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Archive for March, 2011

Breaking News- EOTAC Website Offline

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Rumors have been swirling since SHOT show that Freedom Group clothing brand, EOTAC would close it’s doors 31 March. Back in February we spoke with FGI representatives about the story. While they didn’t deny, they were much more interested in where the leak had originated. Now, right on schedule, their website is offline. We will bring you more details as they become available.

Help 5.11 Support Public Safety Officers on the Anniversary of 9/11

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

As part of the 10th anniversary commemorating the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, 5.11 Tactical will honor Public Safety Officers involved in incidents on 9/11 and donate all profits from a special line of tactical clothing to three funds that pay tribute to those who serve.

The goal is to donate $250,000 to the FDNY Foundation for fire service and $250,000 for EMS operations, and $250,000 to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. “We are so grateful to the men and women who put their lives on the line for us on 9/11 and every day. This is one way for us to show public safety officers across the country that we will not forget their sacrifices,” explains Dan Costa, CEO of 5.11 Tactical.

5.11 Tactical is using a unique anniversary logo that honors the heroes of September 11, 2001. The emblem features the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and flight number 93 whose brave passengers prevented it from being used as a third weapon. Mike G., a 9.11 First Responder with the Department of Homeland Security explains “We were meeting with Dan (5.11’s CEO) to discuss new product ideas when the talk turned serious and we began reflecting on 9.11 and noted that 2011 would be the 10 year anniversary. I sketched an idea for the emblem on a napkin (literally) and the idea was born.”

This logo will be embroidered on a special line of apparel created specifically for this project. To engage the public, 5.11 Tactical will donate 100% of the net profits from the sale of these apparel items to the three tribute funds. The idea is for people to purchase a logoed shirt, bag, hat or wallet and utilize the logo to engage others to ask about the cause and also contribute. The tactical clothing and accessory company has introduced this line as a way to pay tribute to our brave public servants by raising money for these funds. Anyone who purchases an item will make a donation to the funds and remember the heroes of 9/11.

Al Autry, Vice President of Marketing for 5.11 Tactical whose son is a firefighter explains: “We hope that this fund drive can be one voice in a chorus of organizations that will take this opportunity to show support and gratitude for our public safety officers.”

All in all, it’s a great way to show your support. There are 11 items available. To get yours visit www.511tactical.com.

But wait, there’s more. At SHOT Show, 5.11 offered us one of these caps to give away to our readers. To win, put a comment with your 9/11 memories in the comments section below (use a valid email address). We’ll pick a winner at random tomorrow morning at 1200 GMT.

KÖPPEN Now Available at Dick’s Sporting Goods

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Billed as “Performance Gear for Outdoor Athletes”, KÖPPEN clothing is now available from Dick’s Sporting Goods. KÖPPEN looks to be a mid-price brand that offers many of the features found in more established brands. Unfortunately, it seems that the savings may be the materials side. We really aren’t sure what technologies are being used.

Take for example, the unfortunately named Tsunami jacket. It is available in Black, Nautical Blue and Sunset, it is made from a waterproof/breathable fabric named HYDRO PROTECT. There is no other description, but at $80 chances are good it’s a coated fabric.

Men’s and Women’s jackets, pants, shirts, shorts, and mid-layers are all available. Find the entire KÖPPEN line at www.dicks.com.

AR Magvault

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

We ran across this product and it looks like it might be a good option for those that need to keep your AR-style weapon safe. The AR Magvault is designed to fit into the magwell and lock into place with a key. This will prevent any magazines from being inserted in the magwell or rounds being chambered. The AR Magvault is bright orange so that you know that it is in place. The manufacturer, Gun Vault claims that it will fit virtually any AR-style gun but we suggest you contact them if you are running other than a mil-spec weapon.


www.gunvault.com

SPD 9 – Weight Redistribution Device

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Each year the Army runs a Soldier Protection Demonstration to take examine some aspect of armoring troops and take a look at the state of industry and see how they would solve that problem. Sometimes they issue a new piece of kit based on the results of an SPD and others they use the data to refine requirements.

For example, while 2009’s SPD 7 resulted in the fielding of the Soldier Plate Carrier System, you may not remember last year’s SPD 8 which evaluated scalable multi-threat body armor systems. That one seems to have went quietly into that good night although we hear rumors that TRADOC is using data from that experiment to work on a requirement for a scalable armor system.

Earlier this week the Army released the RFP for the the SPD under the name, “Weight Re-distribution System for IOTV“, not exactly beating you over the head that this is the RFP for the SPD, this has long been the manner in which SPDs are released so that you have to be in the know to look for the right announcement. Even then, the Fed Biz Opps announcement is pretty curt. If you want to see the real requirement you need to go here.

So, this year the theme is Weight Redistribution. Since industry has taken the materials side (woven aramids) as far as it can go at this time, they are now looking at how the load interacts with the body. For several years companies have been developing systems to move the weight of the armor to the hips in much the same manner as the backpacking industry did over 30 years ago. That’s right, 30 years.

Most notably, long time readers of SSD will remember Archangel Armor’s Internal Frame Load Bearing Armor. However, their system recently received a serious redesign shed weight and bulk. Additionally, last year Crye Precision introduced their Structural Kinetic Support System (StKSS) which pairs their armor system with a belt to transfer the load through two staves. London Bridge Trading Company has also thrown their hat into the ring with the Comfort Armor Suspension System (CASS). All transfer the load from the shoulders to the hips.

The Army has been informally looking at several commercial varieties of these systems for some time now and its good to see them finally do something more formal. But, in our opinion, until armor, fighting, and sustainment loads are all looked at as load problems and a common chassis is developed to support them in a modular and scalable manner, then we will continue to see increased weight due to to redundancy.

Specifically, the Army is interested in transferring the weight of the IOTV and SPCS (Plate Carrier) to the hips and sacrum. They are going to look at the tradeoff off between the device’s weight (less than lbs) and how much it increases comfort and performance as well as how increased bulk will affect the Soldier’s ability to move, shoot, and communicate.

Those interested have until April 11th to offer up their solution. Generally, three or four vendors are selected to produce 10 examples of their technology. Then, the Army runs them through their paces. Don’t expect to hear how any of these systems do though. The Army refused our requests for information last year for SPD 8.

Mayflower Bringing Back Direct Sales 1 April

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Trying to decide what to do with that end of month pay check? We’ve got a great suggestion; buy some of that Mayflower kit that has been out of stock everywhere. If you are game, you’ll have your chance starting 1 April, 2011 when Mayflower, listening to overwhelming customer requests, brings direct retail sales back to their site. They’ll still support their full dealer network, but this gives consumers the opportunity to purchase products that are normally stocked at retailers.

You might be thinking that it has been awhile since you’ve seen anything new from Mayflower but rest assured, they have been working on specialized kit for certain clients as well as refining their current line. In fact, versions of some of those special projects will start migrating to the mainstream soon. In the near-term, Mayflower has converted all of their chest rigs to hybrid configurations featuring their Swiftclips. They can be used with a removable H harness shoulder strap or attached directly to Velocity Systems armor systems. For example, the 5.56 rig above is one of the new hybrid configurations.

Both Mayflower and Velocity Systems gear are Berry compliant. www.mayflower-rc.org

Tac Apps – Milidroid Blog

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

We’ve been covering tactical software for some time now and have been kicking around the idea of combining them under a category like Field Gourmet or Corps Strength. So, we’ve done it and it’s called Tac Apps.

For our first post we’d like to introduce you to Milidroid Blog. It is a “one stop source for all thing military related to the android platform and associated equipment. We bring you industry news, articles on apps that may be of interest to those in the military, product announcements and reviews.” The US Army has shown a great deal of interest in the Droid platform so please check them out and Like them on Facebook.

www.milidroid.com

More Info on NWU Type II / III

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

We had planned on waiting until the CNO chopped on an instruction for the new Navy Working Uniforms Type II / III until we wrote anything more on them, but our friends at KitUp! got a chance last week to speak with the CNO about these new uniforms. This of course unleashed a torrent of emails and phone calls asking us what we knew about the program.

Despite the lack of formal paperwork new Navy uniforms are being procured and fielded. What’s more, they will soon be seen in a combat zone near you.

Naval Special Warfare operations and direct support personnel already have a combat uniform in both AOR I & II in the form of the SOCOM issued PCU Level 9 which began fielding over a year ago. Additionally, they will now have the NWU Type II & III for use based on mission profile as well as for garrison and limited training use. These are supplied by the Navy and are the same uniforms that all Sailors who have traditionally worn cammies will now wear. For the most part, this means NSW and Naval Expeditionary Combat Command but there will also be some additional personnel who will wear these uniforms based on duty position and or mission.

There were two versions of the NWU II / III in test. While there had been rumor of a near mutiny over the uniform’s features, a selection was made. Version 2 won out and it is the more “combat” oriented style of the two. The biggest compromise in the design is the inclusion of straight chest pockets but the flaps are tapered. As you can see from these drawings released last year by the uniform task force, they include features now considered standard in many commercial tactical clothing designs but lacking in other government issue uniforms. Of course the exception to this is the PCU level 9 and you can see some inspiration from that uniform in this new NWU style. The two uniforms are quite complimentary. This design is locked in, at least for the time being, and as quickly as these are being produced, even if any changes were to be made, they wouldn’t make it into the field for some time.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Even though it doesn’t seem like it, production and issue is moving rapidly. All Navy personnel authorized to wear the NWU Type III should have their uniforms by the end of calendar year 2011 including reserves. Wear of the current Camouflage Utility Uniform is slated to end in the Spring of next year. Remember, for many years before the GWOT the standard garrison and deployed uniform for Naval Expeditionary forces was woodland cammies or CUU. Concentration on the Type III makes sense as the majority of these personnel will be based in or deployed to wooded or jungle environments where that pattern is most appropriate. A desert pattern is truly expeditionary in nature.

The only real question at this point is which desert pattern will the Navy adopt as a service? Our bet is on AOR I for the desert pattern for all Naval expeditionary personnel (including Spec War) if for no other reason than dollars. It is simply cheaper to put everyone in the same pattern. Early on, there may have been a question about whether NSW’s desert uniforms would be paid for by SOCOM or Navy but at this point the funding lines have been drawn by uniform type. SOCOM pays for the Combat uniform and Navy pays for the Field uniform. Combat uniforms only go to NSW, field uniforms (Type II / III) go to all Expeditionary forces including NSW.

Uniformity in pattern would be nice as well. Why have two versions of the NWU Type II? There’s so much bleed over between NSW and the rest of the Navy’s expeditionary force that they often work together. Why give the enemy the advantage of figuring out who is what, based on their clothing? One of the reasons that a Navy Instruction still hasn’t been released for the new NWU variants is most likely the question of desert camouflage and the future of the NWU Type II.

We also had a couple of other points that we wanted to address.

At some point in this article we had to shoot-in-the-face the rumors that the reason the Navy did not adopt AOR 1 for all expeditionary personnel was that the Marines told them they couldn’t use it. We have no idea where it originated but it is utter nonsense.

Additionally, we have no word yet on issue of additional organizational clothing such as hats, gloves and foul weather gear.

Finally, the Anchor Constitution and Eagle emblem embedded in the NWU blue camouflage has also been embedded in both AOR 1 & 2 patterns for these new uniforms.