Cheap Bags for Bringing Ammo to the Range

I had been looking for an inexpensive way to transport a day’s worth of ammo without having to buy more clunky .30 or .50 ammo cans. I had some of these inexpensive dry bags from a previous camping trip, and it turns out they’re great for toting ammo. They’re tough, cheap, and they conform to the space available in the range bag. I’ve used all the bag sizes to hold ammo from .22lr through 7.62×39. Depending on the bag and caliber, you can get 300-400 cartridges in them pretty easily. No need to buy an expensive custom bag system like the Ammo Sac or the G-Code Bang Box, which I would happily use instead if it were given to me.

Just dump the loose rounds into a dry bag, roll the top, and clip it. Give them a try, I think you’ll find them useful.

Dry Bags for Ammo

That’s it. Keep your ammo organized for maximum fun and profit.

Mark



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Discreet Long Gun Carriage Options

 

Many (read: most) of us live in urban areas where we are constantly being scrutinized by our neighbors. I have lived in crowded Atlanta apartment complexes and neighborhoods for over a decade with plenty of sidewalk traffic, and currently I’m in a suburban neighborhood full of nosy dog walking neighbors. I don’t need those people to know that I’m carrying thousands of dollars in weapons and ammunition when I’m going out for a day at the range. I also don’t need to draw attention to myself when travelling for conferences or classes when I enter the motel with a pelican case full of gear, if I can help it.

My modus operandi has always been misdirection and camouflage in the transport of my firearms.

There are plenty of purpose built “discreet” weapon bags on the market, almost all of which are out of my price range. I have personal experience with getting a car broken into in West Midtown Atlanta for a backpack in the rear of my hatchback. So I know that even if a bag doesn’t look like it contains guns, it still might draw unwanted attention.

I want to disguise my guns to whatever extent possible AND make them unattractive to passersby in the event they are unattended for a short time. If I know the guns are staying in the car, I’ll use a cable and padlock.

Commercial Options

Here’s a few commercial and purpose built discreet gun cases. Click the photos to check them out.

This UTG bag, $56, looks a lot like an overbuilt tennis racket bag to me.
Battle Steel Discreet Bag $53 (Literally I think this is a repackaged Tennis Racket Bag)
Hazard 4 Battle Axe. $189 This is great in theory, but guitars are also easy to steal and sell, so that turns me off to guitar cases.

The Cheaper Way

So what are our options for discreet rifle bags that won’t raise undue attention, and aren’t a target for theft themselves?

So far, I’ve considered and used:

I personally will immediately discount the tool bag and guitar bag because even though you might not get made for carrying a long gun, you’re still a target for people wanting to steal a bunch of tools or an instrument. Though this is less of an issue if you always are in control of the bag and don’t leave it unattended or in view in a vehicle. I’d be fine with either if I had a trunk. Personal situations will determine.

I figure that no one wants a camp chair someone has been farting in, nor do they want a sweaty yoga mat. Also, who plays tennis? It just so happens that the yoga mat bag fits my new Mossberg Shockwave, and WASR10 with magpul zhukov folding stock pretty well. I have to keep a 30 round mag for the AK in the on-board storage pouch, but that’s no big deal. A simple 6″ pvc end cap stuffed at the bottom hides the sharp muzzle and keeps everyone calm, until it’s time to not be calm.

I’ve carried full length shotguns and even a mosin-nagant in a folding camp chair bag. You can buy just the bags for not much money and in various lengths.

*Always check the dimensions of your chosen long gun against the bag you’re about to buy. This bag I’m using is 26″ long, but the fabric will reach around the 26.4″ overall length of the shockwave. There’s a bit of stretchy play in there.

My used tennis bag can easily hold the shockwave (albeit sloppily), or the AK with a mag in, stock folded. When I got into the training game, the only ammo that was affordable was 7.62×39 and 5.45×39, so AKs were the ticket. This bag will also fit my AR pistol with 10.5″ barrel, and arm-brace. An AK is my usual travel rifle. You could also easily store a full length AR broken into upper and lower halves. There’s also enough room for a battle bag of mags/medical/etc in the tennis bag.

So as you can see, with a little imagination, and some patience on E-bay, or $11 on Amazon, you can have discreet travel rifle setup that won’t cause old Mrs. Saperstein across the hallway to get nervous.

What are your discreet long gun transport methods?

Aligning some Chakras with my third eye open,
Mark


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Range Master Conference 2017: Bolke/Dobbs What Really Matters

This is the first of several posts that will be a summary of  my notes from the Range Master Tactical Conference. All material belongs to the presenters and I am posting my notes for the benefit of the greater body of knowledge available to those who couldn’t make it.

Darryl Bolke and Wayne Dobbs of Hardwired Tactical gave an excellent lecture and range session that is spun off from their previous lecture “Training Secrets of Highly Successful Gunfighters”.

Darryl’s forum posts are what inspired me to write Zen and the Art of Not Shooting, as well as What Does Avg. Joe Need In A Trigger. I was looking forward to hearing him talk about these topics in more detail.

Classroom

  • “Practice makes permanent” – Pat Rogers
  • “Train for maximum efficiency at an assessment speed on an acceptable target” -HiTS
  • Assessment speed-The speed at which you can see, interpret, and choose where to hit a target. Asking yourself, “is my target still there? No? Stop Shooting. Yes? Keep shooting”
  • Acceptable target- Is a target about the size of a grapefruit – period (The black of a B-8 bullseye target) Heart and brain are both about this size.
  • Always be thinking you’ll need a failure drill (ending with a headshot) and practice with that in mind.
  • Why should we shoot faster than we can assess and faster than we can stop? You want to go fast? Then go ‘street fast’.
  • Draw but don’t touch the trigger until you have a good sight track. This isn’t good for shooting, but it’s good for people management.
  • Don’t touch the trigger until you have satisfied these three. Target ID, Objective reason to shoot, and your firearm is aligned with that shoot target.
  • Let’s be right before we touch the trigger.
  • “Advanced Shooting” is just more difficult problems applying the same fundamentals
  • They like the overhand rack method to solve multiple problems with the gun.
  • Train what is hard (50 and 100 yd pistol shooting, for instance)
  • Train to an accuracy standard, not a time.
  • Application of lethal force – The only thing going through your head should be front sight, press, follow through
  • You WILL be able to see movement of your target peripherally while maintaining a hard focus on your sights. Use your sights.
  • All you REALLY need in a carry gun is sights I can see, a usable trigger, and reliability
  • Revolvers still work.
  • If you’re slower than .3 second splits, practice shooting faster
  • If you’re faster than .2, you don’t need to concentrate on shooting faster
  • There is almost never a need to perform a slidelock or speed reload
  • Move at ‘natural human speed’ (the speed that your hands move to catch a sneeze), don’t be spazzy.
  • LAPD trains to a .5 second split time
  • It takes about .3 seconds to stop shooting once you’ve decided to
  • If your splits are faster than .3 seconds, you’ll fire unintentionally until the signal to stop makes it to your hands. (force science)


(Poor Audio. This is Dobbs talking about force science research about the time it takes to stop shooting)


Range and Drills

Ken Hackathorn – Super Test (On b8 from low ready). The Advanced ST is shot from holster, same par times. A good score is 270

  • 15 yds, 10 rounds, 15 seconds
  • 10 yds, 10 rounds, 10 seconds
  • 5 yds, 10 rounds, 5 seconds

Single shot from holster. x ring accuracy standards

  • 5 single shots from a low ready at 7 yds (A legit ready, aimed below the ‘feet’ of your target)
  • 5 doubles from low ready at 7 yards. (10 shots)

These drills are critical for grip, sight usage, trigger control, and follow-through

Don’t give them a free chance. Sight alignment should improve as you progress through a string of fire. Sights/Slack/Hit?(give it about 2 seconds of assessment, don’t snatch it back unless you perceive a slide lock or malfunction)

  • 5yds, 5 rounds, 5 seconds on a 5″ circle
  • 3rds, 3 rnds, 3 seconds from holster with a sidestep

Qual A:

  • 25 yds, 4 seconds, 2 shots, low ready
  • 15 yds, 3 seconds, 2 shots, low ready
  • 10 yds, 3.5 seconds, 2body 1 head, low ready
  • 7 yds, 3 seconds, 2body 1head, low ready, 2 reps
  • 5 yds, 2.5 seconds, 2body 1head, low ready, 2 reps
  • 3 yds, 2 seconds, 2 body 1 head, low ready, 2 reps
  • 7 yds, 4 seconds, 2 body 1 head, from holster, step left, then right (2 reps)
  • 5 yds, 3 seconds, 2 body 1 head, from holster, step left, then right (2 reps)
  • 3 yds, 2 seconds, 1 headshot, from holster, step left then right (2 reps)

Scoring:

  • 80% pass
  • head (t-box) – 2 points
  • Outside the t-box – 1 point
  • within 8 ring of b8 – 2 points
  • within 7 ring of b8 – 1 point
  • all else – 0 points

 

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Pistol Sighting Options: If I Only had $200 to spend

A discussion in a facebook group recently got me thinking. One of my friends whom I always like talking shop with was asking about night sights for the Beretta PX4 that I’ve had for several months. I explained that I purchased some Trijicon HD sights for it, but upon inspection, noticed they were about the same dimension as the factory sights (no precision improvement), and the bright orange front sight insert looked about the same as the hobby paint home-job I had done myself. I returned the sights and saved $150. I didn’t see the incremental increase in utility from 3 tritium vials for $150. Granted, not all factory sights are as good as the ones on the PX4 (looking at you Glock), but I think the usual “YOU MUST HAVE TRITIUM ON A DEFENSIVE GUN” mantra might need to be reevaluated. Or at least considered on a case by case basis.

We then talked about lasers for the PX4, which started getting my wheels turning about choosing between fancy sights, or fancy lasers.

To further make me question my stance on tritium, one of my mentors, Paul Sharp, uses narrow fiber optic sights on his duty gun. So do several other of my meat-eating door-kicking buddies. This flies in the face of common advice. “The fiber will break and you won’t have a front sight”. Well, almost no one I know uses their gear more than Paul, and if they work for him… who am I to dismiss his findings? Besides, if the fiber falls out, you still have the steel cage it sits in, so you’re not totally S.O.L. AND FO sight sets also are less expensive at $50-75 depending on maker.

So I asked myself this question:

After nearly 10 years of taking self-defense and shooting very seriously and about 500 hours of training and countless hours of practice, if I only had $200ish to spend on a sighting system for a pistol, would I choose Tritium night sights, or a (used) laser module?

I’ve been thinking about it. My conclusion is that hands down I’d choose a laser.

T.U.G.

Why Not Tritium?

  • If you only have enough light to be able to use your tritium, then you don’t have enough light to identify your target. This can be very bad. What then follows is that you must have enough light to identify your target. If you do have enough light to identify your target, then your tritium becomes less critical because you can see the outline of your sights. All pistols should have a source of white light near them. Whether it’s carried in a pocket, in a nightstand, or mounted to an accessory rail. Just don’t use the rail mounted light to ID targets, only for shooting. Greg Ellifritz talks about WML issues here. 
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This is you in no-light and with tritium sights.
  • In dusk/transitional lighting, even if your fiber optic front sight (or bright paint) isn’t clearly visible, you still have the silhouette of the sights to be able to make hits. So tritium isn’t the only solution here.
  • For me, the most useful part of the tritium sights I’ve had experience with has been the large white/orange/yellow plastic that generally surrounds the tritium itself. Once again, this can be replicated on factory sights for pennies.
  • One definite plus is that in pure darkness, the little glowing tritium vials allow you to visually acquire the pistol from the nightstand. I, however, have a 3 year old, and this isn’t an option for me, so it’s not that helpful.

Why A Laser?

  • They don’t punish you for being threat focused in an adrenalized state. If you lack the discipline/training to bring your focus to the front sight during a shooting, seeing the red spot on the target area allows rapid shooting.
  • Awkward shooting positions are made easier.
  • Increased hit chance in transitional light areas (0ver iron sights) where the target is otherwise confirmed as a shoot.
  • Allow those with poor eye-sight a way to make precision hits.
  • Retention shooting accuracy improves (from a compressed ready, or a “2”)
  • Less dedicated shooters require less practice to be able to make good hits, assuming their trigger control issues are sorted out. I’ve seen this with several shooters who had trouble with iron sights for whatever reason, but rapidly improved when a laser module was introduced to the mix. Since my wife might have to use my gun to shoot someone off of me in a home invasion type scenario, I’d like to give her the best possible chance of not shooting me in the process.
  • As Claude explained to me, the way to use the laser is not to hunt for the laser on the target, but rather to present the gun in a normal fashion and use whatever you happen to pick up first, sights or laser dot.
  • Downsides: Batteries. Yeah, but hopefully the stigma of needing batteries for sighting systems has gone down since everyone has a red dot on their rifle now. Set a google calendar reminder and change them every 6 months. Besides, if the laser fails, you still have your iron sights. Practicing with the laser off, simulating battery failure, is also important.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_QQbX9jW4Y]

 

Closing

I know I’m not the first person to say lasers are worth your time. I was just posting the hypothetical about making the resource constrained decision between tritium and a laser. Next time I have access to a range and I can shoot at dusk/dark, I’m going to take a selection of pistols with different sighting setups (irons, fiber optic, tritium, and lasers) and on a timer record multiple repetitions of shooting from various ready positions, and with shooters of various skill levels. I’m pretty confident the numbers will show I’m on the right track. I’ll report back.