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Archive | Tactical Gear

Review: Princeton Tec Quad Tactical

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Princeton Tec (PT) makes some of the most innovative, durable, and affordable head lamps on the market right now. They have taken this innovation and applied it to a handful of tactical products. The Quad Tactical is one of these tactical products. It is based on PT’s excellent Quad headlamp with a few tweaks for the “tactical” market. I have been using one for several months now and I couldn’t be more pleased.

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The Same

The Quad and Quad Tactical share many features. They both have self contained lamp units, meaning that they do not use a separate battery compartment – the batteries are in the same housing as the lamp. In order to keep the unit light weight and compact, they are both powered by three AAA batteries. This compact design allows them to use a single strap unlike many headlamps that have a second strap that travels front to back on top of the wearer’s head. Both lights use four 5mm LEDs to create a broad flood beam of light.

But Different

There are two main differences between the Quad and the Quad Tactical. The Quad Tactical has interchangeable color filters (red, blue, and green) and it comes on in the low setting. The regular Quad comes on in high mode.The filters are a welcome addition for me. I use the red filter constantly. Low levels of red light can be used to maintain your dark adjusted vision. I keep the filter on mine in the up position so that I run less risk of ruining my dark adjusted vision with a surprise activation of the light.

Too much red light can also affect your night vision so PT designed the Quad Tactical to turn on in low mode. This is light is “tactical” because it is discreet, not because it is bright. Many lights of this type have a low mode that is far too bright. PT could have made this one lower, bu the combination of the low mode and red filter make for a passable low mode. It would be an excellent map light or navigation light.

In Use

Using the light is simple. You access all modes from a single button that is located on top of the light. Press once for low mode. Press again within a second for medium, again for high, and again for blink (a slow strobe mode), and again for off. If you wait more than one second to press the button again the light will turn off.

Change the color filter by unlatching the faceplate and replacing with the color of your choice. The filter can be kept down and out of the way or easily pushed up to filter the light. The light uses a small detente and friction to stay in both the up and down positions very securely.

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It is easy to change the batteries thanks to the tool built into the headband slider. The battery compartment is secured by a single slotted and knurled knob. Loosen the knob to allow the battery compartment to hinge open. Tighten the knob to close the battery compartment. I like to turn it to finger tight and then give it another 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn with the slider tool.

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I have really come to appreciate the broad beam profile of Quad Tactical. It is probably this light’s best feature. It makes a great work light when you are setting up camp because it really illuminates a wide area. It will also light up nearly an entire USGS map, instead of just a small spot. Even with the broad beam, it still has some reach, especially when turned to high mode. Something like the PT EOS Tactical may be a better choice for lighting up the trail on a mountain bike, but for hiking I rarely use the Quad Tactical on anything other than low mode.

I am very pleased with this light.

Specs:

  • Batteries: 3x AAA batteries (lithium, alkaline, or rechargeable)
  • Output and Runtime: 45 lumens for 1 hour on high, 9 hours on medium, 24 hours on low (these runtimes are the regulated runtimes, for 50-150 hours more depending on output level when they drop out of regulation)
  • Weight: 2.9 ounces with lightweight lithium batteries, 3.5 ounces with alkaline batteries
  • Dimensions: 2.75″ x 1.75″
  • Hinged bracket allows user to direct the light
  • Waterproof to 1 meter
  • Made in the USA

Click here to see the entire PT Tactical line.

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Preview: Troy Battle Ax Stock

The stock you see in the above picture is the upcoming Troy Industries Battle Ax Stock. It may look a bit strange but it is was obviously designed for function, not form. It has some extremely fresh and innovative features that really set the Battle Ax apart from other stock systems on the market.

The most interesting feature to me is the storage. Even though this stock is very compact, it boasts a ton of storage space. The good folks over at Spartan Cops have confirmed that there is enough storage space to keep blowout kit items on board! These items would add very little weight. You would never have an excuse not to have life saving first aid items on your person again. The items you could carry are not limited to first aid kits. A cleaning kit, or at least some lube, would be another good choice.

Other features include a metal butt plate which should make this stock quite durable and provide some weight at the rear of the gun which many shooters like. There are QD sling swivel sockets in three locations. The length adjustment latch is low profile and located on the underside of the stock. The latch can be seen in the these pictures taken by Stickman in a post at GearScout. Shooters will also appreciate the broad, comfortable cheek weld. The “clubfoot” shape looks like it would work well as a hand hold when shooting from a bipod.

The Troy Battle Ax Stock is unique in looks and in features. It is on my wish-list.

TRICON – Diamondback Tactical Gear Designed by Jeff Gonzales

I have been using Diamondback Tactical’s (DBT) Battlelab brand nylon gear for several years now. They make some of the most durable, well designed, and reasonably priced pouches that I use. I plan on doing some reviews eventually.

Today I came across a new line of gear on the DBT website: TRICON by Diamondback Tactical. It is a joint venture between DBT and Jeff Gonzales. With Mr. Gonzales’ input and Diamondback’s quality and service, this gear should be excellent.

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Tactical Handyman – ACOG Fiber Optic Fix

Trijicon ACOGs are excellent optics for fighting rifles, especially when having to deal with extended distances. The ACOG’s combination of size, durability, and speed make it one of the best choices for an AR-15 optic. The ACOG has been battle tested in Iraq and Afghanistan and has come through with flying colors. It has also become very popular in the competition shooting world – especially 3Gun competition. It is a proven system.

The Problem

One of the ACOG’s best features can also be one of the most annoying. The fiber optic illumination system on the ACOG allows the reticle to glow brightly in full sun and automatically adjust to changing lighting conditions. When there is no ambient light present the reticle is illuminated by the tritium insert. It all sounds great until the task at hand calls for any amount of precision. In full sun, the reticle can be so bright that it begins to flare. This flaring obscures the view of the target and makes it difficult to shoot with any level of precision.

I used to just use electrical tape to mask the fiber optic tube of my ACOGs. However, this is an all or nothing solution. It fixes the flaring problem but it doesn’t allow the fiber optic to gather any light in intermediate and low light situations. This solution was too static. I needed something that was more dynamic – something that would allow me to adjust to different lighting quickly and easily.

I tried making a hook and loop flap that could be stuck to the ACOG and peeled back to varying degrees to expose or cover the fiber optic tube. This worked great in my living room. Once the rifle was actually run through some drills a problem became obvious. The flap would catch readily on my gear, sometimes pulling it almost completely off the ACOG. So this solution was dynamic but it wasn’t durable.

Finally, I took a page out of the 3Gun play book. Shooters in 3Gun have been using bicycle tire inner tubes to cover the fiber optic for years. Typically a piece of inner tube is cut to length and then stretched over the optic. This effectively covers the fiber optic while still allowing for some adjustment by peeling the tube back. Inner tubes are tough and cheap. This idea has a lot going for it. This was my starting point.

The Solution

What I ended up with really works. It is securely mounted on the ACOG and will not snag on gear. It blocks almost all light from entering the fiber optic but also adjusts rapidly and easily to any lighting condition. It costs pennies and is easily replaceable.

Here you can see the cover in place. It is basically one length of tube that has been cut into two loops connected by a strap.

Pull the strap over the elevation knob to allow some light gathering. The short length of electrical tape is there to block the little bit of ambient light that can still to the back of the fiber optic.

Pull the strap over the windage knob to allow even more light. I have found that on the TA11 ACOGs, with their extra long fiber optic tube, this is more than enough exposed fiber optic for just about all lighting conditions.

What you will need:

  1. ACOG equipped rifle
  2. Bicycle tire inner tube – a piece roughly as long as your ACOG
  3. Sharp scissors
  4. Hobby knife (or any knife with a sharp point, I used a Swiss Army Knife)
  5. Electrical tape (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Check that your rifle is unloaded and remove all ammunition from your workspace.
  2. Check it again.
  3. Cut a length of inner tube to roughly the length of your ACOG using your scissors.
  4. Measure the length of the hole you will need to cut to clear the base by laying the tube over the ACOG and marking the locations indicated in the picture.
  5. Cut the hole about two/thirds of the way up the width of the inner tube. The idea is to leave a strap that is just wide enough to cover the fiber optic tube with some overlap.
  6. Trim all of your corners so that they are rounded. Any corners left pointed or square can create stress cracks in the cover as it is stretched.
  7. Cut an angle that matches the leading edge of the ACOG on the leading edge of your inner tube. Shaping the front of the cover like this will help you cover the leading edge of the fiber optic tube.
  8. Stretch the inner tube onto the ACOG and twist it as necessary to cover the fiber optic tube. The fiber optic tube runs at an angle so you will need to the twist the cover so the strap covers the tube. It should be difficult to stretch.
  9. Adjust the fit as necessary by trimming excess material from the inner tube.
  10. Trim around the elevation turret cover with your knife. This will help the cover lay flatter over the fiber optic tube.

Optional Step: You may want to place some tape on the front 1/2 inch and back 1/2″ of the fiber optic tube. This will help cut down on light that may reach the tube from the front of the cover and around the elevation turret.

That Was Easy!

That was simple, cheap, easy, and effective. There aren’t many things in life that you can say that about. Is is easy to make another if this one ever breaks. You could even make a spare and keep it on your gear.

Problem solved.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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