Category Archives: Tactical Gear

SKILLS: Are You Carrying Enough In Your EDC?

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Minimum or maximum? Kit Perez provides some questions for us to answer to find our own solutions. READ MORE

edc

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life, by Kit Perez

The question of what to keep in your everyday carry, or EDC, is a hotly debated one. A simple web search shows that opinions run the gamut. Some claim a minimalist approach is best: a watch, wallet, and sidearm is all you need. Others carry a small backpack with everything from paracord to a rocket stove, and a few even get into hidden tools such as belts and bracelets with concealed blades, handcuff keys, and small saws.

With such a wide variety in both opinions and product availability, how do you know what to carry? What’s necessary and what’s fluff? The answer is much simpler than you might think. The bottom line is that no one can decide for you how much or how little you need to carry — and you shouldn’t decide it either until you understand what you actually need on a daily basis. You might be carrying far too much.

What’s Your Personal Situation?
Before you run off and buy the latest and greatest in must-have survival tools for your rapidly expanding EDC, stop and ask yourself a few questions.

How far from home do you work?
If you work two blocks from home, chances are you aren’t going to need that huge bag with three days of food. If, however, you’re one of the unfortunate souls who’s experienced what it’s like to be stuck on a freeway with no exit for six hours because of a massive accident, you might think that having some food handy on your daily drive is a big deal.

Do you commute via public transport or your own personal vehicle?
Many of us prefer not to draw attention to ourselves. We’d rather fade into the crowd, and we want to be able to move quickly when necessary. Lugging around a big bag that looks like you maxed a credit card at a sporting goods store while you’re sitting on the train might not make you a target, but it definitely makes you slightly less mobile and more interesting to those around you.

If you’re driving yourself to work, you have a bit more flexibility. Perhaps you can compromise and keep a few extra things in your car, but not carry them on your person.

edc

What potential situations could occur?
This is the biggest question to ask yourself. Certainly, anything could happen, but let’s be realistic with our preparedness. Think about a possible pickle you could find yourself in and start asking what you’d need in order to deal with it.

A lot of this has to do with you personally. Do you have a severe allergy or other medical condition that mandates you carry supplies? Do you have a specific level of training that allows you — or requires you — to carry certain things?

What are you capable of or willing to do?
One uncomfortable truth about carrying a firearm every day is that there may come a time when you need to use it — and not everyone is truly comfortable with that, or even ready to deal with the ramifications and consequences that can arise from doing so.

The same applies to those who carry an EDC bag with all kinds of medical supplies in it. Do you have the training to use them? More importantly, are you able and willing to use them if needed? Not everyone is, and that’s something you’ll need to decide for yourself.

Is It Possible to Be Overprepared?
Some would say no; in their opinion, you should be prepared for literally anything. But let’s stop and game that out a moment. Can you truly be prepared for any situation that could possibly arise? Can you, in a practical sense, really haul around anything you might need for whatever comes?

You might carry a small air compressor, a few basic tools, or a can of Fix-a-Flat in your truck, for instance, but obviously you’re not going to have one of every single part your car has. You’re not going to do major repairs on the side of the road, so why have all of that with you?

You’re far better off doing some self-analysis, figuring out what you’re most likely to encounter, and carrying the basics to help deal with that. Prepare intelligently, maximize your available space, and minimize the EDC overkill.

Kit Perez is a deception/intelligence analyst, writer, and homesteader. Basics of Resistance: The Practical Freedomista Book 1, her book co-written with Claire Wolfe, is available on Amazon, with Book 2 due out in Fall 2019. She lives in the mountains of western Montana, where she raises dairy goats and serves on her local volunteer Fire/EMS department.

 

REVIEW: The Commander With No Name — The Rock Island Armory 10mm

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“This isn’t a two thousand dollar gun but it shoots like one!” Attention hard-hitting 1911 fans, here’s a 10mm Commander to check out. READ WHY

RIA 10MM

Bob Campbell

Some time ago the 10mm cartridge hit the ground running and enjoyed a flash of popularity. Soon after the 10mm was eclipsed by the .40 Smith & Wesson cartridge. The 10mm was kept going by a small but loyal base. But the 10mm is enjoying a credible comeback. I think that a learned appraisal of the cartridge is part of the reason. The 10mm isn’t a .41 Magnum but with modern loads it nips at the heels of the .357 Magnum with certain offerings. There are 10mm loads with modest recoil that are easily handled and others that breathe fire and recoil like a drum roll. We have rapidly expanding frangible loads, jacketed hollow point bullets with an excellent balance of expansion and penetration, and hard cast bullets that feature deep penetration for game hunting.

I recently tested a very expensive handgun called “The Gun With No Name.” That three thousand dollar 1911 was stylish with no scroll work to distract from the beautifully machined slide. It inspired the handgun reviewed here, the Rock Island Commander 10mm — yep, a Commander-length 10mm — has had the slide “wiped” of the markings some of us find distracting (although this pistol still has ‘RIA’ in the serial number). It’s the Tac Ultra MS.

RIA 10MM
Note scalloped ejection port and well designed beavertail safety.

The Philippine produced Armscor pistols are affordable but workmanlike handguns that enjoy a deserved good reputation. The company produces bare-bone bones GI guns and also target pistols. The ‘Rock’ is offered in 9mm, .38 Super, 10mm, .45 ACP, and .22 Magnum, as well as the .22 TCM caliber. The pistol illustrated is a Commander type with 4.25 inch barrel. The kicker is this is a 10mm Commander, a relative rarity in the 1911 world.

RIA 10MM
The bull barrel is a good feature. It is well fitted.

While the slide treatment and refinish are aftermarket and custom grade, the best things about the handgun were already in place. The pistol features a bushingless bull barrel. This means that the barrel dispenses with the typical 1911 barrel bushing but uses a belled barrel to lock up with the slide. This makes the full-length guide rod necessary. The pistol features a bold front post sight with fiber optic insert. The rear sight is a compact but fully adjustable version. The ejection port is nicely scalloped with a unique and attractive treatment. The beavertail grip safety is an aid in insuring the grip safety is properly pressed to release its hold on the trigger. Those that use the thumbs forward grip sometimes form a hollow in the palm and fail to properly depress the grip safety. The RIA beavertail eliminates this concern. The extended slide lock safety is an ambidextrous design. The indent is clean and sharp. Trigger compression is a tight 5.2 pounds on my Lyman Electronic Trigger Gauge. The grips are checkered G10. The pistol is supplied with two magazines, and I added several additional MecGar magazines into the mix for testing.

RIA 10MM
The pistol’s sights leave nothing to be desired.

For the test fire the magazines were loaded with SIG Sauer Elite FMJ 10mm. This load is clean burning, affordable, and accurate enough for meaningful practice. The pistol comes on target quickly and handles like a 1911. The low bore axis, straight to the rear trigger compression and hand fitting grip make for excellent handling. The pistol proved capable of center punching the target time and again at 7, 10, and 15 yards. The pistol is controllable but this isn’t a 9mm that you may punch holes in the target with at will. The much higher recoiling 10mm demands a firm grip and focused concentration. The mantra here isn’t a nicely centered group on target but a few solid hits with plenty of horsepower. Be certain you understand this before trying the 10mm. It isn’t something to be taken lightly. If you choose the 10mm you have a cartridge with excellent penetration, good wound potential, and, if need be, the ability to protect the owner against dangerous animals.

RIA 10MM
The pistol was fired with a variety of ammunition.
RIA 10MM
The pistol is controllable in rapid fire- but the shooter must expend some effort.

I also fired a number of first-rate defense loads. These included the SIG Sauer V Crown hollow point, the Buffalo Bore 155 grain Barnes X bullet, Hornady 180 grain XTP, and the Federal 200 grain HST. I fired a magazine full of each. No failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. Even firing these loads the pistol remained controllable. I fired, allowed the trigger to reset in recoil, and fired again as the sights were returned to target. To test absolute accuracy I fired the pistol from a solid bench rest position at 20 yards. I used the Hornady 180 grain XTP and the SIG Sauer 180 grain FMJ loading. The results were good, with the average group at 2.5 inches. The Rock Island 10mm pistol is clearly accurate enough for personal defense and perhaps even hunting thin-skinned game or wild boar out to 35 yards or so.

RIA 10MM
The GALCO Stryker was used during range drills.

Learn more HERE

SKILLS: Why You May Want A Laser On Your EDC Pistol

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Great advice from umpteen time pistol shooting champion Rob Leatham. Take it! READ MORE

rob leatham

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life, by Rob Leatham

The fact you’ve chosen to carry a firearm means you want to be prepared to protect yourself. Being able to hit what you shoot at — that’s what it’s all about. However, simply having a gun isn’t enough. You need to, among other things, HIT what you aim at. Otherwise the resulting use of your firearm may create more problems than it solves.

Unfortunately, to be blunt, most concealed carriers are not skilled enough to hit what they shoot at. I know I sound pessimistic, but I have seen it for decades — shooters who do not prepare for the realities of when, where and how real world situations occur.

Are You Ready?
If you want to do this right and have a chance of survival, you have to be as ready as you can be. Being ready is a byproduct of preparation.

Here is the beginner’s list:

First step — you need to have a concealable gun, like the Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 9mm.

XD-S Mod.2 9mm

Second step — you have to train and practice. And I mean doing it like it matters. You can’t just shoot 10 shots through the gun to see if it works and say you are good to go. The gun will work. You’ve picked one of the most reliable compact handguns possible. That’s why I carry one. I’m not worried about the gun working, I’m worried about you working!

Third Step — learn marksmanship. To train to protect your life, you need to look beyond just having the gun and knowing some tactics. You have to address the elements of marksmanship that lead to its effective use. If “IT” hits the fan and you have to shoot, you had better hit what you are shooting at. In regards to that, there are two points that standout as being the most important: Fire Control & Aiming.

In this article, I’m going to address aiming.

Front Sight Fiasco
The problem with aiming is that we have taught you all wrong. I apologize. We “shooting instructors” tend to focus on aiming in a clinical sense with little attention paid to how situations might really happen. Let me explain…

Scenario: You are in a fight for your life, things are happening around you fast and the distances are close. Too close. Like the really dangerous distances of contact and just out-of-contact range.

Action plan: You will likely need a better marksmanship goal than the old guidelines of, “Look for that crisp, clear front sight focus.” I have heard it explained far too often that you can’t hit anything if the front sight isn’t clearly in focus. This is absurd.

In a fight you will likely need to watch and monitor what is happening. Your gun may be in your hand. You likely will have it pointed at an imminent threat. You likely will be stressed and nervous. You likely will be scared. You will likely be reacting to events as they unwind. And, unfortunately, if national statistics are referenced, you will likely MISS when the time comes to shoot. Let’s try to avoid this by outfitting ourselves well.

Armed to Aim
You need to stack the odds in your favor. It’s already a day gone bad, so let’s not make it worse. You need to give yourself the best possible chance to not miss. You do this by training and preparing your mind and equipment.

While far more important than your equipment choices, training is a complex subject that needs to be addressed in a personal and physical manor. I just can’t do it very well from across the inter-web. I can tell you about which guns and holsters and calibers to choose. I can tell you what skills to work on and describe drills that test you. But I cannot train you. I need to be able to watch you to correct you.

But I can tell you about aiming:

Aiming is the process of recognizing and causing alignment of your firearm onto the target. This is unchanged regardless of context.

Aiming is simple and yet not easy, especially if you don’t shoot a lot, and especially under pressure or duress. Fortunately, there are products that can help if this is something you struggle with.

The sights that come on something like the XD-S Mod.2 9mm are excellent for quickly aiming that pistol. They are easy to see and allow you to accurately align your pistol on target. Fiber optic and/or night sights, they are as good as iron sights can be. Period.

But are they your best possible choice?

Let’s say you are an experienced shooter who has trained for decades and shot hundreds of thousands of rounds. Like me! You have learned simply by feel how to do most of the aiming/aligning process. You are what many would call a good “point shooter” too. I will likely never need anything as good as the sights that are on the XD-S Mod.2.

But what if you are not like me? And what if it is dark? And what if you have not practiced enough with your awesome new carry gun? How are you going to know where that gun is pointed in that moment of need? You won’t have the feel I do, nor the confidence. You may need something more.

Sharks With Laser Beams
Have you thought about a laser (If it’s good enough for a shark…)? #AustinPowers

A laser aiming device will show you, while allowing you to keep your eyes on your target, exactly where the gun is pointed.

Even if it is dark.
Even if you are not holding the gun in a manner where you can see the sights.
Even if you are knocked down and lying on the ground.
Even if you physically CANNOT see iron sights clearly.

Does that sound helpful? Beneficial? Favorable?

And how about this, do you wear vision correction like I do? While I can put on my fancy DECOT shooting glasses in preparation for a competition, they aren’t my daily wear. They allow my old eyes to focus on the sights, something I can’t do with my daily eyeglasses. And I don’t want to wear them for anything except shooting. Sure, they are magical. They have returned my ability to see standard sights like I did decades ago. They do this by making my eyes focus at the approximate distance of the front of my gun at arms reach. Kinda like if you have to wear “readers” to read, but everything past that is fuzzy. This is perfect in a competition, but in a fight I need to see what is “downrange” much more clearly than “fuzzy.”

So About That Laser…
A gun-mounted laser allows you to see where the gun is pointed, regardless of your vision or the distance or how you’re holding the gun. You can see where the gun is pointed in low light, and/or with the gun in a retention position. The list of benefits goes on. For many, if not most of us, a laser on your pistol solves many mechanical problems you may encounter in a fight.

The Viridian laser mounts perfectly to the XD-S Mod.2 9mm. It is quick to install, simple to use and fast when it comes to aiming. And most importantly, it will likely be a great tool for those who:

Aren’t able to train every day
Don’t have great hand-eye coordination
Have poor/substandard vision

It is by no stretch of the imagination a guarantee of acceptable marksmanship on its own, but a gun-mounted laser can be an excellent solution for your “aiming issues.”

I suggest you give one a try on your EDC gun. I can’t imagine a better compact self-defense combination.

Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

ROB LEATHAM
Rob Leatham, captain of Team Springfield, has been with the Springfield Armory family since the late 1980s. He is a world-renowned competition shooter and firearms instructor who is highly regarded as one of — if not THE — most-winning Practical Pistol Competitor in history. Rob’s sheer number of National and World Shooting Titles make him unique in the firearms industry. He has trained shooters from all walks of life — from IPSC World Champions to Military Special Forces Operators and from Law Enforcement Officers to civilians for Self Defense. In the competitive shooting world of IPSC, USPSA, Steel Challenge, IDPA and NRA Action Pistol, Rob’s competition career has spanned decades.

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REVIEW: Kel-Tec Model RDB17

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“Low budget, high value bullpup” so says the author. If that’s what you’re looking for, read all about this one HERE

kel tec rdbkel tec rdb

Wilburn Roberts

The Kel-Tec RDB17 could be considered the working man’s bullpup: nothing fancy, but it sure performs. The RDB17 is a no frills bullpup that is very functional with a simplistic approach.

Features and Function
The RDB17 is constructed of two polymer halves that sandwich around a steel action and barrel. The gas piston system has a gas regulator so a user can regulate the weapon to run on all sorts of ammunition and also be adjusted for a suppressor. The gas regulator can be adjusted with the open mouth from an empty 5.56 NATO case. It’s click adjustable and comes from the factory ready to run on standard M193 type ammo.

The RDB17 features a left side charging handle that is non-reciprocating. It locks against the forend when not being used. The cooking handle provides good leverage when cocking the weapon with the support hand on the charging handle and firing hand on the grip.

kel tec rdb
The charging handle folds out and provides plenty of leverage to cock the RDB.

The outside texture of the polymer features a very coarse grid pattern that is comfortable and offers plenty of grip purchase. A picatinny rail at 12 and 6 o’clock allow mounting of and optic or vertical grip.

kel tec rdb
The ambidextrous safety selector on the RDB17 is located under the thumb of the firing hand and easy to manipulate. The simple magazine release is designed so a magazine can be stripped away with the support hand.

The controls include an ambidextrous rotating safety selector that is easily manipulated by the thumb of shooing hand like an AR15, but requires less rotation than the typical AR15 selector. The magazine release lever is also suited for left or right hand users. The lever is designed so the magazine can fall free as the operator grasps the magazine to remove it since the operator’s hand naturally falls on it. The simple metal magazine release is pressed to drop or strip away the magazine.

Field stripping the Kel-Tec is simple. Push out two pins and it disassembles similar to an AR15. Rotate the grip downward and the barrel and bolt carrier can be removed from the stock/grip assembly.

The RDB uses a unique downward ejecting system. As the bolt move rearward the extractor pulls the cases out of the chamber and into dual ejectors that push the case down a chute so empties fall at the shooter’s feet.

kel tec rdb
That slot aft of the magazine is the ejection port on the RDB17. It dumps empties straight down.

The Kel-Tec comes with a 20-round magazine and is also compatible with standard AR15 magazines, which I and I’m sure many others will appreciate. I used Brownells’ aluminum body magazines, Magpul Pmags, and Hexmag, all 30-rounders.

Firing
I tested the Kel-Tec with a SIG Romeo4B red dot sight which excels at close to medium range. At ranges out to 100 yards the dot suffices and while most red dots tend to cover a lot of target at far distances the Romeo4B allows the user to toggle between four different reticles: 2 MOA dot, 2 MOA dot with ballistic holds, 2 MOA/65 MOA Circle Dot, or 2 MOA/65 MOA Circle Dot with ballistic holds. The ballistic holdover points are calibrated for 5.56 NATO and 7.62x51mm NATO rounds. An activated motion sensor immediately powers up illumination when the red dot senses motion and powers down when it does not in order to extend battery life. A nice feature for those of you like me who forget to turn off the red dot and find it dead the nest time you use it.

kel tec rdb
The SIG Romeo4B red dot was well suited to the RDB.

Three brands of ammunition were used including Aguila 5.56mm NATO with a 62-grain FMJ bullet, .223 Rem. Federal Fusion loaded with a 62-grain soft point, and SIG Sauer .223 Rem. ammo loaded with a 77-grain OTM Match bullet.

At 25 yards using a rest I could create one large hole in the target. At 100 yards and using the same rest the accuracy ranged between 2.5 to 3 MOA. In speed testing, the RDB17 ran well with no malfunctions. The handguard incorporates a ridge so your support hand does not get too close the muzzle. Hot brass falls at your feet. The trigger was not as refined as I would like, but usable.

kel tec rdb

The Kel-Tec is a basic bullpup that in my opinion and it will get the job done. If you have a need to own a bullpup and have a limited budget this would be an excellent option.

kel tec rdb

See more HERE

Suppressors: Beyond The Myth

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With the growing interest in this firearms accessory, what’s real and what’s not? Here’s the real… READ MORE

suppressed handgun

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life, by Fred Mastison

There are few items in the firearms world with as much mystique and wonder as the modern day suppressor. These handy devices have seen an astronomical increase in interest as people begin to discover all of the benefits of owning and using a suppressor on their firearms. The first step in this conversation about suppressors is to get a quick look at how these little gems work.

When we press the trigger the gun fires and a chain of events is set into motion. The fired round produces hot and pressurized gases that force the bullet down the barrel. Once they launch the round out of the barrel they escape into the open and in doing so experience a dramatic change in environment which causes the explosive sound we hear. Suppressors work by chambering and controlling those gases to more efficiently funnel them and cool them before they leave the gun.

The suppressor is composed of several parts depending on the brand and design, but essentially all share some common parts. The main body or expansion chamber is composed of a series of baffles that efficiently funnel, cool, and spread out the gasses to reduce their noise once they do reach the outside. The number and design of the baffles is often a trademarked item as each company looks to find the holy grail of silence. The end result of this gas pinball action is a quieter shot with reduced recoil.

Contrary to popular belief, suppressors do not completely eliminate the sound of a weapon being fired. Some do an exceptional job but they are in no way truly silencers. The funny thing about that is that the ATF in the NFA division actually list suppressors as “silencers.” Why they do so is not known to me, but my guess is that it was a term in common use when laws were written and it simply stuck. Suppressors are also commonly referred to as “cans” because of their design. The ultimate goal of a suppressor is to make the weapon “hearing safe.” This means the sound is controlled and diminished to the point that hearing protection is not required. In some guns this is easy and made easier by the use of subsonic ammunition. Others, however, will never reach that level, but the percussion of the shots are less spleen damaging.

The perks of running a suppressor are many, but protecting your hearing is by far the most critical. This is especially true for shooters that put a lot of rounds down range each year. There is a cumulative effect and in time without superior hearing protection you will begin to notice the effects. Suppressors help to reduce and even eliminate that problem. Another benefit is a reduction in muzzle rise. This allows us to stay on target and in turn shoot faster. One last positive aspect of suppressors is their ability to diminish muzzle flash. This is very important to military and law enforcement that use night vision.

There are essentially three types of suppressors that we have access to. First is the thread on can. These devices attach to the threaded portion of your rifle or pistol barrel. Once the most common type of can, they are starting to become a little rarer as designs have improved. Our second can is the quick detach or QD can. These devices are sold with a host muzzle device that is attached to the rifle. The can simply slides on over the top of the device and then locks into place via the company’s chosen method. These are popular because they allow us to more quickly move our can from one gun to another. All you need to do is buy additional muzzle devices and you can share one can across many guns. The last type are integral suppressors. These are devices that are incorporated into the actual barrel of the gun. These are considered to be the quietest cans because they have larger chambers and are set up for a specific gun. To the naked eye, these guns simply appear to have just a slightly thicker barrel. A great example of this is an integrally suppressed .22LR bolt rifle with a port. When using subsonic ammunition this gun is as close to silent as a suppressor can get. In fact the mechanical sounds produced by the gun such as the trigger clicking are many times louder than the shot.

The downside to suppressors is that they fall under the National Firearms Act or NFA. This means that in order to get one, you need to file specific paperwork with the ATF and pay a $200 tax stamp fee. The approval process can run anywhere from 90 days to nine months or more depending on how many forms the NFA has to process. Once approved you literally will get a stamp. It looks like a fancy postage stamp and is your golden ticket to owning your suppressor. You need to go through this process for each can you purchase and many people have become “stamp collectors.”

Even with it being a pain in the caboose, owning a suppressor is a great idea. If you take a new friend shooting for the first time, using a suppressor is a good way to ease them into things. Once again, I will mention hearing protection as one of the major benefits. Overall, the benefits of having a suppressor far outweigh the downsides. More companies are making them and prices have dropped dramatically over the years. If you have been considering going quiet, I encourage you to make the jump. The quicker you do the paperwork, the faster you will get your can!

Fred Mastison is a national magazine contributor, professional firearms and combatives instructor and executive protection provider and trainer. He is also the host of the weekly firearms podcast Center Mass. He has written over 600 articles for 27 different magazines. He is a reserve police officer and has been training in firearms & close quarter combatives for over three decades. Additionally he has almost 40 years in the martial arts and holds advanced degrees in multiple arts. He currently holds 17 separate law enforcement POST course certifications around the U.S. and is a certifying instructor for law enforcement firearms instructors in handgun, patrol rifle, shotgun and sub machine gun. In addition to training in the US, Mr. Mastison has divisions in Germany, Ireland and Mexico.

 

How Do You Protect Your Guns at Home?

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If you have them, here’s how to keep them, and keep them handy. READ MORE

gun safe

Jason Hanson

A few months ago, police in Las Vegas, Nevada, released a troubling report —

Three hundred guns were stolen from homes in a period of 40 days!

Obviously, Las Vegas is a big city. But the scary thing is there are 300 more guns in the hands of bad guys who might be willing to use them to commit more crimes. According to Officer Larry Hadfield, “People get their firearms stolen, and the same people that are committing these crimes commit other crimes.”

The sad fact is most people don’t think about locking up their guns until it’s too late. Another factor is that many states (Nevada is one) have no gun registration. So when a firearm is stolen, it’s difficult to track or verify if it ends up being used in a crime.

As gun owners, we are responsible for our firearms whether they are on our person or stored in our home. I’m a big fan of home security systems that include cameras and other layers of added protection.

But here are some more specific things you can do to protect your firearms — in addition to the security measures you should already have in place for your home:

Rapid-Access Safes
This type of safe typically uses RFID or similar technology to open quickly when you need to access your firearm. They can be opened with biometric technology, a card, bracelet or key fob and are a great way to keep others from getting to your guns.

Rapid-access safes are the perfect size for a nightstand or dresser. In fact, my home defense pistols (a Sig Sauer P226 and Springfield 1911) are stored in a rapid-access safe on my nightstand. I recommend looking at Hornady and Gunbox rapid-access safes.

hornady rapid access

To keep a criminal from walking off with the safe, secure it with a cable that runs down the back of your nightstand and is fastened to a large piece of furniture. Even if a criminal goes straight to your nightstand, they won’t be able to take the safe with them because the safe is anchored and the cable can’t be cut.

Gun Safes
You might think this is obvious. However, there are several factors to consider when it comes to gun safes — I can assure you all gun safes are not created equal. Plus, a gun safe is something you don’t want to go cheap on because it’s so important.

A large, quality safe will run you a few thousand dollars. A large safe will be difficult to move unless you have the right equipment and a number of people to lift it. The majority of criminals won’t even try to move a massive safe.

In addition to being heavy, safes of this caliber are very secure. They are extremely difficult to break into — unlike what you see in the movies.

Generally, most thieves who break into a home want to grab as many valuables as they can and quickly leave. They won’t spend hours trying to crack a large gun safe. Safes made by Winchester and Liberty are great options.

Wall Safes
This might seem like another obvious choice for secure firearm storage, but the fact is wall safes are a perfect way to store guns because they are easily concealed. You could install a wall safe behind a picture, mirror, clock — basically anything you can hang on your wall.

Even if a criminal uncovers your wall safe, they most likely won’t have the time or tools to pry it out. One wall safe I recommend checking out is made by Console Vault. Their Wall Vault sells for around $270.

Hidden Safes
These days, more and more companies are selling furniture with hidden compartments for firearms — beds, dressers, bookcases, clocks and more. In my opinion, this isn’t the most secure way to store firearms, but it is an option many people prefer.

tactical walls safe

One reputable company that makes this type of furniture is called Tactical Walls. This company sells everything from tables to clocks to lamps to stash concealed firearms. Most of their products utilize RFID technology to open the storage compartment which keeps your guns instantly accessible in an emergency.

Like I said, this isn’t necessarily the most secure way to store firearms, but I know many people would rather have an extra piece of furniture in their home instead of a massive safe. Plus, how many street criminals are smart enough to recognize a piece of furniture designed to store a gun and then be able to figure out how to open it?

The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the best thing you can do to lower the chances of your firearms being stolen is to have multiple layers of home security including an alarm system, cameras, a dog AND a safe. If you have children or grandchildren, please take the extra steps to ensure all guns in your home are secure and inaccessible to kids.

Even if you live alone, I highly suggest using some type of safe or hidden storage area for your firearms. If you have a plumber or an electrician in your home, you don’t want them to see guns lying around. Even if they’re honest, you never know who they’ll share that information with.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free copy of his book, visit www.SpyEscape.com.

The Hornady Rapid Access is on SALE now at Midsouth HERE 

 

REVIEW & RETROSPECT: Colt’s AR 15 — Trail-Dirty Deeds and Off Road Shooting

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The author says the Colt’s is still the AR-style rifle by which all others are judged. READ WHY

colt ar15

Bob Campbell

There are several variations on the Colt’s AR 15 rifle. While I have my favorites any of the Colt’s will give long service in the harshest environments. It is like the old question of do you know the difference between an elephant and an ant? An ant can ride an elephant — many companies have done the AR 15 and some have done it well but the Colt’s is still the one that all others are judged by. On that subject the same may be said in spades concerning the Colt 1911. The pistol has been first with the most since 1911. While there are high grade handguns that are good examples of the maker’s art, those that cost less than the Colt are, well, cheaper guns.

colt ar15
This is the Colt’s LE carbine with standard forend.
colt ar15
This is the author’s long serving M4.

Field Test
I elected to go a field test of these guns. You have to get down and dirty sometimes. I appreciate my firearms but they are workers. I also love my shiny near new Jeep, but I took it across the Jeep Beach at the Outer Banks. That is what it is made for.

colt ar15
Note M4’s quad rail.
colt ar15
Each Colt’s features a birdcage type muzzle brake.

The Colt’s LE6940 was good enough to cause me to retire my long serving Colt’s HBAR. The LE6940 carbine is about as accurate in practical terms as the longer rifle and carries much easier. I like it better. With a flat top, a CNC machined 7075-T6 Aluminum forging, and Colt’s quality, this is a winning combination. A chrome lined bore, four position collapsible stock and the classic flash hider are all hallmarks of the carbine. It uses .0154 inch hammer and trigger pins so be certain to specify Colt when ordering an aftermarket trigger or parts. The chamber is a 5.56mm NATO, and the barrel twist is 1-7. The barrel is .750 inch diameter at the meeting of the gas block, slightly less the rest of its length. The trigger and safety are crisp in operation. One example is fitted with the XS sights rear aperture that allows using the conventional sight picture at longer range while using the sight notch at 7 yards. The Paul Howe designed CSAT makes for great utility for home defense use. The other sports a Redfield Battlezone optic.

colt ar15
The Colt’s collapsible stock is a good feature.

Firing Test
I fired 80 rounds in each rifle, firing from 25 to 100 yards, firing at quickly as I could regain the sight picture. The iron sighted rifle was by no means hopeless at the longer range but very fast at close combat range. The scoped rifle is a joy to fire and use at longer range. Both rifles, using PMag magazines, were completely reliable. The rifles have been fired extensively but this was the first outing with SIG Elite ammunition. The combination proved a happy one. I used the SIG 55 grain FMJ loading with good results. There were no function problems of any type.

colt ar15
The author really likes the XS rear sight. It is useful for close range and long range depending on which aperture is used.

The next step was firing for accuracy. I used the Sig Sauer Elite Match .223 Remington Open Tip Match (OTM) 77 grain E223M1-20 loading. This load has proven accurate in a number of rifles and I thought now was a good time to qualify its performance in the Colt rifle. I fired twenty cartridges in the open sighted Colt first. While I am not quite as sharp as I was once with iron sights I did well enough at a long 100 yards, placing three shots into groups of 1.7 to 3.0 inches. I suppose that is good enough for government work. The other Colt, with its optical sight, made things much easier. This time I realize the full accuracy potential of the loading. At 100 yards the Colt/SIG Ammo combination posted an average group of .88 inch, measuring the group from the center of each of the most widely spaced holes in the target. That is good enough to ride with.
Neither rifle was cleaned during this test.

sig 223 ammo
SIG Sauer Elite ammunition gave excellent results.

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REVIEW: Bond Arms Bullpup — A Great Carry 9

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This may be the most advanced 9mm handgun on the planet.  READ WHY

bond arms bullpup

Bob Campbell

When we look at a new firearm we like to know where it came from and what operating principles it is based on. The Bond Arms Bullpup is a result of Bond Arms purchasing the rights and machinery to the Boberg pistol. Before that there isn’t a lot owed to anyone for this design. The pistol uses the proven locked breech short recoil principle but with a twist — literally. The pistol features a rotating barrel. A rotating barrel lessens the need for a heavy recoil spring and guide while controlling recoil. This is important in a very small 9mm handgun. Recoil energy is expended over a longer period of time. The barrel rotates 14 degrees during the recoil cycle as the slide unlocks and shoots to the rear. The recoil spring is pretty light, with its main function moving the slide back into battery after the spent cartridge case is ejected. As a result of this design the slide is very easy to rack. Easier than any other 9mm I am aware of.

bond arms bullpup
The mechanism is complicated but works well.

At first glance the pistol appears to have a very short barrel, when you realize the barrel takes up a lot of the slide. The 5.1 inch slide contains a 3.35 inch barrel. This means that the average velocity loss compared to a Glock 19 as an example is less than 40 fps average. That’s impressive and necessary as well as the 9mm demands good velocity to ensure bullet expansion. The Bullpup moniker comes from the pistol’s unique design. The magazine is loaded conventionally but the front of the magazine is closed and the rear open as the cartridge feeds from the rear. A dual tongued drawbar catches the cartridge case rim and pulls it from the magazine and feed it into the chamber. This is controlled feed at its nth degree. The cartridges must be carefully selected. The problem isn’t a blunt nose but cartridge integrity. A firm crimp is demanded. With this in mind, the company supplied a list of cartridges they have tested and which offer feed reliability. Included are inexpensive training loads and top notch defensive loads.

bond arms bullpup
Good sights are essential for combat accuracy.

I am particularly impressed with the grip design. The supplied wooden stocks are attractive and offer good abrasion and adhesion. The stocks are wide enough to soak up recoil and remain slim and trim for concealed carry. The sights are good examples of combat sights. As for improvements over the original pistol the primary improvement is in fit and finish. The Bond Arms Bullpup is as well made as any handgun. It isn’t inexpensive but it is innovative and it works as designed. A big reason the new pistol isn’t as finicky as the original — and the Roberg ran fine with good ammunition and proper lubrication — is that the reciprocating barrel and barrel block now feature a frictionless space age coating. This eliminates the need to keep the barrel and locking block coated. The take-down is the same as the original using a lever to remove the slide. This lever may be turned to the six-o’clock position in order to lock the slide to the rear. The slide does not lock open on the last shot, it simply isn’t practical with the Bullpup design. Be aware during combat practice of how the pistol behaves. Get a rhythm going and perhaps try to count the shots and practice tactical loads.

bond arms bullpup
Firing the pistol is a joy- this is a light recoiling and accurate piece.

When firing the Bullpup 9 I had a pleasant surprise. This is a very nice pistol to fire. It isn’t the lightest 9mm at about 22 ounces but recoil is decidedly light. The trigger action is very smooth. The Lyman digital scale measures 7 to 7.5 pounds on average. Press the trigger straight to the rear until it breaks cleanly and you have a good hit. During recoil allow the trigger to reset. The result is good control and surprisingly good combat accuracy. Most of the ammunition fired has been the recommended Winchester 115 grain FMJ, as well as Sig Sauer Elite 115 and 124 grain FMJ. The pistol is also reliable with modern expanding bullet loads including the Hornady Critical Defense and Critical duty and the SIG Sauer Elite V Crown loadings. Accuracy is exceptional for this size handgun. The pistol will exhibit a five shot 1.5 inch group with most loads at 15 yards, firing from a solid benchrest firing position. Of course this doesn’t have much to do with combat shooting.

Firing offhand it isn’t difficult to keep a full magazine in the X-ring well past 10 yards. I executed the 10 10 10 drill — modifying it to 10 10 7. Ten yards, ten seconds, and seven shots. The pistol stayed in the 8 and 9 ring. This is good performance. The pistol demands attention to detail, both in maintenance and in handling. The Bond Arms Bullpup comes with a hefty list of advantages foremost of which is its small size. Yet the pistol retains a full length, for a compact, pistol barrel and offers light recoil and excellent accuracy. This isn’t a handgun for the slightly interested. For the demanding shooter it is a top notch piece.

bond arms bullpup
This is a group fired from a solid rest at 15 yards.

Among a very few concealed carry holster makers offering a suitable concealed carry rig for the Bond Arms Bullpup 9 is Alien Gear. The soft backing coupled with a rigid Kydex holster makes for good comfort and a sharp draw. There isn’t another holster offering a better balance of speed, retention and comfort along with real concealment.

bond arms bullpup
The pistol carries well in this Alien Gear holster.

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REVIEW: Taurus Judge

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Bob Campbell takes a look at this unique revolver that has in a short time become an iconic phenom. READ MORE

taurus judge

by Bob Campbell

Handguns are reactive instruments. They are carried on the person to answer a threat. They may be kept at home ready to address a threat in the home. If we have warning, then we are most often better advised to deploy a rifle or shotgun.

The handgun then is the weapon of opportunity. While handguns are not the most powerful firearms, they are the ones we are most likely to have on hand when a firearm is needed to save our life. I have spent several months evaluating the Taurus Judge and have formed a favorable opinion of the revolver for specialized use.

The Judge is a 5-shot revolver that chambers both the .410 bore shotgun shell or a .45 Colt cartridge. This means real versatility. By the same token, the design limits the accuracy and range of the revolver. As a pure, short-range home defender, the Taurus Judge has merit.

taurus judge

There is a considerable argument that getting on target fast and getting a hit — any hit — very fast is critical. This is true. I have taught that it is better to slow down and get a center hit than a fast miss. This doesn’t mean a fast hit isn’t possible; it simply demands practice.

The Judge addresses this need by offering a shot payload. The .410 bore isn’t a powerhouse, but with the right load — and that is the key — it offers a viable defense option. Surprisingly, my evaluation indicates the Taurus Judge may be viable for protection against predators at close range as well. My test piece is perhaps the most common Judge (there are several options), a steel frame revolver with a 3.0-inch barrel.

The revolver is light enough, handles better than its ungainly appearance suggests, and offers good hit probability for those that practice. Fit, finish, and smoothness of action are good. The revolver features a red fiber optic front sight. This sight offers a good aiming point and aids in rapid target acquisition.

A short barrel handgun with a smooth bore firing a shotgun shell is illegal, the .410 and the .45 Colt are close enough that Taurus was able to design and manufacture a revolver chambered for both the .410 shotgun shell and .45 Colt cartridge. There is rifling but it is fairly shallow.

Like all double action revolvers, the Judge is simple to operate. Open the cylinder, load the chambers, and press the trigger to fire. No slide to rack, and no safety to operate. The concept is to allow the shooter to get a fast hit with a load of shot. While each individual buckshot pellet doesn’t carry much energy the effect of the loads hitting instantly with several projectiles offers excellent wound potential.

Load Selection
You may have seen ill-conceived videos and hype in which the Taurus Judge is fired at a target and the target is peppered with hits. Birdshot is a tiny shot grade intended to humanely kill a bird with a few hits. It is by no means useful for personal defense. Like firing a full-size shotgun, birdshot is fine for practice but not personal defense. A charge of birdshot from 7- to 9 shot carries hundreds of small pellets that form a pattern.

taurus judge
Federal’s buckshot load is a simple and effective solution to .410 buckshot.

At the typical personal defense range, this pattern runs 18 to 32 inches. This is 7 yards, past that birdshot is useless. Worse, the small shot penetrates only a few inches. A felon wearing a heavy winter jacket may not be hurt at all. At about 15 feet, the Federal 4 buckshot load, carrying #3 buckshot, holds a cohesive pattern of less than three inches. This is a preferred load for those using the .410 load for personal defense.

taurus judge
This is a pattern from the Federal buckshot load at about 15 feet.
taurus judge
As range progress misses are inevitable.

The Federal load is advertised at about 750 fps but actually clocked over 800 fps in the Judge. The total payload is 292 grains. Winchester offers a PDX load with a total payload of over 300 grains, with three flat disks and a load of BB Shot. With this load, the pattern is often quite large (as much as 16 inches at 15 feet) with the disks striking the center of the target.

taurus judge
The Hornady Triple Defense load offers good wound potential.

The Hornady .410 defense load features a .41 caliber slug followed by two round balls. The slug generally tracks straight with the point of aim with the balls radiating around the center. It is essential you pattern the shot on a paper target to determine how the shot spreads at 5 to 10 yards.

In my opinion, 7 yards is the outside range for these loads, although the Hornady slug with its FTX design might be useful a bit beyond. The bottom line, buckshot and specialty loads are useful for home defense and for short-range defense against predators. Penetration tests in water jugs and wet newsprint indicate these loads will produce a serious wound.

According to A Prepper’s Guide To Shotguns, birdshot may penetrate a six-inch gallon jug and some shot will make it to the second jug, but very few. Federal’s 2 ½-inch shell with 4 OOO balls penetrates over 24 inches, which might correlate to 18 inches in gelatin. That is excellent.

The Winchester PDX load exhibits a much larger pattern. However, the three disks in the PDX offer a 3×4 pattern at 15 feet. The much larger pattern is made up of 12 BBs. The Hornady FTX slug penetrates 15 inches from this revolver, with the two round balls making a total 3 to 5 inch group at 15 feet.

These heavy loads should produce devastating results at 15 feet to perhaps 21 feet, the magic 7 yard average range. In truth across a room or bedroom is more likely. The Judge must be aimed, but the pattern has spread enough to aid in hitting at 10 to 15 feet. This handgun isn’t useful past 21 feet with shot loads.

Another option is to load the Judge with .45 Colt ammunition. In order to meet Federal law pertaining to handguns and shotshells the Judge is a .45 Colt revolver with the option of firing .410 shells. The barrel is rifled. The long jump of the .45 Colt bullet from the chamber to the barrel throat would seem to limit both velocity and accuracy. In some cases this is true. However, my most recent testing indicates that this loss isn’t always what we think it may be.

The Judge is plenty strong for the heaviest loads, including hard cast SWC bullet handloads. It depends on how much recoil tolerance you have. A good choice for personal defense is the Hornady Critical Defense. This 185-grain bullet has a good reputation for expansion and penetration. Velocity is 891 fps form the three-inch barrel Taurus Judge. Recoil is modest. This load strikes to the point of aim. At 15 yards, five shots fired from a solid benchrest firing position yielded a 3-inch group. This is plenty accurate for personal defense.

Another choice worth considering is the Winchester PDX 225-grain JHP. This load offers a heavy hitter at 780 fps. This bullet weight offers plenty of momentum. The .45 Colt is among a very few handguns that performs well without bullet expansion. This was proven in the Old West and in many engagements since.

A solid choice is the Winchester 255-grain lead bullet. This bullet exits at 770 fps from the Judge. (And 778 fps from a 4 ¾-inch revolver on hand for comparison.) Penetration is about 18 inches, ideal for personal defense, yet recoil is mild. This is also a relatively accurate load with a 3-inch, 15-yard group. If the Judge owner anticipates a long shot, the .45 Colt offers proven wound potential without high recoil.

The Judge is a specialized handgun. It isn’t a go-anywhere do-anything handgun by any means. But what it does, it does well. It is worth your time to explore the Judge.

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SKILLS: COVER — A MISSING TRAINING ELEMENT

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When it comes to correct and comprehensive defensive training, nothing, no matter how simple it seems, can be taken for granted. This is a very good example. READ MORE

using cover

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life, by Travis Pike

You would think something like using cover would be easy, and self-explanatory. Just get behind it and avoid getting shot — simple, right? Well, yes, but let’s look at the process of using cover and talk about how to use cover to its maximum potential.

Cover vs. Concealment
Concealment is a barrier that prevents an enemy from seeing you. Cover is a barrier that prevents an enemy from shooting you. Concealment is more common and bullets will often zip right through it. While your average car is mostly concealment, the engine area makes good cover. Things like walls, doors, and furniture are rarely suitable as cover. You need thick wood like a powerline pole, a concrete column, or something made of thick, layered metal.

If you are wondering how to find cover start looking now. Make it an exercise to find and identify effective cover when you are out and about in your normal everyday life. You’ll learn how to identify cover and you’ll be ready in case something pops off.

Step 1: Establish Proper Standoff
Standoff is the distance between you and the barrier you are using for cover. The rule of thumb is roughly two arm’s lengths from cover. There are a few reasons for this. First, the extra distance from the cover allows you to essentially pie the cover, and this keeps the maximum amount of cover between you and your target.

using cover
Establlish proper standoff. Not too close!

If you stick too close to your target you won’t maximize coverage. You could also run into issues with an opponent’s rounds striking the cover and causing splatter from their bullets as well as the cover itself. Catching some of that splatter can result in an easily preventable injury. Additionally, if you are too close and start firing you could send debris and dirt up in the air that can distract and potentially blind you.

Having the proper standoff from your target will also allow you to maintain better situational awareness and to have better peripheral vision. You’ll also have more room to reload and fix potential malfunctions. Using cover to rest your weapon is not advised and works better in three gun competition than a gunfight. Unless your weapon is belt felt you might want to keep it from resting on cover.

In a situation where an opponent is above you, it’s advised to get closer to your cover. This allows you to present less of a target to your opponent.

Step 2: Maximize Your Cover
Cover saves lives, so make use of it. When engaging your opponent expose as little of your body as necessary. You should lean out from the waist, and only lean out far enough from cover to put your front sight on your target. Hide whatever you can possibly hide when trying to take your shot.

using cover
Good use of cover.
using cover
Coming too far out from cover.

If possible, lean out and shoot from around your cover. Shooting over your cover exposes more of your head and makes you a bigger target.

Step 3: Be Unpredictable
Predictability and complacency go hand in hand with each other. If you are dipping behind cover, try to present yourself from a different angle the next time you break cover. Being predictable allows your opponent to simply wait and play whack the gunfighter. Break cover from a lower position, or from a higher position, or from the complete opposite side.

Step 4: Account for Sight Offset
Look at your gun. How high are the sights above the bore? With a handgun it’s just a little above, while with an AR, it’s quite a bit. Regardless, you have to account for your sights being taller than your bore. Ensure your barrel is clearing cover before you fire. This was something we ran into with new Marines quite a bit when teaching the basics of battleground micro cover. Many would be striking something nearly directly in front of them because their ACOG was higher than the barrel.

using cover
This can create splatter, potentially poking your own eye out in a gunfight.

Staying Covered
This is the basics of using cover and from here the next step is getting out and practicing the basics. Your cell phone and its front-facing camera is an excellent tool you can use to see if you are using cover effectively. You can see yourself and obtain real-time feedback. As you utilize that feedback and continue training, you’ll find yourself becoming more comfortable and using cover to its maximum effect.

See the complete article here, plus VIDEO

Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

TRAVIS PIKE is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms based hobbies.