PWS – The Long Stroke AR

The other shooting footage that came out from the FirstSpear range day.Primary Weapons Systems make one of very few (maybe the only?) AR-15 with a long stroke gas piston, one of the features of an AK pattern gun that contributes to their legendary reliability. Even if that legend does get over-blown sometimes.

Should’ve been leaning forward more, but when it’s a fairly long barrel, comparatively heavy gas parts, shooting slow in a small cartridge and with frangible bullets… well all shots were hits, so it is what it is. Jumping behind the gun and going all-out tactical would’ve looked and felt pretty strange in a relaxed range situation like that.

Aimpoint AB optics, Magpul Industries Corp. mags, TangoDown foregrip and the Bravo Company USA Gunfighter stock. Footage by Femme Fatale Airsoft.

The Full Badger

First of 2 videos with Kit Badger and myself just sitting down after day 3 of the show to talk all kinds of gear. Covering some Crye Precision, SureFire, LLCSpiritus Systems and FirstSpear/Raine Inc.

Cheers to Ivan for coming over to my place with all his camera and media equipment to get this filmed. He had to cut out a lot of me coughing my lungs up because Vegas is the driest place I’ve ever been, I was talking in the show all day then talking all the way from the show back to the hotel, but with a lot of Halls+Water I got through enough takes in the end.

SHOT Show 2018 Rundown: Part – 2

Generation 4 – The Details

Crye Precision at SHOT Show – Answers to all the questions nobody was even asking anyway.

I’m skipping over the second range day event that I attended yesterday for now in order to try and write down all the depth of information I mined from Johanna Bloomfield, who’s the lead at the design division for clothing at Crye. Fortunately she remembered me which was a good foot in the door, though she didn’t remember why/where from exactly. This was probably lucky as I expect the reason for said recollection was that last year I asked a million questions about what the G4 uniforms would be like once I found out they were on the way (disclaimer – more like 8 questions).

I was in the Sands Expo centre bright and early this morning, getting turned away from the ‘Law Enforcement’ section before it even opened and it opened half an hour before the main bulk of the show. I did have a bad feeling there would be a crowd of people rushing in before me having camped out the night before, luckily it turned out quite the opposite, I was one of the first to the booth and the whole show was pretty quiet for the first couple of hours.

If you can’t deal with overly bright pictures taken by a total amateur – click away now.

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Let’s start with most unjustifiably controversial, then work down from there. The Generation 4 Airflex combat knee pad has a hex pattern on it, with deeper cuts between the hexagons in the same area as the Generation 3 pads had the horizontal indentations. I’d presume the touted 40% increase in performance with regards joint protection from impact is mostly coming from the foam since the plastic cap seems to be the same material as used on the G3 very similar if not the same thickness. So I’d guess the G4 field knee pad will also share an increase in protection performance. The shaping of the foam obviously isn’t much different to the G3, slightly more angular in area, more distinctly folded edges.

Pictures of the G4 uniforms have been floating around for a while now so I’ve done my best to get in to all the areas that I have not seen discussed so far. Beauty is not skin deep.

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G4 Combat PanTrouser:

-Front of thigh pocket is now internally mounted and mesh lined for ventilation with a zip closure. Specifically designed with a slanted base inside for carriage of smart phones.
-Main thigh cargo/side pocket has moved forward somewhat. No mesh lining, still 2 velcro tabs for closure. Lids on pockets now are extremely slim and stiff compared to G3, seemingly using some sort of fabric welding technique.
-Left pocket internal elastic is 2 small loops for retention for breaching charges with corresponding VTX loops above the pocket opening. Pleat/expansion billow is singular and found at the back edge of the pocket.
-Right leg cargo pocket has G3 style internal elastic sized for a magazine.
-Knee pad adjustment moved inside the main cargo pocket and now consists of just a single stand of bungee cord vs the G3’s double strand arrangement. Now covered and routed with fabric inside of the pant leg instead of being exposed and causing you to fall about like an idiot when putting on your trousers which has definitely never happened.
-Ankle pocket is now a zip closure and is located more towards the back of the calf. Expansion pleat at the base.
-Slight material upgrade on waist adjustment tabs. Should give greater longevity in use.
-The panel of VTX in the area that was previously the lower back stretch is sewn in at 90 degrees to most of the rest of the pant to create an effect more in line with the old stretch panel.
-Crotch gusset remains present.
-Rear pockets are back to an AC style in a lot of ways. Same thin and rigid closure flap as the thigh cargo pockets. Single but wider velcro closure vs Gen 2. No mesh lining.
-Padded waist band remains. Now with wicking material lining around the inside of the waist, akin to that found in the collar of the G3 All-Weather combat shirt.

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G4 Combat shirt:
-New, slightly lighter torso fabric (around 15-20%) with a more comfortable feel but apparently greater durability and capacity to breathe.
-Mesh was considered for the panels directly under the arms but air/moisture pass through rates on the new fabric were found to be so high that this idea was binned off.
-Full pattern torso in Multicam will be an option in some manner (whether for us mere, mortals I’m unsure) if you don’t mind paying a higher price.
-Torso fabric continues behind the arm pockets for another ventilation option.
-VTX fabric fully encloses all the edges of the colour matched loop fields.
-Elbow pad pockets are now mounted internally.

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As far as I could gather (couldn’t get exact numbers) VTX is more than 50% nylon with about 2% spandex and the rest cotton, meaning the stretch is inherent on account of the spandex. The Twillstop on the G4 FR line is woven to provide mechanical stretch. The alignments of each panel of fabric within the garments, FR combat trouser especially, are carefully chosen to allow essentially the same stretch and mobility properties as the non-FR uniform.

Standard G4 Field set features full VTX construction. Much the same way the G3 Field set was closer to the G3 combat set by comparison to Gen 2, G4 fields are minimally different in cut and patterning now when compared to combats. Field pant lacks padded waist and mounting for combat knee pads as expected, not many other changes.

Further entire lines of apparel to come, in planned chronological order:
-G4/G4 FR production in March with availability in mid-2018, pricing is still undecided and is being determined based on costs such as the new VTX fabric.
-Hot Climate uniforms (G4s in another new fabric for even less weight and fastest possible drying times).
-Temperate (G3 All-Weather line updated).
-Cold Weather (Loft jacket, Fieldshell etc updated).
-Extreme cold weather (Maybe.. in 2021 or so).

If you want to know more about the new load carriage systems pictured – I’m not your guy.

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SHOT 18 – FS Range Day

Thanks to FirstSpear and all other companies exhibiting for hosting myself and Femme Fatale Airsoft at their range day event this morning, highly enjoyable time for sure. Great little selection of top of the range firearms and some real premium tactical gear on display.

The main exhibitor of firearms was TRIARC Systems who’s website I’ve visited previously and quite honestly did not expect to ever get to shoot their guns let alone get do it so soon. TRIARC do custom work to Glocks (of course) and make their own 1911s and ARs. Not necessarily the absolutely most mould breaking ARs ever, but with FULL ambi controls, proprietary rifling in all their barrels and ultimately pages and pages worth of manufacturing specs that I could write forever about in terms of quality, but now is not the time for that.

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First shooting table we arrived at I immediately spied the ALG Defense 6 second mount, which has been on my gun bucket list for years and I can’t say how much of a cheat gun the Glock becomes with that mount attached. Even a total novice pistoleer like myself can step up to a plate rack without ever having tried one before and knock all that steel down at pretty darn respectable pace. Video of this will be forthcoming and unlike my range day footage from last year I’m not going to be at all embarrassed to upload it on account of my stupid wanna-look-cool trigger finger outrunning my ability to shoot accurately.

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Next up was the TRIARC 1911 with full length dust cover and some FS based magazines. I don’t know nearly enough about the platform to comment much here other than to say that the VZ Grips, the King of G-10 grips. worked beautifully, the triggers were incredibly short (maybe 3-4mm of total travel at a guess) and icicle crisp with some top tier sights and every control, feature and gripping surface worked-up as far as it could ever really be. I’d imagine something along the lines of going to Wilson Combat for a pistol and ticking pretty much all of the boxes for optional extras. The sort of pistol you just pick up, cycle the slide and immediately know “bloody hell this is expensive”.

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I neglected to take pictures, but I also fired a few rounds from a suppressed TRIARC short barreled AR and a ‘legal length’ Primary Weapons Systemslong stroke gas piston AR at the Aimpoint stand. Aimpoint had the CompM5 as well as their twist off/FTS magnifiers for folks to try and there’s no doubt at all with regards the utility and performance of such sighting systems. Again some video of these will be following. The PWS gun was something I’ve been interested in for a long time; while I’d never be so ignorant as to lambast the combat proven semi-direct impingement nature of the AR/M16/M4 platform, I’d personally pick a gas system that dumps as much carbon as possible on big, simple parts with minimal geometry that aren’t in/around the breech of the gun; if I had a choice. Putting the legendary long stroke of the AK in to the AR is an intriguing prospect to say the least.

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Took a look at the Phokus Research Group Wound Cube which is a brilliant concept in the realm of medical training. As with anything anyone might have to perform under stress, repetitions and familiarity are absolutely key. It’s always been possible to practice bandaging pretend broken arms and splinting legs and putting tourniquets on people, but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had Hemcon bandages demo’d to me by someone making a ‘hole’ in the form of a slightly loose fist. The cube simulates lacerations, different sized bullet holes in flesh and can be filled with different types of fake blood if desired. Phokus also have some really excellent medical training course plans that involve plenty of reps of physically performing important treatments with much less of somebody just standing in the front of a classroom and talking.

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Beyond Clothing, FS themselves and Gentex Corporation (Ops Core) had stands as well, amongst others, with some cool new gear on show but I’ll be getting shots of those during the main body of the show where the backdrops and lighting will be better. Special thanks to the folks from Hill People Gear for getting us back in to town. As you’ll note the range was a pretty damn remote location, but given the fact scenery along the same lines just doesn’t exist in the UK I always thoroughly enjoy the beauty of the mountain ridges and desert flora.

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SHOT 18 Beginnings

After a lot of screwing around this afternoon waiting on NSSF to get their act together I have my badge, I’m in. Down to the FirstSpear range day tomorrow with Kit Badger and Femme Fatale Airsoft, maybe one other range as well but we’ll see how it works out since the logistics are a serious pig. Then it’s Tuesday the show floor opens and I turn in to Pac Man scooping up all the gear in every room before moving on to the next. The ghosts are stupid, lazy morons with wheelie carts stopping suddenly and without warning right in front of me, trying to take out my ankles.

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I actually put in my registration to attend the show a good few months back, a couple of months before I even started on the change over of the blog URL and the naming changes on all the social media. At that point the writing on the badge was pretty much locked in (or at least not easily changeable in some simple manner) which meant I committed myself to putting in the effort needed to make all the changes to the website, Instagram, youtube, this page, all my forum signatures and every single video description with all of those URLs in. I definitely under estimated how difficult some of those things would be, especially changing the page name with facebook’s stupid policies, but having a name that people will actually be able to say is just such a nice change from the previous 2 years.

The long article(s) I mentioned not long ago are scheduled be publishing somewhere quite prominent just a few days after the show wraps up and again having a name for everything that most people can actually get their heads around (unlike the before) just makes way more sense on every level.

Tomorrow is really the true beginning of this hectic week and it’s likely to be a pretty long day, so fingers crossed basically that all the transport works as it should and I may be able to start putting up some content in the evening. If not then rest assured it won’t be lagging too far behind.

Gen 2/AC Elbow Pads

The instructions included with Crye’s Gen 1 and 2 combat type elbow pads. As you’ll note the images actually depict the 1st gen pads, which were made from quite different materials and will be featured here at a later date.
I always liked the fact the person who wrote this just assumed the reader will have fitted some sort of tyre to something in their life time. It’s certainly not an entirely unreasonable assumption but it’s going to be one of those things not everyone in the modern age will have done as a child. Personally my dad was massively in to windsurfing, sailing, mountain biking (in a casual sense) and he’s of the generation who did all their work around the house. Fixing radiators, building shelving etc etc. I was fortunate to learn the most basic foundations of using hand tools and keeping a bicycle maintained as I grew up, but then I didn’t really begin to put any of it in to practice until I joined up and moved out.
 
Not that you need to know how to change a bike tyre to put the combat type pads in to Crye uniforms. It should be entirely self explanatory to anyone who’s see the product pictures on the website. Then again I have seen people get it wrong and of course the method of fully inserting the entirety of plastic cap in to the pad pocket can’t be ignored (at least as far as the pants are concerned). There’s a good image I took and posted at last year’s SHOT, showing a set of G3 combats which have combat airflex pads fully inserted and the fabric cover for the knee pad pocket is stuck in place over the pad, but the cover fabric is worn so thin from usage it’s transparent.

You Just Cannot Stop

A quick shot from the archives around the time I decided to actually start buying some Crye clothing. Those who saw the post on the Navy Custom combat shirt in AOR2 will have seen the little story about the time I nabbed it on ebay (during the week of SHOT ’16) which was a result of the aforementioned decision being made around the end of 2015.

I’ve talked a bit before about the number of brands of clothing I tried over the period of many years before actually picking up any more items from Crye. I’d owned my 2nd Gen combat cut trousers in RG for a long time, but they were ‘it’ for a good few years, despite the huge popularity of the brand. I just didn’t see a benefit in terms of putting out useful info to folks if I was just buying and reviewing the same stuff that had been covered hundreds of times already. I think the new G4 shirt is finally a design I’m going to really like, but even though I own a few now I’ve really never rated the AC or G3 combat shirts very highly. Again I’ve gone somewhat in to my reasons why in the blog post on the G3 combat shirt I published earlier this month.

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So what’s in the shot? Left to right:

-G3 Combat shirt
-NC Combat shirt
-‘UKSF Custom’ combat shirt (which I’ve not featured yet, it’s a mix of AC and NC)
-The Test Item labelled early iterations of the US Army combat pant
-G3 Combat trousers

Obviously 3 out of the 5 have never been commercially available at just regular tac gear shops, they were only military issue therefore you have to acquire them through sales groups, auction sites etc. These were just the acquisitions of those first 3-4 months after I made the change and I’ve tried to continue down a similar path since then. Always hunting down anything different, doubly so if it’s available at a good price.

For those who are interested, a lot more pieces from what has become my collection over the past 2 years are going to be posted in the coming months and if you are in to camo and uniforms (which I’d imagine you are if you’re here) you will probably enjoy them. That said of course there are plenty of other brands in the mix, other families of camouflage patterns, other clothing styles for inclement weather versus just arid and temperate climates. After all you never know where you might find yourself.

The ‘Other’ AOR Clothing

Must admit I thought yesterday’s post would do better, but either folks don’t like AOR2 nearly as much as me, or facebook stopped most people seeing it. Either way I love the stuff so here’s the Patagonia L9 Temperate Pant.

Crye, Beyond, Wild Things, Patagonia and probably more I don’t know of have all been making different items of AOR apparel for US Navy Special Warfare for a long time now. The original AOR1 and 2 combat trousers from Patagonia were a lot more like the Crye Army/Navy Custom cut, using the Crye AC combat knee pads. Further down the line I believe Patagonia got a bigger contract to supply a lot more kit with their current proprietary designs, such as these trousers. Still a combat cut with a lot of similarities to Crye Precision offerings, but a lot of changes too. Primarily coming out with their own knee pads which do a similar thing to Crye’s but without infringing on the patent CP have in place. I’ll post pictures of those pads at a later date but as you can see there’s 4 small holes around the pocket instead of the one large hole in the middle. The interior closed cell foam pad features 4 male portions of a press stud and the plastic cap that goes on to the outside encapsulates the 4 female portions. Slide in the foam fad, clip on the outer, done. Like the D3Os but with the studs instead of quarter-turn fasteners. I’m not filled with confidence that the Patagonia pads will be comfortable given how badly I got on with the D3Os but I’ll look to try them out some time soon.

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The entire knee pad pocket and the area around it is made of a colour matched stretch material. There’s also stretch at the lower back as per the Crye design and while the groin does have a gusset it’s made of NYCO rather than more of the stretch nylon. Most of the same pockets as found on G3s are present minus the ones around the back, which is a downer in a way but then you’re not short of other pockets. Ankle cuffs are there, but no waist adjustment, something I personally find pointless in Cryes anyway. Buttons at the fly and on the main thigh pockets as well as velcro for both, along the lines of the NC combat shirt.

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Patagonia also like to pretend they don’t produce for the military and take DoD money, as if somehow that would make them evil gun obsessed alt-righters with blood on their hands, or something ridiculous along those lines. Reality is the customers for their main line in the US are not pro-military or pro-2A and their management is the same. They also have at least 2 manufacturing options. As with this garment, a lot of their military stuff comes from ‘Readyone Industries’ who have a really grating promotional video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch…

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Readyone are distinctly shady from what I’ve been able to dig up online and bits and pieces I’ve heard, but if you want to look in to that sort of thing because you’re interested in who really makes stuff for the military I’ll leave you to do your own googling, rather than turn this post in to a bunch of slander.

I’ve got other Patagonia apparel with different manufacturing names however and there seems to be a correlation between colourway and maker. From what I can see anyone who’s US military or otherwise works for the government in a role where they might need these sorts of uniforms is able to buy multicam and plain coloured L9 apparel. Those products come from somewhere else and have very slightly different features to the AOR1 and 2, also seem to be stitched together just very slightly better overall.

Other than that I’ve not a lot of knowledge about or experience with these combat pants, but since there aren’t many companies producing such complex military apparel to a high degree of quality I thought they were worth taking a look at.

Vegas Survival Guide – Preamble

The childish MS paint map to SHOT Show I wish I’d had when I first went. To say it’s super basic and pared back on the details would be a monstrous under exaggeration, but personally this is what I needed back in 2016 when I first went. I spent probably half the show that year just trying to get the basic bearings on the place, bouncing from one both to another with my head on fire not knowing where I was and where to turn next. It wasn’t until going the 2nd time last year I actually got my head around everything and the difference was very noticeable.

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The place is genuinely massive and there are an absolute shed ton more corridors, stairwells and doorways more than I’ve shown here, but once you realise the whole thing is basically broken down in to only a few ‘blocks’ that contain 80% the same stuff within them, navigating and being efficient with your time and motion becomes so much infinitely easier I really can’t express it in words.

I also have the bare bones notes jotted down for a ‘Vegas/Shot Survival Guide’ based on all the tips and experiences I’ve accumulated so far. I’ll look in to actually fleshing out that article after I’m back from this year’s show. It’s probably not so big of a deal to Americans who’ve been to Vegas before, but as a foreigner I found there to be a very steep learning curve in simply navigating and understanding such a crazy city. Knowing what’s good, what to avoid and all the best ways to manage your time and money are truly crucial.