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The Best Things No One Has Told You About the HPG Umindi

There are probably a few hundred reviews of the Hill People Gear Umlindi out there already. All of them are going to tell you that the Umlindi is versatile enough to slide from daypack to overnighter thanks to HPG’s system of pockets, comfortable thanks to their unique suspension, and durable thanks to their materials and production in the USA. That’s true of all the HPG packs. This article is about what no one else told you…

Overview and Background

The Umlindi is a mid-sized pack with a capacity of around 30L/2000ci (the capacity can be greatly expanded with HPG’s Pockets). The pack can be worn without a belt as a backpack or paired with HPG’s Recon or Prairie Belts (which I highly recommend) to be worn as a lumbar pack. It features HPG’s excellent compression design and harness which is a key to the comfort of any HPG pack.

I purchased a Kifaru G1 Molle Express (MOLLEX) more than 10 years ago and it really opened my eyes to 1) how versatile a mid-sized pack with a well-designed suspension system could be and 2) to a very different concept in suspension. The MOLLEX was the first pack that I owned that relied heavily on “delta” straps to pull the weight of the pack close to the wearer and into the hip belt rather than load lifters.

About a year ago, I bought an Umlindi to serve as the lighter, less tactical, cooler-to-wear MOLLEX replacement that I have always wanted. Both packs use wrapping shoulder straps and waist belts rather than heavy padding, both rely on delta straps instead of load lifters to direct the weight into the belt, and both carry the weight of the pack low.

The Umlindi is more of a lumbar pack than a backpack when used with a hip belt (I use the Prairie Belt) unless the wearer has a shorter torso. It rides low on the back. This lumbar pack DNA is what makes it somewhat unique, one of the major keys to its usefulness as a pack for me, and the source of the unique benefits that I have been alluding to all along.

The Best Things No One Told You About the Umlindi…

As a reviewer, I am often guilty of spending so much time wrapped up in features that I don’t adequately relay the benefits of those features. I suspect that is true for a lot of reviewers and maybe why some of these benefits haven’t been put to paper:

Plays Well with Rifle Slings – If you have ever tried to sling a rifle while wearing a backpack, you know what a pain it can be. This is doubly true for 2-point slings that wrap over the shoulder and across the back of the wearer. With a traditional pack with load lifters, the must either be run under the pack or it rides on the wearer’s neck if worn over the pack. The Umlindi keeps the wearer’s shoulders and upper back mostly free except for the harness which lays completely flat. It allows a 2-point sling to worn completely normally over the pack and even makes it more comfortable as the sling rides on the harness!

It is a little hard to see what is happening in this picture. It shows my shoulder from above and right. My 2-point sling is ridding on the padding of the HPG harness and wrapped naturally around my back while I snowshoe.

Keep It Cool – The Umlindi does a better job of keeping me cool than any of the ventilated packs I have tried. My shoulders and upper back are more exposed and when the pack is properly fit, the wearer can create an air gap above the lumbar pad that can be opened up based on the delta strap adjustment.

Ruck n’ Roll – The Umlindi is a great training pack. This is due in part to the ventilation mentioned above and because it carries weight low and focused into the belt. I have used a kettle bell as weight but more recently I’ve been using a cheap ruck plate which carries more naturally with less shifting. This pack is a real back-saver if you spending a lot of time with a weighted pack.

Don’t Touch My Hat – This is one is fairly off-beat but it has turned into one of my favorite things about the Umlindi. It doesn’t bump into hats with wrap-around brims like a Tilley or cowboy hat. That may not seem like a big deal but when it is 100+ degrees, bone dry, you are above tree line, and the sun is absolutely relentless… its a big deal.

Clearance, Clarence – Finally, I live in an area with a TON of trails. The agencies and volunteers that maintain these trails can only do so much in a season. Additionally, we tend to have thick second growth of tree species like Grand Fir in off-trail areas that have been logged. This means ducking under a lot of thick branches and deadfall when hiking on and off-trail. The Umlindi provides plenty of clearance for when you need to duck under objects.

Wrap Up

When you combine everything that has been written a million times about all Hill People Gear packs with anything above that might be important to you, I hope you are getting the picture that the Umlindi is a great pack. I like it so much that I am sorely disappointed when my loadout necessitates a larger pack.

Umlindi at HillPeopleGear.com

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Tease: PHLster Making a Tactical Crown Royal Bag?

Everyone knows how useful those iconic purple felt bags can be. I am not sure they would be any more useful if they were Multicam with a loop field for patches but they would definitely be a lot cooler.

PHLster recently shared a picture showing their “Tactical Crown Royal Bag” and they’re soliciting input on whether they should actually put it into production. The answer is a resounding “YES” from me. You can weigh in on their Instagram post:

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Review: Boonie Packer Safari-Tac Multipurpose Sling

Mounting a modern 2-point tactical sling on an AR-15 is easy. Many stocks and handguards can accept a side-mounted sling by default or at least with the addition of readily available accessories. If you want to do the same thing on a rifle or shotgun with a traditional buttstock, it becomes a little more complicated… unless you know about a sling that has been around forever: the Safari-Tac Multipurpose Sling from Boonie Packer/Redi-Mag.

Overview

The Safari-Tac Multipurpose Sling is a 2-point sling that allows rifles and shotguns with traditional stocks with bottom mounted sling swivels to be carried across the front of the shooter in the same way a modern 2-point tactical sling would. It accomplishes this with a unique attachment method that requires no modification to the host rifle.

You can see the attachment method in this video:

Observations from Use

I’ve been using these slings for more than 12 years. They absolutely solve a common problem in a simple (and affordable way and I am ashamed that I haven’t reviewed this sling until now. This sling does not get enough credit.

The sling attaches via two hard plastic bars that can be tucked into standard sling swivels easy but can not slip back through without intentional manipulations. At the front, the sling just attaches to a button mounted swivel in a fairly standard way with the sling just running out from the bottom. The rear swivel is where the magic happens. The rear swivel is used as a stop that prevents a webbing loop that is wrapped around the buttstock from sliding forward and back. The sling is attached to the loop on the side of the buttstock rather than the swivel itself. This is what allows the rifle to be carried flat against the wearer’s chest.

This Safari-Tac has a plastic slider to adjust the length of the sling. This slider can be operated while the rifle is slung but I still wouldn’t quite call it is a “quick-adjust” sling. The slider is there to aid in length adjustment and for the sling’s use as a shooting aid more than it is for left/ride side transitions or cinching the rifle close to the wearer. It can be used for those purposes. Just don’t expect it to slide like a quick-adjust mechanism.

In addition to the 2-point sling functionality, the Safari-Tac can be used as a shooting aid. The slider creates a loop in the sling that can be looped onto the support arm to help the shooter build a more stable shooting position. This can be something of a lost art these days but it is very handy for those who know how to fully leverage the functionality.

This sling is excellent for bolt action rifles, shotguns, .22 rifles, and any other traditionally stocked weapon that you want to carry in a manner that keeps it comfortably away from a backpack and readily available. Shotgunners may find it especially useful as mounted a modern 2-point sling to a pump-action shotgun can be frustrating. I particularly like it for a longarm that I might carry while hiking like a shotgun or lever-action because it works so well with backpacks thanks to its flat, wide webbing and positioning.

Wrap Up

The Safari-Tac Multipurpose Sling likely pre-dates most of the modern 2-point slings that JTT readers are familiar with but that doesn’t diminish its relevance today. This sling is incredibly useful and solves a common problem in an elegant way. I should also mention that it also happens to be very affordable.

Check it out at the Boonie Packer/Redi-Mag website: Redi-Mag.com

NOTE: Be careful if you plan to purchase one. Boonie Packer/Redi-Mag make other slings with the term “Safari” in the name. I am sure those are fine sling too but this review and the functionality described pertains to the “Safari-Tac” sling.

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Now Available: AT Armor Ballistic Carrier 19 (BC19)

AT Armor has opened pre-orders for their new BC19 at a special introductory price. This carrier has several modern features like First Spear Tubes closures on the included elastic cummerbund, laser-cut PALS grids, and more.

The AT Armor Ballistic Carrier 19 (BC19) Plate Carrier is a scalable, modular plate carrier system designed for fast deployment and is fully adjustable for long-duration wear. This proprietary plate carrier the perfect solution for end users that need a lightweight, US made carrier that is fully scalable. The unique attachment system offers quick and even one handed don and doff capability. Adjustments to account for equipment needs placement and personal fit preference. 

The BC19 is available in Black, Ranger Green, Coyote, and Multicam and for SAPI sizes S, M, L and XL which fit standard SAPI Small – XL as well as any 10×12 armor plates (Medium size BC19).

ATArmor.com

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Sneak Peek: Forward Controls Design ASF (Ambidextrous Selector, FCD)

Forward Controls Design is currently working on a new selector for AR-15s in conjunction with Sons of Liberty Gun Works. That is good reason to be excited because Roger Wang, owner of Forward Controls Design, is the designer of the Battle Arms Development BAD Lever, the premium selector that basically created the market for premium selectors.

Here is what Roger has to say about the upcoming ASF and the Quick (a shot throw version):

FCD’s ASF (Ambidextrous selector, FCD) and SOLGW’s The Quick (short for Quick Ambi Selector) is a joint project between FCD and SOLGW. As you guys know, the two companies have been collaborating on a few projects, starting with the 4140 steel MLOK sling mount (MSQ-H in FCD alphabet soup parlance). Work began in Dec. 2018 to create a safety that’s an embodiment of our not inconsiderable experience in AR15/M16 selector design and knowledge over the years.

ASF/The Quick was designed from the ground up to be a defense/duty/combat safety selector, its mission is quite aptly reflected by the way its levers are attached the center, via a stainless steel roll pin. The lever to center interface is immensely strong, the high shear strength roll pin simply holds the two in place. There is no wobble between the lever and center, we’ve called for very tight tolerances on all ASF/The Quick components to achieve that.

ASF/The Quick offers both the conventional non-offset standard and short levers, the offset standard and short q levers, and an end cap. The q levers are side specific, i.e. you don’t want to use a left q lever on the right side, or vice versa. Q levers are offset levers, by moving the lever as close to the shooter as possible, it enables the user to more easily rotate it back to SAFE without shifting his grip.

Center options: 90 degree conventional, 50 degree short throw, and M16 select fire.

The levers are serrated along the length to mitigate lateral movement. When a user’s finger is rotating the lever, we want to add traction to minimize movements to the side (slipping off the lever). The user’s finger slides on the lever as the safety is being rotated, here we don’t want traction to impede movement along the lever’s axis. Short levers are wider than standard length levers, since it gives up on length, we added some surface area back via width.

For dimple fans, there is a single dimple on both sides to function as a position indicator (in lieu of a pointer), it’s elegant and simple.

The end cap is for those that don’t wish to have a lever on the weak side of the receiver. With the end cap, ASF/The Quick is both reversible (lever on any side the user chooses), and convertible (between ambidextrous and non-ambidextrous).

ETA is between 1.5 to 2 months. Note: these are prototype pics, not of production units.

Stay tuned for additional details.

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REFT X RAID SB Skateboard Deck

This skateboard deck is a limited-edition collaboration between RE Factor Tactical and Raid SB that features our popular Summer Time logo on top of the Tiger Stripe camouflage pattern made famous by MACV-SOG units in Vietnam.

***ONLY AVAILABLE IN SIZE 8***

REFactorTactical.com

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Mission Spec Releases the Gibborim Plate Carrier

Mission Spec (KS) has released the Gibborim Plate Carrier™. A lightweight, high mobility carrier that is ready to accept industry standard chest rigs such as Mission Spec’s own MagRack5™ or others. 

The name of the game with the Gibborim Plate Carrier is “less”.  “This has been a multi-year development and each new prototype became more and more simple. If you need 14 magazines, then this is not the carrier for you,” says Brent Keltner of Mission Spec.  The design is meant to be as simple as possible but keep the rugged toughness and abrasion resistance of a high denier material.  1000D or 500D depending on your chosen pattern/color.

The carrier is excellent for mounted or vehicle operations.  There are no plastic buckles up top to get caught or hung up on vehicle interiors.  Shoulder strap adjustment is done on the internal areas of the rear plate bag.  This gives the user an infinite adjustment for length and angle of the shoulder straps making it possible to fit an individual with broad or sloped shoulders.

Vertical PALS on the front along with loop Velcro sets the Gibborim Plate Carrier up to work with just about any industry standard chest rig that follows the standard buckle pattern.

The ‘wings’ or cummerbund does have traditional PALS webbing for attaching iFAK-like items but is located much higher than other carriers. This was done for two reasons; 1) to keep side mounted pouches from interfering with a user’s pistol draw or other first line gear, 2) in the even a teammate must drag the user by his/her carrier the cummerbund will help pull from under the arms instead of shoving the front plate into their throat or chin.

The front (male) side buckles can be moved to any one of two positions (heights) via the elastic retention anchors.  This position impacts the ride height of the rear plate bag just like Mission Spec’s EC2™ and AC2™ plate carriers.  With this feature the user can adjust the height of the rear plate by 2”.

100% design, tested, and manufactured in the United States, the Gibborim Plate Carrier is shipping now from MissionSpec.com (free shipping to a US address or APO) or other Mission Spec Authorized Dealers.  As with most Mission Spec items, this carrier is capable of being custom modified to your unit or department needs.

MissionSpec.com

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Sneak Peek: Hill People Gear Fanny Pack

Hill People Gear (HPG) is very well known for their Kit Bags, a handgun concealment chest rig designed for backcountry travelers. Now they are about to take their proven design and apply it to fanny packs. Fanny packs are “in” again but in outdoor circles, they never went away. The ability to carry gear on your hips, in a location that is easily accessible while still moving, is just too handy to ignore.

The HPG Fanny Pack shown is a production sample. It makes use of the Snubby Original Kit Bag footprint and layout meaning it should easily handle handguns up to roughly Glock 19 size along with other essentials like a GPS, phone, snacks, etc. It features a rear clamshell gun pocket, a clamshell gear pocket, and finally a front stash pocket.

HPG would like to have this to market before Christmas 2019.

HillPeopleGear.com

Photo Credits: Kevin McDowell (Operations Manager, HPG)
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Defense Target II from RE Factor Tactical

**IMPORTANT** Defense Target Stickers are sold separately. 

The Defense Target II is designed to give you an enhanced training experience by offering one target that can be customized with multiple stickers. The Defense Target II features an individual that can transform from an FBI agent to an office active shooter to a business no-shoot with the simple change of our customized stickers. This allows the target to be used in multiple different scenarios.  Available sticker areas include:

The Defense Target II Explained

Each sticker is designed to perfectly match up with the target’s hands, chest area or hip to create a new target scenario that appears natural to the shooter.  This allows instructors to take one target and change scenarios rapidly. By changing the target constantly, students are forced to look at different places on the body to make the right decision of whether or not the target is a threat.The Defense Target II matches up with the varied stickers (sold separately). These stickers overlay on the right hand, left hand, chest and hip seamlessly.  These durable 3 Mil stickers allow for hundreds of target variations.  Stickers are designed to be used while wearing gloves. 

Target Scoring

The Defense Target’s scoring areas are designed to be as close to the average human’s anatomy as possible.  The “5” head box measures the average width and height of a human head while the “5” heart box is purposefully offset slightly right (target’s left) and sized to the average human heart.  Both “5” areas are designed to mimic a kill zone. The “4” zones match the average lung size and pelvic girdle area and are designed to mimic a shot in which death is probable but not guaranteed.  The “3” represents the outline of the average human body and represents an area where death is possible but not likely.

  • 23 x 35″
  • Made and Printed in the USA
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New from TOPS Knives: Street Scalpel 2 and Devil’s Claw 2

TOPS Knives just refreshed two of its classic knife offerings, the Street Scalpel and the Devil’s Claw. Both of these knives have served as popular, compact, self-defense oriented fixed blade knives in the TOPS line up for years.

Street Scalpel 2

The Street Scalpel has been around for quite a few years now. LEOs, active duty military, and everyday citizens love it because it’s narrow, easy to conceal, stout and strong, and looks great too. The Street Scalpel 2.0 has all the great features of the original, with some changes to offer variety (the original is not being retired). The handle has been slightly redesigned to offer more of a finger guard and the blade steel was thinned to 3/16” to offer a finer edge.

Pick up the Street Scalpel 2.0 from a TOPS authorized dealer or from TOPS at https://www.topsknives.com/street-scalpel-2-0

Devil’s Claw 2

The Original Devil’s Claw was designed to be a deep conceal knife with a handle that is short on purpose for concealment in almost any outfit. Of course, the design was so reminiscent of karambits that it was only a matter of time before it got a makeover to become one. The hawk bill blade shape is a proven design for utility and defense tactics. The longer handle with the ring on the end provides the user with options that aren’t available with the original version (just remember the trade-off is that the new version is slightly more difficult to conceal).

Pick up the Devil’s Claw 2 from a TOPS authorized dealer or from TOPS at https://www.topsknives.com/devil-s-claw-2

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