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Archive | Preparedness

TIHK Escape Stick

TIHK first came to prominence with their namesake product, the Tiny Inconspicuous Handcuff Key. Since that time, they have continued to develop other clever and compact products designed to escape illegal restraint. Their latest product, the Escape Stick, is now available.

Part of what separates TIHK products from other products aimed at the same market is the care that TIHK puts into the design of their products. They seem to realize that not only does a tool like this have to work, it also has to be able to be carried and concealed in a way that makes sense.

The new Escape Stick is a great example of that. The tools are important and useful – a handcuff key, a rod saw, and thin metal saw. However, the form factor is just as important. This slim tool is just 3″ long with a 3/8″ diameter and most of the tool is encapsulated with a rubber tube. This design allows it to be concealed almost anywhere – even against the skin of the user.

Escape Stick at TIHK.co

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Review: Berne Concealed Carry Workwear – Echo Zero Six Cargo Pant and Short, Echo Zero Eight Softshell, Echo One Zero Vest

I’ve spent more than 5 months wearing items from the Berne Concealed Carry Workwear (CCW) line nearly every day. I wore them on the range, on a tractor, in town, in a chicken coop, and even to church. I’ve worn them at a desk, while helping move two households to new homes, mending fences, and hiking. I’ve worn them in heat, cold, rain, and snow. Now I’m ready to talk about them.

There is a lot of ground to cover in this review and I’ll do my best to structure it in a way that maintains readability. I’ll start with what all the garments have in common: The Adder System. Then, I’ll share some observations on each specific item and finally observations in general.

The Adder System’s best trick is how it can help you conceal a handgun in a way that is easy to access and completely concealed.

Background and Disclosure

Before I dive into the review, I should mention my background with Berne Apparel. I used to use a certain brand of insulated coveralls. Eventually the brand I used started to go beyond affordable and more toward cheap. They shortened zippers, the material became less durable, and they didn’t feel as warm as they once were. That sent me looking for a new brand of work wear and I landed on Berne. The quality was as good or better than anything else I laid hands on and it cost a bit less. On top of that, the company seemed to be run by people like me (and you). We even have some of their coats for our daughters.

I featured their CCW line on these pages a few times and last summer, someone from Berne reached out to me. In the interests of full disclosure, you should know that these 4 clothing items were sent to me free of charge. However, you should also know that I am a long time Berne customer who has plunked down plenty of my own cash to wear their gear.

The Adder System

The Adder System is at the heart of every garment in the Berne CCW line. I liked the idea of before I tried it and now, having used it for several months, really appreciate the details that went into getting it right. It also has it’s own website where you can learn all about it.

The Adder System is a clever pocket setup that is designed to carry handguns and other gear in a way that is easy to access, discreet, well organized, and versatile. The outside of an Adder System pocket appears like any other flap covered bellowed pocket, because that is what it is. This outer pocket is placed over an inner pocket that contains a matrix made up of MOLLE compatible alternating elastic and loop material webbing. This matrix gives you the ability to mount hook backed pouches, MOLLE compatible pouches, and holsters inside. Alternately, the elastic webbing can be used to secure all kinds of things without a pouch.

As cool as the inner pocket and it’s organization potential are, the really subtle features are all found in the outer pouch. The outer pouch secures over the inner pouch with hook and loop around the entire perimeter and snaps at the corners. In order to ensure that the pockets mate up squarely even if they are stuffed with gear, the designers added bellows to the both the inner and outer layers of the outer pocket. This allows it to expand for the contents that are both in it and behind it but still mate up flush which is key for hiding the inner pocket.

The webbing matrix concealed in the Adder System pockets is good more than just tactical stuff. I use the pants pockets to carry tools while I work around our property.

The outer pocket is closed with a flap not unlike what you would find on any pair of cargo pants but even this shows thoughtful design. It is a somewhat large flap but still proportional to the pocket and it has a single snap in the center. This creates a large, easily gripped corner of flap on both sides of the pocket that can be grasped and pulled down to instantly reveal the inner pocket. It’s a subtle but clever touch that shows that the designers were switched on and this design is key to the Adder System’s function as a concealed carry method.

When using the Adder System to conceal a handgun, the drawstroke is fast and easy with two hands and slightly slower but still easy with one hand. You simple grab the flap, rip the pocket down and open, and then index your handgun. I found that the MOLLE-Link holsters from KCT work very well for this application but you should be able to adapt a number of holsters to work.

Blue Force Gear’s Dapper line is a great match for the Adder System.

I also found that Blue Force Gear’s Dapper line of pouches were ideal for use with the Adder system when carrying mags, tourniquets, or other items. The Dappers lay flat when not in use and can be installed and removed easily thanks to the hook packing. So far, I have used the Adder System to carry handguns, first aid items like tourniquets, spare magazines, hand tools, and a host of other things.

When you buy a Berne CCW garment, you are basically buying the functionality of the Adder System. It’s thoughtfully designed and functional.

Echo Six Zero Cargo Pants and Shorts

The Echo Six Zero Cargo Pants and Shorts are basically identical save for the length of inseam – one is pants and one is shorts as you can tell from the name. They are made from a lightweight cotton/poly blend with some spandex for a little stretch and some kind of treatment that makes water bead on them. There are several features that ensure full range of motion including a stretch waistband and a gusseted crotch. All the important seams are triple stitched, the front pockets feature an internal coin/mag pocket along with reinforcement for pocket knife clips, and the waistband has a series of elastic loops sewn in the interior for discreet organization.

The Adder System on these is tucked away behind the cargo pockets on the upper thigh. This location is well suited to carrying items like tools, first aid, and some magazines but I found it to be too low and loose for use with a handgun.

The belt loops on these pants are excellent. They are wide and very securely fastened to the pants. I am glad to see that since a lot of “tactical” pants get this wrong.

These pants and shorts are comfortable, durable, casual, and good looking.

Echo Zero Eight Soft Shell

The Echo Zero Eight Softshell is an important part of the Berne CCW line because it is probably the piece that will be most at home in urban, everyday, and even office settings. I live in a community where workwear is normal everyday apparel but that isn’t the case everywhere. The Echo Zero Eight is the Adder System garment that bridges that gap and looks very smart while doing it.

It is made of a heavy duty soft shell material with light fleece backing. It’s very warm for its weight, breathes reasonably well, stops wind, and sheds water very well. The cuffs are adjustable, there are two chest pockets, and a generous flap over the front zipper. The Echo Zero Eight also features a media port so ear buds can be routed to the outside of the jacket while your smart device is stored in an inner pocket.

The Adder System pockets here are located on the lower front of the coat. The length of the coat is such that a holster carried in these pockets would be placed in a similar position to AIWB carry though slightly higher. I frequently carry a J-frame revolver in these pockets wrapped up in a KCT MOLLE-Link holster. These pockets are suitable for smaller handguns like the J-Frame.

If you are carrying your handgun on your belt, the Echo Zero Eight has you covered there too. It features break away side vents that allow immediate access to a belt mounted holster.

Echo One Zero Vest

The Echo One Zero Vest has the appearance of a standard workwear vest. It is made from a heavy duck canvas material with a fleece lining. It also features a similar pocket layout as the Echo Zero Eight Softshell with chest pockets and dual front Adder System pockets but the pockets are taller which can give you room for a larger handgun.

I wear this layered over a wool sweater or fleece frequently while working. It is very warm, lets me carry gun even if something like insulated bibs preclude the use of a belt holster, and absolutely bomb-proof. I usually use the same KCT holster as I do for the softshell.

Observations from Use

The quality of these garments is quite good – on par with other Berne Workwear that I have been using for years. I’ve used them like workwear and they have taken it without complaint. The pants and shorts have washed well with only very mild fading which should be expected for as much as I have worn them.

The Adder System is very clever but you will want to pay attention to Berne’s sizing system. Some of the garments may have Adder System pockets that will not conceal larger handguns. Berne does a good job of labeling each garment online and on the hang tags you’ll find in retail stores.

I can see these garments being used in much the same way any tactical garment line is used but they fill a more specific niche than that for me. These are clothes that blend into my world and provide me options for carry when my options would have otherwise been limited. We all know you should be carrying on your belt when possible but what if you are wearing insulated bibs? What if it is extremely cold out and you need to spend time seated while driving a tractor or truck? The Adder System provides a method of carry that addresses the access issues that typically come with several layers of winter gear in addition to discreet casual carry.

Even when you carry your handgun on your waist, the Adder System provides a mean to discreetly carry additional supplies like magazines and first aid items. The system is versatile enough to serve a lot like a chest or belt rig would but completely integrated into your garments.

Wrap Up

These garments have found a place in my everyday life and that is probably the highest compliment I can give them. I am just an everyday joe living on property with lots of work to do and they suit me well. However, my gut tells me they could have all kinds of interesting potential for all kinds of interesting people.

The Adder System is at the heart of the entire Berne CCW line and it does not disappoint. It’s thoughtfully designed, discreet, and versatile. If you have ever worn any other Berne apparel, you know the quality is right.

Solid design and solid quality come together in this line. I highly recommend them.

Check out the Berne Workwear CCW line at BerneDirect.com.

GunfightersINC Introduces Gen2 Kenai Chest Holsters

GunfightersINC just took the wraps off their Gen2 Kenai Chest Holster. The popular chest holster will benefit from improved production processes being phased in at GunfightersINC. The holster shell will now be vacuum formed using molds that are machined in house. The new processes allow for a holster that lays flatter against the chest and promises to be even more comfortable.

The Gen2 Kenai is already available for the following models:

  • Ruger SRH
  • S&W N,X,L Frames
  • Glock 20/21, 40MOS, 17 and 19

Additional models will be phased in over time. Check out the Kenai Chest Holster and accessory holster shells at GunfightersINC.com.

Surefire G2X Saves the Day

This story was carried on my local news yesterday. If you aren’t carrying a flashlight daily, this might convince you. You never know how or when you’ll need your flashlight…

Early yesterday, a Washington man had a road wash out underneath his vehicle due to the flooding in the area. He was able to use his flashlight, a Surefire G2X, as he extricated himself from his vehicle and climbed back up onto the roadway in the dark. Once he was on the roadway, he was able to use the light to warn other drivers about the now dangerously washed out road surface. His simple act of preparedness, carrying a light, may have played a role in saving his life and potentially the lives of other motorists.

See the story at KHQ News (Spokane).

RMJ Tactical News: Death Dealer Battle Axe and Last of the Drop Forged Shrikes

There is a lot of news coming out of RMJ Tactical these days including a new axe inspired from an iconic work of art and an iconic tomahawk undergoing some changes.

The new Death Dealer Battle Axe should be instantly recognizable for those who are fans of artist Frank Frazetta. It is inspired directly from Frazetta’s well known painting, Death Dealer. This axe is a joint offering from RMJ Tactical and Frazetta Jr. Enterprises.

From RMJ Tactical’s product page:

Each of these axes is individually serial numbered on the neck with the Frazetta signature on the other side. The head of the axe features RMJ Tactical’s new Death Dealer Battle Ax Seal as well as the Frazetta Seal of Authenticity.

See the Death Dealer Battle Axe at RMJ Tactical.

From one icon to another… Frank Frazetta is an icon of fantasy art world and the RMJ Tactical Shrike and S13 are icons of the tactical tomahawk world. However, those iconic tomahawks are about to undergo some changes. RMJ Tactical is moving to a new shop and that new shop will come with new capabilities. The Shrike and S13 will no longer be drop forged. The next batch will be machined from billet like the rest of the RMJ Tactical line.

If you want a drop forged Shrike or S13, you better grab one from this current batch. See them at RMJ Tactical.

The Hidden Woodsman Laplander Saw MOLLE Sheath

What happens when you take classic bushcraft gear and craft it with mil-spec materials, construction methods, and color palette? Well, you end up with something like The Hidden Woodsman.

Their Laplander Saw MOLLE Sheath is designed around the dimensions of the popular and useful Bahco Laplander folding saw. The pouch will also fit other saws of similar size. As the name implies, the sheath is MOLLE compatible.The MOLLE backing can also be set up as a belt loop.

It is constructed with a 1000D (solid colors) or 500D Cordura (camo option) nylon outer layer and a 500D liner so it is going to take you a couple of lifetimes to wear it out. The sheath is closed via an adjustable side release buckle. It is very deep with a full coverage flap to retain the saw.

Check out the Laplander Saw MOLLE Sheath at The Hidden Woodsman.

Chase Tactical AR1000 Level III Stand Alone Rifle Plates

Chase Tactical just rolled out a new US made steel rifle plate.

The Chase Tactical AR1000 Rhino eXtreme is an all steel based Advanced Armox Steel / MIL46100 compliant product with an upgraded base coat spall liner (Rhino Extreme).  Unlike other AR500 Steel armor plates available on the market, the CT-AR1000 plate is the first to receive NIJ 0101.06 Certification and is also DEA Compliant so you can purchase with confidence.  It is designed to be a thin, low profile, economical armor solution for law enforcement and military personnel.

You can check out the spec sheet here: AR1000 Level III Stand Alone Rifle Plate Spec Sheet

Check out the plates at Chase Tactical.

 

Thanksgiving Sale at GunfightersINC

If you have a Kenai Chest Holster on your Christmas list, don’t miss this. GunfightersINC is offer 15% off all their holsters starting 11/23 and running through 11/29. If the holster is in stock, it will also receive free shipping. These deals are good at both their website and their Amazon store.

GunfightersINC

Kenai Chest Holster GunfightersINC over shoft shell

RMJ Tactical Mini Jenny Pre-Ordering Opens Today

If you have been waiting to put your hands on RMJ Tactical’s newest tomahawk, the Mini Jenny, your wait is almost over. This one promises to be their lightest, most compact, and easiest to carry tomahawk yet.

RMJ Tactical will open pre-ordering today (in about 1 hour as of the time of this writing). There will also be a new Mini Jenny patch available.

Check out the Mini Jenny at RMJ Tactical

rmj-tactical-mini-jenny-with-patches

Public Service Announcement: Beware Knock-Off/Fake Hemostatic Products

You have likely heard of the knock-off tourniquets that are coming into the country from China. Now there is a new knock-off hitting these shores – hemostatic products. These products are designed to look like established products but have ZERO vetting behind them to prove their function. This makes them extremely dangerous to anyone who adds them to their kit expecting them to be potentially life saving tools.

BFE Labs has done a great job of uncovering this story and finding specific examples of what the fake products look like. You should check out their article for more details: BFE Labs – Fake Hemostatic Products

Remember to source your medical products from reliable, original sources.

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