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H&K VP9 Definitely a Good Decision

Heckler and Koch VP9

I had been thinking about buying the Heckler & Koch VP9 for at least a year. It got to the point where I was thinking about everyday. I don't know why I was fixated on this particular pistol. I shoot plenty of awesome weapons all the time. Some people smoke a cigarette or have a drink when they're stressed. Not me. I binge shop online when I get frustrated or stressed. I don't remember exactly which incident set it off but, I had one of those work days that made me want to buy something to make myself feel better. So, I soothed my nerves buy ordering an H&K VP9. As soon as I clicked the submit order button, I felt better immediately. 

I love the FDE and OD green frames that H&K offers in the VP9 but, I had a feeling I may want to carry this one on duty one day. I'm not sure if my department would have anything to say about an FDE or OD green gun in my holster. It doesn't exactly match well with the uniform. John Wick had an all black VP9 so that's cool enough for me. When I opened the box I certainly wasn't disappointed. Wow! This gun looks amazing in and out of it's case. The H&K VP9 is ridiculously sexy.

The first thing I did was field strip it. I didn't read the owner's manual. It's simple enough if you have handled Sig Sauers, Berettas, or similar semi-auto pistols. However, I did notice that the slide comes to a stop at a certain point as you are moving it forward towards the muzzle end to remove it. You can apply pressure downwards and continue pulling the slide off or just pull the trigger. Either method works. The same thing occurs when reassembling the weapon. Just pull the trigger to easily get the slide back on. No big deal. Anyways, I used Frog Lube to thoroughly clean out all the factory grease and lubricate the VP9. The factory grease on the VP9 left it's gun case slightly oily. I noticed that when I put my freshly cleaned gun back in the case and pulled it back out, it was oily again. I used a clean towel to blot out all the factory lubricant from the VP9 case then left it out to dry overnight. Problem solved. Now I have a clean H&K gun and gun case.

The VP9 comes with the medium sized grips installed. It feels just right in my hands, so thats the way it will stay. The stippling on the grips is more than sufficient. On a side note, a buddy of mine told me he paid $200 for the stippling job on his Glock. I don't like the idea of paying that much to improve the grips but, I will if I like a gun enough. Thats another story. Lets press onward. The finger groves work well for my hands. I wear a size large in gloves, to give you a point of reference in regards to my hand size and the medium sized VP9 grips. In other words, if you wear a size large in gloves, you'll probably be just fine with the medium size grips.

I've been carrying a 1911 on duty for a while now and I've developed a quick muscle memory sight alignment for that particular gun. When doing a quick drawl and trying to align the sights on the VP9, I noticed that I have to consciously tilt the muzzle up just a tad, to compensate for the different grip angle. Definitely no fault of the VP9. Everything about the VP9's ergonomics is perfect. It's just that I am used to training with the 1911. 

I purchased a low-profile OWB holster for my VP9 and wore it out to dinner recently. The holster did a fine job of concealing a pistol of this size. Don't kid yourself, the full size VP9 is not the perfect concealed carry gun. It doesn't print much on my t-shirt and nobody knows I'm packing' but, the thick grip digs into my side a little. I only feel it when sitting down. It's not terribly uncomfortable or heavy but, I definitely don't forget it's there. I like the VP9 so much, I will just tolerate the larger size when I feel like carrying it. I read the dimensions before I purchased it, so I knew what I was getting into. No big deal. I will make another attempt to conceal carry the VP9 with an IWB holster at a later date. I'll report back when I do. For now, my daily off-duty carry gun will continue to be the Glock 19. 

I chose the regular luminescent sights on my VP9 because the tritium sights that some shops are selling them with are not exactly what I want for night sights. I prefer a fiber optic / tritium combination setup from Truglo. I'll wait until I test an IWB holster with the VP9 before I invest in the Truglo sights. If I'm not going to be carrying it on a regular basis, I doubt I'll put anymore money into it. Besides, a bone stock VP9 comes factory awesome, right out of the box. The luminescent dots on my VP9 glow brightly during the day and at dusk, which is when I'm usually at the range. For now, my VP9 will only be used at the range or when I want to walk around and feel sexy.

Everyone raves about how great the VP9 trigger is so I won't waste too much time on that topic. I will say that this particular H&K definitely lives up to the hype. The VP9 has a fantastic trigger. Thats not an opinion. It's a fact. 

As far as accuracy goes, I would put it on par with my Glock 19. I had no trouble hitting a steel gong at 50 yards. I'm still not totally used to shooting the VP9 so I won't draw any hard conclusions on it's accuracy yet. At 10 yards or so, I was hoping to be able to put multiple rounds in the same hole. I wasn't able to do that. My groups were good but, not excellent. Probably just me, not the gun. I was using brass Sellier and Bellot 115 grain ammo. I haven't ran any other type of ammo through it yet. More on that subject at a later date. As a matter of fact, I plan on updating this post every time I try something new with my VP9. This will be an evolving and long term review on the H&K VP9.

I've heard mixed reviews on the mag release lever of the VP9. I have no idea why anyone wouldn't love that mag release. H&K was absolutely brilliant with this feature. There's no need to "get used to it". It feels completely natural and ergonomic to hit either side of the ambidextrous magazine release when you need to drop the mag in a hurry. It also seems to work well when wearing gloves. 

I put about 200 rounds of Sellier & Bellot brass through my VP9 so far. I haven't had any hint of a malfunction but, my buddy was shooting it and the slide didn't lock back after the last round. I don't know why or what happened to cause that hiccup but, that was the only time I saw that issue. Perhaps the gun was breaking in or maybe my buddy limp wristed it on the last round. Who knows? I took it home, cleaned it, took it back to the range, and put 50 more rounds through it. No more issues to report. I will be shooting it much more in the near future.

I like all my pistols but, there's definitely something special about the H&K VP9. For me, it's not the most accurate and not the most comfortable to carry. It is however, very comfortable once it's in my hand and one of the best looking pistols I've ever seen. I can shoot it fast and hard. It would make a perfect duty carry pistol and I may be switching out my 1911 for the VP9 in the future.

Excellent work Heckler & Koch! 



March 27, 2017 by R. Rodriguez

Custom Springfield Model 67 Series E 12 Gauge Shotgun

Pistol Grip Springfield Model 67 Series E

I inherited a Springfield Model 67 Series E 12 gauge shotgun from my Grandfather many years ago. I left it in original factory configuration for a few years before changing the butt stock and forend. I replaced the wood furniture with a polymer pistol grip, a different forend, and added a single point sling.

I already had a couple of 12 gauge long guns and decided to customize the Springfield 67 for two reasons. I wanted to change the look and I wanted a 12 gauge in a more concealable size. By “concealable” I don’t mean trying to hide it in a trench coat or anything like that. I mean something I can stash away easier. This smaller 12 gauge would make a great travel gun, boat gun, or even a great horseback gun when tucked in a scabbard.

Im not sure what the new forend is made out of. It’s harder than regular rubber but doesn't seem very plastic-like. Its very grippy and I consider it a major improvement, both cosmetically and in functionality.

There are no aftermarket parts available for the Springfield Model 67 Series E but, my gunsmith picked up the pistol grip and forend off his shelves. I believe they were for a Remington Model 870 but, he somehow made the new furniture fit after about 5 minutes of gunsmithing. I don’t know exactly what he did to make it fit but, everything matches up perfectly and feels solid.

I ordered a Mission First Tactical Single Point Sling to add to the pistol grip. This works great for pistol / shotgun transitions. It has a bungee portion that flexes if you pull it hard enough. It feels more comfortable than other non-bungee slings that I own. I run both single and double point slings in different weapons that I own. For the pistol grip shotgun and for the sub-machine gun, an MFT Single Point Sling is the way to go.

Since I wont be sticking this shotgun up to may face to aim, theres no point in improving the traditional bead sight. I’ll just leave it as is. The Springfield Model 67 in pistol grip configuration, fits perfectly in any shotgun scabbard. I keep my loaded with less-lethal rounds just as a less deadly force option. It’s good to have options.

Thanks to Mission First Tactical for the awesome gear you see in the photo!

March 22, 2017 by R. Rodriguez

Customized Ruger AR-556

Custom Ruger AR-556

I purchased a bone stock Ruger AR-556 during the time when everyone thought Hilary was going to win the election. Prices were a little higher back then. I paid a little over $700. Prices are currently hovering around $650 or so as of March 2017. I knew from the get go, I was not going to leave it in its factory configuration.
Here's what it looked like before my modifications. This black AR-556 actually belongs to my friend Will. I took these pics the same day we zeroed both rifles in. I thought it would be good to take a pic of both rifles to show the difference between a factory stock AR and a customized one. I noticed Will's rifle came with a different grip than mine. Other than the grip, the rest of the rifles are identical. 

black Ruger AR-556

The Ruger AR-556 comes with standard furniture but, Ruger branding pretty much all over it. I almost changed the butt stock but decided I like the little Ruger logo on it. So it that stayed put. 

The grip looks and feels exactly like a Hogue grip but, also has Ruger branding. I assume I have a later generation of the AR-556 because mine came with this Hogue or Hogue-like grip. Other AR-556's on Ruger's website currently have this Hogue style grip. It feels comfortable and grippy enough. It is a little too fat near the safety. My safety felt kinda sloppy as it slipped over the protruding grip. I fixed it by cutting some of the rubber off underneath the safety. The safety immediately felt normal. Problem solved.

The rear sight is polymer and is very good quality. It snaps up clean and crisp. It doesn't feel the least bit flimsy. I would even say they are better the MBUS sights. These back up sights also display Ruger branding. I can't say much about the front sight post because I removed it before using it. I can say it was aluminum and kinda cool for a standard A2 front sight post. It still had to go for a good cause. I removed the A2 sight post and gas block and installed a Yankee Hill clamp on low-profile gas block. The low-profile gas block was necessary for installation of a Midwest Industries 15" keymod hand guard.

Ruger AR-556 with Amend2 magazine

I wasn't sure how easily the stock A2 aluminum front sight would shave down so I opted to purchase a low profile gas block from Yankee Hill. I got the clamp on style to completely eliminate the chance of screwing up the barrel with screws going in to far. I just didn't care to get the pinned type of gas block. I purchased a Midwest Industries 16 inch M-LOK hand guard / rail / forend or whatever you want to call it. I just refer to it as a "rail". I had it cerakoted to match the gray upper, lower, and butt stock that it came with. I only saw the gray, FDE, and OD green AR-556's for a short while at the end of 2016. As of now, I haven't seen anything but the all black version available. After installing the Midwest Industries slim rail, the look and feel of the rifle completely changed. I can maneuver a standard M4 or M16 around hallways, rooms, and barricades just fine but, now I can really grab hold of the forend. The slim rail fits in my hand quickly and perfectly. Its great for quickly engaging multiple targets.

Fortis muzzle brake and control shield on a Ruger AR-556

I added a Fortis muzzle brake, mostly for looks. I don't really think the AR-556 has much of a recoil to begin with. I added the Fortis blast shield because my fellow officers aren't going to appreciate the output of blast that a muzzle brake sends out of both sides during qualifications. I also think the blast shield brings together the overall look. The outer diameter of the blast shield comes closer to the diameter of the rail so it kinda looks like I am shooting something bigger than a .223 or 5.56.

Fortis Muzzle Brake on a Ruger AR-556

I ordered a front sight post from MFT (Mission First Tactical). Before I go any further about this front sight, let me say that I do like MFT products, just not this one. As soon as I tried to make an adjustment, a little piece broke off. It broke very easily. Eventually I will replace it with a Troy Battle Sight.

MFT Mission First Tactical Front Sight on Ruger AR-556 rifle

I have experience with Troy sights and it has been all positive. After the MFT sight broke, I went straight to sighting in my Vortex Strikefire ll. I keep mine on the green dot setting. The Strikefire ll is very easy to zero at 50 yards. I started at 25 for a few rounds, then completed the 50 yard zero. No problems to report. Yes, Vortex Optics function every bit as good as they look. The Strikefire ll also feels very solid, like it's actually part of the rifle. Good job Vortex!

Gray Ruger AR-556 with Amend2 mag

The Amend2 magazine works just as well as my Magpul and MFT mags. I prefer the Amend2 because of the additional grip they have integrated into the design. That large "MADE IN THE USA" you see in the pic actually functions as additional edges to grip onto. These mags look and function great!

As for the range report, my eyes aren't the best but, they had no problem hitting a 4 inch circle at 50 yards. I credit the ease of shooting this rifle to my Vortex Strikefire ll. It's extremely easy to shoot with both eyes open, using this red dot optic (yes I use the green dot). The first time shooting the Ruger AR-556, I had no malfunctions of any sort. Will also shot his stock AR-556 right next to me when we zeroed them in. He did not have any malfunctions either. I did thoroughly clean and lube the AR-556 before shooting it for the first time.

Vortex Strikefire 2 on Ruger AR-556

In summary, I think the Ruger AR-556 is reliable, good looking, and functions perfect as a patrol rifle. It feels like one solid piece of metal. FYI, I use a Viking Tactics sling with my AR-556. I didn't show it in these pics but, I should add that Viking Tactics make great slings that are perfect for the AR platform.

The helmet you see in some of these pics is our Skull Crush German helmet. This one is Kevlar and Carbon Fiber with a clear gloss coat. It matches my Ruger AR-55 perfectly so I put it on the table as eye candy. Skull Crush currently has the Ruger AR-556 in OD Green.

March 07, 2017 by R. Rodriguez

Review on Beretta 96 Vertec with Wilson Combat Upgrades

Wilson Combat Upgraded Beretta 96 Vertec

This is not my current duty weapon but, at some point during my career, I carried a standard all black Beretta 96. Working evenings, I finally decided to purchase night sights. I found out that the stock sights were permanent on my particular model. Trijicon makes a type that actually covers up the permanent sights. Putting these on would raise my sight height a little. I wasn't too hip on that.

My father who owned a Beretta 96 Vertec Inox, generously offered to trade guns with me. The 96 Vertec is the same caliber but, with modern features such as removable sights, a rail, and a slimmer grip with a different angle. I took him up on his offer. His Vertec had somewhat dim factory night sights already installed from the Beretta. I immediately purchased fresh Trijicon Night Sights from Marksman Firearms. Marksman graciously installed them at no extra charge. I also purchased one 15 round mag and two 13 round mags from Mec-Gar.

Beretta 96 with Wilson Combat G10 Grips

I took the Vertec to the range to test it with my department issued duty rounds. We use a round restricted for civilian use called Winchester T Series. The Vertex did not immediately perform flawless. I had a malfunction about every 10 rounds. I suspected the Vertec didn't like the 15 round Mec-Gar rounds. I didn't bother to clean it before the range because I though it looked clean enough. I took it home and thoroughly cleaned and lubed it. From my experience, Beretta's hate to run dry, despite what some people say about only needing a "little lube".

I was very pleased with my second range test of the Vertex 96. It ate up duty hollow points as well as target ammo, with no malfunctions whatsoever. I was relieved that it only needed a good cleaning to function as it should. 

rear view of a Wilson Combat Beretta 96 Vertec Inox

The accuracy of the Beretta Vertec 96 was about on par with my older standard 96 model. Definitely not as easy to bust out bullseyes as with the 9mm model 92 but, still accurate enough for close range. I always test my pistols between 8 and 25 yards. At 25 yards, I must be able to hit within an 8 inch circle without problems. In my opinion, when one's adrenaline gets pumping, one can loose about 20% of their accuracy. So, its important to set personal standards as far as accuracy at 25 yards. I believe its also important to train in tactical scenarios, not just standing still while shooting at paper targets. 

Beretta 96 Vertec with Wilson Combat Parts

After determining that the Beretta 96 is duty-worthy beyond a shadow of a doubt, I decided to spend a little money to make it awesome. Here's a list of my Vertec upgrades:

  • Wilson Combat G10 Grips
  • Wilson Combat Short Reach Trigger
  • Wilson Combat Fluted Guide Rod
  • Wilson Combat Low-Profile Single Lever Safety/Decocker
  • Wilson Combat Oversize Steel Magazine Release
  • Mec-Gar 15 round (pictured) and 13 round mags
  • Wilson Combat Delux Spring Kit, Duty Use which includes:
  • 14# Recoil Spring
  • 14# Hammer Spring
  • 16# Hammer Spring
  • Firing Pin Return Spring
  • Extractor Spring
  • Trigger Return Spring

The Wilson Combat Delux Spring Kit comes with two different hammer springs. I installed the number # 14 hammer spring and installed the # 16 in the Beretta I traded my father for. I will provide a review on the standard model 96 with # 16 hammer spring later.

Beretta 96 Wilson Combat Oversized Magazine Release Button

My 96 Vertec is now better than new. I took it for a third range test. I found the first double action pull to be noticeably but not significantly lighter than standard. Not so light that I have to worry about a light primer strike. The stock hammer spring was a # 20 to give you an idea about the difference between a # 20 and # 16. The real magic is after the first round has been fired and the Vertec is in single action mode. The trigger is nice and crispy, something like a 1911 trigger pull. My accuracy on follow up shots was never bad with the Beretta but, even better after installing the Wilson Combat springs. Shooting full power duty rounds was a breeze with this full sized, heavy, upgraded Beretta 96 Vertec.

You've heard of "trigger sobs". I am not a trigger snob. I can shoot any quality pistol well by using decent shooting fundamentals. However, I am now a self proclaimed grip snob. I am totally spoiled on G10 grips. The Wilson Combat G10's than I installed make a great gun even better. I feel that G10 grips help eliminate a chance for error when doing fast drawls from the holster. Sometimes when doing a fast drawl under stress, you may not always grip the gun perfectly and subsequently fire off a round with imperfect aim. In the heat of the moment, you may not have time to readjust your grip, take aim, then fire. Most likely, you will have to get the round off quickly in a bad situation. The G10 grips are too good that even if you don't grip the receiver perfectly, you can still easily and quickly manipulate the pistol back into your normal point of aim. This is hard to explain without actually showing you in person. If were ever considering G10 grips for your gun, just get 'em. Its money well spent.

Some time has passed since I stopped carrying the Beretta Vertec. I now carry a 1911 on duty. Not because I think the 1911 is superior to the Vertec. I simply opted to start carrying the 1911 just because I can. I still use the Beretta Vertec as an off-duty weapon option. It's a big pistol to carry and it isn't light. Regardless, it still carries well in a good holster and with the proper belt. There's something that feels nice and cozy about carrying a full sized pistol and knowing that I have 16 total rounds of full power .40 cal at my disposal.

Beretta 96 with Wilson Combat Parts Installed

 Gun photography by: ralphrodriguezjr.com

February 26, 2017 by R. Rodriguez

5 Year Review on the Ruger SR1911

Year One

I was one of the first to to get my hands on the Ruger's first 1911 pistol when it hit the gun stores in January 2012. I paid the Law Enforcement price of $569.95 before tax. I picked mine up from GT Distributors Inc. in Dallas. As of January 2017, the going street price is around $880.

Ruger SR1911

I own several 1911's and I love them all for different reasons. I wanted this particular gun because it was the first 1911 manufactured by Ruger. The second reason was the price. Back in 2012, even without Law Enforcement pricing, a civilian could own one for around $600-700 if I remember correctly.

In 2012 I wasn't carrying the SR1911 for duty or off-duty purposes. It was strictly a recreational shooter. The first time I took it took to the range I broke it in with 100 rounds of FMJ. As expected, it performed flawless. I did field strip, clean, and lube it before it's first use. Reinstalling the slide release was a little tricky on this particular gun. Tolerances on the SR1911 are apparently nice and tight.

At the end of the year I counted 12 boxes of spent ammo for a total of 600 rounds. No malfunctions to report. I did clean and lube after each use. 45 ACP ammo isn't cheap so, I usually never fired more than 100 rounds per range session.

Following Years

The following years after my initial purchase were much like the first accept for the minor modifications I recently made in 2017. As of 01/09/2017, I have fired at least 3000 rounds with no failures or malfunctions of any kind. I say "at least" because I stopped keeping track at the 3000 round mark. Truth be told, I have been to the range several dozen times after I lost track of the round count. Once again, I maintain my weapons perfectly. Any properly maintained combat pistol should be able to achieve this level of reliability, in my opinion. This weapon had no trouble doing so. I recently had my gunsmith measure the tension on my recoil spring. It measured 18 pounds which is within spec for the 1911. So far, no need to change any springs or internal parts. Everything on the pistol is still tight.


The SR1911 comes with regular white dot Novak sights. Nothing special, and thats all you really need for a range pistol that's not in service for duty or concealed carry. The SR1911 is easy to aim. Most shooters of any experience level will not have trouble lining up the three large dots. The Novak sights are just fine for short range, within 25 yards. Remember, pistols were meant for short range anyway. I've since changed the sights as you can see in these pics but, more on that later.

Tru Glo Front Sight on an SR1911

Truglo night sights on 1911

Stock Grips

The SR1911 does not come with the blue G10 grips you see in these photos. The stock grips are brown checkered plastic. There's a million pics of the SR1911 with the brown stock grips so I didn't bother including another one. The stock plastic grips work fine for range purposes and they look nice enough. If there's any chance you will find yourself in a situation of high stress involving sweaty hands, blood, or rain, plastic grips aren't going to cut it. 

Ruger SR1911 with Hornady ZombieMax 45 ACP Ammo

Front Strap

The front strap of the SR1911 is smooth. No checkering or any other grip aiding machining work to speak of. Before some of the modern day 1911's, there was no checkering machined into the front strap, at least that I am aware of. So I don't know if Ruger was trying to keep a traditional looking 1911 or just negated the checkering to save on machining costs. Either way, for the price I paid, I can't complain and it looks just fine.

front strap of Ruger SR1911

Back Strap

The back strap has small, tight, black checkering below the grip safety. It has great friction and looks fantastic. The black back strap and grip safety contrast well with the rest of the gun.

Grip Safety on Ruger SR1911

The Trigger

The trigger is about as good as any other quality 1911 pistol. It has a small and light travel area, then breaks clean and crisp at around 4.5 pounds in my estimation. I did not measure it with a trigger scale. I like the skeletonize cutouts and flows with the style of the hammer.

Trigger on Ruger SR1911

The Slide

The slide on the SR1911 is perhaps it's most attractive component. It has traditional vertical slide serrations on the rear. "Ruger" and "Made in the USA" are machined onto the left side of the slide. The Ruger logo is machined into the right. The size and style of the branding on this beauty are just right. The slide action is silky smooth and seems to stay that way, even after 100 rounds or so. I rarely use the slide release to chamber a round when doing reloads. I always use an overhand grab to pull back on the slide to release it into battery. I never had an issue grabbing hold of the rear slide serrations.

Ruger logo on an SR1911 pistol

Ruger SR1911 slide

Ruger SR1911 ejection port


My Ruger SR1911 came with two magazines. A seven round and an eight round. I use the two shown in conjunction with another Mecgar magazine. All have performed flawlessly. 

Ruger 1911 magazines


My Ruger SR1911 came with a nice nylon bag that I used exclusively for storage before I put my pistol into full time service. I think a great looking gun like this should come with a nice bag. Great job Ruger!

Ruger SR1911 bag


Internal Parts

As I mentioned earlier, I have a few 1911's. All of them are on the higher end of the quality and price scale. The internal parts of my SR1911 are no better or worse than my more expensive pistols. They are right on par with a high quality, much more expensive 1911 pistol. Everything seems to be of high tolerance and specs. All parts come apart and got back together tight but, smooth. With the exception of the tricky slide release.

ejection port on Ruger SR1911

Going Into Service

After 5 years of reliable recreational shooting with the SR1911, I decided I liked it enough to carry it on duty. For those that care, I have carried a total of 5 duty weapons, during my Law Enforcement career. Starting in chronological order, I have carried a Glock 17, Sig Sauer P226, Glock 22, Beretta 96 Vertec, and now the SR1911. Before becoming a cop, I was a Navy Corpsman for 8 years. I carried a Beretta 92 (M9) in the field, but not for everyday use. Eventually, I'll do reviews on all the above mentioned pistols but, back to the SR1911 for now.

Sometimes I work in the rain so I swapped the stock grips for a set of G10 grips from the Altamont grip company. G10 is a very high friction type material. it feels similar to the bottom part of a ceramic tile. You won't loose your grip even if your hands are wet. As I mentioned earlier, the stock sights are sufficient for recreational / range use but, for a working gun, night sights are superior. I opted for the a set of Truglo TFO Novak Lomount sights. They're tritium and fiberoptic so they look like they are glowing, even in the daylight. In low light, these sights glow as if they are electric powered. Half of my shift is spent at night so, these sights are perfect for my SR1911. 

Off-Duty Carry

After qualifying at my agency range with my duty holster,  I purchased two holsters for off duty. I purchased a Hellbent holster from Defender Firearms in Fort Worth and an Alien Gear holster directly from the Alien Gear website. 

I use the Hellbent holster in an outside the waistband configuration buy way of belt loops. I really like how this holster holds the 1911 close to my body. No one can notice I'm packing a full size 1911, even when I'm wearing a t-shirt. The Hellbent OWB holster is pure awesomeness!

Hellbent holster for 1911

Ruger SR1911 in a Hellbent kydex holster

I use my Alien Gear holster when I'm going to be in the car for a long time. It takes longer to put on than the Hellbent holster but, its' very comfortable. I seem to forget I'm wearing a full size pistol, even when sitting down.

1911 in an Alien Gear holster

As you can see, the Alien Gear holster in combination with the thin 1" profile of a 1911 pistol is a very slim EDC setup.

Underneath an Alien Gear Holster holding a full size 1911 pistol

Wear and Tear

Until this year, this was strictly a perfectly pampered range pistol and didn't have a scratch on it. I'll find out how the SR1911 holds up to duty use in a leather Safariland holster. It will definitely endure all the seasons of north Texas including 100 degree days, sub-zero freezes, and plenty of rain and moisture. I'll give it a year and report back with wear and tear review.

Thanks for reading this and I hope I gave you some useful information, in very plain language. If you are spec nerd, you can always go the the Ruger website. My goal with this review was to give you my opinion of the SR1911, the same way I would describe it to a friend.

Update May 2017:

I had some trouble for the first time with this gun. I was running Winchester Ranger T Series 230 grain JHP during a qualification and had several failure to go into battery malfunctions. The large square nosed JHP's would not ride up the feed ramp and chamber properly.

To fix on the fly, I intentionally short-stroked the slide causing the round to seat properly and continued to fire. Doing this versus ejecting the round allowed me to put all my rounds on target without throwing any.

To permanently fix the problem, I polished the feed ramp thoroughly but, did not grind out any material. This fixed the feeding issue with Winchester Ranger. No more issues to report.

If you are not required to carry any particular round by your agency, I recommend Horanady Critical Defense or Zombie Max (same thing as Critical Defense just a different color). I recommend this particular JHP due to the narrow, pointed like, hollow point tip. The narrow tip JHP's move easily into the feed ramp of the 1911, just like FMJ rounds. Zombie Max rounds are shown in one of the above pics.


Muzzle end of a 45 caliber 1911

January 09, 2017 by R. Rodriguez

Dead Battery on 2017 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic

dead battery problem on 2015 Ultra Classic FLHTCU

Dead Battery Problem on 2017 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic FLHTCU

Last week, I went outside to start my Ultra. When I reached for the ignition switch, I realized it was already in the ON position. Damnit! I haven't been on it for about two months so the battery was completely drained. I wasn't sure if the battery cells were damaged from being drained and sitting for two months.

Find Your Integrated Trickle Charge Cable

I think the owners manual stated the trickle charge cable was behind the left side cover but, I never removed the side cover. It was clearly visible once I removed the saddle bag. It was coming from behind the side cover but, accessible without removing it. 

I plugged the battery tender (trickle charger) into my Ultra's cable. The indicator on my battery tender showed a red LED light, indicating the battery was not defective and was charging. The battery tender owner's manual states that it may take several days to charge a dead battery. The owner's manual didn't give a specific amount of time or days.

Trickle Charger Not Doing the Job

I left the trickle charger on for 5 days. It still showed red, meaning still charging. I was convinced the battery was not going to be charged by this trickle charger. The battery was less than a year old so it was still under HD warranty.

HD Battery Under Warranty?

I took it to Stampede Harley Davidson in Burleson, Texas. Before going up there, I let them know I purchased my Ultra from a different dealership. They said it was fine, they will still honor Harley-Davidson's warranty. The Service Advisor took my battery and told me "It can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours to test it". I left my phone number with the Service Advisor and decided to go about my day.

The Service Advisor never called but, I drove back before the close of business and met with the Service Advisor. He apologized for taking too long and not calling me. He let me know my battery was fully charged and gave me a printed readout of the battery's health. He further explained that if a battery is "below a certain level" a trickle charger will not charge it. It must be put on a traditional (larger) battery charger.


If your motorcycle battery is fairly new but, seems totally dead, a trickle charger isn't going to do the trick. Take it to your HD dealer and have them test and charge it. If by chance the battery is dead, you may still be covered by the HD factory warranty.

December 28, 2016 by Ralph Rodriguez

2015 Harley-Davidson FLHTCU Electra Glide Ultra Classic in Brilliant Silver Pearl

We just picked up the new 2015 Harley-Davidson FLHTCU Electra Glide Ultra Classic in Brilliant Silver Pearl. Ralph hasn't had the chance to take it on a good test ride yet but, he did shoot some nice pics for you!

2015 Brilliant Silver Pearl Ultra Classic
This pic was shot with a Canon 7D using the HDR method (High Dynamic Range). 
Front of 2015 FLHTCU
HDR is achieved by shooting in bracketed exposure mode. The Canon 7D takes three different pics in three different exposures. The three pics are then merged together on Photoshop using the HDR Pro feature. From there, the sliders are adjusted until the desired look is achieved.
rear of 2015 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic
The last pic above was not shot in HDR. It is a regular photo shoot in aperture priority mode. Notice the difference between the two HDR pics and the last traditional pic? A hyper realistic look can be achieved using the HDR photograph method. 
Custom Matching Harley Davidson Helmet
Here's a helmet we custom painted for a Yamaha cafe racer, but it seems to go perfectly with the new 2015 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic!


April 18, 2015 by Ralph Rodriguez

Skull Crush DISCOUNT codes!

Skull Crush Helmets Discount

Starting 01/06/2015, we will start announcing our best discount codes to our Newsletter subscribers.  

To get immediate discount code on our DOT 3/4 Helmet, do the following:

1. Use this link to go to Amazon.

2. In the Amazon search box and type 3/4 helmet

3. Scroll until you see a Skull Crush 3/4 Open Face Helmet. (it doesn't matter what color you see, you can select your color later)

4. Select your size, color, and checkout. You will get the helmet for less than the Skull Crush website price.

Thats it!


January 05, 2015 by Ralph Rodriguez

How to Paint a Motorcycle

Do you want to professionally paint your motorcycle? You don't have to actually be a professional painter to paint like one. You just need to know what paint supplies are needed, what equipment  to use, and exactly how to use it all. It's definitely not easy, but it's not rocket science either. You've spend hard earned money on your motorcycle, so if you're going to paint it, you better paint it right.There's no sense in bargaining for the lowest bid at your local Maaco or trying cheaper paint methods such as rattle cans. Make your bike look the way you've envisioned it. Make your paint job look professional, and make it look totally custom! Yes, we can paint your motorcycle for you. Yes, it will rival any custom chopper, And yes, it will be expensive. So we're going help you save thousands of dollars by showing you exactly how to paint it yourself.
December 06, 2014 by Ralph Rodriguez

Are Carbon Fiber Helmets Worth the Money?

With carbon fiber helmets costing from $200 to $2000, you might think it’s best to stick to the cheaper fiberglass or plastic helmets. 


After all, isn’t a helmet something you just wear on your head for protection? Should you just find something that fits? Let’s stop being so damn cheap and buy something that can actually protect you from fatal head injuries. After all, we spend thousands upon thousands on our motorcycles. If we can afford a Harley Davidson, certainly we can afford a high quality helmet.


Yes, fiberglass meets the standards. However, you shouldn’t mind spending a few extra dollars when safety is concerned.


If you aren’t familiar with the many great attributes of having a carbon fiber helmet, read on.


A Material Ten Times Stronger Than Steel

A carbon fiber helmet’s strength and durability makes it a great investment. It’s what sets the product apart from it’s traditional counterparts.


Carbon fiber is made by combining minute carbon atoms together with resin. This partnership makes carbon fiber strong enough to compete with steel and aluminum.


In fact, it crushed the two metals in the category. It’s ten and eight times stronger than steel and aluminum respectively. 


A Unique Property Carbon Fiber Has That Can Save Your Life

The resin doesn't only bind the woven carbon fibers together. It also helps distribute the transfer of load between fibers upon impact. Distributing the force among the entire surface dilutes the impact. This property can save you from skull-crushing injuries.


In comparison, a fiberglass helmet will keep the force centralized to the impact area. A large energy transfer in one area makes you more vulnerable to head injuries.


Check out videos on Youtube if you’re still not convinced. Some riders test the strength and durability of their carbon fiber helmets by running them over with a truck. 


The Best-Looking Helmets You’ll Ever Wear

Strength and lightness aren't the only reason people buy carbon fiber. Looks also play a huge part in the decision-making process.


For example: Skull Crush sells wicked, low-profile lids that warrant double-takes everywhere you go. Both the mate and clear finishes look equally clean and perfectly crafted. An obvious sign that a lot of time and dedication is spent on every square inch of a Skull Crush helmet.


The Inside Is Just As Good As The Outside

What sets our carbon fiber helmets apart is the consistent quality inside as well as outside of the shell. Our helmets use Ensolite, a special kind of foam developed by NASA. This moisture-resistant memory padding absorbs energy. This also aids in the reduction of impact intensity.

Lightweight, Comfortable and Versatile

Yes, Skull Crush sells DOT helmets for those who still have faith in the DOT testing system, but Carbon fiber helmets are definitely more durable than traditional DOT helmets. They have higher crack and scratch-resistance than their counterparts.


They’re not the “Holy Grail” of helmets for nothing. They’re 8 to 12 ounces lighter than your typical fiberglass DOT helmet. It might not seem much at first sight, but your neck will  appreciate the difference when you are a couple of hours into a long ride.


They’re also perfect for all kinds of weather. The material adjusts well on cold climates. The expansion and shrinkage of traditional helmet materials doesn’t play a part in Skull Crush helmets. The durability, fit, and function will remain consistent in any season.


The Bottom Line

Yes, carbon fiber helmets are expensive, but you can’t deny that they’re a good long-term investment. It’s super light weight helmet and possesses an unparalleled level of shock suppression. The low profile look is also a definite plus.


If you’re the intelligent consumer who doesn't mind spending a little more to protect yourself, Skull Crush helmets are for you.  They’re  worth every penny. Once you own Skull Crush helmet, you'll never settle for anything less.


November 02, 2014 by Ralph Rodriguez