The AR-15 Is Dead.

The AR-15 Is Dead.

I mean, why would somebody chose an AR-15 in .223, when they could shoot a battle rifle in .308? The .308 is a much more powerful cartridge, and if you can carry an seven pound AR, you can carry a nine and a half pound FAL.

The FAL is clearly superior: It offers more firepower, and there’s no reason not to carry one. The AR platform is dead.

Sounds stupid, right? Well, it is.

Now read this article, and everytime you see “.380”, substitute “AR-15,” and see if makes any sense to you.

Are .380 pocket guns the best choice for concealed carry? No.

Are they a BAD choice? No, not really. There’s a big, big difference between a bad choice for concealed carry, and a less-than optimal choice.

Don’t let best become the enemy of good enough.

Kilt On Da Streetz*.

Kilt On Da Streetz*.


A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

– Emerson

Unlike what the author of this article suggests I don’t carry in a consistent location all the time, because that would mean I’d be carrying tucked-in IWB at the day job, or carrying in my front pocket when I’m wearing blue jeans, neither of which is really a good idea.

What I do have (or at least, I’m working on) is a consistent draw stroke from the moment when my hands come together to when my sight are on-target and the trigger is prepped. That’s the important stuff, because quite honestly, what it takes to get my hand on a gun can vary greatly depending on my body position and the clothes I’m wearing.

But a good press-out? That doesn’t change.

* Killed on the streets.

The Applebees Of Gun Stores.

The Applebees of Gun Stores.

Thinking a little more about this post (which seems to have struck a nerve), what happens when you walk into a gun store… what do you see?

You see a lot of guns. Guns just sitting there.

If the store has a hunting theme, you may see some taxidermy scattered about, and if it’s a more tactically-oriented store, maybe a poster for Glock or something.

When it comes to defensive pistols, especially for first-time gun owners, there is no context inside gun stores for how that gun integrates with your life.

None. Zero. Zip. Gun stores sell guns, but they offer no clues as to how they are to be used.

No wonder, then, that people treat them as a household god, and rely on the feeling of safety that their talisman of self-protection offers them. They do this because they don’t know any better, and we are not helping them learn how to go beyond “feeling” safe to actually BEING safe.

A quick suggestion.

I know sweet bugger all about wines. I know that there are some that are “dry” and some that are sweet, and I’ve had the experience of eating a good meal that’s been paired with a good wine and yes, it does make the meal more enjoyable and tasty.

Restaurants know this, and they also know they make a LOT of money on alcohol sales, which is why you’ll find that some mid-to-upper scale restaurants will try to increase their revenue by printing suggested wine and beer pairings on the menu beside each entree.

So why not give holster and gear recommendations right alongside the defensive pistols displayed on your shelves? Doesn’t have to be fancy, doesn’t have to be exotic, just something like “These pistols work great with (Name of Major-Label Holster Maker) holsters and (Major Ammo Maker) Brand Ammo”.

The customer wants to feel secure. Make them a little more secure by knowing that not only did they buy the right gun, they bought the right gear as well.

Shots Fired.

Shots Fired.

Florida Carry cuts off its nose to spite its face – Again

Once again Florida Carry, Inc. has demonstrated a lack of concern for Concealed Weapons and Firearms License holders.  License holders continue to be abused by law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts.  When firearms, that are being lawfully carried concealed, accidentally become exposed to the sight of another person, license holders are being arrested for violating the open carry ban.

In Florida, there are 1.8 million law-abiding license holders. Every time they leave their homes, carrying a firearm, they run the risk of that firearm becoming exposed to the sight of another person and then being thrown face down on the street, arrested at gun point and treated like a criminal – because the wind blew open a jacket or they reached for something on a top shelf or a shirt got snagged and uncovered their firearm.

Yeah, I’m gonna guess that the ILA ain’t gonna get a Christmas card from Florida Carry this year.

And probably next year as well.

I’d criticize all those “no compromise” groups out there for how they compromised their beliefs in order to gain a political victory, but first, they need to actually HAVE a political victory for me to do that.

Product Review: Elite Survival Systems Pulse 24 Hour Backpack.

Product Review: Elite Survival Systems Pulse 24 Hour Backpack.

Advantages: Well-made, holds a bunch of gear, doesn’t look menacing
Disadvantages: Could use a just little more MOLLE on the sides
Rating: Five Stars Out of Five.

I reached out to Elite Survival Systems for a couple of EDC/Bug Out bags, and they didn’t send me just two bags, they sent me three: A Pulse 24 Hour bag that I’ll review right now now, and an Echo EDC bag and a Guardian concealment pack that I’ll talk about later.

How cool is that?

I reached out to Elite Survival Systems for this bag because I found out that my current bug-out bag, a Paladin Gear, um, Bug Out Bag, just wasn’t comfortable enough to carry on a long-term basis. I did a seven-mile walk with the Paladin on my shoulder (note: *shoulder*. More on that later.), and it became really tiresome to carry around about halfway through the journey.

This is a problem, because my idea for this bag and what it holds is simple: It holds all the stuff I need if I need to go camping for three days on a moment’s notice, anywhere in the American Southeast. I don’t go camping as much as I used to, and I don’t go into the back country here in Florida like I did in Arizona (probably due to the fact that the back roads here are, in fact, swamps, and not roads), but still, I like to have a backup plan handy at all times, so I carry a bug out bag.

The Elite Survival Systems Pulse takes the tried-and-tested 72 hour bag and tones it down a bit. Rather that make it Kyrptec or Multicam or some other tactical color, the bag comes in either brown or black, about as boring as possible, and boring is good if you’re going to be walking around town with it on your shoulders.

And that’s a key point: This bag has two very comfortable padded shoulder straps, along with buckles the chest and level and waist level, and makes it very easy to carry around for hours on end. I did the same walk recently with this bag, and it was a MUCH more pleasant experience. A sling bag is good for emergencies, when you need to grab something quickly and move quickly, but that’s not why I have a bag in the back of my car. The bag in my car is meant to keep me going for at least three days without access to all the niceties of the modern world, and if that means taking a hike to get  back to the modern world, I take a hike.

The Pulse is built well: The zippers open easily and don’t hang up, the nylon is nice and thick and there are no loose threads to be found anywhere on the bag. One of the reasons why I like the Pulse for this sort of thing is it contains a pocket for a hydration pouch: Living in Arizona taught me that a ready supply of water is really, really important, so a bladder is a “must have” for me in a bag like this.

A hydration pouch is just one of the pouches this bag has. I was able to squirrel away all the gear I had been carrying in old bag, with some space left over. The Pulse has MOLLE on the back of the bag and a plethora of pockets inside, allowing me to sort out my stuff into some sort of logical order for quick access. One thing that is different from the Paladin bag is that there is no MOLLE on the sides, which really isn’t a bad thing, I guess, but I carry around a machete with me in my car (because I live literally minutes away from the Everglades) and it’d be nice to strap it to the side of the bag if I need to take a long walk in the swamp, for one reason or another.

Bottom line is, if you’re looking for a gear bag that won’t make you look like you’re headed out to the sandbox when you’re headed out of town.

FCC Disclaimer: Yes, I said they gave me this bag. What of it? 

Everybody Wasn’t Kung Fu Fighting.

Everybody Wasn’t Kung Fu Fighting.

I’m old enough to vaguely recall the explosion of interest in martial arts created by Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, and reruns of “Kung Fu” were a staple of my after-school TV viewing growing up.

And heck, how many strip-mall dojos popped up after The Power Rangers came along?

Why, then, we haven’t had a Bruce Lee / Chuck Norris show up yet to make practical pistol REALLY popular and move it into pop culture? The closest we have come to that is Keanu Reeves tearing it up on Taran’s range, and while that briefly popped up on the pop culture radar, it ended up going nowhere.

Part of the problem is that no one thinks they can land a spinning back heel kick without training, but pretty much everyone thinks they can shoot, and therefore, they don’t need firearms training.

To a certain extent, though, they’re right. People defend their lives with guns everyday without training. Guns were invented because learning to shoot a longbow is tough, as is learning how to fight with a sword. Pulling a trigger or stuffing a slow match into a powder hole? Not that tough. “God made man, but Col. Colt made him equal” is true, but unfortunately, we are all equally sucky with a gun unless we do something about it.

Watching a martial arts movie helps us understand that there is a level of hand-to-hand violence that we can aspire that goes far beyond what we see in a playground fistfight. What can we show the general public that makes them realize that their are levels of marksmanship that go far, far beyond poking holes in a target at three yards?

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?

Upcoming Training: Contextual Handgun: The Armed Parent/Guardian.

Upcoming Training: Contextual Handgun: The Armed Parent/Guardian.

The Contextual Handgun

REALLY looking forward to this one, for a couple of reasons:

It’s the first class I’ve seen out there that tries to put what we learn on the range into the context of our everyday lives. Pretty much every class taught to armed citizens teaches us techniques of shooting a gun, but then leaves it up to us to figure out how to apply said techniques to our lives once we’re done with the class. It’s like learning what the gas pedal is and what the brake pedal does, but not learning when to speed up in traffic and when to slow down. John and Melody are the first people I’ve seen to bring firearms training into the real real world we all live in, rather than trying to bring firearms training that works in downtown Fallujah onto the streets of downtown Detroit*.

The reason for all of this, the reason why I’m taking classes and learning to shoot and writing about it and all of this, started with my desire to protect my family. ALL of this stems from that desire, and I’ve been trying for literally a decade to find a firearms training class that acknowledges that we are not in it alone, that there are other people out there who we care for and want to protect. I’m not a cop on the street, it’s not my job to chase down bad guys. It’s my job to help keep my family safe, and yet no one until now** has designed a firearms training program based around that simple idea.

* Granted, downtown Fallujah is probably safer than downtown Detroit, but you get my idea.
** Yes, I know, there’s an “Armed Couple” class at GunSite and whatnot. That’s not what I’m talking about here, we’re talking about one person having the means to defend their family, not everyone being armed.

Lessons From A Walmart Parking Lot.

Lessons From A Walmart Parking Lot.

There was a guy who went to a Walmart with his family late last night around 10 o’clock. We’ll call him “Kevin.”

Kevin noticed as he was getting out of his car that there was a young gentleman in his mid-20s going from row to row, looking around at the cars.

Kevin then watched as said gentleman met up with two more friends and all three started a conversation in an end of the parking lot away from all the cars.

Kevin had been shopping at his Walmart for almost three years now, and knew what the clientele looks like and how they act. This gentlemen looked different and acted different than what was the norm for this establishment, and seeing how it was late in the evening on Black Friday, (a busy shopping day for us, a busy work day for thieves), Kevin decided to walk his family to the door of the Walmart, then told his wife to go shop for Christmas ribbon with his sons, and said that he would meet up with them at the front door of the store when they were done.

Kevin then stood around by the front door, flashlight tucked out of the way in his hand, keeping an eye on the young gentlemen as they continued their conversation in the parking lot and eventually walked off the premises of Walmart.

Kevin then waited for his family, walked with them to their car and drove off.

Was Kevin unusually paranoid? Maybe. Did Kevin inconvenience his family by acting this way? Not really. Did Kevin put himself in a position to keep his property safe when a hinky situation presented itself?

Most definitely.

Update: Someone asked on Facebook what “Kevin” (me) would have done if the gentlemen in question started opening car doors. I’d call 911, and start about writing down details of dress, height, hair color, etc. so I would get them correct for the cops. If they opened up MY car door, I’d hit him with the beam of my flashlight and ask them what they were doing and then we’d go from there (which would also probably end up in me calling the cops).