The AK-47 is an iconic weapon. Amongst other things, it is a symbol of revolution and rugged durability. As with most things, it has undergone some cosmetic changes over the years and has more variants than I care to guess at. One thing remains the same though, an AK-47 looks like an AK-47.
I’ve always been a fan of the classic look. The wood furniture just speaks to me in a way that the more modern looking ones can’t. The textures of wood and metal complement one another, and to me at least, represent man’s longing for nature in a modern world.
I’m curious to know where other people stand concerning the look of the AK-47 and its many variants. Do you prefer the classic look or the modern, and what do you like about it?
The spotting scope is a constant companion to almost all long-range shooters–its kinda tough seeing your shots at long ranges without one. And like all things in the gun industry, there is a wide range of prices that usually correlate to quality. Most spotting scopes I’ve seen that are worth using cost upwards to $400 plus. Optics Planet sent us one of their new limited edition OPMOD spotting scopes to check out and the first thing I did (like many people) is I checked out how much it cost. So when I saw it was under $200, I was skeptical–was this a gun-show-special optic that would collect dust after realizing that one should just fork out the extra dough for something usable, or was it a deal too good to be true?
We’ll get to the quality of the OPMOD spotting scope in a minute, but I must say you get a lot for $200 with Optics Planet’s Spotting scope. It comes with a soft case, objective and eyepiece lens covers, a small tripod that has vertical and horizontal movement, and a cleaning cloth. The spotting scope can be a tight fight in the case, but fits in snug along with the tri-pod which is separated by a padded cloth insert. The tri-pod itself is suitable, but it’s not the most robust piece of hardware. I can see a leg bending if given the right amount of pressure; however, it would take a significant amount of force to do so as if to intentionally bend it.
The OPMOD spotting scope seems to be well constructed. It has a rubber like coating while maintaining a sturdy and durable feel. It features a built in sun shade that extends over the objective lens. Controls are where you would expect them to be with the focus on the right hand side of the housing and the zoom control around the eyepiece. The OPMOD spotting scope has a 20x-60x magnification rate and it features an adjustable eyepiece so that a user can set the desired eye relief “sweet spot.”
So for the price, material wise you’re getting a good bang for your buck with the OPMOD spotting scope–but the real and most important question is as with any spotting scope, the optical quality. Considering the price of the OPMOD spotting scope, there’s nothing I can say to ding this thing. The picture is crystal clear, I would of never guessed that I was looking through $200 dollar glass. Even on a rainy cloudy day, the light capture was superb. I was able to distinctly see my grouping at 200 yards at the range and out in the desert I was easily able to see my partner’s shots at 700+ yards in order to give him adjustments. Honestly, I wanted/expected to say something about the glass since I would of never considering owning a quality spotting scope for under 400 bucks, but the OPMOD’s glass was a surprise–again, if you look through this thing, you’ll never guess it costs under $200.
Picture from approximately 800 yards away at a mountain approx 750 ft high at full 60x zoom
Optics Planet’s OPMOD Spotting Scope definitely surprised me to say the least. I’ve seen some lower end spotting scopes within the same price range as the OPMOD and I would of never given them a second look. The OPMOD does seem to reign supreme within the given price range, and it would even give some higher end spotting scopes a run for their money. Now is it as good as, lets say a Leupold Gold Ring? Well, no but we’re talking about a spotting scope that’s 4 or 5 times the price, and not all shooters have the need, or the bank account to justify that type of purchase. But if you’re a Saturday shooter or a regular range warrior, and budget is a concern, then the OPMOD Spotting Scope would be a perfect choice. Its durable, easy to operate, and the glass seems to be a few levels above its price point. For a fraction of the cost of high level spotting scopes, now the average range warrior can finally have a spotting scope worth looking through.
One of the finest looking rifles at SHOT SHOW 2012 I’ve seen so far has to be the FNH Ballista. The Ballista is FNH’s submission to SOCOM’s PSR solicitation and lucky for us, they’ll be offering it on the civilian market as well. There’s one common theme amongst all the new bolt action rifles I’ve seen at SHOT this year–modularity. FNH’s new flag ship bolt action follows suit.
Using a few tools (stored on board) and losing a few bolts, an operator can change out the caliber of the new FNH Ballista in about 2-3 minutes and FNH claims that each barrel remains true to the receiver’s centerline. The Ballista can be configured in 3 calibers: 338 Lapua Mag, .300 Win Mag, and .308 Winchester. It has a fully adjustable trigger that can be set between 2 and 5 pounds.
FNH’s Ballista has a barrel length of 26 inches (with the .338 Lapua Magnum barrel installed), an overall length of 49 inches with the stock fully extended (47.75 collapsed), and the length when the stock is folded is only 37 inches. It weighs 15.8 pounds with a fully loaded magazine. The Ballista rifle system will retail around $8,000 and will come with all three caliber kits (I believe, inferring from the video below). I got a chance to shoot the Ballista at the SHOT SHOW Media Day Range Event, and I have to say I completely loved the 5 or 6 rounds I got to send down range with it. I tagged a 60″ steel plate at 900+ yards a couple of times, so needless to say I was happy. Check the video below to see it.
Heckler & Koch has a few new products to offer us this year which they’re debuting at SHOT SHOW next week. There’s nothing really ground breaking here, but nevertheless cool. The two new German guns that will be available to us civilians are the MR762A1 and the HK45 Compact Tactical.
If you were on the fence for buying the HK MR556A1 because you wanted it in a .308, well then the MR762A1 was what you were waiting for. As the name suggests, its chambered in 7.62×51 (.308). The MR762A1 is manufactured here in America but with German HK parts. Basically, its a civilian version of HK’s HK417. The MR762A1 shares a lot of features with its 5.56 predecessor such as HK’s buttstock, a gas piston system, and HK freefloating quad picatinny handguards.
One aspect of the MR762A1 that I found particularly interesting is that the barrel is “swagged” with a smaller internal diamter at the muzzle end than the chamber end–which according to HK has a positive effect on bullet accuracy and velocity. There’s also a two-stage trigger set between 4.5 and 5.6 pounds. The MR762A1 has a 16.5″ barrel with an overall rifle length of 36″ (39.5 with stock fully extended) and it weighs 9.94lbs empty. Those wanting their 7.62 HK rifle over the 5.56 version will have to shell out $1,000 more–the HK MR762A1 has an MSRP price tag of $3,995.
HK’s other civilian offering is the HK 45 Compact Tactical. The new HK45 Compact Tactical is a smaller version of the HK45 with a threaded barrel. This new silencer friendly .45 has an 8 round while the V3 model will have a 10 round magazine–all HK45 magazines will work with the new HK45 Compact Tactical. Other specs include a double-single action trigger set at approximately 4.5 lbs for the single action, and 11.45 lbs for the double; the HK45 Compact Tactical has a 4.5″ barrel and weighs 1.82 lbs empty and sports a picatinny rail for attaching a light or laser. Price for the new HK45 Compact Tactical should be slightly above the 1k mark.
Now, lets tease you guys (and girls) with something that most of you will never shoot unless you enlist in Germany –check out the new HK G28 pictured below. It’s HK’s new DMR (designated marksman rifle) for the German Army. The G28 was based on the European HK MR308 civilian competition rifle (which is a variant of the MR762A1) but it has some notable enhancements. The G28 has the new STANMAG 4694 NATO handguards which extend a bit further for attaching night vision devices in conjunction with a day scope. It also has a chrome-lined cold-hammer forged barrel, a two-stage gas regulator, and a raised cheek piece. The paint job is more than just for looks, it has a low IR observable finish, making it harder to see with NV goggles on. No price, because you can’t buy it anyway, so just sit there and drool or join the German Army.
Strike Industries reached out to Gunblog.com about a few months and sent us a sample of their polymer products for us to take a look at. We were lucky enough to receive a set of their 1911 grips, an iPhone cover, and a non-polymer product, their pyramid angled rail adapter. Well after playing with them for a while, its time to tell you guys (and girls) what we think, and why I’m not sending the 1911 grips back to them.
Ok, we know, there is a plethora of polymer gun products out there, and you’re probably asking what makes Strike Industries stand out. For us, two things always grab our attention for any product–First it’s quality, second price. The quality of the polymer used for Strike Industry’s products seems to be first rate. They’re extremely rigid and can stand up to a significant amount of heat while still maintaining their durability; check out the video below to see an example of this durability. Second the price is deceiving, I would expect a lesser quality product at the low price point Strike Industries offers.
Strike Industries is a homegrown company made up of hobbyists and gun enthusiasts who wanted to offer a different type of polymer, so they developed their own. They believe what sets their polymer apart from others is the process in which they construct it–they directly inject the fibers into the polymer rather than mixing it or layering it. They claim that the process is cheaper and produces a result that has a similar rigidity as the polymer used in popular 1911 G10 grips. From my short time of handling their products, seeing the prices on their website, and viewing the videos, I see myself becoming a quick believer of their claims. Take a look below to see what they sent us to play with.
Yes, of course, there has to be a tactical iPhone case if you make polymer, and Strike Industries is no exception. Their iPhone case is a little different though; the tactical loop makes pulling it out of a mollle pouch and taking a quick phone call in between reloads a tad bit easier. No, but seriously, if you do keep your phone in a molle pouch of some kind, or some deep pockets, it is quite handy. The hexagonal engraving on the back looks pretty sweet too. The phone also has complete functionality with all the buttons and camera functions.
The one non-polymer product they sent us was their Pyramid Angled Rail Adapter. At first, it thought it was quite peculiar, but I could see a few rifle owners really liking this item. It allows a user to mount a grip at a 17 degree angle either forward (for an AK style foregrip) or reward (for a MK43 style grip). Although its main purpose is attaching grips at an angle, almost any picatinny accessory you wish to be at a 17 degree angle could be attached to it.
And now my absolute favorite accessory Strike Industries sent us, their 1911 grips. When first contacted by Strike Industries, I checked out their website and looked at the grips. I saw the price tag of 16 bucks and was expecting to get some sort of glorified gun show special grips. Well, I was wrong, and I’m glad I was wrong. The golf ball dimple grips they sent fit my 1911 full size perfectly, and more importantly, they felt spectacular when gripping it. Their a little thicker than my other grips (not by very much), but I prefer the slight thickness since I have larger hands. The only thing that over shines the quality of the polymer is the look the grips give my 1911–personally, I love it, and they’re staying on.
You can purchase the products shown here and see what else Strike Industries has to offer over at their website. Their products, particularly their 1911 grips, left an impression on me, and I’m anxious to see what they roll out with in the future (hint hint, high capacity magazines for the AR-15).