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Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

While the topic of firearms selection and their use/training gets lots of press, often times the little items that make life easier just get passed over and never mentioned. Over the past year or so, I have been using a number of accessories that are exceptional in their utility. In this segment of ‘Gunfighter Moment’ I want to briefly cover some of the wonderful odds and ends that I have discovered to be of extreme in the ‘handy & helpful’ category.

First up is a product from Blue Force Gear. While the Vickers (VCAS) sling has been my go to sling for years, Blue Force Gear in the last year sent me a few of their ‘Uloops’, these are simple little cable fast attach sling swivels. Simply insert one end through the attachment point on the weapon of your choice or in whatever is provided, run the free end into the Uloop swivel, once the sling is secured into the slot, the cable lock is retained. It is so simple and secure, works like a champ, and allows the user to place the sling in a variety of locations; it has become one of my favorites.

White lights attached to small arms has become a common practice in much of the USA. Whether it is for law enforcement or home protection, the logic of being able to identify your target in the dark is a necessity. I have used a variety of weapon mounted lights in the past, but my go to now is the Inforce product line of Weapon Mounted Light (WML) for use on long guns, and their Auto Pistol Light (APL) for use on rail frame handguns. The WML graces all of the ARs that I have for home defense or training, and nearly all my pistols that can take lights are fitted with the APL. Taking only one 123 series battery, made of strong reinforced polymer, they are light weight, switching is simple and reliable, and most important these things are simple to activate. My favorite position for a WML is twelve o’clock forward of my front sight. Price is right, and most important the brightness is just right for my use. To quote my old buddy ‘Super Dave’ Harrington, “I don’t want to give them a sun tan, I just want to see who they are.”

I have been a fan of Aimpoint red dots for decades. The current family of Micros are my favorite. Unless my carbine wears a 1X4 or 1×5 variable optic, they will have a Aimpoint Micro mounted. Tried any number of micro mounts, and while nearly all will work, my new favorite is the Scarlaworks Low Drag Mount. This baby is the heat: light weight, rugged, and most important a quick on and off that returns to zero beautifully. Worth every penny of the most reasonable price.

A topic that gets lots of attention is AR-15/M4 triggers; everyone has a favorite. While Bill Geissle has created the gold standard in great triggers, they tend to be ideal for competition/sniping applications. Meaning, they are light weight in sear release. Typically a two stage trigger, but a light crisp sear release is often the key to best precision in most fast action or long range requirements. The down side of course, is that under stress, or when wearing gloves in cold weather, they can be too light. For over a year I have been testing the HiperTouch EDT2 triggers from HyperFire. These are single stage triggers much more reflective of the original GI M16 trigger of past that had single stage sear releases that tended to ‘roll off’ in the trigger press. The EDT (Enhanced Duty Trigger-2) comes with two hammer springs, the green one is for 4.5 pounds and the red one is for 5.5 pounds. For serious use, the 5.5 pound release is my choice. When your hands are cold, wearing gloves, or you are under max stress your finger on the trigger can sometimes make for a loud noise when you weren’t really ready for it. HiperTouch EDT2 has become my favorite for these requirements.

My wife has trouble cycling the slide on her Glock 19, and like many folks with strength or other types of grip disabilities, the simple task of working a pistol slide can be an issue. Tango Down offers a ‘Glock Racker’ for G42, 43, and the whole G17/19/26 or related size Glock pistols. It is a replacement for the cover plate on the rear of a Glock pistol slide. With extended ears or tangs that extend on each side of the rear of the slide (much like the H&K VP9), the placement of the hand to the tangs make cycling the slide much simpler. My wife now runs the slide on her G19 like a pro. From the time that Magpul first introduced their Glock replacement magazines I was a bit skeptical. I have watched them being used in my classes, and after getting some to use in my own G17 and 19 models, I have become a fanboy of these Magpul Glock magazines. They are perfect for range use where abuse and less than perfect maintenance is the order of the day. I have neither witnessed or had any issues with my own. I would not fear using them for serious purposes. While I still feel more at home with OEM Clock mags for social use, I have now used the Magpul’s enough to feel totally confident in them as well.

Another product that I have been using recently is a pair of ear plugs marketed as ‘Decibullz Percussive Filters. For me, ear plugs have never really worked well. The shape of my ear canal is not conducive to them staying in place for a good seal. The designers of the Decibullz Percussive Filters started out to produce ear buds that did not fall out of their ears constantly; applying this approach to ear plugs was a natural. Most important, they are reasonably priced, and you mould them to fit your own ears with nothing more than a pan of really warm water. These things are great, I love mine.

I have been a fan of H&K pistols for ages. Be it the P7, USP, P2000, H&K 45, P30, and most recently the VP9, all these pistols have been favorites. While their sights are more than serviceable, I have been looking for something that would be an improvement for my most recent VP9. Tried Trijicon HDs, but they are just too big, and the rear sight, while maybe okay for a target pistol, the rear blade is supper sharp and tears clothes apart in short order. They thus suck for my use. Recently Wilson Combat has offered a set of Vickers Tactical H&K sights that are ideal for the H&K45, P30, and VP9. For my use the rear sight is all that is needed, but I got a set with the green fiber optic front as well. They work great, and on my P30 they correct the typical drive the dot point of impact, they now print to point of aim with point of impact on top of the front sight at 20 yards. Way cool.

Check these goodies out; Google is your friend.

Stay alert. Don’t be an easy target.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

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7 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn”

  1. Callmespot says:

    I’m sponsored by…..

    • MarkTwo says:

      Typical douchebag comment…well done, sir.

      • Callmespot says:

        douchebag would have been something like haven’t you done this article before?? http://soldiersystems.net/2016/02/27/gunfighter-moment-ken-hackathorn-17/

        My statement still stands about sponsors or free equipment that any author writes about. There should be some disclosure or something like hey my buddy Larry gave me his sling(or whatever product) to try long ago and son of a bitch if I don’t now use them on every rifle and now recommend it to my students or readers because of all the other insightful information he has as a user of said product.

  2. Nicks87 says:

    I had ftf on the last round with magpul glock mags. Once I put a few rnds through them and left them loaded between range visits, they worked fine.

  3. Hubb says:

    Those BFG Wire Loops are awesome…I have used them on an AK and a SCAR.