Review Posted: Warhawk Nautic Battle Belt: Lightweight and Ruggedly Built

Made from a variety of components, the complete Warhawk Nautic battle belt system by Direct Actionoffers the end user an ideal blend of lightweight yet durable materials, rugged reinforcement, and utilitarian design. Scoring […]

Body Armor For The Laymen: Part 4

Body Armor For The Laymen: Everything You Wanted to Know About PPE But Were Too Afraid to Ask

Review Posted: Stinger 2020: Like Looking Into the Sun

Revised for its release, the 2020 version of the Stinger line is one of the brightest handheld lights offered by Streamlight. 

Review Posted: Hellcat Low Visibility Plate Carrier: Keeping Things Hidden But At The Ready

Designed as a lightweight and low profile plate carrier for training on the range, or in use for concealment operations, the Hellcat Low Visibility Plate Carrier by Direct Action is a confluence in design from the Spitfire & Hellcat Plate Carrier line and offers more current, low-profile features. 

Body Armor For The Laymen: Part 3

Body Armor For The Laymen: Everything You Wanted to Know About PPE But Were Too Afraid to Ask

Review Posted: Pelican 1626 Air Case: Perfect for Matches or Training

The 1626 is specifically designed for mid-sized or smaller tactical rifles, but can accommodate a variety of other items to fit within it. 

Review Posted: Pelican 1650 Protector with EZ Click: Keeping Things Safe and Organized

Intended as a means to transport your valuable gear, firearms, or anything that needs to be protected – the 1650 Protector Case (with optional EZ Click System) is part of Pelican’s Protector series that provides significant storage, and maximum padding. 

Body Armor For The Laymen: Part 2

Body Armor For The Laymen: Everything You Wanted to Know About PPE But Were Too Afraid to Ask

The Afghan Exit: A Veteran’s Perspective on How America’s Departure from Afghanistan Will Be Worse Than Vietnam

As I write this, the United States is currently on the fourth day of emergency evacuations for all U.S. citizens, Afghan employees, and anyone else fearing Taliban rule since the terror group […]

Review Posted: SOTR-Lite: Keep the Lungs Clear In Any Environment

objective, the air quality can often contain high concentrates of lead, carbon, chemicals, and other particulates. Without proper precautions, these can prove harmful if inhaled and a tactical respirator like the SOTR from Ops-Core can prove an invaluable resource.


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Vortex Spitfire HD GEN II: Compact But Powerful

Released for 2021, the Spitfire HD Gen II is the latest iteration of the Vortex line of rifle and carbine powered optics. It offers powered magnification, and Vortex’s classic ranged donut reticle for distance shooting that gives the user a broad range of application. With its other features, the Spitfire HD Gen II is one of the most compact powered optics available.

The exterior chassis of the Spitfire HD Gen II is made from a single piece of aluminum, resulting in a shock-proof housing that withstands recoil or impact. The outer layer of the chassis is then hard-coat anodized in a matte black to provide the shooter with a low-glare surface.

Both lenses in the Spitfire HD Gen II are sealed in multiple anti-reflective coatings that maximize clarity. In addition, both rubberized endcaps to the optic can be folded over and attached to the optic’s body for storage, or completely removed if desired. The Spitfire HD Gen II uses Vortex’s HD Optical System to deliver high-quality resolution with minimal chromatic aberration and extreme edge sharpness. Finally, the internal space is purged with nitrogen gas and sealed with rubberized, waterproof O-rings to prevent moisture penetration and cut down fogging in any extreme temperature.

The Spitfire HD Gen II comes in two models (one in a x3 magnification and another in x5) with each featuring a donut-style reticle, with bullet drop compensator markings for holdover up to 650 yards that make it ideal for the 5.56 cartridge. The reticle has 12 intensity settings (with the lowest two compatible for night vision devices) and runs off a single CR 2032 battery.

The Spitfire HD Gen II comes with variable-height mounts (lower 1/3 Co-Witness and Low-Height) and a T-10 Torx Multi-Tool.


  • Magnification……………………x3 or x5 (model dependent)
  • Objective Lens Diameter……25 mm
  • Eye Relief………………………….3.7 inches
  • Field of View……………………..23.3 feet/100 yds
  • Adjustment Graduation……..1 MOA
  • Max Elevation Adjustment…200 MOA
  • Max Windage Adjustment….200 MOA
  • Parallax Setting…………………100 yds
  • Length………………………………3.6 inches
  • Weight………………………………10.3 oz

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Fair (2/5): With an initial MSRP of $649 (for the x5 magnification), the SPITFIRE HD is a continuation of the previous variant optic with two variable magnification powers available. This gives the end-user the availability to choose which optic best suits their needs. With the added features of an illumination reticle, ruggedized housing, and variable height mounts, the SPITFIRE HD GEN II offers a lot in a package smaller than most with similar magnification. In comparison, market alternatives would include the x5 Cross Dot Reticle Scope ($385) from Barska, the AR-536 Red Dot Optic ($399) from Burris, or the T332 ($735) from Steiner that all place the SPITFIRE HD GEN II at the upper end of similar market optics with the same magnification, and a fair price for its function and design.
  • Comfort – Good (4/5): The SPITFIRE HD GEN II easily mounted and felt secure throughout the evaluation period, thanks in part to its picatinny rail mount using two Torx screws to lock itself in. The reticle brightness easily adjusted via the + and – marked buttons on the left side, but the buttons themselves did not have a tactile feel when depressed (something that would have been nice). Both the windage and elevation adjustment dials provided crisp and solid adjustments per MOA and it was easy to zero the optic. The optic glass itself was remarkably clear and the retile was bright and well defined, with the darkened reticle also being visible when the illumination brightness was turned off. The optic’s 25mm objective lens gave a larger, more comfortable field of view for the shooter (when the eye was positioned close enough – but more on that in the Function section below).
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): With the SPITFIRE HD GEN II’s single piece chassis, O-ring gasket seals, and anodizing, it all ensured the optic was able to function regardless of impact, temperature, or moisture encountered on the range. The anodized surface proved very durable and resisted abrasion to a good degree, with only minor surface marring noted from contact with the ground or barricades. Through it all the dot held zero and did not drift despite various stressor and rifle drills. But one of the areas Vortex shines over its competitors is its no-questions-asked Vortex VIP Warrantee where if the optic becomes damaged accidentally at any time, they will replace it (although they will want to hear the story). 
  • Functionality – Average (3/5): Functionally the use of the SPITFIRE HD GEN II was straightforward. Press/hold the + for ON and press/hold the – for three seconds for OFF. The buttons themselves were large enough to be comfortable but not overwhelming. The intensity levels were clear with the higher being the most optimal for outdoor use, and the lowest two optimal for night vision use. One feature the SPITFIRE HD GEN II had that was a nice additive was an automatic shutoff to prevent battery drain that kicked in after 14 hours of inactivity. One element noted during use was the focal point of the optic’s rear lens is very short, almost to the point of being uncomfortable. The optic itself had to be mounted to the extreme rear of the rail (almost to the point where a bill of a ballcap was touching it) to attain a usable position with a full field of view, and this is something Vortex may want to look into resolving. Traditionally, many powered optics do not have this shallow of a focal point. The only purpose for this design would be for the use of an additional magnifier that would be placed behind the optic, so it is something the end-user should be aware of.
  • Weight – Good (4/5): Weighing in at 10.3 ounces (for the x5 magnification variant), the SPITFIRE HD GEN II is several ounces less than its predecessor (most likely attributable to the compact design and battery difference). But the optic itself was neither distracting in weight nor unbalancing to the rifle during function. In contrast, the x5 Cross Dot Reticle Scope (19.2 ounces) from Barska, the AR-536 Red Dot Optic (18.75 ounces) from Burris, or the T332 (14.2 ounces) from Steiner all illustrate the light weight of the SPITFIRE HD GEN II in comparison to older optics with similar magnification and give the Vortex optic a very good weight for its design and materials.

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

Product Link:

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.


This page alphabetically lists all product reviews published by The High Ground. All products receive unbiased scrutiny, and are tested in as close to their intended purpose as possible. If you are interested in a specific type of product (i.e. range bags, belts, boots, etc.) please utilize the Search option at the top/bottom of the page.

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Page last updated 6 February 2022 

Advanced Field Backpack: Quality Material and Design

The paragon of bags within the Shadow Elite line of products, the Advanced Field Backpack by The Requirements Group represents the company’s best blend of tactical and field designs in a single pack.

Introduced in 2016, the Advanced Field Backpack (AFB) offers all the function, durability, and style of a tactical field backpack that draws on many modern materials. Built from 1000D nylon, the AFB is a medium, 24-hour pack that measures overall 21″ (H) x 13″ (W) x 9″ (D). It uses high-tensile composite nylon threading and YKK zippers/slide-release buckles throughout to enhance its overall durability.


On the front of the AFB (at the top) is a 4.5” (H) x 6” (W) fleece-lined, sunglasses/electronic accessory pouch secured via zipper, with a (female) hook-and-loop panel on the exterior. Below of which is an extensive laser-cut MOLLE field with reinforced stitching.

Behind the front exterior of the AFB is a 16” (H) x 10” (W) x 6” (D) administrative pouch, which is secured via dual zippers pull tabs. It includes a key lanyard, one mesh pocket (secured via zipper), three pen sleeves, and two accessory pockets (one with hook-and-loop flap and another with shock cord retention). On the interior of the pouch’s flap is a larger mesh pocket secured via zipper).

On either side of the AFB is a 6” (H) x 5” (W) x 2” (D) accessory pocket that open along on three sides, via zipper pull tab, to allow for maximum access. Dual compression straps, with slide-release buckles, are on both sides of the AFB and help ensure the pack’s contents remain secure.

At the top of the AFB is a reinforced nylon carrying handle that has dual access panels and a concealed access crease into the main storage compartment for hydration tubes or communication cables. The carrying handle itself is anchored via double stitching and creased webbing angles.

The adjustable, dual shoulder straps on the AFB are a split design with an adjustable sternum strap that can be moved along the attached nylon webbing. Each shoulder strap includes a plastic D-ring for attaching accessories or feeding a hydration tube (not included) through, and QD slide-release buckles at the bottom. The shoulder straps consist of a thick closed-cell foam padding that is carried over to sections in the AFB’s back panel.

Behind the shoulder straps is a storage compartment measuring 18” (H) x 10” (W) x 1” (D) and is a little over 1” deep that can accommodate a 15” laptop. The compartment can also double as a sleeve for soft body armor or a hydration bladder.


On the bottom of the EB is a single drainage grommet.



The main storage compartment itself features a large storage space the full height of the pack. On the interior of the main compartment’s flap is a mesh pocket secured via zipper, while opposite of the interior is a 15” hydration pouch sleeve with retention clip.


  • Overall Capacity: 2700 cubic inches or approximately 45L

The Advanced Field Backpack is available in Olive Drab (featured), Coyote, Woodland Digital, and Black. The AFB is available in Vegetato in Europe and special order in North America.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostExcellent (5/5): At $126.40 the Advanced Field Backpack (AFB) is priced very well considering the overall carrying capacity of the pack, quantity of 1000D nylon, and hardware involved. This also places it between the popular 5.11’s Rush72 Backpack ($169.99 @ 55L storage space) and its Rush24 Backpack ($129.99 @ 37L storage space). Likewise, Tru-Spec has its Tour of Duty ($177.95 @ 37L storage) and Pathfinder 2.5 ($131.95 @ 39L storage). So, the AFB’s cost is more beneficial for the consumer than other popular vendors using somewhat similar design and materials.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): The AFB was able to distribute the weight of its contents comfortably across the upper torso, while the top/bottom compression straps kept things secure. It’s good level of comfort was thanks in large part to its contoured shoulder straps and the use of closed-cell foam padding along the inside of the shoulder straps and back panel. The 1000D material was slightly more abrasive to exposed skin than 500D, and perhaps an improvement to the AFB would be to make the removable waist belt padded to avoid wear on the user’s waist while carrying significant weight.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): In contrast to the more common 500D material, the AFB was comprised of 1000D and thus offered a higher degree of abrasion resistance. Despite being loaded down with a number of hard-corner items and being carried to/from the range, the AFB held up to stressor drills. Extensive bartack, double line, and X-pattern stitching brought added durability to key stress points and webbing throughout.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): Of similar design as Direct Action’s Dragon Egg, the AFB has a somewhat curved exterior design to it that accounted for the larger 45L overall carrying capacity while keeping it to a moderate frame size. It’s curved design also made it ideal for use aside from range work to include; day hikes, EDC use, or camping given its somewhat low-profile appearance. The extensive pockets and compartmentalization made the AFB ideal to keep things separate and easily accessible. The laser-cut MOLLE field provided ample room to expand the functionality of the AFB but maintained a low profile when not in use. I would have preferred the bottom compression straps be above the external accessory pockets, to avoid over compressing the contents and still retaining immediate access.
  • Weight Average (3/5): The Advanced Field Backpack weighs 3.5 pounds (empty) which is well under the Rush72 (5 pounds) and closer to the Rush24 (3.7 pounds) or Pathfinder 2.5 (3.35 pounds) Backpack. Given that the AFB falls between the latter two, then its weight is consummate to its carrying capacity and appropriate to its 1000D material and hardware.

Overall Rating – Good (21/25)

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.

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