Category Archives: Concealed Carry

Looking for a quality holster? I have a very good answer

I’ve always had an affinity for the Appalachian region of North Carolina even though I’ve never been there. Besides having some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen photographed it is also home to one of my oldest friends who has stuck with in spite of me being a complete and total jackass when I was younger (In all fairness I’m still a jackass I’ve just learned to keep it under wraps better). Now I have another reason to like the region, it is the home of my favorite holster maker, James Nelson of Nelson Holsters.

Before we get into the holsters allow me to tell you how I arrived at where I have for concealed carry gear. Being concerned about accidental exposure and its repercussions I’ve always felt inside the waistband carry (IWB) was the best option for me. The problem was finding a comfortable holster. It didn’t matter whose holster I tried or what it was made of at the end of the day I’d be rubbed raw in at least one spot. Unable to find a solution I soldiered on with the words of Clint Smith in my mind “Your carry gun should be comforting, not comfortable.” Then one day while putting a can of soda into a drink koozie I got the idea of backing a holster with a thin layer of neoprene. The problem was where to get the neoprene and how to attach it? I spent over a year looking but couldn’t find a source of neoprene that didn’t want to sell me a huge roll of the stuff and I still had no idea how to attach it.

Ironically the solution came from Thunder Ranch owned by the previously mentioned Clint Smith when they endorsed Nelson Holsters on their Facebook page. I followed that link and lo and behold there were IWB holsters with neoprene backing! I darn near set my credit card on fire getting it out to order a holster.

Glock_Phoenix_01The first holster I ordered was the Phoenix model for the Glock 19 (pictured). Ordering was easy and the holster arrived well before the stimated wait time was up. Additionally, James kept me apprised of the progress of my order along the way. A far cry from the service from other holster makers I had dealt with in the past where you order, pay and wait in silence for months to receive your holster. The quality on this holster is first rate. I have had the pleasure of handling and using holsters made by both John Bianchi of Bianchi gunleather fame and Milt Sparks and this holster matched and even exceeded those for quality.

Glock_phoenix_backWearing the holster was nothing short of a pleasant experience. At the end of the day I had almost forgotten I was wearing a fully loaded Glock 19, it was that comfortable. I also did not have to worry about the gun coming out as the holster did a very good job of retaining it. The reinforced mouth aided with re-holstering, but I did have to take my time to be sure I get it right. With a striker fired pistol that is a good thing in my opinion as I know people who have holstered in a hurry and received a divot in their posterior for their troubles.

Kahr_DakotaAround Christmas time I recieved a Kahr CM9, this diminutive pistol is a great way to carry a full powered cartridge in what cognoscenti refer to as semi-permissive environments. Places where you can have a gun, but actually having one might be frowned upon. Based on my previous experience I went to Nelson Holsters and ordered a Dakota Defender. Once again I received the same great service and had my holster very quickly.

My most recent interaction with James Nelson began when he announced he was offering the Viridian ECR feature for their C5L laser/light combo. Needless to say my wallet suffered a severe sprain in the process of ordering a custom Dakota Defender for the Glock 19 with a Viridian C5L. The price was reasonable and the service great as always. I haven’t had the time to fully test this holster yet, but so far the ECR has functoned 100% for me. Even if the holster came without the ECR I would have ordered one as the light/laser is easy to activate if you need it.


If you haven’t figured it out yet, I have become a big fan of Nelson Holsters. The neoprene backing drew me in initially, but the quality and customer service convinced me to return and I will be ordering more holsters as funds allow. So if you’re looking for a better holster (or even if you aren’t) give his website a look and maybe consider an upgrade to your carry gear. In my opinion it will be money well spent as I feel that Nelson Holsters will some day (hopefully very soon) be spoken of next to names like Milt Sparks and Johnny Bianchi. Yes, I think they are that good.

Obligatory FTC Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me with my own funds. I have not received nor do I expect any consideration for posting my opinions on these products.

Violent Anti-Gunners

As a violence prevention activist I frequently come across those who would seek to do harm to others for their personal beliefs among other things here are three recent examples.

From the site  a site purportedly upset about guns being used to kill children. You will find that if you wish to send them an e-mail their address is stabagunnut@ gmail. Yep, if you believe in the Constitution they advocate stabbing you. There are also some nice examples of Markley’s law on that site as well.

Our next contestant in how violent can anti-rights cultists be is realeyezlife who would love to see drones turned on law abiding citizens. You got it, they want to see high explosive missiles rain down on your heads. To hell with due process and anyone else who might be with you. They want you vaporized.

Finally we have a random citizen threatening those who are trying to recall Colorado anti-rights Senator Evie Hudak. Ironically he threatens to go home, get a gun and come back and kill civil rights activists. You can read more about the twit over at Guns Save Lives.

So there you have it. If you want to use the most effective means of preserving innocent life they want you shot, stabbed and blown up. Yet the people with training in conflict avoidance, resolution and de-escelation are the problem?

Product Review: I.C.E. CLAW™ Sights

When I first purchased my GLOCK 19 I knew that one thing I would be changing even before I hit the range was the sights. Factory GLOCK sights are plastic and won’t hold up to any level of abuse, not that you should abuse your guns, but in a fight anything can happen so why take a chance? The one requirement I had was that I needed the best value for my money. Which is something everyone needs in this economy so my search led me to the I.C.E. CLAW™ sight set offered and endorsed by Rob Pincus.

Rob Pincus is a passionate person when it comes to firearms training, so passionate that he is reluctant to market merchandise that has his brand on it. While I will never fault any businessman for trying to make more money Rob’s approach is one that gives me a little more confidence in what he sells, he only sells items he would and does use personally. Compare this to some people out there who slap their brand on any piece of junk and hope someone validates P.T. Barnum while they cash the checks and you will see why I give serious consideration to the products offered at the I.C.E. Store.

I’ve never taken a class from Rob (though I hope to if I can physically do so), but the impression I get is that he likes to train worst case scenario and his products reflect that as well. The I.C.E. CLAW™ rear sight is designed to be used to help the user rack the slide one handed if the need to. This means it is made of a decent strength steel and the forward facing part of the site has hooks to help it grab onto surfaces. There are many popular sights that use a sloping face of the rear sight, try using any of the emergency manipulation techniques that you can do with the I.C.E. CLAW™ sight and see how many of them still work. Between the no BS just what works design and the price I ordered the I.C.E. CLAW™ sights with the ProGlo Tritium front sight. I went with tritium because I wanted to be able to see my front sight regardless of lighting conditions.

Customer Service: I do not know if my experience was atypical or not, but it was a pleasant surprise to receive a shipping notification within hours of placing my order. The fact I ordered during regular business hours likely had something to do with that, but considering some vendors, even small ones won’t ship till the next day I was happy. Transit time was out of the control of the I.C.E. Store, but I did receive my sights in a few days.

Installation: I’ve had a lot of experience installing sights in various firearms so I prepared for this install like I have so many others. I assembled my tools which included bench mat, Blue Loc-Tite, Acetone, Depth Gauge, Swiss files, a Lone Wolf Distributors 4 in 1 Armorers tool, the “Complete GLOCK Reference Guide”, and an MGW GLOCK Rear Sight Tool which I picked up at the recommendation of Commander Zero (actually he recommended the GLOCK Tool, but the MGW one was on sale for much less).

I began the installation process by first ensuring there was no ammunition in my gun or my work area. GLOCKs are not forgiving of user error when it comes to the disassembly process so I take no chances with it. Call me paranoid if you want, but I don’t want ever have to tell someone I had an N.D. because I did something stupid. Then following the manufacturer’s instructions I disassembled the gun and set everything off to one side except for the slide.

Following the instructions in the “Complete GLOCK Reference Guide” and that came with the MGW Sight tool I was able to quickly remove the old sights and install the new ones. I don’t know how consistent GLOCK is with cutting their dovetails, but I was fortunate that the rear sight required no fitting and I was able to install and adjust the rear sight so it was centered in the slide as well as install the front sight in about 20 minutes.

First Impressions: Let me start by saying I have primarily used target sights on my firearms. These sights let very little light past on the sides of the front sight when they are properly aligned and on my guns at least come in all black. The I.C.E. CLAW™ sights have a generous amount of daylight visible on either side of the front sight making target acquisition much faster and if you take your time (which you won’t in a gun fight) almost as precise. Visibility in all lighting conditions was excellent even in direct sunlight which I thought may be an issue since the rear sight is not serrated like target sights.

Working with snap caps I tried several emergency manipulations on various surfaces. The rear sight grabbed whatever I was using and held while I worked the slide. I got the impression the object you are pushing against will fail before the sight does.

Range Time: I tried a variety of 115gr 124gr +P and 135gr +P ammunition at distances of 10 and 15 yards. Elevation was spot on for all three loads. Windage was off initially, but was determined to be shooter error. I would like to attribute it to not enough time with safe action pistols, but I just screwed up. I never shot the pistol with the stock sights so I can’t do an accuracy comparison, but I can say the sights will allow you to shoot minute of bad guy if you have quality ammunition and do your part.

Final Thoughts: To say I am pleased with I.C.E. CLAW™ sights would be an understatement. I plan to install them on any of my firearms that they are available for (currently at one). I also won’t hesitate to recommend these to anyone looking to upgrade from the stock plastic sights.

Obligatory FTC Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me with my own funds. I have not received nor do I expect any consideration for posting my opinions on these products.


Let’s get the strong language out-of-the-way first.

I hope the jackasses who thought it was a good idea to start packing AR-15s and sundry other long arms into Starbucks and other places get an angry ferret dropped down their pants. You ruined it for everyone I hope you’re happy.

I personally have nothing against open carry, I just don’t like to unless I have no other choice. I also won’t carry a long gun unless I have a reason to. Out west where I grew up we had a long-standing tradition; you carried a handgun for those just in case moments. If you expected trouble, or had a need such as hunting then you brought out the rifle or shotgun. People got that and we rarely scared the sheep wussy folk, not that there were too many of those around anyway.

Now I don’t know if there is any way to get Starbucks back in our collective good graces. Some people are pissed at Starbucks, others get it, and some will continue to open carry (though hopefully just their handguns). I also see the anti-rights cultists crowing over this hollow victory and when they realize that all they have really done is driven the guns into hiding where they have no idea who is carrying they will resume their vitriolic attacks.

So here is my thought on how we can rehab our image with Starbucks. This applies to those who are choosing not to patronize Starbucks and those who will and even if you rarely do this may work as well. Any time you purchase coffee scan and e-mail a copy of the receipt (after removing sensitive information) to Starbucks Customer Service with a statement that you are a law-abiding gun owner/carry permit holder who will respect their request and this is what you spent on coffee this day. Starbucks will see what we spend on coffee and so long as we don’t have any of the aforementioned jackasses mucking things u we may at least see Starbucks lean back towards neutral territory.

Don’t know for sure if it will work but I think we should at least try.

Brigid on the Intrepid S&W J-Frame

Like so many other cognoscenti of my generation I own a S&W J-Frame for those times one can’t or doesn’t want to carry a “real” gun. Also like so many other women before her The_Missus took a shining to it for its size, weight and portability. Naturally that led to her wanting to try it out at the range to see how she liked it. So in spite of my dire warnings I loaded up some anemic target loads and it was off to the range. Only one shot was fired by her through that gun.

Brigid is a very experienced warrior woman (and I do mean that as a compliment ma’am) and this week she did a write up of her own impressions of the lightweight J-Frame. Her entire post is well worth reading with descriptives like:

Even with experience, this is not a firearm that makes me sit and think “Gee!  I can’t wait to get to the range and put 100 rounds through this!”
I’d just as soon munch on a bunch of ghost peppers while getting a Brazilian Bikini Wax than do 50 rounds or more at one time.

Brigid is not one to shy away from the Lightweight J-Frame and that doesn’t surprise me. However, this gun and others like it are still what a lot of people push women towards when they go looking for firearms to use for serious social purposes. These just aren’t good firearms for a novice or occasional shooter. For the more experienced and dedicated shooter they make great firearms that are easy to carry and reliable. My own experiences with my 642 is that the recoil with defensive .38 Special +P ammunition is comparable to the recoil of a 240gr .44 Magnum from my all Steel 629 Trail Boss.

Next week we’ll take a look at The_Missus chose for her personal gun as well as some others that she liked but weren’t what she wanted.

Why you shouldn’t be upset about the recent ruling in the Zimmerman case.

According to this story a Judge has ruled that at this time Trayvon Martin’s past is not admissible in the defense of George Zimmerman. While some feel that the jury has a right to know what a sweet and charming little angel Martin was, in reality it is not relevant to the case and neither is Zimmerman’s past as well in my opinion.

If this is presented as a clean case (which I doubt but bear with me) the prosecution and defense should focus solely on the events the night Martin was killed. The reason for this is the central foundation of Zimmerman’s defense. According to Massad Ayoob and proven in court and law multiple time the only way Zimmerman was justified in using lethal force is if he had a reasonable belief that he was in imminent danger of death or grievous bodily harm at the hands of Martin. Because the two had never met before that night Zimmerman had no idea who he was facing or anything about his past. Now if Martin’s past was known to Zimmerman then it would be relevant to his defense, just as the prosecution would be justified in bringing up Zimmerman’s past if it was known to Martin.

At this time my opinion is that the Judge made the right call and out of fairness he should apply the same restrictions to the prosecution as well. We’ll know in a few weeks just how interested the prosecution is in a fair trial for Zimmerman. If they drag him through the mud as I expect them to the Judge should lift his restrictions on Martin’s past. I honestly feel that what is known about the case right now to include the timeline and physical evidence place this prosecution in the questionable if not outright malicious category. However, it won’t be the first time an armed citizen has faced a politically motivated trial and I doubt it will be the last.

The Liberal’s War on Women Continues

Once again elected representatives in Colorado wage war on women who only seek the right to choose to not be defenseless victims in the face of violent crime. Notice in the video the violent criminal’s advocate uses almost 20 year old statistics from questionable sources that only refer to deaths and not successful incidents of self defense where there were few to no injuries. Even though the FBI released a study a few years later showing that choosing not to resist violent crime at all resulted in a chance of serious injury two and a half times greater  for women than using a firearm  (this can include merely brandishing it).

In the end Amanda Collins’ testimony went unheard as Colorado State Senator Evie Hudak, and her fellow violent criminal’s advocates on the Judiciary Committee voted in favor of banning responsible adults from carrying concealed weapons on college campuses.  No matter that there have been no major incidents of someone lawfully carrying a firearm on a Colorado campus behaving badly, victims must be disarmed so the people can cling to the Government’s skirts in fear.