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Tour of Duty Backpack: Have Pack, Will Travel

Designed to serve as an advanced 72-hour bag, the Tour of Duty by TRU-SPEC® is a variant to the original “Gunny Approved” pack. It provides an alternative to the Pathfinder 2.5 Backpack by providing a more durable internal frame, compartmentalization, and a removable waist belt for hours of wear, while minimizing stress to the upper torso.

Introduced in 2018, the Tour of Duty is made from either 500D Cordura (Multicam Black) or 1050D polyester (Olive Drab, Black, or Coyote) that offers mid- or high-end abrasion resistance. At 18” (H) x 10” (W) x 10” (D) its overall carrying capacity is approximately 37 liters of cubic space and features an included internal frame to maintain its structure.


On the exterior of the main compartment, is a 5” (H) x 8” (L) document pocket (with a hook-and-loop/MOLLE compatible exterior) that includes; a key lanyard and ID card window.  Below that is a larger 9” (H) x 9” (L) storage pocket that has a zippered accessory pocket. Both exterior pockets are secured by dual zipper drawstrings.

The center compartment is secured via dual zippered drawstrings and has a hook-and-loop secured pocket, a MOLLE field for mounting accessories or pouches, and a mesh pocket on the internal side of the opening.

Around the exterior are four 5” (H) x 3” (L) accessory pockets (one with a bonus 3.5” (H) x 2.5” (L) accessory pocket riding sidecar) secured via drawstring zipper for immediate access to essential items. Additionally, there are two hydration/communication cable access tabs secured via hook-and-loop that give allow passage into the main storage compartment.

Around the exterior of the Tour of Duty are three integrated nylon carrying handles to maximize handling in an aircraft, bus, or transport.

The adjustable, contoured, dual harness retention system features a dual shoulder strap design with integrated accessory pockets and adjustable sternum strap. Air mesh padding is segmented throughout the pack’s rigid back panel, and both sides have zippered access behind the support frame.

The 4” waist strap is padded on all sides and secured with a large 2.25” wide slide-release buckle. The waist strap can be removed and because of MOLLE fields on both sides can serve as a stand-alone impromptu utility or range belt.

Throughout the exterior of the Tour of Duty are multiple MOLLE straps for added compatibility.


The internal storage compartment to the Tour of Duty is reinforced on either side of the exterior with side cinch straps to ensure the stored items remain secure. The main storage space includes a laptop sleeve and internal administrative organizer that includes; three zipper-secured pockets, a hook-and-loop pocket flap, a business card window, and three pen sleeves.


  • Available in 500D Cordura or 1050D polyester (color dependent)
  • 37 liters of combined storage space
  • Heavy, reverse coil zippers throughout

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): Priced between $145.95 (for polyester colors) and $177.95 (for the Multicam Black in 500D Cordura) the Tour of Duty Backpack (TDB) has a significant amount of material and hardware for its price, which is reflected somewhat high. For this review, the 500D Cordura version was tested. In comparison, popular alternative versions of backpacks with a similar storage volume include Tru-Spec’s Pathfinder 2.5 Backpack ($119 @ 39L of storage) or 5.11’s Rush24 Backpack ($129.99 @ 37L storage space). These alternative backpacks, while having comparable storage capacity, lack the compartmentalized design (externally and internally) of the TDB which may explain its somewhat higher price. Ultimately that is a decision the consumer must make.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): As with most packs, their comfort level is best determined by how the design was able to distribute the weight across the upper torso and waist (if including a waist belt). When attached, the width of the TDB’s waist belt was very comfortable against the hips, but lacked means of stowing the belt when not in use (so it was an all or nothing use) other than complete removal. For its design the TDB used both shoulder straps and the removable waist strap to effectively distribute the weight out across the upper shoulders and waist. And while not as thickly padded as the Pathfinder 2.5 backpack in the shoulders and backpanel, the TDB foam padding did allow for some heat dissipation and airflow. The compression straps helped keep the weight of the pack close into the body, and during stressor drills the TDB shoulder and waist straps kept the pack tight.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): In the variant tested, the 500D Cordura material gave the TDB a good level of abrasion resistance despite being thrown around in a truckbed to/from the range. Significant levels of bartack, X-pattern, and double-line stitching was noted throughout the pack at stress points, MOLLE fields, and over the internal frame. All of which gave the TDB good marks in durability for testing, and over the long-term. As like the Pathfinder 2.5, the hardware is more likely to wear out before the pack’s material will.
  • Functionality Average (3/5): The TDB is clearly designed for those on the move, with significant compartmentalization and readily accessible pouches. The multiple storage compartments made it a good fit for EDC use, air travel, or use in the field. All zippers had weatherized overlap material to limit moisture penetration, with cord pull tabs (would have preferred to see rubberized tubing or something a little more durable). The bottom compression straps didn’t fit completely between the side accessory pouches so when cinched, it did pinch the top of the pouches slightly and inhibited immediate access. The padding material to the backpanel and shoulder straps was notably thinner than other backpacks on the market, which did inhibit wear on the user over an extended duration (2+ hours).
  • Weight Average (3/5): At approximately 5 pounds for 37L of combined storage space, the Tour of Duty Backpack made for a good-sized 36-hour backpack, more than capable of storing items for a day travel or hike. In comparison, Tru-Spec’s Pathfinder Backpack (3.35 pounds @ 39L of storage) or 5.11’s Rush24 Backpack (3.79 pounds @ 37L storage space) reflect the differences in design and materials, with the Tour of Duty having more pouches and compartmentalization—and thus weighing slightly more.

Overall Rating – Above Average (17/25)

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.

T3 Urban Assault Pack: Comfort and Urban Edge

New in 2021, the Urban Assault Pack from Trident Tactical Technical (T3) Gear is a continuation of its previous Urban Ruck line with a pack that is more condensed and capable, be it for everyday carry or practical purposes.

Made from genuine 500D Cordura nylon, the Urban Assault Pack (UAP) has an overall dimension of 20” (H) x 11.5” (W) x 7.5” (D) and can accommodate most day items or other essentials.


At its most direct front and starting at the top, the UAP has an 8.5” wide accessory pocket that is 7” deep and secured via thick YKK zipper with paracord pull tab. Inside the accessory pocket are two smaller divided pockets for further storage. On the exterior of the accessory pocket is a 9” (L) x 3” (H) hook-and-loop (female) field for attaching identification or morale patches or panels.

Below the accessory pocket is a kangaroo pouch/panel with extensive MOLLE webbing both inside and on the exterior, along with an attached polymer D-ring to secure items. The sliding buckle nylon straps that secure the sides of the pouch/panel also serve as compression straps for the greater UAP, and the straps come with additional hardware to manage any excess strap material.

At the top of the UAP is a nylon carrying handle with laminate nylon wrap for added grip. Underneath the handle is a laminate nylon pass-through by which to pass hydration tubes or communication cables.

Woven along the top and down along the sides is a length of adjustable shock cord that can be used to cinch the upper portion of the UAP and minimize unused space.

Both sides include additional MOLLE fields for attaching associated accessories. Toward the bottom of both sides is a concealed, zipper-secured pocket that extend 10” up underneath the side material with an internal plastic D-ring for securing radios or other items.

On the bottom of the UAP is an additional MOLLE field with two compression straps for sleeping bags or ground pad.

The backpanel includes closed-cell foam padding across the back. Both shoulder straps are contoured and anchored at the top of the backpanel with extensive bartack stitching, with QD slide-release buckles at the bottom. The shoulder straps have an adjustable sternum strap with multiple nylon webbing loops to hang accessories. There is a pass-through at the bottom of the backpanel for optional waist belts, but those are not included.


The interior of the UAP is accessed via oversized YKK zippers (again with paracord pull tabs) that allow for a clamshell opening along top and both sides.

On the inside of the UAP is a large and unobstructed storage space that can accommodate up to a 15” laptop, with anchoring tabs on the bottom and a hydration strap at the top.

On the inside of the opening are two mesh pockets for storage of accessories, clothing, or other items.

On both sides of the interior is a water bottle pocket (two total).

The Urban Assault Pack is only available in Multicam Black (featured).

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Fair (2/5): With an initial MSRP of $448 the Urban Assault Pack is the latest in solutions by T3 Gear to bridge the resources between EDC use and in the field. With its quality Cordura and extensive reinforcement stitching, the UAP is as durable as it is functional. Market alternatives for similar packs of the same design include the 3 Day Pack ($487) from High Ground Gear, the Fast Pack EDC ($395) from Triple Aught Design, the GR2 ($375) from GoRuck. All market alternatives follow the approximate same design, incorporate similar materials, and use extensive reinforcement that make the UAP towards the upper end of its competitors and at a fair price for its qualities. T3 did state that their initial price will eventually be adjusted as supplies and other COVID factors become abaited, and when it does the UAP’s scoring would obviously improve as well.
  • Comfort – Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect, the UAP offered a good deal given its thick padded shoulder straps and wide backpanel. The shoulder straps themselves did have included height support straps to aid in finding a comfortable position. Its non-framed backpanel provided good comfort and contoured to the back while worn, and the 500D Cordura material had sufficient flexibility to not give the pack any hard edges or angles. All the YKK zippers functioned smoothly and did not bind, while the slide release buckles snapped/secured cleanly. Weather worn for a few hours or all day, the UAP was consistently comfortable.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): There was extensive use of bartack/reverse stitching throughout the UAP, as well as double and X-pattern reinforcement (especially at all key stress points). That translated to excellent durability to the shoulder straps, the pack’s pockets, and all MOLLE/PALS webbing. In addition, the carrying handle was wrapped in laminate nylon that increased abrasion resistance and tactile control to one of the most utilized contact points of the entire backpack. Clearly the UAP was designed for field use and the durability of its 500D Cordura and stitching helped ensure it handled the abrasive weight of a variety of daily carry items, ammo, a hydration bladder, and other gear.
  • Functionality – Good (4/5): The UAP was lightweight and functional as an EDC backpack in any urban setting, or just as a field pack. As such it was able to fit a variety of gear or clothing that would even make it ideal as a 72-hour bag. The external kangaroo pouch did provide immediate access to desired contents, although larger items, such as an EXFIL helmet, was a little tight in it with a full pack. One noted aspect of the compression straps was the sides straps had MOLLE webbing clips to manage excess material, but not the front kangaroo pouch—which left some material to dangle unnecessarily (something maybe T3 could add an elastic band to or something in future designs to resolve that issue). User’s should note any items stored in the kangaroo pouch should be either waterproof or in a protective container/bag as the elements (specifically the rain) will penetrate from the sides. The alternative was to place items in the accessory or main storage compartment because both had overlap material over the zippers to avoid moisture penetration. The access port on the top also had overlap material that helped to keep a communication cable or hydration tube organized, with minimal opportunity for moisture to reach inside. One notable bonus to the function of the UAPs overall design was the clamshell opening had very tall sides that allowed the zipper to open along all three sides so that items could be packed easily without risk of spillage. The water bottle pockets on the interior were a bit of an oddity—something traditionally on the exterior that on the inside took away from internal storage—but this design aspect lent itself to the overall aspect of EDC low-profile. 
  • Weight – Average (3/5): Weighing in at 4.6 pounds (empty), the UAP was lightweight for its larger size and extensive materials. It was however, able to fit considerably more items and support the larger weight of items added. The backpanel had sufficient padding and structure to keep a majority of the weight from being uncomfortable against the back and focused entirely on the shoulders. However, the inclusion of a waist strap (not included with the bag although configured for one) would have distributed the weight equally between the shoulders and hips (and something T3 may want to consider including in the future). The listed weight of alternative bags; the 3 Day Pack (5.4 pounds) from High Ground Gear, the Fast Pack EDC (4.5 pounds) from Triple Aught Design, and the GR2 (4.75) from GoRuck illustrate that the UAP is well within the average weight range for its expected design and material.

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.

RE Factor’s Dead Man’s Hand Shooting Deck & IQ Targets: Building a Thinking Shooter

Bringing a level of innovation and practicality to the everyday run at the range, the Dead Man’s Hand Shooting Deck by RE Factor is intended to challenge both the novice and professional shooter. Done in conjunction with RE Factor’s IQ Targets, or as a stand-alone challenge, the system will mentally and physically push shooters outside of their established comfort zones and into complex shooting iterations.

The Deck

In a standard 52-card playing deck, the Dead Man’s Hand comes with a different shooting drill for each card (meaning there’s 52 different drills total). Drills start off simple with the lower valued cards and become more advanced as the cards approach the Ace.

Designed to work in conjunction with RE Factor’s IQ Targets, the Dead Man’s Hand comes in a sized storage tin for ease of carrying in a range bag. Users can select between a pistol specific shooting deck, or rifle.

Product Link:

The Targets

Using a variety of shapes (circles, squares, triangles) and combinations of letters (A, B, and C) and numbers (1, 2, 3), the IQ target system shifts colors and is intended to force the shooter to think through complex stages that highlight acquisition, transition, movement and fundamentals. Variants of the rifle (5”) and pistol (3”) IQ targets are specific to those platforms, but can be substituted if needed.

Product Link:

Although it does not account for it, shooters can add a shot timer, such as the CED7000 or a Pocket Pro II, to the drills to induce the stress of balancing speed, accuracy, and fundamentals.


  • 52-card playing deck
  • Protective case
  • Card dimension: 2.5 (W) x 3.5 (H)
  • IQ Target dimension: 23” (W) x 35” (H)

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): At $19.99 for a Dead Man’s Hand Shooting Deck, the associated IQ Targets vary in price depending on quantity selected, but start at $2.50 per sheet. This would be in comparison to more traditional target pages that incorporate the standard silhouette ($0.16/per), VTACs anatomical target ($0.75/per), or the LE Police Silhouette ($0.50/per) that often do little to encourage mental development of a shooter aside from “center mass”. But truth is the value of the Dead Man’s Hand and IQ Targets are in what they will impart to the shooter beyond just paper to poke holes into. In the event shooters want a challenging variety of drills they can complete themselves or as a team, then the shooting deck and targets provide a good balance between the materials and skillset for the cost.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): The cards in the Dead Man’s Hand were the size of standard playing cards and thus fit accordingly. The deck’s light weight and protective tin made it an easy add to the range bag without becoming a burden or taking up excessive space. While progressing through the various cards/stages the drills did progressively get more challenging—often incorporating movement into the higher ranked cards. But the drills did not progress to the point of being impossible to complete (although some of the rifle “bonus” drills got rather complex). The corresponding IQ Targets had enough spacing, color, and number/letter that forced the shooter to think about the course of fire and not just blindly fire away.
  • Durability – Average (3/5): The cards in the Dead Man’s Hand had the same appearance and texture as current cardstock found in Hoyle or Bicycle playing cards. If so, then the material is most likely compressed layers of paper and retains the same level of durability (meaning avoid getting them wet). During selection of drills, the cards were just as flexible as standard playing cards, and using a riffle shuffle, easily mixed. The included protective tin ensured that when not in use, the cards would remain secured.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): Functionally, the drills found in the Dead Man’s Hand Shooting Deck were diverse enough to not overtax the novice shooter, but in the higher cards the drills challenge the more experienced. The core fundamentals stressed were target acquisition, sight picture, trigger squeeze, and breathing. At the higher face cards, the drills incorporated body movement to add complexity that made the drills very challenging. The cards between the rifle and pistol decks had enough of a design difference to readily identify between the two (although the tins were identical).
  • Weight Good (4/5): At 5.3 ounces per pack (with tin), the Dead Man’s Hand Shooting Deck is extremely lightweight considering the amount of drills contained within. Add into the complexity that you can either work through the drills with partners, or with a shot timer, then the savings of needing less training materials to cover the variety of instructions was even more valuable.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

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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