What can you do to help?


You can get yourself a sweet outfit and enjoy a pants-free lifestyle too, but more importantly you can donate to help fund awareness campaigns and research into fighting these diseases. Simply go to the Kilted to Kick Cancer Donate page and make your tax deductible donation today! Please remember to select "Team Guns & Coffee" from the drop-down menu as well.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Had this one on the hard drive for a while...


















Range trip planned for Monday, plus fireworks and a large aperture lens on the camera at some point this weekend, so hopefully I'll have some inspiration/motivation in a few days.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is Starbucks listening?

The cup of plain old Starbucks I got at Barnes & Noble is much better than the last cup of plain old Starbucks coffee I had back on Starbucks Appreciation Day.  Coffee may vary by location perhaps?

Wisconsin and Constitutional Carry?

Right now we can't.  At all.  But it seems like things may be changing.  Last month at the state Republican convention they (narrowly) voted to strike obtain permits to from their stance on 2nd Amendment issues.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Party of Wisconsin, in caucus assembled, urges the Wisconsin Legislature to adopt legislation to permitting law‐abiding citizens without a felony record or a record of serious mental problems to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons;
This is a huge reversal from previous years where they simply had no stance towards 2A issues.

Another ray of hope in the overall debate is Gov. Doyle's announcement not too long ago that he will not be seeking re-election this fall.  The State Legislature has previously passed "shall issue" style legislation twice in the past, only to be vetoed by Doyle, followed by barely failing to override.  Combined with a nation wide swing towards conservative and Tea Party candidates for numerous offices, things are looking quite hopeful for it this time around.

But what is truly ridiculous, in an awesome way, is in the striking of those three words.  What that means is the official goal of the State Republican Party in regards to Concealed Carry is Vermont/Alaska/Arizona type carry.  If it were to happen, that would mean a switch straight from no carry to unrestricted carry! (Assuming the current School Zone case goes our way and the vehicle restrictions follow.)  Yesterday's Supreme Court announcement just seems to further support the cause.

It'll probably be a year yet before we see any real developments, and it almost all depends on how things go in November, but it's good to see things swinging this direction.  If you live in Wisconsin, it's definitely time to start doing your research and really pay attention to state level elections this time around.  We're a hair away from becoming the 49th state to allow our citizens the ability to truly and completely defend ourselves, now's the time!

Slipped right by me...

I noticed it the other day, intended to say something about it, and completely forgot, but it looks like SOCOM is less than impressed by their SCAR Mk-16s.  It sounds like a lot of "what can it do that an M4 can't?" as they are retaining the Mk-17s (the 7.62 version.)  I can see the ambidextrous safety and brown finish not really balancing out the loss of compatibility with "the Big Army" and other parent services.  Apparently there are also a fair number of guys who simply prefer the M4 for their 5.56 platform (I can't argue.)

I don't know why, but I've never quite warmed up to the SCAR.  I think it's a partially due to mediocre experiences with FN built M16s throughout my military service, although I have no complaints as far as quality goes for their belt feds.  Just some truly crappy M16A2s (functioned ok, fit and finish was garbage) and some meh A4s (see reverse of earlier, had a bunch with sub-par gas rings that had cycling issues.  Was quickly fixed, but should never have happened.)  I haven't had the chance to fire a SCAR, but I've handled one and it just didn't really excite me either.  Granted a lot of that was muddied by knowing what the price tag said too.  I have a feeling that if I ever play with an ACR it'll be a similar experience.

Overall, I can see where they are coming from.  My personal AR carbine has ambidextrous controls (all but mag release anyway) and is a good mix of colors, and could be tan in a matter of minutes if I felt the need.  I have yet to have an issue with the DI system (granted I'm running a mid-length system.)  The only real advantage I can see with the SCAR is that you can fold it, a wish that's left over from my days of being in a mechanized unit and having a full length M16.  I can easily see the decision that the benefits do not outweigh the price and loss of compatibility.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Oh,

in case you were loosing sleep, I did get my wheel fixed with plenty of time to have it along this week.  Although once again I'm reminded of why I need to invest in a good full set of bike tools.  $15 to replace a $1 spoke, all because it was a drive-side rear one and I don't have the tools to pull a cassette.

Late to the party.

So I did hear about the decision just as it was released, but then I had to get in a Humvee, and they are lacking in that type of radio equipment, so everybody else has had a chance to look over things and muss and rejoice(?!) and cry into their ties.  Or if you're the VPC, just say the same stupid thing a little louder because if you say it enough, it will turn true, even if completely retarded.

Uncle does bring up a good question, "what now?"  I would love to see an attack at all the crappy NFA rules, but I'm sure that'll be a ways off, despite how awesome and right it would be.  General consensus over there is a run at the various gun registries, and that does make sense and flows and everything.  It looks like Mr. Gura already has started going after Cali, which is good.  Also registration fees (comment 15) seem like a good one.  I would still love to see a loosening (ok, erasure) of NFA restrictions in the near future... 11" suppressed AR sounds like a fun build...

Apparently the Brady Bunches Wikipedia entry had some brief hilarity.  Thankfully a screen capture has been preserved at Sharp as a Marble.  Praise his noodly appendages for keeping me from taking that sip of coffee before I embiggened.  (Also, as a cartographer, I will mention that the map on said Wiki page uses a color scheme that is the opposite of what I'd expect from their point.  You'd think they'd want the least restrictive states red...)

That's really all I've got for now, going to skim the actual decision when I'm bored and having trouble sleeping, and still need a bit of time for things to sink in and settle.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Top Shot episode 4

Wow, four episodes already!

So I'm writing this as the opening credits are rolling, and I'm just going go ahead and guess that the guys with traditional military sniper training are going to do best this week.  Just seems like the nature of the challenge, and it's similar to some of the stalking training they do (loosely, but still similar enough.)  We'll see how that guess works out in a half hour or so.

I'm going to stop giving things away a little for those who haven't seen the episode yet, so further stuff after the jump.


1858

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Feeling the urge...

...for a .44mag double action revolver.  Not exactly sure why, but do you really need a reason?  I'm not really well versed on revolvers, I know enough to get by without embarrassing myself, but I think it would be fun to get into them a bit, and having a friend with the stuff to reload .44mag doesn't hurt either.  Plus it seems to be a relatively forgiving caliber to cut my teeth on for rolling my own.  (Not gonna short-cycle a revolver with a light load after all...)

Any suggestions for a decent gun that's not going to break the bank?  Looking more for a duty sized gun, not a little snubby or a long hunting piece.

Meh?

Trying to think of something to write, but I just can't think of much at the moment.  Lots of little disconnected thoughts bouncing around my head, varying from hopeful daydreaming to mild frustrations.  Need more coffee I guess.

Did go to the range this morning with Cro, burned off a few hundred rounds of .22lr, and a few mags of .45acp. Nothing serious, just stress relief after a couple weeks of playing army with our respective units.  It's kinda sucky wearing the uniforms and messing around with the guns doing "army stuff" and not actually shooting things, especially when you're gunnies like us.
(On a side note, it's amazing how many people we've run into in the Army who genuinely are not gun people.  I know LE tends to be the same way, but I can kind of see that.  For a cop, his gun is ideally the last thing he's going to use in his daily job, but for a soldier, we'll not so much.  Yet there's still guys in the military that don't fully grasp how an M16 works.  Not that it's hard to understand, but they just don't take the time.)

On the up side, the shop just called, and my wheel's done.  That'll make this next week go by faster I hope.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

FORBIDDEN!!!

Was going to link to a new scope development out of Israel, but Panera Bread's network says that The Firearm Blog is forbidden content, so no linky.
Steve, if you're reading this, be aware that you apparently strike fear into the hearts of sandwich makers.

Biking grumbles...

First off, when taking your bike with you on trips away from home, don't forget your floor pump if you're running Presta valves.  You only want to use a mini-pump in an emergency.  That's not the kind of workout you're going for.

Secondly, busting a spoke and finally finding a bike shop 15 minutes after it closes is possibly even more frustrating.  At least my tire wasn't flat I guess, just a bit wobbly.

Hopefully I can beg and plead and get a wrench at one of the shops at home to get it fixed before I head back down here next week.  There's just too many trails around here too explore.

-
Hopefully back to a more regular blogging schedule by July...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fear

The La Crosse River State Trail skirts around the lot the armory sits on, so after work I went on a little bike ride (only 15 miles total...)  It's a beautiful trail from the little I've seen, a classic rails-to-trails project, so nice and gradual slopes, elevated above the surrounding marshes and swamps.  Definitely worthwhile checking out if you're in the driftless area and like bicycling on groomed trails.

However, in that short little ride, I ran into quite possibly the most frightening moment I've experienced to date while rolling along on two wheels.  I have been cut off by numerous cars, layed out my bike and slid along the pavement to avoid bouncing off a 1-ton Dodge pick-up, nearly had a knee sacrificed to appease whatever evil daemon is responsible for Mini-coopers (their mirrors are right at my knee when I'm on a bike.  It missed it by about 2 inches.)  I've had moments on technical single-track where you have a fraction of a second to realize that "keep both wheels under you" is actually some damn good advice, especially when you're looking at both of them above you and the nice big rock is quickly approaching.  I have bombed down hill on a fire road at nearly 30 miles an hour, noticing a fallen log crossing the road with only enough time to bunny-hop and hope.  I have nearly smoked a handful of trophy whitetail bucks, and countless numbers of their womenfolk while speeding through the woods.

I have had quite a few close calls in my time riding.  But nothing has made my heart jump and cause my butt to make as tight of a fist as seeing that skunk right next to the trail with his tail in the air, and his backside pointed right at me.  Nothing to do but pedal faster, hold your breath, and hope.

(Thankfully it was just posturing on his part.  The only bad smells at the end of my ride was my own stink from riding 15 miles in 90+ degree heat.)

Portage County Open Carry Picnic

Happened last Saturday, and I missed it.  I had other obligations across town that the powers that be deemed more pressing.  Slightly miffed about that, but Uncle Sam keeps waving money in my face.
(*disclaimer: I'm not trying to take anything away from my fellow soldiers, but having just gotten back in the Army two months ago, it seemed a bit silly going to a "welcome home" parade for a deployment I wasn't part of.)

The Stevens Point Journal ran a couple articles about it before it happened, one announcing it, and a second announcing the change in venue after the Sheriff threatened to enforce unconstitutional laws if it was held in a county park.  Amazingly, the Mayor of Stevens Point welcomed the group.  I guess I should say "thankfully," but to be honest, the guy never struck me as that sort.  He was listed in MAIG for a brief time...

Unfortunately, due to the other big event going on in town, the Journal hasn't gotten around to running anything about the picnic itself, at least not in their print edition from what I understand (I'm currently out of town, so it'll have to wait till Friday to confirm.)  However somebody did write a blog post on the Journal's website, and I can only imagine noodly appendages guided the writer's fingers.

Go read it.  It is outstandingly friendly to our movement, and I can't believe that it has any connection with the local fish-wrapper.
 There's much more too it, but overall, it's amazingly positive towards our movement, and towards any pro-carry movement, open or concealed.

All those present were fully clothed: there were no jammies, as you would see in Wal-Mart on a daily basis.
It was the most respectful crowd I’d ever witnessed. There was a handshake and a welcome for everyone; even the one woman who stopped by with her son, full of concerns and questions about the group’s intentions.
I think we can certainly chalk this one up as a win.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Top Shot episode 3

Lets take the young'n and drum up some drama!  I think there was a lot more "drama" in this episode than the first two.  Can we just get to the shooting?  Had to get that out of the system.

Looks like Blue team learned to keep their mouths shut about how practice went, that's good.  Caleb stepping up and taking charge was pretty cool too.  And seeing Blue dominate once again.  Did any of the producers work on Star Trek?  I can see how it's hurting Red team's dynamics though.  Things do start to go southward when you're dealing with that sort of attrition.

As for the competition, I kinda feel for most of the guys.  I can't shoot a bow worth crap without sights and a trigger release, and due to a bad wrist, I can't shoot a re-curve or longbow for more than a handful of targets.  I can shoot a compound for quite a bit longer though, and with sights and a release I'm pretty good.

The elimination challenge: good to see a good history aspect of the thing.  Hopefully that continues.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mythbusters

So we all (well, us gun people anyway) tend to rag on the Mythbusters and their mediocre gun knowledge, but watching their “Top 25 Special” did give me a bit of a warm-fuzzy.  The second one featured was Kari talking about how much she likes guns, primarily cutting down a tree with a minigun.  She said something along the lines of being a vegetarian hippie from California and never even thinking she would ever shoot a gun, let alone end up loving them.

I think every time I’ve seen her shooting on the show, she has a huge smile, the kind of smile Breda was talking about the other day.  Quite the awesome.

Prettiness

Scoped out one of the local landmarks after work yesterday, Grandad Bluff. It's about 600 feet higher than the surrounding terrain. Pretty cool.  Apparently the land off on the right side of the horizon is Iowa.  Just a little further right, just off camera, is Minnesota.  Pretty cool.  Forgive the mediocre photo quality, I don’t have Photoshop on the netbook, so I had to rely on my camera’s mediocre conversion from NEF raw to .jpg…

Gunblog Glossery

In case you ever get confused.  Looks like it should cover most things.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Me-hi-co

Mainly posting this as a reminder to myself to look more into this when I get the chance and energy... but there's some interesting developments happening along that southern border.

Heh.

After talking to one of my co-workers who lives locally, the random coffee house I stopped in at yesterday is by far the largest hippie-haven of La Crosse.  Nobody seemed too offended by the gun-company stickers on my netbook or the Bravo Company hat on my head though...

Good coffee though, and not too bad a price.  $2.10 for a cup, including one refill.  There's a used book store next door too, but my checking account said I couldn't even risk poking my nose inside there... another time perhaps.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bleg

Kinda how I feel after the last couple days of shifting boxes around aimlessly.  Of course the gub'ment computers block anything with "blog" in the title, so I had to search an unfamiliar city for a welcome-ish looking coffee house, that once located, had internet that fought my poor little netbook tooth and nail for an hour before submitting and letting me even check my email.

Lots of stuff going on in the world I'm sure, but not much time to read much of the news and absorb it, so there you go.

However I think we can all agree that walking around Pakistan with a sword just may raise some eyebrows.

Hopefully Sunday I'll be able to hash together some stuff and set things to auto for the week.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Top Shot episode 2

Holy drawn out Blue Team shooting... well at least for Jim.  That just felt like they were milking it for every second they could.  On the other hand, good to see Blue Team dominating once again.  Can't help but cheer for Caleb.  I'm know he's not going to tell anybody, but I'm pretty sure he got pretty far in the contest.  There's been so little of him (heh) off the range that I'm sure they're saving up his airtime for later in the series.

I did like the challenge, everybody shooting the same gun helped to even things up.  If the sights were off they were off for everybody.  Not a fan of the M9, but that's just preference.  They do work, and they are pretty dang accurate if you know what you're doing.  I just don't like the grip, and I have big hands...

The more indepth coaching before the elimination challenge was nice too.  The challenge itself was... interesting.  Finally a scenario where you may get some benefit from Magpul's Aerial Platform Ops dvd?  I'd give it a try though.  Could be fun.

Looks like longbows next week.  I'll probably watch, but I can't get too excited about it.

Gun Laws...

Really don't seem to work.  A look at European gun laws and mass shootings.

H/T SayUncle

BCM Gunfighter

One of the often overlooked problems with the AR platform is the lack-luster GI charging handle.  Way back in the day, the manual of arms would have you operate the handle with your right hand, one finger on each side of the handle.  While this works fine, the in thing these days is keeping your hand on fire controls during weapons manipulations (clearing, reloading, etc.), using your left hand (for a right handed shooter) to grab the latch side of the charging handle.  This keeps you in position to engage targets as quickly as possible after fixing the problem, as well as keeping your eyes downrange and nearer to the sights.

This is where the problems inherent with the GI handle start to show.  It's actually rather flimsy feeling, and I've handled Army issue M4s where I could not even operate that way without the charging handle twisting and binding halfway.  GI handles also have rather small latches that tend to bite your hand, and all the stress during use is funneled through the little roll pin holding the handle in place.  There are a handful of replacement latches available, but this does not fix the rigidity issue.

Enter Bravo Company Manufacturing and their Gunfighter series of charging handles.














What's With Short Frenchmen?

French President Nicolas Sarkozy doesn't want tall bodyguards.  Seriously.  We know the guy is short (5'5"), but from a straight up security standpoint, it's a horrible move.  Tall security guys can see better in a crowd, and tend to be a bit more intimidating.  But leave it to a Frenchman to be so insecure about his hight to compromise security so he doesn't feel too bad.

Testing something...

Here's a picture to make it worthwhile though.

Fair Warning

Blogging may be a bit hit or miss for the next few weeks starting Monday.  Going to be out of town on work related stuff and may or may not have easy internet access.  We'll find out.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

All the cool kids are doing it...

Uncle's doing it, ENDO's on there, even The Firearm Blog.  So I've taken the leap and started a facebook page for mine.  So far I'm the only one who likes me... you should change that.

Impromptu Range Trip

Cro called to let me know he was heading to the range, so I threw some ammo in my range bag and headed out to meet him and one of his coworkers.  Here's some choice pics(more after the jump.)  Aside from the disgusting humidity and mosquitos, it was a good time.  Anyway, pics(as always, click to make full size):


Friday, June 11, 2010

Poor Brady Bunch...

New icon from Sharp as a Marble to show the current state of affairs.

Wolf and ARs

So my A2 finally started acting up after a couple thousand rounds of Wolf without any serious cleaning yesterday. (Not quite as bad as this one though...)  She started failing to extract, and unfortunately my spray can of CLP in the range bag also found that it was time to run empty.  Grumbles.  Busted out the toothbrush to scrub off the bolt face a bit and did my best to squirt the last of the CLP into the chamber, followed by a couple passes of a bore snake to clean up the chamber a little (not much really though.)
Started working fine after that, although it's still quite disgusting in there, and I probably really need to scrub out the chamber with a dedicated chamber brush (had a couple stuck cases the first few shots that finally came out covered in big chunks of carbon) but it is kind of interesting to see how long it'll go, especially while being horribly abused (it's been probably 2,000 rounds since a real cleaning.  I should start tracking it...)

New Comp on the Market

Saw this over on WEVO, the BattleComp, a 5.56 muzzle brake that looks like a simplified KAC Triple Tap, and a much cheaper option at that. ($150ish)  The videos in the WEVO thread are pretty impressive, including some full-auto M4ness single-handed with little muzzle rise.

I just may need to pick one up to try out.  Pretty impressive.

Tactical Energy Drink

Perfect for washing down your Tactical Bacon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Somebody's having a bad day...

As most of you know already, a guy down in the Milwaukee area was OCing and done got his gun stole.  Of course there's all sorts of criticism flying around the interwebs, from both sides of the fence.  I'm going to refrain from harsh judgement until I hear more about it (the media being the media means the news stories so far have been crap...).

Of course Concealed Carry would have been a better idea in the situation, but please keep in mind that up here in Wisconsin Open Carry is our only option(941.23).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

1941 Lithgow SMLE

Pulled down one of my Enfields and took some pictures.  1941 Lithgow No.1 MkIII, with a Sanders 1907 pattern bayonet, an imposing piece of steel to be sure. I can only imagine what the rifle experienced over it's lifetime, and the bayonet would have an even more amazing story I'd bet.  I picked it up, along with few others, from a bazaar in Afghanistan.  Needless to say, I'd bet it got around.






















15 Things Worth Knowing About Coffee

From The Oatmeal.

Excuses

Nothing's really jumping out at me to talk about today, and it's the first day in like a week where it's relatively warm and not raining, so I'm going to put the boat on top of the car and head to a lake.  The wind is gusting pretty well, but meh.

Might get some motivation to take some pictures or something later though.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

M&P15-22 update-ish

She's still going strong, tried a couple lower end red-dots on it, nothing I'm happy with so far though. (XPS clone that had more glare than... well anything I've seen short of a frozen lake, and a Primary Arms MRD that just isn't bright enough for much of anything.)  Probably end up breaking down and finding a cheap real Eotech to put on there.


















7 mags through it on Saturday, 2 mag induced jams.  I've been using Shooter's Choice grease on the action rails and whatnot after just wiping down the components and running a bore snake through it.  So far pretty dang reliable for a .22lr auto (beats the snot out of my 10/22 in that dept...)  Breach face is getting pretty gross though.  We'll see how long that takes to become an issue.

Still undecided on attempting to thread the barrel.  It just looks wrong (especially since Dan's got one with the FH...) but I've never really done something like that before and I'ma skerd to mess up my gun I guess.  It would be fun to throw a brake on it though.

Oops

It's pouring rain, my car is all the way across the parking lot, and my rain coat is hanging up at home.

Guess I'll have another cup of coffee...

Why Join the OC Movement?

Because we've got the chicks.

Strawberry-Kiwi

That's one of my favorite flavors of Kool-aid.

Magpul just filed for a patent on what may be my next favorite flavor.  A Quad-stack AR magazine. (QMag?)















Interesting follower design to say the least, but I'll be watching with much interest.  No word on capacity, guesses are 50-60 rounds (looks around the same length as the PMag 40s due out later this year though, suggesting 60ish.)
Full application after the jump-

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rhinos

Weer'd Beard has a couple pictures and words about the new Chiappa Rhino revolver I think I've mentioned in the past. (Hum.  Guess not.)

I like the looks of the 5" setup.  Might have to keep an eye out for one.

Top Shot

Watched it last night like everybody else.  Overall, it's nice to see our sport in a somewhat more positive light, but at the same time, I'm reminded why I avoid reality TV.  Too much edited drama.

Good to see Caleb not sucking though.

If you missed it, it's up on Hulu.

Shotgunnin'

Just some cool pics from Saturday.











D-Day

Was going to post this yesterday...

Anyways, the annual fly-in/airshow at the Stevens Point Airport was yesterday, and the start of the event was once again the B-25 Mitchell bomber, "Miss Mitchell"









Gotta love the sound of a large-ish bomber doing some low passes.






























I do need to get a good zoom lens before I hit another airshow though... despite how much I love my 35mm primary, it's just not cutting it for this kind of stuff.

Not Broke!?

After 12 hour+ break in service, looks like Blogger is running again.  About time.
Contemplating moving to wordpress if this keeps up...
Blogger not letting me write any posts... Grr.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

1,800+ views...

in a matter of days, primarily due to Tam.  The squee inducing fawn from Wednesday has quickly eclipsed all others to become the most viewed post on my entire blog.  Not sure what to think... quite school and take up wildlife photography?

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's the simple solutions...

that tend to rock the most.  BLOCS Quick Eject Tourniquet Carrier.



Via Soldier Systems
I'm gonna have to pick up a couple.  Great idea.

What's a good way to set your coffee shop up for a hold up?

By actively making cops unwelcome.  I guess they just hope their karma will keep them safe (although I'd imagine that treating a human being this way simply because of their profession doesn't help out your karma much...)

My usual caffeine distribution center is all sorts of borderline new age and hippie-ish, but not too long ago they hosted a "morning coffee with the SPPD" sort of event, where the general public could come chat some of the city's finest in an informal setting. (I had classes, so I missed out on it, but the concept seems like a great idea.)

Czechpoint

Say Uncle linked to a new gun company who sells one of the "pistols" that I have wanted for years and have never had a good enough excuse to buy.  Might have to break down before the end of the year...

Tankettes

I'm half tempted to start an Ork army just to use these little guys.  They're so cute in a ramshackle sort of way.
















For a sense of scale, that little guy's maybe three inches long (the tank, not the Grot popping out the hatch...)

Savvy Sniper Tac 1-2 Sling

Another product review!

So it's pretty well agreed that a sling is essential to nearly any long gun, especially a defensive gun.  We've come a long way since the days of a simple two-point strap good for keeping your hands free and the muzzle out of the dirt, but not much else.  There was a brief upswing of the three point, and I rocked the excellent Spec-Ops Mamba in Afghanistan, a very comfortable and versatile rig.
But now days all the cool kids are running single point slings, especially on the M4 style platform.  The three point sling has the disadvantage of being a straight up pain if you ever need to switch from right to left handed, something pretty common in todays urban environment.
For a bit I ran the Magpul MS2, in conjunction with the ASAP plate on my midlength carbine.  The MS2 is one of a handful of single point slings that have a secondary clip that allows you to quickly switch from a single point to a two point.  The advantage being that a single point is ideal for a dynamic and up-close style of shooting where switching hands and transitioning to a sidearm is common, and a two point is much better at keeping the gun out of your way if you're doing something requiring two hands, and if used correctly, helps stabilize your rifle for longer range engagements.
The Magpul sling has a beefy alligator type clip to accomplish the transition at lightning speed, and of course the "Magpul" logo makes the kool-aid taste better.  But the webbing they chose to use is the same type of tubular webbing used in the climbing world, which is insanely strong, but very flexible.  I found that it wasn't quite up to spreading the weight of my beefy midlength rifle across my body.  The webbing has a tendency to want to fold in half and cut into the top of my shoulder, not to mention rolling and tangling up the quick adjustment system, and there is no stretch in the material, making this even worse when running.
Right around the time the MS2 was being introduced, Shotgun News ran an article about some new AR, I think it was something in 6.8mm, I don't remember, but the guy reviewing the gun was singing the accolades of the Savvy Sniper Tac 1-2 Sling.  What really caught my eye was the inclusion of a bungee section, much like my beloved Mamba, yet had the cool single-point/two-point abilities like the MS2. Plus free shipping!
Price is comparable to the MS2, but the Savvy Sniper has the bonus cool points of being handmade by some very cool people in Ohio, and I'm a sucker for the "custom" feel and coolness of that kind of thing.  So I sent an ordered up one for myself and one of my shooting buddies who was looking for a good sling for his M&P15.
Savvy Sniper is a smaller company, and orders are placed through email, and payment by an old fashioned check sent through the mail.  Some people don't like that extra bit of work, but it just kind of added to the whole "custom" feel of things for me.  Shipping time was pretty good for a made-to-order product too.

Handmade goodness-












Construction is top-notch.  Good strong stitching, quality materials and components like H&K clips and Fastex buckles. (various attachment options are available too)  I went with H&K clips, but now I see they have MASH hooks... I'll have to place another order soon...



The webbing is also Mil-spec webbing just like the MS2, but a much stiffer brand.  The quick adjustment system is also much simpler, and doesn't get fouled up nearly as often as the MS2's (which has been regulated to camera duty.  It really is a fantastic strap for a bulky digital SLR and an active photographer.)
The sling hooks up easily and securely, and the Fastex buckles are there for quick escape if need be.  In the single point config there's plenty of material to fit over a vest.  I actually run it with the non-quick adjust section tightened nearly all the way, and the quick adjust section pulled tight if I'm not wearing my vest, or let out a bit if I am (I like the gun riding high and close.) There's plenty of sling to transition from left to right hands tangle-free with the ASAP plate (so far the best sling plate I've ever used.)














And switched to the two point it's easy to slide the rifle out of the way onto your back if need be (a great asset for those in theater) or for a bit more comfortable carry during lengthy patrols (it just seems to carry better and keeps the rifle from bouncing around, but is still in the low ready.)














My only real complaint is that the d-ring the transition hook grabs onto tends to turn and end up side-ways.  It doesn't impair function, but it's a little annoying.  However it looks like they have a new sling that addresses this, and a couple other things (like the adjustment section just kind of dangling.)  I think I may need to upgrade...

Overall, a great sling, and an outstanding alternative to the often hard to find MS2.

Kydex Part V

Comparisons and Thoughts

(Final installment of the plasticy-holster reviews)

This part should kinda wrap things up for the most part.  I've kind of alluded to some comparisons throughout, but I wanted to sum them all up into one post.
Retention:
The Serpa Level 2 is by far the most secure feeling of the three.  Of course it is expected, being the only holster with an active retention system.  The Raven Concealment Systems Phantom is probably the least secure, but it is arguably intended for concealed carry (it is right there in the name after all) and holds the gun plenty well enough for that task.  However if I were going to OC in a more crowded environment, I would use the Serpa.  The Fobus lands right in the middle, securing the gun more than well enough for movement and generally carry purposes, but I'd be leery of trusting it in the event of a gun grab.
Coverage:
The Raven rig definitely covers the most amount of gun, yet still allows for a good hold when drawing.  Between the sweat shield and custom molded fit, this one will keep your gun from getting banged up the most, and the bottom is pretty well closed, with a drain opening directly under the light, which should help keep crud from getting into the muzzle.  The Fobus covers the least, depending on the gun, but I would prefer a bit of protection for the front sight, no matter how tough they are.  The Serpa gets the middle spot here, good coverage down to the muzzle, however it is wide open at the bottom.  It does have the "speed cut," exposing the chamber area, but still covers the ejection port.  I could do without, but it's not a deal breaker.
Comfort:
The Serpa takes the top in this one, with the Fobus a close second.  While I do appreciate the minimalist approach to the paddle concept from the guys at Raven Concealment, the hooks could be a bit more rounded on the wearer's side.  The Blackhawk setup is nicely rounded, customizable for belt width, solid yet flexible enough to keep from poking you.  It also spreads the weight of the gun out across your belt more.

The Serpa's paddle is nearly twice the width of the Fobus.












The Phantom spreads the weight out even more, there is definitely no feeling of the gun pulling your pants off, even with a full 15 round mag and attached light.











The Phantom is also the highest riding of the three, the Serpa holding the gun the lowest.













All three of them hold the gun in nice and tight to the wearer's body, although I'd like to see how a Raven made holster would feel with the 1911 for comparison (eventually...)

Summary:
All three of the holsters are great rigs, especially considering the prices.  The Fobus beats the snot out of comparably priced cloth holsters, and looks 5,843 times better.  The Blackhawk! Serpa is a steal for a durable, all around, secure holster, and is a king of versatility with both paddle and belt attachments included in the package.  The Raven Concealment Systems Phantom's quality is fantastic, and the "custom" fit and feel makes the little extra price and current wait well worth it, especially for some of the harder to find models, and is pretty much the only choice worth even considering if you run a light.
All three have their strengths (Fobus = value; Serpa = security; Phantom = light compatibility & custom feel); and all have some weaknesses (Fobus = extra finish wear; Serpa = potential mechanical failure; Phantom = low retention).
What I can say is buy any of the three with confidence.  You won't be let down.

Part II - Fobus Holster and Mag Holder
Part III - Blackhawk! Serpa Holster and Mag Holder
Part IV - Raven Concealment Systems Phantom Holster and Mag Holder

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Crazy...

So it may not be the gun's fault?  Britain's Prime Minister warns against "knee jerk" legislation in regards to yesterday's shooting.
"You can't legislate to stop a switch flicking in someone's head and for this dreadful sort of action to take place," 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Natural Camo

So after climbing activities were done for the day, I ducked into camp to say hi to the Ranger and whatnot, and we were standing by the trading post talking for a bit, right next to this table:











We were standing there chatting for the better part of ten minutes before anybody noticed the little guy under the bench.













I think he was annoyed that we were cutting into his nap time.

Invite them to a peace meeting,

and they bomb it.  Just incase you forgot what we're up against.

I'm not at all surprised.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Climbing Tomorrow

I'll be heading up to camp early in the morning to help whip the newest batch of climbing directors into shape and expose them to some real climbing on honest to God granite.
Needless to say, probably not a whole lot of bloggin' tomorrow.

MHV - take 2

A few days back I mentioned that Monster Hunter Vendetta is up for pre-order on the old Amazon.

But if you just can't wait, you can get an Advanced Reader's Copy from Baen.  It's a bit pricier, but if you want to be the first one on the block to read it, here's your chance.
I'm going to continue my internal debate... I do really want to read it, but I can't stand doing extensive reading on  something electronic.  Even if I have to read online papers for class I tend to print them out to read on paper.  I don't know why, but that's just how I am.  But more MHI................

Holster Reviews...

Are now "Award Winning" Kydex-type holster reviews.  Apparently nobody else entered, so I won by default. Still pretty cool though.

Please shoot me App?

Say Uncle brings us one of the dumbest ideas I've seen this week.