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Archive | Tactics and Training

Review: SaltStick Electrolyte Caps

If you are reading this blog, it is probably safe to assume that you enjoy a lot of same pursuits that I do and a lot of those pursuits, like shooting, training, and hiking, happen outdoors. If you enjoy these activities, you know the importance of hydration. No one wants to get sidelined on a hike or feel wrecked on day two of a carbine course because they didn’t monitor their hydration. You can’t get that lost time and money back.

I used to play organized sports year round and I drank a lot of water to try to stay hydrated. However, I still found myself dizzy with headaches, cramps, and sick to my stomach on a regular basis. That was likely because I was taking in too much water without also being intentional about adding nutrition and electrolytes. I added sports drinks to my hydration regime which helped dramatically.

As I have grown older, I’ve become more conscious of the amount of sugar that many sports drinks contain (especially when you are drinking them one after the other) so I started looking for a way to add electrolytes while reducing my sugar intake. That search lead me to a number of products that work very well but the one that has been the most convenient is SaltStick Electrolyte Caps.

Basically, these are capsules that contain an electrolyte mix that mimics the types and amounts of electrolytes actually lost in sweat during 30-60 minutes of strenuous activity. I like to take one with my first drink of water and then take another every hour or two based on my activity level and how much water I am taking in. Since SaltStick Caps contain only electrolytes (no other nutrition or sugars), I am able to keep my electrolyte intake and nutrition intake separate which makes it easier for me to keep track. I make sure I am drinking water and periodically adding solid nutrition like fruit, nuts, granola bars, etc. and the capsules handle the rest.

I don’t have any quantifiable lab results but I can offer some long term anecdotal evidence. These capsules have worked for me for more than 3 years. I deal with temps in the 90s and humidity below 20 percent during the summer months. If you hike, run a chainshaw for a few hours in protective gear, or do some training on the range in that kind of weather… you will need to be on your hydration game. I have not had a single dizzy/headache episode since I started using SaltStick and, for me, that is really saying something.

I should also mention that at a cost of about $.20 per capsule (when you buy 100 at a time), they are less expensive than pre-mixed sports drinks! In my experience, they work better. You also don’t need to clean them out of your bottles and hydration bladders like sticky drink mixes!

I have only used the regular SaltStick caps but they also make SaltStick Plus cap which have some caffeine and SaltStick chews. I have never found SaltStick locally which is kind of a bummer but they are readily available online. I have purchased all of mine from Amazon (affiliate link): SaltStick on Amazon

SIRT Pistol Optical Trainer

Next Level Training will release their SIRT Pistol Optical Trainer soon. The Optical Trainer is a simple frame (no glass or internals) that replaces the rear sight on the SIRT Training Pistol. It has no aiming point of its own but instead it uses the trigger take up laser to approximate a dot sight. You can see it in action in the video below.

NextLevelTraining.com

Tier 1 Citizen: The Bag Gun

Tier 1 Citizen is offering a new training course called The Bag Gun. The course details how to set up a bag to carry a SBR/pistol/PDW in a way that fits your life, how to deploy the gun from the bag, and other considerations. More and more people are adopting this sort of discreet PDW concept and this would be a good chance to shake out your set up to see if really works.

Tier 1 Citizen: The Bag Gun

Kit Badger Anatomy Target (KBAT) Update – New Target Pad

Kit Badger’s KBAT targets were previously only available as a free download. They are still available as a free download but they are also available in a new convenient, pre-printed, tear-off pad format.

The target pads each include 50 sheets and fit in most range bags easily. Each sheet is double sided with the head target printed on one side of the 100 pound paper and the thoracic cavity printed on the other. This allows the shooter to use either target individually or to simply use two sheets to use both targets together.

You can read more on the background of these targets in our previous post: HERE

The targets may be purchased directly from KitBadger.com or on Amazon.com (affiliate link).

Kit Badger KBAT – Well Designed, Easy to Live With Targets for Shooters

There are a lot of human silhouette targets on the market and many of them share the same issues. They are larger than will fit in any reasonable range bag or than can be printed at home and they offer unrealistic target indicators to the shooter. Ivan at Kit Badger has set out to create a target, the Kit Badger Anatomy Target (KBAT), to address these issues.

The Problems

If you shoot anywhere other than an improved range with comfortable parking and easy access, you know the pain of hauling all your gear to your shooting spot. If an item doesn’t fit in a range bag that can mean it has to be carried outside the pack or worse – it requires an extra trip. Large targets that must be rolled are just another item to carry and you will likely never be able to print them yourself.

Even if getting your gear to the range isn’t an issue for you, the issue of unrealistic target indicators applies to most targets. The proportions and the very presence of things like scoring zones can skew the perception of the shooter. Anatomy doesn’t mimic the scoring zones on most targets and real people don’t have scoring zones tattooed on their bodies. The only real markers we have are things like ears, eyes, the nose, and the relative positions of anatomy in relation to the overall shape and orientation of the body.

The Fix

I’ve been fortunate enough to have access to the KBATs for a while now and they do a good job of addressing the issues above. The target is actually a pair of targets that can be used together to create a representation of all of the vital human anatomy or separately as a head and chest target depending on the shooter’s needs.

The KBATs can be printed on standard 8.5 x 11″ paper on your printer at home. They can then be applied to any backer or you can cut your own and trim it to the bold target lines. You probably have room in your range bad to store a whole stack of them.

All of the vital anatomy rendered in very light lines which makes them difficult to target specifically. The outline of the human form is rendered in heavier, bold lines so that the shape of the body and items like ears are really the only target indicators you have to work with. These various underlying anatomical elements are also rendered in realistic proportions so the brain stem area for instance, is rendered in its realistic size and location which is actually a bit lower than they way most of us train to target this area. If you want to color in other indicators like eyes or the nose, you can easily add it with a marker based on the underlying anatomy.

How to Add KBATs to Your Training

The KBATs are currently available as a free download from Kit Badger’s website here: KitBadger.com/KBAT

Soon, they will be available as a printed pad of targets that will offer the shooter even more utility (and a great price compared to many targets on the market). Stay tuned for more details on this.

I strongly suggest you read Kit Badger’s site and view the video so you can get the most out of this free resource. There are a number of ways these can be used and modified to suite your needs.

Tier 1 Citizen Stupid Simple Targets – DIY Targets and Stands

Abner Miranda at Tier 1 Citizen recently showed off his Stupid Simple Targets in a new video and it is worth sharing. He shows how to use found material, a single 2×4, some conduit clamps, and rebar to create lightweight, portable, and completely customizable targets with no fear of splash-back like you would have with steel. The targets in the video are CNC cut from HDPE but they could easily be cut from plywood or scrap plastic like political signs.

RE Factor Tactical Kill Card Challenge

RE Factor Tactical is prepared to give you a very cool and very exclusive Kill Card patch… but you are going to have to earn it! Their Kill Card Challenge is a shooting skills challenge that anyone can enter and, if you follow the rules and provide the prescribed proof, anyone who completes the challenge will receive a Kill Card Patch.

You’ll need the following:

Once you have your video proof, you can send it to info@refactortactical.com or tag @refactortactical on Instagram. Visit the Re Factor Tactical Blog for details: RE Factor Tactical Blog

Phokus Research Group Wound Cube

A good friend of the blog recently told me about his experience with the Phokus Research Group Wound Cube – a training aid in the form of a semi-transparent silicone cube with 4 common and realistic wound patterns molded into it. He was impressed.

The Wound Cube is designed to give students in a classroom setting, a chance to develop their skills at packing wounds. The different types of wounds offer the opportunity to pack 3 different gun shot wounds and 1 large laceration. The semi-transparent construction allows both the student and instructor to see the student’s work (especially when used with a flashlight). The durable construction allows the Wound Cube to be used over and over again.

Phokus Research Group offers a variety of different Wound Cube Packages from single Wound Cubes to entire classroom-ready kits. Check out the Wound Cube at PhokusResearch.com.

Review: Caldwell Stable Table – Portable Shooting Table

There was a time in my life when I thought I would never have need for a shooting table. Shooting tables were for the weak and soft. I would just use the prone position forever.

I do most of my shooting on public land or on my home range both of which are, shall we say… rustic. They generally aren’t graded perfectly and there can be tall, wild grasses that reach 2 feet in height or taller in the summer. On my home range, I shoot from an elevated ridge down into a berm at the back of a lower field. This sometimes places the precipice of the ridge in my line of sight if I am prone. The area that I shoot from is also an important access point for our trucks/tractors into the field and woods beyond it.

I need elevation to clear the terrain and vegetation. I also can’t clog up the area from which I shoot with a permanent shooting bench. All of this points to the need for something like a portable shooting table.

I tried several portable shooting tables that I could find locally but they all had major short comings for my intended use. Most of them were basically glorified folding chairs that didn’t seem like they would last any longer than the camp chairs it seems like we have to replace every two years. Most of them had runner style bases that would NEVER sit level in the locations where I shoot. Then I found the Caldwell Stable Table online and, while I couldn’t find one locally to see in person, it was clearly closer to what I needed. I rolled the dice and bought one on Amazon. I’m glad I did.

The Stable Table is exactly what I needed. First, it is constructed mostly from surprisingly thick steel round tube and steel square tube stock with welded reinforcement. The table top is a tough, blow-molded piece with steel inserts for bolting to the steel structure. The whole thing feels like it could last a lifetime.

Second, all that steel adds up to weight and weight equals stability. Weight is great for a permanent shooting table and good within reason for a portable shooting table. The Stable Table is heavy but I can still lift the whole unit at once and it breaks down VERY easily into smaller components which makes it quite easy to move. It strikes a nice balance between stability and portability.

The third feature that makes this table perfect for me (and probably anyone else who rarely shoots indoors or from a concrete pad) is the tripod base. The Stable Table has a very wide tripod leg setup that makes it easy to level the table, even on rough ground, because it only contacts the ground at 3 points. One of the legs is adjustable via a large thumb screw so that you can really fine tune the level.

Those are the just the features that made the Stable Table work for me. There are a lot of additional features that I have come to appreciate about it:

  • The seat is lightly padded and covered with some seemingly very durable vinyl that wipes off easily (very nice when it is covered in barn dust from storage).
  • The table top is attached to the central column near the back of the top (instead of centrally) so you can cant it to one side or the other depending on whether you shoot right or left handed.
  • The table top has molded channels and lips so items don’t roll off easily.
  • It comes with rifle cleaning forks that attach to the handles that are molded into the table top. I might even use them if I clean a rifle some day.
  • The seat is height adjustable which lets me bring it closer to the table top for my daughters to use. The table has been an important tool in training them to shoot without them having to hold the full weight of the rifle all the time.
  • The table top is well sized. There is plenty of room for a rifle with support of some kind (shooting bag, bipod, rest, etc.) and ammo, spare mags, paper and pen, and other items you might want while you are shooting.

I bought my Stable Table for just over $200 from Amazon. It can be found in the $170-175 range at other online retailers but be sure to check shipping costs. There is often a hefty oversized shipping fee for this table because it is quite large and heavy when boxed. If you have a shop locally that stocks Caldwell Shooting Supplies, it may be worth checking there. You might save yourself some money buying local.

Caldwell Stable Table on Amazon (affiliate link)

GeoBallistics DIY Apple Watch Rifle Mount

GeoBallistics recently shared a way for exporting ballistic data from their app to an Apple Watch and then mounting said Apple Watch to your rifle to create an electronic dope card for your rifle. It all sounds very high tech but the beauty of it is that it is actually relatively simple and approachable for DIY types.

They created a video that shows how to push your rifle’s data to the Apple Watch. It is basically just exporting an image file that can be viewed in the Photos app.

You should be able to recreate the mount from seeing the pictures. It is just a Nite Ize Gear Tie and armor case, along with some adhesive Velcro. The “mount” allows you to position the watch where ever you need it and it folds out of the way when not in use.

There are definitely times when you might prefer more reliable, non-electronic methods of displaying your dope but the convenience of this setup would be great at the range. It would allow you to easy carry, organize, and access as many data cards as your Apple Watch can hold.

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