Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I may or may not be posting until after the New Year.  Just wanted to give you all the heads up and take the opportunity to say that I hope that all of you have a safe and happy holiday!  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What Happened, America?: Finger Gun Suspension

I mentioned in one of my last "What Happened, America?" posts that even I did the finger gun motion a lot.  Well, looks like if I was a 5th grader that it would be off limits nowadays:

Milford 5th-grader suspended for pointing imaginary gun

I just shake my head when I read these stories.  What possible lesson does this teach a child?  The answer is that it's not so much a lesson as it is an indoctrination of wussification.  These kind of actions are part of an overall larger scheme that has been brewing over the past few decades.  Namely, that anything that remotely resembles a weapon is automatically evil.  Look, I'm not saying we should be raising violent children, but having the Thought Police ban something as mundane as someone's patently harmless imagination and actions is the height of absurdity.

Finger guns.  Seriously, people.

What Happened, America?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

GORUCK Challenge #1262: Kansas City, MO November 7th, 2014

The calm before the storm.

Well, this is a strange feeling...

That was the thought that went through my head after I flailed my way through 50 8-count body builders.  I was light headed and slightly weak.  This was the start of our PT for my first GORUCK Challenge.  Luckily, GORUCK isn't about one person, but about team.  My teammates stepped in for the next exercise (a fast paced short distance run) by taking my ruck and making sure I did not stumble.  One of our teammates had a medical background and checked my pulse, listened to my lungs, and made sure I was coherent.  I was slightly embarrassed, but grateful for the help.  I never thought about quitting, but I sure felt bad about sucking.

Yup, I'm not feeling so hot.

The intensity was dialed down a bit after that initial assessment of our fitness.  I worked on slowing my pulse by inhaling slowly and exhaling slowly.  This helped greatly and I started feeling back to "normal".


Getting ready for some Good Livin'.

This particular GORUCK Challenge was led by Cadre Joe Warner.  Cadre Joe structures his events so that they are scenario based.  We were given the scenario we would be working through prior to the initial physical assessment.  The scenario was as follows:

Martial law had been declared due to a major socioeconomic collapse.  The dollar had hyper inflated and was basically worthless (think $20000 loaf of bread).  This in turn led to people walking off the job including firefighters, police, etc. opening up the door for social unrest.  It was up to us, the 1262nd KC Militia, to help restore order by patrolling our neighborhoods and ensuring that there was no thuggery going on.  Major Joe Warner was our leader from an Army ODA team and would be training us and then leading us on patrol.  We were advised that a gang known as La Fuerca was operating in the area and was led by the notorious "Duck Slayer".  We were to achieve our mission with minimal violence, winning the hearts and minds of the citizenry along the way and to learn something as we did all of this.

Thus, our "training" began with the scenario briefing complete and the initial physical assessment (as mentioned above) put behind us.  First up was how to move in different formations, bounding movement, hand signals, and flanking an enemy position.

Practicing our bounding movements.

We also learned how to setup "comms". This consisted of an exercise that had our squads (three squads of 9) sitting back to back and passing our ruck sacks over our head to each other keeping two in the air at all times.  How well we did this would determine how well our "signal" was when Cadre Joe called in.

Setting up Comms.

Next up was "demolitions".  Again, this was exercise based.  We all had to line up single file, get into a push up position with our feet on the shoulders of the person behind us.  Luckily, this didn't have to be done in unison.  Instead, the line was the "fuse" and only two or three of us had to be up at any given moment.  Think "The Wave" at a stadium and you get the idea of the motion we had to do.  The person at the end was the explosion and had to jump up and well "BANG!".  Hilarity ensued as we tried to get it right.

A human fuse.

We were ready to go on patrol after a few more odds and ends of training.  We rucked up by Cadre Joe's rental car and had the privilege of carrying some extra weight.  These were in the form of two 8 foot (I believe) rounded 4 x 4's with two cinder blocks threaded on each one.  We then proceeded out on patrol.

Yes, Cadre Joe rides a Xootr.  What of it?

We came across our first role players (folks who were shadowing the event) about 30-60 minutes into the march.  A woman reported that she had seen some suspicious activity between two Hispanic males and that she heard one of them say "bomb".  We were given the direction they went in and headed that way to check it out.

Sure enough, we came across our suspects.  An altercation ensued and one of the suspects was shot.  The role player played dead and we found a map on him.  On the map was marked the word "bomba".  My espanol was rusty, but I was pretty sure I knew what "bomba" meant.  The intel eventually led us down to the East Bottoms.  Cadre Joe pulled out his "Geiger counter" and confirmed that the enormous post (12-16 ft x 4 in x 12 in approximately) was our bomb crate.  We had to move it to an evacuation point so that a helicopter could come and haul it off.

So, away we went, hauling the very large log along with everything else mentioned previously.  The majority of the route while shouldering the "bomb crate" followed the Missouri river almost all the way to the Isle of Capri.  We had to establish comms in order for the helicopter to know where to reach us.  We were then informed that we would need to decontaminate because of our exposure to the radioactivity from the crate.  We ended up getting our feet wet in a stream and then proceeded to do PT (35 burpees if memory serves correct... it got hazy as the night went on).  This served to "decon" all of us and we were out on patrol again.

It was about 4 am when we took casualties.  A "sniper" had tagged us and we needed to medevac the wounded.  We needed to get to an open field to do this.  However, we got turned around a bit trying to get to our destination.  This required some back tracking.  The sun was coming up as we made it to the landing zone.  We again setup "comms" and our casualties were gone.  We briefly had a bit of fun by participating in an exercise that had us spilling our guts about a funny/embarrassing point about us and doing a jig when it was fnished... while running.  We rucked up and moved on out on intelligence suggesting the Duck Slayer might be by some white structures around one of the art museums.

Our patrol led us to a Native American teepee exhibit.  We advanced on each teepee, but the Duck Slayer was not to be found.  We then were told it was time to return to base (the Liberty Memorial).  However, we had a time limit to get there.  So, on the way, we double timed it on the downhill slopes and did "Indian" runs to keep a fairly rapid pace.

We made it back to the Liberty Memorial.  And, lo and behold, the Duck Slayer was there!  One of our team members chased him down and literally tackled him on the front lawn.  We learned that we needed to perform some physical activity in order to stop his plans after interrogating him.  The activity was to line up around the Liberty Memorial Tower and hold our packs over our heads.  We then had to perform some exercise and then run down the steps of the Memorial.

Interrogating the Duckslayer

My turn came up and I performed my exercise and hoofed it down the stairs.  Cadre Joe was waiting with the others and it was fairly obvious that this was ENDEX (end of the exercise).  I got to the bottom step and Cadre Joe patched me.  The Challenge was over.

Packs over our heads.

The stats for this Challenge:

Duration: 12.5 hours
Hours Spent Ruckin': Approximately 8 hours
Total Distance Covered: 16 miles.
Personal ruck weight: 30-35 lbs with bricks and water (100 oz of water is 6.5 lbs.  Obviously, this causes your pack's weight to fluctuate as you drink and refill).

High Five!  Great Success!

I was pretty proud of making it through.  However, I was also very humbled.  I was one of the weaker links in this group of folks and it made me realize that I needed to take my PT up a notch.  I will be getting into better shape for 2015.  There's still a lot more GORUCK that I'd like to do.

We made it!

Let me know about your GORUCK experience or if you have questions in the comments below.  And, as always, please share the blog with others.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Not my best week

Well, meant to post last week, but ended up getting sick.  Luckily, I got better in time for deer hunting, only to get skunked for the weekend.

I'm hoping to get my GoRuck post up this week.  And I suppose I might write about this year's deer hunt as well.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving early and don't loot!

Hey all,  I'm going the easy route this week and this will be the only post.  Just some random thoughts for this one.

Ferguson.  Yeesh, who didn't see that coming?  I'm not even going to get into it.  I want to believe the vast majority of folks understand that the law worked and that rioting, looting and enforcing stereotypes are not the way to make things better.  I really do.  But it sure is hard when you watch what happened and read the comments on social media on both sides.

It's that time of year again where I make an end of year resolution to buckle down and get into better shape.  I'm not a huge slouch, but I've definitely fallen off the wagon.  About all I do at the moment is some push ups and the occasional ruck on the weekends.  I use the last few weeks in the year as a short term goal to exercise every day into the New Year.  It's a good spring board into my actual New Year resolutions surrounding fitness.

Thanksgiving is a little different this year.  Fortunately, it isn't a bad thing, just different.  I won't go into details, but needless to say, it will be a little more hectic than usual.

Well that's all for now.  I'm finishing up the post about my recent GoRuck Challenge event and hope to have it up next week.  Stay tuned for that.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Happened, America?: Airsoft picture gets folks riled up

People's hoplophobia knows no bounds...

'Blown out of proportion': Dad defends teens suspended for posing with Airsoft guns

Are people really intimating that these kids are threatening to shoot up Homecoming?  They are exercising better trigger discipline than most actors in TV shows and movies.  They are not pointing the Airsoft replicas at the camera with scowls on their faces.  I understand an overabundance of caution, but all that needed to be done was call the parents and confirm they were aware of their children's photos.

As to the "disruption" caused at school, I call bullshit.  People are talking about it?  So what!  Maybe its an opportunity to educate others that not all things related to Airsoft and/or guns is a bad thing.  Of course, the reality is that the indoctrination centers, er, I mean, public school system would never allow that lesson to be taught.

The wussification continues.  What happened, America?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Timney 510 Trigger for Remington 700

Shot with my elbows supported by the bench, but on my feet still.

Remington recently recalled a whole bunch of Remington 700's due to a potential trigger issue.  I did not want to have to send my hunting rifle back to them.  I opted to buy and install a Timney 510 unit.  As you can imagine, there is a plethora of installation videos for this trigger..  Installation was pretty much a breeze.  I even "screwed up" and punched one of the trigger pins completely out which resulted in me having to re-install the bolt catch and bolt catch spring.

The initial function check before putting the barrel and action back into the stock went just fine.  I put the rifle back together.  I proceeded to function check it again.  I dry fired, cycled the bolt and tried to dry fire again.  Nothing.  I looked at the bolt.  The indicator showed that pin was not reset.  I cycled the bolt and paid closer attention.  The indicator reset as I pulled the bolt back.  However, when I drove the bolt forward and twisted it shut, the indicator was depressed again indicating that the trigger was not ready to fire.

I took the barrel and action out of the stock.  I did another function check.  Everything checked out fine.  I slightly tweaked the bolt release bar per Timney's instructions although I thought it was fine the first time.  I then put the rifle back together, but was more careful to get everything in place and not over tighten any screws.  I ran through another function test and this time everything seemed to be in order.  I dry fired and cycled the bolt several times to try and induce the issue again, but could not get it to do so.

There were only two possible explanations that I could think of that caused the malfunciton.  The first was that my finger was touching the trigger and not allowing the bolt to reset the trigger.  The other was that I put the rifle back together in such a way that allowed the stock to be slightly skewed and was somehow dragging on the trigger and not allowing the reset to happen.

I made it to an indoor range a couple of weeks later.  The max distance I could shoot at was 25 yards.  I setup my target and ran it out to that distance.  I loaded up my preferred load of Federal Fusion 150 grain and made a 3 shot group.  I had accidentally picked up a box of the 180 grain variety a while back so I put 3 rounds of that into a separate group as well.  I had zero malfunctions out of the 6 shots.

25 yards:  Center mass group was the 150 grain.  Group on the top 9 was the 180 grain.

6 shots with a new trigger is not a whole lot.  However, I still want to make it to the outdoor range to confirm my zero at 100 yards.  Not only that, but I may be switching to the 180 grain if they group at 100 yards like they did at 25 yards!  I was taking my shots from a standing supported position so there may have been some inconsistency, but field conditions are never consistent.  In light of that, I thought it was a good test.

I have to say that I'm initially very pleased with the Timney trigger.  The now declared "defective" X-Mark Pro trigger from Remington came with a pull of 4 lbs (if I remember correctly) which I never bothered adjusting.  The Timney came with a 3.5 lb pull (I specified this when ordering) and is adjustable from 1.5 - 4 lbs.  However, it seems a lot lighter than the Remington trigger.  I am not experienced enough to know if 0.5 lbs is a huge difference, but it sure feels like it is.  I think there is less pre-travel  in the Timney which may be contributing to that feeling.  For me, all of that translates into "Don't put your finger in the trigger guard until you are definitely on sight!"  This is the normal rule in general, but with a lighter pulling trigger any violation of this rule could result in a unintended discharge much more easily.  Trigger discipline!

Were you affected by the Remington 700 recall?  Did you opt like I did to go to an aftermarket trigger?  Let me know in the comments below if you did or if you have experience with Timney triggers in general.  I would like to hear any positive or negative comments regarding Timney or any other aftermarket trigger.

Please share the blog with others if you would.  Until next time...

Friday, November 14, 2014

Britain Conducts Warrantless Searches on Legal Gun Owners

Pretty sure this is one of the reasons we started shooting Red Coats in the face:

UK gun owners now subject to warrantless home searches

We're still a bit removed from this situation, but make no mistake, if anti-2A folks had their way, then this would be reality.  Constant vigilance.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank You to All Veterans!

There's nothing I can say that has not already been said.  But I want to say "Thank You" to all veterans especially those who I know personally and to all of the veterans that are part of the Tactical Beard Owner's Club.  The words are not enough to express my gratitude.

God bless you all and your families.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Republican Tsunami, yet another new trigger and GoRuck Challenge

Hey all, it's been a full week and I just haven't had time to finish out a worthwhile post.   However, I wanted to still drop you all a note of some sort.

How about those Republicans, eh?  I honestly wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I still don't have too high of hopes.  Like I discussed with my mother, all this really does is slow down the inevitable decline.  The only thing that will change the course of this country is a return to good morals and God.

I installed a Timney in my Remington 700 in light of the massive recall that was announced earlier this year.  I have a write up in the works, but it won't be finished until I get to a range to re-zero and put rounds through it.

Friday night is my first GoRuck Challenge. I did a Light about a couple of months ago, but this will be a longer, overnight version.  I haven't been training very hard so I may be in for a rough ride.  I'll be sure to let you know how that goes as well.

Well, that's it for this week.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Winter is Coming

Meteorologists and the Farmer's Almanac are both predicting a cold winter this season.  It got me thinking about some of the items I need to inspect and/or consider picking up in order to get ready for the winter fun!

Winter Home Item Checklist

There are two main concerns I  have when winter rolls around.  The first is being able to get out of our driveway.  I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home if need be.  However, if we need to get out in an emergency or for something that may be less urgent, but still considered necessary, then I want to be able to do so.  The second concern is in the event of a power outage.  Our area is known for some wicked ice storms and thick wet snow.  Power lines get knocked down by ice forming on them and/or branches that are weighed down by ice and snow.  Here is my list to try and handle those events:
  • Snow blower - Last year (2013) we really could have used this since my wife was pregnant and I was on the road some weeks.  This year, I am seriously considering one.  I looked at some after this past winter.  However, I still haven't figured out which one to go with.  If you have a recommendation, then comment below!
  • Shovels - A shovel per person plus one is what I like to have on hand.
  • Salt - A must when we get those ice storms especially for the stair areas.
  • Indoor portable heater - I actually have this one covered with our Mr. Buddy Portable heater.  It is rated for indoor use and runs off of propane cylinders.  It wouldn't hurt to pick up a few more cylinders.  The cylinders can also be used with my Coleman camping stove in the event we lose electrical power.  I just have to make sure we use it in a ventilated area.
  • Blankets - We have lots and it never hurts to have additional ones.
  • Food and Water - Pretty self explanatory.  We live in an area that gets fairly good snow removal from the city.  However, last year the city ran short on sand and salt.  They were also delayed on getting to the neighborhoods.  Don't count on the city (or anyone else) to come to the rescue.  Also, in very bitter weather pipes have been known to freeze and burst if not properly insulated.  Have plenty of food and water to ride out any potential snow-in.
  • Movies and Video Games - Cabin Fever anyone?
  • Cold Weather Clothing - Gloves, hats, socks, etc wear out over time.  Be sure your wardrobe is up to snuff.  The best time to buy is after the winter season.  Therefore, set a reminder for yourself to check out the sales after the winter season winds down.  Also, if you have children, then you know how quickly they can outgrow their wardrobe.  Be sure to make sure that your child has the appropriate sized clothing for the upcoming winter season.  

Winter Items in Various Bags

I keep a Get Home Bag and "Bug Out" type bag stocked with items for when I may be in a pinch.  I rotate items through them as the seasons progress.  The following are some items that I rotate in when the cold weather is just around the corner:
  • Stocking Cap
  • Base Thermal Top and Bottom - I was able to find Patagonia base top and bottom thermals on sale.  I have worn these under my BDU's that I hunt in and they work as advertised.  Last winter (2013) was very bitter the weekend I went deer hunting. I had no problem staying warm enough to continue staying outside (although it was not exactly toasty either!).
  • Wool Socks and Liners - I swear by Smartwool.  The best deal I can find on these socks on a consistent basis is here.
  • Winter appropriate boots (sits next to the pack)
  • Pants - I prefer heavy ripstop pants like Wrangler Riggs Workwear Ranger Pants
  • Mid Layer - Any type of fleece mid layer is nice.  I prefer a full zipper so that I can doff and don easier.
  • Heavy Coat (sits next to the pack)

Winter Car Items

I treat my vehicles as if they were mobile shelter.  Therefore, I try to keep a little of all of the essentials at all times.  I specifically make sure I have the following in my car in addition to the usual food, water, first aid items, etc:

  • Windshield scraper
  • Windshield de-icer
  • Snow brush - Usually built into a heavy duty scraper.  Great for saving your gloves from getting unnecessarily wet.
  • Tire chains and tow strap - Luckily, I haven't needed them yet.
  • Blanket and winter hat - One can never have too many of these.
  • Mini shovel (or full size if it's the truck)
  • Kitty litter - This provides traction where there may be none.
  • Chemical hand and foot warmers - I use the Hot Hands brand and have been pleased with them.

Those are the lists that I have come up with in the past few years.  Keep in mind these items are specific to the colder weather.  Please share this with others to get them thinking about getting prepared for winter.

What items did I forget?  Are there items on here you find unnecessary?  What would you have included?  Comment below and share.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Not Only Did You Not Build That...

The government's stellar track record of efficiency (:: cough:: Obamacare  ::cough::), solvency (::cough:: Social Security ::cough::),  and backing winners (::cough:: Auto Industry  ::cough:: ::hack:: Solyndra ::cough:: ) creates jobs, right? /sarc off

Hillary Clinton Claims Businesses Don't Create Jobs

I'm no economist, but I'm pretty sure corporations and businesses do create jobs regardless of government policy.  Or did I miss the nationalization of the entire economy when I work up this morning?

When you worship at the Alter of the State, then I guess one of the tenets is to blindly ignore the fact that the economy is largely driven by private business.

Out of touch.  Wow.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Be back next week...

Sorry for no posts this week.  Work has been crazy and I'm a bit burned out.  I will try and post at least once next week.

If there are any topics you think might make for a good post, then I'm always up for a good discussion.  Let me know.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

First Impressions: Apex Tactical Specialties AEK Polymer Trigger

I had been wanting to replace the trigger on my M&P9c for some time.  I finally got around to ordering the AEK Polymer Trigger from Apex.  Once it arrived, I set about getting it installed.

I highly recommend having the right tools on hand as well as watching the installation video that Apex has out on YouTube.  It will go much smoother if you have what you need up front than trying to improvise with other tools.

Once the trigger was initially installed I function tested it and dry fired several times.  It appeared good to go.  From an ergonomic standpoint the AEK trigger is so much easier to pull straight back to the rear.  The articulated two piece S&W trigger got the job done, but I really did not care for the way it was shaped.  I also did not like the fact that the trigger face is actually hinging in the middle as you press the trigger.  Apex claims the AEK trigger "reduces pre-travel and over-travel by approximately 20% from the factory trigger".  I have to agree with that assessment purely from tactile feedback.

I went to the range after installing the AEK trigger the next day to get acquainted with the upgrade.  I was 50 rounds in when I had a what I thought was a failure to fire.  I let the trigger out further and then pulled the trigger again.  BANG!  Ok, maybe I just didn't let it reset.  Approximately, 10 rounds later it happened again.  Okay, I know it reset.  Turns out that I was encountering the issue mentioned in Apex's video concerning the trigger bar rotating the sear, but not allowing the striker to release.  I experienced the striker not wanting to release twice after that during the range session.

I dry fired when I got home and the issue was more pronounced.  It got to the point where the trigger would physically be depressed all the way back and only a sharp release and then a sharp trigger pull might release the striker.  I have to admit, I was a little perturbed by this since I thought I was good to go after the initial function check.  It never occurred to me that there might be some kind of break in period.

Busted out the tools to readjust the "candy cane" on the trigger bar.

I picked up some feeler gauges the next day.  I disassembled the pistol and took a measurement of the "candy cane" that rotates the sear.  The gap measured 0.011 inches.  I decided to add another 0.005 of an inch to the gap.  The sear now contacted the trigger bar sooner rather than later in the trigger pull and there was definitely no problem of the striker being released.  It is worth mentioning that if you do this that the loop can be opened too much and not allow the striker to reset resulting in a "dead trigger".  It is my understanding that the sear should definitely not be contacting the "candy cane" when there is no pull on the trigger.

Everything is in place in this shot.  Can you spot the "candy cane"?  Watch Apex's video for details on how this is adjusted.

So, good to go right?  I had thought I was fine after the initial install.  The only way I was going to feel comfortable was by putting 100 rounds through it at a minimum.

10 rounds in 10 neat little groupings.  The trigger definitely does not hurt having it installed... as long as it stays the way I adjusted it!

I made it to the range and shot 10 round groups at 3 yards for a total of a 100 rounds.  I did not experience any more issues with the striker not releasing.  I dry fired that entire evening and still did not encounter any issues.

On a side note, I recently picked up a M&P Pro Series CORE.  I had the gunsmith do all the Apex upgrades including the AEK trigger in this as well.  Can you guess what happened?  Not only did I experience the same issue with the striker not releasing, but it happened after just dry firing for several hours!  I opened up the "candy cane" on it as well, put 50 rounds through it, and dry fired afterwards.  So far, so good, but I will have to keep an eye on it as well.

The moral of the story:  Do not think you are good to go after an installation and function check.  Take it to the range and try and wring out any issues!  I will still try and go to the range over the next several days to put rounds through the 9c as well as dry fire to ensure it does not reoccur.

So, my initial impressions of the Apex AEK Polymer Trigger?  Very positive!  It does what it says in terms of reducing pre-travel and over-travel.  It also feels way better to shoot when at the range.  Specifically, I can pull the trigger straight back much more smoothly than I could with the factory trigger.  The issues with the striker not releasing are issues that Apex warns about clearly on the product page.  It was my expectations of the trigger being good to go after an initial function check that were misguided.

Have you adjusted your pistol's trigger?  If so, what are some tips or tricks to help fine tune?  Or do you have some advice on troubleshooting trigger issues?  I would love to hear from you.  Please comment below and share.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What Happened, America?: School has 5 year old sign a contract not to kill after pointing crayon

Has some folks in the school system lost their damn minds?

School Has 5 Year Old Sign Anti-Murder/Suicide Contract After Pointing Crayon

The child pointed a crayon and said "pew, pew".  I've done the finger gun/ pew pew thing so many times that these people would think I was a mass murderer in the making.  This situation is twisted on so many levels.  A child cannot enter into a legal contract.  Most at that age don't even fully comprehend their ABCs or math let alone the abstract idea of murder or death.

And, really, they're worried about a 5 year old.  With a crown.  Saying "pew pew".  You can't make this up, folks.

This would not have happened 20 years ago.

What Happened, America?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gear Review: Ares Gear Aegis Enhanced Belt

Ares Gear Logo
It became clear after taking Shivworks ECQC that some new gear was in order.  My belt and Supertuck had been sufficient up to that point.  However, I found that the leather on both the belt and on the holster had given up their shape over repeated use.  The belt in particular had formed a bit of a "V" where the back belt loops normally contacted.  A stiffer belt provides better stability of the holster.  Any give provides a "mushy" feel on the draw.  This was evident during my class.

I had read and heard good things about Ares Gear's Aegis Enhanced Belt.  What drew me to this particular belt were the materials that were used to construct it.  Ares Gear uses proprietary scuba webbing to achieve the stiffness in their product.  I decided to take a chance on it.  I have been wearing it for about 3 months since the day it arrived.

Patch did not come with belt.  However, I'm a patch whore, so I ordered one.

I immediately noticed how much more stiff the Aegis Enhanced Belt was than my previous gun belt in brand new condition.  I also noted that the thickness of the belt was fairly beefy.  This is a plus considering that not only does it contribute to the stiffness of the belt, but that it gives more of a "ledge" for a holster's retention clips or loops to gain purchase.  The stiffness has not lessened since the day I removed it from the packaging.  I cannot say the same for my leather belt.

The belt buckle uses friction to hold the belt tight by sliding the end of the belt through the buckle and then running the steel bar tight against the material.  I will say that sometimes the bar does come slightly loose.  It has not been a problem with regards to holding my pants up even with my holster and pistol.  It also has not affected my draw when this has happened.  The material and the bar are grippy enough that it holds well even when it is not completely tight.

Bar shown creates friction against end of belt looped through.  This fastens the belt.

The belts extra length is held fast by an elastic loop.  Ares Gear provides two.  The belt is stiff enough that I find that instead of looping the extra length through another belt loop that it is just easier to lay it over and use the elastic band to keep it from flopping around.  Another item worth mentioning is that sometimes I forget about the loop when taking off my belt for the night.  The loop will fall to the ground without me noticing until the next day.  I suspect that is why Ares Gear provides a second.

Two of these loops are provided.

A couple of practical points to note.  If you're, ahem, heeding Nature's Call, then you may find that the extra length of belt can get in the way, especially if you are a male and taking care of Number 1.  Another item is that the belt can have a tendency to cut into a person's side if they are overweight (damn love handles) or if they lean in one direction for long periods of time.  Both minor gripes are due to the belt's stiffness.  They aren't really critiques of the Aegis Enhanced Belt, but they are things that I have not experienced with other belts.

Did I mention the look of the belt?  Generally, I try to steer clear of anything looking "tactical".  And while Ranger belts are great, they scream "tactical" to folks who are "in the know".  The Aegis Enhanced Belt helps alleviate that look without sacrificing the stiff webbing material used and having a fairly normal looking buckle.  It has become one of my favorite belts.  The solid piece buckle looks sharp and the belt has a casual look to it that goes well with all but the dressiest of clothing.  Ares Gear does offer a substantial selection to choose from when it comes to the color of the belt.

I would not hesitate to recommend this belt after the 3 months of use thus far.  It has been a solid performer and does its primary function of holding my pants up with no problems to report.  The belt does this while toting a M&P9c in a Raven Concealment holster and I have noticed no sagging that some other belts are prone to.  If you are looking for a gun belt, then look no further than the Ares Gear Aegis Enhanced Belt.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

GORUCK Light #431: Kansas City, MO September 6th, 2014

Before the fun began.
My wife and I arrived at Liberty Memorial around 2 p.m. for our first GORUCK Light event.  The weather was perfect.  It was in the 70's and sunny.

What is a GORUCK event?  The short version is that it is a teamwork event that involves lots of physical activity.  It is lead by Special Operations Force members, both veteran and active, who teach leadership skills using their experience in the military while performing the different tasks you do throughout the event.

The day started out with a gear check by Cadre Daniel.  There was a 5 burpee penalty for every infraction of the packing list.  The fun then began.  We immediately bunny hopped up and down the steps of the Memorial.  We were directed to march out towards a statue and then stand in formation.  So, off we went. Once we lined up, Cadre Daniel explained how we looked like a bunch of individuals and not a team.  This was bad because GORUCK (with the exception of Selection) is an exercise in teamwork.

Cadre Daniel straightening us out.

We then marched back to the Liberty Memorial steps and performed some more exercises keeping in mind what we had just been told about teamwork.

A little bit of crabwalking never hurt anybody, right?

Oh, did I mention there is a team weight?  Made bear crawling up the stairs a bit tricky.

After we were done with exercises on the stairs we moved onto some other fun drills on the back lawn of Liberty Memorial.

Getting up from one of many PT exercises.

Then, it was off an a march towards the Plaza.  Once we arrived, we worked our way down Brush Creek.  Then the Good Livin' really started as we fished out a log...

Did I mention there were rusty nails in the log?
... and then hoisted it on our shoulders and proceeded to hump it all over the Plaza.

We took turns rotating in and out of positions to give each other some rest.

It was a bit awkward when others were on the side walk... or when there was outdoor cafe like seating.
Stopping for a refreshing squat session in the fountain.

We finally ended the log portion of the session at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fountain.  We cached the log in a natural spot (i.e. we didn't just leave it for people to trip over) and proceeded roughly back the way we came.

I was made "captain" for this last portion of the hike.  About a quarter of a mile out from Liberty Memorial, I was informed by Cadre Daniel that there were "reports" of the enemy ahead, distance unknown, and that they probably possessed chemical weapons.  This is where the SHTF.  We took "casualties" and had to evacuate them towards our pick up point.  However, carrying everyone was a challenge because we had more casualties than able bodied folks who were not carrying packs at this point.  Cadre Daniel had to step in and suggest leap frogging two groups to make it work.

Needless to say, I felt pretty damn stupid the entire time (pride issues, I know) for getting folks in a bind and also for not coming up with a clear plan of action.  Oh well, I learned my lesson (and truth be told, my mind couldn't let the scenario go until I had scrutinized what I would have done differently).  I realize this portion was designed as a "the wheels are coming off" scenario, but I know that I could have handled it better.

Some folks carrying extra packs while others carry "casualties".  My "casualty" had to suffer my poor carry technique.

But I digress.  We eventually made it and were told to line up for more exercises.  This lasted maybe five more minutes and then we were told we had just completed our event (or ENDEX, short for End of exercise).

The last few exercises although we were not sure this was the end.

After 8 hours and 9..6 miles traveled, I earned my GORUCK Light patch and felt pretty good about the whole event.  I met a great crew of folks and will definitely be looking forward to the next!

Have you done a GORUCK event?  I'd like to hear about your experiences with others outside of a Light.  I highly recommend it for a "gut check" type of experience.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Traveling, hectic work schedule, oh, and Ebola is here

Might not get a good post rattled off on time this week due to a crazy work schedule which was compounded by being on the road for the past few days.  The trip was well worth it to see my Aunt and Uncle tie the knot in lovely Coronado, CA.

The news just came out that Ebola has officially made it to the U.S.  Not to be a doom and gloom kind of person, but it might not be a bad idea to double check your food and water in case there is a panic in the near future and people decide to hole up in their homes with whatever they could get at their local grocery store.  

Think of the shelf clearing that goes on before a bad snow storm and multiply that by people's fear of dying.

Yup, might not be a terrible idea to go get some food and bottled water now and put it back while you can.  Worst that can happen is you'll have extra food on your shelf.

See my food storage post to get an idea of how much food you might need.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I'm a Rationalist

I came across this post on The Chickens Have Had Enough.  Take a few minutes to read it.

Now that you're back, I have to say that I am on board with this approach when speaking with other people about my beliefs.  Framing discussion points on the grounds of rationality will, more often than not, give fence sitters something to chew on and not outright dismiss a person as an extremist.

Someone who prepares for emergencies, trains for their own self defense, or dares to question the legitimacy of certain actions of the government is often labeled as someone who has an extremist viewpoint.  However, if you can rationally explain the actions you take, then it takes out a lot of the "sting" of the extremist labeling.  Only the most hardcore opposing viewpoint or hard line person would insist that your caution is still "extreme" in nature.

For example, I consider myself a cautions person when it comes to relying on services provided by utility companies.  If I was to ever be questioned about why I have stored water, then my response will be to point to instances where water services were not up and running for several days at a time:

"Did you hear about what happened in Toledo?  You couldn't even boil water!  I'm rationalist when it comes to those situations.  Water companies aren't perfect.  It can't hurt to have some potable water on hand."

It does not look so "extreme" when you can point to real life examples of events in the world that do occur.

If your rationale is solid, then you can defeat almost any labeling of being an "extremist".  You won't win them all, but you will certainly give others a perspective that they may have otherwise dismissed outright.  Give it a try the next time you are asked about your preparedness.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How Many Gats Does a Person Need?

A while back Ryan over at Total Survivalist posed the question about how many firearms is enough.  While I do love me some boom sticks I have my own practical limit.  When I say "practical" I mean practical for me.  I am not in any way insinuating that there's a general practical limit.  I don't want anyone to construe that I think there should be any limit to the number of firearms one can possess.

With that said, I'm not talking about collecting, but the number of "work" guns a person might need.  This includes hunting and self defense pieces.  A good hunting rifle, hunting shotgun and a .22LR rifle (for small critters) per family member covers all the bases of hunting.  Backup parts and the know how to maintain and make repairs is ideal.

I consider a pistol and a rifle per family member to cover the basics of defense.  A choice like the Glock 19 or similar can do double duty as a carry pistol and home defense pistol.  The first choice in home defense or serious SHTF situations should be a rifle.  Ideally, a AR-15 will be easier to aim.  An AR-15 with the correct rounds will minimize overpenetration at the same level of some pistol rounds..  Again, backup parts and some gunsmithing skills goes a long way to reducing your costs and downtime for any firearms you own.

You may be asking why one of each per family member.  It may seem like overkill, but in reality it serves a few purposes.  First, everyone comes in different shapes and sizes.  Specifically, hand size, arm length and overall strength come in to play.  A Glock 22 (full size .40 cal) may work for a medium size man, but not necessarily for a petite female.  Having each person be a good fit for their firearms and vice versa helps stack the deck in their favor.  Those situations could be as mundane as bagging a deer or, in the most dire of circumstances, defending one's life.

The second reason ties back into redundancy.  If one of your firearms goes down with a broken doohickey, then you have a back up.  You can take the redundancy a step further and try to keep your firearms the same make and model.  Keep in mind that I would not recommend doing this at the expense of choosing the right firearm for a given family member.

Last, your children will not live with you forever (at least you hope not!).  Sending them off with the capability to continue their tradition of hunting or being able to defend themselves is priceless.  And, in a ruckus, they will be able to come to your aid (it has happened!).

What are your thoughts on your own personal needs?  Are you satisfied with just a pistol or shotgun when defending the homestead?

Thanks for dropping by and do me a favor and "Share" this if you like what you have read.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Blog of the Week: Sultan Knish

Daniel Greenfield, the author of Sultan Knish, is mostly political commentary.  I find his writing to be pretty compelling especially when it comes to jihad waged by followers of Islam.  Give it a look.  I think you will not be disappointed in its content.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rugged Maniac Kansas City 2014

One of the many obstacles you will encounter on the Rugged Maniac

The wife and I participated in the Rugged Maniac this year.  I had done the Warrior Dash in 2013 and thought this would be about the same.  Surprisingly, this turned out to be a bit tougher.

The course was setup at the Weston Snow Creek Ski Area.  The weather was fairly nice.  It was in the low 80's, high humidity and partially cloudy.  The cloud cover helped us from being completely roasted.  The course was a 5K distance with 25 different obstacles.

This one wasn't bad, but no one was on it at the same time as I was which made it a bit easier.

If you happen to do the Rugged Maniac in Kansas City, then I highly recommend that you incorporate a lot of hilly terrain into your running.  The hills at the course were very steep (it is a ski area, after all).  Also, expect your footing to be a bit dicey.  The entire trail was muddy and at no point can you relax in your run.  I was constantly monitoring where I was planting my feet in order to avoid a turned ankle or busting my ass.

Happy Day.

Overall, I had a great time.  Our start time was 11 a.m.  Unofficially, we finished in about 90 minutes.  I really did not meet any obstacles that I thought were lame or not fun.  I especially enjoyed the suspended rings and anything involving getting on my stomach and crawling.  I don't get to do that normally in life.  The race is a good excuse to do so.

I did have a few nitpicks regarding the overall experience. The first concerned the types of obstacles that had us waiting in line which seems to be a common theme with these kinds of races.  It's not very fun if you're trying to run for a time.  Fortunately, I personally do not care about a given time.  But some of the wait times were excessive in my opinion.

The second was the parking situation.  We had to wait for 30 minutes just to get parked.  I find that to be unacceptable if you are being charged $10.  If you're going to charge for parking, then it needs to be reasonably accessible and not a clusterf*ck.

Events like these are great training milestones.  Getting into the gym or hitting the road for mileage becomes a bit more meaningful when there is an event that you don't want to suck at.  I encourage folks to pick four events throughout the year (ideally, spaced out every 3 months) and train specifically for those events.  If you are new to fitness, then mix it up.  For example, the first event can be a 5K, then second can be a obstacle course, like the Rugged Maniac, the third can be a recreational sports tournament or league (think kickball, volleyball, ultimate frisbee), and the fourth can be a vacation that involves hiking.

What are your favorite types of athletic endeavors?  If you hate running, then ask yourself what does appeal to you.  I guarantee there is some kind of league or event for your interest.  Get after it!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Tactical Beard Owners Club

The first Saturday in September is World Beard Day.  This year, it also ushered in a new era for The Tactical Beard Owners Club including forthcoming forum, charitable events and an international competitive team.  You may be asking just what the heck the TBOC is.  Here is a video that our founder, Mike Hartmann, coordinated and put together from chapters around the world.

Obviously, to belong you must have a beard.  The second is that you are a tactical shooter by hobby or profession.  At first, I did not know what to expect myself.  I thought maybe it was just a catchy club that started out as a Facebook page.  However, after being accepted, I quickly realized this was a legit Brotherhood.  There is a professional, no b.s. attitude and a willingness to truly help out one another professionally as well as on a personal level.  One example from the professional side of the club involved contracting opportunities overseas.  One of our members was looking for work and was quickly pointed toward opportunities that they were able to take advantage of.  Another example of how the Brotherhood takes care of it's own is the many times I have seen a member open up (which takes a lot of courage, I might add) and lets the others know they are having a rough patch.  I've seen members respond with encouragement and support that the member may not have been getting from anywhere else.

Good times on the range.  The Osama zombie targets were a nice touch.

I belong to the Missouri "Midwest Legion" Chapter of the Brotherhood.  We had our first meeting a few months ago.  Needless to say, it was a good time and, more importantly, it was a great opportunity to meet some very good people who I am proud to call my Bearded Brothers.  There has been several occasions where we have helped out one another on a personal level whether that be just to lend an ear or hook some one up with a good opportunity.  You really couldn't ask for a better group of dudes.

TBOC Midwest Legion enjoying some drinks and grub after a day at the range.

The Tactical Beard Owners Club.  If you're looking for a brotherhood without the nonsense and good people, then you have found the right place.  As of this posting, the application process is on suspension, but will be available again soon.  If you think you may be a good fit, then keep an eye open at the following link:  TBOC Application

If you have a beard and are involved in "tactical" shooting as a hobby or profession, then look no further.  Douches, hipsters or patch chasers need not apply.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What Happened, America?: Nerf Gun Suspension

From the people who brought you the suspension for the Pop Tart gun comes this:

Houston schools discuss child's 'Nerf gun' suspension

Judging from the story, it sounds like the school is in full on CYA mode so they don't look like the no-common-sense idiots that they are.

Although exceptionally rare nowadays, schools used to have rifle ranges on the premises.  Has the wussification of our children been so total and absolute that we now punish them for bringing toys to school?  I cannot even type that the Nerf gun is a toy gun with a straight face.  It shoots foam darts and foam balls for crying out loud!

I don't really have any more words to describe the idiocy of this.

What happened, America?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

RE: "How Much Ammo Is Enough"

The Other Ryan at Total Survivalist Blog posted an oft asked question: How Much Ammo Is Enough?  Without getting into actual hard number specifics I replied with the following:

Ah, the REAL how much is enough question. :)

I look at my ammo requirements as units of training sessions, or, in harsh times, as loadouts on my various rigs.

For example, I practice pistol one to two times a month when I can. That is about 200 rounds max a month. I try to train on a consistent basis year round and having a year's worth of ammo at any given time is where my comfort level is at. So, for training pistol, I want to float around 2400 rounds at any one time (give or take 500 rounds before buying more).

I apply this idea to ammo that I carry or may use in a defensive scenario. Instead of training sessions, I think of it in terms of "per loadout". So, for example, I carry my 9c plus a reload for EDC. That's 25 rounds per loadout without reloading magazines administratively i.e. post engagement. The chances of me being accosted are fairly slim so I don't keep a lot of defensive pistol ammo on hand. I run my inventory of EDC pistol ammo at around 250 rounds and shoot some of it up every few months after I have secured more of it. This ensures fresh ammo because riding on my hip every day in humidity and less than ideal conditions with time could affect the reliability of ignition.

For a SHTF scenario, I want to have at least 3 loadouts worth of ammunition for my rifle and pistol. This means with my heavy loadout that I will be running 11 rifle mags plus 3 pistol mags.

So, while I have hard numbers for acceptable minimum ammo levels, there is a method to the madness with the only real variable being comfort level (as you mentioned in your post).

All that being said, if my other preparedness and financial goals are at acceptable levels, then I certainly try to run by the old adage, "Buy it cheap and stack it deep."

Have you given thought to this question?  It's worthy of consideration when you think about the attempts around the country on the federal, state and local levels to limit ammunition sales.  Do you have a plan other than "buy lots"?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Moment of Sanity with a Dash of Pearl Clutching

I can't help but chuckle to myself as I read the following article:

California school district becomes latest to allow officers to carry AR-15s

It is good to see that some folks get it.  Long guns are the preferred tool for taking care of the bad guys.  To say that giving AR-15's to our law enforcement officers is "militarizing" law enforcement is absurd.  The military does not use AR-15's.  They use select fire (yes, Virginia, that means it's a ::gasp:: machine gun) M16 and M4 rifles.  Do they look similar?  Sure they do!  So does that mean a Ponticac Fiero with a Ferrari kit is an actual Ferrari?  Of course not.  And the fact that more people don't understand this is tragic.

Some of the anti-2A comments in the article border on the insane.  Really, cops having long guns in the trunks of their patrol cars makes it MORE dangerous?  You mean more dangerous than a nut job coming in guns blazing?  What kind of delusional Utopia do they think they live in where the cops shouldn't have the right tool to protect their babies?  The only thing that will wake these type of people up is if, God forbid, they find themselves being raped, beaten or attempted to be murdered.  And even, then, they'd probably have doubts after the fact.  These people can't be swayed and I would rather not waste my efforts on them.

But there are people out there that truly don't know the difference.  That being said, it has to be getting more and more hard to claim ignorance when there are literally millions of gun owners out there who DO know the difference.  If even half of them took the effort to educate and get people out to the range, then I would think more folks would see the logical fallacies of  firearms being "good for me (government), but not for thee (We the People)" mentality of semi-automatic weapons.  We will stay on the winning side of the 2A fight if we focus on these folks and treat ALL people with respect and reserve the vitriol for another day.

What have you done to recruit the fence sitters?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Blog of the Week: Guns Save Lives

Some of you may remember last year I tried to post Defensive Gun Uses (DGU) on a regular basis to illustrate that guns are used far more often as a force for good than evil.  Guns Save Lives makes it their business to record such events.  I always direct people to their website when the topic of gun control comes up.  Mass murder, brutal assaults with guns, etc are almost always recorded because they are crimes by their very nature.  Thus, the subsequent police report, arrest record and conviction then becomes reportable as public information and into crime statistics.  It also gives the media a chance to gin up anti-2A sentiment when a shooting spree occurs.

Unfortunately, for those who champion the virtues of gun ownership and the right to bear arms, no such database exists.  The mechanisms that make it easier to record criminal gun use are not present for defensive gun use.  Many DGUs occur when the mere presence of the gun being presented scares off the assailants without a shot being fired.  Since lawful gun use is not a crime, then the gun use may not get recorded properly if at all.  Furthermore, not all lawful gun use is even reported.  If the person was not made into a victim, then they sometimes choose to carry on and do not report the incident.  As an aside, I generally recommend against not letting the police know that I used my weapon to scare off an assailant because criminals have been known to turn the tables and call the police on the person they just assaulted!

I respect what Guns Save Lives does because it is an attempt to build a record.  Keep in mind that the DGUs listed on the website are from verifiable media sources.  They don't include the several thousand incidents that never make it to print.

I encourage any fence sitters reading this that are hesitant about gun rights and/or gun control to read the stories on Guns Save Lives and then put themselves in the victims' shoes.  Ask yourself, what would you have done in that situation if you did not have a gun?   Or if you did have a gun, but only were allowed to have 7 rounds loaded into that firearm i.e. the New York unSAFE Act?  You may be surprised at the thoughts that pop into your head.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mountain Hiking Adventures

Once again, my family and I went to the Red River, NM area for vacation.  Last year we went during the week of the music and chili festival.  This year, there was much more hiking.  I got to try out some new hiking gear including a new pair of boots I had been breaking in prior to the trip.  I did five hiking trips in total.

Monday rolled around and the Red River Nature Trail was the hike I decided on for the day.  I was going solo for this one.  It was only a 2 mile hike and I thought it would be a good distance to shake out any gear issues in mountain terrain.  I was mainly concerned with my boots.  I threw on my day pack and walked from where we were staying over to the trail head by the ski lift.  The highlight of this trip was coming across a bedded down mule deer.  I came up over a small ridge and spooked it not 15 yards away.  I immediately stopped in the hopes of not scaring it further.  The deer got to it's feet and trotted off.   At this point I had come up to the ATV trails that lead to Goose Lake.  Ten minutes later, as I was coming down the ATV trails, I came across another mule deer (and I suspect it may have been the same one from earlier, but who knows) and was able to get a picture of it before it popped out of sight.

Not the greatest picture, but still was cool to see.  This was on the ATV trails coming down from the RR Nature Trail.
Tuesday we hiked up the Old Pass.  Round trip was about 5.5 miles.  We hiked up to the highest point, picnicked and then went back down the way we came.  There was not much excitement for this one.  This was probably my least favorite of all the hikes I took during this week.

Approximately half way up.  The upper valley is visible to my left.

Wednesday was the day for the "big one".  Our destination was Lost Lake.  My father and brother came along for this one.  The total mileage for this hike was 10 miles (5 up, 5 down).  We hit the trail head at 7 am.  I have done this hike several times over the years, but it had been a long time since the last time.  I had forgotten the great views while on this trail.

The switchbacks leading up to Lost Lake.  This was within the first 2 miles.

Out of the switchbacks.  About a mile and a half out from the lake.

We arrived after about 3.5 hours of hiking.  On a side note, my wife and I had planned on camping at this lake a few years ago, but never were able to.   The lake makes a good base camp and the fishing is great as well.  As we came up on the lake itself we saw about three camps setup with one being part of a boy scout group.  My father, brother and I sat down and enjoyed a nice lunch at 11, 500 ft.

Lost Lake Elevation 11,500 feet
We spent about an hour at the lake, but knew we had to start heading back down if we wanted to be home by dinner.

Thursday and Friday I hiked the same path, Columbine Trail.  The first was with my mother, father and brother and the second time was with just the wife.  It was approximately 3.2 miles round trip each day.

Hard to see, but there was a little rapid right by me.
It was a good week of some easy/moderate level hiking.  That being said, having the right items with me made the trip much more pleasant and it was good to give them a test.  The items below were ones I had not taken on a solid outdoor adventure prior to vacation.  I really had no complaints:

Tactical Tailor Fight Light Removable Operator Pack - The price is fairly high, but you get what you pay for.  The stitching and material are both quality.  I was able to fit my Camelbak 100 oz bladder no problem into the dedicated pocket for it. The main compartment easily held my lunch along with my "just in case" items if we were to find ourselves in a jam.  The straps are comfortable and cinch up nice and tight so that the little pack stays close to my back.  It is definitely only a day pack, but it's perfect for that use.

Merrell Sawtooth Boots - These were probably only needed for the Old Pass and Lost Lake hikes as the other trails were not nearly as rocky and uneven.  I did find that for my feet and the boot that I needed to lace the boots up in a way that kept my heel more secure.  This combined with the next item on my list kept my feet blister free.

Smartwool Sock Liners - Prior to vacation, I had been trying to break in my boots.  I wore them as often as was possible and walked on the treadmill when I could not get out the door with them.  I found that my heel was either forming a callous or blister (I am fairly certain it was a callous), but to be on the safe side I picked three pairs of these sock liners.  They did just the trick and kept my feet dry and gave me a "second skin" to mitigate any further foot problems.

Everything else I had used in the past and also performed as I expected them to.  I really enjoyed my vacation and highly recommend to anyone who likes to spend time in the mountains to go and visit this part of New Mexico.  You will not be disappointed.

What are some of your favorite places to spend in the great outdoors?  Share any tips or items that you absolutely swear by in the comments below.  Thanks for stopping by.