The J-frame Smith & Wesson revolver is a must-have carry gun in my book. I’ve been carrying a model 642 as a backup both on and off duty for almost fifteen years now. There are a lot of nifty little auto pistols on the market today, but none of them come out of the front pocket quite as readily an internal hammer J-frame. Of course, there are drawbacks to everything. If you want a quality, 15-ounce pocket gun, sacrifices must be made. As is necessary for reliable ignition, the DAO trigger pull on these little revolvers is heavy and that makes them somewhat more difficult to shoot. For the sake of concealability, the stocks are tiny and even the rubber ones are hard on larger hands like mine when firing +P loads. Another negative of small .38 Special revolvers is occasionally sticky extraction of spent brass. This is especially true when using the hotter defensive rounds. These guns have been popular for so many decades, I think it’s safe to say that defensive handgunners have readily accepted these seemingly necessary compromises. Maybe we don’t have to compromise as much anymore. Continue reading
For those who prefer to (or must) buy “Made in the USA,” here are some “soft” goods makers I favor (often after recommendations from full-time military or LEO users), along with my actual purchase examples. These vendors make quality products with good fabrics and stitching; many are unique designs. Something (maybe everything) from each of their lines will likely interest you and satisfy your mission requirements and personal finickiness. Customer service is also top notch for all. Continue reading
For the better part of the past 20 years, I have been a big fan of Oakley eyewear for use on and off the range. They aren’t cheap, but good equipment is rarely inexpensive. Luckily for first responders or military, the price of much of the Oakley lineup is significantly reduced through their Standard Issue program. Those who prefer glass lenses look elsewhere, but I like polycarbonate lenses as the weight of glass tends to give me a headache over time. Oakley glasses are designed to be optically correct and offer industry leading protection against UV and debris. The only downside to polycarbonate lenses are that they scratch more easily than glass, so routine handling should be done with care.
Around the beginning of this year, Oakley released their line of PRIZM lenses, which were advertised to enhance contrast for various activities, including golf and shooting. In the past, I had preferred the VR28 lenses for high contrast, and eventually migrated to Positive Red Iridium, which also has a fancy reflective red coating. Having been happy with the Positive Red lenses, I didn’t rush to go out to try the new PRIZM offerings. Continue reading
Several weeks ago, Apex Tactical owner Randy Lee and I were talking on the phone and our discussion turned to new products coming down the line from Apex. One of the major items of interest to me was the “Apex Grade” 9mm barrel for the Smith and Wesson M&P. My association with Randy goes back a bunch of years. I still have the early 2006 M&P that we used for the prototyping of the original Apex Hard Sear that started it all. Well, he prototyped, and I was the ape that attempted to break it. As the conversation evolved, some hints might have been dropped, and a semi-drop in barrel arrived at my door about three weeks ago. Continue reading
Its hard to argue the fact that the Sig Sauer P-series pistols are some of the best combat pistols every produced. Putting the argument or preference aside of double action/single action versus current current striker fired pistols or single action only the reliability and accuracy is well known and respected around the world. With a vast majority of the pistol rounds I’ve sent downrange being out of a p226, I had to have one in the safe. The trigger and action on the sig are designed for reliability, not necessarily a light or crisp trigger pull so I decided to upgrade my personal gun a bit. I made the obvious decision and went to the first and really only serious name in Sig Sauer action work, Bruce Gray of Gray Guns. Continue reading
The market seems to be absolutely loaded with kydex holster makers these days. Your options seem to be endless with everyone trying to separate themselves from the pack for one reason or another. Recently receiving my HK45c back from Gray Guns (review to be done later), I was in the market for a new inside the waistband holster for concealed carry. Initially I actually went and looked at the G-Code Incog simply due to a few friends carrying their carry weapons in them already with no complaints. Sadly G-Code doesn’t make a Incog for a HK45c. Through a Friend I was told about Garrett Industries, who quietly seemed to be making some really nice holsters for some very serious people without attaching their label to the closest bearded internet personality. Offering a decent military discount and offering some really nice leather lined kydex options, I ordered up the Silent Thunder holster with a single mag holder for the compact HK. I received emails verifying my order, telling me when it went into production and within two weeks I had my order in hand. Continue reading
The biggest hassle with precision shooting is reloading to try to keep cost down with quality and accuracy of ammunition up. Now that is my opinion, while I find reloading calming and almost therapeutic at times, finding the time to do it between a strenuous job schedule and a family doesn’t allow for much time to be behind the reloading press. If you look to factory ammunition your choices tend to be limited with many popular precision rifle calibers just not being offered regularly without having to spend quite a sum having someone else load it for you. During a range day with some friends I was introduced to one of the people behind PRIME Ammunition. Their representative had some questions about calibers I would like to see more of in the factory ammunition market, bullet weights I preferred, my thoughts on the industry and ammunition market and its problems in general. Haven’t had many conversations with people behind the scenes of a large ammunition retailer who has cared as much about what the shooters wanted as the people at Prime. Continue reading
Appendix-In-The-Waistband AIWB carry has been all the rage on the Interwebs and social media for quite a while now, and for good reason. It is fairly easy to conceal in this manner and it is extremely easy to deploy from the position. Though retention is a little different from this position than traditional strong side or behind the hip IWB, the carry position is viable if it is comfortable for you. Unfortunately, after trying about half a dozen different holsters, I have yet to find AIWB anything less than extremely uncomfortable. That is, until now.
Most of you have already heard of the Eidolon by Raven Concealment Systems. While AIWB holsters are certainly not new, RCS has taken a new modular approach and incorporated some innovative features into an amazingly comfortable design. When I first read about it, I was skeptical as to its claim as a game changer, especially since AIWB has always been uncomfortable for me. For whatever reason, after carrying the Eidolon in AIWB format every day since picking one up at SHOT Show this January (2015), I am continually surprised to find that this holster is quite comfortable to carry day in and out. Continue reading
The Burner…I’m not talking about the little Bunsen burner we used many eons ago in Chemistry class (gen Xrs and up) but the guy named Jerry Barnhart who burns down stages and is one of the most winning competitive shooters out there. I had the pleasure of training with Jerry recently for a 2 day Tactical Pistol course. Now before the inter webs go a blazing on “competition will get you killed!” and such, please direct your anger to my four part series here at MSW and see why I don’t agree with that fallacy.
Anyway, bottom line, shooting is shooting. Period. The competition or tactical drills that follow are secondary if you can’t make the shot. This includes: shooting for accuracy, shooting on the move, head shots, 50 yard shots, etc. So, can it with the “yee gads, that there is foolish training” talk and learn how to shoot under pressure and maybe we can have a coffee. But I digress… Continue reading
Continuing with my never ending search for an ultra low profile, easy to carry, yet functional off-duty handheld light, we will be taking a look at the Pelican 1910B. Last week I wrote about the Streamlight Microstream, which worked well enough to get out of most jams. Some commenters on the social media page turned their nose up to Microstream’s meager 35 lumen output. While puny compared to some of the 500 lumen beasts out there today, let me point out that not all that long ago we carried lights powered by D-cell batteries that didn’t put out much more light than that of the Microstream, and with a crappier beam.
I can admit that I am guilty of just grabbing a snubby, a speedloader and my keys to run errands. I’m not promoting the practice. I recently went almost exclusively to carrying Ruger as my revolver of choice. A Wiley Clapp inspired SP101 bumped my longtime custom 642 out of the rotation. That meant I needed a new holster to tote my little blaster. A thread on Pistol-Forum lead me to Dark Star Gear. DSG bends some pretty nice Kydex with some interesting options. The DSG AIWB “Casual Carry” with its simple design and optional toothed spring steel IWB clip seemed perfect. Just one problem. DSG didn’t list my little SP101 as an option. So I emailed Tom of DSG and asked if he could make one for me. A few emails back and forth to make sure he had found the correct molding prop and I was getting a holster made. Tom was great to deal with and only asked that I pay up front due to having to purchase the molding prop for the project. Knowing I had the HiTS Close Quarters Pistol class coming up Tom bent over backwards to get my holster shipped in time.
It would be safe to say that the Glock as a pistol is almost, or dare I say as big an “icon” as the 1911. Glocks are being used by law enforcement and military personnel all over the world as well as being one of the best selling pistol manufacturers in the US. A good majority of gun owners, especially those who frequent shooting courses or instruction, all seem to own at least one Glock. With its popularity comes an exploding aftermarket with an endless list of companies making parts or modifying/machining the guns themselves. Some are worthy of mention and many are hacks with a hot piece of metal deforming the frames almost to the point of failure on unsuspecting owners looking to emulate the professionals for a fraction of the cost. I personally had a Glock stippled by a friend, and while not a hack job by any means I found the texture too aggressive and didn’t quite know how remedy it without just buying another frame. This is the point where Robar comes in. Continue reading
Yes, there is another great alternative in appendix holsters. In my quest to find a great appendix holster, I’ve search and tried pretty much all that’s is out there..until a friend recommended to me a new holster from a Philly area company called PHLster (pretty catchy).
I tried two of their holsters for my Glock 19. One, full size named the Access and the other, more minimalist called the Skeleton. Both are inside the waistband and designed for appendix draw.
I’ll start with the more minimalist Skeleton. I was very happy when I opened the package and saw my thoughts realized in a holster without me talking with the designer. On my last holster review (The Q-Series) I liked the fact you could carry with basically a trigger guard cover and some belt retention device (clip or strap). The benefit of the Q-Series was the ability to re-holster the firearm. Of all the choices (at that time) I couldn’t find anything as good…until now. Continue reading
I previously posted “Louis Awerbuck Remembered” (HERE). (Click on the book above for the link to the Kindle at Amazon). I wrote there I might have more gems to relate. As promised:
- If you have the time, go for the potentially most effective target area. If you don’t, get whatever meat and bone you can get, and maintain continuity of fire until the deadly force threat is gone. Continue reading