The 9-12 Project Mission Statement

This is a non-political movement. The 9-12 Project is designed to bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001.

The day after America was attacked we were not obsessed with Red States, Blue States or political parties. We were united as Americans, standing together to protect the greatest nation ever created.

That same feeling – that commitment to country is what we are hoping to foster with this idea. We want to get everyone thinking like it is September 12th, 2001 again.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you watch the direction that America is being taken in and feel powerless to stop it?
  • Do you believe that your voice isn’t loud enough to be heard above the noise anymore?
  • Do you read the headlines everyday and feel an empty pit in your stomach… as if you’re completely alone?

If you’ve answered YES, then you’ve fallen for the Wizard of Oz lie. While the voices you hear in the distance may sound intimidating, as if they surround us from all sides—the reality is very different. Once you pull back the curtain, you realize that there are only a few people pressing the buttons, and their voices are weak. The truth is that they don’t surround us at all.

We Surround Them.

The 2014 Ohio deer hunting season is in the bag with 175,745 deer harvested. This compares to 191,455 total harvest for the 2013 season. The 2014 harvest was down overall 8.21%. The numbers are pretty much in line with the predictions of the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Their mission has been to reduce the overall size of Ohio's deer herd. No doubt that effort has been successful as reflected in the numbers but also with the reports hunters are seeing many fewer deer.

While this may be in line with the management goals, hunters are increasingly unhappy. That point was driven home during the recent deer summit meetings across the state. Approximately 30 individuals attended the District 5 southwest Ohio summit with a statewide number of 160. Given over 175,000 successful deer hunters and approximately 400,000 total deer hunters in the state those attending were a pitifully small number. Hunters need to speak out and have their voices heard. Apathy may be the biggest threat facing the Ohio deer herd.

Many hunters wonder how many deer an average hunter harvests in a year or how they compare to other hunters. It is a minority of hunters who actually consistently harvest deer each year. Approximately one third of Ohio’s deer hunters kill a deer in any year. During the 2011-2012 season with liberal bag limits, 157,726 people successfully killed one deer. Of the successful hunters, almost 73%, took just one deer. About 19% killed two deer, followed by 5.4% killing three, 1.8% taking four, 0.57% taking five, and a mere 0.29% harvesting six or more deer. It seems that liberal bags limits, certainly anything above a three deer limit, may not have much management impact.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife is proposing a reduction in bag limits and antlerless permit use, as well as a shift in the youth season during the 2015-2016 hunting seasons. The proposals are as follows: reduced bag limits in the majority of counties; eliminate the early antlerless-only permits in all but 10 urban counties; reduce the total statewide bag limit from nine to six deer; eliminate the antlerless-only early muzzleloader weekend and move the special youth gun season to this weekend; and add two days of deer-gun hunting or a "Holiday Season" on Dec. 26-27, 2015.

The proposals are not without some concerns.

The "Holiday Season" presents something of a dilemma. Students are out of school and many plants are on shutdown, so this provides an additional opportunity for deer hunting. However, I am not convinced the deer herd can stand the additional hunting pressure. The dates come a mere five days before the statewide muzzleloading season of Jan 2 through 5, 2016. When deer are pressured they can go into hiding, become predominately nocturnal and certainly be very skittish to hunt. While the dates present an opportunity that may not be as good as it looks on paper. If the deer herd is to be rebuilt additional hunting pressure is not the answer.

The deer regulations have been trending toward reduced bag limits and restricted use of antlerless permits in recent years. The intent of the Division proposals reducing the bag limits, removing the antlerless-only permits and adjusting hunting seasons is to take the pressure off the doe deer. The goal is to stabilize deer populations. Hunters are not be happy with a stabilized deer population as many are suggesting the Division needs to allow the herd to rebound significantly.

There are other signs of problems with the Ohio deer herd. Coyote predation, especially on the fawns, is a problem. The Division has historically downplayed the coyote predation issue but some recent studies suggest it may be in the 25 to 50% range. If those studies are accurate, that is a huge number. Additionally, sampling of the buck harvest indicates some small reduction in antler size and mass. This may be an indication that there was some overpopulation and competition for available food. It may also be that that bucks with inferior genes are in the breeding pool. The buck breeding population is nearly impossible to control on a statewide basis. Certain areas may make an impact through aggressive management and controlled culling. If these trends continue Ohio could experience a decline in the number of hunters and lose out-of-state hunters who come to pursue the trophy white-tailed deer.

The Division will revised the deer population goals this summer through a random survey of hunters and farmers. This is long overdue piece of management data as the last survey is almost fifteen years old. Participants in the survey will have the opportunity to provide input about the future of deer management in Ohio. It is important that those selected respond to the survey. Apathy will kill the effort and dim the future of Ohio's deer herd.

Finally, the annual open house for public comments regarding hunting, trapping and fishing regulations will be held on Saturday, March 7 from 12:00 pm - 3:00. Open Houses are open and public participation is encouraged. Anyone interested in providing input and participating in Ohio’s professional wildlife management process is welcome. Fish and wildlife biologists along with law enforcement officers will be on hand to answer questions and receive comments.

Open houses will be held at five locations throughout the state:

Central Ohio: Wildlife District One Office
1500 Dublin Road, Columbus

Northwest Ohio: Wildlife District Two Office
952 Lima Ave, Findlay

Northeast Ohio: Wildlife District Three Office
912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron

Southeast Ohio: Wildlife District Four Office
360 E State St., Athens

Southwest Ohio: Greene County Fish and Game Association Clubhouse
1538 Union Road, Xenia

Ohioans, who are unable to attend an open house, may enter online comments until March 8 at the ODNR website:

Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Foundation and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award, the 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year, the 2010 National Wild Turkey Federation/ Women in the Outdoors Hunter Education Instructor of the Year and the 2014 Ohio NWTF Outdoor Writer of the Year.

The 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is under way in Washington D.C., and NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre will be among the highlights for Friday.

Mr. LaPierre's speech will begin at 1:20 p.m. EST, and you can view it here LIVE!

The Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) holds its annual Capital Conference in November each year. At the most recent conference, Buckeye Firearms Foundation was invited to host a breakout session on armed school staff. We also had a booth to talk to schools about safety and security and the option of armed staff.

The conference started on a safety note, as Dr. Dick Caster and John Benner hosted a presentation “To arm or not to arm” to a packed audience. A lively discussion followed with Messrs. Caster and Benner answering questions and concerns raised by audience members. It was clear that most had not authorized someone to possess firearms, but it had been talked about, and the reasons not to were being replaced by serious consideration.

Our booth was staffed by John Benner of Tactical Defense Institute, Attorney Sean Maloney, Joe Eaton and myself. Several people associated with the program at their school also volunteered time and answered questions. We debuted our new FASTER website ( and brochure tailored specifically for schools. With the interest growing, we needed a better way for school decision makers to sort through the noise and find good information.

There were friends from districts that were early to authorize staff and attend training, as well as those who are firearm enthusiasts who came by because they knew we were there. But most attendees had not heard of FASTER Saves Lives, or Buckeye Firearms Foundation, and wondered what on earth a gun group was doing at an educational conference.

Benner answered questions on training and mindset. Maloney answered legal questions, and Eaton and I explained the program and general concept. School violence is a topic familiar to every administrator, but much confusion remains. People enjoyed getting straight answers on mindset, training and medical care. They knew they needed a better solution, and they were excited to have viable ideas to consider.

Most schools still do not have adequate trauma kits, though progress has been made since we called for a kit in every school. Most were impressed with the trauma kits and five lucky schools were happy to walk away with a $75.00 kit drawn from those who put their name/card in our basket. At the end of the conference, we gave away the $700.00 kit we had displayed as the grand prize.

At the end of the event, Eaton commented that we totally missed our mark. “We came here to explain to people that armed staff is a viable option. They already know that. What we needed to explain was how to do it.”

He was right. We will be back this year, with double the booth space, additional people, more trauma kits and better prepared to help make Ohio schools the safest in the country.

The Buckeye Association of School Administrators will hold their School Facilities and Safety Conference on March 11-12, 2015. Representatives from Buckeye Firearms Foundation will be attending. Dr. Dick Caster will be presenting on “The “Real” Problem Facing School Administrators in School Shootings.” There will be other speakers on this topic and we highly encourage school Superintendents to learn from the experts available to them.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Foundation President, BFA PAC Chairman and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award" and the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award."

It sounded awfully familiar. In late February a group calling itself al-Shabaab (operating out of Somalia) threatened to attack the Mall of America in Minnesota. It was kind of like déjà vu for me; I’d seen this before some place. Then it hit me. That was the plot of Stephen Hunter’s book Soft Target (Simon & Schuster, 2011)! The target: the Mall of America (or “America, the Mall” as it is called in Hunter’s book). The terrorists: Somali gunmen. The victims: hundreds of innocent American shoppers going about their daily lives and government officials who were powerless to stop the killing.

My first thought was “is this for real”, or was it some cheap attempt by some Islamic terrorist group to stir up some publicity but not smart enough to think up something original? Then it got me thinking more about the scenario—both the threatened one and the fictional one in Hunter’s book—and how I would deal with it if I was “in charge”.

Following the announcement of the threat, the news media began reporting on mall security. So just what security measures exist at shopping malls around the country?

The Mall of America is a “no guns” zone—it is private property as are most shopping malls and thus mall operators (and/or their insurance providers?) are able to decide whether to allow firearms on their property or not. Guns might scare the shoppers and a gunfight could break out at any moment...or so the thought process goes according to mall officials. Because the signs are posted, there couldn’t possibly be anyone that would enter the mall carrying a gun because they would be violating the law and could go to jail. ...R-i-g-h-t-t-t!—like a sign has ever stopped any criminal/terrorist from taking action. Of course, the Mall of America is not alone in its “no guns” policy.

But malls have “security”! …R-i-g-h-t-t-t!... You mean that guy (or gal) barely out of their teens walking around in a uniform with a 2-way radio hanging off their belt? They are there just to help shoppers find their way around the mall, to reunite lost kids with their parents, or to call for assistance if something serious happens. Most are not allowed to carry firearms. They are not even police officers, but rather “private security” hired by the mall owners and thus they have no authority to act in a law enforcement capacity. And even if the mall has regular police officers assigned to it, how effective are they going to be when confronting multiple armed attackers coming into the mall from different directions? There are unlikely to be enough police officers assigned to a mall to control all of the entrances/exits and confront armed attackers that are probably already in the mall. They may have someone in a central control center that can view all of the entrances/exits and other areas of the mall on security camera feeds to a wall of monitors, but that only means they can tell someone what has happened, not prevent it from happening.

But...but...“we have lockdown procedures”. R-i-g-h-t-t-t!! Do you seriously think that “locking down” a shopping mall is going to help? All that does is keep the victims from escaping the terrorists! While schools may use lockdown to help protect the children and staff, malls are not configured anywhere like a school is. Instead of solid walls and thick doors into each room/store, there are large expanses of glass and maybe a security grating that is lowered to prevent entrance from central hallways in the mall when that store is closed. These are not designed to stop bullets or even hide those inside the store from being seen by those on the outside. Depending on this type of barrier would create a scenario of “shooting fish in a barrel”! In schools, people spend most of their time in the various rooms and only go into the central hallways for short periods of time to move from one classroom to another periodically throughout the day. In shopping malls there is constant movement between stores and a large percentage of the people in the mall are in the central hallways at any point in time. Also, schools practice their lockdown procedures so that students and staff know just what they are supposed to do. And while you could probably do a “lockdown drill” with the mall staff, how do you include customers into that when the customers are constantly changing (i.e. coming and going)?

So what can be done to keep armed terrorists from attacking a shopping mall? You have to prevent the terrorists from gaining entrance to the mall in the first place. Short of putting metal detectors/body scanners at every mall entrance—aka TSA-like airport security—there is not much that can be done to stop them from getting into the mall. Signs certainly won’t do it! Airport-like security would be extremely expensive to implement and it is not something that a mall operator is going to undertake. Once terrorists are inside the mall, they have the advantage and time will be on their side, not on the side of first responders trying to remove them.

The brand of terrorists that the world faces today are not afraid of dying. Indeed, that is their ultimate goal, but they want to take as many victims with them as possible when they do die. In September 2013, terrorists attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. There it took the police and army so long to get organized that armed citizens took it upon themselves to intervene to confront the terrorists and rescue as many victims as possible. In the end, 72 people died when government officials moved to regain control of the mall. Of that number, five were terrorists and another six where Kenyan soldiers. The rest were civilians that happened to be at the mall when the terrorists struck. Over 175 people were wounded. And oh by the way, it was the same al-Shabaab group that claimed credit for this mall attack.

The only thing the terrorists fear is failure. They fail when they are unable to achieve the “body count” they desire and to cause panic. By taking down the “no guns” signs and allowing armed citizens to carry concealed firearms in shopping malls, you significantly change the probability the terrorists will be successful. Now the terrorists won’t know how many armed opponents they may have to face as they carry out their acts. And they won’t know who is an armed opponent/threat because those citizens will not be wearing uniforms but will be dressed like everyone else is. Doing this costs the mall operators and store owners virtually nothing to implement but also greatly lowers the threat posed to their continued livelihood that would occur if the terrorists are able to successfully launch an attack. I would think the insurance companies would come to the same realization.

Gary Evens is an NRA-certified firearms instructor & range safety officer. He is also a RangeMaster-certified firearms instructor and certified School Attacker Response Course (SARC) instructor. He is an Endowment-Life member of the NRA, a member of the Ohio Rifle & Pistol Association, Ohio Gun Collectors’ Association, and Buckeye Firearms Association.

On March 23, 2015 several changes to Ohio law that are of particular significance to Ohio gun owners will take effect. This article will look reciprocity and related issues.

Currently, Ohio residents may carry on an Ohio Concealed Handgun License (CHL) or a license from another “substantially equivalent” state that the Ohio Attorney General has signed a reciprocal agreement with. Residents from reciprocal states may carry in Ohio using their state’s license. This will not change when HB 234 becomes effective.

On the effective date, however, Ohio will begin honoring licenses from all states, even those without a reciprocal agreement. Indiana and Pennsylvania residents will finally be able to legally carry concealed firearms in Ohio with their home state licenses. But Ohio residents WILL NOT be able to carry on non-resident licenses from states which do not have “substantially equivalent” laws and thus have not signed an agreement with our Attorney General.

We expect all current agreements to remain in place, but again, as of the effective date, Ohio residents will not be able to carry on out of state licenses from states that are not substantially similar and with which there is no signed agreement. The best course of action for Ohio residents is to get an Ohio CHL, because it will be honored by even more states going forward.

Additionally, Ohio will begin issuing CHL’s to non-residents who work in Ohio. This is critical for school employees, because the exemption for possessing firearms in school zones (including within 1,000 feet from the perimeter) only applies to licenses issued from the state in which the school is located. Reciprocity agreements are useless.

Another change is that Ohio CHL’s will remain valid when residents move out of state. This will allow people time to establish residency in other states and obtain a CHL from their new states while legally carrying on the valid Ohio license. Once becoming a non-resident, people will not be permitted to renew their Ohio CHL unless they continue to work in Ohio.

Some states, such as Georgia, automatically accept another state’s license, as long as the other state accepts their license. Ohio will automatically accept Georgia licenses beginning March 23, 2015 and so Georgia should automatically accept Ohio licenses on the same day, thought it may take some time for word to be disseminated to prosecutors and law enforcement.

Many other states require a signed agreement. Ohio will be a hybrid. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office is already reviewing reciprocity and will be contacting states where applicable. The new law will bring additional privileges to Ohio residents, as more states will honor your Ohio CHL, but some will take more time than others. As always, we encourage gun owners to consult the Attorney General web site and the authority in other states to or through which you may be traveling.

Gun owners must comply with the laws of the state they are living or visiting. As always, it is the responsibility of each individual to know, understand and follow all applicable laws relating to the ownership, transportation, and use of firearms.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, BFA PAC Chairman and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award" and the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award."

Related Articles:

What HB 234 Means to You: Part I - NICS compliant background checks

What HB 234 Means to You: Part III - 31+ round magazines & non-contiguous transfers

What HB 234 Means to You: Part IV - CLEO "shall sign" provision for National Firearms Act (NFA) restricted items

What HB 234 Means to You: Part V - CHL mandatory training reduction

What HB 234 Means to You: Part VI - Allow Noise Suppressors While Hunting

Cowboy action shooting (CAS) was what got me back into shooting after many years. At the time I was heavily involved in Civil War re-enacting where all of the shooting is done with blanks. Since the “cowboy era” immediately followed the end of the Civil War, I figured it would be an easy transition. I already had clothing of the appropriate styles. All I needed was the guns and to find a local CAS club.

CAS started to become popular in the 1980s. A group of competitive shooters in southern California had become bored with IPSC shooting and decided to try something different. Since most of them already had a single-action revolver and lever-action rifle, they created a competition based on IPSC, but using the old-style guns.

The Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) was soon created and has become the largest competitive shooting sport organization with well over 100,000 members and organized clubs around the world.

CAS is a version of 3-gun competition that involves using firearms designed in the later-half of the 19th Century—typically single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles, and double-barrel or pump-action shotguns. For most competitions, two single-action revolvers, a lever-action rifle chambered in a pistol caliber (usually the same caliber as the revolvers) and a shotgun are used. Shotguns have to be of a design available in the 19th Century — typically a double-barrel with or without external hammers, a lever-action like the Winchester Model 1887, or a pump-action shotgun like the Winchester Model 1897. The targets used are typically steel shapes placed relatively close to the shooter, 5 - 20 yards is common. The steel targets “react” when they are hit, either falling over or producing a ringing sound.

The targets must be shot in the designated sequence with a designated gun (revolver, rifle, or shotgun). Scoring is done with a timer with each missed shot adding 5 seconds to your total time. If the proper sequence is not followed, 10 seconds are also added to your overall time. The person that completes the course of fire in the least amount of time wins.

Because individuals have different skill levels when it comes to shooting, categories are established based on age and gender. Additional categories are established based on the styles of shooting—one-handed revolver, two-handed revolver, one revolver in each hand — and the type of guns used. A variation of CAS known as “Wild Bunch” allows the use of the M1911 Colt .45 semi-automatic pistol instead of two single-action revolvers.

Of course the other aspect of CAS that attracts many individuals to the sport is the requirement to dress up in the style of clothing worn in the Old West.

SASS is not the only CAS organization, but it is the largest and best-known. There are SASS and non-SASS clubs found all over the country, several in Ohio. The club I belong to is the Indian Creek Regulators (ICR). They were formed around the same time as SASS and are the oldest CAS club in Ohio.

CAS events are scheduled just about every weekend. A typical event involves firing 4-6 stages/scenarios using all three different types of guns—although every gun may not be required on every stage of fire. Calibers typically used in the revolvers/rifles are .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .38-40 WCF, .44-40 WCF, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .45 Schofield, or .45 Colt. Shotguns are typically chambered in 20 gauge or 12 gauge. During a typical CAS match each shooter fires 100 - 150 rounds of ammunition. A typical stage of fire will consist of 5 rounds from each of the two single-action revolvers, 10 rounds from the lever-action rifle, and 4-8 rounds from the shotgun.

In addition to local club matches, there are state-wide, regional, national, and world championship events.

One of the aspects that attracts people to CAS is how friendly the competitors are. If someone doesn’t have all the guns necessary to compete, someone will loan you what you need. The same thing goes for ammunition and clothing to get you started. It is expected that you’ll return the favor as you get more involved in the sport.

Is cowboy action shooting something you’d like to try? Just come out to an event and see for yourself. You’ll be hooked in no time.

Gary Evens is an NRA-Certified Instructor and Range Safety Officer.

I met my contact in the parking lot between Applebees and McDonalds in the middle of Little Mogadishu. I pulled up next to his vehicle and he handed me the package through the open driver’s side windows.

The first thing I noticed about the object was that it was soft and a little squishy. But it had hard bits in it as well…not unlike a freshly-killed cottontail rabbit. It was a Ziplock-style black plastic bag with silver and black lettering that said ALIEN GEAR HOLSTER. I knew what I was getting into and I almost couldn't wait to get it home to tear it apart.

I really had every intention of doing this right. You know: sit down on the couch with the coffee table in front of me, or perhaps sit at my desk, and just carefully open the package, thoughtfully inventory the contents and read the manual before doing anything else.

That was not to be.

I was running late for a meeting, but really wanted to get some wear time in with the holster, so I snatched the bag, yanked it open and dumped the contents on the kitchen counter between bites on my PB&J sandwich. I vaguely remember seeing some things in black and some kind of ugly sort of neon green-colored plastic that looked liked holster parts, as well as an invoice, some folded cardboard instruction card and an invitation card to join the NRA. I quickly brushed all of that aside in order I grab what I was really interested in: the flippin’ holster.

Not one to rush to RTFM anyway, I undid my belt, partially dropped trou’, picked the holster up, and saddled up.

Having already owned and very much liked a DeSantis Gunhide Intruder IWB holster for my 1911, I didn’t sense that I was going to have any trouble figuring out how to use the Alien Gear (AG) version…and…I didn’t.

The belt hooks seemed a little softer and more flexible than the DeSantis units and were a bit easier to work in under my wide DeSantis leather gun belt. I did notice that the hooks tended to rotate a bit easier on their fasteners as well (tensioning screws not real tight and I just left them as they were), but that wasn’t a problem so far in getting them in the right spot to engage my leather.

I snugged the belt up to its very last notch (I’d lost a lot of weight in the previous 8 months…long story) and the AG holster combined with my fat XD .45 Compact felt just as good as my 1911 in the DeSantis rig. That is also to say it felt waaaay better than the XD in my typical IWB carry rig: a second-hand Bladetech Kydex IWB holster.

The Bladetech is pretty minimalist in material, and does not spread the imprint of a double stack autoloader like the XD out very well. Mine doesn’t cover all the way to muzzle either, and frequently the end of the slide and frame pinch or feel just plain uncomfortable when sitting for a time, particularly on a harder chair. Having the belt cinched up tight to keep the pants from sliding down, will often lead to lower back discomfort after about 6 hours of wear.

I wore the AG holster with that fat XD snugged up tight in excess of 10 hours today with no real discomfort at all. I should say at this point that I very much prefer having an undershirt of some sort tucked into my pants when carrying, so that neither the holster nor gun can come into contact with bare skin.

The backing that goes up against your body on this, the Cloak Tuck 2.0, is neoprene – similar to the stuff they make wetsuits or cold weather gear for surf boarding out of. Its very soft and conforms to your hip and buttocks region (carrying strong side- 3:30-4:30) and also lets the gun nestle into the soft material somewhat. That’s both a good thing and somewhat of a bad thing, in my opinion.

Good, because the gun just seems to have less bulkiness with sharp edges jabbing into me that way, and less printing on the waist band side of things. You don’t end up with the gap on either the top or bottom of the gun where the pants are forced away from one’s waist.

Bad, because, when I did a couple of test draws and re-holstering drills, I observed that all of the aforementioned squishiness did slow down holstering… considerably, at first.

With a tight belt, the mouth of the holster got pinched shut a little bit due to the softness of the backing material, and it took a much more deliberate action to work the muzzle of the gun into the opening without using the dangerous method of pointing the muzzle at ones’ own hip to pry it into the mouth of the holster.

When I holster my XD into the Bladetech, I always make sure that I remove the web of my hand from the grip safety and use my thumb on the back of the slide to assist in shoving the gun into the holster—I do this mostly to avoid having the unpleasant surprise that has befallen a number of Glock owners when some article of clothing (maybe a drawstring) happened to snag that ‘safe’ trigger during holstering. And yes, I know that XDs are graced with Springfield Armory’s version of this marvelous innovation as well, and I hold it in just as high esteem.

My first couple of attempts at holstering into the AG, I found that due to the snugness of fit and the partially-collapsed holster mouth, I had to be very careful to insert the gun nearly perfectly straight into the holster, else the slide would drag and try to come out of battery. It actually didn’t come out of battery, as the XD slide will only partially move without the grip safety depressed. Owners of other brand firearms - your mileage may vary. I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a deal breaker; it’s just that holstering in my short experience with the AG is going to be a somewhat more deliberate and time consuming act than with other IWB holsters I own.

Day Two: I wore the AG holster all day again with no discomfort. I took out the instructions and actually read them, and therein I found out about their 30 days no questions, no hard feelings guarantee. Very cool. I don’t think you’ll have to go 30 days to decide if this holster is for you or not, though. Another neat thing that they do is give you unlimited holster shell trades for life. That is, if you ever change guns, AG will provide a free holster shell while you still own the rig or until Alien Gear goes Tango Uniform, I guess. They also tout a Free Forever warranty, which is neat (but not uncommon in my experience with quality manufacturers in the firearms peripherals industry) and they will repair or replace free, anything that breaks.

Looking over the accessories AG provided, I see that they included a Spare Parts Pack in that ugly sort of neon green color with extra spacers and Allen screws of 3 different lengths (and an itty bitty wrench to fit them) so you may adjust the holding tension and fit of your holster shell to your particular gun.

In the bag there are also two extra sets of belt fasteners clips and a set of loops with snaps for different belts and preferences, and they all appear to allow the wear of the holster with a shirt or blouse tucked in over top of it.  What was not included (claims by their video to the contrary) are the steel belt clips. I don’t think you’ll miss them much. I sure didn’t…I always thought they were a pain anytime anything from gun holsters to cell phone holsters had them installed.

The instructions card has ample directions on the wear and adjustment of the rig, but AG also went to the trouble of providing a link to their website that has videos. For the tech kids who like QR codes, there’s even one of those too.

I looked over the website and it appears they put a lot of work and thought into it. Even if you do nothing else, go to the videos page where they get into methods of carrying concealed. These tips apply not just with their holsters, but could to anybody’s. You might learn a thing or two.

It is worth mentioning at this point, that in my experience with IWB holsters, I have found that there’s a fine line between the holster tension being adjusted high enough to hold the firearm snug in the holster before its inserted IWB, and it being way-too-tight to draw the firearm without doing rotator cuff damage once your gun belt is tight enough to keep your pants from drooping. You may have to experiment with your gun/holster/belt/ pants combination.

(Snug is up to interpretation. Snug enough so the holster doesn’t fall off the gun when you’re gripping the firearm, but the holster is unsupported by belt or pants, or snug enough so you could hold the holster upside down and the firearm doesn’t fall out?)

Day Three: I decided not to wear it at all, since I noticed as it sat on my dresser this morning that the Alien Gear logo was wearing off already. Not that I’m a big fan of all things alien and other-worldly anyway, but the plan was to give this holster away at the 2015 Buckeye Bash.

I decided to try my minimalist BladeTech IWB on instead, which I figured would be a rather noticeable change after wearing the AG for two days straight. Ooh man, was it ever! This Bladetech, though, easy as it is to put on - with the exception of snapping the straps over my gun belt, take off AND re-holster the firearm smoothly and quickly -  isn’t very comfortable compared to the AG. They say carrying a firearm shouldn’t be comfortable, it should be comforting, but I really wouldn’t mind a little more of the former. The Bladetech is just THERE, and I sure notice the front of the slide pinching me when I sit down sometimes. I didn’t have that happen ever with the AG.

Okay, so what do I think of the AG holster? I’ll tell ya - the more I wear it the more I like it. It’s super comfortable, and although I don’t think it holsters as easily as my other IWB holsters. I still give it a 9 out of 10 but I’d probably give it a 9.5 out of 10 if it could holster as quickly and smoothly as my Bladetech. The ugly green alien stuff kicks it out of the 10 spot…sorry.

There was only one little workmanship issue I had with the AG holster: one of the unused nuts that are pressed into the backing of the holster for a different belt clip attachment point seems to be improperly seated and sticks up just a bit. No big deal, though, I never felt it.

And one last thing: on the Alien Gear website, there’s a video done in talk show discussion-style where they point out the merits of Boltaron vs Kydex. Boltaron is what the AG is made from; Kydex is what all the others are usually made from. One of things about Boltaron besides strength and longevity is the easy cleanup aspect of the surface texture. Even peanut butter comes off with ease.

Scott Seibert is a Buckeye Firearms Association MinuteMan.

On Wednesday, [February 4,] the Library of Congress made the Rosa Parks Collection available to researchers. The compilation includes 2,500 photos and 7,500 manuscripts pertaining to the civil rights icon. Among these documents is a short autobiographical piece highlighting some of Parks’ early experiences with armed self-defense.

A February 3 Washington Post article details the “biographical sketch.” According to the Post, Parks explains how her grandfather used a shotgun to protect the family home in Pine Level, Ala., from potential attack by the Ku Klux Klan. One excerpt states that her grandfather “would stay up to wait for [the Klansmen] to come to our house… He kept his shotgun within hand reach at all times.” Another portion notes that Parks’ grandfather “declared that the first to invade our home would surely die.”

Stories like Parks’, where firearms were used to protect against racially motivated violence before and during the Civil Rights Era, are common. At a time when law enforcement officials were sometimes indifferent to acts of violence perpetrated against African-Americans (or in some cases even complicit in them), those seeking any protection at all had few other options.

History could certainly have been altered in dramatic fashion had the Parks home been left undefended against the depredations of the Klan. Thankfully, Parks’ family had access to an effective means of self-defense, even as they strove to obtain other basic human rights. 

Examples abound of the beneficial role arms have played in the struggle for civil rights in the U.S. Local NAACP leader Rob Williams, author of Negroes with Guns, notably chartered a National Rifle Association affiliated club in order to train and arm members of his Monroe, N.C., community to combat the Klan. Chapters of the heavily armed Deacons for Defense and Justice formed throughout the Deep South to protect their communities from racial violence. According to UCLA Professor Adam Winkler, Martin Luther King Jr. unsuccessfully applied for concealed carry permit in Alabama after his home was bombed, and lived surrounded by what was described as “an arsenal.” In his book, Restricting Handguns: The Liberal Skeptics Speak Out, Don B. Kates Jr. recalls his time spent as a civil rights worker in the early 1960s South, stating, "The black lawyer for whom I principally worked did not carry a gun all the time, but he attributed the relative quiescence of the Klan to the fact that the black community was so heavily armed.”

The story of armed self-defense revealed in the Rosa Parks Collection is a welcome and important addition to the already well-established history of the use of arms to deter and defend against racially-motivated violence.

© 2015 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. This may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

Editor's Note: In addition to the important information below, activists concerned about this latest gun control effort by the Obama administration are encouraged to send letters to the BATFE through Not only will you be helping in the effort to stop President Obama's latest executive overreach, but you will have the chance to win the exact ammo the president wants to ban!

President Obama insisted that if Congress would not enact his gun control agenda, he would do so on his own, through executive action. Whatever else can be said of the president’s track record, he is doing his utmost to keep that promise. Having failed to enact a federal ban on the AR-15, America’s most popular rifle, he’s now using the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to do the next best thing. BATFE is now proposing to ban a whole class of common rifle ammunition used in that overwhelmingly popular firearm. Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning of BATFE’s latest move.

[Recently], we reported on breaking news that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) had issued a “framework” for when bullets which would otherwise be classified as “armor piercing” ammunition under federal law qualify for the law’s exemption for projectiles “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.” 

BATFE's framework is the product of an effort that dates back to at least 2012. As wereported in December 2012, BATFE had met with a wide variety of stakeholders, including your NRA, to gather input on this topic. We had expressed concern that BATFE was misreading the law and encouraged interested parties to file comments to help guide the process in a positive direction.

The issue arises from the federal Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act (LEOPA), intended to ban "armor piercing" handgun ammunition ("AP" ammo) to protect police from being shot through their body armor in surprise attacks with handguns. In relevant part, LEOPA bans various sorts of non-lead projectiles (or projectile "cores") that “may be” used in handguns. 

As the authors of LEOPA realized, however, most common rifle ammunition created for legitimate purposes can penetrate soft body armor, and some rifle bullets can be loaded into ammunition for handguns. Congress therefore incorporated a “sporting purposes” exemption into the "AP" ammo ban to protect ordinary rifle ammunition from being swept up in the ban. Since LEOPA’s enactment in 1986, that scheme has generally worked as intended. 

We saw disturbing signs that was changing last year, however, when BATFE abruptly declared that popular 7N6 rifle ammunition was subject to the AP ammo ban.  At the time, questions arose as to why 7N6 was considered "AP" ammo, when the equally popular M855 rifle cartridge had long been subject to a "sporting purposes" exemption. Many wondered if BATFE would ever explain its approach to determining what projectiles are, in its opinion, "primarily suitable for sporting purposes." 

BATFE’s framework now does so. The bottom line is that BATFE has virtually interpreted the "sporting purposes" exemption out of the law. Simply put, this will result in disaster. 

While the most visible and immediate effect of the framework is BATFE's revocation of the "sporting purposes" exemption for M855 ammunition, its long-term consequences could be even more severe. Once an "AP" projectile designed and intended by the manufacturer to be used in a rifle (for hunting, for example) "may be" shot from any commercially available multi-shot handgun, it could never be exempt under the framework (unless loaded in a .22 caliber rimfire cartridge). Basically, this means the virtual banning of non-lead centerfire rifle bullets, even as gun control activists and states are targeting lead bullets for separate bans. This collision of bans on both lead and non-lead bullets could eventually lead to a drastic reduction in lawfully-available ammunition offerings.

The NRA is continuing its examination of the framework and its implications and will be submitting detailed comments in opposition to it. As before, gun owners and other affected members of the public must act now to ensure BATFE does not get away with this. While emotions are running high in response to this latest attempt by BATFE to undercut the Second Amendment by administrative fiat, submissions should refrain from inappropriate language and calmly explain the framework’s errors. The following are just a few suggested points that can be addressed in comments to the proposed framework. This list is merely a sampling of the many points that could be raised against it. 

M855 ammunition should not even be categorized as "armor piercing" in the first place, given that lead is the primary material beneath its copper jacket.

BATFE's framework does not clarify the "sporting purposes" exemption; it simply interprets it into irrelevance.

The framework overturns nearly 30 years of settled law and the good faith expectations of gun owners and industry members.

The framework is totally at odds with the intent of the law to ensure that restrictions on armor piercing handgun ammunition do not unduly restrict common rifle ammunition, most of which is capable of penetrating police body armor when used in a rifle as intended.

BATFE incorrectly insists that it is required to establish an "objective" standard based on handgun design, yet it fails even to do that with the very broad "discretion" it retains to deny the exemption to projectiles that meet its "objective" test.

The framework will suppress the development of non-lead rifle projectiles that offer increased performance for hunters, decreased lead exposure, and solutions for hunters in states that restrict the use of lead in hunting.

The framework will likewise deter handgun development, as new designs could trigger bans.

Coupled with increasing attempts to ban lead projectiles, the framework could drastically reduce the availability of lawful ammunition for sporting and other legitimate purposes.

M855 ammunition in AR pistols is not a common threat faced by law enforcement officers.  

Comments will only be considered by BATFE if received by March 16, 2015. They may be submitted in any of three ways:

  1. Via email at (follow the instructions at the link for submitting comments).
  2. Via fax at (202) 648-9741.
  3. Via mail to Denise Brown, Mailstop 6N-602, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226: ATTN: AP Ammo Comments.

Finally, please contact your U.S. Senators and Member of Congress. Urge them to oppose BATFE's attempt to ban M855 handgun ammunition and other rifle cartridges that are overwhelmingly used by law-abiding Americans for self-defense, sport shooting and other legitimate purposes as "armor piercing." Use the "Write Your Lawmakers" feature on our website or call the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 225-3121.

© 2015 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. This may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

I recently taught a class that covered the skills an armed citizen needs to respond to a terrorist bombing attack. In the class, I spent a lot of time talking about the concept of the “secondary device.” The secondary device is some hazard that is designed to injure or kill additional victims or first responders some time after an initial attack.

Most commonly, secondary devices are bombs set to detonate a short time after another explosive device has gone off. A common tactic for bombers is to place one bomb and then detonate it. They place a second bomb at the site to which victims may be evacuating or where first responders might be staging. The secondary explosive often does more damage than the primary.

You probably saw [the recent] attack on a tourist hotel in Tripoli. Up to five gunman armed with rifles, grenades, and body armor entered the front lobby of the hotel and began shooting guests and staff at random. As people fled from the attackers out the back doors of the hotel, they gathered in the rear parking lot. The terrorists then detonated a pre-placed bomb loaded into one of the cars parked nearby. Nine people total were killed in the attack. The guns and grenades were the primary attack and the car bomb served very effectively as the secondary device. Some of those deaths could have been avoided through some better planning on the part of the fleeing victims.

Think about most of the public buildings you spend time in. If a bomb goes off inside, a fire alarm is pulled, or people start shooting, where is the most likely evacuation spot? The parking lot. Unfortunately, this is probably the worst possible place for large numbers of people to amass.

The problem is that there is no way to ensure that one of the cars in the parking lot doesn’t contain a large bomb or even an additional team of terrorist gunmen. It’s relatively difficult to kill large numbers of people with a bomb inside a building. It’s almost impossible to bring a large bomb inside a building without being noticed. The maximal realistic payload is a backpack or duffel bag bomb weighing 20-40 lbs. That will certainly kill some folks, but it is nothing like the impact of 500 lbs of explosives in the trunk of a car. Additionally, walls and furniture inside a building soak up a lot of the blast and shrapnel, further limiting casualties.

It’s much easier and more efficient for the terrorists to place a bomb in a parking lot evacuation site and then drive victims outside by using either gunfire or a small bomb inside. It’s a tactic that has been used successfully for years. Why take the risk of getting caught carrying a large bomb into a building when you can place an even larger bomb outside without any risk at all? To show you what kind of damage I’m talking about, watch the car bomb video embedded below. It’s a 500lb car bomb we made and detonated in one of the bomb classes I attended. It’s a big explosion and would kill a whole lot of people in a parking lot.

So, what’s the solution?

DON’T EVACUATE INTO A PARKING LOT! It’s just too difficult to protect yourself around hundreds of uncleared cars. Almost any other evacuation location would be preferable to a parking lot. Look for an open area with no cars, areas of disturbed soil, or trash receptacles. Ideally there should be some hard cover available nearby.

Some of you are likely thinking “This isn’t Tripoli. I don’t have to worry about car bombs and secondary devices here in America.” You are wrong. You might have forgotten about the bomb placed in a car in Times Square a couple years ago. Or how about the secondary device explosion that detonated after one of Eric Rudolph’s abortion clinic bombings? Bombs are set off here too.

Even if you aren’t worried about explosives, think about your evacuation site in relation to active shooters. The Columbine school shooting was initially planned as a bombing. The killers were waiting in the parking lot evacuation site to shoot the students fleeing from the bomb they had placed when they were first engaged by the school resource officer. The school shootings in Jonesborough, Arkansas were perpetrated by two middle school kids who pulled the school fire alarm and then shot students who were evacuating the school. Another active killer at a Florida College had the same plan but was stopped before he could execute it.

Predictable evacuation sites are bad places to be. They are even worse if they can hide large bombs and teams of active killers. Look at the public buildings you frequent. Take the time NOW to identify an evacuation site that isn’t the parking lot and plan your evacuation strategy in advance. Thirty seconds of pre-planning could one day save your life.

Greg Ellifritz is the full time firearms and defensive tactics training officer for a central Ohio police department. He holds instructor or master instructor certifications in more than 75 different weapon systems, defensive tactics programs and police specialty areas. Greg has a master's degree in Public Policy and Management and is an instructor for both the Ohio Peace Officer's Training Academy and the Tactical Defense Institute.

For more information or to contact Greg, visit his training site at Active Response Training.

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