Showing posts with label holsters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holsters. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Caches and Holster Thoughts

a recent trip saw me checking up on my operational cache. I swapped out my trusty Glock 19 which had been there for awhile. After consideration I realized with one alibi none of the core members of my tribe had ever shot a Glock. My folks like many non serious gun people of their age range got revolvers in .38/.357mag. As such adults in my inner tribe can all shoot double action revolvers comfortably. There is at least one in every household. Also my outer tribe does not have a single Glock 9mm in it. So putting a wheel gun there just made sense. It of course needed accessories like a belt, holster and speed strips. More on this later.

I inspected the guns there and they were fine. I then lubricated them heavily. Like jiggly butt in a rap video heavily.

Another cache was established. I had most of the core stuff on hand for it. As to description it is probably a mix of an operational cache with some survival stuff.

Still I needed some stuff to round it out. Mag pouches and ammo and some various odds n ends. I suspected it would be about $300 total but the actual cost was closer to double that. I wasn't super worried about it as eliminating dating and going to bars has left my checking account fairly flush. That said I probably could have done a better job estimating costs. The lesson for potentially when putting in a cache on a tighter budget would be to really look at the stuff you need to add and various costs such as shipping.

Also stuff grows faster than you would imagine. What you might envision as a day pack worth of stuff could easily be a full sized ruck. What you might have thought would be one ammo can could easily be 2. I need another ammo can.

Anyway the new cache is established so I am excited about that.

Stuff I forgot to add:
First aid stuff
Local and state maps

Stuff I wanted to add but couldn't afford to:
3x G22 mags with x Mark inserts
$10 face silver
Small solar charger with a few sets of batteries
Full sized Glock .40 cal

Back to holsters. So between swapping stuff out for one cache and making another I ended up bringing guns to a couple places. At both places the guns were compatible with ones the people at those places have. That wasn't an accident.

At both places this led to the inevitable dude gun show and tell. At both places somewhere in the conversation I realized the guy might not really have a holster. At the first he had no holster. So I handed mine to him. At the second he was using a cowboy style leather holster for a Glock.

At the first place I need to buy another holster. If things are bad enough I am carrying that particular gun he will want to be doing the same. Obviously two people cannot use the same holster at the same time. At the second place it wasn't an issue as I am holster rich for that gun and the open model one size fits any 9/.40 Glock Raven Concealment Eideon just happened to be surplus in my bag.

The thing is that this got me thinking. Lots of people own handguns that live in glove boxes and safes and nighstands without holsters. If you are (as I suspect most here to be) the survivalist in your group and have the resources/ space it might not be a bad idea to fix that. Or give them as Christmas/ b day gifts.

The same could be said for ammo. To a lot of folks 2x 50 drive boxes is a lot of ammo. This reminds me I need to order 500rds of .38 special.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

No New Guns; Just Different Concealment Methods?

Every once in awhile a post gets a comment that makes me realize something significant. The best of these are what Jim Rawles calls "blind flashes of the obvious". I had one of these last night. Was going back through recent posts and saw the number of comments on my Pocket Pistol post had increased by one. Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog left a comment that was a blind flash of the obvious for me.
TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf said...
Snubbies are considered the classic pocket gun. With the right grips / stocks, they do pocket fairly well, though they are on the big side for that purpose.
I'd explore carry options, too--ankle carry, tuck-in holsters, belly bands, "ThunderWear' and similar are common options for less-permissive carry and would work well with the snubbie or the Kahr, while giving you better stopping power than a 380. 
Ryan says: Why the heck didn't I think of this? I'm rather disappointed with myself to be honest. I decided to pursue this course of action. It had a couple major benefits. First it is always smart to start with the easiest cheapest options which for carry are definitely holsters. I can try out a couple different 'deep concealment' type methods for a fraction of the cost of a new firearm. Second I could keep carrying one of my current weapons which means a more potent caliber as well as no further logistic complications.

Ordered a Kangaroo Carry Air Marshal 3 this morning. I am hoping it works well with the Kahr CW9. In due time you will hear more about this system and potentially others. If this works out in a way that I can postpone, maybe indefinitely, getting another small pistol that would be great.

What sort of system(s) do you use for deep concealment?

Edited to include: I don't know why some of the text is tabbed in. Tried to fix it but that didn't work. You'll have to deal.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kangaroo Carry and Other Outside the Box Ideas

You probably notice I have mentioned the S&W Shield a few times recently. Then I took a step back and checked the whole concept a little bit. May be the answer is to find a more comfortable way to carry a gun I already have like a Glock. Got an OWB kydex holster that I really like but it does not offer the level of concealability I desire. Also I just am not loving IWB these days.

While it is very pro gun it is not, at least in my observation one where people carry in a marginally concealed way. So my need to conceal deeper is at least worth thinking about. It got me looking at different outside of the box options.

The first one I stumbled into was Kangaroo Carry. Sort of a hybrid shoulder holster/ belly band type of thing. The ability to carry a large end 'compact' pistol like a Glock 19 in a solidly concealed fashion with a pretty high level of concealment appeals to me. Also for drives it is off the waistline which is good. Also handily with a very affordable price of $50ish on their website and closer to $30 elsewhere it is solidly in the 'I'll give it a shot' range.

If anyone has personal experience with this setup I am quite interested to hear about it. There is another similar maker, deep concealment if I think, to which the same applies.

Also if you use some other outside the box type carry setup I would be interested in hearing about it.

Monday, June 16, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I bought ten gallons of gas to fill up my last two empty fuel cans. Received a tactical tailor Glock 9mm/ .40 drop holster. It will give me the option of an overtly tactical holster for a Glock 9mm without a light which is something I was missing.

Also it will give me the option of switching to a lighter setup based on a duty belt that is compatible with a modern backpack which is a nice option to have. Granted it means I totally need a chest rig as part of the setup but it gives some good options. My gut says that if occasionally carrying a ruck combined with a lot of local patrolling was the order of the day I would use the battle belt and an ALICE pack. On the other hand if I needed something vehicle friendly or knew I would be rucking a whole lot it would be a lighter rig and a modern, much more comfortable ruck.

On my current lifting program it was max week. Here is where I ended up:
Military Press (standing, strict)- 135x1
Dead Lift- Did not beat my 2 month ago max of 360x1 though I am stronger now. It was a long day.
Bench Press- 265x1 honestly a whole lot better than I expected.
Squat-225x4. This is pretty wimpy though in my defense I have been focusing more on a strict 'ass to the grass' squat than weight. Still the squat has not been getting the attention it deserves and I need to do better.

(Edited to include: I did squats today (6-17) and went 245x3 to a good depth with solid form. That is probably a more realistic assessment of my current max.) 

Am at a steady state with the garden and chickens. The plants are growing like crazy and the (4) hens are averaging 3.5-4 eggs a day so that is good.

Probably did something else but I cannot remember what it was.

Next week I plan to purchase some spare parts for a rifle, hopefully get some mags, sign up for a class, plant some seedlings and PWN the gym.

What Do You Do To Prepare This Week?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Holster Discussion at Mason Dixon Tactical

Holsters- A Subjective Analysis of the Waist Mounted Handgun Conveyance

 I found this to be an interesting article by an intelligent sounding guy who has used many of the commonly available holsters in different environments. You may or may not agree about the validity of all observations made but it is certainly worth the read. A key take away is that what is best for one setting might not be best for another. It is very common for a person to end up with multiple holsters for different purposes. This is a benefit of having multiple pistols in the same platform. It would get spendy to have a drop holster, waist type duty holster and a kit mounted holster each for your High Power, 1911, CZ 75, Sig P226, Beretta 92 and Glock 9mm. On the other hand if you pick a handgun *Cough Glock 9mm or .40/45 if you must Cough* type and get a couple of them it is a lot more realistic to have a variety of holster options available.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 New Years Resolutions Recap

 So I realized it is about end of the year time. Figured I'd see how this years New Years Resolutions turned out. Obviously completed ones will be lined through. Comments will be in italics


Maintain a consistent weight lifting program. It wasn't 100% perfect but I have been lifting much more than I have for years. Overall I'll call it a W.

Run over 1,000 miles. Didn't track this honestly. Rough mental math says it was closer to 600.

Ruck at least 1x a week . Didn't do this but have been rucking more consistently than in years so I'll call it a partial W.

Eat reasonably with decent consistency so I don't gain and lose the same weight 2-3 times over the year. Eh did better than the year before so it's something.

Skills/ Training:

Attend a defensive handgun course. Did not happen, tried but things kept falling through. This will roll over to next year with a high probability it will happen.

Attend a trauma based first aid class (I am due for retraining). Negatron.

Work on developing a variety of other skills as they come up by doing as much myself as possible. Did some DIY home stuff which was good. I'll call it a W

Guns and Gun Junk:

Pick up a couple holsters, pouches and assorted other stuff to get squared away for what we have.  I went a long way on this one. It is always a work in progress but a Raven Concealment Vanguard 2 and Safariland 6285 plus the War Belt it lives on were enough to make this a solid W.

Buy 2 cases of .223 ammo. Did not happen, prices are getting better but slower than I figured they would. Ended up buying 7.62x39 instead as it's prices went back to relatively normal faster.

Free float the barrel on project AR. Pending I ordered the rail in July but it hasn't showed up yet. Honestly I'm so angry about the whole thing I don't want to talk about it.

Get more spare parts. Beef up on core stuff (AR's and Glocks) and get some basic stuff for other guns. I got a fair bit of AR parts including a full BCG and a spare buttstock. Will call this a W though the non AR side of the house can still use some love.

Finally get my (already sporterized) 1903 30'06 tapped and mount a scope on it.  Sold the '03 so this one is moot.

If this gun ban madness calms down start building an AR pistol. Parts prices are getting better but I haven't gotten to this one yet. May roll over to next year.


Build up to a 1 year supply of food for 4 people. We made progress on this one. Not a win but at least a partial one.

Can something. Tried and failed (underestimated the cooking piece, no point canning junk).

Edited to include: Will upgrade this to a partial. Forgot to add that I canned some strawberry jam with an acquaintance. Could definitely repeat the process.

Pursue gardening/ fishing/ hunting as it fits with our environment and life.  Did a fair amount of fishing this late summer/ early fall.

 Energy/ Other:

Get a better solar setup. A bigger panel with a power supply and a few small lights is the answer. Goal 0 makes what I am looking for. It will cost about $400. Probably 500 once I get the lights. This would have gotten purchased late in 2012 but the whole ban madness shifted my priorities elsewhere.
Purchased the Goal 0 setup.

Get licensed to drive a motorcycle. Purchase a used enduro/ adventure touring motorcycle. Nada. Just maybe next year.

Continue putting together and refining our systems. Firm up the bug out bags and the heavy (vehicle) bug out setup. I hesitate to call this one complete as these systems are always evolving but substantial progress was made.

Re look and improve our cache situation. Substantial progress was made here.


Continue being debt free and saving. Along these lines continue not doing stupid things. 
We did some saving. Didn't do anything stupid.

Once we are done with the food storage goal get back to putting away some silver and gold. Worked food pretty hard. Did make a small gold and silver purchase when prices went down so technically it was a W.

Long Shots:

Get a DBAL for my AR. Done.

Buy some land (this mostly depends on some other things). Ended up going with the other thing. Will kick this one down the road.

Overall Assessment: Some goals were met, some others were partially met and some fell through the cracks. Overall not too bad.

Due to firearmagedon last year got pretty gun centric. Also if I am being intellectually honest it gave me an excuse to go on a bit of a gun buying spree. Last year I purchased mumble mumble number of guns including the 642, the 870 P and mumble, mumble, mumble.

I also ended up putting away 2 cases of 7.62x39 as I needed it and it was affordable, a fair bit of 12 gauge shotgun shells, several hundred rounds of .22lr and some various other ammo when it was available at sane prices and I had the cash to buy it. Ended up with a few more AR mags and a couple Glock mags also.

We moved into a better place when we got to Louisiana which is really nice. Also put some cash into getting furniture and generally upgrading our household. This isn't prep stuff but the Mrs wanted and deserved some decent stuff. The Broke College Kid home decorating plan stops being cute at some point. Of course we saved up and did it reasonably.

Along these lines we also purchased a large gun safe. An important purchase we've probably been putting off too long. 

A lot of little stuff was purchased towards getting my EDC and fighting loads right.

We got Dog. He's not actually that useful but is large and imposing looking. Odds he'll wake up, let alone eat a burglar are low but we don't actually need that, just need the burglar to go rob somebody else.

That is really all I can think of that happened in terms of preparedness.

On the down side (or not depending on how you look at it) we spent a lot of money. Of course we saved and planned for it but we ended up writing some huge checks. It goes without saying we didn't touch the emergency fund. That being said stuff isn't getting cheaper or better made so getting things we want, within reason, might not be such a bad plan anyway. Honestly limiting the percentage of our resources that is in digital accounts within the interwebz is something I wanted to do anyway.

What did you do to prepare this year?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Operational Cache Pack Out

So far it is looking like:
about a dozen mags
full spare parts kit (gun minus barrel and receiver)

Revolver, j frame lightweight type
3x speed loaders
IWB holster
pocket holster

A pretty comprehensive cleaning kit that will cover both weapons.
Good EDC type folder.
Tossed in a few common mags just in case I happen to need them.

Tomorrow I'm going to buy some ammo from Lucky Gunner to go into there. Also a chest rig for the rifle. That's what will come from here. The rest I'll put together on the other end.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Deals PT II

Black Friday at Camping Survival. The little Kato Voyager radio is an excellent value at $40 so it's a fantastic one at $18. They can be powered multiple ways and charge cell phones. We handed them out to villagers in Afghanistan so they could pick up our fair and balanced radio station. Tons of deals on food also.

Lucky Gunner has electronic ear muff's for $17 which is a good deal. Glock 19 mags for $25 a pop is the best non bulk (10+) deal I've seen in over a year. Eagle ambidextrous drop holsters for $20 are a steal. It would be great to have 2-3 around to equip friends who suddenly need one for their nightstand gun if the schumer hits the ventilator. At what are getting to be fairly normal prices they have 7.62x39 - 122 gr HP - Tula Cartridge Works - 1000 Rounds for $244 and 5.56x45 - 62 gr FMJ M855 - PMC - 1000 Rounds for $455.

If you've got some coin to spend these are excellent deals to take advantage of. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

War Belt: Additional Mags Onboard. This Time With Pics

I've been thinking about this since the last post. Just wanted a bit more ammo onboard. As previously described I had an IFAK in a mag pouch behind the HSGI Taco's (outstanding piece of gear by the way). Knew I wanted more mags but couldn't figure out how to do it. The problem is you do not want stuff too far forward as it gets in the way when laying prone/ crawling/ taking cover/ falling down/ etc. At the same time you do not want stuff too far back as it is hard to get to and can complicate wearing a rucksack. High old school packs like the ALICE are really the only way to go with a war belt/ pistol belt/ LBE type setup. Honestly that's why I switched to the ALICE from a far more comfortable bag.

Finally decided I was going to keep that same placement but put mags in the pouch and stick the med kit elsewhere. This got complicated because you really want/ need to be able to get the med kit with either hand. Eventually I ended up putting it on the front right. It fits, barely but just right, between my holster and too forward on the hips.

This displaced my knife but it wasn't really working there anyway. Not enough weight on the belt to help draw as it has pretty strong friction retention on the sheath. My knife ended up getting mounted to the water bottle pouch. Sounds and looks sort of odd but it seems to work OK. Access is actually better than before and it doesn't take up prime real estate. Honestly I just want a fixed blade knife for general utility/ survival purposes, wanted it on the right side to help with the weight balance so that's where it fit the best.

Once the med kit was moved to a zippered horizontal pouch I put 2 mags into the mag pouch. Turns out it is a 3 mag pouch so I grabbed another. Think I'll switch from PMAGs to the new USGI ones with the orange follower as the thicker PMAGs do not seem to sit quite right in that pouch.

With more ammo onboard I am pretty happy with this setup. Will talk it through with the pictures as an aid.
From left to right. Frag pouch that will hold compass and a couple small items. 2x HSGI double taco's. Tactical Tailor triple mag pouch. 2x what I believe are 100rd 7.62mg belt pouches purchased for $5 at a garage sale. Originally desert color pained green by me. One will be an admin/ NOD pouch and the other will hold some go food. Water bottle pouch that holds .75 liter steel bottle. Would like to replace it with another bottle at some point. Mounted on that pouch is my Ontario RAT 3. Next is a Glock 9mm with TLR-1 in a Safariland 6285. Last is my IFAK.
View from the top. As you can see the med pouch is solidly clear from the Glock but still not too far in front. If I lay down prone it's just on my hip, barely notice it if I roll to the right.

The addition of more mags is a good thing IMO. Honestly I need the belt low enough (to clear the ALICE pack) that it's past the point on my hips where it will not stay on reliably without suspenders so why not load up on some more ammo. 5 rifle and 2 pistol mags on board is a pretty good number I think. More mags would go in my TAP on the PC or alone if needed.

The addition of more rifle mags is definitely leaning in the direction of Max Velocity's Battle Belt. I still look at mine as part of a system vs a stand alone like Max does. That being said the first part of my system is now pretty robust so in many cases it could function as a stand alone.

Wore it around the house today for awhile and it's pretty comfortable. Low enough and loose enough not to be constricting but the neoprene on the inside of the belt holds it in place well. Getting to everything is just excellent.

Still a few small things to figure out.
-I am not 100% on the suspenders. Honestly wish I went with something thin (like these) but in an H configuration. The X almost invariably pinches in the neck/ upper back.
-The tan pouches will either be replaced with Multicam or painted.
-Various stuff like a compass, food, water purification tablets, etc need to be added.
-As part of the testing I am going to ruck, do some drills, etc with this kit to see how it all works.

So that's my setup as of now. Your thoughts are always welcome.

Came back to fix some small typo's. After hitting publish it occurred to me I could swap out 1 taco and have 7 rifle mags plus 1 pistol mag. That is something to think about. Would need to find a home for the second Glock reload but that's not a huge deal. Honestly if I need spare Glock mag #2 I'm probably screwed anyway.

 Looking around the web today I did see this setup which is basically 2 double rifle mag pouches with 4 pistol mags on the front. It looks to only take up 4 MOLLE rows. Looks like it has some real promise but the price is a bit steep for me to go adventuring into unheard of gear. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Low Carb Week 2, Home Renovation and New Holster

During Low Carb week 2 I lost 2 pounds. Didn't bother to weigh myself last week (week 3) for reasons I can't recall. Overall this is going pretty well. The cravings and hunger type feelings are long past. Some folks say they feel a ton more energy. I have not experienced that but do feel a lot more even throughout the day. No carb crashes messing with me which is nice.

I have been killing it in the gym which is cool. Well I've been doing awesome on press and deadlift anyway; bench is iffy and squats are not so great. For whatever reason those lifts dropped off more during the move. I have refocused to deep, a** to the grass squats. Taking off a bit more weight was humbling but it feels good. John Mosby said something about stretching out muscles and tendons. Instead of hurting (knees, not muscles) the day after squats I feel just fine. Only 3 work out's into that but am liking it.

The only down sides of this diet are limited breakfast options, especially on the go, and cost. Our food budget has more than doubled which sucks. In that regard, as well as the limited options we probably will not do this over the long term. When the initial planned period is done I plan to reintroduce fruit and some carbs (oatmeal, wheat bread, a bit of brown rice, beans occasionally) if just for financial and food rotation reasons. Moving on.

The floor is in place and looks really good. We'd been ignoring the room because the carpet in it looked like a crime scene but now that room live up to it's high potential. Just got to do trim then it will be good to go. We'll paint the infamous door and the immediate needs/ strong wants will be done.

Got a new holster today. A Safariland 200 for the Smith and Wesson K Frame. It's definitely used and I need to order/ get a screw (2/3 mounting screws are in place so it's still solid but I am OCD like that) and give it a bit of TLC but for $15 it was a great deal.

On an unrelated note Archer Garret is donating all book proceeds (his cut not purchase price) to Orange Jeep Dad. Buy a book to help out or donate strait to Orange Jeep Dad.

Hope you all have a great Saturday. I'm going to watch last weeks episode of The Walking Dead (it's on after my bed time) then hit the rack.

Take care of each other.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Safariland 6285 For The Win!

My Safailand 6285 showed up today. Pretty fast if I do say so myself. Of course I had to  play tactically practice urban swat special forces techniques with it. On a light nylon belt it was not ideal but that's not really it's purpose. On my war belt it rocks! Low enough to be off the clogged midline but high enough to be fully supported by the belt. The rigid nature of the war belt (the weight on it probably helps too) is perfect for the holster. The Safariland SLS is just an awesome system.

For a full on tactical setup that is contained on your belt (vs a drop setup that needs to be attached to your leg before really being functional) I think the low ride duty holster is an awesome option.

They also tossed in a single mag pouch. It is a concealment type, semi rigid plastic pouch that thoughtfully fits any 9mm mag (I ordered the holster for a 9), a hat and a big sticker. That is a lot of swag for a hundred and twenty dollar purchase. Pretty cool if I do say so myself.

Getting the inside duty belt out, then the holster on and the belt back in was a hassle. Of course the fixed buckle had to be on the side I was trying to access so the whole thing had to come out. I tried the cardboard shim trick which helped. Eventually it got done and I swapped the belt around so now only a little bit has to come off to change the holster out.

My war belt is pretty much where I want it to be. Toying with swapping the tall bottle for a steel canteen with cup that will have a lower total length but the swap is they are generally wider. Also I already have the bottle and pouch so that helps. Looked at some ways to free up enough real estate to fit a double mag pouch, will do some more MOLLE/ PALs row math before pulling stuff off but it is darn close. The worst case way forward might be replacing my current (I think 100 rd 7.62 belt pouches, bought at a garage sale) with canteen pouches which take up 3 rows each instead of 4 to get the additional mag pouch on. Another option I suppose would be to put a 3 mag pouch on instead of 1 of the taco's. That would get to the 4 rifle mag count I would like. I can fit a 2nd pistol mag someplace as they are small.

Aside from that minor change and reattaching what came off today (knife and compass pouch) the War Belt is basically done, honestly at this point I'm probably just fiddling around. I'll try to take some pics this weekend.

How you all are getting your fighting loads strait. I also hope you do not actually need them.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I was swamped at work this week which hurt the eating healthy (when the boss says "We aren't leaving and we're getting Pizza" it takes a stronger person than I to eat the healthy leftovers in their lunch box with boxes of fresh pizza 6 feet away.) and fitness routines a fair bit. On the fitness side a rest was probably due though so that is OK.

-Got the war belt adjusted and ordered a Safariland 6285 which should finish that system off. Well till I figure out how to stuff another ammo pouch on anyway.

-Put some work into the ALICE Pack that's going to pull Sustainment Load/ BOB duty. Component list here if you are curious. Just cleaning up some corrosion on the metal parts then spray painting it to protect from future occurrences of the same. Other than that I'm looking at some changes for being down here. Skeeter net and juice for starters. Probably going to swap the hawk for a machete. I'm not in swampy Cajun land but lots of brush and small trees seems to be the rule here. Also recently purchased a 2 quart canteen which is going to be added to the side when I get around to sticking it on there.

-Other than that we are still working to get our home set up how we want. Lots of small scale DIY stuff going on here with more to come. Will talk about that later.

-Spent a good chunk of today organizing the garage. Have been working in there off and on for awhile but for whatever reason the efforts today really showed. Instead of stuff EVERYWHERE covering the floor we now have a few piles of like type stuff (tools, camping gear, gun stuff, kid stuff) to sort out and figure what we're going to do with. It's not there yet but I see the probable final solution of a nice organized space which is great. Going to hang some stuff on walls and from the ceiling which should help even more.

-As part of my organizing effort I have a working "to the cache" pile. A couple changes of clothes, a couple blankets, spare Solo Stove that type of stuff. Plan to sort it out, fill any glaring omissions then take it there this week.

So that is what I have been up to. Given that all the action happened this weekend I would say it was a pretty productive week.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

War Belt Continued: Safariland 6285 Purchased, Pouches Adjusted

Have been on the fence about holsters for awhile.  While a lot of smart folks use them I do not really want to use a drop holster for this setup. A large part of the benefit of the war belt in my mind is that I can toss it on, clip one clip and have a ready to go load out. A drop holster doesn't fit too well into that concept for me.

After a lot of thinking and looking at other peoples setups I finally pulled the trigger on a Safariland 6285 which is a 1.5in drop duty holster with their SLS retention system. The gun going in it will be a Glock 9mm with a Streamlight TLR-1 which is my dedicated home defense as well as go to war gun. When it shows up I will get to fiddling, practicing then talk more about it.

I got back to fiddling with my war belt today. What I did was to move the stuff to be more compact towards the front. The frag pouch moved off the MOLLE to the duty belt (was zip tied to the Taco by it) which let me shift the taco's and med pouch all up one row. On the other side my water bottle pouch moved a row closer to the pistol which eliminated some dead space.

Those moves let me put 2 pouches on the back sort of like Max Velocity's war belt setup. After getting past a touch of jealousy that Max has FLIR while I do not his setup is sound so it bears a lot of consideration on my planning.

So the updated setup on my belt is as follows. From left to right:
-Frag pouch to hold compass
-2x double (rifle/pistol) taco's
-IFAK in double mag pouch

Added today were 2x pouches onto the back in what was empty space. One pouch will probably be for sustainment in the form of 2k or so various bars, candy n snacks. The other could be plug and play depending on my needs or small admin stuff and my NOD.

-.75qt water bottle. Swapped out the 1 quart since I prefer it for everyday use. Need to order another one.
-Glock 9mm in holster. Apparently none of my holsters would fit the belt and I can't find any of the 2-3 kydex Glock holsters I own. Zip tied an el cheapo fits anything Uncle Mikes on there for right now just to test it out. The location is pretty good and the load balances well.
-Ontario Rat 3 knife ghetto rigged on with zip ties.

So far I'm pretty happy with this setup. It works well with an ALICE Ruck which was quite important to me. Also the thin suspenders under a plate carrier worked quite well. No issues getting to anything which was nice.

When the new holster comes I am going to shuffle things around again. Wouldn't mind being able to carry 2-3 more mags if I could fit them. Freeing up 2 rows of webbing would let me put another mag pouch on which would be nice. That would give this setup a lot of capability as a stand alone rig. Since the belt needs to be pretty low to clear the pack it basically needs suspenders anyway so I might as well have some more mags.

[I was thinking on this then decided to pull my setup out to take a look at it. I think freeing up 2 more rows to get more mags on there is doable. Won't know for sure till I have the holster on but so far it looks promising.] 

Thinking about how I am going to set up my plate carried I might just mount some mag pouches on there, slap on a camelback and call it good. Will have to play with the MOLLE II chest rig to see how it works with the war belt. I do like the idea of that level of modularity if stuff isn't rubbing all into each other.

So that's where things stand today.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Raven Concealment Vanguard 2 Initial Impressions

Today we will be reviewing the Ravel Concealment Vanguard 2 holster. I saw their earlier version some time ago; while I thought it was a great idea for carrying a fully loaded (vs mag full chamber empty) Glock Mexican Carry isn't my thing so I never got around to buying one.

Basically Version 2 is the cup around the holster piece with a piece of plastic kydex screwed into the holster piece to which is attached a soft belt loop. It looks like this.
The plastic piece covers the trigger guard rendering the gun safe and retaining it securely.
I was sort of on the edge of buying one. Needed a good holster and figured for $34 why not give it a shot. That was an excellent decision. Onto the usual format.

The Good: Just about everything. My dealing with the company were quite pleasant. They sent status updates when it cleared another hurdle in the order process which was nice. I think from order to shipping it was 4-5 days then another 3 to my mail carrier (who mucked it up for 5 days but that is not the companies fault). They charge a very fair $6 for USPS shipping which was nice.

The holster is well made without some of the rough/melted/misformed edges or lines that can occasionally happen in kydex stuff. Retention is excellent, it passes "hold by holster, the turn upside down and shake" test. Granted there are the inherant limitations of a friction type retention system so this is not the holster for jumping out of planes, scuba diving, bronc riding, etc all but for a normal person walking around doing normal things it is more than sufficient. I also appreciate the audible click when the 'holster' sets into place.

Personally I am carrying a small Glock Appendix Inside Waistband (AIWB) with this setup. I like Appendix a lot for security/ retention and speed of access. John Mosby talks the benefits of AIWB better than I can. IIRC he also uses this holster for whatever that's worth.

This holster is simply the smallest/ thinnest and probably lightest way to make safe and retain a Universal Service Pistol (Glock, M&P, etc) currently available. It also comes at a price point where if you don't like it taking the soft loop off and using it when you occasionally carry in a kit bag, as a backup holster or whatever, is a valid option.

This is an excellent setup because it does not put more stiff, pokey, pointy stuff inside the already full space of a person's pants. It is much more comfortable (well as comfortable as AIWB gets) than other holsters I have tried without compromising on retention. Also it is compatible with all Gen 3 and 4 Glock 9/.40/.357sig/.45gap pistols which is pretty handy for somebody with a big Glock collection. Best of all since it doesn't cover the side/ barrel it is compatible without the bulk of the biggest possible gun's dimensions.

An added side benefit of the Vanguard not covering the frame/ slide is that you can load or unload a pistol with it in place. Granted if you can't safely do that you prolly shouldn't be carrying a gun, in fact you should just give it to me, but that is another story. A nice option to have anyway.

The one belt loop design is very comfortable with plenty of give to fit how your body wants which is handy for AIWB. Also that it is adjustable for belt size as well as cant and depth is excellent. That gives a lot of options to play with in order to get the holster fitting just right. Personally I adjusted the depth up a notch because the factory setting was excellent for concealment but too deep to get a good firing grip on the draw. Tweeked with the cant but ended up adjusting it back to strait up and down.

The Bad:
As per the manufacturer it is not safe to reholster with the holster inside your pants. I am initially inclined think that is probably more a factual safety issue than a legal liability thing. [If anyone wants to chime in from real world experience with this holster I'd like to hear about it.] Then again given this holster's concept of use is for concealed carry/ self defense not range fun or competition so the issue is negligible. I just keep the belt loop attached, lift the holster piece out of my pants, reattach the weapon and return it to it's normal position. Really only an issue when doing dry fire practice.

Well that's really the only bad part about this holster.

I'll try to remember to get back to you after a few months of carrying it to share my thoughts but as of right now The Vanguard 2 is a strong buy in my book. I'm not sure there is a more compact and comfortable AIWB holster out there and am pretty sure if there is it's a lot more than $34.

To those who own a Vanguard 2 I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, September 6, 2013

"Battle Belt" And Overall Tiered Gear Rethinking

Max Velocity's Gear Philosophy Update got me thinking. First it rekindled last year's battle belt/ war belt train of thought. It got me to thinking. The idea of a more modular setup appealed to me. Being able to have a decent setup that can work for home invasions, a Katrina like event, training or as a base for a more substantial setup would be nice.

I used a system similar (a TT rig that was  probably not stiff enough) to a battle belt long ago and found it unnecessarily cumbersome. Granted gear has moved a long way in almost a decade but a big padded belt is still a big padded belt. Without being able to fiddle with one I am concerned the same issues will pop up.

One option I previously considered was just doing it on a rigger belt. The downside of this plan is that your gear does not stay securely in place. Some systems have come along recently that let you retain PALS type gear on standard belts. I fear the cost of that option would get silly fast and it adds another variable to go wrong. So I did some more looking. There are some PALS compatible single row belts out there. This one from SKD seems nice. Others are available from quality makers. Has anyone done a battle belt on a belt like that?

Then again enough really smart people who actually train with their gear (specifically John Mosby and I think Max Velocity) are pro battle belt that there is probably something to the general configuration of a 3 row PALS padded belt.

Regardless of the belt I'd basically do the same thing. My plan would be to put on a pair of HSGI double taco's, a compass, flashlight, pistol, knife, plus a small water bottle. I would probably use suspenders for every use except home defense.

This got me to having an overall gear setup. Right now my BOB/ ruck (Tier 3) is a commercial style hiking backpack. It's integral padded hip belt would not work with a battle belt. The simple solution would be to swap the pack out for an ALICE which is already on inventory. Since it's free that is easy enough. Not as comfortable but it's utilitarian ruggedness has some benefits.

So down the rabbit hole of gear reshuffling I went. Thankfully there are some nice tools and pieces of kit already on inventory. That means instead of a huge shopping list it's more about choosing what goes where. So basically I have no immediate plan to fund this trip down the gear porn road or an idea about what exactly the main component is going to be. Honestly I may have just written about it because so much time was wasted thinking on it.

Of course input is appreciated.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Holsters for Practical Use

For most pistols you tend to want two holsters. Some sort of a concealed carry holster and an open carry/ tactical type one. Of course the gun and it's concept of use matter; you probably do not need a CCW holster for a Smith and Wesson 629 with a 6" barrel or an OC/ tactical type holster for a Beretta 21A or Ruger LC380.

Typically concealed carry holsters are inside the waistband (IWB). For a long time I used the generic black nylon foamish Uncle Mikes or Blackhawk type IWB holster. These work fine for smaller guns but not as well for larger/ heavier ones. Also as I have gotten older, smarter, less poor as well as carrying much more consistently for all but the smallest/ lightest guns I prefer something a bit sturdier.

For a long time I used a Bianchi 100 professional. It is an excellent leather IWB holster at an affordable price ($40ish). I like that the clip is easy to take on and off. Nothing bad to say about this holster.

Recently I acquired a slightly used Blade Tech IWB holster. This holster is a bit smaller than the  dimensions of the Bianchi 100 (unlike some supposed IWB or OWB/IWB holsters that are huge). It is also surprisingly comfortable. It has adjustable cant and retention which are nice. Also a full sweat guard. While it is comfortable the plastic contour ridges necessitate an undershirt (which you can avoid with the Uncle Mikes or Bianchi holsters). On the plus side this holster does not collapse when the weapon is drawn. This means you can reholster one handed which is very nice both tactically and just for convenience's sake.

The other holster type you probably want to have is some sort of an open carry or tactical type holster. This could be a simple kydex OWB holster like a Blackhawk for open carry/ range use or a fancy tactical type holster by Safariland or one of the new companies (Raven Concealment, Bravo Concealment, etc all) making Kydex holsters. On the plus side the basic Kydex holsters are cheap enough that you can have a spare lying around no problem.

Those two really cover the bases, especially if you are able to get ones that suit your needs and body the first go around. Otherwise like many people you will end up with a box of holsters in the closet someplace. Sure you might decide down the road that a shoulder holster would be handy but for most people additional holsters are more of a want than a need.

I'm loving the new Blade Tech holster and it's about time for me to get productive. What type of holsters do you use?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spring Carry and Gardening

The weather here in Southern Arizona seems to have decided to stop snowing and that it's Spring. A pleasant change but pretty fast. Suppose that's the nature of the desert. This brings up a couple issues worth discussing.

Carrying a gun in the fall and winter is easy. Pack whatever you want then put on a coat. It's the good times for sure. The benefits of packing a full sized piece without any of the issues of concealment. Spring and summer are what separates those who practice high percentage/ consistent carry from the fair weather strap on a heater in the winter or when they are going to wherever and want to pose.

Warm weather carry is not hard with a bit of planning. Get an inside the waistband (IWB) holster and get started. Blackhawk makes a decent one at a great price. You can choose to carry a compact pistol like a Glock 19 or subcompact pistol like a baby Glock or J frame which makes things easier. While I do not like following the rabbit hole of smaller guns down to a really small gun like a Beretta 21A/ NAA .22 revolver, etc but  they certainly beat not having a gun at all. On the other side of the coin you can dress around a bigger gun (though most won't and it will stay in the glove box/ nightstand/ safe) or open carry.

The endstate is to not let the weather getting warmer stop you from carrying.

The garden is coming along pretty well. The green onions from the store definitely sprouted in the cup of water. Turns out the roots need space below them and once I lifted them off the bottom of the cup they went crazy.  Now they are sitting in a pot of dirt. The potatoes (also from the store) are sort of going. They definitely have white shoots coming from the original taters and a couple are growing some leaves. I am optomistic that the rest will catch up. Hopefully they will get to growing and in a week or so I'll put them into a container.

The garden is coming along. So far I am really enjoying it and find the whole thing quite calming. Maybe I will try to do a second wave of stuff and or try to grow some more herbs.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dry Fire Practice- Little Things

This evening after putting Walker to bed I conducted some dry fire training. It was pretty good. Definitely getting used to handing the smaller J frame and it's trigger. One nice thing about a DAO revolver is that you cannot cheat and thumb cock it so you just have to get comfortable with the trigger. I am eager to get it out to the range and put some more ammo through it. This trip will coincide with zeroing the new scope for the AR after it arrives.

Did notice one interesting thing when shooting the wheel gun. My Blackhawk IWB holster came out with the gun a couple times. Admittedly it was probably just because I was repeatedly drawing without taking the time to really reset the holster. That consideration aside it is still no bueno. An easy fix is to undo the velcro on my rigger belt, slip the holster in and then re velcro the belt. The bottom of the plastic clip sort of looks like an upside down T that hooks on both sides of the belt keeping it solidly in place. I will probably talk more about this holster at some point. It's not perfect but for $10 picking one up when you get a gun then figuring out another option down the road when your budget allows (if you even feel the need to) is a solid option. Elitists will hate it but a $10 holster that is good enough for casual use or to get you started on a busget has some real value in the market place.

Next I shifted to rifle work. I haven't rocked iron's as primary sights for awhile and wanted to get used to using them in a CQB type setting. Also I needed to knock some dust off the old muscle memory. Rifle work was good. Weapon manipulation and target acquisition were solid. Also spent some time training with the tac light. With it located at about 1:30 the setup is pretty natural. The only minor issue is if I get lazy about grip my thumb can obscure the sights. Optics sit slightly higher so this should be less of an issue. If a bit more training will not fix this I will look at other mounting options or a pressure switch.

The point I am trying to get to is that we find flaws and weak points in our gear, systems and capabilities when we use them. Little things come up and we figure them out by setting stuff up differently or training appropriately. Occasionally something big pops up that must be dealt with. If you just buy a gun, a holster and a bunch of hollow points  then load up the gun and stick it in the holster to occasionally travel with you these flaws never appear. It is true that you may live a charmed life and never have these unknown flaws become huge problems but not everyone is so lucky.

Get out and use your stuff. Getting out and shooting is great but with the limited availability and high price of ammo these days it may be hard to do often. Dry fire is free and you can do it at home so there are no excuses.

Just Do It!

Monday, January 28, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I got a new heater. Also picked up a bunch of accessories I have been wanting. A Safariland paddle holster that will accomodate a Glock with a TLR-1. If I like using the light on my Glock down the road a nicer setup will be acquired. A stainless steel guide rod and a Lone Wolf 3.5 pound trigger connector round things out on the Glock front.

Got a set of boot grips for the new heater as well as an en cheapo holster (till I figure out what I want), and some speed loaders. Tossed some more speed loaders and speed strips into the order just because.

Lastly I picked up a Costa Leg Rig. Pretty sure that on a rigger belt is going to be my answer to the 'battle belt'.

Picked up a few odds and ends at the grocery store. Looking at making a decent sized order this week.

Well that is what we have been up to. What did you do to prepare this week?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Niche Gear

Do you have something that isn't used often but sometimes it is just right?

For me a shoulder holster is a great example of this. I generally do not like them as a way to carry. To conceal it you have to wear a pretty heavy over garment so you could pack OWB on the belt anyway. However for long car trips a shoulder holster is the ticket. Far more comfortable and accessible than any other on the body option. The one I am using these days is a Galco Miami Classic which was previously reviewed. A great holster but pretty spendy which drives a lot of folks away from them. Once upon a time I had a Blackhawk Shoulder Holster. You will not mistake it for a Miami Classic however it worked just fine at a cost I could afford at the time.

Another nitch item I have is a Hill People Gear Kit Bag. I haven't really reviewed it but TEOTWAWKI Blog did a solid review awhile back. This piece of gear is the answer for concealed carry with a heavy pack. However that isn't something I do much. Probably shouldn't have bought it when I did but oh well. They are a cool company and it is a good product. In coming years as the kids get older and we are more active in the outdoors it will earn it's keep. Still really want a Mountain Sarape. It seems like a woobie on steroids that can do a lot of things.

What is a niche piece of gear for one person might be a key EDC item for another. A longtime co conspirator carries his High Power in a Miami Classic every day. On the other hand a leather IWB holster like I use all the time is rarely in his rotation. Different lifestyles and situations make some items more important and others less so.

Common sense says you should not put much energy or money into nitche items until the more everyday ones are addressed. However at some point it makes sense to get a few useful items even if they are not useful all the time. While I do not like throwing money at problems sometimes there is just a right tool for the job and it makes sense to have that tool.

What nitche items do you own and use?

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