Review: Maklarbak R6 SMARTMAG (“Solution Looking For A Problem…If It Worked”)

As we were walking around SHOT 2016, the Maklarbak booth caught my eye and the representative – Martin – gave us the whole run down on their product, the R6 SMARTMAG.

As Martin (and the Maklarbak website) explained:

WHENEVER you have a bolt lock, you will have one round left. Then,

Drop Bolt on the last round in your mag.
Drop the now-empty mag.
Find and insert a new mag.

The round from the empty mag is already chambered so you can immediately return fire when needed.

We all stood there and thought about the concept while Martin handed out sample magazines.  He further explained that the idea was that you’d have four (4) magazines (1 in the gun and 3 on your body/chest rig).  We smiled, nodded and walked away.  Shortly out of earshot – we all concluded it was a great concept (your rifle is never completely empty)…but that it required a huge investment in retraining muscle memory and it also created a completely separate reloading procedure for your rifle vs. your side arm.

Nevertheless – I wanted to know if the magazine would function as advertised so I took it to a recent SBR/Suppressor demo at Interlake Sporting Association.  I was also trying out some .223 ammo from American Reloading in my 10.5 inch SBR and I knew it would present a fantastic opportunity to show off the concept while getting a good idea about how well it functioned.  The first shooter – a former LEO – Mike – was impressed with the idea but immediately jumped to the same conclusion we had…it requires a lot of retraining.  Not long into the day – maybe by the 3rd or 4th shooter, the bolt locked back and as the shooter attempted to release the bolt on the last round – everything froze up…requiring a lot of muscle to pull the magazine out and free up the bolt.

This same thing happened intermittently to the next 3 or 4 shooters until I pulled the magazine out of rotation and just used Gen 3 PMags.  At this point the failures stopped – which leads me to believe these issues were caused solely by the R6 SMARTMAG…so, I don’t plan on using it again and I certainly can’t recommend it.

Review: American Reloading (“Four Guys Walk Into a Bar…”)

The WaGuns crew was at SHOT in Vegas…settling down for dinner and a beer several beers at the joint inside the lobby of our luxurious off-strip motel.

Rocking our WaGuns gear, we frequently get stopped by folks for good and for bad:

– “Hey, my parents live in Washington!…I would love to move back.”
– “Excuse me, what’s up with that background check law that y’all passed up there?”
– “Can I meet that guy who did the Armscor interview on YouTube?”

Tonight was no different and two guys from an adjacent table leaned over and asked if we were from Washington…we said we were and they quickly introduced themselves to be representatives of American Reloading.  We chatted for a while and they casually suggested to send us some ammo for testing and evaluation – I didn’t really think it would happen, but a few days later I got an e-mail asking for a shipping address…two days after that, I had a huge box of ammo waiting for me at home (sorry, UPS guy!).

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Packaged in bulk but still, the boxes were heavy duty and much more sturdy than what I’ve seen from fly-by-night reloading outfits.

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All of the brass (the .223 in particular) was bright and shiny – couldn’t ask for much more than that!

So, how did this stuff shoot?  Pretty well, I must say.  At an Action Pistol and SBR/Suppressor Demo hosted at Interlake Sporting Association, the American Reloading .223 was the only ammo shot out of my 10.5 inch SBR (with a SilencerCo Omega), and I had zero ammo related malfunctions (there were a handful of magazine-related malfunctions, but that’s a story for another day).  I would also add – there wasn’t nearly as much gas blowing back into my face when shooting the SBR (with or without the suppressor)…so I’m not sure if American Reloading is using different/faster burning powder or what – but that is a huge plus to me.  The American Reloading 9MM (115gr) was also heavily used as it was barely supersonic at 1080 FPS and was a good way to demonstrate the difference between supersonic and subsonic loads when using a suppressor.  While I can’t speak to the accuracy of the ammo (most of it was used for demonstration purposes), when I took my first shots of the day (before the targets were all ripped up) – it seemed to do just fine.

I typically get my plinking ammo from Freedom Munitions, but I’ll definitely be watching the sales/prices at American Reloading from now on.

Review: ALG Defense AKT AK Trigger (Part 2 – “Everybody Loves It”)

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After shooting it in my Arsenal SLR – 107F, shooting it in my M92 PAP SBR and just about every other AK I own…the verdict is in: the ALG Defense AKT AK Trigger is definitely the “go to” trigger to have in an AK. For the price point and performance, you can’t beat it.

With that said, I will admit that the “fitting” of the roll pin for the safety can be a little funky – it took us a solid 30 minutes to get it right in my brother’s Yugo M70B1 (I gave him an AKT as a Christmas gift), but he loves it – going so far as to say that it has completely changed the rifle for him.

Ultimately, I highly recommend the AKT and Arms Unlimited tends to have the best price when you consider shipping.