I’ve reviewed a handful of holsters here on TTAG, dabbling in many more that have yet to be mentioned. And to be honest, I feel somewhat remiss for not bringing this one to you sooner.
When I started using Ultimate Holsters gear eighteen months ago it quickly became – and still remains – the carry solution I fall back to once I’ve completed other holster review testing.
Ultimate Holsters’ Cloud Tuck Rapid Holster and Ultimate IWB Spare Mag Pouch are hands-down the best hybrid holsters I’ve found for IWB carry of my sub-compact SIG P238 and mags. There’s so much to like about this small kit, I’m not even sure where to begin . . .
Now, from the moment I read the word “Ultimate” in their name, I was skeptical. Do you blame me? Yet, the second I pulled one of their holsters from its packaging, my dubiousness was dashed by the excellent craftsmanship and quality of components comprising the Cloud Tuck Rapid holster. It’s clear each holster is carefully hand-crafted to customer specifications.
At first glance, the most prominent feature is probably the Kydex shell. I wasn’t a fan of the carbon fiber look until I had this holster in my hand, but I am now. The pattern really pops and its texture is true-to-life.
What’s more, there are a total of five carbon fiber color options to choose from (above). And if carbon fiber isn’t your thing, the Cloud Tuck Rapid’s shell is also available in black, blood red, pink, and purple. Still not satisfied? Name your “custom infused” color at checkout.
Most importantly, Ultimate Holsters uses precise firearm molds to create very accurate shells. My P238 has fit exceptionally well across all five shells I have used. Specific care is also taken to ensure proper engagement at the trigger guard, traditionally a critical area for retention.
The Cloud Tuck Rapid’s Kydex shell is also quite trim, leading to a small footprint. Its edges are well-finished and smooth; a flared mouth at the top of the shell aides in re-holstering.
As an added safety feature, Ultimate ensures the mold fills the space on the back side of the magazine release. Kydex in this space helps to keep the magazine from accidentally being released by blocking the button from somehow becoming depressed while holstered.
Fastened to the shell below the Cloud Tuck Rapid’s open-throat sits a single, thick 1.5-inch wide, U.S.-made polymer belt clip. It has an aggressive barb that does a great job of locking around a host belt. The clip is adequately rigid and includes a handy integrated thumb tab to assist in removal.
The clip also allows for a good degree of adjustability. Both cant and ride height can be easily adjusted to meet individual preferences (above).
Rubber bushings help securely anchor the clip to the Kydex and also make ample room for thick belts and pants.
While the Kydex half of the hybrid Cloud Tuck Rapid holster sure is nice, it’s the backer that is the true draw of Ultimate Holsters design – one that sets the brand apart from other hybrids. The holsters backer begins where most others end – with a piece of high-quality black leather.
The leather backer then plays host to an industry first – a blue medical-grade, silver-infused soft antimicrobial pad.
Glued and impeccably sewn to the leather backer, Ultimate Holster’s soft “Silver Lining” reduces odor, creates a moisture barrier between you and your gun, and promotes quick drying after use.
The shape of the layered backer mostly follows the contours of the Kydex shell, extending above the wide mouth and clip to provide full protection between you and the firearm.
Additionally, the backer is cut out around the P238’s safety, creating space to reduce the risk of an accidental snag.
Ultimate Holsters boasts that their holsters are “constructed from the finest materials.” Not only are the backer’s layers, Kydex shell, and polymer clip top-notch components, the hardware holding it all together is also of excellent quality.
The smooth brass washers, in particular, are nicely set into the backer to avoid snags and scratches.
Adjusting the holster’s retention is simple with the four Phillip’s head screws and rubber washers. The four points allow you to make fine adjustments in specific areas, as opposed to a single point of adjustment.
I found that the well-molded shells, combined with the hybrid backer, meant I didn’t need to crank-down on the rubber washers to attain the appropriate amount of on-body retention. In addition, the four screws are sized so that they never protruded past their brass washer counterparts.
Wearing the Cloud Tuck Rapid holster is almost an experience too good to be true. Its rounded, smooth edges allow it to slip right in behind the waistline of your trousers or Bermuda shorts. Immediately you’ll notice how comfortable the holster feels – in any position.
What’s more, the antimicrobial pad’s texture helps keep your shirt tucked in – a bonus I really like. And when it’s hot the holster feels great on bare skin and pulls any sweat away from your body.
Important to a degree exceeding all other aspects of any holster is its functionality. Not only does the Cloud Tuck Rapid look great and feel awesome, it performs exceedingly well. Retention is reliable and draws are consistent and without hang-up on the shell or backer.
My foremost concern with the leather/antimicrobial backer was that it would be too soft, compressing into the firearm and creating a “sticky draw”. However, the layered backer is rigid enough, and the leather dense enough, that only a very minimal break-in period should be needed, if at all.
The “flop over factor” is very low with Ultimate Holsters. Again, the layers of the backer seem to work symbiotically to keep the backer from folding over the mouth of the holster.
The no-flop backer, combined with the wide-mouth shell help facilitate consistently satisfying and dependable holstering of the weapon. The holster’s mouth is easy to visually identify and positive lock-up with the holster can be felt (and often heard) when attained.
Now, the seven rounds in my SIG P238 aren’t exactly “high capacity” – or “standard capacity”, for that matter – so in addition to my Cloud Tuck Rapid holster I carry one or two spare magazines in Ultimate IWB Spare Mag Pouches.
Ultimate’s Mag Pouches run the same line as the holsters – identical high-quality materials and craftsmanship resulting in a reliable and extremely comfortable magazine carrier. Made-to-order just like their holsters, Ultimate IWB Spare mag Pouches are optioned with bullets facing forward or rearwards.
The Mag Pouch is also thin enough to be comfortably worn just about anywhere along the beltline. I routinely carry one at about the eight-o’clock position, as well as appendix – sometimes plural. They’ve retained my magazines perfectly, are easy to draw from and re-holster, and have the same great four-position rubber washer retention system.
Ultimate’s holster and mag carriers are by far my favorite IWB carry set; especially when it comes to summertime carry (no undershirt) and carry when wearing a suit. In fact, wearing these holsters with a nice Canali suit felt pretty dang appropriate with the carbon fiber finish and leather.
Another draw of Ultimate Holsters is their Ultimate Risk Free Guarantee. Essentially, you can try their holster for thirty days and if it doesn’t meet your needs, you can send it back for a full refund. If I could have tried every holster I’ve ever bought for thirty days, I’d probably have a few more firearms instead of a large drawer of holsters.
Plus, they’ve got free shipping for order over $40 and their customer service is outstanding.
So while I won’t go as far as to call anything the “ultimate” in its class, Ultimate Holsters’ Cloud Tuck Rapid IWB Holster and Spare Mag Pouch is the closest thing I’ve found so far. It’s hard to imagine a more comfortable hybrid holster that’s also this dependable – and adjustable, not to mention customizable, for that matter.
The Silver Lining antimicrobial/antibacterial backer pad provides a real benefit and I’ve experienced miniscule delamination. Each holster is made-to-order and handcrafted with high quality materials that can take a beating. The Ultimate Holsters’ Cloud Tuck Rapid holster and Ultimate IWB Spare Mag Pouch look great, function great, and are lightweight…why wait?
Specifications: Ultimate Holsters Cloud Tuck Rapid IWB Holster (P238)
Price as reviewed (carbon fiber finish): $85.99 MSRP (on sale on their website)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Design: * * * * *
Great-looking minimalist design ensures a small footprint. High-quality components throughout. Excellent adjustability options.
Firearm Fit: * * * *
Very good fit across a variety of holsters. Shells molded with attention to critical areas of retention.
Retention: * * * * *
Provides retention the way a holster is supposed to. Engages the firearm in the critical areas without creating too much friction. Wide mouth of holster allows for easy and safe holstering.
Durability: * * * * *
The top-notch materials used in the holster hold up extremely well to wear. Expect years of service from this holster.
Finish: * * * * *
This holster is finished as well as anyone could want; clearly hand-detailed. The stitching of the backers layers is near-perfect and the leather is very good grain – soft, yet dense, and well-stained. The Kydex used to create the shells is high-quality and the carbon fiber pattern is outstanding.
Overall: * * * * *
Ultimate Holsters’ Cloud Tuck Rapid holster is highly comfortable, reliable, lightweight, and delivers a great fit, smooth draw and easy holstering. Handcrafted to order with high-quality materials, this holster can also take a beating. The Cloud Tuck Rapid’s antimicrobial pad simply can’t be beat.
Specifications: Ultimate IWB Spare Mag Pouch (Carbon Fiber Finish)
Price as reviewed (carbon fiber finish): $45.00 MSRP
Ratings (out of five stars):
Design: * * * *
Designed to match Ultimate Holsters’ firearm holsters, the Spare Mag Pouch literally makes it a matching set. Utilizing the same minimalist approach as its counterpart, the carrier takes up little space and is very lightweight. Great adjustability.
Magazine Fit: * * * *
Very good fit to all magazines, regardless of capacity. Bullets facing forward or rearwards is a great must-have option.
Retention: * * * * *
Includes standard four-position rubber washer adjustability to keep magazines engaged until needed.
Durability: * * * * *
The top-notch materials used in the holster hold up extremely well to wear. Expect years of service from this mag carrier.
Finish: * * * * *
The Mag Pouch is finished with a very high level of detail and care. Stitching of the backer is near-perfect and the leather is very good grain – soft, yet dense, and well-stained. The Kydex used to create the shells is high-quality and the carbon fiber pattern really pops.
Overall: * * * * *
With quality mirroring their holsters, the Ultimate Holsters Ultimate IWB Spare Mag Pouch is a top-notch companion for the Cloud Tuck Rapid – or any holster, for that matter.
Posted in Product Reviews Tagged with: .380, .380 Auto, antibacterial, antimicrobial, Carbon Fiber, Concealed carry, Gear Review, Holster, IWB, Leather, P238, pocket carry, SIG, Sig Sauer, single clip
There was a time when SIG SAUER did one thing and did it well. Those times are past. SIG SAUER now does just about everything and . . . still does it well. Over the last decade, the company’s expanded their product line to include ammunition, optics, suppressors, and even airguns. The TANGO6 series are SIG’s top-of-the-line scopes for tactical operations and hunting. The first thing to note . . .
the scope’s aesthetics. In a world where flat black is the default color for scopes (with possibly a gold ring thrown in for flair) a two-tone color scheme is a remarkable if minor improvement. The colors go well with SIG SAUER’s line of rifles, like the 716 DMR 2 shown here.
The TANGO6 scope’s finish isn’t quite as silky smooth as the polished anodizing on older Leupold scopes, but it’s tough as nails and that’s the real money shot.
A lot of optics companies tend to skimp on the magnification adjustment knob. For example, I love the function of the Leupold Mark AR Mod 1 SPR scope, but trying to zoom in for longer range targets in a hurry is like trying to open a can of strawberry jam with your hands coated in butter.Entire companies have been profitable simply by selling clamp-on devices that allow you to actually grip and operate your scope.
The magnification adjustment ring on SIG’s TANGO6 line sports some seriously aggressively knurled segments. They’re grippy enough to provide the purchase you need without turning your hands into hamburger.
A set of fiber optic adjustment markers on the knob reveal your scope’s magnification at a glance. Ye olde tick mark machined and painted into the knob does the same thing, but SIG SAUER’s method is faster.
Next, let’s talk adjustment knobs.
Some scopes don’t lock the knobs into place, allowing them to spin freely at the slightest touch. Go ask Kirsten Joy Weiss how that worked out for her (hint: it probably cost her a spot on the Olympic shooting team).
Having turrets that lock firmly into place when not being adjusted is critical, and SIG SAUER hit the mark with their design. The turrets pull out when the shooter wants to adjust them and lock firmly back into place when complete.
The turret’s outside design is also perfectly judged. The knurled sections provide plenty of grip for pull and turn. The markings on the sides stand out; they’re clearly readable in low light situations.
On the other side of the tube body is the parallax adjustment knob. To my somewhat untrained eye, they match up with the distance of the target as well as could be expected.
Hiding inside that knob: a battery powering awesomeness. The SIG SAUER LevelPlex system.
Instead of having a spirit level (a.k.a., a bubble level) attached to the outside of the tube (like these) or fitted on the inside somehow, SIG SAUER fitted the scope with electronic gubbins that sense when the scope is tilted and instruct you on how to level it.
Making sure the scope isn’t canted to one side is essential for long range accuracy. SIG’s LevelPlex system is a fantastic approach to an age old problem.That said . . .
The battery. Spirit levels might not be that accurate or easy to use, but they will operate for centuries. The LevelPlex battery, which also powers the reticle illumination, will eventually need to be replaced. Hopefully not at some critical juncture.
I slapped the scope on my SIG SAUER 716 DMR and headed out to the range.
It definitely adds a bit of bulk and weight to the rifle, clocking in at damn near two and a half pounds. On a lightweight build — where the rifle itself might only weigh five pounds — a 50 percent weight increase in weight is substantial, maybe even unacceptable. On a heavy long range rifle like the ones I was using it’s not a major consideration.
The clarity of the glass was excellent. Even on a cloudy day I could still see the target and every hole I had placed on it.
The scope is a First Focal Plane (FFP) scope. The markings on the reticle remain the same size relative to the target no matter the magnification. I really prefer these kinds of scopes because I don’t have to make any guesses about how high to hold at a given magnification level to hit my distant target, I can calculate it and hold directly using the reticle markings.
I also like the way the central aiming point: a single single dot surrounded by open space. A lot of reticle designers like to clutter that area, obscuring the target and making it hard to get a really accurate shot. SIG SAUER’s approach is my new favorite.
I ran the scope through the usual tests (including a box test for turret tracking) and it performed perfectly. No matter what gun I put it on in the weeks following, the scope made shooting distant targets so easy it felt like cheating.
SIG SAUER wants $2,759 for the TANGO6 4-24X50mm optic in this configuration. There are cheaper scopes in the same magnification and performance range; the Leupold VX-6HD springs to mind. But they don’t have the bells and whistles of the SIG SAUER product.
Is the SIG scope worth big bucks? There’s either something missing on their similarly priced competitors or something SIG’s scope does better — with one notable exception (see Overall Rating). So yes, it’s money well spent. Just make sure you buy extra batteries.
Specifications: SIG SAUER TANGO6 4-24x50mm
Magnification: 4x to 24x
Focal Plane: First
Objective Diameter: 50mm
Focus Range: 50 yards to infinity
Diopter Adjustment Range: -2.5 to +2.5
Body Tube Diameter: 34mm
Weight: 40 ounces
Length: 18.25 inches
MSRP: $2,759 (a couple hundred less via Brownells)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Glass Quality * * * *
It’s good glass. Not the best ever, but the SIG scope offers excellent clarity and light transmission.
Reticle * * * * *
Love it. First focal plane mil reticle with a surprisingly open center.
Turrets/Dials * * * * *
Crisp and precise adjustments that lock firmly into place.
Overall Rating * * * *
The price is the only thing killing the score. It’s an amazing scope and worth every dollar. But I can’t justify a five star rating when Jeremy just reviewed a scope for the exact same price and pretty much same specifications that includes a ballistics calculator in the viewfinder.
There has been a lot of buzz on the internet lately about the reliability of a 1911 platform as a self defense pistol.
For a quick torture test DRF (DownRange Firearms) Training took a Sig Sauer 1911 and my personal Glock 19, buried them in the dirt, actions open, cleared the dirt and debris from the guns and proceeded to fire the guns testing their reliability.
The Glock performed flawlessly, the 1911, as expected, failed miserably. Glocks shot off all 15 rounds where the Sig only came up with 2 shots fired. We had fun with this one and hope you guys enjoy it!
DRFTraining used factory fresh Remington UMC 230gr .45 and Federal 115gr 9mm, no hand loads.
For anyone who wants to know EXACTLY what happened to the 1911…To clean it we had to strip it down to the empty frame.
Dirt was located in the sear,trigger, grip safety, mag release, hammer and there was a pebble jammed under the leaf spring.
Matt: What’s up guys, it’s Matt with Downrange Firearms Training, we’ve got my friend Nick today. Nick was kind enough to let us borrow his Sig 1911, I wanted to run a torture test real quick on the 1911 platform Vs the Glock platform. There’s a lot of buzz on the Internet, especially after James Yeager’s videos from Tactical Response, basically saying that the Glock pistol is the only pistol you should own. I totally agree with James, I love the philosophy on the video, and essentially if anybody knows me, they know the fact that I slam the 1911 all the time because it’s actually– while it is a great shooting target-pistol, that’s its limitations, the fact that it is a target pistol and should not be used as a defensive carry pistol, because of the fact that the gun, essentially, is built to such tight tolerances that it can’t stand up to the abuse that something like a Glock or a Smith and Wesson M&P or a Springfield XD would.
So I want to do a real quick torture test, show you guys– I’ve got my fourth-generation glock19, the gun that I carry all the time, and Nick was nice enough to volunteer his Sig Target 1911. We do have factory-fresh ammunition, just so you guys know, we’re not using reloads or anything like that. What we’re gonna do, we’re gonna load up the rounds , load up the guns to the capacity that they have; the 1911 is limited obviously to eight rounds, then we’re gonna toss ’em in the dirt, get ’em pretty dirty, and then just see how they run from there. So Nick, if you don’t mind loading up the 1911 there, buddy, I’m gonna load up the Glock.
We’ve got a nice warm day here in massachusets, we’ve got some dried-up mud that we’re gonna toss the guns in, it’s kind of a silt-y material right now because it’s been raining the past couple days, but the sun’s out today, dried everything up. Toss ’em in the dirt, cover ’em up, take ’em out, bang ’em off, and see how they work, and we’re gonna do it with the actions open.
So here’s my gun, fifteen rounds, pop that in there so you guys can see. You all set with that one?
Matt: Alright. Just gonna take ’em, toss ’em in the dirt, both of ’em. You wanna do the honors since it’s your gun? Get the glock covered good, so nobody can say that we gamed it. Alright. Pretty dirty, not something a lot of people would do to their guns, but for the sake of the argument today, we’re gonna do it. Wanna zoom in real quick and get inside ‘n see? There’s a ton of dirt and everything in there, so we are gonna clear that out first, make sure that there’s no obstructions in the barrel. How’s that one lookin’?
Nick: Pretty fuckin’ dirty.
Matt: Nice work. Good? Alright. I’ll put my ear protection on real quick.[Gunshots]
Alright, let’s stop it right there real quick. Now as you guys can see– did you even get a round off?
Matt: Nick got two rounds off, to my fifteen. Again, we didn’t game it, anything like that. We took the gun, fresh from the way we carry ’em, toss ’em in the dirt, load ’em up. The hammer wouldn’t even go back on his, another reason why you shouldn’t use firearms with safeties and with hammers on ’em. A double-acton striker-fired pistol, this one looks a lot dirtier right now than the 1911 even does, and performed flawlessly. That right there, again, is why I relate back to James Yeagar’s video, he essentially said that all guns should be Glocks, all Glocks should be 9mm, and all 9mm glocks should be 19s. Big enough to shoot with, small enough to fight with, and in my opinion it’s one of the best platforms out there, and that right there just proves the reliability of the gun.
Hey guys, thanks for checking out the video, hope you enjoyed it, we had fun makin’ it, for more informative videos, check us out on the web www.DRFtraining.com, visit us on the facebook page, subscribe to the youtube page, and go over and check out James Yeager’s video on the Glock19, it’s pretty good, I think you guys would enjoy that one as well.
Nick: Remember guys, only hits count. Unless you’re carrying a 1911. Alright Matt, go clean my gun.
Matt: Thanks bud.
Sources: DRFT Training Youtube, Sig Sauer, Glocks
The MPX family of pistol-caliber ﬁrearms ﬁxes the main ﬂaw of close-bolt blowback designs: excessive bolt weight. Adapting the AR-15 platform to 9×19 Luger with a gas-piston action, SIG engineers cut the overall weight and the reciprocating bolt carrier in particular, making MPX lighter than other 9mm ARs and cutting the recoil intensity at the same time. The resulting weapon is available as a 16-inch carbine, and as submachine gun, short barrel riﬂe and pistol, all available with 8-inch or 4.5-inch barrels.
In the carbine form, the 7.6-pound overall weight of the weapon is no different from a riﬂe-caliber AR-15, making it more of a practice version of the 5.56, with less expensive ammo, less concussive report but substantially similar handling and manual of arms. The shorter barrel and forend of the 8-inch SBR and submachine gun variants bring the weight down to 6 pounds, and collapsed length down to 17 inches.
Unfortunately, National Firearms Act restrictions make the SMG unavailable except to government or corporate users, and the tax stamp and yearlong ATF turnaround on approving applications restrict the SBR. That leaves the pistol as the less legally encumbered purchase that can be turned into an SBR at a later date.
The 9mm Luger cartridge generated far smaller volume of gas than 5.56x45mm, so the MPX gas port is almost right at the chamber to generate sufficient pressure for cycling. With most 9mm loads, 8 inches is sufficient to get most of the potential velocity increase from the limited case volume. With the A2 ﬂash hider, the muzzle signature is nonexistent.
As with other gas-operated pistol-caliber guns, the MPX favors full-power ammunition for reliability – in my testing, it ran perfectly with 115-, 124- and 147-grain SIGbrand defense and range ammunition, but short-stroked occasionally with wimpy commercial remanufactured ball. With full-power ammunition, MPX has less felt recoil than blowback guns had with subpar loads.
WHEN SUPPORTED, the MPX pistol is superbly accurate. When rested on an convenient cardboard box and sighted with a red dot, the pistol shot very small groups at 25 yards, especially favoring 124- and 147-grain SIG JHP ammunition.
Similar or slightly better results were obtained using the MPX submachine gun in semiautomatic mode. In auto mode, running at about 850 rounds per minute, it remains fairly controllable and will keep two- or three-shot bursts in A zone at 25 yards. The mechanics of the MPX design are very sound. Compared to HK MP5, it runs a good deal cleaner, especially when sound-suppressed. Takedown for cleaning and especially the reassembly are much simpler, with all bolt and carrier parts accessible with the removal of a single pin.
MPX ergonomics are similar to AR-15, but with an emphasis on ambidextrous controls. Slide lock levers and magazine release buttons are duplicated on both sides, a helpful feature. On the left side, the controls could use more separation, as trying to lock the slide back sometimes caused a dropped magazine. The transparent, metal-reinforced polymer magazines made by Lancer are extremely reliable, durable and were easy to load. While more expensive than typically used single-feed Glock magazines, they are far more convenient in use. Available in 10-, 20- and 30-round capacity, MPX magazines ﬁt any purpose, from combat to concealed carry to shooting from a range bench.
THE PRINCIPAL DIFFERENCE between the SBR and the pistol is ergonomics. The pistol comes with a QD socket at the rear of the receiver, right under the rail for the arm brace or the stock. In theory, a solid shooting position can be established with the use of both hands and a stretched sling. In practice, holding a 6-pound weapon in outstretched arms gets tiring fairly soon. Practical accuracy is no better than with a conventional pistol, and the sling length and position make effective concealment difficult.
Furthermore, the ambidextrous charging handle retained from the AR-15 has a tendency to entangle with the plastic sling ﬁxtures, pulling the bolt out of battery and disabling the gun. At close range, especially indoors, the MPX pistol would be more stable if ﬁred from the hip using a green laser for aiming.
In my opinion, the best ﬁghting pistol made by SIG would be something like a full-size P226. The MPX is terriﬁc as a carbine or a submachine gun, but – thanks to ﬁlling a regulatory niche created by illogical government regulations – is a pistol in name only. In reality, it’s a stockless carbine and would be best treated as a pre-SBR that the owner gets to take home before the tax stamp arrives.
If NFA regulations and restrictions aren’t your cup of tea, the 16-inch version of the MPX is superbly accurate, has almost no felt recoil and has a proper stock without requiring a tax stamp. For unsuppressed use, carbine-speciﬁc 9mm loads, such as 77- (2,000 feet per second) or 115-grain (1,500 fps) Overwatch, provide ﬂat trajectory and effective terminal ballistics. From the 8-inch barrel, Sig V-Crown defensive loads are superior. With lower muzzle pressure than the pistol it also suppressed even more effectively, particularly with the SIG subsonic 147-grain load.
Unlike the 5.56mm AR-15, the MPX has no perceptible gas blowback reaching the shooter. Given the excellence of the MPX concept, we can only hope that NFA regulations would be rolled back in the coming year, putting all of its features into the hands of a large and very appreciative group of American ﬁrearms enthusiasts. ASJ
Editor’s note: For more on SIG Sauer’s MPX line, see sigsauer.com.
Not long ago, everyone suggested practicing with a .22, what with the caliber’s light recoil and lower ammo cost. That may have been sound advice, but with the astronomical jump in the price of .22 ammo, it is no longer that much of a savings, even if loads are available. I don’t know whether SIG’s plans were prompted by the higher prices or it was just lucky timing, but I’m glad they did what they did.
It is easier to practice your drawing techniques using a gun that is nearly identical to your real weapon, for example, and it’s much more fun than dry ﬁring your real pistol. And, if you live in a suburban setting, an air gun is much quieter and there are no powerful ﬂying projectiles.
IN THE JULY ISSUE of this magazine, I wrote a review covering the SIG Sauer 226 airgun, and the following month did a feature on their MCX AR airgun. Since each of these is a near copy of a full-caliber gun in the SIG Sauer line, it gave me an idea. For this third and ﬁnal SIG airgun piece, I decided to do a combination review of the airgun and the pistol it was designed to mimic. And, since SIG’s 1911 Max Michel BB pistol is set to hit the market later this month, this will probably be one of the ﬁrst published reviews of it.
As with the ﬁrst two SIG airguns I tested, I was impressed by how closely these two resembled each other. In fact, if you lay them on top of each other, they are basically the same size. There are just a few small, understandable differences.
First, the sights on the air gun are not as nice on the actual .45, which makes perfect sense. Second, the airgun has a Picatinny rail, while the .45 doesn’t. Third, there is a slight difference in the butt due to the differences in the clips. And ﬁnally, although they each appear to have ambidextrous safeties, the “left-handed” safety on the airgun is nonfunctional.
I mentioned that the airgun sights are not as good as on the .45, but I should add that they are adjustable for windage and elevation with a ﬂat-head screwdriver.
To really make this a family affair, I did some of the testing of the .45 alongside my wife, Katy. I shot my normal mediocre groups, but she obtained some good groups.
Normally, I recommend a .357 Mag for smaller shooters. That way, in town they can load up with .38s, and in the mountains they can shoot .357 magnums for bears, wolves and cougars. But although Katy is somewhat recoil-sensitive, she loved shooting the .45. Needless to say, our pace of ﬁre was nowhere as intense as that of the handgun’s namesake, Max Michel, the captain of SIG Sauer’s shooting team and recently crowned world-speed shooting champion.
It is rare, but occasionally I hear someone dissing a 1911. How can you do that to one of the most popular pistol models for more than 100 years running? My dad, who was a B24 pilot in World War II, carried one, and I’ll bet your dad or grandfather did too at some point. If you can handle the recoil and obtain adequate reset times, the .45 is the ticket. And if my wife and my 110-pound daughters like shooting a 1911, then I think that it is safe to say that you can probably handle the SIG Sauer .45.
I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED shooting both guns. For our test we used SIG 230-grain FMJ ammo for the .45, and with the airgun we used SIG BBs. Airgun ammo can vary wildly in accuracy, but in all of my tests, SIG pellets and BBs grouped as good as any of the leading manufacturers other than JSB, which are match-grade pellets.
Like many of SIG’s airguns, the 1911 version has a detachable 16-shot clip that is released by pushing a button identical to the one on its larger and more powerful cousin. You pull down a slide knob and load the BBs into a hole. Then slide the clip back into the bottom of the grip. To load the 12gram CO2 cylinder, you remove the clip and pull out the back of the grip. Insert the gas cartridge and close the handle, and that snaps it into place. Slap in the clip and you’re good to go.
The airgun is not only great for training purposes, but also fun for shooting small varmints. It is a semiautomatic, so it would also be a great tool to run deer and other pests out of your garden. It would sting them enough to make them leave but not cause any long-lasting damage.
As with all SIG semiautos I have tested, the .45 is a great pistol. And once again, I think that in developing the airgun to go along with it, SIG has come up with a great training tool.
So there you have it – several really good reasons to buy two guns instead of just one. Tell your spouse that I said so, and let me know how that goes! ASJ
For that small minority who may not have read last month’s review of SIG’s P226 airgun, not only did SIG launch an airgun line, they went the extra mile and developed a good selection of extremely accurate pellets and a large choice of airgun targets. This was extremely smart on their part, as this new line will be a huge drawing card for kids … and grown-up kids, of course.
It is the same weight as the original model, and is designed to deliver comparable handling. This “real gun” feel guarantees that it will be fun and challenging to shoot, but as with the P226, it’s also great for training purposes. The MCX is charged by CO2, which is a new experience for me. Even as a kid I have never had an airgun that used a CO2 canister. My airguns have always been pump-ups, break-action or PCPs.
The MCX is quite simple to operate. To begin with, it uses a 90-gram canister instead of the normal 12-gram ones. To install a canister you remove the butt stock, screw it in and replace the stock over it. I’m sure it was designed around a larger canister because it holds a 30 shot clip. And speaking of clips, the clip pops out the same as on your regular AR. Inside is a rotary belt that you insert pellets into, which will hold 30 pellets. To load it you pull back the bolt just like on your AR. The gun does have a forward assist bolt, but it is merely decorative, not functional.
With it holding 30 pellets and being a semiauto, that makes it a fun gun to shoot. I fell in love with it right when I opened the box, and was impressed with how solid it felt.
For the initial voyage, we went out to shoot and chronograph. There were a few ground squirrels out, but we tried to focus on the task at hand. We had a lot of guns to shoot that day and pellets to test. But we ﬁnally broke down and shot ground squirrels for a couple of hours when we were ﬁnished with the real work.
Although the gun is listed as shooting up to 750 feet per second, we attained only 590. But fps can vary greatly for a variety of reasons, such as if you have a fully charged canister or not, what kind of pellet that you’re shooting and variations in temperature. I think it’d be fun to chronograph it in 30-degree weather and then again in 105-degree conditions, conducting both tests on a new canister and the same pellets, and compare speeds.
I was unhappy with the groups that I was getting on the range. But I took it along when we went to the mountains for some coyote hunting, and I was able to retest in the middle of the day when things slowed down. I got a little over a 7/8-inch three-shot group at 30 feet. That’s more like it.
I wrote about hunting ground squirrels elsewhere in this issue, and mentioned that on a good day I’ll get 400 to 500 shots oﬀ, so the cost of .22 ammo can quickly add up. So for close shots in a similar hunting scenario, the MCX will not only be a fun little gun to shoot, but it’s also very economical.
The MCX comes with a 1-4×24 SIG Sauer scope, and I was impressed by how crisp and clear it is. The crosshairs have marks for distance and windage. The only downside is that the scope is a 1-4x; as I’m shooting small targets and pushing the limit on yardage when I’m hunting with my airguns, I wish that it was at least a 3-9x.
The trigger was really rough at ﬁrst. But while I was trying to measure the poundage, it leveled out and pulled straight through at 6.25 pounds. Maybe it just had to break in to get smooth. Obviously, if it had a better trigger, I know that I could tighten my group.
But despite the minor issues with the trigger and scope, it is a great little gun, and as soon as the ground squirrels come out in full force I’m going to burn the barrel out. Shooters of all ages will certainly enjoy it, but as with most modern airguns, it is deﬁnitely not a toy. ASJ
Editor’s note: For more, see sigsauerasp.com.
The P226 air pistol uses a conventional size 12-gram Co2 canister, which slips into the back of the grip. The magazine pops out of the bottom the same way it would on any modern semiauto handgun. Each end of the magazine has a rotary clip that holds eight pellets, so when you empty one end you simply eject the magazine, ﬂip it over, reinsert and shoot again. To load the chamber, rack the slide, just like any semiauto.
It’s a blast to shoot. My daughter has several pesky deer that invade her garden. I think this will be a good airgun for chasing them off. The P226 is billed as spitting out pellets at up to 510 feet per second, but we were only able to get 308 fps. However, the feet-per-second measurement is directly related to the charge pressure in your cartridge, outside temperatures – because cooler or very cold temperatures drastically reduce the Co2 capability – and which pellets you use. Even at 308 fps, it would still be perfect for running deer out of your yard without damaging or penetrating the hide, like many high-powered pellet guns might do.
SHOOTING FROM ABOUT 20 feet, we were getting 1¾-inch groups with the JSB Match Diabolo pellets and 1½ with the SIG Match Ballistic pellets. OK, I’ll be honest: When I say “we,” I mean Ron Spomer, an outdoor hunting professional and television host. I used his groups, since I am not a world-renowned pistol shot.
UNIQUE FEATURES OF THE P226 AIR PISTOL
• Picatinny rail on the bottom, which is great for mounting a light;
• Realistic blow-back slide;
• Each magazine holds a total of 16 pellets.
The P226 air pistol comes in black or ﬂatdark earth, which is similar to a light tan. I think the moment you pick it up you’re going to be impressed with the authentic feel of this pistol, and it is fun to shoot. I also think this pistol would be the perfect gun for shooting grouse or varmints.
Now, let’s get into SIG’s line of airgun targets. I don’t know about the kids you take shooting, but mine like dynamic targets, and this line offers all the ﬂippers and spinners for just such stimulation. While testing these guns, we set up four SIG targets to work with, but they offer as many as 10 different styles. Shooting these targets deﬁnitely encouraged my kids to shoot more. SIG recommends setting the targets at least 25 yards away because pellets and fragments might ricochet off the spinners. Also, if you have a clear stretch in your garage or basement, you could even set up SIG’s box target to plink. These targets are speciﬁcally designed to trap the pellet, which makes it perfect for shooting inside.
Ah! Yet another gun and line of accessories one cannot live without. ASJ
Editor’s note: If you would like to know more about SIG Sauer’s P226 air pistol, you can visit them at sigsauer.com
SIG SAUER, Inc. today announced it has finalized plans to relocate its ammunition manufacturing operation from Eubank, Kentucky to a permanent site in Jacksonville, Arkansas. Documents were finalized with the state of Arkansas the last week of April following a preliminary announcement by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson at the 2016 Las Vegas SHOT Show.
SIG SAUER will relocate its Elite Performance Ammunition manufacturing operation to an existing, and soon-to-be renovated, building in Jacksonville and anticipates employing 50 people in the initial relocation phase, with additional jobs planned for the future. The new site provides significant room for expansion, a key factor in the company’s decision to relocate to Jacksonville.
“We have been searching for a permanent relocation site for our ammunition division for several years and now, coupled with an excellent physical location and exceptional economic incentives provided by the State of Arkansas, we have found the ideal site,” said Dan Powers, president of the SIG SAUER Ammunition Division. “The new location in Jacksonville gives us the room we need to expand as we continue to grow and is also beneficial from a shipping and logistical standpoint. SIG SAUER is committed to becoming a major player in the world-wide ammunition markets. Our advanced technology will allow SIG SAUER to design and develop world-class, precision-performance ammunition, and our new facility will ensure room for even more state-of-the-art equipment, and a much larger ballistics test lab to facilitate our manufacturing and R&D processes.”
“SIG SAUER was one of the first calls I made as Governor, and I am delighted they chose our state when making the decision to expand,” said Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. “The fact that a world-class company like SIG SAUER is choosing to do business in the state adds to our momentum in manufacturing, and we appreciate this significant commitment they are making to locate in Arkansas.”
SIG SAUER anticipates being up and running in the new Jacksonville ammunition facility by the end of the year. This move marks another milestone in the company’s commitment to become a total solutions provider in the shooting and hunting industry. In addition to designing and manufacturing the world’s most reliable firearms and ammunition, SIG SAUER is also a growing force in the silencers, optics, airguns and accessories sectors.
Exclusive interview by John Oliver • Photographs provided by Chris Sajnog
When the opportunity presented itself to interview one of the lead Navy SEAL firearms instructors who is also an internationally known law enforcement and military trainer, we jumped at the chance. Meet Chris Sajnog, former Navy SEAL sniper instructor, author and founder of Center Mass Group. Sajnog not only has over 20 years of expertise with one of the most elite military teams in the world, he is willing to share his skills and insight with everyone willing and open to learning them. Our own John Oliver spent some time with Sajnog and here is what he had to say:
American Shooting Journal Hello, Chris. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us about your background, where are you from and how you became a Navy SEAL?
Chris Sajnog I was born and raised in Wisconsin and grew up there with one brother. I didn’t get along with my parents and ended up leaving home early, by request. I worked full time because I had to pay for a place to live, and then I joined the Navy when I was 19. At that time, I didn’t even know what a SEAL was, and learned about them later. Initially, I was a Navy diver and did diving medicine, or undersea and hyperbaric medicine (UHB), and often supported the SEALs in that role. After working with them for a few years I decided that what they did was pretty cool, so I went to SEAL training. I had already been with the Navy for four years before I joined.
ASJ You’ve written a few books, and your first one was titled How To Shoot Like A Navy SEAL. What compelled you to write a book?
CS I truly love teaching other people. I used to run the sniper course and our marksmanship training for our SEAL qualification course, so I’d been teaching quite a lot and I wanted to continue. When I got out of the Navy, I started writing articles and in 2011 founded a training company called Center Mass Group. I received really good responses and a friend suggested that I transition one of my blogs that focused on marksmanship, and turn it into a book. With a little editing, expanding and adding extra chapters I was able to create the first book. This one covers the fundamentals of combat marksmanship, and boils down to being able to shoot under stress. That book did really well and was the number one shooting book on Amazon.com for a really long time.
ASJ It sounds like you haven’t stopped since your Navy days. Tell us a little about the courses you teach at Center Mass Group.
CS I’m actually getting away from running physical courses, although I still teach the military and law enforcement, and have started teaching online. The way I run training is very different than anyone else I’ve ever seen because I really focus on what I call “the new rules of marksmanship.” It’s a way of training where, to me, it’s more important how you train than what you’re training or how many rounds you shoot. Often, I’ll have a student shoot one round and if it’s not perfect, then I correct them immediately. I think every time you make a mistake you’re building neural pathways in your brain to recreate that movement again. It kills me to see people simply shooting to get better when it just doesn’t work that way. That’s one of the reasons I’m getting away from hands-on training, and moving to an online format where I present the information and teach people how to train on their own. It’s hard to run a course and have people shoot one round at a time. Nobody wants to pay to do that. I can offer a much less expensive way to learn by giving them the information online and the students conduct the repetitions on their own.
CS I have been married to my lovely wife Laura for 12 years, and we have two boys, Caden and Owen, who are nine and 11 years old. They’re smarter and more talented than I am already. Their mom’s a teacher, so they get their smarts from her, and their dad’s a SEAL. They’re both at the top of their sports teams, so that’s awesome.
ASJ From what I have read you are a strong believer of dry-fire practice. Why do you feel this is such an important component?
CS Definitely! Going back to building neural pathways, every time you do something, whether it’s right or wrong, you are building these pathways so that your body can do that movement faster and better the next time. Any time a gun goes bang, that’s a stressor. It may be a small stressor, but it’s the one thing that increases how ingrained those neural connections become. If you can first train perfectly without stress, you build up these neural pathways and insulate them with myelination (process of forming a myelin sheath around a nerve to allow nerve impulses to move more quickly), and that protects you from the chemical stimulus you’re going to get from stress. So when those hormones come rushing into your brain, that neural pathway is protected and you’ll be able to do it perfectly.
ASJ Your level of detail and scientific breakdown is impressive. Many instructors simply do not operate or consider these concepts. Aside from this, what would you say sets you apart from all of the other shooting instructors out there.
CS I think a big thing is I don’t teach people what they want to be taught. I teach them what I know is correct, and I don’t try to entertain them when I teach. Obviously I try to make it fun, but I don’t look for people who want to learn how to do a front flip and shoot like they did in The Matrix – I just won’t do it. When I teach a course, I don’t actually shoot at all. I can teach faster by standing and watching every move that somebody makes and correcting them instantly. I can’t do that when I have people behind me while I’m shooting. For me it does no good to show people I can shoot; hopefully, people will understand that I’m probably a decent shot from being a SEAL sniper for quite a few years. As I mentioned earlier, concentrating on how you train is very important. I focus on mental training, and teach meditation and visualization. As a SEAL, we were literally alotted unlimited ammo and were paid to shoot at the range.
When I retired I started teaching civilians and law enforcement the way I used to teach SEALs, and it just wasn’t working. Students would say, “I don’t have the time to go to the range every day,” or “I don’t have the money to buy all the ammo I need to shoot.” Even law enforcement units didn’t have the money to do that. I needed to come up with a way to teach people at the same level, but faster and cheaper.
I was also experiencing the same thing myself because now I had a wife, children, soccer games, trips to the grocery store, just like everyone else. I started looking outside of the shooting community to see how to best train people.
I knew that if I could teach people in general, I could make it specific to firearms training. So that’s what I did. I looked at how did the greats get to where they are, how they practiced, how they learned and stayed on the top, and how they did it so quickly. I used those concepts while researching neuro sciences, how the brain actually works and how we learn physical skills and implemented them. I put these all together in a training method I call the new rules of marksmanship. Things like mental training and, most importantly, knowing why you are training are exemplified. If you just want to be good at shooting, you may not wake up in the morning and work on dry firing, but if you’re training to protect your family, you’re probably more likely to put in the time.
Rather than telling students to look at their front sights, I teach things such as how to focus, how to look at the front sight and how the eyes function. I give students specific techniques to work on for each separate aspect. Also, teaching students how to dry fire and to plan their training using a GPS analogy is part of my curriculum. “G” is for gathering information, understanding where your skill levels are, and where you want them to be. For example, if you don’t know where you are or where you want to go, you can drive all day long and never get anywhere. “P” is for planning. Just as a GPS will show your route, you need to plan out those steps. The last one is “S,” and the one most people fail: Start!
Students will often have the information they need but starting is the hardest part. This is why part of my training is simply motivating people to actually do the training.
ASJ Once your new book is out, what’s next for you? Do you have anything on the horizon?
CS Well, my wife will quickly tell you that I have too many projects going on. I’m building a membership site where people can sign up and they get video training using my new rules of marksmanship. This is where I teach people how to shoot and train, and how to do it at home while learning faster and easier. Of course a big part of it is safety. I will also offer full webinars throughout the course.
ASJ That’s interesting. So you won’t just be running video training, but people will be able to interact with you via the live course?
CS Yes, the course is going to be run for a month, so once a week people will get a module of information, which includes videos, outlines and quick-start guides. They will have some time to digest the information, practice it and then ask questions during the once-a-week webinar. I have other courses that I am still working on; one of them is an audio course called Mental Marksmanship, and it focuses on mindset, meditation and visualization. How to use your mind most effectively when shooting. A TV show is also on the way, but that is a still a few months out.
ASJ Will the TV show be based around you and your teaching method?
CS Yes, it is, but it is also quite unique. I don’t want to divulge too much, but I would describe it as action instruction. I can promise you that it is not me standing on screen explaining “This is how you hold a gun.”
ASJ What are your favorite guns for different uses?
CS My favorite handgun is the Sig Sauer P226. To me, this handgun set the gold standard by which all other combat handguns are measured. I’ve fired so many rounds from this gun it would be impossible to count, yet I can hardly remember a single malfunction. In and out of water, sand and mud – pull it out of its holster and it’s going to fire. You can find plenty of higher end pistols on the market today, but you’ll never find one with the combat-proven track record of the P226.
For close-quarter combat, the HK MP5n. This 9mm submachine gun was what I learned CQC (close quarter combat) and maritime boarding operations called VBSS (visit, board, search and seizure) with. The “n” stands for Navy since it was developed for our use, and is an extremely effective weapon for short, quick engagements. It has virtually zero recoil due to its unique delayed-blowback bolt system, firing from the closed-bolt position. Fun to shoot and fun to transition to your pistol by whipping it over your shoulder like a guitar in an old-school music video.
For sniper operations, the .300 Winchester Magnum (M91A2). I’ve used and taught every type of long-range weapon out there. Yes, there are some that can shoot farther, but this is the most versatile of the bunch, and can reach out and touch someone over 1,000 yards with a flat trajectory past 100. If I could only have one sniper rifle, this would be the one I would choose.
ASJ Everyone has a favorite fallback carry weapon – what’s yours?
CS Glock 26.
ASJ Do you prefer a specific brand or type of ammunition, and why?
CS Black Hills – I’ve shot it more than any other brand and it goes bang when I need it to.
ASJ Favorite holsters and slings?
CS zZz Custom Works Holsters. If you want to get the same results as everyone else, get a holster like they have; otherwise, get custom holsters and mag pouches from zZz Custom Works. You can have a holster built to your exact specification for the same cost as one off the shelf.
I also like the Magpul MS3 Sling. It’s comfortable and switches between single and two-point sling.
CS Talon Grips, no question.
ASJ What do you do to relax? What are your hobbies?
CS I like to work out and stay active six days a week. I do crossfit-type workouts or high-intensity training. Family is very important to me. I enjoy hanging out with the boys playing baseball or soccer, and I just bought an awesome ping-pong table that they don’t know about yet, especially my wife. She definitely does not know about it! I like learning new things and am interested in acupuncture so that helps me relax, but I also meditate each day, and have a little area set aside for that.
ASJ Thank you so much for your time, Chris, it’s been a pleasure.
CS You too, John, anytime! ASJ
Editor’s note: If you want to know more about Chris Sajnog, you can visit him at chrissajnog.com. If you are interested in his latest book, check out Navy SEAL Shooting at Amazon.com.
SIG SAUER Introduces SIG FMJ
Full Metal Jacket Centerfire Pistol Cartridges
Newington, NH (March 30, 2015) – SIG SAUER Inc., designer and manufacturer of the world’s most reliable firearms, accessories, and ammunition, continues to expand its popular Elite Performance Ammunition line with the introduction of full metal jacket (FMJ) centerfire pistol cartridges for practice and competition shooting. The perfect combination of affordability and performance, the new SIG FMJ ball ammunition is designed to approximate the performance of corresponding jacketed hollow point (JHP) loads, making the transition from target ammo to carry ammo seamless.
The SIG FMJ pistol ammunition is now available in the following calibers and bullet weights: 100gr .380Auto, 115gr 9mm Luger, 124gr .357SIG, 180gr .40S&W, 180gr 10mm and 230gr .45Auto.
“With the SIG FMJ ammunition, we now have extremely accurate and reliable rounds designed specifically for practice and competition shooting,” said Bud Fini, vice president of marketing for SIG SAUER. “We wanted to give our customers an affordable premium target load that feeds as smoothly as our JHP ammunition and also performs and feels almost identical to the JHP load when shooting. We designed our copper-coated lead bullets to have the most precise, uniform profile and the result is consistent accuracy.”
Manufactured to meet or exceed SAAMI specifications, the SIG FMJ centerfire pistol cartridges feature solid brass cases and durable copper jacketed bullets that stay with the lead at impact. Dependable primers and clean-burning powders are used for reduced barrel fouling with more reliable functioning. Like all Elite Performance Ammunition, the SIG FMJ is manufactured in the United States by SIG SAUER to the same exacting standards as the company’s premium pistols and rifles. For more information, visit www.sigsauer.com/ammunition.
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About SIG SAUER, Inc.
SIG SAUER, Inc. is a New Hampshire-based weapons systems provider leading the industry in American innovation, ingenuity, and manufacturing. SIG SAUER® brings a dedication to superior quality, ultimate reliability, and unmatched performance that has made it the brand of choice among responsible citizens, and many of the world’s most elite military, government, and law enforcement units. As a complete systems provider, SIG SAUER offers a full array of products to meet any mission parameter, from handguns and rifles to silencers, optics, ammunition, accessories, and airguns. The largest member of a worldwide business group of firearms manufacturers that includes SIG SAUER GmbH & Co. KG in Germany and Swiss Arms AG in Switzerland, SIG SAUER is an ISO 9001: 2008 certified company with more than 900 employees. For more information on SIG SAUER, any of its products, or the SIG SAUER AcademySM, log on to www.sigsauer.com.