Reviews & articles for shooting sport enthusiasts.

Archive for October, 2014

A mission is necessary to achieve one’s goal! TPF brings furniture to the table.

Furniture. No, it is not the type you would park your derriere on, snuggle up with a significant other, or watch an action packed movie from.  Furniture in this case is the nickname for the swappable ergonomic components which are used to customize a firearm to a particular owner, or to make the firearm “universal”. These components may vary depending on the individual rifle’s design, but normally include the stock, grips, fore stock, and some accessories. In this edition of TPF, we talk about furniture and a recently looked at firearm.

Mission One: Should the TPF team choose to accept it. Outfit the LSMR with a complete set of fully adjustable and customized furniture. Queue the Mission Impossible theme song….

Challenge Accepted!

We are taking our LSMR Gen1 Intro Rifle and outfitting it with some alternate ergonomic hardware that is offered by Mission First Tactical, aka MFT. The LMSR has a commercial sized buffer tube, standard A2 grip, and mounts a carbine length, two-piece, captive hand guard. All of these are of course in the factory colour of the night sky. Black. The majority of the MFT components used for this build were produced in their newest colour, “Scorched Dark Earth” which is a light brown more suggestive of the desert, but provided a great contrast to the original LMSR and it’s corresponding components.

The stripped LMSR

Factory installed furniture removed from the parent Gen1 LMSR Rifle. Unadorned the AR-platform has an odd appearance.

The New Components:
BUS – Battlelink Utility Stock – MSRP $124.99 USD
The first component to be incorporated is the simplest to change. The Battlelink Utility Stock is an adjustable stock manufactured from high impact polymer that is a slide on replacement for the original collapsible butt stock. There are a few features which set the BUS apart from the factory LMSR stock. The BUS has a slew of sling attachment options available, including front and rear positioned quick detach rings accessible on both left and right sides. These are in addition to the trio of dedicated sling slots incorporated into the stock’s lower cage. A non-slip rubberized buttpad is angled for universal usage and is hinged at he base of the stock’s cage. Normally locked in place by a spring loaded release latch, the opened buttpad exposes a water tight stowage compartment in the stock itself. The Compartment comes with a set of foam inserts and a pull cord that is available for customization and rattle free component storage if required. Additionally, there are various grooves and attachment nooks and patterns incorporated in the BUS to accessorize with other MFT products. BUS mass: 255.7 grams (9.02 oz)

MFT's BUS

The Battlelink Utility Stock

BUS's compartment

BUS’ watertight compartment

BACP – Battlelink Adjustable Cheek Piece – MSRP $29.99 USD
As mentioned in the description of the BUS, the Battlelink Adjustable Cheek Piece is an accessory which securely attaches to the BUS and allows for full customization of the stock for a cheek weld for using a sighting system of the user’s choice. The BACP comes with an Allan key and a knurled screw adjustment tool to be used for installation and securing height adjustments respectively. With a full travel range of 31.8mm (1.25″), the BACP has a wide range of possible positions. There are markers on the BACP which show where position will interfere with standard charging handle operation, but since this item is likely to be used with those who are running magnified optics for long range shooting, this likely will not be an issue. BACP mass: 77.1 grams (2.72 oz)

MFT's BACP

The Battlelink Adjustable Cheek Piece

G27 – Tactical AR15/M16 Pistol Grip – MSRP $24.99 USD
The standard A2 style plastic grip, while functional enough, is not an ergonomically styled component. We at TPF chose to utilize MFT’s Classic G27 Tactical pistol grip. The G27 has several enhancements over the standard grip. The G27 adds in finger grooves, palm swell, upper hand-web support and a contoured back-strap which allows for a more secure fully seated grip, which in turn allows for increased operator comfort, control, and reduced hand fatigue. The G27 also has varying surface textures which allow for a secure grip even in wet conditions. The grip also has a secure watertight compartment. The end cap for the grip compartment is secured with a quarter turn cam action locking system. G27 mass: 96.4 grams (3.40 oz)

MFT's G27 Grip

The fully contoured G27 pistol grip

G27's Compartment

Positive locking, watertight compartment

M44S AR15/M16 Military & Police 4 sided rails – Carbine – MSRP $59.99 USD
Ditching the standard two piece forearm guard, TPF mounted another MFT Classic component in it’s place. The M44S is another polymer manufactured part which, unlike a typical upper and lower two-piece hand guard, actually splits on an angled plane 45 degrees from the norm. When the components are secured between the delta ring and the gas block’s hand guard cap, they are solidly in place with no noticeable play or twist. The M44S is a “fatty”, meaning that it is a thicker profile that the standard tapered hand guards common with many AR platform rifles. This means that the inner sides of the guards are further away from the barrel and lack the otherwise required heat shields for sustained shooting. When properly installed, the quartet of picatinny rails, which are part of the molding, are situated top, bottom, and both left and right sides as most other railed systems. The rails themselves are surprisingly resilient to clamping forces and damage and are fairly sharp. Also included with the M44S are a set of four, full length, thermal rail covers. These covers are manufactured from a softer rubberized, non-slip material that is easily cut to desired length if needed. The only interesting detail other than the perfect fit onto the M44S, is that unaltered rails can only be installed fully in a single way; they are uni-directional. Not a big deal if one uses a full cover, but possibly an issue if the cover is to be sectioned off for other rail mounted components. M44S mass: 210 grams (7.4 oz)

MFT's M44S

A carbine length, two-piece rail hand guard set with rail covers

M44S' details

The rail covers fit perfectly and give positive grip

RSG – React Short Vertical Grip – MSRP $24.99 USD
The addition of a vertical grip is supposed to enhance the capability and control when in close quarters battle, aka CQB. While TPF thinks of this build of MFT components as more of a long range platform, the React Short Grip was included. A simple rail mounted grip, the RSG is indeed fairly short but adds yet another small watertight storage compartment. Like the BUS, the RSG compartment has an insert for rattle free storage. It differs however that the insert is specifically designed for holding batteries, three (3) AA or two (2) CR-123 batteries. The RSG also incorporates a texture similar to the G27 pistol grip for a secure grip in wet conditions. The end cap is rubber and can double as a short mono-pod for supported firing positions. RSG mass: 56.7 grams (2.0 oz)

MFT's RSG

React Short Vertical Grip with compartment parts

RSG mounted

Seamless and secure, the RSG mounted on the M44S

BP1 – Universal Equipment Mount – MSRP $24.99 USD
For a stable long range shot, a bipod of some sort is usually required and the Universal Equipment Mount offered by MFT allows for a slide on, rail mounted, metal sling stud. Secured in place by a spring loaded position locking detent, the BP1 is very easy to attach and detach to any available rail. The unit itself is made from the same polymer as the other components and while reviewed in Black colour, is available in all the same colours as other components offered by MFT. BP1 mass: 53.8 grams (1.9 oz)

MFT's BP1

The Universal Equipment Mount has a quick install/removal ability

Bipod mounted

Using the PB1 for a bipod mount

Magazine Coupler – MSRP $14.99 USD
What build would not be complete with out a way of holding more ammunition close at hand for increased fun factor. Please recall that at the present time in Canada, the only legal usage of the AR platform is at an approved range. So while making your handicapped thirty (30) round magazines look cool, a pair combined with these couplers still only gives you an additional five (5) rounds instantly at hand for reloading. Supposedly fully compatible with magazines for the AR-15, Mini-14 as well as for Magpul P-mags. Coupler mass: 39.7 grams (1.4 oz)

MFT's Mag Couplers

When you need more ammo on the firearm… Mag Couplers

The Package Complete

Too bad those mags combine for 20 rounds in Canada. The couplers are good for fast reloads

As this TPF installment is specifically for Mission First Tactical products, no additional information will be made about the other accessories used for this build. Changing the furniture on an AR platform is almost ridiculously simple if you have the proper tools.
Com-Mil-Spec Stock ExampleThe collapsing butt stock is removed by simply pulling the stock position index pin out to it’s maximum amount. The adjustment lever normally incorporated on collapsing stocks only lifts the index pin out a limited distance to clear the buffer tube indexing holes. The only concern for components is whether the rifle you are planning to swap components out of has a commercial or military specification buffer tube. The diameters are 29.67mm versus 29.16mm (1.168″ vs 1.148″) respectively. A commercial buffer tube has an angled end, and the mil-spec tube has threads that protrude outside the buffer tube diameter.
The grip is held in place with a simple hex socket cap screw. Use a 3/16″ hex wrench that is at least 150mm (~6″) in length for removal and installation of grips. Make sure not to lose the spring or the detent for the safety mechanism. If you lose the detent, but install the spring, the safety will not operate due to binding. Readers need to just imagine how we at TPF know this… Trust us that you will only ever do it once.
For the hand guard it is tricky if you do not have a proper tool as the D-ring is help in position by a set of fairly strong springs. Now some individuals may be strong enough and coordinated enough to compress the D-Ring enough to remove existing hand guards and/or install new ones. There are hand guards which are free floating, but to switch them out normally requires the removal and/or replacement of the front sight/gas block plus the removal of the D-Ring and the retaining assembly. That information is easily found through your favoured online search engine such as Google, and may be featured in a future installment of TPF.

The build challenge completed

CHALLENGE COMPLETE! Outfitted with the above listed MFT products, LMSR has been customized for an individual’s specific requirements and purposes.

MFT QCB version

The MFT build, slightly modified to a CQB version

A complete furniture replacement with Mission First Tactical products used in this build has a total MSRP of $304.93 USD. These products are available at various firearms retailers across Canada such as the Fredericton Gun Shop, located at 81 Sunset Drive, Fredericton, New Brunswick, or Bulls Eye Sports – London, located at 820 Wharncliffe Rd South – Unit 32, London, Ontario.

The question to you the reader is very simple as always. Is customizing your firearm with these MFT components Tactical? Practical? Or fantastical?

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The Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act. More good than bad? Or the opposite?

You don’t even have to be a firearms owner to be even remotely interested in the laws regarding firearms ownership and usage in Canada, but it cannot hurt to be counted as one. There are roughly two million (2,000,000) adult citizens of Canada who have a firearm license of some sort. Most are likely the hunters and long distance shooters having a Possession and Acquisition License, aka PAL, for non-restricted firearms. Those who practice action shooting, whom are more tactical firearms enthusiasts and handgun owners, have a PAL for both restricted and non-restricted firearms, affectionately known as an RPAL. There are also PALs which are for firearms designated for one or more of the several prohibited classes that exist. Currently however there are Possession Only versions of the aforementioned licenses as well, and these are short formed to POL holders.

Now some of you may have heard about the introduction of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.  The new agencies were very tight lipped it seemed about the proposed legislation tabled by the current government as very little news made it into the mainstream media. Perhaps there was too much bad news for firearms owners as good news in the bill to make it unable to bash the CPC government with? The Minister of Public Safety, Mr. Steven Blaney, made the announcement on October 7th, 2014, in the House Of Commons. It has been given the Bill number of C-42 and has passed first reading.

On October 7th, Minister Blaney announced the CSFL Act

On October 7th, Minister Blaney announced the CSFL Act

The bill in itself has many sections and covers a fair range of sections and we at TPF will go into the nitty, gritty summations for both good and bad for those who do not want to wade through legalese of a bill. TPF will discuss each of the points and rate them appropriately, but obviously it is the opinion of the author and please feel free to agree and, or, disagree; aka comment. Please recall that this is the first iteration and the bill itself may change during subsequent readings and from committee recommendations. Also note that the intent of the bill cannot be changed over it’s travels through the procedural system, otherwise the bill becomes null and void.

The following are the main points that are contained in the current iteration of Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code and to make a related amendment and a consequential amendment to other Acts; whose short title is the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.

  1. Create a six-month grace period at the end of the five-year license period to stop people from immediately becoming criminalized for paperwork delays around license renewals;
  2. Streamline the licensing system by eliminating the Possession Only License (POL) and converting all existing POLs to Possession and Acquisition Licenses (PALs);
  3. Make classroom participation in firearms safety training mandatory for first-time license applicants;
  4. Amend the Criminal Code to strengthen the provisions relating to orders prohibiting the possession of firearms where a person is convicted of an offense involving domestic violence;
  5. End needless paperwork around Authorizations to Transport by making them a condition of a license for certain routine and lawful activities;
  6. Provide for the discretionary authority of Chief Firearms Officers to be subject to limit by regulation;
  7. Authorize firearms import information sharing when restricted and prohibited firearms are imported into Canada by businesses; and,
  8. Allow the Government to have the final say on classification decisions, following the receipt of independent expert advice.

Truthseeker Section:

Lets start with #1. Currently the instant your license expires, all you are in illegal possession of every single firearm you own. ALL OF THEM. This also means that for those with a prohibited class firearm license will instantly lose that status and not be able to renew them as one of the conditions is to have a continuous ownership status. Expired license means a break in that requirement. By including a 6 month grace period, it gives those forgetful individuals time to renew and not be caught by any sudden changes. This is a good thing. No real downsides to this. 3 of 5 stars

#2 is converting the existing POLs into PALs. Back in the original legislation which introduced the possession only aspect of firearms, only those who already had a firearm were able to get a POL. The idea is that for nearly 20 years, these POL holders have not had any sort of notable record of criminal activity or misuse of firearms. Plus it only makes sense to reduce the number of license types and cutting the license types in half is a good way to reduce bureaucratic exercises. There are nearly six hundred thousand (600,000) POL holders in the system. This is a huge added benefit to the firearms industry as it opens up an additional 40% more consumer market for firearms sales. That is a huge step forward. 5 of 5 stars

Mandatory safety training is the third point and is a contentious one.  Removing the ability to challenge the Canadian Firearms Safety Course, aka CFSC, is not making it easier to own a firearm. For urban areas and nearby rural areas the ability to schedule and attend a CFSC is not a difficult task… And for extremely remote locations such as those found in the Territories, instructors are flown into those areas just as they do today. The problem is that you are now forced to take safety training which has never been a means to eliminate irresponsible and accidental misuse of a firearm. The biggest complaint would be that prospective individuals now need to pay more money and more time dedicated to firearms safety training. Where a CFSC challenge was merely $50 and roughly an hour of your time,  the course is 8-12 hours and now also has to pay for books and instructor times which elevate the costs to $75 or more. More of an inconvenience than a negative, but still… 3 of 5 stars

Domestic violence is one of those nasty occurrences that many people to not care to mention. Point four introduces the option for a lifetime firearms ban for those who commit domestic violence on spouses, kin, parents and other household residents. On the surface this sounds like a good addition, but recall that these prohibition can occur to any individual charged with an indictable offense but has not been cleared of wrongdoing. An unconditional discharge will still net you a possible firearms/weapons prohibition order! So don’t be one of those idiots who would intentionally cause grief and damage to others, let alone to family and children. The issue in this case is the duration, as a lifetime sentence for incarceration may still allow the individual to leave prison on parole, which is never ending with a life sentence. It is obviously situational however, an example being if a drunken, stupid nineteen year old and his father have a fight; the teenager subsequently receives an assault charge and an unconditional pardon to it, is it reasonable to punish him for life with some form of restriction, be it a firearm or whatnot, forever? Either make it lifetime ban upon a conviction, or a sensible number that works with our current laws. 1 of 5 stars

Combining ATT’s for common purposes instead of having several individual requests on a recurring basis sounds like pretty common sense. With this portion of the bill, your long term ATT will now be good for border crossings, guns smiths, gun stores, and gun shows and all approved ranges in the license holder’s province or territory. They are also must issue instead of shall issue. That’s a pretty big change for the better. However it is tempered with some changes that have negative effects on some firearms owners. Some provinces already have multi-province long term Authorizations to Transport to various ranges, this bill in it’s current form would curtail the ability of those firearms owners to participate in events and competitions  in neighboring regions. So far this is good in scope but limits others. The biggest hurdle is the fact that non-handgun prohibited firearms will NOT be issued any authorizations to transport to approved ranges. Despite CFOs not issuing a Special Authority to Possess, aka SAP, for the last decade; which means all prohibited rifles have been safe queens for that duration. Bill C-42 states clearly that prohibited rifles will remain safe queens. Great for restricted rifles and hand-gunners in general, but imposes definite territorial limitations and misses two important issues. For transport to and from a post office, plus how it deals with people who travel across a provincial boundary to shoot at their primary range. 4 of 5 stars

Point six is simple yet confusing in nature. Provide for the discretionary authority of Chief Firearms Officers to be subject to limit by regulation. What this means is that the Chief Firearms Officer may only impose any additional requirements on a license/ATT/etc… that are specifically allowed in legislation. This means that the CFO cannot attach a condition to an ATT or license such as requiring an invitation in order to attend an compete in matches hosted by another club. Anything that restricts arbitrarily imposed conditions is a good thing. Again however, many provinces have decent CFO. 4 of 5 stars

The data sharing mentioned in the seventh point is a very interesting one and has zero effect on the average firearms owner.  The current problem is that the RCMP and the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) are not authorize to communicate with other for the purposes of data sharing. When CBSA gets firearms imports it needs to ask the RCMP for clarification and data through convoluted channels and the formatting of the information is less than “easily manipulated” to perform customs work. This section is to create a frame work of communication that is easily accessed by customs to expedite information required to process restricted and prohibited firearms. There has been mention of a new undefined form being utilized, which has not been created, nor determined if it replaces the existing customs form. This proposal is both good and bad as anything that helps get firearms through customs faster is good, but additional paperwork is not fun for businesses. 3 of 5 stars

The final point, number 8, is one that is the least explained and the most feared for some reason. If you read all the changes in the proposed bill, the definition of non-restricted is defined and introduced throughout the bill and also creates the ability of a government to reclassify restricted and prohibited firearms into non-restricted classifications. That is HUGE! This becomes the means with which firearms like the newly prohibited Swiss Arms series of rifles can be classified as non-restricted.  This is the first step towards reclassifying firearms which should be non-restricted by the current definition of firearms as set out in law. This is a huge plus. 5 of 5 stars

Total rating out of 40 possible points? 28 out of 40. It is a passing grade but only a C overall regarding the proposed changes contained in the Bill.

CSFLAct_950x390

“Is the CSFL Act a good bill in it’s own? That is for you to decide!

Naysayer section:

There are still issues with the CSFL act in that it does not address the multitude of other issues that are significantly deeper and more fundamentally wrong with the firearms act and it’s associated regulations. These are the more commonly stated naysayer lines that are floating around the online Canadian firearm forums CGN and GoC being the two largest.

  • It is still a criminal offense to possess a firearm, in that firearms are illegal to possess UNLESS you have a POL or PAL of the appropriate class.
  • ATTs should be worded to cover any and all legal purposes.
  • Licenses should be lifetime in duration.
  • Classifications should not exist!
  • CFOs should be abolished entirely or made to assist shooters/businesses
  • It is small little tweaks instead of wholesale change

Unfortunately as the old quote states,

“It’s easier to take than to give.”

Expecting politics to not be about compromise is pretty foolhardy. If there was no such thing as compromise, C-68 would have ended all civilian gun ownership. An additional tidbit of information is as follows.

As part of Mr. Peter VanLoan’s, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons,  statement recently:

“Starting on Wednesday, October 22, the House will consider Bill C-42, the common sense firearms licensing act at second reading. This bill would cut red tape for law-abiding firearms owners and provide safe and simple firearms policies. I would note that this legislation has already been endorsed by a number of key groups, such as the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, the New Brunswick Wildlife Federation, the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, la Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs, the Manitoba Wildlife Federation, and the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters, among others.”

That is extremely fast paced for a Bill in the House of Commons. Remember that this write-up is about the legislation as written itself, not as a grand overall status of the Firearms Act and the infamous Bill C-68/etc…

As this is a political review of a newly introduced bill, it is hard to give definite evaluations as the bill’s content may indeed change. We can hope that some wording and content will be improved in the future…So, instead of the usual TPF options, we ask if you the reader believe the contents of the bill are beneficial, superficial, or detrimental to firearms owners in the context of the bill.