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Budget Carbine Light: Streamlight's New PolyTac LED HP

The Streamlight PolyTac LED is becoming a popular budget weapon light for use on a carbine. Streamlight has recently introduced a new version which may be even better suited to carbine use – the PolyTac LED HP.

It shares several features with the regular PolyTac LED like a “clickie” tailcap, IPX7 waterproof rating, 3 hours runtime (to 10% output), and durable polymer construction. However, the HP model increases the brightness to 150 lumens (versus 130 on the regular model) and features a wider, deeper reflector. Wider, deeper reflectors capture more of the light from the LED emitter and focus it into a tighter beam which results in a beam with a tight hot spot, more throw, and useful side spill. In other words, it should be a heck of a weapon light.

I have seen them for as little as $40 (give or take a few dollars). You could mount one in the excellent VTAC Light Mount and have a high quality weapon light for $60-70!

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ESEE and DPx Announce the DPx H•E•S•T/F Folder

ESEE Knives and DPx has announced their long awaited H•E•S•T/F. The H•E•S•T/F is the folding version of the excellent H•E•S•T (Hostile Environment Survival Tool).

The new H•E•S•T/F will feature:

  • D2 blade
  • Titanium frame
  • G10 Scale
  • Rotoblock
  • Massive blade thickness
  • New built-in tools

There are no pictures yet, but I will share them when they are available.

DPx is an ESEE product line that consists of gear that is designed in collaboration between Robert Young Pelton and the ESEE crew. This is the second product in the line that will soon include soft goods as well.

You can read more about the H•E•S•T/F at the ESEE Forum on BladeForums.

UPDATE: The concept pics can be found HERE.

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The Regular Guy Sessions: Earl at Impact Weapon Components

At Jerking the Trigger, one of our missions is to connect gear buyers with gear makers. We want to you know the people who are driving the industry, because if you can trust the person, you can trust their gear. I am happy to bring you this conversation with Earl Pittman of Impact Weapon Components.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

Sure. I grew up in California where I watched my father, a heavy construction equipment master mechanic, build and fix a variety of things. I learned a lot from him. I’ve always been mechanically inclined and a natural problem solver. I really enjoy the mechanical aspect of things like bikes, firearms, and automobiles.  In high school, I began racing bicycles and trained about 300 miles per week. I worked in a small custom bike shop after school and learned to build high-end wheels. After graduating High School, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a career, so I began attending a community college for a few years, where I studied General Ed, and I did not graduate.

When I turned 21, I began shooting a Colt 1911 at a local range. It was a lot of fun and really got me hooked on firearm ownership and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

After college, I started working for a start-up company which built high-end custom wheelchairs, called Quickie Designs, Inc. At Quickie, I used my experience building bicycle wheels to create a product line of high performance wheels disabled athletes used to participate in wheelchair tennis and basketball. The wheels were lighter and faster than our competition and our sponsored athletes won events and we sold more and more wheels. I moved up in the company as they grew and when I left I was in the career I enjoyed, Purchasing and Supply-chain Management. Which basically means I delivered the parts, components and materials needed to build our product at the right price, in the right quantity when it’s needed in production.

After eleven years, I left Quickie and worked for Conagra in Gilroy, CA as Purchasing Manager. I worked for them for a couple of years, then moved to Ames, IA to work for a Water Quality Instrument Company. Soon after joining the Company, they offered me an opportunity to move to Colorado. This was in 2000.

Colorado is really great. The Company took off and my job as Director of Procurement was exciting and challenging. I was with the Company until May of this year, when I left to focus entirely on growing Impact Weapons Components, LLC.

How do you make the decision to start a business in economic times like these?

I know this may make some of your readers skeptical, but the decision to start IWC was one I knew was right. My family and I are Christians and we truly believe the idea for IWC came through inspiration. From the time when I had the initial idea for our first product, the Quick Detach MOUNT-N-SLOT brand Direct Attach Mount and through each point since then when I needed advice, or someone to advise us on our Patents, design, testing our packaging, the website, and how to begin advertising and distributing IWC’s products, the right people were placed before us and our Team who had the experience, and talent we needed to take the next step.

Financially and as a start-up, IWC did not require a great deal of money to get to where we are today. My Partner and I have been blessed to have lived conservatively within our means during our previous careers, so we are able to self fund IWC, which means we’re not indebted to anyone. We are able to pay as we go for the needs of the business. We are planning on writing a book or training program so we can share what we’ve learned with others interested in starting a business, but more on that later.

I also think timing has played a big part in IWC’s success so far. Jensen Arms in Loveland is a great place to buy all your gear. It’s also a great place to do VOC (voice of the customer) and Market Research. I spent a lot of time there observing customers and what they looked at and purchased, what new thing came to market and what was hot and what wasn’t.

I watched the large stock of basic AR-15’s fly off the shelf when it became clear that President Obama would win the White House. This told me there were a large number of customers who would be looking for accessories to trick out their AR’s in the next few years.

When the economy collapsed in late 2008, I saw the traffic in the store fall off and at FRGC, people were more aware of the prices for ammo, when you could find it..

In late 2009, and going into the SHOT Show in January 2010, I asked my long-time supplier of the parts used at the Company I worked for and fellow shooter, Craig, to make a few prototypes of our MOUNT-N-SLOT. I filed a Provisional Patent on them and then gave to a large number of them to shooters I had became friends with. I asked them to break my part or at least tell me what we needed to change to make it better. They all loved the prototypes.

So I continued to look for a manufacturer to introduce a similar product at SHOT in mid-January. No one did. When Magpul announced that they would be making MOE Hand Guards in Mid and Rifle Lengths by summer, 2010, I knew the timing was right to move foreword with IWC.

The final factor in our decision to move forward with IWC was the retail pricing we’re able to offer. IWC will soon offer a full line of accessory mounting components for the gear people want to trick out their rifles at a fraction of the price, weight, and complexity as those based on a quad-rail. We can do this in an economic environment when money is tight, ammo remains expensive, and people really want value for what they buy. By offering a made in Colorado from USA made materials product line, IWC believes we have the quality and value people are looking for. Our pricing leaves them with more money to spend on the sling, light, VFG, and some ammo to enjoy their new or existing AR.

My partner and I, along with our family, prayed for confirmation of our decision to launch IWC, which we received beyond question. From then on, we’ve been working flat-out developing, testing, and manufacturing our current and new products which we hope meets the needs of our customers.

How did the idea for the Mount-n-Slot line come about?

The idea for our first product, the Quick Detach MOUNT-N-SLOT brand Direct Attach Mount came after I went out to the Pawnee Grasslands one day to do some long range target shooting with my AR. It had a MOE hand Guard and a rail section with a rail type QD Mount. I was walking out to place the target and stumbled and caught my had on the rail section, which kind hurt. In the car on the way back home, I thought about why the rail was there in the first place. Why couldn’t I just make a simple QD socket that weighs less, uses fewer parts, costs less, and is cool and different looking? So I asked my long-term business owner and supplier of parts for the Water Quality Company and fellow shooter at the FRGC, Craig, to make me a few prototypes, which he did. The ideas for the other products have been flowing ever since.

Does living in a state with such an outdoors culture like Colorado play a role in your products at all?

Oh yeah, for sure. Colorado, and Larimer County where we live and work, have some of the best firearms laws in the nation. There is a culture of gun ownership and shooting sports in the area and some of the best places to go shooting that I’ve ever seen are within 30 minutes of our facility. In 2004, the Clinton gun ban expired and I found a local Class 3 dealer in Loveland, Jensen Arms, who specialized in tactical gear. I enjoyed shooting and now that the ban had expired, I wanted to get an AR, which lead to a few more as well as a few suppressors and SBR’s that I’ve been fortunate enough to add to my collection.

I wanted to help others learn to enjoy firearms like I did, so I took an NRA Pistol Instructor’s course and became an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor. I worked out a relationship with a world class range, the Front Range Gun Club in Loveland as a location for training and last year, I taught over 50 people how to safely use firearms.

IWC is planning on promoting the Loveland / Fort Collins / Timnath area as a firearms manufacturing center as we grow and learn. We envision having an R&D Center combined with the Front Range Gun Club and offering our services to others interested in starting a business in our industry. IWC really wants to give back to our community by creating opportunities for others to achieve what we’ve done so far. But by no means are we even close to this today. We’ve got a long uphill road ahead of us, but like I said earlier, we know this is what we’re meant to do and we’re all-in!

I want to commend you on your commitment to not just making your products here in the USA but also sourcing your materials here. What drives you to do this?

So many products are made off-shore by countries and governments who do not offer their citizens the freedoms which we as Americans enjoy. These countries get stronger with each new product that is made off-shore and America looses a little each time.

Coming from a Procurement and Supply-chain background, I know that America has the industrial capacity, skilled workforce, and creative talent which is often superior to that in other countries. IWC wanted to take advantage of these resources by only sourcing USA made materials and then turning these materials into our products right here in Colorado.

The challenge was being able to make and sell our products for a cost which supports a retail price point that offers our customers value while still allowing IWC to invest in new products, advertising, and continue to grow.

We’ve been able to achieve these seemingly competing objectives through simple designs. Take our single-piece box as an example. When we looked at the packaging used by others, it consisted of a part in a poly bag, with an instruction sheet, with maybe a printed card, which is stapled to the poly bag. This is placed in a corrugated carton, maybe with some packing material, a packing list, and then sealed with tape and shipped to you, the customer.

The IWC Team looked at this, and conversationally tore each component in the box apart, questioning why it was there and the value it added to you, the customer. We began to consolidate each component into what became our single piece instruction sheet, product protection packaging, and shipping box which held our brand. We worked with the talented Team to family owned Warneke Paper Box Company in Denver to bring our concept to reality. They improved our initial design, further refining the concept, while reducing cost and complexity.

We estimated a cost of over $2.00 for the others packaging materials, while our package costs a fraction of this amount.

This process is used by the Team at IWC for everything we do. How do we do it better than the others at a lower cost to us and especially, our customers.

You state on your website that you don’t have a Quality Department but choose instead to take a more holistic approach to quality. You state that quality is part of every area of your business. What does that mean to your customers?

The fact that we don’t have a “Quality Department” means that every person at IWC who is involved with the our product, interacts with our customers, or has anything to do with our brand has an obligation to make sure… no, guarantee, that the quality of our product, service, and experience meets the standards which IWC has documented for these areas. So, in effect, quality is built into what we do.

How much does feedback from users of your products play a role in how you refine existing products or develop new ones?

Feedback is central to the Team at IWC. That includes good and bad feedback, feedback about what needs improved, what we can do better, and what we are doing well.

Our customers trust us, a start-up without a long history, by spending their hard-earned cash on our products. We want them to be satisfied so that they tell others, their friends, family, co-workers, fellow shooters that they found this great new product that works better than the other products that they considered buying. So our challenge is to continue to create new products, to reduce the costs of manufacture while improving the quality of the components, to test them, to offer them to our customers to use, try to break them and evaluate them, so that we can continue to grow and improve the experience for our customers.

Do you have any plans for Mount-n-Slot accessories for other hand guard systems like the VTAC rails?

Yes… IWC has a New Product Portfolio outlined which will have many new PATENT PENDING mounts designed for many of the hand guards currently in use on AR-15 type rifles.

By Fall, we plan on announcing a Patent Pending line of accessory mounting products which attach to:

1. MOE-style flat surface hand guards

2. 2″ OD Round Hand Guards made by Midwest Industries, JP, PRI and Viking Tactics

3. 1.75″ OD Round Hand Guards made by Troy and Viking Tactics

What products can we anticipate seeing in the future? Flashlight mounts? Handstops?

All I can say today is that IWC will offer a complete line of MOUNT-N-SLOT brand Direct Attach Mounts which will be backwards compatible with any of our currently available mounts, so our customers do not have to buy a replacement mount for one they already have to be able to take advantage of our new product offerings.

Thank you Earl and IWC for taking the time to answer our questions.

Check out our previous review of their Mount-N-Slot Direct Attach Mounts.

Visit the Impact Weapon Solutions store to see all their Mount-N-Slot mounts.

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counterRemember to use the coupon code “triggerjerk” at checkout to receive 5% discount at IWC.

Vickers Tactical Glock Extended Magazine Release

This is a product that I have been using since it hit the market. The standard Glock magazine release is small, low profile, and can be somewhat difficult to hit without really shifting your grip. Glock makes an extended magazine release that may be fine for competition but it is too large for a carry gun. I have seen it interfere with holsters or even cause the magazine to be dropped when the Glock was gripped aggressively or laid on a flat surface.

Larry Vickers recognized the need for functional Glock magazine release that was larger than the stock part but not so large that it causes more problems than it solves. The result is the Vickers Glock Extended Magazine Release which is made by Tango Down for Vickers Tactical. It is available for the 9mm/.40S&W/.357SIG/.45GAP sized frames and the .45ACP/10MM sized frames.

The Vickers magazine release is on the left.

This release is perfect for a carry gun. It is long enough that it makes reaching the release much easier but no so long that it interferes with grip or holstering. All of the edges are nicely rounded which is nice considering how sharp some aftermarket magazine release can be. This is basically the only extended magazine release that I know of for Glocks that is suitable for carry.

This magazine release, along with a good set of sights, and maybe my favorite trigger set up is all that a Glock really needs.

Check out the Vickers Extended Mag Release For Glock at Brownells.

Review: Camotech Embroidery

I recently completed a custom patch order with Camotech Embroidery. The whole process was painless from start to finish, the prices are excellent, and the end product is perfect. Camotech actually sews the Velcro onto the back of the patch (many places just glue it on these days) and they include “loop” backing for each patch which is a very nice touch.

If you have a patch project, consider contacting Camotech.

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Good Stuff From Other Blogs

7.62×39 Guide – AK47 Talk – Matt breaks down several of the 7.62×39 offerings that are on the market today. There is great info here about the excellent Wolf Military Classic ammo.

Buying Cheap Gear: Killing Yourself and the American-based Tactical Product Revolution – ITS Tactical – Read this before you cut corners on your gear. Good quality gear costs more money than poor quality gear.

Info Security: Password Complexity: How to Keep Your Crap Safe – Death Valley Magazine – Norm from Normanomiblog continues his great series on Info Security. It is an easy read and well worth your time.

The Citizens Armory

Have you ever spent purchased a $3 trigger pin online and spent $10 for the privilege of having it shipped to your door? Those frustrating days are over. The Citizens Armory stocks AR-15 and Glock (how convenient that those are my two main firearms) small parts and charges reasonable shipping rates starting at just $1.75.

I wish them all the best because this is a much needed service to gun owners everywhere.

Review: Tactical Man Purse and Admin Pouch from Mountain Ridge Gear

There are some items that you can tell are made with confidence inspiring quality just by holding them – a custom 1911, high end custom knives, a fine watch. That tangible feeling of quality can sometimes tell you everything you need to know about a product. It is a sort of 6th sense that can feel the weight of the perfect materials for the job. It can sense the practiced hands of a craftsman honing every detail. It intuitively feels the careful hours that went into creating the item. That is the sort of feeling that you get when you first take the Tactical Man Purse (TMP) from Mountain Ridge Gear (MRG) in your hands. That may sound overly dramatic, but don’t judge until you have held one.

The front bellowed pocket of the TMP has tons of space and gives a low profile look to the bag.

Overview

The Tactical Man Purse is MRG’s entry into the Tactical/EDC bag market. It is basically a briefcase-like design with some serious organization potential. It comes in both a regular and wide version. I was graciously provided the wide version for review along with an Admin Pouch.

Dimensions

  • Volume: 1700 cubic inches
  • Length: 15 inches
  • Height: 12 inches
  • Width: 8 inches

The wide version of the TMP is a full 8" wide.

Materials

The body of the TMP and Admin Pouch is constructed from 1000 denier Cordura nylon. It is a fabric that is well know for its wear resistance and durability while still remaining pliable. It is the perfect fabric for hard use gear.

The interior is constructed mostly of 420 denier pack cloth. Pack cloth is a very durable fabric that is water resistant and somewhat light weight. Many of the surfaces are also lined with pack cloth. It would take you a lifetime to wear a hole in this bag. There is also good use made of a heavy duty mesh material for a “transparent” pocket and para-cord for key loops.

The shoulder strap is nicely padded and can be attached in a number of ways.

The shoulder strap is constructed by a combination of 1″ mil-spec webbing and 1000 denier Cordura nylon. It also uses top quality ITW-Nexus side release buckles to attach to the TMP. The handles on the TMP are constructed from 1″ mil-spec tubular webbing which is another incredibly durable material.

Many of the walls of the TMP contain 1/4″ closed cell foam. This type of foam does not absorb liquids and helps the bag retain its shape. It also gives some protection to the contents of the bag.

The back panel of the TMP is covered with MOLLE webbing. You can also see the attached Admin Pouch and "dock and lock" attachment points.

Fit and Finish

It may seem strange to talk about the fit and finish of a piece of nylon gear, but the term is fitting in the case of the TMP. The materials are top notch and the sewing is impeccable. There are details that are not apparent until you really take an in depth look. Some of the internal pockets have their bottoms sewn to give you slots of varying height. You won’t find a single cloth edge in the entire bag because every edge is covered with a kind of thin webbing or ribbon which also reinforces the stitch. Nearly the entire bag is lined with pack cloth which is both attractive and functional. The MOLLE webbing on the exterior of the bag is straight and perfectly spaced. The details are incredible.

Organization

If you can’t organize your EDC gear in the TMP and Admin Pouch, there is no hope for you. The exterior of the TMP features a huge zipper closure bellowed pocket. It is versatile because it is huge. This pocket is slick on the outside which helps gives the whole bag a low profile look. You can also have an optional Velcro field sewn onto this pocket if you want to attach a morale patch or name tape.

The TMP features a pull-out style pouch that can quickly and easily be installed or removed.

The interior features a slew of well thought out organization features. There are slot pockets of several shapes and sizes. There are slots that would fit pens and pencils, cell phones, PDAs, compasses, paper back books, note pads, multi-tools, and just about anything else you can dream of. Behind the slot pockets there is a large zippered pouch.

The TMP features clamshell style opening to allow full access to its organization features.

There is a large slot pocket that has a small pad of Velcro at the top to keep it closed. This is perfect for carrying a laptop, magazines, books, or binders. There are attachment points for quick detachable pull-out style pouches at the top of this slot pocket. In front of the large slot pocket is a zippered mesh pocket. I really like the use of heavy duty mesh here to allow the user to see what is inside the pouch. The mesh pocket contains para-cord attachments for things like keys.

The TMP has a loop and lanyard for organizing items like keys.

One of my favorite things about the bag is the removable interior strap. It spans the width of the bag’s interior and is removable. It is perfect to use for strapping items like a change of clothes in place. It reminds me of the straps that you typically find inside nicer luggage. Of course, its uses are not limited to clothes. You could strap down a laptop, note book, binder, or anything else you can think of.

The TMP contains more than enough slot pockets to organize your gear.

The Admin Pouch adds a tremendous amount of additional organization capability. Inside you will find more slot pockets of varying sizes and another zippered heavy duty mesh pocket. My favorite feature is the long slender pocket in the crease of the Admin Pouch. It is absolutely perfect for clipping in a Surefire style flashlight.

The Admin Pouch opens fully to give access to its contents.

None of this organization would be nearly as useful as it is if you weren’t able to access the contents. The TMP opens clam shell style allowing full access to every pouch and pocket. The Admin Pouch also opens fully.

If you have a larger, MOLLE covered pack like those from Kifaru, you will appreciate that the TMP has attachment points for “dock and lock” buckles. This system can be made to work with many other brands of bags as well. I tested it with my two Kifaru packs and a Spec Ops THE Pack. This is a very nice capability.

The Admin Pouch can easily be attached or removed thanks to the unique Velcro strap system.

Conclusion

Overall, the TMP and Admin Pouch are excellent. The build quality is second to none, the materials are top notch, and the design is attractive and efficient. If you are used to paying about the same amount of money for bags from other companies that are made over seas, you will be amazed at what this US made bag delivers in terms of quality. The TMP and Admin Pouch combo would make an excellent EDC bag or even a carry on bag for traveling. It has to be held and used to be appreciated.

I would love to see Mountain Ridge Gear add new bags to the line and possibly even new features to this bag. One thing that I would love to see added to the TMP is an internal Velcro field for the use of Velcro back holsters and organizers.

I had a hard time sending this bag back.

You can purchase your own Tactical Man Purse, Admin Pouch, and other well made gear at the Mountain Ridge Gear website.

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Original Magpuls Alternate Use

The Original Magpul was Magpul’s first product which launched them on their way to becoming the giant that they are today. These handy rubber finger loops were designed to be stretched onto the bottom of a magazine creating a loop that would allow the user to quickly extract magazines from magazine pouches. It is basically a more formal approach to the old duct tape and para-cord loop trick that became popular with A.L.I.C.E. gear.

However, I find that because my more modern magazine pouches are cut lower, so I rarely use the finger loop to extract the magazine. It just isn’t necessary. Even though I didn’t use the finger loops, I left the Magpuls on my aluminum magazines because I found that the rubber surface wrapped around the base of the mag really improved grip and the loop acted as a shock buffer when the mags hit the deck during reloads. The problem was that the loops made the magazines longer which could cause issues with some covered mag pouches.

Consider using your Magpuls like the one shown on the right.

My simple solution was to turn the Magpul 90 degrees. I have since come to find out that I am not the first person to do this, so I really can’t claim it as my own idea. The Magpul is stretched so that the loop is running front to back and pulled tight to the magazine base. This cures the pouch fit issues. It also retains the enhanced grip and buffering advantages. In fact, it acts more efficiently as a buffer since now the loop covers nearly the entire baseplate.

The best part is that it enhances the ability of the magazine to be used as a monopod. The 30 round AR-15 magazines lend themselves very well to being used as a monopod, but aluminum GI mags tend to pick up dirt and debris between the magazine body and baseplate. However, with the Magpul turned 90 degrees the baseplate is protected from debris.

I still keep about 40 or so aluminum GI magazines on hand even though I use PMAGs almost exclusively these days. I find that the PMAGs do not really need any grip enhancement or buffering from impact but I wouldn’t run my GI mags without the Magpuls. They really do enhance the function for me and they aren’t terribly expensive.

If you have Magpuls, try turning them 90 degrees. You might like them better that way.

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New Barrel Profiles from BCM

BCM is continues to expand their already broad array of available barrel profiles. They will be releasing 3 new profiles this summer.

  1. 14.5″ Midlength Light Weight
  2. 14.5″ Carbine Light Weight
  3. 16″ M4 SOCOM

I am really excited to try the 14.5″ midlength light weight. It should end up weighing right around 2 pounds 10 ounces give or take a few ounces even with the permanently attached flash suppressor. Couple a light weight upper like that with other light weight components like Magpul MOE hand guards and you would have one very capable, functional, and extremely light weight carbine.

BCM is really positioning themselves as the premier supplier of AR-15 rifles. Their quality is second to none and their array of barrel profiles should satisfy just about anyone.

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