New Holster!

The postman dropped off a package for me yesterday morning, and inside was my brand-new holster! Specifically, a Texas IWB Starter Pack from Adams Holsters. What is a “Starter Pack,” you may ask? It’s a holster, double magazine pouch, and gun belt all bundled together at a not-insubstantial discount, though Luke Adams, Adams Holsters owner/operator does sell all of the components separately.

This order actually has a long story behind it. Several months ago, I ordered a carry rig for my SIG P232. I’d been hearing good things about Adams Holsters online, but ultimately decided to go with another well-known holster maker because it would be a little bit cheaper.

You remember that old saying, “Buy it cheap, buy it twice?” Yeah, that goes for holsters too. The holster I bought from Not-Adams-Holsters arrived “pre-broken in,” and when it arrived it was very easy to get the gun in and out of the holster, yet it still held the gun firmly. That didn’t last long. Within a few months, the rig barely held onto the gun at all. I could feel the little SIG trying to work its way out of the holster when I was carrying it around. And on top of that, the holster did not hold its shape when I drew the gun, even when I was wearing it outside the waistband (the holster is billed as being convertible between OWB and IWB carry). And on top of all that, even when the holster was new, the P232 still printed very badly, even when worn IWB.

The mag pouches were another story. Since the manufacturer didn’t offer a dual mag pouch for a SIG P232, and ordered 2 single mag pouches for “a single-stack .32 or .380.” Unlike the holster, the pouches were very, very snug, so snug that no matter how much I tried breaking them it, it was still tough to draw the mag from one and darn near impossible to get the mag out of the second! Really, the belt is the only thing that’s lasted longer than a few months, and even that looks like it’s wearing much too fast.

And if you think I abused the you-know-what out of this rig, you’re dead wrong. You can count the number of times I strapped my gear on on your hands and still have a few fingers left over. By the end of August, I finally faced up to the fact that my Not-Adams rig was not cutting the mustard, so I decided to do what I probably should have done in the first place and ordered a replacement rig from Adams Holsters.

However, two weeks to the day after I placed the order, my P232’s takedown lever failed again, after less than 1000 rounds since its first repair. Realizing that I could not trust the P232 as a defensive sidearm, I decided to get it fixed and then cut my losses and trade the pistol for something different. Unfortunately, this meant that I’d have no use for my just-ordered holster, so I emailed Luke Adams, informed him of the situation, and requested that he cancel my order.

Now, I fully expected Luke’s reply to be something to the effect of “Sorry to hear about that, your order has been canceled.” Instead, Luke told me that he’d be more than happy to change my order to whatever new gun I chose. I told him I was willing to pay whatever it would cost to make the change, and he told me that there was no charge; just let him know what I decided on.

I didn’t buy my new Springfield Range Officer Compact until mid-October, so unfortunately that meant losing my place in the order queue. My fault, not Luke’s: I spent several weeks flip-flopping between a compact 1911 and the Sprignfield XDS, and expecting him to hold up his entire order queue because an indecisive customer can’t decide what gun he wants is completely unreasonable. But let me tell you, it was worth the wait.

This rig is absolutely gorgeous! It exudes quality, to the point where it makes the top-of-the-range Galco holster I have for my P228 look cheap. Both the holster and mag pouch are solid and tightly molded. This is not some cheap “pre-broken in rig.” My Springfield and it’s magazines easily slide into the holster and pouches, but the fit is so tight that it’s extremely difficult to draw them. This, however, is the mark of a well-crafted holster: once the rig is fully broken-in, both gun and magazines will slide in and out easily, yet the rig will retain them even when you hold the holster upside-down and shake it. And lest you think I’m BSing you, I’ve seen video of another Adams Holster owner doing just that to his rig. His pistol didn’t move.

Though designed and sold as an IWB holster, Luke also manufactures and sells a set of optional leather OWB Conversion Loops for both the holster and mag pouch. I ordered these with the package (I’m too cheap and lazy to go out and buy pants with large enough waists to allow me to carry IWB), and it was here that I had my only hiccup with the rig: both holster and mag pouch come equipped with steel belt hooks for IWB carry which are held in place with Chicago screws, and the screws on the mag pouch would not loosen when I tired to swap the hooks out. I emailed Luke, and he responded very quickly with some tips on how to get the screws loose, and they worked perfectly. However, I suspect that I might have caused the problem since I tried using the wrong size screwdriver at first. Yeah, I’m useless with tools.

I’ve only worn the rig around the house for a little while, just to start to break it in, and have not worn it concealed yet, but that said the rig is extremely comfortable to wear. You know you’re wearing a gun, but only because you can feel it touching your hip. I really did not notice any significant weight on my belt, and the holster didn’t try to drag my pants down like my Not-Adams holster had a tendency to do unless I cinched my Not-Adams belt up really tight. And my Range Officer Compact much larger and significantly heavier than my P232, so that should tell you something.

I’ve been recommending Adams Holsters to people for the last month based solely on Luke’s customer service, but now that I actually have the holster in my hands… let me put it to you this way: if you’re looking for a concealed carry holster, go straight to Luke’s website and nowhere else. Do not pass ‘Go,’ do not collect $200. The quality of his work is incredible, especially for the price. And he stands behind his products too: if your holster fails in some way, even years after he made it, he will replace it free of charge. No bull, I’ve seen him do it (well, read the correspondence on a web forum, but you know what I mean).

Probably the only thing to be aware of, and this is not a knock against Luke or his holsters, is that Adams Holsters is a one man operation, so it may take him a few days to reply to an email, and his wait times can run longer than expected if an unexpected crisis pops up. But if that happens, just be patient. Luke’s gear is well worth the wait.

I’ll post up some pictures of my new rig when I have the time. Until then, peace.


DISCLAIMER: Neither Raptor nor Raptor’s Nest have been paid or otherwise compensated in any way for this blog post. The opinions expressed above are those of Raptor and have been published solely of his own volition without any outside influence or requests. In non-legal-mumbo-jumbo, this post is not a paid advertizement for Adams Holsters, so any FCC goons that are reading this can go bugger off.

I Can’t Wake Up

What was that line from The Matrix? “Are you ever not sure if you’re actually awake or if you’re still dreaming?” Something like that, I guess. But regardless of whether or not I got the quote right, more and more often that’s how I find myself feeling. I wake up, I feel fine. Then I turn on the news, or go online, or listen to the radio. And I think that what I’m seeing can’t be real, that I’m still asleep, still dreaming, trapped in a dystopian hybrid of 1984Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about a President that increasingly rules through executive fiat and blatantly ignores the constitution.

I’m talking about a Congress that lets him get away with it because they’re too busy fighting between parties to even pay attention.

I’m talking about a mainstream media that has traded in its role of Government Watchdog for the dual role of Government Lap Dog ad Government Attack Dog, ignoring the blatantly illegal activities of the government and vilifying and crucifying its opponents.

I’m talking about people having their reputations, careers, and/or (usually and) their entire lives destroyed because they openly expressed an opinion that was not in perfect lockstep with the people who’ve placed themselves in charge, or because they offended the wrong person.

I’m talking about sentences being cast by the mob before all the facts are known, and that same mob discounting or else flat-out ignoring those facts once they become available.

I could go on. But you get the idea.

If I wrote a novel about a world like this, no publisher would ever pick it up because they’d say it would be too unbelievable. And yet look around. Operation Fast & Furious. Executive Orders on illegal immigration. The ESA Scientist who landed a probe of a comet and then had his career destroyed because he wore a shirt that some thin-skinned reporter found offensive. The Martin, Brown, and Garner cases and the media immediately demanding the crucifixions of the people responsible, even though the courts ruled they were justified. The IRS scandal. The President ordering the government it “make it [the sequester] hurt.” It goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on ad infinitum.

And nobody cares. Nobody cares because nobody knows. Oh, everybody knows who won American Idol or Survivor or what the Kardashian sisters did at some party, because apparently those have become the things that really matter in our society. But the government destorying the Constitution? Not important, and anyone who says otherwise is apparently a racist homophobic cisgendered gendernormative thoughtcriminal.

Help. I’m trapped in a nightmare and I can’t wake up.

Teh Stoopidz! Tey BURNZ Us!!!

Holy carp and other assorted fish! Y’all won’t believe what happened to me today!

Let me set the scene for you: I was on my way home from the range when I decided to stop by my local supermarketto grab lunch for the next few days. Ham sandwiches are boring, but they’re easy to throw together when you’re staggering out of the house at an ungodly hour of the morning. But that’s not the point. Point is, when I go food shopping, I like to use the self-checkout lines if at all possible. Nothing against the cashiers, but I prefer self-checkout because a) it tends to be faster and b) I can avoid the looks of horror/disbelief/fear/disgust/some combination thereof when I buy a firearms-related periodical from our newsstand. This area really isn’t all that 2A friendly.

Anyway, I grab what I need and head for the self-checkout lanes… and there’s a line at least 10-12 people deep. And as I get closer, I can see the backup is caused by a combination of people who can’t read the big “20 ITEMS OR LESS” signs and people who can’t follow simple directions on a touch screen. So off to the cashier lanes it is. I find one with two people in it, both of whom have relatively small numbers of items in their carts, so I tuck into the back and wait.

Customer #1 is a, what’s the politically-correct term this week?, elderly woman. Once the cashier finishes scanning and bagging her purchases, she says “I have coupons,” reaches into her enormous handbag, and pulls out an envelope that is literally overflowing with coupons. I can see the poor cashier’s heart drop into her shoes as Custy 1 starts rummaging through the envelope and pulling out coupons. None of which are for this store. I swear, this dingbat must have had coupons for every single supermarket and food store in the state… except this chain. And wait, it get’s better: she couldn’t understand why the poor cashier couldn’t accept her coupons. Actually, that’s an understatement: she got downright belligerent, yelling and screaming and hooting and hollering, to the point where both the front-end manager and the store manager came over to see what all the commotion was about. Seems Custy 1 believed that all food stores are owned by the same “Corporate masters,” (her words), therefore we should accept all coupons, even if they’re not from our store. News flash: we’re not, therefore we can’t. And there’s no way to override our computer system to let it accept competitors’ coupons.

So long story short, Custy 1 spent a good ten minutes screaming and b*tching out her poor cashier before deciding our company is staffed by “f***ing racist Nazis!” (again, her words, and she was white btw) before storming off without any of her food. So Poor Cashier, who was visibly shaken at this point, had to void out her entire purchase (which turned out to be pretty substantial actually) and call over someone from the customer service desk to re-shop everything before she could get to Customer #2.

Now Customer #2, in contrast, was a young male, my age or more likely a few years younger. Old enough to know how the world works. Poor Cashier rings up his purchases no problem, and once she finishes, he scans his Discount Club Card. And then just stands there, waiting. Poor Cashier tells him his total, he says “okay,” and continues to just stand there.

“Will you be paying with cash or card?” Poor Cashier asked.

“What are you talking about?” Custy 2 says, “I just scanned my card.”

Cue my inner facepalm.

Poor Cashier tries to explain to this guy that you can’t pay with a Discount Club Card, and that it’s not the same as a credit card, but this ignoramous doesn’t get it. They go back and forth for a good five minutes, Custy 2 becoming ruder and more irate by the second, before Poor Cashier can call the front-end manager back over. Front end manager tries to explain it to the guy, but he still won’t hear it. After another few minutes, Custy 2 pulls out his cell phone sends someone a text, and just stands they’re smugly after informing Poor Cashier and Front End Manager that “now they’re gonna get it.”

A minute later, who comes storming up to the counter but Custy 2’s Mother. Yes, you read that correctly: a grown-ass man called his mother, who was waiting for him IN THE FREAKING PARKING LOT!!!! to come to his rescue. Mommy Dearest then proceeds to scream at Poor Cashier and call her all sorts of horrible things (the r-word was among the lesser insults) before Front-End Manager can explain what happend. And what does Mommy Dearest do? Yell and scream at Poor Cashier while pulling out her credit card to pay for her son’s groceries.

All in all, it took me nearly a half-hour to get through the checkout line. I couldn’t leave because some bubble-headded bleach-blone soccer mom, who was glued to her brand-new iPhone the entire time, had pulled her cart in behind me and refused to let me pass. As in she physically blocked me with her cart every time I tried to leave the line.

Poor Cashier looked like she was ready to cry by the time she scanned my half-pound of ham. I told her, “Don’t worry, I have a brain that works, so I know which coupons work here and that a Discount Club Card is not the same thing as a credit card.” That got her to laugh a little bit, thank God. Honestly, I wish I could have done more, but when I’m not at the range or working on my blog (*snerk!*), I work at that self-same grocery store. Putting those custys in their place, even off the clock, would almost certainly have cost me my job.

But seriously, holy carp on a stick! How in the heck do idiots like that manage to survive childhood? The coupon thing I get, sort of, but that said the way Custy 1 treated Poor Cashier was totally out of line. And Custy 2? Calling his MOM, when he’s a freaking grown man, to come to his rescue?! And Mom not only backing him up, but outright verbally assaulting Poor Cashier?! What on God’s Green Earth is WRONG with these people.

Ye gods and little fishes. And my folks don’t understand why I come home from work some nights with smoke pouring out my ears.

Do my a favor: my readers who don’t work retail and won’t put their jobs on the line by doing so: the next time y’all see some arseholes treating a Poor Retail Slave like what I saw today, put ’em in their place. Cry ‘havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war, so to speak.

Until then, peace.


Point of Clarification

Okay, I think my opening paragraph sounded a lot more ominous than I intended. I am fine. Honestly and truly. Mama and Papa Raptor are fine too. We’ve just had a lot of stuff going on all at once is all, and I’ve just been asked not to post about it. And we’re not the ones with the lawyer problem, don’t worry. A very dear friend of our family wound up in a very bad spot because of a narcissistic scumbag with an axe to grind.

We’re okay. Honest. We’ve just been caught in something of a whirlwind for the last few months is all. All I really need is for the world to hit the ‘Pause’ button for a few minutes so I can catch my breath.

Until next time, peace.


Pardon Me Whist I Dust Off The Keyboard

Holy moly it’s been a while! Yeah, I fell of the wagon again. Sorry, y’all. It’s been… well, let’s say it’s been a hell of a year. Lots of stuff going on, with a fair chunk of it being pretty lousy if I’m being honest. Can’t talk about it, unfortunately. Some stuff has lawyers involved, so I really can’t talk about it, but the rest I’ve just been asked not to make public. Don’t understand why exactly, but I’ll honor those wishes nevertheless. So, yeah, lots of bad news, a whole lot of changes, and long story short my familiar, comfortable world has been thrown for a loop. One thing I can say is that I’ll definitely be relocating in a few months, though where and when exactly I honestly have no clue. That one kinda came out of left field on me and I still haven’t come to terms with it 100%. But I’ll figure something out.

Anyways, remember that SIG P232 I bought back in February? Well, it broke. Again. So I sent it back to SIG and got it fixed, then promptly traded it in towards this little honey:

Ain't she a beauty?
Ain’t she a beauty?

It’s a 1911, specifically a Springfield Armory Range Officer Compact. Brand spankin’ new. First new gun I’ve ever bought, actually. Picked it up just about a month ago. And I really lucked out: the RO Compact is a brand-new model, so much so that mine was only the second example to pass through my favorite local gun dealer, and Number 1 had been a special order. Hadn’t even been planning on buying it, but I brought my P232 along with me to the LGS/range just in case I saw one in the display, and lo and behold, there it was.

I’ve only put maybe 250 rounds through it, but I love it. Fits my hand really well, balances nicely, and the recoil is surprisingly light for a compact aluminum-framed .45. Chalk that up to the dual-recoil spring setup. My only complaints thus far are that it’s a pain to field strip (full-length guide rods will do that to a 1911) and I’m not really a fan of the fiber-optic front sight. Looks and feels a touch on the fragile side, and when it gets covered with burnt powder residue, it doesn’t glow. I do plan on replacing the sights with some sort of tritium setup at some point in the future. Not sure exactly what kind, but that’s still a long ways off. In the meantime, I have a holster inbound for it. I’ll post a review on that once it arrives, as well as a full review of my RO Compact once I put more rounds through it. And come to think of it, I have never posted a review of my SIG P228. I will have to correct that oversight.

One final note before I sign off: I am going to renew my commitment to this blog. I will do my utmost to post regularly, though I can’t promise any sort of schedule. I need to get back on board the wagon with my writing in general, not just the blog. I do have a few ideas for articles/posts beyond the aforementioned gun and gear reviews. I’ll start posting them soon.

To my long-time readers, if you’re still here, thanks for sticking around even though I’ve been far less than faithful. Words can’t convey just how much that means to me.

Until next time, peace.


Four Men Went In…

June 27, 2005: four Navy SEALs, callsign Spartan 01, are inserted into the mountains of Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. Their mission is to locate Ahmad Shah, a high-ranking Taliban leader.

June 28, 2005: Spartan 01 is compromised by Taliban sympathizers and subsequently engaged by an overwhelming number of Anti-Coalition Militia fighters. A Quick Reaction Force comprised of SEALs and US Army Nightstalkers are dispatched to aid and extract Spartan 01. One of the QRF’s MH-47 Chinook helicopters is hit by an RPG and shot down. All aboard are killed.

All told, nineteen American warriors, including thee of the four SEALs of Spartan 01, died on that mountainside.

One man, Marcus Luttrell, survived. Badly wounded, he was discovered by Pashtun tribesmen, who tended to his wounds and protected him from the Taliban, even though they knew such actions risked their lives and the lives of their families.

Remember the men who died on that mountainside, and the loved ones they left behind.

SO2 Matthew Axleson
SO2 Danny Dietz
SOC Jaques J. Fontain
SSG Shamus O. Goare
CWO3 Corey J. Goodnature
SOCS Daniel R. Healy
SGT Kip A. Jacoby
LCDR Erik S. Kristensen
SO1 Jeffery A. Lucas
LT Michael M. McGreevy, Jr.
SFC Marcus V. Muralles
LT Michael P. Murphy
SO2 James E. Suh
SO1 Jeffrey S. Taylor
SO2 Shane E. Patton
MSG James W. Ponder III
MAJ Stephen C. Reich
SFC Michael L. Russell
CWO4 Chris J. Scherkenbach

Hooyah. NSDQ.

Important: Altered Perceptions. A Charity Anthology for Mental Illness


Hey y’all. Give this a look-see: it’s for an extremely good cause

Originally posted on Monster Hunter Nation:

A bunch of us writers are doing a charity anthology to help out a fellow writer in need.

Rob Wells is an author, a peer, and a good friend of mine. A few years ago Rob’s life fell apart because of severe mental health issues, and he’s been putting it back together ever since. Imagine your brain having your fight or flight reflex constantly switched on, and being unable to switch it off. Rob has constant panic attacks, depression, and severe OCD that pushes him to self harm. His mental health issues cost him his job and severely hampered his writing career.

Over the last few years I’ve watched Rob face these challenges and keep on pushing through. I think the best thing that happened for him was getting a service dog, because no matter how imposing the world was, Annie the calming dog was always there for him…

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