By Jonathan Owen on 5/26/2016 11:03 AM

IWI Tavor X95 Bullpup

It’s 2016, the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting (or NRA Show) is now history, and the bullpup rifle genre is bigger than it was. American shooters and hunters now have bullpup rifle options in calibers from the always fun .22 long rifle all the way up to the .50 BMG big boy toy. Bullpup rifles are mainstream, no long oddities. How did that happen and why it matters to you are questions I’ll answer here.

By Jonathan Owen on 5/19/2016 1:04 PM

Multitasker Twist tool

Gadgets. Who doesn't love a good gadget, especially one that make other things you enjoy work better? Or in this case, makes cleaning your AR-15 or other guns a task less daunting for those of us who dread those days. Our friend Nate put together this video overview I thought you might find interesting. 

By Stephen Owen on 5/17/2016 7:52 AM

Fenix-HL60R review

Want to see in the dark?  Don’t we all… Whether you are hunting pigs at night, camping in the snow on an elk hunt, or simply moving child car seats from one car to another at night, a good headlamp goes a long way.  I started using headlamps when I was working as a mountaineering guide in Colorado. That first headlamp’s little halogen bulb seemed to have an output similar to a Ford Model T headlight.  It looked like a classic Wyllis Jeep headlight sitting on my forehead.  Thank God technology has come a long way since then. Case in point, I’ve been using the Fenix HL60R recently. Here’s what I’ve discovered...

By Jonathan Owen on 5/9/2016 5:47 PM

ARES Defense-FightLite® Industries STEP-22™ Silenced Pistol

Here at SHWAT™ we rarely publish anything off a generic press release, usually we try to be more in depth. I’m making an exception given the nature of the announcement. I think this is something a lot of us would be interested in: a monolithic integrally suppressed .22 pistol receiver for the Ruger Mk-I, Mk-II, Mk-III and 22/45 pistols. FightLite® Industries, a special products division of ARES Defense Systems, Inc., is responsible for the STEP-22 concept. Based on what I've gathered so far, I want one of these FightLite STEPLS receivers and I think you might, too! Read more to find out why.

By Jonathan Owen on 5/5/2016 8:14 PM
Elite Survival Systems Pulse 24 Hour Backpack

For three years I’ve used and loved Elite Survival Systems gear, so when they rolled out the PULSE 24 Hour Backpack I wanted to get my hands on one. In doing this review, I discovered that I’m a bit of a backpack aficionado. I didn’t even realize it, but it seems I have acquired more backpacks than I would have imaged. The PULSE 24 Hour Backpack is set to replace several, and that means more room in the closet! 

Some things are easier shown than simply said. There are details here not covered in the video, and the video does a much better job at showing you the pack and how I use it. Taken together, I think you’ll have a pretty good idea whether this pack is for you.

By Jonathan Owen on 5/3/2016 11:02 AM
Tactical Squirrel

I had a couple hundred nutty ideas about how to introduce you to Tactical Squirrel. I saved them in a virtual hollowed out tree trunk… Tactical Squirrel scurries around the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoors industry collecting and temporarily caching their finds. They are particularly good at sniffing out products sourced from veteran owned companies. They share their cache of tactical goodies with their subscribers through a monthly box shipment. We got our first shipment and decided to give it away to one of our readers, maybe you!

By Kevin Reese on 4/21/2016 9:28 PM

Bow set up for night hunting

The first time I heard it, that shrill bawl, the hair rose off my neck to stand at attention and any sign of weariness from hours in the stand promptly left my body. I had never heard that sound before. What’s that? Was that a woman screaming? Could it be a cougar? I had heard they sound just like a woman screaming for her life. Then there was the droning of unruly cicadas, rhythmic croaks of lively bullfrogs and haunting yips and cries of excitable song dogs. 

Night hunting was something I had always hoped to experience but what I thought it might be like couldn’t have been further from reality. At a time, I assumed, the world drifted into slumber, the woods awoke with a fervor… alive with sounds and dimly lit sights I never considered. Now, they played out in the darkness less than a stone’s throw from my position. Not only were the woods alive, so was I. Night hunting was different, addictive, haunting… and it became significantly more experiential, more intimate when I began carrying a bow out to greet the midnight sky.

By Jonathan Owen on 4/16/2016 8:32 PM

Manticore Arms Transformer Rail Review

Quite simply, the Manticore Arms Transformer Rail for the AR-15 is the most versatile rail I’ve seen yet. That statement probably breaks some unwritten rule about giving away the conclusion at the beginning of a review, but you’ll still want to watch the video after reading the story! The Transformer Rail is the most configurable, customizable rail I’ve personally seen. You can put Keymod attachment slots next to M-Lock. You can point the Keymod slots in opposite directions if you’d like. You can dress up your gun, or run the rail stripped and super light. Go from home defense configuration to lights out hog hunting configuration...

By Erik Alexander on 4/8/2016 4:24 PM

.450 Bushmaster

Remember your excitement when you got your first AR-15? If you’re like me, it was memorable! Now imagine something even more so - getting something BIGGER!  Yes, it’s just a matter of time before you’ll get the itch to join the “BIG BORE” club. Typically characterized by calibers .44 greater, big bore ARs are a ton of fun to shoot, usually better for hunting and good for the ego!  One of these “BIG BORE” bad boys is the 450 Bushmaster, a formidable beast with the ability to provide a one-shot kill at 250 yards. Feel the itch yet? I did, and that .450 Bushmaster became my first entry into the Big Bore Club. It certainly performed its job well when I needed it to...

By Jonathan Owen on 4/4/2016 12:33 PM

Rocket Pod Slug

Shooting is an amazing thing. Guns are obviously useful as defensive tools, grocery getters and land maintenance implements. But most of the time, guns are simply just fun to shoot! And we invent ways to make them more fun and interesting all the time. For that reason, when I saw this video of the “Rocket Pod Shotgun Slug” by YouTube user Taofledermau I had to share it.

By Jonathan Owen on 3/31/2016 6:35 PM
Silynx-Clarus Pro

Hearing damage sucks. Believe me, I know. So I’m on a constant quest to find the newest and best options for hearing protection (aka “Ear Pro”) on the planet. Certainly the quest is self serving, but if you’ll follow these hearing protection stories I hope you will avoid hearing damage, loss or the incessant ringing too many shooters and hunters know. The ear pro that I’m most excited about right now is something entirely new and different to me. Unless you’re law enforcement or have a military background, it’s probably new to you as well. The Silynx Clarus Pro brings their rugged military hearing protection expertise to the civilian world in a functional package different from anything else I’ve used.

By Dylan Saunders on 3/23/2016 7:11 PM

Don't do this with your AR15 trigger

If there is a Dr. Frankenstein of the shooting world, it is the AR-15 owner. We love to accessorize, modify, and reconfigure our AR-15s. We shorten barrels and switch handguards. We cycle through optics, transplant buttstocks and grips, and change calibers like mad scientists. And then . . . 

. . . and then we come to the trigger. The trigger is the heart of the shooter's interaction with his rifle. We want the best possible triggers in our rifles, but in the pursuit of perfection some shooters to commit horrible crimes against their triggers. In the end, it’s the shooter who pays the price for this.
By Jonathan Owen on 3/11/2016 3:44 PM

Angel 7 Stealth and Apollo Eye Pro

Scientists are chasing the concept of bionic eyes, but in reality the idea remains much more in the realm of science fiction. So in the here and now, hunters and shooters need eye protection. As a guy forever grateful for Lasik surgery, I’ll chase a promising eye pro story anytime. With that in mind - and a hat tip to Dick Cheney - I sent some 12 gauge steel shot to investigate the Angel 7 (A7) Apollo and Stealth models.

By Erik Alexander on 3/8/2016 11:35 AM
NERD Coffin Nail Charing HandleFailure. When it comes to hunting and shooting we know we can pull a shot or foul up any number of fundamentals. But equipment failure is a whole different kind of frustration, one that might have been avoided with the use of higher quality components. The [NERD] “Nail” Charging Handle is one such component.

Today’s modern sporting rifle (aka, AR-15) is often characterized as the hunter’s Lego® set.  Do you still remember the excitement and countless hours spent playing with Legos?  I’d imagine your last AR build - or the anticipation of your next build - had you just as excited.  Well, I’ve got a piece which completes that grown up Lego® set which will lessen your chances of a malfunction and put the last nail in the coffin on your next hunt.
By Jonathan Owen on 3/4/2016 1:57 PM

.458 SOCOM Wild Boar Hog Hunt

When you care enough to send a big wild boar your very best, you send him your thoughts with a .458 SOCOM. You’ll both find it dramatically convincing, but only you will recall with excitement what happened. This is the story of a specialized weapon and tactics that may cause you to pull out your credit card. You have been warned.

Now if passively sitting in a blind bored is what you think hunting is all about I get it, but you’ve never hunted hogs in West Texas the way we do. Often we try to see how close we can get to the hogs before engaging them. In the darkness of night, it gets even more interesting...

By Jonathan Owen on 2/24/2016 11:09 PM

TruGlo Red Dot SightPicture this – you and a hunting buddy are staring down a group of wild hogs. You’re close enough that you speak in hushed voices. “See the bigger one towards the left? He’s mine. No wait, he’s moving right. What do you mean you want the one in the middle? Mine is in the middle now….” Suddenly the idea of a laser to point out which unlucky wild boar is yours makes a ton of sense. Add an integrated laser to the TruGlo Tru Tec red dot sight and you have a winning combination. Price the combination under $250 and we have a story worth reading, even if you’ve been burned on budget optics before.

By Kelsy Gonzales on 2/16/2016 10:47 PM

Wyoming Whitetail Hunting in WinterAs a die-hard big game hunter I have often faced the decision of staying home or pursuing prey in “less than ideal” weather conditions.  I’m sure there has been a time when most have looked at the forecast prior to a hunt and hesitated. Did the elements win or did you reach down inside and muster what it takes to battle those austere conditions? For me it comes down to one simple question: Animals can live in it so why can’t I?  Besides, you cannot harvest an animal that you don’t pursue. As far as I know, no animal has ever been killed by a hunter sitting on the couch at home. So with that in mind, let me share a story with you...

By John Howard on 2/11/2016 10:43 AM

Pistol vs. SBRDid you know the concept of “pistol” versions of “carbines” and “rifles” goes back more than a generation? So this whole Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) vs. rifle caliber pistol argument goes back a lot further than most people realize. The first pistol versions of the AR-15 were around in the early 1990s but the concept goes back even further. A pistol version of the M1 Carbine, the Universal Firearms “Enforcer” was out in the 1960s. 

Despite the challenge of shooting such firearms without a stock, their popularity has boomed in recent years.  You can purchase pistol length ARs, AKs, HKs, FALs, M1 Carbines - the list goes on and on.  Most tactical rifle platforms are offered by some manufacturer in a pistol version featuring sub-16” barrel and no stock. Which begs the question, which is better today, the SBR version of a gun or the “pistol” version? I have both, and can bring some clarity to this question.

By Erik Alexander on 2/4/2016 9:24 AM
Precision rifle with US Optics AcademyI wake up on the third day of training with a sense of pride and accomplishment. The previous day went by so fast and the memory of seeing the steel swing at hundreds of yards away energizes me now. Tyler and his staff are ready to test us. Their mischievous grins resemble the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. Priceless!

The focus today is estimating our range, practicing hold overs and testing our skills under timed pressure. Today’s technology cheats the estimation with range finders, but it is beneficial to have a backup plan in the event the range finder fails. Tyler provides a simple formula using the target’s height and/or width. To test us, Tyler’s team shuffles the steel plates at varying distances on the 1000 meter range. Guessing the the distance without using the scope reticles as a guide for the formula isn’t going to work. 

By Erik Alexander on 2/2/2016 5:54 AM
Precision Rifle 1 US Optics AcademyDay two’s classroom session opens my eyes to many new ways to approach medium to long range hunting.  For most hunters, deer and wild boar hunting is generally done within 100 yards.  At times, and depending on one’s geographical location, it can stretch as far as 400 yards or more.  With that in mind, I eagerly take notes as Tyler discusses “External Ballistics”. This is the science of the bullet’s motion and action in flight from the instant it leaves the muzzle until it impacts the target.  This stuff matters as we shoot further. Learning the effect of gravity and drag on a projectile, about shooting at a moving target and how to use my environment to estimate a wind correction are all things I can apply when hunting. This class is already paying off!

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