The Sheepdog Coalition

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Wow, what a busy time - with work picking up and new projects on my shoulders, I've barely found the time for CSD, let alone my normal routine.

I've got a bunch of cool content coming up - a review on an axe and two more sponsored reviews - GIVEAWAYS.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Update: Kershaw Shallot

I received this knife as yet another gift from my dad's adventures abroad. It has served me well in almost any EDC role that I've put this blade to use in. It's still sharp and the semi-assisted mechanism is very springy, but here's the catch - my couch nearly ruined the pocket clip.

I shouldn't say that I'm surprised - I'm more interested to see if I can bend it back. While I was getting up yesterday, and I'm not sure how but the clip managed to catch some wrinkle in the fabric and it just clipped right out of my pocket. When I picked it up - this is how it looked. I'm not sure how it happened, and I'm not sure what the easiest way to fix it is - beyond buying a new clip.

I'm surprised by this - but I was standing up at 'full speed'. Not that I'm saying there's a bit of weight to throw around at that point but... there's a bit of weight to throw around at that point. I've praised Kershaw for their clip design before - I attribute this to a fluke accident. However unlucky, it's still worth documentation.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

870 101 - Part 2 - Add-ons

We've established already that the 870 is an excellent, multi-purpose platform. You can take one off the shelf and build a gun that is not only personal to you - but a gun that can serve multiple uses. From a dedicated deer gun to a weapon system, the 870 is an excellent starting point for both amateur and professional shooters alike.

In this section, I'll attempt to cover a lot of the available options for the 870 platform. Almost every part on the gun is interchangeable with an after-market piece that adds some sort of additional functionality. Some kit will be better designed for certain tasks while others will have multiple uses. I know that I'll miss quite a bit here - and as this list ages, it will become outdated but as of this writing, I'll try and make this as complete as possible so that when someone is considering the purchase of this system, it will hopefully be all laid out here.

So, let's get into it.


Pistol grip or full stock - there are many options for the gun builder in this category. Some stocks, like the Houge Overmoulded, have a non-slip coating on them to keep it close to the shoulder at all times. The only problem I can see with this is the abrasion you'll catch on normal clothing. Even my Remington Factory stock gets caught on my sleeve sometimes, in dry firing drills.

Some stocks, both full sized and collapsible will have additional shell carriers on them. The Speedfeed stock has built in shell storage - just in case you're all out. This also fits well into most people's 'second kind of cool' criterion.

Stocks are generally divided into two groups, pistol grip and full sized - as mentioned above. ATI produces a lot of budget-series stocks. Some love them, others despise them.

From the S&J Hardware website.
Most will agree that the creme of the crop for pistol grip stocks comes in the form of an 870 stock adapter. This device allows the user to attach any number of mil-spec AR15 stocks and grips  to the device. It opens the door to tons of different stock options - for those who want a pistol grip.

You need to figure out what you want from the gun in order to pick the right stock - I kept the factory installed stock because I didn't need anything else. The other thing I liked about the factory full stock is the storage space it allows through the back. There's all kinds of room back there for firestarters, paper work or other must-have items. Probably another thing that should be considered when looking at stocks as an upgrade option.

There are also folding stocks - both side folding and top folding. These make the weapon really tight to move around and also give the benefit of allowing the 870 to function as a pistol grip only (PGO) firearm. For some, that's a major bonus, and a 'cool factor' as well.


If you don't know what the 'choke' on a shotgun is, I'm not going to attempt to teach you - it's something you should have learned in your firearms course. That being said - the choke you elect to deploy in your shotgun has a number of different effects on the way you're able to use it.

Everything from a slug gun to a trap gun will have a different barrel - it's built for a different purpose.

It's for that reason that I went with an open choke, smooth bore barrel. For me, it was the most versitile choice that presented the best bang for my buck - no pun intended.

Some barrels will have sight systems built onto them - others will have a rib that enhanced sights can be clipped onto.

Barrel size is another consideration that plays into barrel choice. Shorter barrels are built for different tasks. Likewise - a longer barrel will be harder to move with but arguably more accurate. Another thing to look out for is vented barrels - a lot of competition shooters will opt for this type of barrel to help reduce recoil.


Most 870's you find will come stock with a bead sight. This is the most commonly found sight on the 870 shotgun - though it's far from the only sight available.

Some guns will come stock with ghost ring sights. Ghost rings allow the shooter to reach further, more accurately. They consist of two pieces, a front and rear sight. The rear sight is usually a small circle to focus the front post sight through. Good ghost rings will have some kind of night sighting system built in.

If you don't want full ghost rings / rifle sights, there are replacement beads. I was considering the purchase of a replacement bead but elected not to based on other priority purchases. Most replacement beads will slip right over the factory bead and get JBWelded into place. I'm not sure about the longevity of this solution and have seen online reports of negative experiences with these kinds of add-ons - but that can be said about anything.

Then, there's rails.You can get receiver mounted rails or rails that are built into the stock adapter mentioned before. You can also get rails that are machined as a part of the side saddle unit. On these modular mounting systems, you can attach anything from a magnified hunting scope to the latest holographic combat sight - the choice is yours.


Your average shotgun, depending on the model you decide on, will come with one of a few different types of forends. Some might be wood - others synthetic but a definite personal recommendation of mine would be to upgrade yours first, before anything else.

There are forends that have light mounts built in - especially those models from surefire; who's main purpose is to add the functionality of a weaponlight to your system. Other forend's will have multiple rails to allow the user to add their own attachments - light, laser or otherwise.

Some are simple, some are very rail-y but they all provide the same function in the end. They rack the next shell into the chamber.

Small stuff:

Where to begin?

You can get; sling adapters, extended safties, extended mag tubes, mag tube caps, followers, bayonet mounts and detachable shell carriers to name just a few of the common items people will look at for upgrading an 870.

I'd like to touch on a few things in more detail however; side saddles, ammo selection and muzzle breaks.

Side saddles attach directly to the receiver by using the pins that keep the trigger assembly in place. They hold shells for fast reloading and usually come in loads of 4, 6 or 8 shell-spots. Some have open backed designs while others are solid. Some side saddles have integrated rail systems to attach optics to the top of the gun. Some are made of steel - others from plastic. It depends on your philosophy of use concerning this kit.

It's hard to look at shotgun add-on's without considering the type of ammunition that you will use. Slug guns will handle differently than bird guns and different kit can make a difference while deploying your gun. You can get low-recoil loads and less-than-lethal loads as well - adding another layer to the things you should consider when loading up your 870.

Muzzle breaks add both function and form to a shotgun. I once had a particular muzzle flash's job described to me as being strictly for 'knockin' down doors'. Muzzle breaks aid in recoil management and definitely add a scary-looking addition to the business end of the boomstick.

I know that I've likely missed some things here - but I have covered pretty much everything that can be bolted onto an 870 to enhance it's function in the right hands. If I've missed anything major - let me know.

If you haven't read part 1 yet - click here.

If you haven't entered our contest for FREE 870 upgrades, sponsored by S&J Hardware - click here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Review: CLC Pro Framer XC gloves

I couldn't help myself. Walking through Home Depot today I was passing the work gloves section when these grabbed my attention. I've been looking for a good pair of utility gloves for some time now - since loosing my Mechanix light duty's on a work site.

I picked up a few pairs before I saw these ones - and I stayed with them after inspecting them a little closer. Compared to the other models, I liked the stitching on this model. It seemed a little more robust and more conducive to some other tasks I have planned for this piece of gear.

I plan to use these gloves in the bush, hiking, shooting and at work. In this way - I'm really stretching the line for a pair of store bought utility gloves. After picking up a couple pairs of Mechanix at Lowes - I went with this brand, they seem more robust but still remain light and slim. They've got reinforced palms and knuckles with a little bit of soft padding around each knuckle. They're reinforced around the holding edge of the hand - inside the thumb to index finger ridge.

Another feature that can be found on a variety of different work-glove models is the cut off index and middle finger tips and the half cut thumb. This allows for the use of your digits to manipulate small objects comfortably. That'll come in handy for both putting in screws and tactical reloads.

Especially for something that I know will be seeing a lot of action - I don't particularly care about it's 'style'. These are black and grey with some yellow stitching. They're built solid and ring in at about 25 bucks. I'm hoping they'll last through a good season of outdoor use and provide the protection I need at work, on the range and in the wild.

Used these gloves before? Tell us.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The chills - late season hiking.

Had a wake-up call recently in the form of a fun hike - fortunately.

My wife, dog and I were hiding our latest geocache and enjoying some of the cooler weather this weekend when I remembered Les Stroud's iconic saying - you sweat, you die.

Granted - it was a family-friendly hike along the SC Johnson trail - but the lesson was learned on my end. The clouds remained covering the sky for the entire day but we headed out anyways. Along with my normal hiking bag, I packed two extra t-shirts in case we got cold. Even on our short hike, I found it very difficult to control the flow of sweat down the center of my back - eventually creating a  wet spot in my shirt and really - giving me a good little chill.

So, I came home and researched some essentials about off-season hiking.

The Great Outdoors - Hiking in Winter

Hiking Dude - Winter Hiking Adventures

Review some of the tips int he links above and share some of your own. I'm always looking for good information.

Thankfully, our hike was in a densely populated area with little risk of exposure. Sure - it's always there, but we weren't very far from civilization at all - we were walking right through it. A good wake up call and a fantastic opportunity to explore some of the science behind off-season hiking.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Review: S&J Hardware 870 modifications - part 1

Another sponsored review, this time from Simon at S&J Hardware. He was kind enough to supply us with a few things that they make. This stuff is the latest, cutting edge technology for the 870 shotgun system.

The contents are so cool - they created a blackhole of awesome inside the package.
In the package we received, we got a number of things. We got a jumbo safety, a couple 870 high-viz followers and a detachable shell carrier - some other goodies too - all available for FREE through our exclusive giveaway.

Stock mounted DSC from S&J Hardware.
The first accessory that I installed was the velcro detachable shell carrier. Some call it a substitute for a traditional side saddle but in reality, it's a different system altogether. My Mesa side saddle is rigged to the receiver of my 870 currently and I don't plan to change that. I have adopted the DSC as a secondary shell carry system on the stock of my gun. This way, it serves multiple purposes. If I don't have time to rig up some sort of vest or chest rig in the height of an active shooter situation, I can have a few of these detatchable shell caddies ready to go. That way, I can just slap it on the stock and get on the go.

Further from that, a user could keep a few different velcro shell caddies hooked onto the inside door of their gun safe with shells ready to go. The same could apply for the trunk of a car or another safe area to keep ammunition. Another thing to consider for the use of these is the colour you get. For instance, you could keep certain loads in certain coloured DSC's and know, just by looking, what load you're about to stick on - just by the colour. Rip and ready to rock.

The other thing I'd like to mention is the quality of the material itself. This is made to fit six shells, held in place with elastic. It's good enough to keep them in there, but I don't know how it would hold up to having shells in there upside down - time will tell. The caddie itself is constructed with a stiff back. Compared to some knock-offs and the commonly seen velcro backed shell holder, the S&J version is good and solid. It doesn't bend and warp.

S&J on top, no-name on the bottom.
The stuff that holds the 'other' side of the velcro (I STILL don't know what the 'hook' or 'loop' side is...) on is made with 3M quality tape. It's REALLY strong. Simon gave me a hint that I thought to pass on to you folks as well; when it's in place, blast it with a hair-dryer. It'll heat up the glue and bond it further to the surface you've selected to install it on.

Simon has already confirmed that new production models will have a pull tab to quickly remove the empty DSC from the surface it's attached to. That way - you can rip off the empty and transfer a new one from your vest to the gun.

The DSC costs 13 bucks on the S&J site. Go get it. Even not to keep explicitly on your gun - I'm sure you'll find somewhere convenient to keep it.

The next item I installed was the enhanced jumbo safety. Admittedly, the 870is a little more difficult to take apart for a newbie, if compared to a dead-simple firearm like the SKS. That said, it all looks pretty easy if you compare it to an AR or otherwise. It falls apart into a few big 'sections' - I used this video to guide me through the whole process.

Once I got the trigger assembly out - it was quite simple to pop the old safety in and pop the new one in. If I get a gun all apart in front of me, I like to take the time to perform a piece for piece clean-out and lube. Especially for guns that don't shoot corrosive ammunition regularly - it can become a back-burner kind of thing to do the full field strip.

If you compare that to your stock 870 button safety, it's easy to see the difference. This this is huge!

When I got everything put back together, I shouldered the shotgun. Immediately, I noticed the safety jutting out from where it used to sit tucked into the little spot it rests in. It's got a good grip too, I don't know what the exterior is made of, but it creates a good amount of friction on the inside of my index finger.

One thing that I noticed when I was playing around with the action of the safety itself was a new way to actually shoulder the gun altogether. I don't know how practical it would be, but at the crux of a quick shot scenario, a shooter could off-safety and shoulder in the same instant and the index finger would slide right into the trigger. It could all be one fluid motion with this attachment; one that needs practised but is absolutely well worth the 15 bucks it costs.

If I would change one thing - it would be to add a red ring on the other side of the safety. That's only because of the way I learned about firearms' mechanical safety features. "Red means dead." I intend to paint my own little red ring in the channel.

S&J 870 followers. Type one, Remington stock and type two.
The next part to install was the selection of followers we were sent. Of the different types, it comes down to a matter of personal preference. One type has a little knob on the end, the other a little hole in the middle - it's what you feel when there's nothing more. You'll have to pick which style better suits you.

The followers are made of a high visibility material that is hard to the touch. It's marketed as being made from 'delrin' material that is slick and smooth. It's a 'no-jam' follower. I won't have had enough experience with this product until I've put through a couple hundred rounds to know that it is in fact 'no-jam' but it does feel heftier than the stock one. It's sold for a couple bucks and you really can't go wrong.

It's good practise to rip your shotgun down to parts - and a good product to put in place of the stock version. As a matter of fact, the follower S&J makes was the first product I found from them on CGN's forum. It was only after browsing their site that I found some of the other stuff they offer.

The other thing that should be noted about the follower is the actual 'visibility' it offers. If your 870 comes with a black follower of any type - immediately replace it with one of S&J's offerings. If you train to look for the green follower and teach you brain; 'green means empty' - it'll be easier in the long run to know when you have to reload. Especially for the competition shooter - if you lose track of your shell count, this is a bright green sign screaming; RELOAD!

S&J Hardware offers good products at a very reasonable price. If you're looking to just buff up your shotgun to accommodate a faster competition time, or maybe to add some extra rounds to your loadout - S&J has got you covered. Some of these add-ons might seem trivial, and if you're trying to prioritize the order that you're buying stuff for your shotgun - get the safety first. It's a game changer for quick deployment and is built really solid.

Better yet - get it all for FREE. Enter the contest we're holding for all of the above add-ons.

Head out to our FORUM to share some experiences you've had with S&J hardware and their product line.

Stay tuned for PART 2 - field testing.

Review: Fab Defence PR870

I'm going to start going through my 870 and reviewing all the parts - Currently, I have a PR870 forend on it, and that's what I'll be looking at today. It usually goes for around 65 bucks online and is absolutely well worth the money. It's ability to transform the handling of your gun is outstanding.

The Fab Defence PR870 is a forend for the 870 platform. It's got two short rails on each side and a long rail underneath. These points allow for the attachment of your standard targeting apparatus - lights, lasers and infrared lighting accessories. The bottom rail is suited for these as well as foregrips - if you're running a pistol grip, and perhaps even if you're not.

When I had the pistol grip on my gun, I used a Tango Down QD Foregip - this made the gun much easier to point in my case. It might be a personal preference, but I loved the way that it locked into my shoulder when my front hand was cycling the forend. It made for sharp movement and an easier reloading step when doing it in a hurry. Usually, you'd slide your hand over the forend when done rocking the shell into the chamber, to ready the gun for firing. When there is a foregrip attached to the PR870, you don't really need to focus as much on that movement because your hand will inevitably rack up against the vertical grip jutting out from the forend itself.

The bottom rail is moulded directly to the forend itself while the side rails have screws to allow for their removal. Since I've had it, a number of mounts have been popped on and off the side rails; there has been no sign of wear or any kind of loosening to be seen.

It slides well and has a ribbed texture to keep a good grip. I've tested the grip wearing gloves and bare hand, it provides a sturdy grip and smooth handling in both situations.

The grip serves it's purpose - it allows for accessories to be attached and provides a stable grip. It's a good upgrade and I would suggest you take a good look at it. It's not covered in rails, it's economical and it has practical uses.

If you're interested in 870 accessories, check out the article we're doing on the 870 platform, or this FREE GIVEAWAY for some S&J Hardware parts - heck, while you're at it, go sign in on our FORUM!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Shop CSD



22 B&G
22 TAN

Embroidered patches with velcro backing. The 'other side' of the velcro also included and cut to shape for application on clothing and gear if you don't have any available velcro space on it already.

4 inches tall.

One in tan/brown subdued, one in black and grey.

In Canada - 10 bucks shipped.
Worldwide - 10 bucks plus shipping.

SPECIAL: 17 bucks for one of each colour. (plus shipping for worldwide orders)

For orders I will accept PayPal or EMT.

Send EMT/PayPal and FULL mailing address to the link below.


Well - we've stepped into that next level as an online community. Now, you can represent your beliefs in the Civilian Sheepdog mindset by slapping a patch on your shoulder when you go to the range - or on your bag when you go to school.

We've got patched professionally done in two colours displaying the CSD shield. It's branding without the brand!

There's no 'dot com' address to be seen on these patches, so they qualify more as a morale patch than they do a representation of our community. You'll know the difference though - that in purchasing your patch directly from CSD, you're not only providing support to expand the reach and depth of the movement, but you're also getting one straight from the source -

CSD has always been, above all - a one man initiative by myself. I've provided all the funding to get this site off the ground and to continue the growth we've seen so far - a little help couldn't hurt. Some forums just ask outright for money - and you might get a little tag or a label to broadcast your support. With CSD, you'll get a patch to physically wear - and if anything else, I promise it'll be a conversation starter.

Included in every patch order is a bunch of QR code stickers so you can point others towards the site.

Thanks for the support - FIGHT THE WOLVES.


Dollar Store Stove.
Read our review HERE.

Comes with the stove and a package of 12 flame tablets. The tablets burn for approximately 4 minutes and can boil water in my army canteen cup. When I reviewed this product I said I'd pick a few up for those that wanted in on the savings.

Selling for 6 dollars plus shipping. (covering my cost to drive out of the city for them - found them passing through Cambridge and picked a few up.)

I've only got 4. Will ship worldwide. If I see that a bunch of people want this thing, I'll go back and get a bunch more. I looked at this piece of kit as a part of my 'field testing' article recently and am still impressed by the quality and more importantly, the low cost of fuel as compared to products you might find elsewhere.

I got these things from the buck store - there is no warranty. Look at it this way - you get a decent little stove and a great price on fuel tablets.

For orders I will accept PayPal or EMT.

Send EMT/PayPal and FULL mailing address to the link below.