4 SPECIAL REPORT - APACHE KNIFE FIGHTING; AN INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT REDFEATHER!
THROUGHOUT TIME, MASTERY OF THE BLADED WEAPON HAS BEEN THE HALLMARK OF WARRIOR CULTURE;
IN THE UNITED STATES, ONE OF THE PUREST FORMS OF THE KNIFE CULTURE LIES WITHIN NATIVE AMERICAN
LORE, AND TRAMPAS GOT TOGETHER WITH ROBERT REDFEATHER TO LEARN MORE.
10 TRAINING – MANTIS BLACKBEARD! OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS, THE FIREARMS TRAINING INDUSTRY
HAS BEEN HIT PARTICULARLY HARD WITH THE STORAGE AND RISING COST OF AMMUNITION, YET DESPITE
ADVERSITY, FORWARD THINKING MANUFACTURERS AND TRAINERS TURNED TO TRAINING ALTERNATIVES
SUCH AS THE LATEST TECH FROM MANTIS… BLACKBEARD!
16 GEAR ON TEST: “GEAR FOR THE GOOD GUYS” COURTESY OF THE PMCI TEAM
18 GEAR: HRT RAC: IN THE PROFESSIONAL OPERATIONS WORLD, IT IS OFTEN A MISNOMER THAT
HIGH END GEAR WILL MAKE AN OPERATOR BETTER, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO SPEED, MOBILITY, AND
PERFORMANCE THAT ALLOWS THE USER TO DO WHAT THEY ARE TRAINED TO DO RATHER THAN HINDER
THEM, ENTER THE HRT RAC!
24 GEAR: GLOVE LOVE! BILL TAKES A LOOK AT GLOVES HE’S BEEN USING, WHAT HE’S WORN IN THE PAST
AND WHAT HE’S WEARING NOW SO YOU CAN REALLY GET “HANDS ON” IN ANY SITUATION, ESPECIALLY
AS THESE DAYS AS EVEN HE IS USING A SMARTFONE!
28 TECH: LEUPOLD DELTAPOINT! IS THE PISTOL RED DOT A FRIEND OR FOE? THIS IS A QUESTION JIM
OFTEN GETS AS A PROFESSIONAL FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR. TO EXPLORE THE ANSWER, HE TO DIVE INTO
TESTING THE LEUPOLD DELTAPOINT PRO NV FDE
32 BLADE: SPARTAN BLADES PROFESSIONAL SERIES: IN THE UNITED STATES TRAMPAS BELIEVES THAT
LIVING IN THE MOST CULTURALLY DIVERSE COUNTRY IN THE WORLD MEANS THAT SPARTAN BLADES CAN
DRAW ON DESIGN INFLUENCES ACCORDINGLY TO CREATE SOME TRUE MASTERPIECES.
36 FIREARMS: UZI PRO: FEW FIREARMS THROUGHOUT HISTORY ARE MORE RECOGNIZABLE THAN
THE ICONIC UZI! IT’S SHORT, STOCKY APPEARANCE FITTED WITH A SEEMLY ENDLESS STREAM OF 9MM
AMMUNITION VIA 32 ROUND MAGAZINE AND A CYCLIC RATE OF 600 ROUNDS OF MINUTE MADE IT A
HOLLYWOOD ACTION MOVIE DREAM, AND CERTAINLY HAS ENDEARED TO TRAMPAS!
40 TECH: GSL SUPPRESSORS: MANY LONG-TERM SHOOTERS SUFFER FROM PARTIAL HEARING LOSS
FROM WORKING WITH OR IN EXTREME CLOSE PROXIMITY OF FIREARMS. SADLY, MANY OUTSIDE THE
PROFESSIONAL ARMED COMMUNITY DO NOT REALIZE JUST WHAT AN IMPORTANT PART OF OPERATOR
SAFETY A QUALITY SUPPRESSOR CAN REALLY BE, AND THOSE FROM GLS ARE PURE QUALITY!
44 TECH: WILLIAMS GUNSIGHTS: ONE OF THE MOST DISAPPOINTING ITEMS TO ENCOUNTER WHEN
SHOPPING FOR A NEW DEFENSIVE HANDGUN IS TO FIND A GREAT DEAL ON THE PISTOL YOU WANT, BUT
REALIZE, IT COMES WITH LESS THAN STELLAR FACTORY IRON SIGHTS, SO TRAMPAS TAKES TIME TO LOOK AT,
AND ADDRESS, THIS ISSUE WITH WILLIAMS GUN SIGHT COMPANY.
47 BOOK REVIEW: “GUNSHIP ACE: THE WARS OF NEALL ELLIS, GUNSHIP PILOT AND MERCENARY”
49 6MM TRAINING – BCM MCMR GBBR: VEGAFORCECOMPANY PRODUCE SOME FABULOUS “6MM
TRAINING” GAS AR PLATFORMS, AND WORK CLOSELY WITH REAL-WORLD FIREARM MANUFACTURERS TO
ENSURE THAT THEIR RECREATIONS ARE 100% SPOT-ON, SO THIS TIME BILL TURNS HIS ATTENTION TO THEIR
TAKE ON THE BCM MCMR, AN ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC GAS “TRAINER”!
52 INDUSTRY VACANCIES: LOOKING FOR WORK? JUST CHECK HERE.
Copyright © Calibre Publishing 2021. All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the
express permission of the publisher in writing. The opinion of the writers do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. The
Editors reserve the right to edit submissions prior to publication.
Thank you for downloading this Edition of PMCI, the FREE digital publication dedicated to PMC Operatives. PMCI is written by
individuals with first-hand knowledge and experience of the subject they write about - and all of whom have an intimate
understanding of what the role entails and the day to day challenges faced by those working in this industry.
PMCI will provide a platform to review and discuss the things to matter to all of us, such personal equipment, training, employment
and lifestylestyle management - and these are also our core fundamentals. We hope you enjoy this Edition of PMCI and if you have
any feedback or comments, or would like to contrubute to future issues, please let us know by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor (UK): Bill Thomas
Deputy Ed (USA): Trampas Swanson
Graphic Design: Baz Thakur/
Publisher: Nigel Streeter
Cover pic: STG
PMCI magazine is a digital-only publication
available FREE OF CHARGE via the PMCI
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more information, visit www.pocketmags.
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©Calibre Publishing Limited 2021
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T E L L T H E T I M E ,
A L L T H E T I M E .
Tr i t i u m i l l u m i n a t e d w a t c h e s
t h a t s t ay v i s i b l e a l l n i g h t .
E xc l u s i vely av a i l a b l e o n l i n e
W W W. N I T E WATC H E S .C O M
SPECIAL / APACHE KNIFE FIGHTING
ROBERT REDFEATHER & APACHE KNIFE FIGHTING
Interview by: Trampas Swanson
Throughout time, mastery of the bladed weapon has been the hallmark of warrior culture. The Japanese Samurai, English Knights
Templar and Nepalese Gurkhas are all excellent examples how brave fighters used the edged weapon to carve their place in history;
in the United States, one of the purest forms of the knife culture lies within Native American lore, and Trampas got together with
Robert Redfeather to learn more!
Of the many tribes originally spread across North
America, the Apache are often regarded as the
most feared warriors of their nation. With famous
warriors such as Geronimo, Cochise and Mangas
Coloradas to their credit, white settlers impinging
on the Native American lands lived in fear with
tales of Apache fighting proficiency. The training,
discipline, and spirit of the Apache warrior in
detail remained virtually unknown for centuries.
Perhaps one of the most highly regarded experts
on the Apache combat is well-known author, actor, producer
and Hall of Fame Grand Master martial artist, Robert Redfeather.
Through books, videos, and seminars, Redfeather has diligently
worked to bring the knowledge and skills of the Apache warrior
to students who have traveled from around the globe to train
with him. As a direct descendant of the Apache, he has spent
a lifetime training, researching, and developing the following
Apache fighting movements into a modernized system for
civilian, law enforcement, elite military, and private military units.
This issue, we have the honor of sitting down with Robert
Redfeather to share with our readers information about the
Apache culture and the modern knife fighting system he created.
PMCI: Robert, welcome to PMCI Magazine and thank you for
taking time out of your busy schedule to spend time with us. It’s
a true honor to have experts in our industry drop in each issue
to connect with our readers. Let’s start off by discussing, how
does the knife historically play into the Apache spiritually and
the everyday culture?
Redfeather: The knife is an everyday part of the Ndee culture
(Ndee means “the people” in the native tongue). Not having a
knife is like being a tiger with no teeth. Everyone carries one
as an essential tool. From gathering food, making equipment,
cutting rope to self-defense and war. The Warrior Society had
a very difficult, four day knife ceremony to earn the right to
become a member of the society. Some societies had markings
behind their left ear to show their affiliation.
PMCI: As a martial artist, what discipline did you start with and
what point did you get started in knife fight training?
Redfeather: I started Kung Fu at age 5. Over the years I also
studied Chinese Boxing, Judo, High School Wrestling, Boxing,
Wing Chun and many others. The Los Angeles area is a wonderful
place with a huge variety of arts to study! When I was 13, my
grandparents decided it was time to for me to learn the family
traditions of the Ndee culture and the Way of the Blade.
PMCI: What sort of knife is typically used in Apache Knife Fighting?
Redfeather: A sharp one! We usually train with a Ka-Bar USMC
6SPECIAL / APACHE KNIFE FIGHTING
knife because I like the design and frequently teach the Marines.
Originally, we used obsidian, bone, or antler. When steel
became available - that’s what we used. Many have said it
before, the best knife is the one you have. We train with knives
of various lengths to adapt to distance. I like the handle to have
a slight curve at the back or with a pommel, so the hand doesn’t
slip off the back. The grip should be textured and not round. I
prefer a guard, so the hand won’t slip off the grip and onto the
blade. For a fixed blade you really don’t need anything over 8-9
inches. A pocket knife blade should be about 5 inches (depending
on your local laws), have a textured grip and if possible, a guard
of some type. Having a wave type design for fast opening is
also desirable. A slight curve at the back of the handle is also
desirable. Knives should not be shiny!
PMCI: With so many knife styles being taught by instructors, how
does the Apache Fighting system differ?
Redfeather: We don’t stand our ground. We fight like the wind!
Why stay in place? We do not fight as if we were dueling but
as if we are on a battlefield. We don’t train for points but more
of a freestyle method. While teaching the use of the knife we
incorporate the Native Culture as well. We want our students to
understand the reality of the knife. It is something to avoid!
PMCI: What role does the fighting knife play into the military, law
enforcement and private military application as well as a civilian
world filled with concealed carry firearms?
Redfeather: The military and law enforcement has always carried
knives both for utility and CQB. Training to access the blade when
out of ammo or when the firearm is grabbed is vital. A knife is no
match for a firearm but a man with a knife can sometimes access
their weapon quicker. There are a variety of knives out there
specifically designed for easy access from a utility belt or vest.
PMCI: Are they any specific exercises you would recommend for
those looking to contour their strength and dexterity for knife training?
Redfeather: We have specific routines that can help develop
reflexes and dexterity. Among those routines we train using a
war post (also called a pell), using different patterns of cuts and
stabs, and starting slow to learn both edge alignment and good
body mechanics. Training in water also teaches control and adds
PMCI: For those looking to get into knife training, where do you
suggest they start for training?
Redfeather: With us! We have seminars on a regular basis which
you can sign up for in my website, www.apache-knife.com
PMCI: Before we go, could you please let our readers know a
8SPECIAL / APACHE KNIFE FIGHTING
little about your amazing book and how they can find a copy of,
“Fight Like the Wind Apache Knife”?
Redfeather: The book took me over a year to write and put
together with the help of Stace Pitts, Robin Price and Morgan
Ferry. It has 243 pages and includes not only training but Ndee
culture and history. The colour edition is available at Amazon
under the name, Apache Knife - Fight Like The Wind. The black
and white edition is available at Lulu.com under the name Fight
Like The Wind - Apache Knife.
PMCI: I think our readers will really enjoy the knowledge
and history you share about your culture just as I did when I
discovered your book last year. Sir, it’s been an honor and a
pleasure working on this interview. Thank you greatly for taking
time from your busy schedule to share with us.
Redfeather: As the founder of Apache Knife Combat it has been
my pleasure to introduce you to this system.
- Robert Redfeather, member of the Chiracahua Apache
- 2018 Martial Arts History Museum’s Hall of Fame - Apache
Knife One of the Oldest Traditional Native American Arts.
- 2014 World Head of Family Sokeship Council - Grandmaster
for Apache Knife - One of the Oldest Traditional Native American Arts
- 2005 Represented the United States at the 8th Chungju
World Martial Arts Festival in Chungju South Korea. Happy to
represent the USA, the Ndee people and Apache Knife Combat.
BY: TRAMPAS SWANSON
OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS, THE FIREARMS TRAINING INDUSTRY HAS BEEN HIT PARTICULARLY HARD
WITH THE STORAGE AND RISING COST OF AMMUNITION. AS A CERTIFIED INSTRUCTOR, TRAMPAS HAS
SEEN FIRSTHAND HOW THIS HAS AFFECTED BOTH THE PROFESSIONAL AND CIVILIAN CURRICULUMS.
DESPITE ADVERSITY, FORWARD THINKING MANUFACTURERS AND TRAINERS TURNED TO VIABLE TRAINING
ALTERNATIVES TO CONTINUE SAFELY HELPING OTHERS DEVELOP CORE FUNDAMENTAL SKILLS.
Hours have been shortened, round count
requirements have been adjusted and
even some courses taken off the schedule
altogether. The hard truth is these adjustments
and shortcuts have simply hurt the end users
who need the repetitions and hours toward
the mythological “10,000th hour” of becoming
expertly proficient. Some have shrugged and
simply said “it is what it is”, whilst others
like our friends at Mantis, have addressed the
situation head-on with more innovation to aid us.
For example, one common training option for smoothing
out trigger press is what is formerly known as dry fire practice,
now officially rebranded by the National Rifle Association
(NRA) as dry practice. This new verbiage makes sense due
to the lack of actual “fire” taking place. The use of training
devices such as snap caps, SIRT pistols and the Mantis X10
have been extremely helpful with honing these basic skills.
Through private one on one training sessions and fulllength
courses, our Swanson Training Group instructor staff
have regularly used these devices not only in the classroom
but on the range as well to enhance success in true learning
of information retainment. As mentioned in many of our
PMCI Magazine articles, our instructors regularly use Shot
Indicating Resetting Trigger (SIRT) training pistols from
NextLevel Training. These pistols are designed to replicate
various popular models of Glock, SIG and S&W semi auto
handguns which feel and weigh similar to a fully loaded live
fire pistol. For readers not familiar with these devices, these
pistols emit a red or green laser when “fired” and reset the
trigger afterwards for the next shot.
With the success of the SIRT pistols, many shooters have
wanted the same opportunities for training with their AR-15
platform rifles. Over the past year, there has been one device
on the market that is clearly head and shoulders above
any other available options for laser training with the most
popular rifle platform in the country. This issue of PMCI, we
are going to discuss a new trigger resetting drop-in laser unit
called the Mantis Blackbeard and why this may be your best
option for AR-15 training.
A few months ago, a sample of the Mantis Blackbeard arrived
at my office for testing and evaluation (T&E). From our work
with the original Mantis X and current Mantis X10 devices, I
came into this review already knowing how innovative and
helpful Mantis products are with any issues that may arise
with our students. From the sales department to customer
service, my past experiences have only been top notch with
While this may not mean as much to the average consumer, I
have had the displeasure of discovering many great products
in the industry that were produced by companies who made it
difficult to enjoy working together. In turn, this always seems to
cement my desire to continue using their products. Mantis will
quickly make you a loyal customer.
When I unboxed the Mantis Blackbeard, I was impressed
with the carry case that housed the device. As I unzipped the
case, there were two pieces that make up the laser unit well
cushioned inside. The main unit is in the form of a drop-in AR-
15 replacement bolt with the other part being a rechargeable
battery unit shaped like a rifle magazine. As I removed them
both from the case, I retrieved one of my AR-15 rifles from the
Installation consisted of only three steps. First, I cleared the
rifle and then opened the receiver and removed the LIVE FIRE
bolt. Next, I inserted the Blackbeard laser equipped bolt and
closed the receiver back shut. Finally, I inserted the battery unit
into the magazine well as I heard it attempt to electronically
reset the hammer which was already in the ready position with
the safety on. Switching the rifle back to LIVE FIRE mode simply
requires reverse these three steps in the matter of less than a minute.
To test fire the rifle using the Blackbeard device, I pointed
the rifle in a designated safe direction, switched the safety to
FIRE and pressed the trigger. As the green laser emitted from
the barrel of the rifle, I could hear and feel the unit immediately
reset the hammer / trigger in a blink of an eye. With each
additional trigger press, the device “fired” the laser and made
the rifle ready to fire again as fast as I could pull the trigger. With
all the training benefits of using the Mantis Blackbeard we’ll
discuss; the reset factor alone is enough to put this product light
years ahead of other AR-15 platform laser training devices.
With my initial test shots, I noticed the laser was slightly skewed
from not being completed concentric with the barrel yet. Inside
the case was a small Allen wrench that allowed me to make
windage and elevation changes via small set screws accessible
on the bolt unit through the ejection port. With just a few quick
adjustments, the laser was aiming true, and I could then adjust
the red dot optic on my rifle to line up together. Since the bulk
of our group’s urban rifle training comes within the typical
distances of home defense from across a room to across the
front yard, I sighted the red dot and laser to 10 yards.
Over the next few days as I prepared for an upcoming class,
I used the Blackbeard device to work through my house with
the rifle while shooting electronic interactive targets from Laser
Ammo called the IMTTS system. These small targets were staged
around the house to allow me to practice not only moving to
cover, working angles and scanning for targets but making notes
as I took my available shots to reevaluate what was beyond
my targets as well. Simply amazing CQB / Home Defense rifle
IN THE CLASSROOM
Since the ammunition shortage issues have hit our industry, one
of the most popular courses our team offers is one we call a
Defensive Firearms Simulator Workshop. This course is based
around the Smokeless Range simulator computer program from
Laser Ammo. By using a 9 ft screen, a short throw projector
and short throw camera, our instructors create an indoor firing
range using laser equipped devices such as the SIRT pistol and
Mantis Blackbeard. With multiple programs, students can train
with static targets, moving targets, shoot / no shoot targets and
even video scenarios designed to enhance cognitive decisionmaking
skills as well as basic and advanced fundamentals.
Throughout the eight hours of training, the day is divided
into basic and advanced skill building with the students’ choice
of laser equipped devices such as SIRT pistols, Laser Ammo
drop in shotgun shells with Mossberg 590 pump shotguns
and the Mantis Blackbeard in our custom “in house” built AR-
15. The last two hours of video scenario-based challenges
with their choice of armament as the instructor can change
the direction of each video based on the response of each
Our students vary in experience from new shooters to
current and former military, contractors, and law enforcement.
Those who come through class the first time may first
start with the SIRT pistols until they learn the training and
technology used then migrate to the AR-15 platform. With
over 80% of our students, they will return to the next
month’s scheduled simulator class. With having run the
course primarily with the SIRT pistol, this is when many will
choose to run the entire course with the AR-15. This is when
the Mantis Blackbeard has really shined. The focus on the
returning students is no longer the tech or programs used but
now the sight picture, sight alignment and trigger press.
The top comment from armed professionals who have
used the Mantis Blackbeard during class is always about the
trigger manipulation. With other rifle laser trainers used in
the past, the device was activated using the slack between
the trigger and the lock back caused by the unit not allowing
the hammer to actually trip and travel beyond the trigger
catch. Regardless of specialized triggers used in class on
several rifle triggers from 8lb mil-spec to 3lb RISE ARMAMENT
and Timney drop-in units, all have allowed the shooter to use
the true trigger press and have the unit reset for the next shot.
With the M4/AR-15 rifle specific training programs
offered on the Laser Ammo Smokeless range, I have even
been able to do rifle only private training for individuals and
small groups of professionals outside of our standard classes.
From moving targets to varying sized targets at perceived
“distances” for time and score, the Mantis Blackbeard has
been instrumental in developing needed trigger control
and discipline. Many first time rifle students better prepared
themselves physically and mentally before getting onto a live
fire range by taking our courses and using this device.
ON THE RANGE
When using the Mantis Blackbeard unit on the LIVE FIRE range,
I believe it offers just as many advantages for our students
as it does in the classroom. For first time rifle shooter, the
laser unit can be used to work through any trigger press or
anticipating recoil issues before or during LIVE FIRE drills. With
safety ALWAYS being our first and most important concern, the
Blackbeard unit offers immediate point of aim (POA) / point
of impact (POI) feedback in the safest possible environment
when learning how to move with the AR-15 and work in and
out of firing positions.
Even for experienced shooters, when movement with a rifle
in introduced, safety concerns naturally heighten.
Dynamic movement involves so many moving parts to
training. Finger off the trigger, safety engaged, eyes down
range, muzzle control, finding cover or designating direction of
travel, heel/toe steps with purpose and no crossing feet.
A lot of things can go wrong and do some quickly when
learning with a loaded rifle.
Traditionally, we used solid plastic rifle shaped inert training
aids called “red guns” made by ASP to teach students how to
safely move before focusing on carrying life fire rifles. By using
the Mantis Blackbeard devices that cost almost to the penny the
exact same price, students can safely work through movement
drills using their own rifles.
A huge benefit comes in students being able to take shots
with immediate laser feedback while working on movement
skills prior to their progression to live fire drills. This builds
shooter confidence faster and helps develop higher levels of
By using the Blackbeard unit, the Mantis product line continued
to impress as our staff and students got more time training with
it. This sample unit sent for T&E turned out to be everything
I had been hoping for with rifle training. The full range of
movement and reset of the trigger combined with the ability to
have students develop a real feel for the actual trigger pull of
their rifle set this device miles apart from any similar products
currently on the market today.
While I enjoyed using the easy to see green laser version
of the Blackbeard, I did have to contact Mantis and switch it
out for a red laser version in order to use it in classes with the
Smokeless Range by Laser Ammo. As always, the company
representatives understood the issue and quickly resolved it.
Mantis currently offers the Blackbeard in four options: Red
Laser, Green Laser, Infrared Laser and No Laser depending on
your training goals and needs. I have a feeling the Infrared Laser
version is in our company’s near future.
As a former SWAT operator/ Sniper Unit Leader and current
rifle instructor, I learned a long time ago, if you haven’t mastered
your rifle’s trigger pull, you have NOTHING.
The Mantis Blackbeard is the perfect way to get thousands of
important repetitions. Retailing between US$219 - US$249, this
device offers a relatively low cost out of pocket and
very little wear on your rifle compared to how many
thousands of live fire rounds it would take to match the
same benefits as the Blackbeard. To learn more about
this device and others from Mantis, visit www.MantisX.
com discover the next level in quality rifle training.
RINGIN’ THE STEELS, RINGIN’ THE CHANGES!
Once again I find myself sitting behind a screen in my home
office after another very strange year, and in the words of the
song, “Times, they are a’ changin’” and I find myself feeling that
more than ever.
After several years of facing up to “The Big C” (and thankfully
coming out the other side!), I also find that recent events that have
dominated the world have been somewhat lesser for me, as I’ve
already had to spend a lot of time “down” and on my own.
After major surgery and mid 2017-early 2018 disappearing
during my recovery, followed pretty swiftly by a worldwide
pandemic lockdown, there was one thing that kept me going at
full speed, and that was the love and support given unconditionally
by my family, friends, and my awesome team at PMCI.
Friendship as you grow older is a strange thing in and of itself.
The “friendships” of our school years, and indeed those of early
adulthood, morph into something different, something deeper
as our personal experience-bank grows. As older figures, parents
and mentors, age and take their final journeys, you are left with
those close to you increasingly being of your own peer group, and
younger. Without recognising it, YOU become the older, steadfast
figure in a group, and you start to support and mentor others,
taking joy in seeing them grow and reach their own maturity and
rejoicing in their successes.
And so it is with PMCI. Regular readers may have noticed that
over the past couple of years PMCI has grown, matured and thanks
to you that read it, become successful itself, and those involved
have grown too. When we first kicked off in August 2014 the world
was a very different place, and the magazine reflected this. I was
a very wet behind the ears Editor who lived and breathed “guns
n’ gear” who quite literally fell into the role, and Trampas, as
someone who had only recently started writing, fell into it along
And he has been the most steadfast of friends to me throughout
this journey,rising from writing the occasional article to become
an integral and vital part of what we do, and his recent role as
Deputy Editor reflects this. We have truly helped one another along
the way, and I take great joy in seeing both his family, and his
standing in the shooting/tactical/training communities continue
Now those times are ‘a changin’ once again, and as we head
towards a new year it’s time to let PMCI move forward too; PMCI
will be changing in 2022 to reflect that fact that we have become
an integral part of the move by many to a more informed and
armed lifestyle; although we will ALWAYS work with those that
have honoured us by serving, and look to them for guidance, we
will continue to focus on and champion the ethics, rights and
positive mindset of the civilian shooter.
And to do this it’s time for a change at the top! My personal role
within Calibre Publishing continues to evolve, and having taken on
the task of directing the business as a whole into a new era, it’s is
rightfully time for Trampas to take his next, very hard-earned step
too, so as of this issue I will be handing the reigns over to him to
move things forward into both a new year and a new iteration of
the magazine as Editor!
I pass the torch with some sadness as PMCI has been a major part
of my life for the last seven years, through good times and bad,
and I will ALWAYS be proud of what Trampas, Baz (our designer),
Nige (MD of Calibre) and I have created, and that our experienced
and committed editorial team will continue to create… I have
every faith that “what happens next” will be astounding, and
even though my direct input will diminish, Trampas knows that
just as he did for me when I was at my lowest, I will have his six
for the next part of this magnificent journey!
For now, I wish you all the very best for Christmas
2021, and I hope that your personal journey in 2022
continues to lead to health, wealth, and happiness. I
look forward to one day ringin’ those steels with you
all, but for now, “Wild Bill” out.
Gear on Test
Christmas is nearly upon us, so what are YOU looking forward to finding under your family tree (other
than a lightly oiled and beautifully wrapped new AR that is!)? Bill takes a look at a couple of “Winter
Warmers” this me, garments designed for shooters when the temperature on the range starts to fall,
and both would make ideal gifts!
HELIKON WOLFHOUND HOODIE
GEAR ON TEST
It’s that time of the year again that I start to look at gear
specifically for the coming winter months, and a good
“Range Jacket” is one of the things that I place high on
my list of must haves.
What do I mean by a “Range Jacket”? Pretty much
exactly what the name would suggest, a jacket that can
be kept easily stowed in your Range Bag or pack to throw
on for immediate warmth and comfort when you come
away from some dynamic training with a head of steam up!
The first new jacket I’ve been looking at closely this year
is the HELIKON WOLFHOUND HOODIE JACKET; made from
lightweight and durable 100% WindPack Nylon shell with
additional Climashield® Apex insulation, the Helikon
Wolfhound Hoodie Jacket features hard-wearing YKK main
zipper with glove-friendly zip pull, chin guard and warm
stand up collar and multiple zipped pockets.
The thinner elasticated VersaStretch fabric in the armpits
area improves air circulation and provides the maximum
comfort of wearing. In addition to that, the left hand loop
panel allows you to attach unit or morale patches while
the elasticated wrists and bottom hem ensure maximum
body warmth. Highly recommended for security and armed
forces personnel, the HELIKON WOLFHOUND HOODIE JACKET
is also a fantastic choice for shooting, camping, trekking,
and other outdoor activities.
• Lightweight and breathable water repellent jacket
• Extra warmth with Climashield® Apex filling
• Designed for everyday use in urban and outdoor
• Main zipper with glove-friendly zip pull, chin guard and
a wind flap
• High stand up collar with warm, adjustable hood with
an elasticated edge
• Spacious left chest pocket
• Right chest inner pocket for extra storage
• Two zipped hand pockets with fleece lining
• Loop panel on the left bicep for additional patches and
• Thinner elasticated VersaStretch fabric in the armpits
area improves air circulation and enhances comfort
• Elasticated wrists and bottom hem
• Genuine YKK zippers with glove-friendly zip pulls
• DWR coating (Durable Water Repellent) protect against
wind, light rain or snow
• Shell material: 100% WindPack Nylon
• Filling material: Climashield® Apex insulation (67 g/m2)
The HELIKON WOLFHOUND HOODIE JACKET is a great choice
for something that’s easily packable and quick to either
stow or deploy! Available in MALE AND FEMALE sizes,
plain colours or even my favourite PenCott camo the
WOLFHOUND is the ideal thing to have in your pack for
when things turn chilly! Available from good retailers,
mine came courtesy of www.military1st.co.uk!
SNUGPAK MML6 SMOCK
One of the things with ranges is that you do spend a fair
amount of time in a cold, static position; you might be
attending the safety briefing first thing in the morning
or breaking for lunch, but it’s a rarity to find a heated
outdoor range, right? For years many of us have always
had a Snugpak “Softie” jacket in the back of the car for just
such times, for when you want a bit of instant warmth!
Snugpak have really upped the ante though, taking
things to an entirely new level, and one insulated smock
we’ve had in test for a considerable time is the MML6,
and it’s proved its worth on many occasions both at
home and abroad. Developed by Snugpak with input
from professional navigators, mountain leaders, climbing
instructors, meteorological staff, and military personnel,
the Military Mountain Leader Smock has been created
to support the user in a diverse range of operational
environments, especially when exposed to extreme cold
As a part of Snugpak’s “VENTURE” range the MML6 Softie
Smock is the flagship garment. It’s a tri-layer smock and
uses both Paratex Micro as a face fabric, and an internal
Softie Premier fill, encapsulated with a Paratex Light lining.
Designed to provide excellent thermal protection against
the cold the MML6 is rated -5C to -10C; it also provides a
high degree of wind protection.
The MML Smock is lighter than normal expedition style
jackets, and uses water resistant YKK zips, making it ideal
when size and weight need to be kept to an absolute
minimum. It is ideally worn with a variety of base layers,
such as the Snugpak 2nd Skinz Coolmax base layer, to
move moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry and
regulating core temperature in extremes of cold.
The quick drying, Paratex Micro 100% nylon material
has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. Water
repellency can be maintained with a cool tumble dry after
washing and periodic re-treatment with suitable after care
products, such as Nikwax and Grangers. The MML Softie
Smock will keep you dry in a short, light shower, giving
you time to find a safe place to stop and put on more
effective waterproof layers. The MML Softie Smock can
also be worn under waterproof membrane hard shells in
severe weather, still allowing easy access to your essential
The MML Softie Smock allows essential equipment
to be carried centrally, with easy access when wearing
a day sack, bergen, plate carriers and webbing systems
and maintains its core functionality with other operational
equipment, such as body armour.
• Manufactured in the UK
• Large map chest pocket, with internal D-rings
• Large & small external pouches with hook and loop patch
• APALS® soft hook & loop patches - All Purpose Adhesive
Light Strips, one supplied with each jacket
• Exclusive Softie® Premier insulation
• Elasticated Drawcord-adjustable neck & hem -helping
trap warm air and aid insulation
• Soft Armour Panel (SAP) and Hard Armour Plate Carrier
(PC) Compatible 1/4 length water-resistant YKK® zip
• Pack away into the external chest pocket for easy
• Side pockets with Water-resistant YKK® zips
• Deep hand warmer style pockets lined with brushed
polyester for added comfort and warmth
• Soft hook & loop patches on chest pocket flap & both
• External D-ring for LED torches, etc
• Elasticated cuffs with thumb loops
• Windproof, breathable & water repellent
• Rolls into chest pocket
Whilst not exactly cheap at around the UK£180 mark at the
moment the MML6 Softie Smock should be viewed as a
long term investment, especially if you act as an Instructor
or RO; whilst most shooters can easily head back inside
to warm up an Instructor or RO needs to be out on the
range at all times when it’s live. The MML6 easily lets you
do this so in our mind is an invaluable addition to your kit
locker, and mine came direct from my friends at www.
GEAR ON TEST
HRT TACTICAL: RAC CARRIER SYSTEM
BY: TRAMPAS SWANSON
IN THE PROFESSIONAL OPERATIONS WORLD, IT IS OFTEN A MISNOMER THAT HIGH END TOOLS OF THE TRADE
WILL MAKE AN OPERATOR BETTER. ANYONE WHO HAS EVER CARRIED A GUN FOR A LIVING KNOWS THIS IS
SIMPLY NOT TRUE. TOOLS WILL NEVER REPLACE SKILLS. HOWEVER, IT IS A KNOWN FACT THAT QUALITY
TOOLS MAY CAN HELP SAVE SOMEONE’S LIFE, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO SPEED, MOBILITY, AND
PERFORMANCE OF THE EQUIPMENT ALLOWING THE USER TO DO WHAT THEY ARE TRAINED TO DO RATHER
THAN HINDER THEM; ENTER THE HRT RAC!
When it comes to tactical gear industry,
there is a wide range of quality and
design from companies all over the
world. Unless your gear is issued to you,
many professionals may be starting at
square one with learning what works
and what doesn’t at the rate of a
potentially dangerous learning curve.
Over my twenty-one years of training
and working in and around this field of
work, I have seen great designs that have saved real heroes.
At the same time unfortunately, I have also seen designs
that are more of a liability than an asset to its users.
With items such as tactical vest, the price range can span
from gun show bargain budgets to Capitol Hill Black expense
reports. From my personal experience, I have learned two
essential things about critical gear. The first is that not all
top-quality gear comes with top end prices or the most wellknown
names. Secondly, the best designs have come from
men and women who have been quenched in the fires of
battle or have at the very least come from those who have
worked closely with these real-world experienced people. I
know this because I’ve unfortunately lived this and fortunately
As a rookie SWAT operator for a small county Sheriff’s
Office, we did not have a huge budget. If memory serves
me correctly, one of our Deputies had a family member who
owned a local embroidery shop who “created” our issued
SWAT vest. This attempt at creating a plate carrier was a sad,
unstructured vest designed to hold the soft IIIA armor issued
to fit under my standard uniform when on patrol. The fit was
more like a bag than a vest, with armor shifting at the worse
possible times such as going hands-on with a suspect or
kneeling to a supported position during a gun fight. Several
officers even tore their carriers open dumping equipment to the
ground when jumping out of take down vehicles on drug raids.
Simply put, I learned that in order to trust the equipment
you carry, you need to be able to trust the company that makes
it. Fortunately, I discovered such a company while searching for
a new plate carrier online last year. During the global COVID
crisis in which seemed to shut down the year 2020, and talking
to Bill about gear, I came across a company called HRT Tactical.
As I skimmed through their website, the products featured some
very impressive designs at affordable price points. I eagerly
dove down the rabbit hole to learn more about them which
resulted in an email request to test their gear.
Originally founded in 2008, HRT Tactical’s mission was to
provide top level training to Law Enforcement, Military and
civilians, these real-world experienced instructors decided to
venture into creating tactical gear from the operators point for
view using only topic notch, durable materials, and components.
To keep gear tough but lightweight, HRT uses 500 Denier
DuPont Teflon coated Condura nylon and reinforced stitching to
prevent from water logging, tearing or rot. With UTW hardware,
UTX buckles and YKK brand zippers, no corners in product
construction are cut when it comes to quality and reliability of
an item someone’s life may one day depend upon.
Between the online description of the HRT Tactical gear and
the wealth of information provided from HRT’s representative,
Chris Poindexter, I was ready to try their products out while
teaching and training. Chris and I arranged to have the company’s
flagship plate carrier called the RAC system with its standard
load out accessories to be sent over for T&E along with Ace Link
Level IV rifle plate armor.
(Editors Note: When shopping for plate carriers, first realistically
look at your actual need for gear and ask some honest questions.
Do you just need to carry magazines and gear?
If that’s the case, I urge you to consider a simple chest rig
without armor. It’s a lighter, more mobile option without the
cost and bulk of ballistic plates or soft armor. However, if you
need quality functional armor as your first and foremost need
and a way to comfortable carry it, continue reading because this
article will be FULL of great information.)
To better explore a multi-use rig such as the HRT Tactical RAC
system, we will break down the components I chose to test,
beginning with the base RAC plate carrier before moving on to
a detailed review of each of the other parts of such a mission
RAC PLATE CARRIER
The carrier tested was listed as a “Large” which could house
a 10”x12” plate in the front and rear panels. (For you larger
guys, there is an XL version that fits the 11”x14” plates) The
RAC carrier was accompanied by two UHMWPE (Polyethylene)
and Ceramic (Silicon Carbide) Level III+ Rifle Plates from Ace Link
(US$239). Each plate’s contour matched the carrier in featuring
what is known in the industry as a “shooter’s cut”. This is a
specific design feature which allows the wearer to normally
shoulder a long gun without undue adjustment. The weight of
each plate came in at 4.4 lbs, surprisingly close to what my
issued soft armor weighed back in 1999 – 2000 but with much
better protection than what I had. These plates tuck easily up
inside the front and rear panels of the carrier with a Velcro
covered flap that wraps from the bottom of the plate to hold it
securely into place.
To carry this load across my shoulders, the carrier featured
wide, well cushioned wraps to cover the adjustable Velcro straps
to adjust the rig’s ride height. Along each side of the straps were
multiple elastic loops for running a hydration tube from front
to a possible rear mounted Camelbak or comms cables from a
mic to a radio. These thick cushioned straps are instrumental in
preventing heavy loads from causing the load out weight to dig
into end user’s shoulders over time.
One of the RAC carrier’s shoulder straps also featured a quick
release clip that could be mounted on the left or right strap in
order to allow the wearer to quickly ditch the carrier in a flash.
The ability to exit out of gear can be a critical feature for
many operators. Several veterans have told me tales of vehicles
being hit by IED’s and rolling over either on fire or into water; the
inability to egress the vehicle due to being hung up inside from
gear snagging cost many good men and women their lives.
However, if this feature isn’t desired by the user, the buckle
can be removed altogether in favor of standard solid straps.
The front of the carrier featured large Velcro panels for
mounting mission specific accessories as we’ll mention shortly as
well as name tapes, rank, or unit / agency identification patches.
Across the carrier’s face were PALS / Molle compatible loops
for further securing items such as the Maximus placard with its
quick clip system. All the carrier’s edges were tightly stitched and
smooth to prevent chaffing or undue wear on gear as it may rub
against the carrier edge.
The back of the plate carrier featured a vital potential lifesaving
heavy duty drag handle for quickly moving injured
personal out of the danger zone. Below the drag handle, there
were well placed panel sections featuring heavy duty dual YKK
zipper mounts along with Velcro for multiple optional mission
specific pouches offered by HRT; more on these later...
Along the inside of the carrier’s front and rear panels, there
were raised air flow channels stitched vertically left and right
allow the body to keep cool even in warm climates. For additional
air circulation, HRT Tactical offers optional pontoon spacers that
Velcro inside to create an even larger air channel. If you’ve ever
worn a tactical vest in any sort of climate, you know that without
good air flow, you could start sweating inside the vest even during
a snowstorm. Trust me, being the meat in an “operator soup” is
never a good feeling!
Retail: US$184.95 - US$239.95
QUICK RELEASE CUMMERBUND
While the standard straps that shipped with the RAC plate carrier
did a decent job holding it snug to the body, I know all too
well from experience, the extreme value of having your sides
ballistically protected. I decided to upgrade the RAC plate carrier’s
factory side straps with HRT’s Quick Release Cummerbund and
additional Ace Link IIIA soft body.
As mentioned in the name, the potentially lifesaving quick
release RAC buckles are located on both sides of the front of the
cummerbund just behind the Velcro straps that attach to the
front of the plate carrier. With a quick jerk of the 550 cord hooks
hanging on either buckle and the front of the carrier pops open
for a quick egress.
Not only did this upgrade come with quick release buckles on
both sides, but also a wealth of adjustment options in the back.
Depending on what type of clothing you may be running under
your plate carrier from polo shirt to rain gear, the rear bungee
lacing system quickly adjusts to accommodate a wide range of
body sizes and girth changes.
The wide Velcro attachment to the front of the carrier anchors
the cummerbund into a rock-solid position. An additional three
rows of PALS loops for mounting gear such as radios, magazines,
or multi-tools can also come in handy.
Not only does the wider cummerbund sides offer more space
for gear but also provides more side comfort. Unlike thinner
straps, the cummerbund allows for a full range of motion and
won’t ride up or cut into your body when twisting into or out of
The snug inner cummerbund pocket allows for soft armor
such as the Ace Link IIIA soft body armor to be mounted inside.
The fit was perfect only added approximately 2 lbs to the overall
rig. For that small amount of weight, the benefits of having that
level of side protection are truly invaluable.
Retail: US$99.95 - US$109.95
Perhaps my favorite part of the RAC carrier system is the optional
Maximus Placard attachment. This is a 9.25”x7” placard that clips
onto the carrier front or rear via the Swift Clip buckle attachment
system along with the Velcro mounting surface to prevent any
bouncing or “battle rattle”. For avid fans of great designs and
“sexy” tactical usefulness, the Maximus is the shinning star of
The Maximus placard allowed me to carry three 30 round
magazines held in place by an elastic looped insert along the
center of the placard close to the body and two 21 round SIG
P320 magazines on either side. Polymer inserts inside the pistol
pouches hold the SIG mags in the ready position for quick access.
These inserts can be quickly removed to fit a small tactical
light, multi tool or other needed items. Different elastic looped
inserts for the rifle magazine area are available on the HRT
Tactical website to substitute Uzi, MP5 and AR-10 / AK platform
magazines for the standard AR-15 magazines.
In addition to the magazine pouches, there are two larger
main pouches with organizational dividers to keep smaller items
secure while remaining at the reach of a finger. The gusseted
access panels prevent the front of the pouches from flopping
open and spilling its contents. Each pouch offers enough room
for chem lights, keys, spare batteries, pens, note pads can with
ease. Inside the left pouch of my Maximus placard, I was able to
fit most contents of my standard IFAK including tourniquet,
Israeli bandages, hemostatic “combat” dressing, Band-Aids,
Quick-Clot, alcohol wipes, burn dressing, medical scissors,
Ibuprofen, and gloves. There are Velcro attachment spaces for
your favorite patches located on the front face of each pouch.
This was handy for marking my pouch used for carrying IFAK
Retail: US$99.95 - US$104.95
SPORRAN HANGER POUCH
For those warriors looking for an additional administrative /
utility / storage, the Sporran Hanger pouch fits just under
the main front pouch of your choice. This two-compartment
pouch measures 5”x5”x1” and offers a great secondary
option for medical supplies as well as mission specific tools,
flex cuffs, gloves, shooting glasses or ear protection. For
me, this was the perfect spot to carry the larger items of
my blow out kit such as chest seals, extra tourniquets, and
extra compression gauze. Like the rest of the HRT RAC system,
the Sporran Hanger does feature PALS loops and hook & loop
Velcro material on the forward face for additional gear or
Due to the fit of the plate carrier, the Sporran falls just
below the belly button and covers your belt buckle. Prior to
wearing the RAC system with the Sporran attached, I was
concerned that it would be obtrusive when sitting or running
(Honestly, jogging because no one was shooting at me).
After spending the first few weeks testing the complete
load out, I had completely forgotten about those concerns
until sitting down during wrap up to review my notes from
Day One of testing. The Sporran simply did not cause any
negative feedback during testing. As many have found, the
extra storage within arm’s reach while not widening the
shooter profile can be an asset for heavy load outs.
ZIP- ON GENERAL PURPOSE BACK POUCH
The zip-on General Purpose Back Pouch is is a 9.5”x5”x1.5”
pouch that is designed to take up half the rear panel to
handle storing larger items such as a Camelbak bladder,
medical equipment, a gas mask, poncho, or camo netting
for concealment. With HRT’s triple retention mounting via
Molle straps, Velcro and zipper attachments, it completes the
trifecta of what I like to call the NCOS or “Not Coming Off
System”. The face of the pouch offers a large Velcro panel for
mounting Agency / Unit identification.
Retail: US$54.95 - US$59.95
ZIP-ON DUAL REMOVABLE GP POUCHES
Like the General Purpose Back Pouch, the spacious Dual
Removable General Purpose (GP) Pouches share a single half
panel patch measuring 10”x5”x1.5”. It shares the same triple
retention with Molle straps, Velcro and zipper attachment as
its rear mounted mate. Additionally, the face of the pouches
also offers Velcro for mounting for patches and identification
By combining these accessories will offer a comfortable
way to carry a wide range of valuable equipment that would
take up a lot of room carrying otherwise.
Retail: US$64.95 - US$69.95
Overall, I am very impressed with the HRT Tactical’s RAC system.
This highly adaptable platform’s ability to switch quickly to meet
mission load out needs turns a simple plate carrier into a tactical
chameleon. Most importantly, the rig as comfortable as long term
distributed unnatural weight added to the body can possibly be.
I wore the complete load out for over eight hours on the range
each time I taught shotgun and rifle courses as well as during
advanced handgun training. The level of fatigue felt with the HRT
Tactical RAC system was far less than with my traditional set ups
from Tactical Tailor and AR500.
As I told the HRT representative, Chris, prior to wrapping up my
field testing, the RAC system felt like a rig that only a seasoned
operator could design. The multipurpose flexibility of this system
and comfort is very well thought out from an end user perspective
and perfectly meets a wide spectrum of what our nation’s warriors
would need in the ever-changing battlefield, both foreign and
domestic in the world we currently live in. This rig can easily
convert from door-to-door operations of SWAT to the long-range
patrols of LRRP.
Moving and shooting while standing, kneeling and prone
were unencumbered during live fire exercises. The front panel is
cut to prevent bunching at the chest when shooting a pistol in a
supported two-handed position and allows you to easily shoulder
precision and carbine rifles comfortably without alternating my
mounting position. During a recent shotgun course I taught, the
chest rig did wonderfully while running the shotgun obstacle
course shooting in the pouring rain. The rig did not allow the rain
to soak in and weigh it down.
Even as we explore 6MM (airsoft) training to supplement
ammunition cost and to increase safety in training, the RAC
system has proven itself to be an asset in this venture. The more
an operator can wear his gear and get used to maneuvering with
the added weight and bulk, the stronger and more agile they will
become. The RAC system helps decrease the learning curve with
1.5” depth of most pouches that kept weight close to the body
and not give the end user the feeling of becoming “top heavy”
when leaning forward.
The RAC system was well balanced to allow for easily climbing
ladders and stairs in addition to in and out of vehicles.
For the weekend warrior, this may not be a huge selling point
but for operators in a dynamic environment, this could be vital.
When you take in perspective that my entire HRT RAC system
load weighed less than 25lbs. compared to my standard SWAT load
out twenty years ago with the same if not less gear being over
35lbs., I have been very impressed with the new rig. I continue to
be equally pleased with each HRT product I have used thus far.
For those wondering about color options, HRT products are
offered in Black, Range Green, Coyote Brown, M81 Woodland,
MultiCam, MultiCam Black, MultiCam Arid. Prices per product vary
depending on the color selected. With such top quality and options
available, it’s easy to see why HRT gets the PMCI Magazine stamp
approval on their RAC system. We invite you to visit
www.HRTtacticalgear.com to find the RAC combination
that best fits your needs.
GLOVES: DIGIT(AL) PROTECTION
By Bill Thomas
At PMCI we’re constantly looking for good kit, not simply gear that’s 100% fit for purpose, but
equipment that’s going to give you good service and great value for money! This time the Bill takes
a look at gloves he’s been using, what he’s worn in the past and what he’s wearing now so you can
really get “hands on” in any situation, especially as these days even he is using a smartfone!
Gloves are tricky things to get right, aren’t they?
How often have you parted with money for a
pair of “tacticool” gloves that offer you entrance
to the “operatorz world” and found that in reality
they are sub-standard, poorly fitting, and frankly
an absolute waste of your hard-earned dollarbucks?
When I first started out gloves were not such a
“thing”, and an old pair of British Army black leather “NI Gloves”
from your local surplus store were probably your best bet! When
I moved to the USA in 2006 though my eyes were opened to
the possibilities of what I could use to cover my hands safely as
every tactical store seemed to be offering cool models designed
both for law enforcement and the military.
For a while I was like a fat boy in a donut shop, and every
couple of months I’d pick up another model; online forums
were “de riguer” for the discerning tacticalist at the time and it
seemed to me that someone was ALWAYS posting about gloves!
Of course the dissemination of information about which unit
or “celeb shooter” is using which glove model has accelerated
with the rise of social media, and now new gloves seem to
come along on an almost daily basis (or so it seems to me!). For
me now though my go to gloves are First Tactical LIGHTWEIGHT
PATROL Gloves, Helikon-Tex TACTICAL LIGHT Gloves, or Kinetixx
X-LIGHT LIGHT OPERATIONS Gloves for general range work.
But, with so many glove models out there how the hell do
you decide on the right glove for you, especially when these
days you need a model that will not only work for you on the
range, but also allow you to interact with mobile communication
devices too? What considerations should you take into account?
For me there are three main areas to look at:
The most important thing for me is grip. A glove is of no use
to you if it hinders the ability to grip your AEG/GBB or restricts
access to using technology (especially these days!). Because of
for exceptional durability, contouring, and waterproofing abilities,
but you also want materials that offer some breathability either
through the use of specialist lined interiors which are absorbent
or through breathability features built in to the glove. The matter
of comfort is important since you will be wearing these gloves
this many users choose to go with “old skool” fingerless gloves,
but not me! Of course grip is related to handling though, and
before you take every shot, you have to have the feeling of contact
with your trigger or it can become a distraction from getting the
shot, and there are now are designs which feature special finger
tips to provide superior grip perfect for using technology, handling
small items, and shooting needs.
Another thing I look for in tactical gloves is to find an option that
allows not just grip, but also dexterity. Some tactical gloves are
designed to protect your hands from damage by way of padded
knuckles, but if the material over the knuckle is too thick, it will
impede your dexterity. Likewise, if a glove is the wrong size, it
can get in the way of movement. When it comes to finding the
right sizing to ensure ease of movement, remember that phrase,
“fits like a glove” as your guideline; the right fit of a glove should
When it comes to fabrics and technology many gloves still use
leather or “manufactured leather” exteriors or specially bonded
synthetic blends. While certainly has its place in relation to overall
comfort, a better option is to choose one that incorporates both in
expertly designed ways. For instance, gloves should have leather
GLOVES I LOVE!
As is often the case where I live in the UK when you’re heading
to the range you want to stay not exactly “covert”, but certainly
low key, and digging through my glove draw (yes, I have a glove
draw!) I discovered that my old black lightweight gloves were
well overdue for retirement, so I quickly scurried online to look
for a replacement!
You’ll know that we’ve been working closely with First Tactical
on both sides of “The Big Pond” and it’s been our great pleasure
to have seen the brand gain more traction in the “tactical world”
with some great designs, and what have turned out to be
absolutely top-notch, reliable and durable products. Looking at
their tight but well-defined glove line there was a model that
immediately grabbed my attention, the Lightweight Patrol Glove,
which seemed to offer all the qualities I was looking for, and
these have become one of my absolute favourites!
They’re a pair of tactical gloves that allow you to act with
maximum speed and precision. The Lightweight Patrol Glove
combines extreme tactility with long-term durability; expert
design serves well without slowing you down, and you’ll never
have to worry about a slip of the grip or cumbersome fit with
these awesome little gloves. Whatever the task at hand (if you’ll
pardon the pun!), this glove will perform with excellence. The
Lightweight Patrol Gloves benefit from First Tactical’s precision
fit. Lightweight snag-proof stretch woven materials allow for a
precise fit and professional appearance. The TOUCHTAC finger
construction offers revolutionary fingertip engineering that gives
you a better fit for even greater efficiency and performance, with
a seamless wrap-around index finger design that is touchscreen
friendly and more sensitive than ever before. Maintenance is also
simplicity itself as the gloves have a washable goatskin palm;
when dirty and grimy from extended training or field use, simply
throw them in the wash, air dry, and wear again!
First Tactical has done a fabulous job with these gloves;
although I initially found the closure a little bulky for such “low
key” gloves I did find the cutaway for my wristwatch a great idea;
I usually wear quite a sizeable dive or compass-watch and the
gloves accommodated this with ease, and caused no irritation by
pushing back the watch strap. After many range sessions there
GLOVES: DIGIT(AL) PROTECTION
is virtually no sign of wear; the use of goat skin mixed with the
stretch woven fabric is a winner as I can just toss them in the
wash with my other gear and they come out looking like new;
like other users I’ve had to throw away gloves after coming out of
the wash, but not so with the Lightweight Patrol Gloves, they just
run and run!.
When I’ve been doing some more serious, longer-day
rangework, for a while I’ve been using some great models from
German glove brand Kinetixx, and W+R, the company behind the
Kinetixx brand, have some 90 years of expertise building gloves!
The family business was established way back in 1928 by the
tanner Jakob Weiblen and his brother-in-law, the glove maker
Theodor Rümmelin in Neuhausen an der Erms. W+R then moved
to the neighbouring town of Metzingen in 1936 where the first
glove factory was built. The factory first produced leather driving
and work gloves with the first synthetic-fabric gloves arriving on
the scene later.
Gloves by W+R are characterised by technical innovation and
reliability. As a sought-after supplier to the police and armed
forces, customers all over the world rely on their decades of
experience and their in-house development department, with its
modern laboratory, cutting, stitching and quality control sections.
Kinetixx Tactical gloves have become part of personal protective
equipment (PPE) for some police forces, military units or Special
Forces and are therefore now part of their basic equipment.
The X-LIGHT LIGHT OPERATIONS GLOVE is a pretty no-nonsense
affair and is designed to provide the maximum level of comfort
and breathability. The glove features a U-shaped gusset for better
recoil control, reinforcement patches on the back as well as on
the palm for better grip, and the adjustable rubber hook-andloop
closure allows it to fit the wrist perfectly. The upper material
is 100% Aramid, the palm 60% Polyamide, 38% Polyurethane,
2% Other, whilst the reinforced areas are 60% Polyamide, 38%
Polyurethane, 2% Other. They therefore benefit from Abrasion
resistance (Level 2), Blade cut resistance (Level 1), Tear resistance
(Level 2), and Puncture resistance (Level 1) which overall gives
a very solid glove that is most certainly going to stand up to use
on the airsoft field, and give you good levels of both comfort and
I’ve been using this model for a little while now, and as a
pretty bog-standard “Size Large” I will say that the fit is very good
indeed, with little excess fabric and certainly no “bag” in the palm
area when you make a fist; this can cause issues if you’re using a
slim pistol grip as the extra fabric acts as an unwelcome buffer to
a solid grip!
The latest addition to the “glove draw” is the Helikon-Tex
ALL ROUND FIT TACTICAL LIGHT GLOVES, and these have very
quickly become a firm favourite too, especially for warm-weather
environments, as they fit me… well, like a glove! As a part of the
ever-expanding Helikon-Tex RANGE LINE these are a lightweight
and extremely durable universal tactical gloves designed for
military and law enforcement professionals, but that work equally
well for an enthusiastic and committed “recreational shooter” like me.
Synthetic leather is used on the inner side to guarantee high
durability and reliable grip while specially designed slits on the
finger joints provide comfort, even during prolonged weapon
manipulation. As I’ve also (finally!) moved into the modern world
of mobile communications (yes, I now have a smartfone and not
a “burner”!) I also appreciate the fact that the middle finger and
thumb are touchscreen compatible, and a sewn-in Hypalon loop
not only helps with easy on and off but also can be used to hang
the gloves on equipment when my fat fingers need to send a
text! An elastic extended cuff offers maximum confidence and
comfort, while thin, yet durable, construction enhances the ability
to use a phone or tablet, manipulate gear, or access a handgun.
Overall theses three models completely match my
requirements in terms of Grip, Dexterity, and Comfort, and all
are touchscreen compatible should you wish to
use them in conjunction with your phone or other
device; in my opinion they all offer great levels of
performance for a good price, and what more can
a cash-strapped shooter ask for?
LEUPOLD DELTAPOINT PRO NV FDE
ON POINT- THE LEUPOLD DELTAPOINT PRO NV FDE
BY JIM WENZEL
IS THE PISTOL RED DOT A FRIEND OR FOE? THIS IS THE QUESTION JIM OFTEN GETS AS A PROFESSIONAL
FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR. TO EXPLORE THE ANSWER, HE’S GOING TO DIVE INTO TESTING THE LEUPOLD
DELTAPOINT PRO NV FDE FOR THIS ARTICLE. THE RESULTS MAY HELP PROVIDE SOME VALUABLE
FEEDBACK FOR THOSE WHO MAY BE THINKING OF BLINGING OUT THEIR EVERYDAY CARRY (EDC) GUN
Is a pistol optic for you? I asked myself this very same
question several times over the course of the past year.
I’m a bit of an old school shooter, even at basic training
in Parris Island, our qualifications pushed us out to 500
yards with iron sights with our issued rifles. For years
when I heard “optic”, I thought long range precision
shooting with a long gun.
Then as I was retiring from Law Enforcement in 2018,
I saw that one of the alphabet agencies was in the process of
transitioning to pistol red dots for their employees. My initial gut
reaction was “Why are we going to a piece of equipment that
can fail” and secondly, “I’ve seen enough yearly qualifications
where people fail or barely pass a qualification due to not being
able to apply the fundamentals as it is”.
I will admit that I was extremely skeptical with this change.
I didn’t feel that agencies would put in enough training time
or do so properly. I can recall when they came out with the
new spring for Glocks that had a laser in it. It didn’t improve
accuracy as the agency thought it would, nor was it essentially
cost effective as the spring was much weaker than the standard
Glock spring which led to the springs breaking and making the
pistol inoperable. The agency went back to the standard Glock
spring after that.
Now to the present, since retiring, I became a civilian
firearms instructor and during that time I have come across
many new shooters and some experienced shooters that come
to a class and are carrying their concealed carry firearm with a
red dot. It was due to this uptick and trend that I knew in order
to help students that I would have to invest in a red dot, open
my mindset, and get myself trained up.
Contrary to some beliefs, there are some fantastic benefits
to picking up and learning how to utilize a pistol red dot. For
one, we are reducing the amount of focal planes being used.
Traditional iron sight, firearm fundamentals of shooting use
three focal planes. A shooter has to look through their rear sight,
identify the front sight, and then place the sight on target. This
is done with an emphasis on focusing on the front sight and
blurring the target in the distance. An issue with this is that we
won’t be able to quickly recognize if a threat is still present.
We are putting a lot of focus into a fine motor skill which is
elatively non-existent under stress. Hence, why point shooting
is taught for close range engagements, at the very least, if you
point the firearm at the intended threat at close proximity, you
will hit the target. In the defense of life, small tight groupings
from precision shooting is not required, we need to get rounds
on the threat as safely and quickly as possible.
Now that we covered the proper use of iron sights, let’s jump
over to the red dot side of things. The pistol red dot reduces the
focal planes down to two, some will say one. I leave that debate
up to each individual. We acquire the red dot through the optic
and place it on the target/threat. We are able to then have a
focus on the intended threat while using the red dot. I’ll talk
about this more later in the article.
The main drawback that is common with any tool is the risk
of mechanical failure. Batteries could die, the sight could hit
something and fall off, or the glass could break. Good old Murphy’s
Law, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” With this in
mind it is imperative to ensure that you don’t disregard and stop
training the basic fundamentals with your iron sights. In which I
also add, implement training where the iron sights have broken
off or aren’t operational. If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.
POINTS TO PONDER
Searching the pistol optic that is right for you can be a difficult yet
fun task, some things to consider are:
• What is the purpose the optic will be used for (professionalpersonal
EDC, competition etc.)
• How large is the sight? Can you conceal if necessary?
• Where is the compartment, does a battery change mean you
have to re-zero the optic
• How long does the battery last
(Editors Comment: And how easy are the batteries to find, are
they a common size?)
These are just a couple questions that I pondered myself.
After talking with several instructors and subject matter experts
in the field, I decided that I would buy my first pistol optic. I chose
the Leupold Deltapoint Pro NV FDE. What caught my attention
besides Leupold’s excellent history were the features that stood
out on such a small sight.
This model supports modern night vision devices with 10
brightness settings, including two that will fine tune the red dot
to match sensitivity of your night vision equipment. Leupold
also added a customizable brightness setting at the top end of
the sight, which makes it easier for you to quickly max out the
intensity of your red dot when environmental conditions are at
their brightest. This allows you to move between the outdoors
and indoor settings without skipping a beat. Some other features
that I really liked were the fact that this versatile sight has an
easy access battery compartment, meaning that you don’t have
to re-zero after a battery change!
Just as impressive is the battery life, which ranges from 300 to
1600 hours, depending on the brightness intensity. The coin click
adjustments allow for more precision as well as an incredibly
wide field of view and Leupold’s famous crystal clear glass. This
combined with the optic being housed in an aluminum and steel
sheath to ensure that the sight will hold up in even the harshest
LEUPOLD DELTAPOINT PRO NV FDE SPECS:
Flat Dark Earth
2.5 MOA Illuminated Red Dot
LEUPOLD DELTAPOINT PRO NV FDE
LEUPOLD DELTAPOINT PRO NV FDE
Eye Relief Low Mag (in)
Battery Life (hr) Low Intensity 1600
Battery Life (hr) Medium Intensity 1000
Battery Life (hr) High Intensity 300
Number of Illum Settings 10
WORKING THE DELTAPOINT PRO NV FDE:
I had ordered the pistol sight while I was away working on a
private security detail. After being away on assignment for a
few months, I was excited to see the package on the counter
when I got home. The red dot came in the traditional Leupold
box and was packaged nicely. Now that the sight was in hand,
my next task was to decide which pistol to put it on. After a short
deliberation, I landed on my Sig Sauer P320 Scorpion AXG. The
red dot was super easy to mount as it fit seamlessly on the optic
ready slide of the Scorpion.
I then went to a local shop called Recon Rifleworks to see
my friend Will Gironda and let him do what he does best, install
my suppressor height iron sights that I purchased from Night
Fision. I went with their yellow dot to contrast the red dot of the
Deltapoint Pro. Will had me ready to go in less than an hour even
during hours when the shop was busy.
Now that the set-up was complete, it was a no-brainer as
to where I was heading next, onto Bullseye Guns and Indoor
Shooting Range located in the heart of Jacksonville, Florida to
see the manager and friend Bill Biggert. Once I arrived, I hopped
on the range to get this red dot zeroed in. I made my way over
to the private section of the range dubbed, “The Dungeon.” This
is where myself and other instructors get to privately put in the
time to work on our skill sets and courses.
Still being relatively new to implementation of the pistol red
dot system into my training, I was pleasantly surprised at how
easy it was for me to find the red dot on the Leupold. I had tried
other sights before that my colleagues had, and it was difficult
to pick it up at first. The Deltapoint Pro didn’t disappoint. I was
able to acquire the target quickly and effectively put rounds on
paper where I wanted them. I set up my zeroing targets and
benchrest position. I worked from the 3,5,7,15,20, and 25 yard
lines respectively utilizing five round groups to zero in the red dot.
With the zero acquired, it was time to see what the red dot
hype was all about and as I mentioned earlier, will it be our
friend or foe when it comes to utilizing this tool? What I found
out relatively quickly is that there is a distinct difference between
the traditional iron sights and the red dot system, which is that
while utilizing iron sights, a person’s eyes have to perform a
number of complex functions, contrasting those using a red dot
in which uses one function. This is a very important mention to
me, mainly due to not only my background, but our magazine
subscribers as well. I say this because we work in some stressful
environments and have to make rapid decisions.
With the development and understanding that comes with
using a single focal plane sighting system such as the red dot,
one can more effectively keep their eyes on a threat during a
deadly force encounter which can make a large impact on the
outcome of that encounter. It will not only increase your reaction
time due to quicker target acquisition, it allows you to have a
higher degree of focus on the engagement as opposed to the
traditional iron sights.
Let’s dig a bit further into this, from our understanding of
human behaviors; we note that humans have a natural tendency
to focus on whatever is threatening us during a fear (fight, flight,
freeze) response. It becomes very difficult for someone to take
their eyes off the threat and put the focus into their pistol sights,
which in relative terms are tiny objects outstretched an arm’s
distance from us.
With this being said, part of my evaluation of the Leupold
Deltapoint Pro was to increase my relative stress level (increase
my heart rate) while performing several drills going between
the red dot and traditional iron sights. What I found is that the
red dot allowed me to make faster follow-up shots as I didn’t
have to go through the process of aligning my sights after each
shot was fired. I believe this will be an “AHA!” moment for those
transitioning to the red dot from a new to experienced shooter,
as you will see it makes it easier for someone to be able to shoot
with both eyes open. Most shooters, although they try and put
in the training hours, struggle with this. This occurs due to having
to hyper focus on the front sight, the red dot eliminates that and
allows you to acquire the target with both eyes and helps speed
up your scan for additional threats as you now are no longer
fighting one eye blind.
BECOMING FRIENDS WITH THE PISTOL RED DOT,
There is, however, a bit of a learning curve for those of us that
are veteran pistol iron sight shooters. Due to this fact, we will
have developed for the sake of red dot shooting, the bad habit
of looking at the front of the pistol to find the front sight. We
have to change our mindset from being front sight focused to
target focused. This is countered by training and putting in the
repetitions. The wide field of view of the Deltapoint Pro made
this transition easier for me, I can pick up the red dot quickly and
effectively engage my target.
This will take time and training. Contrary to many new
and experienced shooters’ beliefs, adding the red dot does not
instantly make you a better shooter! The red dot only simplifies
two of the seven principles of marksmanship, sight alignment
and sight picture. It does not fix a poor stance, bad grip, or terrible
trigger control. Where the red dot is most beneficial in my opinion
for students and instructors alike, is that one can see what the
dot is doing in relation to your target and your hits on target. For
instance, you can see where the dot is on the target and if you
or the student either anticipates, flinches, or jerks the trigger you
can see where the red dot is in relation to the target, allowing for
Another benefit to using a red dot is utilizing it as a dry
practice training tool, I’ve found that by doing this, I have actually
improved in using my iron sights. During dry practice, I can see
where the dot starts and ends during the prep and fire phase of
my training, this has helped with establishing and maintaining
proper grip, trigger press etc. In essence, the red dot can give
you immediate feedback and allow you to make the proper
Despite rigorous training, the Leupold Deltapoint Pro
maintained its zero throughout the past 8 months of working
with it. Another feature that I really liked about this sight is the
Motion Sensor Technology. This is designed to extend battery
life by automatically deactivating illuminated reticles after five
minutes of inactivity and then will reactivate instantly as soon
as movement is detected. I had no issues with drawing from the
holster and finding the red dot.
Other points of mention; this sight comes with an illuminated
reticle that helps you get on target faster in low-light situations. I
was able to test this during some low-light training at the range.
I really enjoyed how the sight worked seamlessly well with
my pistol mounted light. The set up displayed no issues going
from dark to flashlight and picking up the red dot. I would have
to say that it is most likely due to Leupold’s Twilight Max Light
Management Systems which offer a clearer, brighter image with
three main benefits:
• Better Light Transmission - Maximizes more ambient light in
• Better Glare Management - Reduces more glare through
additional lens coatings and minimizes image washout
caused by stray light.
• Better Contrast & Resolution - Creates a clearer image using
premium edge-to-edge lens prescriptions and HD coatings.
Finally, if you’re looking to implement a red dot into your EDC or
training development, I will say that you have a friend when it
comes to this tool. It’s a versatile tool as it can be used not only
on duty or for your self-defense needs, but also as a training
tool. When applied properly with your fundamentals, you will see
improvement over time.
I found that after putting in many hours on the red dot, it
has increased my ability to pick up on the front sight. I now use
my iron sights as a failure drill exercise, and if both fail, most
encounters happen up close and this will also enhance your point
shooting abilities. For those of us that are aging, the red dot is
a great option as it makes it easier for those to acquire targets
and their sights, which are now dependent on reading glasses for
I have nothing but positive things to say about this red dot
sight. It performed as expected and held up to some long hours
of training. To date, I have put about 3000 rounds through my Sig
since mounting the Leupold Deltapoint Pro NV FDE. I haven’t had
to make any adjustments to it other than the initial zeroing when
I mounted it. Leupold developed the Deltapoint Pro NV FDE for
those that have to rely on their equipment to perform when it
matters most, this company stands by its products and guarantees
them for life, with that alone, it’s worth the investment.
From my experience, Leupold continues to be an innovator
and is consistently rated at the top in the industry due to their
passion to create and be experts in their field. They
truly live up to their motto of, “BE RELENTLESS”.
As always, stay dangerous, keep training,
hope is not an Ops Plan!
LEUPOLD DELTAPOINT PRO NV FDE
SPARTAN BLADES: PROFESSIONAL SERIES
By Trampas Swanson
Within every great civilization, there has been a pivotal blade design for its era. Whether it’s the Roman’s
Gladius to the Japanese Tanto, each was created to meet the specific needs of the day. In the United
States during these current times are fortunate to live in the most culturally diverse country in the world
and can draw on design influences accordingly, as Spartan Blades most certainly do to create some true
ur environment is filled with influences on
Oour daily lives from all around the globe. Our
situational needs can range from extreme
cold to extreme heat survival as well as
hectic urban environments to desolate rural
areas. No matter if it’s for professional,
personal or recreational use, humans still
have just as many needs for an edged tool
every single day as any other point in our
If you’re like me, being fully dressed and prepared for your
day involves a specific list of every day carry items. These
items, depending on your area of operations typically include
some sort of handgun, your personal effects such as wallet
(ID, credit cards, etc), keys to a vehicle or facility (business,
home, etc), cell phone, tourniquet, Israeli bandage and of
course, the most important tool to mankind ever since the
stone age, a good, quality knife.
Depending on what my day entails, my needs for the
essentials may vary as with the type of knife I may need.
Sadly, despite having so many different designs and sizes
of knives to choose from, there really seems to be only two
levels of quality available. Either blades are cheap and made
from poor-performing steel, or they are high end, expensive
combat-influenced creations either production or
custom made from top-end materials.
I grew up hunting with my father and grandfather in environments
where your equipment failing could decide your sheer survival.
As I grew older, I served in tactical operations and specialized task
forces within law enforcement containing the same ramifications
Given a lifetime of solid, real-world experience, I fully
understand the importance of purchasing quality tools such as
knives. For folks who know wholeheartedly what this means,
the biggest task they face is finding a company that produces
products can trust. For me, this company has been one that builds
“knives with intent” as the Spartan Blades slogan goes.
This company, one we are proud to have worked with
before in PMCI, is located in my birth state of North Carolina and
founded by two retired Special Forces snipers and former Private
Contractors, Mark Carey and Curtis Iovito. Not only do these
gentlemen set an amazing example as outstanding Americans
for their service but continue their service in the form of creating
exceptional fixed blade and folding knives for military, private
military, law enforcement and first responders around the world.
The designs come from not only “in house” creators based on
firsthand experience and user feedback but Spartan Blades also
collaborates with top designers in the industry such as Les George,
Tu Lam and knife legend, William Harsey.
Spartan Blades easily represents the upper end of quality
knives in the industry with numerous awards for their designs
and innovate but unfortunately, these blades are also considered
expensive for the average person’s budget. As fate would have
it, Spartan Blades was able to find a way to offer professionals
and civilians alike great blades in a more budget friendly Spartan
Blades Professional Grade series of impressive designs. By
teaming up with an iconic American brand in the knife Industry,
Ka-Bar Knives, Pineland Cutlery was born. In this article, we’ll
look at just how this new venture came to be and the outstanding
blades that make up the new Pro Grade also known as their Silver
THE PINELAND CUTLERY FAMILY
To quote Spartan Blades co-founder, Curtis Iovito, “Pineland
Cutlery is named for the fictitious country, ‘Pineland’ that includes
13 counties in North Carolina, and is the place where the Special
Forces Qualification Course - otherwise known as the “Q Course”
- is conducted. Given Spartan Blades’ deep roots in SF, Mark and
I thought this would be a perfect name to use for the new joint
venture between their company and Ka-Bar Knives of Olean, NY.”
According to Iovito, it all started in 2016 during a joint knife
venture between Ka-Bar and Spartan Blades to product 400
EK Dagger reproductions. During this time, the two companies
discovered many shared ideals in manufacturing processes and
support of the armed forces. As the project progressed, a true
friendship between the two companies emerged. At one point,
Curtis Iovito passed a humorous remark to Ka-Bar CEO, John Stitt
about the company purchasing a certain small knife manufacturer
in eastern NC. For those familiar with Iovito’s impressive intellect
and quick wit combined with a signature steely look in his eyes
that makes you wonder if he’s serious or joking at times, one
can only imagine what the climate in the room could have been
with that remark. While it did not lead to Stitt stroking a Ka-
Bar check to purchase Spartan Blades, it did lead to months of
discussions and lawyers to give birth to a new superpower in the
knife industry, Pineland Cutlery.
With the formation of Pineland Cutlery with a DBA as Spartan
Blades, Mark Carey continues to handle the day-to-day operations,
sourcing of materials, logistics, and financial end of the company
while Curtis Iovito is still involved with manufacturing, product
development, and marketing. John Stitt is the CEO of both Ka-Bar
Knives and Pineland Cutlery while overseeing the production of
the Pineland Cutlery Silver Line of knives out of the Ka-Bar factory
in Olean, NY according to their website information.
With the formation of Pineland Cutlery, Spartan Blades now
had the resources and manpower to offer top quality blades
featuring intelligent designs and legendary quality at better
pricing. Spartan Blades state the knives in the Pro (Silver) series
will all feature 1095 Cro-Van steel with full tangs running through
the grips and average a hardness ranging from 56 – 60 HRC. The
handles will all be created from canvas micarta which from my
experience offers a solid purchase on the grip regardless of the
knife being wet or dry. Each knife features a well thought out
locking Kydex sheath that can be mounted using multiple options
and be accessed quickly and easily with either hand.
The initial three knives that make up this new series are all
designed from award winning designer, Curtis Iovito himself and
include the Machai, Damysus, and Alala. Earlier this past summer I
was fortunate to obtain a sample of each of these knives to take a
close look at their design, intended application and performance
in the field over the past few months. Let’s check out how each of
these different blades size up!
Machai – Named for daemons (spirits) of battle and combat in
Greek Mythology. This is the largest and visually most impressive
of the three blades. The heavy, 6.625” re-curved blade of this
knife is the obvious outstanding feature of the Machia. It’s big, it’s
bad and very intimidating at first glance. The smart design with
an overall length of just over 10” and flat ground blade make it
perfect for chopping. With our media group’s extensive work in
the realm of Bushcrafting made this knife a “no-brainer” to add
to my camping gear.
Medium to small branches are no match for the Machia. I
enjoyed at the re-curved design works well for limbing up and
sharpening make-shift tent poles and stakes quickly without
having the bulk of a full-sized Kukri. (The design is also great
for cracking open coconuts poolside when not working in the
The 3/16” wide spine held up very well to batoning the
blade through firewood when needed as well. Its overall size
made lashing it to my pack a better method of carry than
hanging on my belt to get snagged by branches and vines.
The Kydex locking sheath featured straps with plenty of length
to weave into the Molle loops of my pack to hold the knife
Despite the constant the wet climate of the Florida forests
and swamps, the black powder coating helped the blade resist
moisture and rust very well despite not being regularly cleaned
after hard use. The listed weight of .668 lbs may not sound
like a lot but when you hold the Machai in your hand, you
don’t think about it being just a knife, it feels like a Craftsman
brand tool ready to be put to hard use. Retailing with an MSRP
US$199, this is a solid combination of price and quality in a
proven design that won’t let you down when your survival is on
the line. (Editor’s Note: For those who are fans of the Spartan
Blades / Ronin Tactics Shinto knife, consider the Machai a
slightly less sexy version for almost half the cost. If you have
wanted a Shinto without the price tag, this may be your best
Damysus – Named for the fastest of all giants in Greek
Of the three blades in the Professional series, the Damysus
best reflects its Ka-Bar combat knife heritage. The hefty Drop
Point 5.5” Flat Ground blade with its thick .1875” spine and
10.75” overall length is a perfect fit for a battle belt or “Go” bag.
Like the Machai, the listed weight of .56 lbs. doesn’t seem
like much on paper but when you are using the Damysus to cut
deep into a slab of meat or attempt to quarter a 750 lb. elk in
the field, the balance, handling, and weight will smoothly slice
Due to the lack of tapered swedge of top of the
blade, the drop point offers a much stronger tip
than most knives in this size. I have used the Damysus on several
campsite settings and outdoor cooking set ups to process tinder
and firewood. This blade held up much better than lesser knives
tested in which the same situation cost the tip of many of them.
The flat ground blade makes for a solid camp knife or multi-use
The blade profile strikes me as a heavy-duty version of one
of my favorite William Harsey designs, the Difensa, a flagship
knife from the Spartan Blades Elite Grade line. In my opinion,
the Difensa is one of the best examples of weight, balance,
durability, and fast handling in a fixed blade knife that I have
ever encountered. With the Difensa retailing for $425, I consider
being able to purchase a rugged, hard use version of this knife
in the form of the Damysus for literally half the price with an
MSRP of US$195 is one of the best values in the knife industry.
Like the Machai, the PALS / Molle compatible Kydex sheath
that ships with the Damysus offers the same mounting options
with or without the straps for gear or belt carry. Originally, I
carried this with the standard straps attaching the sheath to my
outer gun belt from Ronin Tactics. After taking a few instructor
courses in St. Augustine, FL, I did not like how low the knife
rode on the belt, so I removed the mounting plate containing
the straps and replaced it with a G-Code high ride Molle
attachment. This set the knife’s grip at the same level as my
pistol to establish a master grip on either with the same draw
stroke and effort.
Overall, the multiuse size and profile of this knife is what
many have been wanting for to fit their budget. When I was
a SWAT sniper with a supervisor pay grade, I could not have
afforded a Difensa, but even as a slick sleeve rookie, I would
have scrapped up enough extra cash from working football
game details to have been able to carry a Damysus from
Spartan Blades. For fans of the classic Ka-Bar combat knife,
THIS IS, in many ways, the modern production fighting knife of
the millennia to fit many operators’ and civilians’ post COVID
Alala – Named for a Greek battle-cry or war cry
Why end the list with the smallest of the three knives you may
ask? Because this is truly a case of saving the best for last in the
fact that I spend every day with this blade. As a writer, hunter,
field tester, instructor, businessman, husband, and father of 2, my
typical day is far from being typical. I may be dropping the kids
off as school, dropping off challenge coin and custom patch orders
off at the post office, hitting the swamp to test survival equipment
or jumping onto the range for private lessons on any random
Monday through Friday. Weekends are spent teaching classrooms
full of students from new shooters to NRA and USCCA instructor
workshops. I legitimately work seven days a week and so does
my Alala from Spartan Blades.
With a simple phone call or change in weather, my day may
change 180 degrees from the game plan and send me in a totally
different direction. I need reliable equipment that can blend into
polite society and not stand out. The Alala does jus this while still
giving me a fast handling, razor sharp blade that I can carry on
my belt with my shirt untucked and pulled over it for quick access
opposite of my concealed firearm if needed.
Retailing with a MSRP US$159, the Alala offers a high quality,
razor sharp 3.75” blade with an overall knife length of 7.88”.
The thick 0.1875” spine allows for hard use throughout most any
daily chores. Like its larger series mate, the Alala features a Flat
Ground Drop Point blade that can pierce, slash, and cut deeply for
its size. The 0.294 lb. weight of the Alala feels like I am holding an
expensive 10mm wrench in my hands when using it due to the
familiar contours of the grip and crosshatched checkering of each
knife in the Professional (Silver) series.
I primarily carry the Alala on my left side outside my
waistband on my belt opposite of my concealed carry pistol on
my right for several reasons The first is the ability to access easily
with my nondominated hand in case I ever must fight for my
carry gun. This concern is unfortunately from the experience in law
enforcement of having to fight someone off trying to unholster
my duty weapon while attempting to take them into custody.
Proper placement of a quickly deployable knife on the opposite
side has been proven to make short work of potentially lethal
Secondly, I like the balance of having the knife’s weight counter
that of the carry gun on the opposite hip. Often, my weak hand
is used to make cuts while my strong hand holds the item being
cut in place. I have used this blade from cutting tags off clothing
to cleaning squirrels and white tail deer. (Yes, I do clean the blade
after meat processing) Formerly, my belt carry option was a SOG
Pillar until the Alala simply outperformed it in all aspects from
construction, application, cutting ability and edge retention.
The Kydex sheath does not offer any mounting straps, only
one designed for a secondary retention should you feel the highly
effective sheath lock isn’t enough. Several of my colleagues have
chosen to conceal carry these blades inside the waistband using
a multipurpose UltiClip which clamps down in a vise-like fashion
into your clothing. I personally decided to just mount the sheath to
a Blade-Tech quick release belt mount for easy on / off application.
Thus far, through daily carry, pushing through thick vegetation
moving through the woods hunting and out field-testing gear, the
sheath and mount have held up with. I freely admit, I am not the
type of person that cleans my gear regularly after every outing
but the Black Powder Coat that comes on each of the blades in this
series has held up very well from scratches, rust and discoloration.
Over the past six years, I have gotten to know the founders of
Spartan Blades both through professional opportunities as well as
personal avenues with Curtis’ history working with my cousin, PMCI
Magazine’s own Shawn Swanson. I can honestly say, these guys
are what America is all about. Mark and Curtis love their country
and have sacrificed the bulk of their adult lives to its service doing
things most folks will never have the courage or guts to do. To
this day, these men proudly pursue living the American dream of
business owners providing top quality products they themselves
would count on with their lives.
In my opinion, the Spartan Blades Professional (Silver) series
does nothing short of delivering on what the company and its
founders stand for. Not everyone can afford a US$450 Canadian
Specials Forces combat knife, nor do they probably have need for
one. However, this new series of professional quality blades at
a more budget friendly price does offer just as many benefits to
the average working man and woman. Moving into 2022, Spartan
Blades has already announced three more blades
to be added to the series with more collaborations
coming from the icon himself, Bill Harsey! So, if
you’re looking for top quality and mission ready
products, make www.SpartanBladesUSA.com your
next stop. Train Hard and Continue the Fight my
FIREARMS - UZI PRO
UZI PRO: THE TRADITION CONTINUES
By Trampas Swanson
Few firearms throughout history are more recognizable as the iconic Uzi! It’s short, stocky appearance
fitted with a seemly endless stream of 9mm ammunition via 32 round magazine and a cyclic rate of
600 rounds of minute made it a Hollywood action movie dream, and certainly has endeared to Trampas!
First designed by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal in the late
1940s, Israel Military Industries (IMI) produced
the Uzi platform from 1950 to 2005. The unique
platform was originally meant to be a family of
Israeli open-bolt, blowback-operated submachine
guns in carbine, pistol (Uzi Mini), and micro Uzi
pistol form. By incorporating a telescoping bolt
design, the overall design allowed the magazine
to be housed in the pistol grip for a shorter weapon
profile. This made the Uzi very popular with elite military and
law enforcement units around the world such as the Israeli
Defense Forces, the German Bundeswehr and even the US
Secret Service. Perhaps one of the most famous images of
the Uzi being deployed into action is that of US Secret Service
agents responding to the shooting of President Ronald Reagan.
As with many original full-auto designs such as the MP5,
Tech 9 or Mac 10, a semi-auto redesigned to fire from a closed
bolt came about to meet civilian sales regulations.
Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, the Uzi platform was
very popular amongst civilian shooters and collectors. Movies
that spotlighted the Uzi such as “Big Trouble in Little China”,
“Delta Force” and “Escape from LA” drove viewers to their local
gun shops. Sales totaled over 2 billion dollars in the just the
United States market alone by the end of 2001!
Entering the new millennium, IMI sold its small arms
division (Magen) that manufactured the Uzi line of firearms
in 2005 to the privately owned SK Group and rebranded
the company to Israel Weapon Industries (IWI). In 2010, IWI
released an updated version of the Micro Uzi named the Uzi
Pro. Keeping up with the times, this new model was offered in
a semi-auto pistol with an optional stabilizing brace variant to
go along with the traditional military / Law Enforcement fullauto
variants complete with folding stocks.
As a long-time fan of the Uzi lore, I have owned an original Uzi
carbine short barreled carbine rifle (SBR) since 2012. I decided
last year to take my collection to the next step by obtaining a
sample of the Uzi Pro. Upon unboxing the Uzi Pro, the familiar
subgun heft of a brick with a handle still felt like a classic Uzi
despite polymer being used in the lower section of the gun
to lighten frame. Weighing 4.5 lbs, the Uzi Pro offers enough
weight via the steel reinforced polymer lower and steel receiver
to absorb recoil but not too bulky to make it unwieldy.
As I went over the gun, I took inventory of several updates to
the original Uzi Micro design. I was very impressed with what I
discovered throughout. The most noticeable was the relocation
of the charging handle from the top to the left side of the
receiver. This was an excellent decision by the manufacturer
to speed up reloads along with a relocation of the magazine
release from the bottom of the grip to a traditional right side
location of most pistols on the market. This keeps the gun in
action more efficiently for right-handed shooters by dropping
magazines with the firing hand thumb and using their support
hand to charge the weapon much like an HK MP5 or FAL.
Replacing the original top-mounted charging hand was a
Picatinny rail for mounting optics such as an RMR or Holosun
red dot. Integrated into the trigger guard was a forward
mounted Picatinny rail for mounting a white light. The addition
of these two rail options really brings the Uzi platform into the
21st century with fast sight acquisition and target illumination.
IWI’s redesign added three safety features to the Uzi Pro
as well with a thumb safety, a three-position grip safety, and
a firing pin block. With the super compact size of the Uzi Pro,
these features are a must to prevent any accidently discharges.
Unlike past Uzi models, the Uzi Pro is only offered in 9mm.
Current production comes standard with a threaded barrel
for use with a suppressor to round out the complete battle
The Uzi was shipped with a cumbersome folding rubber
arm brace that simply added bulk to an already heavy pistol.
In my opinion, Uzi Pro wasn’t complete until the SBR tax
stamp arrived from the ATF and I was able to legally add a
wire stock from Title II Arms (www.titleiiarms.com). This stock
is reminiscent of the original Uzi Micro design and gives the
Uzi Pro a sharp, professional look. With the simple removal of
the spring-loaded hinge pin, the arm brace detached, and the
modest rubber coated wire stock slipped into place.
UZI PRO SPECS
Magazine Capacity: 20 Round, 25 Round
Barrel Material: Cold hammer forged, CrMoV
Overall Length 9.5”
1:10 inch twist, Right hand
Adjustable Target Sights
US$1,100 - US$1300
FIREARMS - UZI PRO
FIREARMS - UZI PRO
While waiting for the tax stamp to arrive, fellow PMCI writer,
Jim Wenzel and I along with our good friend, John Phillips aka
“The King of Kydex” at Survivor Creek Tactical decided to load
up few 20 and 25 round Uzi magazines and start breaking in
the Uzi Pro. Our team headed down Interstate 10 to Baldwin,
Florida to visit Tom Martin at the Baldwin Pistol School. There
we spent the morning shooting, reminiscing about 80’s action
movies and comparing the older style Uzi Carbine with the
newer Uzi Pro.
As we cycled through various loads from different
manufacturers, I noticed the few issues we occurred being
failure to feed issues coming from the 147 grain full metal
jacket (FMJ) loads as opposed to the 115 and 124 grain FMJ
loads. Of the five failures to feed issues, four of them were with
Winchester brand ammunition. The best performance observed
came with 115 grain FMJ loads from Federal Ammunition.
I found the arm brace to provide a solid support for firing
but bulky and unbalanced. John and Jim both commented how
easy the brace made being able to get the full adjustable sights
on target and maintain a solid sight picture throughout their
strings of fire. Compared to the original Uzi carbine, the Uzi
Pro felt slightly “snappier” but it also weighed half that of the
carbine as well.
Once the tax stamp arrived and the wire stock from Title II
Arms was installed, I went back to the range and put over 300
rounds down range while spending the morning hanging out
with my buddy Tom. During that time, I shot only Federal 115
grain ammo with zero issues and respectable 4” free hand shot
groups at 10 and 15 yards for such a short 4.5” barrel. The wire
stock proved a better check weld and fit at the shoulder. The Uzi
Pro kept all shots well within the 9” circle of a standard IDPA
style target. Not only did the Title II Arms stock look better than
the arm brace, but it also easily outperformed it as well.
After almost a year of owning
the Uzi Pro, I have come to really
enjoy owning it. With the design
upgrades and addition of the
wire stock, the gun is simply fun
to shoot. The compact size, highcapacity
magazines and simple
design make the Uzi Pro a great
weapon to throw into a backpack
for long road trips or keep in the
bedside table for home defense.
Retailing between US$1100 -
US$1300, the Uzi Pro is the latest
in the historic linage of the brand.
It puts fans of the Uzi platform
into owning one for under the US$2000 starting price tag of
any other Uzi model. For others, there is a common reaction
I often get when I mention I own an Uzi. “Why on earth do
you own an Uzi?”. As the NRA states in many of its training
programs, firearms are owned for a wide range of reasons from
home defense, competition, duty requirements, or my personal
favorite, simply exercising my Second Amendment rights aka
“Because I FRIGGIN’ want one!” Guns like the Uzi make up the
very fabric of our 2A community for not only our past but our
present and future as well.
If you’re interested in exploring the fun of shooting an Uzi
Pro and experiencing a bit of firearm history for
yourself visit www.iwi.us.com. It’s the duty of
each of us to help grow and share the knowledge
of firearms with others and explore more about
our industry. As for our team, we hope to see you
all on the range one day!
GSL TECHNOLOGY: PHOENIX SUPPRESSOR
By Trampas Swanson
Ask any tactical operator what the number one drawback of high rate of fire is and one of the top answers will
be hearing damage. Some of my closest friends, and myself included, suffer from partial hearing loss from
working with or in extreme close proximity of firearms. Sadly, many outside the professional armed community
do not realize just what an important part of operator safety a quality suppressor can really be!
While some agency and unit heads
uneducated in suppression devices
may shun the stigma of ATF paperwork
or cost of suppressors, Hollywood has
done its fair share as well of skewing
the understanding of what suppressors
truly are and what they are not. To some
extent, even our own gun industry has
been the culprit due to competition
between suppressor manufacturers and marketing large name
brands with under performing products.
Regardless of the arguments, misinformation and excuses,
the fact remains that quality suppressors can save from hearing
damage. Not only does this benefit the end user over time but
during operations as well. Quality suppressors can allow for better
perception of the battlefield through sound detection. This can
be footsteps, verbal communication and much more that could
change the dynamic of a critical threat incident. It’s been proven
time and time again over decades of operations that these tools
Ever since my last years in college going into the police
academy, I have been shooting suppressors in my quest to learn
as much as I could from them. Having grown up hunting since the
age of four, my hearing had already been affected significantly
from the use of large caliber handguns and rifles in conjunction
with regularly shooting shotguns. The bulk of this time on the
range and in the field was carried out without hearing protection.
During my law enforcement career, I was able to work with
suppressors on a broad spectrum from CQB to long range
application. This is when I really began to understand their full
benefits and yes, even drawbacks. Over the past 25 years, I have
seen several different interesting, patented designs. Some were
suppressors that worked well and some that simply weren’t worth
the time, money, or tax stamp.
Recently, I discovered a suppressor company that has been
around for over 35 years named GSL Technology. My first question
was how this company had managed to never pop up on my radar
considering all the great reviews I read in the beginning of my
initial research for this article. Even their designs looked familiar
despite the never hearing the company’s name. As it turned out,
I knew more than I realized when I decided to review the GSL
Technology Phoenix suppressor designed for the MP5 platform. To
better understand the product being reviewed, we need to first
understand the driving force behind GSL Technology.
WHO IS GSL TECHNOLOGY?
While the name, GSL Technology may be new to many in the
suppressor world, the company bares the initials of its founder,
Greg Latka. To say he has been a fixture in the industry for
well over three decades is an understatement. Perhaps you’ve
heard of a suppressor company from Boise, Idaho by the name
of Gemtech? That’s right, THE Greg Latka, former president of
Gemtech for twenty years. What many may not realize is that
most of the suppressor designs Gemtech is known worldwide
for in the professional contracting, military and law enforcement
circles are the creations of none other than Mr. Latka.
In 2017, the colossal firearm manufacturer, Smith and Wesson
purchased Gemtech and moved its operations to Springfield,
Massachusetts. What most people do not realize is GSL Technology
was pretty much the main driving force behind the success of
Gemtech with its innovative designs and licensed patents since
1985. With moving on from the union with Gemtech, new designs
and some innovative redesigns have now begun to surface directly
from GSL Technology into the market.
Based in Jackson, Michigan, all GSL suppressors are proudly
made in the USA within the 25000 square foot facility featuring
state-of-the-art CNC machines. GSL Technology is a certified ISO
9001 manufacturer, perhaps the highest rating you’ll ever find
in the industry. With the top equipment, training, certifications,
knowledge, and superior leadership on hand, it’s clear that this
is a company who completely understands what it takes to be
successful in this industry.
RISE OF THE PHOENIX
As a huge fan of the HK MP5 platform, I love using tri-lug
quick detach suppressors. I have probably shot well over three
dozen designs throughout my law enforcement operations and
civilian instructor careers. Two of the earliest suppressors I could
remember using for the platform were 9mm suppressors from
Surefire and Gemtech. The Surefire design was narrow and
elongated compared to the Gemtech model MK9K. While the
Gemtech suppressors may have been bulkier, in my opinion, it
edged out the performance of the Surefire with the training and
duty ammunition we used at the time.
Flash forward to three months ago when I was on the range
talking with a few suppressor dealers about new products on
the market. During our conversation, I was introduced to the GSL
Technology brand. As I mentioned in the opening of this article,
once I discovered just WHO this company was and the man
behind it, I wanted to know firsthand about their products. The
best way would be in offering to do an in-depth review of some
of their products. I reached out to GSL directly and requested to
test out their tri lug Phoenix 9mm suppressor optimized for use
with the HK MP5 platform.
A couple of weeks after putting my T&E request, the Phoenix
suppressor arrived. As I unboxed it from the simple cardboard
container, I recognized the outside design from years past. The
information I had obtained about the Phoenix being revamped
MK9K design with a more modern updated redesign certainly
looked and felt true. It was everything I remembered about the
original suppressor I had enjoyed from years past. However, after
disassembly, the seven-baffle stack as well as inner and exterior
chamber leading off the blast baffles seemed to take the Phoenix
back to one of GSL’s original patents. Anyone familiar with the
OSS suppressors and their blast diffusion designs will enjoy GSL’s
similar design whose patents predate OSS by a couple of decades.
With an overall 8.75” and 2” in diameter, this isn’t a small can.
To compare this physically with something like an Omega K
suppressor would be unfair. What would be the goal? For sleek
lines and tacti-cool looks? If we’re looking at real world specs such
as balance, maneuverability of host weapon and performance,
then what does size really matter if these things are relatively
equal with one doing its primary job of sound suppression better?
GSL claims on their website page for this specific high volume,
full auto rated suppressor to have a 40 dB reduction in sound. For
those who are familiar with suppressors, you know that is a HUGE
reduction claim compared to others on the market and by that
fact alone, I could not wait to get on the range to test the Phoenix
as soon as possible.
9mm PCCs, 38spc rifles, 357 rifles, and
(300blk-subsonic rounds only)
Sound Reduction: 40 dB
Weight: 18.2 oz.
Hard Coat Anodize
Tri-lock design for HK MP5 Tri-lug barrel mount
***Additional mounts available for IMI Uzi, SIG MPX, CZ Scorpion,
1/2x28 fixed, 1/2x36, and 5/8x24 fixed thread adaptors.
To put the Phoenix through its paces, I packed up my registered
short barrel rifle (SBR) HK SP5K (civilian MP5 variant) and a few
hundred rounds of Federal 115 grain and SIG Sauer 147 grain
full metal jacket (FMJ) ammunition. The rifle and suppressor fit
perfectly in a submachine gun-sized rifle case I had on hand from
US Peacekeeper. After a couple of quick phone calls, I grabbed my
gear and headed out to our host test range, the Baldwin Pistol School.
Upon my arrival, I was met with range owner and retired
law enforcement Detective, Tom Martin as well as retired law
enforcement officer and fellow PMCI writer, Jim Wenzel. With over
40 years of combined law enforcement and firearms training aside
from many more in the civilian world with suppressors, I was
confident the feedback would come from a well experienced and
Starting with the supersonic 115 grain Federal FMJ ammunition,
I wanted to see what the Phoenix could do with our standard pistol
training ammunition. As I braced for the traditional first shot “POP”
of most suppressors, it was more of a supersonic “CRACK” that
rang out from the sonic boom of the round traveling down range
rather than normally at the muzzle. Each following shot was just as
manageable without hearing protection as the first, if not better. I
was very pleased to say the least.
The iron sights on the HK SP5K were previously zeroed using
the 115 grain load to establish a baseline for testing. From 10 and
15 yards, the Point of Aim (POA) versus the Point of Impact (POI) of
the test rounds did not differ. This is a very important aspect when
using any suppressor because you must know the zero of your
weapon at all times for accuracy and liability purposes.
When switching to the heavier subsonic SIG Sauer 147 grain
ammunition, the group first impression was simply…WOW! It was
amazingly quiet. Just as impressive was the POA / POI held true.
I felt the perceived recoil and controllability during higher rates
of fire were easier to manage when using the 147 grain ammo
suppressed versus any other combination being unsuppressed.
It should be noted that after roughly 200 rounds, we discussed
the suppressor didn’t seem to get as hot as fast as other 9 mm
suppressors we have all had opportunities to shoot. Whether that
has to do with the larger size or the revamped internal design I am
not sure, but for all three of us to mention it, there must have been
something to it.
One of my favorite things about using tri-lug suppressors is how
quickly they can be attached and detached with ease. After
extensively testing the Phoenix suppressor from GSL Technology, I
wouldn’t want to shoot my HK SP5K without it now. Other than for
sheer compact storage, I would not consider taking the suppressor
off to shoot at this point. It performed well, balanced the rifle
beautifully and shot spot on with its zero.
As I mentioned earlier, the Phoenix is the largest of the nine
suppressor offerings currently on the market that I know of or have
tested. With its lightweight and balance, its physical dimensions
never came as a factor. If anything, it proved that, with size comes
performance. The GSL Phoenix outperformed all the other 9mm trilug
suppressors I have shot on the market, including vastly popular
offerings from Silencer Co and Dead Air Armament.
I consider the GSL Phoenix one of the suppressor industry’s
best kept secrets that professionals talk about only to other
professionals. At least for now. With the driving force behind one of
the mega stars in the suppressor industry now stepping out from
the Gemtech shadows to finally market directly as themselves, it
is only a matter of time before more customers discover who they
are and have always been. The decades of knowledge, innovation,
precision, and attention to detail without cutting corners are
Retailing for US$932, the Phoenix offers big performance with
a mid-level price point. You can get bigger names for more and
lesser suppressors for cheaper. If there is a digitally rated quieter
tri-lug suppressor, I highly doubt it would be rated better by much.
Regardless, I can assure you it would not be at the same price
point or value for what you get with GSL Technology.
Simply put, if performance is more important than looking cool
using whatever over-marketed company that is currently in vogue,
I would highly recommend trying the tri lug Phoenix for
yourself and enjoy just how impressive this suppressor
Visit www.GSLTechnology.com and discover which GSL
suppressor best fits your needs. Until next time, Train
Hard and Continue the Fight my friends!
WILLIAMS GLOCK 42/ 43 SIGHTS
By Trampas Swanson
One of the most disappointing items to encounter when shopping for a new defensive handgun is to find a
great deal on the pistol you want, but realize, it comes with less than stellar factory iron sights, so Trampas
takes time to look at, and address, this issue with Williams Gun Sight Company!
WILLIAMS GLOCK 42/ 43 SIGHTS
For those who follow my firearm reviews, its no secret,
I really like the Glock series of pistols. Unfortunately,
I really hate the cheap, plastic factory sights with
the ostentatious “U” shaped outlined rear sight and
golf ball sized white dot front sight. I find it a very
distracting to my focus when shooting as it tends to
make one giant bright white blur when addressing
the target quickly.
Recently, I had the opportunity to purchase a Glock
model 43 9mm pistol with a factory installed Crimson Trace laser
unit. With the pistol originally being a writer’s sample sent for
review and the price was hard to say “NO” to once I wrapped on
the article. Unfortunately, despite the great price and features, it
did however arrive with the factory white plastic sights. I quickly
researched my options since the model 42 / 43 were still relatively
new and on a different size platform than other model Glocks. My
good friend told me about a business making top-notch fiber-optic
sights called the Williams Gun Sight Company. After reading up on
the company, I discovered Williams made reliable, defensive and
target model front and rear pistol, rifle and shotgun sights made
from solid aluminum and fiber optics. I immediately ordered a set
of defensive sights with red and green fiber optics to fit the Glock
model 42 / 43.
Within a few days, the new sights arrived from Williams Gun
Sight Company ready for action. Using my MGW Sight-Pro sight
pusher, switching out the factory sights for the new sights was
a breeze. The longest part of the process was simply setting
WILLIAMS GLOCK 42/ 43 SIGHTS
up the sight pusher for the right size and position. The sight
pusher used may be the most recent in a history of over a half
dozen sight pushers and twice the investment of all the others
combined but it is certainly the last one I will ever have to buy.
The interchangeable “shoes” that hold the slide safely in place
from damage and heavy duty all steel construction are well worth
Once installed, these sights were fantastic compared to the
factory offerings. The Glock 43 is a relatively small platform in
relation to a lot of handguns shooters are traditionally used to.
The small slide lends itself normally to small, hard to see sights.
I found the newly installed Williams sights were clear and fast
to acquire when shooting from defensive positions, even in low
I needed very little ambient light to make these sights appear
ready to use.
Prior to using the new sights, I had a concern that the fiberoptic
sights would be so bright, it would distract me from the
target. Fortunately, the sights had the opposite effect. I found the
sights aided my eyes in focusing on the clear green front sight
easier and not get caught up in the tunnel vision of staring at the
target as my main clear focus. The red rear fiber-optics contrasted
starkly to the front sight. The deep “U” cut out in the rear sight
along with the thin profile of the front sight allowed for a great
view of the target while easily keeping “equal height, equal light”
between the two sights. This was excellent in quickly developing
a solid sight alignment and sight picture without confusion of
which sight was which in relation to the target in a split second.
Follow up shots such as quick double taps as well as longer
strings of fire seemed to be seamless compared to the factory
sights. The main reason why would be due to being able to
acquire the Williams brand quicker after breaking each shot and
cycling through the recoil. The snag-free, low profile design of the
sights’ height keeps “height over bore axis” as low as possible.
This resulted in point of aim / point of impact being dead on at
the standard defensive training distance of around 21 feet. The
sturdy all aluminum built sights gave me confidence in durability
during rough use in comparison to the original Glock offering.
Retailing with a MSRP of US$49.99, I think the Williams
fiber optic sights are a great value for what you get. My only
suggestion for the Williams Gun Sight Company would be to
make the rear sights with a squared front profile for an easier one
handed tactical reloads in emergency situations such as having
your dominant hand injured. A completely blacked out rear sight
would be nice to see as well.
Many firearms trainers I know often prefer to only have the
front sight stand out when speed shooting. As the pistol used for
testing is often carried at night, I would like to eventually see the
Williams Gun Sight Company offer a Tritium front sight insert as
well. I realize that this variation to the current sights
would come with a hike in price, many shooters
may feel the cost would be well worth it. Overall, as
a direct replacement for the white “U” outline and
dot Glock sights, the Williams sights are a spot on
quick fix that will place you way ahead of the game
for a very low price.
I'd like to take the time to introduce
you to our model featured left,
a friend of mine named Travis
Partyka, affectionally known as 'Big
Red'. 2-14INF 10th MTN DIV Sniper,
contractor and friend.
Well remembered and sorely missed
27/6/84 - 24/01/21 RIP TP.
Baz, PMCI Team.
GUNSHIP ACE: THE WARS OF
NEALL ELLIS, GUNSHIP PILOT
Al Venter is a specialist military writer and has had 50 books
published, and I’ve had the great pleasure off reading more than
a few of them, but most especially the ones he has written about
the “small wars” in Africa during the1970’s and 80’s. His writing
style is detailed yet easy-going, and it’s a style that I personally
find enjoyable, especially as the facts he illustrates are often
memorable to say the least!
In “Gunship Ace” he chronicles a former South African Air
Force pilot who saw action throughout the region from the 1970s
on, and Neall Ellis is the best-known mercenary combat aviator
alive! Apart from flying Alouette helicopter gunships in Angola, he
fought in the Balkan war for the Islamic forces, tried to resuscitate
Mobutu’s ailing air force during his final days ruling the Congo,
flew Mi-8s for Executive Outcomes, and piloted an Mi-8 fondly
dubbed “Bokkie” for Colonel Tim Spicer in Sierra Leone. Finally,
with a pair of aging Mi-24 Hinds, Ellis ran the Air Wing out of
Aberdeen Barracks in the war against Sankoh’s vicious RUF rebels.
As a “civilian contractor,” Ellis has also flown helicopter support
missions in Afghanistan, where, he reckons, he had more close
shaves than in his entire previous four decades.
From single-handedly turning the enemy back from the gates
of Freetown to helping rescue eleven British soldiers who’d been
taken hostage, Ellis’s many missions earned him a price on his
head, with reports of a million-dollar dead-or-alive reward. This
book describes the full career of this storied aerial warrior, from
the bush and jungles of Africa to the forests of the Balkans and
the merciless mountains of Afghanistan. Along the way the
reader encounters a multiethnic array of enemies ranging from
ideological to cold-blooded to pure evil, as well as examples of
incredible heroism for hire.
And in fact when it comes to Al Venter himself his story is
no less interesting; he started his career with Geneva’s Interavia
Group, then owners of International Defence Review, to cover
military developments in the Middle East and Africa. Venter
has been writing on these and related issues such as guerrilla
warfare, insurgency, the Middle East and conflict in general for
half a century.
He was involved with Jane’s Information Group for more than
30 years and was a stringer for the BBC, NBC News (New York) as
well as London’s Daily Express and Sunday Express. He branched
into television work in the early 1980s and produced more than
100 documentaries, many of which were internationally flighted.
His one-hour film, Africa’s Killing Fields (on the Ugandan civil war),
was shown nationwide in the United States on the PBS network.
Publisher: Casemate Publishers; Illustrated edition (19
Hardcover: 340 pages
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Journey to Perfection
THE GUNFIGHTER GOES GAS!
By Bill Thomas
VeagForceCompany produce some fabulous “6MM TRAINING” gas AR platforms, and work closely with real-world
firearm manufacturers to ensure that their recreations are 100% spot-on, so this time Bill turns his attention
to their take on the BCM MCMR, an absolutely fantastic GBBR “trainer”!
C’mon, anyone who knows me, or that reads PMCI
regularly knows that I am just a HUGE VFC fanboy
when it comes to gas training carbines that mimic
the real-deal down to the smallest detail! VFC are
a company that I’ve got to know very well indeed,
and I’ve used their high-quality, innovative
creations pretty much from the day they started!
I’ve got to know Ray at VFC pretty well and speak
to him these days not just as a trusted contact in
a truly global industry, but also as a personal friend, now of some
That means that when Ray tells me, with his “work hat” on,
that something amazing is coming, I trust his opinion 100%. Of
course when it comes to VFC GBBRs (Gas Blow Back Rifles) I also
have the experience of many years use of their models on the
range, and those models have all had literally thousands of BBs
through them, so I know just a little about how VFC platforms
perform not only as new, but also as they age. Bottom line is that
VFC is a brand that I 100% trust (although like any brand they’ve
had their ups and downs), and the fact that I have a really good
friend inside the company means that I get to know about things
in advance and get all excited but have to say “sorry, my lips are
It’s been pretty obvious that a new model that I have been
massively excited about is the MCMR (M-LOK Compatible Modular
Rail) created by VFC under their new partnership and licencing
agreement with Bravo Company USA, Inc (BCM), and after thorough
and extensive range-testing this magnificent carbine has proved to
be everything I’d been led to believe it would be, and more!
I absolutely adore a GBBR knowing that it’s gone through all
the checks and balances pre-production, thorough torture-testing,
design and re-design, and a carefully controlled manufacturing
process before I part with any cash. I also like a properly licenced
replica as I know then what I’m getting is going to be as close to
the “real deal” as possible, and VFC are past masters at conforming
to all of the aforementioned processes.
I had massively high hopes that the gas version of the MCMR
would be every bit as good as the models, like my SR16, that came
before! I already own a couple of VFC gassers and love them as
both training tools and exact replicas of a firearm that I sadly can’t
own legally here in the UK, and in fact that VFC SR16 GBBR is one of
my absolute favourite “trainers” and has already given me a couple
of years of sterling service and much enjoyment; in fact, if pushed,
I would have to admit that until very recently this has been my
favourite carbine amongst MANY that I own, including my .22LRs!
But then just a few months ago came the BCM MCMR; I had
thought that the SR16 would take a long time before it was knocked
off pole position, but then my dear friend Ray messaged me to say
that he was sending me over the gas version of the MCMR… and
ALL bets were off!
6MM TRAINING - VFC BCM MCMR
6MM TRAINING - VFC BCM MCMR
BCM is, at least to me, such an important brand to finally see in
licenced 6MM form, and you REALLY need to understand where I’m
coming from to fully appreciate what is on offer from VFC!
BCM started in the garage of a USMC veteran in Wisconsin,
shortly after Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. As their website
proudly tells one and all, BCM was founded to support the needs
of Private Security Professionals working in theatres where durable
mil-spec components for their weapon systems were not readily
available. BCM (Bravo Company MFG, Inc.) builds professional
grade weaponry manufactured, reinforced and tested to meet the
unforgiving needs of professional Soldiers, Law Enforcement and
responsible citizens in some of the most high threat environments
in the world, products that are;
“Engineered and built as lifesaving equipment with industryleading
mechanical quality control, BCM lifesaving tools serve US
Military Special Operations Units, Department of Homeland Security,
responsible American citizens and other government agencies at
home and around the world.”
Bravo Company are one of the “good guys”, and their motto
is the classic “Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum” (If You Wish for Peace;
Prepare for War), and everything they create is with this mindset
in place. No shortcuts, no substitutions, no half measures, and
they say go on to say that “BCM was founded to provide militarystandard
weapons systems to the American Warrior. BCM builds
them to be as unbreakable as the people who use them”. Built
using the highest-quality materials and tested to meet the needs of
the most demanding users, BCM equipment increases survivability
in dangerous situations.
Again, you may have noticed in all the reviews I carry out on
replica firearm models that I regularly make use of the words ‘Fully
Licenced’, and it’s something that is very important to me. There
are many ‘replicas’ out there that may on first glance look like the
original that they are designed to resemble, but in many cases it
is just that, a ‘resemblance’ rather than a true reproduction. Whilst
this may seem unimportant, in fact it’s a vital part of how the
industry works as a whole, both real and replica. Development of
any firearm takes years, and costs many thousands of buckeroos,
and both aftermarket parts and accessories form yet another part of
the process. Trademark infringement is a serious matter, and failing
to work with real world firearms manufacturers could see them
withdrawing their products altogether from the replica market.
VFC have worked in total harmony with BCM under their
“BCMAIR” program, even down to using the original design
specifications of the “real deal” to provide a replica with a completely
authentic look and feel. Each MCMR comes with authentic BCM
markings throughout, on the unique “MOD 1 SOPMOD” stock, the
ergonomic and nicely-stippled “MOD 3” pistol grip, both upper and
lower receivers, on the rail itself, and even on the “MOD 0 - 5.56”
compensator at the sharp end, all of which means that this is a fully
tried, tested and fully licenced replica! The MCMR, as a superlative
high-performance GBBR, just looks fabulous, literally now as real as
IT’S ALL ABOUT GUTS
So far so much the same, right? However, it’s all about what’s inside
the GBBR that makes the difference and really gives it some highquality,
Overall the fit and finish of the GBB MCMR is superbly,
gorgeously first rate, right down to the sharp and crisp trademarks,
and I’d go so far as saying that it somehow just feels great, to me
at least. Everything about this training replica is utterly righteous,
and just having it in your hands makes you feel that you’re holding
something pretty darn special!
So what, to me, makes the VFC replica of the MCMR “real”, and the
answer is simple! If you can find a 6MM replica of a specific “AR”
uild quality and superb components, the MCMR also offers realistic
take-down; by splitting the receivers you can remove the BCG for
cleaning and maintenance, again, just like the real thing.
that is 100% exactly like its real world counterpart, that feels, can be
adjusted, and operates (albeit from gas and BBs in each magazine
rather than bullets and propellant) like a real carbine for the same
price I would love to hear about it!
Overall the VFC MCMR is as close to the real deal as you’ll find in
6MM form, and everything is nailed down to look and feel exactly as
it would on the real thing, including the operating system. There are
many steel parts apparent on the MCMR, including the Bolt Catch,
Magazine Release, Selector, Dummy Forward Assist, and Dust Cover.
Also in steel is the Trigger Set which has Firing Pin parts of a totally
new design and a “Non-Cut Lever” steel Hammer Set. VFC tell me
“The new firing pin parts have a deeper installation position to
effectively strengthen (and add) stability, and the improved lower
receiver (a redesign of the internal AR series GBBR lower receiver) is
equipped with positioning holes, so it’s not easy to cause installation
deviation or skew things during operation.”
The steel components continue into a full-travel CNC Bolt Carrier
Assembly with a stronger steel bolt cam pin to mimic the “bolt
carrier group (BCG)” of the real BCM, and this has some real muscle,
especially when it’s married up to the High-Speed (weight increased)
Buffer Unit; VFC have even fitted a steel Buffer Stop to make sure this
added dynamic doesn’t cause damage during continued use!
As with VFCs previous gas ARs this replicates exactly the
operation of the real carbine so your drills need to be 100% the
same; for instance the VFC gas magazines (and the MCMR is fully
compatible with VFCs excellent gas V-Mags) only hold 30 BBs so
your reloads need to be slick and lo-drag. In addition to luxurious
I took the MCMR GBBR to my usual 30m woodland range to chrono
and test, and in terms of power I got a consistent 1.33 Joule/379fps
on a .20g RZR BB using VORSK V8 gas , and upping to .30g RZR BBs
the accuracy was amazing at that range; the MCMR benefits from
VFCs “Guide Hop” technology where you can easily adjust the hop
by using a hex wrench to fine tune via a mechanism in the fake gas
block… gone are the days when you needed to split the receiver to
adjust the hop, or to create a “fettling tool” to do it! Measuring out
70m in the woods I secured one of our “training steels” and had
at it prone… suffice to say that the “gong was a’ringin’” with every
carefully placed .30g BB!
I honestly have fallen in love with the MCMR as a training
platform, as everything just seems “right” to me! I love the BCM
licenced furniture from the stock through the ergonomic pistol grip,
and onto the distinctive M-LOK rail; once again I added a foregrip
and a holosight so it feels comfortable for me, and the overall length
(stock fully extended) of 790mm and weight (with mag) of 1958g is
absolutely perfect in my mind for a “trainin’ iron”!
I’ve now managed to get in some serious rangetime with it (not a
chore if I’m honest!) and the added sense of realism that the gas
operation adds to a platform I’ve already fallen in love with just
adds to the feeling that you’ve got something more akin to a real
firearm in your hands rather than a 6MM version! There are many
gas rifles and carbines out there now that “simulate” the real thing,
and many of them are very, very expensive beasts; having now shot
the MCMR on a sustained basis I can tell you that it will perform as
well as the best.
I have said this of other VFC GBBR models, but the MCMR is far
from being your average “BB gun” and for this reason I don’t believe
you’ll be seeing it regularly in the gaming sphere, but to be perfectly
honest the MCMR hasn’t been designed and made for the mass
market, it’s been created for “those that know”, people and players
that want an 6MM carbine that not only looks fabulous, but one
which operates exactly like the “real deal”! For those that don’t, like
me, have access to the real thing for training purposes or want to
test themselves to the limit on the range without taking out another
mortgage, then this GBBR is just sublime, and I believe that both VFC
and BCM must be very, VERY pleased with what they’ve created…
I KNOW that I am, and once again I am excited to see what my
old friends at VegaForceCompany do with the “BCMAIR”
My sincere thanks go to my good mate Ray at www.
vegaforce.com for helping me to understand “The Way
of the MCMR” just a little more than I did before, and for
sending over the GBBR for evaluation.
6MM TRAINING - VFC BCM MCMR
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