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Author Archive | Matt

Branham Tactical SCAR 2″ Extension Rail

AIM Surplus recently introduced the long awaited extension rail from Branham Tactical. It adds 2″ inches of rail space to the two side rails and the bottom rail. This extension rail will give users more light mounting options and help out those user who like to run their support hand closer to the muzzle. This rail is a much needed upgrade for the excellent SCAR series of rifles.

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ESEE-4 Custom Scales Now Available from The-Knife-Connection

The wait is finally over. The new custom scales for the ESEE-4 are finally available for purchase from The-Knife-Connection. You will want to keep a close eye on The-Knife-Connection because they will be releasing new colors and custom scales for other ESEE knives as well, like the ESEE-3.

Not only will these scales be available for purchases individually, you will have the option of purchasing a blade blank without scales. This means that you can pick your blade color, add the handle of your choice, and then choose from several sheath options that The-Knife-Connection carries. You can essentially build your own custom ESEE-4 from the ground up.

You can read more about the scales on the previous post on Jerking the Trigger (I have a set inbound for review at a later date). You can purchase them from The-Knife-Connection.

Review: Princeton Tec Byte

The Byte is Princeton Tec's latest entry into the head lamp market. Click to enlarge.

Smaller and lighter is almost always better when it comes to items that you have to carry during your outdoor pursuits and the new Princeton Tec (PT) Byte is certainly smaller and lighter than most head lamps. While it may be short on weight and size, it is definitely not short on function or features. Thanks to advances in LED technology, this tiny power house outclasses many larger head lamps.

Specs:

  • LEDs: 1x white “Maxbright” LED, 1x red “Ultrabright” LED
  • Weight: 64 grams
  • Battery: 2x AAA batteries
  • Modes: red (Ultrabight), low white (Maxbright), high white (Maxbright)
  • User Interface: Click once for red, click again for low white, click again for high white, click again for off. The Byte must be cycled through all modes to be turned off.
  • Output: 35 lumens on high
  • Runtime: 146 hours in red mode, 96 hours in low white mode, 80 hours in high white mode
  • Price: $20

The Good

There is a lot to like with the Byte. The most obvious is the size and weight. Small and lightweight is the whole point of the Byte. This head lamp is truly small. It has to be held in your hand to truly appreciate how small it is. It is barely wider and longer than the 2 AAA batteries that power it. It is light enough that you will easily forget that you are wearing it and that is with alkaline batteries. Swap in some lightweight lithium batteries and the Byte will probably blow away in a light breeze. There are smaller head lamps on the market but they use coin or button cell batteries. The Byte is powered by inexpensive and easy to find AAA batteries. The larger capacity of AAA batteries versus button or coin cells allows the light to run longer at higher outputs.

The Byte is smaller than the Quad Tactical and most other head lamps. Click to enlarge.

The Byte is smaller in just about every dimension. Click to enlarge.

My favorite feature of the Byte is the red “Ultrabright” LED mode. The Byte’s red mode is very dim and it’s perfect. Most lights have “low” modes that are far too bright. A low mode should provide just enough light for reading a map or navigating a dark room without destroying your dark adjusted vision. The Byte does just that. It is the low mode that I have been wanting for years.

The white “Maxbright” LED has two modes – low and high. The low is more than enough light for most tasks like pitching a tent in the dark or cooking in camp. The high mode is surprisingly bright for such a diminutive light. It works well for those times when you need to see a little further up the trail.

The beam shape of the “Maxbright” modes is very good. There is a wide bright hotspot in the center that provides a fair amount throw. The hotspot tapers smoothly to a wide, bright spill beam that provides broad coverage. The beam shape is very well balanced for a variety of tasks and situations. The Byte’s tiny 3mm “Ultrabright” red LED provides a very wide beam with very few of the dark rings that seem to plague other red LEDs. It is extremely usable.

The switch is relatively large and easy to operate even with gloves on. The bottom of the Byte features a small area of texture that helps you get a grip on such a small light to aim it. The light clicks positively into each position in its arm bracket and can be aimed up or down to suit the user’s preference. The head band is smaller than on most Princeton Tec head lamps but it still retains the handy tool on the slider that makes it easy to open the Byte’s battery latch even with cold hands.

The Byte's switch is large and easy to use. Click to enlarge.

The Byte has a textured area on the bottom that helps the user grip the light to aim it. Click to enlarge.

The Byte head strap is thinner than most Princeton Tec head straps (shown with Quad Tactical strap). Click to enlarge.

The Byte retains the clever tool on the head band that helps open the battery compartment in spite of its smaller size. Click to enlarge.

The light itself seems very sturdy like any other Princeton Tec head lamp. It would make a good primary head lamp for less serious pursuits (camping, hiking, etc) and a great back up head lamp for pursuits that require a head lamp like caving. It would also make be the ideal head lamp to toss in your briefcase or the glove compartment of your car.

I should also note that the documentation that comes with the Byte is big improvement over what usually comes with other lights (including past Princeton Tec offerings). It contains information about how Princeton Tec measures their light’s runtime. Other companies are not usually forthcoming with this information which makes comparing lights very difficult since there are many ways to measure runtime. Princeton Tec also provides a handy chart on the packaging of the Byte that shows the distance at which the light is useful after set periods of time. This information gives you a tangible idea of how the output dims over time. I wish more light manufacturers would provide this sort of useful data.

Princeton Tec provides useful data about the runtime and output on the Byte's packaging. Click to enlarge.

The Bad

I have one nit to pick with the Byte. It is good that it turns on in low red mode. This is great because it helps to preserve the dark adjusted vision of the user. However, the light must be cycled through the low and then high white settings to turn it off. Even this quick exposure to bright white light will ruin your dark adjusted vision. Having to cycle through the brighter white settings basically defeats the purpose of the phenomenal low red setting.

Most of Princeton Tec’s other headlamps have a different user interface (UI) that allows the light to go straight from any setting to off with a press of the button after the light has been in that setting for a few a seconds. If Princeton Tec were to implement a similar UI on the Byte, it would be the closest thing to head lamp perfection that I have ever used.

Overall

The Byte is much more than just a back-up head lamp. It is a small headlamp that is as fully functional as much larger head lamps. It is both large enough and small enough at the same time. It has the best low red mode of any light, head lamp or otherwise, that I have ever used. It isn’t perfect but it begs the question… Why buy or carry anything bigger, heavier, or more expensive?

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Patch Collecting: BladeForums Wilderness & Survival Skills Forum Patches

Click the image to enlarge.

The Wilderness & Survival Skills Forum on BladeForums is one of the best sources of survival related information on the internet. It is populated by some very friendly and helpful people who don’t just talk about survival, they practice it. These patches are available in two designs with 2 color schemes for each design. You can purchase them in the Wilderness & Survival Skills forum.

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HSGI Sure-Grip Padded Belt – More Pictures

HSGI posted more pictures of their Sure-Padded Belt and it looks great.

The profile of the belt shows the lining of Sure-Grip material. Click to enlarge.

The belt will have 3 slots for direct access to the inner belt at 3, 6, and 9 o'clock. Note the beefy bar tacks. Click to enlarge.

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You can visit the HSGI website for more pictures and to order your own.

ESEE Izula-II: The Wait is Almost Over

ESEE recently announced that the Izula-II will be shipping to dealers this week! You can read more about this new version of the Izula in my previous post about the Izula-II.

The-Knife-Connection has them available for pre-order now.

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New End Cap for the BAD-ASS

Click to enlarge.

If you have been reading Jerking the Trigger recently you are already familiar with the Battle Arms Development – Ambidextrous Safety Selector (or BAD-ASS). I say the BAD-ASS is the finest AR safety selector that I have ever used due to the versatility bred by its user configurable levers, its ergonomic enhancements, and its impeccable quality.

Well, Battle Arms Development just made the most versatile selector switch ever developed for the AR family of weapons even more versatile with the introduction of the new end cap. This end cap can be used to make either side of the BAD-ASS lever free. Now, with this end cap you can easily convert the BAD-ASS from ambidextrous to left or right side only.

The end cap has a notch that serves as a condition indicator (safe or fire). It is available separately for purchase or as part of a complete BAD-ASS kit.

If ambidextrous selectors just aren’t your thing, but you still want the performance and precision that the BAD-ASS offers, the new end cap is for you.

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Bushmaster ACR Recall

Bushmaster ACR owners take note:

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This is a very serious situation. If you own an ACR that develops this malfunction you will be in violation of federal law. The BATFE shows little mercy in such cases. If you own an ACR, contact Bushmaster immediately.

View the recall notice on Bushmaster’s Website.

HSGI Sure-Grip Padded Belt

The new HSGI Sure-Grip Padded Belt is available for pre-order now. It looks like this belt features a lining made from the same grippy material that HSGI uses on their plate carrier shoulder pads. I can attest to the fact that the material is very durable and is very slip resistant. This belt should really fight riding up which is a common issue with some “battle belts”.

The teaser image from HSGI shows the lining material.

You can pre-order one today from the HSGI website.

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10-8 Performance Sights

When you think 10-8 Performance, you think 1911. While Hilton Yam, owner of 10-8 Performance, does make excellent 1911 accessories and custom 1911s, he also makes excellent sights for a variety of other handguns. The sights that we will be looking at in this article are made for the Glock family of handguns.

 

The 10-8 Performance Sights offer a very uncluttered sight picture even with a tritium vial insert in the front sight (mounted on a Glock 19 for reference). Click to enlarge.

 

Stats

  • Front sight width: .125″
  • Rear sight notch: .140″ (.125″ and .156″ also available)
  • Price: $74 for tritium front sight, $44.35 for rear sight

Front Sight

The 10-8 Performance front sight is thin for a tritium front sight at only .125″ inches wide. It is serrated to reduce glare and the tritium element is unlined. The unlined tritium is what attracted me to these sights. They perform very much like all black target sights when light conditions allow and that makes them very shootable.

 

The 10-8 Performance front sight is relatively thin and serrated. It features an unlined tritium vial insert. Click to enlarge.

 

10-8 Performance also offers plain black and brass bead front sights.

Rear Sight

The rear sight is well contoured. It has an strong, chunky appearance. It can be used fairly easily to rack the slide which is important for some one handed manipulations. It is serrated to reduce glare.

 

 

The rear sight features glare reducing serrations and a .140" rear "U" notch. Click to enlarge.

 

It features a true “U” notch. The bottom of the notch is round instead of square. This leaves the shooter free of hard corners that can distract from aligning the only hard corners that matter; the ones at the top of the front sight and the top of the rear sight.

When I purchased these sights, the only rear sight notch options were available were the .125″ and the .140″. I chose the .140″ rear sight and always wished it was a bit wider. The .140″ notch feels a little tight when you are trying to speed things up. 10-8 Performance recently started offering a rear sight with a .156″ notch. If I was buying these sights today, I would definitely buy the new .156″ notch rear sight.

 

The rear sight has a strong, chunky profile. Click to enlarge.

 

In Use

I shoot these sights better than any other I own in terms of accuracy. The combination of the tighter rear notch and the way that they appear like all black target sights during the day (the tritium vial insert is unlined and barely noticeable until dark). These sights are just very easy to shoot well. The downside is that sometimes I feel like I am searching for the front sight through the narrow rear notch which costs me some time.

That is not to say these sights are slow. They are not. They just are not as fast as some others that I use and 10-8 Performance has essentially rendered this small issue (if you can even call it that) irrelevant with the introduction of the .156″ notch rear sight. I suspect that the new wider rear sight shoots incredibly fast. The intro of the 1.56″ rear notch should be exciting news for the many fans of these sights.

The 10-8 Sights with the .215″ tall front sight shoot exactly the way I like which is about 1-2″ high at 25 yards. This is relatively intuitive after some range time and allows the shooter to see their shots over the sights. I find it to be easier to shoot longer distances this way. If you choose to, you can adjust your point of impact by purchasing a taller or shorter front sight. You can read details on the 10-8 Performance blog.

You can purchase these excellent sights directly from 10-8 Performance on their website.

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