Airsoft 3-Gun Expo at Bass Pro!

When you look at the world of shooting sports there are dozens of different activities. There is skeet, trap, action-clays, defensive pistol, long range rifle, silhouettes, IDPA, cowboy action and many more. One sport that has been growing tremendously over the past years has been 3-Gun shooting. This is known as a “practical shooting” event where the shooter transitions from pistol, rifle and shotgun. Hence the “3-Gun” name. While many adults find this sport extremely fun and engaging, it can be harder to get the youth involved. But where there is a will there is a way and that’s when airsoft can save the day.

Airsoft is where one can shoot spherical non-metallic pellets out of guns that are replicas of traditional firearms. In no way should these be considered toys and safety should always be the main focus when handling them. What many people think of just simple “plastic toys” have evolved to be full metal replications. Certain airsoft guns will weigh the same as their origins and feature blow-back to replicate recoil.

The local non-profit group Shoot Right AZ will actually be holding an airsoft 3-gun expo at our store on Saturday March 21st, 2015. It will start at 9AM and run until 5PM. We have been working with this organization for several years and even wrote a blog about them back in 2013.

They will hold several clinics/seminars going over the basics of 3-Gun Shooting, rules, safety and more. There will be a 3-Gun setup where participants can actually hold and shoot the different airsoft guns. It won’t be as intense as a normal 3-Gun competition, but it will be just as fun. It is geared towards kids ages 10 and up and all adults are more than welcome to participate as well. There will be a $5 fee for participants and they or a legal guardian will have to fill out a waiver as well.

This is a great way to possibly discover a new passion. Not only will it teach gun safety but also “practical” aspects of handling them. Kids will love the experience and parents will love the cost difference between BB’s and ammunition. Just always be sure to get “Bio-BBs” as they are way more eco-friendly than the other kind.

And that is one thing that Shoot Right AZ covers, is our responsibility to others and the environment. We hope to see you out there! I know I will be!

-Giddy-Up!!

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Check it Out List: Reloading

This month’s Check it Out List is about a topic that I find fascinating, as do many others. I am also interested in getting into it now more-than-ever, as are many others. With the ammo shortages, the slow but steadily rise in prices and ever-changing policies over the past few years one can never know if or when they might be able to acquire rounds. Now the ammo-craze that we were in a couple years ago definitely has calmed down, but it is harder to get certain calibers. 22 ammo will probably never be something you can just grab off the shelves “because it is always there” ever again, but other calibers are not always completely wiped out. But with the possibility of that craze coming back and people looking to be more self-sufficient, the amount of people reloading has definitely increased!

Basically reloading is the act of making your own ammunition. There are different levels of reloading and all sorts of ways to do it. Some people collect spent cases from their own/others use at a gun range and others purchase them factory new. Some people make their own bullets for fun and others to save money. Some calibers are so uncommon that you may have to learn to reload in order to actually shoot it. (Ever seen .280 Ackley commercially made?) Others try to figure out how to get the most performance out of their firearm by loading their ammo to certain specifications. Some people learn because to them it is an essential skill. No matter what though, you’ll need some supplies to get started. Shall we?

Reloading

Press

Dies

Shell Holder/Plate

Powder Measuring/Dispensing Device

Scale

Case Trimmer

Case Tumbler

Dial Caliper

Bullet Puller

Loading Block

Data/Information

 

Now to get started all you really need are the first three items and the last one. Probably more so than any other item you need to have Data/Information. This is something that you cannot start on just a whim. Safety needs to be your primary focus all the time with reloading. You’ll want to have a safe place to load and store your materials. You’ll definitely want to know how to load safely. And you’ll want to keep your loads to the data out there first. You can experiment with different loads later, stick to the basics at the beginning. Get yourself books on the subject and join an online club. Do everything at your disposal to have a safe and solid understanding of reloading before you start.

The press is going to be the main workhorse of your operation. You can start off with a simple single-press or go all the way to a multi-stage set. Both kinds have their own advantages, but I always suggest starting with the basics. (It is also cheaper.) Your dies will be specific to whatever caliber you are loading. You can’t use a .30 caliber die for reloading .45ACP and so on. The shell plate will be what holds the casing as you load. Also caliber specific. This would be where consolidating calibers that you own can be a big help.

Things like a tumbler, bullet puller, case trimmer, dial caliper or a scale are extras, which over time can prove to be extremely important.  A loading block is a device that holds numerous cases in to help with reloading. These can be purchased or made at home. Just as a heads up, you probably won’t find any cute ideas for them on Pintrest.

The little history I had with reloading was back in high school. My buddy’s grandfather owned an auto shop. He is also a vendor for the huge machine gun shoots we hold in Arizona every year. He has anything and everything, ranging from G36K’s to .50cals. With the amount they shoot up there, reloading is the only option to afford the ammo. I needed some brake work done, so we swapped labor for labor. I paid for the parts and built ammo belts for M249s for the work on my truck. Solid trade.

Now please note that this blog is more about what you will need to get into reloading as opposed to how to reload. For that, you need to do your research. Like I said earlier, having a safe and solid understanding of the process is extremely important.

-Giddy-Up!!

Checked-Lists

Picnics Gun Cleaning Game Care First Aid Kayaking Day Pack Trip Prep Range Time

Fishing Pack Boating Day Trip Camp Cooking  Dove Hunting Upland Hunting Tactical Clothing

Winter Camping

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Freshwater Fish Conservation Month

February means Spring Fishing Classic and the return of our donation month directly related to fishing.

Freshwater Fish Conservation Month

Did You Know?

  • More Americans fish than play basketball (24.0 million) and football (8.9 million) combined.
  • Fishing as a leisure-time activity ranks higher than playing golf, target shooting, hunting with firearms, backpacking and wilderness camping, baseball, mountain biking and skiing.
    (Statistics from the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, 2nd Edition)

A $2 donation helps keep our streams, rivers, and habitat healthy for fish and keeps our next generation fishing! All donations will be matched by the Johnny Morris Conservation Creel of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.


Where Do the Donations Go?
The donations go to The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), which has supported thousands of conservation programs across the U.S. since 1985, including freshwater fish conservation programs designed to:

  • Educate the general public regarding the perils facing our fish populations.
  • Motivate people to support the cause of freshwater fish conservation.
  • Use the donations received to fund various initiatives around the country toward improving fish habitat, species health, etc.

What Does it Mean for Iowa?
Here is a sample of projects that have benefitted in Iowa:

  • Raccoon River Valley Restoration
  • TreeKeepers program
  • Iowa Buffer and Declining Habitat Programs in several Iowa counties
  • Cooperative Conservation for Watershed Health
  • Nutrient Soil and Habitat Management in Upper Cedar Watersheds
  • Upper Iowa River restoration and education
  • Managing Biodiversity in the Iowa and Cedar River Valley
  • Engaging landowners in farm bills affecting the Driftless Region of NE Iowa

For research how the NFWF benefits your state, check out their interactive map!

____________________________

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Cool Calibers: 7mm-08 Remington

When you look at a lot of things in the world, it seems like one thing should work for everyone. Hats say “One size fits all” and products might state that “every household needs one”. One area though that is definitely not “one size fits all” is firearms. When you begin to look at all the different types, models, calibers, sizes and materials in the firearm world it can be quite overwhelming. There is single action, bolt action, pump action, smooth bore, big-bore, wood stock, synthetic stock and so much more to consider. Luckily when you begin to look at the purpose of why you want a firearm the field begins to get narrowed down. You aren’t going to buy a long gun to keep on your night stand for home protection and you wouldn’t even consider going out to hunt Alaskan brown bear with a single action rim-fire revolver.

While there may be some pretty standard calibers out there, we are always looking and working on new rounds with better velocities or knockdown power. And so to break from the mundane of “standard calibers” we are going to be look at some of the less common ones. And to begin we are going to start with a rifle caliber that has intrigued me since I first heard about, the 7mm-08 Remington.

The 7mm-08 Remington got its start back in 1958. Originally it was a wildcat cartridge known as the 7mm/308. Decades later Remington began to produce rifles in this caliber commercially and attached their name to it, hence giving us the 7mm-08 Remington. It is a center fire rifle cartridge that has been growing in popularity.

Going back real quick, a wildcat cartridge is where a commercially produced cartridge is modified to get better certain performance characteristics. These characteristics could include velocity, efficiency, size or knockdown power. Sometimes a wildcat cartridge goes mainstream while many others find themselves a very small but loyal following. Always consider availability of ammunition before purchasing any kind of caliber, as you may have to take up the art of reloading in order to actually shoot.

Back to the cartridge. The 7mm-08 is basically a .308 Winchester case that is necked down to fit a 7mm bullet. This round lends itself to several different kinds of shooting including: long range, silhouettes, varmint hunting and some game-hunting. It is growing in popularity for hunting African plains game as well. It has a trajectory similar to that of a .270 Winchester. It does fly flatter than the more popular .308Win and .30-06 Springfield.

It is a good choice for younger, older and female shooters as it has less recoil than the .308. Now please do not take any offense at that statement as I am none of those and am interested in this round. It is a great caliber to hunt the medium-sized game here in North America and is even an acceptable round to hunt moose with in Europe.

Most major rifle manufacturers do offer a couple options of products in the 7mm-08 caliber. Hornady, Remington and some other ammunition manufacturers also produce the caliber commercially. Of course the best way to figure out if this would be a good caliber for you, is to test it out. Talk to your friends or get online to a forum and just ask around. Because it has been increasing in popularity, chances are you might just be able to get your hands on one to test. Either way, the 7mm-08 is definitely a cool caliber.

Giddy-Up!!

Other Caliber Related Blogs:

What We Would Take

Gunnin’ for Moose

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Think Camo!

                                                                                                                        

SHE Outdoor is a rugged hunting line for women that is stylish with a feminine cut. The way it fits with the right material makes it functional and durable for that outdoor hunt. Also with SHE Outdoor apparel and it's proper fitting clothing, now women can be more comfortable in it, to have that proper movement. Women will now be able to climb tree stands, bow hunt, use firearms and to be able to even just walk.

    SHE Outdoor is offered in a styles to meet every need of every hunting atmosphere and activity. When it comes down to it women now have a lot more to choose from to be able to be ready and prepared for what's to come out in the field.

                                                                                                                 

    There is now plenty to choose from when getting dressed and ready to hit the road, from light weight, mid-weight and heavy weight clothing options. SHE Outdoor heavyweight has a Insulated Jacket that are waterproof, breathable, lined hand warmer pockets and detached hood with adjustable draw-cords. Insulated waterproof and breathable pants include knee high side-leg zippers with exterior storm flap, hook n' loop closure ankle adjustments and back pockets with magnetic storm flap. A mid-weight option is the insulated bibs or jacket, the bibs have 2 hand warmer pockets, 2 button down rear pockets, reinforced knees and kick plate and 2 upper zipper bellowed chest pockets. The insulated jacket has a hook n loop adjustment cuffs, 2 ykk zippered hand warmer pockets and 3 panel draw cord hood and waste.

SHE also has a fleece full-zippered jacket and a pullover hoodie for the little extra coverage you might need. There is plenty to choose from in the light-weight items, the SHE enduraskin is moisture wicking and compression fit. The SHE tech shirts are odor control, loose fit that's polyester and breathable that comes in short sleeve or long sleeve.

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Wild Turkey

License Requirements

To hunt wild turkey, a valid turkey hunting license and a valid game bird habitat stamp privilege are required.

Those that have a lifetime comprehensive hunting, lifetime comprehensive hunting and fishing, or resident youth hunt/trap license can hunt turkey and do not need to purchase the game bird habitat stamp because it is included with those license types.

A separate turkey hunting license is required when hunting during each turkey hunting season — one for the spring season and one for the fall season.

Game bird habitat stamp privileges are good for both spring and fall seasons in the same calendar year.

You can assist another hunter by calling only if you are licensed to hunt turkeys, regardless of whether or not you have harvested a turkey yourself.

Season and Bag Limits

Spring 2015 - The spring season is April 22 through May 10, 2015. The bag limit is one bearded or male turkey for the spring season. Spring turkey hunting is allowed statewide.

Fall 2014 - The bag and possession limit for the fall seasons is one bird of either sex, regardless of hunting equipment used or what portion of the season. Fall archery season is statewide. Fall firearm season has specific dates for specific counties (see below).

  • Fall archery (including crossbows):
    Statewide from Oct. 1 – 26, 2014 and Dec. 6, 2014 to Jan. 4, 2015.
  • Fall firearm: Oct. 15 – 19, 2014 in the following counties only:
    • DeKalb, LaGrange, LaPorte, Marshall, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben.
  • Fall firearm: Oct. 15 – 26, 2014 in the following counties only:
    • Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dearborn, Dubois, Fayette, Floyd, Fountain, Franklin, Gibson, Greene, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Ohio, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Putnam, Ripley, Scott, Spencer, Sullivan, Switzerland, Union, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, Warren, Warrick, Washington.

Youth Season

Information about the youth season is on page 13.

Legal Equipment

Turkeys can be hunted only with:

  • A 10-, 12-, 16- or 20-gauge shotgun loaded with pellets of size No. 4, 5, 6, 7 or 7½.
  • A muzzleloading shotgun not smaller than 20-gauge and not larger than 10-gauge, loaded with pellets of size No. 4, 5, 6, 7 or 7½. Combination loads using shot sizes other than these are illegal.
  • Bow and arrow
  • A crossbow

Hunting Hours

Wild turkeys may be hunted only from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. All DNR-managed Fish and Wildlife Areas, Mississinewa and Salamonie lakes have spring season hunting hours one-half hour before sunrise until noon for properties on CDT and until 1 p.m. for properties on EDT. Call the property for additional information.

Tagging & Checking

Immediately upon killing a turkey, the hunter must complete a temporary transportation tag on paper stating the hunter’s full name, address, sex of the turkey, license number (if applicable), and the date the turkey was taken before transporting the turkey from the field.

The hunter must register the turkey at an official check station or online through the CheckIN Game system (www.CheckINgame.DNR.IN.gov or call 800-419-1326) within 48 hours of the kill.

Go to www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/6271.htm for a searchable list of available check stations in each county.

If the turkey is taken to a check station, a permanent seal will be given and must be fixed to the leg of the turkey. If the turkey is registered online through the CheckIN Game system, a confirmation number will be generated and must be recorded on the temporary transportation tag.

For an online printable version of a temporary transportation tag, see www.wildlife.in.gov/files/turkeytag.pdf

Hunter Orange

Archery hunters must meet fluorescent (hunter) orange requirements while hunting turkeys Dec. 6-21, 2014 and from Dec. 26, 2014 through Jan. 4, 2015.

Fair Chase

While hunting wild turkey, it is illegal to use or possess: a dog; another domesticated animal; a live decoy; a recorded call; an electronically powered or controlled decoy; or bait. An area is considered baited for 10 days after the removal of the bait, but an area is not considered to be baited that is attractive to wild turkeys resulting from normal agricultural practices.

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Why it Matters: Rangefinders

Because of the technology today we are getting further and further away from our basic beginnings. Once upon a time your day looked like this: get up, find food, get to shelter and go to bed. Then some centuries later it got a little more advanced and you added farming into the mix. Then going to work got added onto it, but other aspects of life had become easier. And as we advanced, so did our technology which went in hand with making living easier but not simpler. The stresses people put on “keeping up to date” has caused some serious physiological issues. And as a society we have gotten farther from our awesome outdoors. And going along with that is the loss of certain skills.

Skills like gardening, fishing, tracking, making fires and others are vanishing completely from people’s ability. A huge thing we have lost track of is distance. Years ago to get the distance to somewhere you would have to bust out a map, nowadays it takes mere seconds on a smart-phone. Global communication has also shrunk our world with international calling being a daily occurrence for some people.

I have also noticed that judging simple distances is getting harder for people. This can be a huge problem, especially when it comes to hunting. Being able to judge and know distances is extremely important because it concerns so many aspects of hunting.

How far away is that next ridge? How many miles will it be back to campsite? When will the sun be setting past those mountains? Where exactly is that deer in relation to me? Will my arrow/bullet be able to reach it? What will happen if my bullet passes through and keeps going? All of these could possibly be a life-changing judgment call.

Luckily GPS has our back when it comes to several of those questions. There is no doubt that this has saved numerous lives. But what happens if the batteries die? Well if you kept track of your direction and landmarks you might just be able to make it back safely and before dark. But what about the second half of questions? Knowing the distance to your trophy/meal is extremely important. If you are out on a big-game hunt you should have taken the time to practice with your weapon. Whether it is bow or firearm you should know the limitations of the tool, the projectile and yourself well. The easiest way to know the distance: a rangefinder.

Many consider this just another gadget to have in the field, but it can be a complete game changer. Let’s say you overestimated your shot and the bullet goes over and carries on for a distance longer. Depending on the caliber and the load that distance can be quite longer. But if you know that the animal is close to 100 yards away you know where to hold to get a good, clean ethical shot.

And that is another reason why a rangefinder matters. The worst thing possible is to have a bad shot. Every hunter knows that the best way to honor the animal you are about to harvest is to take it as humanely as possible. You do not want the animal to suffer, and knowing the distance and therefore how to place your projectile is a must. Archers know this extremely well as distance and angle play a huge part in making a shot. Luckily many rangefinders have built in compensators for when shooting on an angle. Also being able to see just how far away that farmhouse and any possible inhabitants can save you from jail time.

When I went on my first big-game hunt a couple years ago I did not have a rangefinder. Luckily my uncle had an extra one for me to borrow. This made a huge difference. Thanks to it, I was able to humanely harvest an animal. Watching a deer drop right where it stood was one of the greatest visuals of my life. Not only knowing that I wasn’t going to have to track it down but that the animal was not put through pain was something to take pride in. I hope the rest of my hunting trips go like this. I know they probably won’t but you can bet that I will be getting a rangefinder before I go out again.

It may add to the cost of your trip and gear but they are well worth it. Over the past years, rangefinders have become increasingly more accurate, dependable, efficient and cost-friendly. Make sure to check into company-backed warranties on them before purchasing. Many big-name optics companies have some kind of warranty or guarantee on their products.

Giddy-Up!!

Previously:

Getting Outdoors

Picking Up

Hunting

Fishing

Hiking

Camping

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My Quest: Can the AR platform effectively take a Whitetail?

Hunting is a passion I was raised on by my father. He started me as a very young boy and, as I got older, my passion for hunting the great American whitetail grew and grew.  I have hunted them from the southeast all the way up into to the midwest. As with hunting, so too did my love of firearms and even more recently, my love for the much debated AR platform rifles.  I have read many internet postings going back and forth about whether an AR could effectively take down a whitetail deer or not.  The more I research I did, the more it sparked my interest.  After much debating inside my head, I decided I wanted to give it a shot. I looked at many different AR platforms before purchasing a CMMG AR chambered in 300 Blackout from my local Bass Pro Shops. While there, I also bought one of the Redfield scopes, scope mount and a box of Hornady 110 V-Max ammo.  Once everything was all sighted in and ready to go, it was time for the hunt.

It was an unusually cold morning in Northern Alabama as we set out to Freedom Hills Management Area located in Cherokee, Alabama.  I remember reading the temperature gauge in the truck, a whopping 6 degrees.  I zipped up my Redhead jacket and headed out on my quest.  The morning was cold and quiet as the sun started to come up and nature started to come to life.  It was still early morning as I watched the squirrels chase each other through the trees.  "This is the life," I sat there, thinking to myself.  Right then I caught a shadow silently moving through the woods to my left.  As I turned to see what it was, I saw this nice mature doe emerge through the trees.  She moved quietly through the woods without the slightest hint that I was even there.  I got ready to take the shot when behind her, I could see another body moving in the brush.  There he was, a very nice six point moving right in behind her.  I waited for him to step out, put the cross arrows on and squeezed the trigger.  As I regained my composure, the deer jumped right back into the thick brush followed by a loud crash of leaves.  Had the much debated AR done it's job?  I gave it a little time and walked over to see what the results were.

There he was, not 45 yards from where I had first seen him.  In the end, I had answered my question:  Yes the AR platform can effectively take a whitetail.

I look forward to my next hunt as I have now chambered another AR in the mighty 450 Bushmaster.

 

Justin K., Apparel Associate

Bass Pro Shops, Nashville

 

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A Fine Nine: Ruger SR9

We have taken a look at some pretty awesome handguns so far with our Fine Nine blog series. All of which have come from big-name companies (like Glock, Berretta, etc.). This month’s handgun comes from another popular gun manufacturer that has built its own following of customers for decades, Ruger.

Now technically the full name of the company is Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. but it is called Ruger for short. They were founded in 1949 and went public twenty years later. The handgun we will be discussing is the SR9. It comes in a couple different models and has been doing quite well with consumers.

Previously Ruger’s line of semi-auto handguns was their P Series. The P series started in 1985 and was produced up until a couple years ago. My first handgun, and gun for that matter, was a Ruger P345 that I love. A few things sold me on this firearm, but there were two important markings on the firearm that did it for me. It said 45ACP and Prescott, AZ on it. I quite enjoy this caliber and loved seeing my home-state as where the firearm came from.

That is a big reason why Ruger has such a strong following, as they are made here in the United States. They are based out of Connecticut, but have other locations that support local economies. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing firearms coming out the international market but it is nice owning something from the U.S.

The SR9 was introduced in 2007. It was intended for the conceal-carry market of the firearm industry. The firearm is slim, lightweight, has a higher capacity magazine and several other desirable features to it. The ambidextrous safeties and magazine releases are a nice touch along with the Picatinny rail. It also has a loaded-chamber indicator for quick reference if there is a round in the chamber.

A couple years after the introduction of the SR9 came the SR9C (the compact version of the firearm). It is smaller than the full-size and holds fewer rounds as such. The standard SR9 magazine holds 17 rounds whereas the SR9C holds 10 rounds. Ruger went ahead though and produced a magazine with grip extender for the SR9C giving it the ability to quickly convert to a higher-capacity magazine grip.

This is a huge selling point for consumers. This way you can carry the firearm with the smaller and easier to conceal magazine but be able to throw in the larger one in a quick-reload. It hasn’t been just consumers noticing the SR9C but in fact it was chosen as the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence's Handgun of the Year in 2010! Straight-shootin’ there, Ruger!

-Giddy-Up!!

Previous Nines:

Basics

Glock 19

S&W M&P

Beretta 92

FNX-9

Springfield XD

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Look at That! RedHead Gun Rack

There are certain stereotypical items that complete the visual when it comes to rustic living. There is the pair of rocking chairs on the front porch. A bird feeder full of visitors. Either a “Welcome to the Lake House” or lodge themed wooden sign. A stack of fishing poles by the back door. A gun rack on the wall. All of these items can make one forget about the worries of today’s modern world and take a step back to something much simpler.

And would ya look at that?! Thanks to RedHead 1856 4-Gun Rack, now you can own a piece of it!

Now please note that while a gun rack is a method of storing firearms, they should never be kept loaded and better protection/prevention should be used if children/strangers are present.

This tasteful take on an old favorite is a modern-day crowd pleaser. It is constructed out of pine and has a nice brown-cherry finish to it. It can hold four long-guns and has a bonus feature on the bottom. There is a storage area that can be used for ammunition, cleaning supplies, eye and ear protection or whatever. The storage area also locks, which is a nice touch.

Now gun racks are designed to keep firearms where they are easier to access. Many people from more rural parts of the country have them as you never know when dinner might go by or if you need to give a 12-gauge reminder to the local bear population to stay away. That is just the way life is. With how removed people are from nature nowadays it is understandable why some people couldn’t understand the need for this.

Gun safes are very nice. Not only can you safely store firearms and ammunition, but also important papers and other goods. But they are heavy and take up what could be precious room. If you are going to stay at a cabin with a group of trusted friends for a weeklong hunt, a safe could be a little much whereas the gun rack would be just right.

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Nifty Things to Look At!

Propane Fire Ring

Hand Towels

Rainproof Camo

She Outdoor

PETT

BPS Extreme Qualifier Tackle Bag

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Check it Out List: Tactical Clothing

Two words that have infiltrated the shooting world over the past years, tactical and zombie. From those two words, different worlds have been developed. And combining those words is a whole different ball game!

When it comes to the term tactical, there is a whole slew of things it can involve. Tactical shooting, clothing, maneuvering, reloading, pens, holsters, water bottles, knives, flashlights and so on. So much so that many simply mock the whole “tactical” concept.

But like many things that can come under ridicule, tactical apparel does have sound reasoning behind it. So for this month’s Check it Out List we are going to go over Tactical Clothing.

 

Tactical Shirt

Tactical Pants/Shorts

Tactical Belt

Tactical Gloves

Tactical Jacket

Tactical Boots

 

Most often tactical products are concerning self-defense. It goes hand in hand with possible combat and carrying a firearm. You really wouldn’t want to be caught in a gun-fight with pajama pants, flip flops and a lose shirt. You are going to want clothing that is secure, leaving little room for possible issues occurring while drawing and firing a firearm.

Working our way down the list, let us start with the shirt. There is an assortment of shirts: long sleeve, short sleeve, button up, polo and so on. Each different style will provide you with some kind of advantage. Also depending on the weather and possibly your job or plan for the day will help you choose what to wear.

The pants and shorts are well known for having numerous pockets on them. This is for your extra magazines, knife, flashlight, standard everyday items (phone, wallet, etc.) and more. Unlike cargo shorts, these pockets do not bulge out so you are less likely to get caught on something while moving. Also the pockets hold items more securely so you are not fishing around to find the desired item.

The belt may be the simplest yet most important aspect. First thing to notice is how thick it is. The thickness and height of the belt help keep a holster on your person. Try wearing a holster on a normal belt and notice how much wiggle there is. Now when you have to draw your firearm that wiggle space could throw you off and be a huge difference to the outcome. A tactical belt will almost eliminate that “wiggle room” completely.

Two items are more for personal preference. Gloves are great to shoot with, but not always necessary. And you probably won’t go around wearing them all day anyway so it would look a little unnatural. They do allow one to grip a firearm better and can help if dealing with a “hot” firearm. Gloves do not sweat like your hand might in a stressful situation so it helps keep something important from “slipping out”.

A nice tactical jacket will allow you to have numerous pockets (much like the pants/shorts) and may even have special pockets to carry extra magazines or the firearm itself. These jackets tend to be built well so they do a nice job of keeping you warm and providing you with ease of access for items.

You can tell a lot about someone by their shoes. Tactical boots are very nice and many who wear them tend to wear nothing else. These boots are built light, solid and comfortable. Thinking about having to be in a self-defense situation you are not going to want to worry about tripping on your shoelaces or even worse being in flip flops. There has been an increasing trend for use of tactical boots for hunting and hiking because of how well they work.

No matter what your goal is, hopefully this has opened your eyes or opinions to other options.

-Giddy-Up!!

Checked-Lists

Picnics

Gun Cleaning

Game Care

First Aid

Kayaking

Day Pack

Trip Prep

Range Time

Fishing Pack

Boating Day Trip

Camp Cooking

 Dove Hunting

Upland Hunting

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A Fine Nine: Springfield XD

Let me go ahead and say that I have never been a big fan of Springfield XDs. Just something about them never really got my gears going. But a while back they introduced a firearm that I was immediately interested in, their XDS model in 45ACP. I tested the firearm out and was impressed. Then when I was really searching for an EDC (every day carry) pistol in 45ACP, I tested out a number of others. I tried the M&P compact, Glock 30, Glock 36 and a couple small 1911s. With nothing really standing out, I tried the XDS again and was truly impressed and acquired one. I have yet to have an issue with mine and am now a proud supporter of the Springfield XDs.

Now I have said this before as many others will, gun manufacturers and personal preference are like trucks. You have Chevy people, Ford people and Dodge people. Same with firearms, you have Colt people, Glock guys and Ruger fans and so on. People either love the Springfield XDs or don’t. But having been out since 2001, they have created quite the following.

So XD stands for “Extreme Duty” as these are what they were designed for. There are actually three different series of the XD models. The models are XD, XDM and XDS and they can come in a slew of variants beyond just that. Most models will have full-size, compact or subcompact variants. That is except for the XDS which comes in either a 3.3” barrel or a 4” barrel. This model is the specific concealed carry line of XDs but is still loaded with great features (ambi-safety, loaded-chamber indicator, etc.) like its “bigger brothers”.

The XD line has a 3” barrel option and several different ones for 4” and 5” barrels. Like their site says “In 2001, Springfield Armory® redefined what a polymer pistol should be. The XD® series set the new industry standard for ergonomic comfort, ease of operation, features and performance.”

Six years after the introduction of the XD, Springfield gave us the XDM line. The M stands for match as it is a heavier-duty firearm than its predecessor. Just like with the XD line, there are several barrel lengths available, including a 5.25” competition model. And speaking of competitions, more and more Springfields are showing up at shooting events. Last year we had a couple professional shooters that were on the Springfield Team, and they swore by their handguns (and not just because of the sponsorship).

As I said about the XDS having features similar to the other models, lets go over some of those. Springfield is proud to state that “The features available on the XD(M)® will impress even the most demanding shooters. The XD(M)® includes a basic list of safety features shared with its predecessor the XD®. The striker status indicator and loaded chamber indicator give the shooter instant tactile and visual feedback to know if there is a chambered round and if the striker is cocked. Three separate safeties guard against accidental discharges and provide extra peace of mind. The Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) Action Trigger System™ prevents unintentional rearward movement of the trigger. The grip safety keeps the pistol from firing unless the shooter has a firm grasp on it. And an internal firing pin block goes the extra mile to bring you a pistol fully designed with safety in mind.”

What I really like is that their safety features are effective enough to work but not so cumbersome to be a nuisance if having to draw the firearm and fire in a self-defense situation. If there is an external safety that needs to be moved into a position to allow the firearm to shoot, one could easily forget to flip it in a stressful situation. The fact that the external safeties in the XDs are one on the rear grip and the trigger itself means that they help prevent accidents they won’t get in the way of a self-defense scenario. Your hand will naturally grab the rear grip to press in the safety there and your finer will control the trigger safety as well. (I would know, I own one.)

Now this blog is supposed to be about 9MM handguns, and just about every variation of any Springfield XD model comes in 9MM. Whether it is an XD-4” or XDM-3.8”, they tend to come in this quite popular caliber. Several years ago one would tell you that you should skip a 9MM and go to a larger caliber. With all the developments in defense ammunition over the past couple years; this caliber has increased its stopping power. It should not be considered “weak” by any means anymore. The improvements to both ammunition and the firearms have increased their effectiveness and quality all over.

Shortly after releasing the XDS in 45ACP came a version chambered in 9MM. To be honest, as will many other XDS45ACP owners admit, I wish I had picked up the 9MM version. Not only do you get a couple more rounds, but it is easier to control.

So just like any other purchase one might look to, do your research and ask around. People are always happy to give their opinions on anything from trucks to toasters and so on, and of course firearms. Just be sure to think about a Springfield XD model when looking for any kind of 9MM handgun.

-Giddy-Up!!

Previous Nines:

Basics

Glock 19

S&W M&P

Beretta 92

FNX-9

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A Simple Guide to safe firearms class

Straight Shooters - So a few weeks ago I received an invite from Mike Duffy to try out an SGI - Defensive Pistol Craft I course. Mike is the founder and Chief Operations Officer of Solutions Group International (SGI).

Here's an excerpt taken from their website to help give an idea of who they are..."Solutions Group International (SGI) was created to provide Specialized Security Services, Law Enforcement & Military Tactical Training, Threat Matrix & Vulnerability Assessments, Leading-edge Anti-Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Applications, and Investigations to the Law Enforcement, Military, Entertainment & Film Industry, Security, Government, and Corporate Sectors worldwide."

Their website also gives you a list of their instructors and their qualifications. Reading through their bios, it's quick to see that they are simply the best-of-the-best. I was personally sold knowing that they primarily train Military and Law Enforcement agencies. The eight hour course was held at Prado Shooting Park in Chino on a private portion of the range known as Condor 2. The day started with introductions from the three man training team and an overview of what we were in store for. The instructor cadre consisted of George Holt (SGI President), Grant Reynolds, and Marty Higuera. Being an introductory class into Defensive Pistol shooting, we started with the basics. Even after all the shooting I've done, there's still something to learn and get refreshed on after all my time on the range. We started by reviewing the 4 rules of firearms safety, core marksmanship skills and techniques, proper reloading, stance, and a few other topics to ensure even a true beginner was up to speed with the basic knowledge needed for the day.

Now you may be thinking that you are an above average pistol shooter and this introductory class is below you; well think again. The SGI crew did a great job of tailoring their instruction to each student as the day progressed. They moved down the line during live fire drills giving each student tips based on their individual needs and skills. At no point did I feel like I was being held back by the other students who may have had a slower learning curve. I was being pushed to draw quicker and shoot faster. Grant said something like, "Push yourself to the breaking point where you fail to produce the results you're looking for." He's basically saying that if you only do what you're comfortable with, you will never get any better. Because of this, we constantly tried to shoot quicker and faster.

The live-fire portion of the day had many different drills incorporated into it. This included shooting from 3 yards from the hip when you don't have time for proper sight alignment, drawing and placing two center mass, failure to stop drills consisting of two center mass and one to the head, target transition drills, shooting from farther distances, shooting on the move and proper foot placement while moving, and multiple engagement drills. There was always something to keep you on your toes. The intensity the instructors brought kept a high level of motivation to the line and a feeling of not wanting to let them down. I had a great time and am looking forward to their next class in the series of the 6 Defensive Crafts courses they offer.

Mike and his crew run a top-of-the-line company and offer some amazing courses. I will definitely be coming back for a future pistol course and probably take some of their others as well. I encourage you to pull up their website and take a look at their list of courses and instructors.

http://www.solutionsgroupinternational.com/

The $225 course includes 300 rounds of ammo and a $25 Bass Pro Shops gift card. This is a really good price for the 8-hour course that includes 300 rounds of whatever ammo you want to shoot.

 

 

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BOSL and Other Gun Deer Season Reminders

Rod Slings, is Founder/CEO of Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants LLC and retired Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Supervisor. As a hunting incident investigator, interviewing the victims, their families and evaluating the scenes, he has seen firsthand the sometimes tragic results of carelessness in the field. So, as we get ready to open Iowa Gun Deer Season, take a moment to review his reminders before heading out and lessen the chance of injury to yourself, others, and wildlife.

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The annual trek to the Iowa woods is about to begin. Yes, it’s gun deer season!  This is a time when family and friends, year after year, gather to help manage Iowa’s deer population and fill their freezers.  Due to a greater number of tags being issued the last few year's hunters, may find the population down somewhat. In fact the January antlerless season has been eliminated and antlerless tags reduced. (Please check the Iowa DNR website for all the details.)

No matter what, don’t let emotion or peer pressure cause you to enter the zone of, “I must harvest a deer,” to have a good hunt.  Remember, hunting is NOT a competition!  You need to plan your hunt and hunt your plan. What that means is whether you're hunting alone or in a large group, you need to have a plan and stick to it. Safety is number one! 

Did you know shooting at running deer is the number one risk of causing a firearm-related incident?

Here are a few additional things to think about before opening day:

  • When hunting deer from a blind during the regular shotgun deer season, the blind must exhibit a solid blaze orange marking with a minimum of 144 square inches visible in all directions. A blind is defined as a place of concealment constructed, either wholly or partially, from man made materials, which is used for the purpose of hiding a person who is hunting from sight. A blind is not a naturally occurring landscape feature or an arrangement of natural or agricultural plant material that a hunter uses for concealment. In addition to the requirements above, hunters using blinds must also satisfy the requirements of wearing blaze orange.
     
  • If you're going to hunt from a treestand, always wear your Fall Arrest System to make sure you remain secured from the time you leave the ground to your safe descent. There are a number of different types of safety harnesses available that will save you from severe injury or even death. It’s important to stay connected! Always use a haul line to pull up and lower your unloaded firearm. Falling from a treestand is the number one way hunters are injured. So many times we have heard, “I didn’t think it would ever happen to me!”  Don’t let this happen to you! 
  • Hunting on private land requires permission. Know where the property boundaries and buildings are, and where livestock may be located.
  • Report any observed violations to a conservation officer or local sheriff as soon as possible. The Iowa DNR Turn In Poachers (TIP) telephone number is 1-800-532-2020. Program it into your cell phone for access to an officer; help protect Iowa’s Wildlife.
  • Always respect both public and private property, the non-hunting public and wildlife. Be sensitive to everyone when displaying harvested game. You represent all of us when you’re a hunter! 

Remember:

  • Follow all firearms safety rules.
  • Be sure of your target and what’s beyond.
  • Blaze Orange Saves Lives!
  • If you hunt from a treestand, make sure you wear a fall arrest system.
  • Know and obey all hunting regulations; they are there to protect you, others and wildlife.

Hunt SAFE and have a GREAT Iowa Hunting Season!

______________________

Like us @  Bass Pro Shops Altoona
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Protection for your Gun

It's Hunting season and your gun takes a beating.  Always take the time to clean and keep your gun protected.  We have a large variety of gun cases at many different price ranges.  Here are a few that handle extreme conditions.

The Boyt Tactical H Series Double Handgun Case is tough and durable.  This case is designed to meet or exceed law enforcement, military and airline standards.  The case is waterproof and dustproof.  Boyt considers this case so durable it has a lifetime warranty.  High density foam will keep your handguns in place and protected.

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Plano makes gun cases at all different prices.  The Plano All Weather Tactical Gun Case is built for extreme conditions.  With a dri -loc seal for weathertight protection and thick wall construction, this is the ultimate protection for your gun.  The case has heavy duty dual stage lockable latches that hold tight then it has padlock tabs for reinforced security.  The pluckfoam allows you to shape the padding in the case to match your gun.

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The Redhead 2-Rifle Aluminum Gun Case is durable and fortified with heavy duty corner protectors.  There is a full length hidden hinge and heavy duty key latches for security.  Wheels on the bottom allows you to roll with ease.

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How about something that is watertight, crushproof and dustproof?  Check out the Redhead Double Rifle CaseThis case has a o- ring seal, automatic pressure equalization valve and wheels for easy transport.

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Anyone who owns a gun knows how important it is to keep your gun clean.  The Remington Squeeg-E Universal Gun Cleaning System, can be used on multiple firearms.  This has everthing you need to keep your guns in tip top shape.  Check out the reviews on line.

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Once your guns are cleaned, your are ready to put them away.  Gun socks are a great item to pick up and very inexpensive.  The Allen Company Tactical Gun Sock,  protects firearms from humidity and fits most tactical guns with or without scopes.  There is a drawstring closure, and it is 47 inches long.  The Allen Company Knit Gun Sock - 3 Pack, has drawstring closures. They will fit most guns with or without scopes, and the silicone treated knit fabric does not promote corrosion.

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Last but not least, when the guns are ready for the safe, a dehumidifier system is perfect to remove moisture.  The Stack-On Rechargeable Cordless Dehumidifier absorbs excess moisture with no holes, cords or batteries.  There is a moisture gauge that tells when it needs to be recharged.  This can be used in a standard electrical outlet, charge it overnight and put it back in your safe.  This will last for years.

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Another idea to remove humidity is the Browning Ever-Dry Dehumidifier.    This system is easy to install and will protect your items against rust.  Use on a safe 30"W or larger.

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So protect your gun investment.  Stop on in and take a look at the large variety of gun cases we have in stock.

 

Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator

 

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Good Broadheads Equal Short Blood Trails

During the first week of November I was thankful to tag a buck with my reliable BlackOut Bow. I was hunting in northern Missouri, and I chose to hang my stand in an area that the deer moved through like clockwork. As shooting light faded, a yearling doe appeared in the dried soybean plot in front of me. She spent many long minutes feeding in solitude, and shooting light was fading quickly. When I had just about decided to hang my bow up and call it a night, I heard the unmistakable sound of a deer approaching me from behind. I froze, and my eyes couldn’t begin tracking the eight-pointer until he was 10 yards to my right. He was headed straight to the soybeans.

When he passed behind some trees, I drew. Even in the low light, the site pins on my Redhead Kryptik Bow Sight glowed perfectly as I moved my 25-yard pin behind the animal’s shoulder. He was quickly putting distance between my arrow and his vitals, but he stopped for a moment before entering the edge of the food plot. I gently squeezed my release and sent my BlackOut X1 Pro Carbon Arrow toward my prey. I heard the satisfying “thwack” as the arrow entered and exited the deer. After an exaggerated donkey kick, the buck busted his way through the soybeans before coming to a stop only 20 yards from where the arrow met him. After pausing a few seconds, he tried to run again. But he ended up on the ground.

As I climbed down from the tree and moved toward the buck, I stopped and picked up my blood-stained arrow. It was tipped with a 100-grain BlackOut Fixed Blade Broadhead that had done its job, and done it well. After spending more than four hours in the tree that afternoon, the hunt ended suddenly and dramatically. It was an experience I’ll always be thankful for. As we move from the early archery season and into firearms season, I hope that you have the chance to harvest some venison as well. Good luck!

Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro

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Take Someone: Skeet Shooting

Raise your hand if you have ever asked someone if they have shot guns before and they answer no but have shot shotguns. Now put your hand down, because the people  around you are puzzled at your actions. This brings a couple things up to ponder. One, why does shooting shotguns not constitute shooting guns? And that shooting shotguns seems to be the most common way to introduce someone to shooting.

Back in July of 2013 I wrote about shotguns. It was inspired because I took a poll on our Facebook of the favorite firearms for one to shoot. Shotguns did not make the list, but they took center stage in my blog.

Now mind you, this blog is about taking someone skeet shooting, but I am just using that as an overall term. I am including shooting trap and skeet, blasting clays on your own and shooting action targets with this. Shooting shotguns in this way still covers all the essentials for safety when handling firearms. It also throws in a bit of more fun as the targets are typically moving.

As Wikipedia would explain, shooting skeet is where the shooter “attempt(s) to break clay disks mechanically flung into the air from two fixed stations at high speed from a variety of angles.” This means there are two places for the clay birds to fly from and is usually going across from the shooter. Trap shooting is a little simpler as it utilizes only one station that throws the targets. These targets also are typically flung so they fly away from the shooter. Action targets (also known as sporting clays) come in a variety of different patterns. They typically mimic the natural patterns that game would travel in. So that could range from how dove, quail, duck, geese or even rabbits would enter and exit a hunter’s zone of fire. These are my favorite.

Shooting clays is also more exciting as it can be a group event and tallied up for scoring (and bragging rights). Also when you hit your target you can see a reaction, whereas paper targets tend to just stay there. It is always impressive to watch someone “dust” a clay, where the whole thing pretty much just dissolves right there in the air. Being able to smoke two targets in one shot always puts a certain kind of grin on one’s face.

Skeet is also a recognized Olympic sport. Currently the greatest nation in the world (us… the U.S.) holds the record for number of medals won at the sport.

But so to take someone you will want to cover the basics. Have eye and ear protection, a proper firearm and plenty of ammunition. Luckily shells are a little bit more economical than shooting other kinds of firearms. Once a new shooter gets the hang of things, you will be impressed with how many shells they will go through. Always emphasize safety and proper shooting though. If you do not hold the shotgun in the proper posture it can have quite painful consequences. The worst thing you can do to a new shooter is let them hurt themselves and be turned away from it forever. Using a 20 gauge can be a great starting place for new shooters. Personally I love shooting 20 gauge. It makes one take better aim and can damage less meat on game taken. Of course there is always something to be said about the effectiveness of a good 12 gauge.

Make sure you go over cleaning the shotgun at the end of the trip. This will instill a good mentality into new shooters that they need to care for their firearms. Plus usually all you need to do is run a pull-through down the barrels and pay a little attention to the mechanical parts.

Oh and did you know that there are scholarships available for skeet shooting and other shooting sports? Look into it!

-Giddy-Up!!

Previous Trips

Fishing

Shooting

Hiking

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A Fine Nine: FNX 9

So here is a throwback! Who remembers the Fine Nine blogs? Anyone? Well the last one was from back in March of this year, so let’s get this series off again with a bang! That shouldn’t be too hard, considering we are talking about handguns that shoot 9MM. And to kick off the revamp of this series is a gun that is just awesome, the FNX-9.

This firearm is produced by gun manufacturing legend, FN Herstal. This company was founded in 1889 and is still based out of its homeland of Belgium. The FN stands for Fabrique Nationale and Herstal comes from the town in Belgium they hail from. It is a subsidiary of the same company that also owns Browning and Winchester. Currently FN Herstal is the largest exporter of small military arms in Europe.

This company may be a European classic, but it is gaining a following here in America along with a presence. They have two entities here in the U.S.A., FNH USA and FN Manufacturing. The latter company is based out of South Carolina, where they produce many of our military’s most prolific firearms. (The M16, M249 and M240 to name a few.) The firearms of FN are used by over a hundred countries’ military.

One could go on and on about all the different models of firearms this company makes, but we are going to focus on their FNX-9. The FNX-9 is an updated version of their FNP line of handguns. It is a semi-automatic, polymer framed, hammer fired pistol. (This is opposed to their FNS line that is striker-fired.)

What is very nice about the FNX is its versatility. Both in the roles it can play as a firearm and its ambidextrous features. They have magazine releases, safety/decocking levers and slide release levers on both sides of the firearm. As this company usually seeks military contracts, these features lend itself very well for right and left handed users.

Beyond those features, the FNX-9 does have a Picatinny rail (for accessories), fixed three-dot combat sites, and a loaded chamber indicator. I like the little features of a loaded chamber indicator, but also know not to completely rely on it (along with external safeties) as they can malfunction. These firearms also come with three magazines, a hard plastic case and interchangeable back straps.

Compared to the FNS models, the FNX has a much larger external safety. This is nice, as one can easily flip the safety off while drawing the firearm. It also can be shot in both single action and double action. This gun is a full size as it was designed to be a military sidearm. This means it would be more difficult to carry concealed, but because of its size the recoil is minimal. Also to help with the recoil, the barrel and slide travel up to twice the distance of some other semiautomatic pistols, before separating. The spring absorbs more momentum from both the barrel and the slide.

Two issues that one could encounter are the grip and the aftermarket item supply for this firearm. The grip has a rather “aggressive” checkering to it. It is made so to have a more secure grip no matter what conditions you may be in. (The firearm could be dusty, your hands could be cold and so on.) So while those who understand the purpose of the grip can appreciate, others might be left with their hands hurting. An easy way to get around that is to shoot with tactical gloves. There also is not a lot of aftermarket items for the firearm itself as well. It will be a little bit more work finding holsters and other accessories/add-ons. Not necessarily a deal breaker by any means, but still something to be considered.

Also last but not least, field stripping this firearm is quite easy. As having just taught my wife about field stripping handguns, those that are broken up into just several main pieces is something to be appreciated and considered.

So next time you are looking at a full-size 9mm handgun, be sure to check out an FNX-9 as it might just become a member of the household!

-Giddy-Up!!

Previous Nines:

Basics

Glock 19

S&W M&P

Beretta 92

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Five Quick Tips For Your Next New Hampshire Hunting Adventure

Hunting is in full swing in New Hampshire! There are some quick tips that will help you succeed on your next hunting trip.

 

1. Scent elimination is key! Make sure to remove as much human scent as possible before heading out into the field.

 

Consider buying product specifically for scent control. There is a wide selection of soaps, antiperspirant, laundry detergent, and tooth paste to help you stay unnoticed in the field.

 

2. Remain quiet and listen carefully

 

 Walk softly by taking short, balanced steps to reduce noise while walking in the woods. If using a tree stand, practice setting up and getting into to. Using a tree stand with minimal sound requires practice. 

 

3. Concealment: Blind, tree stand, camouflage.

Not sure what is the best type of camouflage to use? Come down to our store. We have experienced staff that will help you make the perfect purchase for your needs.

 

However.....

 

4. Wear hunter orange during firearm season.

 

Remember safety first, day or night! In New Hampshire it is not required by law to wear but it is highly recommended.

 

5. Make memories and share your passion with our next generation of hunters.

Mark your calendar! Youth deer hunt weekend in New Hampshire is October 25th & 26th.

 

Happy Hunting!

 

Monica - Events & Promotions Coordinator

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Monica - Events & Promotions Coordinator

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Newest RedHead BlackOut Blinds

Over the past couple of years, hunting has reached a new peak in our society. The origins of such a movement can be argued, be it a case of eating organic/healthily, a particular nationally famous family known for their facial hair, or just a new trend taking on a different form. Regardless of the cause, hunting is the new in thing. From little kids to adults who have never owned, much less touched a firearm in their lives, the hunting bug is being spread around like a new epidemic. There are those in the hunting community that do not appreciate this, and enjoy the exclusiveness of it. However, most of us are either neutral or excited at the prospect of having another set of ears to talk off, and swap stories with.

          I, for one, am excited at the new allure hunting has taken on to those who have not been exposed to it. It’s one thing to experience buck fever, but just like a knee ache or an old itch, you get used to it. It’s invigorating to see someone new being introduced into the community we call the outdoors as they encounter new feelings and experiences at every corner and turn. That feeling is amplified when you’re the direct cause of it! Any father who has taken his son or daughter hunting can relate to this. At the risk of sounding pompous, I enjoy taking on that pseudo-fatherly role when introducing someone to the outdoor life. I feel responsible for their experience as I guide them along their new chosen path. So when I take someone new to the outdoors on one of these little excursions I try to make things as comfortable as possible for them.

          Anyone who has tried to squeeze two butts into a one butt ground blind knows that it isn’t easy. It’s often cramped, uncomfortable, and difficult to maneuver when you finally get a good shot in. Some hunters who have their own land have circumnavigated this problem by building their own custom blinds, but the rest who hunt on leases and/or public land, that isn’t exactly an option. RedHead answered that call with their new line up of BlackOut blinds for the 2014-2015 hunting season, and boy did they answer.

          The X72, X83, and X300, the first two being respective to their HUB to HUB interior dimensions are the new pop up blinds BlackOut has introduced. Seventy-two inches of roomie space is more than enough for two adult hunters and a Mr. Buddy space heater. The X83 stands a whopping 73 inches tall, and has ample space for one hunter to set up a small camping cot, a space heater, and hunt comfortably. Or, if you aren’t into that yuppie style of hunting, and prefer to share the misery with your buddies, three grown men can fit into the spacious ground blind, and mumble and grumble like old times. And the “Big Kahuna” of them all is the X300. With enough room for three grown men to hunt comfortably (4 semi-comfortably) and a 300 degree view of your surroundings, it is by far the most bang for your buck.

 All BlackOut blinds are made of a durasheen material to prevent that new-out-of-box glare from giving away your position, and come with an external mat extending seven inches from all sides to help keep out critters, any environmental factors in the immediate vicinity, and retain your scent. All windows are made of shoot-thru mesh, and come with handy cargo pouches on the inside to store all your knick knacks. The entrances to all blinds also have been made larger to accommodate those handicapped or physically disabled hunters. They also come with the brush straps, to add any vegetation or foliage and better blend in with your surroundings. All they need are elevators and blind attendants to hand you your weapon and replace the propane canisters in your Mr. Buddy.

          The best feature, which RedHead carried over from their blind model two years ago, is the HUB style set up. This ingenious bit of technology has brought the break-down and set-up time of pop up blinds in half. What used to take two people ten minutes to take down, now only takes one person half that time (5 minutes on average) to set-up and break down. With nifty folding rods, that when locked into place make the install a dream to those hunters who like to move spots, there isn’t much to complain about if you follow the instructions correctly (What are instructions?).

          All in all, RedHead has out done themselves this year. Their new BlackOut lineup is full of all new gadgets and toys for reasonable prices, from blinds to broadheads, bows and arrows. Shoot, even their chairs and stools are comfortable (I made one my home office chair.) One could easily argue that their products will be up there with Primos and Ameristep, but I don’t think either of those brands have breadth of variety that BlackOut has stamped their name on this year. And it’s all exclusively sold at Bass Pro Shops! I don’t always buy Blackout stuff from Bass Pro Shops, but when I do, it’s because that’s the only place I can get it .Head to your local (or closest) Bass Pro, or check out their ads in the mail and online. See for yourself all the cool new toys and gadgets. You’re going to like them. I guarantee it.

 

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