EOTech Vudu 1-8×24 Review

INTRODUCTION

For the better part of the last twenty years, you could hardly talk about tactical weapon sights with EOtech coming up.

The brand has grown quickly to become an industry stalwart. In much more recent times, the company has released its own line of optical rifle scopes under the Vudu brand.

Today we will look at a model from the Vudu line, the EOTech Vudu 1-8X24 precision rifle scope. This model features a thirty-millimeter tube and the typical twenty-four millimeter ocular lens. Variable power swings between one and eight times magnification with the reticle in the second focal plane. The reticle itself is the HC3, which features an illuminated center dot and several hold-over points for shooting further distances. The capped turrets are graduated in quarter minutes of angle adjustments.

Low Power Variable Optics (LPVOs) have become increasingly more popular for modern sporting rifles and tactical-style rifles. When rapidly engaging targets at dangerously close distances, a rifle scope can be extremely valuable over red dots or holographic sights, particularly if those targets could range from fifty to three hundred yards away.

The LPVO has become a valued option for that kind of shooting scenario, and our subject today appears to fit that purpose quite well.

I enjoy shooting sports a great deal and have spent a good deal of time behind many riflescopes. I was thrilled to see how the Vudu scope would perform. I am a total fanboy for quality rifle scopes, and if this Vudu lived up to my expectations, I couldn’t wait to add it to my collection.

After unboxing the Vudu and playing around with it in just a few minutes, it has already got me excited to shoot with it.

VUDU 1-8×24 PRECISION RIFLE SCOPE REVIEW

The LPVO market has become quite crowded over the past ten or so years, so I was curious to see what Vudu had to offer that others weren’t already selling. I have heard good stories about optical quality, and so far, glancing over the features, it appears to tick all the boxes I want in an LPVO. So I wasted no time getting the Vudu mounted and ready for the range.

The market is crowded, as I said, but there is undoubtedly room for quality optics at every price and quality point. There are inexpensive LPVOs in the three to five-hundred range, and even more at the thousand dollar price point, and even at the fourteen to fifteen-hundred price point, there is still a lot of competition.

The Vudu fits right into that area for those who can’t or won’t jump to the two-thousand-dollar-plus price range, but it is still a great place to select a high-quality and well-performing LPVO. A good scope like this deserves a good mount that will allow proper positioning on the rifle, so make sure you research before mounting your scope.

With all that in mind, I set out to shoot a selection of different scenarios using the Vudu.

Varying shots from near to far and using both the variable power of the scope and the holdover points on the reticle. The one to eight-power magnification gives a great deal of versatility for a wide field of view on close-up shots with both eyes open.

And it also allows you to zoom it into eight power to take more precise shots at targets further out. I have found eight power suitable for shots as far as one thousand yards at times. So with a great deal of space at my disposal, I prepared to give the Vudu a good workout.

SPECIFICATIONS

Tube 30 mm
Length 10.9 inches
Weight 20.8 ounces
Magnification 1-8x
Objective lens 24 mm
Reticle HC3
Illumination Green center dot
Battery CR2032
Elevation travel 100 MOA @.25 per click

PROS & CONS

PROS
  • High quality Japanese optical lenses
  • Capped hand-adjustable turrets
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Push-button illumination change
  • Throw lever included
  • Hold-over HC3 reticle
CONS
  • Wish it was the 1-10
  • Would like a little more reticle detail
  • Would also like an MRAD option

RANGE TESTING

I had a hard time coming up with cons for the Vudu, as you might have noticed. It looks like I will have to get my hands on their 1-10×28 model as well, as it fits my wishes to a T.

Getting the Vudu on the range was my priority now. I mounted it up to one of my favorite carbines, my Desert Tech MDRX. I do a LOT of shooting with this rifle, so it seemed an excellent fit to compare to a bunch of other LPVOs I have run on the rifle over the years.

With the Vudu in a cantilevered mount, I installed it on the pic rail of the rifle at the proper distance for good eye relief.  It felt right at home there, so I grabbed some ammunition and headed out the door.

Upon arrival at my spot, I set the rifle on a bipod and did a quick boresight job to ensure it would be on paper. After just a few shots, it was zeroed.

I typically zero my rifles at one hundred yards, mainly because that’s where I do a lot of shooting. But it would also make sense to zero a scope like this at seventy-five or fifty yards. It depends entirely on your shooting activities.

After zeroing the scope, I started with some quick transitional shooting between a couple of different targets. The straight one-power allows you to shoot with both eyes open, something I appreciate very much. I also really like the bright green dot in the reticle. It allows the scope to be used almost like a red dot sight.

The push-button on and off makes it much easier to power up than the typical rotational rheostats. The added simplicity of push buttons to increase or decrease brightness are also convenient and easily understood when you’re moving fast.

For shooting IPSC-sized targets from standing and improvised positions, I found that zooming the scope in a few X’s was helpful. I had several targets between fifty and one-hundred-fifty yards. The two to three power settings helped get those targets bracketed and shot.

This rifle is very handy for shots out to five or six hundred yards and even twice that when I switch out barrels for another caliber.

So I wanted to see how targets looked through the Vudu at much further distances. I couldn’t find any information on the parallax setting for this Vudu, but I assumed it is likely at a hundred yards like many others. Not a huge deal but something you should know.

I checked the estimated drop for my 223 ammunition at four hundred yards, about twelve MOA.

Conveniently for me, the Vudu’s HC3 reticle has holdovers for 2, 5, 8.5, and 12.5 MOA. So my holdover for the four hundred-yard shot was pretty easy to line up. Holding into the breeze a little bit resulted in a perfect hit. I watched the bullet splash through the eight-power with great clarity and definition.

RELIABILITY

The Vudu 1-8×24 worked great for me. Through all my zooming in and out, as well as dialing the scope all over, it never lost zero or gave me any grief.

The small scope size makes me think it is less likely to get smacked around like full-sized scopes often do. But I see no reason why this scope wouldn’t live up to EOTech’s famously robust no-BS warranty.

ACCURACY

The accuracy of a riflescope is mainly based on its ability to hold proper zero and track well in its internal movement. I like to measure these movements by bolting the scope down and seeing if it actually moves the amount it says.

In my testing, the Vudu 1-8×24 was as accurate as I could have hoped, with precise corrections and matching the reticle values.

OVERALL FEEL

The Vudu feels outstanding, I like the texturing on the grip areas, and the included throw-lever is very handy, especially in the cold.

The clear optics and rubberized push-button controls make it look and feel outstanding. The large turrets are easily adjusted with gloves on, as are the other controls.

FEATURES

THROW LEVER

The Vudu comes with a thread-in throw lever or cat-tail, as some call it. The idea is to give additional purchase to adjust the magnification of the optic, as gripping the ocular housing from some positions can be challenging. The throw lever gives a better ability to pivot the input force as the housing rotates in many shooting positions.

ILLUMINATION

The Vudu features an illuminated green dot at the center of the reticle. It is powered by a battery housed in the left-hand turret.

There are three buttons on that turret at the twelve, three, and nine o’clock positions. The top button is the on/off switch; the other two buttons are for increasing or decreasing the brightness level of the dot.

I really like this ability to quickly turn the reticle on or off without having to rotate the turret, particularly those that don’t have off settings in between brightness settings. And it is easy to adjust the brightness from the shooting position using the buttons.

20 MOA TURRETS

The twenty MOA turrets on the Vudu allow for a good deal of corrective adjustment. In the event that you need to adjust for elevation at further distances, the turrets allow for precise adjustment in ¼ MOA increments.

HOW WE TESTED

I ran the Vudu 1-8 through a whole bunch of shooting at my range. Fast shooting between target transitions as well as slow fire at much further targets, was a great way to get familiarized with the Vudu and its weak spots.

The only thing I might have found as far as weakness was that at 1X, there is a tiny bit of deformation around the circumference of the image. This is not uncommon in my experience, nor is it a huge deal. It didn’t affect my ability to see and hit my targets.

I also noticed at some of the higher power settings that the eye relief seems a little touchier than I would have wanted; again not a big deal but something I did notice.

The hold-over points on the reticle were quite handy, though if you were going to do more medium to long-range shooting, you would likely want more points. Luckily, Vudu makes another scope for those who are looking for just that.

As it is, this scope makes a great choice for fifty to four-hundred-yard shooting. And when doing up-close shooting, I ran the scope on 1X with the dot turned all the way up and used it just like a red dot.

As I typically do with most optics I test, I also ran the turrets and reticle against a yardstick to see how well and accurately the erector tracks. Most of the time, they are all pretty close to their advertised graduations, and the Vudu 1-8×24 was one of those.

SCORE CARD

RELIABILITY (9/10)

The Vudu 1-8×24 functioned flawlessly for me during my testing. Surely this hasn’t been long enough to truly test its abilities, but only time will tell how that plays out. Follow me to see how the Vudu does over time.

OPTICAL QUALITY (8/10)

The optical quality of the Vudu was great. There was a tiny bit of optical aberration around the edges at 1X. Still, it was certainly something I could live with.

The clarity of targets was superb, and it performed well for my eyes even at low light near dusk. I won’t lie and say that I haven’t seen better, but I think the Vudu is right in line with its best competitors for this price.

FEATURES (7/10)

The illuminated reticle and throw lever were nice things to have when I opened the box, but I was kind of hopeful that Vudu would have brought just a little something extra to the game.

I would have liked a slightly more detailed reticle option and an MRAD option. Of course, more options like these would only add to the Vudu line.

VALUE (8/10)

I think the Vudu brings a significant level of performance and quality for its price point. Competitors in the comparable price range make it a very challenging market. You could almost select based on pure appearance and still get a great scope.

 

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Staccato P 2011 Pistol review

INTRODUCTION

The Staccato P pistol is a 2011 pistol built specifically for use as a service pistol for law enforcement, but the general shooting public has very well received it. The high quality and performance of the pistol have made it highly sought after by pistol aficionados in and out of the LE community.

The Staccato P is a 2011 model pistol. The 2011 design is a modern version of the 1911 design. Incorporating double stack magazines and chambered in 9mm has brought incredible versatility to the pistol. It comes in a custom soft case with three magazines.

STI was famous for making these pistols. They have since rebranded to the Staccato name and lead the way in the 2011 pistol market.

Being new to both 1911/2011 designs and the Staccato P, I was very excited to get familiarized with this pistol and see what all the hype was about and if it was well founded.

STACCATO P REVIEW

The Staccato P is a pistol designed for duty and anyone else who could use the features of the pistol. The manufacturer has gone to great lengths to get the pistol approved for LE service by at least 650 agencies, including the Texas Rangers.

With an MSRP of $2199.00, it is certainly not an entry-level pistol; however, to be fair to Staccato, it boasts professional-grade features to justify that price. The Staccato P has all the great benefits of the extremely popular and common 1911 design but also adds new technology and features to enhance the historical design with modern expectations. Pistol shooters who want exceptional quality and extremely smooth operation will be happy to feel the sticky Staccato stippling in their hands.

Much like buying a sports car, this pistol is not something you’d compare to the average 9mm pistol on the shelf at your local gun shop. And much like the sports car, you may want to get it purchased before the wedding and not after.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber 9mm
Capacity 17 rounds
Barrel length 4.4 Inches
Trigger 4-4.5 lb adjustable
Dimensions Length 8.0 X Grip Width 1.3 X Height 5.5 – Width At Safeties 1.49
Weight 33 ounces (empty)

PROS & CONS

PROS
  • Outstanding SA trigger – adjustable and crisp
  • Optics ready – to add your favorite red dot
  • Ambidextrous safety- in case you’re wrong handed
  • Picatinny accessory rail- to mount accessories
  • Flared magwell- for enhanced mag changes
  • Heavy bull barrel- for enhanced accuracy
  • Dawson custom sights – fiber optic for better sight picture
CONS
  • Short slide release – hard to reach with my thumb
  • I need another one

ON THE RANGE TESTING

I was understandably excited to get the Staccato P to the range, I had already worn in the pistol quite a bit playing with it in my office. But with a few boxes of ammunition and a few targets, I headed to my shooting spot.

After loading a few mags, I loaded the pistol and made it ready to shoot. The feeling of the slide riding forward and chambering a round is addictive, smooth as glass, and locks up tight. I’m not a big manual safety guy, but the 2011 safety is so easy to use that it immediately became second nature. It is almost automatic that as the pistol comes up, your thumb moves it from safe to fire, and back to safe as you return the pistol to the holster.

The trigger was everything I’d hoped to be, clean and crisp. The short reset seemed to allow for incredibly rapid follow-up shots, allowing a massive amount of lead to be put downrange very quickly. And the clean break of the trigger allowed for accurate shooting on targets, and the hits just kept coming.

I found the large grip of the pistol to be very comfortable in my hand. The rough texturing and the full palm gave a great deal of purchase on the grip. And being a bit heavier than your average 9mm pistol, the recoil was very easy to control with this better and bigger grip area.

The bright fiber-optic front sight was quick to find and easily aligned with the rear sight. I would love this pistol even more with a red dot mounted to it, perhaps next time.

As I plowed through the ammo, I quite enjoyed doing reloads. The Staccato P features a flared magwell to aid in rapidly seating new magazines. I found myself loading two or three rounds per mag just to get more reloads in.

The frictionless slide of the magazines against the polymer grip module made seating the magazine effortless, and empty mags drop free and clear with an appropriate press of the release. I was quickly becoming a fan of everything this pistol was, and deciding if I could justify keeping it.

RELIABILITY

The reliability of the Staccato P was immaculate. During the course of firing several hundred rounds, I experienced no malfunctions. That may not sound like much, but the way it just chewed through everything smoothly and without so much of a hiccup made it feel even more reliable.

Slow shooting cadences and rapid mag dumps all resulted in the same way, a locked open slide waiting for the next magazine to be loaded.

The cycling of the slide and the chambering of cartridges all worked so flawlessly that it felt like a well-oiled machine churning away in the palm of your hand.

ACCURACY

I am not what I consider a big pistol accuracy fanatic, nor do I consider myself exceptionally talented in accurately shooting pistols. As far as I am concerned, if I can hit what I aim at within the distance I typically shoot, then it’s good enough for my purposes.

The Staccato was certainly better than I was, as I found it easy to hit everything I aimed at. I did find that the sights aligned pretty naturally with my generic pistol pointing, which may have helped my shooting significantly. I think I might have shot even better had I installed a red dot on the back of the pistol, but that’s for another time I guess.

OVERALL FEEL

The overall feel of the Staccato P is outstanding. The perfectly filled hand with the perfect fit controls and trigger was missing only one thing for me. The slide release was a bit too far forward for me to reach with my thumb, making it necessary to break my shooting grip in order to do so.

I don’t know if they make an extended version, but if they do, I would certainly buy it, as it is the only thing I could complain about this pistol.

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Burris Veracity PH riflescope 4-20X50

Being a sucker for nice optics, I enjoy exceptional riflescopes from both American and European manufacturers. But I really want to buy American-made optics as much as I can.

burris veracity ph review mounted on desert tech srs m2

Burris is a well-known American optics manufacturer that has recently teamed up with optics stalwart Steiner Optics. Being a fan of both, I was excited to review the new Burris Veracity PH 4-20X50.

The Veracity is Burris’s premier hunting scope line, and the PH model is at the top of that line.

The Veracity PH incorporates Burris’s PĒK elevation turret, an electronic programmable and mechanical hybrid adjustment turret. Housed inside the 30mm tube of the PH, you will also find a digital Heads-up-display (HUD) that gives you all the information as you look through the scope.

The reticle is in the first focal plane, which always represents the indicated values regardless of magnification.
A traditional side-focus/parallax adjustment is on the scope’s left side; on the right, you will find a capped windage knob. Since hunters typically utilize the MOA scale instead of the MRAD one, it makes sense to have built the Veracity PH in MOA.

The reticle inside the Veracity was built for holding wind corrections with graduated windage marks.

The Veracity PH promises to give hunters a rapid and accurate firing solution for long-range hunting scenarios. Often when pursuing animals, there is little time to make corrections for distance. The PH allows users to use either MOA come-ups or have the actual distance shown rapidly in the internal HUD.

I can think of several scenarios over the past couple decades of hunting where that would have been very helpful. Hunting open country and long-range has been my bread and butter for at least that long, so I figured it would be a good place to put this scope to the test.

My initial impressions of the Veracity PH are pretty positive, it looks good, feels solid, and the optical quality seemed on par for its price.

I was pleased with the simplicity of the Bluetooth intercourse and integration with the Burris Connect app used to control the Veracity PH.

burris veracity ph review unboxing

BURRIS VERACITY PH REVIEW

As a hunting scope for long-range hunters, the Veracity PH provides fast information for making quick shots.

Technology like rangefinders and ballistic computers have greatly increased the potential for making longer shots with predictability. The Burris Veracity PH was made to capitalize on those advances, and bring some of this technology aboard your riflescope.

With uploadable ballistic profiles, you can put the data right into your scope. These profiles carry bullet drop and windage deflection rates.

This is necessary when making longer shots to correct for distance and atmospheric changes around you. Having this data in your scope is a great advantage for long-range hunters in wide-open country.

If you are more of a bean-field hunter, where shots may not exceed two to three hundred yards, it’s probably more of a novelty than a necessity.

SPECIFICATIONS

Power 5X
Magnification 4-20
Objective 50mm
Tube Diameter 30mm
Reticle PTC Wind MOA reticle
Illumination yes
Turret Graduation ¼ MOA
Focal Plane First focal
Length 15 inches
Weight 27.2 ounces

PROS & CONS

PROS
  • Made in America by Americans
  • Aggressively priced
  • Good optical quality
  • First focal plane
  • Heads up display (I mean C’mon!)
  • Internal level
  • Bluetooth connection with free downloadable app
  • Includes sunshade and flip caps
  • Zero stop elevation turret
CONS
  • Elevation PĒK turret is stiffer than I would like
  • I really wish there was an MRAD version
  • Wouldn’t mind a few more elevation subtensions on the reticle
jeff wood burris veracity ph test long range shooting

FIELDING THE VERACITY PH

I’ve had a few experiences with Burris optics over the years, and they have all been good ones. So I was eager to open up the Veracity PH package and get it into shooting condition as soon as possible.

My plan was to replace the Steiner T6X that I was currently running on my Desert Tech SRS M2. It is essentially the big brother to the Veracity, made in the same Colorado factory.

I mounted the Veracity in a Nightforce scope mount and leveled it on the rifle. It was during this process that I discovered one of the technological gadgets on the Burris scope; the internal level was not showing level compared to my bubble level, or my eye for that matter.

I assumed something was wrong, but after booting up the Burris connect app, I found the calibration procedure for the internal bubble level. You can zero the level on the scope physically using traditional procedures and then zero the internal digital level.

Before I’d even done that, I of course installed the two CR2450 lithium batteries that power the Veracity by loosening the battery cap on the side of the scope.

With the scope leveled and torqued down, I bore-sighted it looking out the window at the mountains above. Like most scopes, the PH turrets have three allen screws around the top to loosen the turret and reset them back to zero after getting the rifle sighted in.

I appreciated the capped windage turret since I rarely dial wind; I prefer to hold it instead. The Wind MOA reticle inside the scope was perfect for that.

Once I was on my range, I fired a few shots to adjust the zero of the rifle, and then it was time to see how this thing performed.

Before leaving the house, I had downloaded the ballistic profile of the ammunition I planned on shooting. It was easily added to the PH’s heads-up display, and using the app, I could select to have the HUD show either the actual MOA correction or the equivalent distance to the MOA dialed.

Again this seems like a very handy tool for hunters since you can upload your data, and after proofing it with the scope, it’s as easy as dialing the distance.

I’m not always a fan of “just dial the number” systems such as caliber/ballistic custom turrets because, typically, they do not allow for atmospheric changes and other common variations. The Veracity PH system, however, when used with the Connect App, allows you to update density altitude (DA) and other important factors to increase the accuracy of the firing solution.

It was time to stretch the rifle and scope combo out and see how all this tech lined up in an actual shot. The first thing I noticed when dialing the scope out for a longer shot was how stiff the elevation turret was.

I might have blamed it on the extreme cold that day, but it was just as stiff sitting on my kitchen table earlier that morning. I guess you could consider this a positive in some ways because the turret is unlikely to get accidentally turned before you make a shot. But even if it did, as you looked through the scope to make the shot, you could see if the elevation had been moved via the HUD inside.

I also noticed, to my surprise, that there were no clicks on the turret, a feature so common on riflescopes that it startled me. But due to the 1/10 MOA sensitivity of the turret, the clicks are unnecessary. You can see either on the turret housing or by the HUD inside what the turret is set to.

The focus/parallax adjustment on the side of the scope on the other hand is very smooth and easy to adjust. The variable 4-20 power magnification is an excellent choice for hunting and long-range hunting in my opinion, allowing for close up shots under one hundred yards or long shots as far as you have the skill to make.

Twenty power magnification is plenty for making shots as far as a thousand yards in my opinion, and it wasn’t long before we were doing just that with the Veracity PH.

The magnification adjustment ring was also easy to adjust, adding to my ability to zoom out to find targets, and right back in to engage them. With the scoped zoomed out to the four power setting, the reticle detail became quite fine, almost fine enough to lose its value.

Not a huge concern in my opinion because chances are if you are shooting at an animal at four power, it is likely going to be quite close and won’t require using reticle subtensions. The tapered reticle posts that thin as they approach the center also create a very natural point of aim that also reduces the importance of the center reticle details.

We fired a bunch of shots that afternoon, closely mimicking the same kinds of shots we would have taken on deer in these very same canyons. The Veracity PH made it very easy to move from one target to the next, and not much was getting away from me at that point.

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Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT 7mm PRC

INTRODUCTION

The Ridgeline FFT is the latest model in Christensen’s Ridgeline series of rifles. The FFT stands for Flash Forged Technology, a new process used to produce its carbon fiber stocks. Christensen claims this new tech further reduces the rifle’s weight for the ultimate lightweight hunting rifle.

Being foremost a hunter, I am always interested in the latest new thing. And with Christensen being located here in my own state of Utah, I was even more excited to see them leading the way with new ideas. While I’m not sure if a lighter rifle will improve my shooting, at least I won’t be as fatigued when I come home empty-handed.

I have been hunting these Rocky Mountains for over a few decades, so I’d like to think this rifle was built for guys like me. As such, I was eager to see how it measured up to the quality customs and other carbon rifles I am used to. My initial thoughts on handling the Ridgeline FFT were that I would be quite pleased with the rifle.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber 7mm PRC
Barrel 416 Stainless carbon wrapped
Barrel length 22 inches
Barrel twist 1 in 8”
Capacity 3 + 1
Trigger Trigger Tech
Muzzle ⅝ inch x 24 threaded with Stainless side-port Brake
Stock Carbon Fiber Sporter

PROS & CONS

PROS
  • Very lightweight, starting at 5.3lbs
  • Match Grade chamber hand-lapped barrel
  • Threaded muzzle with brake
  • High-quality Trigger Tech trigger included
  • Remington 700 compatible receiver for accessories
  • Sub MOA guarantee from factory
  • Twenty-two inch barrel makes it very maneuverable
CONS
  • Action not as smooth as expected
  • Twenty-two inch barrel gives up some velocity

RANGE TESTING

I’d anticipated receiving this rifle for some time, I’d even received some ammunition already for it thanks to the good folks at Hornady. Since the action of the Ridgeline is compatible with Remington 700 parts, I grabbed a Leupold scope base I had in my toolbox and tightened it down on the Burnt Bronze action.

For a rifle scope, I decided to install my US Optics TS20X. I had a set of 34mm rings that put the scope just the right height for me, so I adjusted it for proper eye relief and torqued it down properly.

I put a touch of lube on the contact points of the bolt body to slick it up and installed a bipod on the rifle before heading out. I prefer the solitude of the mountains over shooting ranges, so I dressed up for the cold and grabbed the rest of my stuff as I headed up the hills.

In my bag, I had a couple of boxes of ammunition from Hornady, both the Precision Hunter 175 ELDX load and the Match 180 ELDM. I also carried my Desert Tech DTSS suppressor to see how the rifle shot when suppressed and a Magnetospeed chronograph to measure velocity.

The first thing I wanted to get established was a good zero, so after setting my target at one hundred yards, I settled down on my shooting mat to get comfortable with the FFT.

I pushed three cartridges down into the magazine, which had plenty of room. It looked like you could seat the bullets really quite long and still have them fit and feed from the magazine. I ran the bolt forward to chamber the first round, closing the bolt into the battery as I peered through the scope.

I fired the first shot and two more to confirm impact; I was going to need to shift my impact about one MRAD right and up a touch. After doing so, I shot a couple of groups to see how the rifle performed, all while paying attention to the recoil impulse through the stock.

I would only shoot three shots and let the rifle sit for a few minutes. I didn’t really want to get it hot. Being a hunting rifle, I think it’s likely such a rifle would be carried a lot more than shot. After shooting a few groups, I paused to evaluate my findings.

I was surprised by how mild the recoil felt; surely, the muzzle brake was reducing a good portion of the impact. The accuracy was not spectacular, though I think it may need a minute to settle this bore down. I noticed that the three-shot groups would always have two together and the third one off just a bit.

I fired a few more rounds to finish off the two boxes, and I figured it would be good practice to see how the Ridgeline did on the open distances that these Rocky Mountains are famous for.

I picked a few targets, the first one at 530 yards opposite my canyon perch. After entering all the ballistic data into my Trasol Ballistic application, it came back with a firing solution which I dialed into the turret.

As I lay still in the snow, I looked at the snow stacked on top of my target. I held into the wind and pressed the trigger shoe till the shot broke. I could see a very significant impact on the target, knocking the snow off in a powdery cloud.

RELIABILITY

The Ridgeline FFT was very reliable at feeding and firing the PRC cartridges. I never experienced any issues other than the occasional magazine bind when you put them in poorly. The minimal controls of the rifle all worked fine, and I also noticed that the bolt lift that had seemed a little stiff back at home, didn’t seem to bother me from the shooting position.

ACCURACY

At first, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the rifle’s accuracy. I do think that shooting it more has helped; perhaps the bore needs a little break-in before it shoots its best. It did seem to prefer the Precision Hunter 175-grain ammunition over the 180-grain Match ammunition.

The Ridgeline does have an eight-twist barrel, which is the minimum for the 180-grain ELDM, so it’s possible that it could be on the verge of stability.

According to Christensen’s website, there is a 50-round barrel break-in process.

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Kore Essentials B1 Battle Belt Review

INTRODUCTION

Today, we will have a close look at the Kore Essentials B1 Coyote Battle Belt, a system designed to support your pistol and any ancillary gear that needs to go with it. I’ve been on a battle belt kick for a minute now. You might have already read my other piece about Building your own battle belt.

Battle belts are designed to distribute the weight of a sidearm and other equipment across your waist without becoming cumbersome. At the same time, they securely hold your gun and gear right where you need it. The B1 Battle Belt from Kore is custom fit to the user and promises guaranteed satisfaction and compatibility with whatever gear you choose to put on it.

The B1 uses a ratcheting buckle to keep it tight, something a little different than some other belts. But like other belts, it utilizes an internal velcro belt that goes inside your belt loops, to which the outer belt attaches by both velcro and the ratcheting buckle.

Having used a couple of other belts, I was curious to see how this different design would fit my taste. However, I found myself already quite excited and happy with the belt in a very short time.

Kore essentials b1 battle belt review

KORE ESSENTIALS B1 BATTLE BELT REVIEW

Kore Essentials B1 Battle Belt

 

Perhaps the crowning feature of the belt is its ratcheting buckle, which makes donning the belt very quick and easy. This belt is a great option for people who regularly carry a gun, with the ease of quick and easy removal. It’s available in several colors, which can easily match any of your daily wear. And with complete external molle loops, you can add any of your necessary accessories like magazine pouches, knives, and such.

The internal velcro belt is black and quite smooth, but for the velcro outer surface, the outer main belt measures 1.75 inches wide to better support your holster and other accessories. Both belts feature a rigid polymer internal core (or Kore) to increase the stability of your weapons and other gear. The idea is to keep things where you want them and not flop around as you move.

I would have zero concerns putting my full-size P320 holster on this belt, but for this review, I used a much smaller system, mainly just to try something different. I recently got one of the new Taurus TX22 Compact pistols, which fit perfectly into a Blackhawk SERPA G26 holster.

I figured it would be fun to try this little pistol out attached to the B1 Kore belt. In just a few minutes I had everything together and ready to start my drawing practice.

BATTLE BELT ENGAGED…

Kore essentials b1 battle belt review

After opening the box and reading most of the directions, I was slightly intimidated, finding out that I had to cut the belt to length.

I know how important it is to get these belts to the right length, so I didn’t want to screw it up. The Kore B1 belt comes with a measuring tape to measure directly through your belt loops for the exact right length.

Just to be sure, I cut it a smidge longer than needed, but it turns out that wasn’t necessary. But should I gain a few more pounds, I might be glad I did.

After cutting the inner and outer belts to length, I singed the edges with a lighter to prevent fraying. The inner belt has a thin hex tip that is easily threaded through your belt loops.

The outer belt, after cutting, needs to have the buckle installed. The buckle is installed using a couple of hex-head screws that thread into the buckle and compress the end of the nylon belt. There is also a foldable claw that aggressively bites into the nylon belt to secure it while the screws are tightened. The tongue end of the outer belt has nylon teeth on the inside that are secured by the buckle latch.

Installing the belt is pretty simple. You fish the inner belt through your pant belt loops, then cinch it down until it’s as tight as you’d like it to be. Then the outer belt is carefully attached to the velcro outer part of the inner belt. This is done while aligning the two belts around your waist as you put them on.

Lastly, you cinch down the outer belt into the buckle. Both the buckle tension and the engagement of the velcro make the belt very firm and secure.

Kore essentials b1 battle belt review with taurus tx22 competition

I installed my holster on the outer belt before putting it on. And adding a few accessories is also a good idea BEFORE you put the belt on because once it is on, it’s far too secure to add things then.

Once I had everything installed, I hit the shooting range to see how well the belt held my gun. I’m sure that a bigger gun would be a little more cumbersome than this little thing, but the belt feels so secure I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. The belt’s rigidity felt fantastic, and I carried my gun that way for a week before I even messed with how it rides.

The daily putting on and taking off made the design of this belt shine. I really liked the way it fit me and how easy it was to fit my gear as well.

I’ve only had it for a few weeks, and I’m already considering another one, and since they are so easy to custom-fit to each person, I think it’d be a great gift. Continue reading here

Aero Precision M4E1 6.5 Grendel

The 6.5 Meme

You may have seen the popular meme about some of the more popular 6.5 cartridges, in this meme there are some satirical characterizations about the owners of these most popular 6.5mm cartridges. The 6.5 Grendel character is represented by a kooky and eccentric looking fellow you may not want to approach in the truck stop parking lot. I always laughed a bit a this meme, but today I find myself with that same wide eyed stare…

Today we are looking at a 6.5 Grendel rifle made from an Aero Precision M4A1 lower and a 22″ Grendel Hunter upper receiver. The Upper features a 22-inch 8 twist barrel with a threaded muzzle pitched 5/8-24 and of course chambered in 6.5 Grendel. The Grendel is a bit of an oddity in that it uses a cartridge case that uses a bolt face between the very common 223 Remington, and the 308 Winchester. There are only a few common cartridges that use this sized case, such as the 224 Valkyrie and the 6mm ARC. The Grendel allows you to shoot 6.5 (.264) caliber bullets from a small frame AR-15 type rifle, which can vastly change the utility of your AR-15. I have heard of people using the Grendel for hunting animals as big as Rocky Mountain elk, and having used bullets of the same size and velocity I can see why. The only difference I’ve noticed (apart from the 6.5 Grendel barrel) between this and other AR-15 rifles is the use of a different magazine. The Grendel magazines use a different follower, and I had a few laying around from my 6mm ARC project so they got put to good use.
The barrel is a fluted stainless one with a low profile gas block installed, and since it was threaded I fully intended on installing a suppressor to see how the rifle performed as a host.

After getting the rifle home, I set it on my bench and started looking for suitable accessories for the rifle. First and foremost it was going to need a good scope, for that I decided on installing my US Optics FDN17X, it seemed like a good match to the anticipated shooting for the Grendel. I also installed an MLok Harris bipod mount to the handguard so that I could install a bipod to shoot supported. I also grabbed my Yankee Hill Machine Nitro N20 suppressor to see how the rifle shot suppressed.

Ammunition

6.5 Grendel ammunition isn’t as common as most, so I knew going in I was going to have to improvise. I had a bunch of 6.5 Grendel brass already, yes I am unashamedly one of those range creeps that is always digging through brass piles. But I haven’t bought brass in years so I’ll happily take the troll title.
I have a broad selection of .264 bullets, but it seems that Grendel loads are frequently in the 100-120 grain category. So I decided I would load up some PRVI 120 grain BTHP bullets with some Hodgdon Benchmark in Hornady brass. While I claim no expertise in the dark art of handloading, I managed to get them together without any explosions or injury. So together with the outfitted rifle and my fresh loaded ammo, I headed into the hills to see how the rifle shot.

On the Range with the Aero Precision 6.5 Grendel

With a fresh target hung at one hundred yards, I laid behind the rifle to get it zeroed. I had already bore-sighted it before I left the house, so it was ready to put on paper. After the first few shots I made some adjustments to the scope, and fired a group to see how it patterned. My grouping wasn’t terrible, a five shot average of one MOA is at least somewhere to start from. It’s certainly possible the rifle didn’t care for my handloads, and had I been shooting some Hornady Match it might have shot under a half inch. I shot several boxes worth of ammunition through the rifle, and to be honest I can see why so many people like this little cartridge. The recoil is very mild for starters, and I can’t imagine it would be much worse even shooting 140 grain bullets.
It was even better when I added my suppressor to the rifle. I was able to stretch the rifle out to about five hundred yards where I found it still quite easy to hit targets the size of a deer’s vitals.

Pros and Cons

Everybody has their preferences, and I surely have mine so I’ll tell you what I would do with this rifle if I had a magic wand. First I think I’d cut the barrel down a bit, it seems cumbersomely long to me. The long length of the barrel also makes it very front heavy, which if your shooting from a bipod isn’t a big deal but it can be for an offhand shooter.
The Grendel is one of those cartridges where I wouldn’t expect to be blasting one shot rapidly after another, so the ten round magazine is more than enough for my purposes but you may want more if you are a high volume kind of shooter. Continue Reading Here…

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Building a Better Case: Pelican Vault 730 & Magpul DAKA Review

INTRODUCTION

Pelican cases have been the standard for firearm protection for years. Their new Vault series, combined with the new Magpul DAKA case organizer, is proving to be a truly innovative firearm storage option.

The Vault series carries the Pelican name and warranty; like other hard gun cases, it features six locking latches that seal the case water-tight using an O-ring seal around the perimeter of the case.

From my perspective, the Vault line of cases appears to be a more affordable line of cases for those who take protecting their firearms seriously.

The DAKA grid organizer from Magpul makes customizing your hard gun case much simpler than before and gives you the option to alter it as well. If you were one of those weird Lego kids growing up, you’re gonna love this.

I’ve owned Pelican cases for years, and I’ve hauled guns all over the world in various case configurations with hard foam, soft foam, and textile interiors. So I was very excited to see an actual development regarding hard-case storage options.

VAULT 730 & MAGPUL DAKA ORGANIZER REVIEW

As I mentioned, I’ve owned quite a few hard cases over the years. It seems that there comes a time in a gun owner’s life that he wants to take his most prized rifle and cut the foam in a hard case to fit it so he can pretend to be the assassin in a Bond film as he un-cases it out at the range.

It’s nice to have a custom foam-fit hard case for your rifles, but it also usually means you need several hard cases or sets of foam for each rifle.

The DAKA organizer system allows you to custom-fit the foam in your hard case to fit your rifles without using a knife. And you can also rearrange it to fit the next rifle by simply pulling the foam pieces apart and stacking them into the position you want them in.

The DAKA system is much like Legos, they are foam blocks with molded lugs that allow them to be stacked together like the famous toy blocks.

They come with a base plate that is essentially a foam pegboard, and an assortment of two and three-lug sections that you can plug into the baseplate in whatever configuration fits your chosen firearm. Then just as easily as they went in, you can pull them apart to reconfigure the case for a different firearm.

The whole system, when dropped into the Vault 730 case, makes for a very multi-use and secure transport for your weapons. The secure locking latches of the Vault 730 keep it secure, and it has the typical lugs at the ends to secure it with padlocks.

Handles on three sides make it easily maneuvered and/or tied down, and the low profile wheels at one end are nice for rolling the case across hard surfaces like those long walks through airport security. The Vault is available in a couple of different sizes, so you can customize your options.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I was excited to see the case when it arrived, I had seen several of the Vault cases while at SHOT Show 2023. And if the DAKA system lived up to my expectations, I knew I would have a very handy transportation system for my rifles.

First thing I opened was the Vault case. It came with a few layers of its own foam. I was quite pleased with how easy the latches were to open single-handedly.

Many cases I’ve used in the past have been far too stiff to release easily, and they sometimes seemed to bind on the locking mechanism. These were extremely easy to undo, and while opening all six latches to get into the case can sometimes feel like a bit much, I would rather have them than not. Especially after watching luggage workers toss things at the airport.

The lid of the Vault case is sealed with an O-ring. It also features a few interlocking molded dowel pins around the lid mating surface to help secure and keep the two parts aligned.

Inside I found a few sheets of the standard foam that comes with the case. I set them aside as it was time to open the box from Magpul.

The DAKA system came in a smaller box than I had anticipated, and I was even further surprised to see it appear nearly half empty. I thought they had surely sent me half of what I needed, but to my surprise, as I opened up the pieces, everything was there to make my case a safe storage place for my rifle.

I installed the base plate of foam into the bottom of the Vault 730, it was a snug fit, but I assume that is by design to keep things from sliding around inside the case.

I then laid my rifle into the case and started lining up with the patterns in the foam to see where my best fit would be. Installing the foam blocks came next, fitting them as close as I could to the rifle without compressing it.

I quickly was made aware of one thing I’d consider a drawback, attaching the foam blocks in such a way that would tightly hold my rifle was harder than I thought.

The interlocking teeth of the DAKA system are an inch or so wide, meaning that unless your rifle has the perfect proportions to match those spacings, you will have a little movement inside the case.

For the most part, that may not be a big deal, but if you have a very heavy firearm, this could result in significant shifting and potentially breaking through the foam blocks.

After I got my rifle situated and surrounded with foam blocks, it actually looked pretty good and snug. I closed the case to see how it carried, only to find that there was just enough flex in the case to cause a slight deformation from the installation of the foam baseplate.

The case mouth opened just enough to have to squeeze it to get it closed and latched.  Having let the case sit and rest with latches closed for a day or two has helped reduce the issue as both foam and plastic learn their new locations.

Making room in the case for things like accessories, boxes of ammo, and such was very easy. Much like an old game of Tetris, you could organize the blocks of foam to hold both your rifle and some shooting accessories around it in a very organized manner.

DURABILITY

Hauling the case back and forth to gun shops and shooting ranges, I have come to appreciate it.

The case does seem to handle better than my old Pelican or SKB cases, perhaps due to less overall weight making it easier to handle.

The handles themselves are also pretty robust and big enough that even when the case is loaded fairly heavily, it’s easy on the hands. The latches and other parts of the case seem very reliable and robust, so much so that I don’t anticipate any issues to come.

OVERALL FEEL

My impression is that the Vault case and DAKA organizing system are worth their asking price. It does seem just a little less robust than the actual Pelican branded cases, but with a price of $200ish dollars, it is still worth it in my opinion.

And the DAKA system gives you some impressive improvisational gun storage options, though I think it came with even a few more blocks. Looking at Magpul’s website, it appears that they even have differently shaped blocks and other accessories on the way to improve the system. Continue reading here…

 

The FN PS90 bullpup: It came from the 80’s

Introduction

Perhaps one of the most recognizable firearms of the last half century is the FN PS90. It has appeared in countless films, video games, and other forms of media. The space-gun look of the PS90 sets it apart from most traditional firearms and makes it ideal for futuristic media.

The PS90 is a bullpup rifle, which is enough to differentiate it from most, but its curious design and borderline strange shape give it a uniqueness all its own.

The 5.7×28 cartridge used in the rifle is another anomaly, becoming much more prevalent in the last couple of years. Originally it was an obscure cartridge destined almost exclusively for the top-mounted magazines of the PS90 or the civilian-free model, the P90, which uses a shorter barrel and an auto-sear pack.

For many years, there was nothing like the PS90. It has seen new competition arise in the last couple of years, but for compact high-capacity firepower, only a few could match the little FN.

The industry giant FN Herstal has been a dominant power in firearms since the late 1800s, so it should be no surprise that many firearm developments have come from their factories. Weapons from FN have likely been a part of countless military operations, law enforcement agencies, and of course, civilian shooting activities.

Having grown up with the PS90 constantly before me, I like many others, always dreamed of having one to hold and call my own. So when given the opportunity to spend some time with this diminutive little novelty, I of course, stepped forward.

PS90 Review

The construction of the PS90 is an interesting design, using a polymer clamshell to house the rifle’s metal parts.

The action is a blowback type, typically using strong springs and a heavy bolt carrier. There are two metal shafts that the bolt carrier and spring ride on, anchored at the butt of the rifle.

The front half of the rifle simply slides into the polymer housing and has a spring-loaded button to hold it in place.

One of the more obscure parts of the rifle is the magazine function; the fifty-round magazine sits on top of the receiver underneath the sight bridge. The magazine carries the cartridges perpendicular to the bore axis of the rifle.

As the cartridges are pushed to the rifle’s rear, they are twisted ninety degrees as they come out of the magazine, just in time to be caught by the forward-moving bolt carrier.

Spent cases are expelled through the bottom of the rifle, where a small dust door opens when firing the rifle.
The controls of the PS90 are also, of course, different than most. The small charging handles are located on both sides of the front of the receiver, making the gun perfectly ambidextrous.

The safety is located at the bottom of the trigger and rotates between fire and safe from either side of the trigger guard. The top-side magazine release buttons are pressed in an almost pinching motion as you lift the magazine up and pull it out to the rear.

As I mentioned, this makes the rifle completely suitable to be used by right or left-handed shooters, which is a great thing for service weapons that multiple people use.

The bullpup design of the PS90 makes it very short, and with the short-barreled version, it is even concealable. The fifty-round magazines give you very long strings of fire before needing to reload.

These great features make the PS90 a good option for military and law enforcement professionals. Civilians can and should enjoy these same benefits because this is America, dammit!

TERRESTRIAL RANGE TESTING

I was excited to get the P90 to the range to see how it shot. I was lucky enough to get the restricted model P90 instead of the civilian PS90 (semi-auto). This development would greatly increase the cost of reviewing the gun due to my inability to hold back a full send. The basics of the two rifle models are very similar, so the rest of the review would be relatively the same.

I sourced ammunition boxes from different sources, including American Eagle and FN. With the three fifty-round magazines and several hundred dollars worth of ammunition, I figured I could reasonably determine the function and manual of arms.

I’ve been lucky to shoot several different PWD-type weapons and other short-barreled rifles, so I had a baseline to evaluate the P90.

Short rifles like this are typically used for personal defense, assaulting forces, or something similar. These activities are likely to take place at short distances, so these rifles are usually topped with a reflex or red dot sight to take advantage of the rapid target acquisition they provide. This model came with a small red dot sight already installed, making my selection pretty easy.

After inspecting the rifle, I started the long process of stuffing the magazines with cartridges. The small 5.7 cartridges look similar to a tiny 5.56 cartridge, including a little bottleneck. I snapped one of the loaded magazines into the rifle and started with my shooting regimen.

The snappy blast of the 5.7 was quite evident, mainly when it was only a few inches away from your face. The gun cycled its action rapidly, discharging pretty forcefully the spent cartridges straight down onto the shooting bench below me.

I could feel the short travel of the bolt carrier sliding back and forth in the rifle. Other than that, the recoil was very mild and easy to control. Shooting the rifle at twenty-five yards, it seemed quite easy to keep shots on target.

Transitioning between targets was fast, and the rifle tucked neatly into my shoulder pocket, making it easy to keep on target. The short rifle has almost no room to pivot under recoil, the butt tightly tucked into the shoulder, and the muzzle in front of your support hand doesn’t give it much room to jump around.

The longer barrel of the PS90 might make it even more controllable and provide higher velocity from the same ammunition.

The trigger in the P90 was just as I anticipated. Many bullpups utilize a linkage to operate the sear remotely, and the P90/PS90 is definitely one of those. You can feel the sliding linkage and delayed sensation when pulling the trigger.

To be fair, this isn’t a sniper rifle, so having a flexible trigger pull isn’t a deal breaker for me. For the kind of shooting this rifle was destined for, I think the trigger is perfectly suitable, but it may take some getting used to.

The strange grip design of the rifle also didn’t strike me as ideal. It certainly allows you to control the rifle, though.

I’d like to think there was some kind of “engineer” explanation that would somehow justify why it feels like holding two cups of tea with a trigger in one of them, but I don’t think I’ll ever get that answer. Continue reading here…