Sometimes, mag catches break

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Rating high in the “realm of things I’ve never seen before”, my police surplus BUL Storm Compact came to my FFL with a broken mag catch. Ordinarily, I would not consider this to be a big deal, but since I needed to submit it to the Maryland Handgun Roster Board for approval in a working state, this was less than ideal, as the gun was punted back from the board for fixes… meaning another 4-5 month round trip for approval The magazine would fall out if any real pressure was put on it from the top… such as stripping a round from the magazine.

I wound up using a new EAA Witness mag catch from the Ben Stoeger Pro Shop. He shipped it the same day I ordered, and it came very quickly. This was the newer-style (post-2004) magazine catch, so it’s also a bit of an upgrade. Installing it wasn’t hard, but did require three hands.

BUL Impact Factory Mag Sleeve

I had previously opined that BUL had never released the “official” factory mag sleeve for the BUL Impact. Apparently, this was not quite true, because a pair of 9mm BUL Impacts being auctioned off by Mach1Arsenal on Gunbroker have them:

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These appear to work like the 3D-printed ones that I’m using – slip over the top of a full size magazine and just slide them down. There’s no locking mechanism at the top of the heel of the sleeve, which I had theorized might be a way of keeping it permanently connected to the grip. Unlike in the official shots, this sleeve doesn’t seem to be pinned to the bottom of the magazine. It looks to me like these sleeves are what would have been the bottom of the Impact’s grip if it were full-size.

CAA MIC-RONI

mic-roni.jpegBesides their foray into the AK market, CAA’s SHOT 2016 booth also revealed a new Glock chassis called the “MIC-RONI”. I think you are supposed to pronounce this “Microni”, like “Macaroni”, but they also call it the “Micro RONI” on their site, so… your guess is as good as mine.

While I am something of a skeptic of the first RONI, I really like what I’m seeing with the MIC-RONI. It folds up to 13.7″, and only weighs about 3.1lbs with a Glock 17 in it. That makes it lighter AND smaller than the FAB Defense KPOS G2 (albeit the Microni is made of polymer vs the KPOS’s aluminum). Some other advantages I’m noticing:

  1. The trigger-blocking safety looks much more manageable – doesn’t look like there’s a button to deploy it.
  2. it has storage for an extra mag in the fixed VFG.
  3. The stock is high enough to support AR optics properly.
  4. Integrated flashlight holder (albeit I don’t know what it’s compatible with, or how you control it).

Downside is that it doesn’t look like you’ve got enough clearance to run a suppressor. That’s not a deal-breaker for me, but could be for other people.

A New Israeli AK

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(photo from Guns, Holsters, and Gear)

The newest AK on the market is the “Alfa” from CAA and was revealed at SHOT 2016. GHG has an amazing article on it. It appears to be a CAA design, and has some rather radical changes from the standard AK design. It was supposedly designed with IDF personnel input, which makes sense – you can see how the stock is now inline and higher for compatibility with AR optics, and all the controls seem to be ambidextrous. It looks like a two-piece receiver design, ala the M+M M10X, but you can see that the recoil spring is still behind the bolt (unlike the Sig 556 or M10X, where it’s up front by the piston).

My only quibble is that the weight is on the heavy side – 7.7lbs. This makes me suspect it’s a chassis on top of a traditional steel AK receiver, rather than a truly re-engineered steel-reinforced polymer receiver like the SCAR-16S (7.25lbs). But it’s still lighter than a Sig 556 Classic (8.2lbs), albeit not quite as svelte as the Galil ACE (7.5lbs). Some of that additional weight might be from the huge AK-74-esque muzzle attachment, too.

There’s also a Galil-mag 5.56×45 version, which is a bit of an odd choice. As evinced by the popularity of the Zastava M85NP, the AK market prefers AR magazines when it comes to 5.56×45, and the gun itself clearly has a chassis that would lend itself to modification for AR mag use.

In any event, it’ll make an interesting competitor to the ACE, and is another Israeli rifle for “the list”.

Tavor X95 Announced!

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Fresh from IWI-US marketing:

We successfully introduced the X95® select-fire bullpup to our law enforcement customers last year and our civilian customers have been clamoring for us to get them a commercial version,” Michael Kassnar, VP of Sales and Marketing for IWI US said. “The X95® is a modern, modular bullpup design emulating all the familiar features of the TAVOR® but on steroids.”

The TAVOR® X95® platform incorporates a tri-rail forearm covered by three removable vented rail covers. The TAVOR® style trigger guard is modular and can easily be converted to a more traditional trigger guard with pistol grip. The charging handle has also been relocated closer to the shooter’s center mass, and perhaps the most significant departure from the TAVOR® is the ambidextrous magazine release, located to a more traditional AR-15/M16 location on the X95®.

Like the TAVOR® SAR, 16.5” 5.56 NATO, .300 Blackout and 17” 9mm Luger Parabellum models feature interchangeable cold hammer forged (CHF) barrels manufactured and engineered to IWI’s demanding specifications. Conversion kits in .300 Blackout, 5.56 NATO and 9mm will also be available.

The TAVOR® X95® in 5.56 NATO and .300 Blackout uses standard AR-15/M16/STANAG magazines and is supplied with one black Magpul Gen III PMAG.  Available in Black, Flat Dark Earth and OD Green. MSRP for the TAVOR® X95 is $1,999.00 and the Conversion Kits are $899.00 in 5.56 NATO and 9mm and $499.00 in .300 Blackout.

$2000 MSRP is better than I expected. No word on the release date yet, but I’d be surprised if it were in 2016. I am HOPING that IWI comes out with a 20″ barrel version for those of us in restricted states – they’ve got their fancy CHF barrel-making machine now, so it shouldn’t be impossible.

3D Printing a Magazine Sleeve

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As you’ll recall from my review of the BUL Impact, I loved the pistol, but bemoaned the lack of a way to get a nice flush fit with the full length BUL M5 9mm magazines. There was a product image showing a sleeve adapter, but I had never seen one in the wild.

Well, if you can’t buy it… you build it. Or in my case, you 3D print it.

Continue reading 3D Printing a Magazine Sleeve

IWI-US now manufacturing barrels

Hot off the presses from IWI-US: they’re now manufacturing barrels.

This is big news because it means the .300AAC conversion is probably going to finally happen in 2016. It will also aid in getting the Galil ACE rifles out the door – they need 922r compliance parts, and a barrel is one of them.

Another fascinating tidbit is that they’re going to be making AR-15 and M4 barrels for other manufacturers. While this may just be a way to keep their CHF machine going at full-tilt 24/7, it would be a very short step to manufacturing their own line of AR-15s. I don’t necessarily know why they’d want to get into that market, given how crowded it is, but maybe they’d export back to Israel? No reason IWI-US couldn’t export parts to IWI, after all.