Thursday, December 03, 2009

And I just got used to vertical foregrips, too...

Shooters tend to be a conservative lot. Most shooters, by the time they reach my age, decide that they have discovered The One True Way and proclaim themselves silverbacks of the tribe. They've figured out what's right for them and their circumstances and, by extension, it's right for everybody else, too.

You'll see it in everything: caliber choice, shooting stance, revolver vs. auto, night sights and weapon lights, red dots and lasers, single-points and loop slings. There's never a middle ground, either: veering from The Way will not only get you killed, it will brand you as a Walter Mitty Wannabe SWAT Mall Ninja or a Crusty Old Has-Been, depending on the topic at hand.

It was with some distress then that my original impulse when I saw Magpul's new AFG was "Pphhttt! Silly gizmo," when I clapped eyes on it. That first impulse was the wrong impulse. Like almost any other thing in the firearms world, from speedloaders to night vision optics, the answer to "Is it any good?" is "It depends."

What are you going to use it for?

How are you going to use it?

Have you been trained in its use?

Does it integrate with the rest of your gear?

Does it offer you enough of a concrete improvement to make the expenditure in money and training time worthwhile?

Only one person knows the answer to that question.

I don't know if the potential benefits of this particular gizmo for me would offset the time and training it would take to put it in my toolbox; after all, I've already had to relearn my entire method of using a carbine once in the last decade, and how often am I going to need to use a carbine in real life? There's a reason that the vast majority of my training time gets spent with pistols and revolvers, after all. I'm sure plenty will sell to folks who just want to buy the newest thing to hang on their carbine, without giving a thought to the training or proper implementation aspects of it.

Is it any good? I dunno. It depends.

28 comments:

og said...

Silly. How you gonna sell anything in a glutted market unless it's "New and Improved!" And rail mounted, of course. I saw a rail-mounted contact lens case the other day, I'm not making that up. Just in case you're out there hunting bad guys and you get an eyelash under a lens. They came in black and camo.

Tam said...

...and thus is my thesis proved. ;)

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Dammit! I already wrote this post and was gonna send it up tomorrow.

0g said...

I'm kinda outside the bell curve on that, though. I was born a grouchy old man.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I am honestly curious about this and I'd be willing to give it a try. For the price, I might. My only concern with it is how to use it in conjunction with a rail mounted light, which is important to me because my carbine is mainly for home defense.

tomcatshanger said...

I'm interested in trying one out. My use of the foregrip has changed considerably over the years, where I place it to how I hold it has changed a good deal, this is worth the $35 hit to give it a shot in my opinion.

And who knows, maybe I will be able to give it a shot before 4th quarter 2010.

TheRock said...

I will have to try this at Shot Show.

As a drinker of the Magpul Dynamics kool-aid, I really like the straight arm/wrist rifle hold; you can seriously rock and roll an AR with it much better than the standard palm up marksmanship grip that has been tough over the last century or so.

Caleb said...

If you're a "modern technique" rifle shooter, i.e. someone that uses a vertical grip and holds the rifle near the magwell, this thing is probably a pile o' fail.

If you've always used a weak hand forward grip on your rifle like most 3 gun shooters use, and like I use, this could actually be a neato piece of gear.

I need to call Drake and get him to send me one of these to play with on my MForgery.

Mark Alger said...

Your decision engine can be applied to any tool choice. Well stated. I particularly like the consideration given to "Does it integrate with your other gear?"

M

Ian Argent said...

I'd love to try something like this on my next rifle. Sadly, I can't do it with this one, since my next rifle will be a wood-stocked .22 plinker old enough to have been given to my father by his father (which I doubt in this particular case).

Might still see if I can gin up something to attach to the foregrip area or the sling pivot.

When I get around to getting a EBR I will seriously consider this, though.

But I'm a new shooter, and don't have to unlearn. I'm already hitting that point with some computers/software, though.

Ian Argent said...

Having looked at the promo slides they mention the evolution of sword grips. I fenced in college, and MUCH prefer the pistol grip to the french (or Italian/straight) grip.

Wonder if the angle of that grip is adjustable. I would hope so, because different people are going ot have different preferred grip angles.

Joseph said...

I think you tend to get that way after being fed a bunch of snake oil that'll cure your shooting woes. After seeing so much, you get suspicious. What is a shame is that you have to buy anything to try it out, gun stores need a changing room so you can try stuff on and see if it fits.

Tam said...

A lot of stuff won't fit without a three-day training course, but most folks would rather buy gear than training. And that goes for young Mall Ninjas and Crusty Old Guys alike.

The Raving Prophet said...

Interesting. I tend to use a stubby VFG as more of a hand stop with a thumb-forward hold (as opposed to the tennis-racket hold); it feels more natural to me.

While Magpul products are usually good quality, I'd be better off spending the money on more ammo and range time (which has been quite lacking lately for me) than more gear on an already set up carbine.

Ed Foster said...

Hmmm... Looks like it might work. Definately have to play with it at the S.H.O.T. Show.

Unlike Ian, I always liked the straight grip in fencing. For me, it gave a better extension, and the pommel gave more counterbalance.

It seemed more precise, easier to stay in line, gave me better point control.

But, the pistol grip does give a much stronger wrist, and did have some advantage defensively. Not to be sneered at.

One guy beat me by going defensive, muscling me back to the center when I'd unwound him, then waiting for my pretty overextensions to make me vulnerable. He was stiff and slow with that Belgian grip, but trying to parry was like bucking a baseball bat.

Losing to a touch is annoying, but a disarm is f--king humiliating.

Cleaned his clock next time though. And learned a lesson. If you have a speed and range advantage, don't go bellybutton to bellybutton with a barroom brawler.

Different strokes.

GeorgeH said...

The 'vertical' foregrip on a 1921 Thompson is angled back about halfway between the new Magpul grip and the old vertical one. It's ergonomics have been damned near perfect for 89 years.

D.W. Drang said...

I used to think vertical foregrips were stupid--until one of the last long road marches I did before retirement, in which I ran myself into the ground trying to set an example for the young punks. (Which they noticed, to the First Sergeant. Not sure whether they were admiring or whining...)
Anyway, one part of me I did not expect to hurt was my left wrist--I had just started to develop arthritis, and holding the M16 at port arms was making me sore there, too, and I realized that a vertical foregrip might alleviate it. This was when we started getting M4s in, although they did not yet have rails.

When I saw this gizmo my own first thought was "Mako did that."

Tam said...

Yeah, but I've never had the highest opinion of Mako's stuff...

pdb said...

I'd give this or a VFG a try if I didn't have to spend $300+ for 4 linear feet of rail to mount it and a flashlight.

I think Magpul's MOE handguards are a great idea and I'll get a set once they make them in midlength size.

Tam said...

"I'd give this or a VFG a try if I didn't have to spend $300+ for 4 linear feet of rail to mount it and a flashlight."

That's why I think modular rail setups like that from Vltor are the berries. I like a light in an easy-to-operate location on my house carbine; I shouldn't need to turn the gun into a rail farm suitable for attaching lasers, phasers, and wind speed indicators to get one. Rail covers for all the unused real estate are a solution, albeit an inelegant one...

Vaarok said...

Looks a lot like the forend for a Valmet.

The VFG was originally developed for the M4 because of heat, not ergonomics, anyway.

Brian Dale said...

If it makes the gun fit you better (following Caleb's 9:04 point about the weak-hand forward hold), then great.

"Crusty Old Has-Been?" I'm cool with that.

wv = "chings;" well, I've only got one at the moment (on the Mauser), but it's a great sling. I'll probably buy my brother one for his Springfield.

Tam said...

I can totally see the ergonomics idea behind it (look at how the support hand is held in a thumbs-forward modern isosceles pistol stance,) but my support hand on my carbine is still working on mastering the State-Of-The-Art Circa '02. I haven't even started hiking my off-hand up the VFG yet.

aczarnowski said...

I think Magpul's MOE handguards are a great idea and I'll get a set once they make them in midlength size.

Roger that. I like the MOEs on my carbine, but the gun was a market concession. I prefer midlength or rifle length (a la dissapator) sight pictures since we peasants are required to have 16" barrels anyway.

DirtCrashr said...

We have something a bit like that out here to make off-list AR's CA legal: the Monsterman Grip - butt-ugly with it's face on fire, but it knobs the legal goblins and you can retain the mag-button.

I notice my stubby vfg is awkwardly small, but it's just to index my booger on the light. I guess it all depends on how it shakes out in next summer's round of classes...

Tam said...

"I guess it all depends on how it shakes out in next summer's round of classes..."

Rock on. :)

Dr. StrangeGun said...

I'm actually shocked I hadn't considered this in one of my brainstorming efforts.

How is this any different from the position and tension used when shooting a long gun, using the sling as a stabilizer?

TBeck said...

Well, it seemed to work well for Count Dooku...