A Gun Guy Travels to Costa Rica

I took a vacation recently to Central America. I know what you’re thinking “You work in the gun industry TVPP, isn’t every day a vacation?

No. It flippin isn’t. Some days are awesome, other days are a pain in the ass, and it’s still nice to unplug every now and again.

So I went solo backpacking across Costa Rica, saw the capital, the Pacific coast, the cloud forests, volcanoes, and the Caribbean coast. It was a good time, and I’d go back again. Because I’m a work-a-holic, I also couldn’t resist visiting a gun shop, snapping some photos, and writing about the gear I used on the trail… Continue reading A Gun Guy Travels to Costa Rica

Snap Shot: 10.5″ Norinco AR-15

You might remember this little guy from an ultra-budget build I did back in February 2015. At the time the entire gun cost me just over $600.

Well I’ve still got it, and still shoot in on a regular basis. I’ve settled on a Meprolight optic, traded the A2 flash hider for a PWS brake, and removed the fancy Magpul ACS stock in favor of a matchy Magpul MOE stock.

I also bought my first M-Lok accessory for it, and found it to be a pain in the ass to install. I’m definitely a keymod person. The polymer-to-polymer connection of M-Lok was finicky.

Additionally with this rifle I’ve started using IMI .50 Beowulf magazines. I’ve been shooting .50 Beowulf mags for years now, and these are hands down the best I’ve used. They’re much stronger than some of the other .50 polymer magazines out there, and much better sized than the aluminum body mags I’ve used in the past. Definitely a keeper, and I’m glad I got a few.

I love this rifle because of it’s simplicity. It’s light, it’s handy, and it works. Even with the basic Meprolight red dot I can ring that 300 yard gong with consistency. I’d be curious to see how it handled a 10,000 round trial, but I’ve had no issues with it since I put it together. I feel like it works so darn well now that I’m naturally averse to any substantial changes. Firearms can be such a fluid thing for a hobbyist, always trying new concepts, new gear, or new platforms. But it’s nice to have a few guns in the safe that don’t change.

I still think that the most affordable way to get into the AR15 game is through a slow buy used gun. If you piece together the bits, you can take your time, watch for deals, and get a great gun for a great price. You don’t have to scour the internet and scrimp and save at every turn, but if you keep your eyes open and are patient, it pays off.

Snap Shot: Beginner Black Powder

I traded my Hatsan pump gun for a Pietta 1860 Army. Primarily because I’d just finished reading Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. If you haven’t read it, be warned: it is a bleak and violent story, with some very intense landscape descriptions. It was a stellar read. Easily my book of the year so far, and features ample use of black-powder weapons in the guerrilla warfare of mid-nineteenth century Mexico.

I may be born and raised around Calgary, but I’m no cowboy. I suddenly found myself curious about a family of firearms I’d never had interest in before. Not enough to spend several thousand dollars on a real antique, but curious enough to try a fully functioning replica of the original Colt.

This is a .44 caliber single action revolver that uses percussion caps and black powder to launch round-ball projectiles.

It’s a ton of fun.

It’s hands down the largest handgun I’ve ever owned. The 1860 Army essentially has a reloading press built into the frame of the gun. You pour powder, insert a ball, and then ram it into place using the lever under the barrel. Then when a cap is place on the nipple on the rear of the cylinder, and the hammer dropped, the whole thing kicks off to make a ton of smoke and put a round down range. The rear sight on this is actually built into the hammer, and consistently puts the rounds about 8″ high from the point of aim.

With any luck I’ll have a more detailed review for you in a few weeks.

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

It’s been too long! While I’ve been shooting lots, and keeping up with firearms news in Canada, I have to admit I haven’t been great at keeping this blog updated. So here’s a solid start at some new regular content.

What’s kept me away from the keyboard? Well a few things.

First, we took Zahal’s IDF Tavor course into the United States for the first time, and Lovie and I had an awesome time teaching US shooters how to use their rifles. I finally got some solid hands on time with the IWI US version of the X95, and it certainly does have some interesting things going on. Colorado is a gorgeous space, and we had a great group of students.


Continue reading What I’ve Been Up To Lately

Robinson Arms XCR-M Review on TFB

My feature on the Robinson Arms XCR-M Micro is up on TFB TV! This is my second feature for The Firearm Blog and they’re great guys to work with.

In this piece we look at the XCR’s origins as part of the USSOCOM SCAR contract, the super short .308 rifle, and put the drone up in Virden, Manitoba.

I’ve been shooting a lot of .308 guns this summer, and hands down the XCR has been my favorite. It’s unbelievably light to carry and surprisingly light recoiling. I wish I could shoot it a little more accurately, but it is coming out of a 9″ barrel.

This unit is using the keymod for-end, which I found a great way to put grips and other accessories on there. I’ve used M-LOK in my magpul handgaurds and found it a very finicky setup with the potential for false positives. I’m much happier using M-LOK parts going forward.

You’ll also notice a stock adapter on here that allows me to mount a buffer tube and Daniel Defense AR-15 stock to the XCR. That’s a part made by Dlask here in Canada and is definitely very handy.

I thought I was all wrapped up with the XCR, and have finally returned the loaner rifle to Wolverine, but I’m getting lots of requests from TFB readers to take a look at the 5.56 version of the rifle, particularly now that they’re starting to add lightweight barrels to the mix. So we’ll see! Maybe 2017 will see some more Robinson Arms action.

XCR-M SBR Preview

All right, so I’ve been playing with a bunch of .308 gas guns lately. Hands down, the XCR-M is my favourite to shoot.

With the 13″ barrel they’re super light, and super handy. 10 rounds of .308 at your disposal will get the blood pumping.

It’s been years since I’d had real range time with an XCR, and I’d forgotten all the handy function stuff they’ve done as far as ambi-mag and bolt release, ambi safety, etc. I’d forgotten that they’re actually easier to disassemble than an AR too.
Continue reading XCR-M SBR Preview

Colt Canada IUR Video Review

Correction! The C9 LMG is made by FN, not Colt Canada. Derp.

Colt Canada, formerly Diemaco, has made a limited number of their monolithic uppers available to Canadian civilian shooters. I picked up one of their “blemished” units back in October and have had a great time shooting it.

These upper receivers that came to the civilian market were overrun from a military contract, possibly with the Danish Army. They were sold without charging handles or bolt carrier groups, but did feature a 15.7″ cold hammer forged barrel and a C9 flash-hider.

The IUR is part of the C7/C8 upgrade program and offers a free floated barrel and rock solid handguard for mounting accessories and optics. We did see a new M-LOK version called the MRR at Shot Show 2016. Complete versions of the Modular Railed Rifle are expected to be available to Canadian civilian shooters this summer.

Norinco Type 81 Classified as Non-Restricted

A new red rifle rears its head over the Canadian wilderness. The Chinese Type 81, after years in the RCMP inspection lab, has been assigned an FRT and is going to be imported in restricted and non-restricted barrel lengths. FRT #160486

Like the Vz58, the Type 81 is chambered in 7.62×39 and might resemble a Kalashnikov from a few hundred meters away. But this hybrid rifle is actually closer to the venerated SKS than the quintessential AK, and as a result has been deemed not a variant of any currently prohibited rifles.

Type 81 Folding Stock Canada
Continue reading Norinco Type 81 Classified as Non-Restricted

Akdal MKA 1919 Reclassified From Restricted to Non-restricted

The RCMP just reclassified the Akdal Mka 1919 from Restricted to Non-restricted! That’s right, the FRT has been updated and this mag fed shotgun is officially no longer an AR-15 variant. I can’t wait to take mine out into the bush and celebrate.

I was wondering how my shotgun would be affected with the announcement back in December that the Derya Mk10 was non-restricted. The Akdal is almost identical to the Derya, but was listed as an AR variant for the last several years. Here’s my video review after a few seasons of 3-Gun.

Now, when you check the legal notes in the FRT database relating to the Mka 1919 you see the following: Continue reading Akdal MKA 1919 Reclassified From Restricted to Non-restricted

A Guy Who Shoots Guns in Western Canada