Friday Night Lights: Nocturn Industries UANVB-R, All-Metal Katana

The sun is about to set on this Friday and you know what that brings, Friday Night Lights. Your source for night vision and thermal-related content. Tonight we take a close look at the Nocturn Industries UANVB-R, the metal ruggedized Katana dual tube night vision housing.
Nocturn Industries @ TFB:

All Metal Katana, UANVB-R
Original UANVB on the left. UANVB-R on the right.
It has been almost three years since Nocturn Industries came out with their UANVB, aka Katana housing. Nocturn came out with the first commercially viable 3D-printed dual tube housing that was feature-packed and lightweight. Well, now they have moved on to traditional manufacturing to meet market demand. Even though the nylon they use in Multi Jet Fusion printing is robust, some still doubt it. So now they made the UANVB-R. R for ruggedized.
The UANVB-R has the same features as the regular UANVB.

Aesthetically, they seem different but they function the same.
The ODG UANVB housing looks shorter due to the RPO lenses installed on it.

The UANVB-R still has magnetic reed switches so when you articulate the pods up and out of the way, the bridge shuts power to the pods.

Just like the 3D-printed UANVB, the ruggedized all-metal Katana has the same integrated interpupillary distance (IPD) stops that you set with friction. Just rotate the pods all the way up. Then move them into position for your eyes and the IPD stops will be set. No tools or thumb screws. It is automatic and effortless.

Bungee attachment points are integrated into the bridge and split rings make it easy for your helmet bungee hooks to grab onto the UANVB-R.

One aspect of the UANVB-R that is slightly different from the regular UANVB is the purge screw. You can see them on the outer side of the articulating arm.

You can see the pin inserted from the outside of the pod. Pin pokes through to the inside of the pod. This is the anti-rotation indexing pin used to align the image intensifier.

Just like the UANVB, the ruggedized version is powered by a single CR123. And one nice thing about the UANVB-R is simply that it is machined. So the threads of the battery compartment are machined. While the regular UANVB is 3D printed so are the threads. They are functional but machined threads are nicer.

The battery cap is also machined.

The articulating arms of the UANVB-R pods are extremely skeletonized to help reduce weight.

The UANVB-R has a two-pin LEMO port for use with remote battery packs. A single CR123 will run the metal Katana for 25 hours.

There is a significant operation change with the ruggedized Katana. You can use a battery pack but you must have an onboard battery. This way the goggle will still be controlled by the battery cap button. The board in the housing protects the system. It will draw power from any of their Bat-Packs or other industry-standard battery packs. It will work with AAA, AA, and CR123 battery packs. The housing will favor the off-board power until it runs out of juice then it will switch to the onboard battery.
Here is the weight of a built metal Katana. It is one ounce lighter than my DTNVG and that is a polymer housing without IPD stops.

The ruggedized UANVB was lent to me built with Carson lenses. But if you build it with lightweight lenses it is very lightweight. Below is a photo by Nocturn Industries. It is 0.45 ounces lighter than the ABNV RNVG.

Final Thoughts On the Ruggedized UANVB
If you are looking for a rugged housing that is American-designed and manufactured, then the UANVB-R might be for you. There are other housings on the market but few companies have a no questions asked lifetime warranty like Nocturn Industries. This covers the housing. While it does not cover the optics or the image intensifiers, this is still the best warranty in the industry. Even if you trip and face plant your goggles into hard concrete pavement, Nocturn will fix or replace the housing.
There is more to come from Nocturn Industries. Their BAT-Packs are designed to power any of their housings that have a remote battery port. It will even power their Chimera bridge for quad tube pods like my Anvis10. Their Manticore is soon to be released and they are sending one for review after SHOT Show. Nocturn also has an injection molded version of their Katana housing and so far it looks like it will be ridiculously lightweight.  A huge thanks to Nocorium, this is his UANVB-R which he patterned and wrapped just before lending it to me for review. […]


Exo Gunner’s FCU Upgrades

The FCU X01 came out six years ago. It has been eclipsed by other chassis systems like the Flux Raider but Exo Gunner is making FCU upgrades for it along with some other upgrades for other guns. All thanks to the benefit of 3D CAD and printing.
More FCU @ TFB:

FCU Upgrades For The X01
Photo by Exo Gunner
One of the more popular accessories for small pistol chassis is to have a spare mag holder/grip. Exo Gunner has designed one as part of his FCU upgrades. It probably attaches via the M-LOK slot in the chassis. It is available now via his Instagram for $59.
Something FCU had planned but we never saw it, was a muzzle blast diverter for the X01. Well, Exo Gunner has made one as part of their FCU upgrades. It is for compact slides with threaded barrels. It is called the Pulsar. It has a blast diverter that is held in place with the side panels you see in the photo below. Those are attached to the thumb rests which are bolted on from the outside.
Photo by Exo Gunner
Photo by Exo Gunner
You can see how far back the slide and muzzle of the barrel would be in the X01. But now you have a blast diverter so the hot gasses don’t escape inside the chassis.
Photo by Exo Gunner
As far as FCU upgrades, the Pulsar seems very practical. It will help keep hot gasses from escaping inside the chassis and redirect it out the front. It is unclear if the Pulsar blast diverter is threaded onto the barrel. Considering how it is keyed into place with the thumb rests, I imagine it would hinder the tilting barrel if it was threaded on. I have reached out to Exo Gunner for clarification and waiting for his response.
MP57 2.0

Here is something a little different for FCU upgrades. If you recall, the Ruger-5.7 has a fire control unit somewhat similar to the SIG P320. It was Custom Smith Manufacturing (CSM) that made a chassis for it. Well, Exo Gunner has made FCU upgrades for the Ruger-5.7 as well. His chassis is similar to the CSM but upgraded. Right away it appears the chassis has two M-LOK slots on the side. What is more interesting are the spare magazine holders.
Look at the striped chassis below. It seems there is an angled mag holder for use in the front of the chassis and a straight one at the rear as a cheek rest.

Exo Gunner has even designed a rear grip module for a Glock handgun. It seems inspired by the Strike Industries Modular Chassis (SMC) but rather than a chassis, it is a beaver tail grip panel. It looks to use the same optics bridge as the SMC and has a Picatinny rail at the back for use with the Strike Industries dual folding adapter.

Here is the same grip module with an SB Tactical collapsing MPX brace.

For more information, check out Exo Gunner’s Instagram page. […]


Friday Night Lights: Rheinmetall/Oerlikon LLM01 (Laser Light Module 01)

You are here so you know what tonight means, esoteric night vision content! We started this year’s Friday Night Lights looking at the B2 Spirit with cooled MWIR thermal imaging. Tonight we look at the Rheinmetall/Oerlikon LLM01 (Laser Light Module 01) which various European militaries use on their service rifles.
More Lasers @ TFB:

Rheinemetall/Oerlikon Contraves LLM01
Oerlikon Contraves was a Swiss anti-aircraft artillery manufacturer and was acquired by Rheinmetall in 1999. Oerlikon Contraves was renamed Rheinmetall Air Defence AG in 2009. The LLM01 was made by Oerlikon Contraves.

I acquired the LLM01 from a fellow collector last November. To my surprise, it came with two different heads. You can see the odd-looking one above. Normally the LLM01 has an incandescent bulb to produce a mediocre 100 lumens.

Thankfully, Lumens Factory makes an LED replacement head for under $100 and it produces a more useful 800 lumens of white light.
LLM01 with factory 100-lumen bulb.
LLM01 with Lumens Factory upgraded LED head.
One downside to the LED head is that you cannot filter the light like the incandescent bulb to filter only infrared light. See the accessories list from the manual below.

The accessories list explains what the other head is for. It is an infrared laser illuminator. It is technically full power at 3.8mW and has a rather tight beam, 3m x 3m at 100m away.
Just above the LLM01 main head are the apertures for the infrared aiming laser and visible aiming laser. The shooter’s right side is the infrared aiming laser, and the one on the left is the red VIS laser. In between the two aiming lasers is the IR led for low close-quarter IR illumination.

See flat-headed screws in the laser IR illuminator head? Those are how you can zero the long-range illuminator. The windage and elevation adjustments for the aiming lasers are on their respective sides. They are not slaved to each other and have their own independent adjustments.

The controls on the LLM01 are rather straightforward. There are three activation buttons. One on each side at a 45º angle and a single button at the back. Just above the left side button is the mode selector.

Just above the right side button is the remote switch port.

With the mode selector set to 9 o’clock, the LLM01 is turned off. There are two positions above and below the off position. VIS modes 1 and 2 are below and IR modes 1 and 2 are above. The first mode in either direction is for aiming laser-only activation with the side buttons. So VIS mode 1 will be red aiming laser. IR mode 1 will be IR aiming laser only.  If you rotate the selector to the second position up or down, this will activate their respective illuminator and aiming laser at the same time. In the case of the VIS mode, both the white light and red aiming laser will turn on. In IR mode 2 the IR aiming laser and close-range IR illuminator will turn on.
The back button will turn on the illuminator only regardless of the mode you are in. If you are in either VIS mode, the back button will turn on the VIS illuminator. In IR modes the back button will only turn on the onboard close-range IR illuminator. The buttons are constant activation only. Click them and the mode turns on. Click it again to turn it off.
If you have the long-range IR laser illuminator head, instead of the white VIS LED or incandescent bulb head, this head is activated only in the VIS modes. Either the back button or on VIS mode 2 with either side button. But just know that the red VIS aiming laser will activate with the long-range infrared illuminator if you are in VIS mode 2 and use the side buttons.
The Oerlikon Contraves LLM01 is powered by two CR123 batteries. There is a battery door at the bottom of the housing that can be accessed without having to remove the LLM01 from your weapon. Just use a coin to quarter turn the screw and the battery door will open.

Here is an example of the Lumens Factory LED upgrade head. It is a rather floody beam and does not throw very far. Still better than the anemic 100-lumen incandescent bulb.
Before the LLM01 is turned on.
LLM01 activated with Lumens Factory LED upgrade.
Here are some photos of the long-range IR illuminator.

This fence is 136 yards away and the illuminator looks very pale.

Mounting The LLM01

The LLM01 came with two styles of mounts. They bolt to the top of the LLM01 housing. One is marked G17/SIG. It is a fixed sliding style mount with a spring detent. It fits GLOCK frames just fine and some Picatinny rails. Here it is on my Glock 17L.

I noticed some Picatinny rails, the G17 mount has a hard time sliding over. The spring-loaded recoil lug does not pull down all the way flat with the mount.

These are based on photos I have seen online of the LLM01. Europeans like to stick it on guns but they put them in weird positions. Usually sideways and it always looked odd to me since the LLM01 is not a small LAM by any means.

The LLM01 sticks out like a sore thumb.

This LLM01 also came with a second mount marked PICA P220. It has ad adjustable knurled knob and a throw lover. However, the throw lever does not allow enough slack in the Picatinny clamp so I always have to loosen the nut on the other side and then retighten it if I want to mount the laser back on. It does allow for the use of this ramped shade. I suspect it is to help shield the laser emitters and light from getting coated with muzzle blast on a handgun. The yellow warning label says, in German, Emergence Of Laser Radiation.

Here is an example of how the LLM01 is equipped on a G36. Or in this case an HK243. It is mounted using a dedicated clamp-on mount that attaches to the G36 dual optic carry handle. You will notice there is an absurdly long remote tape switch so you can activate the LLM01 with your support hand.
Photo by Brianmcgeeat
Photo by Brianmcgeeat
Photo by Brianmcgeeat
Here is Brianmcgeeat showing how the remote tape switch is activated with the support hand. He has it set up for a c-clamp style operation and has the switch at 12 o’clock.
Photo by Brianmcgeeat
I do not understand what the Europeans were thinking when they made this mount. It is not ambidextrous as far as I know. I do not think you can flip it around and mount the laser on the right side of the dual-optic carry handle. It makes more sense for a left-handed shooter. However, with the position of the LAM, the illuminator will light up the entire side of the gun.
Photo by Brianmcgeeat
Look at the photo below. Now just imagine looking through the 3x scope or even the red dot above. Your left eye will be blocked by the laser right in front of your face.
Photo by Brianmcgeeat
The mounting of the LLM01 is not some silly thing that Brianmcgeeat and Scaarat (who owns the carry handle) but I see it often in other photos found online. Here is the LLM01 mounted on Steyr AUG. The photo below has it mounted on the railed optic with a long remote switch that is positioned on the folding vertical grip of the AUG.

Here are some photos from an article we posted earlier of the Austrian Budasheer upgrading their AUGs. They mounted the LLM01 below the railed optic and you can see the Picatinny folding AUG VFG has a cutout for the remote switch.

I guess they don’t care about barrel shadow? Here is a promotional photo by Heckler & Koch of their G28 DMR. I guess they don’t care about a slow-quarter weapon light on their DMR gun. That won’t help illuminate targets past 20m. Not really useful and seems rather silly for a DMR gun. Maybe if it had the long-range IR laser illuminator and a proper night vision clip-on, it would have a purpose.
Photo from POTD
Here is another G36 but now with a grenade launcher and the LLM01 mounted upside down.
Photo from Defense Review
Photo from Defense Review
Here is another photo I found on Elbit’s website promoting their night vision goggles. These are German soldiers using a simulation kit but you will notice the LLM01 is mounted upside down at 12 o’clock on the handguard of the G36 with the remote tape switch mounted directly behind it.

Final Thoughts On The LLM01
The LLM01 is big and bulky. I am not really sure how it won contracts other than it is made in Europe. There are better, smaller, weapon lights with built-in lasers that they could have used. The IR illuminator is too weak for any real use other than looking at the ground in front of you. It does not have the output to illuminate shadows or overcome photonic barriers. Even with the 800-lumen LED upgrade, the beam is too floody. Not a lot of throw. A SureFire X400 has a better-shaped beam and can throw light 100 yards away to light up shadows. I do not have the remote switch and like the VarioRay I reviewed a while ago, the LLM01 only has eye-safe power levels for the lasers. However, I doubt a brighter aiming laser is really going to make this more useful. It still can’t light up things far away unless you have the long-range IR illuminator. But even that I find rather lackluster. It is too narrow of a beam. Maybe with the full power tape switch, it could be useful but I did not find it lighting up past photonic barriers at just 100 yards.
I could see the LLM01 more useful for a pistol but due to its massive size, there is no holster that I am aware of that can accommodate it. It seems this laser unit is only popular for cloners who want to copy the look of some European military or law enforcement firearm. […]


TFB Review: B&T MP5K Stock – It Fits The Briefcase, Sort Of

As an owner of an H&K Briefcase, I have been trying out different setups for my SP5K-PDW SBR. One of the biggest challenges is finding a stock that fits the briefcase. I reached out to B&T and they were kind enough to lend me their telescoping B&T MP5K Stock.

Stocks For MP5Ks
I am in the minority that does not like the Choate MP5K stock. I think it is hideous. It looks like some ugly thing slapped onto the back of the K.

I just do not see the appeal. It looks crude and it weighs a lot for no good reason. It looks like hammered dog feces. Look at that, ugh, I feel like I am going to throw up in my mouth.

There are so many better stocks out there. The B&T folder is only of the best aesthetics and functionality. And with the onset of Picatinny railed end caps, you can use any side folder. However not all of these work for an MP5K clone in a briefcase. First of all, you need a left-side folding stock. All the dedicated stocks for the MP5K fold to the right. The Choate and B&T folders all fold to the right. This interferes with briefcase operation. The stock hits the trigger bar so you cannot fit the K into the case.
Briefcase Compatible Stocks
I have only found two stocks that work with an H&K briefcase and they are both made by SIG Sauer. Their MPX/MCX telescoping/folding stock and their visor stock can fold to the left if you flip the folding knuckle. You can’t just throw on a left-side folding stock on the K. It will hit the release lever of the briefcase claw mount. See the photo below. You can see the release lever is longer than normal. The normal release lever is a tab on the right side of the briefcase. But since you cannot access that side, H&K welded a bar to the locking latch. So you lift it to release the claw mount from the receiver.
This is a decorative end cap designed and printed for me by Gibbous Outfitters. It was redesigned to fit the briefcase.
Here is the SIG MPX telescoping/folding stock in the briefcase. It fits but just barely. The thickness of the stock pushes against the lid but it isn’t that bad. I can still close the briefcase. The SIG Visor stock swoops down and goes around the release lever.

The problem with the SIG telescoping/folding stock is that it is a two-step operation to get it deployed. You have to collapse it to fit the briefcase. So that means you have to unfold and pull the stock out before you can shoulder it.
B&T MP5K Stock To The Rescue

The beauty of the B&T MP5K stock is that you just need to pull the stock out to deploy it. It has angled notches that raise the locking bar.

I did find a slight issue with the B&T MP5K stock and it is also a problem for the full-size MP5 B&T stock. The bars are a certain length for a decent length of pull. But that means they extend forward farther than is ideal.
If you run an MP5K vertical grip this is not an issue. See the ends of the bars reach the end of the trunnion.

If you run a wide handguard, like the Magpul MP5K handguard or Gibbous Outfitters wide handguard for the K, the bars hit the back of the handguard which does not allow the stock to close all the way. Gibbous Outfitters made H&K-styled buttpads for the B&T MP5K stock and MP5 stock.

Here is the B&T MP5 brace on my friend’s H&K SP5. He is running the KAC MP5 handguard and the Picatinny rails extend rearwards over the trunnion. So the B&T stock bars hit it, not allowing the stock or brace to collapse fully.

I did find a change in B&T MP5K stocks. On the left is the one Gibbous Outfitters let me borrow. The one on the right is the one B&T USA sent me.

Because Briefcase
I mentioned earlier that the B&T MP5K stock sort of fits the briefcase. It can if you modify it. Don’t worry, the modification is not permanent. You need to remove the right-side stock bar. Now it will clear the trigger linkage in the briefcase.

With the bar only on the left side, there is nothing to cheek for left-handed shooters. But cheeking the B&T MP5K stock bars is not exactly the most comfortable thing. Your face sits on those notches.

The B&TH MP5K stock has ambidextrous sling loop ears near the top of the end cap.

You might be thinking “That is not going to be very stable”. You are sort of right. Sure it is not as sturdy or stable as running both bars but this is a compromise for the briefcase. Most people do not even run a stock on their MP5K when they use a briefcase. I also refer you to the SAS sling method for running an MP5K without a stock. My single-bar B&T MP5K stock would be better than this.

[embedded content]
Final Thoughts On the B&T MP5K Stock
Photo By B&T USA
The B&T stock is not cheap. It is over $500 but most accessories for roller-delayed MP5 clones are not cheap either. The stock is solid and offers a possible solution for those of you who have operational MP5K briefcases. For more information, check out the B&T USA website. […]


Friday Night Lights: B2 Spirit Stealth Bomber Thermal Image

Happy New Year TFB readers! And welcome to the first Friday Night Lights article of 2024. Here I write about night vision and thermal-related content. Well, today I will share with you my attempt to capture the B2 Spirit Stealth Bomber’s image using long-range thermal and my Sony digital camera.
More Long Range Thermal @ TFB:

6 Years Ago I Saw The B2 Spirit

For those of you wondering why a B2 Spirit is flying by, this is part of the New Year’s Day Rose Parade and Rose Bowl. Aside from 2023, where they grounded the fleet, the B2 Spirit flies over the parade and the football game. Well on their way to the Rose Parade, the B2 Spirit flies past my parents’ house. The photo above was taken six years ago on Jan 1, 2018. The B2 Spirit was escorted by two F35s.

Six Years Later, Now With More Technology
Well, this year I wanted to try and capture the B2 Spirit and F35s image with my Hacked JIM LR. I would also have my Sony A7SII with a long-range lens to get normal pictures and video of the bomber and its escorts. Here is my setup.

I knew I would have to track a moving object and with the high magnification of the hacked JIMLR, this would be difficult. It helps it has a wide FOV but it is still rather zoomed in. So I would set the JIMLR up like a spotting scope. I bought a long ARCA rail and bolted the JIMLR to it. Then I attached a camera ball mount for my Sony A7SII. I will point the JIMLR at something far and zero the Sony A7SII to the same object.  One minor issue is that the ARCA rail is perpendicular to how my RRS PT-Scout head is oriented. So if I mounted the rail to the PT-Scout, I would not be able to tilt up and down but cant side to side. So I had to order another ARCA rail grabber rail. This actually helped more than I had anticipated. With the added rail (see photo below) I can slide the entire observation setup forwards and backwards for better balance.

On the Sony A7SII, I have a Sigma 600mm mirror lens. Attached to the lens is a cold shoe bolted to the tripod hole and I have an Olympus EE-1 dot sight. The dot sight is designed to attach to your camera’s hot shoe and is for helping to aim high zoom lenses. I zeroed it to the Sony which is zeroed to look at the same thing as the JIMLR.

See the screen in the Sony above? Below is a photo I took of that with the Sony A7SII using the 600mm lens.

See that trail just above and to the right of the water storage. The hacked JIMLR was able to recognize people on the trail. According to Google Maps, that is just over 6k yards or 3.46 miles away.

Here was another test I did. The Cinelease sign is 2.74 miles or 4,822 yards away.

The thermal image is not that sharp because I was taking a photo through the eyepiece with my iPhone.

Flight Of The B2 Spirit
Considering those tests above were miles away, I knew that the B2 would be a little bit closer based on its flight path six years ago. At 8 am it flew by and this year there were no F-35 fighter escorts.
[embedded content]
The B2 Spirit flew by faster than I expected. I do not think it was the speed but just the excitement and challenge of trying to track the stealth bomber as it flies using high-zoom lenses.

This is one of the earliest moments I captured the B2 Spirit’s image on my Sony A7SII. These are all screen captures from the video above. Below is the B2 as it flies away and banks towards Pasadena.

While images in the visual range are nice, I really wanted to see the B2 Spirit with the JIMLR. There are not many thermal images of the B2 Spirit. I did find a video that @pepe_le_frawg_69 posted on his Instagram. He used an RH25 to film what looks like an airshow.
image by @pepe_le_frawg_69
Image by @pepe_le_frawg_69
I found these screenshots very interesting. The B2 Spirit does not seem to have much heat coming out of its exhaust. You can see a faint wisp in the image above. Now compare that to the F35 below.
According to a commenter on Instagram, the B2 Spirit exhaust is mixed with cooler air from the intake side before it is released over conducting plates to further cool the exhaust down.
Here is a screenshot from my thermal B2 Spirit capture. You can see the flaperons are extended but more importantly, from underneath, you don’t really see the heat of the exhaust.

Lucky for me the B2 Spirit banks as it got further away from me. I zoomed in optically with the JIMLR from WFOV to NFOV. And by luck, I can see the top surface of the B2 based on its flight path. Now I can see the heat from the exhaust.

Final Thoughts On The B2 Spirit Thermal Capture
The JIMLR is low res, it is only 320 resolution but magnifiers really boost its capabilities. I wish I could have adjusted the focus to get a sharper image but I was dealing with a short event at an unknown distance trying to operate two cameras at the same time. It was still fun to try and film the B2 and in hindsight, I am glad the F35s were not there. It allowed me to focus solely on the B2. Trying to film the B2 unclose from far away would mean I would have had to crop out the F35s. Here is a fun little image I made using the silhouette of the b2. […]


TFB Review: HKBryce BL-SD Handguard Adapter (MP5-SD At Home)

Roller delayed blowback pistol caliber carbines are extremely popular. Everyone wants an MP5 clone. But there are not many MP5-SD clones. HKBryce came out with a 3D printed SD handguard adapter that allows you to use an MP5-SD rubber handguard on a full size MP5.
MP5 @ TFB:

HKBryce BL-SD Handguard Adapter

HKBryce’s BL-SD (Boot Leg SD) adapter is a replacement for your MP5 handguard. It is 3D printed in carbon fiber nylon.  So it can hold up to 194º. He torture tested with 150 rds and a binary trigger. It should hold up to a typical range session.
The adapter has a rear hook to grab the trunnion of your roller-delayed clone.

Be careful with the two ears. There is a section cut out to make clearance for the takedown pin.

Installation is straightforward and easy. Just hook the rear section onto the trunnion and snap it up into position. Then pop the takedown pin back through.

The cutout also makes room for the sling loop. The rubber handguard will cover up the sling loop so you will not be able to use it.

Then you snap the rubber handguard onto the HKBryce BL-SD adapter. Now you can attach a trilug suppressor of your choosing for your MP5-SD at home. This is my H&K SP5 with the BL-SD adapter.

Other MP5 Clones?
Remember my review of the H&K SP5L? I converted it into an SP5-SD by using a Midwest Industries handguard and slipped the SD handguard over it. But nothing is holding the rubber handguard on other than the friction and clamping force of the spring steel. Here it is with the HKBryce BL-SD handguard adapter.

The sling loop sticks out a little bit which pushes the rubber handguard a bit.

What About The .22LR MP5?
I have an H&K .22LR MP5 pistol. I know they make a 16″ barreled rifle version that looks like an MP5SD. I decided to try the BL-SD adapter on my pistol. My trilug has been modified and replaced with a real trilug so it fits my 9mm can.

The sling look sticks out even more than my H&K SP5s. So the rubber handguard really sticks out.

You can remove the sling loop but it is permanent. Someone said it might be threaded. I can confirm it is not. But now I don’t have to worry about the sling loop getting in the way.
Where To Get Rubber Handguards?
HKBryce mentions this on his website. There are three options.

Original H&K German handguard
USA made handguard
Broad River Tactical

If you recall, Broad River Tactical makes the AR9-SD barrels. Which are ported AR9 barrels designed to work with SD-compatible suppressors. His hand guards are designed to fit the HK SD rubber shrouds.
Photo by HKBryce
Photo by HKBryce
The HKBryce BL-SD adapter retails for $77. This does not include the rubber handguard. Broad River Tactical is the cheapest with blem units for only $80. Brand new clean ones are $120. The USA and German versions on HKParts are more expensive. I have only used these on my H&K clones. How it fits other clones, I am not sure. You can reach out to HKBryce and see if he knows.
Thanks to HKBryce for sending this in for review. For more information, check out HKBryce’s website.  […]


KelTec Sub2000 Gen3 – Now With A Twist

Are you a fan of folding pistol caliber carbines? Well, KelTec’s Sub2000 has been a staple in the industry. Now it is 2024 and KelTec just announced their new Sub2000 Gen3, with a twist.
KelTec @ TFB:

Sub2000 Gen3 – Twist It
Photo by KelTec
For those of you who are not familiar with the KelTec Sub2000, it is a pistol caliber carbine that folds in half for compact storage. It is pistol grip magazine fed and has had a number of changes throughout its life. This latest iteration, the Sub2000 Gen3, seems to take features from KelTec’s Sub2000 CQB. their integrally suppressed Sub2000. Just like the CQB, the Sub2000 Gen3 has a handguard that now rotates for storage. Look at the image above and the one below.
Photo by KelTec of the Sub2000 Gen2
You will notice the Sub2000 Gen3 has a longer length handguard but gets rid of the factory front iron sight. It also lacks the rear peep sight. It still has 5 M-LOK slots along the side and it has a full-length Picatinny rail on top. This allows you to mount optics all along the top rail since the handguard rotates 90º for storage.
Photo by KelTec.
Photo by KelTec.
Previous Sub2000s lock using the front sight and a latch built into the stock. The Sub2000 CQB uses the handguard to lock into the stock. Well, the Sub2000 Gen3 appears to use the forwardmost M-LOK slot to lock into the stock. KelTec has also improved the charging handle with a wider version. This was one of the first upgrades I did on my Sub2000 Gen2. There are some aftermarket fat charging handles that also add weight and sort of act as a buffer that noticeably helps reduce recoil impulse. A heavier bolt means a slower bolt speed when cycling. But I do not know if KelTec’s new charging handle will also perform as a heavier buffer.
Photo by KelTec.
The new KelTec Sub2000 Gen3 has an MSRP of $499.99 and is initially offered in 9mm only. I am not sure if the parts are backwards compatible, I would like to upgrade my Gen2 without having to buy a new gun. Although at just $499.99, it’s not that expensive that I could own another one and it does not take up much space. […]


TFB Review: C-MORE M26 CMC, Non-NFA MASSterkey

Did the featured image catch your attention? Do you want to know more? Well, come on in. I acquired a somewhat obscure straight pull bolt action shotgun made by C-MORE called the M26 CMC. It is a competition variant of the more popular M26 MASS.
Shotguns @ TFB:

Photo by C-MORE
Some of you may be familiar with the NFA version of the M26 CMC. The M26 MASS (Modular Accessory Shotgun System) is an underbarreled shotgun meant to replace the more common 870 Masterkey. The M26 MASS is a magazine-fed 12ga shotgun. It is manually operated with a straight pull charging handle. According to people online, the M26 MASS has been seen in various first-person shooting games. It has also been used in a small number of action movies.
Well C-MORE made a civilian version, not that you cannot own the M26 MASS but it is an NFA item as a SBS or possibly an AOW. The civilian variant of the M26 MASS is called the M26 CMC and C-MORE claims it is for competition.
How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?

I came across the M26 CMC at my local LGS on consignment. They wanted $1200 and MSRP is $1,399. Not great but not terrible. I was intrigued with making a non-NFA masterkey so I bought it.

The M26 CMC seems to be the same receiver as the M26 MASS. While I do not know what the barrel mount looks like up close, the whole grip/stock assembly is quick detach just like the M26 MASS. This simplifies their production. They just need to attach an 18″ barrel and handguard to make a non-NFA shotgun. The stock is commercial-spec with a thick soft rubber recoil pad. The buffer tube is actually a piston and retracts to help absorb recoil.
Stock removed from the M26 CMC.
When I brought the M26 CMC home, I discovered the 5-round magazines are similar to SAIGA-12 magazines.
C-MORE M26 magazine on the left. SGM 10rd SAIGA-12 magazine on the right.
Look how high the follower sits in the M26 magazine vs the SGM SAIGA-12 magazine. I found that SAIGA-12 mags sort of work in the M26 CMC. They fit but I had difficulty feeding rounds when I tried it with dummy rounds. Later I took the SGM magazines out to the range and the hammer was not hitting the firing pin. Look at the photo below. Look at the left feed lip on the C-MORE magazine. It has a 90º cut in it. Something attached to the hammer hits this preventing it from hitting the firing pin.

I cut the 90º clearance but waiting to hit the range again but dry firing seems promising.
If you haven’t noticed, the M26 CMC comes with a free float railed handguard. It lacks the iconic barrel mount that doubles as the M26 MASS sighting system. I ended up test-fitting the M26 to the bottom rails of railed handguards. I used my ADM dual Picatinny grabber to attach the top rail of the M26 to the bottom of this M4 KAC handguard.

Here is the M26 CMC under mounted on my KAC HK91 handguard.

I used a SureFire 100 to match the absurd length of the M26 with the SGM 10 round magazine.
See how far the rear of the M26 sits away from the magwell and the trigger guard is just hanging out on its own?
Vang Comp, You’re My Only Hope!
Photo by C-MORE
Photo by C-MORE
I originally reached out to C-MORE to see if I could buy their barrel mount parts. See the photos above. The front sight folds down and it attaches to a proprietary barrel mount clamped under the FSB of an M4. Unfortunately, they would not sell me these parts. They are only for the NFA M26. So I reached out to Cody Stewart of Vang Comp. I remember how well their modifications worked on my Magpul edition Remington 870 shotgun. I was hoping he could perform the same modifications to the M26 CMC. Cody was not sure since he was not familiar with the M26. All that mattered though was if the barrel could be removed. Since the M26 is not an autoloader, it is pretty straight forward and the barrel could be removed to be modified. I took the M26 apart to show Cody that it could be done.

The other “key” to making the M26 CMC into an M26 MASSterkey was getting a barrel mount. I did not like the free float handguard and did not like the idea of simply bolting Picatinny rail to Picatinny rail. The M26 receiver and trigger guard are designed to interface with the front of a Mil-Spec AR mag well. Without a properly spaced barrel mount, the trigger guard will swing down. It needs the lip of the mag well to keep it in place and using Picatinny rail grabbers positions the M26 CMC receiver too low.
I found an 870-style masterkey mount made by Armed To The Teeth Technologies. Here is the underbarrel mount mocked up on the M26 CMC.

M26 CMC MASSterkey!
Here are the photos Cody sent me after they finished modifying the M26 CMC.
Vang Comp porting. The forcing cone was lengthened but that is hard to see.
Vang Comp was able to modify the M26 CMC to get the underbarrel mount to line up.

Here are some close-up pics I took when I got the M26 back.

Vang Comp even threaded the barrel for chokes.

One minor drawback is that I do not have an easy way to sight in the M26 MASSterkey. I took an M4 profile barrel with KAC Quad Rail and mounted it to the barrel mount. Is this how a High-Rib sight works? Massive height over bore am I right?

My only problem now is that I did not have a barrel clamp to hold the barrel to the M26 MASSterkey.  So I ordered the LMT one. Silly thing costs as much as the underbarrel mount! Both combined cost just over half of what I paid for the M26!
As you can see, the KAC M16 handguard has a cutout specifically for M203 barrel mounts which is what I’m using for the M26 MASSterkey.

Shooting The Modified M26 CMC
I was a little concerned. The gun only weighs around 6.5 lbs. When I first shot it back in February, the recoil was noticeable. The thick recoil pad and spring buffer seem to help a bit. But with the Vang Comp porting and lengthened forcing cone, it is so soft shooting it is amazing.
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Of course, shooting it on an M16-style rifle adds significant weight so it dampens even more recoil.
Final Thoughts On The M26 MASSterkey
I am a little disappointed in C-MORE that they refuse to sell the mounts for the M26 MASS. I doubt they are selling that many M26 shotguns aside from the ones already allocated to the military. But I am over the moon about the modifications Vang Comp performed on it. It truly transformed the gun and it worked out better than I had hoped. I want to take it to shoot sporting clays but the clubs that run them are operated by fudds and they have minimum barrel length requirements. The barrel has to be 22″ or longer. I want to have fun and see what this straight-pull action shotgun can do. It is threaded for chokes, I could use a full choke and try to reach out and hit some flying clays.
Another avenue for modification is to find an M203 stock. While the M26 has its own stock, the barrel-mounted M203 stocks would allow me to add an optic to the stand-alone M26 MASSterkey.  The only problem is this stock costs as much as the M26!
Photo by LMT
If you want to learn more about the M26 CMC, check out C-MORE’s website. […]


USSOCOM ELR-SR (Extreme Long Range-Sniper Rifle) Solicitation

United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) just announced they are looking for a new ELR-SR (Extreme Long Range – Sniper Rifle) to replace their older anti-materiel and anti-personnel rifles such as the M107 and MK15 and will have a precision fire capability of 2500m.
Long Range Rifles @ TFB:

Here is what USSOCOM listed in their Sources Sought Notices:

The ELR-SR shall be a modular, magazine-fed, multi-caliber capable system which will include barrel configurations with required bolts and barrels of each caliber, required magazines of each caliber, stock, receiver, sound suppressor, ballistic computer, operator manual, cleaning kit, tool kit, bipod, and Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) approved locking hard carrying case.
The primary caliber of the system shall be sub-sonic and supersonic capable. If the primary system caliber is not a current DOD-approved munition, system it shall be capable of transitioning to a current .300 Norma Magnum DOD-approved munition with a quick- change kit (T). The quick-change kit shall be able to switch calibers within 5 minutes.
The ELR-SR shall have an overall length of no more than 56 inches, no more than 50 inches, less suppressor and the length of pull set to 14.5 inches.
The ELR-SR shall weigh no more than 22 lbs. with barrel, empty magazine, no more than 18 lbs.
Shall have continuous timed and biased MIL-STD-1913 rails, with numbered slots, at the 12 o’clock position with a minimum length of 24 inches and a 10 (+/- 1) MIL forward-sloping cant from back to front.
Shall provide M-LOK® attachment points at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions with ARCA lock rail with attachment at the 6 o’clock position.
The ELR-SR shall be manual (bolt action gun) in operation.
The ELR-SR, with muzzle device attached, will have a peak free recoil impulse of no more than 25 ft-lbs. The objective is to minimize the effects of recoil on a shooter as much as possible.
The ELR-SR barrel shall be capable of removal and replacement at the operator level Modular changes, including barrel changes, shall be accomplished within 5 minutes and with common tools, in such a way as to meet headspace requirements for each calibe
The ELR-SR system shall have a single, precision fire, high decibel reduction sound suppressor that will reduce audible signatures for all calibers to no more than 140dB. The sound suppressor should add no more than 8.5 inches in length to the system and should have recoil reducing capabilities. Sound suppressor shall be removable without specialty tools.

Here is what they want for service life.

The ELR-SR in either configuration shall have a barrel life of 1200 rounds (T), 1500 rounds (O). Barrel will be considered shot out when incapable of maintaining within 1% over system baseline of Ballistic Coefficient Standard Deviation.b) The ELR-SR shall not require cleaning at an interval less than 100 rounds to maintain precision and Ballistic Coefficient Standard Deviation of the weapon system as described in Table I (T), less than 200 rounds (O)

The system shall produce a Probability of hit (Phit) of >50% at 1500M* with primary supersonic round.The system shall produce a Probability of hit (Phit) of >30% at 600M* with subsonic round. The system shall have […]


Friday Night Lights: Laser Devices DBAL-Compact & GLIS

Welcome nocturnal enthusiasts. Do you crave esoteric night vision-related content? Then you have come to the right place. Last week we took a peek at the Insight ISM-IR. Well, we end this year with some even more obscure weapon-mounted lasers. Specifically, the Laser Devices DBAL-Compact and GLIS.
More Esoteric Lasers @ TFB:

Laser Devices DBAL-Compact
So Laser Devices is the company that actually designed and made the DBAL lasers that so many of us use and enjoy. They were purchased by Steiner and now everyone associates them with the DBAL. Well, the same friend that helped me to get the Laser Devices MP5K laser grip and MP5 cocking tube laser helped me to get the DBAL-Compact and GLIS. First, we will focus on the DBAL-Compact.
Photo by Steiner
Photo by Steiner
Back when I reviewed the DBAL-A4, I came across this photo of an early prototype version of the DBAL-A4. You can sort of see where the A4 came from but then my friend showed me this brown version called the DBAL-Compact. Other than the color and some slight aesthetic changes, the DBAL-A4 prototype is the DBAL-Compact.

One major difference is that there is only one IR illuminator. The other major difference is that the body of the DBAL-Compact is made of polymer rather than aluminum. The head, where the laser emitters and illuminators are, is milled aluminum.

Instead of the industry standard blue safety screw, they have a bolt-on blue plastic shield that prevents you from flipping the switch to HI power.

The dual ambidextrous activation buttons are similar to the newer DBAL-A4 as well as the VIS override and remote laser activation port. But the mode switch is very different. They use PT for pointer instead of AIM. Also, there is a separate switch on the far left to switch between low eye-safe to high full power.

The VIS override port only activates the white light no matter what mode you have selected. I have tried all the possible modes and none of them produce a laser with the white VIS override light. Interestingly though the VIS override produces a higher output white light even if the switch on the far left is in the LO position. The far right port is for regular remote activation.
Just like the A4, the DBAL-Compact has ambidextrous activation switches near the bottom rear of the housing.

Looking top down, you can see how far forward the illuminators stick out of the DBAL-Compact housing. Yes, that is a heatsink next to it.

It is powered by three CR123 batteries.

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G.L.I.S. (Green Laser Interdiction System)
GLIS was an ARMY program called Green Laser Interdiction System. They wanted a non-lethal option to deter potential threats. So by shining these bright green lasers at their faces, it would cause a potential human threat to turn away or go blind. Blindness is better than bullets to the face. B.E. Meyers and Insight won the contract. B.E. Meyers made the GLARE, a bright green vis laser version of their IZLID. And Insight had their LA12P. @sahelsolution has photos of the LA12P on his IG. From the photo, you can see it looks like it takes two CR123 batteries and has an Insight red dot mounted on top.
Photo by sahelsolution
From this photo, you can see the green laser and the red dot are not in line with the barrel. Not sure why the red dot is not in line with the laser either.
Photo by sahelsolution
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Laser Devices GLIS
Laser Devices tried to compete with Insight and B.E. Meyers and here is that prototype. It is like the OTAL on steroids. You can see the body is much wider than an OTAL to fit three CR123 batteries. It does not have any other lasers other than the single-diode green VIS laser. Like other Laser Devices DBALs, OTALs and ITALs, it has the Burris Fastfire footprint to directly bolt on a mini red dot sight.

The battery compartment is offset at an angle from the laser emitter.

Unlike the Insight LA12P, the Laser Devices GLIS has the red dot in line with the laser. But the laser is offset to the bore of a firearm if mounted at 12 o’clock.

There is an activation button near the top rear of the housing.
Burris Fastfire with enclosure.

Controls are only low or high. MOD I believe is for programming the laser.

100 yards and out the beam divergence makes the laser a little bit bigger than a human head. Further out the laser will be a bit bigger. That is why having the red dot makes it easier to aim it. Especially in the daytime.

Here is the GLIS compared to my full-power 50mW Steiner ITAL.

Final Thoughts On The DBAL-Compact and GLIS
A huge thanks to my buddy Dave for helping get these pieces of laser history. The DBAL-Compact is interesting but I don’t think they saved much weight with a polymer housing. According to another source online, Alex Chavez who worked on the GLIS and DBALs, it was the first polymer DBAL and only 5 of these exist. […]