Battlefield to BB Field

Not concerned about flash flame/explosive hazards?
Want the high performance wicking of a sports shirt?
Also want camouflage, maybe some upper arm velcro?

You need to start looking at hunting gear. Kryptek Outdoor Group made these Valhalla hunting shirts long before they released their own tactical line that have the conventional poly/cotton sleeves. The sleeves and shoulders are a very slightly different fabric to the torso, but not by much, it’s basically a synthetic sportsman’s jersey throughout. Very, very light and fast to dry.

Sitka and various other hunting brands also offer their own long sleeved, all synthetic shirts in camouflage patterns, but the Valhalla’s the only one I know of out there with the arm velcro, collar and 1/4 zip like a combat shirt. Now, I bought this shirt over 2.5 years ago and if I were to get another one I’d go for a more unusual pattern and take it to a dry cleaners to just have some loop patches sewn on, but I think it remains a good choice.

For any of you not worried about IED or mine threats who can live with something of a decreased abrasion resistance, I strongly advise giving these sorts of garments a look vs the conventional cotton blend military uniforms.

Commercial Camo Showdown – 1/3 – Greens

Took me some time to get everything together to make these posts, but I think I’m sorted now. So here’s the Commercial Camo Showdown, Part 1 of 3, starting with the woodland and temperate environment edition.

If you look around at the product that’s actually stocked and available at retailers in these modern commercial patterns you’ll generally see the majority is temperate, some transitional and the arid variants tend to be less common. A-TACS would be the main exception since they started out with their arid variant and it stuck. Of course Crye also started with transitional Multicam and didn’t release their ‘book end’ patterns until many years later, but due to their popularity they’ve proliferated Arid and Tropic far more than some competing equivalents.

As many will be aware, the trend amongst various communities during the past 2 years or so has moved away from these commercial offerings and there’s a lot of demand out there for the military patterns of 10-20 years ago. Somewhat expected because the US Army has basically adopted multicam now in the form of Scoprion W2, similar story with the British military in MTP, fairly similar again with the Australians with AMCU items and plenty of other forces around the world have also used or adopted Multicam or some slight variation thereof – everyone’s looking rather similar to say the least. The old system from the 80s and 90s that so many of us grew up seeing (or being issued) generally revolved a woodland pattern for in-country/garrison wear and a desert pattern for a lot of the deployments. But that system is either gone or going now as camouflage patterns that were largely designed around the Vietnam era come due for replacement or update and smaller budgets combined with the environment of the Afghanistan conflict mean most roads have lead to adoption of a single, transitional camouflage uniform for absolutely everybody.

If you’re interested in this stuff and you collect it or airsoft or use tactical gear for whatever hobby you happen to enjoy and therefore get to choose the pattern you wear, the lack of variety in the look of military kit these days probably doesn’t exactly thrill you. Hence the resurgence of popularity in the likes of US Woodland and temperate Flecktarn. If you look at just Europe in the late 20th century, an awful lot of countries had their own unique temperate and arid environment patterns. You had both types of DPM, Flecktarn, Norwegian M98, Swedish M90, Danish M84, Italian Vegetata, Begian Jigsaw… and the list goes on (if some of those are uniform rather than pattern designations I apologise, I’m just going off Camopedia).

Personally I was really getting in to all this gear stuff shortly before the initial release of ATACS-AU and at that time the only options for camouflage apparel out there were essentially either military surplus uniforms, some replicas thereof and maybe Multicam if you were throwing money around and knew where to get it (certainly the case in Europe). So when ATACS was due to first release, there was a lot of hype generated. It was the first commercial pattern to hit the market in a big way for some years and people were very interested in any alternative to the common selection of surplus BDUs that had been floating around for a couple of decades by that point. Multicam wasn’t anywhere near as popular or widespread as it is now and a lot of people simply didn’t understand the merits of a transitional pattern because they basically didn’t exist in any quantity before MC came along. Obviously you might debate that based on the colour palettes of some older stuff out there, but the concept itself only really gained big traction in the west in the 00s.

In future I’d like to get hold of some more of the old military patterns myself, but my priority is almost always cut and construction over aesthetic and a lot of the old patterns simply haven’t been manufactured in a modern combat cut or using NYCO, so I’ve used what storage space I have available for the commercial offerings that are modern styled and well built. Another factor in this of course is that it’s far more viable for a company to stay up-to-date on their designs than it is for a whole military force to change their adopted uniform every 3 or 4 years.

But for comparison now, working left to right, we have the following, all in 50/50 NYCO:

– PenCott Camouflage GreenZone, UF PRO Strike XT Gen 1 Combat shirt
– Kryptek Outdoor Group Mandrake, PLATATAC Tac Dax Mk2 Combat trousers
– A-Tacs Camo FG, ur-tactical.com Gen 2 Fast Response Trousers
– MultiCam Tropic, TRU-SPEC 1/4 Zip Combat shirt

If you’re searching for a high quality, combat cut of uniform then GreenZone and Tropic are probably your best bets at the time of writing, in Europe and the US respectively. Krpytek was mega popular for a while when HSP was selling it and PlatATac was manufacturing combat uniforms, and it is still around, but not as common as it was. ATACS-FG is certainly available and floating about, seems to actually be quite popular with some Russian manufacturers though I’ve no idea if they use the genuine fabric.

Now you’ve read my thought I’d like to hear what your preferences are in the comments. Temperate patterns and/or companies that make them. Or indeed anything else you’d like to put on the table with regard uniforms and camouflage.

Gen 5

The Firearm Blog throws down the low down on the Generation 5 Glock:

-Ambi slide lock
-Flared and beveled at the base of the frame
-Finger grooves removed
-Bevels at the front of the slide
-More accurate barrel
-More resilient finish on the slide
-2 pin frame design

At the rate the ‘finish’ is wearing off the slides of Gen 4 guns we’re issuing, we’re going to have to either send a lot back to GLOCK in Austria or adopt an L131A2 GSP.

That aside I’m liking all these changes. I specifically hate finger grooves on any firearm, be it pistol or otherwise. It’s certainly interesting to see the way they’ve gone back to certain elements from the Gen 2 after all these years doing some weird things in the 3 and 4. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get a look inside one of these to see the difference in the way it’s all held together vs the Gen 4 guns I’ve carried, fired and worked on.

Magpul Your Wardrobe (No Honestly)

Very nice delivery from a good buddy of mine in the non-firearms side of Magpul Industries Corp. today. For those who read the post on the previous version of their wallet keep an eye open for some thoughts on the new one.

I’ll admit, at first I took most of their clothing line to just be basic merch for people who like PMAGs a little too much, but when you look in to it you can see there’s more than what meets the eye. Yes there’s some stickers and caps and the like that are purely swag, but they’re working towards a line of technical clothing that goes far beyond t-shirts. Though some of the t-shirts are very nice indeed, you have to be careful about the design you choose and where you wear it, however the fabrics themselves are’t generic chinese crap they’ve had screen printed to sell to ‘fans’ to make some extra cash on the side. I’d highly recommend checking out their YouTube content for more info about the development and manufacture of their clothing.

A lot of their bread-and-butter products are economical yet very effective accessories for firearms. Comparatively basic parts that are made from simple materials that are rugged and functional. Can you spend hundreds on a carbon fibre/magnesium-alloy bit for your rifle? Sure, that stuff is great and I love it, but the plastic stuff that costs a quarter the price does the job for the majority of people, especially if they’re not busting down doors or about to enter the 3-gun world championships. Hell even seriously premium ARs like EraThr3 and War Sport Ind feature Magpul, because it’s really the established the gold standard for polymer accessories.

I’m very much hoping to have some interesting apparel to show you from Magpul/CORE next time SHOT rolls around. Hopefully a mixture of low-pro civvie clothing and maybe the seedlings of some pure tactical/outdoor layering. As you’ll note I had to cover up a few things that arrived here and most people ask ‘why not just not include them in the image’, but I wanted to highlight the fact that they have some interesting stuff cooking in the background that’s different to the current offerings and hasn’t yet made it to market. Products that you can bring to more places than just the indoor shooting range.

Tru-Spec Combat Shirt – Not Bad for NYCO

Video review is up now on the TRU-SPEC combat shirt, picked up from LA Police Gear (but it’s available around Europe too).

If you fancy the new multicam colours but don’t want to gamble on bargain basement chinese Crye knock-offs it’s a particularly good option in the UBACS department. The NYCO version is available in plenty of patterns for a pretty decent price.

No-melt no-drip construction just like most Cryes and Arc’teryx, so if you can’t stretch to full FR or you just have concerns about small pyrotechnics, another reason to take a look.

Rain’ing BCGs

Two reasons to share this from Rainier Arms:

1. To illustrate my earlier point about subscribing to small retailer channels, they put out some quality content just like the US Elite Gear video from the other day.

2. If you’re in the US, this looks like a SERIOUS contender for your AR builds as far as BCGs. Lifetime bolt warranty that actually covers normal wear and tear. Your standard warranty on basically any other product will specifically exclude normal wear and tear through usage. That’s the reason I posted about CamelBak before and any time I find a gear company I can buy from that I hear offers that sort of customer service, I always give their product a very close look indeed.

The tricky part about actually finishing some of my recent airsoft builds is the little details. The larger parts that really change up the weight, feel and aesthetic are comparatively easier to decide on and get hold of, but it took more hunting around for the smaller touches that make something genuinely different (at least to the eye of the keen observer). Manufacturers by and large tend to ship out rifles with all sorts of different stocks, grips and forends but usually it’s fictional stuff, and even if the small items like the trigger and selector aren’t just the plain old USGI designs then again it’s usually not a pattern that really exists on a firearm and I’m not personally a fan of that look.

The other aspect is that airsoft brands copy firearm products more than people realise, it’s not as common now but historically it happened a lot and they just never put the original name to the item to save themselves legal hassle. So again tracking down that replica part takes a lot of trawling and you have to have the prerequisite knowledge. A couple of stores I like for these small parts and accessories are ehobbyasia.com in Hong Kong and Dave’s Custom Airsoft LTD here in the UK. At the time of writing eHobby actually carry some quality gear like G-Code Holsters and a lot of other items that US stores won’t let you export as an individual because of the pointlessly over-reaching arse covering exercise that is elements of ITAR, so that’s handy.

One thing I’ll say is I strongly recommend avoiding APS like the plague. I’d always gotten the impression just from the look of their stuff online and the pricing that the quality would be pretty dire and my suspicions were thoroughly confirmed. I figured hey it’s an anti-rotation link for an AEG, purely cosmetic item so why not? Now I may have a biased view because of my work, but the metal on these things is in my opinion the living embodiment of that old trope when they say something is “made of cheese”. The no-name ACM charging handles also took work on the dremel to fit my particular RIFs but I almost prefer that in a way, it’s a lot more satisfying when they eventually fit and work. That said, if higher quality alternatives were common and stocked widely I’d opt for them. They generally aren’t however because that market is fairly dead these days in the realm of AEGs.

A3 Rifle

First details I’ve seen on the prototype L85A3 (though admittedly I’ve never actually gone looking) so I thought I’d share.

Hopefully they’ll have the sense to go M-LOK in the final iteration, it’ll be a serious kick in the nuts if we get stuck with KeyMod for the next decade. But free-floating the forend definitely needed doing so that’s a plus. Same deal with the ‘safety stop’ on the selector; if those went wrong you could fire automatic without even touching the trigger (very, super, mega rare – but it happened).

Currently the people who use the Elcan LDS have to fit a 20mm adapter to the dovetail rail, which is totally pointless weight and makes your height over bore ridiculous. Current A3 bodies in circulation include a dovetail that’s extended forward to meet the handguard, but I’m yet to see any use for that as there’s no detent holes drilled in to the extended part for proper mounting.

Hopefully they’ll decide between either rail mounted BUIS or the integrated scope BUIS so we’re not carrying both around. Liking the colour change as well, flat black is useless everywhere. What the plan is for people currently using SUSATs I don’t know. Perhaps phasing in the rifles will occur at the same time as swapping SUSATs with LDS for mounting compatibility, we shall see. Right now everybody is deploying with a magnified optic, but there doesn’t appear to be any appetite to spend the money on giving LDS to folks outside of the infantry etc.

Keeping my fingers tightly crossed for a nice, new quick-adjust 2 point sling to replace the terrible old 3 point that blocks half your controls when fitted. Combine that with the EMAGs, freefloat barrel, a forend that’s lighter and slimmer than the current DD offering, a colour that actually works and a few other little bits and pieces, you’ve got something solid to tide us over until the U.S. decides which 6.Xmm cartridge they fancy using come 2030 – or whenever they figure out what rifle to use with the new round they’ll inevitably pick.

Price tag?

Who knew nylon went through a heat treatment process just like a quality steel would? Not this guy, until tonight.

There’s a few retailers out there with their own channels who rarely upload, but if you don’t sub to good channels who rarely upload I fucking guarantee you’re missing out on a lot of top-tier learning opportunities. US Elite Gear is a prime example.

Do I recommend Arc’teryx for everybody? Hell no. The position their stuff sits on the price/performance curve graph is waaaaaay out there. I have a few pieces that I’ve always picked up in sales and the quality of manufacture is pretty unreal there’s no doubt about that, wearing the product feels pretty awesome. But in a world where people justifiably think Crye is mega bucks, Arc’teryx LEAF pretty much takes it to another level on a lot of their offerings and it’s a rare person who will genuinely benefit from the performance gains. I know I could use far cheaper items to extremely similar effect for work, everyday use and airsoft, but my personal goal is to understand everything from the basic and mid-range gear up to the indulgence items and the cult following they generate.

Very good video to watch to at least gain some understanding of the fine details of really premium hard use equipment. If you’re not a believer you won’t come away converted to the church, but it might give you some fresh perspective.