About Me

I am a full-time law enforcement officer with experience in the Patrol, Tactical, and Gang Divisions and a part-time martial artist. I believe that law abiding citizens should learn to defend themselves with whatever tools they may legally carry. I am currently in the process of starting the "5 Rings Tactical" training school where I hope to encourage good people to become protectors of their own lives and the lives of their families. This blog will contain reviews of defensive and tactical products, all of which I have purchased with my own funds. I will try my best to give my honest and unbiased opinion of all the products featured. I hope to eventually make the items that prove to be of quality available to customers of 5 Rings Tactical. Before distributing any of these items, they will be purchased privately by me and evaluated. I do not pretend to be any type of expert or master. I'm just a guy trying to share my experiences with others. I am always looking for more training and good people to learn from.

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Website

We have moved!

Please go to www.5ringstactical.com

Monday, May 2, 2011

FDE 5-3-2011

Today's FDE was submitted by a good friend of mine who I've known for over 13 years.  I can't say anything too mean about him in this FDE post because he possess incredibly embarrassing photos of me from our high school prom.  Our reader is a law school graduate working in the field of patent law.  He also happens to be a heavy drinker.  He and I may differ in certain political views, but we tend to see eye to eye when it comes to life saving equipment.  Our reader chooses to carry a Surefire G2 flashlight in black.  It matches most suits better than oliver drab green or desert tan.  The crazy contraption over the lens is a red flip-up filter.  This comes in particularly useful during office espionage missions where a low profile is needed.  The red light is more subdued and will not attract as much attention or adversely effect night vision like a white light would.  I imagine this red filter gets a lot of use after a night of binge drinking then trying to locate those contracts for his morning meeting.

Since alcohol often means being obnoxious and hitting on other peoples' girlfriends, my buddy is a likely target for morning-after assaults.  Lost, hungover, and in a state of mental disarray puts him at a slight disadvantage when people are trying to kick his ass for whatever expensive suit he puked on the night before.  For this reason, my old chum is rarely without his Spyderco P'Kal folding knife.  The exact same blade I am usually carrying.  Razor sharp S30V steel in a reverse, edge-in grip is available at lightning speed with the built in "wave" feature of the knife.  It's the perfect tool for defending your life against a butt-naked Ken Jeong that comes flying out of your car trunk armed with a golf club that you didn't know was there because you roofied yourself the night before.

Since kidnapping a small Korean doctor often leads to abducting Mike Tyson's pets... a knife may not be enough.  Our reader's pistol of choice is a Series 80 Colt Combat Commander.  This was actually my personal gun for several years before I sold it to our FDE submitter.  Naturally the pistol is a single-stack, 45 caliber piece.  The frame and slide are all steel.  The gun was worked over by a pistol-smith to my personal specifications.  The sights are modified Novak's with a green tritium dot in the front and tritium bars in the rear.  The feed ramp was polished, the ejection port flared, and the springs replaced with a Wolf spring kit to ensure reliability.  Truly a gentleman's weapon, I decided it needed a French boarder and hi-power cuts milled in to the slide.  The top of the slide was also flattened and serrated to prevent glare, and well because I thought it looked cool.  The magazine well was flared to facilitate smoother reloads, the grip was hand checkered, and a high relief cut was made at the back of the trigger guard to allow for the gun to really mate with the user's hand.  Finally a Wilson Combat beavertail grip safety was hand fit to the pistol.


US Threat Level drops from ORANGE to DISCO-BALL

It's been over a decade since the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden began.  Last night, our President was finally able to declare that the hunt was over and that Bin Laden, the super-turd himself was dead, apparently killed by a team of SEALs and Delta Force operatives.  This is likely the last frightful image Osama saw before meeting his maker:

While I immediately imagined President Obama running around the White House bumping chests and barking at his staff while blasting DMX songs (And no... not because he's black, that's just how I party), I took a moment to remember that Osama was a person too and that the way of the Tao teaches us that we are all part of the same natural spirit.  THEN I remembered what he did to all those people on 9/11.  I put my DMX album on full blast and started break-dancing in my living room.

We have to remember though that Osama was just one of the first heads in the human centipede that is al Queda.  The war isn't over.  As Chuck Norris leads our men and women of the US military to fight enemies in foreign lands, we have to remember that the enemy is also here on our soil already.  Navy Seals won't be here to stop the next terrorist that tries to shoot up a school or bomb a building.  An armed citizen or an off-duty police officer might be though.  So let's not forget our responsibilities to our fellow citizens and most importantly, our family.  Train, train, train, and always have your weapons with you!  When it goes down, you want to have the physical ability, skills, tools, and proper mindset to take care of business.  
Celebrate today, but the war continues.  Eject your DMX disc and swap in the Jay-Z, because it's "On to the Next One" baby.  Rot in hell Osama.  The rest of your boys will be joining you soon.  Thank you President Bush, President Obama, and the heroic members of our United States military.  TEAM AMERICA! F*CK YEAH.
WHITE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

GEAR REVIEW: 5.11 Tactical - "Active Shooter Bail Out Bag"

     "Active Shooter Bags" or "Bail Out Bags" have become very popular in recent years. These are simply bags containing important survival items that can be snatched up and taken with you in a hurry.  The specific contents of each individual bag will differ from person to person.  You may load up a bag with water and protein bars to prepare for a natural disaster. A police officer may configure his or her bag to carry spare ammunition and extra handcuffs to handle active shooter situations like Columbine or Virginia Tech.  If you're a long time virgin and fervently wish to stay that way, you may decide to load your bag with sweater vests and your Pokemon card collection.  Take only the essentials though. In case of a disaster it's important to travel light. Pikachu can go but Charmander may not be worth lugging around, unless he's evolved to at least a level 16 Charmeleon.  

     If you have a trash bag and fill it with Power Bars and jugs of Gatorade, you technically have yourself a bail out bag geared for survival during a possible disaster, it just won't last very long.  But before you go out and just switch from the off brand trash can liners to the premium Hefty sacks and call it a day, you may want to consider a purpose built bag that is durable and easy to grab and go in a hurry.  There are a lot of great bags on the market right now.  I wanted to buy a few of the more popular models out there to do a comparison review, but I ran into a few hurdles, like being poor.  I noticed that the 5.11 Active Shooter Bail Out Bag was conservatively priced and seemed to offer a lot of great features for what I needed.  So I decided to try it out.

     5.11 Tactical is a company that makes affordable, quality products geared towards law enforcement, military, and people wanting to dress like G.I. Joe.  Don't be ashamed.  It's not like owning a Justin Bieber CD or anything. 5.11 makes everything from tactical pants and shirts to boots, glasses, gloves, vests, holsters, gear bags, etc.  They even partnered up with retired special forces badass Sgt. Kyle Lamb of Viking Tactics for many of their product designs.  Here is a promo they recently shot with Mr. Lamb decked out in 5.11 from head to toe:

I've run some 5.11 nylon gear in the past and it has always held up well.  So I felt confident the 5.11 Bail Out Bag would also be of decent quality.

Being a law enforcement officer, I decided to configure my bag as an active shooter bag.  We used to think that if a couple of turds armed themselves with assault rifles and started blazing away at innocent citizens, we could just call a SWAT team.  Then a ninja and 20 commandos with armored vests, machine guns, and barbed wire tattoos would pile out of a black tank and start throwing grenades at the bad guys while chugging Mountain Dew and chopping wooden boards.  The problem was that it takes time for these SWAT guys to finish bench pressing 18-wheelers, get assembled, and make it out to the shooting.  Sometimes it can take an hour or more to get a special team to respond.  A lot of innocent people can get killed in an hour.  In the Virginia Tech incident, 30 people were killed and 25 were wounded, all within 7 minutes.  That is 7.9 murder attempts per minute.  The math is right.  I'm Asian.  The law enforcement community is coming to believe that in some cases, there may not be time to wait for SWAT and whatever officers get on the scene first may have to go in.

Now I don't think anyone plans on running into a gunfight with a little pistol where bad guys have AK-47s and shotguns. We are going to grab a long gun of our own right?  The problem is that a typical carbine holds about 30 rounds in a magazine.  You may need a lot more than that in an active shooter scenario.  You may also need medical supplies to administer first aid to a citizen, a fellow officer, or even yourself.  What if there is a long stand off and you are stuck behind cover for hours and hours?  You might need a granola bar and water, or maybe a Klondike.  A bag with the proper provisions comes in handy.  Everyone is going to set their bags up a little differently and only you can determine what is right for you.  I tried to set mine up so that if I had to walk into a bad situation, I could just grab my rifle and my 5.11 bag and be decently prepared.  After filling my new shoulder pack with goodies, I grabbed my rifle and hit the range where I ran through some tactical shooting drills.  I ran through lots of drills including reloads, transition to handgun, move and shoot, and unconventional shooting positions, all utilizing the 5.11 bag.

     PART II

     Sorry it has taken me so long to get the second part of this review posted.  I was having trouble with pictures and ended up just retaking them inside of my house, which explains the orange walls.  Yes, my house has orange walls.  No I was not at the Gap store in the Galleria mall waving my guns around.  And yes I am barefoot in some of the these pictures.  I'm Asian.  We don't allow the wearing of shoes in our cribs.  It's savage.

     First of all, the construction of the bag is standard 5.11 quality, and that's a good thing.  The stitching is straight and feels strong.  The bag itself is made of 1050D nylon.  This is a ballistic weave nylon that has an incredible level of strength and durability for its weight (This is according to Wikipedia, I'm not no seamstress).  The zippers, of course are heavy duty YKK zippers.  Quality components stitched together correctly mean that when you are running into that elementary school to save those children, your bag won't fall apart and spill your deviant porn collection all over the floor.  That would be incredibly inappropriate during an active shooter situation... especially when young children are present.                

     The bag is a shoulder bag or messenger style bag.  Though a backpack is more stable, it would be impossible to access the contents of a backpack as quickly as a shoulder bag.  Jack Bauer uses a shoulder bag and he saved America like 7 times.  Do you really need to question it?  I am not sure if 5.11 designed the bag specifically to be worn on the right or left side, but I ran the bag in both configurations and both seemed to work fine.  One of the biggest problems with these types of bags is stability.  Sure you can get to the contents easily, but in a dynamic situation where you are dodging bullets and roundhouse kicking terrorists, your man-purse is going to be flying around all over the place.  5.11 makes a noteworthy attempt at solving this problem with an added velcro belt strap.
The back of the bag features a belt strap and aero-mesh 
material to help keep the bag comfortable against your body.
     The belt strap is located on the back side of the bag.  To use the strap you just adjust the bag so that it hangs off your shoulder and rests next to your belt line.  You then open the velcro strap and feed it under your belt.  Fasten the velcro and presto, the bag is now attached to your hip like an emotionally needy girlfriend (or boyfriend).  The strap works okay, but it still has some shortcomings.  If you are a police officer using this bag as your "go bag", you will probably not be able to use this belt strap.  It is not long enough to fit over the 2" and 2.25" duty belts that most police officers wear.  My other problem with this strap is that it is not that fast to put on.  When attaching the strap to my shooting belt, it was a little difficult to feed the velcro through and then close the strap.  If people were getting shot and I was grabbing this bag I doubt I would even bother fiddling with the strap.  I'd just grab and go.  Then things would just go flying everywhere like on a regular shoulder bag.  I think this piece of gear would be better served with a thigh strap and a quick-release buckle.  This way you would be able to throw the bag on and just clasp the thigh strap around your leg.  Fastening a large buckle is much faster and simpler than trying to weave nylon and velcro through your belt.

     The bag's shoulder strap is easily adjusted and features a quick-release buckle so you can drop the bag easily if needed.  The shoulder strap also comes with a pad to make wearing the bag more comfortable.  A heavy load with all your guns, bullets, and claymore mines is going to take its toll on your shoulder.  The pad does a great job spreading out the weight a little and also comes with molle on the top side so you can add even more pouches if you choose.
Quick-Release Shoulder Strap Buckle
For REAL urban ninjas
At the base of the shoulder strap is a small pocket.  I really can't tell what it is for, to be honest.  I tried clipping a folding knife in there and even shoving my keys into the pocket, but it just didn't feel secure.  From what I can gather, it's a pocket for stowing folded notes that you plan on passing to that cute girl in homeroom.  Either that or 5.11 actually designed a bag with a built in ninja throwing star pouch.  I guess if the situation gets really bad and you run out of bullets, you can now switch to shuriken.  Even if you choose NOT to use this feature (although why you WOULDN'T want to carry ninja stars is beyond me) it doesn't get in the way at all.

The main compartment of the bag is big enough to fit anything you might need to bring to a gunfight.  Chem lights, flashlights, grenades, and urine filled water balloons will all fit inside the 5.11 bag.  Just throwing all your equipment into a cavernous void isn't really efficient though.  You don't want to reach into the bag for your pistol and pull out that banana you packed for lunch.  To aid with organization, 5.11 has added a wall of MOLLE webbing on one side of the interior of the bag.  This allows you to attach any MOLLE compatible pouches to help keep your handcuffs, radio, and other items where you want them.
Rows of MOLLE inside the bag
I used the 5.11 LBE Universal Holster and an Eagle Industries double magazine pouch to hold my full-sized M&P handgun and two extra magazines.  An idea I would pitch to 5.11 would be to add velcro to the opposite side of the interior of the bag.  This would give the user even more options when attaching pouches.  Maxpedition makes some great velcro pouches that I think would have worked great in this type of set up.

5.11 LBE Holster attached to interior MOLLE
On both sides of the bag are zip-open pockets that are great for additional items like notepads, pens, GPS, or whatever else you can think of.  I shoved my Android smart phone, Ipod Touch, notepad, Surefire E2d Defender flashlight, and digital voice recorder into one of these pockets and it still had room for more.  There are also several rows of MOLLE webbing on the exterior of the pocket so you can add even more pouches if for some crazy reason you actually need more.
I shoved light sticks into the exterior MOLLE.  The zippered pocket was easily
closed all the way even with all my crap inside of it.  Clipped to one of the magazine
pouches is my Surefire flashlight.
When running the bag as a concealed carry "man purse" on my weapon hand side, I was able to effectively use the velcro belt strap.  Drawing my pistol from the bag was easy and surprisingly similar to drawing from a standard belt holster since the position of the gun was basically the same.  I did not find that the bag got in the way of movement when shooting and even re-holstering was not as difficult as I originally thought it would be.
I'm not a messenger bag kind of guy, but I can see how this bag would come in handy as an alternative to carrying your gun on your belt then trying to cover it with another garment.  Using this bag allows you to go out in just a t-shirt when it's hot and it even carries spare magazines and other everyday carry items.

I did have to make one major adjustment when using my handgun with this bag set up however.  Most of the time I wear my magazines on the support side of my waist.  This way I can easily grab the magazines with my left hand and feed my pistol, which is held in my right hand.  Since all of my gear was inside the bag, including my spare magazines, I had to reach my left hand across my body to get into the bag and access my reloads.  It was definitely slower and a little awkward, but probably something that a little bit of training could cure.  If this is the way you choose to carry, then train that way often.

The 5.11 Bail Out Bag also features three built-in magazine pockets on the exterior of the bag.  Each pocket holds two AR-15 magazines making a total of six mags.  There is no divider between the magazines when two are placed into the same pocket.  I thought that this would cause problems during magazine extraction, but reloads were smooth.  I was able to pull out one magazine without disturbing the other that was in the same pocket.  When running the bag as a support bag for my rifle, I wore it on my support side.  My thinking was that I would probably already be wearing a pistol on my right side so throwing the bag on the left just seemed to make sense.  This also made reloading rifle magazines from the bag more intuitive by simulating the wearing of magazines on the support hand side.
Be aware that you may have to adjust the bag to ride OVER
your belt if you are running a police duty belt with lots of gear.
With six fully loaded magazines the bag had a slight tendency to pull out and away from the body.  This and the tall pouches made it a little difficult to get a good grasp of a magazine when doing a reload.  You can see in the picture above that I don't have a great grip on my mag.  This was more prominent with an empty bag.  Having the main compartment filled seemed to help balance things out a little bit.  The magazine pouches work very well and hold your AR mags securely, even if you choose to just put one mag in each pouch.  The velcro flaps are great for added security but are not necessary.  The elastic in the pouch does an adequate job of securing your spare ammo.                      
6 magazines with the flaps closed for security and discretion.  Note that the
flaps will not close properly if you are running Magpul plates on your mags.
6 magazines exposed.
When deploying a rifle, I think it's easier to reload from a tactical vest.  Shooting from awkward positions is also smoother with a vest as opposed to a bail out bag.  However using the bag is plenty effective for times when you just don't have a vest.  I suggest you actually train using the bag though so you know what to do when it gets in the way of shooting from prone positions.  It may also fly around and land in awkward places during dynamic movement if you aren't able to secure the bag with the belt strap.  When quickly transitioning to prone positions, especially roll over prone, I found that I had to push the bag out of the way with my support hand before dropping to the ground.  If I didn't, I'd end up trying to lay on top of the bag.  This felt like belly-flopping on to a rectangular shaped rock.  Once I got used to maneuvering with shoulder bag, it didn't present much of a problem.  Another plus is that the shoulder strap does not get in the way of a rifle sling during transitions.  I tried this with a single point and a 2-point sling and everything was smooth.  This is of course if you put on your rifle and sling OVER the bag... and not the other way around.

Overall I think 5.11 has put out a great product with this Bail Out/Active Shooter Bag.  The only modification I would make is to add a leg strap to the back of the bag to aid in quickly strapping my gear on.  There are a lot of different styles of bail out bags on the market, but I don't think anyone would be disappointed with the 5.11 version.  It's well made and is of a decent size without being so big it's clumsy.  It is also competitively priced, retailing at $59.99.  What more can you ask for?  Besides the leg strap....  So whether you are looking for an active shooter bag, an emergency supply bag, or a manlier way to carry your baby's diapers and bottle, give the 5.11 Bail Out Bag a chance.
Police Potato Approved

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Top Shot: Season 4 Auditions

Yes, yes.  I know I owe you guys the second part of the 5.11 Bail Out Bag review... I'm having trouble with the pictures and I apologize for my tardiness.  It will be posted soon.

In the meantime, I just wanted to let everyone know that Top Shot, the History Channel's shooting-based reality show is looking for participants for season 4.  If you haven't seen the show, it pits some of the country's top marksmen against each other in some of the most ridiculous shooting competitions you can imagine.  It isn't combat shooting by any means, but it's still fun to watch. If you think you have what it takes, you can apply here: http://www.history.com/shows/top-shot/articles/now-casting-top-shot

The man in the photo is a good friend of mine and a fellow law enforcement officer who has just submitted his application video.  I think he'd be great for the show since he's skilled at slinging bullets and is also one of the most ridiculous people I know.  So when the time comes, vote for Officer Jonathan Lui for the next season of Top Shot!  Check out his audition reel:

Monday, April 4, 2011

FDE 4-4-2011


Today's FDE was submitted by a grad school student and social worker who is in the process of obtaining his masters in social work. We'll call him "Dizzle Peezy". When this young warrior is not in class or helping the less fortunate, he can be found at the gun range making ragged holes in the faces of paper bad guys. An avid shooter and gun enthusiast, Dizzle wields an all black, generation 3, Glock 19 with a custom grip modification he did himself. Affectionately known in some regions of the hood as a "nine", this mid-size pistol is loaded with 9mm 124 grain HST. Fast, reliable, and accurate, the Glock possesses traits not normally associated with your average government worker. But then again Dizzle isn't average. If you ever find yourself staring at the barrel of his gun and don't already know "what time it is", our scholar warrior can tell you after glancing down at his Seiko 200m dive watch, complete with Maratac Zulu NATO wristband. 

The social worker's primary war is waged against stacks and stacks of paperwork and government mail. Bullets are great for the occasional, stress-relieving office pop, but envelopes are better handled with a blade. Dizzle's blade of choice is the CRKT Wasp, a stylish folder with a 3 inch, drop point blade, and a liner lock. Plenty sturdy and sharp for any paper-cut retaliation stabbings.


This second picture is what Dizzle sent as part of his FDE. I'm not sure what school he is getting his degree at, but it looks like the university needs the help of Morgan Freeman and a giant baseball bat. Dizzle wears a Blackhawk Low Vis Plate Carrier holding armor plates.  This rig is so low profile that bad guys don't even realize Dizzle is wearing armor. This level of secrecy only costs around $30 and the awkwardness of hugging a girl and having a stiffy in your chest. The matching belt supports 5.11 brand pistol and rifle magazine pouches, and a Safariland 6280 holster for the Glock 19 with attached Streamlight TLR-1 pistol light. The piece that truly pulls the outfit together though is the color matched AR-15 rifle. The long gun is accessorized with a tactical light, Magpul CTR stock, vertical foregrip, redi-mag for quick magazine changes, an Eotech sight, and tactical sling.

Though some may accuse today's FDE submitter as having seen Red Dawn one too many times, he just may be the world's most prepared social worker/grad school student. I only have one question for Dizzle. Which molle pouch on your war belt carries your homework?