Life lessons from a weekend hunt

This past weekend I had the pleasure of going hunting with an old friend, Charles Coker of TacticalGunReview.com. We were able to harvest 2 whitetail does and a feral hog. From the 48-ish hours together, I took a few things from it.

Sometimes you have to be a little impulsive if you want to succeed in life.

I’m a planner. Deer and hogs don’t care about your plans. They’ll be here one moment, then gone the next. You may only have a few seconds of opportunity, so sure… plan so you’re ready when the opportunity comes, but the moment the opportunity presents itself, you better jump on it.

But on the same token, if you’re not totally certain, let it go; rushing in can lead to failure.

Suppressors are good things.

Suppressors, silencers, whatever you call them. They have this stigma of being some bad evil thing that must be banned or at least heavily regulated.

Why?

You know what a suppressor is?

A muffler.

Next time some dude on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle blares by you with his loud-pipes and rattles your dental fillings loose – those are straight pipes, no muffler. That’s how loud engines are, and why mufflers were invented. That’s how loud your car would be if you didn’t have a muffler on the exhaust.

See why mufflers are nice and desirable things?

Same with suppressors.

Good friends are those that put up with your shit, and still want to hang out with you.

Charles has invited me out hunting on numerous occasions over the years, and most of the time I have to say no because I’m busy (day job commitments, or KR Training weekend commitments). He gives me some friendly and well-deserved ribbing about it, but he understands. And despite all my turn-downs, he always keeps the door open and keeps asking me.

On top of that, he was a top-notch and most-generous host.

Those are the sort of people you cherish in your life.

Thanx, Charles for everything.

It was a good morning

I had a good morning.

How about you?

Details, for those curious.

Taken in Lee County, Texas, at the KR Training ranch, on Wednesday December 23, 2015, around 7:05 AM.

It was overcast, so despite first light it was still somewhat dark. Around 7:00 or so it was starting to just get light enough to be able to see well-enough, so I picked up the binoculars and started looking around. Looked south, nothing. Looked north… huh? Whoa! There’s already deer; they usually don’t come out this early. Just sitting maybe 125-150 yards away, eating. Very casual, very relaxed.

Wait. Are those antlers? Yup.

Lee County has the antler restrictions (must have at least 13″ inside spread). Hrm. Whoa… yeah, he looks to have the spread. Come on… lift your head a few more times so I can verify.

Yup.

Bye-bye.

Put 95 grains of Barnes TTSX squarely through the heart. He jumped but didn’t run. Quick, clean, ethical. Can’t ask for more.

Rifle is my usual: “franken-AR” with a Wilson Combat 6.8 SPC upper and a RRA lower (and their 2-stage match trigger), Leupold VX-R 3-9×50 with a LaRue mount, various little bolt-ons (e.g. Magpul CTR, ERGO grip, etc.), shooting Wilson Combat’s 6.8 SPC 95 grain Barnes TTSX loads. An excellent performer, once again.

He’s no monster buck, but it was a good buck – especially for Lee County. Got a decent yield of meat. Looking at his antlers and talking with Karl about it (Karl came out to the ranch today on unrelated business), it was a good harvest because while he doesn’t appear to have horrible genetics, he doesn’t seem to have ideal ones. So hopefully this will help in breeding selection.

Me? I’m giddy. I don’t get to shoot bucks all that often, and Karl was kind enough to let me shoot one this year (thank you again, Karl!). The weather was gorgeous (warm for this time of year: in the mid-60’s this morning). I’m happy I was able to get out, get away from the computer, enjoy nature for a while, and just clear my head a bit. In a way tho, I feel a little gypped! I was only in the blind (and the field, this entire season) a grand total of maybe 65-70 minutes – usually it’s hours, days. I was kinda looking forward to a bunch of time to just sit and clear my head, but hey… I can clear my head another day – while eating a venison burger. 🙂  I actually debated last night if I should go out or not because so many things, but I knew if I didn’t I’d regret it.

No regrets. 🙂

Magpul STR vs CTR

Here’s what a little training and education does to you: it fixes what’s broken.

My hunting rifle is an AR-patterned rifle: a Wilson Combat 6.8 upper on a Rock River Arms lower with their two-stage match trigger, and some other accessories.

I forget what I originally had as a stock, but probably some sort of “factory whatever” 6-position stock. Hated it. Put on a Magpul STR. Why? I felt that the added width would be good for my cheek weld. And generally it was, given what I knew at the time.

Well, at the CSAT Rifle class last month, there was some side talk with Paul Howe about stocks, and he mentioned he couldn’t use such stocks because they rolled his head over. It just didn’t fit him and his body (YMMV).

It seems that’s my case too.

When I pulled the hunting rifle out a couple weeks ago to prep for deer (rifle) season, of course I was putting my CSAT training to use. And lo, things felt off. I couldn’t get that consistent head and eye position, that natural point of aim. I noticed that yeah, my head was rolling to the side. I also noticed I wasn’t getting naturally behind the scope to see through it properly. Hrm.

I took off the STR and just used the raw buffer tube to experiment. Sure enough, everything felt better.

So I ordered a Magpul CTR. It just came in. Put it on, and lo, everything is better. Consistent head and eye position. Natural point of aim. And the scope falls properly where it should (eye relief). What a difference, eh?

Why didn’t I get something like the UBR or PRS? 1. Cost. 2. I’m not convinced I need it, not at least on this rifle.

Anyways, that’s what a little learning will do for you. 😉

Lessons in Perseverance and Patience

Youngest and I went deer hunting again.

When we tried about 2 weeks ago, the hunt was not successful. However, a lot of good things came from it. Best of all, it just meant we had to go out to the field again, spend more time with each other again bonding and building memories. Gee, horrible thing. 😉

And so, we set out again.

We started pretty much the same way: waking up at a very early hour, rolling to the property, setting up and sitting down. We set up in the same place as before, because I know deer show up in that area.

Well, they’re supposed to.

The Morning

We spent 4 hours in the stand… with nothing. I mean, it was deader than last time. The most exciting thing was a bird landed on a bush in front of the stand, and we saw it poop. Yeah… that was the highlight of the morning.

After our patience and bladders reached their breaking point, we got out of the stand, headed up to the house, and relaxed a bit. Had made prior arrangements to have lunch with a friend (Deputy Rudolph), so let him know that we were ready to go. Well, since he was on duty and working, I expected a little wait in case he was dealing with something. Sure enough he was. So we waited a bit, then headed up to Elm Creek Cafe, only to find out it was closed on Mondays. Rearranged plans, went into the town of Giddings. Alas, Deputy Rudolph hadn’t even started the work detail he was on, so there was more waiting. Eventually he finished and was on his way, but then got stuck at a railroad crossing. It took him a while before he showed up. Meantime, we sat in the truck, in the parking lot of the restaurant, and watched many people arrive, enter, eat, then leave… while we continued to sit. I’m not mad at things, not his fault for the timing of it all. But… it was just another case of waiting, and waiting. Still, lunch was really good and it was great to see him. We had a long lunch, talking about all manner of things, including Youngest getting to learn a little about the realities of police work.

The Return

After lunch, we headed back to the ranch. Karl had suggested we could pass some time by taking one of his .22’s and going squirrel hunting. I’ve never done that, and Youngest was hip to the idea. But it was pretty clear he was hip to it because 1. we had seen lots of squirrels, 2. it seemed to him like his best chance to get SOMETHING.

But it wasn’t to be.

As soon as we pulled into the ranch, a very nice doe ran literally right in front of my truck in the big pasture. ARGH! I didn’t bring my rifle because I have this thing about leaving valuables in the car, and I didn’t even just leave it in the house… no… I had locked it up in the safe. I ran into the house, opened the safe, grabbed the rifle, then ran back out to the pasture. I figured the doe might slow down once she hit the treeline.

We hoofed it through the double-gates into the pasture. As I reached the end of the first fenceline I looked north to scan down by the fence and treeline there towards the stock tank. Sure enough, I saw her right there at the fence about 200 yards away. I rested the rifle on the big corner fence post and as I was finding her in the scope a huge RUMBLE scared her off. Seems the fence repairs guys were out at the far south end of the property, probably what flushed her out in the first place, and as he started up his truck engine it scared her off. Damnit. We hoofed it through the pasture down to the gate, to circle around the stock tank – maybe she was just inside the woods, maybe at the water. Alas, nothing. We headed back to the house to properly prep. I decided to go ahead and just sit in the stand because hey… deer are there, and we certainly have no chance at one if we’re not in the stand.

The Afternoon

Yes, we got into the stand early, probably earlier than truly needed. But you just can’t know when the deer will be out, and if we’re going to sit around and wait, might as well wait in the stand.

And… the boredom sunk in again. Making it worse, a good lunch digesting, unseasonable warmth (it got into the low 70’s), and facing west with the afternoon sun coming into the blind onto our dark-colored clothing… and yeah, we were both nodding off.

But here’s one change we made.

While sitting in the morning, I kept looking at the lay of the land. We weren’t in the best spot. Yes, it was a good spot from a “being camouflaged and blending in” perspective, but we couldn’t see all that we needed to see.

Here’s a map:

This morning (and all hunts prior), we set up around the the green dot. This was at a high point, altitude-wise, and gave very good sight north and south, which game cameras and observation of deer movement told us this strip was very productive. This was also a nice spot because it was up in a clump of bushes and trees so you blended in pretty well. But notice, all you can really see is north and south.

On prior hunts I had scanned the area looking for other positions, but nothing really gave us as good a vantage point. Sure better camouflage, but worse sight lines. I always looked at it tho from a perspective of “remaining hidden”.

This afternoon tho, I said screw it. Well, I actually said that after we finished up in the morning and before we went to lunch I moved the blind a bit north. The blind was totally out in the open, but we had a MUCH better vantage point on all fronts. To the south, it wasn’t as good as we had before, but it was quite adequate because if a deer was blocked by that tree/bush clump, it would just be a matter of time before they moved out. To the north, we were slightly higher and saw northward much better. But the most significant was to the west, as you can see by the red arrow.

I started to have a feeling that the deer were moving but NOT along the normal trail. Too open? Smelled us? the winds were coming from the south, so any deer to our north (normal movement pattern was starting north and moving south) obviously would smell us. Who knows why, but I just got a feeling that given all things I had observed and considered, they were moving, just behind the trees.

My hunch paid off.

My Mistakes

Around 5 PM I see a doe poke her head out from behind the trees, basically where the red arrow ends. She starts walking right towards us.

Of course, I get all excited! Youngest knew to be still, move slow. He watched over my shoulder (he was sitting behind me in the blind; got to know the back of my head really well). But me? My heart was racing, my breathing was deep, and I was just all worked up. Not even so much because it was a deer and finally our opportunity, but because man… I really wanted this for Youngest.

There is nothing wrong with making a kid learn to wait. But there’s a balance to be had, because if all they ever get is waiting then they may well lose interest and all is lost. I really wanted Youngest to finally have his chance to see how everything goes down. I was really worked up and I guess nervous and stressed that this is it… but we might lose this chance…

And so, I rushed it.

The shot was NOT steady. I knew it wasn’t. But I was too afraid to miss the chance.

Well, I missed the deer.

From how she ran off, the lack of any subsequent noise, I knew I had flat out missed.

And I was angry with myself. Angry because I rushed it. Angry because I risked taking an unethical shot. Angry because I may have lost our sole opportunity. Angry for so many reasons. And I made sure to vocalize it to Youngest, not that it was his fault or anything, but I’ve never been anything but honest with my kids and even them seeing that “even Dad” can screw up, I think is important. That we’re human too, and here’s how to deal with it, y’know?

Still, I told him that we wait, because if she’s dead she’s dead, and if not well… sometimes they come back.

Sure enough, she did. About 5-10 minutes later she poked her head out of the same spot. I got her in my sights, perfect broadside shot. But this time I told myself to take another deep breath and steady myself. As I did that, her head shot up, major alert position, and she bolted. I swear I never have seen a deer turn tail and just sprint away so quickly.

Damnit #2.

It was interesting to show to Youngest how sometimes you have to wait, but if you wait too long, the opportunity could be lost. It’s truly a strange game and balancing act.

I slumped back in my chair.

Then… we heard snorting.

There was another deer stamping feet and snorting hard at us. If you look at the map, there’s a clump of trees/bushes between the red and yellow lines, close to the red dot. The deer was just behind that clump. No ability to get a shot, but you could see the deer easily being mad, snorting, fading back a bit, but not heading off. I figured to bring the rifle up and be ready because if she was there, likely she was going to emerge somewhere. I had Youngest watch her movements to see if he could pick up on direction — he was doing really well tracking her movements through the scrub, so I told him to let me know if she was going north or south.

North.

And then, she stuck her head out from behind the trees, about at the end of the yellow arrow. She was quartering towards me and just standing there. I was steady, slow smooth press, and that was that. Youngest watched the whole thing, saw her jump, reported that her front leg “swung around like Jell-O”, and that was pretty clear that between what I saw in the scope and what he saw, that she was taken cleanly. She ran about 50 yards to the yellow dot, and we found her under a tree.

Biology Lesson

Now began the next phase: cleaning and processing. 🙂

Of course, I did most of the work here, but Youngest helped. He helped me put her on the back of the truck, helped by holding her when it was needed to keep her steady. He’d keep the truck bed lights running and other things I needed.

And he got quite a lesson in how the body works, seeing it all up close. He didn’t want to touch any internals, but he did of course hold the body, feel the warmth, and well… it gains you a big respect for life.

He got to see how the organs are hooked up and how things work. He did also see how the organs can easily be stopped. He saw the entry would, the exit wound, and what a bullet can do. I could tell it was a sobering moment for him, which is good. Respect for such things is important, and Hollywood will never teach you that respect – only direct experience can.

We processed a fair amount of meat. As you can see from the picture, she was a nice-sized Central Texas whitetail doe. I was surprised at the meat I was able to trim off her, because yeah… we waste nothing. All the edible meat I could trim I kept. Everything else was left to feed the coyotes and the vultures, because they need to eat too. The ground was nourished by nutrient-rich blood. Really, it’s how nature works, that whole “circle of life” thing.

Youngest learned a lot.

Lessons Learned

One thing Youngest struggles with is being patient, so I think this whole thing was a big lesson to him about being patient. And how patience will pay off.

It also teaches about perseverance, because we had to keep trying. When he wanted to zone out and stop scanning for deer, I’d tell him to keep working because you never know. One moment you see nothing, then it’s like the deer appears out of nowhere. Sure enough he saw that.

He wanted to rush out and find the deer after my first shot, but I told him not to because they’ll often come back. Sure enough they did, you just had to wait.

Oh, there were so many things learned. Little things, big things. From what might have been an insignificant moment, to the overarching issues of “waiting”. There’s just so much to gain here, I can’t detail it all.

Often times the bigger things you get out of life come from the work, not the end achieved. I will be curious to see how 5-10-20 years from now he will look back on this time and how it perhaps affected him. I hope it will be great things.

For me? I’m still not fully sure all that I was to take from this experience, but I can tell you one thing.

After I missed the shot, then missed the opportunity, I was so down on myself. But then after we took the deer, just before we left the stand Youngest stood up and put his arm around me and said, “See Dad? Don’t be mad at yourself. It all works out.” Yeah… I choked up a bit. That was money, right there. 🙂

We had a great adventure. Oldest and Daughter always have pretty straightforward hunting experiences. This time with Youngest was unique, and even his siblings recognize how cool it was. Even tho he didn’t take the deer, it was still his first time for the experience. I think he’s hooked. I don’t consider this “my deer”, I consider it “our deer”, because I know I couldn’t have done it without him. Thanx, son.

Life’s better, when you focus on the good things

Yesterday I went deer hunting with Youngest. He got to learn why it’s “hunting” not “bagging” because we came home with nothing.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. We came home with a bunch of great experiences and memories.

It wasn’t until maybe a year ago that Youngest expressed any interest in hunting. But since he did, I’ve been trying to make it happen. Finally, thanks to the generosity of a friend, I had an opportunity to take him out. Now, I’m doing the actual hunting and work here as Youngest doesn’t feel ready to do anything other than observe. But he wants to see what it’s all about.

We set off at an early hour. I swear I’ve never seen this kid so happy to wake up, not to mention wake up at 3:30 am! Obviously excited, and we set off. Over the hour drive there was much talking, asking and answering of questions, and getting ready for things. We get there, we set up the blind, and then we sit and wait.

I made it clear that there are no guarantees. That we could sit and wait and be bored out of our skulls, and have nothing to bring home. So he was prepared for that. Still, I really wanted to be able to bag a doe, as it was his first time out; it’d just help him see a lot of it all.

Alas, we saw almost nothing. We saw 3 does when we parked the truck, and we saw a very immature buck. That’s all we saw in our hours sitting out there. We even got tired of sitting and went on a stalk hunt for a while. Alas, nothing. It was very quiet.

But in that is where we were able to experience some neat things.

I told him that it is a little boring, but that’s ok. Take in what’s around you. There will be sounds, there will be things to see. Watching the sun come up itself is really cool. You never know what you might experience.

We saw movement behind some trees and thought “maybe a deer?” No… it wound up being a feral (house)cat. It was rather cute, and actually spotted us and stalked us for a while. 🙂

We got to see a hawk. Numerous other birds. This one squirrel had no idea about us and was hopping straight at us — that was mighty cute.

But the coolest thing?

We heard a woodpecker. We found him atop a telephone/power pole that was maybe 50-60 yards from us. We thought he was rather large, but didn’t think much of it. We watch him for a long time.

Then he took flight.

GEEZ! He was huge! I mean, for a woodpecker. Imagine a really large crow. He was a big dude! We kept watching him when he landed on another tree, then eventually lost track of him. But it was quite cool. We didn’t realize how cool until we got home.

We determined it was a Pileated Woodpecker.

Here’s a video of one, which is a pretty good shot of what they look AND sound like:

What made this extraordinary is they are an East Texas bird. To find them where we were is a rare occurrence!

Frankly, that made our day! 🙂  We’ve spent more time talking and learning about the woodpecker than anything else.

And you see, that’s really what it was all about.

It’s about having time together, building memories, and doing fun things. Heck, the fact we didn’t take a deer? Just means we have to go out again — gee, darn the luck! Which means another opportunity have time together, build more memories, and do more fun things.

So you see, we could focus on what we don’t have – a deer in the freezer. But life is so much better because we focus on what we do have. 🙂

 

Gone Huntin’

hunting-pp

Sign picture found via Google Image Search, from Jackie’s Crafts.

 

Gone hunting with Oldest.

Thanx, Karl.

Hipsters – the new face of hunting

 “A few people roll up in monster trucks, but others ride over on their bikes,” [hunting instructor Dylan Eyers] laughed. “That seems to be a new thing.”

Anti-gun and anti-hunting groups are going to have to find a new group to stereotype and demonize, because the growing trend isn’t to the redneck bubbas but rather to the young hipsters that understand:

“Hunting makes sense as part of a DIY foodie lifestyle. There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes from being able to grow or prepare your own food, and you end up with something that tastes great and I know it’s a lot better for me.”

Full story.

Look at the trends as of late. To think global but act local. To be a locavore. Organic and sustainable farming. Ethical farming. Reactionary to industrial ranching, “pink slime”, ingredient labels you can’t read, and so on.

Folks, that’s what hunting is. (or is supposed to be… yes I’m sure, we all know of some exception).

You don’t get more “free-range organic” than a deer that’s been tromping around the woods all its life, eating acorns and leaves.

There’s a trend of returning to our roots. Yeah, globalism isn’t working out, so while young folk appreciate being connected globally, they’re living more locally and trying to embrace what once was. I mean, it wasn’t too long ago people tended to grow their own food, hunt their own food, make their own clothes — life wasn’t solely obtained at Wal-Mart. So a return to hunting is just a logical next step for folks.

It also speaks to current hunters and gun folk: these people are your future. Please look past their skinny jeans, tattoos, piercings, and other appearances to see they are trying to embrace and learn about something you hold dear. Be loving and open, accepting, understanding, patient, and happily recruit these people into the fold by teaching and sharing your passion. You know… bring us together.

Hooray for Government – keeping the homeless fed and safe

Louisiana’s State Health Department forced a homeless shelter to destroy $8,000 worth of deer meat because it was donated from a hunter organization.

[…]

“We didn’t find anything wrong with it,” Rev. Henry Martin told KTBS. “It was processed correctly, it was packaged correctly.”

[…]

“They threw it in the dumpster and poured Clorox on it,” Martin told KTBS. “Not only are we losing out and it’s costing us money, the people that are hungry aren’t going to get as quality of food, the hunter that’s given his meat in good faith is losing out.”

[…]

“While we applaud the good intentions of the hunters who donated this meat, we must protect the people who eat at Rescue Mission, and we cannot allow a potentially serious health threat to endanger the public,” the Health Department stated.

 Full story

1600# of venison.

Accounts vary, but it seems a “serving of meat” is considered to be 3oz. So that’s 8533 servings that were destroyed.

Let that sink in for a moment.

More than 8000 servings of food.

If you divided that by 3 meals a day, that’s 2844 days.

Can you see how many people who meat could have fed?

Meat is expensive. And hell, venison is lean and high quality protein. We complain about the poor food choices that people make, the poor food choices available to people. And when it comes to charity food donations, people aren’t always going to be donating organic canned goods from Whole Foods, y’know? But here you’re getting high-quality, free-range protein… and you’re destroying it.

Under the guise of “protecting people”?

What about the hunters or other folk that would have otherwise eaten the meat? Why aren’t they being protected? Why is their consumption of the meat OK? If the meat is unsafe to eat, it’s unsafe to eat — period; thus no one should be eating it. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, does it?

None of this makes sense.

You’re not helping.

Facepalm – Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden explains what one should do for self-defense: get a shotgun.

Biden, doing a Google+ “hangout” to promote President Barack Obama’s proposals for battling gun violence, had been asked whether a new assault weapons ban might infringe on the Second Amendment rights of those who want one “as a last line of defense” to fend off looters after “some terrible natural disaster.”

“Guess what? A shotgun will keep you a lot safer, a double-barreled shotgun, than the assault weapon in somebody’s hands [who] doesn’t know how to use it, even one who does know how to use it,” the outspoken vice president, a shotgun owner himself, replied. “It’s harder to use an assault weapon to hit something than it is a shotgun. You want to keep people away in an earthquake? Buy some shotgun shells.”

This is one of those things that is so stunningly misinformed and full of terrible advice that you just don’t know how to respond. I’ll try tho.

First, credentials.

I am an NRA Certified Instructor (Home Safety, Pistol, Rifle, Personal Protection Inside the Home, Personal Protection Outside the Home). I am an NRA Certified Range Safety Officer. I am certified by the Texas Department of Public Safety as a Concealed Handgun License Instructor. I have been an assistant Instructor with KR Training for four years. I’ve received hundreds of hours of instruction in firearms and self-defense, with a large stack of certifications. There’s more, but this is enough to make my point. And no, I’m not as awesome as Tom Givens or my mentor, Karl Rehn, but I’ve learned a thing or two.

Joe Biden’s credentials: owns a shotgun.

Maybe Mr. Biden has more credentials that would permit him to speak as an authority on this topic. I haven’t seen them, and even if he showed me a list, after hearing the above I couldn’t believe him.

Let’s see here…

First I will agree that a shotgun is a formidable weapon. It can do devastating things. I do keep shotguns as part of my personal defense plan. I find them to be a solid small armament. They can be the right tool for the job.

I’m curious how Mr. Biden’s statement holds up.

A double-barreled shotgun. So that’s 2 rounds. What if you miss? What if there’s a need to fire more than 2 shots? If the statistical average of a gunfight is “3 shots, within 3 yards, within 3 seconds” then 2 rounds leaves you below-average and behind the curve. Is it legally and morally sound to put good people at a disadvantage from bad people?

A shotgun is harder to hit something with than a shotgun? Um… I’m not sure about that. Well, perhaps. The point of a shotgun is to hit small flying objects, like birds (ducks, doves, pheasants, etc.) or clay discs (skeet, trap). It does this by using lots of little tiny pellets and has them spread out in a cloud. And yes, compared to trying to hit a small flying thing with a single bullet (rifle, pistol) well sure, a shotgun will improve your chances of success.

But we’re not talking about hitting small flying objects. We’re talking about personal defense — even Mr. Biden is speaking in the context of personal defense. In such a case, not only is the target much bigger and moves much more slowly, it needs a far different payload. It’s one thing to take down a 2 pound bird, it’s another to take down a 200# violent criminal actor. You still have to aim. A shotgun is not some “cloud of death”. The spread is not as vast as you think. In fact, you actually do NOT want your pellets to spread out because 1. less pellets on target means less ability to stop the attack, 2. less pellets on target means more pellets where you didn’t intend them to go, which could be bad.

I’ve written at length about rifle vs. shotgun, so just go read.

Let’s continue with Mr. Biden’s statements:

 “This town listens when people rise up and speak,” Biden said

I’m not sure what town he’s talking about. Lots of people are speaking in other ways, and then it’s not like y’all listen when it comes to other topics. It really sounds like you’re pushing a personal agenda.

Biden noted that “it’s not about keeping bad guns out of the hands of good people, it’s about keeping all guns out of the hands of bad people. There should be rational limits.”

Then I guess it’s just “collateral damage” that this also will keep the guns out of the hands of good people?

Or are we considered bad people too?

Mr. Biden, I am not sure upon what credentials you speak, but your words don’t make much sense.

I’ll just say this. If a double-barreled shotgun is all someone needs, then start by equipping your Secret Service detail with nothing but double-barreled shotguns. Your actions will speak far louder than your words.

 

My new EDC Flashlight – SureFire E2D

For the past 3-4 years, I’ve carried a SureFire E2L Outdoorsman as my every day carry (EDC) flashlight. I carry a flashlight all the time and at the ready because it’s useful. I didn’t realize how useful it was until I started carrying one all the time — I use it almost every day.

But over the years of carrying the E2L, my preferences have changed and a couple months ago I started on a quest for new EDC flashlight. I’ve hit a milestone on that quest – I’ve obtained a new flashlight, a SureFire E2D LED Defender

SureFire E2D LED Defender

First, it’s important to note this is the LED model; there’s earlier versions of the E2D that were not LED. Second, you’ll note the different tailcap in the above picture; I’ll discuss that below.

Why did I pick this? Because it fit all my requirements.

  • I wanted a higher beam output than the E2L, and with 200 lumens the E2D certainly meets that.
  • It has a better beam quality, but I’ll discuss that below.
  • The first click on the E2D activates the high beam (E2L, the low beam). My needs these days find me needing “most light, right now”, which means I want the first press of the button to give me a solid beam of lots of light.
  • It has a clip, and a clip in the “right” direction for my needs. One of my biggest uses of the clip is to hang the light from the brim of my cap so I can illuminate whatever I’m looking at (hands-free), and of course the beam moves with my head and eyes.
  • High and low beams, because while much of my current needs are “most light, right now”, sometimes I need to read something or see something else, so low beam is good. And no strobe.
  • The form factor is right for my hand, for my carry, etc.. BTW, my existing Comp-Tac flashlight pouch works just fine because the E2D and E2L have just about the same form factor. I did note I needed to tighten up the pouch a little bit for the E2D to fit, but that’s not a big deal.

So… my needs were met, thus.

Regarding the beam quality, from what my eyes can tell it’s actually pretty much the same beam as the E2L. But because it’s more lumens, things just look better. So I reckon it’s not so much the beam as it was the strength. To compare, the Streamlight Super Tac-X I have also has a 200 lumen output, but the beams of the Tac-X and the E2D are different — this is due to the reflector. The Tac-X is designed to really throw that light, so the beam is a little more focused and appears to reach further. The E2D certainly reaches far, but the light is… well, the best way I can describe it is closer to a floodlight than a spotlight, but it’s certainly not some sort of “room-filling” light… it’s still more spot than a ceiling lamp, but I’d just say the E2D’s beam is a little more “spreading/filling” than the Tac-X. That’s fine for my needs, because while I do want the throw, I also need the “fill”. What I’d really like to do is get out in the country where I don’t have the light pollution of the city and really see how the beams compare.

The clip is shorter but VERY strong. It’s tough to get under it, whereas the E2L’s is longer and “looser”, very easy to get under. That’s fine, if over time it means more durability and less chance of accidental snagging of the clip.

In the few days I’ve had the light and used it, it’s worked well and I’ve been pleased. It’s what I’ve been after.

However… not everything is rosy.

SureFire E2L (top) and E2D (bottom)

See the above picture and compare the two lights. Certainly they are cut from the same cloth, the difference being the E2D has this “Defender” styling. That’s a bit of a mixed bag.

First, the crenelation is of course part of the purpose of the thing. But it’s a little sharp. While of course that’s part of the point, when you pull the light in and out of the belt pouch all day AND the light is up against your bare skin well… sometimes I skewer myself. Just annoying.

Second, the this affects the accessibility of the tailcap button. Notice in the picture you can see the E2L’s button but you cannot see the E2D’s. They rise up the same, just the E2D has the “walls” around the button. I found this made it difficult for me to activate the button. When I hold the light and hit the button with my thumb, either I’m holding it wrong or I just don’t have enough thumb meat to get that button depressed. For me to work it, I have to come at the button with my thumb pointing down into the button and use the tip of my thumb – hardly practical for me. When I grab the light, regardless of how I grab it, I should be able to just press and go, but alas, the tailcap doesn’t allow it. Thus why you see the mixed light in the top picture – I just switched to use my E2L’s tailcap. It works fine.

Third, note the texturing on the body of the flashlight. It’s a bit more aggressive on the E2D. That’s great for a grip, but in the pouch, on my belt, against my skin? It’s sandpaper. It’s not majorly uncomfortable, but there’s enough times when I bend or twist my body just so and get rubbed and it’s annoying.

All in all these annoyances are minor, but I’ve also only had the light a few days. Over time I may grow to hate them or they’ll fade into the background and I will barely notice them. Time will tell.

But for now, the E2D stays on my hip as my new EDC flashlight.