Archive for the ‘03.Product Reviews by Bret’ Category
Viridian-Equipped Ruger 10/22:
This venerable American classic gets a functional 21st Century makeover by going green with a few cost effective aftermarket add-ons.
All photographs by Oleg Volk.
Since the mid 1960s the Ruger 10/22 has dominated the U.S. civilian shooters’ market as the gold standard of .22LR self loaders. Like other great American design classics, the 1911 pistol and the AR15 tactical rifle, the great American buying public took the Ruger 10/22 into their home workshops and “Americanized” it even further with their own improvements. Through those countless independent efforts this basic rifle boasts one of the largest selections of accessories of any firearm in history.
My 10/22 came into my life as a used trade-in that I purchased at one of my local stocking dealers, Wyatt’s Sporting Goods of Cicero, Indiana. It was attractively priced due to some wear on the factory original wooden stock. The receiver and barrel showed almost no use at all. This was just what I needed since I had already made up my mind to outfit this 10/22 with a Choate folding stock.
Test firing proved the predictable flawlessness that all Ruger rifles are known for and point of impact was dead on the iron sight’s point of aim. I loved it!
For a couple of years the iron sights only folder stayed stowed away handy as my truck gun. I had settled on carrying a total of three 10 round rotary magazines packed in a zip lock sandwich bag for dust and moisture protection. Yes, I had tried a few high capacity magazines but I never found a design that I liked. Maybe I just picked the wrong brands, but after spending over $75 on various high capacity carriers that would feed three or four rounds between jams I felt more comfortable carrying just a few ten-rounders that worked.
So, how can I explain the Black Dog magazine featured in these photographs? That’s simple; my photographer, Oleg Volk does some advertising work for Black Dog Machine. Unlike me, Oleg was aware of the quality of their products.
I skeptically agreed to begin the photo shoot with one of his Black Dog Machine 25 round magazines with Oleg’s promise that if I was unhappy with its performance, he would re-shoot the session with one of my ten round magazines in its place.
After spending the afternoon putting this rifle through its paces I am very proud to show all of my friends my new first choice for feeding my “FrankenRuger” carbine. The Black Dogs performed without a snag.
The whole idea behind choosing the accessories that I have for this 10/22 started when I met the guys at Viridian. When I signed on to work as a consultant for Brian and Tom, I found myself visiting police departments and demonstrating Viridian’s tactical advantages with laser-equipped handguns from my private stable.
When I used my 9mm Glock 17 longslide with an X5L, my .40SW Springfield XD Tactical with an SXD, and my Walther P22 with its original WP22 laser, I was surprised to find that the most popular pistol that my cops picked to fire just for fun was the P22. This was great because a lot of these live-fire demos were arranged on my own and the ammo cost for those sessions was coming out of my pocket.
These early field demonstrations and the great feedback from several police officers that I had known for a while made my research on the advantages of Viridian’s high-visibility green lasers much easier. The one question that many cops kept asking me was, “What do you have for my carbine/SMG?”
With so many police department indoor ranges limited to pistol calibers only and my background experience with everyone’s love of the Walther P22 pistol, I decided to work up a demonstrator carbine in .22LR. The natural choice was my old reliable 10/22 folder.
The X5L green laser and tactical light combo has a second cross bolt to use as an option when mounting it on a Picatinny rail with no pistol trigger guard behind it. Lots of folks make Picatinny railed stocks for the 10/22 but I didn’t like them as well as my Choate stock.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover a rail adaptor made to fit the standard Ruger 10/22 that was manufactured by UTG. I knew that the external dimensions of the factory wood and the Choate stock were very similar, so I ordered the UTG rail kit and hoped for the best.
Fitting the UTG Picatinny rails to my Choate stocked Ruger was simple enough for even me. The UTG literature proclaims that one can still use the original iron sights of the rifle, but there was not enough left above the rail to satisfy me. I wanted to do something a little different anyway, so this was not a problem.
The ideal location for mounting a laser aiming device on any firearm is directly under the bore at six o’clock and as close to the bore as possible. The UTG rail kit is very generous with the mounting space that it provides on the top and both sides of the 10/22. Due to the tapered profile of the stock UTG decided that they would only provide six slots on the bottom rail. The X5L requires four of them.
My first experimental fix was to attach a longer riser to the bottom rail to give me enough room to put a vertical grip behind the X5L. The practical problem with this was simple; it added unnecessary distance between the bore of the rifle and the laser aperture. Accuracy is the whole idea here, so keeping the laser close to the bore is very important.
I also had a philosophical problem with the hardware. Can I still call the riser a “riser” if it lowers the laser in respect to the iron sights and muzzle?
Regardless of the use or misuse of the terminology, the riser was out.
With a little bit of motor skills practice at home, my initial trip to the range proved that the X5L’s controls were easily manipulated by the left index finger with a very natural feeling grip.
Sighting in the X5L’s green laser at twenty-five yards took about five shots. My iron sights were a bit more problematic, but they came around with minor mechanical adjustments and some creative verbal coaxing.
The finished product is neither a work of art nor too damned ugly. It is heavy by .22LR standards, but it is very robust and more closely emulates the feel of a full-sized tactical carbine. The economical ammunition situation means practice is more affordable. Low noise and low recoil of the cheaper feed makes first-time laser users more comfortable. Students can concentrate on the fundamentals instead of learning to flinch. Overall it does its intended job quite well.
My friend Brandon practices move and fire technique with laser-equipped 10/22.
The photographic talents of Oleg Volk are beyond compare.
Here he makes me look less like Wilford Brimley and more like Wilford Brimley’s evil twin.
You get what you pay for…….
If you have an interesting firearms application of a Viridian laser and you would like to share it with our readers please contact me at email@example.com I’d like to see just what you’ve cooked-up.
Is a writer as well as an independent consultant on the lawful use of lethal force. As the director of Asymmetric Warfare Studies Group since 2002, Bret has worked as a consultant for Viridian Green Laser, the DoD, DoE, HUD, and DHS.
Bret’s work in body armor design, safety equipment design and public safety training goes back to the early 1980s and his consultant relationships with Silent Partner/Solutions Inc, ROBBEC Inc and a few friendly foreign agencies. Bret is currently looking for other consulting opportunities and has no business relationship with Viridian other than as a reseller of some of their products at this time.
The 9mm KelTec PF9 and Viridian Laser C5L as a Concealed Carry Combo or Confessions of an Ageing, Bifocaled Gunslinger
By Bret Rivers, photos by Oleg Volk
My HK P7 pistol and I have been business partners for over 25 years. We’ve even gone on vacation together. My P7 was right in front of me in a half dozen exchanges with hostiles and it was at my side when I gave away my daughter on her wedding day.
I started spending less time with my P7 about four years ago when I started consulting part time for the guys who make the Viridian green laser. Lured by the Viridian’s ability to compensate for my ageing eyes, I started hanging around larger, newer handgun models. The more voluptuous Springfield XDs and the Glocks filled my hand with higher capacity magazine wells and they had those sexy rails for adventurous accessories, like lasers.
My newfound taste for the more endowed pistols started affecting how I dressed. Suddenly I spent more time wearing vests or maybe a jacket. When it was too hot for a vest I carried my briefcase or a Maxpedition shoulder bag, just to keep company with the railed crowd.
When I truly desired to pack light I found myself torn. Do I take the old reliable P7 with no green laser, or do I settle for carrying a Walther P22 with the Viridian? I am ashamed to tell my friends that I sometimes opted for a .22LR pistol when I should have had my 9mm.
I was ready to seek professional counseling. I actually gathered up all of my Viridian-equipped pistols and my trusted P7. I put all of them and their loaded spare magazines into my vest with the most pockets and I drove down to the mental health clinic. I knew that I needed help and I was determined to get the best for me and my guns!
The sign on the front door of the clinic read, “firearms prohibited”. All hope seemed dashed. What kind of so-called mental health organization posts phobic buzz phraseology like that on its front doors? I found it very unprofessional.
My life was going into a tail spin. I couldn’t sleep at night. I cut back on my consumption of red meat. I had almost stopped listening to right wing talk radio, when a friend emailed a photograph to me; it was of a new KelTec PF9 railed compact pistol with a Viridian C5L compact laser attached.
As if Moses himself parted the sea of red tape I acquired a C5L through my friends at Viridian and another friend in the industry hooked me up with a KelTec PF9 at a reasonable price and in record time. Instantly I found several advantages of the KelTec’s lightweight materials and advanced design ideas.
In profile the P7 and the PF9 do not seem too far apart. Although I love the 2.5 pound trigger of the P7, its weight and lack of a rail reduce it to a second-best for concealed carry in my case.
Viewed from the top both pistols are slim by most standards. The shorter PF9 lends itself to more ways of unnoticed carry.
Taking the KelTec PF9 to the range I discovered that zeroing the C5L was as easy as previous Viridian designs. Accuracy at reasonable close ranges and was better than I had expected.
Although felt recoil was expectedly heavier from the lighter PF9, it was quite controllable making follow-up shots no problem. In full daylight I can use the Viridian laser out to about 25 to 30 yards with no problem. I found the PF9/C5L combo able to hit any 6 inch or larger target within the range of the green laser.
Overall, I’m a happy old gunslinger. HK snobs may disagree with my choice of a domestic peasant pistol over the legendary P7. My security needs have changed as I have advanced in age. I am smart enough to know when to change my gear to fit my needs instead of clinging to an outdated relic of a past when I had to carry a bit heavy. If any USP yuppie wants to look down his nose at my KelTec/Viridian combo, let him come back to me when he turns 60 and I’ll see if he still feels the same way.
At my advanced age my eyes are not as quick to acquire a hostile target with standard pistol sights. Diabetic neuropathy has slowed my walk and my reaction times. A daylight visible Viridian laser helps even the odds for an old man.
The slim and lightweight PF9 does not print when carried in a shirt pocket, but it gives any bad guy a reason to back down in a confrontation.