Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cold Steel Heaven

Here's a little knife viewing droolification for you.  Cold Steel's Recon 1 knife in all it's fantastic blade configurations.  From the top, you have the good ole clip point, 50/50 clip point with serrations, the tanto point (my personal favorite), and the 50/50 tanto with serrations.

Now, rather than handwrite out all the information on this fantastic little tactical folder, I will link Cold Steel's website and quote them here:


"Cold Steel is famous for raising the bar in the knife industry and our Recon 1® tactical folders are setting a standard that's hard to beat. Why? Because they are as tough as nails and will cut like a chain saw! Every facet of their construction has been over engineered to make them as strong, durable and effective as humanly possible. The blades are made out of imported Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel that's been vacuum heat treated and sub-zero quenched and the handles feature G-10 laminate scales artfully contoured and scalloped for a terrific non slip grip. Plus, they are held together by the latest in high strength mechanical fasteners and further anchored by a 6061 heat-treated spacer. To complement their super tough blades and handles they are equipped with our revolutionary Tri Ad lock® (see page 4), which practically precludes lock failure.
To complement their tactical mission we have given each blade a tough, black, Teflon® finish. Our testing has shown this coating offers three major advantages for tactical blades. First, it helps the blade to resist rust. Second, it eliminates glare and light reflections, which may give its user away. And third, it's a superior lubricant, which causes the blade to slip through even tough material with markedly less friction. This means you can cut deeper and far longer than with a non-Teflon® coated blade. To make the Recon 1® as easy to open and carry as possible we have equipped each knife with a thumb disc and small extra strong pocket clip. This clip is completely ambidextrous so lefties please take note. What's more its small size doesn't abrade or irritate the palm under protracted use."

Okay, with a blade length of about 4" and a thickness of 3.5mm (1/7"), it is lighweight and thin enough to be maneuverable, but the Japanese Aus 8A stainless steel will be very strong for years.  The overall length is just over 9" long, and 5 3/8" handle is made of G-10 laminate.  Additionally, the entire knife is a shade over 5 ounces, which isn't bad for tactical use. 

The triad locking mechanism is something else.  When you click the link above, you will see a video of the Cold Steel guys putting 200 lbs of weight on the lock, and the knife didn't fail.  Awesome!  Cold Steel has a reputation for strong locking folders, and this Recon 1 is a great example of that.  Of course, you can also watch them hack through a 1" thick manila rope, which never seems to get old. 

All in all, at $104 MSRP, I might start trying to locate sources to get this knife a little cheaper.  This knife just looks plain cool and would look really nice tucked away in a MOLLE pouch.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blowing Crap Up and Jamming a Glock

A few coworkers and I had some spare time, some tannerite, a couple propane bottles, and guns. That's a recipe for fun.

Also, we managed to make a Glock 19 jam. Oh yeah, I'm diggin' that!


20th Anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind

Today, I'm dedicating this blog entry to the memory of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana's epic release of "Nevermind," which sold more than 50 million copies, 25 million in the US alone.  This album was the quintessential grunge rock album of my entire teenage life.  While many others came and went throughout the 90's Nirvana's music stood the test of time and is still going strong today.

Here is a youtube video of the entire Nevermind album.  Enjoy! 


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Birthday Present For Me?

On the 22nd, I'll be turning 31 years old.  That's pretty much over the hill.  So, to celebrate my midlife crisis, I think I'm going to buy the rig you see on the left.  It's a chest rig manufactured by Tactical Assault Gear (TAG).  They call it the Marine Gladiator Chest Rig.  As you can see, it holds AR15 magazines; a lot of them.  The Ranger Green rig you see here is holding six of them.  That's 180 rounds of ammo around my waist!  That's a lot of firepower.  It takes home defense to a whole new level.

You can also see that it has MOLLE style loops sewn all over it so that I can add pouches if I want to.  A fold down bib over the magazines allows me to put something there too.  It has loops at the bottom for attaching crap as well.  Basically, this rig is built to keep me shooting without having to go back to the safe or the truck every time I need a new magazine.  The thick shoulder pads ought to help out in the weight distribution of the rig.

Another cool thing about this rig is that it also has an integrated hydration system, as shown in the image below.  Water is as essential to survival as anything else, and having 2-3 liters on your back should help distribute the load better by offsetting some of the weight of the magazines.  Of course, you can always add more pouches there if you want to.

The thing I like about this chest rig is that it is only a chest rig - not a full on plate carrier or vest.  Being that this rig is large, it can fit over everything from my snow parka to my Buddha belly down below.  TAG advertises the versatility of this rig being able to fit over body armor and such, while still maintaining a good tactical load out.  Okay, well that's fine.  I like it because I won't be tempted to OVERLOAD it with stuff like extra pouches full of unnecessary crap.  Just give me some AR magazines, a pistol, some pistol mags, and a good knife, and I'm set.  That's all I really need this for.  If the shit hits the fan, I want to grab this and go.  I don't want to be wasting time trying to figure out how to store magazines in a Jansport backpack or in the cargo pockets of my khakis.  No!  I want it all close to my torso because cargo pockets suck for storing stuff and my torso moves around the least when I'm walking, running, or moving around. 

Now, this rig is a bit pricey.  Coming in at a shade under $150 on and, it's no small investment.  But in reality, a good modular vest will cost anywhere between $80-$120, and that's for a cheaper one.  Then you have to add pouches to it, and that costs more money right there.  Heck, a shingle that holds only 3 AR 15 magazines can run you $30-$40 by itself.  And to get the six magazines that the rig above carries, you'd have to buy two of them.  And then add them to your $100 vest.  That's $160-$180, and you don't even have the hydration pouch yet!  So, this rig is a good deal in the long run, and will suite my pseudo tactical needs perfectly.  I'm not looking for style points.  I'm looking for something that works.  TAG has received nothing but good reviews from people who actually make a living wearing this stuff and shooting bad guys - not some dumbass airsoft kid blogging from his mommy's basement somewhere in suburbia.

Anyhow, we'll see if I can get this puppy.  It really looks like a good deal.  Here is a video of this chest rig in action during a run and gun situation.  Enjoy!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Blackhawk Rapid Adjust Two-Point Rifle Sling

I have spent the better part of a year trying to find a sling that would meet my needs for the AR15.  There are a lot of sling options out there, ranging in price and complexity.  What I wanted was a no-frills, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive sling for my weapon. 

I have used, and still have a good single point sling for my AR, and it has its place in my kit, but for general use, I don't like having my weapon dangle as freely as a single point option does.  I know the advantages a single point sling gives you, especially for reactive side shoulder firing and ease of maneuverability, but I'm not always in combat, and don't always have a need for those so-called "advantages." 

What I found at the local store is the Blackhawk Rapid Adjust Two-Point sling.  It's not just for the AR15, though that is a popular weapon for it.  The design of this sling means it could be used on any rifle or shotgun I own.  However, I wasn't shopping for any weapon I have - I was shopping for the AR.  This sling went on fairly easy.  There are no instructions that come with the sling, but the loops are straightforward.  After a little fitting, I was able to get it mounted how I wanted it and sliced the tails off and melted the ends so it would not fray. 

Wanting to utilize the quick detachment point on the Daniel Defense Omega Rail, I ran the front of the sling through a QD swivel and attached it to the fore end.  I like it here because the sling doesn't interfere with the grip or flashlight mount locations.  Plus, it allows the sling to have similar handling characteristics of a single point, while offering shooting stability that you get from a 2-pt sling.  When I drop the weapon from my hands, the rifle rests at an angle right across my torso in an ideal position.  For carrying and whatnot, the webbing on the sling is wider to help hold the load.  Even though I maintain a strong hold on my weapon when holding it, I still like having that extra width on the strap.

The part about this sling that I really like is the rapid adjust mechanism.  The picture of this is below:

Tug on the little draw cord, and the sling tightens up to help stabilize you for long range shooting.  Pull on the metal tab, and the sling extends for carry or to get around gear or to dismount.  It's a very easy system to use, and I found it coming in handy quite a bit.  However, it seems to me that as soon as I found my sweet spot, I stopped messing with the adjustment and kept on shooting.  The sling is very fast to use and is ergonomic.  About the only thing I need to change is how it mounts to the butt stock.  I plan on getting a QD attachment clamp so that the rear of the sling can quickly detach without losing final adjustment.  So, if I do want to use a single point for whatever reason, it's not a PITA to accomplish.  Overall, the quality is nice, the price is unbeatable (about $30) and the ease of installation seals the deal for me.


It'll Be a Cold Day in Hell Before I Shoot a Glock!!!

The title of this entry is appropriate for the occasion. Yesterday, I was out at the pit with some coworkers and among all the hardware available, most of which I've shot examples of before, the only other person to bring a semi-auto pistol was my good buddy and coworker Max. He brought his brick... err, Glock 19 with him.

Now, I told a guy at a gunshop before that "It'll be a cold day in hell before I shoot a Glock," as I was looking for a concealed carry option. This, of course, was at the time I was shopping around and berating the Ruger SR9 for it's fugliness as a gun.

I've shot Glocks before, and all notorious reliability aside, I just don't fancy a Glock. The grip is blocky, the ergonomics are weird, the gun doesn't point naturally for me, and the slide looks like a piece of C-channel steel that was fabricated by some Vietnamese kid. Plus, the weird serrations on the trigger don't help much. No, I much prefer the ergonomics and handling of the Ruger SR9 over the Glock any day.

This is partially the reason why I decided to run some rounds downrange with the Glock 19 in the video. Yes, I give Max a hard time about his Glock, but he takes it in stride; it was a free gun anyway. Hey, I wouldn't turn my nose up at a free Glock. I think they all should be free. But there's no way I would pay good money for a Glock either. With all the excellent choices in firearms out there (Sig, Smith and Wesson, Springfield, Ruger, Beretta, Para Ordnance, Colt, Kimber, etc) why on earth would someone buy a Glock? Unlike all the other guns listed, Glocks have no soul. It's like buying a Honda Accord because it has a reliable engine and gets good mileage. It's a sensible car. So what? The Glock seems sensible too, but no one is going to be impressed by a Glock. When I open my hard case and reveal a Beretta M9A1 with a TLR light installed, the most common reaction from people is "Holy shit! That is bad ass!" And the Beretta is a heavy, chunky gun that isn't as practical as the Glock, but who cares? Nobody will tell you that your Honda Accord is cool. You will only confirm what they already know - that you are a boring middle aged white guy. And nobody likes middle aged white guys. And when I'm talking about white guys, I really mean white bread. Now, show up in something cool, like a Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, or Dodge Challenger, and people will turn heads. Hell, even with anyone of the aforementioned way-cool cars in stock condition, people will say it's bad ass. Why? Because it is!

But Glocks aren't bad ass. They are just dull, unexciting guns that don't get my heart rate up when I shoot them. Now, I guess if you're one of those "I don't care what anybody else thinks" kind of guys, then more power to you. You're still white bread. But the whole point isn't to impress anyone else, now is it? I live to impress myself, and if buying a Dodge Viper impresses me, then hot damn. And I'd have to ask, if a Glock impresses you, then why are you still living under a rock? You have the Springfield XD, the S&W M&P, the Ruger SR series, and that's just plastic guns - and all better than Glocks, in my humble opinion.

Ah, but that's just it. It's all about opinion and perspective. For me, Glocks just don't do it. They don't. I can't stand them. In my house full of guns, not a single Glock has found refuge. That doesn't mean I think they are bad guns. I just prefer something that doesn't handle and look like a kid put a bunch of lego blocks together and painted them black.

BTW, my buddy liked the Ruger SR9 better than the Glock. Yet another believer!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

I could write a blurb about 9-11, but we all know how we felt that day.  So, instead, I ask you to take time to reflect on the events of that day and never forget.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Blackhawk! Serpa CQC Holster

With summer still in full force, I'm beginning to think fall and winter.  Yep, my favorite seasons are coming up, and what better way to prepare than to buy a new holster for my gun? 

Seriously though, I was actually looking to buy an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster for my Beretta 92FS.  However, when I went to Sportco today, they had no Beretta holsters, but they did have an oddly large amount of Blackhawk! Serpa holsters for the Ruger SR9.  I really wasn't looking to buy a holster for the SR9, but I remembered that I have yet to buy one for it.  So, this day is as good as any, I imagine.  Plus, what better thing to buy for the mule gun than a holster to test out?

Honestly, I've been intrigued with Blackhawk! holsters for a while now, but didn't want to pay some schmuck $10 to deliver a $35 holster to my door.  Last week, I discovered that Sportco carries a whole slew of them, so my interest as of late has reached a fever pitch.  I knew I was going to buy a holster this weekend; I just didn't think it would be for the SR9.

WAIT!!!  The gun in the picture is a SR9, yes, but James, the gun pictured is the SR9c - not the full size.

How correct you are!  Indeed, I snapped this picture while wearing the Blackhawk! Serpa holster with the SR9c holstered instead of the full size and for good reason.  It fits both!  Of course, the SR9c doesn't extend all the way to the bottom, but that doesn't matter.  Once I adjusted the tension for the full size SR9, I discovered that the SR9c fits just as well.

The whole point of this is to gear up for the fall/winter carry seasons.  I can get away with a lot more in the concealed carry department during colder months than in the hot summer months, and for good reason; layers.  Yep, more layers of clothing means that larger guns hide easier and OWB carry is just as effective as inside-the-waistband (IWB) carry.  Besides, OWB is much more comfortable than IWB, period.

Blackhawk! Serpa holsters are unique in their design due to the retention system.  In the Serpa CQC carbon fiber holster above, you can see the Serpa Autolock release mechanism.  If you are unsure, look at the mechanism between the weapon's barrel lug and the holster retention screw.  It is an L-shaped device.  What it does is lock the weapon in the holster so it cannot be removed unless the button is pressed.  It is pretty stout too.  I tried to remove an unloaded pistol from this holster, using quite a bit of excessive force, but was unable to release the gun.  Of course, as soon as I pressed the button/lever inward, the gun released effortlessly.  Another part of the passive retention system is directly related to that screw on the holster.  The more you tighten that screw down, the more retention is placed on the gun.  With the Serpa lock, you don't need to have a crap load of retention on the gun though.  If you want, it can be a little loose, so that when you draw, it comes out like butter.  Personally, I like a bit of drag on the draw (getting back to gun scabbard roots here), so I cranked it down so it holds the gun a little more firmly.  There is no wrong way to do it; it's just a way.  Do whatever feels right for you!

Another thing about this holster is that it is speed cut for a fast draw.  The holster doesn't ride up, covering part of the grip, or get in the way.  On the draw, I can get my thumb all the way around the gun frame for a very secure and fast draw.  In about half a second, my gun is removed from the holster and up on target, making this holster a force multiplier as far as concealed carry goes.  With many other holsters, you have to compromise your grip during the draw, especially IWB.  With IWB, the gun rides so close to your body that you need some material between the gun and your skin.  Otherwise, it is uncomfortable after a few hours.  So, in order to satisfy comfort (and increase the likelihood that you will carry), the draw is compromised.  The rationale for this is that you will probably never have to draw your gun in a fight.  So, knowing that 99.99999999% of the time, the gun stays holstered, you make this concession.  Not with the Blackhawk! Serpa!

Since it rides OWB, with belt loops, the gun is by default, further away from your body.  In fact, with some body types, the gun may not even touch the skin.  Even with a spare tire around my waist, my gun barely makes contact with my body.  This is great because when I drive my hand down to draw, nothing is in the way.  I take a firm grasp of the weapon, depress the Serpa lock, and draw the weapon.  More on the Serpa lock later.  The belt loop allows you to adjust the cant of the weapon.  It comes from Blackhawk! in a neutral, barrel straight down position.  To adjust the cant to your liking (I prefer a FBI cant), you simply remove three screws on the belt loop mount and then rotate it to your liking.  And once it is adjusted, it WILL NOT MOVE.  The holster also comes with a paddle, for those who prefer that.  I like it okay for range use, but the paddle pushes my weapon out even further from me, and that's a no-no for concealed carry.  For open carry or range use, it would be ideal because you can put it on and remove it easily.  This is especially good for car travel.  However, the Serpa lock is so easy that it is possible to unholster the weapon, place it in the center console and then reholster upon exiting the vehicle, without anyone noticing.  And let's be honest... who will really notice?  Okay, besides me?

The Serpa is the heart of this holster.  Without it, the holster is just another me too plastic holster that nobody cares about.  The Serpa does two things for you.  The first, and obvious, is that it provides security for your weapon.  Weapon retention (and I'm not talking about how tight the holster grips your gun here) is paramount, especially in concealed carry or open carry - more so with open carry.  You need to be in control of your weapon at all times and retain it.  With some scabbards, the top of the holster is left open, and anyone can come up and grab the gun from you.  That's very bad.  You need to have a positive retention/security system in place.  Be it a thumb snap, a strap a Serpa lock, a security hood, or any combination of these, a retention device, something to retain your weapon on your person, is not only important, but is mandatory.  The Serpa lock does a good job at retaining the weapon in the holster until the operator unlocks it and draws the weapon.  Then, when the gun is reholstered, a positive "click" is heard, signalling the operator that the weapon is now holstered and locked.  You can tug on it all you want now, and the gun isn't going to budge.

But what about the second thing the Serpa lock does for you?  This isn't so obvious, but it is just as important, if not more so, than retaining the weapon.  This is a training reinforcement issue.  When you go to draw a gun from any holster, your finger must not be allowed to enter into the trigger guard until you are on target and ready to fire.  Forget Hollywood, where actors point guns at everything with their fingers in the trigger guard (IE: Die Hard and Lethal Weapon come to mind).  That is an unsafe condition.  Remember that scene in Pulp Fiction where John Travolta is pointing his single action semi auto at that dude in the backseat of his car, and his finger is resting on the trigger?  BOOM!!! The next thing you know, blood splatter and brain matter are all over the inside of the car.  Kudos to Quentin Tarantino for making that distinction.  So, the long and short of this is that when you draw, and reholster, your finger is out of the trigger guard, and indexed on the side of the frame.  This is the magic behind the Serpa lock.  You use your trigger finger to defeat the lock and then draw.  Since your finger is pointed straight out to disengage the lock, it is automatically straightened and in the ideal position to index the frame of the weapon on the draw.  Neat, huh?  It is fast, safe, and quick.  Those attributes of a desirable quality holster.

So, testing begins.  I'm wearing it right now, with a loaded Ruger SR9c in it.  I'm not going to get a ton of carry time with this piece until the summer is over and jacket weather takes over.  As it is OWB, it sticks out and won't hide under a t-shirt as easily as a Ruger LC9 in a Crossbreed Supertuck.  But you can bet that as soon as the weather cools down, or for some reason I feel like open carrying, this holster will be on in full force.  Some tests I have are not really field torture tests, but rather some domesticated everyday living ones.  Getting into and out of a car without the belt loops cracking, sitting in chairs with arm rests, walking around, lounging on the couch, doing yard work, range use, etc.  These are everyday activities that we tend to do frequently.  As this holster is intended for concealed carry work, it should be up to measure when it comes to doing everything that goes with concealed carry, like being available when a thug rolls on you at a 7-11 to being out of the way when walking through the mall with your wife's latest shoe purchase in a designer bag in your hand... because somehow you become pack mule when it's time to hit the mall.  Anyway, if this holster measures up, I will probably add more to the collection.  They are reasonably priced and seem durable.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

How's It Shoot?

In the video above, I'm test firing the Ruger SP101 after installing the Hogue Monogrip in place of the stock grip. So, how's it shoot?

To put it bluntly, with full house loads, it's still a stout snub nose revolver. However, with the larger and thicker Hogue grip, the "magnum sting" is all but gone. The extra material beneath the trigger guard made for a very comfortable grip, and the extra rubber on the back strap was nice to have. I certainly enjoyed shooting it a lot more with the larger grip installed.

Accuracywise, this grip made a lot of difference. I was able to get good purchase, so I was able to focus on squeezing the trigger and keeping the gun on target. At 7 yards, I averaged 2-3" groupings with double action slowfire. Not too bad for a gun with a gutter for rear sights.


The Stock Has Got To Go!

I wanted to throw some rounds downrange from my Remington 870, with the newly installed Mesa Tactical shell carrier. My goal was to shoot at least 50 rounds of buckshot that day, but after just a couple magazines worth, I lost interest quickly. I am not happy with the buttstock that comes on this gun. It is a horrible stock.

The grip area is too thin and has nothing to get traction. As a result, my hand moved around when firing; this was a big problem with rapid fire. The rubber "pad" on the end is a pad in the academic sense. It is rubber and if you push on it hard enough, it will give a little. But that's about it. The transfer of force into my shoulder was very harsh, especially with a magnum slug.

I also am not impressed with the fore end. It too is very slippery and it was difficult to get the gun fully racked without my hands moving all over the place.

Needless to say, these things have to go. The next time this gun is out, it will be dressed in new furniture. Hopefully, I'll be able to shoot enough rounds downrange that I'll be able to make full use of the Mesa Tactical shell carrier, which seemed to work great with the few rounds I loaded from it.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Blackhawk Omega VI Ultra Initial Impressions

Last month, I made an entry regarding the need for a holster that would accomodate my Beretta M9A1 pistol.  Ultimately, I purchased the Blackhawk! Omega VI Universal Modular Light Holster, PN# 40MLH1 in olive drab.  Since I got a good deal on it, I just could not pass it up.  I bought the olive drab over black or digital or brown since the area I live in is heavily wooded (well, in the woods at least). 

I had hoped that the holster would arrive before my shooting trip last week, but what can you do?  I got it today though.  The first thing I noticed when I opened the package is that this thing is big.  For some reason, the pictures online made it look smaller.  I don't know what I was thinking though; it had a picture of a Beretta holstered in it.  Guess I should have thought it would be large.  Well, okay fine.  It's big, but it seems really nice.  The stitching appears to be double stitched, or even triple stitched in all the critical areas.  There's enough velcro on this thing to hang a small car from a wall.  The amount of adjustment this thing has is seemingly endless.  It's a pretty complex holster design - no doubt about that.

After trying it on, I realized the drop down was way too low.  Will have to adjust that up a bit.  And I'll need to adjust the two leg straps to fit my large legs.  But this evening, I spent the better part of an hour getting my big ass gun fitted into this big ass holster.  Fortunately, Blackhawk thought of everything.  I'll talk about some of the go-fast features of this holster:

Internal Weapon Locating Strap: On the inside of the holster, toward the bottom, there is a wide strap with velcro on it.  It is used to locate the weapon up or down in the holster.  This allows you to fit the holster for shorter guns, or in my case, longer guns, and have the grip in the same spot.  I made the adjustment so that my weapon's rear sights are just inside the upper lip of the holster, about 1/8" down.  This also leaves the entire grip completely clear of the holster so I can get a postive grip when drawing, yet still keep the trigger and trigger guard completley covered.

Weapon Retention Straps:  On the back of the holster (the side that the gun's frame is located), there are two straps that are designed to provide retention for the firearm so it does not flop around the inside.  They allow the holster to really widen so it can accomodate large weapon lights.  Since my Streamlight TLR-1s is not that big, I was able to crank the straps down pretty tight, but not so tight that the gun has a hard time on the draw.  Nope, just a quick tug and the weapon comes free.  It also reholsters one-handed very easily.

Adjustable Thumb Break:  I'm digging the thumb break on this holster.  It can be fully adjusted up or down, and you can put the thumb break anywhere you want it.  Blackhawk says to have the male side of the button towards your body for carry.  This worked out for me because it allowed me to place the thumb break in a familiar location.  Additionally, another strap can velcro over the thumb break for added security.  This way, there is very little chance of the thumb break coming loose.  So, if you intend to hike, run, climb, or just do anything outdoors like I would do, you know the weapon is very secure.

Magazine Pouch: Okay, as a magazine pouch, mounted to the front of the holster, I think it's hoaky.  I would never keep my spare magazines on my strong side.  It would be very ackward to reach across with my weak hand to get to it, and forget about me switching my weapon over to my weak hand.  Forget that noise!  So, I adjusted it to accomodate my Leatherman tool.  I normally carry my leatherman on that side anyway (typically in front of my holster), so it works out well.  I figure that if I'm in the woods or doing something that requires me to wear this piece of gear, I might as well have my multi-tool at the ready too.

Speed Clips: One short one and one longer one.  These are designed so you can quickly attach the holster to MOLLE webbing.  I'll save this little things because you never know when you might need them.  Heck, my next backpack purchase will probably have them, so this would be nice.

I took all the drop down gear off (which isn't hard once you get used to it), and carried it around on my belt for a little bit.  I practiced drawing and reholstering, and eventually was able to soften the thumb break strap enough so I could snap it shut with one hand.  After drawing and pointing the weapon, I was satisfied with the fit of the weapon in the holster.  I put the drop down gear back on, which is kind of a pain in the ass.  All that velcro is very sticky and you need to use the provided plastic tool to do anything.  It all gets pretty easy to do when you take the time to understand how everything interacts, but as far as holsters go, it is still fairly complicated.  The holster is so complicated, in fact, that it comes with an actual Instruction/User's manual, which is 10 pages long!  Most holsters I buy have a small card with care instructions and a mailer to join the NRA or something of that nature.  The directions are clear enough if you read them a few times.  If you can read the instructions to your VCR, you should be okay with this holster.

All in all, the construction feels great.  The nylon is thick and the entire rig, while somewhat bulky, seems well made.  We shall see how it holds up on my next outing.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Father/Son Berettas

My father, a devout wheelgun fanatic, called me up the other day, and asked me to accompany him to his favorite LGS, where he seems to know the owner quite well. So, me, sitting around the house all alone, watching reruns of Star Trek, and playing with guns, said, "Sure, why not?" I figured Dad wanted to either browse or buy yet another Ruger wheelgun to add to his ever growing collection of Ruger selection - and since I still have revolvers in my blood, I was very interested.

Nope! Not today, says Dad. Today, I am buying the "Mel Gibson Gun." Yeah, he said just that. Lately, he seems to be obsessed with "The Mel Gibson Gun," and has no shortage of opportunities to drop a quote from the movie "Lethal Weapon," where Danny Glover says, "9mm Beretta... holds 15 in the mag, one in the pipe... wide ejection port... no feed jams." Yep, that's Dad alright.

So, we walked into the store, and he zeroes in on the Beretta section of the counter, and as I began oogling a German made Sig P226, Dad says, "Look at this son - which should I get? The black one or the stainless one?" Oh, decisions, decisions! Of course, I told him to buy the black one; I already have a stainless one, and a black one would be a nice addition to my... err, his collection. Italian made gun too. Imagine that!

Of course, my birthday is coming up in three weeks and I dropped a hint about the Sig Sauer... more like said, "This is the gun you ought to buy me for my birthday." Well, that was good for a laugh. Either way, next thing I know, Dad is filling out the dreaded forms and dropping hundies (that's 100 dollar bills in James speak) like he is the super middle aged white pimp from around the way. Now, of course, you know what happens next.

Yesterday, we packed up a few of my guns, and a few of his guns, and made sure not to forget his newly acquired semi auto. Most of the guns... in fact all of the guns that Dad brought were as yet unfired by him. I've certainly never shot any of them before, but was anxious to. It was like Christmas at the range! We had all these guns that niether of us had shot before. I also brought my Remington 870, but that is a story for another entry (stay tuned). We also shot a few others that I will write about as well. But for the purposes of this entry, we shall remain on track (as if) and talk only about Dad's Beretta 92FS.

What a pistol this thing is! Of course, it didn't surprise me at all that this weapon handles and functions like a dream. I set up a makeshift target stand and taped a shoot n see target to it. After a few shakedown magazines worth of ammo (for Dad to get acquainted with it), we shot for combat accuracy at a distance of 7 yards. Dad was tickled pink with his new toy. I even have him on film stating that he prefers his new Beretta over his beloved revolvers.

Now, you have to understand something here. Dad is a wheelgun man to the core. His first duty weapon was a revolver, and was only issued a semi automatic toward the end of his police career. He didn't have enough time to really fall in love with the semi auto as I have. I've been shooting them for over 10 years now, so I know all the benefits of them. But I was able to relive the joy of falling in love with the Beretta all over again vicariously through my dad.

Now here's a man who knows his shit when it comes to guns. No, he hasn't been out shooting in a long while, but that doesn't mean he's lost his touch, Even with a eye recovering from cataract surgery he had some years back (this is what really took him out of the game), he was able to put rounds down on the paper where he wanted them. The factory 3-dot sights on his 92FS really helped out in that department.

Neither of us has exceptional eyesight. In fact, without glasses, both of us might as well be shooting with our eyes closed. But Dad could tell that I've been practicing. My groups were pretty good and all would be kill shots. Dad quickly got up to speed on his new gun and closed the groups right up, catching up with me and proving that the old man still has it in him. Impressive!

This experience has prompted me to put an entry together to talk about the Beretta 92FS. I know it has been discussed a million times before ad naseum. but a good gun is still a good gun, and despite the fact that there are lighter, slimmer, and just as reliable guns out there, the Beretta 92FS still commands the respect that other guns only ask for.