Product Review: Holosun HS503C 2 MOA Circle Red Dot Sight

red dot with circle reticuleAdvantages: Always on, great reticle, long battery life
Disadvantages: Finicky battery compartment
Rating: 5 out of 5

I was shooting a 3 Gun match a few years ago, and I discovered, much to my chagrin, that I had forgotten to turn on my red dot sight before I placed it in the staging barrel, meaning I had to take a few extra seconds to turn it on before I proceeded to shoot the stage. This was embarrassing at a match, but potentially lethal if I needed to defend myself with my rifle.

So I decided to try out some options. First up was a Sigtac CP1 3x scope which did the job, but the reticle was far too confusing for serious work. I then swapped that out on my SU16 for the Leupold 1.5-4x scope I originally got for 3 Gun, and it’s working out just fine.

But that left out my .300 Blackout pistol., and for that, I reached out to Brownells for a Holosun HS503C 2 MOA Circle Red Dot Sight. I was particularly interested in this sight because of it’s auto-brightness, solar cell recharging capability and ridiculously long battery life.

And so far, 3 months into it, I am very impressed with this sight. The sight illumination is always pretty much spot-on, although it does have some issues when I’m in a darker spot and pointing out to a much brighter sport. The reticle itself is clear and sharp, with a 2 MOA center that’s surrounded by a 65 MOA circle. I found that the circle fit neatly inside the torso of a standard USPSA target at 40 yards, making  rapid shots on close targets a breeze, and the 2 MOA dot was a nice, round circle, which, because of my astigmatism, doesn’t happen all that often for me.

I can’t speak to the ruggedness of the sight, as I’ve really not torture-tested it in anyway, but I did run into a spot of trouble when it came time to slide in a battery for the first time (and by “spot of trouble” I mean “I actually had to read the directions to see how things were supposed to work”). The battery itself, after three months of being left constantly on, is still going strong, where by this time, the battery in my Bushnell TRS-25 would have been a useless lump of metal.

I likey.

Bottom line is, if you’re looking for a 1x red dot for defensive or competition purposes, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better combination of features and pricing than this little sucker, and it’ll be my first-choice for such things from here on out.


FCC Notice: Brownells gave me this to review, not Holosun. Did I write a glowing review of it because of their generosity? Heck no, I wrote good things about it because it’s a good optic!
Duh.

Know When To Say When.

Say when.

John Correia of Active Self Protection brought up an interesting idea in the midst of a recent interview on the Safety Solutions Academy podcast: For the armed citizen, it’s usually going to be us who initiates the fight, not the bad guy.

“In a law enforcement setting, the cop initiates contact with the bad guy. The fight starts when the bad guy decides to start fighting, and the fight ends with either the bad guy in cuffs or the cop is dead. In a CCW gunfight, it’s almost the exact opposite. The gunfight in the middle is almost the same, but as a CCW holder, it’s your actions, in a territorial violence situation, that initiates the fight, and the fight ends when you break contact with the bad guy.”

It took me awhile to figure it out, but I can see his point. The bad guy is going to want something from us that, unless we run into an asocial predator who wants nothing more from us than our death, is NOT going to be our life and limbs. They are using the threat of violence to get our money or car or something else from us, and they don’t expect us to fight back. As such, while the bad guy initiates the threat, the fact of the matter is, it is US that initiates the violence.

Is that empowering? You better believe it is.

You are no longer the victim in this scenario: YOU get to decide how the scenario will play out, and by being patient and then willing and able to counter the threat of physical violence with an overwhelming amount of actual violence if needed, we take away his (or her) power in one swell foop.

Waiting your turn for violence fits in well with a de-escalation strategery which should be (and is) our preferred method of dealing with “monkey dance” violence, but it also adds in another fear-reducing element: WE are the ones who are in charge of how violent an encounter will get. The crook is NOT expecting violence: He’s expecting that the threat alone will be sufficient to produce the desired reward, and the minute that doesn’t happen, WE have the upper hand.

That’s hellaciously empowering.

Disarming Smile

The Colonel

Michael Bane posted this great quote from Jeff Cooper on Facebook:

“You will probably finish a fight with what you have in your pistol, but carry at least one spare magazine with you at all times. Reload after the fight, because it is just unseemly to walk around with a half empty gun”

Which is part of the reason why I carry a reload, even when I carry a higher-capacity gun like my P07. Do I expect to get into a running gun battle that will require a dozen round or more? No. I don’t expect to get into ANY sort of gun battle at all. However, it’s nice to know that I can reset back to “normal” when the shooting is over.

EDC Pistol Training has more thoughts on this subject, and they’re quite good. Go check them out.

Changing Things Up A Bit.

CZ P07

I don’t have a “carry rotation” of defensive pistols. I carry an LCPII if I need to be discrete, and either an S&W Shield or a CZ P07 for other purposes. I made the decision last year to go with the Shield as my primary gun, and it’s worked really well for me. The Shield is skinny and light (two BIG advantages in a concealed carry pistol) and I know that I can get first-shot hits with it out to 50 yards in under 3 seconds because Jeff Street has watched me do it.

But the Shield has one big drawback: It can hold 8 rounds max in the magazine, or 10 rounds if I want to make my gun print a little more. I’m not expecting to get into a gun fight where I’m going to need an extendo clip, but then again, I’m not expecting to get into a gunfight AT ALL.

But.

I’m not a fan of how things are headed as of late, and being on my own for a few days has increased my awareness of how badly things can go wrong if and when they go wrong. Yes, the statistics clearly prove that 8+1 plus another 8 on the belt will get me through any bad things that might be headed my way, however, having double the boollits in the gun and double the boollits on my belt provides a level of comfort that is very, very real, so it’s back to the P07, at least for a while.

I’m also wearing sandals less-frequently, and wearing shoes that I can run in more often (which can be a real hardship here in sunny Florida). I’m also figuring out ways I can carry my cheap and dirty trauma kit with me all the time, not just when I’m wearing a pair of jeans.

Is it silly to do such things? Yes, right up to the point when it’s not.

Offer You Really Shouldn’t Refuse.

Mike Seeklander has put a bunch of books out for sale directly from him, rather than Amazon, and he’s doing with affiliate marketing so I (and others) will get a piece of the action.

This makes me very, very happy. I fund the blog and most of my training with affiliate links, some to products that I use, some to products I don’t use.

I use Seeklander’s books. They work. You should read them. You’ll get better at shooting if you do.

And if you click on this link or the ad in sidebar, I make a few bucks as well.

Win-win-win.

Attention, Practical Shooting Organizations.

USPSA, IDPA, 3 Gun Nation, Rimfire Challenge, the whole lot of you.

Now is your chance.

The NFL is self-immolating itself, and the NBA and Major League Baseball are right behind them. They’ve decided that 50% of the country shouldn’t be watching them play sports, so all of you have a great opportunity to step into the void.

How many of your top-level competitors are former military? How many are current law enforcement?

What are the odds that people who are ticked off by the shenanigans of the NFL would look up to the patriotism of such people?

Is there is a chance that 50% of the country might like to watch a sport where athletes are really and truly role models?

Get to work. You have until the NFL pre-season starts next year to make some hay off of this.

And if you need a hand getting it done, my email address is over there —>.

Product Review: Bear Minimum Bear Bowl

Bear Bowl

Bear Bowl expandedAdvantages: Folds up REAL small
Disadvantages: Insufficient heating
Rating: 2 out of 5

I backed this campaign on Indiegogo because I was looking for a way to carry around a cup to heat up water that wouldn’t take up a lot of space inside my go-bag.

The Bear bowl is a different kind of bowl: It has a lightweight aluminum base to suck up the heat from your stove, and then some slick plasticky stuff on top that folds together to make the bowl itself.

It does require a little effort to get the bowl to fold together correctly the first time you try it, but after that, it’s pretty intuitive. To test out the bowl in it’s natural environment, I set up my Esbit stove on a baking sheet on my kitchen table while I was waiting for the power to come on last week, filled up the bowl with 2 cups of water, lit the fuel tab, and off we went.

Light it up!I apologize for the low-quality pic, but lighting with the lights out was less-than-optimal. The Esbit lit up like it’s supposed to, and the water started to heat up.

A brief explanation on why I want a stove and some way to heat water in my bug out bag: I don’t have any Mountain Home meals or similar in my bag because I’m not planning on using that gear for the long-term. The purpose of my bug out bag is to keep me going for a minimum of three days, and I can survive quite nicely (if a little hungrily) on energy bars and similar food for three days, maybe even a week. The stove is there to boil water if I need to purify it and to heat up water for instant coffee. Yes, you can survive without coffee, but why would you want to?

With that in mind, it’s important to me that my stove and water container can create good rolling boil to make sure all the bad critters in the water are well and truly dead, and sadly, this is were the Bear bowl falls down on the job.

Not a real boilThe Esbit fuel tab took around eight and half minute to burn up, and the picture at right shows the best boil I could get with this bowl. While that level of boil may be good for heating up freeze-dried meals or for coffee, it’s not going to work for purifying water. I’ve seen videos where an Esbit stove is capable of getting a rolling boil in around six minutes, so what I suspect is happening here is that the fabric on the bottom on the bowl is acting like an insulator (as plastic is wont to do) and impeding the boiling process. This test was done at sea-level. How this bowl will perform in the mountains is anybody’s guess.

In addition to this, the Bear bowl requires a controlled flame on the bottom of the bowl to work, and I question it’s utility for heating up water on a campfire or an improvised grill, and I just can’t guarantee I’ll have a stove handy if I have to use my bug out bag.

Bottom line is, I give the people behind the Bear bowl full marks for creative thinking and coming up with a unique way to save space when you’re trekking into the great outdoors. For me and my needs, though, it’s back to a metal cup when it comes to boiling water when no power is to be found.

Living In A Post-Irmageddon World

Six years ago, I wrote about how watching the .gov screw up the response to Katrina made me realize that they were not going to be there for me if something bad happened to my family.

And they weren’t.

Who WAS there were people like my neighbor Chad, who ran outside at the height of the storm to clean a blocked drain that was threatening to flood our street.

There was Mike’s Weather Page, which provided hurricane models that were far more accurate that what the NOAA was feeding us.

There was the science teacher in my Sunday School class who worked with the NOAA for years, and told us WAY ahead of time that Irma was something to be concerned about. There were faith-based organizations who were FAR more able and nimble than the .gov was.

There were the meteorologists at the various local TV stations who were present when Wilma went through here and knew how to talk to us hurricane rookies.

Race Bannon Mike Pence showed up in our town and walked around and Ben Nelson shook some hands and Air Force One came and went, but they didn’t have to hunt for gas to fuel their cars and they don’t have to worry if the grocery store will have fresh milk tomorrow. FEMA has promised help, but it will be a while until it arrives, but in the meantime, churches ARE helping, and they’re helping right now.

It wasn’t Antifa who drove down my street at 12AM making sure everything was alright when all the lights were out, and it wasn’t the Republican National Committee either. It was the men and women of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, but I wasn’t counting on them to be there if someone decided to kick in my door during a gap in coverage.

I was, however, counting on the Mossberg 500* in my safe room and the 9mm Shield on my hip.

If and when the .gov does help in the recovery of Hurricane Irma, that’s nice, but to quote Band Of Brothers,  “How do I feel about being rescued by Patton? Well I’d feel pretty peachy, except for one thing, we didn’t ******* need to be rescued by Patton.”

We didn’t need to be rescued by the .gov. We rescued ourselves.


* Yes, I know, I wrote on how I was ditching the scattergun in the safe room in favor of an AR in .300BLK. I’m not going to make the switch, though, until my can gets out of ATF jail.

Building a Better, Quieter Mousetrap.

Maxim 50

Mere words cannot describe the geniusness of this product. It’s like a big, giant middle finger showed in the face to the National Firearms Act.

50-state-legal sound suppression is now a reality thanks to SilencerCo’s integrally-suppressed muzzleloader, the Maxim 50. No fingerprints, no pictures, no $200 tax stamp, no 4473, no wait. Mailed directly to your door. Even in California. Yes, really.

That scrunching noise you hear are knickers twisting en masse inside the offices of gun control groups all across this great land.

The fact that their ad campaign prominently shows the Golden Gate bridge and the Santa Monica pier is just rubbing it in. All that’s missing for Blue State Triple Yahtzee is a shot of someone holding one in Times Square and Michigan Avenue.

So, what’ll be the over/under on how soon Bloomberg and his minions talk about this as a “COMPLETELY SILENT .50 CALIBER LONG RANGE GHOST CLIP SNIPERS RIFLE IMMUNE TO MICROSTAMPING!!!1!!”?

Hint: Take the under.

Further proof that the gun industry treats stupid legislation as damage and routes around it.