There is a saying in the music industry that once you learn how a record is made, you’ll never listen to a CD, record or song on the radio the same way. In the firearm industry, once you become an NRA Firearm Instructor, you’ll never watch an action movie the same way either. We have several people in our customer base that travel around the world, Europe, Asia, North American ect, as a consultant on how the military or Law Enforcement should have their duty gear on, what color lights the Polie use in different Countries and yes, even the sounds of the sirens. If an action movie involved a Die Hard movie where the LAPD had Police sirens that sound like they were in Paris France, somebody will call it. There are some pretty funny mistakes in some of these movies that you know the Directors didn’t know until it got out, check out “movie mistakes” and pick your Action Titles.
I’ve seen Police Chiefs on National stages make inaccurate statements about the firearm in their hands, like calling for a National ban on assault rifles like this AK47, meanwhile, they are holding an AR15. In this industry you have to talk about what you know, and if you are wrong in your statements about tactical gear, especially on Blogs, Facebook or in a gun magazine, you’ll hear it. Things have to seem real in a good action movie. Ever see the 9mm gun brass on the ground during and after the Darth Vader entrance into Princess Leia’s ship? What about all of the wrong caliber brass falling from Neo’s gun? Now go find all the action movies where the SWAT Team all have their fingers on the trigger while they move in a stack.
There are plenty of products in this industry that people won’t buy online once the product hits a certain price range. All the product descriptions in the world aren’t comprehended by most customers because they usually need a dictionary to to reference to. The designers in the product might be mentioned or a reference to another popular knife that our customers never heard of doesn’t really help them. Knives often displayed in glass cases show of the finish, but the majority of shoppers are going to want to know how it feels in the hand. It’s almost in the same category as gloves. Handles and ambidextrous features make the difference because it’s yet another left hand vs right hand piece of tactical gear that left handed people are often blackballed over and find out the product wasn’t designed for theme.
Price ranges for most of the knifes from Spyderco, Kershaw, Emerson and Columbia River Knife & Tool in the $50-$100 price range while others like Emerson are under $200. There are lots of people in EMS industry that just want a utility knife or tactical knives for under $50 and there are several knifes in this price range that go out the door with them. The Timberline SOC Knife and the all of the plain edge and comb edge Vallotton spring assisted knives. The majority of name brand knife manufacturers have good warranties so always keep that in mind and stick with the name brands. Knife sharpeners especially the Gatco Sharpeners can be fun to use and will make you want to go in the kitchen and get your steak knifes ready for dinner.
We often get customers that want us to tell them what will work for them, “is this a quality item” we often get asked and if we sell it to them and there is a problem, it’ll come back on us. It’s very rare that we will endorse a product and as a retail business in the tactical industry, we really can only give you options to choose from. We listen to the operators that are using various optics and weapon mounted lights and they almost always can tell us where the Fail Point is with them. There different levels of durability but no flashlight or electronic devices has a zero failure rate in all conditions. I haven’t used Pelican flashlights but we hear good things about them, but for personal flashlights, CCW flashlights and different grades of weapon mounted lights, we narrow it doesn to Streamlight and Surefire flashlights.
Both manufacturers offer good warranties and we often hear of very good customer service from Streamlight. The Streamlight Protac 2L far outsells the smaller Protac 1L for CCW but besides the Streamlight TLR1s flashlight, the Surefire flashlights get far fewer complaints on weapon mounted lights. Many of our Law Enforcement and Firefighters are using the Streamlight flashlights while Pelican, Surefire and Streamlight lean more towards the Military preferences. It’s not our call, it’s your call on what you want. Stick with the name brand manufacturers and not the high lumen cheap Chinese knock off flashlights you see at Gun Shows for a good price. People will laugh at you if they see NcStar on your M4.
One of the biggest lies that goes around the anti-gun propaganda machine is with magazine capacity. There is so much emotionalism when people hear “high capacity” like this is for something that is above the norm. “Rate of fire” is another one that goes around the news networks and there is a very funny California Rep that made a royal jackass out of himself by falling victim to all of the outlandish and inaccurate specs for the AR15 SBR that he was holding up. Folks, Nuclear, Chemical and Biological weapons can do more damage to a civilization than the 1950’s designed AR15. I personally believe that an AR15 is a better urban self defense weapon than any handgun and people are far less prone to accidents with rifles than they are with handguns.
Magpul inc. is going to go down in history as a patriotic company that was under assault by an overzealous Government and the blowback that occurred in Colorado against it’s Politicians, has been set in motion with the recalls and this November, you can expect more. Probable the best balance for an AR15 are 20rd pmags, but the most common are the Magpul 30rd Pmags that seem to have become a staple for any AR15 owner. I’ve checked out some Lancer products because many of our competition shooters use them, but Magpul Industries has so many good products it’s been hard to not keep expanding their product line.
We don’t get the phone calls from the panic buyers anymore because things seemed to have calmed down. The thing we dealt with a year ago were all the people price gouging on Magpul Pmags and on AR15’s. Some people were completely off their rockers and lacked the foresight to know the political climate we were in, that no major so called “assault weapon” bill was going to pass. I know some many people that were buying 2-3 guns, sometimes for their sons because they thought they might not get them in another year. Well, that’s not going to happen without a revolution in this Country and considering how many people just armed themselves, it’s a little too late to try and pursue new gun laws when everyone practically owns everything.
We always dealt the the customers that were very particular about what they wanted and when you are dealing with the “gun build” guys or gals you will get specific product numbers. One little gem that we found in the AR15 complete upper receiver sales are the Spikes Tactical Upper receivers. All of the upper receivers we sell are complete uppers because that’s how most people are going to want them. Sure you can save some money buy doing parts kits, but you gotta know what you are doing otherwise the “Franken Gun” term will apply. There are still plenty of customers buying A2 style uppers with standard plastic handguards, but the real high demand with spikes are there STU5025-R2s with the QD sling attachment points and the very lightweight rail systems.
In recent years there have been a lot of really good firearm instructional videos come out from Magpul, PDN and Pantaeo Productions. I own just about all of the DVDs I can get my hands on because there have been plenty of family members that I know that were looking into buying their first firearm and I didn’t have time to train them myself, but I went through my collection and handed off some of the ones that I thought were the best. There is plenty of options to pick from but the Pantaeo productions series has really taken off and expended into areas Medical and Combat Mindset. This is REAL hardcore training and after watching some of these, and you will understand that owning a firearm isn’t about plinking, there are some evil people in the world and sometimes the only thing that will stop them is a good person with a gun.
Not all of these videos that we sell are so heavy, there are videos that are good for anyone looking into getting into IDPA or Competition shooting as well as videos on night vision applications. There have been plenty of times I almost felt like I could skip through some of the chapters in the Firearm Instructional Videos that I own but the simple things like “Adminstrative Loading and unloading” are probable the most common mistakes that I have seen and those kinds of mistakes can be fatal in the real world and I always watch through them. There have been instructors that I personally have blackballed because I have watch stuff that I refuse to sell because I think they are bad.
We always do a lot of listing to our customers because considering how technical this industry is, and considering that nobody that works here has been in the Military for 25yrs or been a firearms instructor for that long, we don’t have the experience to witness all of the gear being used and all of the situations that things have occurred. The best way to learn is to listen and ask questions so you can comprehend what is going on. One of those things is learning about the situations that many of our local Police Departments go through. The statistics are that even if you are carrying an AR15 Carbine, you are still most likely to be in situations that are well within handgun ranges.
Moving form indoor sunlight to low light or total darkness, and then turning on a flashlight could be a total of 4 different lighting settings and depending on what optic you are using, it can become a total mess trying to see through you’re optic. Optics that cut it tend to be Eotech Sights and Aimpoint sights and sometimes you are just better off sticking with Iron sights. The next issue is finding power setting with your optic that gives you a comfort zone. Try doing it with your Eotech and see how annoying high power settings are in low light even though it might be good in bright sunlight. If you are thinking about a night vision compatible optic, if you like Eotech’s you’ll have to think ahead for the NV compatible versions, if you want something simple, go with the Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optics.
9There are always going to be people with different hand sizes and different length of pull with rifles and handguns. One of the smartest things gun makers have done is selling firearms with different back straps so customers can figure out which will work for them by just changing the issued back straps. Smith & Wesson and Glock have all done this with the M&P and Gen 4 Glocks. Certain issued firearms like the Beretta 92FS and 1911 all have complaints from some people just because they don’t feel right or are too big. Well, for all of the people I know that own 1911 handguns, from Les Bauer to Colt M1911A1’s, not a single person I know has the same grips or sights on theirs.
I have taken that step of customizing my 1911s to adapt to my tastes, but still keeping somewhat of a GI look to them. Hogue finger groove grips and Wilson Combat Parts are a good way to get the gun the way you want it to be. Learn the mechanics of the firearm and Wilson Combat parts like different weight recoil springs (depending on the 45acp bullets you want to shoot). The Wilson extended slide release was a big deal to be as well as the extended base pads on my Wilson Combat Magazines. There were changes I could make to my gun griping that made me more accurate with this platform.
There is a lot going on in the news about the Knock Out game and various self defense shootings and race. There is a problem in our society where the truth can’t be told but the media and Politicians use it for their way of stirring people up for their own political gain. It really is sad how the real picture, is Americans are turning on each other. The 2nd Amendment is there, but the life altering impact on using lethal force is something that is not discussed enough. Florida is the focus much of this conversation but those that carry firearms for self defense should seriously look at what the cost of using a firearm vs using some of the modern less lethal options.
Some of our hottest selling pepper sprays, both stream, gels and fog are still the keychain devices, I guess it’s just a comfort but it’s really not the best option. We aren’t all going to be able to carry a 4oz bottle on a duty belt like many law enforcement do, less lethal force devices like the Kimber Pepper Blaster have a very long shelf life and if you can get over the price, this is an extremely practical devices that is about the size of your average .380 pistol. With all the issues going on in society, I’d much rather hear a defendant say they attempted to use less lethal force but had to use a firearm, thinking ahead and being prepared is never an old idea.
90I’ve been using Hoppes boresnakes for probable more than a decade and never looked back. I’ve got fragments of about 5 gun cleaning kits that had something good in them but also several things that broke and got tossed away. Don’t ask me where my 3 piece 22LR gun cleaning rod went because the story isn’t pretty. Paying attention to the caliber variables with gun cleaning patches is important, and that’s where many mistakes can be made. If it’s too thick of a patch from being folded over it can get stuck and too small of a patch doesn’t clean properly. Boresnakes are general very broad for useage and I use the same boresnake for my Marlin Model 882 22Mag that I use for my AR15.
I’ve messed around with Otis gun cleaning kits but the biggest negative I’d say about those are that the parts tend to fall out or move around. It’s a great portable gun cleaning kit, but Hoppes Boresnakes don’t take up space and you can easily store them in the packaging you purchase them in. I keep a small bottle of Slip 2000 EWL in my “Go Bag” and my basic gun cleaning supplies, like a cloth to wipe the gun down and a 22 Cal boresnake. You can get shorter versions of the snag for handguns but I usually fall back on using a pistol cleaning rod. There are always trade offs with these things and not everyone will use gun cleaning supplies in the exact same way.