All I can say is, “Oh, my!” While the second half of this video gets ridiculous, I still had fun watching, enjoy…
Recently, I’ve been wanting to clean my own fireplace flue rather than having to pay somebody to do it. And, yes, I know there’s something to be said for having a qualified chimney sweep inspect it once a year, which I still plan to do, but for peace of mind until then I figured it couldn’t hurt to do it myself. As such, I started looking for DIY chimney sweeps.
The only problem, however, is that I REALLY don’t like climbing on my roof, especially since it has a rather steep pitch, but mostly because I’ve inherited my dad’s general fear of heights… you should see me trying to climb on my rooftop, it takes me at least ten minutes to do as I slowly shimmy my way way up there, lol. And getting down is even worse!
Anyway, rather than getting a traditional chimney sweep with a metal brush, the kind where I’d have to be on top of my roof, I found this Gardus Sooteater Rotary Chimney Cleaning System which allows me to keep my feet safely on the ground and to clean my flue from the bottom up:
The contents include the following (as shown in the photo below):
- Chimney sweep head
- 6 three-foot flexible rods
- Plastic sheet (to cover the fireplace opening)
- Drill bit adapter and wrench
I should note that I was a little concerned about the “flexible” rods because they didn’t seem that flexible to me at first glance, but I was wrong… they’re fairly flexible and I had no trouble with them. Time to get to work.
Now, here’s what the inside of the flue looked like before attempting my chimney sweep (after about a cord of wood). Clearly, there is some buildup, but it doesn’t look horrible compared to some photos I found online. Truth be told, I don’t really know what “normal” is so my opinion here doesn’t count for much:
The first thing I had to do was to trim the rotary head to be slightly larger than my flue diameter. I measured my flue diameter to be 5.5″ and, so, I trimmed the head to be about 6″ in diameter according to the directions:
I was a bit concerned about trimming the head to be THAT short because I felt like it may not clean the flue well enough if, for example, the head slid along one side of the flue pipe as I worked up the flue. I read online, however, that as it speeds up the head will tend to center itself and properly clean all of the flue. In addition, if I’d chosen to NOT trim the head to fit as directed that it may not clean well enough because it wouldn’t properly scrape the flue wall. Ultimately, I took the internet’s word for it and trimmed the head as directed.
Next, I cut out some of the plastic sheeting to fit my fireplace and taped it in place with some duct tape, though I left the bottom open so I could fit the chimney sweep inside, like so:
The directions, however, stated I should have poked a hole in the center of the plastic and taped the entire sheet in place; by now I figured I knew more than the manufacturer and, so, I ignored that recommendation… hopefully that wouldn’t come back to haunt me.
I quickly started to work my way up the flue and it was surprisingly easy to do. Here’s what it looked like after I’d added a few extensions:
I was done in only a few minutes, but I did slow down as I got near the top because I was worried about knocking off or otherwise ruining my chimney cap. Here’s what I got out of the flue pipe:
It was a good several scoops of what I’m assuming is first stage creosote because it was black, light, and fluffy. And, just out of curiosity, I wondered what my chimney flue looked like when I was done:
As you might be able to tell, half of the flue looked like it was cleaned well. The other half (where the red arrow points) didn’t look very cleaned, which is something I’d worried about when I cut the head strings so short. From what I could tell, however, it did seem to clean all of the flue pipe further up, at least, from what I could see. It was really just the bottom few feet where it didn’t clean because the head never centered itself. Oh, well, I think that next time I’ll try to replace the head strings and cut them a bit longer or really focus on the bottom section.
Ultimately, I’d say my DIY chimney sweep was a success. I was able to use my old 14.4 volt cordless drill (even though I was worried about not having enough torque) and I didn’t make a mess either by not fully sealing the door opening with plastic and tape… which also means I get to stay married for a little while longer. 🙂
One thing I do like about this system is that apparently I can replace the head strings on my own with weed-eater string (it just needs to be the right diameter) which means I can do this on my own again in the future, and very inexpensively.
I also think that next time I might try to work my way from the top down (but still keep my feet on the ground) as I saw this guy do here:
Overall, I’m fairly pleased with the Gardus Sooteater Rotary Chimney Cleaning System. It allowed me to clean out my chimney flue without having to climb on my rooftop (which I would have dreaded), was easy to do, can be reused, and didn’t cost much.
That said, I’m still probably going to have a qualified chimney sweep come out before next season starts and check it out just to be sure.
Any serious gun fanatic might tell you that all rifles are awesome, but not all rifles are awesome for every type of shooting and hunting.
When it comes to elk hunting, you want a rifle that is durable but light enough to carry up the mountain with ease. But you also want it to be able to hold large caliber rounds with minimal recoil and handle well when firing off-hand shots in the event of a surprise game sighting.
To put it another way, you want a versatile weapon that packs a punch and can offer long range accuracy without being a burden.
Most of us want an affordable rifle that is damn near indestructible and can fell an eight-hundred pound beast at four-hundred yards or more. We also want an attractive firearm that looks as good as it shoots. Choosing the right rifle for the job is one of the joys of hunting.
If you think this sounds like a dream gun that can’t possibly exist, you’d be pretty wrong. The rifles on this list come fairly close to meeting all of the aforementioned requirements.
- Browning A-Bolt Composite Stalker
- Browning BLR Lightweight ’81
- Kimber Model 84M Classic
- Marlin Model 338 MXLR
- Marlin Model 1895G Guide Gun
- Remington Model 673 Guide Rifle
- Ruger No. 1S Medium Sporter
- Weatherby Mark V Deluxe
- Weatherby Vanguard Deluxe
- Winchester M70 Super Grade
Browning A-Bolt Composite Stalker
This bolt-action model comes in a number of long and short action calibers, but when it comes to elk hunting you can’t go wrong with the .338 Winchester mag. It’s a great option for hunters who are on the move and performs like a boss at 100 yards, making it a monster for bagging does.
The most economical of Browning models, the Stalker retails for $820, but you can usually find a lightly used one on sale for around $700.
With black synthetic straight stock, a fiberglass graphite composite grip and black rubber butt pad, the Stalker is a real beaut. Personally, I like to load it with Black Hills Gold hunting ammo when I take mine out for a bit of proper stalking.
Browning BLR Lightweight ’81
No list would be complete without at least two Browning models. They’re a leader in the field and their rifles are always a lot of fun for a reasonable price. The BLR ’81 is a compact and user-friendly rack-and-pinion lever-action rifle that is carbine-length and cranks out quite the shot.
They can chamber a range of hard-hitting ammo from the 270 WSM to the 358 Win. It features an aluminum alloy stock, a detachable four-round box magazine with a fast release and a rotary bolt locking system.
It’s ideal for mountaineers and woodsman by virtue of the fact that it’s a mere 7 ¾ lbs and 40” long with mount and scope. The fast-loading mag makes for quick follow-up shots. At a retail price of $900, it’s slightly more expensive than the Stalker, but it’s every bit as exceptional. Well worth the price for the durability and versatility it provides.
Kimber Model 84M Classic
Another bolt-action hunting rifle, the 84M weigh just 5.5 lbs and sport handsome steel or stainless steel barrels. Kimber’s 22” barrel makes them unique among most Model 84Ms.
They commonly feature trigger crowns, match grade barrels and a bolt with a Mauser claw extractor. The adjustable trigger and Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad are just two of the things that makes it an unbeatable option when it comes to elk hunting rifles.
The average retail price is around $1,225 which places it firmly within the mid-range of affordable hunting rifles.
Marlin Model 338 MXLR
Ideal for timber and brush alike, this lever-action rifle offers a flat trajectory and pinpoint accuracy. With a 24” stainless steel barrel, Ballard rifling, hammer block safety and a fluted bolt, the MXLR is a top of the line machine that holds a 5-round magazine that makes it a viable choice when it comes to game hunting.
It’s got semi-buckhorn iron sights, a trigger guard plate and a laminated hardwood stock with deluxe recoil pad. I’ve tested this one out myself and have found it to be a boss when it comes to long-range precision.
The $930 retail price places it securely in mid-range and is available for layaway gun financing.
Marlin Model 1895G Guide Gun
This big bore lever-action rifle is considered my many to be the strongest lever-action in history. It can be stored virtually anywhere thanks to its compact design.
The Ballard-style rifling carves six deep and wide grooves that aid in improving accuracy. The stubby 18 ½” barrel makes it one of the shortest and lightest hunting rifles on the market.
Paired with Garrett Cartridges’ fire-breathing custom loads, the 1895G is a veritable force to be reckoned with. And while it works rather well with iron sights, the level of accuracy it provides is perfectly suited to a low-powered scope.
Cabela’s currently has offers on this model starting at $629.99.
Remington Model 673 Guide Rifle
The 673 is yet another bolt-action hunting rifle that packs a wallop. My personal favorite is the one that’s chambered for the .350 Remington mag because it offers superior shootability to others.
With a Leopold quick release base and rings, and a 22” barrel, it’s a lot of gun compared to most of the rifles on my list. In fact, it kicks pretty hard compared to the others which may be off-putting to some. But it’s definitely a well-made firearm with a rather unconventional look.
At 7 ¾ lbs, it’s not the lightest hunting rifle around, but it’s not overly heavy or cumbersome in any way either. All in all, it’s a worthy option, especially since Remington stopped making them in 2004 so there are plenty of gun owners selling their used Model 673s online.
Ruger No. 1S Medium Sporter
A single-shot model, Ruger’s No. 1S Medium Sporter is not the right gun for continuous shooting, but it’s tailored to the disciplined, methodical hunter who’s a skilled Marksman.
The front sling swivel is sited forward on the barrel, causing the rifle to ride low on your shoulder. But the receiver is so short that it’s almost identical to the Marlin, making it a compact and easily transportable in a rifle bag.
For the more frugal gun owner, this might not be the best choice on my list as it retails for around $1,199.99 and doesn’t exactly hold up to other rifles in that price bracket, but it remains a worthy option if you have money to burn and you want a solid single-shot rifle with dead-on accuracy. Keep an eye out for deals in any major online gun store and you could find great seasonal discounts.
Weatherby Mark V Deluxe
With a .300 Weatherby mag and a beautiful claro walnut design, the Mark V Deluxe is something to behold. Not only is it a top of the line weapon, but it’s the perfect display piece for proud collectors with a bit more bank than others.
At $1,399.99, it’s a luxury rifle but one that won’t let you down when you’re out in the thick of it. Simply a choice rifle all around.
Weatherby Vanguard Deluxe
Like the Mark V Deluxe, this Weatherby rifle is unmatched for the sheer beauty of its wood design. It’s got a classy black finish and exceptional bolt action, chambering .270 Win rounds and offering no less than three safety positions.
Like Remington’s Model 673, it’s a bit heavier than some of the others on the list, but it’s still a fairly lightweight and compact rifle for hunting, and it’s got an adjustable trigger which is attractive to most game hunters.
Cabela’s has Weatherby VGDs with modular chassis for $1,199.99.
Winchester M70 Super Grade
This finely checkered, deeply-blued steel rifle has a maple finish that makes it another worthy display piece. In terms of hunting, it lives up to its name by offering above-grade accuracy.
Chambered with .308 Win rounds, it’s another stylish and superb choice for those looking to bag some deer or ward off a grizzly.
There you have it, my full list of the five best hunting rifles for hunting elk. Good luck making your selection. I know you’ll be in good hands with any one of them. Happy hunting.
I was recently sent this Roadside Emergency Kit by Survival Hax for review. It’s all nicely contained within this handy bag:
Most items are further protected inside plastic bags which is nice and all items are easily returned to the bag after removal.
Now, the first thing I went looking for, believe it or not, was an owner’s manual (yes, I’m getting old enough to WANT one even though I don’t need it, lol) but couldn’t find anything. Oh well, no big deal.
Here’s a photo of the kit contents:
And, the contents of the first aid kit bag:
They say it’s a 96-piece roadside kit which I’ll assume is correct, but a bit misleading simply because a majority of the kit contents are small items like bandages, zip ties, and safety pins.
That said, here’s my take on what’s included, starting from the top left and working more or less down and to the right:
- Triangle signal – Although I didn’t put it together, the item above the zip ties folds together to make a reflective triangle which can then be placed on the ground behind your car. While I would have preferred flares of some sort, this signal seems relatively sturdy and would, at least, get a passing driver’s attention when lights hit it.
- Jumper cables – These are about as basic as you can get since they’re not heavy-duty cables. Expect charging to take longer than it should but they will eventually get the job done, I’d assume so, anyway.
- First aid kit – You can see for yourself what’s included, but it’s mostly small bandages, gauze, cleaning pads and so on. There’s also a small mylar blanket included and few other small items which may come in handy, such as tweezers and scissors.
- Gloves – These won’t keep your hands dry for long but they will, at the very least, keep them from getting dirty and maybe provide a bit of warmth… plus they have a gripping side which is nice.
- Assorted smaller items – You’ll also find a variety of smaller items, such as zip ties, a candle, slip wrench, small whistle, and electrical tape. I’m not sure how useful any of this would truly be. The whistle is a good addition but not very loud, in my opinion. The candle, on the other hand, is just a fire hazard.
- Glow sticks and flashlight – Two small glow sticks are included (I didn’t try them) as well as one of those rechargeable hand-squeezed flashlights. They’re not great for long-term use but good enough for this purpose.
- Small utility knife – Includes various knives (which could use a sharpening to be sure), saw blades, corkscrew, etc. None of it is anything to get excited about and I honestly would have preferred a better quality single-blade knife.
- Safety escape hammer / seat belt cutter – This tool might actually be of use but won’t do you much good unless you move it to near the driver’s seat. I would have liked to see it have a strap of some sort so that it could be attached to your seat belt to keep it from flying about the car… guess you’ll have to hope that it stays wherever you stick it.
- Firestarter – At first glace this looks decent, though, I haven’t tried it. Honestly, I would have preferred matches or a lighter to start a fire.
- Tow straps – I have no idea what they’re rated. Regardless, I sure wouldn’t bet my life on them and I’m not sure I would bet my car on them either. Of course, I could be wrong.
- Emergency poncho, safety vest – The poncho is rather thin material but it should keep the rain off. The safety vest is a good addition.
- Bungee cords – A few lightweight bungee cords are included which could prove useful somehow, I know I keep bungee cords in my cars.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t pretend to suggest that this emergency roadside kit is the best that you can get. Most of the items included are basic / starter equipment. With that in mind, if you have nothing in your vehicle for a roadside kit then this one could work as a starter kit.
With that in mind, and while you’re welcome to purchase it from SurvivalHax.com, they’re offering readers a full $25 off their purchase from Amazon with the code “OFROAD50”. Enter that where it says “enter a discount or promo code” during checkout.
Let’s play a game! When I say “prepping,” what is the first thing that comes to your mind? What about “survival?”
My guess is that most of you immediately thought of food, water, or other survival gear. And those are great answers. We can’t live long without food and water. But if you had an abundant storehouse of those supplies yet didn’t have other important items, your life could still be uncomfortable or, worse… in jeopardy.
There are lots of important considerations that need serious attention, but in this article, we’ll be focusing on just one: CLOTHING.
During normal, peaceful times, we use clothing primarily as a covering, a social cue, and a statement. During times of emergency when new clothing isn’t readily available, it’s often a lifesaver.
We can die much faster from exposure to the elements than we can die of starvation or even dehydration. Exposure in certain environments can certainly accelerate dehydration, but because there are threats that come from exposure during different seasons, it’s critically important that we have adequate clothing.
Where Do Clothes Come From?
When young children are asked where eggs or milk come from, they often respond, “The store.” That response would be funny if it weren’t so sad. They aren’t kidding; we’re disconnected from the source of our food. It’s just far more convenient and productive to buy our food than it is to grow it, so people move into the cities and buy what they need.
Similarly, if you asked kids — or even adults! — where clothes come from, we’re likely to respond, “The store.” That’s true for us today, but it wasn’t as true for our grandparents, great grandparents, and earlier generations. They would often buy fabric and then sew clothing as needs arose. In that era, learning to sew was a right of passage. That skill has largely been lost to recent generations.
So what would we do if clothing wasn’t available to buy for a while? Would you panic as your children’s clothes wore out and started to hang like rags from their bodies? Imagine your anxiety as snow sets in to see that your child had outgrown his shoes. What would you do if you couldn’t purchase a larger pair?
It’s hard to imagine not being able to purchase clothing off the rack since it’s so easy to do today. There are stores within minutes of most of our homes that stock all sorts of sizes, colors, and styles. Today’s ease of access to ready-made clothing could quickly change for a number of reasons, including:
- A pandemic could force people to stay home from work and avoid public places.
- Hyperinflation could also impact availability. As the value of currency plummets, people race to spend their money on necessities and tangible goods before the value of their money falls further. All sorts of goods become hard to find.
- An EMP could stop normal methods of production and distribution.
- Job loss or other financial strain could make buying clothing for your family difficult for a time.
If you have a supply of clothing on hand for future needs, however, it will ease the worry of clothing, which could really help. These scenarios don’t seem real or possible to many because we’ve had it so good for so long. The fact that most people haven’t seen times where clothing isn’t readily available doesn’t mean that it can’t happen!
Prior to the Great Depression things seemed pretty good. Prior to the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic things were probably going fine. History repeats itself, and those who stick their fingers in their ears, pretending that it can’t happen here, will be least prepared when it someday does.
Shopping in Advance of the Need
Buy and store extra clothing. Try to select quality clothing that will be as durable and functional as possible. The good news is that you can save considerable money when you buy clothing in advance of your need.
Think about it, if you wear through a pair of shoes you’ll need to go get a new pair right now, because you don’t want to go to work tomorrow with your foot hanging out the side of your shoe. 😉
Because you need the shoes now, you head to the mall, visit one or two stores, and purchase the best available combination of product and price. Right now might not be the best time to purchase a pair of shoes at a really good price. The same shoes might cost half as much in a month or two when that store has a big clearance sale. When you buy in advance of your need, you can search out and find quality products at rock-bottom prices, then buy them to set aside UNTIL you need them.
It’s a known fact that you WILL need to buy shoes again at some point, as well as pants, and shirts, and socks, etc. These things wear out over time, so buying them in advance is extremely practical. Buying clothing this way for adults is fairly easy. They typically won’t be growing taller. Hopefully, they won’t be growing much in the other direction either! Kids are a little trickier. Their growth can be pretty explosive at times. When you’re buying season-specific clothing, you have to make an educated guess on the size they’ll need when that season rolls around.
Where to Find Quality Clothing at the Best Prices
You can certainly go to the retail store of your choice and buy several sizes ahead, but a better choice may be to find more highly discounted options. Because you’re buying in ADVANCE of your need, you can take your time, finding high quality items that have minimal cost. We like to frequent yard sales, thrift shops, craigslist (or similar sites), and the really good sales at factory outlet stores. We also buy ahead for the next year when seasonal clothes go on clearance at department stores.
Black Friday is coming up. It’s THE day where Americans often go wild, buying loads of plastic things and shiny objects to give as Christmas gifts. Sometimes people buy things simply because they’re on sale. Rather than limiting your Black Friday shopping to toys and gadgets, look for really attractive clothing offerings that have a special markdown that weekend. You may find deals a specific stores, or you may have your best luck online with sites like fatwallet.com or slickdeals.net. We’ve purchased some items off eBay and Amazon too.
Stop by your local Goodwill or other thrift stores in your community to get familiar with their offerings and pricing. You could also try some of the consignment stores in your area like Plato’s Closet, Kid-to-Kid, or Once Upon a Child for lightly used name-brand clothing at deeply discounted pricing.
Yard sales have been a really great source during the summer months when they are abundant. You can frequent the neighborhoods that tend to have really nice stuff. Oftentimes, they just want to clear their extra stuff out, so you can get items at $1 or less for each piece. That’s not always the case, and there are instances where you’d be thrilled to pay more for certain items, but savings can be significant. When you show up toward the end of a yard sale, the savings get even better. People may say that you can fill a bag for $5, for example, or they may beg you to just take whatever you want (free), so they don’t have to haul it back inside.
Even if the clothing is free, you’ll want to select quality pieces that will serve you well and you’ll actually want to wear. We don’t want to cross a line into senseless hoarding, of course. Buy heavy coats, sweaters, warm socks, and boots during the hot months of the year when they aren’t needed. Many department stores will sell their seasonal inventory at up to 75% off normal prices as seasons change.
If you’re buying in advance, you can find brand-name clothes that you’re excited to wear for FAR less than you would normally spend if you were shopping in-season as needs arise. Organize and set aside items that need to be grown into or that need to wait for another season. Occasionally you may guess wrong about sizing or some other detail and won’t be able to use the clothes, but when you find a great deal, you can afford a few mistakes!
It’s also a good idea to hang onto clothing that is still in good shape and can be passed down to your younger children. To make finding the clothes easier when they are needed in the future, group the clothing by size and season if possible. If you can find really good clothing at great prices, then it shouldn’t take long to accumulate clothing several sizes ahead. This isn’t JUST emergency clothing, it’s clothing that will be worn when it fits and as it’s needed. Because you accumulate when you find the right item at the right price, you will rarely find yourself having to pay retail prices for clothing. You’ll end up saving significant money on clothing your family.
It’s Not Just About Ready-Made Clothing
In addition to storing clothes, you can also store buttons, zippers, snaps, bolts of fabric, and thread. The fabric can be used for anything you don’t have on hand that you later find you need. Denim is extremely durable, so it would be a fantastic fabric to keep on hand. Polar fleece is warm, comfortable, and dries quickly. There are many other fabrics used for different purposes. The more simple and plain the pattern, the easier it will be to use the fabric for a wide variety of purposes.
What if you can’t sew? Should you still store fabric? Yes! First of all, the fabric is an insurance policy of sorts. Hopefully your accumulation of pre-made clothing that we just discussed will get you through a crisis just fine until clothing becomes more available. If not, bolts of fabric provide some flexibility. You can certainly take lessons and practice to acquire sewing skill. It’s a valuable thing to know. You could probably learn a great deal, at least as a starting point, on YouTube. Learning to patch and repair shoes and clothing is another useful skill to pick up. If you know a few skills and have the equipment available, you can patch holes, modify hems, and address other needs to prolong the life of your shoes and clothes.
Here are a few extra items that you may want to have on hand for repairs:
- Shoe Goo or Freesole (strong adhesives specifically used for shoe repair)
- Replacement shoe laces
- Leather conditioner
- Patch fabric (which could be taken from the good parts of worn out clothing)
Even if you don’t WANT to learn how to sew, other people DO have that talent and could sew clothes for you in exchange for some fabric, food, or other need. If nothing else, the fabric could be an excellent barter item if ready-made clothing is too expensive or unavailable for a time.
Learning to knit or crochet is another useful still to pick up. Again, you’re likely to be able to learn those stills, at least at a basic level, through YouTube. If you have yarn on hand and know how to use it, you could make a beanie, a sweater, socks, or a blanket, for example.
This is a big project and these are important prepping supplies, but don’t get overwhelmed. It’s an elephant that you’ll just need to eat a bite at a time, so to speak. To get started, follow these steps:
- Take inventory of what your family members already have and what they currently need in terms of shoes, winter boots, clothing, coats, gloves, etc.
- Make a list of the sizes that everyone is your home is currently wearing.
- Determine the amount of money you can afford to set aside for clothing accumulation each month.
- Decide on a strategy for accumulation. Are you going to hit yard sales or a second hand shop, for example?
- Keep track of the clothing you acquire. Keeping a master list on paper or digitally will help you to know where you stand at any given moment. It will help you avoid situations where you have 24 shirts but no pants for a particular child.
- If you have rewards credit cards with stores like Kohls or Cabelas, consider using accumulated points to purchase quality snow boots or other clothing items with.
- Organize and store your collection in a place and grouping that makes them easy to access as needed.
Prepping isn’t easy, but you’re going to feel great after collecting the clothing that your family needs, knowing that you have a clothing buffer. You’ll be fine, even if ready-made clothing is hard to come by for a year or two. In the meantime, you’ll be saving a sizable sum and still wearing really high-quality, name-brand clothing, if so desired. Once you catch the spirit, it’s actually fun and your whole family can get involved in the process of watching for good deals!
Dave Greene is the father of six children, and a long-time Prepper. The desire to protect and provide for his kids provides him with major fuel for this passion. He founded Tools of Survival in 2012, to help families become better prepared. In the years since, Dave has taught classes on survival equipment, mindset, and techniques in a variety of venues.
I just heard about this recall on the radio this morning and looked it up here.
It seems that Kidde is recalling quite few of their plastic-handle model fire extinguishers (134 models, in fact) manufactured roughly between 1973 and 2015 because it can become clogged and not discharge. Yeah, that’s not good!
FYI, if you still have a fire extinguisher from 1973… replace it, lol.
Here’s a diagram to help you figure it out but, really, you should go here to get the model numbers affected:
You can contact Kidde for instructions on getting a free replacement. Here’s their contact information:
Call Kidde toll-free at 855-271-0773 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday
Or do so online at www.kidde.com and click on “Product Safety Recall” if you prefer.
Choosing the right gun safe is a crucial move for anyone who keeps firearms at home. This type of storage will give you a high level of security while keeping your guns safe and allowing you easy access to them.
Many people make the mistake of only looking at the size and the strength of the safe, though. While these issues are hugely important parts of your overall decision, there is also the matter of how you are going to access your firearms to take into account.
Safes that are opened with the turn of a key or by pressing a keypad remain popular but there is also a more modern option that gives you a greater level of control and security. With a biometric gun safe you will have a terrific place to keep your firearms safe and far from harm.
What Is Biometric Technology?
The most important point with this type of technology is that it uses your unique physical features to allow you to open the safe. You have probably seen how this works on some futuristic movies, which typically show the likes of eye retina scans and facial recognition technology being used.
In the case of current gun safes, it is fingerprint scanning that is normally used to let the owner get to their guns anytime they want them. Since we each have completely unique fingerprints we can use them to clearly identify that we are who we say we are.
The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert in modern technology to do this. You only need to slide your finger over the scanner to let it know who you are, before doing the same every time that you want to open the door.
This makes biometric technology a fool-proof and trustworthy way of keeping objects secure. You might also decide to keep valuable, important documents in here too, as it is such a secure method of keeping things locked away.
1. Unauthorized People Can’t Get In
Naturally, the biggest benefit with a biometric safe is that no-one else can get into it if they aren’t authorized. There is no key for them to find and use or access code that they could guess or find out.
This means that any intruders who get into your home simply can’t open the door of the safe no matter how hard they try. If the walls are sturdy and it is bolted down to the floor then it is going to be a massive job for anyone to get hold of your guns.
Just as importantly, if there are children in the house then there is no way of them getting a firearm in their hands without you knowing. One of the dangers with keys and keypads is that kids can kind a key or discover a code that is written down and use it without anyone seeing them do so.
Don’t leave this to chance by having keys or access codes lying around the house. With biometric access you can make sure that anyone who isn’t authorized to open the safe simply can’t do so.
2. You Can Add Other Users
As we have seen, it is impossible for someone who isn’t authorized to open the door using their fingerprints. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t allow other people to use this safe if they need access.
In fact, the ease with which other users can be added is one of the big advantages of biometric technology. If a large number of people need to use the guns inside it then there is no need to worry about the hassle involved with giving people keys or codes.
All you need to do is get each person who is going to use the safe to scan their fingerprints in order to register them as users. After this, they can use it in exactly the same way that you do, by scanning their prints every time.
Users can be added and removed very quickly as needed. This means that is a sensible option for a company or some other group that has frequent changes to its users.
3. They Are Easy to Open in an Emergency
With luck, you might never have to open your gun safe in an emergency but what if you do? When you hear the sound of intruders breaking it then it is sure to be a heart-stopping moment.
In this sort of situation it can be a time-consuming hassle to open a gun safe if you need to fiddle with a key or a code. This is especially true if you get disturbed in the middle of the night and need to open the safe in darkness while bleary-eyed.
With a biometric safe you can very easily open the door at any time in an instant. This means that using it as a bedside gun safe is a smart move that can greatly improve your security as well as your peace of mind.
You should also find that this kind of entry mechanism makes it easier for you to get hold of your guns in a hurry at any time. Even if it isn’t an emergency you can still open your gun safe quickly and without any fuss.
4. They Aren’t Particularly Expensive
Since this is a modern, cutting edge option it is easy to think that a biometric gun safe is an expensive option. Yet, the truth is that it isn’t as expensive as you might believe.
In general terms, these safes often cost a little more than traditional safes that are key operated. However, given the extra security that they offer it is a fairly modest extra cost that many people consider to be worth paying.
Of course, it is always worth taking into account the value of the firearms that are being stored in the safe. If you have particularly expensive guns in there then you will most likely be happy to pay a bit more for a top quality safe to keep them in.
It is also clear that you may feel that your situation merits paying more money for something that provides more security. For example, if you have inquisitive children in the house then paying for the best possible safe makes a lot of sense
Are There Any Drawbacks?
Clearly, any type of safe has its own advantages and disadvantages. In the case of biometric technology there are far more good points then bad points.
However, when we look at the drawbacks we can see that there are some factors to take into account. Thankfully, most of them can be dealt with if you plan ahead.
For instance, one issue that some people find is that it is difficult for the scanner to recognize their prints. The solution that many owners find is to make a number of scans of their different fingers, so that the safe’s database has a big range of different prints that it can match them with.
You may also be worried about what would happen if there is a power shortage or if you can’t get into the safe for some reason, such as your prints not being recognized. This isn’t as big a problem as it might first appear, as these safes comes with a back-up key that you can use to open it open and re-set the database if necessary.
The benefits of biometric gun safes mean that it is the best type of technology on the market right now for responsible owners of firearms.
People who should be particularly interested in this technology include those who have children at home, those who have guns for home security reasons, and those who need to give easy access to a lot of others.
Tom Ginevra is the chief over at Gun Safe Guru, the ultimate resource on gun safes. He’s an avid firearm safety expert, part-time gun enthusiast and amateur blogger. You can find Tom at his blog
We spend a lot of time talking about the best pistol to use for self-defense, but a lot less thinking about what ammunition to use in it. This is a shame, because ultimately it is your ammunition that generates the power you need to stop attackers, and that is going to potentially save your life in a dangerous situation.
While the most important consideration in choosing a self-defense round is the caliber, there are many other factors to consider, and an undue emphasis on getting the largest caliber available can actually be detrimental to your shooting performance. Powerful rounds like the .40, or .45 generate a lot of recoil, and unless you have a significant amount of experience in firing these rounds, and practice constantly, they can be very inaccurate in a dangerous situation. Even simple 22-LR ammo can have a kick for smaller shooters, such as kids and some women.
For this reason, it is critical that whatever pistol you are carrying for self-defense, you learn how to use it properly. Accuracy is more based on your technique than your gun, and learning how to draw your pistol quickly and effectively is much more effective than getting a fancy gun.
What is Stopping Power?
“Stopping power”, in reality, has a lot more to do with how a bullet is constructed. Lead bullets, in particular, tend to expand very rapidly on collision with a target. This means that a lot of energy is transferred, but also that these bullets have very poor penetration performance. At the other end of the scale, full metal jacket bullets (FMJ) have a lead core that is fully surrounded by a harder material, most commonly copper. Because copper is harder, it does not deform as much, and as a result gives higher penetration at the cost of less energy transfer.
Both types of ammunition have their uses, but for self-defense purposes what you need is a combination of the two – both energy transfer and penetration. Today, is is possible to get bullets that combine the penetrative power of jacketed bullets with the energy transfer of a lead round.
This is most commonly achieved by using a jacketed hollow point, or JHP, bullet. These rounds have a partial copper jacket around a lead core. On impact, the hollow point of the bullet begins to expand, but the copper jacket controls this expansion to improve penetration.
This works fine, as long as the copper and lead portions of the bullet stay together at the critical moment. Cheap ammunition tends to separate on impact, significantly reducing the power of your round.
Today, I’ll take you through some of my favorite rounds for self-defense purposes. Most of this ammunition is available on online ammo shops, and can be ordered in a variety of calibers to suit your gun.
Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection
Speer were one the first manufacturers to produce bonded core ammunition, and their patented Uni-Cor process effectively eliminates the possibility of jacket / core separation.
The hollow point design used in this round makes use of two stages. The first controls how much the bullet expands on contact with a target, and the second controls the rate of this expansion. This design works very well, and offers a good balance between energy transfer and penetration.
In addition, the nickel-plated cases mean that these bullets are really reliable, and the quality primers used in them ensure you get basically zero misfires.
Federal Premium Personal Defense HST
HST bullets are pretty new to the civilian market, though they’ve been available to professional users for quite some time. This design has a lead core surrounded by a copper jacket, and gives a good balance of stopping power and penetration.
These bullets are mechanically bonded together. The thickness of the copper jacket is matched to the caliber of the bullet, which means that the way in which the hollow point of the round expands is precisely controlled in every caliber.
In addition, one of the best things about these rounds are that the point is specifically designed to penetrate through various types of barriers, including heavy clothing. This makes the round reliable in self-defense situations.
American Eagle Jacketed Soft Point
These are great rounds that also represent amazing value. They are significantly cheaper than most soft lead or FMJ rounds, and offer better performance in self-defense situations. If your budget for ammunition is limited, these rounds are a good choice.
The design used here is essentially the same as the two rounds above – a lead core is encased in a copper jacket, which controls expansion. Though these rounds are not as technically advanced as more expensive ammunition, in most situations they will deliver a good mix of power and penetration.
So that’s it. Three brands of ammunition, all of which are great for self-defense. If you can, give each one a try and see what works best for you. For more tips check out recommendations for our top everyday carry kit.
I’m just passing this tip along as I’ve never heard of BrickSeek.com until this video, but it appears that you can use this site to search for great deals on all sorts of items at places like Walmart, Target, Office Depot and Lowes, though, this tip relates purely to Walmart.
I did as the video suggested and searched for only Walmart, changed “Browse by Category” to “Sporting Goods” and finally changed “Sort by” to “Newest” and the results came up with all sorts of items, some interesting, others not so much… as well as plenty of items that don’t appear to belong in the Sporting Goods section.
Anyway, I’m going to keep an eye on this as I’ve noticed a few interesting possibilities, such as a good flashlight for cheap, pocket knives, a range finder, and more. Honestly, the best plan would probably be to search BrickSeek.com on my phone while I’m at Walmart the next time and see how accurate it is…
Today I would like to talk about the most common tactical knife edge grind types that you are likely to see and encounter when buying a knife.
The knife edge grinds types depicted above are the most common on the market today and you are likely to have seen some or most of them and maybe not have know it. Regardless, I will explain each one so that you will have a good foundation of best tactical knife blade grind types when we’re done.
1. The Scandinavian Tactical Knife Grind
The Scandinavian tactical knife grind is just about the simplest knife grind there is to understand and also, in my opinion, the easiest blade type to sharpen, especially for those who do not have a lot of sharpening experience or knowledge.
In the world of knife sharpening there are lots of confusing terms like primary edge and secondary edge, or primary and secondary grinds or even the infamous back bevel and then primary edge. This terminology can get confusing for many people. Hence, the Scandinavian tactical knife grinds.
It is the simplest of knife grinds because there is no primary edge and then a secondary edge, or back bevel and primary edge as some would say. A knife produced with the Scandinavian grind only has one grind. Take a look at the image shown below:
The Scandinavian tactical blade grind is generally set at around twenty-five degrees or twelve points five degrees per side of the blade although this can vary slightly depending on the maker/producer of the Scandinavian grind type knife. Many American makers are starting to produce “Scandi” ground blades these days for ease of use and re-sharpening.
The Scandinavian ground blade is a great blade that I highly recommend for beginning and intermediate woodsmen and campers alike. One of the best features of this type of knife grind is the width of the grind itself which lends itself to being easily re-sharpened. Other types of knife grinds with a thinner profile can actually be harder to sharpen/re-sharpen in the field as it might be difficult to determine the correct angle to reshape the knife with.
Being that it is so wide of an angle you just take the Scandi-ground knife and lay it flat on the stone or sharpening medium of your choice and then take your finger and press the blade (the primary cutting edge) down against the stone which will elevate the spine of the blade and… there you have it the correct angle in which to re-sharpen a Scandinavian ground knife!
If you look at a Scandinavian ground knife you will see that it looks very much like the edge of a samurai sword or even like the grind of a Japanese sushi knife. Both the samurai sword and the sushi knife are what is known as “zero grind” knives. By this, I mean that there is no secondary bevel that has been created on the Scandi grind. So for all intents and purposes, the Scandinavian ground knife is a “zero ground” blade.
The idea of the Scandinavian knife grind, therefore, is to avoid creating a “secondary bevel” or secondary grind. The Scandinavian knife grind is an excellent grind for all kinds of chores, it stays sharp a good long time and is easy to re-sharpen.
Now, there are times where one might hear this argument about the Scandi ground knife and it goes like this: Some people may tell you that over time and over many sharpenings that the grind itself may become convex in nature. This has never happened to me and I have carried and used Martini and Isaaki Finnish Puukko knives in the field for years and have never had the problem of the blade going convex on mine.
Any “convexation” or form of “wire edge” above the main grind that would occur should and would be “lopped” off of the blade when properly resharpened. Take my word for it, the Scandinavian ground knife is a must have for any outdoorsman at any skill level.
2. The Tactical Knife Hollow Grind
The tactical hollow ground knife blade style is one that many people have seen and may not have realized that it is a hollow ground knife. It is one of the most common types of knife grinds available today. You may have seen it on a standard Buck 110 folding hunter as this knife is very popular and has been around for years and years.
The hollow grind utilizes a profile that is concave in nature for the main grind of the knife blade (see image below). In my humble life and experience with knives, most if not all hollow ground tactical knives that I have seen have a secondary bevel that leads to a primary cutting edge. This is commonly referred to as a V grind.
Now, in many eyes the hollow grind style of blade making is considered to be a “weak” knife grind because of the fact that as you follow the grind from the beginning of the following process to the cutting edge of the blade it gets thinner and thinner the closer you get to the primary cutting edge.
Well, this is a good thing in my humble opinion as this type of blade grind lends itself to excellent skinning capabilities and if sharpened correctly is just a good all around cutting edge type of grind.
Now, like I said some people might find that a hollow ground knife is weak as there is less metal toward the primary cutting edge, but that is preferable in some cases. In my opinion, the hollow grind, if done right, is excellent blade geometry for cutting chores of all types and because the blade is thinner towards the primary cutting edge, if you utilize the proper sharpening stone or other sharpening apparatus then re-sharpening should be a breeze too.
3. The Tactical Knife Full Convex Grind
The full convex knife grind is the opposite of the hollow grind tactical knife type. If you look at a knife blade that is ground in the convex style you will be hard pressed to find a level of any type of the blade. In many cases you could even say that it looks like a “zero grind” or even a fat “Scandinavian grind” but it is a convex grind. (see image below):
The convex knife grind utilizes a continuous curve that starts at the spine of the blade and goes all the way down to the primary cutting edge of this blade grind type.
If you look closely, you will find that there is no flat area or secondary grind to this blade type and that is why many people might confuse this blade grind type with a “zero” grind or even a “Scandi” grind type. I personally do not find this type of blade grind useful for most cutting chores that I might need to accomplish, as I do prefer the ease of use of a “Scandi” blade grind or even a hollow ground blade.
4. The High Flat Tactical Knife Grind
The high flat tactical knife grind style is a grind style where the primary grind of the blade is flat (see image below). This type of grind starts closer to the spine of the knife and works its way down to the primary cutting edge of the blade:
Now, there are times when things can get a bit confusing with it comes to flat ground knives. The issue of confusion is the secondary bevel of the flat ground knife. The secondary bevel can be a “V” grind or a convex grind or even some form of a compound knife grind which is merely a grind of multiple angles of a “V” grind that looks a lot like a convex grind and is a grind type that most people who carry knives on a daily basis will not use or see in most production and custom folders or tactical fixed blade knife.
There are issues with this type of blade grind as lots of folks will get confused when some guy will say that they have put a convex edge on the blade that they are using at the time. Well, this is just a matter of proper knife grind education as it is just about impossible to put a convex grind on a high flat ground tactical knife. It would take a miracle to accomplish and I have not seen miracles of this kind in thirty years of being in the cutlery business.
What many of these guys are talking about is actually putting a secondary bevel on a convex blade grind which, in my humble opinion and to be nice, is not what you are supposed to do with a convex grind. It is convex, so leave it convex.
5. The Tactical Knife Full Flat Grind
The full flat tactical knife grind is similar to a high flat knife grind type and the only difference is that the flat ground knife blade type has a grind that is ground all the way to the top of the spine of the blade (see image below). This knife grind type has no flat portion of the blade nearest to the spine. The full flat ground tactical blade type utilizes a grind that is a single linear point from the spine of the blade all the way down to the secondary bevel of the knife. This secondary beveling can be of many types, such as “V” grinds and convex or compound just as with the high flat grind:
So there you have it, folks, the basic knife grinds employed today by most production and custom knife makers alike.
There are even more types of knife grinds available out there and many of them I will not detail here as they are employed in industrial uses and some others are used in certain types of arts and crafts.
What we have covered, however, should clear up knife edges for the everyday guy or gal who carries a pocket knife or fixed blade knife, or perhaps for the average knife collector. Please feel free to leave a comment.
I am Lyle E. Holmes, knife enthusiast and geologist, co-founder of The Tactical Knives blog. Follow me here with world’s best tactical knives review, tips and tricks.