Category Archives: Pistols

My Adventures With Rock Island Armory 9mm Extractors

Starting in 2021, I started to offer 10mm magazines for the Rock Island Armory A2 HC pistols – “A2” being a marketing opportunity to refer to the next generation 1911A1 pistol prototyping the US Army did starting in 2004 that experimented with different sights, extractors, mainsprings, etc. The “HC” stands for high capacity and reflects the RIA pistols are using a staggered magazine design to hold far more rounds than a single stack could.

At any rate, I had a number of customers ask me to produce mags for the 9mm RIA A2 HC pistols – the 51679 Tac Ultra and the 56645 Pro Ultra Match HC. Our 10mm mags had proven to be very successful and after enough requests, I decided to enter the 9mm magazine market.

One thing I learned with making AK grips is that you really need to have the weapon to make a part for it. This allows you to check fitment, reinforce potentially weak areas, etc. So, when I started with the 10mm mags, I bought a 52009 Rock Ultra HC and later a 56862 Tac Ultra Match HC. Why? Because you also find that a given firearm may differ enough that if you build and test only with it, you may not be making something others can use.

There’s an engineering problem called “stacked tolerance”. Every part has a specification that says, for example “9.0mm” and then there is a tolerance specified – for example “+/- .01”. That means the part produced can range from 8.99 to 9.01 in size. Make an assembly and all of those tolerances may combine, or “stack” in such a way that if you build a part to work for that particular unit then another assembly that happens to stack in the other direction may not be able to use that part. Testing on multiple pistols helps with a testing – at least a bit because you are reducing the odds of one pistol having a problem or working and others not.

So, by having both the 52009 and 56862 10mm pistols, I could test magazines to make sure they fed right, dropped free, etc. With the 9mm pistols, I had limited funds and just started with the 51679 – the Tac Ultra. That decision bit me hard.

The Initial Magazine Prototyping Didn’t Make Sense

When I prototype, I buy a bunch of original magazines and then start looking for what is close enough to modify and start tinkering with the feed lips, feed angles, the spring and the follower. To keep track of things, I applied numbered stickers to every magazine and kept track of the dimensions plus performance.

What I also learned with the 10mm mags is that the best dummy rounds are the machined aluminum A-Zoom Snap-Caps. Dummy rounds that are made from a case and a bullet will see the bullet pushed back into the case and/or get deformed after some fairly low number of cycles. The machined aluminum A-Zoom Snap-Caps are dimensionally accurate and can cycle hundreds of times before needing to be replaced. By the way, don’t do this type of work with live rounds – it’s an accident waiting to happen.

Back to the 9mm world, I was working on the mags and things just didn’t make sense. A magazine would work and then it wouldn’t. One set of dimensions would work and then they wouldn’t. Something just wasn’t adding up. The pistol would fail to eject randomly, I’d then have the old round and the new round in the slide at the same time and of course it jammed.

It had to be the mags right? I blew through a bunch of mags and time before it dawned on me that the pistol itself must have issues. I hadn’t questioned it before because the pistol was brand new out of the box. Sure, I had cleaned and lubed it first before cycling hundreds of snap caps through it. The problem was that I assumed it was good to go and the initial testing seemed to show a reliable pistol … but I only tested a few mags worth of snap caps – maybe 34-52 cycles max.

Testing The First Pistol

I loaded a magazine up, racked the slide and loaded a snap cap. I then pulled the slide back slowly and the extractor lost control of the extracted round as I pulled the slide to the rear. That wasn’t supposed to happen. If I went slow, it would either fail to extract completely or lose control of the round.

I’m not a 1911 gunsmithing guru but I had to learn some stuff really fast. I knew if I sent the pistol back to Rock Island/Armscor, it would be at least a month before I would get it back. So I read posts and watched videos that explained the pistol had an extractor problem and how to correct it. I bought a few different brands of 9mm extractors, the Brownells extractor tool, the Jack Weigand extractor gauge and tensioning tool.

Boy, I could not get that thing to work even after trying a few different brand extractors and a Wilson. At this point I was pretty ticked off. My last best guess was that the extractor looked like it was clocked slightly. When I inserted the Weigand 9mm gauge, I could feel initial tension as I inserted it and then it would drop off rapidly as I inserted the gauge the rest of the way (it centers over the firing pin hole). Rather than do a new firing pin stop plate, I decided to stop chasing best guesses mainly because I was blowing time I did not have to spend. The pistol was under warranty so feeling both stupid and defeated, I finally got an RMA to send the pistol back.

No, I’m Not Incredibly Patient

In the meantime, I bought a 56645 Pro Ultra Match HC and it has worked great – no problems at all. I was able to work out the details on the mags. Now, I am not patient so I actually ordered a second 51679 Tac Ultra that I looked at, cycled a few rounds through but really didn’t use a great deal – my primary go-to test platform was the 56862 … until I decided to take some photos about the RIA 9mm A2 HC pistols and looked at the 51679’s extractor.

The second 51679 is at the top and the 56862 Tac Ultra Match is at the bottom. The Match pistol has nice checkering on the front of the grip, the top of the exposed barrel is a grey matte finish and has a target rear sight.

“You’ve got to be kidding me” – I thought to myself. Inserting a choice F bomb of course. The extractor in the brand new 51679 that probably has less than 100 hand cycled Zoom snap caps through it was almost completely broken off other than a little tiny nub on one end. WTF?!?!

I was happily taking photos for a blog post when I saw the silver grain of the busted extractor. Yeah, I was swearing up a storm. Really?

Okay, two 51679s bought from different vendors off Gunbroker about a month apart both having extraction problems …. wow. I’ll be honest – I’m disappointed. RIA 1911s are econobox models but they usually work – so, no, I’m not remotely happy not to mention jumping through hoops waiting for ever for their customer service to respond. I did learn a bunch though and will share with you what I did and what you can do if you want to.

Metal Injection Molding For Extractors Isn’t The Best Choice

The problem is that to keep costs down, Armscor, who owns the Rock Island brand, make the ejector using Metal Injection Molding (MIM). If you search on the web, you will see a ton of guys arguing against the use of MIM in high stress parts. As I just learned with extractors, it’s not the strongest manufacturing approach – making them from forged high-quality steel is a far better idea.

I removed the extractor from the pistol and zoomed in as best I could to get you this photo. You can see the grainy structure that is a signature of metal injection molding. That nub at the top right edge in the photo was just enough to yank the case out of the chamber … sometimes.

Okay, if you get a new RIA 9mm pistol, check the extractor out of the box. Clean and lube it, go to the range and keep your eye on the extractor. If it breaks you have two options – send it back to Rock Island/Armscor for a RMA repair or do it yourself. Heck, you could even just replace the extractor yourself before you have a problem if you want to.

I Decided To Replace the Extractor Myself

I learned a ton on that first pistol plus I had all of the tools and spare Wilson Combat extractors. I just needed to trust in my abilities a bit more and try it again. If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I am persistent and don’t give up easy. With this in mind, I dove back in again with far better results.

The top is the failed Rock Island 9mm ejector and it is a series 70 design. The lower extractor is a state of the art forged 9mm extractor from Wilson Combat. It is a series 80 design but will work just fine in a series 70 pistol.

First, let me explain why I went with a Wilson “Bullet Proof” .38/9mm extractor. They have an excellent reputation a number of guys posted about throwing away their RIA ejector and installing a Wilson. Instead of being MIM, here’s what Wilson says about their extractors:

  • Fully Machined from S7 shockproof tool steel with a tensile strength of 275,000 PSI
  • Optimized hook design for maximum strength and case rim contact
  • Hook location tolerances held to +/- .001″
  • Radiused corners for extended life and smooth feeding
  • Enhanced design holds tension longer over factory part many times over
  • Heat treated to optimum hardness and cryogenically treated
  • Guaranteed for life against breakage or we will replace at no cost to you

Note: I went with a series 80 extractor because they were in stock even though the RIA pistols are based on a series 70 design. You can use a series 80 extractor in a series 70 pistol but not vice versa. You can get them from Brownells, Wilson directly and other places.

You don’t need specialized tools but if you can afford them, I would highly recommend the following:

The long angled tool is the 1911 Extractor Tool from Brownells and totally worth it in my opinion. The long angled end lets you reach into the slide and push extractor back and then down into the hole for removal. The other end is perfect sized for pushing down the firing pin to aid with the removal and installation of the firing pin stop. Note the blue A-Zoom snap cap – that is the color of their volume packs of rounds. Exact same material and tolerances – just a different color.
The silver block with the red handle is Weigand’s tool for adjusting extractor tension. The big orange thing is the Lyman mechanical trigger pull gauge. The brass plate is the gauge with a brass S-hook that I added. The gauge is sold as a set and each end is for a different caliber. The hole you see is actually for lining up on the firing pin hole – I just added the S-hook on the .38 end because I don’t have any plans to shoot .38 Super. Note, the small blade screw driver makes it real easy to nudge the firing pin up or down so the firing pin stop plate can be pushed into position.

Polish the Extractor

From what I read and saw, the Wilson extractor is practically ready out of the box other than setting the tension. Some guys recommended polishing the surfaces where the cartridge will come in contact and I did that with one of the small rubberized abrasive polishing bits in my Dremel.

How to Install

Make sure your pistol is unloaded – that the chamber is empty and a loaded magazine is not inserted. In short, work safe. Also, do not use live ammo for testing – use snap caps.

Let me give you an overview and then a couple of videos to watch:

  1. Remove the slide
  2. Remove the firing pin stop plate by pushing down with the straight short end of the extractor tool and then slide the plate off. Be CAREFUL that the firing pin and/or spring don’t come flying out as you remove the plate.
  3. Push the extractor backwards by pushing the head of extractor backwards down the hole out the rear of the slide
  4. Insert the new extractor and line it up so the stop plate can be re-inserted. It needs to line up with the top and bottom of the stop plate groove and it needs to be straight up and down parallel to the sides. You don’t need to install the firing pin and spring until you are done.
  5. Insert the Weigand gauge and pull it out using the trigger pull gauge to find out how many ounces it takes.
  6. Use the Weigand tensioning tool to increase or decrease the tension. I dialed mine in to 28 ounces (1.75 pounds).
  7. You can try testing feeding and extracting dummy rounds to see how it performs. The extractor should maintain control until the extracted dummy round hits the ejector.
  8. Once it is dialed in, you can then re-install the firing pin return spring, lube the firing pin and reinstall it also.
  9. There’s a trick to the plate – wiggle it in and push down the firing pin enough to get the plate to sit on the “shelf” at the rear. You can then maintain pressure on the plate and use the other hand to use the extractor tool to push the firing pin down far enough and hold it there while you push the plate back into place.

More Details

Wilson has a video on how to change to their extractor and a bit about setting the tension:

Now, I also read the Brownell’s blog post about extractors plus a more detailed Wilson Combat instructional PDF file.

The following is a video of Jack Weigand explaining how to use his extractor gauges and tensioning tool:

Adjusting The Extractor Landing Pad

The most detailed post and guidance in general about extractors that I read is here – and if you read down, you will get to sections/replies about 9mm extractors. One thing you will notice discussed is reprofiling the “fitting pad” to better fit the radius of the extractor hole. I stoned and polished the fitting pad to be more rounded but that was it. I put more emphasis on getting a weight in the 25-28oz range and did do that after may 3-4 tries.

Pulling the gauge out the final time was about 1-3/4 pounds which is 28 oz. In testing the pistol, extraction was just fine.

Was The Match Pistol Higher End?

I wondered if maybe more care was put into the match pistol. There are some nice perks in terms of features but the trigger feels about the same between the two pistols. I’ll write up something more detailed down the road – for now let me just say they pistols are not night and day different in terms of how they feel with cycling the slide or pulling the trigger.

In terms of pricing, there’s not a huge difference on Gunbroker. The first 51679 was bought on 3/5/22 for $819.99, the Match pistol was $899.00 on 3/25/22 and the second 51679 was bought on 4/3/22 for $899.00 also. In writing this, it’s surprising that the Match wasn’t $100-200 more on the street but it wasn’t. If you look at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) – Armscor did set the 51679 at $899 and the Match 56645 at $1099. In other words, Armscor was hoping the Match would command a premium.

You can find the 51679 pistols right now with a bit of hunting. The 56645 match pistol is challenging to find as it seems to be a bit more rare now but it is out there too. I’d tell you to get the 56645 Pro Ultra Match HC if you can find it. As you can imagine, I’m not too thrilled with my 51679 experience right now and there is little to no price difference *if* you can find one.

Conclusion

I’m not sure what to tell you about what happened – I only have data from two 51679 pistols and one 56645 pistol. It could just be really bad luck – neither of my current 10mm pistols have given me any trouble and the 56645 Pro Ultra Match has been fine so far as well although I have only cycled maybe 500-600 snap caps through it so far.

The first 51679 had something going on that I can’t explain and am waiting on Armscor to fix it under warranty. It certainly was not a broken extractor. For the second one to have a snapped extractor claw with so very few rounds – I guess that highlights the limitation of MIM and that forged extractors are better – there’s a reason why Wilson’s Bullet Proof extractors have such a good reputation.

6/22/22 Update: RIA did a warranty repair after about 4-5 weeks. All they told me was that they confirmed the extraction problem, fixed it and the pistol was fully operational now. So, I still don’t know exactly what happened but at least Armscor/RIA stood behind it and made things right.

We’ll see what Armscor comes back with regarding the first pistol and I’ll report it here. I guess the big thing I want folks to know is that changing an extractor is not an arcane black magic endeavor. There are tons and tons of videos and posts that you can read. At some point you just need to wade in, give it a go and learn.

My other lesson learned is that don’t replace a busted Armscor extractor (MIM) with the same thing. Upgrade. I decided to go with Wilson Combat due to all the good reviews I read and would recommend that.

I still have a lot to learn about 1911s and don’t claim to know much. I’m really focused just on the mags but I hope this helps out anyone who reads it.

A Stunningly Good 1911 Reference Book Recommendation

By the way, If you want a really good book with tons of dimensions, drawings and photos, then get Jerry Kuhnhausen’s “The Colt .45 Automatic – A Shop Manual”. What I bought off Amazon is the “New Expanded 10th Edition” published in 2015. It gave me a better understanding about the extractor and the firing pin stop.

I hope this post helps you out!

6/29/23 Update: The match 9mm MIM extractor is still doing just fine and I have no idea how many thousands of times it has been cycled. The Wilson is doing great on the other pistol also.

12/17/22 Update: I’m somewhat surprised – the original MIM extractor in the Match 9mm is still doing just fine thousands of rounds later. So is the Wilson but I am not surprised about the Wilson holding up.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.




Adjusting the the feed lip gap on our 3rd Generation RIA 10mm and .40 S&W Magazines

As you may know, we offer a third generation staggered 16 round magazine for Rock Island Armory (RIA) pistols chambered in either 10mm for .40 S&W. Having the correct front feed lip gap is critical for reliable feeding and I want to update you on some changes.

S&B 180gr FMJ round. The black “flaps” over the back of the cartride are known as the “feed lips”. They serve to limit how far the cartridge sticks up, the vertical angle as well as the left-to-right angle. On our magazines, it is the front of the lips, or right right edge of the lips in this photo, that are key for proper positioning of the round.

When I first started the magazines, I was setting the front edge of the feed lips between 0.36 and 0.375. In talking with customers who have bought the mags and were having feeding problems (notably stovepiping) , when the magazine lips were down at the lower end of 0.360″. I’d walk them through setting the gap for their pistol and at the end, I would have them measure the final front lip gap that worked. It was usually between 0.370 and 0.390″ and averaged 0.380″.

Here is a photo with labels.
There are a lot of different 10mm cartrdiges on the market. Look at the different bullet shapes – the different angles can all affect reliable feeding which is one of many reasons why you may find one pistol likes one ammo and can cycle it all day long but not another.

Adjusting the Feed Lips Isn’t Hard

I’d recommend the following tools for the adjustments:

  • 1/2-3/4 pound non-marring mallet – or even both. A lighter one for fine adjustments and a heavier one for coarse adjustments. It doesn’t take much to bend the lips. (May 2024 Update: I started using sheet metal hammers maybe a year and a half ago and find that they work great. The force of the strike bends the metal very nicely and doesn’t hurt the finish so while the photos all say use a non marring mallet – I would tell you to get some basic light sheet metal / body work hammers. Cheap ones break down quickly as the face of the hammer is weak so read reviews and get a good one. You just need a decent flat face and not a lot of weight – look at Martin, Fairmount, Performance Tool, etc.)
  • A pair of snap ring or malleable chandalier pliers that can spread the lips open. I highly recommend the Westinghouse 70099 pliers specifically because they have nice wide jaws that really help you make solid contact with the lips. Other brands have narrower jaws, probably to lower costs, that work but want to roll over on you while you are adjusting.
  • A pair of straight plastic jawed pliers come in hand if you need to tweak the lips left or right. I like the Beadsmith Parallel Pliers with nylon jaws for this work.
  • A vise with non-marring jaws or some means to hold the mag without crushing or excessive scratching
  • Digital calipers will help you with consistency and recording what gap your pistol works the best with give a particular type of ammo. Amazon has a ton of 6″ calipers so look at the reviews and decide. I use Mitutoyo 500-196-30 calipers but I need that level of precision and robustness due to constant use.
  • Use Zoom Snap Caps to test cycling vs live ammo. In general, snap caps or action proving rounds are a good idea to avoid misfires. There’s also a second reason – the recoil springs in the RIA pistols are robust and if the bullet from a live round or dummy round (a bullet loaded into a case that does not have powder or a primer) smacks hard into something, it will get pushed back further and further into the case plus they deform easily. All of my testing is done with solid aluminum snap caps now. I use A-Zoom 10mm Snap Caps for both my 10mm and .40 S&W mags. I’ve had positive feedback from owners of .40 S&W pistols so I know they work for both. Note I do NOT use A-Zoom snap caps for 9mm as the bullet shape does not remotely reflect common 115gr FMJ ammo at all.
From left to right bottom row: Vaughan 3/4 pound NT-125 mallet, Vaughan 1/2 pound NT-100 mallet and Westinghouse 7009900 lighting fixture chain pliers. The Vaughan mallets hold up great – the plastic is both pretty solid and robust so tapping in the feed lips goes very smoothly.
The Westinghouse pliers make opening the feed lips wider a very easy job. You could also use snap ring pliers but they will not distribute the pressure the same or be as easy to use.
The Westinghouse pliers have wide jaws – meaning left to right in the photo above. I’ve bought a number of chain pliers and the cheaper ones do not have as wide of jaws and have a tendency to want to roll when you are applying pressure. They work – but take a bit more control on your part.

Procedure to follow

Ensure your pistol is unloaded and no ammo is immediately nearby that might get accidentally loaded during testing.

Okay, let’s walk through the steps:

Checking Cartridge Alignment

  1. Lock the slide open
  2. Put a snap cap in the magazine
  3. Insert the magazine into the pistol
  4. From different angles, look at where the catridge is pointing in the chamber. Imagine a line from the center of the bullet going straight forward – where is it hitting? You will want to make small adjustments and test over and over until you get that bullet pointing into the center of the chamber (no, it does not need to be perfect).
The front edge of the feed lips are adjusted such that the cartridge is aiming into the middle of the chamber vertically and horiztontally.

Adjusting The Vertical Angle

On most mags, including our’s, the angle the bullet sits at is adjusted by changing the gap of the front mag lips. The back can’t be adjusted because it will buckle or crack given the right angle bend to the back. What happens is that by opening the front of the mag lips, the front of cartridge sits higher (meaning it is a steeper angle). Correspondingly, by narrowing the front of the mag lips, the cartridge can’t rise up as far and the bullet sits lower.

The circle representing a cartridge is the same size in both figures. By making the gap wider on the right, the circle rises up higher before it contacts the black feed lips.

The angle is often the biggest problem. If the bullet isn’t angled enough, it gets stripped from the magazine by the slide and will either slam straight into the feed ramp and stop or it will hit, shoot up at a 45 degree angle jamming the pistol open – this is known as “stovepiping”. In both of these cases, you would want to open the lips up until there is proper feeding.

There is such a thing as the lips being too wide and hitting the top of the chamber or literally falling out. The feed lips need to be narrower than the case diameter of 0.421″ for sure otherwise the case will literally fall right through the lips.

To open the front of the lips, use the chain pliers shown above on the front of the feed lips. It doesn’t take much pressure to open (or close) the feed lips so you will need to get the “feel” for how much to squeeze.

To close the front of the lips, tap the left feed lip in and then the right feed lip in equal amounts using the mallet. If you aren’t careful then you are liable to have the bullet pointing too far left or right even though the gap is the same.

Note, it doesn’t take much force with the mallet to move the lips. If you go crazy and crush the lips such that the gap dips below 0.33″, you may find that the throat of the magazine bent and the follower will not longer be able to pass. You don’t want this to happen so make small adjustments, measure and test over and over.

Adjusting the Horizontal Angle

You have a few ways to adjust the left to right horizontal angle. The first is to tap the lips in the direction you need. You can hit in the outside edge of the lip to close it or the right side to open it. I don’t use this because I find it takes too long.

I like to use parallel plastic jawed pliers that fit right inside the lip and let me easily adjust the angle with a good deal of control.

Here’s another look at the lips without a cartridge present.
Here’s a magazine with a 180 grain FMJ round by S&B loaded.

It really helps to number your magazines so you can keep track of feed lip gaps, which ones are having problems, etc.

Summary

Each pistol can vary slightly so each magazine may need different feed lip gaps. Going forward, the feed lip gap on our 10mm and .40 S&W magazines will vary between 0.370 and 0.380″. This gives you a starting point but you may find a bit of final tweaking of the feed lips beneficial.

If you are reading this and are not using our magazines, your feed lip gap may differ.

I hope this helps you out.


3/24/2024 Update: We make 10, 15 and 16 round magazines for Rock Island A2 HC 10mm & .40 S&W.
Please click here for the product listings.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Use Dupont Ceramic Dry Film Lubricant In Your Steel and Aluminum Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun Magazines To Smooth Their Operation

Firearms box magazines all work the same – a spring is pushing against a follower that is then pushing the ammunition on the direction needed. The follower is often pushing against at least one wall of the box magazine and dragging. This can be especially bad with steel and aluminum magazines making loading the magazines more tedious and even cause problems with feeding. It begs the question – how can I lubricate the inside of the magazine?

The knee jerk reaction is to put oil in the magazine to lubricate things. I’d recommend against this course of action because the oil will trap dirt and eventually can start causing sticking and jamming.

I’d recommend that you use a dry film lubricant aerosol instead. These sprays on and then the liquid evaporates off and what is left in place are thousands of particles that are slippery. I do not recommend any of the dry films that include a wax – like chain lubes. The wax may trap dirt as well over time.

Don’t spray anything in, or on, a plastic magazine without first checking with the manufacturer. Some plastic magazines are self-lubricating and don’t need any additional lubrication. Also, when spraying any solvent (which is basically what the dry film particles are floating in) on plastic, you risk the plastic getting gummy due to a chemical reaction – this depends on what plastic they useed. My recommendation is really for steel and aluminum magazines.

A Quick Side Note About Teflon

Up until a few years ago, I used to like Teflon, which is what Dupont, the owners of the trademark call it. Teflon was discovered by Chemours, which was a spin off from Dupont, in 1938. If you see someone selling “PTFE” – that is the generic name for Teflon. By saying their product contains “PTFE” then they don’t have to pay royalties to Dupont or risk having Dupont sue them.

So, Teflon and PTFE were selling great and then people started worrying about the safety of people eating Teflon, Teflon in the environment and so on. I’m not hear to weigh in on this but whether it was concerns over marketing, lawsuits or just the pandemic, the Dupont Teflon Aerosol Spray went on hiatus for the longest time.

In late 2021, it re-appeared but with a different formulation. The new spray uses a ceramic now and not Teflon. I corresponded with Hank Krause the president and CEO of Finish Line Technologies – the group that actually markets the spray. I was concerned about the change in formulation because the Dupont spray had been excellent before. Want a quick way to test this? First, spray some competing dry films on a black plastic surface and see how some of them actually leave very little residue. Also look at how evenly the distribution is. Not all are the same.

I think this photo says a lot. On the left is the original Dupont spray with Teflon. In the middle is Super Lube’s Dry Film and on the right is CRC’s. This is why I swore by the Dupont dry film for years. The CRC was dry film was going to be my fall back once I ran out of the Dupont Teflon.

Nano-Ceramic Boron

At any rate, Hank told me that they have moved away from Teflon to Nano-ceramic boron nitride particles and I told him my concern that I didn’t know whether to change to a new dry film technology I knew nothing about. Hank told me the new formulation used thier same propretary technology for binding the particles to the surface and the following are benefits of the new ceramic technology over Teflon (I will copy and paste his list verbatim):

  • Helps extend life of the lubricant, thus delivering longer relubrication intervals
  • Provides enhanced lubricity
  • Provides better extreme pressure capabilities
  • Increases the high temperature operating range of the lubricant
  • Provides better resistance against chemicals
  • Helps repel water and moisture more effectively

So, based on Hank’s assurances, I ordered in some cans of the spray and started testing them. The residue looked very similar to the Teflon test above – the ceramic dry film residue is also white.

The black strip is the shiny side of a piece of Kydex. I included the cans in the photo. The Dupont sprays put down the thickest coat. Interestingly enough, the CRC left a very fine film. I couldn’t find the SuperLube product – I may have tossed it – I’m not sure.

In terms of lubricity, it does the job just as well and maybe even better than the Teflon. While this may seem subjective, the lubrication seems very good with one solid spray of the ceramic both in the tube of the magazine and on the follower. Any over spray wipes right off with a rag.

With the ceramic spray, feeding rounds by hand into the magazines and unloading all feel very smooth. Bear in mind that this comment is after hundreds of loaind and unloading cycles by your’s truly.

Our new second generation followers for our RIA 9mm magazines are converted from OEM followers with the final step being fine sanding paper. It’s my speculation that the ceramic particles are getting into the tiny grooves of the follower and providing excellent lubrication.

At any rate, I am very happy with the new Dupont Ceramic Dry Film aerosol for use inside firearm magazines and wanted to pass along the word. Going forward, we are using the Dupont product in all of our steel magazines that do not already have an anti-friction coating (AFC).

By the way, I cleaned out a bunch of IMI Galil magazines that I bought and you could tell there was a bunch of friction going on in the mags between the parkerized tubes and followers – the parts hadn’t worn in yet by any means. With the mags disassembled, I sprayed in a heavy coat of the Dupont Ceramic Dry Film in the tubes and sprayed both the followers and springs, let them dry and re-assembled the mags — wow! What an amazing improvement. Click here for the Amazon Listing.

I hope this helps you out.

We make a variety of magazines for the 10mm, .40 S&W and 9mm Rock Island Armory (RIA) FS A2 pistols. Click here to see them.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



The Ruger LCP Max – Compact, Reliable, & Chambered In .380 … But That’s Ok

I’ll put it right out there – I am a pistol cartridge snob. My favorite is 10mm Auto and my second is 9mm Luger. I held .380 in about the same regard as .22 LR for self-defense but then I ran into a weight problem. Yeah, I am overweight but I also wasn’t liking the weight and size of my Every Day Carry (EDC) pistol in all situtations – the SIG P365, which I think is an amazing pistol – but I wanted something smaller and lighter.

I looked at derringers and .22 pistols and just none of them really struck me as something I wanted to carry – I normally had Hornady Critical Duty 9mm +P in my P365 but it just weighed too much. Some derringers weigh a ton, some weigh less but you still have just two rounds. I read a stat once that most gun fights conclue in 5 rounds or less … just having two rounds didn’t sound appealing not to mention my big hands trying to hold a way too small pistol. Everything kept pushing me back to the P365 despite its weight. It was reliable and packed a heck of a punch.

Then my friend and FFL dealer, Scott Igert, of Michigan Gun Exchange, recommended I take a look at a Ruger LCP Max. It was light, compact, got great reviews … and was chambered in .380. Uh…. what?

The words “.380” and “amazing stopping power” will never be next to each other in the same sentence – at least not in a serious discussion. Let’s think about this for a minute. Depending on the load, a .22 long rifle cartridge will generate 120-160 foot pounds of energy. A .380 is maybe 190-294 foot pounds. The Critical Duty +P 9mm generates 369 foot pounds and 10mm Underwood 180gr is 676 foot pounds — all at the muzzle.

So, .380 has more energy than a .22 but pales in comparison to modern 9mm and 10mm loads. As I was feeling snobbish, I actually recalled a story the Kyle Lamb told about meeting a guy in a pistol shop and talking about the best pistol. Kyle told the fellow he had a Bersa .380 in his pocket and the other fellow started putting it down. Kyle then asked him where his pistol was and the guy stopped dead in his tracks – it was in his truck. The whole point is that carrying a pistol beats not carrying a pistol.

With that memory it dawned on me that having a .380 with me that was light and small beat not having anything with me due to complaints about weight, size, etc. So, I shut up and had Scott order me one while I started digging into ammo choices.

After doing some reading, I ordered in SIG, Federal, and Buffalo Bore ammo to give it a try. Then whent he pistol arrived, I field stripped, cleaned and lubricated it before heading to the range.

Time for me to do the safety briefing thing. First off, always clean and lubricate a new firearm. They are not good to go right out of the box. Second, not all pistols like all magazines or forms of ammunition. Be sure to thest your pistol with your different magazines and ammo before you rely on them. For most pistols you will find one or more combination that you need to steer clear of. Reliability doesn’t magically happen – you need to help it happen.
The Ruger LCP Max is a little pistol. Note on the lower right side of the photo the relatively big 10mm round on the left next to the small .380 round on the right,
This is my Glock 29 Gen 4 10mm on top and the LCP Max .380 under it for size comparison.

At the range, I put a few hundred rounds of 10mm through the Glock 29 and my RIA 56862 Tac Ultra HC. After shooting them, just picking up the little LCP Max made me realize it was a mouse gun. Then I loaded the little bullets into the little magazines and made little pew pews.

Okay, joking aside, I did not have one failure to feed, fire or eject. The litttle pistol did its job. After shooting the 10mms, the .380 recoil was very light to non-existent. I was shooting plates and bowling pins at about 30 feet. It knocked over the plates but the bowling pins would often just jiggle a bit and not fall over.

Tip: Want to have a fun first range session? Read your instruction manual, clean and lubricate your pistol and then cycle the slide back and forth a few hundred times to help things break in. It may sound goofy but it will make a world of difference for most firearms.
The LCP Max shot every type of ammo I brought with no problems at all.

A Compensating Ammo Load Out

`As I jokingly stated earlier, the .380 round is not a power house and there is not a SAAMI specification for .380 +P. Now maybe you have seen vendors say they load .380 +P but bear in mind it is their own recipe that will generate pressures only they know. How did I find this you? The Ruger LCP Max manual states in big bold letters not to run +P and I couldn’t figure out why so I started digging.

There are only four cartridges where SAAMI created a specifications for the higher pressure +P loads: .38, .38 Super, 9mm Luger and .45 ACP. That’s it. The shooting industry loves marketing and appealing to the guys that want the hot rod ammo so there are groups out there – both who sell ammunition and make firearms – who will stamp +P on everything but the end of the day, outside of the four rounds previously listed, there are no standard +P loads so watch out.

Personally, I will stick with name brand ammo and not push the envelope. Ti m Sundle, who owns Buffalo Bore ammunition, posted the observation that your typical .380 hollow points aren’t going to penetrate very far so consider using hard cast bullets for greater penetration. I always find his write ups about his ammo very interesting and click here for this standard pressure .380 ammo listing and his thoughts. Note, his real word testing with a Colt Mustang with a 2.75″ barrel ought to be close to the LCP Max because the LCP Max has a 2.8″ barrel – close enough to get an idea of the muzzle velocity of 910 FPS and about 193 foot pounds of energy.

Okay, rather than enter the world of ballistics calculators, let me put it this way – the relatively short 2.8″ barrel of the LCP Max will mean most ammo will not generate the velocities and energies they post. For example, Hornady lists a 1,000 feet per second and 200 foot pounds of energy but that is with a 4″ barrel and depending on other factors such as how long the slide will remain closed before beginning its rearword travel and releasing pressure will all affect the velocity and energy you actually realize.

If a person enters into a self-defense situtation with a .380, I doubt one round will end the fight – maybe it will but probably not. This is where the doctrine of shooting until the threat is ended enters in. I also run an alternating loadout in my mag. The first round is a good hollow point (such as Hornady’s Critical Defense or Sig’s VCrown) followed by a Buffalo Bore hard cast load, which is then followed by another hollow point, another hard cast and so forth.

Consider loading your mags alternating with hollow points and hard cast bullets. That is a Critical Duty load that will go in first and the a Buffalo Bore hard cast solid underneath it for penetration.

Carrying The Pistol

In terms of the ability to carry the LCP Max in a concealed manner, this is where the LCP Max shines. It is less than an inch thick (0.81″ actually), has a an overall length of just 5.17″ and weighs 10.6 ounces empty.

You can carry it in your pocket – mine came with a pocket holster – or wear and inside or outside the waist band holser. Because it is small you have a ton of options not to mention it doesn’t feel like you are carrying a boat anchor.

Hickok45’s Video Review

In this day and age, I realize a lot of folks like watching videos. I’m a writer and not really not into making videos but I do watch them when I am researching firearms. Here’s a good one from Hickok45 (his videos are always worth watching on YouTube – I subscribe to his channel):

Summary

There is no magical pistol or round that is perfect for every situation is what you should always bear in mind. You need to think and the pros and cons and select accordingly. The LCP Max is a reliable pistol and can serve defensively in urban situations where weight and/or size concerns limit what a person can carry. My preference is still the Sig P365 for normal self-defense duties and I do carry a Glock 29 10mm when trail hiking in bear country. The LCP Max has filled a niche for me when I need something small and light.

I hope this post helps you out!

3/17/24 Update: Because of its size, weight and reliability, this is still the pistol I carry most for self-defense. It’s reliability has been exceptional by the way.

9/18/23 Update: Still the pistol I carry the most when I need something very light and/or discrete.

10/25/2022 Update: This is my carry pistol when weight and size are issues. When I can afford more weight and bulk, I carry my SIG P365. When I need firepower in the back country for bear defense, I carry a Glock 29 loaded with heavy solid cast Buffalo Bore or Underwood ammo.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Customizing My Glock 29

The Glock 29 Gen 4 offers a solid platform out of the box and for many, that is all they want. For me, after building a few Polymer80s and having a better idea of what I liked, I knew I wanted to upgrade some of the parts to personalize it plus run heavier loads.

Wait – Not The Trigger You Ask?

You may look at that list and be surprised that I left the trigger alone – yes, I did. I’ve used Zev, Overwatch and other aftermarket triggers along with other aftermarket parts like connectors, springs, etc. My personal choice, and this is just me, was to go with the tried and proven OEM Glock parts and let them wear in. I’m not shooting matches or precision targets – this was to be a defensive pistol so I wanted reliability and a trigger with enough pull that I wouldn’t have an accidental discharge. There are guys that will agree with me and ones that will strongly disagree – the trigger decision is totally up to you. Mine was to go with the original Glock trigger parts.

New Sights

The original Glock sights are better than nothing but I really do not care for them. Others must feel the same way because there are a ton of aftermarket sight vendors. By the way, go for a brand name – some are just total junk and not sufficiently rugged.

I’ve had very good luck with TruGlo and Trijicon and I tend to favor the latter more. Trijicon sights are very well designed, make aiming super easy and are incredibly rugged. I opted for the Trijicon HD Night Sights (GL1040) for large frame night sights that have an orange ball in the front and tritium illumination. I intentionally wanted a low-light sight but not to add an optic.

I used a Wheeler Sight Tool for pistol sights and really like it. Installing and removing Glock sights is a breeze with this tool. You can’t see it from this angle but I do have blue painter’s tape on the slide to protect the finish just in case.
My current tool for removing and installing Glock sights is this 2-in-1 Real Avid tool that has a pin pusher on one end and a pin pusher on the other. What makes a good tool? The little bolt you see requires a 3/16″ thin wall socket. Having a rare earth magnet at the right depth makes all the difference in the world to properly hold the bolt while you are trying to get it threaded into the sight. Cheap tools do not have the socket properly formed, don’t have a magnet, etc. The Real Avid tool gets it right. Cheap imports are just that – I’ve seen them useless right out of the box.
Done. It took me maybe 10-15 minutes including taking these photos. The right tools make it very easy.
The dots glow green in low light due to tritium inserts.

Changing The Controls

That is a Rival Arms Extended Slide Lock. An OEM Glock Slide Stop Lever and a Tango Down Vickers Tactical Magazine Catch.

I like to replace the slide lock, slide release and mag catch normally. The slide stop is actually a big problem for me as I have a hard time grabbing, even feeling, the two sides to pull it down to remove the slide. This really drives me nuts and is one thing I always replace. I installed a Rival Arms extended slide release that sticks out just enough for me to get a much better grip on it. I wish I could find the packaged but I installed a no-name unit online and it had problems from the start – the Rival Arms unit is what I went to next and am still using. Point of the story – beware of cheap parts and test your stuff.

For the Slide Stop Lever, I actually am still using the Glock unit. Normally I would replace it but had a hard time finding one that would fit a Glock Gen 4 model 29. I can use the Glock lever, it’s just not my first choice.

For the Magazine Catch, I went with a Tango Down Vickers Tactical model. I’ve used these a number of time of times now because I like how it sticks out just a bit more than the original but not too much. I’ve tried ones that stick out so far that if you even lay the pistol on its side, the catch is depressed enough to release the magazine and then the next round fails to feed because the mag isn’t properly seated.

The Vickers Tactical Magazine Catches are really my preferred unit these days for Glocks and Polymer80s.

Recoil Spring Upgrade

The stock Glock 29 spring is rated for 17 pounds as I understand it. To better run the hotter loads from Buffalo Bore and Underwood, I wanted to put in a stiffer spring but I wasn’t exactly sure what to go with. This helps with obtaining both higher and more consistent velocities with these loads. Yes, the OEM recoil spring will still work – this is an improvement is all. However, if you run too stiff of a spring, your pistol may not cycle reliably with other loads you want to run.

Wolff Gun Springs makes this decision super easy for you. They sell what they call a “Recoil Calibration Pak” with springs at 17, 19 and 21 pounds. They have a variety of these assortments for different Glock models as well.

To install the spring, you need to get a two piece guide rod assembly and Wolff sells them as well. The native Glock springs are in a captured assembly that really isn’t designed to come apart. The Wolff guide rods make it super easy for you to try different springs and do not affect accuracy or reliability in terms of the rods themselves.

That is the Wolff two piece guide rod and springs. It’s worked great so far.

I installed a 19 pound spring and found it functioned just fine with all of my Buffalo Bore, Ammo Inc, S&B, and Underwood loads. That’s what I am running at this point and haven’t had any reliability issues so far.

In Conclusion

The pistol is configured the way I want it and as reliable as ever. The end of the day, what you do is your choice but just be sure to test your combinations (the new parts, magazine and ammo) before you rely on them.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



My New Glock 29 Gen 4 Back Country Defense Pistol

I’ve never been a huge Glock fan preferring 1911 & 2011 pistols. A few years ago I built a few Polymer80 pistols and that chipped away at my dislike because the engineering was really very cool. In terms of calibers, I mainly focus on 9mm and 10mm these days – the former for general self -defense and shooting at the range and the latter for defense including potentially black bears. The problem I’ve had for the past year is that my 1911 and 2011 10mm pistols weigh quite a bit and are large. With this in mind, I started hunting around for a smaller 10mm that would also given me at least 10 rounds of ammo in the magazine. This brought me to Glock and either the full size model 20 or compact 29. I opted for the latter because I wanted something smaller and easier to carry concealed.

First, Why 10mm?

I suppose the first thing that made me even consider a G29 is that it uses 10mm and I am a big fan of the 10mm cartridge. Folks, it hits hard. It’s not a magnum but it does pack a wallop substantially beyond what a 9mm can do while feeding from a semi-auto.

My plan was to use this pistol when hiking in the back country for self-defense from someone with malicious intents or a black bear. This was not to be my every day concealed carry pistol and while I do have quite a selection of hollow points (HPs), my plan was to load the pistol up with ammo designed to penetrate, not to mushroom like a HP bullet does.

While I have carried my Sig P365 on many hikes mainly because it’s small and lightt, let’s compare some rounds between 9mm +P and 10mm so you can get an idea:

9mm +P Penetrating RoundsMuzzle Velocity (FPS)Muzzle Energy (Ft/Lbs)
Hornady 9mm Critical Duty 135gr +P1,110369
Hornady 9mm Critical Duty 124gr +P 1,175380
Buffalo Bore 9mm Outdoorsman 147gr Hard Cast +P1,100394
Underwood 9mm 147gr Hard Cast +P1,100395
Underwood 9mm 115gr Xtreme Penetrator +P1,250399

10mm Penetrating Rounds Muzzle Velocity (FPS) Muzzle Energy (Ft/Lbs)
Buffalo Bore 10mm Dangerous Game 190gr Mono Metal1,100510
Hornady 10mm Critical Duty 175gr1,160523
Buffalo Bore 10mm Outdoorsman 220gr Hard Cast1,100591
Underwood 10mm Hard Cast 200gr1,250694
Underwood 10mm Hard Cast 220gr1,200704

So if you want to read more on the ballistics of 9mm, 10mm or comparisons, there are tons out there by people who know far more than I do. You may also argue that Critical Duty was never designed for dangerous game and you are right but I wanted to give some comparisons mainly about the energy levels. Bottom line for me is that 10mm hits a lot harder and penetrates further based on lots of examples I have seen of 10mm rounds being fired into ballistic gelatin, phone books and real world self-defense stories against bears that you can search and read about.

This is one of Underwood’s Hard Cast 220 grain 10mm rounds loaded in one of our custom double stack mags for RIA 10mm and .40 S&W pistols [Click here to learn more about our magazines]

But Why Glock?

I’ve not been a Glock fan to be perfectly honest. I preferred 1911/2011 pistols and CZ-75s to the Glocks mainly because of the grip angle and a bit of a bias against the blocky boring lines of the factory Glock pistol.

What is cool about Glock? First and foremost, the Glocks are amazingly reliable pistols. They are going to work when you need them to work. Note, you still need to clean, lube and thoroughly test them before relying on them but this is true of any firearm. A pet peeve of mine, maybe it’s even a fear for the safety of others, are the people who are new to any type of firearm, buying one and ammo from the store, loading it straight out of the box and then thinking they are safe – Please, don’t do this.

Second, Glocks do not weigh a bunch because of their polymer frames. My Desert Eagle 1911 in 10mm is an amazing pistol – easily the best factory-built 1911 pistol I have ever bought but it is not light. Unloaded it comes in at 36.2 ounces – folks, that is just over two and a quarter pounds!! In comparison, an empty Glock 29 weighs 24.34 ounces or just over a pound and a half – That is almost a third less weight.

Third, a Glock 29 Gen 4 pistol holds 10 rounds with the little magazines made for it but it can also use the 15 round magazines made for the Glock 20. For me to carry 15 rounds in a 1911-ish pistol means I need to move up to a wide grip 2011-style pistol such as the offerings from Rock Island Armory (RIA). Again, it’s big and heavy – 2.5 pounds empty – even heavier than the Desert Eagle.

Fourth, there is an absolutely stunningly large aftermarket parts industry supporting Glock pistols. Now you will have fewer options than the wildly popular model 17 and 19 Glocks but still, you have a ton of sights, triggers, magazine releases, slide stops and what have you to select from,

I originally was going to stop with four but I do need to add in one more – The G29 is small relatively small and far easier to conceal or even stow away than any of my big 1911/2011 pistols. The length of the G29 Gen 4 is just under 7″ with the slide being just over 6.75″. Height with the stock 10 round magazine is just over 4.5″.

The top pistol is my SIG P365 with a 12 round magazine, The middle is the Glock 29 Gen 4 with a Pearce magazine base plate. The bottom is a RIA 52009 Rock Ultra FS HC with its 16 round magazine sitting flush under the big mag well funnel. They are all great pistols but each has a time and a place in terms of use.

All of these points finally pushed me to buy my model 29 gen 4 pistol. I’ll do some more posts about the mods I have done to make it more to my liking – namely the controls, sights and changing magazine base plates so I can more comfortably hold the pistol.

Here’s the G29 with three magazines – on the left is a 10 round magazine with a Pearce replacement base plate that makes the pistol way more comfortable to hold. The middle is a full size G20 15 round magazine with an X-Grip adapter that makes it very nice to hold. Note that one is loaded with Buffalo Bore 220 grain hard cast rounds. The right magazine is the same as the middle but is loaded with 180gr Underwood HPs.

One quick comment – I’ll tell you that I am still training myself on aiming with it. I’ll bring it up and a conciously have to align the sights because my natural point of aim happens with the 1911 grip angle, not the Glock’s. I do plan on trying the new M&P that is out and will see how that goes but for now, my backwoods carry pistol is my G29.

So, I definitely like it but will stop short of saying I love it just due to the grip angle. Now some guys absolutely love their Glocks. My recommendation would be for you to go to the gun store or try a friend’s pistol and see how your natural aim is relative to the sights and decide for yourself. Personally, I can live with it and will train more because the quality of the pistol justifies the extra work on my part.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Introducing Our New Third Generation 16 Round 10mm Magazines for Rock Island Armory High Capacity FS A2 Pistols

This is our third generation of magazine for the Rock Island High Capacity FS A2 10mm and .40 S&W pistols that use the 16 round magazines – not the single stack 7-8 round mags.

This is one of the new mags. You can see a dummy 10mm round poking out from during testing.

These are converted Mec-Gar Para P14-45 magazines that have the feedlips adjusted and fine tuned to properly retain and feed 10mm rounds.  Note, a normal P14 mag can’t securely retain a 10mm round.  These tuned mags will only work with 10mm and .40 S&W.  They will not work on any other calibers or in a pistol that requires P14 mags.

To properly retain a 10mm round, the feed lips must be properly spaced plus this must be done correctly or the feed angle will be wrong.

The adjustment process and tooling took some work because Mec-Gar uses surprisingly resilient hardened steel magazine bodies and feed lips.  I had to develop a means to convert the magazines using a forming jig I developed.

Here’s a closer look at the mag lips. The finish wear is from the adjustment process.

Compatibility

These custom mags should work with RIA pistols that use the OEMP164015B magazine including the following pistols:

  • 51994 TAC Ultra MS 10mm
  • 51914 TAC Ultra FS 10mm
  • 56862 TAC Ultra Threaded 10mm
  • 52000 PRO Match Ultra 6″ HC 10mm
  • 52009 Rock Ultra FS HC 10mm
  • 51738 Pro Match Ultra H – 40S&W – note, I tune for 10mm as I don’t have a .40 so some minor adjustments might be needed.

Observations

Based on my past experience and some research, there are some really cool benefits from the new Mec-Gar P14 design:

  • Hardened steel bodies and feed lips will hold up very well with extreme use
  • Mec-Gar developed an anti-friction coating that aids in feeding
  • The magazine spring is made from type “D” music wire and holds up nicely
  • They developed a polymer base plate that fits very nicely in the large RIA mag well funnels
  • The slightly taller magazine body clears the RIA mag-well funnel very easily.  It’s longer than our previous generations of magazines and is even slightly longer than the original RIA/Act-Mag magazine
  • The magazine’s capacity is 16 rounds of 10mm. I was able to get 17 rounds in during testing but I feel that last round is just too tight. Thus, I am listing it as 16 rounds.

The polymer base plates work very nicely with the RIA pistols. You don’t need to change them unless you prefer longer plates. We do sell Dawson base plates if you wish to have one that extends further than the included Mec-Gar plate – The Dawson +100 plate is about the same height so if you do want the mags to be taller, you’d need either a +200 or +300 to see a difference. Please click here if you are interested in the Dawson plates.

These are all P14 mag bodies but with the different base plates installed so you can see the difference in thicknesses. The plates just change how tall the magazine is – they do not add capacity.
The OEM Mec-Gar base plate fits the RIA mag well funnel just fine. I set aside four mags for myself and am using the original base plate for them.

The Mec-Gar spring seems pretty robust.  If you want an even stiffer spring, we do sell Wolff magazine springs that are 10% stronger than the originals.  Please click here if you are interested.

The top mag is the Wolff +10% model. The middle is an OEM Mec-Gar without the floor plate and follower and the bottom is one with the floor plate and follower. Note, the Wolff Spring does require bending at the top to properly hold the follower.

After the mag lips are tuned, each magazine is tested in both my 10mm RIA 52009 Rock Ultra FS HC and 10mm 56862 Tac Ultra pistols to ensure proper fit and feeding.  You may find some final tuning is needed on your particular pistol and it is easy to do – please click here for more information.

This is my 56862. You can see one of the new mags peaking out of the bottom of the big flared mag well.
Here, one of the new magazines is in my 52009 that is locked open.

One small detail, since these were originally for .45 rounds, the mag round indicator counts doesn’t match since you will be loading either 10mm or .40 – usually you have one or two more rounds of 10mm/.40 compared to what the round count hole label says.

These holes were calibrated to .45 ACP rounds so the slightly thinner 10mm / .40 rounds don’t quite match up. You can fit 16 rounds of 10mm in here – not just 14.
Ok, this is pretty interesting. The magazine that Rock Island ships with the high cap pistols is made by Act-Mag and is in the middle. Notice that the original Mec-Gar P16 is a bit shorter and the P14 is just a tad taller. For anyone who found our earlier mags to be a tight fit, I’d bet the new ones will fit a lot better.

Conclusion

I feel like we’ve come a long way since the first P16 conversions. This mag is solid and comes in at a far more affordable price point than the P16s that needed the Dawson base plates also.

We make 10, 15 and 16 round magazines for Rock Island A2 HC 10mm & .40 S&W.
Please click here for the product listings.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Looking For a Rugged Range Bag For Your Pistols? Check Out Savior Equipment

I’ve had my share of bad bags over the years so I’m a bit of a snob now. I look for heavy materials, a beefy zipper and handle straps that go all the way under the bag (cheap ones don’t and pull out as a result under heavy load). At any rate, for the last couple of years when I need a soft case, I go to Amazon and get a Savior Equipment bag – unless I need something specialized.

The bag I am showing you today is one of their Specialist series. They are made from 600 Denier nylon with a PVC coating to resist water and padding to protect up to two pistols.. The zipper seems solid – I’ve been using this series for two years now with no problems.

  • Overall dimensions are 13x9x5.5″
  • Internal dimension is 12.5×8.5×2.5″
  • Pistol Pockets are 12.5×7.5″
  • Font pocket is 12×7.5×2″
  • Six magazines slots for mags up the 1.75″ x 8.5″
  • There’s velcro on the front for your favorite patch

You can put two pistols in one of these bags but by the time I add mags, ammo, and whatever else, I pretty much go with one pistol per bag. You’ll notice I have three of them. I don’t have anything bigger than 6″ 1911s and they hold them just fine as well as regular 1911s, Glock 17s, 34s, etc.

Pics or it didn’t happen

Conclusion

This is one of those no-brainer recommendations – they are solid bags at an affordable price. They say they have a lifetime warranty but I’ve not needed to use it and I have some of their rifle bags too.

Hope this helps you out.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.