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Streamlight Sidewinder Stalk: The Little Light with a Long Neck

Released in 2022, the Sidewinder Stalk is the latest in hands-free illumination in the Sidewinder line of products from Streamlight. The Stalk is a variable helmet mount illumination device that provides adequate light for the tactical environment without becoming a hinderance.

Made from a high-impact nylon polymer housing, the 5.51” (L) x 1.81” (H) x 0.86” (W) Stalk features an LED light head on an extended, flexible stalk that allows the end user to adjust the beam location to best suit their needs. Rubberized gaskets at all openings give the Stalk an IP67 water and dust resistant rating.

The main housing for the Stalk allows the end-user to select through multiple modes as the mission allows. The ON/OFF activation button is rubberized to protect against moisture penetration. At the Selector Wheel located on the top of the Stalk, the disc rotates to cycle through:

  • W: White Light – Three intensities (LOW/MED/HI) selected by using the activation button to press-hold, while the LED emitter cycles between the three different lumen outputs. Release to select the desired output level. Depending on power source, the HIGH lumen output varies between 57 lumens (AA battery) and 76 lumens (CR123a battery).
  • IR: Infrared emitter
  • C: Color – Three colored LED emitter (Red/Green/Blue) selected by pressing the activation button five times, and holding on the fifth. This will cycle the colored LED light and release when the desired color is chosen.
  • Off: Off

Behind the Selector Wheel is a three-position Identify Friend-or-Foe (IFF) throw switch that activates the strobe emitter located in the center of the Selector Wheel. The throw switch includes a lock-out bar that keeps the switch in the center OFF position unless removed.

At the rear of the Stalk is the battery cap that grants access to the power unit after removing its own lock-out bar. The Stalk is multiple power device, and can utilize either a AA lithium battery (giving a 23m beam on HIGH for 6 continual hours), a AA alkaline battery (giving a 23m beam on HIGH for 3.8 hours of continual runtime), or a CR123a battery (giving a 28m beam on HIGH for 5.6 continual hours).

The Stalk also includes multiple mounting platforms that allow the main unit to be used in a variety of configurations. While the Stalk is principally designed for Ops-Core’s Arc-Rail system; users can opt for an E-Mount Kit that enables the Stalk to mount to MICH style helmets, a hook-and-loop panel (with Arc-Rail segment) for direct mounting to any associated helmet panel. A Rail Mount (for STD 1913 picatinny rails) is also available for Team Wendy rails, as well as two variants to mount the Stalk to night vision helmet mounts.

The Sidewinder Stalk is available only in tan (featured).  

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Good (4/5): With its list MSRP of $128, the Sidewinder Stalk brings together a multi-function helmet light in a durable unit body. Multiple mounting solutions ensure that the Stalk can be utilized regardless of equipment. In comparison, the closest market alternatives that are similar to the Stalk include the Princeton Tec Charge ($109.99), and the Surefire Helmet Light ($171.00)—however neither of those options include an integrated IR/IFF strobe feature. As such, the price of the Stalk is good in contrast to the market and the added features provided that are not included elsewhere currently on the market.
  • Comfort – Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect, the multi-function and variable lumen output of the Stalk ensured the helmet light provided a good level of overall comfort to the end-user. With the LED element having an output between 57 and 76 the white light was neither blinding nor overwhelming, and allowed the end-user to select the appropriate setting based on mission needs. Likewise, the color settings had an output between 8 (for blue) and 20 (for green) lumens, so lower powered output settings made tactical low-light settings easier to maintain discipline. Elsewhere, it was noted both the Selector Wheel and activation button both gave a good audible and tangible click when manipulated that helped convey operation without directly being in the visual line of sight. The only negative aspect from a comfort perspective relates to the overall bulk of Stalk when using any other mount excluding the Arc Rail mount. While the Stalk was clearly designed with the Ops Core rail in mind, giving it a tight and flush mount against the Arc Rail, the E-Mount and Rail Mount gave the Stalk a much more pronounced profile off of the side of helmet. Perhaps a suggestion to Streamlight that could close that disparity would be to offer a variant of the Stalk with an integrated 1913 rail mount designed into the main housing body so it could direct-mount to other helmet rail designs.
  • Durability – Average (3/5):As a helmet-mounted light, the Stalk encountered frequent contact with various surfaces regardless if worn on MOLLE or the helmet, especially in more dynamic environments such as indoors or field brush. That said, the polymer housing mitigated all of those impacts very well, and the lens to the LED emitter did not become compromised in any way. Drop testing was performed (by dropping the Stalk at shoulder height 10 times onto finished concrete), and despite some superficial marring consistent with nylon polymers, neither the body nor controls became damaged. It should be noted at one point the Stalk took a strike directly on the battery cap and the LED emitter stopped functioning – but after changing over from a CR123a to AA power source, the Stalk resumed functioning. Additionally, changing back to a CR123a the Stalk also continued to work. This may have been the result of a minor separation between the connectors when dropped, but by switching power sources that connection was reestablished. The various mounting styles also held up well and maintained a solid/secure lock to the Stalk despite the various impacts to the light.
  • Functionality – Good (4/5): Functionally, the Stalk demonstrated good performance to project sufficient lumens at variable outputs so that the end-user could read maps, manipulate controls, or otherwise function in any dark environmentally. The LED stalk and Selector Wheel were easy to manipulate while mounted to the helmet, and the latter smoothly selected the desired light setting. The programming between intensity and color necessitated those settings be pre-selected before use, as performing those program selection actions was a little challenging while the Stalk was mounted. The IR strobe lock-out bar and battery cap lockout-bar both ensured positive control and prevented accidental usage or opening. Perhaps the only aspect of the Stalk’s functionality recommended for improvement would be the restrictive unit design for Arc Rail only (as previously discussed) with the alternative mounting points proving to give the Stalk a rather pronounced profile off the helment.
  • Weight – Average (3/5): The Stalk emitter housing and light weighed in at 2.6 ounces, yet the final overall weight was determined by the mounting method selected. Each of the alternative mounts (E-Mount, Rail Mount, Hook-and-Loop) had a miniscule mass in comparison, and added an average of just 0.2 ounces. Regardless of power source opted for, the combined functions packed a lot of functionality into a very lightweight package. None of this added to, nor resulted in the Stalk becoming off-balancing when mounted to one side of the helmet or the other. In contrast, the Princeton Tec Charge (1.67 ounces), and the Surefire Helmet Light (3.10 ounces) illustrate that the Sidewinder Stalk is appropriate (or average) in terms of weight within the market and with its design.

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.

Safariland 7385 Holster: Always Ready By Your Side

Introduced as part of its tactical holster line, the 7385 Holster brings together a number of elements from Safariland’s newest designs with its traditional leg-drop platform and interchangeable base mounting system.

Made from a proprietary blend of injection-molded, nylon polymer called SafariSeven™, the 7385 holster features an open-top design with multiple channels that give ample distance, or an “air barrier” between the interior of the holster and all firearm surfaces. The SafariSeven™ material is a DuPont product that makes the holster and mounting system very durable and highly resistant to moisture, oil, or resins. In addition, SafariSeven™ can withstand extreme temperatures between 300 degrees to -50.

The top of the 7385 also includes a removable hood guard to help prevent firearm takeaways or close contact with the ALS Lever when drawing/holstering a firearm.

In the interior, the 7385 features Safariland’s Automated Locking System (ALS) that ensures a solid lock when the firearm is holstered. De-activated by a thumb-pressure lever, the ALS locking mechanism is released, and the firearm can be easily drawn straight up. Small risers inside the holster also help maintain that “air barrier” so that any water or debris inside the holster can easily fall through and not obstruct function.

The 7385 comes with a thigh mounting platform, with a single leg strap (though other models are available with two), and quick-release buckle off the belt. The thigh platform also includes front and rear mounting holes for magazine holders or other accessories.

The 7385 holster is available for a wide variety of handgun fits including Glock, Sig, H&K, S&W and others, with or without light and in both Flat Dark Earth (featured) and Black.

Small MOLLE Adaptor

Included in this review is the 6004-8 Small MOLLE Adaptor that, combined with the Quick Locking System Kit, allow the 7385 Holster to be transitioned easily between platforms and configurations as needed.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostFair (2/5): As the newest in its tactical holster line, the 7385 Holster runs between $196 and $214 (color and firearm dependent) and includes the associated holster and thigh platform. In this review, the additional Small MOLLE adaptor ($40) was included with the Quick Locking System Kit ($45). The QLS enabled the 7385 Holster to be disconnected from its thigh platform and connected to the MOLLE adaptor with ease. Other more notable market alternatives for thigh holsters include Blackhawk’s L3 SERPA Leg-Drop ($162.95), Stealth Gear’s Leg Drop ($98), or the Shapeshift Drop Leg platform ($67.88) from Alien Gear. It should be noted that all of these have differences in retention, design, and material, but overall Safariland does hold a majority of the market for leg-drop platforms simply because of its high quality and manufacturing. The initial cost of the 7385 Holster may become adjusted as popularity grows, but in comparison to other Safariland leg-drop holsters like the 6354 ($222-$237) or the 7304 ($227-$254) then the 7385 is on the more affordable side, thus making it fair in price amongst the overall market.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): Overall the fit of the thigh platform was notably more comfortable than other manufacturers out there. This was due to the crescent shape of the platform to contour to the mid-thigh whereas others have used a half-circle. While body dimensions often differ, the 7385 platform took that into account by having a wider/broader contour and felt more comfortable against the thigh. Otherwise from a comfort aspect, disengaging the ALS locking mechanism was simple and the draw felt smooth. The interior rails that contact the slide to provide retention did not bind nor lock the gun, nor resist when re-holstering. Overall the holster felt smooth in function and there was no observable hard-angle or unfinished edges. Likewise, the base material for the MOLLE adaptor was extremely rigid and provided a solid foundation for the 7385 holster to be mounted, either on a plate carrier, bag, or belt.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): The principle material for the 7385 is a proprietary DuPont polymer blend called SafariSeven™. Safariland insists this makes the holster tougher, and more wear and oil resistant. That said, continual drawing/holstering did eventually leave some surface marring on the interior and exterior of the holster (most likely from the front sight post) but none on the firearm’s slide. One added aspect of the SafariSeven™ polymer is that deeper scratches on the exterior could be dealt with by gently rubbing a Scotch Brite pad on to even out the surface layer and make it smooth again. A number of attempts were made as drawing the firearm while keeping the ALS engaged however none of them were successful and the holster/hardware was not compromised. Likewise, the MOLLE adaptor was also made from a very rigid polymer as a base that had a number of different positions in which the QLS could be mounted. Its anchoring straps were of a semi-rigid nylon band that helped ensure strength and reinforcement, with push-button snaps that continually held despite opening/closing multiple times to change position or alignment.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): Functionally, the 7385 holster did as advertised, which is to say it offered excellent weapon retention during both shooting drills and despite a number of attempts to forcibly remove the weapon. The ALS mechanism held up under stress and functioned smoothly, ensuring both positive retention and allowing the firearm to be drawn when wanted. The only negative was the thigh platform itself, specifically the belt loop which is has a very wide 2.5” opening for extra-wide duty belts, but on thinner belts left a distracting level of excess and didn’t retain the upper portion of the platform as tight as preferable. Perhaps if a means could be added to adjust the with it would improve the overall score for function. The MOLLE adaptor was able to be securely mounted to a number of different MOLLE fields on a plate carrier, bag, or belt and remained secured through push-button snaps. This, and the QLS system, allowed for the 7385 to be easily relocated between platforms regardless of how it was applied and brought the 7385 to a wide array of applications.
  • Weight Average (3/5): At 1.16 pounds (with holster, QLS, and thigh platform) the 7385 is reasonably lightweight thanks to its injection-molded process and the SafariSeven™ polymer. Even the weight of metal hardware has been limited to just the mounting screws so as to keep the weight to the minimum. Excess material has been eliminated while still retaining the functional aspects of the holster and retention system itself. In comparison, Blackhawk’s L3 SERPA (1.7 pounds w/holster), Stealth Gear’s Leg Drop (15.2 ounces w/holster), or the Shapeshift Drop Leg (0.8 ounces – platform only w/o holster) all place the 7385 Holster, and its associated components, within an appropriate (or average) weight of similar market holsters.

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

Product Link:–quick-release-7385_SP10.html

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.


Shadow Tactical Deployment Case: Travel In Comfort

In an effort to provide protective transportation of critical deployment needs, the Deployment Bag by Canadian manufacturer The Requirements Group/Shadow Tactical offers a means to customize firearm storage while still providing for complete protection.

Made from 1000D nylon blend with polyurethane, the Deployment Bag (DB) measures approximately 28” (L) x 14” (H) x 4 ¾” (W) and is Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treated to prevent moisture penetration. Both front and back sides of the DB, and internal dividers are made with closed-cell foam padding to provide complete protection. Dual genuine YKK zippers run along three of four sides to allow for lay-flat opening.


On the front, the DB has a 3” (H) x 4” (L) laminated window for identification cards, and reinforced with genuine leather.

In the center of the front exterior is a 7” (L) x 9.5” (H) hook-and-loop (female) field for identification or morale patches. On either side, and around to the back, are two bands of Type 13 webbing that reinforce and provide support to the overall bag. These bands come to form two handles at the top, which can then be joined together with a padded hook-and-loop cuff.

On either side is a reinforced band of Type 13 webbing that anchors an aluminum D-ring for the removable shoulder strap. The shoulder strap itself is adjustable with metal hardware and a removable shoulder pad.

The complete outer edges of the DB are lined with a continual plastic insert that provides structure and rigidity to the overall bag.


The interior of the lid has a zipper-secured, 27” envelope-style padded pocket that runs the entire length and is divided into two compartments. Inside each compartment is a removable padded insert that can hold a separate handgun.

The interior of the base, and inside edges are lined with hook-and-loop (female) fields that allow for customization of the interior padded dividers. The DB comes with two 4 ¾” (H) x 28” (L) large dividers, two 4 ¾” (H) x 14” (L) small dividers, and four removable tie-downs.

The Deployment Bag is available in Coyote (featured), Black, OD Green, UTP and Vegetato.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): For $132.90 as a soft nylon deployment bag for weapons and other accessories, Shadow’s envisionment in design and material brings together a freely customizable case for use in a variety of scenarios and equipment. Other types of notable deployment bags include RE Factor’s Advanced Special Operations Bag ($275.95), the LaRue Covert Rifle Case ($194.95), or the Incog Rifle Bag (Long) by Haley Strategic ($180). While generally the market is awash in different designs to deployment bags, its size and complexity are often the determinate factors on the overall price. For its purpose of providing a discrete double rifle case, that can accommodate up to two pistols and multiple other accessories, the cost of Shadow’s Deployment Bag’s is one of the more inexpensive ones currently available.
  • Comfort Average (3/5): Comfort wise, the Deployment Bag (empty) is relatively lightweight. It wasn’t until fully loaded that the weight distribution, and choice of how the internal dividers were configured, became more apparent. The shoulder strap was a definite necessity for the Deployment Bag when fully loaded, although it would be an improvement were the shoulder pad longer to cover more of the shoulder’s surface area. The one notable aspect was the bag tended to “bulge” with loaded and the weight of its contents were carried. Although the Deployment bag does have extensive padding on the top/bottom with rigid plastic inserts along the edges for structure, it would seem that the weight of a single rifle, magazines, ammo, and other accessories was still enough to pull on the material. So, it was a little bulky when transporting. The YKK zippers moved smoothly and at no point cross-fed or bound, while the internal dividers were able to be easily customized.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): Made from an extremely durable 1000D nylon, the Deployment Bag held up remarkably well despite transport in the rear of a truck with other hard cases. Continual pulling, repositioning, reconfiguring the interior dividers and hardware showed no signs of compromising the extensive hook-and-loop material or its threading. A majority of the internal foam padding and hook-and-loop fields were held in place by single-line stitching with double-line in high stress points for reinforcement. The Type 13 webbing around the center of the Deployment Bag and the shoulder strap gave it a solid center by which to carry via the handle, or shoulder. These features were the only elements with noted bartack and X-pattern stitching for increased strength and reinforcement. The choice to go with metal hardware to the shoulder strap was a nice inclusion as many designs in the market often skimp this aspect by using cheaper plastics that are often more brittle and break easier. The divider panels showed some instances of over-threading/lose threads that were easily removed, but in no way compromised the stitch line. The water resistance of the fabric could not be tested due to lack of rain at the time of evaluation.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): Functionally, the Deployment Bag performed well, was easily customized, and able to securely retain all contents with minimal spillage (some magazines did work their way around on the inside). As noted above in Comfort however, the weight of the contents caused the bag to slightly “bulge” in the middle as it pulled on the material when being transported. This could be alleviated by Shadow by potentially adding the rigid plastic inserts to the top/bottom as it did on the sides (the sides of which still felt somewhat flimsy, and could do with a thicker type plastic such as the type in its Elite Range Bag). In addition, it would have been preferable had there been several more removable tie-downs to secure other items. One suggestion for Shadow to consider that would improve the functionality of the Deployment Bag would be to consider making all four interior sides lined with hook-and-loop, as well as both sides of the dividers, as only three sides of the interior and one side of the dividers made it somewhat limiting to configure. Another thing to consider would be making the bottom interior laser-cut MOLLE hook-and-loop lining so the user could use just basic straps at any location. That would alleviate the need for tie-downs and just necessitate supplying the hook-and-loop straps.
  • Weight Average (3/5): At 4.5 pounds (empty) the weight of the Deployment Dag was largely determined by its nylon materials. With 1000D fabric, the weight is an offset to the added durability of the nylon. Additionally, the more contents you added the heavier the bag became, first necessitating carry by the handles, then eventually by the shoulder. Thankfully both had adequate padding and were wide enough that the combined weight didn’t cut into the hands or shoulder. In comparison; the ASO Bag (5.40 pounds), the Covert Rifle Case (4.5 pounds), and the Incog Rifle Bag (2.88 pounds) all demonstrate that the design and materials used can often influence overall weight. More traditional nylon based cases, such as the ASO and Covert Rifle Case show that the Deployment Bag from Shadow is within the average weight. Whereas the lighter and more expensive materials, such as the Incog Rifle Bag relate to an overall lower weight of the product.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

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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