Werk

Normally I can’t actually post what I do. But today was the camp airshow/families’ day and there were a bazillion civvies with smart phones wondering around anyway snapping everything, so I presume I fall under the same rules.

Being the armourer on camp who knows more about guns than what’s necessary to do the job, I end up doing allllll of the presentations to cadets and non-military visitors. I wish I’d kept my damn mouth shut years ago and pretended I thought the 762 for the AK was the same thing as NATO 762 for the FN MAG etc.

The M134 is a toothless training aid we borrowed, everything else I deactivated in such a way it can’t fire but cocks and appears to function exactly as normal when handled. Easy on the L85 and the AKM, took a bit of scrounging, hacking and bashing with the Glock 17 and the air-role GPMG. All returned to fully working order at the end of the day with some easy part swaps (long as you have things like original Russian AK bolts lying around).

Doesn’t look like much of a display admittedly, but when you have exactly 0 budget and have to beg, borrow, steal, dust off, unearth and otherwise hunt down or fabricate every single little thing yourself it is a little bit of a challenge.

PCU Level 4/5 – OR Ferrosi kinda-softshell

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi jacket.

For those unfamiliar, OR are a lot like Arc’teryx. A mountaineering/hiking company with a tactical division producing rather high end kit. Generally far eastern manufacture, but so are Arc and people still go bonkers for them.

A while back I wanted a simple, light and 100% non-tactical-looking jacket that would keep the wind and drizzle off for the standard British transitional seasons. Tactical Distributors had these on sale at the time and it seemed to fit the bill nicely, though at the time I didn’t actually realise how well. It’s become an absolute staple in my wardrobe for almost every day that it isn’t hot and sunny i.e. a lot of the time.

In the spring and autumn it’s my jacket for the gym so I can keep the cold wind off my sweat soaked t-shirt and still have that sweat evaporate on the way back to the block, rather than continually cooking myself after not bothering with doing a cool down. There’s zero velcro, no arm pockets, it doesn’t say tactical anywhere and not a hint of camouflage. It’s also extremely thin and light so it packs down small and I pretty much always take it with me on any travels.

It’s a similar ‘almost softshell’ to the FirstSpear Wind Cheater. It’s more than L4 as far as the PCU ratings go but slightly thinner than a true L5 shell jacket. So it’s not going to save you in seriously adverse weather, but around town or when exercising it’s superb for very cold, windy, but dry conditions (with appropriate layering) or slight rain. Given the amount of time I’ve spent wearing this it’s been by far one the best purchases I’ve made from a store that does have Tactical in the name.

If you want a genuine all-rounder jacket I very highly recommend this thing.

Slimline AGB Sleeve – The Modern FS Battle Belt

The FirstSpear Slimline AGB Sleeve. I’ve gone over the original AGB Sleeve before on a video and I used it for a little while as a belt-rig to partner my plate carriers. It worked well but it was a product of its’ time and things have moved very rapidly in the realm of light-load belt kits just in the past couple of years.

The popularisation of the inner/outer belt combo with hook & loop joining solved a problem I think many people had had out there for a long time, I know I was certainly amongst that group. When I saw FS updating their ‘warbelt’ option to include this setup along with a slimmer, lighter profile I jumped in and ordered up a pair of them sharpish.

With the possible exception of an issue smock, after taking this belt on deployment and wearing it all the time I wasn’t asleep I’ve put in more hours with it than any other piece of kit I’ve ever bought or been issued. Served me very well, I’ll go in to more details on video at some point.

 

Kryp-take

I was going to post about a specific Kryptek Outdoor Group product today, so I opened up Kryptek’s own web store to double check whether they still sell said product.

In the process I did my usual thing of checking their clothing section to see if they had anything new or interesting in stock. Now for a long time they didn’t actually offer a conventional cotton-blend combat cut uniform, it was all inclement weather layering and hunting gear and they sold the /cotton fabrics to companies like PLATATACVERTX and ur-tactical.comto make military styled items.

More recently Kryptek have added their own branded Tactical combat shirt and trousers to their store, so I had a look at the shirt: https://kryptek.com/tactical-shirt

The patterning of the fabric under the arms and the layout of the bicep pockets rung a bell, so I checked UR-Tac’s site to look up their IDA Gen 2 Combat shirt, which they’ve offered for some years now in many different camo patterns and colours: http://www.ur-tactical.com/…/1417/virtuemart_category_id/143

Carbon copy.

I’m going to hope Kryptek either paid UR-Tac some fee or is having them build this shirt for them or there is some other circumstance going on that I’m not aware of, because that’s some flagrant design theft right there if they aren’t. I get that it goes on and almost everything is a slight variation of another these days, but to pull something that would be expected from the likes of TMC or Emerson – and from a company that’s so loud and proudly American and ‘innovative’, well that’s disappointing to say the least.

In fact despite me saying carbon copy, let’s break down the differences:

Kryptek:
-Poly/cotton sleeves and yoke
-Apparently no different fabric for the under arms
-No heavy duty elbow reinforcement
-No elbow pads included or mention of pad pockets
-Imported, presumably from Vietnam
Price – $135

OPS (UR-Tac):
-50/50 NYCO Construction
-Stretch, rapid wicking fabric under the arms
-500D Cordura elbow reinforcement
-Elbow pad pockets sewn in with foam shaped pads included
-Made in Hong Kong from what I know
Price – $78

Now I take a somewhat international stance with this page so obviously those prices will vary by your shipping cost, but I’d best you could still get the UR-Tac shipped anywhere in the world for much less than $57 and you’ll have a superior product. Certainly buying the Kryptek version and shipping it to Asia or Europe would be pure insanity.

To me this is just a perfect example of less money actually getting you more product if you take the time to find out what it really is you’re buying vs hitting checkout on the first thing you find.

Turn Wine in to Water

I mentioned in the review of the MilSpecMonkey branded CamelBak bottles that I’d had an earlier design of cap wear out on me after daily usage over a very long period of time. The newer bottles that MSM carry feature a different style of lid that shouldn’t ever encounter that problem, however I noticed on the packing for the new bottle that Camelbak were advertising a lifetime guarantee; so I obviously decided to test this.

Messaged Camelbak here on Facebook, told them the issue, they asked for an address which I supplied and less than a week later a new lid (and straw) arrived with me. Entirely free, no further questions asked, via their UK distributor.

Impressive customer service is always keep me going back to a certain brand, conversely poor CS will make me want to run for the hills every time. Being able to buy one of these bottles and know you’ve then got it for life – well that’s a worthwhile investment. If you even manage to wear out the main body of the bottle I’ll be genuinely impressed because I’ve crashed mine off concrete floors multiple times, and yes it scuffs, but there’s zero sign of serious cracking or splits.