ITS Tactical – Modular Morale System

A hot minute ago I mentioned a patch display option from Mil-Spec Monkey that leans towards the highly economical end of the scale, but today we’re making a big jump to something from ITS Tactical that is somewhat differing in nature.
 
The good thing about the MSM Halco Luxmed loop is it’s a raw material and if you’ve got some time and the inclination to be a bit crafty you can apply it to any sort of backing material you like to make a display. If you want to skip that effort however the ITS Modular Morale System is probably the highest quality, most luxurious 5* hotel for patches that a person might ever wish to find.
 
The backing is a rigid plastic, on to that is layered a pretty generous sheet of a dense foam and then of course there’s the loop sewn tightly over the top to create a mill-pond smooth surface. I usually try to avoid superlative and subjective observations like the one that is about to follow when I’m talking about any products, but honestly the feel of these panels is just superb. If they made a sofa that felt the same way you’d probably never get off of the thing. It’s the tactile equivalent of that first sip of your number 1 favourite ale. Does that matter for patches? No obviously not, but I can’t express enough how much these things to ooze quality in a way that is at best tricky to convey in a written format.
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On top of being fully capable of mounting both hook-backed patches and pin badges (via the foam), the MMS panels come with adhesive 3M hook tape that will stick to absolutely any bloody surface for attachment of the panels. I’d strongly advise not sticking it to anything that’s painted or might delaminate in any way in fact, unless you don’t plan on every removing the hook because it will take any paint/wallpaper etc with it when peeled away. It’s certainly not going to just slip and fall down on you though.
 
Each panel measure 12×18″ and there’s no edging or border. This proportioning of course means that the long edges of 2 panels can be jointed by the short ends of 3 panels to create different shapes and still have a clean rectangular boundary. As you’ll see from my personal display setup you can also neatly bridge panels with patches on account of the fact the loop wraps right around the edges of the HDPE plastic backings.
 
Lots of upsides, so what’s the downside? Well the cost per square inch ratio is not the most economical, there is no denying it. At $22.99 per panel the unit of currency per surface area you’re getting is at the less economical end of the scale, but as I mentioned at the start if you want something 100% ready to go out of the packaging with the only effort required being slapping some hook tape on a wall, something with an immaculately classy and professional look, then to my mind it’s worth the investment. That’s why I’ve purchased 6 of them myself so far. I fully appreciate that if you have a large patch collection however it may well not be for you.
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Personally, I’d say I’m quite picky about the patches I will actually buy and display on these panels. Some people might not get that impression seeing a big wall of the things, but bear in mind I’ve been acquiring them for about a decade now and only my favourites make it to the MMS wall. Anything that’s just a company logo/branding (i.e. loop mounted advertising) gets attached to the products that are cheaper per surface area. The really good ones I’ve bought or been lucky enough to have gifted to me get added to the MMS.
 
If you’d like to see the ITS store page for the system here’s that link:
https://store.itstactical.com/products/its-modular-morale-system
 
Made in America to very high standards using top class materials and clearly with a lot of design thought behind what on the surface is such a simple item. I fully appreciate some people who aren’t interested in patches may well be left scratching their heads at this product, but then again if you’re reading this I’d bet you’ve either owned or wanted to own Crye or Arc’teryx gear even if there’s a 99% chance you’ve zero need for anything that high end (myself included), so each to their own I always say.

Beyond Clothing Outlaw

If you’re here, you might well be a bit like me, in so far as you might want clothes from brands you like/trust that can actually be worn around daily when you’re not doing ‘tactical stuff’. It’s certainly nice when said garments can still maintain that level of practicality that you’ve become accustomed to in your tac gear, yet not also scream “I’m in the service/am concealed carrying/have a lot of expensive military kit” – whatever your circumstance might be.

Of course you can tick off a lot of those things by going with mountaineering brands, but I’ll refer you to the ‘brands you like’ part because, personally, a lot of the brands I really like are purely contained within the military sphere and often do not have a civilian line in their catalogues. I’ll also buy stuff that’s made in the US/EU/Aus where I can.

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The Beyond Clothing​ Outlaw is a pretty sweet jacket all around given the above context. Of all the layers I have accumulated for outer wear in the winter, it is one of the few that is actually a softshell, alongside the OR Ferrosi, though they’re very different animals. That selection is not due to a deliberate avoidance of shells however, it’s just that if you want a nice looking jacket it’ll probably be canvas/cotton, leather, wool or something along those lines. Generally the smart looking items you find out there will not be made from a more modern technical fabric. From an everyday perspective that sort of thing is not the end of the world by any stretch, but a shell will of course serve in a far superior fashion in the event you do get caught in the less pleasant elements.

The Outlaw is not a thick insulator, but of course the shell blocks all wind and combining that with a fleece lining makes for quite an effective end result. As you might expect coming from Beyond, all the materials are very much akin to what you’d find amongst PCU garments, which is certainly a huge plus to my mind.

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It is not the ideal jacket for the likes of serious mountain climbing or the like, as you might imagine, not that I hold that fact against it. It has a few zips it doesn’t really need and some of the pulls can rattle about and be slightly noisy. The press stud storm flap at the front over the main zip is also somewhat irritatingly slow to fully secure and when not secured the metal studs will move around and hit against each other. Not in any sort of cataclysmic fashion, it’s not just tactical (imagine air quotes around that).

The Outlaw is however good looking, features plenty of pockets in convenient places with no compromise for the sake of pack belts and still has those weather resilient fabrics. Dry time is a crucial one, especially compared to any sort of cotton and wool, a shell will dry many times more quickly and last better in the very long term vs leather. The vintage/worn look can be cool of course, but there will be occasions in life when that just isn’t appropriate and nylon shell does an amazing job at staying looking like it just came out of the bag even after years of use.

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Interesting bit of backstory to the Outlaw that I discovered when chatting to one of the head blokes at Beyond at the FirstSpear​ range day during SHOT 2017; the jackets were all meant to originally be sold in very high end, fancy clothing stores in New York and it would appear that at least some of them were:

Beyond Clothing Private Reserve Collection Launch in NYC

Patch Display from Mil-Spec Monkey

Quick mention to a product I stumbled across in the MilSpecMonkeystore while I was doing my usual rounds of online patch shopping. If you’re after patch display area, this is definitely one of the best options available on the retail market. It’s called Halco Luxmed Loop and MSM are selling it by the yard right off the 60″ roll in exactly the same way you’d buy camo fabric or 500D cordura. For those not using imperial that means you’re getting a total of 1.36 square metres of loop area for about 18 dollars. I chucked a pair of 32R G3 Fields down on top for size comparison sake. Not a small surface area, as you can see.

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I was given this stuff by the monkey, however as per usual this is something I specifically requested because I needed patch display materials anyway and I think it’s good value for the money if you want proper loop to put your morale items on. My opinion is not for sale however, fact is you can slap hook backed patches on scraps of old carpet or any vaguely fluffy material you like and you can probably obtain such a fabric for free if you hunt around. But if you do want something that’s smart looking, factory new, thin, light and very easy to display then this stuff is a better $ per square inch price than any other patch mats I’ve personally seen for sale.

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You don’t get edging tape or metal grommets for hanging of course it’s just raw loop, but the idea here is really to use the fabric in a project of your own. I’ve cut my yard up and used adhesive backed Velcro to attach it inside a wardrobe here in a simple manner for displaying all my manufacturer/brand logo patches. What you can see in the picture is only about half of what was supplied. But that’s just one option, you can either do something as simple as punching some holes and hanging up a piece with paracord or go all the to building a picture frame of the right size and using spray glue to create a huge fancy patch display board. The possibilities are endless really if you’re a creative type.

Here’s the link if anyone’s interested:

https://milspecmonkey.com/store/hardware-diy/910-halco-luxmed-l20-60in-loop.html?search_query=lux&results=1

Mail Call – October 18

For those who might not be familiar, the way these posts work is I get together pretty much everything I’ve bought in a period of 4-6 months and lay it out together for a single picture, so there’s usually only a couple of them per year.  I’ve been focusing a fair bit on building the camo collection for the past 2-3 years, though ‘the end’ is somewhat in sight in that regard.  Obviously there will never be a time there aren’t new uniforms and camo patterns on the market, but I do have an awful lot of the well known and popular camouflage patterns and colours represented at this point, certainly the ones I am interested in personally (which tends to be U.S. military stuff).  Plus of course a few little weird and unusual oddities just to break up the normality.

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I’ve got a couple of airsoft gun projects that have been on the drawing board for a long time now that will start to come forward off the back-burner, as well as continuing to build up my idea of a modular gear system that I’ve talked about previously; which happens to be why you’re seeing a pair of Ferro chest rigs and some Tac Tailor pouches in this image.  I’ve also entered my first civilian shooting competition which will be taking place in November and that happens to be using Lee-Enfields since it’s the centenary of WW1 finishing, however practical shotgun using self-loading 12 bore guns is the one GB legal shooting sport that does actually interest me to an extent outside of historical rifle shooting, so I’ll be giving that some thought.  Reality is I can only buy so much NYCO and Nylon purely down to space constraints, so in not too long I will reach a point where I anything new I want to buy will require first selling something off to make a space for it.  When that happens I’ll still buy new kit here and there when it’s really good and review things I’m occasionally sent, as well as playing airsoft with some of the great people I’ve met through the game, but having a different shooting hobby that’s more in line with my real interests will be a better motivator to get me out of my chair and actually doing stuff.

That in itself isn’t really a change for me, as I’ve only been playing airsoft a few times per year throughout my entire time in the military so far anyway.  To be frank it just never really grabbed me as a hobby and made me want to take the effort of getting to games on a frequent basis, I’ve always just played as a fun way to test out kit and socialise.  Sport shooting on the other hand is something that makes me want to get out of the house for the sake of the activity alone, regardless of whether I’ve got friends attending or not.  Sadly the firearms I’d use in a work context are totally out of bounds even within a restricted club shooting environment in Great Britain, otherwise I’d certainly take outside training and compete in matches using self-loading rifles and pistols.  That said, semi-auto shotguns and bolt-action rifles are still certainly a hell of a lot of fun to shoot in a sporting and recreational context and we do have at least some semblance of a sporting firearm community left in England.

TQ Prerequisite? IQ.

I’m not a medic, the fact I have some basic training doesn’t mean I’m going to tell anyone how to use equipment that can do as much harm as good.

The one tourniquet I’ve repeatedly been instructed on and practised with is the CAT and it’s the only design I’d feel confident in being able to employ effectively if the time came. Personally I don’t anticipate ever having to use such an item in my life time, but if I’m ever putting together a medical kit and decide to add a TQ, this would be the one I’d buy again. It’s gone through a lot of iterations over the years and changes in doctrine within the military, but I like the simplicity and I feel simplicity is key for the vast majority of us.

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The thing I really like most is the fact that if you break it down in terms of the initial application, the CAT is literally just a riggers’ style belt, except you use it for artery clamping instead of holding up trousers. There’s no technique to learn at all in terms of how you tie it around a limb, it is just the same as putting any strap through a tri-glide and securing the tail back on itself. You don’t even need to have the tail loose and route it at all if you don’t want, you can leave the routing already set, just open it slightly to go over the affected area then yank it back down again. This is something that can’t quite be said for the RATS, TK-4 or anything else where the buckle has an open side and the tail is stored freely from said buckle/routing piece.

I’ve never seen arterial spray from a human, but I’ve seen a video of the artery being cut in a sedated pig during a course in work and it’s genuinely hard to believe. For those who’ve not seen it, the most relevant analogy would be putting your thumb over the end of a hose to block off most of the pipe. Even a fraction of a second wasted is too much, which is again why I would personally prefer to have a CAT to hand in the unlikely event I ever needed to staunch arterial blood loss.

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I appreciate lots of other people have other preferences and training and of course storage location can be a factor depending on what you’re doing. I certainly wouldn’t mind giving the SOF-T wide a look. But overall as things stand, given the training and practice I have, this TQ is top of my list.

The only advice I’d actually give is as follows: Don’t fall for social media marketing and go buying gear like this, putting it in a pocket and thinking you’re good. There’s a lot of rules for safe and effective tourniquet application. I don’t carry medical kit myself everyday either, all I personally do is try to be conscientious of always wearing a belt and never wearing a useless skinny one. 1.5″ width as a minimum, around 2″ preferably. It’s never a TQ substitute but in the event of a truly life-threatening bleed I know I’ve got something at least rather than being utterly helpless. Don’t take this as legal advice of course I’m not a nurse or doctor, just seek out good First Aid training (pretty sure there are even free courses out there). Best to learn things like CPR and how to deal with shock, burns, fractures/breaks, choking, extremes of heat/cold and allergic reactions.

As with so many things, the best way to avoid bleeding in the first place is to avoid any sort of altercation and not do stupid shit around pointy objects.

G sWagon

Have to say a very big thanks to my mate Jon at Geissele Automatics, LLCfor sending over 16 actual pounds of swag to dish out to the other lads in work.

I’ve been lucky enough to handle a few Geissele products that I’ve not been able to post up here myself, but I think you can find all their latest work for US SOF by browsing around other media outlets in the military guns/gear sphere. Either way having looked around at a lot of the competition I’d have to say that when it comes to overall engineering quality and true reliability in use, Geissele are the doing the best work of any firearms company I’ve come across. I say that primarily because HK were my previous No 1 rating, but I’ve seen Geissele take HK factory parts and products and identify every little issue those have then proceed iron them out until the steel is as close to perfect as you’ll find.

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Crye Online

Crye have, for some reason, never done social media before now.  A couple of days ago they started an Instagram account and now finally they’re on Facebook.  Twitter and YouTube should be coming if not already.

On the one hand their commercial sales no doubt make up a small fraction of their overall business so they never ‘needed’ social media, but then that’s always been the case with various other companies in the world of firearms and tactical gear and they’re all very active in the usual places.  I’ve seen people on forums and pages say “oh they’re not the power house they once were with SOF wearing patagonia and drifire” but anyone who’s not parts of the supply chain and thinks they know about everything the military buys (especially SF contracts) definitely has a vastly over-inflated opinion of their own knowledge base.

Of the few interviews I’ve seen coming out of CP, they’ve been doing nothing but expand and buy up more square footage from the very start.  I can only presume they’ve either hired in somebody new to doing public relations type stuff or they had a meeting and somebody said “hey why aren’t we going this?” and now they are doing this.

https://www.facebook.com/CryeOfficial/

No-Pew Tuesday

My inbox has been a bit explode-y since SHOT and the many many clips I have from Shoot Las Vegas are taking a long old time to edit for the various outlets I’m going to post them on, so I’m afraid that YouTube video is getting pushed back to next Tuesday. Sorry folks, I think you’ll find the wait is worth it in the end though, nice little montage coming to the channel.

In the mean time, quick one for my fellow England-based plastic fake-war combatants, myself and Passive Shooter will be at Ambush Adventures ‘The Billet’ site this Sunday, so if you happen to be going or live close enough to come please get involved and come see how comedically terrible of an airsoft player I really am.

SHOT Loot Crate

It’s #MoraleMondays so I’d better post the SHOT merch eh? Here comes one beast of a list. Thanks to..

1947, LLC – Managing partners of Brand & Oppenheimer Co., Inc. Aimpoint AB Heckler & Koch GLOCK Primary Arms, LLC Holosun Shield SnugpakG&G Armament FirstSpear ITS Tactical Magpul Industries Corp. MultiCamHot Shots Calendar ZRO Delta Battle Arms Development DRIFIRE Gentex Corporation Midwest Industries, Inc. CMMG Mechanix Wear House GamersAero Precision Outdoor Research Samson Manufacturing Femme Fatale Airsoft KRISS USA Lantac USA Blue Force Gear, Inc. Troy IndustriesKnight’s Armament Company Ho-Tac Tactical TNVC, Inc Geissele Automatics, LLC Soldier Systems Daily SLR Rifleworks Raptor Tactical PetzlMilSpecMonkey Velocity Systems/Mayflower R&C Tactical Outfitters Aztec Training Services Hill People Gear RapDom Tactical Redwolf AirsoftWounded Warrior Project Victorinox Weapons Grade Waifus KWA Performance Industries, Inc. Polenar Tactical and 20 more I’m unable to tag because there’s a facebook limit.

Swag is cool and all, but more importantly thanks to the above for taking your time talking to me in a show that is consistently insanely busy, shaking hands and swapping business cards. There’s a whole lot of very good people and businesses represented within that list.

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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.