Category Archives for "Useful Guides"

Air Rifles – Why You Should Have One In Your Bugout Bag

Is your bugout bag all set and ready to go? Or as you pack up water, rations, first aid supplies, etc. are you wondering about what you should be "packing" in terms of a firearm?

In reality, prepared individuals should have a couple of different types of weapons at their disposal. The popular image of a survivalist or prepper is one whose "lair" is bulging with semi-automatic weapons and mounds of ammunition.

In fairness, there are those who feel that one can never have enough firearms and ammo on hand when preparing for trouble. And one can certainly understand that folks would want some sort of firearm in a survivalist scenario. Not just for self-defence, but also as a hunting tool to be able to gather food.

This should be a firearm that can be neglected for months, while also being sturdy enough that it can handle being knocked around and still function dependably.

Considerations In Choosing A Bugout Weapon

So what should you be packing in every sense of the word in terms of firearms as you prepare to bugout? Consider:

  • What you'll actually be trying to defend
  • The types of "unfriendlies" (Animals? People? Both?) that you'll be dealing with
  • Your long term ammunition and maintenance needs

Strictly speaking, a true "bugout" is an event that lasts seventy-two hours or less. On the other hand, a true bugout isn't a relaxed weekend camping trip with the kids. You have no idea of conditions or circumstances that you'll be encountering, or how long that you'll have to live with them.

You need a reliable, low maintenance, versatile firearm as part of your bugout bag. You need an air rifle.

Why An Air Rifle?

Admittedly, it has been a really long time since the air rifle has been considered a state-of-the-art super weapon.

But there are multiple reasons why air rifles have never been out of style since their debut, and it's not just because they're great for target shooting competitions. The features that make air rifles consistently good all-around firearms work well for survivalist purposes as well.

1. Air Rifles Are Dependable

There was a time (about thirty years ago, to be specific) when it would have been difficult to make this statement. Many air rifle models from this era were notorious for leaking, which in turn led to the guns losing velocity.

But modern day air rifles have improved in design, and this is far less likely a problem. And while air rifles need cleaning and maintenance just as with any other firearm, because of how these guns fire, there isn't carbon build-up as a result, meaning a lot less time spent cleaning rifle barrels.

2. Variety

We wouldn't call them air rifles if they weren't pneumatically propelled. But aside from that common factor, the different types of this firearm mean more choices for users in terms of performance than similar types of related firearms.

That means that "buggers" contemplating bringing along an air rifle shouldn't assume that any old one will do. They should take the time to read up on the various air rifle types (and their different maintenance needs), which include:


  • Easy to use
  • Powerful
  • Must be cocked before every shot, spring can break


  • Lighter and has longer life than spring-piston
  • Less recoil than spring-piston
  • Hard to find parts for, difficult to modify

Pre-Charged Pneumatic (PCP)

  • Almost no recoil
  • Very powerful and accurate gun
  • Requires a lot of parts

Variable Pump

  • Small and light
  • Allows for a lot of velocity control
  • Difficult to cock, not a good hunting gun


  • Very accurate gun, little recoil
  • Very easy gun to cock
  • Gun has little power, also weather can affect gun performance

3. Versatility

Okay, an air rifle may not be the best choice for holding off a swarm of hungry zombies, or other real-life nasties you may encounter! But again, you should have already made room in that bugout bag for other firearm types, and you'll find plenty of other uses for your air rifle on the road or trail.

Since you'll be unlikely to find an open/well-stocked grocery stores in the aftermath of disaster, an air rifle is an excellent choice for hunting. You will not be able to go deer hunting with it, but you can certainly hunt small game with it, such as birds, rabbits or squirrels.

It also works well to eliminate feral and nuisance animals that might be competing with you for food.

One of the reasons that this type of firearm is so popular in shooting sports competitions is that many of these guns are easily adjustable and can be used by a range of shooters. So for folks who are not very experienced in shooting guns, an air rifle is an easier (and probably safer) option to handle than a high calibre gun.

And finally, these guns are incredibly accurate. While it's unlikely that you'll have time to participate in real life target shoots, this capability means that it's very good at finding real life targets, a sometimes unfortunate necessity of packing up and bugging out.

Wrapping Up

Do you have an air rifle as part of your bugout bag? If so, do you plan to be able to use it as a defensive weapon or purely as a hunting tool? Also, what air rifle would you choose for your bugout bag and why?

If you have any more thoughts on this topic, please share them with us by commenting in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!

Shooting Sports That You Can Get Involved In If You Love Shooting Competitively

A common myth is that guns are just for hunting or self-defence. However since guns have been invented, shooting sports have been around to show off skills and even learn some new ones. Today there are many competitive shooting sports that you can get involved in. Some can even get you to the Olympics! Here is a list of the shooting events that are at the Olympics in case you are curious.

Besides providing you with enjoyment, competitive shooting has some benefits, which include:

  • It teaches folks proper firearm handling under supervised conditions.
  • It provides opportunities to promote firearm safety and education to a wider community.
  • It allows you to meet new like-minded people, and to learn from each other.

All of this, and a chance to take part in a fun activity that doesn't involve hours in front of a computer screen! Competitive shooting is an activity that allows participants to improve general coordination in addition to firearm skills, make new friends, and have opportunities to travel as well.

But what exactly does competitive shooting entail in terms of necessary ability and equipment? And how much of a commitment in terms of time and money does it involve? Read on to learn more about a sport that's been around as long as firearms have, and what you'll need to take part in it yourself.


Competitive shooting sports have a very long and storied history. While the prizes may not be as exciting as they were in the earliest days (no more gold, sorry) today's competitive events are also much better organized, and safer.

Because of changes to events over the years, competitive shooting events are more inclusive, meaning that older, younger, and disabled firearm enthusiasts among others can take part in these events.

The practice and skill sets developed here can also allow participants to potentially achieve competitive shooting's ultimate prize; a place on the United States Olympic shooting team, which has brought home many medals over the years.

Types of Shooting Sports

Competitive shooting is categorized by the type of gun being used, and then broken down into various events. Guns used at these events include:


You know those old "English country manor movies" where a character holding a firearm yells "Pull" and fires at targets thrown into the air? Then you've seen an example of competitive shotgun firing. Clay targets (simulating game birds) are always used, and types of this kind of competition include:

Skeet shooting - Targets are thrown into range from either side of the shooter.

Trap shooting - Targets are launched at different trajectories.

Sport shooting - Targets are launched from different angles and heights and at varying speeds.

Skills that can be shown off or acquired with competitive shotgun shooting include moving target and profile shooting.

Handguns (Pistols)

This type of firearm competition can be further broken down into "cowboy shooting" (which involves using authentic 19th and early 20th century pieces), and contemporary shooting. Types of this kind of competition include:

Bullseye shooting (also known as conventional pistol shooting) - Involves firing at the traditional bullseye target.

Metallic silhouette shooting - A shooter fires on a target in the shape of a person or animal.

Metered shooting - Shooters aim for targets positioned at different distances.

Bowling pin - Shooters attempt to fire upon and knock down as many bowling pins as possible within a time limit.

And given the increased popularity of concealed carry, there are now various drawing competitions in which contestants attempt to draw and shoot from both concealed carry and open wear holsters.

The objectives with various types of pistol competition here are accuracy in fixed target hitting, and speed.


As with pistols, there are "cowboy shooting" events, and contemporary ones. Different competitive events here include:

Bench rest - Shooters crouch behind a bench, setting and aiming their rifles on top of it. The rifle is supported in front and behind to hold it as steady as possible. When given the "commence" signal, shooters begin firing rounds of ammunition in sustained bursts until told to stop. Shooters are attempting to hit a small target (hole) with as many clusters of ammunition as possible. Groupings of five or more bullets near the target generally produces a winner.

Silhouette shooting - Follows the same format as for pistols as shooters, are attempting to shoot metal man or animal targets.

Position shooting - Shooters change position at different times during the match, with time and ammunition amounts changing depending on the position. For example, a shooter firing from 600 yards would be given more time and have to strike the target with less ammunition, than one firing from 200 yards. Skill looked for here is the ability to fire accurately from a distance.

Air Rifles

All shooting here must be done from a standing position, and distances can be no greater than 10 meters or 33 feet.

Cowboy "Action" Shooting (CAS)

The most recent of the shooting sports, CAS originated in southern California in the 1980s, and is also known as western action shooting, single action shooting, or cowboy three-gun.

Participants must also dress in reproductions of period clothing, and use pistols and rifles that are either authentic, reproductions, or very similar to firearms used in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, such as various Winchester rifle models, or the famous Colt revolver. Contestants fire on targets, and skills measured include speed and accuracy.

Requirements For Competition

Most competitive shooting matches are amateur affairs, and don't require any previous affiliation or training. Pre-registration may be required, and a small fee may be charged to cover expenses, pay for prizes, etc. But that doesn't mean that there aren't rules to follow for those who want to participate:


Even the Wild West CAS crowd adheres to strict safety standards. Don't expect to bring a loaded gun or one not securely in a holster or case, for example. Wait for clear instructions as to when you can load your piece, and where. Many competitions have strictly designated areas for this, known as "safety areas".

Gun Knowledge

Again, you don't have to be Dead Eye Dick or Annie Oakley to participate in many of these events, but a working knowledge of how your piece operates is often an entry requirement.

You may be asked to demonstrate loading and unloading your gun, and quizzed on how to correct malfunctions. And asking "Safety catch? Where's that?" is sure to get you a place in the audience, but not in the competition itself.

What Should You Bring?

Well, a piece and ammunition will be needed of course, or you won't be doing much shooting. Remember that the piece needs to be holstered or cased at all times until told otherwise. And you'll need to provide all cleaning and maintenance supplies.

Don't forget to bring safety glasses and ear protection with you as you won't be allowed to participate without it. A fair amount of leeway is permitted in regards to the type of hearing protection used, but remember that these events are noisy, so don't skimp.

And most of all, remember to bring patience, sportsmanship, and a sense of fun, three very useful items as you enter the wonderful world of competitive shooting.

What Is Your Favorite Shooting Sport?

If you are interested in competing at shooting sports, we hope you have found this article useful. Which shooting sport do you like best, and why? If you have some thoughts on shooting competitively, please share them with us in the comments section below, We would love to hear from you!

The Three Essential EDC Items Every Man Should Consider

Every man tends to carry a few items with him every day. These are usually things that are necessary tools to get through the day or even for self-protection.  Of course everyday carry (EDC) kit is something that has become more popular in recent times, especially with folks who prep, but for a lot of guys it is just something that is a part of their lifestyle. If you are a man, whether you are a prepper or not, there are a few basic items that you should consider carrying on you.

The items that I tend to carry with me every day include:

  • Compact flashlight with a solid light and decent battery life.
  • Reliable knife that is light and discreet.
  • A pen, typically a tactical pen with specific features such as a glass breaker.

Tips for choosing the right EDC items

Every man has his own unique needs and preferences when it comes to what he will need to carry with him every day, but I will point out some key considerations when you look at your EDC options.

EDC knife

Intended use

An EDC knife is not necessarily a weapon, but in most cases is rather a tool. If you need to do some heavy duty cutting with your knife, it won’t make sense to get a tiny little pocket knife. On the flip side, it won’t make sense to get a big knife that would make Rambo jealous just to cut open some envelopes every once in a while. The intended use of the knife will also have an effect on the shape of the blade, as each blade shape is designed with a specific use in mind. For example, knives with sharp thin points are good for piercing things, while a knife with a serrated edge is intended for sawing things.

Knife blade shapes

Fixed blade vs folding knife

If you want a bigger and stronger knife that you don’t mind wearing on your belt, then a fixed blade knife is a good option for guys who will be doing a lot of work with their knives (such as hunters that need to do a lot of skinning or cutting rope etc). But personally I carry a folding knife as it takes up less space and I do not need a fixed blade knife too often. I especially like that a folding knife is usually a lot more discreet to carry on you without attracting unwanted attention.

Other considerations

I would also keep in mind the grip of the knife, especially if you need to do tasks with it that would require a solid grip. If you plan to use your knife in wet conditions a lot or for skinning animals, you would want to look for a grip that won’t absorb moisture and will be easy to clean.

The last consideration I would also think about is cost. Knives can range from very affordable to crazy expensive. For an everyday carry knife I prefer a knife that is reasonably affordable while still being of sufficient quality to take the punishments of everyday use.

EDC flashlight

best EDC flashlightA flashlight is one of those things that you do not realise how much you need it, until you actually need it! I carry a small, but very bright flashlight with me all the time. Not only is it a valuable tool at night, but it is also a good self-defence tool. If a would-be attacker tries to attack you, the bright light of the flashlight can be used to momentarily blind the attacker, giving you time to either retreat away or to launch a counter-attack.

The key considerations for me when I look at EDC flashlights:


Flashlights in my possession tend to take a beating as they are often thrown into a backpack with a bunch of stuff or are handled in rough outdoor environments. The better EDC flashlights tend to be constructed from materials such as military grade aircraft aluminum, which is very light but extremely strong.


Lumens are the measuring unit for how bright a flashlight’s light is. You can get some super bright flashlights that are hundreds of lumens bright, but in reality for an EDC flashlight you don’t need anything too extreme. I usually look for something that has a light of 50 lumens to 100 lumens.

LED lamps

Incandescent lamps used to be the lamp used in all flashlights, but since LED lamps have become commonly available, LED (Light Emitting Diode) is now the lamp of choice in flashligts. That is because they last longer, take less space, use less battery power and are much more robust than incandescent lamps.


From a prepper’s perspective, a flashlight with common regular batteries are a good choice as batteries like that would be much easier to find in an emergency scenario where there might not be power available. However for me, I want an EDC flashlight that is rechargeable. This makes it less expensive to use in the long run as I don’t need to go out and buy new batteries every few weeks.

Tactical pen

best tactical penI mentioned before that some people might think of their EDC knife as a self-defence weapon, but for me another self-defence option is a tactical pen. It might sound like a gimmick, but tactical pens are actually lethal weapons due to their strengthened points and strong construction. Admittedly, if you have to use a tactical pen then you are probably already in a world of trouble. The benefit of a tactical pen is that it is discreet (not easily recognized as being a weapon) and of course also provides you with a writing utensil!


As I want to have a tactical pen as a weapon, it needs to be really strong in order to be used as a weapon that can cause damage to an attacker. Similar to EDC flashlights, the better tactical pens are made from modern materials such as military grade aircraft aluminum to make it light-weight but also extremely strong.


When I look at the design of a tactical pen, I want a pen that would hold well in my hand as a stabbing weapon, which also has a good grip so that it won’t slip when I use it.

Additional features

Some tactical pens come with additional features such as glass-breakers, seat-belt cutters, etc. Some are a bit gimmicky though, so be aware.

Wrapping up

Above I talked about the three basic EDC items that I like to carry on me most of the time. Other items that you could also consider include:

  • Multi-tool with the essential tools
  • A water-proof wallet
  • Watch that is water-proof and durable, along with required features (example a compass or Altimeter)
  • Carry bag to keep your various items organized and available for easy access.

This article was provided by

U.S. Marine Corps Rifle Training – How to Shoot a Rifle [VIDEO]

We came across this USMC training video that covers the basic of how to shoot a rifle. Needless to say a lot of folks will already know these basics, but if you are not very experienced yet, it might be beneficial to you to have a look at the video and familiarize yourself with what the Marines have to teach!

The US Marine Corps (USMC) is the branch of the US military that the US looks to to “project power” using the mobility of the US Navy. They need to be able to deliver rapidly either by land, sea or air. So that means that a Marine really needs to know what he is doing when he shoots a rifle!

Quick Tips For Troubleshooting An Inaccurate Rifle

Sometimes your rifle starts shooting so bad that you want to start pulling your hair out! But then the problem becomes how to figure out what is causing it to misbehave the way it is. Below we look at a few easy (and reasonably logical) tips for diagnosing what is causing your rifle to shoot inaccurately.

1. Know what your gun is capable of

Not all rifles are made equal when it comes to accuracy. So before anything else, make sure what your rifle is realistically cable of and what it is not capable of. The best way to do that, if you are not sure what your rifle is realistically capable of, is to ask around. Phone the manufacturer, ask around on gun forums or ask the pros at your local gunshop.

2. Make sure its not the scope

If you are using a scope, it might actually not be the rifle that is the problem, but rather the scope! Scopes can get damaged from excessive recoil or perhaps even from getting a hard knock somewhere. To check if your scope is working fine, you can try the “squaring the circle” technique.

It works as folllows: fire a shot; then, aiming at the same point each time, move the reticle 12 clicks (3 inches) up; then 12 clicks right; then 12 down; then 12 left. You should end up with four shots forming a square. If it does not form a square, then it is likely that your scope is the problem!

3. Make Sure The Barrel Is Clean

This one seems pretty obvious, but yet we are sure this occurs more frequently than most folks would like to admit. Copper fouling can start to build up in the barrel, which can greatly affect the accuracy of your rifle. For a rifle to be accurate, the barrel  must have absolutely uniform dimensions (to the ten-thousandth of an inch) for the length of the bore in order to be accurate.

4. Try Different Ammo

Sometimes even just trying a different brand of ammo with perhaps a different weight will make a difference in the accuracy of a rifle. So experiment and see which ammo your rifle likes best.

5. If all fails…

If you tried everything you could, but the rifle still keeps shooting inaccurately, it is probably best to take it back to the manufacturer so they can check to see what could be wrong with it.

If you do go that route, be sure to let them know everything you did to verify the problem yourself so they know that you are not just some quack wanting to complain about nothing.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope the few quick tips above helps you to avoid a lot of frustration and possible costs! An inaccurate rifle can be a real pain and perhaps even dangerous! So be sure to get to the root of the problem asap to get it fixed.

Happy shooting!

How To Rebore A Rifle Barrel

Most folks would not rebore a rifle themselves. It is much easier to send it off to a professional to do it for you, and you know it will probably get done without you messing up your own gun! However if you really want to know how to rebore a rifle barrel for a larger caliber, check out this video from Midway USA we came across. Hope you enjoy it!

In this video, Larry Portterfield who is the founder and CEO of MidwayUSA, shows us how to properly rebore and rechamber a rifle. In his example Larry is using a Winchester 1885 Low Wall that was made in 1891! The Winchester 1885 is a single-shot rifle that was designed by the legendary John Browning. However, these rifles were used 32 rimfire caliber, which is now obsolete. So if you have one, you won’t get ammo for it anymore! So Larry will rechamber the rifle from the obsolete 32 rimfire caliber to 357 Magnum.

As you may well notice, reboring a rifle is not a simple task. You need the right equipment and certain skills to be able to properly complete the task of reboring and rechambering a rifle.

If you are not experienced in this type of work, you should perhaps consider rather a professional doing the task for you. Not only will it probably save you from ruining a vintage rifle, but it will also be a lot safer!

Wrapping Up

Have you ever rebored and rechambered a rifle yourself? How did it go? Would you recommend folks try to do it themselves or should they rather just leave it to the professionals?

If you have any thoughts or tips that you would like to share with the rest of us, please feel free to leave a note in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!

5 Surefire Tips for Improving Your Aim

Most shooters put far too much importance on their guns and rifle scopes and nowhere near enough emphasis on shooting. Aside from having an accurate, well-tuned rifle and the best rifle scope for your needs, you must practice, practice and practice some more. Unfortunately, most people just don’t have the time to get to the range frequently. But being short of time doesn’t mean you have to settle for being a mediocre shot. If you’re tired of missing your mark here are five surefire tips that will have you well on your way to improving your aim:

Don’t Squeeze, JERK!

Most shooters are under the impression a trigger should be squeezed, but as the well-known and respected retired Outdoor Life Magazine Shooting Editor Jim Carmichael once pointed out, the trigger must be jerked, but in a very controlled manner. For anyone who has ever tried to Pull Triggershoot in any position without a solid rest knows the longer the gun is held on target the more it wavers. Carmichael wrote the trigger must be pulled at the precise moment when your brain tells you the sight picture is perfect, and trying to slowly squeeze the trigger just gives the gun time to wobble off target. If you think Jim’s advice is all wet, consider that this is the same man who set the new benchrest world record in 2013, a record that stood for 20 years, with a five-shot group measuring 0.009 inches, the thickness of five magazine pages!

Once mastered, the “controlled jerk” will improve your marksmanship beyond belief, even from an offhand position. For example, a great technique for offhand shooting is to swing the rifle in a figure-eight pattern, having the crosshairs intersect the target at the middle of the swing, and jerk the trigger at the precise instant when the crosshairs meet the mark.

Build Muscle Memory

Muscle memory is a synonym for motor learning, a form of procedural memory involving strengthening a specific motor movement through repetition. In English, that means the more you repeat a movement the stronger the connection between the muscles and your brain becomes. Walking is the ultimate example of muscle memory; you do it so much that the contention between your brain and the muscles is so developed you never even have to think about it. You can do the same with your shooting motion, without going broke buying ammo, through the magic of dry firing.

Place some targets or pictures of game animals on your walls and start practicing. The wonderful thing about building muscle memory for a task is you don’t have to do it all at once; just a few shots a few times a week will added up to you becoming a crack shot. Keep in mind, dry firing indoors is best suited to open sights and low-power rifle scopes. Also, to state the obvious, be sure your gun is unloaded before you start dry firing, and be sure to close the blinds so a neighbor doesn’t see you and call the police.

Call Your Shot

Going hand-in-hand with dry firing is the exercise of “calling your shot.” Simply stated, this is the practice of mentally asking yourself where the sights were at the exact moment you heard the “click” of the firing pin falling. If you answer yourself honestly you will quickly master the controlled jerk and immeasurably improve your marksmanship. Additionally, learning to call your shot consistently and accurately will tell your immediately at the shot if you hit your mark when in the field.

Know When to Quit

Finally, if you start to fatigue when shooting either live ammo or dry firing, know it’s time to quit! You won’t be accomplishing anything past that point, other than wasting ammo and aggravating yourself. There are also going to be those day when you aren’t at your best, or maybe you just don’t feel like shooting.

Stop Getting Kicked

Jim Carmichael’s predecessor at Outdoor Life, the late great Jack O’Connor wrote that a bum shot with a magnum is still a bum shot; and farelk pic too many hunters place too much emphasis on power and not enough on marksmanship. The Billings Gazette once ran an article about a woman who lived just north of Yellowstone Park, who had killed an elk every season for twenty three years running. This was quite a feat, considering the hunter-success rate for elk in Montana hovers around 20 percent. When asked how she did it she simply stated “I never miss.” The kicker to the story was the huntress used what most would consider a too diminutive caliber for elk, the 6mm Remington. Of course, this made all the men in the magnum crowd howl, but the reality is if you have too much gun you are going to flinch. Be honest with yourself, and if you are even a little scared of your .300 magnum, trade it in for something with a little less kick.

Guest contributor bio:

Besides being an outdoor enthusiast, Andrew loves hanging out with his wife and seeing life through the eyes of his 4 year old daughter. His fresh take on life and learning new things, coupled with a love for writing, sets the tone in his pieces and lends itself very well to being a contributing writer for a number of outdoors/gun sites. He can also be found shooting a Canon camera.

How To Use A Tactical Pen To Defend Yourself

Many people will, rightly so, wonder what exactly makes a pen “tactical”? With anything and everything being called tactical these days, it is easy to be suspicious and wonder if the pen is in fact mightier than the sword!

Tactical pens are pens that are made from sturdy materials (usually military grade materials such as Aircraft Aluminum) that make them much harder than your typical pen. Tactical pens are also designed with features such as sharpened edges, which turns them from mere writing utensils into effective self-defense weapons. Some tactical pens also have other additional features, such as fire-straters and DNA catchers. A lot of folks like carrying tactical pens as self-defense weapons because they are “hide in plain sight” type of weapons. While guns and knives are obvious weapons and cannot be taken into a lot of areas, people will most likely not even notice that pen that you are carrying in your pocket.

See also: The Best Tactical Pen – 5 Top Tactical Pen Options

However, a self-defense weapon is only effective if you know how to use it! This is especially true for tactical pens, as you will need to be in close proximity to your attacker to be able to use the pen. So if you ever have to use your tactical pen to defend yourself, you better be sure you know what to do with it!

Avoid being attacked

Rather than finding yourself in a dangerous situation where you need to physically protect yourself, you should keep in mind a few key take-aways to try and avoid being attacked:

  • Avoid dangerous places.
  • Be a bad target.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Watch out for warning signs and pre-attack indicators.
  • Maintain a safe distance from potential threats and places they may wait.
  • Escape to safety when you feel threatened.

You can read more about avoidance, awareness and prevention for self-defense here.

Where To Strike – The Vulnerable Areas of An Attacker’s Body

Basic pressure points

The graphic above gives us a good indication of some of the basic areas of a body where an attacker could be vulnerable. There are other areas that are also considered very vulnerable (such as the temples and kidneys, but if you are untrained in self-defense, these basic areas are what you should focus on for now. Trying to attack other areas without sufficient training in how to do so, could result in you not being able to effectively protect yourself against your attacker.

Techniques for using a tactical pen

The videos below illustrate how to effectively use a tactical pen to defend yourself.


We are increasingly faced with dangerous situations where we need to be able to protect ourselves against possible attackers. With gun and knife laws being very strict in a lot of areas, alternative self-defense weapons are a necessity. Especially self-defense weapons that you can keep with you most of the time and that is not an obvious weapon. Tactical pens satisfies those requirements, and for that reason a lot of folks like to carry tactical pens with them. For the tactical pen to be an effective weapon, you need to know how to use it though. So we hope the above information helps you to be able to protect yourself when needed.

If you are serious about self protection, we highly recommend you obtain formal training from a qualified instructor so that you can be confident in your capabilities. And always remember, stay safe!!

How To Break In a Leather Holster (And Not Ruin It!)

We here at The Smoking Barrel USA love leather holsters. Besides the fact that a well made holster will last you a long time and also looks really good, there is just something about the smell of a brand new leather holster! The problem that many folks encounter when they buy a new holster is that it tends to be a little stiff, making holstering your weapon a bit of a pain.

When you do buy yourself that nice new leather holster, you are going to need to break it in so that your weapon can fit perfectly and you can holster your weapon easier.

Before you start

Before we dive into how to break in a new leather holster, we want to take the opportunity to look at what you need to consider and what you may need during the project.

Safety first

To break in your holster, you are going to be using your weapon that you will be holstering in the specific holster. So before you start, make sure the weapon is completely safe by checking that it is not loaded (remember to check that there isn’t a bullet still in the chamber!) and that the safety is on (you can never be too careful with a gun).

Make sure your gun is clean

As we mentioned, you will be using your gun during the project. Besides checking that it is safe, make sure that it is clean too. You do not want gun oils staining your brand new leather holster!

Check the holster

I do not know about you, but I like keeping my weapon in good condition. As far as I can, I try to prevent scratches and unwanted marks on my gun. When you have your new holster, check the inside of the holster for anything that might scratch your gun. Often holsters might have little screws or pieces or metal on the inside that you cannot see, but that will scratch the metal of your gun.

If there are any metal pieces or screws inside the holster, you can place some tape over it to protect the surface of your gun.

Breaking In Your Holster

The guys over at gives a really in depth video tutorial on how to break in your holster through consistent stretching and manipulation:

Some key take-aways from this article that we like:

  • Make sure your holster is made for your specific model of firearm.
  • Work and manipulate the leather –  it does take time, so be patient.
  • Do not use mink oil or needs foot oil on your holster – it makes it too supple.
  • You can use mild soap and water to clean your holster.
  • Keep your holster moisturised.

The plastic bag technique

Besides the straight forward stretching technique shown above, there is also the plastic bag technique as illustrated by the video from Galco Gunleather below:

How do you break in your holster?

We hope you found this piece useful. A leather holster is a good investment to make, however it does require more attention and effort than a Nylon or Kydex holster. We do believe good things are worth putting in the effort for though!

We know there are different methods for breaking in a leather holster, so if you have some tips and advice please share it in the comments section below!

Gun Range Etiquette – How To Behave When You’re At The Range

What is appropriate gun range etiquette? Going to the gun range is not only a good way to keep your shooting skills sharp, but it is also where some people go to get away and let off some steam.

When you go to the gun range you need to keep in mind that you are there with other people, and so need to keep some basic gun range etiquette in mind to ensure not only that everyone stays safe, but also that everyone can enjoy there session at the gun range.

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1. Safety First – ALWAYS

The first, and most important rule of gun range etiquette is safety! When you are in a venue filled with people firing weapons, safety is something that can never be skipped. If you are a beginner/new gun owner, we recommend you learn the 4 basic rules of gun safety. If you follow these basic rules, you should be ok. There are no short cuts when it comes to handling a weapon securely and responsibly.

2. Know how to handle your weapon

When you are at the gun range, you should know how to use your weapon appropriately. This includes how to reload your weapon safely and how to handle a malfunction. If you are new to shooting and want to go to the gun range, make sure you have someone with you that are experienced and can educate you in proper weapon handling. We also recommend getting proper training from a professional if you are new to shooting.

3. The Range Safety Officer is in charge

If you go to a gun range, chances are there will be a range safety officer at the range. Much like a life guard at a swimming pool, the range safety officer, or RSO for short, is there to make sure everyone stays safe. Typically the RSO will tell you when it is safe to fire and when not. When you are at the range, make sure you pay attention to the RSO and follow their instructions.

Besides making sure everyone stays safe, the RSO is there to help. If you have questions, do not be afraid to ask. Unanswered questions can compromise safety and enjoyment and the RSO wants to answer your questions; that’s one of the main reasons he or she is there.

4. Mind Your Own Business

A gun range is not a social club. People who go there are there to shoot their weapon, so let them do it in peace. If someone has their safety earmuffs and glasses on, and they are in their shooting bay lane, take it as a sign that they do not want to be disturbed.

When shooters are in this mode, consider it personal space that should not be violated. Do not take this to mean that gun ranges are unfriendly places where you should never talk to any one. Quite the opposite. When folks are just standing around in the bay, conversations among strangers are commonplace. It just means that when someone is in a lane shooting, interruptions are not so welcome as they might otherwise be.

5. Know and follow the gun range’s rules

Each gun range is likely to have their own specific set of rules. These rules can range from what type of weapons are permitted to whether you should leave your spent cartridges behind. The rules are there for a reason, so respect the rules and follow them. Remember, if you are not sure about a rule ask the RSO!

6. Clean up after yourself

Once you have finished, make sure your shooting bay lane is clean and neat. Leave it as you would want to find it. As mentioned, some gun ranges have their own specific rules about what you should do with your spent cartridges and used targets. If you are not sure…ask.

What Do You Think?

Above are some basic gun range etiquette tips that we think people should keep in mind when going to the gun range to ensure everyone stays safe and have a good time while at the range. If you have any other gun range etiquette tips that you think are good to know, please share them with us in the comments section below.

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