There is a very small percentage of people that are going to think they still need a single piece cleaning rod with a brush to scrub their barrel clean but the one thing that I have found in this industry is people often “over clean” firearms and you can tell if you check the chambers and the crown of a barrel. Unless you are shooting a sub-moa rifle, I really don’t think it’s something to worry about. Boresnakes don’t bend on break unless you put the wrong caliber in your rifle, I’ve seen it happen and it’s a royal pain to get unstuck but that’s not the products fault.
The really difference between the pistol boresnakes and the rifle boresnakes is the length of the string, it’s annoying to use the rifle snakes on pistols because you’ll have too much slack. Just pickup a bottle of Slip 2000 EWL for most rifles, especially for the AR15 style of guns and if you get to cleaning your rifle right after you get done with a range session, it should come right off the rifling. I’ve used Hoppes boresnakes for close to 20yrs and only one wore out a 22 caliber one. Once they get really dirty, just toss it in the wash machine to clean it off.
For those of us that are old enough to remember the AWB and how expensive magazines for Glock were, we can appreciate the fact that trying to improve some aftermarket magazine to work in a CCW gun is long over as long as we have a Congress held by Republicans. Glock magazines were going for close to $100 a mag if you wanted a Glock 17 or a Glock 19 mag. I remember strolling the gun shows looking for used magazines for a Beretta 92FS and it was one of the few firearms where you could easily find used but in good condition mags. Many 45acp guns became more popular because it was pretty rare to have a firearm that was chambered in 45acp that held more than 10rds. I put myself in that same mentality and ended up getting a 1911 for just that reason.
Many people seem to go overboard with the capacity issue and think they need higher capacity, but often high capacity means less reliability. The majority of the people that order high capacity magazines need to replace the aftermarket magazine springs and followers to get what they want out of them. In My opinion 15rds is pretty high for CCW and needing more than that in the gun means discomfort and weight. Just carry a spare Glock Factory Magazine or leave it in your car as a place to retreat to if you are that concerned. If you look at the statistics on self defense shootings, it’s rare that it’s more than single digits so why by the cheaper mags. Rotate your magazines and use the aftermarket stuff as range mags and you’re fine.
Here in Pennsylvania we never know what we are going to get as far as Winter weather, some winters are mild and in my lifetime we’ve gone up to 7yrs with very little snow fall, and then, we have Artic winters like we did in 2014 and 2015 and that heavy winter jacket you hardly use is the most important thing in your closet. Things have changed as far as comfort in cold weather, with Under Armor becoming a staple in people’s homes to various other clothing manufacturers making products with similar fabrics and designs. The Tru-Spec Softshell jackets can get you through most of the winter with you just needing a hat and gloves and base layer, and the design of the jacket for the standard soft shell has zip open areas where you can still access your flashlight, gun, magazines or knives while still being bundled up. Having the waterproof shell makes it even versatile in rain or snow.
Other things to check out are the Tru-Spec Grid Fleece Pull Over Zip Through Job shirt which we are considering the replacement for the Woorlich Elite Half Zip Sweatshirt that we sold for over 10yrs and many of our customers are extremely disappointed by that, but this should be an easy transition over to Tru-Spec Outwear and Jackets. The Tru-Spec Elemement Jacket is a 2 in 1 jacket, you can wear the outer shell as a rain coat, zip attach the liner for a winter H20 jacket or just wear the inner liner as a jacket for Fall or cold Spring mornings, we’ve been around the tactical clothing market for over 10yrs and we put our money where our mouth is and highly recommend Tru-Spec products since they are often compared to 5.11 they beat 5.11 on Quality Control and Price.
We’ve sold a lot of different plate carriers in the past few years, we listened to what our customers were asking for and if we had to accommodate all of them, we’d have to carry 5.11, Blackhawk, ATS Tactical, Condor, Second Chance, Safariland, Tactical Tailor, Shellback and Armor Express. There are always those slight feature differences that sell the product which is why we are always open to carrying multiple brands or find ways of acquiring them. Most plate carriers are for the Large to 2XL sizing and if you are smaller or larger, you’re probable in the 10% that might have to special order it or get sized, but the rest of you can probable just buy the carrier and make adjustments to get it right.
I have heavily leaned toward plate carriers that don’t carry side plates due to the fact that this doesn’t add much more protection, adds weight, and we’ve been running into issues with side plates not fitting into certain brands of carriers very well. Our Primary body armor is Armor Express who are actually the founders of Second Chance which had higher name recognition. We carry AR500 plates and Condor Carriers and added the Armor Express Plate Carriers to our inventory due to design and features in a reasonable price range that are a couple steps up from Condor. There are weekend warriors and there are full time SWAT and Law Enforcement or serious Operators that need more, I highly recommend considering the Armor Express Rapid and the Armor Express Responder Plate carriers for quality carriers under $150 we pretty much sent Shellback out the door after too many issues with side plates not fitting correctly, but not with Armor Express.
The accessories market isn’t going to die down anytime soon but there is so much out there, as a retailer in this industry, there are plenty of products we avoid carrying because they are too much of a niche and even though they might be cool, not everyone is going to want to buy the attachments or do the research into using it properly. We still sell a ton of single point bungee slings and most people just adapt to it, but if you’ve carried a carbine for any period of time, you’ll want something better and we are often pointing to Magpul MS3 Gen 2 Slings or the Magpul MS2 QD or the MS4 QD Slings.
So many people are building AR15s these days because not only is it fun, you don’t end up being that guy that walks into our store and asks for a sling and find out that your stock has zero QD or Quick Detach points. Those are things to think about when you are picking out your buttstock or your handguards and part of the reason the Magpul M-Lok and Key-Mod stuff is the way of the future. Hopefully there aren’t major changes in the accessory market for another decade (crossing fingers) but we’re already seeing a run on the MOE Polymer Rail Sections since the MOE stocks are no longer being made. The ability to go from a single point sling to a two point sling can make carrying a rifle more comfortable given the circumstances you are as well as quick detach. We highly recommend investing in Magpul Slings and as a brand name in Magpul, and consider them in your next build.
I’ve been using a Smith & Wesson Model 637 for sometime now and it has a Crimson Trace Laser on it that in the almost 4yrs I’ve had it, is still on the first battery that came with it. There are pros and cons to each laser design, whether it attaches to the trigger guard, the rail system, or is fired from the grip. With all of my experience, hits are what count and even shooting long range, I’m hitting steel plates and not so concerned about MOA. Getting the first hits is more important that group size and in my opinion, lasers are excellent pointing devices and people should be less concerned about trying to hold the laser perfectly still and putting every bullet in the exact same hole.
After reviewing several self defense engagements, I noticed that every one of them was at night or in very low light conditions. There’s a reason most handgun manufacturers have rails systems on them now, Glock, Sig, Springfield, Smith & Wesson because flashlights and lasers are very durable and are almost considered standard. There is always a certain amount of training and time you should have with a device to gain the muscle memory to deploy it properly but when I think of laser grips, it’s always Crimson Trace Laser Grips due to their time in the industry, warranties and reputation. Night Sights have come a long way and might cost about half of what a laser sighting system might be but lasers have their own illumination factor similar to what flashlights do and can “light up” a target in dark situations. Just something to consider when shopping.
We’ve learned a lot over the years about directing our customers to the right products, and we’ve also learned to not get talked into a trap and end up with a customer coming back to us blaming us for a bad decision. People walk in our store and say ” I want a comfortable holster” or “I’m a 36/32 in 5.11 Tactical pants what size am I in Tru-Spec”. The answer to that is, we don’t have an answer, it’s something they have to determine for themselves. Part of the problem with shopping for a holster is that you don’t know if you like it until you are wearing it for awhile. There are always things you can change, like getting a better gun belt the supports the weight of a firearm better, but there’s a point we tell people that you really need to pick a smaller gun or consider pocket carry.
Pocket carry seems to be far more popular these days than it was before, probable because so many holster makers are seeing all of the compact 9mm and .380 pistols. The Glock 42 and Glock 43 are extremely popular and probable the best options are pocket carry for these guns even though there are some decent Desantis Holsters that are IWB. The Desantis Nemesis holsters have been around for a long time and are designed to grip onto the material inside your pants pocket and pull away if you were to draw the gun. If you have a soft cotton liner in your pocket beware. these pocket holsters have a high failure rate with regular clothing and need a little bit of friction. There are a few variables like pocket dimensions ect but if you are pocket carrying, the clothes you were are very important.
I really don’t know what the whole story was with this holster but it was a long time coming. We knew it was in the works over 4yrs ago and has only been out for less than 2yrs. At first glimpse this is a huge holster, definitely not a CCW holster but an excellent LEVEL 3 holster. If you don’t need LEVEL 3 then don’t buy it, but if you want a secure holster that holds a Surefire X300U then all the sales data we have on these gives us a reason to stock them. Blackhawk seems to be slow at making holsters for Sig Sauer which we’ve gotten a lot of requests for and are only making them for large frame Glocks like the Glock 17, Glock 22 and Glock 31 and the Glock 20, Glock 21 and Glock 37 firearms as well as the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm,40 and 45.
It’s always an issue for us to match a customers needs with a holster and find out who makes it, so it’s real simple, if you have a large frame Glock or a Smith & Wesson M&P then the Blackhawk Epoch Level 3 holster is an excellent light bearing level 3 holster. Blackhawk has a very diverse holster product line for other Duty firearms but isn’t that friendly toward customers looking for gun holsters with tactical lights unless you have a Xiphos weapon light, and to date, we’ve never had a customer tell us they do. Great holster for Glock and M&P but come on Blackhawk, make more gun options.
The AR10 never really seemed to catch on and it’s been around for a very long time, but the barrels and accuracy and weight of .308 AR’s has so dramatically improved that it isn’t very hard to take the Match ammo or hunting ammo you used in your bolt action gun and start using it in a Ruger 716, Sig SR-762, DPMS SASS and RECON, and the LMT. I was amazed with the LWRC Repr rifle and how little recoil it had and how it felt like an actual M4 in my hands. .308 ammo is very common to those that reload on a Dillon 550 but there really wasn’t much out there before except M14s, FNFAL and G3 and Cetme rifles. The AR platform is just so ergonomically designed that it’s become a multi-caliber firearm.
When it comes to finding gun cases that you don’t have to cut out foam or end up with too much bulk, and you don’t want something cheap to protect your $2000 Carbine and also stow magazines and accessories, the Elite Survival Covert Operations gun case is now being sold with 223 magazine pouches, 9mm or 30 cal stick mag pouches, 762×39 and .308 pouches. These are easier to store in your home than hard cases and have a shoulder strap and low profile design, the mag pouches are all internal so it looks like a case, not a gun case.
First off, you don’t need to be a police officer to have the NAR IPOK, just like you don’t need to be in the Army to have an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit), that’s just what it’s called. I’ve been on camping trips with Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops where I see 14yr old kids show up with this stuff, make me happy to see that level or responsibility at such young ages. I was even up at the regional Boy Scout store Scout Stuff and they had quick clot and other first aid kits there. It’s nice to see that lever of modern first aid in circulation.
So if you don’t feel like you have a place to carry a molle pouch around with and you’re not one of those people that tows a 3 day backpack or a go bag, there is definitely a place to get an updated first aid kit or a real easy buy is the NAR Individual Patrol Officer Kit, you get 2 Black Talon Gloves, 1 CAT Tourniquet, Flat Z-Fold Gauze and 1 Flat Trauma dressing in a sealed bag, the only negative about this kit it’s meant for being put in a BDU pocket and needs to be opened up, but you can always open it up and put it in a small box in your car and know that’s your go to place if you need it, your car is an excellent place to stock first aid supplies because most of the time, we’re not very far from it.