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Archive | Tactical Gear

Impact Weapon Components Introduces "The Summit"

Impact Weapon Components continues to grow on the strength of their successful line of Mount-N-Slot accessories. They already have a forum on Ar15.com and a Facebook page where users can interact directly with the people behind the products. Now they are expanding the sense of community even further with the introduction of “The Summit”.

The Summit is a user group that anyone can join for free. Those who are members of The Summit will receive notification of special sales, discounts (the one that was sent out recently was a GREAT deal), and more.

Visit the Impact Weapon Components home page and click “The Summit” (upper left hand corner) to join.

You will definitely want to join The Summit and stay tuned to Jerking the Trigger, because we have some more IWC Mount-N-Slot goodies to give away! There will be details soon.

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Patch Collecting: SMILE WAIT FOR FLASH

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When is a Glock like a photo booth or a trip to the DMV? This patch features the familiar business end of a Glock with the phrase “SMILE WAIT FOR FLASH” on the muzzle.

This one is part of a custom run of patches made by a friend on the Usual Suspects Network (must be a member to read).

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Magpul Mid-Length MOE Hand Guards

Earl at Impact Weapon Components let me know that Magpul Mid-length MOE Hand Guards are finally finding their way to dealer shelves. Initially, only black will be available but eventually all of you will be able to purchase these in any of your favorite Magpul colors.

I know a lot of you have been looking forward to finally laying hands on these hand guards.

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Review: Guyot Designs Stainless Steel Nalgene Bottle

I posted about the very clever flexible bail for Guyot Designs stainless bottles from Marion Outdoors just a few days ago. While the flexible bail is certainly very cool, it dawned on me that I have never posted about the bottles that the bail is designed to work with.

Guyot Design stainless bottles should look very familiar to you. They are essentially just a stainless steel version of the venerable Nalgene bottle. They feature the same wide mouth for easy cleaning and even accept the same lids and accessories as the Nalgene bottles. The Guyot Design bottles are available in a few shapes and sizes but the one that I like best is “The Standard” 38 ounce bottle because it very closely mimics the shape and size of a standard 32 ounce Nalgene.

Guyot Designs also feature a much nicer lid than the standard Nalgene bottles. The lid is attached via a piece of sterling climbing rope that has a two sliders so the rope can easily be separated from the bottle and the lid. Being able to easily remove the lid is a must if you are going to use these bottles on or near fire.

So what makes these worth the extra weight and cost over a standard plastic Nalgene bottle? Versatility. Versatility. Versatility.

These bottles can handle any temperature extreme thanks to their construction. I have hiked in temps that were cold enough to partially freeze my water bottle. That isn’t a problem with a stainless water bottle. You can simply remove the lid, then place it near or even on your fire to thaw your water. It can be used to heat water for cooking and even purify water by boiling in a pinch. They are a truly multi-functional piece of potentially life saving equipment.

The ability to purify water alone makes them worth the extra weight and cost. You have to carry water anyway, so it might as well be in a multi-functional Guyot Designs bottle.

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Gear Sector Low Profile Rail Mounts

Gear Sector is probably best known for their excellent slings. However, they offer far more than just slings. Their relatively new line of Low Profile Rail Mounts offers some very original features and functionality.

The Low Profile Rail Mounts are, well… low profile. They meld nearly seamlessly with slightly modified Tango Down Rail Covers. This gives the mount a clean look but, more importantly, it provides a snag free mounting option that doesn’t interfere with your grip on the rifle.

 

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The array of mounts that Gear Sector has designed is extensive. There are several different styles of sling mounts including fixed loops and QD sockets. The QD swivel mounts seem to melt into the rail. The fixed loop looks simple and bull strong.

 

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The Light mounts cover most popular lights for carbine mounting including the Surefire Scout Light, G2L, X300, and others. They all do a great job of locating the light for easy activation with the support hand thumb and they hold the light tight to the rail to reduce snags.

The Low Profile Rail Mount line also includes a very well designed handstop.

 

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You can view and purchase the entire line of Low Profile Rail Mounts from Gear Sector’s website.

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Marion Outdoors – Flexible Bail for Guyot Bottles

I am a big fan of Guyot Designs Stainless Steel Nalgene water bottles. They are just so much more versatile than standard plastic Nalgene bottles. Because of their stainless steel construction, they can be used directly on a fire for cooking or water purification. The problem is that they can be difficult to handle when they are hot. Sheath maker and outdoorsman, Marion David Poff, has come up with a very convenient solution.

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Marion is selling a bail that is constructed from braided steel wire through his outdoor product company, Marion Outdoors. The rope simply slides onto itself at both ends which creates a loop that can be slipped under the lip of the stainless bottle. Once the bail is in place it can be used to suspend the bottle over the fire or to remove a hot bottle from a fire. The wire is flexible enough that the bail packs down very small for transport. It is a very clever design that makes an already versatile item even more versatile.

The bails are available directly from Marion on BladeForums.

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Elzetta Offers a New Well Designed Strobe Tailcap

Strobe lights of sufficiently fast frequency is quite disruptive to those on the viewing end of the light. A flashlight with strobe function can be an invaluable tool to those who have the training to make the most of it. However, the strobe mode on many flashlights often requires a series of clicks or programming to access which can be difficult to do under stress. Enter Elzetta

The new Strobe Tailcap option for the ZFL-M60 series of lights from Elzetta is designed to correct this shortcoming that plagues most lights. When the tail cap is tightened all the way in the closed position, it acts like any other “clickie” tail cap. You simply press lightly for momentary operation or press until the button clicks for constant operation. If you need to access strobe, you simply back the tailcap off a few degrees. Now the operator needs only to press the tailcap button to access a blinding and disorienting 235 lumen strobe.

There is no series of clicks or programming required. Users who prefer the strobe can simply set the light in strobe mode and leave it there. The strobe is only a button push away. Far too many lights advertise the usefulness of the strobe function and then make the user do interactions that would be difficult or impossible to do under stress. The Elzetta design is far more user friendly and easier to operate under stress – just press a button.

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New ESEE-4 Scales From The Knife Connection

One of the most asked questions about ESEE Knives is “Are there different scales available for purchase?” ESEE has decided not to offer replacement scales but The-Knife-Connection has decided to fill that gap. The free market works!

 

The scales extend the length of the handle and provide a "beak" for additional grip. Click to enlarge.

 

The scales aren’t just simple copies of the original scales. They actually add some functionality in the form of a slight palm swell and some additional length. Some people find the ESEE handles to be a bit short so these replacement scales will be a welcome upgrade for them.

 

The contours will be appreciated by many users. Click to enlarge.

 

The-Knife-Connection will be offering these scales in several colors of G-10. They are machined to ensure a consistent fit. They will eventually have scales for other ESEE Knives as well, like the Izula and ESEE-3. You can see more pictures and read more about the scales at the ESEE Forum on BladeForums.com.

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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

 

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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.

 

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