Showing posts with label PMAG. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PMAG. Show all posts

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Response to Reader Questions

(1)Blogger tpals said...
Showing my ignorance: what exactly is a stripped lower?
July 17, 2015 at 5:10 PM
(2)Blogger Matt LBS said...
Also, I've seen your thoughts on ammo quantities, but what is the number of mags per weapon that puts you in a happy place?

Ryan here:
1) A stripped lower is technically the serial numbered part of an AR-15. It is the metallic piece of the lower without the internals gut and such.
 This is all the parts for an AR-15 lower receiver (and a sight/ carry handle). Put this all together and you have an AR-15 lower. Note the trigger, hammer, springs, take down pins, receiver extension, butt stock, etc. All of these are put together to have a functional AR-15 lower.
The stripped lower is shown in the picture above this text. Saying it is 'stripped' just means it is without all the pieces (trigger, hammer, takedown pins, receiver extension, etc) attached or included. You need to order a lower parts kit, receiver extension, buffer and buffer spring to make this into a complete lower that you could attach an upper to and make a complete rifle.

I said before that the lower is the serialized part of the firearm. In the eyes of the law that little block of aluminum is the gun. You can buy the rest of the pieces anywhere and just walk out or order it online, then get it shipped right to your house.

Stripped lowers are quite affordable. They are regularly available under $50 and always under $100. I don't care about brands much though I do avoid polymer lowers. As Chris said "the most important part of a lower is the roll mark (that shows brand). Brands only really matter to brag to your friends that you have a Noveske, LaRue, Daniels Defense or whatever lower. If that matters to you and you have the extra cash then by all means do it. I would rather put that money into P mags, and start saving for a case of 5.56 ammunition.

The specific advantage a stripped lower has is that under most past US gun laws older pre existing stuff is grandfathered in. So if a gun ban were to happen which I think we are safe from for at least a few years that stripped lower is 'the gun' and is grandfathered in. You could order the stuff to finish it later when you can afford it.

This probable grandfathered status plus the affordability of stripped lowers makes them pretty handy. For a likely gun ban scenario a stripped lower is in effect a physical version of a stock option to have an AR in the future. Maybe you cannot afford to buy an AR today but want one down the road. Most folks can probably scrape up sixty or eights bucks to get a lower then just put it away. Case in point I would like to be able to have a rifle for each of my kids but right now I do not have 1,600-2,000 dollars to do that. On the other hand I could buy a pair of lowers and build the rifles in the future.

A person looking for profit who found a good deal on lowers and mags could do very well in the gun run I have tentatively scheduled for this fall/winter or even better than that if a ban happened. A 'AR party pack' of a stripped lower and 7 new in plastic PMAGs could probably triple their money.

(2)Matt LBS said...
Also, I've seen your thoughts on ammo quantities, but what is the number of mags per weapon that puts you in a happy place?

Yes my thoughts on ammo are on the record.

My thoughts on mags are also but to briefly recap:
 Core Defensive rifle-20
I stock AR-15 mags

Core Defensive pistol-10
I stock Glock 9mm magazines

That roughly correlate to 3x combat loads rounded out a bit. My general thinking is one set to use, one set to replace those when they are worn out/ damaged/ lost and one set for trade/ charity. Lots of people have a rifle and 2-3 mags or a pistol with two. I am happy with those numbers though more is of course merrier.

It is worth noting those numbers are PER WEAPON not per weapon type. So if you have 2 rifles it would be 40 mags. Buy a third rifle and get another 20 mags.

I hope that answers both questions. If not hit me up in the comments section.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Are Things Getting Better?

 One day this week I went out to get some 9mm ammo to shoot. Didn't find any at the first place but another customer mentioned there was some for $15 a box at another shop. While briefly chatting with the worker he mentioned they have PMAG's and Glock 17 mags in stock. I asked how much on the PMAGs just out of curiosity. He said "12.99 and you can buy two" to which I said "at that price why not." The standard Glock magazines were $28 and they had Glock factory happy sticks for $40. Didn't buy any Glock Mags because I do not NEED the normal ones and wasn't ready to buy the happy sticks.
At the next place they did have 9mm ammunition for the excellent price of $15.25 a box. So I will be able to go shooting next weekend which is good. Granted I have 9mm stashed but at this point aside from essential shooting (zeroing a scope, etc) am only putting downrange what I can replace.Went to the third local place just to round things out. They had CCI Mini Mag's at a reasonable price so I snagged the last box.

At any of those places I could have purchased an AR-15, some .223/5.56, plenty of various AR magazines, a Glock or M&P. So at least as of this week things seem a little bit better in my neck of the woods. Gun availability is almost normal though prices are a touch high still. Mags are slim but getting better and are regularly restocked. Ammo is still problematic, specifically .22lr, though either I had a lucky day or the ammo situation is improving if just from dismal to bad.

So how are things in your area? For guns? Mags? Ammo?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Gun Ramblings

Decided to try containing gun related stuff to 1-2 days a week unless something really significant happens.  Anyway here we go. 

Did the gun store loop today. Plenty of AR's at OK prices. Lots of AR, AK and Glock mags available. AR mags varied by make of course. PMAGs were $15 no window and $17 window. One shop has TAPCO AK mags for $12.99. They've had a box of them lying around for long enough that I think the price is sustainable if not high. Glock mags ran $30ish. Since they were $25-27 before this that is not bad.

Any shotgun or precision/ hunting bolt gun can be had. A wide variety of semi auto pistols though the specific model you want might not be there.

Ammo was OK. 9mm brass cased FMJ seems to be stuck at $20. Some .40 and .45 FMJ was present. IN general there was at least some defensive ammo available in each pistol caliber. Didn't see any .223 but I wasn't really looking. Plenty of 7.62x39 @ $7ish/20. .308 FMJ was available at about a buck a shot in multiple stores. Shotgun ammo is generally unaffected. Saw a bit of CCI .22lr standard velocity ammo for $8/100.

I'm going to wrap this up and follow shortly with a second post on the J Frame.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Gun Show Report 4/27/13

Turns out our little town had a gunshow today! So needless to say I had to check it out. As I'm in the market for a Glock 26 it made sense to go look. It was interesting for sure. Aside from the baby Glock I wasn't really looking for anything but was open to a great deal or something small to fill a need.

Guns: Tons of AR's, AK's, SKS's and Mini 14's. A good variety of semi auto .308's; M1A's and PTR-91's, a FAL n a solitary genuine HK G3 (semi). Older guns like Garands and M1 carbines were present as well as lots of hunting type rifles. Plenty of semi auto pistols like XD's, M&P's, Sigs, Glocks, etc though due to the sheer variety in that market the specific gun you want (in my case a Glock 26) might not have been be present. As to Glocks there were at least 1 each 17 and 19, a few various .45's and a couple G27's.Shotguns and .22's were also present in large numbers.

Prices varied widely. Some politically incorrect guns (mostly AR's n AK's) were priced OK considering the state of things. A couple AR's were at or around a grand. They were DMPS, the basic M&P's or comparable brands. Saw 2 nice new (dealer) rifles (BCM and Stag) for $1,150ish. Other rifles varied from optimistically priced to just silly. Several AR's from brands I have never heard of were listed at $1,600-1,700. AK's ran from $1,200 Norico Mac-90's to a $850 WASR. SKS's were running $500ish. M1A's were $2,200-2,500 and PTR's were 1,200-1,400.

Hunting rifles, shotguns and .22's were a little high but if you consider that bargaining is a given part of it's probably their padding. Ruger 10/22's were consistently priced at $325.

Pistol prices were consistently 50-100 higher than they should be. Glocks were 550-600. A guy was trying to get $850 for XDm's and another wanted $800 for a Jerico (IMI the same gun as the Baby Eagle I think) in 9mm. Revolvers were priced pretty optomistically also.

Mags: Lots of mags available. Big stacks of various AR mags and a decent speckling of PMAGs. Sig and Glock mags were present as well as some Glock 33rd 'happy sticks'. A lot of AK mags also. A speckling of less common rifle mags like Mini-14, M1 carbine, SKS detachable mags (d model?), HK G3, FN-FAL. Probably 2 dozen Ruger BX-25's and a dozen various off brand 10/22 25rd type mags. Several old guys with stacks of used mags for just about every gun made in the last 50 years.

Mag prices: USGI used AR mags $20, new aftermarket type (Brownells, Lancer, etc) AR mags $25, PMAGs $35 which is odd because a shop in town has a bunch @$21-22. Those big 60 rd surefire mags from $160-200. AK steel presumably surplus $25 except a solitary mag @$45. BXP's $60-80. Glock mags $35-40, HK G3 mags $20-25 and they were pretty rough. Those are all the prices I remember but they generally fit the same relative price point as the ones I paid attention to.

I saw 2 CMMG .22 conversion mags for the first time in awhile. Wanted to buy them but didn't see the .22 conversion kit sitting nearby and justifiably the guy would not sell them without the kit. He of course tried to sell me an AR to go with the kit I didn't want to buy (wanted the mags) then we ended up talking. He wanted my opinion of the kit. I said without changing my rifles sights it offered sufficient practical accuracy out to at least 25 meters to train or I suppose shoot small game. Told him that was sufficient for my needs and I am happy with the kit.

Ammo: This was just silly. The big local shop had a table selling .223 (PMC X-tac 55gr) around $11/20 with a 2 box limit. They had a bit of pistol ammo but I think it was for folks buying guns. Everybody else pretty much lost their damn minds. 9mm 25+/50 for brass FMJ's. .40 and .45 were more like $30/50 brass FMJ. .223 at 17/20 at one booth with the rest at a buck a round (for various low end range type ammo). 7.62x39 from $9/20-$11/20. .308 was at least a buck a round. A solitary spam can of 7.62x54R for $140, surplus 30'06 was a buck a round. Surprisingly shotgun ammo was pretty expensive also. The dudes selling .22 ammo must have been smoking a special type of crack that breeds optimism. Bricks (500-550) of bulk type .22 lr were on tables varying from $80-120. Saw the little 50 round boxes of CCI Mini Mag for $30.

One dealer in particular seemed to have utterly lost their minds. They were trying to get $40 for standard (Federal or Remington, I don't remember) 20 round boxes of 150gr soft points and $179 for a brick of federal .22lr. They had ammo cans (albeit the plastic with rubber seals) at a decent price but out of principle I did not buy any.

Discussion: Loaded guns were not allowed inside. Some guy cleared my Glock 19 for me into a makeshift (think it was a 5 gallon bucket of sand but it faced a cement wall) barrel then it was zip tied, marked with a white sticker and returned to me. Not sure how I feel about that but considering folks have been shooting each other fiddling with guns inside or busting caps all over the place trying to clear their guns on the way in it makes sense.

Now that we have talked about what folks were TRYING TO SELL it makes sense to talk about what was actually being sold. Semi automatic pistols were moving. I was driving around trying to find the place and saw a dude walking down the street with a pistol in his hand (think it had a tag on it) and asked him if it was the gun show to which he relied that it was. People were looking at handguns then some of them were buying. Hunting rifles and shotguns priced right were moving. Various collector type stuff as well as little odds n ends (holsters, etc) were getting picked over, examined, bargained over and occasionally purchased.

As to mags they weren't going anywhere. Didn't see a single AR/ AK/ G-3 mag sold nor any common pistol mags like Glock/ Sig/ XD/ etc. Saw one guy getting Mini-14 mags plus a few people looking for a spare mag for their hunting rifle, .22 plinker or an oddball (50's era .380, etc) pistol mag.

Plenty of people seemed to be looking at ammo but few were buying.  At the prices I saw it is hard to blame them. One dude really wanted .22 but not at the prices being asked. A couple folks picked up 1-2 boxes of .223, a couple got a box or two of pistol or shotgun ammo and a few folks wanted a box for various hunting type rifles. Nobody was picking up arm fulls of the stuff.

Some individuals were selling doing the walk around with a sign on their chest thing. Most had the usual odd mixture of a 40 year old .22, a 1911 and whatever. One dude had an FN-AR .308 which was pretty cool, didn't even ask the price. A dealer I asked about G26's tried to buy my Glock 19.

Personally I bought a book and 3 of those little plastic AR muzzle caps. Stickers said 12 to which I offered 10 which was accepted.  Looked at lots of guns, handled a few, laughed at some ammo prices, chatted with some nice people and generally had a fine time. Would have liked to leave with a Glock 26 but it wasn't a bad way to waste a couple hours.

How does this compare with your neighborhood?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Firearmagedon Tailing Off?

TEOTWAWKI Blog called it a few days ago and over the past 24 hours it has picked up the pace a bit in AZ (specifically Southern AZ).

AR prices are trending solidly down. I think the folks who came too late to the 'double the new price for your used AR' party are starting to realize there are not people left who can/ will pay $1,600+ for a basic PSA/ Oly/ DPMS/ Bushmaster let alone a generic Franken AR. I am now seeing these guns more in the 1k-1,200 range but nobody seems to be buying, at least in a hurry. Low end AK's like WASR's and Yugo's are down to the 1k range for the most part though I did see a Polish 74 at a $650 asking price.

Some mags seem to be slipping down in price as well. Saw some PMAGs for 30 (gently used I think) to 35. USGI in the $30 range. A few Tapco AK mags at $25 a piece. Factory full capacity pistol mags, especially of the Glock flavor, Ruger BXP-25's and some other less common stuff is basically not available. Though one guy had Ruger BXP mags listed for $70.) This is weird because this stuff was being listed, albeit at stupid prices, a week or two ago. The only thing I can figure is buyers are waiting it out and potential sellers are not desperate.

The one sad face, at least in my AO is ammunition. Evil semi auto ammo is next to unavailable at sane prices. On the private market 7.62x39 is running 45-50 cents a round (steel) in quantity and higher for smaller lots. .223/5.56 is going for 75 cents a round (brass, a bit less for steel) or higher. .308 is occasionally available a box or two at a time in more expensive hunting loads at a buck and a quarter a round. Anything on the private market is about a buck and a quarter a shot.

Other rifle ammo is generally available and prices are relatively unchanged.

Pistol ammo is sporadically available at close to pre panic prices if you do not care about manufacturer/ load. It is solidly available at higher prices in stores that marked it up and on the private market. Mark ups vary for 40% to 100+% with 9mm ($20/50 is the best deal I have seen in awhile) packing the highest premiums. Interestingly premium type defense ammo is still widely available. As Tam would say "Bubba and Cletis aren't buying more than a mag of them there holler points". I suppose the folks who are able and willing to stock the good stuff deep did it awhile back, probably at better prices.

Shotgun ammo is fairly available locally if you are not picky.  Of course the low cost Walmart type buckshot is gone but it is available at slightly higher prices.

.22lr is available in small quantities. Everybody has shifted to just making the little 50 and 100 round packs. Most stores I have been to recently has at least a few boxes, usually with a 2-3 box limit. A person can get the stuff but not necessarily in their favorite flavor.

Without the benefit of a crystal ball I would say that unless you are really desperate, which we could arbitrarily describe as less than a fighting load of mags (7x30's or 11x20's for a rifle, 4 mags for a pistol) and enough ammo to reload them all 3x, holding off might be a good idea. Your money will probably buy a lot more gun stuff in 2-4 months.

[Of course the decision would need to be based on multiple factors. The first of which is your finances, the price difference means a lot more to some folks than others. The next would be the totality of your other preps as well as your overall 2A preps. Example a guy with 6 Glocks and a trunk full of mags for them but only 3x mags for the sole M&P is in a fine spot overall. Don't stress only having 500 rounds for the .308 if you have 10 cases of ammo for the AK, etc. The last factor would be what you think is going to happen.

Anyway that is what is going on here in Southern Arizona. What is going on in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happiness is a Brownells Box at Your Door

I ordered 10 more PMAGs and some various spare parts from Brownells on the 17th of December and it showed up at my door this evening. In the time it took for them to ship the price I could get for them has multiplies 3-4 times. However those are just paper gains because I am not selling them.

We did not need them but I wanted more PMAGs. Wish I would have ordered 4 more so we would have a nice even number. I'll tack them onto my next order and if they show up that is nice and if not oh well. Honestly we are above ratio (20 per gun) so they aren't needed but I like PMAGs and want the option to continue using them. Spare parts were to replace some taken from inventory to finish (after me losing/ breaking a couple things in my AR-15 lower receiver build) and fill some holes we had.

5 Lessons from the Panic in 2012 at Teotwawki Blog was worth reading and thinking about. All in all if things get ugly we are not in a bad spot. Mostly this is because we were not in a bad spot before this whole current mess. The vast majority of this preparation was done over a few years at normal prices and deals when I could find them. We have picked up a few things including this order but they were really just rounding things out. This mag order was icing on the cake so to speak.

Also I knew what our shortages were and acted upon them. Not perfectly.  The day those mags were ordered I SHOULD have purchased an AR-15 stripped lower for a pistol build when prices were sane. Don't have a great reason why, this just didn't happen. If something sticks I will really regret that mistake. Beyond that anything I would want (a complete AR pistol to go with that lower or a PTR-91) would have been cost prohibitive for us.

The only thing that really came to mind except the stuff covered in Alexanders post is the benefit of having some money lying around. We have been able to surge on some things because at little to no notice there was money to do so. If we had no money that would not have happened. 

Anyway those are my thoughts on that. Hope you are doing well filling whatever shortages you may have.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

RE: What's Available

TEOTWAWKI Blog asked so I am chiming in for South East Arizona. Down here in the shops AR's are slowly trickling in and moving out immediately afterwords. They are keeping about the same profit margin but all the way up the supply chain there have been demand based price increases and potentially some bidding wars. Basic guns from folks like DPMS, Del Ton or Olympic Arms are running $1,200 to $1,600. The private party AR market is out of control. I am not sure if folks are buying BS parts guns worth maybe $650 a week ago for upwards of 2 grand but a lot of folks seem to be trying to sell them.

Ammo for .223 is available in limited quantities. PMAGs are running $30-40 on the private market. Some normal capacity 20 round mags are available and occasionally an oddball plastic 30rder from some company I have never heard of shows up.

A wide variety of pistols are still available though Glock 9mm's are notably absent. Still XD/MP/etc type guns out there in stores and on the private market. Prices haven't jumped so much on them. Seen private market folks trying to sell Glocks for upwards of $600 but careful search can get you one at about $500 which is a bargain these days. Good luck getting mags for a Glock 19/17 though. Glock 9mm mags are off the shelves and not really present on the private market. Seen folks trying to sell those junk aftermarket 33rders for stupid prices like $40.

The common Sig/ Beretta 92 type mags are gone but XD, S&W MP and some others are still available. Folks around here just don't seem to own these guns in any numbers or the folks who have them aren't the stocking up types.

9mm ammo is available though the price of your bulk/ plinking stuff is considerably higher than before this mess.

7.62x39 is available but at over $300 a case. Still not too bad of a jump considering how other stuff has moved.

Shotgun ammo is widely available as are .38/.357 and 40 S&W in pistol calibers and most standard hunting type calibers 30'06, .300Winmag, etc. Bolt action rifles, shotguns and revolvers have not really changed in availability

What are things like in your area?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gun Shop Trip 12/21 and World Isn't Over Yet

Yesterday I went to the gun shop and today ended up going back. As a joke I told the guy behind the counter I wanted a stripped AR-15 lower receiver and 10 PMAGs in a serious sounding voice. He picked up the joke but did not laugh. Good time to be a gun shop owner but the guy behind the counter probably not so much.

Wanted to pick up a few 20 rd AR mags (which they had the day before) and check out ammo prices. Waited for about 20 minutes for the guy working the counter to have a minute to grab what I wanted from behind the counter and ring me up. Turns out they had 2 30 rounders slipped into the stack and priced the same @ 21.95 for Bushmaster. The guy asked where I found them and I said with the 20's (which was true) and he hesitated for a minute then said it was my lucky day. I didn't need any mags really but thought having a couple 20's around might not be a bad thing.

They had some .308 in stock today as well as a good amount (probably a case) of PMC M193. The price on the PMC went up from 9.75 yesterday to 11 and change today but it was new stock so the price difference makes sense. No AR's in stock but they did have a Springfield M1A for $2,300.

Ended up redoing my AR mag inventory this afternoon. Turns out we are doing better than I thought (did the inventory before household goods arrived so the mag inventory, particularly AR mags was split) which is very positive news considering the way things might be going. Actually that means I didn't really need the 30's but oh well. Might be glad I got them some day.

Incidentally things have been getting downright nasty in the market for gun stuff. I have seen a couple guys trying to sell guns that were worth $650-800 a week ago for over 2 grand. Some guy wanted a grand for a darn Yugo SKS which was totally insane. Cheaper than Dirt tried selling PMAGs for $60 for about a minute until there was a rather nasty backlash.

[It is worth noting that companies need to consider the replacement cost of inventory as well as the purchase price (and of course their costs and profit). That means in a rapidly adjustmenting market Bob the gun shop owner might just be changing prices to keep up and reorder inventory/ stay in business not to stick it to the customer.]

I'm a free market guy so the idea of price gouging isn't generally an issue for me. Free choice on both sides. Now I can note that typically for companies this is a short term gain long term loss scenario. Customers have long memories and while they might make a necessary purchase during an emergency when things are back to normal they remember and buy from another dealer.  Making a few extra bucks today but alienating a customer who may spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a year over time isn't a very good business model. Anyway I had an idea.

People should work together to help each other out. By sharing information and helping each other out they can level out regional anomalies. If Tim can find Beretta 92 mags and Bob needs them Tim could pick up a few and sell them to Bob at cost plus shipping. Maybe John can find AK mags that Tim needs and send them his way. I genuinely believe good people being prepared is in every other good persons best interest.

Along these lines I have seen the following mags in my AO: Springfield XD (just about all) @ 27ish, A couple G23 mags @ $27, Beretta and Sig mags around $37, a few really overpriced HK 91 mags @ 14.95 and there might still be a few 20 round AR mags out there @21.95. Drop me a line at if you need and cannot find any of this stuff.

Obviously you should use common sense. Don't front somebody money for mags and ship them without payment. Use the same common sense you would in any other online type purchase using a payment method with some protection. Also do not do anything illegal like making a straw purchase or mailing a weapon out of the narrow conditions where it is acceptable.

If you can get something like AR parts or mags at decent prices either drop me an email and I'll play match maker or leave a note in the comments section.

Incidentally the world seems to not have ended as of now. My study of Mayan history says it is happening tonight at about 930 in the evening Arizona time. We will see if they were right in a few hours.

Merry Christmas and good luck if you are trying to find any gun related stuff these days. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Assault Weapons Band and Matthew Bracken Radio Interview

Matthew Bracken comes on about an hour in. Worth listening to as Mr Bracken always is. Maybe he is right and maybe he is wrong; I will leave you to draw your own conclusions.

I do not take easily to panic but if the Dem's could pull something off this is the best opportunity in awhile. [Well since the two years where they had the house, senate and presidency but did nothing.]

After looking at our inventories I saw some holes. AR mags are in an OK spot but I want more PMAGs. Also AR spare parts could be better.  Brownells has PMAGs for $12.50 a piece as well as a variety of AR-15 spare parts. Our ammo situation is not great but decent. Code for I want more ammo but these days even the best priced ammo is expensive and there is other stuff on the list. Sure if I had a few hundred bucks sitting around I would like another case of 9mm ball, one of 9mm JHP and 250 rounds of 12 gauge buckshot. Those needs will addressed over the next year or so as finances allow. The holster situation could be improved as I need a nice Safariland holster as part of a war belt setup and a nice range bag would be cool but those are low on the list.

This all depresses me and I am headed off to bed. Anyway figured I would let you know what I'm up to.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hat Tip to AP: Dirt Cheap PMAG's

Check out Arctic Patriot's post. Prices at a bit over $10 for PMAGs are great. I happily (well not so much after seeing this) paid $13 a piece a couple weeks ago.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Relooking Cost AR vs AK #Whatever

Longtime reader Chris gave us a blind flash of the obvious about this ongoing debate over at his blog. One of the benefits of the AK platform has always been price. For the price of an AR you could have two AK's or an AK with some ammo and mags or whatever. Even 5 or 6 years ago AK's cost half to two thirds as much as AR's. Accessories such as mags and ammo were cheaper too.

With the massive explosion of the AR platform in recent years (for goodness sake they sell them at Walmart now) many new folks have gotten into, or expanded their role in, making AR's. This has driven down the cost point of real quality mil spec type fighting guns too which is pretty great.

As Chris pointed out it is pretty hard to touch an AK for under $600 these days. I did some checking and confirmed this to be accurate or close enough. There are some basic but solid AR's at or very near that price point. Some nitwhit AR hater or fanboy might argue that only a $1,600 big name AR is capable of being a decent fighting gun. That nitwhit's AK fanboy buddy could argue with equal effectiveness that only an Arsenal AK customized out of a big name shop is capable. They are both stupid and equally wrong.

I did wonder if accessories for the AK platform were still cheaper.

As to ammo this 7.62x39 Tula FMJ in a spam can is running 24.8 cents a round. You do pay a premium for getting ammo in a spam can (though it is already properly stored which is something to consider). You can get it closer to 20 cents a round if you don't want or need it already packed.

PMC .223 ammo is available for $350/1,000. At first glance this is more expensive than 7.62x39 but we are talking modern manufactured brass cased ammo vs com block steel cased stuff. If we compare apples and apples steel cased .223 can be had for a tiny bit more than 7.62x39. Conversely brass cased 7.62x39 is pretty expensive both because it is relatively rare and it requires more metal than .223.

[Personally I do not shoot steel cased ammo in the AR platform. I shoot steel cased ammo in AK's and Glocks but not other guns. The only hassles I have had with AR feeding were with steel cased ammo. While not in any way scientific the answer to use brass cased ammo was obvious to me. YMMV]

So ammo is really a wash in terms of cost.

As to mags I can answer this somewhat easily looking at recent purchases. I got a bunch of PMAG's from Brownells for $14 a piece. Mil spec type (new) AR type mags are running around twelve and change if you buy in any quantity. The excellent to good condition surplus eastern European milsurp AK mag's I use are running $15 right now. Then again they do pop up cheaper sometimes, I bought some for $11 back in April.

Mag prices are also a wash.

Spare parts are one area where AK's still have the edge. You can get a full AK parts kit (the whole gun minus receiver and barrel) for under $200. I am not willing to look up prices and make estimates but you cannot do that with an AR.

Chris's point that AK supplies are drying up (at least in part due to import regulations on Chinese guns) is valid. AK prices are going up. I would guesstimate AK's and AK stuff is up about 40% over the past 5 or 6 years. AR stuff, except ammo has generally stayed flat or dropped in price.

This is not meant to be a comparison of the two platforms. John Mosby made a very compelling case for the AR which is worth considering. That being said if you have an AK (especially if you bought it at $250-350) and are happy with it then keep on keeping on. My point was to take a look at the cost to purchase, equip and train with an AR and an AK today. It is fair to say that when considering the strengths of either platform (real or mythical) you can pretty much remove cost from the discussion as it is very comparable.

Take care of each other,

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I ran a lot this week. Something like 15 or 16 miles. Also hit the gym once. Lifting once a week seems to be how things often come out for me. I am going to experiment with it some but doing 2 big lifts (mil press and deadlift (I work cleans in here sometimes) or Bench and Squat) once a week might be the ticket for me. Especially since I am more interested in endurance these days anyway.

Pulled the trigger on the PMAG order. 10 of those wonderful magazines will no longer suffer the fate of being owned by somebody other than me. This pretty much rounds me out for AR mags. Really I was fine before just a bit lighter on PMAGs than I wanted to be.

After taking everybody's advice into consideration I made a decision about what to get for gun stuff/ gear this month. I realized that a Hill People Gear kit bag is probably the best option out there to carry while running which is a good thing. In the past I have either not bothered or stuck a pistol in the big pouch of my camelback which probably isn't the best option. Also I saw a video of a one of the Evans Brothers from HPG running with a kit bag 'docked' to a camelback. This option appeals to me because it would be sufficient for a long trail run or a light hike. Also more to the point it would let me do what I want to do for no additional cost (aside from the kit bag). Down the road a runners harness and a tarahumara would be great but that is about another 200 bones I don't want to spend right now. Even if I had another $200 (I wanted) to spend on camping/ outdoor gear it would go to a Mountain Serape anyway.

I went with the full sized kit bag instead of the runners kit bag. I can always just load it light (G 19, spare mag, keys wallet, small knife, lighter) for runs but want to be able to have my personal survival kit but with the substitution of a small fixed blade knife, as well as headlamp and maybe a GPS in the outdoors which the runners kit bag probably wouldn't support. Also picked up the running stabilizer strap which is basically an elastic band.

My remaining cash will go towards a Safariland holster for the Glock. Likely this will be purchased in a couple weeks or a month. I thought about getting a leather OWB holster (I do have an OWB kydez holster anyway) but they don't really conceal well anyway and it would be another holster I don't use often. Also a Safariland, probably the 1.5 inch drop model, would do anything a leather belt holster could but not visa versa.

We are a little bit closer to getting out of here which is cool. Most of my time and energy has been put towards getting out of here, walking around and doing stuff with the kid and running.
Also we decided to put more money into food storage albeit at the expense of PM's. All in all not a bad week.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gun/ Gear Buying Time- An Informal Poll

Finally got my computer back today which is pretty cool. Well except it took almost 2 weeks and cost a couple hundred bucks. On the bright side they were able to save everything important.

This month's purchases will be gear/ defensive stuff. Not specifically related to this discussion but along these general lines it looks like rifle plates and some additional PMAGs should be sufficiently funded. Just waiting for me to figure out a few things and pull the trigger on both. Of course I will be happy when both are finalized and delivered. Also I had previously planned to get some more Glock mags and after reviewing my mental inventory I could pick up another gun and still stay under my mag ratio which is good enough for now.   So that can go down a few notches on the list.

I  have been kicking around a few ideas but really need to think about it. I need some  various small gun stuff, a couple random mags, another Glock holster, 2-3 sets of night sights, a pistol light and a rifle light. Also another nice pack to act as a special use/ get home bag would be sweet. Additionally I have just plain been gear lusting after almost everything Hill People Gear make. Particularly the Highlander pack, Mountain Serape and runners kit bag catch my eye. The kit bags are on sale right now but that is more something I will need down the road when the kid(s) grow up some and I start spending time under a ruck as a civilian.  As to the other two items they are on the short side of my gear list.

Part of me says I should get a good OC type (for outdoor activity, etc) holster for the Glock, night sights and some other little odds and ends. That fairly reasonable idea is solid but there are enough things moving around that I might just be able to take care of all that little stuff in one shot a little bit down the road. Along the gun line of effort I am jonesing to upgrade a bunch of parts on my all around AR. Pretty much I plan to get everything except a new lower from either BCM or Spikes Tactical (the old stuff may get sold but will probably go into inventory). The practical side says to finish up a bunch of this little gun stuff, get a .22 conversion kit, pick up some more gear and then upgrade. (On the other hand project upgrade AR is the last part of my now pretty short list of realistic things I want to get done before election time. I don't believe in going crazy because something might happen with a ban or whatever but filling whatever gaps happen to be present is just smart. Holsters and high end nylon gear aren't going anywhere for awhile.)

Also the warbelt project is still in the pipeline awaiting funding.

So there are 3 options:

A) Buy various small gun stuff now. Deal with additional revenue from gun sales (if anything pans out) later, probably towards project upgrade AR.

B) Get something cool from Hill People Gear or otherwise put money into gear.

C) Build a warbelt. I have a perfectly serviceable setup now, just not exactly what I would like.

There is always D) Do something else.

Before somebody asks the usual (relevant) questions about various other stuff like food or whatever please remember that the purchasing plan I am using allocates given amounts of money to different categories. It is not like I am shorting food to buy gear or medical to buy something else or whatever. Also what might be the biggest benefit of this plan is that I am no longer worried about if I should be spending money elsewhere. It is fairly easy for me to know what are the next logical options in a given category while it is pretty hard to compare totally unlike items. When it is time to buy gear I buy gear, ditto for food/ water or medical/ communications. I will revisit the categories maybe 1-2x a year to reshuffle if needed. This just takes out all that worry (and my tendency to gravitate to the tactical side which I know best) out of the equation.

I am still working through my own thoughts on this. Honestly I hadn't planned to write this post, it just sort of came together spontaneously. Anyway please let me know what you think. Cannot guarantee I will go with the consensus/ or most compelling point but I will sure take it into consideration.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I Can Haz PMAGs

TACOM, a command which I am unsure what it actually does or why it exists, has backed down clarified its position on the use of PMAGs.   “Maintenance Information Messages [from TACOM] are permissive. They are not an order. They are not a directive. All content and direction in those messages are optional for the recipient.” Read the rest here.

For whatever my meandering life experience is worth to you I use and strongly recommend PMAGs. I  I am pretty cheap yet I buy PMAGS instead of using issued mags. That pretty much says where I stand on that. It is worth noting that the new tan (it looks orange to me) follower mags seem like a big improvement over the previous issued mags.
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