Thursday, August 27, 2015

Guns and Gear Review # 19: Leatherman Wingman

Hey folks, it's your old pal 12-Gauge Chimp here with another installment of Guns and Gear Reviews.

Today, we'll be looking at the Leatherman Wingman multi-tool.

I usually carry a Leatherman Wave on my belt as part of my EDC set up, but I purchased the Wingman on a whim a month or so back and it's quickly becoming one of my favorite tools. I realized that I didn't need the Wave and its many different tools since I rarely used any of them aside from the knife blades, the pliers and the scissors. So I started carrying the Wingman around (it didn't come with a belt pouch so I had to use the one I had for my Leatherman Blast) and it quickly became my favorite tool.

Now, by this point, some of you are probably asking "Chimp, what are the tools on the Wingman and how much does one cost?". Well, I paid about 25 dollars US for mine at a Walmart Super Center in New Mexico (I do a lot of business in New Mexico) and the tools are as follows.

On the Leatherman Wingman, you've got...
1: spring loaded pliers (nice touch, Leatherman.)
2: a dual edged (serrated and plain edge) knife blade
3: bottle opener (or can opener, your choice)
4: a box cutter (I had no idea this was a box cutter until I watched a review of the Wingman online)
5: a combination ruler/ nail file
6: a small Philips head screwdriver
7: a small flat head screwdriver
8: wire cutters

I don't know if Leatherman counts the pocket clip as a function or not, so I'm leaving that out of the list of tools. Speaking of which, I hate the pocket clip on the Wingman. Mostly because it doesn't grip worth a damn. It may be because I wear jeans and the sides of the Wingman are super smooth, but still I hate the pocket clip because I feel like the tool is going to fall out when I walk. I had that happen with a cheap pocket knife once. Still have no idea where that knife ended up, by the way.

Anyway, I've been using the Wingman pretty steadily for the past month and there are almost no complaints from me. It's a lot lighter than the Wave I carried for the longest time (had to buy another one after my brother accidentally broke the scissors on my first one. I'll be sending that one in to Leatherman to take advantage of their warranty soon.) and I actually use most of the tools on it. Sure it's nice to have a bunch of tools at my disposal, but I'm not using most of them on a daily basis, which seems like a waste to me. The Wingman seems to me like a good minimalist multi-tool for folks who don't want or really need all the tools on the Wave or any of the other larger Leatherman tools.

Would I recommend the Leatherman Wingman  ? The answer is YES. I'm not going to give it my seal of approval just yet, but I have a feeling it's a sure thing that I will in the future.

Well, that's pretty much it for this installment of Guns and Gear Reviews with 12-Gauge Chimp. Keep checking the site for more reviews in the coming months and keep an eye out for an announcement about a 12-Gauge Chimp YouTube channel. I'm still in the process of making that a reality and getting set up to bring you all video reviews on new items I buy and the occasional 'Random Thoughts' video I may do when the mood strikes me.

As always, this is 12-Gauge Chimp signing off.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Return to Gun Review #16 plus an update to where I've been.

Howdy, folks. It's your old pal 12-Gauge Chimp.

You may have noticed my absence (or not since I'm not sure if anyone actually reads my articles or even visits the site anymore), and I apologize for that. The reason behind my long absence is that I just got burnt out on writing reviews and updating the site. I've purchased a number of things to review and I'll be getting to those some time in the near future.Just to clear things up and answer a few questions I'm sure no one has asked, I buy pretty much everything I review out of my own pocket. I am not sponsored in any way whatsoever. It'd be nice to be sponsored, but the site just isn't big enough nor popular enough for the big name companies to consider a sponsorship.

With that out of the way, on to the updated M10 AK.

As most of you folks know, I am a big fan of the AK and 7.62x39mm round it fires. So much so that I am strongly considering adding another AK to my collection. Before I do that, though, I want to update you all on what I've done to my M10 AK over the past year.

First, I ditched the Hogue handguard that came with my rifle and added a Troy Industries AK rail (more on that later). The Troy Industries AK rail is nice, but it's a little frustrating in installing since it requires a small Allen wrench to tighten down the bolts that hold it to the handguard retaining ring. Loc-Tite is your friend here if you don't want the bolts to back out and cause the rail to wobble (yes, I had that happen to me. Twice.) I recommend the blue Loc-Tite if you ever want to remove the rail and install a different one. If you never want to remove it, either use some of the red Loc-Tite or have your gunsmith weld the rail onto your rifle.

Next was the buttstock. The Phoenix Technologies "Survivor" stock is a decent stock in it's own right, but I wanted something that I could adjust the length of pull (LOP) on. The Phoenix Technologies stock is basically a fixed AK stock with a little trapdoor for survival gear (I tried and all I could fit in it was a cleaning kit. You are definitely NOT fitting any real gear in that stock.) So, I first put an Vltor AK stock tube adapter on it along with a Magpul CTR stock and called it a day. It worked for me and I was happy. Cut to SHOT Show 2015 and Magpul's announcement of AK specific furniture, which had me rethinking my set up. So, a few months of waiting for the stock to hit shelves, I installed my Zhukov-S folding stock on my AK. It actually went on easier than the Vltor tube. Magpul hit one out of the park with this stock. I will say that the LOP adjustment part was a little hard to adjust at first, but now it's smooth. I recommend finding a position that fits you on the stock and setting it there because the stock can be a pain to adjust at times. Maybe Magpul will make a Gen 2 version of the stock that's a little easier to adjust.

I also changed the muzzle brake (I absolutely hated the Tapco Razr muzzle brake that came with my rifle. Sounded like a tuning fork whenever I shot my rifle). I switched the brake out with a Midwest Industries AK muzzle device (I'm not kidding. The package simply calls it a 'muzzle device'. No fancy name, just what it is.) Getting the Tapco Razr brake off my rifle required a trip to a gunsmith and a monkey wrench to take it off. Installing the Midwest Industries brake was just my gunsmith screwing the thing onto my rifle after spraying some lube onto the threads to make everything go on without a hitch. It looks a lot better than the Tapco brake. Don't get me wrong, the Tapco Razr brake was a nice one, it just wasn't for me. And I'm not the only one who disliked it. Take a trip to YouTube and you'll find a bunch of folks who feel the same way as I do about the Tapco Razr.

Other things that I swapped were the grip (went with a Magpul MOE AK grip), gas tube (Troy Industries again.) and I added some rail sections to hold a Magpul AFG (angled fore grip) as well as a Bushnell tactical light and a Magpul QD sling mount.

I'm hoping once the weather cools down a bit, I can hit the range and put some rounds downrange. It's been awhile since I fired my AK and I need to do a lot of testing to see if all the mods I did were worth it.

All in all, I'm happy with the rifle and the mods I did. I made the rifle fit me and I think that's all that matters in the end.

As always, this is 12-Gauge Chimp signing off.