RBTEC-November

RBTEC-November

After a number of inquiries, MDT will be conducting a Rural Buddy Team Essentials Course (RBTEC) Saturday and Sunday, November 7th and 8th, 2020. The class will take place at Echo Valley Training Center in Hampshire County WV. Those interested in information on the course, beyond what it listed at the website, or in previous posts, are encouraged to email me at masondixontactical@gmail.com .

JCD

"Parata Vivere"-Live Prepared.
Firearms For Freedom and Forage-Part 4, Hunting Handguns

Firearms For Freedom and Forage-Part 4, Hunting Handguns

When it comes to hunting with a handgun, I very rarely have ever looked at the handgun as anything more than a back up or a convenience. I very rarely ever go hunting without a handgun, but it is used very little in comparison to my long guns. Having owned many pistols that people say are great for hunting, I’ve narrowed down my selection to only two that I consider necessities when it comes to “pistols for foraging”.

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Keep in mind what I am making my comparisons to. I have owned a 7.5″ Ruger Redhawk in .44Magnum, a 6″ GP-100 in .357Magnum, a 4″ Ruger Security Six in .357 Magnum, a Magna-ported 6″ S&W M29 in .44Magnum, and a 3″ S&W M317 in .22LR. They all did OK and shot well enough. As a matter of fact, the 6″ M29 was one of the most accurate Magnums I’ve own. These were cut from the “Herd” for various reasons which I will cover below.

Selection Criteria

Versatility

The things I weigh when making a firearms selection for a hunting handgun, starts first with versatility. This is the reason I choose a revolver for what Mel Tappan called a “Working Gun”. Revolvers can use reduced loads and birdshot loads as reliably as a regular, full power, factory load.

Accuracy

After versatility, comes accuracy. If a .22LR revolver won’t shoot “Minute of Squirrel” at 15 meters, it gets cut from the team. This is why the 3″ S&W M317 was sold. If my Magnum caliber handgun doesn’t shoot into four inches at 25 yards, it gets the boot.

Weight/Bulk

Lastly on the list is weight/bulk. While I like a handgun to be lightweight, a .44 Magnum that is lightweight is a “Masochist Special” in my book. On the other hand, a Ruger Redhawk with a 7.5″ barrel is not only too heavy for convenient carry, but it is way too bulky for a quick presentation if necessary. I’ve found the 6″ barreled revolvers I’ve owned to be a tad too long for convenient belt or “Tanker Holster” carry, so there goes the GP-100, Redhawk and 6″ M29.

Power

In big game hunting revolvers, I look for enough energy to do the job on the game I’m hunting. The .357 Magnum out of a 6″ barrel is in the “bare minimum” category for me. When you drop the .357 Magnum to 4″ barreled velocities, it doesn’t deliver near the downrange energy I’d like in that type of handgun and that nixed the Security Six.

I’m lookin for at least 700 foot pounds out of a handgun I carry when hunting big game. Although the .357 Magnum has some specialty loads that will do that, it averages around 500-550 ft lbs in common weights and bullet designs. At least the .44 Magnum out of everything from a 3″ barrel up will put out 700 ft. lbs. on target with most factory loads.

Reliability

When it comes to reliability, most revolvers will give you that, as long as you know what will cause problems with that type of action. The biggest issue I’ve seen with revolvers is after a lot of shooting, lead will build up on the forcing cone to the point that you need to clean/scrub it. You can do as I did in between relays in a “Firearms Instructors Course” in the 90’s and half cock the hammer while spinning the cylinder to knock the lead build up off (that is a last choice option BTW, and was completed while still on the “Line”) but that was done after we had fired hundreds of rounds through our weapons that day.

Availability

Finally, I look at what is commonly available in the “Mom and Pop” General stores. Usually you will see .357 Magnum and maybe .38 Special. There will usually be .44 Magnum, .45ACP, 9MM and always .22 Long and Long Rifle.

My Choices

Taurus 4″ M94 .22LR 

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4″ Taurus M94 .22LR in a Mil Surplus aviator shoulder holster with a folding knife sheath converted to carry three speedloaders. One speedoader always has 9 CB Long cartridges in it, due to how quiet they are.

The first pistol I selected is a Taurus M94, nine shot .22LR with a four inch barrel. I have had this pistol for about 15 years and it never fails to deliver when needed. It will shoot “Minute of Squirrel” out to 20 meters off a solid rest. I can’t tell you how many squirrels I’ve taken over the years just because I always had this firearm in my pack when I went out hunting.

It is convenient to carry not only because it is only a 4″ barrel, but because it is “J-Frame” sized (the same as the 5 shot, snub nosed revolvers) and relatively lightweight. It carries plenty of rounds to get the job done, and what I normally do is load CB Longs into the first and second chambers and the rest are CCI Mini Mags.

The sights are thin enough to make an accurate shot on small game, but still visible enough to see when the light starts to dim. I carry extra ammo for this pistol in HKS speedloaders for no other reason than it is more convenient than loose ammo in your pocket. If you compare the cost of the S&W M63 (a comparable pistol model) the Taurus M94 is half the price with most of the same attributes (the S&W DA trigger is smoother).

Smith and Wesson 4″ M29

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Magna-ported 4″ M29 .44 Magnum with an El Paso Saddlery Tanker holster and an M1 Carbine 15 round mag pouch which conveniently holds 4 speedloaders.

I have been a fan of .44 Magnum revolvers since I was a teenager. With that said, I’ve owned a number of them and of all the .44 Magnum revolvers I’ve owned, the 4″ M29, I’ve had for 17 years, is the most convenient one for size, weight and accuracy that I have found.  At 50 meters, this revolver will put all six rounds on a paper plate when using a solid rest.

My 4″ M29 is Magna-ported. What this means is that the perceived recoil and the muzzle rise is less than a non Magna-ported version and it makes a big difference. I consider Pachmayr grips to be a necessity on magnum caliber revolvers, and the “Gripper” model you see here is best, out of their selection of designs, in my opinion.

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The 3 loads I use out of my M29 are the Remington 240 grain HTP Jacketed soft point, the CCI shot loads for small game (both #9 and #4 shot) and a reload that pushes a 310 grain hardcast flatpoint at 1080 fps for a little over 800 ft lbs. of energy. This round is meant as a dangerous game load and is all about penetration of vital areas.

The 4″ M29 weighs in at 3.25 lbs. loaded and carries very well whether it’s strong side or cross draw on the belt, or in the tanker holster on my chest. Anything bigger is too cumbersome. Anything smaller would be painful to shoot, not as controllable and not as reliable, power wise, at taking out a dangerous animal.

This concludes the 4 Part series of the basic attributes I look for in “Firearms for Freedom and Forage”. Next, we will look more in depth into the firearms we’ve given a brief overview of.

JCD

“Parata Vivere”- Live Prepared.

 

 

Heads Up! Upgrading Your PASGT Kevlar Helmet Suspension System

Heads Up! Upgrading Your PASGT Kevlar Helmet Suspension System

“Concerned American” over at WRSA has asked me numerous times to post something about the upgraded suspension system available for the older PASGT kevlar helmet, which are generally still available on the surplus market. The reason he wanted me to do this is simple. Most people into preparedness (especially if you’ve done it for a while) probably already bought a PASGT helmet a while back, and it just makes sense to perform an upgrade to the suspension, rather than go buy a new ACH type (or worse, a MICH) kevlar helmet that is on the market these days.Helmet post20

Having started out in the type of Airborne units that usually don’t use helmets after the jump in, I didn’t use one a lot for a number of years other than on jumps and on some ranges.

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Early on, certain units I was in required us to use helmets when we conducted certain types of training. When I eventually ended up in an Infantry Company, that became an “All the time” affair while in the field.

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When we transitioned to the ACH (Advanced Combat Helmet) helmet, it was hard to believe that it could be that much more comfortable. The only downside I ever had with the ACH was during cold weather.  The pads have a gel that has to warm up from body heat (a minute or two) before they stop feeling like rocks.

The upgrade I used on one of my old PASGT’s was from Oregon Aero, and it’s called the “BLSS Kit”. The BLSS is available on Amazon, but it’s definitely cheaper when you can get it off of Ebay.

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The upgrade was done to a standard PASGT kevlar helmet with the Parachutist pad and retention straps (Bunny Ears)

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This is the original suspension system. One advantage I found the PASGT had after we transitioned to the ACH was the PASGT’s ability to carry items, that could be immediately useful to a Team or Squad Leader, tucked above the suspension system.

The BLSS kit comes with instructions that are easy to understand and follow. It took me about 30 mins. to do the transition on the helmet. What I can tell you is that this system is as comfortable as the suspension system that came in my ACH helmet. I can also tell you the pads are the same as the ACH,  so the cold weather “warm up” issue I mentioned above, is there with the BLSS too.

As you can see from the pics, both helmets have practically an identical suspension system now. If I had bought both helmet and BLSS off of Ebay, it would have cost me about $130. If you already have a PASGT helmet, it costs you $40 from Ebay, and your PASGT is now as comfortable as an ACH.

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This is what came out of the PASGT helmet before fitting the BLSS. I kept the parachute straps (bunny ears) in the helmet for a goggle retention system, similar to what the ACH has.

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ACH on the left, PASGT with BLSS on the right

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PASGT on left, ACH on right. I usually don’t use the cloth cover unless it’s for snow. Krylon is the paint of choice.

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ACH on left, PASGT on right. Note how the parachute straps help retain the goggle strap.

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ACH on left, PASGT on right. Note that the PASGT has more coverage over the ears than the ACH. The PASGT also has a short brim on the front, and the ACH does not.

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If I’m going to camouflage my helmet, I will use a bit of camo netting, not a cloth cover.

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I just use earth toned shock cord to keep the camo net on. If need be, I can untie the cord and lace it through the camo net.

I know there are those out there who will say, “But the ACH is level IIIA and the PASGT is only II in ballistic protection. Sure, that is absolutely correct. Here’s my question, how many of you know of or have talked to someone who was SHOT IN THE HEAD BY SOMEONE WITH A RIFLE while wearing a helmet, and if you do, did it matter what “level” it was?

Those protection levels mentioned above (level 2 and 3A) are only supposed to stop pistol rounds, but there are examples of soldiers in Grenada (when the PASGT first was fielded in combat) being hit in the head by 7.62x39S bullets from AKs, and it stopped those bullets. Here’s the deal, helmets are designed to stop shrapnel, not bullets from rifles. If you’re lookin’ for a helmet that is guaranteed to stop a rifle round, good luck on your search. We’ll wait………….

Something else to note. Where does the Spec Ops community appear to be going in the coverage department? A lot less side coverage, that’s where. It kinda seems like it’s a diminishing returns kinda thing when you look at what the helmet is meant to do, but…it’s their skull. On another note, helmets will protect you from a lot more than just bullets and shrapnel in a real world encounter, especially if you’re in a vehicle.

When do I plan on using a helmet? First would be during Defensive Operations such as a vehicle check point or overt observation post. The second would be while moving by vehicle. Those are also the only times I’d be using my Interceptor Body Armor or my plate carrier.

I hope this was helpful. If you’ve got a PASGT helmet and you plan on using it, I’d recommend you get the BLSS for it. Is comfort important in something like a helmet? You bet it is. Just like a holster that is comfortable to wear, you are more apt to use/wear it when you need it if it’s not like putting on a “masochist special” every time you wear it.

JCD

“Parata Vivere”-Live Prepared.