Been having a bit of a clear out of the gear cupboards over the weekend, moving some other junk that isn’t tacticool to other places, giving some really old bits and pieces of kit to the salvation army, good clean out of the tool box etc.

A lot of the bulk said ‘stuff’ consists of the folders where I’ve transferred all my PC games from the era before Steam (and Origin and GOG etc) in to a more compact sort of format. I’ve chucked the plastic DVD boxes/CD-ROM cases and just kept the cover insert, disc/s and manuals. All sorts of old gems in there and a couple of PS2 games, but I did not have the time to photograph everything sadly. One thing I decided to let go to the recycling bin was my well-read guide book to MGS3, but I had to have a flick through, read a few bits and take a couple of pictures before it went. Being from the era when online connections for consoles were only just coming in and required the purchase of extra hardware; game patches weren’t a thing so a print book like this was more than viable. Plus of course you didn’t have to go over to your desktop, hope to find a guide online, read the bit you needed then go back over to the console – rinse and repeat.

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I ended up going through this title at least 7 times I’d say trying to get every single item possible. Not sure I quite got every item or found every single secret, but certainly came extremely close and managed to play through most possible permutations. As it turned out this guide did contain absolutely everything that there was to find, as far as I know.

Now, I’ve not played either Metal Gear, I started portable ops but didn’t get along with it so never purchased any of the other PSP entries. I remember being very satisfied to find a PC copy of Metal Gear Solid long after they’d stopped making it, sat in a dusty cardboard box on a shelf in a Virgin Megastore that hasn’t existed for maaaany years now. That was the version that came with all the VR missions and I did the same when it came to buying MGS2, although DVDs were finally a common thing by then. Numbers 3 and 4 never released on PC that I know of and I bought a PS3 just to play MGS4 for the most part. 5 was good on PC, but clearly cut well short of what it was meant to be. With 4 being more cutscene than game and MGS2 having some definite issues, I feel it’s a competition between 1 and 3 for the top spot. Very close call, but the cold war plot of 3, the incredibly rich characters and some really wrenching segments combined with the hunting and survival elements just clinch it for me.

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My other FirstSpear slimline AGB sleeve. There’s no denying the utility of the popular 2″ belts with the 1/2″ PALS top and bottom like the Tyr gunfighter and I do love that style myself. However when you want less on your upper torso and perhaps a heavier belt load then this rig is possibly the best option you’ll find in the realm of ‘warbelts’ with 3 full rows of PALS.

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Padded and spacer meshed, compatible with inner belts for Velcro interface and no extra wasted material top or bottom; only what you need for the minimal profile while maintaining maximum pouch compatibility. Not forgetting the ability to thread the inner belt to the outside for mounting either style of accessory/pouch.

A Light Sting

The Haley Strategic Partners Thorntail Offset KeyMod, manufactured by Impact Weapons Components [Official Fan Page], pictured on a Fortis Manufacturing Switch 556 forend.

At the time I originally picked this up around the end of 2015, KeyMod wasn’t nearly as ubiquitous of a system as it is now; things have definitely progressed a lot in terms of attachment systems during that time period. I seem to recall HSP had a sale on and the number of mounting options for SureFire, LLC Scout lights on KeyMod was comparatively limited at that point. Picatinny was tailing off in popularity but most of the accessories out there on the market were built to clamp on to quad rails.

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Today there are slimmer, lighter mounting options out there for Scout lights to go on to KeyMod (or M-LOK), but the Thorntail was clearly designed with a wide range of functionality in mind. Of course the screws for attaching a Scout are included, but the additions of the short section of pic rail (and the way it is cut) facilitate attachment of any weapon light that uses picatinny, as well as hand held lights if you purchase an additional clamp ring. The HSP Inforce variants work nicely as expected, placing the activation switch at a 45 degree angle when the mount is bolted on to the weapon’s handguard as pictured. There’s some good example images of all these configurations on the HSP web store:…/haley-strategic-thorntail-k…

IWC has obviously done some high level machine work and anodisation to create these pieces. The price isn’t economy minded but it’s good for what you’re getting. There are some plastic mounts out there for Scout lights and some are perfectly good for a majority of users, but this is the type of gear you need if you’re expecting serious usage and cannot accept any failings in any personal equipment. Or if you want to invest in a firearm accessory that’ll most likely last as long as you do.

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