I have taken to carrying a Smith & Wesson Model 642 Airweight .38 revolver. Carrying the 642 has caused me to re-evaluate my personal tactics, training, and attitude. In doing so I had to develop a “J Frame Mindset.” Years ago I made certain assumptions based upon the perceived effectiveness of what I was carrying. Having abandoned many of those notions while carrying the J, I realized that the new mindset was just as applicable to better weaponry. After discussing this with peers who carry service pistols exclusively, it occurred to me that these tenets might apply just as well to them.
In our continuing effort to bring S.W.A.T. readers hard-use T&Es that go far beyond firing a few rounds on a square range, we're proud to present Pat Rogers' findings from his truly exhaustive ten-month, almost 61,000-round testing of three rifles from LWRCI. And if that's not enough to tempt you, see below for more of S.W.A.T. March 2009, on sale at newsstands everywhere now.
J FRAME OF MIND
A Frankengun is an AR-15 (usually) that has been thrown together with parts salvaged from various other (often well-used) AR-15s, and/or parts from a manufacturer who looked at an AR-15 one day and said, "Hey, I can make parts that look something like that." The result is often a creature that may outwardly resemble an AR-15, but inside something has gone terribly awry and the end result is often, well, a monster. But there can be good monsters, too. I thought that a pair of Frankenguns would be good vehicles for testing various AR-15 aftermarket components and accessories.
The Russian Dragunov SVD is one of the most widely recognized sniper rifles in the world today. After its acceptance into service in the mid-1960s, it was licensed out and the Chinese picked up on it. It has been said that when the Chinese began production, they looked over the Russian version and reversed-engineered their Type-79 military model of NDM-86 chambered for the 7.62x54R with improvements over the original. The Chinese NDM-86 was noted to be the civilian version of the Type-79 and was chambered in both 7.62x54R and 7.62mm NATO/.308 Winchester. Recently I managed to obtain an NDM-86 for testing: testing both the rifle and my preconceptions of it.
HAULIN' ASS ... AND AMMO
How to carry ammunition is never an easy issue to resolve. Different jobs, assignments and missions may require different load outs, and that may require different load carriage. The chest rig is the compromise "A" answer, as it is functional, reasonably priced and useable across the board, but may not be something an average guy will use in a non-zombie emergency. The rig up for consideration in this article is the ATS Low Profile Chest Rig.
NOT A COMPROMISE CANDIDATE
The Savage Model FP10 is often overlooked when tactical rifles are discussed. The FP10 is the basis of Savageâ€™s Law Enforcement series. It is available from the factory, depending on the particular model chosen, with many notable features, including stocks from McMillan, HS Precision, and Choate, along with detachable box magazines, oversized bolt handle, recessed target crown, and most importantly, Savageâ€™s industry-leading AccuTrigger. The one tested is the McMillan stock variant chambered in .308 Winchester with detachable box magazine (FCP).
THE M FACTOR
When I first heard about Springfieldâ€™s new XD(M) 40, I thought this might be an attempt by Springfield to make a â€œhigh endâ€ (and therefore high-priced) version of their XD. However, Springfield went to great lengths to improve functional aspects of the pistol, while not changing a lot in the way of aesthetics. At first glance, it still looks like an XD. In my hand, it still feels like an XD. To be sure, a lot has changed with the new XD(M), but it isnâ€™t until you hit the range that this becomes totally clear.
OUTFITTERS FOR OPERATORS
In 1976, covert legend Mitchell WerBellâ€™s sons Mitchell and Geoffrey founded Brigade Quartermasters, one of the first and most cutting-edge Special Operations military and police equipment emporiums in the world. More than 30 years later, theyâ€™re going strong and among their product lines are 5.11 Tacticalâ€™s latest offerings. We test drive their new pants, belts and boots.
SHOOT & SAVE
We all see it. Ammo prices are up – way up – yet we need to maintain our existing skills and add new ones. Some ammunition is on six-month back order, or simply not available. Even reloading components now bring on sticker shock! Short of getting a second mortgage, what can you do? The triad of tools, training and mindset must be balanced, which means we must practice to keep the skills we have and train to ingrain new skills. Here are some ways to do that and still keep a roof over your family's head.
ULTIMATE ENDURANCE TEST
I received three LWRCI M6A1 carbines for long-term evaluation (actually two complete LWRCI guns and one upper on another makerâ€™s lower). We chose the M6A1 because we wanted the fixed front sight base. We ran these guns hard for ten months, putting approximately 60,900 cumulative rounds downrange through the three guns. Almost all of the ammunition was expended during classes, where the firing schedule is harsh – we wanted to run the guns hard and see what they could do.
OVERCOMING RANGE MENTALITY
What is range mentality? It's a complex combination of mindset and behavior that adds up to big trouble in the real world. Whether it's the attitude that nothing is at stake when we are shooting or it's ingrained range-only habits that will cost you valuable time and concentration in a real fight, you must actively work not to let these become ingrained in your mind or body. This article examines several manifestations of range mentality and what you can do to combat them.