When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, 2000, it signaled not only the beginning of a new century, but the dawn of a new millennium. A generation known as the “Millennials” were to be the harbingers of exciting new horizons for mankind. Yet on September 11, 2001, that vision of the future was forever changed when terrorists commandeered four commercial airlines and flew three of them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Since that day, the American military has brought the war on terrorism into the terrorists’ own backyards.
One particularly effective tactic was the use of U.S. Special Forces to eliminate high profile targets, which culminated in the assassination of Osama Bin-Laden during a midnight raid on his Pakistan compound by SEAL Team 6 on May 2, 2011.
The exploits of SEAL Team 6 and other elite units have been documented and romanticized in countless movies, television specials and video games. Members of these units often refer to a “go bag,” or a duffel containing all essential gear needed for a mission anywhere in the world that can be grabbed on the way out the door.
While the concept of a go bag isn’t a bad idea, it’s unlikely that you’re going to face a situation where you have to bug out and head to the high ground. As Kevin Michalowski points out in his article “What is in Your ‘Get Home’ Bag?” at USConcealedCarry.com, life for most people is much more mundane:
“But since most of us are a little bit more ‘Meal Team Six’ than we are SEAL Team Six, our needs are different. A big bag of survival gear is great if you are headed to the hills to escape societal breakdown, but the reality is much different.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Your objective is to protect your family above all else. It would make sense to create a “Get Home” bag rather than a go bag, consisting of items designed to expedite the process of reuniting you with your loved ones.
The Get Home bag is a backup to the concealed carry kit and should only be considered as a last resort. If you look out the window and it looks like a scene from “The Walking Dead” or “Independence Day,” then it is time to rip open the Get Home bag. Some of the items you might seriously consider including are listed here:
- A powerful handgun, loaded with extra magazines
- Personal trauma kit
- Spare keys for home and each vehicle
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Spare eyeglasses
- Enough cash to get through potential bank closures
- Dependable lighter
- 50 feet of paracord
- 20-ounce bottle of water
- Rain poncho
- Survival blanket
If you are at the point where you’re using your Get Home bag, you are most likely encountering potential threats. The first matter at hand is to attempt to extricate yourself from the hostile environment. At that point, you can begin to use your bag of tools to maneuver your way back to friendly territory. Carry your bag where its contents are easily reached and store the bag where it’s secure, but accessible. A locked file cabinet is perfect while working and a corner of your trunk will provide ample security while driving.
The modern flashlight or “torch” in many countries, originated a little over a century ago with the invention of the dry cell and incandescent electric light bulb. Combining the two was inevitable and the first battery powered flashlights were produced around 1899.
Today’s flashlights are modern marvels, running on disposable or rechargeable batteries.
While a few still use incandescent bulbs as a light source, most flashlights are now equipped with an LED (light emitting diode) system. In addition to their function as a household tool, flashlight manufacturers have branched out into many specialized markets.
There are helmet-mounted lights for miners, underwater lights for divers, flame-proof lights for firefighters, and the list goes on.
But for members of the concealed carry community, one specialized market of particular interest is the tactical light. A flashlight is an important part of any personal defense kit and choosing the right one for your needs is an important decision.
ExtremeBeam Tactical manufactures rugged lights for every contingency and has been reinventing the common flashlight for years as Rick Sapp explains in his article “ExtremeBeam Tactical Flashlight: A Shining Light in the Face of Darkness”:
“In about 2006, the men and women of ExtremeBeam discovered that minute machining adjustments on flashlight reflectors produced a brighter, more focused light, a light with demonstrable tactical benefits. They leveraged this technological advantage into handheld, weapon-mountable systems using LED’s instead of incandescent bulbs.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
ExtremeBeam designs their lights for situations where the unexpected is the norm and their new line of SAR lights embody that philosophy. These lightweight lights are made of aluminum and weight only 2 ounces. Measuring just 3×1 inches, these tiny lights pack a powerful punch, projecting their 130 lumen LED beam out to 450 feet, or just under a tenth of a mile.
The battery case on the SAR Series flashlights features another innovation — the threads are square-cut to prevent stripping when changing batteries in less than optimal conditions. The roughly textured “sharkskin” exterior of the SAR lights serves a dual purpose, providing a reliable grip in addition to providing a greater surface area in order to quickly dissipate heat from the bulb.
The SAR Series of lights are amazingly durable (check out the video at www.extremebeamtactical.com ), and each one undergoes extreme testing. The flashlights are also O-ring sealed, providing waterproofing to a depth of about 10 feet. When used continuously, the ExtremeBeam SAR lights run for about one hour. If you’re thinking about mounting one on your carry piece, the lights contain an internal muzzle blast/anti-recoil system tested up to 5.56/.223 caliber.
ExtremeBeam lights are designed to withstand the rigors of combat. While adding one of the SAR Series dynamos to your personal carry kit will certainly increase you self-confidence in sketchy areas like parking garages and alleyways, it will also provide a powerful light source in more common settings such as movie theaters, evening walks around the neighborhood, or checking under the hood of your vehicle. The ExtremeBeam Tactical SAR lights retail for about $60.
Silencers get a bad rap. They often turn up in spy or gangland movies as accessories aiding and abetting the evildoers. Unfortunately, this has led to the perception that silencers are illegal. In fact, silencers are legal, but heavily legislated and taxed; a result of the ill-conceived National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934.
Hiram P. Maxim received a patent for a “Silent Firearm” in 1909 and is generally credited with the invention of the silencer, otherwise known as the suppressor.
The silencer was based on the principles of the automotive muffler and reportedly was a result of continuing complaints from neighbors regarding gunfire on his property.
Maxim’s product was hugely successful, selling for about $3. His success continued until the NFA imposed a $200 (the equivalent of $3,500 today) tax on each silencer sold. As a result, many gun owners today are unaware that owning a silencer is perfectly legal, although the process to own one is somewhat cumbersome.
SilencerCo is the go-to company for silencers in the United States. They make suppressors for a wide variety of firearms, ranging from shotguns to small handguns. In his article “SilencerCo: Because We Can” at USConcealedCarry.com, author Rick Sapp explains how the 10 to 15 percent noise reduction afforded by a suppressor can be beneficial during a home invasion:
“In a confined space such as a hallway or basement of a home or office, an unsuppressed pistol shot will be absolutely deafening and disorienting, the noise reverberating from walls and appliances and furniture.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
While suppressors generally aren’t practical concealed carry accessories due to the increase in the firearm’s weight and barrel length, they make an excellent training device for beginning or younger shooters. Muzzle blast often causes range novices to flinch. The anticipation of the recoil and noise often causes inexperienced shooters to waver before the gun is fired. SilencerCo recommends using a suppressor as a training instrument to improve two critical skills needed during an actual attack: accuracy and self-confidence.
SilencerCo makes a variety of suppressors for pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Their best-selling Osprey line features multi-caliber suppressors that work by increasing internal volume below the bore line, which increases sound suppression at the muzzle. A cam-locking system automatically locks down the silencer to the correct setting for a particular firearm.
Check out the SilencerCo website at www.silencerco.com to see their huge selection of suppressors and accessories, but owning one does not come cheap. Most of SilencerCo’s suppressors list for about $890 and then Uncle Sam will tack on the other $200 for a total of about $1190.
During the past several years, the Taurus firearms brand has emerged as a manufacturer known for quality at a reasonable price. Taurus produced its first revolver in 1941 and soon grew into a global concern with international headquarters in Porto Alegre, Brazil. In 1986, the subsidiary Taurus USA was formed in Miami, where 300 employees assemble most of the Taurus line sold in the states today.
Most firearm companies’ design and engineering teams have at least one pistol that is a variant of the legendary Browning 1911, and Taurus is no exception with their PT1911 .45.
The PT1911 is an exceptional weapon at an exceptional price. In his article “The Taurus PT1911.45” at USConcealedCarry.com, author Scott W. Wagner claims the PT1911 may be one of the best 1911s at any price:
“I am quite literally blown away by the fact that the MSRP of this excellent handgun is only $684.40! I think that the price is so low that some potential purchasers might actually turn away from buying the PT1911 because they think, ‘how good could this gun be for that price?’” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
As it turns out, Taurus can keep their prices extremely competitive because they make all their products in-house with no sub-contracting for various parts and pieces. And the employees at Taurus take their work seriously; each gun’s slide is serial number-matched with the frame and barrel, then hand-tuned before it leaves the factory.
The PT1911 will arrive at your house with a subtle matte blue finish and a host of standard features that would boost the cost on a lot of guns. These include ambidextrous and extended beavertail safeties, Taurus safety locks, ventilated long trigger, flat backstrap, checkered “Double Diamond” Taurus grips, and front cocking serrations.
During range testing with elite ammo, the Taurus PT1911 provided an exemplary performance. The three-dot fixed combat sights were intuitively easy to use and accurate to the point of aim. The trigger pull was about 5 pounds. At 30 feet, the eight-round magazine emptied into a 3.5 inch grouping. With a little practice and an ammo switch, the groupings improved to 2 inches. At 100 yards, 3 of 5 rounds produced a 3.5 inch grouping in the center of a silhouette target with the other two bullets ending up off target, but this is still an impressive showing for any 1911.
Customers are unlikely to be turning down the Taurus PT1911 because the price is too low, but it will certainly turn some heads. For those seeking a little more bling with their weapons, the PT1911 is available in several models with corresponding price increases. There is a stainless steel version that retails for about $907 and a railed model that comes in various finishes with an MSRP between $834 and $944.
Before you buy your first or next 1911, check out the Taurus PT1911. It may be the last 1911 you will ever need.