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Author Archive | Matt

Princeton Tec Byte

Princeton Tec recently announced a new head lamp that has really piqued my interest. It’s called the Byte which is an obvious reference to its small size. It packs some huge functionality into its small frame.

The Byte has a white LED with a reflector that will give you the ability to light up objects at a distance and a small red LED that is useful for maintaining your dark adjusted vision and extending your battery life. It uses 2 AAA batteries to stay very small while still offering some decent output (35 lumens on high) and very good run time (80 hours). The white LED also has a low setting for even longer run times.

I confirmed with Princeton Tec that the Byte does turn on in the red LED setting. This is an excellent feature. Features like this allow the user to turn on their light without completely obliterating their dark adjusted vision and while staying discreet. Kudos to Princeton Tec for adding this feature to more of their lights. However, the light must still be shuffled through all the brightness levels in order to turn it off. Hopefully this can be fixed in a later release.

The street price on this full featured head lamps is going to be around $20 which is a great deal for Princeton Tec rugged construction and quality. I am really looking forward to getting my hands on one of these to try out.

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Review: Brunton 15TDCL Compass

 

Click to enlarge.

 

The Brunton 15TDCL Compass has gone through some changes over the years. For a while, it was the only “true” Silva Ranger Type 15 compass that we could get easily here in the USA. The Silva branded compasses that we have here in the USA are actually made in a variety of countries and sold under the Silva name (you can read more HERE). Brunton used to be importing the real Silva Ranger compasses under their brand but sadly it seems those days are gone. The new 15TDCL compasses are made in China. However, if most 15TDCL compasses are like the one that I am reviewing, they are still very decent compasses.

 

The red bezel gives a unique look and is easy to read. Click to enlarge.

 

Features

  • Adjustable declination
  • Clinometer
  • Luminous points
  • 1:24,000 and 1:50,000 UTM corners
  • Magnifier
  • Lifetime warranty

What Makes it Great?

In spite of my initial disappointment with the compass not being Swedish made, it still retains many of the features that made the Silva Ranger great. It is a lot of compass for the money.

UTM Corners

The best feature of the 15TDCL are the UTM corners on the base plate. I usually use a GPS along with my map and compass. Being able to generate UTM coordinates makes it very easy to translate your GPS information to your map or vice versa. I wish every compass had these on the base plate! They are useful for measuring distance on your map as well.

 

The UTM corners are one of the best features of the 15TDCL. Click to enlarge.

 

Luminous Points

The luminous points on the 15TDCL glow long and strong. They really outclass every compass that I have except my tritium Cammenga lensatic compasses, but that isn’t really a fair comparison. These great luminous points allow the 15TDCL to be used more easily in low light which can be a real asset when you find yourself still a few miles from camp and down in a deep hollow just before sunset.

In Use

A common complaint with some Asian/Pacific made compasses centers on the bezel being able to move too freely. The bezel moves freely but stays in position well on my 15TDCL. Bezel tension is just right. It is also relatively easy to use with gloves and it is very readable. The adjustable declination screw is on the top of the bezel which is nice.

There is a small hole below the mirror that may be some kind of sighting hole like the one on the previously reviewed Suunto MC-2G. However, it is too small and lacks a notch. It just doesn’t work near as well as the well designed sighting hole on the Suunto.

 

This hole works as a lower sighting hole, but it could be larger. Click to enlarge.

 

The 15TDCL is a joy to use with a map thanks to the previously mentioned UTM corners and the 3 silicone “feet”. These feet do a good job of keeping the compass from sliding around on your map. The base plate markings are black but are still pretty readable when used with a map. The markings are also very deeply inset into the base plate which will help it stay readable over years of use.

What Could Be Better?

There is a small amount of “slop” or “play” between the inner compass module and outer ring of the module (the part that has the degree markings). It is a small amount of movement, but I don’t need any more margin of error introduced to my already less than precise orienteering. It hasn’t affected function at this time, but if it gets worse, I will contact Brunton (who has very good customer service).

The marking holes on the UTM corners could be larger. They are so narrow that it takes a very sharp pencil or narrow pen in order to mark your map with them.

Overall

While the 15TDCL may not have the real pedigree of the Silva Ranger anymore, it is still very derivative of the venerable Ranger. If offers a lot of the same functionality. This compass is a solid value in mirrored sighting compasses. It works.

 

Click to enlarge.

 

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Bigfoot Bags

One of my most used items for going to and from the range is a Bigfoot Bag. These bags are extremely well made. They come in various sizes, colors, and materials that are well suited to a multitude of tasks. My particular bag is a medium Camo-Bag.

You are probably asking what makes this better than any other duffel bag on the market. The answer is simple. Bigfoot Bags zip all the way open so that the entire bag lays flat. You can lay the bag on the ground, pile your stuff in the center, zip it up, and go. Also, because the bags are so durable and water-resistant, the open flat design becomes very versatile. I have used it as a tarp to keep my gear dry during a downpour, as an improvised cam0 blind, and as a shooting mat.

These are perfectly suited for a day at the range. I can get all of my gear in one medium bag. It is even large enough to accept my discreet rifle cases. Once you are at the range you can use the bag as a shooting mat, brass catcher, or to keep your gear dry in a surprise rain storm.

My Bigfoot Bag is one of the most versatile pieces of gear that I have ever owned.

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Mega Arms MA-TEN

The Mega Arms MA-TEN upper and lower receiver sets give those who want to build a .308 AR some serious options. The MA-TEN set will accept all DPMS and Knight’s Armament parts. It will also except all Armalite parts except the the barrel nut and magazine. That adds up to a lot of versatility.

This set has one huge advantage over other .308 AR receivers. That advantage is a combination of two factors. Since the MA-TEN is built to use the SR-25 magazine, shooters can use the excellent PMAG 20-LR. And, the MA-TEN allows you to use Noveske barrels which are known for their extreme accuracy. The combination of PMAGs with Noveske barrels make for a top quality combination.

Mega Machine and Rainier Arms looks to have a winner on their hands.

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AmeriGlo Customer Service is Top Notch

I recently reviewed the excellent AmeriGlo Hackathorn sights. One thing I didn’t mention in the review was the interaction that I had with AmeriGlo’s customer service.

When I installed the sights I noticed that the rear sight seemed to go into the dovetail easier than I was used to. I use an MGW sight pusher which makes installation a snap, but this was even easier than usual. After the sight was in place, I put my thumb on it and pushed. I could actually move the sight with my thumb.

To troubleshoot, I installed a different AmeriGlo rear sight that I had on hand and found that it fit perfectly so the dovetail was probably in spec. The rear sight must have been slightly undersized which is extremely rare for a part that is machined to such tight tolerances and is not typical of the dozen or more AmeriGlo sight sets that I have installed.

I contacted AmeriGlo via email after business hours and planned to call during the following day. It turns out that the call was unnecessary because AmeriGlo replied to my email early the next morning. They related to me how rare things like this are and said that they would put a replacement in the mail right away. The replacement would have a set screw just in case the dovetail on my G21SF was slightly out of spec.

Dealing with AmeriGlo could not have been easier. I now have a perfectly functional set of sights. AmeriGlo obviously stands behind their sights. I will continue to use AmeriGlo sights for their forward thinking designs, very reasonable prices, and excellent service.

What’s New at Jerking the Trigger?

You may have noticed some changes here at Jerking the Trigger lately.

First, I am tweaking the time of day that I post. I used to schedule the daily post to run at 4AM but I have been experimenting with an afternoon or evening posting time. It seems most people are reading the blog in the evening so the later posting time may make sense. I will continue to tweak the time to be more convenient to you, the reader. I welcome your input.

Second, I added a menu to the top of the screen. There are several regular features here at Jerking the Trigger (Handgun Sight Reviews, Patch Collecting, The Regular Guy Interview Series, and The Tactical Handyman DIY series). We reached the point where there were just too many to display across the top of the blog in any kind of organized way. Now the “Jerking the Trigger Features” menu item will house them all, so you have easy access to all your favorite features.

Thank you to all my readers for making this blog a success. I aim to continually improve the Jerking the Trigger experience to better serve you.

Good Stuff From Around the Web

For the 7.62 Fans – Advanced Armament – AAC is showing off a couple of interesting pics of a new Remington 7.62 AR. At first I thought it would just be a re-warmed Bushmaster AR-10 (since Remington and Bushmaster are owned by the same holding company), but then I noticed the magazine was a PMAG. The old Bushmaster didn’t take the SR-25 pattern mags like the PMAG. It is also pretty obvious that JP Rifles had a hand in the upper, lower, and free float tube. This could be an interesting rifle.

Colt 7.62 Rifle? – Soldier Systems – Soldier Systems gets all the great scoops. This time they have caught wind of a potential Colt 7.62 rifle. I suspect that the wide open spaces of Afghanistan have decision makers interested in 7.62 battle rifles once again.

G19: Gen. 3 vs. Gen. 4 – Vuurwapen Blog – Vuurwapen Blog continues to put their slow motion camera to good use and in the process generate some of the most unique and useful content on any gun blog. The latest slo-mo video is a recoil comparison between the Gen 3 and Gen 4 Glocks with their double recoil spring module.

HK45 Endurance Test – Week Twenty Three – PistolTraining.com – Todd Green continues to flog the HK45 and it continues to impress. 33,155 rounds with only 1 stoppage and no breakage!

Larry Vickers Regional Endorsed Instructors – VickersTactical.com – Larry Vickers is not omnipresent and with his growing TV career he can’t teach as many entry level classes as he would like. He will essentially be endorsing instructors from all around the country to teach his techniques. This will allow more people in more places to have access to Vickers’ classes.

How to Securely Dispose of Sensitive Documents – ITS Tactical – There are many good thoughts here. Keep those documents safe!

Review: Suunto MC-2G (Global) Compass

 

 

Click to enlarge.

 

The Suunto MC-2 is a compass that is widely considered one of the finest mirrored sighting compasses available. It is similar in many ways to the venerable Silva Ranger (type 15). For the MC-2G, sometimes called the MC-2 Global, Suunto started with the MC-2 and took it to the next level with the addition of their revolutionary global needle. The result is a truly excellent compass – a modern classic.

Features:

  • Adjustable declination
  • Clinometer
  • Jeweled bearing
  • Additional sighting hole
  • Luminous points
  • Global needle
  • 1:24,000 and 1:62,500 map scales
  • Magnifier

What Makes It Great?

Many of the above features are common to most premium compasses. However, there are two features that really set the MC-2G apart.

Additional Sighting Hole

The additional sighting hole is genius. With most compasses, the user must align the compass and then look through the sights on the top of the mirror. It is common to move slightly during this operation which takes the compass out of alignment and introduces a small margin of error in your azimuth. The Mc-2G has a second sighting notch at the bottom of the mirror. This notch sits in the center of a large viewing window. It is much easier to align the compass and sight through the lower notch without lifting your head at all. I find it much easier to use than the higher notch on most compasses.

 

 

The MC-2G features an additional sighting hole below the mirror. Click to enlarge.

 

Suunto Global Needle

The global needle is what makes this compass truly excellent. Most compasses use a needle that is balanced for specific geographical  zones on the Earth. A compass that is balanced for North America will not work optimally in Australia. The Suunto global needle is a needle that has been optimized to work anywhere on Earth.

In order to achieve this, the needle itself is vastly different than most. The needle is not magnetized. Instead, the needle is attached to a small metal object that looks like a disk or bearing. This “disk” is what is magnetized. The needle is attached in such a way that it can tilt but there are small “wings” on the needle that will prevent it from tilting too far. The net result is a needle that works anywhere, dampens faster than any compass I have ever used, and can be used to take an accurate bearing even when tilted at angles as much as 20 degrees! Even if you never leave North America, you will love this compass because of how quickly it dampens and how forgiving it is.

 

 

The Suunto global needle is ingenious. Click to enlarge.

 

In Use

I have found the MC-2G to be very accurate. The bezel is easy to read, spins smoothly, and stays in place reliably. The bezel is also works better with winter gloves than any other that I have used. The sighting mirror is large, clear, and seems to be mounted very straight.

Map work is a breeze thanks to the red colored map scales. These stand out well against most topo maps. The MC-2G also features 3 rubber “feet” that help the compass stay in place on the map. They stick especially well to the vinyl on map cases.

The adjustable declination is very easy to adjust with the provided tool. The adjustment tool rides unobtrusively on the lanyard until you need it. I should also note that the markings on the compass module make it very easy to return the declination to neutral, which is not the case on all compasses.

 

 

The red map scales stand out against your map. Click to enlarge.

 

What Could Be Better?

The map scales and other markings on the base plate are not as deeply inset as they are on some compasses I have owned. Deeply inset markings help keep the base plate markings readable longer.

The luminous points on the compass do not glow as brightly or as long as some other compasses that I have used. They are really only usable for a short time after charging.

Overall

This is, without a doubt, the finest compass I have ever owned. Most of my experience is on Camennga lensatic compasses and with an old Silva Ranger that I lost years ago. While both of these compasses are great, the MC-2G’s combination of features helps it stand out in the crowd.

 

 

Click to enlarge.

 

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The Civilian Contractor Casualty Accountability Project

James G at Death Valley Magazine is taking point on a very worthy project.

Civilian contractors have played a pivotal role in our current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In spite of their importance to the mission they have been unfairly portrayed as blood thirsty mercenaries and over looked. To date there has been no accounting for the many contractors who have made the ultimate sacrifice and that needs to change.

Visit Death Valley Magazine to see how you can help.

New IWC Mount-N-Slots

Ever since our friends at Impact Weapon Components introduced the Mount-N-Slot line for the Magpul MOE handguards, people have been asking if there would be a product for hand guards like the Troy/VTAC Extremes, JP/VTAC, Midwest Industries SS, and PRI Gen IIIs. It seems that just about anyone can see the value in reducing weight, cost, bulk, and complexity.

You asked and IWC listened. They just introduced two of their excellent QD Rotation Limited Mount-N-Slots. One is sized for 1.75″ diameter hand guards like the Troy/VTAC Extremes and the other is sized for 2″ diameter hand guards like the PRI Gen III. These will actually fit any hand guard system of the correct diameter that has holes or slots.

They have even come up with a clever way to attach the Mount-N-Slot without having to remove the hand guard. Each Mount-N-Slot will come with a roll of semi-rigid plastic that can be used to position and hold in place the backing that the mounting screw attaches to. It is very ingenious system that will save users a ton of time and effort.

The Mount-N-Slot line continues to grow more impressive with each and every new product introduction.

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

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