A couple posts back I discussed going to the Apex Tactical class for trigger installs and fitting barrels. I learned about the installation and custom work to get their gunsmith barrel to fit and the improved accuracy that comes with that custom fit. Randy Lee of Apex, mentioned the unique barrel geometry these barrels have will deliver five-shot groups well under two inches at 25 yards, whether it is with 115gr., 124gr. or 147gr. factory ammunition.
After class, all I wanted to do was put this to the test. This past weekend I finally got to test it out. Pete from AIM and myself both have the setups I did in the class so we met at Impact Shooting Center and got to work.
The first test we did was OEM Barrels at 10 yards for 5 shots and then the Apex for 5 shots at ten yards. We did not have a sandbag so we used a backpack, we are also not patient so I believe these groups could get even better. The shots were pretty much 3 seconds apart whereas if we waited and took our time for each shot it would have been even tighter groups. Shooting off a backpack with a pistol was also new to both of us and took a couple shots to figure out which is why we did 5 shots for each one.
I think if we exercised patience and used a proper bag to shoot off, we would have gotten even better results than you see here. I am very impressed with how much of an impact these barrels have with very minimal fabrication. I highly recommend throwing one in your M&P!
AIM recently purchased a laser to do some in-house engraving and etching. We sent one of our guys to the great state of Texas to do some learning and really understand how to work this new setup. He came back with a lot of cool stuff and the potential to do some really really cool custom items.
We have experimented with using the laser for stippling and even engraving mags with cool designs and logos.
Here are some of the things we have done in-house for us.
It is pretty cool to have a laser we can use to customize some gear. Currently, we are offering a couple designs on some mags on the website in limited quantities. Check them out while they are still around and keep checking here or our social media pages to see what and when we release something new!
A Couple of weeks ago I wrote about some drills to push your training further. One of these drills was Shane Cardwell of Impact Shooting Center’s Shoot 2 Standards.
During a cold and wet Saturday, someone finally passed the standards: Our very own Bryan Flannagan. We have all run this test countless times and failed. Shane himself has failed it multiple times and passed it just as many, your standards should not be able to be passed all the time. World champion shooters and top instructors have tried and failed. Seeing it happen outside of Shane doing it was awesome.
Bryan’s gear for this run was his trusty STI DVC-P with a Trijicon SRO red dot, sitting comfortably in a Tier 1 Concealed Axis Elite holster.
It was really cool to see someone finally get it outside Shane. I look forward to seeing who passes it next!
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to participate in the Apex Tactical M&P Armorer Course taught by by Master Gunsmith Randy Lee of Apex Tactical. This class was really cool, I knew the basics of breaking down the 2.0 to clean but understanding the why was awesome. We went over the design and interaction of parts, inspection of parts for excessive wear, proper maintenance, modification and customization to fit items like the Apex Trigger and Barrel.
For this class I purchased a semi drop in barrel to custom fit on my m&p as well as another barrel and apex trigger kit for a coworker.
I had a good understanding of how to do the trigger install myself but this was cool to see little tips to get it done smoother and faster, plus they gave us free bench blocks to use where as before I used whatever I had laying around, like rolls of duct tape, to prop my gun up enough to hit pins out. Randy was awesome, explained everything super clear and had good tips on getting stubborn pieces to work.
We started by completely stripping the frames and Randy gave a cool insight on the development of the trigger and what they wanted out of it.
Trigger install is pretty straight forward. I was one of the only people setting it up as light of a pull as possible.
After a quick lunch break we got into the custom fitting of the barrel. This was really cool. Getting better accuracy out of these pistols by a little fabrication peaks my interest. I love building things and using my hands so once we got into this part of class I was loving it. Theres a couple locations that need to be filed down, or milled down if you have the tooling, to achieve that perfect fit. A file and a jig with a little bit of patience gets you that perfect fit that gets you that improved accuracy.
At the end of the day, I had installed a new trigger kit on a 2.0 and two custom fit barrels for two 2.0s, great success!
Overall a really cool class, if you get the chance to take a class from them I highly recommended it. Very informative but not overwhelming to get discouraged.
We recently became a distributor of Savior Bags. I personally am very picky when it comes to bags for the range or storing rifles. I don’ like a bunch of unnecessary attachments or things hanging off the bags. Plain and simple works for me. The Gun goes in, is secure and anything extra I may need for that firearm can fit in the bag. That’s all I need. I have a dedicated range bag that everything I need goes in, so any other bags are just to make transport easy. This is where Savior comes in. These bags are awesome, especially when you factor in pricing on the bags. I don’t know if there is a better value in the industry.
Let’s look at one of their rifle bags. “The Urban Warfare Double Rifle Bag” Holds 2 Rifles with the option to remove the center divider to use as an extra placemat if you want. Secure, multiple carrying options and comes in 42″ and 36″ everything you will need and nothing that you don’t.
This next bag is my favorite from Savior: the SEMA Range Backpack. You get a locking handgun compartment, 3 single pistol cases that are also lockable. Full size admin panel and organizer. Multiple pockets for tools or snacks or whatever you need. Its on the smaller compact size but its perfect for range trips where you only plan on shooting a pistol or two.
We carry multiple colors and a couple additional styles of bags like an SBR size bag, a pistol bag and mag holder. We are always getting fresh shipments in and new styles and colorways. Check them out on the website and stay up to date on what we get in.
Over the last year and a half working in the showroom, I noticed a large amount of people carried range ammo for their carry ammo. Now, we did have a little bit of an ammo availability situation so that could be the reason why but still.
When grabbing some defense ammo, I like to look at FPS and I like 1300 range just cause of the ballistic videos I have watched personally but you may carry something different. In my M&P I run Federal HST, in my Stribog I run Hornady Critical Defense, in my .300 blackout I run Grind Hard Ammo .300 blackout subsonic max expansion. That being said, what I run may not work for you. Youtube is a great source for reviews on ammo types.
There are a lot of reasons you do not want to run range ammo. FMJ/Range ammo does not expand upon impacting the target, because the bullet is typically a round nose or ball. This means you are going to get less damage than an expanding bullet and a round will easily pass through a body and possibly cause damage to an innocent person.
With Jacketed Hollow Point or Hollow Point, you are going to get expansion and transfer more energy into the threat to create a larger wound channel, increasing your potential to stop the threat sooner. The chance of over penetration is lowered so innocent bystanders are in less danger.
Target and Range ammo is best for…you guessed it the Target and Range. When your life or your families life is on the line, use defense ammo.
Did you get out and train this past weekend? A lot of the guys at Aim shoot at least one day a week. Sometimes it is 1 or 2 of us, sometimes it’s 12 of us. Random days will be rifle and pistols, some just rifles or pistols, no real pattern just kind of whoever feels like doing something does it.
This weekend a couple of us worked on two really fun and challenging standards. I enjoy these drills because they are doable but really push you to use what you have tried so hard to perfect.
The F.A.S.T Challenge and Shoot 2.
The F.A.S.T is a really fun one to run especially when you read it and think “ok that seems very possible to run clean” And then you do it and really have to be dialed in to even come close. Forcing you to rely on what you have learned and apply it properly. Here is the challenge:
This drill was created by the late Todd Green. the F.A.S.T drill is now done with Ernest Langdon. The target is set at 7 yards and consists of a 3×5 box and an 8-inch circle.
The F.A.S.T. (Fundamentals, Accuracy, & Speed Test): Range: 7 yards Start position: weapon concealed or in retention duty holster with all retention devices active; shooter facing downrange in a relaxed stance with arms down at sides. The drill begins from the holster, pistol loaded with exactly two rounds. • draw • fire two (and only two) rounds at the 3×5 box • perform a slide lock reload • fire four (and only four) rounds at the 8″ circle Scoring: Open top retention (ALS, SERPA) without concealment add 0.50 seconds to the final score. Flap/retention mag pouch subtract 0.50 seconds. Misses to 3×5 box add 2.00 seconds per miss. Misses to 8” circle add 1.00 seconds per miss. Ranking: 10+ seconds: Novice less than 10 seconds: Intermediate less than 7 seconds: Advanced less than 5 seconds: Expert
The only way to get a coin for passing is an expert run under pressure in a Langdon class.
The other drill I personally try to run every range trip is the Shoot 2 Standards from Shane Cardwell from Impact Shooting Center.
This Drill is tough as well. Most of the time you will run it clean and not for time, or run it for time and miss shots. It will be the death of me I swear.
The Shoot 2 Standards): Range: 7 yards Start position: weapon concealed or in OWB holster The drill begins from the holster • draw • fire two (and only two) rounds at the 3×5 box • Repeat for 5 rounds, 5 total draws, and 10 total shots
Scoring: Par time must not exceed 9 seconds total and must be clean (no misses outside the 3×5 card. Line breaks DO count as hits.
.15 second penalty for OWB but NO penalty for level 3 retention
I have seen multi-time world champion shooters fail this, I have seen shooters that are on a different level than normal shooters fail this. I have seen Shane pass it himself numerous times and I have seen him fail it as well. It is tough but like the F.A.S.T drill….it will motivate you to fix your flaws.
If you want to take a run at these here are the targets:
I want to do something cool to showcase the people who work at AIM are not just regular folks who happen to work at a gun shop. I want to show that we have a variety of shooters here from skeet shooting to USPSA competitors. A variety of styles means a variety of firearm setups and uses that hopefully and get you pumped up to do a new build or take a current build in direction you have always wanted.
The first edition of this I want to highlight concealed carry. This area has so many different options and setups and is unique to each individual.
I say variety and then realize we all carry either an M&P or Glock with one person flexing on everyone with a Staccato.
Holsters are a personal choice, most of us run some sort of appendix setup with holsters from Tier 1 or T.Rex arms