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Best 6.5 Creedmoor Hunting Rifle?

What are the Best 6.5 Creedmoor Hunting Rifles?

For thousands of Americans, hunting is not a past-time or simple recreation, but the food they can put on their table for their families. As a former teacher, I remember the entire state of West Virginia getting the first week of hunting season off of school to go into the woods and hunt. It took time for me to process and become educated enough to understand the need for West Virginians to hunt. It wasn’t until I gave hunting a chance (literally last year!) that I realized the importance of hunting and providing for your family. I have been fortunate enough to shoot dozens of rifles in the past year, and this blog will rate the best ones that I’ve either shot or learned about through other hunters.

Does the Caliber of the Chamber matter?

For those new to hunting or have an interest in hunting, the short answer is yes, the caliber of the round matters a great deal. With this in mind, I will rate 3 hunting rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor to give you an idea of what the best 6.5 Creedmoor rifles are.  The caliber of round your rifle is chambered in matters, but you need to figure out what kind of animal you’re hunting and what is required in order to safely and humanely put that animal down with little suffering. As we get into each rifle, I’ll explain the difference between them and which ammo works best for the game you’re hunting.

Grading Criteria

Each rifle will be graded on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best and 1 being the worse and will be placed 1st through 5th place. Each rifle will be graded on its accuracy, maximum distance of fire, price, and quality of materials used. I believe the rifle you use to hunt should be comfortable, affordable, reliable, and durable enough to withstand environmental conditions.

What is a 6.5 Creedmoor?

The first thing to understand is the spelling of the cartridge, which is not Creedmore (I’m guilty of this error); the correct spelling is Creedmoor, which was named after a competition rifle range in Long Island, New York in the late 19th Century. Creedmoor was the site of long-range competition shooting, which gave birth to the cartridge with its namesake. The 6.5 Creedmoor was released in 2007 by Hornady Ammunition as an alternative to the .308 chambered rifles. The 6.5 Creedmore is specially designed for distance shooting, which makes it the perfect hunting rifle for hunters covering large areas that require further shots.

 

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What are the Best Rifles Chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor?

The best 6.5 Creedmore rifles are the Daniel Defense Delta 5, the Remington 700 SPS, and the Tikka T3X. Each of these rifles is incredible, and you’d be fortunate to own any of them. However, there has to be a winner. I chose Delta 5 as the winner because of its supreme quality and precision from its famous CNC machine and the fact that it’s ready to use right when you open the box. The Tikka came very close and is one of my all-time favorite rifles because of its price, quality, and it’s a silky smooth operation. One thing you’ll notice is I chose all barrels that are longer than 20″ because of the extended reach and capability.

Winner: Delta 5 6.5 Creedmore

The Delta 5, 6.5 Creedmore is a 44″ rifle with a 24″ barrel that reach incredible ranges, with impeccable accuracy and consistency. This is one of the best 6.5 Creedmore rifles on the planet because of the quality, reliability, and accuracy of this 24″ cold-hammer-forged barrel. If you want a full review of the Delta 5 and Daniel Defense, read my Daniel Defense blog. The best part of this rifle is it comes zeroed in at less than 3 MOA at 100 yards, which will get you a group about the size of a fist at 100 yards. Once you’re able to get the proper scope and adjust your cheek plate, this rifle can give you less than a 1 MOA at 100 yards. 4.5/5

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Specs:

 

Delta 5 6.5 Creedmore Rifle
Weight 9.5 lbs
Barrel Length 24″
Overall Length 44″
Twist Rate 1:8″
Magazine Capacity 5
Caliber 6.5 Creedmore
MSRP 2,199.99

Pros:

  • Incredible Accuracy
  • Extended range
  • Durable
  • Double-Safety trigger mechanism
  • 1.4 lbs trigger pull weight
  • Adjustable cheek-riser

Cons:

  • The price kept it from a perfect score

Features:

  • 11 M-Lok attachment points
  • 3 M-Lok attachment points for a sling
  • Magpul magazine
  • Adjustable cheek-riser
  • Configurable buttstock
  • Cold-Hammer-Forged Barrel makes it ready to use right out of the box

Why You Should Buy This Gun

If you were to put a nice mil-dot Leopold scope and a bipod on the front Picatinny Rail, this rifle could comfortably shoot up to 600 meters with good weather. The M-Lok attachment points provide as many opportunities as you could want for customization. One of the most underrated aspects to Delta 5 is the adjustable cheek plate that can be raised to line up your eye better with the scope. In the military, many snipers and marksmen wrap their stock with ducktape to provide the correct angle with the scope. This rifle allows you to avoid the ducktape and quickly adjust your cheek placement within a few seconds.

Runner-Up: Tikka T3X 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle

As any of our readers know, I am a complete fanboy of the Tikka T3X, and if I had the funds to buy one, the 6.5 Creedmoor would be the one I buy. Some might ask if I love the Tikka so much, why would it come in at number two? The answer is the M-Lok attachment holes, along with the Magpul magazines, finish the rifle off with class and style. The adjustable cheek-riser is a revolutionary concept that more companies are going towards to accommodate the individuality of shooters. However, the Tikka T3 features a better recoil pad that reduces the felt recoil to almost nothing. This allows the shooter to concentrate on the shot and not the aftermath of a hurt shoulder or pulling a shot due to the anticipation of the bang. 4.3/5

Specs:

Tikka T3X
Weight  6.9 lbs
Overall Length 44.7 “
Barrel Length 24.3″
Caliber 6.5 Creedmoor
Length of Pull 13.2″
Magazine Capacity 3+1
MSRP $797.00

Pros:

  • 24.3″ barrel provides better range and accuracy
  • 6.5 Creedmoor offers excellent stopping power and range
  • Incredibly light trigger pull (2 lbs)

Cons:

  • There is nothing negative about this rifle

Features:

  • T1x has a new modular synthetic stock that has interchangeable pistol grips, making it possible to modify the angle of the grip, this allows for multiple shooting positions
  • The T3x synthetic stock has a new asymmetrical grip pattern and shape that has been specifically designed to give a solid grip in all conditions
  • T3x models come with a new recoil pad technology that reduces the impact of recoil on the shooter, the new robust pad allows you to fully concentrate on the accuracy of your shots
  • T3x synthetic stocks now have a foam insert within the interior of the rear stock – this lowers the stock-generated noise and can help you keep your target in sight
  • The new T3x receiver introduces a widened angular ejection port that makes it easier to feed one cartridge at a time
  • Steel recoil lug – this extra-strong lug has minimal deformation – even with larger calibers

Why You Should Buy This Gun

If you want to know my full thoughts on Tikka as a company and the Tikka T3, specifically, read my Tikka Review. For those who feel more comfortable with a pistol grip than a rifle grip, the Tikka T3X is an excellent option. You can purchase aftermarket grips that fit you better or adjust the grip to fit multiple grip angles that provide the best possible angle for your comfort.

3rd Place: REMINGTON 700 SPS 6.5 CREEDMOOR 24″ BOLT ACTION RIFLE

 

The Remington 700 SPS chambered in a 6.5 Creedmoor is a top 3 rifle because of the consistency, price point, and reliability of Remington. The Remington 700 is the standard-issue sniper rifle for the United States military for these same reasons. One thing I can assure you if you’re up in the air about purchasing this gun is if it’s reliable and accurate enough for some of our nation’s best marksmen, it’s accurate and dependable enough to hunt with. With the extra range from the 24″ barrel and the 6.5 Creedmoor, you’ll be able to reach targets at 500 meters, easily. However, the thing I like most about this rifle is the price point, sitting under $600 for a rifle of this quality is the best deal you’ll get for a new gun. If you want to learn more about the Remington 700, read this blog for a more comprehensive review. 4/5

 

Specs:

Remington 700 SPS
Weight About 7 lbs
Overall Length 43 5/8″
Barrel Length 24″
Caliber 6.5 Creedmoor
Length of Pull 13 3/8″
Magazine Capacity 4
MSRP $539.00

Pros:

  • 24″ barrel provides better range and accuracy
  • 6.5 Creedmoor offers excellent stopping power and range
  • Incredibly light trigger pull (1.5 lbs)
  • The best-priced rifle you’ll ever own
  • Comes in a left-handed model

Cons:

  • Some people complain about the trigger going off even when not suppressed (I believe most of it is operator error)

Features:

  • Ergonomically designed synthetic stock
  • Drilled and tapped receiver
  • Carbon steel barrel
  • Barrel surrounds bolt shroud for additional strength

Why You Should Buy This Gun

If you’re anything like me, money is sometimes hard to come by, and spending $2,200 on a rifle is not financially responsible for me. This rifle is less than $550, which allows you to place a great scope to really take advantage of the 24″ barrel and the 6.5 Creedmoor. After buying a great scope, you could end up having a great rifle that shoots true and lasts decades (if you take care of it) for less than $2,000.

 

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Accessories

Many people wonder what the best attachments are to place on their rifles, which is too relative to have an exact answer. However, everyone will agree that a great scope, a range finder, and maybe even a bipod would be great for hunting. I only have a scope on my rifle because here in Virginia, we don’t take shots at more than a couple hundred yards very often, if ever. The density of the trees and lower elevation allows for more cover and concealment for hunters to close distances either in tree stands or ground blinds.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm Rifle Scope

This Leupold riflescope is waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof, allowing you to hunt in the rain, snow, and low light conditions. The most impressive attribute of this scope is the Zero Lock Custom Dial System (CDS), which takes the stress away from attempting longer shots by eliminating the need for ballistic calculations. The Leupold scope also boasts the Twilight Max HD Light Management System that significantly reduces the glare from the sun and provides 30 minutes of shooting light. Finally, the Guard-Ion Hydrophobic Lens Coating makes this the most durable and scratch-resistant lens on the market.

Want to Learn more about rifle scopes? Read this blog about Vudu Scopes

 

 

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Magpul Rifle Bipod

Humility is one of the most underrated and valuable lessons you could ever learn as a hunter (or in life). I bring this up because people view bipods as a crutch or something to be shunned at because of the clear advantage it offers. Having a bipod will increase your accuracy and control of your rifle and increase your chance of hitting your target. This Magpul bipod weighs 11 oz (.68 lbs) and is designed to stay out of the way during your stalk in the mountains. Many bipods can be stiff and rust easily, but this Magpul is made from Mil-Spec hard-anodized aluminum, which helps prevent rust and deterioration. I love the fact that you can extend the legs of the bipod with a finger so your firing hand can stay on the rifle to maintain target identification.

 

 

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Conclusion

A 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is a more advanced .308 with capabilities of reaching further distances in your rifle. I prefer the 6.5 Creedmore over most other cartridges because of the increased accuracy and range that it provides (we’ll get into the 300 Win Mag next blog!). The Delta 5 and Tikka T3X are so close that it’s challenging to choose one over the other, but the accessories and rail system of the Delta 5 give it the edge over the Tikka. Attaching a Leupold VX scope to your rifle with a Magpul Rifle Bipod will provide you accurate shots at distances well over 500 meters. Although I believe there are a dozen other rifles that you could buy, these 3 are the best chambered in a 6.5 Creedmoor. Just remember that the most important way to improve your shooting is to train and practice with your rifle every month, at least. Good Luck and let us know what you think of the blog!

Who is Daniel Defense?

What is Daniel Defense?

Daniel Defense is a gun manufacturing company out of Black Creek, Georgia, created by Marty Daniel in 2001 after he shot his first AR 15 in 1999. Daniel Defense is one of those companies that is hard to root against if you know about their owner, Marty Daniel. Daniel was an Electrical Engineering major at Georgia Southern University in 1985 when he subsequently failed out of college twice. After his 2nd failed attempt to become an electrical engineer, the University sent him a letter explaining the need for Marty to move on from college and try something else.  As a fighter and with great persistence, Marty Daniel ignored the school’s recommendation and went back for the 3rd time.  This time, Marty graduated with honors as an engineer and now sits on the Board of Advisors for Georgia Southern University.

As Marty Daniel continued to be intrigued by the AR 15, he noticed a glaring need for a flattop upper receiver, which makes the receiver lighter, more adaptable, and durable than the tradition upper receivers produced by Colt. He named this receiver the “Big Hole Receiver” started selling 96 of them after his family put their farm up for collateral for the loan. Once he got the $250,000 loan, he went to work creating and selling upper receivers until he got his big break in 2003, when he won the Special Operations Comand (SOCOM) contract for his new rail system, the RIS II.

Daniel Defense Rails

As Daniel Defense began to grow, they were able to consolidate all of their facilities and products under one 250,000 square foot manufacturing facility. Daniel Defense rails are all cold-hammer-forged, made with aircraft-grade aluminum, require no extra tools to assemble, are free-floating, and are made from a Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machine. Daniel Defense is known as one of the best manufactures of rails and barrels because of their attention to detail and the precision provided by the CNC machine. The most popular and famous rail is the RIS II rail that went up against every gun manufacturer in bidding with SOCOM to become the standard rail for Special Operations soldiers.

 

Rail Interface System II (RIS II)

The RIS II is considered by many in the gun community as one of the most revolutionary rail systems, designed specifically for our nation’s biggest badasses. As SOCOM found the need to have an M203 (grenade launcher) attached to their rifle, they became frustrated by the weight and ergonomics of the standard Colt Barrel. They wanted a free-floating M203 attachment that was lightweight and more ergonomic. Daniel Defense accomplished this task by integrating the M203 parts into the rail system.

 

Omega Rail

The 2nd most popular rail system from Daniel Defense is the Omega rail system that offers a free-floating rail that is easily installed with an Allen Wrench. The same CNC machine that produces the SOCOM rail system produces the Omega Rail with the same precision and durability. Made from the highest aircraft-grade aluminum with type III Hard Coat Anodized finish. This 9″ rail system provides the best in quality, precision, and durability in a lightweight frame (8 oz), at an affordable price.

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Daniel Defense Rifles

There are two types of rifles that Daniel Defense produces, which are the bolt-action hunting rifle and the AR platform sporting rifle. Each rifle produced by Daniel Defense is cold-hammer-forged and manufactured from aircraft-grade aluminum in a CNC machine for maximum precision. I had the wonderful opportunity to shoot a Delta 5 .308 hunting rifle and was absolutely blown away. The free-floating interchangeable barrel, chambered in either a .308 or 6.5 Creedmore round, produces a level of accuracy that is almost unparalleled in a hunting rifle without modification. I’ve never seen a company guarantee a .75 MOA at 100 yards right out of the box, but Daniel Defense put their money where their mouth with the Delta 5 Accuracy Package.

Delta 5 .308 Rifle

The Delta 5 Hunting rifle is chambered in a .308 Winchester and a 6.5 Creedmore for the stopping power needed to bring down big game, such as Mule Deer, Elk, and Moose. The .308 model is fitted with an interchangeable 20-inch barrel and a 1:10″ twist rate for the barrel. Weighing 8.9 lbs and a 40-inch overall length allows the hunter to reach targets further out with better accuracy. Personally, I wouldn’t buy a hunting rifle unless it had a 24-inch barrel, but this rifle is incredibly well made and performs better than most other rifles on the market. If I had the money to spend on a Daniel Defense rifle, I’d buy the 6.5 Creedmore with the 24-inch barrel to make sure I get a little more range and accuracy at further ranges.

 

Specs:

Delta 5 .308 Rifle
Weight 8.9 lbs
Barrel Length 20″
Overall Length 40″
Twist Rate 1:10″
Magazine Capacity 5
Caliber .308 Winchester
MSRP 2,199.99

 

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Accurate
  • Durable
  • Has interchangeable barrels
  • Customization doesn’t require extra tools
  • Built around the AR platform
  • The 5-round Magpul magazine is perfect for hunters who are shooting longer distances
  • Amazing trigger!

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • I prefer the 24″ barrel
  • I would go with the Tikka T3 for this price and setup

Features:

  • 11 M-Lok attachment points
  • 3 M-Lok attachment points for a sling
  • Magpul magazine
  • Adjustable cheek-riser
  • Configurable buttstock
  • Cold-Hammer-Forged Barrel makes it ready to use right out of the box

Why You Should Buy This Rifle

Daniel Defense is known in the gun world to create some of the best barrels and rail systems in the world, and this Delta 5 is no different. The barrel is cold-hammer-forged, so you don’t need to worry about the barrel wearing down as fast or if it’s zeroed in our not. With an incredible trigger pull of roughly 1.5 lbs, you can be much more precise from longer ranges if your mechanics are good. This rifle is accurate up to 500 yards with the right scope and weather conditions, so you will be able to reach out and touch your target from any mountain top or valley you find yourself in.

 

 

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Delta 5 6.5 Creedmore

If you were to ask me, which Daniel Defense rifle would I buy, the 6.5 Creedmore model is the one that I would choose for hunting. If you’re a government-trained sniper, the extra 4 inches might not mean too much to you, because you could probably shoot a fly off an Elk’s ass without hurting the animal. However, if you’re not an elite shooter, the 24-inch barrel will increase your range by at least 100 yards and, more importantly, increase your accuracy at any range you feel comfortable shooting at. This rifle is a little heavier at 9.5 lbs and has a lower twist rate than the .308 Winchester to allow for heavier ammo.

 

Specs:

 

Delta 5 6.5 Creedmore Rifle
Weight 9.5 lbs
Barrel Length 24″
Overall Length 44″
Twist Rate 1:8″
Magazine Capacity 5
Caliber 6.5 Creedmore
MSRP 2,199.99

Pros:

  • Incredible Accuracy
  • Extended range
  • Durable
  • Double-Safety trigger mechanism
  • 1.4 lbs trigger pull weight
  • Adjustable cheek-riser

Cons:

  • A steep price, especially knowing you still need a scope

Features:

  • 11 M-Lok attachment points
  • 3 M-Lok attachment points for a sling
  • Magpul magazine
  • Adjustable cheek-riser
  • Configurable buttstock
  • Cold-Hammer-Forged Barrel makes it ready to use right out of the box

Why You Should Buy This Gun

I can’t recommend this rifle enough to any serious hunter who is looking for an advantage over the elements and the superiority of animal sense of smell and impeccable hearing. You’ll be able to accurately reach your target from distances over 400 yards with ease and stay far enough so the prey can’t hear or smell you (still stay downwind of your target). With a 24-inch barrel and a heavier bullet, this rifle is made for hunting in places like the Rocky Mountains, Cascades, and the Alaskan Wilderness. For the same price as the 20-inch barrel, you’ll get a rifle with more reach and accuracy without a ton of added weight.

 

 

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DANIEL DEFENSE DDM4A1

The Daniel Defense M4A1 is the same style rifle manufactured specifically for our SOCOM soldiers with the RIS II and the cold-hammer-forged barrel coated in heavy Phosphate and lined with chrome. The M4 rifle is one of the most popular rifles in the world, with hundreds of thousands sold over the last couple of decades. Almost every gun company produces a model of the AR-15/M4, so what separates Daniel Defense from the competition? The precision that Daniel Defense offers in their productions is due to the advanced CNC machine that cuts and molds the aircraft-grade aluminum into the perfect rifle, every time. The receivers are hard anodized coated to ensure incredible longevity and durability while maintaining its high standard of performance. The DD M4A1 also feels better because the weight distribution is more even than most other AR model rifles, providing great stability and increasing your control of the gun.

Specs:

DD M4A1
Weight 6.74 lbs
Overall Length 31.5″-34.5″
Barrel Length 14.5″
Twist Rate 1:7″
Caliber 5.56 mm NATO
Magazine Capacity 30, 32
Rail System RIS II
MSRP $1,910.00

 

Pros:

  • Made from the highest quality materials
  • Adjustable buttstock provides easy customization
  • Requires no additional tools for customization
  • Incredibly durable
  • Reliable enough for SOCOM to carry in war

Cons:

  • Comparable brands will save you $500-700
  • Doesn’t come with standard sights

Features:

  • Patented QD Swivel Attachment Point for rapid release
  • CNC machined
  • Cold-Hammer-Forged Barrel
  • Pinned and welded for easy suppressor attachment
  • RIS II for a maximum level of customization
  • Interchangeable buttstock, pistol grip, and receivers.

 

Why You Should Buy This Gun

This M4 is one of the best on the market, and the price tag is not the only indication of its superiority. Once you hold this M4A1 from Daniel Defense, you’ll understand why its so expensive and sought after by sportsmen all over the country. If you need a home defense weapon or love to go plinking, this gun will not let you down in any way; just ask the Navy SEALS or Army Special Forces, soldiers, that trust their lives with this tool.

 

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DANIEL DEFENSE DDM4 V7 M-LOK 16” 5.56MM NATO RIFLE

 

The V7 model of the Daniel Defense M4 looks to be very similar to the original M4A1 design, but other than how it produced, it’s completely different. First, the barrel is 16″ providing more accuracy at longer ranges and is not equipped with the patented RIS II. The V7 model is made with the MFR XS rail system, which cuts the weight down significantly enough to notice the difference. The MFR XS is equipped with 7 different M-Lok positions for easy customization fo your rifle. The free-floating design reduces the felt recoil of the gun and allows for the Picatinny rail on the upper receiver to be sleek and streamlined to avoid any interference with the sight picture. This incredibly well-designed rifle is a great alternative if you want to save a few hundred dollars versus the RIS II.

 

Specs:

DD M4 V7 M-Lok
Weight 6.2 lbs
Overall Length 32.3″-35.9″
Barrel Length 16.0″
Twist Rate 1:7″
Caliber 5.56 mm NATO
Magazine Capacity 30, 32
Rail System MFR XS
MSRP $1,750.00

Pros:

  • M-Lok Attachment holes
  • The extended barrel provides better accuracy and range
  • MFR XS rail system is lightweight and durable
  • Cheaper than the M4A1

Cons:

  • Still very expensive versus the competition
  • Sights sold separately

Features:

  • Free-floating barrel
  • Extra lightweight from the MFR rail system
  • Incredible built-in flash suppressor in the muzzle
  • 7 M-Lok holes for maximum customization
  • Cold-Hammer-Forged Barrel

Why You Should Buy This Gun

The Daniel Defense M4 V7 model provides better accuracy and range than the M4A1 and comes in at $200 less on average. In my opinion, this is one of the best M4 rifles you could own for the price, quality, and versatility that it offers a shooter. I would buy the V7 model over the A1 model if I had a choice because of the features and increased performance from range.

 

 

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Does Daniel Defense Offer a Warranty?

Yes! Daniel Defense offers a 100% money-back guarantee on any dysfunction of the product that was produced by them. If you have any issues with your gun, such as defects in the barrel, upper & lower receivers, trigger assembly, etc…, then all you have to do is fill out this form, and they will either fix the issue or give you a brand new product. The warranty doesn’t cover the installation of any other attachments from another manufacturer. This is why it’s always important to read the manuals or get professional gunsmithing help if you have concerns about customizing your gun.

Does Daniel Defense Offer a Military or Law Enforcement Discount?

Yes, if you’re a veteran or active duty member of the Armed Forces, you are eligible for a discount on most products they offer. If your a veteran, send them your DD214 and a copy of your photo ID to take advantage of this discount, which could save you a lot of money. Active-duty soldiers just need to send them a copy of your CAC Card for proof of service, and police officers only need to provide evidence they are actively serving as a law enforcement officer.

Conclusion

Daniel Defense is one of the more established and renowned weapons manufacturers in the country because of the attention to detail and quality of materials used to produce their weapons. If you had any doubt about purchasing a gun from Daniel Defense, look to the SOCOM community and the level of trust they put in this company to help defend themselves and freedom across the globe. 100% of their products are made in America, and they continue their support of the Armed Forces by offering discounts on their products for the men and women who defend our nation abroad and in their respective communities at home.

Capturing Realistic Waterborne Operations

Contrary to what Apple has people believing, taking photos requires just a little more skill than pointing your phone in the general direction of something you want to capture. It takes a little bit of knowleged and experience, especially when we’re talking about capturing realistic operations. Considering our background here at RE Factor Tactical, we figured, what better topic to discuss than waterborne operations photography. If you have such skills already and are interested in pursuing a career in waterborne photography, outside of the military, keep reading!

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released

Capturing Realistic Waterborne Photography

Believe it or not, there are plenty of places and companies you can use your skills to take the perfect picture on water. Companies that use and appreciate a background in military photography and video/film production are everywhere. Think about all of the careers that operate on the water. They most likely require a photographer if they’re attempting to get their name out there.

Below are a few places you can look to put your skills to use.

Adventure Companies

Adventure Rib Rides might not be the first company you think about when looking for a job using your military photography skills. However, that’s precisely what they’re looking for. The company not only appreciates it, but they also specialize in military photography, video/film production, and whale watching. Yes, you read that correctly, whale watching. Imagine being in a career that not only lets you utilize a skill you have but lets you have fun using it. Adventure Rib Rides is one of those places.  You’ll have the opportunity of adventure while getting to take some pretty awesome photos.

Of course, this isn’t the only company needing some good quality photographers who know how to work on water. Consider reaching out to companies that specialize in white water rafting, competitive fishing tournaments, or water rescue.

Work with Local Law Enforcement

If you’re trying to find a place to get some realistic photos, what better way than to work with your local law enforcement agencies. If you live anywhere near water, consider talking with your local department in charge of water operations. You’ll have to get clearance to conduct your photo shoot in the area, but it’s worth a shot, especially if you’re trying to build up your portfolio.

Tips on Waterborne Operations Photography

Now, let’s say you got a gig with a company like Adventure Rib Rides or your local LE department. Now you have to look the part. Here are a few tips to consider when trying to make your shoot realistic, without putting yourself in danger or having your viewer think your work is garbage.

Watch the Weather

If you’re doing photography outside, trust us, you want to watch the weather. If you’re not trying to get a shot during a torrential downpour, you’re going to want to keep an eye out, because the last thing you want to do is get rained out. Then, all the work you put toward set-up is pretty much out the door.

The weather can make or break your photo session. Sometimes you want it to be dreary, other times, you need full sun. If you’re looking to do a photo session when it’s sunny out, maybe take a look at the forecasted weather, so you’re not out on the water during a cloudy day. Waterborn operation photography is typically outside, so the weather is going to matter.

Work Throughout the Sunset

Have you ever noticed how beautiful sunset photos are? That’s because the photographer goes out later in the evening and spends his or her time taking pictures through the sunset. Then they sort through hundreds, if not thousands of photos, so they can pick out the perfect one.

Sunset and sunrise make for some awesome photos. And sunsets, in particular, are magnificent for photos taken on water.

Look the Part

Remember, we’re doing waterborne photography here, so you’re most likely going to be out on a boat. The last thing you want to do is not have your boat look the part. This, of course, goes for all of your actors and props. If what you’re using doesn’t look the part, then nothing about your photo will say realistic. It doesn’t matter how good the picture looks, if you’re trying to tell a story, tell it right.

The point is to have realist photos, no matter what the operation is. This will take some coordination on your part. You’ll have to get with companies, departments, etc. and make sure you’re authorized to be there. You’ll have to schedule around the weather. And lastly, you’ll have to be willing to put in the hours to get that perfect sunset photo.

Should Veterans Consider Disability Insurance?

What is Disability Insurance?

Disability Insurance is just like car, dental, medical, and vision, in that it helps pay for a specific issue related to a disability. For example, if you get hurt while lifting a box of paper over your head or walking on a slippery sidewalk. As a result, you could qualify for disability insurance.  The insurance company will pay a portion of your salary, usually 50-70% of your total monthly income, for any time you have to miss work. This could include various injuries and illnesses and will depend on the type of disability insurance you have. Think of disability insurance as a way of protecting your income if something terrible happens (car wreck, broken leg, etc…).

Do I Need Disability Insurance as a Veteran?

First, the big thing we need to make clear for everyone is the difference between VA disability and disability insurance. Unfortunately, many of us have a disability rating from the VA as a sort of compensation for the various injuries you suffered during your time in the service. To keep this simple, VA disability is a rating 0-100% and paid out by the Veterans Administration.  VA disability only pays for injuries or illnesses that are documented and certified by the VA that occurred during active duty service. If you get hurt in a civilian job, and they don’t have disability insurance, you’ll be stuck without a paycheck anytime you’re not able to work.  Your VA disability won’t cover any injury sustained unless you’re above 50% in total disability rating. Even with the VA providing the care, they won’t pay you for lost wages.

Disability insurance makes up for the gap between your VA benefits and your civilian insurance by providing protection if you’re hurt or sick. By purchasing disability insurance, you’re ensuring that your family is protected if you get injured or sick and can’t work. Normally, you’ll receive at least 50% of your income from the insurance company for as long you’re out of work (amount depends on the program you choose).  I think of most insurance as a necessary evil because it can be so expensive, and it often feels like I never use it. However, you only need one time where you wreck your car sliding on ice in a winter storm to know how important insurance is.  With that being said, I believe disability insurance is a great thing if you have the funds for it.

What are the Most Common Disability Claims?

Musculoskeletal  Disorders This is a fancy way to say joint, bone, and muscle pain. As many of us suffer from arthritis, this is one of the biggest claims to make.
Heart Disease Heart disease kills millions of people every year due to blocked arteries and obesity. If you had a heart attack or stroke, you could easily claim disability.
Cancer I have never met a person who didn’t know someone who has either had or died from Cancer. If you get cancer, you’ll be covered by your insurance.
Mental Health The number of Veteran suicides per day is still around 20 per day. If you feel like you’re having a mental break, please talk to someone ASAP.
Digestive Disorders Eating MRE’s for 20 years can have a negative impact on your digestive system with disorders like IBS or Colitis. If you have to miss time for these issues, you should be protected by your insurance
Major injuries, such as sprains, strains, broken bones, and back issues If you pull your back out or slip and fall on ice, you will be covered by disability insurance for the full recovery.

What is a Waiting Period for Insurance?

Many people have difficulty understanding the fine print for health insurance or income protection insurance (disability insurance). To keep this simple, a waiting period is the amount of time you need to be disabled before you can collect your insurance benefits. For example, the most common waiting period is 90 days, which can seem like a long time if you’re out of work. This is always something to consider when buying an insurance plan because some of us can’t go 3 months without a paycheck. This is why it’s so important to have an emergency fund of at least 3 months pay in your savings.

How Do I know Which Insurance is best for me?

Choosing an insurance company can be one of the most unexpectedly stressful choices you must make for your family and their future. We researched 5 insurance companies that offer disability protection and have rated them based on their affordability, Coverage Plan, and their network. Always conduct your own research on issues this important, but if you’re short on time or need a place to start, this blog will give you a great place to learn.

What are the Grading Criteria?

More people in our country believe health insurance is unaffordable for them when, in reality, it is very attainable with basic budgeting skills. We have ranked each insurance on their price versus each competitor and have given you the cheapest and most expensive disability insurance available today. Although most companies have similar plans, they all do something a little different than each other. With this in mind, we looked at the coverage plans of each insurance and display each plan below. Finally, the network of the company has an impact on a specific population who live in rural areas without many doctors available. Companies with bigger networks have typically shown to offer better pricing and service.

Winner: Breeze Insurance

Breeze is a lesser-known company than Principal and Aflac, but they affordable, and they offer respectable plans for individuals and families.  Breeze is such a new company they have to be better at customer service and offer competitive prices for similar services to compete. If you remember when USAA was a small company and had the best customer service, this seems like a similar situation. I just hope they continue their efforts to satisfy customers when they get bigger and have more money (unlike USAA).

Affordability of Breeze

Breeze offers 3 distinct plans of coverage that range from about $13/month to $100 if you choose your own plan to fit your needs. The pricing all depends on the location and your annual income, so it can be difficult to list specific prices for everyone. I chose to use the State of Virginia for these prices, so just know places like California, Texas, New York, and Colorado will be more expensive. 4.5/5

Monthly Benefit Waiting Period Monthly Cost
Plan 1 $900 90 Days $13
Plan 2 $1,700 90 Days $21
Plan 3 $2,570 90 Days $30

Coverage Plans for Breeze

Each plan is relatively the same as the others, as the monthly cost and coverage is the biggest difference between them. One feature Breeze offers at no charge is the Supplemental Disability Insurance Rider, which provides extra coverage to help with medical and house bills. You can request a waiting period for any plan to be as low as 30 days, but the price goes up drastically once you go that route. With my monthly income, Breeze would cover about 70% of my income for Plan 3 and about 35% for Plan 1. I think the coverage is adequate, but if you’re only getting 35% of your income protected, it might make more sense to just put money in your emergency fund. With that consideration, I’d only buy Plan 3 over the first 2. 4.5/5

Flexibility

Flexibility is arguably the most important and overlooked part of any insurance because not everyone has the same circumstances. Many insurance companies can find loopholes in your plan to cancel your benefits or decrease the payout coming to you. Breeze provides the remedy to that predatory behavior by giving guaranteed insurability and a non-cancel policy until the end of your coverage, or the money has maxed out.  Imagine getting critically hurt and your insurance telling you the bills are too expensive, and they can’t cover you anymore. As shady and immoral as this is, it happens all the time to Americans with Cancer and MS. You’ll never have to worry about that with Breeze because they guarantee your coverage. 5/5

 

Coverage from Breeze
Future Increase
Residual Benefits
Supplemental Insurance
Own Occupation
Guaranteed Insurability
Automatic Benefit Increase
Non-Cancelable Policy

 

Why You Should Buy Breeze Insurance

With incredible flexibility at an affordable price, Breeze is an excellent option if you need to get disability insurance for yourself. As a smaller company, Breeze puts a lot of its focus on customer service and getting as many Americans as possible covered in case of emergency. With an overall score 0f 14/15, Breeze is a great option for anyone wanting to protect their income.

Runner-Up: The Standard

The Standard is one of the largest insurance companies in the country and provides one of the best disability insurance plans available. The Standard gets most of its business from insuring large corporations where they can offer great deals due to the volume of employees. Each premium will be different, but generally, the maximum amount of coverage per month is about $5,000. With an exemption from pre-existing conditions and a rehabilitation condition in each plan makes The Standard a great option.

Affordability of The Standard

The Standard offers 3 separate plans that can range from around $20/month to well over $100/month for the bigger, more comprehensive plan. One thing I don’t like about The Standard, they don’t offer an online quote for easier convenience of the customer. This makes it difficult to provide exact information on plans and pricing, but they do this because of the disparity between individual income and needs. Most people will have different quotes on disability insurance because everyone makes a different amount each month and has different circumstances than anyone else. 4/5

Coverage Plans for The Standard

The reason The Standard is so highly rated is the amount of coverage and support you get for the original price. They offer more options for coverage than most other insurance companies. The Catastrophic Accident insurance is something not everyone can offer because it normally means a much larger bill for the insurance. Read the list below to see what’s covered and what is not covered by The Standard. 5/5

Covered by The Standard
Partial Disability
Guaranteed Renewable
Non-Cancelable
Survivor Benefit
Rehabilitation Benefit
Total Disability Income Benefit

 

Flexibility

The flexibility shown by The Standard is really exceptional in the insurance world because most companies will never pay for the cost of living changes. The hospital confinement indemnity is another unique situation that The Standard covers for their customers. For example, if you are mentally ill or need to be placed in a hospital for extended care, The Standard will pay a portion of that bill to ease your burden. 4.5/5

 

Coverage from The Standard
Future Increase
Residual Benefits
Supplemental Insurance X
Own Occupation
Guaranteed Insurability
Automatic Benefit Increase
Non-Cancelable Policy
Catastrophic Accident
Cost of Living Adjustment
Critical Illness Protection
Hospital Confinement Indemnity

Why You Should Buy The Standard Insurance

As one of the largest insurance companies in the country, a company you work for is likely affiliated with The Standard. If your company is backed by The Standard, you will get better deals on individual disability insurance than you would if you didn’t already put into the system. The amount of coverage and flexibility offered by the Standard is great for someone who feels they need the maximum amount of coverage from injury or illness. Think school teacher, policeman, and construction worker. 13.5/15

3rd Place: Policy Genius

Policy Genius was chosen because they offer a service, unlike any other insurance company we know of in the United States. Policy Genius is a mediator between the prospective customer and the insurance company by comparing and contrasting every insurance company we have in this country. They’re paid a commission by the insurance companies for each application processed by each company. The commissions are roughly the same, so they claim to not hold any favorites. This business model allows them to stay neutral and maintain an informational base for customers to start their search. In fact, I encourage everyone reading this to call Policy Genius first so they can give you a quote from every company you’re interested in.

Affordability of Policy Genius

I could argue that Policy Genius is the most affordable of any company you’ll deal with because they can accurately compare every insurance company. I recommend starting here because you could try to use these quotes to your advantage when dealing with insurance salesmen over the phone. I’m not saying people are going to take advantage of you, but I like to have the facts before I start to discuss rates with someone. The best thing about the pricing with Policy Genius is they have been the most accurate company in the quotes they provide for their customers. 5/5

Coverage Plans for Policy Genius

Policy Genius is one of the best ways to compare and contrast insurances, but the level of coverage seems to be much lower than buying directly from the source (Standard, Principal, Breeze, etc…). They provide the basics, such as a non-cancelable plan that prevents the company from backing out on their obligations and destroying your life. Although they don’t offer the same as The Standard, they ensure you get the best possible price from each company, which has to count for something. 3/5

Covered by Policy Genius
Partial Disability X
Guaranteed Renewable X
Non-Cancelable
Survivor Benefit X
Rehabilitation Benefit X
Total Disability Income Benefit X

Flexibility of Policy Genius

The flexibility of Policy Genius is kind of deceiving when you think about the type of company they are. As a mediator, they provide incredible flexibility in choosing a company, but they don’t have a ton of features they can guarantee you. I like the idea that my premium is set and won’t be changed (future increase rider), but I have a problem with the lack of options, such as catastrophic accident protection and no help with the hospital bills associated with the injury. 3/5

Coverage from The Standard
Future Increase
Residual Benefits
Supplemental Insurance X
Own Occupation
Guaranteed Insurability X
Automatic Benefit Increase X
Non-Cancelable Policy
Catastrophic Accident X
Cost of Living Adjustment X
Critical Illness Protection X
Hospital Confinement Indemnity X

Why You Should Use Policy Genius

 

Who is Kimber America?

Who is Kimber America?

Kimber America got its start in 1979 in a town called Clackamas, Oregon, by a father and son duo named Jack and Greg Warne. They began by manufacturing small caliber rifles (.22 caliber), but after their reputation in the Northwest grew, they decided to expand their business. Unfortunately, the company was sold in the later ’80s and had a lot of trouble staying in business, so they liquidated their assets. In 1990, Greg Warne tried to resuscitate the Kimber brand, but all of their equipment was outdated and thrown in a junkyard. Finally, with the financial backing of Les Edleman, Kimber of Oregon was rejuvenated with a fresh look and state of the art equipment. Eventually, Les Edelman bought out Greg Warne and built the company to what it is today.

Kimber Pistols

Kimber has been revitalized with their famous 1911 models to their Micro 9 for excellent concealed carry capabilities. Most of know about the history of the Browning 1911 and how that gun changed the way future guns were built and operated. Kimber has taken the original design and revamped it to make it original with a sleeker look and smoother operation. We will discuss the Warrior, TLE II,  Micro 9, and the K6S revolver to give you a better understanding of some of their best selling pistols.

Kimber Warrior 1911

The Kimber Warrior is their full-sized model of 1911 that is designed for both law enforcement and as a civilian home-defense weapon. With an ambidextrous safety lever and tactical Picatinny rail under the barrel, the Warrior is great for every pistol owner. Weighing only 2.4 lbs and a 4 lb trigger pull increases control of the firearm, thus increasing the accuracy of the pistol.

Specs:

Kimber Warrior
Weight 2.44 lbs
Height 5.25″
Barrel Length 5″
Overall Length 8.7″
Width 1.28″
Trigger Pull Weight 4-5 lbs
Caliber .45 ACP
Magazine Capacity 7+1
MSRP $1,200

 

 Buy Here

Pros:

  • .45 ACP provides excellent stopping power
  • The 4-5 lb trigger pull is better than most other .45 ACP handguns
  • Perfect for Law Enforcement as a primary carry pistol
  • Aesthetically beautiful
  • Accurate
  • Dependable
  • I love the trigger!

Cons:

  • Steep price
  • Felt recoil is still a lot (16lbs)

Features:

  •  Ambidextrous thumb safety, lanyard slot, and bumped grip safety
  • G-10 grips and 24 lines-per-inch front strap checkering
  • Tactical Wedge night sights
  • Kimber Tactical Rail permits quick and secure accessory attachment
  • KimPro® II finish offers outstanding additional resistance to chemicals, moisture, salt, and UV light

Why You Should Buy the Kimber Warrior

The Kimber Warrior is as good as any other 1911 model you’ll find on the market, including from its original makers, Browning. If you’re a police officer, join your fellow LAPD officers in switching to the Kimber 1911 and feel more secure on the streets. Chambered as a .45 caliber pistol, the accuracy and dependability are better than most other 1911 models. Typically, a .45 caliber pistol is a little wider, since it has to hold bigger rounds, but the Warrior is only 1.2 inches wide and has an effortless and smooth trigger pull weight of 4 lbs. If you can get over the cost of Kimber pistols, this is a great option to have superior stopping power without the added weight and bulky feel.

Pro Tip: If you choose to go with the Kimber Warrior, I’d look at the Desert Warrior before I go with the original model. The Desert Warrior from Kimber is so beautiful; you’ll find yourself staring at the craftsmanship with no intention to handle or fire the gun.

Where Can I buy the Kimber Warrior?

You can buy the Kimber Warrior from its website directly or from almost any gun store in the country, such as Cabelas, Palmetto State Armory, Field and Stream, Brownells, Armslist,  and Gun Broker. If it were up to me, I’d buy from Palmetto State Armory because of the warranties and quality of service. It’s also owned and operated by a Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). It’s always nice to support a fellow Veteran who sells an excellent product with great customer service.

Kimber TLE II

The Kimber Tactical Law Enforcement II pistol is the gun of choice for thousands of police and federal law enforcement agents across the country. The TLE model is almost identical to the Warrior model of 1911, except the weight, which is lighter in the TLE. As most police officers know, there are often guidelines and restrictions for attachments that can go on your duty pistol. The TLE is made safe for law enforcement by removing the Picatinny rail underneath the barrel and installing 3-dot tritium night sights. It comes in different finishes, but I would select the stainless steel model without any hesitation.

Specs:

Kimber TLE II
Weight 2.37 lbs
Height 5.25″
Barrel Length 5″
Overall Length 8.7″
Width 1.28″
Trigger Pull Weight 4-5 lbs
Caliber .45 ACP
Magazine Capacity 7+1
MSRP $900

Kimber Stainless TLE/RL II .45 ACP 1911 Pistol with Night Sights - 3200140

 

  Buy Here

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Accurate
  • Great Trigger Pull
  • Dependable
  • Awesome stopping power
  • The same great trigger assembly

Cons:

  • Very expensive versus comparable models

Features:

  • 30 lines-per-inch front strap checkering and flat top slide
  • Integrated mainspring lanyard loop and aggressively textured G-10 grips
  • Match-grade three-hole trigger, low-profile 3-dot tritium night sights

Why You Should Buy the TLE II

I would buy this model of 1911 over the Warrior because you can save around $400 and get a gun that is a little lighter, has better sights, and as dependable as the Warrior. This pistol is made for law enforcement and military, so remember you’re not going to be able to add many attachments on it, such as lights and lasers. The simplistic features and minimalist design is made specifically for police officers who are not allowed to add attachments to their pistols.

Kimber Micro 9

Kimber Micro 9
Weight .94 lbs
Height 4.07″
Barrel Length 3.15″
Overall Length 6.1″
Width 1.06″
Trigger Pull Weight 7 lbs
Caliber 9mm
Magazine Capacity 6+1
MSRP $650

 Buy Here

 

Pros:

  • One of the best concealed carry pistols
  • Less than 1 pound in weight!
  • 3″ barrel is perfect for any concealment option
  • 9mm makes it cheaper to own than a .45 caliber
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Heavy trigger pull
  • Very expensive

Features:

  • Single-action trigger
  • new lowered and flared ejection port for easy loading and unloading
  • All metal, stainless steel
  • American Made

Why You Should Buy the Kimber Micro 9

The Micro nine can fit into a pocket, purse, holster, backpack, and glovebox without taking up room or disrupting your convenience. The only thing I’m not a fan of is the 7 lb trigger pull, which is heavier than most other 9mm chambered pistols. This is the perfect pistol women and smaller men as a concealed carry pistol because it’s less than a pound and is only 1″ wide. This provides excellent control for any sized adult, and the 7 lb trigger pull is specifically designed as an added safety feature.

Kimber K6s

The Kimber K6s is the revolver made by Kimber America and boasts an incredibly sleek and practical design, specially made for concealed carry situations. Some people might ask, why would I choose a revolver over the Micro 9mm or Warrior? The easy answer is nothing says get back like a .357 Magnum staring you in the face with six opportunities to hit your target. The trigger pull is heavy, and the 2″ barrel forces you to take shots from no more than 20 meters away if you want an accurate shot. The recoil is heavier with a .357 bullet, but there is no doubt that all you need is one hit from this revolver to get your point across. I don’t think anyone can walk through a .357 Magnum, but I have seen people walk through a 9mm round.

Kimber K6S
Weight 1.44 lbs
Height 4.46″
Barrel Length 2″
Overall Length 6.62″
Width 1.39″
Trigger Pull Weight 9.5lbs
Caliber .357 Magnum
Magazine Capacity 6-shot cylinder
MSRP $950

 

 Buy Here

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Easily concealed anywhere
  • Durable
  • Accurate to about 20 meters
  • .357 Magnum offers great stopping power

Cons:

  • Very heavy trigger pull
  • Limited in distance firing
  • Very expensive

Features:

  • Superior Ergonomic Grip Contour
  • Smooth No-Stack Double Action Trigger
  • Stainless Steel 2″ Barrel
  • 6-Shot Capacity
  • Low-Profile Removable Front and Rear Dovetail Sights

Why You Should Buy The K6s Revolver

This revolver is a great second-chance gun that provides unmatched stopping power versus any gun this size made with all stainless steel. I would carry this as a back up if I were a police officer and was comfortable carrying an ankle holster or even on my belt.

Accessories

Attachments on your pistol are all about personal preference on what feels right and what makes the gun better for you to use. Except for some of the TLE and the Micro 9 models, every other gun has room for attachments, such as lights, lasers, and aftermarket sights.  I always recommend placing a light on your pistols, especially if it’s used as a self-defense pistol for your home. Many people love the idea of lasers to help guide you without looking down the sights, but remember that whoever you’re aiming at can see that laser too. I also place night sights on all of my pistols because they are easier for target identification in low light scenarios.

VORTEX VENOM RED DOT 6MOA 1X MAGNIFICATION

The Vortex Venom Red Dot sight is one of my favorite aftermarket sights you could use for any gun you plan to shoot at shorter distances. The rapid target identification is ushered in by the ultra-wide window and the massive 6 MOA dot in the center. Weighing only an ounce, this sight won’t throw off the weight of the pistol, so you don’t have to worry about your aim being off when it comes time to fire.  Besides the reflective protection and the ArmorTec coating applied to the Vortex, the best feature is the unlimited eye relief. Having unlimited eye relief for a sight means you don’t have to squint to see the dot and focus on your target, and you can keep both eyes open if you want.

 

 Learn More

 

TRUGLO LASER SIGHT MICRO-TAC GREEN

Personally, I don’t like lasers on my pistols because I always add light and aftermarket sights, but I understand the desire to have a laser. For starters, a laser can be great for those who have trouble aiming down the sights, such as physically disabled shooters or someone with poor vision. This specific sight will display a high powered green laser that shoots a laser at 520 nm, which will get you about 40 meters in front of you. Regardless, it’s more than enough for anything you’re going to shoot at with a pistol.

 

TruGlo Laser Sight Micro-Tac Green - TG7630G

 Buy Here

 

SUREFIRE X300 ULTRA WEAPON LIGHT

I’ve mentioned before that I carry a weapon light on all of my pistols because of the tactical advantage it offers. The two reasons to have a pistol is for a self-defense gun to protect or family or if you’re a competitive shooter. With this in mind, a good weapon light should be able to disorient and temporarily blind an intruder if they stepped into your house. This Surefire X300 displays 500 lumens of white light that will blind anyone looking at it within 20 meters of you, giving you a tactical advantage over your adversary.

 

SureFire X300 Ultra Weapon Light, 6V, 600 Lumens - X300U-A

 Buy Here

 

Conclusion

Kimber America is a weapon manufacturer that produces all of its products in the United States and has been in business for over 30 years. Their guns are expensive, but they’re very well made with the utmost care and consideration for their customers. The Desert Warrior is one of their best selling pistols because of the high stopping power, accuracy, and durability. I believe every law enforcement officer should consider the TLE II as their primary carry pistol due to its adherence to departmental regulations. Kimber America may not be the best-known company we have, but they’re definitely worth getting to know if you want a great American made gun.

 

How Do Veterans Pay for School?

How Do Veterans Afford College?

One of the coolest things about this job is that I get to help my fellow Veterans with issues that I have already been through. College is only getting more expensive with the shift from higher education institutions to billion-dollar businesses. As of right now, the average cost for an in-state student in the US is about $10,000 and $26,000 out of state per year. This comes out to an astounding $104,000 for a 4-year degree that will undoubtedly keep you in debt for your whole life. According to the Federal Reserve, the average student debt ranges from $200-300 per month and lasts a lifetime. With this knowledge, how the hell are we supposed to afford school and not be in debt for the rest of our lives? This blog will give you all the information about applying, maintaining, and getting the most out of your Veteran benefits.

Post 9/11 G.I. Bill

I got out of the military in 2011 after serving my 4-year enlistment and decided to go to school immediately once I got out. I had to make a choice whether I was going to get the Post 9/11 or the Montgomery GI Bill and really had no idea what to choose. Luckily I chose right and picked the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill and was able to have my tuition and room and board paid for. The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill is available to anyone who has served on active duty after 9/11/2001 for at least 3 years and has been granted an honorable discharge.  This is by far the best and most comprehensive benefit for Veterans to take advantage of.  However, there are a lot of misconceptions about the benefit that people are never told until they experience it. This section will give you everything you need to know to make the best decision for you and your family.

How Much Does the Post 9/11 GI Bill Cover?
100% 36 or more total months
100% 30 or more consecutive days on active duty with a disability-related discharge
90% 30 total months
80% 24 total months
70% 18 total Months
60% 12 total months
50% 6 total months
40% 90 or more days

How Do I Apply for Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits?

As we learn to crawl before we learn to walk, I want to first teach you how to apply to the benefits you’ve earned with your hard work for your nation. Before you apply you’re going to need personal information (table below) so the VA and the educational institution can verify your credentials. There are multiple ways you can apply, whether it be by mail, in person, with the help of an advocate, or online. There is no reason that I could think of that would be a good reason to not apply online. It will take you about 10 minutes to apply to your benefits and you will receive a confirmation email that it was received, immediately (Save this email). It will take anywhere from a week to 90 days for the VA to confirm your benefits and start the process with your school.

What Information Do I Need to Apply for Education Benefits?
Social Security Number
Direct Deposit from registered bank
Education and military history
Basic information about the school or training facility

What Happens After I Apply?

Once you apply for your benefits, you’ll receive the ruling from the VA normally within 30 days of submitting your application. One the VA has made its decision, you’ll receive a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) in the mail if you’ve been granted your benefits. Once you get this letter, safeguard it with your life and bring it to the certifying official at your prospective school (every public university has one).

Pro Tip: Make sure you fill out everything correctly because once you submit the application, you can’t go back for any reason. If you have all of your documentation submitted, this process will be shorter than if you don’t have everything submitted.

What are the Major Benefits from the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

There are a lot of benefits from this Bill, but the major ones are tuition (up to 100%), $1,000 per year for books, and a monthly stipend for housing (BAH). The most deceiving and misunderstood aspect of the 9/11 Bill is the idea that no matter what, 100% of your tuition is covered. This is not accurate at all because each state and University has different pricing and costs associated with the school. We will get into this later, I just want you to start thinking about how much your prospective school will cost. On way to find out how much your school will cover, is to put your information in the VA comparison tool. This will allow you to see if the school you want to go to is a realistic option or it’s too expensive for your financial situation.

  1. Tuition up to 100%
  2. BAH is dependent on your zip code. Rated at E-5 with dependents up to 36 months
  3. $1,000 a year for books

Does the Post 9/11 GI Bill Cover Part-Time School?

Yes, you can use your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits even if you’re only going to school part-time, but they will only cover the number of credits taken. For example, if you apply and are granted GI Bill Benefits, you can take as low as 1 class per semester and your class will be paid off. This may sound like a good idea, but you’d be wasting thousands of dollars using your GI Bill in this way. The Post 9/11 covers up to full-time students for 36 months, meaning that if you only take one class per semester, that still counts towards your 36 months. So, to get the most out of your GI Bill, its best to take at least 12 credits.

Can I Transfer My Educational benefits to my family?

Yes, but there are a lot of stipulations that must be met first if you want your child or wife/husband to receive your education benefits. The military wants at least 10 years of service for you to transfer because they feel like if you’re not going to use your entitlement, they want more commitment out of you. If you’re interested in applying for a Transfer of Entitlement (TOE), click here and get started.

How Can I Transfer My Education Benefits to My Family?
1. You must be on Active Duty or

2. Be in the Selected Reserve

3. You must have 6 years of active duty service with the promise to serve 4 more years (10 total)
4. If you have 10 years of service and for whatever reason can’t commit to more time, you are eligible for transfer benefits
5.  The person receiving benefits must be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)
6. All dependents are eligible for transfer

When Can My Child or Spouse Use the GI Bill?

For whatever reason, the VA has decided there are two separate standards to follow to get your benefits and when you can use those benefits. I created a table below for you to check which one you fall into so you can plan accordingly with your family.

Husband/Wife Child
When Can They Use the Benefit? Immediately once the COE is received and the school certifies the letter Only after 10 years of service has been completed under honorable conditions
Can They Use the Benefit on Active Duty? Yes Yes
Is there a Timeline when these benefits expire? After 15 years of separation date Have to use before their 26th birthday
What About Housing Allowance (BAH)? Can’t use while on active duty qualified to receive BAH, regardless of your active duty status
Other Qualifications? none Must be at least 18 years old or received a high school diploma

 

What are Survivors and Dependents Education Assistance?

The Dependents Educational Assistance Program (DEA) is specifically designed for anyone who has lost their father, mother, husband, or wife in the line of duty. This program is designed to give spouses and dependents a way to further themselves through higher education, due to a catastrophic loss. As a proud sponsor of the Navy SEALS and Green Beret Foundation, we highly encourage those who’ve suffered unimaginable loss to look into the DEA program or the Fry Scholarship, which we’ll explain below.

Survivor Child
Do I qualify for Benefits? Yes, your benefit starts the day of the soldier’s death Yes, must be 18 years old to start
Do these Benefits Run Out? Yes, must use before 10 years after the death or disability of the Veteran (20 years if your sponsor died on active duty) Yes, ends after the 26th birthday of the child
How Do I Know if I’m Eligible for these Benefits?
  • Is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability, or
  • Died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability, or
  • Is missing in action or was captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or
  • Was forcibly detained (held) or interned in the line of duty by a foreign entity, or
  • Is in the hospital or getting outpatient treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability (effective December 23, 2006)
  • Is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability, or
  • Died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability, or
  • Is missing in action or was captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or
  • Was forcibly detained (held) or interned in the line of duty by a foreign entity, or
  • Is in the hospital or getting outpatient treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability (effective December 23, 2006)
What Benefits Do I Qualify For?
  • College or graduate degree programs
  • Career-training certificate courses
  • Educational and career counseling
  • Apprenticeships
  • On-the-job training
  • College or graduate degree programs
  • Career-training certificate courses
  • Educational and career counseling
  • Apprenticeships
  • On-the-job training

What Is the Yellow Ribbon Program?

The Yellow Ribbon Program is the unsung hero to higher education in the form of the educational institution taking a portion of the bill. The Yellow Ribbon Program is designed to assist students who qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and still have tuition left over. For example, I went to West Virginia University (WVU) and once I got there, I realized my GI Bill would not cover full tuition because I was out of state. Luckily, WVU is a partner in the Yellow Ribbon Program and the school agreed to pay the remainder of the bill. Not all schools are partners of the Yellow Ribbon, so call your school and ask if they’re a Yellow Ribbon partner.

What Happens if I need an Extra Year of Benefits?

There are a couple ways to go about this, first, you can apply for an extension of 1 year of 9/11 GI Bill benefits, secondly, you can apply for Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment benefits. If you use your 4-year benefit and need a fifth, you can apply for an extra year, but you must have a plan to finish your degree. I personally used this extension because I needed an extra semester to graduate.

Want to Learn More: Read Veterans Could Recieve an Extra Year of GI Bill Benefits

 

Conclusion

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is an educational benefit that every veteran receives if he/she serves under honorable conditions and serves at least 3 years on Active Duty or Selected Reserve. You can use this benefit to completely pay for your school, training, or pay of your child or spouses college. The GI Bill covered 5 years of my education at WVU and combing that with Vocational Rehabilitation (Next blog) got me a Master’s degree without paying $1.00. The Post 9/11 GI Bill, along with the Yellow Ribbon Program, paid over $70,000 to WVU and for my food and housing. If you’re not sure you want to continue education after your service, read this quote from arguably the greatest American of all time, “Upon the subject of education… I can only say that I view it as the most important subject that we as a people may be engaged in” Abraham Lincoln.

 

Remington 700

Remington 700 Buyer’s Guide

The Remington 700 is one of the most iconic sniper rifles made in the world today, due to its incredible range, durability, and reliability. It’s so versatile and reliable that the United States Military has made this their sniper rifle of choice, called the M24 Sniper Rifle. It is used as the primary Sniper Rifle for every branch of the military and by thousands of hunters across our country. The Remington 700 is relatively cheap versus other top brands and can be accessorized with scopes, stocks, grips, lights, lasers,  and many other sight options.

Remington 700

There are many variants of the Remington 700 with different calibers for multiple chambers, depending on what you need out of the gun. I hope that you’ll get an understanding of the Remington 700 so you can make the best decision for you and your family. Coming in at 8.99 pounds and about 41.5 inches, this rifle is very big and long, which can make it difficult to conceal and travel with. However, for its size, the 700 is relatively light and distributes the weight throughout the rifle better than a lot of other long rifles. The bolt is very smooth and assists in ejecting the spent cartridge while simultaneously chambering the next round.

Specs:

Remington 700
Weight 8.99 lbs
Barrel Length 16.5-26″
Overall Length 41.5″
Caliber 30-06, 7.62mm, .300 Win Mag
Magazine Capacity 3-6 round internal magazine
Twist Rate 1:10
MSRP $429.00

Pros:

  • Very durable
  • Reliable
  • Accurate
  • Affordable
  • Great Picatinny Rail System
  • Perfect for hunters covering a large amount of ground

Cons:

  • Trigger inconsistency

Features:

  • Comes with Picatinny Rail System
  • Bolt-Action fired rifle
  • Hinged floor-plate for quick reload
  • Comes in multiple barrel lengths for hunters who need to reach longer or shorter distances
  • Multiple cartridge types for added/subtracted stopping power

Why You Should Buy a Remington 700

You should buy this gun if you hunt large ungulates, such as deer, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep. I will break down the specific models below, but any Remington 700 you buy will allow you to hunt Deer and Sheep, and you’ll need at least a 30-06 to hunt elk and moose. This is also a great gun for beginners because of its simplicity, and it comes in so many different configurations that it’s easy to find one that fits for you.

Where Can I Buy a Remington 700?

The three main places we buy our guns from are Palmetto State Armory (PSA), Brownells, and The Utah Gun Exchange because of the security and quality products it puts out. You could also you a place like Gun Broker, but I prefer having the peace of mind knowing if I buy a gun it’s going to be in excellent condition or it will be fixed. I know from experience that Palmetto State has a warranty on everything they sell, so they get a lot of my business. You can get a great deal for under $500 for a base model 700 at PSA.

 

Remington 700

 

Remington 700 ADL

The Remington 700 ADL model is the most straightforward, simplistic, and durable design of any of the Remington 700 models. With the many different models of the 700, it’s easy to get confused about what each one means and the differences between them. ADL means “Average Deluxe,” which is a kind way of saying the ADL is the average model of the 700.  The ADL has something called a “blind” magazine, which is a chamber that loads and unloads from the same port. Unfortunately, the ADL was discontinued in 2005 and replaced with the BDL (Better Deluxe) model to change the blind magazine to a hinged magazine, which I’ll explain below.

Specs:

Remington 700 ADL
Weight 7 lbs
Barrel Length 24″
Overall Length 43 5/8″
Caliber .223 Winchester
Twist Rate 1:10
Magazine Capacity 3, 4
Length of Pull 13 3/8″
MSRP $429.00

 

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Why You Should Buy This Gun

You should buy this gun if you’re looking for a more traditional looking hunting rifle that operates at the highest levels of accuracy and reliability. The slick design is absolutely beautiful and will bring you back to your roots with the Walnut stock and forend. This is a great gun for any hunter and is designed to easily shoot at ranges above 400-500 meters and remain accurate shot after shot.

Remington 700 SPS Left-Handed Rifle

The Remington 700 Special Purpose Synthetic (SPS) was the official replacement to the affordable ADL model with an improved stock and holes drilled in the receiver specifically for the addition of the scope. As many of my fellow lefty’s can tell you, it’s rough finding a gun that doesn’t send brass in our face or doesn’t have the safety on our opposite shooting hand side. The Remington 700 SPS makes me feel more comfortable than almost (I want a Tikka T3!) any other rifle on the market today. Sometimes we become so accustomed to adjusting to the majority of the population that we fail to remember what comfort feels like. I can tell all my lefties out there that if they have never felt comfortable behind a rifle, maybe you need to try one that is meant for you.

Specs:

Remington 700 SPS
Weight 7  lbs
Barrel Length 20″
Overall Length 39 5/8″
Caliber 7mm-08 Remington
Twist Rate 9 1/4
Magazine Capacity 4
Length of Pull 12 3/8″
MSRP $557.86

Pros:

  • Lightest 700 Model
  • A shorter length of pull than all other models
  • Made specifically for left-handed shooters
  • Very accurate for a much shorter barrel
  • Great recoil reduction

Cons:

  • Not made for long-distance shooting
  • 20″ barrel shortens your distance by about 100 yards versus other models

Why You Should Buy This Gun

Are you a left-handed hunter, that is tired of getting smacked in the face by brass and having to switch your grip to manipulate the safety and bolt? Well, the Remington 700 SPS model is the gun that fixes all of that by merely placing the ejection port and safety on the opposite side of the gun. I personally don’t like hunting with anything less than a 24″ barrel because I know for sure that a 24″ barrel will reach any animal at my comfortable distance. Also, hunting requires skill. So, if you’re making a 400 meter with a crosswind and rain, you’ll need to be an incredibly talented shooter with a 20″ barrel.

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Accessories

With any hunting rifle, there are multiple ways and accessories you can attach to make the best possible hunting platform. There are many ways to accessorize your rifle, but I recommend you keep it simple with what you put on your gun. Focus on what you actually need (scope) and less on what looks cool for your rifle (light, laser).  Once you realize this, you’ll have a great set up that doesn’t throw off the weight and feel of the gun. Another thing to consider when hunting with a rifle is range estimation. Knowing the distance you’re shooting at means everything to knowing what an acceptable shot for your skill level is.

LEUPOLD VX-FREEDOM 1.5-4X20MM RIFLESCOPE W/ TRI-MOA RETICLE

As far as scopes go, Leupold is the go-to brand name for most hunters and expert shooters that I’ve met and talked to about gear. Leupold is like the Apple of cell phones or the Mercedes of cars, except they provide the top of the market rifle and pistol scopes. This scope is excellent at distances up to 200 meters and displays excellent clarity with its 20mm lens to provide a bigger and brighter sight picture.

 

Leupold VX-Freedom Riflescope
Magnification 1-4x
Objective Lens Diameter 20mm
Reticle  Tri-MOA
Length 9.35″
Weight 9.6 oz (0.6 lbs)
Eye Relief 4.17-3.70 inches
Tube Diameter 1 inch
Field of View 74.2-29.4 ft/100 yd
MSRP 349.99

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LEUPOLD VX-6HD FIREDOT DUPLEX ILLUMINATED RETICLE RIFLE SCOPE

The VX-6HD model is one of the most advanced scopes you can buy under $2,000 due to its motion sensor technology that turns your reticle on and off based on what you see through the scope. This extends the battery life of the scope by months and saves you money in the process. The 6x High Definition and illuminated reticle display such amazing clarity that it doesn’t lose any clarity or brightness during twilight hours. As every hunter knows, the 1st hour of light and the last hour of light are the golden hours of hunting. This scope provides you with the best chance to make an accurate shot in low light situations.

Features:

  • Motion Sensor Technology dramatically extends battery life
  • Electronic reticle level simplifies mounting and improves long-range accuracy
  • Ultra-lightweight design
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • Guard-Ion lens coating
  • Reversible throw lever allows for quick magnification changes

 

Leupold VX-6HD Firedot Rifle Scope
Magnification 1-6x
Objective Lens Diameter 24mm
Reticle  Leupold Firedot Duplex
Length 10.76″
Weight 16.2 oz (1.01 lbs)
Eye Relief 3.70″-3.82″
Tube Diameter 1 inch
Field of View 123 ft/100 yards
MSRP 1399.99

 

 

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Conclusion

The decision to purchase a hunting rifle needs to be one that’s educated and calculated because the right rifle and gear mean putting food on your plate or not. The Remington 700 rifle has shown to be reliable, durable, accurate, and affordable to every American that would need a hunting a rifle. I prefer to have all my rifles with at least a 24″ barrel because of the range and accuracy at long ranges that longer and heavier rifles provide. No matter what decision you make, the information above gives you everything you need to make the best decision for your family. Happy Hunting!

Vudu Precision Rifle Scopes | EOTech

Vudu is the precision optic line of products brought to you through EOTech. You may know EOTech from introducing military holographic weapon sights in 2001, 5 years after revealing a holographic optic in conjunction with Bushnell. Since then, you can’t swing a bushel of Kandahar Kush without running into a US warfighter using the beloved “donut of death” to introduce martyrs to 72 virgins (if you believe that sort of thing. I don’t, but the only good martyr is a dead one, right?).

SOCOM has used early models of EOTechs since 2001, and I still remember my issued 553 model. We actually just got the new EXPS models delivered to the team room last year to address the infamous temperature issues with the earlier models. No problems since with temperature drift, to EOTech’s credit. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that EOTech, in response to the temperature drift fiasco, covered the consumer by issuing a full credit or refund to affected customers. High-class company if you ask me.

In 2016, EOTech introduced the Vudu line of precision rifle scopes. They’re still relatively new, but you can go to any local 3 gun or Precision Rifle Series match and find someone using one of these optics. They run the gamut in magnification to the ever-popular run and gun 1-6x to an 8-32x model for extreme long range shooting. If you’re looking for a magnified optic at a competitive price point, take a look at the Vudu line.

Rifle Scopes

Vudu 1-6x Precision Rifle Scope

The 1-6x variant will surely be a favorite for 3 gunners or folks looking to build a recce rifle. This optic is a low power variable optic (LPVO) and is a fantastic all-around option, especially for AR-type rifles. What I like about the Vudu 1-6x is how well it compares to the Vortex Razor 1-6x (which many would consider the gold standard for LPVOs).

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‘Donut of Death’

The Japanese glass, just like the Razor, is extremely clear and has great edge-to-edge clarity. My favorite feature of this optic is the aforementioned “donut of death” reticle is preserved. When looking through the optic on 1x, the reticle looks exactly like looking through an EOTech 553 or EXPS. Only when you power up to higher magnifications is the finer crosshair or BDC revealed. The Vudu is smaller and lighter than the Vortex offering, but not by much.  A really cool carry-over feature from EOTech holographic weapon sights is the auto-off feature. That means your Vudu illumination will automatically shut off after 2 hours to better conserve your battery life.

BDC Reticle and Illumination

Where the Vudu needs improvement is the BDC reticle and illumination. The SR-2 and SR-3 BDC reticles will absolutely need some tinkering to ensure your rifle and projectile will match up to the BDCs. The SR-1, on the other hand, is a standard crosshair with hashes that will work with any combination of caliber and rifle.  The reticle brightness leaves much to be desired, but it’s a common problem with LPVOs. The red LED appears to bleed a bit throughout the reticle, giving it a splotchy appearance. Not a deal-breaker, but something to consider.

Overall, it’s a very usable scope, especially for 3 gun purposes. The reticle on 1x is superb and allows for high-speed target engagements. The glass clarity is on par with optics in a much higher price range, and the battery saving feature is a great touch.

Specifications

  • Magnification: 1-6x
  • Objective diameter: 24mm
  • Tube diameter: 30mm
  • Reticle Focal Plane: First Focal Plane (FFP)
  • Reticle: SR-1 (MRAD), SR-2 (7.62 BDC), or SR-3 (5.56 BDC)
  • Dial Adjustment: MOA
  • Linear Field of View: 16.7-102.4’ at 100 yds (max to min magnification)
  • Illumination: Yes, red
  • Eye Relief: 3.1-.3.9”
  • Length: 10.63”
  • Weight: 19.75 oz
  • Price: $999.99 from Optics Planet and Palmetto State Armory

Vudu 2.5-10x Precision Rifle Scope

The next offering from EOTech’s Vudu line is the 2.5-10×44 scope. To me, this is a great mid-range scope as it reminds me of the venerable Leupold Mk4 MR/T 2.5-10x. Where EOTech improved upon the old Leupold is having a 44mm objective lens. The wider the objective lens, the more light is collected, and the clearer the glass appears. 44mm is a good choice because it’s small enough to still mount on an AR without necessitating an abnormally tall mount.

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The Reticle

What I like about this optic is the reticle: you can order this bad boy with a Horus H59. This is one of my all-time favorite reticles because it works across a range of calibers and rifles. Holding for windage and elevation is… wait for it… “a breeze!” I couldn’t help myself, but you get the idea. It’s effortless.

Just like the Vudu 1-6x, the 2.5-10x inherited the auto-off feature and extremely clear glass. The non-H59 reticles are simple crosshairs in MRAD or MOA dimensions, which any military shooter will appreciate.

For a scope this size, you’d usually expect a 30mm main tube. However, this optic is a 34mm deal. This isn’t necessarily a negative, but it definitely feels quite a bit beefier (though not necessarily heavier) than a comparable scope. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to find whatever rings or mounts you want as everyone makes a 34mm set. (I love Leupold, but their new 35mm Mk5 is weird).

This is an excellent option for a recce rifle (think Mk12 or 18” AR) or hunting rifle. You can make good engagements out to 800m, no problem with this magnification range.

Specifications

  • Magnification: 2.5-10x
  • Objective diameter: 44mm
  • Tube diameter: 34mm
  • Reticle Focal Plane: First Focal Plane (FFP)
  • Reticle: MD-1 (MRAD), MD-2 (MOA), or H59 (MRAD)
  • Dial Adjustment: MD-1 and H59: MRAD; MD-2: MOA
  • Linear Field of View: 10.2-41’’ at 100 yds (min to max magnification)
  • Illumination: Yes, red
  • Eye Relief: 3.2-.3.9”
  • Length: 14.84”
  • Weight: 30.97 oz
  • Price: $1149.99 at Optics Planet

Vudu 3.5-18x Precision Rifle Scope

With 3.5-18x, we can start to get into the long range game with much more precision. This is a great overall magnification range to go on a ram hunt in the mountains or compete in a Precision Rifle Series match.

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MD-1, MD-2 Reticles

I’m not super crazy about the MD-1 or MD-2 reticles, but they are simple and easy to use for a variety of purposes. The benefit of this bad boy is that you can have it with the excellent H59. We’ll eventually have to do a whole piece on the H59 and other tree-style reticles, but check out this link for a little explanation. Todd Hodnett is the modern godfather of long range shooting and developed a lot of the formulas in modern ballistic apps. This dude literally drew up a new reticle for the 6.5 Creedmoor on a napkin for the US Army contract.

Like everything else in the Vudu line, this 3.5-18×50 version has excellent glass quality and edge to edge clarity. It’s heavy, but it’s still nearly 10oz lighter than the Vortex Razor 3-18x. That is a significant difference when you’re humping a bolt gun around through the Appalachian Mountains, believe me. The eye relief did take a little getting used to, but that could also be because I’ve been using LPVOs a lot recently. I only found it an issue in awkward positions, but after a few training reps, I was good to go.

Specifications

  • Magnification: 3.5-18x
  • Objective diameter: 50mm
  • Tube diameter: 34mm
  • Reticle Focal Plane: First Focal Plane (FFP)
  • Reticle: MD-1 (MRAD), MD-2 (MOA), or H59 (MRAD)
  • Dial Adjustment: MD-1 and H59: MRAD; MD-2: MOA
  • Linear Field of View: 5.7-29.5’’ at 100 yds
  • Illumination: Yes, red
  • Eye Relief: 3.5-.4”
  • Length: 14.84”
  • Weight: 33.6 oz
  • Price: $1299.99 (MD-1 and MD-2); $1499,99 (H59) at Optics Planet

Vudu 8-32×50 SFP

This, along with the 5-25x, are EOTech’s submissions into the extreme long range shooting disciplines. The only thing I really have to say about this optic, that hasn’t already been said, is that I’d like to see a reticle option in MRAD versus MOA only.

MRAD and MOA

As a military shooter, I learned to range estimate and shoot using MRAD (milliradians or sometimes just mils). Mils are easier to communicate and change on the fly, but I will say that MOA can give you a finer adjustment. Like most things, it comes down to personal preference. I will say that if your shooting buddies are using MOA, stick with MOA. If your buddies shoot MRAD, use MRAD. That will give you the best way to make adjustments in common vernacular, relatively speaking. Either way, use what you’re comfortable with, and you can’t go wrong.

50mm Objective Lens

Overall though, the 8-32x is very usable. It’s still very clear on the high end, and I like how they were able to cram a lot of performance in a relatively small package. At less than 11” overall length and not even 33oz, it’s convenient. The 50mm objective lens offers a lot of light, and for this model, I’d probably opt for using the included sunshade, though it will add length and weight to a pretty light package.

Specifications

  • Magnification: 8-32x
  • Objective diameter: 50mm
  • Tube diameter: 30mm
  • Reticle Focal Plane: First Focal Plane (FFP)
  • Reticle: HC-2 (MOA)
  • Dial Adjustment: MOA
  • Linear Field of View: 3.3-13.2’’ at 100 yds
  • Illumination: Yes, red
  • Eye Relief: 3.39- 3.86”
  • Length: 10.63”
  • Weight: 32.7 oz
  • Price: $1299.99 at Optics Planet

Vudu 3.5-18×50 SFP

Ah, finally, an excuse to talk about the difference between a First Focal Plane (FFP) and Second Focal Plane (SFP)! Ok, so we already discussed the FFP version of this optic. This optic has all the same features (auto-off, included throw lever, fantastic glass, etc.) as the previously discussed FFP version. The FFP 3.5-18 Vudu has more reticle options than the SFP version, which only has an HC-1 MOA crosshair. Maybe that’s not so bad, though?

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FFP Reticle

With an FFP reticle, your reticle size changes with magnification. The most popular advantage of this is that your holds will be the same at any magnification. Whether or not you can actually see the vertical stadia line hash marks on 4x is another story, but you get the idea. For the Vudu LPVOs, the FFP versions give you the ability to have the sacred “donut of death” on low power, and a finer aiming reticle when you zoom in to higher power.

SFP Reticle

Using an SFP reticle, the reticle stays the same size throughout the magnification range. This means that you need to know your holds at each power and at each range… which gets old for me. My only SFP optic I own is my Vortex Razor, and I only use the holds on that at max power, so it doesn’t bother me.

Personally, I would get this scope in the FFP version for the reticle options and that I prefer FFP over SFP in higher magnification scopes (again, personal preference). This scope is lighter by 5oz if that makes a difference to you.

Specifications

  • Magnification: 3.5-18x
  • Objective diameter: 50mm
  • Tube diameter: 34mm
  • Reticle Focal Plane: Second Focal Plane (SFP)
  • Reticle: HC-1 (MOA)
  • Dial Adjustment: MOA
  • Linear Field of View: 5.9-30.2’’ at 100 yds (max to min magnification)
  • Illumination: Yes, red
  • Eye Relief: 3.39-.4”
  • Length: 14.84”
  • Weight: 31 oz
  • Price: $1119.99 at Optics Planet

Vudu 5-25×50 FFP

Say the following to yourself, like Hulk Hogan… “OH, BROTHER!” This scope is awesome and is my favorite of the batch. After taking a look at this scope, I’m legitimately on the fence about whether to get this or a Nightforce 2.5-20x for my SR25 ACC. This one comes with the aforementioned excellent glass, throw lever, auto-off, etc. However, this thing gives you 25x top end magnification in a tiny, lightweight package. It’s only 11.2” long and weighs less than 30oz. For an optic in this magnification range, that’s quite small. The comparable Vortex Razor 4.5-27x weighs a whole pound more!

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Field View

The field of view on this is also pretty wide at 5x. Tracking was also spot on, doing a standard box test at 100m.  This is one of the more expensive offerings of the Vudu lineup, but you definitely get what you pay for.

I’m still not a fan of the illumination, but that’s the same with a lot of FFP optics, so I don’t hold it against EOTech too much. I’m sure they’ll eventually get it right like Leupold and Nightforce did, but it may not be until the next generation Vudu scopes.

Value and Performance

All in all, this is the best value and performance out of all the above scopes. It’s got a good magnification range that will let you shoot out to a mile, it’s light enough to go on a mountain rifle, the H59 is a fantastic reticle, and you get it at a pretty decent price point when you consider the capabilities.

Specifications

  • Magnification: 5-25x
  • Objective diameter: 50mm
  • Tube diameter: 34mm
  • Reticle Focal Plane: First Focal Plane (FFP)
  • Reticle: MD-3 (MRAD) or H59 (MRAD)
  • Dial Adjustment: MRAD
  • Linear Field of View: 4.7-23.3’’ at 100 yds
  • Illumination: Yes, red
  • Eye Relief: 2.96-3.71”
  • Length: 11.2”
  • Weight: 29.5 oz
  • Price: $1599.99 (MD-3); $1699.99 (H59) at Optics Planet

How to Mount a Rifle Scope

There are two parts to mounting a scope to your optic: mounting the optic in the mount itself and securing the mount in an acceptable location on your rifle.

As a disclaimer, there’s a lot of ways to mount an optic, and this is simply “A” way, not necessarily “THE” way (word up, Mandalorian). It’s worked for me in the past, and it’s repeatable enough that I can mount it in the field if I have to… which I have. Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes.

First, loosely mount your optic in your optic mount. Only tighten the screws down enough to keep the optic in there, but it helps if you can slide your optic forward or backward through your scope rings or one-piece mount. Finger tighten your mount on your upper receiver. The rule of thumb I go back is to have the eyepiece of your optic about even with the rear of the AR receiver. Place your optic on maximum magnification and look through your optic, adjusting forward or backward as necessary. A pro tip is to push your optic as far forward as possible (this is most easily accomplished if you use a one-piece mount). That way, you have a reference point if your scope comes loose for whatever reason.

Now that you’ve figured out where you want your optic and mount to stay, you need to tighten everything up and make sure it’s level. For an AR, you’ll need a vice, armorer’s block or reaction rod, and a pair of small levels. Place the AR in the vice and level it with one of your levels. Then place another level on the elevation dial. Adjust the cant of your scope as necessary to mirror the level on the receiver.

Now for the tricky part: tightening your mount’s rings. In an “x” pattern, hand tighten all of the screws on your mount or rings. Once you’ve got them hand tightened, you’ll need to apply the proper torque. The best tool for this is Fix-it Sticks. They make fantastic, compact tools for this exact function. Every time I go to the range, I make sure I have my Fix-it Sticks. These tools allow you to tighten to the exact inch-pounds required by the manufacturer of your rings or mount. Don’t forget to periodically check to make sure your optic is still level throughout the tightening process. It’s a massive pain in the ass, but I promise it will be worth it when you’re ringing steel at 800m away using good holds you have confidence in.

After this, you can then tighten your rings or one-piece mount down to the proper torque on your upper receiver and shoot with confidence.

*Another pro-tip: use a plumb line to ensure a good level with your vertical stadia line. Simple, but foolproof.

How to Use a Rifle Scope

This all depends on a combination of your optic, ammunition, and rifle platform you use.

Specific to optics, it really depends on two things: your reticle and your adjustment metric. You can make any reticle work, but you need to know exactly how your chosen ammunition performs out of the rifle you want to use. Ammunition manufacturers often publish the muzzle velocity on the box, but it’s using a test barrel of 22” or something no one generally uses. Chronographs are perfect for determining your velocity and how it measures up. After that, you can cheat and save yourself some time by taking advantage of a ballistic app (I use Strelok Pro). The ballistic app will tell you exactly where you need to hold using your reticle with a given projectile and it’s muzzle velocity.  If you can afford a Kestrel, I would invest in one.

Bullet Drop Compensator Reticles

Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) reticles are great, but only if your ammunition and rifle match up perfectly. Most long range precision shooters use a grid (like the Horus 59 reticle in a few of the Vudus above). This allows the shooter to use the same scope for a variety of rifles or ammunition types, assuming you have the data necessary for your ballistic app. I prefer MRADs because that’s what I was taught to use when I was a young infantryman. Many civilian shooters still use MOA but more and more are switching to MRAD. It really boils down to personal preference, but whatever you decide, just make sure that your reticle and dials correspond.

Ammunition

Ammunition is another considerable factor. Mk262 77 grain open tip match is inherently more accurate than M855 62 grain steel penetrator. The distribution of the mass and the mass itself makes it more resistant to crosswinds and other environmental factors. That being said, it will move at a slower velocity because it’s heavier. My SR25 ACC likes to shoot what’s known as Mexican Match ammo (168 grain Sierra Match Kings) more than LR118 (US Army match ammo 175-grain open tip match). You essentially need to test a few things out to see how well your rifle handles specific loads at the intended range you want to use.

Twist Rate

The rifle is the last piece to this to bring everything together. The twist rate of your rifle will determine how fast the bullet spin. You’ll see your twist rate as “1/7,” meaning one twist in seven inches of barrel. As a generality, you use slower twist rates (1/7 or ⅛) for heavier projectiles. Europeans use lighter bullets and usually have 1/10 twist barrels.

Types of Scopes

The types of magnified scopes are basically broken down into two categories: variable power and fixed power.

Variable Powered Scopes

Variable powered scopes are fantastic because you can tailor your magnification to the range or target needed. The downside to variable powered optics is that the scopes tend to be a bit heavier and more complicated, forcing the shooter to know the difference between an SFP or FFP reticle for holdovers. Getting caught in combat with your optic on high magnification when you need a quick and close engagement can be deadly, so I always ensure I keep it on low power.

Fixed Powered Optics

Fixed powered optics, while less usable over a wide array of tasks are still quite useful. Trijicon’s ACOG is perhaps the most successful and rugged magnified combat optic of all time. Many SF folks still like using ACOGs in Afghanistan, though it’s fixed at 4x. Fixed power scopes are lighter and more straightforward, with no need to apply different holdovers since the magnification cannot be changed to affect them.

In the end, it’s up to you to determine which class of optic is right for you. Stay tuned for more gear reviews, range tips, and survival tricks.

Black Friday Deals of 2019

It’s a time of thanksgiving, a time where we come together for a moment to share our thanks of family, friends, togetherness, and then turn right around and elbow the person standing next to you, just so you can get that big screen tv before they do. Of course, this isn’t everyone, some of us would rather stay at home and shop Internet deals.

No people, meaning no crowds, no long lines to wait in, no one to trample over you when the Walmart doors open. It’s just you, your computer, and that index finger clicking away to find the best deals on everything you’ve been waiting on to finally go on sale.

Whether you’re an avid hunter, like getting away on family trips in the woods, sailing off into the sunset on your next big fishing adventure, or watching the big game on a 75″ 4k TV, there’s a deal out there for you. And we’re here to help you hunt them down, so you don’t have to leave the comfort of your recliner.

Thanksgiving Week Sales

 

RE Factor Tactical

Of course RE Factor Tactiacl is going to offer some special deals.

30% off until 0900 on Friday

25% off 0900 until midnight

20% off Saturday and Sunday

15% off on Cyber Monday

Tactical Gear

We know how much you like your tactical style pants, gloves, bags, concealed carry friendly clothes, boots, and more. If you’re looking to find some pretty solid Black Friday sales that last longer than a day, head on over to tacticalgear.com. You’ll find deals up to 80% off. Free shipping on orders over $99, deals on top brand names, like Vertex, TruSpec, Crimson Trace, and 5.11.

Palmetto State Armory

It’s no secret, we’re pro Palmetto State Armory. Why? Because they offer cheaper guns and accessories to those who don’t need or want to pay for fancy. Unfortunately, this means they can often be out of stock on the good stuff, meaning you’ll have to keep an eye out when things do come back in stock. Despite PSA’s already low prices, they’re still offering some pretty good deals, which started on November 22.

Primary Arms

Primary Arms has started early on the Black Friday deals, as well. If you’re looking for deals on weapon accessories, you can most definitely find them. Magpul on your Christmas list? Primary Arms, does in fact, have some pretty good sales on Magpul magazines, and so much more.

Amazon

Buy Now

 

Of course, Amazon is going to have sales. You’ll find everything from Thanksgiving sales, Black Friday Sales, and Cyber Monday. If there’s something you’ve been wanting on all year long, chances are, you’ll find it on sale on Amazon. You won’t have to fight the crowds, or that angry mom, you just need a source of payment and internet access.

In-Store Black Friday Deals

Unfortunately, big retailers have found ways to make sure you come into their stores. They do this by telling buyers they can only get top deals on products in-store, and that they won’t find the same sale price online. That’s really unfortunate, because there are plenty of people who don’t care how big a sale is, they aren’t going to even walk outside their front door on Black Friday, let alone drive all the way downtown, fight doorway traffic, risk the item not being there, and then stand in line for an hour waiting to checkout.

However, for those who are willing to venture out, here’s some of the stores only offering the big discounts to in-store customers.

Bass Pro and Cabela’s

Normally, we’d separate two giant stores, like that of Bass Pro and Cabela’s, but Bass Pro bought Cabelas out a few years ago. As a result, chances are, you’re getting the same stuff for the same prices, no matter which store you walk into.

The two stores are actually offering three big sales opportunities. The first sale will actually be on Thanksgiving. In which case, we’d like to take a moment to say thank you to all of the workers who are taking time away from their own families to ring up customers. Sadly, we know not all customers are exactly pleasant, especially around the holidays, so thank you for putting up with all of that.

The Thanksgiving sale will be from 0800 to 1800. After that, the doors will close to get ready for the second sale start time, Black Friday 2019 0500 to 1100. If you go between these times, you’ll have the opportunity to get some of the doorbusters. However, if you go after 11, the doorbuster will be gone. You can keep shopping until 2100 on Friday, you just won’t get those big doorbuster sales.

Finally, there’s a third sale you can take advantage of; a five-day sale from Wednesday, November 27 to Sunday, December 1.

Disclaimer: All items will be in limit quantities and you cannot do rainchecks.

Black Friday Shopping Tips

Believe it or not, there’s a technique to the madness, or at least we’d like to think so. If you’re a true, hardcore shopper in search of deals, you might already be doing this stuff. For the rest of us, here are a few tips to help you find the best deals during the season of sales.

Look at Online Sales First

It’s no longer a secret that you can get deals online. It’s true, some stores give away the best deals in-person, but this isn’t always the case. Take a look online to first, see how much the regular price of what you want is, and then compare it to holiday sale prices. This way you can see if retailers are intentionally raising prices just so they can lower them and make you think it’s a sale. Also, it might save you all the hassle of going in-store. Another thing to keep in mind, the best sales are not always on Black Friday. Check out Cyber Monday Sales too.

Shop Early

Guess what? A lot of stores start their Black Friday sales early. Take some of the stores we’ve listed above. A few of them have already started handing out sales. Some stores even close the doors completely during Thanksgiving, like REI, who offers their biggest sales prior to the season.

Do Your Research

Know what it is you want. Some people walk through the doors of Walmart just knowing they want sales. Unfortunately, this leads to buying more than you want or need, which means you actually end up spending more than you should. Know what you want, do research on that item. Know how much it normally costs, look at reviews to see if it’s worth the deal, and then go hunting for it. Look to see where the best deals are. You might be able to get a better deal in-store on Black Friday, but you might be able to get a better deal at Amazon on Cyber Monday, if you’re willing to wait a few extra days.

 

Check Prices

Prices change because sale prices change. Some stores offer better deals as the week goes on, others offer the best deals at the beginning of the week. Keep an eye out on what stores are offering deals, and see if they list their sale prices early. Wednesday and Thursday might have your best prices, but it might also be on Monday.

Remember: Black Friday is no longer the only day, or even the best day to get the best deals. Some stores are offering huge sales all week long.