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. […]

T+24: Quick Notes for the Laymen on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

T+24: Quick Notes for the Laymen on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Clear the Jam: Knowing the Difference Between Immedate Action and Remedial

Knowing what to do when your rifle goes down can be critical to not only your own safety and that of others, but success of the mission. So rather than standing there when you hear click and no bank – know what needs to be done and integrate this into your training regimen.


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TLR-1 HL Weapon Light: Challenging the Competition

Introduced in 2013 as the High Lumen (HL) variant to Streamlight’s TLR-1, the HL model remains one of the more popular and practical lights in the TLR line. Adaptable to both a handgun or carbine, the TLR-1 HL can fit a variety of personal, competitive, or professional roles to shed light in an otherwise dark environment.

The TLR-1 HL is a full-sized, Weapon Mounted Light (WML) and part of Streamlight’s “Tradition” line. It has a higher lumen output over its predecessor the TLR-1, improving beam length with minimal impact to overall battery life.


Its 6000 Series, aircraft-grade aluminum housing ensures the TLR-1 HL has a robust ability to withstand heavy usage. It features ambidextrous butterfly-type switch control allowing the operator to select between momentary, steady ON/OFF, or the pre-programmed strobe light control (if activated). A remote switch and pressure pad are also available for the TLR-1 models (sold separately)

The light optic in the HL model produces 800 lumens (or 15,000 candela) in a narrow beam with peripheral illumination that reaches 245 meters before dispersal. When compared to the initial TLR-1’s 300 lumens (or 12,000 candela) the HL is a notable improvement while keeping the same dimensions and mounting system. LED technology gives the HL’s light element a 50,000-hour lifetime, and impervious to shock. In front of the optic, the TLR-1 HL has a high temperature Borofloat glass designed to with a high degree of heat and impact/abrasion resistance.

The TLR-1 HL is powered by two CR123A lithium batteries that provide the unit 1.75 hours of continuous runtime. This is a minor reduction in the initial TLR-1 runtime of 2.50 hours due directly to the HL’s higher light output requiring more power in either operational mode.


Different mounting keys are provided with the TLR-1 HL that give the platform compatibility with a wide variety of handguns. The principle mounting system is a Picatinny/MIL-STD-1913 tool less rail clamp that enables the user to mount/remove the WML without placing the hand in front of the muzzle.

The TLR-1 HL has an overall measurement of 3.39” (L) x 1.47” (W) x 1.44” (H) and an operating range between -40 degrees Fahrenheit, to 120 degrees. It has passed the Immersion Water Test (IPX7) and is rated waterproof up to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes.

The TLR-1 HL is available in the standard colors of Black (featured), FDE Tan (featured), and FDE Brown.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): Between $109 to $165 (color dependent) the variance in price is due to differing secondary vendors and coupon availability. If the consumer can wait for peak savings (usually Independence Day, Labor Day, or Black Friday) they can maximize their potential deals. Past monitoring has shown the TLR-1 HL for as low as $99 during special promotional events. The most direct competitor to the TLR-1 HL would be Surefire’s X300 WML ($299-$429). But the X300’s higher price point reflects its higher lumen output (1000) and slightly larger body. Another close competitor would be Olight’s PL-Pro Valkyrie ($129) that is closer in size comparison to the X300 body but still has a higher lumen output (1500). Consumers should be aware, in research it was identified counterfeits being sold via third-party sites like Amazon and Ebay, and individuals should exercise caution when choosing a vendor. While not the brightest WML of its size, the TLR-1 HL was one of the more affordable, giving it a good scoring.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): The overall size of the TLR-1 HL made it more comfortable on a full-sized handgun, such as the P226, leaving it near flush with the handgun’s muzzle. When matched with a G19 however, the TLR-1 HL protruded the length of the lens cap beyond the muzzle, so that consideration will need to be made by the consumer when matching the WML to its platform. The butterfly switch was easily within reach of the support hand and comfortable. Obviously with the added rail space, mounting it on a carbine allowed its position to be customized.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): The durability of the TLR-1 lay in its aircraft-grade body, and sealed battery compartment/light element. Because of its base material (6000 Series aluminum) this had a direct negative effect to the overall weight of the WML, making it one of the heavier WMLs in comparison to the X300 or PL-Pro. That said, it also added to the durability and made the housing and enclosed electronics nearly crush/shock proof. Internet research showed a number of owners putting the TLR-1 series through various torture tests; freezing, submerging, thawing, dropping, and driving over the modules. The course of fire selected for testing the TLR-1 HL involved five rifle and five pistol magazines, each fully loaded, at a 15-meter target. Between magazine changes the light was struck a number of times on the housing and lens cap with the ejected magazine before a new one was loaded. The process repeated itself until all rounds were fired. At no point did the TLR-1 HL light flicker or fail in the firing process, nor drift from center mass. The testing did result in some minor (cosmetic) surface scratches, mainly due to holstering, but nothing that would impact the functionality of the light.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): From a functional aspect, the TLR-1 (regardless of model) was designed to fit handguns; but when mounted on the top rail of a carbine, had the added flexibility to work on rifles as well. The important aspect was to ensure the butterfly switch was within reach of the support hand regardless of configuration (something that if mounted on the side of a rifle, rather than the top, was a little more difficult without the remote switch). Employing the butterfly switch allowed for easy selection between momentary ON and STROBE, or to flip the switch in the opposite direction for continual ON—all without any accidental emission when manipulating the firearm. The TLR-1 HL itself threw an intense wide-area beam with an intense focal point that light up the room, hallways, and just about anything nearby when indoors or out. The array of rail keys accommodated a large variety of platforms, including the available Sig, Glock, Springfield 1911, and an AR-15.
  • Weight Fair (2/5): At 4.18 ounces the TLR-1 HL is heavier than either the PL-Pro (3.25 ounces) or X300 (4.0 ounces) WMLs. Thus, while the weight was more than either of its direct competitors, its weight was still neither detracting nor placed the weapon off-balance significantly. Its weight was more notable when mounted on a handgun rather than a carbine, and the TLR-1 HL did pull the recoil action forward slightly (as other WMLs do) when mounted as such. Streamlight has expanded its WML line to include lighter, more compact WMLs such as its TLR-7 HL and other models.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

Product Link:

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.


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.

The Syncron is a two-part, Outside the Waistband (OWB) holster that is RMR-ready. This traditional G-Code kydex retention holster is paired with the company’s new patented bridge-mounting retention system. This retention system itself can also be removed so that the holster itself can be paired with any other G-Code mounting platform.

The bridge-mounting system itself is a polymer front mounting buckle, and a rubberized rear buckle that are designed to accomplish two things: retain the firearm in as low profile against the wearer as possible, and flex with the wearer in dynamic environments.

The Syncron is available in Multicam (featured), Tan, OD Green, and Black.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Average (3/5): With a list price of $59.95, the Syncron comprised a quality OWB holster that G-Code is known for, with its new belt mounting approach that enabled the weapon to retain a close profile against the body. In contrast to similar OWB kydex/thermoformed holsters such as; the OWB holster ($34.99) from Bravo Concealment, the Pro-Fit 579 holster ($57.50) from Safariland, or the Total Eclipse holster ($54.99) from Blade-Tech – all put the Syncron near the upper-end of the market for this OWB design. But the Syncron is also one of the few holsters to incorporate a semi-flexible retention system whereas all others are rigid. This makes the Syncron appropriately (or of average) price amongst its competitors.
  • Comfort – Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect, the Syncron excelled at keeping the pistol profile compressed and contoured to the torso. This compressed sensation provided added reassurance during more dynamic movements that the firearm was well retained and ready. As the Syncron is an open-top kydex holster there was no locking mechanism beyond the pressure points of the holster itself, which provided appropriate (or average) secure retention of the firearm during both draw and driving the gun back in. The polished interior of the holster ensured that there was no hang-up or binding on any part of the pistol to the hardware. The only notable point for those familiar with holsters where the grip is at or below the beltline, the Syncron puts the draw above the belt line as a means of minimizing the firearm’s profile—and may take a short time to adapt to. But doing so was not uncomfortable in any way, and did not require any kind of excessive range in motion to draw.
  • Durability – Good (4/5):The durability of the Syncron never came into question as it had the typical nylon wrap that G-Code places all of its holders in, and during evaluations at no time did that exterior fray or tear. Minor surface marring was noted on the polished interior of the kydex holster from hard edge contact with the firearm and front sight during draw and re-holstering – but no more than expected. Elsewhere, the rubberized rear buckle was approx. 1/4” thick and kept good range of motion throughout use, and neither became brittle nor cracked during use, whereas the front polymer buckle did retain some superficial marring from use, but none that would be considered detrimental or impair function.
  • Functionality – Good (4/5): Functionally, the Syncron differs from other common OWB holsters by keeping the profile of the firearm (specifically the grip) as minimal as possible. This is done in large part by the rubberized rear buckle that (in essence) ensured the holster remained tightly contoured against the torso. Many other OWB-style holsters have a basic design whereby the holster sits on a rigid and linear platform/holster, mounted to the belt. As the torso moves, this rigid platform can extend the gun’s profile to where it can become entangled on an object or the shooter’s arm. In comparison, the Syncron’s design contoured to the end-user, and ensured the pistol was retained high and tight so as to minimize the profile and not make the gun a hinderance. Otherwise installing/removing the holster was easily performed, sliding it on/off the belt after any other pouches or hardware between the holster and the end of the belt was removed.
  • Weight – Average (3/5): For this purpose of this review, a Syncron for a Glock G19 was used and measured in at 4.4 ounces. This light weight reflects the relative lightweight thermoformed materials and minimal use of hardware that didn’t add excessively to the overall Syncron design. Moreover, the holster itself did not pull nor sag along the beltline provided an appropriate belt for supporting a holster was used. In contrast, OWB holster (3 ounce) from Bravo Concealment, the Pro-Fit 579 holster (5.6 ounces) from Safariland, or the Total Eclipse 2.0 Modular holster (5.9 ounces) from Blade-Tech all illustrate the Syncron is of an appropriate (or average) weight amid the market and competitors.

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

Product Link:

I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via High Ground Media, LLC., 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.

Viktos Zerodark™ Vest: Staying Comfortable Between the Seasons

Intended for the intermediate climates between the heat of the summer, and the frigid temps of the winter, the Zerodark™ vest gives shooters the ideal blend of core temperature comfort and freedom in range of motion.

Comprised of Fitelite™ nylon, the Zerodark™ vest has a lightweight outer chassis designed by Viktos with an added water-resistant Dupont™ Teflon® coating for longstanding outdoor use. The Zerodark™ vest also includes an inner layer of 100g Thermolite® insulation for temperature regulation and to serve as a windbreaker.


At the top, the Zerodark™ vest has a high collar roll to protect from rifle sling abrasion or wind. A full length YKK zipper has a nylon pull tab with rubberized ends.

The sides include Viktos’ Attackposture™ design, that incorporate four-way, flexible back and underarm panels to give improved flexibility to accommodate a variety of shooting stances.

Along the bottom there are two chest-rig stylized cargo pockets in the front (one each side). These are secured by hook-and-loop, and include nylon draw-string tabs with shrink-tube ends. A low-profile side pocket on each side behind the cargo pockets include a zipper enclosure with a plastic pull tab.

Both sides of the Zerodark™ vest include Viktos’ Gunvent™ design, a unique, dual-zippered side that allows for immediate access to range belt or holstered sidearm while wearing the jacket.


The interior sides of the Zerodark™ vest have one large and one small angled accessory pocket on each side. In addition, the Viktos “Undefeated” logo appears on the right side front interior.

The Zerodark™ vest is available in Nightfall (featured), Ranger, or Coyote and sized between Small to 3XL.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): Viktos currently has the MSRP for the Zerodark™ vest at $120, but is discounting it to $102 as the company prepares to rotate stock for the 2020 spring. With its materials and design, the Zerodark™ vest is both lightweight and functional that keeps the upper core warm despite the wild environmental changes of the spring or fall. In comparison, vests of similar make/material include the 5.11 Peninsula Insulator Vest ($99), Triple Aught Design Syntax Vest ($170), or Arc’teryx Atom LT Vest ($189) – all of which demonstrate the market for designer tactical clothing. As such the Zerodark™ vest, at its current available price of $99, makes it very competitive and among some of the more balanced options on the market given its design and materials.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): Given its lightweight material, and thickness of the insulation layers, the Zerodark™ vest was very comfortable in the early spring weather here in Missouri. Worn in average morning temperatures of 50s-60s, rising to low 70s by mid-day, the Zerodark™ vest allowed for comfortable regulation of temperature and adjusting comfort. The only notable negative aspect was in light winds where the Zerodark™ vest was limited in keeping the overall comfort maintained simply because of the lacking sleeves. Viktos does offer a full-length light Zerodark™ jacket made from the same design and materials, should there be those more interested in overall upper body coverage. The high collar did an excellent job of mitigating abrasion from the sling, and the Attackposture™ design did well to adjust to the more dynamic movements of the upper torso on the range.
  • Durability – Fair (2/5): There was an almost grid-like stitching pattern on the outer shell of the Zerodark™ vest that lends to its overall strength in durability. The outer layer was permeated with Teflon which gave it an almost slick feel between the fingers, and helped resist abrasion from things like sliding slings, gun belt, or other accessories. There was minimal double line or overlap stitching, and what was observed was around the zipper or collar line to reinforce the material there. While some thread excess was noted (and easily removed), it was most likely attributed to the manufacturing process. However, prior to conducting range drills there were at least two missed stitches observed; one at the collar line and the other on the interior liner that could also be explained by lapses in the manufacturing process. While minimal, and unlikely to affect the durability of the product in the short-term, over a longer period the threading could become compromised. Indeed, following use on the range, the missed stitch on the collar had broken and the threads needed to be cut. Obviously one recommendation for Viktos would be to consider adding bartack stitching in/around the zipper, along the pockets and its hook-and-loop panels, or high abrasion/tension points.
  • Functionality Average (3/5): The Zerodark™ vest adequately fulfilled its role as a base layer vest for light-to-moderate use—as well as served as an alternative to the Zerodark™ jacket. In that role, the material did keep the user’s central core very comfortable, while the sleeveless design helped to regulate excess heat. On the range, the high collar proved well placed and the Attackposture™ panels did provide for good flexibility in more dynamic movements to the side or in twisting. The YKK zippers for the front and on the Gunvent™ sides provided for smooth and quiet function. The chest rig pockets were very wide and allowed for multiple rifle magazines to be kept there, though it did increase the bulk of the vest. There was sufficient material to close the vest with an IWB CCW holster worn, though access through the Gunvent™ was a little tricky as opposed to simply lifting the vest and conducting the draw. With a gun belt worn (secondary handgun, mag pouches, IFAK), the vest did not have sufficient material to cover the belt and still be closed in the front. It was only with the Gunvent™ open on the side, to allot for room for the OWB holster, was there sufficient material to close the vest. It was noted that much like the Gunfighter Flannel Jacket, the Gunvent™ zippers would inadvertently open from the bottom if the sides of the vest were slightly pulled. Again, this is a common problem with other fleece and light jackets with a similar side opening, and one resolved by having a covering material (secured via snap button) over the bottom of the zipper to secure it as well as reinforce the closure. Viktos may want to consider that as an improvement in its next Gunvent™ design.
  • Weight Good (4/5): Extremely lightweight, the use of the Thermolite as an insulation later allowed the Zerodark™ vest to weigh in at 13.7 ounces while still maintaining the core temperature without excessive bulk. The Zerodark™ vest was even light enough, that Viktos added a loop behind the collar by which to hang the vest to dry when wet. For tactical vests of this type, the market runs the gambit in both material and design (of various weight reflecting those factors). For instance, 5.11’s Peninsula Insulator Vest (16.8 ounces) runs the more traditional design, similar to the Zerodark™ vest with its insulation, pockets, and a quick access sides. Whereas in comparison, the Arc’teryx Atom LT Vest (7.8 ounces) is a more minimalist design we few pockets and intended more to serve as a base layer in conjunction with other outer garments. Regardless, the Zerodark™ vest was still one of the lightest vests available that offers insulation and some level of tactical function. Viktos could likely add additional reinforcement stitching to key areas without significant increases to the product’s weight.

Overall Rating – Above Average (17/25)

Product Link:

IMG_2889_TackenbergI 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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