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Archive | Tactical Gear

Garmin BaseCamp

Garmin GPS devices typically come packaged with their MapSource Trip and Waypoint Manager software. It is used to move maps and waypoints from your computer to your GPS. In my experience the MapSource software works but it seems to be geared more toward on road use rather than on trail use.

Thankfully, Garmin now has their BaseCamp software available to download for free. BaseCamp is a more wilderness oriented product that offers some very nice functionality for those who take their Garmin GPS outdoors.

The best feature of BaseCamp for me is how easy it is to create routes and waypoints. You can plan an entire trip on your computer before you ever set foot on (or off) a trail. There is also support for Google Maps and Google Earth. BaseCamp lets you print professional looking maps that even have automatically generated map details, lat/lon or UTM grid lines, magnetic declination information, and maps scales. Sadly, the maps do not necessarily print in a common scale, but they are still very useful. I have found that it handles large topo map sets much better than MapSource Trip and Waypoint manager. It works great with the free maps from GPSFileDepot.com.

Garmin updates BaseCamp fairly regularly and there has been talk of upgrading the printing so that users can print in common scales like 1:24K. Product support and free software like BaseCamp is part of the reason that I own several Garmin GPS units.

Download BaseCamp from the Garmin website.

Granite Tactical Gear Modular Pockets

Granite Gear, maker of excellent outdoor gear like backpacks, has quietly been making some very innovative tactical gear for the last couple of years. Some of the newest products in the their tactical line are the Modular Pockets (MP’s).

These are not unlike any other MOLLE utility pouch on the market except for two key differences. They have a rigid foam reinforced back sheet that helps the pouch keep its shape and makes for a rigid attachment to the host pack (or chest rig, belt rig, etc.). They also have compression straps to help prevent noise and shifting. The rigid backing helps prevent the host pack from bunching when the compression straps on the MP are cinched tight. I have never seen a MOLLE pouch with compression straps and when I saw these MP’s I was immediately struck by what a simple, functional, and worthwhile addition they could be to a pouch.

If you have 15 minutes to fill and you want to drool a bit, check out the Granite Tactical Gear 2011 catalog for more info on their entire line of gear.

Magpul Rifle Length MOE Hand Guards – Now Shipping!

The the long awaited rifle length MOE Hand Guards from Magpul are now shipping. These were originally announced back at the 201o SHOT Show. There have been pictures all over the web of these hand guards being used on “dissipator” type carbines and they certainly seem to be well suited to that type of build.

They should be on dealer’s shelves shortly. You can read more on Magpul’s website.

Review: Diamondback Tactical MOLLE CR123 Battery Holder

Diamondback Tactical makes a slick little battery holder that solves a problem for me. I have had a CR123 battery become dented and unusable while knocking around loose in a pocket of my backpack. I have also read accounts of how CR123 batteries can heat up and vent when loose items in a pocket are able to short the battery. The Diamondback Tactical 123A Battery Holder (MOLLE) solves these problems by providing a dedicated holder specifically for CR123 batteries that keeps them protected, separate from other small items, and  easily accessible.

The pouch is simple. It is two elastic loops covered by an upper and lower flap. There are two snaps that allow the holder to attach to a single column of MOLLE webbing. It has a very small footprint so you can find room for one on any chest rig, belt rig, or back pack. The snaps allow these to be attached and detached from MOLLE webbing in just seconds.

These battery holders are a great way to keep batteries around on your training gear. You never know when you will need a fresh set of batteries to keep you on the line in a low light course. I also use them on my hiking packs so I can keep spare batteries around for my headlamp or flashlight. They are simple and effective.

IWC 2 to 1 Point Triglide 1.25″ Now Available

Impact Weapon Components just made the 1.25″ version of the previously reviewed 2 to 1 Point Triglide available on their site. The new version is sized to work on slings that use larger 1,25″ webbing like the Vickers Combat Application Slings (VCAS) from Blue Force Gear. The VCAS is my personal favorite sling so I will have to pick up a few of these.

You can check out the original 1″ version and the new 1.25″ version on the IWC website.

Nordic Components Compact Retractable Stock

If you have a dedicated .22LR AR-15 build, the new Compact Retractable Stock (CRS) from Nordic Components just might catch your eye. It is similar in design to the collapsible stocks that Heckler & Koch uses on many of their firearms. Nordic Components adapted the design to fit any AR-15 that does not require the use of the buffer tube, like those that have been converted to .22LR.

The stock is adjustable from a fully collapsed length of pull (LOP) of 5 7/8″ to six other positions varying from a LOP of 8-7/8″ to 13-7/8″. The stock weighs roughly the same weight as a standard M4 collapsible stock but it is significantly more compact. In its fully collapsed position it still allows for the bolt catch to function and will allow the dust cover to open far enough for the rifle to function.

This stock would be especially handy on a .22LR SBR build. .22LR uppers can be made with extremely short barrels without concern for gas system length. Those shorter barrels, coupled with a stock this compact, would make for a very trim, light weight, and handy firearm.

The new CRS is available now from the Nordic Components website.

Troy Nav Stock

It has become very common for those who carry both an AR-15 and a GPS to attach the GPS to the stock of the AR-15. This is usually done in a field improvised way or by using a wrist strap that is also designed to attach the GPS to an AR-15 stock. The most common GPS device used for this application the Garmin Foretrex 401. It’s compact size make it ideal.

Troy has a clever solution that does away with the field improvisation. The Troy Nav Stock actually has a Foretrex 401 embedded into the stock. It is mounted upside down so that the user needs only to glance downward and roll the rifle slightly to view the display or operate the GPS. The Foretrex utilizes a patch antenna that will function very well even when the unit is upside down in this manner.

This is specialized gear that not everyone needs but it definitely a clever solution for those who do need it.

Image is property of Troy Industries.

Convertible Slings from Tactical Link

Jerking the Trigger first showed you the 2 to 1 Point Triglide (AKA The Triglide) from Impact Weapons Components about 1 month ago. Since that time The Triglide has made some serious waves in the industry.

Tactical Link is the first company to unveil new slings designed specifically to leverage the unique functionality of The Triglide. They have introduced two slings: the Convertible Sling and the Convertible Bungee Sling. Tactical Link is already well known for their excellent sling mounts that utilize push button QD sling swivels. So, incorporating The Triglide into slings made specifically for use with their sling mounts is a perfect fit.

Both slings allow the user to quickly and easily transition between 1 point and 2 point configuration. If you need extra maneuverability you can configure the sling as a 1 point. As soon as the need arises for more stability, you can transition on the fly to a 2 point configuration. These slings give you the best of all worlds. You can tailor these slings to your specific requirements at a specific moment.

You can read more about these slings and other great sling products at Tactical Link’s website.

New IR Lasers Available for Commercial Sales

Laser Devices Inc. and Tactical Night Vision Company (TNVC) have announced a new class of IR pointers that are legal for commercial sales. These Class I IR lasers will have reduced range versus their Military/LE only counterparts, but they will still offer solid 75-100 meter performance for night vision users.

One of the biggest road blocks to non-military/LE night vision users has been the difficulty in purchasing a quality IR laser system. Now these systems have been made available to everybody, though in a somewhat neutered format. This should be an exciting development for night vision users.

TNVC is already taking orders for the following models:

  • DBAL-I2 ($966.00) – Dual Beam – Vis. Red Pointer/IR Pointer
  • EOLAD-1I ($1440.00)
  • ITAL-Classic ($678.00)
  • OTAL-Classic ($678.00)

You can read more in TNVC’s product announcement on AR15.com, on the TNVC website, and the Laser Devices Inc. website.

B.G. Leatherworks Tomahawk and Axe Sheaths

I recently came across B.G. Leatherworks while looking for a bit cover for an axe and tomahawk. I was having a difficult time finding something that fit my needs. Most axes, hatchets, and tomahawks come with poorly fitted sheaths, if they come with a sheath at all. There are off-the-shelf type sheaths available but these suffer from the same poor fit due to their one size fits all approach.

The only useful cutting tool is a sharp cutting tool, so it is vitally important to have a reliable way of covering the cutting edge of your axes. It is not uncommon for an axe to be sharp enough to shave hair, so the last thing you want is for that edge to come in contact with your pack or, worse, your skin.

B.G. Leatherworks makes very attractive sheaths for axes and tomahawks (among other things). Every sheath is custom made and there are several options to choose from. The prices seem very reasonable. You can view more of their work on the B.G. Leatherworks website.

Image provided by B.G. Leatherworks

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