The Gerber Fastball is an EDC pocket-freindly folding knife, made in America in the Portland, OR facility.
Material-wise the blade is made of S30V steel and the handle is made of anodized aluminum.
The design of the Fastball is very aesthetically pleasing with a slick and minimalist look. The colors are very pleasing too, the stone wash finish is appropriate to the targeted user along with its other main features: stylish, minimalist, practical, efficient, USA made.
With the implementation of the B.O.S.S. Technology with two ball bearings, Gerber has rendered the Fastball a pleasure to open and operate.
the detent ball, has a very positive feedback. The best way to describe it, especially if you have attended SHOT 2019, is to compare it to the Geissele Posi-Lock safety mechanism. This means that the blade doesn’t remain halfway open and always end its travel ,engaging the locking mechanism, making this knife extremely safe for one hand use.
We hope to see this technology slowly being applied to other existing models of the Gerber line.
The size and the shape are great for both every day carry and use.
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
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
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
Last year we published a brief article about the release of the Dapper Organizer kit from Blue Force Gear: urbansurvivorblog.com/2015/10/23/blue-force-gear-dapper-kit/
Here are some picture of it from Shot Show 2016.
The Dapper Organization mainly revolves around the Jedburgh pack. This medium-small sized pack is very discreet and well thought. It comes in different color variants: black, coyote brown, od green, multicam and wolf with an MSRP of $ 140.
The inside of the pack is almost completely covered with loop-Velcro which allows it to be extremely versatile and customizable by the user. Blue Force Gear offers a very wide line of accessory for this platform (or any other pack with loop velcro) both for tactical and everyday applications.
After the wide success of the Ten-Speed MOLLE pouches Blue Force Gear has decided to expand this technology to the belt system, and we are very glad to see it. This relatively new line is dedicate both to covert and overt shooters that like to run a minimalist belt system.
The latest innovation in sling-attachment technology is the U-loop. It allows the sling to be attached to virtually any weapon system out there (even the more exotic ones) with a silent and reliable system. Forget tools and screws because the U-loop doesn’t require much effort to be attached/detached, it’s a quick one hand operation.
BFG has now expanded the color lineup to the new Multicam patterns Arid and Tropic.
This year at ShotShow SureFire has released an interesting new multi functional product: the FirePack 1500. This product attaches to the users smartphone and is connected to it via wireless comms. This allows to utilize the Firepack both as a 1500 lumen flashlight and as a flash for you smartphone camera, all through the app installed on the phone. It could also be use as an external battery to charge your phone.
The other EDC new product from SureFire is the Sidekick. This keychain-attached compact flashlight is able to deliver up to 300 lumen and will cycle through three brightness settings with the use a single button. The Sidekick will also come with a retractable string for secure use.
The product that has revolutionized the market of CCW weapon-mounted lights is the XC-1. This light is mainly designed for weapon with a size similar to the Glock 19. At the show it was mounted on a 1911 from Wilson Combat, not too sure about that.
Tactical Night Vision Company is the most reputable night/thermal vision company on the market. They are truly experts on the matter, here is part of our experience at their booth. Enjoy
For more info please visit tnvc.com
This week, at SHOT Show 2016 in Las Vegas, Outdoor Research has released a new jacket for their military/tactical line. The Topo jacket is based on Gore’s Light and Fast military fabric. The main feature of the Topo is flexibility of movement, this is possible with the application of a stretch fabric in key points of the jacket. The cut and the fit is inspired by the Axiom jacket, one of the greatest successes of Outdoor Research.
What is really interesting about the Topo is that even if the jacket stretches it still maintains waterproofness and breathability. It is articulated in order to provide flexibility and free of movements in key spots of the body. The Topo fabric, in coyote, is also designed to be worn under chest-rigs, plate carriers and backpack. In certain spots, during high-intensity activities, both breath-ability and stretch are required for comfort and maximum performance.
The Topo Jacket is available in Multicam and Coyote for a MSRP of approximately $500.
For more info please visit: military.outdoorresearch.com/