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Author Archive | Matt

Thorntail Light Mount from Haley Strategic Partners and IWC

Sometimes it is hard to keep your mouth shut when you know something really exciting and that was certainly the case with these two new patent pending light mounts, the Dropwing and the Thorntail, from Haley Strategic Partners (HSP) and Impact Weapons Components (IWC). I have known about them for some time now and was sworn to secrecy by my friends at Impact Weapons Components. I will focus on the Thorntail in this post and will have more details on the Dropwing later.

The Thorntail Light Mount allows you to mount your weapon light on a railed hand guard in a position that is well forward of any other mount on the market. It can be placed far enough forward that the light is actually forward of the front sight base.

The ability to position a weapon light this way solves several problems. It clears space on your rail that you should be using to grip your rifle, it reduces shadowing caused by the front sight base, it places the light more in a more ergonomically correct position, and makes shorter rails more comfortable to use.

Your light positioning often dictates where you grip the rifle with your support hand. If you are stuck using a 7.0 rail (carbine gas system) then the Thorntail will be just what the doctor ordered. This light mount can be mounted far enough forward that you will be able to move your grip forward. A forward grip is one key to controlling recoil and the ability to drive the gun quickly from target to target.

Those of you who are running Ultimak or US Palm rails on your AKs will also appreciate the Thorntail. It is low profile enough to keep your field of view uncluttered on the Ultimak gas tube style rails and long enough to provide a lot of extra gripping surface on the short US Palm rails.

The Thorntail light mount will work with nearly every common light mount including the Surefire M300 and M600 Scout Lights, G2, G2L, and G2X.

There has been a need for this mount for a long time. It is going to solve a lot of problems for a lot of people. Look for a full review of this mount coming soon on Jerking the Trigger.

The Thorntail is available for pre-order on Haley Strategic Partner’s website and will be available on Impact Weapons Components’ website soon (remember to use the code “triggerjerk” at checkout to receive 5% off at IWC).

 

Happy Thanksgiving from Jerking the Trigger

This Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for you! Without all you Trigger Jerks out there reading this blog, I wouldn’t be able to do this. Thank you for reading, thank you for supporting the advertisers who support JTT, and thank you for your friendship.

I am also thankful for my advertising partners, many of whom have become friends. It is their support that keeps the light on here at Jerking the Trigger and I am exceedingly thankful for it.

Happy Thanksgiving from Jerking the Trigger!

4Sevens High CRI Lights

4Sevens has introduced a limited run of a handful of their most popular models with special high CRI LEDs. CRI stands for Color Rendering Index and high CRI basically means that these lights put out light that is a similar color temperature to sunlight, thus rendering colors in a very lifelike way.

When LEDs first started finding their way into consumer lighting products, many people were put off by the bright blue coloration of the light that the LEDs produced. This blue light could be somewhat hard on the eyes and could make objects appear flat and lifeless.

LEDs began to improve and the light they produced became whiter, but it still lacked the warmer tones that sunlight contains. Many people think LEDs produce white light, but for the most part they are still lacking the warmer tones of the light spectrum. These missing parts of the spectrum are important for rending colors true to life and for cutting through things like smoke, fog, dust, and mist. High CRI LEDs correct these short comings and allow truer color rendering.

4Sevens has brought this high CRI LED technology to their line of edc flashlights. Sadly, none of their tactical lights have received the high CRI treatment. This type of light makes good sense for the military, law enforcement and the armed citizen since it cuts through a variety of environmental conditions more effectively and it makes potential threats appear less flat and more lifelike, thus allowing them to stand out more from their environment. Hopefully we can look forward to more high CRI options from 4Sevens.

You can check out all of the limited edition lights are 4Sevens.com.

Blind Horse Knives Outdoors Machete

I am a big fan of machetes as survival tools. Many people think that machetes are only useful for the thin, springy vegetation found in tropical environments but that isn’t the case at all. They can be use for many of the same tasks that you would use a hatchet for while still being useful for knife tasks. One of the more interesting machetes that I have seen lately is the Blind Horse Knives (BHK) Outdoors Machete.

BHK has machete blade blanks made to their specs from 1075 carbon steel which is a great steel for machetes. They finish the blade with a great edge, micarta handles, and a very nice kydex sheath. The sharpened edge is 12 3/8″ long and the overall length is 19 3/8″ long.

The Outdoors Machete has one of the most versatile handle shapes that I have ever seen. It is extra long so that the user can hold lower on the handle to increase chopping leverage. It also features finger grooves that allow you to choke up for finer, more detailed cuts. The handle also features two different lanyard attachment points – one close to the butt of the handle and one closer to the blade.

BHK also brings the sharpened edge much closer to the handle than is typical for a machete. This greatly improves the ability to make controlled cuts when you are trying to do tasks like notching a stick for a dead fall or making a feather stick for fire prep. The blade shape itself should lend itself to many tasks and the spine is squared for use with a firesteel. Many machetes have rounded spines that won’t spark a firesteel.

As you can see, a lot of details went into this design to make it better than the average machete as a survival tool and that is really saying something since just about any old $5 machete is a pretty darn good survival tool. If you are looking for a machete for your next woods bumming trip, check out the BHK Outdoors Machete.

Review: Shellback Tactical Banshee Plate Carrier

The Shellback Tactical Banshee Plate Carrier (PC) is a relatively new PC that has been making some serious waves thanks to its combination of quality, comfort, function, and very reasonable price.

This PC is making a name for itself.

Quality and Construction

No one would care about an inexpensive PC if it was poorly made. The Banshee is certainly not poorly made. The stitching is straight and perfectly executed. The seams are double, triple, even quadruple stitched in places. The drag handle is attached with 2 huge box stitches. The webbing is straight and even with very beefy bar tacks. All of the large hook and loop fields that create the cummerbund closure are reinforced with extra stitching. It is constructed from 1000D nylon throughout.

This is an inexpensive PC but it certainly isn’t a cheap PC. The Banshee will change what you expect from PCs in this price range.

Features

The feature list on the Banshee is lengthy. I will not hit on everything but I will expand on few things that make it great.

The padding on the Banshee is very well executed. There is a balance that must be struck between comfort and low-profile and the Banshee finds that balance. There is thin padding in the plate pockets that is about 1/8″ thick which is not so much that it adds a lot of bulk, but it does serve to take the pain out of the corners of your plate rubbing against your shoulder blades. The padding in the shoulder pads is slightly thicker and really makes the Banshee very comfortable.

The outer cummerbund is secured with a fairly typical flap closure.

The cummerbund design on the Banshee is quite good and very versatile. There is an inner and outer cummerbund that can be used in conjunction with one another or independently. The inner cummerbund is removable and is made from 1″ webbing and features a side release buckle on both sides. The outer cummerbund is also removable and uses a typical hook and loop flap type closure. It is covered with MOLLE webbing inside for attaching side plate carriers and outside for attaching pouches. The outer cummerbund is adjustable for girth via a section of shock cord which is hidden inside the sleeve that holds the cummerbund to the carrier. The outer cummerbund can also be opened to install soft armor. This set up allows you to run just the inner cummerbund when you need a lower profile carrier or to use the outer cummerbund when you need to have more space for gear. It works quite well.

This hidden side release buckle is pretty clever.

The shoulder straps have some nice features. As I mentioned before, the padding is very well done. The way that Shellback Tactical covers the side release buckle is also very clever. This covered buckle allows you to shoulder your rifle like the buckle isn’t even there. There is webbing on the shoulder pads that can be used for routing comms or hydration tubes. I wish the elastic loops were just a bit wider but they work.

The kangaroo pouch can be made more useful with the purchase of accessories.

There is also a kangaroo pouch that can be used to carry additional magazines (there is a mag pouch insert in the works) or as a general purpose pouch (an insert is available now). Other features include plenty of loop material for attaching name tapes and patches and a reinforced drag handle.

In Use

The Banshee PC really shines when you run it through its paces. It is so compact that it really feels more like a chest rig than a plate carrier. It is exceedingly compact and quite lightweight considering that is made from 1000D nylon throughout. A 500D option would be really nice.

The plate pockets are designed for 10×12 plates and have plenty of space for soft armor with most plates. The TAP Gamma plates that I have are a near perfect fit.

The shoulder pads sit well on the shoulders without binding, pinching, or rolling. They are spaced well to keep them off your neck. The shoulder pad design makes it very easy to get the plate pockets high enough to provide full coverage. The Banshee rides nice and high, just like it should.

There are no surprises when shouldering a rifle. The compact size of the Banshee really keeps it out of the way of your buttstock as much as possible. All plate carriers are going to change the way that you use your rifle. The best ones will change it as little as possible. The Banshee is one of the best that I have used.

You can see how the front flap tucks under the plate carrier and how the plates are secured in the plate pockets.

Donning and doffing is fairly easy, especially if you are just using the outer cummerbund. The front flap tucks up under the plate which can be a bit of a pain and seems unnecessary but it is easily released by pulling the tab down. It is a minor annoyance, but I suppose it does add some extra security to keep the flap from opening at an inopportune time.

There is plenty of shock cord provided to adjust the outer cummberbund.

The shock cord on the outer cummerbund lets you adjust it so it rides fairly snug while still allowing for some expansion for breathing – even heavy breathing if you are running drills. Since this cummerbund has very little structure without soft armor inserts, running the cummerbund fairly snug helps keep the pouches from sagging. ThereĀ  is quite a bit of adjustment so it fits over layered clothing very easily.

The outer cummerbund is attached to the PC via a sleeve on the back plate pocket.

You might find that the cummerbund wants to slip to one side or the other. This can be solved easily with the addition of a shock cord loop that ties the webbing on the cummerbund to the webbing on the carrier. This locks the cummerbund in place while still providing the necessary flex and movement.

The inner cummerbund can be used independent of the outer cummerbund, in conjunction with the outer cummerbund, or removed completely.

The inner cummerbund is difficult to adjust when you are wearing the PC, because the location of the strap ends make them awkward to pull. It may break in but mine hasn’t so far. If you attach the straps of the inner cummerbund so that you adjust by pulling the webbing ends forward, it helps, but that makes it more difficult to buckle.

The split shoulder pad set up will work for most but might leave some users without padding on their shoulders.

The shoulder strap design does leave a little to be desired. The padded portions are split so that half are on the front and half are on the back. This isn’t an issue for me, but larger users may find that there isn’t much padding on their shoulders if there is any at all. This can be solved by purchasing the new accessory shoulder pads. I also find that the shoulder strap webbing slips a bit over time so you may want to use some good quality tape, like the tape from Battle Systems, to secure the straps.

Conclusion

The Banshee PC, like all things made by man, isn’t perfect, but overall it is the best value that I know of in plate carriers. I typically do not make such a big deal about price on this blog since I prefer to leave it up to you, the reader, to decide what something is worth. However, in this case, the price is part of what defines the Banshee though it isn’t what the Banshee is all about. The Banshee PC isn’t a great PC for the price. It is just a great PC.

Now is a great time to think about purchasing a Banshee from Shellback Tactical. Their upcoming Black Friday sale will let you pick one up at 35% off the already reasonable price (find more details on their Facebook page). You can also check it out at SKDTAC.com.

There is plenty of loop material for attaching name tapes and patches.

Safariland Model 71 Magazine Pouch

The new Model 71 Injection Molded Single Magazine Pouch is a very, very interesting item. It has a unique “accordion” design that gives it some big time versatility.

The Model 71 Magazine Pouch is injected molded with a unique accordion design molded into the sides of the pouch. This allows the magazine to flex enough to hold something as thin as a 1911 magazine and as large as a Glock 21 magazine. It can even provide enough tension to hold odd shaped items like flashlights and multi-tools.

The fact that is injection molded means that it can be made and sold inexpensively and in different colors. The Model 71 is available in black and Flat Dark Earth. I am really impressed with this pouch for the price.

Check theĀ Model 71 Injection Molded Single Magazine Pouch out on Safariland’s website.

Tactical Handyman: “Scotch” Tape Light Diffuser

This may be the simplest Tactical Handyman DIY post yet but it is a pretty handy trick. I am going to show you how to do something that you already have around the house, transparent “Scotch” tape, to enhance the functionality of your flashlight.

Many LED flashlights today have beams that are too narrow for certain tasks. Sometimes it is more important to have a diffused light that lights abroad area. A narrow beam is great for illuminating objects in the distance but not as helpful if you are trying to look at a map right in front of your face or do a task at arms length like reassembling a rifle in the field. Fortunately, you don’t have to buy a new light to get a wider beam profile. All you need is a bit of tape (not duct tape, surprisingly).

Here is what you will need:

  1. A thin bladed knife with a fine point
  2. Transparent tape with a frosted finish aka “Scotch” tape

Instructions

The procedure for applying the tape is simple. Apply some tape to the lens of the flashlight then carefully trim the tape to size with your knife. That’s it.

It is extremely easy, but there are some cautions to keep in mind:

  • Many lights have plastic lenses, so use a very light hand when trimming the tape to avoid scratching the lens.
  • Use quality tape. Cheap tape will leave more residue and will lose its stickiness over time.
  • You may also want to change the tape every once in a while. Some tapes can become tacky or brittle over time.
  • I wouldn’t try this on weapon lights that are mounted near the muzzle. The tape can melt so I would hate to see what hot gasses coming from the muzzle would do to it.

If you want to retain some of your light’s throw, you can cover just a portion of the lens with tape. This will diffuse part of the beam but leave the rest of the beam untouched. You can also try layering the tape to diffuse the beam even more but keep in mind that you are losing output with each layer.

Next time you are frustrated with the narrow beam of your flashlight, try this quick and dirty trick to diffuse your light. It is a really only a temporary fix, but it works. Try it.

 

SSV Tactical Holster from FirstSpear

Sometimes the best way to make a new piece of gear is to combine features from proven pieces gear. It doesn’t hurt if there is a dash of innovation thrown in for good measure. That is certainly the case with the SSV Tactical Holster from FirstSpear.

Safariland’s SLS holsters have been the standard by which all other tactical holsters are measured for years. The SLS retention system has proven to be fast, durable, and reliable and the holsters have adapted well to the increasingly more common use of tactical lights. The SSV Tactical Holster starts with the proven Safariland SLS holster and adds a couple of innovative features to make an entirely new holster.

The most obvious of those innovative features is the nylon wrap on the kydex holster body. The nylon helps to quiet the rattles and thumps that can sometimes happen with these holsters. It is also a really clever and extremely durable way to apply a camo pattern like Multicam to the body of the holster. I typically apply some rattle can camo to my Safariland holsters but this method of using nylon will stand up to far more abuse. Long after any type of paint coating has worn off, this nylon wrap should still be going strong.

The SSV has a unique hybrid mounting system. It uses the UBL which is a very popular mounting option from Safariland for good reason. It lowers and offsets the holster just enough to clear a MOLLE belt or backpack hip belt without extending the draw stroke any further than needed. However, in my experience, the UBL can allow the holster to pivot on the belt slightly during the draw stroke which can cause the gun to bind. This seems to be more pronounced with handguns with a tactical light attached. When I was using a Safariland with UBL, I had trained myself to pull the butt of the gun in during the draw stroke which ensured a smooth straight draw. First Spear cured this issue by adding a leg strap to the holster. This ties the holster down and prevents it from rotating which prevents binding. The leg strap is removable if you prefer to use the holster without one.

From top to bottom, the SSV Tactical Holster looks sorted out. It is new, but, thanks to its use of the Safariland SLS holter body, it is also already proven. This is exactly the holster that I would build if I had the forethought and resources to build one. I am seriously impressed. I might be the first one in line when this is finally available to order.

Check out the SSV Tactical Holster from FirstSpear.

Strike Hard Gear AK-47 Chest Rig

In the past, it was a real challenge to find modern AK-47 load bearing gear like pouches and chest rigs. Fortunately for American AK shooters, there are more options than ever and the list seems to be growing constantly. Add the Strike Hard Gear AK-47 Chest Rig to that ever growing list.

This chest rig has some interesting features that set it apart from other rigs that I have seen. It holds 4 magazines in integral shingle type pouches across the front of the rig. Strike Hard Gear also sells an optional 4 magazine shingle that is designed to bolt right onto the front to expand the capacity to 8 magazines. I really like this expandable approach.

Like many chest rigs on the market, this one has storage inside the body of the chest rig. This storage can be used for everything from a tube of lithium grease to keep your AK running smooth, to maps, pens, first aid gear, or whatever else you need. However, the AK-47 Chest Rig from Strike Hard Gear breaks this storage pouch into 3 separate compartments – 1 large and 2 smaller. The largest pouch is in the center of the rig, behind the magazines and is large enough to carry 4 additional magazines. The two smaller pouches are on the outer edges of the rig and can be used to secure a radio or handgun to name a couple of items.

This rig also features full MOLLE coverage for adding additional pouches, shock cord magazine retention, and a padded “X” harness with plenty of adjustment. This looks to be a really full featured rig for the price.

You can check it out at the Strike Hard Gear website.

A-TACS FG

I am not sure that I have ever seen a more anticipated camouflage pattern than A-TACS FG which was officially released today.

The A-TACS FG (foliage green) is not simply re-coloration of the original A-TACS pattern. It is a new pattern that incorporates the same design features of A-TACS but the pattern has been designed to work better in temperate climates. The same “pattern within a pattern” and depth of field that you have come to love from A-TACS is still intact. In spite of the emphasis on green in the new pattern, it still appears to be quite versatile with plenty of lighter greens, tans, and browns. It is an impressive effort.

The BCS Plate Carrier Cumber in A-TACS FG can be seen in this promotional image.

There is already a host of manufacturers on board to create A-TACS FG gear and there are none better than Beez Combat Systems. In fact, their excellent Plate Carrier Cumber can be seen in many of the recently unvieled photos of A-TACS FG. You can already order BCS gear in the new pattern on their site so check out their full line of armor carriers, chest rigs, and other tactical gear.

Check out A-TACS FG on the A-TACS website.

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