Some years ago, on a club range in Chester county, Pa., I was quietly shooting some groups while testing a load. A few spots down, the only other people there were shooting a Garand. Obviously their first time. They managed to load it, fire eight, and I heard the lovely 'PING'. This was followed by a good ten minutes of confusion on their part as they tried to load it again... sans en-bloc clip. I walked over, picked up the clip from the ground, and offered it to them. They angrily told me it wasn't theirs and to mind my own business. I still have that clip someplace.
That giddy feeling when you get a text message from UPS saying they just delivered a package to your door....
From Wideners, 500 rounds of 5.56 to run through the El-Cheapo upper as a test, and a 150 round box of 9mm Steel Cased range ammo from Winchester. With luck, this weekend will see both offerings at the range. The self explanatory 500 round function test on the AR upper from PSA, and a look at the Winchester 9mm as well. Given my experience with imported steel cased ammo from our tovarich in Russia, I am most interested in the cleanliness of the USA Forged from Winchester. Such from Tula has functioned okay for me, but left my weapons heavily fouled. Also, the Tula showed me quite a wide variation in velocity. Some of this Winchester 9x19 fodder will be run across the Chrono to see if it's up to expectations.
What we have here..... is a test. The Lower on this rifle is a basic decent quality Rock River with CMMG guts and a generic PSA stock. It's good quality, but nothing special. It's job in this here testing is to make the other half of the rifle work. That's the Upper Receiver Group, which happens to be about the cheapest complete upper that Palmetto State Armory offers. A PTAC unit, with NO bells or whistles. Not even a hint of jingle or peep out of this thing.... not even a forward assist or dust cover. It's got all the other basic M4gery parts, including an MPI tested bolt, Full auto bolt body (extra weight) and standard charging handle. The test begins this weekend, with luck, and will consist of 500 rounds straight without cleaning or..... and here is the nasty part..... lubricant. Moments ago I mounted an old Eotech sight to make shooting this a bit more fun, and cleaned the upper before it's first shot. The chamber and lugs were scrubbed, and the bore as well. Then, they were left as dry as they might be after being cleaned. No lubricant of any kind was put back on.
Before the weekend, 500 rounds of basic Federal 5.56 will be delivered from Wideners Reloading and Shooting supply. It's a good choice for this test, as it's also about as basic as it gets. Decent quality ammo that people shoot the heck out of since it's priced right. The Fat Man might have a bit tucked away himself... never hurts, especially at current prices. What I'm curious about is how well the basic Upper will function. Doing that many rounds on a direct impingement rifle without cleaning AND without lubricating might be a bit mean. Still.... sometimes you have to push it a bit to see how things function in adverse conditions. Besides..... (As herself just said)....a good long test also means lots of Boom Boom fun!
What does one get for $269 when buying the cheapest upper available at Palmetto State Armory? Well..... it looks like slightly more than $269 worth of parts, assembled and ready to go (minus a good clean and lube). That includes: 16" Barrel length Nitride Barrel M4 profile Carbine Length 5.56 Nato Chamber 1 in 7" twist rate F-Marked Front sight post A2 Flash Hider Sling Loop Standard Hand Guards w/ heat shields Forged Slick Side upper receiver **Upper may or may not have T-marks Full-auto profile Bolt Carrier Group Carpenter 158 Bolt Charging Handle
Notice their description says 'Slick side' upper receiver. That means no forward assist, and no dust cover. PSA's description also says these units may have blemishes, although mine does not.
I was curious what one gets for that kind of money, when the URG's I like are usually quite a bit more. Actually, a LOT more. The Spikes mid-length upper I have on my favorite AR came in at a little under $550, and I considered that a darn good deal.
Plunked onto my latest Franken-AR lower, consisting of a Rock River receiver with CMMG guts installed, I plan to give this cheapo upper a basic clean and lube, followed by a 500 round no-clean test. Lets see if cheap and functional can co-exist.
The furniture is basic, and the only extravagance it will see is an optic in a nod towards my aging eyes. This really is a cheap rifle, coming in at about $500. Using an Anderson lower would have knocked another $60 off that, and a cheaper guts package could have saved another $20. Right now, Bud's is selling a DPMS Oracle basic AR for $535, delivered. A S&W Sport (With sights and everything...) is only $650. Building a low-dollar AR-15 doesn't really save much moola, but it's interesting and fun.
Starting this weekend... bangity bangity in the interest of SCIENCE!
Range conditions: Holy Bleeping WIND Batman! I'm talking cold wind.... frigid wind.... an unholy gale from the bowels of the north pole, sent down JUST to screw up the one single day I can make it to the range. A steady but wildly shifting 'breeze' around 20 mph, with frequent treacherous gusts approaching 50 mph blowing from every direction possible except up a man's kilt. Yea, a might bit whifty, one might say. Desiring to sight in the AR with it's new Nikon optic, The Fat Man needed a plan. A Plan..... A Plan..... So, too much wind blows the little poodle popper bullet around like a politician on an issue. All over the place. But... not so much at close range, where the wind has little time to work it's evil magic. Knowing that, I turned to Nikon's on-line ballistic program. There, after entering the chosen optic, the ammunition, the height-above-bore of the scope centerline, and the approximate curvature of the earth at the range, the free software gave me predicted points of impact. Thus, setting my zero range as 200 yards, I could see the 25 YARD suggested POI for that round. I did this for both 55 grain and 62 grain 5.56 rounds.
At the range, with 1256 clothespins holding my target paper to the 25 yard backstop, I set up on the bench using cement blocks to hold my rifle down, lest it blow away. The target had 1" dots on it to serve as aiming points, with duplicate 1" stickers placed exactly 1.75" lower than the aiming point. If the math was true, the rifle set to place it's group on the bottom dot would be dead on at 200 yards, and 1/4" low at 100 yards. Firing the first round, I sandbagged the rifle with the crosshairs on the bullet hole created. Adjusting the scope accordingly, the next round was almost exactly on target. Within a few more rounds, I was making one wide hole on the lower predicted point of impact. Moving to a 100 yard target held in place with wind resistant nuclear atom-o-glue and some magic profanity, I again fired groups using both 55 grain and 62 grain ammunition. The groups, although VASTLY more spread out than the 25 yard target, did center as predicted.
Shooting at 100 yards was limited to only 20 rounds, a couple groups per type of ammunition. By that time, The Fat Man's fingers were numb, and his eyes heavily blurred from the cold wind. Results? I certainly didn't do the shoot-testing I desired, but the rig is roughly sighted in for sure. On the agenda is firing at ranges from 25 yards to 300 yards. The target turret adjustments want testing, as do the quick-disconnect mounts for return-to-zero. Happy with the optic so far? Yes, yes I am. It has the same clarity and and brilliance my other Nikon optics have, and it seems just the ticket for my aging eyes. More range testing will happen, and also some Appleseed style targets for score. Look to this blog for near future reports!
In the end, I decided against lights, batteries, bells, and whistles. I went with the Nikon 3x32 fixed power carbine scope. I've mounted Nikon scopes on the most accurate bolty 30-06 I own, as well as my laser-like 10-22 heavy barrel target rifle. Both optics are crystal clear and a joy to shoot with. That being the case, I decided to stay with Nikon on this rifle as well. The P-223 scope series seems pretty much designed for the AR family of rifles, with this 'Carbine' model being specifically made to serve at short to moderate ranges on top of 16" 5.56 carbines.
It features a reticle with three heavier lines and the upper one lighter. At the center, a fine crosshair, and two horizontal aiming bars below it. The single power optic is designed for the 55 grain .223 round, to be sighted in at 200 yards with the center crosshair. That being done, the two bars below it represent aiming points for 400 and 600 yards. The scope is short, as befitting something designed for a carbine. Only just a bit over 8 inches long. It's not particularly heavy either, which makes sense for it's intended use. The target style adjustment turrets (1/4 MOA per click) are designed to have the scope sighted in, and then lift to reset at zero. This allows one to dial around with abandon, while still being easily returned to zero. These turrets are also the only quibble I have with the scope, so far (Pre-sight in and range testing). The idea of adjustment turrets that don't lock, and can be changed every time I case, carry, or bump the rifle.... AARRGGG. We shall see if I can live with that, or if it becomes an issue. I will say this, they don't turn *too* easily, so perhaps they won't change with every stray breeze and brush.
The rear of the scope has a marked and easily (but stiffly) adjustable focus to bring the crosshairs into crystal clarity for the shooter. For mounts, I chose the Warne extra high quick detachable units, made of real honest to God steel. Yes, they are heavy. Yes, they don't look tacticool. YES.... they are tougher than a pissed off MMA champion. The mounts are high enough to get the scope up to a comfortable altitude on the AR platform. Also, they are high enough to have the rear scope bell easily clear a folded BUIS. Coupled with the 'quick detachable' feature, that means a folding backup sight can be left in place and sighted in, with only a few moments needed to pull the optic and get the sights into play. Why? Because stuff breaks, that's why. Two is one and one is none, and blah blah blah.
The reality is the Old Fat Man has had three scopes break in the field, over his life. Also, several red dot optics have come a cropper on me at inopportune times, including the vaunted Eotech. Battry's go dead, ya know? Contacts corrode. Crosshairs go kerflooie sometimes. Hell, even the best mount made can snap the hell off, given a stupid enough maneuver like falling down a bank. Yup.... been there, done that, have the 'stupid dents' to show for it.
These Warne mounts use SIX steel screws on each mount to attach to the scope. Four in the bottom and two more on top of the scope. Each ring must be fully disassembled to install on the scope. The 'quick detachable' feature is a lever actuated screw mount with a squared stainless steel captive key to locate the unit on the rail (or Weaver base). A darn nice feature of these mounts; Once the scope is installed on the rifle, the levers can be lifted and turned to index in any position the shooter desires. With luck, I'll be on the range tomorrow. After sighting in, I'll be detaching and reattaching the optic multiple times till I am comfortable with how close it comes back to zero. I'm not expecting miracles, but hey.... a man can hope!
Ya know what I would pay real American dollars for? A weapon light / laser that has a built in video camera. One that activates when the light/laser is turned on, and records video to a micro SD card till the unit is turned off. In 60 second increments say, til the unit is deactivated or it runs out of room on the card. I'd pay extra if it offloaded the video automatically via bluetooth to a linked phone app. Just thinking.
The confession part: I haven't been doing much shooting the past year or two, and what there was involved nothing more than grabbing gear and walking out the back door of the house. It wasn't lack of interest, but more a life too up in the air and busy. That's changing now. I've rejoined my local club, and Herself is ready, willing, and able to enjoy that time with me. Interest is now trumping lethargy. The range bag part: I'm looking at the bags I have, and realized NOTHING is ready to go. It's all a jumbled mess, and gear has been scavenged here and there for impromptu back yard plinking sessions. Most didn't get put back, because I'm a stupidhead.
Viewing this stuff laid out on the brown-paper-of-shame, I'm considering my range bag needs. One for pistols and one for rifles? Another for matches and Appleseed? (GOING to be doing more of both). There was some shock at what *wasn't* in any of the bags. No eypro. No earpro. No wipe down cloths. No staple gun. No screw driver set. What was forgotten in the big bag... the reminder of a moments stupidity. The cut off barrel from a rifle fired with a boresighter still installed. Only a short seconds lack of concentration, but it could have been WAY worse than it was. I'll keep that in the bag.
Building an AR15 is fun. The old stoner design is easily worked on, and not much is needed to do the job. Parts swap is little harder than putting together a Mr. Potato Head toy. Even *I* can do this... and that means almost anyone can. Still, the AR design does hide a few $%#@!^& surprises for the neophyte, and has been known to have an old fart like me say some unkind things as well. Chief among those for the Old Fat Man... the blasted spring underneath the buttstock plate. The first time I ever removed an AR buttstock... well.... lets just say this ancient house has a LOT of hardware hidden in the cracks of the wood flooring, and there is a tiny bleeping spring down there keeping it all company.
The spring is there to push on a detent for an action pin. Not a complicated or precise job, it just serves to put pressure on the pin so it won't fall out on it's own. It's housed in an equally tiny hole drilled through the lower receiver, and the buttstock plate holds the spring in place once it's assembled. In other words, every time one takes off the buttstock, there is a miniature little partially invisible component that's under pressure there, just waiting to zing off into parts unknown and bring forth an exceptionally unfriendly verbal barrage from the would-be stock swapper.
Trying to outsmart the design, I decided to deal with it before I even began putting the guts in this Rock River lower. It's a hole, with a spring in it, and it's not rocket surgery. It just needs something to keep it there. Enter: a 4x40x1/8" set screw.... and a little 4x40 NC tap to make it fit. This tap is a perfect fit for the hole. So much so, that I ran the tap into the hole using nothing more than the multi-tool from my belt to grip it. In fact, I did it in my lap, while also chatting on the confuser, and had the plug installed in less than 5 minutes. The tap cut cleanly even while dry, almost scarily easy.
The tap and drill set, along with the vanishingly tiny plugs, came from Amazon. With less than $15 expended, I have the tools and parts to do the trick on this and the next three rifles I build.
I'm hoping the rest of the build goes this sweet!
(Now.... can someone point to where I might buy an A2 or A3 complete upper that doesn't cost more than just buying a whole new rifle?)
My thoughts: Buy it. Read it. It's worth every penny and more. Jim is a life long shooter, and one of the good guys. He's a man who keeps his back covered, and his experience shows through in his books.
(It has taken me a year.... but I finally ordered more of these magnets. Home circumstances have changed, and there is opportunity and reason to be creative in tool storage.)
So... when I was a kid, my buddy (both of us were
shooters) mentioned his dad kept a .357 under his mattress. Being kids,
we had to go look. This involved lifting the corner of the mattress
and just looking... NEVER touching..... Oh My God. That was
unthinkable. More to the point, keeping a weapon close to hand during
the night was something just understood by everyone I knew at that age.
Whether it be a handgun in a nightstand, a shotgun just inside the
closet, or a S&W under the mattress like my buddies dad, pretty
much everyone had a weapon nearby in case something went KaBump in the
night. True to my upbringing, I've been steadfastly
that way myself since the first .22 came into my boyhood life. The
only thing that's changed are the weapons themselves, and how much more
careful I am about where I keep them. The idea I'll show here is not one for people with
immature folks in the house. Be they children, or just those who forgot
to grow up, weapons need to be kept from those without judgement enough
to be responsible and safe. That said, there's ways, and then there's ways..... and here's one of them.
Setting up a new bedroom, and bed, in our home, I was
thinking of exactly what and how I wanted to keep there. The room is
minimalist, and will stay that way. Being so, anything extra would
simply stick out like a sore thumb. There are only a couple logical
places to keep a weapon, and one of them is the tried and true "Under
The Bed". The thing is, with the room design and the bed design,
the firearm could not go between mattress and box spring, as this bed
does not have both. With the polished wooden floors, simply putting
something under the bed isn't going to work either. Whatever I decided to put there.... it needed to be mounted under the bed, and attached to it. That left a number of options, and I settled on what might be the most versatile one. I ordered up a Flat Magnet from Amazon, for dirt cheap. (PLEASE NOTE: If you order from that link, you get ONE magnet, not two as shown!)Able to support way more weight than I needed, it offered a very comfortable margin of strength for this job. With the magnet mounted to a small wooden board, it went
between mattress and metal platform, giving me a 3" round high strength
magnet mounted under the bed from which I could hang any blessed thing I
While it's strong enough to hold a riot gun all by it's
lonesome, stability would require two magnets. At this time, I stayed
with just the one, which will nicely hold almost any pistol I own. The
Ruger with a stainless slide and alloy frame, that one is a bit sketchy,
but just about everything else clamps on beautifully. While there are manufactures out there making magnetic
units designed specifically for mounting out of sight and holding a
handgun, they can get rather pricey.
magnet I used here is less than $10, and careful shopping can beat that
price too. Designed to be mounted by way of a bolt hole drilled in the
center, they can literally be put wherever imagination
suggests. Held on by bolt, screw, or even double sided mounting tape,
the magnet can be attached almost anyplace out of sight that a person
can reach. Under a desk, behind a cabinet, on the inside of a closet
door or inside the closet over the door. Under a bed, behind a head
board, or maybe the back of a sock drawer. Some care should be taken to protect the firearms finish,
but this can be as easy as a 4" square of wax paper between magnet and
firearm. Obviously, if small children are in the home or come to visit, the weapon should be retrieved and locked up. As for me, I think I'm going to order another eight or ten of these, and get creative......
It was marked $299 in the case. Used, on consignment. Minor holster wear... not a safe queen. It has been carried a bit, but not abused. The box is not the original, but I believe it's correct for the model and (roughly) for the build date. Do I NEED another snubby? No.... Could I pass this one up? NO....
'Tis woodchuck season again here in the Commonwealth, and those fat crop munchers are swarming with a vengeance this year. They are literally everywhere, slowly and inexorably mowing their way into newly planted fields and pastures. The Fat Man has been punching out chucks since the tender age of 12, with dad cheering him on. Every woodchuck smacked in the ear with a .22 was one less digging holes for horses to step in, or leaving cleanly mowed pathways through the fodder. This season, I'll be keeping this little rifle in the car, along with ammo and a decent pair of binoculars. A Savage 93r17 of some years age, it's one made before the accutrigger came into play. With it's bull barrel, this 17hmr laser is just plain accurate. One hole groups at 50 yards are common, given a good rest and some trigger control. Half inch groups at 100 yards are it's normal offering, using Hornady 17 grain polymer pointed ammunition. This rifle retailed at $199 a few years ago, and comparable rifles can be had for $250 any day of the week. Add in $50 worth of Weaver steel rings and bases, and an $80 BSA scope, and it's a 150 yard woodchuck killing machine for under $350 out the door.
.17hmr ammunition is available, and not expensively. Typically around $13 per 50 rounds, it's almost a steal given the performance of the round. To put the cartridges performance into perspective, the first 50 round box purchased with the rifle accounted for 38 woodchucks, one shot each, and also the initial sight-in with a new scope. Those shots ranged from 30 feet to 125 yards, and in every case the creature never more than quivered after the hit.
The BSA scope is a new addition this season, replacing the 4x32 Simmons cheapo bought with the rifle. The 3x12 BSA is a cheap one itself, retailing around $80. No, it's not a stellar optic.... but it's perfectly fine for a rimfire trunk gun that is likely to see more than a little indifferent handling.
A nice feature on the BSA 'Sweet 17' optic is the adjustable objective, offering the ability to dial in a decent focus on the target. Many scopes that are preset to focus at 100 yards fail miserably in clarity when shooting at 25 yards. The reverse can be true of dedicated rimfire scopes which don't offer adjustable focus.
Of somewhat less usefullness, but of a certain..... 'optimistic quality', is the bullet drop compensating vertical adjustment turret. It STARTS at 100 yards..... for a cartridge I consider to be effective out to 150 yards at best. Yes, hits can be made at farther ranges..... but it's pushing the envelope to shoot game past 150 with the .17hmr. That's my honest opinion, for what it's worth. In any case.... there it is. The bargain basement chuck buster that will live in my trunk over the next few months. Cheap, accurate, dependable, cheap, fun, and cheap.
This is the rifle/scope combo that allowed me to shoot a 238/250 on the Appleseed course.... This afternoon I enjoyed a simple moment on the back patio, putting a few magazines-full down range onto paper. Townsend Whelen said "Only accurate rifles are interesting". While I may not go that far, I will agree that rifles of this accuracy are fascinating. ****************************************************************************
When the Ruger 10/22 Target model came home with me from The Collectors Gunshop,
the idea was the rifle would be my ticket to Appleseed nirvana. After
all it has a target bull barrel, a great trigger, a super stiff
laminated stock perfect for sling use, and is already set up to mount an
optical sight... something my aging eyes require.
day it came home, an Eotech found it's way onto the Ruger's included
Picatinney rail, and immediately the rifle began demonstrating an
amazing capacity for accuracy. So much so, in fact, that not mounting a
quality optic on the rifle would almost be a sin. Towards that end,
the knowledgeable folks at Collectors guided Carteach towards a new
offering from Nikon... Specifically, the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 3-9 x 40.
The Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 3-9 x 40
is designed for the .22 rimfire and Air Rifle market, and is an
exceptional piece of work. Investigating the scope, I discovered Nikon
makes an 'EFR' model, so named for it's 'Extended Focus Range'. That's a feature The Fat Man can snuggle up to, being able to dial in and focus a crystal clear sight picture anywhere from 15 yards all the way out to 300 yards. In keeping
with it's intended use of relatively close range target shooting, the
scope has click adjustments equaling 1/4" at 50 yards, or 1/2" at 100
Obviously, the scope will also work just fine for other
calibers than .22, and I have read of them being used on varmint rifles
in the .223 category quite succesfully. I have my own
plans on buying another and mounting it on my Savage .17 HMR, to
enhance it's already substantial ground hog eradication powers.
Do I like this scope? Oh... I don't know.... Is it possible to fall in love with an optic? YES! I Like this scope! I want a few more exactly like it for other rifles!
how to mount this spectacular scope on the tack driving Ruger 10/22
Target? Here again, the folks at Collectors had an answer, as they
introduced me to the DNZ 'Reaper'
mounting system. This one piece mount is specifically machined to fit
the rifle, and eliminates the idea of mounting bases on the rifles, and
then rings to the bases. Improper alignment is all but impossible, and
the rings need not be trued to fit before bolting in the scope.
The Fat Man contacted the owner of DNZ mounts down in North Carolina and talked with him about the mounts history. It seems it all began back in the 80's when he wanted a quality mount for a muzzle loading hunting rifle. In the finest American tradition he
machined his own.... and the 'Game Reaper' mount was born. Last year
they shipped 60,000 units...... yes, I said 60,000 units.... and
Carteach had never heard of them till Collectors hit him with a clue bat.
The DNZ Reaper line has about sixty different offerings in it, each designed and built to perfectly fit a specific rifle. They
also have a number of offerings built to fit AR carry handles and
Piccatinny rails. Now that I have seen how well this mount works, I'll
be swapping over a few other rifles to DNZ setups. The pricing on them
makes this reasonable for the quality you get, and the one piece design
is strong and stable. Carteach's Ruger proved no hassle at all in mounting the DNZ mount designed for it. In fact, it took less than five minutes to unpack the mount and have it secured to the rifle using the provided hardware and tool. Installing the scope took another ten minutes, what with all the fussing about eye relief, levelness, rechecking everything, etc... etc. It almost seemed too easy, but not twenty
minutes after unpacking the scope and mount, shots were going down
range as it was all sighted in. Less than five rounds put the bullets
hitting exactly where they were pointed. The Nikon's specially designed
adjustment knob made this even easier, and once the scope was zero'ed,
the dial was simply lifted to unlock and then set to 'zero'. Targeting
adjustments from there are a snap. The idea is... get the rifle dialed
in, and then set the adjustment knob back to '0'. After that, it can be
dialed up and down as needed depending on the targets range, but always
returned to the original zero.
Five rounds to sight in.... and the next five rounds did THIS:
shooting this group (while simply resting the rifle on the porch rail
out back), the scope was then adjusted through it's power range,
shooting three more groups... each at a different setting. The groups
looked like the targets had been run through a copier.... each exactly
the same size, in exactly the same place.
The Ruger 10/22 target model is spectacularly accurate. The Nikon ProStaff Rimfire is startlingly clear and precise. The DNZ mount is rock solid. Put it all together, and the package is.... perfect.
There is something to be said for commonality of equipment. That something is this: "Keep all the widgits the same from one weapon to the next, and maybe you won't forget how to work them when the SHTF." Towards that end, The Old Fat Man has caused his defensive shotgun to grow a flashlight pretty much in exactly the same place as his carbine. Not only is it in the same place, but it works the same and feels the same. Of course, it took different hardware, but in today's age of rail that's not a big deal.
It began with the rail mount, and this one is a LaserLyte unit made for 12 gauge shotguns. It clamps to the magazine tube, and so far I have not managed to budge it after several large handfuls of heavy buckshot through the weapon. The mount provides three rail positions; right, left, and underneath the tube. After that, what more can one say about it? It's simple, reasonably priced, easy to put on, and tough enough to do the job. Next, the flashlight and mount. In this case, both are Fenix made, and procured from Amazon.com. The mount is a well thought out rig that allows for flashlights of different diameters to be fitted. The center bolt tightens the mount to the light, while the outer bolts tighten the mount to the rail.
Mounting the flashlight to the rail mount is nothing more daunting than sliding it in and tightening the bolt! If the flashlights bezel and cap are too big to slide into the mount, simply unscrew one and then slide the flashlight in.... reassembling the light after it's in place. I found it best to attach the mount to the rail first, and then install the light in it. All three bolts are then tightened with the supplied tool. The rig fits solidly.... VERY solidly... and does not move at all under heavy recoil. In use, the flashlight's rear activation button lines up very nicely to the shooters thumb as the fore hand controls the slide. I have no issue controlling the light this way on either shotgun or carbine.
Remote switches are available, and can be screwed on to replace the flashlight's tail cap, with a short cord and a pressure switch mounted to the slide. These work...... but....(and it's a BIG but)..... I have problems with cords and wires hanging off the side of a weapon. Biggest of these is the 100% surety that I will rip it the hell off at the very first opportunity. There is no 'chance' involved here. I KNOW what will happen.
No..... The Fat Man will stay with a simple button to turn his light on. Even then, a back up flashlight will be at hand..... just in case I knock the weapon light clean off it's mount by 'accident'.
So now all three home defense weapons have lights mounted on them. Pistol, Carbine, and shotgun. BRIGHT lights. BLINDINGLY bright lights.... and I practice with them often. Next, I will be mounting one on the S&W 15-22 play/training rifle.... and increasing the commonality factor just that much more.
Some time back, I took a look at the LaserLyte FSL-3 itty bitty rail mounted laser. Now I'm doing the same with the latest/greatest version, the LaserLyte V4 Laser . There are a bunch of rail lasers out there, so it's really all about the features. With both these units, size is the key. Both the older FSL-3 and the new V4 are pretty much the smallest effective rail lasers on the market. In terms of taking up landscape on a weapon.... they just don't use much.
The V4 is slightly larger than the FSL-3, but not enough to make a big difference. In trade, it's edges have been rounded off and it's a very smooooth gadget, offering no nasty sharp bits to dig in while carrying. Like the FSL-3, the V4 has a feature I approve of greatly.... it is programmable for either a solid red laser, or a pulsing beam.
Personally, I find the pulsing beam to be a much quicker pickup to my eye. I just see it faster, and can align it to the target faster. That's a good thing, right?
Using the pulse beam also doubles battery life, a healthy 10 hours even with the tiny itty bitty little watch batteries this thing uses (LaserLyte includes spares with every unit!).
The V4 also maintains the auto-off feature of the FSL-3, giving a flickering warning of impending offness after five minutes of solid use.
I think LaserLyte has also made an upgrade on the adjustment system of the V4, since I found it dead easy to get a perfect sight alignment with it. Much easier in use than the FSL-3, which I found a bit persnickety in how it needed to be adjusted. Both hold adjustment... well..... forever, but the V4 was easier getting there to start with.
The V4 uses two activation buttons on the back of the unit. One on each side, so righties and lefties are both served equally well. For me, either are usable, depending on where my trigger finger is. When I mount the laser on the rail of my M&P 15-22, it's buttons fall under the thumb of my support hand.
What to use the teeny little rail lasers on? Well.... just about anything you want, I suppose. Being as small as they are, they just don't get in the way much. Given the right holster, use on a regular carry pistol would be perfectly fine. The Fat Man keeps one on the spare backup auxiliary house gun (more on that later), and another on the rail of his 15-22 rifle. Mounted on the rifle, it makes low light can busting in the backyard a ball.... and whoa betide the raiding raccoon who gets into MY trash cans!
For those on a budget, the very LaserLyte V4 is a reasonably priced, feature rich, and robust little laser that will work on anything with a bit of rail. Not overly fancy, and nothing to gloat over on the BBQ gun. It's just a simple working mans laser sight. I've loaned my M&P 15-22 to teenage boys for a week at a time, and they couldn't manage to break the laser unit. Now..... that's saying something about durability! I own a couple.... and glad of it. They are handy little buggers.