A Couple Of Quick Product Reviews.

A Couple of Quick Product Reviews.

7″ Tekko Polymer AR15 Carbine M-LOK Rail System*

Advantages: Easy to hold, has rails where you want them, has hand stop
Disadvantages: Not free-floating, little crammed on the gas block
Rating: Five Stars out of Five

Mission First Tactical sent me one of their new polymer forends for review, and I slapped it onto my CavArms AR, replacing the Magpul forend that was already there.

That rifle has always been a bit of a red-headed stepchild: I won the lower off a table at a match, (which is cool), but I’m not that big a fan of fixed-stock lowers. The original purpose for it was a buyout gun, but I replaced it with my more-compact SU-16, so the rifle spends a lot of time in my safe, or else it’s got a .22LR CMMG adapter in it, and I use it as a plinker.

But that hand guard just makes it SHINE. Really like how it looks now. One thing I like about the hand guard is that the Grimlock MLOK slots are up towards the top of the hand guard, away from where your hands are. This allows the lights, lasers and whatnot you add to the rifle to have a clear field of view towards the front, which is a nice (and effective) added touch.

I also like how there’s a small stop at the front of the hand guard to help those of us who use a forward grip on the AR from running our hands in front of the muzzle, which would be… bad. The hand guard comes only in a 7″ length version (for now) and is not free-floating (which makes it slightly less accurate), and the hand guard covers up the first rail slot on my gas block, but other than that, the Mission First 7″ Polymer Handguard is a nice option for your lightweight AR build.


Raven Concealment Pocket Shield and SOF-T tourniquet

Raven Concealment Pocket Shield And SOFTT-W Tourniquet

Advantages: A real, effective tourniquet you can carry with you
Disadvantages: Still takes up a lot of room
Rating: Four Stars out of Five

I’ll have more to say about this setup once I figure how it will work into my casual EDC, but so far, the Raven Concealment Shield does what it’s supposed to do and make the mishmash of gear inside the front pocket into a smooth, contiguous whole.

The SOFTT-W tourniquet, in flat-pack mode, is terrific. It’s even easier to conceal than a SWAT-T, and I’ll be standardizing on SOFTT-W tourniquets in all my various first aid kits.


* Say THAT three times fast…
** FCC Alert: Yes, they sent it to me for review. Are you guys really that clueless?

Say When.

Say When.

It was interesting reading this bit from Greg Elifritz on choosing the right time to get violent, especially considering that he posted it almost two years before John Corriea talked about the same sort of thing over there. Both guys came to pretty much the same the conclusion, but using different methods.

It’s something I think we need to think about more. The cliché you see in an NRA Personal Protection Class (and elsewhere) is the bad gun (always a bad GUY) jumping out from behind a car with a knife and shouts out “GIMMEALLYOURMONEYRIGHTNOWORI’LLKILL!!”

But lets face it, we’re probably more likely to stumble into something already in progress or be caught on the fringe of something that goes down in front of us than to have the mugger-in-the-car-lot scenario happen to us, or we’ll be involved in a “monkey dance” situation with a stranger (or more likely, a family member or friend) that we just can’t de-escalate fast enough.

Then what?

Well, the five things that Andrew Branca talks about all better be in-place, or else you’re in a heap of trouble.

Drunk Uncle

Drunk Uncle

THis is a problem for YOU to deal with.

As I said, a long, long time ago, one of the reasons why I got into this armed self-protecting thing was because my wife’s cousin, a man with a history of drug abuse and a previous conviction for manslaughter, started to take what I thought was an uncomfortable amount of interest her whereabouts and what she was doing.

He did the world a favor and offed himself soon after that, but it woke me up to the fact that there are people who cannot be avoided or reasoned with, and that means I was left with violence as a way to get them out of our lives.

It also made me realize that a potential threat to my family’s well-being existed inside the confines of our extended family. We go around pre-visualizing “black swan” events like the mugger in the ski mask jumping out and yelling “GIMMEYOURMONEY!”, when the reality is, we probably need to worry about people we already know as our attacker, be it the guy who snaps at work or the drunk, angry uncle or something similar.

Thankfully, you and I are probably not going to have to one-shot a terrorist on a rampage or take on an active shooter. But an out-of-control relative or close friend? Maybe.

It’s one thing to walk around the street pie-ing corners because of the knockout game, and another to act calm and friendly around a creepy co-worker or (in my case) a felonious cousin. How often do we run through scenarios that involve de-escalation and de-assing ourselves rather than concealment and cover? How much of our mindset is devoted to impossible scenarios, and how much to the possible?

The Family That Stacks Together, Attacks Together

The Family That Stacks Together, Attacks Together

What would a “Tactical Gentleman’s Weekend” for Gun Culture 2.0 look like?

It’s an interesting challenge, because let’s face it, shooting stuff from speedboats is FUN, while learning how to de-escalate an angry drunk has a certain “eat your broccoli, it’s good for you” feel to it. It’s been my goal for a while now to eat my broccoli and become a responsible gun owner in every sense of the word. The issue is, though, that society today does not see “responsible” as a desirable thing, so balancing the broccoli and the ice cream is an ongoing challenge.

With that in-mind, here’s what I’d like to see in two-day “tactical gentleman’s” weekend that would apply to today’s CCW holder.

  • A Heavy Emphasis On Concealed Carry
    Ideally, you’d have to commit to coming to class with your primary carry rig, along with a few extra mag pouches for administration purposes.
  • Holistic, lifestyle-based approach to personal protection.
    Concealed carry, home defense, whatever.
  • Defending others as well as yourself.
    Girlfriend, friends, family, whatever. We don’t live on a deserted island, and our training shouldn’t reflect that either.

Some specific topics to cover:

  • Creating a safe room, home security, low-light ops
  • De-Escalation / Situational Awareness
  • Intro to Empty hand / Combatives
  • Basic Trauma Care
  • Shoot / No Shoot (ideally in a shoothouse of some kind

Will I ever see such a thing in my lifetime? Dunno. But it’d be cool when it happens.

 

All In One Training For Civilians Is FINALLY Here.

All In One Training For Civilians Is FINALLY Here.

Me, a few years ago

We can go to a dojo and learn empty hand techniques. We can go to a firearms trainer and learn to shoot. We can spar in competition to learn what works on the mat, and we can shoot IPSC and IDPA to learn what works on the square range.

Where do we civilians go to learn all of those at once, and get in the practice (kata, if you will) that allows integrated techniques to become second nature to us?

Mike Seeklander, this month.

Warrior One is a collaboration with Jake Saenz and Atomic Athlete and the first of its kind.

This program contains structured training not only for fitness but for defensive handgun skills as well.

And it teaches basic strikes and empty-hand techniques as well.

I’m interested. I’m very, very interested.

Mind Of No Mind

Mind of No Mind

I’m in agreement with Gabe here, though I’ll take it one stop further than he does.

I use some that favor low stances and quick foot work, others that favor circular arm movements, and others that are quick and staccato in movement.

But I do them routinely, like I work dry-firing – the pistol kata – into my daily life.  From mindfulness comes mindlessness…and from a study of patterns comes freedom from patterns.

Thanks to competition, I don’t think about reloading under pressure, I just do it. Yes, I may not do them all the time with my head up in a state of tactical awareness all the time, but the mag goes into the gun quickly and smoothly and my sights are back on target right quickly. You learn in a match how to move quickly and safely with a gun in your hand. You learn what you need to see to get your hits on-target quickly and efficiently. You learn to deal with small amounts of stress so you’ll be able to deal with the stress of a gun fight.

Dry fire is kata. Matches are sparring. Gun fights are, well, gun fights.

Essential Skills

Essential Skills

A really great run down of what a well-prepared, well-protected civilian would need in training, mindset and equipment, over at Revolver Science. I like this list because rather than concentrating on “The Seventeen Ways YOU Can Stop Terrorism With Your AR-15 (And #12 Will Blow His Mind!)!!!”, it lays out, pretty clearly, what our threats are and what can be done to stop them. I really like that “defensive driving” is on the list. Want to avoid a road rage incident? Try not to be a jerk on behind the wheel, and never escalate the situation when someone cuts you off.

Gee, maybe those same principles of heightened awareness, conspicuous politeness and de-escalation might also work when he have a firearm on our waist and well as when we’re behind wheel.

Now that my family’s moved, “Getting into shape in order to help me live longer and with less creaking joints” needs to be on my version of this list.

Product Review: Coast HP1 Flashlight.

Product Review: Coast HP1 Flashlight.

Coast HP1Advantages: Small, Very Bright, Inexpensive
Disadvantages: A Little Thick For a AA Light
Rating: Five Stars Out Of Five

Seriously, this thing costs less than ten dollars? It outshines everything I own except my dedicated weapon lights, yet it takes one AA battery. It’s small, it’s lightweight, it’s got a simple on/off interface, it focuses to throw a beam for at least 100 yards and also spreads out to bath a large area with light. If I have one complaint, it’s that the focusing lens makes it a little wider than other lights, which means it takes up more space in my pocket, however, it’s great to toss into a gear bag or take along on a hike.

And did I mention it was bright? Here’s a while garage door, illuminated by the flashlight on an iPhone 6+. The photos were taken as there were before, with a Nikon D70, f5.6, 1 second at ISO 400, or about 1/1000 the light that’s out there during the daylight hours.

image

The same door, lit up with the Coast HP1 on focused spot mode.

image

Bazinga!

For ten bucks and a AA battery, you can’t go wrong with this light. Sure, there may be brighter lights out there and lights that are designed to fly to the moons of Pluto and back which cost more, but if this light craps out on me, it’s a sawbuck to get a new one.

That, to me, is the very definition of a good value.

Failure Is Always An Option

Failure Is Always An Option

I hate dry-fire practice with my strong hand only and weak hand only*, because it shows just how much I suck at such things. But I do it. Not as often as I should, but I do it nevertheless. I’m ok with sucking at something for a while if I know I can get better at it with effort and practice. It’s the sucking at something and not improving that I hate (and I do that far too much for my liking).

Which is why I can’t figure out why you wouldn’t want to do a night shoot. There’s a very good chance you’ll need to defend yourself at night, so why not get good at it now, when the stakes are just 17th place in a match, not your life? Better a bruised ego now than deep penetrating trauma later.

*Go ahead. Tell me there’s no such thing as “weak hand”, just “support hand”. I dare you.