Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Decibullz Ear Pro

For years, I wanted custom-molded hearing protection, but there weren't any places nearby where I could get them done at a reasonable price. Finally, about four or five years ago at SHOT Show, I found a vendor that would mold them right then and there, and the price was affordable(ish). I think I paid $80 for my custom-molded rubber ear plugs. I've used them religiously and like them, but they're not always super comfortable, and after a long day, they can make my ear canals kind of sore.

I knew of a company in Fort Collins, CO that made easy-to-mold earphones, but didn't really consider them for ear pro right off the bat. In my mind, Decibullz were used for music. My nephew had introduced me to them, as the founder is his former gymnastics coach. The story behind Decibullz is cool, but there have already been numerous articles written about it.

When I started with the Posse, I knew from previous experience that I couldn't hear a darn thing from my PAC set (radio) unless I had an earpiece, but I didn't know where to go. In a flash of brilliance (if I do say so myself), I thought of Decibullz and wondered if they had anything that would work with my PAC set. Turns out, they did, and they hooked me up with a set of their earplugs and the security radio adapter. Since I went into the store, they were kind enough to mold them for me as well. The molding process is very simple and only takes a few minutes. I've used the earplugs for two years now and love how lightweight and comfortable they are - I put them in and forget them until the end of my shift.

At SHOT Show this year, Kyle and company were at Industry Day molding and giving away earplugs. I'd much rather wear the Decibullz earplugs (with an NRR of 31) than ear muffs or the little foamies they give out at the door of Industry Day, so I scored my second set of Decibullz. I considered myself pretty lucky to have two sets.

Last month, I took up "running" (yes, it's in quotes because I'm not sure what I'm doing can be called running), and was using the earplugs that came with my phone. They were okay for a few training runs, but then started falling out and irritating me. Immediately, I thought about Decibullz and made a point to run into town to buy a set of their bluetooth wireless headphones. Now, I could have just bought the wire portion and plugged them into my existing earplugs, but what would be the fun in that? I'm not terribly tech savvy, but even I could have figured out how to hook them up to my phone. (Shout out to Cody, who not only molded my plugs for me, but hooked up my phone so I didn't have to.)

I love my Decibullz, and am disappointed that I spent my money on custom-molded rubber earplugs instead of just buying a set from Decibullz to begin with.

If you're looking for versatile ear pro, check out Decibullz. You can buy just one set of earplugs ($25.99 for the regular set or $74.99 for the percussive set, both carry a NRR of 31) and change out the adapters to make them fit your needs. While I have three sets stashed in different places, for different purposes, it's not really necessary. One set with the different adapters would be sufficient.

Caution: Because these are easy to mold using hot water (which is a good thing), they will melt/deform if left in a hot environment (which is a bad thing). Do not store them in your car in the summer, or set them on top of your heater in the winter.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Where Are the Lady Hunters?

(GunDiva's note: This post was written by Robbie, but for some reason Blogger hates him and he can't get signed in, so I'm posting until we get it figured out.)
In all my days of hunting, I have noticed something lacking in the hunting community. What is it you ask? It’s the women! In a sport that is dominated by men I rarely see the ladies out hunting. I have asked some of them about hunting and what got them into it and to my surprise many of them tell me that they were intimidated by the sport. Most said that at first they were uncomfortable with the idea of learning from a boyfriend or husband; stating that they felt a lot of pressure and stress from them and that they didn’t want to disappoint them. Finally they said they would try it out.

Ladies, if you feeling this way ask around the local gun shops to see if there are rifle classes focusing on hunting. Don’t be shy, the fact that you are willing to seek instruction is awesome. Look online for support groups for women hunters. A good one to check out is “women in the outdoors” or “women outdoors“

Guys, don’t get all hurt if she is a little hesitant about learning how to shoot for hunting from you.
I was lucky when my wife said that she wanted to learn how to hunt. I asked if she was comfortable learning from me or if she wanted to get instruction from an instructor. Luckily she was completely comfortable with me teaching her the finer points of shooting.

I have found that women are much better students then men. First women seem eager to keep an open mind and are open to suggestions, whereas most guys like to think that they know everything about the shooting aspect of hunting. A lot of times I feel like I’m beating a dead horse with guys, with the ladies they seem to give their full attention and aren’t afraid to ask questions, and are willing to try other ways of doing things.

To be honest with you I’m impressed when I see the girls out in the field. I think we need more of you out there, building up the ranks of our wonderful sport, showing us that you can and want to get out in the field with the boys and provide natural wholesome meat for you, family and friends.

Go get 'em, ladies. I hope to see more of you in the field.

(GunDiva's note, part 2: I'll admit, I'm not a hunter. I don't like the taste of game - I know, I know, that's like saying I kick puppies. Plus, with my luck, I'd get my animal as far from camp as humanly possible and have to drag it all the way back. Thanks, but I'll continue to do my "hunting" at King Soopers.)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Rant: Short barrel rifles are not “pistols”

One trend that is has become popular amongst firearm manufacturers is taking a rifle, such as the AR15, shortening the barrel, leaving the stock off or installing an “arm brace” and calling it a pistol. 

OK, I know and understand why they are doing this, because a short barreled rifle (SBR) is very cool and fun to shoot.  But we have a lot of old, outdated laws in America that say you need a special license if your rifle has a barrel less than 16 inches in length. 
Thus, the birth of the arm brace.  The arm brace started life as a way for people with physical infirmities to actual shoot rifles.  Then everyone realized it also makes for an improvised shoulder stock.  With an emphasis on improvised. 
After some legal back and forth, the ATF finally gave a ruling that arm braces are not shoulder stocks and it is OK if it happens to touch your shoulder. 
Now everyone and their brother makes very large and unwieldy “pistols” in a variety of calibers that are not very comfortable to shoot or are just novelty, range toys. 

This nonsense needs to stop.  Time to call a spade a spade. These are not pistols, they are in fact, short barreled rifles sans stock or with a bastardized stock that sucks. 
Here are a few examples from the last issues of Firearms News:

Industry nonsense

Not a "pistol"
Do you really want to shoot a short barreled
 .308 without a proper stock?

Also, not a "pistol"
How is this truly useful to you?

Just an SBR sans proper stock.
Not a "pistol"

What needs to be done is to unite together, the entire gun industry and gun community and make the government scrap these old, archaic laws that are no longer useful and pass a handful of intelligent and effective gun laws.
It is the dawn of the 21st century.  We have the power of the Internet where information travels around the globe within minutes.  There is no reason I should be prohibited from buying a short barreled rifle, a silencer, or even a belt-fed machine gun, especially if we continue down the road of mandatory background checks.

Instead of building bastardized rifles and other schlock, let’s fix the gun laws so we can buy what we actually want, useful tools for sport and defense.  Not these bastardized firearms that effectively become nothing more than expensive, novelty range toys.

By: Mez

Saturday, September 8, 2018

STI day at the range

Here at The Gundivas, we strongly believe in try before you buy.  Sometimes that is not always possible, but some days you get lucky and your local range has a dealer demo day, where a manufacturer comes out to allow you to try their products.
Today was that day.  My local range, Trigger TimeGun club had STI out to display their wares.  We the customers were able to shoot several different models. 

Who is STI?  STI is the manufacturer of high quality 2011 handguns with an emphasis on quality.  They have models for the everyday shooter to high-end competition guns. 

For those who may not be familiar with the 2011 handgun, it is the same as a 1911 but has a double-stack magazine for increased capacity, thus the frame is wider to accommodate the wider magazine. 

STI brought out a wide selection of handguns to try.  From their entry level carry guns to their high-end competition race guns. 
So far my favorite is the Tactical model, a nice balance between size and performance. 

DVC Steel (top).  DVC Limited (bottom)
Competition/Race Guns

Tactical model with red-dot (top)
DVC Carry with red-dot (bottom)
Can be purchased without red-dot sight

DVC 3-Gun (top)
Edge (bottom)

What sets STI apart from other manufacturers?  First is their quality.  Every gun is made with precision parts then hand fitted by a professional gunsmith that ensures the firearm meets all quality standards and will perform as intended.  Next is their unique two-piece frame.  By separating the frame into two pieces they can;
  •        Reduce weight by making the grip portion out of high strength polymer. Instead of steel or aluminum.
  •       The grip is smaller in width and diameter than competitor’s 2011 handguns, which makes the gun easier to hold onto, especially if you have smaller hands.
  •      Better recoil management, as the recoil is primarily driven straight back through the steel (or aluminum) portion of the frame, whereas in a traditional once piece frame you have more of a moment arm that increases muzzle flip during recoil.  (This also helps you shoot faster)

Overall, I am very impressed with all the models I tried.  The fit and finish is excellent.  The action is very smooth.  The trigger is light with a crisp break and excellent, positive reset.  Though the frame is a wide, double-stack configuration, it is still narrow enough that I can get a firm grip on the handgun and control it.  Accuracy was excellent.  Where I aimed is where it went. 
Making rapid-fire shots with the STI 2011 is easy and so is keeping all your shots on target. 

Ignore the operator error on the left side. (getting used to a new gun)  The important part is the large ragged hole in the middle.  7 yards, rapid fire.  Two different models, one with micro red-dot, the other with iron sights.  (once I figured out the gun/sights, both shot exactly where I aimed as fast as I can pull the trigger)

One thing I did notice is the two-piece frame really does help manage recoil.  The muzzle flip was noticeably less than with other handguns.  And the models with compensators on them had even less. 

Standard one piece frame on top.
STI two-piece frame on bottom.

STI two-piece frame assembled.

Now for the downside of STI, their guns are not cheap.  Pricing starts around $1500 and goes up, upwards of $4000 for the high-end competition guns.  And if you want custom modifications, they can do it, for additional money. 
That is the bad news.  But quality costs money.  And if you want one of the best, then you need to spend the money. 

In my opinion, I am highly tempted to trade in several of my generic guns just to buy one STI.  Yes, I think they are that good and that nice.  There is nothing wrong with Glocks, or Smiths or Rugers or any other brand.  They are just generic and there is only so much modification you can do before you are just wasting money.  Sometimes you just need to splurge, upgrade and buy the best.  Buy once! Cry once!  (Are you OK driving a Honda, or do you really want that twin turbo Porche?)

This is my take on the STI 2011 pistols.  Definitely worth the money!  They will perform as promised, just at a price.  

Finally, thank you to STI for coming out to display their products.  Especially Buck, for answering all my dumb questions.  And a big thank you to Trigger Time Gun Club for hosting the event.  It is always great to try before you buy, especially higher end products.  

Final thought:
Buck did mention STI is working on new products for 2019.  As they are not released I won't go into detail about what is coming in the near future.  These details will have to wait until SHOT Show 2019.

By: Mez

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Fun With Suppressors

I don't think we've ever gone live on Facebook before, but Mez and I were out playing with his suppressors and I thought, "eh, why not?".

Mez starred in both videos, because it was my idea and my camera :) If you're interested, here are the links to our two live videos.

First video, with a suppressed .22 handgun:

Second video, with a suppressed .22 rifle:

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Try before you buy! Enter Vulcan Circle!

We at The GunDivas always believe in the try before you buy philosophy when it comes to firearms and firearm accessories.  You are spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars on your equipment, so you want to get the right equipment the first time. 
This is not always easy.  Not all gun ranges have rentals.  Or they may not have the exact model you want to try out.  And trying out accessories is even worse.  Your only experience with accessories, such as optics, is limited to handling the product in the retail shop, if your local shop has the model you want to try.  Your only other option is opinions you find on the Internet.  Personally, I find most Internet reviews sketchy at best.  You find some people who love the product, others who hate it.  Who do you believe?

Well, the good news is, the industry is starting to come around and help out consumers, at least in the optics department. 

Enter VulcanCircle.  A paid membership service that allows you to borrow an optic for 3 months.  This allows you to mount the optic to your rifle and take it for a real test drive in real world conditions.  Truly test out the optic as it is meant to be used.
Looking for a new 3-gun optic?  Check one out and take it to competition for 3 months and see how it performs.  If you don’t like it, return the optic by the due date and check out something else. 
Want to compare different red dot sights?  Now you can try before you buy. 

Some may balk at the cost.  I ask, what is more expensive, a few hundred dollars in subscription fees?  Or purchasing an optic that you does not meet your needs?  That you end up being stuck with or sell at a loss. 

Now other than their existence, we at The GunDivas have not tried VulcanCircle.  We just found out about them ourselves. 
If we decide to obtain a subscription ourselves, we will do a follow up article at a later date.

It is good to see the gun industry starting to provide better customer service to the gun community. 
I personally hope the rest of the industry follows suit with the same or similar trial programs and helps customers find and buy the right products for them. 

By: Mez

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Range Night - DOT Torture Success!!

On the heels of GunDiva's recent post on shooting buddies, I scooted off to the range with my best friend for a little pew pew therapy and a stated goal to clean DOT Torture at three yards. The goal was to accomplish that with the Ruger 22/45 and Sig P320 Compact in 9mm. I'm pleased to say that the results were much improved from my last outing.

Ruger 22/45 at 3 yards

This was almost a perfect run. As you can see, I dropped 1 shot in the 3 dot when I anticipated the shot allowing the barrel to dip just enough. Other than that, I'm pretty pleased with that performance. It's also helpful to know what I did wrong that kept it from being perfect.

Sig P320 Compact 9mm at 3 yards
This could be a little tighter, but it's clean and that's what matters to me. YAY ME!!! Next goal is to clean the .22 at 3 yards and move both back to 5 yards.

The rest of the range session included a couple of mags through my buddies Springfield Armory 5" 9mm 1911. Allegedly, it's a TRP model, but there are some doubts on that subject. It could be a modified Loaded model given that he bought it used off a competition shooter. The trigger was typical 1911. This one was equipped with Bomar style adjustable sights.

SA 5" 1911 at 5 yards
 First shot was the 8 ring hit at roughly 11 o'clock using a center X hold. Adjusted the point of aim progressively to 5 o'clock in the 8 ring, and that's the rest of the shots.

SA 5" 1911 at 7 yards
Here again, point of aim was roughly five o'clock low. I can't complain with those results.

Sig P320 Compact at 3 yards

Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards

Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards

Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards

Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards - Target transitions left to right and back

Sig P320 Compact 9mm at 5 yards - Target transitions left to right and back

Frankly, I don't remember what I was doing or at what distance.

Sig P320 Compact 9mm at 5 yards - Target transitions left to right and back (getting better) 
Ruger 22/45 at 10 yards

Ruger 22/45 at 15 yards

Target transitions - Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards - point of aim 1" red pasters

Target transitions - Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards - point of aim red line between targets

Target transitions - Ruger 22/45 at 5 yards - point of aim 1" red pasters
Time and energy were turned into smoke and noise. A good time was had by all. I didn't embarrass myself, and it beats a day at the office any way you slice it.