Friday, December 31, 2010

Over the Last Year All My "EDC" Has Changed...

Looking over my last few posts, I've come to realize that almost all my carry gear has been replaced / upgraded.

I've replaced my Colt Mustang with the Sig P238, I've replaced my main carry/competition gun, the Les Baer TRS wit my Nighthawk Bob-Rail, my SOG Spec Elite & CRKT Hissatsu have (or rather are going to be) replaced by a Benchmade Griptilian (this reminds me, forget those Kudos to SOG, my replacement belt clip still hasn't shown up) and the KA-BAR TDI ankle knife. The Streamlight PT1L is a new addition and has all ready proved useful both while at work and abroad.

I have not been in the habit of carrying a light for the last couple of years, not for lack of interest, just lack of a nice compact light that had a high output. I wanted a Surefire E1B, but didn't want to pay that kind of money for a light. The PT1L has "better" features and is a fraction of the cost of the E1B. I can honestly say that the PT1L has left the house with me every day since it's arrival from Brownells.

Kicks Ass AND Takes Names...

My wife is always on the quest for the perfect Christmas gift for me, while I always ask for socks and under garments, she goes out of her way to get me something else. Normally I either stumble upon or figure out what what the gift is.

This year I was taken by surprise some of the gifts from the lovely Mrs JD.

The first item which made my curiosity go into overdrive was what felt to be a flimsy water bottle, completed with liquid filler. What could be in such a package? I'm not  drinker and any bottle with giving as a gift is not cheap plastic. Anything gun related wouldn't fit and you wouldn't dare put it in a container full of water...

Admit it, you're now just as stumped as I was.

So what does fit in a flimsy bottle of water and won't be destroyed by such surroundings?

A Rick Hinderer aluminum extreme duty modular pen

Now in all honesty, I seriously doubt I'll ever use this as an impact weapon, pain & compliance tool, or puncturing device, but it's a nice pen and it writes very well. I do like a nice heavy pen and this one's pretty sturdy. Sure it will be part of my "EDC" gear, but just because it's neat pen.

Turns out that Rick Hinderer was at my wife's TDI class and was demo'ing some of his stuff. I'd been talking of wanting one of these pens for a while and my wife came through with the perfect gift.

More Chrismas Swag

Along with the pen was a strangely familiar box although at the time I didn't know why it was familiar. As it turns out my wife also bought me the TDI ankle knife, I have no desire to carry this on my ankle and will be contacting Invictus Kydex to have a good sheath made up.

While I was Christmas shopping for the Mrs, I also picked up some swag for me.

One thing that I wanted to get my wife was a compact, but bright light. I'm not going to go into the benefits of carrying a light, only that this was a nice find, I got two Streamlight PT1L lights, one for her and one for me. The light's details can be viewed at the Streamlight website. I also picked up the Benchmade Griptilian while shopping for a replacement Kewshaw Chive for my wife.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Carry What You Shoot, Shoot What You Carry

Yesterday I did a re-qualification shoot for four gentlemen to renew their Iowa Permit to Carry Weapons (PTCW), one of them was shooting his carry gun which was a laser equipped Ruger LCP. At first I was unsure about permitting the use of the laser for requal, but as the title of this post indicates I am a fan of shooting what you carry, and carrying what you shoot. As the LCP was his carry gun, and he fully intends to use the laser, (For a good read regarding lasers, check out this article) I might as well help him use the tools he will be taking to a gun fight should he ever have the misfortune of needing that pistol.

Of the other three students, two were shooting pistols that they do not use as carry guns. One gentleman was shooting a Sig 226, but often carries a 239. He claimed that he couldn't hit anything with the 239 due to it's short barrel...but he uses it for carry where he may need to hit something with it. The range we shot at has fixed 50' target points, we shot THIS qualification using standard IDPA targets in stands between the 50' target line and the firing line. The guy shooting the Sig commented that he had never shot at a target this close. So here's a guy shooting a gun that he won't carry, instead of his carry gun and has never practiced on a target at "normal" self defense distances. He did well enough with his 226, he dropped a few out of the "Down Zero" zone of the target, but passed the accuracy requirement.

Another gentleman was shooting a metal framed S&W single stack 9mm (I'm rusty on my S&W autos other than a few select models) but commented that he did not carry this one, but liked to shoot it more. He needed some assistance and passed the qual on his second run, but switched to his carry gun between runs.  Both guns were S&W Autos of about the same size and operation, for all I know they were the same model with some subtle differences. I'll be following up with him later on the details of both guns. Why he prefers to shoot one gun vs. the other will be posted later.

Regarding carrying what you shoot:

I own range only guns that will never see carry. My Browning Buckmark is a great range plinker and I shoot bullseye with it and all, but I know the role for that gun and it stays in that role.
My wife and I make it a point to carry the guns we shoot at the range, IDPA, and training classes. While there are times that an alternative gun may be a good idea, such as using a .22 Conversion kit in times of an ammunition shortage etc. But one should make an effort to shoot their carry gun every chance they get and be MORE familiar with their carry gun than their "range" gun. The gentleman with the LCP did not know the manual of arms for his pistol and we had to figure it out together.

Without a doubt there are some out there that never really get familiar with their carry gun, I recall in one class I was attending that the guy next to me did not know enough about his gun to lock the slide to the rear and I had to show him how. Other than the NRA Basic / First Steps Pistol, while attending a training class is not the place to learn the standard functions of your firearm. For anyone reading this, if you have questions about your gun, how it works, or just want instruction on basic firearms handling and safety, contact your local NRA Instructor and get some one on one training.

Maybe I'm being to harsh as as there is an accuracy requirement and shooters want to use what they shoot best, but when the course is carry related, I feel that one should use their carry gear and that the course is passable with such gear. I will freely admit that when I took my Iowa permit course that I shot a .22 Conversion kit but when shooting an NRA B3 bullseye target at 50' for score, it's more of a bullseye match than a defensive pistol class.

 In summary, know your guns and be as familiar with your carry gun as you can be.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Extended Sig P238 Magazine-Get Them Now...

Great thing is that I was able to use my coupon (given to those who had to send in their 238 HDs for repairs) on the three mag order and the price was knocked down to under $30 a mag. Snagged the three with free shipping for $81.00.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Desibens Gun Leather IWB #4

Since I had a lot of time before I could carry my P238 I was able to out some good thought into what I wanted in my holster for this gun.

I wanted an IWB, I wanted something with a snap loop, it either had to have a reinforced opening or just be very stiff, as the P238 is super slim I wasn't too worried about the location of the loop, I wanted a single loop for more room to locate the holster to either AIWB or strong side. Why the reinforced opening? Most of my holsters have them and I like them and prefer to keep some familiarity with all my gear, I don't like a bunch of different stuff. Keeping things similar = keeping it simple for me.

A while back I had an opportunity to check out some of Rhome's work, and while that particular holster didn't suit my fancy in some areas the quality of the work did and the impressions made by that holster stuck with me.

When i saw the IWB #4 on Rhome's site I knew it was going to be my choice of IWBs for this little package provided that he could accommodate the order.

Communications were prompt, he went to work to obtain either a 238 or a mold, the order was completed in the quoted time and he even gave me an option of which holster I wanted (both versions can be seen in Rhome's gallery for added comfort and stability but I opted for the minimal design for easier AIWB carry.

The fit of the holster was a little snug at first, but about 30 minutes of working the gun in and out broke it in nicely, no need for wax paper etc.

The material is firm but not too tough, the reinforced mouth is retaining it's shape nicely and the when the gun is inserted there's an audible "click noise" that one would not expect to hear from a leather holster. As I've said about Milt Sparks, it seems the holster has a force of it's own that just draws the gun other words the fit is just really nice.

As Rhome had a P238 mold I did not have to worry about the sight channel being shallow (if one is using a Mustang etc. holster for a 238 this could be an issue), this sight channel is nice and deep. The stitching is good, and again the fit is phenomenal. What I really like about this holster is that I have the option of a single snap loop, or a double snap loop. I am currently using the double snap loop.

I've been wearing the holster for a little over a week and I really like it, I'm thinking that if I were to primarily carry it strong side that I would have liked the added material but as this particular gun is carried more towards 1 o'clock I'm happy with the minimal version.

Enough with the talk, here's the pics.

If you're looking for a good holster for a small gun such as a P3AT, P32, LCP, or Kahrs I'd take a good look at this one. I don't know how I would like the single mounting point on a heavier gun, may if I feel bold I'll order one for the HK P7 and see how I like it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

As Promised: TDI Defensive Knife After Action Review

As promised in Tactical Defense Institute Review Primer (See link for video) here is my wife's review of the course.

I have wanted to take a knife class for years. Just like I wanted to get quality gun training when I chose to start carrying a firearm for self-defense, it was a natural progression of my training to want quality knife training when I chose to carry a knife.
Through a series of force-on-force (FOF) scenarios and some research and careful thought I had chosen the Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) Law Enforcement knife made by Ka-Bar as the edged companion to my firearm for every-day carry. When I brought it home and showed my husband my newest acquisition he informed me that TDI was actually a training facility in Ohio that did defensive knife classes. I immediately became interested. After all, it made sense to take a class from the people who designed the knife I chose to carry.
It took another two plus years before I would be in a position, financially and logistically, to take a knife class and after hearing many wonderful things about TDI I finally signed up for their two day Defensive Knife class that took place on December fourth and fifth of this year.
The confirmation email I received said to bring any and all knives I wanted to train with but that if I had no knife it was not an issue as TDI would have several knives available for trial and plenty of trainers to work with. Even though I didn’t need to take my TDI trainer I stuck it, my Cold Steel Ti-Lite and my Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement knife in my suitcase and drove to southern Ohio for my class.
A look at the TDI website gives you a run down of the facility with multiple ranges, classrooms, force-on-force houses and everything else a defensive student could ask for.
In anticipation of getting lost (as I usually do) I left my hotel an hour and a half early to make what was reported to me to be only a half-hour long trip. The directions were not hard to follow and even though I arrived to class an hour early there was already instructors there with heaters cranked setting out equipment for the class.
The classroom was clean and neat with comfortable chairs, clean tables, a small kitchenette, two bathrooms, a case to display TDI products for sale, a large television and (blessedly) two heaters to combat the Ohio cold that had swept in for the weekend.
They weren’t kidding when they said they had plenty of knives and trainers. The table at the front of the class was covered with trainer knives and live knives that could be borrowed by students.
As the rest of the students arrived we mingled and got to know each other and it wasn’t a surprised to find that I would be the only woman in the class. I was delighted to find out that John Benner, the designer of the TDI knife, would be an assistant instructor for the class as I was eager to meet him after our wonderful chat on the phone when I had called to sign up for the class. When our head instructor, Greg Ellifritz, arrived with plenty of time to spare we all settled in, some finished paying for their class and it was time to start.
There was a ratio of three instructors for twelve students (I believe), which made for a very safe environment. With any kind of class featuring weapons safety is a main concern and when you have twelve people with knives working them and trying things they’ve never tried before it’s nice to know there’s more than one set of eyes making sure everyone is being responsible and safe. Two instructors walked around the perimeter of the class checking for safety and giving tips when needed as Greg taught. Even when we sparred or did our force-on-force there was someone there to check our pockets and waistbands to ensure we didn’t forget to remove any live weapons (which I had forgotten to do after lunch on the second day and the instructor caught it (thank goodness)). That, along with the continued safety reminders, made me feel very comfortable that no one was going to end up with a knife buried in their belly or their fingers chopped off.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tactical Defense Institute Review Primer

My wife is on her way back from the Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) in Ohio and will be writing up review on their Defensive Knife class. In the meantime we can watch this clip from a force on force (FoF) scenario.

Disclaimer: When you have allowed your brain to be convinced the attack is real (which is the point of these exercises) you will say and do things that will later make you blush. Just saying

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Calling this one good...

After my lest test of the 238 and a friends testing of it today, I'm calling this one good to go.

I have not yet tested it with JHPs, but as my winter load is 100gr FMJ from Black Hills I'll worry about the JHPs later after I replenish my stock and fire off the my current supply of Speer Gold Dot and Golden Saber.

In other news, this week was the first week of "league shooting" at the local club after the last 4 weeks (we shoot once a week) of "qual" / bank scores to give the team makers something to access and make teams with.

My first five scores aren't too bad, and were on track with last years bank scores (Bank scores are the four scores from November that can be used during competition in the event that you miss a match) and today I shot a 521-4X. My slow fire has improved by about 10pts but my second timed and rapid fire were below my personal average. Still haven't hit a 275 yet but came close last week. If my shooting continues like it did the last two weeks I should hit a couple 275s this year.

2-Nov 490 N/A
3-Nov 491 4
9-Nov 491 N/A
10-Nov 496 4
16-Nov 489 N/A
17-Nov 507 3
25-Nov 532 14
22-Nov 531 9
2-Dec 529 7
1-Dec 521 4