First Gear | Versatility Reigns: Sights, Barrels, Cleaner

posted on March 20, 2016
first-gear-main-image.jpg (2)

Dawson Precision Sights 

As a very early “Grand Master” shooter in USPSA, Dave Dawson is no stranger to a host of shooting circles. He’s also widely acknowledged as the guy who knocked wait times for top-shelf tactical style competitive and duty guns from years down to weeks, maybe even days (with a little luck). That’s no small feat, especially considering just how good these pistols are. 

A second claim on ubiquity—if not immortality—may be a huge series of sights for more than 30 brands of pistols. They’re everywhere, including a not-insignificant number in our own safe. When it came time to settle on a final “kit” for our MOS Glocks then, we went straight to Dawson with our requirements. 

In about 10 careful minutes with hand tools, a little caution and a micrometer, they were on the gun, too.

First, we needed “suppressor height.” This allows for sight alignment over the body of any can (duh), but also for the notch and post to be used above the body of our Burris FastFire III or other reflex sight in co-witness, should the primary fail. (And yes, we know just how unlikely such a failure is.) 

Next, we needed a fiber optic front—yes, needed. Don’t get us going on the birthdays vs. visual acuity thing, please; it’s a major sore point. 

Lastly, we wanted a wide rear notch or narrow front. Lots of light on either side of the blade was our goal, but also a matter of some argument, we grant. But it’s what we like, and for our gun, after all. So there. 

And boom, there they were. In about 10 minutes with hand tools, a little caution and a micrometer, they were on the gun, too. 

We do have a slightly disappointing side note, however. Dawson has a “Perfect Impact Promise” policy that, in the broad strokes, says, “If it doesn’t hit, we’ll help you ’til it does, up to and including making you an appropriate front sight.” Well and good, as far as it goes, but it leads directly to our gripe: Because the first ones they sent us worked perfectly (and to reasonable ranges in two calibers—see below), we never got to test the promise, for either pistol we tried ’em on

It seems that Dave Dawson gets the last laugh. 

Visit Dawson Precision at DP/Glock MOS fixed co-witness sights are $78.95.

Lone Wolf Distributors 

Our proofreader and editor have not gone off their respective (and hard-working) rails: The reappearance of Lone Wolf Distributors in First Gear so soon is no mistake. Lone Wolf asked us to take a peek at their Alpha Wolf G17 barrel, and also their G40 10 mm to .40 S&W caliber conversion

The former is pending. The latter, however, has a very enthusiastic “yee-haw” in the books herewith. 

Lone Wolf got on the bandwagon early with conversion barrels for the popular Glock pistols. If this is gobbledygook to you, attend: Because the crucial slide/breech face cut in auto-loading pistols of 9 mm and .40 caliber isn’t all that different, it’s possible in some designs to run the smaller caliber (9 mm) in pistols originally intended for the larger (.40 S&W) with the simple expedient of a barrel change. External dimensions match the .40 slide, while chamber and bore match the 9 mm. Er, nifty? Many other calibers are convertible too: Just remember you must generally down-caliber, not up. 

… it went through about 300 rounds without so much as a hiccup under match conditions: grounded mags, rapid strings, precision shots and no problems.

Some folks eschew these due to very small percentage sacrifices in terms of reliability: We understand that. As a way to practice less expensively however, it has huge appeal. And the reliability issues? Tilt these back in your favor by adding 9 mm mags: In our tests, we’ve gone over 3,000 rounds without any malfunctions in this way. 

Nowhere, however, is it more sensible to convert calibers than between 10 mm and .40 S&W. If you recall a little history, you’ll see why: 10 mm is quite literally the “parent” of the shorty .40, so the cuts are the same. All you need is a barrel with a .40 chamber rather than 10 mm, and you’re really in business—same mags, same bullets (if you handload), and at least 10 cents per round cheaper if you prefer factory. 

We cleaned our .40 barrel (just to make sure no micro, manufacturing detritus remained, and see below), and went right to work. With no time for break-in and shooting it as a “Limited” division combatant, it went through about 300 rounds without so much as a hiccup under match conditions: grounded mags, rapid strings, precision shots and no problems. 

Our favorite feature we save for last: Unlike polygonally rifled factory Glock barrels that brook no lead projectiles, the 416 stainless, broach-cut, target-crowned Lone Wolf spins lead bullets out of our G40 with ease, safety, cost savings and impressive accuracy.

What more need we say?

Visit Lone Wolf Distributors at Lone Wolf conversion barrels range in price from $99-$149. 

M-Pro7 Cleaner 

Speaking of lead (projectiles, not our backsides), here’s a gotta-have, though not merely for the Pb-slingers out there. 

With a little caution, lead remains one of the most cost-conscious ways to practice. True, you have to be careful about your fab-area cleanliness (including tracking stuff into your living area), and extra precautions are due if you have children (or grandchildren) of the age where everything gets put into their mouths.

Nothing in our experience comes close to the ease with which M-Pro7 Cleaner does this job.

Several of our favorite practice and competition bullets are lead. The self-lubing nature of the metal makes it particularly appealing for lower velocities—like those of most handguns—and, bullet for bullet, they are anywhere from two to 10 cents cheaper per round. Generally, they are “softer” shooting too, requiring less powder per charge to achieve a given velocity, and far easier on bores than copper-jacketed projectiles. 

What’s not to like has always been cleaning up afterwards. Long story short, we’ve goop plus brushed it out, chemically-treated swabbed it out, wire-screened it out, failed to get it out, and just plain left it in over a quarter century. Nothing in our experience comes close to the ease with which M-Pro7 Cleaner does this job

If you don’t ever touch the stuff—lead, that is—you still might want to pay attention. We’ve also had great success with this in a host (read “vast majority”) of other cleaning jobs, and hear great results where corrosive priming and black powder are involved, too. 

As for the actual chemistry, we just don’t care, or at least not any more. Unconvinced? Well, just about the best FAQ we’ve ever seen too, so click and learn to your heart’s content. 

Buy some, now: Less time spent cleaning is more time for shooting. 

Visit M-Pro7 at, or buy it at Brownells from $8.94.


6316332543 C54417b0da K
6316332543 C54417b0da K

U.N. Treaty to Curtail Americans’ Rights Lives On Decades Later

Way back in 2001, the United Nations decided to take on the task of trying to restrict the Second Amendment-protected rights of American citizens and that goal continues to live on to this day.

The Armed Citizen® July 12, 2024

True stories of the right to keep and bear arms.

Larry Fleet Is NRA Country

A true hard-working patriot that loves duck hunting as much as he loves music, Fleet is everything that embodies the NRA Country brand of patriotism, love of the outdoors and family.

2024 NRA World Shooting Championship

If you weren’t at the NRA World Shooting Championship at Camp Atterbury, Ind., in April, you can be forgiven for not knowing the name Brian Shanholtz, who catapulted himself into the pantheon of competitive shooting greats.

Gun Skills | Defensive Ammunition, Part 3

Depending on the style of firearm, a bullet’s conformation might make or break the operation; as such, it’s crucial to factor this is when deciding the projectile type that is best for a given situation.

Get the best of America's 1st Freedom delivered to your inbox.