Tactical LED Flashlight

From checking out what just went ‘ribbit‘ under-foot in the yard, to illuminating a gunfight, flashlights can come in handy almost every single day of anyone’s life. Whether you’re an outdoorsman or a homebody, work a blue collar job or a white collar job, we would all take advantage of it, if we could have a flashlight materialize in-hand whenever we need to illuminate something for a second. Most of us probably don’t even think about it every time we use our 4″ cellphone screen to make our way across our bedroom after everyone else is asleep, but we all do it.

It may not be possible to have a flashlight materialize in hand every time we need some light, but its less of a hassle to carry one all the time than most people probably think. Sure, like anything else you carry every day, it’s a lifestyle choice, but it’s not as big a deal as you think. You sure as hell never leave home without your cell phone, which is heavier and larger than any flashlight you’d carry daily. The iPhone 5 weighs 4oz. The Samsung POS…erm…Galaxy weighs 4.6oz. The heaviest flashlights for this purpose are going to weight less than the POS, and the lighter ones weigh half that. Once you adjust to having a flashlight all the time, it’s no more hassle than a cell phone, and you get used to even having it in your pocket around the house.

Inova T1 in Tactical GripThe trick with every-day-carry (EDC) flashlights is to find the smallest, lightest flashlight that will fit your needs. Small and light is key to keep you pocketing it ever morning before you leave home. Get a flashlight too big and heavy, and it’ll be like the fo’tay faaaive lovers who buy a 1911 for concealed carry and then never end up carrying, because it would be just as convenient to concealed carry a brick (sorry if the reference is lost on you). Bigger isn’t always better.

The first thing you should do if figure out what you’re going to do with your flashlight. If you don’t have a need to use it for any activities that might get your adrenaline flowing (for good or bad reasons), then go small. Specifically, go with the Inova X1. I spent a year carrying the X1 every day without fail, and loved it. At 55 lumens, its brighter setting was great for all your usual tasks, and the 6-lumen low setting was bright enough to keep me from tripping over shit on my way to bed, while being dim enough not to wake anyone up. The size of the X1 is its defining quality, but it can be good or bad depending on your needs. As a small light, I barely noticed it in my pocket, however it was hard to hold and operate in a tactical grip because it was too small. You might not care about that if you don’t carry a defensive weapon, of if you just need a flashlight for glovebox duty, but for someone that carries a gun, the X1 is too small for EDC duty.

Inova Logo on CapEnter the Inova T1. [click to continue…]

Fire in the Sky

by Zach Billings on July 5, 2013

Fireworks PhotoI have loved fireworks for as long as I can remember. I love the colors. I love the duality of their danger and beauty. I love the feeling in my chest when a large shell explodes. Since I was little I’ve made it to a fireworks display every 4th of July, however, growing up in a law-abiding Massachusetts family, I never got to experiment with fireworks on my own, save for the few occasions where I convinced my mom to let me buy one mortar. Those few occasions were enough to light the fire in me, and finally when my company had its second annual 4th of July party last summer, I got my first chance to do something with it.  [click to continue…]

What is the Best Home Defense Weapon?

by Zach Billings on June 14, 2013

Remington 870 Tactical and Glock 19You just woke up at 3am to the sound of a loud thud, and no, it wasn’t the dog knocking a plant over. Your home is being invaded by a violent criminal and he’s done this before.

Unlikely scenario you say? Lets look at a few numbers… 1,030,000… that’s the average number of annual home invasions in the U.S.—home invasion is defined as a break in with someone home. 26%… the percentage of home invasions in which a resident becomes a victim of violent crime—that means 266,560 times per year, a victim is assaulted, stabbed, shot, raped, and/or murdered during a home invasion in the  U.S.. 2,821… the number of home invasions every single day in the U.S.. 1 in 115 the odds that during a given year you will be home during a home invasion. Still seem so unlikely? [click to continue…]

Drawing from Concealed Carry

by Zach Billings on May 15, 2013

Gun Draw DrillLets put the cards on the table… If you’re getting into defensive shooting, concealed carry or, god forbid, you’re an old school shooter willing to learn up-to-date Modern Technique, this should be helpful. The real reason I’m writing this however, is just because I think I’m cool and I like watching YouTube videos of myself.

I’m mostly kidding—well maybe not mostly—but getting back on topic, we’re going to examine my first ever video of me doing a live-fire defensive drill, and I promise to point out my faults and not just my Clint-Eastwood-fast draw (it’s not really that fast). I’ve been practicing modern weapon manipulation on a Glock 19 replica for 6 years (starting long before I could own a gun), as well as 18 months of drawing from concealment. Now I’ve been concealed carrying my Glock 19 for 6 months, I have done plenty of dry practice at home, as well as live fire practice on the range. Finally it seemed like time to film myself for analysis to start honing my technique. I expect this to be the first in a series of similar posts about my progress, but here I will also outline the basics of concealed carry. [click to continue…]

Too Much Range Safety

by Zach Billings on May 13, 2013

Drawing Glock 19From the first .22 caliber bullet that I ever launched from a gun (a Ruger 10/22), I’ve never been afraid of firearms. Even when, on that same day, I tried out a .45 pistol, a 12 gauge shotgun, and an M1 Garand, the feeling was profound respect… never fear. Interestingly I’ve been noticing, at shooting ranges in NH, MA, and on forums, that many experienced shooters are goddamn pussies around firearms, and I think I’ve figured out the common thread. Freaking sport shooters. [click to continue…]

BioLite Camp Stove – Drawbacks?

by Zach Billings on April 26, 2013

BioLite Camp Stove in Use

 

We’ll start with the obvious. There are dozens of detailed video reviews already out there covering the BioLite Camp Stove. Some of them demonstrate ideal conditions. Some show you water boiling. Others show you windy conditions. The best of them, such as the one by MainePrepper, give you realistic materials, insights, and Bug Out Bag potential. If you’re here to learn about the TEG and the pros and cons over propane ‘pocket rockets’ you’ve come to the wrong place. This is a functional overview, and maybe just a bit… a bullshit meter for the YouTube reviews. [click to continue…]

1750 Rounds – Glock 19

by Zach Billings on February 27, 2013

Glock 19 with 17 round magThree months since I bought my first gun—my Glock 19 Gen 4—and it now has about 1750 rounds through it, in six of seven sessions. It has been the birthing period of a new lifestyle. One which I must confess, I’m very happy with.

I have grown quite comfortable with the Glock, and I carry it—in or out of the house—at all times (if I’m not in Assachusetts). My hands have grown calluses at the points where they contact the gun. My concealed carry holster is soft and broken in. The gun is even showing its first signs of wear. Marks of experience and use in my book. Glocks are meant to be used.

My practice has reached something of a plateau until I can either begin practicing in a more dynamic environment, or acquire some training (preferably both). That’s not to say I can’t shoot well, but I’m certainly not satisfied. In slow shooting I have learned the trigger to the point that I can put a single shot anywhere I want it. At least that was the case before I switched sights… but I’ll circle around to that. In panic drills, drawing and firing very quickly, I generally see a good size spread on a torso at 25ft. Performing Mozambique drills (two center mass, one in the head) I occasionally miss the head by an inch if I’m rushing (and I try to rush because I’m sure in a gunfight I wouldn’t be very well composed). With factory sights I can drill the same hole all day at 30ft. The next step will be to attain more consistency during rushed firing and fighting drills. All of my shooting has been at my NH shooting range, and I recently got a membership at a local outdoor range, so I can begin practicing more dynamically.  [click to continue…]

A Reasonable Look at Assault Weapons

by Zach Billings on December 21, 2012

AR-15 "Assault Rifle"This was originally written by Darryl Bolke and I found it on the Facebook page of James Yeager, of Tactical Response. These words are not mine, but they are well put together and make an arguement that any reasonable, thoughtful person should be able to consider. I’m not saying this will sway you if you’re on the other side of this, but if you really take a moment to consider it, you might come away with a slightly different viewpoint.

“When we look at the current and past debates on the issue of so-called “assault weapons” I have seen a propensity for the public, press, and even my fellow shooters to apply a standard to them that seems to be lacking elsewhere in society. Whenever I debate non-gun owners, liberals, and others who are passing judgment on this class of weapons based strictly on what they are fed by the popular media and the generally uninformed politicians, I use my favorite “gun-control” argument analogy to get my point across. My item of choice to compare guns to is cars. Every-time I hear the call for a ban on guns because some criminal used one to commit a crime, I usually ask if they thought it would be okay for the government to come take their car away because their neighbor was a drunk driver………this usually ends the debate. So lets apply this same analogy to the subject of assault rifles. [click to continue…]

Picking Out a Different One – Glock ??

by Zach Billings on December 13, 2012

Gen 4 Glock 19I’ve moved to New Hampshire and become a free man. No more stringent MA gun laws or licensing requirements. No more feeling infected by the majority of liberal sheeple. All I now needed to purchase my first firearm was a New Hampshire driver’s license—and I didn’t even have to wait for the permanent copy—and some money in my pocket. 6 days after moving in to my new house, I had both.

11 months ago, I posted a blog about my process of selecting the a concealed carry pistol—the Glock 23—at my New Hampshire shooting range. At the time I had given many aspects of the Glock 23 a great deal of [click to continue…]

The Nissan Xterra – A Symbolic Step

by Zach Billings on February 29, 2012

2012 Nissan Xterra Pro4XThe STi is gone. Evaporated into misty vapor and absorbed into the recesses of my mind, reserved only for the most powerful of life lessons. My experience with it taught me more than I would care to try to articulate, but thankfully, it’s GONE. In it’s place, now sits a 2012 Nissan Xterra Pro4X, the extra-rugged, utility-focused trim of the Xterra. As of my writing this the odometer reads 375 miles, and let me tell you, they are 375 of the most enjoyable miles I’ve driven. And, while the driving experience of the Xterra could never boil my sports car blood like an STi with Dunlop Z1 tires, it has certainly revealed a prevailing sense of satisfaction that was only felt in brief, fleeting moments with my former love. [click to continue…]