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Review: Black River Tactical Covert Comp

I turned to the Covert Comp from Black River Tactical as a bit of a last resort. I tried several a handful of other linear compensators and found that, while they did direct the blast and flame forward, that is really all they did. The fireball created by the short AR-15 pistol barrels that I was using them on were nearly as large as they were with a bare muzzle. It just seemed like someone should be able to do better.

Black River Tactical claims that their Covert Comp, a linear compensator with a unique internal geometry, suppresses flash nearly as well as an A2 flash suppressor. I found that to be true on a 16″ barrel but the biggest surprise was the Covert Comp’s performance on an 11.5″ barrel.

BRT Covert Comp Angle


The Covert Comp is one of the most compact linear compensators on the market. It is just under 2″ in length which is significantly smaller than most. It weighs 2.2 ounces which is roughly the same as an A2 flash suppressor.

It also features a Melonite QPQ finish for durability and corrosion resistance. In my experience, Melonite finishes are basically corrosion-proof. You will have to go out of your way to get it to rust.

Linear Comp Background

I should probably start by explaining what a linear compensator is for those who may not know. In its simplest form, a linear comp is a muzzle device with a cone-like internal shape that opens away from the shooter. This cone shape redirects the concussion and hot gasses that escape the muzzle forward and away from the shooter. This generally has a compensating effect on muzzle rise, slightly increases felt recoil (equal and opposite reaction), and reduces the PERCEIVED sound level to the shooter and those around the shooter. It does not actually reduce the sound. It just redirects some of it down range. Manufacturers of these devices will often add a sort of blast wall/baffle that can help mitigate the recoil enhancing aspect of a simple cone design linear comp.

These devices also tend to be very neutral in how the muzzle moves (no up, down, left, or right movement) since the muzzle gases are not directed in any specific direction but rather spread evenly around the bore and pushed forward. However, it is up to the shooter’s skill to completely capitalize on this performance. A capable shooter will find that the firearm basically just recoils straight back with little to no muzzle rise.

The largest downside to these devices is that they do very little to reduce flash. They generally produce impressive fireballs that nearly match the size an intensity of a bare muzzle. This is often accepted as the trade off for the slight reduction in ear splitting concussion at the shooter’s position.

BRT Covert Comp Side

Observations from Use

That is enough about linear comps in general. Let’s dive into the Covert Comp itself. The performance of this device is great but until you actually try it, the most attractive feature will be its size. Many of the linear compensators on the market are absolutely pigs. They can be larger than a film canister (remember those?) and weigh 6 ounces or more in some cases. The one that I used previous to the Covert Comp is considered one of the more compact options available. It is a little more than 1/16″ longer and almost an ounce heavier than the Covert Comp. Suffice it to say, the Covert Comp is one of the most svelte devices of this type.

I don’t normally comment on how something looks because tastes vary so widely but it is appropriate in this case given the outlandish designs of many linear comps. Many of the linear comps on the market seem to be in a competition to see which can look the most like one of those jacked up Bro-Trucks. The Covert Comp is understated in both its Smooth and Fluted version. The Smooth version is a simple cylinder in appearance and the Fluted version just adds some small flutes to break up the profile. I appreciate that.

I test the Covert Comp with three different types of ammo (62gr 5.56 Lake City SS109, 75gr .223 Black Hills Blue Box, and 75gr .223 Prvi Partisan) and on two different barrel lengths (11.5″ and 16″).

I generally don’t think of using this type of muzzle device on anything other than a short barrel but my time with the Covert Comp may have changed my mind. The best way that I can describe the performance is in comparison to the A2 flash suppressor. If you can imagine a device that suppresses flash just as well as the A2 but has less muzzle rise and similar recoil, you would know what it is like to shoot the Covert Comp on a 16″ barrel. It is a very well rounded device, providing very neutral muzzle rise mitigation and very acceptable flash suppression with quality ammo. It changed the way I think of linear comps. I now see their potential as all around muzzle devices rather than just a niche item for short barrels.

The biggest surprise of the test came when I tried it on one of my 11.5″ pistols. On the 11.5″ barrel, it wasn’t just nearly as good as an A2. It was better! The previous linear comp that I used on this build did a good job directing the concussion but it still produced a roughly beach ball sized flash with every shot. The A2 seemed louder at the shooter’s position and still produced a roughly basketball sized flash. The Covert Comp produced a dull orange flash that ranged in size from grapefruit to volleyball. There was certainly still visible flash but the internal geometry of the Covert Comp was working some magic. In my opinion, this is incredible performance on a short barrel compared to any linear comp that I have tried… and many flash suppressors that I have tried.

BRT Covert Comp Interior

Wrap Up

I started this review looking for a muzzle device specifically for shorter barrels. By the end of the review, I find myself wondering why more people aren’t using linear comps on longer barrels. The answer is probably that they haven’t used the Covert Comp yet. I am exceedingly impressed with how well rounded this device is. It has changed what I expect from muzzle devices of this type.

Check out the Covert Comp at Black River Tactical. It is available for a variety of common calibers.


CLEER Medical Pocket Kits

CLEER Medical has introduced two new pocket medical kits. To give you an idea of how compact they are, they will fit in a Blue Force Gear Single M4 Ten-Speed Pouch. That is tiny!

There are two options. The EDC Pocket Kit is the more complete but larger kit of the two. The Minimalist Pocket Kit is extremely compact but fairly spartan in terms of contents as you might guess from the name.


EDC Pocket Kit (3″ x 6″ x 1.2″):

  • (1) Celox Rapid 24″
  • (1) Exam Gloves, Pair Size L
  • (1) CLEER Medical Easy Tape
  • (1) RATS Tourniquet
  • (1) LokSak bag (which can double as a small occlusive dressing)


Minimalist Pocket Kit (3″ x 4.5″ x .96″):

  • (1) Celox Rapid 24″
  • (1) Exam Gloves, Pair Size L
  • (1) CLEER Medical Easy Tape
  • (1) LokSak bag (which can double as a small occlusive dressing)

Check out the new pocket kits at CLEER Medical.


AWS LAB – New Pouches and Kryptek Highlander Option

AWS recently introduced their Light Assaulter Belt or LAB. The strength of this belt is its price and quality along with the unique way it can be purchased with all of the pouches you need as a turn-key system. I have not put hands on one but a good friend has and he is very pleased with it.

AWS has now announced that the LAB is available in a limited edition Kryptek Highlander colorway and that they have added new pouch options. They have also released a new image of the belt that shows several of the available colors and pouch options.

Check out the LAB at AWS Inc.

aws belt


H.R.378 – Responsible Body Armor Possession Act

Representative Honda (Democrat, California) has introduced H.R.378, the so-called Responsible Body Armor Possession Act (click to view the full text).

APC with chest rig attached

This bill is restricts the sale of armor Type III and higher (see the NIJ’s PDF outlining the rating system referenced by the bill) to approved groups like law enforcement and imposes potential penalties like a fine, up to 10 years in prison, or both on those who violate its terms.

This is, of course, utter nonsense and holds no real public safety value. In fact, it stands to endanger more people than it ever protects. It is hard to wrap your mind around how backwards the idea of restricting the sale of safety equipment to protect people really is.

Start contacting your Representatives now. The House of Representatives website makes it easy. Tell them you intend to make you own health and safety decisions and that will responsibly possess body armor as you see fit.


Guest Post – The Importance of a Public Knife for EDC by Mark Greenman

Mark Greenman is the editor of Good-Kit and the founder of Gearward – an online retailer with all kinds of unique and useful EDC gear. His article on the “public knife” concept gelled some ideas that I have been knocking around in my own mind for some time. I found this article to be excellent and asked him to publish here on JTT.

Like Mark, I prefer to carry a smaller, more palatable knife but my reasons are different (and more selfish). I don’t necessarily feel burdened to represent all knife carriers with the knife that I carry but I do prefer to remain as anonymous as possible. That is hard to do when you pull out your Throat Slasher 5000 folding knife at a restaurant just to remove a string from your cuff.

His point about knives only being small and large in the eyes of the uninitiated is well taken. That Spyderco Delica that you think looks small and discreet might as be a machete when you take it out at the office to open a box.

Thank you Mark for allowing me publish this article here on JTT.

The Importance of a Public Knife for EDC

On the forums, I frequently hear about people getting bad reactions when they use their knives in public. Conversely, I use my knives frequently, and almost never get a negative reaction.

While I bemoan the rise of a “sheeple” society afraid of inanimate objects, their reactions are not always unreasonable. For example, if I’m just hanging out at the mall, and a guy I don’t know flips out a 4” tactical knife, you better believe I’m going to be keeping my eye on him. And I’m a straight up knife nerd/blogger whose been carrying since I was 4 years old.

Are we really surprised that the uninformed and unarmed might be a bit shaded out by the sudden presence of a large blade?

Which gets to the crux of this article: people are not scared of knives. They’re scared of large knives that have no apparent purpose.

First off, what constitutes a large knife? Well, for 90% of the public, the answer is “any knife that isn’t small.” For you and I, knives come in small, medium, and large. However, for the general public, there is only small and large. That nice, medium sized folder you carry is a large knife in their eyes, and the large folding knives I favor are veritable swords.

That’s because these folks have not had any positive experiences with EDC knives. Much like most anti-gunners have never been to the shooting range, most “sheeple” have never seen a reasonable knife used for a reasonable task.

The trick to having positive public knife use, and winning these folks over to our side, is to get our foot in the door is by using reasonable knives for reasonable purposes.

The “foot in the door phenomenon” is defined as “people’s tendency to comply more readily with a large request if they have already agreed to a smaller favor.” The knife equivalent then is to have people become comfortable with small knives, so that they will be more receptive to larger knives down the road.

Let me give you a personal example. I was traveling in Europe, which is about as anti-knife a continent as exists, and I needed to cut up a lime for drinks. I was in a mixed group of travelers I just met. Now, I was carrying two folders: my 3.75” Pacific Salt, and my 1.75” Spyderco Ladybug.

I pulled out the Ladybug, and quickly cut the lime. One of the girls commented that, while she had never really considered it before, she now saw the obvious utility of having a knife. Now, had I whipped out my much larger Pac Salt, do you think I would have gotten as positive as a reaction, even though the cutting task itself was identical?

A few days later, that girl’s sandal broke, and I needed to split the sole in half so that I could repair it. This required a much sturdier knife, so I pulled out my Pacific Salt, and once again, there was no negative reaction, because she was now accustomed to knives being used for utility, and this task clearly necessitated a larger knife.

The point I’m driving at is that if we want people to view carrying a knife as reasonable, we need to use a knife commensurate with the task. If it’s a small task, we should use a small knife. And if it’s a big task, we should use a big knife.

Using the right knife for the task wins people to our side.

While using too large a knife just makes us look weird.

When it comes to opening a letter or slicing open a box, it’s important we select the right tool for the job. Which of these should you use to open a difficult candy bar in a crowded lunchroom?

Public Knife selection:
To compliment your larger EDC knife, I recommend carrying a “public knife,” which is small enough to be socially acceptable everywhere. That means that the knife should have a 2” blade or less.

I have used all of these knives in public, and no one has ever become alarmed:

However, it’s more than size alone. The knife also has to look friendly. While these knives have 2” blades, their appearance is distinctly menacing, which defeats the point of the Public Knife.

Since you will be using your Public Knife quite a bit, I recommend purchasing something that offers both high performance, and elegant looks. You want something that you will enjoy using, and something you would be proud to show off.

My personal preference is for the Spyderco Manbug G10. It’s a bit pricey for such a small knife, but it’s extremely well made, with a full flat ground VG10 blade that offers excellent edge retention and sharpness. The result is a 2” knife that can out cut many 3” folders on the market today.

Meanwhile, the G10 handle has refined ergonomics that fit the first three fingers perfectly. With the addition of a small lanyard, you can have a full, secure grip, while still fitting in the change pocket of your jeans.

If the Mangug is too pricey, I suggest the Spyderco Ladybug, which is the original version of the Manbug. While not as classy, it still offers tremendous cutting potential, at half the cost. I personally recommend the SE version if you don’t know how to sharpen, as it works better on boxes.

If you’re looking for something for your keychain, I recommend the Leatherman Squirt. It’s incredibly useful, and people I show it to love it.


Medford Knife and Tool – New Site

I can’t help but be a fan of Medford Knife and Tool. Greg Medford, the owner of Medford Knife and Tool, gets it. He operates a small business doing innovative things, creating jobs, making the types of products that Americans can be proud of, and he takes every opportunity that he can to talk about the ideals of the American craftsman.

Medford Knife and Tool just rolled out their new website. The new site has information on current knives and some of their new for 2015 models like the Tomahatchet and Tomahawk Axe.

Tomahatchet Wrapped Side 1


Blue Force Gear – New for 2015

Larry Vickers visited Blue Force Gear at SHOT Show 2015 and received a first look at a ton of new gear being released this year. The video shows the new belt pouches that have already been announced but also gives a glimpse of an upcoming belt and the new AK sling based on the success of the limited editions that were released last year.

As a big fan of Blue Force Gear’s packs and Dapper system, I think the biggest new in the video is the return of the Micro DAP Pack with some new features and an affordable price. I know that the Dappers themselves are also being redesigned and released. I have put hands on them and they have been improved in a big way. Stay tuned for more.


Mega Arms Wedge Lock Hand Guard

Mega Arms has released details of their first stand alone free-float hand guard, the Wedge Lock Hand Guard. The hand guard will feature a titanium barrel nut to keep the weight down and reduce heat transfer to the hand guard. It will also be M-LOK compatible.

Mega Arms machines the Wedge Lock hand guards from 7075 aluminum extrusions. They are designed to be thin, light, and strong. Eventually, this hand guard will be released for the AR-10 but initially, 5 lengths are planned for AR-15 pattern rifles:

  • Carbine = 7 inches, $249 (all prices are MSRP)
  • Mid length = 9 inches, $272
  • Rifle length = 12 inches, $295
  • Extended Rifle lenght = 14 inches, $326
  • Mega Extended = 16 inches, $357

mega wedge lock 1 mega wedge lock nut


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