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Smith & Wesson Releases the New Bodyguard 2.0 .380 ACP Micro Compact

Smith & Wesson has been busy with a flurry of mid-summer releases, and the latest is the .380 ACP micro compact Bodyguard 2.0. Smith released the original Bodyguard back in 2010 as a 6-shot, single-stack pistol. It was designed to go toe to toe in the market with other micro compact .380’s like the KelTec P3AT and the Ruger LCP. The new Bodyguard 2.0 is a major evolution of the original design, featuring a larger frame that will accept a double-stack magazine. The Bodyguard 2.0 substantially increases capacity with a flush-fit 10-round magazine and an extended 12-round magazine.

The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 2.0

The new Bodyguard shares design characteristics with the newer M&P pistols and, in fact, looks like a baby Shield Plus. It has an overall height of 4 inches, is a bit under 1 inch wide, and only weighs 9.8 ounces unloaded. It’s very close in size and weight to the Ruger LCP MAX and should give that popular EDC pistol some competition in the high-cap pocket pistol market.

The Bodyguard 2.0 is striker-fired and has a flat-faced trigger. It also has a more ergonomic grip and slide serrations than the original Bodyguard. It still uses a polymer frame and has a stainless steel slide and barrel coated with a black Armornite finish. The 2.0 has a black U-notch rear sight and a tritium-insert front post.

You can get it in either a base model or a TS model with a manual thumb safety. There are no provisions for an optic or a threaded barrel yet—like you’re seeing on some micro compacts like the Beretta 30X—but it wouldn’t surprise me to see that down the road. If you’re in the market for a new CCW pistol or a backup gun for duty use, you may want to give the new Bodyguard 2.0 a look.

Tech Specs:

Caliber: .380 ACP
Size: Micro Compact
Width: 0.75 in.
Length: 5.25 in.
Height: 4.1 in.
Weight: 9.8 oz.
Capacity: 10,12
Action: Striker Fired
Barrel Length: 2.75 in.
Grip: Polymer
Sights: Black
Color/Finish: Black
Barrel material: Stainless Steel
Frame: Polymer
Number of magazines: 2
MSRP: $449

For more information, please visit Smith-Wesson.com.

Testing The Beretta BRX-1 Straight Pull Rifle

Athlon Seriers Beretta BRX-1 Straight Pull Rifle

Earlier this year at SHOT Show 2024, Beretta unveiled its BRX-1 straight pull bolt action rifle. The BRX-1 is a first for Beretta in terms of fielding a fully modern modular hunting rifle. Its basic design is both ambidextrous and modular with the added ability to swap out to different barrels in order to change calibers. The action still uses a rotating bolt, but this is more akin to one on a semi-auto rifle that automatically turns and pivots into place as opposed to the turn-bolts in rifles dating back to at least the 1870s.

The Beretta BRX-1 From Our Friends At Athlon Outdoors

In its entirety, the BRX1 is a solid rifle. It’s designed and built in Italy, which is a first for a Beretta. It’s not built by the Sako/Tikka arm of the company. Extensive research and effort was dispensed upon the BRX1, and it has some pretty unique features.

While offered in several calibers from 6.5 Creedmoor to .300 Win Mag, the rifle makeup is the same: eight-lug rotation bold that equates to 16 lugs when fully engaged, single-stage trigger, quick-change cold hammer forged barrel, and fully ambidextrous. It also is guaranteed to shoot under MOA. The samples we tested were chambered in .308.

The barrel and bolt are interchangeable, meaning caliber swaps are possible, allowing the user mission-specific capability. The BRX1 features a front-receiver extension, and on that extension is the Picatinny rail for scope mounting. Think of the pic rail as a permanent fixture and the optic need not be removed to do barrel swap or maintenance. 

Beretta BRX-1 Specifications

  • Type: Bolt-action straight pull
  • Caliber: .308 Winchester
  • Weight: 7.3 pounds
  • Length: 43 inches
  • Barrel: 22-inch Cold Hammer Forged, 1:8 threaded
  • Trigger: Proprietary drop-in, adjustable
  • Grip: Modular
  • Stock: Polymer
  • Capacity: 5
  • MSRP: $1,599

To learn more about the Beretta BRX-1 rifle, please visit beretta.com.

The Smith & Wesson M&P 5.7 Series

Smith & Wesson 5.7 M&P Series

The 5.7×28 mm cartridge seems to be improving in popularity to the point where many of the major gun companies, in addition to FN, are now fielding models available for this chambering. Likewise, it’s now easier than ever before to find 5.7×28 mm ammunition loaded by major cartridge companies like Federal Premium and Fiocchi.

One such “new wave” 5.7 mm pistol is the Smith & Wesson M&P 5.7 series. For these models, Smith & Wesson took its M&P style cues and adapted them to the unique, high-velocity bottlenecked cartridge. As a result, the grip and magazine are noticeably longer. More importantly, the S&W M&P 5.7 Series uses a different action compared to the traditional delayed blowback tilting design found in standard M&Ps. This is the Smith & Wesson TEMPO system.

From Our Friends At Athlon Outdoors

Right from the jump, this pistol owns the looks that most of these 5.7s have. But it retains a lot of M&P styling as well. It gains the slim profile and grip. And an internal, hammer-fired, gas-operated, locked-breech TEMPO barrel system stands out. The barrel doesn’t cam open until the bullet passes the gas port, according to S&W. The 5.7x28mm continues to prove itself as the little cartridge that could. It just keeps finding new favor with interesting semi-automatic pistol releases. The latest entry–the new Smith & Wesson M&P 5.7. This bad boy packs a whopping overall capacity of 22+1 rounds of the smoking-fast cartridge.

Smith & Wesson M&P 5.7 Specs & Features

  • Caliber: 5.7x28mm
  • Frame Size: Full-Size
  • Action: Internal Hammer-Fired, Gas-Operated, Locked-Breech
  • Overall Capacity: 22+1
  • Barrel Length: 5 inches
  • Rifling: 1:9″
  • Front Sight: Steel, White Dot
  • Rear Sight: Steel, White 2-Dot
  • Frame Width: 1.1 inches
  • Overall Height: 5.25 inches
  • Overall Length: 8.5 inches
  • Sight Radius: 7.125 inches
  • Grip: Slim, textured
  • Overall Weight: 26.7 ounces
  • Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
  • Barrel Finish: Armornite
  • Slide Material: Stainless Steel
  • Slide Finish: Armornite
  • Frame Material: Black Polymer

To learn more about the Smith & Wesson M&P 5.7 Series, please visit Smith & Wesson website.

The Vang Comp TAC-14 Deluxe

Have you ever gotten an email that makes you think, I don’t need a retirement account? Or maybe, do all of my kids have to go to college? That’s how I felt when Vang Comp sent out an email showing that their new TAC-14 Deluxe had dropped. To be fair, it’s not that out of financial reach at $1,350. Admittedly, that’s pricey, especially for a pump-action shotgun. We are getting into a high-quality Italian-made semi-auto at that price point.

A lot of folks also assume the TAC-14 and similar firearms are novelties and range toys. If that’s your view, then it’s a hell of a lot of money. I would counter and say the general attitude around these firearms has changed. Pistol grip-only shotguns are tough to handle, but the Raptor grips do wonders for recoil reduction, and they don’t bang your wrist up. With a proper push/pull technique, you can mitigate recoil and have a very powerful and capable tool for close-quarter fights.

The Vang Comp TAC-14 Deluxe radicalizes the TAC-14. While the PGO TAC-14 can be a capable weapon, Vang Comp produced the weapon with the clear intention of creating a short-barreled shotgun. They even refer to it as the Form 1EZ. A number of the features also point more to shouldered use than pistol grip use. Speaking of features, let’s break down what makes the TAC-14 Deluxe oh so deluxe.

The TAC-14 Deluxe – In Living Color

A few features make the Deluxe a bit better as a shouldered gun. First, the rear ghost sight points more to shouldered use. Ghost rings can work for PGOs, but a bead is better. The rear sight is a two-in-one deal. Not only does it serve as a rear sight, but it also serves as a red dot mount.

It mounts RMR-patterned optics at 1/3rd co-witness height. The front sight is a big ramp topped with an adjustable and replaceable AR-15 post. It’s easy to install your choice of front sight, opening you up to a night sight option. A pair of wings protect the front sight post.

Behind the front sight sits the Vang Comp porting system to reduce recoil and muzzle rise. On a PGO, that would make the weapon very soft handling and easy to control. The Vang Comp TAC-14 Deluxe features the famed VCS barrel mod to increase the tightness of your buckshot patterns.

The gun has a +1 magazine cap to increase the total capacity to five rounds. A stainless steel follower allows for smooth movement, especially with the extended magazine cap installed. A Wolff magazine spring also ensures total reliability and is one of the first upgrades any shotgun should make.

The TAC-14 Deluxe has a VCS dome head safety, a forward sling plate, and a Magpul MOE forend. Vang Comp doesn’t just stock the gun with tacked-on upgrades but also deburrs the receiver and reduces edges for easier, pain-free reloads that don’t take a DNA sample. It also gets the VCS express reliability service and inspection.

Reviving Remington

It’s no secret that Remington has fallen out of favor with a lot of shotgun enthusiasts. They are trying to make a comeback, but it’s slow going. With the Vang Comp treatment, we are getting a Remington 870 worthy of the Remington name. Each and every feature was put together by a group of dedicated shotgun enthusiasts.

The gun is designed to offer 12-gauge firepower with less recoil and tiger patterns. Qualms with ergonomics have been solved, and the TAC-14 Deluxe model delivers a slick action with unbeatable reliability. This isn’t the first shotgun Vang Comp has given the treatment to, and it likely won’t be the last. It is the first PGO-only gun they’ve taken to town and developed into a very capable platform.

While many PDWs are semi-auto, pistol-caliber guns or maybe uber-short .300 Blackouts, the Vang Comp TAC-14 Deluxe might be the first that fits the role. I’d love to see Vang Comp do the same treatment but designed to remain a pistol grip-only shotgun. I’m talking out loud at this point, so let’s cut it short.

If you want a TAC-14 Deluxe, they’re for sale now in three different colors. Check it out on Vang Comp’s website, and if you buy one, let us know how it is handled.

Sweat, Lead And Steel: Barrett Firearms

Barrett Firearms

In the world of firearms, there are many companies around the world with histories spanning several generations. And some of these, even centuries, like a certain northern Italian gunmaker if you will…

Barrett Firearms

On the flip side, there’s Tennessee based Barrett Firearms headed up by Ronnie Barrett who designed his first .50 BMG chambered semi-automatic rifle from scratch and made the right moves at a grassroots level to get the rifle in front of both civilian and government buyers in order to get it sold and produced. At the time, Mr. Barrett worked in a photography studio and a chance meeting with a client while photographing Vietnam era riverine watercraft sparked a conversation and some ideas. He began developing his prototypes, by hand, in a tiny machine shop smaller than most garages with the help of Harry Watson.

The original prototype, which is still proudly in Barrett Firearm’s possession, took roughly four months to conceive, design, manufacture and test out. Eventually this prototype was refined into the classic Barrett M82 rifle. The Barrett Firearms story is fascinating for many reasons. For starters, until the invention of his .50 BMG rifles, the closest firearm in existence and concept was probably the Browning M2 Ma Deuce .50 BMG machine gun that famed Vietnam war sniper Carlos Hathcock modified to accept a telescopic sight for extreme long range shooting. Barrett’s story is also fascinating due to how quickly he took his original rifle from concept to reality in a relatively short period of time.

From Our Friends At Athlon Outdoors

Sweat, Lead and Steel is an Athlon Outdoors original series profiling the history and passion of companies in the shooting sports industry, and taking an intimate and cinematically powerful look into the history and current state of manufacturers.

To learn more about Barrett Firearms, please visit their website at barret.net.

The NIVA XM1970 – An Infantry Recoilless Rifle

(Courtesy of Top War )

Swedish firearms manufacturer Carl Gustafs stads gevärsfaktori, hereby known as Carl Gustafs, makes some really cool stuff. My personal favorite is the M/45, aka the Swedish K. The American military uses the M3 MAAWS, an 83mm recoilless rifle. Most of their designs are solid, reliable, and well-made. Others are the NIVA XM1970. I’m not saying the NIVA XM1970 was a bad gun, unreliable, or poorly built. It’s just weird.

The years after World War 2 were a wild time for modern guns. The move to assault rifles was gaining steam, and companies were trying to find ways to make the individual infantryman a more lethal entity. This led to programs and successes like the M203. Carl Gustaf and their creative minds crafted the NIVA XM1970 to make the average infantryman a horse multiplier.

The NIVA XM1970 – The Madmen

Let’s rip the band-aid off here and get to the roots of the XM1970. NIVA stood for Nytt Infanteri Vapen or New Infantry Weapon. The engineers created a weapon that combined a bullpup assault rifle with a recoilless rifle design. If you’re familiar with recoilless rifles, they mount over your shoulder, allowing the backblast to fire rearward and out of the tube. This creates the recoilless effect.

Rifles have historically been mounted to the shoulder, not over the shoulder. As you’d imagine, this creates a weapon that seems somewhat cumbersome and awkward to be a rifle. You’d be running around aiming your rifle with a huge tube over your shoulder. Awkward, but certainly novel.

The XM1970 rifle was a 5.56 design that looked to feed from 20- —to 30-round magazines. We hadn’t quite settled on 30 rounds as the standard in this era, and it’s tough to tell by length. The rifle used gas operation, but I can’t find information on what type.

Knowing the Swedes, it was likely a gas piston design, either a long stroke or a short stroke. The long stroke seems likely due to its simplicity and the Swedes’ history of using long-stroke gas pistons.

The recoilless rifle was a 45mm design. That’s fairly small. Remember, in the modern era, we are wielding 83mm recoilless rifles. The weapon weighed 11.9 pounds unloaded and was 35.4 inches overall. It’s a big gun, which is heavy for the era but light compared to guys slapping ten gadgets on their guns.

The XM1970 In Practice

Obviously, the gun has some problems. It’s awkward as a rifle. Imagine running around with this thing and trying to get in and out of vehicles, clear rooms, and all the modern stuff we use assault rifles for. The XM1970 definitely has some faults.

Other faults included the fact you needed two sighting systems. The recoilless rifle required its own fold-down sights that sat on the right side of the gun, near the rifle sights. While iron sights were the norm back then, there didn’t seem to be any thoughts on ever adding an optic.

Courtesy of Top War

This gun would only work for a right-handed shooter. Lefties were left out. Another problem is that running around with an XM1970 loaded increased the weight substantially. Leaving a 45mm round loaded made the weapon quite heavy.

Swapping from an assault rifle to a recoilless rifle isn’t easy either. Apparently, several steps were required before one could switch between the two systems. Although in testing, the weapon worked. Carl Gustav doesn’t build crappy weapons, and while odd, the system worked as advertised.

No one was interested in the design or concept. The military passed on it, and without interest, the NVIA XM1970 program came to a halt. Only a few prototypes were made.

Reflections

It’s crucial to understand that the NIVA XM1970 was always a prototype. Its intended use remains a topic of debate. Equipping an entire squad with this weapon might seem impractical. One can only imagine the scene, with all the 18-year-old infantrymen shouting ‘back blast area all secure’ as they aimed their NIVA XM1970 at a single threat firing from a window.

In the 1970s, the Cold War raged on, and if war came to Europe, it would be the Soviet Union using armor to cross the Fulda Gap. It’s lost on us now, but the next war in Europe was predicted to be all about armor. The XM1970 was likely pictured as a light anti-armor weapon in a ground war that could be issued amongst a squad of soldiers.

Luckily, that war didn’t come. Even if it did, I don’t think the XM1970 would have been the hot ticket. It’s a bit too awkward and a bit too specialized. The idea did live on, and ideas like the OICW spring to life with a similar idea, but more about grenades than recoilless rifles. The NVIA XM1970 is just an old ball and an interesting piece of history.

Rise Armament Iconic 2-Stage Drop-In Trigger

The premise behind the Rise Armament ICONIC two stage trigger is to provide a drop-in trigger for modern AR-pattern firearms that has two completely independent stages. This arrangement provides the shooter with the feel and quickness of a single stage trigger but with the control and precision of a traditional two stage trigger at the same time. The main difference between the Rise Armament ICONIC’s internal layout and that of traditional two stage trigger designs is that these traditional triggers have the entire trigger components linked, from the beginning of the pull all the way to the break of the shot.

From Our Friends At Athlon Outdoors

The trigger is a two stage design with the two stages being completely independent and totally separate mechanical components for each stage. Because of this design, you get unmatched performance.

On regular two stage triggers, the hammer sear and trigger sear interact on both the first and second stages. Also, the disconnector controls the second stage; this old design hurts performance. The

Rise ICONIC’s independent two stage design allows for a very distinct wall with hardly any over travel. The trigger’s first stage has a curved blade that is wider than the second and has smooth edges for maximum comfort and control. That first stage pulls at only one pound, so you hardly feel it, but somehow you know it is there.

The second stage is a skeletonized blade with an insanely crisp, clean break that’s very comparable to a high-performance single stage trigger. That second stage pulls at only two pounds.

The two blades are designed not to collide but rather to slide and nest with each other. There is virtually no creep and absolutely none of the spongy feel in conventional two-stage triggers caused by their compression of the disconnector spring.

To learn more, please visit risearmament.com

Republicans Barely Mention Gun Rights At RNC

The Republican National Convention started today, and the news cycle is dominated by the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump over the weekend. Historically, Trump has not been a very gun-friendly President. He didn’t do much for gun rights during his term and even used an executed fiat to ban bump stocks. A move illegal enough that the Supreme Court overturned it only recently. While that’s not comforting for gun rights, what’s even less comfortable is the fact the RNC Platform barely mentions gun rights. 

In fact, the closest we get to any protection of the 2nd Amendment comes from a passing reference in ‘Twenty Promises’ offered by the Republicans if they win the White House and and the entirety of Congress. The seventh promise pays lip service by stating, “defend our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, and our fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms.”

That’s all we get from the RNC on the Second Amendment. They offer to protect it but not expand or recapture ground. Their defense of the Second Amendment amounts to a single sentence. The rest of the RNC platform aligns with Trump’s America First vision, but sadly, that doesn’t include a fervent defense of the 2nd Amendment or methods to reclaim lost ground. 

The RNC Of Yesteryear 

I think it’s worth looking into the RNC of the past to see how they treated the 2nd Amendment. In 2020, the party didn’t release a platform. In 2016, there was a very fervent defense of the 2nd Amendment, which was several paragraphs long and openly supported Constitutional Carry, they praised Congress’ defense of the 2nd Amendment against ‘evisceration.’ 

Here, read it yourself:

The Second Amendment: Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms

We uphold the right of individuals to keep
and bear arms, a natural, inalienable right that
predates the Constitution and is secured by the
Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables
Americans to exercise their God-given right of self-defense for the safety of their homes,
their loved ones, and their communities.

We salute the Republican Congress for
defending the right to keep and bear arms by
preventing the President from installing a new liberal
majority on the Supreme Court. The confirmation
to the Court of additional anti-gun justices would
eviscerate the Second Amendment’s fundamental
protections. Already, local officials in the nation’s
capital and elsewhere are defying the Court’s
decisions upholding an individual right to bear
arms as affirmed by the Supreme Court in Heller
and McDonald. We support firearm reciprocity
legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding
Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves
and their families in all 50 states. We support
constitutional carry statutes and salute the states
that have passed them. We oppose ill-conceived
laws that would restrict magazine capacity or
ban the sale of the most popular and common
modern rifle. We also oppose any effort to deprive
individuals of their right to keep and bear arms
without due process of law.

We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun
manufacturers and the current Administration’s
illegal harassment of firearm dealers. We oppose
federal licensing or registration of law-abiding
gun owners, registration of ammunition, and
restoration of the ill-fated Clinton gun ban. We call
for a thorough investigation — by a new Republican
administration — of the deadly “Fast and Furious”
operation perpetrated by Department of Justice
officials who approved and allowed illegal sales of
guns to known violent criminals.

Modern Needs 

These days, we don’t face much open anti-gun legislation. What we are facing now is much worse. We are facing restrictions on gun rights through executive power that’s commanding the DOJ and ATF to find every possible means to pursue gun owners. They’ve targeted pistol braces, 80% lower receivers, and tried to make anyone who sells a gun a felon. This led to the murder of Bryan Malinowski by ATF agents in a no-knock raid. 

The fact the RNC has done nothing to address that is absurd. Republicans historically aren’t as gun-friendly as the anti-gun rights advocates would have us believe. At the federal level, a recoup of our rights hasn’t taken place, and we can only seem to win at the state and local levels. 

What can we do? I think we need to let the RNC and our elected officials know that we demand our 2nd Amendment rights are protected. They need to take gun owners as a voting block seriously, and it’s no longer enough for Republicans to barely mention the 2nd Amendment. Write your elected officials, see them during office hours, and get heard! 

As a group, we’ll plop down a grand for a rifle, five hundred bucks on ammo, and buy every gadget and gizmo out there but fail to give to gun rights organizations. I’m guilty of this myself, and this year, we are taking a stance. We need to become the fervent defenders of the 2nd Amendment and stop being complacent.

FN’s Catch 22 Ti Rimfire Suppressor

FN Catch 22 Ti Suppressor

FN’s Catch 22 rimfire suppressor is a modern designed titanium suppressor that is able to handle all of today’s rimfire chamberings including .22 LR, .22 Long, .22 Short, .22 WMR (Magnum) along with .17 HMR. Besides the ability to handle all of these diverse cartridges, the FN Catch 22 Ti is also very compact. It’s diameter is 1.1 inches in diameter and weighs only 5 ounces. It’s overall length is a fairly 5.2 inches too. The FN Catch 22 Ti rimfire suppressor is also fully end user serviceable, meaning that owners can fully take down the suppressor itself and the internal baffle stack in order to clean it periodically–something that’s part and parcel of shooting high rimfire round counts anyway no thanks do the combination of bullet lubricants and fouling from rimfire grade gun powders.

With industry standard 1/2 by 28 threads per inch, it’s very easy to attach this suppressor directly to most any threaded rimfire firearm, be it a rifle or a pistol. However being that this is an FN designed and produced product, it was also made to naturally mesh with the FN 502 Tactical semi-automatic rimfire pistol. The FN 502 Tactical already includes taller suppressor height sights along with that threaded barrel. And you guessed it, because the thread pitch is 1/2 by 28 TPI!

FN Catch 22 Ti Specs

  • CALIBER: 22 LR, 22 MAG, 22 WMR and 17 HMR
  • LENGTH: 5.25 inch
  • TUBE DIAMETER: 1.12 inch
  • WEIGHT: 5 oz.
  • MOUNT: 1/2 inch x 28 TPI
  • MATERIALS: TITANIUM, STAINLESS STEEL, ALUMINUM
  • FINISH: HT CERAKOTE ™

To learn more about the new FN Catch 22 Ti rimfire suppressor and the FN 502 Tactical .22 LR rimfire pistol, please visit fnamerica.com

SIG Sauer’s Forgotten Guns

SIG Sauer has been around a lot longer than most people realize. SIG and Sauer combined forces in 1976, but if we go back in time to the Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft, we find it started in 1853. Sauer goes back even further and has a heritage dating back to 1751. These are old companies that have formed a confusing web. A few different SIG Sauer and Sig and Sauer companies are running around. We won’t dive deep into that web, but we want to explore SIG Sauer’s forgotten guns. 

SIG Sauer’s Forgotten Guns 

With a few hundred years and what seems like half a dozen different companies between the two, there are bound to be some forgotten guns. Instead of delving into the 1800s or 1700s, let’s focus on a more recent era- the post-World War II world. This period of great change in firearms technology is where we’ll find some of SIG Sauer’s forgotten guns. 

P290

We’ll start with the youngest gun on this list. SIG produced the P290 from 2011 to 2017, and when I mention the gun, I get lots of blank looks. “The P2what?” The SIG P290 was one of SIG’s 9mm/380 pocket guns. Plenty of folks remember the 1911-like P938, but the P290 falls into the realm of SIG Sauer’s forgotten guns. 

The gun wasn’t that popular. It features some odd choices. First, it had an extremely long trigger pull. Gritty, stiff double-action triggers were a big part of the 2010s for some reason or another. The P290 and later P290RS featured that crappy trigger. The original P290s had a really long trigger pull but lacked a restrike capability. The RS model did fix that and introduced a .380 variant. 

The P290, oddly enough, has various models that allow you to change the grip panels. Why? I don’t know, but you could! The gun did have real sights, and lasers were an optional upgrade. The gun was eliminated with the unveiling of the SIG P365, a gun that won’t ever be forgotten. 

The Other MP320 

SIG Sauer USA recently released a grip module called the MP320 that converts your P320 into a PDW. That wasn’t SIG’s first MP320. It was the American SIG Sauer’s first MP320, but the German company produced an MP320 submachine gun. SIG produced the gun, not SIG Sauer, so is it technically one of SIG Sauer’s Forgotten Guns? No, but it’s still a SIG. 

Vickers Guide

SIG built the MP320 as an update to the SIG MP310 in the early 1970s. The MP320 used a lot of stamped metal and took on a futuristic appearance. It ditched the folding magwell and had a skinny, svelte side folding stock. The gun lacked an external charging handle and instead used an ambidextrous top-mounted charging handle. 

This simple blowback submachine gun remained a prototype and never made it beyond that phase. The MP5 was already ruling the market, and the need for SMGs was slowly being eroded and reduced to specialized tactical teams. 

SP2340 

The SIG Sauer SP2340 is part of their somewhat well-known Pro series. Most gun owners and SIG fans are familiar with the SP2022, but the SP2340 often escapes recognition. The 2340 was part of the first generation of the more affordable polymer frame, DA/SA SIG Pro series. SIG realized their guns were expensive compared to the rising star, Glock. 

Using polymer cut costs, improved production speed, and cut weight. SIG aimed to grab law enforcement contracts with the Pro series. As a product of the late 90s, the SP2340 came in either .40 S&W or .357 SIG. In this era, no one trusted 9mm, and .45 ACP was seen as an old man. It was all about the high-pressure cartridges. 

The SP2340 didn’t get many American contracts, and honestly, it didn’t get many European or South American contracts either. The SP2022 was much more successful, and the little SP2340 faded from our collective minds and became one of SIG Sauer’s forgotten guns. 

SIG SG 510-3 

The SIG SG 510 is far from forgotten. This is another SIG, not a Sauer weapon. SIG developed the weapon for the Swiss military. Originally, the gun was a battle rifle that fired the 7.5x55mm cartridge. Like most weapon developers, once you have a working design, why don’t you try to sell it to other military forces? To do so, SIG rechambered the weapon into 7.62×39 and called it the SG 510-3. 

As a fan of battle rifles converted to intermediate cartridges, I think this might be my favorite of SIG Sauer’s forgotten guns. The 510-3 used a shorter barrel, receiver, barrel jacket, and a curved AK lookalike magazine. The Swiss wanted to arm the Finnish, but sadly, they looked elsewhere. 

The SIG SG 510-3 also takes the award for the ugliest gun on the list. It looks like a gun a six-year-old would scribble out or something A.I. would draw. The SG 510-3 uses a roller delayed system and, by all accounts, was a very fine rifle. 

SIG 44/16 

Last but not least, we ended up with the SIG 44/16. When you look at the SIG P210 in a vacuum, it seems like a pistol of the era. It’s a post-World War II design with a single stack 9mm magazine. The gun was known for its accuracy, reliability, and low recoil. It was and still is a great gun. The eight-round magazine is out of date these days, and that’s a big reason why the P210 isn’t as well known as guns like the Hi-Power. 

Wikimedia

However, it could have been. SIG produced several variants of the P210 and sent them to the Swedish Shooters Association for feedback. One of those models is known as the 44/16. The 44/16 model used a 16-round double-stack magazine. Sadly, the Swedish Shooter’s Association knew more about hitting a bull’s eye than fighting with a handgun and preferred the thinner single-stack grip. 

Thus, the 44/16 has been regulated to forgotten status. It’s a real shame because the gun could still be somewhat relevant today with a higher capacity. We’ve seen the Hi-Power make one helluva comeback, so why couldn’t the SIG 44/16 as the p210 still function today? Slap a rail and an optic on it, and you have a fantastic pistol. 

Forgetting SIG 

SIG Sauer’s forgotten guns are a great way to observe the various generations of SIG and their weapons. Sadly, a lot of these guns aren’t bad guns. They could have been successful in a different era or with a different crowd. Except for the P290, that gun kind of just sucked. 

American Rounds Vending Machine Sweep The World (kind of)

Good to Go Ammo

Who knew if you wanted to get anti-gun advocates riled up, you just had to create an ammo dispensing vending machine? In a move straight out of the Borderlands series of video games, a little company called American Rounds created a series of vending machines designed to dispense ammunition. This small American company has hit the mainstream media and hit it hard.

American Rounds is a Dallas-based company, and its machines have popped up in Alabama, Texas, and Oklahoma. I’m a bit surprised and saddened that Florida was left out in the cold. Maybe soon? The American Rounds machines have also caused quite a news stir. Pearls are clutched, but in reality, it’s just part of a rising fad of smart shop-style machines. Most of the headlines talk about buying ammo at your grocery store, but hell, I’ve been doing that my entire life.

They aren’t the first ammo vending machines. A small spread of them made their way to gun shops and gun ranges in the past. These were lower-tech systems and were in places that already sold ammo. This is the first time we’ve seen ammo sold in normal, everyday places and locations. The current crop of American Rounds machines is exclusive to grocery stores.

How Do The American Rounds Machines Work?

State and federal laws regulate who can buy ammo in accordance with their age. As a 19-year-old, I once argued with a clerk at Dick’s Sporting Goods because he refused to sell me ‘pistol’ ammo because I wasn’t 21. The ammo in question was .22 Long RIFLE! I’m still a little salty about that one. To stay in compliance with the law, American Rounds machines require you to scan your ID to verify your age.

(American Rounds)

Your ID is scanned, your card is swiped, inserted, or tapped, and you make your ammunition selection. Similar technology is used in machines that sell alcoholic beverages, vapes, and cigarettes. Much like these regulated items, the machine keeps things legal. Sure, anyone can steal an ID and buy ammo, but the system apparently uses facial ID to verify the face on the ID. I imagine the biggest problem you’ll run into is growing a beard that isn’t present on your ID.

The idea is to offer convenience to shooters who might not have a local gun store or ammo counter at their grocery store. It’s about the convenience factor, and the machines likely won’t do well outside small towns simply due to greater selection at gun stores. Unlike the ammo counter at Walmart, you won’t have to wait 15 to 20 minutes for an employee with the key to show up.

Cost? Selection? What are the Details?

Sadly, most articles focus more on the pearl-clutching rather than the fine details of the American Rounds machine. I had to search forums high and low to find some kind of mention of the prices. In all my searching, I found one first-person impression of the machine. The prices seem high, with a box of 50 rounds of FMJ 9mm rounds selling for 22 dollars. You are certainly paying for convenience.

American Rounds

Sadly, I didn’t have much other information. It’s unclear what calibers are sold, but from some information, it seems like a mix of rifle, shotgun, and handgun rounds. I see Federal represented, but I’m not sure if other brands are getting into the action.

Federal makes enough ammo to do a bit of everything. It’s likely the machines will be stocked with the most popular calibers, but they will also likely vary depending on the area and the demand for specific calibers. I imagine we’ll see 9mm, .223, 12 gauge, .22LR, but I wouldn’t expect to see 5.7 or anything odd.

Worth It?

I love the idea behind the American Rounds machines. It’s very cyberpunk, but in a good way. It’s the most American vending machine ever. Instead of dispensing sugary soft drinks, it’s dropping freedom! What do you think? Is it worth the installation? Would you use one? I might for the novelty.

I wouldn’t expect these to pop up in national chains. Don’t expect your local Target to start carrying American Rounds vending machines, even if the two would seemingly brand very well together.

The Model 10 and the Practical Shotgun Course

I recently stumbled across three PDFs that preserved a series of pamphlets published by High Standard from 1965 to 1968. These pamphlets were designed to educate police departments looking to train their troops in the art of the shotgun. Of course, as they educated the police officers, they also found a way to advertise their shotguns non-so-subtly. These pamphlets were labeled the Practical Shotgun Course. I’ve decided to go back to the 1960s and give the course a try with the High Standard Model 10.

The first pamphlet, the Practical Shotgun Course, was a concise yet comprehensive guide. It offered training tips, the course of fire, and even a few persuasive lines about the riot gun and High Standard shotguns. The second pamphlet, a supplementary guide, focused on riot shotguns and their versatile roles, along with a list of attachments suitable for High Standard shotguns. The third and final pamphlet was a recap of the first, but with an added section on the new High Standard Model 10.

The High Standard Model 10, a bullpup, semi-auto, gas-operated shotgun, was a revolutionary design for its time. Unlike any other shotgun on the market, it was a product of a police officer’s ingenuity, later acquired and released by High Standard. As a self-professed shotgun enthusiast, I was fortunate to find a Model 10 at a local gun store and promptly added it to my collection.

With the Practical Shotgun Course loaded on my phone as a PDF, I hit the range.

The Model 10 And the Practical Shotgun Course

The Practical Shotgun Course pamphlets detail the use of the Model 10 and how an officer could field it. The Model 10 is a fascinating weapon. It was first sold in 1967 and billed as the ultimate entry weapon. The gun is only slightly longer than 26 inches and features an 18.5-inch barrel. The weapon holds four rounds in the magazine tube and one in the chamber for a total of five rounds. An available magazine extension allowed the gun to hold up to six rounds.

The Model 10 came in two flavors, the 10A and the 10B. I have the 10B, which is arguably the better weapon. The Model 10 has some quirky features. This includes a stock that rotates 360 degrees to accommodate hip firing. The weapon can be braced against the forearm and fired. In fact, this specific feature was also designed to allow the user to fire the weapon with one hand out of a police cruiser.

The Model 10B comes with a carry handle and a mount for an ancient light from a company called Kel-Lite. The original Model 10A had an integral light built into the carry handle. My Model 10 has a flip-up front sight and a fixed rudimentary rear sight. The weapon features charging handles on both sides, and the charging handle on the left side does not reciprocate.

Now that you understand how weird the Model 10 is, let’s go shoot the High Standard Practical shotgun course. Keep in mind I used the techniques taught in this manual, and if it looks odd, that’s how it was taught.

The Practical Shotgun Course

The Practical Shotgun Course requires five targets arranged in a staggered line that measures 15 yards from the first target to the fifth target. The targets should be numbered, and I just went from left to right. The course does not call for a specific type of target, so I used the FBI Q Target. There are four distinct stages broken down into two slug stages and two buckshot stages.

The course says you need an instructor to call out the target numbers. That’s what I have a dice tower for! I just rolled a six-sided dice twice for the first two stages. (Sixes resulted in a reroll.) The third and fourth stages have you engage all five targets so I did evens first for the third stage and odds first for the fourth stage.

Stage 1 – 50 Yards

At fifty yards, we started in the kneeling position, and I kneeled behind cover. According to the course we had to shoot two rounds, one into two targets. My Model 10 was loaded with two slugs, and at the beep, I leaned out and fired one shot on four and one shot on five. As soon as I snapped out, I had problems.

At 50 yards, the front sight covered almost the entire target, so I placed it as best I could. Getting a cheek weld on the gun was tough, and the sights were too low. I managed to land both my hits with the charging handle hitting my nose once.

Stage 2 – 35 Yards

I fired this slug stage in the standing position and let off one round into target four and one round into target two. The sights didn’t cover the target, but cheek weld was still a pain. The stock’s rotating design was also a hassle. It would rotate to the side just as I braced the gun in my shoulder.

I landed both shots, but nowhere near as fast as I could with something like my Benelli M4.

Stage 3 – 25 Yards

Finally, we move to buckshot and use a two-handed standing position and load buckshot into the gun. Loading this gun is a massive pain, by the way. You have to hold a button to load each round, and it takes two hands to do so. Neither here nor there.

Cheek weld might suck, but the gun puts buckshot where it needs to be, although it is incredibly unreliable. It states you have to use high brass or magnum loads. I used both, but it still failed to operate successfully. I had two malfunctions in the five rounds fired.

Stage 4 – 15 Yards

At 15 yards, we are supposed to assume a standing position with the gun braced against my bicep in a hip-firing position. You then direct one round to each target. It turns out I sucked at hip firing and missed every single round. Hip-firing at five yards isn’t tough. Hip-firing at 15 yards makes me feel uncertain. I was crazy afraid of shooting over the berm, so I’ll take the misses.

Hip-firing at 15 yards is silly. That’s not close enough quarters to avoid aiming. Oh, and the Model 10 failed three times in five rounds.

Blasting Off

The High Standard Practical Shotgun Course isn’t terrible. It’s simple, but the last stage is silly. I like the different targets and the various ranges, but in 2024, we need par times and accuracy standards beyond just hitting the target.

The Model 10 sucks as a shotgun. It’s super unreliable; even with the ammo the company recommends, it’s not reliable by any means. I wouldn’t want to be the cop armed with a Model 10. While it’s a fun experience to shoot, and the Model 10 is fascinating, it is easy to see why we’ve moved to stricter standards and better shotguns.

The Firearms Training Notebook

I recently traveled to sunny Destin, Florida, to attend a Pistol Red Dot Course with War Hogg Tactical. War Hogg Tactical is owned by Rick Hogg, a 29-year Army Special Operations veteran and current traveling firearm instructor. If you have ever played Far Cry 5, you will see that he’s the guy who actually trained a dog to retrieve a rifle for the game. The course was great, but we aren’t talking about the course much today. Instead, we are talking about the Firearms Training Notebook.

Every student received a copy of the Firearms Training Notebook, and throughout the course, almost everything we did was recorded in that notebook. I’m a big fan of the idea of a training notebook. I’ve been using a simple notebook for years to record various portions of my training. In the past, I’ve used a notebook to record the basics of a drill, and it all started with gathering information for firearm reviews.

I quickly found that I was referencing notebooks to find times for drills, accuracy results, and how far I could take a firearm out and shoot it accurately. My notebooks became quite handy. I was pleasantly surprised to see I’m not the only one who uses or preaches about using a notebook.

The Firearms Training Notebook – Notes for Nerds

My simple little notebook had no structure or organization to it. I just jotted crap into it and called it a day. I typically labeled the drill and times but not much else. It’s a mess. The Firearms Training Notebook provided a standardized means to record data. Not just the drill but the distance, the splits, the par time, the shots fired, and more.

The idea behind the book and keeping a training journal is simple. It allows you to track progress and examine data. You can get a lot of data from a string of fire. For example, as we trained with Rick, I observed that my splits were slowest at the beginning of the drill. It was as if I didn’t have the confidence to make those first two shots quick and got faster as my confidence grew throughout those drills.

This told me to stop being slow and start pulling that damn trigger as soon as it was on target. You could pick all sorts of data from varying strings of fire if you are looking for it. Maybe you’re slower shooting a target to the right than to the left? Maybe you can pinpoint the exact speed at which you begin to lose accuracy when you start going fast.

The data tells a story, and if you use the data, you can figure out how to self-diagnose your shooting problems and potentially fix them. This allows you to get a little better every time you go and train. It can save you ammo and time by helping you figure out what you’re doing wrong and how it’s affecting you.

Inside the Firearms Training Notebook

The book itself mainly consists of pages of blank tables. The tables feature a setup section and a notes section as well. You can record the drill name, the range, and the shots fired and have plenty of room to record your times. You have several blank slots, and the tables are adaptable to nearly any drill. It’s simple and effective at recording data for reference.

The Firearms Training Notebook contains a page for the War Hogg self-evaluation drill and numerous QR codes to take you to various drills you can take to the range and try yourself, as well as QR codes for printable targets. The book is simple but handy. It provides all the instructions you need to use the book, and it’s pretty easy to figure out. It’s small and easily fits into a back pocket or range bag with ease.

The men behind the book include Rick Hogg and fellow firearm instructor Mark Kelley of Kelley Defense. Both men have nearly 70 years of experience and train a variety of police, military, and civilians. I was impressed with the Red Dot course and the Firearms Training Notebook.

If you want one, check out War Hogg’s website, and you can order one. It’s a training tool most people will overlook, but one that’s immensely valuable for both live fire and dry fire training. It’s also a cheap tool within the world of firearms and well worth the investment.

Gunday Brunch 153: The 25 Yard Zero is stupid

Boy, this one goes off the rails quick. In all seriousness though, who still even uses the 25 yard zero? And if you do…uh why?

The High Standard Practical Shotgun Course

The year was 1965, and for police officers, the long gun of choice was the shotgun. This was the era of six guns in .38 Special and pump shotguns in 12 gauge. We’re talking wood and blued steel. High Standard was one of many companies competing for law enforcement contracts, and their Ad Men came up with a brilliant idea. Publish a pamphlet for Law Enforcement called the Practical Shotgun Course.

The Practical Shotgun Course was not just a guide but a strategic tool. It provided basic information on shotgun usage and a course of fire for police training. The pamphlet was a means to educate police agencies about the importance of the right gun and a little training and, of course, to subtly promote High-Standard shotguns as the best riot guns available.

High Standard’s marketing ploy seemed to have paid off. They went on to publish three pamphlets, starting with the original Practical Shotgun Course in 1965, followed by a Supplement to that guide in the same year, and a second edition of the first pamphlet three years later. Fortunately, these valuable resources were preserved as PDFs, and I stumbled upon them, realizing their potential for a blast to the past article.

The Practical Shotgun Course 1st Edition

I won’t go line for line through the pamphlets, but I will pick some basic things that amuse or impress me.

The article quickly explains why the riot gun works. There isn’t any information that’s egregious or too out of date. I found the fourth reason why police should pick the riot gun funny. It states that little practice is needed to retain skill. That’s a joke and a half. Shotguns take work and practice to use.

The safety aspect is covered, and the same safety rules and practices are used today. When we dived into shooting tips, I was impressed. The Practical Shotgun Course advises using an aggressive boxer-like stance with the body leaning forward to help fight recoil. There is no bladed stance mentioned here. The information on mounting and aiming the gun still rings true to this day.

Finally, we get into the actual Practical Shotgun Course. The course uses five targets that are numbered and set up in a staggered arrangement at least 15 yards wide. There are four stages listed.

The Course of Fire

Stage 1 -50 Yards – 3 Rounds Fired – Slugs – Kneeling Position

The course shows an officer shooting from behind cover. The course instructor is supposed to tell the officer which numbered targets to engage and in what order.

Stage 2 – 35 Yards – 2 Rounds Fired – Slugs – Standing aimed

At 35 yards, the shooter will aim and fire twice. The instructor will provide which targets and in what order to engage.

Stage 3 – 25 Yards – 5 Rounds Fired – 00 Buckshot – Aimed

At 25 yards, the shooter will aim and fire five shots at the target numbers provided by the instructor.

Stage 4 – 15 Yards – 5 Rounds Fired – 00 Buckshot – From the Hip

At 25 yards, the shooter will hold the gun at hip level and fire five shots at the target numbers provided by the instructor.

The pamphlet mentions trying to accomplish the entire course of fire in two and a half minutes as an extra challenge. No pass/fail standards are mentioned, and scoring isn’t any more specific than hitting the target.

I like that the instructor dictates the targets engaged. This keeps the student thinking. I do think hip-firing the shotgun at 15 yards is silly. At 3 yards, sure, but at 15 yards, you don’t have an excuse not to aim.

The Supplement

The Practical Shotgun Course Supplement acts solely as an advertisement for High-Standard shotguns and accessories. There is no training or shooting tips. We are told why High Standards are the best riot guns. We get a one-page explanation of non-specific ammo types.

From there, we get various law enforcement products an agency can adopt with their High-Standard shotguns. These include locking car mounts, non-lethal grenade launchers, and riot control devices, including a bayonet.

The Second Edition

The Second Edition of the Practical Shotgun Course came out in 1968. It’s almost identical to the first for the most part. What changed was High Standard adding the semi-auto bullpup Model 10 shotgun to their catalog. Radical described how different the Model 10 was from other shotguns.

This guide acts like a manual to show police how to carry the gun, aim it, hip fire it, load it, etc. It also discusses the benefits of the Model 10 and its integrated light. According to High Standard, it’s the ultimate police shotgun. It’s easy to carry, concealable for stakeout and even works well with bicycle cops.

The Modern World

These pamphlets are well put together, easy to read and the pictures make sure even Jarheads like me understand what I’m looking at. I would love to see a gun company do this more often, but it seems unlikely in the modern age. These are excellent little reads and offer you a view of 1960s shotguns and policing.