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Archive | Tactical Gear

The Regular Guy Sessions: Jon at Danger Close Consulting

In this installment of The Regular Guy Sessions, we will be talking with Jon at Danger Close Consulting (DCC). Jon is the man responsible for the recently reviewed Low Pro Scout Mount as well as other excellent light mounts (and some pretty hilarious t-shirts). I first found Danger Close Consulting on Lightfighter where he shares his knowledge as a Moderator. I ordered one of his mounts recently and, like I said in the review, it solved a problem for me. That is what I like my gear to do – solve problems.

I have said it before and I will say it again – if you can trust the person who makes the gear, you can trust the gear. That is the point of these interviews. I want people to get to know those who are making their gear. I want to connect buyers with sellers and give people options when it comes time to spend hard earned cash on gear. I think after you learn a bit about Jon, you will certainly trust his gear.

I want to first start out by thanking Jon for his service to this country and for taking time to answer my questions. Thank you, Jon.

Can you tell us about your background?

Jon: I am an active-duty Army soldier.  I have served in Infantry and Special Forces assignments.  I am fortunate enough to have had a wide exposure to the weapons systems used by US Forces and the military forces of other nations.  I have 4 combat rotations overseas and have participated in numerous programs for the development of SOF weapons systems.  I am also an avid participant in the sport shooting arena when time permits.  I have always had an interest in firearms and tactical products, so when I got to a place where I was able to dedicate the time to developing and producing weapons peripherals it was a no-brainer.

How does your line of work influence your product design? How do end users influence your product design?

Jon: I have been afforded the opportunity to receive some of the best tactical and shooting training in the world in my job, as well as a good amount of combat experience.  I also have a network of  peers which is extremely valuable for gaining a huge amount of feedback and guidance.  These are key factors in being able to know by looking at a product or concept and know it’s strengths and weaknesses over a broad spectrum of possible uses.  I can translate this combined information into product gaps, and then I find ways to fill so end-users have what they need to most efficiently do their jobs.

What made you decide to strike out on your own when there are already a TON of light mounts on the market?

Jon: Nobody made an affordable, durable, ultra low-profile mounting system.  I could pick any two of those three traits but not all of them. By pure luck I found an experienced local machinist who could make it happen, and already had experience with making products like I needed.  Our low-profile G2 and 1″ mounts are simply a further refinement of a piece he has been making since 2003.

What makes your mounts different and better?

Jon: Our mounts provide a level of function and value few have been able to match.  I do not want to set a price that would make a Law Enforcement Officer, Service Member, or civilian shooting enthusiast have to save for two months to buy one.  My partner and I both have day jobs to pay the bills, and we produce these mounts because we love making these products.  We are also able to bring a level of expertise in both tactical experience and manufacturing capability that is not often found elsewhere.

As far as I know the Low Pro Scout Mount is the first mount of it’s kind. Where did the inspiration for the Low Profile Scout Mount come from?

Jon: Pat Rogers of EAG Tactical, 100%.  He called me and said, “Why don’t you make an offset Scout Light mount?”  And I did… (We here at Jerking the Trigger think that is probably the only proper response when Pat Rogers wants something!)

Can we look forward to more gear from DCC soon? Can you share any teasers with us?

Jon: We have a solid lineup of new gear coming out, and in addition to weapons parts we are going to introduce some specialized soft goods.  In the near future we look forward to offering a new handstop that offers improved grip, footprint, and value over others on the market as well as some new solutions for attaching slings to popular weapons systems.  I want to expand at a rate that is manageable with my primary job, and also I want to make sure we are not re-inventing the wheel with our products.  I don’t wish to compete with other manufacturers, really.  I want our products to be specialized and truly offer something different from others on the market.  If I can go buy it from LaRue, I will just go do that instead (shameless plug for LaRue, BTW.)

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MacheteSpecialists.com Review

Machetes just might be the perfect survival knife. They are inexpensive yet exceedingly tough. They can be used for everything from clearing a trail, to fire starting, to game cleaning, to shelter construction. You simply can not beat the utility of a good machete. Once you are used to using a machete in the woods, it will be hard to carry anything else (especially an expensive “survival” knife).

Until recently, finding a good machete in the USA could be a bit of a challenge. Many of the best brands and designs were available only in South America where the machete is a far more pervasive tool. There was a serious void in the US market for brands like Imacasa and Tramontina.

The good folks at Machete Specialists have filled that void! Now you can purchase some amazing machetes from all over the world. They offer a 30 Day Guarantee and even have videos on proper machete use that were made by machete designer and knife writer Joe Flowers. Machete Specialists are THE definitive source for machetes on the web.

Boker Subcom Titanium

People have been asking for a premium version of the Chad Los Banos (CLB Design) designed Boker Subcom for nearly as long as the Subcom has been on the market. The Subcom has turned into very successful and varied series of CLB Designed Boker knives. These knives have redefined the idea of what an inexpensive folder can be.

Boker and CLB Design have redefined the inexpensive knife market once again. You will see a new Subcom on shelves soon – the Subcom Titanium. It features a 440C blade, while not the sexiest or newest super steel, is still a very respectable steel. The real story is the titanium frame lock construction. This knife will be a compact tank of a knife. Titanium frame lock construction doesn’t come cheap, or at least it didn’t until now. The street price on this knife will be around $35!

I will definitely be picking one of these up. I may even splurge on a custom scale from Potterma for it.

A Good Way To Waste a Few Minutes

Do you like blasting zombies? Do you like cool gear? I thought so.

Blast some zombies with cool Troy Industries gear in the Troy Zombie Killer Game.

Review: Emerson SOCFK

I have been carrying a Spyderco Endura 4 with the Emerson Wave for about 3 years now. It is still going strong, but I thought it was time to give another knife a try. I have grown quite fond of the Emerson Wave feature on my Spyderco and I have literally wanted to own an Emerson ever since I have been old enough to buy my own knives, so an actual Emerson knife seemed like the logical choice.

There is no more iconic “tactical folder” than the Emerson CQC-7. The CQC-7 and the Emerson Commander practically gave us the term “tactical folder”. Typically, I hate even uttering the word “tactical” since it is so overused but I suppose it fits in the case of the CQC-7. So, given the iconic nature of the CQC-7, I decided that if I was going to try an Emerson, it should be one that really represents what Ernest Emerson is all about, it should be a CQC-7.

I began search high and low for a plain edge Emerson CQC-7 and the search was proving quite difficult until I came across Extreme Outfitters. Not only did they have plain edge CQC-7s in stock at a reasonable price, but they also had a model that is made exclusively for them by Emerson… the SOCFK.

Click to enlarge.

From Extreme Outfitters:

This knife was developed to address the requirements of individuals who worked in situations where grip may be compromised such as cold, wet environments. The SOCFK is widely used by waterborne teams in the Navy, Marines, and Army.

This hybrid knife is the result of crossing the world standard CQC-7 and the hardcore SPECWAR knife. This crossbred knife is a direct result of specific requests by operators who wanted the proven characteristics of the CQC-7 blade, the size and handle ergonomics of the SPECWAR knife and the wave opening (remote pocket opener) of the Commander knife. It is the first knife outside of the Commander series to employ the wave-opening feature. Basically, this knife was designed by operators, built for operators and used by operators. This knife has all the characteristics needed to put it into the world’s elite class of knives. Knives that meet and exceed the unique demands of the elite special forces units of the U.S. Navy, Army, and Marine Corps.

Click to englarge.

The SOCFK had the blade I wanted with the more contoured “SPECWAR” handle (from Emerson’s earlier SPECWAR model). I was sold. I added it to my cart, paid, and waited. Extreme Outfitters shipped it very quickly (you can’t beat FREE Priority Mail shipping!) and had it to me in just 3 business days. It went immediately into my pocket (after snapping some pics while it was still pristine).

Review

I have now been carrying the SOCFK for several days. I am happy to report that it cuts things. That may sound ridiculous but it may come as a surprise to some people who listen to the pontifications of some individuals on internet forums who talk about how useless chisel ground edges and “American” tanto shaped blade are. This seems to be a rumor that is repeated often enough that it has become truth that people except with out any actual personal experience.

The chisel ground edge is just another way to make something sharp (and this knife is VERY sharp). It cuts and cuts well. It may have a tendency to draw the cut to one side or the other but this can be controlled. It has advantages and disadvantages just like any other type of grind (convex, flat, saber, hollow, etc, etc, etc). If you listen to some you would think that a chisel ground knife was useless. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

The angular “American” tanto shape that Ernest Emerson made such an icon is actually very useful. It has a long section of useful straight edge like a sheepsfoot or wharnecliffe style blade. It also has a very fine (but still strong) point which is one of the most useful features of any knife. It also has a leading edge which can be useful for scraping and other cutting tasks. In my opinion, it is a very useful blade shape.

The handle on the SOCFK is an ergonomic wonder. It has many contours which often means the knife will be comfortable in only one grip (usually hammer grip). But surprisingly, the SOCFK is comfortable in ALL grips. I am not sure how Ernie did it but this handle shape is magic.

The lock up on my SOCFK is typical Emerson. Many people talk poorly of liner locks. Often their opinions are based on cheap liner lock knives that do have poorly constructed locks. The lock on this SOCFK locks up like a bank vault. The titanium liner is very thick.  It also locks up very early (meaning it locks up on the near side of the tang) which is a good thing. Early lock up means that it will take a long time before the lock wears out. I also like how well the handle slabs protect the liner lock on this particular knife design. This reduces the danger of accidentally disengaging the liner lock when “white knuckling” the SOCFK. This knife is the blueprint for the way that liner locks should be made.

The handle features nicely shaped and aggressively textured G-10 slabs. The texture coupled with the handle contours make this knife very easy to retain even with wet/muddy/bloody/snotty/oily hands. The blade features a very evenly applied and attractive black coating. All of the screws used by Emerson are either slotted or Phillips head so you don’t need special tools to work on them. That is a nice touch.

Emerson Knives are still made right here in the USA and backed by some of the nicest people you’ll meet in the knife industry. The warranty and customer service are excellent.

This is a lot off knife for the money. If you are shopping for a new folding knife for everyday carry, duty use, or even collecting, the SOCFK could be the knife for you.

Details From Extreme Outfitters

Overall Length 8.75 in.
Blade Length 3.40 in.
Handle Length 5.0 in.
Blade Thickness .125 in.
Hardness 57-59 RC
Weight 5.53 oz.
Handles
Black G-10 epoxy / glass laminate
Liners
Aerospace grade Titanium
Blade
154 CM
Finish
Black – T™ or Satin Finish
Grind
“B” Blade – Chisel ground Tanto style
“A” Blade – Conventional V ground spearpoint

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Combative Edge M1

If you spend much time with folding knives, you know that some of the most expensive folders are titanium frame-locks. While Ti frame-lock folders tend to be expensive they also tend to be very rugged. A good Ti frame-lock might be the strongest lock that you can get on a folding knife.

I came across a new Ti frame-lock the other day that really caught my interest – the Combative Edge M1. The M1 is made by Fox Cutlery of Italy for Combative Edge. Fox makes some excellent knives though they haven’t really caught on here in the USA. The reviews on this knife are encouraging, the manufacturer has a great reputation, and the price is PHENOMENAL. At $170, this knife should send chills down the spine of its competitors.

I just wish they would offer it with a drop point blade rather than a recurve. Even with the recurve, I would love to try one of these knives out. It looks quite impressive.

Review: Danger Close Consulting Low Pro Scout Mount

Here is the bottom line up front…The Danger Close Consulting (DCC) Low Pro Scout Mount is the mount that should come with the Surefire M600 Scout Light from the start! I have had this for a couple of weeks now and it is everything that I hoped it would be and does everything I hoped it would do.

The DCC Low Profile Scout Mount works great on the Daniel Defense 9.5FSP Lite Rail.

Problem Solver

I think the one of the best compliments you can pay to a piece of gear is to say that it solves a problem. This mount solves multiple problems. The M600 Scout Light is a great weapon light in its stock form but it has some shortcomings, especially for those who will be using it without the remote pressure pad switch (I despise them). The stock mount places the light too low in relation to the shooter’s support hand grip. The light falls in a place that is awkward to reach with the support hand thumb. The stock mount also places the light high above the rail and has a large thumb screw that can be a snag magnet.

The DCC Low Pro Mount allows the user to place the light at around 11 o’clock on the rail and it tucks the light in very close to the rail. This is a much more natural position to hit with the thumb of the support hand and there is no more thumb screw to snag anything and everything.

Here you can see just how low profile the mount really is.

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is often what separates good gear from great gear and the DCC Low Pro Scout Mount is great gear. The mount is very nicely machined with no visible machining marks. The hard anodized finish is smooth and evenly applied. There is a large hole that has been machined away to save weight. It would have been easier and cheaper to just machine a round hole, but DCC chose to mill a more complex shape that would save more weight. The set screw that provides tension against the rail even has a small rubber pad to prevent the steel screw from gouging your aluminum rails. That is attention to detail.

Note the lightening cut.

Locked Down

This mount is solid. The light is held to the mount with 2 screws (provided). I used a bit of Loc-Tite on both screws. The mount itself must be slid onto the rail from the end. The set screw should then be positioned in a rail slot. Once the set screw is in position, you simply tighten the set screw. This keeps the mount from moving forward and back by dropping into a slot and by pulling the mount up against the under side of the rail. It is rock solid.

Here you can see the two mounting screws and the green rubber pad on the set screw.

In Use

The difference when you are actually using the light must be felt to be believed. Those who are familiar with trying to use an M600 Scout Light with the factory mount will know immediately what an improvement this mount has the potential to be. I shoot with a vertical grip but I don’t wrap my hand around it. I use a thumb forward grip on it much like I would with my support hand when shooting a handgun. The original Surefire mount didn’t work very well with this grip. It was simply too low since it could only be mounted at 9 o’clock on the rail. I would have to contort my hand and shift my grip to get my thumb down to the tail cap which basically meant that I left the light unused. Now, with the DCC, the tail cap falls much more naturally under my support hand thumb at around 11 o’clock on the rail. I no longer have to shift or contort my grip and the light is much more usable.

Verdict: Buy One!

Jon at DCC is a genuinely nice guy and he is active in the Army Special Forces so he knows a bit about what makes gear work. If that isn’t enough reason to buy one, then knowing that this is the only mount of its kind should be. If you running the M600 Scout Weapon Light with the “clickie” tail cap then you need this mount. Buy one.

Look for an upcoming interview with Jon at Danger Close Consulting on Jerking the Trigger.

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Magpul RVG Vertical Grip

The Magpul RVG Vertical Grips are shipping. You may remember these from SHOT Show 2010.

These have some pretty nice features for such an affordable grip. The RVG comes with a short section of rail so the RVG can be mounted to your MOE handguard. It is designed to be used comfortably with a thumb forward grip.

I like that the design is hollow so the grip to can be trimmed to whatever length the shooter desires. Some shooters, who use the RVG as a handstop or index point, will only need a small stub of a grip. A few moments with a hack saw and some sand paper will allow the user to completely customize the length of the RVG.

I have only seen these available in black, but I suspect that other colors will be available soon.

Tactical Tailor Elite Series Packs

They are finally here! I have been waiting to see detailed info on these packs for months. Until now Tactical Tailor’s pack offerings have been pretty vanilla but these really have some nice features.

Modular Operator Pack

This is a pretty slick 3-Day size pack with some nice features. One feature that I really like in a pack is the use of a high contrast interior liner. This can make finding small items easy in difficult lighting situations.

Urban Operator Pack

This is a lower profile urban style pack. It would be great for a commuter or EDC style pack.

Removeable Operator Pack

This one really has my attention. I am a big fan of the Kifaru E&E and this bag uses a similar concept. It can be a stand-alone pack for when you need to travel light or it can be easily docked on a larger pack to serve as extra storage or an E&E pack. You could easily store some basics (a knife, way to purify water, a poncho for shelter, spare ammo, some rations, and a way to make fire) in this pack just in case you had to drop your larger pack for some reason. This is a great concept and it is a bit bigger than the Kifaru E&E.

Extended Range Operator Pack

The largest offering is the Extended Range Operator Pack. This has some pretty series capacity and an internal frame to help you carry it. It also has some really nice internal organization which many large packs lack. It is absolutely covered in PALS webbing so you should be able to easily add more storage and organization. The Removeable Operator Pack would work quite well mounted on one of these packs.

Wiha 363 Series Torx Set

The Tactical Handyman needs to be able to work on his own tactical tools. Many of today’s tactical tools are put together using Torx fasteners. Torx fasteners are excellent because they are internal drive so your driver doesn’t slip as much and they offer more bearing surface than your typical allen screw to torque against. It is a great system, especially for the smaller fasteners found in folding knives.

In order to deal with these fasteners, you need special tools. I have owned several sets of Torx drivers and I have stripped and ruined several sets. Then I found Wiha Tools. Wiha seems to specialize in precision tools and has an especially broad selection of Torx tools.

I have been using a set of their short arm drivers from the 363 series for 2 years now and they are the best set of drivers that I have owned. These drivers have a confidence inspiring tight fit in most fasteners, a great organizer/holder, individually marked drivers, and they are very compact.

This is a tool that every Tactical Handyman needs in their tool box.

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