Monthly Archives: November 2010

Sionics Carbine Followup

I’ve been working on a lot of stuff lately, and will post some of that “stuff” soon, but I need to take care of a number of reviews or comments that I should have posted months or weeks ago first. One of those items is a followup to the Sionics carbine “initial look.”

Basically, the Sionics carbine is built with Daniel Defense components on non-DD upper and lower receivers that are selected to have a tight fit and nice appearance. I was loaned one for T&E last month.

I filmed a decent amount of video while shooting it (including some comparisons between various stances and “holds” using high speed video), but am still having issues with my computer overheating when processing video. I’ll have to post that on Youtube later.

Until then, the bottom line is that the Sionics carbine worked without a hitch, though the total round count was just under 200. I used Wolf, Silver Bear, my own handloads, and some Federal XM193. The weapon was already sighted in, so I spent all of my time and ammunition shooting at a steel plate about 180 yards away. “Sub-MOA” accuracy isn’t required for that, but consistently hitting the plate was a very easy task.

As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I like weapons that have appropriately sized gas ports. The general perception of how a midlength shoots versus how a carbine shoots (that is, the perception of less recoil with the midlength) approaches the region of splitting hairs when you’re working with a carbine that has a properly sized gas port and a heavy buffer. The Sionics carbine was no exception, and I found it to stay on target between shots just as well as any other similar M4-type carbine.

I am mostly concerned with how well a weapon is able to put rounds on target, but I do know that a significant number of AR-15 owners (perhaps better referred to as a “vocal minority”) value fit and finish as highly as they do function. I don’t have any complaints about how the carbine worked – and I don’t think there would be many complaints from the “vocal minority” about how it looked, either.

November 11th

I’d like to offer a big “thank you” to all those who have served and are currently serving in the Armed Forces.

Click here for the history of this day. It seems to be observed with even more fervor in other countries – I was especially impressed with the Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, refusing to take the poppy off his lapel during a recent trip to China.

In related news, the Citizens Armory is offering 10% off on orders over $50; this is in addition to their already low shipping rates.

Sig P226 X-Five Tactical

I had originally intended to make a video about this pistol, but my CPU is now overheating whenever I ask it to process video. Until I can get that sorted out, here’s a (fairly) brief article.

The P226 X-Five Tactical can be looked at in one of two ways. First, you could say that it’s a P226 on steroids – and that’d be true. Second, you could say that it’s a “regular” X-Five that’s been “watered down” a little – and that would also be fairly true. But is that a bad thing? In my opinion, no, it isn’t.

The biggest differences between the X-Five Tactical and a regular P226R are the 5″ barrel and slide (hence the X-Five name) and the external safety which sends a loud and clear message that this is no “regular” P226. Instead, it’s designed to be carried cocked and locked, just like a 1911.

The biggest differences between the X-Five Tactical and its earlier (and more expensive) brother, the X-Five Competition, are the aluminum frame, night sights, accessory rail, lack of an extended magwell, and magazines.

Are these negatives? Well, more weight is fine for competition use, most IDPA/IPSC matches occur in broad daylight and do not require or even allow the use of weaponlights, extended/flared magwells aren’t a necessity on a double stack handgun, and while the higher capacity X-Five magazines are nice, they’re also hard to find and expensive. The X-Five Tactical, on the other hand, can easily use standard P226 magazines – definitely a bonus from a cost and availability standpoint.

In other words, the X-Five Tactical retains the features that would interest me, while discarding those which are of limited value outside the competition arena – with a corresponding reduction in price. Good deal? I think so.

The weapon offers an ambidextrous safety with very positive engagement/disengagement “clicks”. My only complaint is that its location is close enough to the slide release (yes, I just called it a slide release!!!) that resting your thumb atop the safety could cause the slide to not lock back when the last round is fired. This is a training issue to be aware of, not a serious problem with the weapon.

Notice the holes in front of and below the trigger guard – those are for pull weight and overtravel adjustments (which, apparently, do not apply to the Tactical). Even if they weren’t dummy holes, I’d leave them alone – first, it’s not my firearm, and second, the trigger is quite amazing as-is.

The best way to describe the X-Five’s trigger would be to say that it feels like clicking a mouse button – to include the incredibly short reset. This, of course, lends itself to very precise, accurate, and rapid fire. There are no excuses to be made when you’re shooting this handgun – if you miss, it’s not the fault of the weapon.

Speaking of accuracy and precision, here’s the test target. The outer blue circle (of the stamp) is 2″ – which is apparently the maximum allowable group size. Center to center, the 5 shot group is 1.6″. Considering that it was probably shot with standard ammunition, at 25 meters, that’s very impressive. Wikipedia says that X-Fives shoot 1″ at 25 yards before they leave the factory – this is clearly not true, but the weapon is still capable of great results in the right hands.

In terms of “shootability” – this is a fantastic handgun. I’m big on weight and balance for cars, airplanes and AR-15s, but I don’t always think about it with handguns. Sig clearly gave thought to weight and balance when they designed this weapon (All of the engineers who were supposed to pay attention to how the 229R balanced worked on this project instead). Combined with the phenomenal trigger, this makes the X-Five Tactical a handgun that you could, with very little instruction, have most new shooters proficient with in a very short period of time. There’s nothing about the way the weapon handles, shoots, or operates that “fights” with the shooter.

I’ll briefly touch on quality control – this firearm is made entirely in Germany, but even if it wasn’t stamped on the slide and laser engraved on the frame, you’d probably be able to tell. This is a big step up from the half German/half American pistols that have earned Sig a few black marks in recent years.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to make a video pretty soon – if not, I’ll just write articles for a while. Thanks for your time.

Photography Practice

I’ve invested a fair amount of money in some photographic equipment, and have turned a spare bedroom into a studio. That’s what’s been occupying a lot of my time lately. However, this will allow me to present higher quality images of whatever I’m talking about at the moment.

If this doesn’t look any better than the stuff I’ve done before, don’t tell me…I’ll just go sit in the corner and cry if you do.

Recent Entries »