Vedder Holsters LightDraw™ Kydex OWB - S&W Shield 2.0 with Green Crimson Trace Laser
When we purchased the M&P Shield 2.0 with an integrated Green Crimson Trace laser two years ago we also wanted to get a new OWB holster since the laser changes the form of the handgun. Unfortunately, although we could find a IWB holster, we couldn't find an OWB holster that fit the hand gun and met our standards for usability/comfort. So, because we had three other Vedder Holsters, every once in a while we checked to see if Vedder was producing the OWB holster that we were looking for. Recently they finally began to produce just such a holster. You can read more about this OWB holster on our Shooting/Holsters page.
Lifestraw Personal Water Filter
If you carry water with you on a day hike you probably won’t need to locate any additional water to drink. However, in an emergency you may have to. Because of this we think it’s a good idea to have the ability to purify water with you. Of course the problem is how to balance the need to be prepared for an unlikely occurrence with the weight and bulk of carrying “just one more thing” in your day pack. Because of this we've added a Lifestraw Personal Water Filter to our hiking day pack. You can read more about the Lifestraw on our Hiking/Emergency Supplies page.
MecArmy X2S Stainless Steel LED Flashlight
With the recent advances in LED and rechargeable battery technologies the ability to have a bright flashlight in a very small form factor improves every month. Most of them can even be recharged using your cell phone charger. Because of this we decided to add a small micro USB rechargeable flashlight to our Hiking daypack - since you never know when you might get caught in the dark - and if that happens you're going to be glad that you have a light with you. After looking at several of the best small flashlights on the market we purchased the MecArmy X2S Stainless Steel LED Flashlight. The X2S measures only 1.75 inches long by .57 inches wide and weighs only .75 ounces – but will throw a maximum of 130 lumens almost 200 feet. You can read more about this powerful, but tiny, flashlight on our Hiking/Emergency Supplies page.
5.11 Tactical Men's Military Trainer Belt
Earlier this week we were at the outdoors range (yea – the Spring weather is finally here in New England) and got into a discussion about the best belts to support your holster and tactical activities. So, although we don’t normally spend much time discussing the clothes you need for Hiking, Camping and Shooting since they vary too much by local environment, since belts are a little different – we added some information about the belts that we’ve been using for the past 4 years (after trying lots of other belts through the years) to the Shooting/Holsters page. If you need a good belt for your holster, and other EDC gear, you should take a look.
Wolf Performance 9mm 115 Grain FMJ Steel Case Ammo
With the price of our standard 115 and 124 grain 9mm ammo skyrocketing we decided to add some 9mm steel case ammo to our inventory - specifically for our Kalashnikov KR-9S 9mm AK carbine.
Two years ago we had investigated 7.62mm steel case ammo in detail for our MAK-90 (see our blog on "Steel Case Ammo - Is Steel Ammo Good or Bad?"). Back then we ultimately chose Wolf ammo, so this time we only looked to see what Wolf ammo was available in 9mm. Ultimately we purchased some Wolf Performance 9mm 115 Grain FMJ Steel Case Ammo (MFG: P919FMJ – UPC 645611919213) - even though the prices on it have skyrocketed too (from ~$7.99 per box to ~$25.50 per box) - albeit not as much as brass case 9mm ammo.
You can find the details about this 9mm steel case ammo on our Shooting/Ammunition page.
Condor MCR5 RECON Chest Rig
Most people that do a fair amount of shooting have magazine holders for extra handgun ammunition, just like skeet shooters have pouches for their extra shotgun shells. So, if you begin to participate in rifle or 3-gun activities it’s only natural that you need some way to hold your extra rifle magazines. After looking at many, many options we selected the Condor Recon Chest Rig (MCR5).
You can find the details about this chest rig on our Shooting/Holsters page.
HellStorm Battle Wolf Beowolf Fingerless Gloves
These days there are lots of tactical gloves available on the market – some great, some good, some not so good. If you need a set of shooting gloves that allows you to have good manual dexterity, protects your knuckles and the back of your hands, and allows you to get a good grip on your firearm, then you should look into purchasing a pair of HellStorm Battle Wolf Beowolf Gloves.
You can find the details about these fingerless tactical gloves on the Shooting/Range Items and Tools page.
Safariland 6004-173-6114 STX Black Tactical Holster
Since a large handgun is normally too big to carry in an Inside the Waistband (IWB) holster, you really need to carry it in a different type of holster. For concealed carry the only option is really a shoulder holster – so we have one of those (a Bianchi 4601 Ranger Viper). But for unconcealed carrying, or for ease of access for activities like 3-gun shooting, you really need to carry the firearm as a “sidearm”; and that means either an Outside the Waistband (OWB) holster or a drop-leg holster. Since an OWB holster makes the firearm sit high on your waist, that can cause issues drawing a large firearm since you have to lift your arm up fairly high to allow the barrel to fully clear the holster. Because of this, the more popular option for large handguns, like the Beretta 92FS, is a drop leg holster. After looking at the many options on the market, for unconcealed carry for our Beretta 92FS, we selected a Safariland 6004-173-6114 STX Black Tactical Holster.
You can find the details about the Safariland 6004 Holster on the Shooting/Holsters page.
A.G. Russell Knives
While we were spending time in Arkansas in October we had a chance to stop by a great knife company that most knife aficionados know about – but that many other people that like hiking, camping and shooting do not; “A.G. Russell Knives”.
A.G. Russell Knives was established in 1964 and runs the oldest mail order knife business, the oldest knife collectors club and the oldest after-market knife business. They make shopmade knives in their headquarters in Rogers, Arkansas and have their own brand of A.G. Russell knives that are produced around the world. Their store also carries all the major knife brands such as Benchmade, CRKT, Kershaw, Buck, Case, SOG and others – and many different blades from handmade knife makers such as Randall Knives, Bob Dozier, Keith Murr, Dietmar Kressler, William Henry, Arno Bernard, and others.
Although they have a store at their shop location, the bulk of their business is done online. Currently they have over 1,500 different knives on their website (https://agrussell.com/).
One of the things that we like about the A.G Russell website is, that in addition to their products, they are big supporters of the “knife community”. In this vein their website also has some great general information that makes it a good source for knife terms and steel formulations. Here’s some high level information on, and links to, their “Knife Encyclopedia” and “Steel Charts”.
Knife Encyclopedia: To assist knife lovers A.G. Russell thought that putting together a set of terms and drawings/photos about knives would be helpful to his customers. So he contacted Walter Gardiner, the President of Schrade Cutlery, who sent him their "Handbook of Knife Knowledge and Terms" along with Schrade’s approval to put it online. A.G. Russell took many of terms from the Schrade handbook and used it to start an online encyclopedia. Here are the links to the encyclopedia, the fixed blade knife types page and the blade shape page:
Knife Encyclopedia: https://agrussell.com/encyclopedia
Fixed Blade Types: https://agrussell.com/encyclopedia/fixed-blade-knife-types
Blade Shapes: https://agrussell.com/encyclopedia/blade-shapes
Steel Chart: Because of the explosion in the types of steel formulations used to make knives, in 1988 A.G. Russell posted a knife steel chart online. They continue to routinely update the chart in an attempt to keep it up to date with the ever expanding number of steel formulations. Here are the links to both the Stainless Steel and Non-Stainless Steel charts:
Stainless Steel Chart: https://agrussell.com/chart
Non-Stainless Steel Chart: https://agrussell.com/chart/non-stainless
While we were in their store we purchased an A. G. Russell “Agents Office” Knife. The lockback folding knife has a tear drop shape handle with a double ground dagger-like blade (it is only sharp on one side) made from 8Cr13MoV with a 57-59 Rc. hardness. The handle is made of Mother of Pearl with Abalone spacers. The liners, bolsters and caps, and lock bar are all stainless steel. The knife has a 3” blade and measures 3 7/8” closed. It weighs ~2.9 ounces. It also has a leather lanyard through the butt and comes with a leather pouch with a pocket clip. It’s a beauty!
To complement their main website, A.G. Russell also has an online marketplace that “provides a unique service to knife owners who decide to sell knives they own or knife buyers looking for that special knife that is extremely popular or hard to find.”; The Cutting Edge® (http://www.cuttingedge.com/). For over forty-five years, The Cutting Edge® has been the largest aftermarket for knives of all kinds. Most of these knives are owned by individuals and A.G. Russell sells them on consignment.
As if that wasn’t enough, in 1998 A.G. Russell began Russell's For Men (https://russellsformen.com/) “because we appreciate high quality personal products, but could not find the quality we wanted. Then we realized that a lot of our customers were having similar problems finding items that their grandfathers enjoyed. Fine leather goods, watches, gun accessories, home art, and office items are just a few of the many categories of products we carry.”
In addition to founding the company and designing most of their early knives, A.G. Russell was a recognized leader in the knife making industry. His accomplishments and honors included:
Although A. G. Russell III passed away in 1998, his expertise and designs live on in the current A.G. Russell knives. You really ought to look at their websites; they’ll definitely have something that you’ll want to buy.
United Cutlery M48 Tactical War Hammer with Vortec Sheath
Over the years we’ve found that Hiking, Camping and Shooting gear comes in 4 categories:
1) Essential Necessities – Gear that you absolutely must have to even consider a Hiking, Camping or Shooting adventure. Gear like a good pair of hiking boots, a quality tent or hearing protection. Without these items you either can’t start your activity, or you risk having a bad outcome during the outing.
2) Need to Have Gear – This is gear that is one step up from the minimum necessary gear. Gear that you might get away with not having initially, but that really need to have to be prepared for the Hiking, Camping or Shooting activity. This type of gear includes items like a hiking first aid kit, lightweight trail food, a sleeping pad, slings or paper targets.
3) Nice to Have Gear – This category includes the gear that you invest in as you participate in more Hiking, Camping or Shooting adventures. You really don’t “have to have” this gear, but it makes doing the activity easier or more fun. In this category we would include a camera to take on your hikes, a good saw to take camping with you and a good range bag to keep all your stuff together when you go shooting.
4) Want to Have Gear – Finally there is the category that includes all the gear that you really don’t need – but want so much that you purchase it anyway. Here we include multiple compasses (since there’s always a better one out there on the market somewhere), another knife or other bladed tool (after all who doesn’t need a pocket knife, mid-sized locking blade knife, fixed blade survival knife, machete, hatchet, axe, etc.,), or another firearm that’s a different caliber or design than the ones that you already own.
In our opinion, the problem with being a long time Hiker, Camper and Shooter is that you quickly acquire the “essential necessities” and “need to have” items since they are what really make your adventures possible, practical and fun. Then, over the next several of years, you buy the “nice to have” items since they allow you to do more and make your adventures easier and more comfortable. After that you’re just gilding the lily by purchasing more and more gear that seems novel, better or just cool.
Well, we’ve been Hiking, Camping and Shooting for quite a while, so we are now clearly in Phase 4 – purchasing gear that we “want to have” – but really don’t need. Being in that mode leads to purchases like the United Cutlery M48 Tactical War Hammer with Vortec Sheath; an item that you can have a lot of fun with – but has no real practical value.
The M48 Tactical War Hammer (Item #: UC3069) is a hammer/axe combination with a 7 ¾” black oxide-coated stainless steel head (cast 2Cr13) with a 5-spiked war hammerhead on the face and a piercing spike on the back side. The hammer is 15 ½” in length and weighs 2 ¼ pounds. The hammer has a reinforced nylon handle that includes 30% fiberglass in its construction. The axe head is attached to the handle by three metal bolts. Since the hammer face and the rear spike are so sharp it comes with a Vortec Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR) cover for the entire head. The TPR cover folds in the middle so that you can easily put it on and take it off.
The design allows for comfortable one-handed use even though the hammer feels pretty solid and hefty when you are swinging it. The hammer face has four edge spikes and a thick central pyramid spike that gives it real smashing power. The backside spike is quite sharp and penetrates deeply into wood and everything else that we have used it on. Although it might be useful as a demolition tool, we just use it for fun (poor watermelons, pumpkins and cantaloupes). If you want to see the M48 Tactical War Hammer in action here’s a great video from Adam Celadin, a 4 time World Champion knife thrower, using it to destroy everything in sight.
You can buy the United Cutlery M48 Tactical War Hammer on Amazon.
In addition, if you like tactical bladed weapons, then you might want to check out United Cutlery’s entire M48 line of products at:
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