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Don’t Expect a Magpul Arm Brace Any Time Soon

Magpul has an established track record with buttstocks for the AR-15 so it is pretty easy to imagine that they could come up with a killer version of the pistol arm braces that are so popular right now. It is fine to let your imagination run wild with that idea for a bit but don’t hold your breath waiting for Magpul to drop a brace into the marketplace.


The following is a quote on M4C from Magpuls Director of Product Management and Marketing, Duane Liptak Jr.:

More braces and more opinion requests might just hasten an end to this whole market through an opinion reversal, which isn’t good for anyone, so we’ll likely steer clear of any products in this vein. I would prefer to see the ATF realize that this whole SBR thing is silly, as pointed out by the arm brace opinion, so that short barrels are no longer a determinant of NFA status. With all the more strict gun control in many, less free nations around the world, I’m not aware of anyone else that sees barrel length as something that needs to be controlled. It’s silly.

Kudos to Magpul for taking a sensible approach.


Trident Concepts Project Neptune

I am a fan of Trident Concepts’ (TRICON) TACOST Training System. It is a simple, portable way to keep a stash of measurable and repeatable drills in hand so that you get the most out of your range sessions. Now Jeff Gonzales, owner and lead trainer at TRICON, is attempting to develop what he calls Project Neptune in order to take the TACOST experience to the next level.



This project is a cloud based, multiple device community environment that provides the platform to track performance history, access to an in-depth training skills library, establish personal goals of performance and network with other like minded individuals from anywhere.

This is basically being developed as a potential next evolutionary step in how training is delivered. Rather than relying on an instructor to set goals and track progress, Project Neptune will seek to help the shooter set their own goals and track progress. The concept behind TACOST is so effective, I can’t help but think Jeff will work the same magic here.

You can crowd fund Project Neptune at Vet Launch.


RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap in Black and Ranger Green

re factor blasting cap RG

RE Factor Tactical’s Blasting Cap is now available in Black and Ranger Green. I have a Ranger Green Blasting Cap already and like it more than my tan one due to the way it fits. I am not sure if they changed the cut slightly or if there is just some variance in the hat but the new caps fit my big noggin noticeably better.

Check out the Blasting Cap at RE Factor Tactical.


The Ruger American Rifle Ranch

The Ruger American Rifle Ranch is not a ranch on which Ruger breeds and grazes rifles (which is kind of disappointing). It is a new, compact, suppressor ready version of their American Rifle that is chambered in 5.56 or .300BLK.


I have never really had much desire to own a 5.56 chambered bolt-action rifle when there are so many fine semi-automatic ways to consume the cartridge but the American Rifle Ranch really pushes my buttons. I like the 16″ long, threaded barrel, the FDE stock, relatively light weight (6.1 lbs), and the 1 in 8″ twist. Knowing Ruger, the price will be right too.

Check out the Ruger American Rifle Ranch.


Mondo Patch Panel Special at OC Tactical

OC Tactical is offering a great deal on some special Multicam Mondo Patch Panels. They turned the Multicam pattern 90 degrees in order to use some Velcro material pieces that they had on hand. If you want a panel that will look better oriented vertically or you just don’t care about the pattern because you will cover it with patches, act fast. There are only 10 of these available at the reduced price and they won’t last.



Review: ROSCH Works TM-1

The ROSCH Works TM-1 is a simple light mount with a ton of versatility built in. It’s simple in that it has a single screw and the bulk of it is machined from a single piece of steel. It’s versatile in that it can mount a light on a shotgun or AR-15 with gov’t profile barrel at just about any position “on the dial.”



The TM-1 Light Mount is designed to be mounted on AR-15s barrels or 12 gauge shotgun magazine tubes. I can hold flashlights that range in diameter from 0.987 – 1.003”.

The TM-1 shows ROSCH Works typical attention to detail.

  • It is cleverly machined from a single piece of stainless steel and requires a single screw to secure the light in the mount and the mount on the barrel (or magazine tube).
  • The stainless alloy was specifically chosen to reduce the transfer of heat from the barrel to the mount. They actually tested it with 400 rounds of full auto fire and found that it was still comfortable to touch while the barrel was smoking.
  • It uses a 2 piece shim set to clamp on AR-15 barrels (.741” gov’t profile or .750” gas block diameter depending on the shims) so that it can be installed without removing the muzzle device. The TM-1 will mount on a shotgun magazine tube without the need for the shims.

I don’t typically comment on price, preferring instead to let you decide what something is worth. However, in this case, the price is one of selling points. The TM-1 costs just $30 + $5 for a shim set if you need them.


Observations from Use

The TM-1s biggest strength is its versatility. First, it doesn’t require a special hand guard or rail to mount. It just clamps onto something that your firearm already has – the barrel or magazine tube. Second, it can be mounted to either AR-15s or most 12 gauge shotguns. Third, it can be mounted at just about any position. If you want it at 10:30 on the dial for your support hand thumb, you can do that. If you want it at 6:00 to it is in line with the bore, you can do that too.

ROSCH Works struck a good balance between making the TM-1 trim and lightweight but also confidence inspiring in terms of durability. It is a single, solid piece of steel and it feels like it yet is only weighs 1.5 ounces (2.1 with shims). I am fairly sure that you will break your flashlight long before you break the TM-1.

I tested the TM-1 in several positions on an AR-15 and then on a shotgun where it immediately found a permanent home. It works very well with the light positioned at roughly 10:30 on the dial, especially on a shotgun. In this position, you can rotate the mount so that the light is tucked as close as possible the hand guard or fore-end and then slide the light forward and back until it positioned perfectly for your support hand thumb.

On an AR-15, I like it best when it positions the light at 6:00 on the dial. This allows you to either use the sling swivel to activate the light by pressing it against your light’s tailcap or simply slide your index finger forward to activate. It also places the light in line with the bore which makes it easier to work around cover and barricades.


I tested the TM-1 with several lights. If you are looking for a bargain, the Surefire G2X fits perfectly and boasts over 300 lumens of output. The Surefire Fury also worked very well. The Elzetta ZFL-M60 makes for a bomb proof pair when coupled with the TM-1. ROSCH Works’ own stand-alone light, the WL1, makes for a bomb proof pairing that is also very lightweight. It will be available with an optional tailcap that supports the sling swivel method mentioned above.

The biggest downside to the TM-1 is that it mounts to the barrel and that may not work for some shooters. It probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to use the TM-1 on a free-floated AR-15 but, if you have a free-float rail you are probably in the market for a rail mounted light mount anyway. This is complete non-issue for those who intend to use it on a shotgun.

Wrap Up

The TM-1 is simple, clever, durable, well made, lightweight, versatile, and affordable. It has found a permanent home on one of my shotguns thanks to its ability to be fine-tuned to the shooter and the specific firearm it is mounted on.

Check out the TM1 at ROSCH Works.

Disclosure: This product was provided to me by ROSCH Works, free of charge, for review.


Review: Lanco Tactical GripStop

It’s part vertical grip. It’s part hand stop. It’s part barricade device. It’s GripStop.



GripStop is a hard anodized aluminum forward grip that can be used on a number of different long guns. According to Lanco Tactical it was “designed by a former USMC combat veteran to fill the void between using a vertical grip and hand stop.” Basically, GripStop’s unique shape allows the user to vary the way they grip it and makes it ideal for use as a barricade stop or support for awkward shooting positions.

It is available in 2 different versions that cover most hand guard types. The original GripStop mounts via two bolts on 2 3/8” hole spacing and can be adapted to a number of different hand guards including most of the various “universal” free float tubes, KeyMod, and anything you are willing to drill the necessary holes in. It weighs 2 ounces

GripStop Mod 2 is a rail mounted version that can be mounted to any standard 1913 Picatinny rail. It weighs 3.1 ounces.


Observations from Use

I have been using an original GripStop (from before the KeyMod compatibility was added) since around the time it was introduced. I like it so much that I also purchased GripStop Mod 2. Both have served me very well. While their attachment method differs, they are nearly the same functionally so this review can cover both.

The key to GripStop’s success is its unique shape. It should be obvious from the pictures but if you picture half of a skateboard half pipe turned upside done, you will have the basic shape. The leading edge of the curve is parallel with the bore and close to the hand guard while the trailing edge is perpendicular to the bore. This shape allows the user to adjust how the grip feels by sliding their hand forward and back.

If you prefer a “C Clamp”/thumb over grip like you might typically use with a handstop, you position your hand further forward on the GripStop, bringing your hand more in line with the hand guard.

If you prefer a thumb forward grip with a less flexed wrist position, you position your hand further back on the GripStop. This feels more like a typical thumbs forward grip with a vertical grip.

You may just find yourself somewhere in between and that is part of the strength of the GripStop. It supports just about any grip.


That way that you can vary your grip also has the benefit of allowing you to place GripStop just about anywhere on a rail or on a rail of just about any length. Hand stops and angled grips like Magpul’s AFG work best when mounted closer to the muzzle on longer rail because, in general, a thumb over grip will be more comfortable and provide more benefit with the support arm extended. GripStop can adapt to just about any position on the rail because you can adapt your grip to just about any angle.

Both versions of the GripStop have large ribs machined into the curved portion. These serve to enhance grip. They are large enough that they don’t feel sharp on your hand and the gaps between the ribs bite into barricades very well. You can plant the GripStop on a barricade and really lean your weight in behind it to control recoil.

The rear face of the GripStop is completely vertical (perpendicular to the bore). This allows you to hook it against a barricade and pull back with the strong to control recoil or to hook it on your forearm in awkward shooting positions like “brokeback prone.” The ability to hook the forearm or push against the forearm brings a lot recoil control and stability to these awkward field positions.

GripStop’s weight is a potential fly in the ointment for some users. At over 3 ounces, the GripStop Mod 2 weighs 3 times as much as a typical handstop. The direct connect GripStop weighs only 2 ounces but that is still more than a smaller handstop. I suppose there are a few ways to look at that. I have chosen to purchase one in spite of the weight because I appreciate the added functionality that comes with it. I think the functionality justifies the weight. You could also say that if you are using a quad rail instead of a more trim universal hand guard, you probably aren’t overly concerned with weight. Still, it would be nice to see some additional weight reduction efforts if possible.


Wrap Up

GripStop bridges the gap between vertical grips and hand stops. It does a good job of offering the best of both along and a range of functionality that lies somewhere between the two. It is basically the chameleon of forward grips and should be able to fit anyone’s shooting style while also giving them some options that they may not have had before.

Check out the Lanco Tactical GripStop.


Review: UW Gear Swamp Fox MKIII

I have spent the last several months getting to know the new, MKIII version of the SwampFox Chest Rig from UW Gear. When they first announced the MKIII version, UW Gear told me that this chest rig is more durable, lighter weight, more comfortable, and easier to produce than the MKII version. Those types of claims require some investigation, especially when they are messing with my favorite chest rig!



The Swamp Fox MKIII is a chest rig that is available in specific versions for AR-15s, AK-74s, and AK-47s. The majority of the rig is constructed from 1000D Cordura nylon and is available in a wide array of colors and camo patterns.

It still retains much of what made the Minuteman MKII great:

  • The unique and functional pull tab flap closures are still intact though now they have a more compact, rounded shape.
  • The sewn in drainage gaps at the base of the magazine pouches are still there.
  • The webbing reinforcement of the magazine pouches is still there though now it has been beefed up.
  • The “H” harness is still well shaped and is now even more comfortable.
  • The rig can still be adjusted to ride very high without fear of buckles interfering with the buttstock of your carbine.

Some of the differences are noted about but other notables include:

  • All edges are now closed with binding tape rather than folded and sewn. This is probably the most significant change and the one that has streamlined the production process more than any other.
  • There are 2 columns and 3 rows of PALS webbing on the sides of the rig rather than the 3 columns that the standard MKII had.
  • The magazine pouch flaps are now reinforced with 1.5” webbing rather than an extra layer of Cordura.
  • The harness is constructed from a mix of 1000D Cordura and webbing with bounded edges. It is now slightly more flexible.
MKII on left, MKIII on right

MKII on left, MKIII on right

MKII on left, MKIII on right

MKII on left, MKIII on right

Observations from Use

As I said above, I was told this new rig would be more durable, lighter weight, more comfortable, and easier to produce than the MKII version. I’ll try to address each one of these claims from my perspective based on my use of the new MKIII version.

More Durable

It is a little hard to quantify this based on my use. I still haven’t even come remotely close to wearing out my Swamp Fox MKII. On paper, I believe it because of the addition of the webbing reinforcement inside the magazine pouch flaps and the bound edges. Both of these items add reinforcement at common failure points.

The rig still shows UW Gear’s typical overbuild quality. All webbing is box stitched where it joins the body of the rig. The PALS webbing is attached with large bar tacks. Just about every component of these rigs is made with multiple layers of something be it Cordura nylon, webbing, or binding tape.

MKII on left, MKIII on right

MKII on left, MKIII on right

Lighter Weight

The scale doesn’t lie! The MKIII weighs about 16.45 ounces, which is 2.1 ounces less than the MKII version. Much of weight was saved in the new construction method for the pouches and the harness and basically comes from replacing extraneous fabric with strategically located webbing.

More Comfortable

This is probably the claim that I was most curious about. The biggest reason that I like the MKII style chest rigs from UW Gear was because of the way they constructed the harness. They used multiple layers of Cordura and webbing to create a harness that was somewhat rigid but better able to flex and twist without the bunching and gaps you see in a padding harness. It was thin and supported weight very well.

The new harness is a bit less rigid. It is still thin. In fact, it is thinner. It still bears weight well, moves well with the wearer, and the bound edges are actually a bit more comfortable against your skin.

UW Gear also adds some detail here in how they shape the harness. The shoulder straps are set at an angle greater than 90 degrees to the horizontal strap that holds the H harness together. This allows it to sit more comfortably across your back and shoulders. This detail is still present in the MKIII version.

I guess I have to admit that it is more comfortable though I do miss a bit of the rigidity of the original harness.

MKIII on left, MKII on right

MKIII on left, MKII on right

MKIII on left, MKII on right

MKIII on left, MKII on right

Easier to Produce

This one is easy to prove. UW Gear is a small shop with a unique, well-made product. They operate with a permanent backlog but thanks to the streamlined production of the MKIII, they have reduced their lead times.

You can still expect to wait 3-5 months but that is an overall reduction from where they were and that lead-time is shrinking continually.

H-harness detail

H-harness detail

Wrap Up

The Swamp Fox MKIII is an improved version of an already great chest rig. If nothing else, it is a huge win for the user that UW Gear was able to increase durability and reduce weight. The streamlined construction will also allow them to keep costs in check.

This is a worthy successor.

Check out all of the new MKIII versions of your favorite gear at UW Gear.

Disclosure: This product was provided to me by UW Gear, free of charge, for review.


Review: Unity Tactical Direct-Mount VFG

Slick (as in non-railed) “universal” free float hand guards have been on the market for years and have gained in popularity steadily – especially as slimmer, lighter weight versions become available. Initially, only rail sections were available to attach to these hand guards but eventually the market filled in with various other direct-attach accessories like sling mounts, hand stops, and light mounts. One common and useful accessory, the vertical grip, remained a strangely unfilled hole in the market until this year when Unity Tactical announced the availability of their Direct-Mount VFG.



The Direct-Mount VFG is a fairly straight forward piece of gear. It is a vertical grip that is designed to attach directly to slotted hand guards via a screw and nut. It also works with KeyMod and includes all the necessary hardware.

The VFG (vertical fore grip) itself is made of polymer and is lightly textured. It has a brass ferrule molded in for use with KeyMod hardware.

Its weight varies based on the hardware used, but it comes in at under 1.5 ounces. If you know how to use a vertical grip, that is 1.5 ounces well spent.

The top of the Direct-Mount VFG – as in the part that actually contacts the handguard when installed is very cleverly designed. If it was flat or slightly concave, it would only fit rails of certain shapes or diameters. Unity Tactical used two raised ridges (sort of like rails) to allow the Direct-Mount VFG to fit flush on a hand guard of any shape.


Observations from Use

I don’t own a rail with KeyMod on the bottom portion so I just tested the fit on a friend’s rail. It fit and worked well.

My main interest in the Direct-Mount VFG is for use with the various universal rails on the market. I tested it with the Troy Alpha Rail (and similar), ALG Defense EMR, Midwest Industries SS Gen 2, Parallax Tactical FFSSR, and even Magpul MOE Hand Guards. It fit all of them without modification. I have no reason to believe it wouldn’t fit just about universal rail unless the slots were too large or numerous for it to sit square on the hand guard.

The Direct-Mount VFG is very lightly textured. I would prefer a more aggressive texture but I suspect that Unity Tactical knows that guys who care about these things will just stipple it to suit their preference.

The length is what some manufacturers might call a “stubby” grip. You aren’t going to be able to place your entire hand on it in a “chicken choker” grip. However, it is long enough to be used with a thumb forward or thumb over grip. It is also long enough to provide plenty of surface area for stabilizing against a barricade or to push/pull against your forearm in positions that can benefit from this technique like the so-called “brokeback prone.”

Unity_Tactical_Direct-Mount_VFG_top Unity_Tactical_Direct-Mount_VFG_bottom

Wrap Up

The Direct-Mount VFG is just what I hoped it would be – affordable, simple, lightweight, and effective much like the rails it is designed to be mounted on. The market has waited a long time for this and it doesn’t disappoint.

Check out the Direct-Mount VFG at Unity Tactical.

Disclosure: This product was provided to me by Unity Tactical, free of charge, for review.


TOPS Knives Crow Hawke

The Sparrow Hawke is one of the gems of the TOPS Knives line. It is small enough to EDC and large enough to dress out deer sized game. It can easily be carried as a neck knife or in your pocket and it all but disappears on your belt. TOPS Knives just introduced the Crow Hawke which is dimensionally identical to the Sparrow Hawke but features a new black coating and grippier black G-10 handle slabs with red spacers.


O/A Length: 5.0″
Cutting Edge: 2.0″
Blade: 1095 High Carbon Steel
Thickness: 1/8″
Blade Color: Black Traction Coating
Handle: Black Linen Micarta®
Sheath: Kydex With Snap Link
Weight: 1.8oz
Weight w/ Sheath: 2.9oz

Check out the Crow Hawke at TOPS Knives.


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