Gun Review: Optimus Defense 80% Lower Kit & Jig

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The following review is contributed by James.

I’m new to this whole writing for TTAG thing.  I work with Nick and Tyler at our “day jobs”, and Nick knows I am a DIY enthusiast, especially when it comes to cars and firearms.  When Optimus Defense asked TTAG to review their 80% lower, he passed the request on to me since I have both some experience with finishing them and the tools to do so (as well as a very understanding wife that doesn’t get too mad at me when I track aluminum shavings through the house).  I’ve been a firearms enthusiast for decades now, and served 14 years in the US Army and have also been a TCLEOSE certified peace officer.  Needless to say, I know my way around the AR15/M16 platform pretty well.

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Gun Review: CMMG Mk47 “Mutant” AR-15 in 7.62×39

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It’s a shame that the 7.62×39 cartridge is so under-utilized in the United States. Sure everyone and their brother has an AK-47 sitting in the back of the closet, but (at least for me) the only time it gets taken out is when there’s a foreigner you need to impress with your tear-inducing level of freedom. It’s a fun range toy, but the lack of rail space for optics, the chunky nature of the platform, and the lack of accuracy are all reasons that it doesn’t come with me to the ranch for hunting season. Which is a shame, since the 7.62×39 cartridge is basically perfect for hog hunting. It seems like CMMG has seen this need for a more accurate and modern AK-47, they have responded by introducing their brand new Mk47 rifle.

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Gun Review: Adams Arms C.O.R. Ultra Lite Rifle

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Over the last couple years, there has been no bigger influence on the firearms market than the emerging sport of 3-gun shooting. As the number of participants has skyrocketed, so too has the number of rifle manufacturers producing firearms to feed that voracious market. Everyone and their brother has a rifle optimized for 3-gun shooting these days, and figuring out which rifle manufacturers have got their heads screwed on straight and actually understand the challenges of the sport can be a challenge. Adams Arms recently introduced a line of rifles specifically designed for 3-gun shooting, and they sent one to me to test out.

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Gun Comparison: Ruger LC9 vs. LC9s

Since its announcement at 2011’s SHOT Show, the Ruger LC9 has generated unending complaints about its onerous trigger pull. At the end of July, 2014, the company released a striker-fired version of the LC9, called the LC9s, with the primary selling point being a shorter, lighter, crisper, and in all other ways better trigger. Thanks to a great FFL in my area, Best Buy Surplus, who suggested I borrow one of each model from their stock, I’m able to provide the following side-by-side comparison . . .

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Gun Review: Ruger AR-556

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What’s the difference between Ruger’s AR-556 and their SR-556? About 1.5 pounds and $1246.00. Actually, there’s a little more to it than that, mechanically speaking. Ruger has been making their SR-556 and SR-762 rifles for some time, but with the introduction of the AR-556 it looks like they are finally getting into the down-and-dirty business of budget AR-15 production. So what exactly sets their latest creation apart? . . .

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Gun Review: Beretta Pico

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Hitting distributor shelves now is the slimmest .380 ACP pistol on the market, the Beretta Pico. At its widest point — across the ambi mag release paddle — my caliper pegs it at 18.5mm (0.728″), while the rest of the lilliputian pocket gun comes in at or under 18mm. Despite the tiny dimensions and the light 11.5 oz weight, which includes an empty magazine, the Pico is rated for +P ammo just like its older and slight larger 9mm brother, the Nano. Of course, making the smallest pistol out there can require compromises, and my Pico did experience some growing pains…

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Gun Review: BUL M-5 Commander 1911 (9mm)

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There has been a recent surge in firearms-related gear coming out of Israel. Starting with our readers’ choice as the best new rifle of 2013 (the Tavor) and continuing with some of Robert’s favorite people [insert Israeli supermodel of the day here], Israel has really been pumping out good looking and finely functioning exports lately. One of the latest Israeli products to hit the shores of the United States is the BUL series of handguns, and I was given a 9mm Commander version to test out . . .

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Gun Review: Lone Wolf G9 AR-15 Lower Receiver for GLOCK Magazines

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As much as I have enjoyed shooting my 9mm-converted 5.56 lower, which uses a magazine well block insert to allow it to accept Colt-style 9mm stick mags, I definitely prefer normal pistol magazines and a lower designed specifically to accept them. Although, yes, this limits you to pistol calibers, it also reduces failure points, extra parts, and time spent tinkering and adjusting to get everything working properly. For much of this year I’ve casually kept my eye out for a dedicated 9mm AR-15 lower receiver that accepts GLOCK or other pistol magazines, and when Lone Wolf‘s G9 became available again I decided to pull the trigger and give it a shot.

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Gun Review: SIG SAUER P938

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In recent years there has certainly been no shortage of sub-compact, “pocket-sized” 9mm pistols to choose from. Market demand has spoken, and manufacturers have answered with available products. However, if you’re a “cocked & locked,” hammer-fired kind of a gal (or guy) you’ve been almost completely overlooked. Thankfully, one of the only options out there happens to be a pretty good one — the SIG SAUER P938 . . .

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Gun Review: Colt Combat Commander

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Why do governments always have to screw things up? Take the US Army’s attitude towards our service pistol used successfully through two world wars, for example. After WWII, some desk-pogue decided that the 1911 in .45 ACP had to go; it wasn’t “continental” enough, I guess. The first time the US Army tried to get rid of the 1911 Government model in .45 ACP was in 1949. Back then, US Government requirements were issued stating that the new pistol had to be chambered in 9mm parabellum (Latin is even neater than French) and couldn’t exceed seven inches in length or weigh more than 25 ounces. Colt’s entry –a shortened 1911 with an aluminum frame (called Coltalloy) wasn’t adopted (neither was the Smith and Wesson M39). So in 1950, Colt started producing their version for the retail market, calling it the Commander. Colt wisely brought it out in .45 ACP as well as 9mm and also in the red-headed stepchild, .38 Super. In 1970, Colt began making the Commander with a steel frame, calling it the “Combat Commander” and it’s still produced today. . .

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Gun Review: Franklin Armory F17-L in .17 WSM

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Centerfire cartridges are great, but sometimes a little rimfire lovin’ is what you really need to get the job done. Winchester has developed a pretty kick-ass rimfire cartridge in the .17 WSM or “Winchester Super Magnum.” It’s a higher-powered .17 caliber rimfire round with an insanely flat trajectory and a muzzle velocity equal to most 5.56 rounds. The caliber means you can pack more ammo and more power into the same space, but the only rifles set up to fire that new cartridge have been bolt action guns. Until now . . .

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Gun Review: Beretta 1301 Tactical Shotgun

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Beretta’s 1301 Tactical is a sleek, fast, lightweight semi-automatic shotgun designed for home defense and law enforcement roles. Its short (13″) length of pull and 18.5″ barrel keep size as handy as possible, while its BLINK gas piston system is claimed to “cycle 36% faster than any other shotgun on the market.” A big claim for sure, and I certainly can’t outrun it (i.e. pull the trigger faster than it can cycle). Of course, at under 6.4 lbs. thanks to the aluminum receiver and polymer stock and forend, it can shoot a lot faster than I can keep it on target . . .

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