10 Sep

Russian AKs, Drowning Dogs (Almost), FNGs, and My Current Favorite Flashlights and Headlamps

Steven K. Ledin,

It's a 1968 AK receiver from the Tula Arsenal. With the required number of hot rodded and coated American parts, it's a badass gun. It is a gift from a friend to a friend. I just got all the stuff and cut one of my unused SKB cases. The mags, bayonet, and pistol grip are original Russian bakelite. I really hope it gets shot. It's the best feeling AK in terms of function I've ever played with, and the trigger is actually fair. I would shoot the heck out of it, not look at it.

My Shirley and I went out to our campground early last Sunday. We let our pit bull, Tinker, off the lead for the first time. She stayed pretty close. There was a large pond there, and she ran around one side of it. My Shirley called her, and I guess she didn't realize she could run back around, and instead cannonballed into the water and started swimming to us in the shortest direction. This water isn't really to swim in. Frogs walk across the scum on top, and underneath there are metal fence posts and barbed wire and countless fishhooks still attached to line. We didn't even know Tinker could swim. She was doing great until she realized she was actually getting farther from shore rather than closer to where My Shirley was. She was out about 40 yards or so with her newer E-collar, that although is supposed to be waterproof, had never been tested by us. If it shorted she wouldn't make it. I saw the panicked look in her eyes, so I stripped off my clothes and went to the closest point to her and got out into the water. She saw me and started swimming to me. She made it. I don't know how much she had left in her when she got to shore. I'm not a guy that freaks out, but after we were both out of the water I just sat down and let my heart pound!

I was not going to let us watch our dog drown. I was going to save her, no matter what. In my head I could see the paragraph in the local paper. They would get my age wrong. It would read, "47 year old man drowns trying to save dog. Dog was unharmed. Awaiting toxicology reports."

Tinker swims like a fish. Nice to know. We still don't know about our lab or min pin.

We got a FNG (Freaking New Guy) in Product Intelligence last week. His name is Tim. He rides a hot BMW K1200S and likes FALs. Whereas our man Chase is like our black lab Tranrek, smooth and calm and handsome and never causes any problems, and Trevor is like Tinker, basically a piece of heavy equipment on a tightrope, Tim is like our min pin Crash Almighty, and get to know him now, cuz his 170 MPH jaunts may cut down on his longevity and solidify his namesake.

I use a lot of lights for different purposes. Here's my latest stash of favorites, and some older ones I can't do without.

Starting from the top left are the Insight Technology HX 150 and the HX 120. Discontinued now, but they were prototype OPMOD versions. I hunt with these and have the small one on the left strap of my daily carry backpack, the excellent 5.11 Rush 24. The camo lights on the top are both Browning Tactical Hunters. I really like them because of their simplicity and quality. The big dog in the picture is what I use to find my dogs. It's the awesome ATN Javelin J600. It's a big heavy beast with tons of power. I use headlamps a lot. The top one is a Princeton Tech Quad. The tan one under that is the Princeton Tech Tactical Quad, and it's my favorite headlamp of all time. It comes with a red, blue, and green filter. Install one and it holds another one. This light is pretty genius, but simple. I need a red lens, and I just used one of these for my whole Crimson Trace M3GI. Under that is another Princeton Tech product, the new Remix. Nice light, I'm getting used to it, and it has the red option I require. Smaller than most. You can tell I like the Princeton Tech products. Next down is a new Pelican Light, the 2750, not on our site yet.. It also has a red bulb. My old standby green lamp is next, the Streamlight Buckmasters Trident. Next is another new light, the Pelican 2370, and I used this light a lot in Oregon for my shoot a couple weeks ago. It's nice to have a light with simply an on/off button, with the option of colors. I like it quite a bit. A Surefire G2 and 6PX sandwich a Browning MicroBlast to complete the circle. In the center are two Streamlight Packmates, great hunting lights, and my car light, the superb Surefire E2 LED. I don't carry a crenelated bezel because it eats my pockets, but it comes in handy as a DNA collector if you ever need one.

And I almost forgot my daily carry light, the tiny and powerful Inova Xs! The best I've ever seen for every day carry. Two brightness levels, and a three position end cap switch with high, low, and a lock out cap so it can't turn on in your pocket!

Hope your nights are bright!



About Steven K. Ledin

Steve has never not known guns. Before motorcycles, money, or girls, they have always been part of his life. He was tenured as General Manager of one of the country’s largest gun stores and ranges, a buyer in a big box sporting goods store, and is currently OpticsPlanet’s Director of Product Intelligence. He was a US Navy gunners mate, and is an NRA certified instructor in ten categories, as well as an Illinois CCW instructor. He shoots competitively and has hunted from Alaska to Africa. He thoroughly loves life with his beloved wife, Shirley, and their three wildish dogs Tinker, TranRek (pronounced “Train Wreck”), and Crash Almighty. He is a stubborn stage 4 cancer survivor not yet ready to cash in his chips.

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