Friday, August 19, 2016

5 Star Firearms of Zion, Illinois prepares to showcase their brand new state of the art indoor shooting range!

On Monday morning (8/15/2016) a local radio station played a commercial about the new shooting range just when I happened to be in the neighborhood (Sheridan Road north of Route 173) so I decided to stop in and check it out.

The mailing address is Zion, Illinois but the pedants among us will note this location is technically on a stretch of unincorporated Lake County between Zion and Winthrop Harbor.  How many of you locals recognize this building as the old roller rink?  Well, the structure has been repurposed; the inside has been heavily gutted and refitted.

Yes, the gun store is open for business.  Stop in and give it a look see.  The shooting range is nearing completion.

This is a full blown gun store and includes all the goodies coveted by reloaders.  After hours, everything is stored inside a VAULT!

 I just happened by as the bossman was fixing to take some curious folks on a tour, so I joined in.

Armor and ballistic glass divide shooters.  These shooting stalls are comfortably wider than the norm.

These guys are really into making this facility a success.

View from a shooting station looking downrange.

View from downrange looking back at the shooting stations.

Tons of ground up rubber from scrap aircraft tires catch all the projectiles that shooters will be  tossing downrange.  The site is engineered to handle .50-BMG but the management set the range limit to .308 caliber.

The 5 Star Firearms shooting range is a beautiful facility and I look forward to having some good times there.  It's 13-miles from my door; that's a laid-back breezy easy 30-minute cruise.

The range information below is a copy and paste from the 5 Star Firearms website.


Range Info

Range Description:

5 Star Firearms range is located at 41666 N Sheridan Road Zion, IL 60099. Our range is a state of the art 16 lane, 25 yard range that was built by Target Worx and is proudly MADE IN THE USA. Target Worx has built many ranges for military installations as well as others. Their new target retrieval system debuted at the NRA Headquarters Range in 2010. 

Our booths, at 48” wide, are spacious and very comfortable. The booth walls are made from a 1/4” thick sheet of AR-500 armor plate and level 5 ballistic glass to protect you from a careless neighbor and prevent hot brass from hitting you from your neighbors station. The booth ceiling and first two ceiling baffles have a very dense rubber product to absorb and hold an accidental discharge, should one occur.  

Target Worx Target Retrieval System opens a new chapter in target retrieval systems. The days of using cables and electric bus bars are coming to an end. No more faulty drive cables or electric bus bars along the track and our heavy duty steel I-beam track is just that - an I beam. Our 6" tall I-beam track has flanges that are 1/4" thick with a 3/16" thick web which eliminates 90% of all problems associated with cable and bus bar target systems. What makes this possible is the carrier, which houses onboard all the electronics to control the carrier, communicate with the booth and master control, and electronics to charge the battery. Sensors monitor the carrier's location as well as the target holders’ location for edge/face functions. All of the sensors on-board have no moving parts and use infrared light for a long service life. When you send a target to 50 feet, it's at 50 feet, exactly. Accuracy is consistently less than 1/2 inch. User Friendly…. The user interface is the latest technology from an industry leader in human machine interfaces. In fact our units were not available to the public until July 2010. They use the latest LCD LED backlight technology as well as a 7" wide touchscreen.
Bullet Trap.... As with everything, we chose to use the best materials and proper design. Our support structure is covered in 1/4" AR500 plate, including seams, and set at 30 degrees. Over 48” of ground rubber in the bullet trap is clean and coated with a liquid fire retardant during installation. 
We also have a state of the art ventilation system to provide a comfortable atmosphere. We also offer firearms safety training and firearms sales and rentals as well as a wide selection of ammunition.

Range Prices:

Member: $15 / Hour
Non-Memeber: $20 / Hour

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Public Service Announcement / Attention ALL Illinois Gunslingers / an alert from the folks at The Smoke 'n Gun in Waukegan

An important public service announcement for our SNG friends - please share with your gun-toting friends in Illinois:

The Illinois State Police is cracking down on citizens who are not updating their FOID card addresses in a timely manner. Several of our customers have had their purchases denied in the last few weeks for this simple reason. Not delayed . . . DENIED.

Do NOT put your FOID status in jeopardy! If you have recently moved, plan to move, or are thinking about moving, here is the info you need to know:

1. Your federal paperwork (commonly referred to as the 4473) that you complete in order to purchase a firearm MUST have your current address.

2. Under Illinois law, you are required to update your Driver's License and/or State ID within 10 days of moving to a new address.

3. According to the FOID Act, you are required to notify ISP of your address change within 21 days of moving to a new address.

4. If you update your Driver's License and fail to update your FOID card, your background check will likely be denied.

Note - the Secretary of State and Illinois State Police computer systems are linked. You MUST update your driver's license/state ID first, then update your FOID. You can accomplish this online here:

if you do not have an online account, you can create one instantly. I believe the charge to update your address is $6. If you need help, we can assist you for a small service fee - total of $16.

We want to help you maintain your good FOID standing! See you soon at Schrank's Smoke 'n Gun!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

YUUGE Sale at Family Owned Waukegan Gun Store

A woman, Joan Schrank, owns this gun store.  

I got mine!  A beautiful little S&W Model 60-9 (not anywhere near the real-steal-deal that EBM scored at her LGS recently, but not a bad catch all the same).   DISCLOSURE:  To comply with Illinois gun laws, I pick this up three business days AFTER the NICS, which just happened to be down (for at least part of) today; likely I won't take possession of the revolver until Monday.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

I conclude that God is not very fond of us.

Perhaps we should petition The Almighty for another alternative ...

Gravitas.  Amen.

SMILE ALERT!  Lisa has offererd the following rebuttals to my cynicisms.

I stand corrected and do hereby humbly recall my EOTW petition to The Almighty ... with my apologies.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

More Robberies in Waukegan

Waukegan police are investigating two separate robberies that occurred Wednesday evening (7/27/2016) in the northern suburb.

About 7:30 p.m., a victim reported a robbery near Melrose and South Martin avenues, according to a statement from Waukegan police.

He was walking when a two-door dark-colored car, possible a Chevrolet with an Illinois license plate beginning with Z83…, pulled up next to him and two suspects exited the vehicle, police said. One of the suspects punched the victim in the chest and took his property.

About 11 p.m., another victim told investigators he was backing his car out of his driveway in the 900 block of South Victory Street when he was approached by four males, one of whom was armed with a gun, police said. All four jumped in the car and made him drive to the 900 block of 10th Street, where they robbed him of his property and money.

Neither victim was injured in the robberies, police said.

Anyone with information on either robbery is asked to call the police Tip-Line at (847) 360-9001.


(From the News-Sun)

Two more armed robberies reported in Waukegan

Two more armed robberies were reported this week in Waukegan.

After a string of armed robberies this year, police said they are prioritizing all armed robberies — whether the crime happens at a business or in a residential area.

"These are crimes of opportunity," Waukegan police Cmdr. Joe Florip said of the most recent robberies.

About 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the victim told police he was walking in the area of Melrose and Martin avenues when a two-door dark-colored car, possibly a Chevrolet, pulled up next to him and two males in their late teens or early 20s exited the vehicle, according to police. One of the suspects punched the victim in the chest and then took his personal property and fled, police said.
Police report the first part of the Illinois license plate on the vehicle could be Z83.
About 11 p.m. Wednesday, police said the victim was backing his car out of his driveway in the 900 block of Victory Street when he was approached by four males, one of whom was armed with a handgun. All four suspects got into the victim's vehicle and made him drive to the 900 block of 10th Street, where they took his personal property and then fled, police said. The victim was not hurt.
Police are asking anyone with information to call the Waukegan Police Department's Tip Line at 847-360-9001.

The robberies are the most recent of several unsolved armed robberies this spring and summer.

On July 20, three men, two of them armed, robbed a McDonald's and its customers in the 100 block of Waukegan Road.

In mid-July, a man was robbed near a Waukegan bank when a man wearing a red hooded-sweatshirt and blue pants implied he had a gun took an undisclosed amount of cash from a man walking near a bank in 3400 block of Sunset Avenue, police said.

In early July, police were seeking a group of men, two of whom had guns, who committed an armed robbery and an attempted armed robbery. The first robbery was in a backyard in the 600 block of May Street and the second attempt involved a victim sitting a vehicle in his driveway when a 20- to 30-year-old man approached with a handgun and demanded cash, police said. The victim successfully fought off the suspect and was not injured.

In late June, there were two Sunday night armed robberies, one of which left two victims with minor injuries, police said.

The first was reported to police just after 8 p.m. at the Dollar Store in the 200 block of Lewis Avenue, Florip said. The clerk told police two men entered the store and robbed it at gunpoint, with one suspect wearing a wig and the other a sweatshirt tied tight against his face to conceal his identity. The men reportedly fled the area on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.

In the second robbery, two people were walking in the 1000 block of 9th Street at 11:21 p.m. when two robbers, one armed with a gun, approached the two and stole personal property and cash. Florip said both received minor injuries during the robbery and were treated and released at the scene. The victims said their assailants were both very tall with thin builds and possibly in their late teens, Florip said.

In late May, one person was shot and another hit with the gun during what police believe was an attempted armed robbery at a Waukegan gas station in the 900 block of Grand Avenue. A man confronted two people getting gas about 12:30 a.m. and attempted to hit one of the people with a gun, which discharged and struck the victim in the shoulder, police said.  The robber then entered the vehicle, where a person inside tried to detain him. The robber hit the person in the vehicle with the gun then ran west on Grand Avenue, police said.  Paramedics took the person who was shot to an area hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, police said. The other person was treated at the scene.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quick reviews of the Ken Null Model UNS IWB Holster for the Glock 19 and the Ken Null Model CBT Gun Belt

Ken Null has been recuperating from two recent major surgeries.  Understandably, Ken is running a bit behind on his orders.  My latest order was called in on June 10 and everything arrived here on July 18 (thank you Brenda and Ken!).   That's just a day or so over 5-weeks, which is still pretty darn quick when compared to the delivery times estimated by many of the other top holster makers.  For many years Ken has spoiled us by shipping most orders within a week or so.

Please join me in wishing Ken a speedy and complete recovery.

I really did not want to buy any more holsters, but the notable IWB holster that I thought would be my G19 Gen4 forever-and-ever carry gets progressively uncomfortable (for me) after around 4-hours of wear during an active day.  That same holster is darn comfy for around 8-hours of wear during a day of leisure, but I desire something that is relatively comfortable (or at least tolerable) for no less than 12-hours, regardless of my level of activity.

I own two other Ken Null Model UNS holsters and both have repeatedly proven great for long, heavy days.  My first UNS was purchased for my Glock 43 and the second UNS was purchased for my Glock 26.  Will the UNS for my G19 prove itself as well?  We shall see; the G19 is a bit of a different animal for IWB carry than either the G43 or G26.  In any case, initial trials were favorable;  after wearing the G19 UNS for a few consecutive days that had over 12-hours of activity each I am optimistic that it is what I am looking for (all days were HOT and humid with one of those days touching 100F).  So far, I am very happy with this holster;  it is comfortable, concealable, and secure.  Let's see how it works out for me through the balance of this summer and then during the fall and winter months.

Why did I get a new gun belt?  My other gun belts are too old and gnarly looking to go well with a suit and tie, so I decided on Ken's Model CBT as my new dual purpose dress belt / gun belt.

Below is the full Model CBT product description copied from the Ken Null website.

This highly specialized belt meets all the requirements that I strongly believe to be necessary in a belt that is to be worn with a holster. The CBT is constructed with a full face lining of dense high-quality leather laminated and lock stitched with durable nylon thread creating a sturdy belt with minimal lateral flex.

It is designed to perfectly fit your holster, guaranteeing a no slip, no drag body hugging carry.

To complete and compliment this fine *1.5 inch (38.1mm) belt, we provide it with a solid silicone brass buckle of our own NULL copyright design. It is engineered with rear flanged edges to maintain the buckle in a position parallel with the belt for a sturdy, neat appearance. It also has no visible means of fastening to mar its graceful lines, but relies on a hidden fastening tang which is contoured to engage the belt more securely as increased tension is applied. Although it was conceived as a highly specialized piece of equipment, this unique ensemble is inherent of the beauty of being able to function as a dress item at all times.

With a refined masculine ruggedness, the classic form of this handsome buckle silently speaks to discriminating professionals worldwide of a fraternal kinship, and the fact that the wearer appreciates, demands and wears the world’s finest holsters and accessories. To the unknowing, it reflects only the wearer’s good taste in dress, thus your secret remains secure.

Be reminded that a quality holster will not function properly on an inferior belt, and an inferior holster will not function . . . period! ! !

*Each buckle is individually hand cast using the time honoured lost wax process. It is then patiently ground to exact contours and meticulously polished to a flawless luster, one at a time, the right way!

DISCLAIMER: As always at this blog site, this product review is simply a good old-fashioned campfire chat; this is not an opinion on what I feel you should or should not purchase or what you should be using.  What does or does not work for me could be many country miles away from your tastes and needs.  All products that I review for this blog are purchased at retail price by me.  I do not accept payment, gifts, discounts, "freebies," products on loan, demon alcohol, drugs, probation, parole, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review.  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Review of the Wilson Combat Nylon Pistol Case

A quest has finally ended; after decades of looking, I found that this case fits my needs exactly.  I own a few of them already and will be adding at least a couple more in the near future.

I am a KISS kinda guy and organizing "pistol stuff" is easiest for me when I am able to keep all related parts and accessories with the intended pistol.  E.g., mags for the Colt Defender will not work in a standard Government Model 1911, mags for a 1911 .38 Super are not for use in a 1911 .45 ACP ...  you get the idea.  For the guns I use most often at the range (or for traveling), I like having everything set to go in readily identifiable GAG (Grab a Gun) Bags.

The main storage compartment is rather cavernous, doncha think? 

The Wilson pistol case has two spacious exterior storage compartments that provide more than adequate room for housing dedicated tools, more mags, more ammo, spare grips, spare parts and springs, blah blah blah ...   

A Colt Defender has a proprietary recoil spring assembly (with a relatively short life); I keep a goodly supply of them in the Colt Defender GAG Bag.

These 15# 1911 Government Model recoil springs are in the .38 Super GAG Bag.

Yes, this case works wonderfully for pistols with big ole double stack mags like the Beretta 92 ... and my Glock 19.

DISCLAIMER: As always at this blog site, this product review is simply a good old-fashioned campfire chat; this is not an opinion on what I feel you should or should not purchase or what you should be using.  What does or does not work for me could be many country miles away from your tastes and needs.  All products I review for this blog are purchased at retail price by me.  I do not accept payment, discounts, "freebies," products on loan, demon alcohol, drugs, probation, parole, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How long have I been a customer of Wilson Combat?

Above is a clue that I found in an old file cabinet in the basement.  Actually, IIRC, I first bought from them a year or so before 1992.  Back in those days they were simply known as "Wilson's."