Friday, December 31, 2010

And the Winner Is...


Well, I went to Cabelas this evening to have a look at some reloading supplies, but the lack of human bombardment at the gun counter allowed me to check out a few things.  Of these, I found the two Ruger Super Redhawks I've been considering, both chambered for 454 Casull and both wrapped in the same grips and stainless steel finish.  These were perfect conditions for a tabletop comparison of the two guns.  I admire both for their particular strengths and acknowledge each gun's weaknesses.  After considering the matter, and speaking with the man behind the counter (a seemingly knowledgeable gun salesman for a change), I have concluded that the best one of these [for me] will be the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan. 

The Alaskan's balance of weight and feel just felt right to me.  It is reminiscent of my snub nose Ruger SP101 as far as dimensional characteristics go, but a lot lot bigger!  Make no mistake about it.  This gun is HUGE!  The first thing I said to myself when I picked it up was, "This is a big bitch."  Surprisingly, however, the weight isn't so much that it would be annoying to carry.  Empty weight is similar to a Ruger GP100 with a 6" barrel.  I imagine that loading up the cylinder with some 454 will make it decidedly heavier, but the comfort it will afford me when in the backwoods makes up for it. 

When I pointed the 7 1/2" barreled Super Redhawk, it felt very front heavy.  All that metal hanging out there leveraged against my hand and wrists to the point where I had to consciously correct for it.  That's all fine and good on the range, but when it counts, that barrel leverage could spell disaster should I find myself point-shooting the ground in front of a bear's paws.  True, the long barrel makes it more accurate, and it does look really cool (Lindsay likes it better as well), but for practical carry, it just doesn't fit me.  Holster options would be somewhat limited as well because a long barrel like that would make it hard to draw from a hip holster, let alone carrying all that weight down there off my belt.  No, a good cross draw style shoulder holster is a must with a weapon that large.  I just can't see myself getting used to that.  The more familiar and practiced draw from the hip is ideal for me, therefore I must sacrifice some velocity and power to achieve compactness and portability.  Besides, the 2 1/2" 454 is still more powerful than a 6" 44 magnum any day, and many a hunter find the 44 mag sufficient for bears.

At this point, the only way I could see getting the longer gun would be if I could have the barrel turned down to a more compact 5" or so.  Knocking off 2 1/2" would net me a lot better holster options as well as maintain some of that velocity of the full size version.  Hmm...

-James

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reload! Reload!

It had to come to this.  I'm 30 years old, and after 25 years of shooting, I'm finally going to do what used to be scary for me to think about: reloading.  I've been stewing over it for the last year or so and have been doing my homework.  From what I've read about, watched, and talked about, it really isn't hard at all, as long as you make sure you are doing it correctly.  Load too much charge, and you might blow your gun to pieces.  Load too little and you might get a round hung in the barrel, which is a quick way to ruin your afternoon.  Like any other hobby, job, or past time, you need to make sure you do it right.  If you follow the simple rules, everything should be fine.

These days, ammo is as expensive as it's ever been.  I remember some years ago, you could go in a buy Winchester SXT (now Ranger) ammunition for $13 for 50 rounds.  Nowadays, you can't touch a 20 round box for less than $25.  The price has effectively more than doubled.  Not only do you pay in excess of $10 more per box, but you get less than half of what you used to get.  I still have over 300 Black Talon (SXT) rounds with the black coating on the bullets.  I bought them almost a decade ago.  Nowadays, I could sell them all and make a small fortune (hmm, not a bad idea).  The fact of the matter is that when all things are considered, reloading makes economic sense.  In this economy, I can't afford to through money away on expensive range ammo.  It is time to start loading my own for a fraction of the price.

Reloading used brass has always been less expensive than buying new rounds.  Unfortunately, for me, I've always been a little hesitant to get into reloading because the "good" brands (like RCBS and Redding) are just so expensive.  I couldn't justify tripping over dollars to save cents.  There are less expensive sets on the market, but I've always had this myopic vision that less expensive = less quality.  This might still be the case, but in my old age, I've come to understand that just because you don't have the best does not automatically mean you have the worst.  In fact, I've spoken with people who use the bargain reloading presses and supplies and they are nothing but satisfied with them.  Of course, there are a few quirks to these tools, but I've read reports about quirky expensive tools ad nauseum.

For the beginning reloader, the most expensive is not really the best idea.  Say, for instance, I suck at it or lose interest in a month?  Well then what?  Sure, I'd have the best of the best, but it'd all be collecting dust.  What an investment!  No, for me, starting out with something good, but at a really good price is what I want to do.  For that, I've turned to Lee Precision.  Their Breech Lock Challenger Press kit has almost all the components I will need to get into Reloading.  Of course, I still need dies, case resizer, other small tools, and the stuff to make cartridges, but the kit will get me most of everything for just over $100.  That's a value to me.  I've read a lot of good things about the Challenger press.  It's not just for beginners like me, but some really experienced guys use it for their really special range loads, where accuracy and precision are paramount.  Of course, as I grow in the hobby, I can always upgrade.  I just want to get my feet wet for now and see how it goes.

Regarding price, this won't be some instant pay off thing.  The equipment investment is considerable and so are some of the things I need to do to make ready.  The area in my basement needs to have wiring run to it as well as a bench installed (no, I don't have an old desk or counter top lying around).  The payoff is long term.  But there will be some short term savings.  I have 100+ spent 45/70 cases sitting in my house.  Reloading just those will pay for the kit.  I also have a small cache of spent 357 and 38 special rounds and my dad has interest in getting some 30-30 stuff done.  This is not a bad way to go with these expensive cartridges.  If I make my weight loss goal and get a 454 casull handgun, reloading will really start to show the savings.  Over time, it could save me hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.  Consider that I've probably got about 40 or so useful years left in my life, this could be a big thing for me.

-James 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Eye On The Prize

You are probably thinking to yourself, "Those are really big guns" and you'd be right.  These are the Ruger Super Redhawk revolvers, and they aren't built for people who have recoil-phobia.  These guns are so big that the venerable 44 magnum is considered the lightweight cartridge offered for this lineup.  Offered in this line is the aforementioned 44 magnum and the completely insane 454 Casull cartridge.  The 454 is the mack daddy of Ruger's Super Redhawk lineup. 

At the end of the Century Club Challenge awaits one of these guns.  I have already decided on the cartridge I want - the 454 Casull.  The question is which gun do I really want, the 7.5" Super Redhawk or the 2.5" Super Redhawk Alaskan?

Looking at the reloading tables makes me immediately think to myself "Go for the 7.5" barrel!"  Just look at these numbers!

300 Grain XTP Bullet, loaded with 27.6gr of charge will travel at 1168 feet per second.  At the max of 28gr of powder, it could possibly hit 1700 fps.  Going with something more conservative, like a 250 grain Barnes X bullet will net you 1725 fps with 27.5gr of charge.  Loading it up hot can get it over 1785 fps.  That's one fast moving, really heavy bullet!  Even the lightweight 185gr XTP will go 2001 fps with a starting charge of 26.6gr.  Loaded up to its max, the potential is an out of this world 2159 feet per second... from a pistol!  At this speed, it's knocking on the back door of a 150 grain 30-30 round.  Yes, a 185gr 454 from a pistol can get going as fast as a 150 grain 30-30... from a rifle!  Amazing!

The shorter, 2.5" barrel on the Alaskan won't be able to match the speed and power from its longer barreled cousin, but consider that there is only a 10% reduction in speed (and 20% reduction in energy) from a gun that has had its barrel cut down by over 60%.  That's not a bad trade for a gun that is a bit more convenient to carry than the long barrel version.

And this gun will be for carry.  The Redhawk Alaskan was designed for the exact purpose I want; carry.  I'm not planning on concealed carrying this firearm.  This is for the outdoors, when I'm in the deep woods, where my chances of running into large wild critters is more likely than running into another human.  This fact, however, does not dissuade me, however, from getting the 7.5" barreled version of the gun, as anything can be carried if you plan it right.  Holster choice makes a huge difference and will play a large role in determining which gun I decide on.

All in all, either one of these guns is a worthy prize, worthy of the Century Club Challenge.  As I continue to research these firearms, I will eventually come to a conclusion as to which will be best suited for me.

-James

The Century Club Challenge

For 2011, I have a lot of agenda items that I want to address; things like beginning reloading, bulking up food storage, updating camping gear, and storing away more ammo just to name a few.  However, all of these pale in comparison to the single most important agenda item on my 2011 list of things to do: The Century Club Challenge.  What is The Century Club Challenge, you ask?  It's a club that my friend Amy and I came up with for losing 100 lbs in one year.

How's it work?

It's simple.  Lose 100 lbs in 2011 and you will be rewarded with something expensive that your spouse will buy for you.  It is a motivational club dedicated for getting us fat kids to lose weight with the prospect of obtaining something we really really want, but wouldn't normally be able to get.  It's sort of like hanging a carrot on a string in front of a turtle to make it walk the direction you want.  When all else fails to motivate this chubby hubby to lose weight, dangle something I really want in front of me.  In this case, a really nice and very expensive, not entirely practical, but equally cool firearm.

The rules are simple, and there aren't that many.

1. Weigh in on January 1, 2011.  This is your start weight.
2. Lose 100 lbs throughout the year of 2011.  How you choose is up to you, but surgery doesn't count.
3. If by January 1, 2012, you have lost 100 lbs, you get your reward.  If you do not succeed, you don't get your reward.

Losing 100 lbs in one year is a tall order.  It will be very difficult to do so and a lot of motivation, fortitude, perserverance, determination, patience, discipline, healthy eating habits, and exercise are the only ways to achieve this huge goal.  But consider this is called THE CENTURY CLUB CHALLENGE.  We wouldn't call it a challenge if it was going to be easy.  It is supposed to be hard and seemingly insurmountable.  Otherwise, what is the point?  Go big or go home!  I've never aimed for a goal I could easily reach.  I've always aimed high.  I'd rather aim high and miss by a margin than aim low and hit everytime.

My friend Amy and I are already on board.  If anyone wants to join us, let us know and we will include your stake in the running for the big prize.  Remember, you have to lose 100 lbs in one year.  No cheating.

Good luck!

-James

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

From ours to yours, I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas... even if the hour is somewhat late.

-James

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Gun Is Civilization

The Gun Is Civilization
by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger's potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat--it has no validity when most of a mugger's potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that's the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there's the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.

People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don't constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn't work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn't both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation... and that's why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 Winter Shootout



Welcome to the 2010 Winter Shootout! This is an annual tradition that Lindsay and I started a few years ago with some college friends. The goal is two fold: to get friends together to have some fun and to identify weaknesses in firearms from shooting in not-so-ideal conditions. Most years, it is snowing and cold. This year, it was cold and a ton of rain with some mud mixed in.

Aside from the obvious fun we were having with some good friends, I have some good news to report on for a few of my guns. These are described in the following order: Ruger SR9 drop test, Ruger SR9c CCW, Rock River Arms AR15, and the Beretta M9A1.

The controversial Ruger SR9 drop test: If you read my previous blog, and watched the video, you can see the gut-wrenching shot of me dropping a perfectly good gun into the mud and then without so much as a quick wipe down, I load it and fire 10 flawless rounds out of it. Rather than worry about the reasons why I dropped it, I will focus on the aftermath. After shooting the SR9 with mud caked onto it, the group continued to shoot it that day, dumping more than 100 rounds out of it without a single problem. Accuracy was dead on and I was hitting every water bottle and clay pigeon I aimed for. The gun handled the cold, rain, and mud without a single problem. I'm also happy to report that after 1 1/2 hours of detail stripping and intense cleaning, the gun is now 100% cleaned and lubed up, ready for the next adventure.

The Ruger SR9c CCW: This is my primary carry weapon. I carry it around on my person 99% of the time I am lawfully able to do so. As such, I normally give it a wipe down once a week with a good cleaning each month, just to get the lint that accumulates off of the trigger and internal components. This time, rather than cleaning it, I just left all that stuff on the gun and shot it as is, linty trigger and all. This gun performed flawlessly as well and was as accurate as the full size SR9. Unlike the full size, this gun did not get dropped in the mud, however, I was sure to carry it around in my hand a lot in order to let the rain water get all over it. This torture test was hardly enough to make the gun give in. On the contrary, the SR9c handled 100+ rounds without issue.

The Rock River Arms AR15: Rock River got somewhat of a bad reputation on one of the gun forums a while back from so-called purists who obviously know a lot less about AR15's than they would lead you to believe. According to these Internet "eggspurts," any Rock River Arms AR15 would jam every other round and blow up in your face. Additionally, these "eggspurts," refuse to take their reportedly superior rifles out to the deep woods and subject them to the elements, preferring instead to shoot from covered ranges, protected from the rain and dirt. Well, my AR15 is no range bitch! I bought my AR15 to be a mud gun. The whole idea was to have this gun riding shotgun with me when I'm out in the woods. Well, we put over 150 rounds through this gun, in the rain and dirt without a single malfunction. The only preparation this gun had for this abuse was a thorough cleaning after the last time it was out in September. Other than that, this gun was not prepped for action in any way. It shot and shot and would not stop shooting because a bunch of rain and debris got all over it. And believe me when I tell you that last night, when we were cleaning this gun, it was really nasty looking and very dirty. Water was everywhere and even though you wouldn't think debris could get into a gun that wasn't dropped on the ground, there was. This trip out confirmed what I already know: if you buy a Rock River Arms AR15, you won't be disappointed.

My newest, the Beretta M9A1: What can I say? It shoots! The Beretta cannot be trifled with a little torrential downpour. It laughs in the face of rainfall on biblical scales. Sadly, this gun did not see as much use as the SR9's but then again, a Beretta handgun has nothing to prove. The gun was accurate, predictable, and wrap-around grips I installed really helped out in the cold weather. One of our friends, a former Marine, commented that he really liked how the Streamlight TLR-1s made the balance of the gun better when shooting, as it helped with recoil. I have to concur with that. The Beretta M9A1 is a powder puff to shoot and it is deadly accurate out of the box with the standard 3-dot sights.

Overall, the paces I ran my guns through were sufficient for me and my training. Most people will not subject their guns to the crap I do simply because they think that water will make their guns rust shut immediately. Not so. It is good to note that after the shooting trip was over, everyone gathered at my house to help clean the 11 weapons that were subjected to the soggy stuff in an effort lessen the amount of cleaning I had to do as well as ensure that the guns were put back into order before being put up. I really have to hand it to my friends for that; they are a class act and I would not hesitate to take them shooting again.

-James

Saturday, December 11, 2010

An Update To The Ruger SR9 Dropped In The Mud

After dropping the Ruger SR9 in the mud, and then firing it for the camera, the group I was shooting with continued to fire the weapon over the course of the morning. I did not do anything to clean the gun after dropping it. I wanted to get it home and crack it open for the still camera.

When I got the weapon apart, the real story began to be told. From the video, it looked as though the gun just landed in some muddy water and that was it. What the video camera didn't pick up was the mud, grit, and plant debris that found their way into the guts of the weapon.

Yes, that is organic plant material, mud, and a lot of grit buildup. If the SR9 was going to malfunction, it was being very stubborn. The gun continued through another 100 rounds of 124gr 9mm FMJ without a single hiccup. That's not bad for a gun that was taken right out of it's case and dropped into the mud and fired.

I'd trust my life with it.

-James

Ruger SR9 Dropped in the Mud



First, before you think to yourself, "this guy must be insane," allow me to explain.

This idea came about from reading some bad press about the Ruger SR9 in the forums and some websites. There was a video or two about the Ruger SR9 not being able to function properly in the real world, and would malfunction. The videos I watched were not cut and dry and showed a lot of operator error, which was probably the cause of every malfunction. To that end, I decided that I'd find a nice raining day in which to drop my SR9 in the mud and fire it without so much as wiping it off. This video shows a Ruger SR9 with the slide locked open, dropped into a mud puddle with a magazine (loaded with 10 rounds) dropped in right after. As you can see in the video, the only thing I did to the gun after I picked it up was shake it off a bit before loading the filthy magazine in and firing all the catridges without a single hiccup. Think a little dust can stop a SR9? Try mud!

Oh yeah, the woman screaming at me was my wife, who was none too happy about me dropping my gun into the mud like that. If you listen closely, you can hear her say, "If you have to spend a dollar to make that thing work again, you're sleeping outside."

Looks like I'm sleeping inside tonight.

-James

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Date Which Will Live In Infamy

Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

This morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

-FDR, speech given December 8, 1941

Monday, December 6, 2010

Progress

We have finally laid down the first in many coats of paint in the upstairs portion of our house.  No, the salmon orange paint is not what we are putting on.  That's what I'm glad to say is going away.  What you really see in this picture is the white ceiling paint applied just this morning to cover up the sockeye orange that someone once thought was a good idea. 

It's taken just over 3 years to get here.  After painting all the rooms downstairs, adding and taking away appliances, fixtures, moving electrical sockets around and fixing the problems left by the previous owners, we are moving our remodel upstairs.

Ironically, The upstairs project is going to jump start the rest of the house.  To date, most of the work has been paint and trim, but after the beginning of the new year, we will lay new floors down upstairs and it will steadily work it's way downstairs.  We are tired of looking at the old floor.  Oh, it is so gaudy to look at.  Just the carpet removal in the room pictured was an adventure.  We tore through two more layers of floor to get to the original.  It was worth it though.  Years of animal stained, urine soaked carpet are gone and the upstairs has taken on a fresh new feel as a result.  For too long, I thought this room was a lost cause and would be the last frontier of our home make-over.  Well, with changing plans, new ideas, and a little outside-of-the-box thinking, the room has leaped from the back burner and has become the new front in this endeavor to make the home more useful.  Just wait till you see what color Lindsay has in mind.

-James

5 Ridiculous Gun Myth Everyone Believes Thanks to Movies

Anyone not familiar with guns... and even some who think they are... should read this article.

http://www.cracked.com/article_18576_5-ridiculous-gun-myths-everyone-believes-thanks-to-movies.html

-James

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Carrying In Your Home

A few weeks ago, I was watching the movie, "Law Abiding Citizen."  The first scene starts out innocent enough.  Dad is in his home office tinkering with something, as most dads do.  The kids are close at hand, and the wife is somewhere else in the house, possibly cooking dinner or reading a book.  Suddenly, an unexpected knock is heard at the door.  The husband goes to answer.  When he opens the door, a stranger immediately lunges forward and punches Dad in the face.  Unexpected as this is, Dad is immediately overtaken and thrown to the ground.  A shiv is jabbed into his rib cage to ensure he can't easily move.  His wife is thrown to the ground, her clothes ripped off, and raped while Dad is helpless to do anything to the attackers.  The child is murdered and the killers get away without so much as a scratch.

All too often, home invasions occur when the occupants are inside.  Most crooks looking for some quick and easy grab won't risk invading a home when the owners are there, but some people aren't looking for jewelry to sell.  Some are looking for a thrill, or seeking revenge for something you may have done or said to them.  Some invaders may indeed be looking for loot to steal, but they are so drugged out of their minds that common sense is all but lost and they desperately need something to steal.

Contrary to popular belief, door locks won't slow a determined criminal down.  Glass windows, garage doors, and sliding patio doors are just a few weaknesses in the home.  Where you live may matter, but burglaries happen in nice neighborhoods more than the local governments will admit. 

Home invasions do occur in the United States on a frequent basis.  If you are lucky, it happens when you are out to the store, on vacation, or some other instance when you are not at home.  If you are unlucky, it will happen while you are inside the house.  If you should be home when someone breaks in, what is your recourse?

Fortunately, in the state of Washington, we have a "stand your ground" law that says that you do not have to retreat if attacked.  This is similar to "Castle Doctrine", but extends to everywhere you are allowed to be legally.  For the purposes of this entry, I'm focusing on the home. 

Let's just say that you are in a similar situation to the movie, "Law Abiding Citizen."  You're at home on a Tuesday night.  Your kid is in the dining room doing homework at the table, your wife is putting laundry in the dryer, and you are cleaning up after dinner.  Suddenly, you hear a knock on the door.  You go to answer it, and when you open the door, you are met by someone with a gun to your face.  Now what?  From the looks of it, you are fucked.

As a concealed pistol license holder, I carry a gun wherever I can legally do so.  This means that if I'm going to the mall, the grocery store, the park, the zoo, traveling to see relatives, or doing anything that I can do with my liberty, I'm armed.  Most importantly, I carry a concealed weapon inside my home.

Why carry in your home?  Don't you feel safe in your house?  Sure.  I feel completely safe inside these walls.  My family and I have worked hard to leave the world outside the house and make it a haven for us to gather and grow closer.  Home is a source of comfort and strength.  At the end of a long day at work, all I want to do is go home and be with my family.

I also understand that the world can be a very dangerous place.  With homes being burglarized everyday in America, it's only a matter of statistics that my house may be intruded at some point in my life.  The question is, should someone decide come to my house when I'm there, will I be the one with a gun pointed at my head, or will the intruder soon learn that my house is the wrong one to invade?

One thing that people need to understand is that most people who carry a legally concealed firearm don't just carry in places they think they might need it.  If I thought to myself, "I think the place I'm going to go to may require me to be armed," I might not go there.  Why would I go looking for trouble?  The thing is that you never know if you will need your firearm, so you take it everywhere.  In my mind, that means you carry in the home too.  And why not?  100% of home invasions happen in the home.  Whether or not you are there is up to a million other variables that you cannot always account for.

So, the setting is again put forth.  Your family and you are at home on Tuesday evening and you hear someone knock at the door.  Not expecting company, you go to see who it is.  WAIT!!!  Just because you have a gun doesn't mean you just open the door to anybody.  You need to understand yet another facet of concealed carry.  It is a thing we in the firearms community refer to as "condition yellow."

Yes, long before the federal government came out with a fancy color code to indicate terrorist threat levels, the concealed carry community was already implementing a color code for personal defense.  Condition yellow is a state of mind where you are always aware of your surroundings.  You are noticing people, cars, buildings, types of clothing, behaviors, etc that help keep you aware of everything going on in your immediate vicinity.  Sounds paranoid, doesn't it?  Try telling that to the father of a household who was killed because someone came to his house to supposedly buy a diamond ring he had for sale.  Was he at condition yellow?  Was he aware?  No, he let his guard down because the people sounded friendly.  I went over this story in a previous blog.  Suffice it to say, he made the mistake of not being completely aware of what was going on, and in the end, it cost him his life.  A few life saving measures would have benefited him that day, but he chose to ignore them.

Not so paranoid now, huh?  I didn't think so.  Besides, let's look at another example.  When you drive your car, are you just completely relaxed and not paying attention?  Or are you focused on driving and making sure that you know where all the vehicles, pedestrians, roads and street signs are?  Are you not paying attention?  That is what condition yellow for concealed carry is.  When you carry a concealed firearm, you have a responsibility to pay attention to those around you.  Otherwise, why the hell are you armed?

In my house, we pay attention.  We know when our friends are supposed to come over, and we know if we are expecting company, and we watch for it.  Even if the knock is expected, we don't just open the door.  We make a quick check to see that the person on the other side of the peep hole is who they are.  Only a fool answers a blind door to someone, especially if they are not expecting company. 

Now, replay the scene.  You are doing the dishes, your wife is in the basement doing laundry, and your kid is at the dining room table finishing up their homework.  Suddenly, you hear a knock on the door.  Not expecting company, you immediately give pause and move toward the front door cautiously.  You first check the peep hole or use another room window to see who is at the door or what car is in the driveway.  You see that the person has a gun in his hand.  Now what?  Well, that's all up to you and your training.  Personally, I'd call the police and tell them an armed person is at your home and that you are about to defend your family, but that's me.

The point is that you didn't just open the door and put yourself into a bad situation.  You have the advantage if you control the access points.  This also means keeping your doors locked even when you are home.  How bad would it be if you came downstairs and found a person in your front room?  You lose control when you lose the access points.  The reason medieval soldiers were protected in fortresses was because they controlled the access points and directed where the attacking army would have to go.  The situation is not all that different in your house.  No, I'm not saying to barricade yourself in so that the outside world is completely shut out.  I'm simply saying that a few small measures to ensure that you, the head of the house, remain in control of your house at all times.

-James

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It appears that Crossbreed has brought back their IWB mag carrier in either single or dual configuration. They are also offering a OWB version in single or dual. The question is which to get?





I experimented with my supertuck and minituck, inserting the minituck on my weakside hip and holstering my SR9c in the supertuck on the strong side. My pants weren't overly tight and the belt held and secured both IWB holsters well without any discomfort or weirdness. The minituck was there to kind of simulate what a IWB mag carrier would feel like.

I have a dual mag carrier made of Kydex. I don't like it for concealed carry because it locates the magazines too far away from my body for proper concealment. Plus, having two magazines that stick out that far tend to get in the way and poke & scratch at my arm. I can only imagine the kind of havoc they would wreak on my shirts.

But Crossbreed seems to have hit it on the head with their OWB design. The mags seem like they would be pulled in tight against the belt and would ride close to the body without scratching (due to the leather that goes up and over the magazine.

However, the real big difference appears to be where the magazines would ride with each carrier. The OWB seems to make the magazines ride high so as to make concealment while OWB possible. The IWB carrier, on the other hand, appears to make the magazine(s) ride lower since they are covered by the pants. It seems to me that the only part of the magazine visible would be the part that is not covered by the kydex. With the OWB carrier, a good 2/3 of the magazine(s) would ride above the belt line.

While having the magazine(s) ride high is good for tactical use, it doesn't lend itself to concealed carry as well as the lower riding IWB setup. I know from experience that the high riding magazines can jab into the kidney area or ribs, depending on your body type. They don't always lend themselves to comfort in a vehicle or in a situation where you might be sitting down for prolonged periods (say, at a movie theater).

On the other hand, a lower riding magazine may not be as easily pulled from the carrier, which could add critical seconds to a reload, and could potentially cost you your life. Then again, when I think about it, the whole act of concealed carry tends to slow you down a bit anyway, and 99% of the time, comfort and concealment win over tactical ergonomics and ultimate speed. In reality, with enough training, one can become fast with concealed weapons and carriers, so speed might be a moot point.

The other question would be this: go single or dual? There isn't much of a cost difference between the two, so money really shouldn't a factor in the decision. The decision comes down to whether or not I really need two extra magazines for my concealed carry gun. Do I need to carry all that extra ammunition with me just to go to the grocery store or the mall? Maybe... maybe not. Perhaps one could order the dual and just use one of the mag holders available? Good question.
 
I'm still torn. Go IWB or OWB? Go dual or go single?  I used to carry dual mags weak side with my Beretta 92 FS riding IWB strong side - no joke. It was 46 rounds of ammunition carried on my person when I went out like that. That's a lot of lead. With a SR9c, 10rd mag in the gun, and two 17rd backups, there are 44 rounds available. Decisions decisions.
 
-James