Spike’s Tactical RFR Review



Filed under Firearms

In Print…

The February 2011 issue of Special Weapons for Military & Police has an advertisement created by me for Spike’s Tactical. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited. I think I could have used more light…but…



Filed under News Stories/Events/Opinion

Multitasker Tools Series 2 AR-Multitasker


Filed under Other Nifty Stuff

What “Common Sense Gun Law” Would Have Stopped the Attack on Gabrielle Giffords?

In the wake of the atrocity perpetrated by a deranged man in Tucson, Arizona, on Saturday, pundits, broadcasters, government officials, and pretty much everyone else with an opinion have rushed to comment on the who, what, when, why, and how of the situation – often without any evidence to back up their claims.

The new rallying cry among the left is “common sense gun laws.” For example, Colin Goddard, a victim of the Virginia Tech shooting, rails against Arizona for not having the following laws:

“No laws to protect children from adults who leave guns unlocked.

No laws to require a license with a purchase.

No laws to require mandatory reporting of stolen guns.

No laws requiring fingerprinting, or the micro-stamping of guns.

No laws limiting how many guns can be purchased every month.

No laws requiring background checks for purchasing ammunition.

No laws requiring that law enforcement have a say in who can carry concealed weapons, as Jared Loughner is accused of doing.

No assault weapons restrictions, and no restrictions, as we sadly saw, on how many rounds can be in high-capacity magazines — magazines that declare and wage war on innocents.”

None of these laws would have stopped Loughner from attacking Congresswoman Giffords and the people gathered outside that Safeway. Nor would they have stopped Seung-Hui Cho, Nidal Hassan, etc.

Are we really supposed to believe that had Jared Loughner been illegally carrying a concealed weapon, he would not have done what he did? Nidal Hassan shot Soldiers on an Army base, where concealed carry is most definitely prohibited. Cho shot students in a university, where concealed carry was prohibited.

Loughner, Cho and Hasan all passed background checks when buying their firearms, so what would have stopped them from buying ammunition if a background check was required on such purchases?

Goddard also states that it’s easy to buy a gun at a gun show – ignoring the fact that neither Cho, Hasan, nor Loughner purchased their firearms at gun shows. All of them purchased their handguns at least one month before their murderous rampages, and while they all apparently purchased multiple handguns, only one handgun was used in each shooting. It’s already a requirement for firearms dealers to report multiple purchases of handguns within a one-week period to the ATF.

Restrictions on “high capacity” magazines, as Richard Daley suggests, certainly would not have stopped Cho, who reportedly went through 17 Glock magazines when firing over 170 rounds – using “restricted capacity” magazines.

What we have still not learned – and what some would refuse to recognize – is that the abject failure of government agencies, especially in terms of communicating between agencies, plays a major role in allowing attacks, large and small, to be executed.

– Seung-Hui Cho was never forced to return to court after his failure to complete court-ordered mental health programs, and information about this was never communicated to NICS, which controls background checks on firearms sales.

– Nidal Hasan’s contacts with al-Qaeda, known to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, were never communicated to NICS.

– Jared Loughner was known to local law enforcement as having made death threats and was expelled from school after run-ins with campus police and after students and teachers said they were afraid for their safety – yet the college only moved to protect themselves, requiring him to be cleared by mental health professionals if he wished to return to school. Of course, since there was no follow up to any of this, NICS did not prevent Loughner from legally purchasing a handgun.

I am reminded of Gavin de Becker’s excellent book “The Gift of Fear.” Gavin de Becker states that when battered spouses or stalking victims seek restraining orders, they do not solve the actual problem – they only “engage and enrage” their antagonist. Well, Pima Community College’s action was the equivalent of a restraining order, and going by the posting dates and subject matter of Loughner’s YouTube videos, it seems that he was definitely “enraged” by the college’s actions. Rather than solve the problem, this may have pushed him closer to doing what he did.

I submit that, since 9/11, intergovernmental agency communications failures have been painfully clear to the American people and to elected officials. However, there has been no strong cry to fix this at any level and between any agencies. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security was supposed to improve communication, but has only resulted in a massive, inept bureaucracy that has kept us no safer than pre-9/11 security measures. As has been shown by both the Underwear Bomber and Jared Loughner, the final line of security is composed of private citizens being alert, able, and courageous enough to take action when government and “security” agencies failed.

Even after the Virginia Tech shootings, which should have been a wake up call to administrators, mental health professionals, and police officers at college campuses nationwide, local agencies are still passing the buck, saying to themselves, “This guy sounds crazy, but that could never happen here.”

It’s high time that we ignore those screeching nonsense from atop Internet soapboxes and behind City of Chicago lecterns and start investigating why and how the exact government agencies that would enforce these imaginary new gun laws continue to fail at their jobs.


Filed under News Stories/Events/Opinion

Kydex Holsters: NTAC vs. Raven Concealment Systems

Recently, concealable all-kydex handgun holsters have exploded in popularity. Though they were around in one form or another for quite some time, it wasn’t until Raven Concealment started manufacturing (and, perhaps, effectively marketing) their Phantom holsters several years ago that, I believe, the design really took off.

What are the benefits of all-Kydex holsters? Well, they’re lightweight, thin, they provide excellent retention, and they reduce the amount of sweat that touches the holstered pistol, which can have an effect on corrosion in certain environments and with certain finishes. I’ve also found that they stay in place better than leather/kydex hybrids. On the other hand, some people prefer leather holsters for comfort – I actually find kydex to be more comfortable – and kydex holsters do cause more wear on the firearm than leather holsters do.

I was a pretty early adopter of Raven holsters, and have used them extensively. There are plenty of high volume shooters who started using them even before I did, and the feedback they provided has allowed Raven to continuously improve their product.

The early holsters sold by Raven were made of a thin kydex – meaning that they were very easy to conceal, but also not exceptionally durable. I used two such holsters – one for a Glock 19 with a Surefire light attached and one for a non-railed 1911. Although the addition of the pistol light made the Glock 19 holster a little bulkier, I was still able to carry it without being “made” in a variety of environments.

The original IWB belt clip design was also made of a thinner material – they also had square “folds” over the top of the belt/pants which did not transmit force very well, and I ended up breaking several, which Raven replaced immediately.

Still, my Raven 1911 holster found more use, and eventually I drew from it enough times that the body of the holster cracked. I discovered this while on a “creeper” underneath my car, as the pistol slid out of the holster and clattered across the concrete. I contacted Raven, was asked to send it in, and had a new, thicker holster on my doorstep within a week and a half, complete with new belt loops that were thicker and had rounded “folds”. I used this holster almost daily for about a year and a half until, again, one of the belt loops cracked.

Again, Raven stepped up, though in the future I might switch to the IWB attachments used by the Comp-Tac MTAC (not to be confused with NTAC) holster, which I have found to be very durable and adjustable, though one of the benefits of the Raven’s belt clip design is how it stays perfectly in place at all times – precisely because they are non-adjustable.

This brings me to NTAC holsters. NTAC started making Kydex holsters in mid 2009, and I purchased one almost immediately. They’re priced just below Raven holsters ($65 vs $75) and seemed to offer similar, made-in-USA quality.

Well, I wasn’t too disappointed. Made of a thicker material, the holster itself has proven to be quite durable. Retention is very positive – on the edge of being too strong – and customer service is great. There was a mixup with my order, and they sent out the correct item (a magazine pouch) immediately. My only major complaint is that the stock belt loops placed the pistol too high, so I replaced them with the aforementioned Comp-Tac loops, which have proven to be a nearly universal upgrade.

When I suddenly needed a holster for a Glock longer than the G19 the NTAC holster was designed for, I simply hacked the bottom off the holster, filed down the edges, and voila – a holster that works well for my Gen 4 G22, as well as maintaining compatibility with the G19.

So, which company’s product is better?

Well, that’s a complicated question. Both are, in my opinion, very high quality, with good fasteners and other materials. I’ve had fewer problems with NTAC products, but I’ve used them for a shorter period of time, and they’ve had the benefit of learning from Raven’s product improvements. One major factor is time – if you want a Raven holster, either scour the internet for a used one or be prepared to wait 16-18 weeks or more. NTAC, on the other hand, says their current wait time is only 30 days. Raven offers more models – as well as weaponlight-compatible models – but both companies can make custom holsters upon request. I consider myself an early adopter of both, because the longest I’ve had to wait for a holster from either company is 3 weeks.

Another factor is belt loop attachments – I have little use for passive retention holsters for OWB (outside the waistband) use, so the fact that IWB (inside the waistband) components must be ordered separately, and add to the cost, of the Raven holster is mildly annoying to me. NTAC gives you the option of IWB or OWB for the same price, or both for another $10.

Now, some might say that NTAC is simply copying Raven – I don’t really want to address this, but I know it will come up. Raven has been a victim of their own success – the incredibly long timeline to receive a Raven holster, a result of the popularity and quality of their product – has created a demand beyond Raven’s ability to supply, and the free market worked in the form of NTAC. If this bothers you, well, you will not be disappointed with the Raven product or their outstanding customer service. I would not hesitate to order another Raven product – as long as I didn’t plan on needing it for 4 or 5 months. I really hope that Raven will be able to step up production in order to meet the demand for their holsters.

Either company’s product is more than satisfactory for my purposes – daily concealed carry – and I do not think about whether I will be using a Raven or an NTAC holster when I select a carry handgun.


Filed under Tactical Gear

Mike Pannone Shoots the 1/2 & 1/2 Drill with the NGA X7

In this video, Mike Pannone of CTT-Solutions shoots the 1/2 & 1/2 drill with the Next Generation Arms X7.

The 1/2 & 1/2 drill consists of 30 total shots – 10 from 20 yards, 10 from 10 yards, and 10 from 5 yards. The par times are, respectively, 10 seconds, 5 seconds, and 2.5 seconds. All shots must land with in the “A” zone of an IPSC type target.

Mike shoots the 20 yard and 10 yard strings in less than half the par time, and the 5 yard string in under 2 seconds. These strings were actually shot from 20, 10, and 5 meters due to the use of a metric laser rangefinder.

More information about the weapon will be forthcoming.

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Filed under Firearms

Troy Industries Customer Service Update

Many months ago, I wrote about a problem I had with Troy customer service – that they wouldn’t repair a TRX Extreme handguard because I was not the original purchaser.

Well, some folks at Troy saw that earlier this month, and since the people who had handled my issue are apparently no longer working customer service, I was emailed a UPS tag and asked to return the handguard. Only a few weeks later, it was back on my doorstep, looking like new – very impressive, considering the holidays. My hat is off to Troy – for both their response to me and for improving their customer service department.


Filed under News Stories/Events/Opinion