If you are going to a gun show this weekend and you are looking for a new firearm, please be aware that getting something that recently came out might mean not finding a manufacturer that makes a holster for it. We’ve been really happy with Elite Survival Systems in recent years because they tend to be the first ones to have something available whether it’s a Ruger LCP or Ruger LCR with or without a laser or more recently the Glock 42. It’s hard enough trying to find .380 ammo or magazines for the Glock 42 but we had several customers pick them up right after SHOT Show and happily found a belt clip holster or a pocket holster right off the bat. If you are going to drop the money for a customer kydex holster, that’s probable the next possibility of getting a holster.
Right now we are monitoring several gun holster manufacturers to full fill some requests from various customers about some of the new Sig Sauer firearms but it’s not a good idea to invest in holster inventory if we have no idea if the firearm is going to gain traction in the Law Enforcement Community and become an active duty weapon. Desantis Holsters and Galco Leather holsters are 2 companies we highly suggest checking out because they seem to be on the ball of producing some of the nicest leather goods and also have a growing Kydex and Kydex/Leather hybrid gun holster product line. The Galco Kingtuk and the Desantis Scorpion and Desantis Intruder Gun Holsters seem to be hot items because the two clamp holsters although they take some getting use to have a very stable platform and don’t wobble like many single clip holsters do.
There seems to be a major wave towards Kydex holsters but I have to be honest, I have broken so many kydex holsters that I can’t really claim they are some major advancement. The things I like about Kydex holsters is when you need to re-holster a firearm, you can hear it go in and you can also easily do it. Most leather holsters will begin to flop over time and you may need to open them up a little when re-holstering, but the good thing about leather Duty Holsters or IWB and OWB gun holsters is they tend to last a very, very long time. I have never been able to completely move away from using nylon holsters because there are just certain methods of carrying a firearm that make me choose a less expensive option but it gets the job done. One of the most popular selling holsters in our store is just slightly over $20 and it is the Elite Survival Systems Belt Clip holster.
There aren’t too many options out there for the Glock 42 and the size 7 BCH holster is an ambidextrous holster that you can use inside or outside the waste band. If you need a quick option for your Glock 26 or Glock 27, Elite Survival Systems Holsters has a inexpensive CCW holster for you. Don’t forget about belly bands and ankle holsters, but those will take some adjustment to because they are primarily backup gun options, primarily the ankle holsters. Shoulder holsters still have their place and Elite Survival’s nylon shoulder rigs all come with magazine pouches so for medium and large frame auto’s these are very comfortable options to consider. Pocket magazines are also available and highly recommended if you are carrying a small capacity magazine.
Plenty of people think they want a bipod but you’ll find out real fast if you got the wrong one when you go hunting or go to the range and it’s too short or too long for your shooting position. Harris Bipods are probable the best starting point because there are plenty of options but you will need to think about how you are going to attach it your rifle or carbine, whether you want one that cants or swivels, and also be aware that you are adding weight to your gun and it’s going to be heavier. I started out with a few Harris bipods on my 22 Magnum rifle and ended up switching one off an SKS rifle because it was able to be folded up and had a better length than the one I started out with. My DSA STG FAL came with a cool folding bipod but I found out later on that the way it attached to the barrel, actually affected the barrel harmonics and I could see that the gun would start to string bullets after a few rounds and dramatically deteriorate the groups.
There are plenty of bipods to look at in the $100 price range but it can jump way up from their if you want features like canting and swiveling. Once you get some experience at shooting prone, shooting behind barriers good bipods will be another tool to help you get in a good firing position and reduce stress, especially if you have a heavy barrel rifle. Many of our Law Enforcement go with the GPS Grip Pod which can be available in a polymer or metal and there are considerable weight differences between each, this quick deployment is really meant for firing over a vehicle or behind a barricade but it does have the ability to just become a fore grip if you don’t need the legs deployed.
The internet is full of as much misinformation as it is good information and in this industry, it’s very much true, there are plenty of items that had bad releases or have some type of flaw in them but as they say, “the mission drives the gear” and if you want an answer to the question we always get asked “what is the best red dot” we aren’t going to tell you one thing. One sight that has gained on us are the Meprolight sights but from our point of view they haven’t been on the market long enough for us to rave about them, but if you are looking for a compact red dot, or a secondary sighting system, the Trijicon RMR Sights have a lot to offer. I’ve always been a fan of the Trijicon TA01NSN because being able to fall back on iron sights is something anyone that plans on using an optic needs to train to do. The Beauty of the Trijicon RMR sights is the versatility of the mounts you can use from off-set on an AR15, thumbscrew mounts for a Remington Shotgun or take your handgun to your gunsmith and put an RM08-G on it.
Competition sports is a new and thriving industry and if you want to see a lot of Trijicon optics get used, check out the shows on the Outdoor Channel and some of the NRA Friendly shows. There are a lot of different reticle colors, red dot sizes and battery or fiber optic variations of the RMR sighting system. The thing you need to know about red dots is, will your eyes pickup the red dot or is it going to flare on you depending on your eyesight. The next thing to think about is are you going to be expecting to take longer range shots with it, or are you perfectly fine with a 6-12.9 MOA dot that is going to be for close engagements but will block out most of your abilities to hit targets at longer ranges. If you are doing the ACOG and the Trijicon RMR Sights Combo, the only negative besides burning a hole in your pocket, would be the height of the optic and your POI impact.
When it gets hot it can be very difficult to carry medium or large frame firearms and even though there are a ton of clothing options you can buy, some of the CCW options are an over kill and depending on the environment you live it, you will stand out and look like an under cover cop or that you carry a gun. Personally, in most circumstances looking like you carry a gun is going to be more of a deterrent than not looking like you carry a gun and having one on you. Tru-Spec just came out with a nice lightweight concealed carry friendly shirt called the “Camp Shirt” which is something we will be bringing in for our inventory switch over this Summer for all of our customers because there aren’t a lot of nice CCW shirt options for the Summer from many of the tactical clothing companies like 5.11 Tactical and Blackhawk. They may market them as CCW but they either shrink or fade and tend to not be on par with the quality control that normal clothing companies would consider to be good.
The idea of switching to carry a different firearm is really something that should be considered because being uncomfortable and constantly adjusting your belt to a large frame or medium frame gun is going to be obvious when people see you sit down and get up, it’s funny how you can tell if someone is carrying depending on how they walk or hold their hands when moving. When you need a CCW vest, I can give you plenty of referrals from our customers in the Southwestern United States that often don’t have a fond opinion about anything that isn’t 100% cotton and now that Woolrich Elite and Eotac do not have their 4424 or 102 Lightweight Operator Vests around, many of our customers have been scrounging for something for upcoming IDPA events especially the one we recently sponsored at the Lower Providence Rifle and Pistol Club and we sold several of the Tru-Spec Lightweight Tactical vests and the Gunny Signature Vest. I would lean towards the Signature Series Vest because it is considerable lighter than the standard vest and probable the best hot Weather vest we have right now.
There are a lot of options out there from Tru-Spec, 5.11 Tactical, Blackhawk Warrior Wear and if you are lucky, regular clothing that you can pickup at a mall that gets the job done. One of the things we’ve learned in the tactical clothing industry is not everyone feels the need to buy it even if they exactly the customer that we think would want to. There are plenty of casual clothing companies that have shirts that are cut long or pants that have a lot of utility functionality but everyone is different. The hard thing about shopping for stuff like this is trying to find a business that actually stocks it so you can go in and try out a brand like Tru-Spec and see if there tactical shorts, lightweight shirts or whatever else you are trying out, will get the job done. There are often features designed into the clothing that have re-enforced knife pockets or the way the pockets are sown so that something like a firearm, won’t fall out of it when you are in the seated position and leaning backwards, it’s often the fail point of regular jeans or clothing when it comes to pocket carry.
Tru-Spec’s product line has dramatically grown in recent years and although the 24/7 Series was already and established product line when we came onboard, but when it comes to CCW and Summer clothing, the Tru-Spec Shorts like the new Simple Tactical Shorts especially the Cargo Shorts have been a big winner. We will be running a Summer promo on some of the camo pattern later this month because so many guys just wanted BDU Shorts with camo patterns. If you aren’t putting a lot of stuff in your pockets the BDU Shorts might cut it, but we highly recommend the Tru-Spec Tactical Shorts that are designed with the same pocket patterns as the 24/7 Pants which might make your Summer/Winter switch overs very easy.
There are always preferences with firearms for Police Department purchases, we have guys that are still stuck on Kimber 1911s and we also sell a lot of magazines to Police Departments down in Texas that are also using Kimber 1911s but as much as I love my Colt 1991A and my Springfield 1911, I don’t think that is a very good gun for everyone. Complaints about firearms size, recoil, lack of ambidextrous options are slowly disappearing and the draw backs to Glocks and some of the safety issues with disassemble and needing to pull the trigger are not going away. Sure, Navy Seals and Operators are going to have a higher level of training but you can’t expect that in every Police Department because firearm training is rarely a priority. Smith & Wesson has always been around and although I’m more familiar with their revolvers than semi-autos, the M&P guns from AR15’s to the Military & Police, M&P 9mm, M&P 40 and M&P 45 are very much “out there” and in heavy use.
Finding a good firing range that rents out guns is really the way to go if you are shopping for a new handgun and off the top of my hand, the M&P 40 was the first gun I ever fired where I could use different back straps to get a better feel for what I felt comfortable with. Although I have been shopping for another 45acp, I’m checking out all of the ballistics improvements and ballistic tests from .380 pistols to 45acp, and when you look at how much certain calibers recoil and the ability to quickly put follow up shots on target, I’m seeing a real trend back to 9mm pistols over the .40 caliber. Having the ability to quickly drive from target to target and with Standard Capacity Smith & Wesson Magazines like the M&P 9mm having 17rds is plenty. Some handguns become imbalanced when you go from caliber to caliber and in my humble opinion when double stack 45acp get to a capacity above 9rds the weight and capacity just feels off, 9mm guns are probable a better option for a broader spectrum of general public.
There are a ton of differing opinions amongst any Police Department regarding the Uniform gear that they were, some hate it, some love it, and some feel they don’t even need it. One of the shocking realities about many Police Officers regarding Pepper Sprays is that they usually all hate carrying because the mess and blow back that occurs and what the procedures are for an individual they used it against. Less Lethal force is just that, “less lethal” but there are still plenty of things that can go wrong. Recently there was an incident with a Bucks County Police Department where a minor that was handcuffed, fled police, and ended up being injured running away. Every time you use a device there are always things that can come back to you and having confidence in your equipment is very, very important.
One of the fun things about this industry is the number of times we get called to Sponsor a Competition shoot, or we get invited out to a training event and get to watch equipment and skill being deployed. There are a million options out there for accessories, from nylon, kydex, leather or STX finishes, but Fobus Holsters offers a very inexpensive product line that “may” work for you depending on the situation you are in. I find the double magazine paddle holders to be a little too much and prefer only a holster to have a paddle on it, everything else I believe should be attached to the belt. Try putting all of your equipment on sometime and try rolling on the ground with it, would you be more likely to get hurt or would you be more likely to concentrate on the threat?
One of the items people really want to see in their hands instead of ordering it online are the Gunvault Gun safes. You can give people all the measurements and specs but it still doesn’t mean anything to them because all they know about their handguns are the barrel lengths and hardly anyone knows the over all length and how certain guns are going to fit in them. “Will a Springfield XD and Glock 19 with a flashlight fit in this gun safe” are questions we often get asked. It’s usually better to go with a large safe than a smaller one and placement of a safe in your closet or wherever and knowing you can bolt it down is also very important. The real reason to lock you stuff up is preventing Children from having access to them and making it difficult for someone to pull a smash and grab and walk out your door with your firearms because you left them in a dresser. There is a drawervault that you can consider if your dresser drawer is where you want to put your gun but I’m not the biggest fan of putting a gun there because it’s one of the first places criminal look for valuables.
I’ve heard about all of the gun safe breaches that can occur and if you give a criminal too much time, they’ll be able to get into any safe, but hiding the gunsafe in a closet and making sure it’s covered with clothing or a towel is also a good way to make a fast moving criminal glance over it and not see anything but a pile of clothing. You can use most of these saves in a car if you need to but the Microvault is probable the most popular since most people are only putting 1 handgun in the safe because they have to go in and out of buildings with metal detectors or places where carrying in prohibited. The Gunvault Gun Safes that I usually suggest people getting are the standard or deluxe Multivaults because even though you want to lock up your firearms, there are plenty of other things you might want to consider putting in the safe like jewelry, gun magazines or various important documents and these safes can run out of room real fast.
There are many things that we sell that can be ruined by body sweat, firearms, parts, magazines body armor, holsters ect, and I, unfortunately have some stories about how I accidentally pitted the barrel of a j-frame revolvers as a novice CCW holder that used a leather holster during Pennsylvania Summer heat waves and the salts from my body sweat absorbed into the leather and over time, transferred to the firearm and ruined the finish. If you read through military history, there are all sorts of stories about how wooden stocks, gun powder and firearms were ruined from moisture. “Maintenance” is an important thing to do to keep any tactical gear in good condition and having a good moisture wicking shirt on in the summer that does not hold in body sweat is something to consider even if you are not in Law Enforcement.
I highly recommend wearing body armor while being on firing ranges because there are so many idiots out there the lack muzzle discipline and depending on the type of training course, statistics say that bullets can do strange things and it’s an extra insurance policy. We have been bringing in large quantities of Under Armour Heat Gear this summer, mostly on the requests of local Police Departments because it’s so important for them to change from Under Armour Cold Gear to Under Armour Heat Gear because sitting in a car for hours with a winter like we just had to jumping from Air Conditioned Patrol vehicles to an eventual Summer Hot weather can be physically stressful and with all the duty gear they have to wear, comfort is extremely important to be physically and mentally alert.