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Archive for the category “Review”

Podcast Review – When The Balloon Goes Up!


Ron Larimer has taken the When The Balloon Goes Up brand to another level, with a new podcast. They have produced 3 so far, and I am impressed.

It’s a good entry to the podcast galaxy, not too long, and not too short. It’s a great mix of interviews, shooting news, and reviews. Ron is the host, and brings in people to help and interview, like Ben Stoeger and Julie Golob.

Each show is only about 20 minutes, and I find it fills a gap in my rotation. I leave the longer shows for car commutes, but this one fits in well in a lunch time, or short commute.

Give the show a listen, and let me know what you think.

The Decline and Fall of USA Ammo

In June 2011, on the advice of a fellow shooter, I bought 500 rounds of 115 grain FMJ 9mm ammo from USA Ammo. At the time I was very impressed by the delivery and performance of the ammo, and I gave it 4 eye patches.

Later in 2011, they ran a special on GearHog, and a lot of people bought a lot of good ammo. Still, I was pleased.

Then something terrible happened.

From what I can tell from posts on other sites, the company wasn’t able to keep up with ammo production to fill the GearHog orders, and they started having problems shipping orders on time. Customer service suffered at that time, too. Calls to the company went unanswered, messages were unreturned, and emails seemed like they were going to a black hole.

The appearance of the loaded ammo changed was well. In the first batches of ammo I had gotten, the bullets were shinty and unblemished. Later batches had bullets that were full of small dents and dings, which seemed to indicate to me that the bullets had been in storage or shipment for a long time.

Comments to my previous posts show a trend in the downward performance of the ammo, mostly in fulfillment of the orders. And a cursory Google search shows similar disappointing reports.

Based on these, I can no longer recommend USA Ammo.

I will continue to follow their progress and update as I see it.

When the Balloon Goes Up! Launches Online Store for Gear That Just Works

Ron Larimer at the When The Balloon Goes Up! blog has launched a new online store. He sent me a link to it some time back, and I must say, I think he has done it right. The store concentrates on gear for concealed carry, preparedness, and competition pistol shooting, and he has done a great job in picking the leading products in each, products with a reputation for no-nonsense quality and performance.

Personally, I am a big fan of Warren Sevigny sights, and when I get a chance to add another set, I plan to buy from Ron. I’ll let you know my experience, for sure.

Here’s the announcement on the Shooting Wire. Check out the new site.

Knife Review – Gerber Dime

Gerber’s Dime, shown with a G17 magazine for size comparison

In March of this year, I bought a Gerber Dime micro multi-tool, and started carrying it as part of my EDC posse. After six months of carry, I thought I would share my experience and impressions.

The tool is very small, measuring about 2-3/4 inches long by 3/4 inch wide, by 1/2 inch thick when folded. It includes the following:

The Dime unfolded

  • Pliers with wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Regular blade
  • Box opener blade
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Smaller screwdriver with file
  • Bottle opener built into the frame

The tool is very compact and sturdy. I’ve made it a point to use it in preference to other tools, and it’s held up well.

The pliers work well for their size, with good leverage and good serrated teeth. I’ve used them to hold bolts and to tighten bolts. The wire cutters worked well on small gauge wire and for cutting the ends off plastic wire ties.

The scissors are really too small to be of much good. I did use them to cut some cord, but that might have been better accomplished with a knife.

The regular knife blade did well. It is plenty sharp even after six months with no sharpening.

The box cutter blade may be the most surprising part of the tool. I’ve used it the most, to open packages and even cut through cardboard boxes to open furniture.

The screw drivers worked well enough, although their size, combined with the small handle with the tool folded, makes them not very effective with anything but the easiest of screws. The file on the small screwdriver is virtually non-usable because of its size.

Second to the box cutter blade, the bottle opener may be the most useful part. Even with the short moment arm, beer bottles were very easy to open.

The tool also comes with a small key chain loop, which I removed, because I don’t carry it on my key chain, and the loop was annoying.

Now, I tend the throw things in my pocket without doing a lot of regular maintenance, and I found, when I unfolded the Dime to take a picture for this blog, that a few of the surfaces like the scissor blades had become rusty. A few passes with a bronze brush and a wipe with the ubiquitous lightly oiled gun rag removed most of it. Also, in six months of carry with other metallic objects – keys, a folding blade knife, coins – the flat black finish has scratched off in places.

All in all, the Gerber Dime has become a welcome addition to my pocket. While it doesn’t excel at anything other than opening boxes or beer, it is useful enough to carry, especially when carried along with a simple folding blade knife.

I give the Gerber Dime 3-1/2 eye patches out of 5.




FTC disclaimer – I bought all merchandise, and there was no consideration given in exchange for this review.

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