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Tag Archives | Gun

Tactical Handyman – Velcro Backed Holster

Many bags come with internal hook and loop fields these days. These allow you to place Velcro backed accessories on the interior of the bag. They are especially popular as a way to attach a holster for off-body handgun carry.

I have always been pretty unsatisfied with most Velcro backed universal holsters. Many of them are basically the same. They consist of a webbing loop that can be sized to wrap around the trigger guard and slide of the handgun. Their retention is uninspiring and I am concerned that something could migrate into the trigger guard causing the trigger to be depressed. They can also be difficult to use when re-holstering.

 

Universal style Velcro holster (Click any picture to enlarge)

 

 

I think a Tactical Handyman can do better than this.

Materials:

  • Cheap kydex/plastic holster that is made to fit your handgun (I use Uncle Mike’s because they are cheap and sturdy, but any brand with a removable belt loop and mostly flat sides will work)
  • Plenty of hook side Velcro (hook and loop material)
  • Glue (I use Gorilla Glue, but contact cement would probably work better)

Procedure:

  1. Remove the belt attachment point from the back of your holster. We only need the holster body for our purposes. 

    Remove the belt loop.

  2. Cut pieces of hook side Velcro (the stiffer side) to fit the contours of the back of the holster. 

    Adhere Velcro to the back of the holster.

  3. Glue the pieces to the back of the holster. I use a tooth pick to spread the glue out evenly over the surfaces where I plan to adhere the Velcro.

 

It is just that simple. You have now created a Velcro backed holster that has the positive retention of kydex that we all love so much. I recommend that you glue the Velcro in place because the adhesive used on even the “Industrial” Velcro will not hold up to regular use (especially if it is exposed to temperature shifts). Normally, I find the cheap injection molded holsters to be pretty unacceptable for belt carry but for carry inside of a bag they are perfect – sturdy, lightweight, and inexpensive. These work great in bags like the Hawkpaks Rifle Bugout Bag and the Eagle Escape & Evasion Bag LE.

 

Holster with handgun in place

 

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Tactical Handyman – ACOG Fiber Optic Fix

Trijicon ACOGs are excellent optics for fighting rifles, especially when having to deal with extended distances. The ACOG’s combination of size, durability, and speed make it one of the best choices for an AR-15 optic. The ACOG has been battle tested in Iraq and Afghanistan and has come through with flying colors. It has also become very popular in the competition shooting world – especially 3Gun competition. It is a proven system.

The Problem

One of the ACOG’s best features can also be one of the most annoying. The fiber optic illumination system on the ACOG allows the reticle to glow brightly in full sun and automatically adjust to changing lighting conditions. When there is no ambient light present the reticle is illuminated by the tritium insert. It all sounds great until the task at hand calls for any amount of precision. In full sun, the reticle can be so bright that it begins to flare. This flaring obscures the view of the target and makes it difficult to shoot with any level of precision.

I used to just use electrical tape to mask the fiber optic tube of my ACOGs. However, this is an all or nothing solution. It fixes the flaring problem but it doesn’t allow the fiber optic to gather any light in intermediate and low light situations. This solution was too static. I needed something that was more dynamic – something that would allow me to adjust to different lighting quickly and easily.

I tried making a hook and loop flap that could be stuck to the ACOG and peeled back to varying degrees to expose or cover the fiber optic tube. This worked great in my living room. Once the rifle was actually run through some drills a problem became obvious. The flap would catch readily on my gear, sometimes pulling it almost completely off the ACOG. So this solution was dynamic but it wasn’t durable.

Finally, I took a page out of the 3Gun play book. Shooters in 3Gun have been using bicycle tire inner tubes to cover the fiber optic for years. Typically a piece of inner tube is cut to length and then stretched over the optic. This effectively covers the fiber optic while still allowing for some adjustment by peeling the tube back. Inner tubes are tough and cheap. This idea has a lot going for it. This was my starting point.

The Solution

What I ended up with really works. It is securely mounted on the ACOG and will not snag on gear. It blocks almost all light from entering the fiber optic but also adjusts rapidly and easily to any lighting condition. It costs pennies and is easily replaceable.

Here you can see the cover in place. It is basically one length of tube that has been cut into two loops connected by a strap.

Pull the strap over the elevation knob to allow some light gathering. The short length of electrical tape is there to block the little bit of ambient light that can still to the back of the fiber optic.

Pull the strap over the windage knob to allow even more light. I have found that on the TA11 ACOGs, with their extra long fiber optic tube, this is more than enough exposed fiber optic for just about all lighting conditions.

What you will need:

  1. ACOG equipped rifle
  2. Bicycle tire inner tube – a piece roughly as long as your ACOG
  3. Sharp scissors
  4. Hobby knife (or any knife with a sharp point, I used a Swiss Army Knife)
  5. Electrical tape (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Check that your rifle is unloaded and remove all ammunition from your workspace.
  2. Check it again.
  3. Cut a length of inner tube to roughly the length of your ACOG using your scissors.
  4. Measure the length of the hole you will need to cut to clear the base by laying the tube over the ACOG and marking the locations indicated in the picture.
  5. Cut the hole about two/thirds of the way up the width of the inner tube. The idea is to leave a strap that is just wide enough to cover the fiber optic tube with some overlap.
  6. Trim all of your corners so that they are rounded. Any corners left pointed or square can create stress cracks in the cover as it is stretched.
  7. Cut an angle that matches the leading edge of the ACOG on the leading edge of your inner tube. Shaping the front of the cover like this will help you cover the leading edge of the fiber optic tube.
  8. Stretch the inner tube onto the ACOG and twist it as necessary to cover the fiber optic tube. The fiber optic tube runs at an angle so you will need to the twist the cover so the strap covers the tube. It should be difficult to stretch.
  9. Adjust the fit as necessary by trimming excess material from the inner tube.
  10. Trim around the elevation turret cover with your knife. This will help the cover lay flatter over the fiber optic tube.

Optional Step: You may want to place some tape on the front 1/2 inch and back 1/2″ of the fiber optic tube. This will help cut down on light that may reach the tube from the front of the cover and around the elevation turret.

That Was Easy!

That was simple, cheap, easy, and effective. There aren’t many things in life that you can say that about. Is is easy to make another if this one ever breaks. You could even make a spare and keep it on your gear.

Problem solved.

Let me know if you have any questions!

NOTE: This works best with ACOGs that have long objective ends that project forward of the mount like the TA11 and TA33.

NOTE: Keep your cuts as clean and rounded as possible. Right angles and jagged cuts create stress risers that will cause the cover to rip prematurely.

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