Finnish PC

InRange TV uploaded a very nice video today showcasing different variable magnification optic selections as part of their ‘What Would (Eugene) Stoner Do’ ideal AR-15 build series. Good thoughts and real world, practical shooting experience with the items discussed as always.

The rifles themselves are great setups with modern pencil barrels, carbon fibre handguards, polymer lower receivers and every other part coming under intense scrutiny. However I am mainly a gear guy and while the clothing in the video caught my eye as it often does, Karl’s plate carrier is what really grabbed my attention. Being a modern design that I had most certainly never seen before (a rare thing) I started digging through the comments and fortunately struck oil.

The carrier, named the Verseidag Tacticum, is made by Sioen Ballistics Oy, retailed over at Varusteleka.com and currently in use by Finnish SOF. If you know much about Finland’s history in conflict, you’ll no doubt have the same respect for the way they do things as I do.

https://www.varusteleka.com/en/product/verseidag-tacticum-plate-carrier/27766

There’s a pretty nice looking 3-band cummerbund with mesh spacing and slim shoulder straps of a synthetic fabric which may or may not be similar to what I showcased from C2R at DSEI. The stand out of course is the zip panels being both front and back, eschewing the more popular and somewhat standardised modular front flap that Velocity/Mayflower and Crye have begun to popularise over the past couple of years.

The plate pockets themselves have plenty of PALS sewn on, a lot of it being loop covered for a pretty extreme level of modularity. You’ve then got similar layouts with full PALS on the outsides of the zipped panels and again, plenty of loop. The slight disadvantage to this is you’re carrying a lot of wasted webbing and loop behind that zip panels that’s bulking your rig out and adding some weight, so if your goal is truly minimalist kit in terms of zero-wastage you’ll be carrying around a bit extra, but there’s certainly no lack of modularity.

Personally I’d run some slick pouches like TenSpeeds up front, they’d easily get hidden away underneath the zip panel which could itself be fitted with other pouches for something like a sub gun. Heck looking at the layout, you could possibly even jam some FS Multimags under the panel if there’s enough slack built in to the dimensions of the cordura.

Not a cheap price on the face of it, however the 4th image on the product page actually shows what you’re getting and there’s a lot there for the money. The base PC itself, with shoulder strap wraps, both front and rear modular panels included as well as entirely modular/removable spacer mesh pads from the front, back and shoulders. That’s a setup I’ve considered having custom made myself so I’m pretty excited to see that offered from a manufacturer.

Keyboard + Mouse

All well and good having a decent PC, but if the other stuff is really cheap, worn out or unsuitable you just don’t enjoy it nearly as much.

Went through a certain company to do a tax reclaim type deal recently, decided that with the amount of time I spend sat here at the REMF Tac command + control management station I needed to make some changes.

Gone from some horrible £50 Argos chair that I’d spent most nights the past 8+ years sat in to a nice Nitro Concepts ‘Pure’ with thick new padding that’s not so worn down that my arse imprint is touching the plastic base and hurting the bottom of my spind. Also has lumbar support that my previous one didn’t, which my old-man back is finding so comfortable it can’t even handle it yet.

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The previous Razer control accessories were, I have to say, a let down. Partly due to me not doing enough research, partly in build quality. The keyboard had clicky switches with a heavy press weight that was HORRIBLE for tapping out long reviews and blog posts; and while that’s my own fault for not educating myself more on switch types before buying, the fact keys would often get stuck on like thiiiiiiiiiiiiiis, was very much a manufacturing defect. I’ve gone over to the ROCCAT Isku+ Force FX, which is actually a membrane board so some of you out there will be going madat me right now, but my board before the Razer was something like a £15 Cherry brand super basic thing that was more akin to a laptop keyboard with very slim keys and I’m a big fan of that style frankly. Also this Roccat has something I’ve longed for my entire gaming life and it’s the only board to have it – analogue keys (progressive input like a console controller button). I don’t play many racing games but I like to wander from FPS/RTS occasionally and I have played a lot of console conversions in my life that are designed for the player to use analogue input. After playing many, many iterations of Metal Gear Solid on PC I’m pretty stoked about this feature. It’s a comparatively low price board but typing this right now is just so much quicker and easier than on the old clicky switches.

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The Razer mouse always worked fine, but it was ambi shaped which I’ve never really like and lacked on-the-fly DPI (sensitivity) change, which was again a stupid mistake on my part after going from my previous Logitech G9 which had that functionality. As a heavy Battlefield player since the series began (I pre-ordered a physical copy of 1942 in GAME) being able to maximise sensitivity for tight turns in aircraft then eventually die and dial it down for precision rifle shots at long ranges when back on the ground has proven crucial time and again. I’ve had occasions back in the day when resolutions were lower that I was taking shots at such distances I couldn’t physically get the front iron sight blade on to the target as it skipped over the right pixel placement (G36C unlock in BF2 for those who remember) and you need low sensitivity to remedy that sort of thing. I’ve plumped for the Roccat Kone EMP now and again it’s one of lower-middle offerings from the brand but I really never use weight adjustment and I’m not nearly good enough for having 25 buttons on a mouse or 25k DPI sensors underneath. This gives me quite literally everything I want at a good price and build quality.

Hot Shots 2018

A video I like to share once each year when it drops. Definitely tell they’ve got some prior service ladies on the shooting team.

Was rather lucky to have the chance to buy my 2018 edition at DSEI, hung up ready and waiting here in the block for January 1st. Not sure whether it’s the finalised edition since the general sales aren’t open yet, but there’s an e-mail sign up for notification available on both the US and UK/ROW websites.

Committed folks, I guess you’ll just have to find the inside of a cupboard your other half never goes in to..?

Commercial Camo Showdown – 3/3 – Dehydrated

We’ve looked at the temperate and transitional offerings from the 4 primary competitors in the modern commercial marketplace, which leaves just the ‘desert’ patterns and variants to cover.

From left to right we have:
– PenCott Camouflage Sandstorm, Rasputin item G3 Combat shirt clone
– Kryptek Outdoor Group Nomad, PLATATAC CUTS Combat shirt
– A-Tacs Camo AU, PLATATAC Patrol trousers
– MultiCam Arid, Crye G3 Combat shirt

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This third part of this weirdly-niche showcase was the trickiest part to complete by far. I was able to get all 4 of the woodland patterns together easily, the transitionals only slightly more tricky than that, but finding Sandstorm and Nomad was a challenge. Now to be clear my criteria wasn’t to just buy any piece of clothing in the pattern for the sake of posting this comparison, everything I buy has to meet various criteria to fit within my collection and what I want to actually do with that item.

The formula for that decision making is rather long winded and not necessarily 100% consistent as it depends what I’m after at the time. My overall goal is to have the highest quality piece I can get of a given pattern/colour, however sometimes I want something specific to post/review or to write about to illustrate a learning point; or alternatively I don’t want to buy just another copy of the same garment from a brand I’ve already got well represented. That’s not including of course the fact that sometimes you just stumble across a real bargain on something and while maybe it’s not quite ideal, it’s very close and entirely worth the very minor concession when taking in to account the money saved.

The hardest thing to track down was most definitely the Kryptek.
There’s been a lot produced commercially in Mandrake, Highlander and Typhon and I think there was some Nomad floating around when Kryptek first hit the market, but at the time I was searching it was very thin on the ground to say the least. I was very lucky to find a really well made combat cut set (which is what I primarily always look for) on Australian eBay, because it looks like Platatac literally only manufactured a dozen sets or less when they were making the other Kryptek patterns Tac Dax sets and they presumably were found in a dusty corner of the warehouse some time later.

The Rasputin shirt is at this time the only budget china-clone piece of gear I actually own. I opted for it for a couple of reasons. First because the brand (which as far as I can tell is literally just TMC) uses the genuine 50/50 NYCO PenCott fabrics and sew them in to the familiar G3 cut. Second because the pricing of the shirt was around what you’d pay for mid range clothing like Tru-Spec or Leo Kohler and I wanted to have something from the clone chinese market to look at and compare on video, given how massively popular such clone gear is with airsofters.

As you’ll note, Sandstorm, AU and MC Arid all share some fairly similar mid browns and tans but each have some unique elements. The PenCott features a small amount of grey shades, with dark browns in Nomad and Multicam-esque light green blotches in the Arid. AU is by far the darkest of the lot, standing out substantially with some near-black tones and a bit of green, better suited for more arid urban and rocky terrains whereas the others will presumably blend more in the stereotypical ‘desert’ backdrop.

The interesting part I find about this set is that ATACS-AU was the first of any modern commercial camos to really hit the market in a big way apart from original Multicam and it really began a big trend that was all over the tacticool social media scene for a few years until the older military patterns got back in to popularity. Original AU was hotly anticipated before Propperput it on to the market around the turn of the decade and the FG variant was again very popular when it arrived on the scene shortly after AU. All the Kryptek patterns enjoyed a very strong spotlight for a good couple of years when these commercial offerings were at the height of their popularity, then PenCott probably came along towards the end of that general phase. The Multicam variants of course came along quite a fair bit later than the rest and Tropic certainly seems to be the most widespread of them, with very little Arid seeming to be out there despite good mid-range and high-end offerings being easily obtainable from Tru-Spec/SKD and Crye respectively.

I’m undecided on whether I’ll do a 4th ‘Urban’ part to this series later down the line as I’m not a big fan of either ATACS-LE or MC Black and my storage space is really maxed out at this point. PenCott Metropolis isn’t available yet and Kryptek Raid NYCO fabric has never been printed to my knowledge, so I only have the sports type jersey for demonstration. But if any of you out there happen to own LE or Black and wouldn’t mind letting me borrow some of your camo gear at some time very briefly to feature here, feel free to get in touch via the direct messages. I’ll never have the physical space to own one of everything so anyone who’s willing to lend a hand then said hand will be gratefully received.

Any thoughts you have or interesting unusual items you happen to own related to arid patterns (or any camo in general), or thoughts you have on any/all the above, let me know down in the comments.

Rheinmetall at DSEI

When I’m walking by and I see plates with numbers that low on them I have to stop and take a look. The ‘magic number’ that a lot of forces look for when we’re talking a medium SAPI (as shown here) is sub 2Kg and that’s a pretty slim and nicely curved plate, impressive tech. The sub-1Kg plate below it is obviously smaller with a lesser rating, but when I saw the numbers from a distance I genuinely thought “no way”, yet was proven wrong on closer inspection.

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The LE PC setup pictured is a product driven by the recent small arms attacks that have happened in Europe. With one of the primary threats being 762 AK platforms smuggled in from the balkans regions and middle easy there was a desire for an extreme amount of frontal protection for Armed Police/SWAT type units. Not only does the front, back and sides of the PC all hold plates that form and almost unbroken ring, the neck and both groin guards also hold hard plates for full defence against rifle threats.

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Radom (Poland) at DSEI

First time I’ve been able to see the very well known Polish MSBS rifle system in the flesh. In terms of function it’s nothing that’s revolutionary, however a lot of investment has gone in to producing the modular components and design aspects of this rifle. The quick change barrels can be swapped between CQB carbine length, infantry rifle, DMR and LMG. With the upper receiver being the common component each of those is available in both bullpup and conventional layouts. There’s also a compatible 40mm launcher available.

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Great 3D viewer with more information here:
http://fabrykabroni.pl/en/produkty/karabiny/msbs/

FirstSpear and Typhoon International at DSEI

FirstSpear and Typhoon have collaborated many times in the past to provide complete clothing and protective load bearing systems to various units for maritime and amphibious use. Their combined stand at the show featured some of the FS Maritime carriers like the Bullfrog. Lots of different features between these like hydrophobic materials, buoyancy bags that can be inflated almost instantly by compressed Co2 carts and floatation within the carriers that can be inflated by the user. On top of the usual 6/12 attachment, Tube closures and top tier quality of construction.

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The offerings from Typhoon certainly caught my interest as they manufacture fully flame resistant and waterproof outer garments. I see a lot of FR base layers and Level 9 uniforms, but Level 5 and 6 water resistant/proof layers, that are also FR, are comparatively almost never seen. As you can see from the 2nd picture, Typhoon integrate carbon in to the waterproof camouflage fabrics (the visible small dots) and I’m told in a flash fire incident that carbon will bond together and create the necessary flame retardant layer of protection. I’m going to have to dig around to maybe find a video of this concept in action because it sounds very intriguing indeed.

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S&S Precision with Edgar Brothers at DSEI

S&S had a couple of new products on display and I was lucky enough to be able to chat with the owner of the company for a little while about what they had going on (super friendly bloke btw).

They have a few new sets of gloves on the way. First being a wet suit glove that’s put together in a very similar manner to the best designs of standard shooting glove out on the market today. Stitched in line with the fingers rather than perpendicular, a property you should always look for when buying a glove because it means you’ll actually retain good dexterity when wearing it. Shorter cuff with a classic velcro closure and of course to keep with the times touch screen compatible. Ticking all the boxes. The other glove shown is a mesh type that’ll no doubt be excellent in hot climates and another not shown but under development at S&S is a high altitude sky diving glove with powered heating elements and some intelligent use of materials. I’ve not jumped from any extreme heights myself but I’ve still gotten pretty cold hands under canopy, so I hope to get the chance to see the new design at some point. No doubt the actual cool guys who’re hopping off the bus at 10k or above will appreciate them very much.

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Also on the stand was a holster I’d been looking at online quite literally a couple of days previously from Armordillo Concealment, INC. Rather than encapsulating the entire gun it simply locks on to a SureFire x300, so if you have one of those or buy one of their standard models (not the new specific variant for the SF holster) you then immediately have a holster to work with basically any pistol that has a rail to attach that light. Very much added to my shopping list.

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Edgar Brothers at DSEI

I had a feeling EB were putting something pretty special together for their stand and I was not disappointed. They had essentially a mini SHOT Show setup all in one area and I was loving it I have to say. On board they had lots of gear from Daniel DefenseBlue Force Gear, Inc.S&S PrecisionVelocity Systems/Mayflower R&CGeissele Automatics, LLCTeam WendyMYSTERY RANCH BACKPACKSArc’teryx, of course Hot Shots Calendarand even more I’m forgetting right now.

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Great opportunity to take a close look at a huge variety of equipment in one place that you’d otherwise have to travel the world or spend a fortune to see. That in itself is a very large and key part of the reason why I run this outlet and try to put out as much information as possible to anyone who wants it.

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Special mentions to Rosie Jones and Kelly Hall smiling away as always raising some cash for Help for Heroes Official. Between the pair of them they’ve attended more defence and security industry expos at this point than probably the majority of people actually working in that business. They’ll be at it again in Vegas come January with some of the other ladies and I’ll be saying the same thing no doubt. What actually matters is the fundraising to help the vets who’ve suffered so you and I don’t have to and deserve absolutely nothing but the best. Last time at Shot the cash boxes at the Crye booth were quite literally bursting and overflowing, so credit where credit is due because a lot of the people coming up to the stand do ask some strange and unusual things but the girls are never phased. I’ve had some experience being the other side of the table as it were, presenting service weapons to crowds of people at open days and the like on base and the patience required just doing that for 1 day being asked the same things over and over again is substantial, let alone doing it for 3-4 days.

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REX firearms at DSEI

Rex had a small booth but what they did have was quite impressive I have to say. As a company they’ve only gotten in to firearms relatively recently, but they’ve been making other related items (training ammunition, links, tac gear) for a long time.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect quality wise from Rex Zero 1 pistol but they appeared to be very well manufactured. The de-cocker also acts as the slide lock and release, with the safety and magazine release both being ambi. The compact variants are shorter in the slide and grip as you’d expect, that tactical models feature threaded barrels and slide optic cuts. The competition model at the end has more going on than I’m even going to list in this post. The Firearm Blog very recently published a video on YouTube showcasing these pistols at the factory in Slovenia if you’re interested in seeing more.

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My feelings about modernising AKs are that it should absolutely be done but you should take a Military style approach to it, taking considered and incremental steps. If you slap on everything you can or make really huge changes to the DNA of the rifle it’ll end up a mess. The Rex AKB-15 may look like a totally different animal, but really the only huge change is up top. The receiver, BCG, barrel and fire control parts are pretty much what you’d want and expect in any AK, they have primarily just changed the obsolete top cover and soviet side mount for a monolithic top rail to fit optics in a secure fashion. Of course there’s also M-LOK slots on the lower handguard. Crucially the safety/selector is extremely smooth and with the downwards extension a right handed shooter can manipulate it quickly and very easily. For field cleaning you simply press out 2 HK style pins at the rear of the receiver to pop off the stock. Great design work.

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