Product Review: Copperbasin Takedown Backpack

When considering a bag to transport your rifle to and from the range, you really need to consider your surroundings.  When I go to Academy or Bass Pro there’s no end to the number of tactical bags available, but what if I’m transporting my rifle from my car to my place of business do I want to advertise to the world that I’m carrying a rifle?  I’d think not.  So, it’s through that lens I’m considering the Copperbasin Takedown Backpackblackmanwithagun.com Merrell Ligons

If you’re looking for an aggressive looking tactical bag that strokes your ego and makes you feel more like a manly man then this probably isn’t the style bag for you.  If you’re comfortable in your manhood, and like me live and work in the city where you’re surrounded by others that may not be as comfortable around guns, then you should consider the Copperbasin Takedown Backpack.

I was pleasantly surprised when the bag showed up, the thoughtful design and the quality construction was apparent.  You can get the specs on the Copperbasin Website so I won’t get into those but let me talk just a minute about my thoughts on how well the bag is built.  I spend a fair amount of time in the woods and have a number of bags from multi-day backpacking bags to quality day-packs and I’m a stickler about quality construction when it comes to bags.

The first thing I noticed was the use of quality nylon for the main bag body, I tend to be tough on bags and keep them for a long time (if they hold up).  I feel that this bag will get the job done for many years to come.  The main zippers are big and rugged, there’s nothing more frustrating than a manufacturer who invests in quality material only to included cheap zippers on the final product.  The bottom on the bag is reinforced with a tough vinyl type of martial, so as you’re packing and unpacking your bag overtime it won’t wear holes through the bottom.

Copperbasin includes quality buckles (which I’m a stickler about) which are a must, especially if you live in a colder climate where the cold can make the buckles brittle.

Storage…storage…storage is what this bag offers.  You can easily get your rifle, magazines, cleaning supplies, tools and ammunition to the range and still have both hands free to bring more toys along with you.  The compartments for your rifle and accessories are lined with a fleece material which helps to keep your weapon free from any dirt or other debris that may scratch the finish on your rifle.  The compartment for your rifle and barrel have adjustable straps to keep everything safe and secure.

Merrell Ligons for blackmanwithagun.com

For those like myself that tend to have a lot of gear already in the truck there is a seat mount to give you more carrying options.  The only problem with the design is that if you don’t have adjustable head rests the strap may not be long enough to get around the fixed head rest design.  I have a 2006 Ford F350, as you can see from the picture my headrest is not adjustable so the strap doesn’t work for me.  A bummer but not a deal breaker by any means, because the bag is slim it easily fits between the front and rear seat or just about anywhere else.

All-in-all the Copperbasin Takedown Backpack really opened my eyes to the reality of being a gun owner in an urban environment.  If you don’t want to draw attention to the fact that you’re carrying a weapon to and from your vehicle, home, or job then you need to reconsider tactical style bags and think about a bag like the Copperbasin Takedown Backpack that does a much better job at blending into the urban landscape.

 

http://www.copperbasingear.com/ruger-1022-takedown-pack.php

Merrell Ligons
Is Publisher of Outdoors In Color, which he founded in 2016 and outdoors contributor to blackmanwithagun.com. When he’s not with his family you’ll most likely find him out at the lake or stalking hogs in the woods.

 

 

Editors note:

Special thanks to CopperBasin for letting us review this great bag.  Thanks and congratulations to Merrell Ligons for the review, and on his recent nuptials.

 

 

Fixed Blade EDC – EKT Companion

Lee Dingle

 

Traditionally a pocket knife consists of a folding knife, maybe even a slip joint. So why would someone carry a small fixed blade. Strength, simplicity, and cost. Fixed blades are inherently strong because they are only one piece, there is not lock or pivot to fail. Also a one-piece design is very simple which leads to the last point. Simplicity usually leads to less cost. Today I am going to take a closer looks at the Evans Knife and Tool (EKT) Companion.
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The Companion was developed by Brian Evans, a custom knife maker, who decided to make a mid-tech knife. The definition of a mid-tech is somewhat debatable, but I consider it a knife designed by a custom knife maker then produced by a manufacturer in small batches. The subject knife of this review is version 1 produced in China with an $84 price tag. Brian has since lost his Chinese manufacturer and is currently planning to make a small batch of knives made in the United States. This time the blade steel will be CMP 20CV. Check out his current Indiegogo campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/evans-knife-and-tool-companion-usa-made#/

Specifications
Overall length: 6”
Handle length: 3-1/8”
Tip to scales: 2-7/8”
Cutting edge: 2-3/4”
Blade height: ¾”
Blade stock thickness: 1/8”
Blade steel: S35VN
Overall handle thickness: 0.56”
HRc: 57-58

20160305_121205The Companion comes with a small kydex sheath. The eyelets are spaced for a Tek-Lok. I have seen many people on bladeforums.com fabricate leather belt loops or other carrying methods. I choose to carry mine with a County Comm 20” rubber necklace as a neck knife. The carry options are limited only by your imagination and DIY ability. The knife snaps into the sheath with an audible click and retention is fantastic, even when carried inverted as a neck knife.

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Another feature of the Companion is the ability to change the scales. The knife comes with black G-10 scales. Blue, red, pink, orange, or jade G-10 scales are available for $10 each. Carbon fiber scales can be purchased for $35. I find the G-10 scales to be very comfortable with just the right level to grit to add enough traction. The carbon fiber scales look the best in my opinion, but are a little too smooth. A tool is even included with the knife to facilitate scale changes. I just use an allen wrench to loosen the chain ring fasteners. The scale fit and finish around the blade tang is great. There are no gaps along the length and the transition around the handle circumference is smooth. A lanyard hole is located at the end of the tang. I tried adding a small lanyard to extend the grip, but found the bare knife much more comfortable. Nevertheless the hole is there if you desire to hand something from your knife.

20151210_171911The knife came shaving sharp. I have been able to maintain the S35VN edge on my Spyderco Sharpmaker with the ultra fine ceramic rods. I have used this little knife for numerous tasks. It is great for food preparation. The fairly thin blade stock makes for a great slicing tool, say hello to easy diced tomatoes and mushrooms. Food prep is where fixed blades shine, it is so easy to clean, you can even remove the scales for cleaning. No peanut butter in the pivot here. I used the knife for some small gypsum drywall repairs. Cutting drywall is a great way to dull your knife which happened. However I was able to restore the edge easily. Other typically everyday tasks like opening and breaking down cardboard boxes is accomplished with ease.

So far you may be thinking that this author considers this knife to be the best tool to grace mankind. There are some negatives thought. The small choil before the blade edge is one. I wish it was slightly larger. I have yet to cut my finger on the very back of the edge, but I feel like it is possible. The other negative I have noticed, if you call it one, is slight discoloration under the scales. I do wear the knife against skin so it is exposed to sweat. So far everything has easily wiped off with a Tuff cloth, but it should be noted as a place to keep an eye on and perform some preventative maintenance.20151027_160353

Lastly I would be remiss if I did not mention the need to check your local laws before you begin carrying a fixed blade knife, especially concealed. As long as carry is legal I think you will find small EDC carry convenient. As a neck knife concealment is fantastic, this little knife disappears under a t-shirt.

Give small EDC fixed blades some thought. The EKT Companion is a great tool and worth the price in my opinion. You may be able to find some of the S35VN versions on the used market or check out the current Indiegogo campaign. Please let me know your thoughts in the comment below.

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Round in the Chamber?

How many of you conceal carry a semi-automatic handgun, or have friends or family members that do? After knowing this, have you ever wondered their stand point of why they carry, or the amount of training they had with the firearm? Now a question with a twist; how many of you keep a round in the chamber or prefer to charge your firearm when the time is needed? This was a conversation a fellow soldier and I had a few weeks ago; it was interesting but I was in total awe.

9mm

 A few weeks ago I was honored to be a participant in the Marksmanship Master Training Course held at Ft. Benning, Georgia. This is a course put together by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit to get everyone in the military who has anything to do with marksmanship instruction to be on one accord instead of putting out bad info, and also to debunk some myths all relating to shooting. One day while on break a question was asked to me from SFC Scarborough of Ft. Hood. He asked “When you conceal carry,do you keep one in the chamber or not?

Automatically, I knew this would be a good conversation (or a debate with others listening in on our words). My response was, “Always carry one in the chamber, not having one in does not compute with me.” My reason for saying this is easy, that is how I train. SFC Scarborough responded by stating that he does not feel safe with a round in the chamber, but that is how he trains. Now my thoughts are really trying to make sense of this, but then again, training prepares you for a serious encounter… right? Again my thoughts lead me to multiple past experiences in relation to a firearm as well as mentally putting myself in a position where manually I have to put a round in the chamber under a situation of stress and a deadly threat. Even walking the streets of Baghdad, Iraq we kept one in the chamber. There were a number of people who joined in the conversation and the mix of what they do or what is “correct” was evenly divided. The one point being made when was when the firearm is pulled out is that enough time to charge the handgun putting a round in the chamber in which I did not agree with. My response was more scientific than reason, but stating something I have seen and experienced firsthand.

Adrenaline and stress cause people to react in different ways, but now add in a complex real world situation where you have to pull out your firearm and pull the trigger. This same conversation started by me with a select number of buddies with whom I normally hang with. Their conversation took a different spin. The mindset was more aggressive and in aggreance with my initial response. In the event there is a reason where the firearm has to be engaged for your safety, I would prefer to be in a situation where my firearm is ready to fire, and my focus is more on the situation of changing the behavior of the threat versus having to get my firearm in a state of readiness. Time and space are your friend when a threat presents itself, so isn’t performing fewer steps with a concealed firearm better under a stressful situation? In my opinion the safe factor is to train with your firearm more than twice a year, but carry as you train. My tip is to keep one in the chamber.

This was a friendly conversation between two Soldiers sharing a common interest. From past training events that I was a part of, it was proven that a person can run at you from twenty-one feet and grab you or the firearm before you pull the trigger. A thought might sound good until you put it through a test and see if it works. If not it is time to go back to the drawing board.

How Shooting Became The New Golf

Gregory Andrews

 

About 10 years ago I moved from Northern Michigan to Central Florida. In Michigan we savor the late spring, summer and fall because that is the only time of year you can get out your golf clubs and hit the links. In the winter we watch the PGA TOUR on TV and learn all about erectile dysfunction medicines and investments strategies. Seriously, if you watch Golf on TV, those are the only commercials. While snow falls outside we read articles on how not to shank the ball and the new gear all available with the hope of shaving a few strokes off our game.

golfing vs shooting

All of that changed when I moved to Florida. My first thought was that I’d golf here all the time. It never snows here, but as it turns out it’s hot in Florida and humid too. When it’s not hot and humid, it’s either night time or raining. In the winter months it’s also 5 times more expensive to play. I still love Golf but playing is a lot harder than it used to be. I play more golf when I go home to visit family than I do living in Florida. One reason is that I have kids. The idea of leaving my wife at home with two small children while Dad lives it up for 18 holes just doesn’t seem fair. Dad Guilt! Another reason is that I don’t seem to be good at it any more. I’ve gotten old, my eyes are not as good, I’ve put on weight, my joints and flexibility are diminished and the whole endeavor is more work now than play. On the occasional outing I still manage enjoy myself, focus more on the positive rather than the negative but it’s just not the same. Usually by the middle of the round I’m looking forward to the girl in the tight shirt driving the beer cart more than anything.

Still, I needed an outlet for my spare time and extra money, and that is when chance, opportunity and desire conspired to make me the new owner of a gun. To be fair I had already owned a pump action 12 gauge. It was something I purchased after a rash of burglaries in my neighborhood. However, I never really got comfortable with it. It makes a nice recognizable sound that says SHTF / GTFO. It did the job until an opportunity to buy a beloved Icon of the 9mm family, seen in practically every movie came along. I was finally at a point in my life where I could buy a gun I’ve seen thousands of times, the Beretta 92 or in my case an M9A1. I’m not going to go into if that was a good choice or not, but I wanted it and I figured if the Army could teach people how to use it then I could learn too.Beretta M9A1

I couldn’t just own the handgun. So I got a nice range bag. And you need earmuffs, and eye protection so I got those things too. And then you need tools, brushes, patches & CLP to clean your guns. You need Ammo, and a safe place to keep all that stuff organized. My first trip to the range I looked like a walking Beretta billboard but I didn’t care. You’ve all seen that guy right? We all shake our head and think, “Oh boy, I hope this guy doesn’t get me killed”, more money than sense! I’ve been drinking the Beretta Kool-Aid from a young age so I didn’t care. My first brush with Beretta was my Grandfathers Beretta semi-auto 12 gauge Shotgun. My grandfather was the guy at the local Trap shoot that would simply wait for the other guy to miss before taking home the prize. He was that good. It’s hard to shake that brand loyalty when it’s tied to a beloved family member, and if it was good enough for Grandpa it’s good enough for me!

So here is where my Golf / Shooting parallel came into play. Just as my golf clubs needed a bag, and golf balls, and tees, and a golf glove and all the other junk, so does the shooting sports. For me it was almost an even trade in terms of expense. A good set of clubs will set you back $1000 or so, add in the bag and all the rest and you can easily add in another $1000 depending on if you buy pro jock wedges and putters, and leather staff bag. Not to mention Country Club memberships, bag storage, club cleaning and the list goes on. Gun = Clubs, Balls = Ammo, Range fee = Green Fees and so on. And best of all, going to the range takes considerably less time than 18 holes of golf.

happy golfer

I solved the dad guilt puzzle. I justified the use of my time and money as not only fun, but less time consuming than golf with the added benefit of learning to protect my family. These days I regularly slaughter paper targets at varying distances. It took me a while to get comfortable. I’d ask guys on the line for help, ask my friends and neighbors who were ex military, cops or prison guards for tips and tricks. I spent a lot of time reading and asking questions online. It was the exact same routine with golf. Why do I slice the ball? Why are my shots going low and to the left? Turns out there are some basic fundamentals that cause them both, but you need to be able to practice to master them. There is more to protecting your home and family than punching holes in paper, and I’m learning more as I go along. I think I’ll always be learning, practicing, and working on my skills. But, I have a good foundation, good tools and a familiarity I didn’t have 3 years ago. I’m safe and responsible and happy.

I have the Shooting bug. I’ve been out shooting clays; even got me an AR before someone decided it was illegal for me to buy one. Sound familiar? Yeah, I’m hooked!

I do miss the girl on the beer cart with the tight shirt though.

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