- BreakFree CLP - I use CLP fairly often just because I have a ton of free sample packets and try to keep them in my cars and range bags and so on. It works fine as a lubricant in most conditions as long as you have put it on the firearm recently. It offers good corrosion resistance for storage purposes, but isn't all that great for a carry gun prone to rusting. That problem is better solved by a more durable finish.
- Dry film lube - No.
- FireClean - I chose this as the lube for the 40000 round test because it was new on the scene and thought it deserved a shot at some good publicity. It works really well as a lubricant. I don't think it is advertised to provide great corrosion resistance, and I haven't tested that. Compared to CLP it cleans better, but I don't think this property is entirely unique to FireClean. I probably wouldn't buy it because I think it is rather expensive. I have had a lot of problems with the bottles leaking, which would be more annoying if I had paid for them. I have started putting all my FireClean bottles in Ziploc bags, otherwise my entire range bag will become covered in expensive gun oil.
- FP-10 - This is probably my favorite lubricant in terms of what it does and how much it costs. A 4oz bottle is twice the size of the Fireclean 2oz bottle but costs about half as much, so by volume it is a quarter of the price. It is a great lubricant (after shooting an AR without lubrication until it malfunctioned, or approximately 2700 rounds, a single drop of FP10 returned the firearm to proper function for another 150+ rounds) and in my opinion offers corrosion resistance nearly as effective as CLP for storage. It cleans fairly well also. The bigger bottle is harder to lose or misplace.
- Froglube - I have never used this and do not see why I should make plans to do so.
- Graphite - No.
- Hoppe's Elite - I have used it as a lubricant a few times with good results. I have not thoroughly tested it. One time I broke a bottle of Hoppe's #9 on my workbench and I smiled every day for the next six months that I walked past that workbench. Unfortunately Hoppe's Elite does not smell like Hoppe's #9.
- Mobil 1 - On the few occasions when I have been at the range without oil (such as when a bottle of FireClean has decided to leak all over my range bag/car/backpack) and find myself or others in need of oil, I pull the dipstick from my car and use whatever my fingers wipe off said dipstick. It will get me by for a range session. I don't use it all the time. I think it does not have the right viscosity and other properties for firearm lubrication.
- RemOil - I look at people who use RemOil the same way I look at people wearing socks with sandals.
- SlideGlide - This is a grease which I use sparingly (I have been using the same two small tubs for over six years) on pistols with a lot of metal to metal contact, such as 1911s or Sigs or Berettas. I think it is a fantastic product to keep such pistols running. I would not use it for corrosion resistance purposes or cleaning, but it is worth using for its other properties. Sig puts TW25B on pistols from the factory, but I think SlideGlide is superior for most purposes.
I probably have some sort of opinion on other products which I cannot recall at this time. I will be happy to answer questions.
Now that we have two training courses under our belt, Jim and I have made some further adjustments to the Vuurwapen Concepts course curriculum. The second course incorporated some pistol shooting, and all subsequent courses will expand on that. Most notably, however, we're moving to a three-day course format (with an optional fourth day at the beginning for refreshing fundamentals). This will allow for additional training and evaluation time over the two-day format, although the course fee remains relatively low at $450. We've scheduled courses for October 11-13 and November 8-10, again at Sniper Country in northern Utah.
Also relevant to potential students is that we have added approximately half a dozen instructors, all of whom have special operations experience in military or federal government units or agencies (or both). Their expertise varies from breaching to trauma medicine, although all are extremely proficient with firearms and capable of passing these skills on to others. We're working on bios and further information, but a lot of these guys are still working in their respective fields, so various security concerns may require that some information be withheld. I know this sounds super secret squirrel, but trust me, these guys are really impressive. Their expertise is also very relevant to the courses we're teaching (including the concealed carry portion of the class), and will allow for expanded course options in the future.
We will have at least three and most likely four instructors at each course. This will allow us to move from course module to course module smoothly while providing as much one-on-one instruction as possible.
Soon I will also share the Vuurwapen Concepts website and other cool stuff. Things are moving along quickly and I'm excited for what the future holds.
As a Corpsman, my job in the military was to put band-aids on Marines and hold them when they felt sad. I received a decent amount of medical training during that time and also had a small bit of hands-on experience (mostly treating wounded Iraqi children and inept terrorists). I was not a SARC and did not go through the 18D pipeline. Before joining the Navy, I worked in an emergency room as a physician's scribe. These experiences have shaped my outlook on emergency medicine and the equipment I carry for first aid purposes.
Recently, I have noticed more people talking about what first aid kit or trauma kit they carry or own, which is a good thing. However, having a band-aid is only part of the equation when it comes to treating a cut. Unlike being in a gunfight, for which not bringing a gun is a cardinal sin, first aid can often be improvised with available materials while help is summoned. Some of the most serious injuries I have ever dealt with were treated with inadequate supplies. Realize that as a first responder, the best thing you can do is to get your patient to a higher level of care as soon as possible.
Vitriolic Tangent About Training
While it is popular in the gun world to "get training" (and I definitely think you should attend the ones I teach!), it does not seem as popular to get training in other areas - driving, first aid, etc. Think about it - how much time do you spend driving each day versus how much time you spend in a gunfight each day? How many people are killed by drunk drivers each year versus armed criminals or terrorists? Why would you bias all of your training towards firearms instead of spreading out your expendable income to include a high performance driving course? Similarly, why go to more than one firearm training course before you know basic first aid? Excuses for not attending Bondurant include the fact that it's really expensive, but basic CPR and first aid courses are generally available through the Red Cross for affordable prices.
If you haven't kept current with first aid in a while, a refresher might not be a bad idea. For example, CPR, which was once called "rescue breathing," has now changed into "continuous chest compressions." A few years - or maybe a decade - ago, there was a pretty wide separation between military and civilian medical training. Lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan seem to have trickled down to those in fire departments and EMS, although I can't say that everything is now being taught the same way on both sides. However, whether you go through a Red Cross class or a Combat Aidsman course, I think you'll be well ahead of someone who hasn't bothered to get any first aid training. For that matter, a 12-year-old Boy Scout with his neckerchief and a stick will be light years ahead of someone with a fancy trauma kit and no idea how to use it.
Okay, back to the topic at hand.
Stuff I Generally Keep In My Car
I have a lot of medbags thanks to my time in the military - mostly Unit Ones and a big London Bridge bag. However, one of the most useful first aid kits I own was purchased after I got out: an Adventure Medical Kits Guide 1. It was discounted heavily on Steep and Cheap, so I didn't pay $270 for it. However, I've gotten plenty of use out of it and try to keep it replenished. I'll cover individual items later, but a good kit like this will cover most of your needs. Even a $20 kit at Walmart or Target has the basics.
Although the Guide 1 has some items for treating trauma injuries, I also carry a kit of my own assembly. This generally consists of tourniquets, pressure dressings, chest seals, 14 gauge IV catheters, SAM splints, ACE bandages, abdominal bandages, and Water-Jel. Putting together something like this from scratch with the basics (mostly just tourniquets/pressure dressings) shouldn't be too expensive. I like using brightly colored bags or keeping the kit in a larger, easily recognizable bag so that I can tell someone to run to my car and grab "the big red bag" or something like that, rather than tell them to grab the khaki pouch in the trunk full of khaki, coyote, tan, and brown items.
I use the CAT tourniquet because I have seen it work well, but I would not be too particular about the type as long as I could apply it to myself or others without too much difficulty. Some people say that the CAT windlass breaks easily, but I haven't seen that - it's something to consider, but as long as you know how to apply it properly, you will be fine. I was issued Cinch-Tight pressure dressings and have not seen a need to look for anything else.
Chest seals - I was taught to improvise them (using an ID card taped at three corners over the wound, allowing air to escape but sealing fairly well against the entrance of air) as well as use the Ascherman, although the HALO is supposedly better; I have not had occasion to use the HALO, but much like the CAT, the Ascherman works well if you know its failure points.
The IV catheter is for relieving tension pneumothorax. I was trained how to use it, although it's up to you as to whether or not you carry one. If you take my advice and seek out training, this won't be an issue.
The SAM splints and ACE bandages are for joint immobilization; this can be improvised if the patient needs to stay in place, but if you need to move to a pickup point, having good supplies for joint immobilization might be invaluable.
Finally, the Water-Jel is for treatment of burns.
I also like having an axe or large hammer in my car, and a knife in my pocket. These items can help free someone if they are trapped. Oh, and I bring nitrile gloves, too. I also have a prepaid cell phone with up to date service with a different provider than my normal smartphone just in case said normal smartphone is dead or doesn't get service when I need help.
Stuff I Carry With Me In A Pack
It's okay to put a big bag of stuff in the trunk of my car, but do I carry all that stuff with me on a day hike? No. I'll generally bring a small kit with band-aids of various sizes, Neosporin, alcohol pads, ammonia poppers (to wake up dead people), gloves, ACE bandages, Kerlex, some 4x4 gauze pads, NSAIDs (generic Naproxen most of the time) as well as an Epi-Pen (I don't have allergies, but other people do). You'll notice that I don't bring the majority of trauma kit items, and that's because they're far less likely to be needed. You don't want to be the guy standing there saying "Sorry about the scraped knee, but I can only help people who have been shot in the chest or leg."
Understand the human body, the mechanisms of injury which it is likely to encounter, how the body responds to these injuries, and how you can help the body in this fight until help arrives. Have appropriate tools if possible, but focus on understanding first.
In my opinion, the HK416 is not a good carbine. This is primarily due to its increased weight and recoil compared to the standard M4. The increased recoil, due to greater reciprocating mass and velocity, also increases the probability of damaged or loosened components. Furthermore, the already high cyclic rate of the 416 is increased further by the attachment of a silencer. As you can see in this video, the cyclic rate is simply too fast for even one of the strongest magazine springs on the market, the Lancer L5 AWM, to keep up with - resulting in a bolt-over-base malfunction (the rear of the case has not risen to the top of the magazine before the bolt face has returned to push a new round into the chamber). This is not an isolated incident, but a common occurrence with the multiple 416s I have witnessed exhibiting this problem.
If you are part of a unit or organization which must use the HK416, the best upgrade (short of replacing the entire weapon) would be to replace the receiver extension tube and buffer assembly with the Vltor A5 system (specifically the A5H4). Vltor tested the HK416 with the A5 and saw a reduction in cyclic rate from 1106 rounds per minute (stock, suppressed) to 973 rounds per minute (A5H4, suppressed).
If you cannot replace the receiver extension tube with the A5 system or get rid of the HK416s entirely, try using a Tactical Springs LLC/Springco "Red" action spring along with an H3 or heavier buffer.
I wear flip flops almost every day and have done so for nearly my entire life. Therefore, I wear flip flops while shooting. This seems to upset some people when I post photos or videos online, so I'll take a moment to explain further.
Train How You Fight
I have said this a few times lately, but it really is important to "train how you fight." A long time ago, I was working on the "Lifesaving" merit badge. I had the fastest rescue time in part due to my ability to kick off flip flops much faster than the other kids could remove their shoes. Someone complained to a counselor, who said, "Andrew always wears flip flops, so he should wear them here, too." The same principle applies to concealed carry.
When I go to the range to practice drawing from concealment, I use the exact belt, holster, pistol, and clothing setups that I use for everyday concealed carry. Most people seem to agree with this sentiment - after all, it's pretty silly to do all of your shooting practice with a 1911 from the low ready if you carry a .38 snubnose in an ankle holster. I simply extend the concept to include my footwear.
While many people see flip flops as a detriment or drawback, I see them as comfy and easy to put on/take off. Did I mention comfy? I live in an area where triple digit temperatures are common, but even when I lived in Alaska I wore them during the summer.
There are occasions during which I wear shoes or boots: when I'm riding a motorcycle, when I'm on a long hike or walk, and some of the time when I work on cars, motorcycles, or airplanes. I will therefore sometimes wear shoes while shooting. For example, if I ride my motorcycle to the range, it would make sense that the shooting that day would include shoes.
Most of the time, however, I wear flip flops... so I wear flip flops while shooting. There are a number of reasons why people find this objectionable - here are the more common criticisms.
"But You'll Get Hot Brass Between Your Toes And Then Shoot Someone"
There are a number of arguments against shooting while wearing flip flops, and one of the least valid (to me, at least) is the "hot brass" argument. I can simply say from experience - shooting three or four times per week, every week for years on end, wearing flip flops at least 60% of the time, that I have only had hot brass land on my feet or between my toes a few times. For me, it is a non-issue. I have no problems maintaining bearing and muzzle discipline while I make a minor movement to rid myself of the troublesome case, whether it lands inside my shirt or between my toes. However, I have a higher pain tolerance than most people seem to have, at least in this regard.
"But You'll Lose A Flip Flop And Then Shoot Someone"
If you take a look at the above photo, you'll see that my right foot is curved in an odd manner and my little toe is sticking out somewhat. This is due to how I run while wearing flip flops: I curve my feet so as to keep the footwear attached. Yes, I (used to, before I hurt my knee) occasionally run while wearing flip flops. My all-time best mile run while wearing flip flops and carrying a 30lb backpack is 8:16. It is almost entirely avoidable to lose a flip flop while running, if proper methods are used.
I do sometimes have a flip flop fall off of a foot while I am moving backwards or stepping over or near obstacles - the back edge of the footwear will catch on something and be propelled off my foot. To avoid this, I keep my heels high if I am backing up or stepping over obstacles while wearing flip flops. Unlike keeping them on while running forward, this is not entirely avoidable. However, like the brass hitting my toes, it has almost no discernible effect on my shooting. I will simply finish whatever the string of fire may be and then retrieve my errant footwear.
"But You'll Hurt Your Foot And Then Shoot Someone"
Because I wear flip flops every day, I am rather used to stubbing my toes or people stepping on my toes or getting splinters or cactus spines stuck in my feet and so on. I even had a toenail ripped out once. Therefore, it is not a big deal when these same things happen while I am shooting. As I said before, it is not a problem to maintain muzzle discipline when something unexpected happens. If it is hard for you to not dance around pointing a gun at people with your finger on the trigger when a minor problem occurs, maybe you should not own or use guns.
Valid Reasons To Not Wear Flip Flops While Shooting
I can think of two valid reasons to not wear flip flops while shooting:
- My feet get really dirty if I'm shooting all day
- It doesn't look entirely professional
So in the future when I'm teaching a class, I might avoid wearing flip flops, simply because it might not present the professional image someone might expect when they pay good money for training. However, for day-to-day practice, I will continue to use whatever footwear I happen to be wearing when I leave for the range.