February 8th, 2018 by asjstaff

As much as I love my silencers, I still end up wearing some sort of hearing protection when shooting. Without rehashing a topic we’ve discussed multiple times in the past, hearing-safe doesn’t always mean no hearing protection required. As a general rule, using subsonic ammo in many hosts can mean dropping the muffs or plugs. Supersonic ammo, on the other hand almost always requires additional protection – much like a trip to Bangkok in the 80’s. Today, we will take a look at the M31 EARMOR electronic hearing protection from OPSMEN.

OPSMEN

TFB REVIEW: M31 EARMOR

I. INTRODUCTION:

The debate over ‘plugs vs muffs’ has been around for years. And while some research shows that earplugs can be more effective than muffs in reducing damaging noises, combining the two gives you the benefit of an added safety net during training. Most electronic hearing protection I have experience with can be used in conjunction with foam or silicone earplugs.

The OPSMEN M31 EARMOR comes neatly packaged in a cardboard retail box. My unit came shipped directly from its country of origin: China. Some buyers may take issue with Chinese-made products, however, keep in mind the iPhone or Android device that is likely in your hand or pocket was made and assembled in the same country.

OPSMEN

TFB REVIEW: M31 EARMOR

OPSMEN

TFB REVIEW: M31 EARMOR

OPSMEN

TFB REVIEW: M31 EARMOR

The M31 is made from think polycarbonate plastics and seems generally well made. My test unit had a small spot of glue left from the manufacturing process attached to the outside of the shell. It wiped away cleanly with just the pad of my thumb.

The controls on the M31 are intuitive and large enough for manipulation with gloved hands. The middle button is power on/off, the forward button decreases the amplification and the rear button increases amplification. Pushing the buttons results in an audible beep in the headset, which I thought was a nice touch at this price point.

OPSMEN

TFB REVIEW: M31 EARMOR

The battery compartments open with a quarter turn counterclockwise; the unit uses two AAA batteries. It is recommended that the batteries be removed when the unit is not in use which is common with devices like night vision and optics where the risk of damage due to corrosive batteries exists.

OPSMEN

TFB REVIEW: M31 EARMOR

The battery port doors and the retention straps seem a little light for being an integral part of the unit. But a few months of range time will determine its overall durability – I’ll keep you posted. The head strap is pushed on to the muffs and held by friction nubs (Friction Nubs is a registered trademark of Pete @ TFB) which could be a failure point, but the overall construction of the M31 is stout, so I’m not sure that I am concerned. Again, hopefully, I’ll be able to come back at the end of spring with a longer-term review.

II. OPERATION AND USE

After the batteries are installed, everything else is pretty straightforward: press the ‘+’ button to increase amplification; press the ‘-‘ to decrease amplification. The power button turns the unit on and off.

OPSMEN

TFB REVIEW: M31 EARMOR

OPSMEN has included an aux-in jack and cable allowing for the addition of outside audio sources. There is no dedicated mic, however, so if you are planning on narrating your 3-Gun match on Snapchat look elsewhere. OPSMEN does have another model that incorporates a headset mic if you need radio comms.

OPSMEN

TFB REVIEW: M31 EARMOR

OPSMEN

TFB REVIEW: M31 EARMOR

The foam insert is comfortable as is the rings that fit around the ear self. The head strap form-fits to the head and I didn’t sense any impeding fatigue. Besides shooting, I used the M31’s while using standard garage power tools without issue.

OPSMEN

TFB REVIEW: M31 EARMOR

The M31 touts “360-degree” hearing amplification and voice isolation. Without sensitive measurement devices, I’m not sure how to quantify its performance. I did feel that the amplification was more than adequate on normal levels with some background noise.in my opinion, this unit on par with other electronic hearing protection I have owned that costs twice as much as the M31 EARMOR.

OPSMEN

TFB REVIEW: M31 EARMOR

III. CONCLUSIONS

Although I have only fielded the OPSMEN M31 EARMOR for a few weeks, I will be following up with a longer-term review as the shooting season progresses. Right now, I feel that the M31 is a low-risk, high reward investment – for $40 you really can’t go wrong if it continues to perform at a level that my test unit has displayed.

Additional details, specifications, links, and pricing can be found below.

OPSMEN M31 EARMOR ELECTRONIC HEARING PROTECTION 

OPSMEN M31 EARMOR FEATURES:

Product Link: http://www.opsmen.com/e/action/ShowInfo.php?classid=61&id=54

  • Low profile cup design
  • Noise reduction rating + NRR22
  • Amplifies low-level sounds
  • Suppresses harmful noise above 82 dB
  • EMI/RFI shielding increased RF immunity for EMI environment
  • Conformable ear cushions for tight seal
  • 3mm thick high-impact resistant polycarbonate shell
  • Comes with 3.5mm AUX audio input cable for media devices
  • Dynamic voice tracking, improve speech intelligibility
  • Foldable for storage and protection
  • IPX-5 water resistant
  • Runs on 2 x 1.5V AAA batteries, approx. 350 hours of operation
  • 4 hours auto shut-off mechanism
  • Tested and approved in accordance with CE/RoSH/ANSI S3.19-1974Standards/EN352-1:2002/EN352-4:2001/A1:2005/EN352-5:2002/A1:2005/EN352-6:2002/FCC
  • $39.99

Order on Amazon here – affiliate link to support TFB.

Posted in Product Reviews Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

February 7th, 2018 by asjstaff

When it comes to typical range shooting and training, almost nothing beats the ring of a steel target when that bullet hits it’s mark. So while punching paper for those clover leaf groups is cool, practicing techniques like body armor drills is much more useful with proper steel. I started doing my research on quality target kits about six months ago and came up with a few solutions: today we take a look at the Complete Target Solutions – AKA CTS Targets – ABC ZONE AR500 Silhouette.

I. Introduction:

Before we dive in, I think it would be useful to talk about steel and its use in firearm targets. Despite what Hollywood action movies tell us, not all steel is created equal when it comes to bullet resistance. So without getting into the weeds of metallurgy and materials science – steel composition, manufacturing processes, heat treating and other techniques all contribute to a steel’s hardness. Again, as an oversimplification, hardness in terms of steel refers to its resistance to deformation when an amount of force is applied.

Levels of deformation (indentation) are what target (and armor) manufacturers use to determine what rounds in which their targets are rated. When it comes to centerfire rounds, that is commonly called AR500 steel, a trademarked designation. There are other levels of steel used in the manufacturing of targets – AR400, AR300, etc, some of which are used on rimfire-only targets.

A. AR500 Steel:

  • AR500 refers to the hardness of steel on the Brinell Scale. Using a 10mm* steel or tungsten carbide ball at 3000 kilograms of force, the indentation hardness is tested and measured. The 500 in AR500 is referring to a 500 on the Brinell Scale – the higher the number, the higher the hardness. * 10mm fans will love this little fact. 

B. SAFETY BRIEFING – (Read the CTS FAQ here):

  • Eye protection is a requirement for all shooters and bystanders.
  • Steel Shooting Rating: Overall guidelines for minimum shooting distance is 15 yards for pistol and 100 yards for rifle.
  • 3/8” thick plates can handle projectiles hitting plate under 2,700 fps up to 30.06 but if you’re careful and drastically increase the distance you can use higher calibers.

Long story made short, when shopping for steel targets, always read the manufacturers ratings for ammunition calibers, types, and standoff distances. Failure to heed the warnings can result in injury or death to the shooter or bystanders.

II. Unboxing And Setup:

I was extremely impressed with the way CTS fit all the steel pieces, neatly wrappped into a compact shipping pack. Being nearly indestructible metal, it would have been easy to toss the whole kit haphazardly into a box and send it on its way. But the CTS Target ABC Zone Silhouette showed up in a normal size shipping box packed like clever origami. Heavy, but normal.

The ABC target kit came complete in three basic sections:

  • The Silhouette
  • The Pro Hanger
  • The X Ground Base

You’ll need to provide the following tools and supplies:

  • Box wrench set/socket set/channel locks.
  • 2×4 approximately three feet in length

Estimated setup time: 20 minutes

CTS TARGETS

Hardware installation for the Pro Target Hanger

The proper use of most steel targets involves the angling of the target face down towards the ground slightly in front of the target base. This ensures that the bullet deflection is down and into the soft dirt or sand rather than another angle that could cause dangerous ricochets.

In the case of the CTS Target, the Pro Hanger is held at a distance out and away from the stand, with an attachment point 2/3’s of the way up the silhouette. The kit also includes a heavy-duty spring that acts as a dampener as well as keeping the target face slightly forward.

Assembly:

1. Run the bolt through the hole in the target face.

2. On the back, drop on the heavy duty green spring.

CTS TARGETS

Hardware installation for the Pro Target Hanger

3. Now drop on the Pro Hanger

4. And thread the nut onto the bolt

CTS TARGETS

Hardware installation for the Pro Target Hanger

5. Now align all four parts of the X Ground Base so that the “claws” are curving into the ground and the bolt holes all line up with each other.

6. Thread the bolts through the two right side “feet”, through the stand and then through the left side feet.

7. Tighten the two X Ground Stand bolts as needed

CTS TARGETS

2×4 X Ground Base – Installation

8. Drop a 2×4 into the ground base and use the finger screw to hold it in place.

  • The height of the 2×4 should be about chest high, but know your range, if you are shooting on a downward slope, you may want a shorter setup and the reverse for an upward slope.

9. Drop the hanger on to the 3’ 2×4 and use the finger screw to hold it in place.

10. You’re done.

The included instructions were complete, although minimal – but honestly, if the pieces showed up without any guidance at all, most competent shooters could still assemble the kit without issue.

III. Observations:

The CTS kit is very well made, with precision cuts, rounded edges and powder coating to prevent corrosion. The hardware is not off-the-shelf big box, but instead grade 8* bolts, which is important because they hold static loads, endure dynamic impact forces and possibly direct bullet impacts. If I had to guess, the complete setup weighs in at about 50lbs, divided in half (top and bottom) for transport, is heavy but manageable.

Credit: Bolt Depot – Proof Load, min. Yield Strength, min. Tensile Strength

Everything else was straightforward and intuitive, making it time to ring the bell.

CTS TARGETS

CTS TARGETS: ABC Zone Rifle Steel Silhouette

CTS TARGETS

Pro Target Hanger

CTS TARGETS

Pro Target Hanger

CTS Targets

2×4 X Ground Base

CTS Targets

ABC Zone Rifle Steel Target

CTS TARGETS

ABC Zone Rifle Steel Target

As expected, 9mm bullet impacts only removed the powder coating. My hope is that CTS will allow me to keep the ABC Zone Silhouette target for a few more months so that I can bring you a long term report on resistance to rifle rounds and other calibers.

IV. CTS TARGETS ABC ZONE SILHOUETTE- Conclusions:

From the packaging to delivery, to set up and shooting, CTS does an excellent job of presenting the shooting community with a high-quality steel target. Obviously, there are a handful of other steel target manufacturers to choose from and we might get a chance for some comparisons, but as it stands, my CTS  experience was overwhelmingly positive and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend their products.

Specifications, details, and pricing are listed below,

CTS TARGETS: ABC ZONE RIFLE TARGET – $114.99

CTS competition grade AR500 targets. Designed for the competitive shooter and weekend plinker alike! This laser cut, heavy duty, reversible target is designed for years of use The ABC Zone target is adapted from the standard IPSC silhouette to cover only the A, B and C scoring zones. Made of 3/8” AR500 steel to last and with an audible feedback that will not disappoint. Simply apply a fresh coat of spray paint for a new target every time.

Features:

  • 3/8” AR500 Steel Construction
  • Laser Cut for Improved Hardness Retention
  • IPSC A, B and C scoring zones
  • Proudly Made in the USA
  • Dimensions: 12”x24”x3/8”
  • 24lbs

CTS TARGETS: 2X4 X GROUND BASE – $74.99

The CTS X Ground Base is an excellent option for those looking for a wide, sturdy base for their steel targets. This stand is great for the shooter looking for a mobile target set up or has ground not suitable to pound spikes. It pairs perfectly with our 2×4 Pro Hanger for an ideal steel setup.

Features:

  • Heavy Duty Powder Coat Finish
  • Thick Mild Steel Construction
  • Proudly Made in the USA
  • Accepts Standard 2×4 Lumber
  • Dimensions: Approx. 22”x25”

CTS TARGETS: 2X4 PRO TARGET HANGER – $39.99

The CTS 2×4 Pro Hanger is the perfect accessory for your CTS targets. The hanger is designed to hold a steel target at a slight angle to deflect bullet splatter downward. The spring assembly helps absorb some of the energy of your bullets reducing wear on your target. Pairs perfectly with the CTS Spike Base or Ground Base.

Features:

  • Holds Target at Slight Downward Angle
  • Heavy Duty Powder Coat Finish
  • All Steel Construction
  • Proudly Made in the USA
  • ½” Grade 8 Bolt
  • Steel Spring for Impact Absorption
  • Includes:
  • Hanger, grade 8 bolt, steel spring, lock nut and set knob.



Coupon: CTS was nice enough to give TFB readers a discount on your entire CTS order. Use TFB15 at checkout when ordering

Posted in Product Reviews, Rifles Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,