Archive for June, 2014

There’s a reason to fall back on Motorola radios and not depend on Cell Phones

Motorola RadiosOne of the first things that happened on September 11th was cell phone service going out.   In a real emergency you have to have the mindset that you might not be able to use it, so many people depend on their cell phones, but in any major event, phone lines will be over loaded and if you are lucky, you might be able to use it for texting but that’s about it.    Having a Police scanner might also be something worth while so at the very least you will still have some idea what is going on your local community but keeping a CB radio or a couple Motorola radios around for communicating in your neighborhood.   There are large networks of people still  using these and the ranges can vary so look up the reviews on realistic ranges before purchasing, also be real careful about not using Marine frequency radios on land.    At the very least you can use them to listen and communicate with others by relaying info.

There is a lot for even us to learn about compatibility between various headsets and I would highly recommend using headsets because it’s much easier to operate at lower volumes which can reduce energy drains.  Many of the Motorola Radios we sell can be used with batteries and rechargeable batteries and I have personally used these just to get accurate NOAA weather reports whenever hurricanes hit the region and we lost power.  Just knowing when and were the bulk of a storm is hitting and estimating when it will pass over can be comforting.   There are several radio pouches we sell that can be used on Molle or belts so that is something else worth considering.


Slinging an AR15, things to think about and Spikes Tactical Upper Receivers might be for you

Spikes Tactical Upper ReceiversWe are often asked if we “sell slings” because everyone that takes a carbine course is going to have to have one, but there really is a lot to think about and we are often opening up boxes or showing them in display with one of our plastic black rifles at work just so the customer comprehends why you might want one over the other.    The most popular sling we sell are the Elite Survival Systems Single Point bungee slings but even though I have one on one of my carbines, I’m liking the Magpul MS3 Sling more and more each time I use it that I might do an eventual overhall of the firearm.   The most common problem we find people have when looking for a sling is finding out they have to get a sling attachment plate and the next thing is not knowing how to remove the plate they have.   It’s not a hard thing to do, but i have to admit that I know of 2 incidences where the detent on the rear take down pin of an AR can easily be lost because it will fly out of the back of the rifle when you are taking the castle nut off and replacing the Sling Attachement plates.   You just have to watch it on Youtube before you do it, and then take it slow and do it right.

Now that machining firearms is such an easier process, some of the quadrail systems out there like the Spikes STU5025-S2S have the QD (quick detachment) holes in them that you have multiple points on these Spikes Tactical Upper Receivers where you can place your sling.   Between have an MS4 sling and an AR15 with this type of AR15 Complete Upper Receiver, you are going easily be able to transition the firearm in multiple situations like climbing up ladders, kneeling positions or just standing guard.   It might not just be what type of sling you have anymore, the stocks, upper receiver rail systems, can all give you a edge in being a highly productive operator.


Shoot N-C Targets, are they worth it?

Shoot N C TargetsIt depends on what you are doing with your firearm but I know plenty of people that don’t spend a dime on targets and just print stuff off their computers.   It’s not hard to take a piece of paper and a ruler and just make a 1 inch square or trace a quarter to get a circle, but once you get out at longer ranges, trying to tell if you got a hit or a miss is very difficult.    It’s kind of funny how everything seems to be trending toward green lasers and green sights and reticles, but Shoot N C targets have been around for a long time and when you get a hit, you know you got a hit because that greenish yellow outline really helps you identify your point of impact.   Sure you can bore sight your rifle but you have to know how to bore sight something properly and if you’re scope is not mounted correctly, zeroing in your scope isn’t going to help you when you change distances.

Shoot N C targets come in several shapes and sizes and it’s probable best you start out with the larger ones and make use of those smaller black stickers to cover the holes so you get the most use out of them.   This week we’ll be doing some promos with 6″ shoot n c targets but you really will have more fun and probable not need a spotting scope if you are shooting at 100yds or less at one of these.   It’s probable a good idea to always bring a back stop with you that you can attach these stickers to, although I’ve had mostly good experiences with them sticking to rifle range back stops, sometimes the back stops were dirty and stickers didn’t stick so well.  Avoid the situation where you get back behind the firing line and watch one of your targets peel off and end up having to wait for the next cease fire to fix it.


Want a light? No, not a Bud Light, a new TLR-1 300 Lumen one and a Holster that takes it!

Safariland HolstersHandguns with TLR-1Probable the increase in holster sales with flashlights is due to all of the technological advances being made and that they are so  much more powerful and durable that if you have a light on your car, your bike or at your front door, why wouldn’t you consider it on your firearm.   Sure I am well aware of the fact that a light on a firearm should not be used as a hand held light because you would never use a weapon mounted light for searching.    The Streamlight TLR-1S has the strobe built into it and I am already aware of two incidences where police did not have to shoot because they were trained to “strobe” someone and used tacticals to subdue the bad guy without firing a shot.   Strobes on flashlights are not going to do the same as a taser or stun gun, but they can buy you a second or more of reaction time.   As a matter of fact, any powerful flashlight can give you a second or two in reaction time, if deployed properly.

Safariland leather duty holsters and concealment holsters are hands down the first place we go when someone wants a handgun light and although there are good companies like Blade-Tech and Desantis, none of them have the selection that Safariland has.   Recently the more “off duty” holsters have been popular with the6378  Safariland Holsters like the 6378 ALS or the 5188 paddle holsters.  It’s all about how much retention you want, as far as I know there is always a level of adjustment to these paddle holsters but the ALS is probable the best “off duty” holster if an Officer is trained to use 6280 style thumb release with the hood.   I would definitely not go back and forth between the Blackhawk Serpa Index finger release and any of the Safariland ALS or other Retention holster.  I think a similar problem can be had by going from an AR15 with a B.A.D. lever on your SWAT Gun and then a standard trigger on your Patrol vehicle, under stress, one mistake can be costly.


Get a good belt before you ruin one of the ones you have, here are some options!

Gun BeltsIt’s amazing how many types of belts there are in this industry, just discussing the differences between leather belts and nylon belts from manufacturer to manufacturer can be dramatic if you pay attention.   Our large customer base may or may not drop the money on a belt just based on price points and others “have to look” exactly the way the want because it’s a dress code.   We’ve done well with Desantis Leather belts, but even though we’ve sold a ton of the Blackhawk CQC Pistol belts, we have witness some manufacturing flaws that can happen.   For about $35 the price seems right for customers but you have to watch how you break those gun belts in because there is a well known flaw in the Black Plain finish where if you bend them too much, they can crack.  Luckily Blackhawk has good customer service and a good Warranty Policy but we  have had to send some of their pistol belts back, it is just the plain black finish, none of the brown or gator finish have been sent back.

The next most popular belts are the Elite Survival Systems Cobra Belts and if you want to know what the Cobra Belt is all about, check out some of the reviews online because it’s belt with features and if you want they, then buy it, if not, then there are various plastic or metal belts with different ways of being latched or snapped in so it’s another reason to stop in our tactical store and check out the various gun belts or duty belts for yourself because it’s another one of those things that is hard to explain and easier to comprehend when  you can hold it in your hands.   Rescue belts like the Elite Survival Assault Rescue belt might be an overkill for you but it also might be exactly what you need if you are in the line of work you might need to repel down a hill and pull a person back up.


Grip Pads, Flush fitting and drop free magazines for 1911s experiences with Chip McCormick Magazines

Chip McCormick MagazinesThe term ” love my 1911s” will probable be in every blog post I write whenever I mention them because if you look through all of handgun history, there really are not that many firearms that stay around very long because technology and manufacturing improved so much in the last 200yds that powder, bullet types and mechanics of revolvers and semi-autos evolved quickly.  I’ve held and shot some WWI and WWII 1911s and they really didn’t shoot much differently than my Colt 1991A1 or my Springfield 1911A1 USGI model.   If you take the M1 Garand and Compare that to the error, who wouldn’t take an 8rd bandolier over a bolt action when your life depends on it.   It was only a few years later that we fought in the Korean War and the M1 Garand was so badly out dated, but the M1911 A1 was still highly revered.   I believe in just the last year there have been major technological improvements to the caliber debate that we are arriving at a point where bullet “types” matter more than calibers so just by judging by Police Department Purchases there is a trend back to the 9mm.

The funny thing is so many people are owning AR15 Carbines that handgun capacity isn’t as much of a debate and we see plenty of people using 1911s as secondary firearms.  Even though the 1911 is considered to be a large firearm, it’s actually a very slim frame compared to Glock 45 caliber firearms and I find it very easy to carry IWB.    I’ve always leaned towards flush fitting Chip McCormick Magazines than any extended pads because I found that for CCW that extended magazine pads are more likely to catch on clothing and from my experience the butt of a handgun grip is usually what causes most firearm printing.   The 1911 is easily an 8rd capacity firearm and although for a brief time I carried it +1 to be a 9rd firearm, I’ve learned  you are pushing the compression limits on 7rd, 8rd or 10rd magazine springs and shortening the life.   Always test your magazines out at least once to check functionality because there are always production changes, and being in retail


Adding 1 More optic to our product line that we can back, Meprolight M21 Optics

Meprolight M21 SightsThere are always trade offs with optics and it’s really hard to know for sure if something is right for you unless you’ve gotten good references from a friend and put some trigger time behind an optic.   We deal with the same issues our customers due when we are thinking about bringing in inventory, and since it’s our job to try to answer questions and point out option they should consider, we’re endlessly researching product based on what we find on the Internet in the form of, Blogs, Product Reviews, and Since we have over 30,000 tactical store products, and the optics part of it is easily in the thousands if you lump the hunting optics in with the tactical rifle scopes and AR15 red dots and other Rifle and Handgun Optic systems.   Technology is always improving and there are always different generations that have production features or designs that can make or break it for what you want.

If you are considering a red dot, zero magnification combat optic, the Mako Meprolight M21 Optics have moved up on our AR15 and M4 Carbine stocking product line.   Look for Meprolight M21 Sights to be in our showroom this fall because not only are they in the same price as the Aimpoint Red Dot Sights, they have features that definitely give you “another option” with possible advantages over their competitors.  I recently watching a product review on the Eotech vs Aimpoint Vs Trijicon Reflex and the MSE  once the reviewing scored up all of the pros and cons between those 4 optics, they were all very similar but field of view, battery life or no battery needed were the differences.   Reticle options was a big one for me and I still always come back to Eotech until I got to check out and use the Meprolight M21 Optics with the Bullseye reticle.   I found this to be an easy transition from an Eotech and not needing a battery to run it was it a major selling point.  I still don’t know why Eotech still is survival on old technology but Meprolight M21  sales have been going up now that everyone is finding out about them.


What you need to know when you need Ballistic Eyewear

Ballistic EyewearThere are plenty of brands out there to choose from, WileyX, ESS Eyewear, and Revision Eyewear, Smith Optics jumped into the fold with the Smith Elite Military and Law Enforcement products but just like clothing, shirts, vests, pants and footwear, everyone is different and it’s so hard to know to get unless you can walk into a store and try them on.    If you are not on a SWAT Team and do  not have to wear full coverage googles, the Smith Elite Sunglasses are worth checking out.   If you notice in many of the Iraq and Afghanistan photos of our soldiers, many of them are wearing eyewear and the smart ones are wearing ballistic sunglasses.  The standard you want to check on any eyewear for ballistic protection is Ansi Z87 ratings, according to Smith Optics their sunglasses exceed that rating.   There are plenty of horror stories of IED’s going off and people losing an eye 100yds away due to fragmentation.  If you have ever been to a firing range and had to sight in a rifle and hit below a target, you would see fragments of dirt and rock and possible a bullet key-holing, so you can see how much material that can cause damage just from one bullet.

Goggles are somewhat of an annoying thing to me and I’d avoid using them in most situations because the protection they give is higher than sunglasses but they tend to fog up under stressful situations and trying to keep that much of the glass scratch free and smudge free so that  your vision is not inhibited is a hard thing to do.  One major selling point I’d made with the Smith Elite ballistic eyewear is that it it is hands down the easiest to clean compared to other eyewear.   I’ve had some of the Edge Eyewear in my rotation and although they have some cool flexibility and anti-fog abilities,  whenever I got a smudge on them they were not easy to wipe off at the firing range when all of my Smith Optics Elite eyewear wiped perfectly clean with the Smudge Buster rag that Smith Elite sells.


Should you drop the cash for a spotting scope? And do you really think its worth it?

I’ve cSpotting Scopesheck out spotting scopes for years and to this day, haven’t felt the need for a separate optic just for spotting, but I know plenty of people that got their money’s worth.   “The Mission Drives the gear” they say and you don’t need to spend money on things that add weight to your payload that you might not need.  In the military, optics are on most rifles these days and having 3x-4x can help you get plenty of range, but that’s not going to help you see pinpoint accuracy like whether or not you got a hit at 500yds or if  you missed the paper.   Some of these issues can easily be over come by using Shoot N C targets but depending on the caliber  you are using, it can still be difficult.   Another thing to be careful about is in hot weather, the mirage you get from grass and dirt will wreck  your ability to see at any range and magnification will just exacerbate the problem.   Two man sniper teams usually have a spotter that picks the targets and gives ranges but you can do much of that a good mil-dot rifle scope.

One thing to think about if you are thinking about getting a Leupold or a Bushnell, but if you can afford it, Leupold Optics tend to be some of the best optics out there and if you are an outdoorsmen, you can do a lot with these if you have a good tripod.    I’ve often found that the Tri-pod means just as much for Spotting Scopes as does clarity because even some cheap optics will work as long as it’s not low light, low light situations is where you find out how cheap your optic is because an optic that allows more light to go through it will cost you more.   Just like rifle bipods, you gotta be careful you get a mount that works with what you need because if it’s too tall or too short, it’s going to be very uncomfortable to get into good viewing positions.


If Factory Grips don’t cut it, try Hogue Grips

Hogue GripsI have to admit, that although I’m a big Sig Sauer fan, I find the factory grips they come in to be below anything I would actually call a grip, they just feel too slippery to me and a handgun or rifle grip should be as tight in the palm of your hand as a pair of baseball gloves.   Everyone’s hand size is going to be different so there is nothing wrong with accessorizing each individual to the firearm, which is why so many manufacturers are making handguns with different back straps.   The really differences between most of the Hogue Grips I have on AR15s, shotguns and handguns are the ones with finger grooves and the ones without.   You do have to be careful about the finger grooved grips because they will force your hand to expand to some degree which can cause finger cramping if you are at the range for long periods of time.   This is something you can easily over come but it just a heads up that many competition shooters are very aware of and sometimes they shy away from them.

One of the hottest replacement grips for many AR15 owners are the Magpul MOE Plus and the Hogue AR15 grips.   There is a beaver tail Hogue Grip that is another preference because for many, they want to get their hand up as high on the grip to be able to be proficient with the firearm.   As a firearm instructor I have witnessed new shooters greatly improve as soon as a rifle stock or hogue grips are put adjusted properly to their hand size.   Another thing you do have to be careful about is when you change the grips on your sidearm, trying to reach magazines releases and slide stops can change and I  have had to modify some of my firearms because of this.   1911 handguns, Glocks and Sig 228 pistols all can be improved with the proper grips.

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