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OscarDelta Deep Carry and Go Tubes

Small, water-resistant tubes have been used for years as containers for small survival/E&E kits. The tube form factor makes them easy to stow just about anywhere discreetly. They are often made from machined aluminum or titanium which makes them fairly expensive. OscarDelta developed a solution that capitalizes on the proven tube form factor but that is significantly less expensive. They call them Go Tubes and Deep Carry Tubes.

Both models feature tubular PVC plastic construction with rubber end caps. The Go Tube has a ringed end cap that offers additional carrying options while the Deep Carry Tube has two flush end caps that make it more easily stash-able. These are small enough to be discreet and large enough to carry things like lock bypass tools, compact fishing kits, fire starting materials, emergency cash, or just about anything else that will fit.

Get your own OscarDelta Go Tubes or Deep Carry Tubes from Vigilant Gear.

Review: JAVRAN HALP Holster

Most of the Velcro backed “universal” holsters on the market are downright terrible. Many of them are difficult to draw from due to poorly executed thumb-breaks or snag prone designs (often both). They get away with it because they spend their time locked away in a bag and they are cheap so hardly anyone actually thinks much about them. The standard designs were ripe for some innovation so that is just what JAVRAN did.

The HALP Holster from JAVRAN is a Velcro backed universal holster that offers one all important improvement over other similar designs – it has a longer sleeve. This longer sleeve is the key to it improved performance and functionality. It is the simple design tweak that makes the HALP better than anything else that I have tried (more on this later).

Overview

The HALP isn’t complicated. It consists of 2 main parts – a semi-rigid, Velcro backer and an adjustable flap that wraps around the handgun. The backer is made from 2” webbing with hook Velcro sewn to the back while the flap is made from a double layer of 1000D nylon.

Observations from Use

As I said earlier, the key to what makes the HALP better than anything else that I have tried is the longer flap. Most similar holsters have a flap that is just wide enough to cover most of the trigger guard. The muzzle of the handgun ends up dangling out in the open, below the flap which creates a snag point for weapon mounted lights, ejection ports, and front sights during the draw stroke. The wider flap also provides great retention and protection. It is such a simple adaptation that pays off in a tremendous increase in functionality.

I was able to adjust the flap to fit everything from a G17 with weapon light to an S&W J-Frame revolver. The adjustment range is wide enough that it should with anything but the smallest and largest handguns.

You can determine the tension of the holster by how tightly you wrap the flap around the handgun when you are fitting it. I found that I like to wrap it a bit tighter at the bottom and looser that the opening. This makes re-holstering a bit easier and still provides good retention.

Speaking of re-holstering… the HALP Holster would benefit from some reinforcement to the flap position. Since it is made from a double layer of 1000D nylon, it has very little structure which makes it prone to push and fold into itself while re-holstering. I am not sure what could be done, but a layer of webbing under the top part of the flap would provide some additional structure or lines of stitching at close intervals might also provide some additional structure. This is a small issue but it would be a big improvement to a great product.

Wrap Up

I am sure that I haven’t even come close to trying every holster of this type on the market but the HALP Holster is far better than any others that I have tried. Given the growing popularity of Velcro lined bags and packs, I suspect that more and more people will be looking for something better than the typical Velcro-backed universal holsters. They would do well to check out the HALP Holster from JAVRAN.

Check out the HALP Holster on JAVRAN.com.

Disclosure: JAVRAN provided this holster to me, free of charge, for review.

PS – I should also mention that JAVRAN has some of the coolest Made in the USA tags that I have ever seen.

Three Fathom Solutions JustApack – Now at OC Tactical

Small, lightweight packs are one of the handiest pieces of gear you can own. A pack like that has a ton of applications. The JustAPack from Three Fathom Solutions is just such a pack.

The JustApack is designed to be slim, lightweight, and low profile. It has over 500 cubic inches of capacity, weighs about 1 pound, and is designed to pack into its own internal pocket for easy storage. It can also be docked to a larger pack or plate carrier with repair buckles.

It features a large main pocket, a smaller outside pocket, and a slim admin pocket. The shoulder straps are thin and contoured. It features a Velcro panel for displaying patches and a 6 wide by 3 tall PALS webbing field on the front. It is available in Multicam 5ooD and LiteLok as well as Navy Blue Digital and Desert Digital 500D nylon.

I like to carry a small pack inside of a larger one for multi-day hiking trips so I can dump the larger pack at camp. This bag looks ideal for that.

The JustAPack from Three Fathom Solutions is available from OC Tactical.

Welcome Vigilant Gear

We are blessed to partner with some pretty cool outfits here on JTT and the newest is Vigilant Gear. This is a natural fit because they carry tons of the stuff that we love like Bogota Entry Toolsets, SAR Eclipse Signal Systems, Killer Keys, Sparrows Lock Pick Sets, Exotac gear, and other tools. They have gear for EDC, Survival, E&E, and more. I also love their inexpensive flat rate shipping.

Be sure to check out VigilantGear.com.

X-Messenger Bag V.1 from ECHO NiNER

ECHO NiNER has released images of their upcoming X-Messenger Bag V.1. It features a hi-viz interior lining, an internal organizer for small items like pens and business cards, quick access via a top zipper or buckle and Velcro secured flap, a padded shoulder strap, a front pouch, padded breathable mesh back, and PALS webbing on the front and sides.

The X-Messenger Bag V.1 will be available on ENiNER.com soon. You can view more images of the new bag on the ECHO NiNER Facebook Page.

 

Spartan Blades Akribis

Spartan Blades just dropped the new Akribis folding knife. The Akribis is Spartan Blades’ vision of a modern folding knife. It looks great and it has the spec sheet to match.

The Akribis features a 3.5″ long, 1/8″ thick S35VN blade and a titanium frame lock with a Rick Hinderer Lock Bar Stabilizer. The pocket clip is reversible for left or right side, tip-up carry. It is available with a grey ZrN coating or black PVD, Tungsten DLC. The handle scales can be had in your choice black G10 and black carbon fiber. Spartan Blades designed the coatings, scales, and sleek design to give the knife an upscale appearance that allows it to look at home in the pocket of tactical pants or a business suit.

Check out SpartanBladesUSA.com.

Propper Sweep Collection Outerwear

Propper is about to drop a ton of interesting new clothing items on the “tactical” market. The new clothing will be spread over 3 different lines that are focused at different markets (see the Soldier Systems coverage of all three lines). The line that interests me most is the Sweep Collection which features various outerwear and casual clothes many of which integrate magnetic closures to allow quick and quiet access to a concealed handgun.

I find myself especially drawn to the EL JEFFE Puff Vest and Profile Puff Jacket. I have always found “puff” jackets to be extremely versatile. They are great as stand-alone items and layer well for times that addition protection from wind and rain is needed. They also tend to be very easy to pack.

The EL JEFFE and Profile has features that should be useful to their target user group like pull out ID carriers on the front, a large pull out ID panel on the back, and slip resistant panels on the shoulders to keep slings from sliding (how cool is that?). The EL JEFFE Vest has double zippers to allow easy access to your CCW, while the Profile Jacket accomplishes the same thing with magnetic closures.

These items, and all of the new Propper items, are available to be pre-ordered from PredatorBDU.com.

RE Factor Tactical Survival Band

RE Factor Tactical makes what is likely the most fully featured “survival” bracelet on the market which they call the Operator Band. Not everyone needs the hidden handcuff key of the Operator Band so RE Factor Tactical introduced a new version called the Survival Band.

The RE Factor Tactical Survival Band has all the same features as the Operator Band including hidden fishing equipment, a P-52 can opener, and a fire starter. The Operator Band had a non-metallic handcuff key hidden inside the buckle but the new Survival Band forgoes the hand cuff key in favor of a survival whistle.

Check out the RE Factor Tactical Survival Band on REFactorTactical.com.

 

Review: ITS Titanium Entry Card from ITS Tactical

Hollywood has been showing people bypassing locks with a credit card for years but never quite like this. The ITS Titanium Entry Card can be used to open far more locks than a regular credit card ever could.

Overview

The ITS Titanium Entry Card is a credit card sized set of lock bypassing tools. It is made from titanium and perfectly replicates the dimensions (including thickness .032”) of a normal plastic credit card. The compact dimensions, lack of magnetic signature, and credit card-like form combination are designed to make this tool set easy to carry and very discreet.

ITS Tactical designed the card to hold 2 complete sets of tools consisting of a tension wrench, a Bogota triple hump tool, and Bogota single hump tool. The versatility and compact size of Bogota tools makes the addition of a second set possible. Many credit card lock bypass kits provide several picks in various shapes that quickly take up space on the card. That is unnecessary with Bogota tools since the single hump can also serve as a very effective single-pin pick.

Observations from Use

The lock bypass components are easy enough to remove from the card that I could do it with cold hands but they are also quite secure. The tools will not come out without purposeful manipulation.

The inclusion of a form fitting storage sleeve made from Tyvek is a nice touch. It can be used to help protect your actual credit cards from the wear that accompanies being carried next to a titanium card. It also gives the Titanium Entry Card set a less metallic and lower profile appearance at first glance.

I wanted to find out a few things in my testing. First and foremost, can the tools actually be used to bypass locks? Second, I wanted to see of the tools were still useful after being removed from the card and used. Finally, I wanted to see if there was any way to return the tools to the card after use. So, with the mission in mind, I set about bypassing locks. I picked and raked my way through dead bolts, padlocks, desk drawer wafer locks, and more.

These picks really do work. The Bogota tool design is proven and I have written about them at length in the past. With a little practice they can be used to successfully bypass locks by even beginners. Bogota tools can even allow some locks to fall to blind luck but as with anything, success and speed can be greatly improved with practice.

While these tools do work, the emergency nature of their intended use does show itself when you slide them into the keyway for the first time. These tools are designed to work in a pinch. They are not designed for lock sport. Most Bogota tools exhibit a high level of polish which allows them to move in and out of tight keyways more easily. That polish helps make the manic shaking/jiggling motion that is used for raking easier. However, it is impossible to apply this polish to the tools while they are still in the card so you will notice that the tools are a bit stiff in the keyway. This is especially true in a tight keyway. The good news is that they smooth out considerably with just a few passes in and out of the keyway. It seems that those first couple of movements inside the keyway smooth out a lot of jagged edges and then the tool just gets better with use.

The tension wrench is also very rudimentary which is completely understandable given the form factor. You will need a very, very light touch in most cases due to the short length and stiffness of the wrench. There is just no other way to render a tension wrench from a credit card sized piece of titanium.

The tools lack much of a handle to hold unto which is common across all credit card lock bypass sets. The size of a credit card just doesn’t allow much room for larger popsicle stick type handles. However, the small handles do have a lightness about them that does translate a fair amount of feel and touch for those delicate picking jobs. Again, these are last ditch tools.

I found that the tools are definitely useful after they are removed from the card. You should be able to get multiple uses out of the tools after they are popped out of the card unless you have a very heavy hand (which doesn’t serve you well in bypassing locks). You may even want to do some light polishing and drop the loose tools into your wallet with a wrap of tape on them, some heat shrink tubing, or a gutted length of para-cord shell to hold them together. They will lack some of the refinement of a full on Bogota Entry Tool Set but they are certainly useful.

There is also a simple solution to returning them to the card if you wish to do so. You can simple put them back into place and place a piece of masking tape over the card to hold the individual tools in their slots.

Wrap Up

The main draw here is the form factor. This is the first titanium credit card pick set. It is easy to carry, discreet, and it works. This isn’t the type of tool a lock smith is going to add to his pick roll but it is definitely the type of tool that can get you out of a bind. Basically, it is well designed and effective for its intended purpose.

Check out the ITS Titanium Entry Card at ITSTactical.com.

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