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January 18, 2023


The Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, is an annual trade show that brings together the shooting industry for a week to network, conduct business, and share innovations.
I am attending representing Spotterup Tactical, whom I have been a writer and gear reviewer for since late 2017. It's early morning here in Las Vegas, Nevada and I'm preparing for another footsore day of wandering the show, but I wanted to give you an update.

I have to tell you, after walking through the show yesterday and seeing all the manufacturers, machine shops, and parts suppliers it is difficult to not start placing orders! What can I say? I was a firearms manufacturer only briefly, and it had its share of difficulties and stress, but I miss it!
At the Bowden Tactical display, you can see the Adaptive Defense Armory handguard on display. Our handguard actually won Bowden's award for "most innovative signature series handguard design" in 2022! Bowden Tactical is a fabricator located in Ohio that worked with my drawings to make the Adaptive Defense Handguard a reality. They also brought our first prototype hybrid gas block with them.
Gas Block Prototype
The Adaptive Defense Hybrid Railed Gasblock (unfinished) with one of our handguards.
I am calling this a "hybrid" gas block because it uses a combination of mounting methods to secure it to the barrel. To my knowledge, it is the only gas block in the industry that features a clamping ring AND a set-screw. Why? Part of it is to ensure a good fit with plenty of room in our free-floating handguard, but also, the clamping ring is one of the strongest ways to mount anything to a barrel without risking deformation of the bore. The set screw in the rear ensures a tight seal at the gas manifold. These are machined from 4140 steel and the finished versions will be black nitrided. By attaching the front sight to the barrel (rather than the handguard), you avoid any possibility of flexing the sights away from the line of bore when using a sling, bipod, or other support that puts pressure on the handguard.


Our first Idaho online Black Rifle 101 class had a great turn-out, with participants from Ohio, New Mexico, and Idaho. I am looking forward to our next online class, which will be our Intro to Precision Optics workshop.

If you have a scoped rifle, this class is for you. We will cover what all the knobs and buttons on your optics do. This class teaches what all the lines in the scope mean, the difference between Mils and MOA, first and second focal plane, what parallax is and how parallax adjustments work, and other topics.

There is no cost to attend these online sessions!
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Thursday, February 16 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 827 8475 8286
Passcode: 324817


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms just interpreted away more of your rights recently with their ruling on pistol braces. For those of you who don't know, a "pistol brace" is an attachment that is used to facilitate firing short-barreled firearms (like AR-15's) that aren't equipped with a stock. "Pistol Braces" were an industry innovation for helping impaired shooters by allowing them to fire AR-15's and similar firearms without needing to shoulder them, and by only using 1 arm. While some braces could be shouldered, they didn't make good stocks and really weren't designed to function that way.

Previously, the ATF issued a letter of interpretation that pistol braces weren't stocks and didn't convert an AR-pistol into a "short barreled rifle" that must be registered. A decade and 40 million braced-firearms later, the ATF has reversed its position and stated that firearms with braces DO constitute short-barreled rifles and owners have 120 days to register them with the NFA branch or destroy them. (There are some other options we'll talk about here in a moment...).

The ATF, as part of the Executive Branch of government, does not technically have the ability to make laws - but that doesn't stop them and our current administration isn't holding them accountable. In any case, until this capricious ruling is challenged and overturned in court, if you own an AR pistol, you are about to become a felon.

So what can you do about it? First, we have to support groups that are challenging the government in court over the constitutionality of such interpretations. If you haven't joined Gun Owners of America or the Firearms Policy Coalition, I recommend you do so and throw a little money their way to support their legal fees. After that, here's what you can do to prevent getting that new job making license plates:

First - you can register your firearm as a Short Barreled Rifle. This does bring about certain disadvantages and puts your firearm on the NFA registry. Gun registries are bad things, but once it is a registered SBR, you can put a real stock on it, vertical foregrips, magnified optics... all the things that you couldn't previous put on an AR pistol. The ATF is even waiving the $200 fee to register existing braced AR pistols.

If you want to keep your firearm off the books (so to speak), you can replace the barrel with a barrel at least 16" in length. My opinion is, if you don't really need or have any particular want for an SBR, go ahead and slap a 16" barrel on it. Problem solved.

While I can't recommend it as an option to you, I am sure there will be massive civil disobedience in this regard. Let's face it, marijuana is still federally illegal, but there are dispensaries in almost every state where it can be purchased and there is no massive effort to arrest and prosecute those establishments. So, it is breaking the law, yes, but... that depends on what level of risk and penalty you personally are willing to accept.

If you need a 16" barrel to reconfigure a current AR pistol into a rifle, let me know.

As for The Land of Enchantment...

...I am reminded of the words of Gideon J. Tucker: “No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” There are a host of anti-gun bills assailing New Mexico's citizens again this year. From magazine restrictions to "assault weapons" bans to waiting periods and enhanced "red flag" laws, it seems New Mexico wants to compete with anti-gun states like Massachusetts and California to see just how much tyranny it can impose. New Mexico's state government got drunk with power during the COVID lockdowns and they haven't yet sobered up. I can't deny that part of my decision to relocate was due to the overreach and general mismanagement of that state. For those of you still there, I strongly advise you to take action my calling and emailing your representatives and supporting pro-gun organizations like The New Mexico Shooting Sports Association.
In the next few days I will be publishing an article on about the new items I saw at SHOT Show this year. I haven't seen a whole lot of innovation this year by most of the mainstream companies. The most exciting thing I've seen so far is a new series of sights by Holosun optics that incorporates electronic night vision and thermal imaging into a reflex sighting system. This is pretty nifty and I foresee other optics companies following suit in the near future. Thermal imaging is getting extremely popular and the price point is getting more approachable for the average shooter. Suppressors are another popular item this year, with new releases by several of the mainstream gun companies. We should put pressure on our politicians to have suppressors and short barreled rifles removed from the National Firearms Act.

This year I saw fewer AR-15 designs and accessories than previous years, and more bolt action precision rifle platforms and handguns. Smith and Wesson released a new M&P handgun in 5.7 X 28 caliber... The 5.7 doesn't have tremendous terminal ballistics and I don't consider it an ideal defensive round, it is also expensive and impractical to reload, but it refuses to go away. Less lethal technologies like pepperball launchers have been popular this year as well.

That's about it for this newsletter. I hope to see you in my upcoming precision optics class. As always, please feel free to contact me with any firearms or shooting questions.

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and thus to be clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
~H.L. Mencken
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