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.
Earlier today (at the time I wrote this), 1911 guru Bill Wilson posted an excellent article on his blog on the secrets to making a short format 1911 pistol work reliably. Bill explains, “the basic functional difference between a full size (as John Browning designed it) 1911 pistol and a compact version with a 4.25″ or shorter barrel is slide mass and speed.” The point of the article was that these guns can indeed be made to run reliably if you know what you’re doing. The key lies in controlling spring weights, slide speed (hammer spring and firing pin stop geometry), a carefully tuned extractor, and careful ammunition selection. Follow the right formula, keep up on your preventative maintenance, and you can have a reliable compact 1911 (assuming it was set up correctly to begin with.)
Any serious student of the 1911 knows the name Paul Liebenberg. He was innovating right there in the beginning, working as the manager for the Pachmayr Gun Shop in the 1980s. He founded the high end gunsmithing shop Pistol Dynamics, and also built high end customs in the renowned Smith & Wesson Performance Center. In his Panteao video series, Paul gives a ton of background on the 1911, custom modifications, and his approach to fitting barrels, installing safeties, reliability mods, and many other popular custom touches for the 1911. I watched this video and found it pretty informative and actually pretty entertaining. While the video won’t turn you into a 1911 gunsmith, it will give any 1911 fan some insight into what goes into building a high end, custom 1911 pistol.
Hilton and I recently both wrote articles regarding the current popularity of custom machined slides on service weapons. Hilton reviewed the Innovative Gunfighter Solutions modified M&P Slide and I wrote about whether or not we needed the fancy work to begin with. Both of us agree that the extra serrations do add some utility. The added traction to aid in one handed (and some two handed) manipulation of the pistol is not lost upon us. However, we still got hate in the comments here and on Facebook about how important it is to have that added ability to rack the slide should one of your hands become otherwise occupied or incapacitated.
Recently, several folks have asked why we cover the 9mm variations of Glocks/M&Ps and seem to ignore the other calibers, specifically the 45. So here are a random collection of thoughts on the Glock 21. When selecting a pistol for duty, it’s really hard not to get mired in a caliber debate. Without digressing too far, it is my strong belief that in service handgun calibers, using modern hollowpoint ammunition, the caliber used is of no real significance. Yes, you could split hairs, but for all intents and purposes handgun calibers are all weak. So if we can agree on that, it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to deviate from the 9mm. This caliber offers the following advantages: higher capacity, lower recoil, and reduced costs for training. The lower recoil is a significant advantage even to red blooded American males who aren’t recoil sensitive as it allows for longer training periods with less fatigue and more importantly, significantly reduced probability of wear and tear to your joints and connective tissue over a career of high volume shooting. All things being equal, the reduced recoil also allows most shooters to put down accurate followup shots more quickly. Continue reading →
So we have another SHOT Show under our belt, and I thought I would share some of the products that we were most excited about. This is not intended to be a summary of all the notable introductions at the show, but rather the products that caught our attention at the show. Continue reading →
This photo was sent to us by one of our more dedicated students after he discovered Next Level Training’s SIRT pistol. Though optimized for the laser training pistol and rifle bolt, this can be used with virtually any dry practice setup. An A-frame ladder can be utilized for virtually any conventional or unconventional braced position. With this setup, your training is truly only limited by your imagination. Single target and target to target transitions are just the beginning. So stop making excuses and start off the year right with some solid training.
I was first introduced to the HK416 by Larry Vickers and Ken Hackathorn at SHOT Show about six or seven years ago. Back then, it was known as the “HK M4″ before Colt had the chance to call foul on the name. Since then, probably every fan of the M4 pattern carbine has heard of it, especially since the commercial version, dubbed MR556, has been released. Gun store gossip aside, do you really need one?
A quick look on popular social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram will yield plenty of photos of highly modified modern pistols worked over by shops such as Boresight Solutions, Salient Arms, ATEi, and others. I don’t think it is debatable that the guns look damn sexy, but do these guns really need all that fancy, and expensive, work to be truly serviceable?
Take a look at the pistol above. This pistol started out as a Glock 17 RTF2 that had nothing more than aftermarket sights (10-8 Performance brass bead front and .140″ notch rear), a factory minus connector, Apex extractor, TangoDown mag catch, and a metric sh!tload of trigger presses. It was one of my favorite pistols to shoot because it was pretty accurate and extremely reliable. But when the opportunity to get some fancy machining done to it by ATEi, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Sometimes being serious all the time gets kinda dry. So here is a link to a video that made me laugh my pants off a few days ago. Found these guys on YouTube thanks to our friend Caleb at GunNuts.Net. Be sure to watch this one and check out the rest of the videos on the same channel. You’ll be glad you did.
Wilson Combat has been innovating the 1911 world for decades, and hasn’t stopped yet. They continue to make some of the best high end 1911 pistols on the market, and they’ve been making 1911 magazines since before many of our readers were born. Recently, they’ve been changing the 1911 market by introducing flat wire spring technology in their 1911 recoil springs, which reportedly increase the maintenance cycle by up to 10 times. So if they work so well in recoil springs, why not put them in a magazine?
A common complaint regarding many 8-round magazines is the limited spring life. Use them heavily or leave them loaded for a long time and they quickly lose lift, resulting in malfunctions. The new ETM HD magazine addresses this with a longer tube to fit a longer spring, and a flat wire spring that is advertised to provide 25% more lift than standard springs. Like all their products, the magazine is guaranteed for life by Wilson Combat. Continue reading →
About a year ago I received a Cobra Belt from Mike Benedict at Talon Tactical, who recommended his belt for everyday use. For my initial impressions, check out my original review of the Cobra Belt. I’ve worn this belt every day for approximately a year and compared to most nylon belts I have worn, the webbing has held up remarkably well. It is still stiff enough to support a pistol and spare mag pouches. The black coating on the buckle has held up pretty well. The black buckle with black webbing goes with most casual wear.
If you’re looking for a nice gift to give this Christmas, check out the Cobra Belt from Talon Tactical.
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 →