Storm Lake Barrels Review

Storm Lake Barrel

Storm Lake Barrel

For some gun owners, the way a gun comes from the factory is the way the gun stays forever.  For others, it is just the beginning of a journey to optimum fit and function to an individual’s needs and wants.  We’ve done a few topics so far, Tritium Night Sights, LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser, and we’ll have more to come, as this is a very meaty subject!  Obviously today we are looking at Storm Lake Barrels and what they bring to the table as far as pistol customization.

I originally began looking at replacement barrels so I could use a suppressor on my pistol.  Most factory barrels are not long enough and they are not threaded to support a suppressor.  Some manufacturers offer factory threaded options, but the list is rather short and they are usually pricey and hard to get.  That’s where Storm Lake comes in.  They have an extensive list of barrels available with an amazing amount of options.  You can get threaded barrels, ported barrels, extended barrels, custom feed ramps, custom finishes, and I’m sure even more than that.  Let’s not forget, we are just talking about a barrel here, and that is a lot of options!

Storm Lake Barrels offer replacement barrels for most 1911 pistols, Glock, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Springfield Armory.  The barrels are all machined from 416R Stainless steel and hardened to 40-42 HRC.  Storm Lake describes the barrels to be match grade, and broach rifled so they are able to shoot jacketed or lead bullets.  Because of the many options they have available, I highly recommend when you are ready to get one, heading on over to their website and using the barrel builder to get the exact part number you need so you can make sure you order the exact right barrel.

Our test gun for this review is a Glock 19 Gen3.  I wanted to be able to suppress this pistol, so I opted for the threaded barrel with a thread protector.  Just a side note about thread protectors – use them.  If you have anything that is threaded, before you either remove a muzzle device, or install a threaded barrel, make sure you absolutely have a thread protector.  One small “oops” and your threads – and barrel – are ruined.  Back to the barrel!  Installation was a snap, if you can remove your factory barrel, you can add a Storm Lake Barrel, very easily.  If using a threaded barrel, make sure you remove the thread protector when installing the barrel, and INSTALL THE BARREL VERY CAREFULLY SO AS TO NOT SCREW UP THE THREADS!!! Ok, I’m done with my soapbox for now…  Once you have the barrel through the slide, put that thread protector back on it, and reassemble the pistol.

The fit was perfect, and functions perfectly in the Glock 19.  Immediately you will notice, your pistol now looks different (if you get the stainless finish…) which will make it stand out, and will probably get people asking about it.  In shooting, I didn’t notice any thing out of the ordinary, and the barrel performed just as you would expect a match grade barrel to perform.  If you choose to get an extended barrel with ports, the ports will help to keep muzzle rise to a minimum, which is especially helpful for match shooters.  The suppressor we put on the Glock is a SilencerCo Osprey45, and it threaded on perfectly and functions flawlessly on the pistol.  I couldn’t be more pleased with the combination.

Overall, Storm Lake Barrels makes a great product for the money and it is sure to keep you on target, while giving you the flexibility you need to customize your pistol for your purposes.  As always, get Storm Lake Barrels at ManVentureOutpost.com for the lowest price online!

 

 

 

Trijicon Pistol Night Sights Review with Pictures Green-Yellow-Orange

Trijicon Tritium Pistol Night Sights

Trijicon Tritium Pistol Night Sights

Anyone who has a pistol for self defense or is just a gear-head has heard about (or at least should have!) night sights for your pistol.  Night sights are up there on my list of top upgrades to be done as soon as I get a new pistol, before I even carry it!  It is naive to assume any confrontation you will have will be lit enough for you to use the standard sights to easily aim and hit your target, lets face it, it’s dark about half of the time!  So it should go without saying that you should equip your pistol with some way to use the sights in the event of low or poor light conditions.  There are a number of ways to do this – a flashlight, laser sight, etc…. but when it comes down to reliability nothing really beats good old tritium night sights.  The basic premise of tritium night sights is a small tube is lined with phosphorescent material then filled with gaseous tritium.  The beta decay of the tritium causes the phosphorescent material to glow.  Because of the slow decay of tritium, this process will effectively work for about 10-20 years with only minor dimming of the light output.  Tritium night sights require no external charging or power to work, and most are guaranteed for up to 10 years!  It is this simple and reliable reason that tritium night sights are the preferred option for night sights on your pistol.

So now that we have established why tritium night sights are the way to go, there are several manufacturers that make these sights, how do you choose?  I have noticed that most of the tritium vials are made by Trijicon and then used in other manufacturers sights.  Really the best way to go is to find the set that fits your pistol the best and offers the features/look that you want.  What features you ask could be present in a standard tritium night sight?  Well, one important one we’ll discuss here is color.  Some manufacturers offer the option to get different color front and back sights.  The reasoning behind this is if you are in a stressful situation with low light, there is a chance you might accidentally line up your front sight on the outside of your rear sight and not know it.  Here are a few examples of a set of green/green tritium sights, and a set of yellow/green tritium sights.

Yellow/Green Trijicon Night Sights

Yellow/Green Lined up properly

Yellow/Green Trijicon Night Sights

Yellow/Green Misaligned

Green/Green Trijicon Night Sights

Green Sights aligned properly

Green/Green Trijicon Night Sights

Green sights misaligned

You can see how there is much more contrast between front and back with the yellow/green sights.  I’m not going to say that you wouldn’t be able to figure it out with the green/green, but in a gunfight, you don’t want to play fair, you want every possible advantage, and if the contrast can possibly help you, why wouldn’t you want it?!?!  Now you might wonder why I specifically chose the yellow/green sights.  There are a number of different colors and combinations of tritium night sights out there, so here are a few things to consider:

  • Green is the brightest tritium color and will last 10-20 years
  • Yellow is also a very bright tritium color (not quite as bright as green) and will last the same as green, 10-20 years
  • Orange is not as bright, and will only last 5-10 years

So with these considerations, I recommend having a green front sight since it is further from your eye, and a yellow rear sight since it will last longer than orange.  Trijicon makes the yellow/green tritium night sight set for most pistols, it might take some digging to find it, but I believe it is worth every penny.  I have a set of green/green on a S&W M&P, and this new set of yellow/green is installed on my Glock 19.  I can honestly say that while either is better than nothing, the yellow/green set really stands out and I’m able to line up the sights faster given the contrast of the different colors.

Trijicon makes night sights for almost all major brands such as Glock, S&W, Remington, Sig Sauer, Taurus, most 1911 pistols, Beretta, Browning, Colt, CZ, Desert Eagle, Kimber, H&K, Ruger, Springfield Armory, Walther & more.  If you do get a set of Trijicon tritium night sights for your pistol, pay a gunsmith the $30 or so it will cost to have them installed.  There are a lot of ways to scratch a pistol slide up, and if you do it to your own gun, all you’ll ever see is the scratch you left when you look at the sights!  Hopefully this has helped clear up the mud a bit on pistol night sights, when you are ready, come visit us at ManVentureOutpost for Trijicon tritium night sights.

LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser Review

LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser

LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser

LaserMax recently launched a new spin on and old favorite, the Native Green Guide Rod Laser.  This new laser breaks through some of the barriers that kept older green lasers from being as reliable as any firearm owner would want them to be.  But, who cares, green, red, it’s a dot, right?  Well, sort of right.  Firearm lasers have been around for a long time now, and most of them are red.  Why?  Red lasers are cheap, efficient, and maybe most importantly, reliable.  Why would you ever want to change that? Well, the human eye is more sensitive to green light, so a green light will appear brighter than a red light of the same intensity.  While some people will call green lasers “daylight” lasers, they certainly work much better than their red counterpart, but in direct sunlight you are still going to have a bit of trouble locating the dot at more than 10 yards.

Until recently, green lasers were a power hungry and unstable beast, usually inoperable at cold temperatures, you know, in the arctic tundra where most of us live right now……Where was I, oh yeah, the green laser.  Older Green lasers are called DPSS (diode pumped solid state) lasers which means an infrared laser diode is aimed at a special crystal that doubles the frequency of the light and out comes green light.  The new technology that has just come out does not have the frequency doubling crystal, and instead the laser diode is actually green.  So what does this mean, the new Native Green LaserMax lasers combine the reliability and simplicity of the tried and true red laser with the visibility of the green laser.

So with all of that technical stuff behind us, lets look at the actual LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser.  We installed our guide rod laser in a Gen 3 Glock 19, a very standard pistol.  Installation took probably about 10 minutes.  LaserMax provides all the parts and even a few tools to make installation go quickly (we’ll have a video on youtube soon).  The basic premise of the installation is as follows:

  1. Unload firearm and verify it is empty and safe
  2. Remove slide from frame
  3. Remove take down (this will vary from gun to gun, but was super easy on the Glock 19
  4. Replace take down with the new one provided by LaserMax
  5. Remove guide rod and recoil spring from slide
  6. Replace with guide rod laser and spring provided
  7. Check function of pistol and activation of laser

That’s about it, they keep it very simple.  I’m going to focus on the Glock 19 installation here for a bit, and discuss why I like it.  LaserMax provides a new take down latch and spring, and a handy tool to get the spring back in the correct spot.  Once installed, the laser is activated by pressing in on the take down.  This means the laser is ambidextrous, and the switch is exactly where it should be, your finger rests on it when you are keeping it off the trigger in the safe position.

Now I am also a fan of Crimson Trace and the instinctive activation, and thought that was great, but LaserMax brings up a good point in their literature about lasers and why theirs is superior.  They state with their laser, you don’t activate it until you want to, so there is no chance you reveal yourself/firearm/position/etc… until you actually flip the laser on.  Honestly I can see both sides, but it is something to consider depending on how you think you will be using the laser.

Back to the LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser.  As with all the guide rod lasers, there is no adjustment they are factory aligned at 20 yards.  This is a strong point to consider, there is nothing to go out of alignment, you can be confident that wherever the laser is pointing, that is where you are going to shoot.  Since the laser is internal, it also means you will be able to use it with any holster you might have or any other accessory you might want to, and it adds absolutely no bulk to the pistol.  In fact, if you were to look at a pistol with a guide rod laser and compare it to one without, you probably wouldn’t notice unless you were familiar with the guide rod laser controls.  The guide rod lasers are also very durable, and they are backed up by an unheard of 5 year warranty.  When is the last time you heard of anything electronic being backed up with a warranty that long???  One last feature to mention is the actual laser.  The laser, when activated, pulses rapidly.  This is to help your eye pick up on the dot faster.  I have yet to confirm this, but I can see where they are coming from, and another benefit is it will increase the battery life versus a continuous wave laser.  A related note, the battery life is rated at one hour of use, which will probably last most users a very long time unless you are just pointing it around all day for fun…..which I don’t recommend!

I have had the Native Green Guide Rod Laser installed on my Glock for probably a month now.  I left it in my truck overnight when we had some below zero temperatures this month, and it still functioned, which honestly surprised me, so you know it is good to go!  Shooting with the laser can help illuminate (pun intended) bad habits such as anticipating or pulling, because you will see the jerk right before you shoot.

One last thought regarding putting a laser on a pistol.  Not only can having a laser give you a faster target acquisition time, improve your “bad position” aim allowing you to be confident in situation where you might not normally be, but is also shows the bad guy right where you are aiming.  When you get right down to it, nobody wants to have to shoot someone to defend themselves.  If I wound up with a weapon laser dot on my chest, I would certainly think twice about whatever it was I was doing that got it there, so weapon lasers can also act as a deterrent.  In my book, the LaserMax Native Green Guide Rod Laser is a definite advantage that I am sure glad I have on my side.

Buy LaserMax at ManVentureOutpost.com

FLIR PS24 and PS32 Scout Thermal Camera Review

FLIR PS32 PS24 Scout Thermal Camera

FLIR PS32 PS24 Scout Thermal Camera

You have everything, we get it…but, do you have a FLIR thermal camera?  Probably not.  Why do you need one?  Because they are AMAZING!  I have had one for a year or so and I played around with it a little, and it was at best a novelty with a few legitimate uses I came up with so my wife wasn’t as upset at me for getting it….  That all changed a few days ago when I took it with me out to the tree stand for deer season.  I was skunked the day before, and as I was going back to the house, I literally took 1 step from the tree stand ladder and spooked a few doe that were about 50 yards from my tree stand that had been there all morning, and I never noticed.  So I thought the next day I’d take the FLIR PS32 Scout out with me to see if I could see anything bedded down close to the tree stand.  Well I picked the perfect morning, it was foggy, I mean can’t see where you are walking foggy.  As I approached the woods I again spooked up a few doe, I assumed they ran off down the mountain, but just to check I pulled out the FLIR to see what I could see.  They had not ran down the mountain, but rather across a culvert 90 degrees from where I thought they went.  This was on the other side of a massive thicket that you can’t see through, about 40 yards away.  So, pitch black outside, foggy, and the deer are on the other side of a large thicket, but I can see exactly where they are thanks to the FLIR PS32 Thermal Camera.  I sat there for a few minutes just watching them through the camera walk up the hill.  I was astonished how clearly it was to locate them using the red hot mode of the camera.  I decided to continue down to the tree stand, stopping and scanning every 30 yards or so with the FLIR.  It was cool to be able to see in the pitch black fog, but it was more valuable to know that there were no deer around and to keep moving.

After I got myself settled in the tree stand, a quick scan around the perimeter to see if there was anything interesting around, and about 100 yards away I see a small red speck using the red hot mode.  It was still too foggy to see more than about 15 yards, but I had spotted this deer a long ways away, in between a lot of trees.  It continued to move away from me and there was no way I could see it through my rifle scope to determine anything further.  I ended up sitting there a few more hours and didn’t see anything, and I know nothing evaded me because I was continually scanning with the FLIR Scout.  This experience was very eye opening because it demonstrated to me how much actually gets by us when we are in the woods, and how effective the thermal camera was at viewing through dense vegetation to see a deer sized animal.

Aside from the intended use of the FLIR Thermal Scout as a tool for wildlife viewing and hunting, I have also used the FLIR for a lot of other uses.  I have identified leaks or poorly insulated places in our home.  You can find air leaks in your house easily so you can seal them up and lower your heating/cooling costs.  I have used it to view overloaded circuit breakers in a breaker box.  Varmint hunting at night is awesome with a thermal camera, you can see them long before they can see you, if you pair it with a night vision scope, you can completely hunt in the dark and never spook them, making your shots even easier.  I have also used it to diagnose problems with cars, as you can easily target exhaust leaks, sticking brake pads, or overheating components.  It also makes it very easy to determine if a car has been started recently as the whole front half of the car will show as warmer than the rear.  You can see footprints, hand prints, even people with a fever will stand out when compared to others.  The uses are literally limited only by your imagination.

If you are using this as an alternative to traditional tube night vision, I find that the black hot mode provide excellent contrast for navigating your way around.  FLIR Cameras excel in this particular use, because they require absolutely no ambient light, and do not need an illuminator in low light conditions.  This means if you are wanting to remain hidden, you won’t have to use what is equivalent to a flashlight to other people with night vision (illuminator), and you will see them coming from several hundred yards away!  Maybe one of the biggest differences when using a FLIR Scout versus traditional night vision is the ability to see through fog.  I discussed it earlier in regards to the deer, but it is very significant.  Very thick fog will cut down on how far you are able to see with the camera, but you will still be able to see other warm blooded or hot objects a good ways off.

The FLIR Scout PS32 comes with a native resolution of 320×240, and has a 2x digital zoom, which basically cuts the resolution in half, but makes the perceived image larger.  The FLIR Scout PS24 has a native resolution of 240×180.  Both have an integrated tripod adapter, a rechargeable lithium ion battery that can be charged from a USB port, and feature a rubberized outer case that is comfortable to hold.  My biggest complaint however, is the lack of a hot shoe for these units.  For surveillance or wildlife viewing, the ability to capture video on an external device is a necessity, and I can only speculate at why that functionality was left off these units.  There are sites showing a “diy” hot shoe using the connectors on the bottom, which I have used to capture video, but do that at your own risk.

With the revolutionary FLIR PS32 and PS24 Scout Thermal Camera, FLIR has essentially brought thermal imaging capability to the masses.  Sure it’s still expensive, but it is at least attainable without literally trading in a car to buy it.  If you can find other uses and reasons to own it, such as insulating your house, finding faulty wiring, security, missing person searches, varmint control, etc…. there I go with that list of great uses to tell your wife again….  The bottom line, if you have always wanted thermal imaging from the time you first saw it, it is now available, and there are some very good reasons to have one.  Buy the FLIR PS24 and PS32 Scout at ManVentureOutpost.com.  You can watch our demo video on Youtube (we used the ports on the bottom where a hot shoe should attach and a video recorder to get this footage).

Firefield Digital Night Vision Monocular Review

Firefield Digital Night Vision Monocular

Firefield Digital Night Vision Monocular

We’re coming up on the holidays, and you are wondering what to get that special someone, right?  Well, as a gear head, I usually stay on top of what’s hot and what’s not, and night vision has always been in that category of top shelf toys. What’s not to like about night vision?  I mean, only regular folks investigate what goes bump in the night with a flashlight.  If you want to be James Bond of your house, you HAVE to own night vision.  There is just one small minor problem with that.  Most of the night vision worth owning will cost the equivalent of a small used car…in the $3k neighborhood.  Well, for most people, that is just not in the budget, however, luckily there is now an alternative coming to the market, digital night vision.  The first digital night vision I always felt was nothing more than a digital camera with an infrared illuminator, however, they have come a very long way since then.  If you are needing to get that someone that has everything a gift, take a good look at the Firefield digital night vision monocular.  For the money, it is a great value.

Lets start by looking at digital versus analog night vision.  I won’t belabor it, but digital is essentially an extremely sensitive camera that gets processed and displayed on an LCD screen.  Analog night vision has a special gas charged tube where photons trigger electrons to illuminate a phosphorus screen.  They are completely different technologies, and both have their place.  The one common factor, is both require ambient light to operate.  If you operate either one in a completely dark room, you will not see anything (unless you use an infrared illuminator).  Here is where we start to diverge, analog night vision was originally called “starlight” because the ambient light from the stars helped to illuminate enough you could see through the optic.  With digital night vision, you almost have to have an infrared illuminator if you want to be able to see anything, where as analog night vision (especially the higher generations) will show a decent image with lower light such as starlight, moonlight, or ambient city light.

So, what make the Firefield digital night vision monocular so special?  Well, to begin, it works.  I know that sounds funny and I’ve said it before, but these days, having a device that does what it is supposed to do isn’t always something we can take for granted.  Firefield has a 1-3x (model FF18065) version and a 3-9x (Model FF18066) version called the N-Vader. These are 1x optical 3x digital, and 3x optical 9x digital respectively.  A nice feature is they have a color LCD that I feel offers a little more contrast than other digital night vision monoculars I have viewed.  They both feature a 1W (1000mW) infrared illuminator that is in the near infrared spectrum which means it will look like a dull red to the human eye.  For a completely infrared illuminator it has to be in the 900nm range, and not many of those are available, but you can’t see the light in that range with your eye, so it is undetectable when in use.  Now here is where the Firefield scopes separate themselves from other night vision devices.  The monoculars have digital zoom that you can incrementally increase (1x, 2x, 3x and 3x, 6x, 9x respectively).  Given the low resolution of the LCD display in the device, you really don’t notice a quality difference at the higher zoom as you do with most digital zoom optics.  Secondly, the digital night vision monocular features an adjustable frame rate.  The higher the frame rate, the less light that is processed for each update, which translates into a darker picture, and just the opposite for lower frame rates which will enhance the image and show lower light conditions with more identifiable clarity.  The Firefield also offers an adjustable IR illuminator setting, allowing you to turn down and even off the illuminator if you don’t need it (I should point out that the Firefield Digital Night Vision Monocular does have a day mode that you can use for spotting during daylight hours, with the color LCD this is a nice feature, but not something I’ll probably ever use because after all, this is a night vision device).  The feature that blows my mind on this optic, is the TV out.  This means you can hook it up to a large monitor or DVR (we’ll be doing this soon – stay tuned!) and get 640×480 resolution out of this device.  If you are a night time animal watcher, being able to DVR and share your video without holding your camera to the ocular lens is HUGE (we’ll also be doing that some, it’s not the best way to do it, but sometimes you don’t have any options…)

Firefield Digital Night Vision Monocular

Firefield Digital Night Vision Monocular

So now that we’ve gone through the list of features, how much would you expect something like this to run, $200-$300?  Here is the shocker, the Firefield Digital Night Vision starts at $143 for the 1-3x version, and $179 for the N-Vader 3-9x version.  You can check our website for our sale price which might save you even more!  The only negatives that come to mind after spending some time with these units is the LCD display leaves a little to be desired in the resolution department, and I haven’t run enough to know for sure, but most digital night vision devices with the IR illuminator are battery hogs, so keep a spare set on hand if you are going to be using it a lot, or get some quality rechargeable batteries.

To sum it up, when I started looking at the Firefield Digital Night Vision Monocular, I wasn’t expecting to be as impressed as I was.  It packs a bunch of cool features that I really didn’t expect from such a reasonably priced optic.  So for the person that has everything, digital night vision definitely has the cool factor that will make anyone feel like a doing covert ops, even if it is just in the backyard in the suburbs.  Buy the 1-3x Firefield Digital Night Vision Monocular at ManVentureOutpost.com, or the 3-9x Firefield N-Vader Digital Night Vision Monocular at ManVentureOutpost.com.

Bradley Digital Smoker Review

Bradley Digital Smoker

Bradley Digital Smoker

So, as we are approaching the season of eating, I wanted to talk about one of the greatest tools a meat eater can own, the Bradley Digital Smoker.  When I think of a smoker, I think brisket, pulled pork, chicken, ham, OK pardon me while I go fix a little snack….OK, now that I’m stuffed again, I can continue talking about meat and how to cook it. When I think about smoking a brisket, once I’m done salivating about a perfectly cooked piece of meat, I used to think about all the times I’d over cooked, under-cooked, over smoked, or completely dried out the slab of meat before getting to eat it, but still eating it because of all the time I’d spent getting it ready.  Let’s face it, smoking meat is a pain.  Closely monitoring a piece of meat in a smoker for 12 hours while it smokes is annoying to say the least. The only reason why we do it is for the reward at the end, hopefully a perfectly smoked piece of meat.  Well, I’m here to tell you there is a better way, and is it ever better! The Bradley Digital Smoker is a must for anyone who likes to smoke meat.  It is so easy to use, that you can actually enjoy the process again.

Bradley Digital Smoker Interior

Bradley Digital Smoker Interior

To start with, lets look at the construction of the smoker box. The box is constructed out of a stainless steel interior, and an epoxy coated exterior.  The most important part about the smoker box is it is insulated.  My first smoker was a propane powered sheet steel smoker.  Smoking during the winter was nearly impossible because if the wind was blowing, the box would not stay hot enough, and if the wind died, the temperatures would skyrocket above what you wanted.  On several occasions, this caused some of the disasters mentioned above.  The end of this story, was we stopped using the smoker after I overcooked a brisket because it was impossible to keep the temperature stable.  With the Bradley Digital Smoker, the insulated box helps to keep the temperature completely stable, right where you want it.  The box also features movable shelves and hanging clips for hanging meats such as sausage.  A drip pan catches all the drippings and uses it to keep the meat hydrated.  The door seals with a gasket to also help keep temperature stable and keep the smoke in.  There is a replaceable heating element in the bottom of the smoker that is used to maintain the proper temperature.

The second main component of the Bradley Digital Smoker is the smoke generator.  This is where the greatness of this smoker comes out.  This little box hooks into the smoker chamber and provides the smoke, and controls the heating element inside the smoker.  The smoke generator has two controls on the front, one is a timer for smoke, and the other is the time and temperature for the heating element.  To use the smoker, you simply hook up the smoke generator, load it with the wood bisquettes, set the smoking time, the cook time and temperature, fill the drip bowl with water and you are off.  If you have never used any other type of smoker, you might not realize how awesome and simple this really is.  Hook up a wireless meat thermometer and you can go inside and do other things and monitor the meat while doing something else.  I will usually set an alarm to go off at certain temperatures on my wireless thermometer, so as the meat is progressing I will get reminded to go check on it.  Keep the water bowl full and let it go until it is done or you reach the next step in your recipe.

Bradley Cold Smoke Adapter

Bradley Cold Smoke Adapter

Another feature is the cold smoke option.  This allows you to smoke without heat using the smoke generator.  This is great for smoking cheese and other meats that are already cooked and you just want to enhance the flavor.  If you store the smoker outside, I recommend getting a cover for it, as you will want to keep it out of the weather.  One of the complaints I have heard is about the bisquettes.  They are expensive, and because of the way they feed, you have to feed an extra 2 through the smoke generator (unless you find some “pucks” that are available online that will feed all the bisquettes through the smoke generator without wasting the last 2).  The bisquettes usually smoke for about 20 minutes each, and they are automatically fed through the smoke generator for the allotted time you set on the smoker function.  While discussing the bisquettes, there are several different woods available to fit your personal preference and your recipe.  If you are new to smoking I recommend a sample pack so you can try out a few different woods to get a feel for how the type of wood can impact the flavor.  If your recipe doesn’t specify, hickory and mesquite are good places to start, mesquite on beef, and hickory on ham – there is a reason that is how lunch meats are smoked with those woods.

There really isn’t a whole lot more to say about the smoker, it is a great tool for any gourmet meat cook, and the Bradley Digital Smoker is the easiest one I have found to use.  Bradley support is great, they have forums with recipes, tips, tricks.  Spend some time there and in no time you’ll be enjoying some of the best meat you have ever had – at home!  As a parting gift, here is my smoked ham recipe, I have smoked it for the last few Christmas dinners by request.  My favorite part, it’s easy!  Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Smoked Ham Recipe

  • 1 cured ham – (I have used an uncured organic cooked ham the last few years, it’s great! Just make sure whatever you get is fully cooked, even spiral cut is ok…)
  • 1 cup Honey Dijon Mustard
  • Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 small can pineapple juice

If you want to make your own mustard, here is a good recipe

  • For homemade Honey Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Dijon or Spicy Brown Mustard

Instructions

  1. Remove your ham from the packaging and wipe off excess moisture with paper towel.
  2. Get smoker up to 225.
  3. Right before you put it on your smoker, spread mustard and sprinkle with brown sugar.
  4. Smoke for 2 hours.
  5. Place on foil, spray all over with pineapple juice and loosely cover with foil. Smoke 1 hour.
  6. After an hour, you should be close to 140 internal temp. Once you’re there, glaze.
  7. Open foil, sprinkle more brown sugar, as heavy as you would like, and spray with juice again.
  8. Smoke another hour until internal temp is at least 145 and the glaze sets.
  9. Let rest for 20 minutes, cut and serve!

Buy the Bradley Digital Smoker at ManVentureOutpost.com

Streamlight Strion LED Review

Streamlight Strion LED HP Review

Streamlight Strion LED HP Review

Hello, my name is Brandon, and I’m a flashaholic.  It was hard to admit, but I have known for some time that I have a problem.  My problem is I can’t pass up the newest/latest/greatest/useful/interesting/etc… flashlight.  If you come to my house the first thing you see by the door is about is a lineup of a dozen or more high power lights sitting there ready to be utilized when going outside on the farm.  All from the tiny JetBeam pocket lights, Surefire mid sized lights, a few custom HID’s, a few other Streamlights, and some monster’s over 2000 lumens (just for fun!).  I have spent hours outside with the whole gauntlet comparing and critiquing spots, throw, spill, general effectiveness, and just generally playing with them.  Determining what light would make the best deer spotting light.  What light is the best tactical light.  What light is the light to show all of my friends (the brightest, furthest throwing light, of course!), etc. With all this experience you would think I could recommend the perfect light, right?  Well, this is where my wife comes into this story.  See, we used to have charging parties every other week or so when all the rechargeable batteries would get pulled out of all the flashlights and get a fresh charge.  With all of the lights sitting around this became quite the chore that slowly happened less often…  Well, the inevitable happened, one of my “super bright” lights died while my wife was doing the evening chores.  Anticipating and fearing this, she had taken a backup light.  It died too.  The events that transpired when my wife came back in caused me to re-evaluate my entire philosophy on flashlights.  For those of you who aren’t married, that means she ripped me a new one for not keeping on top of charging the flashlight batteries.  It wasn’t all bad though, I got to buy a new light!  At this point my focus had shifted to any light that wasn’t going to leave my wife in the dark, and wasn’t going to take any maintenance on my part.  Having had poor experience with NiMH and especially NiCad batteries, I knew it had to be rechargeable lithium ion powered, and still put out a decent amount of light.  Since this was going to be primarily used by my wife, and it would likely be beaten around, I wanted something durable and affordable.  I had a few Streamlight LED’s and I liked them, so I took a chance on the Streamlight Strion LED.  My wife loves the light, she has happily used it for over a year now, and has never been left in the dark. Her only complaint, I use it too much!  As it turns out, me, the flashaholic liked the light as well.

Streamlight Strion LED HP

Streamlight Strion LED HP

The model we actually purchased was the Streamlight Strion LED HP.  It has a large reflector which creates a tighter hot spot.  This means it will illuminate further distances more effectively.  Streamlight states it has a 400 meter beam distance, 275 lumens, and 2 hours run time.  I sort of feel the flashlight market could take a page from the night vision manual here, and break down the “effective” beam distance into detection and recognition of an object the size of a person.  I feel these numbers are more useful than just “our light shines x meters”…but that’s another story.  I can personally say I can detect an adult deer at about 400 meters, but to determine if it’s a doe or buck, you are probably looking at about 150-200 meters max range with the naked eye.  The light also offers a medium (138 Lumens/4 hours) and low (70 Lumens/7.5 hours) mode, and a Strobe mode that will work for signaling or disorienting and run for 5.5 hours.  The LED is incredibly durable and Streamlight advertises a 50,000 lifetime.  The heart of the light is the rechargeable lithium ion battery.  It is rechargeable 1000 times and fully recharges in 3 hours.  That means you can put it through some pretty tough runs, and in a few short hours it’s ready to go again.  The build quality of the light is top notch utilizing aircraft aluminum, unbreakable polycarbonate lens, and the light is rated IPX4, or water resistant.  I haven’t really put it to the test here, but I’ve used it on some wet rainy nights where it got drenched, and there was no problems with functionality.  Now, here comes the mind blowing/life altering part of the light, the charging cradle. That’s it?  Yes, that’s it.  Plainly put, this light works.  Why does it work? Because it has power.  Why does it have power? Because it spends all of the time when it isn’t being used, getting charged(the cradle is a smart cradle and prevents over charging!) The charging cradle isn’t a revolutionary idea on it’s own, what Streamlight did to it might be considered revolutionary.  They made it work, easily and reliably.  I’ve had lights before that had charging cradles, and you had to fiddle with them to get the contacts to line up and then you had to jiggle it a little to actually get it to charge.  Not the Streamlight cradle, my wife mastered it with just a few tries (She’s usually mechanically challenged when it comes to these kind of things, but she had no problems figuring it out).  This simple concept, an easy to use and reliable charging cradle, ensures that your light will get put back, and the next time you need it, not only will you know where it is, it will be charged and ready to go.

Streamlight Strion Charging Cradle

Streamlight Strion Charging Cradle

To further the point with the usefulness factor, the Streamlight Strion LED HP can be purchased in a variety of different packages.  You can buy the light alone, or you can buy it with one or 2 cradles a choice of a 240/230/120/100V AC charging cable and/or a 12V DC charging cable.  If you are a heavy user a bank charger with 5 slots is available.  Replacement batteries, colored safety wands, holsters, you name it, Streamlight has you covered.

Streamlight Strion Accessories

Streamlight Strion Accessories

My sincere recommendation, if you consider yourself a flashlight user, is to buy a Streamlight Strion LED HP and figure out a way to mount the cradle right by the door you come in/go out of the most.  It seems like common sense, but really, mount it on the wall and plug it in, and keep the light in it.  This is not by far the brightest light I own, but it is by far the most used light I own.  I don’t mean to downplay the brightness either, it is bright, it’s just not “747 Landing Light” bright.  To further my point, I have since bought 3 more of the Streamlight Strion LED HP lights, and mounted them in our vehicles, with the charging cradle mounted into an accessory circuit, so the light charges whenever the car is on.  The Strion is a great flashlight, my wife loves it, and it has changed my philosophy on flashlights and really helped me with my addiction, because there aren’t a whole lot of lights out there with a charging cradle as good as the Strion.  Streamlight has come out with a new Strion LED HL, a 500 lumen version without the large reflector.  Of course I have one…..It is a lot smaller than the Strion LED HP, and with the added 225 lumens it is brighter, but doesn’t quite project as far as the Strion LED HP does with the larger reflector.  On day to day use I will grab the first one that my hand reaches in the cradle, but if I will be putting it in a pocket when we go for a walk for example, I usually do grab the smaller Strion LED HL.  Either way, you will not be disappointed, and more importantly, you wife will not be left in the dark.  Buy the Streamlight Strion LED HP or the Streamlight Strion LED HL from ManVentureOutpost.com.

Streamlight Strion LED HL

Streamlight Strion LED HL

GunVault Personal Gun Safe Review

GunVault Personal Gun Safe Review

GunVault Personal Gun Safe Review

With all of the media and political pressure recently regarding gun control, it is now more important than ever for responsible gun owners to step up to the plate when it comes to gun safety.  This is an issue I feel very strongly about. We (responsible gun owners) have a communal responsibility to the rest of society and to ourselves to be the prime example of safe gun usage and storage.  There is no excuse, period.  Accidents (we will call them accidents for the sake of this article, but unless a bolt of lightning strikes you and causes your gun to fire striking an unintended target, it isn’t really an accident, it is more negligence from my perspective) simply can’t happen, ever.  Forget how the media will look down on you and the other legal ramifications, lets face it, if you have an accident most of the time it will involve shooting yourself or someone you care about.  Life is a one time deal, no reset button, no do-overs, we play for keeps.  It is for this very reason most of us own a defensive weapon, we want to keep our loved ones safe from events out of our control.  At this point the irony that arises from harming yourself or others with the tool you specifically have to protect them is obvious, so I’ll let it go.  The bottom line is you alone are responsible for the proper operation and storage of your firearm, and there is NO EXCUSE or reason to not be the shining example of a responsible firearm owner.  Think about that for a moment before you move on and really process the burden that comes with owning a gun.

Now that we are on the same page, I am here to offer some advice that might possibly save you or someone you love.  If you own a pistol for self protection, a small pistol safe is an ESSENTIAL accessory to own.  The main idea behind these safes is very simple, keep your pistol close to you, secured to unauthorized access, and quickly accessible if a situation presents itself where you will need to defend yourself or others.  The leading manufacturer making personal gun safes is GunVault.  They make a variety of safes in several styles and sizes to fit just about every situation you might be able to think of where you would need secure pistol storage.

GunVault MultiVault Deluxe GV2000C-DLX

GunVault MultiVault Deluxe GV2000C-DLX

Most of the original GunVault gun safes were the overblown shoebox looking safes,the MiniVault and MultiVault, available now in Standard and Deluxe models.  They a cutout of a hand on the top with 4 buttons at the tip of each finger where you would enter in your access code.  Upon successful input of your code the spring loaded door swings open and you have access to your firearm, literally within a few seconds of initiating the process.  They still make this safe, and it is a very solid, secure, and affordable safe.  When I think of this safe being used in a home, I recommend putting it in a closet, bolting it to the floor/wall in an inconspicuous location or in/around a bedside table.  They also can be secured to an object with a cable that you can attach to it.  These are very basic and reliable safes, great for most applications. Deluxe versions include a motion detector, and an interior courtesy light when opened, and an external power supply.  Let me clarify one thing, these safes aren’t meant as a replacement for your traditional 1000lb heavy full size gun safe.  If somebody really wants whatever you have in the safe, they will probably be able to get it with some effort.  I feel these safes protect more from “curious” hands and unauthorized use such as from young children or visitors to your house.

Gunvault has recently come out with a biometric fingerprint scanner for most of their safes capable of storing over several fingerprints.  These are great, and they actually work!  The best part of the biometric system is it can be programmed for different users, and there is no combination to remember.  As long as you don’t lose your finger, you will have access to the safe.  The biometric function takes a little bit of practice to get used to it and to get the safe to reliably open.  Your finger pretty much needs to be at the same place and orientation each time or it will not work reliably.  I make it sound harder than it actually is, with a few minutes of practice I was able to get it to open on the first try every time, but it is something to consider.

GunVault NanoVault

GunVault NanoVault

The NanoVault series features small, affordable manual open safes (either with a key or combination lock) that are perfect for travel or transportation.  They are TSA approved containers for flying with a pistol (in your checked baggage, of course!) Each NanoVault has a cable that you can use to secure it.  Personally, I have one in all of my vehicles and I secure the cable around the seat post in the car and keep the safe under the seat.  It is a perfect solution for securing items in an office as well, just secure it to a desk or other anchor point and you will have more peace of mind when keeping valuables or guns in your desk.

GunVault SpeedVault SVB500

GunVault SpeedVault SVB500

A new offering to the GunVault line is the SpeedVault.  We have these mounted to desks in our office.  They are very slim and stay out of the way, but the keypad is right where you need it if you were to need to access your pistol quickly while sitting at your desk.  The keypad beep can be disabled so if you need to covertly access the safe it won’t alert everyone you are opening the safe.  The SpeedVault has a pivoting door that contains foam with a cutout for the barrel and trigger guard.  This safe will fit most full size pistols down to compact pistols, including some small revolvers.  Throughout our daily use we have really appreciated this safe and it has kept our pistols safe when we weren’t wearing them around the shop.

The MicroVault series is a step in between the NanoVault and the MultiVault/MiniVault.  These are great for people who travel with a briefcase and still want to keep a secure storage container for their pistol or other sensitive articles.  The seems are very precise which prevents prying with hand tools, and the electronic versions have a computer that blocks access after multiple failed entries.  The MicroVault’s are also available with the fingerprint access control.

Standard features for most of the GunVault safes includes thick steel, pre-drilled mounting holes, protective foam liners, and backup override keys in case of a dead battery or lost combination. The electronic GunVault safes all feature battery power (some are available with an external AC power supply that will default to battery backup in case of failure) and have an audible low battery warning.  Many of the Gunvault gun safes also fulfill the requirement of the California DOJ for storing pistols.

The bottom line is, GunVault personal gun safes are a serious consideration for anyone who owns a handgun.  The gun safes provide a safe and secure storage system for firearms in many common situations, whether it be securing a firearm at home, at work, in your car, or while traveling, most of which give the user quick access in a matter of seconds should the need arise.  Whatever your situation, check out GunVault personal gun safes and keep your pistols secured!  Find GunVault Personal Gun Safes at ManVentureOutpost.com.

Aimpoint Red Dot Sight Review

Aimpoint Red Dot Sight

Aimpoint Red Dot Sight

Everybody has heard of red dot sights, but really, what’s the big deal you ask?  The original electronic red dot sight was developed back in the 70′s by Aimpoint in Sweden.  The technology has come a long way since then.  The basic function of the red dot sight is to offer the shooter a non-magnified rapid target acquisition reticle in the form of the red dot.  The basic structure of the sight consists of a tilted mirror and an LED emitter to generate the dot back to the users eye.  The sights are generally parallax free, which means regardless of the shooters eye position behind the optic, the red dot will still be on target. Aimpoint has been at the front of the line for quality red dot sights since the beginning.  They feature rugged weatherproof cases, clear optics, and state of the art electronics in their sights.

Aimpoint Red Dot Sight

Aimpoint Red Dot Sight CompM3

So, lets get into what makes an Aimpoint stand out.  To begin, lets look at how you use a red dot sight.  Red dot sights are very user friendly, maybe one of the most user friendly sights available for a gun.  There is nothing to it, you can keep both eyes open (no trying to close one eye and look out the other awkwardness), move the dot over your target, and be confident you will hit your mark.  The simplicity of the process means you won’t spend time trying to line everything up and make sure you are on target, it becomes a very fast process to view your target, line up and fire.  So red dot sights really shine at short distances (pun intended!).  One differentiating factor with red dot sights, is the actual dot size and clarity.  Low quality sights will have a larger dot that will cover more of your target, and most of the time will not be a clear dot, but rather more of a splatter of light.  Authentic Aimpoint sights will have a very clear dot when viewing your target, and the dot will be the size specified (more on this later…).  A common beginner mistake that we hear from users, is they complain about the crispness of the dot.  If you buy an Aimpoint and you think it isn’t as clear as you would expect, try a little exercise to determine if you are focusing on the dot, or on your target.  The proper way to look through a red dot is to focus on your target, not the dot, and you will notice when you do this the dot will look like a true dot, rather than a splatter.

Red dot sights are usually identified by the dot size, in MOA’s (Minutes of Angle).  What this means is at 100 yards the dot size will be as big as the rated MOA.  The larger the dot, the less accurate you will be at longer distances, because more of the target will be covered by the dot.  This isn’t a huge deal because we aren’t looking to shoot long range with a non-magnified optic.  The point to consider here is, determine what the actual range you will be using the sight at, and determine what size MOA dot you prefer.  Larger dots will provide faster acquisition at close ranges, while smaller dots will provide more accuracy at longer ranges.

Aimpoint 11972 CompM4, 2 MOA ACET

Aimpoint 11972 CompM4, 2 MOA ACET

What can Aimpoint offer me as a shooter?  The Aimpoint product line has become very diverse and now has a wide range of offerings for almost every situation.  One of my favorites is the new CompM4s ACET Red Dot Sight.  This site really is a breakthrough in red dot sights.  When most people object to red dot sights, it is because of the battery life, and they fear in a life or death situation, their site will be dead, rendering them defenseless.  For this reason many people install backup sights, we’ll get to that in a minute.  However, with the ACET technology, the CompM4s is rated to stay on for up to 8 years CONTINUOUSLY on a single AA battery.  Yes, you read that correctly, you get the sight, turn it on, leave it in your rifle case, and it will work for around 8 years, always on.  This is a monumental improvement.  No longer do you need to rely on tritium vials for long term illuminated reticles, you can now do it with a AA battery.

Another one of my favorites is the Aimpoint Micro T-1.  Pictures really don’t do this sight justice.  It is TINY.  It can actually be mounted on a pistol, and not get in the way.  It is a perfect upgrade for any pistol shooter.  Once you get it sighted in, it will provide a clear red dot greatly reducing your target acquisition time compared to standard iron sights.  Lets face it, in a defensive situation do you want to be fussing with your sight picture trying to get it lined up, or do you want to point and shoot?  The Micro T-1 is really a sight that you have to see to appreciate.

Aimpoint Mounted on Pistol

I like the short range acquisition, but what if I want to shoot a little further without changing optics?  Good news, Aimpoint offers a 3x magnifier to compliment their red dot sights.  Generally the magnifier comes on a twist mount, so if your target range changes rapidly, all you have to do is move it out of the way and you are back to shooting close range.  The magnifier features the same build quality and clear optics that the red dot sights have, it simply allows you to reach out further.  This accessory as we will call it really takes the red dot from a close quarters combat solution, to an all around firearm sighting system with some real advantages and options that any serious shooter should consider.

Aimpoint red dots seem like a great option, how are they different from a laser?  Lasers are great for fast target acquisition at very close ranges, but they also give away your position.  Red dot sights do not project any dot visible to anyone other than the shooter, so the shooter can remain hidden, especially important to those who may be hunting, or may be facing hostile return fire in tactical situations.

For serious shooters, night vision compatibility is also available with many Aimpoint sights.  Your day sight can easily transition into your night sight, giving you all the same benefits discussed above, with the added functionality of being able to use it at night.  This isn’t a big selling point for most users, but if you hunt at night, or are in the military/law enforcement community, being able to use the same sighting system day and night is very valuable, especially with the added benefit night vision offers for covert operations.  Slap your night vision optic behind the Aimpiont and you are back in business.

We have taken an in depth look at why red dot sights are so popular for today’s shooters.  They offer fast target acquisition, easy transitioning from medium range to close range combat with the magnifier, and can even be used in covert ops with the night vision option, and we have shown how Aimpoint is leading the red dot market with some of their advanced features.  Any serious shooter will be well served by an Aimpoint optic, and should at least consider getting familiar to some of the many different products Aimpoint offers.  View Aimpoint red dot sights on ManVentureOutpost.com.

 

Troy Industries Alpha Rail Review

So, you just purchased that brand new shiny AR-15 Rifle, and your bank account has recovered enough that now you would like to make it yours.  Where do you start?  I equate the AR15 platform to a woman’s closet of shoes.  There are literally thousands of AR accessories to bolt on or drop in to your rifle, so no matter what outfit you are going to wear, there is an AR part just for you.  When it comes down to it, Troy Industries makes some of the most functional AR parts you can buy and bolt on.  My personal favorites are the Micro M4 Flip Up Sights with Tritium, the Quick Detach Sling Mount and Swivel, and by far is the Alpha Rail.

Troy-BattleRail-Alpha-Rail-21_355

Troy BattleRail Alpha Rail

The build quality on these rails are simply top shelf.  The anodized finish is flawless, and the machining tolerances are very tight.  These rails give you a complete picatinny top rail all the way out to the end.  This is nice for hanging lasers, night vision, or other optics other than your main rifle scope. If you are using a holographic or red dot sight, you can mount flip up sights as a backup in case your main sight is disabled for some reason.  My favorite aspect of these rails is the smooth grip.  If you have ever held a quad rail in your hand, you know what I am referring to, they are painful to hold.  The alpha rail is very comfortable without the annoying rail covers most people use to make quad rails more comfortable.  The way you mount accessories on an Alpha rail is very simple, they provide short rail sections, and you can pick anywhere on the rail to mount the accessories, including a 45 degree mounting option which is not available on standard quad rails. I have a picture of the rail sections below.

Troy BattleRail TRX Extreme Quick Attach Rail System

Troy BattleRail TRX Extreme Quick Attach Rail System

You can pick the length you need for your particular accessory, and the perfect location.  If you feel the metal is not enough of a grip, you can also buy rubber inserts called Squid Grips for the holes where your hand will sit to give a bit more grip.  I find that a vertical grip is great for ergonomics, there is no strain on the wrist.  I’m a fan of anything that makes shooting more enjoyable and comfortable! The Alpha Rail is a great product and will really give your AR that custom look.  In my opinion you can’t beat the rail for looks, functionality, and price.  I have been very impressed with Troy Industries, they have really come out with some great products for customizing your AR15. Whether you have an M4, or a sniper AR15, they have something for you. When you are in the market for AR upgrades, check out Troy Industries and there ever increasing line at ManVentureOutpost.com.