We all have to clean our weapons at some point and having a dedicated mat like the TekMat series is certainly a nice upgrade to just throwing down some rags on a table. Made of a soft polyester top and non-slip neoprene back it offers a good non scratch platform for firearms with enough stick to stay in place.
I had a chance to beat up on the Strikemark SM-1 not long and wanted to spread the good word. There are plenty of hard steel targets out on the market, but not many that reset in a speedy and reliable fashion. Utilizing 3/8" thick AR500 steel the SM-1 will take what the vast majority of shooters dish out, all with way up to 7.62 NATO. I found that even green-tip 5.56 wasn't a problem just leaving small indents while traditional ammo flattened out quite nicely. Functionality is great using a battery / electric motor system. Reset time is a speedy and consistent 1.5 seconds and one battery charge can rock out 1500 resets or more depending on temperature and other factors that effect batteries.
For AK users out there you may be used to doing some ghetto cord ties to get desired interfacing with single point slings. Fortunately ECHO93 has made a series of AK Sling Plates that offer a little something for everyone and do it in the KISS spirit of the AK. Machined and made of thick parkerized steel, these plates are ready for combat abuse. Another big plus is that installation is overall painless merely requiring the removal of the pistol grip and sneaking the plate between the receiver and the grip. Parts can vary, however the grip screw is almost always long enough so no other extra parts are needed. To help narrow this down, ECHO93 recommends the plates for AKM type stamped receivers.
The Never Quit Grip is an interesting lil' addon as grabbing the magwell of an AR-15 platform rifle is somewhat of a controversial subject. Some instructors feel the weapon should always be handled by the secondary hand further out to give better "drive" handling of the rifle or other balance issues. In my opinion, if anyone cares :), I think it is good to have options. When shooting from unusual positions such as vehicles, foxholes, windows or whatever, grabbing the magwell can make for a sweet grip. Depending on the length of the weapon, the magwell grip can also make for a great feel of weapon balance whether it be blasting or just carrying.
My buddy Kyle Lamb passed on one of his latest products my way to get a sneak peek. You might be familiar with VTAC's current light mount which is a nice cost effect way to mount a tactical light on picatinny rails. They are made of some fancy PVC based material that is light, but still heavy duty durable. On this latest version the screw setup is a bit easier now and Kyle wanted me to make sure and note that on the final version the T-nuts will be changed to snap in.
This is a straight forward item that assists in training safety and identification. To install ones just breaks their gun down and replaces their real barrel with this one. No tools or wacky techniques are required further than what your weapon already required. Once in, there is no way for bullets to be chambered so the weapon is completely safe even with live magazines inserted. When in normal slide forward mode, the training barrel can easily be seen with all of its bright yellow glory in the ejection port area and muzzle end. Alternatively, when the slide is back, more of the barrel is visible while the ejection port yellow can only be seen from the rear.
Since I was so happy with the MagLula, I had to try out the Lula. Rifle magazines are generally easier than pistol magazines to deal with, but the Lula makes then even easier. The way it works is you place the Lula on top of the mag with big opening towards the business end of the bullets. The lula will snap onto the mag catch for a solid connection. Now when moving the lever back and forth this will cycle between pushing bullets down on the right and left side of the mag. When pushed down this allows space for a round to be inserted. So when reloading: one angles the mag back for gravity assistance, puts in a round, cycles the lever, and repeats till full.
I picked one of these up at shotshow and I'm hooked on it. Call me a wuss, but if you ask me when you go to the range you are there to shoot and not load! The UpLULA has been working great for my SIG-P226 9mm, but the crazy thing is it can work on .45, .40, 10mm, .357, and 9mm caliber rounds and magazines; both single and double stack mags. The wedge design guides whichever mag you are using into the right place and then the inward metal bar holds down the bullets to allow easy insertion of your next round.