Author Archives: 53gr

S&W M&P M2.0 Series

For those of you who love the polymer pistol goodness of the Smith and Wesson M&P line, an exciting new development has occurred. The M&P M2.0 series has been released. We here at Tactical Gun Review got our greasy mits on a few and here are our reactions to the new line:


SIG Sauer P938

I never set out to buy a SIG Sauer P938 Nightmare. I was pretty happy with my sub-compact 9mm handgun (a Heckler and Koch P2000SK). However, it was a bit large for real concealed carry. As a firearms technician for a national sporting goods chain (big deal, right?), I see a lot of pistols. Anytime a gun comes in for trade-in, I clean and inspect it before it goes out onto the floor.

So, I was in the back, examining the recent trade-ins. Among them was a barely-used SIG P938 Nightmare. The thing was in pristine condition. Now, I like the 1911 style, but hadn’t considered it for a carry gun. Upon examining the the Nightmare and was impressed with the fit, finish and crisp trigger. Then I raised it up and aimed down the sights. I blinked and lowered the weapon. I raised it again.


Smith and Wesson M1917 Revolver

The Smith and Wesson M1917 revolver is an oddity; a wheel-gun chambered in an auto cartridge. It’s a military arm with a long and storied past. How much history? Well, mine is 98 years old. It’s so old that Smith and Wesson doesn’t even have web page for it. The closest thing you can find is their Model 22, a remake. More than just being historical, the M1917 is downright fun to shoot and one recently became part of my collection. I will admit that until recently, I’ve been rather utilitarian about my firearms purchases. Every gun filled a tactical niche. However, the Smith and Wesson broke me of that habit


Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50mm FFP EBR-1 Scope

After the excellent experience I had with my Zeiss, I went looking for another high-powered tactical variable-power scope. I found what I was looking for in the Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50mm First Focal Plane. Like so many of my optics and accessories, I purchased the Viper PST through Primary Arms.

I’ve used the Viper PST  on a variety of different weapons and barrels. The first was a Ballistic Advantage 16 inch Medium Heavy Rigid barrel. I was so impressed with it that the Viper PST (in an American Defense Recon Mount) became my standard optic for use in evaluating barrel accuracy. The PST is the scope I turned to when testing both the Tactical Government and Pencil profile 14.5 inch middy barrels from Ballistic Advantage.


British “Northern Ireland” Patrol Pack

Anyone who’s ever seen Contact has wanted a British “Northern Ireland” (or NI) Patrol Pack. Of course, it’s not just the fact that it’s an interesting piece of foreign military gear. The pack is inimitably practical. Officially known as the Patrol Pack, 30 Litre, DPM, IRR, it has a few features worth mentioning. The camouflage pattern is DPM, or Disruptive Pattern Material, great for use in the woods. The capacity is large enough to be useful, but small enough to force the user to prioritize gear. I find this very desirable in a patrol pack, as larger ones provide the temptation to cram all the gear you may “need” into them, resulting in a heavy burden.


British PLCE Webbing Set

PLCE Webbing 02

I’ve wanted a set of PLCE webbing for years now and have always balked at paying huge sums to get one from the overseas. This set of webbing is a great deal, since just a single PLCE utility pouch from Amazon costs $40 itself. For anyone who has ever wanted to own an interesting piece of British military history, this is a great find.


Faxon Firearms 16″ SS Pencil Barrel – Initial Impressions

What first caught my eye about the Faxon Firearms 5.56mm stainless steel pencil barrel was its ridiculously light weight. I blinked, looking at Faxon’s website’s at the stated barrel weight of 1.19lbs – just over 19 ounces. That couldn’t be right; my pencil-profile 14.5” middy weighs 21 ounces. So I called up the folks at Faxon and asked if their website was accurate or just a typo. They assured me the data was correct, and as soon as the barrels were back in stock, I ended up with one on my doorstep.


DevilCat Pack – Upgrade your ALICE!

What is a DevilCat mod? It’s what happens when you take some new USMC hardware and upgrade an ALICE pack.

I’ve been playing around with ALICE packs for a while now. I love the Medium ALICE, especially the woodland pattern radio pack case version. However, it isn’t big enough for an overnight hike, especially in the winter.

As part of a large purchase from Lee Surplus Outlet, I got a used FILBE main bag. It’s part of the FILBE rucksack the Marines now use. The interesting thing about this new rucksack is that it fits on a Down East 1606 airborne assault frame, which can also take an ALICE pack. In fact, these frames have been used for a while by ALICE enthusiasts as a lightweight alternative to the hold frame.


British Tactical 3-Row Hippo Belt and Yoke – Field Testing

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been testing British Tactical’s 3-Row Hippo belt. I’m continually impressed at how much I can put onto the Hippo belt and Yoke Webbing system. At present, it’s about 30 pounds. When I pick it up, I think, “Damn, that’s heavy.”

Then I put it on. The Hippo belt and yoke spread the weight so well about my body that I hardly feel it. Mostly, it stays on my hips, but the yoke helps redistribute some of the burden to my shoulders, especially when I’m moving.



British Tactical 3-Row Hippo Belt and MOLLE Yoke – Initial Impressions

British Tactical Hippo Belt

After my review of the Multi-Purpose MOLLE Panel, I’ve been coveting a Hippo belt. The fine folks at British Tactical sent me one of their Three-Row Hippo MOLLE Belts and a matching yoke. The Hippo belt is the similar to the battle belt concept, but there are significant differences. This product combination is what put British Tactical on the map with soldiers of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. As covered in the previous article, the Brits have long carried their kit about their waists, usually in their PLCE webbing. The PALS-covered Hippo belt is the latest evolution of this concept.


Load Carrying Equipment – Theories and Practice

Blue Force Gear BELTminus

As part of a continuing series, we’re going to be looking at  Load-Carrying Equipment (LCE) and different philosophies and methods of use. Modern American forces tend to use their armor carriers, such as the IBA, IOTV and Scalable Plate Carriers as platforms to mount their gear. We’ll look at the pros and cons of this when compared to a more traditional belt-centric system.


Long Back British PLCE Bergen – A Military Classic

I’ve been lusting after a British Short Back PLCE military bergen for about 9 months now.  Just a clarification of terms, “bergen” means the same as backpack. PLCE stands for Personal Load Carrying Equipment. Think of it as the British equivalent of our old ALICE system. I’ve tried everything to replicate on, from a medium alice to a ILBE Marine pack.  Nothing has worked quite like I wanted to. The ILBE is just too damn long, meant to be carried like an alpine rucksack and transfer the weight of your load to your hips via its padded hip belt.

The ALICE is decent, but the frame is a bit too long to sit on top of webbing. When I try to The MOLLE II rucksack came close when I shortened it up, but I didn’t care for the external plastic frame. As for the ALICE? Well, I’ve tried a mixture of MOLLE and ALICE parts, including chopping up an ALICE frame. No success just yet. I needed a Short Back PLCE bergen.