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Review: SWAT Magazine

I have never paid for a magazine subscription in my life. I have been given subscriptions as gifts, but i have never paid for one with my own money. That changed recently after reading several issues of SWAT Magazine.

SWAT is not just a gun magazine. It is a tactics and training magazine. There are reviews of training courses in just about every issue. There are amazing articles from Pat Rogers on technique and training. This magazine is for shooters, not gun owners.

The contributors really set SWAT apart. You will see names like Pat Rogers who you may know as, perhaps, the premier carbine instructors in the nation. The Pat Rogers articles alone are worth the price of admission. Jeff Randall, co-owner of ESEE Knives and premier survival/escape & evasion trainer, contributes regularly. Louis Awerbuck is in every issue. Mr. Awerbuck is one of the real thinkers in tactical training today. There are also many other well-known and influential contributors.

SWAT also is more than willing to tell its readers when a product is garbage. You simply will not find that in most magazines because they are afraid to lose an advertiser. SWAT seems to be more concerned about making sure their readers don’t buy and stake their lives on a piece of junk. That is the way it should be.

The title may be SWAT but this magazine is geared toward the civilian shooter. The editor, Denny Hanson, does an excellent job of balancing politics and gun content. He is also a constant advocate for gun rights in his editorials and responses to readers who write to the magazine.

It is truly worth your time and money to purchase and read.

Preview: Danger Close Consulting Offset Surefire Scout Mount

The Surefire M600 Scout Light is one of the most compact and lightweight rifle mounted weapon lights available. It is truly an excellent light. However, I have always had issues determining the best place to mount it since I do not care for tape switches and the standard mount places it in an uncomfortably low position for use with the support hand thumb. The Scout is a light in need of an offset mount but, until recently, no one made them.

Danger Close Consulting has filled that niche and filled it well! I have one of their mounts in hand and it is excellent.

Look for a more complete review with pictures to be posted here soon.

New Lights From Princeton Tec

Princeton Tec just added two new lights to their website. Both of the lights were shown at the 2010 SHOT Show but this is the first time I have seen detailed specs on them.

The first is the Remix Pro. The most interesting thing about this light is that it runs on a single CR123A battery. That should make it very light weight and compact. It can be had with red, green, or white 5mm LEDs and a single white Maxbright LED. I have come to appreciate a useful red light setting on a head lamp for times when I am trying not to mess up my dark adjusted vision. This light looks quite good on paper.

The second light, the MPLS, is very interesting to me. It has a mounting system that will allow it to be attached to a number of things like helmets, weapon rails, PALs webbing, etc. It has a flexible neck that allows the user to quickly aim the light to where ever it is needed. The body of the light appears to be based on the Princeton Tec Pilot which I have used as a back up light on my headlamps for years. This looks like an extremely versatile piece of gear, I just wish it took something other than coin cell batteries.

Updating the Venerable Safariland 6004

I have had my new Safariland 6004-10 Single Strap Shroud and Drop Flex Adaptor for a short time now. I am happy to report that I am very pleased so far. The set up can be made to ride slightly higher as the Safariland6280 which is great news for someone with my view of how drop leg holsters should be used.This combo may be the highest riding drop leg holster on the market.

The leg strap is my only potential problem. The entire thing is elastic. I wish it was a more static strap with only a small elastic section. However, this is a small gripe since it works well enough.

Look for a more in depth review article to be posted soon that includes ways to update your Safariland drop leg holster.

Review: Leupold Yosemite 6×30 Binoculars

The word is out on the Leupold Yosemite binoculars (bins). If you read any forum dedicated to optics you will find people praising these bins for their brightness, clarity, and ergonomics. Their performance is unmatched by bins costing two to three times as much money. So how good can a pair of $80 bins be? In this post, we will take a look at what makes the Leupold Yosemite 6×30 binoculars special and we will learn a little about binoculars along the way.

Porro Prisms

The Yosemites use porro prisms instead of roof prisms. Porro prism bins will generally cost less than roof prism bins. They will also generally outperform low priced roof prism bins. The old rule used to be that you would have to spend three to four times as much on roof prism bins to get equal performance to a good set of porro prism bins. That rule is not quite as true today thanks to the proliferation of quality, low cost imported glass, but it is still true that inexpensive porro prism bins will outperform similarly priced roof prism bins. If you are on a budget, porro prisms will yield the best bang for your buck. Porro prisms will generally offer wide field of view, great depth of field, and a more three dimensional looking image than typical roof prisms.

The biggest drawback of porro prism bins is that they are typically larger because of how they are constructed. Roof prism bins can have straight barrels which means they can be more compact. Porro prism bins have two 90 degree turns incorporated into the construction. This makes the barrels larger. Even with these larger barrels, the Yosemites are still quite compact at only 4.6 inches long and 6.3 inches wide.

Exit Pupil

The Yosemite is also offered with 8x magnification and the same 30mm objectives. These are also quite clear but will be dimmer than the 6x model. This is due to exit pupil. Exit pupil is basically the virtual aperture that is created by your bins. Only light that passes through this aperture can be transmitted to the eye. The human eye is dilated to about 4mm in bright light and opens to 5-9mm in low light situations. The larger the exit pupil of your bins, the more capable they will be in low light. If the exit pupil is too small, the bins will appear dim because they are not transmitting all the light that your eyes can receive.

Exit pupil is calculated by dividing the objective size by the magnification. In this case, 30mm divided by 6 magnification, equals an exit pupil of 5mm. Using the same formula on the 8×30 model we get an exit pupil of 3.75mm. So, as the magnification increases, the objective size must also increase in order to provide the same amount of light. As objective size increases, so does the size of the binocular. The 5mm exit pupil of the 6×30 Yosemite bins mean that they will provide enough light to work very well at dusk and dawn while still being compact.

Magnification

Some of you may be thinking that 6x magnification is not enough. However, most binocular users are surprised to find that they can actually see more detail with lower power bins! Bins with higher magnification not only magnify the object you are viewing, but also the shakiness of your hold. Sometimes you can even see your heart beat. Most users would get more out of their bins if they stuck with 6-8x magnification.

Other Features and Specs

  • Rubber Armor for toughness and improved grip
  • Available in black, tan, and camo colors
  • Center focus wheel
  • Right eye diopter
  • Waterproof/dust proof
  • Comes with lens covers, soft case, and neck strap
  • Leupold Lifetime Warranty
  • Eye relief: 20mm
  • Field of view: 420 feet at 1000 yards
  • Weight: 17 ounces

So What?

Everything above may not mean much to you so I will break it down. These bins are light weight and compact. They carry very light and don’t take up much space in a pack. I have found them to be very durable and very easy to use. The focus wheel is stiff enough without being too stiff and the diopter stays set. The eye cups work well and seem well made. These are constructed very well, but the real story here is the optics.

If your only experience with bins are cheap compact models from the grocery store, these will blow you away. They are extremely sharp and bright. They offer excellent low light performance. The colors are bright and true to life. The optics are just excellent. To put it in perspective, they are slightly brighter, clearer, and sharper than my $250 8×42 Nikon Monarch bins. I can actually see more detail with the 6x Yosemites in some scenarios than I can with the 8x Monarchs. That is impressive for a $80 pair of bins.

OC Tactical Ruger MKII Magazine Pouch

What would we do without custom gear makers?!?! Check out this very nice magazine pouch that OC tactical made for the Ruger MKII. If you have a gear problem that needs solving, consider contacting a custom gear maker like OC Tactical.

Preview: New CAOS Admin Pouch from ZULU Tactical

ZULU Tactical is showing their new CAOS Admin pouch on their blog. It looks like a great compact admin pouch. If it is anything like the MEGA Admin, it will be excellent.

ESEE Knives Micarta Izula Scales

Here is the Izula with a simple cord wrap. Click to Englarge.

The ESEE Knives (formerly RAT Cutlery) Izula is already one of the finest small production fixed blades on the market. It is compact, yet usable, light weight, brute strong, and comes with one of the most versatile sheath systems you will ever find. How do you improve on something that is already so great?

Here is the Izula with the new bolt on Micarta scales. Click to Enlarge.

ESEE has released bolt on Micarta scales for the Izula. These scales offer a huge upgrade in grip on this pint size blade. With the scales in place the thickness of the Izula’s grip is quadrupled which makes the knife much easier to hold! The canvas Micarta also has a texture that further enhances grip. The scales are also designed to maintain the usefulness of the unique loop at the end of the Izula’s handle. This loop can be used for a number of things, including clipping the Izula to a backpack strap.

The kit comes with the screws and scales needed to install the scales on your Izula. It couldn’t be easier to install them. Simply snap the two scales in place and then affix both screws. I used blue Loc-tite on the screws to make sure that the screws wouldn’t loosen with use.

These are in stock now at many ESEE dealers.

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New Product: Daniel Defense EZ Rails

Daniel Defense (DD) has released their EZ Rails for the AR-15. They offer a drop in fit for carbine length gas systems. These are non-free float rails at a very attractive price. Hopefully, DD will release these for different length gas systems soon.

It has been my experience that free floating is often unnecessary for most applications. If you are building a home defense carbine and using a red dot style optic, it is not really necessary to free float. Don’t spend the extra money on free float rails if the only reason you need a rail is to mount a white light and sling. Spend the money that you would have spent on free float handguards on more ammo and training!

They are available now at Bravo Company.

ESEE Light Machete – The Cadillac of Machetes

Machetes may be the most versatile tool that anyone could carry into the woods. A good machete is part field knife, part hatchet, part draw knife, part wood splitter, and all utility. Most machetes come without an edge, without a sheath, and with a handle that needs a lot of work before it can be used comfortably. The ESEE Knives (formerly RAT Cutlery) Light Machete comes ready to work with a polished convex edge, a nylon sheath, and an ergonomic micarta handle.

These are the result of a collaboration between 3 companies. ESEE Knives designed it, Imacasa/Condor manufactures the blade, and Rowen fits the handle. Condor is Imacasa’s premium machete line. They make phenomenal machetes for the US market. Rowen is the manufacturer for all of the other great ESEE Knives cutlery products.

If you are looking for a truly premium machete, check out the ESEE Lite Machete and all the other great ESEE Knives at the ESEE Knives website.

The Lite Machete is in stock at Knives Ship Free.

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