Notes for Tuesday – March 31, 2015

March 31 is the birthday of economist Dr. Walter E. Williams, PhD., who was born in 1936.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 57 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less then one minute without the use of any tools, and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 30 DPMS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. (An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. A Model 120 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $340 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate, and
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  6. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  7. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate, and
  8. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. *Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack (a $379 value), and
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 57 ends on March 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

The Long Good-bye, by Captnswife

Well, it has begun. Today, I closed my Paypal account. This is just the first step in the slow and admittedly painful process of disconnecting from the Internet. I’ve known it was coming for awhile, but I can’t say that made it easier. Honestly, I love this thing. The greatest joy in my life was the moment, at age six, I realized that because I could read I would never have to stop learning. The invention of the information super highway was beyond my wildest dreams. It’s the largest and most diverse library in the world, and it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

However, I must go. Like any relationship, it is only healthy as long as the boundaries are clear, strong, and respectful. My technology partner has now violated them beyond repair.

All of this began the day I read about the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), the White House drive toward universal biometric identification for every person using the World Wide Web. I was literally sick when I realized the “trusted identities” were not the government departments, public institutions, or big box retailers responsible for managing our records. No, the trusted identities are us… but only after we are “authenticated”.

If you haven’t heard of NSTIC (nastique!), you are not alone. Most Americans have no idea there is a public-private partnership between government and technology companies whose mission it is to propel us into a brave new world of human-machine integration in every aspect of our lives.  The plan, which is well underway and well-funded with our tax dollars, will require you to prove you are you before you can go online. This authentication is to be carried out by a third-party and can only be achieved after you submit a part of your body– a fingerprint, iris, palm, or some other uniquely patterned part– to be stored in some great cloud server. When you wish to go online, then you will present your biometric part to the proper digital authority; if it agrees that you are who you say you are, then you will get access.

Not surprisingly, this universal or “federated” ID is being sold to consumers as a convenient alternative to passwords. Once you get on with your authenticated ID, you don’t need passwords any longer. You will be free to check your bank balance, go shopping, video chat, et cetera without having to remember all those letters and numbers and %&*!$.  The Apple iPhone 6, with Apple Pay, was the first major consumer product to fully integrate the technology. Next time you see an ad for Apple Pay on television, look closely. Notice how carefully the thumb scan is edited out.

The other big sales job on biometric is that it will be more secure against fraud. The IRS, in documents discussing biometric ID programs for tax filing, justifies its use by highlighting the amount of money they lose to cheaters every year.  Some politicians apparently like it, too. One state senator from New Mexico asked the secretary of state in March 2015 to force citizens to use biometric ID to vote.

Of course, the bureaucrats and geeks claim biometrics will prevent the compromising of your debit and credit cards, or any card, for that matter, including school IDs. K-12s all over the country are now using fingerprint scans in the lunch line. You won’t be surprised to learn that biometric readers are now being rolled out in airports for passenger “security”.

So, let’s stop for a moment. Do you see the pattern?  The focus of online security has changed since our mutual Internet journey began nearly 20 years ago. In the past, the onus was on the site you patronized. However, universal biometric IDs shifts the responsibility to you, the individual user. If you are a responsible citizen, the thinking goes, you will gladly be authenticated to “stay safe”.  Instantly, all global corporations and bureaucratic quagmires involved in online communications and money handling have been absolved of their duties to make your personal actions private and secure.

It almost goes without saying that none of them bothered to ask customers and tax payers what they thought about it, which might be because they already know nobody likes this “666” thing, except the companies in line to make billions. Wherever I mention it– whether at the bank, with my hairdresser, or at family gatherings– every single person makes a face. Not one has smiled and said, “Oh, what a good idea!” when hearing about it the first time. The most common response is the word “creepy”. Even the non-religious can see it is very much like the descriptions of the Biblical “mark of the beast” https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Revelation%2013:17, including the part about buying and selling. In the very near future, you may find yourself prohibited from commerce and basic transactions– from Coke machines to banking – without having first been authenticated by your biometric mark.

So I made the decision to unplug.  I know a lot of folks have been prepping for a time when the Internet and other products and services are not available, but I don’t think this was the crisis most people anticipated. We expected an external event to turn out the lights and stop the trucks. It was to be an act outside of our control that forced us to rely on stored supplies, strong bodies, and community support.

Now, we see that the day we prepped for isn’t coming from out of the blue after all. It will come by our own hands. If we choose not to submit the intimate details of our biological imprint, we might not be able to get money from the bank, or buy food at the grocery store with a credit or debit card, which must be authenticated. We might not receive healthcare or be able to sign in at work.

So I started with PayPal. The security chief there is one of the leaders of the push into a “passwordless” world. His statement forced me to realize we were beyond both “if” and “when”. I honestly thought I’d have a couple more years before I had to start pulling the plug, and I am truly sad to be making this decision.  We, the people, should be the innocent ones. We have committed no crime. We have done nothing to deserve this forced reduction of our human personhood into a series of zeros and ones that fit through a digital gateway.

A couple of years ago I understood that my beloved country was not the one in which I was raised, and I spent several weeks in deep grief.  I remember the 60s and 70s and 80s, and the years before 9/11 plunged us into a state of constant surveillance. It’s good that I do. A life without Internet is slow. Fortunately, I have the benefit of having lived the majority of my life before on-demand movies and instant cash and an around-the-clock digital encyclopedia.

Today, I leave PayPal, but tomorrow it will be something else, and so on, until the separation is complete. You, too, have a decision to make. Will you retain your individuality, or will you join the biometric collective?

I leave you to think and to plan. Unlearning, or discovering, a life without “login” will be a lengthy process. For those of us who choose liberty, the time has come.  

Two Letters Re: Choices, Choices, Choices

Hugh,

In response to Choices, Choices by KC, I would like to comment: In the interest of education and operational challenges I once did a show-and-tell to my teenagers and wife of different kinds of rifles. Of the various platforms, my family chose the Ruger Mini-14 (.223) as their rifle of choice. While I personally dislike the tilt in nature of the magazine, they all felt that this was less important to them compared with other operational issues. They practiced the mag insertion and felt most comfortable with this rifle. This might be a good option to consider for non-gun or new-to-gun people. Regards – C. R.

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Hugh,

I very much enjoyed the two part article on Choices. Even though we came to different conclusions, I enjoy looking at the thought processes of others because I am always making sure I didn’t forget something. One comment I think is important concerning his comment that 1911s are not reliable. I agree with him concerning race guns and tricked-out custom pieces. The standard 1911 on the other hand is the standard for reliability. I asked around to the CCW instructors I know, trying to see if they had similar issues. None did, specific to any gun model. The issue they did bring up was breaking the gun in. Most manufacturers recommend a 300-round break-in period for any service or carry piece. Several of the used carry guns I have looked at in shops had not been shot enough to polish the rails. Any gun can be twitchy if not broken in. This has apparently been more of an issue since the ammo issue of recent past. In over four decades of carrying handguns, I have never found a more reliable design than the 1911, but it must be broken in. Also avoid cheap surplus magazines. The few failures I have witnessed were directly traced to crappy mags. Your opinions may differ, but if I ever choose another gun to carry, the deciding issue won’t be reliability. – R.H.

Odds ‘n Sods:

The Real Reason For Partisan Gridlock: Democracy Is Falling Apart. – G.P.

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The “politically Correct” Supreme Court rejects free speech appeal over Cinco de Mayo school dispute. – P.M.

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Texas Bill Would Bar Physicians From Talking Guns With Patients. – D.S.

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1,000-year-old onion and garlic eye remedy ‘kills MRSA’

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Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria From American Cattle Become Airborne, But Is It Life-Threatening?

Notes for Monday – March 30, 2015

On March 30, 1981, President Reagan was shot and seriously injured outside a Washington, D.C. hotel by John W. Hinckley Jr. Also wounded were White House news secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent, and a District of Columbia police officer. Known for his quips and unaware of the injury to others at the scene, President Reagan walked into the hospital, despite his wound, and was heard telling his wife, “Honey, I forgot to duck.”

Scot’s Product Review: Horseshoe Leather Products

Horseshoe Leather Products http://www.holsters.org/index.htm isn’t one of the best known holster makers, but that doesn’t really matter. What is important is that it is one of the best holster makers on the planet. Horseshoe holsters are of impeccable quality and superbly designed for the concealed carry of handguns. One of the keys to this high level of quality is that Horseshoe is a one man shop and each holster is handmade for each customer by Horseshoe’s owner, Andy Arratoonian. If he made it, it bears the distinctive Horseshoe symbol he hand stamps on every item.

The quality of Arratoonian’s work is so good that despite Horseshoe Leather being relatively unknown in the new age of plastic, he is back-ordered by almost a year at present. His customers tend to be very knowledgeable professionals who need high-quality, concealment holsters rather than dilettantes. His designs have been copied, but his quality is very, very hard to equal.

The strangest thing to me about Horseshoe Leather is its location– North Yorkshire in the hoplophobic United Kingdom. It is about halfway between London and Edinburg. One might not think that he would have many customers in his home country, but apparently there are quite a few British professionals who know a good thing when they use it. There is also a knowledgeable following around the world for Horseshoe Leather.

As a side note, if you want to know more about why hoplophobia has won out in the old country, take a look at Arratoonian’s excellent article on the handgun ban there. He makes it clear that what has struck there is a danger we must combat here.

One misconception I’ve often heard about his work is that he uses horsehide. In reality, he prefers prime English full-grain cowhide, which he feels allows him to make a better holster due to cowhide having superior rigidity. This translates to better weapon retention. Cowhide can also be finished better than horsehide in Arratoonian’s view, so it will have a finer appearance. He once offered holsters in American tanned horsehide, but I found none currently available on his website. He has an informative webpage http://www.holsters.org/which.htm on the subject of horsehide vs. cowhide, if you want to know more.

There are, in my view, two limitations of Horseshoe holsters. First, Arratoonian no longer makes them for revolvers. While my favorite handgun is the 1911, I am still fond of revolvers and have been in the market for a holster for one. The second problem affects me even more personally, since I am left handed; these days, he only makes a couple of models– his shoulder holster and his inside the waistband holster– for we persecuted few.

Some may also resent the fact that he does not work with Kydex, but I revel in high quality leather and could care less. I find leather more comfortable to wear and pleasing to the senses than Kydex. If it weren’t for what sweat does to fine leather, I doubt I would own any plastic holsters, despite the fact they can work well if the maker knows the business of design and construction.

One of my favorite holsters from Horseshoe is the Model 32 Max Protect. This is a pancake style that holds the pistol close to the body for concealment. Its most distinctive features are the two wings of leather that protect the top of the pistol. I usually carry a 1911 pattern handgun, and I like how the wings protect the ambidextrous safety I have on my weapon. Since the safety is on both sides of the gun, it is exposed to bumps that can knock it off in a normal holster. The Max Protect prevents that, which is something I appreciate. The wings also add to its comfort, as they prevent the sharp edges of the pistol from ever contacting my body. Further, they smooth the outline of the pistol, enhancing concealment.

One thing that puzzles me is that Arratoonian warns that this feature slows the draw, since there is extra leather around the pistol. I personally don’t find that to be the case, but it might be I’m not adept enough for it to make any difference.

I sometimes wish it carried the pistol slightly lower. On my body, it places the pistol’s center of gravity a little bit higher than I like, when I use it with a Commander– my primary carry pistol. That allows the pistol to lean out slightly from the torso, but it isn’t a major problem.

I’ve been trained that it is important to reholster without needing both hands or looking, which is why I fret over this issue. I have thought that a metal reinforcing band around the mouth would be nice. That would ensure the holster is always open to receive the pistol, but in truth I have had no issues with that when using a 1911 style pistol. Still, Arratoonian warns that the holster isn’t suitable for really wide pistols, like Glocks, for this reason.

The holster is superbly blocked to the pistol and is a thing of beauty and joy to hold in its saddle tan finish. Mine was made for an Officers ACP, and I have crassly stuffed my Commander into it, which sticks out just slightly, but it works well. The holster costs $120.

Arratoonian makes holsters that are quite popular with security and protection officers, and among those are his holsters that position the pistol on the back. The first is his SOB2, which sells for $110. He tells us that he designed it originally for gun shop owners in France (who knew there were such things!) but that it became popular with airport security officers, body guards, and others who needed a highly covert method of carry. The pistol is positioned at the middle of back, where there is an anatomic pocket into which the pistol nestles and where it essentially disappears. The pistol butt is positioned up and the holster offers a surprisingly smooth and fast draw stroke, though it does require a bit more flexibility than a conventional carry.

There are some drawbacks. When seated, it is uncomfortable and hard to access the pistol. Don’t bend at the waist to pick a dropped quarter up, as it will print out the back of your cover garment. Some worry that if you were to take a fall and land on it, it could cause spine damage.

The SBU2 holster is similar to the SOB2 in how it positions the pistol, but it runs the belt over the holster which enhances concealment by pulling it in tighter against the body. Personally, I like this version better, as the belt provides better support for a heavy service pistol, like the 1911. Again, all of the warnings for the SOB2 apply to the SBU2. These cost $110.

Truthfully, I haven’t used either holster very much since I often spend time sitting. They work well within the limits of the design.

I have also used the Horseshoe 62L holster inside the Waistband holster, though in a moment of bad judgment, I gave it to someone who I hope still cherishes it. This is an inside the waistband holster that is very reminiscent of the Summer Special, produced by Bruce Nelson and Milt Sparks in the United States. It is made with the rough side of the leather facing out, so that it grips against the body and clothing to hold everything in place. He will make it smooth side out, if you wish, but he points out the advantages of rough side out. The one advantage of smooth side out is that you can keep it waxed so it doesn’t absorb as much sweat.

I’m not sure who was the first to make interchangeable belt loops for this style holster, but I know Horseshoe had it in the mid-1980’s. As well as allowing you to modify the holster for different width belts, it allows you to adjust the rake to exactly the position you require for comfortable placement on your belt. You can make it a straight drop or adjust it for cross draw or FBI carry on the strong side behind the hip. It is truly versatile and ideal for experimenting. The loops have snaps so you can easily remove the holster as needed.

The 62L has a steel reinforced mouth, so you don’t have to worry about the holster collapsing and preventing you from putting the pistol away when you need to. You can also buy it with a protective tab that extends up between the pistol and the wearer’s body for comfort. I highly recommend this option.

Finally, there is a version that uses a metal clip rather than leather belt loops. As with the belt loops, the clips can be selected to fit 1¼- or 1½-inch belts. I have not tried this version of the holster, but I expect it is made to the same standards as the one with belt loops. I personally prefer belt loops as I find them easier to deal with than the clips.

Arratoonian recommends this holster and inside the waistband carry in general for single stack rather than double stack pistols. I don’t carry a double stack one and can’t address this point, but I do know people who carry them this way successfully. I presume the holster would work just fine for that purpose, if the owner is comfortable with a blocky pistol stuffed in their pants. You can get yours for $105.

The last Horseshoe item I have tried is the 68LS inside the waistband magazine pouch for a single magazine http://www.holsters.org/iwb-mags.htm. Like the 62 series holsters, it is made rough side out. The version I used does not have the protective tab that extends up and behind the magazine. I would recommend the 68L that does have it. You can get it with belt loops, with snaps, or a metal clip, as your tastes dictate. As with the holster, I prefer belt loops. These pouches run $40.

This style magazine pouch is also available for two magazines, though only with the belt loops and only for single stack magazines. They cost $70.

Horseshoe has several other style holsters and magazine pouches I have not had the chance to view or use. His outside the waist band magazine carriers http://www.holsters.org/single-stack.htm look lovely on his web page, and he gives you the option of forward, rear, or vertical rake. I have always used vertical rake carriers and wonder if the forward rake might work better for me. These go for between $55 and $75.

He has a horizontal carry shoulder holster that is equally lovely, though with my build the muzzle on a Commander or 1911 would probably print through the back of my cover garment. I should have worked out more. He gives you the option of magazine carriers or a second holster on the off side.

There are also belt slide and pancake-style holsters going for $85 and $100 respectively. Both are pretty similar to the Max Protect, just without the wings to protect the top of the pistol. Again, Arratoonian feels they aren’t for thick pistols. He offers a $110 variant– the Covert 22– with a metal reinforcement, for those who like wide body handguns.

His last holster is a wrap around with a metal reinforcement at the top called the Covert 28; it goes for $105.

Shipping cost to the U.S. is 10% of the purchase price for air mail.

I have a Horseshoe belt; sadly, he no longer makes them. He feels that there are a lot of good belts out there and his time is best devoted to holsters. I can’t argue with that, but I’m glad I’ve got mine.

Arratoonian offers some sage advice around his website, and it is well worth your time looking for it. I particularly liked this line: “Remember that clothing should be adapted to conform to the weapon you carry, not vice versa!” I might add that you need to consider the threat you might encounter and choose your weapon accordingly. I wish I could remember where I heard the comment that you will never want a smaller, lighter gun that shoots fewer, smaller bullets during a lethal encounter, but it is a good thought to keep in mind, too.

I wasn’t able to confirm it, but Arratoonian appears to be a musician as well as a holster master, playing Big Band music with the group Firefly http://www.fireflymusic.org/index.htm.

There is a degree of magic when you pick up something a master has made by hand just for you. Horseshoe holsters have that magic. Surprisingly, you can pay as much for a production holster. The only drawback of getting the master’s work is having to wait for it, but waiting does build character.

I’ll close with another line from Arratoonian: “Do not regret growing old. It is a privilege denied to many.” May all of us have that privilege.

AR500 Armor

I recently purchased an armor plate from AR500, a vendor in Phoenix, Arizona, and had a disappointing customer service experience. The armor itself is fine, but I wanted a left-handed plate. They cut their plates to allow more space for the butt of a long gun on the shooting shoulder, which is in my view a good thing. As one would expect, they mainly make right-handed ones, but they did say you could order it with a left-hand cut. I specified in the notes field of their online order form that I wanted a left-handed plate. I got a right-handed one.

When I contacted them, they were a bit slow to reply. After a series of exchanges, they finally told me that they would replace it, but I had to cover the shipping back to them and I had to provide photos of the box it came in and the plate before they would agree to discuss replacing the plate. They also required me to provide a copy of the invoice, which was easy enough to download from their website.

AR500 claimed I had not specified that I wanted a left-handed plate, but I distinctly remember doing so. I suspect that somehow the information got lost. I’m not concerned that I got sent the wrong product because mistakes happen; I was unhappy that I was the one who would have to cover shipping the heavy steel plate back and would then probably have to wait another couple of months to get what I originally wanted.

After pondering it a bit, I decided to just give in and keep the plate to use on the backside of my carrier and obtain another plate for the front. I already had a set of plates, but they lack the anti-fragmentation coating that one really should have on steel armor. At some point, I’ll order another plate for the front, but I will probably be checking out other vendors.

– SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor, Scot Frank Erie

Pat Cascio’s Review: Magnum Research, Desert Eagle 1911s Siblings

Whenever anyone finds out that I’m a gun/knife/outdoor writer, the first question out of their mouth is “What’s your favorite gun…?” Quite often, when I’m hanging out at the local gun shop, a customer will ask about a certain handgun, and one of the sales guys will point them to me, and I get this same question over and over again “What’s your favorite handgun?” I don’t try to side-step the question, but it’s just impossible to answer, for many reasons. If I’m going out big game hunting with a handgun, I’ll probably grab a revolver in .44 Magnum. If I’m just going out to do a little fun shooting, I might grab a .22 LR pistol. For target shooting, maybe I’ll pack-up a hi-cap 9mm of some sort. Walking the mean streets of America, it could be any number of handguns that I might select to carry.

I won’t get into a debate as to which caliber is “better” than another for self-defense, and lots of folks try to sucker me into this conversation. The 9mm is a good stopper in +P or +P+ with a good JHP bullet; the .40S&W is a proven stopper, again with a JHP bullet, as many police departments issue handguns chambered in .40S&W; and lastly we have the .45ACP, which is another outstanding stopper with JHP ammo. I don’t recommend carrying FMJ ammo in your handgun for self-defense; it’s just not a good stopper. However, if I’m packing a 9mm of some sort, I will usually stoke the spare mag on my belt with a FMJ FN round, in the event that I might be forced to shoot through light cover at an attacker.

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I hope the time never arrives when we might be forced to only own one handgun for the rest of our lives, but you never know these days, with all the gun control going on in the background by this Administration. So, I often find myself, in deep thought on this situation asking myself what would my pick be, if I could only own one handgun, for the rest of my life? It does send shivers down my spine, to be sure. Anyone who has been a handgun shooter for any length of time will readily have their choices, keeping in mind that no one handgun/caliber is a do-all gun/caliber for every situation you might encounter. First of all, a handgun is a compromise; if I know I’m heading into deep trouble, I’ll grab an AR or an AK as my first line of defense and not a handgun! However, we do have to make compromises in life and arm ourselves as best we can for whatever perceived or real threats we may encounter.

When it all comes down to the bottom line, I’ll more than likely pick a quality-made 1911 pistol in .45ACP as my one and only handgun. There, I said it! My favorite 1911 is some kind of light-weight “Commander-sized” pistol. They seem to balance well, are easy packing, and will get the job done. There are more 1911 manufactures than I can even begin to count these days, and most are turning out pretty decent handguns that are affordable and reliable. From there, you could easily spend thousands of dollars for custom-made 1911s. I’ve had a few, and they were works of art, to be sure.

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All this brings us to the Magnum Research www.magnumresearch.com line-up of Desert Eagle 1911s. I’ve tested several of these guns and found them to be a great value for the money as well as totally reliable. A little background is in order on Magnum Research, before we get too far along. Kahr Arms, www.kahr.com, actually owns Magnum Research as well as owning Auto Ordnance Corp www.autoordnance.com too. Another little bit of trivia is that the owner of all three companies is a brilliant young man by the name of Justin Moon. Justin’s father was behind the well-know “Moonies”– something of a cult religion– back in the 1960s and beyond. However, The Rev. Moon has nothing to do with Justin’s firearms companies in the least. So, let’s put those rumors to rest right now!

The Desert Eagle 1911s siblings, under review today, aren’t actually manufactured by Magnum Research. Instead, they are manufactured by BUL Ltd, in Israel, to Magnum’s specifications. The BUL name may not be familiar to many; however, they have been turning out some really nice 1911s for quite a few years. In the past, Springfield Armory, Kimber, Charles Daly, and even Wilson Combat used 1911 frames from BUL; most used a polymer frame, but for whatever reason they just didn’t catch on. I guess we 1911 diehards insist on metal frames for our 1911s in either steel, stainless steel, or aluminum. However, I’ve owned some BUL polymer framed 1911s in the past and didn’t have any problems with them. If you know anything about firearms manufactured in Israel, you know that they turn out the best firearms they can.

The Desert Eagle sibling models we are looking at today are their stainless steel 1911G and the stainless steel 1911U. The “G” is the full-sized “Government” model, while the “U” is the sub-compact “Officers” sized model with an aluminum frame. The “G” model has an all-stainless steel frame. Additionally, you can find the same guns made out of carbon steel from Magnum Research, too.

The “G” model has a standard, 5″ Bbl, whereas the “U Model has a short 3″ Bbl for better concealment. Both guns have a checkered front strap, which is a nice touch; it’s machined but still nice. The flat checkered mainspring housing is on both guns, as is an extended beaver tail grip safety, an extended combat thumb safety, speed hammer, and extended magazine release, too. Additionally, the little “U” model comes with fully adjustable serrated rear sight. While I don’t mind a fully adjustable rear sight on a full-sized 1911 model, I don’t care for it on the “U” model. However, the “U” model is meant for self-defense, so I don’t see the need for an adjustable rear sight on such a small handgun. Both guns have throated barrels and polished feed ramps, too. You can check the Magnum Research website for all the other details on both guns. I don’t want to bore our readers with such things.

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Both the “G” and the “U” models have some of the most beautiful, checkered walnut wood stocks (grips) on an 1911 I’ve ever seen. However, I found the stocks to be too thick to my liking, and I replaced the stocks on both guns in short order. When I removed the grip screw on one side of the “G” model, the grip bushing came off the frame. That’s not good; it wasn’t staked or properly Loc-Tited into the frame.

The match-grade triggers on both guns broke right at 4-lbs. Yes, you read that right– 4-lbs– which is outstanding! That’s about as light of a trigger pull as you want for a street carry 1911, if you ask me. Both trigger pulls were crisp and clean as well. Additionally, both guns are of the Series 70 (Colt) style– no firing pin safety. YES! The barrel on the “U” model is bushingless, a bull barrel, whereas the “G” model has the traditional barrel bushing. The “U” model ships with two 6-rd magazines. I replaced them with 7-rd mags from Mec-Gar, and they functioned flawlessly, too. The “G” Model came with two 8-rd mags. I had no problems with those mags, either. I like that the Mec-Gar “Officers” mag extends a little below the slightly beveled magazine well; it gives my pinky finger a little something more to hang on to.

So, how did the guns shoot? That’s an important question, isn’t it? Well, after cleaning the packing oil off the guns and lubing them with my favorite gun lube– Italian Gun Grease www.italiangungrease.com– I hit one of my usual shooting spots. I didn’t receive both guns at the same time, but I waited until I had both in-hand for testing, before getting out there for some serious shooting fun.

I had a great assortment of .45ACP ammo on hand, too. From Buffalo Bore Ammunition www.buffalobore.com I had their 230-gr FMJ FN +P load, 200-gr JHP +P load, 185-gr Barnes TAC-XP all-copper hollow point in +P, and the same load with a 160-gr bullet. Also, their 160-gr Barnes TAC-XP standard velocity load– low recoil! From Black Hills Ammunition, www.black-hills.com I had their 230-gr FMJ load, their 230-gr JHP load, and their 185-JHP load. So, I had a good assortment of ammo to run through both guns. However, I was advised by Magnum Research that they do NOT recommend any +P ammo in any of their guns. Still, we are doing a gun test, right?

The little “U” model had a very, very tight slide-to-frame fit, and I thought I might have some malfunctions. It didn’t happen. This little gun ate up everything I put through it. Ditto was true for the full-sized “G” model. There was not a hint of a malfunction, and I fired more than 500-rds through both guns over several shooting sessions. I did have to lower the adjustable rear sight on the “U” model; it was adjusted up as high as it would allow. I lowered it as low as it would go, and it was hitting where it needed to hit. All shooting was done at 25-yards, over the hood of my pick-up truck, on a rolled-up sleeping bag.

None of the loads tested exceeded more than 3½ inches for 5-shots on-target. That’s more than acceptable accuracy from a factory 1911. However, there were a few surprises in store for me. The little “U” model constantly outshot the full-sized “G” model in the accuracy department; it was not by much, but it always beat out the “G” model. Sometimes, those shorter bull barrels will do this in a 1911, but the “U” model was just more accurate than the “G” model with all the loads tested. Go figure.

Was there a clear winner in the accuracy department? Yep, the little “U” model, which loved the Buffalo Bore 160-gr Barnes TAC-XP standard velocity low-recoil load. If I did my part, I could get groups under three inches all day long. The “G” model loved the Black Hills 230-gr JHP load the best, and it was hot on the heels of the “U” model in the accuracy department. At the start of my testing, I would have bet good money that the “G” model would have been more accurate than the little “U” model. Such was not the case. I would normally fire the “U” model at 15-yards, as it’s meant as a close-up, self-defense pistol, but I wanted to run it side-by-side against the bigger, sibling brother with the 5-inch barrel, just for the heck of it.

Anything negative in my testing? Well, sort of! Both guns have a white dot on the front sight, but there is no two dot white sights on the rear sights. There are actually little “holes” on either side of the opening of the rear sight on the “G” model, so I guess you could paint dots on there, but I believe this should have been done at the factory. I noted the same thing when I tested the blue steel guns some time ago, as there were no white dots on the rear sight. I mean, it’s easily “fixed”, but I think most shooters would prefer two white dots already on the rear sight. Also, the thick wood grips were too thick for my taste. Other than that, I can’t find anything to fault with any of the Desert Eagle 1911s I’ve tested from Magnum Research.

Full-retail on the “G” model is $904, and the little “U model is $1,019. You can usually find these 1911s marked down a bit at many gun shops. They are hot sellers. Every Desert Eagle 1911 my local gun shop gets in-stock usually sells right away. They are a great value for the money, and I wouldn’t hesitate to carry either one of these 1911s for self-defense or duty purposes.

– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio

Recipe of the Week: 5 Can Soup, by A.T.

My friends and family seem to like this soup, which is very pantry friendly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Progresso minestrone soup
  • 1 can corn, undrained
  • 1 can mixed vegetables, undrained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:

  1. Combine and heat.
  2. This is a very thick soup. If you want it thinner, add a can of V8 juice.
  3. If you want meat, add a can of canned chicken, drained and shredded.
  4. Serve as soup or over rice or mashed potatoes.

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Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlogreaders? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

Letter Re: Choices, Choices, Choices

HJL,

I would like to weigh in on the article of: Choices, Choices, Choices – Part 1, by K.C.

First thing I want to mention is by no way am I an expert in the field of firearms and all this is only my opinion and what I believe will work for me.

A firearm is a tool; many companies make tools, and people have their particular choices in what they like. For power tools, some like Milwaukee, Black & Decker, Ryobi, and so forth. For mechanics tools, some like Sears Craftsman, Snap-on, Kolbalt, and others. What it all boils down to is that when you need a screw driver, it doesn’t matter how many wrenches you have, because they will just not do the job.

In firearms, what is it you wish to have the tool do? If it’s defending your property and you have a field of view around a 1000 yards, then you may want something in the 50 cal range to start thinning out the herd as they approach, but something in the 30-06 or .308 range will also work nicely, such as a Winchester model 70 or an M1A. When shooting at a long distance, having a high capacity mag is not as important as it is when the herd is closer. In that case, having something that is accurate is what’s important.

If defending your property and you have a field of view around a 500 yards, then a 50 cal would be the wrong tool, but the 30-06 or .308 will really come into their comfort zone. Something like the AK47 or AR15 is also a nice choice.

If defending your property and you have a field of view of less than a 100 yards, the 30-06 or .308 may be too big for the job, but the AK47 or AR15 is still right at home. Something that also starts to come into play would be a 12 Ga pump shotgun with .00 buck, such as the Remington 870.

If you’re into the trenches or they have made it into your home, then the 12 Ga is still a great choice, if you have the shortened stock. However, nowt now having a pistol in 9mm, .40, or .45 has come into play.

One of the things I look at is the distance. I really do not care if I kill the zombie or not. My intention would be to just stop them from doing what they are doing, which is coming after me. If I wound someone and it stops them, I’m a happy camper. Also wounding makes it harder for the group of them because they have to use their resources to keep the person alive, but he is still not my problem. If someone makes it into my home, then killing is the preferred choice.

In the home, will a Glock in .45 do any better than a Colt .45? Well, will a Milwaukee drill a 1/2-inch hole in wood better than a Ryobi? Which brand you choose will be what you think feels comfortable and will do the job you need it to do.

Something I would like readers to consider is the Winchester 30-30. It’s the gun that won the West and did so by taking down cougars, buffalo, and grizzlies. It’s light, doesn’t have much of a kick, will do well out to 100 yards, and is also short enough for inside the home.

For personal carry, in the winter when I’m wearing more clothes, I like my .40 cal. In the summer, when I’m in shorts and a tee shirt, my .380 fits nicely in my pocket. If I’m attacked in the parking lot and I have my .380, will it kill the zombie? Maybe or maybe not, but I believe it will stop him from continuing his attack.

As it’s been said, when the SHTF the best firearm in the world is the one you have in your hand at the time.

P.S. in VA

Odds ‘n Sods:

Fitch Continues the Downgrade Parade Reduces Greece to Junk Status Down to CCC

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Big elections coming up in Mexico. – H.L.

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With the questionable “Jade Helm 15” operation on the near horizon, some SurvivalBlog readers are reckoning back to Ft Lauderdale’s operation last year to see what to expect: Rounding people up exercise with Blackhawks

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Ontario Teacher Disciplined for Criticizing Child Procurement Program . – T.P.

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Rate of Illegal Immigrant Males in Workforce 12 Percent Higher Than US-Born Males. – B.B.