built to their specs. These runs typically sell out in minutes; fortunately, there are usually a couple runs a year for the dedicated few who wish to own one of these fine pistols.
The feature list is available on the 10-8 Performance website, but I will go over the major ones here: full top and side slide serrations and 10-8 logo machined by ATEi, slide refinished by ATEi, full trigger workup with Apex parts by Hilton, 10-8 Performance front and rear sights, full frame texturing and match barrel hand fit by Hilton. My M&P had a couple of special features added as a favor that isn’t typically available (don’t ask). This includes the Apex polymer AEK trigger and a base pistol with a thumb safety.
While the new 1:10 twist barrels have improved accuracy across all 9mm bullet weights, I wanted to see how the Storm Lake match fit (not drop-in) barrel shot. The AEK trigger broke light and clean and was almost like cheating. It is so light that I definitely feel better with the added margin the mechanical thumb safety provides. At 25-yards, shooting standing freestyle, I managed the above group: about an inch with one called flyer. Much better than my early generation M&P 9′s that would barely hold 8-inches at 25 yards.
I need more time on the gun for a real opinion, but so far I am really liking the pistol. The texturing that Hilton came up with is attractive and aggressive. ATEi’s machine work is superb and offers plenty of traction for slide manipulation.
If you want one, get on the 10-8 Performance mailing list.
With LED technology seemingly improving by the minute, I am always on the lookout to make my daily loadout lighter and smaller without sacrificing utility. Recently, Hilton sent me Surefire’s E1B (thanks Scott!) and after a couple weeks of carrying and using it, I can see why it is Hilton’s choice in an EDC plainclothes flashlight.
The E1B is a powered by a single CR123 lithium battery and pushes out up to 200 lumens of light. A two stage pushbutton on the tail cap selects between 5 and 200 lumens. Runtime is reported to be 40 hours at 5 lumens and over an hour at 200 lumens. I haven’t run mine long enough to wear out the battery. Light output, however, is clean and what we have come to expect from SureFire. The handheld is short and lightweight, and the clip makes it pretty convenient to carry. The head of flashlight is a little big for some carry applications (like dress clothes) but for day to day carry in cargo or utility pants it is fine. Continue reading →
I must admit, I first learned of the Lone Wolf Distributors Armorer Tool/Knife by seeing a banner advertisement on our buddy Caleb’s website GunNuts.Net. In short, this tool is really a modified Spyderco Endura 4, with an Emerson Wave Opener and a 3/32-inch punch built into it. At first blush, it doesn’t seem like much, but this is truly the knife that any gun person should always have on them, especially on the practice range.
All my 1911s are set up so that they can be disassembled without tools, but the punch makes it significantly easier to disassemble the slide. This comes in handy when I need to make a quick adjustment of extractor tension, which happens much more frequently than I would like. Glock people also know that this size punch will completely take down their favorite pistol. Having the punch built into an everyday carry knife ensures this handy punch size will be with you at all times. Continue reading →
Back in August, Hilton and I had the pleasure of touring Robar Guns‘ facility in Phoenix, Arizona. Our friend Freddie Blish gave us the full tour and an education on the NP3 process along with its advantages and applications. He turned us on to a few slides they still had in stock for builds, so Hilton and I both ordered complete top ends for our Glock 17s. These slides come complete with all small parts, a match barrel and we supplied the 10-8 sights. All the metal parts on the top end are coated with Robar’s excellent NP3 finish, and the custom slides come with the corners tastefully contoured and useful front slide serrations.
I’ll be doing a full range report when the schedule lightens up a bit.
Pictured above is a recent build using an upper purchased from Palmetto State Armory, who frequently offers insane deals on high quality upper receivers. Their private labelled house brand uppers include button rifled and cold hammer forged barrels, milspec uppers, and optional mil spec M16 bolt groups. The prices are extremely aggressive and their daily deals are always difficult to resist. After I disassembled the upper, I sent off the barrel to ar15barrels.com, who cut the barrel down to 14.7-inches and pinned/welded an A2 flash hider to make the minimum 16-inch non-NFA length. Note that I sent the barrel with the barrel nut I intended to use, as once the muzzle device is pinned and welded on, the gas block and barrel nut cannot be installed after the fact. Randall at ar15barrels.com turned the barrel around in days and within about a week I had my barrel back. He offers barrel contouring, cutting, gas port adjusting, and other machining services at very reasonable prices.
The bolt used in the above build was coated with NP3 by Robar Guns. As seen in my previous post, NP3 offers abrasion resistance, built in lubricity, and excellent corrosion resistance that is far and above the standard phosphate finish. To top it off, I finished the build with the excellent CMR rail from Centurion Arms, which offers light weight, and an extremely ergonomic and narrow diameter rail. I have several builds with this rail and I have to say it’s my favorite rail system so far. Other accessories include TangoDown’s vertical fore grip and BattleGrip, SureFire X300, Aimpoint PRO in a LaRue mount, Troy Industries flip up sights, and Viking Tactics sling.
Here is a sneak peek of Next Level Training’s M&P SIRT pistol slide, which is machined from a block of billet. The new training pistol will incorporate a host of new manufacturing technologies that are a true leap forward in design over the first generation SIRT. Mike Hughes and company were kind enough to share some of the details with us, and suffice it to say, the wait will be worth it!
At the suggestion of my good friend Freddie Blish, I recently sent out a mil spec AR15/M16 bolt to Robar Guns for their NP3 Finish. Though I have known of Robar and their NP3 for decades, I really didn’t know much about the finish other than it was based on electroless nickel. A quick phone call to Freddie got me up to speed. The Cliff Notes version is that the Robar Companies spend most of their resources fulfilling industrial contracts, including plating of critical aircraft components for the military with many of the same finishes seen on their firearms. And Robbie Barrkman is no stranger to custom guns, as he was the original gunsmith for Jeff Cooper at the American Pistol Institute a.k.a. Gunsite.
Freddie highlighted the benefits of the latest iteration of NP3, including extreme corrosion resistance (1000+ hours of salt spray resistance), embedded PTFE in the coating makes it self-lubricating, exceptional abrasion resistance without being excessively hard so as to cause abnormal wear on softer parts that mate up to the coated surface. The coating is also easy to clean, and in most cases fouling will wipe right off the surface. What does this mean? Freddie expects that my bolt will have an enhanced service life and asked me to shoot the gun completely dry to see how long it will run before failure. This is a completely foreign concept to me as I keep my AR/M4 platforms wet with lube as a matter of practice, but I will grit my teeth and do as instructed. Results will be posted here.
I’ve gotten a few inquiries as to available holsters for the M45A1 CQBP produced by Colt’s Manufacturing. Some have tried to use the same holsters for the Colt Rail Gun, not realizing the rail dimensions on the M45A1 are different. Anyway, the holsters provided by Safariland to the Marine Corps are a great place to start if you’re looking for a functional, durable duty holster. The Safariland Part Numbers for the holsters are as follows:
6004SS-56-761-SP10-MS30-NH (No Light Attached)
6004SS-530-761-MS30-NH (X200/300 Attached)
These holsters come standard with the excellent Quick Locking System (QLS) which allows the holster to be quickly mounted anywhere you have the QLS locking plate. The SS designation indicates the holster has the compact leg shroud with one strap, a system I find to be more comfortable than the traditional dual leg straps. The compact shroud also allows the holster to sit higher on the leg resulting in less flop and a quicker, more consistent draw.
I did discover that the plastic grommet that surrounds the tensioning screw needs to be removed in order for the M45A1 to fit. This only applies to the model for the M45A1 pistol without the light attached. Both holsters utilize the SLS retention system, which works better for me than the ALS system when used in conjunction with a pistol with a manual thumb safety.
Both of these holsters are available through London Bridge Trading or can be special ordered through any Safariland dealer.
Over the past few years, Centurion Arms has earned the reputation of producing premium quality parts and accessories for the M4 platform. My first introduction to their product line was through their excellent C4 HK-style diopter sights. These sights resemble those found on HK rifles and sub-machine guns, but incorporated features for the sophisticated shooter, such as same plane diopter sights, lightening cuts, and slotted screw heads instead of silly Philips heads.
Since then, Centurion has added premium DMR uppers as well as the innovative C4 and CMR free float hand guards. Recently, there has been a shortage of bolt groups in the market. Centurion has responded by offering magnetic particle inspected, bolts. The carriers are full M16 profile, chrome lined, with well staked gas keys.