Busy-ness, PT, AR-(20)15, the Glock 43, 5.56...

Been pretty crazy busy 'round here as of late. Slammed at work, three little kiddos,  getting caught up on house projects and starting up some much needed PT/strength training. Spare time - and spare time when I can sit at a keyboard, focus for five minutes and hammer out some coherent thoughts - has been pretty durn limited as of late.

Heck, I haven't even watched last night's Walking Dead yet!

A week ago, I finally made it out to the range to get project AR-(20)15 sighted in and run through its initial paces. Threw a bit of Lucky Gunner-provided ammo down range and the carbine ran extra smoothly. It deserves its own standalone entry, but suffice it to say that I am well pleased. More to come on that, and I know I owe a write up or two on some questions that came from the tribe.

Unless you've been living under a rock, Glock finally dropped a single stack 9mm, the 43. They will sell a couple million of these puppies. I am somewhat glad that I've held off on buying a single stack 9 of my own. Glock 43 and the XD(s) are the contenders right now.

5.56 is quickly recovering from the mini-panic now that the proposed "framework to be stupid" has been withdrawn by the BATF. Also, we not only won that round, but got the Director to take his ball and go home to the private sector. Good work, 'Merica.

A few interesting pieces of legislature are in the works, too - proposals to rid the world of the BATF and/or simply limit its ability to ban the sale of ammo.

Either would be great in my book!


Vigilant Gear Refreshed

Our friends over at Vigilant Gear just launch a revamped website. Aside from apply some spit n' polish to the site, they've slashed shipping prices - $2 domestic, free if you spend more than $50.

For those OCONUS types, they've also added shipping to Canada, UK, Australia and Middle Earth/New Zealand.

If you're unfamiliar with Vigilant, they deal in a great variety of compact survival and escape tools, including many hard to find items. Check 'em out, tell them T-Blog sent ya!


Choate VersaPot

With growing season 'round the corner, thought I'd pass along something that might be a solution to some of your gardening woes.

Choate Machine & Tool, one of our long time sponsors, has a pretty cool, affordable take on the well proven bucket gardening concept--their VersaPot.

Bucket gardening has a bunch of benefits - the buckets are obviously moveable, usually weed-free, and, done well, you can ensure an optimal amount of water to the plant.

The fact that you can move 'em around is a big deal - you can grow stuff where you otherwise wouldn't be able to, scale up or scale down your garden as space allows. You can also control their exposure to weather - moving them into the sunlight, bringing them inside if a bad storm is brewing, etc.

The no-brainer ability to get the right amount of water to the plant is another big deal. Over/under watering is a pretty common mistake, and will kill plants or at least hamper production.

Yes, you can DIY up your own bucket planters by cutting down a bucket and drilling a bunch of holes in it, but that takes up time and gets you a DIY level end product. The VersaPot costs a little bit more than buying second bucket to cut apart ($8 a pop versus $4-$5 for a bucket), but it's ready to rock, much nicer and much less hassle. It also comes with the PVC pipe used for watering, and the plastic mesh cup used for watering. Add your own bucket and you're ready to plant.

Choate was kind enough to send me a package of these kits, which I'll be using in my gardening this year. I am a novice/lousy gardener at best, so don't expect magazine-quality results. But on the other hand, if I can have success with this setup, than you can too.

Stay tuned for more, or if you want to give 'em a try this season, hit up Choate and tell 'em T-Blog sent you.


The Walking Dead: Season 5:14

Spoilers after the jump.


Trimming Pack Weight

I just finished reading an excellent book called the Mission, the Men and Me, written by former Delta Force officer Pete Blaber. Highly recommended to anyone, it largely focuses on key themes and lessons that Blaber learned during his time in the Unit. Great stories and great lessons.

One of Blaber's stories is about a training mission that he took his team on into the mountains of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. He talks in-depth about how all of the guys became obsessed with their pack weight and hitting the goal of what they felt was the optimal maximum weight for a man to carry.

Now, these guys were from friggin' Delta Force and all tip-top athletes who had done a lot of time carrying heavy packs during the military careers leading up to that point. So how much do you think they wanted to carry up into the vast, snow-covered mountains? 70 pounds? 80 pounds? More?


New Ammo Shortage for 2015?

The ATF's proposed M855 ban predictably resulted in a spike in demand and pricing for good ol' green tip, but it looks to have spread to .223 in general. We're nowhere near post-Sandy Hook shortages and pricing, but availability and price has been hurt.

M855/SS109 green tip is now in the 60 cent ballpark, which is close to double what it was going for six weeks ago. IMO, I wasn't buying green tip when it was a few cents per round more than FMJ, and double the price sure isn't worth it. You're getting into premium hunting / match / defensive territory, which green tip is not.

Should the ban become formal, I'd expect it to be in the $1/round ballpark pretty quick.

M193, which no one is proposing banning, has gone up 10% to 20% and availability is way down.

Most of the big ammo sellers are running behind - up to two weeks delay.

Looks like the spike hasn't spread outside of .223/5.56mm yet, but that doesn't mean it won't.

Thoughts? Predictions?

Edited to add: After a mass negative outcry from the public and Congress, ATF has pulled their proposed "framework". News link >

Looks like several places that were showing out of stock are now magically back in stock--learning from previous rounds of panic buying, I see. Would also expect to see some clearance priced M855 hit forums soon as "neckbeards" try to pay off the truckload of green tip they bought on their credit card!