Archive for September, 2010

Gun safes to suit your needs and not take up room

I have a few generations of the gun vault gun safes and I have to admit that it may be time to toss a few of them.   Technology in the gun industry has been greatly advancing and gun safes are no different.  I believe that there is a 99.9% probability that you do not ever have to leave an unlocked fiearms in  your  home for defensive reasons.   Most reasons to lock up your firearms is to prevent theft so get that in your head if you aren’t locking up even your hunting rifles.   With many of us carrying firearms daily, you have to realize that the way gun safes are being designed today, that the older styles wear out batteries faster and in my experiences have some reliability issues.

I have good experiences with all of the gun vault gun safes that I have purchased in the last 3 yrs.  There was apparently and issue with some of the first biometric safes, but the issue has been resolved.  If you have kids in the house or live in a home where there is a lot of traffic, these safes can be bolted to areas that are not easy to find and most criminals aren’t going to take their time during a robbery.   My advice is to not put them in the obvious areas, but make sure you can still easily open and close the safe.   The gun vault microvault can easily fit into your car and be used for travelling or be used in an even more stealthy manor in your closet or near your bed.


Preferences and applications of reticles

There are now so many choices for hunting and target shooting optics, more so than just a decade ago.   I’m still waiting for an optics company to come out with combat rifle scopes that have interchangeable reticles, but we’re not there yet.    There are some really good bullet drop compensators for hunting optics, but the only drawback is that they are setup for specific bullet weights and deviating from that will make the calibrations incorrect.    IOR Valdada had some good fast European reticles, but the eye relief was notoriously bad.    I really don’t like the idea of having to get my eye that close to a combat rifle scope due to the higher risk of bonking yourself  in the eye.

Trijicon rifle scopes have a better eye relief and I really like the triangle chevron configuration.  You gotta do your research on how the Trijicon reticles are calibrated because once again,  deviating from the bullet weight will causes misses at certain distances.   It would be nice if they could get some of these reticles setup so you can switch from long range calibration to CQB, but like I said, we’re not there yet.   I’m not a big fan of putting to many  lines on a piece of glass because it can become messy when using them for observation.   I’d also have to state that the vast majority of people I know that have ACOGs aren’t using them for long range shooting and mostly just for hitting the X at 100yds.


Practical and tactical should go hand in hand

Although I am a big fan of battle rifles and prefer to carry a gun bigger than an M4, if I gotta carry ammo on my person and it’s not being carried in the trunk of my car, I’ll gladly take the smaller caliber.    The M1 Garand is a great and powerful weapon, but combat is at a much faster pace and being able to suppress a target with small arms is as important as neutralizing it.  If you are a weekend warrior and are considering taking a Carbine Class, even though your training will take place in the Course, you should do research on gear and accessories before you walk in the door.


I always try to sit in on training courses whenever I can although I wish I had the time to actually take more classes.   I’ve written on several occassions that one of my greatest joys of watching classes is watching all of the gear fall off or fail a student and watching their slow evolution of losing gear along the way.   Theirs nothing wrong with being a tactical accessory junky, but if you have to carry an M4 all day like i’ve had to, you’ll quickly learn that lightweight, means a happy person.  There seems to be a big craze getting tactical gear with the quad rails even though most people don’t need them, and then having to go out and get rail covers, when a simple stock would have lightend the gun by a few pounds.



Radio Shack and EverReady

We all remember when we saw the sales at Radio Shack and Dad or Grandpa went out and picked up some new doo dad to tinker with.    I remember the flashlights that I always though were the most powerful were the big long D flashlights that could basically be used as a baseball bat if you were dealing with a home invasion.   Now everyone knows that those flashlights worked well for that time period, but you can get the same brightness from CR123 batteries and have 1/10 of the weight and bulk.   I think my biggest problem with modern flashlight technology is that the flashlights are getting easier and easier to misplace and lose.

Flashlights these days are virtually bullet proof and most are water proof.   The Streamlight flashlights are something I keep in the tool box, in the car and carry from time to time, especially when going to a mall or park late at night.  The PolyTac is my primary lightweight go to white light.  I would not recommend going with the smallest thing you can get your hands on because losing a $200 flashlight is going to be pretty painful.  Although I do keep some weapons mounted lights,  it’s always good to tote around something that isn’t attached to a gun.


Weapon mounted flashlights

I’ve sat in on several IDPA events with flashlight stages and watched people drop their flashlights left and right, while trying to engage targets.   There are better ways to retain a firearm in your hand without having to mount it to your gun.   The Section 8 Tactical device called the URD, Ultimate Retention Device is IDPA legal and a good option for those that still do not like having to mount a flashlight on a handgun.   I realize that putting a flashlight on your defensive pistol will most likely mean having to get a bigger and bulkier holster if you are carrying it, but for a gun safe gun, especially something that is being  used in your home, train to use a flashlight in whichever way you feel most comfortable.

I’m not a big fan of pressure switches being used on flashlights because I’ve seen them become another accessory that will snag on something or fail on  you.   Flashlights can have batteries fail and the bulbs can burn out, and having to worry about another connection isn’t my cup of tea.   Streamlight flashlights have a very popular handgun option called the TLR-1 and TLR-2.   One has a flashlight and the other has the light and a laser mounted in it.   Each has their place in defensive applications, but anytime you add an accessory to a firearm, it’s another thing that can fail on you.


Lethal backup options

In my humble opinion, there are different levels of training for self defense, but mulitiple lethal and less lethal options.   With an ever advancing less lethal defensive market,  I would have to say that I recommend that the majorty consider those options.   One of the issues I am coming across more and more today are first time CCW holders.   I am not one to push people towards carrying a firearm for defensive because I am very much aware that many of those that are considering carrying them, are not mentally strong enough to physically put up a fight and may be in the high risk of having their CCW used against them.

With an increasing unemployment and small business owners becoming the targets of home invasions and robbery, there are always backup plans.  Less lethal technology is getting so good that I think that in another decade or so, carrying lethal weapons might really not be the primary weapon.   Pepper sprays and tasers are being used by law enforcement with few repurcussions.  I highly recommend those that are considering carrying 2 firearms, one as a primary and the other as a backup, the Kimber guardian, and ASP Pepper sprays are Sabre defense have less lethal weapons for consideration.


The original spotting scope

I rememeber the days when the vast majority of rifle hunters were using lever actions with iron sights.   In the last decade or so, there have been massive improvemenets in the durability of rifle optics and even the less expensive optics, don’t fog up like they use to.   Some of those $20 binoculars you see work quite well in daylight, but in low light, that is the time you will really know how much your optics cost.    My recommendations when it comes to using binoculars is to get fixed power optics and get the lightest weight ones you can buy.

The biggest argument against packing a pair of binoculars up in your shooting bag or on  your tactical vest is the added weight.   My Bushnell powerview optics are compact and lightweight and for target identification with fixed 12x,  that’s a very inexepensive option.   I’ve held all of the Steiner optics, and those are outstanding, but you may not get your moneys worth if you are only using them a few times a year.   Steiner binoculars imho are the Trijicon ACOGS of binoculars and they are outstanding for the people that need them.


Tactical gear and clothing

There are a lot of words that get thrown around in the firearm industry that are fairly broad.    Tactical clothing these days may sound like BDUs to one person and 5.11 tactical clothing to another.    Tactical gear can mean anything from a folding stock to a knife, or a $1500 rifle scope.    The word “tactical” doesn’t really tell you what something is going to be used for in the field.    I have some pretty dressed down AR15 rifles that to some people, just look like violent weapons and scare them, while most of us that are familiar with the accessorized M4 Carbine, will find a A2 style AR15 to be  pretty bland.

The so called tactical clothing and concealed carry markets seem to be new markets and these terms get thrown around a lot but don’t really tell us much.  To the trained individual, they can spot a knife in the pocket and 5.11 style pants from a mile away and loads of pockets full of tactical gear and usually that’s a dead giveaway that someone is carrying a firearm.   Think about what purpose your clothing is to serve and adapt to it.   There are more than a few good clothing companies that are making concealed carry friendly apparel.


New A-Tacs pattern camo coming in Spring

This weekend was another big weekend for us in displaying the new A-Tacs pattern cammo from Eotac.    We got a  lot of inquiring responses from people walking around the NTOA, National Tactical Operations Assoc. in Pittsburgh this week.   More than a few of the people made comments about how bad the military digital camo was and that it looks more like a blob than melts with it’s background.   The A-Tacs pattern is still in production but we are looking for a Spring delivery date.

The A-tacs pattern is going to be a big hit, my only hope is there is enough production to keep up with the demand.  The style 201 operator pants have a proven design and will be part of the first run in tactical pants for the A-tacs pattern.   My only wish was that these pants would be available before archery season because more than a few people mentioned at how good the pattern would be for hunting as well as military applications.   The pattern we saw and displayed was for urban environments.


The most useful tool outside of your cell phone

I am not one to promote the fact that I am carrying a knife.   I notice that many in the tactical community that carry firearms are also carrying folding knives and they usually clip them on to their front pocket.   I’m not being paranoid when making the claim that this is usually a dead giveaway that the person is also a CCW holder and is packing a 9mm somewhere.   Not only is the knife a weapon that a BG knows can be used against him, it’s a hint that is not covert.    People are going to do whatever they feel comfortable doing, but try to think about being discreet when carrying anything of the sort.     There are plenty of places where carrying guns is so common, that everyone knows there is a 75% chance that somebody in the building has a gun, so some crimes just don’t really happen that often.

Knives come in all lengths and durability.   I’ve still got knives I had when I was 8yrs old and they are still sharp even though they were neglected.   I’ve had previous jobs where keeping a box cutter in my back pocket was so common that I usually had a pile of them on my dresser because I always brought them home from work and forgot to take them out.   I think a good 2 inch blade is a good average size blade that is long enough for defensive purpose, but very practical tactical knives for the working man.   Since we deal with a lot of UPS boxes every day, it’s nice to know that my everyday carry knife is my box cutter, screwdriver and defensive weapon.    If you’ve got the job that carrying a fixed blade Cold Steel knife, then so be it, but like many of the firearms I have had to carry on the job, I always ended up working my way towards something smaller and more comfortable.

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