Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Hey all,

Just want to announce that Hilton Yam and I have started a news and information site that will supersede our individual blogs. All my posts have been imported and will be archived on the new site for your convenience and reference. All new posts will be posted there and not here.

Please go over and check it out:

Thanks and see you over there!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Thorntail Light Mount by Haley Strategic Partners

Thorntail Light Mount Review
by Tim Lau

In the past decade, tactical techniques, procedures and equipment have evolved quite a bit, thanks to lessons learned from overseas and the influence from the competitive shooting community. For example, many trainers and shooters prefer controlling the gun closer toward the muzzle to more efficiently control recoil and aggressively drive the gun to the target. Another trend is the use of two point adjustable slings on the carbine. 

With these preferences in mind, when setting up a carbine it quickly becomes clear that the sling mount, light mount, and the shooter's support hand are all competing for the same piece of real estate. This is true even when running an extended forend, and is exacerbated when a shorter, 7-inch rail is used.

When it comes to light mounts, I generally shy away from tape switches as the pads are high wear items and wires can become a snag hazard. However, I want to be able to hold the carbine and run the light when shooting strong or support side. I experimented with several setups, but was never quite satisfied until Travis Haley introduced his Thorntail Light Mount. This low profile mount pushes the light forward allowing the shooter to place his hand further forward on the rail. This increases usable space for gripping the gun. It also de-conflicts the light mount from the sling mount.

In the setup above, I am using a Centurion C12 FSP rail, which has an integrated sling attachment point at the 3 and 9 o'clock on the forward end of the rail. Most traditional light mounts would conflict with the sling loop if placed forward on the rail. The Thorntail allows the sling attachment point to be used, and leaves enough room forward of the front sight base for me to hang onto.

The mount is completely modular and fully reversible. It is available in various diameters to accommodate the aluminum and polymer handhelds from SureFire, along with a model specifically designed to interface with the Scout light.

The Thorntail Light Mount is available through Brownells.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Apex Tactical Glock Extractor

For thirty years, Glock 9mm handguns have been nearly synonymous with reliability, but recently, many Glock owners have been suffering from erratic and sometimes failed ejection with their Glock 9mm pistols. Numerous theories populate the various Internet gun forums, but so far there has been no definitive answer from Glock as to the cause, or a solution. Glock Customer Service responses range from total denial, instructions to send the gun in for repair, or sending out replacement parts to local armorers.

It seems the erratic ejection issues appeared somewhere around the "M" serial number prefix in the Gen 3 9mm pistols, and possibly affect all Gen 4 9mm guns.

One popular "fix" is to obtain the latest Gen 4 9mm ejector (Part Number 30274), which for most people, seems to make ejection a little more consistent but doesn't always solve the problem. Others recommend the HRED extractor plunger assembly by White Sound Defense, but this product did nothing for me.

10-8 Staff Instructor Joe Riedy hooked me up with a couple of the Gen 4 ejectors. So I swapped the ejectors out in both my 17 RTFs post haste. Hearing of my woes, our good friend Randy Lee at Apex Tactical sent out a pre-production prototype of their Glock extractor. The kit comes complete with a replacement spring for the extractor assembly.

The extractor and spring went in the gun with no problems, so off to the range I went. Shooting a variety of ammunition, including Federal 115 gr, Winchester White Box, and Winchester Ranger 127gr +P+, extraction was now consistent with cases going about 4-5 o'clock.

I decided to really push the extractor to its limits and shoot the gun with no magazine in the gun. This test is not designed to simulate a tactical necessity, but rather to push the extractor to its limit. When there is a magazine in the gun, it will help stabilize the empty case during extraction and ejection. Without the magazine, the extractor must do all the work by itself. In a Glock, this is not an issue since the feed lip geometry is designed to function in this manner. (In a 1911, this is a completely different story.)

If a pistol has an extractor can can reliably extract and eject empty cases with no magazine inserted, and reliably feed and function, this means it is at optimal function. Try this with your factory Glock and you will see it will not do this. I performed this test with the Apex Glock Extractor and it consistently ejected the empty case of every cartridge fired.

The folks at Apex Tactical believe in thoroughly vetting every product before releasing it to the market, and this one is still in the beta stage. I have about 350 rounds through my prototype and the gun has yet to malfunction. I have enough faith in the product use it in the Pro Am Match in Frostproof, FL next week.

When these hit the market, I will be buying a dozen!

Tim Lau
10-8 Consulting, LLC


Saturday, June 16, 2012

SIRT Drills: Maintenance Drill #2

Earlier this week, my good friend Hilton Yam posted on the 10-8 Performance Blog a simple maintenance set of drills that can be done with the SIRT pistol from Next Level Training. It's an excellent way to get 40 quality trigger presses in from every (normal) way one might hold the pistol. Hilton's post reminded me of a warmup I used to do to start off every range session. 

The set is very simple:

10 reps: From the holster, draw and fire one round, strong hand supported (freestyle)
10 reps: From the holster, draw and fire one round, strong hand only
10 reps: From the ready position of your choice, fire one round, support hand supported (freestyle, support side)
10 reps: From the ready position of your choice, fire one round, support hand only

Difficulty is set by the user. I normally do this on our 10-8 Dry Fire Target which allows you to set the difficulty by simply choosing a target that is scaled for a longer distance. So depending on the day, you can either focus on extreme speed or developing trigger mechanics on the 25 yard target.

This is also a great drill set to do live fire on the range.

Like Hilton's Maintenance Drill, this set takes very little time to complete, but reinforces and develops trigger control, sight acquisition, and presentations from all conventional methods of holding the pistol. We all know we should develop our support hand skills, but it is hard work and not much fun to do since most people's support hand feels retarded compared to their strong hand. This drill set requires very little time commitment but incrementally develops our support hand skills.

Add this drill set to your training regimen and watch your skills grow!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Guide to Thread Locking Compounds

Over the years, one of the things I have found that I cannot do without is a good thread locking compound. Whether it is a 1911, Glock, or M4, I find that there is always something that can and will work itself loose on a weapon system.

Here are the compounds I keep on hand both in the shop and inside my range bag, and what I use them for.

Loctite 242 (Blue)

This is what I end up using most. It is best for applications where you want screws to stay put, but may need to loosen them for periodic maintenance. I use Loctite 242 on all sorts of screws that need to stay in place, but not permanently. These include screws for 1911 grips, M4 rail mounts, light mounts, optic mounts, sling mounts, etc., I also use this for sight screws for the rear sight on pistols. Remember that a properly fitted sight should fit snugly and the screw should not be the primary source of tension in the dovetail. 

Some optic or light mounts are secured via a thumb screw, and I always hit these with a bit of 242 as well. If this doesn't secure it, you may have to try 271 to hold them in place.

Loctite 638

I started using Loctite 638 Retaining Compound at the suggestion of my good friend Hilton Yam, who had discovered it was far more robust than Loctite 271 (Red) or Black MAX for permanent application. I recommend using this compound for permanent or semi-permanent installations of parts, such as final installs of 1911 front sights or plunger tubes. Some rifle manufacturers use it for permanent installations of gas blocks on M4 type rifles. Since using this compound on plunger tubes, I have yet to have one come loose (with proper staking, of course.)

Loctite 271 (Red)

There are still some good uses for 271, where you want something more robust than 242 yet less permanent than 638. Examples of this might be 1911 grip screw bushings (you don't want those coming out every time you unscrew your grip screws) or some stubborn roll pins that just keep wanting to wander out.

While appropriate thread locking compound is good insurance, I still hit all critical screws with a paint pen to make witness marks. This will make it easy to tell if any screws begin to back out.

Do you have any handy uses for Loctite that you'd like to share? Hit me up and let me know!

Tim Lau
10-8 Consulting, LLC

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Aimpoint CCO Training at Telluric Group

I just returned home from an Aimpoint media event and training course hosted at the Telluric Group training facility in Brunswick, GA. Now this was a bit of preaching to the choir on Aimpoint's part, as I have been an end user and believer in the Aimpoint red dot sight for over a decade. I will be covering the specifics regarding the training in an upcoming article and sidebar for Soldier of Fortune Magazine, but some notable news:

Telluric Group is now the official training provider for Aimpoint. They have developed a specific curriculum for professional end users that covers operation and maintenance of the Aimpoint red dot sighting system. The folks at Telluric Group come from a varied background consisting of military special operations and law enforcement tactical teams. Their staff and facility are excellent and well suited for the type of training they provide.

The Aimpoint PRO coupled with LaRue Tactical's M68 CCO Mount: a match made in heaven.

As many customers and dealers are already aware, the extremely popular Aimpoint PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic) is now available for commercial sales. This affordable optic comes complete with the robust Rail Grabber mount, yet has all the features requested by professional end users: 2 MOA dot, night vision compatibility, extended battery life (30,000 hours or approx 3 years continuous use), and Aimpoint's legendary durability and reliability.

Special thanks to Daniel Defense for providing the guns for the training. We also had a special visit from the fine folks at Blue Force Gear, who provided pouches and slings for the event. The instructors at Telluric Group were experienced, knowledgeable, and consummate professionals. I look forward to returning for more training with them, specifically for their Night Vision Operator's Course.

If you get a chance, visit the above linked sites and let us know what you think!

Tim Lau
10-8 Consulting, LLC

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fitting a New Plunger Tube on your 1911

A loose plunger tube can prevent your 1911 from firing

Fitting a New Plunger Tube on your 1911

By Tim Lau

One of the great things about the 1911 is that every part on the gun is replaceable. The downside is that stuff wears out and/or comes loose. Combine this with the proliferation of sub quality parts common with many manufacturers, and this can be a recipe for disaster. I have found that current production Kimbers are plagued with plunger tubes that give way sooner rather than later. If the stakes give way and the tube is not properly supported by the grips as originally designed, the plunger tube can work itself far enough from the frame to prevent you from being able to disengage the safety and fire the pistol. This isn't typically regarded as a good thing.

Here I will discuss how I fit a new plunger tube. Done this way, I have yet to experience one of my stakes come loose (and I have done a few.) You will need the following (Brownells P/N's provided for your reference):

Loctite 638 Retaining Compound 532-000-008
Gun Runners Plunger Tube Staking Tool 634-000-001
Crescent Wrench
Bench Vise

Remove the loose tube with the help of your vise

The first order of business is to remove the loose plunger tube if it hasn't fallen off already. After removing the grips and thumb safety, I will clamp the loose tube in my bench vise and lightly tap the frame with a nylon faced hammer to separate the frame from the plunger tube. Once you have done this, clean the staking holes and the portion of the frame that contacts the plunger tube with acetone or your favorite degreaser.

A drop of Loctite 638 retaining compound on each stake will help reinforce them
Take your new plunger tube and wipe it off with some degreaser. I place a drop of Loctite 638 Retaining Compound on each stake prior to attaching the plunger tube to the frame. The stuff is viscous and significantly stronger than "red" Loctite. Next, install the tube into the frame. Remember the smaller diameter end of the plunger tube faces the muzzle end of the pistol.

The Gunrunners Plunger Staking Tool 
There are several plunger tube staking tools on the market and many of them work well. I prefer the one from Gunrunners. The one fashioned from vise grips works okay as well. I have also used the one from EGW but that one has the least amount of control as far as the quality of the stakes. It works but the Gunrunners one works best for me.

The Gunrunners tool consists of a staking point and a bolt that is mated to a spot faced bar that holds and reinforces the plunger tube. First place the reinforcement bar on the tube and then align the staking point with the stakes on the plunger tube (which should be in the frame by now). The bolt should align with one of the round recesses on the outside of the reinforcement bar. Hand tighten and then tighten with a wrench until reasonably tight. Repeat with other staking point.

Align the staking point with the staking hole on the inside of the magazine well.
Once both stakes are set, be sure to wipe off any excess retaining compound. Check your stakes. They should be strong and even. See below:

Nice strong stakes on both points.
Double check your work by trying to wiggle the plunger tube. Reassemble and check for function. Remember that properly designed grips will support the plunger tube and keep it from coming loose and failing even if the stakes give way. This built in failsafe is gone if you choose to install thin grips or any grips with a differing design than the original.

I prefer full width grips that properly support the plunger tube like these from VZ Grips.
Once you have confirmed function, you can pat yourself on the back and have a beer. Good work!


VZ Grips

10-8 Performance, LLC