The EMR V2 from ALG Defense is now available. This rail has many of the same features as the excellent EMR rail with the addition of an short section of integral rail at the top on the muzzle end and a ramp that blends the upper receiver into the rail more seamlessly. Like the EMR before it, the EMR V2 is a great value.
It may seem counter intuitive but simplicity is really hard to achieve. This is doubly true in gear design where stacking feature upon feature often seems like the only way to set your gear apart from a competitor. Dunamis Gear went the other way. They have taken the idea of quick detach pouches and stripped them down to their bare essentials in most impressive fashion.
I recently had the chance to spend a few months with their Medium Top Zip Cargo Hangers. I’ve come away extremely impressed with the design, workmanship, and above all the simplicity of these pouches and the Dunamis Gear approach. Many of the most noteworthy design features in these pouches are shared across the Dunamis Gear line.
The Medium Top Zip Cargo Hangers are aptly named. They have a zippered top loading layout, are not too big and not too small (650 ci each), and they hang from a host pack to hold additional cargo. Its a simple name for a simple pouch but all that simplicity belies the elegance of these pouches.
The Cargo Hangers use G-Hooks to attach to 1″ webbing on a host pack. Typically this is PALS webbing. This is a major departure from other similar packs that use more complicated side release buckles that require staging the female part of the buckle on the PALS webbing. G-Hooks are super secure and just as fast but they connect directly to the webbing. This saves weight, reduces complexity (and therefore reduces failure points), and adds flexibility.
The pouches are constructed from your choice of 500D or 1000D Cordura nylon. Both choices are DWR treated on the exterior and urethane coated on the interior for water resistance. Amazingly, the entire pouch is constructed from just two pieces of nylon. One piece makes the back, top, and bottom while another wraps around to create the rounded profile sides/front. There is that simplicity again. This design reduces weight (7 ounces per pouch), reduces water ingress points, and created a streamlined shape that hugs the host pack.
Other standard features include anchored zipper tabs, paracord dummy cord points sewn inside, and dual compression straps that are retained so they don’t slip down the pouch when loose. The same little anchor point that serves to retain the compression straps also manages the extra strap when it is pulled tight. There is that elegant simplicity again.
How is this for attention to detail… If you purchase the Cargo Hangers in pairs, Dunamis Gear constructs them with compression straps running in the opposite directions on each pouch so that they can be mounted on either side of your pack.
There are also some custom features that can be added like grab handles, PALS webbing, or other features depending on which model of Cargo Hanger you are looking at.
Observations from Use
I had two main goals in the testing. I wanted to see if the attachment method was sufficiently secure and if the pouches offered a demonstrably better experience than similar buckle based pouches. The answer was yes on both counts.
I’ll just say that these pouches aren’t coming off unless you take them off. The G-Hooks are very secure. They are very easy to place on the webbing and easy to remove but the movement required to remove them is specific. It requires an intentional movement to take off the pouch. They become even more secure when they are full and cinched down because the G-Hooks are mounted at the ends of the compression straps so it draws the whole system tight.
These pouches are so much easier to use than my buckle based QD pouches. It is easier to hook in with the G-Hooks versus a repair buckle. The repair buckle can be removed slightly more quickly but not much. However, with repair buckles, you end up with the female part of the buckles hanging all over your pack and you can only place your pouch where there is a buckle to support it. Dunamis Gear’s G-Hook system stays on the Cargo Hanger and is self-contained so it can be mounted anywhere there is webbing.
The system is also flexible enough to be mounted across as few as 4 columns of MOLLE and as many as 8 or 9. The wider you can mount them, the better the compression straps seem to stabilize the contents. The compression straps works to compress the contents no matter how narrow or wide you mount the G-Hooks but they stabilize especially well when mounted across 5 or more columns.
The rounded shape of the pouch is ideal for the application. It lets the pouch hug the host pack and have a sleeker profile. The flat bottom and top loading lid make the pouches easy to load. The flat tops and bottoms make it so you can stack the pouches right on top of each other and because the zipper runs from one side to the other, you can still access the bottom pouch reasonably well.
The quality of these pouches is excellent. The attention to detail and dedication to simplicity is over-the-top. All the cloth edges are bound and thanks to the 2 piece construction, there aren’t many clothe edges. The round edges at the top and bottom are cleanly executed. The stitching is straight and clean. The materials used are well vetted at this point. These are quality pouches.
I used these on a Kifaru MOLLE Express (MOLLEX) and ZXR. They worked perfectly on both. They are just the ticket for bumping up the capacity just a bit. For instance, the MOLLEX is not a huge pack and it may not be enough pack for a winter overnighter but with some additional capacity from the Cargo Hangers, it can be made to work. These pouches are really handy for expanding the capability of your pack.
They can be mounted on any MOLLE surface so you may also find uses for them on larger chest rigs or plate carriers. They work quite well for adding some carrying capacity to the back plate pocket of a plate carrier and they are easily removed if you don’t need them. They also work great for adding organization in packs that have a MOLLE compatibly interior. These are the kind of pouches that, if you have them available, you will find many different ways to use them.
If I could change one thing, I would add a rain flap on the zipper. I know they can be a pain but they do serve a purpose. Either that, go with a water-resistant zipper.
These pouches are elegantly simple. Their attachment system is just head and shoulders better than anything else I have used. If you own a pack that has exterior PALS webbing, I can’t recommend Dunamis Gear highly enough. Their gear will help you squeeze every last bit of versatility out of your pack.
Disclosure: This product was provided to me free of charge for review by Dunamis Gear.
The ABC/R, an improved bolt catch, is the latest from Forward Control Designs. This bolt catch is absolutely packed with subtle improvements, the most noticeable of which is the increased size of the paddle. This makes it a larger target for your thumb or palm during a reload.
The most subtle improvements are the angles. The ABC/R is designed to give the user tactile feedback even if they can’t see it. The paddle itself is angled forward at 10 degrees. The lower portion of the paddle is angled at 5 degrees. These angles allow you to feel the transition to the lower part of the bolt catch.
The ABC/Rs shown in the pictures are prototypes that have not been finished. Production units will be more refined.
The Arc’teryx LEAF Khard is already capable pack that is about to become even more capable thanks to Velocity Systems. They are now offering full line of inserts built specifically for the Khard.
You really have to keep an eye on Blue Force Gear (BFG). They quietly improve and revise their gear all the time. They often don’t even make a big deal about it! That is the case with the Trauma Kit NOW! (TKN!) which has seen some unheralded upgrades in recent months.
The TKN! is a trauma kit that was designed to hold the entire contents of the Army IFAK. It has a unique pouch and insert design. The pouch is tapered and fixed to the users gear so that a tug on the top flap deploys the entire contents of the IFAK laid out in organized fashion on a transportable tray.
The new TKN! is more durable than ever thanks to the use of BFG’s proprietary ULTRAcomp material for the insert. The top flap has an improved pull tab that always holds its shape and has dimension so it is easier for the user to grasp when deploying the TKN!. It also has laser cut slots on the top flap for adding a small MOLLE pouch or tourniquet. The laser cut medical cross indicator reveals a bright red cross which the user can mute by inserting a black backer if they wish to reduce the visibility of bright colors.
The TKN! still makes use of BFG’s Helium Whisper backing to attach to any MOLLE compatible surface.
The C.A.T. (Covert Anti-Terrorism) knives have been in the TOPS Knives line up for nearly as long as TOPS Knives has existed and they have been largely unchanged in that time. They announced that they would be breathing some new life into the knives at SHOT Show in the form of a new scales called Cryptic Cyber Scales.
The new scales are machined G-10. The surface has a texture similar to checkering along with pattern that is somewhat reminiscent of a circuit board. These scales are extremely grippy.
- Blade length: 3 1/4″
- Overall length: 7 1/4″
- Thickness: 5/32″
- Scales: Black G-10
- Steel: 1095
- Sheath: Kydex with multi-position steel clip
- Weight: 7.5 oz
There has been some confusion lately about Dimitri’s “departure” from Ares Armor. As it turns out, it is not really a departure in the truest sense. Dimitri and Ares Armor recently released a letter that explains their current arrangement. You will want to keep a close eye on where Dimitri goes from here.
You may remember that RE Factor Tactical is now carrying some very cool, hand crafted, wooden flags. They just added a new Gadsden Flag option to the line up and you probably need it for your office, man cave, or living room.
Check out the Wooden Gadsden Flag at RE Factor Tactical.
Dark Angel Medical has a new website to showcase their training and products. Check out DarkAngelMedical.com.
Good customer service comes in many forms. It can be difficult for manufacturers to answer every question that comes their way but the good ones will figure out a way to find answers. This is especially true about questions of compatibility and fitment since no one can physically test every possible product combination.
Scalarworks came up with a slick approach that I think other manufacturers would be wise to learn from. They created a scaled drawing of their LDM mounts that they can distribute in PDF format so that the dimensions can be controlled. The drawings can be printed by the potential customer, cut out, and used to check cheekweld, co-witness, etc. on their particular firearm. So, if you call asking if their mounts will co-witness with your one-off Blaster 9000, they may not know off the top of their heads but they can give you the tools to check for yourself.
You can view the scaled drawings under the Documents tab on their LDM product page.