On Target Retrospective–Picking the winners

The ADM Recon Scope Mount has proven to be a great value. Pictured here with a Match-Dot scope atop an AR.
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by Rob Kay

Our staff has looked at a lot of gear over the past year.  However, reviewing hardware is not just about going out to the range a few times. The best way to evaluate products is to see how they stand up to the test of time.


In this first in a series of articles I’m going to look back at some of the products th for the dollar. 

So in no particular order…here we go…

The ADM Recon Scope Mount has proven to be a great value. Pictured here with a Match-Dot scope atop an AR.
The ADM Recon Scope Mount has proven to be a great value. Pictured here with a Match-Dot scope atop an AR it consistently held zero.

We originally acquired the the ADM Recon Scope Mount when we were testing out a Sightron rifle scope. This is  “QD” or quick detach type unit that comes in very handy, especially if you like to swap out glass from one rifle to the other. ADM (aka American Defense MFG) mounts are not as expensive as high end stuff from Larue or Bobro but the company has an impressive list of clients ranging from the California Highway Patrol to the U.S. Army. To make a long story short, I had an Ultradot Match Dot scope that had seen duty on a 1911 in Bullsye competition. It’s a high quality scope that I figured would well with a rifle. In short order I mounted it on the ADM Recon and it co-witnessed perfectly with AR’s iron sights. I’ve been using it regularly since then and couldn’t be happier. It’s easy to detach and it never failed to hold zero. This was determined by repeatedly removing the mount from the rail, putting it back on again and seeing what kind of groups the gun would produce on paper.  The Recon mount consistently proved that it could provide a platform for the shooter to place the bullet exactly where it was pointed. In short, ADM believes their mounts are equivalent in quality to anything out there and I’d have to agree. I unequivocally recommend it.  They come in a variety of options and are priced around $180.

The Gong from Custom Metal Products hangs from an “A” frame. Its proven to be a great item to have at the range.

We first reviewed the Custom Metal Products 12” Gong over Christmas. Little did I know that the City Fathers of Honolulu, who ultimately run Koko Head range, would put the kibosh on shooting over 100 yards. Boy am I glad I have this gong. We’ve used it numerous weekends with mostly 7.62 or 5.56 rifles and it’s absolutely wonderful. Sturdy and easy to set up, it sure beats the heck out of punching paper all day. My offhand shooting has gotten pretty darn good thanks to this contraption and, it seems my popularity has increased now that my friends know someone who has a gong. Occasionally it’s possible to bust a chain—particularly when shooting the 7.62 rounds but, that’s life.  A little trip out to City Mill or Home Depot resolves that problem. The only hassle is that the entire setup weighs about 50 lbs. To solve that I turned an old duffel bag with rollers into a dedicated gong rickshaw. I really like this product—especially if you’re limited to 100 yards and, dig the instant gratification of seeing the gong dance. What’s more, the CMP people are really nice to deal with. I’ll probably get an 8” gong soon to challenge myself a little more. Price for the gong and the A-Frame is around $180.

ESS Rollbar - Copy - Copy

The ESS Rollbar is light, comfortable and quite stylish.

During our Christmas series of articles we looked at the Crossbow and Rollbar Shooting Glasses and I’ve become quite attached to the latter. The Rollbar not only looks cool, it’s light and comfortable. They have a strap too so I’m less likely to lose them. (I lose everything so this is important). I’ve adopted them as my official go-to shades. I’m tough on things and there’s one little scratch on the lens but they have held up very well. Price on Amazon is $103.49 for both pair of glasses. It’s a good deal.

OK, back to hardware. There are a lot of great ARs out there and nowadays the market is flooded. I’ve been shooting my Barnes Precision Ultralite Extreme 16” upper for the last six months and simply love it. It’s well balanced, light weight and wickedly accurate with the Wylde chambering.  I’ve been shooting a lot with it offhand at the CMP gong which is a lot of fun. It’s also nice to know that past 100 yards this unit has incredible accuracy. One other thing that doesn’t get reported a lot about BP. Their products are used by arguably the best shooters in the world–that is Team Muculek. Both Jerry and his daughter use BP products without being on their payroll. You can’t ask for a better recommendation in my book. If you’re looking around for a DI upper, I’m convinced this is the way to go. MSRP is $895.83.

Beautifully finished and boringly accurate, the BP Ultralite is a cut above just about anything you’ll find on the market.

While we’re on the subject of accoutrement, I want to tell my fans how how cool the Kitanica Backcountry Pants are. They are tough as nails and very stylish for “tactical” wear. I love these pants and take them everywhere.

The Kitanica “Backcountry Pants” have a very athletic cut and you can wear ’em anywhere. The 50/50 cotton-nylon blend is quite comfortable.

Everyone who tinkers with guns needs decent tools. I acquired a 72-piece screwdriver set from Wheeler Engineering and have never looked back. As a guy who tests gear I’m always fiddling with equipment and use them all the time. For example the other day added a red dot scope to my ADM mount and used the allen head tip with the screw driver handle instead of an allen head wrench. It was so much easier to use. The alternative is  “Bubba-izing” your guns. The kit is available from outfits such as Midway, Amazon, Cheaper than Dirt and the like for around $50.

This tool set from Wheeler Engineering (a division of Caldwell) has proven invaluable. AT $50 it’s reasonably priced.


I’d have to say one of the neatest products I had a chance to test out is the Wolverine C3 Boat Shoe. They are practical and stylish in a conservative kind of way. They are also suitable for just about any venue–you can wear them at the range or at a social event. They are also super comfortable. When I attended the Shot Show I wore them for the entire four days, traipsing around the enormous convention center. I continue to enjoy them. You can purchase these on Amazon for $80.

Who ever thought gun cleaning gear could be improved upon? No one, but Otis has done so with its new improved bore snake called the Ripcord. I’ve used this product faithfully and its worked quite effectively. It’s quite sturdy but I managed to shred one of them. I suspect I used it on a slightly smaller diameter barrel than it was meant for. In fact I’m pretty sure that was the case. Hmmm…well, I’m pretty tough on my stuff so I will give Otis the benefit of the doubt. This is an item that everyone should have. The Ripcord retails for $14.99 and is currently available in .22/.223, .308/7.62mm, 9mm, and .45 caliber, with others coming soon.

Ripcord is semi-rigid which allows it to easily move down the barrel. It’s the 21st Century successor to the bore snake.

Finally, the Primary Weapons System MK114 upper was one of the highlights of last year’s T&E series. After all those years of cleaning DI guns, a piston job was almost too good to be true. Over the last six months there was no doubt that the PWS guns (and we looked at two of them) proved to be well put together, dependable and with Wylde chambering, more accurate than most shooters will ever realize. In fact, we’ll go out on a limb and say that a well designed piston gun such as the PWS  marries the best of both worlds–the drop dead accuracy and ergonomics of an AR with the reliability of an AK 47.  At around $1400, these uppers aren’t cheap but you get what you pay for.

Primary Weapons System MK114 upper. (Comes with Magpul BUIS). We added a Trijicon T31F, Blackhawk Sling and Blackhawk Rail Mount Sling Adapter for the review.

Photos courtesy of On Target staff .

Questions?  Comments?  Contact us at ontargethawaii@gmail.com

Rob Kay writes about firearms for Hawaii Reporter and is the author of How to Buy an AK-47.
Read more of Rob’s articles on OnTargetHawaii.com