P-Tec Switch Rail

If you’ve ever forgotten your head torch and had to grip a normal one in your pie hole while trying to clean twigs and grass and carbon and other sthit out of an assault rifle, go ahead and hit that like button.

This little widget is a Princeton Tec Switch Rail I picked up from Tactical Distributors a nearly 3 years back, after a specific learning experience that highlighted the fact I really needed such a thing.

I’m a big fan of the fact it weighs almost literally nothing and with 1 simple button you’ve got 2 levels of handy red light and emergency white light at your disposal. One normal press immediately goes to low-power red, 2 quick presses for brighter red and a long press+hold for white. If the lower power red has been on for more than a couple of seconds then a press turns the light off again rather than going to higher power, meaning it’s very easy to ensure you never go in to the brighter modes if you don’t wish to do so and staying sneaky is achievable.

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I’ve mounted the light to an SLR Rifleworks forend for illustration purposes here and you’ll note how slim and small it is. Now of course the tacticool thing that all the gucci operators do is have a white/IR light and an IR laser/illuminator up front with a dual switch paired with night vision. Problem with that of course is it’ll cost you a few grand minimum for a really basic setup if you’re not so BA to have it issued to you and that’s a lot of dosh for pretty much anybody. Even if you’re not minted however you still may need to be able to navigate around places and not fall up a flight of stairs and die while carrying a weapon/replica, so that’s where an economical piece of gear like this comes in.

For just a bit less money than a night vision setup, you can have a powerful white light on one side of the weapon to identify, highlight and disorient targets (when necessitating compromising your natural vision and position), then on the other side have a discreet red light easily and instantly accessible to aid simply moving around and any other administrative tasks. Personally I find having such a red light weapon mounted allowing you to easily point it exactly where you want it while still maintaining a full and proper firing grip is invaluable vs forcing yourself in to some weird uncomfortable grip or slinging your weapon to go with a hand held (or even mounting a red light to a chest rig and then having the fuck about of trying to make it point where you actually want it to point).

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The Princeton still isn’t a ‘cheap’ option exactly, but relatively speaking in the realm of lights it’s not bad and you’ll only ever need to buy one since it’s very easily transferred between weapons if required. I think of all the bullshit one can potentially mount to a handguard, this is something that gives a huge amount of function at essentially no cost in weight or ergonomics to your gun. You won’t look like people on Instagram think you should look like with one of these (they want to see fake chinese PEQ boxes instead), but it’s by far the better option to not fall over and break your face on a metal railing instead of a fucking pointless hollywood red laser.

Skip ze 6 – A7

First time I’m seeing the 416A7 as selected by German SF, deets over at Soldier Systems Dailyhttp://soldiersystems.net/2017/10/13/spartanat-2/#comments

G95

45 degree selectors and HKey over the quad pic. Not sure on other changes right now since the HK site still only displays the A5.

VERY similar rail to the one being proposed for the L85A3. I find it interesting the way some of these military arms are insisting on fitting parts that would be relevant on commercial ARs about 2-3 years ago. I had an original Fortis REV with the 12 and 6 o/clock pic rails and side KeyMod, was not a fan of the ergonomics, however I’ll take any weight saving over quad pic. M-LOK all around is simply the way to go.

iFly

I’ve done a couple of dozen parachute jumps so far (struggling to organise the next course) but never the indoor sky diving, so pretty hyped to get to try it on a little trip out with work I have to say.

It’s definitely a whole lot easier to try than actual parachuting, none of the fear, far less money. So if you’d like to get an idea of what freefall actually feels like, then I wouldn’t have any hesitation recommending iFLYiFLY Basingstoke. Really good facility, equipment and instructors all around.

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As it happened by some strange coincidence my group was being looked after by an American bloke, 10 year vet US Army, hadn’t been long out. Had a pretty strong accent still, not sure how he ended up doing indoor skydiving over here but a lot of the spams do love it over here. “Infantry then special operations” apparently which I could believe to look at him, I guessed Ranger then saw he had the relevant tattoo so I gave myself an internet cookie. Probably done a load of airborne ops in his time then taken those freefall skills to the indoor circuit, there’s a big business and sport/competition around wind tunnel stuff.

Latest from Plat-A-Tac – Mk3 Lowers

I feel like I need a specific day to publish videos. Tuesday seems good since it alliterates with the ‘Tube and you know I like some alliteration early in the week.

Part of the PLATATAC gear I was kindly provided a little while back was this pair of their Mk3 Tac Dax combat cut trousers. I’ve given them a few runs out and the following is my entirely honest and open opinion of the product.

Cash is King

I can’t mention the L85 without somebody telling me that “It’s shit and needs to be replaced”.

Let me address this with one very key point right now, because if you knew enough to be qualified to really put forward a worthwhile viewpoint on this subject you’d have understood this already. If you want to understand the over-arching key to this issue please read this piece over at Soldier Systems Daily:

http://soldiersystems.net/…/armys-peo-soldier-bg-cummings…/…

I’m quite happy to bet every penny I have to my name right now that whichever new calibre/cartridge the US military selects (and various testing is going on currently as part of that) the rest of NATO/ISAF/’the nice guys’ will follow suit, as will many, many other people. It happened with 556 before and the firearm industry in the USA leaves it as basically the only nation in the world (certainly in the west) with the infrastructure of everything that’s needed to develop and select the new standard round to a sufficient level of overall quality as far as the end result goes. H&K may be popular and in Europe, but all they’re really doing is iterating on current weapons for the most part. The MP7 was one of their most innovative weapons but everything I’m reading suggests even that has been phased out and potentially replaced by a rifle from Q, LLC – a company I’d wager is substantially buoyed by (and far more viable as a result of) the existence of the US civilian firearms market. Similar story with FN.

Replacing a general issue service carbine or rifle is a long, tricky, very very expensive process that 99.9% do not understand at all. I don’t pretend to understand it fully by any means myself. But the key word here is expensive and cash-money is very high indeed on the priority list right now, to put it extremely lightly.

Will the timelines mentioned in the article be kept to? Probably not if we look at procurement programs in general, but unlike fast jets it is comparatively quick to develop new small arms. Emphasis on the word comparatively of course, but none-the-less the fact remains. I won’t pretend to know exactly what will happen and when, but a new calibre is almost certainly coming quite soon and spending out a fortune on rifles, optics, slings, rail accessories, training materials, training ammo, range time etc etc etc for another 556 rifle at this current point in time is the equivalent to tipping piles and piles of money in to a giant furnace – money you borrowed from one of those borderline-legal not-a-loan-shark companies at 2500% APR. The next big thing just is not available right now, it doesn’t exist yet, therefore we can’t buy it and I’m confident in saying that sticking with the current option is the only sensible and viable solution taking key relevant factors in to account.

There’s been a lot of talk from top US generals about a feeling of lack of ability to respond to soviet x54R weapons and there’s more than a few past examples out there of the US prioritising money in to new equipment vs training on the current equipment. So again, strong impetus there for something that carries energy farther than 556 does without going all the way back to 762×51 on a permanent basis for every service member.

If you’ve paid much attention to the rise of 6.5 Creedmoor amongst US civilian shooters and you understand some basics about trajectories, transonic transition, carried energy, wind effects etc you’ll know what the appeal is behind a 6.X calibre round on paper. The carbine isn’t the only area this is going on either, there’s plenty of noise around an FN MAG replacement/upgrade in .338NM (Norma Magnum), which itself is basically a slightly tamed .338LM (Lapua Magnum). The former being a round which would extend effective range of light machine guns and without dragging this post on even longer is, I would say, just ‘better’ for use in anything but a precision rifle vs Lapua Magnum.

None of this is even getting in to polymer cased ammo, but sufficed to say that new standardised round is a big old train and it’s steaming in to the station at high speed. It’s not Virgin Trains either, so if you lay the tiny leaf that is an iterative 556 gun on the track, that ol’ girl most definitely ain’t stopping.

Tactical Hangers

Some new arrivals from the FirstSpear web store last week that’ll be added to the proper-review queue.

Hope you all have your monitor brightness turned down, because I’ve already taken the tough hooks to the gym to try out and there’s a reason I never wear shorts on camera I’ll say that.

The very new multi-mag pouch is something I’ve been after since it was first announced and it’s been very interesting indeed to get hands on with it.  It’s a piece of gear I’m going to be trying out in airsoft a good few times at least and *maybe* take over to the US just to see how it does when I really run it with real mags/rounds/rifles, but a lot of pieces will have to fall in to place for that to happen.  For me it’s just been good to get my hands on a pouch that’s so innovative and different for a change and doubly so when it’s coming from a brand I’ve long been a fan of who build things to such high quality.

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ATACS Central

Fortuitous news since just the other day I was saying I don’t like A-Tacs Camo ‘LE’ and other mostly-black patterns. ATACS will be offering a grey-dominant variation on the new iX line known as Ghost. Personally, I’m really liking the aesthetic.

https://www.a-tacs.com/single-post/2017/10/02/New-Gear-Coming-in-A-TACS-Ghost-Pattern-from-Tactical-Performance-Corp

Just need Multicam to drop a dark grey urban option now instead of MC Black. Then once PenCott Metropolis drops and (if) Kryptek release Raid fabric I can get the gear together to post Commercial Camo Showdown part 4.

Soldier Systems Daily broke the news on a new ATACS specific website bringing alllllll sorts of ATACS patterened products under one roof. Featuring the likes of ur-tactical.comTRU-SPEC and Velocity Systems/Mayflower R&C – all brands that I own, use and would recommend. So if you are a fan of the family I’d say have a look at www.a-tacsgearstore.com

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.