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Author Archive | Matt

Be Heard: Is Organized “Tactical” Firearm Training Vital or Poser-ish?

Based on last weeks responses, it seems that most of you like to plan your range time. I find well planned, well documented range time necessary for improvement. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for a laid back trip to the range. Unfortunately, when you write a blog, it seems those laid back trips turn into review sessions.

This week’s question is in response to a sentiment that I seem to come across a lot lately. Is organized “tactical” firearm training vital to responsible gun ownership or is it poser-ish? For the purposes of this question, assume that I am talking about tactical or defensive firearms courses. A 3 day carbine course would be a good example. I am not referring to legally mandated CCW training or military/LEO training.

Be Heard! Leave a comment below.

Investors Taking Notice of Ruger

Apparently taking orders for over 1 million firearms in a single quarter is a great way to make investors stand up and take notice. Sturm Ruger & Co (RGR) stock has been on fire lately. Forbes.com says…

RGR is a small-cap ($1.1 billion) company that is trading at about 20 times forward expectations for next quarter’s earnings per share.

Ruger isn’t the only firearm manufacturer that is benefiting from the current political climate but they have been the hottest of the publicly traded companies. View the entire article at Forbes.com.

Becker Knife & Tool Tweeners

Ethan Becker knows a thing or two about designing affordable, durable, and useable knives. His Becker Knife & Tool (BK&T) designs have been made by numerous manufacturers over the years, the most recent being KA-BAR. Much of the original BK&T consists of larger knife designs but now KA-BAR and BK&T are introducing the “Tweeners”.

The term Tweeners refers to the smaller size of the new BK-15, BK-16, and BK-17 knives. These new offerings are roughly 3/4 the size of the original knives. They are still large enough to serve as field knives but they are far from being small – hence the nickname, Tweener. Like the other knives in the BK&T line, the Tweeners are ground from 1095 Cro-Van steel and their handles are made from a durable plastic. Each knife comes with a nylon sheath and two sets of handle scales, one black and one coyote brown.

The BK-15 features a 5.5″ upswept or trailing point style blade that is reminiscent of the venerable BK-5 Magnum Camp that was a Jerry Fisk/BK&T collaboration.

The BK-16 has a 4.375″ drop point blade. Drop points are renowned for their all-around usefulness.

The BK-17 has a 4.375″ clip point blade. The clipped point allows for a very fine tip and is reminscent of the classic KA-BAR USMC Combat Knife.

These knives are not on KA-BAR’s website yet, but they will be soon. They are already available at dealers.

UW Gear and Patriot Tactical USA form Strategic Partnership

I recently reported that UW Gear was now accepting online orders on their website via Paypal. That didn’t last long but UW Gear moved quickly to pick up the slack. They have now partnered with Patriot Tactical USA to streamline the ordering process.

AK Minuteman MKII in Pencott Badlands with 3 pouches and 2 columns of MOLLE

There will still be a wait time (as there would be with any custom gear maker) but orders will be handled through Patriot Tactical USA. This new partnership will make it easier than ever to get your hands on the excellent UW Gear line of gear.

Check out UW Gear Inc and Patriot Tactical USA for more details.

The Constitution

Do you want to know more about the Constitution of the United States of America? Do you want your kids to know more? You should.

I encourage you to work your way through this excellent series delivered by Hillsdale College President, Dr. Larry Arnn, called “Introduction to the Constitution.” The series consists of 5 videos with accompanying study guides. It won’t make you a Constitutional scholar but it will give you a basic understanding of the document that governs this land.

Introduction to the Constitution

Patch Collecting: Keep Calm Patch from MADCAT Aviator/Operator

You don’t have to climb to a mountain top to hear a wise man utter wise words. That sounds like a lot of work for not a lot of pay off. I would much rather just order a patch from MADCAT Aviator/Operator.

The Keep Calm and Reload patch features truly wise words. These are words to live by and words to stay alive by. Keep Calm and Reload might be the wisest thing you hear all day.

Get your own Keep Calm and Reload patch at MADCAT Aviator/Operator.

GWACS Armory CAV-15 MKII AR-15 Lower Receivers

A company called GWACS Armory out of Tulsa, Oklahoma has acquired the manufacturing rights, tools, dies and equipment of the Cavalry Arms CAV-15 MKII receivers. The CAV-15 MKII were a popular option for use in ultra-light AR-15 builds since their all polymer construction offers some weight savings against typical aluminum receivers.

These lowers use the same small parts as a standard receiver with the exception of proprietary take-down pins. They have an A1 length fixed stock and utilize a carbine buffer system. They will be available in a wide variety of colors (another reason the CAV-15 MKII was so popular). The CAV-15 MKII will be able to be purchased stripped with just the take down pins or as a complete lower with all lower parts (including the buffer and spring).

The arrival of GWACS Amory is also good news for owners of the original CAV-15 MKII receivers since GWACS will handle the warranty service on those lowers as well. Check out the GWACS Armory website for more information.

PSA: Plate Carrier Size Versus Plate Size

This is a public service announcement: The size of the ballistic plate dictates the amount of coverage in terms of area, not the size of the carrier. I am certain that many of you know this already but I get emails and comments about it frequently enough that it merits discussing it here.

I have posted about a very budget friendly ballistic protection package, a review of the low profile plate carrier from Beez Combat Systems, and the Shellback Tactical Banshee plate carrier. After each of these posts, and every once in a while since posting them, I have received emails that contain questions about or even derision of these set ups because they are  perceived to be too small to provide enough coverage. This point of view represents a fundamental misunderstanding of how body armor works.

In most cases, the carrier itself provides no protection at all. It is the hard armor plates that provide protection from rifle threats (they will also stop handgun threats) and soft armor inserts that provide protection from handgun threats (and protection from plate deformation and fragmentation). The size and placement of the hard and soft armor dictate the amount of coverage that is provided, not the size of whatever carrier you are using to hold the plates.

Even the most compact plate carrier and a full coverage body armor set up will provide the same area rifle threat coverage if they are using the same size plates and most do use the same plates. Hard armor plates are sized to be just large enough to cover the heart and lungs of the wearer which is a roughly 10″ by 12″ area. Full coverage body armor can provide additional handgun and fragmentation protection due to larger areas covered with soft armor inserts but the carrier has nothing to do with this. Only those areas covered with hard armor will be protected from rifle threats.

So, while I really like hearing from readers, hopefully I don’t have to get any more emails about how compact plate carriers don’t cover enough. Remember, the size of the hard and soft armor that is inside of the carrier dictate the coverage area, not the carrier itself.

Low Light Pics from God, Gals, Guns, Grub

It is always a good idea to train in low light scenarios, not just so you know how to fight in low light, but also so you can see how your gun and ammo choices perform. God, Gals, Guns, Grub just posted an amazing series of photographs of the muzzle flash on a few different firearm and ammo combinations. The photos clearly show the both the firearm being used and the flash that it creates which is very educational.

Check out all of the pics and commentary on God, Gals, Guns, Grub.

Review: Orion Concepts MOD-1 Holster

Sometimes it seems that holsters are such simple things that are designed to do a simple task – carry a handgun. However, the sheer number and variations of holsters on the market should tell you that holsters, especially good holsters, are not such a simple thing after all. There are a lot of holsters on the market that really just aren’t any good. Thankfully, the MOD-1 from Orion Concepts is good – not perfect but really, really good.

The Same but Different

The MOD-1 from Orion Concepts looks new and familiar all at the same time. At first glance it looks like a leather pancake holster until you notice that it molded from kydex. There have been other companies who have adapted proven leather pancake holster designs to kydex but none that were quite like this.

While this looks very much like a typical pancake holster, it is designed to be worn in a different way. The MOD-1 has very large belt “loops” that are designed to allow the wearer to route their belt over the holster, not behind the holster. This results in a holster that wears in a way that I have never really experienced. The grip is drawn into the side of the wearer tighter than any other holster that I have tried and that is a very good thing. The gun rides very close, like an inside the waistband (IWB) holster, but allows the easy access and comfort of an outside the waistband (OWB) holster.

Other Features

The front of the holster (the part that is away from the wearer) is more molded than the back. The back of the holster (the part that is against the user’s body) is very lightly molded. This seems to be part of why this holster is so comfortable. There are no real hotspots or pressure points even though the holster is pressed very tightly against your body. I have always found leather holsters to be more comfortable than kydex. This is the first kydex holster that I have used that challenges that notion.

The MOD-1 has a small but effective sweat guard. It does a good job of keeping you separated from the slide of your handgun and, maybe more importantly, does a good job of preventing your shirt from sticking into the holster (especially important for striker fired pistols with no manual safety). There is also a small projection on the sweat guard that covers the magazine release button. It is molded generously enough to work with the Vickers Magazine Release.

Fit and Finish

As good as this holster is functionally, it is a bit lacking in the area of fit and finish. There are areas where it looks like whatever tool is used to finish the edges slipped and marred the surface of the holster. The edges are finished so that they are smooth but this has created some sharp spots on the bottom of the holster (these edges don’t contact the wearer at all and are easily fixed). Thankfully, the opening of the holster is nicely rounded and lacks sharp edges. The molding is not as crisp as some kydex holsters but the retention is solid. It also seems like there could be a couple more rivets used in the construction and the material around the bolt loops could be left thicker though I had no durability issues during more than 4 months of carry. These issues are purely cosmetic.

In Use

The MOD-1 carries very well. Like every other shooter, I have far more holsters than I have handguns and this is the most comfortable one that I own. It also carries closer and conceals better than any other outside the waistband holster that I own.

It carries very well right on the point of the hip thanks to its curved shape. This is generally where I like to place OWB but many holsters are either too flat or too bulky on the belt for this position to work.

One thing that worried me about the holster when I first received it was I had to skip a belt loop with most of my pants in order to wear the MOD-1. With a typical OWB holster you can route the belt through the holster so that it passes through the holster, a belt loop, and then the holster again. The MOD-1 doesn’t allow that but after months of use, it has been a complete non-issue.

The MOD-1 allows a pretty smooth draw stroke. It holds the gun closer like an IWB holster but higher like an OWB holster. The result is a draw that is easier than an IWB holster but perhaps a tiny bit slower than some OWB holsters that don’t conceal as well. Anytime the grip is held in close to the body, you will sacrifice some speed. This is why competition holsters ride out away fro the body and concealment holsters ride close. You are trading some speed for a holster that conceals very well.

Conclusion

The MOD-1 is a tremendous holster based on function. It rides so comfortably and so close to the body that it really just exceeds anything else that I have tried. There are some fit and finish issues with my example but these issues do not diminish function at all. I suspect that we will be hearing a lot more about Orion Concepts and their MOD-1 holster as they get into the hands of more users. These are excellent holsters.

Check out the MOD-1 with and without weapon lights on Orion-Concepts.com.

 

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