A Galco Gunleather Tour: How Many Holsters Can You Make From 44 Miles of Cows?

Got leather?

Got leather?

Got cows?

Galco does. Lot’s of them. You know Galco, right? They’ve served billions and billions of holsters. Well, maybe not billions, but at least dozens of boatloads, judging by the size of their factory and activity level of all the folks in there.

I recently had the distinct pleasure of a factory tour. You see, I’m a self-admitted holster geek. I even wrote an entire book on methods of concealed carry and gun holsters. Yes, I’m hopeless on holsters, so when I had the opportunity to visit Galco, I jumped on it like Kanye West to the nearest microphone.

The very first thing I learned about was cows. Did you know that every year, Galco turns 886,000 square feet of leather into first-rate gun holsters? That’s about 20,000 cows. If you lined all those cows up, they would reach from PETA’s headquarters in Washington DC all the way to the Chick-Fil-A in Warrenton, Virginia. Trust me, I did the math.

OK, so odds are you’re not reading this because you need to know how many cows it takes to block the highway from DC to Warrenton, so let’s get to the cool part – the making of holsters. It’s a fascinating mix of high-tech automation and skilled hand crafting.

The first challenge is shoes. See, we used to make lots and lots of shoes here in the US, so there were thousands of tanneries that supplied all that leather. Now, since most shoes are made overseas, there are only two major vegetable tanneries here in the US, and Galco buys the lion’s share of tanned leather from both of them.

Just some of the leather headed towards the factory floor.

Just some of the leather headed towards the factory floor.

Like yummy steaks, leather comes in different cuts depending on the intended usage. Galco orders back sections, which are about half a cow from the center of the back down each side. One of these sections is about the size of the hood of a 1970 AMC Gremlin, but not quite as wide and a little longer.

The handmade dies (upper left) are mashed through the leather sheets to produce desired shapes.

The handmade dies (upper left) are mashed through the leather sheets to produce desired shapes.

The older way of cutting leather involves use of hand-made dies. These dies are laid out over a sheet of leather and pressed through to cut the desired shape. It’s up to the experienced cutter to obtain maximum use of each sheet of leather while minimizing waste.

High-tech cutting. The leather is optically scanned to capture shape and flag areas of imperfection.

High-tech cutting. The leather is optically scanned to capture shape and flag areas of imperfection.

The new way is incredibly cool. As each cow is different, the incoming leather sheets are always different sizes. Imperfections such as discolorations or scrapes exist in different spots on each and every sheet. A digital scanner looks at each incoming sheet of leather and identifies shape, surface area and “marks” imperfection areas with a “do not use” status.

Read the rest at AmmoLand!

Wanna Win a Glock 42, Holster, Tac Light and Lots of Ammo?

Brownells_giveaway

Check out the Brownells Glock 42 package giveaway. Enter and you can win the Glock 42, holster, a Brownells tactical light and 250 rounds of Hornady .380 ACP ammo. That’s about $1,000 of guns and gear. Not too shabby.

From Brownells…

More specifically, the package includes:

The Hornady RAPiD Safe can be opened with the included RFID bracelet, key fob and wallet card or with a personalized keypad combination the user can set or change. It retails for $249.99.

The Galco Pocket Protector Holster safely covers the trigger guard and its special hooked shape is designed to keep it inside a front pants pocket or jacket pocket as the pistol is drawn. It retails for $21.99

The Brownells Versatile Light adjusts from 13 to 530 lumens, and will run up to 150 hours on the lowest setting and up to 2.5 hours on the highest setting. It retails for $79.99.

Hornady Critical Defense .380 ammunition features the FTX bullet that delivers controlled expansion with deep penetration for maximum effect. It retails for $19.99 per box, and the package includes 10 boxes for a total of 250 rounds.

“All 50 states now have some form of concealed carry,” said Matt Buckingham, President/COO of Brownells. “Millions of law-abiding Americans are exercising their Second Amendment right to self-defense, and getting their permits. This Glock 42 Personal Defense Handgun Package gives you a great carry gun and a high-tech way to safely store the gun at home. Not only that, we’re including lots of ammo, a creatively-designed holster and a handy flashlight, too.”

For a chance to win this exciting package, customers may enter on the Brownells Facebook page or on the Brownells Contest Page starting October 15. The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on October 27, 2014. The winner will be announced on October 29.

NEW PRODUCT: SilencerCo Threaded Barrels

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Wandering the halls of the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers show, I stumbled across a brand new product from SilencerCo.

Literally arriving in town this morning, threaded barrels for Glock 21 and 17 models are now in production. Threaded barrels for the Glock 19 and Sig P226 will be available over the next couple of months.

Perfect threading for suppressor use is a big deal as slight variations can result in baffle strikes or internal damage for expensive silencer devices.

Pricing and availability details to follow.

Pic of the Day: The Ultimate Plinking Pistol?

Smith & Wesson's new M&P22 Compact .22LR pistol equipped with a SilencerCo Sparrow suppressor.

Smith & Wesson’s new M&P22 Compact .22LR pistol equipped with a SilencerCo Sparrow suppressor.

This nifty combo just took over 1st place in my safe as the ultimate plinking pistol. It’s a Smith & Wesson M&P22 Compact .22LR. We reviewed that recently and you can read about it here. It comes with a threaded barrel, but you’ll need an adapter to convert the thread size and pitch to standard silencer mount size and for necessary extension past the slide. EWK Arms makes an inexpensive adapter that gives you what you need to mount most .22LR silencers. The one shown here is a SilencerCo Sparrow. As you can see, size proportions are perfect between the pistol and suppressor. Feel and balance are also perfect with this combo – both pistol and silencer are equal proportions and lightweight. The best part? The standard sights on the M&P22 Compact are visible over the top of the Sparrow silencer.

Federal’s Target Grade Performance .22LR ammunition, shown here, is a great match for this combo. Th 40 grain lead bullets cruised out the business end of this pistol at 949 feet per second (unsuppressed) which is well below the speed of sound. It’s a sooper-dooper quiet combination.

If you want to have a little bit of structured plinking competition, check out the new Battleship Game targets from Birchwood Casey. Like the classic board game, you shoot each other’s battleships until sunk. Who says .22’s aren’t powerful?

A Shooter’s Introduction to Bowfishing

Muzzy's Pro Bowfisher Mark Land demonstrates the technique.

Muzzy’s Pro Bowfisher Mark Land demonstrates the technique.

I don’t fish.

I don’t have anything against fishing, in fact, I kind of like it, mainly because you’re expected to enjoy a cold one while taking in the great outdoors. The only reason I don’t fish more has to with that economic principle called opportunity cost. The concept of opportunity cost was developed by Austrian economist Friedrich von Wieser or the late Colonel Jeff Cooper, I can never remember which. Anyway, it’s a microeconomic theory that defines the value of an alternative forgone in a situation where limited resources force a single choice. For me, the limited resource part is the time away from work and chores and the choice part is whether to go shooting or fishing. To put the opportunity cost theory in down-home terms, for every hour I go fishing, that’s an hour I don’t have available for shooting, and to me, an hour not shooting is kind of like a century and a half. It’s just like choosing steak or lobster. I love lobster, but I’ll never pass up a medium rare, bone-in ribeye for it.

The Muzzy eXtreme Duty bowfishing reel.

The Muzzy eXtreme Duty bowfishing reel.

Opportunity cost theory is neat in textbooks, but in the real world it simply means I know less about fishing than Jivaro Indian embalming techniques.

When I had the opportunity to learn a few things about bowfishing last week at the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA) annual conference, I jumped at the chance. Shoot fish? Heck yeah, count me in! It seemed like a very elegant solution to that whole pesky opportunity cost thing. I could shoot AND fish at the same time. If I was lucky, there might even be a barrel involved.

Waiting on my departure time to the Fontana Lake marina for an outing on the Muzzy Broadheads adventure fish slaying boat, I pondered whether it was appropriate to ask our guide, Mark Land, if I could use a regular gun instead of a bow. In my view, it should be more or less the same as you’re trying to hit a swimming fish with a projectile. Plus, I’ve heard stories on the internet about ill-tempered carp jumping into boats, so I figured there was a good self-defense case too. While I even offered to use a suppressed gun to keep the noise down, Mark insisted I use a compound bow. Gee, when a guy who works for an archery company offers to take you out for free, I guess he expects you to use his products. That was OK with me though, it was still shooting, more or less.

Arriving at the marina, I glimpsed the Muzzy adventure boat. That’s my name, not theirs, and I call it that because it’s far more aqua-tactical than those Jungle Cruise boats you ride on at Disney. Muzzy uses this one to promote bow fishing and it’s decked out not just for the activity of bowfishing tournaments, but optimized for photography and television production outings. I’m pretty sure it has a two trillion horsepower Mercury outboard. It’s also got a different twist on the air boat concept – a trolling fan. This allows slow travel, maybe eight miles per hour or so, in very shallow and grassy areas. Using the fan, this boat only needs about 8 inches of water to operate, so you can chase fish into the most elusive of hiding spots. The boat is also decked out with more floodlights lights than Rikers Island Penitentiary. Those are for spotting fish in the prime fishing hours after dark. In fact, Mark’s got so many lights rigged on the Muzzy boat that a separate gas generator is required to power them all. Getting started with a rig like this is cheap – only about fifty grand.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

Photo Gallery: Sig Sauer P226 Elite Single Action Only

Like the feel and capacity of the Sig Sauer but can’t get used to that single / double action? Check out the single action only P226 Elite in 9mm…

Pic of the Day: Smokin’ Hot…

Smokin' Hot!

Smokin’ Hot!

Here’s a SilencerCo Osprey 45 suppressor. This is mounted on a Glock 31, which is actually a .357 Sig pistol. One of the neat things about many .357 Sig guns is that you can do a barrel swap to .40 S&W using the same magazines. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to suppress .357 Sig ammo as you’ll always here the supersonic crack. Although in some cases you may want to use a silencers just to reduce the muzzle blast – especially when you might fire it indoors.

In this case, I added a Lone Wolf .40 S&W threaded barrel in order to mount the SilencerCo suppressor. The wisps of smoke are from a rapid string of Winchester Ammunition Train & Defend .40 S&W (Train) ammo. This makes a great suppressed round as the 180 grain full metal jacket projectile moves out of this particular gun at an average of 880 feet per second – well below the speed of sound. Yes, it’s quiet.

New Daisy Slime Oozing Targets

Daisy's Slime Oozing Targets add a whole new level of fun over paper targets.

Daisy’s Slime Oozing Targets add a whole new level of fun over paper targets.

Here’s a neat idea sure to capture a young shooter’s attention. New Slime Oozing targets from Daisy provide fun interactivity with hardly any mess. I saw these recent at a media shooting event and had to check them out when I saw experienced gun writers bypassing real gun tables to head to the Daisy booth. That’s right – a bunch of normally serious folks were gleefully plinking away at these targets.

Each hit from a BB or pellet gun releases a little bit of pinkish-reddish slime ooze that clearly indicates a hit. Right now, two types of targets are available: a half watermelon and a set of three soda cans. The ooze in the center is lightweight, so the targets are easy to hang on a normal target stand – no special support is required. The slime itself is thick and gelatinous, so while it will ooze from a BB hole, it’s unlikely to drip all the way to the ground. The slime dries pretty quickly and automatically seals the holes, so when finished for the day, take it home and bring it out again on your next trip.

You can find these online and at sporting retailers for less than $20.

Photo Gallery: Beretta’s 692 Sporting Shotgun with B-Fast Comb

Here are some photos of the first Beretta 692 Sporting model with B-Fast comb and 32″ barrels to make its way to the US. Look for a full review soon!

Pic of the Day: Trijicon TA33-C 3×30 ACOG 300 AAC Blackout

The 30mm objective lens provides plenty of light.

Trijicon’s ACOG for 300 AAC Blackout manages supersonic and subsonic ammo hold points.

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