Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Short version: Comp-Tac rocks.

Shortly after signing up for Louis Awerbuck's Yavapai Stage 1 at Reed's (recommended, for you SF Bay Area gunslingers with seemingly undiagnosable shooting problems), I realized I didn't actually have a magazine pouch. My attempt to order a Blade-Tech from Midway resulted in an incorrectly oriented model ("right-handed" in midway-speak apparently means "right-side", and though I love the guys to death I was a bit cheesed), so I started shopping around. Comp-Tac had well-respected product and fast turnaround (ToddG lamented that the wait time had risen to a full week) and so in the order went. Two, actually. I put in the mag-pouch order, then a replacement for my trusty Uncle Mike's belt holster. The latter was not being problematic per-se, but it's got personality - it is possible to jam the gun in at the wrong angle if you re-holster firmly enough, and the proper re-holstering angle is actually quite small.

I was pleasantly surprised to check my e-mail and note that Comp-Tac informed me that they had combined the orders and refunded the difference in shipping. Quoted turnaround was a week and a half.

The class passed (I waited a bit too long), and the quick-fix Blackhawk! single mag pouches, while certainly convenient, were a one-size-fits-all, sub-optimal solution. A half-inch of belt contact with an oversize 1 1/2" clip meant the pouches had way too much play. The tensioning system good enough; while bulky, they held the mags tightly and released them without too much protestation. I got the confirmation e-mail the night before, and they arrived the monday after. Oh, well.

The holster's fantastic. Much stiffer than the Uncle Mike's, it's also a lot smoother in profile; it fits the gun like a glove, but there's no projections to hang up on during re-holster, so it's butter-smooth from any angle that will get the gun in the holster. It's lower profile, not more than 2mm bigger than the gun. And it simply refuses to let go of the belt, contacting it for a full two inches. It just doesn't move. Consider the preceding a glowing endorsement.

The mag pouches are equally well-engineered - grip the mags just enough, but let them go - at the right angle (the rear one takes some practice to loose, which is a bit miffing...next time, I'll go with dual single pouches). Problem is, they shipped with screws too short. Comp-Tac bounced fresh ones (with an extra!) and another allen wrench to boot.

This is the way things should be done. Great products and flawless customer service.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The joys of C&R, episode 139.

I've raved previously about the joys of the CZ52. My opinion still stands, though working out almost exclusively with a slightly more modern handgun has reminded me 1) how much ergonomics have improved between the WWII generation and the Cold War generation and 2) how blindingly fucking fast a button magazine release is. My SIG choked for the first time (fortunately, I have a hunch about the culprit - how I fucking hate you, you beautiful, plush Hogue grips - though the solution will take an e-mail/visit to SIG-Sauer), and I decided to warm up a bit on the ol' CZ, in the off chance I don't have the SIG on Saturday.

I finally built some proper frankenmags, and they work...with 6 or fewer rounds. Triple-K (and man that is an unfortunate name for a company) builds a quality product, except they built the follower out of bent heavy-gauge sheet metal, and they evidently didn't bother to run the fucking things through an actual CZ because when I used them the skinny little followers jumped the slide stop and jammed the bloody magazines into the bloody magazine well until I stripped off the bloody grips and extricated the bloody thing. Let's just say I'm a bit peeved by the experience.

CZ-Brno, of course, didn't build magazines with this problem - the Czech followers have a fat lip on them that nothing is getting past.

Since the rest of the Triple-K product is excellent - some very nice two-piece baseplates that are both sproing resistant and easy to disassemble, nice strong springs, and the thickest phospating I've ever seen - you can probably see where I'm going with this.

Only problem is that the Czech followers are a wee bit thicker than the Triple-K ones, and anything past six requires some banging and/or poking with a cleaning rod to get the follower back up.

Here's hoping they run.

Oh, and if you disassemble a magazine upside down and don't bother to catch the recoil spring and spring plate, at least aim it at an empty patch of floor, not three baskets worth of laundry and a heap of boxes that would only in the most nearsighted and charitable corners of Christendom be called a "neat stack."