Sunday, April 19, 2015

Book Review; Line In The Valley










So being the tacticool goon that that I am, I’ve spent more than my fair share of time over at Breach Bang Clear, because they’re generally awesome people with a great take on pretty much everything.
One day I noticed that one of their writing contributors, Chris Hernandez has his own blog/website.
Before I get any further on here, I’m going to say that you should totally drop by and pay his site a visit- it’s like a wellspring of common sense without a lot of the armflailing stupidity common in other areas. Here’s your sign: C. Hernandez Website

Anyway, I noticed that he wrote a couple books, and being a bookworm in dire need of new reading material, I added them to my Amazon list. A few weeks later one of them arrived.
Unfortunately I screwed up and ordered the second one first so they got read out of sequence, but it was well worth it. 

Line In The Valley takes place in a perhaps not-so-far-in-the-future scenario where a number of border towns in Texas are attacked and seized by a conglomeration of hyper-violent cartel gangs and their jihadist overlords. The Texas National Guard is called up and things go hell in short order.
The book mainly focuses on one unit of TNG tasked with retaking what will turn out to be the worst of the enemy held towns, the losses and brutality they experience, and the emotional struggle that a combat veteran experiences when returning home to a country of armchair commentators who don’t understand what it takes to win such a desperate fight. 

The best part about this book, is that it’s written in a very no-bullshit style. The grunts talk like grunts, there’s no PC bullshit, you can feel the rounds whipping past your head, and the heat from the vehicle that just exploded behind you. This is not some over-glorified ‘Merica fantasy piece where the Good Guys ride to victory with nary a scratch. And for that we thank you Mr. Hernandez, although some folks may find it a little to intense in places. 

Final analysis- there’s a few minor spelling/grammar/editing issues here and there, but honestly after the first couple chapters you won’t notice them. I’d give this book 6 out of 5 stars. 

Go get yours here: Line In The Valley
Actually, maybe read the first one first as well: Proof Of Our Resolve

Now, as a side note….
Let’s talk relevance to the Patriot/ Prepper/ NPT /etc. community.
Go read this book, then put yourself and your team in this situation. Especially you NPT’ers in the urban areas, since that’s the terrain featured in this book.. Would your team be able to handle an attack by forces such as these- hyper violent dudes attacking with surprise, and far greater numbers and firepower than you’re bringing to the fight? Because let’s not beat around the bush, that’s what you’ll be up against post- SHTF. Except you’ll have even less bodies than the TNG, limited to no heavy(er) weapons or air support, and probably very little to no intel on whoever is doing the attacking.

When half your town has been massacred, the other half is burning, and you’re facing down over a hundred heavily armed enemy a mere hundred yards away charging the berm held by the 6-10 guys you’ve managed to form into a team…. How do you fare?
When you have to try to take back an area of the town the enemy has infested, and your patrol of 1 squad (maybe two if you’re lucky) stumbles into a near ambush with multiple guys down in the first few seconds, the rest screaming and hollering and running around shooting everywhere….How do you fare? 

I’m not saying it can’t be done. But think about it. Hard.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How To Be A Progressive




Thought this was a great "how to" guide for the would-be "progressive".

Actually, this guy has a lot of other great videos as well- you should check them out here: Pat Condell Youtube Videos


In other news, yes, I'm still here and yes, there has been a dire lack of posting lately. .
The daily grind is kicking my ass.... so, posting will continue, just subject to whenever I can scrape together a few extra brain cells. Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Review: Leatherman MUT Vs. Wave Comparison





Because every loadout needs a multitool....
So a year ago I started searching for a mutitool to complement my other gear. A lot of folks say if they’re going to carry tools they want real full-size tools. Well, I agree with that sentiment, but carrying a tool box on top of pounds of other “mission essential” gear is just unrealistic. So as limited as they are in capability, a multi-tool is the only really portable thing that gives you at least some chance at fixing small day-to-day problems in the field.
I did as much research as I could (and being an OCD sonofabitch it was a LOT) on every multitool that I felt fit my needs, and originally settled on the MUT. It was a close tie with the Multitasker, but as the MT is more expensive, and since I wanted something a little more “general purpose” I went with the MUT.

It’s a nice tool, seems well built, but I immediately noticed a number of things that I really hated about it. So it was back to square one, more research, which led to the decision for the Wave, (and a close tie with the Charge), which has most of the same features of the MUT that I liked, but without some of the issues I found with the MUT.

So let’s get an in depth look at some of the pros and cons of each tool;

Leatherman MUT



The MUT has some really unique features that set it aside from other multitools- most have been covered ad nauseum elsewhere, so I’ll be brief;
It’s got your usual pliers with the replaceable cutting bits, a 50/50 serrated knife blade, a saw blade, punch and brass carbon scraper.
It also has a built in safety cutter, carabiner-clip-slash- bottle opener, "hammer", and bit driver with 3 onboard double-sided bits in commonly used sizes. 

On the pro side, I like the knife blade. It’s a good size, and even though I really don’t like 50/50 serrated blades (actually, I really hate them) this one seems to do a good job of feeling like I still have a usable portion of each section, unlike a lot of others that are all serration or all blade. And it’s stupid sharp from the factory (more on this later…)- some other blades on multitools I’ve owned in the past from lesser companies where so laughably dull it wasn’t even funny.
Further the blades lock, which is huge for a multitool, since back in the olden  days, the non-locking blades led to them snapping closed on many unhappy fingers when used in unconventional ways. Thankfully…. said knife blades were generally pretty dull…

The integrated safety cutter is a pretty good idea too- I can save myself a little extra money and weight with this feature, which I know some folks prefer to shears for quickly accessing combat injuries, chopping seatbelts, etc..
I also like how they integrate the included screwdriver bits into the tool for immediate onboard carriage and access. That, I think, is probably the coolest feature of this tool, and 2 of the 3 bits are “extended” so you can get a little better reach.
Also, you can’t really tell in the picture, but unfolded, the “handles” on the MUT are slightly different in length, with the pocket-clip end being longer and with a slight curve to it. When using the pliers, if you rest your fingers along this portion, if feels like you can get more leverage and power on your grip.
It’s kind of hard to explain, but it does seem to make a difference. 

 Cons;
Ok, so to start, the glaringly obvious issue:



Yeah, the thing is hefty, as you can see it’s about ¾ of a pound with the included sight/wrench tool, which you need to, you know… actually make the thing useful for gun-related use (more on that later).
Without the tool it weighs 0.68 Lb. 



And then, there’s this massive fucking pocket clip sticking off the side of the thing like the horn on a rhinoceros. Worse, you can’t take it off. Oh joy.
But it’s titanium! ERHMAGHERD!
I mean, really whose idea was this thing? It catches on everything, and adds a lot of excess width to that area which can be a bit of an issue depending on the pouch you want to stick it in…

The counter question to the integrated safety cutter is, will the tool be accessible when you need that feature? If you carry the MUT tucked away in a general purpose pouch somewhere, maybe it’s not so useful, but on the other hand, the thing is to damn big to wear accessibly on the front of your LBE like a a Benchmade 7-hook or similar safety cutter. Something to think about.

And then of course half the tools that make the “gun-centric” selling point for the MUT aren’t even attached to it. The 3/8” wrench and Front Sight adjust tool are combined on a separate tool.
And it’s annoying. Not only is it slim and slick very much a potential loss hazard, but the front sight adjustment portion is extremely pointy and sharp. In fact, you should strap it to the front of your LBE and use it as an improvised weapon. It would make a very effective “get off me bitch” eye stabber.
But in a pouch, especially one that uses thinner material (300 denier nylon or similar) for the internal organization pockets, it will likely stab right through it and tear shit up.

And then there’s the “hammer” portion- I mean, how hard are you really going to be able to hit something, using an object that weighs half a pound and only has a narrow impact section?
Honestly I can’t see this doing any better of a job than an improvised rock hammer. 

Punch- I’m not entirely sure what they were intending this to be used for, but there’s nothing on my AR that it fits… there’s an associated anecdote related to this tool that pretty much sums up my  experience with the MUT;
At a previous MVT class, I pulled out the MUT to make a quick front sight adjustment, folded out the punch- no go, it’s too thick. And since the stupid separate wrench/front sight adjust tool is a PITA to carry, I had left it elsewhere. So I had to borrow a fellow student’s tools.
Now tell me, how useful is a tool you don’t carry?

On to the WAVE;



The WAVE has your pretty standard mutitool suite of tools, but with some interesting features.
Again, beat to death elsewhere, but a brief look includes needlenose pliers with wirecutters, a saw, serrated, and plain edge blades, a file, bit driver holders, can opener, integrated rulers on the grips, scissors, etc, so forth and so on. 

Pros;
Separate plain and serrated blades.
As a hater of combo blades, this is great. And they didn’t do it at the expense of a saw either.
Granted, I would have liked to see something like the serrated blade with the hook cutter like the Charge has, but see my previous thoughts on the usefulness of a safety cutter on a multitool.
Also, did I mention the blades on these things are sharp? The knife on this tool sailed through the “single sheet paper cut test” even better than my ESEE did. And ESEE puts a good edge on their knives from the factory…..
While wiping it down (more on that later) I handily stabbed my finger with it, and successfully confirmed that it is sharp enough to cut just about anything I could want to cut.
Well, you know how it is- it ain’t yours until you’ve cut yourself with it. 

Double sided file- a lot of files I’ve seen on lesser multitools in the past had one middle-of-the-road textured side on the file. With the Wave you get a fine and coarse option. 

No stupid pocket clip. There is a separate kit with a clip and lanyard loop you can buy elsewhere if one is so desired. Of course, it wouldn’t have hurt for this to be included…. but it’s not a big deal. 

Locking tools.
In addition to the locking blades and files (yes, they all lock. THANK YOU Leatherman!), the internal tools lock as well. There are these really great tabs on the sides of the handles than you can then depress to unlock them when finished. This is such a great option, I don’t know why every multitool doesn’t have these locking tabs.

Weight;



A mere half pound. Yes, it’s still half a pound, but this IS a full-size tool, with all the options that implies. And it’s still a quarter pound lighter than the MUT. This means that if you want, you get to carry an extra accessory (like a handheld light, or separate safety cutter) for free.

Cons;
It would have been nice if you could depress the tool locking tabs to pop up the tools to get to them better. It you don’t have a bit of fingernail to pry the internal tools up, you’re screwed.
The rulers on the sides- not really a con, but not sure how useful they’re going to be. And of course in Black they’re damn near invisible on the tool- may want to mark with some white paint pen.

Non-replaceable wire cutters- would have been a nice touch to have the replaceable cutting bits, but I guess unless you’re an electrician, not a big deal.

Black shit everywhere.
So, if you opt for the black version of the WAVE, expect to spend a good half hour wiping the thing down. For some reason the coating they use, when straight from the factory, rubs off all over the place. So if you want to use it right away, your hands will be black about 3.1 seconds after pulling it out.
The good news is, it washes off your hands very easily, and simply wipes off the tool with a paper towel.
It is going to take a bit of effort to get it all off (see the half hour time as stated), and this is also a prime time to test the sharpness of the blades on your fingers, so use some caution.

So now that we’ve covered the basics of each tool, let’s talk about how to carry the things.
If this is going on your LBE, then it’s easy- stick it in an appropriate pouch. Flapped pistol pouches are great for this, as well as something like a Taco pistol pouch, if more immediate access is required.
There are also a good number of general purpose or admin pouches that either have some internal organization that work well with these (and helps prevent all the clashing and banging and general mixing up of your stuff…), like the Milspec Monkey/Tactical Tailor Stealth pouch, or similar.
That being said, we’re going to take a quick look at the included pouches from Leatherman.



Here you can see the sheaths side by side- the WAVE sheath is on the left, and the MUT’s is on the right.
Both will get the job done, but neither are really spectacular, and I’ll tell you why in a second.

As you can see, the WAVE’s sheath is a pretty minimal bit of extra weight, compared to the MUT sheath;
 



There’s nothing really special to say about the WAVE sheath other than what I don’t like about it, so we’ll get that out of the way first;
Yes, it’s light, yes, it will get the job of carrying the WAVE done, but…. For one it seems very lightly built. And the edging around the opening is that awful paper-ish stuff which likes to crack and break after minimal use, not standard edging tape.
Further the fit of the WAVE in the sheath is terrible. The flap is way to long, and the internal fit reeks of a sheath designed for a “universal” fit for any multitool.
There is some sort of internal elastic band in the sheath- I assume it may be for adding a Bits set, but it seems a bit small. If it’s not for that, I have no idea why it’s there because it serves no purpose otherwise. 



That being said, with the addition of the sheath it makes only a minor change in the overall weight of the WAVE, bringing it up to what the MUT weighs by itself. 












The MUT sheath is way more solid and overbuilt, but… stupidly. As if the person who designed it didn’t really have a clue what features would actually be useful, or how they should work, and just went for making it “look” tactical, instead of actually being worthwhile (actually, the whole MUT tool feels a little like this).  Because of this, while it seems a lot more durable, there’s also a lot of needless extra weight, as you can see from the previous scale picture.
Here you can see the internals of the pouch with everything included;

 


So what’s wrong with this picture;
For one, the elastic bands on the side of the pouch do absolutely nothing- they don’t stretch and therefore they don’t compress the pouch at all like they’re supposed to, to help hold the tool in. Now granted, the MUT fits the pouch as-is pretty tight (thanks ginormous pocket clip!), but how the bands SHOULD properly work is to create pressure to hold the tool in if the pouch flap is left open- the pouch should be somewhat compressed when empty. This it does not do. Whatever brilliant genius designed this thing, they sewed the elastic bands at the pouches’ widest setting, so they do nothing, other than add useless extra weight.

Moving on to the front of the pouch, in order to attach the Velcro for the flap closure, they sewed on a doubled over piece of webbing with the Velcro sewn to the front. This does one thing very well- it adds a good bit of thickness to the pouch. Other than that, I’ve just go to ask “Why?” 
At least the closure flap isn’t as ridiculously long as with the WAVE pouch, but didn’t they look at any other tactical pistol-type pouches before designing this behemoth? Pretty much every pouch, including the high-end companies, have the Velcro sewn directly to the front of the pouch. If Leatherman just HAD to have the extra webbing, they could have simply used a single strip, instead of doubling it over.
The grand irony here is, if you look at the pouch from the side, you can see that there isn’t even any need for the massive piece of velcro-equipped webbing on the front in the first place, as the pouch is deep enough to support a Velcro flap without it- they could have just sewn the Velcro to the front of the pouch.

Finally, because of the way the front Velcro is sewn on, it created two small pockets at the front of the pouch. Now, this would seem to make a great slot for the separate wrench/front sight tool, as you can see in the previous picture here.
You’re wrong.
They’re too shallow to allow the extra tool to be inserted, and therefore it sticks up causing the closure flap to ride up over it excessively instead of fitting securely around the whole package. Yes, you can insert the tool and make it work, but after a while you’ll see why this is annoying.
You could also insert the extra tool into one of the side elastic bands, but it does not hold tightly enough to ever be trusted to not lose the tool under aggressive movement.
So at the end of the day, you’re left with a sheath that, while it does work, really just adds significantly to the overall weight;

 


Long story short, if you find either of these multitools interesting, get a different sheath.

Final thoughts;
Now, here’s where the MUT get’s absolutely slaughtered by the Multitasker 3-series;
That stupid pointy separate wrench/front sight adjustment tool- Not an issue with the ‘Tasker since it’s already attached. Knife? Check. Replaceable wire cutter bits? Check. Punch? Check. Carbon Scraper? Check. Ability to use changeable screwdriver bits? Check. Plus a few other gun-centric tools on the Multitasker.
So if you take all that away from the MUT and put it on the Multitasker, where it’s all included a little better into one package, then what do you have left with the MUT?
A saw blade, a carabiner/bottle opener, a safety cutter, and hammer of dubious use. Oh, and a really. Fucking. Annoying. Pocket clip, that you can’t get rid of- at least the ‘Tasker’s clip can be removed.
Granted, the Multitasker does weigh a bit more- about a pound with the included screw bits. This may put it over the top, weightwise, for some folks.

But here’s the thing to think about at the end of the day- are you looking for a general-purpose tool, or something to address gun-related issues?
If you’re focusing on getting your rifle running again after having to field-fix an issue, in my opinion, the slight extra weight of the Multitasker is a fair trade for a better integrated tool suite, since the leftover add-ons of the MUT tool set aren’t really enough to call it a more “general purpose” hybrid tool.
If more general purpose tasks are your goal, then the WAVE , (or a similar tool like the Charge), is where it’s at- you’re still getting all the “everyday useful” features of the MUT or Multitasker, but for about half a pound and 30-60 bucks less.

But that’s just my opinion- mission dictates gear choice.    

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Last Word On The Drama


Per the recent drama on WRSA and elsewhere....
I was put in mind of this scene;

Get Smart Briefing Room






Madness.
Meanwhile on the other side of town....I can envision the NSA/DHS trolls cavorting about and gibbering gleefully amongst themselves as that went down.
And we wonder why TPTB feel no need to slow their steamrolling of our rights and liberties...


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Thought Of The Day + Update




And the band played on....



Actually, on a similar but more humorous note;



Meanwhile on the other side of town...
There will be more material here soon- have a couple gear reviews that I've been working on, one of which should show up within the next week. .
Probably find something to rant about sooner or later.
There's actually some short story material in the works, but I've been so mentally spent after work it's been shelved for  while. And I totally suck at writing anything other than boring ol' data and facts, so... there is that too...

Monday, January 12, 2015

In Case You Hadn't Noticed....



So two brothers and a homeless guy walk into a newspaper office.....

No, I'm not starting a new "joke of the week" section, although there is one element of the past weeks terrorist attack in France that is laughably obvious;

Gun restriction won't save you.
Three guys with automatic rifles and allegedly an RPG walk into a newspaper office and kill a dozen people.
Nobody stops them. Not even the police, some of whom left the scene because they weren't armed. Because we all know in our future utopian socialist societies there will be no need for scary guns. We'll be far to civilized for that.
Oh wait, here come three assholes to shoot you in the face.
How's all that gun restriction working out for you again?
Go ahead. Tell me all about how great it is when guys who give no damns about playing by your "civilized" rules can waltz into town and not even the police can stop them, let alone a well-meaning peas-er-civilian. Tell me how much safer we all really are.
I triple dog dare ya!

This has nothing to do with "high capacity assault clips" or "evil scary ghost guns" or "ease of access" or any other bullshit argument the gun haters want to throw out. It doesn't even have anything to do with the argument of "if someone wants to kill you they'll find a way".

So what happens when these assholes decide to hop over the pond?


"....Short version: all of the weapons used in today’s attack in Paris were illegal, very hard to get in France, and yet it did not matter. So when something like this attack happens here – on churches, schools, malls, wherever – and the cry for gun control once again reaches a national level, over the din of sheep begging to trade their liberty for a sense of security, remember Charlie Hebdo...."

Further, it seems that in spite of the glaringly obvious, some folks still don't get it (maybe their ears are still ringing from the shooting?).

"Speaking of those terrorists, not only did they avoid a police encounter due to France's gun-phobia, they were - almost miraculously - able to bring machine guns into downtown Paris.  How that's possible, given the country's strict gun control laws, is a question that has baffled former DNC chairman, Howard Dean.

 The interesting thing here, is we talked about guns the last time in regarding the United States, regarding how guns get in the hands of the kind of people that kill the two police officers here two weeks ago. France has tremendous gun control laws, and yet these people are able to get Kalashnikovs. So, this is really complicated stuff, and I think you have to treat these people as basically mass murderers....."





No you nitwit, it's simple. Fucking assholes don't give a fuck about your stupid rules, and simply ignore them at will, while those who abide by the law are at the assholes' mercy.
As The Colonel would have said, " The rifle (or pistol, shotgun, crossbow, axe, nunchaku, etc.) itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.”

The above quotes were derived from two good articles worth sharing around. Maybe they'll listen if it's from a news source? Nah who am I kidding...

CainTv- Paris Attack Highlights Gun Control Futility


Moderno- Gun Control Will Not Save You








Standby. We'll have some more useful info coming through shortly.



Friday, December 26, 2014

A Merry Post- Christmas



If you've had enough of the hellacious Holidays, and are starting to feel the post-Christmas blues kick in, here's a little something to brighten your day. Of course it's NSFW.... did you really have to ask?


Twas The Night Before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring.... except a few girls who seem to be having a real hard time getting through a very simple book....


In other news... the Grinch finally got his this year. I heard there will be movie deals- Zero Grinch Thirty or some such. 'Merica.











Merry Fuckin' Christmas, ol' chaps!