Blue Force Gear: Pistol Belt Pouches | Review
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: T824 Tactical Binoculars | Review
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
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.
Two very interesting product of the EDC line are the Titan and Titan Plus.
Surefire has extended the product line with the Intellibeam technology to the Fury, Lawman and Scout lights.
As for weapon-mounted light there will be more models with the capability of White-IR LED.
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.
The X-300 Ultra has now the mounting interface of the X-400 and has been powered up to 600 Lumens.
Arc’teryx Blade24 EDC Backpack Loadout
What you carry on your person everyday (or at least accessible close to you) may dictate the success or the failure of a difficult situation.
Whether it is a medical, practical or defensive scenario carrying basic or advance equipment is really important.
If you live in an urban environment and you are not always close to your vehicle it’s suggested to build an EDC kit in a backpack or a sling-bag.
In our opinion your self defense tools and equipment should be at all times on your person. We only use our backpack to store extra mags, but not our primary firearm. If the situation does not allow us to reach for our EDC backpack we sill have a concealed-carry handgun with mounted light and extra mag, a folding blade, a smartphone, a wallet, a tactical flashlight and a tourniquet. Keeping our EDC defensive tool in the same location will also provide efficiency and accuracy to the situation.
We like to divide by priority and importance our daily-carry equipment into different levels.
Level 1: the EDC items carried on your belt and pant’s pockets.
Level 2: items in your bag directly accessible from the outside.
Level 3: items organized in pouches and dividers inside the bag.
About the backpack:
One of the key features that we really like of the Blade’s design is its side-access. This allows us to open and extract the content without dropping the bag or revealing what’s inside. Arc’teryx has padded this bag like a tank, it is comfortable, light and extremely protective towards electronics or fragile items.
The Blade has many pockets, some visible and some hidden. On the top, next to the handle, there are two pockets: one specifically designed for eye wear and one for GP items. On the side there are three pockets: the admin pocket (with stitched organizers for admin tools), the main compartment and the laptop (or even ballistic plates) compartment. All the internal parts of the bag are made of hi-viz nylon for better efficiency. The hidden pocket is located on the lower back close to the body, and it is intended for documents, extra cash, copy of conceal carry permit or passport.
Even on the road this backpack is really handy, in case of an accident (especially at night) you can grab it, exit the vehicle and move towards a safe location without keeping any valuables in the car. In the admin pocket we have placed two S&S Precision V-Lites and a Manta strobe to mark our presence to other drivers or the authorities until we have access to roadside flares.
This backpack is efficient and feature-rich without screaming “tactical”. We like the adaptability of PALs webbing and we like Camo but in most urban environments it just stands out too much. The clean design of the Blade 24 allows to be “undetected” or just not to stand out too much.
Bag, Pouches and Cases:
Arc’teryx Blade 24
Maxpedition Fatty Organizer
Maxpedition Mini Organizer
Salewa Med Pouch (With personal kit)
6×6 Pals Multicam Pouch
Thule 13″ Laptop Case
Items directly accessible:
Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket
Outdoor Research Halberd Sensor Tactical Gloves
Princeton Tec Remix MPLS Headlamp in Multicam
Boker VAT tool
Princeton Tec Switch light
S&S Precision V-lite Green
S&S Precision V-lite Blue
S&S Precision Manta Strobe
Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen
Oakley SI Ballistic DetCord in Cerakote
Surefire E2D Defender Ultra
Pick Lock Kit with Tecnora and Kevlar Strings
Vapur 0.7 Water bottle
Items stored in pouches:
Pelican 1010 Case
Samsung 250gb T1 SDD
Storacell 123 Battery holder
Gerber MP1 Multiplier
Gerber Shard Multitool
Surefire EP-1 C Ear Pro
Steiner T824 Compact Binoculars
Altoids Tin with basic Survival kit
Inforce 6vx backup Flashlight
Rite in the Rain notepad
Cyalume 6″ green
Samsung 13000mAh Battery Bank
Chargers for electronics
1 x QuikClot Combat Gauze
2 x Gauze Pad (4″x 4″)
1 x Elastic Bandage
1 x Tourniquet
3 x Pharmaderm Antibiotic wipes
3 x BurnFree Gel
10 x Normal Band Aids
8 x Special Shape Band Aids
3 x 3M Steri-Strips
1 x Aluderm Gauze Pad (8″x 8″)
2 x Aluderm Gauze Pad (4″x 4″)
1 x 3M Micropore Tape
1 x Surgical Tape
2 x Sterilized Gloves Nitrile
2 x Ketoprofen
10 x Ioperamide
2 x Paracetamole
2 x Amoxilline (antibiotics)
4 x Aspirin
4 x Iburofen
1 x Fine-Point Metal Tweezers
1 x Space Blaket
Inside Altoids Tin:
3 x 3M Steristrips
2 x Bandaids
2 x Iboprufen
4 x Antihistamine
4 x Water tabs
1 x 3M Ear Pro Backup
1 x Pencil w/ 1ft of tape and 20 ft of floss
4 x Stormproof matches
1 x Exotac firestarter
1 x Clip Compass
2 x BurnFree gel
1 x Alchool wipes
Outdoor Research | Helium II
The Outdoor Research Helium II is a light-weight waterproof jacket ideal for many outdoor applications. This product was originally designed for climbers and runners to be worn for a short period of time during a storm. The main concept behind this product is to always carry it with you.
Due to the extremely light-weight we have kept the jacket stored in our EDC backpack every single day for the whole season. With an astonishing weight of 180 grams you literally forget about it. The jacket is so compact that can fit even in a small cargo pocket. If you actually compress it with a vacuum machine it reaches the size of an energy bar.
We have already seen some very small and lightweight jackets on the market. What makes the Helium II unique is not just the weight but the waterproofness of the fabric. We have use this jacket in many unpleasant weather conditions and it has always kept us dry. To reach this kind of excellence Outdoor Research has utilized a 30D ripstop fabric with a Pertex Shield+ 2.5L coating. At first we were quite skeptical about the longevity of the waterproof shell due to the way the fabric compresses when the jacket is stored, but even after some pretty rough use it hasn’t showed any sign of weakness.
For example if you compress some other waterproof shells on the market like Gore-Tex the layers of the PU film could break, making the fabric permeable. Gore-Tex works with a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane with a hydrophobic PU film; in some cases if the fabric is folded too much there could be a loss of waterproofness.
One of the greatest features of this garment is its breathability. Keep in mind that this product was not actually designed for prolonged use, this is why OR focused more on the weight than on the features. This is a jacket to always have in a backpack or just keep stored in a bag. Even if it does not have armpit zippers (like the bigger brother Helium HD) it still offers enough breathability to get the job done.
If you plan to wear this jacket for a longer period of time please take a look at the Outdoor Research Helium HD, it features a more complete type of hoodie and pockets, for a slightly larger size and weight.
Outdoor Research has done a great job designing the hood. It features a bungee cord that runs from the forehead to the back of the head, and if pulled tight it really secures the hood and the visor, offering a very smooth and “noise-free” motion. The visor is made of a much stiffer material allowing a very comfortable wear during storms. This feature really comes handy when shooting (both handguns and rifles) under bad weather.
We have chosen the black/hydro version of this jacket because it does not scream “tactical” while still offering some decent concealability. The blue OR logo and zipper don’t really stand out too much but are keen to make the user appear as a civilian. On the range this jacket is fantastic, due to the lightweight it can always be packed in a range-bag, and as soon as it starts raining you have backup. The elastic on the wrist allows to keep a clean motion during weapon manipulation, without risking of getting the garment in the way.
The choice between Helium II and Helium HD is only driven by the application of the user. Both offer lightweight, waterproofness and breathability. So because we like to carry this shell 24/7 in our backpacks we decided to go with the more lightweight/small version rather than the feature-richer one.
For more details about the Helium II please visit the Outdoor Research website: OutdoorResearch.com
BCM | 300 Blackout
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.
Blue Force Gear | Dapper Kit
Blue Force Gear has now released the full line of Dapper Organization products. These pouches and panels were first introduced to the market at Shot Show, last January. Blue Force Gear is well known for smart and extremely-lightweight products. We have use extensively their Ten Speed line of pouches and we are excited to see the same technology applied to the EDC segment.
As for now the Dapper line consists of 3 series of hook and loop attachments: Mag pouches, Elastic loops and Clear zip pockets.
The Ten-Speed Magazine Dapper combines the legendary Ten-Speed performance with the flexibility of the Dapper system to provide the lightest, low profile way to carry spare magazines or other similar-sized items. Military-grade elastic pockets hold most double or single stack pistol magazines, lights, multitools, or other similar-sized items secure and in place. The Ten-Speed® pockets lie flat when not in use for reduced bulk and greater storage flexibility.
The Utility Dapper Pouch is a larger utility pouch to hold most everyday items and mission gear such as chargers, personal items, computer equipment, medical supplies, tools, magazines or almost any other item one would carry in a bag. The Large Utility Dapper can be quickly installed and removed on any loop field to quickly change the load out, making it the ultimate in discreet, modular load carrying.
The Pouch has two blue zipper pulls that are easily located and a top rubberized carry handle for easy opening and transporting. The carry handle can be hung around most US door knobs for use when traveling. The top is transparent, allowing you to see the contents without opening the pouch. The inside is a loop field, allowing the installation of Dapper Loops for even more organization options. The pouch comes in two sizes.
The Accessory Loop Dapper uses military-grade elastic to keep smaller items in place and organized. The smaller loops hold cables, batteries, chem lights, medical supplies, pens and other smaller items in place.
The Large Accessory Loop Dapper holds larger items such as tourniquet straps, bandages, large bundles of cables, 550 cord or smaller electronics such as GPS units, point and shoot cameras and most phones. The Accessory Loop Dapper is available in three different sizes: small, medium and large.
What we really like about the Dapper Organizers is the flexibility of it. Where you are an Operator overseas, a First Responder or even just a student who wants his backpack neat and organized this is the right product for you. The fact that the same product could be used for a Direct-Action backpack, a EDC Bag or even a car (or TacticalWalls) makes your kit very versatile and efficient.
For more information please visit BlueForceGear.com
Haley Strategic Partners | INCOG Shadow for SureFire XC1
Haley Strategic Partners has just released the new version of the INCOG Shadow Holster for the latest model of weapon-mounted pistol light from SureFire. The smaller 200 Lumen SureFire XC1 will allow the operator to better conceal the weapon even in low light conditions. The holster is sold both with or without the +1 mag caddy. The latest addition to the incognito line from HSP will start shipping in September.
Haley Strategic releases FlatPack
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)
Berry Amendment (10 U.S.C. 2533a) compliant as implemented by DFARS