Monday, December 28, 2020

RFV Tactical - Holsters, Mag Carriers, and Other Cool Stuff

I've been very busy in December of 2020 as I decided to start my own small business making kydex holsters, mag carriers, and other custom items.  I've been making my own holsters for over 5 years and I've been slowly refining my holster making techniques.  About 2 years ago, I came up with a holster design that indexes on a Streamlight TLR-1 weapon mounted light rather than the gun itself so that I could use multiple guns in the same holster as I like to rotate through several different types of guns for concealed carry.  I'm on my 4th version of this type of holster, and I've fabricated my own custom modular mold so that I can make it for each of the popular fullsize weapon mounted lights that are wider than the frame of a gun (Streamlight, Surefire, Inforce, and Olight). I felt like this latest version was a good enough design that it would appeal to other people.  I will admit that it's probably not a large group of people that would be interested in it, but currently there are only two other companies that make this type of holster and those holsters aren't very aesthetically pleasing to the eye in my opinion.  I realize that it's not important for a holster to look good as long as it works well, but why not have a holster that works well and also looks good? I also came up with my own inside the waistband magazine carrier design a few years ago that I've been using every day that is a minimalist design and works universally for double stack and single stack magazines.  I'm on my 4th version of this type of magazine carrier as well, and I've recently incorporated a LOT of features into the design so that it would appeal to a large group of people as it is now reversible for inside the waistband and outside the waistband. I'm also making non-light bearing holsters for a select number of popular concealed carry guns, since the majority of people aren't as fanatical as I am about carrying a gun with a fullsize weapon mounted light every day. 😜

The company name is RFV Tactical. RFV stands for Ready For Violence as in... "always be Ready For Violence to happen".  I've spent the entire month of December making products for display/photo purposes for the new website and social media, and I've even managed to make a few holsters and mag carriers for customers too. I don't expect the business to take off quickly and keep me super busy, but over time I'm hoping that it will be something to keep me busy after I retire from my fulltime job in the telecommunications industry.

Go check out the website that has links to the Facebook and Instagram accounts as well.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

IDPA Action Pistol Match 12/27/2020

It's been a while since I've been to an outdoor IDPA action pistol match.  Due to Covid-19, our local matches have been pretty far and few between. I was shooting my new Bul Armory SAS II Tac Commander at this match after having a lot of troubles with it at the last IDPA match back in September.  That last match went so bad with gun troubles that I never even posted anything on this BLOG or published the video on YouTube!  Today's match went really well and I only had two instances of the trigger not resetting, but those absolutely could've been me short stroking the trigger. I ended up in 3rd place overall out of 14 total. I am going to embed both videos below so you can see the difference in the gun's performance.  By the way, both of these IDPA matches were half IDPA and half USPSA so that we could all enjoy the variety of both games at one match.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Bul Armory SAS II Tac Commander Handgun

After acquiring multiple compact 2011 handguns for my carry gun rotation, I decided that I needed a 2011 specifically for competition usage.  I picked up a Bul Armory SAS II Tac Commander from GP Arms for this task, and immediately went crazy modifying the crap out of the gun.  I replaced all the controls with stainless steel parts from Fusion Firearms and all the ignition parts with components from EGW. I sent the slide to Primary Machine to have it milled for a Trijicon SRO using their proprietary RMR/SRO mounting plate that doesn't have an integrated rear sight, so the SRO is mounted farther back on the slide and doesn't hang over the ejection port.  I am not aware of any companies that offer aftermarket front sights specifically for the Bul Armory guns, so I ordered a fiber optic front sight for a Kimber 1911 from Dawson Precision hoping that it would fit, but I had to custom fit it to the dovetail in the slide, which was a pain in the ass! I made a custom rear "iron" sight using 1/8" black pinstripe tape that is applied to the front of the optic window which co-witnesses with the new 0.360" tall front sight. I also installed the grip module and tactical magwell that came off of my STI Tac-Lite 4.0 2011 that I stippled, which was surprisingly not that difficult to install. Since this is basically a Frankenstein build with a mix-match of modified parts, it took quite a bit of troubleshooting and tuning to get this gun to run reliably.  Every time I would fix an issue, a new problem would pop up like a never ending domino effect.  Very frustrating for sure, but I've finally got the gun running reliably. 1911/2011 handguns are not legal in the Carry Optics division of USPSA, so I'm going to just run the gun in the Open division and have fun with it. I'll also be using it in the Open division of my local outlaw 3-Gun matches.

Unfortunately, changing to an STI grip module does not allow the gun to accept STI magazines as the metal frame of the gun also has to be permanently modified for that. Since extra factory Bul magazines were still unavailable when I purchased the gun, I'm using modified Remington 1911 R1 double stack magazines (same basic magazine tube as the Bul SAS II magazines) with Arredondo Plus-2 extended base pads for Para/Remington magazines (also modified to fit the STI grip module with a tactical magwell) for a 20-round capacity.  To get the magazines to work in the gun I had to increase the height of the magazine catch slot from 0.150" to 0.230" using a Dremel cut-off wheel and a small square file, and shave off just a small bit of material from the very top of the magazine to ensure that it doesn't drag on the underside of the slide. I also had to tune the feed lips of each magazine to get the gun to feed reliably, but this inadvertently resulted in the slide locking back with one round still in the magazine.  I tried trimming down the followers to resolve that issue, but I believe the enlarged mag catch slot introduced too much deviation to be 100% reliable, so I just modified the followers so that they don't lock the slide back at all.  Since the gun's intended usage is USPSA and 3-Gun where you rarely run the gun dry, I'd rather the magazine not lock the slide back when empty than have it lock back unexpectedly. If I absolutely need the slide to lock back on an empty magazine for a specific stage or scenario, then I'll just use the two factory magazines that came with the gun.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

USPSA Action Pistol Match 09/12/2020

Not a great performance for me at this USPSA action pistol match in Lubbock, TX.  My first stage went horrible because I was trying to go too fast and I had two misses on a long distance head shot. I also had a no-shoot/miss on the classifier stage at the end of the match (again... trying to go too fast).  All of this put me at a 40-point deficit, which is impossible to place well with.  I ended up in 12th place overall out of 48 total.  From the video, it looks like I did pretty decent on stages 2, 3, and 4, and those all felt good, but the damage was already done on the first stage. 😞

Sunday, August 2, 2020

USPSA Action Pistol Match 08/02/2020

This was an outlaw action pistol match (USPSA scoring on the paper targets) at a brand new local range built by a fellow local shooter.  There were a lot of small steel targets at this match, so it took a lot of precise aiming and disciplined trigger control. Most of the paper targets were at least 12 to 15 yards out, so there wasn't any "hosing" at this match. We even had some really awkward shots through various ports in a barricade on a few stages. I ran in the Open division so that I could use my new STI Tac-Lite 4.0 carry gun in my normal concealment setup.  The gun ran great, and the match was really fun.  I am looking forward to shooting more matches at this new range.  I ended up in 4th place Overall (11 total), and I was the only idiot at the match using a carry gun from concealment. 😜

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

STI Tactical Lite 4.0 2011 Handgun

Hey... remember when I was considering buying an STI Tac-Lite 4.0 with a compact VIP grip as a second 2011 carry gun, but ended up buying the Bul SAS II Ultralight instead?  Well... I got tempted into buying a Tac-Lite after seeing it unsold on GunBroker week after week for what seemed like months.  It was apparently the LAST brand new Tac-Lite 4.0 in existence for sale.  I probably paid too much for it, but I'm so glad I bought it! 😎  I had to sell three competition guns that were no longer being used to help fund the purchase, but it was worth it. I really wanted to buy one of these guns about 5 years ago when they were still in production. I had planned on selling several guns to fund the purchase back then too, but I just couldn't stomach the price tag and gave up on the idea.  Now that I've already purchased a few other 2011s and have gotten over the "hump" of paying over $1500 for a handgun, I decided to buy this one and turn it into my "ultimate" carry gun.  By the way, I don't regret buying the Bul SAS II UL at all. I actually like that gun so much that I ordered a Bul SAS II Tac Commander that I'll be using for USPSA and 3-Gun matches.

The first thing to do was to buy and install a shorter VIP grip since this would be a carry gun. I hadn't seen the VIP grips readily available that weren't already stippled, but STI just happen to have a few brand new ones in stock on their website, so I ordered one the second I won the auction for the gun on GunBroker. After I installed the VIP grip, I was playing around with the tactical magwell that came on the full size grip and realized that it actually fit onto the VIP grip and was held firmly into place solely by the tension against the bottom of the mainspring housing. I really like the look of the tactical magwell on the VIP grip because it looks too "cut off short" without it. The gun prints a little bit more with the magwell installed, but it looks awesome and actually helps with reloading quickly. I also blended the inside of the mag opening in the grip to transition smoothly from the magwell as much as possible and I inserted a small piece of soft rubber hose into the magwell to fill the gap between the magwell and the bottom front lip of the VIP grip.

After putting a couple hundred rounds through the gun to make sure it functioned properly, I sent the slide off to Vulcan Machine Werks to be milled for a red dot sight and I also had them cut a window into the top of the slide to reduce the weight a little and increase the cool factor a little.  While the slide was away getting milled, I struggled with whether to stipple the grip or leave it with the classic checkering.  I ended up stippling the unused full size grip first to see how it would turn out, and that convinced me to go ahead and do the VIP grip.  I also used melted plastic from a sacrificial STI magazine base plate to fill in the faux screw holes at the bottom of the grip to give it a more custom look. I am extremely happy with how everything came together on this gun!

Is this gun the "best" carry gun that I own?    Probably not. 😐
Is it the most practical carry gun that I own?    No. 😕
Is it the most expensive carry gun that I own?    Yep. 😳
Is it the softest shooting carry gun that I own?    Yes it is! 😀
Is it the COOLEST carry gun that I own?    Absolutely YES! 😁

Tactical Magwell Update
I've been wanting to acquire and install the updated version of STI's tactical magwell, but unfortunately they have been discontinued and unavailable for a while. I ended up buying an airsoft replica version of that magwell, and it fit exactly like the STI magwell. I think it looks better, and there is less bulk at the bottom of the mainspring housing around the back of the grip, so it feels a lot better in my hand when gripping the gun and it also prints less when carrying it concealed.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

IDPA Action Pistol Match 07/05/2020

It's been September of last year since I shot an outdoor IDPA action pistol match, so it was really nice to get back to it.  This one went surprisingly well for me other than a few trigger reset issues with my CZ P-09 on the first two stages. I'm not sure what was going on there, but it never came back throughout the rest of the match. After reviewing the video, I honestly don't think I made any mistakes at this match, which is awesome for me as I usually have one or two brain farts at IDPA matches due to all their strict rules. Some of the rules in IDPA can be fairly annoying, but unlike USPSA the scoring puts more emphasis on accuracy rather than speed, so I typically do better at these matches. I had a great time and ended up in 2nd place overall (20 total) and had the least amount of points down at only 3 for the entire match. 👍

Saturday, June 27, 2020

USPSA Action Pistol Match 06/27/2020

Another USPSA action pistol match in Clovis, NM.  Ended up in 6th place Overall (26 total) and had the most "A-zone" hits of the match... again.  This was a decent performance for my B-class skills... not pretty, not fast, but fairly accurate. 😜  Every time I try to push my overall speed, my accuracy goes to absolute shit, so I just stay focused on trying to be as accurate as I can while maintaining a decent pace. One thing I've noticed from watching some of my recent match videos is that I need to pick up the pace on targets that are 5 yards or closer, as my accuracy shouldn't suffer much at that distance.  I can tell in this video that I did indeed pick up the pace on shooting the closer targets, so I'm definitely making small improvements based on what I see in my videos, which is the whole reason why I record my matches. 😊

Saturday, June 13, 2020

USPSA Action Pistol Match 06/13/2020

Another great post-COVID USPSA action pistol match in the books!  I decided to use my CZ P-09 with a Trijicon SRO that I normally use for IDPA at this match because I haven't had a chance to shoot it at a match since installing the SRO.  For a polymer gun with a trigger that is not as smooth as the Shadow 2, it worked really well for me!  I ended up in 6th place Overall (45 total), and had the most "A-zone" hits of the match.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

USPSA Action Pistol Match 05/23/2020

My first USPSA action pistol match since the Coronavirus pandemic!  I finally got to shoot my CZ-USA Shadow 2 with a newly installed Trijicon SRO using a new CZ Custom multi-optic plate for the RMR/SRO to replace the Burris Fastfire 3, which I installed onto my old CZ SP-01 with a rear sight dovetail mount for use as a backup match gun.  The SRO is such a great optic for competition because it has such a large window and the dot is very bright.  I like the SRO so much that I ended up sending a spare CZ P-09 slide off to get milled for an SRO by Jagerwerks for my Urban Gray P-09 that I use for IDPA. The match today was kinda thrown together pretty quickly, so the stages weren't all that complicated, but it was still great to get out and shoot a match again. I ended up in 5th place overall (26 total) and had the most "A-zone" hits of the match.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Bul Armory SAS II Ultralight - Compact 2011

With the recent acquisition of my Staccato C2 compact 2011 handgun, I felt like I needed another compact 2011 in my carry gun collection.  I wasn't sure if I wanted another STI (maybe an older Tac-Lite 4.0 with a shorter VIP grip installed), or maybe the single stack version of the C2... the Staccato C which is already optics ready (I know... not technically a 2011), or possibly one of the Bul Armory 2011 handguns (their SAS II line) that have gained popularity in the United States recently.  After making a list of pros and cons for all the guns I was considering, the Bul Armory SAS II Ultralight Shield stood out as the clear choice for the best value as it comes with a Shield Sights RMSc optic already installed from the factory for only $1650.  Bul Armory handguns are made in Israel and imported to the US through authorized distributors.  I contacted GP Arms to order one (normally a 90-day process), but they just happened to have the gun I wanted in stock, so I had it in my hands within a week of contacting them! 😁

The Ultralight is very light weight due to all the slide cuts and the fluted barrel, which also gives it a very unique and interesting appearance. It comes with a stainless grip safety, but the rest of the controls were black, so I immediately installed Ed Brown stainless controls and EGW stainless action parts and pins to give it more of a unique two-tone contrast.  The gun has an aluminum frame with a full length railed dust cover to mount a weapon mounted light or laser. Unfortunately, that rail is very short with only a 3.25" barrel, which makes it difficult to find a quality weapon mounted light that fits the gun.  Even though I have never been that fond of Olight's PL-Mini 2 light with its sliding mounting bracket, it seemed like the perfect light for this short gun. The light output is really good for it's size at 600 lumens and it looks right at home installed on the gun.

Grip Chop
Bul's 15-round compact grip is actually 5mm shorter than STI's compact grip, but since this is an "Officer" size 2011 I felt that it needed to be even shorter... so... dremel, drill press, belt sander, various files, determination, and an afternoon bored at home = chopped grip and shortened magazines for a flush fit.  The Bul SAS II compact magazines are about the only thing I don't like about this handgun, because the magazine base plates are a pain to remove and reattach compared to the full-size mags.  However, that attachment method makes it relatively easy to shorten the magazine body and drill new holes for the base plate mounting tabs.  The base plates are also unnecessarily long at the front lip, so I shortened that front lip for better aesthetics. I cut 0.300" off the magazine body and the grip for a flush fit when the magazine is inserted (similar in appearance to my beloved CZ P-07 handguns). The shortened magazines now only hold 14 rounds, but I believe the gun looks better and conceals better. In addition to chopping the grip and beveling the inside of the newly cut magazine opening, I also rounded off the sharp edges on each side of the bottom of the trigger guard to make it more comfortable when gripping and shooting the gun.

Magazine Availability
When I purchased the gun, extra factory Bul SAS II magazines where unavailable to be purchased separately. 😠 But... I recently realized that the Rock Island Armory 1911 22TCM/9mm double stack 17-round mags should function in the Bul as the mag tube is basically the same. I ordered four of the mags that come with the magwell base pads, but I ended up installing some tall STI 140mm base pads on them to fill most of the gap created from my grip chop. The only modification I had to make to the STI base pad was to cut off the bottom two points of the star of the retaining plate that protrudes through the hole in the base pad to lock it in place. The angle at the bottom of the RIA mags is not the same as the Bul mags, but it doesn't really matter since they extend out past the bottom of the grip  (even without the grip chop and STI base pads). These mags are cheaper than the factory Bul mags and are readily available in the US. When I took the gun to the range to test the new RIA mags, I quickly realized that they sit up inside the gun just a tiny bit higher than the factory Bul mags. I could feel the slide dragging on the top of the mag a little bit when I manually racked the slide slowly.  They still functioned when shooting the gun, but it was enough of an issue that I ended up increasing the height of the mag catch slot in the mag body by 0.050" using a Dremel cut-off wheel and a small square file. I've since put several hundred rounds through the gun with the modified RIA mags and have not had any problems. I use one of my shortened factory Bul mags in the gun when carrying it, and a RIA mag for my spare carry mag. I use the other three RIA mags for practice and training.

June 2021 Update - New Red Dot and Weapon Light
I have made a few changes to the gun since I posted this over a year ago.  I have recently replaced the Shield RMSc optic with a Swampfox Sentinel-M optic, and I've replaced the Olight PL-Mini2 weapon light with a Streamlight TLR-7A weapon light. Even though I never had any problems with the RMSc, I just felt like it was too delicate of an optic with it's skeletonized hood and polymer lens. The Swampfox optic has a glass lens and a more robust body, so I believe it is an improvement. It actually sits a little higher on the slide than the RMSc, but that actually allows it to co-witness better with the factory front iron sight along with a custom black vinyl rear sight that I applied to the front of optic window. The built-in rear sight notches on the back of the RMSc did NOT co-witness properly with the factory front sight at all (POA/POI was way off). I replaced the PL-Mini2 light because I purchased a TLR-7A for holster making purposes at RFV Tactical and really liked the way it looked on the gun (it comes with a rail key that fits the short rail). I also installed ambidextrous Ed Brown thumb safeties and re-installed the factory hammer and sear as I re-purposed the EGW hammer and sear for my Bul SAS II Tac Commander competition gun.

January 2022 Update - New Two-tone Finish
I decided to give this gun a makeover by having the slide and frame refinished after dehorning them as well as finally texturing the previously chopped grip module.