Reviews & articles for shooting sport enthusiasts.

Firearms accessories

SHOT Show 2018…

Another January has come and gone, and with it was once again the largest event of its kind in the world… The 2018 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show was held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center from January 23rd through the 26th. Covering nearly 6 hectares (14.8 acres) of flooring, an excess of 2100 exhibitors displayed their products and services for some 60,000 attendees of the 4 day event. 2018 signified the 40th anniversary of the SHOT Show which started way back in 1979 with 290 exhibitors covering a comparatively miniscule 0.48 hectares (1.1 acres).

The 40 year exhibitors

Some companies have been at SHOT since its inception and never missed a single show

 

This year’s SHOT Show also marks the 20th time that SHOT has been hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada; and city that is larger than life seems to be a prefect fit for the SHOT Show. Last year saw nearly 3.2 million kg (3,500 tons) of exhibits moved onto the show floor. To put it mildly, the SHOT Show is unbelievably huge. However there is always a catch when it comes to the biggest and best; the SHOT Show is not open to the general public. That is correct, it is only open to members of the industry and trade. Manufacturers, wholesalers, importers, exporters, retailers, training, non-profit organization and media, all of which are involved in Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoors are able to apply to attend SHOT Show.

The SHOT Show is preceded by Industry Day at the Range on the Monday before the show. This day allows only exhibitor-invited media and buyers to come out to Boulder City Rifle & Pistol Club and experience first hand the products offered by over 160 companies. Everything from crossbows to handguns, throwing axes to fully automatic rifles and everything in-between. With over 1400 media and 800 buyers potentially being on site during this day, Industry Day continues to be the premier hunting and shooting event in the industry providing hands-on experience for attendees. The one caveat is the same as during SHOT Show itself, members of the public are not allowed.

The wait to get into Range Day

The lineup of Media personalities at 8:00am Monday morning at Industry Day at the Range

 

Early in the day, the parking is already pretty full and the buses kept coming all day long

 

1/2 of the Boulder Rifle & Pistol Club

The view to the SE of the long distance area. Ram truck testing at the top, to the upper right is the shotgun area

 

the other 1/2 of the Boulder Rifle & Pistol Club

Looking to the NW from the top of the long range shooting area

 

The only permanent cover at the range

View from behind the covered long-range shooting area

 

Targets galore

The closest steel is 50 yards from the shooting area, with 980+ yards for the ultimate reach. See the orange on the closer hills? Those are/were clays

 

This was the author’s 12th year of attending the SHOT Show and I was accompanied by some long time attendees who had an additional dozen or more shows under their belts. The SHOT Show is now less fun and exciting than it used to be, likely due to the more structured and business oriented planning now done by the author. However, attending the event has always left the author with a sense of awe at the sheer scale of firearms and accessories that are even out there. In perspective; Canada’s outdoor hunting, sporting market brings in roughly $6.5 billion in annual revenue. SHOT Show has that value of product and exhibits on display. Damned!

Now SHOT Show does bring in companies that have absolutely anything remotely to do with the firearms industry, and that includes law enforcement as well as other enterprises. However in a dozen years this had to be the first time the author noticed certain things that never had been at the show previously or escaped notice. With an excess of 1800 exhibitors, you will always miss something when attending, but some stuff is also new…

The author did a double take after passing this booth at SHOT

Professional equipment to dispose of firearms… See the scrolling “free demonstration”… TPF felt a bit nauseous here

 

A craft beer we would gladly arms ourselves with!

While it is a purely marketing gimmick, as a Canadian, the author will take the FAL please

 

Over 60,000 attendees in 4 days, no incidents

A quick series of images showing the scale of the show

 

Yes that IS correct... over a dozen miles of aisles

The other direction. This is the narrow width of the main room. SHOT is big…

 

The original Hulk actually likes guns...

Sometimes you can get lucky and notice some celebrities. In the centre is the original Incredible Hulk. Mr. Lou Ferrigno

 

A sampling of exhibitors at SHOT Show

A sampling of exhibitors at SHOT Show

 

IF you thought that the Industry Day at the Range would be the favourite of the author’s annual pilgrimage to SHOT, you would be very close indeed. However, it is the now huge Canadian event that keeps the author coming back every year. The Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) once again stepped up and hosted the 5th Annual Canadian SHOT Show Reception, with the support of the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA). This event has literally blossomed from a dozen people gathered in a hotel room, to a huge event that draws in Canadians from every aspect of the firearms community. Hosted at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, the event was held towering above the city of Las Vegas 108 stories in the air. The view was incomparable, the food was great but extremely short-lived, and the casual atmosphere allowed for the Canadian contingent of SHOT Show attendees to unwind a bit and relax and talk to other Canadians about anything including shop talk. This past event hosted in excess of 300 individuals that otherwise rarely, if ever, communicate to each other except through emails and phone calls. However this reception in its current state is only possible through the sponsorship of multiple firearms related businesses and individuals. TPF would like to personally thank each of these for their support and will list each and every one here.

Platinum:
Canadian Shooting Sports Association
Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association
North Sylva Co.
Trigger Wholesale Inc.
Calgary Shooting Centre
Federal Ammunition

Gold:
Calibre Magazine
ThinkInsure!
Stoeger Canada

Silver:
T.E.C. Trade Ex Canada
Nordic Marksmen Inc.
CamPro

Bronze:
Tactical Ordinance Inc.
Shooters Choice
Wolverine Supplies
Double Tap Sports
Holosun Technologies Inc.
XMetal Targets
Outdoor Canada
Firearms Legal Defence
WGT Consulting
Vault Distribution
Korth Group Ltd.
Bowmac Gunpar
Browning Canada
Hudson Supplies

Thanks to these sponsors for making the Canadian SHOT Show Reception possible and for being a part of the event. Here at TPF we will be sure to visit each of the sponsors and look at what they have to offer to our Canadian firearms community. We hope that you would do so as well.

As preparations have already begun for next year’s 41st SHOT Show, which will return to the Sands Expo on January 22-25, 2019; so to have the preparations for the 6th Annual Canadian SHOT Show Reception. Companies and potential attendees are asked to contact CSSA Director Mike Duynhoven.
As a FYI to readers who are not Canadian, or are not familiar with our listed organizations; the CSSA is similar to the USA’s National Rifle Association, only more polite eh? They are the organization that represents the firearms consumers across Canada with training, and political outreach; but only have two decades under their belt compared to the NRA’s 150. The CSAAA represents the Canadian firearms industry and looks after their interests, similar to the National Shooting Sports Foundation which organizes and runs the SHOT Show.

Here is a few images showing some of our Canadian companies that are exhibiting at SHOT Show! Make sure to visit ALL of them and help them all out.

Genesis Enterprises

A decade of producing high efficiency LED products, located in East Ontario

 

Excalibur Crossbow

Kitchener, Ontario based manufacturer that has helped harvesting game for 35 years

 

Nanuk Cases

Based in Quebec, this 30+ year old manufacturers tough protective cases

 

CamPro

CamPro harkens from Quebec with over 2 decades of manufacturing some of the best plated projectiles available

 

Vortex Canada

Canadian distributor of some truly fine optics for the last 15 years. Guelph, Ontario

 

Shooting Chrony

Over three decades of providing reliable speed chronographs to the Canadian market and worldwide. Mississauga, Ontario

 

Thundershot

Canadians created the loudest, most impressive binary explosive. Manufactured by Gryphon Energetics out of Winnipeg, Manitoba

 

Vault Distribution

Firearms distributor for nearly 20 years, based out of New Westminster, British Columbia

 

Tactical Imports

This Toronto, Ontario based firearms importer is one of the youngest with just under ten years in existence

There are currently over 30 Canadian companies that exhibit at SHOT Show with more and more doing so every following year. We at TPF will strive to get you a list and images of every single one of our Canadian exhibitors next year at SHOT Show 2019. Thank you for reading all the way through this small write-up of the 2018 SHOT Show. We will soon have more reviews and look forwards to future events for 2018.
 

Fun Fact: Canada, while only a tenth of the population of the USA, has a substantial number of legal firearms owners. For every 1000 firearms made in the USA, 95% of those remain in the USA for domestic sales, Canadian markets account for 80-90% of the those exported from the USA. That means out of every 500 firearms exported from US manufacturers, Canadian markets get 400-450 of those. This is the reason that most firearms manufactured have a slightly longer barrel to meet Canadian Restricted status instead of Prohibited, such as Ruger GP-100 is 108mm (4.2″) in length.

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Racking your .22 pistol – Making it effortless…

As a person whom has introduced scores of individuals to shooting, the author’s favourite handgun is his workhorse Ruger Mk II. Crude, reliable and other than the incredibly annoying disassembly lever, this handgun has delivered over 100kg (220lbs) of lead downrange by this author’s hands alone. With over 45,000 rounds through it, it has been cleaned, repaired, rebuilt a few times but is a great tool in an instructors arsenal to bring the shooting experience to those whom otherwise have never shot a firearm. There are many different models and makes of handguns that are just as reliable and long  lived as the aforementioned Ruger, it just happens to be the firearm most used by the author for introducing shooting virgins to our passion.

Now over the decades, hundreds of people have shot this handgun whose ages range from attendees of junior high-school, to great grand parents of those kids. In general they are able to manipulate the firearm very well with proper coaching and instruction, however in some cases, they are physically unable or have difficulty performing certain operations on the handgun. The number one issue? Racking the slide back to chamber/clear a round into/from the chamber. Now some of you are doing a double take and thinking how can you not be able to rack a .22 rimfire pistol! The author has seen dozens of people lack the finger/grip strength to pull the recessed bolt tabs and do just that. It usually occurs with younger children and those of very slight build, usually female, but not always.

The bolt ears of a Ruger MK II

While many say, “But it is just a rimfire!?!” The bolt design requires some finger strength to initially charge

This past SHOT Show, the author came across a company called Tandemkross. Founded in 2012 by a pair of software developers. Yes. Software developers. Bryan Haaker and co-worker Jake Wyman went out to try Wyman’s brand new Ruger Mk III 22/45 to unwind from their software programming work. Functional issues and subsequent difficulties in acquiring performance part upgrades for this handgun ensued. The resultant firearm performance improvements once these upgrades were installed started the duo on the path of manufacturing these upgrades and making them far more common, affordable and available. Tandemkross manufactures accessories and markets other aftermarket products that span nearly all areas of a rimfire pistols. This includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Triggers
  • Charging Handles
  • Magazine Bumpers
  • Magazine Releases
  • Grips
The package

Tandemkross’ Halo

Coming back around to the occasional inability of some to pull the charging handle back, TPF-Online was able to aquire one of Tandemkross’ “Halo” charging rings, specifically for the Ruger Mk II. These handles are currently available for the various Ruger MK II’s, Mk III’s, and Mk IV’s; as well as the S&W SW22 Victory and the Browning Buckmark. The “Halo” is quite simply a ring machined from aluminum which clamps onto the specific serrations that are used for chambering/clearing rounds. The contoured inner fingers are machined for the specific model of firearm. In the case of the Ruger Mk II, the fingers have a dished internal seat that corresponds perfectly with the bolt’s racking tabs. The Halo ring is secured into place with a recessed #5-40 socket head cap screw that draws the fingers of the Halo together through tension and creates a solid lockup with the Mk II’s bolt ears. On the inside flap of the product package for the Halo, Tandemkross states the following:

This product is protected by the TANDEMKROSS lifetime guarantee. If the product at any time does not perform as advertised, TANDEMKROSS will provide a replacement part of equal or greater value.

Product Contents:

The header card style of package contains the CNC machined Halo pull ring, a #5-40 x 3/4″ socket head cap screw and a 3/32″ allen wrench.

Simple

Halo follows a KISS principle

Installation:

Halo-3

A small addition of Loctite to the screw threads is recommended for this model, and a warning to only torque the screw via the short end of the allen key. This makes it easier to not over tighten the tension screw. The material is only aluminum and a #5 thread is not what TPF-Online would call a robust bolt for reefing upon. If you can, try and keep the torque less than 0.6 Nm (5.3 lbf-in).

Function:

The Halo unit is meant as an aid for racking a handgun, and in the case of this review, the bolt of the Ruger Mark II. It is not a leverage multiplier, nor does it claim to reduce the required force to actuate the bolt/slide. It does allow for an enhanced ability to grip the bolt, even with gloves and in less than ideal conditions. However, the perceived decrease in required effort has more to do with the ability to use greater grip on the bolt to apply force through. Instead of using one’s fingertips to grip the raised bolt wings of the Mark II, being able to hook an entire finger through the Halo, means a much larger area to directly pull against. The perceived effect is that of an easier ability to charge the handgun.

Appearance:

The gloss black anodized aluminum Halo, adds a definite increase in length to any attached firearm.  The visual appearance of the attached unit is very sleek and, in the author’s opinion, compliments the profile and look of the handgun.  Obviously the Halo shown in this review’s images has next to no wear marks and as of this review has only a couple boxes of ammunition through it. The author promises to increase that to several bricks worth over the 2017 year.

Halo-4

First Impressions:

The addition of the Halo to the author’s handgun was a very simple endeavour. The added mass was negligible and did not affect bolt performance, nor cycle times to any level that could be detected through usage. As the focus is through the sights of the firearm, the reciprocating Halo ring did not distract from the user’s sight picture. What was very apparent was that during the brief evaluation, the ring allowed the author to perform jam clearing at a much faster speed than with the “Halo-Free” configuration.

Halo-5

The Tandemkross Halo is available for a selection of popular .22LR handguns, but the reviewed component was specifically for the Ruger Mk II. The model number is TK01N0167BLK1 and has an MSRP of $44.99 USD. Brick and mortar stores such as Select Shooting Supplies, in Cambridge, ON, stock Tandemkross products and can order them if you require a specific model. The Halo is a light weight accessory that is designed to improve the ease of manipulating one’s .22LR handgun, but which category does it fall into for you? Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical? Leave a comment and let us know!


SHOT Show 2017

Warning: This is a LONG entry, with numerous images.

The week of January 16th once again saw the Sands Convention Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada; host the the 39th annual Sporting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show; also known as the SHOT Show. For those who do not know what SHOT Show is or what it consists of, TPF will give you a quote direct from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) whom organizes the event.

The 39th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show opened its doors this morning at the Sands Expo Center with industry expectations running high in response to the energized market in America for firearms, ammunition and accessories.

Over the next four days, the show will attract nearly 65,000 industry professionals from the firearms and outdoor industry, including 2,500 members of the outdoor press-the largest gathering of outdoor media in the world-and showcase new, innovative products used for target shooting, hunting, outdoor recreation and law enforcement purposes.

Owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, the SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world. The show is open to trade members only and not to the public; consumers will see the products unveiled at the SHOT Show on retailers’ shelves during the course of the year.

You read that correctly, not open to members of the public. We at TPF can already hear our readers rolling their eyes and thinking to themselves, “But we are the consumers!” Which is true, except that the consumers that are mentioned the service companies and persons who are directly related to the industry. Not the end user, otherwise known as the public, but those whom supply the products to the end users such as retailers, trainers, ranges, organizations, etc… That being said, there are ways that the public can attend, and do attend as is evident to many who have attended SHOT know. TPF-Online will not go into details or methods for the public to get into SHOT Show. We apologize, and suggest that you utilize your favourite search engine or firearms forum (for Canadians, we recommend Gun Owners of Canada or Canadian Gun Nutz).

So let us delve into the timeline of SHOT Show.
(more…)


Feeding the hungry 10/22…. HCMag provides the buffet!

The most common .22 semi-auto rifle in the world; the Ruger 10/22 is a fully customizable firearm which can be modified nearly as much as the AR-15 platform. Relatively cheap to shoot, and fun to shoot, the biggest chore of owning this popular little rifle is feeding it. The .22 long rifle cartridges are notorious for being hard on the fingers for manually loading in past the 10th round, and unless you have a loading tool, the owners of all of these 10/22 magazines likely will not enjoy shooting off a brick (500 rounds) of cheap rim-fire.

So if TPF were to tell readers that there is a new magazine for the 10/22 which has a 25 round capacity, metal feed lips, an easily controlled follower for loading, they may say that is a good thing! Now, on that same magazine, add in a 20 round pocket and a built-in stripper clip to speed load those extra rounds in just a few seconds. The answer is “TAKE MY MONEY!”. There is good news as such a magazine exists in the form of the HC3R magazine from HC Mags. The HC3R is a short form from HC Rapid Rifle Reload, and just from that title the designed product’s end abilities are fairly obvious.

The HC3R Magazine

HC Mag’s High Capacity Rapid Rifle Reload magazine

The HC3R magazine actually has several features which have been desired over the years in a 10/22 magazine, and while many aftermarket magazines have one or more of these features, very few, if any have all of them.

  1. Larger round capacity than factory magazines
  2. Steel feed lips for enhanced durability and increased lifespan of the magazine for feeding ammunition
  3. A means of dis-assembly for cleaning the magazine
  4. A follower retraction stud, large and lockable into retracted position for spring free loading

Loaded with 25 rounds of .22LR…. But is that it?

Point number one. More rounds readily loaded equals more fun and less time between shots for extended periods and the HC3R has an increased capacity over the original ten (10) round Ruger rotary magazines. While its twenty-five (25) rounds is not among largest capacity magazines available for the 10/22, with one hundred and ten (110) round drum magazines topping those available, it is in line with the majority of aftermarket magazines. The author finds that even a couple dozen rounds can go downrange extremely quickly… What joy!

Steel Lips

Stainless steel feed lips

Feed lips are essential for two reasons, they align the cartridge into proper feed positions and ensure a smooth extraction from the magazine into the firearm’s chamber. Older plastic/polymer feed lips have a history of wearing out after a few thousand rounds. Current generations of polymer are improved in durability but steel, or alloy, feed lips are a heavily desired feature as it greatly enhances the lifetime of a magazine before extraction issues become noticeable. HC Mags knew this and incorporated stainless steel feed lips into the HC3R magazine design.

As anyone who shoots thousands of rounds of .22LR will attest, it is a very dirty round which leaves soot and carbon all over, and if left to build up over time, can cause malfunctions and possibly damage to the firearm itself. Magazines are no exception to this and it is a problem that many 10/22 aftermarket magazines fail to address. With extended usage and hundreds, even thousands, of rounds cause magazines to accumulate crud and can even trap water and dirt and it becomes nearly impossible to clean if the magazine is manufactured by fusion processes, such as sonic welding two plastic halves together. The HC3R is a fully bolted together magazine which allows for unparalleled access to clean every nook and cranny from dirt, carbon, and water. A great plus

A well-known feature in most if not all .22LR magazine fed handguns due to the small component manipulation. In this respect the HC3R shines ever so brightly. The huge thumb stud allows for easy tension control as you load ammunition the common method of through the feed lips. You can easily hold it slightly back to allow for the next round to be loaded without worry of misalignment, or lock it completely back at a fully collapsed position. Be aware that rounds, if not inserted properly, can experience misalignment and stack incorrectly with the cartridge perpendicular to the feed lips instead of parallel.

With all of these features, readers may think that these magazines by themselves are very desirable due to the comprehensive features included in the magazine. So here comes the additional bonus. On the side of the magazine is a slot which stores twenty (20) rounds of ammunition. The back component of the HC3R magazine is a speed stripper clip which has two features. The first is as a cover to retain the side stored ammunition when mounted onto the magazine. The second feature is that in addition to aligning loaded rounds in the magazine, it functions as the speed loading strip for quick reloads. So on a fully loaded magazine you will have a total of forty-five (45) rounds available from a single magazine.

More ammo

Look! An extra 20 rounds in a side pocket!

Spring loaded base for securing the Speed Clip

Notched top for locking the Speed Clip in place

HOW?
Lets start with how to fully load the magazine to maximum capacity by following these steps:

  1. Take a quantity of your preferred .22LR ammunition, at least 45 rounds obviously and have them readily available. Have the empty HC3R magazine present.
  2. Using the thumb stud on the magazine, retract the spring and follower completely and rotate the stud a quarter turn to lock it into position.
  3. Take hold of the speed stripper on the HC3R magazine and pull it away from the magazine. The bottom edge is retained by a spring-loaded guide.
  4. Load up 20 rounds into the clip. The speed stripper clip has a pair of guide channels on the inside of its curved profile. The indicator for a total of twenty rounds is easily visible on the inside of the clip. Loading the clip to 20 rounds is very easy and fast with no need to use force or leverage, as the rim of the .22LR round simply slides into the clip’s aforementioned channels. Loaded rounds can only enter and exit the clip on one edge. Ensure that the clip is oriented such to prevent rounds from falling out of the clip due to gravity and movement.
  5. Ensuring that the rounds do not fall out of the clip, place the rounds into the side storage pocket of the magazine and slide the clip down and away. Now ensure that the orientation of the magazine is such that rounds do not fall out of the magazine.
  6. Load up another 20 rounds into the clip as per step 4.
  7. With the magazine positioned to not drop any of the side storage rounds, and so that rounds do not fall out of the clip, insert the clip into the magazine by pushing the bottom end into the spring-loaded guide, and snap the clip into the retaining notch. That is forty (40) rounds so far!
  8. Turn the magazine over to ensure rounds in magazine are aligned and release the thumb stud. This is the hardest part to ensure that the rounds sit properly in the feed lips. It is due to the rim overlap and position in the magazine. It took TPF several attempts to get it to work properly every time, by practice makes perfect.
  9. Use the thumb stud to relieve tension and load the remaining five (5) rounds to maximum capacity. Total time for the author to load up with practice? Under 90 seconds.

Side pocket rounds retained by the edge of the installed speed clip

Now that the magazine is loaded to full capacity with reserve twenty rounds:

  1. Install the magazine, and shoot the first 25 rounds. FUN!
  2. Remove the magazine. Why? Spinning the 10/22 around to ensure magazine orientation is sure to give you many funny looks if not yelled at for unsafe firearm manipulation.
  3. Using the thumb stud on the magazine, retract the spring and follower completely and rotate the stud a quarter turn to lock it into position.
  4. With the magazine held with the stripper on top, take hold of the now empty speed stripper on the HC3R magazine and pull it away from the magazine
  5. The side storage has twenty rounds waiting for the clip to slide over. Remember the channels holding the rims of the cartridges? It is that easy.
  6. Retract the loaded stripper clip, then with the magazine positioned so that rounds do not fall out of the clip, insert the clip into the magazine by pushing the bottom end into the spring-loaded guide, and snap the clip into the retaining notch.
  7. Turn the magazine over to ensure rounds in magazine are aligned and release the thumb stud. Voila! 20 seconds and another twenty rounds ready to shoot.
  8. Install the magazine, and shoot the remaining rounds. MORE FUN!

Loading forty-five rounds took 90 seconds. Reloading to use all 45 rounds extended that to under two minutes. How long would it take to load two typical 25 round magazines? Longer than a couple of minutes without any tools or loading accessories. Plus the ten seconds to reload. The HC3R is all about time and thumbs saved in loading magazines so that 10/22 users can enjoy more time putting rounds downrange with the least amount of effort loading. The only negative possible is the width of the magazine with the side pocket which may limit the fit up of some aftermarket 10/22 rifle stocks such as the previously looked at Archangel Stock.

But wait! There’s even MORE!

HCMAG's Tactical Pack

The Tactical Pack

If your 10/22 is an extremely hungry rifle like the author’s, chewing through a brick of ammunition per session is not unheard of. The balance of buying multiple magazines versus loading them to go through several hundred rounds in a session of rimfire therapy is an eternal dilemma. Or rather was… HC Mag’s understands the need to feed the rimfire hunger, and released the Tactical Pack for the HC3R magazine.

Space for ammunition galore!

Inside the Tactical Pack

The case itself is thermo-formed with a robust zipper and has both a flexible carry handle as well as a pair of shoulder strap rings on its exterior. The internals are two-fold, with the base filled with EVA foam that is pre-cut to hold all its contents securely. The battle pack contains one complete HC3R magazine, 5 extra speed loader clips with retaining caps, and a quick strip loading box for fast loading of the speed loader clips. Plus multiple pocket cutouts for typical small boxes of .22LR ammunition and a small cutout arrangement for the included set of hex keys for magazine dis-assembly. The upper portion of the case has a zipper closed mesh pocket that encompasses the entire case cover in size, and can be used for targets, bore snakes, and other items that you may wish to include.

The Speed Loading Block – Waiting patiently

The loading box for fast speed strip loading takes couple minutes to fully load up with 100 rounds, five rows of twenty, and setup for usage. Once setup, it takes less than a half minute to load up the five speed loading clips.

Buffet of .22LR ready to load

If fully loaded up with ammunition, the entire case securely holds 545 rounds of .22LR, which makes the Tactical Pack heavy enough to warrant the usage of the shoulder strap included in the package. Of those rounds 245 are ready to use, with an additional 300 rounds in reserve. Unfortunately the reserve ammunition box cut outs are designed for use with paper boxed ammunition, not plastic boxes which are larger and may not fit properly if at all.

The Tactical Pack when fully kitted delivers:

  • One fully loaded magazine with side pocket filled. 45 rounds ready to use
  • Five fully charged speed loading clips. 5 x 20 = 100 rounds ready to use
  • One filled loading box. 100 rounds ready to use
  • Six 50 round factory boxes of .22LR. 300 rounds of reserve

That should keep those hungry 10/22 rifles satiated for the meantime, and with the Tactical Pack having an MSRP of $89.00 USD, and available from Canadian vendors such as Wanstalls Online. What do you, the readers think? Is the HC3R magazine and the corresponding Tactical Pack by HC Mags Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?


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?


The heart and soul of a 10/22, the skin of G-36.

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The Ruger 10-22 is the most widely sold rifle in North America

The Ruger 10/22 is perhaps the most popular .22 LR calibre rifle ever invented. Yes, Canada happens to have scads of no longer produced Canadian manufactured Cooey .22 rifles, but overall with sales volumes and sheer commonness, Ruger Firearms’ nearly iconic 10/22 has sold more units, spawned off more accessories, and has been the mainstay of nearly all shooters with a .22 rifle. In today’s instalment of Tactical, Practical and Fantastical, we take a look a one of the myriad of aftermarket accessories for the 10/22. TPF will cover the Nomad stock, manufactured by Pro-Mag Industries under the Archangel line of stock replacements. For those readers who are unaware of Pro-Mag Industries, the company initially started as an aftermarket magazine supplier for numerous makes and models of firearms. Pro-Mag has since evolved into one of the leading aftermarket stock and firearm accessory manufacturers in North America. The Archangel product-line is the newest addition to Pro-Mag’s repertoire and encompasses a variety of rifle makes and models with these alternate stock chassis’. In this specific case this aftermarket stock transforms any 10/22 into a near clone, visually, of the Heckler & Koch G-36K Carbine.

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ProMag Industries has created a very interesting stock kit for the 10-22

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Sights are not optional and must be removed to install the kit properly

Due to the widespread availability and popularity of the iconic Ruger 10/22, it is the focus of multitudes of aftermarket accessories and gear. The Archangel Nomad conversion kit is just one of the many offered for 10/22’s but this kit does completely change the silhouette and physical size of the firearm by fully encapsulating the 10/22 in a shroud manufacturered from reinforced polymer. In order to mount the kit you do need to do some alterations to the standard 10/22 rifle. These include the following steps:

  1. Removal of the original stock from the action (retain the screw). This includes barrel bands.
  2. Removal of the rear dovetail sight (With muzzle pointed away from you drift punch right to left).
  3. Removal of the front dovetail sight (With muzzle pointed away from you drift punch right to left).
  4. Removal of the scope mounting rail
  5. Replacing trigger assembly components (Magazine release and bolt hold-open lever)
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Other than the main Nomad chassis/stock, there are several additional pieces that are required for a complete build

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With the new magazine release and bolt hold-open lever installed in the trigger group, assembly is ready to commence

TPF would like to recommend that if you do decide to install this kit, that you take some time prior to installation to thoroughly clean every nook and cranny of your 10-22 rifle. The installation of the Archangel Nomad stock is pretty straight forwards other than the trigger assembly rework. The barrelled receiver is installed into the lower stock portion with the cross-bolt safety put into a middle position. The fit may require some inner material removal to accomodate larger barrel blocks used on some 10/22’s. but once installed, the receiver is secured via the original stock retaining screw.

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The 10/22 receiver is held into place by the standard retaining screw just in front of the magazine well.

The upper portion of the stock kit has three attachment points which consist of seven (7) socket head cap screws. A single large button head screw secures the rear portion to the top of the lower Pro-Mag stock component with a pair of screws securing at the front of the lower component. Four small bolts are then used to secure the upper stock portion to the 10/22 recieiver (in place of the previously removed scope rail). That was the difficult installation areas, which is telling as it is very straight forward to assemble. Slide on and secure the forearm and the upper rail with the remaining bolts and associated hardware provided and the your 10/22 now has the facade of a Heckler & Koch G-36K Carbine, with a slightly extended barrel.

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The secondary piece uses four small bolts (via the receiver’s scope rail mounting holes) and a trio of larger bolts to affix the top half of the G-36K shell

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Drift punch the sights to the left (away in the image) to remove

The final component for mounting onto the 10/22 is the barrel attachment. Pro-Mag includes two options for the Nomad, both which require the removal of the front sight as mentioned earlier. The first option is an aluminum four prong flash hider for the more aggressive look and the second option is the fake silencer sleeve. Both are a tight fit over the barrel and corresponding front sight, but the included roll pin firmly secures the respective sight into position with nary a wobble or wiggle. This is the ONLY true issue that TPF had however with this installation. The four prong flashhider has a blind hole for the retaining roll pin, which means that removal is impossible without some form of metalworking involved.

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Snugly fitted over the front sight mount and kept in place with a roll pin, this flash hider is one of the two included options for the barrel aesthetics

The completed installation of the Nomad does indeed make a 10/22 into a formidable looking G-36K clone, and the included 25 round magazines have a full sized shroud which makes them complete the appearance. There are some additional included features which are most likely overlooked on cursory glances. The attached upper picatinny mount, while primarily manufactured from polymer has an integral aluminum stiffener moulded inside for very good rigidity and minimal flexing. The included iron sites are surprisingly robust and working with the rear sight being adjustable for both windage and elevation, and incorporating two aperatures of different sizes and a shrouded fixed front post. Both front and rear sights are removable but should not interfere with most optics. The front underside picatinny rail is much the same as the upper one and comes with an aluminum sling clip mount which is removable/adjustable. The stock itself masses only 1.4kg (3.0 lbs) and has numerous quick detach sling swivel mounting points on both left and right sides.

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The G-36 skin completely installed. Note the pair of Pro-Mag 25 round magazines, one which has the shroud to complete the G-36 imagery

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Just like the original it copies, the Nomad includes a folding stock

What kind of G-36K would be complete without a folding stock, and this conversion kit does just that. The completed Nomad 10/22 is fully functional with the stock in extended or collapsed position. The Pro-Mag Nomad magazines, with and without the shrouds, functioned very well with no feed issues that were not ammunition releated (misfires). Original Ruger ten (10) round capacity magazines feed and were removed from the gun without issues and some aftermarket 25 round magazines were successfully tested as well. With that being said it is unlikely, due to the G-36K magwell shape that any teardrop shaped magazines or drum magazines for the 10/22 will have enough clearance to be installed fully, however TPF did not have the opportunity to test these hypotheses.

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Hidden compartments in the body and in the handle

Like the old TV commercials, there is more! The Nomad does not waste any unused space as it incorporates a pair of storage areas in the lower half of the reciever. The compartment in the grip is accessible all the time and is typical in size for an optic’s batteries or a small cleaning kit. The larger compartment is only accessible when the stock is folded and has nearly enough room to hold a small container of .22LR ammunition (nearly 50 rounds). The entire process of taking your existing Ruger 10/22 and fully installing this kit will take less than two hours if you have the proper tools onhand.

The Archangel Nomad Conversion Stock Kit by Pro-Mag Industries, Model # AAM1022, as reviewed has an MSRP of $204.00 USD, and is available from the fine Canadian establishment,  High Caliber Services Corp. which is located in Mission, British Columbia. The kit contains the stock, one 25 round shrouded magazine and the pair of barrel end attachments. As always however it is a question of if you, the reader, feel this product is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.
 
 
P.S.: in the next day or two TPF will be adding video of an installed Archangel Nomad and checking functionality. Thanks for reading and enjoying TPF-Online!


Blue Force Gear – One sling to rule them all… VCAS?

The authors of Tactical, Practical, and Fantastical have to thank Mr. Bryan Bolivar for this review of the Blue Force Gear – Vickers Combat Application Sling. We hope the readers of TPF-Online enjoy this review:

Blue Force Gear – Vickers Combat Application Sling (VCAS)

The Vickers Combat Application Sling is designed and marketed toward police, military and civilian shooters using modern, ergonomic long arms such as the AR-15 and other similar platforms. The sling is intended to provide a secure means to carry a rifle across the front of the user’s body in a hands free condition, allowing other tasks to be completed without needing to constantly hold onto the firearm.

BFG's VCAS

Vickers Combat Application Sling

The particular model of rifle sling chosen for this review is padded with polymer hardware. Non-padded versions are available for lower cost. Also aluminum hardware is available in both padded and non-padded versions.

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The connection points need to be purchased to the user’s rifle specifications

It should be noted that VCAS sling comes without attachment hardware. Those in the picture above were purchased specifically for use with the reviewer’s rifle. Attachment points and methods on modern, ergonomic competitive sporting rifles vary and the user free to select what works best for them and their equipment. If the user does not want or need a quick release method of attachment, they can simply loop the straps at the ends of the sling through available fixed attachment points that are common on these rifles and attach the sling this way with no extra hardware needed. This means the purchaser is not stuck paying for attachment hardware that they won’t use.

Initial examination of the sling shows that it constructed of heavy 1 ¼ inch nylon webbing. The polymer hardware is relatively thick and is of durable construction. Obviously the aluminum hardware would be even stronger but after discussing with a college who has military experience, the polymer would likely be preferred to reduce sound when the hardware comes in contact with the rifle and other gear. Not that important to the civilian shooter but if polymer hardware is good enough for the military; it is good enough for me.

The sling has three points of adjustment to suit the rifle and user. The upper most section, attached to the rear of the rifle as well as the middle section are designed as “fixed” adjustments. These are set by the user and are not quickly adjustable.

Adjusting the VCAS

The quick adjust pull handle allows for a rapid shortening or lengthening of the sling depending on the user’s need.

The front section contains a quick adjustment pull handle (shown above) that allows the user to quickly lengthen (and re-shorten) the sling as needed. Following provided directions, the upper and middle sections are to be adjusted to set the overall length of the sling with the front section in the “closed” position. This allows the rifle to be securely hung across the length of the user’s torso. The front section can then be opened to allow for easier weapon manipulation such as switching to the weak side shoulder. This also facilitates moving to the prone position while maintaining the muzzle in a safe, down range direction. The adjustment method is unique in that once the position of the front section is set, it stays in place and does not move on its own. Other quick adjust slings that I have tried have proven to “have a mind of their own” when it comes to quick adjustments and simply won’t stay set.

The VCAS in “action”

Initial testing of the sling was conducted at a local rifle range and frankly my first impressions were not favorable. The sling limited rifle manipulation, magazine changes, safely adopting a prone position and utilizing a pistol with the rifle slung. For the latter point, the sling rifle hung very high with the butt resting in front of the shooters shoulder. This made extending the arms for proper pistol shooting difficult.

Further trials showed that I simply had the sling adjusted too tightly. Once the middle section was adjusted to provide more overall length the sling performed very well. Leaving sufficient slack in the sling allowed for interference free reloads and no longer obstructed pistol shooting as the rifle hung below the shooters shoulder.

Recently the VACS was “fielded” in completion at an Ontario Rifle Association Close Quarters Battle (CQB) match. Frankly, it worked flawlessly. Walking around the range with a slung rifle was effortless and left two hands free for organizational tasks such as scoring, patching of targets and even a bit of range tear down. Magazine changes were not impeded and neither was pistol shooting. Walking around the range with a 20 inch barreled AR did not result in any banged shins, knees or other anatomical regions. The quick adjust front section allowed easy adoption of the prone position while keeping the muzzle pointed directly down range.

The VCAS in use

The VCAS being utilized.

A note about use of this and other two point slings. The selected attachment points at the front and rear of the rifle were generally on the side closest to the shooter. This allows the tension of the sling to hold the rifle flat against the body. Attachment at more conventional bottom of rifle points would tend to cause the rifle to tip over when slung and perhaps end up with the rifle hanging in an upside down orientation.

Further, the sling was wrapped over the strong side shoulder and under the weak side one, so that when the rifle is left to hang, it does so in a generally muzzle down direction so that bystanders are not swept by the muzzle.

Other uses of the VCAS

While targeted at modern style semi-automatic long arms, the VCAS would be an effective for hunting arms as well. By establishing attachment points on the side of the rifle, any style can be slung in the same fashion. For hunters negotiating think brush and climbing difficult terrain, this sling configuration will allow two hands to remain free while walking and maintain the rifle in an easy to reach position should game appear suddenly and a quick reaction is the difference between meat in the freezer and a tale of one that got away.

Further, by changing the method of adjustment, the quick adjust front section could be set such that tightening it “locks” the rifle to the shooters body, keeping it even more tightly secured to the shooters chest and or enabling it to be switch to lay across the hunters back and locked when “out of the way carry” is needed.

The Verdict

Retailing at $62.99 at One Shot Tactical Supply, the Blue Force Gear VCAS padded sling is not going to be the lowest cost option for a two point sling, but it is a quality piece of kit that does what it intends and does it well. The non-padded version retails for $52.99 while the option of aluminum hardware adds $20.00 to the cost of either version. The quick adjust front portion sets the VCAS apart from many other offerings and is a very useful feature. Based on the overall quality of the slings construction I am sure this piece of kit is going to last for years to come.

As the reviewer I purchased this sling with my own cash as a means to try it out after hearing lots of hype. I figured I can always sell it for a small loss if I didn’t like it. Well, this particular VCAS sling is NOT for sale. I think that sums up my impression of this sling most effectively.

Submitted by: Bryan Bolivar, Canadian Service Conditions Radio

Again, thanks to Bryan Bolivar for his submission on the BFG – VCAS. For the readers notes, One Shot Tactical Supply is located in Trenton, Ontario and also has an online presence. As always it is up to our readers to determine if this piece of equipment is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical for themselves.