All posts by refactor

Brownells

Brownells is a full-service gun company created by Bob Brownell from Montezuma, Iowa, in 1939. Bob Brownell was a gas station and sandwich shop owner until he realized he had a rare talent for gunsmithing. As he began to get more business fixing and altering friends’ guns, Bob Brownell went from a small-time gas station owner to a full-service gun shop.  As the Brownell family began to establish their business, Bob released the first catalog to market his store as the only gunsmith supply store in the world. As he began to distribute these catalogs across the country, his business began to pick up significantly. The demand for well made and proper gunsmithing tools were incredibly high due to the lack of supply across the country. As Bob expanded his company, he included gun parts, guns, gear, and most importantly, Brownell’s started offering a service called “Gun Guru.” This service is unique to Brownells, and we believe it separates them from their competitors by providing gun services to their customers.

Catalog #1 Cover

 

Gun Guru

Gun Guru’s at Brownells are the men and women you can call for any questions or concerns about your guns or gear. Think of Gun Guru as a call center for firearms, except this call center is filled with some of the most experienced experts in the gun industry. This service is available 7 days a week and provides assistance in how to build guns from individual parts, how to decide which gun is best for you, how to fix any problems with your gun or answer any gun-related questions you may have.

As great as a service as this is, it can be confusing to people who don’t know the lingo associated with Brownells and guns, in general.  There are 6 total people who you could talk to if you call into the Gun Guru office, however, 3 are Gun Guru’s and 3 are Gun Techs.  Cameron is the first Gun Guru, who is a former government employee, specializing in arms repair. Cameron is an IPSC-3 (International Practical Shooters COnfederation) competitive shooter with a Master-Class ranking. Cameron can answer any questions you have on modern firearms and loading and reloading. Call Camron if you want advice on how to become a better competitive shooter or just to talk guns.

John is the AR-15 platform Guru who will walk you through any AR question you might have. He knows how to build, configure, and help with minor repairs to your AR-15 model rifle, semi-auto pistols, and vintage WWII guns. John is the guy to talk to if you have a WWII gun and your not sure how to repair it or how it works. John is a longtime WWII gun collector who can answer any question you might have on WWII guns and ammo.

Tessa is the 3rd and final Gun Guru that specializes in skeet shooting along with pistol and rifle target shooting on the range. Tessa is from the 2nd Amendment capital of the country (Texas) and enjoys quality time shooting with her family or hunting with her dad.  If you’re interested in Skeet shooting or hunting, talk to Tessa and she’ll get you all the info you need to be better tomorrow than you were today.

Gun Tech

A Gun Tech is someone who has the certification and knowledge to help customers repair, build, and increase the longevity of a firearm. Gun Techs can help you identify problems with a gun and how to troubleshoot it to get it up and running again. Brownells has hundreds of accessories and gun parts to replace any issue that can’t be fixed with simple troubleshooting.

Caleb is the first Gun Tech with almost a decade of gunsmithing experience and specializes in historical and modern military firearms. Caleb was an Army Combat Engineer that served honorably in multiple war zones across the globe. His experience gained in the military fueled his love of historical weapons and led him to join Brownells after he completed his gunsmithing schooling.  Often times, people make mistakes on the type of gear they bring into the field, whether hunting or in war, but Caleb can help guide you toward the right equipment and accessories to use. He is well versed in all tactical gear and will prevent you from making similar mistakes by helping you work through your purpose and comfort with the gun.

Perry is a Gun Tech with invaluable experience as a law enforcement officer and mixed-martial arts instructor. Perry’s law enforcement knowledge gives him a perspective that very few people could have, which helps customers make the best decisions on their firearms as possible. Perry specializes in building and shooting pistol-caliber AR model guns. He also fabricates and has the skill to customize individual firearms to meet the needs of each customer. Finally, if your interested in making your gun aesthetically unique, Perry does custom paint jobs on your firearm to gives you that one of a kind gun. Anyone interested in building their own AR model rifle or carbine should contact Perry, and he’ll guide you all the way through the process and make sure you’re doing it safely and legally.

The final Gun Tech is Dean, an 18-year Brownells employee that has all the answers you’d ever need in one location about guns. Dean specializes in a process called “bluing,” which is a chemical process that protects, restores, or decorates metal. All guns go through some sort of Bluing to add color, prevent corrosion, oxidation, and give the gun a significantly longer life span. Dean also teaches many classes for gunsmithing in the AR-15 model rifles and the different finishes that can be added to the AR to enhance the gun. Dean is an invaluable employee that will gladly teach you the basics of bluing and gunsmithing your own weapons at home.

Gun Bluing

Gun Bluing is a very unique and hard to find skill that Brownells will teach you at one of their highly sought after classes in Iowa. Gun bluing can be done in either a cold-blue or hot-blue method that depends on the type of metal and purpose of the metal used.

Hot bluing is a 5-step process that is used to clean and remove rust or impurities in the metal to make the desired final product.  The first step in hot bluing is to place the metal in a degreaser to remove the oils from both the outside and inside. The 2nd step is placing the clean metal into a rinsing container to make sure the oil is removed and ready for the 2nd trip to the degreaser. After the metal is put through the degreaser a second time, it’s rinsed again and finally placed in a bath of molten salts. Since the salt bath is above 290 degrees, it breaks down the metal and makes it very soft and easier to manipulate. Once the bath is done, the metal is placed in a secure location to rest for 24 hours, then its ready to be polished and returned to the owner. Gun Bluing is a great skill to learn if you’re interested in preserving and restoring metal objects to their previous glory.

 

IPSC

The International Practical Shooting Confederation is one of the most prestigious shooting competitions in the world.  IPSC is an organization that puts on matches all over the world from Serbia and Russia to Ecuador and Great Britain. This shooting competition focuses on 3 main things, which are speed, power, and accuracy in all of their competitions.

Practical shooting is the focus on these competitions and it’s based around the movement of the shooter and how the shooter interacts with multiple target types. For example, this competition forces shooters to run from spot to spot shooting at moving targets, targets that move when hit, and shooting over/under or around obstacles in your way. These are all movements and drills that you’d find yourself in during a real-life situation, so the IPSC wants to train and test shooters in their ability to shoot accurately while on the move.

To prepare for this level of competition, we suggest you read up on some drills to do by yourself at the range. One of the most essential skills to get down besides safety is your trigger pull. Trigger pull is incredibly vital for every handgun shooter because your trigger pull can mean hitting your target or pulling your shot. After you understand how to manipulate your trigger, you need to worry about shot placement. Shot placement drills will help guide you in the right direction with your accuracy, which is the most critical aspect of shooting. The IPSC is a great way to network and meet like-minded people who want to compete and learn from each other. Once you go to one event, you’ll be hooked on the level of excitement and comradery that is the staple of every competition.

 

 

Best Optics for the IPSC

Optics are only used in some of the competitions, but if you go into one of these races, make sure you have the best possible optic you can comfortably afford. We are going to focus on the optics that you can buy directly from Brownells since this article is highlighting their store. However, if you want to know what we think are some other phenomenal optics and scopes, read this article.

Holosun HE508T

The Holosun is a pistol optic designed to give the shooter a big open window to focus on with a high power red dot sight for quick and easy target identification. The best thing about the Holosun is the Solar Fail-Safe system, which gives a single battery a 10-year life! The battery is engineered with a technology called “shake-awake,” which turns off your optic if it’s not being used, and all you have to do to turn it back on is to move your gun enough for it to register movement.

Holosun Optic

Trijicon SRO Adjustable Optic

The Trijicon SRO optic is a slide-mounted optic that is specifically designed to give the shooter the most accurate sight picture available. The extremely wide lens makes it incredibly easy to identify your target during your draw and has a very bright and clean red dot. The battery in the Trijicon is built to last up to 3 years at medium light but can last even longer if you use a lower setting. This optic comes with 8 different settings for your red dot and is capable of night vision in low light environments.Trijicon optic

 

Guaranteed For Life

Brownells offers an incredible warranty that covers products for a lifetime, and it doesn’t matter what the cause of return is. The only things that have a limited warranty are guns, ammo, liquids, and any other material that has a shelf life. As expensive as the gear and optics are today, this life-time warranty will help put you at ease that no matter what happens, Brownells has your back.

 

Armslist: Firearms Marketplace

 

Armslist is a website that allows people in our country to sell guns on a 3rd party platform over the internet in a safe, secure, and legal way.  Whether you’re a dealer, manufacturer, or individual gun owner, Armslist provides you an alternative to Gunbroker.com.  Armslist offers gear, guns, accessories, blogs, and reviews on hundreds of products that you’d be interested in owning. The point of this website is to give buyers and sellers of guns and gear a platform to conduct business easily and legally. We will go into detail on what separates Armslist from their competitors and let you decided for yourself if its a company you’d want to support.

Armslist Legal Defense Fund

Armslist is considered to be a very controversial company because of the way it does business and the fact that its business is guns. Anytime someone can put a gun online to sell without being an official dealer or manufacturer, the government steps in to monitor the legalities. As America struggles with the mass shooting epidemic in our country, many people want to find who or what’s to blame for it. As a result, honest, hardworking, and law-abiding businesses, such as Armslist and Gun Broker, are being targeted every time someone does something unforgivable with a gun.

The government and citizens from both sides of the political spectrum try and prey on these companies because they see them as easy targets or scapegoats. The Armslist defense fund was created to combat any lawsuit that seeks to shut down Armslist from being the platform for law-abiding citizens to sell their guns legally.  With the help of thousands of Americans, Armslist can fight back and provide the excellent services that they’ve come to be known for. Regardless of where you stand on the 2nd Amendment, Armslist will continue to fight against unfair lawsuits as long as they can afford it. If you’re interested in donating to their defense fund, you’ll receive updates on where your money is going and what case your money helps fight against.

The biggest win for Armslist is Daniel Vs. Armslist, in which Armslist was blamed for a murderer’s actions against an unfortunate family in Wisconsin. The court found that Armslist could not be held accountable for someone’s illegal actions, despite that person buying a gun on the site. They cited the Communications Decency Act, which prevents online companies from being held accountable for the actions of a criminal. The reason this law is so important is it prevents misinformed and grieving families from suing someone that is completely unrelated to the actions of a criminal. Without the defense fund, Armslist would not be able to fight against these court cases brought up to destroy their business and any business like them.

 

Donate Here

 

Gun Safety

Firearms safety is the most important thing to know about guns, and Armslist goes to great lengths to make sure you know what you’re doing with a gun in your hand. We can’t stress enough about the importance of firearm safety and Armslist provides a great video that outlines the most important factors to consider with gun safety. Once you have the basic mechanics and range safety, its time to practice and we have some great drills for the range for you to try. While you’re learning how to handle your gun properly, don’t forget to get some kind of safe or a safe and secure place in your house to keep the gun. If you need help with finding a gun safe, read this article and you’ll get all the info you need to make the best decision for you. Once you have a safe and learn how to properly conduct yourself with your gun, its time for you to think about if you want a concealed carry license. If you’re interested in a concealed carry license, but don’t know where to start, try a  concealed carry class.

 

 

How do I Sell Guns on Armslist?

There are two different ways to sell guns on Armslist and we’ll discuss both of them below, but we want to make sure you understand the things you need first. The first thing to know about selling a gun on Armslist is that you don’t need an account to sell a gun. However, if you’re a gun nut and have a lot of guns to sell or buy, then creating an account will be a great option for you.

Armslist Premium Vendor

The Armslist Premium Account is specifically designed for vendors who sell up to 500 guns at a time and get the most profit out of it.  This is perfect for gun manufacturers who want another platform to sell their guns and not have to worry about the legality of the sales. Armslist takes care of the legality issues as long as they have a copy of your FFL and other relevant information, such as (company name, driver’s license, etc…). The biggest thing that separates Armslist from their competitors, such as Gun Broker, is Armslist doesn’t charge you fees per sale of the gun. You will end up paying $25 per month and you get all profit for each sale at the monthly rate. No other company that we know of offers you this kind of deal. The Premium Vendor account gives customers access to their own personalized webpage that organizes their entire portfolio. As someone who works on creating content for websites, I can’t overexaggerate how important it is for someone else to manage that web page for you.  The Premium account will save you dozens of hours, so you can focus your time on your business instead of working on websites. With over 200,000 visitors to Armslist every day, The Premium Vendor account will give you the exposure that would cost thousands if you paid a contractor to sell your guns and gear.

 

 

Armslist Premium  Vendor
Cost of Membership $25/month
Do You Need an FFL? Yes
Seller fees None
Listing Fees None
Dedicated  Webpage Yes

Amrslist Personal Account

The Armslist Personal account is designed for individual gun enthusiasts that sell a few guns per year and need help with organic traffic to their products. This account is free of charge and does not require you to have an FFL or a business license. Any commercial dealer trying to avoid the fees by creating a personal account will have their account turned down and they will not be able to operate under any false pretenses. The Personal account is great for any American that just wants to sell a gun or gear and not worry about the legality of the sale. You do not get your own personal webpage, but Armslist does place all of your listings in one location for easy access for you to look and observe what’s selling and what you still have.  Normally, there’s a lot of added typing with all the paperwork it takes to sell a gun in our country, but Armslist provides auto-fill on their applications to decrease your paperwork time significantly.

Armslist Personal Account
Cost of Membership None
Do You Need an FFL? No
Seller Fee None
Listing Fee None
Dedicated Webpage No
Commercial Use No

Armslist Vs. Gun Broker

Armslist and Gun Broker are two similar websites that sell guns, gear, gun parts, etc…, but are still very different companies. For starters, Armslist simply allows a platform for any American or business to sell their guns and gear without any extra fees. Any person selling or buying a gun on Armslist is responsible for the purchase, Armslist does not get involved in individual transactions. Once a price is set by the seller of the gun, the price is set and it’s up to the seller if they would be willing to come down on a price or not. Whereas, Gun Broker is an auction site for guns that goes to the highest bidder, which can significantly increase your profits. The best thing about Armslist is they don’t have any hidden fees or extra taxes when someone sells and buys a gun, the profit goes to the seller. Gun Broker does not have a monthly rate or recurring bill, but does charge for each sale. The fees associated with Gun Broker can be very tricky though and it’s important to understand them before you create an account and sell your guns on their site.

Armslist Premium Vendor Gun Broker
What are the fees? $25 per/month Final Price of the item sold: (0-$250) Gun Broker gets 6%

Final Price of the Item Sold: (Over $250) Gun Broker gets 6% of the first $250 and 3.5% of the remaining value.

Who needs FFL? Anyone selling an Automatic gun, Commercial sellers Anyone selling an Automatic gun, Commercial Sellers
Dedicated Webpage Yes No
Application Fees None $1.00 Activation Fee

$2.00 Verification Fee

Commercial Use Yes Anyone can sell here

Conclusion

Armslist is a mediator who allows individuals or companies to sell their guns on their website without having to market their products by themselves. Armslist offers two different account types, which are the Premium Vendor account and the Personal account. Each account is dictated to the needs of the seller, which provides options that many online companies don’t offer. The Legal Defense Fund from Armslist protects the 2nd Amendment rights of all Americans who want to conduct business online. Armslist also provides up-to-date news articles related to guns, gun laws, and opinionated articles to educate the public on issues affecting the 2nd Amendment. We strongly encourage anyone interested in selling or buying guns to give Armslist a chance. If you’re not interested in buying or selling products, you could always go support their Legal Defense Fund to ensure the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans are not taken away.

Palmetto State Armory

Jamin McCallum first served 3 years on Active duty in the U.S. Army before making the transition to the South Carolina National Guard.  While in the National Guard, the now commissioned Lt. McCallum served a tour with an Army Combat Engineer Brigade. Combat Engineers actively search for and disable roadside bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). During his tour, Lt. McCallum’s vehicle was hit by an IED, and he suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury ( TBI).

As Lt. McCallum returned home, he was unable to continue his career as an Accountant due to his TBI and boredom. One of the biggest symptoms of a TBI is the inability to stay focused on a thought or topic for extended periods of time. As unfortunate as this was to Lt. McCallum’s family, he decided to chase his dream of owning a business and doing something he truly loved…Guns! In 2010,  Lt. McCallum created Palmetto State Armory (PSA) because he couldn’t find a company that provided all the magazines and ammo he needed for his numerous firearms.

After starting out as a magazine and ammo company, Palmetto State Armory found almost immediate success in selling magazines, so they expanded their portfolio to include gear and gun parts. This is the reason once you visit Palmetto State Armory, you’ll think of this store as the Walmart of guns.

PSA Guns

We get a lot of questions about how Palmetto State Armory guns can be so cheaply made, but function as well as the name brands (Colt, HK, S&W). Every PSA gun is made at PSA owned facilities and brought together to create each gun from scratch. By making everything in house, Palmetto State Armory saves 11% tax required by federal law for all firearms bought and sold in the U.S. today.

The first acquisition that allowed them to create their own guns was buying DC Machine, which is the largest gun barrel manufacturer in the United States. Special Tools Solutions (STS) was the next company PSA purchased to make metal frames, upper receivers, and lower parts of the gun.  With the acquisitions made for independent production, PSA could now be a gun manufacturer along with a supply store for any gun part, ammo, mag, or attachment you will ever need. Besides the price, the best part about all PSA guns is they have a lifetime guarantee! This means they will replace or fix any part of your gun at any point if you buy it from them directly.

PSA AR-15

The PSA PA-15 16” NITRIDE A2 MID-LENGTH 5.56 NATO MOE AR-15 RIFLE is made from military-grade steel (4150 CMB steel) at DC Machine with a nitride finish. The nitride finish prevents corrosion, adds hardness to the barrel, and adds many years to the life of the gun.  The rifle comes with MOE handguards, and the receivers are made from military-grade aluminum.  With T-markings on top of the rail system, you’ll have the capability to add any attachment you want to your rifle and return attachments to their place if they were moved at all. One thing we recommend when adding accessories is to practice with them. We have a great drill you could practice while making adjustments to your gun to see what works and what doesn’t work.

PSA AR-15

 

Specs:

PSA PA-15 16” NITRIDE A2 MID-LENGTH 5.56 NATO MOE AR-15 RIFLE
Weight 6.5 lbs
Barrel Length 16″
Overall Length 33″
Trigger Pull weight About 5.5 lbs
Caliber 5.56 NATO Round
MSRP $519.99
Magazine Capacity 30+1
Twist Rate 1 in 7″

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Great trigger assembly
  • Durable
  • Relatively accurate
  • Works great with optics and scopes 

Cons:

  • Most larger companies make a better AR (2x price of PSA though)
  • A free-floating barrel used by Colt and HK are more accurate than the PSA AR-15
  • This AR shoots much better with heavier ammo, not great with anything lower than 69 grain

Why Should You Buy This Gun

As Mr. McCallum states, “We want to spread freedom across the whole nation,” which means he wants everyone to have access to guns. As a staunch supporter of your 2nd Amendment rights, Palmetto State wants to give every American the option of owning an AR-15 model weapon, at an affordable price. This weapon is perfect for 1st-time gun owners and as a secondary AR model for more experienced owners. This gun passes all the durability tests (video below) and shoots true with heavier ammo. We recommend that you use this gun for plinking and training new shooters because the gun is incredibly tough and is about 2 MOA at 100 yards.

Accessories

Palmetto State believes in providing weapons at an affordable price to offer as many Americans an opportunity to own a gun as they can.  With hundreds of different accessories to add on their AR platform, we chose the ones that set PSA guns apart from other companies.

M-Lok

M-Lok is the rail system created by Magpul Industries to enhance the capabilities of the AR 15 platform by providing an easy to use, durable, and practical handguard.  Notice the slots in the M-Lok design that are used to offer attachments at a 360-degree range around the rifle.  These slots are at different lengths to accommodate different styles for a more personalized gun. The M-Lok handguards also absorb heat from the sun and the barrel to provide a more comfortable feel for the shooter.


M-Lok rail system for AR

PMAGS

PMAGS are one of the best magazines that you could ever buy for an AR-15 style rifle, due to its incredible dependability and reliability.  PMAG’s are made from a polymer composite that has been proven to be better than the aluminum mag that all AR-15’s used.  For example, in 2017, all U.S. Special Operations went with the PMAG’s to increase their effectiveness on the battlefield. As many of us Veterans will tell you, weapon malfunctions due to magazines are a very common obstacle to overcome. The PMAG fits perfectly every time you place a magazine in and always feeds as smooth as a Barry Sanders highlight. All of the PSA AR-15 models come with a PMAG magazine to ensure you’ll have the most durable magazine on the market today. The best thing about the PMAG is you can get one for less than $15, new, at Palmetto State Armory.

 

MBUS Sights

MBUS stands for “Magpul Back-Up Sights” and is used as the primary iron sight system for all PSA AR-15 style rifles. The MBUS is not only very easy to install on your gun, but it’s one of the only sights that can be adjusted for wind and elevation without any tools needed. The rear sight, as shown in this picture below, is adjusted for close-quarters fighting with a much wider aperture. If you’re shooting at targets at a greater distance, you can flip up the lever attached to the wide aperture, and it becomes smaller, designed explicitly for pinpoint accuracy. This model is the MBUS Pro Gen 2, which provides a much lower profile than the original without sacrificing capability. These sights are made to last with a corrosion-resistant coating designed to last for decades. Typically these sights will cost around $100, but they come with the fully built AR-15 models at Palmetto State.

 

Magpul Gen 2 MBUS Front & Rear Back-Up Sights Set

 Buy Here

PSAK-47

The AK-47 is known as the most popular rifle in the world with almost every nation making some version of the rifle. The PSAK-47 GF3 is the third generation and comes with a Teflon style coating for a sleek and smooth finish, an M-Lok handguard, and the MBUS sights. The Teflon coating inside the bolt carrier, trunnion, and upper assembly prevents a lot of the wear and tear that most AK-47’s see with daily use.  The stock that comes with this gun is made from Magpul and can shoot from a folded position or extended position.

Specs:

 

PSAK-47 GF3 FORGED AK-M4 MOE RIFLE
Weight 6.7 lbs
Barrel Length 16.2″
Overall Length 35.2″
Trigger Pull weight About 6 lbs
Caliber 7.62 NATO Round
MSRP $600.00
Magazine Capacity 30+1
Twist Rate 1 in 9.5″

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Dependable
  • M-Lok allows for multiple attachments
  • Great price

Cons:

  • Not very accurate at anything more than 100 yards (3 MOA)

Features:

  • Hammer forged bolt
  • Hammer forged carrier
  • Hammer forged front Trunnion
  • Gas Nitride 4150 coated barrel
  • 7.62 mm NATO round

Why Should You Buy This Gun

This is one of the most well made AK-47 style rifles you could ever own for the price that PSA offers it for. At $600 you will have attachments that are worth over $100, PSA doesn’t charge the 11% tax for U.S. made guns, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.  This rifle will cost a little more to own due to the 7.62 round, but its incredibly well built, smooth firing process for an AK, and can be personalized without sacrifices the ability of the weapon. For an AK-47, we will argue this is the best version of this rifle you could own in the U.S. today.

Conclusion

Palmetto State Armory is a Veteran owned and operated company that makes us think of an Amazon or Walmart for guns and gear. Anything you could want, from firearms, optics, scopes, backpacks, gun parts, holsters, etc., can be purchased from PSA online with surprising ease. PSA guns are manufactured and distributed from the store itself, which allows them to offer incredibly well-made guns at a much lower price than any other manufacturer we know of.

The warranty that PSA offers on their guns and parts is one of the best things about this company because you’ll always have that peace of mind that no matter what happens to your gun, they’ll fix it for free. Like Mr. McCallum says, “Our mission is to spread as much freedom as possible, not to make as much money as possible.”

The Best Charlie Beckwith Quotes

“Make a simple plan, inform everyone involved with it, don’t change it, and kick it in the ass.”

“I’d rather go down the river with seven studs than with a hundred shitheads”

“We ain’t making no goddamn cornflakes here.”

“My men and I have decided that our boss, the President of the United States, is as tough as woodpecker lips. “

 

Read Now

 

“I was not about to be party to half-assed loading on a bunch of aircraft and going up and murdering a bunch of the finest soldiers in the world.”

“I learned that Murphy is alive and well. He’s in every drawer, under every rock and on top of every hill.”

“You cannot take a few people from one unit, throw them in with some from another, give them someone else’s equipment, and hope to come up with a top-notch fighting unit.”

“I’d give anything to have two hundred VC [Vietcong] under my command. They’re the finest, most dedicated soldiers I’ve ever seen I’d rather not comment on the performance of my Vietnamese forces.” 

New Army Combat Fitness Test

Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT)

The United States Army is scheduled to test out its new physical training tests (PT Test) called the  Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). The current PT test has been deemed outdated and unpractical by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) because it doesn’t reflect the type of fitness needed in combat. With this understanding, TRADOC has issued a new standard that will more accurately reflect the trials and tribulations the Army faces on the battlefield today.

Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT)

The current PT Test, also known as the APFT consists of 3 events, which are the push-up, sit-up, and a two-mile run. These events are designed to test each soldier’s anaerobic and aerobic fitness levels by setting standards for each event. This test has been shown to measure upper and lower body strength but does not measure a soldier’s ability to perform on the battlefield.  Through extensive research, the Army found the 3 basic exercises being used do not measure a soldier’s ability to conduct combat duties. For example, someone can do 100 push-ups in 2 minutes but are unable to carry a ruck, weapon, and radio into a battlefield. Nonetheless, below are the current standards for the U.S. Army pt test. Each active-duty soldier must score at least a 60 in each event to pass the test.

Push-Up Test

The push-up test will evaluate the endurance of your chest, shoulders, and triceps by doing as many push-ups as you can in 2 minutes. Each soldier will be given instructions and a demonstration on how to perform this test before they attempt it. The evaluator will explain to you that your feet must not be braced and you are not allowed to bounce your chest off the ground to assist you.  We have included a video from one of the most revolutionary PT’s in the world,  Dr. Kelly Starrett.  This video should clear up any issues you have with the push-up and give you the information you need to optimize your push-ups without injury.  The standards in the Army today are based on the age and gender of the soldier. For example, a 40-year-old soldier will have to do fewer push-ups than a 20-year-old soldier to achieve the same score. Also, a female soldier at 20 years old will be able to do fewer push-ups than a 20-year-old male and achieve the same score.  Take a look at this updated score sheet to get an idea of what the current standards are and see where you sit.

Rules of Push-up:

  • You must break 90 degrees on the way down for a push-up to count
  • Arms have to be fully extended at the top for the evaluator to see elbow crease
  • Not allowed to  cross your feet
  • No restarts after 10 push-ups
  • Must wear shoes or boots
  • You’re allowed to do push-ups on your fists
  • You’re allowed to be in the front leaning rest position to recover

 

Sit-Up Test

The sit-up event for the APFT is designed to measure the endurance of your abdominals, lower back, and hip-flexor muscles in a two-minute test. Sit-ups are an excellent way to measure a soldier’s core but does not transfer to actual movements a soldier will need for combat. As the Army moves toward functional fitness, sit-ups and push-ups will be replaced with movements designed to replicate battlefield movements. We included a video below for the best tips and tricks to safely perform this exercise and get the most out of it.

Rules of Sit-Ups:

  • Fingers must be interlocked behind your head
  • A soldier will hold your feet to the ground during your exercise, no other brace allowed
  • Your heels must remain in contact with the ground at all times.
  • Back of hands and shoulder blades must touch the ground
  • You must reach the vertical position for a rep to count
  • If you rest on the ground, your test is over

 

2-Mile Run Test

The 2-mile run is designed to measure your aerobic fitness and the endurance of your leg muscles. Each soldier is given a number to wear on their chest during the run for identification. Each runner is instructed to run at their own pace, and you’re allowed to walk if you need to recover. If a soldier is carried,  pushed, or pulled during their run to improve their score, the test will be terminated, and that runner will fail the test.

 

Current Army PT Test
Number of Events 3
Events Push-ups, sit-ups, 2-mile run done in this order
Time to Complete 2 Hours
Minimum Passing Score 180 total (60 each event)
Standard Grouping Based on Age and Gender

 

Functional Fitness

What is the best way to train your body? How can the Army prepare their soldiers for combat?  Is the APFT a good indicator of physical fitness for combat-related events? In the past 20 years, the Army has been trying to figure out the best and most efficient way to train their soldiers for combat. These questions above are the same questions they have to ask themselves as the physical standards of the Army remain stagnant. Functional Fitness is your ability to perform tasks that are used in real-life, such as bending over, jumping, climbing, pulling, and pushing.

The New Army PT Test

The New Army PT Test is based on the movements and activities soldiers will perform in combat scenarios across the globe. Although this new test isn’t supposed to go into effect until October 2020, many Army Brigades are trying to acclimate to the newest test and standards.  One way soldiers could get ready for this new test is to start working high-intensity exercises into your routines, this combat fitness deck is a fun way to do just that. The point of this test is to accurately reflect the movements made in combat while not actually performing those tasks. For example, it’s not realistic to run with weapons or climb a ladder with your gear at every location we have a base. Instead, the Army found a way to replicate combat movements in a testable and repeatable way. The ACFT has shown to be much more efficient in preparing soldiers for the movements they will make in the line of fire. There are 6 events described below to give you a better understanding of what the new test looks like. One thing we always recommend is to practice the test before the Army starts to roll it out. On your own, you can listen to music and get your mind right for the change coming your way.

Max Deadlift

The deadlift is performed using a hex-bar barbell, and each soldier is required to complete 3 reps at their “target weight,” which will be different for each soldier. Pay close attention to your form, as this movement can be very dangerous if done with poor form. I have included another video from Dr. Starrett to give you the tools you need to perform this task at your best ability. Remember, before you start your test, you need to stretch and know your limits, look through these fitness apps to see which one will help you the most.

 

 

Standing Power Throw

The Standing Power Throw is designed to measure your explosive power by throwing a 10 lb medicine ball backward as far as you can.  This event was chosen by the Army to replicate the power needed to help a teammate over an obstacle, such as a wall. This throw will engage both your upper and lower body and measure your explosiveness as a professional soldier.  Each soldier will get a chance to gain momentum by flexing and stretching his/her knees and hips before they throw the 3 official throws. The furthest throw from each soldier will be the final grade for this event.

 

Hand Release Push-Up

The Hand Release Push-Up will replace the standard push-up because the standard push up doesn’t indicate functional fitness. The Hand Release method is a 4-step method of a push-up that requires you to raise yourself up in one movement, lower yourself down to the ground, lift your hands off the ground so a clear distinction can be made, finally moving back up.

 

250 Meter Sprint/Drag/Carry Event

Have you ever wondered if you could carry one of your brothers or sisters off the battlefield if you had to? Well, this test is designed for just that with a 90 lb sled that must be dragged for a total of 50 meters (25 meters to one side). Each soldier will pick up 40 lb Kettlebells and carry them to one end and back without dropping them. Next, each soldier will test their agility by performing a lateral sprint to the end and back. These movements are specifically designed to test a soldier’s ability to move quickly under fire, carry a wounded or incapacitated soldier off of the battlefield, or carry ammo boxes to and from a location, such as a vehicle or defensive fighting position.

 

 

Leg Tuck

The Leg Tuck event will test each soldier’s grip, upper body strength, and core stability by simulating climbing a ladder, rope on a helicopter, or wall.  For most soldiers, this event will be the most difficult because you must remain in control of your body at all times. If you release the bar or land on your feet, the test is over, and your score will be calculated at the last completed rep.

 

2-Mile Run

The 2-mile run is the final event you’ll do for your PT test and is going to be much harder than your regular 2-mile run. With this being the last event, your arms, legs, abs, and back will all be smoked if you did your best and will most likely be more challenging than ever before. With the old test giving each soldier 2 hours to complete, the ACFT must be completed within 50 minutes. There will not be much rest time, and you’re going to feel it much more than any PT test you’ve taken.

Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT)
Number of Events 6
Events Max Deadlift, Standing Power Throw, Hand-Release Push-Ups, Sprint/Drag/Carry, Leg Tuck,  and 2-Mile Run
Time to Complete 50 minutes
Minimum Passing Score Based on job duties
Standard Grouping Based on job and unit ( Infantry will need higher scores than Medical soldiers)

Final Thoughts

Anyone who is physically fit and has served at any point in combat knows the current PT test is a joke and needs to be fixed. What the Army is doing here is listening to the research, following the recommendations of our nation’s elite soldiers, and taking accountability for a soldier’s heath and well-being. Regardless of how you feel about the Army, its always great to see the Army being proactive in finding a solution, even if it took 40 years to do so. Only time will tell if the ACFT is a suitable replacement, but if it’s good enough for Army Rangers,  it’s good enough for the Army.

 

 

STI Guns |Review

STI came into the market roughly 25 years ago to specialize in competition level shooting. The STI 2011 was the first model, which many competitors refer to as “race-guns,” due to their incredibly high rate of fire while maintaining pinpoint accuracy. With thousands of championships won, STI 2011 guns set the standard of accuracy and rate of fire. For the good of every gun owner in the world, STI has expanded its operations to include compact concealed carry and everyday carry pistols for law enforcement and the U.S. military.

STI 2011 Tactical Team

Buying a gun can be one of the most stressful purchases that’s not a car or house. Many gun companies have expert shooters that could shoot a fly out of the air at 25 yards, but how many companies build their guns around real-world applications?

The STI Tactical Team’s resume is built around decades of experience from men that movies are made from. They have former Special Forces, Rangers, Recon Marines, Government contractors, Delta Force Operators, and members of SWAT teams in some of our most dangerous cities. As you can imagine, these incredibly accomplished men have seen more combat across the globe than people will ever know about.  The ability to bring people together with the knowledge and experience that these men have has been instrumental in the success of the company. As these American heroes help create their pistols, they bring a sense of practicality that can’t be matched in any other company we’ve ever seen. Their guns are made with the best materials, engineers, and shooters our nation has to offer. What are you waiting for? Find a dealer and go shoot the gun that is changing the game!

STI 2011

The 2011 pistol is the flagship gun of STI and is based on the 1911 frame, but with better parts and a double-stack magazine. In the past 25 years, thousands of customers have asked if they’d ever engineer a tactical or duty-use handgun. The good news is, they listened to their customers and used the decades of tactical and law enforcement experience to build some of the best guns we’ve ever seen. Every firearm they make is superior to their competition in accuracy, speed, and dependability. Today, we will be reviewing some of these models and explain why they’re some of the best shooting pistol money can buy.

Diamond-Like Carbon

Diamond-like carbon or (DLC) is the newest and most technologically advanced coating anyone could use for their guns. DLC is is a Carbon composite with many of the positive characteristics of Diamond. DLC is used to coat the internal parts of the gun, along with a barrel and frame. They use DLC because it’s proven to reduce friction between the internal mechanisms to prevent wear and tear. Its also shown to be entirely corrosion-resistant, chemically inert, and self-lubricating in dry environments.

Take a look at one of their guns, and you’ll never want to go back to another pistol that’s not coated in DLC. Adding a DLC coating to stainless steel makes their 2011 models significantly harder while giving it a slick feeling, like Tom Cruise sliding across a wood floor with brand new socks (Who doesn’t like Risky Business?). All of their pistols are coated with this extraordinary material to give customers some of the most durable, dependable, long-lasting, and accurate pistols on the market today.

 

STI DVC-C

The DVC-C is the concealed carry version of 2011 and is designed for optimal concealment and comfort while maintaining durability and accuracy. The DVC-C comes with a 3.9″ barrel and only weighs 1.6 lbs, making it lighter and smaller than their other models. One of our concerns is there are not a lot of holsters made for this model, so it can be challenging to find something you really want.

Obviously, concealed carry guns will need a smaller holster, but one that is still tactical. I recommend looking through this article to find what most concealed carry gun owners use and make your choice based on your personal style and need.

Specs:

Caliber 9mm
Width 1.33″
Weight 1.6 lbs
Height 5.12″
Length 7.57″
Barrel Length 3.9″
Trigger Pull Weight 4.5 lbs
Mag Capacity 15+1
MSRP $3,000

 

Pros:                                                                                                              DVC-C

  • Very light
  • Incredible feel in your hands
  • Built for durability and toughness
  • Compact-perfect for concealment
  • Pinpoint accuracy
  • Great trigger

Cons:

  • Almost too expensive for most people
  • Recoil is more than others in the same class
  • Very hard to find holsters for this gun

Features:

  • DLC coating
  • Ambidextrous
  • Accessory rails for easy attachments
  • Dawson Precision Perfect Impact Sights

Why Should You Buy This Gun

STI has gone through a lot of effort to transfer their unique competition-style pistols to operationally capable for use as a duty pistol. Our only real issue with the DVC-C is the significant price point versus their competitors.  However, there aren’t many concealed handgun today that can match up with the capabilities of the DVC-C. This pistol is one of the best money can buy in today’s market. If you’re in Law Enforcement or a SOF soldier and you haven’t tried this gun out, do yourself a favor and shoot this gun ASAP.

3-Gun Competition

A 3- Gun competition is one of the flagship races in most marksmanship competitions in the United States today. The name of the 3-Gun competition is a shooting competition, in which each shooter gets to choose 3 guns to shoot during a shooting style obstacle course.  Each shooter gets to pick from any AR platform rifle, a pistol, and a pump shotgun. 3-Gun is becoming one of the fastest-growing competitions we have today with thousands of professional and amateur shooters participating every year.  As mentioned before, STI started out for this purpose in the beginning, and they take it so seriously that they created a gun specifically designed for the 3-Gun competition. As with any competition, practice is key to success, but many people don’t know how to practice. Understanding shot placement and how your mechanics can make an impact on your placement is paramount to becoming a better shooter.

DVC-3

The DVC-3 pistol has been deliberately and skillfully designed and engineered for the 3-Gun competition. The STI 2011 Tactical Team has field-tested this gun with thousands of rounds each to make sure you’re getting the best possible gun for this prestigious competition.  The accuracy in this handgun makes it an incredible option to bring to this competition. The 5.4″ barrel provides a longer sight picture, giving shooters pinpoint accuracy at 25 yards. With enough practice, this pistol can easily shoot 50-75 yards with the same accuracy. If you’re interested in 3-Gun competition and you’re interested in winning these competitions, then why not buy the gun that sets the standard for accuracy and speed?

Specs:                                                                                                                                                                          DVC-3

Caliber 9mm
Width 1.33″
Weight 2.2 lbs
Height 5.55″
Length 9.06″
Barrel Length 5.4″
Trigger Pull Weight 2.5 lbs
Mag Capacity 20+1
MSRP $3,000

 

Pros:

  • Aggressive grip prevents slippage from sweat or rain
  • Pinpoint accuracy
  • 20-round double-stack mag
  • Trigger pull is incredibly light
  • DLC coating increases life by decades
  • Specifically designed for competition shooting
  • Looks incredible with the gold color barrel

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Would prefer other models for anything except competitions
  • Shoots more expensive ammo, adding to cost of ownership

Why Should You Buy This Gun

Any competition shooter will benefit significantly from buying a DVC-3 as their primary competition pistol. You should buy this gun if you’ve competed before, but want to do better or if you want peace of mind about the reliability of your pistol. This gun is costly, but the technology and effort put into this it will give you an edge over many other pistols. To avoid any issues with ammo, this article will help you out.

Staccato-P

The Staccato-P model of 2011 is designed to give shooters a gun that can be used successfully in competitions and equally great as a carry pistol.  The Polymer grip of the Staccato absorbs the force of the recoil, so you don’t feel it in your hands. This allows you to focus on shooting without being interrupted by muzzle brake and recoil.  Whether you’re in a competition and being timed or a police officer fighting for your life, this pistol will give you the edge you could depend your life on.

Specs:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Caliber 9mm & .45 ACP
Width 1.33″
Weight 2.1 lbs
Height 5.6″
Length 7.93″
Barrel Length 4.15″
Trigger Pull Weight 4.5 lbs
Mag Capacity 20+1
MSRP $2,000

Pros:

  • DLC finish
  • 20-round mag offers plenty of opportunities
  • Comes in both 9mm &.45 ACP
  • Dawson Precision Perfect Impact Sights
  • Cheaper than most models
  • Incredibly accurate
  • As durable and reliable as a pistol could be

Cons:

  • Changing sights can be difficult if you don’t have the right tools

Why You Should Buy This Gun

This gun is perfect for competition shooters, law enforcement, self-defense, or use in our nation’s military. Home-owners who don’t already have a home-defense pistol could go to sleep every night knowing the .45 ACP model has the stopping power to demolish the biggest of intruders with impeccable accuracy. The aggressive polymer grip will take away most of the recoil and give you the confidence you need to keep your family safe.

Accessories

Most of the accessories added to the STI are to eliminate time for target identification and increase the sight picture in low light environments. The accessories that are going to be most relevant to discuss are the different sights, optics, and lights you could put on any STI pistol.

Dawson Precision Perfect Impact Sights

Dawson Precision Perfect Impact Sights are the best sights for any type of pistol imaginable. The first thing to know about Dawson Precision is their “No BS” promise that you’ll be receiving the highest quality part you could ever buy.  This promise comes with a guarantee that they’ll help you zero your pistol if you buy a sight from them.  Any company willing to replace a sight if it’s bad and guarantee a perfect zero for your gun is a company worth buying from.  Another great thing about Dawson Precision is the extraordinary amount of sight pictures for people with less than perfect vision. All of their guns come with Dawson Precision Perfect Impact Sights because they refuse to settle for anything but the best.

Buy Here

SUREFIRE X300 ULTRA WEAPON LIGHT

The SureFire X300 Ultra is one of the best lights you could put on any gun, not just on STI pistols. This specific light puts out 600 lumens of white light that, using a Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens for a superior tight beam, will overwhelm your adversary.  This light is arguably indestructible, aside from an actual bomb hitting it, and will give you almost 2 hours of consistent light per battery. The standard accessory rails will accommodate any SureFire light and will make the difference when you need an edge.

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Conclusion

STI  2011 guns are notoriously expensive, but there is no other company that specializes in manufacturing guns with the shooter in mind.  In their opinion, STI 2011 guns are like Tesla in ingenuity, craftsmanship, and performance.  Just like Tesla, they’re incredibly expensive, but they are also leaps and bounds ahead of their competition. STI prides themselves on making pistols that shooters not only want to shoot but don’t know they need until they shoot one. STI has brought together some of the most accomplished men in our country to bring the world the best gun you’ll ever need.

The promise that STI makes to its customers is to always provide the best possible pistol for your needs, whether those be competition shooting with the DVC-3 or the best concealed carry pistol, the DVC-C. Regardless, STI has you covered. So, get to your local dealer and prepare to have your mind blown!

Best Gun Safes

You can get a quality gun safe for around $1,500. It's when you start customizing or requiring a UL rating that you'll see a spike in price.

What You Need To Know

RE Factor Tactical Buyer's Guide
  • U.L. Class safes are more expensive
  • Fire certified and fireproof does not mean truly fireproof
  • Be careful of safes with a U.L. marking pertaining only to the lock of the safe if you're looking for fireproof

Gun Safes

American Security
★★★★★ Learn More
Steelwater
★★★★★ Learn More
Vaultek Essential
★★★ Learn More

You start out with one gun, then two, three, four, and before you know it, you have a small armory. Whether your collection consists of hunting rifles, shotguns, handguns or you’re just collecting antique firearms, you’ll probably come to a point where purchasing a gun safe is on your to-do list. Luckily, there are plenty of options out there based on looks, locks, size, capacity, etc. So, depending on what you’re looking for will determine what works best for you. And to help get you started in the right direction, here are some of the best gun safes. But first, a little history.

History of the Gun Safe

Before we get into all the cool gun safe options—believe us, there are some awesome ones out there, like the kind you can hide in your wall, the steps, under your coffee table—we thought it might be interesting to give you a glance into where the gun safe got its start. Of course, this could be a long history lesson, so we’ll keep it to steel, gun safe type information, unless of course, you want to start with the Egyptians…but we don’t.

Instead, we’ll start with the pirates—you know the ones hunting for buried treasure. Seriously though, sailor merchants should be given some credit as to the start of the idea of safes. No, we aren’t talking gun safes exactly. But, they did have chests with banded steel requiring a key to unlock it.

In the 1820s a man by the name of Jesse Delano took the sailors’ idea one step further with fireproofing a wooden foundation, like that of the ‘treasure chest.’ C. J. Gayler went even further in 1833 and patented a ‘double chest’ version of a fireproof safe.

However, it wasn’t until 1850 when fireproofing would finally reach its most effective method yet, the method we use today. In fact, hydrated plaster—what’s commonly used in safes—was put to the test in a competition. During the competition, a man by the name of Silas C. Herring designed a safe and then laid it in a fire for 40 hours. In the end, all the contents were said to be undamaged. However, it wasn’t until 1917 when the first standardized test for fireproof safes would come out.

Of course, fireproof safes aren’t the only thing you’re looking for when it comes to locking up your goodies. They also have to be theft-proof. Charles Chubb can be credited for the first burglar-proof safe, which he patented in 1835, not long after Gayler’s ‘double chest’ safe.

How Gun Safes are Made

Delano’s safe was made of wood, clay, lime, and steel. After 1830, safes were made from stone, wood, cement, plaster, mica, alum, chalk, clay, and even asbestos or dead-air space. Herring’s safe was made of steel and plaster.

Today’s safes are typically made with double-walled steel and filled with either plaster or cement (if they are fireproof). Basically, they aren’t light, and unless you can break into one, you aren’t going to be picking it up and loading it into the back of a pick-up truck for a quick get-away. So, fireproof aside, the locks and weight (depending on size) alone guard against theft of your precious toys.

However, many gun safes aren’t made to Herring’s fireproof standards. Instead of using heavy steel on the outside and light steel on the inside, filled with concrete, gun safes today are filled with drywall and surrounded by a light gauge steel and carpeting. Last we checked, carpet isn’t fireproof, and neither is drywall—if the fire is hot enough, which in most cases you won’t see, but still, that means your safe is fire resistant, not fireproof.

In fact, unless your safe has an UL-Class 72 350-X marking, it is not fireproof. “Fire tested” and “fire certified” are not the same thing. They may hold up to a certain level of heat, but they won’t last and aren’t guaranteed to survive the life of a fire. Some safes will list a UL rating, but not all UL ratings mean the entire safe is fireproof, it might just be referring to the lock, so read the fine print.

Our Gun Safe Rating Standards

One of the biggest complaints out there is that many gun safes either don’t accommodate the new shapes and sizes of guns or they don’t account for accessories. Some of our recommendations do consider these, with that said, here’s how we rate gun safes

Accommodations

Not every weapon is the same, and not every gun owner buys the same sized rifle, shotgun, or pistol. Therefore, most of us want a safe that not only protects our toys from thieves but also stores them properly by accommodating a vast selection of firearms.

Fireproof/Theft-Proof

There’s a difference between fireproof and theft-proof safes. All theft-proof safes aren’t fireproof, and all fireproof safes aren’t anti-theft. With that being said, we like our safes to include both protection qualities; therefore, several of our recommendations are based on these two things.

Cost/Quality

Cost isn’t always everything, meaning sometimes you’re only paying for a name and not quality. Of course, depending on how much room you need and any specifics, you will pay more. However, that doesn’t mean you need to pay a year’s worth of mortgage payments for a quality gun safe. Unfortunately, heavier and more expensive does not always mean more protection.

Top-Shelf Gun Safes

U.L. Class TL-30 gun safes are some of the most expensive safes on the market because they can withstand much more heat at an extended period of time than the less costly options.  With that being said, the below safes are not the cheapest on our list, but they are intended to hold-up to a house fire. You can find more cost-effective versions elsewhere, but there’s a very good chance the safe and everything in it will burn before the fire department can put out the fire.

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American Security, shown above, is actually on the cheaper side as far as safes of this size and class go.  You could spend well over $15,000 on a U.L. Class TL-30 safe. But, the safe above will cost half that, $7,500.

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The Browning U.L. Class TL-30 safe isn’t the most expensive option on the market, but that doesn’t mean it won’t cost you. We like this particular safe because you can build it to your standards. Basic customization starts out at $9,500.

Best Large-Scale Gun Safes

Who doesn’t have the dream of owning their own armory? Of course, if this is you, you’ve already spent some money, and you’ll have to pay more if you want to protect them. A small one or two rifle safe just won’t work, so you’ll need a larger safe.

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The particular safe shown above is great if you want a little control over your storage space. You have the option of removing the shelving unit to take full advantage of the 45 rifles slots. However, this safe will only stand up to 1,200 ºF for one hour. It also weighs 667 lbs. and will cost you $1,660.

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Maybe you have a much smaller gun collection and don’t need a safe that holds 45 rifles. If so, Steelwater makes a safe that holds up to 20, will withstand fires of 1,875°F, and weighs 453 lbs. This safe also costs significantly less at $949.

Hidden Gun Safes

Hidden gun safes might be the coolest thing out there. It’s like the hidden vaults you see in movies but in your own home. Do you have a gun stored under the stairs, in your coffee table, behind a picture on the wall, maybe even in a shelf? If you aren’t much of a carpenter, you can look to these ideas for inspiration on ideas of where to conceal your weapons.


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Something like a concealable picture frame works great for subcompact pistols. Anything bigger and it might look like you’re trying to hide something.

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There’s a variety of these on the market. However, be careful when you buy this type of gun safe as some have been known to come with glitches, especially the cheaper versions. And when we say glitches, we mean major ones, like your small child being able to open it without the code or your fingerprint major. This brand pictured, in particular, has been said to have issues with the fingerprint reading, so you’re probably better off with the code and physical key version. Otherwise, it’s a good option if you want to mount it to your nightstand or under your desk.

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Vent safes like the one pictured here can range from really cheap $35 to upwards of $250 if you want it to be RFID. Of course, these don’t lock, so if you have children running around, concealment without locking capability might not be the wisest choice.

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Want to show your true American pride? Why not get this awesome wooden flag to hang over your mantel place. Then lift up the stars and unhinge that true red, white and blue! You can actually find people to custom make concealable wall art like this flag, but it will cost you a pretty penny in most cases. Typically the more custom something is, the more pricy it becomes.

Firearm Storage

At the end of the day, everyone likes what they like. We know some of you out there have other recommendations – If so, we’d love to have you share it with the community. Let us know if you own any of the gun safes we recommended and how they do or do not meet your standards. Let us know what other storage options you recommend and what you like about it. Also, we love pictures, so if you have one of those cool hidden safes or you built your own firearm storage under the stairs, let us see!

American Security

★★★★★ Learn More
U.L. Class TL-30 Rated

Steelwater

★★★★★ Learn More
Rated fireproof for up to one hour in 1,875 ºF

Vaultek Essential

★★★ Learn More
Great for single/smaller handgun. However, some versions are known to have issues reading the thumbprint and can only be opened with a key or code. Also comes with a slot for an extra magazine.

Glock 19 Review

The first thing you’ll notice in the Gen 5 is how different it feels in your hand. The traditional look to the Glock is still there, but they made 20 different modifications to enhance the entire experience.

What You Need To Know

RE Factor Tactical Buyer's Guide
  • Easily allows customization with different triggers, grips, and sights
  • Aggressive texture on the grip for maximum control
  • Improved rifling and crown of barrel to enhance accuracy

Glock 19

Glock 19 Gen 5
★★★★★ Learn More
Glock 19 Gen 4
★★★★ Learn More

The Glock 19 is one of the most common and top-selling guns in the world and we are eager to show you why. The 19 is the second model after the 17 and was engineered to be the perfect concealed carry pistol. Weighing less than 2 pounds loaded and coming in at 7 inches long, it’s no wonder why millions of gun owners chose the Glock 19 as their self-defense pistol. 

Glock 19

Specs                                                                              

Price MSRP: $500.00-$900.00                                            

Weight:  Unloaded= 1.3 lbs

Loaded= 1.8 lbs

Height: 5.04 in

Barrel Length: 4.02 in

Overall Length: 7.3 in 

Width: 1.26 in

Magazine Capacity: 15,17,19, 24,31,33

Features

  • 9mm Luger
  • Safe-Action System synonymous with Glock
  • Easily allows customization with different triggers, grips, and sights
  • Aggressive texture on the grip for maximum control

Pros: 

  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Accurate
  • Dependable
  • Concealed easily
  • 15-round mag

Cons:

  • Heavy trigger pull
  • No manual Safety Switch (personal preference)
  • Original sights are difficult to adjust to
  • Heavier recoil than expected
  • The magazine catch is tough for larger shooters to get to
  • The grip can be too small for larger shooter’s comfort
  • It can be difficult for lefties (read below!)

Glock 19 Explained

Most police forces loved the original 17, but it’s a full-sized pistol that can be heavy when fully loaded (2.2 lbs) and doesn’t fit on your hip as comfortably as many officers would like. As Glock began to work with local police departments in Austria, they were asked to come up with a gun that would be more comfortable. The Police wanted a gun that could be just as durable, dependable, and accurate as the 17, but easier to handle and conceal. As tall of a task as this sounds, Glock came through in a big way and engineered one the best guns we have ever fired. With a shorter barrel, lighter weight, and a thinner grip, the Glock 19 delivers on every level. Since the gun was created in 1988, Glock has not stopped producing or attempting to make them better. We will get more into the different generations of the gun, such as the Gen 4 and 5 below. 

Glock 19| Gen 4

The whole point of creating different versions of the same model was to make something better, without reinventing the wheel. Think of the Gen 4 and 5 like you would the Playstation or X-Box; Sony and Microsoft would never just scrap their amazing products, but they do make them better every few years. Just like with the new-gen, Glock has no reason to scrap a beautifully designed and amazing gun.

Now, the Gen 4 doesn’t look different or make you feel like it’s a completely new gun. Glock made several small changes to the 19 that make it a more universal gun, such as a smaller frame, modular backstrap system, an enlarged reversible magazine catch, dual-recoil spring assembly, and a new Rough Textured Frame (RTF). 

Modular Backstrap System

The new backstrap system is designed to give shooters more customization with how the gun feels in their hands. One complaint that Glock received over the years was that the backstrap was too big and bulky, while some felt it was too small. It’s almost impossible for Glock to please everybody, but they found a way, yet again. This option allows you to take apart your Glock’s backstrap easily and replace it with either a medium (8/100 in added) version or a large version (16/100 in added). The stock Gen 4 G19 comes with the small backstrap. 

Enlarged Reversible Magazine Catch

We felt like this new addition was designed for all the lefties out there that have had trouble transitioning between magazines. A lot of gun manufacturers require extra parts to make a gun reversible, but Glock created one interchangeable part that fits on the right or left.  Another knock on the original G19 was the magazine catch was too small. The Gen 4 fixed that issue with this new feature and we cannot be happier. 

Dual Recoil Spring Assembly

The G19 does not have a single-action firing mode and many people have had issues with that fact. The addition of the dual recoil spring assembly didn’t fix the single-action firing mode, but it did significantly reduce the recoil. As most of us know, the trigger pull with a double-action pistol is always going to be heavier than a single action (think Baretta). By adding this new spring assembly, Glock instantly improved the accuracy of many of its shooters. This addition also helps with preventing fatigue and anticipation in less experienced shooters. 

Rough Textured Frame (RTF)

As we’ve mentioned, the whole point of a new-gen gun is for it to be better than the last, or at least correct any deficiencies in previous models. The new RTF is all about giving the shooter a better and firmer grip on the gun. In this regard, they nailed it! The Gen 4 grip can feel too rough for those with very soft hands, but the rest of us love it. The added traction on this new grip noticeably increases the accuracy of any shooter with a stock grip. 

Pros of Gen 4:
  • Recoil fixed with dual spring assembly
  • Customizable grips for any sized shooter
  • New RTF grip adds a lot of traction
  • Reversible Magazine to accommodate lefties (Thank you, Glock) 
  • The magazine catch is significantly enlarged to accommodate larger shooters
  • Cheap to shoot (Check out our 9mm ammo blog)
Cons of Gen 4:
  • Trigger pull is still heavy for a lot of shooters
  • Not fully ambidextrous 

Why You Should Buy the Gen 4 Glock 19

You should buy this gun if you’re a Glock fan, but found the same or similar negatives with the first-gen G19. The Gen 4 is a little shorter overall than the original G19 and has a shorter trigger distance. This gun is so well made that it is able to accommodate every shooter we can think of; whether you have small or large hands, you’re a lefty, or not very strong, this gun works for you. 

Glock 19| Gen 5

Our favorite thing about the Gen 5 is the piece of mind that we, as customers are being heard and listened to. The first thing you’ll notice in the Gen 5 is how different it feels in your hand. The traditional look to the Glock is still there, but they made 20 different modifications to enhance the entire experience. We don’t want to get away from the purpose of this article, so we will only focus on the 5 biggest modifications. 

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NDLC Finish

Every shooter at some point will either drop, scrape or hit their gun, this is why Glock decided to use a technologically advanced ion-bonded finish on the Gen 5. This ion-bonded finish prevents scratching your gun, whether you drop or hit it on other metal objects. It not only extends the life of your gun, but it’s tested the most extreme environments on Earth. This gun will perform whether you’re in Florida with the humidity and heat or in Montana with the extreme cold. After shooting this gun, we are starting to think Glock is close to an indestructible gun!

Glock Marksman Barrel 

The Glock Marksman Barrel (GMB) is engineered specifically with improving accuracy in every shot. The Gen 5 has improved rifling and crown of the barrel to enhance the accuracy of the G19. The shorter distances should be very accurate, regardless of the new-gen addition, but this new barrel specifically impacts distances at 25 meters and beyond. The grouping that you’ll be able to get with this new barrel is noticeable.

No Finger Grooves

A very popular complaint with the majority (until Gen 5) of Glock owners is the grooves set in the grip for your fingers. The finger grooves are designed to enhance traction and keep good placement on the grip. However, these grooves often don’t provide the placement or added traction they’re meant to. The answer with the Gen 5 was to remove the grooves and give each individual shooter their own way of gripping the gun. The Gen 5 provides a more ergonomic and comfortable grip than any previous model. The RTF without finger grooves also gives the shooter more control over recoil by keeping your hands flush with the pistol. 

Pros of the Gen 5:

  • Trigger pull was lightened to 5.84 lbs from 6.29 lbs (makes a difference!)
  • The new finish will extend the life of the gun by years
  • The new fingerless grip adds stability, accuracy, and comfort
  • The new marksman barrel increases your range to at least 25 meters

Cons of the Gen 5:

  • We do not like the stock sights for the G19

Glock 19 Gen 5 Vs. The Sig Sauer P320 RX

One of the best comparisons to the Glock 19 is the Sig P320 RX because of how similar they appear to be. Both guns manufactured incredibly well, as we’d expect nothing less from Sig Sauer and Glock. The Glock 19 Gen 5 is easier to conceal than the P320 RX but is a little heavier. If you’d like to learn more about Sig Sauer or the more compact P365, we have a great resource for you below.

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  Glock Gen 5 Sig Sauer P320 RX
Caliber 9mm Luger 9mm Luger
Weight 1.94 lbs 1.84 lbs
Overall Length 7.28 in 8.0 in
Barrel Length 4.02 in 4.7 in
Width 1.34 in 1.4 in
Magazine capacity 15+1 15+1
Price MSRP $540.00 $750.00

Glock 19 Sights

The standard sights on the Glock 19 are bulky and do not present as good a picture as we’d like.  The night sights are a great way to highlight your target without squinting or putting too much focus into your sight picture instead of your mechanics. We recommend several options to choose from that are better than the stock sights. If you have any concerns with your sight picture, read this blog to help you out.

Glock 19 Accessories

There are so many accessories for the Glock 19 that we couldn’t possibly go over all of them in one blog. However, we can make sure you know exactly where to get the best quality and price for any accessory you might need. We will highlight a couple different accessories that really give you next-level customization.

Glock Pistol Light

Pistol lights are an awesome way to customize your Glock, just remember it will add a little bit of weight and we suggest you practice at a range before carrying it into the world. The Inforce light gives you an incredibly high powered light that will light up distances further than you can accurately shoot. They start at around $115.00, but if you’re going to add a light, this is one to consider.

Glock 19 Gen 4 Compensator

A compensator is used to reduce the recoil, muzzle flip, and need for a threaded barrel. We recommend this for competition shooters or Special Operations forces who need to be able to manipulate the slide with one hand. Adding a compensator cuts the time down, between accurate shots and reloading, but can be a little bulky. Either way, they’re an awesome way to customize your Glock

Conclusion

Glock is an exceptional company that makes some of the best guns in the world. The Glock 19 is one of the top-selling and performing guns trusted by millions of gun owners, from the police to military and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). We recommend going with the Glock 19 Gen 5 because of the upgrades and customization you can have with this firearm.

Buying anything except the Gen 5 right now would be like buying the Playstation 1 when you can have the Playstation 5. We don’t see any point in going backward and we don’t want you to overthink this purchase. The Gen 5 will last longer than any other generation Glock and it will perform better on a more consistent level.

Glock 19 Gen 5

★★★★★ Learn More
Glock decided to use a technologically advanced ion-bonded finish (NDLC Finish) on the Gen 5. This ion-bonded finish prevents scratching your gun, whether you drop or hit it on other metal objects. It not only extends the life of your gun, but it’s tested the most extreme environments on Earth.

Glock 19 Gen 4

★★★★ Learn More
Compared to Gen 3, the recoil has been fixed with dual spring assembly, there's the option for customizable grips for any sized shooter, and the new RTF grip adds a lot of traction The magazine catch is significantly enlarged as well to accommodate shooters with larger hands.

10 ways to save money on car insurance

Not all insurance providers offer the same discounts. You might be able to save based on mileage with one company and not the other. With that being said, some of the recommendations listed below will not work for everyone, which is only one more reason to shop around.

What You Need To Know

RE Factor Tactical Buyer's Guide

  • Compare Insurance Providers and their Policies

  • Pay in Full or Bi-Annually

  • Improve your Credit Score

Car Insurance

Geico

★★★★★
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Progressive

★★★★
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Liberty Mutual

★★★★
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Esurance

★★★★
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Allstate

★★★★
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Let’s face it, insurance costs add up, and often you’ll pay more in insurance over the course of your life than you would if you just paid for issues as they arose. However, car insurance is a requirement, with liability being the minimum in almost every state. With that being said, it doesn’t mean you can’t save a little money along the way. Below are 10 ways to save on car insurance, so you can spend that money elsewhere.

Compare Insurance Providers and their Policies

Okay, we know this is probably the most annoying part about getting coverage, but once it’s over, you’ll thank yourself later for all the money you end up saving. Yes, you’re going to have to deal with an insurance agent who wants to sell you everything, including the kitchen sink when you probably don’t need it. Yes, the representative will most likely try and sell you the most expensive policy they have. Yes, you’re going to have to give up a lot of personal information—and get annoying follow-up calls long after you make your selection. However, in the end, it is worth it to comparison shop.

Some insurance providers charge more than others based on credit score or bad driving habits. What one raises the price drastically on, the other might not, an example of this is a DUI charge. No matter how you look at it, something like a DUI will raise the cost of your insurance premiums. However, one company might charge you an extra few extra $100 for a year, while another will charge you a $1,000 more a year for.

Sadly, most insurance agencies don’t offer this information up-front on their websites, so you’re going to have to call and talk to a real person. You’ll probably be on hold for too long and wonder if you should just go with the easy online application. Yes, you can do that, but you’ll probably end up paying more in the end. So, make sure you compare auto insurance agencies and their policies.

Consider your Deductible

Policies come with a deductible. You’ll pay your monthly premium and then when something happens, you’ll pay more on top of that before you can have your car fixed. Typically, your deductible will be either $500 or $1,000. However, every agency is different. Either way, the larger your deductible, the smaller your monthly premium will be. But, the lower your deductible is, the more you’ll pay on your premium.

This is something you might want to consider if you need smaller payments now or can afford to pay a big lump sum later. This will depend entirely on your financial situation. But, if you can afford it, spending more later will save you more now.

Bundle

Yes, we know, bundling typically involves paying for a bunch of stuff you didn’t need in the first place. Here though, we mean bundle when it makes sense. If you’re already paying for home insurance, personal property insurance, and car insurance, some agencies will give you a bundling discount. For insurance providers who don’t offer anything but auto insurance, if you have more than one car on the policy, you could save money this way as well.

Before you settle on any car insurance, read our blog, Best Car Insurance for Veterans/Military Personnel

Improve your Credit Score

When you hear about credit score, you probably think about a car or home loan. But, did you know it can affect your insurance premiums as well? Some agencies put a little more stock in this than others, but it’s typically a consideration with most providers.

If your credit score is on the lower end of things, you’re likely to pay more on your premium than someone with a higher credit score. If you find that you’ve improved your score over time, you might want to consider talking with an agent to see if they can lower your premium based on your new credit score.

Ask about Discounts

Don’t be shy here, ask about available discounts. Unfortunately, not all agents will be forthcoming about the discounts they provide. Some companies won’t disclose discounts on their websites either. With that being said, ask, because the worst they can do is say, “no, we don’t offer that discount.”

We say ask as well because some insurance providers offer more discounts than others. For example, not all companies provide a safe driver discount, a mileage discount, military discounts, etc. And if you don’t ask, you won’t be able to get an accurate price comparison.

Pay by the Mile

Paying by the mile will probably only save you money if you drive very few miles. For example, let’s say you live a block away from where you work. The grocery store is literally next to your house, and you probably walk a majority of the time. Your family also lives nearby, so you’re not really driving a long distance to go see your loved ones. If this is you, you might not be putting a lot of miles on the car.

Keep in mind, every insurance company is different. Some offer lower prices for varying miles you put on your car while others don’t offer a pay by the mile option at all. If you’re putting a lot of miles on your vehicle, this will not save you money.

Reduce Coverage

If you got one of those agents who sold you the most expensive policy, there’s a chance you’re paying for more than you need. For example, are you the only one driving your car? Many agencies make you pay more for other people driving your vehicle. But, if this isn’t the case with you and there’s no chance anyone will ever drive your car, then you’re paying for something you aren’t using.

Or, maybe you’re paying for more insurance than you need. For example, if you’re paying for insurance that will replace a $20,000 car, but your vehicle only cost $10,000, you’re probably paying for too much coverage.

Maintain Safe Driving Habits

Like we said earlier, not all insurance providers offer a safe driving discount. That doesn’t mean safe driving habits won’t save you money. Some agencies will give you a check if you go so long without filing a claim, and the longer you go accident-free, the more you’ll get back. Or, you’ll simply see your premium drop over time.

Again, not all companies offer this, but if they do, it’s another great way to save a little money. Make sure you ask your agent about this before signing a contract, especially if you think you’d fall into the safe driver category.

In the air about USAA car insurance? Read our blog, Is USAA The Best Car Insurance for Veterans?

Pay in Full or Bi-Annually

Not everyone can afford to pay for their car insurance up-front or even bi-annually. However, if you can, it’s only one more way of saving money in the long-run. Some agencies will give discounts for paying up-front or even bi-annually, so make sure you ask about this saving opportunity, because chances are, you won’t know until you ask.

Safety Features, Location, Car Prices

We went ahead and put this all in one category because the chance of you picking out a car with safety feature because of insurance is unlikely. Moving based on car insurance prices or buying a car based strictly on how much it will cost you in coverage is also unlikely. But, each of these could save you money and have a drastic effect on how much you’re going to pay in insurance.

For instance, the more safety features you have on your car, the more you’re likely to save. This is because safety feature decreases the potential for you to get into an accident.

Where you live will also increase or decreases the chances of accidents. Let’s say you live in a very populated area, you’re more likely to have a collision. Location is also all about other drivers. If you live in an area where statistics say there’s a lot of car thefts or uninsured drivers, you’re going to pay more.

How much your car costs will also increase or decrease your insurance rate. For example, if your car would cost a lot to replace, you will pay more. If your vehicle doesn’t cost that much to replace, you probably won’t be paying as much.

Military Members

For those of you currently serving, some agencies do offer military discounts. USAA and Geico are examples. However, you can also save by storing your car on base while deployed. Talk to a representative if you’re leaving your vehicle behind state-side and no one will be driving it.

Considering USAA or Geico for your car insurance? Read our blog, USAA vs. Geico Car Insurance for Veterans

Geico

★★★★★

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Geico tends to out-perform the rest in their cost-to-value structure. All in all, Geico tends to offer some of the least expensive plans around while still maintaining some quality service. Bottom line, if you’re after the least expensive insurance option available, this is probably your best bet.

Progressive

★★★★

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Progressive has really upped their game. They offer some of the most services out there, to include a safe driver discount. And with more than 18 million people insured through them, it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing.

Liberty Mutual

★★★★

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Don’t you just love those Liberty Mutual commercials, “a scratch so small, you could fix it with a pen…why don’t you take that pen and”—shove it up their ass. Okay, they don’t say that last part, but we’re pretty sure you’re thinking about it when dealing with not so friendly car insurance providers. Luckily, Liberty Mutual isn’t that kind of company.

Esurance

★★★★

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Esurance prides themselves on easy quote access. They also offer a lot of coverage options. Which means you don’t ever have to worry about a lack of protection when it comes to your car.

Allstate

★★★★

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You’re in good hands with Allstate. And for a company that’s been around for more than 85 years, they don’t plan on dropping the ball anytime soon.