Extreme Gear

Grundig Mini 300 World Band Receiver

 

With another trip into the field on the horizon, I found myself sorting through my gear the other day preparing for several weeks in balmy Borneo. One item that I dusted off and set aside for my trip is my trusty Grundig Mini 300 World Band Receiver. If you’re not familiar with the company, Grundig (www.grundig.de) started as a German radio retailer and repair company during WWII and became a popular retailer of tubeless radios once the war ended. More than 60 years later, Grundig is a great european manufacturer of consumer electronics and produces everything from televisions to kitchen appliances.

When I travel, I always like to have a reliable radio so I can tune into local broadcasts and get a feel for the country (or state/city) I am visiting. I’ve taken this radio into the field in Mongolia and Belize and take it to the beach and on domestic trips frequently. The Mini lives up to its name very well. It is tiny and very lightweight, measuring 2.5 x 4.5 x 0.75 inches (70 x 102 x 19 millimeters) and weighing in at 4.5 ounces (128 grams). It fits in most standard pockets (jackets, bags, vests, cargo pants) and has a belt loop on the case for those who can’t fit it into the pocket of their skinny jeans.

It is a bare bones radio, lacking many of the bells and whistles that similar devices have. It tunes into AM, FM, and seven shortwave bands. It has a very powerful 20-inch telescoping antenna that provides the listener with excellent reception and a single small speaker (1 inch maybe) that produces a surprisingly loud level of sound. Earbuds are provided with the radio and the output switches to stereo when the listener uses them. The sound quality is amazing using either option and has provided me with many hours of entertainment listening to Mongolian National Radio or the BBC while away from civilization.

When you are traveling somewhere where you will not have access to electricity for several weeks, an energy efficient device is key. The Grundig Mini 300 is the most energy efficient electronic device I have ever used. The unit comes with two AA batteries and in my experience, can run for at least 50 hours without requiring a battery change. It is also a very durable device that has survived numerous falls onto hard surfaces, baking in the sun for hours on end, and exposure to water many times. It is not displayed as “waterproof” or even “water resistant”, but I can attest that it takes exposure to water in stride.

It uses a 1 x 7/8 inches (25.4 x 22.2 millimeters) LCD so you can dial in a particular frequency accurately and also has a clock with alarm and sleep timer. I have nevermore been one to wear a watch and having this with me has kept me on time for a much-needed meal on more than one occasion. The alarm itself is invaluable when you have to wake up early or during long layovers when you can fit in a quick nap and still manage to board your plane on time.

The downsides of this device are few, but there are some. First and foremost, it is only a radio. In today’s modern age of digital music, many travelers want more than just a radio. Personally, I’m not heavily into music and don’t have an extensive mp3 collection. I don’t prefer a specific type of music and enjoy listening to the news and talk radio just as much, if not more than music. I also own several inexpensive (and somewhat disposable) mp3 players that I take with me on most trips.

Another downside is the case. It is a very simple faux-leather and nylon pouch that allows the base of the antenna and the wrist strap to poke through. The case does a great job of protecting the radio from damage, and the device can still play through it with no distortion. Unfortunately, it is so tight that it puts pressure on the tuning and volume dials which invariably causes the user to adjust the device for optimized listening.

The antenna, while very robust and reliable, is also something that could be improved on the Mini 300. The antenna base protrudes 2.25 inches (57.2 millimeters) above the top of the radio making it a little bigger than it needs to be. If it were completely retractable, it would make the device a bit more travel-friendly and less vulnerable to breaking off when maneuvering any tight corners.

Overall, the Grundig Mini 300 World Band Receiver is an excellent piece of gear. It may not work for the technophile that needs all of the newest bells and whistles, but it does a better job than most radios that retail for twice as much. I suggest this model to anyone looking for a travel radio and travel clock with alarm and am looking forward to adding more Grundig products to my gear pile in the future.

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FNP .45 Semi-auto Pistol

The FNP-45 features an external hammer, 4.5 hammers forged stainless steel barrel, stainless steel slide, full-length guide rod, C-More Systems fixed three dot combat sights and a checkered polymer frame with interchangeable backstraps and an integrated accessory rail. Every FNP-45 comes standard with three magazines, a locking device, and a lockable fitted hard case.
At The Range

So, today unexpectedly I looked over the rental guns offered at my local indoor range. When I saw it, the Fabrique Nationale .45. I thought, why the hell not. I spent over a year carrying the Fabrique Nationale Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in the Marine Corps. As I observed the pistol through the glass window, it was presented through the first thing I noticed was its bulk. It is a man-sized gun however upon lifting it found it was quite light and handy. Secondly, I noticed that it had a nice grip texture; it felt like it was going to take a lot to get this big beauty from my hand. Thirdly, I was elated to see that there was a 15 etched at the bottom back of the magazine. Could it be? 15 rounds of .45 ACP bliss? Fourthly, I felt the big butt plate of the 15 round magazine and slammed it as I loaded my first magazine. To my joy, the slide rocked forward and slammed with a noise that said: “Let’s rock!” I was all too happy to oblige this Amero-Belgian creation.

I started out with a single action shot. The only way I can describe the trigger is that it waits with encouraging anticipation and for a second I could swear it was telling me to pull it. The trigger pull melts in your finger much like Reese’s peanut butter cup resting on the tongue of a fat kid. Smooth, steady and precise. I wanted more, it felt as if I could throw all my marksmanship training to the wind and the gun was telling me “ Don’t worry just squeeze me, I will do the rest,” and so it was. At 20 ft. All the holes were one big hole, maybe 2 inches by 2 inches, it felt that no matter how fast I shot the accuracy of the gun was sig-like, (my new term to describe an accurate pistol since Sig Saur is known for accuracy.) A 20 minute short lived love affair with what I would have to say is the best composite framed .45 pistol I have ever shot.

Up until today, I was a Glock 21 aficionado, I have shot XD as well. But the FNP-.45 ACP Semi- automatic pistol took my breath away today. After shooting all my .45 ammo through it, I realized I forgot to try the double-action trigger. I racked an imaginary round into the chamber and decocked it and dry fired with the double-action a few times. It was as smooth as satin sheets. No complaints about the poundage or draw of the double-action trigger.

Then there is the ease of controls. The magazine release, although not noticeably extrusive is very easy to work. I cannot think of one thing I would have done differently with this gun. I am almost sorry I shot it because my favorite Glock 21 would be jealous if she knew the fun I was having with the southern belle from South Carolina.

One thing I did notice, is that my Glock 21 seems to absorb recoil better than any .45 I have shot. Also, my G21 has less muzzle flip. I also like the simplicity of the Glock. I felt that the FNP-45 was much more accurate at distance, I would have to shoot them side by side to compare. Maybe a future article is needed, Glock 21 vs. FNP-.45. Also, I did not field strip the FN; I am sure it’s simple.

25 yards? Hostage situation? No problemo!

Took it out to 25 yards, (75 ft.) and it performed wonderfully. Any spread in the group at the standing position was all me. Still hit all in the 6-inch black circle. This gun is a winner for sure!

Research

When I came home, I googled FNP .45. I came across the FN homepage where they advertise the FNX-.45 was modeled after the FNP-45 which was introduced in 2007. Both the slide and barrel are stainless steel. The FNP-.45 was designed to replace the current M9 pistol that is in use by the U.S. military. Personally, I would choose the FNP-.45 if I were still serving. However, I think that the 7.62x25mm Tokarev round would be better suited as it penetrates most infantry helmets. If I were to design my military issue pistol, it would be in the 7.62x25mm caliber and be designed like the FN-.45, now that would be a humdinger.

History of Fabrique Nationale

Talk about an interesting Firearms Manufacturer. FN has been through two world wars and was the center of research and development for the most innovative firearms inventor of the 20th century, John Browning. In 1897 John Moses Browning made 61 round-trips between the U.S. and Europe before his death in 1926. Post-WWII, once Belgium is liberated from German occupation, FN rebuilds 2 million U.S small arms. From 1953 to 1976 FN produces the GP-35 an updated version of the Browning Hi-Power. In 2007-2008 FN introduces the FNP-45 and the SCAR 16 to the U.S. law enforcement market.

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Taurus 66 Silhouette Review

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Super Subsonics

 

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K5 tactical tomahawk: rugged as stone!

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Safariland Armorwear

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The Coleman rechargeable flashlights has been a most useful item in your camping site in the boondocks that have been the favorite destination of your family in summer and even at other times of the year when your kids suggest that you try camping out also in the colder months.

Your family has become an outdoor type family ever since the kids have grown up from their toddler years and have become very energetic boys in their pre-teen years.

Your four children (all boys) are very rowdy kids, but since they are all boys, you are not surprised at all. You yourself come from a family of five kids with only one girl, so you are used to the company of boys. Your sister then even threatened that she will wear pants when she grows up since all her experience as a kid were all experiences of the boys – she did not know then how it was to be a girl. Like your family now, you used to go on many camping trips as your dad then was a duck hunter, always using his Coleman flashlight when seeing a flock of ducks and swiftly shooting them down with his shotgun.

Your four boys now keep teasing Mom to act as a young girl so they can start practicing on how to court a girl. The four have begun eyeing the more attractive lookers among their classmates in school, saying that they have developed the strange feeling now that they want the girls now for company, rather than the boys whom they preferred as playmates when they were younger. Even in the recent campout you had last month the eldest boy borrowed the rechargeable flashlight you brought because he wanted to visit a girl he met that day in her family’s tent, just a few hundred meters away from your own tent.

It was a very dark night so you hesitated in giving the Coleman rechargeable flashlight to him, advising him to visit her the following morning instead. But the boy insisted to go that night saying the girl’s smile was so sweet when he first met her in the morning. “Dad”, he reminds you, “you have always told us to strike when the iron is hot before, remember?”

You have to get some help from Mom on this one. You did not realize that the lesson you gave them before on the hot iron and the need to strike it when still hot could apply to a situation like this one now of your son wanting to visit a girl in a hurry. Mom was as confused; she had to raise her arms up in surrender.

You had to give the led flashlight to the kid, hoping he will not bring back a daughter-in-law for you and Mom when he comes back. You regret having told the kids that “strike when the iron is hot” lesson before. Now you do not really know what your eldest made out of it when he left to see the girl.

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Bug Out Bag Clothes

This category is often ignored because people think they can make do with what they are wearing, do not have any spares or are not sure what they should pack. But to ensure survival in an emergency situation, you need the right kind of clothing to protect you from the elements. Extreme conditions like a hurricane, heavy snowfall and dropping temperatures can easily turn fatal if you are not prepared for them.

There are different principles that can be used as guidelines in deciding what clothes to pack. The Special Forces Survival Guide advocates the layer principle because it’s been proven effective in different climates. The basic premise is to wear several layers of clothing and as conditions changed to add or remove these layers. As you travel try to avoid sweating by removing layer before you get too warm. Perspiration is fine until you slow down or stop at which point the sweat will begin to cool you down and could cause a chill or hypothermia.

  • Consider your environment. If you live in an area with moderate climate, you can fore-go the thermals and just consider additional layers of clothing instead. This can be in the form of shirts and lightweight jackets which you can easily add on and take off. In an extremely cold region, thermal underwear are must-haves. A woolen shirt can be worn on top of this followed by a jacket or a sweater.
  • Invest in outdoor gear that is made of woven fibers because they give better insulation and are also weatherproof. Your topmost garment should also be made of waterproof and breathable fabric. Gore-Tex is a perfect example of this. It’s a patented material that keeps you protected from the elements and also allows the vapor from your sweat to evaporate through the jacket or pants.
  • Make sure that you include a cap or hat for your head that will act as insulation to keep you warm even in cold weather. Experts say that major heat loss happens when heat passes out through the head. An ideal cap or hat should be made of a soft shell that is covered by nylon. A brim will help keep the snow and wind out of your eyes and a pair of flaps will protect your ears and keep them warm.

Other specifications include:

  • Undergarments: Pack extras. While you are not expected to change daily in an extreme situation, it is important to have a back up set ready in your BOB.
  • Main Garments: Make sure that you are prepared for the outdoors. Choose quick drying, lightweight, and weather proof pants and shirt. Buy pants that have multi-purpose pockets that can be zipped up because they can double as storage space for you. A convertible pair is also a good choice in the event that the weather gets warmer and you have to strip some of the clothes you have layered.
  • Avoid cotton for your BOB because this material tends to hold in water and dries slowly.
  • Wool or synthetics are good options because they are water-resistant, durable, and good insulators so it can help keep you warm in winter and comfortable in fair weather.
  • Choose neutral colors so you can easily blend in with your background.
  • Jackets: The best outerwear is usually made up of a combination of Gore-Tex which is a thin plastic laminated film used for lining coats and parkas. It is a breathable material that allows your sweat to evaporate and is quite durable. Polypropylene is another example. It is not water-resistant nor is it as strong, but it effectively wicks sweat away from your skin. It is often used for athletic garments and would be a good clothing option. Also consider merino wool, which is lightweight and softer and does not itch as much as regular wool.
  • Accessories:
    • Footwear: include an adequate pair of boots in your pack. Wearing them would be a better option so you won’t have to bear the extra weight. This should keep you feet protected from the elements. Choose a pair that comes with flexible soles because it can withstand a lot of walking. The jury’s still out on whether heavy but durable leather boots are better over lightweight ones so choose as you see fit. Keep the type of terrain in your area in mind when you purchase a pair. Along with this, pack several pairs of socks as back up. This will also help in keeping your feet warm and dry.

Gloves: Pack several pairs of mittens and gloves so that your hands are adequately covered. The extra pairs will be helpful in case the ones you’re wearing get torn up or damaged. Again, choose the waterproof kind if you can so you preserve your body heat. Leather gloves can be treated with paraffin or seal oil to protect the material, make it waterproof, and last longer.

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SteriPEN Classic Review

SteriPEN Classic is an ultraviolet sterilizer with pre-filter created by Hydro-Photon Inc. It is one of the company’s UV purifiers that deliver water that is safe and portable when you are on travel, in an emergency, or on the trail.

SteriPEN Classic is utilized in purifying water to make it safe, drinkable and available to people. It primarily wipes out bacteria, cysts, and viruses including Cryptosporidium and Giardia through high-energy UV (Ultraviolet) light. The product is an easy-to-use device, which sterilizes water in an efficient and quick way without using any chemicals or the need for physical force of pumping water.

SteriPEN Classic’s Key Features

  • Eliminates 99.9% bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, including Cryptosporidium and Giardia, with the use of Ultraviolet light
  • User-friendly product with a push-button start
  • Powered by 4 AA batteries that measures 7.6 inch long and weighs 8 ounces
  • Completes water purification within 48 seconds for 16 ounces and 90 seconds for 32 ounces
  • No use of chemicals and pumping
  • Water resistant
  • Includes a water pre-filter

Pros and Cons

SteriPEN Classic is a water purifier that is easy-to-use and durable. It purifies and treats water fast, especially in areas where water is unsafe and undrinkable. It is reliable and efficient for a prepper, backpacker or camper.

  • It works with most brands of wide-mouthed water bottles.
  • Low level of maintenance and cleaning is needed.
  • Three year warranty
  • No pumping required

The major negative in my opinion is its’ use of batteries. You must keep spare batteries with you at all times or a method to charge the ones you have while on the go.

SteriPEN Classic Consumers Reviews

Many consumers purchase and use the SteriPEN Classic on day trips, backpack trips, and camping. These activities usually take about two to ten days of outdoor activity. Water is one of the basic needs a person must account for and the SteriPEN Classic has received praises from its users because it is effective, easy-to-use, easy to clean and durable. The pre-filter that accompanies the product can be utilized if water is muddy or bad.

SteriPEN Classic had been recognized and received awards, including Time’s Top 100 Gadgets of the Century (2001), Editors’ Choice’s Adventurer Opti Backpacker (2011), Men’s Journal’s Gear of the Year (2011), and Travel and Leisure’s Best Travel Accessory (2011).

SteriPEN Classic specifications:

  • Dimensions: 7.6” x 1.5” x 1.5”
  • Weight: depending on the batteries used, 6.5 to 8 ounces
  • Utilizes UV light
  • Needs AA batteries to power up and work

In the past the SteriPEN Classic was my primary method of water purification. (Be sure you understand the difference between filtered and purified.) On a recent back-country trip to test out some gear I forgot to bring batteries with me and was forced to use a backup method to have drinking water. The SteriPEN is a great choice as a method to make water potable IF you are sure to always keeps plenty of spare batteries with you at all times.

For more details and consumer reviews you can go to Amazon.

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What is on Your Bug Out Bag List? Here is Mine…

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Survival Vehicle – The Best SHTF Checklist

The thought of your family being in danger is a good reason to start preparing for a worst case scenario. Recent history has shown us that it pays to be prepared because you never know when a disastrous event will happen. You need to pack the things you need to survive and have a clear idea on how to quickly move to another location. This presents a real challenge because in the face of a calamity, moving to another place can become impossible. This is where a bug out vehicle (BOV) comes in handy. Having a BOV can spell the difference between surviving a disaster and being counted as a casualty.

There are different ideas on what would make an ideal bug out vehicle though not all of them are reasonable. It makes no sense investing huge sums of money in something that you will only use in an extreme situation. A pick-up truck or SUV are suitable and realistic options for a BOV because they are sturdy and can handle traveling off road. These are already a popular choice among consumers because they are both practical and flexible.

Keep in mind that a BOV should be able to transport both the members of your family and your possessions to a safe location. There should be adequate seating and space for the bug out bag essentials that you need to carry with you. Your bugging out items should be prepared long before hand so all you need to do is to load them up in your car. Many preppers have a bug out bag checklist to ensure that everything you need is in your bug out bag when you need it. Some preppers go the extra distance by preparing extra BOBs and stashing them in each of their cars. This way, they are ready to go and move out from any location in case disaster strikes.

If you consider a bug out vehicle part of your evacuation plans, there are two sets of preparations that you need to do. One involves organizing car supplies for your BOV that are necessary to reach a safe location. The second arrangement is for your bug out gear. Getting these things ready for an extreme situation requires a clear head which is why you need to do them ahead of time. It will be impossible to call everything to mind in the middle of an emergency because the safety of your family will be your sole concern.

Some of the items that are needed for your BOV include:

  • Fuel. Determining what amount is adequate can be tricky because you will be going off on uncharted territory. Make a habit of keeping your gas tank at least half full to be prepared for any eventuality. To supplement this, many preppers store additional gasoline or diesel in their homes. Be sure to use your stored gasoline on a set schedule.
  • Cell phone charger. Being able to recharge your mobile phone while on the road is an added advantage. This gives you the chance to connect with family members and loved ones and friends for help and rescue. Make sure that you advise someone where you plan to go and the routes that you may be taking.This is my Radio
  • Portable Radio. The one I recommend can be charged and recharged by hand crank. Is should be part of your bug out bag. You can listen to news updates on your car radio while on the move and avoid congested areas.
  • Car Supplies. Pack fluids that you would need for your vehicle like antifreeze, motor and transmission oil and brake fluids. Include a piece of clean rag so you easily measure the levels of the different fluids.
  • Road salt or sand. Stash a bag in the trunk so you can use it for traction in the event of heavy snowfall. You will also need this if you get stuck on ice.
  • Jumper cables. Choose cables that are thicker, four or six gauge wire are good options.
  • Emergency lights or flares. You can use the emergency lights at night to let help and rescue teams determine your location. This will help you conserve your car’s battery so you can use it longer. If you have to resort to using flares, place them at a distance from your car.
  • Extra fuses. Pack spare fuses with different amperes.
  • Reflectors and distress signal lights
  • Different types of rope, paracord, tie wires, and a tow rope
  • A tool kit that includes a screwdriver set, pliers, wrenches, shears, hammer, utility knife, a small saw, and rolls of duct and electrical tape.
  • Mini air compressor to inflate a flat tire.
  • Blankets. You may have a couple stashed in your bags but extras will come in handy to protect you from cold weather or to place under you if you have to change a flat tire or another repair.
  • Portable shovel. This can be pretty bulky to carry in your bug out bag but will fit nicely in the trunk of your car along with the other necessities.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries. It is smart to pack a couple of batteries together with a flashlight. These can be stashed in each of your bug out bags and in the passenger compartment of your car for easy retrieval. Pack a couple of candles and camping matches along with these items.
  • First Aid Kit. Keeping an extra kit in your vehicle makes good sense so that you have a back up resource in case you needPoint Blank Body Armor

    Point Blank Body Armor is one of the leading manufacturers of body armor for law enforcement, correctional offers, and military. Point Blank manufacturers concealable body armor, tactical body armor, raid vests, and stab/slash body armor. Point Blank Body Armor employs some of the most talented engineers in the body armor field which allows Point Blank to manufacture a high quality product. Point Blank was established in 1973 and is based out of Florida.

    Point Blank Body Armor is one of the leading manufacturers of body armor for law enforcement, correctional offers, and military. Point Blank manufactures concealable body armor, tactical body armor, raid vests, and stab/slash body armor. Point Blank Body Armor employs some of the most talented engineers in the body armor field which allows Point Blank to manufacture a high quality product. Point Blank was established in 1973 and is based out of Florida.

    In this police equipment review we will take a look at the different types of body armor made by Point Blank. Point Blank manufactures several soft, concealable body armor products. Those products include the Vision, Hilite, and the C-Series vests. They also manufacture the R20-D carrier that can be converted into a ballistic vest with the addition of Point Blank ballistic panels. One of Point Blank’s newest products is the Rapid Deployment armor bag. This product is designed to carry a long gun and quickly be converted into a ballistic vest in a few simple steps. This bag is perfect for active shooter situations or any other situation where a rapid response is necessary.

    The Point Blank Vision concealment vest is engineered for superior performance while providing maximum comfort. The Vision ballistic vest is manufactured with a temperature regulating liner that keeps the officer cooler and more comfortable. The Point Blank Vision is available in level II or level III armor protection ratings.

    Point Blank offers several models of tactical ballistic vests. Those models include the S.P.I.D.E.R., Dragonfire, Swat Cert Plus, and Assualt-1. They also offer tactical vests for K-9’s and accessories needed for every tactical response.

    The Dragonfire tactical raid vest is a side opening vest that provides great mobility. This is one of the most comfortable tactical raid vests available. The vest is equipped with the MOLLE webbing to apply pouches too. Both shoulders offer non skid rifle stock retention material to prevent wear and tear on the raid vest.

    The Stealth Protection Integrated Design Equipment Resource (SPIDER) tactical raid vest meets all the needs of a tactical officer. The vest comes equipped with the MOLLE system and an opening for a hydration tube. The vest provides IIIA protection.

    The Point Blank military ballistic vests are worn by many Military personnel. The Military product line includes the Interceptor OTV, Assault 1, and International Interceptor ballistic vests. All of these vests are light weight and provide level IIIA protection. With several accessories available, these ballistic raid vests are perfect for military personnel.

    Correctional officers prefer the Nato Swat vest manufactured by Point Blank. The Nato Swat vest is capable of having level III and level IV hard armor plates inserted into it to provide maximum protection. The outershell of the vest is made of a very durable Cordura nylon or cotton-polyester blend. This vest is a perfect compliment to the Point Blank knee or elbow pads.

    Point Blank Body Armor and PACA Body Armor saw a need to protect officers from a weapon that they themselves carry, the taser. The two companies came together and created the Thor Shield. The Thor Shield can easily be put into any existing ballistic vest and prevents electrical shock to the officer wearing the vest if either of the prongs hit in the Thor Shield. The Thor Shield is a thin material that resists the electrical shock more than a human’s body. The electrical current will follow the least restrictive path it comes into contact with. Therefore, the electrical current will stay on the Thor Shield. The end result is the officer is not incapacitated by the electrical shock and can still perform his or her job.

    With the custom sizing that is offered by Point Blank, you are sure to get a high quality, comfortable, perfect fitting body armor vest from Point Blank. At Point Blank it is their mission to save the lives of those that protect our freedom through their service. Point Blank is proud to manufacture all their products in the United States and they always use the most advanced materials and research to produce top quality products that will always perform reliably. Each Point Blank employee adheres to the mission of the best customer safety and satisfaction.

    In business since 1973, Point Blank has had many years to establish and maintain a reputation for value and the highest quality products The Point Blank name is synonymous with safety and protection. If you are looking for the best police equipment, be sure to check out Point Blank body armor. The Point Blank website provides information about dealer locations, sizing chart for male, female, and k-9 body armor. From the Point Blank website you can also download the newest Point Blank catalog to find the newest body armor options available. Whether you are looking for concealable body armor, tactical body armor, government or military body armor, or corrections body armor and accessories, you are sure to find a product to suit your needs at Point Blank.

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    Choosing the Best Survival Knife

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    A Parametric Study of Handgun Concealed Carry

    When selecting a specific handgun for concealed carry self defense usage, numerous factors are of great concern.

    Some of these factors include: handgun size, weight, caliber, capacity, reliability, accuracy, action type, safety systems, and cost.

    Additional factors also to be considered include: user’s body size and shape, user’s skill level, holster type and carry location, and an expected worst case threat level.

    Many of these concerns require a compromise such as: 1) the most powerful caliber is not associated with the lightest weight, 2) the largest capacity is not associated with the smallest size, and 3) the lowest cost is not associated with the highest reliability, etc.

    Therefore, given the large number of opposing parameters, when selecting the specific handgun for concealed carry self defense usage, a compromise handgun is always selected.

    In this study I attempt to evaluate the handgun compromise by only looking at four handgun parameters: size, weight, caliber, and capacity.

     

    This compromise is shown pictorially by:

     

     

    If we can select a group of handguns that satisfies the compromise based on an appropriate balance of size, weight, caliber, and capacity, a user could then select a single handgun from the group based on the other important parameters of reliability, accuracy, action type, safety systems, cost, etc.

    The group of handguns that satisfies the compromise will be highly dependent on three additional factors: 1) number of adversary targets, 2) the number of shots fired at the target(s), and 3) the percentage of shots fired that are good solid hits on the target(s). These factors are not attributes of the handgun and ammunition but are specific to a particular situation or scenario.

    Therefore, the optimum compromise handguns are specific scenario dependent. This is realistic because various handguns are more or less suited for differing scenarios.

    List of Handguns

    Details of the Analysis


    This study evaluates concealed carry handguns for self defense in various scenarios using the following parameters:

    Handgun Size


    For this study, handgun size is defined by three terms:

    • Overall Length (OL)
    • Overall Height (OH)
    • Overall Width (OW)

    OL = measured parallel to the barrel from the front of the barrel to the rear of the grips/stocks.

    OH = measured perpendicular to the barrel from the top of the slide/top strap (not including sights) to the bottom of the grips/stocks (assumes “combat” sights).

    OW = For Revolvers: the maximum diameter of the cylinder (assumes “combat stocks).

    OW = For Pistols: the maximum width of the grip (assumes “combat” safeties).

    All dimensions are in inches.

    Handgun Weight

    Handgun Weight


    For this study, Handgun Weight is defined as the handgun empty (plus magazine empty, if appropriate).

    All weights are in ounces.

    Note: I would like to use “loaded” weight, but have not had the time to put it together.

    Handgun Ammunition Capacity

    Handgun Ammunition Capacity


    For this study, Handgun Ammunition Capacity is defined as:

    For Revolvers: the original manufacture cylinder capacity.

    For Pistols: the capacity of an original manufacture, flush fitting, pre-ban magazine plus one in the chamber (unless handgun is not “safe” to carry with one in the chamber).

    For this study, the ability to reload the handgun is disregarded.

    One-Shot-Stop Percentage

    One-Shot-Stop Percentage


    It is assumed that a user selecting to carry a concealed handgun for self defense will select the most effective, readily available ammunition.

    Ammunition effectiveness for this study is defined by the One-Shot-Stop Percentage.

    One-Shot-Stop Percentage is a number highly written about and highly discussed in gun magazines.

    Sanow, Marshall, and Fuller are usually associated with this topic and Sanow and Marshall have published two books on the topic (the second book with Fuller). Marshall uses actual street data in determining One-Shot-Stop Percentage. Fuller uses a statistically derived equation in determining the Fuller Index which is an estimate of One-Shot-Stop Percentage.

    One-Shot-Stop Percentage (Fuller Index) is a number estimating how many assailants will be “stopped” when hit by a One-Shot-Stop Hit.

    Definition of One-Shot-Stop Hit

    One-Shot Stop Percentage (Fuller Index) is caliber dependent.

    The One-Shot-Stop Percentage (Fuller Index) used in this study for various handgun calibers is:

     

    Percent One-Shot-Stop Hits


    For this study, Percent One-Shot-Stop Hits is defined as the percentage of shots fired that would be classified as potential One-Shot-Stop Hits by Sanow, Marshall, and Fuller when calculating One-Shot-Stop Percentage.

     

    Percent One-Shot-Stop Hits is used in conjunction with Total Number of Shot Fired to calculate number of One-Shot-Stop Hits.

     

     

    Definition of Total Number of Shots Fired


    The Number of Shots Fired is dependent on handgun ammunition capacity and can and will be limited by a specific handgun’s ammunition capacity.

     

    Definition of Handgun Ammunition Capacity


    For this study, Handgun Ammunition Capacity is defined as:

    For Revolvers: the original manufacture cylinder capacity.

    For Pistols: the capacity of an original manufacture, flush fitting, pre-ban magazine plus one in the chamber (unless handgun is not “safe” to carry with one in the chamber).

     

    For this study, the ability to reload the handgun is disregarded.

    For this study, Total Number of Shots Fired is a number chosen by the user and is specific scenario dependent.

    Also, for this study, the ability to reload the handgun to increase The Number of Shots Fired is disregarded.

     

    Definition of One-Shot-Stop Hits


    A One-Shot-Stop Hit is a topic highly written about and highly discussed in gun magazines.

    Sanow, Marshall, and Fuller are usually associated with the statistical discussion of this topic and Sanow and Marshall have written two books on the topic (the second book with Fuller).

    One-Shot-Stop Hit is usually described as a “solid” torso hit. Refer to magazines and books for more description.

    It must be noted that a missed One-Shot-Stop Hit is not necessarily a miss of the target.

    One-Shot-Stop Hits is defined as:

    It must be noted that a missed One-Shot-Stop Hit is not necessarily a miss of the target.

    For this study, Percent One-Shot-Stop Hits is specific scenario dependent and is chosen by the user.

    Total Number of Shots Fired

    Definition of Total Number of Shots Fired

    The Number of Shots Fired is dependent on handgun ammunition capacity and can and will be limited by a specific handgun’s ammunition capacity.

    Definition of Handgun Ammunition Capacity

    For this study, Total Number of Shots Fired is a number chosen by the user and is specific scenario dependent.

    Also, for this study, the ability to reload the handgun to increase The Number of Shots Fired is disregarded.

    Number of Targets

    Definition of Number of Targets

    For this study, Number of Targets is defined as the quantity of individual targets requiring stopping by handgun fire.

    The Number of Targets is specific scenario dependent and is chosen by the user.

    This study looks at the handgun, ammo, target system by defining three factors:

    The Carry Factor, Carry-f

    An Indicator of Handgun Concealed Carryability

    Comfortably carrying a concealed handgun for self defense usage is a function of many factors including: human body size and shape, holster type and location, and of course the handgun size, weight, and sharp edges.

    For this study, I evaluate the carryability of a handgun by studying the handgun only.

    For this study, I define the Carry Factor, Carry-f, which gives an indication of how easily or difficulty a handgun is to physically carry concealed.

    The definition of Carry-f is dependent on four parameters:

    • Overall Length (OL)
    • Overall Height (OH)
    • Overall Width (OW)
    • Handgun Weight (WT)

    Carry-f is a weighted product of these four parameters.

    The Ammo Factor, Ammo-f

    An Indicator of Handgun Stopping Power

    In most studies of handgun ammunition stopping power, the results discuss only the ammunition. The handgun and the ammunition are a partnership and the specific handgun’s capacity can also play an important role in the stopping power discussion.

    The Ammo Factor, Ammo-f, is designed to combine the discussions of ammunition stopping power and handgun capacity.

    Ammo-f is an indicator of a specific handgun’s stopping power. Ammo-f is specific scenario dependent and is an indicator of a specific handgun’s ability to stop an adversary or multiple adversaries with single or multiple hits.

    Ammo-f is dependent on:

    • Handgun Ammunition Capacity
    • One-Shot-Stop Percentage
    • Percent One-Shot-Stop Hits
    • Total Number of Shots Fired

    Number of Targets

    The beginning of understanding Ammo-f, is to understand how I apply One-Shot-Stop Percentage for a specific Handgun Caliber:

    Lets assume a specific Handgun Caliber has a One-Shot-Stop Percentage of 75%.

    If 16 targets are hit with a One-Shot-Stop Hit, 12 targets (75%) would be stopped and 4 targets (25%) would not be stopped.

    If the 16 targets are hit with a second One-Shot-Stop Hit, the 12 stopped targets would obviously remain stopped.

    Of the 4 previously un-stopped targets, 3 (75%) would now be stopped and 1 target (25%) would still remain un-stopped.

    Two One-Shot-Stop Hits with a One-Shot-Stop Percentage of 75%, would stop 15 out of 16 targets for an Ammo Factor, Ammo-f, of 94%.

    If the Percentage of One-Shot-Stop Hits is 33%, than a total of 6 shots would have to be fired to yield the two One-Shot-Stop Hits.

    If Handgun Capacity was less than 6 shots, the Ammo Factor, Ammo-f, would be reduced below the 94% level because the gun ran out of ammo!

    Finally, if the Number of Targets is two, the Total Number of Shots Fired is 12, and the Percentage of One-Shot-Stop Hits is 33%, then the result would be two One-Shot-Stop Hits per target. If still assuming a One-Shot-Stop Percentage of 75%, the scenario would yield an Ammo-f of 94%. And in this case, if the Handgun Capacity was less than 12, Ammo-f would again be reduced below 94% because the gun ran out of ammo.

    Note: It could easily be argued that if a first hit had a One-Shot-Stop Percentage of 75%, that the second hit could have a One-Shot-Stop Percentage different than 75%. The difficulty in the argument would be determining whether the One-Shot-Stop Percentage increased or decreased. To minimize the discussion, for this study all “hits” have the same One-Shot-Stop Percentage

     

    The Concealed Carry Weapon Factor, CCW-f

    An Indicator of Optimum Compromise Between Handgun Concealed Carryability and Stopping Power

    For this study, I defined The Concealed Carry Weapon Factor, CCW-f.

    CCW-f is the number that indicates the relative optimization of the compromise between handgun concealed carryability and handgun stopping power.

    CCW-f is dependent on the values for:

    • The Carry Factor, Carry-f
    • The Ammo Factor, Ammo-f

    CCW-f is defined as:

    A smaller CCW-f indicates a more optimized compromise between carryability and stopping power.

    CCW-f values within 10% of each other can be considered equal and can be grouped together.

    Since CCW-f is dependent on numerous parameters which are specific scenario dependent, CCW-f ratings vary depending on specific scenario. This is realistic because various handguns are more or less suited for differing scenarios.

    CCW-f Results

    Notes on interpretation and bringing reality to the results:

    1. A greater number of One-Shot-Stop Hits per target helps weaker calibers. This is shown in the study and reflects reality.

    2. Greater Numbers of Shots Fired increases the probability of “missed” One-Shot-Stop Hits (i.e. less than 100% One-Shot-Stop Hits, perhaps way less). This is realistic and in this study is specific scenario dependent and therefore up to the user.

    3. Perhaps the most realistic scenarios and, therefore, good places to begin reviewing the study results are:

    a) 1 Target, 1 Shot Fired, 100% One-Shot-Stop Hits (i.e. One One-Shot-Stop Hit)

    CCW-f for 1 Target, 1 Shot Fired, 100% One-Shot-Stop Hits

    b) 1 Target, 2 Shots Fired, 100% One-Shot-Stop Hits (i.e. Two One-Shot-Stop Hits)

    CCW-f for 1 Target, 2 Shots Fired, 100% One-Shot-Stop Hits

    c) 1 Target, 3 Shots Fired, 33% One-Shot-Stop Hits (i.e. One One-Shot-Stop Hit)

    CCW-f for 1 Target, 3 Shots Fired, 33% One-Shot-Stop Hits

    d) 1 Target, 6 Shots Fired, 33% One-Shot-Stop Hits (i.e. Two One-Shot-Stop Hits)

    CCW-f for 1 Target, 6 Shots Fired, 33% One-Shot-Stop Hits

     

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    United cutlery m48 apocalypse fighter knife review

    Priced at a very affordable $10, the Apocalypse Fighter was an impulse purchase backed with a little purpose. I’ve been looking for a very basic knife to take camping/hiking, and when I saw that the Apocalypse Fighter came with a free paracord bracelet, I couldn’t pass it up.

    For those of you not familiar with it, paracord is a general purpose utility cord that is very thin (usually 5/8? diameter) and very strong. Made from nylon, it is composed of individual strands (usually seven) that are surrounded by a woven sheath and Type III, the most common type, has a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds!

    The woven paracord bracelet is made of ten feet of cord and fits up to a nine inch wrist. There is also an additional ten feet of paracord woven around the handle of the knife. In a pinch, you can unwind the entire length of a makeshift rope or cut off a segment to tie down or repair a piece of equipment while in the field.

    The knife itself has a very simple, yet effective design. Made of AUS-6 stainless steel with a black finish, the knife is an impressive 11.5 inches long. The full-tang blade is 5 inches long and incorporates a partial sawback into the design. The knife is very thin, yet sturdy and durable. After using it for various tasks, it retained it were extremely sharp edge and did not warp or permanently bend when used to pry or dig.

    The knife also comes with a nylon belt sheath emblazoned with the M48 logo. It’s not the sturdiest sheath, but it does the trick by keeping the knife in place with velcro closures.

    Overall, I think that the M48 Apocalypse Fighter Knife is a great product, especially when you consider the price point. It is a very durable and effective blade and provides you with 20 feet of paracord, which can be an invaluable tool in the field. The color of the paracord is a little too loud for my taste, and the sheath could be a little higher quality, but for $10, I consider this knife a steal!

    In the future, I hope that I get the opportunity to review several other items from the United Cutlery M48 Kommando Collection. Items like the Survival Hammer and Spear seem like they would be great additions to my collection. Now I just need to find the excuse to buy them.

    Please Note: This item was purchased with my own money and these are my thoughts and opinions.
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    United Cutlery M48 Hawk Tactical Tomahawk

    United Cutlery is very well known in the cutlery world. They create high-quality knives and swords for the collector, outdoor enthusiast, and military. The M48 Kommando collection is an example of some of their more functional tactical tools while adding a little bit of attitude. The items in the collection are geared towards the military and outdoor enthusiasts and include everything from knives to a tactical shovel.

    The M48 Hawk Tactical Tomahawk is designed to be the “ultimate tactical weapon”. It has a large 4? sweeping blade on one side which is designed for chopping and slashing and a slightly hooked double-edged blade on the back, which is designed for puncturing and tearing. The 8? head is cast from sturdy anodized stainless steel and is attached to a fiberglass reinforced (30%) nylon handle with three separate bolts.

    The Hawk comes with a nylon sheath, which uses snap buttons to secure the head. A small belt loop is attached to the sheath so you can secure it to your belt, pack straps, etc. The handle also comes with an attachment point that is a perfect spot to attach a length of paracord.

    I think that the Hawk is a great piece of equipment, especially considering that it is priced between $30-$60. It is so lightweight, around 1.5 pounds, which you barely notice it hanging from your belt. Even though it is so light, it is still an extremely sturdy tool. The head slices through heavy tree limbs effortlessly and can penetrate drywall, sheet metal, and plywood very easily.

    The only complaint I have is the sheath. The belt loop is small and makes it difficult to thread anything but standard width belts (1.5 inches and under) through it. The use of snap buttons on the sheath also makes it difficult to remove or secure the tomahawk quickly. In combat situations, this could be a problem, but anyone looking for something to take camping or to use for demolition should be more than happy with the M48 Hawk.

    Please Note: This item was given to me as a gift by my father, and the views and opinions in this article are my own.

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    The Tactical Warriors Guide to Protective Body Armor

    If you take some time and spend it on the web, you will find thousands of websites and blogs dedicated to body armor, ballistic plates, armored piercing this, level II that, and so on. The reality is that many people don’t know what these phrases mean. This article from our friends at Safeguard Clothing outlines some guidelines that can be used when looking for various kinds of body armor.

    Please note, that this article is not a buyer’s guide. When you are looking for a bulletproof vest and want to know what type will be the best for you, remember that this is just a simple introductory guide to body armor for tactical purposes.

    Velocity Systems Plate

    There are two principal forms of body armor – soft and hard. Body armor can be manufactured from various materials, including ceramic, titanium, steel, polyethylene, and Kevlar and can be employed to protect from anything; starting with .22 caliber gunfire (NIJ Level II) to .30 caliber fire (NIJ Level IV). It is essential to note that body armor is designed and tested to stop various calibers of bullets for a reason. To provide consumers with vests that are lightweight with greater maneuverability, but as a result provide less protection, or heavier with less maneuverability that provides greater protection. In essence, the various vests are designed about the level of expected threat. For example, many police officers wear Level IIIA bulletproof vests, because they often have to cope with smaller caliber pistol projectiles, while soldiers mostly wear Level III and Level IV bulletproof vests to resist higher caliber rifle ammunition.

    The US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sets the guidelines related to bulletproof vests and is the establishment that defines the meaning of each level. There are six main categories of bulletproof body armor according to the NIJ: Level I, Level IIA, Level II, Level IIIA, Level III, and Level IV. There are also special categories that permit manufacturers to fit particular threat-specific armors in their category. Although these categories are mostly technical and are dependent on the vest’s condition, type of the bullet, weight of the round, and velocity of the round, they may be simplified to a particular extent with the use of the guide provided below.

    Level I

    This is soft armor and is the lowest bulletproof vest category. It stops .22 caliber bullets with a 2.6 g average mass. This bulletproof vest is quite light. Level I armor offers the lowest ballistic protection needed for every law enforcement representative. The vest has to be worn, when on duty, throughout the day.

    Level IIA

    This is also soft armor. It stops 124 grain 9 mm full metal jacketed bullets and 180 grain .40 S&W full metal jacketed bullets. Once again, it’s essential to remember that this vest doesn’t stop just any 9mm or .40 S&W bullets. A lot of solid core 9 mm bullets can penetrate through Level IIA bulletproof vests. Nevertheless, this seems to be one of the most maneuverable and lightest armors on the market today.

    Level II

    Once again, this is soft armor. This category represents a small step up from the previous category, offering a bit better protection. Level II bulletproof vests can stop the majority of 9 mm full metal jacketed bullets, and 1158 grain .357 JSP projectiles. This is also lightweight armor that provides less protection, but good mobility.

    Level IIIA

    Same as the three previous categories, Level IIIA armor is also soft. It is meant to stop most pistol ammo and is the highest rated soft armor to date. This bulletproof vest stops up to a 240 grain .44 magnum jacketed hollow point bullet.

    Level III

    This is hard, flexible armor. This type of armor is mostly meant for low caliber full metal jacketed rifle bullets, including the AK-47 7.62×39 bullets. Although this vest can stop some rifle rounds and is quite lightweight and maneuverable, it cannot stop the majority of armored piercing and sniper bullets.

    Level IV

    Like the previous category, this is also hard and flexible armor. This is the highest category provided by the NIJ and is developed for the majority of armored piercing rifle bullets up to 166 grain.30 caliber. This bulletproof vest can stop most sniper rifle bullets, including the Dragunov 7.62x54R bullets. This category also features the least maneuverable and the heaviest vests of all.

    Special Category

    These armors are special threat plates, developed to stop the majority of common bullets found in a particular operation area. Many Special Forces units employ special threat panels so they can be protected from common firearms and stay mobile due to the lightweight of this armor.

    ICW – In Conjunction With

    Many plates are frequently worn with soft armor as a configuration known as “in conjunction.” Conventionally, a plate is worn above Level IIIA armor insert, which makes it either threat specific or Level IV. This makes the plates and total set weigh less. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that when a plate is ICW-specified, it means that it will only provide proper protection when used together with a Level IIIA bulletproof vest or otherwise specified insert.

     

    Please Note: This information was contributed by our friends at Safeguard Clothing

    If you take some time and spend it on the web, you will find thousands of websites and blogs dedicated to body armor, ballistic plates, armored piercing this, level II that, and so on. The reality is that many people don’t know what these phrases mean. This article from our friends at Safeguard Clothing outlines some guidelines that can be used when looking for various kinds of body armor.

    Please note, that this article is not a buyer’s guide. When you are looking for a bulletproof vest and want to know what type will be the best for you, remember that this is just a simple introductory guide to body armor for tactical purposes.

    Velocity Systems Plate

    There are two principal forms of body armor – soft and hard. Body armor can be manufactured from various materials, including ceramic, titanium, steel, polyethylene, and Kevlar and can be employed to protect from anything; starting with .22 caliber gunfire (NIJ Level II) to .30 caliber fire (NIJ Level IV). It is significant to note that body armor is designed and tested to stop various calibers of bullets for a reason. To provide consumers with vests that are lightweight with greater maneuverability, but as a result provide less protection, or heavier with less maneuverability that provide greater protection. In essence, the various vests are designed about the level of expected threat. For example, many police officers wear Level IIIA bulletproof vests, because they often have to cope with smaller caliber pistol projectiles, while soldiers mostly wear Level III and Level IV bulletproof vests to resist higher caliber rifle ammunition.

    The US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sets the guidelines related to bulletproof vests and is the establishment that defines the meaning of each level. There are six main categories of bulletproof body armor according to the NIJ: Level I, Level IIA, Level II, Level IIIA, Level III, and Level IV. There are also special categories that permit manufacturers to fit particular threat-specific armors in their category. Although these categories are mostly technical and are dependent on the vest’s condition, type of the bullet, the weight of the round, and velocity of the round, they may be simplified to a particular extent with the use of the guide provided below.

    Level I

    This is soft armor and is the lowest bulletproof vest category. It stops .22 caliber bullets with a 2.6 g average mass. This bulletproof vest is quite light. Level I armor offers the lowest ballistic protection needed for every law enforcement representative. The vest has to be worn, when on duty, throughout the day.

    Level IIA

    This is also soft armor. It stops 124 grain 9 mm full metal jacketed bullets and 180 grain .40 S&W full metal jacketed bullets. Once again, it’s essential to remember that this vest doesn’t stop just any 9mm or .40 S&W bullets. A lot of solid core 9 mm bullets can penetrate through Level IIA bulletproof vests. Nevertheless, this seems to be one of the most maneuverable and lightest armors on the market today.

    Level II

    Once again, this is soft armor. This category represents a small step up from the previous category, offering a bit better protection. Level II bulletproof vests can stop the majority of 9 mm full metal jacketed bullets, and 1158 grain .357 JSP projectiles. This is also lightweight armor that provides less protection, but good mobility.

    Level IIIA

    Same as the three previous categories, Level IIIA armor is also soft. It is meant to stop most pistol ammo and is the highest rated soft armor to date. This bulletproof vest stops up to a 240 grain .44 magnum jacketed hollow point bullet.

    Level III

    This is hard, flexible armor. This type of armor is mostly meant for low caliber full metal jacketed rifle bullets, including the AK-47 7.62×39 bullets. Although this vest can stop some rifle rounds and is quite lightweight and maneuverable, it cannot stop the majority of armored piercing and sniper bullets.

    Level IV

    Like the previous category, this is also hard and flexible armor. This is the highest category provided by the NIJ and is developed for the majority of armored piercing rifle bullets up to 166 grain.30 caliber. This bulletproof vest can stop most sniper rifle bullets, including the Dragunov 7.62x54R bullets. This category also features the least maneuverable and the heaviest vests of all.

    Special Category

    These armors are special threat plates, developed to stop the majority of common bullets found in a particular operation area. Many Special Forces units employ special threat panels so they can be protected from common firearms and stay mobile due to the lightweight of this armor.

    ICW – In Conjunction With

    Many plates are frequently worn with soft armor as a configuration known as “in conjunction.” Conventionally, a plate is worn above Level IIIA armor insert, which makes it either threat specific or Level IV. This makes the plates and total set weigh less. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that when a plate is ICW-specified, it means that it will only provide proper protection when used together with a Level IIIA bulletproof vest or otherwise specified insert.

     

    Please Note: This information was provided by our friends at Safeguard Clothing (http://www.safeguardclothing.com/).

     

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    Arctic Shield Boot Insulators

    If you spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter, you may have experienced that uncomfortable feeling of cold feet. Some cold weather activities like bow hunting, ice fishing, or snowmobiling don’t require exertion for generating body heat needed to keep the extremities warm.

    In these situations, we need to rely on the quality of our foot coverings to keep our toes warm. Even while sitting for hours in my tree stand, my expensive hunting boots are warm, but my feet still get borderline uncomfortably cold.

    It becomes a test of skills, a game of mind over matter, and thoughts of staying out longer or giving up begin to enter my mind. I usually prevail and can manage the cold, but it sure would have been a lot more enjoyable not having to think about how cold my feet were getting.

    I just discovered the Arctic Shield Boot Insulators. I tested these on a recent ice fishing trip, and I think I just found the cure for cold feet! As a test, I had only one pair of the boot insulators on, while leaving the other with just my hunting boots on. I was on the lake for about 6 hours, and my Arctic Shield foot was comfortable and warm all day. My other foot, with only my Women’s Alphaburly Sport Realtree HD 800g Hunting Boots. The uninsulated foot was not ‘cold,’ since temps were in the mid 20’s, but, they were noticeably cooler than the insulated foot.

     

    Specs:

    • Patented RE-tain insulating technology
    • Roll up easily
    • Machine wash and dry
    • 8″ high, 8 ozs. each
    • 65 / 35 polyester / nylon shell
    • Double Velcro closure

    ArcticShield’s exclusive RE-tain™ technology uses a multi-layered thermic barrier that captures & returns up to 98% of the body heat. By locating an aluminized middle layer between forwarding thermoplastic fabrics, this heat reflection & return method is more efficient than thick conventional insulations that only potential body heat loss. Innovatively thin & unbelievably warm, this clothing provides great insulation & breathable wind- and waterproof protection as well.

     

    Boot Insulators
    Size
    Men’s Shoe
    Medium
    8-9
    Large
    10-11
    XL
    12-13
    2XL
    14-15

     

    A few things I noted:

    • When I ordered these, I thought they looked huge. When I received them, I was surprised how light and slim they folded into my day pack, and they are not the big boat anchors that I was expecting.
    • They were hard to get on; I ordered a SMALL. I learned that I wasn’t supposed to be wearing these with my big hunting boots that have too much insulation! I was able to get them to fit, but it was tight against my Alpha Burly boots. In any event, the results were still good. No complication or heat loss with the fit.
    • The boot insulators are recommended to be worn with lighter boots, or even hiking boots, which have little or no insulation. Boots with too much insulation would cause your feet to sweat and cool your feet. The boot insulators work by insulating your already warm and dry feet. In this case, I would probably put the boot insulators on after I got settled in, and not while walking to my hunting or ice fishing location. ArcticShield garments do not use insulation, in the normal sense. They use a technology called RE-tain™ to keep you warm. RE-tain™ is a very thin piece of material that acts as a heat barrier and reflects up to 97 percent of your body heat back to you. This technology allows garments to be very thin – not bulky like other cold-weather garments.
    • The ArcticShield Boot Insulators are windproof, water-resistant and breathable.
    • Adding chemical warming packs add more warmth to the inside of your boots and the boot insulators radiate that warm back to your toes and feet.

    In summary, I highly recommend these boots for cold weather stationary activities. Nothing will end or ruin your hunt or fishing trip quicker than cold and uncomfortable feet. I wish that I’d found these sooner! I am willing to bet that anyone that tries these would encourage their friends to try them, they’re that good!
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    Review: INFORCE WML (Weapon-Mounted Light)
    When is a flashlight more than just a flashlight? When it is connected to 16 inch barrel and a high capacity magazine, that’s when! I’m an ardent supporter of the armed individual and the belief that everyone has the right to self defense. I also believe you need the right tool to do the right job and INFORCE has made just that.

    Now, I love flashlights, and everybody knows this. The brighter, the better and the more features they have, the more I like them. Well, here comes the INFORCE WML, it’s an innovative piece of equipment that rail mounts onto a long gun and provides a crisp, brilliant beam of light that is more than adequate to illuminate your target and the surrounding area.

    The WML is constructed from a light weight fiber composite that is durable, rugged and uses one 123A battery. Mounting is simple and tools free with the light attaching to any standard 1913 rail. At 125 lumens on the high setting, 60 in the low and a strobe, this will be the last light you ever buy for your rifle…

    Batter Up!

    Features:

    Light Output, White LED
    High: 175 lumens
    Low: 30 lumens
    Light Output, IR: 850 nm
    High: 75 mW
    Low: 25 mW
    Run Time, White LED
    High: 1.5 hours
    Low: 10 hours
    Run Time, Infrared LED
    High: 3.5 hours
    Low: 17 hours

    So I mount the light to my rifle and boy, does it make a difference! It’s replacing a “gun show special” pressure tape activated the incandescent light that was a little to heavy for this application. With the new light on I shouldered the rifle to get a sight picture and WOW! Not only did it light the whole room up but there was a noticeable weight reduction in my rifle system! There were no hotspots in the beam, just intense, clean white light.

    Multifunction Button/Activation Switch Features:

    Primary White LED:
    • Constant and Momentary High, Low and Strobe
    • Reversible High/Low to Low/High Capability
    • Strobe Disable
    Secondary IR LEDs:
    • Constant High and Low
    • Momentary High
    Measurements: 4.1? L. x 1? Bezel D.
    Weight w/ Batteries: 3 oz.
    Batteries: 1 x 123A Lithium

    The ergonomics of the INFORCE WML are what makes it special! Gone is the tape switch and in its place is a pressure switch mounted under a rubber cover/seal which contributes to it being waterproof to 66 feet! When the light is mounted to the front rail, the thumb of your support hand naturally rests at the ready on the switch!

    To prevent accidental activation, INFORCE has added a switch cover that flips up and down with ease. Of course, you are also able to secure the light by twisting the bezel, but the rear safety is where its at! Now, I referred to it as a safety because that’s what it feels like when you are taking it on and off…its cool! I have flipped this safety up and down well over 100 times without any concerning reduction in the friction that holds it either on or off.

     

    The light has three modes…High…Low…and Strobe. All three modes are easily accessed through the one button interface. I’m not going to get into it here, but is very intuitive they way that it works. Plus you can change it to Low to High and disable the Strobe! INFORCE has thought of it all with this one!

    Send in the Clowns…

    Now, I had attached the light to my rifle and was well aware of the illumination it could provide indoors and wanted to see what it could do outside. Apparently, going about at night outside with a rifle and a light attached to it is considered a social faux-paw…Go figure! So I took the light out alone…Holy Cow!! This thing lit up my neighborhood like it was daylight! The WML flooded my backyard and those of the surrounding homes with ease, and from the front yard, the houses across the street glowed in the crisp white light cast by the super bright LED.

    I decided it was time to take this show inside when porch lights began turning on, and front doors were starting to open! Crossing the threshold into my house, I figured now would be a good time to test the strobe…My littlest one upon seeing the flashing shouted dance party, and I was greeted by two little grinning faces that had caught sight of the carnage of illumination that was unleashed. The music started, I re-activated the strobe, and everyone had a blast!

    An Interesting Twist…

    In all the testing, this little light didn’t fail to impress…It is a solid product that will serve you well. In fact, it has replaced my Surefire as my everyday light! The mount tends to dig into my thigh when pocketed, but it is a small price to pay to have such a great light on hand!

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    PS4 2014 Reviews
    I’m a constant traveler who shuns the concept of “roller bags.” I believe in packing light & carrying everything on my back. This philosophy has turned me into something of a snob when it comes to which bags I use.

    If the success of my trip has to rely on a single bag, then that bag had better be well built and well designed. Since we began Warzbot, I’ve purchased and reviewed some “Tactical” and “non-Tactical” day bags that are ideally suited for short day trips. One of my favorites in the Tactical Backpacks category has been my Maxpedition Sitka. A great bag, but too small when trying to carry a slightly larger load. When out and about with my wife and 14 month old son, I need a tactical bag that is reliable, capacious and intelligently designed.

    Recently, the kind folks at 5.11 Tactical Equipment sent us a Rush 12 backpack to evaluate. Since I had a few summer day-trips planned, I had John send the bag directly to me to see if it could stand up to my “bag snob” standards.

    The Bag’s Features:

    The Rush 12 backpack is a mid-size pack which is aimed at the medium-load day-trip type of load. The bag features two well-padded shoulder straps and an integrated sternum strap that helps the bag stay on your shoulders when carrying a heavier load. This kit doesn’t feature a waist strap of any kind, which I didn’t miss. To be honest, I feel that for a bag of this size, waist straps just add unnecessary weight and bulk.

    The Rush 12 bag features three main compartments:

    A large main compartment with smart organization features inside.
    A retention pocket on the “back” portion of the large compartment. Ideal for retaining items within the large capacity main pocket so that you always know where they are when you need them.
    Two smaller mesh pockets perfect for keeping smaller items, so you don’t need to go digging around looking for that lost lighter, key, etc.
    An Outer pocket with many internal sub-dividers
    The smaller outer compartment features less space and some sub-storage pockets meant for keeping small EDC items organized.
    A “Hydration bladder” pocket – For those Camelback type hydration bladders.
    MOLLE attachment points – Like any true “Tactical” bag the 5.11 Rush 12 features tons of MOLLE attachment points, allowing for lots of customization and expansion.

    My usage:

    As I’ve mentioned, I found the bag to be a perfect “day trip” size. It served me well in that capacity of the the past couple of months when out and about with my wife and son. The large main compartment held my son’s diaper bag contents as well as his food, snacks, extra clothes, shoes, sunscreen, etc. The outer pocket nicely held my EDC items.

    My Likes:

    Top Carrying handles – 5.11 thought to add a top-carrying handle to their bag. This is one minor addition to a backpack which I feel makes a huge difference. For all those times you need to pry an overstuffed bag out from behind the backseat of the car, it is so much easier to grab when there is a proper handle.
    Organization – This bag has tons of structure on the inside and actually can serve as the perfect EDC or day trip back.
    Construction – This bag is very sturdy and well constructed. It gives you a feeling that it is indestructible.
    Sternum strap – Not only does this make carrying heavier loads super comfortable but it also allows me to secure the bag to my son’s stroller!

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    My Dislikes:

    Hydration Bladder Compartment – It seems that all bag manufacturers are now adding these hydration bladder pockets to their bags. I don’t live in the Sahara or the Gobi deserts, so I don’t feel the need to carry 5 liters of water with me everywhere I go, but to each his own. The problem I had with this pocket was the lack of alternative utility. I’d like to see Velcro inside the pocket for attaching CCW holsters. Also perhaps an internal organization pocket or two would go a long way to making this compartment useful to those non-camelbackers out there.
    MOLLE – For a bag this size, I’m not sure that I would use the MOLLE attachments. I’d love to see a more “covert” version of this bag with less MOLLE on the outside.
    Summary:

    Overall this 5.11 Rush 12 Pack is perfect for my needs. It isn’t too large, and it isn’t too small. It is well thought out and comfortable and hits that sweet spot between capacity and practicality that I was looking for. With it’s excellent construction, I’d recommend this bag to anyone looking for an EDC/Day-hike type of bag.

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    Roscoby Riser Cam (Bow Mounted Camera)
    Bow-mounted video camera screws into the stabilizer receptacle on your bow to capture footage of your shots, to show your arrow flight, impact, and even your prey’s reaction. The Riser Cam doubles as a stabilizer as well, using Recoil Absorption Technology (RAT) to recover from shot recoil almost instantaneously. Remove the Riser Cam from your bow and it mounts to any tripod to capture footage from any vantage point. Easy to use with one button for power ON and one button for record. Record with built-in 64 MB memory or expand your capacity with up to a 4 GB SD card (not included). Microphone and AV cables included. Operates on 2 AA batteries (not included).

    I guess my review would apply to any small action-cam (video camera); this particular model happens to mount on my compound bow. Other action cams would be mounted on a bike or helmet, or you can strap it onto your head, handlebars, dashboard, car bumper, cat, remote control airplane, etc.

    With the riser cam mounted in the stabilizer hole on my bow, I was looking for a shot of my arrow flying towards its intended target. The unit takes 2 batteries, which were nearly impossible to install. The battery housing was so tight, I had to use excessive force, almost enough to break the unit. The on/off button is difficult to push underneath its semi-waterproof rubber exterior. I think with all the technology we have today, buttons should have a desirable touch to them. Keypad buttons on cell phones and laptops, keyboards, any type of functional button should have a nice feel to them, with a smooth action. The Roscoby on/off button is too stiff. After struggling with the batteries, I was ready to film. The camera will take AA batteries, but they recommend Lithium, it sucks a lot of juice.

    I turned the camera on and shot a few targets. I need to shoot with the riser cam on to see if it changed the sight references. Anything you change on your bow will change the way your arrows fly. After a few little adjustment to my pins, I took it out for the real test… into my hunting stand, for my first archery hunt.

    After a long 2 mile walk to my treestand, the unit was small, light and attached to my bow. That’s a plus. Nothing to carry. No more than 2 hours of the waiting game, a buck walked 30 yards broadside. You can’t ask for a better situation! I turned the riser cam on, and made sure the red light was on, indicating the unit was recording. I had my camera man next to me with a Canon GL2 for the broadcast quality video. As I drew back my bow, I loosed my arrow.

    After the hunt, I was anticipating watching the riser cam videos. Could I see my arrow flying towards the deer? What kind of vantage point did I capture? I plugged the riser cam into my TV and saw several videos to choose from that I could review. I watched the ones of me shooting at the 3D and block target. What I saw was very interesting.

    I was not able to see my arrow flying at all. The frames per second were too slow to see anything moving at 265 fps. Every time I shot, I of course, after my follow through, I let my bow arm down. The camera captured all of this movement, a streak of fuzziness as my arm was swinging down with the camera still in the ‘on’ position. It was something that I had never thought about all of the movement that I am capturing while recording with an action-type mountable camera. Watching this on your screen will make you dizzy!

    The video I wanted to see was the archery hunt. My first bow kill. I navigated the video thumbnails to the last video and saw a black thumbnail. I played it back, and the entire video was black. If I had not had a back-up video camera going, I would have lost a very important moment. I played back all of the videos I’d captured that day and the quality was lacking (n my opinion) on all of them, add the unnecessary movement that I recorded with a mountable video camera and that was all the video I ever needed to see from this camera.

    If you are in the market for a mountable action-cam, spend a little extra money on a higher quality, higher frame rate video capturing unit. I am sure that when the final video is edited, you could cut out all the motion and streaks, but you would definitely want some quality in the filming in order for the video to even be worth editing. The Roscoby Riser Cam (bow-mounted) failed my test, and gave me little hope that I would want a mountable camera of any type for filming any of my outdoor activities. I thought it would be neat to capture some videos while cruising around on my motorcycle also, but with the quality of the video being so poor, it truly isn’t worth watching. I would rather have a larger, full size camera and deal with it’s size and cumbersomeness rather than see poor quality video.

    Roscoby Riser Cam Features:
    • Hands free digital recording
    • Resolution: 640 x 480 pixels (VGA)
    • Frame rate: 30 frames per second
    • Focus range 2 to 40 yards
    • Operates with minimum ambient light (5 lux)
    • Highly water resistant
    • SD card memory expansion (up to 4GB)
    • Built-in memory 64MB
    • 3.5 mm microphone jack
    • Saves audio/video as AVI file format
    • Operating system: Windows XP/Vista
    • USB and RCA cables included (PC & TV viewing)
    • Operates on 2 AA batteries (not included,Lithium batteries recommended)

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    Brownells Versatile Flash Light Review
    Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, an emergency res-ponder, a member of the military or just an everyday citizen preparing for an emergency, a reliable flashlight is a necessary piece of gear.

    I have owned a wide variety of flashlights in my lifetime, and they all have one thing in common: THEY BROKE. Our friends at Brownells sent me something the other week that may have finally changed my luck with flashlights. The Brownells Versatile Light is a beautiful piece of equipment. Built for multiple applications, it is compact enough to fit comfortably in almost anyone’s hand and easily mounted on a handgun or rifle using most standard light mounts. It is made of corrosion resistant aircraft grade aluminum, and it is waterproof, which is always an important feature. I don’t know how many times I’ve had a piece of gear fail because an unexpected rainstorm soaked it!

    The model that I was sent, BVL280, is the more powerful of the two Versatile Series flashlights, with 280 lumens of maximum output. This flashlight is not your ordinary light; it is a compact spotlight that brightens the blackest night. The light is turned on with a sealed rubber 2-stage push button on the end of the handle that allows you to lightly hold for brief illumination or click for a constant hands-free stream of light. It uses a shockproof LED emitter in place of traditional filament light bulbs. This doesn’t just provide you with a brighter white beam of light, but also extends the life of the emitter if it is subjected to bumps, jolts, or is dropped. One aspect of the light that I have not tested is the power management system that reportedly “delivers maximum output for up to 2 hours, then backs down the output to give you up to 24 hours of usable light from one set of batteries.” The power management system can also sense if the flashlight is overheating and will reduce power output to compensate. Smart technology in a flashlight? I’ll take it!

    Whenever I review anything, I always like to look at the extras included with or designed into the item, and this Brownell’s flashlight doesn’t disappoint. The first option I saw and immediately got excited about was the three interchangeable colored lenses (red, green, and blue) included with the light. If you’ve ever gone into the field at night, color lenses are great because they do not ruin night vision. This allows you to illuminate animals at night without scaring them off and keeps you from blinding anyone accompanying you in the field. The light also comes with a small free-spinning lanyard that is easily interchangeable, additional rubber rings to provide an extra grip or finger stops, and a pair of CR-123A lithium batteries.

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    5.11 Taclite Pro Pants

    Verdict: 5.11 Taclite Pro Tactical Pants. Possibly the best pair of casual travel pants evah!

    5.11 Taclite Pro Pants: I’ve always been a huge fan of 5.11’s line of clothing. I’ve worn everything from their Covert shirts to their cargo shorts. Their clothing is rugged, well-designed and practical for my free-time activities. Many of 5.11’s products fall under the “Tactical Gear” category, however for us non-tactical people they double as excellent Travel clothes.

    Verdict: 5.11 Taclite Pro Tactical Pants. Possibly the best pair of casual travel pants evah!

    5.11 Taclite Pro Pants: I’ve always been a huge fan of 5.11’s line of clothing. I’ve worn everything from their Covert shirts to their cargo shorts. Their clothing is rugged, well-designed and practical for my free-time activities. Many of 5.11’s products fall under the “Tactical Gear” category, however for us non-tactical people they double as excellent Travel clothes.

    The Field Test:

    The first field test for this particular pair of pants came in the form of a weekend excursion to Toronto, Ontario. This trip required a border crossing, so the cargo pockets served as a secure and comfortable place to store three passports (Mine, Wife, and Son). The velcro sealed “Magazine” pouch on the left leg doubles as an excellent iPhone pocket, fits the phone perfectly. Huge back pockets served to absorb my All-Ett thin wallet with plenty of room to spare.

    Resilient: The Taclite material seems to be fairly water and stain resistant. My 13 month old son tried his best to drop every drink and food item he could find on them, and a simple wipe was enough to remove any contaminant.

    Good for chunky monkeys like me: My favorite feature of the pant is the elastic or “forgiving” waistline. No trip to Toronto would be full without consuming massive amounts of Chinese and Indian foods, so after two days I came to appreciate how forgiving the waistband is.

    Travel: If you aren’t headed for the boardroom, but rather are just hanging out as a tourist, you’ll want a convenient way to be able to carry all of your goodies with you everywhere you go. The 5.11 Taclite pants’ various deep and secure pockets the pants will accommodate everything you’ll need.
    Quality is evident everywhere, from the snap style pant button and very sturdy zipper all the way too the reinforced pants pocket corers (ideal for clipping a pen or a knife to). The Taclite material excels for the frequent flyer in that it is very lightweight and super quick to dry. Doing a quick hotel-sink wash at night will assure dry wearable pants by morning (most of the time).

    Here what I study for in a pair of tactical pants:

    The right material: Don’t let an excellent-looking design induce you to buy any pants of the wrong fabric. The rip-stop cloth is not an excellent choice for cold, wet weather, no matter how great they look. On the other hand, in hot, wilderness climates, cotton may be the real choice.

    Sturdy belt loops: If you take a lot of stuff in your pockets as I do, then you need a belt to hold the pants up. The belt circles should be strategically located to provide support, not just connect the pants to your belt. A 1-1/2 inch thick belt is a good choice if you will be carrying a lot of gear.

    Pockets: With the outer pocket design, you can carry a kind of gear comfortably. And if your equipment is easy to take, you will.

    Protection: Decide if you want double knees so you can include knee pads, and how important a reinforced knife clip area is. You’ll spend extra for those pieces. But if you’re a primary responder, these might be the most critical things to look for.

    Recently, I got a pair of 5.11 poly-cotton ripstop TACLITE PRO PANTS. Here are the specs, according to the 5.11 website:

    • 6.14 oz. Taclite cotton ripstop fabric
    • Double deep seat and knees (kneepad ready)
    • 48 different bartacks in high-stress areas
    • Triple-stitch coating
    • Prym® snaps
    • YKK® zippers

    Also, there are 7-pockets, & the fabric is managed with Teflon for soil, stain, & spill resistance. The pants have an elastic action waistband, a fully gusseted crotch and a hip mounted D-ring to hold keys or an ID.

    Several features leaped out immediately.

    Here’s what I like:

    Sound design: The pants are well-proportioned for grown men with athletic builds. There is lots of room in the seat & thighs, so the legs don’t bind during dynamic activities. But there isn’t excess accumulation in the legs.

    Sturdy belt loops: When my pockets are weighed down with a map, wallet, & compass, pocket knife, handkerchief, lighter, and other stuff, there is no danger of my pants sagging.

    Strategically located pockets: An adjusted square pocket serves well to bring my dumb phone. The cargo pockets are sewn-down, so they still look good after they’ve been hit a couple of times.

    Not so crazy about:

    Material: The pants are a 65/35% polyester/ cotton ripstop blend. The material is rugged, & ripping or wearing the pants out under normal conditions shouldn’t be a difficulty. But the appearance of cotton, IMO, rules out using these pants in cold situations where they sway get wet. I’d like to see these pants in an all-synthetic fabric.
    Made in Vietnam: I have zero issue with any foreign country. But I would like these pants to be prepared in the United States. Put an American to work.

    The Bad

    Nothing is without flaw & these pants are no exception. I’ve listed the clip ring issue previously. My personal favorite would also be for these pants to not include any cotton in them at all. It’s the 35% cotton only in them that makes me iffy about using them in winter. Tennessee winters are normally very mild, so I am not that concerned here but would not support the to northern readers. Another personal issue is the use of snap buttons over the push through button I’ve not had any issues, but I feel the push through ones is inherently safer. One last gripe is that these pants are dirt magnetites. They get so messy, & regular laundry detergent doesn’t get rid of all the dirt. I use them hard, and it does not bother me too much. I can tell you thought that if you wear them to a primitive skills gathering & wear them the whole week, they will become foul. I would also favor a less tactical pants. Something more Grayman to draw less attention.

    Full Disclosure: I’ve purchased dozens of 5.11 products over the years, even reviewed a few here (including the Covert concealment shirts). I’ve even bought two versions of this pant in the “shorts” version. This particular pant was sent to WARZBOT as a review unit. Had they not done so, I’d probably have bought one anyway (just don’t tell them that.)

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    RZ Mask – Breathe Safe

    The other week I was contacted by our new friends at RZ Mask to test one of their Breathe Safe filter sets. For those of you not familiar with RZ Mask (I was one of you until recently), they produce a multi-purpose mask used by motorcyclists, construction workers, hunters, soldiers, Baja racers, etc. These masks are made of a waterproof neoprene that protects the wearer from the elements (rain, cold, etc.) and is very similar to masks worn by snowboarders and cold-weather enthusiasts. The part that makes these masks different and very cool is the integrated filter technology that provides the user with additional protection from dust, pollens, and other air pollutants.

    RZ Masks come in many different colors with a wide variety of graphics and themes. I was sent their Digital Camo Mask model, which is designed for hunters and soldiers in dusty desert terrain. When I first opened the package, I was very impressed by the ingenuity behind the product. At first impression it looks like a simple neoprene half-mask combined with a surgical mask; however, it is much more than that. The mask has two hard plastic exhaust vents integrated into the front of the mask that directs the air flow through internal filters that look similar to surgical masks. Unlike surgical masks, these interchangeable pieces are very soft and very thin carbon filters that remove 99.9% of dust and particulates from air directed in by the vents. There are also interchangeable Scentless RZ filters designed for hunting that filter not only the air inhaled, but also your exhaled breath so extra-sensitive prey do not smell you and get spooked.

    After trying on and inspecting the mask and its components when it arrived, my next step was to figure out how to test this gear out. I don’t have any equipment that can test the quality of the air before, and after it had traveled through the mask, so I couldn’t check the claim that it filtered 99.9% of dust and particulates. I also didn’t have any dust storms or opportunities to subject it to heavy pollutants or particulates, so I settled for an extensive wear-test to judge it for comfort and fit. I also took the opportunity to use it while doing some heavy cleaning around the house, which subjected it to lots of pet dander (that I am allergic to) and some household chemicals.

    The masks come in three sizes: Youth, Regular, and XL. The mask I tested was a Regular (“Fits Most”) and was very comfortable. I have an extra-large head (Size 7 ¾ in fitted baseball caps), and it fit perfectly, so someone in need of the XL would have to have a huge head. On several occasions, I wore the mask for more than a few hours, and I did not find myself sweating profusely or feeling strangled as I expected. When I used it while cleaning, I noticed a big difference in my reaction to all of the pet hair and dander I was exposed to. Normally I have a terrible reaction where my nose runs profusely, and I end up with irritated/clogged sinuses. I did not experience any discomfort or reaction while using the mask. When I exposed the cover to household chemicals fumes/vapors, I noticed a small difference, but still smelled and felt the chemicals in the air. It should be noted that these masks are not designed to meet OSHA requirements and are only suggested for individuals dealing with light pollution and dust/particulates, but I had to test it out to see how good they were.

    Overall, I like this product and will keep it handy for the next time I know I’ll be riding ATVs or traveling to an area with the dusty terrain. If you are an avid motorcycle rider, dirt biker, or support one of our troops overseas, this is a great product to buy for yourself or as a gift for someone else. I know I’ll be looking for future situations where I can test this mask some more.

    Please Note: This was given to me as a promotional item, and these are my views and opinions
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    Intelligent Armour MultiCam iPad/Netbook Case

    The Product:

    Here at Warzbot, we are occasionally contacted by companies that stumble across our Blog and ask us to review their products. Never being ones to pass up the chance to play with new gear we happily accept.

    Intelligent Armour, a UK based company, contacted us and asked us to evaluate one of their new products iPad cases. The evaluation unit they sent me was a fantastic padded “envelope” in MultiCam.

    This case measures roughly 14 x 10 x .75 inches and just exudes durability. If I were to choose one word to describe the case, it would be “overbuilt.” The materials are absolutely confidence inspiring

    Compartments:

    The Intelligent Armour case features three compartments

    The main compartment is secured by a large strip of super-sticky Velcro that runs along the entire length of the case. Inside this compartment is lined with a super-soft material to keep your screen scratch-free.

    There is a secondary pocket secured by a smaller strip of Velcro that might be ideal for storing things like cables or airline tickets.

    Finally, there is a zippered pocket where one might store more minor things more prone to being lost.

    Overall Impressions:

    I found that the case was so overbuilt for its purpose that it borders on overkill for the intended purpose of securing an iPad. While I have no doubt that an iPad ensconced in this case would survive all sorts of abuse, I found the case was much better suited for protecting small netbooks.

    I was able to securely transport my MacBook air in the main compartment while using the outer pocket to hold the power supply. I tossed the whole package into a carry-on bag without having to worry about damaging the MacBook Air. The tiny regional jet I was on required me gate-check my carry-on bag… a prospect that typically makes me cringe. The Intelligent Armour case, however, helped me keep all of my computer-stuff together in a tiny package that I was able to take out of the carry-on before gate checking quickly.

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    Tom Bihn Synapse Review

    The Tom Bihn Synapse backpack is a lightweight, ultra-sleek bag designed for day travel, hiking, or any outing where only the necessities are needed. It has a very efficient design that allows you to pack the bag to capacity without sacrificing organization or easy access. The Synapse I received to test was the Synapse 19, the smaller version of the Synapse 25. The Synapse comes in different fabrics, and the one I received has an ultralight Dyneema/nylon ripstop exterior (Cordura nylon also available) with a

    Dyneema/nylon ripstop fabric lining. If you’re not familiar with Dyneema, it is the world’s strongest fiber; 15 times stronger than steel wire, eight times lighter, and floats in water! It is also water resistant, heat-resistant, and UV-resistant. If this means anything, it means that this bag is tight!

    Synapse 19 Review

    The Synapse 19 has six zippered pockets, and all of them use Aquaguard waterproof zippers to protect your possessions.

    The main compartment uses an elastic edged divider to create a separate pocket that is big enough for a netbook, books, IPad, etc. It allows the user to separate some of their items without sacrificing space. The other half of the main compartment is large enough for a large laptop, several large textbooks, or multiple pieces of clothing. There are also plastic attachment points inside of the Synapse which you can use to hang additional items with small carabiners, hooks, lanyards, etc. It utilizes a straightforward design for optimal organization and works especially with Tom Bihn’s Cache with Rails for those who want added protection for their laptops.

     

    The five remaining pockets on the Synapse are on the front of the bag. There are two pockets with small horizontal openings on the top center, one with a large horizontal opening across the bottom, and one on each side with a long vertical opening.

    The first of the two top center pockets is deceptively deep. It is intended to be used with a water bottle and is thick enough to accommodate one up to one liter in size. I found that it also works very well with a small travel umbrella and try to keep one inside whenever I use the bag. The fabric keeps water from leaking through to other compartments, whether your bottle leaks or the umbrella is put in while still wet. The second pocket is located immediately below and is ideal for small items like a cell phone, wallet, keys, etc.

     

    The bottom pocket stretches across the entire front of the bag and can be used to store a lightweight jacket or anything else you may want easy access to. It is comparable in size to many hip-packs and is easy to access while wearing the Synapse.

     

    The two side pockets are utility pockets and are designed for the small odds and ends you carry with you. They are big enough for small travel notebooks (think Rite in the Rain), cell phones, paperback novels, etc. Both pockets have plastic rings to hang more of your gear, like a small flashlight, compass, keys, etc. The right pocket has a small interior pocket perfect for a cell phone, and the left pocket has several pencil/pen holders. There was also a small lanyard hooked to one of the plastic rings when I received it, which can be used throughout the bag on the various attachment points.

     

    The Synapse is a very comfortable bag. The back is padded with thick (1/4?) foam and covered in breathable mesh fabric. The model I was given came with removable straps for the sternum and waist to help stabilize heavier loads. I haven’t packed the bag with anything heavy enough to require the use of the straps, but I do keep them on just in case I need them. You can also outfit your bag with a special Whistle Sternum Strap, which as odd as it sounds contains a built in whistle in the buckle.

    While I found this a little strange, it could come in handy for someone lost in the wilderness or in other situations where help is needed. Another safety feature you can add on is a Guardian Dual Function Light. This light is perfect for cyclists and mounts securely on the front of the bag. I did not receive either of these items with the bag.

    I found myself looking at the Synapse and getting excited over all of the little features that you don’t notice the first time around. It is a tough, functional bag that is beautiful to look at and when I needed a new bag recently, an appearance meant a lot to me.

    My wife and I welcomed our first child into the world several months ago, and the thought of carrying a diaper bag around was a little discouraging to me. I’m not usually phased when I find myself crossing traditional gender lines, but when I saw the diaper bags (aka giant purses) that were on the market, I didn’t like what I saw. I knew I needed something that could carry the multitude of items that a new baby needs and that it needed to be something durable that could be washed and wiped down constantly.

    The toughness of the Dyneema fabric made the Synapse a perfect diaper bag or as Andreas calls it, a Tactical Sanitation Deployment Device. Since the TSDD is waterproof, it is very easy to clean when a bottle spills inside a pocket, or a mystery substance is found on the outside.

    Synapse 25 Review

    The Synapse 25 is a precisely calculated, supremely designed backpack, created for day hiking, daily carry, and ultralight travel. It’s smooth, curvilinear outside may on initial blush look like something akin to sculpture, but in truth, it is only the diplomatic recognition of ultimate utility. No mesh pockets clutter the surface of this bag, nor external straps festoon it; in it, you’ll be able to move more than you would imagine, and no one will be the smarter.

    The Synapse 25 is intended to fit people from around 5’6″ to 6’6″ / 1.68 to 1.98 m; it is the new high to the original Synapse 19 (for those under 5’6″ / 1.68 m or who want a small bag — check it out). With 30% more volume, we hope to provide those who love their petite Synapse but who need to schlep more stuff or are on the tall or fat end of the spectrum.

    Features :

    Synapse 25 is typically available* in two different exterior fabrics

    400d Halcyon
    Made in: Japan
    Coating: bright urethane
    Weave: conventional weave with 1/4” / 6mm ripstop
    Fibers: 400 denier standard 6 fiber nylon (base fabric); 420 denier ultra-large-molecular-weight polyethylene ripstop layer

    Choose this fabric if:

    • You want a reasonable weight alternative to conventional fiber textiles that has remarkable tear strength and excellent abrasion resistance.
    • You have pets: 400d Halcyon doesn’t accumulate pet hair, lessening your monthly lint wave costs.
    • You’re searching for fabric with a smooth, “technical” appearance.

    525d High Tenacity Ballistic Nylon
    Fibers- 525 denier type 6,6 (high tenacity) filament nylon, twisted
    Coating- dense urethane
    Weave- 2×2 “ballistic” weave

    Made in South Korea with Canadian yarn
    Choose this material if:

    • You want the bag to be soft & supple
    • You want the fabric that’s impressive enough to be in the mountains, home at work, or a nice hotel.
    • You don’t want the bag to abrade your clothing or collect pet hair

     

    I love the Synapse 19, my wife loves it, and so does my son. I recommend this product to anyone looking for a small travel backpack or their very own TSDD.

    PS – Tom Bihn products are made in the U.S.A. While I don’t discriminate against products made in other countries, I am always proud to use something made at home.

     

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