Showing posts with label gun porn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gun porn. Show all posts

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Revolvers, Choice and Emotional vs Rational Decision Making

My buddy Displaced Louisiana Guy talked about revolvers and I did my own kinda brief post then well we got here. This hit on a couple things that merited a larger discussion.

I can not put words in my buddy's mouth. Don't know him that well and really knowing what someone is thinking is an iffy proposition at best.

To close at least as far as this discussion goes the revolver vs semi auto discussion. While the difference in capacity is huge in a service sized pistol it is less so in a sub compact carry piece. A G17 with one in the pipe holds as much as a wheel gun with 2 reloads. They are to modern gun fighting what the Henry repeater was to the civil war AKA a game changer. When we narrow it down to sub compact CCW type guns the real capabilities are a lot closer. If we go to single stack auto's, which probably carry closer to a J frame, the capacity is darn near the same though the auto still has a reload edge. A Kahr CW9, S&W Shield, etc all holds 7-8 and a typical J holds 5. Sure 2-3 rounds is something but it's not the game changing 3x advantage a Glock 17 has on a standard wheel gun.

Finding a scenario where a J frame falls short but a single stack like a Shield/ CW9/ etc comes through is iffy. A round or two more and a faster reload to lose the contact shot and easy button failure drill (squeeze trigger again) might not be a great trade off. Make it a Glock 26 or the M&P equivalent which hold about double the bullets at 10ish and it could well matter.

Still at the end of the day for a normal guy doing normal guy stuff facing normal guy problems a J frame is probably plenty. The cliche 3 rounds in 3 seconds  at 3 yards thing comes to mind here.

This brings us to a larger point. Being sentimental is part of what makes us human. Often survivalists and gun types are sentimental about kind of odd things like revolvers or old case folding knives or ALICE packs.  I think we gun types and survivalists can get so focused on making the right rational decision that we try to justify things that way. Instead of just saying that we like X, in this case wheel guns, and that we prefer it to another option which might actually have some rational advantages.

I think being honest about this has value. Why? First and foremost being real and honest is just plain useful. Second and more significantly being honest with ourselves lets us make decisions more rationally. Say item A has 85% of the overall capabilities of item B but I really like it for whatever reason? Well instead of trying to justify why A is as good as B I can look at whether A can do enough of the job to be good enough for me. Maybe item A only has 50% of the capability of item B and even though you love it you should put it up on the mantle above the fireplace and carry B instead.

So be honest with yourself and accept when you are being emotional about stuff. It will actually let you make better decisions in the end.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

From Around The Web

Massad Ayoob links to CSM Ret Zins talking about the benefits of using the distal joint of the trigger finger instead of the pad. These gentlemen deposit more handgun shooting knowledge into the urinal after too many beers than I possess. While relatively my opinion is meaningless I concur. I like the joint as a reference point and also think it makes for a smoother/ straighter pull than the pad.

Also no longer in the Bayou Rennaisance Man linked to a post by FerFal that discusses some commentary from the recent civil war in the Ukraine. The themes of food, water filtration, cash in a stable currency and or precious metals, communications and back up plans for heating, electricity, etc are consistent with most disaster preparedness thinking.

Our friend Displaced Louisiana Guy talks revolvers vs semi auto's. I semi inspired that post. The hard truth (and where I disagree with my buddy) is modern quality semi auto handguns are as reliable, if not more so than revolvers. Still revolvers have some advantages. First the failure drill for a revolver is just pulling the trigger again. Second the fixed barrel means you can execute repeated 'contact shots'. Third being thin at the barrel (AKA just barrel not slide frame) and butt (no mag) makes them more concealable than a similarly sized auto. Fourth for a worst case scenario revolvers can handle a lot wider range of ammo. All revolvers need is enough powder to move the bullet and do the job but not so much as to blow the gun up. Semi auto's need to cycle which is a bit more problematic. If folks are home brewing reloads I would take my chances with a steel .357 long before a Glock.

Downsides are the guns are considerably more fragile. More than a casual bump to the cylinder will put one out of action. Also they don't hold many bullets and the reload times suck.

I prefer auto's but do not feel under gunned for most normal civilian type situations packing a wheel gun. Some of them are very easy to shoot well. With one particular revolver I basically stopped shooting inside 50 meters because it was boringly predictable. Might just have 6 but if I can put those 6 in a pie pan at 75 yards the odds they will count are very high. Also a 158gr JSP .357 mag is no joke in terms of ballistics. I'll carry it for anything less than Grizzly bears. If I ever move to serious Grizzly country well I will buy a .44 mag and load it with 240 grain SP ammo.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Comment by Tam!

One of the cool things about being a Busch League blogger is that I have been able to interact with some pretty cool people who are, if just in our small circles, pretty well known. In some cases I have even built relationships.

A day or two ago I was looking at

When Your Optics and AR Platform Rifles Break?

 Saw a comment by Tam, like Tam of View from the Porch which probably gets as many hits in a day as I do in a year. 

Tam said..."As an aside I have often wondered how long I could use an AR-15 with only this method of cleaning."
Well, Pat Rogers has a whole bunch of rounds through Filthy 14.October 21, 2015 at 5:30 PM  
Comment end
Ryan here. A comment by Tam is pretty awesome. I can only aspire to her level of humor, to say noting of snark. I am familiar with Filthy 14. It really brought BCM into my mind as a company. IMO they make a professional grade rifle with a lot of off the shelf options for configuration/ accessories at an aggressive price point. I will build another BCM at some point.
Filthy 14 was also a significant driving force in me building Project AR which is not surprisingly a BCM Middy. Hind sight being 20/20 I would have gone carbine length (much better rail options, particularly with an A2 FSP, overall better spare parts availability) but that isn't here or there.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

When Your Optics and AR Platform Rifles Break? Part 2

I had planned on When Your Optics and AR Platform Rifles Break? being a stand alone post. Then a couple things happened.

First our friend Meister did a good post on the subject and I thought you should check it out.

Second after reading Meisters post then looking back at mine there were some glaring omissions in my first post. So I intend to address those.

Iron sights. This is really only a discussion with AR pattern rifles as the current fad is flat top rails on the receiver (a good idea) and low pro gas blocks to allow the full length rails (a questionable idea IMO) which everyone seems to like today.

Fundamentally I start with iron sights then potentially add an optic. So the end is that I have a set of redundant ZEROED sights for my rifle. Why do I do this?

The first reason is cost. Lets say a budget AR costs $650ish and a baseline professional grade (BCM, Colt, LMT) is $950-1,200ish. After digging deep to buy a rifle you might need to save for awhile to get an optic. Presuming you have an A2 style front sight/ gas block the only cost to a BUIS is the $40-100 for the rear sight.

Note: You do need to make a decision here to go with a fixed site or a folding one. The decision is made based on the type of optic you plan to eventually use. In general magnified optics necessitate a folding site while red dot type sights let you go either way.

Second is redundancy. With sights a rifle is effective to a quarter mile or so with the biggest limiting factor being the shooter. Without sights a rifle might be good to 25 yards or so. If there was a convenient affordable option to have a second extractor and ejector for just $50 I would!

Third to look at the other side; why not have iron sights? To save $50-100 cost and an ounce or two of weight? Pshaw. New topic.

Magazines. I made a critical error in not touching the topic of magazines.

In magazine fed weapons most feeding issues are caused by magazines. Before going any further my immediate test is always to try another magazine. The vast majority of the time it solves the problem.

Mag issues come from crap mags and wear n tear. Don't buy crap mags. Get either OEM or military contract mags. The only exceptions that come to mind are Magpul rifle mags (I am not sure their Glock mags are ready for prime time yet) and various quality brands of 1911 mags. Removing crap mags from the equation we are left with wear and tear.

Magazines really need to be thought of as a semi disposable item like say tires for a car or socks. They just plain wear out. Once they hit the end of their life span feeding issues pop up and get worse over time until you either totally rebuild it or toss it.

Meisters point about feed lips, etc is valid. That being said unless you have an oddball special snowflake rifle (Valumet .308, etc) or are in one of those states where mags have to be pre ban mags are cheap enough one might consider what their time is worth and just replace bad mags.

Right now PMAGs are well under $15 a piece (10 or more PMAGS @13.25 per at Lucky Gunner). You can consistently find military contract type aluminum (C products, etc) under $10 per, as low as 6-7 is not uncommon.

I believe in stocking mags pretty deep. 10+ per pistol and 20+ per rifle. The biggest reason for this is the darn things wear out. Since I can not say 100% replacement mags will always be available at today's very affordable prices I have some spares factored in to my stocking levels.

Anyway I think that hits the points I really wanted to add to the conversation.

Friday, October 16, 2015

When Your Optics and AR Platform Rifles Break?

John Mosby wrote When You Break Your Optic which is a very good article discussing the ruggedness of quality modern optics. He brings up some excellent points. Modern quality optics designed for combat use (vs deer hunting, airsoft, etc) are pretty darn rugged. I hesitate to name brands and get too deep into that debate but brands like Trijicon, Aimpoint, Eotech and the Leupold LEO/mil line come to mind. Also the Burris MTAC is hell for stout (albeit with a weight to match).

Before going on I should talk about my background because it applies to this conversation. I have over a decade of service in the Army. Some reserve and some active. Split among various types of units but all people who use their weapons for hard realistic training on a regular basis and in ground combat. I have been to so many ranges, live fires and field problems it would take too long to list. I have also deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. The point is not to brag or some junk but to illustrate that I have used/shot a whole bunch of AR type rifles and been around a metric shit ton off them being used/shot. Ditto for optics.

Based on personal experiences and direct observations on combat optics:

-I have seen a handful of Eotech's and a couple of Aimpoint's fail. The Eotech's half strait up failed and half failed to hold zero/ take adjustments. The Aimpoints all kept functioning but failed to hold zero/ take adjustments. These optics were just plain worn out. They all had at least 2 deployments (aprox 27 months of combat time in Baghdad) as well as lots of training and range time. The use these optics took exceeds what any civilian user would do in a lifetime. Except just maybe John who trains a lot and likes to throw his rifle all over the place.

-The screws that hold the batteries in Aimpoint's tend to occasionally get mis threaded or lost. A couple spares (with the spring etc) per optic in the safe and maybe one per every several rifles in say a squad rifle repair kit would address the problem. They are about the size of a small gumball and I suspect fairly affordable.

-Eotech's. While I would agree with the consensus that they are the weakest of the big 3 (Aimpoint, Eotech, ACOG) they do not seem to have a single weak point. I should note being the weakest of those 3 is like being the #3 heavyweight power lifter at a major regional meet. Yes you are weaker than the two who placed higher but you are still ridiculously strong.

-ACOG's are damn near bombproof.

I also got to thinking about the AR-15 platform of rifles. Mostly this is based on military experience but I have a fair bit of experience on the civilian side as well.

Based on personal experiences and direct observations on the AR-15 platform:

-The receiver extension AKA buffer tube on adjustable stock (M4) type rifles is a weakest link of the chain. I have seen several break. They can take very little pressure at an angle before breaking. That IMT junk where you use the butt to break your fall does not work with this setup. Note if you want to whack someone with your M4 buttstock do it in a strait thrust.

-Lots of ejectors and buffer tube springs causing problems. We could debate whether this is a direct failure or a lack of adequate preentative maintenance but all the same. Stock spares of these parts.

-Tons of little pins getting lost during cleaning. So many pins, springs, extractors, etc. Even a few firing pins. My advice is that unless you have a decent place inside with an honest to goodness floor AND access to spare parts in a combat/ survival situation I would only strip an AR-15 down to the complete bolt carrier group, charging handle and the receiver. Clean the barrel with a rod or boresnake, wipe down the inside of the receiver and the BCG to get the crud off, relube and you are good to go.

[As an aside I have often wondered how long I could use an AR-15 with only this method of cleaning. Unless Lucky Gunner decides to send me a few dozen cases of M193 ball we are unlikely to find out but I suspect a very long time. Certainly long enough that a survivalist/ G would rotate back to some permissive area where a detailed cleaning would be safe and prudent.]

-Occasionally extractors strait up break. Again we could debate if preventative maintenance should catch it but I have seen it enough I would say the part is a fairly weak link.

-Once in a blue moon a bolt breaks.

Anyway I hope that my ramblings give you some things to think about and just maybe use to feed your stock spare parts, etc.

The comments section is open as always.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

From Around The Web

Tam is about halfway through her now standard 2k with no lube or cleaning test with her sweet 1911. So far there are two failures (one of which might well be attributed to questionable random ammo she had) which is pretty solid. Without doing math in public that is well under .01%. Also it looks good.

This has me really wanting to do some sort of 1911 project. I wanted a cool pistol to go with my FAL and have been thinking about different ideas. A nice 1911 would fit the bill. I kind of want to build a cool old school (well to me anyway) 80's era Colt 1911 with Pachmyr rubber grips and Novak low profile sights. Or I could go with the Longmire and get a plane jane one with Elk grips.

[Don't have a clue how I would fund it. Also it would not be the best way to spend that money which if I shopped hard could get a serviceable but budget M4 pattern AR-15 for a truck gun and another Glock for a rainy day but I digress. Thinking about what we want to buy/ build is half the fun anyway and 2-3 times a year money has a way of appearing so who knows. On a serious note I will get a case each of 5.56, 7.62 ball AND a truck gun M4, though maybe not in that exact order, before thinking about it.]

Oleg Volk talks about Selecting Handgun Pairs for Carry and Home Defense. My thoughts on the subject:
-Oleg makes a good point about similar methods of operation, especially for an inexperienced shooter. Commonality is good as one system is easier to become proficient with.
-The two guns need to be different enough in size to really be distinguishable. A full sized handgun and a gun on the top end of the compact range (I'm talking to you G19 and Commander Sized 1911's) do not really offer much in terms of different options.
-Magazine and caliber commonality is good if you can get it. 
- Modern upwards compatible handgun systems (Glock, M&P, XD, etc) that offer sub compact if not quite pocket sized models as well as larger compact to service sized handguns offer really good possibilities in this area. A G26 to carry and a G17 at home with a light on it by your bed is a heck of a set up.
-If wheel guns are your thing the classic combo of a little j frame .38 and a big ole .357 mag is a great option.
-I know a couple guys who have a full sized .45 for a house/ woods/ range gun and a little .380 pocket rocket to carry. This is a pretty decent set up; the only criticism I could bring of it is that they probably carry the .380 when they should have a real gun.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

From Around The Web

Tam is doing one of her 2k tests on her sweet custom 1911. This should be interesting. On a somewhat related note my inner non financially responsible gun nut has been whispering about 1911's in my ear for a couple weeks. I might just cancel my queued mental order for a stainless .357 mag (which has long been on the list) and go that way. A .45 wouldn't be a bad BBQ/ woods gun. Maybe at some point I will treat myself.

Our friend Harry, who has been around for awhile, wrote a couple of excellent posts recently.

-Well buckets for drilled wells

-If I could only have a few survival books on the shelf

Good stuff. I will add the books I don't have to the list for sure.

Reid Hendricks talks his current EDC

My light summer EDC

The Basics of Handgun Shooting in 60 Seconds

Normal posting will resume this weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

7.62 Battle Rifle Thoughts and Tattler Lid Deals and Directive 21

I have been thinking about 7.62 battle rifles a lot lately. Not buying one any time soon. Honestly over the rest of this year my gun goals are to perfect my systems, save enough cash to take another CSAT class and close out a few odds n ends. Specifically I want to buy a case of 5.56, a few boxes of 150 gr .308 SP ammo and a couple of .380 auto plus some various magazines. That will pretty much take all of my projected gun money for the rest of the year.

About a year from now I will be looking at a semi auto .308 unless I sell some dead weight to get the ball rolling which is a possibility I am pondering. The PTR-91 offers some big advantages and is the forerunner. A couple other guns do interest me.

The new DSA SA-58 Voyager brings in a big name FAL for about $1,100. These are to the DSA FAL what the Kahr CW line is to their P series. A gun with some, largely insignificant modifications, that ends up bringing a high quality gun into peoples hands at a more affordable price. This has the up side of giving me the most popular (at least world wide) 7.62 battle rifle with very deep options for customization or scrounging spare parts. This could also be handy in some potential survivalist scenarios as those evil foreign troops might well be packing FAL's. The down sides are 1) parts are fairly expensive and 2) The only reason the FAL is still alive in the US is DSA. It is for all intensive purposes a one manufacturer system as the old rifles, parts kits and mags dried up a long time ago. The logistics of the FAL are only going to keep getting worse. [This could also be said for the G3/PTR-91 though it is ten years or so behind the FAL.]

The DPMS 3G1 7.62 is pretty much everything I would want in an AR-10. Shipped to my LGS it would be in the $1,450 range which is more money but this gun has a lot of cool features and relative to the AR-10 market is a good buy. Mags are the same price as for the FAL ($20ish) and parts, which not cheap are widely available. My extensive training with the platform would help considerably with the learning curve. The downside is cost: For the price of a 3G1 I could get a PTR-91 with 30 magazines and a full spare parts kit. Since I'm just barely realistically in a place to look at a 7.62 semi auto good for anything but bubba dumping at the gravel pit this is a significant consideration. The biggest plus in the AR-10's corner is they are currently being made by a wide variety of manufacturers. The logistics for AR-10's will improve in time while the others are getting worse.

My gut says I'm too late for a FAL to make sense. They are so iconic and cool but arguably offer some of the worst of both worlds being expensive to procure and a 1 manufacturer show with a dwindling surplus of .mil stuff stateside. Sure the G3 stuff isn't getting more common but it is fairly cheap and definitely out there. For $500 one could buy a lifetime supply of mags and spare parts for a PTR. As to the AR-10 I think the market is going to keep getting better as it moves towards a standardization of parts along the M110/SR-25/ DPMS lines. Also I think prices are going to keep slipping down. There is no reason an AR in .308 costs twice as much as a similar one in 5.56.


On an unrelated note Directive 21 is offering 5% off Tattler Wide Mouth Lids and ten bucks off their regular mouth lids.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

CSAT Tactical Pistol Operator Course Review

Today I am going to be reviewing a pistol course I recently attended. I went over to Combat Shooting and Tactics (CSAT) for their Tactical Pistol Operator Course.

The good:

A significant reason why I chose to train at CSAT was it's owner and primary instructor Paul Howe. Without overly 'tooting his horn' there is not anyone involved in modern tactical firearms instruction with a significantly better background to do what they do than Paul Howe. [Though he has a few peers such as Kyle Lamb, Pat McNamara, Larry Vickers and Frank Proctor, plus surely some Navy guys with similar credits.] He spent over a decade in a tier one Special Operations unit as an NCO. He was either doing bad things to bad people, or training others to do bad things to bad people for over a decade. When it comes to tactical weapon employment and self defense arguing anyone has much, if anything, on Paul Howe is an uphill battle.

This class starts with a brief introduction to firearms safety as well as the procedures they want you to use for clearing, loading, etc handguns. At this time the rules of the range and administrative considerations were discussed.

We also had a brief discussion of gear options with a focus on a tactical, assault type set up.
After the admin notes we had a period of instruction on drawing, gripping and firing a pistol. We then moved in to a drill based on the instruction.

The way the class worked is that we would come together for a period of instruction. After the period of instruction we would execute a drill. This broke pretty evenly into modules that were 45-50 minutes long. After a module we would reload magazines and ‘fluids in/ fluids out’ then move to the next module.

The class flowed in a logical, cumulative sequence. We took a break at lunch to eat then got back at it till about 4pm. The next day we got together at 8 and began again in the same format as the day before. It ended around 330 on Sunday.

I cannot necessarily recall every single drill or the flow of them but it all worked really well and built on itself. We trained on a variety of drills and the kneeling position.

Instructors were present and walked the line giving reminders and additional guidance as needed. They did a real good job of tempering this to the individual students experience level which varied widely. The DPS SRT member was on a different level than the eager, but decidedly new to guns, couple from San Francisco.

Day 1 ended with shooting some standards and being videotaped.

Day 2 began with watching the video from the end of Day 1. Being able to watch ourselves was a valuable visual of our shortcomings. Reminders were given. Following that we discussed some tactical issues and went over some real world shooting cases. Additionally we had a discussion about concealed carry gear, rifles and active shooter type bags.

After building fundamentals on day 1 we moved into different scenarios for day 2. First we worked on moving with hot weapons around people and shooting for precision in a hostage scenario. Next moved around/ between and shot from vehicles. After vehicles we worked on point of aim on a target wearing a t shirt and shot standards. After that we shot from behind barriers. The class culminated with us shooting the CSAT instructor standards to receive a score which can be used as a reference point for the future.

Specific take aways. Way too many to mention.

Draw to high ready and firing was trained. It was in line with the modern isosoles method but not strictly speaking a ‘4 step draw’. Paul said the reason for this is a fixation on sub steps (between holster and shooting) leads to artificial stops in the middle. This lead to a draw with the hands coming together at the high ready then pressing out fast into position, prepping the trigger while extending the arms, and shooting once you get the front sight. The result was a smooth movement that was natural.

Draws started from what Paul calls ‘interview stance’ in a natural athletic position with your hands together at roughly chest level. The reason for this is it’s a good universal position for a potentially violent situation. You can fight with hands, block, etc from there.

From other life experiences this is a good compromise between some sort of fighting stance which is aggressive and can be seen mistakenly by witnesses and being ready to get clobbered with your hands at your sides. In the past I have used the open hands towards people stance but Paul’s option is just fine. Really the difference between a fighting stance and these other stances is fists being closed and slightly higher. Either way the point to have your hands up and ready to react is significant.
Natural point of aim was a big point of the class. Going from a natural athletic type stance such as ‘interview’ through your draw should put the front sight on target at pistol fighting ranges. We still used sights but the goal is through proper mechanics that when you make the decision to shoot and your pistol leaves the high ready it lands on target.

Since we decide to shoot when leaving the high ready the trigger is being prepped from that point to full extension where you shoot. This movement is quite fast. The goal was under 1 second to hit a 6X13 vital zone at 7 yards. I achieved this goal albeit dead on with no margin for error.
The point to do things consistently was significant in the class. Example, every time you work the slide on a pistol grab it overhand. I was definitely guilty of using a ‘pinch’ technique for administrative stuff in the past so this was a point of improvement for me. The point of this is to be consistent across the board.

Dove tailing from that point the key that shooting is really all about consistence was pressed.
Both in the course of instruction and on the spot corrections to shooters Paul made a big point of only adjusting one thing at a time. I believe in the course of instruction the reason for this is to isolate a variable and guide shooters to the right answer FOR THAT VARIABLE. Over the course of instruction we worked through these in a logical sequence to end up in about as good of a place as a person can get in 2 days. For on the spot corrections Paul did the same thing. The reason was that a person can only really focus on changing one or maybe two things at a time.

The importance of automatically re acquiring your site picture after a shot was made. The reason for this is that it saves the time of doing so and thus speeds up the follow up shot if needed.
In a tactical sense we discussed managing encounters. The basics being awareness, verbal engagement [“I don’t want to talk with you today. Get away from me, do it now” doesn’t leave much room for ambiguity. If somebody ignores that they are deaf or planning something bad.], the use of objects such as vehicles or gas pumps to create space and such. This also lead to some interesting discussion on use of force with currently serving LEOs in the room.

Use of force is a really complicated discussion and I would not hesitate to give any form of legal advice. That being said one might want to look at how their state treats civilians in use of force scenarios. In say Texas the odds are a person who acts reasonably is going to be OK, not so much in California. Just another thing to think about.

So much more stuff than I could remember. Honestly it was 2 days of drinking from a fire hose.
The Bad: I wasn’t able to take this class last year. Was signed up but work messed it up. Something came up and it was going to be OK, just narrowly. Our schedule was delayed 3 days out (from the class) and I was stuck in the Middle East. Paul said no big deal and cut me a full refund. A year later it worked out for me to take the class.

The Ugly: I didn’t take this class a decade ago.

Pistols- The class was probably 40% Glock, 30% M&P, 15% Sig and the rest were a mix of different pistols (a couple of those new H&K’s and I think some sort of new Walther.) Two of the SIGs were duty guns for Texas LEO’s and the other was a guy from San Francisco. He had a real hard time managing the DA first shot on that gun. Darn near pulled every one of them. He is going to buy a Glock.

Most folks shot compact or full sized handguns. A couple guys had subcompact Glocks. One swapped out in favor of his G19 and the other has a young guy (like under 18) who shot Dads Glock 30S the whole time. His had was pretty darn sore. Most guns were in 9mm, there were quite a few .40’s, about 3 .45’s and one guy using the Texas DPS issued Sig in .357 SIG.

Most shooters were using some sort of OWB kydex belt holster. A few like me had drop type rigs. The LEO’s were wearing their Batman Belts with Safariland holsters.
I used a TT Duty Belt, my Safariland 6125 with a ghetto rigged leg strap, and a TT double mag pouch. Would have used my HSGI rig but I wanted to keep it simple. From here on out I will practice mostly with the HSGI Costa Leg Rig.

Planned Gear Changes:
Pistol- Grip force adapter to let me get a slightly higher grip and have more surface area on the gun.
Gear- I could use a couple inch longer leg strap for the Safariland. Otherwise I think I’ll stick with that rig for awhile and see how it goes. I need some of those belt keepers to keep my inner belt and duty belt together, especially if I’ll be wearing it for awhile.
Conclusion: The class rocked and I strongly recommend it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

From Around The Web

Lucky Gunner's Guide to the S&W .38/.357 Mag revolver. A pretty cool resource to wade through their myriad of different frames, configurations and model numbers. 

Two Commandments by Kenny of Knuckle Draggin My Life Away. Beware. Clicking through the link is fine for anybody. Wading into the general blog will expose you to foul language and pictures of beautiful women in bikini's, thong underwear, etc. Depending on your perspective that might be awesome or offensive.

Captains Journal talks M4 reliability. Looks like we are going back to industry, which makes some great rifles, for suggestions on improving the standard service rifle.

Mike Pattone and Defense Review talk The Big M4 Fouling Myth. They make a compelling case to swap out a few simple, user level, parts to improve the rifles ability to feed and cycle. Specifically a heavier buffer/ buffer spring and an upgraded extractor spring with crane 0 ring. Good to think about and not too expensive to impliment. Keep existing parts as spares.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Firearm Selection Criteria: Concept of Use, Reliability, Commonality, Affordability, and Personal Preference

Today I want to talk about a methodology for selection of firearms and arguably other tools. I put these in order intentionally; the way I did it was working through the perspective of a person trying to decide on a type of weapon to purchase. It is also worth noting I am focusing on weapons for practical, predominantly defensive, use. For sporting weapons reliability is less important as the worst case is a ruined day of hunting or whatever your hobby is. Weapons purchased for enjoyment of shooting or collecting can fail to meet any of the criteria and still be your thing. If you like shooting black powder rifles or surplus Swiss Schmidd Rubens in 7.5x55 which is currently on sale for .51 cents a round at Lucky Gunner then roll with it, the act is it's own reward. So here we go.

The first category is concept of use. It took a lot of consideration to put this one first. The reason is that it is going to decide the general type of weapons you are going to be looking into.

I will explain in a brief tangent. A gun can be great but entirely wrong for what you want it to do. A Glock 22 is the pistol most likely to be in an LEO's holster in any town USA. A fishermen in Alaska might very well be packing a Ruger or S&W .44 mag. A normal guy down in Florida who wants a discrete summer CCW piece he doesn't need to dress around might be packing a tiny .380 like a Ruger LCP. Lets say they all rotate leaving the fishermen with the Glock 40, the cop with the Ruger LCP and the guy down in Florida with the big ole .44 mag. Obviously this is a big old ball of fail.

Think of it like walking into a big well stocked gun store. The fishermen would go to the racks of big bore revolvers, specifically the double action ones. The LEO would gravitate to the racks of semi automatic pistols specifically looking at the compact and full sized models. The guy from Florida would go look at the smaller semi automatic pistols and revolvers.

While you obviously need to look at the general type of weapons that fit your need I would urge against being TOO SPECIFIC. The reason for this is a tendency to create artificially specific requirements to lead you down a path to a gun you want and feel justified in getting whatever you want. One might say this is fine. I disagree for two reasons. First people do not look to justify a decision they inherently know is sound. They are looking to justify a decision because it is too expensive, entirely unneeded or has other various downsides. Second by putting these arbitrary specific criteria at the beginning of the selection process (vs at the end) they may come to a conclusion that has some fundamental problems.

The second category is reliability. Guns owned to save your life in an emergency need to be reliable. I'm not talking 'this gun is reliable if it has been cleaned the day before, is lubricated just so and has special ammunition made of unicorn horns and big foot bones' but under all manner of conditions.

Generally the easiest way to get this is to buy a firearm made to a professional standard. As such it might not be a bad idea to look at weapons used by the military (not just ours) and law enforcement. I don't want to get into any arguments but we're talking big, quality companies like Ruger, Glock, Smith and Wesson, Remington, Sig Sauer, H&K, etc. Avoid fly by night manufacturers and 'price point' brands. Of course even the lowest end Saturday Night Special manufacturer probably, if just by luck, managed to put out a couple guns that work really well. If you happen to have one of those then rock with it. That being said generally after one digs into the 'my Ghetto Blaster Pimptastic Model' works perfectly they find the gun is actually used very little. They haven't tested their guns enough for anything to happen.

Next comes commonality. Commonality of manufacturer, model and chambering. There are a lot of reasons for this. The biggest single one is that common manufacturers/ models and cartridges are common for a reason. Glock hasn't sold millions of 9mm Glock 17's  because it is a piece of junk. Winchester Model 94 30-30 stood the test of time and stayed in production for over a century because they were great rifles and people loved them.

Additionally commonality of a weapon tends to mean more accessories, holsters, custom parts, etc are available for that weapon. Pretty much every holster company makes every model for say a Glock 17 or Sig P226. You can't say that about a Broomhandled Mauser.

Commonality also goes a long way in showing you what sort of support there is for a firearm. Support in terms of spare parts should something break, continued availability of mags, etc all is largely dictated by a weapons commonality. It is a lot easier to find a spring or pin for an AR-15in 5.56 than for an FN-FAL in 280 British.

These are considerations for any firearm owner. A preparedness inclined person is going to weigh availability (which is linked to commonality) of mags and spare parts a whole lot higher than a normal shooter. In an ugly situation I would be able to find say a spare part for an AK-47 or a Glock 17 9mm in my community. It would be a big hassle and I would pay dearly for it, which is why I stock spare parts, but I could get it. On the other hand if the guns were a new boutique rifle  in 6.8 and a Makarov pistol there might not be spare parts within 500 miles which I would not be able to find them in an emergency or realistically get them. Commonality and the ability to trade/ cross level/ scavenge parts/ mags has been weighted heavily for me in recent years and has been a seriously limiting factor in my weapons choices.

Hate to be a buzz kill but affordability matters. We all have budgets and competing demands. I believe owning good modern weapons is important but we have to be realistic. If you are on a $500 Glock/ S&W M&P/ Springfield XD budget there isn't much point in looking at $950 stainless steel SIGs, let alone 3k custom 1911's.

Look beyond the cost of the gun. Consider the cost of mags, spare parts, ammo, etc all to equip the gun however you deem necessary. For example for a fighting pistol like my Glock 19 I like to have at least 10 mags and 1,000 rounds of ammo.  The cost difference figured this way between say my G19 and an H&K .45 is going to be significant.

Awhile back Commander Zero broke down exactly how long it would take to save enough money for a Glock and an AR-15 earning just minimum wage. A couple months of delivering Pizza's a few shifts a week after work would do it. Granted that would suck but if you really want some decent guns and money is tight it would be a way to do it.

Personal Preference comes last. We have already narrowed down the pool of potential options that fit our concept of use to reliable, fairly common models within our budget. Now we can look within those options and make personal preference decisions.
James Yeager talks personal preference. In short he thinks it is a bunch of crap. I agree with Mr. Yeagers general point that personal preference can be taken to extremes. In some circles it is an 'everyone is a unique and special snowflake' sort of thing. This is doubly true with inexperienced shooters. The truth is that your unique choice might in fact be stupid.

Where I disagree with Mr Yeager is that, within an intentionally selected pool of options I see no issue with people making choices based on personal preference. Maybe a person is in the market for a defensive shotgun and logically narrowed their choices down to the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870. Say that person is a lefty so they go for the Mossberg 500 whose controls are easier to handle. Say a perspective LEO was looking for a duty weapon and for the sake of this discussion he had free reign to carry any non single action compact or full sized 9mm, 40 S&W or .45 acp .That young man might handle all of those pistols and rent the three or four he liked best to shoot.

So to close out on personal preference I do believe personal preference has a valid role in firearm selection so long as it is within a pool of weapons that meet some logical pre determined criteria.

Anyway I hope this gives you a way to think about future purchases and hopefully save the hassle of buying the wrong gun(s).


Monday, March 9, 2015

My Go To 3 Guns For The Walking Dead

Want to do something fun today. The Walking Dead is back on. They are in the almost boringly predictable scenario of a safe situation that is just a little too good to be true with hints of how it could go bad. Also Rick shaved his beard and has taken a practical, if not very humanistic, stance on looking after his group or just maybe is losing his shit. Time will tell. Anyway I've been thinking about what my top 3 guns for the Zombie Apocalypse a la Walking Dead would be.

AK-47 with fixed wood stock. Don't especially care what model though a good one would be nice and a chrome lined barrel would be good too. I do not want to get deep into the AK vs AR discussion. They both have a lot to offer and some marginal up sides over each other. The things that really put the AK above the AR, for this very specific scenario, is that it's capacity to use as a bludgeon to kill those darn Zombies is much better than the AR. Yes you  can butt stroke someone with an AR but you could bash in Walker skulls all day long with an AK with a fixed wood stock! Also they are more durable and physically rugged than AR's, if by a small margin, and close to comparable in terms of the amount of mags n ammo floating around to scavenge.

Glock 19/17 with threaded barrel and silencer. Mod's don't really matter but if I had the options it would have supressor sized  night sights, a stainless steel guide rod and a 3.5lb trigger connector. I would choose the Glock because they are super durable and probably the most common caliber/ platform out there.

Bolt action rifle with iron sights and a good scope in a flat shooting caliber. Due to commonality .308 would probably be the way I would go and one of the new Savage rifles like their Hog Hunter or Scout would be great but any old common bolt gun in .308/ '06 is just fine too. The goal of this would be reaching out and touching someone at 200+ yards with a fair element of precision.

The caveat to this is if I was able to really use one a bow (non compound variety) that would be a great option. One of those plain fiberglass 40ish pound recurve bows you see at garage sales all the time.

Busse TGLB sage with tan micarta grips. All the coolness of Daryl Dixon but with an easier to maintain finish

What are your walking dead guns?

Friday, February 13, 2015

AR-15's, Ham Radio and Life

Alexander Wolfe bought himself a fancy new Bravo Company AR-15. We talked about this before and he was fortunate to pull the trigger before they stopped the free BCM bolt carrier with every upper special which ran for a pretty long time. He went with the lightweight barrel, while I chose the standard weight on my rifle, but for most civilian applications the difference is probably academic.

On the plus side for him our mutual advertiser Lucky Gunner hooked him up with some 5.56 ammo to zero/ test fire the new toy with.

Alex doesn't buy guns often so when he does it is usually well thought out and a significant event. The topic of optics came up. It looks like Alex is planning to upgrade. He mentioned the Aimpoint micro. There are a lot of really good scopes in that general price range. I tried to throw out the topic of low power variable scopes. For a do everything rifle a low powered variable with an illuminated reticle has a lot going for it. Best of all even if you run out of batteries you still have a day optic.My Burris MTAC is pretty darn nice. However I do find the 4x max a bit lower than I would like. As Alexander noted 1-6's are great but really expensive. Burris makes a 1.5-6x MTAC which I've heard good things about. Also Vortex recently put out their 1-6x Strike Eagle with a projected street price under 4 bills.

Am helping a friend do an AR build. They got a deal on a lower now we are looking for an LPK to put it together. The goal is to get a decent to good duty type rifle at a reasonable price so while not necessarily the cheapest gun out there it should be a lot of gun for the money. This means no derp tier 'Bubba's Basement Armory's rusted thrown together 2nds LPK' is out. Any recommendations? Any smoking deals going on right now?

I've decided to finally get off my duff and get moving on the ham radio thing. There is a club that meets once a month in a bigger town not so far from here. So to get a license I need to pass a test. Any recommendations on how to study? Good websites you have used?

Tonight I'm watching the new episode of The Walking Dead. On the downside instead of a parade I think tomorrow there will be a trip to the hospital as Walker seems to have an ear infection.

Do you all have any big plans this weekend?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Shooting an AK-47 Under Water!!!

Apparently you can shoot an AK under water. Can't see it ever coming up for me but good to know all the same. HT to Arctic Specter for bringing this to my attention.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Reflections on My 14.5in BCM Mid Length Carbine "Project AR"

Alexander Wolfe of T Blog is thinking about upgrading his AR-15 to a BCM upper. I started a comment at his place then decided it was going to turn into a post of it's own. I built a BCM 14.5in mid length a couple years back. It's a great rifle and I love it. Some reflections on the overall experience of setting up and using this rifle might help my buddy out, plus also everyone, myself included, loves to talk about their cool toys.

What worked out well:

-The choice of a BCM upper and bolt carrier group. It's great. BCM is IMO a producer of legitimate professional grade rifles on par with Colt. That being said they hit that mark without getting into the stratospherically expensive boutique semi custom range of Daniels Defense, Knight, Noveske and Larue with 2-3k plus price tags.

-Standard weight 14.5in barrel. I toyed with the lightweight barrel idea but decided against it after a couple very experienced people (former SOF NCO's) said to go with a standard weight. Upon reflection after a couple years with the gun I am glad I did it. I can shoot all day long in 100 degree temps without barrel heat being an issue. There are lots of places to shave weight on an AR but A) the barrel is not the place to do it and B) fundamentally it's a light rifle anyway.

As to length 14.5in is as short as you can get without  treading into the (now especially nebulous) AR pistol territory. This is good for moving in and around vehicles as well as structures. Before the barrel length and velocity argument starts our guys in Iraq and Afghanistan have killed enough bad guys out past 400m with M4's that, at least as far as this guy is concerned, any debate about this not being an effective fighting rifle is moot.

-Upgrading the muzzle device. Call it a flash hider, call it a comp, call it a break, whatever. There are a lot of really good options out there at a variety of price points. The BCM comps look good and come in at a wallet friendly price. The only reason I can see not to upgrade the muzzle device for a pinned/ welded barrel, where it is a lot harder to do it later, would be for a really budget conscious build.

What I have mixed feelings about:

-Mid length gas system. It's a bit softer but not like these things are shoulder busters anyway. It makes replacing parts a bit more complicated. I like it but from both the accessorizing and scavenging parts angles a standard carbine length has advantages. My half hearted current answer to this problem is that I'm keeping the one I have but do not plan to get another mid length system on a future rifle.

-Battlecomp. Don't get me wrong I like it a lot but it is worth noting my concept of use for this rifle was 'build it so I won't go back and do it again in a couple years' so budget was not a primary driver. Also looking back I'm not sure those funds wouldn't have been better spent going towards an upgraded trigger or a rail (we'll get to that). Then again I wanted the BCM comp but they were between versions or something so it was perpetually out of stock at the time.

What I'm not so sure about:

-Not buying a rail right away. I was trying to keep the price sane and the fixed front sight of a normal A2 style gas block appealed to me. That combined with a pinned receiver made putting a rail on it down the road a problem. Combining that with my rail preference (free floating and not a quad rail) made it a downright hassle. I ended up with a nice and surprisingly affordable free floating MIDWEST INDUSTRIES S S G/2BLACK 12rail but it was a big hassle that could have been easily avoided. 

To the specifics of Alexander's situation:
- You can't go wrong with a BCM build though I do recommend a standard weight barrel.

-If you choose to run with this plan I would build a whole rifle. The upper is at least 75% of the cost, more if you factor in rails, optics, lights, etc. Would you have two trucks and swap a set of rims and tires between them.

-I am solidly in the 'keep the old rifle for a rainy day' camp. Use the older cheaper rifle as a 'truck gun' or make an operational cache.

-As an outside of the box idea if the only thing that really bothers you about the current rifle is the carbine length handguard why now just change/ cut down the gas block then put on whatever length rail you want?

Don't get me wrong, the last thing I'm trying to do is talk him out of buying a great AR. I have a very similar rifle and love it. If there are other reasons, including just wanting something shinier, to purchase the new rifle then roll with it. However if the hand guard is the only problem with the current rifle that is an easy fix. Instead of being a several hundred dollar project it would be 2 or 3 bills.

Anyway I hope it helps Alexander with his project.

What do you all think?

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

AR Pistol Thread

I have been toying with the idea of an AR Pistol for awhile now. Other more pressing matters have bullied their way in front of it but with those knocked out it's back in the 'next gun' slot. I do not regret that decision. Needed a better EDC solution which came in the form of the Kahr CW9 and a longer distance rifle.

Anyway I have been doing some looking at parts as well as running numbers. Also just generally mulling the whole thing in my head. To prioritization I want to square up some other things first. A case or two of 5.56, a case of 9mm and some .308 ammo are strait up higher on the order of priority.

That being said I do plan to purchase a lower to put this project on very soon. Had one awhile back but it went out in a deal. Also since the 'firearm' is a $50-100 part it makes sense to purchase it and have on hand. Won't help if the world ends but if a ban happens (under current law) the other parts for an AR don't matter at all.

Aside from planning to drop a grand or more on ammo before really starting this project I have been thinking if it's really a worthwhile endeavor. Do I just want an excuse to build another AR and snub my nose at our silly federal gun laws by (totally legally) exploiting existing loopholes to essentially make a paperless short barreled rifle?

My planned design is something like this; build a 10.5-11.5in AR pistol by putting together a lower then ordering a complete upper probably from BCM or Spikes and outfit it with one of those Sig 'arm braces' and a tac light. Eventually when finances allow I would like to put an EoTech on top but would probably rock irons for awhile. As to budget all said and done it will run about a grand. As to timeline from a legitimate start point it would take 6-9 months to fund unless I sold stuff to raise money. Don't really plan on selling anything.

My concept of use is as a wicked worst case scenario home defense gun. Maybe there is a rise in crime or a hurricane or a black out, whatever. If Project 870 sitting in the Sentry Safe Home Defender by my bed was not comforting an AR that holds over 3x the rounds which is very easy to maneuver around the house might be the ticket. Also since it is technically a pistol if I for some reason felt the need to have it loaded in a backpack/ gym bag or my vehicle that would be permissible in most places while a rifle might not be. Also it is another AR on inventory which isn't a bad thing. Lastly the oddity that lets these weapons be on their current legal standing might some day change. If previous firearms laws are any indicator already existing weapons would be grandfathered in so I feel like if I might every want one it should be purchases sooner instead of later.

Is this a worthwhile endeavor? Do you own an AR pistol? If so why did you get one and how do you like it?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

AR-15 Build vs Buy: Unique AR Platform Characteristics, Quality, Economics, Value and Customization

Commander Zero wrote a post called Stripped Lower Deals that put this into motion. I was going to write a comment but that was not sufficient so it stewed in my head for awhile and turned into a post. In this post I am going to share some ideas about the benefits of building an AR-15 as well as the potential downsides where just buying a rifle turns out better.

Bottom Line Up Front: The unique characteristics of the AR-15 can let an individual looking to maintain privacy yet still own specific weapons, interested in a rifle configuration that is not currently available or looking to secure potential options/ profit do better by starting with a stripped lower than a complete rifle; provided they are able to make reasonable parts choices and stay on (or close to) budget.

Two specific traits of the AR platform make this conversation very different than most other weapons. First as I read someplace online AR's are not so much built as assembled. What I mean is  that assembly does not require lathes, presses, significant mechanical aptitude/ knowledge or fine fitting of components. A person with lower than average mechanical aptitude and a few basic hand tools can put together a totally functional AR-15 at the kitchen table. Sure they will lose a detent pin and a spring, plus there will be a couple tiny scratches by the roll pins but that's about all that will happen. Second the serialized part of the AR which is for all legal purposes the firearm is a small, cheap piece of aluminum. For reference I spent more on the muzzle device for my AR than the (stripped) lower receiver. These two reasons make the discussion very different than with say an AK or M1A.

Now we will talk about the specific areas that will be discussed: Quality, economics, value and customization.

Quality: Quality in an AR comes from using serviceable, or even good parts and putting them together properly. I'm sure there are some total AR guru's out there who do things with fit and small amounts of thoughtfully applied gunsmithing that can make an AR more accurate. However I will submit that unless a total guru or buffoon are putting together a gun the difference is going to be negligible. What I am getting at is that a complete rifle from whoever is not going to perform differently than if the owner put together the lower and slapped the manufacturers upper onto it.

Of course people can totally screw up AR builds. Zero's example of an AR built out of all of the cheapest random parts is manifested in more than a few rifles. Go figure some of them just don't work well. This is my surprised face. Then again companies totally screw up some rifles too, it just happens. An advantage of buying a complete rifle from a reputable company is that if a problem happens they are usually pretty good about making it right. Some guns just have phantom problems and often a company will just give you a new rifle. If your Franken AR has problems fixing them is on your dime, basically you are hosed.

In terms of quality I'd say Project AR is certainly as good as comparable (BCM, Colt, etc) complete rifles.

Economics: This is an interesting discussion. The way to get the cheapest possible AR would be to shop around and find the cheapest individual items. Thus a person could say you can save 60% by building your own. This is not accurate because to compare value we have to talk apples to apples.

Saying "I built a $524 AR so that is a 50% savings over a Colt 6920 LE" is stupid because your budget build is almost surely not in the same league as the Colt. The point I am trying to make is that you need to compare the total cost to build a given quality rifle with the cost to just go out and buy one.

The other problem is people who spend a ton of money buying all sorts of random parts. I regularly see 2K+ AR's up for sale where the guy spent that much or more on parts. These guys read all kinds of stuff and get their roll pins from one guy, their trigger spring from another, etc. They
 really do believe they are building great rifles. In reality they are spending Ferrari money on Fords because they do not have the experience to actually know what matters. These very expensive guns are nowhere near as good as a comparably priced rifle from Daniels Defense or LaRue. Heck, some of them aren't on par with Spikes or S&W.

The 'A La Carte' model of AR building can work in some situations but you definitely have to keep an eye on the bottom line and compare that bottom line to a similar quality complete rifle. Situations exist where you can save money building but there are also others where the numbers do not work. I would say you also have to consider shipping costs as part of the total cost. This makes ordering parts from fewer places advantageous.

Comparing sale items is problematic because it depends a lot on what is on sale today, not yesterday or tomorrow. Looking at normal prices is probably a fair indicator. It is often, though not always, possible to save ten or even twenty percent by getting a stripped lower, LPK, stock and upper vs getting a complete rifle. I did this once. The difference in that particular case was closer to 30% for getting all the parts vs a complete rifle. Exact same parts from the exact same company. Found an acquaintance who put the lower together and I was good to go. That was a good rifle.

Recently with Project AR I probably saved some money. It gets hard to really compare equitably because I upgraded some components and got a less expensive LPK.

Customization: This is really where building makes a lot of sense. The AR is really a grown up male lego set in that a normal guy can pretty much make one into whatever he wants. In general I would say that all other things being equal if you only want to change a superficial thing (furniture, charging handle, etc) there isn't a huge need to go out and build a rifle. On the other hand if you want a configuration not currently available or are otherwise going to change more than a couple things it might make sense to build your own. If you want a different barrel or whatnot the cost of buying all that stuff once then changing it out can get silly fast. When building your own you can avoid duplicate costs for stuff that's going to be thrown into the AR parts bin.

For people with specific tastes who like private party anonymity building is a good option. I say this because while you can (except in panic times and even then if you're willing to pay panic prices) buy AR's PP no problem finding a 16" BCM Middy with a certain barrel twist is going to be really hard. If you get a lower (complete or stripped) then it is easy to build what you want without the high expense of buying a complete rifle you do not want.

Various Thoughts:
Do you want to build a rifle for the fun and learning experience or do you just want to get a gun and be done with it? I wanted to build my rifle to have that experience and am glad I did it. Other people might not be interested in doing that for it's own sake and should probably just buy a rifle. Down the road if / when in the market for another carbine I will probably just do like Max Velocity and buy a Colt 6920 LE. As to other AR configurations I will run the numbers to see which makes the most economic sense.

In Closing:
Depending on your wants, needs and budget there are times when building a rifle makes the most sense. If you choose to build be sure to keep an eye on part quality while simultaneously staying within your budget.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

EDC Dump 4 OCT

Decided to do a pocket dump to show you all what I am carrying around these days.

From top to bottom:
-Generic Uncle Mikes holster- small. Functionally identical to the Blackhawk holster line. Tam mocks them mercilessly. These are decently servicable though not exactly the worlds greatest holsters. If $10 holsters were perfect there would not be an industry of folks making $30-several hundred dollar holsters. A better holster is in the works but right now one from the spare holster drawer is working pretty decently. That is one of benefits of these 'one size fits most' holsters. They will work for most guns in a given size range and are cheap enough to have lying around here or there or as spares to give to people who suddenly in an emergency want to carry a pistol that's been pulling nightstand or glove box duty.

-Kahr CW9 loaded with 9mm 115 grain Federal Classic Personal Defense. With the flush mag the CW9 holds 7+1. It would not be my first choice in carry pistols for Peshawar, or for that matter Houston but I am quite comfortable using it for CCW in my sleepy little part of Central Louisiana.

-Al Mar Knives 5HDBT Eagle Heavy Duty Lockback Knife with Textured Black G-10 Handles.

-Edited to fix oversight. My flashlight is a Streamlight 66318 MicroStream C4 LED Pen Flashlight, I believe a Micro stream. It runs on a single AAA battery. It works reliably and is quite durable. Walker hasn't broken it yet and it's been through the washer/ drier numerous times. Might not tactically bedazzle someones OODA loop and make them defecate but it is bright enough to clearly see at 20 meters which is plenty for me.

-Wallet with the usual stuff and cash.

-Cell phone

-Spare mag for the CW9. It is the 8 round one with the extended floor plate.

-Chap stick

-Bic Lighter

-Keys not shown since you can now copy keys with a photo.

So that is what I carry most of the time these days. If I am going to Houston I bump the gun up to a Glock and if I am going to be doing outdoors stuff I might bring a fixed blade knife.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Single Stack 9mm Winner Is..................

The Kahr CW9. There has been a lot of discussion about this. I have spent tons of time watching and reading reviews as well as combing over data points on different handguns.

So why this one?

As to caliber- I did  consider a .380 but given the proliferation of decent to good single stack 9mm's into the Walther PPK size range that used to be .380 domain something like a PPK or a Bersa did not make a ton of sense. The micro (KT P3AT, S&W Body Guard, Kahr P/C 380, etc) sized .380's are, aside from being chambered in .380 not typically guns most people shoot real well. I see them more as a non permissive environment/ deep carry type gun than a regular all the time carry piece.

Since the option was available I chose 9mm because it is a cartridge already on inventory and sufficiently potent for the task at hand.

As to size- This is about as small of a handgun as I can really get a good grip on. For shorter pistols you can get larger extended mags but the idea of getting one knowing you will use an extended mag all the time is kinda missing the point.

Quite a lot of guns fall really close to the specs of this one. The Kel Tek PF9 is very close though slightly (.88 to .9) thinner and considerably lighter (12 ounces to 15.8). The Shield is little bit thicker at .95 (due to a more curved grip vs the slab side Gen 1 Glock like Kahr. Both of these guns have 3in or close barrels while the Kahr has a 3.5in. Of all the ways I was going to be going the guns were really close in dimensions.

Why Kahr?- The three guns that showed real promise were the Kel Tek PF9, the S&W Shield and the Kahr CW9 (CM9). For the Kel Tek the lemon rate comparable to a bad used car lot was a real problem. In my mind the Kel Tek PF 9 is a price point gun. Given the modest difference between it and other offerings (a hundred bucks or a bit more) I pretty much eliminated it as an option. That is a shame because it manages to be very nice in the hand while still being a smaller package than the other options.

As to the Kahr vs Shield that is a more complicated conversation. I prefer the grip angle as well as ergonomics and controls of the Kahr; probably because they are very Glock like. Could give or take the Shield safety but do not like the big take down lever and am not in love with the trigger.

Kahr's QA/QC is not quite up to the level of S&W and they produce some guns that have issues. However worst case once those issues are addressed they seem to be good guns. This somewhat higher than it should be lemon rate [Though still probably better than Kel Tek which is probably better than Diamondback which is probably better than Jimenez Arms.] was initially off putting to me. However I realized that this isn't my first/ only handgun. Heck it isn't my first/ only CCW type handgun. I'll do some shooting and if it has issues get it fixed.

Also I could get a CW9 today for $50 less than an M&P Shield.

So far I am pleased with the purchase. Fit and finish are great and it is a a pretty little gun, well at least as pretty as a polymer striker fired pistol can be. It carries very well.

I hope to take it shooting tomorrow to make sure the thing goes bang.

So that ends the quest of the week. Maybe this winter I'll be in the market for a little .380.

Friday, September 5, 2014

American Mercenary on His Survival Firearms

Our friend American Mercenary started talking about his Survival Firearms. He did a series of posts. Since I would probably comment on every one anyway and cannot think of anything to write today I'll talk about his posts. By tomorrow I hope to have some developments or motivation to do a more unique post.

The Siaga .308 is probably a lot like a Druganov in terms of reliability and accuracy. The Ruskies put out a lot more SDM's [squad designated marksmen AKA not quite a sniper but a better rifle with some more training though the Ruskies called em a sniper.] a lot earlier than we did. A very realistic 'several hundred meter minute of man' rifle. Don't know the spare parts situation but honestly semi auto .308's are relatively rare anyway so unless you stash em I wouldn't expect to find em.

 As to Pistols our friend is rocking a 1911, a Beretta M9 and a .22 cal 1911 clone. All 3 are fine weapons. The only hole I see here is the lack of an easy to conceal pistola. The kind of thing you could carry every day if inclined or realistically conceal during a bad scenario to go to the market for milk and bread.

His ARs are A2 style with HBAR barrels. I am neutral about that AR variant. Wouldn't mind one but in my mind by the time you really need to go to that trouble it is pushing the top end of the 5.56 cartridges capabilities (against people, paper targets are another issue). My AR is more of an arguably improved M4 but at the end of the day both rifles are quite useful. Mine is better for going in and out of vehicles and structures but if I was in a wide open prairie or set up on a hill his would be better. However at the end of the day the real difference between the two rifles capabilities is probably not all that huge. My thoughts are to build the AR that makes sense for you and accept it's limitations.

His Shotgun is a Norico Ithica Model 37 knock off. The Ithica Model 37 is a tried and true design and generally NORICO makes serviceable guns. The concept of use that is a duality of home defense gun and game gathering sort of hits at the utility of the pump shotgun. My only concern here is about spare parts. With say a Rem 870 or Moss 500 you stand a reasonable chance of digging up a spare extractor (and paying dearly for it, stock spare parts now!) from someones tool box of a broken gun. However the odds of finding parts for a Norico clone anywhere without a fully functional society (internet, postal service, credit cards, etc) is about nil.

Anyway those are my thoughts on American Mercenaries survival firearms. Comments are open as always.
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