2018 Holiday Gift Suggestions


Don’t let fear of spiders keep you from this cool gadget that aids in slide racking!

By Lyn Bates,
Contributing Editor

This might be the final answer to the “I can’t rack the slide” problem.
I admit it, I hate real spiders. I’ve always been afraid of them, and they have had a short lifetime if I find one near me. I have finally found a spider I actually love, and am happy to have on my gun―the Slide Spider by ArachniGRIP.
I’ve taught various techniques for opening slides for years to folks with limited hand strength, and I’ve tried many products that claim to help. Few actually do.
As I get older, and my friends, do, too, arthritis and other physical problems can seriously interfere with guns that used to be easy to handle, but are now becoming challenging.
Somebody thought of a really good solution. The Slide Spider is a piece of tape shaped kind of like a spider (roundish body, multiple legs). One side is rough surfaced and the other side is sticky.
You attach the body to the back of your slide, just ahead of the rear sight, and press the little legs down into the grooves on each side of the slide.
The result is that your fingers and palm now have a wonderful grip where before they tended to slip. The slide will open very easily. The roughened surface is just rough enough, not too rough even for hands that have seldom held a gun. Similar to skateboard tape.

This stylish bag does double duty as both a purse and range bag.

It makes racking slides go from “good to awesome” for some and from “struggling to easy” for many of us with limited strength. It gives everyone more control. Even many guys like it.
There are spiders perfectly cut to fit many manufacturers and models of guns. Be sure to watch the website installation video as it has important points and is clear and easy to follow.
It is OK to use on carry guns, as it doesn’t interfere with holsters or clothing. It is OK to use in all weathers, though I’m taking the word of others on that point.
The red spider on top is their logo, but you can get plain black if you won’t want that visible insect (yes, I know, arachnid, not insect) on your gun. The package contains two, so you have a spare, if needed, or one to give a friend.
Know anyone with arthritis? Know anyone with a bad case of the “I can’t rack this slide-itis?” They will love this.
For only $19.95, what a deal!
I always carried both a range bag and my purse when going to the range. Don’t you and all the other women shooters you know do it that way? Finally, someone―Sandi Keller―decided women needed just one bag that would do double duty, as stylish as an expensive purse, as functional as a range bag. She invented one and calls it No Ordinary Range Bag (NORB).
I was skeptical at first, then I got one to try. The NORB is big 12” x 14” with buckles on the front and a shoulder strap.. “That’s going to be heavy”,

MantisX helps with both training and record keeping and provides instant feedback.

I thought as I reached for it the first time. Boy, was I wrong. Empty, it weighs a mere 1.5 lbs., lighter than my big old empty gun bag and much lighter than, say, a leather or many other purses.
It is constructed like a fine purse/range bag, with lots of thoughtful padded pockets and places to put guns, gun gear and other stuff.
I thought I might not like the strap―a stretchable one―but it is light and works great cross body or over the shoulder (no slipping). A short, 12”, handle is available if you would prefer to carry it like a satchel or tote bag.
You can put gun(s), ammo, eyes, ears and more gun stuff inside. Think of the things you would normally need to carry in your purse (money, credit cards, licenses, keys, etc.). You can put them loose or in a little purselet or organizer and slip that in the pocket in the back. Yes, there is a pocket for your phone.
One of the best features is a zipper in the top. That lets you get at everything in the bag, your purse stuff or your gun stuff, without undoing the buckles!
Left handed? That top zipper opens both ways so it works great for lefties, too. The bottom opens flat, so the bag will sit on the ground or on a bench. If it just seems too big, there is now a smaller, compact version of NORB.
Range bags made for women used to be much like the ones made for men, but in colors other than black and camo. I tried a black NORB, but there is an amazingly beautiful gray pattern with circles that looks like the finest, most interesting purse, not at all like a range bag.
The NORB is a real change for women, a new option. One gorgeous bag, two uses. No more lugging both a purse and an ordinary range bag to the range. It retails for $139
It’s $149.99—Usually I put the prices of products at the end of reviews, but MantisX’s price is right up front so you can think about that while reading the rest of this review.
MantisX is a gadget that attaches to your gun, virtually any gun, observes and records every shot (live or dry) and, via your phone or tablet, offers suggestions to improve your shooting.
Here’s how it works. There is a (small, light, 1 oz.) gadget you attach to your gun. There is an app you download to your phone or tablet, and easily pair the gadget via Bluetooth. When you shoot, or even dry fire, it records info about every shot and gives you great feedback.
The gadget fits on the rail of many guns. Your gun doesn’t have a rail? You can get an adapter for $25 that replaces the baseplate of one of your magazines, and attaches with a screwdriver.
When you shoot, it measures and records three things: the movement of the barrel while you are sighting/holding, the movement of the barrel while you are pulling the trigger and the movement of the barrel from shot break through recoil.
It calculates a score for each shot, based on those three measurements; 100 would be perfect, so your scores and mine will be less. The score for every shot is easy to see on your phone or pad.You get instant feedback “Good shot” or “great shot” if your score is over 90 or 95.
The real value starts to be apparent when you see comments like “Tightening Fingers” or “Heeling” on your screen. You can touch those words and get a picture, an explanation of what it means and…wait for it…how to correct that.
There are several ways to see more about your shot, with consistent colors: blue: hold/sighting. yellow: trigger pull. red: shot breaking and recoil pattern. One is a colored bar graph that shows blue how much the muzzle moved during holding, in yellow how much it moved during your trigger pull, and red for recoil. Don’t like the bar graph display? The trace view (colored squiggles and lines, not a graph) shows you the information in a way that might be more intuitive.
It does record keeping extremely well, but I think the best thing is the coaching feedback that tells you what to change about what you are doing to shoot better. “Possible Causes: slapping the trigger. or tightening the grip,” each with a full explanation of not just what that means but exactly what you can change to shoot better.
Even when I was quite dedicated to shooting, I never dry fired as much as I should have. Heck, to be honest, I almost never dry fired. It was boring, and impossible to see the improvement it was supposed to cause between trips to the range. MantisX works with dry fire, and gives you that instant feedback, making dry fire popular and productive again.
The first afternoon I dry fired over 70 shots, possibly more than ever in one session. I didn’t mind its really occasional mistakes, given the vast amount of accurate information it was accumulating.
Do you know anybody who has an Airsoft or CO2 gun that gathers dust because shooting it has gotten boring? MantixX works with it, too.
You have lots of options, just shoot anything you want or take one of the structured lessons for things like timed shooting, one handed shooting, or reloading magazines.
It is like having a knowledgeable, experienced shooting coach in your pocket offering great advice whenever you want. Not just for shooters, this is a phenomenal tool for anyone who trains or coaches. Who could not use and love that?
Now, remember the price $149.99 plus $25 if you need an adapter. Maybe get one for every shooter you know, and yourself, too?