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SLAP Plate

If you have been reading Jerking the Trigger for long, you know that I appreciate ideas that make things more simple. The best gear offers the most function with the least amount of complexity. The SLAP Plate is one of those pieces of gear. There are many AR-15 end plates on the market that allow you to attach a sling. The SLAP Plate has a unique shape that sets it apart and offers some serious functionality.

The SLAP Plate looks like any other end plate except for the addition of a curved bar that runs from side to side and curves under the buffer tube. This bar is integral to the end plate which makes it extremely strong. The user can attach the sling to this bar via a mash clip/HK style clip or attach the sling directly to the bar.

The curve of the bar and its central location allows the sling to travel to either side of the weapon depending on which side the shooter is operating the rifle. The shooter can quickly transition from right hand to left hand operation and back without fighting against their sling. The sling moves to the optimum position on its own thanks to the clever design of the SLAP Plate.

Hard users of the AR will also appreciate that the SLAP Plate is stamped from steel, not aluminum like many other end plates with sling loops. This means that it can be staked to hold the castle nut in place the same way you would stake the standard end plate.

I should also mention that these are not just for single point slings. This is the best place to attach your two point sling as well. This sling mount position allows for a much wider range of motion when executing reloads with the butt of the rifle tucked under your arm, when getting into the prone, when executing malfunction clearances, and it makes support side transitions much easier.

I owned one of these plates for about a year and I loved it. Sadly, the rifle that it was mounted on has since been sold. I did find that the corners on the inside of the loop were a bit sharp. I quickly and easily broke the sharp edges with some wet dry sandpaper.

I may need to pick another SLAP Plate up for an upcoming project. You should too!

View detailed pictures and purchase yours at IKickHippies.com.

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Review: Inka Pen

My pen is one of my most used EDC items. The pen that I have carried for the last 3 years is the Inka Pen. It is light weight, very compact, extremely durable, it writes well, and it is just down right cool.

The Inka Pen has three modes of use: a closed mode for carry, a compact mode for quick notes, and a full sized pen mode for extended writing. These three modes are part of what makes the Inka Pen such a joy to use and carry. It rides unobtrusively on your key chain until it is needed. If you need to jot down a quick note you can quickly pull the plastic end from the metal tube for a compact writing instrument. If you are going to be writing more, you can assemble the Inka Pen into a full size pen that writes very well.

The Inka Pen uses a pressurized ink cartridge that allows it to write in any condition, much like a Fisher Space Pen. I am not a pen connoisseur, but this cartridge seems to write very well and has lasted me all 3 years that I have owned the pen.

This pen is so functional and convenient that I don’t think I will ever carry a full sized pen again.

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Down Range Gear Enhanced Straps

The Down Range Gear Enhanced Straps should be standard on every chest rig. Down Range Gear always turns out some seriously innovative designs but this one could change the way that you expect chest rigs to perform forever.

I like to run my chest rigs relatively high and tight. This often means adjusting the straps based on how I am dressed (rain wear, cold weather gear, etc). The Down Range Gear Enhanced Straps are made of shock-cord wrapped in tubular webbing. This allows the straps to stretch and move with you. It should also allow them to work over a wider range of clothes. They also have a length of flat webbing with an adjuster so you can make larger adjustments than the shock-cord will allow.

I wish I thought of this.

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LaRue VFZ Mounts

LaRue makes excellent quick detach (QD) mounts but not everyone needs QD functionality. Now, with the introduction of the new VFZ (Vector Force Zero) Mounts, you have a choice between QD and non-QD without having to give up LaRue’s well known return to zero functionality.

 

 

Click to enlarge.

 

The new VFZ mounts are a direct, drop in replacement for the QD levers and will be available as an option on all LaRue mounts. The mounts feature witness marks that allow the user to visually confirm that the mount is torqued to the proper spec for a repeatable zero (not everyone carries a torque wrench in the field).

You can find more info on these mounts in the LaRue Tactical Industry Forum on AR15.com.

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TRICON Line is Now Available

You may remember the TRICON like of tactical gear that we mentioned a few months ago. Several of the items in the line are now available for purchase.

With Jeff Gonzalez designing and Diamondback Tactical building, this will be top notch gear. Check it out at Diamondback Tactical’s website.

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Surefire Introduces a AA Flashlight

Surefire has introduced a flashlight that accepts AA batteries. The E2L AA Outdoorsman runs on 2 AA batteries and boasts 2 output levels: 80 lumens for 9 hours and 3 lumens for 60 hours. That kind of runtime, output, and well known Surefire quality makes light perfect for outdoor pursuits.

I know a lot of people have been waiting for a light like this from Surefire.

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Troy Battle Ax CQB Grip

There is certainly no shortage of options when it comes to grips for the AR-15. It takes a unique product to be able to stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, the new Troy Battle Ax CQB Grip is definitely unique.

The Battle Ax CQB Grip has obviously been heavily influenced by the AK-47 grip. It is very short and angled in such a way that it drives your hand higher on the grip. This high hand grip can help you drive the gun and control recoil. Troy also thoughtfully included a tab that covers the gap under the trigger guard. This gap, if left uncovered, can abrade the users hand under prolonged use.

I am really intrigued by this grip.

The Troy Battle Ax CQB Grip is available now.

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Good Stuff From Other Blogs

Strike Bezel – more on the tactical marketing myth – Modern Combative Systems Blog – Mercop speaks the truth about strike bezels on flashlights. Spoiler: They are unnecessary.

HK45 Endurance Test: Week Sixteen – PistolTraining.comToddG continues his impressive endurance test of the HK45. HK knows how to build a hard use weapon.

New A-TACS Urban Environment Images Released – ITS Tactical – The good folks over at ITS Tactical have details on the new Urban Environment version of the intriguing A-TACS Camo.

M34 Tactical (ARMT) Assault Rifle Multi-tool – MilspecMonkey.com – This interesting tool is obviously the offspring of an AR-15 armorer’s wrench, brass-knuckles, and Peter Atwood tool love triangle. It looks like it crams some decent functionality into a small space.

Russian SURPAT Cordura – OC Tactical – OC Tactical has Russian SURPAT fabric available for projects. I can almost guarantee no one on your block has SURPAT pouches. It wouldn’t be my choice but it is unique and it is definitely cool of OC Tactical to make it available.

Hi-Point Throwdown: Trigger Pullin’ – The Way of the Multigun – This should be an entertaining series. Hi-Point + lots and lots of shooting = I’m not sure, but no matter what happens we will learn something.

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AR-15 Weight Calculator

Vuurwapen Blog has done every AR-15 shooter a service by creating the AR-15 Weight Calculator. This easy to use tool allows shooters to determine what a potential build will weigh by entering the planned components into the calculator. It is quite accurate and there is already enough data that, even if your specific component isn’t listed, there is something close enough to get you into the ballpark.

This is a very useful page.

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Night Sight Considerations

Night sights are an invaluable tool for anyone who has a handgun for self-defense. They allow the user to see his sights even in low light situations. Realistically, any set of night sights of good quality will allow you to see your sights in low light but there are some considerations that may help prevent you from having a set of sights that are working against you.

What Are They?

“Night sights” are sights that have small vials of a radioactive element called tritium embedded into the sights. These vials or elements glow without having to be “charged” with an external light source. Tritium has a half life of 12 years so the sights will loose half their brightness in 12 years. It is not unusual to get 15-16 years of usable brightness from a set of sights.

Can They Work Against You?

There are two fundamental elements to accuracy. The accurate shooter must be to be able to control the trigger and align the sights. Your choice of night sights has no bearing on your trigger control, but it does affect your sight picture. Sight alignment starts at the front sight. The shooter must be able to focus on the front sight while maintaining sight alignment. Anything that obscures, obstructs, or interferes with this front sight focus is working against you and the fundamentals of accurate shooting.

For several years now, most night sights have been made in 3 dot configuration. This means that the front sight has a single tritium vial and the rear sight has 2 tritium vials (a total of three) on either side of the notch. The problem with this configuration is that the “dots” are usually identical in size, intensity, and color.

The two dots on the rear sight are closest to the shooter so they appear larger and brighter. This runs counter to front sight focus. The front sight should be the easiest to see since it is the sight that we must focus on but a traditional 3 dot configuration makes the front sight harder to focus on.

Since the dots are the same color, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate the front from the rear sight. Some shooters claim that this can lead to situations where the sights are aligned improperly. The front sight can be aligned so that it is to the side of the rear sight and it can appear to be a good sight picture since all three dots will appear to be in a line. I am not sure how likely this is, but it is worth mentioning.

Solutions

Traditional 3 dot night sights work, but, as with many things in life, they can be improved upon. Thankfully, there are several night sight manufacturers with excellent alternatives and many of them cost about the same or even less than traditional 3 dot nights.

Solution #1 – Different Colors

One solution is to make the two rear elements a different color, like yellow. The yellow tritium elements also have the added benefit of being slightly dimmer than their green counterparts. This allows you to quickly and easily differentiate between the front and rear sights in low light. It also makes the front sight easier to focus on since it is brighter than the rear sight.

Ameriglo Classic Sights with green front and yellow rear.

Ameriglo has offered traditional 3 dot night sights with this option for years. Ameriglo also offers their Operator sights which do not have white outlines on the rear elements. The front element retains its white outline which promotes front sight focus during full lighting conditions.

Ameriglo Operator Sights do not have white outlines on the rear sight. These are also available with the green/yellow configuration.

Solution #2 – Single Rear Element

Another increasingly popular solution is a single rear tritium element. The element is located directly under the notch in the rear sight. Instead of lining up three elements horizontally, the shooter simply lines up 2 elements vertically.

Heinie Slant Pro Sights show the single rear dot configuration.

Heinie and Warren Tactical offer sights in this configuration. Warren Tactical takes this a step further by making the rear element smaller, yellow, and without a white outline. This greatly improves front sight focus in all light conditions.

Solution #3 – Front Element Only

The least expensive option is to have a tritium element in your front sight only. Do not confuse less expensive with less functional. Many very serious shooters actually prefer this set up because of how simple and uncluttered the sight picture is.  Some shooters find a rear element in nearly any form to be distracting.

The 10-8 Performance Sights typify the single front element configuration.

Warren Tactical, 10-8 Performance, and Ameriglo all offer sights in this configuration. Additionally, Heinie sells all the parts you need to piece together sights in this configuration. You can also find a replacement front sight that has a tritium element that will work with the factory rear sight of many handguns. Ameriglo and Trijicon offer tritium front sights for several makes and models.

Remember!

It is important to remember that night sights are not a replacement for low light training and they are definitely not a replacement for a flashlight/weaponlight and the skills to use them in conjunction with your handgun of choice. Night sights are certainly useful in some low light situations but not necessarily all low light situations. They will not allow you to ID a target. Get a light and get some training from a trainer that is experienced in low light training.

So next time you are shopping for night sights, choose a set that enhances your ability to focus on the front sight instead of working against it.

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