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Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

Brigantes Presents – Fallkniven X-series Survival Knives

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

The Fallkniven X Series F1 is, arguably the world most functional and high performing survival knife, considered to be one of the best in the world.

The X-series knives are strong, sharp, safe, comfortable and also really stylish, especially the all-black versions. The basis of the X-knife’s strength lies in the laminated cobalt steel in combination with the well thought out construction in which break zones have been eliminated. Together with the hand shaped convex edge, the X-knife is a concept that beats everything else in the world in terms of safety, comfort and hard use.

To that they have added a cleverly constructed sheath in a special plastic that locks the knife, smart as simple. This month, a stainless steel clip will also become available, it allows you to easily hook the knife on and off from your waistband, adding to its versatility and ease of use.

For more information contact international@brigantes.com

For UK Sales contact warrior@brigantes.com

822nd Base Defense Squadron K9 Teams Train Fast-Rope Insertions

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

Members of the 822nd Base Defense Squadron fly in a HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 41st Rescue Squadron to conduct fast-rope training with their military working dogs (MWD) Nov. 20, 2019 at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Fast-roping allows the MWD teams to quickly access a rugged location where an aircraft is not able to land and start conducting base defense as soon as they are needed.

By 1st Lt. Faith Brodkorb, 93d Air Ground Operations Wing Public Affairs

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Thanksgiving

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

Thanksgiving is a time when many people take the time to gather with family and friends to feast, give thanks and celebrate from the comfort of their own homes.

But during wartime, however, the Thanksgiving holiday is slightly different. During WW1 AND WW2 on the home front, people were encouraged to cut back on food items such as sugar, meat, fats, and wheat so food could be sent to troops fighting overseas. Many newspapers across the country printed alternative recipe ideas that cut back on food items, especially sugar.

American families were asked to grow their own gardens and use homegrown food in their Thanksgiving meals instead of buying food from the local food market.

The menu at Camp Wadsworth in 1918 included celery, pickles, olives, roast turkey with dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, salted wafers with cheese, bread and butter, pumpkin pie, fruit cake, ice cream, and coffee.

 

My first military Thanksgiving was in 1987 at NTC Great Lakes. A couple of years later, I would be in my second combat zone during the first gulf war, it would eventually be called Operation Desert Storm, but I first got there it didn’t have a name. I was stationed in Saudi Arabia on the border of Kuwait. Our meals normally constated of two MREs a day. But on Thanksgiving, we got our two MREs and a meal of hamburger meat that was made into spaghetti. We were some of the first troops on the ground and had nothing but two MREs a day since the day we arrived in late August. About two days before Thanksgiving, we had a Mess Specialist 1st class (MS1) assigned to our camp, his first role was to go around with our corpsman and make sure all the water we were getting was good for us to drink. We had bottled water until the commandant of the Marine Corps decided he didn’t want his Marines drinking Gucci water. It didn’t matter that we were not Marines because we got our supplies from them. So, we had to get out water from the fire hydrants and store it in water buffalos where it was heavily chlorinated. Once a week we would take turns going to the port of Al Jubail to get supplies and you could sometimes get a hot meal there.

 

Back to Thanksgiving. It was the first real hot meal we had had in about three months. It was one of the best spaghetti dinners I have ever eaten. I take that back – it’s one of the best meals I have ever had, period. It was a simple spaghetti meal with bread and bug juice (a Kool-Aid like drink), but I genuinely feel that the MS1 put all his heart into it. There was no apple pie, no football, no family — nothing you would think of as Thanksgiving. We were living in tents, abandoned buildings, and also Mil-van’s in about 110F heat. Over my 26 years in the military, Thanksgiving would genuinely get a hell of a lot better. Some of the ones I had while I was in Iraq, had just about anything you could want — from steak, lobster, turkey and ice cream. But still one of my favorite Thanksgivings of all time was in that tent during the first Gulf War/Operation Desert Shield/ Storm. Thanks to all support people who try every day to make places like Iraq, Afghanistan and other holes you might end up in, just a little bit better with food and other contributions that make being far away a little closer to home. 

Transition Combat Eye Protection Capability Added To Army Approved EyePro List

Saturday, November 30th, 2019

FORT BELVOIR, Va. — Lt. Col. Ginger Whitehead has seen the gruesome consequences when Soldiers chose to don eyewear that didn’t appear on the Army’s authorized list.

Deployed Soldiers have suffered severe damage to their eyes or lost their sight entirely.

“We have seen some really horrific injuries with roadside bombs,” said Whitehead, the product manager for protective equipment at Program Executive Office Soldier.

Using eyewear approved from the list, which features 27 products that have undergone extensive testing, could mean the difference between saving a Soldier’s vision or going blind, Whitehead said.

“The Soldier’s face is all chewed up,” Whitehead said. “But when they pull his glasses off, where the skin is intact around their eyes, where you know without a doubt that eyewear saved their eyes.”

To help protect Soldiers from serious injuries during combat missions, PEO Soldier has tested several protective eyewear models in compiling the authorized protective eyewear list, or APEL.

The Army introduced a lens model on the APEL that adds a new capability to the Army’s Soldier Protection System: an advanced transition protective lenses. The Transition Combat Eye Protection, or TCEP lens, features sensors with a greater sensibility than traditional transitional lenses, responding to visible light instead of UV rays.

The transition happens in milliseconds allowing Soldiers to go from sunlight to indoors quickly without loss of their situational awareness to see incoming projectiles or enemy attacks instantly. Typically, commercial transition lenses can take up to 5-10 minutes to transition and adjust to changing light levels. Often they will not darken in bright sunlight if a Soldier sits inside of a Humvee. The TCEP lenses will.

“It’s a one-second button,” said Capt. Michael McCown, assistant product manager of head protection at PEO Soldier. “It’s not like your transition lenses that you get from your doctor that change as you go in and outdoors … it’s electronic.” It can also be set to transition automatically.

PEO Soldier also unveiled a cold-weather goggle that can resist fogging in colder conditions. The new capability could help Soldiers at cold-weather installations or troops taking part in winter operations.

Soldiers can access the Army’s APEL list online at www.peosoldier.army.mil/equipment/eyewear. Each product on the APEL must meet the Military Performance Standard, titled Military Combat Eye Protection, or MCEP System. The APEL, updated about every two years, offers a wide range of brands and styles of protective sunglasses and goggles. Approved eyewear has an APEL logo and can be purchased online, and at post exchanges and AAFES stores.

PEO Soldier also took feedback directly from Soldiers, who responded in surveys, that having faster transition lens glasses along with high-quality sunglasses ranked atop their lists.

“They aren’t forced into a particular set of eyewear,” McCown said. “They’re able to choose which ones they want for their preferences.”

APEL-approved eyewear undergoes rigorous trials and a series of ballistic and non-ballistic testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and at eyewear production facilities. Those tests include optical distortion, UV absorption and resistance to abrasion, and many more. The Army has placed a high priority on Soldier eyewear safety, bringing in ballistic experts and quality-assurance specialists to evaluate and witness the tests.

The Army requires each vendor to test their items every six months for conformance and have their items tested by a third-party laboratory every two years for recertification. Quality audits are also conducted annually at each facility to make sure they are in compliance with ISO 9001 – Quality management systems — and ISO 17025 — General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.

McCown said Soldiers prioritize choice and style but he warns Soldiers and their commanders about the critical importance of APEL-approved eyewear. McCown cautions Soldiers only to trust products with the APEL-approved logo or to refer to the APEL list when choosing protective eyewear. Products with an APEL logo marked March 2019 or earlier remain valid and can still be used for ballistics fragmentation protection.

Whitehead added that the Army keeps the list at 27 to encourage competition among vendors to deliver higher quality protects, as well as keep prices affordable for Soldiers of each rank.

The APEL is a part of the Army’s Soldier Protection System, which guards Soldiers against threats using reduced-weight equipment in a modular, adjustable, next-generation protective system.

By Joe Lacdan, Army News Service

SureFire Field Notes Ep 50: How to Grip a Handgun with Robert Vogel

Friday, November 29th, 2019

SureFire Field Notes is a multi-segment informational video series with tips and techniques from subject matter experts of all backgrounds. In this episode, Robert Vogel of Vogel Dynamics discusses the proper technique in gripping a handgun for fast and accurate shooting.

If you have an idea on a suggested topic, be sure to drop us a line in the comments section!

Robert Vogel is a professional marksman, competition shooter, and National/World champion. He is the only Law Enforcement Officer ever to win World and National Championships in the Practical Pistol Disciplines of IPSC, IDPA and USPSA.

www.vogeldynamics.com

www.surefire.com

FirstSpear Friday Focus – Black Friday

Friday, November 29th, 2019

FirstSpear has all Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals listed in the non-stocking non-standard section of the FS web store. Take up to 40% off select items while supplies last. 

www.first-spear.com/non-stocking-non-standard

Soldier Feedback Driving Army Modernization

Thursday, November 28th, 2019

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Senior Department of Defense officials and congressional staff were briefed on the status of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, program at Fort Pickett, near Richmond, Virginia, Nov. 6. IVAS is a next-generation situational awareness tool under development to return overmatch to Soldiers in small units throughout the close combat force.

“Technology will never be as slow as it is today,” said the Hon. James E. McPherson, the senior official performing the duties of undersecretary of the U.S. Army. “We never want to have a fair fight.”

“Budgets make us make hard choices,” McPherson said. “Could we field everything we have on the drawing board today? Probably not. We’re going to have to make hard choices, budget-driven choices on what’s most important to field.”

Decision-making can be informed through aggressive evaluation to quickly discern viable military solutions and modify designs early, before sinking additional costs into a program. To facilitate research, U.S. Army Futures Command’s eight cross-functional teams, or CFTs, have conducted dozens of Soldier-centered engagements called Soldier touch points to further the Army’s modernization priorities.

“Soldier touch points help us better demonstrate technology, like the IVAS, at specific points in the development process, the cross-functional team gets direct feedback — and if something fails — it fails early and we learn from it,” said Gen. John M. Murray, commanding general of Army Futures Command.

Soldiers are brought into the development process to provide input to industry, testers, researchers and acquisition experts on the capabilities they will need to fight and win. During these events, prototypes are delivered to units to incorporate into their training.

The events are designed to empower Soldiers to help improve the final equipment and technology. This feedback loop is critical to drive cost-effective and timely innovation.

“That’s why these touch points are so very, very important, something that is really revolutionary that we’ve not done before,” McPherson said. “Before, it’s been, the engineers put it together, met the requirements, ‘Ok, here you go,’ and the Soldier gets it and says, ‘I’ve got to adapt to this now.’ Now, we’re making the weapon system adapt to the Soldier.”

The current IVAS touch point was led by AFC’s Fort Benning, Georgia-based Soldier Lethality CFT in conjunction with the command’s Orlando, Florida-based Synthetic Training Environment CFT. They were joined by industry partners to gather tens of thousands of data points and direct feedback to spur rapid iterations of the IVAS design and technology before the next touch point takes place in the future.

Soldier touch points are conducted in coordination with the Program Executive Office Soldier, or PEO Soldier, an organization within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army — Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, or ASA(ALT). Based at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, PEO Soldier is the Army’s acquisition agency responsible for everything a Soldier wears or carries.

“We’re doing something called Soldier-centered design,” said Jason Regnier, PEO Soldier’s technical director for the IVAS project.

“The touch points now are a culmination of months of work, where we actually put it in their hands and get real-time feedback, make improvements, even on the site, and then think about what that next turn is going to be,” Regnier said. “Instead of one, stamped-out design that we can give to Soldiers — that may or may not really work — this is designed, in essence, by Soldiers through this Soldier touch point project.”

These engagements not only generate Soldier-initiated problems that have been overlooked, but also confirms or dispels the need to address real or perceived problems with the technology for the development teams.

This Soldier-centered design concept was also explained by an industry partner developing the IVAS device for the Army.

“It’s really an adaptation of an industry practice known as human-centered design, where you really have to start with deeply understanding the underlying human needs. In this case, what are the needs of the Soldier?” said Scott Evans, Microsoft Corporation’s general manager for the IVAS program. “In the case of a Soldier, you have to have a methodology to make sure that we understand those needs and that we can evaluate prototypes against those needs.”

These touch points are about teamwork, collaboration, and common-sense innovation, said Brig. Gen. David M. Hodne, the director of the Soldier Lethality CFT.

“Soldier-centered design, feedback from Soldiers and feedback from our partners at Microsoft on how we can achieve technical solutions to arrive at an exceptional device that will allow Soldiers to fight, rehearse and train in a manner they’ve not been able to previously.”

The Soldier touch points make rapid iteration of the prototypes possible.

“We’re here not just to evaluate the prototype against the measures that we identified, but we’re also here to learn more around the Soldier needs and carry that forward,” Evans said. “We’re also here to evolve our methodology. Every time we have a Soldier touch point, our ability to understand, what is the most effective way to measure things like Soldier performance? We get better at the actual methodology itself.”

In addition to working with traditional industry partners, AFC seeks solutions from non-traditional innovators through the Army Applications Laboratory and a small business office within the command’s headquarters.

AAL was stood up in the Capital Factory in downtown Austin to provide a venue for innovators with novel solutions to discover how they could support Army modernization efforts. They host regular engagements with entrepreneurs and seek direct feedback from Soldiers.

For example, in July, an AAL team held a collaborative event at Fort Hood, Texas. They visited with III Corps Soldiers from military occupational specialties related to combat arms, combat support, and combat service support to provide innovators with their reactions to proposed technologies. It is also an opportunity for start-ups to grasp the hurdles they may encounter in development.

“Scalability is often an issue for small businesses, which could provide opportunities for the traditional defense industry to assist them,” Murray said. “We’re trying to figure out how we can become more agile. There are a lot of great small companies out there, and we’re trying to figure out how we can become more agile in the way that we resource them. Providing early Soldier input, when possible, is an easy value add.”

Regnier said Soldiers participating in the Fort Pickett exercises were enjoying their involvement. It not only serves a research method, but also provides an outlet for them to build confidence in their future equipment — they get a first-hand look at tomorrow’s battlefield technology.

“The feedback has been extremely positive, in the sense that the Soldiers understand the technology, in that there are some limitations now,” Regnier said. “But they can see where we’re going. They understand the difference between equipment they either have or wish they had in their normal units and what this capability is.”

Regnier said he has been with the IVAS project since its inception and has also provided technical advice on the development of another device recently fielded, the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle — Binocular, or ENVG-B, which the Soldier Lethality CFT coordinated.

“As we walked into this, we realized, normally the way the defense department approaches a problem like this is: we come up with a specification, for say a thermal weapons sight. It has to be able to see 1,000 meters, under cold and hot conditions, and in the rain, and can only weigh four or five pounds,” Regnier said.

He said the new process is completely different.

“In this case, we started looking at: ‘How does industry make a product?'” Regnier said. “And the way they make a product is, they figure out, ‘What does the user actually need? What does the Soldier need to do?’ That changed the approach. So, instead of doing a specification, we did studies. Soldier-oriented studies, where they came in and talked to researchers to explain what their job really is.”

Ten Soldier touch points were conducted during the ENVG-B’s development phase to inform its final design. Soldiers reported hitting twice as many targets while wearing the ENGV-B, as opposed to the current single-tube, monocular night vision device in broad use. They were also able to drive faster and complete land navigation tasks quicker as a result of the clarity the new binocular provided.

“The ENGV-Bravo was designed by Soldier for Soldiers,” said Pvt. 1st Class Dustin Roy, an infantryman with the 1st Infantry Division, following the fielding of the device at Fort Riley, Kansas, in September. “It makes me feel more confident in it, that it was designed by Soldiers. I know that I’m getting a good piece of gear, a good tool.”

The initial fielding of the ENVG-B speaks to the success of the cooperative relationships being fostered between AFC, ASA(ALT) and PEO Soldier, and industry partners, to keep Soldiers at the centerpiece of modernization efforts.

The Soldier touch point program provided significant feedback during the development of the ENVG-B, and is now doing the same for the IVAS developers.

“We need our Soldiers’ input, the end-users who are going to actually use this equipment,” Murray said. “Our decisions today will have a direct impact on them in the years to come. They’re the ones who will be using this in the field. The quicker we can work out kinks, the quicker — and cheaper — we can get it into their hands for effective use.”

Story by Army Futures Command

Why I Formed the American Suppressor Association by Knox Williams

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

In December 2008 I was a broke college junior looking for extra cash to buy beer and take my girlfriend on dates. I loved guns, thought silencers were illegal (they’re not), and didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation. Knowing how much I loved to shoot, a family friend of mine, who babysat for the owner of Advanced Armament Corp. (AAC), set up an interview for a paying internship that started in January. I aced the interview, landed the job, and walked through the doors at AAC for the first day of my internship not knowing that this $10/hour part time job would ultimately lead to the development of the American Suppressor Association.

Growing up the son of an audiologist, I always understood the importance of hearing protection. Before my first hunting trip at age 15, my mother made me a set of custom earplugs. She let me know in no uncertain terms that I was to wear them no matter what, because exposure to even a single gunshot can permanently damage your hearing. Like most teenage boys, I didn’t listen. As I settled the scope of my Remington 710 chambered in .30-06 on the vitals of the first deer I saw, I distinctly remember thinking that I should put my earplugs in. A half second later, when that button buck took a step forward, I pulled the trigger. My ears rang for three days.

When I graduated from the University of Georgia in 2010, I was hired full time at AAC as the Special Projects Coordinator. One of the first assignments in my new role was the development of AAC’s Can U, an interactive website designed to educate consumers on the legalities and functionalities of suppressors. In order to build out the content, I spent weeks researching every state’s laws and regulations as they pertained to suppressors. At the time, hunting with a suppressor was only legal in 22 states. When I realized my home state of Georgia was not one of them, I knew that I would do whatever it took to change the law because I didn’t want the next generation of hunters to jeopardize their hearing like I did.

As I began developing a plan to make hunting safer, I quickly realized two things:

1) At the time, no other NGOs were working on pro-suppressor reform. If we wanted to change suppressor laws, we would have to do it ourselves.

2) We would be far more effective if we were able to create a coalition to work together on our common goals.

It was out of these realizations that the idea for ASA was born.

Nearly a year later I organized an industry meeting in Washington, D.C. on August 19, 2011 to discuss the formation of an association with an attorney that specialized in the establishment of non-profits. The meeting was attended by representatives from AAC, Gemtech, Gun Trust Lawyer, M3 – Major Malfunction, NRA, SilencerCo, and SWR. By the end of the meeting, AAC, Gemtech, and SilencerCo each pledged $5,000 towards the development of a trade association. On September 8th, our articles of incorporation were approved, officially creating the American Silencer Association (ASA) – now known as the American Suppressor Association.

At the end of 2011, I left AAC with the intention of transitioning full time to ASA. However, we were unable to establish a full-time position, so I remained engaged with ASA in an unpaid capacity. For the next two years, I simultaneously consulted with Etymotic Research, a leading manufacturer of electronic hearing protection devices, and volunteered my time to advocate for suppressors and grow ASA. It wasn’t until December 2013 that I received my first paycheck when I assumed the role of Executive Director.

While Georgia was the impetus for my personal desire to leap into the political fray, the initial goals of our newfound association were more comprehensive. As stated in our initial pitch to industry, ASA sought to “further the pursuit of education, public relations, legislation, hunting applications, and military applications for the silencer industry.” Those goals remain largely unchanged to this day.

On July 1, 2014, as a result of over three years of work, my initial dream was realized when hunting with a suppressor became legal in Georgia. It was the eighth state that we helped flip. Despite this keystone victory, my desire to ensure that every law-abiding citizen in every state has the ability to own and use suppressors to help protect their hearing was magnified.

In 2015, ASA expanded by hiring Michael Williams, a full-time attorney who served as our General Counsel for nearly two years. During his tenure, he helped draft dozens of pieces of legislation, including the Hearing Protection Act. In September 2016, we added Owen Miller as the Director of Outreach. Prior to joining us, Owen was the Director of Compliance at Gemtech for over a decade. Since joining our team, Owen has helped ASA more than triple the ranks of our public membership.

Today, state legislation remains one of our top priorities. As a direct result of our lobbying and educational efforts, Iowa, Minnesota, and Vermont legalized suppressor ownership. Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming all legalized the use of suppressors while hunting.

For the past eight years, ASA has actively lobbied in 30 states, fought to ease the archaic restrictions on suppressors in D.C., testified in front of dozens of legislative bodies, hosted countless suppressor demonstrations for legislators, policymakers, media, and the public, and funded research proving the efficacy of suppressors. We are the boots on the ground in the fight to legalize and deregulate suppressors and are the front-line defense against the anti-suppressor factions that want them banned.

I tell you all of this to illustrate that the American Suppressor Association is an organization of, by, and for the gun community. We are not here simply to field a paycheck and stop working at 5:00 PM. Rather, we are committed personally and professionally to the advancement of suppressor advocacy. For the past six years, I have spent more nights in hotels than at home because I’m willing to do whatever it takes to expand and protect your right to protect your hearing.

Are you willing to stand with me?

The American Suppressor Association is calling on suppressor owners everywhere to make your voice heard by joining or making a donation to ASA today! Do so now through December 2nd, and you’ll be automatically entered to win one of 12 prizes worth more than $15,000. Your membership makes ASA’s voice stronger and provides the funding that allows ASA to stay active and engaged in the essential fight to protect and expand suppressor rights nationwide!

Visit CansNotBans.com for details and to enter.