SVT-40 Shoot

Quick magazine blasted through an SVT-40.

I was really impressed with this rifle compared to the G-43, which is certainly a contemporary equivalent or rival design. Both self loaders with 10 round detachable box magazines and short stroke gas pistons, really quite similar manuals of arms and sighting systems too. The cartridges are also very similar indeed, yet the recoil from the SVT felt like nothing comparatively.

Granted in the modern US there’s a plethora of ammo available with different loadings and I can’t account for that in my perceptions because I don’t know the brands or loadings I fired. The lubrication state and age/wear on the guns could also come in to play to an extent, but I have to say I think even when considering all of those factors I’d sill find the SVT to be the better all around rifle with a much softer recoil.

Of the bolt actions rifles I’ve fired, the Mosin-Nagant has been by far the worst/least pleasant in terms of recoil, action of the bolt and trigger pull, as well as iron sights (and I’ve fired a few different Mosins to check). I don’t know how reliable the SVT was in field conditions, but in terms of recoil and sheer volume and rate of fire going down range I’d be one very happy comrade if somebody handed me this instead of the Nagant rifle before I stormed Berlin.

Beyond Let Down

I don’t like having to write largely-negative leaning pieces on kit, doubly so from a quality brand that I would generally recommend. It simply isn’t fun for me to do, saying negative things always brings about a negative sort of mood and feel and general atmosphere. That said the blog would be entirely pointless if I praised anything and everything; most pieces of equipment have both positives and negatives of course, but I’ve been very picky with my purchases for many years now which usually means I’ll only have to mention a couple of small niggles and mostly have the pleasure of just talking about positives. If there’s one talent I would lay claim to it’s having a good eye and the patience needed to not buy anything that’s going to disappoint me. The majority of the time at least.
 
As some of you may be aware, I bloody LOVE a jacket. I’m sure I’m not the only bloke out there who enjoys tac gear and also invests in non-tactical styled jackets from his favourite military brands, then spends all summer being annoyed and eagerly awaiting the return of the cold. My collection includes winter layering options from Kuhl, Massif, Arc’teryx, Era3, Magpul and, as in this case, Beyond Clothing.
No automatic alt text available.
 
This is the Helios Alpha Jacket, which utilises a 40D nylon shell fabric with 80g Polartec Alpha inside; more than decent selections there no doubt. Within the PCU layering system, other Beyond offerings at Level 3 use the exact same materials with the same weight of insulation, which I’d say makes this jacket also an L3 item. Beyond themselves market Level 3 as active insulation i.e. fairly light on actual heat retention, but enough when the individual is outputting some exertion in cooler climates.
 
Now this is where a bit of opinion and interpretation comes in. This particular jacket variant was offered in Black, Grey and Navy. No camo patterns, CB, PCU Alpha Green or any other options you’d expect in a true military garment. Police or urban use then perhaps? But the myriad of pockets, rattling zips and general styling are frankly excessive for any tactical usage. Certainly when we’re looking at a primarily mid layer and if you cross examine the A3 (Level 3) Sweater also from Beyond with its’ slick exterior, you will find these notions reinforced.
 
That, to my mind, leaves this as either a jacket for civilian sporting applications or as a purely everyday/fashion item, perhaps with a dash of added practicality for those of us who prefer to not get frozen when going in to town socially during December. But again, given the excess of styling and features built in, I don’t see or find this jacket to be practical for almost any sporting activity that would be classed as truly active and involving of a lot of rapid movement.
 
So if we conclude this is an everyday jacket, which I myself do, how then does it perform? Herein lies the problem. If you very lightly insulate a garment as per appropriate spec for active usage, but then style it for casual wear, you’ve got a real misalignment of intended use versus actual use. After quite a few dozen hours worth of combined wear time in the Helios Alpha outdoors in winter, I’ve found it fairly average in blocking wind and to not provide very much in the way of insulation and that’s an issue when you’re walking about the shops not generating much excess body heat. I’ll not bother talking about precipitation because if you expect a jacket with a translucent, wafer-thin shell fabric like this to save you in anything more than the lightest of intermittent drizzle you’re living a fantasy.
No automatic alt text available.
 
Unfortunately this crisis of personality is far from the only problem encountered in this one example I have here. The chest sizing is correct for me, yet the cut is very short and the waist has fixed elastic, meaning it’s never quite the right tightness that you want it to be; same story with the cuffs. If you pull the waistline down over your belt it’ll hook itself on there and stay in place for a short time, but then as soon as you twist or bend even slightly it jumps back up over the belt and settles above the waist line, letting all that unpleasant winter wind in to your torso area because that fixed elastic now has slack and leaves gaps. If I happened to have G3 combat pants on this wouldn’t be an issue as they’re very high waisted by design, but I don’t wear my everyday jeans like someone from the 50s, so there’s a problem.
 
I’ve also found some really lacklustre stitch work in a few areas. A few stitching points have started working themselves apart under absolutely no real stress or strain and worst of all is the main zip, there’s also lots of threads just hanging out and I don’t mean the types you get in all new clothing that are free floating and just pull right out. After a short time (again under non-stressful use) the main zip has developed a habit of splitting apart at the base, right where the two halves first join when zipping up the jacket. Not only is this annoying, ridiculous looking and bad for insulation it’s an absolute nightmare to fix as the coil fights remediation of the non-standard separation. It just isn’t designed to come open from the wrong direction and getting things back in order is an irritatingly lengthy process.
 
I did buy this jacket deeply marked down in a sale, but it was categorically not marked as a 2nd or blem item, the original (expectedly high) price was lined through right beside the lower price I paid, so the implication is that it was worth that $200 or more. Even at the lower price I wouldn’t expect problems like the zip coming open for no reason. I genuinely really like the aesthetic of this jacket, the cut and colour are smart and fit my tastes very well indeed from a looks perspective. But from a company who charges even more than Crye for equivalent gear and sets themselves up as an Arc’teryx competitor or equivalent, only the best possible quality in design, materials and assembly should be expected and as far as I am concerned it is simply not delivered here in many respects in this Helios Alpha.

G-43 Shoot

The tossbag AI from Google demonetised this the second I put Nazi in the title of course, because history is a bad thing and we should pretend none of it happened right? I’ll make no bones about it, YouTube video titles will be a tad vaguely clickbait’y going forward because, as anyone in that realm will tell you, it’s absolutely the only way to have any hope at all. Content style will not change though which I hope is evident; just shooting, kit reviews, airsoft etc and personally I think the title/thumb matters zilch as soon as you’ve gone past clicking on the video and started watching. That aside please do tap/click to watch, tag mates, hit share, whatever you can do to give the finger to these corporations that act like genuine fascists.

Now I myself was first introduced to the notion of self loading rifles used in large numbers by the Germans and Russians during WW2 when I played Call of Duty: United Offensive (which I seriously believe to be the pinnacle of the game series btw) and ever since then I’d been intensely curious as to what the actual firing experience would be with the G43 and SVT-40. They’re not as easy to find as M1 rifles, as you can imagine.

A future video will show the SVT, which I have to say purrs like a kitten where the 43 kicks like an angry mule with steel shoes on its’ hind hooves. Whether the ammo used was a contributor it’s hard to say, but case volume for the explosive charge is borderline identical between the 2 rounds, barely 0.1 cubic centimetres between them. They both use short stroke gas pistons. The 43 is flapper locked versus the SVT’s tilting bolt, but I’ve no clue if that would affect felt recoil to be honest.

I didn’t really rate the sights, the cockling handle is far less ergonomic than the SVT and yes the box mag is far easier than the En Bloc of the M1, but that’s a result of being designed much later on; the Garand was dreamt up when stripper clips were far more prevalent and comparatively ‘the norm’.

Since I’ve already shot the K98, MP40, MG-42, STG-44, Luger and P-38, the G43 ticks off another big name on the list. Might do the MG-34 next perhaps, any other German weapons of the era that you folks would consider iconic? I really want a crack at the FG-42, but chances are REAL slim of finding an original. Since I’ve fired so many American, British and Russian weapons of WW2 it only really made sense to compare what the enemy were using.

Beyond A5 Brokk Shirt

Quick look at something non-tactical from Beyond Clothing.

Picked up a couple of these A5 (PCU Level 5) Brokk shirts in their sale a while back, interesting pieces. Main construction is an extremely lightweight softshell, very thin, blocks wind and provides the slightest of protection from a light shower. That said, a large portion of the shirt is also made from mesh which will of course let wind and rain through, so it’s an odd one, though most of the mesh is on the back. with some on the sides. Most of the front, shoulders and arms is made of the nylon shell.

Image may contain: people standing

Image may contain: people standing

There’s a 2-way 1/2 zip on the centre with a pair of handy mesh pockets that are built in, one on the chest and another on the lower back. Elasticated cuffs that are sewn in place with adjustable elastic running through the waistband, mesh lining through the collar.

Very technical cut with lots of articulation, retains barely any heat and the wind will come through the piece from front to back (especially with the zip down) but obviously if you’re needing to keep the weather out this isn’t the shirt for you. The idea of the softshell is to keep the thing supremely light, mega packable (which it definitely is), abrasion resistant, colour-fast and breathable – all in one package. Replacing the shell with more mesh or a thinner, cheaper synthetic would increase wicking and air permeation, but you simply can’t beat a level 5 fabric when it comes to taking the knocks and scrapes of life and retaining colour through loads of wash cycles.

I use these for short runs when the weather is in between and as a general handy shirt to throw on between my room and the gym when, again, the weather isn’t quite t-shirt friendly. When the temperatures are low enough it’s actually absurdly handy to be able to stash my key and Magpul wallet inside, rather then having those bare essentials in my shorts pockets and getting jabbed by them when sitting/lying down to do different exercises. Frankly they also just look cool.

Image may contain: people standing