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Review: Multitasker TUBE

It isn’t always practical to carry a fully stocked tool box to the range and it is almost never practical to carry one into the field. However, if you have been shooting very long, you have probably run into a problem on the firing line that makes you wish you had a tool box with you. In that moment, when your carbine seems to be coming apart in your hands, you can either put it up for the day or you can reach for your Multitasker Tool.

Multitasker Tools offers multi-functional tools that are specifically designed with AR-15 shooters in mind. I first became aware of them a couple of years ago when they started offering a multi-tool (the type that folds open into needle nose pliers) that was specifically designed to service the AR-15. It was the first of its kind to my knowledge and it made some serious waves on AR-15 related forums. Since that time Multitasker Tools has continued to innovate and improve their compact, portable, and multi-functional tools, which brings us to the subject of this review – The Multitasker TUBE.

The Multitasker TUBE's pen-like form factor makes it easy to carry. Click to enlarge.

The Multitasker TUBE is a modular, expandable, and functional AR-15 tool set that, when fully assembled, is little bigger than a Sharpie Marker. Even if you add the optional Expansion Pack (and you should) it is still only about as big as two double stack pistol magazines. You may not be able to carry a complete tool box, but you can always find room for the Multitasker TUBE.

In this review, I will be looking at the Multitasker TUBE and the Expansion Pack as a total package. The TUBE is a pen shaped tool that can be unscrewed into three main pieces and provides a ton of functionality on its own. The Expansion Pack is a specially designed carrying case, a set of ¼” screwdriver bits, and a holder for the bits. When you combine the TUBE and Expansion Pack you end up with a very functional and compact tool kit.

Construction, Fit, and Finish

The TUBE is CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum. It consists of three main sections that are threaded together. The threads operate smoothly and feature an o-ring at each junction to seal out moisture. The finish is hard anodized matte black which very attractive and very durable (a flat dark earth finish is also available). There are also scallops around the center section of the TUBE that improve grip enough to make gloved use possible.

Often, on poorly made aluminum items, the threads will be gritty or undersized and the finish will be thin in spots, especially on the corners. The Multitasker TUBE exhibits none of these flaws. Instead, the TUBE shows excellent quality and attention to detail. For instance, the pocket clip is not just attached with a screw, there is actually a shallow recess that the clip sits in. This allows the body of the TUBE to absorb some of the stress that light prying would otherwise put completely on the screw.

The construction and quality remind me of a high end flashlight. It is so solid that it would probably make a very decent kubotan in a pinch.

Functions

The MULTITASKER Tube has many functions. Some are obvious. Some are improvised. All are invaluable.

Removing the shorter cap of the TUBE reveals a ¼” magnetic bit holder. This bit holder can hold the well designed front sight tool that is included with the TUBE or any other ¼” bit. The front sight tool can be a finger saver on a cold day. It works perfectly.

The standard 1/4" bit holder makes the TUBE customizable to the user's needs. Click to enlarge.

The included front sight tool works great and definitely beats mangling the tip of a bullet. Click to enlarge.

The Expansion Pack contains a selection of bits that are well suited to a variety of tasks like tightening a scope ring or zeroing an optic. The beauty of this standard sized bit holder is that you can add any ¼” bit that you need. These bits are readily available at hardware stores and firearm oriented bits can be purchased from Brownells. I have several Glock related bits from Brownells that work perfectly with the TUBE.

The cap features a “bump” at the top that functions as a take down pin starter. It allows you to push out a stubborn take down pin far enough to get your fingers on the pin’s domed head or use the pocket clip on the cap to lightly pry under the domed head.

Even the TUBE's cap has multiple uses! Click to enlarge.

The pocket clip, which is made from tough spring steel, also makes an excellent flat head screw driver. It is well sized for adjusting Aimpoints or the older ACOGs with slotted turrets. I found that the clip is tough enough to be used to retract the bolt through the ejection port which is the only way to clear a malfunction where the spent brass finds its way between the bolt and the charging handle. Many trainers suggest keeping a fixed blade knife on your gear to accomplish the task of retracting the bolt so using the pocket clip of the TUBE  can be an attractive, safer option. This is just one of those improvised uses that you will find when you spend some time using the TUBE.

Removing the longer cap of the TUBE reveals a threaded post. This post can be used to attach the included scraper, the included cleaning pick, or the cable from an OTIS cleaning kit (not included).

The TUBE's round scraper tool is very effective at scraping variety of spots on the bolt carrier group. Click to enlarge.

The pick is perfectly shaped for cleaning around the bolt lugs or hooking the firing pin retaining pin. Click to enlarge.

Many scrapers have a flat edge which isn’t really a good choice for the many curved surfaces of the AR-15 bolt and carrier. The TUBE’s scraper is rounded to work with the specific contours and crevices that you have to deal with while cleaning an AR-15 bolt carrier group. I don’t scrape the carbon off my bolt group very often but when I do, it is nice to have a tool that makes it easier. If there is a corner that you can’t clean with the scraper, you can certainly get at it with the pick. The pick’s point is oriented at 90 degrees to the shaft, not a hook like some picks. This makes it much easier to use (especially when you are trying to remove the firing pin retaining cotter pin from your bolt carrier).

The Expansion Pack includes an excellent carrying case, assortment of bits, and bit holder. Click to enlarge.

The Expansion Pack is a very nice addition to the TUBE. The carrying case is made of a semi rigid ballistic nylon type fabric. It is very similar to the Oakley Soft Vaults. There is a single zipper that allows the case open completely and lay flat. Once open, you will find several elastic loops on one side of the case. The largest loop is for the TUBE and the others are for other smaller parts like the pick or OTIS cleaning parts. The opposite side of the case features some mesh dividers. The small mesh slot pocket is perfect for holding the included bits and bit holder. There is a large space behind the mesh that is secured with a hook and loop closure. This space is perfect for storing the OTIS cleaning cable or a multi-tool, like a Multitasker Tool. There is more than enough space in the kit to add several useful items like an extension for the bit driver, a wrench for your LaRue mount, or a small flashlight. The carrying case is versatile enough that it is almost a tool unto itself.

The case neatly organizes the TUBE and its accessories. Click to enlarge.

There is also plenty of space for additional tools. Click to enlarge.

Carrying the TUBE

The TUBE’s biggest strength is its compact size and very light weight. The pocket clip and carrying case make the potential carry methods nearly endless. I found that the entire kit fits nicely into just about any MOLLE utility/admin pouch and it can be used to organize the type of things that you likely already carry in a utility/admin pouch (weapon lube, a light, multitool, etc). If you need to go even lighter than that, you can clip the TUBE into your pocket or a column of MOLLE webbing. The clip provides a very secure hold on the webbing. This is especially handy for those times that you need the TUBE at arms reach like when you are zeroing a new optic.

A tool with all the functions in the world are of no use if you won’t carry it. The TUBE is easy to carry, doesn’t take up much space, and won’t weigh you down.

The TUBE clips securely into a MOLLE column. Click to enlarge.

The carrying case fits the utility pouches of the excellent ATS Low Profile Chest Harness with loads room to spare. Click to enlarge.

Conclusion

The Multitasker TUBE is a worthy addition to any AR-15 shooter’s tool kit. Its extreme versatility and functionality along with it’s compact size and light weight make it perfect for the range or the field. The modular design means you will be finding improvised uses for the TUBE every time you are on the range. It is an excellent compliment to a multi-tool or Swiss Army Knife. The Multitasker TUBE flat out rocks.

Check out the Multitasker Tools Facebook page for all the latest information on their top notch tools. You can purchase your own Multitasker Tube Tool from Brownells.

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Apex Tactical Specialties – Reset Assist Mechanism (RAM)

The Reset Assist Mechanism (RAM) is the latest drop-in trigger improvement from Apex Tactical Specialties for the Smith & Wesson M&P pistols. Apex has been on the forefront of M&P trigger improvement for some time with their drop-in Action Enhancement Kits. The new RAM seeks to improve my biggest gripe with the otherwise excellent M&P – the weak reset.

The RAM makes the trigger reset more tactile and positive. A strong, positive reset is an often overlooked part of what constitutes a “good” trigger. Many shooters like to be able to feel the exact point that the trigger resets so that they don’t have to come all the way off the trigger. This is especially important for fast strings of fire. The RAM will also reset the trigger in the event of a return spring break. Redundancy is a very good thing in this case.

This has all the marks of another great product from Apex Tactical Specialties.

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New Items from Magpul

The Magpul AFG2 is a more compact version of the AFG (now called AFG1). It is both slimmer and shorter which will be a welcome revision for many.

The Magpul SCAR SSG Selector Set is a pair drop-in of selector levers for the FN SCAR 16S and SCAR 17S. They attach via the existing set screw so installation is a cinch. There is both a short and long lever in the set. The short lever can be used on the “weak” side so it does not interfere with the trigger finger.

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These items are available now from Magpul dealers.

Vote!

Don’t forget to vote!

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. – John Quincy Adams

 

Tactical Handyman: No Slot? No Problem!

Don't let the lack of a pre-made slot keep you from mounting your Mount-N-Slot where you need it.

When it comes to attaching Impact Weapon Component’s Mount-N-Slot hardware, don’t limit yourself to only the places that you have a pre-made slot. The flat sides of the Magpul MOE Hand Guards make attaching a Mount-N-Slot in a custom location an easy task.

In this installment of the Tactical Handyman, we will mount a Mount-N-Slot Rotation Limited QD Sling on midlength Magpul MOE Hand Guards. The midlength MOE Hand Guards lack slots on the sides close to the receiver which is a shame because this is an optimal place to mount a sling swivel.

The midlength MOE Hand Guards lack slots on the rear sides. This is where we will attach the Mount-N-Slot.

Materials:

  • Mount-N-Slot of your choice
  • Magpul MOE Hand Guards
  • Drill with 7/32″ bit
  • Ruler (with long straight edge)
  • Pencil
  • Awl (optional but can be useful for cleaning up or slightly enlarging the drill holes, a Swiss Army Knife works great)

Measure carefully and mark your two drill locations as outlined in steps 3 through 5 below.

Procedure:

  1. Check that your Ar-15 is unloaded by removing the magazine and then visually inspecting the chamber. Once you have completed this, check it again. Remove all ammunition from your work space.
  2. Remove the MOE Hand Guards from your AR-15.
  3. Use your ruler and pencil to draw a line that runs through the center of the slots, parallel to the bore. NOTE: The results of steps 3-5 are shown in the picture above.
  4. Mark the drill hole closest to the delta ring on the line taking care to place it in such a way that the Mount-N-Slot can lay flat when mounted.
  5. Mark your second drill hole by measuring 11/16″ from your first hole. The two mounting points on a Mount-N-Slot Rotation Limited QD Sling are about 11/16″ center to center. You will have to measure any other Mount-N-Slot you may be using.
  6. Drill both holes using a 7/32″ drill bit.
  7. Clean up the holes as necessary with an awl or small sharp knife.
  8. Attach the Mount-N-Slot per manufacturer instructions using the two newly drilled holes instead of a slot.

This is a simple project with a big pay off in increased functionality. Mounting the sling in this location improves the range of motion you will have with the AR slung and keeps the hand guard well clear so you have plenty of room to hold it with your support hand.

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

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Princeton Tec Remix Pro – Now in Multicam!

Here is some big news… Keep an eye on Princeton Tec retailers and you will soon see a familiar camo pattern – Multicam. Princeton Tec is now making the Remix Pro with a tan light body and a Multicam strap. If you look closely you can also see the improved, taller “fence” around the switch. I will post a full review on this light soon.

The new Remix Pro features a tan body and Multicam head strap. Click to enlarge.

I also have a new and improved version of the Princeton Tec MPLS in hand. Stay tuned for pictures and a complete review.

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All Treats and No Tricks… Mount-N-Slot Giveaway!

The generous people at Impact Weapon Components have provided us with two excellent prizes from their Mount-N-Slot line. The first is a Rotation Limited QD Sling Mount-N-Slot and the second is a new Snap Hook Mount-N-Slot. These mounts make an awesome addition to any FN SCAR, Bushmaster ACR, and especially the Magpul MOE Hand Guards!

Entering is easy! Just follow these 2 steps.

  1. Visit the Impact Weapons Components homepage and join The Summit (top left of homepage). The Summit membership is absolutely free and allows you to occasionally receive news and special offers from IWC.
  2. Post a comment on this post that contains a number between 1 and 5000.

Since IWC was gracious enough to provide two prizes, there will be two winners! The winners will be drawn via a random number generator. If two or more people choose the same number, the first person to have posted that number will be the winner. One entry per person please. If you enter more than once you will be disqualified. This contest is only open to residents of the United States and I can only ship to addresses in the US or military addresses. You must be a member of The Summit and post a number between 1 and 5000 to win. Please use the same email address to register for The Summit that you use to comment here.

This contest will end on November 14th at 8PM.wordpress hit counter

UPDATE:

The contest is closed. We are verifying that the tentative winners followed all instructions. Look for an announcement soon.

Rainier Arms Select 5.56MM Barrel

We all know precision barrels for the AR-15 don’t come cheap and you generally get what you pay for. The Rainier Arms Select 5.56MM Barrel turns that convention on its ear. It offers features and performance that can usually only be found on barrels that cost twice as much.

Click to enlarge.

These barrels feature polygonal rifling which is a functional feature that is usually reserved for more expensive barrels. Polygonal rifling forms a tighter seal around the projectile which leads to higher velocities, and, because it lacks the grooves of typical cut rifling, it tends to suffer from less copper and lead build up. Barrels with polygonal rifling also tend to last longer than their cut rifling counterparts.

Other features include:

  • Bead blasted stainless or black oxide finishes
  • 416R stainless steel construction
  • 1×8 Twist
  • M4 feed ramps
  • 5.56 chamber
  • Midlength gas system
  • The Rainier Arms Select 5.56MM Barrel
  • 16″ length

The Rainier Arms Select 5.56 Barrel offers some pretty staggering features for a barrel that sells for just $189.95! Check out these barrels at the Rainier Arms webstore or visit the Rainier Arms Industry Forum on AR15.com.

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LaRue Tactical R.I.S.R.

The LaRue Tactical R.I.S.R. is a new and interesting approach to an old problem. The charging handle of the AR family of rifles runs along the top of the stock when it is extended. If a user of one of these rifles wants to install some kind of comb riser to their rifle they needed to install it close to butt of a fixed stock or run an adjustable in the last position. If it is installed too close to the receiver it will interfere with the function of the charging handle which is obviously unacceptable.

The R.I.S.R. is designed to slide with the charging handle. It bolts onto the Magpul CTR or MOE stock and allows the stock to be put in a variety of positions without interfering with the charging handle. The folks at LaRue claim that the R.I.S.R. was built with the worst case scenario in mind and they have tested it with sand, dust, dirt, and more without being able to make it seize.

A product like this is especially needed on the LaRue Tactical OBR. The OBR has elevation built into the receiver rail which can cause optics to sit quite high. Until now, OBR users were stuck with comb risers on fixed stocks or on collapsible stock in the fully open position. The R.I.S.R. should give them some much needed options.

The R.I.S.R. will be available from LaRue Tactical around the end of 2010. You can read more at the LaRue Tactical Industry Forum on AR15.com.

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Review: ESEE 4 Series Custom Handle Kits from The-Knife-Connection

Click to enlarge.

Users of ESEE Knives have been asking for years to purchase extra handle scales so that they can customize their knives. Until just days ago, there was no source for aftermarket “drop-in” handle scales and ESEE would not sell the scales separately because they require some hand fitting. Dale Stoops, the owner of The-Knife-Connection (T-K-C), saw the potential in making custom handle kits and seized the opportunity. Now ESEE owners have some functional and attractive options for customization.

Fit and Finish

The first thing you notice when take these scales out of the packaging is that they are very attractive. They come in a growing number of colors that should suit just about everyone. The scales are finished nicely with a very fine texture that is at least as “grippy” as the factory linen micarta scales, if not more so. The set that Dale provided for this review are the Red & Black G-10 which is very attractive, especially on a black knife. All of the handle contours really show off the various layers of red and black colors.

The fit of the handles that I was provided is excellent. They fit almost perfectly flush along the front of the grip and are only slightly raised at the spine of the grip (completely unnoticeable in use). The standard ESEE scales are hand fit so for a drop-in set of scales to fit this well is a testament to the precision with which these grips are machined. All of the holes for the handle bolts are nicely recessed so that the screw head sits flush and a lanyard hole is provided. There was obviously a lot of care in the design and manufacture of these handle kits.

Click to enlarge.

Additional Contours

These aren’t just fancy colored clones of the standard handle scales. These slabs were built to increase functionality and improve ergonomics. Many users of ESEE Knives have found the handles to feel a bit too thin, too short, or both. These new handle kits from T-K-C address those issues by adding thick palm swell and about .5″ of extra length. The standard ESEE handle is a uniform .570″ thick. The T-K-C handle features a palm swell that is about .725″ at the widest part of the spine and tapers down to about .580″ at the spine’s thinnest point. The scales are subtly thicker at the back of the grip (the spine) than at the front (where the fingers typically wrap). Even with the additional thickness, these scales still work perfectly with the standard kydex ESEE-4 sheath.

The T-K-C handle features contours that make it very comfortable to use. Shown with a standard ESEE-4 handle for comparison. Click to enlarge.

Note the additional length of the T-K-C handle. Click to enlarge.

In Use

The result of all of these contours is a handle that locks itself comfortably into the users hand. The broad spine gives plenty of surface area to spread the force of powerful push cuts like notching. The slight thinning toward the front of the grip keeps the handle from feeling like a 2×4. The palm swell locks the knife into the hand during pull cuts or thrusting cuts. The short “hook” at the pommel end of the grip works extremely well for times that you want to choke down of the knife. This technique is commonly used to make a short knife behave like a longer one for light chipping.

One of the best things about the original handle is that it let the user comfortably grip the knife in just about any way they wanted and, with all the additional contours, you might think that the T-K-C handle kit would ruin that but it doesn’t. It still feels great in every grip that I tried. This is a well designed handle that is suited to a variety tasks.

Conclusion

These handle kits are a worthy addition to a classic knife. They improve the appearance and function of the knife while still maintaining the use of the standard sheath. If you have been wanting to dress up your ESEE-4, then look no further than these Custom Handle Kits from The-Knife-Connection.

These kits are available at The-Knife-Connection. While you are there check out their selection of ESEE-4 blades without handles and ESEE-4 sheaths so you can build a custom ESEE-4 from the ground up. Also, watch for Custom Handle Kits for other ESEE models coming soon.

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