Lower For Hire

Speaking of that Fealty Arms Lower, I know have an extra one hanging around, or at least I will when my 80% lower FINALLY ships. I’ll use the Fealty lower to build a lower for my long-range gun, and the CavArms lower is now dedicated to my CMMG .22 adapter and my 3 Gun AR is just about where I want it (I do need to swap out the handguard and gas block on it), so I actually don’t actually have a need for another AR-15 right now. 

I know, since when does need have anything to do with guns? 

I’m leaning towards making a 9mm “pistol” out of it via a Sig Arms brace, and a pistol 9mm upper, but what would you suggest? 

Pink Is The New Flat Dark Earth

jaci shooting a pink arMy Team GunBlogger.com co-blogger Jaci J. has some words of wisdom for her fellow female firearms enthusiasts: If you like your pink guns, you should keep your pink guns. 

Personally, I think a AR with the Black Watch tartan on it would be REALLY cool, but that’s just my inner Scotsman talkin’…

Go check out her story at Shooting Illustrated.com.

Why gun store websites stink.

american_guns

The reasons why I go to the neighborhood gun shop and not the big-box “outdoors” stores are twofold: I like and trust the people behind the counter at the neighborhood shop, and the prices at the small shops are competitive with the big guys. Therefore, for me, there’s no reason to wait in line to have someone who was working in fly rods last week try to sell me a gun.

Unfortunately, that charm and counter-side manner is pretty much AWOL on most local gun shop websites. 

Most (if not all) small gun stores either build a poorly-designed site filled with animated gifs of eagles wearing tricorner hats clutching the Constitution (or something equally hokey and amateurish) or they go with a templated site like Gallery of Guns, Outdoor Business Network or National Firearms Dealer Network and lose their charm altogether. 

One way, the gun shop looks like they’re clueless newbies and/or clueless hicks. The other way, they look like every single other gun store out there and have no way to show people why they’re different. 

No matter which direction a shop chooses, all that time and effort into building up a good reputation for in-person customer service and product knowledge goes right out the window when people look up their stores online. There is simply no reason to buy online from most gun shop stores because their sites are either all “personality” with no professionalism or a slick professional template with all the warmth and charm of a proctologist’s examination table. 

Part of the problem is because owning a gun store is kinda like owning a shoe store, but with a LOT more paperwork. If you lose track of a pair of shoes, you lose some profits. If you lose track of a gun, you’re probably out of business. 

So what would a good gun store website look like? 

We’ll talk about that tomorrow. 

Home Is Where The Lockdown Is

fire_escape

Schools have fire drills.
You have fire drills.
Schools have lockdown drills.

You have… what? 

As part of his first year in Cub Scouts, my first son and I created a home fire drill plan for our house. We sketched out our house and figured out how we were going to get out quickly and safely in case of fire, and then we turned around and created a home invasion response plan focused around our family going to our safe room inside the home rather than leaving the house.

And out of the entire troop, we were the only ones to do do. Our scout troop is smack dab in the middle of a very conservative and gun-friendly area of a conservative and gun-friendly state (which has had more than it’s share of home invasions), and we were the only ones to face the reality that violence was/is a greater possibility than a house fire.

Having a fire drill plan for your home is a great idea, and it’s an accepted part of society that every family should have one. I’ll never know why, then it’s considered “paranoid” to have a plan and the means to deal with physical violence, something that is far more likely to occur.

Why I don’t watch (most) hunting shows.

Here’s 90% of most of the hunting shows on TV in one paragraph: 

“Hi, here’s the sponsor’s product. Watch me as I go to someplace you’ll never go and shoot something you’ll never shoot with the sponsor’s product. Oh, and I’m not going to let you learn anything from what I did other than the sponsor is cool and I’m cool and you’re not. See you next week.”

It always amazes me that every single hunting show on TV assumes that a) I know how to stalk b) I know how to skin and prep a kill c) all my friends know how to do this as well. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There are more organizations devoted to getting women introduced to the shooting sports than there are getting men who’ve never hunted into hunting. What would be perfect for urban professionals like me is something like this, but with testosterone, not estrogen.

That lack of backfilling men into hunting is going to hurt hunting in the long-term. Hunting organizations LOVE to talk about the “father to son tradition of generations of hunters”, but I can’t pass on the tradition of hunting to my sons if I don’t hunt myself.

Ok, hunting organizations, your move. 

Prepper Fest AZ Observations and Opinions

Its been a spring full of expos and shows for Exurban Doug.  The latest event I attended was the Prepper Fest AZ Expo, which was held last weekend at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.  I had a chance to check out the exhibitors to see what was new and exciting in the preparation realm.  Here are some of my thoughts on the event.

The Good

There were some noteworthy exhibitors that bear mentioning.  Alan Korwin from Gunlaws.com was there, who is one of the authorities on gun laws in the USA.  If you own firearms, consider purchasing one of his books on gun laws in your state.

Joel Ho from Mobilesec Solutions was there with his Starfish Defender line of EMP shields.  These mesh Faraday enclosures allow you to operate electronic devices while being protected from EMP.  Another helpful feature of these shields is it prevents your NSA mobile tracking device cell phone from being triangulated via RF signals.  Go to his website to find out more but this was perhaps the most fascinating product from the show.

ProtectmyPapers had their flash drive on display as well.  This is a credit-card sized device with a memory chip on a hinge that flips out so it can be attached to a computer.  It includes all the software necessary to securely store important data on the card.  The data is encrypted too, making it more secure from hacking.

Then there was the Biffy Bag™.  The best way to describe it is a portable toilet in a pouch, it is simply brilliant!  This can really come in handy during camping trips, hunting trips, vacations, hikes, and other outdoor adventures.  It can also be helpful in a disaster situation where both water and sanitation are in short supply.  Great product in my opinion.

iTAK Medical was there with their line of medical kits.  These are designed for traumatic injuries from gunshots and other penetrating wounds.  They have two kits for under $100 and are an Arizona-based company too.  I plan to pick one up for my range bag in the coming weeks, it could be a life-saver.

The Bad

This event was at the Fairgrounds, which is a lousy facility in a very sketchy part of town.  The whole area saw its best days over thirty years ago and as an expo venue it is marginal at best.  There are better locations out there that would draw more people and present a better face for the preparedness movement.

Also, the level of professionalism by the various exhibitors varied a great deal.  Some looked and dressed the part of a business, some looked like hobbyists, while others looked like wacky survivalists.  For preparation to become more mainstream, exhibitors need to present themselves in a professional manner to be taken seriously by Middle America.  Preparation is serious business, exhibitors need to treat it that way and not as an excuse to act like amateurs.

Some of the products I have my doubts about too.  When a lady told me “wait until my husband gets done talking with that guy.  He builds these in his garage and can answer all your questions about them…” it did not fill me with confidence.  If I am buying a product, I want to know there is more than just one guy standing behind it in case I need support.

I also noticed several exhibitors selling “off the grid” land for bug-out situations.  I’m not convinced that bugging out of town (with hundreds of thousands of others) is the best idea in most situations.  The money spent on land could be more effectively used on a multitude of preparations around the house for situations that are likely to happen (ex. power outages).  Fear and paranoia are being used to sell expensive things most people aren’t going to be able to use in an emergency, which I find disturbing.

The Ugly

There was a lot more camo-clad attendees at this expo than the recent gun shows that I attended.  Hey, I like my Woodland pattern BDUs too but I don’t normally wear them while I am out and about.  I think doing so reinforces a negative stereotype of a prepper;  that of a militant, somewhat paranoid person who is obsessed with doomsday.  Wearing camo doesn’t help make preppers seem reasonable and normal to our neighbors.

There were a lot of fat and out of shape people at the expo too.  While this reflects American society as a whole, it shows that many preppers are emphasizing gear and tools over self-discipline and fitness.  Emergencies test the body’s ability to respond under stress, which is why the military subjects its personnel to physical and mental stress to prepare them for duty.  Civilian preppers need to concentrate more on fitness and overall wellness in order to be ready for the unexpected.

Another thing that bothered me was the use of the term “sheeple” by some of the exhibitors.  Using this term does not help because of its use by conspiracy theorists and political extremists.  When I hear that word, I get the impression that the person using it is attempting to assert superiority over others.  This kind of arrogance and self-righteousness is unbecoming and does not belong within the prepper community.

The Cray-Cray

The anti-GMO folks were at this event doing their best to whip up opposition to science and modern farming.  Here again, well-meaning but misinformed people are doing damage by parroting misinformation about a complex subject they simply don’t understand.  If these people knew more about agriculture, they wouldn’t be protesting.

Yes, there was actually a chemtrail booth at the expo too.  I just shook my head and refused to accept one of the DVDs they were giving away.  Chemtrail believers are akin to those who fell for the whole crop circle hoax, they won’t believe the evidence when it is presented to them.  I don’t get this particular conspiracy, I am simply baffled by it and regard it as a waste of time.

Unfortunately, the Ronulans haven’t gone away either.  The cause they are pushing for now is ending the Federal Reserve, which echos what the John Birch Society has been calling for.  They weren’t vocal, just present and focusing on the Fed for now.  That said, there is an element of paranoid, libertarianism within the preparation community.

I’ll have some additional observations regarding this event over at Smart Suburban Survival, stop on by for other preparation-related posts when you have a chance.

More about double action triggers

Last weekend after we taped another gunsafe versus nightstand test, my Teamgunblogger co-bloggers and I wasted some ammo practiced with a variety of guns by shooting at a couple of plate racks. 

Honestly, if I had one and only one target to shoot at for the rest of my life, it would be a plate rack, because it offers a chance to work on speed, precision and transitions with every shot. We shot at the racks with a bunch of different guns, including a stock LC9, my quasi-tricked out Shield and Robert’s über-schweet XD-M.

LC9 and XD-M

Something happened that I found very interesting: Jaci and Robert are both excellent shots and beat me like a rented mule in shooting competitions as of late, but when it came to clearing a plate rack with the less-than-optimal trigger on the LC9, I beat them, (and handily too, I might add…). Why? I think it was due to the fact that I was used to the long double-action trigger pull because I shot CZ’s and they weren’t. Shooting a DA/SA gun on a regular basis has made me a better shot with guns that I don’t normally shoot. 

Now there is nothing wrong with tweaking your striker-fired gun down to less than a four pound pull, and heaven knows the trigger on a 1911 is one of the Eight Wonders Of The Gun World, but spending a lot of time shooting guns set up for optimal performance put my co-bloggers at a disadvantage when it came time to shoot a sub-optimal gun. They’ll still beat me in the next competition we shoot (like they always do…), but it’s nice to know that I have a few tricks up my sleeve for when I really need them.