Author Archive | Matt

Swampfox Optics Launches Arrowhead LPVO Series (1-6x, 1-8x, 1-10X)

Swampfox Optics just released their newest series of optics – the Arrowhead series. This new series is touted as their “duty rated” and even “bugaloo rated” line of low power variable optics (LPVO).

The Arrowhead line includes 1-6×24, 1-8×24, and 1-10×24 options with a choice of a BDC reticle or Swampfox’s Guerilla Dot MOA reticle. The reticle is in the second focal plane. The features include finger adjustable locking turrets, an included throw lever, daylight bright illumination with off positions between each setting on the illumination rheostat, and premium glass.

Many of the current crop of affordable 1-8x and 1-10x optics on the market have a tight field of view and small eye box. Swampfox claims that they have engineered their optics to have a generous field of view without constricting the eye box.

Learn more at SwampfoxOptics.com

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Choosing a Hill People Gear Kit Bag

I recently picked up an Original V2 Kit Bag from Hill People Gear which brings my experience with Kit Bags full circle (I’ll explain more about this later). I think I have learned a few things about these bags in my many years using several of the available models and I hope to share some of that in this article especially when it comes time to decide which Kit Bag to buy.

Hill People Gear offers 8 different versions of the Kit Bag by my count. Judging by the responses of those I have helped buy their first Kit Bag, this can be a bit overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be if you can understand the patterns of sizing and features. A little guidance about how this information applies to you can be helpful too.

Kit Bags from top to bottom: Original V2, Runner’s, and Recon (with Blue Force Gear Ten-Speed M4 Triple)

Start with the Handgun…

I tell people to start with the handgun. The size of the largest handgun or handguns that you intend to carry will dictate the size of the Kit Bag which will, in turn, narrow your options. There are two basic Kit Bag footprints (length and width): Original and Snubby.

The original footprint is 11.5″ by 7.5″ and is suitable for large handguns with or without mounted lights including full size 1911s, large frame Glocks, and even many backcountry-worthy revolvers. This footprint includes the Original V2, Runner’s, Recon, Heavy Recon, and SAR Kit Bags.

The Snubby footprint is 8.5″ by 6″ and is suitable for handguns and light combinations like a Glock 19 with compact weapon light or smaller. This footprint includes the Snubby, Snubby Recon, and Snubby Original Pattern Kit Bags.

Now Choose Your Capacity and Organization Features Based on Intended Use…

Deciding on a size narrows your options significantly but there is still work to do. You’ll have to decide how much you need to carry and the ways you want to organize it. The decisions can be made easier but understanding the differences between the models. This is actually fairly straight forward once you see that all of the Kit Bags are basically just remixes of the same three pockets (Gun, Cargo, and Slip) with the occasional presence of PALS webbing.

It is important to know that all Kit Bags have a Gun Pocket and all but the Heavy Recon and Snubby Recon have a front Slip Pocket. After that, you only need to know which models feature the larger Cargo Pocket and PALS fields. The Cargo Pocket will double the thickness of the Kit Bag in most cases and greatly expands the capacity.

This feature breakdown is a slight oversimplification but it isn’t too far off. Models like the SAR and Heavy Recon break the mold a little with some unique features but they can still be understood within the framework below with some additional reading on the Hill People Gear website.

The Original V2’s Cargo Pocket makes it significantly thicker than models without it like the Runner’s Kit Bag. Kit Bags are all configured with the Gun Pocket closest to the wearer, followed by the Cargo Pocket, and Slip Pocket moving away from the chest.

The following table shows the original footprint Kit Bags with the pocket type/feature type across rows. The features that are present for each model are indicated with an “X”.

GunCargoSlipPALS
Original Kit Bag V2XXX
Runner’sXX
ReconXXFull PALS Coverage
Heavy ReconXXFull PALS Coverage
SARXXXDiagonal Partial PALS
Field

The following table shows the Snubby footprint Kit Bags with the pocket type/feature type across rows. The features that are present for each model are indicated with an “X”.

GunCargoSlipPALS
SnubbyXX
Snubby ReconXFull PALS Coverage
Snubby Original PatternXXX

Some of these Kit Bags also come with some additional accessories but I consider them mostly ancillary to the decision of which Kit Bag will work best. The Runner’s Kit Bag and Snubby come with the Stabilizer Strap which is highly recommended if you plan to use the Kit Bag for actual running. The Stabilizer Strap is optional for all other Kit Bags. The Original Kit Bag V2, Heavy Recon, SAR, and Snubby Original Pattern all come with the Lifter Straps which tie the weight of your Kit Bag into your pack’s suspension. The Lifter Straps are optional for all other Kit Bags.

My Experience and Advice…

My Kit Bag experience started years ago with the early original Kit Bag before there was loop Velcro in the gun pocket. It was excellent but I tended to overload it thanks to all that available space in the cargo pocket. Hill People Gear eventually added the loop material to the gun pocket which is a feature I knew that I would like to have eventually. When the Runner’s Kit Bag came out, I couldn’t resist any longer so I sold my original Kit Bag and bought a Runner’s Kit Bag.

All Kit Bags (except the Heavy Recon) feature front Slip Pocket which I find to be sufficient for most reasonable packing needs.

The Runner’s Kit Bag was (and still is) just about perfect for me. I can’t overload it due to the lack of Cargo Pocket but it still carries everything I need. I tell people to pack only the things they want to access on the move (phone, maps, compass, chapstick, electrolytes, etc.) and whatever they need to answer “nature’s call” in the woods which implies the things you would need if separated from your pack (hand sanitizer, signaling, TP, etc.). The Runner’s Kit Bag will hold all of that and, as the name implies, it is great for when I am running the forest roads around my home.

Later I picked up the Recon Kit Bag which is basically just a Runner’s Kit Bag with the addition of a full coverage PALS field on the front. Hill People Gear often shows these bags with Blue Force Gear Ten-Speed (or similar) pouches mounted on the front and I am inclined to agree that this configuration is optimal. The combination offers a ton of flexibility, additional capacity, and easy access while on the move while still keeping everything close to the chest.

I thought I arrived at the perfect Kit Bag for me with the Recon/Ten-Speed combo but a few interactions made me wary of using it in some settings due to its less discreet appearance. Maybe this is not an issue for you but it was just the excuse I needed to come full circle in my Kit Bag experience. I picked up another original Kit Bag except this time with the updated features of the V2.

While the Cargo Pocket adds to the thickness of the Kit Bag, sometimes you just need the extra capacity. All models with a Cargo Pocket have 2 slot pockets and 2 anchor points. Many also feature a 6/12 backing for additional versatility.

The Recon is my ideal Kit Bag. It is likely the most versatile but also among the most conspicuous which is what sometimes holds me back from using it. If I am in lightly trafficked areas, I’ll reach for it almost every time.

My Runner’s Kit Bag is probably my most used Kit Bag since I tend to use it, as intended, for running. It is stored in my gun safe with a lightweight, small-frame revolver and speed strips inside so that it is always ready to go for a run. It is also slim and inconspicuous so it still sees a lot of trail use.

If what I intend to carry is more than my Runner’s Kit Bag can handle and the situation rules out the Recon, I’ll reach for the Original V2.

The original pattern Kit Bag may be the flagship but I still steer most people to the Runner’s/Snubby or Recon/Snubby Recon depending on the intended handgun. They are slimmer, lighter, but they can still carry enough stuff (not too much stuff, enough stuff). If I were to choose just one, it would be the Runner’s Kit Bag for all the reasons above. I would miss the flexibility that the Recon’s PALS grid adds but I could do without it in favor of a more discreet appearance.

You can learn more about all the available models or pick up your own Kit Bag at HillPeopleGear.com.

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Blue Force Gear Holiday Super Sale

Blue Force Gear is hosting a Holiday Super Sale with prices slashed as much as 70 percent. It includes incredible prices on some of their crowd favorites like the ULTRAcomp Pocket Holsters for just $9 and Dap Packs with massive discounts.

BlueForceGear.com

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Black Rhino Concealment Fast Carry System

Black Rhino Concealment’s new Fast Carry System (FCS) series of holsters is extremely versatile thanks to built-in modularity. These holsters are available for a wide variety of firearms and can be configured in a number of ways.

The holsters are compatible with Safariland and Bladetech mounting accessories. Many of these accessories can be added to the holster at the point of purchase including the excellent Zulu Nylon Gear NUHTS Leg Strap.

You can learn more about the Black Rhino Concealment FCS at BlackRhinoConcealment.com

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Free Random Patch with All Orders at Stickthison

Stickthison must be feeling some Christmas spirit. They are throwing in a free random patch with all orders. This sale runs through the end of the year so you have plenty of time to order the patch you want and then give the rando to a friend (or stranger) for Christmas.

All they ask is that you don’t be a jerk a split up your order in an attempt to get a bunch of free patches.

Stickthison.com

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PocketUp PALS Park Pack

PocketUp’s PALS Park Pack is a descendant of a truly classic piece of gear!

Mel Terkla, owner of PocketUp, previously worked as a product designer and head of sales for Kifaru’s Military Sales Division. In that previous role, he was the designer of the venerable Kifaru E&E pack and now he is attempting to capture lightning in a bottle a second time with the PALS Park Pack.

Mel stated the following regarding the pack:

Here is a little history about our PALS Park Pack! Back in 2002 I designed the Kifaru E&E Pack, and it is still in production today! We sold hundreds and hundreds of E&E packs in the almost 13 years I was with Kifaru, and they are still selling. With our company PocketUp, I designed the Park Pack as a minimalist day pack, then updated the design and now offer a PALS version to compete with the E&E! Basically, it is my design competing with my design! So 17 years after the E&E , I wanted to design a pack in the same category, but with several improvements to take it to the next level…hence our PALS Park Pack! Those improvements being more comfort, simpler design, and updated features! They are both built with 1000d Cordura Nylon, are priced the same in each color with the updated shoulder straps on the E&E, and Made in the USA! The E&E weighs 1lb 12.5oz as shown and the PALS Park Pack weighs 1lb 7oz!

Check out the PALS Park Pack at PocketUp.com.

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SEREPICK Holiday Bundle

Ever wonder how Santa really gets into all those homes and escapes capture in the few instances when he is caught? The secret is out… SEREPICK Holiday Bundle.

This bundle is a great deal just in time for Christmas. It includes the following:

  • OSS Toolset
  • Delta Handcuff Key
  • 6’ 188lb Test Kevlar
  • Polymer Lapel Dagger
  • 2-PK Split Pawl Handcuff Shims
  • 2-PK EZ Decoder
  • 2-PK Quick Sticks

On top of that, SEREPICK will throw in a surprise candy treat. This is a solid value at $65 and would make a great gift or multiple stocking stuffers.

SEREPICK.com

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The Perfect Christmas Gift – Olight I1R 2 Eos Mini Keychain Flashlight

The perfect Christmas gift would be the kind of thing that anyone would like, whether they were into the types of things you read about on JTT or not. It would inexpensive enough to buy for someone you don’t know (like the mailman) and cool enough to give to family or a good friend. It would small enough to ship inexpensively or fit in a stocking. Most importantly, it would be available via Amazon Prime so you could shop last minute…

I found it.

Olight’s I1R Eos has always been a very cool flashlight. It’s ultra-tiny, USB rechargeable, well-built, incredibly bright for its size, affordable, and it has two useful modes that are easy to access in spite of the small size. This light is about as handy as a flashlight can be. It recently became an even better light. Olight updated it with a new version, the I1R 2 Eos, that has all the same great features of the original but with increased output – a surprising 150 lumens!

I’ve been using one of these lights on my keychain and it is easily the best keychain light I have owned. It is small enough to work in this role, bright enough to do real work, and the fact that is USB rechargeable means that buying odd batteries to keep your keychain light fed is a thing of the past. I especially like it as a sort of task light that prevents me from having to use my main EDC light. I love this light.

The Olight I1R 2 Eos ticks all the boxes mentioned about for a perfect gift. I’ve already ordered several for gifts this year and I may need to order a few more. It’s like gift giving cheat mode. Shoot, it’s cheap enough to treat yourself to one too.

Where to Buy:

Olight I1R 2 Eos on Amazon (affiliate link)

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Last Minute Christmas Savings at OC Tactical

OC Tactical is offering a chance to save on your last-minute gifts. Use code KGB at checkout to save 12% off all items including the new Kickass Grocery Bag 2.0.

OCTactical.com

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Empress Tomahawk from Wingard Wearables

Wingard Wearables makes defensive weapons like no one else. Their designs are influenced by history but reimagined for modern applications like concealed carry. They blend the Bronze Age with modern thermo-plastics. The results are completely unique and sometimes even a little unhinged (in the very best way).

This is certainly the case with their new Empress Tomahawk – a tomahawk designed from the ground up for concealed carry. If the idea of concealed carry with a tomahawk surprises you, you are obviously new to Wingard Wearables because their Backripper tomahawk can also be concealed carried. However, while the Backripper feels more like a no-compromise, light, and fast fighting tomahawk that CAN be concealed carried, the Empress goes all-in on the concept. Everything about the Empress is fitting it’s intended purpose.

The head is cast from silicon bronze so that it can be carried directly against the body with no fear of rust. It is cast in a unique curved shape that it actually conforms to the hip of the wearer. It is compact with a 13″ handle and lightweight at just 9 ounces. The handle receives Wingard Wearable’s “scared and chared” treatment for extra grip and durability. The entire package is topped off with a kydex sheath system that allows for fast access (another hallmark of Wingard Wearables designs).

WingardWearables.com

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