There are a lot of technological changes taking place with synthetic oils and I have a ton of friends that are using things like Mobil 1 on their firearms, but if you are a hunter, you have to pay attention to lubricants that have rust corrosion abilities. I’ve had my stories in previous blogs but I have lawn chairs and grills that I never paid attention to and watched them decompose over time because screws rusted or hinges corroded. You can extend the life of a firearm if you keep in from rusting out and although we are getting close to having composite material rifles, there are plenty of things that can rust through or wear out like gun springs and trigger springs if you don’t watch how you maintain them. The beauty of modern gun cleaners like Slip 2000 and Frog Lube are that they are going to clean, lubricate and protect your firearms and also non-toxic.
We’re working on some restocks of our best selling items this year and there are some really good Slip 2000 gun cleaning packages with bore cleaners and copper cutters that you might want to think about. Gun cleaning supplies like boresnakes and one piece cleaning rods are going to make your life easier and I highly suggest using both. Otis gun cleaning kits tend to be better for those that are mobile and might be doing cleaning on a trip. We have several Border and Security personnel that use them while they travel State to State for Carbine Instructor courses. Having the correct chamber brush for an AR15 is the difference between cleaning the chamber and not cleaning the chamber. And don’t forget that taking your magazines apart and checking them from time to time for rust and corrosion is another way to make them last. I’ve seen base plates rust out and drop fully loaded mags on firing ranges. A slight wipe down of a protective lubricant can stop all of this.
Every year we have been asked to be at our local “Night Out” because we are a business that is use to dealing with people that are concerned about fighting crime and it’s not all about carrying firearms and CCW. We always warn people when they call us up and tell us they are thinking about carrying a gun because of the crime they are hearing about, like the “knock out game” which recently occurred right near us and is something that has been going around in waves all around the Country. The pathetic reality about the game is they are picking on individuals that are by themselves and often older or weaker than them. The answer to defending yourself from this type of crime is not carrying a gun, it’s about situational awareness and in my humble opinion, verbal defense and flashlights and less lethal force like ASP Pepper Sprays, Kimber Pepper Blasters and a good Streamlight Protac 2L with a 260 lumen output and strobe are better starting points.
Without getting into hypothetical reasons of being able to use lethal force in an attack like the “knock out game” there are more stories about people being held up on bus stops and cell phones being stolen over any other crime. Here in Philadelphia it’s the number one crime that is occurring. If you are alone always keep your space from any individual or group of people and using verbal defense, lighting them up with a flashlight and using a form of Pepper Spray or cracking a taser to keep them away. For home defense, the Massad Ayoob Home Defense DVD from Pantaeo Productions is an excellent give and much of it has to do with having good lighting, not allowing your bushes to grow to high around your house, having a good Alarm System or a dog are also good things to always consider. One of the biggest suggestions I would have for people attending a Night Out event is to understand how to work with your local Police and be able to give them the information to actually fight crime. All too often I have met people that don’t know how to gather accurate information like License Plates, Accurate descriptions, time of day and no exaggerations on making reports. I know plenty of Town Watch people that have been extremely effective in removing problematic neighbors because they knew how to work with Law Enforcement to get things done, and not just complain the police aren’t doing a good job.
We have plenty of customers that can wear shorts for most of the year but there are some season changes that we deal with and Summer and Winter affects what inventory we stock. We tend to sell most of the same inventory all year long due to the fact we sell clothing both Nationally and Internationally as well as local. It’s sometimes funny to see people in Alaska and Michigan buying sweatshirts while people on the East Coast are well into hot weather. Usually when all of the IDPA competitions or State competitions are going on we usually see an up tick in sales of womens tactical shorts and pants. Depending on the environment and the terrain of the competition it’s one or the other. There are knee pad options with most of the tactical pants we sell but the Hatch knee pads and the Blackhawk Neoprene tend to sell very well. We have many of the same complaints about inseam lengths for various tactical shorts because just like pants, not everyone is the same height and wanting shorts that have a 7 inch inseam or 9inch will not be available with every company we deal with.
The biggest selling point with the Tru-Spec product line is that they are very consistent in sizing and they are also very durable. If you have ever seen the Tru-Spec 24/7 Series pants, the Tru-Spec 24/7 Series shorts are just a cut down version of those. I tend to prefer those Tru-Spec tactical shorts over the BDU style because I don’t think it modern times with CCW and Cell phones, flashlights and various knives, that having large pockets where cargo just floats around is all that great. I’d rather have a pocket for all of my stuff so I know which direction it is pointed and treat each pocket much in the same way I’d treat a firearm in a holster, it stays where you leave until you need it. The BDU style shorts tend to be popular with the people working in EMS because they are inexpensive and they don’t need a bunch of pockets. The Tru-Spec ladies clothing is hands down our best rated product line for women, according to our female customer base!
It’s very rare that things in this industry go down in price, but the truth of the matter is that technology can become old and sometimes things are so much easier to make, the free market will cause certain products to go down. Look at software companies and what the prices are when new products hit but after time, different versions come out and the original version is so out dated that sometimes people wouldn’t want it. Think of it like this, would you rather pay $120 for a 60 lumen flashlight or a 300 lumen flashlight? What if you get your hands on a dirt cheap Xenon bulb weapon mounted like from Surefire, would you put it on your gun knowing that LED technology and outputs 100%-300% better than they were 8 years ago? I remember converting all of my xenon bulb flashlights like the Surefire G2 years ago because it just made so much sense to upgrade it. Now that a 200 lumen flashlight on it’s highest setting is actually on the low end of what flashlights are doing these days.
A shocking price drop occurred with some of the Surefire G2 Flashlights this year because they are less expensive to make and even though it may be one of the best, simple to mount, weapon or hand held Surefire Flashlights out there, there are more powerful flashlights to consider that are about the same size. There seems to be trend toward the Surefire X300U over the Scout models because now Surefire X300 puts out a powerful 500 lumen light and pressure switches don’t have the life expectancy that toggle switches tend to have. There are plenty of flashlights out there that can get the job done for you, but we get the least complaints from people that run Surefire flashlights on firearms as far as longevity and durability.
We are always paying attention to the crime statistics and asking our local police departments what the stories really are. Things like Home invasions are typically retaliation for someone in the family losing drug money or something else along those lines. For a small percentage of the home invasions where there was no determinable reason for it other than robbery or rape, there are still reasons to make sure you avoid letting people know what you own and for God’s sake, close your windows at night and don’t announce to every person walking by your home at night on where the fine China is. The same thing goes with who you let into your house and who knows where you keep your firearms. Like most people the closet is where the guns and gunvault safes are but you might want to consider throwing a sweater or towel over the safe when it’s in there. Most home invasions are during the day when you won’t be home and even if you have an alarm system, the master bedroom is where they most likely will go.
There are pros and cons to any locking system, yes, it can slow you down by a small fraction of time, but kids can get into even gun safes if you give them enough time or have it in a location they can keep guessing the combination. There are various alarm settings and lockout options for Gunvault Safes but if you are a home owner, I’d highly recommend putting some creativity into using furniture, picture frames or some other concealment for your safes. If you are like me and walking in and out of Government Buildings all the time or high security zones, sometimes even outside a Police Station isn’t the best place to leave a gun under a car seat, smash and grabs take a few seconds and if they can’t break a window and lift it out, they probable won’t get it. Locking cables are a really good idea to attach to your gun safe. Expect to see a lot of gunvault safes in our stores in the coming months because not enough people are locking up their firearms.
We have been a stocking dealer for a great many tactical clothing companies because we know that much of this industry is about preference and what the Mission at hand. We get lot of Law Enforcement that stop in our store because they are going to the range for training and all that is required is “black pants” primarily because they know they might be doing a lot of knealing in dirty environments and if they were wearing anything but Black pants, they might be stained for good. Most of the pants we sell have some type of knee pad inserts although I don’t really find many of them to be all that practical, you just have to make sure you pull them out before you wash them otherwise the foam inserts will break down much quicker.
We have been big fans of Hatch knee pads although Blackhawks Neoprene knee pads are very popular. Recently it has come to our attention that a major production change has occurred and these Blackhawk Tactical Pants and much of their clothing is now being moved to Puerto Rico. Although that is not continental United States, its nice to hear things like this and it’s also a long list of companies from Proper, Original Swat Footwear, ATS Tactical Gear and others that have been moving manufacturing out of China and Asia, hopefully this reset in manufacturing over the last several years will stabilizing the availability and prices and we have even see companies like 5.11 increase prices since the whole Asian monopoly on manufacturing has hit everyone.
There arguments about using flashlights as defense tools really apply to just about any situation, if you deploy something, it can be an announcement visually or psychologically. If you use a flashlight on someone hoping to blind them, they may only become irratatted and be confrontational, just because you think you have them paralyzed for even a second, you can’t be complacent. If you are a hunter, I probable don’t need to explain this to you, but if your prey sees you, they may run or even attack you depending on what it is you are hunting. Hog hunting is really what comes to mind because recently I got the low down from a friend that was using an ACOG for Hog hunting in Texas and told me about the horror stories and complacency that got people hurt. Even with all of the camouflage on, one of the biggest giveaways you can have to your location is the flashlight mirror or objective lense on ANY of the optics you are using on your firearm.
I think it should be mandatory for anyone ACOG purchase for someone to get a killflash and considering the cost of the scope and a killflash, you aren’t really adding much to the cost. Some of the Trijicon ACOGS actually come with these in a package and considering how nice the glass is on the rifle scopes, they really do give off a signature at 1000yds if you aren’t using a killflash. Even in low light it’s a good idea to consider using a blue or red lense over your weapon mounted light as well is something to reduce your signature. Recently we got to test out some of the Meprolite sights next to Aimpoint, all with their killflashes and it was hardly noticeable when looking through them. The pros far outway the cons on this one.
We are often confronted with questions but many of our customers are not prepared to have us question them back before we can answer them. Working in the Fire Industry, Emergency Services and Law Enforcmenent can be very technical when it comes to uniforms and gear and we often find that even our customers don’t know what a product is called, just what it looks like and what it’s fire. Recently we got asked about pager holders but until the customer came in our store and measured the pager, we wouldn’t have known which holder to order for them. The same type of thing occurs when people are shopping for a gun case, the barrel length of your AR15 is not going to determine what gun case it’s going to fit it, the overall length of the gun is. If you are looking for a handguard like the Magpul MOE in black, flat dark earth, Foliage or OD Green, you need to know if you have a rifle length, carbine length, or mid length. It only takes a second to measure your handguard before you want to replace it but we are often faced with the “I don’t know” when they ask us if we carry handguards.
When it comes to slings, unless you really know what you are looking for, I wouldn’t be so worried about buying the wrong one, if you get a sling that you don’t like, replacing attachment plates or RSA Rail Attachments are only a $10-$15 trial run but it’s always best to go to the range and try somebody elses setup. If you are ready to take a trip to Rogue Elite Tactical for Magpul Accessories for a sling or a gun case, do yourself a favor and get the specs on all of your AR15 Carbines that you are looking to equip, do you have a gas block? When length handguard length do you want? The iron sights you might want on your gun might not be right and you might find out at the wrong time that you purchased the wrong rifle stocks or accessories. We have been highly recommending the Magpul MS3 slings because so many people are not sure if they want a single point sling or a 2 point sling and since the MS3 can do both, and has a quick adjustment loop, this really is the best of both worlds. If you want the quick detach MS4 Sling, you’ll have to make sure you have those attachment points on your stock, receiver, or handguard. Let us know what you have and we’ll tell you what you can do.
One of those niche products in our inventory that we always try and keep around are the CRKT or “Cricket” as some call them, M16 series knives. We have a diverse Emergency Management customer base, some folks want the first cheap knife they can get to carry around in their pocket at work, and others are very particular about the blades they are using. Hand size is also a factor because if you want to be effective with a knife it has to fit your hand otherwise you might not get the leverage you need while trying to cut a seat belt or rope and that isn’t a good thing if you are under stress or possible injured. Many people in this industry are using knives for rescue and utility, far more than they are carrying them for self defense. I’m partial to combo edged blades but not as concerned about and point like tanto ect.
I am presently carrying a M16-13Z Carson Design which fits my hand perfectly and considering how impressed I was with the blade edge it came from the factory, and going on more than a year with heavy useage, I’ve only sharpened the knife 2 times and pretty much just for fun and not because it was getting dull. The Columbia River Knife and Tool Company M16 series locking knives are big sellers and starting in the mid $30 range up to $100 will give you a lot of selections to consider. A knife like this is perfect for many in our line of work but the only negatives are that you have to do a lot of practicing to get the safety on the blade and locking liner open with one hand but there are real reasons it’s a good idea to have a safety on any hard use folding knife. The negative I found with the M16 product line are the belt clip holders screws which don’t want to stay screwed in so make sure you use lock tite on them if they happen to come loose on you.
We knew awhile ago that if we want to cater to our customers as much as possible from, pants, shirts and footwear, we’re probable going to have to bring in several name brand products to be able to accommodate. One of the things we noticed in this industry is that sometimes companies can try to do too much and should really stick to what they are good at and offer good warranties and customer service. We’ve seen plenty of companies that make clothing get into making Flashlights and other Law Enforcement gear but we tend to not jump on board with those because why carry much other than Streamlight and Surefire Flashlights when dealing with Emergency Services and Military and Law Enforcement? When it comes to footwear, it’s different world and we have never found a company that will work for everyone so we pick and choose our footwear companies carefully.
We’ve done wear tests with a ton of the Original Swat Footwear Company and truth be told, it didn’t work for everyone, but if we can pick a brand that works for most people in this field of work, Original Swat Boots usually get the job done. There are always changes being made to their product line and sometimes production changes that people don’t notice, but the previous complaints about some of the issues with the boot zippers breaking has been addressed and we have the new designs coming in almost weekly, granted not everyone had issues with breakage but I assume the factory hear it enough to improve the zipper tab. We have been testing out some of the Under Armour Footwear as well as Bates Boots, 5.11 tactical footwear, but our customers often have their price points that they are willing to spend and some footwear companies only offer 30 day warranties and if there are issues, you’re screwed, Original Swat Mens boots and Womens boots all come with a 1yr factory warranty and Free Shipping.