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Taking the concept of survival bicycling to the next level requires turning up the volume on the basics as well as adding another layer of preparedness and confidence.   The first place to start is properly fitting the bike to your body and your needs. This article is Part 2 in the Survival Bicycling Series – Read Part 1 A bad fit will cause injury, inefficiency, and insecurity.

Survival Bicycling: Part 2

Survival Bicycling: Part 2Taking the concept of survival bicycling to the next level requires turning up the volume on the basics as well as adding another layer of preparedness and confidence.  The first place to start is properly fitting the bike to your body and your needs. This article is Part 2 in the Survival Bicycling Series – Read Part 1 A bad fit will cause injury, inefficiency, and insecurity.  Here are the three main fit considerations, and with a little practice, you will be able to eyeball the fit when you switch bikes saving the fine adjustments for later. Quick Navigation Proper Fitting: Tandem Bicycles: Bike Trailers: Frame-mounted Racks: Bike Packs: Pulling the Rip Cord: Water: Lighting: Crashing: Advanced Tool Kit: Replacement parts to have on hand: Intentional Disablement: Tool Free Options: Options that require tools: Finally, a couple of parting tips: Proper Fitting: 1. Saddle height and angle: The seat or saddle as its called, should be positioned for proper knee extension and pedal pressure. Level the saddle (avoid tipping it down) and sit comfortably.  Now place the ball of your foot on the center of the pedal directly over the spindle. Your knees should not go completely straight (or pop) when the pedal spins through the bottom of its rotation.  And just as important your knee should not remain fairly bent throughout the pedal stroke.  A straight knee is dangerously hard on the joint, and a bent knee is inefficient and causes excessive stress on the leg muscles as well as the joint.   Use a handhold to balance on the bike and spin the pedals backwards adjusting the seat post height for a smooth, round pedal cycle, not a square, or pogo stick. And never over tighten the seat post binder bolt or quick release lever. 2. Handlebar position: the neck, back, arms, and weight distribution are controlled by the distance and height of the handlebars compared to the saddle. The more upright, the more weight on your butt and on the rear wheel. While comfort might increase, you lose pedaling power and increase wind resistance. If 90 degrees is fully upright, and zero degrees is a flat back like a triathlete in aero position, something in the 60 to 80 degree range is an effective riding position unless trying to outrun a bad guy or a bear. The issue with weight distribution has mostly to do with control when on rough or gravelly surfaces. Since weight equals traction you want to be able to shift your weight forward or backward depending on the need. 3. Hand position is the final critical fit concern. How and where you grip the handlebars makes a big difference in comfort and control. Brake levers and shifters should fit naturally into your hands while riding, and be second nature to operate. There is usually an inverse relationship between speed and comfort. If you plan on spending most of your time tooling around town, then placing the cockpit controls within easy reach is fine. But if you plan on riding aggressively, the controls must be positioned and operated under more extreme conditions–maybe while hanging on for dear life! Tandem Bicycles: Tandem bicycles , or bicycles built for two are much more than just a two-person bike, they are an entirely different riding experience. The survival aspects of a tandem are many including the ability to carry an injured partner, add a young child or two, and even taking shifts doing the work. The captain, or rider in front, controls the steering, shifting and braking, but either the captain or the stoker (the rear rider) can do the pedal work, but normally both do.  Due to the close and uniform proximity of the riders, communication is easy and quite enjoyable. The captain usually has his hands full, but the stoker can navigate, serve food, and even shoot a gun accurately while riding–well, about as accurately as shooting from a moving car.  In a true SHTF situation , the stoker can even stand up and shoot forward over the captain’s head turning your bicycle into an assault vehicle or ultimate pedal-powered poaching pickup. An add-on pseudo-tandem option is something called a Trail-a-Bike . It is a single wheeled contraption that mounts onto the seat post of almost any bike (or tandem for that matter) adding another seat and drivetrain. The Trail-a-Bike works only for younger kids due to weight and fit limitations, but its utilitarian value when the SHTF can’t be underestimated. You could even go so far as to strap the child to the bike and they could fall asleep while you pedaled along to your bug out location . I say this with some experience since one of my kids actually fell asleep on a Trail-a-Bike as we were riding through the trails of Yellowstone National Park. I do feel bad for not noticing sooner, but even slumped over the handlebars, we did cover some distance. Bike Trailers: Trailers are one of the best survival accessories you can put on a bike.  Outside of quality, the only other main decision is if you want one or two wheels.  The classic kid-carrying bike trailer is a two-wheeled design where a majority of the weight rests on the trailer’s tires. One-wheeled trailers split the load roughly in half between the bike’s rear wheel and the trailer’s single wheel. So why would you want a single-wheel trailer?  Great question. In reality, the single wheel design handles rough terrain better, has a lower center of gravity, and tracks much more predictably. Two-wheeled trailers are very easy to crash into trees, catch on building corners, and sideswipe curbs because the distance between the wheels is about the same as a set of handlebars, but sticking out three feet behind you. A well-made single-wheel trailer like the B.O.B. Yak is ideal for non-human cargo. It follows you like a train car due to the articulation of the hitch back behind the rear wheel rather than at the rear axle like most two-wheel trailer designs. Basically, in a turn the B.O.B. wheel follows in the path of your rear bike wheel rather than cutting the corner. So why would you want a two-wheeled trailer? Great question. Two-wheels keep the trailer upright as well as assume a disproportionate amount of the payload weight. They are great for hauling kids, groceries, and larger items. Trailers of the two-wheeled variety can also convert to strollers and handcarts. By adding a third wheel to the nose of the trailer, it can run double duty earning its keep both on and off the bike. If the trailer has a roll cage, then it becomes a small mobile shelter as well as keeping the cargo safer than if exposed to the elements. A straight line between the wheels on a two-wheel trailer runs perpendicular to the direction of travel. So when you hit a bump with a two-wheeler, the entire trailer bounces up in the air. While a bouncing two-wheel trailer can be the beginning of a disaster, single-wheel trailers love to go airborne and seem to relish in racking up frequent flyer miles. A quick spin around YouTube will document this fact as mountain bikers race down rough trails with a single-wheel trailer in tow. A two-wheeled trailer would likely have flown off the trail at the first turn, and either wrapped itself around a tree, or dragged the bike over the edge into oblivion. So if your anticipated trailer needs include kid cargo, paved streets or smooth wide trails, look for two wheels. But if your plans involve tight turns, bumpy roads, or single track trails, then opt for one wheel. Frame-mounted Racks: Racks are an important solution for carrying equipment on a bike, but in most cases, they can move the center of gravity dangerously high if you don’t pack correctly. Unlike roof-top racks on a car, balance is essential for efficient and safe riding. As weight moves further above the ground, its lateral movement one way requires a noticeable equal and opposite force the other way causing a back and forth sway that if not dampened quickly will lead to the same fate as a drunken ice skater. Bike Packs: Panniers are the name for the saddlebags designed attach to the sides of a bike rack. Panniers can be complex and expensive, or little more than re-purposed day packs . The key is they have to attach firmly, allow unobstructed pedaling and steering, and keep their fingers out of the spokes and drivetrain. Panniers are great for securing heavier items below the top of the tire. As weight moves above the tire, the lateral forces are more likely to tilt the bike rather than just push against it. And it is not unusual for a loaded bicycle to flip over backwards when dismounted if too much weight is packed behind the rear axle. The most common pannier placement is on a rear rack, but smaller versions are made for front racks. While proper weight distribution is essential on a rear rack, it is even more critical on a front rack. Steering is the first casualty of added front-wheel weight, and braking is a close second. When slowing, the forces during deceleration are transferred to the front wheel impeding your ability to steer, and thus remain balanced. These are just words of caution and should in no way prevent you from experimenting with your ride. And similar to backpacking, put the heavy stuff down low, and the lighter, bulkier stuff higher up. Pulling the Rip Cord: Just because you can make your survival bike do the heavy lifting doesn’t mean you should count on it with your most important survival tools. You must be able to jettison your bike if necessary, or lose it to marauders. Unless you know that you will be 100% safe, keep your essentials on your body.  Another friendly reminder is that it’s easy to over pack or get sloppy with equipment decisions when you don’t have to bear the weight of your stuff directly on your body.  Remember, ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain. With that said, you can ride a bike while carrying a backpack–a real backpack loaded to the gills with all your camping gear.  The first rude awakening of this carry method, however, will be felt in your neck because you cannot raise your head upright to easily look forward. And it’s only made worse if you are leaning more forward in your bike fit.   Next will be your arms and hands since you now have much more weight on those contact points.  Finally, your butt will be screaming because your range of motion is reduced likely including the inability to stand up on the pedals to get the blood flowing again.  So count on backpack biking as a short-term solution. But softer, smaller day packs can be carried 24/7 with few concerns. Water: Water is a big deal, and there are plenty of carry options. The obvious ones are frame-mounted water bottles, and hydration bladders. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Bike bottles are small and rigid, bladders are large but easy to puncture. So use them all. And distribute the water around the bike, trailer and on your body especially when you don’t know where your next water source will come from. With water, no matter how or how much you carry, you need to drink it for it to do any good. Camelbak , a leader in backpack water systems popularized the catchphrase “Hydrate or Die.” While obvious on the surface, the implications of the new device were dramatic. We could go further and go harder if we drank a little bit more often than a lot of water occasionally.  The Camelbak revolution began with no more than an IV bag and a clothespin.  And after 25 years, you rarely encounter a off road biker or even American soldier without one. The beauty of the bike is that fixed weight like water  does not consume riding energy near as much as does rotating weight.  That means once your bike is in motion, the pedal force required to keep it in motion is not that great unless climbing a hill. If the weight does not move around like wheels spinning, pedals turning, or packs swaying side to side, the energy cost of maintaining level forward motion with a few more pounds is almost unnoticeable. And that includes the weight on your back. Lighting: Riding in the dark is only slightly more complex than hiking in the dark. The two main differences are the visible stopping distance and the choice of frame and/or body mounted lighting. Your familiarity with the path or road you are riding is critical in choosing an appropriate speed. It is very easy to over-ride your stopping distance meaning that if you detect an obstacle in your path in the dark, it’s probably too late to stop before introducing yourself. And that’s in the best of times given that you even saw the thing before you hit it. You won’t always have plenty of fully charged batteries and working lights. With weak lighting or candle lanterns, you won’t be able to ride fast enough to safely maintain your balance so walk the bike instead. Bike mounted lights are the default lighting source, since the lights can ride around almost invisible until needed. The problem is that they are usually fixed to the handlebars so they only point where the handlebars are aimed. Like weapon-mounted lights, the benefits are the same, but so are the limitations. The light always points in the direction you are going, but you cannot point the light in other directions easily. Headlamps are an excellent option, but if that’s all you have, they generate their own issues. In pure darkness, the moment you turn your headlamp to the side to inspect a sound or intersection, everything in front of you goes black. By the time you point your head forward again, it might be too late to react. So the solution is to have both, and use what’s needed when you need it. But it’s not always that simple. If you are bouncing down a trail or dirt road at night, a handlebar mounted light will be shooting its beam all over the place as you steer around potholes and rocks. Corners are even worse because with only a handlebar mounted light, you cannot see what’s around the bend until after you’ve committed to the turn. In that case, a headlamp will be more useful since the roles are reversed compared to the scenario in the previous paragraph. You can put your headlamp light where you want it and keep it there. Obviously the problem gets worse with speed because you not only need time to react, you also need a few tenths of a second of brain-time to sequence the steps necessary to remain balanced after passing by the obstruction. Cars can steer back and forth without concern for balance, but a turn to the right on a bike is accomplished only by starting with a quick turn to the left that causes you to start falling in the direction you want to turn. Only then can you steer to the right by balancing the cornering forces with gravity. If you cannot make that lightening fast twitch in the opposite direction, you will have only two choices: go straight or crash. Or I guess only one choice if going straight is the same as crashing. You know that feeling where you ride too close to an edge and discover you cannot turn away?  That’s what I’m talking about. Riding with a flashlight in hand is a viable solution, but a risky one.  Two bad things can happen. Option One: You will drop your light most likely breaking it or sending the batteries skittering across the street. And Option Two: You won’t have enough fingers necessary to slam on the brakes without initiating Option One as well. Crashing: Crashing your bike is a fact of life, but what you wear and do during the crash has a lot to do with the result.  Therefore you have to plan for the inevitable outcome of a crash .  The main contact points when you hit the ground will likely be your hands, head, knees and feet.  A helmet and gloves are the two most common crash-ready articles of clothing.  Bike racers shave their legs to minimize the effects of skidding across pavement, but mountain bikers have resorted to shorts that extend over their knees. The biggest challenge maybe more with your bike than your body.  Wheels are often the first victims of a crash.  Flats, bent rims, and really bent rims affectionately known as potato chips should be expected.  A crash-induced flat is most likely from a “snake bite” or compressing of the tire until the inner tube is pinched between the edges of the rim and the obstacle.  Keep in mind that you may now have two holes in your tube requiring two patches, and there might be a ding in the rim in need of inspection.  If you happen to potato chip a rim (yes, potato chip can be a verb), you might actually be able to muscle it back into service by literally placing it on hard ground, putting your hands on opposite sides of the rim, and give it everything you’ve got to bend it back.  If you cannot do it by hand, you can always jump on it because you certainly cannot damage the rim any more…unless you land in the spokes. Eye Wear is another thing to take seriously.  It’s one thing to walk into a eye-poking stick, but quite another to ride into one.  Plus all the hazards of insects, rocks tossed up by the tires, and dust in your eyes at 30mph. Sunglasses , shooting glasses, goggles, and shop safety glasses are all great. Don’t bug out without them. Advanced Tool Kit: In Survival Bicycling part 1, a simple toolkit was outlined. Assuming the listed items from part one are already in your kit, you can take your tool set to the next level by adding the following six more items: 1. Crank puller . Pulling a crank spider is necessary to access the bottom bracket as well as swap out the crank with a different one. I prefer the simple crank puller designs that require a socket or wrench rather than one with an integrated handle. 2. 14mm and 15mm sockets and ratchet. Crank bolt are likely either 14 or 15mm. The other popular bolt head size is 8mm hex so maybe toss one of those in the bag as well. Sockets are needed to fit into the crank arm so the sockets are not completely overlapped by the adjustable wrenches. Wheels that bolt on are usually 15mm as well. 3. Chain whip. A spoked wheel is a feat of engineering, but also something that cannot be built on the fly. For that reason you will need to cannibalize bike parts as you go. The chain whip is used to unscrew a freewheel from a rear hub. Two are used in the shop, but one will with do most of the work if you can anchor the freewheel from spinning. 4. Cassette lockring tool . Modern cassettes (the gear cluster on the rear hub) are held on with special lockrings. While you could fabricate a tool to do the job, it is much easier to just drop in the lockring tool, grab it with your adjustable wrench, and solve your problem. 5. 8-inch or larger wide-jaw adjustable wrench. Older or inexpensive bikes still use a large headset nut, something in the neighborhood of 32mm. If there were only one size, then only one wrench would be needed, so hedge your bets in a SHTF with something like the Channellock 8WCB . 6. Repair stand. A stand can be as simple as hooking your bike seat over a low branch, or strap hanging from a rafter. If you plan on servicing bikes on a regular basis, a portable workstand makes the job much safer, easier, and faster. Replacement parts to have on hand: Duct tape. Wrapping half-a-dozen yards or more around your bike pump barrel is a common practice. You want to keep the tape out of the weather or it will disintegrate rapidly. One-inch and two-inch long 3/16” diameter bolts with nuts and lock washers. These emergency replacements might require some creative attachments, but can get you back on the road. Four inch section of mountain bike tire sidewall, and three-inch section of road bike tire sidewall. Just find an old tire and cut it up for when you damage your working tire’s sidewall. Using duct tape, anchor the sidewall patch inside the tire, and carefully inflate. You might need to run low pressure depending on the severity of the damage, so watch for pinch flats (snakebites) if you hit any bumps. One inch and two inch diameter hose clamps. These make great anchor points on frame tubes, and can even get you home if your frame breaks in the right place. Think of them as splints for broken bike bones. Bungee cords. In addition to securing odd shaped cargo to a bike frame, like canoe paddles or 2x4s, elastic cords can be used to tension systems like derailers whose springs have snapped. Intentional Disablement: Bike theft, whether due to random opportunity or by gunpoint is a reality.  Here are several quick ways you can make your bike unrideable, and it just might be the difference between slight inconvenience and total loss.  The duration of the disablement depends on what you do, but if it looks like you might have to leave your bike unattended, or an approaching bad guy might want to take it, if you have even a few seconds, you can knock the bike out of commission or cause a problem that hopefully will require more troubleshooting effort than the thief will want to put into the bike. If you have only a few moments, use the tool-free options, but if you have more time, supplement the tool-free ones with a couple quick twists of a wrench. Honestly, it is possible to literally make a quick problem that only a bike mechanic would identify right away, and if the robber does not have his own bike, there’s a good chance he’ll be befuddled long enough to either give up, or give you time to slip away and wait. Keep in mind that you have to undo your work so that may play into what you do as well. "Tool Free Options" : The fastest thing you can do is make a large gear shift without pedaling. The moment anyone tries to ride the bike it will change gears with a violent crunching sound causing brief disorientation. The best option, if you have one, is to shift into the highest gears because then pedaling forward will be the most difficult due to the ascending gear ratio. Brakes are the next quick target. All three of these options take about the same amount of time, but one can be done subtly with one hand. The simple solution is to twist the cable tension barrel on the brake lever. As it tightens, it will stretch the cable causing the brake pads to rub the rim or disk. Assuming you are standing on or next to your bike, or even rolling slowly, you can feel the brakes activate. If you turn too far, you will just initiate a version of the second option which is to release the cable somehow. You can either pop it free at the brake lever, or disengage it at the wheel where there should be a fast way to do it so inflated tires can be installed or removed. Usually it just involves unhooking a cable or connector, or flip a lever. The bike is still rideable, but it has no brakes. The third is similar to the first. Something can be wedged into the brake mechanism or lever activating the brake. It can be small like a rock, or large like a tee shirt. The goal is to keep the wheels from spinning so be creative. On the brake lever side, just pull the lever tight and insert something into the newly opened space between the lever and clamp. On the brake side, squeeze the brake against the rim and look for a place you can stuff something to keep it activated. Disk brakes are a little too sensitive to mess with on the wheel side, so you might truly put it out of commission if not careful. You can flip open the quick releases levers that hold the wheels tight to the frame. Better yet, remove the levers completely with a few extra spins. If someone happens to ride away, they won’t get far. About as far as the first bump to be exact. A disconnected bike chain renders the entire drivetrain unusable, and even likely to make a significant imprint of the pedal cage on the thief’s shin when they try to ride. To “throw the chain” as it’s called, just use your toe or thumb to push the bottom part of the chain to the left as you pedal backwards until the chain falls free of the chain rings (the big gears connected to the pedals). To reinstall the chain, you might be able to use the front derailleur to shift it back in place while gently pedaling forward, or just reverse the procedure and re-engage the chain by nudging the chain to the right while turning the crank backwards.  If you want to add a visual clue that the bike is disabled, you can push the chain off to the right side and loop it over the pedal allowing it to hang worthlessly touching the ground. Spokes are a great place to boobytrap your bike. Anything stuck in them causes a delay. Straps, buckles, even the tied arms of a sweatshirt. The clog will only be made worse when the bike is moved so sometime slack works to your advantage. Options that require tools: Loosen, or better yet remove the seat and and seatpost . One lefty-loosey turn with a 5mm allen wrench should do the trick. Loosen the handlebar stem from the steerer tube.  Depending on the bike, it might be a single bolt on the top of the stem. A hammer-nudge on the bolt might be needed after loosening, or you could leave it to come loose on its own.  If any speed is involved when the compression bolt breaks free, there will be a significant crash and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.  Newer headsets may have two allen bolts on the vertical clamp that tightens onto the steerer tube. A variation on this is to cause the steering mechanism to be too tight, but that risks damage to the bearings if someone forces it to turn. Deflating the tires is effective but time consuming on both ends. Obviously one flat requires only half the total time, but its still just as potent. If you do deflate one tire, make it the front because it will be more obvious, and hopefully do less tire damage if the thief rides the bike since there is less weight on the front tire. Finally, a couple of parting tips: Slime your wheels. Slime is a flat-fixing compound that really works.  It’s squirted into the tubes, or pre-installed in new tubes. If you get a puncture, it’s fixed from the inside while you are still riding. Monitor your tube and tire needs and inventory.  A garage full of bikes and trailers likely requires several different tire and tube sizes, and it’s easy to forget the kid’s bikes in your quest to outfit your ultimate survival bike. Higher-end bikes can be a little temperamental.  Just like fancy Italian sports cars, some of the racing mountain bikes are a little high strung and require more specialized maintenance and tools.  A SHTF scenario is not the time to run out of shock oil or hydraulic fluid. And lastly, start riding now.  As in today.  Don’t wait until you are forced to ride a bike before practicing your survival biking techniques. Photos by: JGriffler SnowSlave Vikapproved Doc Montana Matt and Carla Dion Hinchcliff Alley Rats Jamis Bikes Other interesting articles: QuietKat All Terrain Electric Mountain Bike Review: Hands-on for 2020 Survival Gear Review: Burley COHO XC Bike Trailer Survival Bicycling: Part 1 What is the Ultimate Survival Vehicle? Top 15 Bug Out Vehicles for 2020

Unique-ARs: Make It Your Own

Unique-ARs: Make It Your Own

At SHOT, we got to see some of the beautiful custom handguards from the family owned manufacturer, Unique-ARs up close. We got them to share some photos with us. All of Unique-ARs’ handguards are made using 6061 aluminum, so they are strong and lightweight. Their distinctive patterns are the result of CNC machining, and the colorful coatings they use are a durable Cerakote. Photo courtesy of Unique ARs. Painted in KG gun coating by Steven Franks at Pinstriping by Rat The pricing varies depending on whether you opt for a stock handguard or custom work. From there, the prices scale up in accordance with the handguard length. Unique-ARs sells handguards at lengths of 7in, 9in, 12in, and 15 inches (ordering rails is an option as well, for those interested in accessory mounting options). Each handguard also comes with its two part barrel nut mounting system. Photo courtesy of Unique AR Despite the delicate appearance of some of the more intricate-looking handguards, one of the owners from Unique-ARs assured me they’re quite strong. Apparently, they’re durable enough that parking a truck on top of one (not that you’d want to) isn’t enough to deform them. Photo courtesy of Unique AR To build your very own UniqueAR, check out their web site , Photos courtesy of Unique AR

Vizeri LED VZ460 tactical flashlight review

Vizeri LED VZ460 tactical flashlight review

Click here for the best price on Amazon The Vizeri LED VZ460 tactical flashlight is a heavy-duty pocket sized but dangerously bright tactical flashlight loaded with different features and modes. This flashlight is so bright that Vizeri claims that the VZ460 blazes more white light than 6 standard flashlights combined. We like this flashlight so much that it is featured in our Best Tactical Flashlights page. Vizeri is one of the top brands in the tactical flashlight industry. One of the great things about the Vizeri brand is they offer a lifetime warranty. If you have any problems arise with your flashlight, they will refund or replace the light. They are so sure that customers will be satisfied that they offer a guaranteed full return policy. Overview This Vizeri light is built to be tough. The body is made of aircraft-grade aluminum with Anoshield finish. It is IPX-7 waterproof, water-resistant in up to 3 feet of water. The zoom feature has o-rings to help seal out water. It is also built very practically. They incorporated a threading tube that attaches the components versus the pressure fixings you’ll find in cheaper flashlights. This is just another great feature you’ll get with this light. There are also no wires in the Vizeri that could break with impact and the springs are gold-plated for connections that won’t corrode. Vizeri utilizes a mirrored Lumenboost vacuum coated aluminum optical reflector for added brightness. This same light is available in either 230 or 460 lumen models depending on the power you need. That is advertised as powerful as either 25 or 50 standard incandescent flashlights. The bulb is a CREE T6 XML LED. Specifications This is another flashlight that gives you the option of using rechargeable batteries or regular which is the kind of flexibility we love. It either runs on AAA batteries or CR123 alkaline batteries. This is a great feature to be able to use cheap AAA batteries when in a bind. The flashlight comes with a lithium-ion battery end cap adapter as well as the AAA battery adapter, which also allows you the option to use 18650 lithium batteries as well, which are also easier to find overseas if you use the flashlight when traveling. The lithium-ion batteries are recommended if you will be using the flashlight in the high mode. The 230 features 5 different light modes: high, medium, low, SOS, and strobe. The light also features a built in memory that remembers the last mode you used. No more pushing the button through each mode every time you turn it on. The LED bulb is able to run for 100,000 hours. The Vizeri 230 has many features that make it stand out from competitors. We love the ability to switch between various power supplies with the adaptor, with your choice of CV, AAA, or lithium ion. The light also includes a lamp diffuser and holster with a D ring which allows you the versatility of using the light while its, hanging which is especially convenient when camping. The diffuser attaches to the top and spreads the light to truly give the feel of using a lantern. In addition, the light has a focusing lens allowing you to direct the beam as needed. This is special as the light is rated as IPX7 waterproof , but most truly waterproof flashlights don’t have the ability to focus the beam. Vizeri has added o-rings and other features to allow the light to have the zoom feature while still maintaining its water protection. This light also features a twist focus instead of a telescoping focus, which means the focus will stay exactly where you put it even when bumped. There are also many accessories available for this light, such as: bike mount, weapon mount, remote tactical switch, orange diffuser, and lithium batteries. This flashlight is very versatile and can be carried in a Bug out Bag or a Tactical Backpack . What we like about it For the price, the V460 provides an incredible amount of power and options. The flexible power options is always useful when charging the light isn’t possible. We also like that the light has 5 light modes to conserve power if you don’t need all 460 lumens of the high mode all the time. The additions of the SOS mode along with the strobe function for defense are added protections for you or your loved one. We also like how many different accessories you can purchase to suit your individual needs, but the light still comes with the diffuser, holster, and carabiner to allow for that hanging lantern-effect if you desire. Ultimately, the flexibility and functionality of this flashlight easily land it in our top ten list. Here is what we found customers are saying about this flashlight. One customer said: “This is the first tactical light I have ever purchased that came with extra o-rings. It also came with a belt holster, light-dispersion cone, wrist lanyard, and the two battery options. This flashlight could be sold for twice the price and it would still be a great deal. I will definitely remember to check out Vizeri for my next light purchase!” What we don’t like about it The flashlight seems to be cheaply made but at this price, its hard to complain. The button seemed a little finicky to control which mode it was in. Conclusion We conclude that the value of the various light modes, along with the focus lens and lifetime warranty that make this purchase truly an investment in a quality light.  This light is at a great price point and customers are seeing the value that it offers. Ultimately, the flexibility and functionality of this flashlight easily land it in our top ten list. Click here for the best price on Amazon

Gunsmithing: 5 Ways To Remove Frozen Screws

Gunsmithing: 5 Ways To Remove Frozen Screws

/* custom css */.td_uid_2_5f379d6993ee8_rand.td-a-rec-img { text-align: left; } .td_uid_2_5f379d6993ee8_rand.td-a-rec-img img { margin: 0 auto 0 0; } If you do your own gunsmithing long enough, you will run into screws that refuse to budge. From simple to extreme, try these five techniques to get the job done. The five ways to remove frozen screws when gunsmithing are: Use a torch Use penetrating oil Re-cut the screw slot Drill the screw Welding If you work on firearms long enough, you will run into screws that refuse to budge. With the correct screwdriver and the proper force, a screw should move. If it doesn’t, stop. Go through this checklist: Is the screw a properly fitting screw? When was the last time this screw was moved? Has Loctite been applied? If you don’t know, is it a screw that is likely to be locked in place? (The most common places you will run into screws locking in place will be on scope mounts. People who don’t know how to properly tighten a screw will use Loctite when it’s not needed.) Buy the correct screwdrivers for the job. Using one that is “close enough” is a sure way to mangle a screw slot. You have no one to blame but yourself. You must proceed with caution or you will mar or strip the screw slot, making a difficult job more difficult. Do not let anything slip. The screw or even the firearm will be damaged. In extreme cases, you can hurt yourself. 1. Use A Torch Double-check you are using a properly fitting screwdriver. If the screw is locked in placed with Loctite, use a propane torch to break down the Loctite. You must be careful. The strongest grades of Loctite will withstand 400 degrees Fahrenheit. At 600 degrees you will heat-damage the bluing, but the steel itself will not be harmed. Related GunDigest Articles Video: Richard Mann on the Mozambique Drill Shooting Skills: The Mozambique-Failure Drill Blackout: Critical Frozen Food Safety Tips 2. Use Penetrating Oil If the screw is frozen, but not locked in with Loctite, heat will have no effect. Put the firearm on your bench so the screw is level, and place a drop of penetrating oil, such as Liquid Wrench, on the screw head. Let the oil work into the screw for an hour, a day, or a week, if you can. Now try again with a screwdriver. Some people prefer to work horizontally, others vertically. I’m a vertical person. I set the handgun on top of the padded vise, with the jaws open enough to let the frame fit in the droop of the padding. I hold the screwdriver vertically and place it into the slot. My chin rests against the end of the screwdriver’s handle while I use both hands to turn the screwdriver. In this way, I can exert maximum force and still feel for any movement of the screw.

Best 1911 Magazines Various Types & Sizes Reviewed

The best 1911 magazine for you is out there. The challenging part is wading through all the ones that are available on the market. There are magazines that are not worth spending money on, even if they are cheap. That's because the quality probably won't be the best. To make it easy for you, we've done the hard work and have chosen seven of the best 1911 magazines that are currently available. One of them may be the next one you buy and probably the last one for a while. At a Glance: Our Top Picks for 1911 Magazines OUR TOP PICK: Tumbled Stainless Steel 1911 Mag .45 Acp 1911 45acp Wilson-rogers Magazines Brownells - 1911 9mm Magazines Metalform - 1911 10mm Magazine Springfield: 1911: 45 Auto/Acp: Ss 8rd Capacity BEST BUDGET OPTION: Kci 1911 .45 Acp 15-round Magazine Comparison of the Best 1911 Magazines IMAGE PRODUCT Our Top Pick Tumbled "Stainless Steel 1911" Mag .45 Acp 7 Round Capacity Fits All 1911 Guns Made From Stainless Steel View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews "1911 45acp Wilson" -rogers Magazines Precision Formed Body Holds Up to Eight Rounds (Some Variations Will Hold 7) Made From Heat-Treated, Aircraft-Quality Stainless Steel "View Latest Price" → "Read Customer Reviews" Brownells - 1911 9mm Magazines Witness Holes for Fast Round Counts Xylan-Coated for Corrosion Protection. Constructed of Heat-Treated Stainless Steel View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Metalform - "1911 10mm Magazine" Holds Up to 8 Rounds Orange Nylon Follower for Easier Loading Made From Carbon and Stainless Steels for Maximum Durability View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Springfield: 1911: 45 Auto/Acp: Ss 8rd Capacity Fits Most 1911s. Holds Up to 8 Rounds Constructed of Stainless Steel View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews 1911 10rd 45acp Power Plus Magazine 10 Round Capacity Removable Plastic Base Pad Stainless Steel Body and Follower View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Best Budget Option Kci 1911 .45 Acp 15-round Magazine Holds Up to 15 Rounds Constructed From Durable Steel Clear Cut Witness Holes for Faster Loading View Latest Price Read Customer Reviews Perks of Having A Variety Of Magazines Having a variety of magazines for your 1911 is a good thing. And you’ll be able to enjoy some of the perks and benefits that go along with owning such accessories. Here are some of the perks and benefits that you’ll enjoy should you decide to invest in a good quality magazine or two: More Round Capacity The thing to keep in mind is that not all magazines will have the same capacity. Some will have a maximum capacity of ten rounds, while some will have an upwards of 12. Either way, having multiple options should be essential, especially when you’re out target practicing or taking part in competitive shooting contests. Faster Load and Reload Going back to the competitive shooting example . Having multiple options on hand will allow you to load and reload faster. In the interest of time, you don't want one where you'll have to load rounds one-by-one. This may also be a great benefit if you're testing out different magazines on the range to determine which one will be best for your 1911 . You’ll Always Have A Backup The biggest advantage of having a variety of magazines is having a spare when disaster strikes. By disaster, we mean when the device malfunctions. There will come a time where that will happen. The only obvious solution is to replace your malfunctioning magazine with one that has not been used yet. Variety of 1911 Magazines ( Source ) Aspects to Consider Before Buying a 1911 Magazine If you’re in the market for a 1911 magazine, there are a few important aspects to consider before making a decision. You know well enough that picking one off the shelf or online on a whim is a mistake. Without looking at what it has for features and how it can benefit you, you risk having a bad user experience and wasting your hard-earned money. The following are a few aspects that past buyers have considered when buying this type of product: Reputation of the Manufacturer Some buyers have often bought their guns and accessories on the name alone. If they are longtime buyers of the same brand name, there is a reason or two why they keep on buying it. Sometimes, you have to go beyond the name itself to make sure if it's one that you want to trust. Price Obviously, the price is a factor in every buying decision. You may have some money to play around with or you're probably on a budget. Either way, the price is a deciding factor. Yet, there is a major caveat for this. In order to find the best option for yourself, you want to consider the quality over price. You do not want to go for cheap since cheap is associated with bad quality. Luckily, there is a rule that you'll need to follow: find the best quality that you can afford. Thankfully, there are some on the market that are high in quality and fair on price. Pressure This is another factor that should be worth considering. This focuses on the pressure in the springs of the magazines. There are devices that have different levels of pressure in their springs. Magazines for 1911s have higher pressure in their springs for maximum performance. This is something that you’ll want for your own use. Craftsmanship Obviously, this is a factor that entails the quality of your device. This also includes the aesthetics as well. Most will have a highly reflective finish and will show it when held up in sunlight. However, some users may not desire a reflective finish for a few reasons. A shiny finish may be associated with poor grip. This is even worse if your hands are slippery due to water or sweat. It would be wise for you to find a product that does not have a reflective finish. Having a better grip is much more of a need than having it look good. No Sticking Finally, it should be able to eject quickly and smoothly. This is an excellent feature that may come in handy in the event of a competition or if it decides to malfunction. If you need multiple magazines for spares, having a no-stick one is key for when you need to load and reload rather quickly. Quick Take - The Best 1911 Magazines These are our recommendations for the best 1911 magazines: Tumbled Stainless Steel 1911 Mag .45 Acp 1911 45acp Wilson-rogers Magazines Brownells - 1911 9mm Magazines Review of the " "Best 1911 Magazine" s" Having a reliable, functional back-up magazine or two will be beneficial in a variety of circumstances. We’ve uncovered the best on the market and given you an overview of each of our picks to help you decide which one is right for you. Best Overall: ​ Tumbled Stainless Steel 1911 Mag .45 Acp CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Excellent Quality for its Price Works Flawlessly After 500 or More Rounds Fits All Government-Issued 1911s and Also All Other 1911s Cons Only a Seven Round Capacity, Not Eight One User Complained That it Drags in the Magwell One Reviewer Complained About it Not Dropping Free From a 70s-Era Colt The first magazine we’ll look at comes to us from Palmetto State Armory (PSA). This is a stainless steel option with a seven round capacity that fits PSA-issued 1911s and also other models. If you have a 1911 that is a standard government issued gun and can work with government magazines, the PSA is a good alternative to have when you need an extra magazine or two. If you want a product that is guaranteed to last you even through hundreds, if not thousands of rounds, you should consider the PSA as a possible option. This is considered to be one of the best on the market (of course, as it has the top spot in this article). Bottom Line "Palmetto State Armory" is a reliable brand for most 1911 users. Some will have good things to say about them, others not so much. If you want something with a low count capacity, you can rely on this one in particular. One advantage you might have is the lower the capacity, the quicker you can replace it with an additional magazine. That might be a good strategy to have if you’re a competitive shooter. Best For The Money: ​ 1911 45acp Wilson-Rogers Magazines CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Very Easy to Disassemble and Clean Very Durable and Can Withstand a Great Deal of Weather While You’re Switching One Reviewer Still Has Their Magazines from 30 Years Ago and They Still Work Great Cons May Take a Little Bit of Force to Seat Them Compared to Colt Options "One Reviewer Complained" About Having Difficulty Loading the Last Few Rounds The Black Finish May Be a Little Dull, But This Can Be Good If the Grip is Important to You As mentioned earlier, there are 1911 magazines on the market that are great in quality, but fair in price. One brand in particular that makes gun accessories and sells them at a good price is Wilson Combat. They are highly recognizable and one of the more trusted brands when compared to others. If you’re on a budget, you’d be insane to pass on anything made by Wilson Combat. This product that we’ll be looking at is no exception to that rule. The aircraft-grade stainless steel is has been heat-treated to protect the weapon. It can easily perform under continual usage in competitions and self-defense situations. The body is precision formed , with near perfect tolerances for a universal, excellent fit. The Wolff spring is built to alleviate and prevent “spring set”. When it needs cleaning, the base, follower, and spring remove easily for quick access and easy maintenance. If you have a black model, you can choose a black oxide finish along with a steel base pad that can be removed when needed. Bottom Line Wilson Combat is arguably one of the best brands on the market and for good reason. If you’re the kind of gun owner that typically sticks to a budget, you’ll want to find a brand that you can rely on for a long period of time. If you’re looking for a product that will last you years, the Wilson Combat is what you’ll probably want. If one user has had this kind for thirty plus years, it might be the last magazine you’ll buy in a long time. And for the affordable price, that is quite a steal. Best 9mm Offering: ​ Brownells - 1911 9mm Magazines CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros 10 Round Capacity. Fits Well and Ejects Easily Loads Much Better Compared to Factory Options Cons One Reviewer Complained About a Drop-Free Issue Some Sanding May Be Needed to Ensure a Perfect Fit Some Have Complained That it Doesn’t Fall Freely From the Magwell Our next magazine up for review is the Brownells 1911 9mm. If you're in the market for a 9mm compatible device, Brownells is currently the best on the market. This combines heavy-duty construction with the reliability that you expect from a century-old service weapon. Both the body and follower are constructed from heat-treated stainless steel. This also has a witness hole for a fast round count. The exterior is coated with Xylan, which is used to ensure that it is protected from corrosion. The finish is also designed to reduce friction. This has a removable polymer base pad that allows you easy disassembly and drop protection when you want to switch out magazines. Bottom Line If you want a good magazine for your 9mm 1911, the Brownells may just fit the bill. One of the main things that stands out is that it can fit just fine and you can slide it out without experiencing any issues. This is something you’ll probably want in the interest of speed and timing. With the witness holes, you can reload it faster. Not bad for a mag that can hold ten rounds. Best 10mm Magazine: ​ Metalform - 1911 10mm Magazine CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Very Smooth Cycling Fits With Almost All 10mm 1911s Runs Flawlessly for Somewhere Near 60 Magloads Cons May Need Some Slight Modifications, if Necessary May Not Perform as Well as Other Brands Like Kimber. Some Complained About the Holes on the Bottom Being Too Far Apart Up next, we have the Metalform 1911 10mm Magazine. Currently, this clip is the best fit for 10mm 1911s . This has a capacity of eight rounds. It is crafted from blued carbon steel and stainless steel, making this a robust, high-quality product for your gun. Since this is made in the U.S.A., you'll know for sure that this will be a high-quality gun accessory . That's because manufacturers in the United States place quality at a very high standard. You can choose from flat or round steel followers. Both are created to provide a positive last-round feeding regardless of bullet type, especially wadcutters. It also has a safety orange nylon follower that is concave and has the ability to hold additional rounds. Bottom Line One of the major things that stands out for this product is the orange nylon follower. This is perfect for those who may have bad eyesight and have a hard time manually loading the mag. Other than that, this is a very strong product to have. If you somehow drop it by accident, it won’t get dented, scratched, or sustain any kind of damage. That’s the beauty of having this puppy constructed with two kinds of durable steel. Best 8 Round Offering: ​ Springfield: 1911: 45 Auto/Acp: Ss 8rd Capacity CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Drops Free With No Issues Very Easy Load Into the Magwell No Malfunctions After 100+ Rounds Cons May Not Lock Back After the Final Round May Not Work Well With Hollow Point Rounds "Some Have Complained" About the Metal Follower Being a Bit Flimsy Not all 1911 magazines have a set round capacity across the board. Some have a capacity of seven or eight rounds, while others will have an upwards of about 15. The Springfield 1911 is the best one on the market for someone who is looking for a great eight rounder. This is also the perfect option to have for your 1911 if you’re looking for something to replace your current or a factory magazine that just doesn’t get the job done. This is crafted from stainless steel material, making it very durable for your 1911. According to a reviewer on the PSA website, these clips are apparently hard to find. So, if you’re looking for a good eight round option, the Springfield might just be your best bet. Bottom Line The Springfield Armory 1911 magazine might be your best option if you're looking for a good quality product that can hold up to eight rounds. One of the best things about it is that you won't have any issues while it drops free and it will be easy to load. In competitive shooting, having the ability to quickly and easily load additional magazines into your 1911 will make all the difference. If you're a competitive shooter and need an eight rounder that will deliver, the Springfield may be your best competition buddy. Best 10 Round Option: ​ "1911 10rd 45acp" "Power Plus Magazine" CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Very Positive Feeding Heat-Treated for Superior Durability Great for Almost Every Type of Round You Can Use for Your 1911 Cons May "Not Lock Back" on Some 1911s Half the Time the Slide Locks Back After the Last Shot Some Have Complained That the Follower is Shorter Than Most Options The next 1911 item is for those looking for a great ten rounder. This is the Chip McCormick 1911 Ten Round Power Plus magazine. This is a brand name that a lot of 1911 gun owners and enthusiasts are quite happy with and for good reason. Chip McCormicks are built to be that never-fail product for 1911s. Magazine failure is the last thing a competitive shooter wants to go through. The same can be said in home defense situations. A failing mag when your life's on the line can put you in a more dangerous situation. It features roll formed feed lips, which are not die cut, but polished, to add strength. The design of the follower enables effortless feeding even with hollow points and semi-wadcutters. This also has a powerful proprietary spring and a Rocket wire coated in a heat treatment designed for reliable feeding, especially when the pistol is fully loaded and seated in a pistol for extended periods of time. The plastic base pad is removable and is made to stand up to continuous use. To ensure a visible and fast load count, numbered witness holes are featured on either side. Bottom Line There are some brands out there that 1911 lovers can’t say anything bad about. Chip McCormick is one of those brands. If you want an item that won’t fail you, especially in the times when you want your 1911 to work the best, you’re going to want to further consider getting a Chip McCormick. If you want a good ten round option, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that is just as good as this one. Best 15 Round Option: ​ Kci 1911 .45 Acp 15-round Magazine CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros No Misfires to Speak Of Flawless Performance After 100+ Rounds Very Convenient as You Won’t Have to Reload Every Few Shots Cons May Run Into Issues if You’re Using Hollow Points May Be Slow on the Feeding if You’re a Fast Shooter Some Reviewers Have Complained About it Jamming Every Now and Then Our final review is for those who want the best 15 round magazine for their gun. KCI combines high-quality construction with very reliable performance. This is one of the best magazines to have if you're going to spend the day out on the range. The steel construction and polymer base plate are durable and also feature witness holes cut into each side to allow for ease of loading. This is compatible with full-size, mil-spec, and commander variants, and extends beyond the magwell by a few inches. If you want to double down on your firing power, the KCI has extended options available. Bottom Line This is the perfect magazine for your 1911 if you hate the idea of having to reload every seven or eight shots. This also comes in handy if you want to spend all day at the range and fire off your 1911 with pride. The KCI is your best choice if seven or eight rounds just won’t cut it for your pistol. Types Of 1911 Magazines Currently, there are three types of 1911 magazines on the market today. Choosing the right type may come down to your personal preferences or needs. They are as follows: G.I. Magazines​ These are known as G.I. spec types. These were used as part of the government issued sidearms for the United States military. These will typically have a round count of seven or eight. Nothing more or less than that. Hybrid Magazines​ The hybrid 1911 magazines are designed to function with great reliability. This allows the rounds to spring free from control at a faster pace in the feeding cycle. If you’re using hollow points, this type will work perfectly with them. Wadcutter Magazines This works perfectly with JHP ammo. They are also designed to prevent double feed. This is accomplished by allowing shorter rounds and using the same kind of feeding angle as a rifle magazine uses. Conclusion Finding the best 1911 magazine doesn't have to be a challenge. If you see one that stands out as one of your favorites, be sure to do a little more in-depth research on that product. There’s probably a reason it has piqued your interest. Take all the reviews with a grain of salt and use your best judgment to make sure if it really is the best magazine for you.

Touching Base On Optics

So I have been playing with the Trijicon RMR, the Vortex Viper PST, and of course, the A2 rear peep. Using the RMR at the range was interesting. The bright amber dot was easy for the eye to acquire and really grabbed the attention of the shooter. At 300 yards though it covered man sized targets completely. The 7MOA dot is the smallest product trijicon offers in the dual illuminated version. The triangle reticule would offer a more precise aiming point, but holding over for targets at 300 would have the same problem I had. The dot covers the whole target. Depending on the event, this might not matter. Inside of 200 I have a really light, trouble free outdoor optic. I like it. The reticule did show some bloom (and it was a cold, *cloudy*, wet day at the range) but when the small peep of my A2 rear sight was utilized it became a sharp round dot. The Vortex viper was spot on and amazing to work with. Targets at 300 and 400 yards were easy as pie to hit. The precise 1MOA dot in the center only helped with the simple point and shoot setup. The only problem is that my rifle, when equipped with the Vortex, becomes quite heavy. It is a versatile setup, but depending on the course to be run the weight might hinder the shooter. A event that my local match planner likes to incorporate is the “carbine crusher” where the shooter makes a hit on steel in three different positions. A position change is required after every hit. A heavy rifle would be a hindrance here because the stage is run until the timer runs out so you never stop shooting and changing positions. Bummer. So the two options I am working with both have their advantages and disadvantages. Irons permit a nice middle ground. Hits at all reasonable ranges, light weight, and it has a degree of precision. An interesting piece of information I found on the peep sight is worthy of sharing: The A2 rear peep is parallax free just like your fancy red dot. This makes teaching new shooters on irons REALLY simple. What a revelation. Look through the rear peep, put the front post on the target, squeeze the trigger. There is literally nothing to align but the target and the front sight post. I tried this with a new shooter last week and he was getting hits at 300 repeatedly from the bench and this was a first time AR shooter with very little center-fire rifle experience. Have a good week! Share: Google Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit More Tumblr LinkedIn Pocket Email Print

Summary

Taking the concept of survival bicycling to the next level requires turning up the volume on the basics as well as adding another layer of preparedness and confidence.   The first place to start is properly fitting the bike to your body and your needs. This article is Part 2 in the Survival Bicycling Series – Read Part 1 A bad fit will cause injury, inefficiency, and insecurity.