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Death Valley Magazine: Ottowa Ankle Rules – Are you hurt or injured?

In a wilderness survival or tactical environment how can you tell if you’ve sprained or broken an ankle?  The distinction may seem minor, but the implications are dramatic…

Kydex Wedge Inserts for Your Esstac Gear

Check these out! Esstac is now offering a kydex wedge insert through SKD Tactical. The kydex inserts should retain the magazine very well while still allowing for extremely fast reloads. These inserts will work in Esstac’s chest rigs and their magazine shingles. You can either buy enough to retrofit your entire rig, buy one to serve as your speed reload, or buy as many or few as you want.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7vRIEowVM4&feature=player_embedded]

Esstac already makes the most versatile chest rigs on the market. These inserts will make them even more versatile.

Numrich Now Owns Charles Daly!

Charles Daly (CD) has been purchased by Numrich. Numrich is one of the largest gun parts suppliers in the world. Charles Daly was really turning out some top notch AR-15s before they closed their doors a few months ago. Hopefully with Numrich at the helm, there will be more quality CD ARs on the market soon but that may not be the case. This sounds more like Numrich is buying them out to add the CD parts to the Numrich catalog rather than to continue making/importing CD products.

Trijicon, Please Make This Optic!

Trijicon, you have the technology, ability, and experience to make a great multi-purpose optic for a fighting rifle. All you have to do is combine technology from two of your current offerings.

The ACOG is an amazing optic. It has some of the best designed reticle options on the market today. The way the ranging/BDC (bullet drop compensation) system works is nearly perfect. The biggest thing holding it back is the fixed magnification which slows target acquisition at shorter engagement distances. Yes, even with the BAC (Bindon Aiming Concept), it is still slower than a true 1X or non-magnified optic.

The TR24 Accupoint offers the ability to adjust magnification from true 1X up to 4X. It has glass that is similar in quality and clarity to that of the ACOG which is excellent. It also has the very handy adjustable fiber optic cover to adjust the amount of the light that reaches the reticle on sunny days.

Neither of the optics are reliant on batteries for illumination. This is a strong point on most Trijicon products.

I would be in line for one (or maybe 5) tomorrow if Trijicon were to combine these two optics into an optic that was essentially an 1-4x Accupoint with ACOG like reticle and BDC.

The reticle could be a simple cross hair with a larger circle around the intersection. The circle would serve to draw the eye. If this reticle were to be placed in the first focal plane (FFP), it would appear as a smallish dot when the optic was on 1X which would be advantageous for faster acquisition at shorter distances. The crosshairs would be more usable for precision at longer distances on 4X when the reticle appears larger. Typically, FFP reticles are used to make ranging/BDC systems work at all magnifications. However, I really only suggest the FFP reticle for the reticle scaling reasons listed above. A reticle like the circle-dot, already in use in the ACOG, might also work but it would give up some precision to a reticle with crosshairs.

Add the usual ACOG ranging/BDC hash marks on the bottom stadia line of the reticle and watch this optic fly off the shelves. The simplicity of this ranging/BDC system can not be beat. I would personally like to see it set for a 50/200 yards zero but the standard ACOG 100 yard zero would be fine as well.

Recap:

  • 1-4X with true 1x on the low end (while you are at it, a 1.5-6x might be nice too)
  • First focal plane crosshair/circle reticle
  • ACOG ranging/BDC
  • TR24 Accupoint form factor (covered finger adjustable knobs, fiber optic cover, etc)

Trijicon, if you are listening, please make this optic!

Looking for a Titanium Spork

I have been trying to decide on a titanium spork for some time now. I have several of the plastic ones from Light My Fire (LMF) and I have broken a few of them and melted one. I really like the form factor of the LMF sporks because they have a serrated knife edge on the fork side so I have been leaning toward their new Ti version. However, it is almost twice the price of most other Ti sporks on the market.

I have looked around quite a bit and haven’t found anything else with a usable cutting edge like the LMF and that is a big deal to me.

Does anyone out there have a Ti spork recommendation for me?

Drop Leg Holsters – Think Before You Use

A lot of people wiser and more knowledgeable than me say things like “Mission drives the gear.” The original purpose of drop leg holsters is to lower the bulk of the handgun to clear an armored vest/plate carrier. They are also handy when you need to clear the hip belt of a back pack. I have also heard that some people prefer them when wearing a repelling harness.  Lately, they have become somewhat of a fashion statement.

They are everywhere and it seems no one’s cool-guy-kit is complete without them. Many users have lost sight of the drop leg holster’s real purpose. Fashion, rather than mission, is driving the gear. As a result, we often see these holsters being used in the worst ways possible.

Need Versus Want

The first thing you should do when you are considering purchasing a drop leg holster is think about whether you actually have a need for one. Do you need to clear armor? Do you need to clear a hip belt? Are you wearing a repelling harness? If not, you may want to consider a more traditional belt holster. Why would you want to extend your draw stroke or add weight to your legs when your hips are much better at bearing weight? Make sure you really need a drop leg holster or at least are being honest about why you want one.

Higher is Better

Letting the holster ride too low is probably the biggest mistake I see among drop leg holster users. The range is full of people whose holsters are down on their knee. There are 3 big reasons to keep your holster as high as the holster will allow. You will probably even need to modify the holster to allow it to ride high enough. Remember, the holster needs only to ride low enough to clear the armor/hip belt/harness – no lower.

First, holsters that ride too low place you at a mechanical disadvantage. Think for a second about a baseball glued to a yard stick. You are holding the yard stick at the end marked 1 inch. The baseball is glued to the 36 inch mark. Swing the yard stick and think about how difficult it would be to stop the yard stick and baseball quickly. Now think of the same thing, except now the baseball is glued to the 8 inch marker. How much easier is it to stop the yard stick and baseball quickly now? It is much easier.

When the weight is closer to the pivot point of your leg (closer to the hip) your leg will be able to bear the weight better and move with less effort. The closer the holster gets to your foot, the more you will notice it fighting the movement of your leg and the more it will flop around.

Second, holsters that ride too low elongate your draw stroke. Think for a moment. You are going to increase the distance that your hand must travel to retrieve your handgun and to bring the handgun to eye level. You are going to make your draw stroke slower and less efficient. Is it possible that a “tactical” accessory can actually make you less “tactical” (what ever that means)? Yes!

Third, holsters that ride too low are less like how you tend to carry a handgun when you aren’t playing dress up. Why would you want to throw away all of those practiced draw strokes that you do in your normal concealed carry gear (at least I hope you are practicing)? It makes good sense to have your drop leg (if you need one) mirror your everyday gear as much as possible.

If your holster doesn’t let the handgun ride as high as you would like modify it. Cut stuff, trim pieces off, remove straps, and fix it. If you can’t modify it – replace it with one that works. See Kyle Defoor’s blog post, Safariland Secrets and this thread on M4Carbine.net for some tips on modifying the Safariland 6004. The pictures at these two links will also give you an idea of how high the holster should rid. I like mine so that the highest part of the grip is not quite as high as my belt line. This is more than enough drop to clear my plate carrier and enough to clear my pack’s hip belt.

Watch this blog for an upcoming article on building a versatile holster kit that allows for “battle belt” carry and proper drop leg use. This may also be useful to those who want to modify what they already have.

Tighten Up

The other mistake I see is people with loose leg straps. If the leg strap on your drop leg holster is loose you are inviting problems. Your holster will wobble as you move which can be annoying. More importantly, it can impede your draw. The holster will try to come with the gun as you draw and cause binding in some security holsters (the gun must be drawn almost exactly straight up and out).  When the gun binds it is essentially wedged in place and you may have to re-start your draw or continue to tug it out.

Many drop leg holster leg straps have a short elastic section sewn into the strap. This is there for good reason. It is there so you can really tighten the strap down but still have enough flexibility to buckle the strap and be able to flex with your leg. It doesn’t have to be tourniquet tight but the strap should not be hanging loose on your leg.

Note: Notice I said strap, singular, in that last sentence. If you holster is riding where it should be, there likely will not be room for two leg straps. If you see a holster with 2 leg straps, that is your first clue that it isn’t riding high enough.

Recap

  • Determine whether you need or want a drop leg holster based on your mission/the actual purpose of a drop leg holster. If you must run one…
  • Make sure that it rides high enough. If it does not, modify or replace it.
  • Make sure that you adjust it so that is tight on your leg.

If you stop and think for a minute you may not need a drop leg holster and if you do, at least you will know how to use it more efficiently.

Review: Slip 2000 EWL

This is really good stuff!

I have spent a year, as of this month, with Slip 2000 EWL. I am very pleased with the performance offered by this lubricant. I have used it in Glocks, AR-15s, AK-47s (yes, they do need to be lubed), a Ruger 10/22, and even to slick up flashlight tailcap threads. It has really performed beyond my expectations. It can be difficult to quantify the performance of a weapon lube but I have noticed a few things that should be testable and repeatable that I can share.

  1. Slip 2000 EWL does not evaporate nearly as quickly as Breakfree CLP. When I received my first order, I degreased two AR-15s. I lubed one with Slip 2000 and one with Breakfree CLP. The one with Breakfree looked mostly dry after 3 days while the one with Slip 2000 still had a sheen like it was wet.
  2. Slip 2000 EWL does not run as readily as Breakfree CLP. This is obvious. This makes Slip 2000 EWL more suitable to applications like lubing the Glock that I carry (though I prefer a light grease). It does not run immediately out of the gun all over me and my holster.

The thing that I am not sure I can repeat or prove is that the Slip 2000 EWL makes new guns feel smoother, faster than other lubes. My DDM4 really seemed to slick up after it’s first range trip with this lube. It could be my imagination but others have relayed similar testimonials.

If you run an AR you need a high quality, reliable lubricant. Slip 2000 EWL would be a great choice.

Daniel Defense Lightweight DDM4v2 Now Available

Daniel Defense continues to expand on their excellent DDM4 line with the Lightweight DDM4v2. It features a lightweight profile barrel and a 7″ Omega X rail. I can’t say enough good things about the DDM4 upper that I own.

Review: Princeton Tec Quad Tactical

Click for larger view.

Princeton Tec (PT) makes some of the most innovative, durable, and affordable head lamps on the market right now. They have taken this innovation and applied it to a handful of tactical products. The Quad Tactical is one of these tactical products. It is based on PT’s excellent Quad headlamp with a few tweaks for the “tactical” market. I have been using one for several months now and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Click for larger view.

The Same

The Quad and Quad Tactical share many features. They both have self contained lamp units, meaning that they do not use a separate battery compartment – the batteries are in the same housing as the lamp. In order to keep the unit light weight and compact, they are both powered by three AAA batteries. This compact design allows them to use a single strap unlike many headlamps that have a second strap that travels front to back on top of the wearer’s head. Both lights use four 5mm LEDs to create a broad flood beam of light.

But Different

There are two main differences between the Quad and the Quad Tactical. The Quad Tactical has interchangeable color filters (red, blue, and green) and it comes on in the low setting. The regular Quad comes on in high mode.The filters are a welcome addition for me. I use the red filter constantly. Low levels of red light can be used to maintain your dark adjusted vision. I keep the filter on mine in the up position so that I run less risk of ruining my dark adjusted vision with a surprise activation of the light.

Too much red light can also affect your night vision so PT designed the Quad Tactical to turn on in low mode. This is light is “tactical” because it is discreet, not because it is bright. Many lights of this type have a low mode that is far too bright. PT could have made this one lower, bu the combination of the low mode and red filter make for a passable low mode. It would be an excellent map light or navigation light.

In Use

Using the light is simple. You access all modes from a single button that is located on top of the light. Press once for low mode. Press again within a second for medium, again for high, and again for blink (a slow strobe mode), and again for off. If you wait more than one second to press the button again the light will turn off.

Change the color filter by unlatching the faceplate and replacing with the color of your choice. The filter can be kept down and out of the way or easily pushed up to filter the light. The light uses a small detente and friction to stay in both the up and down positions very securely.

Click for larger view.

It is easy to change the batteries thanks to the tool built into the headband slider. The battery compartment is secured by a single slotted and knurled knob. Loosen the knob to allow the battery compartment to hinge open. Tighten the knob to close the battery compartment. I like to turn it to finger tight and then give it another 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn with the slider tool.

Click for larger view.

I have really come to appreciate the broad beam profile of Quad Tactical. It is probably this light’s best feature. It makes a great work light when you are setting up camp because it really illuminates a wide area. It will also light up nearly an entire USGS map, instead of just a small spot. Even with the broad beam, it still has some reach, especially when turned to high mode. Something like the PT EOS Tactical may be a better choice for lighting up the trail on a mountain bike, but for hiking I rarely use the Quad Tactical on anything other than low mode.

I am very pleased with this light.

Specs:

  • Batteries: 3x AAA batteries (lithium, alkaline, or rechargeable)
  • Output and Runtime: 45 lumens for 1 hour on high, 9 hours on medium, 24 hours on low (these runtimes are the regulated runtimes, for 50-150 hours more depending on output level when they drop out of regulation)
  • Weight: 2.9 ounces with lightweight lithium batteries, 3.5 ounces with alkaline batteries
  • Dimensions: 2.75″ x 1.75″
  • Hinged bracket allows user to direct the light
  • Waterproof to 1 meter
  • Made in the USA

Click here to see the entire PT Tactical line.

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Good Stuff From Other Blogs

Death Valley Magazine – Stop Preparing for the Apocalypse and Plan For Next Thursday

So you have 12 months of food stored, an urban garden, 28 pistols and rifles and you take 5 tactical courses a year. If the SHTF you can ether grab your BOB and fight on the move or bunker in at home. Basically you are trained-up and stocked-up for just about any apocalyptic situation that could possibly happen…

Woods Monkey – Wenger EvoGrip S18 Pocket Knife

Looking to travel light on the trail and want a knife that meets your needs?  Or, are you looking for a good basic tool supplement to your primary blade?  Today, we’re looking at the Wenger EvoGrip S18 knife, and it just might be the one to fill your needs!  We’ve also included a highlights video to help out with your search as well…

Kyle Defoor – Safariland Secrets

Safariland makes the best tac/drop leg holster there is I think. But, there is room for improvement on the old ones…

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