3 pointsIt’s no secret that it isn’t easy being a New Jersey firearm owner. We battle gun control activists, all branches of our State government, and most recently, ourselves. With the reduction of permissible magazine capacity from 15 to 10 rounds, firearm owners, Second Amendment advocates, and others have voiced concern from “the sky is falling” to “so what?” I’m not in either camp. I do not believe the sky is falling, nor am I indifferent to the new restrictions on our constitutional rights. That said, powerful voices within the Second Amendment community are seeking to warn that the sky is falling. Many call this fear mongering, and I agree. It may be an attempt to rally the troops, so to speak, but I don’t think that is the outcome or the intent of the warnings. Members of the pro 2a community have seen warnings of varying severity as of late. There have been warnings of mass raids on those who own firearms capable of accepting large capacity magazines. There have been warnings that Governor Phil Murphy must conduct raids for fear of political retribution. There have been articles posted speaking of searches of homes without probable cause (during a search for terrorist bombers). There have been threats that people are facing consecutive 18 month prison terms and aggregated sets of $10,000 fines totaling 115 years in jail and a million in fines. Let me say that I disagree with the new restrictions on our constitutional rights, disagree with recent court opinions upholding these restrictions, and support the advent of a system that would allow from the permissible carry of firearms in New Jersey. Full disclosure, I can’t call this legal advice as I can’t predict every scenario, but I can offer some perspective and try and quell some of the fear that has been heightened over the last few days. That’s not to say that there should be no fear, the government has just infringed on our constitutional rights and our Governor and Attorney General are hostile to our cause, but the onslaught currently occurring, is making people think tomorrow is the day my local PD raids my home because I own a Glock 19 or a Beretta 92fs. As we stand here, on the eve of many of our friends turning into criminals for doing nothing more than inaction, and we stand here having had our constitutional rights limited, illegally and against our will, I thought people could use another perspective. A perspective on seeking to help some of us figure it out, and not scare some of us into hiding or moving out of state and reducing the size of the community here to support the Second Amendment. We, those of us on discussion groups and forums, are among the most educated gun owners in the State. There are hundreds of thousands of gun owners in the state, but Facebook groups and forums have 2,000 to 10,000 people participating in the discussion. Quite honestly, I’d expect Joe Schmo gun owner, who got a pistol after watching the expendables because it looked cool, who really has no idea about the mag ban or his Second Amendment rights, to run afoul of the law before any of us do. That said, I hope, that any person who unknowingly or mistakenly brings a “large capacity magazine” to a range or gun club, is told to take it home or throw it out, and not have the police called on them. I can’t imagine any range that did that would be in business long anyways. I have a hard time with someone, especially someone knowledgeable, suggesting that the simple act of owning a gun that can accept large capacity magazines, is grounds for large scale raids. That IS fear mongering. Raids require search warrants. Search warrants require probable cause. Probable cause has to be determined by a Judge, yes a New Jersey Judge, but a Judge nonetheless. It’s not some willy nilly standard. There have to be proofs of the illegality, descriptions of the items they are seeking, and enough facts, specific facts, to overbear your fourth amendment rights. I have participated in a large amount of search warrants, from the drafting of the affidavit, to appearing with the officer in front of a Judge, defending search warrants on motions to suppress, and challenging searches based on the fourth amendment. I would not approve an officer seeing a judge, nor would I ever expect a judge to approve a search warrant based on the following: “John Doe is a resident of New Jersey. In 2009, he purchased a Beretta 92fs, a 9 millimeter pistol. That firearm is capable of accepting a magazine that contains more than 10 rounds. Based upon the previous, we believe that we have probable cause to believe that he has a large capacity magazine.” Even in New Jersey that isn’t going to fly. It’s probable cause to believe, not a hunch. Without more, that’s simply a hunch. That isn’t to say that information won’t be part of an application for a search warrant, but there must be more. Someone witnessing a large capacity magazine, posting photos of their large capacity magazines to social media, or bragging about keeping them or using them could certainly further the quest to search a home. What I find sad, is with specific knowledge of what is required for a search warrant, people are still stoking the fires of fear regarding mass raids. A general understanding of New Jersey sentencing law, or even common sense demonstrates that no one is actually facing 115 years in jail or a million dollars in fines for possessing non compliant large capacity magazines. That doesn’t mean that those sentiments aren’t being floated around the 2a community. The law prohibits the possession of magazines over 10 rounds just like it prohibits possessing hollow points outside of the limited exceptions of title 39 of our criminal code. Not even New Jersey would allow for punishment per bullet, a 50 round box allowing for a maximum sentence of 75 years or a super dangerous box of 525 .22’s hollow points allowing for a maximum sentence of 787 years in jail. Similarly, simple possession of 50 large capacity mags will not get you 75 years. With very limited exception, fines other than mandatory ones are not doled out very often in Superior Court. I’d say I’ve seen 10 defendants receive discretionary fines in my career of thousands of cases in Superior Court, and never, ever, have I seen the maximum fine levied. That said, with no record and being a lawful gun owner, possession of a prohibited device such as a large capacity magazine is a fourth degree crime, which means that there is a presumption of non-incarceration. Having no record, a person is more likely to have pretrial intervention or probation than face the grim prospect of 18 months in prison, let alone 115 years. I’m in no way saying I agree that it should be illegal, but likely punishment potential needs to be kept in perspective and not allowed to run amok. A suggestion was also made by a prominent voice that exigency would allow for warrantless searches of homes. In support, an article was cited Related to the 2013 Boston bombing, though oddly making no mention of the bombing or the search being for the bombers. To place that into context, several people, including an unsuspecting law enforcement officer were murdered. Hundreds were maimed, hurt, and mutilated. The police were on a manhunt for a terrorist who literally blew up part of Boston, not an illegally retained Glock magazine. It’s pretty imbecilic to think that their ulterior motive was to nail unsuspecting gun owners. Instead of stoking the aforementioned flames of fear and telling people to prepare for mass raids for non-compliant magazines, It might be more instructive to inform people, many whom do not posses sophisticated knowledge of the law, with some of their rights. If Law Enforcement Officers show up and ask to see your weapons or gun safe, you are free to say no. That is your home and the fourth amendment guarantees that you shall be free from unreasonable searches and seizures in it. Be careful though, as well trained Law Enforcement are very slick. They will try their hardest and may say anything to get into your home if that is their mission. They can’t arrest you for not consenting, but they sure might bluff. That’s all it is, a bluff. If Law Enforcement ask you questions such as “do you have magazines that are non-compliant,” you are free to remain silent. Don’t lie, just be silent and say I don’t wish to speak with you. It is easier said than done as police are instructed on how to manipulate targets to get them to allow searches, waive miranda, etc. If the Police threaten that they will get a search warrant if you don’t consent, tell them ok. They have as much a right to attempt to obtain a search warrant as you do to deny their request for a consent search. It’s an absolute they will get in and search if you consent. It’s not absolute that they will be granted a search warrant, and if they do, you can challenge it later in court. If people are worried about parts of the law, they should speak directly with a lawyer about their particular situation so that they can get accurate advise. That’s my 2 cents, feel free to disregard, I won’t force anyone to do or believe anything, I just want you to know their are other informed opinions out there that aren’t total doom and gloom.
2 pointsIf you’ve ever looked for biometric quick-access gun safe, you’ll know there are many options out there. Each has it’s own pros and cons. I currently use a SentrySafe Quick Access Biometric Pistol Safe QAP1BE as a drawer safe and wanted to test out some more options. I obtained the WINCENT Biometric Gun Safe for Pistols V2.0 to test out and compare. The WINCENT Biometric Gun Safe for Pistols V2.0 is a fairly large quick access biometric safe. There are 3 methods to get in to the safe – biometric via the fingerprint scanner, number code via the keypad, and keyed lock using the override key. This is the standard for biometric quick access type safes. One nice feature that the WINCENT safe has is an emergency USB-C port. If your safe runs out of battery (It takes 4x AAA batteries, which are included), you can plug in a USB-C cable connected to a battery pack or charger to gain access without having to find the override key. The safe offers the standard pre-drilled holes to secure the safe to a drawer or another location, as well as a security cable. This actually comes in quite handy if you were to use the safe for travel. The WINCENT Safe is both TSA Approved (it’s a hard-sided locked container), and a CA DOJ-approved firearm safety device. The WINCENT Safe is larger than the SentrySafe by a good amount, yet it’s slightly lighter. WINCENT Safe Dimensions: Exterior Dimensions: 13″ Wide x 10.2″ Deep x 3.2″ High Interior Dimensions: 12.5″ Wide x 6.9″ Deep x 2.6″ High Weight: 9.6 lbs (weighed on scale) SentrySafe QAP1BE Dimensions: Exterior Dimensions: 12.1″ Wide x 9.9″ Deep x 3.2″ High Interior Dimensions: 9.7″ Wide x 6.7″ Deep x 2.2″ High Weight: 11.9 lbs The size difference is more noticeable when you place pistols inside. The WINCENT can hold 2 full sized pistols with some room to spare. The SentrySafe can only hold a Full Sized pistol and a subcompact – and it’s a tight fit. The differences become more apparent when you look at the safes when they are open. The SentrySafe has a single latch while the WINCENT has 2 latches – this makes it more secure and less easy to open by brute force. The hinge is also internal on the top edge on the WINCENT, while the SentrySafe has a gas piston inside, which takes up additional space. The SentrySafe gas piston has also been a known issue – they have been known to go bad (however SentrySafe will send a replacement unit if this happens – mine has been replaced with the upgraded version). The WINCENT safe opens to a full 90 degrees, but takes a second to open while it swings up. The gas piston on the SentrySafe opens slightly faster, however the door does not open a full 90 degrees. Another nice feature of the WINCENT safe is that it has an internal LED light which provides some illumination of the contents. Comparing the methods of accessing the safes – the WINCENT safe is extremely quick and easy to access. You simply place your finger on the scanner, or enter the code on the 5-number keypad, and the safe will open. The SentrySafe is slightly more difficult. The fingerprint scanner is the swipe type – you have to move your finger down the swipe reader vs simply placing it on the square. It’s also a 4-button combo pad – which does not have numbers, so you need to remember the pattern. The biggest issue I have with the SentrySafe is that the safe goes to “sleep” – you must actually press one of the buttons or swipe your finger on the biometric reader for the safe to “wake up” then accept a finger swipe or the button code. This can take a little more time if you’re not used to fumbling around for it in the dark. Both safes have a backlit fingerprint reader and buttons that light up after a fingerprint scan or button push. Unfortunately, I found a slight drawback to the WINCENT safe – requires a good amount of room around it to be able to open. In my drawer, the SentrySafe is nestled up right against the corner and is touching the sides. The design of the door has it opening without issues. With the WINCENT safe – the design requires about half an inch of space on each side of the safe, or it will not open fully. The door rubs against the side of the drawer and the hinge needs space to open. The override key location is also on the front of the unit, and the USB-C Emergency port is on the right side. The override key is a straight-key design which will require some clearance on the front in order to access it if necessary. . These drawbacks are not a show-stopper. The WINCENT Safe is meant for general access while the SentrySafe is designed to be used as a drawer safe. I actually prefer the WINCENT Safe’s security and capacity. I will be using the WINCENT safe for general access around the house as this has the capacity and ease of access that I prefer. The ease of use of the fingerprint scanner and keypad is another reason to keep it around in the house and for travel. The WINCENT Biometric Gun Safe can be purchased directly from WINCENT.
2 pointsThere's dry fire training, then there's next level dry fire training! That's where the Mantis Laser Academy and Mantis Blackbeard come in. Dry fire training allows you to practice your firearm handling skills at home. You can practice holster draw/firing/re-holstering, reloading, strong hand firing, weak hand firing, malfunction clearing, and more. When dry fire training at home, you should always remember the fundamental rules of firearm safety, and ensure that there is no live ammunition around. The older Mantis X systems use a picatinny rail mounted laser that works in conjunction with the MantisX smartphone/tablet app. You can print your own targets and trace your muzzle movements and shots. Mantis released their Mantis X training system several years ago, and I got to test this out at SHOT SHOW 2020. The next level is the Mantis Laser Academy. The Mantis Laser Academy comes in 2 versions - the Standard Kit (shown below), and the Portable Kit (which is actually included in the Standard version). The Standard Kit costs $149 and the Portable kit is $99. The Portable Kit contains: Pink Rhino Laser (Caliber Specific - available in 9mm, .380 ACP, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .38 Special, .357 SIG, and .223/5.56) Set of 5"x7" Smart Targets (w/ blue reusable sticky putty) Mini Tripod & spring loaded Smartphone Holder Laser Cartridge Extraction Stick (a wood dowel) Carrying Case The Standard Kit adds on: Large Tripod & screw-adjust Smartphone Holder Set of 8"x11" Smart Targets Target Stand Holders (5) Both kits contain a Pro access code to the Mantis Laser Academy App. This is extremely useful as this grants you access to the full suite of drills, including multiple target drills and even 2-person Duel drills. Mantis Laser Academy Standard Kit While the Laser Academy Kit does not come with many instructions, setting up the app is extremely straightforward. You can see which drills are included in the Free version vs the Pro version. Once you create your account and unlock the Pro version using the code included, you have full run of the app. Mantis Laser Academy App I setup a couple of targets and started testing them out. The first gun I used was my SIG P226 with the RXP slide with the SIG Romeo 1 Pro Red dot sight. I found that the Pink Rhino laser was not quite the same as a laser boresighting cartridge - it was not quite lined up with my sights/red dot. This is adjustable by using the "shoot to calibrate" option in the settings of the app. I found myself using this a good deal as I tested the cartridge in 5 different pistols. Besides the P226, I tested this system using a Beretta M9A3, Walther PDP w/ Holosun HS507C, Glock 19 and Glock 48. Handguns used for testing: Sig P226, Walther PDP, Glock 19 Gen 5, Glock 48, Beretta M9A3 I setup a couple targets using the stands as well as my phone using the tall tripod. I found that the tripod and phone holder were nice and compact, but the angle adjustment was a bit rough - either my phone was usually pointing too high or too low - not directly at the targets. When extended high, the phone would tend to shake especially while being used - so it was a little hard to hit buttons and adjust. This was definitely because the tripod has such a long center pole that it's fairly unsteady at full extension. Once you are adjusted, however, it's not bad - this is where the Start/Stop control target comes in very handy so you do not have to touch the phone. Mantis Laser Academy App and 2 targets. Practicing Close Contact from Holster drill. The drills had a great variety - I especially enjoyed the holster draw drills. Unfortunately, with striker fired guns you have to slightly rack the slide after each shot, so I tended to stick with the 2 hammer fired guns - the M9A3 and P226. They were easier to shoot multiple times without having to rack each time - I just had to deal with the long heavy double action trigger pull. A couple things I've noticed is that the app sometimes has an issue with reading targets if the lighting is not adequate. I also recommend measuring your distance to the targets, and calibrating the shots to that distance for maximum accuracy. Sometimes the app would not recognize some of the targets. The middle left target is not highlighted in blue indicating a target area. it still detected targets hung sideways. The calibration options in the app are excellent - and some are fairly needed. The shot calibration is key. I also played around with the shot detection feedback (the app would tend to hear shots when none were taken). For drills with repetitions - you can adjust the reset time - the time needed to re-holster and make ready. You can also change the number of reps and the countdown timer. One nice setting was that you could change the shot sound from normal loud shot to suppressed. With multiple targets, you can create your own drill. In this, I shot each target once, then cycled through each again. The shots on multiple targets are color coded per target, and show your score and time in between shots. The Mantis Blackbeard ($219) works well as an addition to the Laser Academy. It contains a special unit which replaces the Bolt Carrier Group and Charging Handle on a standard AR15. This is the self contained laser unit as well as the mechanism that resets the hammer on your AR15. The battery that triggers the laser and reset is conveniently located in the magazine portion, that is shaped like a 20-round magazine. The kit comes in a nice travel size case and includes a micro-USB charging cable and Allen key to adjust the laser. This is extremely important as you will need to sight in the laser. The switch on the unit changes the laser from momentary (when you pull the trigger) to always-on for sighting in. The battery has 5 LEDs which light up when charging, showing you the charge level of the battery. On full charge it should last about 10,000 "shots". This is a nice hefty battery - it took overnight to charge to full power (when it arrived it was at 2 lights - less than half charge). The Mantis Blackbeard Kit The AR I chose to install this on is my New Jersey legal Non-NFA "Other" firearm. The bright red color of the Mantis Blackbeard shows up nicely so you can tell at a glance that it's setup in training mode. When dry firing the Blackbeard makes a clicking type sound - you can hear it actuate and reset the hammer. The trigger feels exactly the same as if you're firing live ammo - the pull and reset are exactly as I expected. When I sighted in the Mantis Blackbeard laser I had to take the height over bore into serious consideration. With a 50/200 combat zero, the dot should end up 1.9" below the actual point of aim at 10 yards. If you use an AR15 for home defense - this is something you need to remember and train with, and the Blackbeard does help you visualize this in a way you normally can't do while pulling the trigger in your own house. Another benefit is that you can train with your AR platform firearm through simulated room clearing or check the potential areas of engagement in your house and see where your rounds will be hitting vs where you're aiming. Mantis Blackbeard installed shows up nicely with the red charging handle/bolt carrier/magazine to make it easily recognizable that the firearm is setup for training. The larger 8"x11" targets from the Training Academy made it much easier to engage targets with the Blackbeard from a longer distance. I was able to get 7 and even 10 yards of distance in my basement which worked out fairly well. The targets are meant to be engaged at a fairly close distance, but with the height over bore issues with a rifle, you really can't do that very well. One slight nitpick is that you can't easily transition from an AR with the Blackbeard to the Pink Rhino laser on the training academy without making some concessions for laser accuracy - you can only calibrate the app for accuracy by position for 1 laser, not multiple. Shots are clearly visible at range It's very easy to just pull the trigger and keep whanging away at the targets since you don't have to worry about changing mags or ammo costs. With the multiple target option in the Training Academy app, you can shift targets easily as well and still keep proper track of your shots. This also makes you quite aware of your trigger pull weight - as many shots can wear down your trigger finger! This AR is using a standard mil-spec trigger group. An upgraded trigger would definitely make a difference. Engaging multiple targets at 7 yards range. I thoroughly enjoy training with the Mantis Laser Academy and Blackbeard system. With these dry fire training aids, you can keep your skills sharp, and make a marked improvement on your skills without spending thousands of dollars in ammunition. Practicing concealed carry draw, holster draw, and practice engagements or room clearing in your house are all practical training you can't replicate at home with live ammo, and this is the next best thing! Visit Mantis at https://mantisx.com/ The Mantis Laser Training Academy and Mantis Blackbeard were provided for testing purposes by Mantis.