Clothing gifts can deliver value in the field or the shopping mall
by Scott Smith
Hunting season brings thoughts of Christmas every year. Unfortunately those two seasons bring winter snow and cold; no, I am not a fan of being cold. Fortunately, if drop good hints for Christmas you will have things to keep you warm outdoors or things to pass the time indoors. I hope that some of the following will help you in either case.
If you are one who braves the elements, I suggest StormKloth II (803-12 SW 12th St., Dept GWK, Bentonville, AR 72712; phone: 479-273-1189; online: stormkloth2.com). The jackets offered by Stormkloth II are warm, water resistant, windproof, quiet and fit well. StormKloth offers these jackets in various popular camouflage patterns from Mossy Oak and Realtree in sizes for men, women, and kids. The women’s and kids’ clothing is cut to fit and are not just small men’s sizes. I can tell you from years of experience with Stormkloth that their clothing is worth the money and they won’t break the bank. You will find nice features like armpit zippers to vent heat, a roll-up hood that stores out of the way, and a chest pocket for small items. The jackets will set you back $99.99, vests $59.99, pants $84.99, and all are less than bulkier less protective clothing.
To keep your feet warm and dry I suggest a well known name: Under Armour (phone: 888-727-6687; online: underarmour.com). At the SHOT Show last January Under Armour introduced boots for duty, hunting, shooting, and hiking. I opted for the Speed Freak, a waterproof, lightweight, comfortable boot. This pair of boots is available in black, Multicam, Realtree AP, Timber, and fossil brown. I found these boots to be comfortable when wearing them as long as 10 hours at a time, and they kept my feet dry in the monsoons we had he in southwest Pennsylvania in August. These boots will lighten your checking account by $169.99, which is not obscene for quality outdoor footwear.
If getting ready for the outdoors is not what you have in mind, how about getting information that will improve your shooting? Might I suggest two different formats that might helpbooks or DVDs?
First, let us look at old school books. Two are available from 5.11 Tactical and authored by Kyle Lamb, SGM US Army(ret) and the other is by Mike Seeklander, a skilled competitor, instructor at USSA and host of Best Defense TV.
Kyle’s booksStay in the Fight ($39.99) and Green Eyes & Black Rifles ($34.99)deal with the tactical use of handguns and carbines, respectively. These books are well written, cover the basics of choosing, shooting, maintaining, kitting up your firearm and becoming proficient with them. Both books go into detail on the pros and cons of the various products on the market for handguns and carbines as well as various shooting/training drills with them. The photography mates perfectly with each topic covered. This pair of books gives you a wealth of information from a professional soldier who has been in harm’s way and gives you his best advice from years of experience. You can find these books at Viking Tactical (phone: 910-987-5983; online: vikingtactics.com) or 5.11 Tactical (4300 Spyres Way, Dept GWK, Modesto, CA 95356; phone: 209-527-4511; online: 511tactical.com)
For those who are interested in improving their shooting skills and scores in competition, Mike Seeklander’s Your Competition Handgun Training Program ($24.95 at amazon.com) is a book that will help you a lot. This book covers dry and live fire practice, physical and mental fitness, visual training to improve “seeing” what you shoot, cross training-other shooting disciplines, keeping records, and how to make the most of your competition. Mike’s book has improved many shooters’ performances and judging from the results of many major matches this year, Mike is following his own plans.
Even though these books look at tactical applications and competition, they will improve your overall skills. Seeklander and Lamb present information that applies to all shooting as well as drills that will improve and enhance them.
If you prefer to watch the action, there are many quality DVDs on the market. The three sets I have found to be most informative are: “Practical Shooting” by Matt Burkett, Clint Smith’s Thunder Ranch series, and Magpul Dynamics’ “Art of the Dynamic” series. All three cover handgun, shotgun, and carbines, just in different styles.
Practical Shooting (phone: 602-652-286; online: mattburkett.com) covers the competitive side of shooting, be it 3 Gun, IPSC or IDPA. Matt covers how to set-up and study courses of fire, to shooting positions, to competition specific gear for each when you are shooting action pistol or 3 Gun. What is good about this series is it will also give you a load of good information if you carry a firearm in service of country, community or for personal defense. I found the Practical Shooting series to cover details you might not think of when you are competing or carrying a firearm.
The Thunder Ranch series (order online at americanhandgunner.com or thunderranchinc.com) is a detailed look at carrying a firearm to protect yourself and others. Clint Smith looks at pistols, revolvers, shotguns, carbines, women’s carry, mindset, and tactics. The introductory video gives you a wealth of information on safety, responsibility when carrying a firearm, etc. Each specific topic looks at the pros and cons of the various weapons systems, types of carry, support gear, etc.
Last is the Magpul Dynamic’s (PO Box 17697, Dept GWK, Boulder, CO 80308; phone: 303-828-3460; online: Magpul.com) “Art of the Dynamic,” separately covering: Handgun, Shotgun and Carbine. Each of these videos breaks down the fundamentals of deploying and use each firearm system, skill/training drills specific to each platform, shooting positions, accessories and carry options, and much more. Magpul Dynamics, as the name implies, gives you information in an exciting format.
These three DVD sets will give you a wealth of information to enhance and improve your shooting. I do suggest you do not rely solely on them for your firearms training but incorporate them with your instructor-based training.
Another item to help improve your shooting is the Midland (5900 Parretta Dr., Dept GWK, Kansas City, MO 64120; phone: 816-241-8500; online: midlandradio.com) XTC Extreme Action Camera. This inexpensive digital video recorder (prices vary from $80-110 depending on retailer) can be mounted on arms, handlebars, tripods, etc. While it is not rated for mounting on firearms, I have done this for a weapons mounted perspective and the XTC has survived my various M4s.
Mounting the XTC on a solid platform such as tripod or bike handlebars allows you to video yourself so you can watch how you draw, mount a long gun, draw your bow, etc. This will help you see what you are doing wrong and what you need to work on to be consistent each and every time. Consistency is what makes you a faster, better shooter.
The XTC uses a Micro SD card so you do not have to worry about running out of memory. You can download the video using the USB cable or by inserting the Micro SD into its SD converter, then into your computer, so you can easily view your training, hunting, or tourist videos or upload them to various social media sites.
For those who have become users of the Modern Sporting Rifle or Black Gun club; I thought it would be appropriate to look at a few items for the AR-style rifle. These items will reduce the weight of your AR, give you a better grip or help manage the recoil.
One thing you can do to make your shooting and time with your AR more pleasurable is to reduce its weight. This past year I found the easiest way to do this is to retrofit the rail system. Most of the alloy rails on the market add a pound or more to the AR. If you replace them with new lighter weight alloys such as the AR Lite Rail from Daniel Defense (101 Warfighter Way, Dept GWK, Black Creek, GA 31308; phone: 866-554-4867; online: danieldefense.com) you will find you reduce the weight of your AR, and in the case of an M4, you can have a longer rail for a better grip for no weight gain.
The AR Lite rails have a retail price of $389 and are available to fit around your front sight or as a mono-rail system. I used this free-floated rail on my DelTon M4 and like it well enough I would install it on another M4.
The other free floated forearm I have been using is from Precision Reflex Industries (710 Streine Dr., Dept GWK, New Bremen, OH 45869; phone: 419-629-2603; online: pri-mounts.com). PRI uses high tech carbon fiber for their GenIII Round or Delta forearms. These forearms come with rails mounted 3, 6 ,9 and 12 so you can add your choice of accessories. PRI offers these forearms in carbine, mid-length and rifle lengths; there is no provision to keep your front sight so you will need a low profile gas block to install PRI’s GENIII forearms. What I like about these free-float forearms is you do not feel the heat transfer like you do with alloy forearms. Like other quality rails the GENIIIs average $325, a few bucks more or less depending on the length.
The last forearm is a direct replacement for non-free-float forearms is the Magpul MOE (PO Box 17697, Dept GWK, Boulder, CO 80308; phone: 303-828-3460; online: Magpul.com). You simply remove the GI-style rails and replace them with the MOE. What sets the MOE apart from GI plastic forearms is you can mount rails available from Magpul which allow you to mount lights or various vertical grips. Unlike GI forearms the front of the MOE is flared to give you a more secure grip on the weapon. MOEs are considered by many to be the best of the non-metallic forearms and are used as OEM parts by many AR manufactures. Unlike the AR Lite and GENIIIs, the MOE forearm will not reduce the weight of your AR; they are simply more functional and the least expensive with an MSRP of $29.95-$39.95.
When you are finished putting your firearms through the new training routines you learned from the books or DVDs, you might want to clean your tools. Outers (PO Box 39, Dept GWK, Onalaska, WI 54650; phone: 800-635-7656; online: outers-guncare.com) and Remington (870 Remington Dr., PO Box 700, Dept GWK, Madison, NC 27025; phone: 800-243-9700; online: remington.com) have introduced new “complete” cleaning kits. Unlike the traditional ones which are in hard or decorative boxes which you can’t take to the range or field, these are in heavy-duty nylon zipper cases.
Outers Universal System uses the more traditional screw rod system while Remington uses the Snap Cleaning Cable. The Snap System uses cables which snap into the “T” handle and then the cleaning ends screw into the cable. This makes the Snap System more compact while in an emergency you can use the rods in the Outers Universal to clear an obstructed barrel.
One item I would add to either cleaning kit is the Rem Squeeg-E. This polymer tip replaces mops and patches. I was skeptical on how well these would work. I was impressed that to clean out the bore, cleaning residue rinses off.
I hope that these items will help you make a gift list for your family or give you ideas to give members of the family who are shooters. Have a safe and Happy New Year, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah.
Return to Archive Index