Dead Light on your Long Gun: Unity Tactical’s EXO Solution !!!

Dead Light on your Long Gun: Unity Tactical's EXO Solution !!!

Most people who have a rifle or carbine for defensive purposes, have a light on it for target identification in low light conditions. These lights run on batteries. An accidental switch activation without your knowledge can drain the batteries leaving you without a possible life saving piece of equipment.

Our friends over at Unity Tactical have a solution for you. The EXO is a replacement mount for your Surefire X 200-300 series weapon lights. It provides a shroud around the switch guarding against inadvertent activations during a critical event and also provides protection during weapon transport and storage ensuring that your light is ready when you are. Stay tuned for videos on the installation and use of this innovative product. The EXO unit replaces the standard rail attachment point on your Surefire X Series light. This means with the tools provided with your Surefire light packaging, you can install and mount the EXO to your existing light. Simply remove the six small allen screws retaining mounting mounting rails, remove them and replace with the EXO, tighten the screws and remount the light as it was before.

The shroud protects what may be the single weak point with the Surefire system, the switch. The EXO provides an impact resistant barrier to this fragile point. At the same time it forces the operator to make a definitive decision to activate the light. There is almost no chance of accidental light activation. This is known as an Accidental Discharge (of the light variety), done during a critical incident.It can lead to exposing your location, exposing your teammates position or causing you or your teammates temporarily to  lose night vision, be it natural or electronic assisted. All of these can lead to injury or even fatalities.

I use a C clamp type grip when shooting my rifle, so this puts the light at a natural position for activation. Having the added step of making sure my thumb moves around the shroud to the switch gives me piece of mind knowing I can’t just bump the switch. The EXO unit does not impede the operation of the light in any way. In fact, I think it gives you a more positive indexing point for activation, meaning you won’t find yourself searching for the switch. It almost funnels your thumb to it. The EXO also provides additional protection for the battery compartment latch as well as a strengthened interface with the host weapon.

For more information head over to their website at http://www.unitytactical.com/products/exo/

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Concealed Carry: The Journey Through a Woman’s Eyes

 

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I have been married to my lovely wife Amy for almost 20 years, during this time she has been shooting regularly only taking a break during her pregnancy. We had decided she should take a break as we shoot mostly at an indoor range and had concerns about the fumes and general safety at the range. The one thing I could never get her to do is consider concealed carry. Well better late than never, she will be sharing her journey here on the blog. So without further delay here is the first installment.

Let me begin by introducing myself, I am Amy (Mrs. All Things Tactical) and one would think that I would be into everything relating to guns and gear as Michael is, well let me tell you I have been shooting for at least 20 years, I like a lot of outdoor activities but one thing I never was interested in was concealed carry. I will be totally honest with you all is I felt that to be able to conceal carry I had to dress less than feminine. Lets face it I am by no means a totally girly girl and more of a Tom Boy but I am still am a girl and like to at times dress girly. The problems that I faced was that for me to conceal carry I had to wear clothes that were two sizes to big or wear jeans all the time with not so feminine looking belt. I would have the same disagreement with Michael that I am a girl and why can I not still wear stylish things and still conceal carry, And lets be honest ladies is the not what we really want is to be able to still be stylish and still enjoy guns and have the comforting feeling of having a conceal firearm available just incase the need would arise.

Well this past weekend Michael and I attended the NRA show in Indianapolis, Indiana. This was the first NRA show that I have had the opportunity to attended and after looking at some of the new ways to conceal carry and talking to some ladies there that have a company called Flash Bang and their new bra holsters and seeing some of the products that are coming out for the ladies and I now ready to conceal carry. This decision comes from the best of both worlds a woman can conceal carry and still wear clothes that look like they belong to her and still look stylish. Like I tell me husband all the time if Coach or any other designers made a purse with a hidden holster compartment in it I would own several. I know you are probably saying that they have always had purses with holster compartments, backpacks and other bags, and I have to give those companies two thumbs up for trying to accommodate the ladies but I have not to this date found one that is very stylish, and to steal a saying from Mr. All Things Tactical they all scream gun with the only colors that was offered were black or Army green. For the ladies that use them and like them great but they are just not my style. I also want to give a shout out to the gun companies that have started to coming out with guns that have a little color on them and to holster companies that are coming out with some more girly colors and styles.

But style and looks aside I also have become more aware of the usefulness of carrying a gun. Everyone has the right to protect themselves regardless if you live in a urban part of the country and you are protecting yourself against another two legged threat or you live in a more rural part of the country like we do where you may find yourself needing a defense from some type of 4 legged creatures. But what I’m in agreement with is if the ways to carry and styles of carry still allow us women to still feel feminine, we will be more likely to have that protection should the threat present itself. So please join me in this journey into concealed carry. More to come as I choose a gun to fit my needs and continue on my path to obtain my concealed carry permit.

 

 

 

Amy Yates

(Mrs. All Things Tactical)

Custom Vs. Production Why do we have custom collaborations of production knives ???

Custom Vs. Production Why do we have custom collaborations on production knives ??? I have a soft spot in my heart for highly engineered folding knives, but some of the custom makers I admire are out of my league. Sure we all want full on custom knife from our favorite maker or makers, more than a few things hinder this. Firstly the maker may not be taking order meaning his or her books are closed to new orders, this alone would make it nearly impossible to to obtain an example, barring going thru the custom knife purveyor at an inflated selling price or getting lucky in a lottery at a show. The other way is to except a used knife from the secondary market at an where it will even be a more inflated price. I have seen knives from certain custom makers be one in a lottery and then within 20 minutes be sold to dealers or secondary customers at 2 or even 3 times the table asking price.

I for one don’t have the financial means to drop $500.00 to $2500.00 on a single custom piece. We knife collectors still ravenous fans of our favorite custom craftsman. We like the designs of these artists, but may never be able to own one of their masterpieces. Here is where the production companies have come to the rescue, enter the “Custom Collabarations”. By marrying the design aspects of a custom knife into a mass produced piece under the watchful eye of the maker, allowing us to have something close, but yet different. There are several companies that produce such pieces, Zero Tolerance, Spyderco, Columbia Knife and Tool, Benchmade and Kershaw just to name a few. There are even whole companies started by custom makers to service the market created by their custom knives. These companies produce what are called mid-techs, not full custom but not really mass produced production pieces. They can produce a higher volume of semi custom pieces than they could making one knife at a time, but less than a full on production company.

As a writer I depend on these collaborations to bring reviews and opinions to certain design aspects, custom makers don’t usually supply test items for review as they can only make a limited number of custom knives during a given timeframe. So without the collaborations or mid-tech versions of these knives I would not be able to expose my readers to the work of these craftsmen. Without the cooperation of the makers and production some people would not be able to enjoy the engineering that goes into a fine custom knife. What most people don’t know is that the large advances in knife design have come from custom makers., an example of this is the liner lock designed my Michael Walker, the frame lock that was popularized my Chris Reeve, the Axis lock designed by makers Bill McHenry and Jason Williams some of these locks are the strongest in the history of knife making. These are only a few of the advancements we have enjoyed in the last 20 or so years, so as you can see we need to have custom makers who can put in the R&D time to design because without them knife design may become stagnant.

In the pictures below you will see a few examples of Production/Custom Collaborations. Included are designs from Zero Tolerance/ Rick Hinderer , Spyderco/Ed Scheemp these are but a few in existence.

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Glock 41 “The Practical Tactical side of the 45 Auto”

The year is 1904 and from the inner workings of John Moses Browning’s, mind a cartridge emerged. It was the great 45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), 45 Auto or an even more modern nickname “The Flying Dump Truck”. The US military had been buying and using various calibers while searching for the perfect combination of size and power. Having moved from a 250 grain 45 Long Colt to a smaller 150 grain 38 Long Colt during this transitional period many unfortunate and very deadly failures to stop occurred. While the light cartridge was easier to control, it didn’t yield the necessary effects on the target. This lighter bullet combined with a smaller diameter left our fighting men with something that they couldn’t depend on when the chips were down as handgun bullets during this period were not designed to expand.

So Thompson-LaGarde commissioned to study the effectiveness of various calibers and bullets. This led the US Calvary to request that a new handgun be developed for their use and it had to be .45caliber Interesting enough, the first loading of the 45ACP was a 200gr bullet, but after a few revisions a 230gr, bullet moving at 850 ft/per sec was chosen. This loading is only slightly less powerful than the 45 Long Colt that was deemed to be outdated. Since it’s inception the 45 ACP has been known for its knockdown power. Some of the claims were exgarrated but it has been proven to be a fight stopper if the shooter does their part.

Fast forward to 1991, a span of 87 years, we find the the 45ACP being introduced in a state of the art fighting pistol. Fixing what some believed to be the downfall of existing 45cal. pistols, the magazine capacity was increased to 13 rounds providing enough firepower to sustain a fight. I think that the 1911 has enough capacity to do this,but the more bullets the better. This pistol is the Glock Model 21, a full size polymer fighting pistol that provides a modern corrosion resistant platform launching the big powerful bullets. Some people found the thickness of the G21 to be too wide for all hand sizes. To alleviate this somewhat, in 2007 Glock introduced the SF or Short framed versions of their large frame pistols. These SF versions didn’t change the width but decreased the distance from the back of the grip to the trigger by .098in. They also shortened the heel of the pistol by .16 inch. This allows the pistol to be operated by people with smaller hands.

In 2010 Glock took another step forward to modernize an already hi-tech design by releasing the Generation 4 Glocks (Gen4) across their whole product line. This allowed the the use of user installed backstraps to customize grip size to the shooter. These even include 2 with pronounced beavertails. The shooter can also forego the use of any backstrap, this will give the smallest overall grip size. The Gen4 also uses a reversible magazine catch to make the weapons more user friendly for left handed shooters along with a recoil taming dual spring setup.

Glock has never been slow to produce products geared to law enforcement. The Practical / Tactical models were a result of that offered in 9mm and 40cal. these were the G34/35. They feature a slide and barrel which is .8in longer than the service models. This allows faster follow up shots and a longer sight radius. These 2 features also lend themselves to the competitive world. For years the 45 shooters wanted the advantage of the longer platform in both the tactical and competition world. The longer barrel would allow the already good performance numbers to get better by providing higher velocity and enhanced accuracy do to the longer sight radius. Well Glock listened,and in 2014 they introduced the Glock 41, basically a G34/35 length gun in 45 ACP with a 5.3in barrel.

The slide of the G21 has always been fairly wide and really blocky. The G41 uses a slide almost the same width as the 9/40/357 guns, providing a slimmer profile. While providing a slimmer profile, it also lets the longer weapon weigh in at only .7 of an ounce heavier than the standard G21. I will admit I have been a 9mm Glock user with no use for other calibers, but the G41 fits me very well. In fact I hope that they introduce a 10mm version of it making it a perfect woods gun for anything  in North America for anything on 2 or 4 legs.

On to the G41 experience, I find it balances well while allowing me to shoot a wide variety of bullet weights from 165gr to 230gr. I don’t really find any recoil difference shooting range ammo (FMJ) or self defense (JHP). The gun just gobbles them up ! My particular gun likes the heavier bullets, which is fine with me. This gun will never be a hot weather concealed carry gun for me, but I would carry it in 3 seasons without reservations. I will be providing you an updated review once I run the round count up. I currently have 200 rounds thru it and have a plan for a 500 round afternoon in the near future. I will also be reviewing some gear that I have for the G41, holsters etc. I will also try to shoot a wide range of ammo thru it also.

As of right now I can’t find much to complain about, it’s a Glock you just load it and shoot it.

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Multi Holsters kydex that is American Proud !!!

Multi Holsters kydex that is American Proud !!!

This week All Things Tactical had the great pleasure of visiting the manufacturing facilities of Multi Holsters ( http://www.multiholsters.com ) located in Plymouth, Michigan. This makes them a hometown holster maker to those of us in lower MI. Tony the owner of Multi Holsters and I were introduced via a mutual friend Shaun of Sentry Gunleather, and within a few short Facebook messages we hammered out a time for me to visit. I want to take this opportunity to say that I was blown away by the generosity and professionalism of everybody on staff at Multi Holsters, each and everyone of them made it feel like we were visiting with old friends.

Tony and I had a chance to sit down and talk for a bit about most things kydex. Multi Holsters not only produces some of the finest kydex gear, but they are a provider of many interesting items aimed at making the production of quality holsters and gear more efficient and cost effective for the kydex producing industry. I have video of the short interview with Tony where we discuss some of these items. That video will post in the next few days, so be sure to stay tuned for it. Multi Holsters are by far considered the light and laser holster go to company. The sheer number of lights and lasers that they can accommodate is huge. Viridian Laser (http://www.viridiangreenlaser.com ) works extremely close with them, in fact Multi Holster can produce you a custom kydex holster that will have the same technology to turn on and  turn off your Viridian Laser/Light unit just like the the factory OEM holsters.

While I was at the shop Tony allowed me to document the constructing some holsters for my S&W Shield. In fact he let me choose the models and material for each. Since my Shield will be my warm weather gun I decided on a Hybrid style IWB holster (http://www.multiholsters.com/hybrid.htm ) and one of his very popular Multi holsters (http://www.multiholsters.com/multi.htm ) which by the way can also be converted to IWB by just chafing the hardware.

Hybrid Holster:

Since this holster won’t get seen by many I choose to use the standard .080 black kydex. I also opted to use the standard style leather backer with more of a square shape as opposed to the new moon style cut. This was just a personal preference thing, I guess I am just an old school type of guy. Even though this holster won’t be seen by many, the attention to detail is very evident in it’s construction. The molding process used was a vacuum style. This allows the kydex to be formed in greatly reduced time frame while still retaining superb mold definition. On a side note it also is much easier on the equipment being molded. A lot of makers starting out use the actual firearm to do the molding this will subject the weapon and any gear attached to it to great amounts of heat and pressure sometimes multi tons of pressure and the foam used acts as an insulator for the hot kydex. Vacuum molding takes the high pressure exposure out of the equation. Vacuum also allows the kydex to set and cool a little faster easing the heat exposure to the item. I will include pics of the Hybrid holster down at the bottom of this post.

The Multi Holster:

While the Multi holster ( http://www.multiholsters.com/multi.htm ) has some of the same features found on most standard OWB holsters, it can also be converted allowing it to the user to wear it in an IWB fashion just with a simple hardware change. My particular holster is made with Holstex material with a carbon fiber print on it. This color in particular Blood Red has just been released by Index Fasteners Kydex Division ( http://www.ifithermoplastics.com/products/Kydex ). The red color has a certain pop to it. The .080 thick Holstex has great strength, but still allows great definition. The holster attaches via some winged belt loops, this is the first time I have had a chance to use them. The do hold the holster much closer to the body allowing the concealment aspect to be enhanced. The use of the wings also allows the weapon to ride with or with out a cant.

As you can see these 2 holsters are made with attention to detail and a genuine desire to produce the finest gear possible. Tony can be reached by using either his personal email tony@multiholsters.com or giving the shop a call at 734-392-7630. The also have a Facebook page that will have the very latest information on new products ( https://www.facebook.com/MultiHolsters ) . You also can see new product videos on their YouTube channel ( multi holsters )

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Smith & Wesson Shield “Is thin Enough ???”

Smith & Wesson Shield in the house !!!!!

What is the Shield ??

It is a single (well slightly staggered) stack sub-compact version of the ever so popular M&P pistol. This very concealable pistol is available in either 9mm or 40S&W caliber with the 40 caliber model just losing a single round in capacity. One reason people like it is the manual of arms is the same as it’s bigger brothers, so if you carry a M&P your training curve with the Shield is very short.

The thinness of this pistol is what makes it so marketable, coming in at .95 of an inch this is a substantial savings compared to the standard width M&P’s at 1.2in. This makes it very comfortable to carry inside the waistband, which is the easiest way to conceal a handgun.

Build Quality:
Is being thin enough ? Over all the Shield is an extremely well built, as are all of the M&P line of pistols. I have owned 2 of the full size variants and this little one is just as strong as the bigger relatives. One thing I did notice out of the box is that the Shield is very tall for a subcompact firearm, with an overall height of 4.6in the closet of it’s cousins the Compact reaching just 4.3 inches. So it does really look tall when looking down the sights.

Weight wise the Shield tips the scales at 19.0 ounces with the M&P9C coming in at just 21.7, full size M&P 9 is 24.0 not a heavy weight by any means. Where the weight starts to skyrocket is when you load those double stack magazine with ammo.

So with that being said “Is being thin enough” that is what I intend to find out over the next few months as I use this pistol. This will fill the role of summer carry gun once I determine that it will be reliable with my preferred carry ammo. The mode of carry will be IWB both traditional, appendix and OWB. All holsters will be made of kydex to keep weight and thickness to a minimum.

I want to do some ammo testing with the emphasis being on both reliability and performance (JHP). Also want to run an extended endurance test, with 500-700 rounds thru it in a single afternoon. If there are any other tests you would like to see please let me know and I will try to make them happen. If there is a particular ammo you would like to see I will be happy to test any ammo supplied.

Keep tuned for some Shield related gear in future articles.

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IWB Holster from Sentry Gunleather looks a good as it functions !!!

IWB Holster from Sentry Gunleather looks a good as it Functions !!!

Who says you can’t have an IWB holster with function and looks, well whoever said it was lying !!! The above holster is simply named the “Inside The Waistband” holster from Sentry Gunleather ( http://www.sentrygunleather.com ) . This holster features a more traditional leather loop to attach it to your belt. This would be closer to how a standard leather IWB is affixed to your belt, in fact out of all of my kydex holsters, this one is closest in form factor to its leather constructed cousins. This holster is made of kydex, with a pleasing graphite color. Sentry Gunleather uses .080 thick kydex for their OWB holsters as this will offer greater over all strength to the rig, this one is constructed of .060 kydex. This doesn’t detract from the strength or rigidity of the product, it reduces the overall width of the holster and may even enhance to molding definition. I know that .040 of an inch isn’t much but any space savings you can get and not sacrifice strength is a bonus.

When I received the holster in the mail, I noticed that the belt loop was of a solid design, not the split type I was used to using with this style of holster. I have to admit that I was worried that without being anchored to a belt loop would allow it to shift around and require constant adjustment. I am very happy to tell you that it stays exactly where you put it, very little of any movement on the belt. The belt I carry it on is an Original Special Operations EDC belt ( http://www.soebelts.com ) 1.5in wide, the belt loop is a snug fit with the surface texture of the belt and the slightly coarse texture inside the loop providing a good amount of friction. This may also add to the ability of the holster to not shift its position on the belt.

I have worn the IWB for the better part of a week, this means when I get dressed in the morning the holster and gun go on and I don’t remove it until I go to bed. Most day this equates to 17-18 hrs of wear, most of the time I find myself getting antsy with the whatever holster at the 12-14 hour mark. It doesn’t matter whose holster wether it is IWB or OWB, it just seems that is the time when I really start to notice the gun being there. I found that I didn’t do this at all wearing this particular holster, I just simply was able to leave it alone.

The retention is absolutely outstanding allowing a super fast draw without the worry of the weapon accidentally removing itself from the holster. We have had a rough winter here in Michigan with ample time spent behind a snowblower. Even with the unusual movements required to run it I still found the holster very comfortable. I found driving to not be uncomfortable even for extend periods, don’t normally carry my firearm in an IWB while driving I have a holster mounted in the car as drawing from an IWB can present its own set of problems and concerns.

All in all the IWB is a great holster made by an american company, handmade by a true craftsman. You will not find a better holster for the money wether it be leather or kydex, I know some people don’t do the plastic holster thing. Kydex does have a unique set of things it does very well and not a lot of things that it doesn’t do well. That is another article in itself for a later date. You can find this holster and the complete line of high quality gun toting gear at ( http://www.sentrygunleather.com ) .

Pictured below with the IWB is Sentry’s Raptor Series single magazine pouch.

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