87GN just posted an excellent review of the Diamondback DB380. It is an interesting Kel-Tec P3AT alternative with a lot going for it.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- ACOG equipped rifle
- Bicycle tire inner tube – a piece roughly as long as your ACOG
- Sharp scissors
- Hobby knife (or any knife with a sharp point, I used a Swiss Army Knife)
- Electrical tape (optional)
- Check that your rifle is unloaded and remove all ammunition from your workspace.
- Check it again.
- Cut a length of inner tube to roughly the length of your ACOG using your scissors.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Adjust the fit as necessary by trimming excess material from the inner tube.
- 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.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Sometimes your Bug Out Bag takes a different direction and morphs into something between a go-bag, an active shooter bag, and a Bug Out Bag (BOB) due to your chosen occupation. Enter the Civilian Contractor Red Zone BOB; this is a heavy-weight’s version of a crisis management bag for places where encounters with ‘Bad Guys’ is a real possibility…
Velocity Systems has just released the latest addition to their Phalanx line or armor plates. It is a new lightweight, multi-hit plate that is going to be a game changer. Take a look at the specs and you’ll see why…
This is a simple idea that makes a lot of sense. Knight’s Armament Company has a new rail mounted front site out called the Micro Flip Front Sight. It is becoming more popular to use an extended handguard over a low profile gas block on AR-15s. Along with this trend has come a need for rail mounted front sights. Rail mounted front sights are not unique. Many companies like Troy and MI already make similar items.
What makes this one unique is that the elevation adjustment without tools! You no longer need special tools or to struggle with a bullet tip to dial your elevation at the front sight. You can simple turn the low profile dial to adjust the front sight up or down. The dial also appears to be shielded to minimize the chances of losing your zero to an impact or snag on the dial.
The price is $125 (MSRP) which is comparable to other folding rail mounted front sights.
Chest rig choices have been somewhat limited for AK-47 users. Eagle Industries has a couple of dedicated AK rigs and several manufacturers make chest rigs that are somewhat universal. Often these universal rigs don’t work well with the curved shape of the AK mags or hang up on the locking tab located on the back of the mag. US Palm has a new rig that will, at the very least, give AK users another choice.
This chest rig is somewhat spartan (as any good chest rig should be). It is basically just a means to carry 4 primary mags and 4 items like pistol mags, flashlights, or multi-tools. Each of the primary magazine pouches is lined with a high wear material to protect the pouch from the locking tab on the backs of the magazines. They also have a unique shape that is tailor-made for AK mags. The materials used in the construction are all top-notch (500D Cordura, ITW hardware). The shoulder straps look broad and somewhat flat (as they should be). Primary mags are retained via “bungee” loops that offer great retention and speedier access than flaps. It will be available in all the colors that you have come to expect including Multicam.
I only have two potential misgivings. First, I have always preferred AK chest rigs with a 3 mag set up since the size and shape of AK mags make them more difficult to manipulate when you have to reach across your body to the weapon side pouch or to the pouch nearest your support side. With the 4 mag set ups, the middle two pouches always seem to be more usable than the outer two. Second, the rig it appears to favor right handed shooters due to the shape of the pouches. I guess the AK47 isn’t particularly lefty friendly either.
You can find more info here:
Lakota Corp is now offering Multicam hydrographics. What are hydrographics?
From the Lakota Corp website:
Hydrographic printing is known by several names. It is also called water transfer printing, cubic printing and fluid imaging. This technology is a water-soluble film, upon which patterns of ink are applied. Similar to some of the new medicines and breath mint sheets on the market that dissolve in your mouth, the film in this technology dissolves in water, leaving the ink floating. When the item is submersed into the water, the ink then adheres to the item “dipped” three-dimensionally.
The picture shows a helmet that has been through the hydroprinting process. You can click the picture to go to a small gallery of other items that have been dipped. They can do objects of all sorts of sizes and shapes – even entire rifles. The results are appear to be very nice but I wonder about the durability of the coating.
If you have experience with these coatings leave a comment about their durability. Thanks.
AAC is bringing a new flash suppressing compensator to market called the Brakeout. It is based on the successful and very effective Blackout flash suppressor line. The Blackout is probably the most effective flash suppressor on the market today. It will be interesting to see how much of that effectiveness the Brakeout retains. If it can suppress flash nearly as well as the Blackout and add some muzzle rise compensation it will be truly impressive.
Flash suppressing compensators are starting to fill the market. I own and use two PWS FSC556 flash suppressing compensators and they really do work. They reduce muzzle flip noticeably – which is saying something on the already mild muzzle flip of the 5.56. It also suppresses flash just as well as an A2 flash suppressor. The FSC556 and devices like it can give an already good shooter a needed advantage by decreasing the time needed to realign the sights between shots.
This type of performance does not come without costs. They increase (or at least redirect) the noise that comes from the muzzle while shooting. This extra noise may not be apparent to the shooter who is behind the rifle (as is the case with the FSC556) but it may be painfully obvious to those to the sides of the shooter. The extra (or redirected) noise will also become apparent when shooting indoors. Shooters who will be using these devices in team settings or on home defense guns should take note. The muzzle blast from these devices can also cause debris to be stirred up and rained down on the shooter when using non-standard shooting positions like roll over/urban prone. Any shooter who is considering one of these devices should educate themselves on the down sides before purchasing.
It should also be noted that these will not make marginal shooters into good shooters. If you do not apply the fundamentals of stance to control recoil, you will see little to no gains from these devices. While they do compensate for muzzle rise, they do not compensate for training, practice, or skill.
The sounds suppressor mount version of the AAC Brakeout is available for purchase now from AAC. I believe that eventually there will be a version without the suppressor mount.
I have had few questions on whether the new US Palm AK magazines that I covered recently are worth the $29.95 asking price, especially when surplus steel mags tend to costs $10-20. They really don’t cost anymore than the European manufactured plastic mags on the market. Only the person buying the magazines can say whether or not they worth the price. I can say that I believe certain aspects of this mag are better than steel mags. And when something is better, it usually costs more.
- The design is better – The ridges and waffle pattern give good grip when manipulating a magazine. The body of the mag is essentially fused into one piece (no more loose base plates that spit your rounds all over the floor at the range – yes, I have seen it happen).
- The materials are better – Polymer is better than steel for this application. Steel bends on impact and the mag stops working. Polymer bounces back or maybe cracks but the mag will likely continue to work even when cracked. It is also lighter in weight. The days of worrying about polymer magazines are long gone. You WANT plastic mags in many cases. Stop resisting the inevitable!
- The follower is better – The follower is a low friction design. This sort of thing revolutionized AR mags.
- The weight is better – Like I said above, they are lighter. This is a big deal. This just in… AK mags are heavy!
- The spring is better – These mags use a chromium-silicon spring which is rated for 100,000 cycles. Steel mags use whatever springs the communist government that made the mags could get that day (maybe).
- The manufacturer is better – These are made in the US by a top tier maker. They will take care of you if you have an issue.
With all that said, I can definitely understand those who want to wait and see. There is definitely something to be said for not being an early adopter. The prices may come down and, more importantly, any bugs will be worked out if you wait to purchase these. We still do not have any real world accounts of usage on these things (no, “I went to the range and slow fired 30 rounds. These mags are awesome!” does not count).
This whole thing reminds me of when the PMAG first came out. You had people who wouldn’t trust any plastic mag and those who wouldn’t pay $15-17 when aluminum mags could be purchased for $10.
I am not in a hurry to buy any of these right now, but my AK is really just a toy. If the AK was my primary weapon, I would be taking a good hard look at these new mags.
This magazine is brought to you by the same folks who make the excellent Tango Down ARC Mags for the M16 family of weapons. In fact, it shares many of the same features like ribs on the front and back for grip, deep waffle texture on the sides for additional grip, low friction follower, and permanently sealed polymer construction. The AK mag also has metal reinforcements in key places.
You can also keep an eye on US Palm for more products built around the venerable AK. They are bringing a great looking AK specific chest rig to market soon and I hear they are working on a grip that will likely be the best thing going in AK grips. Hopefully they will bring a 20 rounds version of this magazine to market. I much prefer the size, weight, and handling characteristics of 20 round mags for the AK-47.
These mags have been tested by a lot of pretty serious AK users during the development stages and passed with flying colors. I very rarely run my AK but I still appreciate a great product when I see one. If you run an AK with any regularity you will want to check out these mags.
If you have these in hand already, I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment.