Same planet, different worlds

I found the difference in messaging and demographic target in these two ads to be endlessly fascinating. 

Which one is the more effective ad? Well, they both are. They’re targeting two completely different groups of people with their message, and while “My Glock gives me confidence to live my life” treads a little too close to Dr. Freud’s territory for my liking (Do golfers who use Ping Zing II’s ever say “My 5 iron gives me the confidence to live my life”? I doubt it.), the fact is, it’s NICE to see USPSA being used by a gun company to sell ads. 

And the Shield ad is brilliantly targeted on Gun Culture 2.0. No slow motion panning shots of a father and son in camo, just ordinary people going about their everyday lives with a small 9mm nearby. Even though the style is totally different than the Glock spot, the message is still aimed at the new breed of gun owners who see practical pistol competition, personal defense and concealed carry as the reasons to own guns, not hunting or target practice. 

Concealed Prepping

Sebastian connects the dots between concealed carry and prepping. I carry a sidearm not because I want to be a cop or rapid tactical force team member, but because I realize I will ALWAYS be my own first responder. 

Same idea with a natural disaster. FEMA won’t be there when I’ll need them, just like there won’t be a cop around if I get mugged. Prepping and CCW are both just two sides of the same self-reliance coin:  It’s not paranoid to have three days of food and water in the house and a bug out bag ready to go, it’s just logical to have backups for the single points of failure in your life. 

Have a plan. Have a backup plan. Have a kit


Match Review: Hosemasters USPSA, Rio Salado Country Club

Last week was the last USPSA sanctioned match at Rio before the Area 2 Championship, aka The Desert Classic. With GM’s like Matt Burkett, Rob Leatham, Angus Hobdell, Nils Johannson and Vic Pickett as regular competitors, Rio is pretty much the epicenter of USPSA west of the Mississippi, so people came out in droves. Capitalist Pig and I had to spend upwards of an hour and a half on some stages, waiting for our turn to shoot. 

Not a good thing. But on the plus side, the weather couldn’t have been nicer, and the stages were a HECK of a lot of fun. 

Stage 1: CM99-48 Tight Squeeze 

Tight Squeeze

Upon start signal, from Box A, engage T1-T3 with only two rounds per target, then make a mandatory reload and from Box A re-engage T1-T3 with only two rounds per target. 

I did… ok. I’m tremendously rusty right now, not having shot or practiced regularly in quite a while, but despite that, turned in a 10.25 time with 7 Alpha, 4 Charlies and 1 Mike on the far target, good enough for something in the 45% range, according to

I can dig it.

Stage 2 and Stage 3 

These were pretty simple “fundamentals” stages with no movement. 

Stage 2: 16 rounds, 4 paper targets, Virginia count. Gun is placed loaded on table, all reloads must be done from magazines on the table. Shooter stands in Box A, heels on rear side of box. At start signal, engage T1-T4 with 2 rounds each, perform a mandatory reload and re-engage T1-T4 with two rounds each

Stage 3: 16 rounds, 4 paper targets, Virginia count.  Gun is loaded in holster, all reloads must be done from magazines on the belt. Shooter stands in Box A, heels on rear side of box. At start signal, engage T1-T4 with 2 rounds each, perform a mandatory reload and re-engage T1-T4 with two rounds each. 

Even though both these stages where simplicity itself, good shooters get messed up with procedurals by missing the mandatory reload part. I did ok (again), missing two shots on the further targets on Stage 3 (and I wasn’t alone in this). 

Stage 4

40 rounds, 18 paper, 4 steel, Comstock Count. Start position: Gun holstered, hands at sides. At signal, engage target as they appear. 

Just plain fun. Seriously, look up “Typical USPSA stage” in the dictionary, and you’ll see something like this. Lots of running, lots of shots, lots of targets visible only thru ports, a clamshell, a couple of swingers and a few “sweet spots” where a bunch of targets were visible at once if you planned your movement well. And I did pretty good: My plan was solid, (just 4 reloads in a 40 round stage, not an easy thing to do in Production), and things went well: I actually managed to shoot the sucker clean (for a change…). 
46.20 seconds, 23 Alpha, 6 Bravos, 9 Charlies and 2 Deltas

Stage Five 

36 Rounds, 15 paper, 6 steel. Comstock Count. Start position: Gun holstered, hands at sides. At signal, engage target as they appear. 

Another fun stage with lots of running and gunning and a hidden surprise. At the end of the stage, you’re faced with something like this: 


Steel 1 activates the T1 clamshell and the T2 swinger (which needs to engaged from another shooting position). Hiding behind the full-sized popper S2, though, is a pepper popper that can only be engaged S2 has dropped. 

I ran a number of shooters on this stage while I was waiting for my turn to shoot, and a couple of them ran up to the port, pinged S1, engaged the paper and T1 then S2 and the mini-popper to the right and then ran off to the other port, leaving the mini-popper behind S2 standing and un-engaged.


Fortunately for me, I learned from their mistake and when it was my turn to shoot, I ran up to the port, shot S2 then S1, shot the paper, then cleaned up all the steel and ran off to the last port. 

And I did pretty good on this one, too. I was able to shoot on the move and get my hits (thank you IDPA!) and scored 45.31 seconds, 28 Alphas, 4 Charlies, 4 Deltas and no Mikes, despite having to do a standing reload when my plan for shooting the first part of the stage went all to pieces. 

In all, despite the loooooong wait on a couple of stages that kept us on the range for four and a half hours, it was a great match, and a nice reminder of how much fun USPSA can be. 

Product Comparison: Blackhawk! IWB holster vs. Crossbreed IWB

I had a chance to take the new Blackhawk leather IWB holster out to the range today to compare it head to head with the Crossbreed Miniclip. 

The Test:

The classic Mozambique Drill, shot at 5 paces rather than 7. 

Why 5 yards and not 7? Two reasons. One reason was to smooth out the differences between the guns (the P07 would clearly have the advantage at longer ranges) and secondly, because while 7 yards may be the distance for the classic Tueller Drill, the fact is, if a goblin starts charging they’re going to be on me right fast, and 5 yards seems to be mroe realistic than 7. I ran the drill three times for each gun and then averaged the times. All the shots were taken from concealment, and the cover garment was an oversized t-shirt. 

The Gear: 

A 9mm Smith and Wesson Shield with two holsters: A Crossbreed Miniclip and a Blackhawk! Tuckable Leather IWB

The Reason: 

As I mentioned in the original review of the Blackhawk! holster, it’s very comfortable to wear, but it felt like it was harder to draw from, and I wanted to get some hard data just how much harder it was to use. 

Gun CZ
(Blackhawk! IWB)

Time (1)

3.31 3.21 3.30 3.11 2.63
Hits (1) 3A 3A (No head) ABD (No head) DDB CCB
Score (1) 4.53 4.67 2.73 1.61 3.42
Time (2) 2.93 3.30 3.39 3.09 3.02
Hits (2) 2A 1C 2A B 3A ADB AAA
Score (2) 4.43 3.94 4.42 2.91 4.97
Time (3) 2.75 2.84 3.11 3.21 2.91
Hits (3) 3A A B C 2C M ADB ACA
Score (3) 5.45 3.87 1.93 2.8 4.47
Avg. Score 4.80 4.16 3.03 2.44 4.29

A few takeaways… 

  1. Unlike the last time I tried this test, I did pretty well. I credit… my shirt. No, really. Last time I ran thru a Mozambique, I was wearing a longer t-shirt that clung tighter than what I’ve been wearing in the past or today, which made it harder to pull out of the way and access my pistol. 
  2. The Shield did quite good. Really good, actually, better than the Sccy. This makes me happy, as that’s exactly the reason why I wanted this gun.
  3. My times were about the same with the two holsters, but my accuracy was remarkably better with the Crossbreed because I could get a better grip on the gun as I withdrew it out of holster, and therefore I could hit what I aimed at.

All that talk about grip, stance and sight picture? People talk about it for a reason. 

After trying out the two holsters, I think I’ll go with the Crossbreed for everyday carry and keep the Blackhawk IWB for times when I know I’ll be tucking in my shirt. 

So what’s your favorite IWB holster? 

A tale of two safe companies

I have two quick access safes in my house: One upstairs, a GunVault MicroVault that holds my CCW gun, and a SecureVault SV downstairs that holds a CZ82 for immediate response and home defense. I’ve had issues with the GunVault before, and Cannon Safes sent out a replacement GunVault right away when my safe stopped opening. 

I’ve now had the same issue with the SecureVault, namely, the cable between the lock and the keypad has come loose, so entering the correct keycode won’t open the lock, and to make matters worse, I can’t find the keys to the safe. 

I called SecureVault yesterday for help, and their response was…

a) Because the safe is more than two years old, it’s out of warranty.

b) Because the safe is three years old, they don’t stock replacement keys for it anymore.

So in other words, I’m on my own.

Not only am I on my own, but their advice to me was (and I swear I’m not making this up) to PRY OPEN THE SAFE in order to get my gun out, ruining the safe (and my chances of ever doing business with SecureVault again) in the process

They can’t/won’t send a key. Their warranty expires right before their product expires. And unlike GunVault, SecureVault won’t help you after the warranty is over. So this is what I ended up with after the $100 I spent on a SecureVault safe and ten short minutes with a pry bar, hammer and crowbar.  

If you are looking for a quick-access safe, I would STRONGLY advise you to stay away from SecureVault, lest you end up with a safe you can’t open when you want to, and a safe you can’t close when you’re done. 

Product Review: Blackhawk! Tuckable Leather Holster

Blackhawk tuckable and ShieldAdvantages: Small, carries very comfortably and easily, reasonably priced 
Disadvantages:  No adjustment for cant, hard to re-holster 

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 

I’ve been carrying the Smith And Wesson Shield in a Crossbreed Minituck for the past few weeks mainly because I’m a fan of their holsters: Their stuff works on the range (I use them with my P07 in IDPA) and they also work for daily carry. However, variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes, so I wanted to look at more options. 

Blackhawk! is known for their SERPA retention holsters, but they make a wide variety of other holster styles as well.  The model I’m using right now for the Shield is their leather tuckable inside the waistband (IWB) holster, size 3, which is described for use with a Glock 26 or 27 but it also works for just about any mini or sub-compact 9mm/.40 out there. 

Comforatble to carryThe Blackhawk! holster is MUCH thinner than the Minituck and carries very comfortably. I’ve been wearing the Blackhawk! holster for two days straight now and most of the time I forget I’m carrying a gun mainly due to how thin this sucker is. Concealment-wise, because the Blackhawk! holster uses one attachment point versus the Crossbreed’s two points, gun and holster flat-out disappears when it’s tucked in. 

This concealment and ease of use comes at a price, though. There is no way to adjust the cant or angle of carry on the holster. I prefer an “FBI cant” or a slight forward angle of carry, so it’s harder for me to grip and withdraw my gun from this holster than it is with other holsters. Just how that affects my draw times will be determined during my next trip to the range, but the Blackhawk! feels noticably slower than the Crossbreed.

Gun? What Gun? Also, the leather is soft, which makes it comfortable to carry but means the holster pocket collapses after the gun is withdrawn. That, combined with the aforementioned gripping problems, makes re-holstering without undressing problematic at best (and dangerous at worst).

I would NOT recommend this holster for training, practice or competition. However, if you’re looking for something that makes your gun easy to carry and don’t mind the lack of adjustment, it’s definitely worth your money.  

Update: Hey, if you’re new to the site, feel free to stick around and/or give me a Like on Facebook.

Trying to kick cancer

My niece Madeline is battling luekemia. She’s a heck of girl and may just pull through, but my sister’s family could use a little help with paying for the gap in-betwen their insurance and their out of pocket costs. 

I know Kilted to Kick Cancer just ended and I know the holidays are almost on us and I know money is tight right now, but every little bit helps

Thanks for your generosity,

– Kev

p.s. And hug your loved ones tonight extra-hard. 

Attack Watch

Hmmn, maybe it’s not Obama’s stated desire to re-instate the (failed) Assault Weapons Ban that’s driving gun sales today. Maybe it’s that violent crimes are on the rise again, and people want to protect themselves. 

“The rate of violent crime increased by a whopping 17% last year, according to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), marking the biggest jump since 1993. Property crimes also went up 11% last year. That means that in 2011 there were nearly 6 million violent victimizations and more than 17 million property victimizations, according to the DOJ figures.” 

Well that’s just like it was in the 80’s, with inner-city gangs slugging it out over drug-selling profits, right?

Ummn, no. 

… crime rate in the suburbs is growing much faster than in the cities or rural areas, the government figures show. In 2011 suburbanites suffered a 20% in violent victimizations, according to the DOJ. Keep in mind that the feds admit in their report that the figures are probably much higher since only about 50% of violent victimizations were reported to police. 

Carry your guns, people. It’s a lighter burden than regret.