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Products and equipment

Bear Creek Arsenal BC-8 30-06 Springfield 


Today we have quite an interesting anomaly for you GunMade fans. In today’s review we will be taking a look at the Bear Creek Arsenal BC-8 30-06 Springfield. The BC-8 looks like an AR-10 at a glance, but it carries quite the payload. 

The BC-8 is an AR type rifle and has nearly all the same functions and features as your favorite AR-15 rifle. But it carries a larger magazine to carry the timeless classic 30-06 Springfield cartridge. This has resulted in a few alterations of the AR design, but most of the important stuff remains the same. Well show you what is different about the BC-8, and what remains the same. And of course we will see how it performs, so you can decide if you need to add one to your collection. 

Lifting the rifle from its foam lined box, I was immediately impressed with the size of the rifle. There is no doubt you’ve got a serious piece of kit in your hands, but would it perform as impressively? Bear Creek Arsenal sent it to us to answer that question, so let’s get into it. 

Bear Creek Arsenal BC-8 Rifle Review

Not since the M1 Garand have I ever really considered a semi-auto 30 06 rifle. As a matter of fact I’m not even a big 30 06 Springfield kind of guy. The only rifle I have chambered in the centenarian cartridge was handed down to me from my grandfather.

So I guess it was with a little bit of surprise that I found the BC-8 under my roof. Several other calibers are also available in the BC-8, like the .270 Winchester, and 300 Winchester Magnum. But why an AR type rifle in such big cartridges? My answer is a simple one, but I’ll tell you later on. 

The 30 06 won out the .270 and 300 for me because I have lots of it. Reloading gives me the ability to make even more, and at a cheaper cost than 300 Winchester.

Bear Creek Arsenal’s BC-8 brings the modularity and performance of the AR platform. Coupled with the popularity and performance of one of America’s most cherished cartridges. America’s rifle, and one of America’s favorite rounds seems like a good mix to me.

Semi-automatic rifles like this are fantastic for certain roles. Every type of shooting done in this country can be done using the AR type rifle, even more so in a popular chambering like this. The 30 06 is used widely in hunting rifles, which might suggest that the BC-8 is aimed at the hunting public. But if you are looking for a lightweight hunting rifle this may not be what you are after. 

Nearly any ammunition shelf across the country will have 30 06 Springfield of one kind or another. It might be expensive, but it’s always available.  


Caliber30 06 Springfield
Capacity5 rounds
Barrel length20 Inches
Barrel Twist1-10 inches
Gas System Rifle length DI
Handguard15 inch M-Lok 
Trigger3 pound trigger by Velocity
HandednessRight side

Pros & Cons

Take these with a grain of salt. The weight of the rifle can be seen as both a good and bad thing. As does the charging handle placement, just depends on who is shooting.


  • Made in USA
  • 30 06 Springfield
  • Nice trigger from Velocity
  • Comfortable to shoot
  • Threaded muzzle (â…ť-24)
  • Not too light
  • M-Lok Handguard
  • Accuracy Wedge


  • Charging handle on right side (not centralized)
  • Not particularly light
  • Proprietary magazine (well, obviously)
  • Slightly heavy mag-release button

BC-8 First Impressions

This was my first experience with Bear Creek Arsenal products. Much talk about them can be heard all over the internet both good and bad. As I cracked open the box, I was honestly impressed with what I found.

The foam lined box gave not only protection for the contents, but it also conveyed a message of quality. Actual quality could only be determined once I’d run the rifle through my tests. The fit and finish of the rifle were fine, so I lifted it up to get a feel. 

It shoulders not unlike most AR-10 sized rifles, and it feels much the same too. The weight was immediately noticed as I ran the controls and felt its functions. This could be pretty awesome I thought to myself. 

Muzzle brake and handguard details

How We Tested

If you’ve read any of my stuff before, you know I can’t stand public ranges. So I prepped the BC-8 for its range debut, and headed into the Rocky Mountains nearby.

Before heading out, I mounted up my Primary Arms GLx 3-18 riflescope. It’s proven to be a handy optic for this type of shooting. Supporting the rifle up front I installed a Harris bipod because they are easy and light. Then with several boxes of ammunition from Hornady, I worked towards my spot. 

Before I’d even fired a shot, I’d run into a snag. Surely I won’t place this at the feet of the manufacturer though. Boresighting a rifle is best done from the open breach, but due to the BC-8’s bolted-on charging handle I couldn’t just pull out the carrier. Had I thought the process through a little more, I’d have brought the required Allen wrench needed to disassemble it. 

Additionally I found out that the BC-8 features an accuracy wedge. A small polymer piece that is essentially crushed as you hinge the upper and lower receivers together. The purpose is to reduce the play between upper and lower receivers. I can tell you that in this case it worked great, little to no wobble could be felt. However it also made it quite a chore to pull the rear receiver pin to hinge open the rifle. 

So we improvised, and in a relatively short time the rifle was zeroed. For this I used the Hornady Superformance 165 SST ammunition. It shot quite well, and hitting clay pigeon sized targets inside 300 yards seemed quite repeatable. 

The BC-8 with PA GLx riflescope and Harris bipod

Shooting the Bear Creek Arsenal BC-8 

Overall Feel

The BC-8 felt just like most AR 10 rifles, the size and weight was very comparable. For rapid engagements and quick shooting on the fly I wouldn’t say it’s ideal. No more than any AR 10 of a comparable size. 

Narrower handguards are becoming more common, and the handguard on the BC-8 was a great match for the rifle. Allowing easy manipulation of the rifle, and quick attachment of M-Lok accessories

Getting used to the right-side charging handle only took a moment, the rifle was otherwise just like every other AR rifle I’ve used. Recoil was a little different than anticipated, lighter than most 30 06 rifles I’ve shot. Surely this is due to the heavier weight of the BC-8 compared to your average 30 06 rifle.

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There was a very satisfying boom when the rifle goes off, and the action operation feels a little different than AR 10’s. Almost like there was an extra motion taking place as the rifle cycled. The only thing I felt was slightly annoying while shooting the rifle is the occasional pressure required to push the mag release. Probably due to the size of the magazine, I’d imagine there is a pretty hefty spring required to keep it from rattling loose under recoil. This is likely the root cause of the higher than anticipated pressure. 


After six boxes of Hornady 30 06 ammunition, we experienced no malfunctions. Shooting the rifle with the muzzle brake as it came as well as suppressed caused no issues. Operating pressure obviously increased when adding a suppressor. While it didn’t affect the function of the rifle it did cause some aggressive ejection of spent cases. Some of which got a pretty good dent in the case mouth.  

Ammo Used

For the duration of the testing I used two types of Hornady ammunition. Superformance 165 grain SST ammunition, and American Whitetail 150 grain Interlock. Both of them functioned great in the rifle and shot very well downrange. 

The Superformance seemed to shoot a little better as far accuracy is concerned. But both of them were well within the bounds of acceptable accuracy.


Accuracy from the BC-8 averaged around 1.25 MOA with the ammunition tested. Which came as a surprise to me, since I shot it on paper after doing much shooting at further ranges. Shooting at distances like three or four hundred yards it felt like the rifle was shooting better than the 1.25 MOA average. 

I honestly thought the rifle was shooting better than that, but you can’t argue with holes in paper. That said, I felt very comfortable shooting the rifle at distances much further than traditional hunting ranges. 

An average 3-shot group with the Hornady 165 SST Superformance


Side-Charging Receiver

My first AR was a side-charger, so it’s nothing new to me. For the most part I have no problems with it, other than what I mentioned above. I do like being able to fieldstrip the rifle without any major tools.

It also gives the user better control of the bolt-carrier, should you need to push it forward for any reason. I suppose you could say that side-chargers allow more ingress of debris. But outside deadly scenarios that is probably not a huge deal for most gun owners. 

Five-Round Magazine

Curious construction would be one way to describe the magazine. Since there are few detachable box magazines with any universal adoption, it seems BCA’s option to make their own was a good one. The magazine is made from aluminum halves that lock together using a couple locking teeth and are captured together once the floorplate is installed. 

It’s not a lightweight design either, but it does feel very robust. It loads easily and functions without any issues during testing. 

Note magazine, Velocity trigger, and polymer accuracy wedge

Twenty-Inch Barrel

Short barrels are one of my preferences, but larger cases like the 30 06 Springfield need a little more barrel to burn all their powder. So for magnums and other larger cartridges I don’t like to cut them off too short. The 20-inch 1:10 twist barrel on the BC-8 seems like a good compromise, anything shorter I suppose you may as well shoot a 308 Winchester. The rifle-length gas system keeps the rifle cycling smoothly.

Twist rates for modern rifles tend to be faster than previous designs, and the 1:10 twist is also a good choice for this rifle. Allowing shooters to use bullets from 150 grains up to the 215 grain depending on their needs. 

There is no excuse anymore for modern rifles like this to come with anything but a threaded barrel. The advent of suppressors and other muzzle devices demand that manufacturers make factory threads more common. Bear Creek Arsenal is to be applauded for doing so.

Velocity Trigger

Great triggers are not hard to find anymore, and again I have to appreciate BCA for including the Velocity trigger as standard equipment on the BC-8. It has a very clean feel and crisp break that most any shooter can appreciate.  

Score Card

Reliability (9/10)  

Zero malfunctions were experienced during our testing of the BC-8. Shooting the rifle both suppressed and unsuppressed it worked flawlessly.

Ergonomics (8/10)

This may sound a bit like a broken record but it’s true; the BC-8 feels very similar to most AR-10’s. That’s a good thing in my opinion, since most of us love the feel of the AR style rifle. 

Customization (8.5/10)

Since it follows the AR pattern, the BC-8 is easily customized with either accessories or whatever else you’d like to change. The addition of a nice trigger scores extra points for me.

Appearance (8/10)

As far as AR rifles go, the BC-8 fits right in. Nothing too flashy or out of the ordinary, which is probably a good thing because most gun owners like to change their rifles appearance themselves. 

Value (8.5/10)

There are other semi-auto 30 06 Springfield rifles available. More traditional ones like the Browning BAR MKIII or the Benelli R1 are listed for several hundred dollars less. But if you look at AR type rifles they are significantly more, such as the Noreen BN36 or the Ohio Ordnance HCAR.


A Good Scope

This rifle deserves a good scope, like the Primary Arms GLx we used here. I wouldn’t feel bad spending a little bit more on a riflescope for the BC-8 either. Something like a US Optics FDN 17X or a Leupold MK5 2.5-10X30.

A Good Sling 

Since the BC-8 isn’t what I’d call lightweight, I would recommend a good sling. Something simple like the Blackhawk Storm QD would work. Depending on your shooting purposes you may want something different.

A Suppressor

We no longer live in the dark ages, and suppressors are an excellent way to enhance your shooting experience. I used a Yankee Hill Machine Phantom 308, but the new YHM Resonator would also be a good choice. 


Noreen BN36

The BN36 offers a few different options than the BC-8. The gun is a few pounds lighter (7lbs), and also features a shorter barrel. Either of those might appeal to some shooters, but not so much to me. The BN36 is several hundred dollars more , which is another thing to consider. 

Browning BAR MKIII 

If you don’t have your heart set on an AR type 30 06, then the BAR is also a good choice. It comes in a few hundred dollars less than the BC-8, and comes with a much sleeker design a little more convenient for hunting if that’s your thing. 


Bear Creek Arsenal’s BC-8 brings 30 06 Springfield performance to an AR 10 sized rifle. Despite the changes needed to function with the larger 30 06 cartridges, the rifle retains almost all of the attributes that make the AR pattern rifle so popular. And the changes made are acceptable and functional. 

Filling a niche that maybe we didn’t even know was there, the BC-8 gives Fudd’s everywhere a reason to rejoice. As I said at the beginning; why do we need an AR that shoots cartridges of this size? Well I think there are many reasons but above all I think Americans are the kings of doing something because you can. 

A semi-automatic 30 06 may not be “necessary”, but since when do we care? Most deer on this continent could be dropped in their tracks with a .243, yet every season an army of hunters flood the countryside armed with super-magnums. So extending the long-action cartridges mentioned above to an AR type rifle was bound to happen.

Would the BC-8 be at the top of my list for a hunting rifle? Probably not, but I can assure you I would slay everything in range if I chose to hunt with it. There are countless great purposes for the rifle, so if you find yourself wanting one, rest assured you can put it to work. Let us know what you would do with a BC-8 if you had one in the comment section below. 


Smith & Wesson M&P 9 2.0 10mm Pistol


Striker fired polymer framed pistols seem to be all the rage these days. Smith & Wesson is no stranger to the subject, and today we will take a look at one of their offerings. In today’s review we will take a look at the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 2.0 10mm pistol.


WIDTH 1.16 in

LENGTH 7.4 in

HEIGHT 5.7 in

WEIGHT 44.7 oz















Tall sights are great when used with a suppressor or red dot sight


The M&P line of pistols has been around much longer than I had known. With a focus on duty service with the military and police. But these handguns have come a long way since those first manually ejected .38 Special pistols.

The M&P line has evolved with some very venerable models, most of them chambered in the very popular 9mm. Smith & Wesson’s 2.0 version of the M&P 9 is also available in 10mm auto. The 10mm has become another one of those great cartridges with a cult following. You may ask yourself why, I mean isn’t it just a longer .40 S&W?

Sharing bore-size with the .40 is a familiar trait of the 10mm. But it carries a great deal more energy due to its longer case length and greater powder charge. With average velocities two to three hundred feet per second faster than the .40, the 10mm is a powerful cartridge. 

But does this cartridge live up to the legendary reputation?

The M&P 10mm kitted out with a Surefire X300

M&P 9 2.0 Features

Optics Ready slide

Allows easy and robust mounting of a red dot optical sight to co-witness with the tall iron sights.

15 Round Magazines

Shooting bigger cartridges doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice capacity.

M2.0 Flat-faced Trigger

The flat-faced trigger allows comfortable placement and a very clean trigger pull

Picatinny Accessory Rail

You can add your favorite weapon light under the front of the pistol

Low Bore Axis

Keeps the pivot point of the pistol lower allowing for better control

Adjustable grip insert 

Allows you to custom fit the M2.0 to fit your grip

18 Degree Textured Grip

The grip angle and texturing allows for natural aiming and control of the pistol

Other Models of the M&P 9 2.0

The M&P 9 M2.0 is also available with a thumb safety, as well as two Performance Center models that include a compensator and two tone version of the pistol. 

Smith & Wesson M&P 9 2.0 10mm Pistol Review

Shooting the M2.0 was going to be a treat for me. I already loved the feel of this pistol, and getting it on the range would prove to be a good time. With a few boxes of ammunition from Ammo To Go I headed up to my spot to see how big of a difference there was between 9 and 10 millimeters. I’d also brought some accessories to kit out the pistol a few different ways.

First up I shot the pistol just as it came, using the iron sights and some Blazer ammunition. With  15 rounds loaded up, I started shooting. You can definitely feel the extra pep in the step of the 10mm. 

Like every other M&P 9 it felt great in the hands, just a bit more spicy due to the extra millimeter in the ammunition. The different sound of 10mm cases bouncing across the ground sounded like coins being tossed in a parking garage. 

If you like the M&P line, check our review of the M&P Shield Plus

I was very pleased with the improved M2.0 trigger. It has a fantastic wall that you feel as the first stage is taken up. It is very consistent and predictable, followed up with a smooth snap when you press. I typically dislike blade safeties, but this design I really quite liked.

Another control that surprised me was the slide release. There appears to be a spring-detent that makes the sensation of a popping when you press the mag release. It really adds a nice touch to the reload.

Shooting through the fifteen round magazines went all too fast. Even adding a plus-2 magazine base plate for a total of 17 cut the fun off too soon. But to be fair, seventeen rounds of 10mm is a pretty impressive battery. 

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The tall sights of the M&P M2.0 were very easy to see and pick up while presenting. Shooting accurately with this pistol was awesome, easily hitting most things within handgun range. Adding a red dot to the gun brought another level of fun to shooting the M&P. Keeping your eyes focused on the target while raising the pistol until the red dot lined up felt like cheating. 

Reloads took me a little bit of practice to get used to. I typically train with a Glock 17 clone or a Sig P320 of some type. The magazine release on the M&P was different enough that I had to make a more deliberate effort to press it. I’m sure this is simply a question of practice and training. 

The flared magwell also helped me with reloads, making it easy to stab the magazine under pressure. 

Shooting both the Blazer and American Eagle ammunition the M&P hummed along like a tuned engine. No malfunctions of any kind were experienced, and I was left wanting more ammo. 

With an MSRP under $700.00 this pistol sure seems to bring a lot of features and value. With its optics ready slide, quality trigger, and the ability to pump 10mm auto rounds like a slot machine.  You’d be hard pressed to beat this for a service grade 10mm pistol.

Pros & Cons of the M&P 9 2.0


  • Excellent trigger
  • Great slide cuts for support hand purchase
  • Optics ready slide
  • 15 round capacity
  • Excellent texture for grip
  • Reliable function
  • Shoots accurately 
  • Excellent quality for price


  • Could use adaptable mag release button
  • Ammo isn’t cheap for 10mm

The enhanced M2.0 trigger is fantastic

Report Card

Shootability (A)  The M2.0 is an excellent shooter, it definitely feels like it is made for shootin’ & scootin’.

Reliability (A) We experienced zero malfunctions during testing of the M&P, it ran flawlessly.

Ergonomics (B+) The gun feels great, its adaptable grip is helpful. I’d like a bigger mag release button.

Accuracy (A) I had no issue hitting what I was aiming for inside of 20 or so yards. And anytime I missed, I knew it was me before the bullet got there.

Value (B+) The market is full of good options, the M&P is an excellent choice for a 10mm at this price point.

Preferred Ammo

Ammunition used during our testing was from Blazer and American Eagle. Both were 180 grain FMJ loads. Both of them shot very well, and I couldn’t say one shot any better than the other. 

This 10mm usually carries a magazine full of Speer Gold Dot 200 grain Jacketed hollow points. These also shoot great from the pistol, and double as defensive rounds. 

Upgrades and Accessories


An optics ready pistol like this for sure needs a good red dot. I used a cheap one that fit, but I would recommend something much better for this handsome pistol. Something like the always popular Holosun 507 or a Romeo 1 Pro.

Sight picture with and without red dot

More Ammo

Plus two base plates like the ones seen here from Floyd’s Custom Shop are a great way to increase capacity of your M&P. There are many great options from other companies as well. 

A Good Holster

A pistol like this deserves a good holster. I am a big fan of the Safariland ALS line of holsters and would strongly recommend getting one that fits your model M&P.

Nothing beats a good holster

Final Thoughts

Smith & Wesson surely knows what they are doing with the M&P line. One thing after another kept making me like the pistol more and more. 

The M2.0 has a fantastic trigger, shoots smooth and reliably. And it feels fantastic in the hands. The 9mm version of this pistol has an incredible lineup of competition. But when it comes to 10mm, the field narrows considerably.

For the price, this pistol brings a great deal of value and features that will live up to the M&P standard of service. If you are looking for a good 10mm pistol for defense or just for fun, do yourself a favor and take a look at the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 2.0 10mm.


Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus 9mm


Today we have a treat for you readers. We are taking an in depth look and review of the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus 9mm sub compact pistol. The Shield is one of many CCW focused handguns with features and design to benefit today’s concealed carrier.


Length6.1 inches
Height4.6 inches
Width.95 inches
Weight20.9 ounces
Capacity8 rounds
ActionStriker fired
Barrel Length3.1 inches
Frame materialPolymer
SightsFiber Optic
Optics readyno
SafetyThumb safety
Barrel MaterialStainless steel
Number of magazines2


The M&P series of pistol has a long history of service, and with the Shield model Smith & Wesson brought that reputation to a micro-compact pistol. The Shield was designed to maximize features in a very small and portable handgun. 

The Shield incorporates the handsome cuts and rugged features familiar of all pistols in the M&P line. It compresses these great features into a narrow and small framed polymer-framed pistol to give its owners an edge when they need it most. 

M&P pistols have been around for a long time, but the Shield is a much newer development. The first M&P pistol goes back as far as WW2, a revolver chambered in the .38 Special. The lines focus on military and police service seem more like a tradition now than anything. Selling weapons to law enforcement and not the public is scandalous at best, let’s hope firearm manufacturers don’t need to relearn that lesson. 

The Shield has an incredibly narrow design, which makes it a particularly good choice for a carry pistol. The engineers at S&W worked some impressive magic fitting all the M&P goodness into this slim and sexy little pistol. 

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Shield Features

  1. Patented take-down lever for easy disassembly and cleaning.
  2. 18 degree grip angle aids in natural aiming comfort
  3. Striker fired action with sear deactivation system
  4. Chamber indicator is both tactile and visual
  5. Metal finished with Armornite® durable finish
  6. Two magazines included with purchase

Other Models

M&P Shield Plus Crimson Trace

M&P Shield Plus 30 Super Carry

M&P Shield Plus Optics Ready

M&P Shield Plus Review

To test the Shield I grabbed several boxes of ammunition and headed into the mountains to give it a good thrashing. Both my son and I spent several hours shooting, loading, and shooting some more with the little Shield.

The small size of this pistol is impressive, when you hold it in your hand it is surprisingly narrow.

It might almost even be too narrow if you are a person with really large hands. With a full magazine, the pistol still felt quite lightweight. 

With all that in mind I anticipated a pretty good snap when the little Shield went off. But to my surprise, it was much easier to control than I expected. This surely had something to do with the ported barrel. The muzzle blast created a visual V of flame, and kept the pistol from rocking excessively in the hand. 

The trigger is just the right amount of length in my opinion for a CCW pistol. It breaks nicely and predictably. This made shooting the Shield very pleasant, and also allowed me to shoot it quite accurately. 

Hitting targets within 20-30 yards was very doable. The short stature of the Shield did not seem to inhibit my ability to shoot it well, this is a big plus in my opinion.

The narrow grip that I thought might be too thin, was actually very comfortable. The very low profile safety seemed to be almost too low profile, but disengaging the safety was actually just fine. It took a little more deliberate effort to engage the safety, but using my thumb to move it to the fire position was flawless. 

The magazine release also took a little bit more deliberate effort, which is probably a good thing for a CCW. The only thing I disliked about the magazine was the spacer at the bottom of the floorplate. It had a little bit of play that could cause some fumbling when seating the mag. 

The fiber optic sights were fantastic, the red rear sights contrast beautifully with the green front sight. The sights popped even in the lowlight of a cloudy evening. And made for one hit after another. 

Drawing the pistol from a holster was clean and smooth. The edges of the pistol have just the right amount of softening to avoid snagging on clothing. The grip angle kept the pistol on target everytime I presented it on target.

While I prefer more than 10-rounds for my CCW pistol, the Shield really seems to be a valid contender in my estimation. I was actually surprised to see the MSRP of $499 after playing with this pistol for a day. It really did impress me more than I had expected. 

Shop all M&P Models at Sportsmans Warehouse

Pros & Cons


  • Very compact and slender, easily concealed
  • Great trigger and reset
  • Thumb safety for those that want it
  • High visibility sights are easy to pick up
  • Very controllable while shooting
  • Affordably priced


  • Lower capacity than many other options

Report Card

Shootability (A-) The Shield is very comfortable to shoot, and easy to control despite its small stature

Reliability (A) We experienced no malfunctions during testing, it runs like a machine

Ergonomics (B+) The grip is a little narrow for my taste, but it didn’t seem to affect my shooting

Accuracy (B+) For a pistol this small, it shot very well. Keeping patterns under three inches at ten yards

Value (A) For the price of the Shield, you get excellent features and performance

Preferred Ammunition

Federal Champion 115 brass is what we shot most of. It functioned great and did not leave significant carbon fouling on the gun. The short barrel of the Shield definitely resulted in some fireballs while shooting. 

Speer Gold Dot 124 HP is what is normally carried in this pistol. It functions well and shoots accurately from the Shield.

Upgrades and Accessories

A good holster is an absolute must for the Shield. There are so many good Kydex holsters you can surely find one that fits your needs. One like this UM Tactical Qualifier holster keep the Shield tight and close. Make sure you try out a couple options to see what fits you best.

The S&W 13-round magazine can give you a bit of additional magazine capacity over some of the smaller capacity mags. With room for thirteen rounds it adds an additional level of security to your favorite concealed carry pistol.

And if twelve rounds isn’t enough for your daily carry, carrying an extra magazine in this Comp Tac magazine pouch. It attaches to your belt as an outside the waistband accessory, so you can carry an additional magazine for added security.

Palmetto State Armory has excellent pricing on all M&P firearms


Shooting the M&P Shield was a surprisingly good experience, not that I expected it to go poorly. I just liked it much more than I anticipated. The compact size of the Shield makes it an excellent choice for concealing. And with the reliable function and heritage of the M&P line it will stand up to daily carry. 

The bright sights and grip angle make it easy to get on target quickly, the only drawback I could come up with really is that it holds fewer rounds than other options. There are several great models in the M&P Shield Plus line, surely you can find one that fits your needs best. 


If you like this review, check out the rest of our pistols
athlon Heras riflescope

Athlon Heras SPR 6-24X56 rifle scope


I remember when the best features in a rifle scope would cost a guy a handsome salary. A while ago, an entry-level good scope was over a thousand dollars, and if you wanted everything, it could quickly go north of two thousand. Today, I bring another excellent example of a good scope that won’t cause your wife to leave you: The Athlon Heras SPR 6-24X56 rifle scope.

For those younger shooters out there, you are living in the golden age of rifle scopes because nowadays, you can get all the best features stacked deep in a scope for well under a grand.

This review and others are brought to you by check us out!
Athlon Heras 6-24X56 FFP Scope Review on desert tech srs a2 covert

Athlon is one of many scope manufacturers importing inexpensive rifle scopes to the US market. These scopes have all the great features we marksmen look for, like first focal plane reticles, zero-stops, etc.

The Heras brings high magnification and quality optics with all the tactical features for a price that would make twenty-years-ago-me blow a primer.

I am always excited to get my hands on a new scope and see how it measures up to the others I am fortunate to own. After opening the box and playing with it for a few hours, I was already impressed. Come along with me on this ride to see how the Heras stacks up against the competition.

Athlon Heras 6-24X56 FFP Scope unboxing
The Heras and accessories were nicely packaged.

The Athlon Heras SPR seeks to fill a spot in the ever-larger precision rifle scope market. The massive increase in precision rifle shooting has led many companies to launch new optics brands to capture some of the market. Even the big names in optics have released additional optics lines that offer customers something more affordable.

Brands like Athlon and others are bringing down the entry cost to this type of shooting, and the Heras is a perfect place to start. Like many of the other less expensive optics brands, the Athlon is made overseas. For some folks, this is a big deal; for others, not so much.

Athlon Heras 6-24X56 FFP Scope zeroing
Adjusting the parallax


Tube Diameter30mm
Objective Lens Diameter56mm
ReticleAPRS9 MRAD Front Focal Plane
Reticle IlluminationRed
Length14.4 inches
Weight32.3 ounces
Eye Relief3.7 inches
Athlon Heras 6-24X56 FFP Scope product specs from box
A quick glance at all of the specs.



  • Cost-effective
  • High optical clarity
  • Detailed and useful reticle
  • Precision zero-stop 
  • 10 MIL turrets (locking turrets)
  • Included sun shade and flip-caps


  • Made in China


To give the Heras a good test, I decided to mount it up one of my favorite rifles: the Desert Tech SRS A2 Covert. For testing, I installed the .308 Winchester barrel for easy and predictable performance.

To fully take advantage of the scope’s internal elevation, I installed it in a 20 MOA canted scope mount. The cant offset requires you to zero your scope further away from its internal mechanical limit. This allows you additional elevation capability for shooting long-range that you would otherwise not have if you used straight scope rings.

Athlon Heras 6-24X56 FFP Scope mounted on desert tech srs a2 covert full build
The Heras with its sunshade in place

With the scope mounted and torqued into place, the rifle was ready to hit the range. But before heading out, I bore-sighted the combination. My first trip out with the Heras was an evening jaunt up into the beautiful falltime Rocky Mountains. The fading evening light would make an excellent time to see how the scope would fare in such conditions.

After zeroing the scope to the rifle, I loosened the turret screws and set the zero. You rotate the ring until it hits the stop, and then tighten up the screws to set the zero-stop. I like how this zero-stop works, using a hard stop where the protruding ring stud hits an opposing stud on the base. This makes for a robust zero-stop that isn’t mushy and always stops at the same spot.

Athlon Heras 6-24X56 FFP Scope hands on test in mountains
The Heras was a good fit for my Desert Tech SRS A2 Covert .308 Winchester

Now, it was time to see how the Heras performed. As the sun made its way behind the cloudy mountains in the west, I peered through the scope at the colorful ridges and canyons around me.

I spent some time inspecting rocks and trees from as close as two hundred yards and as far as a mile away. Using the parallax adjustment to focus the image, I was pretty pleased with how things looked. I also varied the magnification setting as I moved from one target to another to see how the image quality varied. As well as contrasting the reticle against the background to evaluate its utility.


Athlon Heras 6-24X56 FFP Scope aerial view
Getting ready to take a shot.

Since the Athlon Heras is likely to be used by competitive shooters and long-range hunters alike, I figured stretching it out in these Rocky Mountains would be an excellent way to test its function.

The predictable accuracy of my Desert Tech SRS and the consistency of .308 Winchester would make it easy to tell if the Heras was up to the mark. After zeroing the scope, I shot a few groups to ensure we had a baseline for accuracy.

I then stretched out the shooting to distances beyond one thousand yards to give the scope’s erector a good workout. I shot back and forth between an easy target at 330 yards and another good target at 870 yards to see how I could keep consistency. Using the reticle to hold my windage correction was convenient, as these mountains’ winds are hardly consistent.

Athlon Heras 6-24X56 FFP Scope hands on with duty pistol
On the move and making adjustments accordingly.


Less expensive rifle scopes from overseas often look good but don’t have the internal performance sought after by dedicated marksmen. That is one thing that is an absolute must for me. I’d rather have a scope with a lower optical performance but reliable internal mechanics.

The erector assembly inside the scope has to move reliably and consistently. Cheaper-built scopes can often suffer from inaccurate erector travel or induce cant as they are adjusted up and down in elevation or windage.

I dismounted it from the rifle to see how the Athlon Heras measured up and clamped it down to a firm workbench. With the scope keenly focused on a building outside, I measured the travel of the erector up and down as compared to the reticle values.

closer look at the mount holding the Heras
Testing the Heras SPR and its tracking, you can read more about that here

Measuring ten MRAD with the reticle and dialing ten MRAD on the turret resulted in perfect alignment. I repeated the process over and over to the entire mechanical movement of the erector and left and right movement with the windage turret.

I also adjusted the magnification to both extremes to see if I could perceive any reticle cant. To my gratification, I couldn’t see enough inaccuracy to worry about. For the most part, everything stayed plumb and accurate. There may have been a tiny bit of slop when returning to zero, but not enough to concern me.

I also noted that the 30mm tube provides less movement than the larger 34mm scopes, but this would have only been an issue when dialing significant wind holds at extensive ranges.


The Heras is a handsome scope, and at this price point, you would have taken the entire market twenty years ago. The scope’s finish is certainly on par with its price point, as are the control labels.

Personally, I’m not a massive fan of rounded edges, but obviously, this is a subjective opinion. It might be better due to reduced snagging points.

The lens coatings and the lenses themselves do a great job of gathering enough light to present a clear image to my eye. Even in the lower light of the evening, I found the scope to present a great image.

Like all scopes, it loses some brightness and detail at the very high end of its magnification, but that was no surprise.


The feel of the scope on my rifle was great, and it wasn’t exceptionally lightweight compared to some of its competition. But I certainly didn’t feel like it was an issue.

athlon heras scope view from front controls

The controls on the Heras are smooth and have just the right amount of tension built in. I’m not too fond of controls that are too easy to adjust or too hard. The turrets had enough resistance to prevent accidental turning but were not too hard to adjust from the shooting position. The clicks were audible and easy to feel, if anything, too much. But this isn’t a big deal.



I am a big proponent of ten or more MRAD turrets. Many inexpensive scopes use smaller measurements like five, six, or eight MRAD turrets. With each turret rotation, the total elevation come-up can help keep track of your shooting.

For example, if your scope has five MRAD turrets, and you need to dial 12.8 MRAD, you could lose track of your rotation. Particularly because five MRAD turrets usually have five or six rotations in them, and if you lose track in the heat of competition or a hunt, this could be catastrophic.

Ten MRAD turrets are much easier to keep track of. If you dial the same 12.8 MRAD, you know you’re only on your second rotation. This results in ten MRAD turrets having fewer rotations, often only having two to three total turns.

athlon heras scope adjusting controls
Positive clicks are both felt and heard


The zero-stop feature in the Heras scope creates an adjustable physical stop on the elevation turret. Once your rifle is zeroed, you can set the zero-stop so the turret will not dial below your desired zero distance.

This is very convenient as you can always know that when the turret bottoms out, you are at your zero. There is no guessing what rotation of the scope you are on or any of that nonsense.

The zero-stop was easy to set and pretty self-explanatory if you don’t read the instructions like me.

athlon heras scope zero stop
The zero-stop was easy to figure out


Reticles are another quite subjective topic, depending on the shooter. I am not particular about any one design, as there are so many good ones out there. The Athlon reticle was perfectly serviceable. It had enough of what I liked and only a little of what I didn’t.

I like the even number notations, as it’s easy to get lost without them. The “Christmas tree” style drop table is handy for measuring misses and holding offsets.

The illumination is nice to have, though rarely used. I appreciate Athlon having put off settings between each illumination setting.

athlon heras APRS9 reticle
The APRS9 reticle


The Heras uses a locking windage turret. It is engaged by pushing in on the turret itself. If you need to adjust the windage, you can pull the turret out and then adjust it before locking it again.



I found no issues with the reliability of the Athlon Heras; the mechanical systems inside the scope function flawlessly for me during testing. Despite the cold fall weather and my heavy breathing from dad-hiking, the lenses stayed clear, and the image was always bright.


Again, I couldn’t find anything I disliked about the Athlon Heras’s functional features. The turrets and other controls were easy to reach and manipulate.


The Heras came with some typical accessories and others that weren’t so typical. I appreciated the included sunshades, as I almost always use them. Athlon also included flip-caps; they are cheap Chinesey, but they work.

The Heras would be unstoppable if it had the added benefits of a 34mm tube.


The Heras looks like just what I would expect for the price. I mentioned I don’t care for the rounded edges, but that’s just me. I gave it an eight out of ten, not because there is anything wrong with it, but because my trained eye can spot a Chinese scope and its finish from a thousand yards away.

VALUE (9/10)

There are very few things about this scope I don’t like. The few gripes I have about the scope all but vanish when you look at the price tag.

athlon heras on desert tech srs a2 Rocky Mountain shooting
This combination made a great fit for Rocky Mountain shooting


I’ve heard many folks talk about the Athlon line of rifle scopes over the past few years, and my first experience with this one has been quite positive.

For a very competitive price, you get a rifle scope that performs well both optically and mechanically. The ten MIL turrets and zero-stop are fantastic features for a scope at this price.

And if that wasn’t enough, the 56mm objective certainly gives a bright and clean image. If you are an aspiring competition shooter or looking into perfecting your long-range hunting game, this scope would be a great tool to add to your collection.


Sig Sauer P320 X5 Legion

Statement of Facts

Today I come before you as an unrepentant Sigo-phant. By that I mean that I have been a big fan of the P-Series of pistols for as far back as I can remember. In one form or another I have carried a P pistol for almost twenty-five years now. Including today’s subject, the Sig Sauer P320 X5 Legion.

Sharing this perspective is only to clarify that I have a bit of a bias on today’s review. So keep that in mind as you read for the next few minutes.

Having said that, let’s get started. The P320 came to market nearly a decade ago, a cutting edge design many would say. This because of the P320’s ability to morph into any number of configurations.

At it’s heart, the P320 is a striker fired semi-automatic pistol. But there is more to the P320 inside, its serialized fire control unit (FCU) holds the trigger and sear mechanism. This allows the FCU to be swapped between different grip modules and used with what has become a plethora of different slide, caliber and barrel combinations.

All this modularity has resulted in an exhausting list of P320 options, including recently adopted military designated models.

P320 X5 Legion Specifications

Caliber 9mm
Capacity17 +1 (3 mags included)
SightsDawson precision
Red Dot footprintPRO (DeltaPoint Pro)
Length8.5 in [216 mm]
Width1.6 in [41 mm]
Height5.8 in (147 mm)
Weight43.5 oz (1.2 kg)
Sight Radius6.8 in (173 mm)
Barrel Material Carbon steel
FinishLegion Gray Cerakote

Like all Legion series pistols, the P320 X5 Legion uses most of the popular features available. It is optics ready, though it often will require the use of Springer Precision mounting plates. An accessory picatinny rail under the slide fits all your weapon light options. And things like a flared magwell and skeletonized flat-shoe trigger add to the ensemble.

As the flagship of the P320 line of pistols, Sig has added some sexy slide cuts and balanced the pistol by adding weight to the grip frame. The tungsten infused polymer grip frame feels like its made from metal, which in my opinion adds to the quality feel.

The X5 comes with two recoil springs and a solid steel op rod, to allow shooters to customize the operation of the pistol. All the customization is part of the P320 family.

Pro & Cons


  • Modular design allows customization
  • Great trigger
  • Optics ready
  • Dawson Precision sights
  • 17+1 Capacity (comes with 3mags)
  • Accessory Rail
  • Flared Magwell
  • Ambi slide release
  • It’s a Sig Sauer FFS!


  • Not lightweight
  • Limited holster options

First Impressions

Opening the box I knew exactly what I was getting, but I was excited none the less. The Legion came with all the traditional stuff in the box, including two extra mags which I thought was nice.

I lifted the pistol from the box and was immediately stirred by the feel of it. It reminded me of the P226 that I always loved. Excellent weight and balance let you know this thing was meant to shoot particularly hard.

Drawing the slide seemed easier than expected, probably due to the weight of the slide. Pressing the trigger proved to seal the deal for me, everything about this pistol felt as I had hoped it would.

Time to Accessorize

Wasting no time, I had pre ordered several great accessories for the X5. Because that is the American thing to do. Selecting a good holster for it from Safariland’s holster finder was easy enough, though I was a bit let down by how few options there were. Mainly due to the longer barrel configuration, but I ended up with a Safariland SLS holster that fit perfectly. Most P320 models have an incredible assortment of holster options.

Weapon lights are a must-have, and I ordered the holster to fit a Surefire X300. There are many great light options, but I went with a mainstream choice because it works and has history.

Even breaking out the credit card to order a custom threaded match barrel from Armory Craft wasn’t out of order. I wanted the ability to shoot the X5 suppressed, and the boys at Armory Craft know the P320 as well as anybody.

For a suppressor I usually shoot either my Yankee Hill Machine Nitro N2.0 or the Yankee Hill Machine R9.

Extra magazines are always nice, so I bought a few of those as well because you can never have too many. Topping off the slide with a US Optics DRS 2.0 Enhanced red dot made shooting the gun even more fun.

Field Testing the P320 X5 Legion

Traditionally I do reviews fairly early with new guns, but today I am writing this after having shot and carried this pistol for more than a year. So I can cut to the chase a little bit here. After thousands of rounds, weeks and months of carry, I am quite confident in the function and performance of the X5.

After all this time, it still feels fantastic in my hand. And having shot it countless times with very satisfying results keeps me sleeping very tight at night. And regardless of shooting the pistol suppressed or otherwise, I can’t remember much in the way of malfunctions. I have no doubt there have been some, but I can’t remember them.

Accuracy with the P320 X5 Legion has been fantastic, shooting better than I thought I could shoot. Once adding a red dot it seemed like I could hit anything a pistol would be shot at.

Breaking the trigger feels even better now, the ease of reloads and hitting the magazine just right every time. Its enough to make me feel like one of those hot chicks in the Taran Tactical videos. I’ve shot everything from steel and paper targets to charging badgers, and this X5 is just hot shit, I love it.

Score Card

Reliability (9-10)

As I just mentioned, I can’t even remember any significant malfunctions with the P320 X5 Legion. Though I think I had an occasional failure to lock back. For the most part it runs like a typewriter. Everybody laughs about the history of P320’s going off unexpectedly, but it appears that issue has been put to bed.

Ergonomics (8.5-10)

The standard X5 Legion grip module fits my hand perfectly. So I don’t really have any complaints, though I’d like it if there was an adjustable backstrap. The controls are in all the right spots, and it flows just right as you operate every function.

Customization (9-10)

I’ve already mentioned all the custom options with the P320 family of pistols. The incredible aftermarket support allows you to do near anything with this pistol.

Appearance (9-10)

Again, remember I am biased. But this is one of the best looking mainstream pistols out there in my opinion. Everything about it looks good; cuts in all the right places, the textures, and finish all look fantastic.

Value (8.5-10)

For the $1000 street price, the X5 Legion is not out of reach for serious pistol fanatics. Sure I wouldn’t call it cheap, but there is more value to be found over the lifetime of the pistol.

Final Thoughts on the X5

Like I said from the beginning, I am a registered Sigo-phile. But with experiences like Ive had with the P320 X5 Legion you can’t blame me. The pistol just shoots!

Its handsome and functional while bringing an incredible array of customization and aftermarket part options. If you too love the feel of P-series pistols, the X5 Legion will surely fit your fancy as well. As long as you keep in mind this isn’t a carry pistol, it’s a serious range gun. Or I suppose if you are a security or law enforcement professional it would also fit in nicely. Surely it won’t be long before I add another P320 to the family, stay tuned until then…


If you like this review, check out our other pistol reviews
Stag Arms Stag 10 Marksman AR-10 308 Winchester

Stag Arms Stag 10 Marksman AR-10

The AR-15 is America’s favorite rifle, and since its initial release, it has been altered and redesigned in a million different ways. The Stag Arms Stag 10 Marksman AR-10 is one of these variants.

The development of the AR-10 platform has heralded even more revisions of the rifle. The AR-10 is a .308 chambered version of the rifle, and today we are going to take a look at one of the variants of the popular 308 rifle from Stag Arms. The Stag Arms Stag 10 Marksman, an AR-10 chambered in 308 Winchester.

Stag Arms

Stag Arms has been manufacturing AR-15s and AR-10s for a long time, they were one of the first manufacturers to embrace the left-hand versions of the rifles.

They have since broadened their line of rifles to include almost every size and type of rifle imaginable.

The Stag 10 Marksman rifle that we are looking at today is a large-frame AR chambered in the powerful 308 Winchester.

The rifle comes with either a sixteen-inch or twenty-inch barrel, we will be testing the latter.

The Stag 10 uses traditional SR-25 pattern magazines, it also includes furniture by Magpul. The PRS Gen 3 buttstock makes customization of the Stag10 a little easier. The rifle uses a Stag Arms two-stage trigger as well as a VG6 Gamma muzzle brake threaded to the muzzle.

A full-length handguard and optics rail allows the installation of countless accessories and optic options.


The Stag 10 is a derivative of countless design advancements over the years, and like most Stag Arms models, it is also available in a left-handed model as well. With its 20-inch barrel, the Stag 10 takes full advantage of the powerful 308 cartridge.

It does this while still retaining the features that make the AR-type rifle so desirable, and so many of its parts are interchangeable with the adult tinker toys that the AR-type rifle has become.

Stag Arms began doing business in the state of Connecticut, like many firearms companies that began on the East Coast.

But as we all know, these states have been far less than friendly to the 2A community. Stag Arms has since moved its operation to the much friendlier state of Wyoming, where it continues to thrive.

Stag Arms Stag 10 Marksman AR-10 308 Winchester


The Marksman title suggests the rifle is made for sharpshooting, and the 18-inch barrel takes full advantage of the popular .308 Winchester’s potential. With features like reliable direct impingement, a full-length handguard, nitrided components, and the precision rifle buttstock, the Stag 10 promises a sharp performance. 

I opened the box to see a handsome black rifle with a fantastic finish and look to it. The impressive size of .308 AR-type rifles always catches me off-guard. I checked the chamber and ran the charging handle a few times to get a feel for it. 

The Stag Arms two-stage trigger felt good, as did the whole ensemble when shouldered. The muzzle came fitted with a VG6 Gamma 7.62 muzzle brake, which promised to keep recoil to a minimum. 

The full-length handguard is also M-LOK compatible to make adding your accessories easy. I added a Magpul bipod mount to the front of the handguard, as I wanted to see how this rifle shot on paper. 

Range Prearations with the Stag 10 Marksman

Stag Arms Stag 10 .308 Winchester rifle
The Primary Arms GLx scope made a great companion to the rifle

I also added a good scope, as I had a Primary Arms GLx 3-18X44 scope handy. It sat in a ZRO Delta scope mount, making it very easy to drop onto the Pic rail of the Stag 10. With the scope mounted and a quick installation of a Harris bipod, all I needed was a selection of ammunition to hit the range. 

Read more about the Primary Arms Scope here

I went to my filing cabinet and pulled some Desert Tech 175 Match ammunition, as well as some Fiocchi and Magtech 147 ball ammo. I wanted to see how this rifle did with both precision ammo and your typical ball ammunition.

With targets and other gear in hand, I headed into the mountains to find a quiet spot where I could get serious with the Stag Arms Stag 10 Marksman AR-10 308 Winchester.

On the Range

Stag Arms Stag 10 .308 Winchester rifle
Transitioning from one target to another was about as smooth as it can get with a beefy .308 rifle

First, I wanted to do was bore-sight the rifle to avoid wasting my ammunition. I set up my target at 100 yards, and using the Fiocchi ammo, I quickly got a zero. Then it was time to shoot a few groups. I would load five rounds at a time in the Magpul SR-25 20-round magazine. 

The rifle shot very well with all ammunition I tried, but the match ammo performed better, as you might imagine. Groups typically were around 1 MOA, while the ball ammo spread a little bit. But even shooting fairly quickly with the ball ammo, it was easy to keep groups around 2 MOA. 

Target shot with .308 WIn
This was a typical group from the Stag 10 using 150-grain FMJ loads

With the scope zoomed out to 3X, it was easy to engage various targets at closer ranges. I say easy – meaning as easy as it can get with a 18-inch .308 rifle. I imagine this rifle would be fantastic for shooting pigs at nearly any range. Up close, the rifle was powerful and reasonably fast to get on target, or you could drop down on the bipod and engage targets out to 500 yards or more. 

Stag Arms Stag 10 .308 Winchester rifle
I found the muzzle brake did a great job at keeping recoil down

The muzzle brake was effective at reducing recoil, and the size of the rifle helped. It was very pleasant to shoot, the recoil impulse was quite mild, and I never noticed any significant gas in my face. I shot using 20- and 10-round magazines, and the 10-round allows better ground clearance for the rifle when shooting uphill. 


The adjustable surfaces of the buttstock were a nice touch, allowing me to customize the rifle to my needs. This made the next task even better, as I wanted to stretch the rifle out a little bit and see how it would do as a marksman rifle. 

Stag Arms Stag 10 .308 Winchester rifle
The Marksman is aptly named, as it had no problem landing shots on target at nearly 500 yards

I picked out a small white rock surrounded by soft mountain soil on a distant hillside. My rangefinder measured the distance at 487 yards, which I figured would be an easy job for this rifle. I checked my dope chart for the .308 Match ammo, and I knew it would be close but not perfect. I dialed the 2.7 MRAD into the turret of the GLx and favored into the wind.
The next three shots all landed within a fist’s distance of the little white rock. Surely no larger target would have escaped me at that distance. And it’s nice to have .308 horsepower at those distances. I know I can do the same thing with some of my 5.56 rifles but with nowhere near the power.

Stag Arms Stag 10 .308 Winchester rifle

Stag Arms Stag 10 Marksman AR-10 Features


The direct impingement action of the AR-type rifle has become one of the most common in America. There are some great benefits to it, particularly a tried and proven design with countless subject tests.

The Stag 10 uses a rifle-length gas tube to funnel the pressures generated by the cartridge into the action. There it is used to push the bolt carrier back, unlocking the bolt and compressing the buffer spring. The spring’s energy then pushes the bolt carrier back forward, stripping a fresh round into battery.

The safety and trigger designs are extremely well-tested and quite reliable. The whole system works like a Swiss watch when everything is right, and the Stag 10 had it all in place.


The grip of the Stag 10 is a standard AR pistol grip, specifically the Magpul MOE Grip. has a great angle and is perfectly comfortable from almost any shooting position.

The foregrip area of the handguard is of machined aluminum, the facets of the handguard are ideal for gripping the rifle.


The Magpul Gen3 PRS buttstock is adjustable for length of pull, as well as adjustable comb height.

This makes the rifle easier to customize to the shooter, and the additional features like QD sling-cups and pic rails for mounting accessories like a monopod make it a very nice addition.


The Stag 10 comes with Stag Arm’s standard two-stage trigger. It’s a step above a mil-spec trigger but nothing out of this world. It’s certainly serviceable. That said I wouldn’t mind upgrading it to something better if I were going to spend much time shooting this rifle.

There was a slight scratchy feeling on the second stage, but the pull weight was still quite good, and it certainly didn’t prevent me from shooting the rifle well enough to impress me.


The twenty-inch barrel of the Stag 10 is made from ChroMoly steel and is finished with a nitride coating. It’s threaded at the muzzle with ⅝-24TPI threads which allow you to use a variety of accessories, muzzle brakes, and suppressors.

The barrel uses a 1:10 twist, which is ideal for a variety of ammunition for bullets as heavy as 210 or more grains. The Stag 10 comes standard with a VG6 muzzle brake to help reduce recoil, and from my experience shooting the rifle, it works very well.


The Stag 10 handguard is M-Lok compatible, with M-Lok slots at the three, six, and nine o’clock positions on the handguard. This is very handy for adding accessories like a bipod, additional grips, or whatever else you’d like to add to the rifle.

The full-length Picatinny rail also leaves plenty of room for additional optics options like night vision or thermal clip-ons.

How where does Stag 10 stand on our 10-point scale? Here are the scores:

Accuracy: 7/10

The Stag 10 was consistently under one MOA with match ammo and around two MOA with ball ammo. Solid all around.

Ergonomics: 8/10

As an AR, it feels familiar in the hands, but it’s very large. All that length and weight might not be ideal for everyone.

Fit and Finish: 8/10

The Stag 10 doesn’t skimp on quality components, coatings, and engraving, giving it a professional appearance.

Features: 6/10

The rifle includes essential features but lacks more polished options like a larger ambi charging handle and higher-end trigger.

Reliability: 9/10

The rifle put on a flawless performance throughout testing, handling various ammunition types without a single issue.

Value: 6/10

While the Stag 10 is a fair value, its price point puts in in league with rifles that pack in a lot more polish.

Stag Arms Stag 10 .308 Winchester rifle

Pros & Cons


  • Ran flawlessly during testing
  • Significant firepower
  • Loads of accessory space
  • Includes the Magpul Gen3 PRS buttstock
  • Highly accurate, especially with match-grade ammunition
  • Comfortable despite its size
  • Available in both right and left-handed models


  • Big and long
  • Small charging handle makes it a bit challenging to operate
  • So-so trigger
  • Perhaps a little Overpriced

Score Card

Read my final conclusive thoughts on the Stag Arms Stag 10 Marksman AR-10 Here

Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum


Smith & Wesson is perhaps the biggest name in revolvers for as long as any of us can remember, perhaps only eclipsed by names like Colt. Today’s subject is one of S&W’s classic pistols and one I was excited to hold, the model 57 chambered in .41 Remington Magnum.

The Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum is a six-shot revolving double-action pistol, it uses a steel frame and an 8 &3/8’s inch barrel. The grip is made from traditional walnut. The whole unit is finished in a classical glossy blued finish.

smith & wesson model 28 .357 magnum
my father’s model 28 .357 Magnum

My father has always had a similar pistol he was given by my grandfather;  a model 28 Highway Patrolman.  As a youth I was always enamored with what I thought was a handsome gun. His S&W was a .357 Magnum, but very similar proportions as this one. And for some reason the .41 Mag always seemed like an interesting niche cartridge. So as you can imagine the opportunity to play with this handsome old pistol was something enticing.


Like something from an old 70’s movie, the Model 57 came to me in a classy wooden box lined with a velvet. I opened it up to see the deep blue shine from old world traditions.

Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum
in its handsome box

Picking up the pistol from the box seemed like a little walk down memory lane for me. The large size of the pistol was probably proportional in my hand as my father’s old Smith that I held with much smaller hands years ago.

Curiously, I cracked open the cylinder to see how it looked inside. Clean chambers and a smooth roll of the cylinder followed by a snap of the ejector plunger was all I needed. I was quickly becoming enamored with this pistol, but the crystal clean break of the trigger was what really got me excited. Something told me I was going to like this pistol with all these classic features and quality that’s harder to come by these days.

Shop all Smith & Wesson firearms here

The .41 Remington Magnum

It’s not a .44 magnum, but it’s a whole lot more than a .357 magnum for sure. The 41 has been around since the early 1960’s, a pet project you might call it with a specialist purpose to fulfill a law enforcement needs. The mighty 41 pushes 210 bullets as fast as 1500 fps when loaded to full power, though there are some lighter bullets, and softer loads.

Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum
dumping the cylinder

Little did I know the hard part was going to be getting hands on some of these cartridges, as they sure don’t seem to show up at the local mercantile.

Part of me was beginning to think the .41 was going to be the .40S&W of the wheel-gun world. But luckily I found a box of HSM cowboy 210 grain loads at a store a couple counties over. The 210 grain wadcutters were loaded in Starline .41 Mag brass. I wish I knew what powder they had inside that produced some authentic smoke seemingly from a time long past.

Read about additional handguns in our pistol section


With my ammo and the Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum in my pocket, I headed to the range. I’d brought a sheet of cardboard to see how the pistol shot on a target, which I set up at about ten yards.

With the cylinder loaded full, I  snapped it shut. I’d never shot a .41 Magnum before, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. But as it turns out the pistol felt like a kitten. Perhaps a little unsure of what to expect, my first few shots I was more focused on my grip and function than shooting well.Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum

But after a few more rounds I became quite accustomed to the recoil and feel of the model 57, and got right back to aiming a little tighter. I was very happy with the performance of the pistol, it seemed like it would have been quite the potent pistol if you were in a spot that required one.

Pretending I was one of the lawmen at the famous corral, came pretty easy. And the smooth action and aiming of the model 57 was a great tool in the hands. The long barrel was a little longer to bring on target. But the wide sight radius sure made it easy to point and hit what you wanted to.

The incredibly clean trigger sure made it easy to break right where you wanted it to. The 210 grain bullets grouped around 2 inches at ten yards.  I’m curious if that is the best the pistol will shoot or if it would have liked a different load better.

One would get the feeling that they weren’t particularly hot loads, they were very easy to pop out using the ejector. And that’s how I spent the afternoon, stuffing chubby cartridges into the cylinder and turning them into spent brass.

Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum
smokey cowboy loads

Pros and Cons

I’ll be honest about this, I can’t imagine someone buying a pistol like this without wanting something just like it. So I’m not sure I can really come up with a downside to this pistol. If you twisted my arm real hard, I guess I could say the ammo sourcing is an issue. But if I was going to be a serious .41 Remington Mag guy, I would for sure load my own.

The good news is far more interesting, the excellent trigger and smooth operation are outstanding. Everything about the finish is classic and handsome, the old wood looks beautiful and feels great in the hand. Both the single and double action of the pistol allow you to shoot the gun well. The accuracy is just what I would expect from a pistol like this.

Let’s imagine this pistol would be a perfect companion for a mountain houndsman chasing cougars and black bears. It’s certainly big enough for the job, but it’s also much smaller than most any rifle. You could tuck the pistol into a holster under your shoulder while hiking and chasing the bay of hyper hounds.

Smith & Wesson Model 57-1 .41 Remington Magnum

Shooting a big cat or bear from a tree with the model 57 would be an easy chore. The accuracy would be handy, and those big bullets would make short work of most predators.

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shooting the CZ P-10S

The Affordable CZex Appeal of the CZ P-10S Compact 9mm Pistol


With so many names in the firearms manufacturer world, it’d be hard to swing a dead cat in any gun store without hitting a good one. CZ-USA is another one of the big names in the gun world, and today we will take a look at one of their handguns for which they’re so famous; The CZ P-10S.

The P-10 series of pistols is a polymer frame striker fired line of 9mm handguns. Today we will take a specific look at the P-10S which is almost the smallest of the P-10 family, with a focus on use as a concealed carry weapon.

I am a bit of a CZenophile, and having been a fan of the European firearm manufacturer I was excited to get hands on the P-10S. And as soon as I opened the box I felt that old feeling coming back again. The initial impressions of the pistol are very positive; the trigger feels great, the sights pop and even with its small size it can carry a healthy CCW payload of 12+1 before any alterations. I expect I am going to enjoy shooting this pistol.

Unboxing the P-10S

I opened the polymer case that contained the pistol, and was greeted by a pretty familiar spread. The pistol laid in foam with an extra twelve round magazine, and a few other extras. There were two additional back-straps to change out to fit the shooters hand, and a couple extended magazine floorplates. There were also a few cleaning tools and allen wrenches for adjusting the pistol setup. And of course there was the typical cheap gun-lock forced upon gun manufacturers by our sophomoric legislators.

The P-10S in its factory hard-case

I lifted the pistol from the case, and started right into playing with it. The slide locks open quite easily on an empty magazine, perhaps it needs a little breakin as well. As the slide release is pretty stiff with an empty magazine in the gun, though it’s certainly easier with a loaded magazine.

I found the standard magazine floor-plates to be just a little bit small for my hand size. Certainly useable, but the extended floor-plates also included fit my hand perfectly. I suppose for ultimate concealability the standard length of the magazines might be beneficial.

Snapping the trigger a few times to see how it felt made me like the gun just a little bit more. The trigger has a blade safety, and it breaks quite consistently as far as my finger feels it. The reset feels good too, the whole operation got me eager to get this CZexy little pistol on the range.

I inspected the optics ready slide, a fantastic feature that more and more modern handguns are incorporating. I was for sure going to remove the base-plate to install a red-dot to see how I liked the P-10S with an optic.



After getting hands on a case of 9mm 115 grain ammo from Ammo To Go, I grabbed a few other items and my range bag before Junior and I headed into the hills to shoot the P-10S.

With a few targets setup, we started stuffing magazines full of Federal Champion 115 grain cartridges. I am definitely going to get a good holster to use with this pistol, to see how well I can shoot it from the draw.

Shop all CZ P-10 Models at Palmetto State Armory

Loading mags was a lot more time consuming, and a chore compared to unloading them with the P-10S. We ran through several magazines of ammo so quickly I had to start keeping track.

The little CZ was a smooth shooter, I oftentimes find very small 9mm pistols to be a little more uncomfortable due to the reduce purchase on the smaller grip. The P-10S was not that way, it was quite comfortable and easy to keep on target.

My son also spent a great deal of time shooting the pistol, his hands are a touch smaller than my own. Which made the P-10S a perfect fit for him (and started a conversation about switching ownership of the pistol).

The factory sights were a great fit for my shooting style. I really appreciated the sights lining up almost every time I presented the pistol. It also made me anticipate adding a red dot even more.

Pros & Cons


  • Great trigger
  • 12+1 magazine capacity
  • Optics Ready
  • Chamber Indicator
  • Partially pre-cocked striker
  • Picatinny accessory rail
  • Reversible Magazine release
  • Ambi Slide-release
  • Included extended mag floor-plate
  • Interchangeable grip backstrap
  • CZex Appeal
  • Undercut trigger-guard
  • Trim & smooth edges to avoid snags


  • Grip is a bit small for bigger hands
  • Slide release is a tiny bit stiff

P-10S Reliability

One of the reasons CZ pistols are so popular is because of their long history of service. Many CZ pistol designs are working hard right now all over the world. The P-10S carries on this distinguished service history.

We shot several hundred rounds through the P-10S, and we will surely be shooting many hundreds or thousands more. The only malfunction experienced during my testing was a single case of stove-piping the last round on one occasion. I dont know the cause of this malfunction, but it was the only one we experienced.

P-10S Accuracy

The 3.5 inch barrel of the P-10S is more than accurate enough for CCW purposes. During the course of our shooting, we were easily able to keep shot groups under three-inches at 10 yards. As a CCW pistol I think that is plenty accurate enough, and that is without searching for other ammo choices. Perhaps with better ammunition selection the pistol may shoot even better.

Overall Feel of the P-10S

The overall feel of the CZ P-10S is fantastic. My initial feeling of the pistol was that it could use some improvement. But after shooting it significantly on the range I feel much better about it. The grip texture could maybe be a touch tougher, but that’s easily remedied.

The short grip space was also easily corrected by adding the extended magazine floorplates. The slide cuts made the pistol very easy to operate in most any condition. The great trigger and other functions of the P-10S added to the positive impression left on us by the pistol.

My son did mention that with the extended floorplates he did manage to pinch his finger a few times while shooting. This might be something easily corrected with practice.

Firearms Depot also has a great selection of CZ P-10 pistols

P-10S Features

Optics Ready Slide

The optics ready slide of the P-10S accepts the very popular Holosun 407, 507 and 508 patterns. This also makes it compatible with other red dots like the Trijicon RMR and the Riton X3 Tactix. The added capabilities of the red dot sight allow the shooter to keep their focus on the target instead of the sights.

Shop additional red dots on Scopelist

Ambidextrous Controls

For those with left-handed disabilities, the P-10 family of pistols is an excellent choice. The slide release is ambidextrous, and the magazine release can be reversed easily. This gives lefties a great option for a pistol without having to give up compatibility.

Picatinny Accessory Rail

The picatinny accessory rail allows quick and easy installation of a good weapon light. For a CCW pistol like this it is hard to beat something like the Streamlight TLR8 for a good fit and bright performance.

Report Card

Reliability (8.5-10)

Other than the one stovepipe, the P-10S functioned flawlessly. It seemed to get better with more use as well.

Ergonomics (8.5-10)

The ergonomics of the P-10S were very mainstream comfortable, by that I mean it feels like it will fit most shooters. The controls are easily operated (after a little break-in) and adapted to lefties too. The grip angle makes for great target acquisition and sight picture.

Customization (9-10)

The ambidextrous capabilities of the P-10S make it very convenient for most shooters. The optics ready slide makes it easily adapted for whatever sight option you chose. And with good aftermarket support, there are lots of good accessories and add-ons for the P-10S.

Appearance (8.5-10)

The P-10S has a fantastic CZ look to it. Despite its affordable price it looks like a higher priced pistol. The finishes and fitment of the pistol parts give a very professional appearance.

Value (9-10)

I was very surprised how affordable the P-10S is. For the street price you get a pistol that punches above its weight for sure. It does everything that more expensive pistols from other big names in the market accomplish, arguably better in many cases.


A holster for sure

Something simple like the Comp-Tac IWB holster would be a good way to keep the P-10S close and ready. Though to be totally honest holsters are so subjective you’ll really need to try them for yourself.

Weapon Light

A good weapon light would be an excellent companion for the P-10S, I think I am going to order a Streamlight TLR8 to go along with the P-10S. It has good light rating, and also includes a laser.


Sig Sauer P365

For a little more money than the P-10S, you can also get a Sig Sauer P365. I happen to belong to the Sig cult, so this would be an easy splurge for someone like me. The P365 also uses 12 round magazines and allows an incredible collection of aftermarket accessories.

Glock 43X

The Glock 43 is also an easy choice to make. While still a bit more expensive than the CZ, it does give up some magazine capacity. Though it is also a little bit more compact so you can pick your poison.


I think the CZ P-10S was definitely a solid buy for me, and I would do it again. In fact I may start thinking about getting a full size P-10 just to go along with this one.

The P-10S provides outstanding value, and brings with it a solid history of reliable service. This is a near perfect recipe for most American CCW enthusiasts looking to get a pistol.

I will continue to update this article as we gain more experience with this little CZ, with hopes of helping others find their best affordable CCW option. If you like this review of the CZ P-10S, check out one of our other Pistol Reviews Here.