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Author Archive | Matt

ESEE Navigation/Survival Card

I like tools that are simple, easy to carry, and multi-functional. The new ESEE Navigation/Survival Card is certainly all of those things.

The card is made from clear plastic and comes with a Tyvek protection sleeve. It features map rules and UTM corners for the most common map scales found in the USA. It also features a compass rose with 22.5 degree increments, a list of ground to air signals, and other useful survival related information.

The best thing about the ESEE Navigation/Survival Card is the form factor. It is business card sized which makes it perfect for storing in a wallet or small E&E/Survival kit. It wouldn’t be your first choice on an orienteering course but its convenient size makes it more likely that you will have it when you really need it. This card, coupled with a button compass or small baseplate compass would make a somewhat imprecise, but very usable combination.

This card, like all other great tools, is simple and versatile. It also happens to be very inexpensive. Check it out at the ESEE website.

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

The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot is one of the newest additions to the Mount-N-Slot line from Impact Weapon Components. As you might gather from the name, the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot is designed to enhance your control of you carbine. It is essentially a very trim and well designed hand stop.

The Mount-N-Slot experience starts with the innovative packaging. The Weapon Control is on the left.

Details, Fit, and Finish

The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot is well machined from aluminum. It is compact and lightweight. The black hard anodized finish is evenly applied and is attractive as it is durable. Great care has been taken to remove all sharp corners from the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot. This is key for a piece of gear that is designed to have a hand pressed tightly against it for prolonged periods of time.

Like the OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot that I wrote about yesterday, the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot uses a single screw and threaded washer to attach to the hand guards. It also has two tabs that fit tightly into the slot to prevent unwanted rotation. It is a very simple and sturdy configuration.

The finish and machining on Mount-N-Slots is flawless, even on the back where it will never be seen. Notice the tabs that prevent unwanted rotation.

On Vertical Grips and Hand Stops

Vertical grips have been with us for many years and, used correctly, they can be tremendous aids in weapon control. Many users no longer hold vertical grips like a hammer, with the thumb wrapped around the grip. These users will typically place the hand on the front of the vertical grip, or even in front of the vertical grip on the hand guard, with the thumb forward (like the support hand on a handgun). This grip has lead some shooters to question whether a full grip is even necessary which led to the popularity of short or “stubby” vertical grips. This smaller-is-better-trend has continued with the growing popularity of hand stops.

A hand stop serves essentially the same function as a vertical grip. It promotes consistent support hand placement and gives the support hand something to pull against. By pulling against the vertical grip or hand stop, the shooter can more effectively control the muzzle of the carbine. Controlling the muzzle leads to faster follow up shots as muzzle rise is controlled and being able to drive the carbine from target to target more efficiently. So, in this sense, a hand stop is essentially being used as a minimalist vertical grip.

This is the definition of "simple and effective."

In Use

Does it work? Yes. It definitely works.

I am a vertical grip user and the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot really impressed me. I was able to generate all of the tension that I am used to generating with a vertical grip except with a much smaller, lighter piece of gear. I wrapped my hand around the Magpul MOE hand guards in front of the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot and then, with a nearly straight support arm, pulled the carbine back into my shoulder. Just like with a vertical grip, follow up shots come quickly and driving between targets is quick.

The thumb forward grip allowed me to keep my weapon light in the same location as I do with a vertical grip (10-11 o’clock on the hand guard from the shooter’s point of view). In this position, the light falls naturally under the thumb. The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot works very well with a light in this configuration.

I noticed that, since the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot is much smaller than my typical vertical grip, it was easier to shoot from rests. You have to be conscious of where you place the hand guard when you are using a vertical grip and shooting from a rest like a sand bag when sighting in or using an improvised rest like a low wall. The smaller hand stop just doesn’t get in the way as much.

The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot gives the shooter something to pull against when supporting the rifle.

Conclusion

The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot is a simple piece of gear that can really increase the function of a carbine by increasing the amount of control the shooter has over the carbine. With training, this simple piece of gear can really help you improve your shooting.

The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot is available for the Magpul MOE Hand Guards, Bushmaster ACR, and slotted free float tubes with an outside diameter of 1.75″ or 2.00″.

Remember to use the coupon code “triggerjerk” at checkout to receive 5% discount at IWC.

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Impact Weapon Components OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot

This will be the first of two posts about some of the newest Mount-N-Slots from Impact Weapon Components – the OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot and the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot. Today, I’ll be writing about the OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot.

The Mount-N-Slot experience starts with the innovative packaging. The OCP is on the right.

Fit and Finish

The OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot is as well finished as every other Mount-N-Slot that has passed through my hands. The machining is flawless, even on the back of the mount where no one will see it. The hard anodized finished is evenly applied and looks great. You won’t find a sharp edge anywhere because great care has been taken to radius the corners. The quality shows when you look at the details.

The OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot is angled to increase functionality.

Similar

The OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot looks and feels like an evolution of the Snap Hook Mount-N-Slot. Both mounts work very well with HK style snap hooks and, my preference, the ITW Mash Hook. So, while they are somewhat similar, they each have some unique features.

But Different

First, the OCP mounts differently. It mounts via single screw and threaded plate while the Snap Hook Mount-N-Slot uses two screws. The OCP also has two tabs that fit tightly into the slot to prevent it from rotating.

Second, the OCP is angled so that it is higher on the loop side and lower on the non loop side. This angle is what makes the OCP unique. The angle presents the loop in such a way that makes it easier to attach the sling. This works well with slings like the Magpul MS2 and the Emdom Gunslinger that offer the ability to quickly transition from single point to two point configuration. The OCP helps you leverage all of that functionality as efficiently as possible. The angle also makes the front of the mount more snag-free.

The OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot works perfectly with the excellent ITW Mash Hooks.

How to Choose

So how do you decide between the Snap Hook Mount-N-Slot or the OCP Mount-N-Slot? It basically comes down to mounting options. The Snap Hook Mount-N-Slot can be oriented so that the loop faces in up, down, forward, and back. The OCP can only be mounted so that it faces forward or back. So, if you need more mounting options the Snap Hook Mount-N-Slot is for you. If you need the lowest profile option, you need the OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot.

Conclusion

The OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot is a very slick addition to the Mount-N-Slot line. It is snag-free, efficient, and it just works. Who would have thought that the addition of a simple angle could make such a difference. mnn

The OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot is available for the Magpul MOE Hand Guards, Bushmaster ACR, and slotted free float tubes with an outside diameter of 1.75″ or 2.00″.

I would like to thank Impact Weapon Components for providing the OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot for review.

Remember to use the coupon code “triggerjerk” at checkout to receive 5% discount at IWC.

The back of the OCP has two tabs that fit tightly into the slot and prevents the OCP from spinning. The OCP is on the left.

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Review: Princeton Tec Remix Pro

The versatile Remix Pro is now available in Multicam.

I broke the news about the Princeton Tec Remix Pro being available in Multicam at the end of last month. Since that time, I’ve had plenty of time to get to know the Remix Pro and I am very impressed. It might be the best all around headlamp that I have ever used.

Stats

  • Battery: 1x CR123
  • Weight: 2.25 ounces including battery
  • Max Output: 70 Lumens
  • Runtime: 4 – 40 hours depending on output mode
  • Light Source: 1x white Maxbight LED, 3x red Ultrabright LEDs (other colors available)
  • Colors: black with black headband, tan with Multicam headband

Modes of Operation

The Remix Pro has one of the most sensible user interfaces that I have ever used. It is almost impossible to produce an accidental burst of bright white light that can compromise your dark adjusted vision or spook any game you may be hunting. The light will always turn on in the low Ultrabight LED setting, which in my case is low red mode. This is a very important feature to me.

  • Press the  button once to turn the light on in low red mode.
  • Press the button again within 1.6 seconds to switch to high red mode.
  • Press the button a third time within 1.6 seconds to turn the light off.
  • Press and hold the button at anytime for about 2 seconds to switch to low white mode.
  • Press the button again within 1.6 seconds to switch to high white mode.
  • Press the button a third time within 1.6 seconds to turn the light off.

As you can see, the operation is very straight forward. It only takes a few moments to learn how to operate the switch. Once learned, the switch allows easy access all of the Remix Pro’s output modes. It should also be noted that, if at anytime, more than 1.6 seconds passes between button presses, the light will turn off on the next press. Mitigating the risk of accidental white light discharge and the ability to quickly extinguish the light is a must for users who are using the Remix Pro in discreet situations.

The red modes are well thought out. The low mode is low enough, though it could stand to be lower. It provides plenty of light for map reading and even navigation with fully dark adjusted vision. The high red mode is surprisingly bright and even though it is red light, it does diminish dark adjusted vision. It is bright enough to walk a trail at night. The low white mode is very useful. I use it far more than the high white mode. The beam profile of the white Maxbright LED is perfect. It more intense at the center but there isn’t really a tight hotspot like you see on some lights. The bright center gradually blends into a slightly less bright spill beam. If you stand in the doorway to a room, it lights the whole room, rather than just a spot.

The Remix Pro’s output modes will cover just about any lighting need that you may have within 50 yards. Many headlamps excel at either mid/long range illumination or up close illumination. The Remix Pro’s mix of LED types and output modes allow it to fill both of those roles very well. Whether you need to illuminate something at arms length or 50 yards down the trail, the Remix Pro has you covered.

The Remix Pro features two different types of LEDs for a wide variety of tasks.

Princeton Tec made the fence around the button larger to prevent the light from being turned on accidentally.

Weight

I recently praised the Princeton Tec Byte for its lightweight and compact size. While the Remix Pro is certainly larger than the diminutive Byte, I was surprised to find that it only weighs about 1/10th of an ounce more. This is due in large part to the Remix Pro’s use of a lithium CR123 battery. Lithium batteries tend to weigh less than alkaline batteries which is what I have installed in the Byte. The Remix Pro is a very light headlamp, especially for the amount of features that it delivers.

CR123 Battery

The Remix Pro is one of only a handful of headlamps that use the CR123 battery. Princeton Tec says that they developed the Remix Pro at the request of the US Military which uses CR123 batteries extensively. I suspect that many of the readers of this blog carry a Surefire light (or similar) every day, so they probably already have CR123 batteries on hand. Consolidating battery types is a very good thing so that you minimize the types of spare batteries that you have to carry.

As mentioned above, CR123 batteries are also very light weight which keeps the weight of the light and spare batteries to a minimum. Lithium batteries also have a very long shelf life thanks to their low discharge rate and they are very resistant to cold weather. Cold slows the chemical reaction that allows batteries to deliver power. Alkaline batteries are notorious for poor cold weather performance. Lithium batteries, like the CR123, are far more resistant to colder temperatures.

The strap adjusment slider can be used to open the battery compartment when you fingers are cold and wet.

The Multicam head strap matches Multicam Cordura nylon very well.

Multicam

Many users will appreciate having a camo option like Multicam. Besides the obvious military uses, hunters will find that the Multicam color scheme blends many environments. Some hikers also like to use camo gear so they don’t distract from the scenery.

Hands Free Versatility

The Remix Pro can be mounted on the head strap for headlamp use but it can also be mounted to 1″ webbing like MOLLE webbing. Also, because of the well designed bracket, it can be used as a free standing area light. The Princeton Tech headlamps with their “asymmetrical” bracket really excel at this use. There are a number of ways that you can use the Remix Pro without having to actually hold it.

Improvement

Princeton Tec has made an improvement to the Remix Pro in the form of a higher “fence” around the switch. This raised plastic fence  helps to prevent the button from being accidentally pressed while in a pocket or backpack.

Conclusion

The Remix Pro is easily the most versatile headlamp that I have ever owned. The 1 button user interface is easy to use and provides 4 useful output modes. It handles a very wide variety of lighting tasks with ease. It is light in weight and makes use of an excellent battery that you probably already carry spares for while you are in the woods. It also happens to be the only headlamp that I know of that is available in Multicam. Princeton Tec has really taken the headlamp to another level.

You can read more about the Princeton Tec Remix Pro on the Princeton Tec website.

Thank you Princeton Tec for providing the Multicam Remix Pro for review.

The Remix Pro can be mounted on MOLLE webbing for hands free use.

The asymmetrical bracket allows the Remix Pro to be used as a free standing task light.

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PWS SRX

SCAR users now have another choice in extension rails. The PWS SRX (SCAR Extension Rail) extends the available rail space on the SCAR by 5″. In addition to the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock rails, it adds a 12 o’clock rail in front of the front sight which is popular place to mount a light like the Surefire X300. The SRX only adds 7.9 ounces to the weight of the SCAR which is a good trade off for the additional functionality.

The SRX can be found on the PWS website.

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Patch Collecting: Low Speed High Drag Patch from 2A-GEAR

I have had a really hard time keeping this one under wraps until now. 2A-Gear.com now has a Low Speed High Drag patch to go with their LSHD t-shirt. The quality of the patch is excellent. The embroidery is crisp and the hook backing is sewn on instead of just glued.

You can purchase your own LSHD Patch at 2A-GEAR.com! Check out the LSHD t-shirt while you are there.

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Medal of Honor Recipient Salvatore Giunta

The video of the entire Medal of Honor ceremony can be found on the White House Blog. I highly recommend that you watch the ceremony if you have not already. What a tremendous honor it is for this country to have a recent Medal of Honor recipient living in our midst!

Thank you for your uncommon courage and selfless service, Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, and thank you to all who have served or currently are serving!

Review: Stark Equipment SE-1 AR-15 Pistol Grip

A friend recently gave me a Stark Equipment SE-1 to try out. I have to admit that I started this review a little biased against the SE-1. Many people object to the SE-1’s unconventional looks but that wasn’t my issue. I didn’t think that I would like the way the grip forces the hand lower since I generally tend to grip my ARs very high. Now, having spent some quality time with the SE-1, I can say that my concerns were unfounded. This is an excellent grip and it may even solve some problems for some users.

The SE-1 offers some very unique features among AR-15 pistol grips. Click any image to enlarge.

 

Function Trumps Form

The Stark Equipment grips certainly don’t look like anything else that is on the market right now. The design is different enough to elicit a lot of negativity on the online forums. Thankfully, there are people like you, who are willing to give something a try before they completely disregard it. Once you see the SE-1 in person and actually try it, you will see that it is all about function and ergonomics. This grip works.

The SE-1 is more vertical than most AR-15 grips which tend to rake backwards. This may be the single best feature of the SE-1. Think of how you hold a carbine. Generally the strong side (weapon side) hand is on the pistol grip and the elbow is tucked down close to the body. This requires that the wrist to be bent forward at a relatively extreme angle in order to hold the grip. Reducing the angle of the grip allows the wrist to be held in a straighter, locked position.

The SE-1 also forces the hand into a lower position. You can not ride your hand up as high behind the grip as you typically can with other grips. The conventional wisdom is that a higher grip helps control the weapon. The SE-1’s lower grip brings the trigger finger straight behind the trigger which should help your trigger pull mechanics feel a bit more natural. On some grips, I tend to grip so high that I am actually pulling the trigger back and up. This is not the case with the SE-1. It positions the trigger finger so well, that this would make a great choice for an AR geared toward precision shooting. I also find that the lower position helps to further straighten the wrist because it reduces the angle at the elbow.

The straighter angle and lower position of the SE-1 may actually help alleviate the wrist pain that some shooters experience while shooting. It certainly seemed to fatigue the wrist less than some of my other grips.

The grip also features some very nice contours. It reminds me a lot of the old “Coke Bottle” grips on S&W revolvers. It is narrower at the top and bottom, with a nice palm “swell” in the middle. This palm swell area has a very nice medium texture that provides plenty of purchase without being abrasive. The texture is positioned in a place where it will make maximum contact with the part of your hand that is on the grip at all times. The areas under your trigger finger, which doesn’t provide grip, are left without any aggressive texture. There is also a subtle thumb shelf that promotes consistent thumb placement. This grip was made to fit the human hand.

The SE-1 features an integral trigger guard that replaces the flat trigger guard that most ARs use. Like other products on the market, the SE-1’s trigger guard provides some extra room for gloved users and covers the irritating gap behind the trigger guard. However, unlike any other trigger guard that I have seen, the SE-1 completely covers the “ears” that hold the trigger guard roll pin. This makes much more surface area for contact with the middle finger than any other product that I have used. It is very comfortable.

It only takes a minute with the SE-1 to see that the designers were more concerned with making something that worked well with the human body than they were concerned about making something that looks cool. I haven’t really seen a decline in control from the lower grip, so perhaps the straighter, locked wrist position that the SE-1 affords, offsets any perceived difference in control.

The SE-1 completely covers the "ears" that holds the trigger guard roll pin in place.

 

Fit, Finish, and Other Features

The SE-1 certainly seems to be well made. It is made from polymer that has a very slight pebble texture to it which makes for an attractive and functional finish. The injection molding lines are clean, even, and do not abrade the hand. It certainly seems on par with other quality plastic products on the market.

There is threaded metal insert that accepts a small screw to secure the front of the trigger guard. Most other grips and trigger guard products use a metal screw that threads directly into the plastic so a metal insert is a welcome addition.

Extra items, like CR123 batteries or a spare bolt, can be stored in the grip using the provided rubber plug. The plug is very secure when empty and, once items are placed in it, it becomes even more secure. The items stretch and expand the rubber plug which makes it an even tighter fit in the grip. I have a hard time imagining how you could lose this plug.

There is also an SE-2 version of this grip that features a sling mount on the upper back extension. This positions the sling exactly where I prefer it – the rear of the receiver.

The SE-1 features a rubber insert that can hold a spare bolt or batteries.

 

Conclusion

Is the SE-1 strange looking to some people? Yes. Are looks the most important thing when you are choosing what to use on a tool that might save your life? Not even close.

If you are someone who will gladly exchange function for form, you know, because you actually shoot your carbines. Then you may want to give the Stark Industries SE-1 a try. This grip is has a lot of unique features that really make a lot of sense. I am very impressed with this grip.

You can read more about the SE-1 on the Stark Equipment website.

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Mountain Ridge Gear Redesigns Their Tactical Messenger Bag… Again!

Last week I mentioned the newly redesigned Tactical Messenger Bag from Mountain Ridge Gear. Well, Mountain Ridge Gear wasted no time in refining the design once again.

The newest version features two huge improvements. First, there is some additional MOLLE webbing on the front of the bag, under the the flap. Second, the rear pocket that is closest to the wearer now has Velcro loop material for use with holsters and other hook backed accessories. Of course, the same overbuilt craftsmanship and functional organization that you have come to expect from Mountain Ridge Gear is still intact.

Check out the newly redesigned Tactical Messenger Bag while it is on sale!

 

MOLLE webbing has been added to the front of the bag.

Hook and loop material has been added to the rear compartment.

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Mount-N-Slot Giveaway Winners!

Joe F and Fred will each be receiving a brand new Mount-N-Slot thanks to the generous people at Impact Weapon Components.

Congrats to both of you and thank you all for reading Jerking the Trigger.

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