PSA: Botach.com

This is a public service announcement.

There is a company based out of Nevada called Botach.com that sells cheap tactical, survival and shooting gear.

I’ve ordered things from them a couple of times and have been pleased with what I’ve gotten from them. They do sell things at pretty good prices.

But, fair warning: they may not pay for return shipping – even when return is no fault of your own.

I ordered a pair of boots from them. I don’t normally buy any type of clothing online because you can’t try them on, but they were very inexpensive for a fairly pricey brand name, and Botach.com has a 100% money back guarantee right? So I took the chance and ordered a pair.

I normally wear size 8.5 wide. If there is no wide version, I order a 9 and that’s usually a bit long, but fits good in width. They didn’t have a “wide” option so I ordered size 9.

Nope. They’re actually shorter in length than most 8.5’s I’ve bought and they are very narrow. I contacted Botach to make an exchange and they were happy to give me an RMA number, but refused to pay for shipping.

As far as I’m concerned, the product I ordered was defective…I ordered the right size, they’re sized incorrectly…so they should pay for return shipping. Nope. I checked prices at both UPS and the Postal Service and the cheapest shipping would be more than I paid for the boots to begin with.

I tried to leave a 1 star review on the product at Botach, but apparently their web site doesn’t allow that. Every time I try to post the review it says something like “you can’t post more than 3 reviews in 5 minutes” and refuses to post it…I tried twice with the same result.

That seems pretty shady if you ask me. That means you can’t trust the product reviews there either.

So, the bottom line is, although I’ve been pretty happy with my purchases from there up to this point, I’m no longer a Botach customer. They don’t truly honor the 100% money back guarantee they advertise and they prevent the posting of bad reviews.

Shooting is one of my two biggest interests. I spend a lot of money on shooting accessories and gear in a year. For the cost of shipping a pair of boots, they lost a good customer and hundreds if not thousands of dollars in sales a year for however many years I’ve got left in me.

Doesn’t seem like a very good trade-off to me, but if that’s the way they want to run their business…

At any rate, I just wanted to spread the word: buy from Botach.com at your own risk.

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Black Privilege

About two years ago, my wife and I were in the garage and we heard a big bang against the garage door. We quickly went outside and saw a group of black kids walking down the street. Now, normally the race of the kids wouldn’t even have crossed my mind, but it becomes relevant in a few minutes.

My wife yelled over to them, did one of you throw something at our house? They all said no, but then she told them, “we have security cameras, we’re going to find out if you’re lying to us”, at which point one of the kids said that he’d kicked a rock and it “accidentally” hit the garage door. My wife told him, “you should have just said that from the beginning, if it was an accident, just please be more careful”. They went on their way.

So then, we went back and checked the cameras…the kid clearly picked up a rock from the ground and threw it at the house.

Well, they had apparently just been going to the 7-11 on the corner, had done their business and were on their way back in the other direction heading home at about that time. My wife went back out and confronted them again. She told the kid that we had him on video throwing the rock directly at our house, not kicking it. She said something like “we live here, this is our home. How would you feel if I came by your place and threw rocks at your home?” The kid apologized and said he wasn’t trying to hit the house, he was just playing around and threw the rock harder than he intended to. She was in the process of telling him, basically, that’s OK, everyone makes mistakes, just please be more careful and be respectful of other people’s property etc etc etc when one of the other kids in the group yelled out something like “why you gotta pick on the black kids? Are you a racist?”. I have to admit that I’m impressed that she didn’t throttle the kid right then and there, but that’s black privilege right there.

You can’t chastise, argue with, correct, heck even disagree with a black person without being accused of being a racist. Cops can’t even arrest a long-time black criminal without being called racists and G-d forbid one of them get hurt or die while resisting arrest or the cops performing the lawful arrest will be charged and put on trial for it.

If you deny that you are a racist, it proves you are a racist. Blacks can do no wrong and cannot be criticized…oh…unless they’re conservative blacks, then all bets are off, they can be called every name in the book.

That was my convoluted way of introducing this incident:

So, backstory as I hear it: twenty something black “kid” in the neighborhood has been known to cause problems, has a criminal record and has been accused by one of the neighbors of assaulting their daughter, and he’s at that neighbor’s house banging on the door and wont’ go away. The neighbor enlists the assistance of an Army drill instructor who happens to live nearby. Drill instructor tries to get the problem “kid” to leave and that’s where the video picks up.

Of course, we miss the beginning so we have no context, we only see the white guy trying to get the black “kid” to leave the neighborhood. I hear no racial overtones at all in the video but since it’s a white guy against a black “kid”, it’s automatically racist. The Army, the City, the Sheriff, everyone in a position of authority automatically, reflexively and without a moment’s hesitation throws the white guy under the bus. He’s been relieved of duty and will probably lose his job and his pension. He’ll already been charged with assault and will be given the maximum sentence. He’ll be “canceled” from social media if he hasn’t already and he’s been doxxed so the “mostly peaceful” demonstrations have already started in his front yard. He and his family are in danger.

All because he had the audacity of trying to help out his neighbor and neighborhood by getting a problem out of the area.

Black privilege is real and it will ruin your life if you let it. My advice: Keep your head down and don’t get involved. Defend your family and your property and leave everyone else to fend for themselves.

That’s not how I grew up and I hate it, but that’s what our society has devolved into.

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Ammo Search Tool

In case anyone’s been living in a cave to wait out the demopocalypse, here’s some news: There’s an ammo shortage right now.

As a long time gun owner who’s been through this before, and a reloader to boot, I’m OK on ammo for every gun I had before the shortage began. I don’t have “enough”. I’m not sure there is an “enough”, but I can get by…with one exception:

Back in, oh, mid 2019, I stumbled across a deal on a 6.8spc BCG that I couldn’t pass up. I’ve wanted a rifle in 6.8spc for a while now. Since then I’ve been collecting parts here and there until finally, about November of last year I got it finished…and of course couldn’t find anything to feed it.

I found bullets. I found suitable powder. I have primers (good thing because those are made of unobtanium right now). But I can’t seem to find brass anywhere. I’ve got some on backorder.

So, every now and again, I go online just to see if I can find anything, anything at all, that I can feed the beast.

About a week ago I stumbled across this site:

Ammobuy.com

I’ve found a few of these aggregators or search sites before, but they’ve always been a bust. Click on the links and find that the seller is out of stock, but this one seems to actually work as advertised. I’ve found a few links that led to out of stock messages, but I’d expect that occasionally considering how fast ammo is flying off the shelves right now…and the vast majority of the links on the site have been accurate.

I’m not necessarily saying that the ammo you’ll find listed there will be cheap…or even reasonably priced based on “normal” demand…but if you’re desperate and “have” to get some ammo, the site will help you find it.

With this site, I was able to locate some VERY EXPENSIVE 6.8spc ammo. I ordered two boxes for way more than I should have, but at least I’ve got some ammo for test firing and I’ll have 40 pieces of brass to use for test loads and zeroing. Haven’t gotten it yet but UPS assures me it will be here in the next few days.

I just thought I’d spread the word about this well done site in case anyone else out there is looking for ammo during these trying times.

BTW: I am not receiving any compensation of any kind from this endorsement. I’m sure if you mentioned me or my blog to the proprietors of ammobuy.com, they’d say “who?”.

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Is Signal a false flag?

Over the past few days, I’ve seen several columns, articles and comments claiming that the Signal secure SMS system is run by the CIA or a CIA spinoff and/or is owned by Twitter.

Disclaimer: I’m just a layperson and this is based on the limited time I’ve had to research things and my own common sense. I could easily be wrong. I’m just providing you with information so that you can make a more informed decision. Personally, I’m not worried about Signal.

This apparently stems from This Article by a journalist named Yasha Levine.

It’s basically a bunch of “connect the dots” conspiracy theories that rely on innuendo rather than evidence.

First, is Signal owned by Twitter? No, that’s the easy one. That one isn’t a claim made by Levine, but I believe it’s based on a misunderstanding about one of the points he raises in his article.

The Signal Encryption Protocol (upon which the Signal App’s end to end encryption is based) was invented a guy named Moxie Marlinspike. Moxie Marlinspike was one of the founders of a company called “Whisper Systems” that was acquired by Twitter in 2011. It is possible that some precursor encryption protocol was acquired by Twitter in the sale, but the Signal Encryption Protocol didn’t exist at the time of the sale. Moxie Marlinspike started a new, nonprofit called “Open Whisper Systems” in 2013 and that’s where the Signal Encryption Protocol was developed. Twitter had and has nothing to do with it.

Secondly, the “Signal is a CIA false flag” charge.

Again, the Signal Protocol was developed by Moxie Marlinspike in 2013. It was at that time called “TextSecure” and was incorporated into an open source messaging app by the same name. The name was changed to the Signal Protocol in 2016 and the Signal App was born.

Before I delve into the “evidence” against Signal, I want to talk about my impressions about Mr. Levine.

I’m the first to decry the use of ad-hominems in an argument because if the information provided is true, it doesn’t matter where it came from, but in a case like this where the information is based more on innuendo and “analysis” than facts, it is important to get a feeling for the possible motivations of the person providing the analysis.

A little searching on the internet reveals that Yasha Levine is an immigrant from the USSR. On it’s face, that’s no big deal…in fact it could be a positive, but I don’t think it is. The first thing that caught my attention is the titles of a few of his pieces including A Journey Through California’s Oligarch Valley and The Koch Brothers: A Short History.

The next thing I noted was the publications he has written for. The list is a who’s who of leftist pablum: Wired, The Nation, Slate, TIME, The New York Observer, etc.

Finally, I find that he’s one of the co-founders of the “S.H.A.M.E project”, which is nothing more than an exercise in maligning prominent right leaning journalists and commentators by prodigious use of out of context or misleading quotes and information, or just good old fashioned guilt by association.

So, Levine is a refugee from an oppressive Socialist regime, but apparently his takeaway was to hate “oligarchs” rather than Socialism itself. I can’t say I blame him for disliking Oligarchs considering the fact that in the USSR, Oligarchs attained their wealth and power primarily through corruption, political connections and ruthless abuse of power – but failing to consider the role that the form of government itself had in enabling this behavior is a fatal flaw in my opinion.

At any rate, Levin is a dedicated leftist. So, what possible motivation could he have for maligning a communication avenue that is becoming increasingly popular on the right?

Hm…quite the mystery.

So…what about his claim about Signal?

Apparently, he bases his entire premise that Signal is a false flag for the CIA on three paragraphs from this article in the Wall Street Journal.

Around that time, the State Department was looking to use technology to support pro-democracy movements overseas. Mr. Marlinspike’s work caught the attention of Ian Schuler, manager of the department’s Internet freedom programs. Encrypted messaging was viewed as a way for dissidents to get around repressive regimes.

With help from Mr. Schuler, Radio Free Asia’s Open Technology Fund, which is funded by the government and has a relationship with the State Department, granted Mr. Marlinspike more than $1.3 million between 2013 and 2014, according to the fund’s website.

Mr. Marlinspike was hardly a conventional Washington player. He and a government official missed meeting one another at a San Francisco burrito joint because the visitor assumed the dreadlocked Mr. Marlinspike couldn’t be the person he was there to see, Messrs. Schuler and Marlinspike said.

The fact that the State Department liked his work and he received a grant from a government sponsored fund is firm evidence that the Signal Protocol is compromised?

More of that patented innuendo and out of context information that Mr. Levin is so fond of.

What about counter evidence? Well, there’s the fact that there have been several analysis and reviews of Textsecure an Signal over the years, none of which have found any major issues with the encryption protocol or have indicated that it may be compromised in any way. These are not the contributions of a “journalist” with an axe to grind against the right, but analysis of cybersecurity experts from such organizations as The University of Waterloo, The University of Bonn, Stanford University, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, The University of Applied Sciences Austria…

I could go on but I think you get the drift.

Personally, I’d rather rely on crypto security experts more than a leftist journalist who relies on innuendo and vague conspiracy theories.

But that’s just me, what do I know?

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Everything you wanted to know about suppressors but were afraid to ask

Hi guys.  Long time no post.  I recently received a request from our friends at Ammo To Go to publicize a blog post they recently put up.

I had actually already seen the post and enjoyed it immensely, but when they specifically requested that I spread the word…well…here I am, spreading the word.

They basically cover everything you ever wanted to know about suppressors (aka silencers), from how they work, where they come from and why they are sometimes called suppressors and sometimes silencers; then they test several different calibers and types of ammunition with and without suppression to see how much difference it makes.

It’s a great article and well worth your time if you’re interested in the subject at all:

Silencer Guide with Decibel Level Testing

I’ve actually been interested in silencers for a long time. After being a shooter all my life and 21 years working up close and personal with jet aircraft, I’ve got a pretty severe case of Tinnitus. I’ve lost about 30% of my hearing and I have a constant ringing in my head. Sometimes the ringing changes pitches just to keep it fresh, but it never goes away. You get used to it after 20 years or so, so there’s that.

Anyway, I have a serious concern that if I ever do have to use a firearm in self-defense…especially in the close confines of my home…that firing multiple shots without hearing protection in those conditions could render me completely deaf, or nearly so.

I’ve been interested in getting a suppressor for a home defense gun for a long time. I’ve never done it because the price gives me pause, as well as the whole “pay the non-refundable tax, beg for permission, wait up to a year, and hope for the best” thing.

I’ve really been rooting for a legislative fix to get this common sense safety equipment taken off the NFA list so I could buy one like a free, law abiding citizen should be able to…pay your money and take it home.

The recent shooting in Virginia Beach dashed that hope (in spite of the fact that the incident should have proven beyond a doubt that suppressors don’t make gunshots silent or more deadly). My only hope is that more people become educated about what suppressors are and what they are really capable of (rather than what they see in hollywood movies).

And so…to that end…please click the link, read the article and share it with all of your friends.

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Ammo Can Giveaway

I’ve been remiss in that I was asked to post this a while ago and I’m just now getting around to it.  Better late than never I guess.

I was contacted by BulkMunitions.com about putting something up about their ammo can giveaway.  I’ve no problem supporting small business so here goes:

Ammo Can Storage Giveaway from Bulk Munitions.com:  Click the image to go to https://bulkmunitions.com/ammo-can-giveaway/

 

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Speaking of Ammo companies…

On the other side of the aisle from the principled stand being taken by Hornady, You have Vista Outdoor.

Vista Outdoor Inc. has been pressured for months by retailers that sell its other goods like Bell bicycle helmets and CamelBak water carriers, to stop manufacturing firearms.

The Utah company said Tuesday that it will be seeking buyers for its firearms manufacturing business, and will focus on products for outdoor enthusiasts. It will continue to sell ammunition, its biggest core businesses.

Really? You seriously think after throwing us under the bus that we’re going to continue buying your ammo?

If you own stock in Vista Outdoor, I’d recommend you sell. Immediately. Oops…too late.

Vista (VSTO)’s stock price fell 15% after the company released a separate statement online, where Chief Executive Officer Chris Metz said Vista “plans to explore strategic options” for Savage and Stevens firearms, as well as some non-gun brands, like Bell helmets.

Like Hornady XTP for self-defense ammo, CCI blazer has been my go to range ammo for quite some time…I especially like their .22lr offering. That’s OK…I imagine the other ammo manufacturers (like, say, Hornady) will appreciate a bit more business. I’m also partial to Alliant powders for reloading and CCI primers. I’ll use up what I have on hand, but there are plenty of alternatives out there. Probably the biggest sacrifice will be giving up Hoppe’s No 9. That’s been my go-to bore cleaner my whole life. Ah well…who knows, maybe there’s something out there I’ll find I like better that I’ve been missing out on all this time.

In case you are interested in a quick reference of brands I’m going to avoid, here are the brands that Vista owns:

Bushnell Optics
Weaver Optics
Simmons Optics
Millett Optics
Tasco Optics
Night Optics
Redfield scope mounts/bases
Primos Hunting supplies
Final Approach (FA) hunting supplies
Gold Tip Bows
Bee Stinger Bows
Blackhawk holsters and accessories
RCBS Reloading
Champion Targets and accessories
Butler Creek magazines and accessories
Uncle Mike’s holsters and accessories
Gunmate Holsters and accessories
Eagle Tactical accessories
Blazer Ammunition
Estate Cartridge Ammunition
Federal Premium Ammunition (includes American Eagle and Fusion)
CCI Ammunition and components
Speer Ammunition and components
Independence Ammunition
Force On Force Training Ammunition
Alliant Powder
Savage Arms (includes Fox) (for now)
Stevens Arms (for now)
Hoppe’s gun cleaning/lubricant
Gunslick gun cleaning/lubricant
Outers gun cleaning/lubricant
M-Pro7 gun cleaning/lubricant
Jimmy Styks Surfboards
Camp Chef outdoor cooking accessories
Camelbak hydration systems
Blackburn cycling accessories
Bolle Eyewear
Serengeti Eyewear
Cebe Eyewear and Helmets
Bolle Safety Goggles and Eyewear
Giro cycling/skiing helmets/goggles
Bell Helmets
Copilot bike child carriers
Raskullz child bike helmets and accessories
Krash child bike helmets and accessories

That’s the list. It’s quite extensive and giving up some of those products is going to hurt, but there’s plenty of competition out there and I have no doubt I’ll be able to find suitable alternatives.

By the way, this list came directly from the Vista Outdoor website.

I may come back and put them in alphabetical order, right now they’re grouped by product type which may make it more difficult to sift through. If there’s an edit to this post later on, that’s probably what changed.

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Hornady gets it.

In response to the New York Comproller’s not so veiled “nice bank you’ve got there, it’d be a shame if anything happened to it” strong arm tactics to convince banks to discontinue servicing the gun industry, Hornady has opted to cease any ammunition sales to the New York government.

While it may not make a difference to New York, Hornady will not knowingly allow our ammunition to be sold to the Government of the State of NY or any NY agencies. Their actions are a blatant and disgusting abuse of office and we won’t be associated with a government that acts like that.

Hornady’s XTP Jacketed Hollowpoints have long been my go to round for self defense and I even buy the bullets for when I roll my own. They have several offerings that get very good reviews and I’m very happy with the performance of the XTP.

Since I’m a long time customer, I can’t exactly switch my business to them, they already have it, but what I can do is: 1) Recommend them to others, which I will…adamantly…hence this post and 2) Stock up. Looks like it’s time to invest in precious metals like lead and copper. You can never have too many bullets on hand, and as an added bonus, when properly stored, they never go bad.

Now if that evil NRA that controls the entire gun industry in the US (trust me, I know it’s true, I read it in the New York Times) could get all ammo, gun and accessory manufacturers to follow suit, we could put these petty attempted power grabs by even more petty politicians behind us.

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