A Close Look At: Personal Defense & Security

An Avalanche Of Awesome EPHUS!

Know why I didn’t title this “Self-Defense & Security”? Because I suspect you feel like me — sure, defending yourself is a natural right and a civic duty. But even more important to you is defending your family, loved ones, friends and neighbors, and the defenseless, even if they’re strangers. You can turn away or even run away from a lot of fights if it’s just your hide at stake. But you won’t ever turn away from a direct threat to those whose lives mean more to you than your own. And a big part of this is safeguarding your personal-defense tools, hence, the security part.

Now, let’s do some peepin’ and pokin’ at the hardware side of the story, going from light to heavy, shall we? Remember, there are lots more guns, holsters, ammo, lights and lasers on Web Blast!

If you live in a big city, be aware cops are increasingly being directed to stop people with knives clipped in their pockets, shake ’em down and check for violations and warrants. If you don’t want to play that game or attract other undue attention, The City Dweller from Jared West of QTRM5TR Knives lets you nestle your folder unseen inside your pocket so the only thing showing is what looks like the top of a pen. Just slip the lanyard on your knife’s pocket clip, slide the barrel-bead down to snug it up, and clip the “pen” in your pocket. Choose from four models at $15 each, or all of ’em for $40.

Whenever I’m on the move I pack a “critical junk” load and a backup pistol — sometimes two when I can’t carry “on-body.” I need organized space to keep the contents secure, whether horizontal or vertical, offering fast, unhindered access. You get everything and excellent craftsmanship using the best, most durable materials with Vanquest’s Javelin VSlinger Slingpack. Made to whip right around from your back to the front, this is some of the best design and cut-and-stitch work I’ve seen. Left- and right-shoulder variants are offered in four colors. See lots more details in Web Blast!

If you have standard 16″ on-center 2×4 stud walls, Tactical Walls can turn them into cozy niches for your defensive gear. Precision-molded inserts come in two sizes for handguns or handgun plus long gun. Either of ’em can be left “open-faced” or hidden with attractive framed mirror facades, including key-lockable versions. Accessories include shelves, handgun hangers, flashlight holders and more. Customize yours, and pick from several beautiful finishes. Enhance your security — and take up zero floor space!

On full-size gun safes, electronic push-button locks are fast, but a dead battery or EMP (electromagnetic pulse) can lock you out at a critical moment — or forever. Mechanical locks are sure but slow to open. Cannon Safe’s new EMP Lock solves the problem, giving you both systems in one dual-function dial, providing outstanding speed and survivability. Like all Cannon safes it comes with a lifetime zero-cost warranty covering fire, natural flood or burglary. The EMP Lock now comes standard on their Armory, Cannon and Commander Series safes.


This photo was our banner for the print version, and I told you there are lots more about these goodies, didn’t I? No lie, G.I., and here it is:

In the semi-humble opinion of this itinerant weapons operator, Smith & Wesson’s Shield 9mm and Springfield Armory’s XD-S .45 ACP are two of the best concealed carry pocket-sized pistol designs of the past 20 years. In their class, subcompact, slick-sided and striker-fired, chambered in 9mm and .45 ACP, they may be the two best. I rarely make such statements, but having shot both extensively over the past several months — and handed them off to other shooters of varying levels of skills, experience, size and tastes — I can recommend them with confidence. Every last shooter gave ’em at least one big thumbs up and usually two. For their outstanding ergonomics, excellent “pointability” and balance and superb “behavior” in recoil management, I take my hat off to the engineers — outstanding work!

Okay, it needed sayin’! Now, if you haven’t got one already, they’re finally getting out to some rental ranges, so go give ’em both a try. If you’re on a waiting list, hang on — Smith & Wesson and Springfield Armory are crankin’ ’em out as fast as they can and the back orders are being filled.

Here’s Crossbreed’s SuperTuck holster for the Springfield Armory XD-S in either .45 ACP or 9mm. Crossbreed Holsters jumped right on both pistols — producing stable, comfortable OWB and IWB holsters and single- or double-mag pouches in their distinctive hybrid leather and molded Kydex design. Those shown in the photo are for the Shield without light or laser. But Crossbreed also has, for example, the popular SuperTuck Deluxe for the Shield equipped with a LaserMax CenterFire laser and the XD-S mounting a Crimson Trace Laserguard LG469. Crossbreed also just confirmed their holsters for the XD-S .45 ACP are a precise fit for the 9mm variant as well.

Two views of Blade-Tech’s Klipt Appendix carry holster for the Shield; belt-clip side and against-the-body side. The Appendix Carry holster is in the lead photo too, and above. You can adjust the position, sure, but it was made specifically for appendix carry — and it’s really comfortable and fast when worn there. The design is light, snagless and smooth, with a straight drop and secure enough to keep your pistol where it belongs in a violent encounter. I found it rides easily, even clipped in shorts. No, Fred — not skivvie-shorts; “outerwear” shorts.

The Shield snuggled into a featherweight VersaCarry holster. At nine o’clock in the banner photo, see those two skeletal-lookin’ devices with the weird yellow and blue plugs? Those are actually holsters, just not like anything you’ve ever seen before. The Versacarry holsters are less conventional “holsters” than they are “pistol-carry mounts,” and they’re about the lightest, most skeletal, low mass means of IWB carry you’ll find. Versacarry calls ’em “ZeroBulk,” and it’s a pretty fair statement. In the photo above, the “plug” side is concealed, showing the belt-clip side. Check the banner photo for an “empty” view.

You just angle your pistol slightly, start the “plug” into your muzzle and press down. Now your pistol’s neatly seated. Clip to the beltline of shorts or trousers and you’re ready to rock. I’ve tested them with the Shield 9mm, the XD-S .45 and two snubbie revolvers, and found them comfortable and secure. Bein’ as it’s such a “little bit o’ nothin’” apparatus, I kept trying to find some problem or fundamental fault with ’em and couldn’t. They’re Good2Go Gear!

I was a bit concerned the LaserMax CenterFire laser installed on the Shield might “bump-ON” while wearing the VersaCarry — and it didn’t, even with a little prompting. Good engineering on behalf of LaserMax built it so the activation pin must be pressed all the way to the surface of the dished fingertip scoop before it initiates, which proved almost impossible with “incidental contact.” But, purposefully pressed, it’s fast, sure and certain in activation.

A little more on the CenterFire laser: Check the virtually seamless integration of it with its host, the Shield. In geometry, texture and fit, it looks like part of the original pistol design, and the more I use it, the more impressed I am with it. LaserMax describes it as, “part work of art, part state of the art.” And they’re right: with its sculpted lines, and packing a laser, battery, ambidextrous switch plus windage and elevation adjustments into such a small device, you’ve got yourself art and cutting-edge tech.

The XD-S .45 with Viridian Green Laser’s C5L and TacLoc holster.Two things happened between the time I wrote the print edition copy and doing this Web Blast: First, Viridian Green Laser debuted a new version of their super-compact user-programmable C5L — which combines a daylight-visible green laser and 100-lumen tactical light (140 lumens on strobe) — and second, they rolled out a new TacLoc holster for the XD-S. Great timing! They sent me samples overnight.

The improvement in the C5L is in the tac light and lens. Instead of projecting the round beam we’re all used to, the new Radiance version throws an oblong beam — extended on the horizontal axis. This gives you more light on each side, for better spatial orientation and greater visibility of peripheral things, like a scumbag’s pals, off to his port and starboard.

Think about it: If the threat is greater than the target you’ve already lit up and are focusing on, is it more likely to emerge from the sides, or from the space in front of his feet or over his head? Hmmm … I’m betting on “from the sides.” I like it. The new lens also seems to produce a more even and consistent light from edge to edge. All future production of C5L’s will be with the Radiance light.

The TacLoc holster for the XD-S is, of course, made to fit the XD-S with a C5L light/laser unit mounted. I’ve written about the TacLoc before, so won’t go into details here. The bullet: You simply program the light/laser modes you want, and slip the pistol into the TacLoc holster. When you hit the TacLoc’s release lever and draw, your C5L automatically turns ON. Ain’t that somethin’?

More views of the Javelin VSlinger from Vanquest Tough-Built Gear. Like I said in the print version, I don’t go out the door without a “stay out, or fight your way home” bag. My bag contains everyday-business and personal junk, a backup piece and ammo, trauma kit, water and a laundry list of other items. I don’t mind some people staring and wondering why I “need” to carry a go-bag. I think of them as bodies I may have to step around or over in a critical situation — and those whose lives may be saved by the gear I carry. However, I’m picky about my gear-haulers. If you have the same priorities, Vanquest’s Javelin VSlinger is definitely worth your attention.

This is one of those items with too many features to cover in a couple of paragraphs, so hit their website for all the details. I found it to be extremely well made of top-notch materials and it represents some of the cleanest, most precise cut-and-stitchwork I’ve seen. It has lots of thought-out compartments, and the arrangement is designed to secure contents but keep them readily available — especially the concealed weapon compartments.

Check the photos. On your back, swinging/sliding it from your back to your side, then bringing it right up in front of you. As you can see, your position for pistol-pluckin’ is pretty much perfect then. The fourth photo shows the Javelin VSlinger open, and you can see the primary concealment compartment zipper has a curvy kinda serpentine contour. I had my doubts in terms of fast access, but first, it’s not too slow, and opens up the compartment like the jaws of a giant oyster. And second, the zippers are big, heavy-duty RC-Class YKK’s, so they’re strong, smooth in action and you don’t have to baby ’em and coax them into opening and closing.

Also note the interior compartments are lined in signal orange. This ain’t for fashion, folks. It provides contrast for more easily and rapidly locating contents inside, and really pops when you direct a little penlight into it. Just keep in mind, if you’re in a dicey situation in the dark and have to access the innards of your bag, you don’t want to ignite a bright orange “Shoot Me!” beacon. No light, no problem, but even a small amount of light gets multiplied.

The VSlinger comes with left- (for right-handers) and right-side (for lefties) shoulder strap arrangements in multiple flavors. It’s good for possible field situations where I may be carrying a long gun too, because bein’ right-handed, I don’t like having a big strap between my rifle butt and shoulder. In flavors (colors) I think the Foliage Green is the least attention-attracting, especially in urban settings, and Coyote Tan for “ought else.”

Bottom line? After personal testing, I’m making the VSlinger my primary out-the-hatch bag. And, you have a chance to win your own VSlinger by entering the American Handgunner Gun of the Month giveaway. Not bad, right? ‘Nuff said.
Well, not quite ’nuff said. Just a suggestion: If you’re looking for a Velcro-attaching holster which doesn’t flop around and dump your Roscoe, check out Crossbreed’s Ojai — it’s perfect for bags like the Javelin VSlinger.

The Operator High Security Case is like a bank bag on steroids. Imagine the locking “bank bag” used by armored car personnel to transport cash, and add a dose of steroids. Now you have the Operator High Security Case by Safe Direction — sized to carry sidearms and extra ammo or magazines. Previously restricted to government agency sales, it’s now available to consumers. The Operator HSC features a tough double-layer, slash-resistant bag body, a heavy-duty zippered top secured by a high quality 7-pin keylock and a grommet made for attaching the case to car seat frames, structural hardware or any other immovable objects using handcuffs or an optional woven steel cable and padlock set. The handles are wrap-around heavy webbing, and there are three interior magazine sleeves. A medium-size HSC measures 13×11″.

The subdued logo is your muzzle-contact point for clearing your firearm. If there’s a surprise in store for you — like an accidental discharge — the built-in Ballistic-Seal system, rated NIJ Level IIIA, will stop a standard duty or defensive handgun round up to .45 ACP. Does it work? Ballistic-Seal has been saving lives, jobs, badges, marriages, appliances and fine furnishings since 2004!

Great eye protection, and it looks cool too: The Wiley X Valor 3-lens set. Yeah, I’m a fanatic about quality eye protection. By “quality” I mean glasses with ballistic ratings, which meet or exceed ANSI and military protection specifications, comfortable yet secure frames and sharp, shatterproof, distortion-free lenses with great resistance to scratches and abrasion. If they have changeable lenses, they’ve got to be quick and easy to swap out, and stay put despite rough handling and violent action. I’ve been using the Wiley X Valor 3-lens set for months now — on the range and off — and I give ’em five stars.

The set designated CHVAL06 includes smoke-grey lenses for sun, light rust (kinda like “target yellow,” but better for a wide variety of backgrounds and object color ranges) for sharp definition in pre-dawn and twilight and clear lenses with glare reduction. The lens-swap system is pretty caveman-compatible. I know because it works for me. A detachable leash, cleaning cloth and a partitioned, zippered case complete the package, with an MSRP of $95.

Self defense gear now has its own Brownells catalog! Demand for self-defense and personal security gear has gotten so big, it prompted Brownells to introduce an entire catalog for it. Just go to their website, click at the bottom of the home page on “Catalogs,” and you’ll find Personal Protection and Home Defense there with their “Big Book” 1911 and AR catalogs.

What are the advantages of ordering from Brownells? First, when your local dealers, regional distributors and even manufacturers are out of stock, Brownells often has more stock than the makers do! Why? Because makers don’t like to have a lot of unsold stock lyin’ around, because it costs ’em money not to be makin’ money! So, they ship huge runs to folks like, ummm … Brownells. Second, they’ve got the best customer satisfaction guarantee around.

By all means, support local businesses, especially family-owned and operated retailers. But when their shelves are bare and you can’t wait, Brownells is a family business too — it just happens to be huge!

News flash! SureFire debuts the 500-lumen E2D LED Defender Ultra! Just when I thought I was through with this magnum opus, two press releases came in and I thought I should share ’em with you. I’ve been a fan and user of SureFire’s E2D tactical light since its inception as the E2D Executive Defender back in 2003. With its strike-bezel up front and tail cap switch-protecting, crenellated tail — also a self-defense feature — and hard-anodized aluminum construction, I was sold. It generated 60 lumens of light for 75 minutes, powered by two 123A lithium batteries.

I carried one until 2008, when the E2D LED came out, with a virtually unbreakable LED and the new TIR (Total Internal Reflection) lens. Performance from the same two batteries amped up to 200 lumens, and dual-power came in, with a handy 5-lumen low setting. Runtime stretched to 1.9 hours on high, and 76 hours on low. Outstanding! This light has been clipped on my go-bag since 2008.

Now, we get the E2D LED Defender Ultra. All the top-quality construction features are preserved and operation of the dual-power selecting tail cap switch remains the same. But the Ultra pumps out 500 blazing lumens on high, for blinding dirtbags or reachin’ way out there — and coincidentally, this makes a 5-lumen low-power setting even more necessary, because some problems are much better solved with 500 lumens, but you’ll often need a low-power stealthy navigation light for discreet operations too.

But wait, you say — with tons of power goin’ downrange, how much runtime is sacrificed with the Ultra? Relax. It actually gained runtime on high, going to 2.25 hours! Okay, the low-power runtime dipped down to 67.75 hours … so cry me a river, okay? I’ll take this in a flash! A 500-lumen flash, that is.

Another news flash! Nosler DEFENSE Ammunition! Yup, just announced: Nosler DEFENSE Ammo. If, like me, you’ve come to respect and rely on Nosler ammo and components for their performance, precision and absolute consistency, you’ve gotta love this development. Up front, they’re leading with handgun rounds, to wit: 9mm +P 124-gr. Bonded Tipped and Bonded JHP, 40 S&W 200-gr. Bonded Tipped and Bonded JHP, and .45 ACP +P 230-gr. Bonded Tipped and Bonded JHP.

Nosler’s PERFORMANCE bullets were developed with the same technology as their established and renowned AccuBond line, which eliminates the possibility of jacket/core separation, resulting in higher weight retention and maximum barrier penetration.

Bonded PERFORMANCE bullets have tapered jackets and specially engineered lead alloy cores for predictable expansion. The tipped rounds resist clogging and ensure smooth, reliable feeding — especially in finicky guns unable to digest gaping hollowpoints. If these rounds shoot as consistently and reliably as the Nosler Custom Competition rifle and Match Grade handgun ammo I’ve been shooting lately for firearm T & E’s, they’re gonna be great. I’ll go ahead and bet on it.

For my fellow carbine shooters, next up will be Nosler DEFENSE .223 Remington ammo with the .224 caliber 64-gr. Bonded PERFORMANCE bullet — offering 90% weight retention, minimal deflection and true, straight-line penetration. I’m waitin’, Nosler.

No more press releases! No phone calls! No e-mails! You can stick a fork in me, ’cause this turkey’s done! Okay … for the night anyway. Connor OUT

For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/product-index and click on the company name.
By John Connor

Read More Web Blast Extras

Order Your Printed Copy Of The American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2013 Issue Today!

Download A PDF Of The American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2013 Issue Now!

2 thoughts on “A Close Look At: Personal Defense & Security

  1. kelly christensen

    The Springfiled Armory XD-S has been RECALLED!! Go to the Springfield Armory web site for more details on what serial number pistols have been recallled. They don’t say what is wrong, only to stop using the gun IMMEDIATELY and return it via FedEX at their expense, to be repaired at no charge to you. Get the word out B 4 someone gets injured.

  2. John Rich Carpenter

    I’ve been a subscriber for 5 years now. OL and FS just weren’t cutting it with me anymore. Hell, I’ll never hunt anywhere except the woods of Pennsylvania, so what do I need to here about some rich, guy and friends hunting the world.
    But, I’m a handgun owner, and have been for 25 years. Nobody can take that away from me. As i’ve matured, I appreciate using my guns and shoot regularly to maintain form and function. Not to mention the fun of taking out the center of a target to relieve some of the stresses of modern day living, or watching the liberal media TV reporting.
    Great magazines, guys, long may you print!

Comments are closed.