LED Lenser T-Square 240 Lumen Tactical Flashlight

880229 LED Lenser-240 lumens T square Flashlight note: article first appeared in December 2015

Back in January of this year I did a review on a tactical flashlight that I have been using for a number of years now. It is the LED Lenser V2. I absolutely love that flashlight! It has done everything I’ve ever asked of it and then some. It has never failed me, that is saying something.

The V2 was always plenty bright enough, tough as nails, fit my carbine’s vertical grip perfectly and was just an all-round perfect tactical flashlight. It was so good actually that I made it my family’s all-purpose flashlight. Yes, that means we standardized on it.

Then LED Lenser discontinued manufacturing it. But, they supposedly replaced it with a new and improved version. I am always leery of “replacements”, they never seem to be as good. This review is all about the “T Square” replacement version (model # 880229) of the LED Lenser.

The mission:

“A single flashlight that is capable of operating in the most demanding of tactical environments, bright enough to see a minimum of 100 yards, and battery efficient.”

Here were the flashlight restrictions and requirements:

  • Metal & tough enough to handle any reasonable field or tactical handling for our family/group.
  • Lightweight & compact enough for pocket use.
  • AAA or AA batteries.
  • Water resistant enough to handle any rain and momentary submersion.
  • Bright enough for any tactical weapon usage. Minimum beam distance 100 yards.
  • Narrow light beam.
  • Fit any 1” light mount.

880229 LED Lenser 240 lumen T square FlashlightThe flashlight specs:

FEATURE
V2 (original) T-Square (new)
Lumens 104
  • 240 high beam
  • 25 low beam
Lighting Modes 1 (2) High & Low Beam
Beam Distance 180 yards
  • 197 yards high beam
  • 60 yards low beam
Length 4.5” 4.5”
Diameter 1” 1”
Weight 3.6oz 3.56oz
Batteries 3 x AAA 3 x AAA
Housing Aluminum Aluminum
Water Submersion Rating IPX4 IPX4
Finish Semi-Gloss Black Matte Black
Burn Time 4 hrs
  • 4 hrs high beam
  • 25 hrs low beam
Switch
  • Momentary on
  • Constant on
  • High beam – Momentary on
  • High beam – Constant on
  • Low beam – Momentary on
  • Low beam – Constant on

I’ve owned this line of flashlights for a very long time. I think I had one of the first V2’s that hit the market. I really like the way they feel, and how sturdy and dependable they are. The first model had a slick/smooth switch cap in the end of the tube. I am not talking “slick” as in a good thing, I am saying there was no positive grip to it. Then they upgraded to a nice button with checker boarding in the rubber. That really made this flashlight a winner.

So, I open the box, excited as always anytime I get a new product to review, and what do I see? This stupid orange target on the switch button cap. I mean bright orange and it looks just like a clay pigeon. I hate that!

LED Lenser 880229 T square FlashlightOK, that relieved a little stress. Can anyone in their right mind tell me why a company would go with a bright orange anything on a tactical flashlight? I mean seriously…do they think we can’t find the button without it being bright orange? And another bad thing is the button cap is now back to being “slick” as in slippery.

Well, that is the downside. Everything else about this flashlight rocks!

The finish on the flashlight is better than before, less reflective. I also found that the finish added to my ability to hold onto the tube. This is especially helpful when your hands are wet with body fluids or something similar.

LED Lenser T square Flashlight 240 lumens 880229One of the first things I noticed, after the bright orange crap, was a distinctive red band around the inside of then lens right below the flashlight’s lip. I liked the “look” of it but had no idea what the purpose or advantage would be. So I kept looking at it from different angles. Low and behold I figured it out. While it may be unintentional it is interesting. I held a V2 model up to the new model and saw that from the side view the red band inside the lens drastically reduced the amount of light seen from the sides.

LED-Lenser-240TsquareFlashlight-004aYeah, think that one through for a minute. If you are trying to reduce your night-time profile you want to use red light. But for most tactical purposes you want to keep your overall location pretty much to yourself, right? So there you are in a warehouse, the middle of the night, using your new 240T on low beam. The red reduces the amount of light seen from the side and reduces the other guy from being able to get a solid “fix” on you. Sure, they can see your beam out in front of you but it is hard to spot the origin of the beam. The red simply helps keep you more covert.

Well, while I was playing around with that idea I tried shining one light on the front of the other light’s front. The light without the red in the lens reflected back brightly. The red lens lights barely reflected at all. So another nice feature at covertness.

Here is the biggest change to the new 240T light…the button switch. There are multiple positions now for the switch. The V2 had a partial depress would give you the beam that would turn off as soon as you let up the pressure on the switch. Fully depress the switch and the beam would stay on until you fully depressed the switch again. The new 240T has a high beam and a low beam light.

You activate the light just as before, but this time when you partially depress it the first time you get the high beam. Next time you partially depress it you get the low beam. Same goes for full depression of the switch for constant on. You have to do the depressing quickly for the switch to go from high to low.

What I mean is it alternates between coming on with the high, then the low beam. But it “resets” after about 5 seconds to come back on with the high beam.

So I have mixed feelings and opinion about the whole high/low beam thing. The low beam keeps your projected light much closer in and significantly increases burn time. And that is a really nice thing. I think the vast majority of my flashlight time is more closely associated with low beam needs than high beam capability.

I wanted to verify that Amazon had them for sale. While I was looking at the product to validate it, I noticed that there was a review with a “one star” rating. So here is the 1-star review, “When i received I saw different than this in the picture, and when I was using did not work.”

Yeah, I don’t put any value to that review whatsoever. It reads like they are from Russia. I think it was a “plant” to run down the product vs. what someone who actually bought and used the flashlight. I have bought a bunch of these flashlights over the years; never, not once, did they arrive broken or misrepresented. Actually, I have yet to break one of these flashlights or even burnout a bulb.

Other than a couple of subtle differences, the newer version flashlight is as rock solid as the V2. And I love the V2!

Final note, the flashlight carries the name “Leatherman” and I believe this is a marketing thing only. I don’t think this is a true Leatherman designed, engineered, and manufactured product. But, that being said, it is still a quality piece of gear.

My recommendation…”BUY!”  I did…multiple times.

Buy It !

Amazon leatherman LED Lenser T2 T square FlashlightTip: The LED Lenser tactical light fits perfectly in a pistol magazine pouch.LED Lenser in pistol single mag pouch

 

 

 

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LED Lenser V2 Tactical Flashlight

LED Lenser Flashlight V2note: article first appeared in January 2015

Let me start this review of the LED Lenser V2 by describing what I was looking for in a flashlight.

The mission was:

“A single flashlight that was compact, lightweight and bright enough to standardize on a single brand & model.”

Here were the flashlight requirements:

  1. Metal & tough enough to handle any field or tactical handling.
  2. Lightweight & compact enough for pocket use.
  3. AAA or AA batteries.
  4. Water resistant/proof enough to handle any rain and momentary submersion.
  5. Bright enough for any tactical weapon usage. Minimum beam distance 100 yards. Narrow beam.
  6. Fit any 1” light mount.

To sum it all up – This flashlight does the job in every aspect, excels at each requirement.

So here are the technical details –LED Lenser Flashlight V2

  • Length: 4-1/2”
  • Diameter: 1”
  • Weight: 3.6oz
  • Tough aluminum housing with checker boarding for sure non-slip grip.
  • Uses 3 AAA batteries.
  • IPX4 water resistant rating (it’s not designed as a submersible light but is water resistant under pressure).
  • 94 – 104 lumens (brightness) in a narrow beam that can reach nearly 180+ yards.
  • 4 hour constant burn time with medium quality batteries.
  • Finish: Black matte

I first started using this brand/model of flashlight nearly 8 years ago and I’ve never been disappointed. Actually, I’ve been CAA Comand Arms foregrip flashlightthrilled with it! It is a great size for my pants pocket and fits any flashlight holder on a spare belt mounted spare magazine holder that I use. I use a Command Arms Accessories Flashlight Holder Grip Adapter on my AR and this light fits it perfectly. The light shines a very bright narrow beam of light that exceeds my expectations of a tactical light. The light is not so bright that it will washout my vision in the dark but plenty bright enough for me to do whatever I need to with it. The distance the beam goes is amazing for such a little unit running on AAA batteries.

My Duracell batteries will last well over two years in the light depending on how much I use it. The battery carrier/cartridge is absolutely high quality, as is the entire housing. I felt the quality and close tolerances as soon as I began to unscrew the battery cartridge. This flashlight is a top-quality piece of equipment.

The checker   boarding on the body is substantial but not uncomfortable, they struck a happy medium. It has never slipped in my hand under any conditions, wet or dry. The newer models have a thumb switch that has ‘nubs’ on it as well to ensure that your thumb won’t slip off. And speaking of the switch, it does have the momentary-on capability or the ‘click-on’ for a constant light.

This flashlight has replaced all my other flashlights except my big 4 x D-cell Mag light that I keep under the front seat of the truck. You won’t need another flashlight (other than a ‘tire check’) once you’ve tried out this keeper, you’ll love it! Use with absolute confidence.LED Lenser Flashlight V2

The price on this can vary from about $28 – $40 out on the Internet so shop around. I’ve bought mine (6 of them now) off of eBay.

Note: If you are going to submerse your tactical light for any length of time you might not want to search elsewhere or waterproof the Lenser yourself. I don’t think it would hold up too long underwater but I haven’t done any conclusive testing on it for that particular mission.

 

 

 

 

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Shotgun Ammo Load-Out

Shotgun Ammunition loadoutnote: article first appeared in August 2015

Some years ago I came to the conclusion on what combination of guns that I wanted to have. They were; 1) pistol, 2) shotgun, and 3) tactical carbine. I felt that was the right combination of defensive weapons to deal with any disaster, emergency or “grid-down” situation. Today, more than ever, I am convinced that I am right. I even wrote about “Choosing the Right Gun” in three separate articles.

And then I wrote an article about tactical vests to carry the right equipment, and that included the magazines and

Siaga 12

Siaga 12

ammunition for the “right gun.” Yes, I know, shotguns don’t have magazines. Well, unless the shotgun is a Siaga 12 and then you have magazines😉

But the focus of this article is putting together a very specific “load” of ammunition to have assembled for your shotgun. And, just for the record, I am not talking about your quail hunting shotgun. I am talking about your defensive weapon, a tactical shotgun. Or at least a shotgun that you will use as your defensive weapon.

I have talked about shotgun ammunition before. Essentially I believe in three types of ammo for a shotgun; 1) 00 buck, 2) 1oz slugs, and 3) Hornady SST sabots. Just a quick explanation…

00 Buck is probably one of the best rounds ever made. It is unreal devastating when it comes to personal defense. 00 buck shotgun ammunition Remember, for a round to be effective it must create significant shock and a debilitating wound channel. The shock stops a person’s mind from continuing to function. The wound channel creates physical trauma to prevent the person’s body from continuing to function. Those two things combined stops the bad guy from hurting you or your family member. 00 Buck comes in a two basic options 7 and 9 pellet. Obviously the 9 pellet version is better generally speaking. That is 9 rounds of .31 caliber balls heading down range to stop the bad guy.

1oz Slugs are a pretty amazing round. They transfer a massive amount of energy to whatever it hits. The little 12ga 1oz rifled slug shotgun ammunitiondimple in the nose ensures that it expands, transferring even more energy with expanding mass. It is a good hunting round; it can bring down large white tail deer without any problem. It can also breach a door nicely. They are a little limited in range. Most slugs, in the hands of the average person, are good for 50 – 100 yard shots, not much more.

 

 

Hornady SST is a fairly recent newcomer to the shotgun ammo scene. It weighs in at 2/3oz, making it 2/3 the Hornady 12ga SST shotgun ammunitionweight of the slugs mentioned above. But the nice thing is the ballistics and performance of the SST. You can get sub-2” groups at 100 yards, and 4” – 6” at 200 yards with plenty of energy in the round to bring down medium sized game. So, for a little less weight you get very decent accuracy. And can you imagine getting hit with a 300gr / .68oz round? Ouch!

Those are the three basic type of shotgun rounds that are appropriate for defensive purposes for the average person in an emergency, disaster, or grid-down scenario.

OK, moving right along…But how do you store your shotgun ammo and is it ready to go at a moments notice? Do you have the right number of each type of rounds and are they ready to be picked up and carried off without searching, scrounging and praying?Storing your shotgun ammunition in a .50cal ammo can

Well, I have a suggestion for you and one worth considering. I spent a whole lot of time thinking through what the different kinds of defensive encounters that the average person might encounter during the scenarios mentioned above. I then thought through which round would be best suited for dealing with the threat that each encounter might produce.

Once I accomplished that then I started thinking about the best way to store the right amount of ammunition that an average person could reasonably be expected to carry. And here is my suggestion:ShotgunAmmo-03

  • 145 rounds of 00 buck
  • 30 rounds of slugs
  • 25 rounds of Hornady SST

And to store them…a .50cal ammo can.

Yup, that simple. Those rounds fit perfectly in the space that a .50cal can has. The can seals out water, air, dirt and dust. A perfect Shotgun Ammunition loadout in a .50cal ammo canenvironment for your ammunition. There is a bonus…it has a built-in handle that you just grab and go. Then there is the whole stacking thing if you have multiple cans.

The ammo can only weighs in at 24 pounds with the ammo listed above. That is well within the capability of any adult and many children. You can store it just about anywhere and never worry about the ammo “going bad.” It just won’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some brands and types of ammunition I use –00 Buck Federal Law Enforcement 2-3/4" w/ Flight Control - LE127

  • 00 Buck Federal Law Enforcement 2-3/4″ w/ Flight Control – LE127

 

00 Buck Winchester Ranger 2-3/4"

  • 00 Buck Winchester Ranger 2-3/4″

 

 

 

  • 12ga 300gr Hornady SSTHornady 300gr 12ga SST shotgun ammunition

 

.68 ounces

.68 ounces

 

 

 

ShotgunAmmo-07bShotgunAmmo-07c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Looks do matter !

            vs.             

note: articel first appeared in June 2015

Yeah…try to figure this one out with the two pictures…and make the connection with prepping…

Several years ago I built my first AR. I used a BCM upper because I didn’t want to screw-up seating the barrel, shoulder BCMlogospacing, etc. Besides, BCM makes one of the, if not the, best uppers on the market today. Everything else, each individual part, that went into the build was bought for a specific reason – quality.

It was a great experience and I really learned so much during that build, it truly helped me understand my weapon better. And the end product was an amazing pair of AR’s, one for my wife and the other for me. But it didn’t stop there.

Whenever people see my AR in the field they always kinda look it over pretty closely. Most can tell that the parts and pieces are high-quality, but others look a little astonished at the mixing of colors of my carbine. I don’t own one of those “black” guns.

The colors on my carbine are black, flat dark earth and a dull flat darkish bronze kinda color. And my two-point sling is a padded BlueForce multicam. So the weapon looks a bit like a weaponized quilt.

So why no cool “back gun” look for me?

Well, look at the picture below…

GunCammo1A black gun pretty much stands out like a sore thumb doesn’t it. There is no mistaking it for anything other than a military grade weapon. And I don’t like that. Nope, I don’t like that one little bit. So when I built our AR’s I wanted something that blended in to the background a bit more.

Why?

Oh come on now, you know why. If they can’t see you, they probably won’t shoot you. You don’t always have the safety of “cover” so I will take its ugly, distant cousin “concealment” if I have to.

The human eye is genetically trained to pick up certain shapes and such. We are wired that way to help us stay alive from lurking predators that would eat us for dinner, or shoot us to take our stuff. The key is to trick the predator’s eye into by-passing us if we happen to be exposed (i.e. not behind cover). Changing up how your carbine looks is one of the tricks.

So here is a mix-color AR in the same setting. Is it a bit harder to see?

GunCammo2But notice the black upper and the black magazine “complete” a picture for your mind to associate with a “danger” signal and you can recognize it as a gun. The black shadow also gives it away. What could you do to reduce the shadow and the black mag visually?

The next coupe of pictures show the same gun with a variety of magazines…

OD color magazine

OD color magazine

Flat dark earth color magazine.

Flat dark earth color magazine.

Cammo paint job on magazine.

Cammo paint job on magazine.

Notice how just using the right color magazine can dramatically reduce the gun’s signature profile?

Now I want you to look at this AR that I had painted (Duracoat) to match the environment it is meant to be carried in. Notice the difference?

Painted gun with black magazine.

Painted gun with black magazine.

Notice how the AR blends in but the black magazine makes it stand out again and makes the weapon recognizable. The Black magazine draws your eye to it and then your mind pulls the rest of the gun into focus to make it recognizable…complete the narrative.

But let me swap out a magazine. Now what do you think?

Cammo'd gun with flat dark earth magazine.

Cammo’d gun with flat dark earth magazine.

Notice that just swapping a magazine now allows the whole gun to fade into the background because it gives nothing for your eye to be drawn to.

A little bit of changing up can make a big difference, a difference that could save your life. But let’s take it the next step further. Here is a fully cammo pained (Duracoat) carbine. What do you think?

Cammo'd gun with cammo painted magazine.

Cammo’d gun with cammo painted magazine.

With the cammo painted magazine the gun fades even more into the background and it is hard to see the magazine at all. But slap a black magazine into the weapon and all of the sudden you can stat seeing the gun again even with the entire gun cammo painted.

GunCammo9So here is what the Duracoat painted carbine looks like with a cammo painted magazine in it and laying in the environment that is was meant to be used in. The profile is very low, with a hard to see signature. It is called an “advantage.”

GunCammo10I hope by now you can see the value in keeping your profile and signature as low possible. Remember, they won’t shoot you if they don’t see you. And when times are tough I would think you would want every possible advantage you can get.

You might be asking me about now, “What do I do if I already own a black gun?”

Great question! Several answers come to mind:

  1. Find a quality gun painter in your area that paints weapons with Duracoat or similar system. Have him show you several patterns for the area where you will be using your weapon BEFORE you decide on the paint job.
  2. Buy a couple cans of spray paint for metal in earth tone colors. Store them for when the time comes and paint your own weapon. You will have to clean your weapon thoroughly in preparation to paint it to remove not just dirt, but the oil as well. But in the meantime you still have your pretty black gun.
  3. Just don’t worry about it all, keep your black gun intact and just let luck run its course. Make sure you have a black sling as well, it make it even easier for the bad guys to see you. (yeah, not such a great option huh?)
Have a great day!!

 

 

 

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My “Go Bag” and myth buster!

Prepper Go Bag for grid-down emergencies and disastersnote: first appeared in July 2015

I am a big believer in layers, redundancy, and modular “prepping.”  I don’t get locked into the conventional way of thinking as most prepper “experts” do. I try to think in terms of, and focus on, “mission.” And the same applies to my “Go Bag” and how it integrates with my overall philosophy on my “prepper” way of life.

So, as always, I always designate a “mission” for everything I have.  For my gear and equipment I want ensure that I am staying on task, staying focused and not just acquiring “stuff” for its own sake. So here is my “Go Bag” mission:

A bag that contains the absolute minimum to defend myself, my family and begin the trip to my survival cache. To minimally survive independent of any other source of resources while maintaining as low a profile as possible.

No! This is not a good "go bag" at all. It will get you killed.

No! This is not a good “go bag” at all. It will get you killed.

This bag was to be small, lightweight, low-profile and something I could grab if I couldn’t grab anything else. This would be the bag that I could carry anywhere and it would not raise any attention, let alone suspicion. In other words, this would be the lowest level building block of survival bag…a “go bag.”

So I kept adding things to the list, then crossing them off, adding some more, and crossing off a bunch more. I had to whittle it down to what I considered to be the absolutely bare necessities. And I am not kidding…the absolute bare necessities.

I had to maintain compliance with the L.I.P.S. principles. I also had to meet and over come the standard list of threats listed in priority order; violence, injury/sickness, lack of communications, dehydration, exposure, and starvation. So I really had to look very, very hard at what was practical and what had to take a back seat. So here is the gear & equipment list of my “Go Bag”:

  • real prepper Go Bag that is useful practical logical and needed1 x Sig P229 pistol (.40cal S&W)
  • 2 x Sig magazine, P229, 12-round
  • 50 x 180gr XTP rounds
  • 1 x ESEE 3”
  • 1 x Blackhawk SERPA Level 2 holster, flat dark earth
  • 1 x xGalco International magazine and tactical light holster
  • 1 x LED Lenser tactical light with AAA Batteries
  • 3 x AAA batteries
  • 1 x Dressing, First Aid, Camouflaged, 4” x 7”, Sterile : NSN# 6510-00-159-4883 – Elwyn Inc.
  • 1 x Bic Lighter

That’s it, nothing more; the bare necessities. Why nothing more?

Well, that can be answered a whole lot of different ways. But, the primary reasons are “low-profile” and priorities. I’ve learned over the years that your primary priority is to stay alive. And trying to carry a whole lot of stuff is not a good way to stay alive when you are being pursued. Not a good idea to be carrying a large backpack in an urban area where folks want what you have, or they just want to kill you.

Grey Man concept for survival blend in gray manWell, one way to avoid a stupid mistake being low-profile. And being low-profile means that anyone tracker you can’t distinguish you from any other folks. And that is exactly my point, being able to move about, returning home, or traveling to a survival cache, without being noticed. But if you are noticed, you must then have the ability to defend yourself with extreme violence if needed. My “go bag” gives me the ability to do that.

 

Contents –

So let me go through each item and explain my reasoning:

1 x Sig P229 pistol (.40cal S&W)

Sig Sauer P229 .40cal S&W for high capacity conceal carry with lots of powerThis is my primary defense weapon for this situation. Yes, I normally conceal carry when I am outside of the home. But there are rare times that I just can’t, or don’t choose to, carry. That being said, I will always have my “go-bag” in my vehicle. So why a Sig P229? Well, I am very, very partial to Sigs. They are an extremely dependable gun and they fit my hand perfectly. I like their reliability and have no problem betting my life, or my family’s safety, on them. Why a .40cal? It is a fast round, very lethal, and I can carry 50% more ammunition than my Sig 1911 Ultra Compact. I can hit 8” targets consistently at 100 yards and that round can still be fairly effective at greater distances.

2 x Sig magazines, P229, 12-round

I carry this brand and size of magazine because it is 100% compatible with my Sig P229 and 100% reliable since it is the same high-quality manufacturer. I carry one of the mags in the pistol and the other in the Galco holster. I don’t include more mags due to weight and space restrictions. I believe a single extra 12-round magazine to be entirely sufficient in this situation. I am not looking to get into a firefight. I will defend myself when the situation calls for it as I withdraw to safety and then switch in “evade” mode.

50 x 180gr XTP rounds Hornady .40cal S&W XTP 180gr

I chose this round because it is extremely efficient and lethal. It has a high velocity, can be shot long-range, and the stopping power is incredible. If you counted it, I have enough rounds for a full load of magazines and one complete reload. I don’t carry more than this due to weight and space restrictions.

1 x ESEE 3” Knife

ESEE 3 knifeKnives are a beautiful thing! Think about it for a second, you grab a high-quality knife and it just feels so good in your hand it isn’t even funny. The “feel” is hard to explain without sounding like some whack-job. But, a high-quality knife is essential when it comes to survival in an emergency or disaster. I chose an ESEE knife because they are so freaking good. I mean they are simply the best in my opinion. You may have to prepare a fire, skin a jack rabbit, or defend yourself up-close and personal. An ESEE knife will do it all and it will not break on you.

1 x Blackhawk SERPA Level 2 holster, flat dark earth

BlackHawkSerpaYou may be wondering why this exact holster for this application, and it would be a good question to ask. I don’t use a “retention” holster when I conceal carry. The reason is pretty simple, I don’t want any hindrance when trying to draw my weapon. I want to be able to draw my weapon quickly, no fumbling, and then get it on target. So why not the same for my go-bag? In normal conceal carry times I have no, or very little, active threats to worry about. In other words, I don’t feel that people will be standing in line to try and take my weapon. And if someone does try and take it, they will have to contend with a combination of Krav Maga and Kempo. During a “grid-down” or other serious situation when I am using my “go bag” to get home I see more people looking for, and willing to take, weapons from anyone they can. Society norms and morals, what little we have, will drop away quickly. In a fight, or if I am jumped, I don’t want it to be easy for a person to take my primary weapon from me.

1 x Galco International magazine and tactical light holster

Galco Mag & Light holsterNo specific reason why a Galco holster for my extra magazine and tactical light, they are good quality holsters and it fits my specific need. I use a combination holster simply because I want to go to the same place for either my spare mag or my tactical light. I have “muscle memory” through training that drives me to my “weak side” naturally for either item. Yes, I could put them in my pocket but I don’t think I can pull either out of my pocket as fast as I can get them off my belt.

1 x LED Lenser tactical light with AAA Batteries

LED Lenser Flashlight V2I am all about stealth most of the time. No, not like some “not-so-secret jet” or a Ninja warrior. But in a bad situation where I am needing my “go bag” I really don’t want a lot of people knowing I am around. This is especially true traversing an urban setting. So I don’t want to be lugging about a big four D-cell Mag light. Yeah, they’re kind of cool to club someone with, but they are heavy and very conspicuous. My little LED Lenser is very compact, easy to conceal but yet is awesome when it comes to lighting something up. I can shine that beam a 100 yards and see whatever I am looking at. Or, I can use my hand to pinch off a bunch of its light to a very small area where the light is barely noticeable. It is my “go-to” light for all tactical situations and use.

3 x AAA batteries

I have a couple of LED Lenser flashlights that have had batteries in them for a couple of years and the lights are still working just fine. But you never know when the batteries will hit that magical spot when they are done and just quit on you. When that happens I will have a spare set of batteries to get it going again.

Dressing for TBAK1 x Dressing, First Aid, Camouflaged, 4” x 7”, Sterile : NSN# 6510-00-159-4883 – Elwyn Inc.

This is my “blowout kit” (BOK). Yes, a full blown Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) would be nice to have but it is bulky and high-profile. Remember, the whole idea/mission behind my “go bag” is to simply get me home, or some other specific destination with the minimum of gear. It is not a GOOD-BOB or even a GHB. So I am not going to worry about an IFAK at this point. I am going to avoid, evade, and conceal rather than engage. This dressing is to stop any bleeding that I expect to encounter. If the injury or wound is more serious then I go into “adapt and overcome” mode.

1 x Bic Lighter

BicLighterNo, not to smoke a cigarette or a blunt, I don’t do either. But I never know if I am going to need a fire to stay warm or purify some potential drinking water. There are also ways to use it as a weapon to defend yourself. Yeah, you gotta remember my profession to appreciate that statement. I am a wildland firefighter and retired structural firefighter. Part of what I do for a living is setting fires. So a lighter to me is a natural tool to have. Besides, it is very versatile.

So there you have it, my “go bag.” I hope you weren’t disappointed. It is small, light-weight and low-profile. But before I conclude this article let’s talk about the bag for just a second, it’s important.

What bag did I choose and why?

Remember, in this situation I want to maintain a low-profile, I don’t want to attract attention to myself. I want to be that Crowd“gray man” you’ve undoubtedly heard that term before. So I wanted something muted in color, not really visible at night, small and lightweight. And more than anything else, I didn’t want it to look “military” in any way, shape, or form. That military look would draw instant attention, and that is not what I am wanting.

So I happened to stumble upon a “Tek” pack by Camrac. It was built for carrying a SLR camera and a few extra accessories. It measures about 10” H x 8” W x 5” D. it is light-weight, no waist strap, dark blue and black in color. It weighs less than a pound by itself and is padded internally. There are several zippered fish-net interior pockets and the bag has a carry handle on top. Twin shoulder straps are more than adequate. The padding is an added bonus.

If all of the contents are in the bag and I am carrying it around you probably would even notice. It just seems too small and insignificant to be threatening…or valuable.

Now, when it comes time to put it into action:

  1. The Blackhawk and pistol go on my right hip.
  2. The Galco, light and spare mag go on my left hip.
  3. The lighter goes into my left front pants pocket.
  4. The ESEE goes horizontal in the small of my back.
  5. The dressing goes into my right front pants pocket.

That leaves the pack virtually empty. I can make the decision at that point to move the batteries and spare ammo into a pocket and discard the pack if I need to. Or I can retain the pack and use it to carry whatever I scavenge along the way.

For instance, if I was at work and the only option was my “go bag” I would take a couple bottles of water and an MRE with me inside the pack. If I was in my truck when the need arose (and I didn’t have my GHB or my vehicle kit in the truck), I would take my map and my two spare bottles of water with me in the pack.

That concludes my “go bag” list of contents and reasoning behind all of it. This is not the kind of “go bag” that you use to get out of dodge, head to the mountains, or even live out of while fighting off zombies. This bag is simply your option when the situation demands it or there is nothing else for you to use. It provides the minimal equipment and gear allowing you to defend yourself, treat a basic injury/wound and keep moving to your destination.

A couple of items that I might consider adding to the bag that you might find useful, and items that I almost put in there:

  • Map
  • Compass
  • Couple of granola bars

So why didn’t I put those items in the pack? No need for a map and compass for this mission. At this point I am in town and know my way around…or I can acquire a map. We have a mountain range that orients me north-south. As for the granola bars…I probably won’t be on the road long enough to need them. If I am, I will acquire food on the move as needed. See, I can boil it all down to the most Bad Go Bagbasic gear; I can keep it small and light.

What was the “myth” I busted?

The myth that you always need to “go big or stay home” that many preppers feel is the right way to go in virtually all circumstances.

I believe you pick and choose your gear based on the “mission” you’ve identified. If you can’t identify and clearly define the mission, then you will not be able to, and not going to, choose the correct gear and equipment.

 

 

 

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Best Hearing Protection Earmuffs !

So here’s the deal…I have bad hearing. Yup, too many years running around in a fire truck with the windows rolled down, electronic siren blaring, and the Federal siren wailing away. All that noise finally took its toll and left me with bad hearing, not too bad, but bad enough. And to top it off…tinnitus.

When I go to the range or just out to the desert to go shooting I want good ear protection, or rather, good hearing protection. I tried the standard ear muffs and wasn’t really impressed. Sure, they kept the damaging sound out but left big globs of plastic on my ears that made it hard to get a good sight picture since I was wearing eye protection as well. Additionally, I had to take off one side to hear what anyone else was saying.

Then one day I was talking to a buddy and he told me about the Howard Leight Impact Sound earmuffs. Whoa! That changed my life.

I could go on and on about their benefits trying to convince you on a scientific level just how good they are. But, let me save the time…these things are perfect…wonderful…life-changing!

Technical info directly from their website –HowardLeightImpactSport1

  • Sleek, extremely low profile earcup design allows for full clearance of firearm stock
  • Automatic 4 hour shut-off increases battery life
  • AUX jack connects to MP3 players and scanners
  • Automatically shuts off loud impulse noise to a safe 82dB while amplifying conversation and range commands
  • Convenient folding design for easy storage
  • One single power and volume control knob
  • Air Flow Control technology
  • Black leatherette headband with sporty hunter green earcups
  • Water resistant
  • Easy access to the external battery compartment

Yes, that means you can turn up the sound (amplification of ambient sounds) to hear what is going on around you…and I mean everything such as birds chirping and grass growing. And when a gun is fired the electronics kick in and protect your ears from the harmful sound level. You are protected at anything over 82dB!

I’ve worn these for 10 hour days at the firing range, in the desert, in 90 – 100 degree weather. They are comfortable…period…double period.

If you forget to shut them off when you are done they will automatically turn off after 4-hours. The battery life is amazing! I’ve gone over a year of use on one set of Duracell AA batteries.

I’ve heard some complaints about them not doing very well at indoor ranges. I can’t verify that because I never go to an indoor range. I know outdoors they work really, really well. Also, there are a few people (out of thousands) that have said they couldn’t get them to fit exactly right around their ears. I wear them, my wife wears them, my best friend wears them, and a number of my instructor buddies wear them. I’ve never heard a single complaint about the fit not being right.

These are a for sure “BUY!!!”

Buy It !

 

 

 

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Smith and Wesson M&P Shield – Part #2

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Review Part 2Well, kind of an interesting morning at the range. Let me explain…

I actually didn’t go to the range at all. I have a place I like to go in the desert, its remote but close enough to town not to be a long drive. It is all boxed in with high canyon walls all around. It is quiet and I am always alone unless I take people with me. So that’s where I headed…and I am glad I did.

Alright, so I drop the tailgate to my pickup and layout all my shooting gear. I had brought 220 rounds of 115gr Winchester FMJ ammo with me. That stuff is nothing fancy but the price is right and the brass is reloadable. I really wasn’t trying to become an expert shot with the Shield, I just wanted to run the rounds through it to see how it performed and get through the “break-in period” with it.

Let’s cover all of it…the factory magazines that came with it were a decent quality. If I did my research right, Mec-Gar makes them for S&W. With the pistol came a 7-round mag and an 8-round mag. The 8-rounder has a little pinky finger extension on it. Both mags were a little stiff at first but broke-in just fine. I did notice that even at the end the 7-rounder was a little stiff getting that last round in as I was loading, but it wasn’t a big deal at all.

The first round of any new gun I send down range is always an interesting one for me. My head always wonders what might happen. I wasn’t surprised or startled by the first round at all. It just went “crack” and the tree stump splintered. Same thing for each round for both of the first mags.

After about 100 rounds I started to pay more attention, snapping up from a low-ready, changing my stance, aim, not aiming, and trying different positions on the trigger with my finger. What I did notice were a few things –

  1. I tended to want to put more of my finger over the trigger than I normally do. I figured out it is because the Shield is small compared to my Sig 1911 Ultra-Compact or my Sig 226. So my big paw wanted to envelope more of the gun than it is designed to handle. So I had to consciously work at keeping my trigger finger where it belonged.
  2. I noticed I was shooting a little to my left pretty consistently. When I really slowed down and was taking each shot seriously I noticed that I didn’t have a natural sight picture with the pistol. I can work through that with range time and getting the right feel for the gun…hand position vs. aim point.
  3. The Shield is much smaller in my hand that any other gun I have with the exception of the Sig 938 I have.
  4. It was simple, easy, and second nature for each follow-up (second) shot. Even with a small, lightweight gun the second shot was very easy to manage.

Once I had shot up 200 rounds I got out the 15 rounds of misc rounds I had brought. I mixed in those rounds with a few of the remaining Winchester rounds I still had left. Ran them, no problems. Then I got out the good stuff, the 147gr Hornady XTP rounds that I absolutely love. I feel these are the undisputed best round to run in a 9mm pistol. I loaded them up mixing them in with the remaining 115gr Winchester rounds.

It ran like “crack” “crack” “thump”. The “crack” were the 115gr rounds, the “thump” was the 147gr round. There was a noticeable difference in the feel of the gun on top of the sound. The 147gr rounds were ones that I had reloaded myself and they are a little on the hot side since I run them through my full-frame Sig226. The Shield handled them just fine. Even the second shot was no issue at all.

After about an hour and 250 rounds later, I have to say I like the Shield. The 7-round magazine leaves my pinky finger dangling. But for some reason it quite naturally tucked right under the grip and was no issue. The 8-round magazine removes any issue at all. The 18º grip angle is just right for me. The grip is a little small for me, but it is entirely doable with no issues. I do like the 8-round mag grip better, it feels more natural, and I think I have better control on the pistol with it. That being said, I am perfectly fine with the 7-round mag grip with no complaints.

A few more technical observations –

  1. No failure to feeds.
  2. No failure to ejects.
  3. Two failures to go completely into battery.
  4. No misfires.
  5. No magazine feed issues.

I want to explain the battery failure issue I mentioned. There is a thumb button slide release. But, don’t think for a minute you are going to be able to use it…you simply can’t. Yes, I know you are supposed to release the slide by “racking” but I just wanted to test the release. The release button is simply too tight and stiff to allow it to be used under normal circumstances. Overall, it is a good thing, forces you to into good habits no matter how resistant you might be. I think the two failures to go completely into battery were my fault. They occurred early on and I just feel I didn’t have enough “snap” to my racking the slide. I will keep my eyes on that one and report more later.

I did a medium and long distance test fire on it as well. At a medium distance, about 80’ the gun was plenty accurate enough. Without really trying I was grouping 12” – 18” with one flyer. When I went to 100 yard distance I found I was able to pick up the aim point pretty quickly. I would have no problems trying to engage someone at 100 yards if I had to. I would have to slow my shots down a bit, but it is perfectly doable.

The trigger reset is clean. There is even an audible “click” when it resets. However, in a gunfight I am not sure that you would hear it. I only heard it because I use Howard Leight electronic ear muffs. There is a “feel” when it resets but I hard a hard time feeling it. Next time at the range I will slow down and really work the gun to become proficient. I will let you know if it becomes any kind of an issue.

I did a glove test on the pistol as well. Unless you are using a “golf glove” (i.e. thin leather) you might struggle getting your trigger finger inside the guard. I could do it but it felt a like fumbling at first…and later as well.

Then I had to remind myself…this isn’t a battle gun. This isn’t something I am going to strap onto a drop-leg rig and head into some pitched firefight. This is a CCW EDC pistol. It is designed to be highly concealable, highly reliable for carrying on your person every day.

One thing I will point out that is fairly weird, maybe it is just me. I do a lot of shooting and I have a decent variety of pistols. But, I have never had a problem retrieving a spare magazine to place into a pistol that I was shooting (magazine swap). Seriously, I’ve never had a problem…period. With the Shield three times I brought the spare mag up reversed. As I tried to repeat the error it boiled down to the base plate of the magazine. It is just kind strange to anything I am use to. The base plate itself stick out to the front and to the rear of the magazine so there is no easily distinguished forward position. I think this is just a “me thing” and I will get over it with practice and consistent handling of the mags. I didn’t have the problem with the 7-round mag…but it doesn’t have the strange base plate that the 8-rounder does.

I wrapped up the range time and headed home…after picking up my brass. I felt very pleased with the Shield and I felt 100% confident that I could carry it as my EDC piece and not worry a bit.

When I got home I cleaned it. I gotta tell you, it was the easiest pistol I ever stripped down. It was simple, easy, and very fast to clean. While I can’t say I enjoy cleaning guns, cleaning the Shield was no big deal, fast, and easy. And that is good enough for me.

At that point I made the decision that this was going to become my new EDC…period. I liked it, it packed plenty of punch, was light, really concealable and just what I was looking for. So the next step…

I ordered four different holsters for it –

    • Outbags LOB3P
    • Galco SG652B Stinger
    • Blade-Tech Revolution Klipt
    • Desantis Mini Scabbard

Why those holsters? Because I did about four hours of research online to find the holsters that I feel are most likely to me what I am looking for. I will write an article on that once my testing is complete. And yes, I will have a recommendation as well.

I ordered another 8-round magazine. I figure that since this pistol was meant to be more highly concealable I would carry the 7-round mag in the pistol on my belt. That gives the gun the smallest possible “print.” But, my two spare mags will both be 8-rounders vs. 7-rounders. Yeah, I know…only two rounds of difference. But I keep thinking that I would rather have two too many rounds, than two too few rounds. That is just me. And why two spare mags? Because you never know how long the gunfight might be or how many bad guys you might be dealing with.

One thing I had to do…just had to. When I was ordering the spare mag from the supplier…right there just two tiny ads over was a 10-round magazine option. Yes of course I bought that one also. I just couldn’t resist! Come on, if 8-rounds is good…10-rounds really rocks! I will return and report on that as well.

I know I talked about two other issues; 1) night sights, 2) trigger job. At this point I see absolutely no reason for a trigger job. Yes, I might change my opinion later on, but for now I am perfectly fine with the trigger it has. I am almost struggling with getting the night sights or not. I was just fine with the way it was at the range. But, the sun wasn’t its normal desert brightness nor was I am attempting to shoot in low/no light conditions. I will probably go with the night sights but not just now. I am more interested in another day at the range really working the gun and finishing the break-in. I am also going to enjoy figuring out which holster is best suited for it. I am hoping that one holster really stand outs.

So there you have it…all of my initial impression of the Shield are positive and I think this is going to be as great CCW EDC gun. And I will be writing at least one more article covering all the new stuff I test.

 

 

 

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