Category Archives: Scattered Shots

Miscellaneous ramblings.

Long Term, Hard Use FootWear

Today we have a guest post from sporadic contributor and quasi-Looserounds member  “CJ”, about his favorite topic. 

 

Prepping – Some thoughts… A lot of gun enthusiasts seem to justify their hobby as some sort of preparation for armageddon. Sure, when the aliens invade I won’t deny the usefulness of an arsenal. But let’s not deny the usefulness of other items. Food storage is commonly thought of. Less commonly thought of is footwear. Unlike other looserounds contributors, I didn’t grow up around firearms. My parents’ household to this day is a “gun free zone,” complete with the usual objections to self defense. But I did grow up hiking, camping, and backpacking. I may have as many years of experience being serious about footwear as Shawn has being serious about the 1911.
Footwear cannot be neglected. Anyone who is a fan of the Walking Dead (I’m assuming the majority of Looserounds’ readership) should realize how much walking people are forced to do in a zombie attack. In our normal daily lives we take these things for granted. In an apocalyptic scenario, we may need to walk long distances regularly and we will need to avoid injuries (sprains/blisters/etc) while doing so. Our feet, like a good 1911, should be something we can rely on. I want to share some of my thoughts and experiences in this area and will limit the discussion today to boots.
First, let’s realize that we aren’t going to become like the Confederate soldiers who marched long distances barefoot overnight. If you’re the type of person who has managed to build up a quarter inch of leathery callous on your feet, you’re probably already barefoot and you probably don’t have internet access and probably aren’t reading this. Two of the three people who have done this are somewhere in the Amazon rainforest and the other guy is a Kenyan persistence hunter. That just simply isn’t realistic right now for us today. We need footwear that won’t fail us today, but more importantly won’t fail us tomorrow when we might not be able to buy new shoes.
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The first pair of shoes/boots I want to introduce is the Salomon Quest 4D GTX. Let me first say that these are the most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn, right out of the box. They require zero “break in.” I recommend them for daily wear, but they will not last and you should not count on them as a long term solution. The boots pictured here have about a year’s worth of wear, there is a hole in the sole, and they’ve been glued back together twice. Next, I want to introduce their polar opposite.
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The Raichle Montagna. In this picture there are 3 pairs. Two of them are new and the one on the right has 3 times as much wear as the Solomon boots above. They really are indestructable. But they’re heavy, hard to break-in, and very hard to find today. This is closer to what I’m talking about. You may not like them at first, but long after the Salomons are gone they’ll still be fine. This matters if civilization ends tomorrow. In fact, I’ve stockpiled these for just such an event. Some minor discomfort caused by their admittedly heavy weight is not going to injure you, and provided you have a pair that is broken in, the benefits are very clear. And if they aren’t broken in, soak them in baseball glove conditioner and just wear them every other day until they mold to your foot. Alternate with something else to avoid injury. They’re priceless.
Similar boots have also been made by Lowa, Scarpa, and Vasque. In fact, the Vasque Montana is almost a direct copy. Vasque is a great company that made my first pair of hiking boots (the Sundowner II). I wore these on roughly 30 serious backpacking trips over approximately 10 years and about half the time during the week to work/school. I still have them somewhere. Today I wear a pair of Vasque St Elias boots (hown in the 3rd picture) every day. These have the same wear as the Solomons above, but they’re still in great shape. They’re a good compromise between comfort and ruggedness. I would also trust them over the long run (pun intended). Shawn tends to favor Merrell boots, and I’ve tried them as well, but I put them in the same category as Salomon. They’re certainly comfortable and that is valuable. But this comes at a cost–light/flexible construction. I personally don’t trust them for anything other than work. Without a decent pair of boots, you need to realize that you will quickly be reduced to trying to cut sandals from used tires.
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“Test your gear” -or- “How Larue Tactical made me look bad”

All of us are human, we can all make mistakes.  This goes doubly true for firearm companies.

A friend of mine purchased a Larue rifle on my recommendation.  Much to our dismay, it did not function out of the box.  (My punishment for highly recommending anything)  It was short stroking.  Closer inspection showed that one of the socket head hex screws on the boltcarrier key appears crooked.  Most likely the head has broken off the bolt shaft allowing the Bolt Carrier Key to become just loose enough to cause the gun to short stroke.  Larue Tactical is already replacing the BCG.

If you buy quality, you are less likely to have issues, but there is always the chance of problems.  Test your gear.

Larue

The Listening / Security Halt

The following is repost from Hognose at weaponsman.com.  Weaponsman is an excellent weapon related website that is a friend to this website and also a favorite internet stop.

 

The most annoying person in the world is the write-only device. You know that guy: he never shuts up, yammering on and on, and never stopping to listen, only to take a breath. As you might expect, that habit which makes everyone want to kill him in a peacetime classroom or office, makes it easy for the enemy to literally kill him in combat.

There is much to be said about stealth and silence. The first thing that we will say is this: truly silent motion across terrain is not possible. It is an ideal for which you must strive, but even Mark Twain recognized it as nothing but a literary convention, when he was beating the defenseless James Fenimore Cooper senseless in a battle of wits:

Another stage-property that he pulled out of his box pretty frequently was the broken twig. He prized his broken twig above all the rest of his effects, and worked it the hardest. It is a restful chapter in any book of his when somebody doesn’t step on a dry twig and alarm all the reds and whites for two hundred yards around. Every time a Cooper person is in peril, and absolute silence is worth four dollars a minute, he is sure to step on a dry twig. There may be a hundred other handier things to step on, but that wouldn’t satisfy Cooper. Cooper requires him to turn out and find a dry twig; and if he can’t do it, go and borrow one. In fact, the Leatherstocking Series ought to have been called the Broken Twig Series.

It was always a Cooper white man who broke the twig, because Indians were born to patient stealth, at least in his universe. (Cooper, one must remember, was no frontiersman, but a cashiered Naval Academy midshipman). The Indian, in fact, was no more capable of silent movement than a ninja, an SF soldier, or you.

It was a crushing disappointment to learn that we would not, in SFQC, learn the Indian ninja art of silent walking on dry oak leaves. Instead, however, we learned something more practically useful: how to be quieter than the other guy, and as quiet as we needed to be.

If silent movement is not possible — and it isn’t, if your enemy can’t hear you, his dogs, with their superhuman hearing, can — then moving stealthily at night requires several things:

  1. Masking local noise with background noise;
  2. Altering the kinds of noise to attenuate sound travel; and,
  3. Periodic listening halts.

Not hard enough? Try it in MOPP.

The first two are fairly obvious: you can move much more rapidly without giving yourself away when a train is passing by, and high-pitched sounds travel poorly. (You do need to bear in mind that sound travels differently in different atmospheric conditions). The most complicated of those three principles of night movement to apply is the periodic listening halt.

Immediately after inserting, assembly, or crossing a danger area (of which more in some subsequent article), the patrol or team must conduct an initial listening security halt. While the details of the halt may vary, something like this works:

  1. Freeze in place.
  2. Remain there for five full minutes. 
  3. Maintain 360º security.
  4. Actively listen the whole time.
  5. After five minutes, make a decision: move, or continue listening?

Why five minutes? You can change that time if you like, but it’s a good minimum because it’s quite a long time to be frozen in one place. Even a patient enemy, who stops when you do, will move and give his existence and position away before five minutes is up.

Active listening? That means concentrating on listening. You’re not only listening for the enemy, but also to develop a mental picture of what normal night sounds in your location are like. What are they like immediately when you stop? If you have been halted for a time, are there animal noises that come back (and that presumably stopped while you were moving)? Knowing this gives you an edge in the woods, compared to someone who doesn’t.

After the initial halt, the element leader must have a way to silently signal the element to begin moving again. If there is sufficient illumination, hand and arm signals may be effective; if not, touch signals should be used. Only in the most extreme case should a command be verbalized, and then, it should be whispered (remember, a higher-pitched whisper will travel much more poorly than a normal-pitched vocalized word — which is a good thing in a night full of hostiles).

It goes without saying that all these modes of command and control, and the listening security halts themselves, must be practiced in controlled conditions in garrison before attempting them in the face of an armed enemy. Night combat patrol operations are at the far end of a long crawl-walk-run pipeline; they’re the Boston Marathon of crawl-walk-run.

Animal and bird sounds make both effective stealth command and control means, and also excellent “cover” if you inadvertently make a sound in the possible presence of the enemy. Do a Leatherstocking and break a twig, or snap back a branch? The risk of exposure may be mitigated, if you can fake the snort of a deer or porcine species native to the area.

Once the element is on the move, further listening security halts should be executed at relatively short but variable periods. You can set these by distance or by time; it’s also helpful to be cognizant of terrain. If you have just passed through some stuff that was impossible to be truly quiet in, like dense mountain laurel or the dry leaves of an oak forest in winter, a listening security halt on the far side should be able to reassure you about the prospect of being tracked or tailed. As in all patrol technique, principles are iron but the means of serving those principles are best mixed up so as not to simplify the enemy’s counterpatrol planning.

Don’t be the foot-shufflin’, twig-snappin’, noise-makin’ equivalent of the yammering guy in the first paragraph. On patrol, the silent man comes home; the guy who loves the sound of his own noise dies from it.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

 

 

 

Ten-Speed Pouches

Ten-Speed Pouch

I took advantage of the Blue Force Gear Labor Day sale to pick up a couple more Ten-Speed pouches.  I found the new production pouches (one on the right) noticeably looser than the old ones(left).  This is a good thing, as the old ones I have are still very tight and can be hard to remove mags from.  The black pouch on the right will be mounted to a Pocket Shield for carrying a CCW spare mag.  Tom Kelly of Dark Star Gear told me about this setup and I have been using it for over a year now with the pouch on the left.

I don’t think I would recommend the Ten-Speed pouches as heavy use gear on chest rigs and plate carriers due to the tightness of the pouches and how they can be cut or have holes worn through them.  That said, due to their super low profile you can easily place them under other items.

For example, I have a Ten-Speed triple mag shingle on my plate carrier.  So I can carry 3 mags with out anything else on the carrier.  If I don’t have any mags on that, it almost like it isn’t there, and I can use a chest rig over the plate carrier.

When to throw away your Gun Lock

Depending on who you talk to, there are several first things you need to do, after bringing home your most recently purchased firearm. I am not going to get into all of the first thing options on what you can do. I mainly want to focus on the absolutely first things you should do.  In fact, if you can do this one thing before even leaving the new firearm purchaser location, you should throw the B.S. government regulated POS “safety Lock” in the trash. This will set you up to get a better, quick access safe or other security option.

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This 90’s Clinton era requirement has done nothing to save or help anyone.  I would argue to say; if anyone has actually used one, it has probably done more harm than good.  Throw this POS lock in the trash immediately. I have purchased several firearms this year. I have dropped the ball and have an entire drawer full of these useless locks. I must now purge my drawer and throw these locks away.

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Invest in a staged quick access safe, (https://looserounds.com/2012/08/03/gunvault-mini-and-multi-deluxe-safes/) or proper full sized safe (if you have several firearms). Never use this B.S. lock. If this particular new firearm, is your only family or personal protection firearm, never use the mandated/supplied lock, it is dangerous and can get people killed. You simply do not have the time to unlock it and prepare your firearm for a deadly force encounter. 

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There are several other alternatives to locking the firearm in this manner and we encourage you to explore what works for you. Please get some firearms training for you and your family, teach your children (https://looserounds.com/2013/11/25/educating-children-on-firearms/),  find a quick access safe and throw this absolute waste of money/POS, dangerous item in the trash.

Duncan.

 

Extra Security Measures To Incorporate Into Your Life

Guest article by Marina Securities CEO Sam Tadesse:

Extra Security Measures To Incorporate Into Your Life

As you well know…Security matters. Which is why taking steps to add even more safety-ensuring measures to your life will always be a good move. Here are three of our tried-and-true favorites.

1. Stay Alert

Easier said than done, tweaking even a few of your day-to-day habits can help you keep you and your loved ones safe.

It is vital to minimize distractions whenever possible. This means putting down your smartphone when you’re exploring a new area (or when you are walking around any isolated area late at night, no matter how familiar you are with the territory in question) and keeping your eyes up and forward, always.

2. Lock It Up

Always take the time and effort to secure your property. Invest in high-quality locks and check these for signs of tampering on a regular basis. Lock your vehicle doors, even if you are just running into a store to grab an item or two on your way home from work. Don’t forget to toss your valuables into a safe (and put this in an unexpected hiding spot, like a garage fridge or underneath dirty clothes in a laundry hamper) whenever you’re going to be away from home for an extended period of time. You get the picture, right? Good.

3. Talk Tactics

Birds of a feather flock together, so you most likely have a couple of buddies who are as adamant about safety and security as you are. Be sure to exchange ideas, inspirations and tidbits every so often, since this will both clue you in to new arenas of knowledge and provide you with a sounding board of sorts for your own schemes.

There you have it; three super simple and do-able ways to stay extra safe.