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Testimonials

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Hazard 4 Patrol Pack: For Those Who Adventure

Designed in California as an intermediate backpack, the Patrol backpack by Hazard 4 provides the functionality of a day pack and the storage capacity of a 72-hour bag. With its unique features and padded reinforcement, carrying the Patrol will be comfortable regardless if its to the range or on the trail.

Exterior

The exterior of the Patrol involves a number of unique elements that Hazard 4 has developed to extend the role of its product. Starting at the front, the Patrol prominently features an 8.3″ (L) x 4.3″ (W) x 1.2″ (D) pill-shaped pocked with thermoformed shell, and secured via zipper.

Below pill-pocket is a 10.6″ (L) x 8.9″ (W) x 1″ (D) administrative pocket secured via zipper. On the exterior of the admin pocket are four strips of folded material (on non-Scorpion variants it is nylon) that are stitched to create MOLLE-compatible spacing. Between these strips are two (female) hook-and-loop strips for identification tabs. On the bottom of the admin pocket are two drainage grommets.

Inside the admin pouch are two document sleeves, two pen sleeves, two accessory sleeves, a card pocket, and two MOLLE straps to clip items on to. These sleeves are all made out of a smooth, logoized nylon material.

On both sides of the Patrol are multiple nylon MOLLE straps, two compression straps with plastic slide-release buckles, and a slide pocket. At the top is a durable plastic carry handle, hook-and-loop access tab for a hydration tube, a small access zipper into the main compartment, and two plastic slide-release buckles that anchor the shoulder straps. Under the slide-release buckles is a zipper-secured pocket for a hydration bladder or laptop.

On the back panel are multiple thermoformed pads to provide comfort and rigidity to the overall frame, but also insulate/pad the hydration bladder pocket.

IMG_6152

Included with the Patrol is a mesh padded, removable waist strap to help mitigate the weight of the pack during long-term use. It can be removed to be worn as a stand-alone belt to hang accessories from while walking. The waist strap features Hazard 4’s patented locking buckle that prevents accidental uncoupling. Along the waist strap are two bands of the same folded material as on the exterior of the admin pouch, stitched into MOLLE-compatible spacing.

The shoulder straps are padded and contoured to maximize comfort of the user with an adjustable sternum strap. They have a strip of MOLLE-compatible folded material down its length, with plastic slide-release buckles on either end for rapid removal of the pack if needed.

On the bottom of the Patrol is a nylon grab-handle over which are two additional compression straps. The bottom of the Patrol also is coated in a PVC/rubberized material to prevent saturation of the pack if placed down on a wet surface.

Interior

On the interior of the Patrol backpack, and behind the admin pocket, is a 17.4″ (L) x 10.5″ (W) x 0.8″ (D) zipper-secured laptop pocket with a smooth, logoized nylon liner.

The main storage compartment is fleece and nylon-lined and measures 17.7″ (L) x 12.6″ (W) x 8.7″ (D). It also includes an internal sleeve for documents or other flat items, with a single drainage grommet on the bottom.

The overall Patrol backpack measures 20.9″ L x 12.6″ W x 10″ D and has a storage capacity of 31.8 liters of space. Its overall materials vary depending on color. The Black and Coyote variants are 1000D Cordura and treated in a PUx2 water repellent coating. The Scorpion (featured) and Grayman are made from polyester. The Grayman variant of the Patrol also features less MOLLE straps on the sides, zippered opening at the top, and no rubberized bottom so as to maintain its low visibility profile and thus it costs less.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): At an MSRP of $209.99 on Hazard 4’s website, but marked at $167.99 at the time of this review, the Patrol backpack is found online for as low as $107.79 depending on color. For a 72-hour backpack, the Patrol is moderately priced under other manufacturers like Tactical Tailor, 5.11, and Blackhawk who make comparable products. But the offset in price is likely due to opting for alternatives in design, such as MOLLE nylon webbing or hardware (discussed in Durability and Functionality).
  • Comfort Excellent (5/5): The Patrol’s soft polyester frame design and thermoformed back panel help give it a high degree of comfort when worn, even fully loaded. The contoured shoulder straps helped distribute the weight across the upper torso evenly and are a far improvement over competitors. Using the removable waist belt (either as part of the backpack or as a standalone belt) also aids in taking some of that load off the shoulders and distributes it to the waist as well thanks to its large padding.
  • Durability – Fair (2/5): The packs polyester gives the Patrol a high degree of durability in terms of abrasion resistance from general wear. But the zippers (specifically the hardware) felt thin which was disconcerting for a pack that is expected to sustain a heavy amount of use. Hazard states these are YKK zippers but in comparison to other 72-hour packs using the same brand, there is a clear difference in feel and function. I also question the option to use folded material on the exterior of the admin pouch to form MOLLE straps. Traditionally these are made from nylon for their strength in hanging more pouches and accessories from, same as those found on the sides of the Patrol pack. But Hazard attempts to offset the difference in material on the front by extensive bartack stitching. It should be noted this choice of material webbing is only on the Scorpion variant of the Patrol, whereas the Black has nylon webbing and the Grayman has a completely discrete exterior design.
  • Functionality Excellent (5/5): As a 72-hour backpack, the Patrol has a fair amount of functionality incorporated into its design. This was highlighted in the pill-shaped hard case on the exterior to protect essential electronics, such as GPS, range finders, or optics and the rubberized bottom to prevent moisture penetration. Even when detached, the waist belt doubled as an impromptu gun belt with plenty of MOLLE webbing to hang holsters or pouches from. With over 30 liters of storage space there was more than enough room to serve as a Bug Out Bag or recon pack. The only negative from a functionality aspect would be that only several zippers feature a hard-plastic lining over the pull cord, whereas most did not. I would have liked to have seen all pull tabs with that protective lining as it aids in drawing the zipper shuttle, and strength of the pull cord.
  • Weight Good (4/5): Weighing 4 pounds (empty), the Patrol is on the average weight of most 72-hour packs on the current market thanks in part to its lightweight polyester design and thermoformed padding. By keeping the design to the essentials and keeping the lining material to light nylon, the overall weight of the Patrol while empty was negligible. Once you begin to add items into the pack however, the weight can easily rest on the shoulders and hips thanks to the included straps.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

Product Link: https://www.hazard4.com/patrol.html

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.

 

Sig Romeo 5: Big Performance In a Budget Optic

Sig has been refining its emergent optic line since it first debuted them in 2016. As I discussed in my initial post on the Romeo 5, the little-optic-that-could has all the characteristics of an inexpensive, yet reliable, Red Dot Sight (RDS) that could give even some Aimpoint or Trijicon RDS’ a run for their money. With few marks against it, the Romeo 5 would be a solid choice for any novice shooter, or even an experienced one.

I’ve been running this optic since February; and its been out in the cold, through our (very) brief Midwest eight-day spring, and right into the summer heat. I’ve had it through static drills, stressors, and competition. And while I could continue to put the optic through its paces, fact is it is unlikely to change the results more than what I have concluded. Plus I have more optics coming in to test and I need the rail space.

If you’d like to review the optic’s full specs, those and my initial zeroing observation is posted here.

Sig Romeo 5 Highlight Features Include:

  • Motion Activated Illumination (MOTAC) – shutting down the optic when not in use and instantly activates the system when it senses the slightest vibration or movement. This feature extends the battery life to reportedly 40,000+ hours
  • Spectracoat – Described as a highly efficient, ultra-wide broadband, anti-reflection lens coating that reduce surface reflections to extremely low levels across the entire visible spectrum providing superior light transmission
  • Stealth ID – Design features inspired by our legendary firearms; trapezoidal surfacing that breaks up the shape and visibility of the optic

Some Sig Romeo Specs:

  • Dot: 2 MOA with 10 illumination settings (eight for daylight, two for night vision)
  • Integrated M1913 Picatinny mounting system
  • Waterproof up to 1m and fogproof
  • Box includes one CR2032 battery, one low-riser mount and one co-witness (1.41″) mount

romeo5_1x20mm-specs

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): Initially at $129, the Romeo 5 was very well priced for the capabilities offered. Had Sig invested a little more into hardening the exterior coating (which seems to be a recurring issue among the Romeo optic line) the added cost per unit would have been minimal. But when put in comparison to the market of RDS optics, such as Holosun, Aimpoint, Trijicon and more, the Romeo is clearly marketed as a budget-friendly optic. Sig recently transitioned the Romeo 5 to a “Tread” version featuring their interpretation of the Gadsden snake for $149, while bumping the original model up to $219. You can still find the original $129 on sites like Amazon, but be vary cautious as there are knockoffs and sellers with ulterior motives (like selling a broken or floor optic that is advertised as “new”).
  • ComfortGood (4/5): The 2MOA dot was clearly visible indoors and out, with only minimal pixelation around the dot at the higher brightness values. While this is notable in comparison to higher-end RDS systems like RMRs or a C-More, it is not to the point of effecting accuracy or function.
  • DurabilityFair (2/5): The Romeo 5 earned split marks in durability. While there is extensive evidence into the robust design of the RDS (a simple internet search reveals owners freezing it in ice, driving over it with trucks, dropping it, and shooting it with a shotgun), the exterior coating is marginal at best. During my time utilizing the optic, I picked up several deep scratches down to the metal when the optic contacted the sling’s metal hardware, during transition drills, or in general use. At one point I swiped my thumb across the “Sig Sauer” logo and some of the white paint smeared off with it. My initial premise that the rubberized lens covers would be the first to suffer proved correct as the plastic attracted all manner of debris and warped similar to a rubber band. Through it all the Romeo 5 optic maintained zero and the lenses remained clear and unblemished.
  • FunctionalityGood (4/5): As an RDS, the Romeo 5 is very straight forward and simple. Easy to turn on, and in the event you forget, the optic’s MOTAC will automatically turn off the device for you (a feature that can be disabled if you choose) thus maximize battery life. The adjustment caps have an integrated tab to assist in adjusting the windage/elevation dials, which have a clear and tangible click to them. The included mounts at varying heights are an extra bonus.
  • WeightGood (4/5): At just 12.2 ounces (excluding your choice in mount) the Romeo 5 is very light, and in comparison to other micro RDS systems is equatable in weight.

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

Product Link: https://www.sigsauer.com/products/electro-optics/red-dot-sights/romeo5/

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.

Magpul MOE K2-XL Grip: For Those With the Big Grip

Featuring a wider grip and ideal approach angle for short-barreled rifles, the MOE K2-XL Grip by Magpul is one of several new products featured in 2022. The MOE K2-XL Grip gives shooter’s with larger hands 25% more tactile contact area than traditional grips.

Introduced in 2022, the MOE K2-XL is a non-adjustable, molded rifle grip for either AR-15s or AR-10s. The grip itself features Magpul’s Trapezoidal Surface Projections (TSP) pattern and front/rear serrations for improved tactile control.

The MOE K2-XL also is molded to a 17-degree approach angle to accommodate most shooting styles with short-barrel rifles. The bottom of the MOE K2-XL is capped to allow easy access to the mounting hardware and accepts only the Oil Bottle Grip Core (included) exclusive to the K2-XL (because of the expanded size in the grip).

Specifications:

  • Approximately 25% more surface area for grip
  • Beavertail backstrap for proper trigger finger alignment
  • Included Oil Bottle Grip Core

The MOE K2-XL Grip is available in Black (featured), Flat Dark Earth (featured), and OD Green.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Excellent (5/5): At $23.95 the MOE K2-XL Grip price point reflects the newest rendition of Magpul’s MOE K2 grip series that allots for larger hands necessitating a larger coverage/surface area. Made from the same rigid polymer material as other Magpul products, the MOE K2-XL Grip includes a molded and a more comfortable grip for shorter barreled rifles or AR pistols. In contrast, the Hexmag Tactical Grip ($34.99), the Ergo Grip w/Suregrip ($26), and Hogue’s over-molded rubberized grip ($26.95) demonstrate that the MOE K2-XL Grip is the least expensive and an excellent value to the consumer. It is however, the one of the newer models on the Magpul’s MOE K2 grip series and may not be readily available.
  • Comfort – Good (4/5): The comfort aspect of the MOE K2-XL Grip came down to the grip’s overall 25% increase in width over the K2, and its approach angle to the lower receiver. Used for a duration of 30 days on both an SBR and a AR pistol, the Trapezoidal Surface Projections (TSP), and higher beavertail/backstrap did provide a good level of comfort for end-users with larger hands (mostly men) high up on the grip. Although those with smaller hands (such as women) may find with the MOE K2-XL Grip there is too much surface to cover and get a solid purchase. Stepping down to a standard size MOE K2 or K2+ grip would resolve this issue. Elsewhere, because of the 17-degree angle to the lower receiver, the wrist didn’t fatigue as easily when the firearm was held over time and compared to the sharper-angled A2 style grip, as more of the hand was vertically in-line to the wrist.
  • Durability – Average (3/5): The MOE K2-XL Grip was made from the same proprietary polymer material as other Magpul products, and the grip help up appropriately (or of average) with regular use, weapon manipulation, and field stressors. The surface of the MOE K2-XL Grip did not significantly wear or deteriorate along contact areas or overall—with only minor surface marring noted (common to this type of material) due to contact to hard surfaces. The pressure to the locking tab on the bottom of the grip used to secure the Grip Core module; remained consistent over time and usage, with no weakening of the tab itself nor failure in keeping the module retained.
  • Functionality – Good (4/5): Rather simplistic; the function of the MOE K2-XL Grip really came down to improving the comfort (addressed above) of the shooter with relation to presentation on the firearm (as is the intent of the overall K2 grip line), while providing a good alternative for those with larger hands that may find A2-style grips or those that are narrow more difficult to use appropriately. By modifying the angle of the MOE K2-XL Grip to a higher angle, the end-user was able to keep a higher grip on the firearm and inward to the body more, with improved direct line to the controls—thus alleviating stress and fatigue on the wrist. The TSP and front/rear serrations also ensured a solid grip was maintained with, or without gloves.
  • Weight – Average (3/5): At 3.3 ounces (2.8 ounces w/o Oil Bottle Grip Core) the MOE K2-XL Grip is appropriately weighted for the polymer materials that consist in the grip’s overall design. In contrast, the Hexmag Tactical Grip (2.6 ounces), the Ergo Grip w/Suregrip (4.48 ounces), and Hogue’s over-molded rubberized grip (2.8 ounces) demonstrate that the MOE K2-XL Grip was appropriately (or of average) weight amid the market and competitors.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

Product Link: https://magpul.com/firearm-accessories/grips/moe-k2-xl-grip.html

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