Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review: 13 Zulu React Holster

My friend and shooting buddy, Double Tap, recently reviewed 13 Zulu's holster.  I've shot with Double Tap going on seven or eight years now and fully respect his opinions.  I've been after him for a while now to start his own blog/website for his reviews, but his time is crazy busy.  So, instead, I'm going to "steal" his reviews (with his permission, of course) and post them here.  I feel like his reviews are too good to be limited to just his Facebook page.

13 Zulu’s React custom kydex holster….is “da bomb”. That’s the executive summary, so let me back up to the beginning. I ran across 13 Zulu on facebook a few weeks ago, as I looked through the great gallery of photos I had to wipe the drool from my chin. I am a gun geek and knew at that point I had to have one. I’ve been wearing 13 Zulu’s “React” holster for a week now, I’ve worn it to the range where we shot carbine and pistol making many transitions from long gun to pistol. I’ve worn it as a conceal carry rig on several outings around town, I’ve worn it to work, I’ve worn it during dry fire practice. A week is about the minimum time I give something before I’ve made up my mind if it’s going to work or not. I can usually tell earlier, but let’s not rush to judgment, the media does a good job of that, but this is important stuff.

My Holster is a 13 Zulu “React” Alpha package. It’s a belt attached pancake style kydex holster which means the belt attachments are pushed to the edges for a wider distribution of the pistol’s weight. 13 Zulu does not market this holster for conceal carry, they have other models for that application, but strong side external is how I wear for conceal carry and in competition. Mike, the CEO of 13 Zulu, used my own words, “take your belt through the first loop, then through your belt loop, and out the other attachment for 3 points of contact on the belt”. I’ve used the exact statement in numerous conceal carry classes. Following these instructions insures the holster is in the same place every time, secure, and ready for use.

Why 13 Zulu’s holster? I’ve owned Galco Kydex, and more recently a Blackhawk Serpa paddle holster. I left the Galco because of the smaller size of the paddle they were using. The larger paddle of the Serpa and the security of their Level 2 locking device was a step up over the Galco. The belt attachment for the Serpa was a nice add on, but you can tell that not too much thought was put into it. The Serpa belt attachment is dated technology, it harkens back to the single point of contact against the belt, while the single point is wide, it’s nowhere near as wide as the React holster and after many hours of wear the comfort factor definitely tilts in favor of the React. Next let’s look at the dimensions of both the React and the Serpa. The React is form fitted on the curve to fit closely to the hip. I index the front belt loop on the holster near the belt loop on my pants so that the majority of the pistol rides at 3:30 on the clock face (just beyond the hip point). The widest part of the React holster is from the edge of the belt loop to the center of the outside kydex sheet, and measures roughly 1.5 inches on the React.
13 Zulu React holster
Photo courtesy Double Tap

This same measurement is 2 inches on the Serpa with a paddle attached! That’s a 25% slimmer fit on the profile for the React.
Blackhawk Serpa
Photo courtesy Double Tap

The retention is a friction type that is custom fit to your gun. You need a crisp, purposeful pull to unseat the gun, you’ll have a harder time easing the gun out of the holster, though that is possible with a constant pull and good security on the belt. Typical running and gunning will not jostle your gun out of this retention.

13 Zulu markets their holsters as a custom holster, they offer features that are not found on off the shelf kydex rigs, such as a sweat guard. The sweat guard brings the sheet of kydex higher between your body and the gun, keeping your gun dry and sweet smelling when you smell like a dead coyote that’s been left in the sun. I’ve not seen belt attachments pushed out to the sides, pancake style, on any other kydex holster. 13 Zulu also offers attachments to make their line of holsters compatible with MOLLE systems if that option is needed. It is solid retention. Other customizations include custom cant angles, custom belt loop sizes. The cant can be adjusted by the screws holding the belt loops, or you can have the holster molded with a 10 or 15 degree cant. Lastly, there are many kydex colors available, not just basic black, the MARPAT camo rocks and I see one in my future.

In my opinion holsters are about comfort and function. Poorly designed holsters end up in a bin in the closet that I take to class and say , “don’t buy one of these, it’s a POS”. The holster I wear in class is a different story, this is the holster that is the most comfortable I have found, doesn’t pinch, keeps my gun securely in place and at the end of a 10 hour day has not added to my discomfort in any measurable way. I foresee wearing the React for many classes to come, starting next weekend (June 10 NRA Basic).

In closing there are many reasons to check out 13 Zulu holsters, I’ve mentioned criteria that are important to me. We all have different criteria we use to measure the success or failure of a piece of gear, and I’ve got limited space to write a review and keep your attention. In the week I’ve been wearing this product, it has measured up to my criteria. It has stayed in place, it has held my gun comfortably, I’ve been able to reholster my pistol immediately as if I’ve been wearing it for a year. If you have additional questions about the fit or function let me know, I’d be happy to respond.

13 Zulu, made in the USA ( here in Northern Colorado), from parts made in the USA, by Vets for sheep dogs, LEO’s and the guys and gals in the far parts of the world doing the work of the country. Take 10 minutes from your day and go give them a “like” and check out the photos of their work, and if you need a holster by all means give them a shout.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Please, for all that's good and Holy... 

If you are a vendor at a gun show, please, Please, PLEASE learn how to spell rifle correctly.

The anti-gunners already think we're nothing but a bunch of yokels, let's not give them any more ammunition.

Also, as one of our FB friends pointed out - that's a shotgun, not a rifle.  Somewhere on the stand itself it says for use with a shotgun or rifle, so I didn't think anything of it.  Besides, the anti-gunners won't know the difference.
On a side note: the safe itself is cool.  I would own one.  But there's no way in hell I would have bought it from those vendors.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

National Take Your Daughter To The Range Day

The GunDivas are proud sponsors of NTYDTTRD - we've been following their progress from its inception back in January and fully support the idea.

Recently, it has come to our attention that there are several ranges promoting their own events and misrepresenting themselves as part of NTYDTTRD.

From the NTYDTTRD Facebook page:

Unfortunately, there are a few who are taking advantage and advertising events that are not part of NTYDTTRD. We have not charged participating ranges anything to participate and be listed. We do require a range agreement which spells out a minimum number of certified instructors and RSOs that must be present as this is an opportunity for new shooters to come into the shooting sports and SAFETY is the number one concern. The only OFFICIAL list of participating ranges, and we are up to 30, is listed on this site. Any range advertising an event but not listed, is not an officially participating range, they are infringing on the organization and we have no agreement with them.

Please, if you hear of an organization who claims to be joining in but is not listed, direct them to the official site so that they can become a "real" participating range.  The date - June 9 - is rapidly approaching and new ranges are joining daily.

I have no respect for ranges who claim to be a part of NTYDTTRD, but are, in fact, not at all affiliated with the organization and fully believe that those ranges don't deserve our business in any way, shape or form.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sheepdog Tip of the Day

If you have not "liked" Sheepdog Tip of the Day on Facebook, you really need to.

Each day, there is a pearl of wisdom from Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, of On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdog fame.

We've talked about mindset in the past, and I would venture to say all of us are Sheepdogs - we're out to protect the sheep, whether we like it or not.  It's our nature.  It's who we are, even if we didn't become soldiers or LEOs.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Firearms Training and Women

I saw this on Facebook yesterday and didn't have time to share it: ThePatriotNurse has made a wonderful video regarding firearms training.  Take the time to watch it and share with all you know.  I love the "personal security" is a "personal responsibility" standpoint.

I love her point about being a partner with "your man" and her point about the "momma bear" and, especially, her point about the gun not being a lucky charm (and choosing your own gun).

Hell, who am I kidding?  I love all of her points.

Do yourselves a favor and take the eight minutes to watch this video.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

1911 Edition

I'm lucky that my husband supports my shooting to the point that he designs shooting-based things for me. In fact, he designed my tattoo...

The gun is based on his M&P

If you read my other blog, Just another perfect day, you know that my husband, RCC, has a "thing" for my car, Ripley.  He keeps buying her cool stuff; by far, my favorite is my 3rd brake light. I love to see the looks on people's faces when they realize what it says.  The majority of people don't notice, but those who do end up with huge grins on their faces.

He's actually bought a ton of cool things for Ripley, far too many to list. But I've been eagerly awaiting his newest design: decals that show my love of 1911s.  How lucky am I that they showed up on our anniversary?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rule #1: Cardio

We spend a lot of time working on sight picture, trigger control and our groups, but how much time do we put into our fitness?

Heck, even I've joked, "I don't need to run, I've got a gun."  But realistically, physical fitness, specifically cardio,  plays a huge part in our ability to shoot well.  We know about breath control.  We know about controlling our heart rate.  But without cardiovascular fitness, we can't effectively do either.

With increased fitness comes better reflexes; the time it takes to identify a threat and respond (or, in a competition situation, respond to the buzzer) decreases significantly.  Our ability to focus and concentrate increases.  In a competition situation, that ROCKS! 

In a defense situation, it could save your life.

Not to mention, without fitness we can't fight.  Guns are great equalizers - if you can get to them.  Even if you've got it on your hip, you might need to fight to buy some space so that you can draw.  You might - God forbid - have to fight for control of your gun.  In a perfect world, no one would ever get close enough to have to fight off.  But, hell, in a perfect world, we wouldn't need to protect ourselves from anybody or anything.

I'm certainly not in the best shape of my life.  At one point about six years ago, I was working out 6 days a week, spending 1 1/2 hours in the gym doing strength training and cardio in addition to playing on four soccer teams; two indoor, two outdoor.  I was FIT.  And shooting-wise, I was at the top of my game.  The best shooting I've ever done was while I was crazy fit.

My life changed, I quit working out so much, pretty much quit shooting and gained sixty pounds.  And my shooting skills went down the toilet.  I picked up shooting again a few months before RCC and I met and, holy cow, was I disappointed.  In the past year, I've dropped twenty pounds and have seen an improvement in my shooting.  With every pound I shed, I see a positive change in my shooting ability: my reflexes are faster, my concentration greater, and I'm not exhausted by the end of a match.

I hadn't realized just how far I'd let my physical fitness slide.  But I'm thanking my lucky stars that I never had to fight during that time, that I never found myself in a situation that required it, because that whole "I don't need to run, I've got a gun" thing doesn't work for me anymore. 

I want to be able to go hands-on if I have to. 

I want to be able to buy myself some time and space if the situation requires it.

As much as I hate it, I have to spend more time running and doing strength training.  I'll probably never go back to the insane workout schedule I had six years ago, but I don't think that some form of strenuous workout three or four times a week is going to kill me. 

In fact, it might just save me.

What do you think?  Is fitness necessary?  If so, what kind of time do you put into your personal fitness?