Thursday, August 30, 2012

CCW Reciprocity

I received an email today that alerted me to a graphic that 5.11 Tactical had developed.  It's a chart showing states that allow concealed carry and the reciprocity between states.  While it doesn't tell you exactly which states honor your permit, it's cool to see how many states allow concealed carry and where your state ranks as far as number of states who honor your CCW.  For people who have a CCW permit, it's nice to know how well received your permit is.

States of Honor: CCW Reciprocity
Source: 5.11 Tactical

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Good Gear, Good Price

Admittedly, I'm a gear junkie. I recently purchased a pair of 5.11 59351 Station Grip (Multi-Task Glove). Since you read about guns on FB and here, you probably dabble in gear too. I'll keep this brief, but informative. The gloves cost $29.95 a
t a local retailer, so they come in on the low cost side for tactical gloves. I have experience with other gloves, but we'll judge this model 5.11s on their own merit.

Fit: I was able to try on the gloves before purchase and I went with a medium. My hands are pretty average in size and I prefer a snug fit for working gloves. The fit was sufficiently snug, but unlike leather, I was able to maintain dexterity with no break in period. During our Tactical Course walk through I was able to load pistol and AR magazines with no loss of dexterity. I was able to use my Leatherman and other tools equally well. Dealing with the locking mechanism was a bit of a pain, but I did not have to take them off for these tasks.

Durability: Honestly, we won't know the answer to this question for some time, but I can go over the construction of the gloves here. As you can tell from the photo the palm of the glove is a synthetic material that is very rough to assist with gripping slippery items. The back part of the glove is made of a synthetic that, at this stage, does offer padding to the knuckles and back of hand, and does stretch with your hand as you grip. The gloves offer 2 sets of stitching across every seam. After 2 big days at the range the gloves are in no danger of coming unraveled, but they are developing that sweaty funky smell, so good thing they are washable. As with most 5.11 products I've run across this one is also well made, solid, and for the price has good value.

The glove did a good job of protecting my hand from barrel heat, though it felt warm, it did not burn through or damage the glove. After a 100 rounds of AR ammo I could grip the barrel of my RR with no discomfort. 

Silly things: I like the ID tag, I like the pull tabs and utilized them both and found them both functional (not silly). However, the goofy target indicators which make up the 5.11 logo on the top side of the trigger fingers I found to be goofy and took away from the overall appearance of the glove. Early going the internal seams rubbed the inside of a finger to the point of irritation, but my finger got tough and not longer gripes about it.

For the money, a good tactical glove that can do double duty as work glove, that you can beat on, tear up and not get bent out of shape if you wear them out fast, lose or destroy. I think you gals should be asking 5.11 why they don't have women sizes, or maybe I missed that. My 2 Cents.

Link from the MFG is here,

Shoot Straight,
Double Tap

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Contest, an Open Saturday, An AR-15 and a Unique Opportunity

I finally won something on one of those “like our Facebook page and be entered in a drawing for a prize” contests. I, however, wasn’t the initial winner of said contest. I was the second name randomly selected after the initial winner had to reluctantly decline due to scheduling conflicts. My Saturday schedule was wide open so I graciously stepped in when my name was selected and accepted the prize. What was the prize you ask? A one day, 6 hour, beginner tactical rifle class! This is a brand new instructional course dreamt up and designed by the guys at 13Zulu in conjunction with DoubleTap. And by winning the Facebook contest I was invited to take the very first walk through of the course with them. Now, I had to get an AR-15 so I could participate in the different courses of fire. No problem, I just called up my dad and he let me borrow his for the day.

Saturday morning rolled around and it was time for me to head out to the Pawnee Sportsmen’s Center (PSC) range to get ready for the class. I admit I was a bit nervous and had some butterflies about what to expect. I had never owned an AR-15 before and had probably only put about 20 rounds through my dad’s, ever. I started to think I might be in over my head, even as this was slated to be a “beginner” course. Fortunately, my apprehensions were put at ease as the guys from 13Zulu, Casey and Mike, started to discuss what they had planned for the course. I knew immediately that not only was I going to have fun, I was going to learn a lot of information about the AR platform and how to operate it safely and precisely. Casey and Mike were very knowledgeable and have a vast amount of military training and instructing between them.

The day rolled on and I soaked up as much of the information and training as I could. We progressed from the basic safe handling and functionality of the AR and added new skills and techniques each time we went to a different course of fire. I learned the difference between a “tactical” reload and a “speed” reload and how to perform each of them. I learned how to clear a jam and how to transition between the AR and my 9mm sidearm. We worked on all the different skills dry (unloaded) first before progressing to a live course of fire. This was really a great way to learn. It helped build my confidence and allowed me to focus on the technique and the mechanics of it before attempting it with live ammunition. Mike and Casey were very helpful and offered constructive criticism throughout the course. I am grateful for their patience and agree wholly with their mantra of creating “consistency” through repetition. It is all about doing these skills the same way every time and reducing wasted motions.

I don’t want to drone on and on about each course of fire and what the guys from 13Zulu had me do, you’ll have to take the course yourself to find out. And let me say that I highly recommend it, even if you are not new to the AR platform. I will be taking the class again when I get my own AR-15.

I would like to give a huge thanks to Casey and Mike at 13Zulu and DoubleTap for allowing me to be their guinea pig for the day. It was an incredible opportunity that I won’t soon forget.


A note from GunDiva: if you are interested in taking this course, please click on the "Training" tab under the header.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dragon Leatherworks Review

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Dragon Leatherworks saying that Brigid from Home on the Range had suggested I'd be willing to do a review on a holster for a 1911.  Since I just happen to have a 1911 and, like most shooters, I'm always looking for the perfect holster I jumped at the chance.

Within a week, I received the holster.  One of my favorite holsters is the Galco Side Snap Scabbard, because it's nice to be able to just snap a holster on over a belt instead of having to get undressed to put on or take off my holster.  When I opened the package and saw the holster that Dragon had sent me, I was excited to see that it also had snaps. (Which I didn't think to take a picture of, of course.)

I was intrigued by the cut-out, but before I had a chance to ask about it, I got an email from Dragon explaining the evolution of this holster.
I had a request to modify an existing design called the DL Classic that I sell, so as to fit the following:

1) The pistol had to have a medium -low ride height
2) The pistol had to have as close to zero cant angle as possible
3) There had to be a deep combat cut so as to allow as close to a full grip as possible for drawing the weapon
4) Had to hold tight to the body, but not angled in at the top so as to avoid having the gun dig into the ribs

There really wasn't any way to modify the original design, so I used it as a basis for how the holster should *look*, then went to work getting the function to follow form. The end result is what you received last week. The holster was a complete re-thinking of an existing design.

I would say that he met his goals with this modification of his original holster.  In order to test it out, I came up with a game plan by which I will test all holsters.  I'm not allowed to carry at work, so I decided I'd carry it on a "usual" day off and again at the range.

My "usual" day off consists of driving to my parents' place, taking Estes out for a ride, doing some horse chores, and doing laundry.  Fairly typical stuff.

For my range day, I decided I'd do essentially FitShot lite.  The beauty of FitShot is that it requires a lot of movement and requires that the holster keep the gun secure.

For my "usual" day, I strapped on the holster and loaded into the car.  My parents' place is 73 miles from our apartment and I usually don't wear my gun in the car because it's uncomfortable as hell, but I wanted to treat the holster like I did when I was able to carry all the time, so I hopped in the car with it.  I carry just behind my right hip, at 4 o'clock.  It took just one adjustment as I buckled up to settle the holster and gun in.  And then I forgot it was there.  It was hands-down the most comfortable holster I've driven in to date.

Once I got to my parents' place, I went about my usual daily activities.  For the most part, the holster was comfortable, but I did feel some pressure along the top of my SI joints.  I didn't know if it was because of the belt I chose to wear that day, or the holster, so I decided to change belts for the range day. 

I figured that if anything was going to test the holster during my "usual" day, it would be riding.  I grabbed Estes and mounted up.  The holster was comfortable and secure during my short ride.

Later that day, we went for a much longer ride, in which I did not wear the holster because we rode into the National Park, where carrying is forbidden.  However, I would have been perfectly comfortable wearing the holster for the five and a half hours we were out - I'm certain of it.

So far, so good.  I finished day one happy with the holster and was looking forward to getting to take it out to the range.

My plan for the range day was, as I said, FitShot lite.  I had not done any practicing with the holster.  I strapped it on, slipped my gun in it, and that's it.  The FitShot workout I had in mind was:
  • 4 squats (supposed to be goblet squats with weight, but I forgot my weights)
  • 4 tuck jumps
  • 4 release push-ups
It's not a huge workout, but it does involve a fair bit of movement and I'll use it with every holster review I do.

I changed my belt to the web training belt I usually wear out to the range.  Doing so alleviated the pressure across my SI joints that I noticed on my first day of wearing the holster.

When I got to the range, I handed the video camera off to Tara and told her to video tape me as I went through the FitShot.

Unfortunately, the snaps that I was so excited about gave way after my first tuck jump.  I wasn't sure that I it had actually happened until the second snap gave way after my second tuck jump.  At that point I stopped the test.

I so, so wanted to love this holster, but the snaps coming undone were pretty much a deal breaker.  The workmanship on the holster itself is top-notch.  It carries comfortably.  Even after the snaps came undone, my gun was secure in the holster.  But the holster wasn't securely attached to my belt anymore.

Luckily, I think this is an easy fix for Dragon Leatherworks.  Replace the current snaps with sturdier snaps and this holster again moves to the top of my "favorites" list.  I don't mind having to work at unsnapping snaps; it means that they won't come undone at an inopportune moment.  If I can't get a snap undone, it's not the end of the world - I just thread my belt through it like I would a belt holster.

  • well made, good quality leather
  • comfortable to wear when driving
  • holds the gun securely
  • easy to draw from
  • snaps came undone
Overall, this is a good holster and the fix is easy.  If you're in the market for a leather holster, this is one from Dragon Leatherworks is a good option.

Question for you: What do you look for in a holster?  Do you have an immediate deal breaker?

Monday, August 20, 2012

I Love My Job

Well, actually, I have three jobs technically and like them all, but my job as a pistol instructor I absolutely love.  Yesterday's class reminded me to be thankful for what I have and the life I'm able to lead. I've decided to jot a few notes down to remind myself of why I love this job.

My students are awesome.  Oh sure, occasionally I'll get some jerk in class and it'll try my patience, but largely my students have been top notch.   We get the gambit of student abilities; everybody from the little old ladies who have never shot, to younger kids just getting into shooting under mom and dad's watchful eyes, to ex-law enforcement and veterans.   I've had kids mandated by courts to take firearm safety, to ladies that picked up a stalker, or others that have recently experienced some criminal intent.   We are able to get some on track, some really don't need much help, some will never get it.   In the end, if they want a Conceal Carry permit, they have to obtain training.  I'm surprised that the state requires recent Vets (even an MOH recipient) to obtain training.   Our students experiences are as varied as there are guns to shoot.   If you are a people person, this job is very rewarding and very interesting.

If you are a gear head you would love being an instructor.  We see the most current offerings and get feed back on it quickly.   We can put many rounds through a gun in short order to find out how it holds up.  We see the latest holster designs, the newest 1911 offerings and newest generation releases from Glock, Springfield and S&W.  Oh, it's quite fun.  We let a S&W 1911 run for 3000 rounds without cleaning just to see if it would stop - it never did and my respect for that offering jumped up a few notches.  Finally, just felt guilty about not showing the gun some love and broke down and cleaned it.  I learned to love a Glock 34 after shooting a nickel sized groups with it on several occasions.   It's a great time to be into guns, the offerings have never been better and the options never more fun.  If only ammo would come down to the 2006 prices.

While I gripe about ammo pricing, I probably pay less than most and I'm thankful to Tim and Lisa for it.   The store I instruct through discounts very deeply for instructors and we help push volume through their store.   A class will consume anywhere from 17 to 30 boxes (sometimes more) of ammo at a shot.  We utilize every major manufacturer of ammo and we get to see what works and what puts out big clouds of exhaust.   Then there are the left overs...the rounds that don't get consumed during class - ;-)   We do have to practice - stay tuned up - students want to know that their instructors can keep a tight group, that the guns are capable of shooting a ragged hole group, even if it's beyond their capability at this point.   But come on, it's fun, or we wouldn't be doing it...getting paid to shoot.

One more item.   I get to work with the best shooters and instructors in the area.  I'm thankful for their knowledge and experience, because foremost I'm a student, I'm a student of all things gun and defense.  I've enjoyed working with others to create classes that, hopefully, make a difference in someones life.

Shoot straight,
Double Tap

A note from GunDiva: check out our training tab for upcoming classes.  Double Tap has just added Tactical Carbine to the mix.  My hubby had the chance to preview it over the weekend and hasn't stopped talking about it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back in Business and A Chance for a Free Gun

It's been awhile.  I hate feeling like I've neglected my baby, but finally all of the moving is over.  We just now have to figure out where to put everything as we unpack it.

I'm in the process of doing a review for Dragon Leatherworks, and I can tell you, they do beautiful work.  I've tested it so far on a "usual" day for me, now I'll be heading out to the range later this morning with Tara.  Look for the review next week.

Double Tap and 13 Zulu have teamed up to offer a wider range of shooting instruction.  This weekend, my husband gets to preview a Tactical Rifle course taught by the guys at 13 Zulu.  I really, really wanted to be able to preview the course as well, but my real job keeps getting in the way of my "fun" job.

Speaking of 13 Zulu - does anyone want a free gun?  When they hit 10,000 likes on Facebook they are giving away a Springfield Armory XDM-45.

To enter, all you have to do is go like them on Facebook.  Mr. Zulu just announced this morning that if they hit 4,000 likes by Tuesday, August 21 they will include a React OWB Holster (Bravo Package) custom molded to the XDM.

If you haven't had the chance to talk to or work with 13 Zulu, you need to head on over to their website or their Facebook page and meet them.  They know what they're about.  There are a lot of people out there who make Kydex holsters, but the amount of thought that goes into every single product these guys produce is much more than I expected.  Not only do they build comfortable, functional holsters, but they don't stop there - they also can DuraCoat your firearm AND teach you how to use it.

Remember, in order to enter the drawing, just go like them on Facebook and be sure to tell them we sent you.  Don't you deserve a new gun?