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Enhanced by Aro-Tek

Special porting and laser sight upgrade performance on both Glock and SIG!
By Harvey Lane enhanced photo

A little over twelve years ago, Aro-Tek began business as a supplier of landing gears for light aircraft. They eventually grew and started producing components for commercial aircraft and became a supplier for Boeing.

About three years ago, Aro-Tek turned its attention towards improving and enhancing pistols for law enforcement and personnel security applications. Which pistol would an ultra-modern aerospace company specialize in? Well, the Glock, of course, though they are currently working on systems for the Sig and HK weapons as well.

CAD, Computer Aided Design, and CAM, Computer Aided Manufacturing, technology is utilized to develop and produce their product line. This process allows Aro-Tek to take an idea and convert it to a computer model, then translate this model into an actual working design. The parts that make up that design are converted to CNC, Computer Numerical Code, and transferred to the appropriate machining, or turning center, where the actual part is produced.

This process allows for rapid prototyping and changeover, and makes it possible for several different parts to be manufactured by the same machine. These machines are capable of producing precision parts to as little as 1/10,000 of an inch, and the parts are inspected by equipment capable of measuring as small as 50 millionths of an inch!

What all this boils down to is that Aro-Tek has the capability and the technology to produce some extremely precise parts. I spoke with Lew Herrington, marketing manager. and found him to be a knowledgeable and enthusiastic representative. Lew's background includes military service and he's currently a Major in the USMC reserve. He's seen duty in Guam and recently in Operation Desert Storm. Lew is a likeable fellow, especially if you don't hold it against him that he's an officer.

Laser System

Lew guided me through Aro-Tek's catalog which costs $1.00 and is well worth the investment. It's well illustrated and shows their accessories in detail. One of the most popular items offered would be the LAW-2000MKII laser sight system. This system began as the LAW-17, which Aro-Tek obtained the rights to in 1992. Not being satisfied with the design, Aro-Tek redesigned some components, enhanced others, and eleased the sight to consumers as the LAW-2000MKII in 1993.

The LAW-2000MKII met several goals which include switch protection, field servicing, and potential for future upgrades.

The actual laser module was redesigned to be removable by the owner. To eliminate having to have the module wired to the weapon, Aro-Tek developed the micro-socket. The socket is embedded in the triggerguard and looks like a miniaturized two pronged plug, commonly found around the house. The receptacles are gold plated and feature silicone boots to shut out debris and moisture.

The sight is mounted on the front of the triggerguard and the activator is located on the backstrap of the grip frame. The actual switch is mounted inside the frame. This is to increase durability in the differing environments and climates encountered in law enforcement.

Batteries are located in the hollow portion of the grip. Power is supplied by common, button-type batteries, three in the compacts, and four in full size weapons. Aro-Tek decided against rechargeable batteries and designed the circuitry and compartment to be compatible with a variety of cells and voltages. Common camera and hearing aid batteries are used, rather than a hard-to-find rechargeable pack that burn out. The compartment is covered by a cap that simply unscrews.

For '94, the battery cap is available with a master switch for selectable operation as an option. This is currently being redesigned, as the company 's president decided that the original design could become unusable, if say an officer were to drop his weapon and the switch become clogged with debris, such as dirt. The new design will eliminate this concern, and also says a lot for the integrity of this company and its commitment to providing the best products available. The improved master switch should be available by the time you read this.

Sig Laser

In addition to the LAW-2000, Aro-Tek is developing a laser system for the Sig pistols, which is in the catalog as the LAW2200fi series, and the picture shows a sleek looking unit. The "fi" designation translates to "field installation." You won't have to ship in your pistol for this system; you can install it yourself. Though it's cataloged, it's being redesigned to maximize utility, and should be worth waiting for. I hope to thoroughly field test a sample in the future

Aro-Tek is currently working on a laser system for the MP-5 HK sub-gun, and it should appeal to SWAT types.

The lasers are available in two wavelengths, the 670nm which is standard, or the new 635nm, which is much brighter and is daylight usable. In addition to the lasers, Aro-Tek offers several accessories for the Glock family. Two of the most useful are the extended slide release and the Sure Touch magazine release. The extended slide release is 1/2 inch longer than the standard unit and protrudes from the frame 1/8 inch. This allows for fumblefree operation with the slide locked out of battery. It's a trim unit. but has more than enough surface area to increase leverage and release the slide from a locked position to return to battery. The Sure Touch mag release is the most cosmetically appealing aftermarket accessory for the Glock I've seen. It's configuration elongates the button and virtually eliminates the need to shift your grip to execute a mag change. It's most useful on the larger .45/10mm pistols. with their large grip frames. An added benefit. even the old style mags will tall free, in most cases. Both of these parts are available in either a black oxide or electroless nickel finish and are competitively priced. The mag release requires you to send in your pistol as the frame will have to be relieved for it.

Other accessories offered include a titanium guide rod, snag-free sights either plain-black. with dots. or with tritium inserts. And finish services in either chrome or black finish for your slide . These finishes are applied over the original Tenifer finish and are extremely durable.

One of the more sought after accessories for the Glock pistols is the Hybrid compensator systems that are offered by a number of sources, including Aro-Tek. What makes the Aro-Tek unit unique is the actual rib on the barrel is very short in profile and mates to a relief cut inside the slide, with the ports cut in both the slide and the barrel. This allows for the user to substitute a standard barrel for the hybrid one and still have a functioning weapon. The front sight remains on the slide where Mr. Glock intended it to be.

The compensator system is reported to reduce muzzle rise by 65-75 %, with no loss of night vision, or perceptible increase in muzzle flash, depending on the ammunition used. Personally I don't want a compensator on a duty weapon. One concern is that in a close range, contact distance, shooting situation, firing from the hip, you'd get a face full of hot gasses, and that would not be a good thing. Lou states that for that kind of shooting, the weapon should be canted, and I agree. Still, if you have a problem controlling recoil, and insist on carrying a hard kicking, high caliber weapon, then maybe a compensator is something to consider.

XComplete Packages

In addition to modifying your weapon, Aro-Tek has pistols that have been modified and are for sale with one of the packages of modification they offer.

A sample was sent for evaluation that had their "Ultimate Combat Package" applied to it. The base pistol was a M2 I Glock .45 caliber. The "Ultimate Combat Package" could also be called the "Everything including the Kitchen Sink Package" as it features all the products they offer. This package includes LAW-2000MKII laser sight, Master switch, Aro-Port Hybrid compensator, extended slide release, Sure Touch mag release. Titanium guide rod tube, and Aro-Site Tritium Night Sights. The only thing our sample didn't have was the Master Switch, as it is currently being redesigned.

Before we get into shooting this pistol, let's talk price. Are you sitting down? The cost of this pistol, with all of the modifications listed, is $1686.00 American! The cost of the package on your weapon is $899.00. BATF rules impose a 10% tax on complete guns that are supplied by Aro-Tek, so if you take that into consideration, the price isn't that outrageous, and when you consider a lot of IPSC game guns run over $3000.00, it's really not that had bad.

Our Test Gun

The M21 is a BIG pistol with hard-to-reach controls, at least for us normal-sized people. This is where the Aro-Tek slide release and mag button really shined! Both were easily manipulated and positive in operation and would have to be on anyone's "must have" list.

For actual shooting I solicited several officers to work out with the Aro-Tek pistol and tell me their thoughts, and for the most part, the feedback was favorable. The laser unit was of the 635nm variety and performed flawlessly, even in full daylight and out to 25 yards, the red dot was picked up and the shots went where they needed to go. The solid beam helped in keeping the shots close together, and was especially useful in "point shooting" or firing from the hip. As set by the factory, the laser was dead on, though it is fully adjustable for windage and elevation.

The porting really does help keep recoil minimal. The big .45 was a real pussy cat, gently nudging the shooter. Recovery was fast and it was hard to tell the difference between ball and hot 185's, except for the difference in blast, which seemed exaggerated, and much louder than a standard pistol. Most officers commented they would not want the porting but liked the rest of the accessories. Aro-Tek offers a package called the "Ultimate Duty Package" that doesn't include the porting, and seems to be what most officers. myself included, went.

The big pistol performed flawlessly and was fun to shoot. The laser unit was an asset to good shooting and I believe we'll see more lasers in duty holsters before too long. The 635nm wavelength would have to be my choice as it is usable in daylight and would perform well in all light conditions.

Quality was apparent throughout, and if you own a Glock you want modified, or think you do, get Aro-Tek's catalog and look through it. You won't be sorry. ARO-TEK, LTD., 206 FRONTAGE RD. NORTH, SUITE C, Dept CH. PACIFIC. WA 94047. (253) 351-2984.

Combat Handguns, December 1994, pp. 42-43, 90-91

NOTE: Pictures of Glock™ Pistols represent what you can do with your Glock™. Aro-Tek Ltd. does not sell Glock™ Pistols only unmatched precision accessories.

 
 

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