Friday, April 24, 2015

Grip and picking out a holster

Grip Considerations in picking and setting up a holster

When picking out or setting up a holster for concealed carry use, you will end up with a balance of concealment vs. speed in picking how much of the grip sticks above your waistline. To explain this, lets start by walking through the presentation of the gun. Assuming concealment has been removed – pulled out of the way, etc. – the first step is to obtain a master grip on the firearm. Master grip. This is only done by having a full grip around the stocks or grip of the pistol. If you can’t get a full grip on the gun until the gun is partially out of the holster, it slows the presentation and the first (2nd, 3rd,etc.) shot down.

Note: This can be mitigated by use of the Raven Concealment Eidolon aka “Sirloin” and its claw+wedge combo when worn AIWB.

Photo is of a poor grip clearancet:


Personally I set my holsters up to ensure when worn IWB (either strong side or appendix) that the lowest portion of the grip is above my belt line far enough for me to obtain a master grip. This can lead to increased chance of printing, but mostly that is mitigated by dress style, body movement awareness or even using an anti printing holster.

The “gold standard” in discrete carry for the last couple years was the Raven Concealment VG2. It clipped on the trigger guard, and attached with a snap loop to your belt. This holster gave three ride height options, allowing lower or higher grip placement in relation to your belt. I personally used the middle option finding it gave me enough clearance between my belt and the fore straps of the grip to get my master grip.

VG2 with ideal grip clearancet:


The VG2 has almost been completely replaced in the appendix carry role by the new Eidolon. After some testing of the various strut combos – quantity, angle, height, as well as the wedge and claw, I ended up with the following setup. It allows comfort for daily activities – including bending over, driving, running, etc. – as well as is extremely fast. I’m using the single clip set at an angle with the claw and wedge.

Eidolon setup for ideal grip clearance:

I carry a G22 with Sentinel Mag Well AIWB pretty much all the time this way. Usually with nothing more than a t-shirt to conceal it. A good stiff belt is a must when using the claw, because it needs something to push against to lock the butt of the gun into your body. The Ares Gear Ranger or Aegis belts fill this role the best for me.







Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Warlord Mindset

"If you get it, you get it." (Hodge Defense Systems)

This has been going across the world of BookFace lately: 

"I firmly believe that 'one second after', having an AR and a 6 pack of mags will instantly promote you to warlord of whatever zip code you are standing in.

Having a second rifle in the truck and good judgement of human character just increased your Wolfpack to two and someone can watch your six."
    - GR

Are you prepared for the day that “it” happens? Whatever “it” is, you don’t get to know in advance, but preparing your body/mind/equipment starts right now.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

EGL Custom 3 Mag VOCR

Extreme Gear Labs custom 3 Mag VOCR

"Mission Drives the Gear Train"

I identified a need in my gear pile last year. At the time, what I wanted was not available on the open market, so I went custom. Besides, if you want to have something tweaked to your needs and are going to pay for it, why not just pay to have the item built to your needs from the start? Even though he can have some slow payment to delivery times, even more so because of his Space Race involvement, Eggy from Extreme Gear Labs is still the best source for custom gear.

What I wanted, was a way to carry 3 M-4 mags, 2 pistol mag pouches Glock and M&P friendly (capable of carrying flashlights or multitools as well) and a GP pouch with loops that would allow me to hard point a holster such as the Raven Concealment Vanguard 2 – VG2. Going with EGL, I was able to do all that plus add in a STUFFIT which is my choice for a multipurpose pouch with low retention needs.

Why a chest rig for me? If you’ve read one of my first posts, you know I prefer a “battle” belt over a chest rig for training. The difference here, is that I want to be able to carry extra rifle gear and have a pistol accessible when using a backpack.

This setup in the base model is found in the EGL VOCR line, available in multiple mag variants – 3,4,5 and 6 mags. Many are familiar with the mass produced variant of the VOCR that Eggy designed called the D3CR. Due to Eggy’s involvement in the D3CR upgrades that came out in 2014, I was able to have them instituted in my VOCR.

Looking at the layout of the VOCR, it has QD buckles connecting the H harness and waist strap. This allows integration with Plate Carriers setup with the receiver QD’s if needed. On the H harness are loops that allow Chemlights or Radio wiring. The base of the VOCR are 3 single M4 mag pouches. It’s possible other types of mags would work, but as I don’t own or use over hyped peasant rifles (AK family), Galil’s, Steyer Aug’s, etc. I’m not sure on that. ON the back of the VOCR is Velcro allowing the addition of accessories. On the front from left to right, GP pouch. This I had modified with several loops that allow IWB holster loops to be hard pointed to the pouch. Currently a Raven Concealment VG2 fills that roll, but a VG1 could be tied in with paracord. In the middle is a STUFFIT which can hold pretty much anything, including a Motorola XTS series radio, Dark Angel Medical DARK insert, etc. Last are 2 pistol mag pouches. They will barely hold a Glock 22 round mag, but were designed to hold it and the standard Glock 17/22 mag or M&P magazine comfortably. 

Looking down onto rig from wearer's POV

Front view of rig,


 Showing loops and how VG2 loop will interface with it


The accessories for the VOCR/D3CR line, fit on the back using Velcro. I have the 2 M4 mag wedge and the “FBI” trauma kit hanger. Depending on my needs, is if I will run either of accessories. 

 Looking down on VOCR at 2 mag wedge on top. 


Fit:
I chose 3 angles of view to show how a standard REI backpacking pack would fit when worn over both the VOCR and a Crye JPC with and without hydration bladder. Also depicted is the VOCR being worn with the 2 mag wedge installed, to show its minimal bulk.

VOCR:



VOCR with 2 mag wedge – no pack:




JPC - with hydration bladder:

Notice how the hydration bladder even though a small capacity model shifts the pack to one side. This would be highly uncomfortable in long term wear. 




JPC - without hydration bladder:





Monday, January 19, 2015

Rifle Suppressor Thoughts

Rifle Suppressor Observations




Like many American’s, I have a Rifle Suppressor or as more commonly known, a Silencer. As this is a NFA controlled item, I did research before purchasing it. After purchasing it, and the following 9 month wait, I did some informal testing comparing it to the others I had available to me for comparison with aid of their owners.


Cans:  
·      Surefire FA556-212 (mine)
o   http://www.surefire.com/tactical-equipment/sound-suppressors/legacy-sound-suppressors/556-mm-223-caliber/fa556-212.html
·      AAC M4-2000 Pre MOD08
o   http://www.advanced-armament.com/M4-2000_p_409.html
·      YHM Phantom in 5.56
o   http://yhm.net/q-d-phantom-5-361.html

Guns:
·      10.5” SBR’s
·      14.5” pinned uppers
·      16” uppers


Price:  These were based on MSRP cost but do not include the $200.00 NFA stamp and any NFA out of state transfer fees ($50-150).
·      Surefire: $1,300.00 plus $100 mount: $1,400.00
·      AAC: $800.00 included mount
·      YHM: $600.00 due to time, don’t remember if owner had to pay extra to get a mount, but YHM mount was about $50.00


Mounts:
            Suppressor mounts come into 2 main categories, with 3 subcategories.

o   Direct Thread
o   Quick Detach
§  Flash Hider
§  Muzzle Break
§  Hybrid – a little of both options.

I prefer to use flash hiders for my rifles. Some people do not have that option due to living in Communist states. For a 100% of the time suppressed rifle, a muzzle break is ideal. It allows the break to absorb the majority of the blast from your muzzle, instead of the suppressor. When you’ve made a $600-1300 investment plus the wait time for a suppressor, having something absorb the blast that you can replace for $50-100, is a nice option.

Another factor that I looked at in selecting a Surefire can, was the quality and selection of their mounts over the other options from AAC and YHM. I had seen a few YHM Phantom mounts “fracture” and open up in low round count guns. I already had a AAC Blackout non mounting flash hider and while it worked to hide flash, the ting was slightly annoying. Would the ting matter if your shooting? No. But it’s a little annoying thing. The Surefire mount I went with is a closed end flash hider. In use while waiting on the Tax Stamp approval, I shot the flash hider mount on 10.5” SBR a lot. I noticed the flash removal was on par to my eyes with the 14.5” blackout equipped upper I had. The surprising factor was how well the Surefire flash hider functioned to reduce recoil. I hate muzzle breaks on social guns for many reasons, primarily being blast. I noticed almost no blast from the Surefire flash hider while it controlled recoil extremely well.

As someone who has one suppressor but more than one gun to use it on, I went with the option that works for the “not always suppressed” role, a flash hider.

Sound Levels:

Each can is tested by the manufacture of said can and given a decibel rating. In the suppressor world, some manufacturers are open about test factors – environmental, weapons used on, ammunition types, decibel meter placement, etc. Some are not. Based on the information I found at the time, all the manufactures of the three suppressors where claiming sound levels within 6 or so decibel range.

For the purpose of my informal testing, I didn’t worry about the actual decilbe reading as I did not have a decibel meter available to me. What mattered, was the sound to the user and sound to those around me. For the testing we shot at night so that the other participants would not know the rifle/suppressor being shot. Yes, extensive safety measures were in place.

Based on this testing, when compared on similar barrel lengths using a magazine of the same type of ammunition, the shooter couldn’t tell the sound difference, nor could the people down range/next to the shooter. If there is a decibel difference, it was not noticeable.

Recently I tested side by side on 14.5” pinned guns my “old” Surefire can next to the new SOCOM series replacement for it. Again, no difference to the shooters in decibles.

POI/POA shift:

Each manufacture will tell you what their POI/POA shift is when putting the suppressor on the gun. At the time, Surefire was making the claim to having the least POI shift, but you had to pay attention to realize testing was being done on a Remington 700 bolt gun, not the AR-15 rifle everyone uses. With that I looked around online for information on various end user tests and found that Surefire seemed to have the least shift in POI.

Upon receiving the Surefire suppressor, I did test the shift. I don’t recall the initial test on a 10.5 SBR, but it was like 1” by 2” down and left. On a 14.5” gun it’s about 1.5” right.  During my informal testing, I noticed that there was more POI shift on the longer barrel guns – with both AAC and Surefire cans. More weight longer out on the barrel, surprise, will cause the barrel to flex more. A benefit to minimal POI shift is if you don’t have time to re zero your gun when you place the suppressor on it, a center mass shot is still very doable inside of a 5.56’s effective range of 400 yards.

New tech: OSS, SilencerCO Saker, Gemtech ONE.

I don’t have any hands on time as of yet with the various new takes and tech coming out now, but find them interesting. Time will tell if they work.

Summary:


Looking for a rifle suppressor there are many options. When I bought mine, a lot less than today. I would still say look at the option of long term durability rating, muzzle device options and POI shift. Price is not relevant as you will buy it and not get to play with it or train with it for quite a while. Getting a can and being disappointed with it, not a good thing when you can’t take it back to swap out.