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Archive | Tactical Gear

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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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.

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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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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Patch Collecting: ESEE Izula Patch

The original ESEE Izula is a great knife and it has been a runaway success. It makes sense that such a great knife should also get a great patch!

This one is available exclusively from EM Gear.

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Handgun Sight Review: AmeriGlo Hackathorn Sights

The Hackathorn Sights are, like the recently reviewed I-Dot sights, a relatively new offering from AmeriGlo. Their name comes from their designer, Ken Hackathorn. Mr. Hackathorn is one of the premier trainers in the tactical world and needs no introduction.

The bright red front sight demands your attention. This picture approximates the shooter's point of view (on a Glock 21SF for reference). Click to enlarge.

Stats

Front sight width: .140″

Rear sight notch: .180″

Price: $80

Front Sight

The front sight is what makes the Hackathorn sights unique. Dimensionally, it is similar to most other standard front night sights on the market. It features one tritium vial insert. The magic of the Hackathorn sights come from the wide circle of bright red/orange paint that rings the front sight. This makes the front sight incredibly fast to acquire in daylight. In low light, it behaves just as well as any other tritium front sight.

The bright red ring on the front sight is what makes these excellent sights unique. Click to enlarge.

Rear Sight

There are two ways that manufacturers typically deal with glare on the rear sight. One is to under cut the rear face of the sight and the other is serrate the rear face of the sight. AmeriGlo and Ken Hackathorn chose to serrate the rear sight in this set. It is effective, but I have found that, over time, I prefer under cut rear sights. Serrated sights have more high points and hard corners to wear and become shiny with use. They can actually become more distracting than a plain rear sight. However, this is hardly an issue since it can easily be fixed with periodic application of “sight black” (which high volume shooters are probably doing already).

The serrated rear sight does not have any tritium, outlining, or dots to distract from your front sight focus. Click to enlarge.

This rear sight also features a wide notch and sloped, snag-free profile. The wide notch allows for quick acquisition of the front sight. The sloped profile makes some one-hand manipulation techniques difficult but provides a sleek package for carry or competition.

The Hackathorn sights feature a smooth, snag-free profile. Click to enlarge.

The mix of eye catching front sight with low glare rear sight makes for an excellent combination. These sights are very, very fast. The wide rear notch and relatively wide front sight aren’t the most “bulls eye” friendly combination but they are capable of great accuracy if the shooter does their part. It is hard to argue with the experience and opinions of Ken Hackathorn. These sights are definitely worth your consideration.

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BallisticReload.com

 

Click to visit BallisticReload.com

 

 

BallisticReload.com is a “Deal a Day” type site like Woot.com except they offer shooting/tactical gear. I only found the site last week and some of the deals that I have seen have been excellent.

Here is how it works: Every day at 2PM (Mountain Time) there is a new deal listed for an item at 30-60% off. It remains available for 24 hours or until it sells out. You can sign up for email alerts so that you always know what has been listed for the day.

I love a bargain!

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Crimson Trace Targets the Military Market

Crimson Trace is at the forefront of firearm laser design, development, and use. They have nearly single-handedly dragged the visible laser aiming device from goofy toy to viable low light force multiplier.  Now they have announced the formation of a new division called CTC Defense. The new division will cater solely to the military market but the civilian gun owner will benefit from the new technology that CTC Defense develops.

Here is the official press release from Crimson Trace:

September 1, 2010

CRIMSON TRACE ESTABLISHES NEW MILITARY DIVISION, CTC DEFENSE™

Wilsonville, OR — Crimson Trace Corporation, manufacturer of Lasergrips® and Laserguard® laser-sighting systems, has launched a new division targeting military supply channels with military grade product: CTC Defense.

Different from the commercial Crimson Trace brand, all new products have been built from the ground up using new technologies and resources that are innovative solutions for today’s hostile environments requiring white light, IR (infrared) and quick change day-to-night sighting systems.

“Adapt, Enhance and Overcome — those are the key needs for today’s modern day Warfighter”, said Dale Suzuki, Director of CTC Defense. “With the introduction of the heavily featured/modulated MVF-600, the Dual Can sighting system and platform specific solutions (HK, Sig Sauer, etc), we’ve fulfilled our vision for meeting the requirements now faced on the battlefield due to changing environments, close quarter encounters and new technologies”.

“CTC Defense is a natural progression to our growing business model and we are very proud and excited to launch this new brand and division” said Lane Tobiassen, President of Crimson Trace. “With our significant resources, superior innovation and patented technologies, we are able to provide the Military with unique products that expand and enhance their ability to be the supreme force on the battlefield.”

For more information, please contact us at 1-800-442-2406

Tactical-Life broke the story and they have the scoop on some fascinating new products that CTC Defense is developing.

 

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Handgun Sight Review: AmeriGlo I-Dot

The I-Dot sights are one of the newest offerings from AmeriGlo. Their name comes from their 2 dot design. Instead of lining up 3 dots horizontally like you would with most night sights, you align 2 dots vertically with the I-Dot sights. It’s like dotting an “i”. This design feels fast and intuitive in low light.

Front sight focus is easy with the I-Dot sights. This picture approximates the shooter's point of view (on a Glock 17 RTF2 for reference). Click to enlarge.

Stats

  • Front sight width: .125″
  • Rear sight notch: .180″
  • Price: $74

Front Sight

The I-Dot front sight is a pretty standard front sight. It has a tritium vile insert and a white outline.

The front sight is typical of most night sights. Click to enlarge.

Rear Sight

The I-Dot features an excellent rear sight. The notch is relatively wide (like most AmeriGlo rear sights) at .180″. This makes the front sight faster to pick up but may cost you some precision at longer distances. I find the speed gained is greater than the precision lost. It’s a worth while trade.

The bottom corners of the notch are rounded similar to a u-notch (unlike a true u-notch, the bottom is flat). These rounded corners serve to remove all of the hard edges from the sight picture except the important ones.

The rear sight features a single tritium vile insert that does not have a white outline which makes it appear smaller than the insert in the front sight. Everything about this rear sight is designed to help you focus on the front sight.

The I-Dot rear sight feature a single tritium vile that is not outlined and a wide notch with rounded corners. Click to enlarge.

The rear sight has many of it’s edges melted so it is snag free. However, the leading edge of the rear sight is left squared so that the sight can be used to cycle the slide in an emergency by catching it on a belt, holster, table top, or any other suitable surface. This may be an important feature if you train one handed manipulations.

The I-Dot rear sight has mostly "melted" corners except the leading edge which is intentionally left squared. Click to enlarge.

There is no shortage of options when it comes to excellent handgun sights. The AmeriGlo I-Dots have a slew of features and a price that makes them one of the top choices in a crowded field.

Dawson Precision Glock Sights

You usually think of competition sights when you think of Dawson Precision. That may change with the recent announcement of their tritium front sights and Charger rear sights for various handguns. My main interest is with the Glock sights, so they will be the focus of this post.

Tritium Front Sights

The Dawson Precision tritium front sights for Glocks have a lot what you have come to expect from other premium sights. The DP front sights are all .125″ wide and come in a variety of heights. This allows them to work with many of the best rear sights on the market, like Warren Tactical, 10-8, and Heinie.

Click to Enlarge

The most interesting feature is the wide skirt at the base of the sight. Glock sights typically consist of a the sight blade with a short post that drops into a hole in the slide, and a small hex head screw that locks the sight in place. This design could, at least theoretically, be sheared off with a solid hit to the front sight. The wide skirt on the Dawson Precision front sight could help prevent this from happening and since it really doesn’t cost much, if any, more than other similar front sights, you can consider it cheap insurance.

Charger Rear Sights

Many one handed manipulations of a semi-auto handgun revolve around being able to catch the rear sights on a table, belt, holster, or any other suitable surface in order to cycle the slide. The Charger Rear Sights from Dawson Precision are designed to make this task easier. They feature a large, serrated front edge that helps prevent the sight from slipping off the surface being to used to charge the handgun. This useful technique is often difficult or impossible to do with low profile or sloped sights.

The Charger Rear Sight is available in plain black, fiber optic, and tritium versions. It is nice to see Dawson Precision applying some forward thinking to something as simple as a rear sight.

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