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Drop Leg Holsters – Think Before You Use

A lot of people wiser and more knowledgeable than me say things like “Mission drives the gear.” The original purpose of drop leg holsters is to lower the bulk of the handgun to clear an armored vest/plate carrier. They are also handy when you need to clear the hip belt of a back pack. I have also heard that some people prefer them when wearing a repelling harness.  Lately, they have become somewhat of a fashion statement.

They are everywhere and it seems no one’s cool-guy-kit is complete without them. Many users have lost sight of the drop leg holster’s real purpose. Fashion, rather than mission, is driving the gear. As a result, we often see these holsters being used in the worst ways possible.

Need Versus Want

The first thing you should do when you are considering purchasing a drop leg holster is think about whether you actually have a need for one. Do you need to clear armor? Do you need to clear a hip belt? Are you wearing a repelling harness? If not, you may want to consider a more traditional belt holster. Why would you want to extend your draw stroke or add weight to your legs when your hips are much better at bearing weight? Make sure you really need a drop leg holster or at least are being honest about why you want one.

Higher is Better

Letting the holster ride too low is probably the biggest mistake I see among drop leg holster users. The range is full of people whose holsters are down on their knee. There are 3 big reasons to keep your holster as high as the holster will allow. You will probably even need to modify the holster to allow it to ride high enough. Remember, the holster needs only to ride low enough to clear the armor/hip belt/harness – no lower.

First, holsters that ride too low place you at a mechanical disadvantage. Think for a second about a baseball glued to a yard stick. You are holding the yard stick at the end marked 1 inch. The baseball is glued to the 36 inch mark. Swing the yard stick and think about how difficult it would be to stop the yard stick and baseball quickly. Now think of the same thing, except now the baseball is glued to the 8 inch marker. How much easier is it to stop the yard stick and baseball quickly now? It is much easier.

When the weight is closer to the pivot point of your leg (closer to the hip) your leg will be able to bear the weight better and move with less effort. The closer the holster gets to your foot, the more you will notice it fighting the movement of your leg and the more it will flop around.

Second, holsters that ride too low elongate your draw stroke. Think for a moment. You are going to increase the distance that your hand must travel to retrieve your handgun and to bring the handgun to eye level. You are going to make your draw stroke slower and less efficient. Is it possible that a “tactical” accessory can actually make you less “tactical” (what ever that means)? Yes!

Third, holsters that ride too low are less like how you tend to carry a handgun when you aren’t playing dress up. Why would you want to throw away all of those practiced draw strokes that you do in your normal concealed carry gear (at least I hope you are practicing)? It makes good sense to have your drop leg (if you need one) mirror your everyday gear as much as possible.

If your holster doesn’t let the handgun ride as high as you would like modify it. Cut stuff, trim pieces off, remove straps, and fix it. If you can’t modify it – replace it with one that works. See Kyle Defoor’s blog post, Safariland Secrets and this thread on M4Carbine.net for some tips on modifying the Safariland 6004. The pictures at these two links will also give you an idea of how high the holster should rid. I like mine so that the highest part of the grip is not quite as high as my belt line. This is more than enough drop to clear my plate carrier and enough to clear my pack’s hip belt.

Watch this blog for an upcoming article on building a versatile holster kit that allows for “battle belt” carry and proper drop leg use. This may also be useful to those who want to modify what they already have.

Tighten Up

The other mistake I see is people with loose leg straps. If the leg strap on your drop leg holster is loose you are inviting problems. Your holster will wobble as you move which can be annoying. More importantly, it can impede your draw. The holster will try to come with the gun as you draw and cause binding in some security holsters (the gun must be drawn almost exactly straight up and out).  When the gun binds it is essentially wedged in place and you may have to re-start your draw or continue to tug it out.

Many drop leg holster leg straps have a short elastic section sewn into the strap. This is there for good reason. It is there so you can really tighten the strap down but still have enough flexibility to buckle the strap and be able to flex with your leg. It doesn’t have to be tourniquet tight but the strap should not be hanging loose on your leg.

Note: Notice I said strap, singular, in that last sentence. If you holster is riding where it should be, there likely will not be room for two leg straps. If you see a holster with 2 leg straps, that is your first clue that it isn’t riding high enough.

Recap

  • Determine whether you need or want a drop leg holster based on your mission/the actual purpose of a drop leg holster. If you must run one…
  • Make sure that it rides high enough. If it does not, modify or replace it.
  • Make sure that you adjust it so that is tight on your leg.

If you stop and think for a minute you may not need a drop leg holster and if you do, at least you will know how to use it more efficiently.

Review: Slip 2000 EWL

This is really good stuff!

I have spent a year, as of this month, with Slip 2000 EWL. I am very pleased with the performance offered by this lubricant. I have used it in Glocks, AR-15s, AK-47s (yes, they do need to be lubed), a Ruger 10/22, and even to slick up flashlight tailcap threads. It has really performed beyond my expectations. It can be difficult to quantify the performance of a weapon lube but I have noticed a few things that should be testable and repeatable that I can share.

  1. Slip 2000 EWL does not evaporate nearly as quickly as Breakfree CLP. When I received my first order, I degreased two AR-15s. I lubed one with Slip 2000 and one with Breakfree CLP. The one with Breakfree looked mostly dry after 3 days while the one with Slip 2000 still had a sheen like it was wet.
  2. Slip 2000 EWL does not run as readily as Breakfree CLP. This is obvious. This makes Slip 2000 EWL more suitable to applications like lubing the Glock that I carry (though I prefer a light grease). It does not run immediately out of the gun all over me and my holster.

The thing that I am not sure I can repeat or prove is that the Slip 2000 EWL makes new guns feel smoother, faster than other lubes. My DDM4 really seemed to slick up after it’s first range trip with this lube. It could be my imagination but others have relayed similar testimonials.

If you run an AR you need a high quality, reliable lubricant. Slip 2000 EWL would be a great choice.

Daniel Defense Lightweight DDM4v2 Now Available

Daniel Defense continues to expand on their excellent DDM4 line with the Lightweight DDM4v2. It features a lightweight profile barrel and a 7″ Omega X rail. I can’t say enough good things about the DDM4 upper that I own.

New BCM Uppers in Stock – 14.5" Mid-Length and 16" Lightweight Mid-Length

Bravo Company USA (BCM) has two new upper configurations in stock. BCM makes some of the finest uppers on the market.

Click here for the 14.5″ Mid-Length

Click here for the Light Weight Profile 16″ Mid-Length

If you are familiar with BCM, you know that these uppers often sell out quickly. Act now!

Preview: Troy Battle Ax Stock

The stock you see in the above picture is the upcoming Troy Industries Battle Ax Stock. It may look a bit strange but it is was obviously designed for function, not form. It has some extremely fresh and innovative features that really set the Battle Ax apart from other stock systems on the market.

The most interesting feature to me is the storage. Even though this stock is very compact, it boasts a ton of storage space. The good folks over at Spartan Cops have confirmed that there is enough storage space to keep blowout kit items on board! These items would add very little weight. You would never have an excuse not to have life saving first aid items on your person again. The items you could carry are not limited to first aid kits. A cleaning kit, or at least some lube, would be another good choice.

Other features include a metal butt plate which should make this stock quite durable and provide some weight at the rear of the gun which many shooters like. There are QD sling swivel sockets in three locations. The length adjustment latch is low profile and located on the underside of the stock. The latch can be seen in the these pictures taken by Stickman in a post at GearScout. Shooters will also appreciate the broad, comfortable cheek weld. The “clubfoot” shape looks like it would work well as a hand hold when shooting from a bipod.

The Troy Battle Ax Stock is unique in looks and in features. It is on my wish-list.

Larry Vickers on the AK

A good friend pointed me to these excellent videos. About 2 years ago I wrote an article about bringing the AK up to date just to share among friends. I have been hoping to update the article now that I have been using my “modernized” AK for some time now. Everything I did to my AK is mirrored in these videos from Larry Vickers. Mr. Vickers is an expert on the AK (and most small arms) and offers excellent AK specific training courses.

There is a lot of good information for AK users to be gleaned from these videos:

Larry Vickers Introduces the AK

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-noya_t-7R0]

Larry Vickers and the AK on the Range

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QABoEzyBm9w]

Larry Vickers and the Modernized AK

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACcrtrFgDE8]

Larry Vickers’ YouTube Channel

Great Review of the Diamondback DB380 on Vuurwapen Blog

87GN just posted an excellent review of the Diamondback DB380. It is an interesting Kel-Tec P3AT alternative with a lot going for it.

Read it (and other great content) on Vuurwapen Blog.

TRICON – Diamondback Tactical Gear Designed by Jeff Gonzales

I have been using Diamondback Tactical’s (DBT) Battlelab brand nylon gear for several years now. They make some of the most durable, well designed, and reasonably priced pouches that I use. I plan on doing some reviews eventually.

Today I came across a new line of gear on the DBT website: TRICON by Diamondback Tactical. It is a joint venture between DBT and Jeff Gonzales. With Mr. Gonzales’ input and Diamondback’s quality and service, this gear should be excellent.

Click for larger view.

Click for larger view.

Click for larger view.

Tactical Handyman – ACOG Fiber Optic Fix

Trijicon ACOGs are excellent optics for fighting rifles, especially when having to deal with extended distances. The ACOG’s combination of size, durability, and speed make it one of the best choices for an AR-15 optic. The ACOG has been battle tested in Iraq and Afghanistan and has come through with flying colors. It has also become very popular in the competition shooting world – especially 3Gun competition. It is a proven system.

The Problem

One of the ACOG’s best features can also be one of the most annoying. The fiber optic illumination system on the ACOG allows the reticle to glow brightly in full sun and automatically adjust to changing lighting conditions. When there is no ambient light present the reticle is illuminated by the tritium insert. It all sounds great until the task at hand calls for any amount of precision. In full sun, the reticle can be so bright that it begins to flare. This flaring obscures the view of the target and makes it difficult to shoot with any level of precision.

I used to just use electrical tape to mask the fiber optic tube of my ACOGs. However, this is an all or nothing solution. It fixes the flaring problem but it doesn’t allow the fiber optic to gather any light in intermediate and low light situations. This solution was too static. I needed something that was more dynamic – something that would allow me to adjust to different lighting quickly and easily.

I tried making a hook and loop flap that could be stuck to the ACOG and peeled back to varying degrees to expose or cover the fiber optic tube. This worked great in my living room. Once the rifle was actually run through some drills a problem became obvious. The flap would catch readily on my gear, sometimes pulling it almost completely off the ACOG. So this solution was dynamic but it wasn’t durable.

Finally, I took a page out of the 3Gun play book. Shooters in 3Gun have been using bicycle tire inner tubes to cover the fiber optic for years. Typically a piece of inner tube is cut to length and then stretched over the optic. This effectively covers the fiber optic while still allowing for some adjustment by peeling the tube back. Inner tubes are tough and cheap. This idea has a lot going for it. This was my starting point.

The Solution

What I ended up with really works. It is securely mounted on the ACOG and will not snag on gear. It blocks almost all light from entering the fiber optic but also adjusts rapidly and easily to any lighting condition. It costs pennies and is easily replaceable.

Here you can see the cover in place. It is basically one length of tube that has been cut into two loops connected by a strap.

Pull the strap over the elevation knob to allow some light gathering. The short length of electrical tape is there to block the little bit of ambient light that can still to the back of the fiber optic.

Pull the strap over the windage knob to allow even more light. I have found that on the TA11 ACOGs, with their extra long fiber optic tube, this is more than enough exposed fiber optic for just about all lighting conditions.

What you will need:

  1. ACOG equipped rifle
  2. Bicycle tire inner tube – a piece roughly as long as your ACOG
  3. Sharp scissors
  4. Hobby knife (or any knife with a sharp point, I used a Swiss Army Knife)
  5. Electrical tape (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Check that your rifle is unloaded and remove all ammunition from your workspace.
  2. Check it again.
  3. Cut a length of inner tube to roughly the length of your ACOG using your scissors.
  4. Measure the length of the hole you will need to cut to clear the base by laying the tube over the ACOG and marking the locations indicated in the picture.
  5. Cut the hole about two/thirds of the way up the width of the inner tube. The idea is to leave a strap that is just wide enough to cover the fiber optic tube with some overlap.
  6. Trim all of your corners so that they are rounded. Any corners left pointed or square can create stress cracks in the cover as it is stretched.
  7. Cut an angle that matches the leading edge of the ACOG on the leading edge of your inner tube. Shaping the front of the cover like this will help you cover the leading edge of the fiber optic tube.
  8. Stretch the inner tube onto the ACOG and twist it as necessary to cover the fiber optic tube. The fiber optic tube runs at an angle so you will need to the twist the cover so the strap covers the tube. It should be difficult to stretch.
  9. Adjust the fit as necessary by trimming excess material from the inner tube.
  10. Trim around the elevation turret cover with your knife. This will help the cover lay flatter over the fiber optic tube.

Optional Step: You may want to place some tape on the front 1/2 inch and back 1/2″ of the fiber optic tube. This will help cut down on light that may reach the tube from the front of the cover and around the elevation turret.

That Was Easy!

That was simple, cheap, easy, and effective. There aren’t many things in life that you can say that about. Is is easy to make another if this one ever breaks. You could even make a spare and keep it on your gear.

Problem solved.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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