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® FLEX2FIT® stretch technology fabric, 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.
Unaffected freedom of movement during high performance activities or gestures related to weapon manipulation. The FLEX2FIT fabric 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 FLEX2FIT® 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® FLEX2FIT® fabric 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
The Blackhawk! Omnivore holster is designed to accommodate more than 150 types of handguns. What differentiates the Blackhawk! Omnivore from other multi-fit holsters on the market is the retention mechanism.
In the past we have seen various manufactures designing a multi-fit holster that was based on multiple handgun sizes and makes. This did not allow almost any of the firearms to have a good (and safe) level of retention because of the large tolerances that were needed in order to fit multiple models of pistols. This design, based on an engineering compromise could not ensure the consistency in the draw, the re-holstering and most importantly the retention; it was therefore not considered a valuable product by most consumers in the industry.
Blackhawk! has rethought the whole process and has designed the holster around the weapon mounted light and not around the weapon itself. This allows to have a very precise mechanism that retains and secures the weapon inside the holster. Since most modern pistols feature a rail attachment systems of some sort (below the fore-end of the barrel) this design is able to standardize the way that the holster gains the purchase on the weapon system. Blackhawk! has also designed the holster around those users that are not interested in utilizing a weapon mounted light.
The Omnivore Holster is available in three variants: for SureFire X300, for Streamlight TLR-1 and TLR-2, and for pistols without a light there is a very low-profile accessory that attaches to the rail.
The firearm is secured with a level 2 retention system that can be disengaged with a thumb activated mechanism. We have tried without any success to pull the gun out of the holster without pressing the thumb switch, even with rough force.
It is remarkable that Blackhawk! has designed an efficient and secure retention system that only locks on the weapon mounted light and not on the weapon’s frame itself. In the past we have witnessed some issues with other holster manufacturers that failed in retaining the weapon (and the holster was designed to utilize the whole frame of the gun for the retention).
The Omnivore holster also features a free-floating weapon design that was implemented mainly for avoiding any premature wear on the firearm caused by the friction of the draw and the re-holstering. We found this feature extremely useful when doing longer range sessions in which the firearm would heat-up and the free-floating design would help to cool it down faster. It is also useful for eliminating any issued with debris and dirt that may interfere with the weapon in rougher environments.
The thumb release is provided with three different sizes and it features a rubberized texture for a secure engagement under critical stress. With the thumb release mechanism adjusted to the correct size of the hand, the draw is very smooth and efficient; and with some practice it can deliver a very quick pistol presentation. The retention mechanism doesn’t disengage if the weapon is pulled at the same time, for added protection and security for all duty applications.
The holster comes with two different injection molded belt attachments, a standard curved belt loop and a paddle. Once the preferred attachment system is bolted to the holster, the whole system is very solid and does not bend or loosens under the weight of the sidearm.
We have mainly used the standard belt loop because it can accommodate both larger tactical belts (works also with a Cobra buckle) as well as smaller standard leather belts, for which Blackhawk! does provide an attachment that eliminates any unwanted movement.
It is also possible to attach the belt loop with various angles for better efficiency with the draw or for some specific requirements.
Blackhawk has kindly given us the chance to try and test this product, and after two months of hard use, the rugged and tough nature of the holster comes to the surface. The finish and the injection-molded frame still hold their shape and detail even after some bad falls and the retention system is as crisp and consistent as when it was new.
In a world of expensive and custom-made tactical products, we appreciate how Blackhawk has successfully designed what is, in our opinion, a high quality, affordable and effective standardized system that is capable of delivering great performance for most users of different segments of this industry.
You can find more information on the Blackhawk! Omnivore holster at: blackhawk.com/omnivore
High quality hard cases are a vital piece of equipment for maintain the best reliability of your tactical or sporting shooting gear. When you store a gun (possibly clean…) inside a Peli Case, you know for sure that it is going to operate the next time you use it.
Some may argue that soft cases are more flexible and versatile. In our opinion, the whole gear should be stored in both hard and soft cases. When it comes to weapons, scopes, electronics and precision items the hard case is the obvious choice; but for soft-goods and tactical/outdoor equipment in general soft cases provide the best flexibility.
Pelican offers a very wide gamut of products, from SD memory cases to rifle cases to even large cases for aircraft replacement parts; which provides a protective solution tailored to the operator’s needs. In addition to this Peli provides the cases with multiple inserts such as “Pick and Pluck” foam, regular foam, padded inserts (ideal for cameras and electronics in general) or simply empty. The foam inset helps booth helps with keeping all the equipment nicely organized and protects any fragile items from accidental bumps. In this article, the 1450 case is provided with the “Pick & Pluck” foam insert.
The watertight gasket protects the content from dust, sand and water. All pelican cases have proprietary valve that allows the pressure to be stabilized equally between the inside and the outside of the case. This particular feature may not seem important but is vital both for very fragile electronics and for operating at different barometric excursions.
The handle is rubberized and heavy duty, allowing to comfortably carrying a hefty load. Peli cases are designed to exceed military requirements, in both protection and practicality. The locking mechanism is tough and reliable; and when on the move all of the components quietly sit in position, leaving an almost invisible sound footprint. It is safe to say that all of the material used in the construction of this product are of very high quality.
The hinge’s action is smooth and reliable; we have extensively used this case in bad weather, mud and sand and there has never been an issue opening the lid. The quality of the foam inserts utilized is also high; even after long range sessions the heat of the weapon did not affect the integrity of the material. The pick n pluck design allows the user to quickly and effortlessly cut the insert with the best layout for the specific content or mission. It also supports the weight very well.
For a gun owner this product serves as a vital piece of equipment. There is, in our opinion, a huge gap between your gun being store in a safe at home and pointed towards the target at the range; this is the area where a mobile and lockable safe storage system comes into play.
A hard case is one of the most secure places to store a firearm when on the move, especially in a car. It is possible to fly with a weapon, these days, it is mandatory that it is stored in a lockable hard case. In our opinion, whether at the range or on duty, your pistol should be in a Peli Case as soon as it exits your holster (of course this applies also to long guns).
We believe that this product can apply to the lifestyle of the all of the members of the gun community, from the Elite Operators, to the Hunters, to the Competitive Shooters or simply to the gun enthusiasts. These high-quality hard cases provide protection to the equipment as well as safety in the surroundings; it is vital that all weapons must be stored inside such cases, especially when on the move. For a long time our equipment will have a very safe place to stay, inside a Peli Case.
The LWPC is designed with maximum versatility and speed in mind. The ability to conceal this plate carrier allows the operator to maximize the effectiveness of this platform even in uncertain environments where low-profile is the number one priority. The possibility to unzip a Jacket and attach a placard with all the mission specific equipment really makes the transition from low-profile to high-profile just a matter of seconds. The ability to change configuration in a brief period of time allows the end user to quickly adapt to the specific situation as the environment changes. The biggest feature of this plate carrier, aside from its incredible light weight, is the versatility and modularity provided by the SwiftClips. Velocity Systems and MayflowerRC have, for a long time, believed in the concept of a modular armor and load bearing system that shared the same support structure. For many years we have seen great redundancy in the operators’ equipment; a popular set-up used to be a standard chest rig worn on top of a low profile armor carrier. At the time the only alternative to this system was the bulky PALs webbing/MOLLE plate carrier (which required a lot of time to reconfigure pouch by pouch) but it would not provide the ability to quickly change set-up (from 5.56 to 7.62 or to mission specific role) like the chest rig and plate carrier combination.
To this need Velocity Systems and Mayflower RC have responded with modular placards and chest rigs that would provide the operator with the comfort of a single piece of equipment while having the versatility of multiple pre-configured modular set-ups.
In our opinion, there is a substantial difference in the set-up of this product in the various applications of agencies and civilian use.
For a military or agency type of application this product would be suited for some sort of low-profile operation in which the operator would be required to constantly wear armor, comms and, perhaps, a medical kit. The low-profile nature of the carrier would quite possibly be unnoticed but would offer protection and the ability to attach a fully equipped chest rig placard within seconds.
As for the civilian use, we think that this system could offer much more versatility that a standard MOLLE vest. The use in a civilian application would, hopefully, be for a shorter period of time and it would not require the user to wear comms and med kit on a closer level. In an event in which the civilian should respond with armor the medical kit and radio would probably store within the placard itself. The MOLLE version allows to carry 6×6” armor side plates and offers 6 columns of PALS webbing attachment.
This is why we find the MOLLE version of the cummerbunds more suitable for low-profile operations and the elastic (lighter and slicker) cummerbunds for civilian use. Off course, the interchangeability of them will allow the user to configure it to the mission requirements. The low profile nature of the elastic cummerbunds would also allow a concealed carry citizen to use his/her inside the waistband holster at the three o’clock position without any interference with the plate carrier itself.
The lower half of the front of the plate carrier is covered with loop Velcro, stitched right into the front flap. On the sides of the upper portion are the two SwiftClips, which can be removed. There is a low-profile admin pouch, also stitched with a loop Velcro panel. If you happen to have the Multicam version of this plate carrier, as we do, the “admin” and back loop Velcro panels visible from the outside are matched with the camo pattern.
It was a pleasant surprise to see that this Light Weight plate carrier has all of the features of “Standard” plate carriers. Often times, due to the weight reduction, companies tend to “lighten” the adjustability and user-configurability, not Velocity Systems and Mayflower R&C. The cummerbunds can be adjusted both from the front and from back panel. For primary fitting, it is possible to regulate on the back panel the position of the cummerbund, the end of which is provided with both hook and loop Velcro on each side; this ensures the stability and the overall ruggedness of the product. For field adjustment (or secondary adjustment), it is possible to fit the size by lifting the dedicated front panel. On the market it is usually is rare to see two fully spec’d adjustment points on such a lightweight platform.
The top straps are also adjustable, allowing fitting the perfect height of the plate carrier (on a side note, please stop wearing your plate carriers low, you know who we are talking about…). The top strap is provided with a cushioned sleeve, for load bearing comfort and cable routing. We only wrote cable and not hydration tube routing on purpose, this plate carrier is meant to be lightweight and therefore used in atypical (or asymmetrical warfare) type of scenarios such as urban and low-profile application in which there should not be the need of “field” requirements like continuous hydration on the move. If the possibly of attaching a panel or an hydration bladder is an important characteristic we suggest checking out the other plate carriers from Velocity Systems and Mayflower R&C like the SCARAB.
Both the stitching and the material used are impressive. The attention to details and the well thought design differentiate this product from a market full of plate carriers that have become almost a commodity without any peculiar feature. Velocity Systems uses 500-denier Cordura fabric for the outer layers; this provides high mechanical properties while still maintaining a low-weight discipline.
Velocity Systems and Mayflower R&C proudly use materials and workmanship that are 100% made in the USA.
For more information, please visit: VelSyst.com
The most important accessory for your firearms (both pistols and long guns) is quite possibly an illumination tool. Uncertain firepower will almost always lead to trouble, if either you miss your target or you shoot at something you were not intending to destroy. A simple and quite inexpensive solution for this problem is a weapon-mounted light (or WML). This tool will usually provide a tactical advantage, and, most importantly, will take away the uncertainty of where those rounds go.
Unfortunately, even nowadays, many gun owners think that the only applications of weapon mounted lights are in the military and Law Enforcement field. In reality, this tool is almost mandatory for low-light/no-light engagements, especially for civilians. One of the most important applications for such a tool is home defense, a scenario in which almost every gun owner can see himself or herself involved.
In this article, we are mainly going to focus on personal defense applications for civilians: both home invasions and concealed carry. Statistically, vastly majority of attacks occur by nighttime; the intruders or attackers utilize darkness as an advantage, so a flashlight is a vital tool.
For many years, the use of a handheld flashlight in conjunction with a handgun has been the choice for many professionals. The benefit of having a separated handheld light is that you do not have to point a loaded weapon at the possible threat that you are investigating on. While the main cons is of course the impossibility of any one-handed weapon manipulation, which also excludes any long gun application.
Utilizing a WML on a handgun also allows the operator to work both on the light-switch and on the trigger with a single hand, which is essential when wounded or when helping others to safety.
The preferred method used, in the past few years, by many professionals has been the application of both weapon mounted and handheld lights used simultaneously. This will provide the tactical and practical advantages of the weapon mounted light and the safety of the handheld (for all those further investigations on possible “false alarms”, you really do not want to point your gun at the neighbor’s dog that somehow has escaped…)
A weapon mounted light, according to many military and LE users, has to be as simple as possible in order to be operated effectively. While many hand held flashlight have on average 5-7 features (between strobes, brightness levels and special functions), it is mandatory that a weapon mount light only has two
functions: Momentary ON and Steady ON (some people use strobe, but we are not really huge fans).
The operator should not have to focus on the light instead of on the threat while cycling through the light’s functions. Streamlight has applied a very interesting rotatory switch to their weapon mounted light. It can be worked with both the trigger finger (index) and the support-hand’s thumb. If toggled
clockwise it will provide steady ON mode, while momentary only if toggle anticlockwise. This is a very simple and effective solution that requires very little training and practice to be operated. The light comes with the strobe mode pre-installed; if you want to disable it, quickly toggle 9 times the momentary on and keep it pressed on the tenth. This process will able or disable the strobe function.
Streamlight offers the latest version of their TLR-1 HL model with a single 800 Lumen output. The light is powered by two lithium CR123A batteries and it has a runtime of 1.75 hours. The light-beam generated by this light’s LED appears to be very versatile for both indoor and outdoor engagements. A glass-like material prism refracts the light through itself providing the internal light enhancement properties and making the whole product much more rugged
than those using a metal-like reflective mirror. The “spill” of the outer circular beam has a very wide angle making the TLR-1 HL an ideal light for close quarters combat and for peripheral vision, while the very hot center provides a very good “throw” with an approximate reach of 300m, a necessity for distant target acquisition and engagement. At these distances, it is probably going to be mounted on a long gun. Below are two examples of the light beams at 25m and at 50m in total darkness (the camera is in the same position).
The Streamlight TLR-1 HL comes with 4 mounting accessories for Glock, Beretta 90Two, S&W pistol and 1913 Rails. The aftermarket accessories for this light include a remote switch and a dedicated door-switch for rifle applications. If you are interested in purchasing only one weapon-mounted light to be alternated between your handgun and your rifle this is just the right product for you. Most other weapon-mounted lights on the market are offered only as water-resistant while the Streamlight is IPX7 Waterproof.
The light comes in three different colors: Black, Flat Dark Earth and Flat Dark Earth Brown colors; in this article are shown the FDE and Black models.
For more information regarding the Streamlight TLR-1 HL weapon mounted lights please visit:
Blue Force Gear is well known for quite possibly the most low profile PALS-Webbing / MOLLE pouches on the market. They have put together two incredibly thin and durable materials: the military grade elastic and the ULTRAcomp laminate. The combination of these two fabrics created the well-known Ten-Speed pouches. After the great success with the MOLLE platform, Blue Force Gear has decided to apply this technology to the belt pouch. For many years, leather and Kydex were the two only material utilized in belt pouches, the only problem with these was the bulkiness and impossibility to have them “collapsed” against the body when not in use. Although Kydex remains a good option for more overt applications, the Blue Force Gear belt pouches are suited for more covert applications for both military and civilian use.
The belt-mounted line of pouches are designed specifically for:
- rifle mags (low rise and high rise pouches available)
- pistol mags
- dump pouches
- pepper spray
These products serve three different category of users simultaneously: Military personnel, LE officers and concealed carry civilians.
For this article, we had the chance to test the pistol mag pouch in the two configurations: single mag
and double mag. These two mag pouches are designed to be quickly and easily accessible, even under
stress. They work with both single and double stack magazine. The high quality elastic material allows
to switch between double stack and single stack mags without losing any retention capability.
Although fast speed reloads are ideal for this type of pouch, tactical reloads are also possible with just a
little practice. The main feature of this system is that once you extract the content, the pouch collapses
on it-self reducing any extra bulk. In our opinion, this feature is ideal for EDC and CCW.
For everyday carry purposes we have found that this pouch is incredibly useful not only for pistol mags
but also for multi-tools, battery racks and flashlights.
For CCW we usually like to carry appendix or 3 o’clock (both IWB and OWB). For appendix carry the use
of a mag caddy is quite comfortable, but when carrying at the 3 o’clock position having an IWB Kydex
mag caddy at the 9 o’clock is pretty uncomfortable.
This is why we now have decided to go with the Blue Force Gear mag pouch Outside the Waist Band.
These mag pouches also work perfectly in conjunction with a plate carrier or a chest rig. They are easily
accessible also with the Blue Force Gear Trauma Kit NOW! placed right on top; both in the loading and
In order to attach to the belt these pouches utilize a very versatile hook and loop system. This allows the pouch to be mounted to classic leather or tactical nylon belts of up to 2″ in width. The pouch can also be easily detached from the belt without having to take the whole system off. Attaching the pouch to the belt doesn’t require much time or effort, making it a valid option for extra emergency mags stored elsewhere. For example we always carry the single pouch on the belt with an extra Glock 19 mag, but if needed, within seconds, we can mount, to the belt, the double pouch with two Glock 17 mags that we keep in an EDC backpack.
As for all Blue Force Gear products the quality of construction, stitching and material is outstanding. The are constantly providing clever products that bring more efficiency and are lightweight, the belt pouches are the proof.
For more information on the belt-mounted line of pouches please visit: BlueForceGear.com
Steiner Optics is one of the most reputable optics companies on the market; they have been manufacturing some of the finest glasses for decades. With great attention to quality and detail, Steiner stands behind their product with extensive field-testing and quality control.
In many situations, being able to see beyond the human eye capability is key for planning and decision-making. Even if we have great-magnified optics mounted on rifles and carbines it’s not always possible to point them in any direction; especially in urban environments, where a long weapon may not be available and the binocular may be the only vision enhancement available.
Other than in surveillance and navigation, a compact 8 x binocular could be used for many other defensive tasks. From a civilian point of view, items like the Steiner T824 could be easily
carried in a EDC backpack or sling and it could be very helpful in dangerous contingencies. In an active shooter situation occurring in a public location, after having deployed the concealed carry weapon and having assessed the situation (and the distance from the shooter), a compact binocular could be utilized to provide precious intel on suspect to the first responders and the authorities.
The Steiner T824 is one of the most rugged binoculars on the market. The body is entirely covered with a rubber mold for shock absorption, while the N2 filled lenses proved waterproofness and antifogging. Quality of sight and toughness are just mandatory when dealing with companies like Steiner.
The most impressive feature of the T824 was the size of the whole product. Keeping in mind all the features that we have listed above this product is incredibly small; and furthermore easily deployable to many different situations and environments.
In the world of optics you often have to finder a compromise between size (lightweight and compact) and optical performance; the Steiner T824 provides a crystal clear 8x image in one of the smallest and lightest binocular system on the market.
The ruggedness and quality of the T824 is exceptional; after more than six months of hard everyday use it does not show any sign of weakness or failure. The rubberized coating makes this optic is almost indestructible, it has fallen several times from various heights and it did not break or scratch. The N2 filled optics are very effective against fogging, even during high intensity activities (in both freezing winter and humid summer) they keep a crystal clear transparency.
On the range this compact pair of tactical binoculars have showed to be more useful than we thought. When you are working on carbines and handguns on a flat range, you usually tend to leave the spotting scope at home; unless you are focusing on specific long-range shooting sessions. The Steiner T824 are compact and lightweight enough to be always included in your range bag and they can be very useful for some quick check on the target without having the whole range going cold.
The Steiner T824 is the smallest model (in both price and dimensions) of the line of tactical binocular. The Tactical series of Steiner binoculars include optics from 8 x 24 up to 10 x 42, available either with or without reticle.
For more information, please visit the Steiner Optics website
Whether you are an operator overseas or a civilian carrying a concealed handgun at the mall, one of the most important aspects of urban operations is blending in. Camouflage is a interesting subject when it comes to being unnoticed to the human eye. How it works in the wilderness is clear to everybody, and we are not here to discuss that; but as soon as you reach civilization, it becomes a more complicated.
Two of the main aspects of urban “blending in” techniques are:
- Try to move with the crowds and avoid seeking any attention
- Dress casual and stay away from camo gear.
In this article, we will focus on the second category: dressing casual (or in conjunction with the environment).
As of 2016, a good portion of the world shares some common “fashions” or “dress codes”. One color or piece of clothing that is well distributed and utilized throughout the globe is denim; this makes our job at “disappearing” much easier.
In the past years there has been a good variety of jackets, button shirts and even shoes on the market specifically designed for the tactical/performance segment of the market (concealed carry or “covert operations”); but casual pants were missing from this selection.
For a long time there has been a very wide gap between tactical pants and casual denim; the first being versatile and comfortable during high performance activities but with a lack of casual aesthetics, while the second being the exact opposite. Now Triple Aught Design has made the right connection between these two much separated segments of market.
The Intercept PD pants are extremely well crafted and are made in the United States. Triple Aught Design has really focused a lot of attention in quality and design through the development of this product. The Performance Denim comes from America’s oldest working denim mill, from North Carolina, and it is woven with 1% elastane for better comfort during high performance activities.
As far as pocket usability the Intercept PD are basically a pair of Cargo pants that look like jeans; it is as simple as that. The five traditional pockets provide a classic look and feel to the product, while closer to the belt line are placed the 4 concealed pockets, designed with performance and weight bearing in mind. The close proximity of the pockets to the waist allows the user to carry heavier items (spare mags, multi-tools, flashlight, medical kits and much more) without any movement limitation, even while seated.
The Intercept PD are engineered with noise reduction in mind: instead of the classic zipper TAD has implemented a button closure of the groin (to avoid any noise of metallic moving parts) while the 9 pockets are deep and kept close to the user’s body by the elastic fabric, reducing any sort of movement of the content.
The belt loops are large and heavy-duty, which is vital for carrying a tactical belt (especially with a holster, both Inside the Waistband and Outside the Waistband). Triple Aught Design has applied hidden triple needle stitching and bartacks throughout the whole product. Applied on the two front pockets is the TAD diamond reinforcement to protect from premature wear from knives, tools or flashlight clips.
With the Intercept Performance Denim TAD is delivering a product of which the development really revolved around the operator. If you are looking for a way to disappear from the radar in an urban environment you should really add the Intercept Performance Denim to your list, they are worth each and every penny.
For more information please visit Triple Aught Design’s website: store.tripleaughtdesign.com/Intercept-PD-Pant
The Blue Force Gear Trauma Kit NOW! is an emergency access medical kit that can be quickly deployed. It is designed to hold the medical contents of the Armed Forces IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) but it can also be customized by the user to be suited for every environment.
The medical pouch is one of the most important pieces of equipment that an operator can carry. It has to withstand hostile environments, be rugged and easily accessible so high-quality is the first priority.
For many years there have been different types of medical kits on the market but most of them are not, in our opinion, suited for emergency situations. Most of these kits are organized kits designed to be attached to the webbing of backpacks or vests.
The biggest issue with internally organized medical pouches attached with PALS webbing is the difficulty with the application and the handling of the medical components. Usually, when attached on a full kit, the medical pouch tends to be mounted at the 6 o’clock position on the battle belt or on the sides of the plate carrier; sometimes in this position it is hard to look and access directly the content under the stress of an emergency.
The alternative for a long time has been to carry a standard pouch with all the medical content loose inside, which does not ensure success in finding what needed.
This new philosophy of use applied to medical kits seems to have caught the eye of both military personnel and civilians.
Blue Force Gear has decided to utilize the “blowout” system for their Trauma Kit. What sets this product apart from others similar on the market is the ruggedness and the lightweight of the pouch. After the release of a version made of standard 500 denier fabric they have decided to apply their patented Helium Whisper material. The inner supply carriage has been redesigned and constructed out of laser cut ULTRAcomp to reduce the thickness of the fabric while maintaining shape and strength.
One though shared throughout the military and firearms community is that the medical kit should be the first to put on and the last to take off. It is obvious that with this mindset the light weight and the comfort for prolonged use is ideal.
The kit can be quickly and easily deployed with the external pull tab, which contains a small weight. The medical sign color can be changed from red to black within seconds to ensure the perfect requirement for every situation or environment. It is extremely important that the content is secured to the pouch during the deployment, to ensure this Blue Force Gear has applied a very robust high quality elastic keeper.
In the assortment of the medical content we took in consideration both the needs of the standard IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) and those of a Combat Trauma Kit. This specific pouch can be also utilized as an extensive and enhanced EDC medical kit. The internal blowout kit can be closed on itself without using the external MOLLE pouch, making it even more compact and lightweight. In the middle section is applied a panel of loop Velcro, in which we have attached the SWAT-T Tourniquet with a small piece of hook Velcro and some glue.
(1) SWAT-T Tourniquet
(1) Fox Chest Seal
(1) Quick Clot Hemostatic gauze
(30) Band-Aids (4 Sizes)
(10) Band-Aids Backup (Vacuum Sealed)
(25) Vacuum Sealed Gauze Pads
(1) Combat Elastic Bandage
(3) 3M SteriStrips
(2) Pairs of Nitrile Surgical Gloves
(1) 3M Medical Tape
(1) Aluderm Aluminum Gauze Pad (20cmx20cm)
(2) Aluderm Aluminum Gauze Pad (10x 10 cm)
(3) Burn Gel
(2) Antibacterial wipes
(1) Emergency blanket
(1) aLokSak 3″x7″ waterproof bag
(1) Hi intensity 30′ Red ChemLight
(1) Fine Point Surgical Tweezers
(2) Amoxilline (Antibiotics)
The Blue Force Gear Trauma Kit NOW! Is available in Multicam, Tan, Black, Wolf Grey and OD Green.
Eye protection is probably one of the best precautions to take both on the field and on the range. After lots of eye injuries suffered by many during deployment, the DoD has decided to take measures against this big issue. Companies like Oakley have revolutionized the materials and the manufacturing process in order to meet these ballistic requirements. It has been many years since the US Gov. has issued the first Oakley Ballistic protective goggles and since then Oakley has produced different variants for different missions.
The SI Ballistic Det Cord sunglasses are the latest addition in Oakley SI’s line of eye protection. The low-profile design meets the requirements of many covert operations, while still having that “Oakley DNA” for aggressive environments and when things go south.
With the constant presence of threats in high risk environments, asymmetrical warfare seems to be the keyword of this century. In the last few years brands like Oakley SI, who have always equipped armed forces, have found themselves designing and manufacturing more discreet products for the tactical market.
The lens placement on the Det Cord is slightly different from the usual sunglasses (aside from the ballistic protection). The frame design allows the lenses to sit very close to the user’s face, providing a very wide field of view. It also shields sunlight from any direct contact with the eye, above or beneath the lenses.
This design seem interesting also when speed is involved; with the lenses positioned so close to the user’s face the Det Cord appear to give some very good protection also from dust and wind.
Oakley has designed these glasses with the tactical operations in mind. The thin construction of the ear stems allows the glasses to be comms compatible (or ear pro). Not having this feature would lead to the loss of the seal of the muffs, causing them to lose any hearing protection capability. A thinner design of the frame is also very important if an helmet is worn. If you are carrying a ballistic helmet with night vision, lights and accessories attached you will end up with quite some weight; so it is important to have a secured and comfortable fit.
The DetCord are manufactured to conform to the ANSI Z87.1 – 2010 requirements. To meet the ANSI Z87.1-2010 rating the eye protection must exceed specific high mass – high velocity tests and provide continuous lateral coverage. Most competitors on the market don’t provide lateral coverage; the presence of a “+” after Z87 will assure the lateral coverage compliancy.
The DetCords high purity optical-grade polycarbonate also meet the ballistic fragmentation MIL-PRF-32432 required by NATO forces and DoD.
To enhance the performance of the product under stress Oakley has applied a very interesting material for the nose-piece. It’s always annoying when, under stress, sunglasses (or even worse eye pro) slip down on the nose because of the presence of liquids on the skin. To solve this issue Oakley has applied a rubberized material on the nose piece, and even after some pretty hard use it does not seem to come off.
Another issues that, with other optics, appears on similar activities is fogging. This phenomenon is due to the body heat and moisture condensing in small drops on the lens itself. When shooting it’s usually frequent to have fogging in the winter when utilizing a rifle or a carbine; usually after some sort of dynamic action. We have had the opportunity to test this product from late summer until now and, due to the coating applied to the lenses, we haven’t had a sigle issue.
The this version comes with Cerakote applied to the entire frame. This superficial finish enhances the anti-reflection capability of the Det Cord and it also provides longevity to the surface of the frame. When used in conjunction with helmet systems and comms usually eye-pro and sunglasses get scratched a lot, the application of Cerakote prevents this from happening.