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Review: Manticore Arms NightShroud

The NightShroud from Manticore Arms is a flash suppressor that is designed for the AK-74s and AK-47s, like the excellent Arsenal SGL-21, with 24mm threaded muzzles. It is an excellent alternative to the ubiquitous AK-74 brake that is most commonly found on AKs with 24mm threads.

I found the NightShroud while I was looking for an alternative to a muzzle brake for my SGL-21. I wanted something quieter than the AK-74 style brake that came standard on the SGL-21. I quickly found that, since the SGL-21’s muzzle has 24mm threads, my options were extremely limited. Thankfully, one of those limited options was the NightShroud.

The NightShroud is very cleanly machined from 8620 steel and then finished with a slightly shiny black oxide. It certainly looks and feels well made. It features 8 indentations all the way around the collar so that you can tighten the NightShroud all the way down to the muzzle and still engage the locking detent. This is the type of feature that takes some extra machining but the results, a solid muzzle device with little to no wobble, are worth it.

I really just wanted something that was quieter and the NightShroud is certainly quieter than the AK-74 brake. However, it is the better part of an inch shorter and a bit lighter in weight!

AK-74 Brake NightShroud
Length (inches) 3.21 2.46
Weight (ounces) 3.60 3.30

The NightShroud does a great job of suppressing flash as well. It elimated the amount of flash that is visible from the shooter’s position. Only a very small, thin bit of flash is visible from beside the NightShroud. The performance is pretty impressive.

So if you own an AK-74 or an AK-47 like the SGL-21 with 24mm threads you should definitely check out the NightShroud. It is an excellent option in spite of the fact that it is one of the very few options.

The NighShroud is manufactured by Manticore Arms and can be viewed on their website. I purchased my NightShroud through Rat Worx.

Note: The Manticore Arms website cautions that the NightShroud may not fit some rifles like the SGL-21. I believe that is old information. The version that I recieved has a longer collar so it will fit a wider variety of rifles as evidenced by the longer overall length and heavier weight than those listed on the Manticore Arms website. The version that is now shipping is the an improved model that should fit most AKs with 24mm threads. However, you may want to contact Manticore Arms or Rat Worx to verify that the NightShroud will work with your rifle.

Update: AR15.COM Ambidextrous Billet Lower Receiver

Earlier this week I wrote about the AR15.COM Ambidextrous Billet Lower Receiver. Since that time I have been given more details regarding the lower. The details are impressive to say the least.

As I mentioned in the original post, the selector markings are made to work with either a 45 or 90 degree selector. The buyer will be able to choose between the BAD-ASS and the BAD-ASS-ST.

It will come with the Magpul MIAD grip. The purchaser will be able to choose which Magpul stock they want (UBR, CTR, etc).

The excellent 4.5Lb Geissele 3 Gun trigger will come standard. It is a special version that has the AR15.com Bolt Face Logo engraved on the hammer.

As if all of this isn’t enough, there are still more details and an official announcement to come.

New ESEE Forum

ESEE has opened a new forum that replaces their old forum on Bladeforums. It contains a ton of great survival information and you can interact directly with Mike and Jeff (the owners of ESEE). This forum is a tremendous resource.

You can check it out on the ESEE website.

Mesa Tactical Urbino Tactical Stock

The Urbino Tactical Stock from Mesa Tactical is made for both Remington and Benelli shotguns. This new stock should make Benelli owners especially happy since there is a distinct lack of OEM and aftermarket stock choices available for the Benelli line.

The Urbino Tactical Stock has a shorter 12.5″ length of pull. I find that shotgun stocks are generally too long so the shorter length of pull is a positive. The stock also features several sling mounting options and a rubber sleeved pistol grip. It accepts an optional LimbSaver recoil pad which should help ease the pain of high volume shotgun training. Mounting optics like micro Aimpoints have become more popular on shotguns, and the Urbino has an optional adjustable cheek piece to accommodate these optics.

The Urbino Tactical Stock looks like it will be an excellent option.

AR15.com Ambidextrous Billet Lower Receiver

I don’t have many details yet but pictures of the upcoming AR15.com Ambidextrous Billet Lower Receivers have been released.

Image courtesy of AR15.com

Roger at Battle Arms Development tells me that these lowers have unique selector markings. The pictogram that represents the “fire” selector position is engraved at 68 degrees from “safe” rather than the standard 90 degrees. This makes the markings compatible with 90 degree selectors like the BAD-ASS and 45 degree selectors like the BAD-ASS-ST (Short Throw).

This will be the first lower receiver on the market that will be compatible with both the excellent 45 degree BAD-ASS-ST and the 90 degree BAD-ASS. I will share more details as they become available

TangoDown Vickers Tactical Glock Slide Stop

Glock 17RTF2 with Vickers Tactical Magazine Release and Slide Stop

The Larry Vickers designed, TangoDown produced magazine release for Glocks is one of my favorite Glock add-ons. Given my experience with the magazine release, I have been very excited to try the new TangoDown Vickers Tactical Slide Stop for Glocks which is now available.

The problem with most extended slide stops for the Glock is that a right hand shooter’s support hand can unintentionally contact the slide stop when the shooter is using a high hand grip. This unintentional contact can cause the slide to lock back before the magazine is empty or prevent the slide from locking back when magazine is empty.

The Vickers Tactical Slide Stop is designed to give a fairly large amount of surface area without being so overly large that it is prone to contacting the support hand. It has a fairly aggressive texture that makes it very easy to operate, even with gloves. Other slide stops extend to the rear of the Glock to provide more leverage. The Vickers Tactical Slide Stop extends out from the frame to provide a “shelf” that the thumb can press down on in order to release the slide.

I have one of these in hand for an upcoming review and so far I am really impressed.

300BLK

Last week I mentioned a new effort by Wilson Tactical to put a 30 caliber projectile in an AR-15. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention AAC’s entry into the same niche – the .300 Blackout (7.62×35).

The 300BLK replicates the ballistics of the venerable 7.62×39. It is designed to work within the confines of the AR-15 with no reduction in capacity and to use the standard bolt. It should come as no surprise, given AAC’s hand in this project, that the 300BLK is purpose built to be suppressed. There will be a standard 123 grain super-sonic load and an impressive 220 grain sub-sonic load.

The 300BLK seems to already enjoy some pretty extensive support. Remington will be loading ammo for it. There are already gunsmith tools like chamber reamers available. AAC has plans to manufacture short barreled PDW type AR-15s, a 16″ carbine type AR-15, and even a slick little version of the Remington Model 7 which really highlights the versatility of this cartridge.

You can read more about the 300BLK on 300AACBlackout.com.

New Monthly Contests from LuckyGunner.com

LuckyGunner.com is beginning monthly contests starting this month (April). This month they are giving away 500 rounds of .45 ACP ammunition! Who doesn’t like free ammo?

All you have to do to enter is click the LuckyGunner.com advertisement on the right side of this page (or click here) and subscribe to their mailing list. Once you are subscribed, you are automatically entered in future contests.

Review: SAR Eclipse Signal System

Signal mirrors have proven their worth as survival gear time and time again. A well made signal mirror can literally save your life, but even the best survival gear is of no use to you if you leave it at home.

The patent pending SAR Global Tool Eclipse Signal System (ESS) is a signal mirror that is the size of a dog tag and weighs less than 1/2 of an ounce. It is small enough to slip into a single section of MOLLE webbing or the coin pocket of your jeans. It can be laced into your boots or clipped in the business card slot of your briefcase. It can be seamlessly integrated into whatever gear you are carrying. This is the kind of tool that you will actually have with you when you need it.

And if all of that isn’t enough to get your attention… It works at night.

Details

The ESS is a cleverly designed stack of dog tags that have been riveted together. The top dog tag has the SAR Global Tool logo, an aiming hole, and a ring of highly reflective SOLAS (USCG approved, Safety Of Life At Sea) tape around the aiming hole.

The next dog tag down in the stack is a mirror polished reflective surface. It is protected from scratching by the top dog tag. The top dog tag has a slight bend in it that allows it to be close over the top of the polished tag without contacting anything but the rolled edge of the tag. It is an ingenious way to protect the mirror polished surface.

The basic model only has the two above dog tags. SAR also offers a model with a third dog tag in the stack. The third dog tag is bent into a clip that allows you to clip the tag to fabric, webbing, paper, or any other relatively thin material.

There is an additional model that has a fourth dog tag. The fourth tag is made from titanium and has a sharpened carbide knife edge. The edge is small but it is enough for dressing small game, cutting cordage, or other survival tasks.

In this review, I will be looking at the basic model and the model with the clip.

The clip allows the ESS to be mounted on MOLLE webbing. In this picture it is turned in to prevent unwanted reflection.

 

The ESS can serve as a "cat eye" when attached to your gear.

Aiming

To aim the ESS in the daytime the user holds the ESS up to their eye with one hand so that they can look through the aiming hole. The user extends the other hand in the direction that they wish to signal. The user forms a “V” with the index and middle finger of the extended hand and then brackets the intended target in the center of the “V”. Finally, the user moves the ESS so that the sun’s reflection is visible on the fingers that are forming the “V”. You can wiggle the ESS so that the reflection is passing back and forth from finger to finger in order to create an attention getting flash effect. The sighting hole acts a rear sight and your fingers act as a front sight. It is easy to do but it should be practiced.

Your extended hand makes an excellent "front sight" when aiming.

You do not need to be as exact when aiming the ESS at night. The SOLAS tape is extremely reflective and, while it will appear brighter when it is aimed completely square to the light it is reflecting, it is very forgiving. I found that the easiest way to aim it was to just look though the aiming hole at my intended target, trying to keep the ESS square to that target. Just like during daytime use, a slight wiggle of the ESS can create an attention getting flash.

The ESS is 40 feet from the camera and illuminated with a 4 lumen white light.

The ESS is 40 feet from the camera and illuminated with a 4 lumen red light.

In Use

I have been able to test the ESS in a variety of conditions. SAR has tested the ESS all the way out to 10 miles. I have tested it as far as 300 yards with excellent results. At 300 meters the flash is very attention getting. If someone was looking for you, they would certainly see you. The ESS performed as advertised.

At night, the ESS will amaze you. It is so simple to use. I was able to test it all the way out to 100 feet. At that distance, an 80 lumen Surefire G2L lit up the SOLAS tape like a beacon. The real test however came when I used a 4 lumen green CMG Infinity. The CMG Infinity is a very early 5mm LED light. Even with just 4 lumens of green light, I was able to illuminate the SOLAS tape plainly. I replicated the same test with a 4 lumen white LED and 4 lumen red LED as well. That is incredible performance.

Alternate Uses

Signal mirrors can be used for more than signaling rescue. The ESS can do even more than the typical signal mirror.

If you have ever tried to use a sighting compass at night and in tree cover, you know how difficult it can be. It is extremely difficult to take an azimuth when you can’t see any landmarks. If you have at least 2 people in your party, the ESS can be used as a night time navigation aid. Send one person ahead with the ESS while another person stays on the known azimuth. The mobile person points the ESS at the stationary person while the stationary person aims a compass and light at the ESS. Once the azimuth is established, the stationary person can walk to the reflection of the ESS and then repeat the process until the destination is reached. This is exactly the same technique that many people use during the daytime in dense foliage that doesn’t allow the compass user to view a distant landmark.

Thanks to the extreme reflectiveness of the SOLAS tape, this can be done relatively discreetly using a small red colored LED. I have tested a 4 lumen red LED out to 100 feet and I am sure it would reflect further. The actual effective distance will vary based on terrain and foliage.

Conclusion

The patent pending Eclipse Signal System is a life saving tool that is very easy to live with and extremely versatile. It is small enough that you can forget that you are carrying it until you need it. The reflective surface is protected from scratches that can reduce its performance (unlike most signal mirrors). On top of all of that, it is usable at night. Amazing.

You can find more pictures and information at SAR Global Tool’s website.

Disclosure: The patent pending Eclipse Signal System was provided to me, free of charge, for this review.

CHIPS

Challenge coins have spread well beyond the bounds of the military. You now see them at company meetings, trade shows, and political events. They have become a sort of high end business card.

CHIPS (Changing How Industries Promote Synergy) has taken the challenge coin and evolved it. They make custom ceramic polymer coins, or CHIPS, that have several advantages over traditional metal struck challenge coins. CHIPS can have graphics on both the front and back, as well as the edge. The graphics can be more complex than those of a traditional challenge coin and are actually embedded directly into the “ceramic polymer” material. CHIPS are lighter in weight and cost less to make than traditional challenge coins.

If you are looking for a way to promote your business, website, unit, or for a really unique party favor, check out TheChipSite.com.

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