Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kudos To Henry Repeating Arms


While out shooting last week, the Wifenator's Henry Golden Boy (17HMR) experienced a failure to fire. We attempted to shoot an entire magazine worth of 17HMR through it without success - no primer strikes. I put the gun away to be inspected/repaired after the trip.

A week later, I found some time to get the gun torn down and inspected. Ever so carefully, I lifted the mirror-polished brass receiver cover away from the gun to reveal the bolt carrier, hammer, main spring, trigger assembly, and lever.

It didn't take me long to find the culprit. The firing pin broke near the tip. It could have been anything. It could have been a dry fire, overcharged round, crud causing a catastrophic interference fit - really it could have just been worn out. As an aside, this gun gets a lot of use on our shooting trips; it is my wife's favorite gun to shoot, and it has become one of my favorites as well. Side note: We don't intentionally dry fire this gun, but it does happen occasionally.

I was able to get the firing pin off the bolt carrier. I inspected the breech face, but saw nothing. Either the firing pin doesn't contact the breech face (non interference), or the firing pin punches out in the gaping hole designated for the cartridge. Either way, it does not appear the dry firing was the cause. I do, however, recall that the last shot she firing from it (before realizing it broke) seemed a little overcharged.

After a thorough cleaning and inspection of the rest of the firearm (to make sure the tip o the pin wasn't hiding somewhere inside the guts), I bagged up the bolt carrier and associated parts of the firing pin group.

I called Henry Repeating Arms this morning and spoke to a very nice woman on the other end. I told her the circumstances and asked how I would go about purchasing a new firing pin, firing pin retaining pin, and firing pin spring. She asked for some personal information (phone number, name, address) and said that they would be shipped out later today. I asked her if I needed to provide her with a credit card number, and she said that the part that broke is part of their limited lifetime warranty.

I asked her about dry firing, and she stated that occasional DF should not hurt the gun, but excessive DF will. Well, I can count on maybe two hands how many times that gun has experienced a DF in the thousands of rounds we have put down range, so I'm left to conclude it was fatigue, faulty materials, etc. She agreed and said she was sending me two firing pins, so I will have a spare. <----- Awesome!!!

Either way, Henry rifles are great guns. They are beautiful, fun to shoot, made in the good ole USA and customer service is top notch! I definitely have another Henry on my list of guns to buy and US companies to support - again!
 
-James

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Die! Elmo Die!

I think the title explains it all.



-James

Ruger SR-556E

When Ruger introduced its SR556 AR15 style rifle, I was excited to say the least.  A two-stage piston driven AR15 with high quality Troy components surely caught my eye, but then so did the price.  With a MSRP of $1995, the street price couldn't be lower than $1400, but that was still more than I wanted to pay at the time.  Additionally, I had just purchased a Rock River Arms CAR 15 style carbine and was tapped out for cash. 

Now that Ruger has had the SR-556 on the market for a while, the market has responded and it turns out that I wasn't the only one who didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for this rifle.  So, they introduced the E model, as in SR-556E.  I guess E stands for economy or something.  The difference between the E model and the regular model is that some of the extras on the regular model have been stripped off this rifle in order to attract buyers who don't necessarily want all the extra stuff that is bolted to the regular SR-556.

For instance, the most dramatic change is in the handguard accessory rail.  On the original SR-556, there is a Troy quad rail handguard, with enough space to mount your optics, lights, lasers, etc.  The SR-556 also features folding Troy backup iron sights - a very high quality sight setup.  The other obvious distinction is the Ruger license Hogue pistol grip on the SR-556.

The SR-556E has had all of these things changed.  Gone is the quad rail in favor of a slimmer handguard with a full length rail at the 12 o'clock position only.  However, Ruger is banking on customers purchasing the less expensive model and then wanting to add stuff later, so they offer rail sections that you can bolt on to existing holes to customize to your liking - and I like that.  Additionally, they did away with sights completely.  Many customers want to mount optics on the guns and have no need for irons.  But a decent set of iron sights can be had anyway, and you can now buy whatever you want instead of getting what Ruger says you'll get.  Lastly, the rubberized pistol grip has been replaced with a standard Mil-Spec plastic grip.

Where it all counts is the same, however.  The chrome-plated two-stage piston setup is still there.  The 16.5" barrel with flash hider is the same, minus the chrome lining.  I'm on the fence about that.  My RRA isn't chrome lined either and it holds up well.  However, you can add a chrome lined barrel at a later time.  The buttstock is the same.  All the other guts are the same on this E model.  Essentially, it is the same rifle, minus a few accessories.

What grabs my attention more than anything else, however, is the price.  Ruger's MSRP for this stripped down economical SR-556E is only $1369; a big $626 reduction over the original weapon.  This is very good news, as street value is usually $400-$500 less than MSRP.  Now, we're talking about a great weapon for a very down to earth price that even us average JOES (who don't use credit cards to buy our guns) can enjoy. 

The part I really like about this is the opportunity to build it how I want it without having to remove other stuff.  Buying the regular SR-556 would be akin to buying a fully restored and modified muscle car.  Sure, it's cool as hell, but it's not exactly what you would have done, given the chance.  Getting the SR-556E would be more like getting a fully restored bone stock classic and then having the opportunity bolt on a goody here, add horsepower there, etc but it is still cool as it sits.  I like that.

With any luck, I can make getting this gun early next year's project.

-James

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kershaw Needs Work 1820GRY - The Unsung Hero of My Collection

Normally, when I look at knife reviews, I read and watch a lot of stuff about tactical this and tactical that or something about blades that look to fragile to work in the real world, but are really pretty.  I read a lot about EDC, or everyday carry knives, and decided that the knife to your left doesn't get enough attention, and I figure I might do my part to bring it to light.

Enter the unsung hero of my knife collection - the Kershaw Needs Work 1820GRY.  At first glance, you see that it is not shaped like most other knives at all.  With a really large handle, funky dip on the spine of the blade, and a straight blade profile, you're probably thinking that this is one of the weirdest looking EDC knives you can buy.  And I'll admit that it is not the prettiest knife in the world, but what it lacks in form, it more than makes up for in function.

First off, the specs.  The Needs Work is a 3.5 ounce knife with a straight 3" blade that features a Speed Safe assisted opening system, which allows this knife to flick open as fast as a switchblade with minimal effort from the user.  In fact, when I pull this knife from my pocket, I can flip the blade open before anyone around me knows I just pulled out a fantastic utility knife.  This knife also features a locking liner to keep it opened and a belt clip to keep it in place when not needed.

Now, let's think for a moment about how such a knife is used.  Well, I carry it at work, and I use it everyday.  In fact, I probably find the need to use this knife almost every hour when I'm on the job site.  A lot of guys at work carry around those utility knives with the disposable razor blades, and they will talk about how great they are, but from my experience with said knives, they aren't as great as you would think.  Oh sure, the utility knives are good for cutting box tops or getting into things, but when you need a knife that can get around the sheathing on a piece of 0000 electrical cable, or cut a 1 1/2" rubber hose quickly, or to have something with more than 1/2" of blade at the very tip, you will come to appreciate the Needs Work knife. 

The handle is large, and provides plenty of contact area for your hand, which helps out with those cutting jobs that require you to put some muscle into what you are doing.  When I'm slicing around a piece of cable, I like to have that large handle secured in my palms so the knife doesn't slip.  The finger grooves on the bottom are pronounced, but are not too deep, as to become a hindrance.  In the words of Goldilocks, it's just right.

The blade, probably the most unique and useful utility blade out there for under $50, is a field service technician's best friend.  The long 3" FLAT profile gives a lot of real estate for the work you are doing.  Curved blades are okay for general work, but a flat blade makes the knife more consistent when you are using it.  Plus, the flat profile is very easy to sharpen.  The back of the blade dips down and seems to flow back up before coming down to the point.  What pictures of the side don't show is how thick the spine of this blade is where it swoops down.  it is the thickest part of the blade, and remains that thickness all the way to where it turns down toward the tip, providing an excellent location for your thumb to go when cutting around things.  If you grip the blade in your hand, with your thumb facing the point, you can feel the ergonomics and it gives a very good sense of control in the hand.  Rotate your hand over like you were to use a scalpel, and you now have a nice pad for your index finger to rest on, giving you the precision needed to do fine cutting jobs.  Additionally, the flat blade makes it very easy to manipulate the knife at the tip because it doesn't curve upwards at all.  There is also a little jimping toward the top back of the blade for those times when you want your thumb back on the handle instead of out over the blade.  Indeed, it appears that Kershaw has thought of everything with this knife.

The locking liner makes up part of the knife's frame structure and positively locks the knife blade open.  I have yet to get it to fail.  There is also a little jimping on the movable portion of the lock so you get get a grip on it to close.  The design makes it easy to close this knife with one hand.

The clip is beefy and is retained with two little torx screws.  Mine has yet to loosen up and I've been carrying this thing into the field everyday for 4 years.  The name brand KERSHAW is also laser engraved into the clip.  As an aside, the name of the knife and MADE IN USA are proudly imprinted on the blade.

There are 6 torx screws that hold this knife together; there are three per side.  Of those, the blade fulcrum are the largest of the screws and help retain the blade with almost no end play.  The 4 smaller screws hold the knife from the spine and tie the entire thing together.  It's a very strong design.

I'm on my second Needs Work knife.  My first one was retired from field service work after I accidentally dropped it from 15 feet right onto the tip of the blade.  From then on, the knife had what I called "the raptor claw" because it did chip the end a bit.  But there was still 2 3/4" of blade left, so it soldiered on for the rest of the year (I carried to for almost a year with a busted tip) until I broke down and bought the one I have now.  As a word of note, I still have the broken one.  It's in my garage and finds use every time I'm working out there.  I didn't just toss the knife.  It still works great and refuses to die, even though I dish out relentless punishment for it.

While I don't normally lend out my knives, I've let a couple coworkers use it in my presence for a quick job.  Everyone comments on how nicely it feels and how sharp it is.  Of course, the next question is always "Where did you get it and how much?"

I think I paid a little on the high side for mine.  $50 out the door off the Snap-On truck.  But the Kershaw website lists it as $64, so I don't feel bad.  Even at $64, I wouldn't feel bad at all because this knife brings to the table great value for the user.  It is definitely the most useful of all my knives.

-James

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Official Ruger LC9 Range Report

On May 22, 2011, I took my newly acquired Ruger LC9 out to the woods for a shakedown test.  I also brought along some other guns for comparison: the Ruger SR9, SR9c, and LCP.  I will do a comparison post at another time.  For this entry, I want to focus on the Ruger LC9.

First, off, let's talk about ergonomics.  The LC9 is a slim gun with a very slim grip and profile.  It is contoured to fit the hand pretty well.  For me, it is a good feel.  The gun is effortless to point and hold out.  The gun aims naturally for me, and a lot of this has to do with things like the grip angle, width, etc.  The controls are all within easy reach, so I don't have to try hard to get to them during operation of the weapon.  Everything is within easy reach and is familiar.

The magazine is a single stacked 9mm with a finger extension for the end of the grip.  You can also get it with a flat plate instead, but I prefer the extension for my large hands.  As an aside, I have not noticed the extension sticking out during concealed carry on my SR9c.  The LC9 magazine itself is easy to load, and holds 7 rounds.  The magazine has holes in it as well as numbers to quickly show you how many rounds are left in the magazine.  Since it is a single stack magazine, it too is very slim and low profile - not bulky like double stacked magazines for larger guns.  It hides well in a jacket pocket and isn't heavy at all, even loaded.

The sights on this gun are perfect.  They feature 3-dot drift adjustability and are easy to see and sight down on the target.  They are also curved, rounded, and radiused so they will be less likely to snag on clothing or gear (or anything else for that matter), which is a nice touch.  There are no sharp edges on them to speak of.  As far as sighting goes, I'm fairly accurate with it.  While I wasn't shooting paper this time out, I was shooting at clay pigeons, which are about 3-4" in diameter.  I was shooting at a combination of ranges from 7 to 20 yards.  At 7 yards, I had no problem putting the bullets where I wanted, but at 15 or so yards, the gun was shooting a touch low.  No problem, I simply covered the targets with the front sight and they disappeared as I pulled the trigger.

The trigger on this gun is metal.  I mentioned that because the LCP trigger is plastic.  Additionally, the trigger has a long double action style trigger pull, but it is smooth all the way through.  The gun broke clean and I didn't really feel any over travel when shooting it.  A word of note here: In order to reset the trigger after the shot breaks, you need to let it almost all the way out.  Otherwise, it will not reset and the gun won't fire.  It's not something you think about though during normal operation.  Most of the time, I just released it completely and went on shooting.  Staging this trigger is very important for accurately aimed shots.  Rapid fire on this gun revealed a lot of controllability, as illustrated in my video, where I shot a 1 gallon milk jug at social distances 7 times as fast as I could pull the trigger.  Overall, I'm satisfied with the trigger on the LC9.

This brings me to my next part: recoil.  Recoil wasn't bad in this gun.  Granted, I'm a walking recoil absorbing machine and will make almost anything look tame, but I'm here to tell you that the recoil on the LC9 wasn't harsh or bad at all.  It is brisk.  I will give it that.  But a brisk recoil is nothing to fear.  It just doesn't have the typical push that my heavier 9mm guns have.  The LC9 definitely barks when fired.  Again, it's nothing to fear, nor is it punishing.  It is actually quite pleasant.

Mechanically, this gun handled almost flawlessly.  I do have to say that there were a couple times that the slide did not hold open after the last round was fired from the magazine, and it threw me off.  But overall, it acted predictably.  It did not experience a single failure to feed, extract, or fire.  It consistently throws the spent cases over to the right of where I stand when shooting, and they are not all over the place.  I will be watching the hold open in the future to determine if maybe a magazine is at fault or if it is the slide lock itself.  Overall, it's not a big concern at the moment. 

I have another shooting trip coming up Memorial Day weekend and will have another opportunity to shoot the LC9 and continue testing.  Perhaps I'll have some paper targets to shoot at as well.  Either way, there will definitely be more videos featuring my LC9 in the future.

Oh yes, I also indicated in an early entry that I removed the magazine disconnect.  This has not affected the function or performance of the LC9 in a bad way at all.  Since I removed the disconnect before firing, I cannot compare the trigger to what it might have been before.  However, as it is a piece of metal that slides against the trigger's fulcrum, I can only imagine that it doesn't do any good for accuracy at all.  Either way, I'm glad I took it out.

Look for another report and more videos in the future!

-James

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ruger LC9 First Shots

Long awaited and finally, my LC9 takes its maiden voyage in the hills of Capitol Forest.



-James

Friday, May 20, 2011

Magazine Disconnect Getting You Down?

I know what you're thinking: "What the heck is a magazine disconnect?!"  Well, today is your lucky day.  The answer to the burning question of the days (as of a few seconds ago to you) is about to be answered by yours truly.

A magazine disconnect is a "safety device" that renders a gun inoperable if the weapon's magazine (also known in the Hollywood movie community as a "clip") is removed from the gun.  It is a lawyer's wet dream of a device, developed so gun manufacturers don't get sued when some moron removes a magazine and suddenly decides his gun is unloaded prior to checking the chamber, and then pulls the trigger.  This little device will either make it so the trigger won't pull or so that the hammer or striker will not drop on a live round still left in the chamber by said gun toting moron.

In order to utilize this "safety feature" to its full potential, you must first do 4 very stupid things: 1, ASSume the gun is unloaded, and not check the chamber.  2, level the firearm at something you wish not to destroy (or just point the gun at anything - it really doesn't matter).  3, Put your finger on the trigger when you are not intending to fire.  Lastly, 4, pull said trigger! 

Ah, but if the gun is equipped with a magazine disconnect, Joe Blow Moronhead won't inadvertently blow his wife or daughter away.  The gun will seize up and will not operate.  The lawyer dreamt, mechanically engineered weapon interrupting device has just saved the day, and common sense may still be left on the floor, along with the gun owner's brain and safe gun handling habits.

I was cleaning my brand new Ruger LC9 the other day, and decided that I don't like the idea of a magazine disconnect in a self defense gun.  With all the unknowns about self defense situations, having something in your gun that makes it not work just doesn't jive with me, especially when it disrupts the act of firing the weapon at the bad guy. 

Now, we aren't talking about some mechanical safety device, externally mounted on the gun that you can switch on and off at will (as an aside, all my safeties are always off).  We are talking about something that will turn your gun into an expensive rock if the magazine is either damaged or finds itself falling out at the worst possible moment.

You see, most semi-automatic handguns are fed from a magazine that is inserted into the bottom of the grip.  Normally, a small button on the side of the grip where you thumb can easily activate it.  By pressing this button, the magazine is released, allowing you to put another one in if you want.  While, this mechanism is great for higher capacity, faster reloads, and gives the ability to quickly top off your gun, it also comes with its own major drawback; you can inadvertently press this button by mistake, or your holster can press it, or your clothing, or whatever.  This inadvertent action pops the magazine out.  It may not pop it out all the way, or it may pop it out completely.  Either way, the magazine is no longer making positive contact with the weapon, which means it will not feed a fresh round in the gun after it is fired... that's assuming the gun will fire at all.

I demonstrated to my wife how this could happen.  I drew my LC9 from a holster and intentionally pressed the magazine release mid-draw.  The magazine flung out and hit the ground.  With no magazine in the weapon, the trigger would not pull back, and theoretically speaking, the gun would not fire.  Of course, the weapon was unloaded during this demonstration, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the gun was rendered useless at that point.  My only choice in this scenario is to either attempt to retrieve the magazine that fell out or fish for a spare carried somewhere on my person.  In a critical situation, where mere milliseconds count, trying to reload before getting at least one round off can take an eternity and may end your life.

If I was ever face to face with a bad guy, and had to draw my weapon, you know I'd be firing.  Why?  Because the only time the gun is coming out is when I have determined that my life is in imminent danger and I'm about to die or become a victim of some serious violence.  Only then will the gun come out, and it is coming out for one reason - shoot to survive.

Losing a magazine during the draw is a long shot, but it is a shot.  There's a chance of this happening, even if it is almost impossible to fathom.  Should that happen to me (and I'm counting on Murphy's Law to work against me), I want the ability to still fire the round that is in the chamber before I take cover and reload. 

"But James!!!  It is a safety device!!!"

I've been shooting guns all my life.  I've owned all kinds of guns with all kinds of safeties, and some with no safeties.  How often do you see a safety on a revolver?  Mine doesn't have one.  The only safety it has is the matter between my ears.  I don't go around pulling triggers on my guns, and have developed a habit of resting my trigger finger on the frame until I actually shoot the gun; you should too.

These so-called safety devices (magazine disconnect, loaded chamber indicator, manual safety, trigger safety, striker blocker, firing pin blocker, etc) have their place.  In fact, I don't care that some of my guns have loaded chamber indicators or striker blockers, etc.  I don't even care that they have externally mounted manual safeties.  Even though I don't use them for myself, I use them when training others.  Even magazine disconnects have their places in training guns or range guns, but not in self defense guns.  When the shit hits the fan, you need every advantage you can count on, and a magazine disconnect is not an advantage.  It is a hindrance. 

The Ruger LC9 comes equipped with the magazine disconnect.  Dissatisfied with this, I disassembled the gun, and removed it.  Now, the LC9 will fire without a magazine.  I get the benefit of knowing that I can get that one shot off if I need to, and I get the satisfaction of knowing that my gun is no longer dummied down so that even the people from the island of Stupid can handle it. 

Remember.  Safety is an attitude.  It is not some device installed on your weapon to make your gun safe.  Your gun is safe without all this crap hung from it.  What makes guns unsafe is unsafe handling and bad habits.  Don't develop bad habits.  Stay safe.  Remember, gun safety doesn't just keep you safe.  It keeps everyone safe.

-James
 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever

Hail to the King, baby!  Duke Nukem is back!

http://www.dukenukem.com/full/us/#/home


-James

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Pocket Holster - Revisited

Last year, I was given the opportunity to test and evaluate ThePocketHolster for thepocketholster.com. My initial impressions were very good, and I have worn this holster consistently for the last ten months in several carry methods. It has been a very good and durable holster. I have subjected it to more abuse than the average person will probably dish out. This holster has been soaked, scuffed, dropped, hung out to dry, subject to sweat, heat, cold, and drawn from a lot. To say this holster has held up pretty well would be an understatement. Indeed, it shows its wear and a couple of the anti-print panel’s corners have dog-eared a little bit, but it is a good leather holster, and continues to find the LCP residing in it. The simplicity of this design speaks to me. I like to keep things simple.

However, not everyone seemed as pleased with this holster as I. Some complained that it would not pass the “Raminator Shake Test,” as it became affectionately known by the folks over at TPH. Some LCP’s would fall out, and some would shake out. Others still complained that some of the neato features of my holster didn’t show up on theirs. Some of the detailed forming may or may not have shown up on newer holsters. Leather thicknesses became an issue, and overall stiffness didn’t seem to be as consistent as customers were expecting. Coupled with shipping issues, as the company experienced a very high volume of orders since Christmas 2010, lead times extended further out than the company originally expected. Additionally, trying to stock all the various colors was more difficult than expected, and that didn’t help matters.

Now enter the 2nd Generation, newly redesigned pocket holster. TPH made the change from cow leather (which can vary widely in thickness, stiffness, etc) and now offers their holster in bull leather, which TPH says will allow them to produce a more consistent holster with better stiffness and uniform retention while still maintaining its shape and appearance for a long time. The new leather should allow for less variance between holsters. So theoretically, the holster I receive should be about the same as the holster you receive.

Additionally, TPH changed from water based dyes to oil based dyes, which has something to do with better coloration without breaking down the leather as much, while penetrating the pores more evenly. They also dry their holsters in a timed and temperature controlled environment to achieve uniform shrinking of the leather without affecting the quality of the dyes or drying out the leather too much.

So what does all this leather speak mumbo jumbo mean to me, the leatherworking lay man? Well, if you’re like me, you want the biggest bang for your buck. You want a product that will last, and something that will do it while looking pretty good. Now, the beauty of leather is that as it ages and wears, it takes on a lot of character. Oh, the stories a quality leather holster could tell. Now, eventually it’ll all break down and stuff, but while you use it, it has to work.

For the purposes of this entry, I’m going to go over my initial impressions of this holster. I received my pocket holster in the mail and after opening the box it came in, I found it sealed up in a zip-loc style bag, sized for the holster. Nice touch. Everything in the box was neatly packed to reduce shipping bulk and keep everything in order for the customer to receive.

Without taking it out of the package, I could immediately tell the differences and changes made to this holster. For starters, my new holster is this matte black color and it is deep and rich. Up in the sunlight, the color is uniform across the holster, and the anti-print panel is shaded to an exact match. It looks very sharp.

After taking it out of the package, I could better inspect the construction of it. I don’t know how TPH cuts their leather, but it is smooth and consistent all the way around. Next thing is stiffness. Yeah, this bugger is very stiff, yet still flexible enough to get the LCP in and out of without any problems. I imagine that with use, the holster will soften up a bit, but a brand new holster should be stiff. While the main holster thickness is about the same or a little thicker than my other one, it feels more durable.

The real difference is in the thickness of the anti-print panel. It is almost twice as thick as the original! I’m guessing this is to address the dog-ear issue that my old pocket holster developed over many hours of holster use. As an aside, mind you that a lot of times, I just left my holstered LCP in my jacket pocket, so it was constantly being subjected to the force of the holster and loaded gun pushing down into the pocket, causing the panel to roll in on the corners and sides. Still, that’s to be expected from leather so thin. But I think this is why TPH made it thicker.

The muzzle end of the holster has also been tucked in. My old holster has the muzzle end wide open. I also imagine this is to address concerns about the gun possibly falling through or crap getting into the barrel. I’m not 100% sure on that, but that’s my best guess. Either way, it seems to tie in that part of the holster well.

The thumb push off tabs have been widened and stiffened to allow very easy thumb push off. There is a lot of room to get purchase on it and push. Once you get the LCP trigger guard clear of the holster retention point up front, it slides out very easily.

Since the leather is a bit stiffer and a little thicker. The pronounced controls imprinted on my old holster are not as visible and almost appear gone on the outside. You can still feel them on the inside, and that’s what counts. However, on the new holster, I can still see the trigger impression easily, and the takedown pin and barrel lug.

ThePocketHolster’s newly redesigned logo is imprinted proudly on the holster and the anti-print panel, and I think it looks good in real life. I wasn’t convinced originally from the pictures I saw online, but the impressions are hard to see on the computer. It looks nice now that I’ve seen it up close and personal.

The little Chicago screws have been relocated to a better location. The first is still sort of in the same place it was, but since the holster cut is more pronounced, it looks better. The one that really moved was the inner screw, and it moved from the outside more toward the middle of the holster, closer to the trigger guard. I can tell you now that pinching the holster together in that location WILL provide better retention for the pistol than trying to pinch it out as far as it used to be. Very good on TPH for that consideration. Additionally, moving the screw to the middle allows them to use one less grommet in the anti print panel, which in my opinion means that you have one less area for the thing to snag or tear from. The fewer holes in leather, the better!

TPH still champions simplicity by utilizing no stitching in the holster. They simply put the leather in the press and give it the squeeze. Give me a rivet, a bolt, a screw, or even a heavy staple over stitching any day. This follows my Keep It Super Simple mantra to perfection, and it is still the main reason I liked ThePocketHolster from the beginning.

My only real concerns are that the holster will print with that thick back panel. But honestly, it’ll look like a book or some smart phone holder – anything but a firearm in your pocket. The thick leather will also help it maintain a wallet shape in your back pocket.
The screws on my old holster would sometimes loosen up. I don’t know why. I probably couldn’t wrench on them since there’s nothing to grab on the smooth side. I solved this problem with blue loctite. Just be aware that it’s hard to unscrew them after you do that. There are some thread locking compounds that aren’t as extreme as loctite though. The way I see it, you are either going to use the print panel or you’re not. After fussing with taking it on and off, I eventually just left it on because it was more convenient that way. Therefore, locking the screws down made sense to me. If you don’t want to lock them down, just check them every once in a while. The screws come pretty tight from TPH.

Well, that’s about it for an “initial impression” review. Now, I’ll wear it awhile and tell you how it works out for me.
 
-James

If You Aren't Angry, You Aren't Paying Attention

I just found this little gem online this morning and thought I'd share.  Linky

Now that you've read the article, let me say that this law is painted with too broad a brush and goes too far.  The 4th Amendment already covers this issue, as stated:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Under the 4th Amendment, the authorities still have the right to enter your home, but only with probable cause.  We did not need another law to tell us that. 

Unfortunately, what this Indiana law basically says is that if the police attempt to gain illegal access to your home, it is illegal for you to resist.  You may file a lawsuit afterward, claiming your civil liberties have been violated.  My problem is that your civil liberties need not be violated in the first place.  What Indiana is doing is dumbing down the law, watering down inalienable rights, and giving the government wholesale freedom to do exactly what they want without good recourse. 

Do you honestly think that a lawsuit against your local municipality will go anywhere?  You'll be jammed up in the court system for a long time and then of course, they will always have something they can use against you.  Let's be honest here.  Even the most honest citizens are probably doing something or have something that is illegal.  Heck, you could get arrested for having lawn darts in my state.  That's right... lawn darts.  The point is that if the police (and nothing against local cops per se) want to find something wrong, they will.  Enterying a home without probable cause opens you up to all kinds of problems.  Essentially, the police can enter your home and then can bring you up on phony allegations later.

Now, I understand the spirit of this law, and why it was written.  Some folks actually believe this is for our own good and the good of the police.  Unfortunately, the path to tyranny is paved with good intentions.  We are becoming more and more a police state everyday.  When people do not have the right to exercise the inalienable human rights that we should all have, we move closer and closer to a place I don't want to see us go.

Another angle on this is, what if someone dressed up like a police officer and demanded access to your home?  It could happen.  People get pulled over by phony cops on the freeway all the time.  Who's to say some burglar doesn't go down to the local surplus store and buys a badge, some patches, a fake uniform, a belt & gun , and then comes a knockin' on your door?  Do you not resist?  Now you have a criminal entering your home, free of resistance to do what he or she wants to do.  They could merely case the joint, or in the worst case scenario, rape you and kill you while they have you locked inside where no one can here you scream.

The point is that people need to stand up for what little rights we have left to proclaim loudly that this law is an injustice and an insult to good people everywhere. 

If police witness a fight inside my house, then they might have probable cause.  But coming into my house because my wife and I are arguing is hardly probable cause.  Will they be preventing violence by violating my 4th amendment rights?  Perhaps.  But I feel that will be the exception more than the rule.  People argue. That's human nature.  Most people resolve arguments without violence.  What this law does is add an unstable element to any situation and I feel will lead to more violence, and sadly, more cops being killed unecessarily.

-James

"Backup" Explained

In my last post, I stated that the Ruger LCP serves as backup.  I don't think I made it clear as to what "backup" really meant.

A lot of people hear the word backup, and they may immediately think about something or someone kept in reserve, waiting around for the off chance that the primary thing or person is not able to perform the task as needed.  This definition of backup is correct and incorrect at the same time.

If you are the backup crew, say, for a shuttle launch, you don't actually get to fly in the space shuttle with the primary crew.  You're backup.  That means that, for all intents and purposes, you're staying on the ground unless something bad happens to someone and they can't make the flight themselves.

For the purposes of my LCP, backup doesn't mean it stays in the safe while I'm out with my primary carry weapon.  Backup in this regard means that the LCP is along for the ride, carried elsewhere on my person.  The intent of the "backup gun" or BUG, is to be there at the ready in the unlikely event that my primary carry weapon fails or runs out of ammo.

Yeah, I know, you should only carry a gun that you feel will deliver 100% of the time, and has a proven track record, yadda yadda yadda...

My primary carry weapon, the Ruger SR9c, has a proven track record.  In fact, I now have over 1,000 rounds downrange without a failure of any kind.  I get all my shots on target, and do it fast.  Being as the gun has not failed, is accurate enough for defensive use, and has behaved predictably for the entire time I've owned it, I'm 100% confident that it will do its job if called upon.  However...

Guns, like anything else mechanical, are engineered and built from parts made by men and machines that were made by men.  If there is one thing I've learned in this life, it's that mechanical devices, no matter how reliable they are (or appear to be), may fail at the worst possible time.  I'm not saying they will, but I have been called out to enough emergency generator calls to know that even the best equipment can fail at any time. 

Now, provided there is a 1 in a million chance my gun could fail, and I could be so unfortunate that my gun goes for that chance, I want to have something else on hand to ensure that my 1 time isn't my last time.  The BUG puts the odds back into my favor.  Is there a chance my primary gun could fail at the worst possible moment?  It's really really small, but it is still there.  Is there a chance that two guns fail at the same time?  Well, the chance is still there, but it is a lot smaller.  It is so small, in fact, that it is almost not possible.  

"Well, if you're worried about your gun failing, then get a revolver!"

True, revolvers are amazing works of art, and they have a reputation of being utterly reliable.  There is a small chance, however, that even a revolver can fail.  Even if I carried a revolver, I'd still opt for a backup gun.

The LCP, shown, above, rides in my favorite BUG holster - ThePocketHolster.  When riding as a BUG, the LCP doesn't reside in the primary position.  No, that's where the primary gun goes!  The BUG rides anywhere I can find space for it.  I've adapted my wardrobe that allows most BUG carry to be in a light jacket's Napoleon style security chest pocket, zippered of course.  This affords easy access to the weapon, and it doesn't raise my concealed carry profile at all.  My weak side is still available for the primary's spare magazine, and another inner chest pocket carries the BUG's spare magazine.  

Oh yeah, that's right.  I'll have to devote an entry to the benefits of carrying extra ammo, but just a quick side note here: I carry a spare magazine full of ammo because even though my guns have magazines and ammo in them already, it's beneficial to not only have extra ammo available, but to have a backup magazine.  Should your primary magazine decide to pop out and fall to the ground, become damaged, jam, or otherwise not work, you have a backup to rely on.  That way, you have double redundancy, and that's a good feeling no matter what.

I'll also touch on magazine disconnects in guns too.  Let's just say, I'm not a fan of them.

-James 

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Fistful of Rugers!

Finally, after... what's it been... 3 months, my Ruger LC9 arrived.  I was beginning to have serious doubts it would ever come.  Thankfully, the guys over at Bulls Eye called me this morning and said, "Your LC9 is here and ready for pickup."  Unfortunately, I was still at work, so I had to be patient.  Heck, I've waited almost 90 days for it.  How hard would it be to wait another few hours?  Fortunately, it wasn't hard at all, being as I was in the middle of some work that required a great deal of attention.  But just after 4pm, I high-tailed it out of the jobsite. and went home so I could get it.  And here it is!

Ruger LC9

Now, we have gone way beyond trifecta here.  Back when I bought the SR9c, we had already hit the fan stage.  Now, I think it is safe to call this the all out fanatic stage.  When will it end?  The answer is never.  The best answer I've ever given to someone who asked me how many guns I really need was, "Just one more."  That saying is true.  Already, I'm gearing up for the new Ruger SR1911 pistol.  I think I'm done buying polymer guns for now.  I have amassed a pretty decent collection of Ruger pistols as of late.  These pics don't even include the ever faithful, almost always forgotten Ruger SP101 - the unsung hero of my pistols.  Each gun has found its own place in the safe.

The LC9 is to supplement the LCP as well as take over the duty of carrying in really warm weather in place of the SR9c.  I've done a really good job getting that SR9c to hide under a t-shirt pretty well, but as the weather heats up, I feel that the slimness of the LC9, as well as the smaller grip, will make for a bit better concealed weapon on hot days. 

The LCP primarly serves as backup now.  Last year, it was my hot weather primary carry gun.  That role has shifted to the LC9 (pending break in).

The SR9c still remains the bread and butter of my concealed carry options, and will always be the weapon of choice given the feasibility of doing so.  It prints very little, if at all under a t-shirt and punches above its weight, given the choice of a 17rd magazine reload for it.

The fullsize SR9 is the mule gun.  That's the one that goes to the range and gets a lot of use as a bullet hose.  It's ideal for plinking, training, and good fun.  It was originally destined to be my to-hell-and-back gun, but was supplanted easily by the Beretta M9A1.  But as the M9A1 is more of the WROL backup to my AR-15, I'm considering buying a compact light and mounting it under the nose of the SR9 and dedicating it to nightstand use.

I can affirm now that the options are no longer killing me.  I've got just about the right tool for every job.  Loving it!

Ruger. Winning!

Next gun on the agenda is the Ruger SR1911.  Then maybe if they don't come out with another gun to tickle my fancy for a while, I might just buy a revolver. 

-James

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Aquamira Water Bottle Filtration - Followup

A few blog entries ago, I spoke to the benefits of water filtration.  Since that time, I really haven't had much of a chance to get outside with my new filter bottle, so I decided to break this dude in on the hike that my family and I went on today. 

Well, it was warm outside, and even though we were in the Cascade foothills, there was still snow up in the area we hiked at, and the sun was warming it all up very nicely.  I wanted something cold to drink, but all the water in our water bottles was starting to get warm, so out came the Aquamira filtered bottle.

The key to getting water from an outdoor source, such as the one in the photo above, is to find water that is moving.  You don't want water that has been sitting around in a pool getting stagnant.  Even though you can't see that well in the photo above, the water there was moving quite fast.  Running water tends to be cleaner than standing water and there is less chance of getting contaminants in the filter.  Besides, a lot of this is snow run-off so on top of being crystal clear, it was COLD!

Well, I can tell you that the water filter worked great.  The water tasted decent; and having a splash of cold water sure rose my morale level as well as Lindsay's.  I didn't try out the water without filtering, so I don't have a comparison.  In the past, I've had to drink water from questionable sources.  I can tell you from those experiences that unfiltered water, even clean appearing running water, tastes like dirt.  The water filtered through my Aquamira filter tasted like water.  That's as solid an endorsement of a product as you can get.  It works.

-James

Osama Bin Laden