New Gear – Chamber Flags
TAC Chamber Flags
These days we seem to be doing more activities with a wider variety of shooters at the range – and that means more varied experience - from novice to expert. That, coupled with the increased focus on firearms safety by many ranges, led us to reexamine our “Safety Items” gear; which was why our last blog was about dummy rounds. During our relook we also decided to add a few more, and better quality, chamber flags to our gear. We’ve always had a few flags sitting around, and used them when appropriate – but they were always a hodge-podge since we acquired them when we purchased a firearm or had a gunsmith work on our rifles/carbines. Some were good and some were not great.
So, first of all, why do you even need chamber flags and when should you use them? Chamber flags are small, inexpensive items (normally made of plastic so that they are strong but won’t damage your firearm) used as an additional safety measure while storing and/or transporting firearms. All that you have to do is place a flag in the firearm’s empty chamber to provide a visual confirmation that the chamber is clear. Normally this is done after the magazine has been removed so that the firearm is totally safe – meaning there is no live ammo in the chamber and no magazine inserted into the mag well – so there is no live ammo anywhere close to the firearm that could be accidently fired.
In certain cases chamber flags can even be used when storing a loaded firearm. The procedure to safely do this is as follows:
So, since they’re inexpensive, and are becoming more prevalent on ranges, we searched the internet to find some chamber flags that met our standards. They had to: 1) fit into a variety of firearms from handguns to rifles, 2) be strong enough that they didn’t easily break, 3) visibly protrude from the chamber and 4) be a color that was highly visible. Our internet search confirmed what we suspected from what we’ve seen people bring to the range – there are lots of chamber flags out there – and many of them are crap. Eventually our search led us to Team Accessories Corporation (TAC); a group of seasoned veterans, highly skilled machinists, and manufacturing personnel with the mission of providing exceptional American-made gear – so we purchased orange chamber flags from them.
The TAC chamber flag is constructed out of an injection-molded semi-rigid polymer to ensure durability and light weight. It’s designed to provide immediate visual recognition of an “empty” chamber on most firearms - including semi-auto handguns. With the high visibility colors of orange or yellow (we prefer orange because we find it to be the most visible), you should be confident in knowing your firearm is safe to handle.
If you want more details about the TAC chamber flags you can find it here:
New Gear – Dummy Rounds
A-Zoom Precision Snap Caps
As you spend more time shooting you begin to run into two important areas: 1) practicing for a variety of non-standard situations and 2) disassembling/cleaning your firearms. In both of these situations you will find that there are times that you need to ensure that live ammunition is not present – but you need to have a round cycle or want to simulate a malfunction. Luckily there are products on the market to fill these needs; “dummy rounds” (sometimes also called “inert training rounds”). In fact, there might be too many products on the market since there are a huge variety of options. If you search the internet you will find that dummy rounds come in a wide variety of calibers and materials (e.g. metal, plastic, brass and plastic, spring-loaded, etc.,) – and have a wide range of features. But all of them are essentially designed to mimic the weight and feel of a live cartridge while being completely inert and safe. In addition, most of them have brightly colored bodies and/or faux projectiles so that they are easily identifiable as from live rounds.
On the training front, since dummy rounds mimic the shape and weight of your live ammo, you can safely practice malfunction and reloading scenarios, which are important to refining your shooting skills since they actually occur when shooting live ammo. For people that have never held a gun or loaded a magazine, dummy rounds are a great tool for safely learning the processes. You can also use dummy rounds safely in your house/apartment when working out a home defense plan or practicing your aiming, firing and drawing techniques. While most modern firearms can handle thousands of dry fire trigger pulls, having something for the firing pin to strike against can help extend your firearm's life.
When cleaning your firearms once you have disassembled, cleaned and reassembled the weapon it’s a great idea to check to make sure that everything functions properly. Here’s another good place to use dummy rounds since using live ammunition to load, chamber and clear a firearm after it has been taken apart and put back together is not ideal. Dummy rounds are also a great tool for adjusting and tuning your trigger pull.
Based on our training experiences and additional research, we decided to purchase A-Zoom “Snap Caps” – which is probably the leading product in this area. Snap Caps are CNC machined to precise cartridge dimensions from solid aluminum, then anodized with a hardcoat finish. Their patented "Dead Caps" are advertised as providing unlimited dry fires with no firing pin damage. Snap Caps are available in over 120 sizes from .22 Hornet to the .50BMG and can be used for thousands of dry fires without damage (the most prevalent estimate being 3,000). Because we mainly shoot 9mm, 5.56/223, 7.62x39 and 12 gauge we purchased Snap Caps in all four of these sizes.
If you want more details about the A-Zoom Precision Snap Caps you can find it here:
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