But You Can Smile While You’re Shoppin’, Can’t You?
Wait a minute! Why am I writing about self-defense? Back in March didn’t the nation’s number-one expert on firearms and self-defense answer all questions and settle all issues on the subject? My goodness, all anybody needs is a double-barreled shotgun, a balcony to blast a couple of rounds from and a door to blindly shoot through, right? Problem solved!
Hmm… well, despite that sage advice from a man one heartbeat away from the presidency, let’s take a quick peep at some “best of the breed” self-defense goodies:
If you haven’t already got one, and you’re not on a back-order list for a Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm or a Springfield Armory XD-S .45 ACP, you’d better jump now if you want to take delivery before 2014. I’ve been unimpressed with a lot of new handguns in recent years, but having tested and written up both of ’em, these are 5-star superb defensive pistols. With great ergonomics resulting in natural pointing, reduction of recoil effect and fast-action accuracy, both ran virtually flawlessly with a range of ammunition types and slug weights.
I won’t go into details, because we’ve already run feature articles about them. Both are slim and light but powerful and built strong; essentially flat-sided and free of snag-prone projections, they’re sweet shooters, ideal for concealed carry, with excellent safety systems. Demand drives the market, and the accessory manufacturers have responded with alacrity.
LaserMax describes their CenterFire laser for the Shield, shown on the S&W Shield, as “part work of art, part state of the art,” and they’re right: in texture and lines, it blends almost seamlessly with the Shield’s frame and triggerguard, and packing a laser, battery, ambidextrous switch and windage and elevation adjustments into such a small device is cutting-edge tech.
The XD-S wears a fully programmable Viridian Green Laser C5L light-and-laser unit, combining a micro-sized 100-lumen tactical light and a green laser that’s daylight-visible up to 200 yards, and at night up to two miles, all in a rugged compact case that doesn’t extend past the pistol’s stubby muzzle.
They’re resting on a bed of outstanding holsters—an appendix-carry IWB from Blade-Tech, two flat-fitting Kydex-and-leather models from Crossbreed, and a featherweight, minimalist IWB from VersaCarry, a radically different design which uses a “muzzle plug” and an extremely low-mass skeletonized structure to create a surprisingly comfortable carry rig. They’re all well worth your attention.
The TT-5 Tactical Flashlight from TerraLUX Portable is one tough, super-bright, well-engineered light. Powered by two 123A lithium batteries, it gives you a surprising 2.7 hours runtime at a blinding 650 lumens; 7.3 hours on 150, 295 hours on 10, and 4.4 hours on its 650-lumen strobe. The tailcap has two buttons, a larger round one, which controls momentary and constant-on, and a smaller curved mode button, which controls High, Medium and Low-power levels. From OFF or any lumen-level of ON, if you hit and hold the Mode button it goes straight to 650-lumen strobe—nice when you need it fast!
Construction materials and quality are excellent. The lens is tempered glass, the body is CNC-machined 6061 aluminum Type III hardcoat anodized, and the removable crenellated strike bezel is stainless. It’s waterproof for 4 hours at 2 meters and heavily shock-suppressed. At just under 6 inches long and weighing 6 ounces, the TT-5 comes with pocket clip, belt pouch, lanyard, spare rubber tailcap cover and replacement O-rings. Price is $139.99.
Gunn-Worn Concealment Vests by Kakadu Australia are the best concealed-carry vests I’ve found. Most CC vests I’ve tried are like dropping a brick into a windbreaker, or, their “anti-printing panels” look and feel like you’re packing sheets of cardboard. I’ve been wearing two of Kakadu’s vests for 6 months now and I give them 5 stars for comfort, concealment, security and speed. The Hoover model shown is a lined and quilted MicroWax oilskin with deep handwarmer pockets, and for warmer weather, the Delta is a multipocketed, fully lined canvas model.
Their prime feature is the CCIS—Concealed Carry Internal System—with large, fast-access interior holster pockets, each containing a stable, heavy-duty holster on both left and right sides, plus two heavy elasticized tunnels, one sized for double-stack and one for single-stack mags. They work fine for knives, lights and pepper spray too. The holster pockets are tagged into both the shoulders and armholes of the vest, so you get the comfortable suspension of a shoulder holster without any flopping around. The Hoover lists for $175.99.
Viridian Green Laser makes superb light-and-laser units for handguns, and now their ECR (Enhanced Combat Ready) TacLoc holsters take the tech to a new level. With an ECR holster, you take your pistol equipped with a VGL unit like the X5L for larger pistols or the C5L for smaller ones, program them the way you like—light only, laser only, light-and-laser, pulsing or steady, whatever—and with the unit on, holster it. The unit turns off. The instant you draw, it’s on! No manipulation is needed. Shove your roscoe back in the holster and it turns off again. A pal of mine’s “bedside buddy” is a full-size SIG with an X5L mounted. The ECR holster is affixed to the side rail of his bed. All he has to do is draw, and his light and laser are on—nice.
The latest from VGL is the micro-sized REACTOR 5 green laser for Ruger’s LCP—and accompanying it, an ECR pocket holster! Yup, pull the LCP from the pocket holster and it’s on. I only have company-provided photos of it for now.
Doesn’t it make sense that your home defense handgun should carry rounds designed for safe and effective use inside your home? Federal Premium Guard Dog Home Defense ammo delivers. Featuring patented EFMJ (Expanding Full Metal Jacket) lightweight, polymer-filled slugs, you get minimized penetration through interior walls and reduced ricochet danger coupled with reliable feeding, low recoil and high velocity.
Conventional hollowpoints tend to fill up with drywall and other barrier materials, fail to expand, and over-penetrate. Guard Dog slugs do just the opposite, expanding and flattening. They’re also an excellent choice where hollowpoints are prohibited. Guard Dog ammo is available in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 Auto—and I’m hoping soon in .38 Special too.
If an AR is part of your home-and-grounds defense battery, the Mossie Midnight Mount from BattleComp can solve your weaponlight mounting problems. Maybe you don’t have a rail, or if you do, you may not care for the way a light typically mounted in the 3-, 6- or 9-o’clock position is blocked by the weapon, throwing big shadows, or the needless illumination of the whole front end of your carbine. The Mossie, precision machined from 6061 T6 aluminum and Mil Type III hard anodized, attaches to the forward member of your standard front sight assembly and is held securely in place by two set screws inside steel helicoil mounts.
This places your light or light/laser unit just above your barrel at 12 o’clock, near the muzzle, so all your light is projected dead ahead with minimal shadow effect. Two versions are available, one with a Weaver-type slot and a 1913 rail version with four slots. It’s a light, slick setup, priced at $74.99.
Lots of people have asked for a recommendation on an everyday-carry locking-blade folding knife that’s capable of defensive use and general utility too—something light and agile. Then they drop the bomb: “And cheap, too!” Thanks, y’all. But we just evaluated Maxpedition’s new FEROX knives for American COP Magazine, and—we have a winner!
Made in China and bargain-priced, we were prepared to be underwhelmed. But our samples had all the right stuff: smooth action, secure lockup, lack of wiggle, edge sharpness out of the box, fit and finish, all showed high quality control. The pocket clips are strong and stiff, the fiber-reinforced nylon handle scales are nicely sculpted and textured, and overall performance, like going totally 1-handed from the pocket into use and back to the pocket, and fast opening via either the thumbstud or flipper, is right on the money.
The 3.25-inch blades are blackened 5Cr13 and liners are stainless steel. They’re available in black, green and khaki, serrated or plain-edge, for $29.99 each. They’re a best buy for the bucks.
Hey! I almost forgot to mention your government-recommended self-defense tools! Everybody got a ballpoint pen and a whistle? Cool. And don’t forget: when seconds mean life or death, the police are only minutes away. Connor OUT
By John Connor
3495 Winton Pl., Bldg. B
Rochester, NY 14623
1830 Lefthand Cir., Ste. B
Longmont, CO 80501
Kakadu Traders Australia, Inc.
12832 N.E. Airport Way
Portland, OR 97230
900 Ehlen Dr.
Anoka, MN 55303
Battle Comp Enterprises
101 Hickey Blvd, Ste. A455
South San Francisco, CA 94080
P.O. Box 5008
Palos Verdes, CA 90274
11582 Jackrabbit Ln.
Bryan, TX 77808
Viridian Green Laser
5475 Pioneer Creek Dr.
Maple Plain, MN 55359
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