I've covered similar topics before, but wanted to address this again.
I saw this quite often when I was working in a gun store, but I also encounter such people at the range.
Sometimes they're fairly well off, but it really pains me to see someone on an extreme budget do this.
What I'm talking about is the notion that spending more money on a firearm - beyond the point of diminishing returns - will be more beneficial than training with that firearm. A lot of times, this is fueled by the guy behind the counter, who wants to sell you his favorite gun, rather than the weapon that fits your needs.
Sometimes, it's an HK. Sometimes it's Sig, and other times, various high end 1911s.
Well, buying a BMW M3 doesn't make someone a race car driver, buying a brand new Cirrus doesn't make someone a safe and experienced pilot (but it's got a parachute!), and buying a $1000 handgun doesn't make you a good shooter.
A reliable, major caliber handgun with a trigger this side of horrible and visible sights is more than sufficient for defensive purposes. While we all have our preferences, the reality is that practice is far more important than a logo or brand name. Not any kind of practice, mind you - randomly blasting at a target at short range is detrimental to proper defensive shooting. Get some good training from a good instructor, then keep up those skills on your own time.
A quality $500 handgun and $500 worth of ammunition and training will go much farther than a $1000 handgun and enough ammunition to fill the 2 magazines it comes with. If you can easily afford the expensive handgun, don't let me stop you - but the training rule applies to you, too.
If you've read my Osprey Defense scuba "test" article, you probably picked up that I'm a little suspicious of the methods this company uses to market their products.
Well, they've put out a half dozen or so videos since then, so I thought I'd address a few of them as well. Don't take me not addressing a particular video as a sign that it's a good test - I just don't have the time to wade through that much crap.
First, their "sandblast" test. They start out by having a guy cut through a thin concrete block with his big sandblaster.
The block is sloppily attached to a small wooden table with bungie cords, and almost falls off once. Our backdrop is an old shipping container upon which they later sandblast "OPS-416". Yes, they're maintaining the high production values witnessed in the scuba video.
But first, we see them shoot the carbine on semi and full auto while spraying lots of sand at the op-rod. During the video, we don't really see any sand get in or near the action. I'm sure it does get a little dirty, but a much more impressive test would have been to spray sand into the ejection port.
Furthermore, most of the sand they do spray is at the handguards. I'm sorry, is this a test of handguards, or a test of the conversion? Am I supposed to be impressed that $20 handguards lasted 20 seconds vs. the 40 seconds it took to cut the block? What, exactly, is the point here? Other than showcasing a total lack of advertising ability and/or professionalism, I'm not getting it.
Another "test" they put forth is a helicopter drop test. In this video, the Osprey folks load up in an old Hughes helicopter along with their carbine in what appears to be a poorly constructed wooden box. The carbine's barrel has been covered with what might be saran wrap and blue contractor's tape. Once the helicopter gets to 500ft, they toss the box out.
It shatters on impact, and some guy runs out to grab the rifle. First, he rips off the barrel cover, and showcases his weapon handling skills by fumbling a magazine.
Then, he rips through a mag on full auto. Afterwards, the commentator gives us what is apparently their new slogan, "Osprey Defense: A New Level of Reliability". Well, it's a new level of something, alright.
What I don't understand is why the weapon needs to be in a crate to absorb impact, and have a "barrel shroud", for lack of a better term, in order to survive this test.
After watching their promotional videos, it seems that if you want to do any OTB operations or heliborne insertions with your OPS-416 equipped Bushmaster (against enemies with sandblasters), you'd better bring duct tape, contractors tape, saran wrap, a wooden crate painted orange, and a few spare sets of plastic handguards if you want your weapon to function properly.
Because if the guys who are selling it don't have the confidence to use the weapon without those items, why should you?
All too often, I hear someone describe an AR-15 as being high quality because the upper and lower fit together tightly, and the finish on the receivers matches perfectly. Often, much attention is lavished on the rich, deep black anodizing of the receivers (Strangely, these same people are perfectly okay with dremeling feed ramps through that same perfect black anodizing. But I digress). Unfortunately, much of this comes from magazines such as Guns & Ammo. I just skimmed a few recent AR-15 articles, where fit and finish was mentioned before function, and more prominently as well. Disappointing, but not surprising.
But am I saying that the popular definition of "fit and finish" is detrimental to performance? Yes. Well, partially. While some who never really use their rifles may prefer an incredibly tight upper and lower fit, I find that being required to use a hammer and punch to drive out the takedown and pivot pins is a real pain, and may be an impossibility on the range. I've also encountered upper receivers that were so "tight" that they would not accept a bolt carrier. I'd rather have a rifle that was easy to disassemble and will accept all properly sized components. To me, a little slop is a good thing.
As for finish, most people seem to forget that the primary function of a finish on a firearm is to protect it from the elements. While a perfectly black, glossy finish might look pretty, it's no more protective than a flat gray anodize on the upper and a flat black anodize on the lower. If the weapon is to be actually used for its intended purpose, then the finish will wear, and the metal itself might get dings. The AR-15 I own with the highest round count - which has had over 3000 rounds fired through it in one week, with no malfunctions - has mismatched receiver finishes and rattles a little bit. Many would reject it immediately without pausing to consider its more important attributes. Others might recoil in horror at another AR-15 I own, which has been "refinished" with four different colors of Krylon. In summary, while an attractive, even finish is nice to look at initially, it has no relation to the quality of the rifle underneath, and won't be pretty for long if you don't baby the weapon.
If the weapon is not going to be used in a harsh environment, if the only thing at stake is a Saturday afternoon at the range once a month and propping up the wall of the gun safe the rest of the time, then function is welcome to take a backseat to fit and finish. Just don't confuse fit and finish with quality or reliability.
There aren't any lies in this video. The guys clearly show what they did with the weapon. No shenanigans, unlike the Osprey scuba video. However, the omission made is that a standard AR-15 would do just as well during this test, as you can see in this video, which I made recently. Essentially, the Adams Arms rifle was laid ejection port down in some sand, shaken around a bit, and fired. The sand on top wouldn't have much of an effect.
If the Adams guys want to market their system to serious buyers, they need to a) stop flagging the cameraman, as in the ice video, and b) focus on the real strong point of an op-rod conversion, which is the suppressed, SBR, full auto, high round count market. From what I've seen, it's a well designed kit. They just aren't marketing it properly, in my opinion.
I'll admit it, I'm addicted to flashlights. I have way too many of the things.
I learned the utility of small flashlights that were easy to carry yet very bright when I was in Iraq. There are times when night vision is useful, and times when a flashlight is more handy.
Today, I always have a flashlight on me. I use it probably a dozen times a day, for everything from working inside a computer, to trying to figure out what else has broken inside my Jeep, to identifying things at night. It's like a pocketknife: you would never realize how useful it is until you start to carry one with you.
I've tried many different brands, but keep coming back to one. Surefire flashlights are made in the US and are the world standard for, as they call it, "illumination tools". Many other companies - most of which are made in China - claim to have higher output or higher runtime, and sometimes they are correct. Most of the time, however, they exaggerate output, and base runtime off expensive batteries that you won't find anywhere in town. Oh, sure, many of these lights are very, very bright, and many of them can survive a good amount of abuse, but on the whole they aren't as well made as Surefire lights. To me, knowing that the light will work when you want it to is more important than having a light that is slightly brighter.
I've had Chinese flashlights malfunction out of the box, or work fine for a while until I really needed them - like the time my motorcycle headlight went out, and my "very bright" Jetbeam flashlight only lasted 4 minutes before overheating and frying its internal circuitry, leaving me in the dark as I navigated traffic with a tiny keychain light. None of the Chinese lights I bought were on the cheap side, either - Fenix, Jetbeam, Quark, and Nitecore are among the best that China has to offer.
Surefire lights suitable for pocket carry come in many flavors. I prefer flashlights with durable pocket clips and click on/off tailcaps. I've also found that aggressively "crenellated" flashlights for defense tear up my pants pockets rather quickly. Also, flashlights that have two batteries are brighter and last longer, but they're also longer and may interfere with items in your pocket. In my opinion, the ideal flashlight for carry is the Surefire E1B; it's exceptionally tough, far brighter than its rating suggests, and also offers a "low" setting for extended runtime when a lot of light isn't necessary. Its pocket clip will allow you to carry it bezel up or down. Bezel down is the better option for absolutely ensuring that the light won't come out of your pocket when you don't want it to.
I've had several E1Bs, and the only reason I've had more than one is because friends and family seem to be able to talk me out of them. I don't believe that I'll ever need to buy another model of flashlight. Of the dozens of Surefires I've owned over the past 5 years, the many countries I've abused them in, I've never had one malfunction. I did send one back after it had a negative encounter with a sandblaster. It still worked, but the light it put out was very scattered. They fixed it and had it back to me in just over a week, no charge. Surefire's customer service is second to none.
These lights are more expensive than the competition, but in my opinion, they're well worth the asking price.