Richard Elder in known in the industry for being the project officer for the team that developed the PCU, the protective combat uniform. A breakthrough technological improvement that has become the foundation of modern high performance and expeditionary clothing systems.
Now at Beyond Clothing since its acquisition by 5.11. Richard Elder formerly served as the executive director of Smith Optics Elite Division, where he led the development of the ballistic eye-wear program. Prior to Smith Optics, Elder spent 10 years as a US Federal Program Manager, developing equipment in support of the United States Special Operation Command. Prior to, he attained the rank of Sergeant and later, Captain, completing his tour in 2001 within the 75th Ranger Regiment, United States Special Operations Command. Elder also served in the United States Army for seven years as both an enlisted soldier and commissioned officer.
We had the unique opportunity to interview Rick and spend time with his team while visiting the Beyond headquarters in Seattle, WA.
- Manufacturing Capabilities
- Tier 1 Customers Requirements
- Combat Clothing vs. Expeditionary Clothing
- Tactical Companies vs Outdoor Companies
- Supporting SOF
- A diverse customer base
- Developing for the next challenge
- Integration between clothing and gear
- Next stage for mission clothing
- System vs. Garments
- Lutra Fabric
Oakley introduced the Alpha Ecosystem with the knowledge of the extremely dynamic and challenging environments that the modern operators have to face in combat. This multi piece kit is designed to be quickly and easily reconfigured to each mission without any compromise in either performance or protection.
Oakley has been the leader in the eyewear market for ballistic protection, usability and clever designs that could enhance the performance amongst athletes and especially military forces.
The Alpha was conceived as an ecosystem composed of two main pieces: an M Frame® and goggle. The knowhow gained in the past decade in field interchangeability of lenses joined with the feedback from the battlefield has brought Oakley to the concept of merging goggle and glasses in one of the quite possibly one of the most user-friendly eyewear/eyepro systems ever manufactured.
A substantial advantage of having the same lenses available for both goggles and M Frame® is that it broadens even more the gamut of lenses available for each platform.
Usually Lenses are compatible between different glasses but not amongst goggles, this is not the case for the Alpha ecosystem.
For the Alpha system Oakley manufactures (as of July 2018) Clear, Grey, Prizm Shooting TR22, Prizm Shooting TR45, Prizm Shooting TR45 Titanium Iridium, Prizm Snow Jade Iridium, Prizm Snow Rose, Prizm Snow Black Iridium and Prizm Grey.
1) HALO Goggle:
– Airborne Operations Mobility Platform
2) M Frame® Glasses:
– Close Quarter Combat
3) M Frame® Glasses + HELO Gasket:
– Rotary Wing
– Mobility Platform
– Infil and Exfil (HAFing and possibly very dynamic GAFing)
The array box includes:
• HALO Goggle
• M-Frame Glasses
• HELO Gasket
• Large microfiber bag for the goggles
• Smaller microfiber bag for the M-Frame
• 4 lenses: TR45, TR22, Clear and Smoke
• Antifogging solution
• Strap for the M-Frame for securing the stems during high mobility activities
M Frame® Alpha Glasses
The Alpha were designed with tactical use in mind; the frame has a peculiar shape that eliminates entirely all blind spots that usually can be found in normal eyewear. When shouldering a long weapon, whether it is a carbine or a precision gun, the natural posture includes a slight tilt of the head forward in order to have a better cheek weld and bring the eye closer to the optic.
The peculiar design of the Alphas allows to have an unimpeded view through the weapon’s optic without eliminating the frame (like in the Tombstone model) at the risk of possibly losing battlefield-type ruggedness.
The “free float” design of the lens provides a very high degree of ventilation. Unlike the older M-Frame models, the upper horizontal frame is completely cleared from the forehead giving enough tolerance for a continuous airflow to prevent fogging either on the move or stationary.
Because the M-Frame Alpha has built-in ventilation within the frame the anti-fogging capability is broadened to all lenses available (unlike the older M-Frames, which had specific ventilated lenses).
The M Frame® are extremely light and comfortable: the stems are thin enough to be compatible with over the ear hearing protection or comms while still maintaining the minimum thickness to be forgiving on the ears during prolonged use. The stems , together with the Unobtanium™ nose piece, are capable of keeping the eyewear in place even very effectively, even when exposed to copious amount of sweat.
With only three points of contact and with an extremely wide field of view these lenses can truly maximize and possibly enhance the vision of the user and the situational awareness.
Comparing the M Frame® Alpha to older Oakley SI products for a better understanding, the lens shape is similar to the Hybrid variation on the older M Frame®.
When it comes to lens interchangeability the M Frame® Alpha are truly second to none, the mechanism is very intuitive, repeatable and perfectly secures the lenses even after months of hard use.
The goggle frame is made of a soft flexible polymer that provides enough ductility to allow for a simpler lens changeability. Three venting ports are placed on the upper portion allowing a very natural and seamless airflow through the system. During high intensity activities the foam is very comfortable and does not cause skin irritation, both in hot and cold weather; after the use it dries quickly.
The removable straps included in the kit are made of a durable stretchable material that is lined with two silicone stripes in the inner portion for a secure grip on smooth surfaces of helmets. The closing mechanism is simple but clever; the occipital portion of the strap is slightly thicker and is lined with hook on the inner side and loop on the outer, this is symmetrical among the two straps. Because of the abundance of the hook and loop lined portion, the straps can overlap and it is possible to utilize the goggles even without an helmet, or if necessary cut any excess material if are only going to be used on helmets (this is also possible because the hook and loop section is stitched and intervals allowing to cleanly cut a section away).
The HELO Gasket, as the name suggests, is an accessory that could be mounted between the M Frame® lens and the users eye to seal the optic and block out wind, dust, sand or debris in general from entering the user’s eye. Since it is made of a soft rubberized polymer, the HELO gasket is very comfortable and it can be easily attached to the frame with a tight and secure fit.
Unlike the older generation M Frames, the M Frame® Alpha utilizes the negative notch in the center portion of the frame as an anchor point for the gasket’s hook. This allows to have a very low profile, especially compared to other models.
The Alpha can be purchased either in an array or piece by piece for a specific mission requirement.
The two arrays differ only in the container utilized: a compact square case or a strongbox. The first is more suited for actual practical transportation, while being more compact than the strongbox still provides enough protection and security to the lenses if carried within other bags.
Since the array includes TR45, TR22, Clear and Smoke lenses, if there is a requirement for specific lenses from the Prizm Snow collection, it is recommended to compose a personal array purchasing each item piece by piece.
In the reviewing process, one aspect on which we had focused a lot of attention was the optical alignment of the lens, both in the M-Frame and in the HALO Goggle. Despite the fact that the lens inter-changeability is extremely simple and fast, in both platforms, the three points of contact that hold the lenses in place are very effective and repeatable. All Oakley lenses are well known for the optical quality but the combination of the Prizm technology with this kind of support structure provides unequalled results.
The true innovation stands in the modularity of the whole ALPHA system. After over 6 months of use in all weather conditions we have to say that when it comes to usability Oakley has really knocked it of the park with the Alpha ecosystem.
The use of modular tactical load bearing belts has consistently grown in the past decade. The influence of special operations in tactical training and shooting techniques has brought a very versatile tool in the hands of many users. What is typically referred to as “first line” is, in fact, the primary layer on top of which the users equips himself. This terminology has been applied to professions in which there is a multi-level approach to equipment. In almost all cases the first line is the first to be applied before heading out of the door and the last to be taken off. Different professions require a multi line system for different purposes: Law Enforcement usually add a second-line (chest rig/PC) for special purposes while using the first line (belt) as the main source, on the other hand we usually see the opposite with military applications, in which the belt mounted equipment is a backup for the plate carrier. There are exceptions to this in both professions, for example we see often the positioning of the magazine designated for speed/emergency reloads placed on the belt at the 9 o’clock.
The crossovers between tactical and competitive shooting, ever present in the high end training arena, had brought much influence between the two, in techniques, methods and equipment design and manufacturing. Holster placement and magazine pouches placement has brought a greater level of attention to belt mounted equipment, especially in highly dynamic environments.
To achieve efficiency in biomechanics while maintaining a high degree of modularity, companies like FROG.PRO have brought to market lightweight and modular belt platforms and pouches like the COBRA Operator Belt.
3 x FROG.PRO Pistol-SMG-1-EOT, single
2 x FROG.PRO Multi-1-EOT, single
Gerber Gear MP1-AR WEAPONS MULTI-TOOL
Safariland ALS holster for Glock19 w/ Streamlight TLR-1 HL
FROG.PRO Trousers Inner Belt
FROG.PRO COBRA Operator Belt
FROG.PRO 2-V2M Belt Adapter
Blue Force Gear MICRO Trauma Kit Now!
Safariland Low Belt Mount
Tourniquet mounted on the belt via elastic bands (not shown)
Multi-1-EOT, Single – Multi-platform Rifle Pouch designed for AR, AK and other dimensionally similar magazines.
Function and Performance:
The combination of rigidity and flexibility is achieved through the merge of three high quality materials:
- The Laser-Cut LAHYCO laminated panel provides a versatile attachment point for other pouches or miscellaneous items to the outer portion
- The Elastic fabric enlarges the gamut of magazine types by providing an inherently conforming pressure to the content that is reliable and repeatable
- The Hypalon lined inner portion, in conjunction with the inward pressure given by the elastic fabric, ensures a secure retention of the content into the pouch with superficial friction that is extremely effective with polymer, stainless steel and aluminum magazines
The pouch features shock cord and speed tab for additional retention in airborne employments and operations involving high speed vehicles, but can be easily removed.
Because of the high level of retention provided by the two panels of Hypalon the pouch can be safely utilized without the shock cord and speed tab.
The anchor points of the shock cord are inherent in the design of the laser cut LAHYCO panel, which provide an eyelet-free construction. This feature is particularly beneficial in the reinsertion of magazines when the shock cord is removed, which ensures a snag-free operation.
The pouch can be mounted and effectively utilized on both belt and chest rig/plate carrier platform and allows an effective extraction from both position, also for emergency reloads.
The pouch features a WTFix attachment system for PALS/MOLLE platforms. The pouch utilizes three rows of PALS.
The 100mm elastic section provides a great degree of adaptability in order to accommodate different types of magazine. Its inherently variable compression nature meets the elasticity and stretch needed for retention without the use of bungee cord which are more susceptible to the elements and the test of time.
Lightweight and Maritime Applications:
The Proprietary LAHYCO laminated material from FROG.PRO is lightweight and features a high
level of tenacity and abrasion resistance. Combined with materials such as Hypalon and
(Stretch Fabrics), the textile products from FROG.PRO feature a high degree of water
repellency, which in maritime applications translate to higher mobility and lighter weight.
Pistol – SMG – Pistol Caliber Carbine pouch designed for:
- Single Stack / Double Stack Pistol Magazines
- 9mm / 45mm SMG and Pistol Caliber Carbine Magazines
This medical kit is meant to be a redundant last resort in case of trauma emergency when the main IFAK is not available. This system also becomes useful for training on the flat range, especially when working on the fundamentals without full kit or body armor. The construction of the FROG.PRO COBRA Operator belt and the use of the COBRA buckle allows for practical repelling solution (with the use of an additional leg harness).
Low-profile versatile systems for mounting optics to M2 .50 via quick disconnect attachment that retains zero.
(Modular Advanced Weapon Laser) Very intuitive and ergonomic laser device mounted on carbines for direct action applications. The user can quickly jump from one setting to the other, even in the dark while using gloves, providing great flexibility to the platform.
Aimpoint has released the ACRO (Advanced Compact Reflex Optic), displayed today here at Eurosatory 2018 in Paris.
SureFire Scout Light Dual Fuel
SureFire V1-C Vampire (IR + Low red visible)
SureFire V1-B Vampire (IR + 250/5 Lumens white visible)
SureFire Scout Light M600V Vampire (IR + White light visible)
SureFire Fury Tactical Dual Fuel
SureFire 6PX Tactical
SureFire X400V Vampire
This belt features a retractable 4000 lbs Kevlar lanyard with Dyneema stitching. The thin profile of the belt allows the belt to be worn through the belt loops of most combat pants, for a safe use even when leg harnesses are not worn.
Team Wendy and Ops Core Helmet Skins
MATBOCK Skins are a multi-layer adhesive/fabric laminate designed to give the user the ability to camouflage any surface desired. The Skins are waterproof and oil resistant, can be reused multiple times and are certified Near IR Compliant.
LIFT Ladder + Carbon Poles
S-LIFT + Carbon Poles
At 6.5 feet long, the stretcher is long enough to accommodate all operators and has a maximum carrying capacity of 400 lbs for both the operator and his/her gear. The stretcher has 5 handles per side to give each team a multitude of configurations for carrying a downed man. When paired with the Combat Carbon Poles (sold separately), you get the lightest semi-rigid expedient medical litter / stretcher available at only 3.5 lbs total weight. Combat Carbon Poles found here
Additionally, the litter collapses and zips together to form an essential multipurpose lightweight bag for operators to collect items such as Sensitive Site Exploitation (SSE) Material or gear from a downed man. The bag is augmented with a single adjustable strap for easy carry when loaded, a drawstring to secure the bag contents, and is small enough to fold up and be stored in a cargo pocket.
Packs + Plate Carriers
The A3 Lochi Jacket is designed for active use in cold environments, and is reversible for low-profile use in urban environments. Polartec® Alpha® Insulation transfers moisture away from the body to keep you dry and warm, while the DWR treated nylon ripstop shell protects you from wind and rain. Light, highly compressible, breathable, and fast drying, the A3 Lochi Jacket is a low-profile alternative to the A3 Alpha Jacket.
- Insulated hood
- Left Internal/Right External chest pocket
- Hand Pockets
- Highly compressible
- Berry Complient
- 40D Nylon Ripstop with DWR
- Polartec® Alpha® Insulation – 80g
Weight: 16.0 oz.
The Explorer Cases 15416 is the longest rifle hard case available on the market and is able to carry an assembled .50 caliber sniper rifle. Due to the construction process and the due to the properties of the copolymer polypropylene, the case is rigid and provides protection along all axis of the content, despite the very generous dimensions.
Mechanical strength is one of the most important aspects with such a long case. In order to protect and maintain zero and POA/POI during transportation the case has to keep its rigidity without compromising transportability with excessive weight. The balance between ribbing and the polymer compound delivers a great result even with these dimensions.
The protective hard case is a vital element in equipment transportation, protection and storage. The very close relationship between hard cases and firearms revolves around the key concept of having the firearms stored and protected in order to be combat-effective when taken out and utilized, even with minimal preparation.
One of the advantages of these protective solutions is that environmental effects do not alter the status of firearm during transport or storage. In the past, due to technological limitations, the ability to stored assembled rifles was compromised in some instances; for example, .50 BMG precision rifles or even sniper rifles with suppressors already attached (direct thread for example).
Wider Latches with Safe Button
The larger dimensions require a more secure locking and sealing system, hence the wider latches with the addition of a safe button. To ensure the maximum protection and sealing consistency the case features 6 latches, 4 on the longer edge and 1 per each side.
The four hinges are heavily reinforce and, despite the large dimension of the case, provide a smooth and unimpeded opening, even after being exposed to dusty or sandy environments. The case, when opened while empty, does not tip.
The 15416 case was designed specifically for platforms that are most likely going to be heavier; consequently the carrying method needs to be effective for the user without obstructing the operating procedures of the case. The dimension, position and build quality of the handles featured by Explorer Cases are functional and comfortable.
The inherent nature of this case is to efficiently carry weapon platforms that usually require disassembly or two man operation. The wheels of the 15416 are oversize and provide, in conjunction with the rigidity of the case, a very effective carrying solution on all sorts of terrain, despite the heavy load.
Sea Dragon Plate Carrier
The Sea Dragon plate carrier designed for divers and for maritime operations.
Retrofit Quick Release Cummerbunds for LC-Hagakure
New Iteration of LC-Kusazuri Belt Cover-MD
The addition of a silicon strip provides retention and grip on clothing and equipment. This addition renders rainy shooting session while wearing a hardshell much more comfortable and efficient.
New line of pouches
Top Row (left to right):
– Pistol-1-VF, single
– General Purpose-VF
– Multi-1-EOT, single
– Pistol-SMG-1-EOT, single
Bottom Row (left to right):
– Multi-1-Pistol-VF, single
– Multi-1-General Purpose-VF, single
– Multi-2-EOT, single
– Multi-1-Pistol-EOT, single
New functional packaging from FROG.PRO
Laser-Cut organizer for gear storing and heavy duty zip locked bag.
ADEFT URBANICA P/01
An EDC – Commuter proposal from FROG.PRO that incorporates some of the features of the tactical and military lines into a more design-based bag.
The interior provides organizational capabilities via a Laser Cut panel and is protected by waterproof zippers. The outer portion offers a multitude of attachment options via the signature FROG.PRO laser cut pattern and utilizes a very clever material for providing a subtle and low-key look, without compromising the safety of the commuter (possibly on a bike).
The ADEFT URBANICA features a QR buckle for easy access and release.
EXFIL® Ballistic SL Helmet
Helmet shown with:
– EXFIL® Ballistic Ear Covers
– EXFIL® Ballistic Visor
Ear Covers Ballistic Performance:
NIJ Level IIIA (according to NIJ STD 0108.01 / 0101.06; stops 9mm FMJ RN, .357 SIG FMJ FN, and .44 Magnum SJHP)
Visor Ballistic Performance:
Exceeds impact, fragmentation and optical requirements of Military Combat Eye Protection (MCEP) Class 2 in accordance with MIL-PRF-32432(GL), 9 January 2013
MCEP requirements include meeting ANSI Z87.1 2010
The EXFIL® Ballistic Visor with ESS Lens Technology is a low profile, lightweight visor system that mounts quickly and tool-free to the front section of the EXFIL® SL Rail. It quickly adjusts into three preset positions (down, up and stowed back), and provides clearance for NVG mounts when in the stowed position. Frame available in Black, Coyote Brown and Ranger Green.
Team Wendy EXFIL Ballistic
Helmet in the picture below shown in Multicam colorway set up with:
– EXFIL® Peltor™ Headset Adapter
– EXFIL® Oxygen Mask Strap Kit
– CORE Survival Helstar strobe
– MOHOC Helmet Camera.
EXFIL® Carbon Helmet spottet at the Princeton Tec booth
EXFIL® SAR TACTICAL
The EXFIL® SAR is the first purpose built Search and Rescue helmet to provide tactical accessory mounting capabilities, including a standard NVG shroud, while meeting key industrial and mountaineering performance standards. The EXFIL® SAR Tactical is optimized for use with night vision devices, it features a machined aluminum Wilcox® NVG shroud. The helmet also includes a 4-point CAM FIT™ retention system with chin cup for optimal stability and a Boa® Closure System to dial in precise fit adjustment while providing single-handed quick release.
Enforce Tac – IWA 2018 brought the opportunity to meet the team behind Beyond Clothing and allowed us to get our hands on their garments.
A3 Active Insulation
The midweight performance layers can be worn as insulation layers or stand alone outer garments, depending on the environment, These lightweight loft and flees layers are breathable, packable,and highly wind-resistant.
A3 – Alpha Lochi Jacket (Reversible)
This jacket comes in two colorways: Navy/Grey (as show in the photos below) and Black/Multicam
– 40D Nylon Ripstop with DWR
– Polartec® Alpha® Insulation – 80g
A3 – Alpha Sweater
This garment comes in four colorways: Coyote, Black, Grey and Multicam
– 40D Nylon Ripstop with DWR
– Polartec® Alpha® Insulation – 80g
A5 Softshells layers are designed to protect the user against wind and rain during active use. These outer layers are built out of an extremely breathable, 4-way stretch material that allows for excellent mobility, high durability and protection from the elements.
A5 – Stretch Alpha Sweater
Available in Grey, Navy and Ranger Green
– Tweave® Durastretch® Nylon with DWR
– 3.2 oz. Polartec® Power Grid® Fleece
– Polartec® Alpha® Insulation – 60g
A5 – Rig Softshell Pants
Available in Multicam, Coyote and Black
– Fleece Laminated Tweave® Durastretch® Softshell with DWR
Built with the mission in mind, the A9 uniform garments are designed to perform in a variety of conditions. The A9 suite is constructed with durable NYCO Ripstop to endure the harshest terrain.
A9C – Cold Weather Mission Shirt
– 6.6 oz. Polartec® Power Grid™
– Fleece Laminated Tweave® Durastretch® with DWR
A9-E Equatorial Mission Pants
-Lightweight, 3.8 oz. Nylon Ripstop with No-Fly Zone® and MCS
A9-A – Advanced Mission Pant
Available in Multicam and Woodland
– No Melt, No Drip NYCO Ripstop
– Tweave® Durastretch® with DWR
Designed to be highly adaptable, the Element System features lightweight, hydrophobic fabrics that offer unparalleled moisture management and breathability. Mesh pocket openings through the system allow for fast and quiet pocket draining when working in or around water.
A9 – Element Pant
– Tweave® Durastretch® with DWR
– XPG Superfabric® on stretch Cordura®
– Brushed Mesh Pockets
The Extrema Ratio manufactures four models of concealable neck or belt mounted knives that are very interesting for applications in urban environments. The four variants are N.K.1, N.K.2, N.K.3 and N.K.3 K (K stands for Kerambit). These fixed blade knives are made with BöHLER N690 steel (60HRC) and with a MIL-C-13924 burnishing surface finish (for the black version). The Extrema Ratio Neck Knives are available in Black, Desert Warfare and Stone Wash. For belt mounting solutions separately purchasable accessories are available from Extrema Ratio.
Explorer Cases 15416
With an internal length of 1540 mm (60 5/8 in) this is case is able to store an protect a fully assembled .50 BMG, while still offering the same functionalities of a high-end gun case.
MUB (Multi Utility Box)
This weather resistant case is designed to be a logistically practical and efficient solution for transporting and storing equipment that can better withstand exposure to the elements: therefore it doesn’t offer the same degree of protection from weather or impacts and it comes at a very interesting price. The MUB is offered in two sizes and features multiple carrying methods, including wheels and drag-handle. In our opinion this case is ideal for soft goods and any type of equipment that is voluminous and less fragile that precision instruments or optics. This would be a perfect storing / transporting solution for plate carriers, helmets and gun belts.
Explorer Cases 3005 (Pistol Case)
In the past few months we have received many private inquiries on tactical bump helmets with protective mandibles for first responders. In some instances, especially outside of the United States, transporting and storing ballistic helmets requires special documentation and further bureaucracy; this could therefore be a sufficient solution for those activities that require a certain amount of protection, modularity of accessory and op flexibility.
Magpul has released a new product which aims at bringing a practical solution to a long unresolved issue that professional users have, suppressor overheat.
The Magpul Suppressor Cover – 5.5” is the first product of its kind able to stand up to the extreme temperatures caused by extended strings of semiautomatic and automatic fire to protect the user and equipment against burns while also speeding up the cooling process. Constructed of a heat-resistant polymer sleeve overlaid onto a raised stainless steel heat shield that mounts directly to the suppressor body with steel clamps, the Magpul Suppressor Cover – 5.5” minimizes heat transfer to keep external cover temperatures up to 1000 degrees F cooler than the surface of the suppressor and allows cooling airflow across the can. Additionally, it serves as an enhanced thermal insulator and signature reduction device, significantly mitigating mirage distortions to the shooter’s sight picture, reducing the likelihood of impact damage to the suppressor body, and lessening the chance of accidental heat-related injury or damage to personnel or equipment during weapon firing and cool down. Optimized for 1.5” outer diameter round suppressors with a body length of approximately 5.5” (not including attachment hardware / interface) such as the Surefire SOCOM556-RC2. Other lengths are in the works and are coming soon.
Made in U.S.A.
- Extreme temperature protection that mitigates internal suppressor temperatures to safe levels
- Minimizes retained heat, allowing faster cooling than any other suppressor cover technology
- Reduces thermal signature of host firearm
- Mitigates mirage effects in sight picture
- Two stainless steel clamps provide a strong, rigid and reliable interface capable of sustained firing sessions and rough handling
- High temp polymer sleeve withstands brutal suppressor temperatures during extended periods of firing without deterioration
- High strength corrosion resistant stainless steel heat shield
Stay tuned for additional information and closeups pictures of the Suppressor Cover from SHOT Show 2018.
Images and description from Magpul.com
Stay tuned for the full review.
Hard cases have become an effective tool in equipment and valuable protection; in certain industries, for example expedition photography, it has been a vital necessity for sustaining the lifespan of fragile instruments in harsh environments.
With the development and expansion of industries and activities which involve the use, transportation or storage of valuable and expensive equipment there has been a growing need for an effective and reliable system that could provide this degree of protection.
When it comes to the firearm industry there is also a fourth factor that corroborates the need of a hard case: the security. Whether it is for travel for a match or tactical training away from home, for staying overnight in a hotel, or simply for raising the level of security of a truck gun the implementation of a tool such as a hard case could mean the difference between a gun in the hands of a good guy and a gun in the hands of a bad guy.
This contemporary firearm training [nomad] lifestyle that involves a much more dynamic and mobile approach to tactical training, in which users often times move domestically in the US requires a high degree of protection, security and practicality. A tool such as a high quality hard case becomes almost as a “mobile safe”.
Because of the extremely high quality standards, Explorer cases are able to sustain the shift of action from an everyday “urban” approach of protection from iniquitous acts to the conventional protective purpose from the elements out in the field; which is the actual origin of this type of case.
Depending on type of use, time of exposure and other key climatic factors, the field can be an extremely demanding environment to which only very few quality-focused cases can withstand.
The gasket’s design is usually a noticeable failure point for water-tightness; in order to overcome this possible issue, Explorer, has focused on the manufacturing process rather than the design itself. Instead of utilizing the ubiquitous rubber-polymer tube of which the connection point could potentially be the weakest point, they have implemented a system that extrudes a foam-like material directly into the gasket housing. This innovative manufacturing process has proven to be effective and reliable.
The IP67 waterproofness rating and the fact that it is retained without compromise throughout the lifespan of the case is directly related to the ruggedness of this gasket design, compared also to the weaker hollow-tube design.
Temperatures play a key role in the longevity of a gasket or sealant and Explorer does not utilize rubberized material O-ring or glue. As the temperature is decreased the rubber passes from a soft (easily deformed) and elastic state to a more rigid state and finally to a brittle glass-like condition. On the other hand glues tend to a detachment process when reaching higher temperatures, as well as freeze towards glaciation.
The water tightness is achieved also through an intrinsically mechanical strength of the closure design. The latches are sized to obtain a strong, secure and constant pressure along the perimeter between the case and the lid. Despite this the opening and closing process are facilitated mainly by two factors: the double-action of the mechanism (with two pivotal points) and the relatively large surface of the latch.
The hinges mechanism is reliable and the action is smooth and repeatable.
The hinges are designed to optimize the efficiency on the field by opening up to 90Deg and by staying open without the necessity of two-hand manipulation. Unlike other products on the market, the Explorer case does not tip over when opened empty…
Differently from similar products on the market, once closed, the Explorer cases latches do not make any [annoying] noise, which (even though it is not carried into direct combat action) is still, in our opinion, inappropriate in a “Tactical” weapons case.
One aspect in which we really wanted to focus was the tolerances between the parts of the assembly. The very high grade of precision in the dimensions of the lid, main case and metal rod protects the mechanism from any external agent, even after prolonged use in dusty and sandy environments.
The smoothness of the hinge mechanism is usually a substantial differentiation between high quality cases and less quality after some use in the field.
The case is provided with three handles, a primary, larger, and two secondary smaller. The handles are well built and very durable, the injection-molded polymer is tough and does not bend under the heavy load of firearms. Explorer produces all hinges with extreme accuracy; even after prolonged field use, with the case exposed to the elements, the movement of the handle is solid and repeatable, and the metal rod does not show weak points or corrosion. Even after the testing and evaluation process the handles stay in position, which is an explicit indication of quality.
The two secondary handles locate at the exact opposite side from each other provide a very comfortable two-men carrying solution, especially with heavier weapon systems. Of course with the 9413 one could only fit enough items, but with the larger models this feature could be vital.
In the central portion of the case, between the primary-handle attaching points, are located the air valve and the luggage nametag. The manual pressure release valve is a key component for operation with variable barometric excursion. The valve is designed with an internal stop ring, for preventing the user from overrunning it and completely extract it.
The nametag is protected by a translucent polymer shield and is only accessible when the case is open.
Four latches are located relatively to the four hinges of the case. Next to the four latches are positioned four padlock-able points, and with two of them being metal plated there is the possibility to safely lock the case with either standard padlocks or TSA approved ones. Explorer offers three different padlocks, a combination, a heavy-duty brass with key and TSA-approved. The combination padlock is designed with the chamfering of the edge inherently constructed in the dimensions, covering the entire pin (for enhanced security from tools such as bolt cutters) as well as tightly securing it and preventing it from swinging, which may be causing noise.
The case is provided with ball bearing wheels that enable a more comfortable and effective transportation of heavier items. The wheels are exposed enough to allow the case to be pulled from a wide range of angles, but the overall dimensional extremities still allow the case to stand in the upright position very solidly, even when loaded with firearms. The wheels are designed to be utilized also for pulling the case from a horizontal surface with an extremely low angle; this provides a high level of mobility when loading or unloading weapons from trucks of vehicles.
Even after carrying the case in all types of terrains for several months, the wheels spin smoothly and freely, do not show any stress point or failure points, and are still very silent.
The foam insert set consist of a convoluted panel for the lid, two pre-cubed sections and a thin stabilizing layer for the body. The pre-cubed foam allows for a high degree of customization by the user and seems to withstand weight and time.
As for the material utilized the main case sections are manufactured from an injection molded copolymer Polypropylene compound, which seems to have a good balance between rigidity and elasticity, for maximum toughness and protection. Throughout the heat of the summertime, the case has not shown any brittleness from the extensive direct sunlight exposure.
On the bottom side of the case are located eight rubberized feet for better stability both on surfaces and for stacking.
The Explorer Cases 9413 comes in three color-ways: Black, Desert Sand and Military Green, all available with or without the foam insert.
Below are some details and specifications:
Length: 939 mm | 36.97 in.
Width: 352 mm | 13.85 in.
Depth: 137 mm | 5.40 in.
Lid: 43 mm | 1.69 in.
Base: 94 mm | 3.70 in.
Length: 989 mm | 38.94 in.
Width: 415 mm | 16.34 in.
Depth: 157 mm | 6.18 in.
Weight (empty): 6.70 Kg
Weight (with foam): 7.70 Kg
For more details please visit: ExplorerCases.com
The assault pack has become widely popular in the last years because of its versatility in very dynamic applications such as direct action. The main function of this platform is to provide an augmentation of carriage to the user without compromising speed and efficiency. Because the environments in which the current asymmetrical wars are fought are usually very confined and hostile it is mandatory for the operator on the field to be as agile and unrestricted as possible, we are therefore experiencing an evolution in equipment in which compact, slick and efficient designs are prominent.
The category of direct action assault pack has morphed into a carrying system that varies in volume from the size of a Camelbak® to a maximum of 30 liter (usually and in theory). The main function of an assault pack is to allow the user to carry either supplemental combat essential equipment or lower-priority items without compromising mobility.
This type of equipment has gained a lot of traction also in the non-operative world due to the mythicization of “high speed” special operation forces in popular culture. Nevertheless the function of such a system is to allow the user to carry extra essential equipment into theater and to be utilized as a site exploitation bag if need arises.
Because of its essential nature the Blackhawk! Cyane Dynamic Pack is not provided with an internal rigid structure but it features a sheet of flexible polymer, of which the main purpose is to hold shape when the pack is empty.
The design of the pack focuses on the efficiency of movement and operation of the user; the narrow design and the ability to attach it directly to a plate carrier render this pack even more compact and volumetrically low profile.
Despite the very compact size, the pack is comprised of 5 separate pockets, which define the high level of usability of the pack. Because it is extremely vital, in dynamic environments, to be able to quickly and efficiently access essential gear, this feature is highly valuable.
In the upper area is locate the routing port for hydration and comms, which makes it convenient for ambidextrous use.
The numerous attachment points on the outer portion of the pack allow for external attachment. It could be said that is even possible to securely attach more equipment on the outside that it is possible to stow it inside.
The Cyane Dynamic Pack is provided with various sections of PALS webbing. Four main areas are spread throughout the outer surface of the pack: two lateral sections (7 rows x 3 columns each side) and two frontal sections (on the top 3 rows x 3 columns | on the bottom 3 x 4 columns). The size and position of the PALS panels allow to capitalize the area available with, for example, two or more ammo pouches.
During night MTB rides, and for signaling in general, we have secured on this surface red and green Chemlights or Nitizes on the respective side. The loop panel on the 3 x 3 PALS section is extremely useful for attaching S&S Precision V-Lites or Manta Strobes. It could also fit the CORE Survival HELSTAR 6 but because of its larger size and weight we don’t recommend it.
The shoulder straps are provided with copious attachment points, both vertically and horizontally, allowing the user to attach items like Princeton Tec light, strobes and of course hydration tubes.
The sternum strap can be moved vertically in order to accommodate most body types. The padding of the shoulder straps is extremely comfortable while maintaining a very low profile. Usually comfort comes at the expense of size, in this case Blackhawk! was able to manage a good balance between the two.
The inner portions of the pack are very minimal in design and material, the only internal organization available it the mesh pocket for hydration which is voluminous enough to accommodate up to a 3L reservoir.
The beavertail design allows the user to expand the size for storing items like rain gear, helmets or even tripods. With a very secure 6 points attachment the beavertail section can be tighten and released via QD buckles and webbing. When not expanded the beavertails “pocket” collapses and can be really reduced in footprint via adjustment points. The beavertail design effectively secures the equipment carried, this portion could be utilized as a secondary site exploitation carriage if need arises.
The inner portion of the backpack can accommodate more sensible material, like night vision and thermal; while the more exposed and more accessible pockets can be utilized for IFAK or medical kits in general.
The size and nature of this pack could be very suitable for transporting extra equipment during quick night hunting sorties.
The layout above displays the equipment that we utilize for night mountain biking in very rural areas. Everything shown is either worn or carried in the Cyane Dynamic Pack.
We have been using this pack since last spring and the quality of construction is on point where it needs to be. We would define “efficient” the quality of material and craftsmanship because it provides very good durability while maintaining a relatively light weight and a very competitive price point. The material used for the pack are Multicam® certified CORDURA® fabric and 500 rip stop fabric.
For a pack with this kind of design and volumetric capacity we have found some interesting applications that go beyond the operative theater, from hiking and mountain biking to climbing.
Overall, this backpack has a great potential for this industry. The average “tactical” user lives his daily life with a mindset that is tightly connected to efficiency and practicality; with this pack, because of its size and design it is possible to apply that same mentality and mindset of preparedness also to sports and outdoor activities in general. The Cyane Dynamic Pack is also available in solid colors for a more settle presence (Black, Coyote Tan, OD, Ranger Green and Urban Grey).
Blackhawk also produces a slicker version that does not have PALS webbing panels on the front and on the sides: the Cyane™ Stealth Pack. It also comes without the direct attachment to the plate carrier.
We appreciate the opportunity given by Blackhawk! to review this product.
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- Burris Optics Fast Fire 3
- SilencerCo ASR Muzzle Brake
- SilencerCo Blast Shield
- Weaver 45° Optics Mount
- FROG.PRO Operator Sling
- OpsCore FAST Helmet
- Princeton Tec Remix PRO MPLS
- Princeton Tec Charge MPLS
- S&S Precision V-Lites
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- Oakley SI M-Frame Alpha and Alpha Mask
Plate Carrier and Chest Rig:
- FROG.PRO LC-AWPC Plate Carrier
- FROG.PRO LC-14CR Chest Rig
- FROG.PRO Multi-1-DR-PMF Mag Pouch
- FROG.PRO STANAG-2-AP Mag Pouch
- FROG.PRO ZU-4×3-FZ Utility Pouch
- FROG.PRO 12ga 5 Shell Molle
- Gerber Strongarm Fixed Blade Knife
- Gerber Impromptu Pen
- S&S Precision V-Lite
- Princeton Tec Switch MPLS
- FROG.PRO Cobra Operator Belt
- Blue Force Gear Single Pistol Belt Pouch
- Blue Force Gear Double Pistol Belt Pouch
- FROG.PRO 2-V2M Belt Adapter
- FROG.PRO Multi-1-DR-PMF Hybrid Mag Pouch
- Blue Force Gear High Rise M4 Belt Pouch
- Blue Force Gear Micro Trauma Kit Now!
- Gerber MP1-AR Weapons Multi-Tool
- Safariland Model 6385 Holster w/ Leg-Strap
- Suunto Traverse Alpha
- Glock 19 with Streamlight TLR1-HL
- Outdoor Research Ironsight Gloves
- Arc’teryx LEAF Knee Caps
- Arc’teryx LEAF E-70 Emergency Riggers Harness
Outdoor Research manufactures, without a doubt, some of the finest textile products in the outdoor industry. The Seattle-based company has mainly built its brand around the climbing, mountaineering and exploring community; and is now gradually increasing traction also in the tactical-military apparel market.
In the past OR, has manufactured gloves, beanies, hats, bivies and other products specifically oriented for the tactical industry. At SHOT Show 2017 we have covered the launch of a new line of tactical apparel(LINK), designed to be extremely versatile thanks to a modular layering system.
The first garment that has been released is the outer hard shell, the Infiltrator jacket.
Compared to a PCU (or Protective Combat Uniform) the Infiltrator jacket would be a level 6, which consists in a non-insulated hard-shell garment. In a PCU system the level 6 jacket and/or pant should be worn both with and without insulation underneath as it is designed to provide water protection both in warm and cold environments, as well as during both dynamic and static activities.
As we all know, insulation and warmth come at the expense of size and bulkiness, and therefore there is an issue with the mobility of the user, since traditional hard-shell fabric don’t provide any elasticity.
The revolutionary feature of Outdoor Research Infiltrator jacket is the GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology, which is designed to solve the previously mentioned issues.
There are two specific advantaged related to the elasticity that we have experienced in the testing process: unaffected agility and ability to comfortably add layers underneath.
Unrestricted freedom of movement during high performance activities or gestures related to weapon manipulation. The GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology panels are strategically placed in high mobile areas of the body, such as the inner-arm/ armpit as well as back / lats. These key points need to anatomically be free to expand in order provide enough liberty of movement.
Usually it is possible to feel a slight impeded movement when doing ready-up drills when wearing standard waterproof jacket; if you don’t, chances are that the garment fits loosely (which may be good for mobility but not as good for bulkiness).
With the Infiltrator, those key areas are well stretched and shooting with the jacked feels the same as shooting without, which in our opinion is the ultimate goal for a “tactical” garment manufacturer.
Ability to layer even with a very athletic fit.
The strategically placed stretch fabric panels provide a close fit in warm climates in which the jacket is worn without insulated layers underneath. At the same time, the fabric can stretch and expand to accommodate voluminous insulation layers in colder environments.
We appreciate the athletic cut of the Outdoor Research products; it is one of the features that differentiate their products from standard “military” manufacturers.
The background in the alpine, climbing, mountaineering and high-performance outdoor markets has brought a great level of know-how on their drawing board when designing a new tactical apparel line that would render the user’s movements as efficient as possible; we have, in fact, experienced negligible restriction of movement.
Freedom of movement, lightweight, pack-ability and durability of textiles are features that have been improving the “tactical” apparel segment and have originated within the performance-based outdoor community.
The streamlined design of the Infiltrator jacket provides higher comfort when wearing plate carriers, chest rigs or even backpacks, especially in dynamic environments.
The two areas in which we applied thoroughly testing were the sections considered to be under the most pressure when wearing a plate carrier, a backpack or a chest rig: the yoke and the shoulders.
The presence of a stretch panel in the cervical area of the neck provides a high degree of comfort and, in conjunction with the other stretch panels, keeps the yoke and shoulder areas wrinkle free under the weight of equipment. Under heavy rain, the fabric has kept waterproofing also in the areas in which pressure was directly applied.
As with all GORE-TEX® hard shell textiles, in warm and humid climates, the fabric has difficulty expelling moisture and heat from the inside of the garment. Therefore, we believe that quick drying is a mission essential feature that both the GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology and the “standard” all-weather GORE-TEX® Military fabric are equipped with.
The hood was designed with a high degree of versatility in mind. It allows the user to comfortably cover the head when wearing a helmet as well as without headgear.
The “Halo-Hood” consists of a draw cord that runs the whole circumference of the head for precise adjustments and can be controlled via a cord-lock located in the occipital area of the head. The cord is enclosed in a mesh compartment sewn inside the hood, in our opinion this is a key feature if one uses tactical helmets that, equipped with lights and rails, may be caught by the hood itself.
The “Halo-Hood” provides extremely important adjustability especially if a helmet is not worn, due to the larger size of the hood in order to accommodate most helmets.
With or without headgear, the adjustments allow the user to closely secure the hood to the head; and because of the stretch panel located in the cervical area of the neck there is a large freedom movement (extension/flexion, lateral bend and especially rotation).
Vertical adjustment is provided by symmetrical draw cords accessible from the front that cinch down the hood from the temple area and are secured by cord-locks.
The helmet worn in the photos is an OpsCore helmet equipped with two S&S Precision V-Lites, a CORE Survival Helstar 6, a Princeton Tec Charge MPLS, a Princeton Tec Remix MPLS and a Oakley SI Alpha Ballistic Halo™ Goggle.
The hood provides protection to the elements even with this equipment mounted. We believe that all “tactical” oriented hard-shell should have such a feature-rich helmet.
SIDES and ARMPIT
The side of the jacket features a panel of GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology that runs from the armpit all the way to the waistline; this section mostly allows the jacket to expand when worn on top of other insulated layers. The armpit has a no-seam construction and is not equipped with vent zippers, which could become uncomfortable after wearing with backpack straps and rifle slings for a prolonged period of time.
In order to cool down the user can open two symmetrical side vents located at the 4 and 8 o’clock positions. The two YKK® AquaGuard® Vislon zippers can be opened from the bottom, exposing the belt area or from the top, retaining a higher degree of protection from the elements with the internal storm-flap while cooling down.
The side vents can also be used to access holsters or belt mounted equipment. Shown in the photo below is a Safariland ALS holster with low-ride belt attachment.
The jacket features two capacious symmetrical front pocket (160 x 300 mm) that can be accessed via AquaGuard® zippers. The opening of the pockets is placed high enough in order to not interfere with harnesses or belt straps of backpacks.
The inner part of the pocket is built with a mesh fabric in order to allow the pocket to be used of venting, giving the user two different techniques for cooling down.
The materials used are undoubtedly innovative and, in our opinion, are truly going to raise the industry standard. Overall the Infiltrator jacket has been utilized for rucks, runs, hikes and for shooting and it does not show any sign of wear.
The equilibrium among freedom of movement, lightweight, durability, breathability, climatic adaptability and overall waterproofness truly render the Outdoor Research Infiltrator jacket a unique piece on the market and a must have in any environment.
The Infiltrator jacket is available both in Berry-Compliant and non Berry-Compliant version in Multicam, Coyote and Mas Grey.
For more information on the Outdoor Research Infiltrator Jacket please visit: Outdoor Research Tactical
- Caliber: .223 Rem (chambered in Wylde)
- Barrel Length: 14.5″ with a 1 in 9 twist rate
- Forged and machined with proprietary ADC design and manufactured with AL7075T6
- Hard black anodized
- M4 Feedramps
- Ambidextrous charging handle with oversized tactical latch
- Forged and machined with proprietary ADC design and manufactured with AL7075T6
- Hard black anodized
- Flared mag-well
- Integral oversized trigger guard
- Ambi safety selector 45 degree
- Oversized mag release
- Hammer forged
- Heavy profile
- 1/2 x 28 muzzle thread
- Carbine length gas tube
Bolt and Action
- Prismatic heavy phosphate bolt carrier group
- DI gas system with carbine length
- Octagonal free float slim with full size Picatinny with diagonal cut
- CNC machined
- M-LOK System
- U.L.T.R.A. single stage trigger
- Adjustable 2,5Lb pull
For more information please visit: ADCCustom.com