Useful Shooting Gear
Here is a short list of a few pieces of gear that I have found to be useful to my shooting endeavors. Three items can help protect you against an attacker, while the fourth can protect your long-term health.
There are many useful tools on the market. Please share your favorites in the comments section at the end of this article. I know I like to discover new bits of gear, and I bet a lot of readers do as well.
AmeriGlo Pro Glow Front Sight
For a self-defense handgun, I like to have a big, bright front sight. Most factory sights are somewhere between marginal and poor for my defensive needs. There are a number of aftermarket sight replacements I have tried, but the one I recently had installed on my pistol is the ProGlo Tritium front sight from AmeriGlo.
The ProGlo Tritium is a normal sized sight with a bright tritium vial in the center that glows in the darkness. What sets the ProGlo apart from other night sights is that a large, lime-green circle surrounds the tritium vial. This neon-bright circle is with width of the sight and nearly as tall, which is very easy to see.
Additionally, the circle uses a phosphorescent paint that absorbs ambient light and glows in low light conditions. I found that in twilight lighting conditions tritium tends to be too weak to be easily seen, but the phosphorescent paint gives me a bright front sight with which to aim.
I.C.E. Claw Rear Sight
I recently had an I.C.E. Claw rear sight installed on my Glock 19. I never had a problem with the factory standard Glock sight, but Claw sight designer Rob Pincus convinced me to try one out.
The sight is designed with an aggressive angle on the front edge of the slide. It was designed like this to provide the best hook for one-handed reloads and malfunction clearing. Should one hand be injured in a fight, the user can still manipulate the slide by hooking the front sight on a belt, boot, table corner or virtually anything else.
The sight is metal and drifts into place once the factory sight is removed. The face is a matte black finish without any white dots or other markings.
The rear notch is 0.180” wide, which is noticeably wider than the 0.140” notch on the factory sight. For a fighting handgun where putting round on target quickly is more important than slow precise shots, I prefer the wider notch.
These sights are also made by AmeriGlo and can be bought from them or from I.C.E. I like this rear sight a lot. It does exactly what Pincus told me it would do, and is an improvement over the factory sight that was on my pistol. If you have a ramped rear sight, I encourage you to consider going to a rear sight with a hard edge or the Claw sight.
Tuff Products Quick Strips
If you carry a revolver for self-defense, do you carry any extra ammo? If so, you are probably familiar with the Bianchi Speed Strips. I love carrying a J-frame Smith & Wesson, and I never leave the house without at least one strip of extra .38 Special ammo.
As nice as the Speed Strips are, they are limited in caliber: either .38 Special/.357 Magnum or .44 Special/Magnum/.45 Colt. Tuff Products offers an alternative product with a lot more flexibility.
The Tuff Quick Strips cover calibers from .17 HM2 to .500 S&W plus 10, 12 and 20 gauge. I grant you that you are not likely to carry a .416 Rigby for self defense (yes, they make a Quick Strip for that caliber along with .500 Linebaugh and .300 Win Mag.) But, there are many people who carry a .22 LR revolver like the Ruger LCR. To my knowledge, only Tuff Products offers an option of carrying 10 spare .22 LR rounds in a flat, concealable manner.
SensGard Hearing Protection
I was recently introduced to a form of hearing protection that was new to me, though I suspect the underlying technology has been in use for a long time. SensGard hearing protection isn’t a plug or a muff exactly, rather it is a pair of long tubes connected to a headband in a configuration similar to earmuffs.
A shooter inserts the SensGard hearing protection into the ears and rotates the headband to secure the unit in place. According to SensGard, the “sonically sealed chambers act as an extension of the ear canal. They form a vacuum that pulls harmful sounds away from the sensitive ear anatomy.”
I can’t prove the physics to you, but I can say they work amazingly well. The 31 dB-rated model I wore to the range recently were very impressive in their ability to reduce loud sounds. The set is very lightweight, and I was very impressed at how well they reduced the sound of gunfire.
Due to the design of the unit, conversation is easier to hear than with standard plugs or muffs. While I found the volume to be reduced, I thought the sounds were much clearer than what I hear with traditional plugs. Conversation was not amplified, as with a set of electronic ear pro. However, the SensGard is more compact and cheaper than most electronic hearing protection, and they do not use any batteries.