As of this writing, I am between jobs. Due to a paperwork delay and some either poor or awesome planning on my part, I have been off for 9 days now. So, needless to say at some point yesterday I got a little restless. I decided to go to my local mall because they have a decent food court and it would get me out of the house for 90 minutes or so. Naturally, I was already wearing my gun. But I had to put on the rest of my stuff. So I put on the following: double mag pouch, Chronograph wrist watch, pocket knife, "stinger" pen, pepper spray and a paracord bracelet. This was for a 1 hour trip to get a burger and wander around the mall for a little while. I felt like I was preparing to go into battle.
I know quite a few gun owners that do something similar. In fact, my gear dump is a little on the light side compared to some others. For instance some carry 3 or 4 spare mags compared to my 2. Some carry "several" pocket knives compared to my one. You get the point.
Speaking of going into battle, I recently bought a med pack (IFAK). You can see it pictured below. It's cool. It comes in a camo sack. It's got....first aid stuff in it. Not neosporin or band aids or aspirin and shit. But real first aid stuff. Like quick clot and combat gauze. Which is great, but now that I am the owner of such a thing, I have absolutely no idea how to use it. But people that know more than I do say it's a good idea for me to have one. So, now I do.
The same can be said for my paracord bracelet. You know why I wear it, really? I think it looks cool. Seriously. I don't have any idea how to use Paracord. I don't even know what Paracord IS. And I certainly cannot read a compass. And lets be honest, that flint is useless to me. But THEY said it was a good idea. So, now I have one.
Unlike a lot of this other gear, the bracelet only cost me $1. Which is sort of a win because damn do I look fine wearing it.
There is a whole host of other things that people like us buy: tac vests, tac belts, body armor, kevlar vests, battle helmets. The list goes on. But my question is: do we REALLY need it? Or are just trying to justify our expensive hobby by creating a means to an end?
Really, I'm not here to criticize anyone. I'm just as caught up in being a gun guy as anyone else. When I get a new set of night sights? I'm geeked. A new scope for a rifle? Elated. Custom slide plate for one of my pistols? A little moist, honestly. But if I felt like I was gearing up to do battle putting a few things on to go to the mall, I am trying to imagine whats going through the mind of people that are literally.....preparing to go to war.
Swap out the gun for my flavor of the day and this is pretty much what I have on me daily...
I seriously have no idea what this is or how to use it. But I paid $60 for it...
It's official, I now know everything....
Anyone that's spent any time at a shooting range has seen the Wheel of Missed Shots. If you are not familiar, see above.
While this is a handy tool, in a broad sense, it doesn't give you a lot of information. For instance, it tells you you're breaking your wrist up, but it's doesn't really tell you what may be the causes and it certainly doesn't tell you how to fix it.
I've been shooting for about 3 years now. And needless to say more of my shots have landed in the area of Misfortune than not. I had no idea why until today.
This morning I met with an instructor at his club in for a 1 hour course that went over the fundamentals. Some of which, at the risk of tooting my own horn, I had a decent grasp on. Others, not so much. We went over things like grip, posture, stance, reloading while staying on target, aim small, miss small (though a couple times I missed big) and trigger finger placement.
In a nutshell, what I do well is have a decent stance that needed minimal adjusting and good trigger control in so far as where my reset is and getting off the follow up shot. My biggest issues involve my grip and pulling the trigger rather than squeezing.
As the morning went on my weaknesses improved. Obviously they aren't perfect, but I did see a considerable difference in my targets from the 1st to the last. I learned that I am holding my gun level, despite the mental block I seemed to have that told me I was't (bye bye Meprolight Bullseye's!). I also learned that, when doing so properly, I'm a pretty darn good one-handed shooter.
I am going to seek further instruction, both from Steve and some others. I'd be pushing it to say that 1 lesson solved my issues. But it did give me a good foundation to start from and practice with. Finally, someone explained to me where" home" is. Now it's up to me to keep getting there.
We were instructed to bring 150 rounds, targets, eye/ear protection, a mag pouch and an OWB holster. I added the iced coffee for my own personal flare.
We each shot one at a time for obvious reasons. Here's my VP9 at rest.
Why do American's love big trucks ans firearms? Real simple - Because we can! That sounds mindless - Redneck even - #Murica. it's not. I run into people who hate this country on a daily basis - you probably due too. The thing that I notice is that, while many times these people will talk about how awesome their vacation was in the foreign country, or how well their health care system works, the reality is, they got their VAT back at the border, and they've never had to pay a car tax, use that socialist health care system, or even buy gas. I've done all of these.
Avid readers of this blog (yeah, I'm talking to you - singular) know that I live in "The People's Republic of Massachusetts". What you might not know is that I've been to a majority of the lower 48, and have been to multiple continents - including living in the "EU" for a while. I have friends, girlfriends, and colleagues in these countries, and I still can't spell because of it. There are 3 things they all want to do when they visit me in this country - Eat ridiculous amounts of food for amazingly low prices, drive big trucks, and shoot guns.
I know 3 people who immigrated to the US for healthcare - all 3 from places where healthcare is free. They come here simply because, until recently, our healthcare system is better. It's built on a very simple concept - If I work hard, and do the best that I can, I will excel. They don't want to wait 3 months to see an oncologist, but this is a gun blog...
I still work in a global industry - being in Mass, I guess that's pretty common - I meet people who fly in from literally all over the world. The sun never sets on my company. Without exception, every person who has come in from a different county has asked the same question - What is America's fascination with guns. I've done literally every other blog on that - Second amendment right, which we fought for, country created out of and for this right... - but they do not know this. I explain, and again, without question, the next request is "Can you take me?" My answer is ALWAYS, "Hell Yes!"
My department has "Shooting Outings". I have the group meet me in at the gun club. I come in - like all real "#Murican's" driving what my friends in the UK call a "Fuck All Truck" and this truck is filled with guns. After a day of shooting, the questions turn to "Can I drive it?" Again the answer is "Hell yeah!"
What's the point? We shoot guns because guns are cool! We drive trucks because trucks are cool.
Other people in other country literally only wish they could. They don't because gas is $4/liter if not 4 Euro / Liter (There are a little less than 4 liters in a gallon). That's about 8X what it costs here, and because their government restricts their ability to own firearms. Again, I know multiple people - from multiple continents - who came here just because of the Second amendment. People from other countries want to live here because we can afford to drive trucks and we get to shoot guns. They want to live here because we fill up on our appetizers before our meal even comes. The poor in this country still live better than the middle class of the majority of the rest of the world - look it up - it's a 100% true fact. You cannot imagine the poverty of the rest of the world until you see people living in dumps - actual trash heaps - subsistence living on what they can catch, steal or beg for on a daily basis. I lived in foreign lands. I've seen poverty like you see on TV. We have it really good here. It's American exceptionalism. It's privileged. It's what ever you want to call it. We owe it to our way of life to defend the rights we enjoy. Without these, where would all the above foreigners relocate to?
Feel lucky, punk?
I'd sure like to get the phone number of THIS flag.
So after 2,041 rounds through this compensator I believe I can give the new Strike Industries G4 slide compensator a fair review.
I got this compensator used for about $30. I had been dabbling with the idea of building a Roland Special G19, I already had the Burris FF3 mounted on a spare slide so I needed a threaded barrel and a compensator. Being that everyone here knows guns we all know that those 2 items would cost anywhere between $200 and $300. New the G4 is about 79$ I paid $30. Do the math I really couldn't lose.
The G4 slide compensator attaches to the slide through the recoil spring. If you look these up there really new but there is enough info out for you to understand the workings. If this post gets enough attention I'll make a full video on it.
The compensator runs about 79$ new so if your looking to get into compensators then this is a good place to start. It does exactly what a compensator is meant to do and what Strike Industries says it does. It reduces felt recoil and helps mitigate muzzle rise allowing for faster follow up shots.
It's super easy to install and it's recommended that you use blue Loctite once attached. When I first started shooting it I hadn't added loctite and had to right the set bolts every few mags but that's to be expected. Once the loctite was applied it's still going strong and tight. A plus to this over the threaded barrel screw on compensator is I can clean the barrel without removing the compensator. This is attached to my range/competition G19 slide so it stays on it.
Negatives about the compensator. It adds weight to the front of the pistol but I'm ok with that. It comes with small, easy to lose set bolts. It's a little longer than I would normally want.
Now with all this said I would give this 4.5 stars. I believe it is an excellent affordable entry level compensator that does exactly what it's meant to do.
The front "pocket" has a pull tab on it that you can rip down to expose a front face with MOLLE webbing across the front. As you can see I am using it to store a thin flashlight, Advil capsules and chap stick. Cool feature about that is the bag is very discreet but if needed you can attach extra packs. The back of the front flap has these straps on it that secure to the main bag to allow you to store a helmet/large jacket, sleeping bag etc. The front flap can tuck away neatly in a hideaway slot on the bottom of the bag (picture). It has two bottle slots on the sides of the bag which are a con for me. I have a very thin water bottle that only fits 3/4 of the way down. Any large water bottle will not fit in here. There are also tall pockets on each side with small admin pockets and a see through mesh zipper pouch on the back of the flap. The top of the bag has a small pouch with soft lining for sunglasses. Also has a key fob. The main compartment zips open on both sides and has clasps (pictured) that hold the zippers from opening all the way allowing the admin pouches to be exposed while looking through the main compartment. You can, however, zip the pack open completely and lay it flat allowing full access to main compartment. There is also a pouch for a laptop (mine is about 16 inches). There is a small cut-out designed to feed a tube through for a water bladder.
There is also a "hidden" back compartment designed for off-body carry. VERTX and several other companies have holsters that attach via hook & loop to allow you secure firearms, blades, magazines etc. I cannot carry at work (where I use this pack) but it is designed to sling on the slide, with an over-sized large rubber handle connected to the zipper to allow quick access to the "hidden" compartment. There is also a stiff plastic plate tucked away behind a zipper that could be replaced with a ballistic plate if you feel the need for it. This plate gives the bag its form.
The straps on the bag have all kinds of loops and webbing to attach accessories and to feed a tube through to drink from the bladder. The backing of the pack is a soft mesh to allow your back to breathe and has a "cutout" behind it that you can use to stick on the handles of luggage or if your going tactical with a plate inside to be used as a "shield". Lastly is a picture of the stuff I use the pack to carry daily for work.
Summary: Cheapest I found the pack was $130ish with a coupon from ebags.com. The design and finish of the bag are top notch, this is designed to be a discrete off-body EDC bag, but fits my need as a work pack perfectly. I love how slim it is in comparison to my old Swiss Gear bag. I don't like that a normal water bottle struggles to fit. I do love that there is more than enough storage for just about anything else. The bag carries well (use it 5 days a week for the past 2 weeks) and is comfortable and slim. If your someone who can't carry on person at work but want to have your firearm on you I think this bag would be a great option, works great as an EDC work pack as well.
An example of everything you could cram into a Gamut
Thats some Tacticool goodness right there..
I discovered Grunt Style around Halloween of last year. A few weeks earlier, I had ordered some pro-2A shirt from some other seemingly fly-by-night place. Honestly, i forget what shirt I ordered or even if I still have it. Well, as a result, Grunt Style started appearing in my Suggested Ads. I had clicked over a few times but never really considered ordering. Then one day, the American Infidel shirt popped up. Despiote my not being affiliated with any street gangs, I have always had an affinity for the Oakland/Los Angeles/Las Vegas Raiders logo; which is the basis for the Infidel shirt. So, I added it to my cart. Then I saw the American Spartan design. Which is another logo I've had an affinity for. It's been on since that point forward.
If you're not familiar with Grunt Style, they are a veteran owned and operated apparel company located in Illinois (near Chicago from what I gather from their videos). Their website reports nearly 200 veteran employees. Since I'm not great at giving to charities or volunteering time, I have a tendency to like giving my business to veteran owned and operated companies.
The craftsmanship of their t-shirts is actually quite good. Unlike that other place I ordered from that led me to Grunt Style in the first place. The shirts are very comfortable. And, at 3XL, they conceal my EDC very well. I have a lot of confidence wearing their clothing outside the house and not having my firearm exposed. That's a big deal in Marxachusetts. While they employ an array of original designs, they have a few designs based on popular logos. Like the Raiders for instance. Also, I recall seeing designs based on the Hawaiian Punch logo, Seattle Seahawks, Wheaties, Mountain Dew and the stripes in the American flag are made of Rifles. And who wouldn't love that?
They offer more than just t-shirts, in case you were wondering. The offer men & womens streetwear, golf shirts, hats, shooting gloves, tactical bags, ponchos, aprons, shorts & button downs. I must own 6 or 8 or 17 Grunt Style shirts by now. American Spartan, Infidel, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Rifle Flag and I just ordered America: All Day. Every Day (which my tracking # says was delivered but I have not received yet!) My absolute favorite, though is the one pictured above.
To check them out for yourself, they can be found at www.gruntstyle.com
I've had an obsession with the Spartan image ever since I saw the Sig Spartan 1911 on a shelf in a local gun shop. This is one of their better selling shirts. I love mine.
Based on the Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders logo, this purports to be thier best seller.
Ryan tells us about the VP9SK IWB holster from Deep Concealment.
They can be found at dchofsfl.com
The Trouble With Massachusetts (Part 1)
The Springfield XDS 9mm is a single-stack, sub-compact pistol designed for the concealed carry market. The pistol I managed to get my hands on ships with 2 8 round extended grip magazines and 1 flush fit, 7 round magazine. It's overall size places it larger than the Sig P938 and about the same size as a Walther PPS. It has the standard Springfield CCW hallmarks; Fiber Optic Front sight, Loaded chamber flag on the top of the barrel and a back strap safety. For a sub-compact, it is very soft shooting with minimal felt recoil.
The Springfield XDS was unveiled at SHOTSHOW 2012.
But isn't it 2017? Why are you writing a review of a pistol that's almost 5 years old? Well, yes, it is 2017. And as to why I am writing a review of a 5 year old release? In a word: Massachusetts.
Before I go any further I just want to acknowledge that recently there has been a great deal of uproar regarding Springfield Armory. This article isn't about that. I'm using the XDS as a baseline example because of some of the outrageous things that had to be done in order for Massachusetts gun owners to get their hands on one. For the record, there are many manufacturers whose products are not available for FFL transfer here. Colt, Kimber, Glock (post 1998), Taurus (pistols) and even some models of popular manufacturers like Sig Sauer and Walther.
In addition to the patchwork set of laws, rules and requirements that make acquiring a Class A License to Carry (LTC) an iffy proposition in the state of Massachusetts, the state has gone out of it's way to make it very burdensome for manufacturers to get their products approved for FFL transfer here. Things such as requiring a 10 lbs. Trigger pull, magazine drop safety, manual thumb safety, loaded chamber indicator or some combination thereof. Truthfully, even I don't really know what makes a gun MA compliant.
As a result, some manufacturers don't even try. And the MA versions of the pistols from those that DO try, well let's just say they leave a lot to be desired.
Despite the limitations on FFL transfers here, there is no such rule affecting private sales (between 2 law abiding & licensed gun owners). Long story short, you can get your hands on some of these sweet guns, except you need to go through the private market. As a result, you're subject to private sale prices.
That brings me back to the Springfield XDS. About 2 years ago, I inquired with someone regarding an XDS that they were selling privately. It was a regular Springfield XDS whose only 'upgrade' was some lime green color fill on the slide where it said 'XDS.' The asking price? $1250. Last summer, I visited maine on a day trip and stopped by a local gun shop – not because I ejoy making myself cry. But because I was curious. There was an XDS in the case for $425. Therefore, the private sale asking price was almost 3X retail. Furthermore, ask a lot Glock owners with a Gen 4 in this state how much they paid. They might tell you. After they stop sobbing and punching stuff.
Massachusetts has seemingly gone well out of it's way to make acquiring pistols extremely difficult. A lot of us are at the mercy of the private market, and the private market prices. Don't get me wrong, I'm not here to bemoan the prices on the private market. Good for that guy if he found someone to buy what is essentially a Walther PPS for $1200. I might have done the same thing. But the reality of the private market is that average Joe's (of Geoff's, as it were) doesn't have that kind of scratch just sitting around
All I am saying, as a legal & licensed gun owner with no criminal record and who has not once accidentally shot himself, his fiance, his cat or the toaster is that it shouldn't be this way. And THAT'S why i started this article by reviewing a 5 year old gun.
Springfield XDS 3.3 9mm
Gen 4 Glock 19 - image credit: gunivore.com
In the interest of full disclosure, you should be aware that I know Joe, of Loader Joe's outside personally. He & I have met up numerous times at this point. We have orchestrated a few trades and even gone shooting together once or twice. I'm not reviewing this item as Joe's friend. I'm writing it as someone that legitimately gets geeked about trying various guns, gear, accessories and ammo. I'm also writing it from the point of view of a self-professed idiot who can never seem to get even the simplest project to work right the 1st time. Let's get started.
Craftsmanship: Hand made from maple, the detail is quite good. The carrying handle is a nice touch, as are the numbers carved along the 'alley' as I call it, that gives you a rough idea of how many rounds you have laid out. The slot where the magazine is placed is also carved slightly wider to easily lift the mag out. Also, the logo that can be placed into the rounded area is a nice touch as well. Joe presently has about 2 dozen logo's that people can choose to personalize their loaders.
Durability: It seems pretty solid. The wood is coated, as is the logo stamp. I've loaded several magazines and have yet to cut any kind of unsightly chunk out of it.
Ease of use: It's made from maple, so it's designed to be light. So it could reasonably be placed into a range bag. You could also use the carrying handle if you really were intent on carrying it with the rest of your shit. Now the big question: does it actually work? Yes. I've loaded 3 20 round mags, a 30 round mag and a 10 round mag. All without a single hiccup (except the one instance where I put the mag in upside down and thus was loading rounds backwards). 5 magazines loaded, and I have not sent a single round flying across the room, gouged myself on anything, jammed my fingers between anything or sent the board itself skittering off the table. 5 mags loaded successfully.
Other notes: as well as a pushing block, it comes with a small spacer block. That's to be placed behind a 30 round mag for leverage.There is 1 con though: I noticed that it doesn't save an enormous amount of time after you're done emptying the box of ammo and then laying them out into the 'alley.' But, for people like me that have issues gripping, or others that want to pre-load quite a few mags before they go to the range, it's quite a handy thing to have.
Half Assed Synopsis: Very Recommended
The Loader Joe is in production and available for purchase. Unfortunately, there's no website or specific Facebook Group. If you're interested in one of your own, email me at email@example.com and I'll get you in touch.
This is the logo I chose.There are close to 2 dozen or so to choose from
This pic was snapped mid-loading. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for info on purchasing your own Loader Joe's
Tuesday, May 2, 2017 was a very special day for myself. My phone started ringing, and much to my surprise, it was my gun dealer.
I answered the phone to some fantastic news. My dealer was calling to tell me that he was looking at his distributor’s inventory to place an order for some firearms, and noticed they had ONE VP9SK in stock, and asked me if I wanted him to order it for me.
He hadn’t finished the sentence before I said I’d take it. The gun arrived on Friday, and I made the trip to my dealer’s place of business to run my NICS check. I didn’t even open the case at the dealer because I knew I’d be holding it the whole way home, and the last thing I needed was someone in a high riding SUV to pull up next to me and freak out at the sight of a handgun.
When I got home, I placed the unassuming Heckler & Koch black plastic clamshell, with that vivid red logo just minding its own business in the corner of the case. A quick flip up of both locking tabs and I was opening the case. There it was, my new VP9SK. In the box, along with the handgun, were 2 sets of varying sized grip inserts, a lock, user manual and 2 steel ten round magazines (one with an extended finger grip), packaged in form fitted foam, all in the typical HK style.
The VP9SK is a spinoff of the successful VP9 series from HK. It sports a smaller grip as well as a shorter barrel and the gun is obviously focused toward the concealed carry market.
As I pulled the handgun from the case, the handgun immediately felt at home in my hands. I already have a VP9, so my first move was to replace the grip panels for the smaller panels and backstrap. The gun comes with the medium panels and backstrap installed. My hands are not small, but when it comes to European firearms that have a paddle magazine release on the trigger guard, I like to get my thumb closer to the magazine release so that I can release the magazine with my thumb as well as my index finger. I find that doing so allows me to have a much more refined cadence to doing drills of different varieties.
From this point I examined the controls, which to my liking are exactly as the VP9s are: very form fitting to the side, simple and not busy, and easy to manipulate… with ONE difference. The slide lock on the right side of the gun does not have any movement or wiggle as it does on my VP9; which had a slight wiggle from the day I bought it. Another feature carried over from the VP9 are those little charging tabs to the rear. I like these because instead of manipulating the firearm into a position to grab the slide with an over hand grip, I have another option in which to load the handgun.
The sights, also in the VP9 fashion, a Novak style cut, metal and with luminescent dots. I am happy to have these sights because I prefer to pick my own night sights handguns.
Disassembly of the handgun is simple: on an empty magazine pull the slide back to lock, remove the magazine, turn the takedown lever and send the slide forward. You DO NOT need to pull the trigger to disassemble the firearm, but you must have the magazine removed. Disassembly of the slide is like many modern-day striker fired handguns. The link-less barrel secured by the guide rod and recoil spring assembly come apart to break the slide down into 3 pieces.
One thing that is a carryover from the VP9 are the beefy and large slide rails. Many competing brands have smaller and thinner slide rails, which work well and are part of the design. However, there is something nice about seeing longer and thicker slide rails built into the receiver of a handgun.
After stripping the factory oils and applying a few spots of CLP, I took the VP9SK to the range.
I brought 250 rounds of American Eagle 115gr 9mm FMJ, 100 rounds of Tula 115gr FMJ, 50 rounds of Wolf Steel Cased 115gr FMJ, 100 rounds of 124gr Winchester White Box FMJ as well as 100 rounds of RA9T Winchester Ranger 147gr JHP non-bonded ammunition.
This HK pistol was, boringly reliable, much as all my other HK variants are. Round after round, zero hiccups. No FTFs, FTEs, dead triggers etc. For each type of ammunition, I ran two magazines of each type, and then continuously mixed the magazines up for the rest of the 600 rounds.
IDPA targets were used at the range for this trip. At 5, 7, and 10 yards my grouping remained tight, within 1-3 inches. At 15yds I could maintain 4 inch groupings and at 25 yards I was able to maintain 8 inch groupings. The gun is more accurate that I am as a human, and out of the box the sights were clearly aligned perfectly. Throughout the range trip, I attached and removed a Streamlight TLR-1 to the 1913 Picatinny rails at various intervals, which did not affect the operation of the firearm.
One thing I will note is how soft the felt recoil was to me. The gun uses a guide rod/recoil spring system that is like the Glock 26. In comparison to the G26, the gun feels softer on each shot than the 26, which possibly has something to do with the weight differences between the two. To compare the felt recoil to the VP9, the VP9SK is slightly snappier than the full sized VP9.
I left the range with an ear to ear grin on my face. Hopefully this gun is approved for commercial sale in MA in short order, because I think it will be a hit with the concealed carry community. A step further is that I hope HK sees immediate success on this product and also introduces FDE and Grey variants.
To the almost 700 of you that have supported my Facebook Group, Thank You for your support. I hope you enjoy the website as much as I am enjoying putting it together.
The goal of this site was never intended to capture members for a subscription fee or sell them a bunch of crap. Just so happens, I'll have some crap to sell eventually but as always no obligations.
I also have the goal to never charge a single dime for anyone to view our content.
We will always be an evolving work in progress. Check back often for new content.
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