Recently I, along with three other female outdoor writers, attended a Crimson Trace media event at Rockcastle Shooting Center in Park City, Kentucky. When we arrived in the late afternoon the friendly staff and owners greeted us with open arms. This 2,000-acre location features a golf course, vineyard, winery, 3-D archery challenge, restaurant and our favorite, various areas for the shooting sports. Yes, long range, bays, 5 stand and sporting clays, all at one location. We would be staying on the grounds at their 10- room Park Mammoth Lodge, perched on the top of Bald Knob, and surrounded by 20 mile views.
Our morning began early at 7 a.m. with breakfast at the Lookout restaurant, followed by a meeting upstairs in the Barn Room. Here, representatives from Crimson Trace introduced us to their company, its mission and their product line, specifically the release of the new LG-497 Laserguard for the Ruger LCPII. We spent time handling the products, learning about Crimson Trace’s Instinctive Activation and of course asking questions. Then we gathered our gear and headed down, down, down, into the cave.
Prior to our arrival, Danner sent each of us a pair of Women’s Mountain 600 hiking boots. Not only are these boots super comfy, like wearing slippers, they are lightweight and waterproof too. I felt sure-footed, crawling and traversing through the cave on the uneven, slippery ground with the deep treads on these boots. Federal Premium also came on board for the event and sent us quite a few rounds of American Eagle Syntech ammunition. And Brownells’ gave us each a headlamp, which was needed while working our way through the pitch-black cave.
If you’ve ever ventured into a cave in the southeastern United States you’ve surely run into a few cave crickets. These omnivores feed on the surface and transfer nutrients into the subsurface habitat. We found quite a few of these critters crawling along the cave walls. There were also signs of pack rats living in this cave. Piles of leaves, sticks and other debris jumbled in some of the rock outcroppings along the ceiling. Although not in this cave, two other caves on the property (over 400 acres) are home to 400,000 endangered Gray and Indiana Bats. These caves are now protected by the James Cave Conservation Easement.
Prior to us entering the cave, a staging area was set up in an area wide enough for us to safely move around and keep everyone together. On the table were the pistols we would use, ammunition, a lantern, flashlights and first aid kit. A course of fire was also set up with threat and non-threat targets dispersed in strategic locations throughout the cave. The targets became visible as the shooter rounded a corner or were hidden slightly behind an outcropping of rocks, quite a unique challenge in the dark.
Once in the cave, we were given a safety briefing and instructions for the course of fire. For the first run the shooter was given the Ruger LCPll with a Crimson Trace Laserguard containing five rounds of ammunition, a handheld flashlight and a spare magazine of five rounds. The objective was to move through the winding cave corridor, engaging the threat targets with one shot. After taking my turn I realized a few things: It’s not always easy to identify a target with a flashlight and changing a magazine while holding a flashlight can be a struggle.
For the second round we switched to the Laserguard Pro, which combines a laser with a 150-Lumen LED white light. Not only did this light and laser combo make it easier to quickly identify the targets, it also allowed me to shoot using both hands...and to have shorter magazine reloading times. Crimson Trace made a great point with these exercises: When it’s too dark to see my sights, using a laser is the only way to get hits on target. And having a combination laser and white light gave me confidence and speed.
When we finally emerged from the depths of the cave, it was time to take a spin on the 2017 Honda Pioneer 1000-5 Limited Edition. Before even turning the key in the ignition the features of this Pioneer were explained to each of us, as well as all the safety precautions. Then, donning our helmets, safety glasses and gloves we took turns behind the wheel. Traveling through winding corridors of forest, over rocks and up hills was no problem for this top of the line side-by-side. It handled great and the I-4WD system made the driving smooth and almost effortless.
Our adventure continued with a trip to the Kentucky Gun Company in Bardstown, Kentucky. What started in 1946 as a small-town, family-owned grocery is now a massive sporting-goods store. Lasers, scopes, holsters, hunting gear and clothing lined the walls in the front of the store with beautiful mounts dispersed throughout. Toward the back I perused the rows upon rows of long guns and numerous glass cases of pistols. The next room displayed Honda motorcycles, 4-wheelers and side-by-sides along with various brands of full-size safes stacked up to the ceiling and a range. They had everything an outdoor firearms enthusiast would want.