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Designed as a modular chest placard, the Micro Fight Chassis Mk4 by Spiritus Systems is an integral part that interchanges between the company’s various nylon products. 

Review Posted: Streamlight Sidewinder Stalk: The Little Light with a Long Neck

The Stalk is a variable helmet mount illumination device that provides adequate light for the tactical environment without becoming a hinderance.

Review Posted: AFAK: Medical Essentials Close at Hand

Intended as a compact and low-profile aid kit, the Aptus First Aid Kit (AFAK) is a two-part, removable sleeve by Aptus Design Group that allows ambidextrous access to life-saving medical interventions when seconds matter. 

Review Published: HRT Maximus Placard: Everything You Need In One Place

Released in 2019, the Maximus Placard by HRT Tactical is intended as a full-mission placard for the company’s RAC and HRAC plate carriers.

Review Posted: HRT HRAC Carrier: Built for Doing the Work

Designed as a professional, multi-use plate carrier, the High Risk Adaptable Carrier (HRAC) by HRT Tactical offers a platform made from 500D Cordura nylon, on which the end-user can configure based on their individual mission and needs using HRT’s proprietary pouches and accessories.

Review Posted: The Syncron Holster: Keep It Tight and Ready

Released in mid-February 2022, the Syncron Holster by G-Code blends the company’s legendary quality in kydex holster manufacturing with a new, flexible retention system that provides reduced sidearm profiles.

Review Posted: ADM Optic Mounts: Solid and Functional

Using solid 6061 T6 aluminum, American Defense Manufacturing offers several different mount styles for rifle optics to include the Recon and Delta versions.

Review Posted: Streamlight Wedge: The Pocket Torch That Doesn’t Burn

Made for the everyday carry, the Wedge by Streamlight offers users the ability to have a variable-powered handheld flashlight that is light enough to be easily carried in the pocket, bag, or to their gear.

Review Posted: Vortex Venom 5-25: Quality Glass for Every Long-Distance Shooter

Launched in early 2021, the Venom 5-25×56 FFP from Votex brings together basic and intuitive features shooters desire for moderate long-distance shooting, and rapid adjustment between variable distances to ensure consecutive shots on target. […]

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Pelican Travel Bottle: Quench Your Thirst

Introduced in 2017, the Travel Bottle by Pelican is part of the company’s ongoing drinkware line as Pelican expands its line of products beyond hard cases. With its robust design and hardened material, the bottle will ensure hot liquids remain so for hours, while cold remain so for even longer.

Made from a body of BPA-free 18/8 professional-grade stainless steel, and folded to shape a vacuum-sealed, double-walled design—the bottle’s body has the ability to regulate and prolong the thermal shifts of the contents inside. Its overall ergonomics (support bands on body’s top and bottom, and overall diameter) allow for a comfortable hand grip. The rubberized, non-slip base helps to ensure the bottle remains in place regardless of surface.

On various pained versions, the tumbler includes a sweat-proof powder finish to mitigate the body from “sweating” and allowing the user to maintain a non-slip surface.

The leak-proof lid is a screw-top design made from Eastman Tritan™ copolyester for heat resistance. An integrated carrying handle allows for the bottle to be easily opens and securely closed regardless of pressurization due to internal temperature changes.

Specifications:

  • Length……………………………3.62″ (9.2 cm)
  • Height…………………………….11.00″ (27.9 cm)
  • Overall Volume Capacity…32oz (0.95L)

The Travel Bottle is available between 18, 32, and 64oz. sizes, and comes in Black (featured) and White.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Excellent (5/5): At an MSRP of $29.95 for the 32oz variant, the Travel Bottle from Pelican is made from folded stainless steel for its longevity and impact resistance. The thicker, screw-top lid also is intended to provide maximum insulation while allowing immediate access. Comparators to the Travel Bottle would be Rambler 36oz ($54.99) from Yeti, or the 32oz Bottle ($44.95) from Rtic (but appears at a sale price of $19.99 on some third-party retail websites). This would put the Travel Bottle at an excellent cost amid the market of similar products, all with similar construction and design.
  • Comfort – Good (4/5): Like any 32oz vessel, the Travel Bottle was a bit bulky to wrap your hand around simply because of the overall diameter, but the painted finish not only prevented sweating, but gave the container an added tactile feel. The rubberized base also helped ensure the bottle remained stationary on a desk, countertop, truck hood, and wooden table. The one noted aspect from a perspective of exposure to 8 hours of heat (such as coffee) was that some warmth (not to the point of discomfort or pain) was noted on the top of the body, presumably since that is where it is thinnest and the material interacts with the lid allotting for a dissipation source, but the rest of the body remained cool throughout the duration. One recommendation to Pelican would be perhaps to offer as a separate accessory an attachable handle for improved carrying.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): The 18/8 professional-grade stainless steel used in the Travel Bottle is a material that is both food-grade safe and extremely durable. It is frequently used in cookware and commercial kitchens for both its ability to resist heat and warp. This translated in the bottle to a body that sustained its shape through rough love inside an equipment and range bag with other items, as well as on the trail or campouts. Indeed drop-testing (10 drops from a height of 6’) only resulted in surface marring to the finish, but nothing that exposed the base metal. Perhaps the weakest element to the overall product would be the durability of the plastic lid, but it too was robust enough to survive the drop testing. But should anything untoward happen to the Travel Bottle, it is guaranteed for life by Pelican for full replacement.
  • Functionality – Good (4/5): Functionally, the Travel Bottle did what it should—it kept hot drinks hot, and cold ones cold. But in comparison to other Pelican and Yeti products that share similarities in design and material, the Travel Bottle had the best heat retention level of all those tested. With only an average loss of 5.15 degrees per hour, over an eight hour span, the Travel Bottle performed the best (see data chart). This could be most likely attributed to the thickness and seal of the lid (where most tumblers and bottles experience heat loss), that gave it the best retention level over time. There also was a notable pop from pressurization when unscrewing the lid but thankfully no splash back, and Pelican could improve the design if it could augment the lid with some type of push-button pressurization valve to allow the user to depressurize the bottle before fighting to open it. Otherwise, the leakproof seal to the lid kept the liquid contents secure. When testing cold items, fully packed ice inside the Travel Bottle lasted for approximately 3.75 days before all ice had melted leaving water at a 33 degrees.
  • Weight – Excellent (5/5): At 17.3 ounces for the 32oz bottle, the Travel Bottle’s weight was solely determined by the amount of material and overall size. The 32oz version of the  bottle still felt lightweight without any contents, and even with various liquids added still was not exceptionally burdensome and felt at home in a backpack or waist pack. In contrast, the Rambler 36oz (24.5oz) from Yeti, or the 32oz Bottle (19.2) from Rtic both demonstrate that the Travel Bottle from Pelican is at an excellent light weight amid a market of comparable alternatives.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

Product Link: https://www.pelican.com/us/en/product/drinkware/bottle/travbo32

I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

TRU-SPEC® Pathfinder 2.5 Backpack: Ready to Explore the World

Designed to carry large quantities of equipment while maintaining equal weight distribution, the Pathfinder 2.5 by TRU-SPEC® is an evolution over its predecessor by offering improved compartmentalization of essential items and features for expanded capability.

Introduced in 2015, the Pathfinder 2.5 is made from 1050D nylon that offers mid- or high-end abrasion resistance. At approximately 19” (H) x 13” (W) x 7” (D) its overall carrying capacity is approximately 39 liters of cubic space.

Exterior

The adjustable, contoured, dual shoulder straps featurean over-the-shoulder design with sternum strap and padded air mesh for increased comfort when the pack is fully loaded. The air mesh padding is extended throughout the pack’s back panel and weapon concealment pouch as well. On either side is an 8” (H) x 6” (W) accessory pocket secured via drawstring zipper for immediate access to essential items.

On the exterior of the main compartment, is a 10” (H) x 12” (W) admin pocket that includes; a retention lanyard for keys, one 7” (H) x 10” (W) zippered pocket behind a 6” (H) x 10” (W) sleeve, a small hook-and-loop secured accessory pocket, two card sleeves, and two pen sleeves. Above the admin pocket is a 5” (H) x 7” (W) accessory pocket with mesh lining/pocket on the interior side of the access flap. On the external side of the access flap is a 3” (H) x 5” (W) hook-and-loop field for identification patches.

The kidney pad of the pack’s back panel doubles a weapon concealment pocket and is secured via a curved pull-string zipper. On the bottom of the pack are two drainage grommets and four MOLLE panels.

On the pack’s right side is a concealed laptop pouch designed to accommodate most 15” laptops that is protected by the air mesh padding on the back panel and interior compartment, then secured via pull-string zipper.

IMG_5616

Throughout the exterior of the Pathfinder 2.5 are multiple MOLLE straps for added compatibility

At the top of the pack is a padded drag handle that is reinforced via bartac stitching, and on either side are hook-and-loop access panels to the interior storage compartment for headphones or hydration tubes. Between the drag handle and shoulder straps is a 4” (H) x 6” (W) fleece-lined sunglasses pouch secured with another pull-string zipper.

Internal

The internal storage compartment to the Pathfinder 2.5 is reinforced on either side of the exterior with side cinch straps and slide-release buckles to ensure the stored items remain secure. The main storage space includes a rigid backboard for stability and support, a hydration sleeve with MOLLE straps on the exterior, and two mesh lining/pockets on the interior side of the access flap.

The Pathfinder 2.5 Backpack comes in Black (featured) and is made of 1050D nylon. While the website still lists Coyote and Multicam as alternatives, those options have been discontinued.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): At the time of this writing, the cost of the Pathfinder 2.5 is $119.95 and comparatively priced within the market for similar-sized (approx. 39 cubic liters of storage space), dual-strap backpacks. This is due mainly to the amount of nylon used that ensures long-lasting abrasion resistance.
  • Comfort Excellent (5/5): With regards to comfort in packs, really it comes down to how the design in the shoulder straps mitigate the weight and strain of the pack on/against the body. In the case of the Pathfinder 2.5, the padded air mesh carrying straps have a unique over-the-shoulder design that ensures the weight of the pack remains close and high to the shoulders. Furthermore, the carrying straps have offset seams so to avoid pressing that up against the neck/spine. Add in the thickness of the overall shoulder strap pads and the padded panels on the back of the pack, the end result is an almost pillow-like feel that helps mitigate carrying a large amount of weight for extended time/distance. By design, there is no waist strap to help further balance the weight of the pack, so the entire load will be on the upper torso.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): The Pathfinder 2.5 comes in 1050D nylon that will be stiffer and have a tighter weave than lesser denier rated packs and play into the overall increased abrasion resistance. With reinforced stitching and bartac at all key stress points and MOLLE straps, it will have a significant amount of durability regardless of how the user employs it. Likely the hardware will wear out long before the pack does.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): A significant amount of functionality went into the design of the Pathfinder 2.5. The side accessory and eyeglass pockets give you immediate-ready access to essential items, while the MOLLE straps throughout give you added capability for expansion to other accessories with similar mounting devices. Even the side cinch straps have hook-and-loop retainers to keep the excess under control (though it would have been nice if such feature had been extended to the shoulder and sternum straps). The hidden compartment for a laptop is an added bonus for any field researcher or traveler. The firearm pocket is somewhat awkward to access unless you have the pack off, so there is no immediate-access while wearing it (somewhat defeating the purpose of it as a concealed carry pocket). One noted design aspect was when accessing the main compartment, and placed on the straps, the zipper to the main compartment is at the top—thus negating the risk of smaller items spilling out.
  • Weight Average (3/5): At approximately 3.35 pounds (empty) the Pathfinder 2.5 is comparable in weight to other packs of similar size, this is due to the amount of nylon and other materials that go into making it.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

Product Link: https://www.truspec.com/backpacks/double-strap/pathfinder-25-backpack

IMG_2889I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

ViktØs Strife (Mid) Boot: Where the Adventure Takes You

Introduced in 2018, the Strife (Mid) Boot by Viktos balances the rugged demands of life at work, in the field, or on range, with the urban comfort to a tactically inspired lifestyle.

The upper half of the Strife (Mid) Boot is made from leather and nylon segments stitched together using double-line nylon thread.

The hardware includes unique metal hook lace brackets with a pass-through eyelet that allows the wearer to choose which style fits their needs best. The laces are Dupont nylon with plastic tips.

Sidewalls on the Strife (Mid) Boot are also made to Viktos’ patented Parariggers™ sidewall that gives the boot structure along its sides, while mitigating potential fold-over or failure of the material.

IMG_4313

The interior lining includes a breathable/waterproof lining to help ensure your feet remain dry but breathe adequately. A 6” throat on the boot provides the ideal height to support the ankle in light/moderate environments.

The Strife (Mid) features the same sole as other Strife/Johnny Combat series footwear, drawing on its combat-focused outsole that gives the wearer a solid grip in a variety of environments. The lug design gives the sole a self-cleaning flex that helps ensure debris or rocks do not remain lodged.

The reinforced toe box to the boot is rounded rather than tapered to accommodate the natural splay of toes as the foot rolls under the body’s natural weight.

Specifications:

The Viktos Strife (Mid) Boot comes in a Gunstock (featured) or Nightfall color and is available in sizes 7 through 15. Viktos states maintaining the Strife requires “…treating all leather products with a cream or water based wax treatment. Please note that leather treatments may alter the leather’s original appearance, however, it will not affect the performance properties of the leather”.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): At an MSRP of $140, the Strife (Mid) Boot has an affordable blend of materials and design that excels in urban or moderate field environments. There is an equal blend of leather and nylon that will help ensure the product’s longevity. Generally, the cost of boots in this category can run the gambit and are radically affected by; materials, source manufacturing, colors/dyes, and branding. Bearing in mind the Strife (Mid) is designed to be an urban/suburban/EDC boot – other market alternatives would include but not limited to; XA Forces (Mid) boots ($169.95) by Salomon, the Moab 2 boot ($139.99) by Merrill, or the Raide 2 (Mid) boots ($109.95) by Bates. As such the Strife (Mid) is in the moderate (or average) range of price, and duly affordable by the consumer in comparison to other quality manufactures for the materials used.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): Sizing for the Strife (Mid) ran true-to-fit (meaning a size 11 will fit as a US-sized 11 shoe – not based on the actual physical length of the foot). It took about a week for the leather to break in but when it did the Strife was very comfortable. The heel was very well supported, and the boot held strength from the heel, up the Achilles line, and across to the laces. Thus, it was apparent the boot was designed to give support when needed. The sole held a shock-resistant steyr foam lining on the outer edging that helped support and pad the foot bed. The toe box did indeed feel wider and accommodated the natural splay of toes when under heavy load (with a test case using a 70lb sand bag with stressor drills). Traditional boots often have a tapered toe box that harken back to ancient times when boots needed points to aid in mounting horse stirrups. Even today that design can pinch your toes or jam them when under load. The Strike (Mid) was very comfortable and over the course of a 30-day evaluation cycle fit comfortably. One suggestion for Viktos to improve the Strike’s comfort rating would be to add (even a minimal layer) of padding to the tongue of the boot. The tongue was not stitched/attached up to the top of the throat and given the thin material it easily folded over to create minor pressure points if laced tightly. Any added padding would not only improve comfort but mitigate the pressure on the front of the foot.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): Over the course of testing; worn as EDC and range boots, the Strike (Mid) held a good level of durability given its tested environment (which included pavement, grass, loose rock, water and mud). The intent for the Strike (Mid) by design is as an urban/suburban/EDC boot, and as such the materials were intended to excel in those settings. The leather exterior took a good amount of rough edges and abrasion, with only light/moderate scarring to the material itself—none of which penetrated the inner layers of the leather. The nylon and interior lining aided in breathability and flexibility to maneuver various terrain. The double line stitching and very thick bartack provided a very good level of durability to prevent any separation of the materials. The only one negative aspect noted in evaluation was some minor edge separation between the steyr foam and leather due to use of the heel to grab at barriers as well as a few frayed threads. The lack of a polymer toe and heel cap would detract from taking the Strife (Mid) into more rugged field terrain, but for the city or suburbs it will do very well.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): Perhaps the biggest functional improvement of the Strife (Mid) Boot was its toe box, with its rounded design rather than tapered. A clear benefit to this was as the foot rolled on the ball, toes have a natural tendency to roll and splay open. The rounded toe box accommodated this and thus made the boot more comfortable under load. The leather sections were all in high stress points of the boot for added strength and stitching ensured the boot held up under use. The tread was similar to other Strife/Johnny Combat boots by Viktos with its self-cleaning lug design that did keep small rocks and debris from building up. It was noted mud did cake up in the serrated toe and trusstic of the sole, likely because of the arch design, but was easily knocked out. At no point did moisture penetrate the interior in light/moderate rain. The only negative aspect noted from a functional point was the plastic tips on the laces started to wear/split, and it would be recommended to Viktos to consider using the same metal tips they use in their combat line of boots.
  • Weight Average (3/5): Each individual boot weighed in at 1.6 pounds (or 3.2 pounds for the pair) which is reasonable considering the use of leather and thick lug design, but the weight became exacerbated when mud became caked into the bottom serrations. In comparison to the market alternatives noted above; the XA Forces (Mid) boots (1.02 pounds per boot) by Salomon, the Moab 2 boot (1.15 pounds per boot) by Merrill, or the Raide 2 (Mid) boots (1.2 pounds per boot) by Bates show the diversity in footwear weight. However, in the market alternatives they have differing lug design and some underlying materials, thus the variance in weight. As a whole, the features of the Strife (Mid) Boot—although heavier—helped ensure it not only lasted in the daily life of a tactical mindset, but on the range as well.

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

Product Link: https://www.viktos.com/products/strife-mid

I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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