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Archive for April, 2022

STRANDHOGG: Limited Edition Summer Vibes Shirt from First Spear

Friday, April 29th, 2022

Cue the music and the Reagan-era vibes. It’s time to celebrate the Strandhogg, First Spear summertime shirt style.

This new limited edition tee is a tactical (~ish) tip of the hat to Andy Warhol in pop art design and the iconic First Spear Strandhogg plate carrier.

The design is printed on a soft side seamed shirt which means better quality, more comfort, and a buff ‘Built for the X‘ appearance when heading out for some summer fun.

After all, looking cool matters.

First Spear keeps the description simple:

Across the front of this LIMITED EDITION white t-shirt, the popular FirstSpear Strandhögg Plate Carrier is featured in vibrant colors.

On the back is the classic FirstSpear logo. This shirt is a perfect addition to your summer t-shirt collection.

The POP ART STRANDHOGG t-shirt is a limited edition run, designed and printed in the United States, and retails for $29.99 on the FirstSpear website.

Don’t wait these are available in limited sizes and quantities and when they are gone they are gone, no backorders will be filled.

Like everything made by FirstSpear, these T-shirts are high-quality and Built for the X.

Connect with First Spear on social:


• www.facebook.com/1stSpear/

• www.instagram.com/firstspear/

• www.instagram.com/firstspear_tv/


State of Decay 2 – A Gun Guy Goes Gaming

Friday, April 29th, 2022

If it weren’t for Xbox Gamepass, I’d never have heard of a little game called State of Decay 2. I never heard of the first, and the second looked to be an enjoyable open-world game. Plus, it’s free on Gamepass, so I hopped on it. Never did I expect a game to offer such a unique experience. Not just the game itself, but the guns. As a gun nerd, I geeked out on State of Decay 2. 

weapons of State of Decay 2

The game features tons of guns and some very interesting gunplay. State of Decay 2 takes the player and tasks them with building a community of survivors. Throughout the game, the player has to kill zombies, make allies, and find and scavenge supplies, vehicles, and guns. It’s deep, can be extremely difficult, and is the Walking Dead game we’ve always wanted. It’s a free-roaming game with a vast open-world and several selectable maps. 

Pick a map, roll the nice to get characters, and jump on into a very addictive game. 

State of Decay 2 – The Gameplay 

State of Decay 2 is an open world, community building, third-person game. You can swap between a multitude of characters as you play. Each character comes with a variety of skills that affect combat, navigation, crafting, and more. It’s a very deep game with a lot of minutiae and a cult of players who are far more educated than I about the game. I’ve spent tens of hours playing it, and I still can’t explain the whole thing. 

You start with a small community and steadily build it. You move from sanctuary to sanctuary and build your community with a variety of different upgrades. We can have infirmaries, mechanic shops, armories, and more. Each member of your community is a playable character, and each member can bring different skills to your community. You’ll need to constantly scavenge supplies like fuel, food, ammo, and more. 

weapons of State of Decay 2

All of your survivors are playable characters with different skills

You’ll have to balance the strengths of your characters as well as their fatigue and health. When a character is wounded, tired, or bit, you’ll need to take them back to the community to rest and switch out. You can move between different paths through the game that offers you different missions, challenges, and outcomes. 

Throughout the entire game, you’ll need to balance your scavenging with combat. Combat involves either guns or melee weapons. You have broad availability of both. Today we are going to talk all about the guns of State of Decay 2. 

The Gunplay 

How many guns are there? I don’t know…all of them might be the best answer. There are dozens of guns, and I mean dozens of them. You can use the ultra-modern Maxim 9mm integrally suppressed handgun to the old-school cool Remington 1875. Maybe you are a scattergun guy like me, and you want an AA-12 or a Winchester 1897 Trench gun. Well, you can use either. 

weapons of State of Decay 2

Mare’s Leg? Sure, we got em!

Guns have been added throughout the lifespan of the game. We even get guns that aren’t ‘mainstream’ outside of the world of guns, like the CMMG Banshee, the KelTec Sub 2000, and the Colt Monitor. 

weapons of State of Decay 2

Weapon drops bring us everything, including WW2 guns.

There are tons of guns that fall into various classes. You seemingly get everything outside of crew-served guns. I can’t help but think someone at the State of Decay 2 studio is a gun nerd. Not just because of the gun selection but due to the depth. 

Select fire weapons can swap between full auto, burst, or semi, depending on the gun. Guns will eventually wear out, and when they wear out, they begin malfunctioning and eventually just break completely. 

weapons of State of Decay 2

Don’t forget the shotguns (Courtesy of IMFDB)

Characters build skills with their firearms by using them. The more shoot, the better you’ll be at it. Some characters have unique traits that they come packaged with to make them better shots, and as your skill grows with guns, you can pick between different advantages. Some skills paths and advantages affect reloading, recoil control, and accuracy. 

Noise and Size Matter

Throughout the game, noise is always a concern. If you’re loud, you’ll attract the attention of zombies, which will converge on your location. Breaking windows, kicking open doors, vehicles, and obviously, guns will affect your noise level. Different guns have different levels of quietness. 

They get this mostly on point. A .22LR rifle is a fair bit quieter than a full-powered anti-material rifle. When noise becomes a big issue, you can toss on a suppressor. Suppressors come in different tiers, with the lowest being a fuel filter and the best being an Osprey 9. Suppressors can be attached and removed, but not all guns can use suppressors. 

weapons of State of Decay 2

The Honey Badger Helps keep things quiet (Courtesy IMFDB)

Realistically most revolvers can’t be suppressed, but realistically you can get a silenced Nagant revolver. Little touches like that make a difference that makes State of Decay 2 stand out. 

Throughout the game, you’ll need to manage your inventory. You only have so much room and weight to balance. In some situations taking a suppressed 22LR rifle makes more sense than taking a AR 15. The 22LR rifle is lighter and quieter, and so is the ammo you have to carry for it. Rifle ammo weighs more, so keep that in mind. 

The Little Details 

A few of the little things worth noting is that when you reload a partially empty magazine, the gun keeps a +1 in the tube. That’s a neat little feature I didn’t notice for the longest time. Also, most of the time, full auto is useless. Headshots matter and zombies can’t be suppressed. Firing full auto can be tough to control and inaccurate. 

The only time full auto is handy in State of Decay 2 is when facing off against human threats and juggernauts. Juggernauts don’t go down with a single headshot, so spraying them can be a viable strategy. Guns can be upgraded with mods. 

weapons of State of Decay 2

Full auto is for Juggernauts only

Mods, of course, are suppressors, as well as chokes for shotguns, flash suppressors, and compensators. They alter how the gun handles, and other guns can be found with upgrades, like optics that can’t be removed but increase your zoom range. 

A weapon can be fixed at workshops via spare parts, and ammo can be reloaded and crafted as well. Speaking of ammo, the ammo comes in different calibers and types. However, it’s not super accurate. Some ammo types are grouped together, like different types of rifle ammo are all grouped together. 5.45 guns just shoot 5.56, and the M1918 BAR uses the same 7.62 ammo the AK uses. 


Like any video game, you can expect to see plenty of goofs in State of Decay 2 or just silly things regarding guns in the game. Like damage differences between identical 12 gauge shotguns. The two that stand out most in my mind deal with reload animations and suppressors. 

First, the reload animations for all of the rifles and SMGs are the same regardless of their design. They all insert the mag the same way, and all use a right-side charging handle. M4sMP5s, SCARs, and G36s are reloaded the same way. 

Second, whenever video games have suppressors, they gotta do some weird stuff with them. In State of Decay 2, the suppressor wears the gun down a little faster. The lowest tier suppressors reduce wear the fastest, and the highest tear reduces wear the least.



State of Decay 2 is an awesome romp. It can effectively be played forever, and it only ends when you really want it to. State of Decay 2 does guns fairly well, and the massive variety makes it fun to hunt the guns down as you play. Sure, it’s not perfectly realistic, but guns are a considerable part of the experience and more than just an ornament in the game. 

Compete Defend Protect

Friday, April 15th, 2022

Most people buy a gun for a reason. Aside from hunting, where it is used to put food on the table, a firearm can be used in shooting sports and as a lifesaving tool for self-defense and protecting others. Such uses can be further partitioned into three categories; to compete, defend or protect.

by Steve Tarani

Although sharing common ground, for example, hitting what you’re aiming at, what are the specifics that delineate each of these uses?

Competition Shooting


The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) states that 19 million-plus Americans safely invest their time in shooting practice. According to NSSF, some of this is for fun, and much of it is for competitive shooting. Some common and familiar examples of competitive shooting are:

Cowboy Action Shooting: The primary requirement for these types of shooting events is that the guns used are from the era of the American cowboy. That typically means from the 1800s. These are perfect events to get a look at antique guns and their usage.

Bullseye Shooting: While this can occur with the use of rifles, it is mostly a long-distance event for pistol shooters. By long-distance, NSSF defines this as upwards of 50 yards. Competitions are usually a mix of slow-firing and rapid-firing contests. A timer might be used to increase the difficulty level, and participants might also be required to fire using a single-hand rather than a double-hand grip.

International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) shooting events: This action shooting event focuses on international rules and guns. This shooting competition focuses on self-defense-type shooting situations, and the events mimic real life as much as possible. Its sister competition is the United States Practical Shooting Organization (USPSA), which is the U.S. version. 

Competition Shooting

The International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) is one of the world’s largest shooting sports associations and the oldest within practical shooting. Founded in 1976, the IPSC nowadays affiliates over 100 regions from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. 

Regardless of governing body, the firearm, as applied to competition shooting, is used in organized shooting events where competitors shoot in a controlled target shooting environment called ‘stages’ based on rules and regulations of the hosting organization. A stage consists of a designated array of targets set up in such a manner as to challenge the shooters’ skills and understanding of the sport.

As with all shooting sports, safety is the highest priority, and as such, competitors are confined to a180 degree range of fire resulting in disqualification if you break that 180-degree shooting plane. Additionally, competitions run a ‘cold range’ which means you must unload your handgun prior to leaving the firing line.

Competition shooting is a ‘one-way range’ (bullets only go one way – down range) where the shooters square off against targets, control the gun and their movement while being aware of their environment, which is predetermined by target placement. As it is a gaming environment with specific rules, targets, and shooting standards, strategy can be developed ahead of time, such as ‘walking the stage(s),’ knowing the round count, and other gaming considerations. Round placement on targets is scored according to regulations set by a governing entity and results in points either earned or deducted based on the shooter’s performance. 

Top-level professional shooters are sponsored by various firearms and/ or ammunition manufacturers and are often referred to as ‘brand ambassadors’ by their sponsors. Competitions are scheduled at the local shooting club level, regionally, nationally, and internationally. 


People who purchase firearms for self-defense are commonly referred to as ‘defensive’ or ‘tactical’ shooters. Military, police, and responsible citizens of a free republic are trained to utilize a handgun in defense against other human beings who may also be armed with a firearm, other ballistic or non-ballistic weapons intent on inflicting great bodily harm or death to the shooter.

Unlike competition shooting, defensive shooting is applied to a 360-degree range of fire referred to as a ‘two-way range’ (bullets flying in both directions – up range and downrange). Defensive shooters are trained to win a gunfight where an active threat is trying to hurt or kill them in a life-or-death situation. Governed by federal and state laws, as opposed to gaming commission rules, it is incumbent upon the defensive shooter to train in the appropriate use of deadly force.

Training levels vary in the defensive shooting world from a novice shooter attending a reputable shooting school on one end of the skills-development spectrum to highly trained tier-1 government (T1G) assets such as military combat specialty unit operations personnel at the opposite end.

Defensive shooters are trained to stop an active threat if they find themselves in a situation where there may be no alternative other than the use of deadly force to solve the tactical problem. 

Defensive shooting drills prepare you for a fight for your life. You are trained to control your movement with such tactics as the use of cover, tactical movement, and other defensive options as determined by your environment. There are no stages and no preplanned movement. Defensive shooters often carry concealed and run a ‘hot range’ where their firearm is always loaded.

The highest priority in defensive shooting is to remove yourself from harm’s way and with the least amount of injury possible. There are no rules save appropriate use of force and tactics. The cost of missing your target is not a deduction of points but the very real potential for loss of life. 

In defensive shooting, you are legally responsible for every round that departs your muzzle. Because of this, you must be acutely aware of your gun safety, gun handling, and marksmanship in a 360-degree two-way range which may end up being your home, in or around a vehicle, or at an open public venue. Moreover, in any violent physical engagement involving other humans, you are hard-pressed to make combat-effective decisions and round placement on single or multiple active threats while under duress. 

Citizen Defense


In the world of professional protective services, shooters are often members of an assigned Protective Services Detail (PSD). However, it should be noted that there’s a distinct difference between ‘bodyguard’ and PSD personnel and that difference is the level of training. 

Much like the difference in defensive shooters, where special operations personnel are significantly better trained, PSD shooters are required to go through months of arduous skills development and physical training, whereas a ‘bodyguard’ is not. For example, PSD physical training requirements could include an ability to perform a fireman’s carry, running a timed mile, proficiency in tactical medicine, defensive driving, encrypted communications, multiple weapons systems, and a myriad of other PSD skills requirement.

Examples of the T1G tip of the spear PSD would include the United States Secret Service and the US Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), which is the federal law enforcement and PSD security bureau of the U.S. Department of State. 

Much like defensive shooting, PSD shooters are trained to engage in a two-way 360-degree range fighting from a position of dominance (POD). PSD personnel are additionally trained in building and vehicle operations (such as approaches and departures) and to use their environment as a tool to prevail in a violent physical engagement. 

Unlike defensive shooting, which emphasizes control of the handgun, PSD demands responsibility and control of three things: your firearm, your protectee, and your environment. Tasked with either stopping or mitigating the threat, a PSD shooter’s highest priority is the safety and well-being of their protectee(s) – even at the expense of taking a bullet for them. 

In PSD, the objective is to move off the ‘X’ with the lowest scale of injury to yourself and those you are protecting. PSD personnel are trained to deliver combat-effective round placement in a timely manner to control a life-threatening altercation involving third parties immediately. The price tag for failure is exceptionally high as it could impact multiple persons.

The firearm is considered a lifesaving tool to defensive and PSD shooters. They are trained in gun safety, gun handling, and marksmanship like a competitor. However, unlike a competitor, they are additionally trained in vetted gunfighting tactics and in the specifics of managing a hot range. Defensive and PSD shooters expect to operate under duress on a two-way range and in a 360-degree dynamic high-threat environment while saving lives.


About the Author: 

Steve Tarani is a former full-time CIA protective programs employee, small arms and defensive tactics subject matter expert who served on POTUS 45 pre-election executive protection detail. He is the lead instructor for NRA’s non-ballistic weapons training program offered nationally and a widely recognized SME on matters of personal protection and urban survival. Tarani is also a DoD and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who has been on staff at Gunsite Academy (AZ) as a Rangemaster for over twenty years. Formerly sworn, he is also a former federal contractor and service provider for the US Defense Intelligence Community, US Naval Special Operations Command, and other government agencies. Additionally, Tarani serves on the National Sheriffs’ Association Committee for School Safety and Security.