CONGRATULATIONS! You are taking your first steps into a new world, into the “Gun Culture”. Hopefully with a little coaching here those steps will turn into a run. First off, we’ve got to define what that Gun Culture really is. Because the Mainstream Media will have you believe that the Gun Culture is full of banjo-playing, illiterate racists. This is not the case. For over the last decade I’ve been selling guns professionally. I’ve sold some guns to people that, yes, could be called banjo playing illiterate racists. But I’ve sold far more guns to people who can not be categorized and labeled in such a manner that the Media could so easily dismiss them.

Some of my best customers were Lawyers, Doctors, and other Professionals that spent years in studying and working in their fields. Published Authors, Artists, and Musicians. Radio Hosts and DJs. Scientists in the fields of Archeology, Geology, Biology, Physics, and actual Rocket Science. Several actual Rocket Scientists, yes. People who went to the big named prestige schools. People who went to State schools. People who’ve only gone to Community schools. I’ve sold guns to people who’ve never set foot in a college or even graduated high school. I’ve sold guns to Oil Barons, Roustabouts, and Roughnecks. I’ve sold guns to CEO’s and Celebrities. Cooks and Cashiers. The old and the young. Immigrants from north, south, east, and west of all of our borders. Fathers and sons. Mothers and Daughters. I’ve sold guns to all kinds of people. I’ve sold guns to Liberal Hipsters that brought their Starbucks cups in with them to the gun counter. Peace and Beads tie-dyed hippies who drove VW Vans with flowers on the sides and wore sandals. I’m not kidding, he bought a high-end 1911 and a tactical shotgun that he brought to one of my training courses.

You can’t pigeonhole the American Gun Owner, because he or she is everyone. We are everyone. The one thing we all have in common is that we are Americans.

The media would have you believe that there is something wrong with owning a gun. They try to take a moral high ground that firearms are traditions of the past fit only for history books. Let me tell you, there can be a lot of history in a firearm. And if you are an intelligent person, you’ve already picked up on that. A firearm, regardless of what it is or what type, is a time machine. Pick up your Grandfather’s old rifle. Feel the heft of it, the balance. Now close your eyes and imagine your Grandfather, young and strong stalking through the deer fields. Can you feel that connection? You connected to your Grandfather through time and have just caught a better understanding of who he was. And who you are.

Some of you don’t understand anything I’ve just said and can’t comprehend this because maybe your Grandfather never had a gun or you’ve never been allowed to see it. Or you were not lucky enough to have this tradition passed to you. Others know exactly what I’m talking about because they’ve done just that and have felt the connection. You don’t get that connection from any other object that might be passed down through the family. Not even through photographs. Maybe a Motorcycle, but that’s another topic.

America has a gun culture stemming from the very first pilgrims and explorers to land in the New World. They brought with them the tools that they needed to survive in the new world. Hammers, Axes, Drills and Saws. And the Gun. By coming into this American Gun Culture you are really embracing who you are as an American. Be proud of that. Never apologize for that. And never back down from that.

Most people get into guns for fairly specific reasons. Some are collectors and historians. Others want a gun for home or personal protection. Some for hunting. Others because of the shooting sports. And some just want to have something to plink with on occasion. So I’m going to categorize new gun owners into a few groups.

Sheepdogs: Defense oriented. For personal defense or defense against tyranny. For the sake of this book, Sheepdogs will include those who are Military and Law Enforcement who are off duty or retired. You know who you are. The Sheepdog is taking the burden of security upon themselves. They will protect themselves and their families and not rely on the efforts of strangers. This could be you. You have your reasons and concerns enough to warrant the need to buy a gun for protection. This may be the most common reason for getting into guns these days.

Competitors: Those looking at IDPA or IPSC or the Glock Shooting Sport, and wanting to join in that fun. Because it is a lot of fun and I suggest everyone serious about firearms give it a go. It’s also a fantastic crucible for improving your skills in a way that regular training just doesn’t give you. You learn a lot about yourself, your guns, and your gear.

Hunters: Those that are looking to put food on the table or to sell a pelt on the side. Or maybe they want more of a challenge to getting their meat at the store. Venison and Elk are very delicious and probably a lot healthier than commercially sourced cattle products.

Collectors: Those looking to get into guns for that greater historical perspective. These guys are also the Collectors and Librarians of our gun culture. They also appreciate the art and aesthetics of the gun. The artistic and clever way of how the gunsmith’s talent crafted a piece. They appreciate the design and engineering of these very simple machines.

Then there is another category that we will touch on… The Investor. The Investor looks at a gun as a commodity or asset. He calculates an item’s value and projected value in the hope of either turning a profit or increasing his estate’s net worth.

Many of us are a combination of these category types, maybe even all of them rolled up into one. And that’s the type of Gun Owner that we affectionately call “The Gun Nut”.

I am one of those Gun Nuts. I do not call myself an Expert, though others have called me such. I only call myself an Enthusiast of The Gun. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started! The best way to start some things is to hit the books and study the subject. For the gun, it’s a hands-on thing as much as it’s a research thing. How did you learn to ride a bicycle? Someone helped you get on the bike. Held that seat while you felt the balance and ran alongside you as you peddled. And after some yards running, he gave you a little push and watched you ride off. Both proud and smiling and praying you don’t run into a tree. That’s me, here and now.

There are a few different places to find a firearm to purchase. Gun Stores, and Gun Shows are the two retail outlets. Then there are the Private Sales through printed or online ads, gun discussion forums… and “Friends”. Your buddy knows a guy that is selling a gun at a good price… That’s a whole other topic I want you just avoid for the time being. Private gun sales require extra caution. New Gun Buyers should stick with a commercial retail establishment.

Let’s say that for the time being, we’re not going to talk to your Buddy. Because if it’s one thing I know, it’s that the number one source of bad information about what guys should buy, comes from Buddy. Buddy would have you buy a .50 Caliber Desert Eagle for your Everyday Carry Gun. So let’s not listen to Buddy for just a while. Okay? We’ll talk about Buddy later.

Right off the bat, I’m not your Buddy. I don’t know you. And if I don’t know you as well as your spouse, how can I tell you what gun you need? At this point I don’t know what you are going to want to do with it. If I don’t know that, then I can’t make any educated suggestion for something that’s going to fit your needs. However, when we are done, you will be able to make your own good decision. Now let’s go shopping. Gun Shows are also to be avoided right now. You are not yet ready. Play Welcome to the Jungle by Guns and Roses… “Your gunna die!” Well, you won’t die, but I promise you will get ripped off big time at a Gun Show if you are not prepared. So we are concentrating on Gun Stores. Normal, Retail Stores that specialize in Firearms.

Finding a good Gun Store is critical to the Novice Gunny. You want a store that is well lit, clean, organized, and where the Sales Clerks or Gun Counter Guys are clean and respectful looking. The staff at the Counter should be welcoming. They should greet you as you walk in, If they don’t, that’s not a good sign.

The Gun Counter should be clean and well presented and have some organization to it. If the gun store you walk into looks unclean and unorganized, just turn around and walk out. Don’t waste another moment in there. Now here is why. A serious Gunny knows that Maintenance is critical. Gun Care is essential and if these guys can’t keep their gun counter maintained, then they are probably not keeping their guns maintained. A serious gunny also knows how to keep his guns organized according to the metric they want to highlight. How it’s organized is not important, but that there is organization is. Again, if they can’t organize the guns, well, then they probably don’t know much about them and that’s an indication that you are wasting time there. Walk.

Never be afraid to just walk out. Say, “Thank you for your time”, and leave the store. There are other gun stores around. You don’t have to settle. If they look organized, clean, and professional, then you are on the right track. To be a serious gunny, it takes a lot of experience. And if this is a well stocked gun counter, there is a lot for the Counter Crew to know.

Another reason to walk out is if the guy or gal behind the gun counter isn’t listening to you. If he is preoccupied he isn’t taking you seriously. If he is showing you guns that are not matching what you are asking for, he isn’t taking you seriously. Understand that most gun guys behind the counter are just gun guys, and not usually well versed in sales professionalism or have customer skills. But they have knowledge. Some counter guys might have the salesmanship, but maybe not the knowledge. Finding a place that has both is rare and special. Listening to you is a good sign.

Now, some guns stores operate on the basis that they push guns that they want to sell. Maybe it’s high margin items or its items that they have had on the shelf too long. Either way, the Clerk is incentivized to push those items. This isn’t a reason to walk just yet. This is where you need to communicate your needs and wants. If he can’t show you something that is in the ballpark, then maybe it is time to walk. The phrase to look out for is something along the lines of “This is what you need.” I’ve heard it thousands of times… and mostly from the most ignorant of sources. Newly hired gun counter help with his own fascinations, boyfriends or husbands with huge egos, or Buddy. If you hear “This is what you need”, your eyebrow should raise like Mr. Spock’s and the next words you say should be “Oh really? Why is that?” If he is grinning like an idiot – there’s probably a reason for that. I’m not calling him an idiot… but guys can just get that way all of the sudden. It’s like having a stroke of some sort.

One customer I used to deal with was a well-respected Paleontologist. He looked like someone that would be comfortable lecturing in an auditorium full of students, or looking through some sort of magnifying instruments at a rock or fossil. And then I showed him a gun that just caused it to happen… The Stroke of Idiot. It started the second he touched the pistol. The symptoms manifested immediately at the corners of his mouth… that smile spread across his whole face. And all the sudden he was no longer that highly intelligent Paleontologist. Luckily, the condition passed quickly as blood returned to his brain and neurons started sparking again.

I too have suffered from these sudden attacks myself. Many times, I must admit. The problem though is that we don’t recognize when this is happening. Hindsight, as they say, will point and laugh. This is why maybe you don’t want to go to the gun store with anyone that may snap a photo of this moment and post it to Facebook… You don’t want that moment immortalized.

So imagine that you are standing there, and Buddy is in the middle of a Stroke of Idiot, grinning, and saying “this is what you need”. You then give him the Eye of Spock and ask why. His response will go one of two ways. He will stand there continuing to grin and look like Chet from Weird Science, holding the pistol as if that is making his point for him. Or he’ll actually pull out some sort of actually tangible reason. If it’s the first response, just smile, chuckle, and have sympathy because he’s having a Stroke of Idiot. If it’s the second response, listen and give it some consideration. Weight it with what your desires and needs are. And then keep looking.

I would suggest that you never impulse buy. You can impulse look all you like. But don’t impulse buy. Instead, write down the specifics on the gun. Make, Model, Caliber, and Price. If it’s a used gun, note the Condition. Condition is very important in the used gun market, so only look at used guns that are in “Like New” condition. These should be roughly 10 to 20 percent less than the same gun new in box. If it’s not, just buy the new one and skip the used one. Buying used guns is a whole book on it’s own.

Now that we are to the point of handling a firearm, I want you to remember the four basic rules of firearm safety:


Read that a few more times, carefully. I’ll wait… go on. Okay, one more time. Can you remember that? Excellent.

Okay, now for a little Gun Counter Etiquette. When you ask to take a look at a gun, the Clerk behind the counter SHOULD pull the gun out and then check the gun to make sure the gun is unloaded. This should be done every single time. If the Clerk fails to do this, it’s not rude to ask them, “Can you please clear the Weapon for me first? Thank you.”

Now here comes the fun part… It’s your turn to do the very same thing. Even if you just watched the Clerk do it. Remove the magazine and then lock the slide to the rear. Visually check the breach to verify that you don’t see a round in the chamber. Then use your pinky and feel the empty chamber. With a revolver, open the cylinder or loading gate, and then check all five or Six or Seven or Nine individual chambers. However many the gun has. I’ve seen revolvers with as few as four chambers and as many as nine. Not that it’s important… But what is important is that you make absolutely sure the gun is empty.

We do it this way because our eyes can play tricks on us. And the yellow brass we’re looking for could end up being a silver colored nickel plated case. And if you think this is silly, look up Gun Counter Accidents. So we check visually and physically.

Let’s focus back on the Gun Counter Guy. Let’s say that you specify the needs of defense, concealment, and lightweight. These are generally three common criteria. The guns he then suggests are going to determine if you should be doing any business with him. The smallest caliber he should be pulling out is maybe .380 auto. .380 is the minimum caliber I would recommend for a defensive purpose. We’ll talk more of calibers later. That’s an important discussion. For the criteria of concealment, the gun should be smaller… Shorter in barrel, grip length, or both. And the weight should be something that you wouldn’t mind packing around all day long. Hopefully he asked you some questions to help him determine the best options for you. If he is a professional he may have already sized you up, considered your build, the way you dress, the size of your hands… and he probably has a good idea what can work for you based on what you said you are looking for. But then, maybe not. Which leads to the next tip for you.

Ask why. This is important… Most good gun counter guys that take their profession seriously will have reasons for showing you something unless you specifically asked to see “that” gun. He or she should be able to articulate why a certain gun was presented to you. “Popular” is a common reason, but you need more to go on. Ask to see other options as well. If you are in a well-stocked gun shop, there should be plenty of options for you to choose from. If your Gun Counter Person is a professional and knowledgeable, maybe he or she can help you narrow your choices down to a “Top 3”. Write that information down. And write down the name of the guy that helped you.

Now it’s time to go home and do some research. Those three guns you selected, look up each one, one at a time. Look for reviews from professional sources. Look at reviews from actual owners. I like Gun Forums and find that they can be a very helpful resource. A good gun forum that I like is “”. Like We The People… but the people are armed. For the sake of full disclosure, WeTheArmed, or WTA, ahem… was mine. I was one of the founders. You can get a lot of personal bias on a forum, for or against anything and everything, so you have to weigh the responses. If you like, you can post the question, “I’m looking at A, B and C. What do you guys think?” You will of course get new options D, E, F, and the lot… These may be worth considering if you have not already looked at them. But take these suggestions with a grain of salt. See, on a forum, everyone wants you to get what they have too. I don’t know why, but it’s a thing. Because if you buy what they have, their lives will be so much better. Evidently. I don’t really get it either, but it’s a validation thing… It means they chose well if you pick the same gun.

YouTube is another source of information. Hopefully you can find a reasonable review of what you are looking for. Notice I only said it was a source of information… I didn’t say it was a source of good information. You have to filter the information on your own and weigh it against what others have said.

If you find that one of your choices has some negative points that have been consistent from all the information sources, then you can safely assume that you will eventually find those negative points as well. You have to weigh the negative against the positives. Because no one makes the perfect gun. But some do come very close!

Now that you have narrowed down your options, it’s time to get those guns back into your hands. If you have access to an indoor shooting range that offers rentals, see if the guns you are interested in are available to rent. Other than some special events or you have a friends that has one – renting the pistol is the only way to try it out. Don’t be afraid to rent all the guns you can. You are probably going to be spending about five to eight hundred bucks on average for any decent pistol, dropping twenty bucks to see if you are actually going to like that pistol is pretty cheap. I strongly advise you do this. This is like test driving a car. Always test drive the car before you buy, same with a pistol. If you can. Some places, there are no rental options, so your research online is going to have to do.

The research and range rentals are important. Because unlike other consumer products, there is no returning a gun once you bought it and decided that you don’t like it. At best, they may allow you to trade it back in. But if you do that, you will lose a large chunk of value. This is why I stressed the research so much. When you buy the gun, that sale is final.

One thing that annoyed me when I was selling guns, were the Info-Miners. For example there was one customer that I literally spent hours and hours with over the course of a week. Every day he would come in and glean information. And when it came time to buy the gun – he bought it someplace else because it was $20 dollars less. This frustrated me because I made my money selling guns, not giving away pertinent information. Information has value.

This is something that should be considered when you buy your gun. You can imagine how I felt when he bragged that he got the gun I basically sold him for twenty bucks less someplace else… from someone that didn’t work for that sale. You can also imagine my eagerness to answer all his new questions. See, he didn’t put any value on the information I gave him.

Don’t do that to your Gun Counter Guy. That’s basically giving him the middle finger and telling him you don’t value his input on the questions you ask of him. This is why I suggested writing down the guy’s name. Here’s why. He will remember you. He might not remember your name off the bat, but he will remember talking to you about those guns you were interested in. The more you work with a good Gun Counter Guy – the more he will be willing to go the extra mile in helping you. This is just human nature and nothing specific to the gun industry. This can be to your advantage in the long run.

Okay, so now you are back at the counter and you have those three pistols in mind. From your research you found that one of them is less than ideal for your purposes, so you can dismiss that one. Now you are down to two pistols. This is where spending a little time with the guns is good. If you can rent examples, the same makes and models, you will quickly decide which one you like best. If you can’t rent them, then you are going to have to concentrate on the way the gun feels and fits. Fit is an important word. The gun has to fit you. The problem is that the way a gun fits and feels at the gun counter is very different from how the gun actually feels when you are shooting it.

For example, the 5th Generation Glock pistols. I think they feel great in the hand with none of the alternate back-straps that you can install to make the grip feel bigger. The gun is smaller without them, and the trigger reach is easier. However when I got my Gen 5 Glock Model 45 out to the range, the way the gun handled in recoil showed me that maybe it was a little too small for my hands. I found that it shot better for me with one of the backstraps installed. I had better control of the gun because it actually fit better. There have been a couple other guns like this for me as well. You only really know when you’ve shot the gun. Again, rentals are worth it. I suggest you try as many as you can this way.

In the gun store there are a couple things you can do to check the gun’s fitment. Look at a spot on the wall in a clear direction that is at eye level. Get a good firing grip on the gun, and close your eyes. Bring the gun up into firing position and freeze. Don’t move. Now look at the sights. This is like playing Blackjack. You want to hit 21 or as close to it without going over. The closer to being on target the better the gun fits you. If the front sight is a little below the target, that’s fine. If it’s above the target, that’s less than ideal and it could mean that this gun is not for you. It’s not an absolute deal breaker, but it’s something to consider. Getting that gun on target is just a matter of practice now. You have to train yourself with that gun so that you can aim accurately and instinctively.

A lot of guns are made with grips that can be removed and replaced with alternate sizes or styles. One of my personal favorite guns came from the factory with just horrible grips. I couldn’t even hold on to the gun properly. But after I swapped out the grips for something better… The gun became fantastic. This consideration is a good conversation to have with your gun counter guy, if alternate grips could help your selection.

The other important thing to consider is the trigger pull. When you are aiming at the target spot on the wall, try the trigger pull. Look only at the front sight post and see if you can dry fire the pistol without the front sight post even twitching.

Before you dry fire anything in a store, you need to ask. This is a courtesy. Some gun stores do not allow dry firing, others are actually offended by it. But most will nod and say that it is fine. I would also say that you should not dry fire the pistol more than twice max… And try to stick to doing it just once.

I’ve seen some guys that asked to dry fire a pistol and then proceed to snap the trigger as fast as they can, as many times as they can. This is drastically uncool. This is like asking to test drive a car and then doing burnouts in it. The pistol is inventory of the store and is a product that they have to sell… So please, some professional courtesy is a good thing.

To me, trigger pull is one of the most important deciding factors. A good trigger is better than anything else. Reason being is that shooting a pistol is hard because you have a one or two pound gun with a six to nine pound trigger pull. So it’s easy for a poor trigger pull to throw your shot off target even if your sights were dead nuts on. Most misses are made because of a bad trigger pull. So the quality of the trigger’s mechanical action is important to me to help me make a better pull and keep my rounds on target.

By this time you should have narrowed down the selection to just one. Or two. Hey, you’re a grown adult, I’m not putting limits on you. But before you decide to slap down the plastic and make that final purchase, consider the accessories. Do they have a holster for it? And I am not meaning a floppy sewn nylon holster for less than 20 bucks, I mean a real holster that will carry the gun securely and safely. The holster is a critical component to the firearm as a part of the system. The holster protects the gun. The holster carries the gun at the ready. Don’t cheap out on it. Good holsters are going to be priced about sixty dollars on up. Personally, I like leather, but there are a lot of good polymer holsters on the market that will work just fine. Just please stay away from nylon fabric holsters. And if it has a spare magazine pouch on the holster, just put it down and walk away.

Spare Magazines are also an important item. Some new pistols only come with one magazine. Most will come with two. You are going to want at least three though. So check with your Local Gun Seller about those. If you are looking to get into guns for Competition, your minimum should be five magazines. And you are going to want to be able to carry at least two spare magazines on your person. So a Magazine Carrier is advisable. Now, getting into Competition Shooting is actually a whole other topic, for another Booklet, so I’m going to leave that alone at this time.

Fact: Holsters should NEVER be made out of any type of fabric.

Let’s back up a moment and talk about terminology. You may be tempted to use the word “Clip”. Don’t. The device that holds the ammunition in the gun is called a Magazine. Calling it a “Clip” is one of the fastest ways to make the guy selling the gun to you think you are an idiot. A clip and a magazine are two different things, and I do not know of any new production semi-automatic handguns that feed from Clips. The difference between the two is that a Clip will hold the cartridges by the base, keeping them in line like the teeth on a comb. A Magazine is a small fancy metal box with a spring in it that pushes the cartridges up to the open top like a Pez dispenser. Glocks use Magazine. Sometimes Clips are used to load guns with built-in magazines, such as Enfield rifles from WWII, or Broomhandle Mauser pistols. Both of those are going to be firearms that fall into the Collector category and are not ideal for a first-time gun buyer and aspiring Gun Owner.

The term “Automatic” does not mean that the pistol is fully auto, even though most guys call pistols “Autos”. They mean to say “Semi-Automatic” which means the gun is merely “Self Loading”. When the gun is fired, it will load itself to make ready for the next shot. The trigger must be pulled for each shot with a semi-automatic handgun.

The term “Pistol” is often used for Semi-Automatic Handguns or for Single Shot handguns. Repeating handguns that fire from a cylinder that holds the ammunition are generally called Revolvers. Modern use of the language has handguns divided into Pistols or Revolvers. As I said before, Single Shot handguns are also Pistols. Lever Action Handguns are also Pistols. When in doubt, any handgun is a Pistol. Technically according to history, you can call a Revolver a Pistol too, but we don’t do that anymore because ATF categorizes Revolvers as only Revolvers. We don’t want the ATF to be any more confused than they already are. They get cranky when they get confused.

Revolvers are famous for the Cowboy Gun style of “Single Action” revolvers, like the Colt Peacemaker. Or the “Double Action” type of revolver, like Dirty Harry’s revolver… If you feel lucky. A Single Action revolver and a Double Action revolver are both related in that the cartridges are held in the gun within the Cylinder, which rotates to align the cartridge to the barrel. The Action is described as Single Action or Double Action depending on what the Trigger mechanism does when the Trigger is pulled. A Single Action type revolver has a Trigger that performs a single action… dropping the hammer. A Double Action type revolver has a Trigger that does two different actions. One is to cock the hammer, and the other is to then drop the hammer. So with the “Cowboy Gun”, the Shooter will have to cock the hammer back manually, with his/her thumb. While cocking the hammer back, the cylinder rotates and the hammer locks back ready to fire. When the trigger is pulled, the hammer falls, and the cartridge discharges. With Dirty Harry’s revolver, one could manually cock the hammer just like the Single Action type can… But you can also simply pull the trigger and the mechanism will rotate the cylinder, cock the hammer and then fire the gun. Cocking and Firing… Double Action.

Pistols can be categorized in Single Actions and Double Actions as well. Single Actions are pistols such as the “1911” or the Browning High Power. And Double Action type Pistols are like the Beretta 92FS or SIG P226. And then there are the Striker Fired type guns which are famous because of the Glock series of pistols which use what they call their “Safe Action” Pistols. Guns that operate like this, hold the striker partially cocked and ready to fire and the trigger just finishes that job before allowing the striker to fly forward to fire gun. But some strikers are all double action only and the trigger does two jobs… and then there are some strikers that are single action only. Which is which depends on the individual firearm and a knowledgeable gun counter clerk should be able to tell you which is which. But the type of action the firearm is designed with, isn’t as important as how you feel about the individual firearm. How it feels in your hand and how you feel holding it. Because really, that’s all that matters.

Bullets. Let’s talk about the bullets. A round of Ammunition is called a Cartridge. A bunch of Cartridges collectively is referred to as Ammunition. A Cartridge is made from several parts. A Bullet is what comes out of the gun and zips off to the target. A Case is what holds all the parts together. It holds the Gunpowder safely inside, it holds the Primer at the base, and it holds the Bullet. A single cartridge is also commonly called a “Round”. So you don’t load Bullets into the gun, you load your cartridges, or rounds of ammunition.

A Cartridge is fired when a Striker or a Firing Pin hits the Primer at the base of the Cartridge. The primer is a small metal button that is filled with a combustible compound that is sensitive to shock and pressure. So the impact of firing pin causes that compound to ignite. This in turn lights off the gunpowder, which also burns. The burning gunpowder causes a rapid expansion of hot gasses. This causes the pressure which pushes the bullet down the barrel and out of the gun. The bullet then flies at high speed to impact the target. The bullet then penetrates the target, making a hole in the target. How big and deep that hole is going to depend on the bullet and what the target is.

There is a whole division of Science called Ballistics that encompasses all of this. And even this is broken down into three separate sciences. Internal Ballistics is all about what happens between the moment of the trigger pull until the bullet leaves the barrel. It’s all about Lock Time, Bullet Weight, Pressure, and Powder Burn Rates. Exterior Ballistics is all about what affects the bullet in flight. Rate of Twist of the Rifling, Gravity, Angles, Wind, Temperature, Humidity, Spin Drift, even the Earth’s Rotation. All of this is about getting the bullet to the target. Then there is Terminal Ballistics, which is what the bullet does to the target, based on bullet construction, impact velocity, fluid dynamics, and the construction of the target itself.

If you are shooting at paper targets, all of this ballistic science is easy. If the target is a murderous thug with a knife coming at you, well, that’s a lot more complicated and you will be happy that the people who made your defensive ammunition have spent a lot of time studying Terminal Ballistics to help ensure that you stay alive and the threat to your life is stopped.

That’s an import point I want to make sure that everyone understands. In a defensive shooting, we do not Shoot To Kill. We are not James Bond with a license for that sort of thing. And we are not Assassins who are out for blood. When we shoot, we shoot to stop a threat. No more. No less. If you have to pull your gun because someone is about to take your life – You Are The Victim. That person that’s intent on harming you has to be stopped. If you stopping him results in the loss of his life, that’s terrible, but that’s the result of his poor choice to try to take yours. We don’t shoot to stop the theft of a TV or your Car. We shoot to Save an Innocent Life. Yours, or that of a loved one. What would you do to save the life of someone you loved?

That brings me to the next point. Which is much like the first, “We Shoot To Stop A Threat.” That means we don’t shoot once and then stand around waiting to see what happens. You shoot until the threat is stopped. This is the unpleasant part of Defensive Firearms, and you might not like it. Welcome To The Jungle.

Now let’s get back to some more fun stuff. Let’s talk about target shooting. Target Shooting is a Recreational Activity. It’s for enjoyment and it can be competitive. The pistols you use for Target Shooting can be quite different than what you would use for Defense. Typically target pistols are often chambered in .22 Long Rifle. Don’t let the name fool you, a .22 Long Rifle Cartridge is the most popular of pistol calibers. Because they are cheap and plenty and offer low recoil. They make for terrible defensive cartridges! Luckily, paper targets are not that tough.

A Target Pistol is often something that looks long and sleek, and maybe even a little Sci-Fi in styling. The key to a target pistol is the longer barrel. Not that longer barrels are more accurate. Because they are not. But longer barrels do two things for you. One, is that they give you a higher velocity with the given ammunition compared to a shorter barrel. Two, is that they give you a longer sight radius. The distance between the front and rear sights is longer, which means you can aim more precisely. So while a longer barreled pistol is not necessarily more accurate than the same gun with a shorter barrel… it’s easier to shoot more accurately with the longer barreled gun.

Target pistols are fantastic for having fun and improving basic fundamental skills, like sight alignment, sight picture, breathing, your physical stability, and of course, trigger pull.

See, shooting a pistol is easy to do. But shooting a pistol well… that’s the challenge. Pistol shooting requires the full body and mind to attune to the task. The physicality is one thing… but the mental game is a whole other level. Shooting well requires focus, and concentration enough to tune out everything going on around you. This challenge might seem easy to the uninitiated. But the more you learn about shooting, the more you realize just what a challenge it really is.

The great thing about Shooting as a Sport is that it’s a level playing field physically. A man and a woman can compete as equals in a casual bullseye match. A youth can compete against an elder. The Target doesn’t care about your sex or your sexual orientation. The Target doesn’t care about your religious or political beliefs. The Target doesn’t care about your age or your grade or what school you attend. The Target doesn’t care about your job title or your rank or your office view. The Target doesn’t care about what car you drive, or your credit score or your debt ratio. The only thing that matters to the Target is if you kept your focus, held your breath, aimed properly, and pulled the trigger perfectly.

A Target Pistol will help you attain a high level of focus and skill. And they are generally pistols that anyone can use. As such, I recommend one to everyone as a place to start. The reason being is that too many people to new firearms who are looking at a pistol for self-defense, start out with a gun that is difficult to shoot well with and fires expensive ammunition.


I’m going to break it down by category and give you my personal recommendations. Not to tell you what to buy, but to give you a place to start. As I said earlier, I don’t know you. So I can’t give you a solid recommendation on what is going to work best for you. That’s up to you. This is a very personal choice here. Think of it like an ice cream joint with 31 different flavors. They are all going to be sweet and delicious, but you will have your favorites, and I will have mine.

Target Pistols. In this category, my favorite is the Browning Buckmark family. I say family because they make a lot of different styles with different barrels, sights, grips… it’s crazy. But they are all excellent. The Basic version is called the ” Camper”. You can work your way up from there with the Confidence knowing there are no bad choices.

Defensive Pistols. I’m personally a huge fan of SIG. The P229, P226, P228, P224, P22o, P227… These are all amazing handguns. To pick just one, I’ll take the P229. That was the choice of the US Air Marshals for a very long time… for very good reasons. The SIG P22X Series are all Double Action/ Single Action pistols… with the safest mechanism on the planet. I’m also a big fan of the CZ 75 Series of pistols, the Beretta 92 series, and the H&K P30 series.

For Striker-fired defensive pistols, my personal choice is a Glock model 45, in 9mm. But I’m also a huge fan of the H&K Vp9, the FN 509, and the CZ P-10C.

For Revolvers, I’m very much a Ruger kind of guy. I adore the full sized GP 100 series and the smaller SP 101 for concealed carry. I prefer the .357 Magnum chambering as it gives me the flexibility to also use .38 Special if ammo is hard to find.

Now, one last recommendation. The Best Gun Store I’ve ever been to on the planet… With the best selection and the Best Gun Counter Crew… Basin Sports in Vernal, Utah. Those boys know their guns. Because they buy them as much as the customers and they go shooting ALL the time! They’re crazy like that. And if you want to see them make a funny face… Tell them George Hill says “Howdy.”


Old and New

Just posting up my new Wallpaper. Just for fun. The Revolver is a classic Peacemaker Replica by Cimmaron… of which I forget the name, but it’s “The Hand of God” from 3:10 to Yuma. The Shotgun is a braced Mossberg Shockwave. One of Many, but this is the only one wearing a brace. The sword is a Cutlass from Cold Steel.

Glock Generations

Of the five generations of Glock pistols, the 5th Gen is easily my standout favorite. I remember the almost mythical nature when they first came out. And my first one was a Gen 2 model 17, that at first struck me as very interesting, but I ended up up selling it, and found my way back to a 1911 pretty quickly, and then to an HK USP, SIGs, and the rest. I came back to Glocks later with the Gen 3’s and spent a lot of time with them… Especially the Model 23’s. And pretty much always removed the finger groove thing, because they are awful. The 4th gen guns were, in my mind, gigantic disappointments. They offered nothing anyone actually asked for, and are nother more than a kneejerk reaction to the success of the Walthers and M&P’s swappable back straps. They did change the recoil springs to make the recoil feel a bit softer, but at the same time kinda messed up the formula because all the sudden some guys were experiencing more malfs than normal. So to me the 4ths are like the Windows VISTA of Glocks. That brings us to the 5th Gens. Where Glock finally did what every single person that raised an eyebrow at Glocks suggested – ditch the damn finger grooves. They cleaned up the recoil springs and triggers, and they didn’t futz around with the magazine wells with lips or cut outs or something that has always ruined a good feeling grip. Glock finally got it right. Now, they could have had this right at Gen 2, by simply listening to their customers and just adding in the frame rails for lights. A Gen 2 + if you will. Done. Simple. But I do like the ambi slid stop and reversible mag releases. They’ve come a long way. And the 5’s are wearing a new DLC finish too… Which looks very nice. My Glock Model 45 is easily my favorite Glock ever. And other than the XS sights, it’s completely stock. Because it didn’t need anything else. No aftermarket triggers, no Dremel work to the frame, nothing. This is a first for me. If you’ve not had a Glock in some time or ever… Take a good look at the 5th Gens.

In Defense of Snubs

The Snubby article Firearms News Magazine‘s page seems to want to sell SIG 365’s. Which is fine. However, it misses some things. Like the reasons to use a Snubby. So please, allow me to illuminate those dark areas of Reason.They are very safe. I don’t know of any case where a Modern Snub Nose Revolver has fired without the Shooter wanting it to be fired. Firing when dropped went out the window when the gun makers ditched putting the firing pin on the hammer. Rossi I think still makes revolvers like that – and I’m not a fan. The new revolvers from S&W, Ruger, Kimber… They simply can’t fire accidentally. Note I didn’t say negligently – if you pull the trigger it will go bang. And that leads to the next reason. Reliability. The gun isn’t going to care if you have premium ammo, cheap ammo, or even no ammo… The action will cycle as designed since it functions mechanically by the trigger and not by recoil. You can fire very light target loads, bird shot loads, and anything up to the heaviest loads… All of them. A recoil-operated semi auto needs ammunition loaded within a specific spectrum of weights and energy in order to cycle properly. Semi Autos also need a bullet shape that will allow it to fit in the magazine and feed reliably from the magazine. Revolvers will work as long as you can fit the cartridge in the cylinder and close the cylinder. In a semi auto, if that round fails, the gun has a stoppage and has to be cleared. In a revolver just pull the trigger again to cycle to the next round.That being said, revolvers can still fail, but the occurrence is far less likely. Size & Weight. The size and shape of a snubby is generally very small and can be carried very easily. These new Subcompact Autos are great, and can even be slimmer. Now, in the Semi’s… You have options of .380, 9mm in these subcompacts, with an occasional .40 cal if you have a Glock 27. For the same size of that .38 Snubby – you could get a .357 Snubby. About the same size and weight (slight differences that don’t make a difference) and then you have the option for all the .357 Magnum loads AND all the .38 Special Loads. Your snubby doesn’t have to be an Airweight, an Ultra Light, a Featherweight… Whatever you want to call it. You can get it in Titanium, Scandium, Polymer, or good old Steel, Stainless or Not. Depending on what you want to load in it, depending on what you like – You can have it your way. Simplicity. A revolver is the casual and classic Jeans and T-Shirt style of carry… It’s never going to look bad, even if it isn’t the popular thing. Mechanically, the manual of arms is as simple as a handgun can get. There’s a latch to open and close the cylinder and there’s a trigger. There’s no slide to manipulate, no slide release lever. And if you get a Hammerless Snubby, you don’t even have a hammer spur to worry about. This makes drawing from deep concealment very easy. Yeah, the felt recoil is sharper the lighter you go in the gun and the hotter you go in the ammo, but you can find loads that balance in a way you like. Another thing I like, is that it’s not spitting brass across the room when you fire it. You can simply dump the empty brass right here where you want them and you don’t need to go around trying to find them all before the police sho… I mean, before you leave the Range. This article says the sights are superior. And that’s generally the case, but you can get good sights on small revolvers too. With standard sights though, I outshot my entire Police Academy Class and took Top Shot using a Snub Nose .38 that I had put bigger grips on. In a class full of Glocks, Berettas, SIG’s and other such pistols… My little S&W Model 10 Snubby did the job. There is no Right or Wrong in what you want to carry if you can carry it concealed and if you can make your hits with it. Sure, the SIG 365 is a cool pistol, as well as the others like it… Hellcats, and the like. They are great. But so are Revolvers. If you can make your hits with it – that’s all that matters, no matter what you pick to carry… It’s not the Plane, it’s the Pilot. My Snubby? A Ruger SP101 in .357 and I use Speed Strips to hold my reloads. It’s accurate as hell and I can make hits with it like folks that don’t know me wouldn’t believe. I load it with 158 grain Semi-Jacketed Hollow Points that cause trauma on a level by which all other calibers are judged by. Only 5 Rounds? I’m confident I can resolve any realistic self defense scenario with this kit. All I’m saying is don’t turn up your nose at a Snub Nose.

CRKT Clever Girl

I’ve been looking at the Clever Girl for some time.  And I’ve met the designer some time ago at SHOT SHOW, and I liked him right off the bat and consider him to be a fine fellow.  He showed me his design, the Clever Girl, and I did like it then.  But I just couldn’t afford to get one.  And then CRKT came out with their Forged by War series with proceeds going to Veteran Organizations, and blades designed by Veterans.  So I just had to get one of these.  But timing put things on hold until recently.  So as soon as I could… I ordered it.

Okay, so the blade came pretty dang sharp. The belly is nice and thicc, the way I like a Bowie knife… and the tip has a needle-sharp point, like a Bowie. It’s just a clip point.
All Bowies are Clip Points, but not all Clip Points are Bowies.

Okay, back to the CG. Because of the belly and tip being like a bowie, I am naturally inclined to like it. Which I do. Very much so. The grip is properly grippy but doesn’t snag. And the handle area is generous. Its shape allows the comfortable use in a number of different grip techniques.

Overall the design is a good combination of fine-edged blade and an overall rugged use knife. For under $100, it’s a very good knife and a very good option.

CHANGES I’d Make to the Production Design: There are only two.
1. I would much rather have the grip scales being bolted on rather than riveted.
2. I would much rather have Micarta scales rather than G10.

I will put this blade up against the Cold Steel SRK, and Ka-Bar Marine Ka-Bar knives as being good Field Use knives. With the knowledge that the #1 use of such knives is Food Prep and whittling some fur sticks to get your fire started. This knife will do that just fine. The other purpose of say, blood-letting and sentry-removal type fantasy work – I’d say the Clever Girl could do that JUST FINE. Its sharp point will penetrate any part of the human anatomy with little problem and sever nerve and vein with equal ease.
Two thumbs up. Way up.

Boker XXL Kalashnikov Desert Warrior

I like big knives. Big knives make big cutting tasks small. I know a lot of guys like a smaller blade because they say smaller blades are easier to carry. And I can see their logic behind such statements, but I’m kind of wondering just how less difficult a smaller version of the Boker Kalashnikov would be. Because I don’t think it is. Now, I wear blue jeans every day. I have other pants, but I just don’t actually wear them. Because with my job I might have to jump on a motorcycle and do what I do… And I am not comfortable jumping on a bike while wearing dockers or some other flimsy pants. I tell you this because pretty much every red-blooded American person knows how the pockets of jeans are.

The Boker’s pocket clip is made for deep seating. And even with this bigger knife, going in deep… it fits just fine. Standing up, sitting down, jumping in and out of cars and on and off bikes… It’s not too big. It’s not caused any problems or discomfort. And I can still carry my car keys in the same pocket I carry my knife, like I always do. One of the reasons it’s comfortable while being so large is the thinner profile of the folded knife… it’s nice and flat.

This knife in particular is a BladeHQ exclusive called the Desert Warrior. Which gives you a copper colored blade coating with a green handle. BladeHQ has a lot of exclusives in this color combo from various makers… it’s their thing. I think it looks nice, but I’m not about to go nuts on it. Having lived in a high desert location for over a decade of my humble life, I’m not all that impressed with the desert. In fact, I could have easily have just taken a satin finished blade with a regular black handle. Because I pretty much don’t find coated blades all that special. Hard use makes all of them look shabby in short order. But the copper color does look nice on a new knife. We’ll see about this in a year or two how it has held up.

Being an Auto, it uses a very simple Button Lock. It’s slightly recessed and requires a firm and deliberate full in press for the blade to deploy. Having had an Auto deploy in my pocket and stab me – I appreciate the reduction in a possible repeat of that experience. It was very painful and it bled like a war wound… making a mess of a brand new Mazda Miata.

Size. Let’s look at it next to my Kershaw Launch 5. A Kershaw Emerson collaboration that was unfortunately a shorter run than I’d have liked. The blade is 4.75 inches long and the handle is a comfortable 5.8 inches. 10.6 overall when opened. And it weighs in at 6.4 ounces. It’s a Chonk, but it carries its weight well. It doesn’t feel heavy… but that is a lot of steel, so it’s no Benchmade Bugout.

The blade steel on this knife is “D2”, which is like saying “It’s made out of Steel”. D2, as I’ve said in other reviews is a broad spectrum description. There’s a whole range of formulas and hardnesses that can fall in that title. It’s a step up from AUS-8, to be sure. Really I put it on par with simple 440… in that the quality of the steel comes down to how well it was heat treated. But Boker does a good job of putting out a consistent quality… so I have no reason to question it. Manufacturing of this knife is done in Taiwan, so that is also a big step up. China will stamp D2 on blades made of aluminum foil, because China can simply not be trusted with anything.

Opening the knife is satisfying. It has a nice “Thwack!” It opens with some authority even for a big blade. But closing it isn’t like trying to reset a bear trap either.

Using the knife for cutting tasks in the kitchen is a lot of fun. The Bowie style blade is fully functional for food prep and well as any fantasy you might have of silent sentry removal. The blade actually reminds me of the AK-47’s Bayonet, which is pretty much where the knife gets its name from.

Other factors in quality such as blade play and blade centering and such… all good. I think this one of those cases where you are getting a bit more for the money you paid for it. The whole line is like that. Tough work-horse knives… Huh… Another good reason for the name. Well… there you have it.

I got this through BladeHQ. And you should too.

Fenix PD35 V3.0

Fenix has sent yet another light for my examination. And this one is a little different. The PD35 V3 has two buttons… One on the side near the bright end, which functions to select your output mode. The other is the tail-cap switch which activates the light. This is different from the other lights I’ve tested from Fenix and took a few moments to get used to. Since then I’ve been carrying and using it so I can formulate my considered opinions on it.

Like the other lights, this one is built just as solid, with the same high-quality construction and assembly that I’ve come to expect from Fenix. I wasn’t disappointed at all. And this one is a good chunk less money than some of the others I’ve reviewed.

The PD35 V3.0 has a Turbo Mode output of 1700 Lumens, which is a little less than some of the others I’ve tested. But in actual practical use… It’s more than enough output. I’m not signalling edgy solitary masked crime-fighters over here. I’m using them for more mundane tasks. Like finding that little spring that shot out of the firearm I was working on and bounced off the wall and back under my desk. I felt it hit my leg so it should be around here… somewhere. So here’s what you do. Take the Light, and on Medium Mode, which is 150 lumens… hold the light down low parallel to the floor and use the beam to scan around… There it is! Perfect. Oh, and here’s that Micro SD Card I was missing. How did that get down here?

Turbo Mode: 1700 Lumens with a run time of 1 hour and 25 minutes.
High Mode: 600 Lumens with a run time of 2 hours and 35 minutes.
Medium Mode: 150 Lumens with a run time of 8 hours and 30 minutes.
Low Mode: 50 Lumens with a run time of 26 hours and 25 minutes.
Eco Mode: 5 Lumens with a run time of a staggering 230 hours.
There is also the Strobe Mode at 1700 Lumens, for those that like to throw flashlight raves.
I find the steps between the light modes to be pretty good. As you jump between them, the difference is enough that you wont be doubting which is which here. In pitch black spaces, Eco Mode puts out enough light so you can see close by objects and is far more handy than one might think. The Medium’s 150 Lumens is actually brighter than my weapon-mounted light, which claims to be brighter. But it’s not.

The tail cap switch feels good too. Nice and tactile. It can be partially depressed for instant on and off work… Good for Room Clearing and such. And then all the way down you press till you feel the click and now you are in a Constant On until you click it again. The forward button will then cycle through the different light modes. If you press and hold the forward button, you get the disco mode. Which I find to be a completely useless feature but some Tactical Instructors claim it to be absolutely fabulous as a dazzler distraction device for use against bad guys. Frankly, I find it to be problematic as it dazzles both the operator and the target.

The clip is the same as on the other lights in this category. This means it’s good and functional and you never have to futz around with it or worry about it. And that’s about as high of praise as I can give a pocket clip.

If there is anything else to praise about the light – It’s the rechargeable batteries that Fenix is using. I didn’t use to be all that keen on Rechargeables as they never lasted as long or put out consistent power for consistent light. But Fenix has absolutely converted me. These batteries work great and are easy to recharge… I dig the hell out of these things. I also like how Fenix handles the recharging. There is no janky port on the light itself for recharging. You do have to open the light up and pull the battery out… That’s fine. Because when you put the charged battery back in, you have a nicely sealed unit. Unlike another brand which I wont mention that went tits up when I was caught out in the rain and they won’t even honor the warranty because I let it get wet.

This is a damn fine little Torch and is a member of a great family of lights. Direct from Fenix it’s retailing for $79.95. I’ve spent twice as much on lights that I don’t like half as well.
Check this one out here, and while there… browse the other lights in the PD Series!

crkt tuna

I used to really hate on CRKT. Just like I used to hate on Ruger. But over time when a company just keeps on making consistent improvements and good products, I’ll give them a nod of approval. Ruger has been hitting grand slam home runs on their guns for some years now… and so has CRKT. Now, they still make products I don’t care for. But I don’t instantly dismiss the entire brand anymore and in fact… seeing something new from CRKT will actually make me raise an eyebrow. And this “Tuna” actually raised both.

The Tuna is designed by Lucas Burnley, and it gets its name from the overall tuna-like shape. Unlike the Seiko Tuna series which gets the nickname from the can… The CRKT Tuna gets the name from the actual fish. I guess it kinda has that shape? Maybe? But not really. Still… It’s a nice shape.

It’s a sturdy design and feels very solid in the hand. Part of that is due to the Frame Lock design, which I like. The orange spacer and pivot ring give it a nice touch. The clip is a fairly unique design as well and is probably one of the best out there.

The clip affords a very deep pocket carry while staying nice and low profile. The above image shows the spacer giving you a little slot to attach a lanyard tail or something if you wish. Carrying it around other Knife Guys, more than a few asked about the knife I had on me… or challenged a Pocket Check just to see what it was.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Tuna is peak CRKT… For $44.95, it’s probably their best choice for an EDC knife. Now I say that because I’ve been comparing it to a couple of other knives that cost a whole lot more. But before we get to those… Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. And that’s going to be the blade steel. The Tuna is made with 8Cr12MoV. Which is China’s version of AUS-8. Now, you guys know that AUS-8 isn’t my favorite flavor of stainless. I hold it in about the same regard as bottle Equate Ibuprophen instead of a bottle of Advil Liquid Gels. Not everyone can tell the difference when you take it… But I can feel the difference. I’m well familiar with the characteristics. Also, there’s the whole CHINA factor, which I’m just not going to get into.
Now, a good friend sent this knife to me… And he sharpened the hell out of it. This thing slices insanely well. In fact, I used it for Food Prep shortly after getting it, and it sliced and diced like a gem. And it held that edge very very well compared to other knives with the same steel. Part of that reason is the nice curve to the blade’s cutting edge. It’s very similar to a Spiderco Native, but with an advantage… So let’s compare that.

Using the knife for some time now, I’ve found that the overall design is so fantastic for EDC, that I started to compare it to the Spyderco Native. It’s just a little bit larger folded, but thanks to the Native’s ricasso/choil area, the Tuna has a lot more cutting edge for not much more actual blade length. This makes the Tuna feel like a much large knife when in actual use. And the frame lock is quicker and easier to use to close the blade when you’re done using it. Advantage – Tuna. The Native is truly a fantastic EDC knife, but they go for pretty much double or more the cost of the Tuna. And if you are looking at things objectively, there’s little reason to justify it over the Tuna save for the myriad of options for clip placement on the Native. So if you are a backwards Lefthander from Down Under and have specific opinions on tip direction and pocket location… well, then maybe the Tuna isn’t the best option for you. It’s Tip Up Only in Tunaville.

I also like the fact that the Tuna’s Clip pretty much evaporates when the knife is in hand. It’s not a bother like on some knives. And the whole handle shape fits well in the hand for hard use and for delicate tasks. It’s just a very GOOD design. Combined with the low price… The Tuna is a very astute knife choice. You should get one for your rotation.

Allett Original Nylon Edition

Ever since I got my first Driver’s License, I’ve been using Leather Trifold Wallets. All my life. Save for that time in High School where it was the fad to use those nylon wallets with the velcro closure. I used one of those for like maybe a month or two. And then it was back to my classic leather trifolds. And a good quality one would last me a lot of years. And now that I’m older and I don’t carry lots of cash anymore, and I’ve pruned the number of cards that I feel like I need to carry around… Well, I just don’t need to carry around 1.5 inches thick worth of leather and plastic cards. I had been contemplating switching to something thin and light. So when I was offered the Allett Original, I thought “Sure, why not?”

At first, when I got the package and opened it up… I thought maybe perhaps this was a mistake. There’s no weight to it. No heft. No gravitas.

The material looks like the same kind of Ripstop material my last pair of issued BDU’s were made of. Super light, this thing weighs nothing. And it feels like there’s something in between the layers?It’s a bit “crinkly”. Light and crinkly. No, I wasn’t impressed. At first.

With four card slots and a main pocket for cash that’s sectioned… I was thinking “Wait a second, I thought this was supposed to be a wallet?” But I told myself that I was going to be objective. So I pulled out my old wallet, which was thick and heavy. Probably as thick as a dozen of these skinny little Alletts… so I took a deep breath, and I transferred things over.

All of the sudden was like “Hold Up”. By dividing the card loadout instead of stacking… Huh. Okay, I can see maybe Allett is actually on to something.

I had decided that I would give this Wallett a go and after some time, formulate my opinion. Maybe after a week. Well, let me cut to the chase. I didn’t need a week. I only needed a day. This thing is so skinny and light, that I don’t even feel it. Driving to work or throwing a leg over a motorcycle, I don’t have that old familiar wedge under my hip bone. I don’t have that heavy lump on my ass like a giant tumor. It’s just… Comfortable. That very top photo in this Post, that’s after a few days of use… And it’s well… It’s my wallet now. It just is.
As a BONUS… It’s said to be RFID Blocking. So that had to be put to the test. One of my cards has an RFID chip embedded into it. So I can just tap it to a reader and there’s a transaction for a Breakfast Burrito and a Monster Energy Drink. So this morning I pulled out my wallet and tapped the reader… and nothing happened. Tapped it again with the card in the wallet and the Cashier kinda looked at me funny. So, not wanting to waste any more of her time, I pulled the card out and tapped it, and Presto! The Burrito and Monster were now mine to consume. The wallet had blocked the RFID as advertised.

Back in my car with a mouth full of breakfast burrito, I snugged back into my seat, wallet where my wallet always goes… and I couldn’t even feel it there. I had to double-check that it was there. And thankfully it was. Of course it was. So, there you have it… The wallet performs perfectly as a wallet, it’s super comfortable, and it blocks RFID readers from reading the chip.

The best thing about it? It’s less than half the price of what I normally spend on a leather wallet. So in my mind, it’s functional and affordable. And if someone was to scan your card without you knowing? Stealing your info and accounts? I don’t know about you, but I certainly can’t afford that. You need one of these Allett Originals.

Get One: Fenix e12 V2.0

The E12 V2.0 by Fenix is proof that you don’t have to be the Biggest and Brightest to be the most useful. In essence, Size Doesn’t Matter. Not really when it comes to Lights that is. Okay, so the E12 is a compact little LED light powered by a single AA battery, that has proven to be far more useful for common tasks than it has any right to be. Small and Simple, sure… But at the same time, damn near perfect.

The previous Fenix lights I’ve reviewed are much larger by comparison, and by order of magnitude, far brighter. They project enough light to make even a Lighthouse blush. And that’s fantastic for the purpose of signaling for edgy superheroes or for hunting German Bombers over London… But sometimes you just don’t need to fire off that many photons. Like if you are in your office and drop a contact lens, or you’re trying to follow a cable under your desk… Or the supply closet is just too dim to read which printer toner cartridge you need because they all look the same and you have to actually read the code in small print and it’s not your job to find a ladder to change the lightbulb overhead… But I digress. No, that’s not oddly specific… just a plausible example, you know? Don’t judge me.

As you can see, the E12 isn’t as long or as girthy as the others. But it’s about how you use it… and it gets more play than the others because it’s never “Too Much”. It’s sized just right. And while the others use Rechargeable batteries, the E12 is only using a single AA battery type which is as common and basic of a battery as a pumpkin spice latte is in the hands of a white girl in October. I’m not judging, I’m just saying they’re everywhere. *Gestures around* Just look. Every line at the Grocery Store has them hanging there waiting for you. Every 7-11 or Quick Trip has them for you at 3:00 AM if you need them. And they’re cheap. You can buy a pack of 4 for the same price as 1 of another popular tactical-type battery that I won’t mention. It’s probably the most universal battery type on the planet. I was once in a place that didn’t speak English as a norm and when I said “Double A Battery” they still knew what I wanted and I got them. Now, just for safety sake, if you have to go to LA, bring an extra set of batteries just in case… you know?

But you’ll probably not need an extra battery… because at the Low Setting, that little AA battery is going to last 70 hours. Using the battery that came in the package with the light, the longevity was as advertised. With an ADVANCED LITHIUM, well, I don’t know… it’s still going strong and I’ve been using the hell out of this E12 because it’s become just so very useful. It’s replaced my STREAMLIGHT Pen Light that uses two batteries. I liked the Streamlight for the same reasons, useful output without being too much, and a common battery type. But it’s too long, and it doesn’t have selectable brightness modes. This makes the E12 a clear winner if you’re looking for a flashlight that is just flat-out USEFUL. It’s small size is handy “EDC” purposes and it saves the batteries in my more serious use lights from mundane purposes that don’t involve blinding Antifa Zombies.

At HIGH, 160 Lumens is more than enough for going into the basement to find that can of paint you knew you put away. Medium’s 30 Lumens is actually perfect for most things. And if your wife is asleep and you don’t want to wake her up, the Low setting’s 5 Lumens will get you to the bathroom and back without stubbing the everliving crap out of your little toe, again.

The body of the little E12 is solid aluminum, with some ridges going around it to help prevent it from getting slippery. This is important because it is small in the hands and could be difficult to keep hold of without it. Small, lightweight, but doesn’t feel “Cheap” at all. Sturdy. Like Gimili from LOTR. And if you don’t know who that is, you are sad, and Google is your friend.

The Tailcap Switch is great… A quick tap to change between the three modes, and a firm Click to turn it on and off while staying in the last mode you used. This is about perfect, and is a feature missing from the other light I mentioned that this has replaced. In fact, I gave the other light away. I don’t need it anymore. I have the E12 now.

The Clip allows for “Tip Up” or “Tip Down” carry and it does carry very well… and I find it goes nicely in my pocket alongside a folding knife without competing for space. I also find that I’m carrying this light more than the others and after using it for a couple of weeks, I can find no fault with it.
If you are interested in this light, or the many others Fenix makes, take a minute to browse their Site. They have no less than a Dozen lights for EDC use, and they have lights all the way up to serious Search and Rescue use and everything in between. A truly impressive array of options. But get the E12… It’s too damn good not to have one of these. Just Get it:
FENIX E12 V2.0

The Internet's Original Critic