Tactical Food Chain

Ever wondered where you fall in the natural pecking order of tactical stuff on the internet? Well wonder no more, the REmf TAc Research and Devlopment sub-division is working around the clock to produce answers for all your burning questions.

Top is best of course and you work down from there.

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Clear Giveaway

(Copied from facebook)

Good news, I secured the go-ahead from PLATATAC to do my first ever gear giveaway of this style. I’ve got a set here of the Tac Dax Special Projects Mk3 trousers in NWUII (pretty much AOR1) sized Medium/Regular (around a 33-34″ waist) that I reviewed a little while ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fOFpbVvf8Y&t=1s

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My biggest issue these days is definitely storage, so if I can give something back to you good folks, publicise the name of a brand I know makes really good quality kit and make a bit more room for more gear to come in here for posting about; well that seems like a win-win-win.

To enter 1. You need to have liked this page of course 2. Drop Platatac a like either here or on IG, which honestly I would recommend anyway because they make cool stuff; I’m not going to be checking on these because there’s not really a reasonable way to do so, so there’s an integrity test for you 3. React to this post and comment when you’ve done so. Throw in some pics of your other gear you’d rock these with as well if you like, just for the craic.

A share here on facebook or a like/comment on youtube would certainly help your case and help me out but the reality is, far as I can tell, unless you have your facebook settings fairly open Pages cannot see who has shared their posts. On the rare occasion I see shares here I’m very seldom able see who’s clicked the button and to require a share for the competition would be disingenuous (despite the fact plenty of big retailers pretend this isn’t the case).

This will run for a week (winner announced Saturday 2nd Dec) and is open to anyone, even if you’ve won stuff from me before because I’ve not given away actual gear like this previously. If you’d like to read the manufacturer’s product description or buy some yourself in a different colour here’s the link:

http://www.platatac.com/platatac-tac-dax-special-projects-mk3.html

Salomon Blues

You want controversy and really hard hitting stuff? It doesn’t get much harder hitting than this my friends, because let me tell you.. I am not particularly a big fan of Salomon (regular or forces). You might go so far as to say, I don’t like the brand.

I know lots of people think they’re great and people can get really protective of brands in this general arena, so don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here as an attempt to somehow disqualify every good experience anyone else ever had in a Salomon boot; that isn’t how I roll. However my XA Pro 3D mids have come up in my image posting queue so this felt like a good point to run through my history with this footwear.

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Purchases starting around 2012, through until now:

1. A pair of non-forces trail runners that I actually picked up in a Millets if memory serves. Wore them just strolling around camp for a few days when a long stitch line along the side just totally failed creating a 3″ wide tear in the outer shell of the shoe. Resigned the pair to ‘dirty jobs’ and moved on.
2. Eskape Peak – one of the arch shaped metal eyelets right at the top of the right shoe (by the ankle) simply ripped right out one day when tightening the laces, this was after maybe a month or so of just general walking around at home and on base. I contacted Salomon UK, who’s customer service response consisted (eventually) of “we’ll send you a 20% discount on a new pair”. Then to top the shit cake with an extra turd, they never actually bothered doing so.
3. Eskape Aero – Another pair of fairly simple trail runners at the lower end of the Salomon price range that haven’t failed me in any way, been my most comfortable pair of trainers for about 4 years now. They’re the most horrendously unfashionable dad-shoes I own, but when I’m going to be on my feet a really long time I reach for them.
4. Forces XA Pro 3D Mid (as pictured) from LEAFGEAR, really great customer service from them – I took the Mids with me on a contractually obliged sunny summer get-away and alternated them each day for a couple of months with the issued Haix suede/desert boots. The Mids were wonderfully light and comfortable for sitting around and the quick lacing made them far superior for the multiple times per day I’d be changing clothes. Unfortunately the soles were the most pathetic I’ve ever encountered, even with no weight on my back I could feel the concrete floor through them, just no comfort under foot. With belt line, Glock 17 + spare mag, Osprey Mk4 with full armour compliment of armour, 4 x EMAGs, pouches with med kit and other ancillary/admin items, Mk7 helmet and backpack with food, hydro and spare clothes… not a bloody chance, the material of the in and mid soles absolutely caved in. I opted for the Haix and that’s not a thing I thought I’d ever have to type. I’ve kept these for using indoor at airsoft games, but that’s all. I don’t trust them for work.
5. Forces XA Pro 3D Mid, GTX – I had some credit with a certain ebay store and they had the gore-tex lined Mids in my size, but an older variant that feels slightly more solid. Worn for a day’s indoor skirmishing so far where they did fine so I’ve not resigned them yet, but a day running around with minimal weight on smooth surfaces isn’t exactly a thorough test. They will be tried out again on some hills and in less pleasant weather.
6. Forces XA Pro 3D (lows tops) – I wanted a super tacticool shoe that would allow me to really blend in a SHOT Show, what better? Probably literally anything else as it turned out. It may be all indoors but the expo centre is gigantic, on my feet from 9-5 covering at least a few miles each day; yet still on flat carpet so how hard could the going be? Well I certainly got the right size and as always I used all the proper foot care knowledge I’ve accumulated and practiced over the years, but at the end of day 2 the skin was just straight missing from the outside of both my little toes. Not an issue I’ve ever had with any other pair of boots or shoes I’ve ever worn in my life.

“But you haven’t tried the Quest 4Ds! The 4Ds!” you say and you are not wrong there. Many people have them, I know for a fact a few people reading this have them, my brother owns a pair and liked them so much he wore them out after very regularly using them for about 3 years. But 4 pretty bloody bad experiences out of 6 products purchased isn’t just my limit, it’s well beyond it. I kept going thinking “but so many people love them, surely I’ve just been really unlucky” but I was betting endlessly on red in vain hope and black just seemed to keep coming in.

If you’ve got Salomons and you like them, that is awesome, they do have some good ideas and designs. But I’m done buying them.

Daylight(weight) Robbery

Just noticed SKD Tactical have their very awesome FirstSpear OEM’d STT on sale today only. In flat colours, once you add it to the cart, you can pick one up for $159.20 before shipping.

Particularly for you guys in the US who haven’t experienced the Tubes magic yet… well I’m not seeing any better opportunity to get in on the action. You can easily spend the region of $150 on carriers from lesser manufacturers that weigh more with lower quality stitching, not to mention far older design and technology built in.

I’ve never so much as exchanged a message with anyone who works at SKD but I’ve shopped there at least a dozen or more times. I’ve recommended them before in terms of customer service and that recommendation still stands based on my last order placed a couple of months ago. They stock a lot of nylon stuff that I personally think really stands out.

http://www.skdtac.com/FirstSpear-STT-Plate-Carrier-SKD-Exclusive-p/fsr.550.htm

RAW Part 2

Now the winter’s here I can finally put on my MilSpecMonkey Hoodie the way I like and talk about it.

If you’ve been subscribed to the channel over there a fair while you may remember the previous video I did on this jacket, I liked it then, but this newer example is definitely softer to the touch and more comfortable all around.

If you find camo and tactical colourways interesting make sure to check the description for the articles MSM have published going in to great detail on the minutiae of choosing the shade they finally went with. There’s a lot of very interesting pictures in there. Before reading those pieces I myself thought Wolf Grey absolutely made sense as the solid colour to go for in an urban environment, but I think the Monkey has done a really good job debunking that concept in reality.

Will we see more apparel and cordura load gear like rigs and pouches in this colour? Maybe, but given the logistical issues for a company of investing tens of thousands in getting thousand yard rolls of fabric printed (be it NYCO or 500D) and then standardising other components, adding it all to the production line for various offerings and then convincing other brands to get on board so people can build the loadouts they want… it’s a slow conversion process.

As I mention, RAL 7013 uniforms are already out there from UF PRO and Clawgear and RAL is not too far off this shade from MSM, but I’ve not seen any loading bearing kit to match yet. Ranger Green rigs and pouches from Crye or FirstSpear probably come closest but that cordura can most definitely vary in shade depending on when it was manufactured. The old Foliage Green cordura some companies made 5-6+ years ago may have been closer but that is long gone from most inventories.

If the right people see this stuff and appreciate its’ value I reckon we could well see an expansion in these ‘muddy’ middle-ground colours. Hard to say which shade it would replace exactly since they sit very much in between RG and Wolf (with a bit of Coyote in there) but do keep your eyes peeled and we’ll see what unfolds.

What Happened With Arktis?

In a move I always greatly welcome from any company that makes gear, Giena Tactics contacted me earlier today asking for details on what specifically was wrong with the kit I posted yesterday. Obviously I gave them a few other details and other feedback and they’ve got my e-mail now, so we’ll see what happens there.

Turns out they’ve already got a combat cut lower garment in the works which actually includes the stretch panels, which would be a good move I reckon. They’ve built a pretty solid foundation of products already, it wouldn’t take more than a couple of tweaks to improve their offerings substantially and bring them in to line with what I’d call pretty bloody solid.

As I’ve mentioned before, I did go through this with Arktis in 2016 and earlier this year. I offered them literally no end of assistance, experience and ways they could drastically improve their combat cut trouser with only a few minor tweaks and did they listen to any of it? Nope. A change of quite literally about 3mm in the opening to the knee pad pocket would’ve fixed their pad fitment issue and then I’d be pretty happy to recommend their Ranger Trouser to you all, especially given the huge range of patterns they offer. I gave them dimensions, photographed measurements, offered to lend them my own Crye gear to get things right; and they either ignored it all or refused to accept they had issues in their pattern. At one point they claimed “oh the trousers you have are from a really early batch, we’ve checked some new ones in the warehouse and it’s all fine now” then a few weeks later I see posts from other people who’ve just purchased their stuff and are having the EXACT same problems. Excruciating.

As for blatant copies of Crye’s design.. tricky one. At this point I honestly think it’s sort of crossed in to that area where the horse has thoroughly bolted and it’s just a common design that everyone’s making. Every type of gear we know and love came from one company at one time but it comes to a point you sort of have to accept it’s just out there to my mind. Adjustable mag pouches with bungee lacing, certain styles of chest rig, features on plate carriers, the combat shirt (another thing Crye started and now everyone’s doing it and that’s just accepted everywhere), the list goes on.

Anyway, I enjoy being transparent and not letting any manufacturer get away with putting out gear that’s got significant problems, especially if they can be easily solved. I feel there’s a real lack of both transparency and integrity in a lot of social media for the sake of money and free shit. Hopefully you lot like this kind of thing, but let me know either way.

Nyet, Hide of Ural Mountain Badger is Fine

When I post the upper half, you know the lower is coming. Giena Tactics‘Tactical Pants GC’ in some nice authentic Partizan/SS Summer all the way from the other side of the iron curtain.

Essentially you’ve got pretty much the CP Gen 2 or AC cut going on here but without the stretch panels and a couple of other minor changes here and there, which means you’re left with something akin to a field cut trouser that fits the Combat knee pads. Crye pads are fully compatible and the G3 style covers for the pad pockets are present meaning you can easily run the field pads or none at all. Pad position is also adjustable via elastic cords in the small front pockets as you’d expect.

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The ankle pockets have been omitted (which I’m a fan of) but you’ve still got 8 pockets left in total and 2 adjustment tabs on the backs of the knees when Cryes only have 1. Double layered seat, slightly padded around the waist with again a G3 style gusset in the crotch, though as above that portion is made from py/co rather than any sort of stretch fabric.

General stitch per inch count looks a little on the lower side on my set and there’s one area where something’s gone wrong on a pocket corner, but they have put in a lot of time doing bar tacks and reinforcements in various key places. All that said, for around $80 you’re actually getting a comparatively very well made product. Not perfect, but extremely good value for the money and so much better of a choice than a lot of the cosplay-only china clone gear.

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Between the low price and the very wide range of patterns available that you simply won’t see very often (doubly so in this cut), I’d say if you’re reading this post you’re the kind of person who would at the very least enjoy taking a look at the product line Giena offers.

I picked up my set directly. Grey Shop – Motherland Supply used to stock a lot of Giena Tac, but they’re not bringing it in these days by the looks of things. Shipping out of Russia will take a little bit because obviously the place is bloody massive and I’d imagine their postal service can be somewhat.. chaotic.

Nyet, Canvas is Fine

Been waiting to post this kit for a fair old while, so lend me your attention a moment comrades.

Part 1 of my personal Giena Tactics combat cut set. This is the Type 2 combat shirt in what GT refers to as Partizan or SS Summer. They currently offer 3 different styles of combat shirt, but for me this type represents the best design overall.

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There’s a sport shirt style synthetic torso fabric which makes these ideal for any situation where one desires camouflage but isn’t expecting to be blown up or fired at with HE weaponry. It’s a poly/cotton blend (mixture varies by pattern) which wouldn’t normally be my choice, but in these patterns you don’t have the same fabric selection as you might in something like Multicam.
There’s a double layer of fabric on the elbows, velcro cuffs, plenty of loop on the upper arm pockets which themselves are easy to access and I like the fact the py/co continues around the zip for added strength in that area. Also a fan of the way they torso fabric actually lines the inside of the collar, which is certainly not a common feature.

Sizing is going to be very different to what most western folks are used to, so you need to take your time with getting that right if you order from these guys, but overall the stitching is neat, with reinforcements where appropriate, flatlock on the torso and a more than reasonable per inch count. For 60 USD I think the value is honestly very good indeed. You can easily spend similar amounts on some of the worst junk from China if you don’t have the knowledge to find the right stuff.

Crye Pringles

As of February 2016 this was the extent of everything I owned from Crye. At that point I’d spent a lot of years just buying every combat cut piece of camo that I could find (at that time) which emulated the style but wasn’t actually Crye. I wanted to have some colours and camo patterns that weren’t the same as the gear everyone else was wearing.

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So from left to right:
-AC (or Gen 2 as it was called when it came out) Fields
-AC Combats
-AC Combats in RG (my first ever piece of Crye kit and the only piece for some years)
-G3 Combats in MC Arid (first G3 item)
-AC Combat shirt

Previous this picture I had picked up various generations and types of combat cut trouser from Plat-A-Tac, Patagonia, Arktis, Beyond Clothing and UR-Tac in an attempt to try out every other brand I could that still accepted the Airflex knee pad. I’ve found a couple more since then, but not a great many overall and very few have been worth spending out the money on in terms of quality and design. I tend to think varying too far from the AC or G3 cut will only lead down bad roads.

Shortly after this picture however I clearly had a severe bump on the old noggin because I’ve gone a little overboard on the Crye purchases since then. I think it’s because I deliberately held myself back from buying any at all for around 5-6 years, then once I popped I just couldn’t stop.

I’m afraid of re-doing this picture with the current collection.

Magpul vs SureFire

You bought a good light, that’s the first thing to get right of course and a white light along with a sling and a red dot are probably the most sensible accessories to have on pretty much any type of weapon. However, if you don’t get it mounted and setup decently, you’re wasting a lot of that lights’ potential.

On the one hand, if you’ve picked something up which already has a pic mount and switch integrated you can likely slap it somewhere on your handguard and as long as you do so sensibly with good, ergonomic switch access you’ll be set. But when it comes to a SureFire, LLC Scout spec light you can most certainly squeeze some advantages out of a few aftermarket accessories.

In steps good old Magpul Industries Corp. with their lovely dark ground, aromatic plastic blend. I’ve pictured their polymer M-LOK Cantilever light mount and the M-LOK tape switch mounting plate, because these two make a superb pairing for those of us who don’t run around hostile places wearing 4-eyed NVGs. If you are one of those guys or you want maximum longevity, you’d be best off just stepping the light mount up to the aluminium version, but I’d wager 90-something% won’t break the cheaper and lighter plastic variant.

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From what I’m seeing, the standard Scout light package from SureFire has changed to no longer include the ST07 tape switch and appropriate tail cap that used to be the norm a while back, although those packages do still seem to be an option. If full ambidextrous/both shoulder control of your light is a goal however, the ST07 is now a far more viable option with this mounting plate from Magpul. In the bad old days of quad pic rails, if you wanted to mount your remote switch up on the 12 o/clock you had to do some zip-tie, glue and/or velcro ghetto rigging or spend out a pretty eye watering amount of money for the SR07 switch that had picatinny attachment moulded in to it.

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With the advent of forends and rails that include M-LOK along most of the 12, you can finally position the flat ST07 exactly where your thumb will sit when shooting from either shoulder, meaning you have instant, momentary only activation of your light whichever way you’re shooting. For me, that’s certainly the goal as I like to know I can shine some illumination down a corridor or in to a room while keeping tucked in to cover as much as possible by utilising an appropriate sling to switch shoulders. Now, usual caveat in case anyone isn’t aware, I am talking pure bbwars here of course because this sort of thing is definitely not my job and my CQB training through work is not quite zero, but definitely very minimal and I only have it for serious emergency defence when literally everything else has gone wrong. However I do my best to pay attention to the intelligent professionals who’ve been there and done that and I’ve tried out a lot of configurations over the years to see if I agree with their patterns of thinking in terms of applying them to my personal gear. Which is all most of us can do end of the day.

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So if you own any sort of AR variant and you do the sensible things of putting M-LOK and a Scout up front, these 2 pieces can complete the puzzle in a very satisfactory fashion for less than $35 in the US. That’s seriously economical when just a few years ago the only Scout mount options you’d see for sale (talking just for the light) cost a minimum of around $50-60. I haven’t fully completed my own setup using these parts yet, but other RIF builds I’ve done run along very similar lines in terms of lights and I’ll of course be posting up the finished articles when they are ready.