Pew Pew Tactical Guns 101 Thu, 15 Apr 2021 19:31:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Pew Pew Tactical 32 32 [Video] Daniel Defense Delta 5 Pro: PRS Worthy? Thu, 15 Apr 2021 21:30:00 +0000 Yeeting rounds at 950+ yards is a big test for any rifle! Daniel Defense has long been a staple of the AR-15 world and respected for their outstanding rifles. So, the dive into the long-range game was pretty exciting for those of us who shoot small groups at long distances. But at $2,500 it’s a […]

The post [Video] Daniel Defense Delta 5 Pro: PRS Worthy? appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

Yeeting rounds at 950+ yards is a big test for any rifle!

Daniel Defense has long been a staple of the AR-15 world and respected for their outstanding rifles.

So, the dive into the long-range game was pretty exciting for those of us who shoot small groups at long distances.

Swooping into long range like…

But at $2,500 it’s a little pricey.

How does this rifle stack up in the PRS game? Is it really worth $2,500? We set out to find out and put a ton of ammo downrange.

If you want to watch the complete review, take a look at the video below!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Pew Pew Tactical YouTube Channel also!

Table of Contents


What Is The Delta 5 Pro?

Delta 5 Pro is a cool name but doesn’t tell you much about it.

Basically, this is a long-range precision rifle intended for use in the PRS production class. 

DDD5P (7)
Daniel Defense Delta 5 Pro and John (right)

It’s priced so that it is exactly within the rules and comes ready for you to mount an optic on and hit the range.

Danial Defense also gives it a 0.5 MOA with match grade factory ammo guarantee — a bold claim.

at Daniel Defense

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Before We Begin…

I hate to quote marketing fluff but I think it’s important to give you the full picture of what Danial Defense says that the DDD5 Pro is.

So with that in mind, their website calls it “the product of innovation, world-class cold hammer forged barrels, and the custom enhancements that elevate this firearm to professional level.”

And that “more experienced competitors will discover the DELTA 5 PRO’s rich feature set out of the box”

On top of that, the Delta 5 is also the official rifle of PRS. Really, that is purely marketing but still. If you want to call yourself the official rifle of PRS, you set high expectations.


Having read up about the rifle, I went into this expecting a lot and having very high standards for every feature. 

While I’m not the most experienced long range shooter or competitor, I’m not new to this either and spend a large part of my work week on the range shooting.

Having had the opportunity to shoot a lot of awesome precision rifles, I have a good idea of what is and isn’t needed.

Additionally, since this rifle was introduced in mid-2020, I think it is reasonable to expect that the system was designed with knowledge of what else is on the market.

Being able to look at what other rifles do and take inspiration from that is key.

i took your idea and made it better

Since this should have been a brand-new to the market rifle, I expect it to incorporate most of the features people love in other rifles — patents allowing.

As such, I’m going to be picky about this review. I think you readers deserve that.


Other than the outstanding accuracy claim, the features are what you’re paying for in a rifle like this, and on paper Daniel Defense has a nice list.

  • INTERCHANGEABLE BARREL – Forged to contour from a proprietary steel blend with a Cerakote finish. Replace barrels or change calibers with ease thanks to its modularity and proprietary barrel nut.
  • AREA 419 HELLFIRE MUZZLE BRAKE: Offers the ultimate in recoil reduction and muzzle rise
  • ACTION: Mechanically bedded stainless steel action with integral recoil lug
  • BOLT: Three-lug bolt with a 60-degree throw and floating bolt head
  • BOLT KNOB: 5/16 – 24-inch removable bolt knob
  • TRIGGER: Adjustable single stage Timney Elite Hunter with two position safety
  • PICATINNY SCOPE BASE: 20 MOA / 5.8 MRAD of elevation with four #10-32 bolts
  • CHASSIS BASE: Allows for the mechanical bedding of the action with a metal-on-metal design that protects against change in weather conditions
  • ATTACHMENT: M-LOK attachment at six positions along forend with one point on bottom of buttstock
  • QUICK DETACH: Ten M-LOK QD sling points
  • INTEGRAL ARCA LOCK (RRS Spec): Continuous along the entire lower portion of rail
  • SCALLOPED CUT: Allows for lower height over bore even with scopes with large objective lenses
  • AR-15 GRIP ATTACHMENT: Interchangeable to accommodate the user’s preference of aftermarket grips
  • ERGONOMIC THUMB REST: Left / Right adjustability to accommodate the user’s preference
  • ADJUSTABLE BUTTSTOCK: Offers length of pull and butt pad height adjustments without the need for tools
  • ADJUSTABLE CHEEK RISER: For preferred height, yaw and drift
  • CAPACITY: Ten round PMAG 10 7.62 AC – AICS Short Action magazine included
Daniel Defense Delta Pro 5

Out Of The Box Issues

The first thing I did when getting home with the Delta 5 Pro was the same thing I do with every rifle I review, some basic inspection, and dry fire drills.

After about 30 minutes or so I have to say…I wasn’t impressed. The more I looked at it and the more I worked with it, the more weird issues I found.

step brother meh indifference

Out of the box:

  • Grip angle and thumb rest are incredibly uncomfortable and slightly painful (more on this later).
  • The advertised “Daniel Defense Full-Latch Impact Plastic Case” is actually 1-inch too short to fit the assembled rifle and is pretty low quality (and ya, more on that later)
  • Coating on the action itself is wearing at a surprising rate.
  • Barricade stop in front of the magazine well is surprisingly short.
  • Forend is much shorter than I expected.
  • .30 cal Area 419 brake on a 6.5mm Creedmoor (.264 cal) rifle.
DDD5P (17)
We gotta say though, it’s a pretty rifle.

Now, this isn’t to say that there isn’t anything good about the rifle, there are several very cool design features that I love — but those also serve to highlight how strange the deficiencies are also.

The bolt knob is really nice and perfectly placed for ease of use and economy of movement, I love the 60-degree throw also.

DDD5P (19)
Flashy office picture

Bolt release is vertical to the bore to prevent wear on the pivot pin, awesome. The bolt itself can also easily be removed while the cheek rest is up, I dig it.

The 1913 rail uses big huge screws to secure it to the action, this is a major improvement over most.

This begs the question — why so many really nice small features, but such big misses on the larger features that should be easy wins? It’s a head-scratcher.

Grip Angle and Thumb Rest

While not super common outside of the precision long range world, a common grip style is to keep your thumb on your trigger finger side of the grip as shown:

Holding the MPA grip, image from PrecisionRifleBlog

This keeps your hand free to work the bolt quickly after a shot, gives you a better angle for a better trigger pull, and is generally comfortable to rest in while giving a highly repeatable grip.

To help accommodate this, many chassis manufacturers include a cut-out, thumb rest, or both.

Daniel Defense goes with an adjustable thumb rest. But the AR-15 grip and design of the chassis make it so that my joint digs in painfully to the stock when I grip it.

DDD5P (15)
Looks: 8/10. Ergos: 2/10

Compare this to the MDT ACC or the MPA Hybrid and this is a non-issue for those chassis because they are better designed.

Could this problem be solved with a different grip? Maybe, and thankfully the Delta 5 Pro uses standard AR-15 grips. But it shouldn’t need to be solved by a new grip.

ACC Howa Vortex (2)
MDT ACC vertical grip, very comfy

After ~100 rounds of range time, the knuckle the chassis was hitting was sore for three days.

A PRS match can be 100-150+ rounds to complete, so it’s safe to say this kind of sucks.

This Damn Case

The more I think about it, use it, or look at it — the angrier I get over this cheap-ass case.

Now, to be fair, most people buying a $2,500 rifle and putting $1,000+ of optics on it are going to get a new case that is better quality.

But the fact that DD ships their $2,500 rifle in a basically useless case, kind of chaps my hide.

rage internally

The case itself is not great, very much in line with a cheap no-name brand case you’d get at BassPro for $40. It’s not horrible, but nothing to write home about.

What irks me is that it’s too short.

Even with the stock at the shortest position, it’s still an inch too short to fit the rifle. You have to take off the buttpad first.

DDD5P (5)
In the shortest format possible, tucked all the way in, and it’s still. Too. Short.

I have weirdly long arms so I have to run my LOP on basically every rifle at max.

So for me, I have to fully extend the stock using the adjustment wheel every time I get it out of the case and fully close it every time I put it back in.

But even if you have very short arms, you’ll still need to take the buttpad off. No matter what, DD messed it up for all of us.

We’re in this together, fam

For $2,500 from a premium company using their own branded case, I think it’s really bad form to not use a case that was 3- to 5-inches longer.

I would honestly rather they didn’t include a case at all than including this one.

.30 Cal Brake On A 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle

Is this a big deal? No, not really.

Is this even something that any reasonable person would perceive while shooting? I doubt it.

But it is factual to say that an oversized brake is less effective on lower calibers. 

How much less is a .30 cal brake on a 6.5 Creedmoor? I don’t know, but I’ll bet that it’s pretty small in all fairness.

DDD5P (11)
Area 419 makes one helluva brake! Wish Daniel Defense used the right size though…

I’ve done it before on rifles I’ve built when the only brake I had was “too large” or I was too cheap to buy a new brake.

But to me, it’s still annoying. Instead of getting two sets of brakes for the Delta 5, one for their .308 Win rifles and one for their 6.5 Creedmoor rifles — they chose the cheap route and just got all .30 cal brakes.

For a $2,500 rifle from a major manufacture that is normally known for its quality, it really irks me to see them pinching pennies until they bleed.

penny pinching

A Bold Claim: Interchangeable Barrels

Daniel Defense didn’t send us any extra barrels to test this, but we need to talk about it since this is a big bold claim for them and a feature that would set them at least in part apart from other rifles.

Assuming what DD claims is correct, and I would frankly think that it is, the barrel system is like that of an AR-15 — using a barrel nut system so that it’s easy to change and doesn’t require headspacing.

Daniel Defense Delta Pro 5
Interchangeable barrels…kind of.

In the bolt-action world, it’s a Savage system but without the extra step of headspacing. Nice.

While this is pretty cool, it’s also largely useless.

Right now the DD5 Pro is only offered in three calibers, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester.

Replacement barrels are only offered in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester.

Delta 5 barrels
This isn’t just what is in stock, this is all of the options for the Delta 5.

If you bought a DD5 Pro in either of those two calibers then you’re covered if you want to replace a barrel after burning it out.

But if you bought a 6mm Creedmoor, a cartridge that burns barrels much faster than 6.5 CM or .308 Win, you’re out of luck since only Daniel Defense makes barrels for the Delta 5 Pro.

If you want to change from 6.5 CM or .308 Win to one of the newer and better 6mm cartridges for PRS, you’re screwed since only Daniel Defense makes barrels for the Delta 5 Pro.

What I’m saying is: that while this is cool, the options offered at the time of writing make it far less attractive than the marketing department would lead you to believe.

expectation vs reality

Range Report

After everything is said and done there is really only one important question to answer — can the rifle shoot?

Yes, yes it can. Shockingly well in fact. 

Daniel Defense guarantees 0.5 MOA 3-shot groups with match ammo and the D5 Pro lived up to that shooting 0.39 MOA with Hornady 140-grain ELD-M.

DDD5P (16)
First 3 shots: .39 MOA, full 5 shot group: .65 MOA

Side Note…

Now I have to gripe here about the guarantee being with a 3-shot group. While 3-shot groups are fine for hunters and amateurs, it is not statistically significant when you’re shooting long range precision.

Sadly, 3-shot groups are an industry standard to allow rifle makers to massage their numbers a bit. I wish DD had done better in this area, even if it meant only guaranteeing 0.75 or 1.0 MOA with a 5+ shot group.

When you read me calling a rifle sub-MOA or sub-half MOA, it’s with 5+ shot groups. The DD5 Pro was still sub-MOA with a 5-shot group, but it did open up to an average of around .75-.80 MOA at 100-yards.

Okay, Back To It

Shooting the DD5 Pro is actually pretty nice. The bolt throw is great, the action is smooth, I like how it functions and feels.

Off a bipod, off a tripod, off a barricade, the rifle is a great shooter. Most of the time.

When the action is smooth, it’s nicely smooth. But we did have some hang-ups and snags that we simply couldn’t explain. They just happen.

The Area 419 brake is outstanding and it’s easy to see why so many PRS shooters run it. With 6.5 Creedmoor, it’s pretty easy to hit follow-up shots.

DDD5P (4)

Balance of the rifle is critical for shooting off of weird barricades and the DD5 Pro is perfect in that respect. While added stuff on the rifle might throw this off, with just the rifle and a scope it was good to go.

My biggest issue while shooting was that the grip gets very uncomfortable. Getting my knuckle slapped with every shot starts to hurt more than a little. If I was planning on running this in a match, a new grip would be a requirement.

With that in mind, everything else was actually very good. In a vacuum, the Delta 5 Pro is a great rifle.

950-Yards and a Dream

We took the Delta 5 Pro out to the deserts of California for some long-range plinking. The results were brutal. But, not entirely because of the rifle.

The spot we set up was across a canyon with the wind going everywhere and at all speeds. Since this was mostly about plinking we shot a lot of Sig Sauer 120-grain copper ammo.

Not great stuff for the range and style of shooting we were doing. But hey, it was more about the shooting than the hitting for us.

DDD5P (2)
This is the target, you can sort of barely see our three trucks/SUVs way out in the distance some 950ish yards away

We would hold the same POA and get a miss 2 mils to the right. Then 1 mil left, followed by a quarter-inch off the target. Then 1 mil high. And finally a mil low.

Lesson learned — if you want to shoot in the wind, don’t use super light ammo.

We also used some 140-grain Hornaday ELD-M ammo and that tended up buck the wind a LOT better. 

However, not everything went well with the Delta 5 Pro.

We experienced several feeding issues, mostly the bolt failing to pick up a new round.

There was also one very weird bolt override / double-feed / case jammed…backward in the chamber.

DDD5P (3)
Sometimes, we impress ourselves with our ability to cause weird malfunctions.

I’ve only ever seen this malf with certain semi-auto rifles where the spent case gets hit back into the ejection port.

How on earth this occurred while prone and slow firing a bolt action rifle…we have no clue.


The final issue we had was with magazines. Delta 5 Pro comes with a Magpul AICS mag and for the most part, that’s the mag that worked the best for us.

But it didn’t work 100% of the time.

DDD5P (10)
(left to right) Magpul AICS (sent with the D5P), MDT polymer AICS, and MDT steel AICS magazines

I also tested a personal Magpul AICS mag and had about the same failure rate, rare but repeatable.

Also tested were MDT AICS metal mags, MDT AICS polymer, Howa AICS, and Bergara AICS.

Technically, all of these should be interchangeable. They are all AICS pattern magazines and that is a well recognized and standardized pattern of magazine.

It’s like getting five brands of AR-15 mags, they should all work.

I have several rifles that take AICS pattern mags and all of them all work with all of those magazines. Tikka, Howa, Bergara, and Terminus actions sitting in everything from Boyds stocks to MDT, KRG, and MPA chassis, and even factory stocks with factory bottom metals. They all work.

This Delta 5 Pro though…it likes none of the magazines.

With MDT metal mags, the Delta 5 Pro would almost never pick up the last round in the mag.

MDT polymer mags had a LOT of feeding issues — it was almost impossible to get our Sig ammo to feed, but it also had feeding issues with Hornady 140-grain ELD-M and 140-grain Hornady American Gunner.

The Howa and Bergara branded AICS mags and similar issues but not as pronounced. 

Magpul polymer AICS pattern mags gave the most reliability, but still had a lot more issues than a magazine should have.

By The Numbers

Reliability: 1/5

Out of ~250 rounds, we had probably 7 to 10 malfunctions even with the “best” magazine we found. 

If you’re casually plinking, I guess that isn’t the end of the world. But if you’re on a PRS stage or taking game in the woods — that’s a major problem.

Maybe ours is a lemon, maybe you can just get lucky with some magazines, but in this sample of one, this is a fairly glaring problem.

Accuracy: 5/5

Sub half MOA with 3-round groups and solidly under MOA with 5-shot groups, very nice.

Looks: 4/5

The unit we were sent was pretty beat up but I think that was from it being a media rifle. DD didn’t tell us it was a media rifle, we’re just assuming. If the rifle wasn’t beat up, it would look pretty slick.

Really, even beat up it still looks slick.

Ergonomics: 3/5

A horrible grip design knocks off a couple of points, the short forend and short barricade stop lose another.

Customization: 1/5

While the trigger is Remington 700 footprint and there are lots of Arca-Swiss rail and M-LOK slots, the proprietary action locks you into this chassis and nothing else — ever. That is a huge blow to me and a major negative.

Value: 3/5

You get a solid rifle, but you’re paying a name tax and not getting what you deserve. It makes me sad that this rifle falls so short.

at Daniel Defense

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Overall: 3/5

It’s a good rifle, maybe even a good PRS rifle, but it isn’t great. And looking at what else is on the market, I can’t say this would be my first pick. But it’s still a good shooter and I don’t think you would be unhappy with it.

Would I Recommend It?

If you want a Daniel Defense bolt rifle, for whatever reason that might be, then yes I would recommend it. It’s a great shooter, the features while not all there are at least mostly there, and it’s a pretty gun.

If you’re looking for a PRS rifle for Production class or just a great long range rifle to get into the sport with, I wouldn’t recommend the Delta 5 Pro.

The Delta 5 Pro does nothing special. There is nothing different about it that another brand doesn’t do better. The price is the maximum accepted MSRP by PRS rules and the rifle really limits your options and freedom.

A big issue I have is the lack of calibers and barrels. The best caliber they offer for PRS is 6mm Creedmoor, but no barrel support for it.

After your first season…what do you do next? Throw the rifle away? No good.

If you go with 6.5 Creedmoor at least you can get new barrels, but you’re handicapping yourself competitively.

Looking at other rifles on the market — the D5 falls short.

Savage offers the 110 Elite Precision for an MSRP of $2,000 ($500 less than the D5 Pro) and it comes with a barrel system that almost every major barrel manufacture supports and is easy to change at home, the MDT ACC chassis, and the great Savage action.

savage 110 elite
Team Savage won the Best of Texas PRS competition in 2020 with a Savage 110 Elite Precision

The ACC chassis is, in my opinion, the best PRS chassis on the market. It’s winning huge matches, tons of shooters are switching to it, and it solves every shortcoming that the D5 has.

While the calibers are not amazing for PRS, they do at least offer more than three options including .300 PRC, .300 Win Mag, .223 Remington, and .338 Lapua. For competition, I would recommend the rifle in 6 or 6.5 Creedmoor. And again…it’s $500 cheaper.

MPA offers two outstanding options — the MPA BA PMR and the MPA BA PMR Pro.

The PMR uses their BA Hybrid chassis, a Curtis action, and an X-Caliber hand-lapped barrel. It’s offered in some standard calibers like .308 Win and 6.5 Creedmoor, but also the very competitive 6GT.

mpa ba
Masterpiece Arms BA PMR Rifle (image MPA)

Best of all, it’s all Remington 700 footprint and is only $2,000.

Spend $500 more for the PMR Pro and you get the same barrel blanks and action, but the upgraded BA Comp Chassis and have a HUGE list of calibers to pick from like 6 Dasher, 6 XC, 6 BR, 6 BRA, 6 GT, and 6x47mm Lapua. Plus the standards like 6 and 6.5 CM, .308 Win, etc.

Bottom Line

If you want a DD rifle because it’s a DD rifle, then it’s a good rifle that I think you’ll be really happy.

If you want a PRS production division rifle or a long-range precision rifle to learn on, grow with, and push your own limits — there are a number of better options.


I went into this review with really high hopes and really high expectations. While the Daniel Defense Delta 5 Pro didn’t fulfill them, it’s still a good rifle in a vacuum. 

Get yourself a D5P and get some cool guy pictures like this. Hell ya.

John, our Director of Social Media, is not a long-range shooter himself. Watching him learn the Delta 5 Pro helped me to see that while it’s not a rifle I would choose, it doesn’t make it a bad choice.

But I still think for the money you can do better.

To see the DD Delta 5 Pro in action, check out the video below.

What are your thoughts on the DD Delta 5 Pro? Let us know in the comments below. To learn more about long-range shooting, check out our article on Long-Range Intro & Fundamentals or the 5 Best 1,000 Yard Guns for Under $1,000.

The post [Video] Daniel Defense Delta 5 Pro: PRS Worthy? appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

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9 Best Rocket Stoves for Survival & Prepping [Guide] Thu, 15 Apr 2021 16:30:00 +0000 Have you ever wanted to go camping or backpacking without having to worry about bringing canisters of fuel for your stove? Have you been on the lookout for off-grid means of cooking provided there’s a massive power outage in your area?  Enter the rocket stove.  In essence, rocket stoves are a metal version of a […]

The post 9 Best Rocket Stoves for Survival & Prepping [Guide] appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

Have you ever wanted to go camping or backpacking without having to worry about bringing canisters of fuel for your stove?

Have you been on the lookout for off-grid means of cooking provided there’s a massive power outage in your area? 

Minuteman Rocket Stove
Rocket stoves are compact and draw plenty of air for a blazing fire!

Enter the rocket stove

In essence, rocket stoves are a metal version of a Dakota fire hole. They are incredibly efficient, require minimal fuel, and produce very little smoke whatsoever.

It’s because of all these benefits that they’ve gained in popularity over the past few years.

As a result, rocket stoves have begun to flood the market from all over. However, not all rocket stoves are created equal, and consequently, choosing the proper one for you can be slightly confusing. 

How a rocket stove works
The airflow of a rocket stove lets it get really hot, really fast!

Thankfully, we’ve done all the heavy lifting for you, having narrowed down the options to what we deem to be the nine best rocket stoves on the market.

Take a look, and I think you’ll find what you’re searching for. 

Best Rocket Stoves

1. Minuteman Rocket Stove

This was an easy choice for me, and quite simply, I don’t believe this one can be beat.

The Minuteman is a .50 cal ammo can that has been repurposed as a rocket stove, something which it does an absolutely fantastic job of doing. 

Minuteman Rocket Stove
Minuteman Rocket Stove

Aside from cooking food and making coffee with ease, the Minuteman is tough as nails, and incredibly portable as well.

I can easily load it up with twigs, leaves, tinder, and a fire striker and then stick it in the cab of my truck and forget about it.

Minuteman Rocket Stove
I pack mine full of fuel ahead of time

Should I end up at a tailgate, needing to cook a meal on the road, or in some type of power outage situation, I then easily have a means of cooking my food right at my fingertips all ready to go. 

Personally, I consider this a whole part of the purpose of a rocket stove – having some means of off-grid cooking.

Considering that thunderstorms are a significant reason why we even end up with power outages where I live, it makes sense to have some means of dry tinder at the ready. So, I can cook dinner even if it is raining outside.

The Minuteman helps me to fulfill this responsibility wonderfully. 

Minuteman Rocket Stove
Read to get cookin’!

To add even further benefit to this fantastic stove, it’s made here in the beautiful South in North Carolina!

What’s not to love? 

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

2. Minuteman K Stove

I admit, I’m a sucker for Minuteman products, including the K Stove. The primary reason for that love is that I tend to detest fragile backpacking/camping products.

In my experience, such items only break when you need them the most. If you’ve ever been 30 miles into the woods when a tent pole breaks, you know what I mean. 

MinuteMan K Stove
Minuteman K Stove

As such, anything built like a tank garners my support.

While this most certainly is not a rocket stove you’re going to be taking with you on foot (it’s too heavy for such), this would be a fantastic stove to keep in your trunk for camping trips, or in your basement as a backup source of cooking. 

I’ve found that the extra air vent within this design helps get your fire started a lot quicker. I’ve been able to cook some rather massive blueberry cobblers on this thing due to the wide cooktop as well.

This is an excellent choice if you need a backup form of cooking for a lot of people.

at Minuteman Provision Company

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Hot Ash Mini Stove

If you’re looking for a rocket stove for backpacking, the Hot Ash Mini Stove is what you want.

I’ve long detested having to carry two canisters of fuel with me out into the woods as well as a stove to boot.

If you’re in the woods, why not use the fuel that’s all around you instead of carrying it about?

Weight truly does matter when you’re backpacking, something that the Hot Ash Mini Stove has no problem with, seeing that it comes in at all of a pound.

Hot Ash Mini
Hot Ash Mini

It comes with a lifetime guarantee from Hot Ash as well. So should you ever end up damaging it while you’re out in the bush, you have the confidence that all will be well once you contact their customer service department. 

It is important to note that due to its size, the Mini Stove will take a lot longer to heat up larger meals.

But provided you’re using smaller backpacking pots and cooking your food in sessions, that’s not something you really have to worry about. 

Hot Ash Mini with a camp cup
Perfectly sized for solo campers!

When you’re done with it, the whole package folds up into this little box structure that you can easily stuff into the side pocket of a backpack. 

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

4. Bruntmor Camping Rocket Stove

As I mentioned before, I’m a sucker for gear that’s sturdy.

The Bruntmor fits that description perfectly.

When I think of the term rocket stove it’s an image like this that pops into my head.

Bruntmor Rocket Stove
Bruntmor Rocket Stove

Again though, this sturdiness comes at a cost, and in this case, it’s portability.

This isn’t something that you’re going to be able to just stuff into a BOB and go. But rather, it’s a stove that you’re going to want to either keep in your house or in your vehicle. Just in case. 

Whatever your intentions, this rocket stove will have no problem whatsoever putting out some serious heat to cook whatever you throw its way.

Bad Bruntmor photoshop
Also their site’s product photos are just… top notch.

It is made and shipped over from China though, so shipping speeds may be an issue for where you live.  

at Bruntmor

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

5. EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove

It wouldn’t be right to have a list of the nine best rocket stoves on the market and not include the incredibly popular EcoZoom Versa.

EcoZoom Versa Stove
EcoZoom Versa Stove

EcoZoom has a huge following within the camping world and does a lot of humanitarian aid work overseas with their rocket stoves as well.

That may be all the convincing you need to take a harder look at their products. 

The EcoZoom Versa is easily one of the most efficient rocket stoves on the market as well. So, if fuel consumption is something you’re worried about (perhaps you’re not sure how much access you’ll have to proper fuel) then that’s a big plus.

EcoZoom Versa Stove (Emergency Essentials)
Camp food gone gourmet!

This efficiency is in part granted by the two doors that can be opened within the EcoZoom Versa.

One will always stay open as you feed fuel into it.

The other however can help to adjust the flame and temperature of the stove, allowing you to cook your food without burning it. 

at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Have you tried the EcoZoom? If so, rate it below!

6. Marsh Kettles Camping Survivalist Prepper Flat Pack Mini Rocket Stove

The name of this thing is bigger than the stove itself.

This is what happens when you put somebody solely interested in search engine optimization in charge of naming your product.

Marsh Kettles Camping Survivalist Prepper Flat Pack Mini Rocket Stove assembled
Marsh Kettles Camping Survivalist Prepper Flat Pack Mini Rocket Stove

The Flat Pack Mini stove has a wee bit of an arts and crafts vibe to it, but if you’re looking for a rocket stove that you can easily break down and shove into a BOB, then this may be the stove for you.

It packs down completely flat, and though it comes in at 6-pounds (heavy for a backpacking stove), you may be able to atone for the weight if you’re in a situation where refueling a regular backpacking stove is unfeasible (e.g. you’re stuck in the woods for a month).

Marsh Kettles Camping Survivalist Prepper Flat Pack Mini Rocket Stove parts
All the pieces when broken down!

One potential pitfall of this product though is that it’s not stainless steel.

As such, you really need to ensure that this thing is kept dry or you’re going to end up with a slowly eroding stove.

Provided you’re cleaning it off as soon as possible after cooking with it and keeping it secured in the inside of your bag while on the trail, you’ll be able to minimize the risk of such drastically. 

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

7. SHTF and Go Bullet-Proof Rocket Stove

The main thing that I like about the Bullet-Proof Rocket Stove is the cant of the fuel hole.

This means that you don’t have to constantly feed sticks into the fire by pushing them.

Bullet-Proof 50 BMG Rocket Stove (TAG Level)
Bullet-Proof 50 BMG Rocket Stove (TAG Level)

They’ll automatically fall into the flames as they burn down. Not that this is that huge of an issue to begin with, but it is one less thing to worry about.

The size of this thing means it’s better served by being a unit you keep in an RV or basement — it would take up a lot of room in a trunk.

One feature with this stove that others lack, is that it can actually be used as a tent stove, provided you have a chimney attached to it.

Bullet-Proof 50 BMG Rocket Stove with chimney (TAG Level)
Bullet-Proof Stove equipped with a chimney (TAG Level)

It accepts standard 3-inch venting pipe which is easily found at just about every other home improvement and farm store you visit. So, finding such wouldn’t be an issue.

If you’re interested in deep country cold weather tent camping, this may be the stove for you. 

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

8. Rocket King Stainless Steel Wood Burning Camping Stove

Continuing with the trend of names that are larger than the product themselves is the Rocket King.

This design is stainless steel, and packs down flat at a lightweight 2.5-pounds, making this a great design for those who are looking at a BOB option of cooking.

It’s incredibly affordable as well, coming in at just around $70 — not bad for rocket stoves. 

Rocket King stove
Rocket King Stove

The only catch here with this one is that you’re going to need a bigger pot or pan in order to use it.

The top of the chimney is 6-inches wide, meaning that if you have anything smaller than that, it would fall right through the chimney.

If you can find yourself some form of lightweight backpacking skillet/pot combo, then this may be a perfect option for you.

Note: we know the picture is wrong over on Amazon. This is still the official “buy here” link from the Rocket King site, though! 

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

9. Rocket King Micro

I really believe that Rocket King deserves two mentions here, as both of these are great BOB rocket stoves that can easily be thrown into a pack and forgotten about until you need them — minimal weight/space hassle.

The Rocket King Micro takes care of the potential issue its big brother has by having a reduced chimney that is only 3.75-inches wide at the top.

This means you no longer have to worry about the size of the pot or pan that you’re carrying. 

Rocket King and Micro Size Comparison
Rocket King and Micro size comparison

This thing weighs all of 1.14-pounds as well.

For a complete stove system, that’s absolutely fantastic. Most of the backpacking stoves that I’ve carried out into the woods with me come in weighing around 5-pounds when it’s all said and done — two canisters of fuel and the stove itself.

I’m always looking for ways to shave weight while I’m backpacking, and the Rocket King Micro would be a fantastic means of doing so. 

And seeing that the price is roughly $50 to be fully set up for cooking in the woods, that’s pretty hard to beat. 

Shut Up & Take My Money

Again, we know the picture is wrong over on Amazon. This is still the official “buy here” link from the Rocket King site, though! 

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing


Apart from space and weight-saving ability that it provides for a backpack, a rocket stove truly is a fantastic way to ensure that you still have the capability to cook your own food should the electricity go down at your house. 

cooking with fire
Maybe uh…. get a little practice in, though.

Considering how cheap you can find one online, it truly is an affordable prep that can help you to provide for both yourself and your family should disaster strike.

Did you agree with our list? Are there other rocket stoves that should have made the cut? Let us know in the comments below! Planning a Bug Out Bag? Check out our Bug Out Bag content checklist!

The post 9 Best Rocket Stoves for Survival & Prepping [Guide] appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

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To Stipple or Not to Stipple? Thu, 15 Apr 2021 14:37:00 +0000 To stipple or not to stipple…that is the question. We’ll go over the main advantages and considerations you need to consider before putting your gun under the soldering iron. Why Stipple? The main reason I wanted to stipple my Glocks was to get more traction. More traction = better grip = better shooting.  My hands […]

The post To Stipple or Not to Stipple? appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

To stipple or not to stipple…that is the question. We’ll go over the main advantages and considerations you need to consider before putting your gun under the soldering iron.

Why Stipple?

The main reason I wanted to stipple my Glocks was to get more traction. More traction = better grip = better shooting. 

My hands get pretty sweaty when just shooting at the range, and I really felt the loss of grip the few times I’ve shot in the rain. 

Stippled Glock 17 Frame
John’s Stippled Glock 17 Frame

Also, while I hope none of us have to experience this first hand, blood can be very slippery.

I also dislike the finger grooves since my fingers end up in the middle of them, and have always wanted to grind them off with my trusty Dremel, but knew I didn’t want to stare at the results. 

Stippling lets you cover up any other changes you’ve done to the gun.


The main considerations boil down to that stippling is a permanent modification. Your resale value is going to plummet, you’ll probably lose warranty, and if you mess up with an unsteady hand, your Glock will look (even more) terrible.

And again, maybe it’s just me, but I find a good amount of dead skin gets stuck in the stippling which makes it kind of gross. Nothing a little elbow grease and an old toothbrush can’t fix, but still…

Stippled Glock 17 Frame 2

Let a Professional Do It

If DIY isn’t your style, I don’t blame you. After looking at some of my stipple jobs… maybe I should have left it to the experts.

There are a number of gunsmiths and manufactures that offer stippling services. Most of them use a laser engraving machine of some kind that basically CNC laser stipple the guns. Line them up, press play, and the laser does the rest.

These result in really clean looking guns and allow for different textures and patterns that can customize the amount of grip you get and where you get it.


Most of the larger shops also offer other customization options like finger grove removal, grip chops, trigger guard undercuts, maybe even slide milling for grip or red dots.

There are likely local shops to you that offer the service, but here are a few of the big names that we like best.

1. Zev Technologies

One of the biggest names in the Glock world for aftermarket parts, we love everything Zev we’ve used. They are quality, period.

zev stippling

They bring that to their stippling options also and have a wide range of good grip patterns to choose from. You can also get a trigger guard undercut, finger grooves removed, and several other options.

The downside? They are popular. Really popular. Lead times are often 10-12+ weeks so if you’re looking for the fastest turnaround time, you might be out of luck here.

2. Agency Arms

I’m a big fan of Agency Arms Glocks, but these guys aren’t the cheapest option or provide the most flavors to choose from. What they do offer are an insanely clean look and a very high-quality job.

They also do a few extras standard that is included in the price that if you ask me really help deliver on the value. This isn’t just a stipple job. Also included is an Accelerator Cut thumb rest, finger groove removal, beveling out the inside of the magazine well, and then a complete stipple job.

This takes a normal Glock and gives it several upgrades that really improve the handling.

3. Glock Store

If you want options, Glock Store has O P T I O N S. Loads of patterns, several degrees of coverage, and the ability to mix and match to find the perfect look and fit for you.

And it doesn’t end there. Trigger jobs, engraved parts, frame modifications, slide cuts, and more are also offered up for you to take your pick.

GLock store stipple
One of Glock Store’s odder stipple options, but very cool looking

The price is a little high on average, but the work is well done and they offer some of the widest range of possibilities we’ve seen.

4. Battle Ready Arms

Battle Ready Arms doesn’t limit themselves to Glock, they also offer stipple work for a wide range of polymer guns like Sig and M&P also.

Battle Ready Arms Pattern Options
Battle Ready Arms Pattern Options

Their work is clean, the prices are fair, and they offer some nice packages that include the extras such as trigger guard modification, thumb rests, palm swells, and more.


I still love stippling. I tried the other options such as skateboard tape and even the custom grip tapes, but stippling is in a league of its own. I think it has to do with making the grip even beefier/thicker than it already is. People who try out my gun are 50/50 whether or not they like it. My best advice is to try out other options, then try out someone’s stippled gun before diving in.

And if you’re ready, here is our stippling guide.

The post To Stipple or Not to Stipple? appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

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Shoot Like A Girl: Tips for Getting Yourself Into Guns Wed, 14 Apr 2021 21:30:00 +0000 Hey, girl — you ever long for something, but feel that it’s not possible for you? Maybe you window shop, dream about it, plan for your someday…but just aren’t ready to take the plunge?  We feel you.  After all, the firearms world is kinda a boys’ club. It can feel a little lonely as a […]

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Hey, girl — you ever long for something, but feel that it’s not possible for you? Maybe you window shop, dream about it, plan for your someday…but just aren’t ready to take the plunge

hey girl shooting as a woman

We feel you. 

After all, the firearms world is kinda a boys’ club.

It can feel a little lonely as a woman (or anyone who identifies as not a heterosexual cis-man) around here, but not to worry. You’re far from alone, and you don’t need to have a male shooter in your life to get started.

CCW Range Practice
The ladies of PPT love going to the range solo or with other gal pals!

If shooting is something you want to do, girl, you do it!

We’re just here to help you accomplish that safely, without wasting a ton of money, and maybe give you some tips on how to handle being the coolest gal in the room.

gilda me
Yes, you, you little minx!

Sound good? Awesome! Let’s hit it!

Note: While our women’s content is written with women in mind, this article, and others, are also for my LGBTQ+ readers, too — that includes you, enbies and trans friends. I know you’re out there, and I know you also deserve content.

Feel free to ask questions or give feedback on how to make this column a nice cozy space for us to talk about stuff!

Plate carrier and Shield EZ

Table of Contents


Meet Your Guides

Now, unless you scrolled all the way down to the bottom of this article before reading it, you might not have noticed that I am, in fact, a girl. 

Alley with rifle
Hi! It me.

Specifically, I’m one of several ladies that work for or with Pew Pew Tactical — Jacki and I are your humble editors here — so rest assured that we’ve been there.

Personally, I started shooting as a kid with my dad. But it wasn’t until years later when I moved out of the house and was on my own, that I got back into shooting. I took a job in the gun industry and bought my first gun — one I picked out and registered to myself, no dad involved.

Shield EZ 9 with bullets
This is my first baby, the M&P Shield EZ 9mm!

Fortunately, I had a lot of support from the wonderful Pew Pew Crew, but it was still intimidating…and I was a professional gun writer! 

don't worry I'm a professional
It’s a lot easier to tell y’all what to do than it is to do it!

Now, I’m a solo shooter.

My partner isn’t interested in guns beyond a little Call of Duty, so I don’t have a range buddy built-in with my relationship.

cats biting ear
“Babe, babe, babe, baby, babe…wanna go to the range?”

Sometimes, I tag along with my coworkers, but when I need range time, it’s on me to get my butt out there and practice. It’s also on me to know my stuff so that I can shoot safely, critique my own technique, and care for my guns.

Jacki, my fellow editor and concealed carry pro, broke into shooting on her own when she was in college. She’s shared a lot of great ideas about how we gals can get ourselves into shooting, too.

While we’re not the only women who go shooting on our own, we’re definitely here to help you find your confidence and hit the range!

Concealed Carry Glock 19
Jacki, ready to kick ass with her Glock 19!

So, if you like what you see here, keep us in mind — if you didn’t notice, we’re putting our woman-centered articles every Wednesday so there will be more content to follow!

Girls and Guns

So, it’s no secret that more and more women are becoming interested in gun ownership. In fact, we did a whole detailed look into female gun owners, but for those who want the short version… here’s the TL;DR.

Women Guns NRA
(Photo: NRA)

In 2003, only 13 percent of women surveyed by Pew Research Center professed to owning a gun. By 2020, that number was up to almost 25 percent! The National Sporting Goods Association has documented a 43.5 percent increase in female hunters, and it’s estimated that there are about 5.4 million female target shooters.

In short — there’s A LOT of ladies out there pulling triggers.

Some are hunters, some are competitive shooters, some enjoy plinking, and some just have a firearm for self-defense. No matter what you are interested in, you’ll be in good company!

Home Defense AR-15
Us when we hear you trash talking new shooters.

Anyways, now that we’ve talked about all that, let’s talk about how one gets into guns!

How to Start Shooting

Honestly, there’s no wrong or right way to get into shooting.

If you feel confident buying a Glock, taking yourself to the range, and getting down to it — you go, girl!

If you want a little more support, we’ve got you! 

Women & Guns
Just the essentials!

Here are our seven tips to get you started on the right (and safe!) path to becoming Annie Oakley in your own right.

1. Take a Class

Okay, well, duh, I hear you saying, but it’s true. 

cloud with a chance of meatballs raise hand
Classes are a great place to ask questions!

Hands down, the best way to get started is to get yourself signed up for an introduction to shooting course. After all, these courses and instructors are specifically designed to cater to newbies and first-time nerves.

They’re meant to be a safe place to explore shooting — not to make you feel intimidated!

Low kneeling all the way to the ground, in the rain, during a Massad Ayoob Group class.
More advanced classes give you a chance to practice skills — before you need them!

Every course isn’t made equally, though, nor is every instructor. If you book a class through your local range, there’s a chance you might end up with a perfectly competent and qualified instructor that you just don’t vibe with.

I get it — men can teach women to shoot, but do you know who is even better at it? Women. 

rosie the riveter poster

I recommend checking out some of the resources available to us, thanks to all the other awesome gun gals who want to help!

A Girl and A Gun is a really cool organization that has local chapters all over, and every chapter is headed by a certified instructor.

Guns and Kids Class
Melody Lauer, a female shooting instructor, teaching The Armed Parent/Guardian course.

You can also just look for a female instructor near you.

If you happen to catch one of their workshops, Shoot Like a Girl is another organization that travels the country to teach women about firearms, archery, hunting, shooting, and more.

Shoot Like A Girl Event
Shoot Like A Girl event

I think Shoot Like a Girl events are worth the time if you can attend one since they pack pretty much every aspect of Firearms 101 into their mobile range. Then walk you through it all!

The Shoot Like a Girl mobile range!

If you’re a little nervous about jumping into a class right off the bat, consider the Gun Noob course.

It is video-centric and walks you through all the aspects of gun ownership you’ll need. It’s a great starter and will have you feeling a little more confident before you head to a physical class.

2. Do Your Research

Obviously, I’m going to recommend Pew Pew Tactical as a great resource for newbs of all stripes — though I might be a little biased.

We do boast several really neat female writers and, as I mentioned, two female editors.

This means we like to make sure we don’t leave it up to the dudes to tell you what kind of concealed carry style your hips won’t allow…or that your only option is a pink Ruger LCP.

eye roll
Boy, whatchu even talkin’ about?

I also recommend some other woman-owned, woman-operated sites to check. After all, more resources are always better!

First up is The Cornered Cat.

Written by firearms instructor Kathy Jackson, The Cornered Cat is a treasure trove of insight and knowledge from a woman who has close to two decades of experience in the firearms industry and specializes in concealed carry and self-defense shooting.

Kathy Jackson, The Cornered Cat
Kathy Jackson, The Cornered Cat

Go there to learn everything you need to know about getting started, choosing a gun, concealed carry, and pretty much any other topic you could imagine!

Next, I want to take a moment to look at The Well Armed Woman, which is pretty much a one-stop shop for all things girls and guns.

This site was founded by Carrie Lightfoot, who became interested in defensive firearms and quickly realized that there weren’t too many resources out there for women shooters.

Carrie Lightfoot
Carrie Lightfoot, The Well Armed Woman

They have reviews, how-tos, an instructor and club finder tool, and so, so much more. If you look nowhere else, look there.

3. Buddy Up

Look, we go to the restroom in a group for a reason. There’s safety in numbers, even if the thing you’re guarding against is anxiety.

Gather your gals together and go to the range as a group.

Even if your besties don’t want to get further than a casual girl’s range night once a month, you can at least get a little moral support from your pals.

head on swivel
Moving around the range with my girls

Not to mention, some ranges specifically host girls’ night events to attract female gun owners. So, you might get a little discount on those nights. Plus, you also benefit from meeting other lady shooters and making connections.

That way, if your friends aren’t into it, you have a few contacts in your phone you can dial up for a range meetup!

4. Try Before You Buy

So, if you didn’t notice, firearms aren’t a cheap hobby — especially right now, during the pandemic/civil unrest/supply chain issues mess

Pretty much.

You can absolutely get plinking for a few hundred dollars down on a cheap .22 pistol…but if you don’t want to throw bennies after twenties, you’re going to want to rent a variety of guns to try out.

Some of us get lucky enough to have access to tens of thousands of dollars worth of firearms and gear through work. But the rest of y’all best be checking out the rental counter at your local range.

It’s worth noting that not every range offers rentals, so give them a ring before you head over with a head full of plans. 

Long Range Testing PSA AR-10
Ranges can vary greatly, but they all serve the same general purpose — a place to pew pew.

I cannot recommend renting enough, though.

You not only get to try a bunch of guns without the commitment — you can also try out different calibers, different shooting styles, and sports. You can even ask a ton of questions from someone who works with these guns all day long. 

While you might get some “see here, little lady” types, most fellow shooters and gun enthusiasts are really happy to talk with you about what they recommend and why.

Most of them are also pretty happy to see more and more women becoming interested in firearms, too!

Indoors Range Shooting
Indoor ranges are another option, too!

And if they aren’t…well, they’re not worth listening to in the first place. Trust me.

5. Ask Questions

While you might not encounter too many women at the range, when you do, ask them questions!

Generally speaking, we’re pretty happy to see you, too, since we’re used to being the only one. We will want to see you come back and have fun. #girlcode

happy dog
Real time footage of what happens in my brain when I see another girl at the range!

Personally, I love when other gals at the range want to chat.

Please come take the stall next to me. We’re besties now, and I want to gossip with you and cheer when you hit the bullseye.

You also have the comments sections on articles like these, where knowledgeable editors, and sometimes even the author, will respond to you.

It’s like having a gun expert in your pocket!

Just sayin’…

I will say that there can be the very rare occasion where another female shooter might see you as competition or something, but that’s on her, not on you.

If you do get rebuffed, please don’t give up.

I promise you that for every “pick me” girl out there, there’s a dozen who want you to succeed.

6. Visit Local Competitions

This might be a little less possible during the pandemic when competitions are limiting spectators and attendees for, but it won’t always be that way. 

small bore rifle competition
Small bore rifle competition shooters on the line.

Check out the events calendar at ranges near you to see when competitions are coming up, and come watch!

You’ll learn a lot just from watching. But, bonus, competitive shooters love what they do and are pretty hype to talk with you about it. There also might be a ladies class in the competition to attract other female shooters. 

Who knows? You might even fall in love and start competing. I did!

7. Join a Club

Where is a better place to learn about something than in a club devoted to that very thing? Exactly.

Girl and a gun shooting league

I mentioned A Girl and A Gun further up the article, but I want to revisit them. Not only are they a neat resource, but they also have hundreds of small, local chapters meeting up to educate and train together, lead by a certified instructor.

You can join your nearest chapter for plenty of support and help, and in turn…you’ll one day teach some of the new gals and encourage them!

Woman teaching teens to shoot
It feels good to pass on the knowledge you’ve earned to the next generation.

If a girls-only space isn’t something you’ve got your heart set on (or maybe you feel like it’s not a space you’d be welcomed in), there are dozens of other gun clubs out there to pick from.

Your local range may have a club and there’s almost always a local NRA club or association.

That said, plenty of clubs exist that cater to people of different identities.

Pink Pistols is an organization dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ individuals train and defend themselves, and they have chapters nationally.

You might also feel at home joining an association like the Latino Rifle Association or the National African American Gun Association.


There also are lots of other firearm associations that attract a wide variety of shooters. These are frequently focused on creating safe experiences for shooters of all experience levels and backgrounds

Hanging out with like-minded people is just one of the many benefits of joining a club.

You might also have access to other firearms you can try, people to teach you new things, and even buy-ins for bulk ammo orders.

Foxtrot Mike FM9B Brass Ammo
Sweet, sweet bulk ammo orders!


Getting into firearms as a woman is challenging, and it can be especially intimidating without a male shooter to handle the process, but that absolutely shouldn’t be a thing that stops you.

You have a right to learn a new skill, discover a new hobby, and learn to defend yourself — sex, gender identity, or sexuality have nothing to do with it! I’m really proud of you.


If you’re here, exploring the first steps of gun ownership…congratulations! I am genuinely thrilled for you. Let’s start a beautiful friendship and chat in the comments!

wonder woman
You’re basically Wonder Woman now. I don’t make the rules!

Don’t forget to stay tuned for more woman-centered content, dropping every Wednesday!

Let’s chat! Have questions? Want to share your experiences with new lady shooters? Have a topic you want us to talk about? Leave me a comment below! Since you’re still here, I recommend checking out the Best Pistols for Women — all selected by a woman!

The post Shoot Like A Girl: Tips for Getting Yourself Into Guns appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

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AutoKeyCard Explained: Why Did the ATF Shut It Down? Wed, 14 Apr 2021 16:30:00 +0000 Florida resident Kristopher Ervin was arrested in early March 2021 as part of a joint operation by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. (Yeah, that’s a thing.) The ATF claimed Ervin sold auto sears — components used to convert semi-automatic AR-15s into rifles that are […]

The post AutoKeyCard Explained: Why Did the ATF Shut It Down? appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

Florida resident Kristopher Ervin was arrested in early March 2021 as part of a joint operation by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. (Yeah, that’s a thing.)

The ATF claimed Ervin sold auto sears — components used to convert semi-automatic AR-15s into rifles that are fully automatic and fully fun…but also illegal without the proper paperwork.

AutoKeyCard Armslist
Potential AR-15 auto-sears??? (Photo: Armslist)

So, on today’s agenda, we’re going to take a look at the AutoKeyCard debacle. We’ll answer what an AutoKeyCard is, find out why the ATF is so upset over it, and break down similar cases that might help Ervin on his upcoming legal battle.

Disclaimer:  While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only. 

Table of Contents


What is an AutoKeyCard?

In short, these were business-card-sized metal bottle openers sold through Ervin’s websites and

(Well, they were sold there before the Feds shut it all down.)


The cards came laser engraved showing the parts of an AR-15 automatic connector, commonly known as a “lightning link.”

The lightning link, when assembled from its separate components and installed in an AR-15, could convert it to full-auto without any additional modifications to the firearm.

AR-15 Lightning Link
AR-15 Lightning Link

Because of this, the ATF decided the cards were close enough to auto sears to fall under the machine gun restrictions under the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act amendment of the National Firearms Act.

Therefore, ATF and U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents purchased a few of these bottle openers as part of a sting operation.

USPS Inspection Service
USPS Inspection Service…who knew that was a thing.

Agents later determined Ervin was illegally selling auto sears, since customers who purchase the keycards would be able to take the product and convert semi-auto AR-15s into full automatic rifles.

Investigators with both agencies arrested Ervin, and seized his websites. 

But this begs the question, what does this mean in the grand scheme of things for the gun industry and owners?

What’s the Big Deal?

Aside from the fact the ATF hates anything fun (i.e. alcohol, tobacco, and firearms), the agency took issue with the AutoKeyCard because the product could potentially convert a semi-auto AR-15 into a full-auto.

ATF Meme Guy
ATF be like…

As part of its findings, the ATF reported that “an ATF expert analyzed one of the devices that had been purchased undercover and was able to convert an AR-15 style firearm into a machinegun by cutting out the etching for an auto sear using a commonly available tool and then inserting the auto sear into the firearm.”

Based on this determination, the AutoKeyCard fell under the NFA as a “machine gun.”

Full Auto Rifle
ATF, why won’t you let us have fun?

The NFA also bans civilian transfer or ownership of machine guns except for those already legally owned at the time the law went into effect on May 19, 1986.

According to the ATF, this meant Ervin was effectively selling machine guns in violation of the law.  

For those of you who have looked into buying a machine gun, or even just a suppressor, you will know the lengths that you need to go through, in terms of time, money, and paperwork, before the ATF will allow you to own one.

Rifles Only HAD Suppressor Cover
Even suppressors are subject to the ATF’s rules.

It shouldn’t be a surprise then, that the ATF would jump all over someone for selling an item that could potentially be used as an auto sear.

What’s a Guy to Do: Possible Defenses

Fortunately, in the United States, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. So Ervin has a shot to make his case.

The current law — in this case the Hughes Amendment of the FOPA — bans civilian transfer or ownership of machine guns, except for those already legally owned at the time the law went into effect.

What I Carried M16A4 Clone (1)
M16A4 Clone…because the real thing is tough to get.

In addition, the broader NFA restricts the manufacturing of certain types of firearms, including machine guns.

To overcome the ATF’s main case against him, Ervin will need to prove he did not violate the law under either of those parts of the NFA.

However, it doesn’t really help that his product was called the “AutoKeyCard.”

Probably not a good idea to have anything “auto” in the name of something that is supposed to NOT be an auto sear.

That said, there have been similar situations recently that Ervin and his attorney could look to for inspiration in his defense.

Timothy John Watson v. United States of America: Portable Wall Hangers

In November 2020, the FBI arrested Timothy Watson of West Virginia for selling “portable wall hangers” on his site

Watson for, among other things, illegally manufacturing machine guns and selling them.

But Watson’s creations were 3D printed hangers. These featured a hook portion that could detach. This portion just so happened to be in the shape of a drop-in auto sear capable of converting a semi-auto AR-15 to full-auto. 

Portable Wall Hanger
“Portable Wall Hanger” that…screws into the wall. (Photo: Guns America)

Imagine that!

The argument in the portable wall hanger situation, of course, would be that the product is a wall hanger. And it’s unfortunate that people found another use for it as an auto sear.

For the wall hangers’ case, there were plenty of discussions on forums and social media about ways to use the wall hangers. Such as how to use them on “Armalite walls.” 

Not to mention, Watson actually did manufacture these items ready to slip into AR-15s for conversion to full-auto.

So, this is probably a pretty weak defense for Ervin to adopt for his own case.


Defense Distributed v. U.S. Department of State: 3D Printed Files

On the other hand, the Defense Distributed case may provide a little more hope for Ervin. In this battle, Defense Distributed provided files for 3D-printable firearms, including the Liberator pistol.

While Defense Distributed was a licensed firearms manufacturer, they didn’t sell 3D printed products. They just offered up their 3D print files freely – available for anyone to do with as they pleased.

Liberator Pistol Defense Distributed
Liberator Pistol made from 3D printed parts (Photo: De Zeen)

The argument for Defense Distributed is that they simply exercised their First Amendment right of free speech in sharing the 3D printing files.

This would likely be a pretty reasonable argument for Ervin and his attorney to make. Ervin sold his AutoKeyCards with the designs of the lightning link components engraved into the metal, but did not actually make the components himself.

It would be similar to providing a drawing of the lightning link on a piece of paper, that someone could choose to use as a stencil or just as a cool drawing.

Gun Drawing
At the heart of this defense, does drawing or outline leave someone accountable for what another does with that info?

But using this as an example might also depend on how much extra work is required to go from the AutoKeyCard to an actual lightning link.

That would be the difference in deciding if Ervin was actually making the lightning links or just engraving a design on a piece of metal.

Of course, it’s important to note that most people who go up against the government either enter a plea deal or manage to win a settlement with the government.

People rarely win a case outright against the government.

What About Gun Owners?

With these types of law enforcement actions by alphabet agencies taking place, could there be crackdowns on Second Amendment rights?

Probably not.

There likely won’t be any large-scale gun confiscations or repealing of the Second Amendment any time soon.

It’s also worth mentioning, Defense Distributed has had some success in their case so far.

But others making “portable wall hangers” or laser engraved wall decorations may want to think twice about doing so.

Ron Swanson Rethink

Depending on how these existing cases ultimately turn out, the ATF and other agencies may decide to get even more aggressive with interpretation and enforcement of the law. This could theoretically lead to the shutdown of similar businesses.

In short, companies have to be willing to duke it out in court with the federal government if they want to make similar items. So, as a result, there could be fewer people willing to take a risk in the firearms industry.

As for AutoKeyCard, we’ll have to wait and see. As always, though, we’ll keep you updated on the situation as it unfolds.


AutoKeyCard has currently ceased operations as its owner tangles with the ATF over the design. And the ultimate decision will unfold as the case makes its way through the court system.


It will be interesting to see what defense Ervin mounts and how the government responds.

Ultimately, the firearms industry needs the help of law-abiding citizens and freedom-loving Americans to make sure our rights aren’t trampled on and our voices heard. So be sure to contact your local representatives and let your voice be heard.

What do you think of this case? Does Ervin have a chance? Let us know in the comments below. To catch up on other legal things you should know, check out our guide to the Hughes Amendment and the NFA.

The post AutoKeyCard Explained: Why Did the ATF Shut It Down? appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

]]> 3
7 Best PCC Optics: Red Dots and Beyond [Guide] Tue, 13 Apr 2021 21:30:00 +0000 If shotguns are my wife, then pistol caliber carbines are my mistress.  They are a category of firearm I’ve invested way too much time into, and I adore them well beyond the realm of normal. With all this time behind PCCs, I’ve most certainly experimented with optics.  Half of my job is just experimenting with […]

The post 7 Best PCC Optics: Red Dots and Beyond [Guide] appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

If shotguns are my wife, then pistol caliber carbines are my mistress. 

They are a category of firearm I’ve invested way too much time into, and I adore them well beyond the realm of normal.

19. Faxon Bantam PCC Desert Profile View
Faxon Firearms Bantam PCC

With all this time behind PCCs, I’ve most certainly experimented with optics. 

Half of my job is just experimenting with different ideas. Now what you are likely thinking is that PCCs need a red dot, and that’s it. 

If that’s your way of thinking, then I want you to open your mind to this article because we are going way beyond red dots today. 

Don’t get me wrong, red dots have most certainly made the list, but so did low-powered variable optics and prism optics. 

Red Dots Under $100
Red dots made the list…but so did some other stuff as well.

Yep, we are diving well beyond your average list of red dots. Most red dots work perfectly on PCCs, but they aren’t the end-all, be-all. 

Especially if you want to hit targets at 100-yards or to hit smaller targets faster. 

A slight magnification can go a long way, and that’s why we are including LPVOs and low-powered prism optics. 

All of the Prism Scopes
Give us all the prisms!

Both will extend your effective range and increase your accuracy even with a 9mm carbine. 

Let’s dive into PCC optics and see why it’s okay to go beyond your average red dot. 

Best PCC Optics

1. Swampfox Blade 

Swampfox is somewhat new, but the company brings some awesomely innovative optics to the market. 

And the Blade is one of their best for PCCs. 

This is a 1X prism, and you might ask, why exactly would we need a 1X prism over a red dot? 

Well, the Blade offers an etched reticle in case the batteries die, and that reticle is way more helpful than a simple red dot. 

Swampfox Blade
Swampfox Blade

Don’t forget those who suffer from astigmatism can use a prism optic way better than a red dot. 

The Blade uses a bullet rise compensating reticle. 

What does that mean? 

Well, when you shoot at ranges from 15-yards and inward, the bullet will appear to hit high. This is due to the mechanical offset of the optic. 

Swampfox Blade

The Blade has three points of aim beneath the central reticle to compensate for this issue. 

Your main aiming point is the tip of the chevron. But beneath the chevron, you have your 15-yard aiming point, then a circle for 10-yards, and finally a small stadia for 7-yard shooting. 

Outside of the reticle, the Blade has a generous 3.8-inch eye relief and a massive field of view. 

The glass is nice and clear, and the reticle is crisp and easy to see. 

It’s become a favorite for PCC users, with some serious professional shooters turning to the Blade for competition runs. 

at Optics Planet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

2. Lucid HDx

Lucid is a terribly underrated company producing excellent optics at fantastic prices. 

The company has been redefining the budget optics game since, like, forever. 

Lucid crafted the HDx from the ground up for the PCC world. 

Lucid HDx Red Dot on Ruger PCC
Lucid HDx Red Dot on Ruger PCC

Utilizing the knowledge of both their pro staff and PCC competitors, Lucid manufactured a compact red dot with a unique reticle. 

Durability was also a chief concern since competitors are rarely gentle creatures. 

The combination of the two created an optic perfect for PCC competition and home defense use. 

Reticle wise we get something I’ve never seen before. We get a 3/4s 32 MOA circle with a 4 MOA center dot, and offset from the dot is two lines going diagonal away from it. 

Obviously, we can tell a few things off the bat. 

The reticle is relatively large, and large reticles tend to be eye-catching and fast on target. But it doesn’t feel cluttered — rare for a reticle for so much going on. 

Lucid HDx
Lucid HDx

Outside of the exciting reticle, the Lucid HDx has an exciting design. 

The windage and elevation knobs are tool-free and hand adjustable. 

Sandwiched between the turrets is the battery compartment, placed for easy access and allowing for a hot-swap of AA batteries. 

The mount allows for witnessing, and while simple, is very effective. 

For durability purposes, the optic is water and shock-proof. 

Oh, did I mention it’s also very reasonably priced? Because it is. 

at Optics Planet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Primary Arms SLx 2.5 Compact ACSS CQB 

I’m a massive fan of low-powered prism optics and find them the perfect compromise between red dots and magnified optics. 

Primary Arms has embraced prism wholeheartedly and produces some of the more innovative options on the market. 

Primary Arms SLx 2.5
Primary Arms SLx 2.5 Compact

For a PCC, especially a 9mm PCC, the SLx 2.5 Compact with the ACSS CQB reticle proves an excellent option. 

ACSS reticles are always rather fascinating and highly useful. 

The ACSS CQB reticle will function with a wide variety of different calibers, including 9mm. 

Using a 25/100 zero, a PCC shooter can use the three drop points to land 9mm rounds at 150-, 175-, and 200-yards. 

Primary Arms SLx 2.5

That’s a good little way for 9mm to travel and is somewhat optimistic but doable pending wind conditions downrange. 

2.5X magnification also seems to be a sweet spot for 9mm.

Popular 9mm Ammo
Behold, the mighty 9mm

At 25- and 50-yards, it puts you somewhat close to the target and makes dinging steel and producing teeny tiny groups easy enough. 

At close ranges, the massive illuminated reticle means it’s easy to be fast

Keep both eyes opened and focus on the target. The prism will act as a red dot and superimpose the reticle over your vision. 

It has an etched reticle, so if the batteries die, we can still party. 

Plus, Primary Arms backs their stuff with an excellent warranty and excellent customer service. 

at Primary Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

4. C-More Railway 8 MOA 

When I began researching this article, I looked at what USPSA PCC shooters utilize for competition. 

One optic that kept coming up is the C-More Railway with an 8 MOA dot. 

C-More Railway Red
C-More Railway comes in a few colors, including red.

I know the C-More mostly from movies where it’s an optic small enough to let you see the hero’s face as he aims. 

In real life, that ultra-small and thin size is beloved for allowing the maximum amount of peripheral vision an optic can allow. 

C-More Railway Loose Rounds
C-More Railway (Photo: Loose Rounds)

It becomes a living heads-up display that will enable you to put the dot where you want the dot and make magic. Magic being accurate shots on target. 

In rapidly moving USPSA matches, the open design makes it easy to see what’s coming next. 

You’ll be able to safely navigate the range and engage the wide variety of targets tossed at you. 

The 8 MOA reticle seems to be the favorite, and I could see why. 

C-More Railway 8 MOA View

It’s big, red, ultra-crisp, and easy to see and get on target. 8 MOA is rather large for a red dot, but it seems to make a lot of sense for pistol caliber carbine competition. 

The C-More Railway even allows the user to swap diode modules for larger or smaller red dot reticles. 

From 2 to 16 MOA. While the optics have a small window, they have a somewhat large underbody. 

Even with the large body, the weight is 5-ounces, making them nice and light. 

The C-More Railway is old-school cool and fits perfectly on a new series of rifles. 

at Optics Planet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

5. Holosun HS509T 

Pistol caliber carbines are best when they are small and lightweight. 

If that’s your vibe, then you likely want a lightweight optic, and the HS509T fits the bill. 

This pistol-sized optic comes with a Picatinny mount but will attach to any riser that uses the Trijicon RMR footprint. 

Do the words enclosed emitter mean anything to you? Well, they should because an enclosed emitter provides the best degree of reliability

Holosun 509T Mini Red Dot
Holosun 509T Red Dot

On a non-holster-able firearm, the enclosed emitter grants unbeatable resistance to rain, snow, sand, and other debris. 

Most long gun red dots have enclosed emitters for this very reason. 

The HS509T gives you an enclosed emitter on top, having the weight and size of a pistol optic. 

Better than that, the 509T packs a ton of features that make it a highly desirable optic. 

Reticle-wise we get to choose from a 2 MOA circle or a 32 MOA circle with a dot in the middle. 

The 32 MOA reticle gives you a quasi-effective drop system for both close-range shooting and out 100-yards. 

Holosun 509T Mini Red Dot
Holosun 509T on CZ Scorpion

At 100-yards, you can use the bottom stadia to compensate for drop. A super close range, the same bottom stadia can be used to estimate for mechanical offset. 

The 509T packs a solar panel for battery backup. 

We get large buttons for easy control, as well as a side-loading battery compartment. 

Holosun also uses titanium to improve durability while not increasing the optic’s weight. 

Have you tried the Holosun 509T? Rate it below!

6. Swampfox Tomahawk 1-4X LPVO Guerilla Cross MOA 

An LPVO on a PCC is going to make some readers frown in disdain. Why would a PCC ever need an LPVO? 

Well, for the same reason, any other rifle would need an LPVO. 

A low-powered variable optic grants you both close range and moderate range precision. 

Swampfox Tomahawk LVPO
Swampfox Tomahawk LVPO

Most PCCs are not used beyond 100-yards, but that doesn’t mean an LPVO isn’t a handy tool. 

The Swampfox Tomahawk presents a simple option for PCC owners and shooters. 

Most LPVOs these days are fitted with some form of ballistic drop reticle designed for 5.56 or .308 rounds. 

Not great for PCCs by any means. 

The Tomahawk 1-4X comes with multiple reticle options, including the Guerilla Cross MOA reticle. 

The Guerilla Cross MOA reticle offers simple drop compensation. It allows you to easily learn and utilize these MOA points for the drop of various pistol calibers. 

With 16 MOA worth of drop, you’ll have no issues figuring out where a 9mm will drop at 100-yards. 

Swampfox Tomahawk LVPO

When you max out the magnification to 4X, the guerilla cross reticle will allow you to hit not just man-sized targets but small plates and gongs with superb accuracy. 

At 1X, the massive three-quarter circle reticle acts like a red dot for quick and easy engagements at close range. 

Since the optic is a 2nd focal plane design, the reticle remains the same size at 1X. 

This gives it the size necessary to be big and easy to see when illuminated. 

The precision granted by a first focal plane scope isn’t needed here, and the optic benefits from the second focal plane capabilities. 

at Optics Planet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

To learn more about FFP vs. SFP, check out our article here

7. Sig Sauer Romeo with Juliet 3 

Finally, let’s leave with an awesome budget-friendly option that mixes the versatility of magnification and the close-range power of a red dot. 

Sig Sauer brings us the Romeo and Juliet 3 magnifier. Paired together, this combination gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to PCC shooting. 

FN SCAR 17S Sig Sauer Romeo and Juliet
The Romeo 4 paired with the Juliet.

Red dots dominate close-range shooting for a reason. They are quick and easy to use, often quite precise, and when speed matters, nothing beats a red dot. 

When paired with the Juliet 3, you gain an optional three-power magnification magnifier for longer range shooting. 

Maybe it’s not long-range, but you need to hit a small target with excellent precision at close range. You can pop the Juliet in and out of action on the fly and swap back and forth from the red dot to a magnified view on the fly. 

Sig Sauer Romeo 8 Being Dropped
Sig Sauer Romeo 8 Being Dropped

Both of these Sig branded products are budget-friendly if you’re looking for a BOGO deal. Not to mention, they are completely capable, and useable. 

They admittedly lack some fancy features here or there but conquer the basics well. 

80% of being a good optic is just being good at the basics, and this combination grants you both close range and moderate precision on the fly. 

at Optics Planet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing


PCCs are not just a growing trend in the general firearms world, but they are also a favorite of the competition world. 

As USPSA PCC competitions continue catching the eyes of gun owners, I think we’ll see the world of PCCs expand quite a bit in the coming years. And with that, the need for PCC optics.

Silencer Center Banish 45 PCC
PCCs are just fun, ya’ll

Red dots and PCCs are like peanut butter and jelly.  While LPVOs and Prism optics are the extra. Maybe the marshmallows and bananas that can top off those sandwiches. 

Regardless, I think having an open mind when it comes to optic selection is important.  An open mind will allow you truly tailor your PCC for a specific purpose and excel at that purpose. 

What optics do your PCCs wear and why? Let us know in the comments below. Need a PCC to go with that optic? Check out our list of the Best Pistol Caliber Carbines for Competition

The post 7 Best PCC Optics: Red Dots and Beyond [Guide] appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

]]> 1
10 Best Suppressor-Ready Pistols [Ultimate Guide] Tue, 13 Apr 2021 16:30:00 +0000 Admit it. You’ve always wanted one; even before you bought your first gun.   Suppressors are the epitome of cool, but they can be intimidating. I mean, submitting paperwork to the ATF, paying a tax stamp, and playing the waiting game can feel like a big commitment. (But, hey, we do make that easier with our […]

The post 10 Best Suppressor-Ready Pistols [Ultimate Guide] appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

Admit it. You’ve always wanted one; even before you bought your first gun.  

Suppressors are the epitome of cool, but they can be intimidating.

Silencer Center Banish 45 CZ 75
Silencer Center Banish 45 CZ 75

I mean, submitting paperwork to the ATF, paying a tax stamp, and playing the waiting game can feel like a big commitment.

(But, hey, we do make that easier with our guide on How to Buy a Suppressor Online.)

Suppressor ATF Stamp
Suppressor ATF Stamp

However, I have two rebuttals.

Time is gonna keep moving forward. You can go ahead and lock it in now and wait, or you can continue to seethe with jealousy over people who made the RIGHT call.

And suppressors are just cool. 

Shooting Suppressor Pistol
Shooting Suppressed Pistol

If I haven’t convinced you yet, or you are still on the fence. Don’t worry!

You can go ahead and prep for a suppressor before actually committing to one. How?

With a suppressor-ready firearm.

So, let’s go over what makes a gun “suppressor-ready” and, most importantly, talk about some of the best ones you can buy.

Table of Contents


What Makes a Gun “Suppressor-Ready?”

Now you may be asking yourself, “What in the Sam Hill is a Suppressor-Ready handgun?”

scroll of suppressors

I would argue that there are three different tiers of “suppressor-ready” models.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s color coordinate — red, yellow, green. 


This gun is not ready for suppressors…at all.

Most handguns fall into this category.

Glock G19 Gen 4
A standard Glock G19 falls into the red category.

These guns are likely stock, or close to it — unthreaded barrel, ordinary Joe-Shmoe recoil springs, and regular height sights.

(Please for the love of all that is merciful, not stock Glock sights though. You know who you are. Heathens.)

broke meme


Guns that fall into the yellow category have some features but were not necessarily purpose-built for suppression.

I’d say guns with threaded barrels, but not suppressor height sights would fall into this category.

Threaded Glock 17 Match Barrel
Threaded Glock 17 Match Barrel

You can easily turn your RED to a YELLOW with a couple hundred dollars.


Green means go.

These guns are purpose-built for suppression.

Suppressor height night sights, threaded barrel, and actual forethought (as opposed to an afterthought) by the manufacturers. They’ve got it all.

FNX-45 Tactical
FNX-45 Tactical is a good example of a truly suppressor-ready handgun. (Photo: FN)

These models chug through all ammo without hiccups.

Most handguns marketed as “tactical” options fall into this category.

Modding your RED to a GREEN could take several hundred dollars at least. 

Shut Up & Take My Money

For the purposes of this article, we’re only going to look at suppressor-ready pistols that fall into the yellow or green category.

Pull the Trigger Already!

Don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to be a high-speed low-drag operator or even a suppressor owner to get a suppressor-ready gun.

You can use the threaded barrel for compensators.

Holosun 507K X2 Mini Red Dot
Sig Sauer P365 with threaded barrel and comp.

Suppressor height night sights are superior in every way to regular sights — not to mention, they are pretty much necessary for red dots.

Still on the fence? Let me put it to you this way: would you rather buy a base-level truck and buy all the best aftermarket parts, or would you rather buy a Raptor and call it a day? 

Night Fision Suppressor Height Glock Night Sights
Night Fision Suppressor Height Glock Night Sights

Okay, that’s what I thought.

The best benefit: Getting a suppressor-ready handgun opens you up to the world of suppressors whenever you so choose.

All these benefits without having to shell out more money or do more research to bring it up to par?

Sounds like a steal to me. I say all this to say if you want it, get it.

Accountant suppressor
This is not the face of someone who listens to people telling them why not to buy a suppressor.

Best Suppressor-Ready Handguns

So you’ve decided to buy. But there are so many options.

Welcome to the dilemma of everyone ever in every part ever of the gun world.

Lucky for you, we did the research so you don’t have to. Check out our recommendations below!

1. FNX-45 Tactical

Alright, I may be somewhat biased here, but the FNX-45 Tactical is one of the best suppressor-ready guns you can buy.

FNX-45 Tactical
FNX-45 Tactical

Let’s take a second and ignore all the bells and whistles that this gun sports. Let’s ignore the optic ready slide, interchangeable backstraps, de-cocker, and everything else.

What makes it so good for suppression? .45 ACP is generally already supersonic, making it a perfect platform to suppress.

FNX45 Tactical Threaded Barrel
FNX-45 Tactical Threaded Barrel

The FNX-45 Tactical also comes with a threaded barrel and suppressor height night sights.

This behemoth paired with the Osprey 45 is a match made in gun heaven!

Learn more about the FNX-45 by reading our review here!

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

2. Ruger Mark IV

If you’re a video game geek like myself, you already knew this one was going to make the list — the classic Hitman “.22 suppressed” gun.

Hitman “.22 Suppressed” gun
Hitman “.22 Suppressed” gun

Although most people turn their noses up at the thought of shooting a .22 LR handgun, the Mk IV is peak performance.

Ruger Mark IV
The Ruger Mark IV

Its barrel is short enough to prevent standard supersonic ammo from reaching sound barrier speeds.

Anything you put through this will be quieter than the tapping of a pen.

Plus it comes with a threaded barrel and a Picatinny rail for any red dot you want.

Don’t sleep on .22 LR because you might just miss out on this super stealthy shooter.

Best .22 LR Semi-Auto
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. HK45 Compact Tactical

Another .45 ACP offering for all our sneaky sneaks out there, the HK45 Compact Tactical is a great option.

It comes out of the box with an optics-ready slide, suppressor height sights, and threaded barrel.

HK45 with suppressor
HK45 with suppressor

Unfortunately, it only carries an underwhelming 10 rounds, when it feels like it should hold more.

HK has proven, without a doubt, that they are capable of engineering top-tier guns.

HK meme
We laugh to keep from crying.

The HK45 Compact Tactical is no exception.

Try naming another compact .45 ACP handgun that can suppress like a knife cutting through warm butter. You can’t.

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

4. Nighthawk Custom GRP

This one goes out to all those with too much money to spend and undying loyalty to America, freedom, and — before all else — the 1911.

Nighthawk Custom GRP
Nighthawk Custom GRP

At a whopping $3,200, the Nighthawk Custom GRP is a great showpiece.

You can upgrade it to be a green level suppressor-ready handgun for about $400.

For a threaded barrel and suppressor height sights, so I guess that’s not horrible?!

scrooge mcduck money
Boomers, man.

Available in .45 ACP or 9mm, this expensive firearm can be scaled to fit your needs no matter who you are.

That is — as long as you got the dough.


Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

5. Beretta M9A3

You either hate it or love it.

If you served in the military any time before the M17 was introduced, you probably hate it.

The M9 is a battle-proven workhorse. It just works.

Beretta M9A3 with supressor
Beretta M9A3 with suppressor

With its 180-degree ejection port, the M9 mitigates most jams and stovepipes. Plus you can shotgun rounds in if you’re in a pinch.

The M9A3 sports a threaded barrel, but no suppressor height sights. Kind of confusing if you ask me.

Beretta M9A3
Beretta M9A3

This turns what could have easily been a green gun into a yellow. Also, it’s not optics ready if you’re into that kind of thing.

Sorry Beretta, you could have come harder than that.

at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

6. Shadow Systems MR920

Shadow Systems makes all sorts of aftermarket products, so it comes as no surprise that they would eventually create a pistol of their own.

The MR920 looks at the Glock 19 build and laughs in superiority.

Shadow Systems MR920 and Glock G19
Shadow Systems MR920 and Glock G19

You can opt for a threaded barrel model which is ready to accommodate a suppressor.

Also, this 9mm also sports an array of top-tier features like an optic-cut slide, black nitride or bronze TiCN barrel finish, aggressive beavertail, and swappable backstraps.

Shadow Systems MR920.

It’s a dream to shoot and looks pretty sleek too.

Not to mention, it’s truly able to perform right out of the box. PPT Managing Editor Jacki carries the older, and now discontinued, MR918 and loves it!

7. CZ P-09

We can, in good conscience, make a list of guns and not include a CZ. Like, for real, someone will come for us.

So to please the CZ fanbois, we’re tossing in the CZ P-09.

CZ P-09 Suppress Ready with Suppressor

While this gun can be purchased in stock configuration, you do have the option of upgrading to a suppressor-ready model…if you just have to have a CZ.

(Photo: Oak Hill Guns)

Featuring a 9mm hammered design, the CZ P-09 brings a capacity of 21+1. So, you got a lot of ammo at your disposal.

The CZ P-09 uses black polymer grips with interchangeable backstraps for a more comfortable shooting experience. It also sports the Omega DA/SA trigger system.

Tried the CZ P-09? Rate it below!

8. Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0

While the Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 comes in a standard, stock configuration, the company does offer threaded barrel models.

Going this route nets you the familiar and reliable design of the M&P brand, but the added benefit of tossing a suppressor on the end.

S&w m&p m2.0
The M&P is known for a reliable design.

Kind of a win-win.

The M&P ships in either 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP so you have some caliber options. Pricing is also pretty comparable to the CZ P-09 at around $599 MSRP.

SW M20 Suppressor Ready Tactical Life
(Photo: Tactical Life)

Not bad for a model you can immediately toss a can on.

This pistol series comes in either black or FDE and has the option of tall white dot steel sights, TFX night sights, or plain ‘ole white dots.

9. Hushpuppy Glock

No, we’re looking at a familiar name in any silencer/suppressor circle — Hushpuppy.

The Glock offering is a gun-enthused mad scientist’s fever dream. It is finely tuned just for suppression.

Hushpuppy Glock
Hushpuppy Glock

With a specially engineered Slide Lock Device, the Hushpuppy Glock enables the shooter to suppress all three noises a gun makes when shooting.

Although they are not as common as other offerings, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better suppressor host.

10. MPA30SST

It’s more than a meme. The MPA30SST is a true-to-life MAC 10/11 clone.


Technically it’s a pistol, but it really is a technicality.

However, it comes with a tri-lug barrel and a Picatinny rail. I’d say that’s pretty suppressor-ready.

Throw a Sig folding PCB brace on there and you have the ultimate backpack gun.

John Wayne and his MAC-10 in ‘McQ.’ Warner Bros. capture

If you have some money to burn, enjoy 80s action movies, and want to turn some heads, the Masterpiece Arms Defender (MPA30SST) is a perfect suppressor host. 

at GunPrime

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing


If you’re looking to edge into the door of suppressor ownership, then one of these suppressor-ready firearms will surely help you accomplish that goal.

They’re ready to run straight to the range with you and your can!

Silencer Central Banish 30 on Pistol and Rifle
Silencer Central Banish

Aside from the obvious, suppressor-ready firearms also come with their own perks. They’re cool, capable, and just plain fun!

Which suppressor-ready handgun is your favorite? As always, let us know in the comments below. Interested in suppressors? Learn How to Buy a Suppressor Online or take a look at the Best 9mm Suppressors on the market!

The post 10 Best Suppressor-Ready Pistols [Ultimate Guide] appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

]]> 5
Concealed Carry: Pros & Cons of Shoulder Carry Mon, 12 Apr 2021 21:30:00 +0000 We’re continuing our walk-through of the different concealed carry methods, and on today’s agenda…it’s shoulder carry time!  Guaranteed, you’ve watched at least one movie or TV show with a crusty old detective sporting one of these rigs. (It probably has a 1911 in it too…) So, we’re going to explore shoulder carry, talk about the […]

The post Concealed Carry: Pros & Cons of Shoulder Carry appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

We’re continuing our walk-through of the different concealed carry methods, and on today’s agenda…it’s shoulder carry time! 

Guaranteed, you’ve watched at least one movie or TV show with a crusty old detective sporting one of these rigs. (It probably has a 1911 in it too…)

AlienGear Shapeshift Holster
AlienGear Shapeshift Holster Shoulder

So, we’re going to explore shoulder carry, talk about the pros and cons of this style, and also discuss the draw. 

By the end, you should have a better grasp of whether this concealed carry method is right for you. 

But before we jump in, make sure to check out Brownells’ Daily Defense video below for more tips and tricks. 

Table of Contents


What Is Shoulder Carry?

Again, you gotta love the gun industry’s simplistic naming scheme. Makes things easy!

Shoulder carry refers to a holster worn around the shoulders. These holsters hold the gun (and sometimes spare mags) under the armpit. 

You’ve likely seen this style in old detective or spy movies. 

James Bond in Shoulder Holster
The legendary James Bond in a shoulder holster.

Shoulder carry is not a popular method. But it does provide a means to carry if you absolutely can’t make belt line or ankle carry work for you. 

Pros of Shoulder Carry

The most apparent advantage to shoulder carry is the ability to access the firearm while seated. Tucked underneath the armpit allows access to the gun if you’re in the car or routinely work from a desk. 

This method is also convenient because it provides a grab-and-go setup with the holster and mag pouches altogether — no need to purchase additional accessories. 

Alien Gear Shoulder Holster

Shoulder carry also works if you live in colder climates where you regularly don jackets or coats. The holster can slip underneath the outer layer and allow you better access than an IWB rig nestled under layers. 

Finally, it offers a decent weight-bearing option to allow you to carry larger firearms that, for whatever reason, might not work on the beltline. 

Cons of Shoulder Carry

Let’s be real; you probably aren’t going to adopt this as an everyday carry option. 


Well, you’re pretty limited clothing-wise. To keep the gun concealed, you’ll have to sport a blazer, coat, jacket, or unbuttoned shirt/vest at all times. T-shirts need not apply.


If you work a job that requires a jacket at all times, this works, but if you’re someone who ditches the blazer when you get to a desk or cubicle…well, this method might not be the best. 

Additionally, the draw from a shoulder holster can be awkward and slow.

It requires you to reach across your body, and that’s not necessarily the most natural motion. Similarly, it’s slow to reholster. 

Brownells Daily Defense Shoulder Holster
You gotta have an outer garment for shoulder carry to work.

Finally, due to this carry method’s nature, most ranges and concealed carry classes do not allow live-fire practice from this position. This limits your ability to effectively train at least on a range. 

So what can you do?

Either find a facility that will allow you to live fire from this carry mode or invest in a lot of dry fire training at home. 

How to Draw From a Shoulder Holster

The gun will be set up in a cross-draw position, meaning you must reach across your body to retrieve the firearm. 

When a threat emerges, reach your dominant hand across your body while simultaneously lifting your support arm up and away from the holster. (Think chicken wing!)

From here, release the thumb break on the holster. This allows the gun to be drawn from the holster. 

Brownells Daily Defense Shoulder Holster
Note the lifted arm and dominant hand reaching across.

Retrieve the gun and present on target.

It’s important to be aware of the muzzle as you draw so you do not sweep yourself (or others) as you come out on target.

To reholster, you’ll need to grab the holster with your non-dominant hand and hold it steady to place the gun back inside.

Again, be aware of the muzzle and where it is pointed at all times. Do not accidentally sweep yourself as you place the gun back in the holster.

Also, don’t forget to button or velcro the thumb break back into place. 

For a detailed look at how to draw from a shoulder holster, check out the Daily Defense demo below!

Tips for Shoulder Carry

At this point, some of my tips are going to feel a little repetitive. That’s because most carry methods are going to require similar basic elements for success. 

1. Invest in Good Gear

It’s imperative to find good, quality holsters to pair with your gun. You likely dropped a few hundred dollars on your gun, so protect that investment with a high-quality rig that will set you up for success. 

at Galco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

While leather is a popular choice for shoulder holsters, fabric and even Kydex/hybrid ones do exist.

Galco Parabellum Shoulder Holster
Galco Parabellum Shoulder Holster

As with anything holster-related, go for one that completely covers the trigger and offers some retention mechanism a la a thumbreak that keeps the gun in place. 

You’ll also need to decide on whether you want a horizontal, vertical, or angled shoulder holster.

A vertical holster will orient the gun with the muzzle pointed down.

Vertical Holster System Galco
Vertical Holster System (Photo: Galco)

While it can be a slower draw, it does allow you to sport a larger gun. 

A horizontal holster, orients the gun horizontally — meaning the muzzle will point behind you.

Galco Miami Classic Horizontal Shoulder Holster
Galco Miami Classic — a horizontal shoulder holster.

These offer a faster draw but, depending on your width, you might be limited to shorter barreled guns. 

Finally, an angled holster situates the gun at an angle — usually a 45 degree upwards position though there are some angled holster that orient the gun at a 35-degree angle downwards.

Black Hills Leather Angled Holster
Black Hills Leather Angled Holster point the gun at a 35-degree angle down. (Photo: Black Hills Leather)

While this method is also pretty quick to draw from, some might find it difficult to get a good grasp on the gun without compromising safety. 

Black Hawk Angled Holster
Black Hawk Angled Holster in a 45-degree position up. (Photo: Sportsman’s Guide)

When choosing a holster, make sure to read up on sizing. Not all holsters are created equally. So know your measurements to get the best fit!

2. Gun and Clothing

When working with a shoulder rig, you’re going to need to choose your clothes, wisely. As I mentioned, this style relies on a cover garment like jacket or unbuttoned overshirt. But not every cover garment will work. 

Personally, I’ve found that garments that are more fitted/cut closer to the body or made from lighter fabrics, tend to reveal the holster — more so than looser, less fitted jackets or button-up shirts or those made from heavier fabrics.

You might have to play around with the clothes in your closet to see what prints and what doesn’t.

Jacket with Aliengear
Test your jackets out, folks!

That said, winter coats work really well with shoulder holsters! I have carried more than a few times in a shoulder rig with a heavy Columbia jacket and Glock.

Also, while picking your attire, consider the size of gun you want to conceal.

A larger, full-size gun might work in certain attire but probably won’t be your best bet if you’re in a slimmer blazer and carrying horizontally.

Glock G17 Gen 4
The G17 probably won’t work in a tight-fitting jacket. Just sayin’.

Again, this is where the good gear concept comes into place. The right gun in the right holster makes all the difference!

3. Practice!

I mentioned earlier that live-fire training might be difficult on a range. Many ranges and classes do not support shoulder carry live-fire drills due to the potential of muzzling fellow range goers. 

So, you might be limited in your training. But luckily, you can always dry fire at home! 

5. Dry Fire Mag Mantis X
Get those dry fire supplies ready!

Put some reps in to work on confidently drawing from a shoulder holster.

Also, make sure to practice in multiple outfits so you know the limitations of each. 


Shoulder carry isn’t the most popular carry method. Still, it does provide a means to concealed carry if your beltline isn’t an option.

Using a cross-draw method and placing the gun under the armpit of the non-dominant side, it only works if you wear a cover garment. 

Revo Shoulder Holster
Revo Shoulder Holster

Though it’s not how most people choose to EDC, it is an option if nothing else works. 

Do you shoulder carry? If so, what’s your holster/gun setup? Let us know in the comments below. If you missed our other CCW articles in this series, no worries. Get spun up on Strong Side Carry, AIWB, Pocket Carry, and Ankle Carry.

The post Concealed Carry: Pros & Cons of Shoulder Carry appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

]]> 13
The Blue Brief: How To Survive a Carjacking Mon, 12 Apr 2021 16:30:00 +0000 Carjacking is near and dear to a lot of the motoring public, and it is absolutely something worth considering. These crimes are on the rise in certain parts of the country. Places like Minneapolis have seen as much as a 537% increase in carjackings in 2020. So today, I’m going to address how to deal […]

The post The Blue Brief: How To Survive a Carjacking appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

Carjacking is near and dear to a lot of the motoring public, and it is absolutely something worth considering.

These crimes are on the rise in certain parts of the country. Places like Minneapolis have seen as much as a 537% increase in carjackings in 2020.

Are you prepared for a carjacking?

So today, I’m going to address how to deal with this potential threat.

Since things do not always go to plan, we’ll discuss multiple scenarios.

Also, keep in mind laws vary from state to state. I am not an attorney, and you should not consider this information as legal advice.

Rather, it is food for thought to help you prepare for a possibility.

Table of Contents


Prevention is the Best Medicine

I’m going to focus heavily on prevention because all the options south of here are a downhill slide of diminishing returns.

In the world of prevention, there are a few key ideas to consider.

First, the concept that carjacking is a crime of opportunity.


This means a criminal sees a victim create an opportunity and the criminal seizes it.

So, what’s the fix here?

Don’t make it easy for bad guys.

If they were inclined to hard work, they would likely have a normal job like most of us.

Consider this position. All the approach angles provide a reactionary gap and you can clear the columns when you pull in.

In Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear, he teaches us to trust our inner voice. You know, the one that tells us when something looks sketchy.

In essence, we have learned through polite society to dismiss that voice for fear of making someone feel bad.

Do not do this.

If something makes you uncomfortable, trust that feeling. Act immediately.

So, if someone approaches your vehicle and you feel weird about it, drive away.


Practical applications of this mean setting yourself up for success.

Any time you are in a vehicle, in a setting where close interaction with other people is possible, be prepared to act.

One of the most critical junctures is getting in or out of your car.

Here, criminals can lie in wait and approach you from blind angles while you are distracted.

Unfortunately, many people are carrying things, using the phone, or both.

Carjacking Distracted on Phone
Are you guilty of this?

Awareness is the best medicine to prevent carjackings, particularly when getting in or out of your ride.

When Exiting

Park in a manner that allows you to have a wide field of view. Give a high preference for well-lit areas that afford you quick access to your destination.

This might mean a combat park or backing into a spot, especially if an area is making you uncomfortable.

Carjacking Combat Park
Combat parking allows you to exit quickly.

It is much easier to drive forward under high stress than it is to back your vehicle up.

Also, keep in mind, nothing short of an appointment forces you to leave your vehicle.

Observe the situation from a vehicle that’s ready to move and leave if you’re not convinced it’s safe.

When You Approach

Keeping your hands free, if possible.

If you can’t, keep at least one hand free, so you can address threats.

Definitely have your keys ready.

Don’t create that opportunity to get jacked by digging in your pockets or purse for keys, head down, unaware.

Carjacking Distrated in purse
Digging in a purse means you’re not paying attention to the things around you.

Keep a steady eye on trouble spots like a column someone could hide behind or the abductor van that parked real close while you were away.

Once in the car, lock the doors immediately.

Some vehicles will lock automatically when you reach a certain speed but be more proactive than this.

When you take your seat, get the car in motion. Until you are underway, you are still at risk.

When Stopped

Whether at an ATM or a traffic light, leave yourself an escape route.

Do not pull up to the bumper of the car in front of you. If you know your car’s turn radius, leave at least that much room so you can pull out and move away from trouble.

Visualize where you would go — the more avenues of escape, the better.

With an ATM approach, use the option that limits lanes of approach to your vehicle.

If you park against the building, no one can easily hide and surprise you, and you will stand a much better chance of seeing someone come from the front.

Check your side or rearview mirror frequently.

Handle your business, but scan your environment as you do using plain view and your mirrors.

Bail at the slightest hint of an issue.

Leaving your card behind or even cash is easier to deal with than a carjacking.


Stay Aware

You might think you are relatively safe once you leave higher-risk locations and get back into traffic.

Think back to many of the police chases you’ve seen captured on video.

Fleeing suspects may not have had carjacking in mind that day, but when they crash their car, their only motivation is escaping the cops. If you are handy and unprepared, you may provide their next ride.

Car Chase

Again, this goes back to awareness, listen for sirens, pay attention when you see many police cars and a helicopter overhead.

Another huge part of awareness is having the ability to communicate where you are geographically.

If you have never called 911 before, one of the first things they ask you is the location of your emergency.

You may be surprised, but a lot of callers are actually stumped by this and cannot give a nearby intersection. Help needs to know how to get to you quickly.

What to Do if You’re Carjacked

1. Life Is Priority

During a carjacking, the only actionable priority is life.

No property is worth dying for.

As a result, temper your reactions accordingly.

If awareness and prevention have failed you and you find yourself in a scenario where you are confronted with an armed carjacker, exit the vehicle as safely as you can.

Try to keep your phone with you so you can call for help.

Home Defense Phone 911

Be a good witness and make mental notes of the description of the driver, what they were wearing, and the last known direction of travel.

That said, more modern vehicles have fobs that must be present for the vehicle to operate. This is not even relegated to luxury vehicles anymore.

If a jacker forces you from the vehicle, having the fob in your pocket is handy.

Use your opportunity and run like the wind to safety.

Chances are, when the felon realizes their error, they may come after you but will likely find the next best option if you are nowhere near.

2. Get Outta There

This option is great, provided you have laid some groundwork from the awareness level.

Say you pull up to a light and stop a car length behind a few cars.

You have identified two routes that would allow you a relatively safe exit from the intersection, a right-turn lane that is empty and a sidewalk clear of pedestrians.

Green represents choice one with minimal risk. Yellow is choice two with greater risk. Red is the last best choice but I’ll take it if I have to.

A driver gets out of the vehicle in front of you and approaches with something in his hand.

In this scenario, I whack it and flee in the direction least likely to jam me up.

I’m not giving out autographs, and I can’t think of a good reason for someone to come at me like that.

People are often surprised at what a vehicle will do when handled properly.

Blues Bros
Don’t use a crowded mall to escape a carjacker!

Curbs, fences, and other barriers, even other cars, will rarely stop 4,000-pounds and 150 horses.

Keep in mind; you will be responsible for your escape and any damage you cause. But cops and prosecutors are far more understanding if you can articulate a viable threat to your safety.

3. When to Fight

There are a couple of scenarios where resistance to the highest degree is necessary.

Keep in mind you are held accountable for your actions, and your use of force will be weighed against the level of threat you faced.

Never let anyone take you.

If anyone ever tries to force you to go in the car with them, do not comply.

Pick your best opportunity, distract them if you can, then make a break for it.

Rocky running

Anyone willing to abduct you likely has laid out some dubious plans.

They will take you somewhere that gives them the advantage of accomplishing those plans while minimizing their risk of being caught and your chance of escaping.

You are literally better off running from someone trying to shoot you at close range than hoping for a better outcome after being kidnapped.


This scenario is a nightmare for parents.

There are many tales in law enforcement of cars being stolen with children still in them.

First off, never leave kids alone in a vehicle, particularly a running vehicle.

Carjacking Kids in Carseat
Carseats, am I right?

Sometimes when the weather is hot or cold, folks leave a car running to keep the kids comfy while they quickly pop into the store. Take your children with you.

I know this is a hassle, but the possible risk your kids face is egregious.

People who care for kiddos know how difficult it can be to quickly remove smaller kids from car seats, so this is often unfeasible.

My approach while transporting precious cargo has always been awareness and avoidance. Flee if possible, fight like hell if forced.         

By the Numbers

I cannot emphasize enough how important the arts of awareness, detection, and avoidance are in staying safe while driving.

Always strive to avoid the situation upfront, so you do not have to flee or defend yourself with violence.

Develop good habits like locking your doors, staying aware of your surroundings, knowing where you are, visualizing avenues of escape. Then make these practices habitual in your daily travels.

Door Lock
Lock those doors!

The risks you avoid may not even be a carjacking targeting you.

Being aware that the car in the next lane cut off another driver may tip you off to some pending violence.

Forewarned is forearmed. Start moving away.

Shots fired between those two vehicles may not have involved you at the start, but they involve everyone within range when they ring out.

Before you are forced to use violence to defend yourself or others, learn how to do it effectively.

Get training on how to strike and grapple.

In addition to trigger time you should be getting training in handgun retention and force-on-force. Be a well-rounded shooter, not just some guy who punches holes in paper while standing still on a firing line.
In addition to trigger time, you should be getting training in force-on-force.

Find a reputable firearms instructor who will train you to carry your weapon and deploy it from a vehicle.

You can shoot for years on a static range, learn good skills, and then get hung up in a seatbelt.

Of critical importance, learn the laws regarding self-defense that apply to your area.


Avoidance is the highest reward category when it comes to carjackings. But remember, the suspect has a say in what happens too. So be ready.

Have you ever been carjacked? Let us know in the comments below. Also, get to know Sean in The Blue Brief: An Introduction.

The post The Blue Brief: How To Survive a Carjacking appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

]]> 18
7 Best Self Defense Knives Under $300 Sun, 11 Apr 2021 21:30:00 +0000 Do you know what terrifies me more than any other violent encounter? A knife fight. I heard someone once say the loser of a knife fight leaves in a hearse, and the winner goes in an ambulance. It seems, in general, a knife fight is over before it ever starts. It’s a terrifying proposition to […]

The post 7 Best Self Defense Knives Under $300 appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

Do you know what terrifies me more than any other violent encounter?

A knife fight.

CRKT Minimalist Neck Knife, Bowie
Knives may look simple, but they’re not to be underestimated.

I heard someone once say the loser of a knife fight leaves in a hearse, and the winner goes in an ambulance.

It seems, in general, a knife fight is over before it ever starts.

Jan Steen Kartenspiel Streit
Knife fights…they’ve been happening for awhile. (Streit beim Kartenspiel by Jan Steen)

It’s a terrifying proposition to find yourself in any violent situation. But, as Americans, we carry firearms to bridge the gap and protect ourselves against violent attacks.

However, sometimes we can’t have a gun…or a gun might not be the best choice…or maybe the attack happened so fast you can’t access your firearm.

Hogue Sig EX-A05

That is where a knife comes into play.

Is it likely you’ll ever use your knife in a self-defense situation?

No, not very likely.

It’s also not statistically likely you’ll use your firearm or tourniquet.

Checking if Gun is Safe at Range
May not ever use one of these in a self-defense situation, but that doesn’t mean you don’t pack one just in case.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared to defend yourself with anything on hand.

With that in mind, I’ve gathered some of the best self-defense knives on the market priced under $300.

Table of Contents


Why Under $300

For many, a knife that costs $50 is too much. For most, anything over $300 seems crazy.

However, in the knife world, knife guys and gals pay way more than that for some knives.

In truth, the world of knives is massive.


Knives from companies like Microtech can go for as much as $1,000. So, $300 seems a bit more friendly.

This list compiles blades from $20 to $200, ensuring there’s something for just about everyone’s price range.

What to Consider

Before throwing down money on a knife, there are a few things to consider.


How is the knife carried, and how fast can you access it?

Accessing the blade should be rapid and easy to do without much difficulty.

Drawing the knife and getting it into action should be second nature and without complication.


Fixed blade knives do not have deployment issues, but folding knives and automatic knives need blades that easily deploy with a single hand. Ambidexterity is a bonus as well.


How easily does the knife conceal in regular clothing?

Hidden Neck Knife
Hidden Neck Knife

It’s tough to carry a Ka-Bar with a t-shirt to cover it.

A normal person’s defensive blade will need to be concealed. Sadly, that eliminates bowie knives but still opens up some decent fixed blade options.

Get Training!

Like a firearm, you should get some serious training for defensive knives.

Companies like Shiv Works and Active Response Training will get you the skills you need to employ a knife in a defensive situation.

Best Self Defense Knives Under $300

1. Emerson Mini CQC 15

Emerson rose to prominence by making knives for special operations troops.

Ernest Emerson’s small shop became the favorite knifemaker for the Navy SEALs, and word about his fine knives quickly spread.

I carried an Emerson CQC 7 for years as a Marine and became a huge fan of these knives.

at Blade HQ

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

While the CQC 7 is great, the Mini CQC 15 is better.

The Mini CQC 15 is a combination of the CQC 7 and Commander models.

Self Defense Knives Ka Bar TDI Investigator
Emerson Mini CQC 15

It mixes the penetration capability of the CQC 7’s tanto tip with the deep and slash-friendly belly of the Commander.

It allows the user to slash and stab with equal effectiveness.

Emerson knives also sport the wave feature that allows you to open the blade as you draw it from your pocket.

It takes a little practice, but once you’ve mastered it, the Emerson jumps into action.

Your hand won’t slip off the roughly textured G-10 panels.

In fact, if you have a tight grip on the knife and something yanks it from you, some skin is coming with it.

Self Defense Knives Emerson Mini CQC 15

It’s rough but provides a good grip, even when wearing gloves.

As a bonus, it’s also a great knife for EDC tasks and tough enough for camping and general outdoors use.

As far as folding fighting knives go, the Mini CQC 15 is quite versatile.

at Blade HQ

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

2. Ka-Bar TDI Investigator

Ka-Bar’s Master series takes numerous knife users’ expertise and boils it into a few purpose-built designs.

Tactical Defense Institute owner and lead instructor John Brenner designed the TDI to be the ultimate police self-defense knife — with firearm retention being the knife’s primary goal.

John’s 33-year police career drove the design, and the end result was a simple but very effective fighting knife.

The Investigator is the compact model and makes concealed carry easier.

Self Defense Knives Ka Bar TDI Investigator
Ka-Bar TDI Investigator

As a civilian concealed carrier, I like simplicity, and the TDI makes things very simple.

The somewhat curve to the handle provides you a simplistic design.

Slashing and stabbing with the Investigator is easy as well.

In a hand-to-hand fight, fancy techniques are unlikely. But, if you can punch, you can use the TDI Investigator.

The short blade is unlikely to reach vital organs in the torso, but the sight of your own blood and a large gaping wound would likely deter further violence.

Self Defense Knives Ka Bar TDI Investigator
Ka-Bar TDI Investigator

If an attacker gets in knife range, I’d prefer to attack, take the fight out of them, and then beat feet.

Something simple like the Investigator allows that.

As a fixed blade, deployment isn’t an issue, and the sheath allows for a multitude of carry options.

at Blade HQ

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Cold Steel Hide Out

Neck knives are all the rage for those looking to carry a fixed blade in the most convenient way possible.

Hide Out turns out to be a rather appropriate name for this neck knife.

Cold Steel designed the Hide Out to be a deep conceal fixed blade dagger design with a 3-inch blade but weighing a mere 1.9-ounces.

A dagger design allows you to stick and stab easily and slash when necessary.

Self Defense Knives Cold Steel Hideout
Cold Steel Hideout

The tip is painfully sharp and will dig in without remorse when told to.

Fixed blades don’t break, or at least they don’t break as often as folding or automatic knives.

Our edge provides a slight belly for slashing, but this is more of a poker than a slasher: more Freddy and less Jason.

Freddy vs Jason

A weatherproof material called Kray-Ex adorns the handle and provides a rubberized-like grip with an aggressive texture.

Kray-Ex ensures the knife stays in your hand and provides some degree of comfort as well.

Self Defense Knives Cold Steel Hideout

The sheath is polymer and complete with many lashing points to make a necklace or to attach the knife nearly anywhere.

You might say that guy is a little small to be a dagger.

Well, right now, he’s Luke, and you’re a jailed Princess Leia. So, you take what you can get.

Leia Short Storm Trooper

It’s small but easy to use and carry.

It’s also relatively affordable and very well made.

at Blade HQ

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

4. Hogue OTF

Switchblades are clearly as dangerous as machine guns; at least the regulations regarding them would make it seem so.

Sadly, lots of state laws prohibit the sale and carry of automatic knives. So, before you run out and buy one, it’s worth investigating your local laws.

In short, research before you buy!

If you can carry an automatic knife, then the Hogue OTF might be the one for you.

Self Defense Knives Hogue OTF
Hogue OTF

OTF knives tend to be pricey.

John Wick’s Microtech costs more than a Glock on average.

John Wick Knife

The Hogue OTF comes in at less than $250. It’s not a budget blade that will fall apart after a few uses, either.

I’ve used mine for years now and carry it all the time.

As an OTF blade, the Hogue deploys with the press of a button, so one-handed deployment is quite simple.

Hearing that schwick as blade deploys is oh so satisfying.

Self Defense Knives Hogue OTF

The blade is a clip point with a might swedge for easy cutting and stabbing. It uses a premium grade 154 CM steel that is incredibly tough and quite durable for defensive tasks.

A big grip fills your hand for an effective hammer grip.

Getting slashy and stabbing with the Hogue OTF proves simple, and it will double as a very effective EDC blade.

One-handed deployment will never be easier than with an automatic knife.

Give one a spin, and it’s tough to go back to a standard folder.

But again, local laws supersede the love of a cool tool. Always research your local laws before buying an auto.

at Blade HQ

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

5. Toor Knives Jank Shank

Shank is absolutely the best term to describe the Jank Shank.

Look at the simplicity of the little knife and tell me it doesn’t look like a refined prison shank.

The Jank Shank is a simple, lightweight, and ultra-thin fixed blade knife.

Toor Knives Jank Shank Black
Toor Knives Jank Shank in black

Toor Knives is a small company doing big things, and the Jank Shank is a small thing that does big things.

This minimalist design is made for shiving, slashing, and shankin’ with a needle-like blade.

It’s made from CPM 35 VN, a tough tool steel, falling in the premium category of knife blades.

The 3-inch blade is nothing to fuss at and will penetrate deep enough to change someone’s mind when it comes to attacking you.

Toor Knives Jank Shank Teal

While it lacks a belly, it will still slice when needed. Ultimately, it’s all about jabs with the Jank Shank.

The Jank Shank has a rear pinky hole to increase retention and make drawing from the sheath easy.

Toor Knives has a multitude of sheath and carry options.

So, you can go traditional IWB, horizontal, or whatever else you need to conceal your shank.

at Toor Knives

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

6. Ka-Bar LDK

Another Ka-Bar in the TDI family in the LDK. Kind of. The LDK was designed by a friend of the website, Greg Ellifritz.

LDK stands for Last Ditch Knife, and this fella is teeny tiny.

It’s small enough to work as a neck knife, be laced into a boot, or even stash in a wallet.

Truly, it qualifies as a last-ditch weapon, offering you minimal blade.

Self Defense Knives Ka Bar LDK
Ka-Bar LDK

That said, the blade is designed to replicate the design of a scalpel. So, even though it’s small, it’s quite effective at cutting flesh.

Like the TDI-style knives, it works well as a punch dagger and is superbly simple to use.

When held, it allows you to add an additional sting to every punch.

At super close quarters, the little blade will open a bad guy up with rapid slashes and punches.

Self Defense Knives Ka Bar LDK
Ka-Bar LDK

It’s small but mighty and insanely easy to carry and conceal. It can be carried in nearly any style of dress.

It’s friendly to cargo pants and sundresses.

There is no reason ever to be unarmed when something like the LDK exists.

Plus, it’s super cheap and affordable. At less than $20, it’s the cheapest knife on this list by a large margin.

Sometimes simple and small is enough.

at Blade HQ

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Have you tried the Ka-Bar LDK? If so, rate it below!

7. Benchmade SOCP

Finally, we reach the SOCP.

The SOCP is a compact and ultra-thin dagger that was initially designed for military use.

This knife is far from traditional but is inherently modern and easy to use.

While it’s rather long, it is thin, and the included sheath makes it easy to conceal and carry.

Benchamde SOCP
Benchmade SOCP

The ring at the end of the handle ensures a sure draw and excellent retention.

Users are inclined to use an ice pick grip that allows downward stabs and slashes.

The idea behind the SOCP is simple.

When someone gets on top of you and starts grappling and fighting with you, the SOCP allows you to slash and stab, creating distance between you and the bad guy.

Let the SOCP take the steam out of a violent attacker and retreat.

Benchmade SOCP Black

With how thin the knife is, you can draw your firearm and engage without ditching the knife — very Solid Snake in its design.

The SOCP blade is rather long and will provide some serious sting to the bad guy when needed.

Admittedly it’s not a very good utility knife for EDC purposes.

It’s a bit much to open a piece of mail or to cut through some cardboard.

Too Much

For creating distance and escaping a threat, though, it’s perfect. Plus, as a fixed blade, there are no deployment worries.

Benchmade also makes a training blade for safe practice. A knife is like a gun, and training is required to be proficient with it.

at Blade HQ

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing


While the prospect of using a knife defensively is terrifying, it’s still wise to consider a knife as a viable weapon. Not as an alternative to a firearm, but to compliment it, or as a force multiplier in a gun-free zone.

Misc Pocket Knives
Knives are just plain handy, let’s be real.

We’ll say it one last time: before you run off half-cocked and buy an automatic knife or a dagger, research your local laws.

If you think gun laws are confusing, wait until you read about knife laws. In some states, it’s easier to carry a gun than specific types of knives.

Do your due diligence, folks.

Agree with my picks? Have your own? Let us know below! Ready for more knife recommendations? We have the 10 Best Tactical Knives and the 4 Best Survival Knives ready for you to read.

The post 7 Best Self Defense Knives Under $300 appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

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