Category Archives: Review

SanRenMu 763 Review

I tell people time and time again that the “E” in EDC Knife does not need to stand for “expensive.” Sure, you can drop a lot of cash on a nice knife to carry with you every day, but there are also a ton of awesome knives available for under $50, under $25, and even under $15. The SanRenMu 763 is one of those sub $15 knives that performs so well that I have absolutely no problem recommending it as a dedicated EDC blade.

Before we get too far into things I feel like it’s appropriate to say a thing or two about SanRenMu, the manufacturer of this knife. SanRenMu (SRM) is a Chinese company, but they are often hired by big names in the American knife industry to produce high value knives for them. The beauty of buying a SRM branded knife is that you get the level of quality that you would expect from a big name American brand without paying the big brand price. The 763 happens to be an original design by SRM, and I think it’s one of their more interesting offerings.

General Dimensions and Blade Details

The SRM 763 is ideally suited for EDC. It has a 6.14” overall length, a 2.5” blade, and it weighs a mere 2 ounces. For my needs as a student the 763 is large enough to be a primary EDC knife, but it also makes a great backup knife. If I need more versatility I will often pair my 763 with a larger folding knife.

The blade on the 763 is a modified drop point with a swedge and high hollow grind. But really the first thing that jumps out to me about this blade shape is the big sweeping belly. A 2.5” blade isn’t that much, but the 763 makes the most of it. I found the sweeping belly ideal for a number of EDC tasks. In addition to your more standard day to day stuff like opening mail and breaking down boxes, the 763 really stood out in the kitchen. This is a surprisingly capable food prep knife, and it held up well to pretty much everything else I could throw at it.

SanRenMu chose 8Cr13MoV steel for the blade of the 763. This is a Chinese stainless steel made popular in high value knives like the Spyderco Tenacious. Given the sub $15 price point this is outstanding steel. My 763 came exceptionally sharp from the factor, and the edge retention of 8Cr13MoV pretty good – comparable to AUS8. 8Cr13Mov is a softer steel so when the time does come to sharpen the 763 you will find that it is both easy to work with and capable of taking an excellent edge. I think 8Cr13MoV was a great choice here.

Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip

The 763 handle is constructed of black fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN) over partial stainless steel liners with a long brown backspacer. Rounding things out is a small stainless steel lanyard loop. Handle construction is very solid and everything has been well finished. The partial liners are neatly nested into the FRN, making for a slim and attractive design. Everything on this knife screws together so you could take it completely apart for maintenance. Another interesting feature about the handle is that when the knife is closed, the spine of the blade can be used as a bottle opener.

The SanRenMu 763 is a smaller knife, but it has surprisingly decent ergonomics. I have a larger hand and I can just get a 4 finger grip on the knife – so most people should have no problem getting a good grip on the 763. The small handle feels good in hand, and a generous amount of jimping provides excellent control over the blade. Some of the corners of this handle are slightly sharp, but for small utility tasks I don’t notice it at all. All things considered I am very pleased with the ergonomics of this little knife.

The pocket clip on the 763 has also been nicely done. The clip is sturdy, discrete, and allows for ambidextrous tip up carry. In pocket I have found the 763 to be both light and slim. This is one of those knives that you simply forget you are carrying. I have had no issues with the 763’s pocket clip or the way it carries.

Deployment and Lockup

The 763 makes use of ambidextrous thumb studs for deployment of the knife. There is plenty of room to get your thumb behind the thumb studs and flick this knife open fast. Deployment is very smooth thanks to the smart design, and low-friction metal washers. Once again, I have no complaints here. The 763 performs extremely well – it all just works.

Lockup on the 763 is accomplished via an Axis Lock. This is very similar to the locks found in many popular Benchmade knives. To be perfectly honest, I have no idea how the Axis lock found its way onto this little Chinese knife. Don’t tell anyone, but I am very happy to see it. The Axis lock is one of my all-time favorite locking mechanisms, and it totally works on the little 763. The lock on my 763 is very smooth, and allows for fast and easy one hand operation of the knife. The Axis lock is also fully ambidextrous and also pretty darn strong. I detected no blade play at all with this knife. I’m a huge fan of the lockup on this knife.

SanRenMu 763 – Final Thoughts

The 763 is just a fantastic little knife. It weighs practically nothing, has a great design, and is really well finished. I also like how all the details are done right. The individual components of the knife work together harmoniously, and I really can’t find a fault with the 763. If you are looking for a small and lightweight EDC option then I think the 763 is an outstanding knife – at any budget.

If you are in the United States you can order a 763 directly from Chinese online retailers, but I recommend just going to Ebay. A quick search for the knife revealed that they can currently be had for right around $13 shipped. At that price I recommend getting a few of them. They make great gifts and are extremely handy tools for your every day needs.

About the Author – Dan likes to write about knives on his website BladeReviews.com when he isn’t out fishing or beating his head against a book in graduate school. He also enjoys photography, barbeque, and diesel trucks. He also contributed to the Practical Guide To EDC Gear.

Sigg Vintage Stainless Water Bottle Review

The Sigg Vintage water bottle is not the most practical water bottle. It doesn’t fit into most car cup holders, it can be a pain to clean, and it collects dents and scratches like they are going out of style. Thankfully, I don’t have a car and I don’t need to put it in cup holders. Thankfully, I’m not the one that cleans it, and I absolutely love the character that the dings and scratches add.

You might be able to find lighter, cheaper, and better insulated water bottles, but you would be hard pressed to find a cooler water bottle. Not because it has some special feature that keeps the temperature down, but because the design is fantastic. It just feels so right in your hand. I love the firm snap as the latching mechanism tightens down the cap and taps the neck of the bottle. I love the solid crunching scraping sound when you set the full water bottle on concrete. I love the fact that I have never seen anyone else with a water bottle like mine. I love not having to worry about punctures, cracks, or PCBs. I love not having to screw on the cap. I love not having to worry about losing the cap! I truly love using this water bottle!

I have used this water bottle for more than 2 years now and it has held up to my abuse quite admirably. The cap still holds a great seal. The rubber hasn’t dried out or warped and the cap is pulled nice and tight. I have no problem setting it on it’s side in a backpack full of papers. The latching mechanism is still secure enough that I don’t mind letting it bounce around in the seat of my scooter. Even after I use it for tea or juice, it still doesn’t end up flavoring my water. .4 liters may not be enough for some people, but I have found that it keeps me from carrying around too much weight in fluids.

I opted for the model with only a simple logo on one side. There are other options with trendy patterns that I think detract a little from the design itself. At first, I even wanted to get rid of the logo, but over time, it grew on me. You can see that the printing is slightly distressed, but it has held up fairly well for two years of hard use.

This water bottle was a gift and I can’t say whether or not I would have purchased it on my own, but I am most certainly glad that it found it’s way to me. Now that I have gotten to know this water bottle, I hope it never wears out!

How can you not appreciate a tool that makes you smile every time you take it out?

 

 

Tactical Tomahawks: Sayoc Winkler RnD Hawk

R&D-Hawks

The Sayoc Winkler Rnd Hawk is a tactical tomahawk that came from the collaboration of  Sayoc Instructor Rafael Kayanan and Master Bladesmith Daniel Winkler.  Kayanan drew from his experience as the Chief Tomahawk Instructor for Sayoc and Winkler from his decades as a  bladesmith.  Their goal was to design a “pure combat” tomahawk for Military Special Operations personnel.

Winkler and Kayanan were introduced to each other by members of Naval Special Warfare for whom they were both providing services.  A collaboration seemed like the natural next step.  It took months of close communication to combine Kayanan’s design ideas with the technical realities and construction expertise of Winkler.  Careful design consideration was Winkler_101121E-web given to materials, weight, multiple grip positions, balance, and “natural fluid motion.”  A year later, the Sayoc/Winkler RnD Hawk was born.  According to Winkler, “…the best and most thoroughly tested Combat Axe available.”

Kayanan’s expertise came into play during the testing of the ergonomics, concealment aspects, multiple grip positions, and grip/edge memory.  Winkler tested the performance aspects in regard to penetration, edge holding, and strength.

According to Kayanan, most of the design variances from traditional tomahawks were to increase the effectiveness of modern grip positions.  The versatility of the R&D Hawk allows “individuals who have expertise in tomahawk close quarter fighting or are adept with various edged weapons like karambits, bowies, and short swords to easily adapt their methods…” says Kayanan.

When asked about the purpose of this tactical tomahawk, Winkler replies, “Getting the job done!”  The military special operations personnel and field professionals using these tactical tomahawks agree.  Hundreds of these tools have been manufactured and sold from the facility in North Carolina.

These tactical tomahawks definitely display a unique synthesis of ergonomics, performance, and aesthetics.  Winkler says that "Weight, balance, quality, materials, attention to the detail… without extra hype” are what differentiate their Hawk from other tactical tomahawks on the market.

Here are the specifications:

Overall length: 13”short winkler

Weight: 22 ounces

Blade length: ~2”

Head length: 6” with Front Spike / 5 ½” with regular head

Head thickness(at thickest point): .375/1000” (about 3/8”)

Blade material: 5160 Steel

Tang Length: Full length tapered and skeletonized tang for strength, weight, and balance

Heat treating: Computer controlled Salt Pot soak and draw

Handle material: Wood, Recycled rubber, or Micarta

Handle Circumference: 4”-4.5”

Grip texturing: Rubber provides best gripping surface either wet or dry. Wood and Micarta handles are sand-blasted to enhance grip texture

Grip diameter: Varies depending on grip position, about 4” to 4 ½”

Metal finish: Caswell no glare or K&G Durable Gun coat

Handle Options: Curly Maple, walnut, Recycled Rubber, or Micarta

Finish Options: Caswell or a variety of K&G finishes – Black, Jungle Camo, Desert Camo, or Woodland Camo.

Size Options: There is also a Compact version available for more discrete carry and close quarter use.

Pricing: $740 – Regular Head style, $760 with Front Spike. (Discount for Military, LE and First Responders)

Custom felt-lined kydex sheath with quick release bungee retainer and rubber two-position belt loops is also available for $75(Molle adaptor is available for an additional $30)

The Sayoc/Winker R&D Hawks can be purchased here or you can email daniel@winklerknives.com

    Sayoc-carrier

To see more of Daniel’s work be sure to visit http://www.winklerknives2.com/

More about Daniel Winkler

More about Rafael Kayanan

Book Review – Violence: A Writer’s Guide By Rory Miller

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I had started watching Boardwalk Empire a few weeks ago and after a couple episodes, I thought that it was not nearly violent enough for the subject matter. Really, I was comparing the violence to the movie "Good Fellas", which from what I remembered depicted some very violent scenes accurately. I’ll watch it again (Good Fellas) to see how I feel about it now though.

We have all seen a movie or have read fiction that involves a fight scene and think that the dynamic is nowhere close to being accurate. From the posturing to the language to the "tactics" to the physiological portrayals of the “dying scene”, it’s Hollywood and for the trained eye, there is little entertainment value. As an audience, we’re not impressed and it can be better.

Sgt. Rory Miller’s latest book (an e-book called Violence: A Writer’s Guide) is written for writers in order to explain what really happens before, during and after use of force encounters; the ones that deal "with the part of life that civilization seems designed to deny". Be it the criminals, operators, victims he includes the psychology of the subjects along with its aftermath that doesn’t immediately come to mind. Yes, the torture of our judicial system is as real as it gets. For you and I, who may or may not deal with violent people every day, it can be a look into the professional’s world of fighting. Good guys, bad guys and then sadly, the innocent victims of violent crime.

Notably for me, which is also an echo from Meditations on Violence, is the fact that predatory attacks are a surprising ambush that are swift and harsh with little time for the target(s) to react. From rookies to professionals, we all freeze, but it is to what degree and how long that freeze takes that defines the outcome of the encounter. We could stop cold in our tracks as a reaction to a diversion to a plan or implement the training and experience we have and take a microsecond to reorient our self and stay in the fight. Though, as he explains, even with proper training, one won’t know their true fight or flight response until it actually happens to them. I gather that the way to control the freeze/unfreeze rate and the mastery of the physiological effects on the body is to be in multiple real life encounters after umpteen amounts of hard training and stress inoculation. Notwithstanding the amount of luck involved with the dynamics of an encounter.

Authors and screenwriters can take this material to further study the subject to create content for their medium that is more realistic. The "entertainment" value will still be retained, but with the added realism of what these unique people who work in violent environments to keep other people safer (like soldiers, law enforcement). Miller can fight unarmed, armed, with edged weapons or spears and offers lists of examples for further examination. A short read, he does not get in depth on the details of any particular weapon. In fact, he does not cover any great details on any of the subjects. He doesn’t need to for his primary audience. The book is self-published and seems to be an interim work before the release of “Facing Violence” in 2001.
I am not an operator, martial artist or author, rather a regular guy with a generic lifestyle. However, I carry a gun daily and am in the continual process of acquiring training. All of Miller’s works help to keep, top of mind, some of the concepts of predatory violence in the real world and allow for a reminder and direction to what kind of training to take that could protect myself in my specific daily environments. Your mileage will vary. Whatever level you are at with your knowledge of fighting and training, check out this book and in this next moment, think about where your next training class will take you.

-Lee B.

Lee’s disciplines include competitive pistol and road cycling. The desire to learn as much as possible fuels his waking moments and activities throughout the day. He can be reached at the Gun Rights Radio Network forums (username Mistertaco).

ReadyShot Dry-Fire Training System Questions

After I recently posted a photo of my XDm decked out in full ReadyShot regalia, I have been asked a few questions about the system.  This post will address them publicly as well as give me an opportunity to post a few more photos of the system components.

Readyshot equipped

Questions:

What comes in the ReadyShot Training System?

Their website lists:

  • Target
  • Trigger Magnet
  • Laser Insert
  • Magazine

Let’s address them in this order with photos and more information:

  • Target

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The target it the heart of the system.  It has 9 sectors/sensors that detect the laser and radio frequency “shots” from the firearm.

There are 2 screens for different games:

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The target comes with a lengthy(~15ft) usb cable and wall charging unit:

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  • Trigger Magnet

trigger magnet

The trigger magnet triggers the laser/RF shot that the target picks up.  The kit actually includes 2 magnets(one for backup).  The magnets are quite strong and the manual warns of the dangers of swallowing them. ;)  The magnet does not move or slide at all on the back of my trigger, but there are tiny clear stickers in case you have those issues.


  • Laser Insert

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This wire runs through the barrel and plugs into the magazine circuit board on one end and the laser on the other end.

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The laser slides securely into the barrel.

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  • Magazine

The ReadyShot magazine on the left in these two photos is nearly identical to the actual magazine on the right.

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Here is a view from above with the ReadyShot magazine mounted in the magazine well.  You can see the jack that the laser connection wire plugs into:

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Since the ReadyShot Magazine is a repurposed XDm mag, they included the unused spring and follower in case I could use it.

The system also included a case that fits the entire system:

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They also have a nice little zippered case for the smaller parts:

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What types of batteries are used?

There are 2 CR2032 batteries in the circuit board in the magazine.  I have not had to replace them in 3 months.  The system is used an average of 2 hrs/wk.

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The target system is powered by USB.  You can plug the jack into the computer or the included ac charger.

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How reliable is it?

Very.

In more than 25 hours of use, I have had a few issues with accidental discharges, but Brent(the ReadyShot owner) was very helpful a tip that eliminated these:

To eliminate the accidental discharges, I’ve had good experiences by squeezing the trigger 1/3 of the way, holding it there, and then pushing the button on the bottom of the magazine.  That sets the “zero” of the sensor so that the laser won’t fire until further back in the trigger pull.

What information does the computer program provide?

It can act as a shot timer, show shot placement in the 9 sectors, and show total shots and missed shots:

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It can save data from shooting sessions for different users:

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It can graph improvement statistics for different users:

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What guns can I use the system with?

Don’t judge the dangling preposition, I just answer the questions as they come.

Right now, ReadyShot sells systems for:

Glock (17,19,20,21,22,23,25,26,27,28,29,30,34,35,37,38,39)

XD/XDm (Pretty much any model) See link below

M&Ps (Pretty much any model) See link below

Can I View User Manuals?

Yes: (Warning! These links are PDF)

For the target

Target quick start guide

For the Glock gun kits

For the XD gun kits

For the M&P gun kits

How much does it cost?

List price is $559 for the entire system for one gun.  At that price, I understand it isn’t for everyone, but you can use the code: COMBATIVES for a 30% discount.  That makes the system a much more affordable $392.  That’s a thousand rounds of .45 ACP.

Check it out (and buy it) today:

ReadyShot Training Systems

Springfield XDm Slide Mounted Red-Dot Sight

In July, Rich of Canyon Creek Custom mounted a JP Rifles JPoint red-dot sight on the slide of my Springfield Armory XDm9.  He did a superb job.  The day after I got the gun back, I went out and put >1200 rounds through the gun.  I experienced no problems with the sight or it’s mounting.  The sight held it’s zero and stayed strong and bright. 

(The gun in the photo is setup for dry-fire practice with the Readyshot System)

Readyshot equipped

The biggest advantage of a red-dot sight is the ability to focus on the target and still see the super imposed red-dot.  This allows the shooter to acquire the necessary sight picture more quickly and with less eye strain than with traditional handgun sights.  To be honest, it feels like cheating!

The camera doesn’t illustrate perfectly, but in the photo below, the camera is ~18” behind the sight and the target is ~10’ beyond the sight:

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The sight as viewed from the from front left and right:

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With the included cover:

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As viewed from above:

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As viewed from behind(too low to show the dot):

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Rings Blue Guns (Photos)

John posted some of his experiences with Rings Blue Guns and they weren’t all pleasant.  I figured I would weigh in also.  I have only made one purchase from Rings.  That purchase was a Springfield Armory XDm Blue Gun.  The Blue Gun says XDm .40, but they are basically the same gun when it comes to external shape.  You can look at the close-ups and see the finish on the blue gun.  My biggest annoyance is the grip safety that sticks out of the blue gun.  It cannot be depressed and really messes with your grip.  Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that this is a major oversight.  I eventually ground it off and made some other modifications that I’ll tell you about later.  All these photos are pre-modification.

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Graco Models Pistol Brass Catcher Review

I think that Graco has one of the most innovative brass catcher products on the market.  When it comes to brass catchers, there are several designs that are copied and vary only slightly between manufacturers.  Not so with the Graco Model’s “Catch It.”  I haven’t seen anything remotely like it:

They took an entirely different approach in the placement of the catching apparatus.  The “net” is not really a net, but rather black cloth on a frame the size of a small fish-tank net.  This catch bag is is mounted to a plastic strip that mounts to the back of your hand by means of an elastic palm band that wraps around the right hand(or ejection port side).  The elastic band keeps the plastic strip from moving around on the back of the hand and keeps the catch bag in the same upright position.

The frame of the catch bag can be bent and adjusted to the optimal position in relation to the ejecting brass.  I had mine set up properly after 4 shots.  The catcher stayed in position and didn’t slide around my hand like I originally expected.  Because of the elastic that wraps around the palm and the bulk of the net, I don’t use it for timed draws.  Also, beware of how you move your hand with a full load of brass in the catch bag.  If you aren’t careful, you can easily dump your brass.  Be sure to empty the catch bag after each magazine.  If it gets too heavy, the brass can bounce off the fabric that is pulled taut.

When making adjustments, the tendency will be to move the frame as close to the pistol as possible, but you will notice that it can block out a large portion of your downrange vision.  Try to keep the catch bag back just a little bit, and you will appreciate it when aiming and shooting.

 

In conclusion, I love this product because it works.  Yes, it looks goofy, but it works.  When it is adjusted properly, it easily catches every piece of brass.  This is my go-to catcher when shooting pistols.

You can purchase it on their website for $19.

Disclosure: This brass catcher was provided free of charge by Graco Models for review.

CTK Precision Universal Brass Catcher

At my request, CTK Precision sent me their universal brass catcher for review.

Those that follow this blog will notice that I am reviewing several different types of brass catchers for different uses.  When I first requested this product, I was hoping this would work for collecting pistol brass.  I already had brass catchers that attach to my most commonly used rifles and work well, but I hadn’t found anything that  worked well for collecting handgun brass.

The CTK precision universal brass catcher arrived in a box roughly the size and  shape of a large pizza box.  Assembly was very simple.  I had to attach the net frame to the base and add some rubber end caps.  You also have to attach the net to a pin at the rear of the base to keep the net pulled back and open.  The entire unboxing and assembly took all of two minutes.  The entire unit is very sturdy and well made.  The frame is steel and the base has a durable coating.  I have been using it for more than a month now and the unit is basically in the same condition as it arrived.

The net measures 16″x16″ and makes it easy to position your firearm to eject the brass into the catcher.

One feature that I was looking forward to using/testing is the base’s ability to be attached to a standard 1/4″-20TPI camera tripod.  This means that the unit  is not limited to sitting next to you on a shooting bench or on the ground when you are shooting prone.

I started out with catching .22lr brass from a semi-auto rifle from prone.  No, I don’t reload them, but it is nice to clean up after yourself.  If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be able to see the grass!  The lighter casings present their own unique challenges to some brass catchers.  Often, the .22lr cases are too light and bounce off the fabric or netting used in most brass catchers.  This was not the case with the CTK universal brass catcher.  Because the net is held open by it’s attachment to the back of the base, it never kept the cases from entering and staying in the catcher.

Next, I moved the catcher to the tripod and shot from a standing position.  Both positions had a recovery rate greater than 95%.  Those shells that weren’t recovered by the catcher were mostly due to inconsistent ejection.

I then went to a centerfire semi-auto and had a 100% recovery rate from all positions.  The net seemed to suck up the cases.  No bounce outs or misses.

Here’s where it gets a little complicated.  I brought out the centerfire pistols and had the catcher mounted on the tripod.  Because the pistols eject with an added upward angle, they hit the back of the net at an almost perpendicular angle.  To keep the cases from bouncing out, I canted the catcher forward.  This seemed to help.

There is also the complication of each ejection being slightly different probably partly due to my motion and grip, etc.  After I canted the catcher and stood at the proper distance(too close and the bounce out, too far and they miss), I was getting an 80% recovery rate.  I took some stiff wire and used it to hold the netting as wide open as possible.  This improved the recovery rate only slightly(~5%) as the wire held the net taut and caused brass to sometimes bounce out of the deepest recesses of the catcher.  I know that 85% is still a good recovery rate, but I was spoiled by using it with the rifles.  I was now having to pick up more than three times as many cases.  I had to remind myself that before the CTK Precision brass catcher, I had been searching the grass for every single piece of brass.  That usually calmed me down.

The beauty in the CTK Precision Universal Brasscatcher is in it’s versatility.  Most catchers are tailored to a specific firearm, system, or shooting style.  The CTK model is able to be used effectively with many different firearms and shooting positions.  This unit will save you much time on your knees as well as keep your brass from collecting dirt and grass on the ground.

 You can purchase the unit here.($60)

Chiappa Firearms Rhino .357 Magnum

While at the NRAAM, I talked with Charles Brown(not from the peanuts strip), the President of Chiappa Firearms(and Charter Arms and Hi-point).  He started out by correcting my pronunciation.  He said that Chiappa is pronounced key-AHH-puh.  At that time, Chiappa Firearms was still waiting on the ATF approval to import the first batch of rhino revolvers from Italy.  The first batch will only be something like 200 guns, but they will be bringing more in later. 

About the gun itself:

The most distinctive feature of the Rhino is that it fires from the bottom cylinder. This means the Glock fans are going to have to stop bragging about having the best bore axis.  I was wondering how the trigger would feel because of the unusual action, but it was just as even and crisp as you would expect from a revolver, even with double action.  I was really surprised by how light the gun feels.  Maybe it’s because the Rhino looks like it outweighs a tank and I expected it to be heavy, but it did not feel overweight or awkward.  It handled well. 

It has an unusual hammer, that you really have to see.  It doesn’t pull back, but rather rotates back until the hammer is cocked.  Once it is cocked, it returns to the up/forward position.  Kind of weird.  To decock the gun, you just hold back the hammer and pull the trigger.

All the Rhino revolvers had nice adjustable rear sights:

I asked about holster availability because it is such an unusual design, and he said that each gun will come with a leather pancake holster specifically for the gun.  He had one of the holsters there and it felt well made.

I’m looking forward to shooting one of these revolvers once they make it to market.


MSRP is supposed to be about $800
All models are chambered in .357 magnum
 

Savage 110 BA .338 Lapua Magnum Pictures

I got to check out this Savage 110 BA chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum (also available in .300 Winchester Magnum) and talk with Steve Danneker, it’s designer about some of the details.

The oversized bolt handle:

The stock is the result of  a collaborative effort with Magpul and the thick recoil pad helps to soften the recoil considerably.

The scope rail has a 20 MOA slant for the long-range shooting and the detachable box magazine holds 5 rounds of .338 Lapua Magnum.

I love the look of this muzzle brake!  It only directs gasses up, out, and back.  This is to limit the dust kicked up when shooting prone.

 For $2267(MSRP) you get quite a bit of bang for your buck with this firearm.(Get it?…Bang)

More details from Savage
A good writeup and video from Accurate Shooter Daily Bulletin

Pics of the New XDm 45 ACP

The biggest news is that it uses the same magazines as the original XD 45.  The with is the same as the XD45, but the interchangeable backstraps make the grip adaptable.  The grip adaptability is the biggest plus in my opinion.  It also has the usual “M” accouterments.

Here’s what I saw when I stopped by the Springfield Armory Booth:

New Ruger LCR .357 Magnum Pics

38 Special +P:

With the new boot grip and XS big dot:

The .357 Magnum up close and personal:

In hand:(the right hand is taking photos)

With the XS Big Dot Sight:

The cylinder with “upgraded steel”:

Comparison: .357 Mag on the right and the .38 Special +P on the left

I’ll  hurry to get the interview up discussing the new LCR .357 Mag.

5.11 Tactical Select Carry Pistol Pouch Review

5.11 Tactical was kind enough to mail out one of their Select Cary Pistol Pouches for me to review and report back to you.  It really doesn’t look like any fanny-pack I have ever seen.  It is  smaller than I expected, yet it fully encloses my XDm without printing or reshaping the pouch.

  The main pouch flap measures 6″x6″ and opens with two zippers. The flap hinges at the bottom.

 One of the neatest features is what 5.11 calls “Hot-pull tabs.”

You can flip out a tab on a corner and zip the zippers up to it.

The tab itself will velcro to the top of the pouch:

When you grab the tab and pull down and across the pouch, the flap opens quickly and easily with only one hand.  The other hand can quickly grab the enclosed gun.

Here is a photo of the backside of the pouch.  The strip of cushioning along the top is very comfortable.  This keeps the enclosed firearm from pressing directly into your hip, etc.

The belt can extend to 67″.  (That’s how tall I am!)  Here is the wide nylon webbing and sturdy buckles:

The side pockets are handy for items such as ID cards or keys:

This pouch is definitely recommended.  When compared to the alternatives, you will see that this pouch is reasonably priced and well thought out. Listen to the May 11th edition of the Personal Armament Podcast for more details.

5.11 Tactical Select Carry Pistol Pouch ($24.99)

These are currently out of stock at 5.11 Tactical, but you can win one by donating to the Personal Armament Podcast during the month of May.  This pouch will be given to a random site supporter.

Fobus Revolver Paddle Holster

I love the simplicity and utility of paddle holsters, but I don’t see too many paddle holsters being used with revolvers.  Thankfully, there are several manufacturers that make them for my Smith and Wesson Model 19 and Blade-tech and Fobus were kind enough to provide samples for this review.

I received the Fobus first and started using it immediately.  Is is a simple, light weight design that works with both the K and L frame revolvers with a 4″ barrel.

The holster I am reviewing is the Model SW4 and retails for $27.99.  The paddle has red, rubberized surface and is joined to holster by three rivets in a single horizontal plane.   (see photo below)
There is also a horizontal ridge across the paddle that creates a depression for the belt to rest in.  Unfortunately, that ridge gets pressed into your side and after wearing this holster for several hours can cause discomfort and leave marks.  No lacerations, just rubbing, and pressure marks.   The overall curvature of the paddle was very comfortable.  It fit me well and the edges did not press into me or stick out.
Because this holster is made to fit Smith and Wesson revolvers with both K and L frames, it didn’t quite have a perfect fit with my Model 19(K frame).  The gun was by no means loose, but the holster did rattle a bit with jumping, running, fast walking, or sudden movement.  If you look closely at the photo below, you will notice that the frame and cylinder are not perfectly aligned in the holster as with the factory photo above.  Close, but not perfect.
In the above photo, you can see the crease in the plastic where it pinches the trigger guard to retain the gun.  This method of retention requires a very “stout” tug on the revolver to pull the trigger guard past the pinched plastic.  In all my “testing”, the revolver never came out of the holster on it’s own.  Headstands, rolling on the floor, running, and jumping never got the revolver past that pinched trigger guard.  Even strong pulls on the revolver at off-center angles failed to remove it.  Dislodging the gun requires a sudden strong pull directly out of the holster.  Once the trigger guard breaks free, the gun is very loose and easy to remove.  The reciprocal is also true when it comes to holstering the gun.  When placing the gun in the holster, make sure you press until you hear it snap past the trigger guard pinch.  Without that, the gun is very loose and easily falls out of the holster.
Overall, this holster is a good value.  It is a functional holster and easily slips on and off and retains the gun well.

Check it out

Ruger Mark Series Kydex Holsters

I have been looking for a good kydex holster for my Ruger Mark 3 22/45, so I was excited to hear about a holster announced by Black Dog Machine at the 2010 SHOT Show.  This new holster is an innovative new design that works with the entire Ruger Mark series pistols.  Kevin recently sent me two examples of the holster to review for you all and here are my photos and thoughts:

The only difference between the two is the mounting paddle.  The upper configuration in photo above allows the pistol to hang lower relative to the belt.  You can purchase the holster in either configuration and buy the other mounting paddle for $5 if you feel the need to change the height of the holster.   When I say mounting paddle, I use the terminology of the manufacturer.  This is not a paddle holster.  Those holes in the mounting paddles are for your belt.

I found the holster to function well, but I do have a complaint.  The paddle does not have a smooth arc and doesn’t conform to the hip.  This does make it easier to fit the belt through the holes, but I would rather have something that grips the hips for extra stability.  No, I’m not looking for an Elvis style holster, but just a smoothly curved mounting paddle without too many extra angles.

Of special note is the notch in the holster to allow for mounted optics.  It is important to note that the notch in the holster is not long enough accommodate the factory supplied mounting rail that.  BDM recommends the shorter scope base from Tactical Solutions.  Derek over at the Packing Rat wrote about how to simply modify the factory mount. 

This holster also retains the gun well.  There is a snap when the pistol is fully inserted or removed.  The retention is stiff enough that if your belt is smaller than the loops, the holster will first slide up before releasing.  The holster lets the gun angle away from the body for a quick draw and would be great for rimfire competitions.

In conclusion:  This holster is a major step up from my previous Uncle Mike’s holster.  It is definitely recommended for rimfire pistol competitors.  Personally, I would like to see a better shaped mounting paddle in the future and maybe even real paddle mounting option(sans belt loops).  Check it out. ($38)

(BTW: Is it just me or does the logo looks like a white dog?  Maybe they should change the name of the company.  Or maybe just the logo…)

A Defensive Keychain: Monkey Knuts

The monkey knut is a truly unique product.  Described on their website as keychains and zipper grips, they can also be used as a defensive tool.  A 3/4″ stainless steel ball bearing is wrapped in nylon parachute cord and hung ~6 inches from the keyring.  I find myself spending more time spinning it on my finger more than fending off attackers, but if swung with force, the suspended ball-bearing could certainly cause bodily harm.

Mine is the original Knut Buster in Coyote Brown.($5.95)

(BTW: If you spin it on your hand, make sure that it doesn’t slip off and go flying across the room.  Of course it has never happened to me.  Why do you ask?)

Monkey Knuts Facebook Fan Page