Are you listening to our Texas Fish & Game Podcast, The Best of the Outdoors? We drop a new episode every two weeks and have been going at it for 4 years now! Here are the latest episodes for your listening pleasure!
Many accessories for tactical purposes these days are becoming more tacti-cool than anything. What I look for in products for my ARs and other tactical weapons are utility and design that will perform well under pressure and last ages of use. I recently reviewed two products by Twod, a tactical gear and optics company, on my YouTube channel. Since I reviewed both together in that video and since they are intended for the same audience, I figured I would review both here as well.
I wanted to bring this company to the spotlight of this blog as they are relatively new to the playing field of rifle accessories but they are playing the game to win and I like to see that. I am always looking for products that can be affordable for the budget-minded shooter (as many of us are) and of the high quality you expect from gun accessory companies these days. Both the AR-15 rifle cleaning mat and the picatinny rail bipod I recently purchased from Amazon.com met both of these qualifications.
First, let’s look at the bipod, as I address on the video first as well. I was able to quickly mount it to the bottom forend rail of my Ruger 10/22 which I have outfitted in a tactical style stock from ATI gun stocks. With a QD (Quick Detach) system, the rail was easy to mount and left me with great first impressions right out of the box. This is an adjustable pivoting mount so it makes it easy to install on any rifle. I had to loosen the QD mount a bit to get it to fit just right but that was no big deal. The legs can be adjusted from 6.5”-9” when deployed or very conveniently stowed back or forward of the mounting plate at a 45-degree angle when not in use. I found the legs stayed out of the way of my rifle handling when they were stowed back or forward.
Furthermore, this bipod has a forend grip which is removable, the feet on the ends of the bipod legs are rubber (which prevents slipping and so you won’t scratch up your shooting area) and easily and quickly deployable and adjustable. Overall for the money, this accessory was of good quality in fit and finish. Could you spend more on a detachable bipod? Sure. But do you need to? Will this most likely meet your needs of using a bipod for long range shooting? I certainly think so. Check out this product at https://amzn.to/2srZqQD.
Next on the lineup is something I think every AR-15 owner should own and that’s a quality cleaning mat with an exploded parts diagram of all the parts and pieces of the modern sporting rifle. Not only does this likely keep you from getting kicked out to the garage or outdoors by your wife or significant other for making a mess on the table in the house after a day at the range, it will also help you get “unstuck” if you need help getting your gun back together after disassembly for cleaning.
With a 36”x12” surface, this mat will help keep your surrounding area clean and the tools that come in the accompanying pouch are very useful and serve as a “field kit” that is easily portable. These tools are especially selected for black rifle designs but many of them could be useful with many other rifles as well as handguns and shotguns. Now personally, I don’t like to drag out all of my “gun cleaning stuff” every time I sit down to clean a gun so this tool kit really makes my job easy as it has some of the essentials I can use time and time again.
The cleaning mat is waterproof, chemical and oil resistant and, most importantly, washable. It even has a rubberized backing meaning you don’t have to worry about the mat slipping away from you while I use. It clings to just about any surface. When not in use, the mat and the tools are simply rolled up together for easy storage. Learn more about this product at https://amzn.to/2HdTQpI. Along with it, I purchased some Hoppes No. 9 solvent and some 6” cotton swabs to aid in my future gun cleaning endeavors. What may be a grueling process for some I quite enjoy and I have always been fascinated on how the modern guns we shoot today, and even those of many decades ago, are designed and assembled.
Now both of these products are easy to order off Amazon.com and able to be shipped straight to your doorstep. It’s hard to beat that kind of convenience when selecting your next gun accessories or firearm cleaning supplies. Man I love this stuff!
This month marks the release of my first two feature articles of the year being published in Texas Fish & Game magazine. Our circulation is near 100,000 so it is a blast to share the information contained within these articles with so many outdoor enthusiasts. Both of these articles were a blast to write and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did creating them. Here are the links to the PDFs of these features, which should open in another browser tab for you:
In other news, I have 3 more feature articles planned for the rest of this year. The next one will be coming out in the May issue! More on that in a later post.
In more news, our home’s kitchen is undergoing a major remodel and, seeing that I work from home when I’m not traveling, there have been plenty of distractions around me lately and our favorite room of our home has been off limits for about two weeks now. We both love to cook so this has been harder for us than for most married couples going through this kind of renovation. My lovely wife, Meagan, chronicles some of the joys and pains of this in her own blog, Sarafina’s Kitchen.
The first part of the new year is known as “Show Season” by many who work in the outdoor industry. It starts out with trade shows and local shows in early January and ends up, for me at least, with the ICAST fishing show in July. This year I have been to the Houston Boat Show, SHOT Show, Austin Boat Show, San Antonio Boat Show and, most recently (this last week), the Houston Fishing Show. Before I worked full time in this industry, I had no idea there were so many shows to visit! I love this industry mainly because of the fine people I work with in my advertising and editorial role with Texas Fish & Game and the other media outlets and organizations I work with in the outdoor realm. It has been fun but, man, that’s lots of traveling!
Thank you for letting me share this blog with you. Please also stay tuned to the podcast as I am hard a work releasing a show every two weeks on Thursdays in conjunction with the release of the “BIG” Texas Fish & Game Thursday newsletter that goes out to over 47,000 emails. That takes some time every week in one way or another and it slows down my personal blogging on this website/blog a bit but I was born a writer at heart and will always carry that gift within me. Thanks again for following my work and reading, watching and listening. Remember, you rock!
I love Camp Agape. It is a Christian bereavement summer camp that I work with all year long in a few roles. I have done videos, website work, and served as a “Buddy” AKA camp mentor over the past few years since I started with them in 2012. This is a bereavement camp for children 7-12 years old who have lost a loved one close to them in their lives. Although the circumstances that bring us all together each year are sometimes tough, we have a lot of fun. It is a life changing experience for both the volunteers and the children.
There are a few fundraisers Camp Agape does every year and this event in late April was the 2nd Annual Clay Shoot. Here are a few photos my father-in-law, Mr. Joe Vogel took of the event. Mr. Joe has two brothers from East Texas that have come to shoot this event both years now, Uncle Edward and Uncle Arthur. Both of them can out-shoot me on any given day but I never claimed I was an expert at shooting sporting clays!
Joshua Creek Ranch hosted this event again this year and they did a great job. The course is world-class. The food is incredibly good and even better than what you might expect at a place like this. All of the participants and volunteers had a blast at this event.
Here is a video I did for Camp Agape last summer. What a great place to learn about the love of God and Christ. Thank you as always for your support and for watching, reading, and listening.
It amazes me how many hunters fail in the field due to simple preparation considerations before their outdoor adventure. One of the most important of these considerations is ammunition and broadheads, depending on whether gun hunting or bowhunting. Shoot to kill. Every time. This sounds like the most basic and trivial of advice but its true and I have heard of numerous unsuccessful shots because of basic fundamentals.
When preparing for hunting season or practicing during season between adventures in the field, use the ammo or broadheads you plan to hunt with. There should be no exceptions. If you are running low on supplies, get more. The worst thing you can do is use ammunition in a gun or a broadhead on and arrow in a bow that is different from your “recipe” for success. Most ammunition and many broadheads have a different point-of-impact (POI). Consistency is key here. Any deviation from that is a potential recipe for failure when everything counts the most. Most premium broadheads, such as my favorite, Grim Reaper Broadheads (http://www.grimreaperbroadheads.com/) come with a practice head. Many high quality mechanical and fixed-blade broadheads like Grim Reapers fly like field tips, making practicing with feild tips as most of use normally do very easy, but using the supplied practice head before showtime is still a good consideration to make.
Remember, as with most things in life, consistency is one major key to success. Practice with what you plan to use to kill your quarry. Shoot to kill.
I also cover this subject in a recent video I made this summer in preparation for hunting season.