Safety Systems/driFIRE performance clothing

Posted in Clothes, GEAR on November 26th, 2006 by M M

Safety System Corp recently introduced their new line of driFIRE Performance wear. Back in April, the Marines banned the use of polyester or nylon based athletic clothing while conducting operations ‘outside the wire’ in Iraq (source). This was due to the danger of such clothing melting and fusing to the skin when exposed to extreme heat and flames, a concern for users who might be exposed to flash fires, flames or IEDs etc. Synthetic wicking base layers have become popular in the Armed Forces as they provide comfort by transporting perspiration away from the skin to outer layers, keeping the user drier and more comfortable under most conditions. I made the switch a while back from cotton to synthetics, as I found the synthetics to be superior in practically all respects except flame retardance (which isn’t a concern for me personally as I don’t get exposed to that danger).


Arc’Teryx Charlie pack

Posted in EQUIPMENT, Packs on November 26th, 2006 by M M

From the Arc’teryx LEAF (Law Enforcement and Armed Forces) line is the Charlie pack. Designed as a day/assault pack, it’s a lightweight and streamlined design that has more volume than you’d think. The Charlie pack embodies Arc’teryx’s efficient usage of space, much like the pockets on their clothing. Hidden or not-so-obvious pleats or folds on pockets suddenly appear and allow the seemingly flat pockets to expand when stuffed. The USMC ILBE Assault pack is based on the Charlie pack, which Arc’Teryx designed and is made by Propper. It was intended to replace the butt pack, allowing easier access to the contents, and worn over body armour.

Overall design and features – Here’s the quick rundown. Advertised internal capacity is 1650, at a featherweight 2 lbs. PALS webbing on the front and sides for attachment of additional MOLLE-compatible pockets. Four side compression straps. One large expandable front pocket for quick-access items. Overall construction is out of 725d Cordura (shown here in Crocodile and MultiCam). Quick-release shoulder straps and stowable waist belt. HDPE frame sheet. Overall approximate dimensions (stuffed out) are 20″ in height, 11″ in width, and about 8″ in depth.


Mystery Ranch Gen 2 NICE frame and Crewcab bag

Posted in EQUIPMENT on November 25th, 2006 by M M

Not too long ago, Dana Gleason and his crew at Mystery Ranch introduced the Gen 2 version of the NICE (Nylinear Individual Carrying Equipment) ALICE-compatible frame featured on page 1. It’s constructed of 500D cordura for weight savings, and it was found that 500D waterproofs better and holds less water than 1000D when saturated. The tighter weave also helps with tear strength due to an increased number of fibers in the seam. The carbon/fiberglass components of the main frame remain unchanged. Overall, the Gen I and Gen II both look very similar; but a side-by-side comparison reveals the the following changes:

* The Gen 2′s membrane (the flat, main piece of fabric) is built to minimize seams and the amount of fabric used in the frame itself. This results in a stronger, yet lighter NICE frame than the Gen 1. It weighs 4lb 6oz.
* The new Futura yoke is lighter and reduces body contact area for better ventilation.
* The side compression straps on the early production Gen 1 have been replaced by female buckles. Compression straps have been moved to the packbags. The packbags are compatible with both generations of the NICE frame, and the ALICE frame of course. A strap kit is available that will adapt Gen 1 or 2 frames and packs to each other.


SureFire KROMA flashlight

Posted in EQUIPMENT, Illumination on November 22nd, 2006 by M M

The SureFire Kromaâ„¢ is a selectable-output multi-spectrum LED flashlight. What does that mean? Basically, it has two different levels of lighting in three different colours (white, red and blue). It runs on two 3V 123-type batteries.

The Kroma is 5.5″ long and weighs 4.9 oz. It’s not much larger than the C2 Centurion shown here for size reference. It has knurling on the body and tailcap, and a stainless steel clip. All aluminum surfaces are finished with a Type III hard anodize coating. The bezel is about 1.45″ in diameter. The push button tail switch is of the momentary-only type. It doesn’t click on and off. More on that later. The head assembly consists of a grooved plastic selector ring, the head, and the bezel. The selector ring has five positions. The bezel can be unscrewed from the head to clean the tempered Pyrex window, which protects the LEDs if needed.


LaRue Tactical STEALTH billet upper

Posted in AR, Uppers, WEAPONS on November 12th, 2006 by M M

To call the STEALTH Billet Upper receiver (LT-007) from LaRue Tactical a ‘nice’ piece of machine work would be an understatement. It’s a beautiful piece of machine work. The STEALTH upper was designed to retain the overall ‘look’ of a standard receiver; and reveal its origin only upon close inspection to a trained eye. LaRue’s intention was to produce a very high quality upper receiver for precision builds.

That meant a ‘square/true’ receiver, with all critical datums and features/surfaces square to each other, with no misalignment of the bore. While it can be debated whether and how having a ‘trued-up’ receiver has a noticeable effect on accuracy, it sure is nice to know you’re starting out with one. It definitely doesn’t hurt. Reduced receiver flex is another step towards increased accuracy/consistancy under different shooting conditions and positions, and the STEALTH receiver has been beefed up and reinforced in those areas which LaRue feel are the important ones.


SureFire M69 Rem 870 rail

Posted in WEAPONS on November 7th, 2006 by M M

SureFire produces Picatinny Rails/handguards for various weapons, and one of them is the M69 for the Remington 870 shotgun. The shotgun is generally a close-quarters weapon, and still very much in use today, even with the police carbine becoming more popular. When used indoors or under low light conditions, it is imperative to have a weapon-mounted light for identification/verification of the threat or target.

The SureFire 618FA dedicated forend and variants is the accepted standard for shotgun lights, as it integrates the light into a replacement fore-end with different switch options. The 618FA has a rocker constant-on switch on the left side and momentary-on pressure pad switch on the right side. While the 618FA is an excellent product, I found that the switch setup wasn’t optimal for me as I’m left handed, and SureFire doesn’t offer a mirror image model for lefties. Enter the M69 fore-end, which gives the user the ability to configure it however they want to.