Saturday, January 30, 2010


There is something magical about waking up and rolling out of bed at the butt crack of 10:15. That was pretty much just what I needed and now I feel energized to loaf on the couch all day long, and well into the night.

Since my street didn't get plowed, I'm planning to stay home all weekend. I have a few things to do, like put away clean clothes, clean up the Fortress, wash a small pile of dishes, make pancakes for brunch...or straight up lunch, now that I check the time(actually, I'm gonna move that to the #1 position as soon as I'm done with this), and I plan to initial and number the rest of my magazines that haven't already been. Being prepared for is a good thing, I think. I'll be bored if the power goes out, but I'm still prepared for that.

One last note about snow: we got a pretty good blanketing last night; the ground was fully covered. I went to bed a little later last night than I intended to, and before I did I took a look outside. Normally, there isn't a whole lot of ambient light in this neighborhood. I have a dim street light across the street, and there are a few more around, but for the most part we don't have a lot of light here. With the snow, it looked like the sun was coming up. The white stuff is more reflective than I think most people that don't live in it would realize. Now we've got four or five inches of reflection going on. lol! I'm gonna head out to the mailbox and grab the next Battlestar Gallactica disc, and be as snug as a bug, that's a dumb phrase.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back from SHOT '10. Mostly alive and mostly well

Wow, what a week! I left for SHOT in Vegas on Monday afternoon, arriving around 8, and left yesterday around three. I spent a whole lot of the intervening hours awake when I probably should have been asleep. I didn't get sick, which is a huge plus.

I don't want this post to end up being a book in length, so I'll just make some notes and comments, and do some more of my not-at-all-famous stream of unconsciousness style of writing. That may prove to be more interesting in the end. I won't go a whole lot into the social gatherings because I don't think more than two of my three readers will care.

The good comes first, I think, because it's more gooder. Our lodgings were pretty sweet. We got hooked up with a suite at The Wyndham Grand Desert resort. One of the moderators at LF has a family member that has a time share there, so we had it for the week. I got the master bedroom, which meant I had a giant king sized bed, my own TV, my own bathroom and a jacuzzi tub. I never did get to use the tub, which was a bummer. I meant to do that on Friday night, but we ended up staying out outrageously late and not getting much sleep before leaving. There were a few other guys staying in the suite, but I definitely got the best room. I should have taken photos. Matter of fact, I didn't take any photos at all. That may or may not have proven to be a good thing. lol!

First and foremost, I met a LOT of LF forum members this year, both old timers and new guys. The scheduled parties were cool, and fun. The amount of people that were asking where I was kind of blew me away; I didn't think there were that many that cared. Just goes to show that military people and some of the people in the Military Industrial Complex are good folks.

Bill's at The Flamingo is a pretty good steak house. 22 ounces of prime rib is kind of a lot, and the baked potatoes are ginormous, too. I managed to finish it all, and some of the bread, too. All that because Ellis Island failed us and was not doing barbecue due to the weather. Pansies.

For being in such a serious business, the guys at American Snipers are a seriously funny bunch of guys. I spent some time with them at Kifaru's party in their suite, pretty much laughing my ass off the whole time. Send them some money, they're worth the investment.

Best piece of gear I saw in the whole show was, by a wide margin, the panda balaclava-with ears-that was for display only and not for sale. The not for sale part was pretty sad. Sad panda.

Ben Simonson of Boresight Solutions does the best work on polymer guns I've seen. Ever. His attention to detail is truly amazing, and he does quite a few things that nobody else does. He's not cheap, but for the quality of work he does, his work ethic, and overall coolness make up the difference. For what you get, his prices are excessively reasonable. Send him at least one gun, and several more would be better. His work kicks major ass.

The LaRue OSR Light was cool. I could definitely use one.

Blue Force Gear had their new DAP stuff in force, as well as the Basicload Chest Harness. They're doing some very innovative stuff, and since it's BFG, they're making it with attention to detail and quality.

Safariland introduced a new belt and a new line of their MLS-type stuff, in miniature for ammo pouches and the like. 'Course, I knew about that a few weeks ago.

Supply Captain has new technology for their IR flags. The new finish is as much a step forward from their previous versions were to what was on the market at the time to their previous ones will be to the new stuff. It's pretty amazing; I'm still geeked about it.

Beyond that, there wasn't a whole lot that I hadn't already seen-some of our reps are really damn good-or didn't know was coming. Good show, but there was no product that really blew me away as the "Gotta Have It" (GHI) product of the show.

Here's the less gooder stuff. The venue was a PITA. Being on three separate floors and in hallways and halls wasn't the problem, its that the grouping of stuff was retarded. There was Tactical and Law Enforcement stuff on all three floors, and not all together. I ended up on the second floor "general firearms" area to find the Remington Military booth to check out that as-yet vaporware ACR and their new sniper stock, and figured if I hung two rights I'd be doing a "u"ie out of the booth, and would be headed back to the stuff I care about. About five yards out of their booth, though, I'm surrounded by a triple canopy of Realtree. Look to the right: cheap Chinese hats! To the left, deer piss and fish lures! I would have panicked if I was prepared for that. Eventually I made my way back to the Surefire booth, but it was touch and go for a while there.

There were booths in an underground parking lot. Seriously? A parking lot? That's lame, Reed Exhibitions. Several of those vendors were PISSED at their locations.

I could deal with it if I knew where things were. The floor numbers weren't running consecutively. Matt and I spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out where the Chris Reeve Knives booth was, and we knew we were in the area. It was worth the time, though, as they make a fantastic product and have wonderful people there. Anne Reeve remembered my home boy Jeromy a year after meeting him once at the show. She remembered me, too, and has no real reason to do so. She's a great American and Chris has done very well with his selection of his wife.

Vegas has gotten expensive! It used to be cheap to eat and drink there. Not this time! Ten bucks for a croissant breakfast sammich and a bottle of water? Nein, danke.

Overall, it was worth going, and my employer is going to benefit from us having attended. We made some new contacts, renewed some older ones, and in general had a very productive trip.

It was a lot of fun, too.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

This just in: 25 degrees and slight wind= cold!

I wonder sometimes if my love of shooting is foolish. I had a hundred rounds of 9mm, so I went out to meet the boys at the range. Matt and Casey had been there for a while already when I got there, and Bo was smart enough to show up a little later, when the temperature was peaking...such as it was. We found individually, and agreed collectively, that 25 degrees can justifiably be called "cold".

I took along the previously posted about Safariland 6004-DFA, which is going to be dual purpose for me. It's going to be my "its too cold to use a hip holster" rig, and also my "training rig", which means that it'll be the rig I use for Pat Rogers' Carbine Operator's Course in April. That's gonna be a great class, since I know a bunch of the people that'll be attending, but that's kind of a subject for another time.

What I found about the DFA: That's a cool rig. When I got it, Mike (our Safariland rep) told me that once it was in place on the belt, it's impossible to move, and that I should mark the belt when the loop goes. I haven't done the marking yet, but he wasn't kidding about it staying put. And, with the MLS modular adapter parts, it's going to be a really nice rig to swap guns around on.

Since this was the first time I used it at the range, I left it where I had assembled it, which is in the middle of the adjustment range. That, for my height-some would call it "excessive"-proved to be a good adjustment. It's still high on my hip, but easy to draw from.

That is, except for one small issue: the G17/light holster I have is the only one I own with the snatch guard, and I keep running into that thing. I'm fairly sure what's going to end up happening is that I'm going to take it off; it's just Allen-screwed on there. Since grab attempts are going to be exceptionally rare when using that rig, I'm not gonna sweat it, and I'll just run it nekkid like my MnP ALS holster.

Bottom line, here's what we learned today: the DFA is a really smart addition to the Safariland line, and it's highly recommended if you have need of a drop leg style holster. And, by unanimous decision, shooting in the cold isn't as much fun as it could be. Lastly, it was also unanimous that 25 degrees with wind, even just a little wind, is COLD.

Monday, January 04, 2010

TWO WEEKS! Its killin' me.

Two weeks from today, I'll be in Las Vegas, meeting up with fellow Lightfighters at The Freakin' Frog, for five days of sore feet, good food and meeting old friends for the first time. Incidentally, all of those evenings have already been planned out, and I've been told that a birthday celebration for me has been planned as well. For that, I think I should be at least mildly afraid.

This is ostensibly a business trip, since it's an industry trade show that I'm going to. SHOT show is the first big trade show of the year, and it draws a lot of My People. It draws a lot of yahoos and idiots, too, but those people aren't mine. They're probably some other low rent cheesy forum's people, or troglodytes that aren't online at all. See the beauty of that? They can't get offended at being called trogs because they're not online to see this. HA!

The reality of SHOT is that, while it's for business, its for fun, too. I'm going to see what's coming and what's gonna get ordered, but the SHOT specials are always extended, so we don't have to write orders at the show like crazy. That eases the pressure some, and just makes the time more enjoyable. If I miss something, oh, well. Our rep will be contacting us about it soon enough.

The real beauty of SHOT, other than the guns, accessories I care about,the deer piss and fish lures enough to fill a lake that I don't, is hanging out with Lightfighters. I'll be meeting people I've known online since 2002 in some cases, and feel like I already know, for the first time. I'll be seeing friends again that I haven't seen since last year's SHOT. I really can't wait.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Merry X-Mas to me! SF M300, Safariland 6004-DFA

I've been trying to avoid writing strictly about gun stuff of late, which is why I haven't been posting as often as I used to. I'm coming to a realization, though: outside of Jesus, my life kinda revolves around shooting. Like Dave used to say, a decade ago at The Cutler's Cupboard: "It's better than drugs or other women". I guess so!

These weren't actually "Christmas presents", but they were close enough. The one advantage to my job is that it tends to bring schwag my way, because smart representatives know that getting stuff in my hands is a good way to sell more product. Smart people, those reps!

First up, the excellent new Surefire M300 Mini Scout light. As I understand it, this was the brain child of, or at the very least ramrodded by, Surefire's Director of Military Sales. It makes perfect sense, really: take the already successful Scout light, and do more of what made it successful, which was to make it slimmer and lighter. What it ends up being is a 4.5 ounce light that's only 4 inches long, with at least 110 lumens output. It runs on a single battery, but with an LED emitter, it has a 1+ hour run time. In a light of this type, I'll get a year out of that battery.

Also of note is the SR07 rail mount tape switch. I'm not typically a tape switch guy, but this one's seriously beefy. Its a pressure pad and an on-off button that's designed specifically to mount to a rail. Two things that need to be mentioned about the switch: mine is a much "harder" switch than ones that I've used in the past. It takes a significant amount of pressure to engage the light. The possibility of a white light ND is still there, but probably less likely. Surefire still sells switch blockers for tape switches, so I think I'm going to secure one, just for general purposes. The other interesting engineering feat with this switch is that they made the on/off switch an "on at release" button. The light doesn't come on until the circuit is closed when the button is released. That means bumping the button won't ND the light. Smart.

This one I added just to show my carbine without the magnifier. I can't he'p it, I'm a dork.

The chest rig, the UW Chest Rig Gen III from Mayflower R&C wasn't a Christmas present, but it was a gift from my friend Travis, who happens to own and run Mayflower. It's a feather; the body of the harness is 500 D Cordura, while the lid flaps are 300 D. Travis has a ton of experience in using gear in the real world, as well as a very creative and analytical mind. His gear is among the best available anywhere, at any price. That his stuff is so reasonably priced is a bonus!

The Safariland 6004/6005 holsters have been a staple of the tactical holster line for a really, really long time, and still are. However, with the introduction of the MLS line of modular components, the platform was revolutionized. The trend in the past couple years has been to take a Dremel tool to the two-strap shroud and shorten it. Safariland noticed, and started making one of their own. Then they added the MLS locking plate to it, and a modular drop leg was born. However, that wasn't good enough, so the DFA was born. Lotta borning going on over there at Safariland. Basically, they got rid of the old belt loop and put a flexible polymer belt attachment in it's place. The advantage is that once it's in place on the belt, it doesn't move. You can't adjust the thing without creating slack in the belt, i.e. taking it off. It locks on. I put it on my inch and 3/4 Bianchi Accumold gun belt, specifically because it's a rather slim belt. Works like a champ. Currently, it's got my Duty ALS holster for the Glock 17 with light. Now all I gotta get is an ALS holster for my MnP with light on an ATS War Belt, and that'll be my training rig. To quote the Bard, Eric Cartman: "Schweeeeet".

The reason the MLS parts are Flat Dark Earth rather than foliage green is that the FG parts that came with the DFA were really, really tight. I had a spare MLS kit, so I slapped it on there. The seem to be two slightly different types of plastic, but I have no idea if that's true or if it just seems that way. It's probably just a lot-to-lot variance of some sort. For whatever reason, it fit a whole lot easier, so I just left it. If nothing else, it makes it easier to see the photos.

And, just because I know both readers of my blog are curious about the gun in that holster, I give you this:

Its got a Wolff competition spring kit in it, Warren Sevigny competition sights, and a grip texturing job by my friend James. He gripitated the frame, and rounded and textured the trigger guard. The light was a gift from my home boy Matt, who has one of the coolest jobs in the world.

What can I say? Sometimes my job doesn't suck. lol!