Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sometimes New is Better....

It’s easy to find yourself chasing technology in an effort to have the latest tacti-cool accessory.  This is very apparent with bulls-eye shooters with their constant search for the dot, muzzle brake, oil, barrel, trigger job, or special start up ritual that will shrink their group and add 15 points to their average score.

Nor are IDPA or other action shooting games immune from tungsten guide rods, special sights, dot optics and the rest, all of which are attempting to reduce time and improve score.  Many pistol smiths make a good living selling superior performance.

Step out of the game world and into practical self defense and we’ll find these gismos waiting for us as well.  Some are potentially dangerous.  Trigger jobs that reduce the trigger weight to values not defensible in court, for example.  Some are just misleading like dry oils or dirt repellent lubrication.  Others actually improve your shooting ability and increase your survivability.

Accommodations must be made to age.  I just put Truglo TFX sights on my Glock 17.  The sights glow in the dark thanks to tritium, a slightly radioactive isotope of hydrogen.  The use of plastic light pipes that seem to suck up every extra photon helps me see them at dusk or in dimly lit surroundings.  The increase contrast is just what my old, hard to focus eyes need.

For gun games I wear special glasses, cheaters if you will, that help my eyes focus on my front sight.  Everyone shoots better when they focus on their front sight.  But I can’t really wear them for everyday wear.  Too many things, like traffic control signs, are out of focus.  It is very likely I’ll be wearing my normal prescription glasses when I’m forced to defend myself. 

Therefore, I want sights that will help me line front and rear sights up properly.  Truglo TFX does this for me.  As a chemist I like to test my assumptions, so I shot the Dot Torture target with my normal glasses.  It was noticeably easier to see my sights using the Truglo TFX.  I scored 50 out of 50.  Yes, the sights were a little out of focus, but these were easy to quickly line up.  I recommend them to you.  I have them on my glock .380 too!  They aren’t cheap, but missing or shooting the wrong person in self defense to too expensive not to invest in Truglow TFX sights.

No, it's not a very long slide, it's a function of the closeup camera lens.  Still, rear sights slightly fuzzy and front sight crisp and sharp that's perfection.

The other thing I changed was my Streamlight gun light.

My new Streamlight TLR-1s and my older M-3
This is one time newer is better due to upgraded technology.

Years ago I purchased an M-3 tactical gun light for that same Glock.  It was great.  Press down on the momentary switch with my left thumb and darkness would retreat from me.  I’ve used all the flashlight techniques with different degrees of success and a gun light beats them all.

Even with a gun light you need small tactical flashlight.  Use a hand-held light to illuminate areas you don’t want to point a gun at, but need to see.  I would suggest a light with a lanyard you can slip over the wrist.  You just drop the hand held light and grasp your weapon when you need more grip.
But technology has changed.  LEDs (light emitting diodes) have a higher efficiency and produce more light.  They also sip electricity.

Let’s go head to head:
M-3 Illuminator
TLR-1s Illuminator
80 lumens
300 lumens
Run time
2.5 hours
2 – 3 volt CR123
2 – 3 volt CR123
Focusable lamp
a little
Light source
Incandescent bulb
Illumination modes
Locked on and momentary contact
Locked on momentary contact and strobe
3.1 oz
4.1 oz

With the exception of the focusable lamp and weight, the TLR-is wins hands down. 
I recently was out on the range about an hour before sunset and noticed a clump of trees and bushes.  This little cluster of forest created complete and total darkness beneath it.  Several people could have easily hidden in the shadows.  The M-3 wasn’t bright enough 20 yards from the brush to illuminate shadowy undergrowth.  The TRL-1s did a great job!

My next step is to get a carry holster to fit the Glock and TRL-1s mounted.

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