As grand as the scale of the Annual Meetings is, any gathering of serious shooters would seem less grand and less serious without a Magpul presence of consequence. No worries: In a booth roughly the size of our house, the magazine, stock/furniture, and sight giant held forth in its unmistakable way.
For fans of the über-popular Ruger 10/22, Magpul is showing off an incredibly compact stock configuration. Called—in an apparent fit of imagination—the Backpacker, this clever furniture turns your takedown into a one-piece article. Even with an optic attached, your disassembled rifle will now slide in and out of virtually any backpack, freeing you from the somewhat more limited arrangement that came with your rifle (nice, we agree, but not very versatile). Swiping the sample seemed impractical, but we’re pursuing other options …
Amid the remaining host of other familiar products we’ve tried to break (and utterly failed), we also spotted their new Glock GL Enhanced Mag Well. “Itching” is how it left us: Itching to try one out. The size and geometry look about ideal, and appear to account in typical Magpul fashion for a host of eventualities—the welcome sort with maximized function and minimized addition bulk/weight; and the unwelcome sort in get-it-fixed-and-get-back-to-work simplicity.
We’ll bug ‘em for one, and get back to you shortly—some Gen3 and Gen 4 Glock exemplars are standing by to give them a workout.
In a somewhat common current theme, FN has “spun off” a new pistol from its highly successful FNS family of striker-fired guns. The FN509 is the result, and our spies say it was a serious contender for U.S. selection in the recent Modular Handgun System competition for a new military sidearm.
If you know the FNS pistols as (we think) we do, it’s hard to imagine what there was to improve: In both the full-size and compact models, the FNS is quite simply a masterpiece. Steel above and polymer below, it was loaded with goodies from fully ambi controls to great grip textures and slide profile. It’s a fast-handling dream, in other words, as FN’s resident wizard Dave Sevigny just got done proving with a comparative runaway win at the U.S Steel Challenge Production Division Championships.
The 509 boasts some interior ruggedizing (extractor, for instance), taller standard sights and an even grippier texture, but otherwise seems to be carrying all the good “S” series attributes forward. We’ll hope to know more soon with hands-on experience to the limits of endurance and ammunition. Matching FN’s million rounds of testing, however, you should probably not expect.
We’ve been DoubleStar fans for a good while, particularly liking the company’s ARFX stock, for instance. We used the Entry Length version in our recent Light/Short MSR build to good effect. They’ve announced a new version of this rugged, comfortable titan: It has all the assets of its predecessor, but now with quick release sockets in about every conceivable position. If you can’t work out a sling rigging that suits, despair is the only remaining option. Seriously consider a Skeleton for your next build.
But what really sent us careening across the aisle to DoubleStar was its new .300 BLK “Always Ready Carbine.” If this rings a bell, you’re right on: Following on the heels of their extremely successful .556 ACR, a 7075 T6 upper and lower are the heart of the shorty .30 caliber as well. The pistol length gas system, “Big Timber” brake, and Mortar Plate buttstock (though a collapsible is included if you prefer) promise a lightweight, smooth shooter with virtually any sub- or supersonic .300 BLK ammunition.
We’re sure the dignified folks at Zeiss could stay cool in the face of our enthusiasm, but we’ve no such reserve: The company’s new Conquest scopes have us jumping up and down in anticipation.
Fluorite lenses, 30 mm tubes, second focal plane reticles, and state-of-the-art coatings add up to 92 percent light transmission in all three Conquest magnification ranges—1-6x24, 3-18x50 and 5-30x50. Whether you’re 3-gunning or long-range hunting, as many as four different reticles and illumination all but ensure there’s now a Zeiss optic for you.
Knowledgeable shooters may bridle a little at that last item, knowing the barrier to such quality in the past has been immutable: substantial cost. We’d argue you always got what you paid for with Zeiss, but $1,500 to $1,900 Conquest price points put “one and done” within reach of many, many more American shooters.