All posts by glockr

Almost Free Tenkara Fishing Rod

Tenkara is a very simple Japanese form of fly fishing that only uses a rod, line, and fly. There’s no expensive reel to buy, and since your line length is very limited compared to standard fly fishing you save money there. It looks like fun so I decided to try it. First thing of course is to go online and find a Tenkara fishing rod. Type “tenkara fishing rod” into Google and the first three hits will probably be tenkarausa.com, tenkararodco.com, and a Tenkara fishing pole review on gearpatrol.com. All three sites have good info and it does look like a lot of fun until you see the prices. $90 for an “entry level” Tenkara fishing pole, which is basically a glorified stick??? ANd $90 is just the starting point. They go up – way up – to well over $200. There has to be a cheaper way, and there is. I’m glad, because if I spent $100 or more on a fancy stick I’d probably end up divorced.

I went to Amazon, searched for “tenkara rod,” and found this nice little 13 Ft, 8 Section Carbon Fiber Telescopic Fishing Rod for only $11.49, shipping included. So of course I ordered one. Not free, but compared to $90-200 (or more) I’m calling it almost free. It’s light (about 6 oz) and collapses to about 2 feet long. It’s not as fancy as the expensive rods (no cork handle) but for the price I can live with that. I can’t wait to try it when the weather gets nice. If you want to try Tenkara fishing but cringe at the thought of spending hundreds of dollars on what is basically a fancy stick, it’s worth taking a look at.

More Info on Tenkara:

Tenkara USA
Tenkara Rod Company
Tenkara fishing pole review on Gear Patrol
Tenkara Fishing Gear on Amazon

Rethinking every day carry (EDC)

I guess this is the second time I’ve put actual thought into it, and I’ve learned some things since I started actually thinking about it instead of just seeing it… “it” being “every day carry” (aka EDC) knives…

It’s pretty amazing how popular EDC is. I work at an Institute of Higher Indoctrination… err… higher education… and even some of the “progressive” instructors carry a knife (easy to see by the pocket clip), so there must be something to it, right?

I decided to see what it was all about so I got a Buck Vantage Pro and a Spyderco Paramilitary II. They’re both really nice knives, but… they both take up a lot of room in the pocket. I carry mine in my right front pocket, and when either knife is clipped into the pocket it takes up so much room that it’s hard to use the pocket for anything else: keys, loose change, etc…

I also have to admit, when I first started EDCing, I didn’t even see what was so useful about always having a knife on me. That changed when I started taking apart an old PBX – the knife worked great for cutting through zip-ties, stripping wire, I even started using it to open mail instead of using my keys like I used to. The thing is though, for all those tasks the two knives I have might just be a little too much. Useful, yes – but not useful enough to make up for losing the use of my right front pocket.

I started reading more EDC knife reviews and started to notice something… Most of the reviews just focus on the quality and potential uses of the knife under review, and not many talked about what it was actually used for after the review. Those that did mentioned simple things, like opening mail or cutting small cord, maybe stripping wire – NONE of which require a fancy hunter or “tacticool” blade. Not saying that such blades don’t have a use (they do), just that maybe (probably) they’re not necessary for 90% of EDC use.

So… I’m thinking of changing up my Every Day Carry plan for something simpler, like a Case Sodbuster Jr. or CV Trapper. Either one is fine for at least 90% of what I need to do with an EDC knife. Add to that, either is way more discreet than a clip knife and most important gives me back the use of my right front jeans pocket. I’m going to order one of them in the next week or so and hope to have a review up before Christmas.

As for my current two EDC knives, I’ll be keeping them, but only carrying when I might need their capabilities (for example, the Vantage Pro when I’m hunting or the Paramilitary II if I’m camping). Guess it just comes down to the fact I’m starting to realize the most important thing about a tool is how well it works for what I’m doing and not how it looks on me.

Spyderco ParaMilitary II vs. Buck Vantage Pro

I just bought a Spyderco Paramilitary II along with a Buck Vantage Pro because I was looking for a good every day carry (EDC) knife and I thought it would be interesting to compare the two. This was my first Spyderco, and based on the cost and online reviews I read, I expected it to be a lot nicer than the Buck. I wasn’t disappinted, the Paramilitary II is a really nice knife…

Blade – the Spyderco Paramilitary II has a full flat ground, drop point blade made from S110V stainless steel (it’s also available with an S30V blade). The cutting edge has a shallower belly than the Vantage Pro and a pointer tip, so it won’t be as good a skinner as the Buck. Also, the overall blade is thicker so it should be stronger and better for “tactical” uses. This makes sense given Spyderco’s history of making tactical (as opposed to hunting) knives. So which is better? I guess it depends on what you’re using it for… for hunting, I give the edge to the Vantage Pro. For more general cutting I think the blade on the Spyderco is better. My only regret on the blade is that after reading about the difficulty of sharpening S110V blades I wish I had bought the S30V version.

Handle/Clip – Both knives have handles (“scales”) made from something called G10. The scales on the Paramilitary II have a very grippy texture with squared edges. This isn’t quite as comfortable to hold than the smooth, rounded scales on the Vantage Pro, but make the Paramilitary II easier to draw than the Buck. The thinness of the scales and clip positioning and tension also help with ease of draw. The clip on the Vantage Pro holds really tight, maybe to the point of being just a little too tight. The Paramilitary II comes set for right hand, point down carry which I found to work really well. If you don’t like it, it’s easy to change to left hand and/or point down carry.

Opening/closing – The Paramilitary II lacks the back edge blade flipper of the Vantage Pro, but it’s not needed. The Spyderco opens very easily one handed using the large thumb hole on the blade, and unlike the Buck knife never needs a sharp wrist flick to lock the blade. The locking tab is on the opposite side of the blade slot, and so far I haven’t had problems with it “over locking” as sometimes happens with the Vantage Pro.

Overall impression – The Spyderco Paramilitary II is a really nice knife. I had to think long and hard before deciding to drop $150 on a pocket knife, but the build quality and smoothness of operation make this knife well worth the cost IMHO. As an EDC knife, I think the Spyderco is better than the Vantage Pro, but if cost is a consideration or you’re looking for something that will double as a hunting knife the Buck isn’t a bad way to go. The S110V blade should hold an edge very nicely, but it will be harder to sharpen other steels. If that is an issue for you but you like the Paramilitary II, you’re in luck because Spyderco also offers this knife with an S30 V blade. For a great price on the Paramilitary II with S110V blade, check here:

SPYDERCO C81GPDBL2 Paramilitary 2 Dark Blue G10 Handle Clip Point Plain

Buck Vantage Pro vs. Spyderco ParaMilitary II

I just bought a Buck Vantage Pro along with a Spyderco ParaMilitary II because I was looking for a good knife for every day carry (EDC) and I thought it would be fun to compare the two. My first real knife was a Buck so I had pretty good hopes for it, but I didn’t think it would be as nice as the Spyderco which costs about twice as much. A little wrong and a little right I guess…

Blade – the Buck Vantage Pro has a hollow ground, drop point blade made from S30V stainless steel with Paul Bos heat treating. The cutting edge has a deeper belly than the Para II which should make it better for skinning an animal. No surprise here given Buck’s long history of making hunting knives. The Para II’s flat ground blade looks a lot stronger than the Buck’s though, and the pointier tip is probably better for puncturing.

Handle/Clip – Both knives have handles (“scales”) made from something called G10. The scales on the Vantage Pro are smooth with rounded edges, and IMO a lot more comfortable than the rough, squared scales on the Para II. The clip on the Vantage Pro holds really tight, maybe to the point of being just a little too tight. It comes set up for right hand, point up carry. You can change it to left hand carry but not point down. Because of the way this knife carries and draws, point up carry seems to work better so this wasn’t an issue for me, but it might be for you.

Opening/closing – The Vantage Pro has a small slot on the blade for thumb opening, and a flipper on the back of the blade if you’d rather start the opening process with you index finger. Whether you use the thumb slot or flipper, it’s going to require a snap of the wrist to get the blade to lock. I also found that sometimes the blade lock locks a little too good and requires some extra attention to get it unlocked.

Overall impression – Some of the reviews on the Vantage Pro complain about the blade not being centered in the handle when it’s closed. Mine wasn’t but since it doesn’t affect cutting or operation, I don’t think it’s a big deal. I haven’t had mine for very long, but I’ve used it to strip thick insulation off of heavy electrical cabling, opened lots of boxes, and processed some pork chops. After all that, the blade was still sharp enough to shave the hair off my arms without pulling. It might not be the perfect EDC knife (neither is the Para II), but at about $62 it’s an incredible deal. For some uses (processing small game, etc) it’s actually better than some more expensive knives thanks to its deep bellied, hollow ground blade. The S30V blade should hold an edge nicely and be easier to sharpen than some of the fancier steels (SV110). You can get a good price on this knife here:

Buck Knives 0347 Vantage Pro Folding Knife

The Truth About Guns??? Rock Island Armory GI 1911 part 1

ria-1911-gi I bought my Rock Island Armory (RIA) GI 1911 about three years ago based on a number of positive reviews I read online. For $400, how could I go wrong? Shortly after I got it, I found a very negative review on The Truth About Guns. I’m glad I didn’t see their “review” before I bought the gun because I probably wouldn’t have bought it if I had.

In their review, they had four issues: fit/finish, shooting comfort, reliability, and accuracy. Well, maybe five because it seemed like the reviewer has a problem with RIA, not just the gun he reviewed.

To clear one thing up, whoever wrote the “review” wasn’t reviewing a new gun, but a 3 year old gun that the reviewer didn’t even own…

Dan was kind enough to send me his personal Rock Island Armory GI Standard FS .45ACP, a three-year-old gun with about 500 rounds through it.

Which begs the question… if all the problems about the gun are true, why didn’t the owner send it back to RIA to be fixed under their lifetime warranty? The world may never know…

It’s going to be a few weeks until I get 500 rounds through mine, but I took it out today and my thumb didn’t get cut off by the grip safety tang, and it fed 3 mags without problem. Of course I’m a 1911 newbie, so I guess if I had been shooting it the correct way my hand would be hurting really bad right now.

The cure for Black Rifle Disease

savage-sm

A few years ago I had a case of Black Rifle Disease. It’s not deadly, but it’s expensive, harmful to relationships, and just generally detrimental to your overall well-being. When you have Black Rifle Disease, it is really hard to think about anything other than the Next Black Rifle. Except of course how you could improve your existing black rifles, how you could (or should) have done things differently, what parts you “need” for your black rifles, how to get your wife or significant other to let you buy more black rifles, black rifle parts, ammo, etc…

Well, I may have found a cure for Black Rifle Disease – Precision Long Range Shooting. Unlike Black Rifle Disease, which requires you to keep getting more STUFF all the time to satiate your hunger, Long Range Precision Shooting pretty much mandates that you only have one rifle. After all, the concentration is on learning a single platform and learning to shoot it REALLY WELL. Of course, there is a little experimenting to do… should you get a Savage rifle? If so, which one? A Model 10, which is better quality, or an Axis, which is less expensive and more tempting to modify (because of the low price)? Maybe a Remington 700 would be better. They’re popular with police tactical units and lots of gunsmiths know how to work on them, but you need a lathe and lots of knowledge and skill to do a barrel swap, so maybe a Remington 283? Or maybe a gun built on a custom action…

Then there is caliber to consider… 223 is good to 600 yards or so, but that’s kind of pushing it and most bolt guns in 223 come with a 1:9 twist barrel that won’t stabilize the heavy (77 gr and up) bullets that work best at the longer ranges. Maybe 308? Very popular, but kicks hard. 243 Winchester? Less kick than the 308 but eats barrels pretty fast. The various 6.5 chambered guns kick less than the 308 and are easier on barrels, but which one – 6.5 Creedmoor or 260 Remington?

Then, what bullet? What brand of brass? Powder? Primer? Who makes the best seating die? Maybe need to try a couple and see… What about powder measure? Case trimmer, run-out gauge, and some way to measure cartridge length – OAL and head spacing? Single stage, turret, or progressive press?

Yep, I’ve discovered the cure for Black Rifle Disease…

EAA Arms Witness – a working man’s gun?

cz75-clone I really need to stay away from sites like Tombstone Tactical… the good deals are going to break me. The other day while looking for something that is NOT a double stack wonder-nine, I stumbled across the European American Armory (EAA) Witness P pistol in 9mm, nice FDE polymer frame, and what look like low-snag sights (dare I say Novak-like???) for less tan $300. Hmmm…

I’m not a fan of 2-speed (aka double action) auto pistols, but supposedly this is a clone of the CZ75 which can safely be carried cocked and locked. For less than $300 I think it’s worth a look so I ordered one today. I told my FFL but haven’t told my wife yet…

So what am I expecting? For $287.44 I’m expecting a duty sized clone of the CZ-75 – a kind of famous Soviet-block pistol in 9mm. The originals had a steel frame, but this clone has a poly frame which will be nice for carry use. Other than that, not expecting much but it will be fun to check it out. I have a range pack (350 rounds) of 9mm Blazer brass case, and it will be a lot of fun to see if it will digest all of it with no (or very few) malfunctions. The size means it’s more of a home defense gun, not a CCW, but they also sell a compact model for only $261.72. Wish I could afford both…

Check them out here…

Things I learned at my CCW class…

glock_xd_smTook my CCW class yesterday – finally:) It was more interesting than I thought it would be, here are some thoughts on the class in no particular order…

  1. You will learn enough in the CCW class to know what is legal or not when it comes to drawing or shooting your weapon. You WON’T learn enough to be a competent shooter or to survive a deadly force encounter. If you really want to CCW, getting the permit is only the first step. You MUST commit to training so you don’t kill an innocent bystander or get yourself killed.
  2. My gun handling skills suck. I’ve been shooting since I was 10 or so and figured I had the gun safety thing all figured out. Still is was hard for me to remember to take my finger out of the trigger guard every time it needed to be out of the trigger guard.
  3. I actually shot better than I thought I would. My first 15 shots were all within the 9 ring but fairly evenly patterned – more like a tight pattern than an actual group. After a bit of coaching the second 15 shots all went into a ragged 3 inch hole. Target was at 7 yards. I’m no Wyatt Earp, but now I know I can learn to shoot.
  4. With my body build it’s going to be tough finding a holster that’s comfortable and conceals well. Time to lose about 15 lbs…
  5. Some discussion came up about Glocks, and how they seem to have more negligent discharges than other pistols. This seems to be related to the fact that they have no safety other than the trigger safety, and if something (car keys, a worn out holster, etc) protrudes into the trigger guard, it WILL press the trigger and fire the gun. The instructor mentioned the Springfield XD is a (potentially) safer carry choice because it has a grip safety in addition to the trigger safety.
  6. Springfield XD’s are SERIOUSLY ugly. Our class was held at the local Scheels, so I checked them out while on break. They look like they were either designed by 4th graders or were a proof of concept that never got updated before going into production. Having “GRIP ZONE” molded into the grip??? Really??? How stupid do they think their intended market is? Plus, about $10 more than a Gen 4 Glock, $80 more than a Gen 3.
  7. After thinking about it, the “less safe” Glock might actually be safer for me. Knowing that the gun requires extra diligence to avoid shooting myself in the ass means I’ll be extra-extra careful. The “safer” XD would probably make me complacent, which is never a good idea with guns.
  8. The “reset feature” on the Glock trigger is very cool. After the instructor showed it to me, shot-to-shot was much faster AND my shooting was more accurate.
  9. I need a target stand. The range is too crowded, too formal, and too far to drive.
  10. I wish I could get a 22LR Glock to practice with. 10 cents per round is hella cheaper than 25 per round for 9mm.
  11.  I’d forgotten how much fun it is to shoot. Need to spend a lot more time shooting 🙂
  12. For now, I don’t think I’ll carry. Maybe after I get a lot more comfortable with the idea. I won’t mind not paying the $25 background check that I have to pay without the permit.

Related Link:

Glock vs Springfield XD

Guns in the Age of “Progressives”

glock vs springfield xdProgressives hate guns. Some might claim they don’t, but the vast majority of them do and they’re on the brink of electing a president – Hillary Clinton – who has promised repeatedly to appoint justices to the US Supreme Court who will overturn previous SCOTUS rulings that validate an individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Just in case that’s not bad enough, she wants an outright ban on so-called “assault weapons” even though they are used in less than 1% of gun crimes in the US. She wants gun manufacturers to be held liable for crimes committed by criminals who use a product that is legally manufactured by one of the most highly regulated industries in our country. She has supported a national sales tax of 25% on all gun purchases and onerous taxes on ammunition. She supports national gun registration, which has led to gun confiscation in just about every country that’s done it – most notably in Australia, a country whose gun laws Clinton has expressed admiration for.

If Mrs. Clinton is elected and is able to implement her anti-gun, anti-liberty agenda you have a few choices. One, you could just get rid of all your guns – not a good option in my opinion. Two, you could bury them in the back yard and hope the government never finds them. Another horrible option, because what good is having guns if you can’t use them. The third option as I see it is to switch to guns that don’t draw quite as much attention as an AR-15 or a Glock. This isn’t perfect either, but until enough gun owners (and others who value our Bill of Rights) pull their heads out of their butts and vote for pro liberty candidates, it’s all we’ve got. In fact, just voting isn’t enough – we’ve got to advocate for pro-liberty candidates, educate family and friends, and call out the “progressive” media and others on the left when they spread their lies – but that’s another blog post…

In the mean time, what kind of guns am I talking about? Well, guns like the ones you might have had as a kid. 22 rifles. Revolvers. Pump action or even single-shot rifles. Muzzle loaders.

Truck Gun

Truck Gun

I built my truck gun last year but didn’t have time to shoot it until recently. This was my third AR-15 build and my easiest one since I kept everything simple.

Keeping It Simple

In spite of what some people say, you don’t always need an optic and you sure as hell don’t need a light (even though “it’s 2015”) to have a useful AR-15. My goal for this gun was something solid that could take some banging around (it’s a truck gun…) and not lose accuracy. I also wanted to try a poly lower.

GWACS CAV-15 Mk II Poly Receiver and things

The lower receiver I picked is the CAV-15 Mk II from GWACS Armory. Unlike most AR-15 lowers, the CAV-15 combines the stock and receiver into a one piece unit, which eliminates a weak spot where they’d join on a regular AR. I bought the fully populated lower (trigger safety, bolt catch, etc already installed) for $200 (current price is $220) which is pretty good compared to building your own lower. The barrel is a no-name 16″, 1-9 twist, carbine gas, with an A2-style FSB that I bought from JSE Surplus. BCG is an $80 unit from AIM Surplus, and the upper was one I got free when I bought a barrel from SAA. Forearm is MagPul, and the rest of the upper parts are the cheapest ones I could get. The only thing I splurged on was the rear sight from Larue Tactical.

Test Shooting

Sighting in was drama free. In fact, with the front and rear sights set at the position, it shot to point of aim at 50 yards so I didn’t even have to adjust them. The trigger supplied is by CMMG and feels better than “mil spec” triggers I’ve tried on other guns. In fact it’s nice enough that I’m not going to bother replacing it with a Geissele – it’s a truck gun after all.

An Affordable Truck Gun

Total cost was about $650 including shipping costs and FFL transfer fee, but I could have knocked some off by going with a cheaper rear sight. So far I only have about 150 rounds through it with no malfunctions so far. For the money, I like it better than any of the low end AR-15’s I’ve seen in stores.

Related Links:

GWACS Armory CAV-15 MkII Lower Receiver
LaRue Tactical B.U.I.S. LT103
Cheap Truck Gun