SIG Sauer MPX Pistol


By: Jay Grazio

Something goes bump in the night. What’s the ideal firearm to pick up, a rifle, a shotgun or a handgun? Most often, the debate comes down to shotgun or carbine, with valid points made for either platform depending on individual circumstances. Very rarely are pistols thought of as a first line of defense, generally owing to lesser muzzle energy from pistol cartridges and greater practice needed for proficiency.

One common knock against rifles or shotguns centers on the overall bulky size of either. Navigating a narrow hallway with a 20-inch-barreled shotgun, there’s plenty of opportunity for Mr. Murphy to help get that long barrel caught on a door frame or other protrusion. Even the ultra-handy AR-15-style carbine requires a little extra room to maneuver—if there are tight confines in your domicile, anything with a lengthy barrel can be difficult to employ.

In cases like these, a pistol might fit your needs. Since it’s a home-defense arm, though, many of the concessions we endure in a concealed-carry handgun don’t apply. Weight doesn’t have to be kept to a minimum, meaning that recoil will be greatly reduced. Accessories can be added without worrying about finding a holster to fit. The shorter barrel and overall length mean sound suppressors can be added without making the firearm excessively long.

It’s all about trade-offs—while a pump-action 12-gauge offers serious stopping power, it’s heavy, bulky and has a low-capacity. An M4-style carbine is lighter and has greater capacity, while still maintaining decent stopping power, but in the tight confines of a home can be painfully loud. Adding a suppressor negates the advantage of a shorter barrel. While a handgun offers less stopping power than a rifle or shotgun, individual circumstances might make certain models a good fit for home defense.

The SIG Sauer MPX is just such a fit. With a Picatinny rail spanning the entire top of the pistol, adding a red-dot or holographic sight for faster target acquisition is simple and still leaves room for iron sights. The rail-ready fore-end can have a weaponlight attached along with a laser, allowing for rapid identification and immediate on-target capability. A convenient QD sling mount allows the MPX to be carried on a single-point sling, leaving your hands free if needed. Should sound suppression be desired, SIG offers a number of options—including a short suppressor that reduces the sound signature while adding minimal extra length.

When the company developed the MPX line, it was designed to be a pistol-caliber (hence the “P” in “MPX”), short-barreled rifle (SBR) and submachine gun. Obviously, the MPX was brought to the drawing board with law enforcement and military applications in mind. With the civilian market locked out of new, fully automatic firearms, the MPX was squarely aimed at the government market served by submachine guns like the iconic Heckler & Koch (H&K) MP5.

It was a bold move to offer a new, pistol-caliber submachine gun in the wake of the growing popularity of mid-range, rifle-caliber arms. John Brasseur, director of product/project management for SIG Sauer, explained, “We’ve seen police/military back away from pistol calibers recently, with either short-barrel rifle calibers (think LWRC PDW) or newer rounds like the 4.6 mm (H&K MP7) or 5.7 mm (FN PS90). Heck, even H&K’s UMP didn’t do all that well. Why a new subgun in pistol calibers?  Better question is why not do what everyone loves and wants, there are a bunch of companies taking ARs and converting them to 9 mm, which is not optimal for that round.”

Brasseur continued, “We decided to build from the ground up a new platform based on AR controls that people are familiar with, a product that is competitive with the well-known MP5. The MP5 is a very desirable and respected gun in military, LE and, for those lucky enough to get one, commercial circles. Our goal was to build a gun that would be the next generation of MP5s for the world.”

Wanting to include the sizeable U.S. civilian market in the prospective client pool, a semi-automatic pistol version joined the MPX family. While the SBR version is available to most civilians—provided they jump through the appropriate hoops and pay the NFA tax—the submachine gun version is unavailable. Wanting a civilian-legal version as close to the original design as possible, SIG decided to offer a pistol-only version, and hence the MPX-P was born. A carbine version is expected to hit the market before the end of the year.

Utilizing a closed and locked, short-stroke pushrod gas system, the MPX functions in much the same manner as a piston-driven AR-15. The rotating bolt is obviously the biggest difference, and represented the biggest challenge for SIG in bringing the MPX online. Brasseur explained, “Our biggest engineering obstacle was dealing with the gas system and rotating-bolt design. This was a major engineering task that took a lot of hard work and analytical evaluation to overcome.”

Similarity to the AR-15 is quite evident in the MPX’s operation, which is unquestionably aimed at those familiar with America’s rifle. The pistol separates into an upper and lower receiver. All controls are located in the same position as on a standard M4-style carbine. It field-strips almost exactly like a standard AR-15, with the exception of the bolt-carrier group. Since it has no buffer tube, recoil is handled by twin captured springs located above the bolt group.

Controls aren’t just patterned after the AR-15, though. Buttons are enlarged, made more ergonomic and are completely ambidextrous. The magazine release, while in the same geographic location as an AR’s, fills a carved semi-circle, which is precisely where the trigger finger comes to rest when off target—perfect for a reload. The safety selector is identical to that found on America’s rifle, right down to the 90-degree rotation from “safe” to “fire,” which are depicted in the standard pictogram format on both sides of the receiver.

The ambidextrous safety did result in one detriment during firing, though. With a high-handed grip, the safety selector in the “fire” position tended to dig into the base of my trigger finger. After 100 rounds or so, my finger had a nice little divot. This can be remedied, though, by ex-changing the ambidextrous safety for a single-side model. Alternately, plenty of options exist thinner than the variant found on the test sample. Interchangeability with the AR-15 opens up a large world of after-market parts.

One of the first questions, in my mind, that arises when discussing these types of handguns is quite simple: What does it do that a regular pistol doesn’t? It’s heavier and more expensive than a traditional pistol, yet is chambered in the very familiar 9 mm. In order to have an appeal beyond “because it’s cool” (which, for the record, is a perfectly reasonable response to the question of “Why?”), the MPX needs to offer something more than a standard handgun.

Magazine capacity is one area where the MPX has an edge. Sure, there are a small handful of factory pistol magazines with capacities of 30 rounds or greater, but the majority of standard full-size handguns carry between 15 and 20 rounds. SIG’s own P226 comes with a 15-round magazine, and protruding 20-round versions are available. The curved, polymer, 30-round Lancer magazine shipped with the MPX has been specifically engineered for superior feeding. Another advantage the MPX enjoys is the longer barrel—8 inches compared with 4.25 to 5 inches in a “regular” handgun. This translates into higher velocities and attendant muzzle energy, along with greater accuracy potential. Additionally, the Picatinny top rail allows instant mounting of a red-dot, reflex or even magnified optic if so desired, further increasing precision and the ease of getting on target.

Something that often gets overlooked when discussing firearms is the “fun factor.” Fans of campy ’80s movies will enjoy a stand-in for the ubiquitous but questionable TEC-9 that graced so many of the period’s action films. The MPX, though, can fire more than FMJs—and in excess of a dozen rounds or so in a row—without jamming. Not every firearm purchase has to be utilitarian; having a gun because it looks cool can be all the reason we need. With the MPX, it looks cool and it works well. 

While few would debate the effectiveness of a pistol caliber over a rifle caliber in pure stopping power, we live in a world of trade-offs. Overall length of one’s defensive firearm, how recoil affects second-shot capabilities, even the ability to keep one type of firearm in a vehicle all play into our choices for a defensive tool. If you’ve decided that pistol-caliber is the way you want to go—or you just want something different—the SIG Sauer MPX is a worthy option.

The Heckler & Koch MP5


By: Martin K.A. Morgan

For a half century now, it has been a ubiquitous instrument of law and order. Adopted by West Germany’s Bundespolizei and Grenzshchutz in 1966, it has demonstrated itself an effective tool of counterterrorism. From Mogadishu, to Princes Gate in South Kensington—the Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun helped rescue the hostages of Lufthansa Flight 181 in 1977, and then went on to break the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980. In an era when open-bolt, blowback 9 mm submachine guns like the Walther MPL, Uzi, Swedish K, and the Sterling were abundant, the MP5 introduced the world to the elegantly simple, yet quite dependable roller-delayed blowback-operating mechanism. Firing from the closed bolt and using a fluted chamber, it marked an important evolution in small-arms design that brought the submachine gun out of the Cold War and into the 21st century. 

Throughout its 50 years of production, the MP5’s basic anatomy has changed little. The straight detachable-box magazine began to go away in 1977 when the product-improved, curved 30-round magazine was introduced, but outside of that cosmetic change, virtually everything has remained the same. The retractable stock of the MP5A3 gave it a compactness that appealed to its many military and law enforcement users, and a three-lug barrel made it an ideal suppressor host for special operations. Introduced in 1976, the integrally suppressed MP5SD evolved the platform into a firearm that could use standard-velocity ammunition and still function quietly. With nine different models in all, the MP5 has been configured for every possible mission where a pistol-caliber submachine gun is the right tool for the job. 

In total, these features have given the MP5 an innovative versatility that has made it one of the most esteemed and admired firearms of all time. But the design’s success in service paved the way for a second career—one characterized by success in the recreational shooting world. The semi-automatic SP89 and HK94 both generated impressive popularity, but that was a generation ago. Today, the MP5 lives on as a civilian favorite in the form of semi-automatic pistols and carbines made by various domestic manufacturers, as well as Title I clones made in Turkey at MKE and imported by Zenith Firearms. Although their model names are Z-5P, Z-5K, and Z-5RS, these Turkish-made models have breathed new life into the universe of MP5 enthusiasm.  In May 2016, Heckler & Koch announced the forthcoming release of the company’s SP5K 9 mm pistol—a new semi-automatic version that brings the MP5 into its fifth decade of production at Heckler & Koch.
More than 80 countries worldwide have purchased the MP5 and special operators from several countries have used it during counter-terrorism and hostage rescue missions: Germany’s GSG-9 unit, the British Army’s SAS, U.S. Navy SEALs and the U.S. Army’s Delta Force. It can even been seen guarding No. 10 Downing Street in London in the hands of members of the city’s Metropolitan Police. Although more modern designs have begun to eclipse it, the MP5 is nevertheless a classic that is still in demand and still in service.

Gun Review: Remington RM380


By: Dan Zimmerman


The gun for this review was provided by the Kentucky Gun Company.

In 2014, Remington Outdoor purchased Rohrbaugh Firearms. Considering Remington’s stewardship of other assimilated brands, devotees of Rohrbaugh’s fabulously expensive, finely-crafted pocket pistols were apprehensive. Remington soon realized their worst fears, consigning the Long Island gun brand to the dust heap of history. But not before going full Borg. Enter the RM380. It’s basically the Rohrbaugh R9 – Shooting Illustrated’s 2005 “Handgun of the Year” – made new . . .



Remington ships the all-metal RM380 with two six-round magazines, one flush and one with a pinky extension.



There’s no mistaking the RM380’s DNA. The photo above shows the RM380 spooning with a Rohrbaugh R9. Other than a little bling, they’re identical. Well, almost. As you’d expect, in their quest to convert an almost $1200 niche market pocket pistol into a competitively priced, mass-marketable self-defense gun, Remmy’s altered a few things, mostly for the better.



Remington replaced Rohrbaugh’s Eurotrash-style heel-mounted magazine release with a good ol’ traditional ambidextrous button behind the trigger guard, right where it ought to be. The relocated mag release makes for easier, quicker mag dumps and reloads. They also added some well executed checkering to the front strap for a surer grip.



In the interest of keeping their little guns as sleek and snag-free as possible, the Rohrbaughs lacked a slide stop. The resulting gun didn’t lock back when empty (obviously). The RM380’s slide stop ensures that once the hammer’s dropped on your last round, you’ll know it – without that awkward ‘click’ on an empty chamber.



Remington’s also reworked the Rohrbaugh recoil system. Rohrbaughs were notorious famous for needing a spring swap every 200 rounds (some wags called them “the gun you aren’t supposed to shoot.”) Big Green wisely subbed two nested recoil springs for the Rohrbaugh system.



Getting to those recoil springs is not as easy as one would hope. Takedown on the RM380’s a bit on the fiddly side. Remington included an addendum to the manual telling owners that holding the gun ejection port up (i.e., gangsta style) and moving the slide back slowly will release the takedown pin enough to remove it. No such luck. The pin on my T&E gun dropped slightly, but not enough to grab and remove it.

I needed a paperclip to push the pin free. On one level, that’s a good thing. If merely aligning the hole in the slide with the pin caused the pin to drop free, that could happen when you really don’t want it to (especially if you’re a gangsta). Still, takedown’s an issue.



Like most safety-less pocket guns (and the Rohrbaughs before it) the RM380’s got a long trigger pull. How long? If I were to aim the gun downrange and pull the trigger you’d have enough time to check your email before it launched lead. While the RM380’s bangswitch isn’t as buttery as its forebear, it’s noticeably smoother than most mouse guns. Smith & WessonAirweight fans won’t be jelly, but owners of the class-dominating Ruger LCP might turn slightly green. So to speak.

As with all of its competitors (e.g., the aforementioned Ruger LCP, Smith & Wesson Bodyguard and Kel-Tec P3AT), the RM380’s trigger’s re-set is a bit of an issue. There isn’t one. No audible or felt re-set point. An RM380 shooter has to let the trigger all the way out before squeezing off a follow-up shot. If you short-stroke the gun, you ain’t got nothing. Avoiding that unfortunate outcome takes regular training.



I brought our RM380 sample to the range and fed it everything you see above — an assortment of rounds from cheap cheap range reloads to premium self-defense ammo. In all, I pulled thetrigger more than 500 times on little gun. It shot everything I threw at it — or into it — without complaint. I fired the RM380 in about every position I could imagine. That potentially troublesome pin caused no troubles whatsoever.

Thanks to the RM380’s re-set, or complete lack thereof, I found myself slapping the mouse gun’s trigger. Or, yes, short-stroking it. With a little practice, I could keep my finger on the go-pedal and fire reasonably fast follow-ups and double-taps. Under stress . . . who knows?



As far as accuracy is concerned, you needn’t be. Concerned, that is. With its fixed, low profile, snag-free sights, the RM380 delivers minute of bad guy good terminal ballistics, which is all you need in a pocket gun.

Rohrbaugh’s little pistols had a devoted following. Big Green’s version removes the defunct New York gun’s biggest (smallest?) problem: the 200-round recoil spring replacement issue. The “new” gun also puts the design well within reach of the average gun buyer. While the tiny nine market has sucked a lot of oxygen out of the once-fashionable .380 market, the RM380 is an almost perfectly suitable alternative to the established players.


Caliber: .380 auto
Capacity: 6+1
Action: DAO
Overall length: 5.27″
Barrel Length: 2.9″
Overall height: 3.86″
Pull weight: 8-9 lbs.
Weight (empty): 12.2 oz.
Price: $417 (MSRP), about $360 street

Ratings (out of five stars):

Build quality: * * * * *
Steel slide and barrel, metal frame. A solid, nicely executed deep conceal or backup gun.

Ergonomics (carry): * * * *
Slightly chunkier (wider) than its primary competitors — think LCP, Bodyguard 380 and P3AT. Still eminently pocketable.

Ergonomics (shooting): * * * *
No mouse gun is fun to shoot, but the RM380’s added thickness fills the hand which reduces felt recoil and makes emptying a few mags at the range more than tolerable. You’ll need to practice with that trigger.

Customize this: * *
You can replace the grip panels and add a laser. That’s it.

Reliability: * * * * *
Rock solid.

Overall: * * * *
One star deducted for the RM380’s long trigger pull and fiddly takedown. Still, Remingtonbought a proven design and made it better and cheaper.

Meet the MSR, Savage’s new side-charging AR variant

Definitely worth a second look!

Calibers USA

By: Chris Eger

Savage Arms dropped a short teaser video late Thursday with footage of what looks to be the historic company’s new entry into the crowded AR-15 field.

Entering the market on the heels of Springfield Armory’s Saint series, Savage joins the ranks of traditional rifle makers such as Mossberg, Ruger and Remington in producing a modern sporting rifle, continuing to entrench the AR as “America’s Rifle.”

With the tagline “Better Comes Standard,” the video from Savage is only about 15 seconds long so if you blink you can miss most of the good stuff.

From the looks of things, the rifle will have a very well textured pistol grip but that is not the biggest news.

Instead of the standard AR-style charging handle, the gun shows a side mounted folding charging handle, which could point to radically different internals, possibly even a delayed blowback action of some sort…

View original post 51 more words

Gun Test: Mossberg’s Lightweight MVP-LC Rifle


By: Dave Bahde

The police precision rifle realm has changed considerably in the last few years. When I became a police marksman over  15 years ago, most of the rifles for the task were simple, reasonably accurate and relatively affordable.

Custom rifles were rare or non-existent in most agencies. You just did not see many agencies or officers with more than $2,000 to spend on a rifle, a figure that covers the cost of some stocks these days. It’s a different world thanks to increased precision rifle popularity, especially from the competition world. Rifles are more complicated, heavier, more rugged and incredibly expensive.

Long-range competitions are thriving today. They’re fun, and most of these events have competitors shooting out to 1,200 yards, with many shots between 300 and 800 yards. But most officers will seldom have to engage threats at 100 yards let alone 1,200 on a deployment. Police marksmen still deploy at around 60 yards on average. Beyond observation and cover duties, their target is probably moving, likely behind glass, and they only get one shot.

For this sort of work, some might feel the need to get a 14-pound rifle with a $4,000 scope, or night vision, but most agencies simply can’t afford them. If your agency has the ability to get all this stuff, then fantastic! I wish every police marksman could have the most advanced equipment out there, but that is just not reality. So the question is, do you need it or can you do the job with less?

Simple can be better, and companies are starting to build rifles that will get the job done without breaking the bank. One such rifle is the new Light Chassis (LC) in the Mossberg Varmint Predator (MVP) series.

MVP Specs

Mossberg’s bolt-action MVP rifles are very popular, with both 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO models. The 5.56mm models are designed to feed from standard AR-style mags, while the 7.62mm rifles can use LR308/SR-25-style mags as well as M1A/M14-style mags. (The one exception is the MVP-LC 7.62mm rifles, which only feed the LR308/SR-25 style mags, due to chassis style). Several variants are available for both chamberings, with various stock options, barrel lengths, accessories and more for specific missions. The new LC models feature MDT LSS aluminum chassis.

Mossberg’s 5.56mm MVP-LC rifles come with 16.25-inch barrels, while 7.62mm models sport 18.5-inch barrels. Each fluted, medium-weight barrel is threaded and comes equipped with a SilencerCo Saker Trifecta muzzle brake that also serves as a mounting adaptor for mounting a Saker sound suppressor.

The smooth, light LSS chassis system is made from 6061-T6 billet aluminum. It features V-shaped bedding and a free-floating forend for enhanced accuracy. The chassis was also designed with an AR-style buffer tube to utilize collapsible AR-15 buttstocks, and Mossberg includes the Magpul CTR for the MVP-LC. Out front, you can mount rails or a sling stud for attaching a bipod.

On top of the action you’ll notice a Picatinny rail for mounting optics. The MVP-LC also features Mossberg’s Lightning Bolt Action (LBA) trigger, which is adjustable from 3 to 7 pounds. An oversized bolt knob controls the MVP-LC’s fluted bolt. A push-button bolt release is in a location similar to a typical AR’s.

The MVP-LC can be ordered as a standalone rifle or as a complete package including a Vortex 4-16x44mm Viper HS-T scope and a Caldwell bipod. I tested a 7.62mm MVP-LC/Vortex HS-T combo that also came with a 20-round PMAG. My SilencerCo Saker 762 suppressor fit perfectly over the Trifecta muzzle brake that came installed on the 18.5-inch barrel. Everything came mounted and ready to go right out of the box.

Range Performance

One range day consisted of measuring the MVP-LC’s accuracy out to 900 yards. I also set up paper targets at 100, 300 and 500 yards. Another day was spent putting the MVP-LC through some more common police-related scenarios. Right out of the box, the scoped rifle was very close to zeroed with 168-grain ammunition. My first shots were within 4 inches of the point of aim at 100 yards, shooting at an elevation of 5,500 feet with 20 percent humidity and temperatures in the 90-degree range.

The Vortex HST is a solid little scope. The glass was clear, the reticle easy to see and the knobs easy to use. For the long-range shooting, I used Barnes’ new 175-grain OTM ammunition, which has proven to be incredibly accurate—especially in the MVP-LC. Five-shot groups at 300 yards measured inside 2 inches, with four rounds often clustering inside 1.5 inches. Not much changed at 500 yards, with my best group measuring between 2.5 and 3.5 inches. That’s pretty impressive. There wasn’t much wind, which helped quite a bit, but the MVP-LC remained very accurate.

Moving out to 900 yards, the wind became more of an issue, so it took some time to get things dialed in. Since this was a test of the rifle, I adjusted for the wind in the scope. Once I established the windage and elevation, I fired a 10-shot group as fast as I could get back on target. All said and done, the group measured right around 8.5 inches, which is still under 1 MOA. Moving back to 100 yards, the best five-shot group measured 0.78 inches at 100 yards with the Barnes ammo. Every other group was right around an inch, which is more than acceptable for police use.

Moving around the range to practice deployment scenarios, the MVP-LC proved very handy and plenty accurate. Taking shots from 50 to 100 yards from barricades and other supported positions, it was possible to take a first shot and keep follow-ups inside a 1-inch circle. None of my groups from kneeling were outside 3 inches. My department’s qualifications include kneeling and seated positions, and the MVP-LC is a joy to shoot in these conditions, even with the suppressor attached. All of this testing was done using Hornady’s 155-grain TAP A-MAX ammunition, my last deployment round in .308 Winchester.

Over two days of testing, I was able to work in five cold-bore shots. The first two of each day were clean, while the others were fouled from as little as 10 to as many as 40 rounds. I completed three-shot follow-up groups, and they all ended up inside an inch relative to the cold-bore shots. The clean cold-bore shots were the widest—as much as 0.5 inches from the groups—and fouled shots were the closest. This kind of consistency more than meets any reasonable accuracy criteria, and the MVP-LC was more accurate than some of my custom rifles from years past.

If you are looking for a rifle to attach goodies that add up to more than most officers’ salaries, this isn’t it. The MVP-LC is minimalist by design. There is no room for the $10,000 laser, $14,000 NVD or even some of the $40,000 thermal sights. You can add a scope, a light or laser and a bipod. But if you want simple, repeatable accuracy to take that one shot under most conditions, the MVP-LC will certainly do it.

Most of the testing was completed using a 10-round PMAG, but it ran with the 20-rounders along with some magazines from LaRue Tactical, DPMS, Lancer and Brownells. The bolt was smooth, fast and easy to manipulate. While the bolt would hold open after the last round, a firm push forward slides the bolt over the top for single feeding. The safety operates like that of the Remington 700 that many are used to, and the bolt release is on the top-left side.

This was my first time using the LBA trigger, and it was very nice. Adjusted to about 4 pounds, my test rifle’s trigger was crisp with very little creep. Once I got used to it, this trigger allowed for some very solid accuracy and, above all, remained predictable throughout.

The Vortex HS-T was more than adequate for most simple duty uses. The knobs are easy to read, tactical and reset to zero. Simple MRAD reticles are fine for most police work, and the glass was very clear with no yellowish tint. With a 44mm objective, the scope stays nice and close to the rifle and remains lightweight.

This is a fantastic, capable rifle. It’s perfect as a lightweight varmint hunter, and it’s certainly usable for police marksmen. If you are in the market for either, make sure you check out the MVP-LC.


  • Caliber: 7.62mm NATO
  • Barrel: 18.5 inches
  • OA Length: 37.75 inches
  • Weight: 10 pounds (empty)
  • Stock: Magpul CTR
  • Sights: Vortex 4-16x44mm Viper HS-T
  • Action: Bolt
  • Finish: Matte blued, tan
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • MSRP: $2,102

Patriot Ordnance Factory’s P415 Carbine: Reinventing the AR

By: Keith Wood

Frank DeSomma didn’t set out to be a gun designer; he was just an engineer in the aerospace industry who happened to be a gun enthusiast. The job of a process engineer is to be a troubleshooter and to discover better ways of doing things. Fifteen years ago, DeSomma was working on FALs with his son when the troubleshooter in him took over—he realized that a piston operating system such as the one used by the ubiquitous Belgian battle rifle, the FN-FAL, was just what the AR-15 needed. Thirty hours of concept work later he had a design, and within a month he had a firing prototype. Before he knew it, Patriot Ordnance Factory was born.

The name Patriot Ordnance Factory isn’t just some attempt to capitalize on Second Amendment fervor to sell guns—this company and its owner walk the walk. Every component in POF rifles is either made in-house by POF or is sourced from an American manufacturer. Even the raw steel and aluminum used in POF’s manufacturing processes come from U.S. sources. Most of the major components, including the upper and lower receiver, the rails and the bolt carrier, are produced in-house in POF’s Phoenix, Ariz., facility. The 5R-rifled barrels are produced by Rock Creek, the furniture is from Magpul and various small parts come from a variety of top-tier vendors.

The monolithic top rail/handguard on POF’s P415 has smooth, raised surfaces on its sides that accept additional, modular rail sections for the mounting of accessories.


From the outside, most AR-style rifles look pretty similar. What many consumers don’t realize is that, regardless of brand, the majority of AR components are produced by a small number of manufacturers and then assembled by the company whose name is stamped on the receiver. That isn’t a bad thing; it’s merely the reality of cost-effective manufacturing. Because of DeSomma’s engineering background, he and his team tackled the design of the entire AR one piece at a time, looking for ways to make things stronger, make them operate more smoothly with less friction and drag, and even produce the gun with fewer moving parts. The result is a product featuring seven new patents, with more pending, and reliability that has become highly regarded.

The gun’s nickel-boron-coated bolt carrier has an integrally machined key and a roller-cam pin that increase reliability and reduce wear and friction, respectively.


The most outwardly innovative component of the POF design is the piston operating system. Unlike Eugene Stoner’s original design that uses a gas tube to direct propellant gases into the bolt carrier key to cycle the bolt, DeSomma’s design uses a piston and operating rod to transfer energy back into the bolt and force it rearward. The benefits of the piston are to keep heat and carbon out of the action where they can cause reliability problems. Unlike most other piston designs, the POF operating system uses few moving parts and no return spring. Extreme heat is the enemy of springs, and since piston designs keep the heat near the barrel instead of inside the chamber, DeSomma believes that introducing a spring into the piston operating system is a problem waiting to happen. The POF piston system works on the same principle as “Newton’s Cage”—the metal ball display often seen sitting on desks that demonstrates the transfer of energy—one ball swings down and transfers its energy through several immobile balls resulting in movement of the final ball on the opposite side. The piston on a POF only moves 3/8″ when the rifle is fired, but the energy created by that movement is enough to send the bolt carrier rearward to cycle the action.

Much of POF’s process of building a better AR centers around heat. Rifle cartridges produce lots of heat by nature, an unavoidable fact caused by the rapid burning of propellant. The heat is going to exist; however, it is where the heat is directed and how it is dissipated that separates one design from another. The company employs various features to keep heat away from the receiver and to cool the gun as rapidly as possible. For starters, the piston design requires less gas than most others, so the gas port is smaller in diameter—less gas being siphoned from the bore means less heat to contend with. The piston design works without rings, which have a tendency to retain heat, so additional gases are allowed to escape. The barrel itself is cooled by an innovative aluminum barrel nut that physically draws heat away from the steel, and pronounced flutes in the barrel provide additional surface area for heat dissipation. In an independent torture test performed a few years back, a POF was subjected to an unrealistic schedule of full-automatic fire: a series of Beta Mags were used to fire 1,000 rounds within minutes. Though the gas block and muzzle brake reached temperatures of nearly 700° F, the chamber temperature of the POF never climbed above 122° F—the risk of a temperature-induced “cook off” with a POF is virtually nonexistent.


In DeSomma’s mind, if the AR has one Achilles’ heel, it is extraction. Though the AR is often compared unfavorably to the AK when it comes to reliability, the AK has a geometrical advantage that the AR does not: the greater taper of the 7.62×39 mm cartridge. This taper not only acts as a funnel when the cartridge is feeding into the chamber, it provides a tremendous advantage in extraction. By comparison, the more “modern” 5.56×45 mm and 7.62×51 mm NATO cartridges have minimal taper. Once fired, the expansion of the case head creates a press-fit seal between the cartridge case neck and the AR’s chamber in addition to the friction caused by the nearly parallel planes of the case body and the chamber wall. The result is a reasonably common occurrence of stuck cases in the AR series of rifles. A stuck case is a serious malfunction that can put a finely tuned rifle out of action in the midst of a battle.

The P415 features a machined gas block that actuates a piston and operating rod to cycle the action. It is fitted with a tool-less, three-position regulator to control cycling under various conditions. A finned barrel nut further minimizes heat buildup in the rifle’s action.


POF’s solution to the extraction issue was literally to stick a square peg in a round hole. What it calls E2 extraction technology, is a series of four channels that run parallel with the cartridge in the neck of the chamber. Set in the form of a square when viewed from the rear of the chamber, the channels allow the rapidly expanding propellant gases to flow rearward into the shoulder of the cartridge, which breaks the mechanical seal between the case neck and the chamber wall and assists the case in its rearward travel out of the chamber. Think of it as using a long screwdriver to break the impossible seal between two five-gallon buckets stuck inside of one another. The San Bernardino, Calif., Sheriff’s Office tested a full-automatic 14.5″-barreled 7.62×51 mm NATO POF carbine for its Special Enforcement Detail in 2013. The testing put 35,480 rounds through the carbine (which did not experience a single malfunction until round 23,500 when the buffer spring gave out), and they did not experience a single failure to extract. The E2 technology is standard on all Gen 4 POF firearms. In case you’re wondering, fired cases are fully reloadable, just a bit dirty from the escaping gases.

With a moderately powerful optic such as this Bushnell Elite 1.25-4X 24 mm riflescope, in this case mounted as low as possible with Leupold QRW rings, the POF P415 presents a relatively compact and maneuverable profile. Its 16″ overall barrel length is a product of a 14.5″ barrel proper with a triple-port muzzle brake attached by way of pinning and welding.


The AR-15’s bolt carrier has two additional areas that can cause reliability and wear issues—the gas key and the cam pin. The gas key on a direct-impingement AR is the link in the chain between the propellant forces surging through the gas tube and the working parts of the receiver. The gas key is screwed and staked into place to prevent it from working loose under thousands of firing cycles. If and when the gas key comes loose, the rifle ceases to function. Due to the piston design, the POF does not use a gas key. The engagement surface that sits in its place is a homogenous part of the bolt carrier and therefore cannot work itself loose. The cam pin on traditional ARs has a rectangular head, which rides inside a slot in the upper receiver. Eventually, the hardened steel surface of the pin reciprocating on the softer surface of the aluminum receiver can cause undue wear on the firearm. POF mitigates this friction by using a roller cam pin that rolls like a wheel through the receiver groove with minimal friction. POF’s bolt carrier groups are all either nickel-boron- or NP3-coated, which further reduces friction between the components and makes them easy to clean.

Bilateral controls include a bolt release/catch (the latter also accessible at the top front of the trigger guard) and a magazine release. Anti-walk trigger pins add a measure of security.


The Gen 4 P415 carbine I received for testing and evaluation came equipped with a 14.5″ barrel topped with a pinned and welded muzzle brake to bring the length up to the NFA minimum 16″. This moderate barrel length provides enough velocity for solid external and terminal ballistics but allows for a very manageable overall size. The barrel is black nitrided inside and out, which eliminates the need for chrome lining and actually raises the Rockwell hardness of the steel—the system components are also nitrided. POF rifles and carbines are available in different colors, including the Burnt Bronze Cerakote finish on the major parts of my test model.

When AR-style rifles lost the carry handle, they gained tremendous versatility but gave up some rigidity—POF’s design seeks to regain some of that by employing a two-piece upper receiver. The slotted free-float fore-end of the P415 extends over the top of the upper receiver, providing an uninterrupted Picatinny rail as well as bridging the major components together mechanically. Small rail sections can be placed in various locations on the fore-end as desired, without the weight and abrasiveness of a fully-railed design. The gas system is easily removed from the front of the fore-end and does not require the tube’s removal so optics do not need to be re-zeroed after the gas system is serviced. The gas plug’s orientation determines whether the system is in “normal” or “suppressed” mode.


All Gen 4 POF firearms are equipped with fully ambidextrous controls. The selector/safety, slide-stop and magazine release can all be actuated from either side of the receiver. The slide stop is in its traditional position on the left side of the receiver, but an additional button is located inside the trigger guard to lock the bolt to the rear. A button above the right-side magazine release is used to drop the bolt into battery, and an additional magazine release is positioned on the left side of the lower. This system is both intuitive and practical, and allows the carbine to be used from either shoulder with equal effectiveness.

There’s no doubt that the POF is designed to perform, but it was my job to make sure that the gun works as advertised. In order to fully evaluate the P415, I enlisted the help of a friend whose experience in U.S. Army Special Operations spans four decades and includes numerous combat deployments in various corners of the world. I wanted his input because of his significant operational experience using not only the direct-impingement M16 and M4, but also the gas-piston-operated HK416. The sergeant major and I spent an entire day at the expansive ALS Training Facility in Perry, Fla., running the P415 through a variety of ranges including an urban “shoot house.” Once we mounted an Aimpoint optic and established a zero, I rapidly expended three 30-round magazines into the 100-yd. steel target before making the carbine safe and removing the bolt carrier. Despite firing 90 rounds in under two minutes, the bolt was cool to the touch. We fired hundreds of rounds of various types of military and commercial ammunition through the P415 and experienced no malfunctions of any kind.

Firing the POF is slightly different than the feeling of a direct-impingement AR due to the difference in the operating system. A combination of less bolt carrier impact on the buffer and an effective muzzle brake results in slightly less muzzle rise than typical AR-style carbines. After hours of running the POF through its paces, I asked the sergeant major for his feedback. His only comment was, “When I buy it, I’m gonna’ put an ambi charging handle on it.” A pretty solid endorsement from a guy who has used just about every modern combat carbine on the planet.

Following our practical testing, I fitted the carbine with a magnified optic, did a cursory bore cleaning and performed the formal accuracy tests. The crisp, single-stage trigger broke at under 4 lbs. and made shooting from the bench an easy task. POF’s piston system is designed with built-in tolerances to allow it to free-float from the barrel. Despite temperatures in the 90s, the carbine’s zero did not show any signs of shifting under the heat of sustained firing.

From my experience, it appears that Frank DeSomma and his team at Patriot Ordnance Factory have taken the platform he calls “America’s Rifle” and notably improved it. The result of their efforts is an accurate, ergonomic and utterly reliable carbine ready for just about anything the user throws at it.

The great debate: AK vs. AR


By: Paul McCain

Like countless other red-blooded American males, I was attracted to the AR-15 rifle platform simply because it has been the rifle of choice for our military for a very long time. Some would say too long. I’ve grown to appreciate the numerous features of the AR in its semi-automatic configuration, the so-called “modern sporting rifle” version, that continues to make it a very popular military, competition and even hunting rifle. The chief features that I find most attractive include the AR’s innate modularity, its accuracy and effectiveness when used in the way it was intended. But . . .

Is it the be-all and end-all in assault rifles? [Note: I’m using the term “assault rifle” in its more technical sense, to describe a select-fire rifle, chambered for a cartridge that falls between a pistol cartridge and a high-power rifle cartridge, and that uses a detachable box magazine]. I’ve also developed a nearly equal admiration and fondness for the AK platform. Is that heresy? Depends on who you ask, I guess. But I’d like to suggest we not make this a matter of either/or, but rather both/and.

My first exposure to the AK came, of course, via media and other news agencies. It seems whenever there is a bad guy in the world there is an AK in his hands. And Hollyweird loves to reinforce that well-earned stereotype. For better or for worse, the AK, in the eyes of most Westerners, is the truly “evil rifle.” I can’t think of a more instantly-recognizable weapon silhouette, even among people who know nothing about rifles, than an AK. Maybe the 1911handgun comes in second.

There’s absolutely no question that the AK design Mikhail Kalashnikov invented was a masterful use of, and improvement on, existing rifle technology, including of course the revolutionary design of the first true “assault rifle” that Hitler himself dubbed the “Sturmgewehr.” In fact, in more recent years Kalashnikov admitted that he worked side-by-side with the inventor of the StG 44 himself, Hugo Schmeisser, to improve and refine the AK. It seems Mr. Schmeisser was “invited” to take up residence in Ijhevsk after the war, with the Soviet Union making him and a number of other German small arms designers offers they could not refuse.

The M1 Garand was also instrumental in Mr. Kalashnikov’s design. Warning: this paragraph will cause AK fans to go into fits of apoplexy at the thought that the AK design was not handed down from the heavens to Mr. Kalashnikov, you know, like Mr. Browning’s designs were provided to him on golden tablets.

Thanks to Hitler’s stupidity, the Germans only fielded the StG 44 in any appreciable numbers toward the end of World War II. The StG 44 was was chambered for a so-called “intermediate” cartridge, the 7.92x33mm Kurz cartridge, a compromise between the larger 7.92x57mm used in the standard issue bolt-action German Karbiner 98, and the 9×19 pistol round used in their handguns and submachine guns. What put the AK head and shoulders above the Sturmgewehr was the cartridge it was built around: the 7.62 x 39 round which still today remains the hardest hitting standard round used in an assault rifle configuration. There are many valid arguments to be made that the 5.56 NATO cartridge is underpowered for a number of the applications it’s being required to fulfill, and that our troops deserve a more robust round. (Hint: Why not just adopt the 7.62 x 39mm?)

The AK is elegant in its simplicity, with field stripping down to the bolt taking a matter of seconds without requiring a single tool. Cleaning is easily done and reassembly also very simple. The AK is famous for its generous tolerances allowing it to keep functioning in conditions that will cause an AR to sputter and choke.

Reloading the AK is a bit more time consuming than an AR, but with practice you can reload one nearly as rapidly. You have to get used to the fact that you can’t manipulate the bolt with the weapon on safe, and you generally do not have the bolt lock back on the last round, though with Yugoslavian mags it does hold the bolt open for a very positive “out of ammo” indication, other than simply a “click” but no bang when you pull the trigger.

With a folding stock the AK is easily carried snug to the body with minimal length of the weapon banging around. The typical milsurp magazines that are easily available for the AK are built like tanks and unlike an AR’s USGI standard mags, you can load them right up to the top with thirty rounds, rather than needing to download to 29 or 28 rounds to assure seating on a closed bolt. The down side of those tank-like mags is that they’re heavy and when loaded up with 30 rounds of the much more robust 7.62×39 cartridge, you’re carrying quite a load with five or six mags in a chest rig.

The other plus of course is the cost of ammo for the AK. My latest case of AK ammo ran 20 cents a round, including shipping. Compare than to 40 cents or more for commercially loaded 5.56 brass-cased ammo. AKs have no problems with steel-cased rounds because they were designed with looser chamber tolerances to accommodate steel-cased. ARs aren’t as fond of the stuff, though I know many use steel-cased in their ARs. The argument goes that the amount of money you save on steel-cased can be put toward replacing a barrel or other internals if you have to. My AR stops functioning, well, no matter how much lube I have in it, after about 300 rounds of steel-cased ammo. Brass is no problem. I went through 500 rounds the other day in my AK training class without a single problem.

Accuracy? Ah, yes, the AR vs. AK debate is perhaps most fierce when the discussion turns to “accuracy.” It all comes down to what constitutes “good enough” in a combat situation. A two-inch group at 100 yards? Or a six to eight inch group at 100 yards? The purpose of combat accuracy is to deliver as many rounds as necessary on target to stop it and put it down, for good.

It makes no difference how “accurate” a rifle is as long as it’s effectively delivering those rounds on target. Everyone knows that neither an AR nor an AK is intended to be a long-range rifle platform. Granted, you can modify an AR to build yourself a longer range rifle, and you can throw a scope on many AK variants out there. But in either case, the AK and the AR are truly classically designed “assault rifles” with the understanding that modern combat engagements are most often going to happen within 200 yards or less. Gone are the days of masses of infantry slugging it out at 600-1000 yard distances with their long guns.

Let’s wrap this up. A fellow student in our AK operator’s class the other day said to me, “You know, I own a lot of firearms, and a lot of ARs, but if I had to pick just one to ride out a real emergency situation, I’d have to go with the AK. I know it will prove ultimately to be more reliable and have the highest probability of not breaking down on me at a critical moment or malfunctioning on me if I can not keep it squeaky clean and lubed properly at all times. Plus I can afford to keep nearly three times as much ammo for the AK on hand than I can for my AR.” Hard to argue with that.

What about you? Where are you on AR v. AK, or perhaps better put, AR and AK? Does it have to be an either/or proposition? Can we not appreciate the pros and cons of each platform and use them accordingly? For me I’ve come down to the position that it’s AR and AK, not either/or. Must there be an endless cosmic struggle between AR and AK fans until the end of time?

The experts speak: 45 ACP. vs 9MM.

By: Jake Christopher

Paul Buffoni (Affiliation: Bravo Company USA, Inc.; former USMC service; Position: Founder and CEO)

9mm or .45 ACP? 9mm.Reason: Additional capacity of 9mm pistols is a great benefit. Current 9 mm ammunition ballistics will do the job, if I do mine.

John Chapman (Chappy) (Affiliation: LMS Defense / EAG Tactical; Position: Weapons and Tactics Instructor)

9mm or .45 ACP? 9mm. Reason: I prefer the 9mm, because it is plentiful, cheaper to shoot, easier to make rapid follow-up shots with and is lethal enough when the shooter places the rounds in the proper place in the target. Having said that, the .45 ACP is a great round as well, and is slightly superior to the 9 mm when engaging targets inside of vehicles. I use both calibers in my work and training pursuits, depending on the mission.

Chris Cheng (Affiliation: History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 Champion; Bass Pro Shops and Leupold & Stevens Pro Staffer; Shoot to Win, Author; Position: Top Shots winner; author)

9mm or .45 ACP? 9mm. Reason: 9mm: More affordable.

Chris Costa (Affiliation: Costa Ludus; Position: Founder)

9mm or .45 ACP? 9mm. Reason: Both the 9mm and .45 are great calibers for everyday carry, and both offer very good terminal ballistics for stopping power. When considering everyday carry, round count capacity is very important for several reasons: multiple threats, vehicle windshields and concentrated fire on vehicles or cover in order to achieve penetration of a specific location, and suppress to cover if it’s a viable tactic or option. While I own expensive .45s, 99 percent of the time my typical everyday carry is a Salient Glock in 9mm with a spare magazine. There are no magic bullets, so shot placement and accuracy under speed based on your sight package is paramount to your safety as well as the safety of others around you. Bring enough gun to the fight, but bring one you can handle.

Dave Emary (Affiliation: Hornady Manufacturing; Position: Senior Scientist)

9mm or .45 ACP? 9mm. Reason: Current 9mm ammunition has more consistent and better barrier penetration than .45 ACP. The .45 ACP is probably a bit better in terms of a larger wound cavity if no barrier is involved. If a barrier is involved, a 9mm +P load is superior. You can carry a lot more 9 mm rounds in the mag, and it is easier to shoot well.

Ken Hackathorn (Affiliation: Alias Training & Security Services; Position: Former U.S. Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor; Gunsite Instructor (retired); NRA Police Firearms Instructor (ret.); FBI Certified Firearms Instructor (ret.); Certified Deputy Sheriff (ret.)

9mm or .45? Both. Reason: Imagine you’re in a room with one door, five Jihadists armed with dull knives are going to come through the door one at a time every 60 seconds with the goal of cutting your head off. You have the choice of one of two identical handguns, one in 9×19 mm and the other in .45 ACP. Both have only five rounds of ball ammo. Which one would you pick? I carry a .45 ACP daily, but practice and train with 9×19 mm pistols.

Jordan Hunter (Affiliation: Formerly of Daniel Defense; retired USMC Infantry; Position: Formerly Director of Marketing/Communications, Daniel Defense)

9mm or .45 ACP? 9mm. Reason: In the context of concealed carry for personal protection, my priorities are speed and accuracy, lethality and magazine capacity, so I go with the 9 mm without hesitancy. Speed and accuracy are both related to follow-up shots, which are generally more manageable in 9 mm. Any question of the 9 mm’s lethality, or stopping power, has been put to rest with the relatively recent technological advancements in self-defense 9 mm ammo. Lastly, I can carry more rounds in a compact pistol’s magazine if it’s chambered in 9 mm versus what a compact .45 allows.

Erik Lund (Affiliation: Lund Performance & Consulting; Instructor for; FNH-USA Pro Shooting Team; Law Enforcement; Position: Owner; Instructor; Professional Shooter)

9mm or .45 ACP? Both. Reason: More so than any other pistol caliber, the 9mm has been the largest benefactor of handgun bullet design and technology and is a proven performer in the real world. Although the recoil and performance of the .45 requires more skill and practice to effectively employ, it does make big bigger holes. And bigger holes bleed faster.

Frank Proctor (Affiliation: Way of the Gun Performance Shooting; Position: Owner & Instructor)

9mm or .45 ACP? 9mm. Reason: All of my pistols are 9 mm. When I consider things like magazine capacity, recoil management, size of the gun, cost of training and the advancements in ammunition technology, it’s an easy choice. I carried a 9 mm pistol in Afghanistan and Iraq because that’s what I was issued as a U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier. I carry one everyday now because it’s what I believe in for the reasons listed above. I carry Hornady 135 grain Critical Duty in mine and have seen it outperform .40 and .45 duty ammo in the FBI protocol.

JJ Racaza (Affiliation: Nevada Arms LLC; Position: Co-Owner & Competition Shooter)

9mm or .45 ACP? 9mm. Reason: 9mm wins my vote on this one. Simple fact that the technology around projectiles has made a smaller caliber even more effective in the real world: better recoil, better penetration and similar stopping power.

Nate Stokes (Affiliation: Unity Tactical Inc.; Position: Co-Owner; Police Officer)

9mm or .45 ACP? 9mm. Reason: I shoot 9 mm because cartridges in gun equal time in fight. High capacity helps me mitigate the in-fight mag change.

Rachel VandeVoort (Affiliation: Kimber Mfg., Inc.; Position: Marketing / Product Manager)

9mm or .45 ACP? 9mm. Reason: 9mm is a bit of a superhero in my book. Thanks largely to advancements in ammunition, it is a caliber that is the epitome of versatility by lending power and ease of handling to most any firearm; characteristics highly valued when bringing new gun owners into the mix or encouraging growth in smaller-caliber shooters. It can be the segue caliber that builds confidence to explore other/new firearm platforms or more powerful calibers not otherwise considered. In my mind those are super powers.

Larry Vickers (Affiliation: Firearms Industry consultant; Position: Shooting instructor & TV show host)

9mm or .45 ACP? 9mm (with an *). Reason: To me this is an easy choice. If you can carry one of the modern 9 mm hollow points, then this caliber is the choice. Well-designed 9mm hollow point ammo has a very good track record in real-world shootings when you establish effective hits on target. If hollow points are not an option, then I would opt for .45 ACP—at that point poking a bigger hole in the bad guy is better than a smaller hole. Like I said, easy choice.

Bill Wilson (Affiliation: Wilson Combat; Position: Founder/President)

9mm or .45 ACP? 9mm. Reason: For most of my shooting career I’ve been a .45 guy, but have recently favored 9mm because of factors such as lower ammunition cost, less recoil, higher ammunition capacity and improved performance of 9 mm ammunition due to advanced propellants and bullets.

9mm Wins: The Round Table Has Spoken! Are you surprised that it ended up being a landslide from those who decided in favor of 9mm? We certainly were. It looks like 9mm has really surpassed .45 ACP as the preferred round – well, at least with our Round Table panelists that is. Not long ago, it was said that 9 mm didn’t have enough penetrating power and the .45 ACP was the way to go. So what happened? The unanimous decision of our panelists prompted us to take a closer look at 9mm and why it is now held in such high regard. Read on to find out more.

Beretta DT11 at 2016 Rio Olympics

dt olympics.jpg

Above: Team USA’s Kim Rhode won the bronze medal in women’s skeet this year in Rio—making her a six-time Olympic medalist, doing so on five different continents.

At Rio 2016, Team Beretta shotgun shooters won a remarkable 10 out of 15 available medals. Two out of every three medals (including four gold) earned this year in shooting was with a Beretta DT11, clearly making it the shotgun of choice for this generation of Olympic champions.

2016 Team Beretta U.S. Olympic shooters were Kim Rhode, Vincent Hancock, and Glenn Eller. Rhode won the bronze medal this year in skeet. Hancock finished 15th in skeet, and Eller finished 14th in double trap. In addition, all Team USA shotgun athletes were using Winchester AA shells.
The Beretta DT11: Choice of Olympians
Utilizing the insight of Team Beretta’s most successful athletes, all Beretta clay guns are designed with one goal in mind—keeping shooters on the podium. The DT11 is no different. The shotgun includes a wider cross-bolt action (3mm wider than the DT10, offering great stability) and Beretta’s proprietary Steelium barrel technology—which are engineered to offer extreme durability and superior ballistic performance. The DT11 uses the Steelium Pro barrel and a high-grade stock that is made to the customer’s specification.Beretta clay barrels are designed to produce the best shot pattern performance, even at long distance. The lengthened 480mm forcing cone on the Steelium Plus and Pro barrels keeps shot patterns accurate, ideal for clay target shooters. The transition from chamber to bore diameter is extended with a gradual taper which minimizes recoil and muzzle rise.

Beretta works directly with international competitive shooters when developing guns, competition accessories, and apparel. Everything is studied and tested at the range, because the company believes every detail makes the difference, especially with world-class shooters. All Beretta clay guns have high-tech features that were first developed for the DT family of gold-medalist shotguns.

Team Beretta Rio 2016 Medalists

  • Kim Rhode, USA—Women’s skeet, bronze
  • Catharine Skinner, Australia—Women’s trap, gold
  • Natalie Rooney, New Zealand—Women’s trap, silver
  • Josip Glasnovic, Croatia—Men’s trap, gold
  • Giovanni Pellielo, Italy—Men’s trap, silver
  • Marco Innocenti, Italy—Men’s double trap, silver
  • Diana Bacosi, Italy—Women’s skeet, gold
  • Chiara Cainero, Italy—Women’s skeet, silver
  • Gabriele Rossetti, Italy—Men’s skeet, gold
  • Ahmed Al Rashidi, IOA (Kuwait)—Men’s skeet, bronze

A History Like No Other


By: Maj. Edward J. Land, Jr., USMC (Ret.)

Tim Johnson. Tim “California Joe” Truman. Alvin York. Carlos Hathcock. These are the names of some of America’s most well known soldiers and marksmen. And their stories are told—and told well—in an important new book by Major John L. Plaster USAR (Ret.). Known for his practical lectures and work on the subject, including “The Ultimate Sniper”, John Plaster’s “The History Of Sniping And Sharpshooting” is the result of a lifetime of study and relies on more than 10,000 sources to relate the stories of the men, the arms and tactics that evolved from the introduction of rifles and sharpshooters centuries ago right up the role of the modern sniper in conflicts raging today.

Plaster doesn’t limit his focus to American sharpshooters and snipers; this book is worldwide in scope and the level of detail and depth of coverage are impressive. John’s first hand knowledge of equipment and field craft combined with his extensive research has produced one of the most complete and detailed books on military sniping.

Organized into six parts and arranged chronologically, Plaster’s book starts with the first rifleman—especially those of Daniel Morgan in the American Revolution—then moves into the sharpshooters of both sides during the American Civil War, the small wars and technological revolution that occurred from 1865 to 1914, then the development of the military sniper during World War I and World War II. He then covers the sniper of Korea and Vietnam before moving into post-Vietnam War era, Iraq and Afghanistan, and concluding with the future of the military sniper.

The book is packed with hundreds of informative sidebars ranging from the legendary “Captain Jack” of French and Indian War, to Civil War riflescopes, to Australian Billy Sing at Gallipoli, Germany’s infra-red Vampir sight of World War II, to the Barrett Rifle, to the sniper rifles used by Iraqi insurgents today. The sidebars alone would merit a book of their own, but here they are built into a very readable and comprehensive overall history.

In checking with others with specific areas of expertise, American Rifleman’s Editor-In-Chief Mark Keefe called Plaster’s coverage of Australian, British and Canadian snipers, their equipment and tactics in World War I and World War II—an area in which he has knowledge of the arms and the historiography—“masterful and comprehensive.” He added, “The beauty of this book lies not only in its detail, but in the seamless weaving together of the evolution of the rifles, ammunition, people and tactical doctrine into a flowing narrative.”

I have studied in detail the parts of this book I was involved in during the beginning of the Marine Corps sniping program in Hawaii (1961) through Vietnam and the post-war period. This is the first time I have seen published information during these time periods to be complete and accurate.

There are many authors who have published works on sniping based on old memories or anecdotes. However, John has done his homework. Based on my personal records, reports and direct knowledge of the program, John’s information is right on the money in every respect.