Apex Gunsmithing
20Feb/16

Detail Strip Guide: S&W M&P22 Full Size

The popularity of .22 as a training tool exploded a few years back just before the great ammo drought, ushering in a golden age of rimfire lookalikes mimicking popular defense handguns.  It seemed like the next logical step up from expensive conversion kits that nearly cost as much as a standalone rimfire pistol by themselves and were often difficult to find in stock.  For a while every .22 lookalike pistol that hit the market seemed plagued with issues, the Walther P22 and Sig Mosquito were at one time famously problematic as they fought through their growing pains.  It took Smith & Wesson a few years to catch up, but they appear to have spent their time wisely and learned from the failings of other guns to make the M&P22 a reliable little package.

I recently had the opportunity to compare the newer Compact model alongside the full size example that I'll be ripping apart in this guide, so I've included a few notes along the way to highlight design changes on the newer pistol.

This guide also covers removing the magazine disconnector "safety" which can be omitted with no negative effects on the gun's function and no parts or spacers are needed.

It looks and feels like the M&P, but it doesn't work like one on the inside!

It looks and feels like the M&P, but it doesn't work like one on the inside!

13Apr/15

Range Review: Canik Stingray-C

It's been a while since I wrote about the Canik Stingray-C a friend and customer loaned me for review, mostly because it came to me over the winter during some horrible weather and the eventual melt turned my range into a swamp Shrek would've been proud to lay claim to.  Now that the weather has warmed up and dried up, I've been able to hit the range and start working through my backlog of reviews little by little!

First thing's first, here's a link to my original hands on article: Canik-55 Stingray-C.  If you're not familiar with these Turkish built CZ copies, take a look there to get the rundown on the feature set and overall build quality.

1Jul/14

Technical Review: Timney Tavor Trigger

There has been a lot of buzz about aftermarket Tavor triggers lately, and a lot of folks have written great reviews already.  Though many of them noted that the Timney design differs considerably from the factory IWI sear pack, none of the reviews focused much on the technical aspects or advantages and disadvantages of Timney's changes.  Let's get digging and do some comparing and contrasting!

Timney vs IWI

Timney vs IWI

21Jun/14

Review: Apex Tactical Polymer AEK Trigger

I've had one of these on my wish list for a long time and finally got my hands on one this week!  It seems fitting that with my pre-2013 M&P loaded up with Apex Tactical components I should have the trigger replacement to round things out, but is it really worth the $39.99 price tag?

26May/14

Overview: Canik TP-9 (Walther P99 Clone)

Continuing with the Turkish made budget guns I have on hand, today's look is at the Canik TP-9.  This $300 (as of the time of writing) pistol brings to market a much cheaper alternative to Walther's premium priced polymer pistols and is available in a wide array of colors.  Ours is black, because we're boring like that.

If you want the TL;DR jump to the bottom for the Summary segment and enjoy the pictures!

For anyone who enjoys my gunsmith rambling about design and manufacture quality, I'll be following this one up with a separate tech review as well as a full detail strip and reassembly guide.

Profile view of the TP-9

Profile view of the TP-9

13May/14

Review: CMMG Bravo SS .22LR Conversion

Remember back when .22LR was 6 cents per round and there were 20 bricks on your local gun shop's shelf for $19.99?  Prior to the great ammo drought of 2013, conversion kits were just picking up steam and hitting the market left and right, with perhaps the best of the bunch made by CMMG.  Luckily I still have a stockpile of .22lr, so let's forget about the ammo woes briefly and see just what a mid-tier .22 conversion brings to the table for AR-15 owners.

Charging handle not included on our test kit.

Charging handle not included on our test kit.

18Jan/14

Hands On: Canik55 Stingray-C

For several years now, one of the best kept secrets in the gun world was the quality of firearms being imported from Turkey.  The Turks have a long, colorful history of small arms manufacture and the Canik plant is among the most modern firearms manufacturing locations in the world.  Until recently many of their guns have slipped quietly under the radar, shoved into the depths of surplus catalogs and hawked by importers like Century who, let's face it, don't have the best reputation in the gun world.  Despite all of that, the Turkish produced CZ clones have finally caught on and are gaining real traction in the gun world.

13Nov/13

First Impressions: Ruger SR-762

Ruger has been on a kick the past several years: revisions to the venerable Mini-14, a wave of concealed carry type pistols, introducing a piston driven AR-15 platform rifle, and bringing back the takedown concept with the 10/22 Takedown.  Most recently in the rifle world they decided to take on the much smaller .308 AR market with the SR-762.  

28Jun/13

Review: Small Stuff

I often have customers ask my thoughts on everything from gear and accessories to different AR-15 magazines, various brands or loads of ammo and of course guns themselves.  I'm just a small time guy and will always be the first to let you know I don't have experience with something, but for the guns, knives and gear I have hands-on experience with I'm always more than happy to try and give a bit of a review.  In light of that, I'm going to start posting reviews and ramblings about whatever comes up during the week!

Our first lineup is random small stuff hanging around the shop that I've talked to customers about recently, or had questions about.  Spoilers: I like all of them.  Though I tend to only stock or use stuff I like, there WILL be negative reviews up here.  I'm not one to hold my tongue, as many folks know from my rants about one gun or another!

Stay tuned for the next reviews post, which will probably cover a few knives, cleaning supplies and maybe even something I don't like!

Butler Creek MAGLula (Retail - $34.95)

If you haven't heard of the MagLula by now, I'm not sure where you've been... these little devices have really taken root all over the shooting world!  It took me way too long to get around to grabbing one for myself, but now it never leaves the range bag.  It's a fantastically simple and effective polymer contraption (the feed tongue is steel) that tames even the most stubborn magazine spring.  Two thumbs up from me, I recommend everyone get one of these as soon as possible.  (also available in "baby" for single stack or subcompact mags, and now in pink for the ladies)

A-Zoom Snap Caps (9mm, Retail - $12 for 5)

Another must-have for most gun owners is a handful of snap caps in your main go-to calibers.  Most brands are sufficient, but I prefer the machined solid A-Zoom snap caps personally.  For range use doing failure drills I might go with the bright orange Saf-T-Trainer and similar simply for visibility, though being relatively soft plastic they sometimes have issues with the rims pulling out.  While no modern firearms will get damaged by dry firing without a snap cap, I prefer snap caps over dummy ammo because often dummy rounds will set back into the case with repeated use.  Two thumbs up here, though Tipton and other brands make very good snap caps as well.

Magpul .223/5.56 Polymer Dummy Rounds (Retail - $4.95+ship from Magpul direct, 5-pack)

I've heard mixed reviews about these and decided to try them.  Seeing as they're made of the same polymer as PMags and other Magpul gear, I figured they can't be that bad... and they aren't! I've been using them for dry practice on my Tavor and been very satisfied with them thus far.  I haven't worn them out enough to see how they'll hold up for longer term use, but after a few weeks of using them for dry practice, chambering the same five repeatedly hasn't done much to them but scratch the plastic a little.  Apparently there's a special edition 12-pack of these in bright orange that ships in a comical little deck of cards pack, but I've only found those online for over double normal price.  Two thumbs up, unless something changes with use!

Magpul MS3 Sling, claw hook type (Retail - $55-59 typically)

I've been struggling to come up with a good sling setup on the Tavor, because I'm so used to good old two point slings and so-called "African carry" on more traditional rifles.  I ordered the MS3 sling intending to get the QD plug variant, but the distributor sent the standard claw-hook type instead.  None the less, it's a great sling and despite my aversion to paying over $30 for nylon webbing and plastic buckles I daresay it's fully worth the price.  I like the claw hooks well enough, but hooking them to regular QD swivels doesn't work as well as I'd hoped, which is why it's for sale on the sidebar.  I intend to get the MS4 now, which has QD sockets on all the attachment points and should prove an excellent Tavor sling.  Again, two thumbs up but with the caveat that you should consider QD or no QD before buying!