Citizens stand for Armed Forces recruiting centers

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A group of men, and at least one woman, exercised their Second Amendment rights and show their support for the United States armed forces by standing vigil in front of a recruiting center in York, PA. Monday, July 20, 2015.

James E. Fitzgerald said that the group decided to stand sentry outside the Manchester Township recruiting station after the attack in Tennessee that left five service members, four Marines and one sailor dead.

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Recruiting centers, and many military installations, are in essence “Gun Free Zones” because if a 1992 directive written by the Bush Administration and enacted by the Clinton Administration that severely limits who and when firearms can be carried by military personnel stationed in the US. Members of the US military are banned from carrying personal firearms on base (and recruitment centers) and not all locations are secured by civilian or military law enforcement personnel.

Several state Governors have, since the attack last week, signed emergency authorization for their state National Guard units to be armed, but unless the Obama Administration and the Pentagon change current regulations, the vast majority of the service members who protect our national security could be sitting ducks for attacks like what happened in Chattanooga.

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More groups are being organized to be visible during the hours the recruitment center is open. The group joins individuals and groups in several locations across the US that are keeping watch over recruitment centers. And the armed citizens aren’t the only ones showing up at the centers. One woman dropped off cookies to the Marine recruiters and the local Mission BBQ restaurant arrived just after lunch with bags of food for the armed citizens.

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The Men’s Room makes strong showing at Blade Show

After being absolutely overwhelmed attending my first Blade Show yesterday, I realized that the former (and now rebuilding) Men’s Room Forum was pretty well represented at this year’s show.

 

_PAV9887_1After years of talking to Ryan Johnson of RMJ Tactical, Eric Kramer of Kramer Knives, DJ Urbanovsky of American Kami,and Otha Matthews of Otha Custom Knives, I finally had a chance to not only meet these guys, but to actually play with some of the knives and hawks I’ve been drooling over.

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All four of these gents were members of the original Men’s Room and are producing some great gear.  RMJ Tactical is renown in the knife making world for their tactical tomohawks and the Shrike, Jenny Wern and other hawks have seen action by military and LEO around the world.

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Eric Kramer’s fighting knife designs have been some of my favorites, and now that I’ve gotten a few in my hands, I’ve got to add one to my collection. The Gutshot fighter is a stout, robust blade that feels great in the hand. His folders are just a robust.

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American Kami’s new midtech line features custom designs in production blades. DJ’s new GITFO has a design reminiscent of the Spartan Blades popular dagger but with a user friendly (and civilian legal) single edge. The knife features a retention ring on the handle and offers multiple gripping options. Can’t wait to have one.

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Our final Men’s Room member to mention is Otha Matthews. Otha was sitting at his table sketching blade designs when I met him. We talked for quite a while about the Men”s Room and how we are both happy the forum is back. While we were talking, Otha picked up a sweet karambit folder and told me he wanted to donate the blade to help support the Men’s Room. I’m going to talk with the mods to decide how best use this great donation. Details to come.

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zZz Custom Works Gunfighter Gear

We all know that there isn’t a lack of kydex holster companies out there, it seems that new shops are popping up as fast as a Black & Decker toaster oven can be purchased.

A few months ago I did a review on some kydex gear sent to me by zZz Custom Works. I like the gear so much, that when the company’s owner asked me if I’d be interested in being their East Coast sales rep, I enthusiastically agreed.

Take a look at the current catalog, and be prepared for some unique new ideas coming soon. If there is anything I can help you out with, let me know!

 

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The hypocrisy of the anti-gun movement

The hypocrisy of the anti-gun movement

http://www.examiner.com/article/bloomberg-group-used-heroin-abusing-actor-hoffman-anti-gun-video

If you listen to Bloomberg, Pelosi, Giffords and other anti-gun superstars out there the sure fire way to end so called “gun” violence is to ban guns. Take them away. Make them illegal to own. They’ve even produced commercials using some of the biggest names in Hollywood to push their cause. It’s interesting to see, that the people they use to push their agenda on the public prove that just because you make something illegal, that it means it’s use or abuse is going to end.

Laws concerning the use of drugs started showing up in 1935 (if you don’t count alcohol as a drug) when President Roosevelt hails the International Opium Convention and application of it in US. law and other anti-drug laws in a radio message to the nation. By 1970 the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain substances was regulated and the Controlled Substances Act was passed by Congress.

So for the past 43 years, manufacture, importation, possession and use of heroine, cocaine, LSD, and other opiates has been illegal. What has that ban done? Well according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, those bans and laws have pretty much done nothing. A 2010 study shows that 22 million Americans still use illegal drugs. At least $181 Billion a year is spent on enforcement, heath care, incarceration and productivity loss due to illegal drugs.

I’m not even going to talk about the fact that the illegal drug trade is responsible for a large percentage of the violent crime, the so called “gun” violence. But it’s pretty obvious that bans and more laws will not do a thing for any crime.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should….. OC causes chain to ask customers to leave guns behind

Over the past few years Starbucks has become sort of the retail symbol of Second Amendment rights. The first “Starbucks Appreciation Day” was formed in response to a planned boycott by anti-gun groups because the American coffee chain allowed, were legal, open carry of firearms in their stores. Tens of thousands of faithful gun owners marched into local shops with a handful of two-dollar bills and their sidearms and the “I love guns and coffee” movement was born. But the movement was supposed to show our support to a business that allowed us to exercise our rights, not shove a company into the spotlight with negative press.

The first year of the “Starbucks Appreciation Day” the employees didn’t even realize what was going on. I asked if they knew about the event, and they said that they wondered why everyone was paying with $2 bills but never noticed the guns.

Even with much protest from the gun-haters, Starbucks took a stance I considered neutral, their policy reflected local and state law. I can’t imagine how much increase in business the “I love guns and coffee” movement has translated into for the company, but no profits can compensate for piss-poor behavior and plain stupidity shown by some in a certain faction of the gun-rights movement.

Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.

Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening.

This is from an open letter addressed to Fellow Americans, by Howard Shultz, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer. Obviously, while the great many of us went into our local shops with our “I love guns” patches on our hats and our two-dollar bills, and discreetly  showed our thanks to a business, some decided that it would be a great idea to walk into a coffee shop filled with soccer moms and college students obnoxiously open carrying not only sidearms, but long guns as well. Again JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD.

Friends that know me ( and some people have decided not to be my friend because of my stance) know that I’m not a big fan of OC. I’m not going to get into tactics or even politics of my reasons. I’ve tried to be supportive because I believe that as gun-owners, we need to stand together to keep our right. But more and more, I see actions by open carry activists that are not only rude and unnecessary, but downright damaging to our cause of protecting the Second Amendment. You are not doing us (Americans who value our rights) any favors or promoting our cause by getting into confrontations with law enforcement officers just so you can play internet attorney on YouTube.  You are not educating the public, or making people feel more at ease around guns (love when I hear that line) while you are walking through Walmart with your SKS hanging over your back. You are creating fear. You are causing more citizens to support more gun laws. And you WILL be the cause of more restrictions of our rights.

To Starbucks, I offer my sincere apologies for the actions of a few who are putting you in this situation. I will continue to patronize our local stores and, as always, no one will know whether I am armed or not. I ask my fellow gun-owners to do the same. Don’t stop patronizing Starbucks because they were forced to make this decision.

Posted by Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer

Dear Fellow Americans,

Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns. In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.

From the beginning, our vision at Starbucks has been to create a “third place” between home and work where people can come together to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community. Our values have always centered on building community rather than dividing people, and our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life.

We appreciate that there is a highly sensitive balance of rights and responsibilities surrounding America’s gun laws, and we recognize the deep passion for and against the “open carry” laws adopted by many states. (In the United States, “open carry” is the term used for openly carrying a firearm in public.) For years we have listened carefully to input from our customers, partners, community leaders and voices on both sides of this complicated, highly charged issue.

Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.

Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.

For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.

I would like to clarify two points. First, this is a request and not an outright ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on. Second, we know we cannot satisfy everyone. For those who oppose “open carry,” we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores. For those who champion “open carry,” please respect that Starbucks stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers.

I am proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate. It is in this spirit that we make today’s request. Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors.

Sincerely,

Howard Schultz

zZz Custom Works Holster review

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Anyone in the tactical, concealed carry, or shooting sports world knows that there are a ton of companies building kydex holsters and accessories. Some copy – if not make – exact clones of systems that are well-known and highly regarded. Others have unique ideas and sport great craftsmanship that separates them from the K-crowd. zZz Custom Works is one of the later.

Martin Zatrapa says that the decision to start creating his own kydex products came about because of long wait times, and/or the gear didn’t meet his standards. Many of the big-name kydex makers are still producing square holsters, magazine and accessory pouches with straight lines and tons of extra, unneeded material. Many are still using thin .060 kydex which, in my opinion, is fine for inside-the-waist holsters where a bit of flexibility and lighter weight is a plus, but not for use on first line gear or the trendy “warbelts” that nearly everyone wears for for the multitude of tactical shooting classes. zZz Custom Works is building their standard holsters with .080 kydex, and use .093 for their heavy duty holsters, large knife sheaths and tomahawk sheaths.

The holsters supplied to me by zZz Custom Works were each built for my full-size Smith & Wesson M&P 9. Martin sent me one of his standard, OWB strong side holsters in tan (or FDE if you only use “tacti-cool” colors), a matching double magazine pouch, and a matching single M-4 Speed pouch. Also included was a holster I wasn’t too sure about using when he and I talked on the phone… but more about that in a bit.

First impressions are important to me and, as the saying goes, “image is everything.” The holster and mag pouches are very nicely finished. The edges are smooth – nothing sharp to snag clothing or skin, and the zZz logo is nicely pressed on the outside. A drain hole is cut on the back of the holster as well in each magazine well. The belt loops are some of the strongest I’ve come across, built from .125 thick kydex. All the edges are cut close enough to the gun/magazine to minimize material, but there is plenty to provide a secure hold. One nice touch that I haven’t seen before is the use of allen-head screws instead of smooth or slotted ones like other makers use. You’ll need an allen wrench if you want to remove the belt loops, but I had no problem adjusting the tension screw by just holding the outside with my finger and using a flat-head screwdriver on the back.

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As I said, the belt loops are made of a thick .125 kydex, and are built to the size of your belt – in my case 1.5 inches. The loops have enough depth to allow easy belt threading, but aren’t so overly large that the holster and mags sit too far off the body. They are angled, from top to bottom, which, as I’ve experienced, allow the holster/pouches to be snugged tightly against the body for concealment, but push the grip or top of the magazine out just enough to clear the tiny bit of “love handle” my 40+ year-old body carries. I have to say, it’s nice not to be poked in the side by the top of my magazines!

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Retention on both the holster and magazine pouches are excellent. I had a bit of a problem with the double mag pouch at first, as the front magazine would pop right out if I turned the pouch upside down. But after a bit of discussion with Martin, I found it to be user error. Usually is with me! I messed with the tension screw just a bit and actually seated the magazine into the pouch, and now they stay where they belong, even with my 20 round extended mags.

PMAGS snap securely into the well-made M-4 Speed pouch. Like the holster and double pistol mag pouch, the M-4 Speed pouch features the same heavy duty belt loops. I have to be honest and say, other than a few minutes on the range one day, I haven’t had the opportunity to really run drills or use the M-4 Speed pouch. But I can compare it to other custom-made pouches I own and say the zZz M-4 Speed pouch is MUCH better. I have a carbine class coming up in a month or so and I’ll run it then and update the review.

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The final piece of gear sent to me by zZz Custom Works is their C.A.C (Concealed Appendix Carry) holster, designed in partnership with Falcon Operations Group in Huntington Beach, CA (www.falconops.net). I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical of a.) being able to conceal a full-sized pistol in the front of my pants, and b.) having said pistol pointing at the family jewels. Now, I do have experience with AIWB (appendix inside the  waistband) holsters, I’ve been carrying a Kahr CW9 that way for several months now, but I really thought the longer barrel and much larger grip of the M&P would be not only impossible to conceal, but down right uncomfortable. Boy, did zZz Custom Works prove me wrong.

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The C.A.C. Holster is a simple but effective design that is held in place with a single belt loop that can be adjusted to position the holster in that “sweet spot” that everyone who carries AIWB knows about. The holster sits deep in the waistband, but still provides plenty of purchase for a proper grip and draw. Re-holstering is easy, though I still feel the need to look down and make sure my shirt isn’t getting caught up In the trigger as I do. And yes, I can conceal my full-sized M&P easily under a polo shirt with the C.A.C. Actually, it conceals far better than with my old tried-and-true Raven Concealment Systems holster.

I’ve been carrying the M&P quite a bit in the C.A.C. holster and am happy to be carrying a full-sized gun. Even more importantly, I’m happy to be carrying a full-sized magazine – especially on those days when I’m doing high-risk activities, like shopping at the local Bakara market (ie Walmart). After practicing with an empty gun (as to not blow my nuts off), I recently put the holster through some draw-and-shoot drills. And, as I have experienced in the past with AIWB carry, draw and presentation of the gun is FAST from the C.A.C. rig! The C.A.C. is quickly becoming one of my favorite concealed carry holsters.

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Overall, I am extremely pleased with the design and quality of zZz Custom Works products. Their team has extensive military, law enforcement and nuclear security experience and it shows in the care and workmanship they put into their holsters. Not that I expect to need it, but zZz Custom Works provides a limited lifetime guarantee on their products and their customer service is wonderful.

You can contact zZz Custom Works at:

www.zzzcustomholsters.com

or call at

951-442-6163

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