2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 3: SELF PORTRAIT WITHOUT SELF

 

FujiFilm XT-1, 35mm, processed with Lightroom, Aurora HDR, Noiseless, and Snapheel.

 

This week’s theme called for a self-portrait, without myself.So, the goal was to represent me in a way that did not include me. Right away I knew what I wanted to photograph. These pair of objects represent me well. I hope you enjoy them!

Urban Carry deep concealment holster review

I plan to write this review over the course of several weeks.

The folks over at Urban Carry were kind enough to loan me a black leather holster, perfect for my Smith and Wesson M&P Shield 9mm. First up I’d like to simply link to their video that describes the holster better than I could. And what follows will be my experiences with the holster.

Now you should have a good idea of what we’re talking about. Up until now, my primary concealed carry holster has been an IWB, Alien Gear holster. It conceals nicely, is quite flat, and perfect for 3 o’clock to 4 o’clock positioning. As a hefty guy, we tend to prefer various hip carry positions. Like in the video above, with a gun that sticks up a little bit above the waist line, anywhere in front of 3 o’clock, it’s digging into me. I have a Smart Carry holster that I’ve used in specific situations that allows me to get my concealed firearm in a very inconspicuous location. With a belt buckle, it won’t set off sensors, etc.

On to the Urban Carry. Up until today, I’ve worn it out twice. I kept it on into the evening, both times, after returning home. Right off the bat, this IS a holster I can appendix carry, comfortably, and I’m not worried about shooting myself. That’s primarily because the weapon is so low, that it folds with the contents of my front pocket. As a hefty guy, I’m super excited about this option opening up.

After the second day and evening of carrying it, I unloaded the Shield and did several test draws in my bedroom. I can tell two things. I need more practice drawing it, and breaking in the leather will help tremendously.

Appendix Carry

I’ve never been a fan of appendix carry. As a husky guy, I won’t deny that it’s always been uncomfortable, since all other CCW options have at least a portion of the weapon under the belt or above. That always results in poking and jabbing of the gun into my belly. Even the Smart Carry doesn’t carry low enough. With a good belt buckle, it’s good enough to help me carry where it’s frowned upon, even through metal detectors. But I’m still faced with the dilemma of comfort.

Yesterday, I carried my Shield in the Urban Carry all day. Traveled in a car. Sat around a campfire. Did a lot of sitting and getting up. Because this holster positions the entire gun on top of your thigh, below the belt, it just folds up at the standard crease of the jeans. No pinching or discomfort!

The holster has an M&P Shield in it. You can see the black leather top portion, that looks like a phone pouch. Also, a quiet poor photo. Sorry.

This holster is quickly becoming one of favorites! I do not believe that there is a one-holster-for-all-situations. As any CCW carrier will tell you, there are different needs for different situations. And sometimes you may even choose to have different handguns for different situations. I’m hoping for a family heirloom S&W 38 revolver someday, that I’d rotate into my CCW choices.

But one promising feature with the Urban Carry is that I foresee wearing it with shorts more comfortably than any of my other holsters. And with our warm summer coming pretty soon, I look forward to the results.

I’ve asked two LEOs to pat me down, with zero warning about the two pocket knives or the weapon in the holster, a bit closer to my junk than the photo above. One of them found it, the other didn’t. I will admit, the deputy who did a rotation in the jail with my cohorts and myself, is the one who found it. Generally, jail staff do significantly better pat downs.

Today, I’m wearing the Urban Carry on my 3+ hour Amtrak ride. Mostly sitting and going to the bathroom. Those bathrooms are just a tiny bit more roomy than an airliner’s restroom. So that was a good test to see how I could navigate the space. I had more trouble just standing up and keeping good aim, than I did with the holster. It’s attached to my belt, so didn’t see the need to unholster and find a place to safely set it, while I took care of business.

Urban Carry…+1 more
CCW hassles with safe gun storage…0

Not too flattering of a photo, but it shows how much the Urban Carry doesn't
Not too flattering of a photo, but it shows how much the Urban Carry doesn’t.

Today I wore it to church. Sitting wasn’t a problem. Before the service started, I stood up and mentally pictured me drawing. I see zero issues, after some muscle memory building, with drawing from this holster. Kneeling, with the leg that has the firearm, also a non-issue.
The next time I wore it was to see how it does while I’m riding my city bike around the block.

That ended well. Didn’t hinder me at all. I ride a Electra Loft 7i. It’s sorta a city bike cruiser. I could easily see being quick enough to position my carrying leg for a nice straight up draw. I wanted to take photos, but couldn’t really do it with enough light, and NOT front myself off in view of the public.

However I think with the amount that I’ve worn this really great holster, I’ve found two issues that stand out.

The first issue I have is that I cannot comfortably draw while in any seat of a car, with the seatbelt on. Taking off the seatbelt only marginally helps. There solutions I may use with my own setup, but I’m tasked with an honest review of this Urban Carry. That may be as a result of my belly hanging over, but it’s an issue either way.

The second issue is really just a great need for this design to be applied to a single and double magazine holder, for the other side. I love to carry a second mag at least, since I’m behind enemy lines, in California, with mag limits, even for retired LEOs.

It’s time to roll this up, and publish it. My overall opinion is that I will continue to highly recommend Urban Carry deep concealment holsters. As I’ve worn in the leather, it HAS gotten much easier to use.

Shall not be infringed 

I am so sick of these pandering liberals who think it’s completely acceptable to violate our civil rights! People, our right to own modern firearms is as fundamental as any other inalienable right. Your right to pick any church or no church. Your right to unlawful search and seizure. Your right to not be persecuted because of your race. 

These are fundamental rights NOT granted to us by our government. They are inalienable rights, recognized by our founding fathers and codified in our founding documents. 

What part of “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED” is too hard for even the uneducated to understand? It’s written in the most basic English. 

It’s time for the alleged 5,000,000 members of the NRA to quit being quiet and inform their friends and family. It’s high time for peaceful protest, especially in states a lover of freedom might consider “behind enemy lines”, like New Jersey, Kalifornia, Illinois, and plenty of others. 

Every gun owner should join the NRA, Gun Owners of America, Firearms Policy Coalition, and the Second Amendment Foundation
Right now we have the 9th circuit, 3 judge, federal court decision, Peruta, that basically turns Kalifornia into a “shall issue” state, of CCWs. However, the whole 9th circuit decided to take up the case. So arguments happened earlier this year, and we’re waiting for their decision. If they change their opinion, this may end up with the Supremes, and I have good faith that the current pro-2nd Amendment court will rule in accordance with the Constitution. 

Ok, more another time. I’ve been going long. 

Oh, one more thing. Pay attention to a current piece of legislation, HR 3799 – Hearing Protection Act of 2015. This will finally remove suppressors from theNational Firearms Act. Seeing as the misplaced fear of deadly assassins is solely a Hollywood construct, it needs  to be understood by Americans that we have the right to protect our hearing when legally using our firearms. FYI, the Anglish can walk down to a gun store and by them off the shelf, or just make their own, completely legal. Why, no Hollywood assassin bias. 

CCW trends

[To be clear, I am not sponsored or receiving any compensation from these recommended companies.]

There’s finally some creativity coming out with optional ways to carry concealed, aka CCW. 

UnderTech UnderCover Men’s Concealment Shorts Single Pair -$50 a pair  (they have a variety of colors styles and package deals.)

Here’s a newer method that is deep cover, and most likely avoids  printing well. But pressed up against my skin, I foresee there being a big comfort learning curve.

In all honestly, these deep concealment options are perfect for very unique situations, and it would behoove anyone carrying like this to practice drawing from full dressed conditions, before they build up the muscle memory to have it flow safely.

SmartCarry Single pocket concealed carry holster – $58.98

Another deep concealment holster I highly recommend is one I own and have used for many years. Made by SmartCarry. Low profile Velcro attaching belt with a pouch in front. Kinda like a thin fanny pack that goes between you pants and underwear. My model carried my LCP + extra mag. And it still fits my M&P Shield with extra mag. It seems a little high-priced for a cloth holster, but these are handmade in Florida, USA. 

Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 2.0 IWB Holster -$35.88

Then there’s my primary CCW carry holster, an Alien Gear 2.0. Tuckable, completely under pants and shirts. It shines when you IWB carry and tuck in you outer shirt. Virtually no print and one step to draw.

They also carry clean and simple OWB holsters as well.

I love the comfortable neoprene-like material against my skin, and it breathes well.  

El Paso Saddlery “EZ Carry” Holster – $55.00

I want to include a holster that should be a staple with all CCWers. A typical leather IWB with metal clip. This is a great choice for rapid departure from your home, if by chance you actually weren’t carrying inside (foolish).

They all make them. With leather, I tend to be willing to spend more for the longevity. I migrate to El Paso Saddlery for all of these. I have two OWB holsters for my duty carry from them, and they are fantastic!

With CCW it’s all about being ready but unknown. Don’t talk about that you carry. Don’t show people what you’re carrying or where. I’ve done this, but in semi-training environments with compadres who also CCW and or are seriously considering it.
Of course there a plethora of methods for carrying a handgun in a concealed manner. I’m a holster hog, so I expect to acquire many more holsters for alternate methods of dress and carrying locations. But above all, I stick with my fat tire location. Just behind my hip.  With my somewhat pear shape, on the hip at 3 o’clock, my profile shows the gun, aka it “prints”. In front of the hip is called appendix carry and I think it’s very dangerous. A misfire can result in a blown femoral artery. Not a risk I want. Behind the hip, between 3:30 and 4 o’clock positions allows me NOT to print, and it’s not too far back to bother when I’m driving. And I’ve practiced in my professional environment drawing from that position and successfully engaging targets.

At a future date I hope to expand on holsters for CCW and even open carry. I’m no expert, I just have my decade plus of working in an environment where I open carried in uniform, CCW’ed a backup, and CCW’ed off duty. I’ve made some bad purchases, and learned from trying to be too frugal and too fancy.

Please jump into the comments with your questions and comments. Disagree with me on something, go for it and explain to us why. I don’t seek conflict, I seek communication  and healthy discourse.

Remington M887 NitroMag – for sale

So, the crazy social media gurus have decided that it’s a bad thing to try to sell your guns on their websites. Cowards!

They can’t tell me what to do on my own blog though. Eat that!

My very first shotgun was this Remington M887 NitroMag 12 gauge. I knew little about what I was doing, and was quite attracted to the polymer coatings, since I was planning on joining my father-in-law pheasant hunting, and wanted to try duck hunting eventually. This model seemed to offer me the corrosion resistance I wanted, and it appeared to be in the Remington family of successful shotguns. It was also much lower priced than the famed 870 pump gun. So I took the plunge! Shot it my first qual season and first pheasant hunt. Little success, but I’m sure it was the shooter.

Fast forward a few years and I have an 870 Express, and am hoping to graduate to a semi-auto Beretta or Benelli soon. So, this little used shotgun just sits. I’m not a fan of just building up my arsenal. Everything should have a purpose. I’d rather this shotgun be replaced with an 870 in 20 gauge, for the kids and wife to enjoy more.

Specs:

  • $200

  • 12 gauge
  • fiber optic front sight
  • polymer coated for corrosion resistance
  • up to 3 1/2″ shells!

Enjoy these photos below!

Are you prepared?

As y’all know, I’m a firearms enthusiast. What you might not know is that I’m also a fan of being prepared. Something about my time in the Boy Scouts did this to me. I’m no crazy prepper, by any means. However, I am open to the notions of being prepared for disasters, power outages, earthquakes, etc. Katrina happened. Tsunamis have wiped out portions of normal society for periods of time. These are real life examples.

Will society completely dissolve and throw us back to homesteading and trading at the local farmer’s market. No, I do not think so. Do borders and governments change, yes. I’m rambling a bit, probably the lasting effects of the chemo brain, or whatever.

However, consider that some of the principles of homesteading, urban farming, etc. are of great value, whether or not society falls apart. What happens if you learn a little about taking care of your family better with homegrown food, but nothing goes wrong? You eat better! And you learn a new skill in the process. Trust me, if we’re out of touch with the greater society for more than a few months, you are not going to just learn over night to plant sustaining crops to live on. Start learning now.

Preparation isn’t just about food either. There are actual principles to be learned. Self-defense can’t be acquired over night either. You should already be acquiring the basic survival firearms. A pistol, a shotgun, a modern sporting rifle, and a “deer” rifle. These are all very personal and private decisions. No matter the path of buying these guns you choose, do it legally. I live in Kalifornia, what I consider behind enemy lines. Yet, I can and do possess all of these weapons. We have crazy waiting periods, and limits on how many rounds our magazines can have, but you have to work with what you got. I have do have some recommendations, however. Let go of your past ideas, to be best prepared. I’ve chosen calibers that I believe are more common and even likely to be “battlefield pickups”.

  • Handgun (9mm)
    • I recommend a striker-fired modern polymer-based handgun…
      • Glock, Smith&Wesson M&P, etc.
  • Shotgun (12 gauge)
    • A pump gun will be most affordable.
      • Remington 870 or Mossberg 500
  • MSR (.223/5.56)
    • This is often referred to as an AR-15.
      • Some of the most affordable rifles are made by Smith&Wesson, labeled M&P-15. Just get one assembled, in case your state has limits.
  • Deer Rifle (.308 or .30-06)
    • Hit a store like Big-5, Wal-Mart, etc, and get a basic all-in-one set up.
      • I picked up a Savage .30-06, with an included entry level scope. It shoots well, and I’m confident with it out to 300 yards. It was an affordable rifle from Big-5.

This is a large topic to cover. I really just want to get you interested in the notion of being prepared. When you hit the grocery store, grab an extra can of soup or something else that you normally get, even if it has a shelf life. Get in the habit of having more than just what you need this week, and start rotating the older to the front, etc. This can be done slowly and only gently effect your budget. As you build your basic collection of firearms, GET TRAINING! Your local gun store is the best place to start asking about local classes.

I really am not qualified to instruct on these subjects. But I can point you to a couple resources that have fed my mind quite well.

I have a follow up article I’m preparing, that I believe will pair well.

Stop infringing on my civil rights!

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun. That truth seems to be lost on so many, and unfortunately it’s lost on too many elected officials, including our destroy-America President, BO.

If the rights of South Carolina citizens had not been infringed upon, by a quasi-ban on carrying a concealed firearm within a church, and one of those partitioners had chosen to exercise that civil right, that racist dirtbag could have been stopped before he murdered those 9 people.

Listen to me. If you read and remember nothing else, remember this…

Criminals to not obey laws. You will NEVER be able to ban and collect every firearm in the US. In nations where firearms are banned completely, there are still firearms! And in those rare occasions where the criminal can’t get one, he gets a knife and uses that. The very definition of a criminal is…

Criminal
noun
1. a person charged with and convicted of crime
2. a person who commits crimes for a living

Seriously, every person who believes that creating more gun laws will somehow stop gun crimes is diluted and ignorant of human behavior. It is only for their own selfish goals and fears that they pursue these laws. And all the while they’re infringing on law abiding citizens’ civil rights.

The right of self protection, including the right to own possess and if necessary use a firearm, of equal capability to the government is a right, a basic human right. The Bill of Rights doesn’t grant us this right, it recognizes it. There is a difference, and it’s important.

Bill of Rights

Your right to speak freely, assemble with your church, to not have your home searched without a warrant, to not be treated differently because of your skin color or family tree, etc, those are all fundamental human rights, that our Constitution RECOGNIZES, not grants. We don’t have those rights because of the Constitution, we have them because they’re given to us by God.

Do you know that the first gun laws were enacted so that southern democrat whites could keep recently freed black slaves from having firearms to defend themselves? Even then, Democrats were out to use civil rights violating and unconstitutional laws to force their control over others.

Do you know that the NRA was started, founded by religious leaders who wanted to protect freed slaves from the Ku Klux Klan?

Here’s two articles that support my last two claims…

This is yet another reason why this next presidential election is so important. There are a great number of federal judges preparing to retire, including the possibility of a few Supremes. We DO NOT need any fool that a liberal who wants to control our lives, and lives under the ignorant notion that infringing on our civil rights is good for America’s citizens. Hilary and her ilk will continue that same path, destroying the U.S.A. one more step at at time.

We need a president who will undo the damage already done by Barack Hussein Obama, the anti-colonial-destroy-Americas-influence-in-the-world stratagem. (Dinesh D’Souza produced a tremendous film revealing Obama’s hatred for America’s past colonialism, and the likelihood that his presidency was designed to undo America’s influence in the world. You should watch it! If you’re local to me, I have it.)

I’ve taken a small rabbit trail. Sorry.

Back to the point. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun. That truth cannot be refuted. Feel free to try, but I will engage you and show you where you are wrong. On this issue, I am unwavering. This most basic human right, the right to defend my individual self and others shall not be infringed. When firearms are outlawed, I will be an outlaw. That’s not a cheesy phrase, it’s a statement I will back up…unto my end.

2014 Challenge, Week 10: DEPTH OF FIELD

For many of my newer readers, you might not know that I’m a contributor to PhotoChallenge.org. We post themed or technical photography challenges every so often, most of the time they’re weekly. I don’t always blog my own submissions to each week’s challenge, and I don’t always submit one at all. However, I’m going to try to post them here more regularly.

This is my submission for this week’s theme, which is a technical challenge focusing on “depth of field”. You can read about this week’s challenge here.

300mm, f/11, 0.4 sec, ISO 100

Remington Arms: Good product. Good service.

A couple of months ago I was out shooting with a friend and my shotgun malfunctioned. A malfunction is not unheard of, or even that big of a deal, if you generally take good care of your firearms and you stick with brands and models that are built well enough. This malfunction almost entirely kept me from being able to close the bolt.

My shotgun is a Remington 887 Nitro Mag. All that basically means is that I have the decades old, and solid, design of the Remington 870, dressed up with a few modern features. These features are especially perfect for bird hunting and getting dirty. Go take a look at the link, to see what I’m talking about. It’s a pump-action shotgun..

So the frozen action was a problem. I knew right away that my shotgun was going to need repair. We made it safe, by unloading it. The malfunction had happened after successfully firing a shell, so we did not have a live shell in the chamber. But to make sure, I had to kneel and brace the stock against my foot while the two of us forced the action open. Indeed the gun was safe. (Always important to actually look into an empty barrel, from the breach end, to confirm your gun is not loaded.)

I took a close look into the now open bolt assembly area, and saw some metal shavings. Not a good sign. It appeared that the bolt had jumped its rail.

When you pump the action, you’re physically driving the bolt open and closed. All of these connected parts, that move with the pumping action, slide along grooves and rails. At lease one of these rails had failed.

So we finished up our afternoon of shooting, and headed home. I put all my goodies away, inside my gun locker, and sorta forgot about the shotgun.

My father-in-law's new shotgun...oh and happy birthday! A few weeks later I was chatting with my father-in-law, my shotgunning partner, and he pointed out that I was more than likely still under the original warranty of the shotgun. Duh! I’m a moron. I hit Remington’s repair website, and got the phone number. A quick call and it was confirmed that I’m still under warranty. I got the instructions for UPS’ing it in.

A few days later, my 887 was enroute to Ilion, NY. I got an email when they got it. Sweet. As the repair process progressed, it was easy to click on that same link in their original email and be told exactly what they were doing to my shotgun. After about a week, I jumped onto their repair site and was rewarded to know that they had repaired it and were in fact testing it on their firing range at that very moment! Sweet!

The following day the shotgun was enroute back to me, nearly 3000 miles away.

The neighborhood UPS man dropped it off today. As soon as I opened the box, I could tell that there was some newness that wasn’t there before. Yep, Remington had simply replaced a bunch of the parts. A quick look at the “repair document” showed me exactly what they replaced. The individual parts total more than the purchase of a new shotgun.

Thank you Remington Arms. Thank you for standing behind your product and thank you for fixing mine!

Good aim, huh?

I just stippled my gun

With all this time off from social media, I’ve been doing all sorts of things. I’m playing more guitar. I even started getting the hang of my ukulele, that I’ve had for several years. I’m also reading more, especially reading more of the Word. I’m enjoying my family a bit more too!

However, my stupid back injury has really been a limitation. It’s been a real bummer to have to limit my activities. One thing I just can’t wait to get back out doing is shooting more. I’ve tried it, with the injury, and it’s not as great as it could be.

I can stand for a bit, no problem. If I take along a chair to the range, I can even extend out my time a bit longer. But it’s just not the same.

During this time off, I’ve also learned a few things. One thing in particular is a new term; called “stippling”. Technically, stippling is an artistic term. It’s simply creating a pattern or art from dots. When applied to firearms customization, it’s more about the effect than the pattern. Well, that’s not entirely true. Many people seek to add a bit of style to their firearm, with stippling. But that’s really more of a side effect.

With my little Ruger LCP, I’ve wanted a nice way to add a bit more “grab”, if you know what I mean. When shooting it I’ve experienced the desire to grasp it stronger, as though the little stock may pull from my grip. (Others have made similar observations)

So when I discovered this cool technique, I was sure that I’d discovered the solution to my problem. But I ain’t paying some dude a bunch of cash to basically hack up the stock/frame of my sweet new Ruger.

Enter the internets.

Guess what? You can stipple your own firearms! Yep!

Just get yourself a wood burner (which is really just a soldering iron). I picked one up at Home Depot, for like $15.

With a bit of practice on an unused magazine base, I was set. Take a look at the bit of work I’ve done so far, below. I liked the work on the magazine base, so I swapped it back onto a good magazine. I wanted to start off with a small project, so I simply stippled the rest space for my trigger finger. (The white crayon lines will be cleaned off at the next cleaning.)

What do you think?

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