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Author Archive | Matt

Review: Magpul MVG

The Magpul MVG (Magpul Vertical Grip) is a vertical grip that is designed to attach directly to the Magpul MOE Hand Guards. It attaches to the hand guards via a threaded post and a washer. It is prevented from spinning by two thick plastic tabs that lock into the slots in the MOE hand guards. There is no rail section needed which keeps the parts count down (fewer that can break at the wrong time) and it keeps weight down. The MVG attaches very securely and feels rock solid once it is attached. The bottom section of the MOE Hand Guards contains a metal heat shield which helps reinforce the MVG.

I have also seen the MVG adapted to work with other hand guards like the Troy VTAC Extreme and JP/VTAC hand guards. There may be some fitting required but those who have completed this modification have been pleased with the results.

The texture on the MVG is very well executed. The sides of the MVG have a fine texture that is similar to the sides of the Magpul MIAD. The front and back of the grip has horizontal lines that promote grip and control.

The shape of the MVG works very well with a thumb-forward grip. Many vertical grips have a larger, flared section where the grip meets the rail which can actually get in the way of a thumb-forward grip. The MVG has a fairly uniform size from top to bottom which seems to work best with this type of grip.

The MVG is an excellent addition to the MOE Hand Guard. It, along with the Mount-N-Slots from Impact Weapon Components, have turned the MOE Hand Guards into a fully functional alternative to more expensive rail systems. Magpul has really done an excellent job at offering solid gear at a very attractive price with their MOE line.

The MVG used for this review was provided by Impact Weapon Components.

Mountain Ridge Gear Redesigns Their Tactical Messenger Bag

Mountain Ridge Gear, maker of top quality nylon gear like the previously reviewed Tactical Man Purse, just introduced an updated version of their Tactical Messenger Bag. This bag looks much like any other messenger bag on the outside but offers bullet proof construction and some very well versatile organization. Like all other Mountain Ridge Gear bags, they are made right here in the USA by a real craftsman. The price will surprise you (in a good way) for a bag of this quality.

Check out the Mountain Ridge Gear website for more pictures, information, and pricing.

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Veteran's Day

Veterans, thank you for your service to this country.

But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for,

Is their monument to-day, and for aye.

Thomas Dunn English

BAD-ASS-ST – New Short Throw Selector from Battle Arms Development

The Battle Arms Development – Ambidextrous Safety Selector – Short Throw (BAD-ASS-ST) is now available for purchase. If you thought the original BAD-ASS was a game changer, wait until you see the shock wave that the BAD-ASS-ST sends through the industry. The “ST” in BAD-ASS-ST stands for short throw. This selector is designed to rotate only 45 degrees instead of the 90 degrees that most standard selectors rotate.

As cool as the short throw concept is, in the litigious society that we live in, it does create some liability issues for Battle Arms Development (read more in their Industry Forum). So, these will come with a pin that blocks the installation of the selector in a standard lower. Battle Arms Development can not recommend modifying the BAD-ASS-ST to work with standard lowers (there will be lowers made specifically for this selector).

I have one of these inbound for review so stay tuned.

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TUFF Products Quick Strips

Carrying a small frame revolver is a compromise. You are trading some capability for conceal-ability. The same holds true for Quick Strips. Speed loaders definitely offer faster reloads because they reload the entire cylinder all at once but they are bulky. Quick Strips can reload only two chambers at a time but they lay flat which makes them much easier to carry.

I have been using the TUFF Products Quick Strips for a year now and they have proven to be durable, reliable, and easy to use. They hold the spare ammunition securely while still allowing the ammunition to be removed easily when executing the reload. With training, the shooter can become quite proficient with them and there are techniques that can be learned to get you back into the fight faster (like “load 2, shoot 2”).

You can read more about the TUFF Products Quick Strips on the TUFF Products website.

Click on any image to enlarge it.

The textured tab makes "ripping" the strip away from the cylinder easier.

The Quick Strips hold your spare ammo securely until it is time to reload. The inline design makes them very easy to carry.

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Review: Princeton Tec MPLS Switch

Flexibility. It’s what the Princeton Tec MPLS Switch is all about. Flexibility in the sense that the neck of the MPLS Switch can be bent in order to point the light where ever you need it. Flexibility in the sense that the MPLS Switch is versatile enough to be used for a variety of tasks. The MPLS Switch is a flexible light in more ways than one.

The MPLS' flexible neck is what makes it most noticeably unique. Click any image in this review to enlarge.

Overview

The MPLS Switch is a small, hands-free, personal flashlight that can be mounted in a variety of ways. It is a task light, not a tactical light. The MPLS Switch is useful for short range illumination tasks like navigating indoors or reading a map. It features a simple 1 button user interface and a long flexible neck that allows the user to aim the light where ever it is needed without having to hold the light. The MPLS Switch is an updated version of the original MPLS which features 2 LEDs instead of 1. My particular MPLS Switch has 1 red and 1 white LED (other colors will be available).

Stats:

  • Weight: 17 grams without mount
  • Batteries: 2x 2016 coin cell
  • LED Color: multiple combinations available
  • Body Color: Black, Tan, or OD Green
  • Price: $39.99

Mounts

MPLS stands for Modular Person Lighting System – a very fitting name. 4 different modular mounts comprise the MPLS’ system. Each one has a specific use. The MPLS Switch comes packaged with 2 of the 4 mounts: the MOLLE mount and the helmet mount. The MOLLE mount allows the MPLS Switch to be mounted on any 1″ webbing like MOLLE webbing. This allows the user to place the light on a chest rig, carrier, or even the sternum strap of a backpack. It can be mounted on any 1″ webbing. The helmet mount works on the current US Military helmet.

The MPLS mounts easily to any 1" webbing which includes MOLLE webbing.

There is also an Accessory Pack that is available for separate purchase which consists of 2 additional mounts. One of these mounts is designed to attach the MPLS Switch to the “reverse picatinny” rail of the OPS-CORE helmet. The other mount is designed to attach the MPLS Switch to a standard picatinny rail. This would allow you to attach it to the railed hand guard of your carbine and use it as a discreet navigation light.

The main body of the MPLS Switch can be moved from mount to mount just by twisting the light free from the mount and twisting it into the next mount. The attachment method is simple and secure.

The body of the light simply twists into the mount.

The MPLS comes with 2 mounts: a MOLLE mount (top) and a helmet mount (bottom).

Flexible Neck

The flexible neck is key to the MPLS Switch’s usefulness. It is 1 3/4″ long and allows the light to be aimed in nearly any direction. Once you have the MPLS Switch mounted on your gear, there is very little reason to move it because it can be aimed in nearly any direction.

2 LEDs

The original MPLS had 1 LED. Now the MPLS Switch features 2 LEDs. The one being reviewed here has a red LED and a white LED. Other combinations will be available as well, including IR LEDs for use with night vision equipment. Having 2 different colors of light available at your finger tips really adds to the versatility of this light.

The newest version of the MPLS features two LEDs.

Simple Operation

The MPLS Switch is exceedingly simple to operate. There is one switch that controls the entire light. When the light is turned on it will be in low red mode (or other color depending on model). If the user presses the bottom again quickly, the light will switch to high red mode. If the button is not pressed within about 2 seconds, the next click will turn the light off. If, at any time, the user presses and holds the button, the light will switch to white mode. The next click in white mode, turns the light off. It only takes a moment to learn how to control the MPLS Switch.

It is obvious that a lot of thought went into this interface. The switch is designed to minimize the likelihood an accidental discharge of white light and the light can be turned off quickly from either of the two modes. These two features will be key to military users.

In Use

The MPLS Switch is a joy to use. It is so small and light weight that you hardly notice it until you need it.

The low red mode is very low which makes it excellent for use when you want to maintain your dark adjusted vision. Many lights don’t make the lowest mode low enough but the MPLS Switch gets it right. It attaches easily to the straps of many backpacks and is the perfect light for reading a map after the sun is falling behind the hills. The white mode is surprisingly bright. It is more than enough light to navigate through a dark room.

The 1 button user interface couldn’t be better. It makes moving between the two color outputs very simple. I was able to learn how to use the button very quickly and soon I was selecting the mode that I wanted without having to think about it. This light really allows to concentrate on the task at hand, rather than pressing buttons or holding the light.

My favorite use of the MPLS Switch was clipped to the map holder that I use when I am hiking or orienteering. The flexible neck allowed me to aim the light in such a way that a specific area of the map was illuminated or it could be bent in such a way that nearly the entire map was illuminated. It is brilliant as a map light but that is only scratching the surface of the uses for a light this versatile.

The MPLS makes an excellent map light.

Conclusion

The MPLS Switch is flexible, literally and figuratively. Its versatility comes from its flexible neck, 2 LEDs, numerous mounts, and simple operation. It can be attached in a number of useful ways and aimed just about anywhere. This light would be at home on any hiker, hunter, or soldier’s gear.

Thank you Princeton Tec for providing this new version of the MPLS Switch for review.

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Solve Sling Mounting Problems with the UWL

Sometimes finding a satisfactory way to mount a sling can be problematic on many firearms. Your firearm may not have a factory provided sling mount or a place to attach a rail mount. Even if there is a sling mount, it may not be in the location that you prefer.

The Universal Wire Loop (UWL) from Blue Force Gear solves sling mounting problems. The UWL consists of two parts: a coated steel cable and a hard anodized aluminum sling loop. It comes in two lengths (I find the longer one more versatile). The user simply wraps the UWL around anything that is available, then wraps the aluminum sling loop through the wire loop, then attach the sling of your choice. It is that easy.

I have used the UWL to attach a sling between the delta ring and upper receiver of an AR-15. This is a great way to mount the sling close to the receiver for those who like standard hand guards. It can be wrapped through a fore end rail or through the front sight base. I have seen it wrapped through the sling mount on the handguard retainer cap of an AK-47 and then passed between the gas tube and barrel to make a left side sling mount. The applications are just about limitless.

The UWL is the kind of thing that every one should have tucked away somewhere for those times when you just can’t figure out a way to attach a sling to something. This is one versatile piece of gear.

Check them out at Brownells: Universal Wire Loop Short and Universal Wire Loop Long

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Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot

Impact Weapon Components continues to expand their Mount-N-Slot line of accessories with the addition of the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot. The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot is essentially a hand stop that is designed to attach directly to the hand guard, without the need for a rail. Hand stops have become extremely popular lately as an alternative to a vertical forward grip.

The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot will be available in three different versions – for the MOE, for 2″ diameter tubular hand guards like the JP/VTAC, and for 1.75″ diameter tubular hand guards like the Troy TRX Extreme.

You can visit the Impact Weapon Components’ Industry Forum on AR15.com for more information. While you are there, check out all the new Mount-N-Slots that were released last weekend. Check out the Weapon Control MOUNT-N-SLOT on ImpactWeaponsComponents.com. Remember to use the discount code “triggerjerk” for 5% off at ImpactWeaponsComponents.com.

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Magpul Dynamics Art of the Dynamic Shotgun – Outtakes

Check out the Magpul Dynamics crew cutting up on the shoot of their latest instructional DVD, Art of the Dynamic Shotgun.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0K4Vpp6UFI]

Review: Multitasker TUBE

It isn’t always practical to carry a fully stocked tool box to the range and it is almost never practical to carry one into the field. However, if you have been shooting very long, you have probably run into a problem on the firing line that makes you wish you had a tool box with you. In that moment, when your carbine seems to be coming apart in your hands, you can either put it up for the day or you can reach for your Multitasker Tool.

Multitasker Tools offers multi-functional tools that are specifically designed with AR-15 shooters in mind. I first became aware of them a couple of years ago when they started offering a multi-tool (the type that folds open into needle nose pliers) that was specifically designed to service the AR-15. It was the first of its kind to my knowledge and it made some serious waves on AR-15 related forums. Since that time Multitasker Tools has continued to innovate and improve their compact, portable, and multi-functional tools, which brings us to the subject of this review – The Multitasker TUBE.

The Multitasker TUBE's pen-like form factor makes it easy to carry. Click to enlarge.

The Multitasker TUBE is a modular, expandable, and functional AR-15 tool set that, when fully assembled, is little bigger than a Sharpie Marker. Even if you add the optional Expansion Pack (and you should) it is still only about as big as two double stack pistol magazines. You may not be able to carry a complete tool box, but you can always find room for the Multitasker TUBE.

In this review, I will be looking at the Multitasker TUBE and the Expansion Pack as a total package. The TUBE is a pen shaped tool that can be unscrewed into three main pieces and provides a ton of functionality on its own. The Expansion Pack is a specially designed carrying case, a set of ¼” screwdriver bits, and a holder for the bits. When you combine the TUBE and Expansion Pack you end up with a very functional and compact tool kit.

Construction, Fit, and Finish

The TUBE is CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum. It consists of three main sections that are threaded together. The threads operate smoothly and feature an o-ring at each junction to seal out moisture. The finish is hard anodized matte black which very attractive and very durable (a flat dark earth finish is also available). There are also scallops around the center section of the TUBE that improve grip enough to make gloved use possible.

Often, on poorly made aluminum items, the threads will be gritty or undersized and the finish will be thin in spots, especially on the corners. The Multitasker TUBE exhibits none of these flaws. Instead, the TUBE shows excellent quality and attention to detail. For instance, the pocket clip is not just attached with a screw, there is actually a shallow recess that the clip sits in. This allows the body of the TUBE to absorb some of the stress that light prying would otherwise put completely on the screw.

The construction and quality remind me of a high end flashlight. It is so solid that it would probably make a very decent kubotan in a pinch.

Functions

The MULTITASKER Tube has many functions. Some are obvious. Some are improvised. All are invaluable.

Removing the shorter cap of the TUBE reveals a ¼” magnetic bit holder. This bit holder can hold the well designed front sight tool that is included with the TUBE or any other ¼” bit. The front sight tool can be a finger saver on a cold day. It works perfectly.

The standard 1/4" bit holder makes the TUBE customizable to the user's needs. Click to enlarge.

The included front sight tool works great and definitely beats mangling the tip of a bullet. Click to enlarge.

The Expansion Pack contains a selection of bits that are well suited to a variety of tasks like tightening a scope ring or zeroing an optic. The beauty of this standard sized bit holder is that you can add any ¼” bit that you need. These bits are readily available at hardware stores and firearm oriented bits can be purchased from Brownells. I have several Glock related bits from Brownells that work perfectly with the TUBE.

The cap features a “bump” at the top that functions as a take down pin starter. It allows you to push out a stubborn take down pin far enough to get your fingers on the pin’s domed head or use the pocket clip on the cap to lightly pry under the domed head.

Even the TUBE's cap has multiple uses! Click to enlarge.

The pocket clip, which is made from tough spring steel, also makes an excellent flat head screw driver. It is well sized for adjusting Aimpoints or the older ACOGs with slotted turrets. I found that the clip is tough enough to be used to retract the bolt through the ejection port which is the only way to clear a malfunction where the spent brass finds its way between the bolt and the charging handle. Many trainers suggest keeping a fixed blade knife on your gear to accomplish the task of retracting the bolt so using the pocket clip of the TUBE  can be an attractive, safer option. This is just one of those improvised uses that you will find when you spend some time using the TUBE.

Removing the longer cap of the TUBE reveals a threaded post. This post can be used to attach the included scraper, the included cleaning pick, or the cable from an OTIS cleaning kit (not included).

The TUBE's round scraper tool is very effective at scraping variety of spots on the bolt carrier group. Click to enlarge.

The pick is perfectly shaped for cleaning around the bolt lugs or hooking the firing pin retaining pin. Click to enlarge.

Many scrapers have a flat edge which isn’t really a good choice for the many curved surfaces of the AR-15 bolt and carrier. The TUBE’s scraper is rounded to work with the specific contours and crevices that you have to deal with while cleaning an AR-15 bolt carrier group. I don’t scrape the carbon off my bolt group very often but when I do, it is nice to have a tool that makes it easier. If there is a corner that you can’t clean with the scraper, you can certainly get at it with the pick. The pick’s point is oriented at 90 degrees to the shaft, not a hook like some picks. This makes it much easier to use (especially when you are trying to remove the firing pin retaining cotter pin from your bolt carrier).

The Expansion Pack includes an excellent carrying case, assortment of bits, and bit holder. Click to enlarge.

The Expansion Pack is a very nice addition to the TUBE. The carrying case is made of a semi rigid ballistic nylon type fabric. It is very similar to the Oakley Soft Vaults. There is a single zipper that allows the case open completely and lay flat. Once open, you will find several elastic loops on one side of the case. The largest loop is for the TUBE and the others are for other smaller parts like the pick or OTIS cleaning parts. The opposite side of the case features some mesh dividers. The small mesh slot pocket is perfect for holding the included bits and bit holder. There is a large space behind the mesh that is secured with a hook and loop closure. This space is perfect for storing the OTIS cleaning cable or a multi-tool, like a Multitasker Tool. There is more than enough space in the kit to add several useful items like an extension for the bit driver, a wrench for your LaRue mount, or a small flashlight. The carrying case is versatile enough that it is almost a tool unto itself.

The case neatly organizes the TUBE and its accessories. Click to enlarge.

There is also plenty of space for additional tools. Click to enlarge.

Carrying the TUBE

The TUBE’s biggest strength is its compact size and very light weight. The pocket clip and carrying case make the potential carry methods nearly endless. I found that the entire kit fits nicely into just about any MOLLE utility/admin pouch and it can be used to organize the type of things that you likely already carry in a utility/admin pouch (weapon lube, a light, multitool, etc). If you need to go even lighter than that, you can clip the TUBE into your pocket or a column of MOLLE webbing. The clip provides a very secure hold on the webbing. This is especially handy for those times that you need the TUBE at arms reach like when you are zeroing a new optic.

A tool with all the functions in the world are of no use if you won’t carry it. The TUBE is easy to carry, doesn’t take up much space, and won’t weigh you down.

The TUBE clips securely into a MOLLE column. Click to enlarge.

The carrying case fits the utility pouches of the excellent ATS Low Profile Chest Harness with loads room to spare. Click to enlarge.

Conclusion

The Multitasker TUBE is a worthy addition to any AR-15 shooter’s tool kit. Its extreme versatility and functionality along with it’s compact size and light weight make it perfect for the range or the field. The modular design means you will be finding improvised uses for the TUBE every time you are on the range. It is an excellent compliment to a multi-tool or Swiss Army Knife. The Multitasker TUBE flat out rocks.

Check out the Multitasker Tools Facebook page for all the latest information on their top notch tools. You can purchase your own Multitasker Tube Tool from Brownells.

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