Review Posted: Helikon-Tex Range Tactical Glove: Keeping the Dexterity and Protection

The Range Tactical Glove by Helikon-Tex is a flexible, lightweight range/duty glove, which grants the end-user a moderate tactile feel to weapon control systems, while providing added protection to fingers and palm

Review Posted: Helikon-Tex Tramontane Jacket: For the Ultra-Light, Outdoors, and All Day

Released in 2022, the Tramontane Jacket (TJ) is part of the “Outback” of products by Helikon-Tex.

Review Posted: Battle Board Armband 4.0

Developed by Battle Board and released in mid-2022, the Armband 4.0 is the latest iteration of personal support gear intending to make it easier for individuals keep track of essential data, and have it readily at hand.

Review Posted: Helikon-Tex M65 Jacket: Bringing Back Retro

Introduced circa 2017, the M65 Jacket by Helikon-Tex is a remake of the iconic M-1965 field jacket issued to US soldiers during the Vietnam conflict. 

Review Posted: RMA 1155 Multi-Curve: Same Protective Value – More Comfort

The 1155 Multi-Curve (MC) Ballistic Plate by RMA Armament is a more ergonomic version of its popular Level IV NIJ-certified, single-curve plate—the 1155. 

Review Posted: Viktos Farthermost Jacket: Comfort Despite the Cold

Introduced in 2022, the Farthermost Jacket by Viktos provides the outdoor enthusiasts with a thick, insulated jacket to continue training on those ranges while still retaining immediate access to gear and magazines.

Review Posted: ADM Aimpoint Pro Mount: Supporting the Patrolmen’s Optic

Using solid 6061 T6 aluminum, American Defense Manufacturing (ADM) offers six different mount styles for the popular Aimpoint PRO line of optics, to include a “straight” or cantilever  version. 

Review Posted: Pelican 1755 Air Long Case with EZ-Click: Keep It All Secured

Released in the summer of 2022, the 1755 Air Long Case with EZ-Click™ MOLLE Panel is the latest in the line of Air cases by Pelican that is up to 40% lighter than previous models of hard cases. The 1755 is specifically designed for full-sized rifles, but with the inclusion of the EZ-Click panels (sold separately) can accommodate a variety of other items within it.

Review Posted: Viktos Warlock Insulated Gloves: Keeping Nimble Digits Warm

Bringing together dual fabrics, the Warlock Insulated Glove by Viktos combines the padded features of cold-weather gloves and added textured grip to provide the wearer with greater tactile control, durability, and improved comfort.

Review Posted: TT Rogue Gen 2 Plate Carrier: The Next Step to Modularity

Designed as an evolution to its previous design; the Rogue Gen 2 Plate Carrier by Tactical Tailor will be available in early 2023 (with pre-orders beginning ahead of SHOT Show), and offers a transition to a 500D Cordura nylon platform that allows the end-user to configure it based on mission essential needs.


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Haley Strategic D3CRX Chest Rig: Mission Driven Function

Introduced in late 2016, the Disruptive Environments Chest Rig “X” is an evolution in the previous D3CR design, but offers the continued adaptability and multi-mission driven-design that put Haley Strategic on the map.

Specifications for the D3CRX:

Made in 500D Cordura, the D3CRX features the following:

  • An X-harness across the back, for improved comfort and adjustability.
  • Two multi-mission pouches to increase versatility and adaptability such as carrying spare batteries, aid supplies, or small GPS-enabled devices.
  • Full backing field of hook-and-loop allow for full-contact with plate carriers using a velcro panel on the front, or via using quick release systems like SwiftClips.
  • Accepts four AR or AK magazines, or any standard single or double-stack pistol magazines. All of which are secured by shock cord and Hypalon retention tabs.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): At $185, the MSRP for the D3CRX chest rig is comparable to other manufacturer’s of high quality gear to include SOE, Mayflower/Velocity Systems, Tactical Tailor, etc. However the use of 500D Cordura in the materials, combined with unique design aspects like the “X” adjustment straps on the back, or the heavy-duty magazine retention tabs show the level of quality put into the design of this chest rig.
  • ComfortGood (4/5): Even with four fully-loaded AR magazines and four double-stack pistol magazines, the D3CRX was surprisingly comfortable. The loaded weight of the magazines didn’t loosen the adjustment straps around the waist or shoulders despite physical stressors prior to shooting. The rig remained tight and held the overall platform close up into the chest. It takes a little of a trail-and-error to learn how to don and remove an “X” style chest rig as opposed to an “H” style, but I found the former distributes the weight across the upper torso more evenly. Elastic retention cuffs on the adjustment straps would have been a nice low-cost addition to secure excess material once adjusted, but those can be purchased separately.
  • DurabilityExcellent (5/5): The overall chest rig is constructed from 500D Cordura, meaning it will have the necessary abrasion resistance for longevity, but the flexibility to move and adjust with the shooter as they transition through various shooting evolutions. The Hypalon retention tabs will far outlast the corresponding shock cord, the latter of which can be removed and replaced as necessary. There is a fair amount of re-enforced stitching on high-abuse areas that will also ensure overall longevity.
  • FunctionalityExcellent (5/5): The overall functionality of the D3CRX isn’t just as a stand alone chest rig, though it does that in spades. It’s ability to also offer two multi-mission pockets expands on the chest rig’s application. But with the D3CRX’s added full hook-and-loop field backing (or by using quick disconnect tabs) the chest rig can be separated from the shoulder straps and directly mounted onto a plate carrier so as to add to that expanded functionality. Haley Strategic also offers a number of accessories or packs that further enhance the D3CRX’s applications.
  • WeightAverage (3/5): At an overall weight of approximately 1.5lbs. (with all pouches empty) the D3CRX is of an average weight for chest rigs, and consistent with the choice of overall materials used (Cordura). Alone the weight of the chest rig is hardly noticeable, and fully loaded the design distributes the overall weight evenly across the shoulders and around the waist.

Overall Rating – Very 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.

CORE Survival HEL-STAR 6: Illumination to Keep People Safe

As part of its essential line-up of on Identifying Friend or Foe (IFF) illumination devices, the HEL-STAR 6 was first introduced by CORE Survival in late 2011, and hit the market in 2012. Since then, the HEL-STAR 6 light has been through three generational upgrades to improve durability, functionality, and performance. Today the HEL-STAR 6 GENIII+ represents the latest in technology and design.

Designed specifically to fit the curvature of a helmet, the HEL-STAR 6 is an improvement over previous designs with improved emitter visibility/dispersion, added durable housing, and moisture resistance. Its lightweight housing and clear visible IFF emitter will help denote any friend or clearly delineate essential equipment.

With its all-enclosed emitter housing, the HEL-STAR 6 includes a power selector switch at the rear of the light that gives a clear audible and tactile ON/OFF function. In addition, in both the 620 and 640-Series, the rotating/sliding selector switch at the nose enables selection between visible and IR settings and has sufficient tactical sensation to be manipulated with or without gloves.

On the inward-facing exterior is a continuous field of hook-and-loop (male) to provide maximum retention to associated hook-and-loop (female) panels on most common helmet designs. The hook-and-loop has sufficient emergency breakaway retention to avoid injury. To add retention, the bottom also includes two tie-down retention points.

The bottom of the HEL-STAR 6 also provides access to the battery door that secures a single CR123 Lithium battery. Rubberized gaskets help ensure the battery compartment remains sealed up in water up to a depth of 300 feet.

The HEL-STAR 6 consists of omnidirectional LED elements that can be pre-programmed for visible color, intensity, and emission duration (to include Morse Code). The White-Flash LED element itself also meets the FAA 3-Mile requirements.

The HEL-STAR 6 is available in Desert Tan (featured) and Black. The LED emitters come in a variety of colors to include Green, White, Red, Blue, and Infrared.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Good (4/5): With its list price of $205.00 the HEL-STAR 6 GEN III+ is the latest IFF light emitter device offered by CORE’s Survival for both field operations and rapid identification. The device’s overall housing encloses the overall power source, emitters, and electronics—while the illumination controls are robust enough for impact mitigation and use in as all-weather. While the Manta Strobe ($219) by S&S Precision is the closest comparator to the HEL-STAR 6, other close alternative personal illumination devices include the HEL-STAR 5 EXO ($159), the MS-2k ($149) by ACR, or VLite ($44) by S&S (which has less robust housing and function). However, only the Manta has comparable robust construction and multi-functional use, and this would place the HEL-STAR 6 at a good price point for the consumer.
  • Comfort – Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect, the HEL-STAR 6 kept a very solid purchase to the hook-and-loop (female) sections on a helmet, provided the 6’s full-field of hook-and-loop (male) material along the underside had complete contact with an adjoining field. If there was less contact surface, then the strength of the hook-and-loop’s retention was diminished. The ON/OFF and light function switches also had a clear and tactile feel to them when operating, so it was easy to tell when they were properly used despite the switches being out of sight on the back of the helmet. And while the HEL-STAR 6 has a variety of light colors and functions available, the evaluated omnidirectional Green/Red emitter was bright and easily seen over distances to identify location and direction of the wearer.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): The durability of the HEL-STAR 6 owed its longevity to the rugged design of its all-enclosed emitter housing. The housing was made from a molded polycarbonate similar to many other firearm accessories. This housing allowed the emitter to maintain a minimalist domed contour that encapsulated the battery and electronics, while avoiding excess bulk. One point of note is the sliding selector switch (in the -640 series) itself is manipulated along a thin plastic guide, that is slightly exposed on the opposite side when it is in either position. Additionally, during drop-testing (released at arms-length from shoulder height onto finished concrete a total of 10 times) the top, semi-transparent housing did sustain some surface marring at the various points of impact against finished concrete (but the LEDs still continued to properly function properly and the housing did not become cracked). Submersion in a glass of water for 2 hours also showed no detrimental effect, with no moisture penetration to the interior or battery compartment, and the LEDs continued to function throughout. CORE Survival does offer a one-year warranty on the HEL-STAR 6, provided the device has not been abused, misused, or modified.
  • Functionality – Excellent (5/5): Functionally the HEL-STAR 6 did an excellent job at providing a simplistic, clear and readily identifiable light source identifying an individual’s location. The evaluated HEL-STAR 6 had a single ON/OFF switch with its Green/Red/IR light function, but the 6 has a wide array of different colors and functionality to include strobe and Morse lettering (selected at either the time of purchase or programmed via a separate control module). This gave the end-user a wide array of application with the HEL-STAR 6 both on the range, afield, or potentially with K9 units. The omnidirectional light emitters provided clear and easy visual recognition from 360-degrees of orientation to the IFF emitter, as well as above for possible aerial reconnaissance or extraction marking.
  • Weight – Average (3/5): At a demure 2.8 ounces, the HEL-STAR 6 was extremely light weight when mounted to the helmet, and did not detract with added strain or burden to the head or neck. Indeed, personal illumination/marking devices are often light in total weight for just that purpose. The 6 maintained a light weight by keeping its design compact and minimal so as to offer maximum robust protection to the overall housing and LED light emitters. In contrast, while other CORE Survival lights like the HEL-STAR 4 EXO (2.4 ounces) are slightly lighter in terms of weight, the closest comparator being the Manta Strobe (2.2 ounces) was of slightly less weight. But for the overall size and profile, the HEL-STAR 6 was of appropriate (or average) weight for its overall function and material.

Overall Rating – Good (20/25)

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.

Spectre Kydex Holster: Quality Kydex From a Local Vendor

Introduced in our “What Goes Into a Product” series, kydex has any number of applications and configurations. Local Saint Louis holster manufacturer Spectre Holsters, LLC has been in operation since 2015, and recently acquired by Americas Armory, Inc. in 2018 to offer an expanded variety of standard and custom kydex holsters.

Specifications for Spectre Holsters

One featured Spectre holster is a custom OWB “Apparition” blended design for a Sig P226 with Trijicon RMR and suppressor-height sights; and a custom 2+1 pistol and rifle magazine combination that merges both stand-alone carriers into one unit. Both OWB holsters are in the officially licensed Multicam pattern, and cut from .8″ kydex. The design for the OWB pistol/magazine holsters combine the traditional taco/pancake style of holsters with a competition cut that retains an overall duty functionality. Spectre also included an IWB “Phantom” concealment holster for the same handgun in a low-profile black.

The OWB pistol holster features dual adjustable retention screws for customized pressure. The OWB magazine holster also has an adjustable retention screw for both pistol magazines, while the AR slot has enough stand-alone retention. The hardware used in the OWB design includes large CKK Combat Loops for both the pistol and magazine carriers, while the curve in the magazine carrier keeps the platforms close to the body. The IWB holster uses the standard belt loops that are angled to press the handgun into the body and reduce overall printing. All kydex edges are rounded and polished to maximize overall comfort.

Spectre Holsters, LLC offers a variety of product line to include; folded one or two-piece OWB kydex holsters, IWB concealment holsters, thigh-mounted handgun rigs, competition setups, or custom designed kydex holsters for large-frame hunting handguns.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): Spectre offers a variety of holsters at prices that are consistent with the rest of the industry. As an added bonus, Spectre offers a number of unique kydex patterns and designs such as officially licensed multicam, carbon fiber in varying colors, or other specialty prints.
  • ComfortExcellent (5/5): The retention screws on the OWB “Apparition” pistol and magazine holsters provide customizable pressure, and enable me to adjust for positive control and security. The curvature of the custom 2+1 magazine holster is excellent in maintaining its position close into the body. The use of CKK Combat loops allow easy adjustment in the width of the loops from 1″-2″ and maintain a positive and secure hold on either a competition or duty/tactical belt. Likewise the soft edges to the IWB “Phantom” also made for a comfortable carry against the body.
  • DurabilityExcellent (5/5): The durability of kydex relates to the use of the owner; the harder you run it, the more it conforms for the purpose needed. The only factor for either the OWB or IWB holsters provided involved fitting the interior dimension of the kydex holsters, with the dimension of my P226’s suppressor-height sights. As the holster wore in to my personal draw mechanics, the sights carved out the necessary clearance to the interior and achieved improved fit. Spectre backs up its holsters with a 100% satisfaction guarantee that addresses any concern in durability or functionality.
  • FunctionalityExcellent (5/5): Kydex provides for a large array in customization, and in this case the ability to create custom holsters for an RMR-mounted handgun, and preferred magazine carrier make the only limitation the user’s imagination and kydex maker’s skill. In this case, the functionality of an OWB shield holster blends with a competition-ready design to provide improve function. Draws and re-holstering were solid and the magazine holders had an almost buttery-smooth feel to them.
  • WeightGood (4/5): At .8″ kydex, the overall weight of the “Apparition” holster, 2+1 mag carrier, and “Phantom” holster are all around 1lb each (to include hardware). This is consistent to the weight of other similar holsters throughout the industry. Kydex is consistent in weight-to-thickness ratio so unless a manufacturer adds accessories, the weight of the carrier is very minimal.

Overall Rating – Excellent (23/25)

Product Link:

Spectre Holsters, LLC has provided a special discount for readers of STL Shooting Enthusiasts, use the promo code “MilSpecIA” and receive $5 off orders of $99 or more.

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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