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.
Shooting with a One-Point sling is certainly very comfortable, but when it’s time to sling the weapon system having a Two-Points really makes everything easier. This accessory allows to quickly change your configuration without having to handle any QD or clip interface. S&S Precision has had for a long time another similar product but this really seems slick and low-profile.
Specs and Features:
-New low-profile design
-Skeletonized design with fewer components
-Integrated hand stop/finger groove design
-Works in cojunction with single point sling systems (1” width) to secure weapon
-KeyMod & M-LOK versions available
Bravo Company Manufacturing has released a full line of 300 Blackout carbines and upper receivers. With this latest addition, BCM has officially entered the 300 blk segment of the firearm industry. The many similarities in the components of the weapon platform between .223 (or 5.56) and 300 Blackout allow an easy and cost effective caliber conversion.
In the past few years we have seen many other companies entering the 300 Blk market; we are very glad to see one of the best firearms manufacturer following the same steps. BCM will be offering the 300 Blackout upper receiver in 16″ RECCE, 12.5″ CQB and 10″ Pistol lengths.
Approved by SAAMI on 17 January, 2011, Supersonic 300 AAC Blackout 110-125 grain 300 Blackout ammunition was designed to produce a similar ballistic effect on target of a 7.62 x 39 mm round but out of a 9″ barreled AR platform carbine. At 300 meters, 300 Blackout has 16.7% more energy than a 7.62 x 39mm round. A supersonic round fired from a 9″ barreled AR pattern 300 Blackout carbine will match or exceed the energy at the muzzle of a 14.5″ 5.56 M4 carbine.
BCM 300 Blackout carbines use the exact same components, down to the magazines, as the rest of our carbine fleet with the exception of the barrels. This also means an end user can utilize both their existing magazines and AR accessories to fine tune the feel of their carbine, same as any other M4 or Recce rifle.
The 300 Blackout line of BCM carbines are built on our 1:7 Twist 11595E Certified Steel barrels. The bore on each BCM Enhanced Barrel is honed to perfect the rifled finish prior to chrome lining both bore and chamber. With a continuous taper profile designed to optimize balance, performance and weight; each BCM barrel is fluted toward the rear near chamber, increasing strength and speeding heat dissipation. Barrel harmonics and accuracy have been further improved by removing the sharp handguard cap shoulder commonly associated with AR platform barrels. Reliable, mil-spec quality, BCM Enhanced Barrels will deliver a repeated positive effect on target, every time you press the trigger.
For more information about the 300 Blackout caliber, its conversion and its performance (also at distance) please take a look at what Travis Haley from Haley Strategic Partners has to say after one year of test and evaluation with this platform.
Kinetic Development Group has been releasing a lot of great new products in the last few months. They have been focusing mainly on the FNH Herstal SCAR platform, diversifying from most of the other firearm accessories manufacturers on the market. We have already introduced you to the SCAR Adaptable Stock (SAS) a few months ago. Since then KDG has released some other interesting products both for the SCAR and AR platform (technically any platform thanks to the Magpul M-LOK system [Read our article]). They started by providing the FN SCAR operator an alternative extended aluminum rail system that would provide the same customization and attachment options as most ARs do, this is the MREX (Modular Receiver EXtention).
KDG has also released in the past few moths a new mounting system based on the M-Lok platform: the Kinect QD. This line of Quick-Detach mounts allows the operator to change and swap accessories on the weapon within seconds. There are two spring-loaded wedges in the base of the Kinect™ mounting point. When you press the accessory or rail section down in the MLOK™ slot, two tiny deployment triggers get pressed against the rail firing the wedges into place. There is nothing more frustrating that fiddling with an allen wrench (if you can find it) to get your accessories on an off your weapon with traditional modular rail sections. This changes the whole dynamic of the MLOK™ system and really makes every accessory truly removable with the ability to mount it in a second when needed. Due to the high quality materials and engineering skills this system does not fear recoil or hard use.
The last product line KDG has released is the Sidelock Optic Mounts. The first one to arrive on the market was designed for the Aimpoint Comp M4. The patented cam system locks the mount down onto picatinny without the need of tools, side levers, or huge knobs. The release system allows users to change out their optics on the fly with less hassle. The 3 levels of locks insure the optic will not move unintentionally, maintaining zero for the shooter, and returning to zero when remounting in the same position after removal. They have now released two other optics mounts: the Sidelock Universal Scope Riser (that features a plain 1913 rail system) and the Sidelock Aimpoint Micro Mount.
The M-LOK Tripod Adapter for metal M-LOK compatible hand guards or forends mounts directly onto any tripod head equipped with the common Manfrotto RC2/Q2 interface. This adapter allows the user to mount their rifle directly to a tripod head without the use of any additional saddles giving them a secure shooting platform.
The M-LOK Tripod Adapter is machined from aluminum and finished in Mil-Spec anodizing which offers excellent corrosion resistance. The beveled ends and corners produce a minimal footprint allowing the user to keep the M-LOK Tripod Adapter attached to the weapon system at all times with minimal snagging hazards.
Made in U.S.A.
- Compatible exclusively with Manfrotto products using RC2/Q2 rapid connect adapter
- Directly mounts to metal M-LOK hand guards and forends (not intended for use with polymer hand guards or forends)
- Cammed T-Nuts
- Mil-Spec anodized aluminum
- Compact and low profile, covers only two M-LOK slots
- Beveled ends and corners
- Recoil/impact mitigation lugs
Sometimes dangerous, and potentially deadly, environments surround us. Whether you are overseas behind enemy lines, lost in the wilderness or a survivor in natural disaster a fixed blade knife is the tool that will always get you home safe and sound. A survival knife can provide the right help for water, shelter, fire, food and protection. It is the most versatile piece of equipment that we can carry. Gerber produces one of the milestones in the mil-spec survival blades: the Gerber LMF II Infantry. The Infantry is the definition of the survival knife, with an overall length of 269 mm, a blade length of 123 mm and a well-balanced weight of 330g this beefy knife can be utilized for tasks of different nature. The Gerber team is well known for providing the user with well-engineered products, and they seem to have reached a very good standard with the LMF II Infantry. They have chosen a 420 high carbon steel for this blade, which makes it very good against corrosion and hard use; in fact the Infantry can be even used as a prying bar in an emergency situation. To meet the compliancy of the aircrews’ standard issue, Gerber had to design the LMF II with two main features:
- It had to be tough (so that it could be used, by the crew, as an escape tool from the aircraft after a crash).
- It had to electrically insulate the user from any live wire he could find while escaping through the fuselage or the cockpit.
To accomplish these two requirements Gerber developed a very interesting design that meets both strength and protection using a combination of 420hc steel and hard composite materials in the body of the handle. The Blade: The use of the 420 High Carbon steel makes this knife incredibly resistant against rust, especially with application of the black non-reflective coating. Even though the Tanto design looks much cooler on a tactical knife, thankfully, the LMF II has a drop point design, which makes it a much stronger knife for any bushcraft or survival use. Due to its design and the 5 mm blade thickness, this knife is a great tool for chopping, prying and digging. The spine of the blade has a 90 degrees angle with no chamfer applied, which allows to light a fire with a Magnesium bar or flint fire starter. The blade has a drop point plain edge with 47 mm of serration closer to the handle. Even though some people believe that a knife has to have a plain edge, we know that a survival/bushcraft knife MUST have a serrated edge. The serration of the blade makes it much easier to cut through harder material, cords, fresh vegetation and it retains much better a sharp edge. Serrations are mandatory on a 420 HC steel survival blade to help maintain sharpness in the field, since this material could lose edge after some use. Sharpening this knife in the field is very easy. The sheath of the knife houses a V-shaped sharpener for the drop-point part of the blade that allows the user to carry an always-sharp blade, no matter what. If you really need to sharpen the serrated edge on the field, Gerber makes a great tool that makes it very easy: the Bear Grylls Field Sharpener. The blade also features two lashing holes to use the knife as a spear; this feature becomes very interesting when you have to find some food in the wilderness. We have used this method in the past to catch fish in a small river and it really can change the situation from a disaster to a memorable moment. One of the basic rules of providing food in the wild is that you do not have to use more energy than the one you’re going to gain from what your catch will give. To accomplish this goal the spear is the perfect tool since it doesn’t always require much running. The spear is very easy to make with very little cordage and it can also be used as a self-defense tool from wild animals. The Handle: Because of the large production scale of these knives, Gerber was able to use an injection molded handle with a diamond texture on its surface. This handle has a rubbery feel and really sticks to the user hand even when the surface of the handle is wet. The large pommel at the end of the grip allows a much more secure and firm grip. It also functions as a striking tool and a hammering surface. When working on bushcraft tasks, quite frequently, we have to grip the knife from the very end of the handle and strike on the back of the blade with a large piece of wood in order to chop down through a log; with this design, it is much easier and faster to do so. The Sheath: We believe that one of the most important parts of a knife is its sheath. For us, good retention, slickness, protection (both of the user and the blade) and different attachment options are key features in a good quality sheath. The sheath is made of ballistic nylon with a fire retardant coating. The retention of the knife is due to a friction lock mechanism that secures the knife in place even if attached tip-up on a plate carrier or a chest rig. The Infantry can be carried both right-handed and left-handed since the knife can be stored in the sheath either ways. The LMF II comes with many different mounting options. The knife can be carried on the belt, on a MOLLE system and, because of the leg straps, also thigh and calf carry. We gave this knife a very hard time, we have used it for a while now and we are very happy with the results. The overall package seems very durable and stiff and even the sheath after many drops seems to retain the knife without any wobbling. At first, we were quite worried for the black coating of the blade but even after hitting some rocks it did not seem to peel off at all. This, for sure, is not an EDC knife: it’s beefy and not light. But when you will need it, you will be glad of its weight especially when chopping wood or cutting down a tree. One of the features that we like the most about this product is its 25 YEARS WARRANTY and the fact that it is MADE in the USA (Portland, Oregon). If you are looking for an excellent-quality versatile survival knife for an affordable price, the Gerber LMF II Infantry is the perfect choice. For more intel please visit Gerber’s website.
Clothing featured in this article:
Vertx Tactical Belt
Swiss Eye is an European producer of optics for the sporting industry. In addition to that they have released a very wide line of product for the tactical user (Full masks, goggles, full-frame glasses and half frame glasses). They sent us two pair of their bungee goggles: the Infantry, both in clear lens and smoke lens. The Swiss Eye Infantry lenses are made of a single piece of poly-carbonate with an anti-fog coating named “ultimo”. Their frame-less design and the insert of a foam liner all around the optic allow the Infantry to be very flexible and to adapt to the user’s face with comfort. The Infantry uses a clever design that allows the operator to use this system both as a stand-alone and attached to an helmet; the bungee cords end with a double-sided Velcro attachment that can either attach to itself or to the hook-and-loop panel of an helmet. To adjust the length of the bungee you just make a new knot at the desired distance. This simple but effective design makes the Infantry the right optic for many uses (parachuting, tactical operations and mountain biking). We have been using these goggles mainly for biking, we have used them a lot in any sort of weather condition. We believe that this is a very interesting product for all those that, like us, like to go with their bikes into deep vegetation and need to have a very good eye-pro. We really like the fact that when not in use the Infantry goggles remain attached to the helmet, not like any normal glasses (that otherwise have to be stored in a secured position). The Infantry follows the NATO STANAG 2920 standard for fragmentation protection, so it is very indicated also for all those activities where eye protection is key. We have been using this optic in conjunction with an OpsCore helmet, S&S Precision Manta Strobe, two S&S Precision V-Lite, Princeton Tec Charge and Princeton Tec Remix Tactical. Between the clear and the smoke lens we used more the clear one, usually with another pair of sunglasses. Using the normal sunglasses that you would wear in any sort of sporting activity will leave you exposed on the eye-protection front, and if any sort of heavy movement of the head is involved there is a chance of loosing the glasses. This is why me liked having our goggle always strapped to the helmet. As you can see there is no need to un-hook the Velcro when you want to take off the helmet, this feature makes all this package very practical in virtually any situation. Whether you are a professional or just an outdoor/tactical enthusiast this is a very affordable and interesting product that can make your life much easier and safer when enjoying the great outdoors.
For more information please visit: SwissEye.com/
It’s always hard to get the job done when the sun goes down. Powerful lights have been helping us in many of these situations, but unfortunately we can’t always use such devices: in some situations we need to be able to see while not being seen. This is why, in the outdoors, we want use our eyes to adapt to the darkens and navigate through the environment using the surrounding natural light. However we don’t always have the possibility to utilize the light from moon or the glare of a nearby city reflecting off the humidity in the clouds to get the job done. Sometimes ambient light is just not enough. This is why, sometimes, is nice to have a device that is able to help us boost-up our night vision. To do this we had a chance to field test for about 6 months a night vision device: the Bushnell Equinox Z. Bushnell is well known for its quality product at an affordable price. Its well placed mid range product line was just the perfect fit for our needs. Yes, Gen2+Night Vision Devices are cool but they are so damn expensive! It is close to impossible for a non professional user to buy a decent quality gen2+ device. Since only a few years ago, if you didn’t want to buy one of those really expensive ones, you had to move on to an old Soviet built analog device. Luckily there are companies like Bushnell that in the last few yeas have been producing good quality DIGITAL night vision system that are affordable and well-made. Unlike first generation NVG units, the Equinox is totally digital, mounting a CMOS digital sensor this device is capable of delivering a good crisp image to the user. While doing so the device is also able to record both still and moving pictures. The behavior of this sensor is similar to the one of a digital camera, but in this case it is optimized for infrared light. While it’s night vision, these units can’t see in total darkness without help up to 200-300 yards. In this video the device’s IR illuminator is switched off so the only light source is the moon (1/4).
The Equinox Z monocle comes in three different variants: 3 x 30 mm, 4.5 x 40mm and 6 x 50 mm. Of these we had the chance to try out the mid version, the 4.5 x 40mm. The main difference between the three variants, apart from the dimensions, is the quality of the image: a bigger diameter of the lens will provide a more detailed image, especially at distance. Only measuring 164mm x 98mm x 62mm this device seems very compact and discreet and when not in use it can be easily stored in a cargo pocket. The weight is around 600 grams and considering it carries 4 AA batteries and it is IPX4 it isn’t bad at all!
The 4.5 x 40 mm version has quite some features and buttons, in fact it took us a while to get familiar with the device, especially at night time. The top side of the Equinox has 6 buttons well protected by a rubber armor: ON-OFF, Zoom In – Zoom Out, IR settings, illuminator settings and Record. On the lower side of the device is the tripod attachment point, with the traditional screw system. Next to it, under a protective cover, are three ports (TV Out, Mini USB, Micro-SD slot) and a switch (for still or moving pictures). t also features a Picatinny rail is on the side for mounting a more powerful infrared illuminator.
The unit we have reviewed has a lot of magnification for night vision. The more magnification you get, the narrower the field of view and this cuts into situational awareness. If you are scanning a large area, it is harder to spot something. On the other hand, if you do spot it, the higher magnification makes it easier to figure out what it is. To show you what the magnification on this system can do we have recorded with a tripod an S&S Precision Manta Strobe (IR beacon) moving out to 1300 yards from one hill to another. The light conditions were not even the best, there was about 1/4 moon and it was cloudy. To raise the bar for the Equinox we also recorded the same video in the same light conditions at the same distance with two green S&S Precision V-light blinking. What we really liked about this night vision device is the crispness of the details in very low light conditions at a not so-close distance with the IR illuminator ON, to show you here is a video of a car moving from 50 yards to about 130 yards. (This video was recorded on a tripod) This is a still image shot at about 40 yards to show you how, even with the 3 x magnification, you can shoot a crisp image while standing and with no light other than the IR illuminator. As you can see this device is capable of great results for a very affordable price, by the end of Q2 2015 it should be around $ 300. The many features of this device make it really adaptable and versatile for many conditions, whether you are a tactical shooter, hunter or just outdoors enthusiast the Bushnell Equinox Z is perfect for you. Because we didn’t treat it well at all we can actually saw that this device is pretty of tough, so maybe it wouldn’t be bad also for some semi-professional uses (nothing too risky, we wouldn’t rely on this in a life or death situation but it still gets the job done).
We have used the Equinox Z mainly in rural environments and we feel that this is its playground, it could be used also in a urban area provided that the IR illuminator is switched OFF (even with naked eye you can see a little red glare coming from it) or you can mount a third party IR flashlight on the Picatinny rail on the side. Other than that, we loved playing with it and we feel that from now on we aren’t going anywhere without it.
Urban Survivor Blog
The Haley Strategic Partners D3 FlatPack is an expandable compact assault pack. Designed with a unique expandable gusset system, the D3 FlatPack is an assault pack that can go from an almost flat profile when compressed to 600 cubic inches when completely expanded. It is Available in four different colors: Black, Coyote, Multicam and Ranger Green. In its compressed state, the D3 FlatPack can run a 1 liter hydration bladder in the main compartment with additional small items like batteries, energy gels and chem lights stored in the dedicated admin chamber. Expanded, the main compartment can fit a fully loaded D3CR, a helmet or a jacket while the admin can fit electronics and/or small binoculars. The FlatPack integrates with a D3CR or D3CR-H, replacing the H harness with the pack straps, to create a light reconnaissance, patrol or an EDC worst case scenario rig. The FlatPack will also molle into any PALS based nylon system including plate carriers, assault vests or other packs with external PALs webbing. Although designed with the Special Operations end user in mind, the D3 FlatPack also makes an excellent everyday pack for civilians looking for a very compact carry bag that doesn’t scream military. Able to safely transport electronics such as the iPad, MacBook (12″) or any laptop or tablet up to 8″ x 12″, the padded inner chamber can also hold a number of items ranging from books and periodicals to digital cameras.
The D3 FlatPack can hold the HSP D3CR making it a very compact and reliable pack to carry a chest rig in a covert situation. During the transition from covert to overt, one the D3CR is deployed, the operator is able to slim back down the pack and integrate it with the chest rig, making this system a great site exploitation bag. Materials and Weight:
500D Cordura Mil-Spec nylon
200 cubic inches expandable to 600 cubic inches
Computers (max size 8″x 12″) will fit when fully compressed
50 cubic inches that can also be expanded to 100 cubic inches
With the HSP D3CR to create a patrol system
Any PALs based systems (such as plate carriers)