Blinded by the Light!

SLEHTQTBXJO543JEINV060What do you get when you cross a state of the art Coast Portland flashlight with a badger? You get the HP7R, a light that never says die!! The light ships.more as a kit than it does a single product. In the box are two rechargeable Li batteries, a AAA battery pack, USB wall wart, belt clip and a vehicle/wall mounting clip!!

Whew! That’s a lot of stuff!! I was shocked to see what all was in the box…coast has been a long running leader and innovator in the realm of lighting technologies and thieving cements that spot in my opinion. I’ve been using the HP7R as an EDC light for quite some time and have logged a few charges in on the batteries.

So where to start….

The construction is rock solid with a recessed clicker switch at the rear. Every button press is rewarded with a discernable “CLICK” letting you know that it’s been pressed as you cycle through its modes and it’s nonslip rubber cap keeps water and debris out.

At the opposite end is Coast’s signature lens and easy to use focusing technology. The lights that Coast make are awesome…not only do they throw brilliantDSC_0512 spots and smooth floods, but they are rugged lights that can take a lot of abuse!

It’s been dropped, kicked, tossed, stepped on, covered in snow, frozen over night… If you could imagine it, it’s happened, and this light just keeps on going! It’s been part of my EDC for several months and found a permanent home in my Tactical tailor shoulder bag. The light and spare rechargeable battery take up little room and add little to no weight. The runtime is as advertised with really fast recharging from any USB based outlet.

DSC_0511Aside from the two batteries, AAA battery adapter and various charging hardware the really cool items in the box are the belt clip and wall/car mount. They are made from impact resistant polymer and ready to wear or mount. Plus the light clamp on both rotate putting the light at any angle you could want!

Soo, what’s got me glowing about this flashlight?

Is it the single handed focusing of the beam?

Could it be the sliding metal ring on the tailcap that protects the micro USB charging port?

What about the charge indicator light or the fact that you can charge the batteries outside of the torch?

All of these are great features that make for spectacular piece of equipment but what’s really the bright spot here is the strobe. All tactical lights strobe. It’s a great way to get attention, signal and distract our dazzle an aggressor. Some flash fast and some slow… But this one does both!


DSC_0510You get the idea! What a great feature! Now my testing methods are anything but scientific and typically involve a heavy application of the empirical process… The study group was comprised of friends and coworkers and testing was done in a “surprise” manner. This method allowed me to obtain genuine reactions and all exposures were followed by the obligatory “was that bright or what!?” statement and observations were made of the subjects verbal and physical response. Responses ranged from “oh yeah!” to phrases I would rather not repeat!! But most participants had the same reaction to the strobe… Hands covering closed eyes, walking stopped and 80% were generally irritated by it. The strobe is an effective attention getter and stuns subjects extremely well. in a defensive situation it would be more than effective in helping you get away from an attacker and an offensive application would definitely aid in subduing a subject.

All in all, the Coast HP7R is a great light that can take an immense amount of abuse an keeps on going. If your in the market for a light for your pack or pocket, look no further.

Click here for more information or to order yours…

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Range Day!

petersEarlier in the week my father, uncle, cousin and I went to our favorite local range. It had been predetermined at our Christmas party that a guys night out with gratuitous gunfire followed by a very unhealthy yet satisfying meal was required! After much wrangling of schedules and a plethora of text messages it was decided Tuesday night up at Peters Indoor Gun Range.

My father and I assembled our arsenals and ammo, holstered up and headed out the door.

We walked into Peters and were welcomed by sounds of gunfire on the lanes and a friendly hello from the guy behind the counter. My uncle arrived and the three of us began shooting the breeze until my cousin showed. We had to shoot something, we were at the range after all! After paying the range fees, which are quite reasonable there, and buying some target ammo we went out and picked our lanes. I was first on the line and ready to go…BAM! BAM!! BAM!!! My P95 roared into action and readily devoured the new Liberty Ammunition +P rounds I had just gotten for it.

This was my first time using +P ammunition and I was really blown away! Of course there’s always that bit of hesitation knowing that your running high pressure ammo and turning your pistol into a hand cannon but I was really surprised by the performance. Not only were these rounds more powerful but they were lighter because they were lead free. The reduction in weight not only made carrying more comfortable but I found my gun to be more controllable making my follow up shots or double taps more accurate! In fact,my Ruger ran like a top and the report was so loud I found myself surrounded by the trio trying to figure out who was shooting the “Big Gun”!

After the initial “Shock and Awe” wore off I dropped into training mode and gave my gun and the new rounds a work out.

The night was really a lot of fun and everyone got to try each others guns. My uncle had a sharp .22 target pistol that was spot on and a breeze to keep on target shot after shot. It had a detachable laser that was…well…detached due to a lack of batteries! I can only imagine how well it works with the laser on! 

My cousin brought a few of his guns to shoot and share but the high point was when he produced our grandfather’s .451911 that the family’s patriarch used while in the Pacific. The old gun showed its age with all the grace and class you would expect of an old warrior. The wooden grips pressed into my skin as I sighted down the slide. I squeezed the trigger and she jumped to life…Through the muzzle flash and smoke I could almost make out the shapes, shadows and dangers of the South Pacific Jungles and her tunnels.  For a moment, just a moment, there was connection that spanned time and death and it felt as if he was there with us, smiling in approval… Another piece of the puzzle that is my grandfather as a young man at war was on the table but we were still no closer to putting it all together. The man epitomized the “Quiet Professional” about his time in the service and made it seem dull and mundane even though his photographs, official papers and medals would suggest otherwise.

coneyAfter much throwing of lead and rending of paper targets our range time expired and we regrouped at the nearest National Coney Island to debrief. Rehashing our range time, we talked of things of men till our testosterone levels were restored and decided it was time to part ways! A great night was had by all and I look forward to doing it again.

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Home on the Range…

logoWhen I get new products to review I try to do so in a timely fashion but every now and then something comes along that cant be fully tested in a few months and then written about. This product from TYR Tactical is one such item. I have used it for almost a year in every possible way from fishing to hiking to working around the house and found it to be tops.

 Enter the TYR Tactical Gunfighter Belt!

Boy, is this thing is cool…designed to carry your sidearm and a slew of MOLLE/PALS pouches, the belt really adds versatility to your mission configurations. The pouch and gear options are endless and I found it easy to kit out! The Gunfighter is well made with two rows of webbing and removable hook loop secured padding. The cobra buckle is nothing short of amazing. It opens and closes with ease but will not open under load, which is a nice thing considering the Gunfighter pulls double duty as a riggers belt and can save your butt from falling out of your tree stand or into a raging river from your favorite cliff side fishing spot!

Functionally, its all there…The two rows of webbing are more than adequate to hold your accessories andbelt1 pouches in an organized and secure manner. The construction and finish is spot on and holds true to the quality craftsmanship that TYR Tactical is known for. After all my abuse, not a single popped stitch and the hook loop for the padding is still as good as new. Top of the line materials make up the construction and the design has been well thought out. I found the Gunfighter Belt to be comfortable to wear and easy to customize. From a tactical perspective you can setup it up for a specific load out and throw it in your cruiser’s trunk…Grab it when you need it and be mission ready in a single click!

cobraFishing and Hiking provided an opportunity to test the feasibility of a heavy kit being put directly on the hips…It worked great! The removable padding helped to ease the load and its air mesh construction substantially reduced chaffing and sweating. The big attractor was that the belt and gear was able to be worn over heavy coats and jackets! So how did it work? Like a charm! Having all my necessary gear around my waist was a lot more comfortable and accessible than I thought it would be. Everything was right where I needed it and within reach. 


Now, I’ve told you about how it works…how its constructed…and how it performed…now let me tell you how it “Feels”. Don’t pretend to act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Think back to when you first tried on the tac gloves with knuckle protectors…the fit was good, materials were comfortable and they breathed well but how did they “Feel”? You know how it was, you felt unstoppable! You felt as if you could halt the rotation of the earth and pound your enemies into submission!!! Well here’s my take on the Gunfighter Belt…

So I take the belt out of the bag, adjust it and put it on…Hmm…ok, it’s a belt. I go to the back of the house and kit it out…on goes a BDS admin pouch, dump pouch, the Pancake of Death, a SOG Tomahawk and a holster with my P95…It looked good laying there on the bed and had a bit more weight to it than I expected but I put it on anyway…



Somewhere in a deserted western town the saloon’s doors slammed open, a coyote howled an eagle took to the sky because a Gunfighter had just been born!! All I needed was a hat and some boots ‘cause my two kids and the ex were in the other room providing “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”! I’ll let you guess who’s who!! It was great! My gear was secure and easy to get too and the weight rested on my hips in a good way. The ample padding mitigated any shocks and bumps making for a nice and comfortable wear.

All kidding aside, this is one sweet addition to any tactical tool kit. It expands your options of load carriage and helps to improve your operational performance on any mission you take.


Click here for more information and to get yours!

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2013 debrief…

Wow, what a year! We did some great articles about new gear, built a survival/bugout truck and had a few adventures. We looked at offerings from BlueForce, SOG, and INFORCE to name a few. We interviewed Tim Ralston and got some insight into who he is and where he’s headed! Kestrel jumped in with one of their advanced weather meters and CampCo sent us a Titanium Spork! We have some great new products in the que and one that has been a long term test subject.

2014 promises to be a banner year for the Blog with several expeditions planned. We are going to deviate a little from our format and throw in some editorial and possible guest writers! 


On a personal note, I’m glad to see ‘13 go…it was a year of upheaval with way to much drama and tears. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…well I could give the strong man at the circus a run for his money!  I have learned who my true friends are…that family will always have your back and sometimes, things don’t work out the way we planned…and that’s ok because no matter how dark it gets, the sun is still going to rise in the morning!


As always, thanks for reading!

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Ho! Ho!…Oh yeah!

laserlogoI like to train…wait, scratch that…I LOVE to train! The more I train the happier I am, but time and funds are always at a premium which tend to limit my range time. To that end I have featured several products on this blog that have really amped up my dryfire routine and transformed it into something truly useful. But none were quite as fun as this one!

LASER PLINKING CANS! Its even fun to say!! Laser Plinking Cans, there it is again!, are one of the latest in training offerings from LaserLyte. In the package you will find three, count ‘em, three juice can size…well…cans! Insert the included 9v’s, turn them on, depress the plungers and get ready for some rip roaring laser plinking action! FYI..You need to have a laser training cartridge or barrel insert for these to work and those are available on LaserLyte’s site

I set the cans up in my basement and started blasting away…This is a lot of fun and reminds me of how I, like I asume most of us, learned to shoot. By popping cans off an old fence on my grandmas farm. I was just a kid when my Dad took me out back and showed me the in’s and out’s of his old bolt action .22cal. The smell of  burnt powder and the crack of the shot going off, I was hooked.

Now I’m the kind’a guy that has to take things to the extreme and always push it a little farther. Ask anyone who’s been on the receiving end of my wit! Socan1 after much horsing around and behind the back shots I realized there was more to this than just plinking…Can you say multiple target engagement? Taking the cans off the same plane at the 12 o’clock and placing them at the 12, 2 and 6 respectively really gave a good workout on target re-acquisition. Throw in some jumping jacks and burpies to get the heart going and you have a great stress effected training session with direct feedback!

The possibilities are endless…speed drawing…set them three deep for multiple shots at the “same” target until it goes finally goes down… and then there are the friendly competitions! My Mom even got in on the action!

So how do they work? Really well actually! The cans have a sensor in an oval window that detects the laser strike. Once it is received, the internal mechanism releases the spring loaded plunger and “Pow!” the can falls over. Being weighted down by the nine volt battery, they wont roll across the table and hit the floor. Once tipped over, they display a pleasant little side to side rocking motion! When your ready, all you have to do is stand ‘em back up…the plunger depresses and the can resets…that’s it!

Training cartridges are available in several different hand gun / long gun calibers and there is even a universal device that fits into your barrel and listens for the “click” of the firing pin. They will never replace Grandmas fence on a cool summer day but it’s a close second! These would make an excellent gift for the shooter on your Christmas list. Not only are they fun to shoot at but they help build skills and habits that may one day save their life.


Click here to order yours!

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Own the Night with American Technologies Network…

atn logoNight vision, you know you need it but how do you know which one is the right one for you? Well, today is your lucky day! I’m writing this article…there’s a lot of mystery surrounding night vision and a lot of misconceptions out there about their capabilities, none of which I’m going to touch on here. All I will say is this…you get what you pay for. If you have a prepping budget the size of the GDP of Brunei then by all means, get your Gen3 / thermal hybrid, God love ‘ya-hope it saves your life… If your like everybody else go to American Technologies’ website. They have a great site that will help you pick the right device to fit your needs and that’s key…Get what you really need, not what you imagine you need.

To that end, American Technologies Network has embraced the digital revolution creating high performance units for the consumer market, so I present for your reading pleasure the ATN DNVM-2 Monocular!

Coming in 2x, 4x or 6x, this NOD will give you an unparalleled window into all things night! The unit I tested in mydnvm-2 opinion out performed my traditional Gen1 by leaps and bounds. The image clarity is tops and the optics are nice and clear with no “lensing” toward the edges. If you’ve used NVGs before, you know what I’m talking about. The controls are intuitively placed and have a nice feedback “Click” that can be felt even with gloves on. Indicator lights facing the operator let you know if the unit is on and if the built in illuminator is active. The DNVM-2 is contoured nicely and fits well in the hand providing a secure and stable grip. The rubber armor protects the unit from bumps and knocks and provides a some water resistance. It will shrug of splashes and rain but don’t submerge it!

The viewing screen is clear and responsive giving you a nice picture of your target. Now here’s an advangtage over the “green” NODs…this screen is full color! That means your daytime observations will be in living color and your night scenes in black and white. Wait, daytime? What?

That’s right, daytime use! Seeing that the XXX works using digital imaging technology instead of intensifier tubes, there is zero risk of burnout from over exposure! It can double as a spotting scope during the day and pull sentry duty at night! Focusing is a snap and easy to do providing you a crisp image each time. Once you have the eyepiece set, the objective lens out front is adjusted for near and far objects. I was pleasantly surprised by the image quality and lenses in the device…It’s a winner all the way around in my book.

atn1Now, here comes the twist…there are two really neat features that totally blew me away.The DNVM-2 has an video out port on the back!! This means you can connect it to a larger monitor for better viewing, plug it into a transmitter for remote observation or my favorite…hook it up to a portable DVR to catch all your night action!

The second feature that did me in and sold me on the unit was the manual gain control. Other digital units on the market utilize an automatic gain that can really hamper their performance. Not so with ATN. Their manual gain dial allows you to really pull in an image by saturating the sensor or discern details by increasing the contrast of objects. I really love this control and it makes the DNVM-2 all that more valuable in your kit.

As for durability, its there. I drop tested the unit several times both powered on and turned off. It never shut off or failed to turn on after impact. Battery life is impressive and the use of 123A’s helps reduce the unit size that would be needed to house other types of batteries to get the same power density. The only time I had a “malfunction” was when the battery died after several nights worth of use. The unit powered on but displayed static on the screen…a quick battery swap and I was back in business.

In using the DNVM-2 it out performs Gen1 and I would say rivals the performance of Gen2 units in clarity and low light performance. The manual gain dial really made the difference and the detail visible on the screen is amazing. ATN has really broken the mold with the introduction of their Digital Night Vision line. The price is right and the results are nothing shy of impressive.

With the holiday season fast approaching, this would make a great gift for the adventurer who has everything!

For more information and to order yours, click here…

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Got an Axe to Grind?

IMAG0150In the course of doing this blog I have gotten to test some pretty wicked stuff but so far nothing compares to the Gerber Downrange Tomahawk! This thing is a beast! Its one piece construction and unique features makes for a serious bit of kit designed to demolish anything in its path. Nothing is a match for this axe…nothing…Its designed to effect entry through locked doors, sealed windows and if necessary the walls themselves.

The first thing that will strike you, every pun intended!, is the the hand sized and shaped cutout at the top of the axe head. This cutout provides the necessary grip to properly use the pry-bar/nail puller at the other end of the DRT. The blade shape is such that it wedges its way in and splits whatever it hits. It takes an edge really well and can dole out a beating! This became evident when I was breaking down a pallet. Have you ever tried to rip up a pallet? Its never easy…their made of hard wood, have huge nails and are made to take a beating.

So I start going at this thing fully knowing that there’s no one tool that will get the job done…You need a pry-bar and hammer or you can just take the cheater method and cut it up with a saw. Well I had a manly tool and a manly task both at hand and callingIMAG0154 my name! Wack! the first board splintered 2/3ds of its length and came off the nails…Wack! the second board split the same…feeling a bit of my moxie I went after the third board a little too rambunctious…Wack! Ping! The third board split like the others and splinters went flying followed by a ping! The axe had cut so quickly through the hard wood board that the blade went straight down to the driveway…A bit of panic set in and I began to chastise myself for inflicting needless damage to a perfectly good blade. As I withdrew the DRT from the wood and inspected the head I found not one bit of a knick, flat spot or dent! In fact the DRT had taken a chunk out of my driveway!

This is one heck of a tool!!

Now I flipped the DRT around and went after the huge nails sticking out of this new pile of wooden carnage that was once a cargo pallet. The wrecking bar end dug right in pried those suckers out! Never once did it bend, twist or otherwise fail to exceed my expectations. The tapper on the pry end lends itself to easy wedging and prying making quick work of any job at hand.

On the flip-side of the blade is a welded on hammer that just adds to the functionality. The hammer is just as durable as the rest of the tomahawk and generates an extreme amount of impact force from the length of the swing and weight behind it. Did I mention that the entire DRT is constructed from one piece of steel? The G10 grips provide a very secure, non-slip gripping surface and are bolted to the handle.

IMAG0160After the pallet teardown I turned my attention to a section of a hollow core door that I had held onto for just such an occasion. The door went the way of the pallet!! All that was left was splinters and some hardware.

I have saved the best for last…Gerber has thought of everything with the Downrange Tomahawk all the way down to the carry system. Yes, I said system…The DRT comes with a MOLLE compatible method of carry. The device is made from a heavy duty rubber strap that runs vertically behind the axe handle from just below the head with a patch of ballistic nylon with the MOLLE straps all the way down to a kydex sheath for the pry head also attached to ballistic nylon with MOLLE straps. Once secured to your pack, vest or other load bearing gear you can insert the DRT, fasten the retaining snaps and your off!

The head is shielded by a stand alone kydex cover that protects the axe head while allowing access to the grip handle and the hammer head via cutouts. There isn’t anything about this tool that’s not innovative or revolutionary. Gerber has outdone themselves with this one and the Downrange Tomahawk is a tool that would make any Berserker proud while jumping off the prow of their Viking raider!

For more information and to order yours click here….

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