Product Reviews: Uncle Mike’s Instructor’s Belt And GunVault BreechVault

Product Reviews: Uncle Mike’s Instructor’s Belt and GunVault BreechVault

I used some leftover Amazon.com credit (thank you everyone, for clicking on the links and buying stuff) to fill in a couple of gaps in my personal protection inventory.

First up, a better way to secure my home defence shotgun.

Even though it’s my safe room gun, I put a lock on this gun because I have two small boys in my house and they get in to EVERYTHING. I had been used the cable lock that came with my 930SPX, but it was a) awkward and b) really hard to open.

Breechvault

Enter the BreechVault. The price was certainly right at under $20, and it came with adapter to make it work with WInchester, Remington and Mossberg shotguns. Or so they said.

Does it fit my 500 Persuader? Sorta.

The lock fit into easily into the breech of my scattergun, but when it came time to close the lock, it took a LOT of force to close it all the way and withdraw the key. Worse yet, it took a lot of force to open the lock, which would NOT be a good thing in an emergency situation. Fortunately, 10 minutes with some wet/dry sandpaper solved this problem, and the lock is now easy to open but still secures the action, making the gun completely inoperative.

Breechvault

No, that will not be the final resting place of that key.

Final Grade: C+. It gains points for flexibility and utility, loses points to requiring modification to fit my Mossberg.

Next, the Uncle Mike’s Instructor Belt.

Shameful confession: I’ve never owned an actual gun belt. I’ve been using either a Dickie’s work belt I bought from WalMart for everyday use and the inside belt from my CR Speed Belt set for competition and training.

Enough was enough, I said to myself. Self, I said, it’s time to get something like a REAL gun belt.

Uncle Mike's Belt

Depending on how much I ate for lunch that day, my natural belt size falls between 32 and 34 inches, and I find It’s hard to get a notched belt to fit properly. One of the things I like about my CR speed belt is because it fastens using Velcro hook and loop fasteners, it’s infinitely adjustable. The same is true for the Uncle Mike’s belt, and I like that a lot.

However, the belt size descriptions on Amazon.com are a little off. I comfortably carry my CZ P07 in an IWB holster in size 36 pants, so I figured I needed the “medium” sized belt for waist sizes 32-36.

Nope.

Once I returned that belt for the “large” 38-42″ belt, it worked just fine with my setup. Caveat Emptor.

The belt itself is great. I’ve worn it for the past two days and it’s more comfortable than the CR Speed belt and much more adjustable than a leather work belt.

Final Grade: A solid B+. Once you find the correct size, it’s a great belt.

 

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Play Stupid Games,

Play stupid games,

win stupid prizes

Steve Carbajal with the Tempe Police Department said officers responded to The Clubhouse Music Venue near Broadway and Rural Roads around 11:30 p.m. after receiving a report of shots being fired during a rap concert.

Thirteen victims have been identified and two of those victims were taken to local hospitals in serious condition, according to Carbajal.

In my younger days, I loved going to clubs to listen to live music. 

How I survived it, I will never know. 

And I’ll bet The Clubhouse was posted “No Firearms Allowed” as well, yet this somehow this happened. Maybe they should put up a big “No Shooting Twelve or More People” sign right next to it…

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Quote Of The Day

Quote of the day

“Cats understand the reality that inanimate objects are incapable of action on their own parts, and cannot hold motives – malicious or otherwise – intrinsic to themselves. 

Some humans, on the other hand, do not. 

I wonder what that says about our species?”

Linoge

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Half Aware

Half aware

Went out to lunch with a friend of mine yesterday to a decent (but not great – Memo to the cook: Back away from the orange sauce) Thai restaurant in a local strip mall. 

Driving up in to the parking lot, I spotted three young men who sent me in to Condition Orange. What set me off? Don’t know, but it did. I met my friend at the restaurant and because of those guys I spotted in the part, asked for a table that had a view of my car outside. 

While we were eating, two more young men strolled by that also caught my eye, and as we left the restaurant, i realized why I was on high alert all the time.

The restaurant was right next to a “smoke shop” that advertised drug paraphenalia for sale. 

Oops. 

Now this restaurant wasn’t in a bad section of town. Not the best, but not the worst. How did I miss such an obvious clue? Driving in to the parking lot, I was focused on the three young men I mentioned earlier and missed the fact there was a head shop right next to where we would be eating. 

Oops.

Takeaway here? Don’t let a perceived threat impair your perception of other threats. Focus on the what set you off in to Condition Orange, but beware of tunnel vision. 

Because you never know when you’ll need to spot the gorilla. 

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Pouch Potato

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.

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

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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Tripping The Lights Fantastic

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.

Flashlights

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

Conclusions: 

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

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.

Want.

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