Saturday, February 14, 2015

ATF Proposes Ban on M855 Green Tip Penetrator Ammo

Looks like the ATF is at it again.

In a move clearly intended by the Obama Administration to suppress the acquisition, ownership and use of AR-15s and other .223 caliber general purpose rifles, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unexpectedly announced today that it intends to ban commonplace M855 ball ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.” The decision continues Obama’s use of his executive authority to impose gun control restrictions and bypass Congress.

It isn’t even the third week of February, and the BATFE has already taken three major executive actions on gun control. First, it was a major change to what activities constitute regulated “manufacturing” of firearms. Next, BATFE reversed a less than year old position on firing a shouldered “pistol.” Now, BATFE has released a “Framework for Determining Whether Certain Projectiles are ‘Primarily Intended for Sporting Purposes’ Within the Meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(c)”, which would eliminate M855’s exemption to the armor piercing ammunition prohibition and make future exemptions nearly impossible.
(read the rest here)

When they can't ban our guns, they try to ban our ammo. The EPA tried it with the lead ban on bullets and failed. Now the ATF is determined to change the classification of the M855 cartridge as 'armor piercing' despite it not being a true AP round.

The M855 bullet consists of a hard steel cone which sits behind the copper jacketed tip and in front of the lead core base. Originally developed as the SS109 by the Belgians to penetrate one side of an enemies steel helmet, it was adopted by the US and redesignated as the M855.

This round is pretty popular with the AR-15 crowd as it can be found fairly easily as surplus ammo and is plentiful. Apparently this round is now deemed to be a potential threat to the government when used by its own citizens for all purposes legal and lawful.

Seems like a whole new avenue in the black market is about to open up. Price gouging and panic buying coming soon to a gun store near you.

Got M855?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Holster Review: Alien Gear Holster

The good people at Alien Gear Holsters asked if I would review their new Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 2.0 IWB Holster. Truth be told, I was just looking at them the week before and was considering trying one out. Now I had no excuse not to, since they were kind enough to send me one for this review. I told them I would wear it for 2 weeks before I gave my review. So here we are.

I have been using a CrossBreed SuperTuck Deluxe daily for 6 years now. I carry in the 1 o'clock position, not quite appendix carry but close enough. I'm a big fan of my CrossBreed so I was wondering how the Alien Gear would compare to it. Both have a lifetime warranty (CrossBreed's lifetime warranty does not apply to all items). Both are IWB holsters. Both have similar construction styles. But that's where the similarities end. I'll get to the differences in my review below as they come up.

So when the Alien Gear holster arrived, it came in an black ziplock type plastic bag with their logo on it. Inside was the holster, instructions, and a set of spare parts nicely packaged on a neon green (keeping with the alien theme) plastic backing card, not a bunch of loose parts in a plastic bag. I appreciated the extra thought that went into this. It keeps everything nice and organized. No extra parts are included with the CrossBreed.

I took out the holster to exam it. The first thing I noticed was that the backside portion which goes directly against your body was lined with a thin piece of neoprene. It was soft and slightly spongy and actually felt pretty nice. I can see the benefit of having this against your skin versus leather when it's hot out. The back side also had the T-Nuts already in place for adjustment of the clips if you wanted to adjust the ride height. With the CrossBreed, you have to move the T-nuts to where you want if you want to adjust the clips. On the Alien Gear, the T-Nuts were used to attach the plastic shell with unlike the rivets used on the CrossBreed. I'll explain why this is important further down. 
Against the body Neoprene side of the holster
The other thing I noticed was that the hard plastic shell on the Alien Gear holster covered the entire length of the gun slide unlike the CrossBreed. In addition to that, the 20° cant angle on the Alien Gear was more aggressive than the CrossBreed 10° cant angle. Both holsters can adjust the cant angle by raising one clip and lowering  the other as I have done on my CrossBreed below. The one advantage the CrossBreed has over the Alien Gear in adjustment options is that it has 4 adjustment location holes versus the 3 that the Alien Gear has. However, I did not find it to be much of an advantage. Also, the way the leather is cut on the Alien Gear allows for a firm, full grip on the pistol versus the CrossBreed as seen below. I found this to be very advantageous and practical.

Going back to how the shells are attached, I really like how the Alien Gear is attached versus how CrossBreed attaches theirs. Why? CrossBreed rivets their shell in place, whereas the Alien Gear screws theirs in place. The spacers that are included in the extra parts pack allow for the shell to be raised or lowered to increase or decrease the retention on the pistol. With the CrossBreed, you have to carefully heat up the Kydex and manipulate the trigger guard to give it a more aggressive hold. In this area, the Alien Gear holster wins for convenience and ease.
In addition to being able to adjust the retention much easier, replacing the shell, if needed, is much simpler as well. As much as I love my CrossBreed, I've had to send it back twice to replace the Kydex when it started cracking at the top edge of the trigger guard. Replacement was free per their Lifetime Warranty, but it was a bit of a hassle to have to send in my holster and wait for it to return. There was no way I could replace the Kydex myself as it was attached with rivets. With the Alien Gear, they'll send a new shell and I can replace it right away. Free. Also the shell is thicker than Kydex so it's less likely to crack.

So, that's all well and good, but how does the Alien Gear holster feel while wearing it? Honestly? Pretty darn good. The neoprene side is a little thicker than the leather of the CrossBreed, but not by much and it's very soft and pliable. The one thing I immediately noticed was that it didn't squeak when I moved or bent like leather did. It stayed firmly in place due to the better gripping plastic clips which wrapped around and under the belt. I was always having to adjust the metal clips on my CrossBreed to get them to stay on the belt, especially when I squatted down. Yes, CrossBreed does offer different clips for a more secure hold, but this is what I have. For me, sitting down was always less comfortable with the CrossBreed, as the leather would dig into my upper thigh (1 o'clock carry position, remember?).
I really like my CrossBreed. Having said that, I think Alien Gear took that great hybrid leather/kydex holster idea and improved upon it. A lot. And in doing so, they still managed to produce a holster that is almost half the cost as the CrossBreed They're very much worth checking out. They'll give you 30 days to try it unlike CrossBreeds 2 weeks. And if you don't like it, send it back. They make it almost impossible not to try it. If you do, tell them Resister in the Rockies sent you.