Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Multi-tools. What I carry and why.

     I'm a pretty loyal customer. If I'm happy with something, a particular brand for example, I'll stick with it until I'm no longer happy with it or no longer happy with the company that makes it. I'm like that about food, clothes, tools, etc. For example I've bought Heinz ketchup, Levis jeans, and Nike shoes for as long as I can remember. My multi-tool of choice is the Leatherman Wave. When I bought my first Wave about 15 years ago, they came in real leather cases, which were dyed brown, and had a brass snap on it. Now they come in a black (sort of) leather case, with elastic on the sides and close with velcro.....ain't progress grand?

     Back then there weren't nearly as many models of Leatherman multi-tools to choose from, nor nearly as many makers of multi-tools in general. Nowdays anyone tooled up to make knives is making multi-tools. That can be good and bad at the same time. The good of it is that someone will invent something innovative and change the landscape of multi-tools. The bad of it is that most of the second tier and lower manufacturers will turn out worthless crap.

     I own two Waves, a surge, and a M.U.T.(Military Utility Tool). Those four tools fit all of my multi-tool needs. I keep one Wave in my tackle box, one Wave in my GHB (Get Home Bag), the surge in my truck console, and the MUT in my carbine deployment bag. I've never owned a Gerber multi-tool, but have heard good things about them. I've owned a few of their knives and the quality is sufficient for the price, I can't imagine the multi-tools would be any different.

     The Wave is a very capable tool for urban, suburban, rural, and wilderness survival. However it looses some of it's functionality in the wilderness as a majority of the tools are for tightening/loosening, stripping, or opening things that aren't normally found in the wilderness. or The MUT is an awesome tool for armorers or people who maintain their weapons in the field vs. on a cleaning bench. I can completely field strip any weapon I carry using only the M.U.T.  The Surge is handy because it's smaller and lighter than the Wave, so it's likely to get dropped into my cargo shorts pocket.

     I don't intend to do a review of the Wave, everyone on the planet it seems has written a review on either the Wave or it's equivalent by Gerber. I did however write a review about the M.U.T. and you can read it here. It fits my needs very well, and as you'll see in he review it's quite capable.

     I realize I haven't posted in awhile, and for that I apologize. Life happens, and with small kids, it happens fast and without warning. However, we survived the summer, the vacations, the out of school kids, the back to school rush, and the death of another immediate family member (my mother in law). It's been a crazy ride. I'll write about surviving the summer in an upcoming post, I learned a lot.

     Remember I'm not an expert, and I don't play one on the Internet. My opinions are exactly opinions. Thank you all for reading and being patient with my lack of posts while I struggled through a difficult summer. As always, comments, suggestions, topics are always welcome....criticism not so much  :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Review of the Eagle Nest Outfitters (ENO) Double Nest Hammok and One Link

     I have been wanting to try hammock camping for awhile now. My son has an Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) Single Nest which he carries on all camping/backpacking trips. He uses it to lounge around at the campsite, but sleeps in his tent. I wanted to camp in a hammock shelter system versus a tent. After some research on the Internet, and checking out a few different options at my local outfitter I decided to buy the ENO One Link system.

     The One Link shelter system comes with everything you need to camp in a hammock. It includes:
  • Hammock - Mine is the DoubleNest which is roomy enough, in theory, for two adults.
  • Bug Net - comes with a suspension line.
  • Rain Fly - with tie down cords and stakes.
  • Slap Straps Pro - The suspension straps for the hammock system, also includes caribiners.
  • Carry sacks for each component, and one larger sack that carries it all.

     I set up my hammock after packing it in about 5 miles on the AT (Appalachian Trail). The set up was easy and took about 10 minutes to set up all of the components. I had set up a single nest before, but never the whole One Fly system.  I didn't use all of the rain fly stakes, but tied the rain fly anchor cordage directly to trees near me. I think I used one stake so i could control which direction the run off went, should it actually rain. The rain fly provided shade more than anything else. The set up went exactly as described in the documentation that came with the One Fly, with the exception of the bug net.

     The suspension cordage on the bug net was too short, it was only about 5 feet long and couldn't be used. I called Eagle Nest Outfitters when I got back and explained the situation. They sent me a new piece of cord, no questions asked. I can't speak highly enough for their customer service. I spoke with s guy named Adam, who really knew hammock camping. We talked about new products and swapped camping stories. It was refreshing to speak with someone who actually USED the product they were selling.

     The high quality of materials used in immediately evident when you get in the hammock. Everything I needed was included in the set up, and I used everything that was included. It turned out to be about 25% cheaper to buy the One Link system vs. buying everything separately. I think I'll add some different caribiners, and the possum pouch so everything is within reach, but that's about it.

     The Double Nest is comfortable and roomy. Getting in and out of the hammock with the Bug Net in place was a little tricky, but was getting easier every time I did it. I'm not a small framed guy, I'm 6 feet tall and weigh about 250 pounds. I'm sure it was amusing to see me try to get back in my sleeping bag which was on my ground pad which was in my hammock which was inside a bug the dark. Keep a headlamp handy, if for no other reason than to see me try to get back in my hammock.

 Observations and suggestions:
  • Stretch the hammock very tightly the first time you use it. Let your weight settle it in for a couple of hours then re-set it. I work up and had settled about two feet below where I had originally set my hammock. This only happened the first time I used my hammock. The second time it only settled about 8 inches.
  • Use a ground pad in the hammock if it's going to be chilly or windy. Once you compress the insulation in your sleeping bag, you'll feel the cold air on your back every tine the wind blows.
  • Keep a headlight handy so you're hands are free to use when you're trying to get in and out of the hammock, zip up the bug net, rearrange your ground pad, etc.
  • Keep the attachment cords for the rain fly attached to the stakes and just roll them up in the fly. It will save you about 5 minutes next time you set it up. It probably won't fit back in the stuff sack for the rain fly, but it will all fit in the bigger sack anyways. I couldn't get the fly back in its stuff sack WITHOUT the stakes I left them on the second time I set it up and just never took them off again.
  •  Using a shorter ground pad might help with staying on top of it. I woke up with mine wrapped around my legs, and never could get it set right again. It was dark, in a sleeping bag, in a hammock, in a bug net. Not a lot of wiggle room, and not a lot of options short of re-setting everything back in place. No fun at 3AM.
     I like my hammock system and would recommend hammock camping. Getting the right gear makes all of the difference on the world.  I'm not an expert and I don't play one on the Internet. Comments, questions,  and suggestions are always welcome.

     As always, thank you for reading. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Surviving the Idiots in The Suburbs

     This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I am absolutely surrounded by idiots. I'm in an Idiot Rich Environment (IRE if you will). Why is this a problem you ask? Idiots are generally harmless. know how beer makes anything better; if the foods good, beer makes it great. If you're pissed off, a beer will make you mellow. If you're hot and tired, beer makes you feel better. Conversely, no matter how bad things are....idiots make them worse. No matter where you are, what time of day or night it is, or what the weather is, there will be an idiot around you. Surviving the idiots on a daily basis is an ordeal.     

     Idiots put in stressful situations become Super Idiots. For example, on the Appalachian Trail I saw an idiot pour all of his water out.
The conversation went like this - me: "Why are you pouring water out in the middle of the trail for everyone else to step on?"
Idiot: "It's heavy, I'm tired of carrying it."
Me: "Where are you going to get more water?"
Idiot: "I have more in the car, I'm only about 5 miles from the parking lot."
Me: "There's water closer if you can treat it"
Idiot: "I'm ok, the water in the car is bottled so I don't have to carry anything else."

  These are the kinds of idiots who leave their cars in the road obstructing traffic while they call AAA to fix a flat tire, or stand three deep in a doorway and have a conversation while others try to move around them. They're worse than Sheeple (Sheep people for the newbs). Generally sheeple have two modes; Graze and Stampede.....but idiots have a third mode: Obstruct. They have an uncanny ability to get in the way of anything productive and stand there. Just stand there....doing something completely unrelated.
     The question do we avoid and thereby survive idiots in our midst? We learn to identify traits of idiocy from a distance, and simply go another direction.  Easily identifiable traits of idiocy include, but are not limited to:
     People who are so self absorbed they fail to realize there is a line behind them, and they are the reason there is a line.
     People who are so unaware of their surroundings that they sit in plain view and pick their noses.
     People who will wait until a hurricane is within 2 hours of making landfall to go out and get supplies.
     People who think they can protect their family from a threat by "calling 9-1-1".
     The list goes on and on....please feel free to submit Traits of Idiocy to me either in the comments section or by e-mail. I'll post them as they come in.

    I think you'll find that idiots tend to congregate in certain areas. Avoiding these idiot rich areas is a good start to avoiding idiots in general, especially in a crisis. This post was written sort of tongue in cheek....sort of.

     I'm not an expert, and I don't play one on the Internet. Please feel free to comment and make suggestions. As always, thank you for reading.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Economic Survival in the Suburbs

     Making ends meet is tough in the suburbs, or anywhere else. Managing your finances and covering all of the expenses while maintaining some savings and prepping is a skill set. I can't speak for others and how they do things, I can only relate my own choices and why I made them. My family has one income and five members. One of my children is in college, one is in middle school, and one is in pull ups. It's always an adventure at my house. We have the usual bills like mortgage, car payment, taxes, HOA fees, gas, groceries, etc. There are the child related bills like college tuition, scouts, sports camps, dance, relate equipment, insurance, co-pays etc. Then there are the unexpected expenses like home repairs, appliance repairs, veterinary bills, computer dies, phone craps out, etc. Being able to meet those bills, and still have some left over for prepping is a major juggling act. Below are some things I did, and still do to not only pay off bills and the debt, but to avoid taking on additional debt and expenses in the first place. At the very least I have learned how to minimize the impact of expenses, shorten their repayment terms, and get longer lasting value from expenses I do take on.

  Do the work you can do yourself, but know what you don't know.
      Clean your own house, cut your own grass, wash our own cars. Do the things you can do yourself. Don't pay someone else to do them for you. Doing things yourself will promote pride in yourself and your home, it will also teach your children how to have pride in themselves and their living areas. Learn to make minor repairs yourself. Internet sites like You Tube and Instructables are great Do It Yourself (DIY) resources. The flip side of tht coin is to know what you don't know. Don't attempt medium, large or complex projects unless you're very comfortable with lessor projects. Paying some one to fix your mistakes is much more expensive than paying them to do it right the first time. If you use someone to do the there when they do it, and watch what they do. There are a couple of areas in my house I might attempt minor repairs on, but generally will call in a professional. Those areas are electrical, plumbing, and roofing. Mistakes in those areas can cause fires an flooding, either of which will be catastrophic both financially and to your family's lives.

   Only rich people can afford to buy cheap things.
     Don't buy the cheapest you can find only because it's the cheapest. You want to buy the best value for your money, often times that is not the cheapest. It often not the most expensive either. It is far better to buy quality components, even if you have to assemble them yourself. than the cheap/quick/easy option which might break or not work in 3 months. I buy the best quality I can afford in most things I buy. I can't afford to replace them. The best way to KNOW you're getting the best quality is to educate yourself on what you're buying. Do your research, the time your invest will pay for itself financially and in satisfaction of what you bought. No one like to feel like they got ripped off when they make a purchase.

   Maintain What You Own
     "Take care of your things" my mama used to tell me all the time when I was little. What she was trying to teach me is that if you take care of your things, you don't have to replace them or do without them once they're broken and no longer working. Change the oil in your vehicles, rotate the tires, and service the transmission; you will extend the life of your vehicle by 75,000 miles if you take care of it and keep it in good working condition. Change the air filters in your home, have the major systems in your home serviced regularly. it's much cheaper than replacing an air conditioning system. Keep our tools lubricated and clean, avoid having to replace tools. Paint when it's time to paint, caulk when you paint, replace toilet seals before they leak and ruin your floors. These are things that we all KNOW to do, but rationalize ourselves out of doing when the time comes.

   Avoid impulse purchases.
     I'm guilty of this one. I'm a terribly undisciplined shopper. I ALWAYS get drawn to the cool stuff on an end-cap at WalMart then convince myself I can't live without it. I go in to buy a box of light bulbs and $300 later......i have a ridiculous amount of crap I didn't need or even know existed, much less know that I wanted until I went in to buy light bulbs. I combat this by making  list before I go shopping.  Once inside the store I keep my eyes on the floor and repeat my list out loud....I know I must sound like the Rain Man to passers by. Whatever....I got light bulbs, and only light bulbs. Understand that stores are DESIGNED to make you impulse buy. That's why they put candy by the check will inevitably see it and demand candy. The store (and your kids) are hoping you'd rather buy the candy than risk the embarrassment of beating your kids ass in the check out line of a Food Lion. Occasionally they do the right thing with the check out aisle and put useful items there. Things like spare batteries and flash,lights during storm season. Then my kids beat my ass for spending all of their candy money on batteries :)  Circle of life.
  Pay Down Your Unsecured Debt
     Use a debt reduction snowball or some other type of debt reduction strategy to pay down your unsecured debt. You will be amazed how much of a money suck unsecured debt is against your monthly budget.I used a debt reduction snowball to pay mine down. For those who don't know what that is, I'll explain as best I understand. Make a list of all of your unsecured debt (Credit Cards), and sort it from the highest balance to the lowest balance. Your lowest balance account is at the bottom of the list. Basically you make the minimum monthly payment on all of your unsecured debts, except one. The one with the lowest balance (the one at the bottom of the list) gets all of the money you were paying in excess of the minimum monthly payments on your other unsecured debt accounts. you pay off the lowest balance first. Once it is paid off, you pay the money you were paying on that account towards the account with the lowest current balance while paying the minimum monthly payments on all of the other unsecured debt accounts. Once you pay that balance off, you apply the funds to the account with the lowest current balance. At this point you are currently paying off the account which had the 3rd lowest current balance whens you originally made you list. You snowball your debt reduction up the list, paying off accounts from the bottom of the list and rolling up. I'm not a financial advisor or giving you financial advice, please don't misunderstand my point here. I'm just telling you what worked for me. There are literally HUNDREDS of debt reduction strategies, pick the one that works best for you. But do something to reduce or eliminate your unsecured debt.

     The bottom line is control your spending, and manage your debt effectively. Times are tough right now.we're in one of the worst recessions in the history of this country. It is just as likely to get worse as it is likely to get better. Who knows what will happen. I don't have the foggiest idea.

     I'm not an expert, and I don't play one on the Internet. The point is to survive to fight another day.
Suggestions are welcome, topic suggestions are welcome, comments are welcome. You can post them on the blog, anonymously if you prefer. The point is to post them. If you would like you can e-mail me directly:

     As always, thanks for reading.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Quest For a Suburban Survival Vehicle

     I have been looking into buying an expedition type vehicle. Something that has off road capability, is a daily driver, gets fair gas mileage, decent towing/hauling capacity, and room for 5 plus some gear. It should also fit my standard sized garage. I don't want anything extreme or technical to maintain. I'm not looking for a rock crawler or a swamp buggy.

     I currently have three vehicles (I'm downsizing to 2 vehicles), and I know what I like and dislike about them all. So maybe that's a good place to start:
    F-150 4X4 - I bought this truck new 12 years ago. It's been a champ. It has a big V-8, and an extended cab. I use the bed alot, but I use the extended part of the cab more. The cab is too small, the people sitting in the back seat are cramped  I have 3 kids now, and it's a chore to get everyone loaded inside. There's not enough room left for everyones stuff, so that goes in the truck permitting. I also can't leave valuable tools or equipment in the bed of the truck unattended for very long.

   Toyota Sequoia - I bought this SUV new about 10 years ago. It has a big V-8, but is 2WD. It has plenty of room for my family and their stuff, and loading it is easy. I drive it daily, it's reliable for now, but I can't haul as much in it as I can haul in the bed of my truck. But I like that everything I lock inside the SUV, is inside the SUV and out of the elements and a little more difficult for someone to steal. I've bought lumber, pipe, and yard stuff and I was able to load it all into the SUV without an issue. Plus the rear window rolls down, which is a feature I use almost everyday.

    Honda Odyssey - I bought this mini-van new about a year ago. It's the most practical vehicle I won. It's really easy to get the kids into it. The doors are all automatic and key fob closed. It can hold a good bit of cargo (like full sheets of plywood or sheet rock) if you remove the seats, and has a V-6 engine. It's the ultimate grey vehicle. Just try counting all of the mini vans you see in a suburban neighborhood, they're EVERYWHERE.

      So that's what I have, and what I like about them. I definitely want 4X4, and a large V-8. I know I  want 17 inch rims and 285/75 tires, fog lights, recovery hooks, and skid plates. I'm stuck between a 4X4 SUV probably another Sequoia, and a full sized truck, probably a Ford.

     If I go with the pickup truck my first choice would be a F-250 Super Duty. I can get the Crew Cab option, the diesel engine, and a full sized bed. However I'll seriously under utilize the truck. I most likely will never haul or pull anything even close to the weight capacity of the F-250 Super Duty. It's about 10K more than the F-150 I would buy in it's place. I'd like to say "comparably equipped F-150" but that's not true. You can't get a diesel engine or a crew cab/full sized bed option in the F-150. If I go with the F-150 I'm afraid I'll always wish I had the F-250 even though it won't fit in my garage.

    If I go with the SUV, I will probably buy another Sequoia. I looked at the Tahoe, and even looked over one of those hybrid trucks that is part truck, part SUV, and not very good at either one. I can probably get a Sequoia for less than the F-250 but slightly more than the F-150 if I skip the Limited package and get the SR-5 package instead.  I really like the rear window rolling down in the Sequoia, it makes putting small things (like groceries) in the back really easy. I use that feature almost every day.

     This is a big decision for me. I keep vehicles a long time, so it's a decision I'll have to live with for quite some time. It's a BIG financial decision as well. I have friends that get new vehicles every 2 to 3 years.  They always have nice new cars and trucks. There's times I'm glad I'm not like when I go 8 years or so without a car payment. Then there's times when I'm rattling down the road in a 10 year old SUV, or 12 year old truck....that I envy them a little (or a lot).

     Another choice for trucks in the Toyota Tundra. I own a Toyota Sequoia, so I'm familiar with the fit and finish of the truck. It's 22 inches longer than the Sequoia, so it'll be a tight fit in the garage. Parking on the driveway is not going to be an option for me....for many reasons. This might rule out the F-150 as well as it's 18 inches longer then the Tundra, so...3 1/2 feet longer than my Sequoia. After breaking out the tape measure and checking some manufacturerrer specs, neither the Tundra nor the F-150 will fit in my garage and allow me to close the door. I could still park them outside, but I'm not very inclined to do that.

     As the time draws closer to making a final decision and buying a vehicle, I'll keep you posted as to which way things are going.

     Input and suggestions always welcome...ESPECIALLY on this topic. I'm not an expert and I don't play one on the Internet. As always, thank you for reading.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review of the Leatherman MUT (Military Utility Tool)

     I've owned the Leatherman MUT (Military Utility Tool) for about a year now. I bought it after seeing it at a shooting class I took at US Training Center. It was purely an impulse purchase, but one I have not regretted. An operator taking the class with me had a MUT and showed me a few of the functions. I was hooked and had to have one. As soon as I got back home I started looking for the best price. I paid 104.99 with free shipping on Amazon. The price has come down a little since then.

   There are two versions: Utility and EOD, and they come in a couple of different color combinations. I bought the Utility version in Black and Stainless. That means the handles are black anodized, and the plier heads and knife blades are stainless steel. The other color option is black on black, where the plier heads and knife blades are black anodized like the handles.

   The utility version I bought has the following features:
     Needle nose Pliers - Pretty standard Leatherman needle noses. Similar to the Wave
     Replaceable Wire Cutters - the blades can be replaced when worn or damaged.
     Combo Knife - An inch or so near the base is serrated. Cuts well in my experience.
     Saw - Works as well as it works on the Wave. Not for cutting substantial limbs or boards.
     Hammer - The bottom of the tool has a hammer face Wear gloves if you hammer anything. It's not a  traditional hammer.
    Replaceable Cutting Hook - Used for flex cuffs or paracord. I like this feature which also comes with a thumb guard.
    Bolt Override Tool - This is a great feature. Frees a stuck bolt on the AR platform.
    Replaceable Firearm Disassembly Punch - Works on frame pins in a Glock among other pistols as well as rifles. The base the punch screws onto will also take a standard firearm cleaning rod. Neat.
    Replaceable Bronze Carbon Scraper - Ive used this lots, but never to scrape carbon.
    Cleaning Rod/Brush Adapter - accepts the male end of standard cleaning rods.
    Carabiner/Bottle Opener - Another neat tool. I clip the MUT to my gear using this.
    Large Bit Driver
    1/2" Wrench and 3/8" Wrench - Double ended box wrench that fits inside the MOLLE Strap on the   carrying case.
   Titanium pocket clip - Removable, and allows you to clip the MUT to your gear.

  The carrying case can double as a pistol magazine holder, and also has two elastic straps I use to hold spare AA batteries.

    It's a well engineered and well thought out tool that is perfectly suited for military and law enforcement use. I consider it a great tool for shooters and it's a well used piece of equipment in my range bag. For civilian use it might be under utilized however. The MUT is big and heavy for civilian every day carry (EDC). The MUT is designed to help a soldier, contractor, or LEO keep a weapon running when it's needed most. The MUT provides tools and features that you simply can not get with other multi-tools.

     For civilian EDC, you might only use 3 or 4 of the 18 tools on the MUT on a regular basis. Not enough to justify the weight and size. When carried in the MOLLE case, the MUT is about the size of a Red Bull can. This can make for a long day if worn on your belt as a civilian, especially in a business casual environment. I also have a Leatherman Wave which I keep in my get home bag (GHB). I use it more than I would use the MUT in ordinary circumstances. When used under circumstances it was designed for, the MUT performs like a champ. It does things that other multi-tools just CAN'T do.

     I recommend the Leatherman MUT for military, LEO, and rugged civilian use. I think it's well designed well built, and reasonably priced. It has features you just can't get on any other multi-tool, and comes with a 25 year warranty. I bought mine on an impulse a year ago, and have never regretted it. I look forward to using it for many years to come.

   I'm not an expert and I don't play one on the Internet. Suggestions, comments, and topic recommendations are always welcome. Readers are always encouraged to leave comments, anonymously if you'd like, or you can e-mail me

    As always, thank you for reading.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Review of the Mossberg 930 SPX

     In my search for a home defense (HD) shotgun I have evaluated a Remington 870 Magnum, Mossberg 500 Mariner, Mossberg 590A1, and the Mossberg 930 SPX. I think the 930 SPX to the range this weekend and ran 250 rounds(225 low brass game loads, 15 00 Buck, 10 Slugs) through it. The 930 SPX is a serious contender to be my go to HD shotgun going forward. It has lots of features I want on a home defense shotgun, and provides a LOT of fire power..

Stock - Adjustable angle and length by adding shims provided with the gun, synthetic, swivel attachment points, pistol grip, checkered on the pistol grip and fore end.
Receiver -  Matte finish, picatinny rail, safety, trigger guard is large enough to accommodate gloves.
Sights - Ghost Ring rear, adjustable, M4 style, fiber optic front, hooded, Ghost Ring rear is removable from rail.
Controls - Trigger is crisp, cocked hammer indicator, safety is easy to see and use, charging handle is easy to operate even with gloves on.
Capacity - 8 shot with 2 3/4 or 3 inch shells (3 more rounds than the Benelli M4).

     Shooting this shotgun is a lot of fun. It cycles VERY fast, faster than I can pull the trigger. The 930 SPX points well and is comfortable in my hands. The forend stock is not bulky and provides a sure grip. As is the case with all Mossbergs, the controls are well placed and easy to use. The sights are easy to acquire in most lighting conditions. If you have any experience with the AR-15 platform, the rear sight on the 930 SPX will be very familiar to you. The trigger pull is crisp without a lot of travel.  Loading the weapon, or reloading, can be a little cumbersome if you do not have something to rest the barrel on as the weapon weighs in at almost 8 pounds. It can be barrel heavy if you try to hold the weapon one handed by the pistol grip and load with the other hand.
      I managed to create a jam while loading by not completely inserting the round into the feed tube. I didn't seat it completely and the magazine spring pushed it into the space under the bolt, which prevented me from inserting another shell until I cycled the action to eject the shell loaded int the chamber, and load the shell that popped out of the mag tube. This was an error on my part, and something I'll have to address through training. I believe the 930 SPX can be ghost loaded, however I did not try it personally.

     This shotgun is a great buy for the money. I paid about $630 for mine, out the door. That's about $100 over half the cost of a FN SLP and a third of the cost of a Benelli M4 (depending on configuration). There are lots of accessories available for the 930 SPX, some of which I plan to get....some I don't. Mossbergs customer service is one of the best in the firearms industry, and their quality is very high.

Field stripping:
     Field stripping the 930 SPX is pretty easy. Simply remove the magazine tube extension by unscrewing it. Be careful when you remove the mag extension as the mag spring is VERY long and will fly out. It can be somewhat of a PITA (Pain In The Ass) to reinstall but it's not difficult, just somewhat frustrating.Then remove the hand guard, barrel, piston, and then the bolt. You can remove the trigger group by punching out the pins holding it in place if you want. I never have. I have learned that if you want to remove the trigger group, make sure the hammer is back before you remove trigger group or parts will fly out. There are a couple of videos on You Tube detailing how to break the 930 SPX down, I highly recommend watching them.

Going forward:
     Overall this is a great shotgun for the price. It's comfortable to shoot, versatile, easily maintained, and customizable. I highly recommend this weapon to someone who is in the market for a home defense shotgun. I plan on adding a sling, and a mag tube clamp with mini-picatinny rail. I'm not an expert and I don't play one on the Internet. Please comment with your own experiences with this shotgun, you can do so anonymously if you wish.

     As always, thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Storing Firearms and Ammunition in the Suburbs.

     We all agree that our 2nd Amendment Rights under the Constitution are the pillars of out basic freedom. Most , if not all, of us also agree that with that right comes certain responsibilities. Properly securing your firearms is one of those responsibilities. Keeping in mind that those responsibilities go up a level or two if you have children in your home.

     Most of us have children, or will have children, and almost all of us own a firearm, or will own a firearm, or should own a firearm. Then there are a few of us who really should NOT own a firearm. If you don't own a gun and aren't planning to own a gun, then this really doesn't pertain to you. However, if you do own one, or are planning on owning one, you really need to take a look at how you're going to secure your weapon and the ammo you have for it.

     There are only three basic places you'll need to store and secure a weapon, depending on if you conceal carry or not: on your person, in your vehicle, and in your home. We'll look at each of those scenarios, for long guns and handguns, and I'll go over my own personal thoughts on those issues as well as what I've done for each scenario. Keep in mind that a gun you can't get to when you need it is worthless, or a gun that won't function when you DO get to it is worthless, or a gun of yours that a bad guy gets before you not worthless but is really bad.

     On my person: I'm of the opinion that my handgun is the most secure and accessible when it's on my person and under my control. With that being said, lets not go down some primrose path, simply for the sake of argument, that it would be more secure locked in a fortress safe inside a hidden room or something ridiculous. It still has to be accessible to be any help at all. So, I carry in an A-Holster custom made for a G23. It's comfortable, secures the weapon really well, is concealable, is very easy to get on and off my belt, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. You can check one out here AHOLSTER. I usually put it on when I go out and take it off when I get back home. The rest of the time my G23, along with a spare mag, is stored out of sight to everyone, and out of reach to children, and is accessible within 10-15 seconds from anywhere in my house. I don't carry a long gun so storing those is for later in this post.

     In my car: I keep a Nano Vault 200 in each of my vehicles. That's in case I need to store my carry weapon when I'm out. It's extremely secureable, very easy to use, and costs less than $30. Check one out here NANO VAULT. I don't believe it's a good idea to store weapons in the glove box for many reasons, primarily because every car break in I have ever seen has resulted in the glove box being searched. Secondly, don't keep your gun where you keep your vehicle paperwork, it could lead to some sticky roadside encounters with law enforcement.

     In my home: I mentioned above how I store and secure my G23 in my home. Everything else is kept in a gun safe locked in a room that has a very strong door. Not the best situation for home defense, but the best situation for me. I have three kids, and on any given day, all of my kids friends are running around my house. Most of them are not raised in gun responsible homes, they're raised in gun avoidance homes......which GREATLY raises their curiosity should they come across a firearm. Some of them are too little to know that a gun is dangerous, some of them are too curious to avoid a gun should they find one, and some of them are reckless enough to think they can handle it themselves. So I triple lock everything except my carry gun. I currently looking into a wall mountable, trigger securing, keypad locking option for mounting a shotgun in my closet. It's kind of pricey, but would provide my access to a shotgun should I need it.

     That cover securing my firearms, lets look at storing them and the ammunition that goes with them. I store my long guns in a safe, not a cabinet, not a case, not a rack, a SAFE. I have a Goldenrod  dehumidifier inside the safe to keep moisture out, and check them once a month. All stored ammunition, aside from what I require for daily carry is stored inside military ammo boxes, and those boxes are stacked inside a steel, locking, cabinet. Aside from the obvious ammunition, each ammo box contains an O2 absorber, a moisture absorber, and a label detailing when it was stored and an approximation of round count.  Each ammo box is clearly labeled by caliber on the outside. I also have a box for range ammo, which I take with me when I target shoot or train. I top the range ammo off with stops to Wal-Mart or wherever I buy my consumable ammo. When I go once or twice a year to train, which usually runs through a few rounds, I rotate my stored ammo into my training and replace it when I get back.

     I can't stress strongly enough the need for a good holster, a car vault, and a good safe. Doing everything possible to keep your firearms out of the hands of people who should not have access to them is a fundamental responsibility of gun ownership. If you can't get on board with that, maybe you shouldn't own a gun.
     I'm not an expert, and I don't play one on the Internet. These are simply my observations and practices. Maybe they'll help you, maybe they won't. Comments, suggestions, and tips are always welcome. You cam post them to the blog, or e-mail them to me directly at

     As always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Using The Kindle In Suburban Prepping

     Almost everyone either has heard of the or has an eReader. Be it a Kindle, a Nook, or an app running on a tablet like an iPad. I originally received my Kindle as a gift on Valentines Day a couple of years ago. I remember thinking "I like paperback books.....this is a fad." I charged it up, loaded a book or three and read it daily.

     About 5 weeks later the battery was low and needed it's FIRST recharging. I remember thinking "5 weeks! That's incredible......I wonder if I can work this into my preparedness plans."  What's not to like about the Kindle as an option? I can load my ENTIRE preparedness library onto the device versus trying to print/bind/catalog/store/transport it on paper? Seriously.....paper?  It's SEARCHABLE, talk about a huge time and effort savings. It's portable, I carry it in my EDC (Every Day Carry) bag most days.

     So I started looking into making it a real part of my preparations.  There were some immediate challenges that had to be overcome. There were also some challenges that presented themselves later on, mostly as a result of solutions to the immediate problems.

     Powering the device was my first challenge. I know five weeks of battery life with intermittent use is great....but it's still a hard stop on the device when the battery finally dies. When the battery is dead.....the device is useless. My solution to that problem is the Solio Classic solar charger. It's light, small, cheap, and does a good job. There are better options now, but at the time I went with the Solio. I can charge it with the Solio, or run it from the internal battery built into the Solio if my Kindle battery gets damaged or fails. I can also use the same Solio unit to charge my iPod and cell phone.

     Finding a durable way to carry it was an issue as well. I mean, we're not prepping for a sunny afternoon on the beach. We're preparing for bad times.....including natural disasters. I found a durable, pretty rugged, soft case which secures the device well. It's made by M-Edge. The case also has several pockets on the outside which I use to carry things I use with my a clip-on light, spare battery for the light, and a zip-lock bag. When I pack it in my EDC bag, I pack it near the middle, and surround it with other items that would help protect it from damage if the bag was damaged.

     Protecting it from the elements was also a concern. Like I said, we're preparingg for bad things like natural disasters. The simplest way I could think of to protect my Kindle from the elements and still be able to USE it in the elements was with a zip lock bag. I keep a 1 gallon size Zip-Lock bag in the outside pocket of my Kindle case, and several in my GHB (Get Home Bag). I put my kindle inside the zip-lock and can read it just fine. It'll float in water, and will keep rain, dirt, and grit out of the keys. It's not perfect but it's functional, cheap, has multiple uses, and is easily replaceable.

     Reading it in low light is a problem. The screen is not back lit, which is why it has a 5 week battery life. It requires a light source to read in the dark. I use a flexible light that stores and secures itself in the case I keep my Kindle in. The light is named the eLuminator.....clever huh? Works really well and runs on a single AAA battery.

     The Kindle is electronic, so it has the same issues you would have with ANY electronic device. However, it fits my needs very well. I have the 3G version, but keep the air-card turned off to prolong the battery life. However it's there if I need it to surf the web, check e-mail, etc. It's painful on a gray scale screen....but it can be done. I can also play MP3's on my Kindle. It's not the perfect solution for those types of things, but it does provide redundancy. One is none and two is one.

     I'm not an expert, and I don't play one on the Internet. This is just one tool I found useful. The portability combined with battery life, and searchable functionality made it a no brainer for me. If you have any suggestions about how else the eReader can be used, or any questions please e-mail me at

As always, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dehydrating Food in The Suburbs

    I bought a food dehydrator several years ago to make jerky and trail mix with. For about a month I was a jerky making fool (I made all kinds and flavors), then I put the dehydrator up.....and forgot about it. Recently I found it again and wondered if I could find other uses for it besides making jerky and trail mix. Some of you are probably thinking out loud "Of course you can, there's LOTS of ways to use it". I didn't know of any. I'm embarking on a journey of dehydrator self discovery. I know there are probably a million websites with dehydrator recipes on them. I'm sure I'll check them out when I run out of ideas, but I like to experiment on my own. Here are some of the things I learned.

     I usually buy tomatoes from Sam's club in the big plastic box. There's probably 15-20 Roma tomatoes in there. We make salads with them, and within two weeks, I end up throwing 1/2 of the box out because they've spoiled. So I started dehydrating half of the box. After the first week I inspect the tomatoes and cut out any bruises or damage. Then I slice them about 1/4 inch thin and dehydrate them. They create "tomato chips". Which my youngest child loves. She eats them almost as fast as I can make them. I tired them, and it was like a bullet of tomato flavor hitting you in the mouth. I tried rehydrating them, and had mixed success. I could use them for cooking (in chili for example) but not over a salad. I store them in a zip lock back because they get eaten so fast. For long term storage you could put them in a mason jar with an O2 absorber and they would store for a long time I'm sure.

     Dehydrating pineapple chucks that have been rolled in sugar make a great candy.  My wife likes these, and I make them about twice a year. I buy the canned chucks of pineapple when they're on sale. Open and drain them, them roll them in regular sugar. They'll pick up more sugar than you want if you don't let them dry a little after draining. I drain mine in a spaghetti colander, and let them sit for about 20 mins before sugaring them up. Dehydrate them until they're hard, then store in either a zip lock or a jar. These make a great addition to trail mix.

     Thinly sliced Kiwi fruit dehydrate down to a chip like consistency. I peel mine first though. The "hairy" peel doesn't dehydrate well, and looks pretty nasty to be honest. This created the taste sensation much like the tomato bullet, but fruity....a Kiwi bullet if you will. I haven't found too many uses for these, aside from the occasional snack. Very occasional, kiwi are expensive and the taste just isn't an everyday thing for me.

     I experimented with making fruit roll up type snacks. I tried jellies, jams, and apple sauce as the base before dehydrating. Some of them came out pretty good, some of them came out pretty bad, most of them came out very messy. I couldn't get decent consistency. Either the base was too thick or thin in the dehydrator. Dehydrating the thicker spots dried out the thinner spots too much making them brittle, while the thicker spots were leathery. Different temperature settings helped a little, but created other challenges. If I used a jam, strawberry for example, the fruit would not completely dry out, while the jam part would dry too much.  Any suggestions on this one?
      I'm not an expert and I don't play one on the Internet. Please submit suggestions and recipes, for my kids sake. You can comment them in at the blog site, anonymously if you want. Or you can e-mail me directly:  As always, thank you for reading.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review of the Mossberg 590A1

     I recently purchased th3 Mossberg 590A1 pump shotgun as a home defense weapon. It came with all of the accessories I wanted already installed. The only way to get the gun set up the way I wanted to, was to get the "Blackwater Edition". I could care less about the logo on the side, I wanted the features I wanted. The model I bought, so you can see the specifications, is this one 590A1 Blackwater

 I took the 590A1 to the indoor range and ran 150 rounds through it. All rounds were 2 3/4 inch shells. The shot size was mainly 7 1/2 but I did feed 15 rounds of both 00 Buck and slug through it. Loading the weapon was easy, and could be done fairly fast. I bought the 20 inch barrel model, which holds 8+1 rounds. I like the safety controls on the Mossberg better than the Remington 870, probably because I'm left handed. The all metal safety slide on the receiver is easy to find, and grabs your thumb well, with and without gloves.
The trigger group is metal on the 590A1. That might not be a big deal to some, but it's extra insurance for me against a part breaking. The trigger guard allows enough room to operate the gun with gloves on. I ran it with Camelback summer weight gloves on. I don't know what you'd do with ski gloves. The stock is the traditionally shaped synthetic stock, I did not get the pistol grip stock. The stock is stippled for better grip and control over the weapon in adverse conditions.The weapon shouldered well, and pointed extremely well. On occasion the recoil absorber on the stock would grab my t-shirt on the way up slowing me down some. I'll have to find a way around that.
      The stock is a Speed Stock version which has storage for 4 extra rounds inside the stock (2 on each side). It was fairly easy to load the speed stock with a little practice. Removing the shells from the stock took longer than I thought it would. I'm sure I can speed it up with some practice. I tried a slug change over from the Speed Stock and it was a nightmare for me. With additional training and repetition I'll do better with it I'm sure. I simply wasn't familiar enough with the weapon or the process.
     I really like the ghost ring sites on this shotgun. They are XS Ghost Ring Sights. This was my first exposure to ghost ring sights, but they were AMAZING. So much better than the basic bead sight on my Remington 870. I was able to pick the target up quickly in a variety of light conditions. My slug shots were much closer to where I intended to place them with the ghost rings versus the bead sight, especially at 25 yards. The receiver has a rail mounted forward of the rear sight to allow attachment of optics if you want them.

     The action cycled very well. I didn't have any failures with the first 150 rounds through the weapon. I'm going this afternoon to feed another 100 rounds through it. The slide itself has an integrated rail on the bottom, and two "detachable" rails (one on each side). The integrated rail I liked. The slide is long enough to allow a full hand grip behind the rails, which would allow you to operate any railed attachments on the slide without having to grip over them.

     I strongly disagree with the term "detachable". That was a nightmare. I was able to remove the rail from the slide with the hex bit on my Leatherman MUT tool. That's where the fun ended. The nuts that the hex bolts threaded into fell into the slide handle. Now, let me be clear, that the loose nuts in no way interfered with the mechanical functioning of the shotgun. I shot the last 60 rounds with the little bastards rattling around inside the grip. HOWEVER, removing them from the grip required complete field stripping of the gun (which I intended to do anyways). Then you have to remove the retaining collar from the slide, and shake the nuts out. Not too bad right.....right. But wait, there's more.

     Detachable implies "attachable" in some sense. The rails are re-attachable if you have the patience of a Trappist monk, and improvise a tool or two from a paperclip. Lets assume you've retrieved your rattling parts from the grip, and then decide you want to re-attach them. Now the fun begins. I wanted to re-attach my rail because it gave me a thumb stop, and a point of grip reference on the slide. So, after about 45 minutes of trying to balance the slide, and feed the attaching hex bolts from the bottom, I managed to get one hex bolt attached. YAY! But then I lost the second one into the slide. So the entire disassembly / re-attachment process started all over again. I got both attachment hex bolts in  place and re-attached the rail, but it sucked.

     Field stripping the 590A1 for cleaning is pretty easy, and drama free. As long as you line up the bolt in the correct position inside the receiver all of the parts drop in. Remember to push the slide rails down as they enter the receiver, and it's all good. There are lots of videos on YouTube and other sites on field stripping the 500 Series Mossberg. Watch one a couple of times, or follow along as you field strip your shotgun and you won't have any problems.

     I highly recommend this shotgun to anyone looking for a home defense weapon. It is as dependable as the sunrise, and as simple as an anvil. Aside from the "detachable" rail issue (which was a one time thing and didn't interfere with the operation of the weapon), I love this shotgun. I plan on adding a side saddle shell holder to this weapon, probably a 6 round model. I haven't decided between TacStar and Mesa Tactical for the side saddle. This will give me 19 rounds on the weapon when I pick it up. No looking for ammo, just grab and go.

     Again, I'm not an expert and I don't play one on the Internet. Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome. You can submit them through the blog, anonymously if you like, or e-mail them to me directly:  As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Surviving The Death of a Family Member

     The death of an immediate family member is a intense moment in life. All of us will experience it in our lives. Most often it is the deaths of our parents, possibly a sibling or spouse, and unfortunately on occasion the death of a child.

     I know this is a deeply personal topic for many people, myself included. I get "advice" all the time about not getting too personal on the Internet. "don't tell people too much about yourself" they say or "you never know who will read it" they say. I understand that, I do. This is a personal topic, and I can't write about it in a clinical sense. Quite honestly, it's probably therapeutic for me to write it as well.

     I lost my mother to Leukemia 10 years ago. She fought a courageous and unwinnable fight against her own body for 2 years before succumbing to the disease at 70 years old. I was with her when she died, holding her hand as I had done for most of my life. I was able to tell her I loved her. I was able to tell her I would be OK, and she had done a fine job raising me. It was a blessing to be able to say those things to her before she died.

     I am my mothers only child. My parents divorced before I turned 3. So it was only her and I for my whole life. Aside from two uncomfortable weeks in the summer with my dad, I was with my mom when I was growing up. She raised me. She did it all; fed me, clothed me, disciplined me, housed me, worked full time and cared for her ailing mother as well. Meanwhile my father jaunted off on yet another, seemingly endless, quest for another woman.....which has resulted in 4 failed marriages and 5 half siblings scattered over most of the US. My mom never criticized my father in front of me, she only said "you'll figure him out when you're old enough".

      I remember the day my mother died as clearly as if it were yesterday. It was a Tuesday. She was at my  home, and her breathing sounded really bad, so I drove her to the ER. She never left. Four hours later she was dead. Just like that.

     I was numb. I had absolutely no idea what to do next. The next three days were like a blur. Arrangements were made, condolences were offered, services were held, etc. But then every ones lives went back to normal, except mine. This huge piece of my life was gone. Simply no longer there. Her house was still there, her car as well, all of her physical possessions......just no mom.

     I went through her things and donated her clothes to the needy. Cleaning out her house was very hard. Everything inside was a memory. A memory I wanted to hold on to. A memory of a person who I wanted to hold on to. I quickly realized that the home I had spent my entire childhood in, was no longer was just a house. The person who had made it home was gone. For me that was an important distinction in my grieving process.

     I put all of our (hers and mine) collective stuff into piles. One to be thrown out right away, one to be evaluated in a week, and another to be evaluated later. Each week I went back through the stuff. Over time most of the stuff found it's way into the Throw Away Right Now pile. That was my wife's plan and it worked out really good. She was my support network and helped me through some rough times. She knew I would get frustrated and throw everything away. I'm glad we did it her way because I held on to some really important things that probably would have gotten thrown out.

     In the last week my mom was alive, I promised her I would get a bachelors degree. The strength of that promise, and the strength of the person I gave it to helped motivate me to finish. It was important to her that I get my degree. Two weeks after she died I enrolled at The University of South Carolina. Five years later I graduated from the College of Engineering and Information Technology. No easy feat with a wife, two kids, and a full time job. I remember thinking when I got my degree, that my mama would have been proud.

     While I was in school, I wrote my mom a letter. It was during the second semester of my freshman year. I was sitting in Amoco Hall in the Swearengen Engineering building, and I just started writing. I must have written every day for a week. I don't understand why I wrote it there or why I wrote it then...but I wrote, a lot. I wrote to her all of the things I wished I had said, and apologized for all of the things I wished I hadn't said. That letter was easily the worst formatted, most heartfelt thing I have ever written. It was by far the longest thing I have ever handwritten. When I finished it, I put all 20 something pages into an envelope, and drove 3 hours to put it on my mothers grave. For some reason I felt lots better after I did that. Strange, but helpful.

     I'm not a therapist and I'm not giving advice on how anyone should deal with this kind of thing. But, I learned a few things from it. Maybe they'll help someone else in their time of need.
  • Let those who love you, help you. Lean on your close friends and family.
  • Be sad, cry, grieve. Miss your loved one. They earned it.
  • Live your life the way they would have wanted you to have live.
  • Recognize the positive impact they had on your life and share it with others who are important to you.
  • Don't have 20 pages of things you wished you'd said. Say them today to the ones you love.

      Anyways, you know the drill by now. I'm not an expert and I don't play one on the Internet. I have other topic for the blog, but this one was important to me. I don't know if it was because it has been 10 years since my mother died or because her birthday was Christmas Eve. It was on my mind and weighed heavy on my heart. Thanks for reading.... I owe you one  :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Shotgun For My Home Defense In The Suburbs

     I realize this is a well discussed, often tedious, topic around the Internet. However, I'd like to put my personal spin on it. Maybe, just maybe, I might brush on something not discussed before, or come up with a pretty good idea. It rarely happens, but has been known to occur almost as frequently as Bigfoot sightings.

     I like the shotgun as an option for home defense. I have a couple of pump shotguns, and am now getting comfortable with the reliability of an auto loader as a home defense weapon. The shotgun I chose originally is a Remington 870 Magnum, which I've used for 20 years. The replacement I recently bought, and have yet to run through it's paces is the Mossberg 590A1. The actual version of the 590A1 I bought is this one 590A1 Blackwater.  I could care less about the logo on the side. This was the only way to get that shotgun, configured that way, from the manufacturer. I'm not recommending the above retailer as a place to buy it, but the Mossberg website didn't detail the Blackwater and the site above did a good job I thought.

     The Remington 870 has served me well, and also helped me create a wish list of option for it's replacement. I'm a big proponent of OEM (the manufacturer) equipping a special purpose weapon versus buying the components myself and putting them on. The warranty is big reason, so is relying on their R&D versus my own research which would be heavily Internet based vs real life practical field testing.  That's not a knock on the "home armorer".  I like doing that stuff myself some also, just not on my home defense shotgun. That weapon, second only to my carry gun, has to be 100% reliable. I've got to have 110% confidence in THAT weapon because of the roll it plays in defending my family.

     Over penetration, while a concern in a home defense situation isn't something I want to go into a great deal of depth about on this post. Generally speaking, if something shoots with enough force to kill a person, it will pass through two 1/2 inch pieces of sheet rock. I also don't want to get into the shot size debate either. I use 00 Buck and could care less about the arguments for or against. If you want to use #7 shot, go for it. 

     Upgrades on the new shotgun:
  • 590A1 - Military spec with heavy walled barrel. Makes the weapon more durable, but also makes it heavier. If you've ever stood in  line in a grocery store holding a gallon of milk for 10 minutes, you know how heavy almost 8 lbs can be. I'm OK with heavier, I'm not standing a post with it. It's for grab and go defense.
  • XS Ghost Ring Sights - hi-visibility white front post. I'm familiar and comfortable with this type of site.
  • 20" barrel - full mag tube and 1 in the chamber, the weapon holds 9 rounds. A little extra length adds a little more weight.
  • Speed Feed Stock - stores an extra 4 rounds. Two on each side of the stock. Brings the capacity of the weapon up to 13 rounds. If I added a side saddle it would hold 19 rounds of 00 Buck on or in the weapon. Nothing extra to grab. Stock is stippled for better grip in adverse conditions.
  • Rail on the receiver - option to mount a red dot should I decide to.
  • 3 Rails on the fore grip - One integrated, two bolted on. I'll probably remove the bolt-ons, and add a light to the integrated rail.
  • Metal trigger, trigger guard, and safety button.
  • Anti-jam elevator, dual extractors, positive shot shell extraction and ejection all increase the reliability when it's needed most.
     A shotgun is longer and more difficult to corner with, but it's the most versatile and powerful weapon a civilian can use for home defense. My 590 has a longer barrel than my 870, but I get 3 extra rounds in the magazine. To me that is worth the extra inch and a half in barrel length.

     With the right rounds you can breach a door, clear a room, and make a 100 yd accurate shot. Granted that will take some training, skill, and practice to effectively make a slug change over for example. So...get some training. That's the long and short of it. Get trained. If you can't effectively operate a shotgun under stress, you shouldn't use one for home defense.

     I'm going to add a light to my 590. Target identification as well as target environment as equally critical in a home defense situation.  For example, knowing the person you're about to shoot with buckshot is actually the bad guy, and also knowing your 4 year old isn't standing behind him are equally important. You should understand that if you miss with a weapon as powerful as a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot, it will go through interior walls. If you don't live in a brick structure, it can go through exterior walls as well.

     I'm going to take my new 590A1 out and shoot a hundred rounds or so through it this week. I'll be curious to see if I actually get the benefits I think I'll get by upgrading from my older Remington 870 to a new Mossberg 590A1. I'll be sure and provide a full range report, and possibly do a side by side comparison vs my Remington 870. Although I think the Mossberg 591A1 would compare more equally to the Remington 887, the 870 is what I have.      
     The next shotgun I plan to purchase is the Mossberg 930SPX. It'll be really interesting to compare that to the 590A1. As I said above, I'm getting much more comfortable with the reliability of the auto shotgun. It'll require additional training to learn how to run it effectively, but you know me...I love to train.

     I'm not an expert, and I don't play one on the Internet. The point is to survive to fight another day. 

     As always, suggestions and comments are always welcome. If you have any shotgun drills you'd like me to run in my comparisons, please e-mail them to me

Thanks for reading.