Volund Gearworks ATLAS Belt, continued.

I have been running a few of the Volund Gearworks ALTAS belts exclusively for several months. Specifically, I have been wearing the 1.5″ Black w/Coyote and Coyote w/Coyote colored belts. These belts have been worn at home, with jeans while I conceal carry and at work as a tactical belt/duty belt. During my time with the ATLAS, I had the opportunity to run the belts on numerous range sessions and at a Combat Focus Shooting course. I have been running several different holsters and magazine pouches on the belts.

Volund Gearworks, ATLAS Belts
Volund Gearworks, ATLAS Belts

Belt Features:

What sets the ATLAS belt apart from other similar carry belts is the ITW G-Clip. The G-Hook buckle allows for a smooth low profile carry belt. Other similar belts use the Cobra buckle, which is very cumbersome. The ATLAS Belts has stiff scuba webbing sandwiched between two layers of flat webbing. There is also a 1.75″ option if you like a larger width belt. The construction and the stitching on ATLAS belts are top notch. You can order the ATLAS Belt in any color combinations you like on their website (www.volundgearworks.com). The ALTAS belt is very easy to slide on and take off. The design is simple and un-cumbersome. The most attractive thing about the ATLAS belt is the pricing. The ATLAS belt is about half the price of similar belts, and the shipping is currently included in the price. The ALTAS is priced so well, I ordered several for myself and the Loose Rounds Staff. I like having several different color options to go with the clothing and gear I’m wearing.

Sizing:

I originally ordered a small 28-34 belt as I wear a 30″ waist pant. This belt fit me with about 1.5″ of leeway left. Once I started to add a holster, mag pouch, cell phone and a knife, I needed a larger belt. I could not carry inside the waist (IWB) with the small 28-34 belt. Volund was awesome about trading the belt in for a larger size. I then ordered the medium MD 32-38 and this met all of my requirements. Depending on your size and what you are going to use with the belt, choose a size a little larger than your pant size.

ATLAS Belt w/Dark Star Gear Holster
ATLAS Belt w/Dark Star Gear Holster

As I stated before, I have been running the ATLAS belts for several months. The ATLAS belt is one of the most comfortable belts I have ever worn. Wearing the belt all day and night, I never really notice it. It is very comfortable. The ALTAS belts seems to have the right combination of stiffness and flexibility for long periods of carry use. The ATLAS belt provides a very stable platform for drawing your firearm. The ATLAS belt performs equally well as a conceal carry belt, range/firearms course belt or everyday belt.

Conceal Carry:

My main reason for purchasing the ALTAS belt, was as a conceal carry belt. I had been considering other belts when the owner of Dark Star Gear, (www.darkstargear.com), pointed us in the direction of Volund Gearworks. Knowing how well the Dark Star Gear products preformed, I knew the Volund ATLAS belt needed some serious consideration. As a conceal carry belt it has surpassed my expectations. Many times I have forgotten I was even carrying with this belt, it is that comfortable. I found myself wearing the belt even when I was not carrying a firearm because it was so comfortable. A conceal carry belt needs to hold your holster firmly and allow you to draw your firearm, without the belt slipping or moving around. The ALTAS provides a secure and stable platform for conceal carry. The ATLAS belt is also stiff enough, to keep your holster secure along your body. The weight of a full size firearm will not flex the ATLAS belt away from your body. This rigidity allows you to have a smooth low profile and cuts down on printing of your concealed firearm.

Work/Duty Carry:

I have also been wearing the ATLAS belts to work as a light weight tactical belt. I normally wear 5.11 pants to work and find the ATLAS belt to look and function very nicely with this set up. In fact, I found I liked the ATLAS so much at work that I have been recommending the belt to coworkers, some have purchased it already and others are planning to.

I have done some plain clothes/undercover work in my career. Having worn the ALTAS with tac-pants, jeans and slacks while conceal carrying, I feel this would be an excellent choice for UC work. The ATLAS gives you the right amount of security and flexibility for this kind of work.

The 1.5″ ATLAS has been doing very well at work but if I was going to be carrying multiple tools, pouches and other gear, I would suggest the 1.75″ ATLAS belt. Especially, if you are stepping into more of a modified patrol officer or Tac unit roll, the 1.75 ATLAS would allow you to carry more weighted gear. From what I understand, Volund Gearworks can also make the ATLAS as an underbelt, with hook or loop for 2.75″ and 3″ traditional duty belts or war belts. With the low profile of the ITW G-Hook, I feel this would be a winning combination. As I stated with conceal carry, The ATLAS belt is very comfortable. As it stands right now, the ATLAS is going to stay my work/duty belt.

ATLAS Belt Black/Coyote
ATLAS Belt Black/Coyote
ALTAS Belt Coyote/Coyote
ALTAS Belt Coyote/Coyote

Range/Training Courses:

I recently took two (2) of the ATLAS belts to an I.C.E training, Combat Focus Shooting (CFS) course, Instructed by Rob Pincus. I ran an ALTAS belt and my wife ran another ATLAS belt in the course . (Cassie will be doing a review of the ATLAS belt for women, as she really liked the ATLAS). During some discussion time in the class, I had conversations about the G-Clip over the Cobra buckles on similar belts. The consensus was, the G-Hook offered substantially less printing than a Cobra buckle due to its low profile. During the CFS course and other ranges sessions with the ATLAS belts, the belts performed above my expectations. Throughout rigorous days of constantly drawing, holstering and dynamic movements, the belt never moved. I realized later, I never had to adjust the ATLAS or my gear on the ATLAS belts. With a lot of the other belts I have used over the years, I find myself constantly adjusting the belt, pulling up my pants or adjusting the gear on the belt. With the ATLAS, it just never came up.

ATLAS Belt at Combat Focus Shooting
ATLAS Belt at Combat Focus Shooting
Cassie w/ATLAS Belt at Combat Focus Shooting
Cassie w/ATLAS Belt at Combat Focus Shooting

Conclusion:

I really like the Volund Gearworks ATLAS belt. It will be my go to belt from this point on. Now, are there other belts out there that are as good and work like the ATLAS, of course. But, for the price the ATLAS belt is really hard to beat. The G-Hook is also one of the shinning features of the ALTAS belt. It is low profile and this is what you want in a conceal carry belt. The ALTAS is truly versatile for every day carry, concealed carry, plain clothes/undercover carry, duty/off duty carry or a serious range/competition belt. In the near future I will be purchasing more Volund Gearworks ATLAS belts.

Duncan.

Here is another Loose Rounds review of the ATLAS belts for woman. http://looserounds.com/2013/06/08/volund-gearworks-atlas-belt-for-women/

Defensive Firearms Training is Imperative

Training and developing defensive skills, physically, mentally and technically are skills you must keep sharp. If you are not training at all or you are not trying to challenge yourself, you will start to lose your edge. You will also not be prepared for a critical incident. I recently heard a well known instructor state, “If you own more than five firearms and you have not taken a serious personal defense training course, you are not serious about personal defense. You are Just a firearm enthusiast”.

There is a segment of people out there, who think because they have taken a state concealed carry course, they are good to go. This is far from the truth and in most cases very dangerous thinking. State curriculum for carry classes and concealed carry permits do not even meet basic defensive skill requirements. They fall extremely short of actually giving you any important defensive skills. In most cases they give you no defensive skills, other than the ability to have a firearm with you.

Training with Glock 17
Training with Glock 17

Once you have made the decision to carry a firearm for personal defense, you are taking on a mountain of personal responsibility. Becoming proficient in manipulating, drawing, firing and assessing a defensive high stress incident is a lifelong commitment to constantly learn and refine your skill set. Mental preparation is just as important as the physical preparation.

I was recently in a firearm class where I was challenged mentally and physically on a level I had not experienced for a long time. I was able to sharpen my skills and I am that much better than I was yesterday. In fact, after watching several videos of myself in the class, I could see I had a significant delay from the threat presenting itself to my actual reaction. You can only get faster at your reaction to stimulus by reacting to stimulus. Also, there is no substitute for live fire training. Ammo down range is what is going to sharpen your skills.

As a responsible citizen who carries a firearm, you are wide open to criminal prosecution and civil liability. For example: (1) Hit an innocent person because your accuracy is lacking. (2) Use deadly force when the force was not justified because you did not mentally prepare. (3) Failed to get in the fight, because you were not proficient at the draw and the bad guy killed you. (4) Failed to respond because you froze and did not study the physiological and psychological effects you may encounter in a deadly force encounter. These are only a few examples but you get my point.

It is important to remember, when carrying a personal defense/concealed carry firearm to train with it and the appropriate support gear you carry. You might be the best shot with your 22lr rifle, or other precision rifle, on a bipod with scope, but this will not translate at all to your defensive handgun. The ability to shoot tight groups at 50 and 100 yards with your rifle has no bearing on drawing your personal defense handgun in a critical incident. Training to draw your concealed carry firearm, from your carry holster, in the manner you conceal carry, is key.

Draw from Conceal Carry
Draw from Conceal Carry

Conclusion:

You must take continual training seriously and always strive to learn more and challenge yourself to improve. Anyone who tells you they have a carry permit, so they don’t need any more training, is someone who is defiantly ill prepared for a defensive encounter. I have been through more training and firearm schools then I can count. There is one thing I have learned over the years, firearms training and personal defense is a highly fluid and constantly evolving field. You must constantly train, evolve and educate yourself in the personal defense field. If you do not, your just dead weight with a firearm on your hip, helping no one.

Duncan.

Last thoughts on the SWFA 1-6SS

SWFA Super Sniper 1-6XSS

First I must say a big “Thank you” to the guy who offered to lend Shawn and I his preordered Super Sniper 1-6X.  He only mildly complained when I scratched it up for him.  He sent me the above photo which is his scope on his rifle.

Shawn wrote a harsh review of this optic, and I think it is because he(like me) loves the idea of an Aimpoint like optic that you could dial up into a sniper scope.  The problem is that that capability just doesn’t exist.  While a 1X scope can be fast and useful, it is not going to be a non-magnified reflex sight.  Unfortunately currently the 1-X power scopes cost a premium.

For many, the cost combined with the downsides of a 1-X power scope make them less then ideal.  Often a person would be better off with a dedicated reflex sight, or magnified optic.  If you are considering a 1-X power scope, research if its downsides are acceptable in how you intend to use it.

I would recommend the SWFA 1-6SS, and I think it may be the best 1-6 in the $1000 dollar range.  However I think most would be better off with something other then a 1-X power scope.

Distractions, Traps and Training Deadends ( Editorial Rambling)

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I have been giving a lot of thought to training and CCW lately to  organize my thoughts and philosophy in a manner that is easy to communicate. The reason for this is to give a more streamlined answer or advice to people who are just starting out, or are trying to reach a level of proficiency that is at the least, good enough to get hits on target fast enough  and accurate enough to ( hopefully) do them some good.

During the last few months of taking a look at how I do things and  how I share those thoughts and methods, I started to really pay attention to what the people local to me ask me and to really see what the common questions are.   There are some reoccurring themes that pop up over and over again.

One of the big things that always pops up can be summed up as support equipment.  Anyone who reads this blog knows we love good gear as much as the next guy but,  we try to be clear about breaking the  “gear fetish” to use  Rob Pincus’ coined term for it.   A lot of people tend to want to focus way too much on what to use.     I am constantly shown cheap gimmicks and asked what I think about them.   Its usually  some idiotic holster  that is worse then useless in that it would fail when you need it, or your gun would fall out of your pants and go skidding across the floor when standing in line to buy milk.  Typically is  the “ballistic nylon” or one of the gun clips that are supposed to let you not have to even wear a holster.   I find that the people who always want to hear me give a thumbs up to these types of  garbage, do not want to spend any amount of money on a holster. They got a gun, and some one told them they need a holster or they would not even be looking at  the cheapies if they thought they could get away with it.   Nine times out of ten, these people have no real intention of carrying their gun anyway.   Sure, they may start out telling themselves they will. But since they lack the mindset or personal responsibility, or they fall into the sheep mentality of “nothing like that will ever happen around here”, they inevitably leave the gun at home. Oh they are proud to tell their buddies they have a CCW permit, and they might stick a knife in the back pocket, but they are more likely to place more importance on their sunglasses then a way to defend themselves.    Of course the rare occasion they do carry, it is with a utter failure of a holster, no reloads at all and no training or effort put into it.

The other thing I notice is procrastination.  Once I explain, everyone who reads this will know some one who does it, or  may realize I have stepped on a toe or two.    What I am talking about, are the guys who are always saying, they need to practice.   “I need to shoot more”. “I need to train some, I just am not good enough”.  And on and on.  These people know they need to train, and they realize it is their own fault. But,  they always put it off.   The strange thing is that they do not put it off in the way you think.  They always just need to figure out what the right good quality holster is, or they need a belt for it, or they have to figure out what light they want.

Usually it goes along the lines of ..”I need to start shooting my new pistol, I have not shot enough. I need to get off my ass and get me a good holster, I f I had a decent holster to work with, I would be able to have constructive practice”  “I am wasting time  if I don’t get the right stuff and get serious” . “Now. hmm.. should I get s kydex or leather, or do I get a kydex that will let me keep a light on my gun, or should I get it made to hold my gun without a light”. “Once I get that figured out and find one I like, I can finally get down to serious practice. I just haven’t yet because of that.”

They fixate on all the stuff that does not matter. And they put off doing what they know they should be doing.  I have not been able to decide if this is on purpose, or they are just that indecisive.    There is so much training you can be doing with gun, ammo and your mags not using a holster. Its better to be doing something, then waiting for just the right..whatever.   No one gets better from NOT doing anything.    The root of this, is what Howard , describes as the “perfect answer” problem.  So many in our community want the easy answer. They want to know what the best gun/bullet/holster/lighttakeyourpick. is.  A nice clean answer like what is 2+2? Oh, its 4.    Cut and dry.  And of course, a majority want that answer to involve something cheap.   If you do not give them that black adn white answer, they just walk off and continue asking people they think know something until they get an answer they like or goes along with the  opinion they already had in their own mind.    Its a lot like the guys who found out the gun they bought is not highly regarded,so they go to the internet and search and argue until they find one other person who claims the crap gun is indeed the best thing ever! So, that is proof enough for them.

 

People will do a lot of crazy mental gymnastics to  justify not training and this is the other common theme.   I was one a large gun forum a year or so ago and  the ever popular discussion of what guns everyone used for  their  personal protection.   One worthy  proclaimed in a scholarly tone how everyone is fantasizing about  the possibility of ever possibly needing a handgun outside their  home.  He was sure that when ( not if ) he needed to defend himself, it would be with his shotgun.    Here is the paraphrases version of what he said would happen and how well he had it solved.

According to  this guy,  a criminal would break into his house, and since he sleep on the second floor with his wife and dog, he would wake up when the intruder was in the house. Then, he would get his wife up and have her lock the bedroom door while he pushed the bed against the door, then he would grab his shotgun and he and her would hide behind a dresser for cover and call 911. The dog would slow the attacker  down long enough for him and his wife to get into position. They bad guy would then shoot through the door and he would return fire with his shotgun using buck and slugs.  He made sure that the ammo would go through the door, thats why he bought it.   After killing bad guy, he and his wife would leave out the window and wait for the cops to come.

The amazing thing about this entire absurd story, was that he was absolutely 100 percent sure this was EXACLTY the way it would happen!   He knew it for a certainty and when many other poster tried to point out the many flaws in his plan or ask him what would he do if  the home invasion happened in a way he did not expect, he flat out stated that it would happen this way and his response would be exactly like that.   He could not even conceive of  being mugged on his way to the Waffle house or  clubbed over the back of the head at the ATM or a crack head trying to hold him and the wife up with a knife, far away from his dog and shotgun.    This has stuck in my mind because of the morons absolute  religious like faith and his defense of his choices, in the way that he knew these things happened.

I told that long story because  a disturbing amount of people have a similar hero phantasy like it. And when they do train, they train in some idiotic way that only supports that.   The guys who take the criminally retarded zombie fad too serious come to mind.

Those same guys often will talk about not needing a light on their defense rifle or pistol or a flash light. Or how they do not need a sling or holster .  A lot of the guys who are in love with the full power rifle often make the comment about how they will just lay prone and use their iron sighted M14 to pick off the bad guys at 500 yards before they can get close”, so they do not need to train for short range shots.  I often wondered just what situation would end up with them in a clear field, with a M14 and being able to have a clear shot on  the bad guys like it was a KD range at Perry.   Everyone knows a gun fight has never happened to anyone  when they least expected it or were the least prepared.

 

We are under a constant marketing blitz trying to get us to buy the next product that will save our lives and make shooting easier.  Everyone loves gear and there is nothing wrong with it, but you got to make sure you have your priorities straight. With scarce and expensive ammo and time, we need to make sure we practice and train with realistic goals and train for things that are the types of scenarios that are more likely then a zombie or North korean invasion, or even a home invader to your bedroom fortress.   Good gear is great to have, and as you become a better shooter, it can make things smoother or more efficient, but you do not need it for realistic training,  Sure, if you are a Green Beret or a SWAT team cop, by all means ,  train for situations you may face at work, but if you are not, work on whats likely to happen, and don’t keep putting if off for every reason you can think up. You might not have another day to train. And they day might have made a difference.  If that happens, you will have the rest of your life to regret it.  the bright side being, you won’t have to beat your self up for long.

 

 

 

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More problems with poor quality AR15s at the range.

Working at a range, I see all sorts of firearms fail.  Bad ammunition and no maintenance are often the cause, but sometimes it comes from the firearm being poor quality.

In the case of one Bushmaster, it work well for years, but finally one day the corners the company cut caught up to it and the gas key worked it way loose.  That caused the gun to become a single shot.

Bushmaster Loose Gas Key.

 

A woman who owned a Olympic 9mm carbine found that the mag block had shifted and it would no longer accept a mag, also the castle nut on the stock was loose and the collapseable stock starting to unscrew.  Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of that mess of a rifle.

Home built hobby guns often have similar issues.  One rifle that I was asked to help the owner with surprised me when I found there was no firing pin in it.

Other times, the issues are caused by junk ammo.  For example this doublefeed & failure to extract:

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Note that there is a round in the chamber, an empty shell, and another round attempting to feed.  The owner of this rifle bought some ammo from a random gun show vendor.  This  ammo was inconsistent length, one of the round had a split neck, and some of them would not even chamber.  Bad ammo results in bad performance.

 

Home Defense Firearms, Gear, Planning and Tactics Articles

Over the next few weeks I will be focusing on home defense firearms, support gear and tactics to safely move through your home during a critical incident. I will cover topics on rifle vs. shotgun vs. handgun for home defense, what support gear you should have, i.e. lights, optics, safes, ammunition, family planning and tactical navigation through your home. In these articles I will address considerations of the type of home you live in and whether you have children or other family members in the home.

Clearing Hallway with Glock 17
Clearing Hallway with Glock 17

If this topic interests you and you have questions you would like addressed about these topics, Email me at Duncan@looserounds.com. I will try to answer your questions throughout various articles on home defense. As these articles are completed I will link them bellow so they are easy to find here.

http://looserounds.com/2013/06/22/selecting-a-home-defense-firearm/

Duncan

Force On Force A class review and other thoughts.

Article submitted by Mark Hatfield.

Force On Force  A class review and other thoughts.
Realistic Testing and Developing Defensive Shooting Skill.

“Rain, Cold, Wet feet immediately, Shivering, So many welts looks like I have measles, Bruises, Pain, Failure, much failure.  Good class, many lessons learned.”  With that statement I informed a friend that I had returned from the class ‘Force on Force’, offered by Suarez International, taught by Randy Harris, a man with a rather substantial background in this field.

 

One famous trainer has said that most people who train spend 95% of their time on only 5% of what needs to be learned.  Many others have put it that we tend to more of the stuff which we already do well but neglect the things we need to do but which is uncomfortable or we do not do well.

 

Many people never get to experience this type of firearms training.  In great seriousness they perform more complicated versions of what they do, striving for more speed or precision but never get to test realistically how they would perform if it happened ‘for real’.  Can you learn to be effective without this type of training, yes, but to not do it if possible is kidding yourself.  Sometimes people don’t want to test themselves for secretly fearing they will not do as well as they want to pretend they are.  This class realistically shows you where you are and how to get to where you want to be.

 

Imagine you are in the parking lot returning to your car, someone approaches you then draws a weapon.  Imagine you are asked for the time, the questioners previously unseen accomplice then pops up from behind a parked car, their gun already pointed at you.  Imagine at night two men approach you trying to keep you in-between them, they ignore your order to stop, they quickly close in, you realize what is about to happen.  It is one thing to get ready for the start signal, then turn and draw your gun and fire hitting paper or steel targets in XXX seconds, it is quite another thing when the targets are moving, you are moving, and they are shooting at you or charging with a knife.  You don’t know if the whole thing may just have been an innocent harmless normal encounter until it has started and you are already under the gun.  No matter what other training you have, no matter how ‘good’ you are, you don’t really know what will work, if you could survive until you test yourself as realistically as possible.  That is the purpose of this class.

 

No ‘real’ guns are used in this class, only those using plastic pellets.  Masks designed for this purpose are required, gloves and a couple layers of clothing are recommended.  One attempts to find a replica ‘Airsoft’ style gun which is as close as possible to their ‘real’ gun and carry it in the same manner as their normal carry method.

 

It would be easy to ‘cheat’ in this class by using holsters or equipment which one would not be using specifically for self-defense or ordinarily concealed.  The class would then just become a game and have no practical value.

 

Some of the things I learned or noticed about myself:

 

Although beginning the class already sore from something else and having weather which didn’t help any, much of my performance was as I expected though with some surprises.

 

I already practice movement as used in this class and practice it equally on both sides of my body, to both directions, yet when under pressure I had a strong tendency to move only to a particular side.  To move to the other side required a deliberate decision to do so.

 

In the beginning, if I was ‘shot’ before I could shoot I would stop as though the ‘game’ had been lost and ended.  I had to remind myself to keep going and continue the fight, this is especially important in a real fight.  In one early test I slipped, fell, and dropped my gun.  I was about to stop but reminded myself to crawl the foot or so to retrieve the gun and shoot back at my ‘attacker’.  Having this attitude is extremely important.

 

Even when not having excess body fat, I have a far thicker torso than most people my height and even when lean, weight far more than other people of my height, add to that my increasing age, creakiness, and other issues I am simply not as mobile nor can I move as ‘explosively’ as many other people.  I still can improve upon what I am able to do but have to accept other limitations and learn to adapt to them.  In some of the scenarios where I was ‘under the gun’ I knew I could not escape or react fast enough to avoid being ‘killed’.  The distance involved did allow any attempt to disarm the attacker so I did as they said and waited for a possible ‘opening’ to do something.  I survived because of this.  Other students sometimes ‘died’ because they attempted to escape or counter attack when it was not practical.

 

When face to face with an attacker who was just beginning to access a weapon and sometimes while held at gun point, I was able to move away as well as I had hoped though there is much room for improvement. There are several methods of doing so and it is known people tend to have strong preference about what works well for them or not. In my own practice I had learned that one very common method did not work well for me, call it method ‘A’ so I used another. Over time that method changed into one of the other methods, call it method ‘C’. During this class I found that while method ‘C’ was best for me up when close to an attacker, if the confrontation started at a greater distance then I instinctively used method ‘A’ and it worked better for that situation.

 

With multiple aggressive moving attackers it is very easy to automatically focus on one and lose track of the other.  While I have had a number of multiple attacker situations in other training situations such as in a ‘martial art’, none had the ‘realistic’ feeling as this nor was as ‘dynamic’.

 

There was a conflict with my other training with persons involving no weapons or contact weapons.  When an advancing attacker got to four to five feet away I realized I was expecting that they would close the distance and I would counter.  When they stopped at that distance and went for a gun my thought process was interrupted and not ready to evade and counter or close the gap and counter.

 

With more than one attacker I learned that I need to begin my response much earlier that I would have thought.  This type of knowledge is also very important to know if you should have to explain and defend your actions in court.  A big advantage of this training is in actually SEEING someone preparing to attack and attacking you.  The sooner you can recognize the attack the better.  I and others noticed a big improvement in our response even after the first few drills of the first day.

 

Some of the situations did include innocent bystanders.  In some, a person distracting you was the partner of an attacker, in others, the ‘distractor’ was innocent.

 

The course did include teaching methods of movement, response drills, awareness, and more.  Some might think that it is an ‘experts’ level class but it is designed for shooters of all levels. This is not just something where you can learn the techniques then practice by yourself at home, while this is true for only the techniques, what is learned is much more than that and requires training partners.  Perhaps compare it to trying to learn tennis by hitting tennis balls against a wall, a useful practice but nothing like playing against a training partner.  The same thing applies to defensive shooting.  If you have training partners who can do this with you it should be part of your training.  I have checked the class schedule for when this class is being given again, I have put it on my calendar and expect to take it again later this year, ‘measles’ and all.

Volund Gearworks, ATLAS Belt

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A while ago I ordered yet another Kydex holster from Dark Star Gear.  When I opened the box I noticed a post card to another company.  It was Volund Gearworks.  I went to the website and immediately saw the very nice belt they make.  After buying one it came in the mail and I was happy from the start.  This belt is not like the typical riggers belt or the common type.  This thing is comfortable and tough.  It is stiff and can hold up a heavy duty or CCW sidearm easy without wanting to roll over or bunch up like a liberals panties.  You can wear it a long time and it feels great.

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This is the kind of belt you can wear for duty or CCW or with all the other gear needed for military use.  And it just plain looks good. I have been using it not so much as a pants belt, but as a training/range belt that I wear over my pants belt, so I can just put it on with gun and mag pouches already attached.    The thickness and padding of the belt really makes it easy to wear for long periods of time.

They can make it how you want and do a large amount of customization to it as well as long with other products.  You can check them out at their website. http://www.volundgearworks.com/

It’s hard for me to really talk about this belt and do it the justice it deserves.  Duncan will be doing a larger, longer review later after he finishes his long term T&E of the belt since he wears it on duty every day.  After we got our first belts, he ordered at least 4 more if memory serves. And the owner of Dark Star Gear is a used as well.

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The DSG soft loops seem to be a perfect match fore the ATLAS belt and I love to use them together.  The buckle of the Volund belt is something I have really grown to prefer over other buckles since I started to use it.   It is easy to slip into the slot you need, and the leftover slack of the belt tucks away nice and clean and tight. It stays out of the way and there is no fighting with it or worrying about it coming loose from velcro and flapping around.  The belt holds everything nice and secure.

Like I said, it is hard for me to really write about this belt. It is a belt after all and it works  great and does exactly what you need.  Saying much more then that will sound like fluff to me.  If it interests you, read about it on their website and call them. They can accommodate you if you want to make some changes.    I do recommend ordering it one size up from what your normal size is.  The owner told us he makes them a bit bigger and to order our normal size, but honestly, when we got it, it was too tight. If it was used to just hold up our pants, it would have been perfect indeed, But we intended to use it with a inside the belt holster and mag pouches. We had to send it back and get a bigger size.   That was just confusion–not a black mark on CS, so if you think you will use the belt for inside the waste band carry, be sure to say so, because it’s not already sized to account for that.  And yes, you can get it in more colors and color combos then FDE. Its all on their website.

A longer review will be posted up by Duncan soon and it will give a better over view of living and using the belt day in and out for work and off duty.  As it stands right now, I love the belt. Is it my all time favorite or will I replace all my other belts with it? No, but its a great belt and if i need another belt of this  type I will probably get another.   Duncan has different belt requirements then I do, and he is in thrall with the Volund Belt, thats a  really good indication that it will suite any LE duty needs.  So, if you are looking for a new duty belt that will work as a CCW and  regular  pants belt, check back for his complete review.

SWISS Rifles, Milsurp Precision

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There are a lot of old military surplus rifles out there.  Most of them are junk.  The ones that are not junk are usually so expensive that its not really worth bothering with.  Even if you do get one of the more expensive ones, they are not really that accurate.  During their time they could meet the specs of the country using them, but often that was not  the kind of accuracy we all seem to want now a days.

One of the exceptions, and it is a major exception, are the Swiss rifles.  They are very, very accurate.  I am not talking hit a 200 yard NRA target some where in the black with cast lead bullets either.   I am talking about the kind of accuracy that outdoes most modern hunting rifles, and not with carefully prepared match handloads either.  A friend made a canted scope base that would fit the Swiss K-31 a few years ago after a small group of us all bought K31s.  Using Swiss  GP-11 7.5×55 ammo, we easily made hits at 1,133 yards.  Yep, 1133.   I was able to make 1,000 yard iron sight hits with the K-31 so easy it shocked everyone watching, myself included after a first round cold bore iron sight hit at 1000 yards on a chest-sized steel gong.

The good news is, they do not cost that much.  The price is going up as the supplies start to dry up, but they are still cheaper then a beat-to-hell mauser with german markings.  They do cost more then a Nagant, but lets be honest–you get a lot more for your money as well.

The K-31 is the best Swiss rifle for the shooter who wants to test the waters, and they are wildly popular among those who know about these things.  They also have a pretty big amount of support and after market parts, like scope bases, diopter match iron sights and a few other things.  The K31 is commonly found at Camp Perry during some National Match events.  I will tell you hands down–I have yet to see a M1903 that would out-do the common K31.

As nice as the K31 is, the real beauties to me are the 1896/11 and 1911 series rifle (not to be confused with the 1911 pistol).  These are older and longer rifles that fire the same round.

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It is so easy to shoot the 96/11 that making 800 yard iron sight hits becomes almost boring.   The Swiss-made  GP-11 round has a lot to do with it, as I should point out.  The ammo was made to be issued to the military but it is the equal to US made Match ammo from Black Hills.  The ammo is hard to match with handloads–I just stick to the GP-11.  The GP-11 is drying up fast, but that’s not too big of a deal since Hornady, PPU and Norma all make ammo.  The price can get high depending on who makes it though.

The round is a pleasure to shoot.  It does not have uncomfortable recoil, it has power on-par with military 30-06, and as I said, it is super-accurate.   At my first contact with the K31 and GP-11 I was skeptical.  I had spent my life with match rifles and handloading.  I had seen so many old crappy surplus rifles from other countries that I thought none of them were worth any serious consideration for more than a collector’s gun or a novelty.  I was wrong.

Another interesting hand made rifle from the Swiss is the Vetterli.  Now, as cool as it is since it is the first bolt action repeater that had a tube magazine that held 11 rounds, there is bad news.  It is a rimfire and you cannot buy ammo for it.   There is a way to convert it to centerfire and make ammo, but it is a PITA and I am not going to write about it because it sounds like the most asinine thing you will ever hear.  That being said, it does work and it actually does give good results. One shooter actually won a medal at a vintage rifle match at Camp Perry with a converted Vetterli.  You can learn it for yourself at Swissrifles.com, I will not be talking about it here for a variety of reasons.

When converted, you do get a rifle that will easily push a 300+ grain lead slug over 1300 fps.

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If you really want an old beater, then don’t waste your time and money on a nagant unless you just have a thing for soviet weapons.  Get one of the Swiss rifles if you want true accuracy and quality at a very affordable price.  I will tell you I am a rifle snob–any of my personal friends will confirm that.  I do not fool around with junk–I just do not have the interest.  The Swiss rifles are not old junk.  They are superb.  If I had to fight during WW2 and had to chose a bolt gun, it would be the K-31.  I think highly of the Enfield, but it would be my second choice–it’s no K-31 or 96/11.   If you give them a try, and use decent ammo, GP-11 in particular, you will be as shocked and pleased as I was that day.   After knowing what I know now, I would find it hard to justify not having at least one K31 in my personal battery.   They may look strange, and the caliber may seem strange, but the performance is anything but strange.

There is more to it than what I have talked about in this little article, so take a look.  There are more models and lots of variations.  This is common with old military rifles from the past.  A lot of people are as in love with Swiss rifles as I am with the Model 70, AR15, and Colt 1911.  They are worth it.

http://www.swissrifles.com/