DToM

I find it surprising that a lot of the ‘swag’ and other random stuff that gear companies make is often amongst the highest quality clothing you might find in general. You do have to be careful what you pick or you risk ending up looking like the guy with the Ferrari jacket and cap who drives a Ford. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a Ford or a VW or whatever, far from it, but you possibly shouldn’t be a walking advert for a company that you’ve got no link to.

My ideal criteria for this sort of thing are simple:

-High quality in design and materials
-Actually own a flagship product from the company in question or have some other association
-If at all possible, the design should be something original, not just the normal logo plastered in huge font

I have a couple of standard logo t-shirts for manufacturers that I’m particularly interested in, but those are reserved for filming videos, maybe attending expos or going to games (driving not public transport), rather than general wear out and about. Some I’ve bought, mostly I’ve been given them at the last couple of Shot Shows.

I presume FirstSpear buys these t-shirts raw and print them, because looking at American Apparel’s website I don’t think they’re aimed at the shooting and outdoor market. More the man bun, organically-sourced-wool male romper and gluten free douche-frappelatte kinda market. Not that I understand social dynamics in America all that well I just get all my information from Mat Best MBest11x.

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The whole ‘EDC’ trend isn’t something I’ve massively been in to when it comes to little pocket tools/widgets, knives, carbon fibre wallets etc etc. If concealed carry were a thing in this country I’d jump on that in a heartbeat but that’s not a discussion for this moment.

A friend of mine within Magpul’s apparel/equipment division kindly supplied me one of these Daka wallets to take a look at and I’d say it’s an option worth considering if it fits your needs. I’m sort of on the fence on this type of wallet, having tried it I have found that I really don’t need a lot of the junk I carry around in my normal wallet, but I also do need coins sometimes (as I’d imagine many people do) and personally I can’t stand just having a pocket full of loose change. People who just shove bank notes in to a pocket make me feel a bit sick; those are to be neatly stored with no dog-ears and looked after to my mind, but I digress.

The Daka pouches are made of an all synthetic fabric that I’m a fan of and this wallet makes good use of that with the same sort of construction methods. The pouches are still overkill price wise to replace sandwich/freezer bags when waterproofing lots of gear in a bergan, but if you get a couple for organising random bits when travelling or doing outdoor stuff they make sense. This wallet holds on to what you put in it due to the high friction nature of the material and if you’re only really using a few cards on a daily basis it’s a strong option. Feather light, as simply constructed as it could possibly be and resilient to hanging about in your sweaty pocket for years on end.

Proper Shiny

Spent some time sweating in my No1s this morning to get handed my proper medal. As I said over on IG, my feeling is there should be 2 types of medal, one for support guys like me who had a real chill time (by comparison) and one for the blokes who actually did proper dangerous shit. But it is what it is, not something I can change.

The NATO one on the left is well known for being made of chocolate, pretty trinket but that’s it. The one I earnt is on the right and made of cardboard and some really terrible MS Paint artwork. But every time a group left, the ‘characters’ got a special citation from the lads for meritorious service in the face of boredom and the enemy (the drinking ban). There was a certain chain of events involving an American general and some pictures and some things happened and I won’t say any more than that. True story.

Attend ALL The Expos

When SHOT just isn’t enough tactical expo per year…

I’ve no idea on the photography/videography rules at this one, but if things work out it could well be a pretty rich gold mine for content.

Now, for those unfamiliar, SHOT show is aimed at shops, small mil/LE units and individuals. DSEI is aimed at huge contracting companies and nation states. At SHOT a business buys a few crates of rifles or an ISO full of tac gear and NVGs. At DSEI the governments of the world look at equipping entire armies with armoured vehicles, AT weapons and fleets of UAVs etc.

You can read more and get a bit of a flavour for it on the website:

http://www.dsei.co.uk/

I’d always known the current serving military could attend the event in London but up to now I’d presumed it was limited to higher ranks and people in the acquisition sectors.

As it stands I’ll be going on works’ time and dime, which means I may only get one day to walk around. It’s a 4 day event however just like SHOt so I’m going to do my best to get at least 2 days in to walk the floor, capture media and glean what information I can from companies producing interesting products.

First Aid

I’m not a medical professional of any kind (sort of the opposite in a lot of ways), but as has been well publicised throughout the tactical world by this point, we all really should have at least some knowledge with regard to looking after your buddies, because purely ‘taking care’ of the bad guys isn’t enough.

The sexy side of medical training however is not always reality, proper tourniquet application is important but has a lot of facets to it that I’d not dream of providing advice on to strangers via the internet. You cannot ever possibly be ready for every medical emergency, the number of things that can go wrong with the body are simply too great and varied. Ambulances are not small vehicles and even they only carry a small amount of kit compared to the number of things that exist in the world to potentially treat a person in some way or other.

Reality is the injuries you’re most likely to encounter on the range/trail/hill/skirmish field are cuts, scrapes and burns plus other little trivia like broken digits and sprains etc. If you’re reading this, there’s an extremely high chance your hobbies involve lots of very small explosions and sharp/fast moving things as well as people moving quickly over uneven terrains.

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To help deal with these sorts of realities I opted for the Camping FAK from Lifesystems, you can read the full content list on their site. Whether there are cheaper ways to get similar results by buying stuff individual I don’t know for sure, but I didn’t stumble across any. If you’re a person with little or no medical training you’re probably not going to do any more harm with the stuff in this kit (which is the most important thing) and almost all of it only really requires ripping the packet opening and whacking the contents on to the casualty. Worst case scenario they have to suffer a little bit for 30 seconds while you read the plastic for instructions. This isn’t me saying “don’t seek out medical training”, however, I’ve had that handed to me on a plate at different points over the years and I appreciate that not everyone can afford or even get access to that sort of instruction.

The actual contents of the Lifesystems kit seem of good quality, relevant to most commonly occuring situations and for the most part you won’t have to perform any upkeep on the kit to maintain it in a serviceable state for a good few years. The scissors seem a bit ‘underpowered’ and the paracetamol/ibuprofen will no doubt go past their expiry before you’d need them and take up a lot of space given that they’re rather unimportant. However the inclusions of oft-overlooked, but vital, items like nitrile gloves really removes the guess work from building up a kit yourself if you’re not well versed in the subject.

The supplied red pouch is surprisingly really very good, made of a lightweight but sturdy and water resistant nylon similar to that found in some super-light tactical gear. The zip is of equal quality with chunky rubber tabs on the pulls and the internal organisation with segregated and labelled storage is intelligent and intuitive.

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I’ve split this particular kit between my car and a nice MilSpecMonkey Tac-Organiser pouch which is attached to a multicam pack for carrying around at longer/larger airsoft games. Given the amount of pyro that gets chucked around in airsoft and the propensity for BB Warriors to carry around ******** unnecessary fixed blades, it makes a lot of sense for everyone to have these sorts of emergency items to hand. I’ve ‘upgraded’ the airsoft kit with a simple TQ, a larger military field dressing and some bits like chemlights and notepad/pen also largely from MSM; meanwhile the car kit has other things like a space blanket, very simple rescue tool etc (all mounted to a FirstSpear bandoleer style panel).

When it comes to general first aid, just remember your Dr ABCs and fuck any BS complex, updated versions that you’ll get taught differently on every medical training course you attend (guaranteed). I know for a fact that I don’t practice this stuff anywhere near often enough to remember the little changes and iterations if somebody’s gushing blood. If something serious like that does happen I will revert to the iteration I had drilled in to my head over and over at recruit training; because I’m a human being.

Get knowledge where you can, prepare yourself with equipment to a reasonable level in a fashion that’s grounded in your personal reality.

Microsoft’s insistence in recent years in terms of packaging windows with a movie editor that’s so awful I’d class it as 99% useless has definitely been a thorn in my side. I had been using a very old version of WMM that I managed to download from somewhere, but of course I forgot to copy it when I moved over to my new desktop and laptop. Hopefully this new software with more capabilities will allow me to get more videos out there and make them look a bit better (once I get to grips with things).
 
I have some footage here I recorded nearly a year ago now that’s just been waiting to get edited. It’s not quite up to the standards I’d like in an ideal world, but it highlights some good gear and I feel it’s better to upload a video that’s not perfect than not upload anything at all.  Hopefully you good folk will agree.
 
Obviously while I’m over in Vegas I’ll be recording as much as I can and a lot of nights will be spent in my hotel room, cutting footage and getting up uploaded for everyone to watch. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be able to get in terms of content form the various manufacturers booths during SHOT, but I’ll have my DSLR and my video camera along for the ride and I’ll get as much content out there regarding cool and interesting guns/gear/airsoft stuff as I can, as quickly as I physically am able to.
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New Shirt(s) Time

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Here’s the tail-end of the last few months’ purchases.  Normally I’d prioritise deliveries of tacticool stuff like all this sweet camo, but the more actually-practical kit had to get delivered first in preparation for the milsim game.  It’ll be a fair while yet before this stuff gets featured individually, but if you like combat shirts definitely stay tuned.