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Author Archive | Matt

Good Stuff From Other Blogs

7.62×39 Guide – AK47 Talk – Matt breaks down several of the 7.62×39 offerings that are on the market today. There is great info here about the excellent Wolf Military Classic ammo.

Buying Cheap Gear: Killing Yourself and the American-based Tactical Product Revolution – ITS Tactical – Read this before you cut corners on your gear. Good quality gear costs more money than poor quality gear.

Info Security: Password Complexity: How to Keep Your Crap Safe – Death Valley Magazine – Norm from Normanomiblog continues his great series on Info Security. It is an easy read and well worth your time.

The Citizens Armory

Have you ever spent purchased a $3 trigger pin online and spent $10 for the privilege of having it shipped to your door? Those frustrating days are over. The Citizens Armory stocks AR-15 and Glock (how convenient that those are my two main firearms) small parts and charges reasonable shipping rates starting at just $1.75.

I wish them all the best because this is a much needed service to gun owners everywhere.

Review: Tactical Man Purse and Admin Pouch from Mountain Ridge Gear

There are some items that you can tell are made with confidence inspiring quality just by holding them – a custom 1911, high end custom knives, a fine watch. That tangible feeling of quality can sometimes tell you everything you need to know about a product. It is a sort of 6th sense that can feel the weight of the perfect materials for the job. It can sense the practiced hands of a craftsman honing every detail. It intuitively feels the careful hours that went into creating the item. That is the sort of feeling that you get when you first take the Tactical Man Purse (TMP) from Mountain Ridge Gear (MRG) in your hands. That may sound overly dramatic, but don’t judge until you have held one.

The front bellowed pocket of the TMP has tons of space and gives a low profile look to the bag.

Overview

The Tactical Man Purse is MRG’s entry into the Tactical/EDC bag market. It is basically a briefcase-like design with some serious organization potential. It comes in both a regular and wide version. I was graciously provided the wide version for review along with an Admin Pouch.

Dimensions

  • Volume: 1700 cubic inches
  • Length: 15 inches
  • Height: 12 inches
  • Width: 8 inches

The wide version of the TMP is a full 8" wide.

Materials

The body of the TMP and Admin Pouch is constructed from 1000 denier Cordura nylon. It is a fabric that is well know for its wear resistance and durability while still remaining pliable. It is the perfect fabric for hard use gear.

The interior is constructed mostly of 420 denier pack cloth. Pack cloth is a very durable fabric that is water resistant and somewhat light weight. Many of the surfaces are also lined with pack cloth. It would take you a lifetime to wear a hole in this bag. There is also good use made of a heavy duty mesh material for a “transparent” pocket and para-cord for key loops.

The shoulder strap is nicely padded and can be attached in a number of ways.

The shoulder strap is constructed by a combination of 1″ mil-spec webbing and 1000 denier Cordura nylon. It also uses top quality ITW-Nexus side release buckles to attach to the TMP. The handles on the TMP are constructed from 1″ mil-spec tubular webbing which is another incredibly durable material.

Many of the walls of the TMP contain 1/4″ closed cell foam. This type of foam does not absorb liquids and helps the bag retain its shape. It also gives some protection to the contents of the bag.

The back panel of the TMP is covered with MOLLE webbing. You can also see the attached Admin Pouch and "dock and lock" attachment points.

Fit and Finish

It may seem strange to talk about the fit and finish of a piece of nylon gear, but the term is fitting in the case of the TMP. The materials are top notch and the sewing is impeccable. There are details that are not apparent until you really take an in depth look. Some of the internal pockets have their bottoms sewn to give you slots of varying height. You won’t find a single cloth edge in the entire bag because every edge is covered with a kind of thin webbing or ribbon which also reinforces the stitch. Nearly the entire bag is lined with pack cloth which is both attractive and functional. The MOLLE webbing on the exterior of the bag is straight and perfectly spaced. The details are incredible.

Organization

If you can’t organize your EDC gear in the TMP and Admin Pouch, there is no hope for you. The exterior of the TMP features a huge zipper closure bellowed pocket. It is versatile because it is huge. This pocket is slick on the outside which helps gives the whole bag a low profile look. You can also have an optional Velcro field sewn onto this pocket if you want to attach a morale patch or name tape.

The TMP features a pull-out style pouch that can quickly and easily be installed or removed.

The interior features a slew of well thought out organization features. There are slot pockets of several shapes and sizes. There are slots that would fit pens and pencils, cell phones, PDAs, compasses, paper back books, note pads, multi-tools, and just about anything else you can dream of. Behind the slot pockets there is a large zippered pouch.

The TMP features clamshell style opening to allow full access to its organization features.

There is a large slot pocket that has a small pad of Velcro at the top to keep it closed. This is perfect for carrying a laptop, magazines, books, or binders. There are attachment points for quick detachable pull-out style pouches at the top of this slot pocket. In front of the large slot pocket is a zippered mesh pocket. I really like the use of heavy duty mesh here to allow the user to see what is inside the pouch. The mesh pocket contains para-cord attachments for things like keys.

The TMP has a loop and lanyard for organizing items like keys.

One of my favorite things about the bag is the removable interior strap. It spans the width of the bag’s interior and is removable. It is perfect to use for strapping items like a change of clothes in place. It reminds me of the straps that you typically find inside nicer luggage. Of course, its uses are not limited to clothes. You could strap down a laptop, note book, binder, or anything else you can think of.

The TMP contains more than enough slot pockets to organize your gear.

The Admin Pouch adds a tremendous amount of additional organization capability. Inside you will find more slot pockets of varying sizes and another zippered heavy duty mesh pocket. My favorite feature is the long slender pocket in the crease of the Admin Pouch. It is absolutely perfect for clipping in a Surefire style flashlight.

The Admin Pouch opens fully to give access to its contents.

None of this organization would be nearly as useful as it is if you weren’t able to access the contents. The TMP opens clam shell style allowing full access to every pouch and pocket. The Admin Pouch also opens fully.

If you have a larger, MOLLE covered pack like those from Kifaru, you will appreciate that the TMP has attachment points for “dock and lock” buckles. This system can be made to work with many other brands of bags as well. I tested it with my two Kifaru packs and a Spec Ops THE Pack. This is a very nice capability.

The Admin Pouch can easily be attached or removed thanks to the unique Velcro strap system.

Conclusion

Overall, the TMP and Admin Pouch are excellent. The build quality is second to none, the materials are top notch, and the design is attractive and efficient. If you are used to paying about the same amount of money for bags from other companies that are made over seas, you will be amazed at what this US made bag delivers in terms of quality. The TMP and Admin Pouch combo would make an excellent EDC bag or even a carry on bag for traveling. It has to be held and used to be appreciated.

I would love to see Mountain Ridge Gear add new bags to the line and possibly even new features to this bag. One thing that I would love to see added to the TMP is an internal Velcro field for the use of Velcro back holsters and organizers.

I had a hard time sending this bag back.

You can purchase your own Tactical Man Purse, Admin Pouch, and other well made gear at the Mountain Ridge Gear website.

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Original Magpuls Alternate Use

The Original Magpul was Magpul’s first product which launched them on their way to becoming the giant that they are today. These handy rubber finger loops were designed to be stretched onto the bottom of a magazine creating a loop that would allow the user to quickly extract magazines from magazine pouches. It is basically a more formal approach to the old duct tape and para-cord loop trick that became popular with A.L.I.C.E. gear.

However, I find that because my more modern magazine pouches are cut lower, so I rarely use the finger loop to extract the magazine. It just isn’t necessary. Even though I didn’t use the finger loops, I left the Magpuls on my aluminum magazines because I found that the rubber surface wrapped around the base of the mag really improved grip and the loop acted as a shock buffer when the mags hit the deck during reloads. The problem was that the loops made the magazines longer which could cause issues with some covered mag pouches.

Consider using your Magpuls like the one shown on the right.

My simple solution was to turn the Magpul 90 degrees. I have since come to find out that I am not the first person to do this, so I really can’t claim it as my own idea. The Magpul is stretched so that the loop is running front to back and pulled tight to the magazine base. This cures the pouch fit issues. It also retains the enhanced grip and buffering advantages. In fact, it acts more efficiently as a buffer since now the loop covers nearly the entire baseplate.

The best part is that it enhances the ability of the magazine to be used as a monopod. The 30 round AR-15 magazines lend themselves very well to being used as a monopod, but aluminum GI mags tend to pick up dirt and debris between the magazine body and baseplate. However, with the Magpul turned 90 degrees the baseplate is protected from debris.

I still keep about 40 or so aluminum GI magazines on hand even though I use PMAGs almost exclusively these days. I find that the PMAGs do not really need any grip enhancement or buffering from impact but I wouldn’t run my GI mags without the Magpuls. They really do enhance the function for me and they aren’t terribly expensive.

If you have Magpuls, try turning them 90 degrees. You might like them better that way.

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New Barrel Profiles from BCM

BCM is continues to expand their already broad array of available barrel profiles. They will be releasing 3 new profiles this summer.

  1. 14.5″ Midlength Light Weight
  2. 14.5″ Carbine Light Weight
  3. 16″ M4 SOCOM

I am really excited to try the 14.5″ midlength light weight. It should end up weighing right around 2 pounds 10 ounces give or take a few ounces even with the permanently attached flash suppressor. Couple a light weight upper like that with other light weight components like Magpul MOE hand guards and you would have one very capable, functional, and extremely light weight carbine.

BCM is really positioning themselves as the premier supplier of AR-15 rifles. Their quality is second to none and their array of barrel profiles should satisfy just about anyone.

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BCM EAG Tactical Carbine

Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) makes some of the best AR-15s that money can buy. Pat Rogers of EAG Tactical offers some of the best carbine training that money can buy. EAG also does a lot of T&E on BCM products and highly recommends them. So it seems only natural that the two companies should collaborate on a carbine. Afterall, what good is a great carbine without great training.

The BCM EAG Tactical Carbine is basically set up the way Pat Rogers sets up his own training guns. It features a Magpul MOE stock, Tango Down Battle Grip, Surefire G2 LED in a VTAC mount, Tango Down QD vertical grip, and many other excellent features. All you need to do is drop on an optic (Pat Rogers likes the Aimpoint T1 in a LaRue mount). There will also be some special EAG Tactical markings on the magazine well. The upper will also be available for purchase on it’s own.

Best of all, each package will come with a $200 certificate redeemable for training with EAG Tactical.

Check them out at Bravo Company.

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New Surefire Z2-S

Strobing tactical lights have been en vogue lately and, now that Surefire is on board, it is safe to say it isn’t just a passing fad. Surefire has released the new Z2-S, their first tactical light with a strobe function. It is a single output LED light (160 lumens) with a strobe function that is accessible by triple tapping the tail cap switch. This light also features their excellent “Combat Grip” which allows the user to hold the light several different ways while also holding a handgun. I also find that the rubber rings of the Combat Grip help lock your light into your light pouch for an extra measure of retention.

I have the same issue with this light as I do with most strobing tactical lights. Why don’t they make the strobe light the primary mode? Triple tapping the switch sounds like it might be a tall order under stress, though it really isn’t a big deal since you will still have a 160 lumen wall of light even if you didn’t activate the strobe successfully.

I am certain that this light will be top notch like every other Surefire products.

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Review: Mount-N-Slot Accessories from Impact Weapon Components

The best ideas are often the simplest, especially when it comes to weapon accessories. Nearly anything that you can do to remove weight, bulk, complexity, failure points, and cost from a weapon is a good thing. Mount-N-Slot Direct Attach Mounts successfully do all of those things. Do I have your attention yet?

The Mount-N-Slot experience starts with the box. It looks like any other box on the outside but...

Concept

To understand Mount-N-Slot Direct Attach Mounts, you have to understand Magpul MOE Hand Guards. MOE Hand Guards are plastic hand guards for the AR-15 carbine length gas system (midlength and rifle length hand guards should be out soon) that are slotted in strategic locations in order to provide the user with a means of attaching sections of rail. The rail is then used to attach all the standard necessities like slings and flashlights. The MOE hand guards have become very successful for two simple reasons: they are inexpensive and they work.

Impact Weapon Components (IWC), the creators of the Mount-N-Slot line, build on the success and functionality of the MOE Hand Guards by removing the need for the rail sections. Their mounts are designed to mount directly to the slots in the MOE, FN SCAR, and Bushmaster ACR hand guards. It sounds simple enough, but lets think a moment about what that really means…

  1. Reduced Cost – There is no need to spend extra money on a section of rail to attach to the hand guard. The mounts cost about what you would pay for normal rail mounts.
  2. Reduced Weight – No rails means less weight. Less weight is always a good thing.
  3. Reduced Bulk – The sling mount is 25% lower profile than a sling mount on a rail. This reduces snag points and bulk in general.
  4. Reduced Complexity – When it comes to mechanical objects, especially life saving mechanical objects, it is best to have the least amount of parts possible. When you reduce parts count, you reduce failure points. That is perhaps the most compelling reason to consider the Mount-N-Slot Direct Attach Mounts.

When a company takes this kind of care with their packaging, they have probably taken great care with their products as well.

Execution

A great concept is worthless without great execution and the Mount-N-Slot line delivers. These mounts are beautifully machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and Type III hard anodized right here in the USA. Hard anodization yields a very hard surface that resists scratching. It also gives a matte black finish to the mounts. There are less expensive types of anodizing but they are not nearly as durable.

IWC took great care in the design of these mounts. The threaded holes that the mounting screws engage are all neatly chamfered. All unnecessary material has been milled away to keep weight down. This isn’t apparent until you turn the mount over and see that large hollow areas have been machined into the mount. The mounts also have no hard edges. There isn’t a snag point to be found. There is some serious attention to detail in these mounts.

How sure is IWC that these mounts will function for you? Their warranty holds the answer. If your mount breaks, return it and they will refund your money including shipping fees! I have never heard of a company that will refund your shipping fees. That is an amazing warranty.

Unfold the box further to find the included hex key and information about the product and company. This is some very cool packaging.

Installation

They attach via two  head screws which are provided along with a hex key. You simply place the mount over the slot that you choose, and then screw in both mounting screws with the washers on the inside of the hand guards. A monkey could mount these, though you would probably want to supervise the monkey while it applies the thread locker. I always use a thread locker like Loc-Tite on all screws that will be on my rifle. I would suggest applying some to the provided screws as I would any accessory with screws.

Notice the lack of hard edges. Great care was taken to make sure these mounts were snag free and wouldn't abrade the hand.

In Use

Sometimes, I think the best thing that you can say about a product after you have actually used it is that there were no surprises during that use. They performed as well as they look. There are many products that look cool but end up being useless, non-functional, or, even worse, dangerous on the range. That is not the case with these mounts. They work as advertised.

I was graciously provided one of the new rotation limited QD sling mounts, a 360 degree QD sling mount, and a bipod mount. All three performed admirably.

The new rotation limited sling mount was easily my favorite of the bunch. QD sling mounts without rotation limiters work just fine, but the sling can become twisted, especially when the rifle is not slung. It isn’t as much of an issue when the rifle is slung. The rotation limited model just does away completely with any possibility of the sling twisting. It is a nice feature.

I use the VCAS Sling on most of my rifles. It is a two point design that requires a mounting point somewhere on the hand guards. I mount mine as close to the receiver as possible for both the front and rear mounting points. I find that this allows much more range of motion with the rifle to perform things like malfunction clearances. The Mount-N-Slot sling mounts work perfectly for this style of sling mounting. There are slots on the MOE hand guards that will let you place the Mount-N-Slot sling mounts just about anywhere.

The bipod mount is perfect for those who need a bipod mounted full time on their rifle. It mounts securely to the bottom slots on the MOE hand guards and provides plenty of surface area to contact the bipod. I was pleasantly surprised with how light the bipod mount is. It looks like it could be quite heavy but care was taken to hollow out unnecessary metal from the underside of the mount. I could really see this mount and bipod being ideal on a Bushmaster/Remington ACR with the longer rifle length hand guards or the rifle length MOE hand guards once they are released.

The one thing that I really wanted to check was that the mounts wouldn’t move forward and back once they were mounted in the slots. They did not move at all. I mounted the sling mounts all the way to the rear of one of the slots so that it would be impossible to move it to the rear, but I couldn’t even get them to move forward. These mounts aren’t going anywhere (especially if you are handy with the Loc-Tite).

Here are the mounts with sling and bipod attached. The sling mounts work perfectly for mounting the sling close to the receiver.

Conclusion

This is the kind of idea that I wish I came up with myself. I tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. I wish I could simplify things the way the people at IWC have with these mounts. If you have MOE hand guards on your AR-15, I am not sure why you would mount a sling any other way. This concept just makes too much sense. You cut out the need for the rail which means you cut out failure points, bulk, weight, and cost. Why mount a section of rail just for a sling mount when you can just attach a sling mount directly to your handguards?

I would love to see where this product line goes in the future. There is a lot of potential here for things like vertical grips, hand stops, flashlight mounts, and who knows what else. These type of mounts can also be designed for other hand guards like the Troy Extreme Battle Rails and VTAC Rails. Jerking the Trigger will certainly keep you updated as new products are announced.

Purchase yours directly from the IWC web store.

Remember to use the coupon code “triggerjerk” at checkout to receive 5% discount at IWC.wordpress hit<br /> counter

Patch Collecting: Have Gun Will Travel

Have Gun – Will Travel was an iconic TV western with what is arguably the greatest name of any television show. Fans of the show will remember that Paladin, the main character, used a chess knight image as his calling card. The patch adopts the imagery of the chess knight and the phrase Have Gun – Will Travel which, depending on the bag you put this on, may mean more than you are just a fan of the show.

This patch as shown may still be available on the LightFighter Tactical Forum. I believe there may be subdued color version available soon.

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Review: Caldwell Gunleather

Caldwell Gunleather is a well kept secret. The proprietor of Caldwell Gunleather, Shannon Caldwell, runs a holster shop on Ebay (yes, Ebay). I do not recall how I came across his leather a few years ago, but I am glad that I did.

I ordered a black leather belt holster for a Glock 17/22. I was a little nervous since I was buying a holster from Ebay and it only cost $40 (they are $45 now). I was prepared to spend a lot more money than that on another holster. I wasn’t sure that you could get a decent holster for $45.

My fears were completely unfounded. The moment I opened the box and held that holster, I knew I was holding an excellent piece of working gunleather. The leather that Shannon uses is extremely thick and durable, at least twice as thick as some of the Galco and Desantis holsters that I have on hand. Shannon uses heavy duty nylon thread that won’t rot and his stitching is even and straight (a hallmark of good leather). The black dye is dark and rich with a nicely polished finish. Shannon also hand burnishes the edges of the leather. Many makers short cut this area by painting the edge. These are very well made holsters.

Holsters aren’t worth a thing if they only look the part. A holster has to function. It must present the gun in a way that allows it to be drawn quickly, carry comfortably, and conceal well. This particular holster does all those things. I like to carry outside the waist band when I can and this is my favorite holster to use for those times. It allows an immediate full hand grip so it is a very fast holster. It draws the gun into the body enough to conceal well while still being comfortable.

Caldwell Gunleather holsters are an excellent value.

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