Pouch Potato

One of the things that’s become painfully clear recently is that I need a better way to carry a spare magazine when I carry concealed. Quick reloads are a big reason why I’ve yet to pass the Air Marshall Qualifier Drill, and so I started looking around for alternatives. I used my Blade-Tech pouches with my CZ P07 when I when to Front Sight, and I got used to just grabbing my spare mag when I needed it without having to fumble with extraneous flaps and whatnot. 

You’d think with the booming popularity of personal defence, you’d see a bunch of low-priced mag pouches designed for concealed carry. 

And you’d be wrong. 

My first attempt at a spare mag pouch was a horizontal cell phone pouch, which didn’t really work because it was still a two-step process to access the spare mag: One to pop open the case and one to grab the mag. So the search was on for a replacement. 

Mag  pouches

First up was a spare case for my old Blackberry Curve (on the left in the photo). It gained points for not having a flap to get in the way, but it didn’t hold the spare mag securely and seated the mag too deeply to easily grab. 

Next I tried a spare multitool case (center) and a nylon Blackhawk! mag pouch (right) I bought at the local Wal-Mart, but again, that $#!@ cover flap got in the way of a speedy reload. 

So off I went to Amazon.com. There are a LOT of mag pouches out there, but I found out quickly they fell into one of three categories: Cheap nylon pouches with cover flaps that were similar to what I already had tried and rejected, high-speed low-drag race gear like the Blade-Techs I already own, and leather pouches that held two mags but cost $50 or more. 

I carry A spare mag, not two. I have 16 in the CZ or 10 in the Sccy, and if 32/20 rounds of 124 grain Speer Gold Dot doesn’t take care of the problem, it’s time to beat feet. I began to suspect that the majority of the mag pouches I found were designed for law enforcement and not concealed carry. 

Eventually, I found a Blackhawk! single mag pouch for double-stack 9mm/.40. The price was certainly right, and it held one mag rather than two without a cover flap. 

Mag and pouch

And it works! 

Mag in pouch

It’s very comfortable, (I have it on my hip as I type this) and yet it holds the magazine securely and it’s just as fast to access as my Blade-Tech race rig. Tomorrow I’ll take it the range and run it through both the Air Marshall Drill and my usual round of drills and see how it works in everyday use. 


Going home.

Michael Bane, Rev. Paul and Guffaw are all talking about the idea of a “go-to” gun, the gun you use when your pistol just ain’t enough. 

I have two, one for the car and one for the house. Let’s tackle the easy subject, the house gun, first. 

In my safe room, I have my Mossberg 500

In my car, I have something different. 

Get Home Rifle

I’ve got my get-home bag in the trunk of my car, along with my CavArms AR on a three-point sling and the Sccy 9mm pistol which I usually carry inside my car. 

Ok, why this stuff? 

  1. It’s stuff I already have. I don’t have a big budget for firearms (heck, right now, I have NO budget at all), so I have to use what I have. The CavArms rifle is LIGHT (just about 6 pounds unloaded), and I know I can hit with it out to 300 yards. 

  2. It’s light. The whole kit together weighs about 30 pounds, yet it has the things I need to keep me going for 3 days or more, no matter where I am. 

  3. It’s enough. Look, if I can’t deal with whatever is going on with a rifle, a pistol and 3 days of food, then it’s time for the full Rockatansky

  4. It works in Arizona. If I were traveling around the country like Michael Bane does, I’d want something lighter and less conspicuous. But I don’t, so this is all I’ll most likely ever need within the boundaries of the Copper State. 

What would I change if I could? 

  • The pistol. I like the idea of a subcompact 9mm in this kit as it gives me enough gun but it’s still small enough to pocket-carry if need be, but me and the Sccy have a rocky relationship together. I want to replace it with Ruger LC9 or similar whenever I can. 

  • The rifle. Being able to reach out to 200+ yards with a rifle is good, but I give up ammo compatibility with my pistol and all-around utility. I’m thinking about changing that out for either a 9mm Kel-Tec Sub2000 or another pump-action shotgun in the near future. 

And yes, I leave all that in my car all the time. 

I understand people’s concerns about idea of leaving two guns unattended, but the fact is, there’s nothing either inside or outside my car that is remotely desirable to even the most desperate of car thieves, and I leave my car in my garage at night. My car is a seriously uncool late-model import painted a bland medium grey. It has a factory radio and a kid’s car seat and that’s about it. 

Sometimes, the best way to avoid a robbery is making it look like there’s nothing there to steal. 

The Weakest Link

I was catching up on back episodes of the Safety Solutions Academy podcast as I was working around the house this weekend, and Paul was talking about training to build up the weaknesses in your self-defence regimen, when I realized the biggest weakness I had was me, myself. 

I’ve never been muscular, but thanks to cross-country skiing, running and cycling, I was (WAS) in shape in my youth. Now, however, I’m a semi-old, quasi-fat white guy. 

I can (sorta) shoot, I should move up to a yellow belt in a month or two in karate and my situational awareness is pretty good. What’s missing is the conditioning needed to protect myself for any significant amount of time. 

So this morning I did a brief circuit of upper-body exercises and started the Couch To 5k running plan

Because the first step of getting into fighting shape is getting into shape. 

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Bland. James Bland.

The First Official Still from the new James Bond movie is out, and I’m somewhat disappointed. 

A PPK? What, is it 1952 again?

Bond is back with the PPK again. He’s got enough computing power in his socks to fly to the moon and back, and he’s using an 80 year old gun that nearly got the Queen’s only daughter killed

I was kinda happy when Bond switched to the P99 a few years back, bringing his firepower kicking and screaming into the 20th century, but now the producers have decided to forego the last eight decades of firearms innovation and bring back the PPK. 


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Tripping the lights fantastic

Ever since Guffaw wrote about his flashlights, I’ve been wanting to do a side-by-side comparison of the various and sundry flashlights I have around the house.

So I did. 

I don’t have any Tier-1 tactical lights in the house: I just can’t justify spending $50 or more on a AA-powered LED “tactical” light” when there’s good flashlights to be had for half (or a third) of what I’d pay for a “name” brand.


That’s my well-loved 4-D Cell Maglite up top, and then left to right, a Photon Micro-light II, a Fenix E01, an Insight MX3, a Coleman 3AAA LED, a AA Maglite and a Pelican AA LED light

The testing setup is the same I used for testing the Insight light: I set up my D70 with my 24-70mm lens set at 35mm about 12 feet away from the cinder-block fence in my backyard. The exposure this time was 1 second at f5.6, ISO 400. As a comparison, that’s about 1/1000th the exposure needed for taking photos in daylight. 

First up, the Photon Micro-light II

Photon II

Then, the Fenix E01.

Fenix E01

And the Coleman 3 AAA LED.

Coleman 3AAA LED

And the Pelican AA LED.

Pelican AA

And the Insight light

Insight MX3

And now the Maglites. First, the AA version

Maglite AA

And now the 4 D Cell thumper

4 D Maglite


1. That little Photon is pretty astounding. It’s TINY and at under $10, relatively cheap, yet it kicks out an amazing amount of lumens for its size. 
2. Either the Pelican or the Coleman are a good choice for someone who wants the lighting capabilities of a Surefire without the Surefire price tag. I’d also add that both of those lights have AA/AAA lithium batteries in them, giving me the long shelf-life advantages of lithium with the flexibility and low-cost of alkalines if needed. 
3. The day of the Maglite is over. I’ll still carry that big ol’ 4D Cell mamajama in my car because it comes in handy in other (defensive) ways, but it’s not king of the candlepower hill any more. 
4. As a comparison, I took a shot illuminated with my iPhone’s Flashlight app

iPhone App

Yeah that didn’t work…

Rebuttal and update

To the half-dozen or so people who came to my blog this month via the keywords “Open carry is stupid“: 

No, it’s not. 

Look, just because I don’t open carry myself (in a state that’s had legal open carry since Padre Kino wandered through Sonora) doesn’t mean I think open carry is dumb. 

I support the right of others to do it, I just don’t do it myself. And the post title was a joke, much like most anti-rights activtists. 

Oleg’s post on the RMR-30 had me rabbit-trailing for more info on .22Magnum as a defensive round. The verdict? Not bad

“Winchester 40gr JHP (part #X22MH), impacted at unknown velocity, penetrated to 13.5″ (corrected) and expanded to 0.311″ average diameter. Recovered weight was 29.1gr.”

Yeah, that’s going to leave a mark.

That makes me want that little RMR-30 even more. Team it up with a lightweight low-power optical or red-dot scope, and you’ve got a perfect little bug-out gun that’s super-easy to carry around.


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The only ones in the room qualified to protect us… aren’t.

Ah yes, Chicago. Where guns are almost impossible to own, but somehow the criminals seem to have them

Chicago, where the G-8 summit is coming to town, and the police are utterly unprepared to deal with the violence that’s sure to follow.

 “I have no idea when I’m going to get any specific training, so I’ve gone ahead and ordered some books from Amazon on riots. This isn’t good.” 

With the police so ridiculously unprepared for a major social disruption, it’s a good thing the residents of Illinois are allowed to protect themselves in public. 

Oh wait, they’re not

Sucks to be you, Chicago.

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