Situated between the James and Chickahominy Rivers an hour South of Richmond and thirty miles from the nearest Starbucks is a 300-yard freshly bulldozed range on the outskirts of Charles City, VA. It was here that myself and a dozen or so industry writers met late last month for a Covert Media Range Day hosted by American Built Arms Company and GunsAmerica.
Joining us would be representatives from Dead Air Armament, Liberty Ammunition and Oakwood Controls, but the star of the day was the new MOD*X Modular Rifle System from A*B Arms. Advertised as a “lightweight, ergonomic, drop-in chassis for the Remington 700 Short Action,” the MOD*X is made of aluminum and features a 13.5″ free-floating forearm with full-length Picatinny top rail and three KeyMod sides. Though the rifle was already put together upon our arrival, the chassis is easily assembled, as demonstrated by Don Numbers of Tactical Response.
After handshakes and coffee, each manufacturer gave a short demonstration of their products. Being only my second time shooting and my first shooting a rifle or suppressor, I was excited to get started.
First up was Liberty Ammunition, who would be supplying the ammunition for the day, specifically their Silverado .223 Rem 55 Grain deep cavity hollow point capable of traveling at more than 3,000 feet per second. We also tested their high-performance Civil Defense 9mm +P round. Both rounds were fired into a Clear Ballistic Gel Block to demonstrate how the bullets fragmented and the incredible wound channel left behind. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t want to be an animal or person shot by either of these bullets.
Next was Dead Air Armament with their new Sandman-S and Sandman-L suppressors. The man, the myth, the legend himself, Director of Product Development Mike Pappas displayed the simplicity behind the suppressor’s innovative quick detach mount that is so easy it can be done with one’s eyes closed (just ask Jason Breeden of GunCarryReviews.com) and allows minimal point of impact shift. Though different in length and weight, both models are constructed from a solid core made of Stellite baffles and finished in black Cerakote with a detachable front cap and built-in flash hider. Even the key mount muzzle brake was specially designed, sporting a nitrite-finish and three side ports providing minimal concussion.
Lastly, representatives from Oakwood Controls took us to school on their mobile H-Bar Personal Electronic Target System, a stationary target paired with a combination of acoustic and temperature sensors capable of detecting both hits and misses of supersonic bullets on a stationary target within 5 mm of the scoring area. That information, including point of impact, x- and y-coordinates and group size, is then quickly relayed back to the shooter on a laptop for reviewing. Notes can also be added to each session, such as weather conditions, ammunition used and more. Ideal for clubs and commercial ranges and perfect for everyone from weekend shooters to seasoned competitors, the H-Bar provides “precision, speed and convenience for all users.” But, such technology does have a price; the Oakwood Controls H-Bar can be yours for a cool $5,000.
Following the demonstrations, it was time to send some lead (or lead-free in the case of Liberty Ammunition) down range.
When it was my turn, I took my place behind the trigger of a pristine black MOD*X and went over the basics. After loading the magazine, finding a comfortable shooting position and focusing in on the target, I took a breath and let rip my first shot. The trigger was noticeably effortless and the recoil next to none despite the chassis being just 3.5 pounds and sitting on a slick plastic folding table. According to the H-Bar data, I was slightly high and to the left of center, just below the cardboard target’s left shoulder. My next shot was closer to center and would serve as the start of my grouping that eight rounds later impressed both myself and others considering my lack of experience. Two or three magazines later and I had successfully put together even closer groupings and felt good about my day’s shooting and the MOD*X.
Shortly thereafter we broke for lunch and proceeded to shoot the breeze while stuffing our faces and battling the heat and bugs. An in-depth conversation about survivalism and adequate prepper supplies followed before we headed back out onto the range, this time closer to the targets, for more shooting.
Out came the fun in the form of a TAVOR, MAC-10 and UZI, along with Mike’s Barret MRAD. I myself, however, was drawn to Dead Air Armament’s new Mask-22. Threaded on a Walther PPQ 22 loaded with Fiocchi 22 Subsonic rounds, if I didn’t know any better, I would have asked if it was even firing – that’s how quiet it was. Half a box later, like all good things, the day came to an end.
Despite being out seemingly in the middle of nowhere shooting for only just my second time and never meeting anyone before arriving, the event was nothing short of a great time. Every product was impressive and the people couldn’t have been nicer. If you don’t find yourself falling in love more with this industry and all of its toys every day, you’re doing it wrong.