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On Ft. Hood

It is past time for us to keep deluding ourselves that we are safe from those who wish to do us harm. Whether it is from a terrorist or just a deluded madman with a gun, we are in a global war. Our warfighters need to be armed at home and abroad, and our citizens need to be trained and equipped to deal with attacks on the home front. While this especially applies to our former and retired military and first responders citizens should also seek out training and the tools necessary to defend themselves.

Our elected leaders tell us there is no need for alarm, that we are safe and that we don’t need to be able to protect ourselves. It is time that we wake up and recognize the lie, fire those who have lied to us and steel ourselves with a resolve to see this through. They are correct that there is no need for alarm as long as we are willing to stand up against those who mean to do us harm.

Another year, gone!

2013 was a rough year for me personally, but I have close friends who did and are going through worse so I won’t dwell on my personal misfortunes. With struggle comes change and there have been changes. One that will affect the time I can spend here is that my pursuit of a Master’s Degree has transformed into a pursuit of two Masters Degrees. I figured since it only added 12 weeks and two courses to my graduation date why not?

The good news though is I have a lot of content that you will be seeing in spite of my even busier schedule. Most of it will involve gear for my EDC kit, but there will be other content as well. Don’t expect to see new products not yet available on shelves. This blog is nowhere near popular enough to rate that privilege and I’m OK with that. I’m more interested right now with providing reviews of gear that you can get right now and most importantly gear I’m willing to bet my life on. My hope is these reviews will provide at least some insight as to how I choose gear that may help you in choosing your own.

So while there will be challenges this year, please stop in from time to time and see if anything new has popped up. Hopefully you’ll find it at least interesting.


Railroading innocents

Bayou Renaissance Man provides the details. While the investigation is ongoing it looks like once again an attempt is being made to turn a legitimate case of self-defense into a cold-blooded murder. Looking at the ‘weapon’ I’m not so sure I would have held my fire either.

Know your gun…

Tam makes a mistake any of us could have made. Most quality guns will gobble up and spit out any decent ammunition we feed it. However, on occasion there is the rare gun that is picky about what we feed it. The first I ran into was the Seecamp .32 auto that was designed specifically for Winchester Silvertips.

When dealing with guns that are slightly out of the ordinary reading the manual can help point out any unusual quirks they may have. Most of us (myself included) just want to get out to the range and start blasting, but sometimes it really is better to RTFM.

Defensive Hand Guns at Long Range

April 19, 1999 Littleton Colorado, a school resource officer and a motorcycle cop engage two killers at a distance of 70 yards. The killers have the advantage because they possess a 9mm carbine and are able to keep the officers at bay until another officer shows up with an AR-15 rifle. While unsuccessful in stopping the carnage with a 70 yard shot the two officers and their handguns did allow numerous potential victims a chance to escape.

June 20, 1994 Fairchild AFB Spokane Washington, Air Force Security Policeman Andy Brown confronts a deranged killer armed with a rifle. Using his issue Beretta M9 service pistol Brown ends the rampage with four pistol shots at a distance between 69 and 71 yards.

When people think of a defensive handgun very few envision using it at a distance of more than 20 or thirty yards and most defensive encounters are closer than that. However, just as there is an infinitesimal chance of being in or near a mass shooting there is a chance one may need to employ a handgun at range to save lives. One very realistic example is the recent terrorist attack at the mall in Nairobi Kenya, where armed citizens were among the first to respond and engage the terrorists armed only with handguns.

Some will say that a shooting at long range with a pistol just can’t be done, that a 70+ yard shot is just pure luck. The thing is that to a practiced hand gunner these shots are possible out to 100 yards or more. There is legend that Elmer Keith successfully hit a deer twice at the distance of 600 yards with a 6” .44 Magnum. However, just because you can doesn’t always mean you should. Taking a long defensive shot under any circumstances could open you to criminal and civil liability so before you are placed in a situation where you need to take a long shot, know where you stand legally. Hopefully, your lawyer can help answer these questions.

Making the long shot requires knowing your gun and ammunition quite well. This means taking time to practice at range as well as for close in encounters. One thing I found that helps with this is to figure out the ballistics of your preferred round at a distance and create a drop table for it. This will help you determine hold over at ranges so you can get your rounds on target faster. The sooner your rounds are on target the less ammunition you will need to expend in practice. Personally, I have managed consistent accurate shots out to 150 yards with a 6” .357 Magnum and 100 with a 10mm auto. I’ve just started working things out with my Glock 19 but when I settle on a load I’m confident I will be able to do fairly well at 100 yards with it.

So how much practice time should you devote to long range shooting? That is a tough one, for me personally I will try at least one magazine every time I take one of my precision rifles to the range. I figure since I’m already shooting at distances an extra target down range is no big deal for trying some rounds with my handgun. How much or even if you try shooting at a distance is up to you, but consider that in the unlikely event you find yourself in a rare situation the  long shot being able to could be the thing that saves lives.


R.E.D. Friday

One should always take time to appreciate classics


Rapid Mass Murder Events

It has been a little over a week since the lone gunman attacked the Washington Navy Yard with a pump action shotgun and the last few days have been filled with news from Kenya about the organized terrorist attack at a shopping mall there.  Even though the events in Kenya aren’t over yet there are already lessons to be learned from that incident and the Navy Yard.

Lesson one: It can happen here

The mall shooting in Kenya seems far away and I’m sure many people feel it would laugh at the suggestion it could happen here. I’m willing to bet they were the same people who would have laughed at the suggestion that hijackers would fly planes into building on September 10 2001 too. While statistically the chance of ending up in such an event are small, a little just in case planning could save you or someone else’s life.

Lesson two: Medical training is just as important as weapon training

At the Navy Yard medical services were delayed for 30 minutes or more while police tried to secure the scene. I do not know how many lives could have been saved if medical help had been available sooner, but if you have training in dealing with traumatic injury as well as one of the many pocket kits available (though they aren’t absolutely essential) it would not hurt. Trauma training can also help if you are ever near an auto accident or any other incident such as on a farm where a traumatic injury could occur.

Lesson three: Concealed carry is best

When the shooting started at the Navy Yard the first target was the openly armed guard. He was the most obvious threat so he had to go down first. Open carry can serve as a deterrent, but if someone is intent on mayhem they will target you first. Food for thought.

Lesson four: Your pistol can save lives

In Kenya a former Royal Marine is credited with saving 100 lives with little more than guts and a pistol. Now I’m not advocating everyone behave like the former Royal Marine, far from it. However, you can use your pistol to get yourself, and those around you to safety. I got the following tips from Thunder Ranch’s Facebook page for dealing with a Mall shooting:

Have a plan when going to the mall: Some may read this and think its extreme…really? How much do you think these people in Kenya would give to have known where exits were to safety? So…IF there is a public place you go to often with your family…simply have a plan. If you get separated have a place to meet up….know the exits. TIM GREVE…if you are reading this…can you please tell me again and post it here the area you described that had great cover the day you were at the mall with the active shooter please. Heidi

Tim Greve Happy to add my observations: First, C&H talk about cover vs concealment all the time. It’s good to remember the difference in these types of situations. Many small mall shops are built with cheap fixturing and isn’t good cover. BUT – if you are caught in the middle of things, the cash wrap (where those big heavy registers are especially in the big box stores) are built with sturdy wood, are stacked with paper bags as another barrier, plus the registers. They are built to hold a lot of weight and abuse. All things that will hinder incoming rounds. Next while the picture above shows the store layout, remember that in all of the malls there are service exits, and a myriad of hallways in between stores behind stores etc. Every store in a mall has a back entrance to get to hallways where they take their trash and get their freight (the stores aren’t allowed to take the trash cans through the malls common areas). Those back doors HAVE to be unlocked in case of fire – at least one way. In the food courts, almost always the kitchen areas are joined in the back so you can get back there quickly and make it out. Plus, kitchen areas are filled with sturdy, steel appliances and equipment that will shield you well. . Run into one of the stores, through it and out into one of the hallways. So you have a myriad of ways out of the mall that aren’t marked. In many of the stores, especially big box stores like a Macy’s etc, all of the departments are surrounded by stock rooms. All of those stock rooms are interconnected. Get back there off the floor and you can get out. Plus, most of the stock room areas have heavy shelving and stuff that’s meant to stand the test of time in order to hold all of the backstock merchandise. Metal shelving, heavy wood shelving, all things that can stop incoming rounds, or at least gives you a chance at it. There are tons of phones back there too if you need to call out. Getting on the phone to talk with first responders gives them eyes on the inside (if you can’t get out). If you end up like I did, unarmed in this kind of situation, there are all kinds of things that can be improvised weapons, box cutters, scissors, Clint’s famous fire extinguishers (spray ‘em with the foam and hit ‘em with the red can). But be aware, if you are in the mall, there will be people all around you screaming, crying, not thinking clearly and will need help. How will you handle that? Something to contemplate. Let me know if I missed anything. Any questions are welcome.

Tim Greve Another thing I forgot to add, is that if you are in a store, you might be getting directions from a store manager or someone (non-LE) that is “in-charge.” Keep in mind Clint’s famous “Is it Logical” test when following their lead. Remember that the majority of these people are just kids working in the mall. They probably don’t have training, are scared, and aren’t really prepared for this. Sometimes you are going to know better.

Next week we’ll discuss training with your carry piece for the absolute worst.

Nanny McBloomberg I see your problem right there

Dumb crook taunts NYPD over the “stop and frisk” policy being ruled unconstitutional then trips and surprise a gun falls out of his jacket. While this part is hilarious look at this quote from the article:

Sidbury was arrested — his third weapons bust in three years.

Now what is NY law on this kind of weapon possession?

Possess loaded firearm without permit, outside of person’s home or place of business: class C felony, classified as violent felony offense, punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum of 3.5 years

N.Y. Penal Law §§ 265.01, 265.03, 265.20

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this clown should be warming a prison cell instead of on the streets taunting Police Officers. But instead of hearing about how we need tougher enforcement of existing laws we get blasted about how background checks are the solution to a non-existent problem.

The Reveal

In our last two installments we discussed how I went about selecting the new EDC. It wasn’t supposed to cost an arm and a leg, it had to be reliable and easy to maintain and be something I wasn’t afraid to throw across a gravel parking lot. So what did I go with?

Continue reading


Setting the requirements

In our last installment we looked at the risks involved with carrying a $1000+ firearm every day. If you question the wisdom of that just think how George Zimmerman would feel if the gun being held in evidence while the Feds decide if he violated Trayvon Martin’s civil rights was a $5000+ Wilson Combat Tactical Supergrade Compact instead of a Kel-Tec PF-9.

The first item for consideration is that the new platform be something my wife can handle confidently. She doesn’t like to shoot as much as I do so besides being something with recoil she can manage it will need to be simple to operate.

The next criterion is a mature aftermarket. There are many good firearms out there that you can’t get a lot of spare or custom parts for either due to their being new or the manufacturer maintaining a stranglehold on it. One of the desires is to have a field maintenance kit that has sufficient parts and tools to keep the gun running save everything but a catastrophic failure.

In keeping with our last requirement the new platform needs to be easy to maintain. The 1911 is easy to maintain but many parts have to be hand fit. Any mistakes in the fitting can cause the gun to fail which leaves you with an expensive rock. Having a gun you can just drop replacement parts into beats trying to hand fit parts with a rock for a workbench.

Finally the platform has to be reliable. My current favorites; the 1911 and S&W revolver have over a century of service and while it would be delusional to claim they are 100% reliable they both have long service records and reputations that few can match. Whatever replaces the 1911 as an EDC will have to have a reputation of its own.

Tomorrow you’ll find out what made the cut.