Archive for September, 2019

Army Research Looks at Pearls for Clues on Enhancing Lightweight Armor for Soldiers

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Round, smooth and iridescent, pearls are among the world’s most exquisite jewels; now, these gems are inspiring a U.S. Army research project to improve military armor.

By mimicking the outer coating of pearls (nacre, or as it’s more commonly known, mother of pearl), researchers at University at Buffalo, funded by the Army Research Office (ARO), created a lightweight plastic that is 14 times stronger and eight times lighter (less dense) than steel and ideal for absorbing the impact of bullets and other projectiles.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

ARO is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory.

The research findings are published in the journal ACS Applied Polymer Materials, and its earlier publication in J. Phys. Chem. Lett.

“The material is stiff, strong and tough,” said Dr. Shenqiang Ren, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, a member of University of Buffalo’s RENEW Institute, and the paper’s lead author. “It could be applicable to vests, helmets and other types of body armor, as well as protective armor for ships, helicopters and other vehicles.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy University at Buffalo

The bulk of the material is a souped-up version of polyethylene (the most common plastic) called ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene, or UHMWPE, which is used to make products like artificial hips and guitar picks.

When designing the UHMWPE, the researchers studied mother of pearl, which mollusks create by arranging a form of calcium carbonate into a structure that resembles interlocking bricks. Like mother of pearl, the researchers designed the material to have an extremely tough outer shell with a more flexible inner backing that’s capable of deforming and absorbing projectiles.

“Professor Ren’s work designing UHMWPE to dramatically improve impact strength may lead to new generations of lightweight armor that provide both protection and mobility for Soldiers,” said Dr. Evan Runnerstrom, program manager, materials design, ARO. “In contrast to steel or ceramic armor, UHMWPE could also be easier to cast or mold into complex shapes, providing versatile protection for Soldiers, vehicles, and other Army assets.”

This is what’s known as soft armor, in which soft yet tightly woven materials create what is essentially a very strong net capable of stopping bullets. KEVLAR is a well-known example.

The material the research team developed also has high thermal conductivity. This ability to rapidly dissipate heat further helps it to absorb the energy of bullets and other projectiles.

The team further experimented with the UHMWPE by adding silica nanoparticles, finding that tiny bits of the chemical could enhance the material’s properties and potentially create stronger armor.

“This work demonstrates that the right materials design approaches have the potential to make big impacts for Army technologies,” Runnerstrom said.

By U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

LALO Announces Partnership with MILLBROOK TACTICAL, Expanding Global Reach and Services in CANADA

Monday, September 16th, 2019

San Diego, Ca. (September 16th, 2019) – LALO LLC – dba LALO, a San Diego, California footwear company, is pleased to announce a partnership with Millbrook Tactical, the premier wholesale distributor for military, tactical and sporting goods markets servicing Canada. LALO is a leading manufacturer of footwear that is developed in conjunction with and used globally by Elite Tier One Special Forces Operators.

With multiple locations in Ottawa and Petawawa, ON, Millbrook Tactical specializes in being a full-line product supplier that has partnered with some of the world’s premier manufacturers, including Arcteryx and OpsCore, to name a few.

The team at Millbrook are among the best training-development consultants, firearms and tactics instructors in Canada. As retired members of the Canadian Special Operations community, they are committed to serving their clients with the same dedication that they have served their country for so many years as SOF operators. Not only does Millbrook Tactical specialize in offering the best available gear on the market to the end user, they are also the leader in offering Canada’s protectors with the training they require and deserve to excel in any extreme condition that comes their way.

With LALO’s product philosophy of building products in conjunction with, and for the end user, and the ethos of Millbrook Tactical – those who serve, deserve – special military and LE pricing, the LALO/Millbrook partnership promotes a coexistence of good business and shared values. Couple that with the extended reach now open to LALO, Millbrook Tactical will be on the frontlines of LALO’s expansion in Canada.

“We are very pleased to partner with Millbrook Tactical to distribute LALO products via their sales channels, servicing their customer base. Together with Millbrook Tactical we can focus on delivering world class products and impeccable customer service to the market,” commented LALO CEO Jay Taylor. “Frank and Nancy and their team of seasoned industry professionals share the same vision and values as we do at LALO, to deliver the best quality goods possible to those that put themselves in harms way.”

Frank Paquette and Nancy Desjardins, President/CEO and Vice President respectfully, of Millbrook Tactical, further explain their thoughts as, “Our company missions and beliefs are very similar, so this was a natural fit. Top tier materials designed with invaluable feedback from Elite Operators creates a top notch product that we are proud to offer to our customers.”

Shield Arms Announces S15 Magazine Pre-Order for Glock 46 & 48

Monday, September 16th, 2019

Bigfork, MT, September 16, 2019 – Shield Arms ( is pleased to announce the pre-order launch for our S15 magazine, a flush-fitting 15 round magazine compatible with the Glock® 43X and Glock® 48!

The S15 is a made in the USA double stack steel magazine that provides a 50% increase in carry capacity over the OEM Glock® 43X/48 magazine in the same overall footprint, without sacrificing the legendary reliability that Glock® is known for.

For a limited time we are accepting pre-orders on the S15, as well as a +5 extension for the S15, and an aluminum magazine catch for the Glock® 43X/48, with combo packs available for added value.


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions we’ve had regarding the magazine.

Is it reliable?

Yes! It should be noted that from the handmade prototypes we made in February and March, through the rounds of pre-production samples, to the final geometry we have today, we have never had a single failure to feed or eject. If the mag fit, it functioned, flawlessly.

What took so long?

While it always takes time to create tooling, what slowed us down is that to our knowledge, this magazine geometry has never been done before, so it took a little extra time for our magazine manufacturer to dial everything in.

Even small adjustments to a magazine design take time to change in tooling and test, and we were unwilling to compromise and release the magazine before it was ready. This is not just a range toy.

When will pre-orders ship?

We expect to begin shipping pre-orders in October; pre-orders will ship in the order they are received.

Do I need a metal mag catch since the magazine is made out of steel?

That depends on the shooter. We are offering an anodized aluminum mag catch for higher volume shooters who are concerned that the steel magazine will wear down the OEM polymer catch. It should be noted that our test guns have OEM mag catches, and we haven’t noticed any reliability issues yet. However, if you shoot enough, there is a possibility of accelerated wear on the catch, so if this is a concern, swap it out.


Peacemaker Industries Introduces New Helmet Bag

Monday, September 16th, 2019

Kalispell, MT- The Peacemaker Industries Helmet Bag is designed to conveniently carry a helmet and all your accessories including NVG’s, together in one place. This avoids the frustrating moments of digging around looking for your night vision gear. It also ensures that everything is protected.

The Helmet Bag is made from a durable water resistant fabric with a water resistant zipper to keep your gear dry in wet conditions, while padding around the bag protects items from bumps and drops. The bag features several sturdy nylon carry handles that can also be used as attachment points in larger bags or cases. An included accessory bag fits snugly under your helmet to keep all your gear organized. The inside of the bag is felt lined to further protect gear and to work with Velcro strips. The snowy gray color allows the bag to be used in more covert situations and makes it easier to spot in a larger bag or low visibility areas.

MSRP for the Peacemaker Industries Helmet Bag is $95.00. For further information or to order visit

Max Talk 37: Perspective on Tactical Training Videos: Clarity & Reality Check

Monday, September 16th, 2019

This is the thirty-seventh installment of ‘Max Talk Monday’ which shares select episodes from a series of instructional videos. Max Velocity Tactical (MVT) has established a reputation on the leading edge of tactical live fire and force on force training. MVT is dedicated to developing and training tactical excellence at the individual and team level.

This is a discussion, with video examples, of tactical training videos that MVT has posted. It attempts to give clarity to what is happening in the videos, how tactical training is run with training objectives for specific drills, along with the effects of range restrictions. Max addresses common internet complaints about what the students are doing in the videos, and provides perspective.

This is the fourth installment of ‘Max Talk Monday’ which shares select episodes from a series of instructional videos. Max Velocity Tactical (MVT) has established a reputation on the leading edge of tactical live fire and force on force training. MVT is dedicated to developing and training tactical excellence at the individual and team level.

Max is a tactical trainer and author, a lifelong professional soldier with extensive military experience. He served with British Special Operations Forces, both enlisted and as a commissioned officer; a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Max served on numerous operational deployments, and also served as a recruit instructor. Max spent five years serving as a paramilitary contractor in both Iraq and Afghanistan; the latter two years working for the British Government in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Website: Max Velocity Tactical

YouTube: Max Velocity Tactical

Propper – FREE Morale Patch w/ Purchase

Monday, September 16th, 2019

FREE PATCH w/ Purchase! All orders thru the remainder of Customer Appreciation Month include a FREE limited edition morale patch, while supplies last.

The Baldwin Files – What Next?

Monday, September 16th, 2019

I did some walking around the homestead today. Specifically, I checked and did some minor clearing of an old logging trail that crosses a ridgeline on the “backside” of my property. I have about 56 acres of mostly steep hillsides, and the retirement home I am building is in a central bowl of about 10 acres. When I was a kid, I read about the Native American Tribes east of the Mississippi. They had semi-permanent settlements long before Europeans showed up. It was their habit to clear certain trails of debris to allow their warriors to move quickly and quietly when necessarily in or out of the villages. They used proper camouflage techniques so that those trails would not be obvious to potential raiders from other tribes. Likewise, they took pains to obscure the heavy traffic areas that led to their most productive fishing, hunting, and trapping, locations.

I always liked that idea. I have a one lane paved (public) road that leads to the edge of my property on one side. I do not own it and, therefore, cannot do much with the front door. However, I do like having a not so obvious private backdoor trail off my property that very few know about. Besides the work involved, I do my best thinking – at least I believe I do – when I am moving. Likewise, I have always preferred to give orders, guidance, praise, or admonishment, on the move – rather than in an office. So much so, that it was something of a running joke in at least one of my units. As in, “you know you screwed up if Major Baldwin invites you on a Wisdom Walk”! Lately, I have been thinking a great deal about where I want to take these articles. I already have some in the que in various stages of completion. The fourth and final chapter of the Fighting Load Continuum, something on the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (A-TAP), and another on machinegun crew training that I am collaborating with Kirk on; just to name a few. Still, it seems appropriate that I also open this up to suggestions from the readers as well.

Of course, I have a one major caveat. I am not likely to attempt to write about a subject in which I have no expertise or that is too far outside my personal experience. I will talk about leadership, training, tactics, gear, and fieldcraft all day long. I have been practicing and trying to master those related skills all my life. That does not make me an expert, but it does make me more knowledgeable than average. I believe in self-reliance, preparedness, and have some experience with “survival skills.” However, my opening vignette notwithstanding, I am obviously not about to go “off the grid” and do not consider myself a Prepper or Survivalist. Therefore, I am not going to opine on how much seed you may need to stockpile in your bunker for the End Times. Although, just as clearly, I may talk about my homestead from time to time if it is germane to the subject.  

I do not talk about shooting. Not that I do not have an opinion, but there are others on this forum that are making a living and still doing that kind of training every day. I will generally defer that subject to them. I will take the opportunity to reinforce something that I have heard others say here; some of the recent shooting fads are just that – fads. In a year or two, they will be gone and some other shiny new technique will capture everyone’s imagination. I did make an exception a few weeks ago when someone mentioned that a shooter can use his thumb to “lock” a pistol slide forward when using a suppressor. Apparently, that is a thing and I was assured it works fine. OK. I am not ever going to try it myself so I will take their word on it. Still, using a part of your body to prevent a weapon from functioning as it is designed to work seems particularly ill advised. Indeed, an old fuddy duddy like me would call it an accident waiting to happen.    

SSD has been very accommodating with space here these last many months, and I appreciate that. Otherwise, I would just be another angry old man shouting at the neighbor kids to get off my lawn. Yet, I have a tough time gaging whether I am reaching what I consider my target audience or determining the level of interest in some of the subjects I have chosen to write about. Some individuals choose to comment and that is good, but I am assuming some number of others read the articles and remain silent. Many of the people who respond with any regularity are retired like me. That is ok, but it makes me wonder if more than a couple Active Duty guys and gals are reading these articles? If not, then I am clearly missing the audience I am most interested in engaging.

Therefore, while general comments are still welcome, I am hoping to get two specific types of responses after this piece. One, feedback from those that can give me some sense (hopefully) whether I am reaching that Active Duty target demographic – or not. Two, a sentence or two about what other subject matter readers might want me to explore or reattack in the future. All answers are welcome; even if the response is “Old man, your stuff does not appeal to me or is too dated to be useful.” Finally, I will be traveling to Fort Campbell (Sept 19th – 22nd) for the 5th Special Forces Group Annual Reunion. That is an opportunity for me to touch base with old friends – in and out of uniform – and younger guys still on the Teams. In years past, in between Group events, I have also been able to engage a few folks from the 101st as well. I am looking forward to it. De Oppresso Liber!

LTC Terry Baldwin, US Army (Ret) served on active duty from 1975-2011 in various Infantry and Special Forces assignments. SSD is blessed to have him as, reader, contributor and friend.

BE Meyers & Co Announces MAWL-X1, New DoD MAWL Variant

Monday, September 16th, 2019


September 16, 2019 (Redmond, WA) – B.E. Meyers & Co., Inc. is proud to announce the addition of MAWL®-X1, a United States Department of Defense specific variant of the company’s highly successful MAWL® (Modular Advanced Weapon Laser) line of high-powered aiming and illumination laser systems for individual and crew-served weapons.


In 2017 B.E. Meyers & Co. submitted a Flat Dark Earth, Near-Infrared / Visible MAWL® featuring the EC2 threaded Endcap to the Soldier Enhancement Program (SEP) via the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, known as the MAWL®-X1. Following submission, PdM-SPTD procured it for Limited User Evaluations, which were conducted by various Combat Arms including units within the 82nd Airborne Division, 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the 2nd Infantry Division, among others. Approximately 766 MAWL®-X1 units have been fielded since 2018.

True Modularity

The MAWL®-X1 is a truly modular design comprised of three separate Head, Body, and End-Cap components, which allows it to be sustainable at a supply chain level. As an ambidextrous system, it can easily be configured for either right or left-handed shooters.

The “Alt Mount” Body allows for increased versatility across multiple weapon platforms, including the M4/M16, M27, M249, M240G, and precision rifles.

Superior Ergonomics

As with all MAWL® variants, the MAWL®-X1 is designed for intuitive operation: in the dark, under stress, and with gloves on. Featuring a simple switch mechanism with finely balanced power and divergence presets, the MAWL®-X1 allows for target transitions from close to long range in under a second.


Unparalleled Range and Clarity

B.E. Meyers and Co.’s optimized VCSEL technology delivers vastly increased performance, beam quality, beam clarity, and efficiency to the end-user. The MAWL®-X1 features balanced and stacked beams to increase situational awareness and overcome photonic barriers created by external light sources.

For more information on the MAWL®-X1 please click here.

For more information on procurement, please contact