Concealed Carry & Home Defense Training Review

Ever since I started shooting, and especially since I started carrying a handgun, I’ve been like a sponge absorbing information from wherever and whatever sources I could find.

I’ve found that much of the information out there is either highly tactical, or really specific to things like competitive shooting, or overly simplistic and repetitive. Which is why I am so glad I found the USCCA’s Concealed Carry & Home Defense Training.

USCCA to the rescue

USCCA  pulled together a set of videos and PDF downloads and printables specifically for the average person who is concerned about personal and home defense. The package includes videos on Situational Awareness and Home Defense, Concealed Carry Mistakes and How to Avoid Them, and a number of printables, including a state-by-state concealed carry law summary. The entire package is discounted now for only $27 (regularly $74) – the price of a box of good quality ammo.

USCCA Home Security Video
From the USCCA Home Security & Home Defense Video

The set includes the following videos and downloads:

  • Video – Top Ten Concealed Carry Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
  • Video – Home Security & Home Defense
  • Video – Situational Awareness
  • PDF Download – Best of Concealed Carry Magazine
  • PDF Download – Inside School Shootings- What We’ve Learned
  • PDF Download – Concealed Carry Map (carry laws of each state)
  • eBook  – 107+ Handgun Accuracy Secrets
In particular, since I’ve been really focused on improving my situational awareness, the Situational Awareness video was great, as it showed some real-life examples of how you can be prepared to protect yourself and your family if the need ever arises. Again what I like about it is they didn’t take a hard-core tactical approach, but instead took a practical, everyday life kind of approach to situational awareness.
I also really liked the Home Security and Defense video because it gave me some new  information  and easily actionable tips on how to create a home security checklist, some simple steps on how to improve home security, and a good detailed discussion of home defense firearms such as rifles, shotguns and even handguns, including an interesting discussion about some myths around using a shotgun for home defense.

Downloads and printables added bonus
A number of the downloads are great to have, including the Best of Concealed Carry Magazine that has several articles on what happens the aftermath of a self-defense incident (let’s just say my next post is going to be about insurance options, as this article really got me thinking about this issue), and various ammo, handgun and holster deep dives,

The ebook on Handgun Accuracy Secrets was authored by Massad Ayoob, Larry Correia, Kathy Jackson and a number of other leading instructors in the industry and is really focused on the fundamentals of marksmanship – grip, stance, sight picture, etc. It’s good foundational information to have, especially if you’ve not had a lot of handgun training.

While you can certainly find a lot of this kind of information if you spend a lot of time searching Google and YouTube, having this all pulled together in one package for $27 is worth it in my opinion. USCCA always produces quality content – they provide good, targeted information for everyday people concerned about self-protection.

Click here for the USCCA Concealed Carry and Home Defense Training package, now discounted to $27.

*The USCCA Concealed Carry and Home Defense Training Course is a product I purchased and used. Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission (at no additional cost to you) that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

Real Avid Gun Tool

Gift ideas for your gun lovin’ guy

After our post on Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Gun Lovin’ Gal, our always-generous readers asked for some gift suggestions for the men in their lives too. They’re always thinking of others, aren’t they? So with the help of my own gun lovin’ guy, here are a few suggestions that we think the man in your life may not actually have bought for himself yet that he would be very thankful for.

Coolest Guy at the Range
Real Avid Gun Tool Pro-X
Real Avid Gun Tool Pro-X

Your guy will be the coolest guy at the range if someone has an issue with a malfunction and he’s able to whip one of these babies out of his pocket or range bag. The Real Avid Gun Tool Pro-X ($41) has literally any tool you would need to fix a malfunction on the fly, including an ingenious built-in (and removable!) LED light to allow you to see what you’re working on. The Pro-X version also includes a ballistic-nylon case that can clip onto a belt.

UpLULA Autoloader
UpLULA Autoloader

While not as visually impressive as the Real Avid Gun Tool, having one or two of these UpLULA Autoloaders ($23) in your range bag helps make the most of your range time by speeding the time to load magazines as well as save wear and tear on your hands. In addition to the black, these are also available in burnt orange and olive drab.

Friendly Swede Caribiner Grenade
Friendly Swede Caribiner Grenade

I can’t tell you how much I love the Friendly Swede Caribiner Grenade ($11).  I bought one for hubby, hubby’s cousin, several of my friends, myself. This is just one of those things that you hope you’ll never have to use but if you need it you’ll be glad you have it. I have it clipped onto the handle of my Get Home Bag in the trunk of my car. Hubby has his clipped onto the emergency first aid kit he keeps in his car. It’s essentially a mini survival kit, which includes a firestarter, tinder, aluminum foil, needle, fishing hook and line and a few other items, all wrapped up in 9 feet of paracord.

Training with the Big Boys
Navy Seal Shooting
Navy Seal Shooting

Former Navy Seal and firearms instructor Chris Sajnog really has the chops when it comes to teaching you marksmanship and how to improve speed and accuracy. His latest book, Navy Seal Shooting ($20) has simple-to-follow directions and illustrations that can really make a difference in improving your shooting skill.  Chris is the person who detailed out step-by-step how to shoot with both eyes open and that alone has greatly improved our marksmanship.

Seal Survival Guide
Seal Survival Guide

Having the right mindset in any kind of situation is critical, and former Navy Seal Cade Courtley, in his book Seal Survival Guide ($14) walks you through everyday potential disaster scenarios and how to handle them. Not a “fun” read (because I don’t know about you but I prefer not to think about all the bad things that can happen), but definitely a very informative and helpful book to have read.

Gear for His Guns
Sticky Holster
Sticky Holster

I don’t know about your guy but my hubby likes to carry around the house and when working outside in the yard or garage. Having several of these Sticky Holsters (various sizes, $26-36) to fit each of his handguns make it easy for him to have his handgun safely with him no matter what he’s wearing, from jeans to shorts to sweatpants. These fit nicely in a pocket or tuck into the waistband of well-fitting pants. They really do work!

Sig Sauer Tactical Mini Light
Sig Sauer Tactical Mini Light

I LOVE this tactical light by Sig Sauer, and it’s on sale right now on the Sig Sauer Store (reg. $72, on sale for $50). Not only is it a standalone high-powered tactical light powered by a single AA battery (I personally prefer replaceable batteries over rechargeable, especially with something you want to have operational if the SHTF), but it has a mount and remote that can be used on a long gun.

*Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

Holiday Gift Ideas for your Gun Lovin' Gal

Holiday gift ideas for your gun lovin’ gal

It’s that time of year again, and we’ve got ideas for you to find just the right gift for your favorite gun lovin’ gal.

Concealed Carry Holsters – especially for Women

She’ll love the fact you’re supporting woman-owned businesses, with products that are designed by women, FOR women, and Made in the USA.

Can Can Hip Hugger Holster
Can Can Hip Hugger holster

The Can Can Concealment Hip Hugger holster (various, $76-85) is one of the most convenient, comfortable, secure and easily concealable ways for women to carry on-body. It works equally well under jeans as it does with skirts, and even with sweat pants or yoga pants. Made in the USA of a durable and comfortable ballistic nylon it’s available in a variety of colors and styles to fit micro to full-size handguns, as well as several sizes to fit all body types. Multiple holster and magazine pockets allow for flexiblity of handgun placement. It’s beautiful, high-quality and functional.

Can Can Concealment Thigh Holster
Can Can Concealment Thigh Holster

The Can Can Concealment Thigh Holster (various, $66-75) and optional Garter Belt ($32) offers women the option to carry easily while wearing dresses and skirts.  It too is made in the USA of quality ballistic nylon and available in a variety of colors, styles and sizes to fit micro to full-size handguns. I strongly recommend also purchasing the optional Garter Belt for additional security, as heavier guns in particular can have a tendency to pull down the holster over time. Unlike a lot of other holster options available, this is beautiful as well as functional and would make a great gift.

Concealed Carry Handbags

Honestly, I’ve not seen a lot of beautiful options out there when it comes to concealed carry purses or handbags, with the exception of these:

Been and Badge Olivia Concealed Carry Handbag
Been and Badge Olivia Concealed Carry Handbag

The Been and Badge Olivia Cross-Body Tote ($269-294) is designed by women and made in the USA. It is available in two colors of a beautiful quality leather, and also features an ingenious holster system that both secures the handgun in the much safer muzzle-down position but also effectively conceals the handgun while the purse is opened. The strap is detachable so it can be used as either a cross-body bag or as a tote with just the sturdy handle. If there was one concealed carry purse you wanted to buy, this one is it!

At the Range

Here are some fun options for pistol cases that add style in a sea of black and olive drab.

Leopard print pistol case
Leopard print pistol case

This fun Leopard Print Pistol case ($18-20) by Ace Case is made in the USA and comes in a variety of patterns and sizes, including a pink camo, orange camo and zebra print, although my personal preference is for the classic and goes-with-everything leopard.

Range bag insert in red
Range bag insert in red

These compact and easy-to-use Range Bag Inserts by VISM and NcStar ($10-15) serve dual purposes as both a pistol case and open up fully as a gun-rug when you get to the range. These are available in a variety of colors, including red, navy, black and even pink camo.

Be Prepared

I always think its sweet when someone is thinking about my safety and security in their gift choices. To that end, these two products make great stocking stuffers and tell the recipient, “I’m thinking about you.”

Olight Keychain Flashlight
Olight Keychain flashlight

I cannot begin to tell you how handy it has been to have a powerful keychain flashlight on my keys as part of my everyday carry. Not only for the obvious safety reasons, but practical reasons too (for everything from being able to see the check when we have dinner at the local movie theater, to the lock on the door when I get home now that daylight savings has kicked in). This Olight Keychain flashlight ($10) is a tiny bit bigger than some tiny lights, but has the added benefit of being powered by an easily replaced AAA battery.


Ozbourn Tactical Pen
Ozbourn Tactical Pen

This Ozbourn Tactical Pen ($18) not only has the ability to write well and serve as a weapon, it also has a glass window break on the end, which is something that every person you care about should have with them at all times. I also like the fact that it uses the standard Parker ball point pen refill for ink, so you’ll not have to replace the whole pen when the ink runs out.


*Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.


It’s in the bag – Vertx A-Range Bag Review

We go to the range to shoot as a family, and to keep things neat and organized we went in search of the BEST range bag for the needs of either a single shooter or a small family.  It took awhile, but we found the most versatile solution in the Vertx A-Range bag.

Vertx A-Range bag
The Vertx A-Range bag
Vertx A-Range bag
Vertx A-Range bag fully loaded

While big enough to hold everything the 3 of us need at the range (it’s 10″x12″x19″), it’s not so huge that it’s messy and overwhelming. By way of comparison we also have the 5.11 Tactical Range Bag which is much bigger (10″x21″x14″) but is not as well organized as the Vertx. We take the Vertx to the range every time and relegate the 5.11 bag as a supplemental bag for when we go on weekend-long training classes and are hauling tons of ammo.

“Garage Deck” Feature

One of the ingenious features of the Vertx A-Range bag is the ammo “garage deck.” When you open up one of the sides, you have two pull-out “drawers” with mesh inserts that can be used to hold ammo and accessories.

In addition, the lining on the flap is all Velcro. I ended up buying a small pack of Velcro and adding it to the back of the included magazine pouch so it could be easily attached to the inside flap of the bag. This keeps both the magazines and ammo secure and easy to access. The mesh pockets on top are great for holding our autoloaders.

When we get to the range, we set the bag on the rear table, unzip the flap (which lays flat and can also do double duty as a gun rug), and then we can each reach the ammo we need right from one of the convenient drawers.

Vertx A-Range bag inside
Vertx A-Range “garage deck”


Great interior o

The inside of the Vertx A-Range bag is also well organized, with a rigid bottom and several side pockets to store small items. In the top compartment we’re able to fit 3-4 handguns (we like to use these small zip-up range bag inserts that fully open up to serve as individual gun rugs), and 3 sets of ear protection.

There’s another side zipper on the opposite side of the “garage” that doesn’t open up all the way but is wide and deep enough to accommodate all our eye protection, our compact Real Avid gun tool and a small bag with emergency cleaning gear.

What I love about this bag is it’s not so huge that it would seem too big if you’re just going to the range by yourself (especially if you like to bring several handguns with you), but it is big enough to accommodate the needs of several people all at once.

Vertx A-Range bag top
Vertx A-Range bag main compartment


Security on the go

Finally, one of the nicest additional features of the bag is an integrated lock-down system – a looped coated metal rod through the bottom and halfway up the side where the zipper locks through – that allows you to attach a cable to secure the bag (and the zippered main compartment) to a locking point inside your car.

For us, that’s been great since our favorite indoor range is about 30 miles away and we frequently plan stops for dinner or errands on our way there. Knowing we can discretely leave the range bag secure in the back of the SUV is comforting.

Vertx A-Range bag security cable
Vertx A-Range bag security cable

We’ve been using this bag continuously (at least weekly range dates) for the last several years. It’s held up amazingly well and shows very little signs of wear. The zippers, handles and stress points are all high quality and show no sign of giving up any time soon. For us, it’s been well worth the investment.

The Vertx A-Range bag is $199, and is available on* and other online stores.

*The Vertx A-Range bag is a product I purchased and use. Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

all clean

Gun cleaning – without the fumes

The only other shooting related activity that is almost as relaxing as range time is gun cleaning time. It’s so satisfying to see the end result – a well-oiled, well-functioning machine ready for action.

Getting there though, can be uncomfortable and challenging if you don’t have the right products and gear to make gun cleaning time fast, easy and fume-free. It took a lot of experimentation for us to find these holy grail products, and now I’m sharing my secrets with you.

Gun cleaning in action
Cleaning my Sig Sauer P320 for range day.

So let’s gear up!

To start with, guns are dirty pieces of metal and you should plan to protect the surface you’ll be working on. I love my Sig P320 gun mat (hubby has the Sig P226 mat for his 226, natch!), but here are some non-logoed mats that also work really well:

Now that we’ve protected our work surface, we need to protect our hands. Cleaning solvents and the dirt and lead on our guns is very harsh on skin. So I like to use surgical gloves (size M for me, size XL for hubby):

Finally on to the actual cleaning part!

We are HUGE fans of Mil-Comm’s cleaning products. Their products were designed for and used by the military, and best of all – NO FUMES. We’ve tried all the commercially-available cleaning solvents that you can readily get at Cabela’s or Gander Mountain, and frankly were so uncomfortable both in terms of the harshness (even through gloves) and the fumes, it’s worth the price to get Mil-Comm.

We start first cleaning the bore by soaking a GunSponge with the Mil-Comm MC50 NRA Bore Cleaner ($15.50/4-ounce) and passing it through from breech to muzzle (always in the direction the bullet travels). We then let that sit while we detail the rest of the gun.

Next we break out the Mil-Comm MC25 Firearm Cleaner/Degreaser ($12/4-ounce) and spritz all over the handle, frame and slide, and start wiping down with GunSponges or lint-free gun cleaning patches. We also like to use gun cleaning swabs ($6-10/100) to get into all the nooks and crannies, giving everything a final swipe with a patch to remove any excess cleaning fluid.

After letting the bore “soak” for awhile with the bore cleaner, we then use a Hoppe Viper Bore Snake that we spritz with Mil-Comm MC25 Cleaner on the “clean” portion of the Snake and the Mil-Comm MC2500 Lubricant/Protectant ($13.20/2-ounce) on the “lubricant” portion of the Snake. Pull the Snake through the bore (remember, breech to muzzle), and voila, a cleaned and lubricated bore in one fell swoop.

Finally, a few spritzes of the lubricant on a patch or two to wipe down the rest of the gun, paying special attention to the metal parts. A tiny amount of the Mil-Comm TW25B Grease ($16.95/1.5-ounce) on a pad applicator on the slide and parts where metal rubs against metal, a final dry wipe with a patch or two to take off any excess lubricant, and we’re good to go.

gun all cleaned
All clean!


*Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.