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Shooter Self-Care Class – Fort Worth, TX

SSC_ClassKelly Grayson will be hosting a Shooter Self Care Class here in Fort Worth, Texas. Whether you are a Range Officer, carry a concealed firearm, law enforcement, or just a firearms enthusiast, you will learn quite a bit from this course. Injuries from firearms whether intentional or accidental, self-inflicted or the result of an attack, must be dealt with promptly. During this course you will receive basic instruction on what to do and how to use a basic life-saving kit to provide basic life-saving measures until help arrives.

In addition to expert instruction from a medical professional, students will also receive a compact “blow-out kit” valued at over $90 consisting of the following:

2 pairs nitrile gloves
1 trauma shears
1 4″ Ace wrap
1 Cederroth Blood Stopper
10 4×4 gauze pads
1 8×10 absorbent gauze pad
1 Vaseline gauze
1 4″ roll of Kling roller gauze
2 triangular bandages
2 HALO chest seals
1 SOF Tournequit

Food and refreshments will also be provided.

There are no prerequisites for this course and onsite registration will be available.

Course instructor Steven “Kelly” Grayson, EMS Instructor, NRP, CCEMT-P, is a critical care paramedic for Acadian Ambulance in Louisiana. He has spent the past 22 years as a field paramedic, critical care transport paramedic, field supervisor and educator. He is a former president of the Louisiana EMS Instructor Society and board member of the Louisiana Association of Nationally Registered EMTs.

Tuition for the course is $200 and includes a blowout kit for the first 15 students. The course is 4-hours long and will be held on Friday October 30th at Elk Castle Shooting Sports beginning at 5pm.

To register for the course, click here.

Aisle 5…

Hey look!

You can buy guns at Sam’s Club on Aisle 5 now!

Probably coming soon to a Home Depot near you, right next to the Sten guns.

Click for a bigger but still blurry potato quality pic…

Shoot 1,000 yards for $1,000

DSCF2433There’s a saying in sports car racing. How fast you go depends on how much you want to spend. The same can be said about firearms. If you want something incredibly fast, or incredibly accurate, you can expect to make a large outlay of cash. Many of us, probably most of us, have limited budgets. In that case, what you really want is the most bang for your buck. You want to stretch your dollar as far as it will go.

The purpose of this project was to assemble a package capable of shooting a sub-MOA group at 1,000 yards and get the entire thing done for less than $1,000. This isn’t a new concept. Many others have tried this same goal, and many have failed as well. It’s not necessarily the shooter. Sometimes is equipment, sometimes it’s ammunition, maybe it’s wind, maybe the stars just weren’t lined up right.

Launching a 140 grain projectile with an accuracy of less than 1-MOA over a distance of 1,000 yards is no easy feat. Among accomplished shooters there are only a very few capable of accomplishing such a feat. Any time you’re shooting at distances like this luck is always involved. As a long range shooter my job is to reduce or eliminate variables as much as possible in order to have a good shot. Even with a very accurate wind call and extremely consistent match grade ammunition the rifle/scope combo that we ended up assembling and testing mathematically has only a 70% hit probability at 1,000 yards. That means that on a 1-MOA target we’d miss about 30% of the time due to errors in wind reading or variations in muzzle velocity, among other things.

Hiking Long Distances

Quality boots, such as these from LOWA, are a valuable investment. Once you have a pair, make sure to break them in properly! Don't wait until you need to hike 20 miles to escape danger to find out that your boots are too stiff and not broken in at all.

Quality boots, such as these from LOWA, are a valuable investment. Once you have a pair, make sure to break them in properly! Don’t wait until you need to hike 20 miles to escape danger to find out that your boots are too stiff and not broken in properly.

Walking or hiking long distances is hard work. Most people, accustomed to a desk job and comfy couch at home, would be hard pressed to hike 10 miles a day unencumbered, much less 25 miles or more a day while carrying a pack weighing 40lbs or more.

This is part of the reason why it’s SO incredibly important to stay in shape. Even walking 1-2 miles a day does wonders for your body. Up that to a short 3-mile run 5-days a week and you’ll be far ahead of all the other desk jockeys whose life consists of sitting on the couch at home when they are not parked at a desk at work.

Don't be this guy when the zombies come. Stay in shape.

Don’t be this guy when the zombies come. Stay in shape.

If faced with a situation where you have to evacuate an area on foot, even assuming that you aren’t carrying a pack or bug out bag, the physical toll can be dramatic if you are not in shape. This becomes even more pertinent when trekking cross-country through rough terrain or thick foliage.

The long and the short of it is that if you are preparing by stocking up on certain supplies and NOT preparing your body at the same time, you are doing yourself a disservice. All the gear in the world cannot save you if you are not capable of walking a few miles without collapsing to the ground like a beached manatee. Prepare your body with the same vigilance you prepare your supplies. Best of all: preparing your body by staying in shape is FREE!

Patriot Pantry: A Mixed Bag

These are the contents you'll find in a Patriot Pantry 72-hour pack.

These are the contents you’ll find in a Patriot Pantry 72-hour pack.

Let me start out by saying that we here at Among The Leaves have mixed feelings about freeze dried and dehydrated foods. Yes, they store great and are an excellent way of having “fresh” food. However. In order to prepare them properly they all require having fresh clean water, heat, and in many cases a reasonable amount of cooking gear such as pots, pans, and utensils.

An Extra Gallon of Water.

That’s what you’d have to carry or source over 3 days for this product. While that may not be an issue if you’re hunkering down in place during an emergency, if basic services in your community go down due to natural or other disaster it will be a problem. Also, these do require pots and a cooking stove or cooking fire to prepare so pack your bug out bag accordingly. Carrying an extra 8 lbs of water as well as pots in a bug out on foot situation will require some thought and planning. Also, these pouches will be providing 1200 (approx.) calories a day which is enough to keep you functioning but will be nowhere near meeting the average daily calorie expenditure.

We tried to prepare these several different ways ranging from strictly according to the package directions to an “emergency minimalist method” by just pouring boiling water into the pouch they came in. By the way, the “in-pouch” method was an utter disaster. Preparation was otherwise easy, if not more complex than we’d like, so no problems there.

Taste was good. Compared to other camping rations they hold up well in that regard. For this reviewer, they don’t require any extra seasoning or salt, but YMMV. The other member of our test team felt they could use more salt.

These pouches would be perfect for sailing or a camping situation where you can supplement them other foods, and where water is available if not abundant. They’d also be great for storage at your bug out location where water isn’t an issue.

The primary advantage of the Patriot Pantry is that it is light weight and compact due to being stored in a vacuum-sealed pouch. Whether you are storing them on a boat, in a cabin, or in a vehicle, this makes them very advantageous.

So, for taste, they rate a 3 to 4 out of 5 stars. For ease of preparation, a solid 4, and for bugging out emergency use, only 2 stars due to the need to have extra water and equipment for preparation and the low calorie total of each pouch.

For you TL;DR crowd. These are great for any situation where sourcing drinking or cooking water isn’t an issue. But be sure you have a reliable source for water.

While we do stock some freeze-dried and dehydrated items here at Among The Leaves, we will caution that if you rely on them you really need to ensure that water will be available when you need them.

Kilted to Kick Cancer Kickoff

Dove season and KTKC fundraising coincide every year. Get kilted!

Dove season and KTKC fundraising coincide every year. Get kilted!

Everyone is familiar with the meaning of the pink ribbons worn during breast cancer awareness month. Few know that prostate cancer affects men just as often, and is often lethal because it goes undiagnosed.

Kilted to Kick Cancer encourages men to wear kilts throughout the month of September to promote awareness and prompt conversations encouraging other men to GET CHECKED!

Among The Leaves is helping to promote by donating one of our 72-hour Bug Out Bags, valued at over $400, as part of one of the prize packages being given away to the top fund raisers over at Kelly’s Blog, the Ambulance Driver Files.

Preparedness, the NRA, and You

KatrinaAugust 29th marks the 10-year anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, La. The memory of the devastation wrought by the storm and the resulting chaos is a human tragedy of such a vast scale that it endures to this day; and will well beyond. Further, the measures taken to disarm law-abiding firearm owners in Katrina’s wake should serve as a testament to why gun owners guard our right to bear arms so vigilantly.

The disorder of the storm’s aftermath – and the inability of local law enforcement to contain it – brought into stark realization the importance of the right to keep and bear arms in order to provide for the defense of oneself, loved ones, and community. Stories of looting and violence abounded. A police chief described post-Katrina New Orleans by stating, “it was like Mogadishu.”

Despite their inability to cope with the resulting mayhem, several days after the storm passed New Orleans officials ordered the confiscation of lawfully-owned firearms from city residents. In a September 8, 2005 article, the New York Times described the scene, stating, “Local police officers began confiscating weapons from civilians in preparation for a forced evacuation of the last holdouts still living here… Police officers and federal law enforcement agents scoured the city carrying assault rifles seeking residents who have holed up to avoid forcible eviction.”

As reported by the Washington Post, New Orleans Superintendent P. Edwin Compass made clear, “No one will be able to be armed,” and, “Guns will be taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns.” At the time, NRA Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre noted the nature of the seizures, stating, “In many cases, it was from their homes at gunpoint. There were no receipts given or anything else at a time when there was no 911 response and these citizens were out there on their own protecting their families.”

City authorities were selective with their order, discriminating against the most vulnerable. The Times noted that the city’s order “apparently does not apply to the hundreds of security guards whom businesses and some wealthy individuals have hired to protect their property… Mr. Compass said that he was aware of the private guards but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons.” In 2005 Ray Nagin served as the mayor of New Orleans. Nagin would go on to become a member of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns, and later federal inmate No. 32751-034, following 2014 convictions for fraud and bribery.

In the years that followed, New Orleans officials were unrepentant. In a 2006 interview with local radio station WWL, New Orleans Superintendent Warren Riley said, “During a circumstance like that, we cannot allow people to walk the street carrying guns…as law enforcement officers we will confiscate the weapon if a person is walking down the street and they may be arrested.”

NRA immediately denounced the confiscations as unlawful under state law and unconstitutional, and set to work rectifying New Orleans’ abuse of power and ensuring that no American would be faced with confiscation under a similar scenario.

NRA promptly filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against New Orleans in order to halt the city’s confiscation efforts. On September 23, Judge Jay Zainey granted a temporary restraining order barring New Orleans and the surrounding communities from further confiscations, and required that the seized guns be returned. NRA also successfully worked to lift a ban on firearm possession for those living in Federal Emergency Management Agency housing as a result of the storm.

The city dragged its feet in returning confiscated firearms to their lawful owners. However, NRA persisted until 2008, when NRA and New Orleans came to a settlement in which the city agreed to carry out an acceptable procedure for returning the firearms. The agreement allowed owners to get back their guns without documented proof of ownership, which many residents were understandably unable to provide.

NRA’s post-Katrina efforts did not stop at the Louisiana border. NRA prompted mayors and police chiefs across America to sign a pledge stating that they will, “never forcibly disarm the law-abiding citizens” of their city. Further, NRA worked to limit the power of state and local governments to regulate firearms in times of emergency, by advocating for emergency powers reform legislation throughout the country. Currently, over half of the states have some form of emergency powers provision protecting gun owners from government abuse during a crisis.

In 2006, moreover, President George W. Bush signed into law the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, which contained an NRA-backed amendment sponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). The amendment prohibits persons acting under color of federal law, receiving federal funds, or acting at the direction of a federal employee from seizing or authorizing the seizure of lawfully-possessed firearms or imposing or enforcing certain restrictions on firearms during a state of emergency.

Having gone through such a horrific ordeal, in the years after Katrina New Orleans residents exhibited a greater appreciation for their right to bear arms. The number of Right-to-Carry permit holders in the city doubled from 2004 to 2006. In reporting the experience of Vivian Westerman, a sixty-four-year-old that stayed in her home during Katrina, the Associated Press noted that, “So terrible was [Katrina] that [Westerman] wanted two things before the next hurricane season arrived: a backup power source and a gun.” Westerman told the AP that after purchasing a .38-revolver, “I’ve never been more confident.” In September 2008, when Hurricane Gustav threatened the city, the New York Post reported that those remaining in the city were “locked & loaded,” and detailed the stories of several armed residents.

As we remember the terrible devastation of Katrina, gun owners should further commit themselves to ensuring that Americans are never again deprived of the ability to defend themselves in their hour of need. A decade later, Wayne LaPierre’s words following Katrina are still as relevant as ever, “The lesson of New Orleans is that citizens must be able to rely on their own ability to survive. The answer once and for all to politicians who say Americans don’t need the Second Amendment, government will protect you, the answer forever more is New Orleans.”

© 2015 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced.

Laser Shot Training Systems: Realistic training in your living room

main_lasershot_logoThere are two things a gun is useless without: ammunition, and the knowledge and training on how to use the firearm effectively. Acquiring ammunition for your firearm is, in most places in the United States, fairly easy to do. Training on the other hand, can be a bit more problematic.

Good training starts with establishing the proper form, techniques, and habits and then drilling on these relentlessly. The problem arises that finding a range that will allow you to do more than stand and fire slowly at paper targets is easier said than done. In most cases you can completely forget about practicing draws from a holster or moving and shooting at a range. What’s more, training on a range requires the expenditure of ammunition, and that can get expensive quickly. Foregoing the expense of buying more ammunition for your firearm makes it, once again, useless with nothing to feed it.

Dry-fire training is a fantastic way to work on some techniques, such as drawing from a holster and reloading. On some guns, such as a double action only (DAO) pistol, or pump-action shotgun or rifle, you can even use snap caps and step up your training another notch. Users of single action (SA) and some striker-fired pistols are limited in the manner in which they can train using dry-fire, as these firearms must be cocked or charged in order for the trigger to function properly.

Training using dry-fire has one other major drawback. It’s boring. Frankly, it’s really boring. When it comes to training it’s really hard to beat the satisfactory “ping” of lead on steel and the immediate feedback that comes with it.

The Dvorak G19 Training Pistol

Dedicated shooters can combine this home training system with advanced firearm simulators such as Dvorak’s CO2-powered tetherless recoil and laser system. Dvorak’s system uses a CO2 cartridge contained in a replacement magazine to activate the bolt and a laser, giving simulated recoil with each shot. In doing so the working of the action charges the striker or resets the hammer, depending on the type of firearm it is used in.

It’s because of all of this that I’ve found myself constantly seeking out better, and more engaging, training systems and regimens. While wandering the aisles at SHOT 2014 I saw a few advances in laser training systems, but none of them really caught my attention at the time. It wasn’t until a few months later while visiting Bill’s Outdoor Sports in Enid Oklahoma that I got into a conversation with company President Brian Lamoreaux. He happened to mention that they had just installed a new range and wondered if I wanted to see it. I agreed and we went outside where he revealed an intermodal shipping container with a ventilation system on top and a single door set into one end. Initially, I was underwhelmed. After all, how good could a shooting range inside of a 40-foot shipping container actually be? I would soon find out.

As we stepped inside I saw a computer system against one wall, a projector mounted to the ceiling, and a large white screen on the opposite end. A small table with a laser firearm trainer sat on the shooting line. This was, Brian explained, a Laser Shot container system designed for both laser-equipped training guns as well as live fire, and he loaded up the system and started a steel plate shooting program to give a demonstration. I was intrigued.

The PSATS - the brains of the Laser Shot system.

The PSATS – the brains of the Laser Shot system.

The Facts
The Laser Shot Container system uses thermal imaging to track the round as it travels down range, picking up the location where hot bullet disappears behind the self-healing polymer screen. The computer correlates this hit location with the location of the target that is being projected and respond accordingly, showing the splash of lead on steel or puff of dirt kicked up by a miss.

My experience on that combination live fire and laser system was enough to get my curiosity piqued, and so when I went back home I dug up some of the literature I’d idly picked up at the Laser Shot booth at SHOT. That’s when I saw it: the Laser Shot Home Theater System. This consumer product utilizes much of the same technology as their live fire systems and is designed specifically for use in the privacy of your own home.

When fully set up, the system consists of a projector, a camera, and a computer which coordinates it all, as well as various software programs. The base level model, the HT-205, includes five different training games of your choice as well as a laser rifle with iron sights, and the tracking camera. You must provide a compatible computer and projector, purchase them separately from Laser Shot, or upgrade to the Portable Home Theater Shooting System (PHTSS) which contains all of the above in a rugged 4U rack-mount case.

Additional training firearms are available to be purchased separately, or through package upgrades. The real beauty of the system is that it is compatible with any red laser equipped training firearm. Other brands of laser training arms such as Next Level Training’s SIRT or Dvorak’s tetherless recoil system also work with the Home Theater system. Laser Shot sells various handgun and rifle caliber laser-cartridge inserts to allow the use of actual firearms (unloaded of course) so that you can train with the same gun you carry.

The SIRT AR rifle laser insert.

The SIRT AR rifle laser insert.

To test out the system I used Dvorak’s tetherless recoil system and the NextLevel Training SIRT-AR Bolt laser system. The SIRT-AR doesn’t work with some ARs without modification (such as my Colt LE6920) but is compatible with most sport model AR-15 style rifles. NextLevel’s SIRT laser replaces the bolt in your upper, and a small adjustable pin magnetically attaches to the trigger pack. When you pull the trigger it activates the laser, firing a beam down and out the barrel. The SIRT-AR has both windage and elevation adjustments so that you can zero it onto your sights or non-magnified optic. This is a great boon when using the Laser Shot Home Theater system since you can virtually eliminate the inherent sight offset that occurs when shooting at a screen that is relatively close.

Government Approved
The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) based in Artesia New Mexico has done a fairly exhaustive study on the effectiveness of non-recoiling laser handguns and found that students using this method as opposed to live-fire achieve test scores nearly has high as those who train exclusively with live ammunition.

Using student volunteers in their Basic Marksmanship Instruction (BMI) they found that when qualifying with live ammunition on the Semiautomatic Pistol Course (SPC) students who trained exclusively with non-recoiling laser handguns scored an average of 257.8 out of a possible 300 points. Students who trained in the traditional manner during BMI scored only marginally higher with an average of 260.4 out of 300. Further studies with a larger test group of students yielded an average score of 275.8 for laser-based training and 278.2 for those training with live ammunition.

This 99% efficiency rate, when combined with the cost savings of thousands of rounds of ammunition, is remarkable. According to the FLETC the difference in performance of both sets of students is statistically insignificant, making laser training as effective as live-fire.

EDC or Every Day Carry: All you have is what’s in your pockets

A "bare-bones" survival kit that can be worn as a part of your EDC (Every Day Carry).

A “bare-bones” survival kit that can be worn as a part of your EDC (Every Day Carry).

We all have an every day carry, or EDC for short. Those of us who have CCW’s (Permits or Licenses to carry a concealed pistol) generally have an EDC that include a few more things than the average person. But have you ever looked at what’s in your pockets with the idea of a survival situation in mind? Guys, generally, have a wallet with cash, maybe coins, a few credit card type cards and maybe business cards in them. We’ll have a watch on our wrist, a phone in a pocket or on a belt holster, car keys in another pocket, etc. Women might have a makeup compact with a mirror or some other things.

Screwed, right? Not totally, really. You will have to science the f*** out of what you have though, to borrow a phrase from The Martian. The credit cards can be sharpened by rubbing on cement or a rock to make a sort of knife you can use cut meat you’ve cooked. Just as they are they can be used as a scraper (who hasn’t done that) or descale a fish or even cut and gut it for cooking. Coins can be turned into impromptu screwdrivers; keys can be used as stabbing tools in a snare, or weights on a fishing line. The phone might work as a signal mirror, if you take the anti-glare screen protector off first. The watch can function as a rough compass during the day as well as work to give you your latitude and longitude position using either the stars or the sun, provided the time set on the watch is right. The pins holding the band to the bezel can be bent into fish hooks.  That t-shirt under your polo or dress shirt, stretched over several poles can serve as a wind break or something to keep at least your fire wood dry enough to burn. With a little imagination and desperation you can figure out a lot of stuff for what you walk out the front door with every morning.

But it doesn’t have to be that bad. And without looking like Adam West’s Batman with his utility belt strapped around you either. You can improve your odds by adding a few simple things that will fit in your pockets.

I keep a credit card survival tool in my wallet. Actually it’s much shorter than a credit card and it fits nicely in a small side pocket in my wallet. We sell them at Among The Leaves and include them in all our pre-equipped kits. It has a can opener, a saw, a knife, a screwdriver, a few small sockets, and a few more useful tools. All in something that’s barely thicker than a credit card. I barely remember it’s in there most times… till I need it.

Stick a flashlight in your pocket. I have a small flashlight, runs on a single CR123 battery and can put out a max of 210 lumens. That is seriously bright. On lower lumen setting it’ll last for several days and has an SOS flash setting. Add in a bit of wire, you can use the battery to start a fire.

Adding a paracord bracelet to your wrist is a low profile yet incredibly useful piece of kit. Just having 6 to 12 feet of paracord can set you up with shelter, fishing line, snares, maybe even a small fishing net. We, here at Among The Leaves, sell a survival paracord bracelet that includes a compass, saw, fishing hooks and line inside, and a fire starter. Paracord comes in every color under the rainbow so you don’t have to look like Tactical Timmy wearing one.

Add a knife to your back pocket. I recommend a nice folder with a frame lock system, but a good liner lock system is just as sturdy.

So, with just little things that fit on you or in your pockets, you’ve, I think, dramatically improved your life in a bug out or survival situation.

An important point here is that they are either worn on you or in your pockets. You can get separated from a purse, lose a back pack; forget a pouch on the ground. Heck, you might even have to abandon them all in your car to get out as fast as possible, but so long as you’ve not lost your pants those things you have on your body are coming with you.

Bug Out Bags 101

Hey everyone, this is the first post in what I hope will be an ongoing series of articles on bug out/survival bags. It’s a big subject that covers a lot of ground from what equipment to carry, to what skills you need to be successful at it. But rather than trying to drink from the firehose, lets break it down into smaller sips. So, how about starting from the beginning. The most basic question being, what is a bug out bag? In its most basic form a bug out bag is something that will get you from where ever you happen to be to where ever you’ve decided you need to be to be safe. Plain and simple, that’s all it is.

But let’s break that down bit by bit.

Something that will get you from where ever you happen to be to where ever you’ve decided you need to be to be safe.


What is that something? Is it a 1000 dollar REI hiking full frame backpack? Is it a storage tub in the trunk of your car? Is it a 10 dollar surplus Alice pack from your local Army/Navy store? Is it whatever you shoved in your pants pockets that morning?

Where ever you happen to be…

Where are you when you decide that it’s no longer safe to be there? Do you go to the same place every day for work? Do you do a lot of travel? Are you collecting the rest of your family before you bug out? Do you commute between place over time?

Where ever you’ve decided…

Have you planned for a safe place. Let me say that again, have you planned for somewhere. If there is more than one of you, have you all agreed on that place? Do all of you know how to get there?

You need to be to be safe.

Do you have a cabin “off grid”? Your grandma’s place in Detroit? A friend’s ranch in Arizona? Your summer home on Cass Lake? A buried cache of supplies and equipment under a rock? How far away is it? Can you just drive there? Will you need pack mules? Can you only get there by helicopter? Is it there year round or only during the summer?

And that’s not all the questions you should be asking when you think about bug out bags. But that fact that you are thinking about it is the first and possible the biggest step towards preparedness. It really does prove the old adage, an ounce of prevention… or in this case preparation.

In future blogs I’ll go in to my ideas on what a bug out bag should be, what should be in it, what shouldn’t, and why I’d pack the things I do. Please, come back for that. I’ll make it worth your time.

Go out and survive among the leaves.