Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Robert Mika Holsters

A few months ago, I decided that I needed an improvement in my defensive gun arsenal.

I love carryin' my Springfield XDm in .45 Auto, and most of the time it's perfectly fine to carry it. However, every now and then, I have to tuck my shirttail in a look presentable, and regardless of it's "compact" credentials, it's a damn big gun to try to hide, even on my less-than-petite frame. My older but reliable Bersa Thunder .380 was a slightly smaller substitute, but still a little on the large size and, in my opinion, an inferior caliber. Couple that with the need to operate both a safety and a hammer before gettin' into action, it made for a less-than-desirable defensive gun. With several events comin' up this year that require a little more discretion with my carryin' habits, I decided it was time to go gun shoppin'.

After a ton of research, and visitin' a few different gun stores and puttin' my hands on as many guns as possible, I finally settled on the Kahr CM9 in 9mm Luger. (On a side note, I highly recommend The Truth About Guns website for unbiased reviews of many different firearms. I make most of my firearm purchases based on their honest reviews.) The local Gettysburg Trading Post gave me a great price, as well as a very fair trade-in value on the Bersa.
So, now I had the gun, but I had to settle on the most efficient way to carry it discreetly. I weighed the pros and cons of several different methods, but finally decided that pocket carry would be the way to go.

Again, I spent hours researchin' holsters, and I kept seein' Robert Mika's name in regards to his handmade, custom holsters. For those that have ever researched holsters, it's maddenin'. You get 4,000 different opinions from 3,999 people. Continually seein' "Robert Mika's Holsters" on all the forums finally sold me. Bein' that they are very fairly priced, I figured I couldn't go wrong, even it if didn't fit my needs. I made my decision, then went over to Robert's website and placed my order.

Within 30 seconds, my phone rang. It was Robert Mika himself. He explained that he'd received my order, and took the time to go over what his product was about, as well as ask me questions about how I would be usin' the gun and holster. We spent almost 20 minutes talkin' about everythin' rangin' from our favorite guns to his 20 years on the LA police force. I was absolutely shocked... this was good ol' fashioned American business in its prime form, which is somethin' that I don't get to experience very often. Needless to say, that phone call confirmed that I'd made an excellent decision.

Robert told me that it'd be a few weeks until he got to work on my holster, as he was a one-man show. That was fine by me, as I understand that good work takes time.

A few weeks later, as promised, the package arrived in the mail. I ripped into it like an excited kid at Christmas, cleared the CM9 and promptly checked everythin' for fit and function. As expected, it was spot-on and exactly what I was expectin'. Nothin' purty about it, but superb in function... kinda like myself.
Overall, I'm more than happy with both of these purchases. After doin' the recommended prep work and break-in on the CM9 as per the Kahrtalk website, the gun runs like a champ, and I have no problems trustin' my life to it. The Mika holster works just as advertised; it leaves a minimal footprint in the pocket and stays in the pocket on the draw, with no hang-up, each and every time. It's so comfortable, concealable and easy to pocket, I already find myself reachin' for that gun and holster more than the XDm.

When it comes to pickin' a defensive-use firearm, I realize that it mostly boils down to personal preference. Whatever gun you may pick though, I would definitely recommend a Mika holster to put it in. It was definitely a positive buyin' experience and an excellent product to boot.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Body Count '14 - #1

I got off to a bit of a slow start this year, thanks to Momma Nature and her wicked ways of snow and ice. I did whack one with the scattergun in the back yard a few weeks ago, but the little bastard managed to make it back into its hole. I had a decent blood trail and ain't seen it since, so I'm 99.9% certain it's dead. That said, I don't have confirmation of that, so I didn't start Body Count with that one. Aside from that, time just hasn't allowed me to make many dedicated efforts to hog huntin'.

I finally got to go to the range and check my zero on the Remmy 700, and on the way home, I noticed a hog in the field just across from our driveway. I ran one more errand, and the little wench was still there as I left, and then again as I returned home.

I promptly grabbed the freshly dialed-in .223, marched down the driveway, and quickly ruined her day. Turned out to be a good-sized female.

That'll learn 'er.

Felt good to finally drop the hammer on one. I ain't sure if I'll beat last year's count of 15 hogs, given that most of my free time will be dedicated to improvements to the new estate, but I'm damn sure gonna try. All it takes is one full field and a good afternoon of shootin'...

Almost, but not quite...

My little buddy Daxton and I headed up to the hills of Adams County on Friday night, hopin' to finally break our streak of bad luck on the PA youth turkey hunt. This was our fourth youth hunt together, and we seem to get closer and closer every year.

I spent an evenin' last week preparin' the war bag. 'Bout drove my lady insane runnin' turkey calls, but I reckon that's marginal payback for her damned ol' "timebomb" noise her stupid iPhone makes when she types on it. Took awhile, but I finally narrowed it down to the ones that sounded best that particular evenin'.

Dad had gone up a little earlier in hopes of maybe puttin' somethin' to bed for us, but hadn't heard anythin' to speak of. He did see a few hens in a clearin' above the cabin though, so we were optimistic.

Saturday mornin' found us on a loggin' road a few hundred yards away from the cabin, listenin' for a nearby gobble. After bein' greeted with nothin' but surprisin' silence, Daxton decided we'd better head up to the clearin' on nearby public land where we'd come close to connectin' last year.

Along the way, we found a random turkey egg, just layin' in the middle of the loggin' road.

We finally got up to about where we wanted to be, and in an attempt to learn from our missteps last year, we set it up just a bit different. We'd heard a gobble from down the hill as we were closin' in on our spot, so I set Dax up on that side of the tree, and I set up watchin' the clearin' from the other side.

We'd been there maybe a half hour when I heard the sound of turkey scratchin' from behind me. I slowly rolled on my hip to peer around the tree and found myself starin' at a hen a mere 25 yards away. She was feedin' and didn't catch my movement, so I whispered for Dax if he had seen her.

No response... oh, crap! The kid was sound asleep.

I whispered a few more times to no avail, when suddenly, I saw the telltale red head of a gobbler peerin' at me from about ten yards to the right of the hen. Double crap!

I continued to whisper frantically for Dax to wake up, as the now suspicious birds started to move off. Other turkeys materialized out of nowhere... four more jakes appeared behind the hen and jake that I'd seen initially.

Finally, Dax whispered back that he saw the birds. By then, they were 40 yards away and still movin' off. He slowly got his gun up to his shoulder, scooched himself into a better position, and waited for a shot. As the birds moved through a small gap in the saplings, he got a decent look at a bird about 45 yards away, and he let a shot fly. Birds flew everywhere, but nothin' was anchored. We quickly walked over to where the birds were, and followed up for a hundred yards, but there were no signs of a hit.

He was a little dejected, but he bounced back quickly after a few pick-me-ups. Lord knows any turkey hunter worth his salt has spent many a happy hour zonked out at the base of a tree, and has likely screwed up a hunt or two because of it. That, and the shot that he was presented was definitely a tough shot through the saplings, as you can see from the pictures above.

After the miss, we decided we needed to go explorin' a bit. We heard a couple gobbles along the way, but bein' on public land, we encountered other hunters with the same plan as we tried to get a line on the bird. We finally found ourselves on a nearby gasline, which suited me fine as the wind was pickin' up. Turkeys seem to seek open areas on windy and rainy days, as the constant rustlin' of leaves and movement from the foliage tends to make the flighty birds a little nervous.

We spent the last two hours on the gasline, bein' patient anc callin', but to no avail. We finally threw in the towel and headed back to the cabin for some grub.

So, in four years, we've had a washout with no birds seen or heard, to hearin' birds close and gettin' to work 'em, to to havin' birds in sight, but just outta range, to finally gettin' 'em in range and gettin' a shot. Only one more step to go from here, so we're both already very optimistic about next year's youth hunt.

This Saturday marks the official openin' day. I'll be workin', but hopefully I'll be gettin' lots of updates from camp.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

It's begun

Tater officially opened the dance this mornin'. He guided a friend to his first spring gobbler down in Maryland. Sounded like the longbeard put on a pretty good show on his way to the decoys.

Thus begins the season for the Full Strut camp.

The Youth Hunt is this Saturday here in PA... My little buddy Daxton is chompin' at the bit and ready to roll. I can't wait to hear my first gobble...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Turkey scoutin'

A co-worker invited me up to his place to do some huntin', and he wanted to show me around before turkey season. His land is at the base of the mountain and butts up against miles of state forest, and there's apparently a few birds around.

We didn't go after it too hard, but we walked a mile or so back in to check things out. The weather was perfect for a nice little hike, and it certainly helped take the edge off to get into the woods again.

Thirteen days to the Youth Hunt. Reckon I outta start diggin' camo out and gettin' my shit together.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Last year's gobbler mount

I finally got around to whippin' up a plaque and gettin' last year's gobbler hung up. He was a magnificent bird, and had a lot more red and bronze colorin' than an average Eastern. I still kick myself for not gettin' him stuffed, but at least I had the foresight to hang onto the wings.

The room is still a work in progress, but it's nice to finally have a centerpiece decoration in there. I hope to put a Wyoming archery elk in that spot someday, but the turkey will do just fine for now.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sound advice from a gun nut

Another good article on firearm preparedness that's worth your time to read. A lot of good points made, and in a way that fat guys like me can understand:

It is a perfectly acceptable and laudable goal to run a marathon or bench four plates or have a perfect six pack. It’s also a perfectly reasonable goal to work out just to be healthier but still have pizza and beer, because pizza and beer is delicious.

Read the rest here. And stay somewhat prepared.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Bar etiquette

Before you head to the bar tonight, take a few minutes and read this article. Even though it was written on the other side of the pond, bein' that I moonlight on the weekends at a local waterin' hole, I can relate. I've become a much better patron since I started workin' in the industry. That said, maybe it takes workin' it to not be a douche. The author, an experienced bartender, dispels such spot on gems as this:

Being a bartender has taught me many things; how to function between the hours of 9pm to 5am, the beauty of Sundays, that observation truly is an art form, that logic and practicality are foreign concepts in the modern world, how to turn drinks into meals, the glory of going against the grain and most importantly the ability to smile at someone whilst imagining punching them in the face repeatedly.

Anyway, take a few minutes and read the rest of the article. It'll make your local bartender much happier.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New T'Bird

Just last week, I posted about sellin' the V-Star so I could get my ol' Triumph Thunderbird fixed up. I reckoned that with the substantial engine work that needed done, throwin' a new engine under her would be the easiest and cheapest option. So I'd been spendin' time on eBay, waitin' for the right engine to come along. Along with the engine, there was some other upgrades to make and parts to swap out, so I'd have a fair amount of wrenchin' to do when the time came.

Well, that plan went to shit.

I noticed a rather sexy '97 Thunderbird up for auction... a year newer than mine, all the fancy upgrades that should be done, and a helluva lot less miles than mine. It was in Phoenix, which is a purty far poke for me, but I half kept my eye on it anyway.

Sure enough, it got down to the last few hours and the bid was still really low. Didn't help that I had the Ol' Man goadin' me on to bid on it (we're a bad influence on each other when it comes to auctions). So, with a minute left in the auction, I threw out a lowball bid, never expectin' in a million years to win the damn thing. When the smoke cleared, I had a sudden need to dig up some funds that weren't readily available and find a way to get a bike from Arizona to PA.

So, that's the process that I'm workin' through now. I did some hagglin' with a professional transporter, and as long as I'm patient enough to wait for a month or two, he'll get the bike here for less than half of the goin' rate for me. The seller is thankfully very patient and is workin' with me to get everythin' straightened out.

Either way, the end result willl hopefully be a sexy new (to me) Thunderbird in my garage. The only bad thing is that means that the '96 will more than likely be officially retired, which is a bit sad for me. It'll be a good parts bike though, and I'm sure the new one will wear her share of the old one's parts.

Some teasers.... I'll be doin' a little work when I finally get my hands on her, so she won't have this look for long....