Category Archives: Product Reviews

Midwest Industries SIG MPX 6.5in Handguard Review

The author’s MPX SBR with Midwest Industries handguard, Eotech EXPS3 and GG&G back up iron sights.
U.S.A. -( I am an enormous fan of the SIG MPX; It’s the gun that brought me over to the dark side of converting a pistol into an SBR and donating $200 to the government. It all started back in June of 2014. I had a chance to visit the SIG academy for a media event where we got a chance to run new MPX select-fire SMGs.
At the time, the only three fully-automatic firearms I had ever fired were the Israeli Negev, a MAC-11 and the HK MP5. Based on the MP5 and MAC, I concluded everything I had read about the MP5 being the most pleasant, controllable SMG ever made seemed accurate. So I was skeptical that SIG could touch the king of SMGS – until I fired it. After firing around three magazines in full auto at a steel target some 30 yards away, I felt like the gun was a natural extension of my arm. I could simply point, click and deliver lead with incredible efficacy.
Five mags and a boiling-hot MPX sub-gun later, I was hooked – I had to own one.
Since then, my personal Sig MPX SBR has had between 15 and 20,000 rounds fired through it. I can count the number of malfunctions, and the number of times it has been cleaned on one hand. I changed some parts, reverted others, but all the working components are exactly as they arrived from the factory. In fact, there’s only one thing I’ve wanted to change about the gun – the handguard.
The Midwest Industries SIG MPX 6.5in Handguard ships with an M-Lok Picatinny rail segment.
While the factory KeyMod handguard has never failed me, the fact that vastly more accessories feature an M-Lok interface than a KeyMod one limits what I can bolt on to the little compact blaster. So a few weeks ago I decided to buy a SIG factory M-Lok Handguard… until I saw the price. Hovering around $200, and out of stock basically everywhere I looked, I decided to try something else. After some searching online, I came across an option from a company that I’ve had great success with before: Midwest Industries.
Midwest Industries SIG MPX 6.5in Handguard
Retailing for around $145, these handguards aren’t just cheaper than SIG’s OEM components, they are slimmer and half as heavy. Impressed, I sent off an order for one to Midwest as quickly as I could.
A few days later when it arrived, the handguard had another surprise in store for me: a rail segment. While this might seem slight to most readers, it’s always a nice added touch when a product comes straight from the factory ready to be used. I can imagine a less experienced shooter being disappointed to learn that in addition to buying a handguard, they would need an adaptor for their older Picatinny rail accessories.
The aftermarket handguard has enough rail real estate for shooters to mount large tactical lights like this Streamlight ProTac HLX.
Excited to try out my new toy, I cleared my MPX’s action and removed the old handguard. The new one slid on with no issues whatsoever. The lockup is flawless in terms of horizontal and vertical alignment. The only issue I’ve found is with forward and rearward movement. The handguard can slide an almost imperceivably short distance forward even when everything is bolted down tight. So small was this movement, that I needed a set of small feeler gauges to determine how much. I initially tried to slide a playing card in the gap, but the card was too thick. After breaking out the gauges, I found the movement to be around 0.17mm.
This is a minor annoyance, and in testing had no effect of performance whatsoever. Even when shooting with iron sights, the extra movement provided no apparent change in point of impact. I’m sure an engineer out there will tell me that it does have an effect, but given the limited effective range of a 9mm para round, I’m not worried. Though, just to be sure it wasn’t my gun being out of spec after so many rounds fired, I installed the handguard on an MPX carbine with only 300 rounds fired through it and got the same result. Also, that setup was surprisingly handsome given how far past the handguard the 16in barrel protruded.
Despite its slimmer profile, the Midwest Industries handguard can accommodate 1.8in or smaller diameter muzzle devices like this Spike’s Tactical Barking Spider linear comp.
One last aspect of the handguard I want to mention is the addition of an extra pair of mounting slots above the standard three and nine o’clock ones. These are excellent if a shooter wants to mount a tactical light a little higher so it doesn’t interfere with their support grip. Especially for shooters like myself who employ their MPX as a home defense weapon.
So, what’s the verdict on the Midwest Industries SIG MPX 6.5in Handguard?
Added functionality, reduced weight and the inclusion of a rail segment for less money than the original makes the Midwest Industries MPX Rail a very appealing product. The only aspect of the gun I wasn’t thrilled with was the slight amount of play along the Z-axis. But given that it has no effect on function or accuracy, it’s one I can live with. Plus, if it really bothers a shooter, they would simply add a bit of JB weld to the rail, and file it down to fit. It might not look pretty, but it would definitely do the job.

About Jim Grant
Jim is a freelance writer, editor, and videographer for dozens of publications who loves anything and everything guns. While partial to modern military firearms and their civilian counterparts, he holds a special place in his heart for the greatest battle implement ever devised and other WW2 rifles. When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.
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Streamlight TLR-7A FLEX Tactical Light Review – Pre-Order & Save

Jim gives us a quick review of the Streamlight TLR-7A FLEX Tactical Light. For a more in-depth review read Mr. Roberts’ Streamlight TLR-7 Compact Weapon Light Break-Down article.

The new Streamlight TLR-7A FLEX is bright, compact and affordable.
U.S.A. -( When it comes to pistol-mounted, tactical lights like the Streamlight TLR series, I’m very picky. The light must have great battery-life, above-average illumination, and a compact, durable body. Plus, it should ideally use common, inexpensive batteries and not cost a fortune to buy.
Streamlight TLR-7A Compact Weapon Light
The problem is that most tactical weapon lights meet some but not all of my requirements. At least that was the case until I had a chance to run the newer Streamlight TLR-7 and TLR-8 pistol lights. While I’ve owned Streamlight weapon lights in the past, and really enjoyed them, their TLR-1 and TLR-2 lights had a very big problem for my needs in particular. They impeded the mounting of a sound suppressor. For me, this ruled them, and virtually all pistol lights out for my home defense handgun. I wasn’t willing to potentially destroy my hearing just to have weapon-mounted illumination.
But then two years ago, Streamlight introduced their TLR-7 and TLR-8 lights. These had better performance than the previous TLR lights, and they were much smaller. So much so, they could be mounted flush with the muzzle of the handgun. These were and are still great, but they lacked one thing that the older models had – more accessible ergonomics.
The older Streamlight pistol models utilized a toggle switch that protruded behind the trigger guard. This allows shooters to actuate the lights with their trigger finger and without risk of accidentally pulling the trigger. The new, smaller TLR-7/8 lights removed these toggle paddles in pursuit of a smaller overall size. In practice, the side-mounted push-button switches worked but often required the use of the support hand. But what about shooters who want to keep that support hand free for other tasks? Tasks like opening doors, manipulating light switches in a home or carrying loved ones to safety. That’s where the new FLEX system comes in.
Streamlight FLEX models include both a high (left) and low (right) backplate.
FLEXin’ on the Competition
The FLEX system introduced on the latest TLR-7 and 8 from Streamlight, is a new modular endcap. It’s designed to allow shooters to configure their tactical light to best fit their shooting grip, style, and taste. Consisting of a high and low backplate, the FLEX switches are ambidextrous, non-reciprocating mechanical switches.
Like the name suggests, the low switch positions the toggle-switches as low as possible. In many instances, this means parallel to the bottom of the trigger guard. In this position, shooters with smaller hands can still reach the buttons with a normal shooting grip.
With the high backplate installed, the buttons are roughly in the center of the trigger guard vertically. This position is ideal for shooters who want to use a support hand’s thumb to actuate the light while maintaining a standard shooting grip. In practice, both are equally comfortable, and really dependent on the shooter’s personal preferences.
But what about the fore and aft positioning of the buttons?
The TLR-7A Flex, like every TLR pistol light, includes six mounting inserts designed to align the light as close to the trigger guard as possible. For modern versions, these consist of two universal plates that fit around 95% of all handguns with a railed discover, and four 1913 plates. The latter is more for forward and rearward fit than anything else. But since Streamlight includes basically every configuration possible, shooters can be certain that the TLR-7A FLEX will fit their firearm. To make this even easier, Streamlight even includes a cheat sheet in the box that tells shooters which plate to use for the most common handguns.

Check this deal and save on the Streamlight TLR7A FLEX Tactical Light!
Streamlight TLR-7 A 500 Lumen Weapon Light Deal

These plates are all held in place by a single machine screw which features a small spring for added security. This spring also permits quick removal and installation of the light on a given handgun. A shooter simply loosens the screw using the rim of a pistol cartridge (or a screwdriver or a penny), then depresses the screw head before tilting the whole assembly off the accessory rail. It might sound complicated, but it takes less than 10 seconds and in my personal experience has held perfectly for years and throughout hundreds of rounds fired.
The TLR-7A FLEX blasts 500 lumens from its LED Emitter
While this is all well and good, what I’m sure you guys want to know about is performance, durability, and value.
In testing, I’ve never had the new light’s predecessors, the TLR-8A or TLR-8AG fail whatsoever. I’ve thus far only fired 150 rounds through a new Walther PPQ Q4 SF with the new TLR-7A FLEX installed, but so far, the light runs flawlessly. It never flickers, shuts off from recoil or rocks the battery loose. Also, the fact that I can comfortably reach the TLR-7A FLEX when mounted on the PPQ is a testament to how ergonomic and accommodating its design is. Because the PPQ has a huge winter trigger guard that places anything mounted on the dustcover dramatically further away from the shooter’s hand than on traditional designs.
In terms of raw performance, the TLR-7A FLEX produces 500 lumens from its C4 LED emitter for up to 90 minutes on a single CR123 battery. I use the previous TLR-7 on my wife’s bedside pistol now for years, and it has always run when needed. Also, while 500 lumens might not seem like much compared to the huge 1,000-lumen rifle lights, inside the confines of a house it is more than enough.
Lastly, for those of you on the fence about buying this light versus a TLR-8A Flex, I would suggest buying within your budget and be realistic about your needs. If you’re the sort of person who will never use a pistol laser, stick with the TLR-7A FLEX. You will save a good chunk of change and still get a high-performance tactical light.
In fact, in my opinion, the Streamlight TLR-7A / TLR-8A pistol lights represent the best balance of cost-to-performance-to-quality on the market today. They might not be quite as durable at super high-end offerings from military companies, but they are leagues above cheaper, imported products.

About Jim Grant
Jim is a freelance writer, editor, and videographer for dozens of publications who loves anything and everything guns. While partial to modern military firearms and their civilian counterparts, he holds a special place in his heart for the greatest battle implement ever devised and other WW2 rifles. When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.
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Rocky S2V Boots & Camo Review… Mile after Mile Deep in the Woods

JJ puts the Rocky S2V Boots and the new Rocky Venator Camo to the test and grinds them into the ground over months of real-world use testing.
Rocky S2V Boots
USA – -( You might know I am a big fan of the Rocky Boots S2V line…
I have worn them for a number of years (since they first introduced them actually) and have had pretty much all the original models on my feet – the standard model, the Insulated model, the Canvas Desert model, the *Predator model (my newest purchase), and their very first Crosstrainer which by the way is still one of my casual wear go-to’s. I have been through numerous pairs of the Rocky S2V Boots. The standard one usually lasted me about 4-5yrs of mostly daily wear originally until I started Guiding Big Game Hunters again.
The technical aspects of each model you can read from their website. This is a firsthand personal experience and review of what these boots do for me. The main thing being comfortable above all things, then durable for everything I put them thru. The bonus is I searched high and low for what I call a “Speed Lace” system in civilian boots to no avail. S2Vs have it and its perfect! I may do a YouTube video later specifically about how to set up these “speed laces” and how I wear them that makes them really great.
Now that I am full tilt hunting, guiding and in the woods so much, I can usually wear out the standard model in less than 2yrs. Understand that is nowhere near common treatment most casual users or even most Mil/LEO users would put them through and I wear them into the ground. I also rotate between the lightweight model or the insulated model weather depending. I rotate through 3x different S2V models throughout the season. There isn’t really an extreme cold weather model but I find the Insulated 400g model works well for most conditions I am out in.
Rocky S2V Boots
Surprise, Speed, and Violence of Action; would be what the S2V acronym stands for. S2V is a military term in reality and I understand there was a lot of SF & Delta Operator input on the design of these boots. The key input from operators made this the boot it is and it works perfectly as a hard use hunting boot too.
A typical hunting season for me starts the last week of August with some light scouting. Then for real with Colorado’s archery season starting the first part of Sepember and then rifle seasons in NM. & CO. are almost back to back. That takes me all the way through to mid-Nov. and several random hunts in Dec. According to my FitBit things and Stair Climber App tools I loged 600+ miles a season NOT counting my personal hunts for Antelope, Deer, Elk, and Barbary Sheep after the regular season wraps up. Conservatively, in two seasons that would be roughly 1,800 miles on foot in the backwoods of CO, NM, and this year Sonora Mexico. Adding to the abuse of my boots you can consider that many of our packouts are under 80-100 pounds of meat on our backs (this year I carried an entire bone-in quartered Mule Deer minus the cape in 14” of snow for about 1.5miles). I truly love the hunt and it is far better than being chained to the desk doing tasks that are not at all related to your passion.
I consider quality boots one, like the Rocky S2V Boots, the absolute most crucial pieces of gear to go into the woods hunting with.
Rocky S2V Boots Desert Model Left Chewed Up and Glued Up
I learned last summer Rocky had discontinued my all-time and absolute favorite model of S2V (the Desert Model, made with a hard canvas material and speed laces – this was my modern-day moccasin). I even asked if they would re-sole mine just to keep the boot alive. It is a hard one to give up and had an incredible life of service on so many hunts I can’t even begin to count. I can no longer wear them in the field but still find it hard to give them a burial.
I know Rocky Boots have a lot of mission-specific hunting models in their line up and S2V boots are intended for Military use primarily but a boot designed to be worn for Combat and carrying heavy loads under extreme conditions works perfectly for the treatments I give these boots. Personally, I also like that there is not a heel on the S2Vs I wear. Having a flat sole for even flexible contact with the ground in rocky, steep terrain is helpful. The comfort level is off the charts for me. Hiking boots are a dime a dozen. Boots intended for bodyweight AND heavy pack weight is a completely different animal and most civilian models don’t come close to addressing this issue. Rocky nailed it with the S2V line.
Being a Military Boot that must meet certain criteria and be made in the USA makes it slightly more expensive than several of their hunting lines, for me, it is well worth it. I can not give this a stronger thumbs up than I do other than just keep being a continued customer! I don’t know of a better boot to serve me and what I do.
Try a pair and I bet you will consider them in your topmost comfortable hard use boots like I have.

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Next up.… Rocky’s Venator Camo
Rocky Venator Camo Outerwear
This year I decided to give Rocky’s in-house Rocky Venator Camo pattern a try. I was in the market for a few new articles of camo. While I was already shopping for another pair of S2Vs for the season I decided to add some clothing to my order.
I started out with two shirts and one pair of pants.
The Hunting season always starts with warm weather Archery Elk hunts for me. This year we also hunted Mule Deer & Bear with a few clients. It is critical in archery to have a well-working camo pattern that helps you get in close and get clients within shooting distances that they need to fill a tag.
The Venator Pattern did its job well this season in CO., NM., and Sonora Mexico. Starting off in early September the bulls are not in rut yet and archery attempts are usually all spot and stalk. The Rocky Venator Camo Pattern gave me repeated success and allowed me to get clients in close or to cow call bulls in close without ever being busted. I was pleased early on. Soon the rut started and it made for easier hunting conditions with the horny rut-crazed bulls.
I was able to continue to wear the patterns all the way through rifle season in CO and NM and whether it was this camo pattern or not I was the most successful guide this year for my Outfitter. I had clients kill some great animals and we had some really cool experiences close up. I finally got some personal hunts for Antelope *(See the Hunt Video) & Barbary Sheep, and then ended up in Sonora Mexico filming a monster Mule Deer Hunt using this Venator Camo pattern. Then just this week I went out with my brother in Northern NM who tagged out on a Cow Elk Hunt and we fit in some more Barbary Sheep hunting (that will continue).
Honestly, after five solid months of intimate field time with this pattern, I can tell you I am very happy with it. It seemed to put me in front of some great animal experiences and I used it as much as I possibly could for every client and hunt we went out on.
I can truly give Rocky’s Venator Camo pattern a solid positive review and all my thumbs up for the performance it gives in hard use real-world field time with a Bow, a Crossbow, and Rifles hunt after hunt.
Rocky Venator Camo Breakdown
Rocky Venator Camo Storm Hoodie
Rocky Venator Camo Storm Hoodie
Lightweight tops I can layer into and out of are always my preference. I ordered this shirt specifically because it was hooded. I like lightweight hooded models. 1. I am way too fair-skinned for heavy all day direct sun. I can always put a lightweight ball cap on over or under (depending on wind speed) lightweight hoodie to get great sun blocking benefits and still get camouflage use as well. 2. the bonus to me was the built-in neck gator. I had not paid that close attention when I ordered it so it was a nice surprise. On cold mornings I made full use of it and when we had an animal coming in strong I’d pull it up for the added concealment. This will be a go-to and long time favorite shirt of mine – it performed very well all over Southeastern CO, Southeastern NM, and in Sonora Mexico hunting Elk, Mule Deer, Bear, & Barbary Sheep.
Rocky Venator Camo SilentHunter 1/4 Zip Shirt
This shirt performed great and it is a slightly heavier weight than the Storm Hoodie so often I’d layer under this shirt and peel those layers off throughout the day and still make great use of the pattern. The SilentHunter suede outer texture made it nice to slip through dry ground cover and stalk in close at times. The texture is noiseless as small branches scrape by. It has a single breast pocket I used pretty regularly. Another clothing item I really enjoyed.
Rocky Venator Camo Burr Resistant Pants…
This pattern continues to perform well and being in this pattern from head to toe was a bonus throughout all the Archery season. The pattern proved it is self effective whether pursuing Elk that were not yet in Rut requiring a spot & stalk strategy or having a Rut Crazed Bull thrashing & stomping around close by as we worked to get the shot lined up.
I have one general wish with these pants and its the same wish that I have with other brands of hunting pants. I have had several other brands and its the same problem. I want deeper, better contoured/designed pockets in these pants. For some reason, in archery pants, I have noticed they are forgetting we still need plenty of pockets. We need deep sturdy pockets in archery season just as in any other mission-specific designed pants. I’d love to see a re-enforced knife-clip pocket on both sides, I’d like to see deeper better-designed pockets so that when you sit down on the ground against your pack and raise your legs you don’t lose everything out of your pockets on the ground. I’d like to see cargo pockets and silent snaps on medium to deep back pockets on BOTH sides. The pattern is a winner. The pants are the only item I found myself wanting a little more out of. Like I said I have this same want from other brands of hunting pants too, it seems to be an industry thing apparently. Their designers are not remembering or even know all the things we like to stuff in our pockets while we attempt sneaking and light footing through the woods.
You will do well hunting with this Venator Camo pattern and I would encourage Rocky to keep putting out hunter inspired gear in this pattern. It would be fun to see this pattern in a Hydrodip even. I’d have other ideas too but my review is on the pattern and the three items I purchased. I enjoyed them and will use them well into the future as long as I can get use out of them.
Overall the Venator Camo Pattern gets 4.8 Stars from me,

the Rocky Camo Storm Hoodie gets 5 Stars,
the Rocky SilentHunter 1/4 Zip Shirt gets 4.8 Stars,
the Rocky Venator Camo Burr Resistant Pants gets 3.5 stars,
the S2V Boots (all of them) get 5 stars (Please bring back the Desert Boot!).

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About JJ Sutton, C.P.S., C.M.A.S. :
A Native Colorado resident & lifetime Hunter. JJ served 7yrs in the US Army during the 90s and logged 12 months downrange during hostilities in the Balkins. Mostly work / some play he has traveled/visited 20+ countries. He owned a highly regarded Private Security Firm for more than 15yrs., as a Certified Protection Specialist & Certified Master Anti-Terrorism Specialist, he worked Int’l Celebrities and personalities related to his business throughout Colorado & Caribbean. He has consulted & worked for private security interests during the 2002 Winter Olympics, later as a Presidential Security Detail Member with the President & First Family of Haiti. His skills and interests also include Firearms Training, Manufacturing & Consulting for custom design & builds of AR15s & AR10s. He now is an Industry Contributor, Consultant, Certified Range Master, Seasonal Hunting Guide and His current pet project includes promoting the Modern Sporting Rifle like it truly is intended to be with ARHunters: YouTube / Facebook (please “Like” AND Follow!).
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