Monday, July 26, 2010

SR9c Arrived

Today, the family grew.  Yep, the Ruger SR9c that I've been waiting on came in today.  Now, my fullsize SR9 has a little brother.  Don't let this little guy fool you though.  It still packs the punch with 10+1 rounds of 9mm with a 17 round reload with the included fullsize magazine and grip extention sleeve.  This gun is to be a concealed carry weapon to supplement my Ruger SP101 and Ruger LCP. 

First on the agenda is an initial cleaning and inspection.  I won't have time to do this until Saturday because I'm away on business all week.  After that, it's range time and I have 200 rounds of 9mm with this gun's name written all over them!  We'll see how well this one performs.  My fullsize SR9 has really impressed me, so this new gun has some big shoes to fill.

One of the things I really like is the 17 round magazine interchangeability.  I stuck one of my SR9's 17 round magazines into the SR9c and it fit and functioned.  This is great because instead of buying a separate magazine design for each gun, I can just buy the standard for the SR9 and it can be used in the SR9c in a pinch.  The 10 round magazine physically will not fit the fullsize SR9, however.  That's okay though.  It just means I need to buy a couple of smaller magazines for the midget.

I really think Ruger has a good thing going for itself with these two guns.  I believe the SR9 concept is the best handgun platform Ruger has come up with, ever.  It is a combination of good ole legendary Ruger reliability and toughness with 21st century technology built in.  Yeah, say it all you want, SR9 haters!  The striker-fired design and safe trigger was pioneered by Glock and Springfield and Ruger just ripped it all off!  By that logic, however, we should just boycott all revolvers made by any company other than Colt or Smith and Wesson, right?  I think people who believe that load of crap need to get a life.

Getting back to my inflammatory statement about the SR9 being the best Ruger has come up with, I do stand by that statement.  Okay, yeah, the P series of guns are built like tanks, are solid and reliable as an AK-47.  I get it.  But they are also as attractive as an AK-47, and that isn't saying much.  They are also as big as a tank and as heavy too.  One thing the SR9 really has going for it is that it is so freaking accurate.  SR9 pistols are tack drivers and it isn't difficult to put down an accurate follow-up shot at all.  The SR9 is thinner, lighter, sleeker, and yeah, it's ugly but it is AR-15 ugly and that's damned sexy in a gun sort of way.

So, I get to spend the next 4 days dreaming about my new gun and all the things I can shoot with it.  This is going to be fun!

-James

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thoughts on Camping... Or Am I Going Soft?

I am giving serious consideration to purchasing a tent trailer or small travel trailer for family campouts.

WHAT?!!!

You read that right.  I am actually considering this type of purchase.  Lindsay and I got to talking yesterday and when the family goes on campouts together, we want to be able to have something easier and a little nicer.  It's not about minimalist survival when I take my wife and children along.  It's about getting away for a couple days, enjoying the wilderness, smores, campfires, and fun.

I'm getting tired of setting up our big-ass tent each time we go camping.  Moreover, I'm tired of trying to figure out sleeping arrangements with babies and toddlers.  For me, I want camping to be more about getting outdoors in comfortable fashion rather than busting my hump just to sleep out in the woods. 

Man, am I getting soft or what?

Hold your horses, there Jack!  Before you accuse me of going soft, let's put some things into perspective here.  My wife has no interest whatsoever in survivalist camping.  She doesn't go out to the woods to prove herself.  She goes out to the woods to enjoy the sun, the trees, and to poke a campfire with a stick.  That's her idea of camping, and it's not a bad one at all.  When we go camping, we usually have an activity we are going to do, be it swimming, hiking, shooting, or whatever.  It's not a bad thing to wake up the morning of the big hike without sore shoulders or an aching back.  Plus, the ease of just setting up your tent (trailer) wherever you park is kind of nice.

But James, what about backpacking and minimalist camping?  Why aren't you a bad ass anymore? 

I still am a bad ass.  Don't think for a second that all my camping days will be spent sleeping in a comfortable tent trailer or travel trailer.  Oh no.  I'm not selling my backpacker tent or my Osprey uber pack!  But right now, I can't really camp like that with my family - not for some years to come.  Michael and Rory are too young to understand the pure awesomeness of going out into the woods and sleeping under the stars, or in a snow cave you just dug, or under nothing but a tarp to keep the rain off.  There will be plenty of campouts with my children where we take nothing more than what we are wearing and what food we can haul in a small backpack.

But I want to do a lot more camping with my family.  Having a tent trailer or travel trailer will just make it easier with small children and babies.  Rory is still going to be a little baby for the next year and a half, and even after that, she will be but a toddler, and her first memories are going to be based around powerful memories, same with Michael. 

Michael is starting to get older, and in a couple years, he will be able to go out alone with Dad on some pseudo minimalist trips, but that is still a couple years off. 

So, does anyone have a small camper or tent trailer they'd like to sell?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Out of Gas... Really?!

Three times this week, I saw stalled cars on the side of the road with no owner in sight.  Then a little ways down the highway, I saw a lone person walking toward the closest off ramp... with a gas can.

How does this happen?  Do people actually run out of gas on the highway?  I figured that people would use a little common sense and put gas in the tank BEFORE it ran dry. 

I have never ran out of gas on the street or freeway or whatever.  The closest I ever came was when I was 16 years old and car my died at the pump.  But other than that, I've never had to walk any distance to get fuel for my vehicle.  If ever in doubt, I've always brought a couple of jerry cans with me just in case, but have never needed them.  I've found that in my travels, I've never been more than a few miles from any gas station, even out in the mountains.  I think the furthest I've been from a fuel stop in the Cascades has been about 40 miles.  I can tell you that even my gas guzzling truck will go more than 40 miles before running out of fuel.

What is so hard about fueling up?  You know you're going to have to do it anyway, so why not put gas in your tank before you run out?  The only thing I can figure is that these types of people are morons.  The irony is that they have a gas can in their car with no gas!  Um, how about putting a little fuel in that gas can while you are topping off your tank?  DUH!

-James

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Pocket Holster



The Pocket Holster


In recent years, it seems that ultra-compact pocket .380’s have really cornered the market when it comes to deep concealment. Many people are choosing to put their large caliber, large frame guns in the safe and switch to carrying something a lot more versatile, such as the Ruger LCP. The reason is simple: when a .380 can be slipped into your pocket and easily concealed even on the hottest of days, it beats a .45 left in your truck.

When I purchased the Ruger LCP, I had two goals in mind for it, both related to concealed carry. The first goal was to have a small backup gun to compliment my more powerful Ruger SP101. The second goal was to have something really small for concealed carry on hot days that call for little more than a t-shirt, shorts, sandals, and sunglasses. There aren’t many places to hide a larger gun when your choice of wardrobe caters to hot days in the sun.

Enter the pocket holster; not just any holster. This holster is ThePocketHolster, offered by ThePocketHolster; the company’s name and the holster and one and the same. At first, it looks like any other pocket holster on the market, and you’re probably wondering why anyone would take the time to write about something as boring as another pocket holster for a small .380 pistol.

Well friends, the reasons behind this review are easy to understand. I like this pocket holster. I’ve seen other holsters online and have posted my questions in the forums, such as elsiepeaforum.com and while there are a lot of other holsters on the market. I waited patiently for a holster that would fit my needs based on the following: simplicity, quality, price, and ease of use.

ThePocketHolster’s offering made my day when I first saw the picture of it online. Finally, here is a holster that I could buy. Of course, purchasing holsters for concealed carry is a very personal choice, so I’m not going to debate the differences in brands, prices, and such. What I will do is focus on ThePocketHolster itself and explain why I like this model.

First off, it is leather. Leather is tough, flexible and versatile. Plus, it just looks good. It is one-piece construction, molded to fit the gun you are buying it for. It is held together with two metal grommets, which also act as mounting points for the optional anti-print panel. My model has no stitching that can come loose and there are no other parts that can fall off. It is a really simple design. In my world of concealed carry, simple reigns supreme. Simplicity equals reliability, and this holster is dripping with commonsense simplicity. The leather is thin and flexible, which adds to its ability to conceal well without sacrificing strength.

The holster features a lot of redundant retention points to keep the gun inside the holster when not needed. The trigger guard area is used as a retention point, as well as the area where the trigger guard meets the grip. The trigger area is raised so it does not interfere with the trigger. This holster will not affect the trigger when holstering or drawing; that is a good safety consideration. Other places that offer additional retention are the slide area on both sides of the exposed barrel. They are indented to help hold the gun in place. The holster also features raised points at the takedown pin and the slide release to also help out. Plus, it looks dang good this way. I did a shake test with the open end of the holster down with my LCP inside. No matter how vigorously I shook the holster, the gun did not come out. The test wasn’t to see how much for it would take to get the pistol to fall out; I’m sure if I banged it against my shop vice, I could have flung my gun across the garage. The point was that during normal carry, it doesn’t appear that the gun is just going to fall out of the holster. That is good news for you active folks out there.

The holster’s retention is great for keeping the gun in the holster, but what about drawing? The back of the holster is flared a bit to give some purchase for your thumb during a draw. Just push against it with your thumb when pulling out the gun and it’ll come out. The holster also provides a full grip for the weapon so you do not sacrifice your own safety; you have a firm grip on the weapon. Another thing to aid in the draw is that the holster is designed with a hook on the bottom. That part is two-fold: it keeps the holster from shifting around in your pocket and grabs the pocket liner on the draw, leaving the holster in the pocket when you present your firearm. Re-holstering the gun is easy while leaving the holster in the pocket as well.

Another thing about this holster is that the magazine won’t just release on you. I tried unsuccessfully to release the magazine while the gun was holstered and just could not activate the button. That insurance makes me confident in the reliability of this holster and that I won’t draw a gun with a magazine that will fall out.

ThePocketHolster also sells an anti-print panel for the holster, which is removable and reversible. The holster itself is the same on either side. What makes it right handed or left handed is the orientation of the flat panel. It is mounted using the metal grommets on the holster as well as some screws, which are rounded and won’t snag or tear your clothing. The panel has the same grommets on opposing sides, allowing you to switch sides quickly and easily. The panel can be removed and installed in less than 30 seconds. I find the ability to remove the panel a good thing because for rear pocket carry, or inside a jacket, I’m going to want the panel. For front pocket carry in my jeans or khaki’s, I just want the holster without the panel; it cuts down on bulk this way. This versatility gives me options for carry, and I like options. The panel is also thin and flexible, which will help it mold to the inside of your pocket; it makes the holster look like a normal wallet.

ThePocketHolster has advertised the same model of their holster with provisions for the Crimson Trace, as well as the Armalaser. So, for those of you, who have a laser on your LCP or P3AT, fear not! ThePocketHolster has you covered. If all that isn’t enough, go to www.thepocketholster.com and look at the dizzying selection of colors. My holster came in Bison Brown, which is a nice classic brown, but you can get them in coal black (smooth side or rough side out), Timber Brown, Yellow, Cranberry, Blue, Green, and even Scarlet. Their website features a model with decorative stitching around it as well.

Overall, I think ThePocketHolster is a good quality product, and it is handmade in the USA. It is KISS simple, durable, flexible, and the price isn’t bad either. If you are in the market for a good pocket holster, then you might want to check out www.thepocketholster.com and see what they have to offer.

-James

Friday, July 9, 2010

Striking the Balance

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."  Those are the words of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, recognizing the inalienable right for citizens of these United States to protect themselves.  The right to self defense is not a right granted by man.  It is a fundamental truth that people have the right to protect themselves and their loved ones from those who would seek to harm or destroy life.

As concealed pistol license (CPL) holders, we recognize this right and we practice it every time we carry a concealed weapon.  We may never have to draw the weapon or even think about it during our lives, but we practice our inalienable right to self preservation when we arm ourselves. 

Additionally, a CPL holder is a valued member of society.  The typical CPL holder is a law-abiding and respectful citizen.  We have respect for the laws in the land that we live in.  One reason I can easily say this is because we went through the hassle and expense to obtain the CPL in the first place.  If a person did not respect the laws as we do, they simply would not obtain the license and choose to violate the law. 

As respectful to the laws as we are, there is a balance that must be struck between blind submission to those laws and the practice of our right to protection.  Washington State laws are defined as to where you can, and cannot take a firearm (concealed or otherwise).  State and county buildings (such as court houses), post offices, federal buildings, school zones, etc are all perfect examples of cut and dry places you cannot carry a gun.  Most CPL holders don't give it a second thought and just leave the gun in the car when entering these areas.  Granted, we don't always like it, but we are respectful of the law and will abide by it because we are law-abiding citizens.

There is a difference between abiding by the laws of your city or state and obeying corporate policies established by companies.  In Washington State, the laws are clear as to where you cannot take a firearm.  But what about places like Ikea or Costco?  These locations do not allow concealed carry of firearms.  Costco's policy is a corporate policy, but I've never seen a sign up indicating it as such.  Ikea has a sign easily visible from the outside that clearly states "no guns allowed."  So, what is a CPL holder to do in cases where he or she would like to patronize a location that doesn't allow guns?

Let's make one thing clear.  Do you really think that signs like the one shown above are going to deter crime?  Do you honestly think a criminal intent on doing harm is going to obey a sign like that?  They are criminals for a reason, you know.  Chances are they will not obey the sign.  In fact, the sign itself may be an open invitation for them to do their "business" at the location it's at because nobody else is armed.  As the old cliche goes, "criminals prefer unarmed victims."  What better place to find unarmed victims than an establishment with a "no guns allowed" sign?

There is no law in Washington that says I must leave the guns in the car or at home when going into places of business or worship, even if a sign is posted.  Corporate policies are not the law of the land.  As a CPL holder, it is my duty to respect the laws as governed to me by the legislature - not Ikea.  

When I go out, I'm packin'.  There's just no argument.  I'm always armed.  I'm not the guy who says, "Well I'm going to the store really quick, so I don't need a gun."  I'm not the guy who claims, "It's just the movie theater - I won't need a gun there."  And I'm definitely not the guy who says, "I'm going to 7-11 to get some snacks, but I'd better take my gun, just in case."  I just put my gun on and go, and it doesn't matter where I go, I'm going to take the piece with me; unless I go to a school or a post office, or something like that.

When I go to Ikea, I'm still packin' heat.  Why?  Why not respect the policies of that store and just leave the gun at home?  Because I'm not required by law to do so, that's why.  As I said above, I respect the laws of Washington state.  I don't necessarily respect the corporate policies of places I patronize.  If Ikea or Costco found out that I was packing (highly unlikely, but shizz happens), what are they going to do - arrest me?  The most they can do is tell me to leave.  If they want to sue me, then they have to get the information out of me first.  That ain't gonna happen unless I'm violating a state law and the police need to arrest me.  Since I'm not in violation of state law, then guess what?  When they give me the "Sir, we are going to have to ask you to leave..." bit, I say "Fine, your loss" and I'm on my way.

I'm not going to boycott companies that have anti-gun policies.  That's stupid.  But since the right to keep and bear arms is recognized by the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution and the State Constitution, that's two legal documents superseding the policies of a company written by some lawyer to keep their insurance rates down.  If a company disagrees with me carrying a gun, then I just won't give them my business that day, and I'll be sure to make them hear about it in a passing remark on my way out of the store.

-James 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fantastic Fourth!

This Independence Day was one for the history books in the Wood family.  We had such a fantastic time with the fireworks display and at times it seemed like it was never-ending.  This was the last year we would be celebrating the 4th of July at Grandpa's beach house on Whidbey Island.  With his passing comes the end of an era, and since all good things must come to an end, we decided to end it well.

This year, we shot off more mortars than the previous two years combined.  We had more explosives in the trunk of our cars than we could believe.  We ate great food and kept the bonfire going all day long.  We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, flew kites and let the children run wild.  Ah, this Independence Day was a great day.

We dedicated our fireworks celebration, not only to our wonderful nation, but to our beloved Grandfather, who passed away recently.  Independence Day was his holiday.  It was his favorite.  He was such an American patriot and he loved a good explosion like the rest of us.  We could almost feel his presence that evening as we combined, lit, and let off mortar after mortar.  He was such a kid and would run away from burning fuses with us, and when we would tie two mortars together, he'd be there with a third and a fourth to light as well.  Grandpa, this was for you!

So, Happy Independence Day everybody.  This is a day of days, and should be celebrated loudly and proudly, for you are Americans and you have a lot of be thankful for!  I will cherish the memories I have have of our longstanding family tradition and look forward to creating new traditions for my children to grow up with and enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJZUKkF5-wE

-James

Saturday, July 3, 2010

ARvolution

Lindsay told me I ought to rename this blog to reflect the fact that I post nothing but entries that relate to firearms. But since my mind won't stop, and it is always thinking, it's normally thinking about guns, so there!

Today, I sold a few things in the house and made way for an enhancement to my AR15; a Daniel's Defense Omega rail. I really love the look of AR15's with quad rails on them, and I especially like the DD rail because it went on in shorter time than it would have taken me to drop the kids off at the pool, if you know what I mean.

The rail starts this show because anyone who wants to mount a flashlight or a grip on the gun needs a rail of some kind to mount it to.  Considering this gun won't be complete until a few extra goodies are hung from it, I figured I'd get the ball rolling.

Where does it end?  Unfortunately, I don't have an answer to that question, but I'm willing to see where it goes.  Many AR15's I've seen have thousands invested in them.  I'm beginning to think that my Plain Jane evil black rifle is going to go way over budget.
 
I had foregone the optics for now because I want to feel out the market and see what my options are.  There are far more optic options than rail options.  The same goes for weapon lights and other accessories like furniture and such. 
 
I'm happy with the stock on mine.  I've always liked the look of the CAR15 stock, and it is collapsible.  This makes it very easy to go from me to my wife to my son (when he's old enough) and anyone in between who wants to shoot it when its out. 
 
It just seems to me that AR15's start to sprout offspring.  What I need to get is a good hard case for it to protect it and all the crap that is soon to come.  As I grow into this rifle, I'm sure it will grow as well.  There's always the option of a longer upper half to go with the short one, or perhaps night vision?  Okay, well maybe not night vision... yet.
 
The goal now is to source a good optic for it and a good mount.  I've been looking into the CompM2 and M3, which would do well for me.  There are so many others out there, though, and I want a chance to look at all of them before I start putting my money where my muzzle is.
 
Till next time.
 
-James

Friday, July 2, 2010

Inglorious Gun Ownership


I'm going to take a few minutes and talk about the inglorious side of firearm ownership, and that's cleaning and maintenance.  There is an old say that goes, "Guns have only two enemies - rust and politicians."  Well, I do what I can about the politicians each time the absentee ballot comes in the mail, but the maintenance and rust prevention is where I really shine.

First off, do you really need to clean your gun?  Yes!  But what if you don't use it?  The answer is still yes!  Why so?  Well, storage can take its toll on a firearm just as much as shooting can.  I've seen a lot of guns that have bad corrosion from sitting around inside gun cases or in vehicles that weren't weather tight.

I'm going to cover cleaning, maintenance, and proper storage for firearms.  The reason why is because all three of these things work in harmony to either keep your gun looking brand new or looking like crap. 

Cleaning

It is not difficult to clean your weapon.  You just need to know how to field strip it and break it down to the major components.  This will allow you to properly clean your weapon and ensure that all the components get cleaned and lubricated.  Now, I'm not going to go into details on how to properly field strip your gun because we could be here all night talking about it.  There are just too many kinds of weapons out there.

Rather than focus on how to clean the gun itself (your owner's manual should tell you), I'm going to let you in on the 3 products I use personally.  It doesn't matter how long I've owned my guns.  They all look fantastic.  Part of that is a predictable cleaning regiment, and part of that is the products in which I use.  The three products I use are Eezox, Tetra Gun grease, and Break Free CLP.

What is Eezox?  Eezox is a synthetic cleaner, lubricant, and rust inhibitor.  Unlike petroleum distillates, it is not flammable, and it is dry.  Yes, dry lubricants are out there, and this one works great for concealed carry use because Eezox does not stain clothing or holsters.  When it cures, after initial application, it bonds with the metal, creating a barrier that keeps moisture out.  Since it gets into the pores of the metal, it makes it difficult for carbon to build up in places like the barrel.  This makes it very easy to clean after use and during regular maintenance.  I use it on all of my handguns.

Tetra Gun grease is another synthetic formula.  It is a fluoropolymer grease, which has properties similar to the teflon coating of a frying pan; you know, the kind that eggs don't stick to.  Well, it's the same principle here.  Grease is thicker than oil, and unlike oil, grease will not run or drip.  The advantage of grease is that it stays put.  Tetra Gun grease is slicker than goose crap and does a great job of keeping sliding components wear-free while staying where it is applied.  Additionally, it can be smeared onto the metal and wiped off, leaving a smooth surface.  Tetra Gun is similar to Eezox.  It bonds to the metal and gets into the pores, which keeps the copper fouling and carbon out.  Everywhere I've applied Tetra Gun grease, I've just had to wipe off to remove carbon.  It also does not attract lint.  It has free electrons which repel lint and dust.  Neato!  I use Tetra Gun Grease on handgun rails primarily.  It will not negatively interact with Eezox because they are both synthetics.

The last product in my cleaning kit is Break Free CLP.  Unlike the two previously mentioned products, Break Free is a petroleum distillate, which means it is oil.  The CLP part stands for Cleaner, Lubricant, Protectant.  It really is good stuff.  My choice of this stuff is in a spray can because it's convenient.  It does a good job of removing most fouling from barrels and cleaning up actions.  As a lubricant, it does well to keep the moving parts moving without excessive wear.  As a rust inhibitor, it also does well, keeping my AR15 looking brand new.  With Break Free, I don't need separate solvents and oils, although I do keep Kleen Bore Formula 3 solvent on hand in case of really bad fouling, but it's not a primary solvent.  I use Break Free on all my long guns and one of my pistols.

How often do you clean your guns?  At the very least, take a look at your gun(s) once a month if not being used and check for corrosion or surface rust.  Clean accordingly.  For concealed carry pieces that see a lot of dust, lint, sweat, moisture, and banging around in a holster, check and clean every week or so.

Maintenance

Maintenance is vital to a gun's life expectancy.  Much of maintenance goes along with cleaning because when you clean your gun, you should inspect your gun.  If necessary, purchase new parts to replace worn out or broken pieces.  If the cause of weapon failure is beyond your knowledge, having a gunsmith you can take the gun to is a good thing.  The most important part about maintenance is preventive maintenance.  If a part is wearing out, it's better to replace it before it breaks than after.  Usually, replacing broken parts will cost you more in the long run because it will probably break something else or mar your gun's finish.

Storage

Storage is important.  Proper storage of firearms will add to, or take away from, the longevity of the firearm.  Never store a gun in a case with foam.  Foam will draw out the oil and allow moisture to remain trapped against the metal or wood of the firearm.  With nowhere else to go, the moisture will interact with the metal and you have rust!

Whether you choose to store your guns in a safe or a room or a closet is completely up to you.  I'm not addressing storage for households with children or pets.  I'm speaking simply to the gun itself and what is best for it.  Fortunately, safe gun storage also goes in line with what is best for the gun itself.  I store my guns upright in a dry room in my house.  I have a light on in this small room 24/7 which helps dry out moisture.  You can't get away from humidity completely, but you can certainly minimize its affect on a gun. Storing the gun upright without touching anything will allow the moisture to evaporate from the weapon, which will leave it dry.  When storing a gun treated with oil, make sure the oil is not slathered on.  Wipe off the excess.  Otherwise, the oil will drip down.  For those worried about oil's affect on wood stocks, store your gun with the muzzle end down.  Place a rubber or felt pad on the floor so the muzzle won't get scratched or scuffed.  In a safe, you can get desiccant packs or electronic rods that keep moisture at bay.  Never store a gun that hasn't been properly cleaned or dried after use outside. 

Of course this entry wasn't written for the die hard gun-toting owners of America.  It was written for the average gun owner who needs some questions answered.  I hope this does the job.

-James