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Friday, June 4, 2010

It's the simple solutions...

that tend to rock the most.  BLOCS Quick Eject Tourniquet Carrier.



Via Soldier Systems
I'm gonna have to pick up a couple.  Great idea.

What's a good way to set your coffee shop up for a hold up?

By actively making cops unwelcome.  I guess they just hope their karma will keep them safe (although I'd imagine that treating a human being this way simply because of their profession doesn't help out your karma much...)

My usual caffeine distribution center is all sorts of borderline new age and hippie-ish, but not too long ago they hosted a "morning coffee with the SPPD" sort of event, where the general public could come chat some of the city's finest in an informal setting. (I had classes, so I missed out on it, but the concept seems like a great idea.)

Czechpoint

Say Uncle linked to a new gun company who sells one of the "pistols" that I have wanted for years and have never had a good enough excuse to buy.  Might have to break down before the end of the year...

Tankettes

I'm half tempted to start an Ork army just to use these little guys.  They're so cute in a ramshackle sort of way.
















For a sense of scale, that little guy's maybe three inches long (the tank, not the Grot popping out the hatch...)

Savvy Sniper Tac 1-2 Sling

Another product review!

So it's pretty well agreed that a sling is essential to nearly any long gun, especially a defensive gun.  We've come a long way since the days of a simple two-point strap good for keeping your hands free and the muzzle out of the dirt, but not much else.  There was a brief upswing of the three point, and I rocked the excellent Spec-Ops Mamba in Afghanistan, a very comfortable and versatile rig.
But now days all the cool kids are running single point slings, especially on the M4 style platform.  The three point sling has the disadvantage of being a straight up pain if you ever need to switch from right to left handed, something pretty common in todays urban environment.
For a bit I ran the Magpul MS2, in conjunction with the ASAP plate on my midlength carbine.  The MS2 is one of a handful of single point slings that have a secondary clip that allows you to quickly switch from a single point to a two point.  The advantage being that a single point is ideal for a dynamic and up-close style of shooting where switching hands and transitioning to a sidearm is common, and a two point is much better at keeping the gun out of your way if you're doing something requiring two hands, and if used correctly, helps stabilize your rifle for longer range engagements.
The Magpul sling has a beefy alligator type clip to accomplish the transition at lightning speed, and of course the "Magpul" logo makes the kool-aid taste better.  But the webbing they chose to use is the same type of tubular webbing used in the climbing world, which is insanely strong, but very flexible.  I found that it wasn't quite up to spreading the weight of my beefy midlength rifle across my body.  The webbing has a tendency to want to fold in half and cut into the top of my shoulder, not to mention rolling and tangling up the quick adjustment system, and there is no stretch in the material, making this even worse when running.
Right around the time the MS2 was being introduced, Shotgun News ran an article about some new AR, I think it was something in 6.8mm, I don't remember, but the guy reviewing the gun was singing the accolades of the Savvy Sniper Tac 1-2 Sling.  What really caught my eye was the inclusion of a bungee section, much like my beloved Mamba, yet had the cool single-point/two-point abilities like the MS2. Plus free shipping!
Price is comparable to the MS2, but the Savvy Sniper has the bonus cool points of being handmade by some very cool people in Ohio, and I'm a sucker for the "custom" feel and coolness of that kind of thing.  So I sent an ordered up one for myself and one of my shooting buddies who was looking for a good sling for his M&P15.
Savvy Sniper is a smaller company, and orders are placed through email, and payment by an old fashioned check sent through the mail.  Some people don't like that extra bit of work, but it just kind of added to the whole "custom" feel of things for me.  Shipping time was pretty good for a made-to-order product too.

Handmade goodness-












Construction is top-notch.  Good strong stitching, quality materials and components like H&K clips and Fastex buckles. (various attachment options are available too)  I went with H&K clips, but now I see they have MASH hooks... I'll have to place another order soon...



The webbing is also Mil-spec webbing just like the MS2, but a much stiffer brand.  The quick adjustment system is also much simpler, and doesn't get fouled up nearly as often as the MS2's (which has been regulated to camera duty.  It really is a fantastic strap for a bulky digital SLR and an active photographer.)
The sling hooks up easily and securely, and the Fastex buckles are there for quick escape if need be.  In the single point config there's plenty of material to fit over a vest.  I actually run it with the non-quick adjust section tightened nearly all the way, and the quick adjust section pulled tight if I'm not wearing my vest, or let out a bit if I am (I like the gun riding high and close.) There's plenty of sling to transition from left to right hands tangle-free with the ASAP plate (so far the best sling plate I've ever used.)














And switched to the two point it's easy to slide the rifle out of the way onto your back if need be (a great asset for those in theater) or for a bit more comfortable carry during lengthy patrols (it just seems to carry better and keeps the rifle from bouncing around, but is still in the low ready.)














My only real complaint is that the d-ring the transition hook grabs onto tends to turn and end up side-ways.  It doesn't impair function, but it's a little annoying.  However it looks like they have a new sling that addresses this, and a couple other things (like the adjustment section just kind of dangling.)  I think I may need to upgrade...

Overall, a great sling, and an outstanding alternative to the often hard to find MS2.

Kydex Part V

Comparisons and Thoughts

(Final installment of the plasticy-holster reviews)

This part should kinda wrap things up for the most part.  I've kind of alluded to some comparisons throughout, but I wanted to sum them all up into one post.
Retention:
The Serpa Level 2 is by far the most secure feeling of the three.  Of course it is expected, being the only holster with an active retention system.  The Raven Concealment Systems Phantom is probably the least secure, but it is arguably intended for concealed carry (it is right there in the name after all) and holds the gun plenty well enough for that task.  However if I were going to OC in a more crowded environment, I would use the Serpa.  The Fobus lands right in the middle, securing the gun more than well enough for movement and generally carry purposes, but I'd be leery of trusting it in the event of a gun grab.
Coverage:
The Raven rig definitely covers the most amount of gun, yet still allows for a good hold when drawing.  Between the sweat shield and custom molded fit, this one will keep your gun from getting banged up the most, and the bottom is pretty well closed, with a drain opening directly under the light, which should help keep crud from getting into the muzzle.  The Fobus covers the least, depending on the gun, but I would prefer a bit of protection for the front sight, no matter how tough they are.  The Serpa gets the middle spot here, good coverage down to the muzzle, however it is wide open at the bottom.  It does have the "speed cut," exposing the chamber area, but still covers the ejection port.  I could do without, but it's not a deal breaker.
Comfort:
The Serpa takes the top in this one, with the Fobus a close second.  While I do appreciate the minimalist approach to the paddle concept from the guys at Raven Concealment, the hooks could be a bit more rounded on the wearer's side.  The Blackhawk setup is nicely rounded, customizable for belt width, solid yet flexible enough to keep from poking you.  It also spreads the weight of the gun out across your belt more.

The Serpa's paddle is nearly twice the width of the Fobus.












The Phantom spreads the weight out even more, there is definitely no feeling of the gun pulling your pants off, even with a full 15 round mag and attached light.











The Phantom is also the highest riding of the three, the Serpa holding the gun the lowest.













All three of them hold the gun in nice and tight to the wearer's body, although I'd like to see how a Raven made holster would feel with the 1911 for comparison (eventually...)

Summary:
All three of the holsters are great rigs, especially considering the prices.  The Fobus beats the snot out of comparably priced cloth holsters, and looks 5,843 times better.  The Blackhawk! Serpa is a steal for a durable, all around, secure holster, and is a king of versatility with both paddle and belt attachments included in the package.  The Raven Concealment Systems Phantom's quality is fantastic, and the "custom" fit and feel makes the little extra price and current wait well worth it, especially for some of the harder to find models, and is pretty much the only choice worth even considering if you run a light.
All three have their strengths (Fobus = value; Serpa = security; Phantom = light compatibility & custom feel); and all have some weaknesses (Fobus = extra finish wear; Serpa = potential mechanical failure; Phantom = low retention).
What I can say is buy any of the three with confidence.  You won't be let down.

Part II - Fobus Holster and Mag Holder
Part III - Blackhawk! Serpa Holster and Mag Holder
Part IV - Raven Concealment Systems Phantom Holster and Mag Holder