Sunday, September 30, 2012

US made IWI Tavor

Rumors of a US made Tavor have been circulating since SHOT Show 2012 when Michael Kassnar made an appearance with what he said was a working prototype of the Israeli bullpup rifle.  Not much was known about this prototype other than it was promised to appear sometime in 2012.

This past weekend I attended the Bullpup Shoot in Park City, Kentucky.  The event was held at the incredible Rockcastle Shooting Center and is hosted by the BullpupForum.  To my surprise, Michael Kassnar from IWI was present at the event and yes, he had the Tavor with him to give folks a chance to see it and to shoot it.  That's right, we got to go loud with the Tavor!

2012 is drawing to a close and the Tavor isn't going to hit before years end, however plans to introduce the much anticipated rifle to US shooters continue to move forward.  IWI has purchased the old Charles Daley facilities and has setup manufacturing there.  Michael tells us that employees have been hired and production is ready to begin.  May of 2013 is the new release date for the rifle, but don't hold your breath folks.  These things can take a while and often times dates slip.  However, I'm more confident than ever that the Tavor is destine to hit gun stores across America in the near future.

I learned a lot of good information about the Tavor that wasn't previously known about the proposed US variant.  There will be differences between it and the Israel and Canadian rifles.

The Tavor takes a slightly different approach to the bullpup concept than other designs such as the AUG however it also has some similarities.

The ejection and charging handle can be changed from right to left hand configuration by swapping a few parts like the bolt, non-reciprocationg charging handle, and other small parts.  Unlike the AUG, this is more involved and IWI tells me that it is best done by an armorer.

When it's fired from the left side (right hand configuration) the brass deflector sends spent cases forward, it's flying at around the 2 o'clock position. There is no chance of it hitting your face and you won't be required to change the position of your head on the stock to avoid being hit with ejected brass.

The rifle uses standard STANAG magazines.  I'm told it works with most popular magazines including the PMAG, Lancer 5, Troy and USGI mags.

Mag release is a trigger like device in front of the magazine. It's very easy to use. My concern is that a sling or mag pouch might cause an unintentional mag release, but I've not confirmed this as I had neither a sling or chest rig available.

The bolt release is brilliantly simple.  You simply push the new mag in, push up with your thumb (already in position) and boom, the bolt rides home with a new round.

The trigger pack is tiny and sits just behind the magazine well. It can stay in the rifle when you remove the bolt. It requires two pins to be pushed out (captive) to drop the trigger pack from the rifle for maintenance.

The flip up sights are integrated into the 1913 rail. The front sight has tritium.  The sights can be folded down into the rail and optics may be mounted over them.  If you don't like the back-up sights that come with the Tavor, you can install your own.

The front handguard is removable and rails can be installed.

It will be released as a 5.56x45 plus a 9mm conversion kit will be immediately available as well.  End users can change calibers themselves, no armorer is required.

The barrel is a quick release barrel.  A simple allen wrench type tool is used to quickly release the barrel.  Additional barrels of varying length will be available for the rifle.

It will have QD mounts front and rear and on both sides.

The rifle weighs 7.2lbs empty.

The Tavor has a decent trigger, not your typical bullpup mushy, creepy trigger.  It's not a match trigger, but it is a solid military trigger.  Unlike the AUG and the FS2000, the trigger components of the Tavor are metal and I believe this lends to the more crisp feel of the trigger.

Recoil is about what you would expect. The balance of the rifle is nearly perfect, you can keep this rifle shouldered and in the ready position much longer and more comfortably than a rifle like the M4.

The suggested retail price for the Tavor is projected to be $1900.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

National Concealed Carry legislation

It’s time to take national reciprocity to task and make sure we get what we really want.

For decades we’ve heard the drum beats from some over the “need” for a national concealed carry reciprocity law, no matter what. In their blind pursuit for falling at the feet (and sword) of a massive federal bureaucracy, they have been zealous of getting anything, at any cost, without regard to the consequences.

From the debacle known as LEOSA (Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act), where certain pro-carry advocates threw average citizens under the bus by deluding them into thinking it would somehow further their cause to allow off duty and retired LEO’s national carry without requiring the same for everyone. The two class tier of citizens played out exactly as expected. The average gun owner was left out in the cold (and defenseless) for decades. As predicted, once one side got what they wanted, the rest were thrown to the wolves.

Today we have two separate bills pending in the Senate. The same “give me anything” crowd is rushing head long into an even worse debacle. Even if it means placing the States subservient to the federal government, specifically the Attorney General and presumably the BATF, in their Don Quixote like quest for anything they can get.

There is hope, one of the two bills, S.2213 is 180 degrees from previous pieces of ill-gotten legislation. S.2213 leaves full control over how a State issues and sets their concealed carry laws and regulations. It would be up to the individual to make sure they didn’t run afoul of another States law, which may or may not be stricter. This is similar to how things currently work between States with reciprocity agreements already in place and would not allow any meddling federal agencies control over the States.

If there was ever a chance for a nationwide reciprocity that didn’t involve more federal red-tape or encroachments, this is it. It is actually possible for a 2/3 majority in the Senate and House that would trump any potential veto from the President. It is also an election year, time to put some feet to the fire, this could even be attached to other must pass bills as well.

Again it must be stressed that S.2213 is the bill to support. Make that crystal clear! The other bill would give control of States Rights over to a massive federal bureaucracy and give them the power to issue standards and minimums. The other bill must not be allowed to be passed. States such as AZ, VT, AK and others that have Constitutional Carry (no license or permit required) could be forced into national requirements requiring new licensing and registrations.

I urge you to share this information with your friends, family and fellow gun owners. Please contact your Senators, there are already 34 co-sponsors to this bill. Stop a federal power grab and educate those who may be well intentioned, yet misinformed.

You can contact the Capital Hill switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask for your Representative and Senators offices. Also consider thanking the author of S.2213, Senator John Thune.


©2012 -Permission is granted to reprint or repost this article provided it is used in full, with links intact and the content is not altered, including this section.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Enemies within

As I was considering what to write about this week, I came across a blaring statement of ignorance about the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the second amendment.

To start, we'll just take a look at this specific excerpt: “This is a purpose-built weapon with no sporting applications to speak of.” I will include the entire "in context" explanation by the editor of Recoil Magazine below and I believe after reading this, you'll find it even more repugnant.

The need to justify a 'legitimate purpose' to own a firearm is absurd on it's face. The furtherance of that by means of a "sporting application" flies in the face of history and all logic.

We must dispel the lie that is referred to as "sporting purposes".

First and foremost, people have a Right to defend themselves. Period. There are no sporting purposes to self defense. The Right to defend yourself is unlimited. You have as much of a Right to defend yourself against 1 assailant as you do a dozen or one hundred.

Today the most effectual means of self defense are firearms. Tomorrow it may be a light saber or laser firing weapon. You have the Right to defend yourself. You may believe that Right comes from your belief in that The Creator has bestowed that upon you or perhaps you view it as a natural Earthly right or simply because of the second amendment to the Constitution.

Regardless of where and how you believe you have that Right it is something we all have.

As Samuel Adams said: “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.” Simply put, you have it and no man (or woman) has the authority to rightfully take that from you.

So we can clearly see, "sporting purposes" is a classic strawman argument. The enemies of Freedom, Liberty and self defense cannot argue with reason and logic, so they lie and they create false definitions and dichotomies to try and justify their indefensible positions to disarm us and leave us defenseless in the face of criminals, terrorists and tyrants.

While a classic revolver may be sufficient to stop a lone criminal, a standard (deemed 'high' by our enemies) capacity pistol may be better suited to dark alley confrontation with a few adversaries.

Likewise a riot or civil unrest situation such as the LA Riots (where shop owners used AK-47's to defend themselves) to the events in the south during hurricane Katrina where citizens used everything from bats to handguns and so called "assault" rifles to defend themselves and their neighborhoods.

You have the Right to decide how best to defend yourself. After all you don't have a Right to something if someone can put all sorts of absurd conditions or restrictions on it.

While not it's current position the United States Supreme Court has ruled in the past (when it held true to the Constitution and not to public opinion or politics) that a 'right restricted is a right denied'.

While H&K's MP7A1 may be better suited to repel a foreign military invasion or government turned tyrannical, that certainly doesn't make it something a "civvie" shouldn't own.

Quite the opposite in fact if you actually support the second amendment: "Necessary to the security of a free state". They certainly aren't talking about a deer rifle for hunting or handgun for self defense against a random thief or rapist.

Which ever firearm(s) you decide is (are) appropriate to protect and defend yourself, your family and your country is ultimately up to you. You have that RIGHT and when it comes to Rights, please refer to the founding fathers and how they felt about them.

As I mentioned earlier, here is the attempt by 'Recoil Magazine" to justify their position:

“Like we mentioned before, the MP7A1 is unavailable to civilians and for good reason. We all know that’s technology no civvies should ever get to lay their hands on. This is a purpose-built weapon with no sporting applications to speak of. It is made to put down scumbags, and that’s it. Mike Cabrera of Heckler & Koch Law Enforcement Sales and veteran law enforcement officer with SWAT unit experience points out that this is a gun that you do not want in the wrong, slimy hands. It comes with semi-automatic and full-auto firing modes only. Its overall size places it between a handgun and submachine gun. Its assault rifle capabilities and small size make this a serious weapon that should not be taken lightly.”

I would urge you, if you have a subscription to recoil magazine to cancel it. Don't support a company or organization that doesn't support your Rights. This isn't a random contributor, it is the editorial staff and by default the official position of Recoil Magazine. They also had time to backpedal or correct their original statement, instead they really let their position shine through.

The enemies of freedom are numerous enough, we don't need them within the gates as well.


©2012 -Permission is granted to reprint or repost this article provided it is used in full, with links intact and the content is not altered, including this section.

Editors Note:  Prometheus is a member of the MAC family and has been a contributor to our efforts since the beginning.

UPDATE:  9/11/2012

RECOIL Magazine issued an apology two days ago.  Today on 9/11 they "Liked" this comment made by one of their readers on the RECOIL Magazine Facebook page.

It would seem that the anti-2nd Amendment views of their editor are not his views alone.  Someone in charge of their Facebook page made mistake of pouring fuel on the fire by "liking" this comment which mirrors the opinion of the original article that got RECOIL into this mess to begin with.  Apparently their apology was a ruse to try and silence the outcry by the firearms community.

To make matters even worse, when people started pointing this out to others on their Facebook page and tempers once against flared, RECOIL Magazine removed the Like in an apparent effort to conceal their views once again.

UPDATE:  9/12/2012

H&K has issued a statement that contradicts RECOIL Magazines version of events.  H&K is denying they made the comments about the MP7A1 not being suitable for civilian ownership.  It seems the only people left holding the bag here is RECOIL Magazine and their efforts to blame a sponsor (H&K) for their own anti-gun comments has backfired on them.
"Some readers have misinterpreted a recent feature story in RECOIL magazine as a reflection of HK policy. Heckler & Koch has a long presence in the US civilian market and throughout that time has been an ardent and passionate supporter of the Second Amendment and the American civilian shooter. This will always be the case. The contents, opinions, and statements expressed in that feature story are those of the writer, not Heckler and Koch’s. Additionally, the writer and RECOIL magazine have issued a clarification and apology for the ill-chosen words used in the story.

The HK MP7A1 4.6 mm Personal Defense Weapon mentioned in the story is a selective-fire product (capable of "full automatic” fire) and is currently restricted to military and law enforcement agencies by BATF. HK-USA has previously researched introducing similar commercial products, chambered in 4.6 mm, but it was determined that the final product would not have enough appeal or be legally feasible.

— Heckler & Koch USA"

UPDATE:  9/13/2012

Jerry Tsai has stepped down.  He released the following statement on the RECOIL website.

It is with deep sorrow that I announce I am stepping down as editor of Recoil, effective immediately. 
It is very difficult for me to walk away from something I helped create, something that I loved doing, and something I firmly believed would appeal to a fresh new generation of gun enthusiasts, but I accept that the comments in my story in the current issue have made my position as editor of Recoil untenable. 
With that said, Recoil is bigger than any one person, and if my departure will allow Recoil to continue to grow and engage gun enthusiasts, then stepping down as editor is clearly the right thing for me to do. 
I accept I made mistakes, and I apologize unreservedly for calling Recoil’s support for Second Amendment rights into question. 
While I understand the passions aroused over this incident, the deeply hurtful words from some of my fellow gun enthusiasts have been painful to endure. I hope now we can all move on. 
Finally, I would like to thank all those who have supported me over the past few days. These are the people who know me to be at heart a passionate gun enthusiast whose dream was to make something bold and new in firearms media. 
Jerry Tsai

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Speed and simplicity: Striker fired pistols

FN Browning 1900 Pistol
Many today think that striker fired pistols are "new" and "next generation" when in reality it's old technology.  Some of the earliest examples of semi-automatic handguns used strikers vs. the traditional hammer for cartridge ignition.  Take the FN Browning 1900 as an example. The FN 1900 was the first commercially successful auto-loading pistol and it featured a striker firing system.  The pistol was sleek, snag free and was well suited for the task of concealed carry.

When the Glock 17 came onto the scene some thought it was the most advanced handgun of the time, and it may well have been.  But nothing about the Glock was really new.  The polymer frame and striker ignition had been done before by HK with their VP70 handgun.  The VP70 broke new ground with its innovative polymer frame and striker firing, however it was not what I would consider a commercial success in the US.  It was originally designed as a police/military weapon and was a machine pistol that was capable of full-automatic fire with the stock affixed.  The trigger pull on the VP70 was abysmal and measured 16+ lbs on examples I have examined.

HK VP70 9mm pistol
Glock took design elements of other pistols, modified them and rolled them up into their Glock 17 pistol.  Apparently Glock got it right because the G17 went on to become one of the most prolific handguns of the 20th century.  In the United States the Glock rivals the popularity of the 1911, which is pretty amazing.  The majority of police departments in the US have at one time used the Glock pistol in 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP.

Why has the Glock become so popular?  What is it about the design that appeals to so many shooters?

I would venture to say that reliability is the primary motivation behind the Glocks popularity.  The handgun is, if nothing else, reliable.  However I believe the recipe for Glock success also lies in its striker firing system which features a consistent 5.5lbs trigger pull.

But there's something else.

The one thing that separates the Glock from the other two pistols mentioned in this article is the fact it lacks a manual safety.  Calm down my loyal Glock groupies, I didn't say the pistol lacked safeties -- I merely stated the fact that Glock's lack a manual safety (please follow the link if you need clarification as to what defines a "manual safety").

Two of my Glock 17 pistols
The relatively light trigger pull coupled with the lack of a manual safety makes the Glock one of the quickest handguns into a fight.  Lets face it, the more operations you add to readying your pistol under stress only serves to increase the probably Mr. Murphy will make an appearance at your moment of truth.  Something as simple as brushing off a safety is easily accomplished on a one way range, but when you put that same shooter on a two way range where bullets are coming back at them, all of a sudden the most trivial task becomes a likely failure point.

At first the Glock was decried as being unsafe or even dangerous.  It's true, it does have a higher incident of unintended discharges by LEO's and others that carry them for defensive purposes.  However, I view these negligent discharges as being attributable to lack of training.  Why do I say that?  Because the Glock will not fire unless the trigger is pulled.  Since the Glock is incapable of pulling its own trigger that means someone pulled the trigger if the gun goes "boom" when the operator wasn't expecting it.

It is this simplicity and reliability that draws me towards the Glock for daily carry.  With a good holster that covers the trigger and ample range time, the Glock is not only safe but one of the fastest pistols into a fight you can buy.

Walther PPQ 9mm pistol
I say "one of" because Glocks success has spawned a whole cornucopia of pistols from competitors that mirror the Glocks successful recipe.  Some have copied the recipe to such a degree that they found themselves in court facing Glocks rather aggressive attorneys that enforce their patents with vigor.  However, many companies have found ways around Glocks patents and brought pistols to market that closely mimic Glocks functionality.  Handguns such as the M&P, SR9, XD, Steyr A1, Walter PPQ, Caracal, FNS, etc.

I've always favored a consistent trigger pull over a double action trigger pull.  That's why I carried the 1911 for so many years before jumping on the Glock bandwagon.  I moved to Glock many years ago before competitive products came to market.  At this point I have a couple of decades of Glock shooting under my belt so it makes sense for me to continue using what I'm familiar with. However, if I were to buy my first defensive handgun today I would lean heavily towards the S&W M&P 9mm.

In the end I find modern polymer framed striker fired pistols to be the ultimate defensive handguns as  they are the epitome of speed, reliability and ease of use.