Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Little bores for bigger roles

It's not my standard Modus operandi to link other articles (okay except for the ones I write elsewhere for other people) but, I thought I would share this one.

The plinker went to war The IDFs Ruger 10 22

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I had penned something along the same vein . To be honest on any given day I can be accused of being a Caliberist, I am of the old school thought that I like a large bore pistol when I can have it, and fortunately I can have it on a daily basis.

That said there is also a real need for diversity in the civilian defensive tool box and sometimes we all (self-included) can fall into the pit of latest and greatest buy-me-now craze. Fact is most of us are already pretty well geared up more than we know and the money desired to be spent on a new gun could be better served in buying spare mags and getting to the range.

While we all in the gun culture or defense community have our pet peeves and prejudices, whether it's AK vs AR, Steel vs Tupperwear....I mean plastic, the .22 LR and specifically the .22 long gun very much has a place in your kit.

Friday, October 2, 2015


What we should stop doing in the wake of any attack from anyone is listening to the "talking" points of academics, politicians, or psychologists who have no real world experience in most anything let alone contending with dangerous armed men bent of committing evil. And instead listen to dangerous, armed men who are committed to preserving society.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tactical Concealment

For many of you who read here you might get something from an article I wrote for the NRA's Shooting Illustrated.

Shooting illustrated's looking for Concealment

Monday, September 7, 2015

Gear Review: CRKT Otanashi Noh Ken

Life often involves more adapting to it than getting what you want out of it. Travel the world in any small capacity and you learn this somewhat rather quickly. Back when the Afghanistan and Iraq military campaigns were going on strong and Blackwater held a very significant presence there was a common misconception that if you were in the private contractor trade and could pay enough graff that you could travel large portions of the world armed. In some cases it was and is true but by large margin it was not.

When I first started in the executive protection game two decades ago it was surprising how often that work would not involve carrying a gun of any kind. Back then (and still now) in many parts the globe and the U.S. as well conceal carry laws were fewer and reciprocity was essentially unheard of.

The common and predominate thought becomes "How do you bodyguard without a gun?". You just do, liking it has no part in the equation if you are going to go about it. Professionals do it all over the world everyday. For me in these days of late not all work travel is protection. There have been critical extractions, K&Rs negotiations, and intelligence gathering operations for any number of reasons and clients.

On a somewhat now infamous job Central America I had to surrender a Beretta Bobcat for various reasons and was left with being armed with a knife and a collapsible baton. In the ensuing days and nights having a gun of any caliber would have been nice but as the man once said, "wish in one hand...."

Sometime after that I was preparing to go overseas into Pakistan, then India carrying a gun was almost possible right up until it was not. CRKT had just come out with the Hissatsu, this being the original fixed blade model. For me and at that time, it was exactly the knife I needed and wanted. It was slim, trim and a straight up fighting knife and not am over sized wilderness survival knife. The only caveat I had with the knife is that I've never been crazy about the sheath for it. Someday someone will have to explain to me how knife makers can come up with brilliant knife designs, be willing to charge a premium, then do such an incredibly  bad job at sheath design when it comes to either practical carry or for that matter discreet carry.

Eventually I was able to work it out a couple of solid carry methods with for it. One being inverted under my shirt, carried under my arm pit via what essentially was a paracord shoulder cord rig. This worked well for riding in a vehicle for hours at a stretch. The other was an in-the-waistband cross draw, another hung inverted down the small of my back.

The knife did in fact prove invaluable on the job in thwarting an attack along a road side. A large bladed knife transcends any language barrier. But, on the thirty-five hour flight home after carrying the large fixed blade for a month I began working out what I liked and did not like about it.

What I did not like was the difficulty in concealing the knife on my person, and there is also the risk of it not being well received by customs or the local law enforcement should such a knife be discovered. You can expect much in the way of inquiry into your person. Having been there and done that with the questions from across the desk and not being in the land of the free and the home of the brave, I can assure you even when the conversation ends up "okay" you don't care to revisit it anywhere. The Buck Nighthawk that I carried into Central America was confiscated in England thanks to their draconian knife laws. In my experience most countries pay no attention to a fixed bladed knife in a checked bag but as the world gets smaller and tighter they will and knives weird the sheep out.

So upon return home the interest turned towards finding a tactical folder that followed the same lines at the Hissatsu fixed blade. I didn't have to look or wait long because about a month later the Hissatsu Folder came out. I ordered one immediately.

When I finally got it I actually hated it. Quite a bit.

This was partially due to the AUTOLAWKS system on the knife. It was counter-intuitive to anything I had been dealing with at that time of three decades of knife handling. To me it was half lawyer switch/ half boy scout safety knife system. I despised it. When I ordered it I thought it was an optional thing I could use, if desired. Instead it was the button safety on a lever gun. Ugly and I hated it.

Mind you, it had nothing to do with whether or not it worked. It wasn't optional and therefore hated.

Over the next few days the knife started to grow on me and I grew less interested in sending it back, but the AUTOLAWKS system had to go and it did. In somewhat of unglorious fashion with a hex headed driver of appropriate size I stood at the work bench and happily voided any warranty the knife had, but once back together and in fine working order I liked the knife far better.

It did not really see active duty in the everyday carry sense for any period of time. Instead it became relegated to what I referred to "gym" duty and wore it in my waist band as I worked out. Around that time I decided to begin hitting the lap pool at the gym again and two nights a week, there clipped to the waistband of my swim-trunks lap after lap was the Hissatsu folder.

I did have to be mindful about the edge getting rust on it but, not paranoid and it has continued to thrive in water environments onward.

I also liked that the knife also has this element of classic switchblade to it, while not being as delicate, and after a rocky start it found it's way into my everyday carry rotation.

But much like the first season of a television show, sometimes it takes a while to work out the kinks. The overall idea being sound but, the details could use improvement.Eventually James Williams and CRKT found their shui in my opinion with the Otanashi Noh Ken.Whatever first impressions the Hissatsu Folder gave me, the Noh Ken was a complete 180. I liked it from the start and have been carrying it everywhere ever since.

The short description I would give you is, through all of my years running a protection detail or working in unfriendly realms this was the knife I was waiting for. I promise you that is not solicited bullshit.

Mind you there are a lot of wonderful tactical folders out there. I've owned many of them, and I will own more. That's just knife life and there is no sense in apologizing for it.

So why the the Otanashi Nok Ken?

As much as I hate working, consulting, problem solving or however you title the work I do; some of the cities, regions and environs that I traverse to are not gun friendly. Some you who read this corner of the web on occasion work in far far less friendly areas and do so in true black. Many of you also work everyday in gun unfriendly office spaces. But most of us can either carry or smuggle a knife in one way or another if need be. In this vein we are talking about it in a personal defensive role. When folded into it's handle it is both flat and thin. It's very rectangular shape allows for a certain level of camouflaging when placed in a gear bag, shaving kit, or IT equipment pack, if you are of that ilk.

One of the problems in carrying the larger tactical folders is that they are not just big, but they can also be obnoxiously big, rough handled, thick handled and thick bladed. From a durability standpoint these things all sound good because they tend to be tough as hell. But much like the .22 in the hand is better than the .45 at home mantra the same can be true of the behemoth folders. If you don't have it with you it's not going to do you any good.

They also tend to be hard on the liners of pockets and aren't necessarily good at doing sometimes simple tasks. Like slicing something other than an attacker.

If you ever have picked up a filet knife and thought "this would make a good defensive knife if it was sturdier and had a thicker blade" that is kind of what you are getting with the Otanashi Noh Ken.

The blade comes in at 4 and a half inches which can be an issue for carrying some places. That said...the blade is four and a half inches which translates to being very effective against an attacker.

When we talk about knife defense work we have to be very honest about it, because a knife does up close what the bullet does from distance. And sometimes it does more so.

With it's longish blade the capability to deflate a lung, cause rapid blood loss from strikes to the the right and left carotid arteries the trachea, or getting very successful deep wound penetration on areas of the shoulder and biceps is most certainly there.

While that may make you cringe, or read it with some offense it's worth noting that, if you found yourself being shoved into a van, or on your back onto the pavement of some dark parking lot and are armed only with a knife....

This is what you want to be doing, And you want to be doing it with a strong insistence towards repetition.

Regarding the LAWKs system on the knife, either mine is broke or they finally got smart and made it optional where you can engage it or disengage it at will.  While the knife experts like to drone on and on about steel, whether or not is AT593f'd or something. Here is my thought process towards it. It maintains an edge very well, along with a fierce point and is readily touched up or resharped as needed. Knives lose their edges and you have to re-sharpen them. That's life. Much like that green light you see tomorrow will eventually turn red. Deal with both and move on along.

Opening is easy enough via the thumbstud mounted onto the blade. It's also very easy to open via good old fashion inertia. Something that should be encouraged in it's practice.

Large bladed aside, it's size and length are also advantageous as to it's grip length, not only because it will fit a wide array of hands but in colder climates and months the knife is easy to manipulate with gloves, in all fashions.

Lastly, upon the knife itself. They got the clip right on the Noh Ken where they got it wrong on the Hissatsu folder. While I get that the clip is part and parcel to the modern knife industry here is why I am pointing this out specifically.

In cold weather I commonly wear a button up coat or a wool vest. In between buttons, riding vertically, I like to clip a folder to the inside of the garment. While fundamentally functional it is more often than not, not well concealed in this position. Largely this is based upon the fact that of the knives I carry the clip is mounted lower on the knife, which in turn means the knife rides higher....or in this case juts outward.

This is a very accessible angle and position when riding in a vehicle and on the street it allows for primary access to a secondary weapon when my pistol is concealed. The Otanashi Noh Ken's clip is so well placed on the knife that it rides very very deep and is ideal for this type of vertical chest carry. Something not often easily obtained in cold weather defensive carry for any weapon.

Which brings me to my last criticism towards the knife. While the clip on the knife is dark and blends well against all but the lightest backgrounds and it has an Achilles heel with the lettering CRKT running down it. This and the silly Japanese writing and English translation "Otanashi Noh Ken" on one side of the blade and CRKT on the other rob the knife of the sterility that is envisioned behind it's purpose. It also reminds me of the cheap military inspired knives I use to buy on vacation when I was a twelve year old boy. So there maybe some paint remover in the knife's future, just to give it the nod of quiet it is supposed to represent.

Those very minor criticisms aside...

If I were sending a daughter off to college or into her young years of adult life and she was weapon friendly while her locales were not so much but a knife was doable, the Otanashi Noh Ken would be a very good choice as a companion for the subway station or the walks across a dark campus.

Here on the internet everyone is a Tier 1 Delta SEAL Recon sniper agent. I get that. But there is also the reality of the world where there are in fact any number of men and women who work in the intelligence game around the world, with and without the benefit of the diplomatic passport. Some of them come off "the farm" some of them don't and while every regular joe thinks these folks are well trained and well equipped you'd be surprised by how little they operate with. In my experience, they tend not to think about anything that wasn't provided to them by the government (you think I am joking). If they are fortunate enough to carry a gun, it's because they checked it out from someone's armory however, most of them work their careers unarmed. That does not however mean that they don't put their lives on the line in the process.

Faced with the prospect of not having any type of significant weapon at my disposal while working anywhere overseas for a couple of years or longer before coming home and wanted an edged insurance policy that was both readily capable of handling one of more attackers in a close up fight but required it to be discreetly carried, I would be hard pressed to not choose it.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Flight Risk

Prior to 9/11 a person could fly with a pocket knife. In most airport arenas this constituted a blade of 4 inches or less, and it was generally recognized that airport security went with their respective State's blade length law.

At that time I, like hundreds of thousands, if not millions of travelers carried a knife when they flew. In the early to mid 90s I carried a then standard Spyderco Endura as an everyday carry. That is until the day I went to depart from Atlanta airport. A private uniformed security guard informed me that I would not be able to fly with the knife and that he would have to confiscate it. When I inquired as to why, as the blade length was not prohibited he stated that it was deemed to have an "aggressive edge" (read: it was serrated). A knife is a knife there is no such thing as an "aggressive edge" no matter what century you live in but, the confiscation was going to happen regardless. He apologized for the rules but suddenly seemed irritated when I opened the blade, stuck it under the heel of my boot and snapped the blade off.

Upon returning home I decided to circumnavigate the "rules and regulations" of flying with a knife and purchased a Spyderco Native with a plain edge (along with another Endura). From 1996 to 2001 the Native became my "flying" knife. 

Then of course we all know what happened in September of 2001 and the course of domestic airline security made sweeping changes, but only in the bureaucratic sense.

Going on fourteen years later and countless number of flights we are not safer. Our pre-flight security is not handled by professional armed counter-terrorist profilers greeting you on the walk through to your plane. Instead we have gross inefficiency that rivals what we had before 9/11 only under the federal banner.

To be frank. I should be allowed to fly with my knife. So should my 60-something Vietnam veteran Father-in-law who recently had his dull as butter, tip broken, small Trapper taken from him because he left it in his pants pocket. And so should anyone else.

But if we wanted to have a set of rules for flying with a knife then we would have to look no farther than the wallet. Because if a person can produce a conceal carry permit or a Federal Firearms License then why shouldn't they be allowed to carry a knife. Because gun owners, unlike every other American, has been routinely subjected to background checks and fingerprinting that goes through state and federal records that deem them "okay."

I shouldn't need to go through a TSA background check so I can get permission to keep my boots and belt on. I've already done my background work. As a matter of fact I've done it several times in a couple of states. In essence my ccw says "trustworthy".

Instead we are regulated to being continually treated like cattle, children, and criminal suspects all lumped into one line for the stupidity of political correctness. Instead of well paid, and well healed effectiveness.

Because while you can not, under any circumstance, legally fly with a pocket knife you can however hand them your credit card and proceed to get drunk, potentially belligerent, or mood alternated to the point you go for the emergency exit door handle at thirty-five thousand feet.

But granddad's Case trapper knife is a problem.

I want my knife back, my pants belted, my boots on and everyone's dignity in place when they travel. Why we have allowed ourselves to be victimized by this idiocracy continues to astound me.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Scout Rifle Study

I like practical rifles and for years the scout concept has appealed to me. A decade or more ago I toyed with the idea of a custom build (those old Brockman sights just looked great for starters), and honestly that was really the way you obtained one if you didn't pony up for the Steyr Scout. Eventually the idea just lost traction for a number of reasons, cost being one, the other being that I owned two .30-06s what did I need with a .308 (talk about dumb reasons to not buy a new rifle).

Yet in the last few years since Savage started running a line on Scouts then Ruger picked up the ball, maybe especially since Ruger, I've yearned to fulfill the void.

The Scout Rifle, the Patrol Rifle and all of their kin in between as been a sound concept in my opinion, because despite the AR's popularity and overall general usability, the Scout rifle can travel anywhere you can take a rifle be it into the less free states here in the U.S. or hunting abroad. In my line of work, where I do travel with a work rifle on a semi-regular basis being able to stay within the legal parameters is paramount. And in the possible scenario of having to deploy a rifle for defensive work I'd be massively surprised if a complete reload would be required of any repeating rifle. Note I didn't say not to have reloads readily available, I said required.

I see you apocalypse-man with your finger in the air and your mouth opened.

All things aside noted gun-writer Richard Mann is conducting what is probably the first in depth investigation and study into the Scout Rifle concept over at his blog  empty-cases, since Jeff Cooper went on to Valhalla and preach the gospel of the modern technique. You know, the one all of these neat kids on the internets keep re-inventing all the time.

What has always intrigued me about the Scout-general-purpose-utility-rifle concept is the idea of if you were limited to one rifle, whether for a limited period of time until you expanded your personal collection, or were somewhat bound by finacial constraints to own only one, why this concept works not only as a hunting arm, but a defensive and recreational one as well. Because proficiency comes from owning a gun you enjoy shooting and want others to shoot as well.

Monday, April 27, 2015

If I may offer some advice....

I get inundated with "security advice" questions all the time in life. Riot breaks out somewhere, the emails and phone calls come in. Spree shooter sets about murdering as many people as he possibly can, the emails and phone calls come in. A bad guy goes an...well you get the picture.

There's always this string of questions. What caliber? What plan? What tactic? What bag should I EDC (every day carry) and what gear should I EDC in my EDC bag?

Questions, questions, questions.

Allow me to answer in brevity that is devoid of any sarcasm and is the most sincerest answer I know to give.

When the wolf comes to kill don't worry about the sheep, don't worry what kind of dog you may be or may not be. Don't worry about getting killed, don't worry about the aftermath, don't worry...about anything.


Make a decision to stop the wolf and then go stop him.

Stop him where he stands by whatever means necessary and don't do it with kindness, don't do it with anger, do it with sincere an solid intent that he will never stand again.

We live in a very modern age but the bad men of the world are very old in their ways and desire. And for old problems new answers are rarely the solution.

You stop a bad man by making a decision. That decision is all that will matter until the future of everything being over arrives. Give no yield, no quarter, no pause. Do nothing less than be victorious. There is no shortage of bad men in the world and there will never be a shortage of such men. But they, the creatures that go bump in the night, the wolves at the door, are thwarted by decision and decisive action.

It's not caliber, capacity, polymer nor steel that overcomes the evil of this world but rather bravery.

Be brave. Be Brave. Be Brave.

Oregon school shooting stopped by teacher Todd Rispler