Monday, July 06, 2020

Miscellany: POM pepper spray review

One takeaway from my ECQC class (I swear I'll do a full review eventually) is that it's good to have a ranged less lethal force option, as there are a lot of situations requiring more than harsh language but less than busting a cap. The two main choices in this area are Tasers and OC spray. Today I'm reviewing the most convenient option I've found, POM flip top pepper spray units.

Other companies have put out small form-factor pepper sprays, but the POM unit is the only one which both carries easily (via the integral pocket clip, pictured above) and packs a significant amount of pepper spray. POM claims that each half-ounce unit gives 12 seconds of continuous spray up to 12 feet. Now, my informal testing yielded more like 10 seconds of usable spray at 10 feet, but it's still way better than the novelty keychain or pen-size dispensers.

POM also has the best firing mechanism I've see in a pepper spray unit of this size. Rather than use a twist-off safety detent, like most of the Sabre lineup, POM uses a flip-top. This is a lot more secure (I've had Sabre units unlock in my pocket), ambidextrous, and easy to use under stress. The POM design automatically orients and indexes the spray toward the attacker - so long as your thumb is on the button, whatever your thumb is pointing at is going to get hit.

In situations where people look like they're going to beat you up but pulling a gun isn't yet justified, POM is a good option, and one that I've taken to carrying with me whenever I'm in public.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Movies: Eurovision Song Contest - The Story of Fire Saga

I don't think I'm alone when I say that I needed a silly diversion this Fourth of July weekend, and Netflix's Will Ferrell movie "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga" provided it:

"Eurovision" follows the same basic structure as any number of Will Ferrell sports movies. You know the ones - "Talladega Nights," "Semi-Pro," "Blades of Glory" - where a plucky underdog battles through tough competition to gain personal fulfillment, if not actual victory. Unlike those movies, Ferrell has a truly gifted foil here in the form of Rachel McAdams, who shows off the comedy chops that made her famous in "Mean Girls." She brings the mix of wacky and sincere that separates good Will Ferrell movies from bad Will Ferrell movies.

Rating: 7/10

Links: Murder Is Her Hobby - Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death

The coronavirus is keeping museums across the country closed, but there are still some neat ways to visit these places virtually, like this online gallery of the “Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death”:

The Nutshell Studies were created in the 1940s by "the mother of forensic science," Frances Glessner Lee. Lee made intricate dioramas based on real crime scenes, in order to train police investigators to methodically analyze evidence. The attention to detail, macabre subject matter, and gender of the author (women in law enforcement were rare back then) made the Nutshells famous, so it's nice to be able to explore them via the World Wide Web.

Miscellany: Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA review

Hurricane season is coming, and that means potentially losing power for days at a time. The best EDC flashlight I've found for such situations is the Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA. The Streamlight can take CR123A, AA, and even AAA batteries without the need for different body tubes or adapters. How? There's an internal spacer spring that allows the flashlight to accept the wildly varying lengths and widths of the three battery types, and smart circuitry steps down the output for when you're running with non-CR123 cells.

Physically, the ProTac 1L-1AA features a bidirectional pocket clip (perfect for clipping onto a baseball cap to use as a headlamp), a momentary/constant-on tailcap, and the "TEN-TAP" programming found on most of the ProTac line (I usually just lock the light into high mode and call it good). While the 1L-1AA doesn't put out as much light as the competition, its unparalleled versatility makes it much more useful when the grid's down.