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Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO)

Aimpoint introduced a new, more budget friendly, optic called the Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) at the 2011 SHOT Show. The optic and its price ($440 MSRP) are geared toward the police market but it is already for sale to anyone (not just police).

The PRO seems to sit squarely between the now discontinued CompM2 and the CompM3. It has the 2 MOA red dot of the CompM3 but the 3 year battery life is a bit lower than the CompM3’s 50,000 hour battery life. 3 years on one 1/3N lithium battery is no slouch. It also features night vision compatibility, hard anodizing, and the extra waterproofing that is typical of Aimpoint’s military/police offerings.

This would be an attractive optic at this price point if all that you received in the box was the Aimpoint PRO itself, but Aimpoint takes it a step further by including their QRP2 mount. The QRP2 can be used on an AR-15/AR-10 flat top with the included spacer or you can remove the spacer to low mount the sight on something like a shotgun. The QRP2 isn’t my favorite mount on the market but it very functional and will serve to get the user up and running right away.

Aimpoint also includes some very slick lens covers. The rear cover has a transparent window that allows the sight to be used in an emergency even if both lens covers are closed. Since there is no window in the front lens cover, the sight functions like the old occluded eye sights when both covers are closed. It would be nice to see these become standard on all Aimpoint offerings.

The Aimpoint PRO is a really excellent value. I have already seen street prices of around $400 which is amazing considering everything that comes with the optic.

Granite Tactical Gear Modular Pockets

Granite Gear, maker of excellent outdoor gear like backpacks, has quietly been making some very innovative tactical gear for the last couple of years. Some of the newest products in the their tactical line are the Modular Pockets (MP’s).

These are not unlike any other MOLLE utility pouch on the market except for two key differences. They have a rigid foam reinforced back sheet that helps the pouch keep its shape and makes for a rigid attachment to the host pack (or chest rig, belt rig, etc.). They also have compression straps to help prevent noise and shifting. The rigid backing helps prevent the host pack from bunching when the compression straps on the MP are cinched tight. I have never seen a MOLLE pouch with compression straps and when I saw these MP’s I was immediately struck by what a simple, functional, and worthwhile addition they could be to a pouch.

If you have 15 minutes to fill and you want to drool a bit, check out the Granite Tactical Gear 2011 catalog for more info on their entire line of gear.

Review: Grip Force Adapter for Gen4 Glocks

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the Grip Force Adapter for Generation 1, 2, and 3 Glocks. I was extremely impressed so I jumped at the chance to try the Generation 4 model when Grip Force Products offered to send me one.

Gen 4 Glock without the Grip Force Adapter

The Gen123 and Gen4 models of the Grip Force Adapter appear to be very similar at first glance and, for the most part, they are very similar. However, the 4th Generation Glock frame is smaller from frontstrap to backstrap. This smaller grip really lets the Gen4 Grip Force Adapter shine.

The Gen4 Grip Force Adapter displays all the benefits of the Gen123 model that I reviewed earlier – a straighter backstrap and an extended beaver tail to prevent slide bite. However, the slightly shorter hump on the backstrap of the Gen4 Glock and the slightly smaller grip really seem to take the Grip Force Adapter to the next level. The change in the way the Glock feels and handles seems to be even more dramatic with the Gen4 grip adapter. It just seems to respond even better to the straightening of the backstrap.

Just as with the Gen123 model, the Gen4 model had a negligible effect on trigger reach. In fact, there is even less potential for issues with the trigger reach since the Gen4 Glock’s grip starts out smaller. It was a complete non-issue for me. In fact, it is hard to tell any difference in how my finger reaches the trigger. The feel of the straightened backstrap is far more noticeable than any change in how I reach the trigger.

Gen 4 Glock with the Grip Force Adapter

Gen 2 Glock with the Grip Force Adapter (Gen123)

I was impressed with the Grip Force Adapter on Generation 2 and 3 Glocks. I am even more impressed with the Grip Force Adapter on Generation 4 Glocks. The Gen4 grip just seems to respond better to the addition of the Grip Force Adapter. The Gen4 Glock and the Grip Force Adapter are a match made in heaven.

You can read more about the Grip Force Adapters on the Grip Force Products website. Also be sure to reference Jerking the Trigger’s full review of the Gen123 Grip Force Adapter for more information and photos.

Magpul Rifle Length MOE Hand Guards – Now Shipping!

The the long awaited rifle length MOE Hand Guards from Magpul are now shipping. These were originally announced back at the 201o SHOT Show. There have been pictures all over the web of these hand guards being used on “dissipator” type carbines and they certainly seem to be well suited to that type of build.

They should be on dealer’s shelves shortly. You can read more on Magpul’s website.

Review: Diamondback Tactical MOLLE CR123 Battery Holder

Diamondback Tactical makes a slick little battery holder that solves a problem for me. I have had a CR123 battery become dented and unusable while knocking around loose in a pocket of my backpack. I have also read accounts of how CR123 batteries can heat up and vent when loose items in a pocket are able to short the battery. The Diamondback Tactical 123A Battery Holder (MOLLE) solves these problems by providing a dedicated holder specifically for CR123 batteries that keeps them protected, separate from other small items, and  easily accessible.

The pouch is simple. It is two elastic loops covered by an upper and lower flap. There are two snaps that allow the holder to attach to a single column of MOLLE webbing. It has a very small footprint so you can find room for one on any chest rig, belt rig, or back pack. The snaps allow these to be attached and detached from MOLLE webbing in just seconds.

These battery holders are a great way to keep batteries around on your training gear. You never know when you will need a fresh set of batteries to keep you on the line in a low light course. I also use them on my hiking packs so I can keep spare batteries around for my headlamp or flashlight. They are simple and effective.

IWC 2 to 1 Point Triglide 1.25″ Now Available

Impact Weapon Components just made the 1.25″ version of the previously reviewed 2 to 1 Point Triglide available on their site. The new version is sized to work on slings that use larger 1,25″ webbing like the Vickers Combat Application Slings (VCAS) from Blue Force Gear. The VCAS is my personal favorite sling so I will have to pick up a few of these.

You can check out the original 1″ version and the new 1.25″ version on the IWC website.

Nordic Components Compact Retractable Stock

If you have a dedicated .22LR AR-15 build, the new Compact Retractable Stock (CRS) from Nordic Components just might catch your eye. It is similar in design to the collapsible stocks that Heckler & Koch uses on many of their firearms. Nordic Components adapted the design to fit any AR-15 that does not require the use of the buffer tube, like those that have been converted to .22LR.

The stock is adjustable from a fully collapsed length of pull (LOP) of 5 7/8″ to six other positions varying from a LOP of 8-7/8″ to 13-7/8″. The stock weighs roughly the same weight as a standard M4 collapsible stock but it is significantly more compact. In its fully collapsed position it still allows for the bolt catch to function and will allow the dust cover to open far enough for the rifle to function.

This stock would be especially handy on a .22LR SBR build. .22LR uppers can be made with extremely short barrels without concern for gas system length. Those shorter barrels, coupled with a stock this compact, would make for a very trim, light weight, and handy firearm.

The new CRS is available now from the Nordic Components website.

Review: ESEE Navigation Cards

ESEE makes a variety of navigation cards that are designed to help you use a map, compass, and GPS more effectively. These cards are all credit card sized and printed on 30 mil thick plastic for durability. In this review, I will look at 3 different products: the Emergency Navigation/Survival Card, the Map Card 1:24,000 Scale, and the Izula Gear Nav Card Set.

UTM tools help you keep your map, compass, and GPS in sync.

Before I look at the details of the specific cards, I should talk about what they have in common. All of the cards are credit card sized (3 3/8″ x 2 1/8″). This may seem like an insignificant thing but it really does set them apart from anything else on the market. Most map tools of this type are square in shape and are much larger. The ESEE navigation cards will fit inside something that you probably already carry every day – your wallet.

All three of the cards utilize the Universal Transverse Mercator coordinate system (UTM). UTM is basically just a grid based method of indicating a location on a map. Unlike the Latitude and Longitude system which consists of lines laid over a 3 dimensional globe, UTM is a 2 dimensional grid which makes it much easier to work with on maps. Most GPS units can be set to display UTM coordinates which makes UTM ideal for syncing your map, compass, and GPS.

The UTM system is useful for transferring points from your GPS to your map (and vice versa) and for precisely indicating points on your map so they can be navigated to or shared with others. Even if your map is not marked for use with UTM, the tools can still be used as metric measuring devices.

ESEE Emergency Navigation/Survival Card

ESEE Emergency Navigation/Survival Card

The Emergency Navigation/Survival Card is a jack of all trades, master of none. It is designed to be be extremely versatile across many map scales but this versatility comes at the expense of precision. This is exactly the type of tool that you would want stashed in your wallet for emergency use when you can’t be sure of what, if any, map you will have access to. It is a quick and dirty tool for those times that you can’t have your entire navigation kit with you.

The Emergency Navigation/Survival Card features UTM corners or map rules for 3 of the most common map scales: 1:24,000, 1:50,000, and 1:100,000. It also features a 10 acre square (1:24K), basic survival information, and a simple compass rose with 22.5 degree increments. The card comes with a Tyvek slip cover that protects it from wear while it is being carried in a pocket or pack.

I used the Emergency Navigation/Survival Card on an orienteering course to get the hang of how it would work. The imprecise compass rose made determining an azimuth difficult but this card was not meant for navigating to small 4″ wide posts in the woods. It is designed to navigate from area to area. It was in its element when I used it to navigate from the last point on the orienteering course to the parking area. I was able to find precise points by using the UTM corner and a GPS.

If you are just using a map and compass, this card will easily allow you to determine straight line distances and rough azimuths. If you have GPS unit on hand you can be much more precise.

ESEE Map Card 1:24,000 Scale

ESEE Map Card 1:24,000 Scale

The Map Card 1:24,000 Scale is a full featured map tool. It can be used in concert with a map, compass, and GPS unit to navigate in a very precise manner.

The Map Card 1:24,000 Scale features several different tools on the same card. There is a 1 mile map rule that is broken into 1/4 mile increments. It also has a compass rose with 2.5 degree increments and 1, 2.5, 10, and 40 acre squares. The card also has a full UTM grid with 10 meter increment hash marks on the top and right side of the grid. The provided Tyvek slip cover prevents the card from being scuffed when it is in a pocket or pouch.

This card works extremely well on an orienteering course. The compass rose is marked in 2.5 degree increments which is more than precise enough for most map and compass work. I found that I was able to accurately estimate the azimuth when it fell between hash marks. The 1 mile map rule worked very well to estimating distance but I usually just use the UTM grid as a meter map rule since that works better with my 100 meter pace count.

The UTM grid on this card is excellent. It is one of the few UTM grids that I have used that has 10 meter hash marks. This allows a very high level of precision that isn’t easily obtained with grids that lack these hash marks. Since the hash marks are located on the top and right side of the grid, it can also be used as a very precise UTM corner tool. This is accomplished by placing the upper right corner on a navigation point and then reading the easting and northing where the edges of the grid tool crosses the UTM lines on the map.

Izula Gear Nav Card Set packaging

Izula Gear Nav Card Set

The Izula Gear Nav Card Set is a complete navigation solution for many of the most common map scales. It contains 3 map cards and 2 informational cards. The map cards cover 5 different map scales: 1:24,000, 1:25,000, 1:50,000, 1:100,000, and 1:250,000. The information cards cover topics like map reading, declination, pace count, use of UTM, determining an azimuth, conversions and general survival information. This kit is compact and comprehensive. If you could only have one set of map tools, this would cover a lot of bases.

Each of the 3 map cards feature a compass rose with 2 degree increments around the perimeter of the cards. The 1:24,000 map card features 1, 2.5, and 10 acre squares, a 1/2 mile map rule, and UTM grid with 10 meter hash marks. The 1:25,000/1:250:000 card features a 3 mile map rule for the 1:250,000 scale and UTM corners for both scales. The 1:50,000/1:100,000 card features a 1/2 mile map rule for the 1:50,000 scale, a 1 mile map rule for the 1:100,000 map rule, and UTM corners for both.

The inner strand of a piece of para-cord can help you determine an azimuth.

The Izula Gear Nav Card Set information cards contain enough informationt to refresh you on the basics of map and compass work.

I took the whole kit to the orienteering course. However, the only maps that I had access to were 1:24,000 scale. The compass rose allowed for very good precision. I used the awl from a multi-tool to puncture the center of the card and then attached a short piece of inner strand from para-cord. This works as a pointer for finding the azimuth between two points. It was very easy to take precise azimuths using this method.

The UTM grid on the Izula Gear Nav Card Set 1:24,000 card works exactly the same as the one on the Map Card 1:24,000 Scale above. The hash marks really make this grid stand out from other UTM grids.

The best thing about this kit are the information cards. They aren’t going to teach someone with no experience how to navigate but they will very effectively refresh someone’s memory. Skills like navigation can be somewhat perishable. If you don’t use the skills often, you will lose them. These information cards offer just enough information to bring someone who already knows the basics back up to speed.

Izula Gear Nav Card Set 1:24K

Izula Gear Nav Card Set 1:25K/1:250K

Izula Gear Nav Card Set 1:50K/1:100K


All three of these items are extremely well thought out and functional tools in trained hands. There are similar tools available but these offer the ease of carry that comes with their credit card size. The Emergency Navigation/Survival Card is perfect for your wallet or E&E/survival kit. The Izula Gear Nav Card Set and Map Card 1:24,000 Scale are right at home with your dedicated navigation gear or in a bug out bag.

Available from ESEE:

Available from the ESEE Dealer Network:

Troy Nav Stock

It has become very common for those who carry both an AR-15 and a GPS to attach the GPS to the stock of the AR-15. This is usually done in a field improvised way or by using a wrist strap that is also designed to attach the GPS to an AR-15 stock. The most common GPS device used for this application the Garmin Foretrex 401. It’s compact size make it ideal.

Troy has a clever solution that does away with the field improvisation. The Troy Nav Stock actually has a Foretrex 401 embedded into the stock. It is mounted upside down so that the user needs only to glance downward and roll the rifle slightly to view the display or operate the GPS. The Foretrex utilizes a patch antenna that will function very well even when the unit is upside down in this manner.

This is specialized gear that not everyone needs but it definitely a clever solution for those who do need it.

Image is property of Troy Industries.

Next Generation Arms X7 – Gray is the New Black

Next Generation Arms (NGA) is about to unleash a new AR-15 pattern rifle called the X7. The X7 is what an AR-15 would look like if every part was scrutinized, modernized, and optimized for function. It combines innovative features and premium parts to make a rifle so unique that can’t even be called by the name “black rifle” – it’s The Gray Rifle.

The list of features on this rifle is impressive and it seems that nearly every part has been tweaked in some way to increase function. The hand guards are slim to allow a large variety of grips. The 6 and 9 o’clock rails on the hand guards have been set back slightly from the end of the hand guard to allow for an extended support arm grip. The magazine well is cavernous to speed reloads and give more space for the fingers when clearing double feeds. There are integral QD sling mounts in the optimal locations – on the fore end near the receiver and on the center of the receiver end plate. Ceramic coatings are used through out for extreme corrosion resistance and easier maintenance. The barrels are made by Noveske and are guaranteed to hold 1 MOA. I could go on but I think you are starting to get the picture.

It should be no surprise that a rifle this well appointed, this well thought out, and this innovative is the result of input from some of the best trigger pullers in the industry. NGA had independent advisers like Mike Pannone, Ed Santos, John Farnam, and others helping them throughout the process of bringing this rifle to market.

The X7 won’t be cheap but it is definitely going to be impressive.

You can read more about the X7 on the NGA website.

Image provided by Next Generation Arms.

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