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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Paul-E-Palooza 4 – 8/19-20/2017 DAY 2

Day 1 review here.

Day two I attended Greg Ellifritz’s terrorist bomb response block, Eli Miller’s EDC Medicine block, and helped Dr. House with his Living with the Snub Revolver block. Here’s a summary and the high points.

Sunday Block 1 – Greg Ellifritz

Greg’s block on Armed Citizen Response to the Terrorist Bombing was a real eye opener. He starts the block with a very detailed look at the history of the use of bombings with active shooters since 1928.The two have always gone hand in hand, apparently. The motivations of most bombers was also discussed. He then moves to a relatively detailed look at the components and methods used to make explosive devices (initiators, booster, payload). The ease of manufacture of homemade devices, commercial explosives, and what this stuff actually looks like (no recipes though). Following were some videos of terrorist bombers seconds before (and after) detonating their devices, and the blast radius and average times (Israeli study) you have before a suicide bomber chooses his target and detonates. Greg has written pretty extensively on this topic on his blog and I encourage you to seek this info out. Here’s the high points:

  • Do not touch a suspected device
  • If you can see the bomb/explosion, you’re too close.
  • 50% live/die line for most man carried devices is 50ft (is your shooting up to the task for a headshot? body shots can set off unstable home-made devices), 200-400m deadly frag zone
  • You won’t know how the bomb is triggered
  • You won’t recognize the bomb
  • Plan on a secondary device
  • Be aware of the bomber’s handlers
  • You’re (I’m) likely not good enough to see it coming, so be prepared to just get away from the primary bombing site AFTER it detonates.
  • If you want to help, the best thing might be to move the injured to an open space, away from vehicles and parking lots, where you can assist in the aide. Be wary of obvious places that are crowded with lots of hiding places for secondary devices
  • Within pistol range is within bomb range and you might die.
  • Staying at the primary detonation site opens you up for the secondary, and you might die.
  • This sort of thing will get more frequent stateside in the coming decades.

Sunday Block 2 – Eli Miller – EDC Trauma Discussion

This was an informal discussion of EDC and vehicle trauma kits. Eli fielded questions and invited the students to get their personal and vehicle trauma kits for critique. He recently returned from a stint in Iraq in a field hospital and has a lot of recent and relevant trauma experience. I’ll sort of blast out a bunch of notes that I wrote.

  • Ceasing major hemorrhage should be priority
  • Tourniquets go high and tight, most failures of application of TQs is from it being too loose before the windlass is wound.
  • ‘sterile’ and field medicine don’t really jive. The patient just had metal tear through them. Let IV antibiotics care for that, just get the bleeding  stopped.
  • TCCC tactical combat casualty care.
  • Deep packing and direct pressure
  • Gorilla tape and wrappers make great improvised chest seals. wrap 10′ around an old credit card to have a flat pack of versatile tape. White medical tape doesn’t stick to dirty, bloody, hairy stuff so don’t waste your time.
  • chest seals work. So do the wrappers of other medical items with gorilla tape.
  • For most lay first-responders , the chest decompression needle is not worth the risk.
  • Tourniquets are only worth a damn if they have a windlass. SOFTT-Wide, or the North American Rescue – CAT are the only two he’s comfortable with recommending. The RATS and SWAT are rubberbands, and not TQs.
  • He likes the Frog.Pro ankle rig for EDC carry.
  • He likes the small rescue hook for clearing clothing. NEVER use a pocket knife because stabbing your patient isn’t ideal.
  • Israeli Bandages or OLEAS bandages for vehicle kits, and the H&H mini compression bandage for ankle carry.
  • Combat Gauze, Celox or the other impregnated hemostatic gauze are great. If they expire, they’re still gauze.
  • despite what you heard, tampons still aren’t good for stopping leaks. Tampons are built to absorb blood, packing a wound is a way to get direct pressure to the vasculature AT THE BLEED site and give something to clot onto. Those are not the same thing. A bullet wound can take 2 rolls of gauze.
  • A sharpie in your kit can help you pack wounds if the holes are too small for a finger.
  • Gauze is cheap, carry a lot.
  • Always pack a wound without losing contact with the gauze. It’s easy to accidentally rip the gauze you’ve packed out of the wound if it catches on a piece of velcro or something.
  • Most hemostatics are good 2-5 years beyond their stated shelf life, though eventually they WILL expire.
  • Boo-Boo kits and trauma kits should be distinct and separate.
  • Civil War era ‘binding’ is still very much a useful technique for junction wounds (Hip and shoulder, think blackhawk down). You basically pack as much as you can, then put a big wad of gauze on top of that, then bring the knee up to the chest to increase pressure at wound site. Use ratchet straps or rope to keep that limb pinned to the torso and increase local pressure at wound site.
  • Always pack a wound, even after a TQ, to prevent further tissue damage and immobilize locally destroyed bone.
  • Buy quality medical shears. They’re worth the expense.
  • Headlamps in your trauma kit are invaluable.
  • “Life over Limb”

If you want to support Eli,  you can buy his poster (see FaceBook inlay)

Sunday Block 3-4 – Dr. Sherman House – Living with the Snub Revolver

To round out my weekend, I volunteered to help Sherman run his ‘Living with the Snub’ block. In it he gave some wisdom on keeping small revolvers running and some building block drills to run them efficiently.

  • The Dejammer and an old tooth brush are two tools to take with you when you shoot your revolvers. Keep un-burned powder from under the ejection star, and poke out expanded and stuck brass.
  • Revolvers are tolerant of neglect, Semi-Autos are tolerant of abuse. The revolver that’s in Grandma’s drawer likely still runs like the day it was put away 40 years ago.
  • Some ‘best practices’ with revolvers regarding reloads and manipulations
  • Building block drills, shot the retired LAPD course, and a class walkback drill on steel to build confidence.
  • Don’t worry about ammo as much with a snub, be concerned with if the ammo hits to the top of the front sight post.
  • WadCutters make great defensive ammo

The weekend was over too quickly. It was a whirlwind of bonding, brotherhood, and celebration. I’m truly honored to be a part of this, and inspired by my peers. Thank you to everyone who came and supported the cause. If you didn’t come, hopefully I’ll see you all next time around. There isn’t a more noble pursuit. Train Hard and Be Dangerous.

Mark

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Paul-E-Palooza 4 – 8/19-20/2017 DAY 1

The 4th Paul-E-Palooza training event is in the books. The event is a memorial fundraiser to help Paul Gomez’s children after Paul’s untimely passing several years ago. The organizers, William Aprill and Sherman House , and a slew of other top tier instructors, volunteer their time to raise funds for the kids. It’s tactical philanthropy at its best.

The event was a great time. But with two ranges and two classrooms to choose from for the eight total time slots, I had to pick and choose what I decided to take. It’s an exercise in limited resources and unlimited wants. I’ll outline the high-points of the instruction I took. Here’s some notes.

Saturday Block 1: Chuck Haggard – Between a Harsh Word and a Handgun

In this block, Chuck discusses less lethal force options for the private citizen. The primary focus is on Pepper Spray (O.C. – oleoresin capsicum). He explains the history, ingredients, physiological effects, difference in the strength of formulations, how companies rank the ‘heat’, tactics of use, role playing and demo. It’s some of the only info I’ve seen in the training community on the intelligent use of OC for private citizens. Here’s some of the high points:

  • His experience is it is 80-90% effective in police work. The reason it’s not closer to 100% is because police have to spray and then put handcuffs onto the sprayed person. We as private citizens can spray and immediately leave.
  • Favorite baton is the PR24 Monadnock style. Collapsible batons are sub-optimal
  • Civilian Tasers Suck, are fragile, and have a different pulse frequency than police Tasers. (The little pink gun show stun-guns are utter garbage)
  • “Wasp spray is fuckery” – Chuck Haggard, it’s ineffective a stopping someone right now, and is a low level neurotoxin (organo-phosphate) so it might give the guy cancer in 10 years. Which is bass-akwards from what we’re looking for.
  • A fire extinguisher makes a good improvised eye and lung irritant for school workers. Flood a hallway and make a smoke screen. Bright flashlights are also great for these folks.
  • The ‘Major Capsinoid Content’ is the number that matters.
  • Sabre Red is 1.33% MCC (Bear spray is limited to 2% by law, so Sabre is HOT)
  • Stick with Cone or Spray for most uses. Foam or Gel is for institutional use to avoid contaminating an air system.
  • MACE (brand) spray is weak sauce
  • The Spitfire (now discontinued) and ASP Key Defender have about 5′ range. They’re like the ‘mouse guns’ of the OC world. Better than nothing, but you would prefer something better when it comes time to use it.
  • The Kimber Pepper Blaster thing is garbage. No way to aim, 2 shots. With regular OC, you can sort of walk the stream onto the face. If you miss with the Kimber, you’re boned. Plus, a lady got her eye destroyed by one. That’s grave bodily harm….
  • Combo CS/OC is a gimmick. CS takes time to work, requires heat to properly disperse, and is a bigger hassle to decontaminate
  • Work failure drills with flashlight and OC, then drop OC and draw pistol, etc.
  • Sabre Stream with pocket clip – http://amzn.to/2g6hso9
  • Sabre Stream Trainer (Inert) – http://amzn.to/2wztZYj
  • ASP Key Defender baton – http://amzn.to/2wovaJv

 

Saturday Blocks 2-4: John Hearne – Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why

This is a talk that I’ve been looking forward to for several years. It is the ongoing pet project of John Hearne, an instructor with Range-Master since 2001, Federal LE Ranger since 1992, and research geek. This is a 8 hour lecture, so I’ll only share the purpose of the talk and a few high points. If you EVER get a chance to hear this talk, you should make it a high priority, it’s powerful and very useful stuff. It’s a little esoteric, but if you’re a nerd like me, you’ll dig it.

High Points:

  • Understand winning and losing
  • Understand how the human animal is wired, how it works for and against us, and how we can rewire the system to out advantage
  • Counter the VAST misinformation that exists on this topic in the training community
  • Understand what is reasonably possible to achieve with meaningful training
  • Understand how to improve our personal performance under stress, and best training methods.
  • Meaningful training can allow you to ‘overlearn’ skills and physically restructure the brain
  • Why you won’t necessarily have all of the scary side effects of adrenaline that are popular to preach in basic handgun classes (hands to flippers, tunnel vision, etc.)
  • Study of a decision tree for a good guy who is trained and untrained when they are in their gun-fight. Staying in the rational mind and not to an emotional state have MUCH higher chance of winning.
  • The importance of mental maps, eliminating novel stimuli, and dedicated practice
  • Over time the brain can refine how much adrenaline is released for a given situation. The untrained are usually ALL/NONE.
  • Emotional Bookmarks (e.g. hand on stove) ties past experiences to influence current actions. FOF creates this for us. Exists between rational/emotional mind
  • Cops who win fights – 90% had high physical fitness, 75% had scenario training, preplanned responses, multi-tasked well, able to quickly assess, relied on patters over explicit observation.
  • There’s nothing ‘natural’ or ‘instinctive’ about firearms usage. The only thing natural is to run away screaming and pissing yourself. Therefor everything can be learned. (he basically shit all over many training modalities that are currently popular)
  • There is no ‘innate hesitation to kill’ as Grossman proposes in On Killing.
  • Shuts down ‘it’s impossible to focus on your front sight under stress’ argument with anecdotes and science.
  • Recency is one of the most important predictors in success. (airplane studies)
  • How to not get shot by the police – study of “A Critical Analysis of Police Shootings Under Ambiguous Circumstance”
  • Training Implications of all this research.
  • Here’s two charts that are property of John Hearne. The first is what gives you the best value that corresponds to winning, and the second is shooting drills and ranking that indicate high shooting automaticity.

If you want a taste of John’s work, he wrote a chapter in Massad Ayoob’s book Straight Talk on Armed Defense – http://amzn.to/2woYTlX

Day TWO is coming up next. Thanks for reading.

Mark

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