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FirstSpear Friday Focus – Non-Destructive Marking Technology

Friday, April 4th, 2014

This week, Ronnie Fowlkes is back to tell us about the FirstSpear Non-Destructive Marking™ technology. It’s some pretty cool construction stuff that the hard core gear nerds like me will be into.

Ever pick up a FirstSpear product and notice these little white dots on the fabric? I didn’t pay them any mind because I knew what they were there for, but I failed to realize how many don’t know that they are registration markings that help the sewers assemble the item.


Over the years, a variety of methods have been used. Generally, these were chalk or grease pencil markings and later companies starting using drill or punch holes where multiple layers of fabric are stacked up and cut in a single operation. At the same time, a small diameter drill or punch is used to put holes in the fabric that help guide the folks running the sewing machines. While this method is quick, it does introduce a new hole into the fabric, ultimately compromising its integrity.

FirstSpear has taken a different approach than even the hand markings used for so long. Their Non-Destructive Marking™ technology instead relies on a water-soluble marking pen system specifically designed for FirstSpear. It allows them to place sewing guides right on the fabric for their sewing specialists to use on the manufacturing floor without permanently altering or damaging the material. Their “white dot” process takes more time but helps sustain overall material integrity. Additionally, those white dots are easily removed with a toothbrush and some water.

So now you know. Those “errant white marks” on your FirstSpear kit aren’t so errant after all. They are a deliberate production technique that is easily removed with water or through some use during a trip to the field.

Private Bloggins – Cobra vs. Raptor – Head to Head

Friday, April 4th, 2014

A while back, CTOMS, through their Private Bloggins site, posted an article featuring self testing of the Raptor buckle in order to determine if it was a suitable replacement for the AustriAplin Cobra buckles in use on their X-belts and M-harnesses.

Recently, they’ve written a follow up to that original round of testing. This time, instead of conducting their own comparative testing, they posted the results of a study conducted by independent testing company TÜV SÜD at the request of AustriAlpin. AustriAlpin supplied 5 Cobra and Raptor buckles of each size for evaluation; the Raptor buckles were sourced by 3rd parties from online suppliers of the buckles.

Through the testing results, it was determined that Raptor Buckles bend and brake consistently below the direct pull stamped rating. Those interested in viewing TÜV SÜD’s test results can view them by clicking the image below:

AustriAlpin test

McNett – Free Camo Form LT Sample

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014


McNett is currently giving away samples of their new Camo Form LT. A lighter weight, less expensive version of the original Camo Form, Camo Form LT stretches to twice its length and will be available in several new patterns.

You can sign up to receive your sample here:

Landcamo ADB Fabric In Stock

Monday, March 17th, 2014

ABD Available

SSFN’s LandCamo ADB fabric is now available for purchase on the LandCamo website. ADB SERE on 100% COT and ABD MAMMUT on 35% PES / 65% COT are the two patterns currently being offered. To order, contact

Warrior Expo – Duckworth

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Thanks to the guys at DriFire, I had a chance to check out a new line of clothing made from American wool. Look for more on this exciting brand soon.


The benefits of wool are well known; warm even when wet, naturally anti-microbial and no-melt no-drip. Plus, in this case, it’s grown, processed and manufactured right here in the USA.

UVR Defense Tech Closes License Sale With U.K. Company

Saturday, March 8th, 2014


UVR Defense Tech, Ltd. has sold licenses to Essex Flameproofing, Ltd. (Euroflam) to apply UVR’s technologies – UVRC and nanoTarge – within the U.K. UVRC(patented) is a camouflage for the ultraviolet spectrum that may be applied to conventional camouflage without altering the visible and near-Infrared properties of the fabric. nanoTarge (patent pending) both strengthens and protects technical and ballistic fabrics, providing as much as a 2.5 fold increase in tear strength. See for details.

“We are pleased to have Euroflam presenting our technology to the U.K..As government and military budgets tighten, Euroflam will be able to offer a low-cost method of strengthening, and providing longevity to, all their technical textiles. This is significant to all sectors. For example, a firefighter’s turnout gear is made of a heat-resistant fabric with a short lifespan due to ultraviolet degradation. With nanoTarge, Euroflam can increase the tear strength of the fabric, as well as prevent UV degradation, resulting in significant cost savings for financially-strapped municipalities” stated Reed F. Curry, President of UVR Defense Tech, Ltd.

Alan Eyers, the Operations Director of Essex Flameproofing Ltd. / Euroflam noted “We are very pleased to add the unique treatments, developed by UVR Defense Tech, Ltd., for the coating of Fabrics & Textiles used by the Military, Emergency Services, & Law Enforcement Agencies. These give added protection to a wide range of textiles, offering new permanent UV signature management solutions for uniforms, tenting, equipment covers, and also reduces the effect of degradation by direct Sunlight UV rays on these types of fabrics. The License Agreement affords us the ability to treat such textiles for UK base suppliers and manufacturers, as they sit very nicely alongside, and are compatible with, the other advanced Flame Retardant and Protective treatments we offer.” – D30 Reactive Protection Body Armor Add-On

Thursday, March 6th, 2014


This week’s post from covers D3O Lab’s Reactive Protection body armor add-on. D3O is a non-Newtonian polymer material, and when worn underneath traditional body armor can absorb and mitigate the continued force of a stopped round, reducing or even eliminating shock effects. Through its TRUST (Trauma Reduction and Unrivaled Shock Technology) label, D3O Lab is producing knee and elbow pads, boot insoles, helmet pads, and a jacket with pad panels for military applications.

For the full story, visit

U.S. Military budgets For FY2015 To Research And Develop Quantum Stealth (Light Bending Material)

Saturday, March 1st, 2014


Recent approval by Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) has allowed HyperStealth, a Canadian corporation, to begin working with the U.S. Military under an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with a specific initial focus on (but not limited to) Tier-1 Special Forces applications. The DRDC will be provided access to all information obtained from the U.S. program.

How/Why To Maintain Technical Garments from McNett

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

We met with our friends at McNett during a recent trip to Seattle. One of the things we asked them if they could do was to share some info on how to use their products with our readers. Let’s face it, money isn’t there like it used to be and we are going to all have to become very good at maintaining what we have. McNett offers a great range of accessories and garment care products.

Routine cleaning and maintenance is necessary in order to keep technical fabrics performing at their best. Typically, technical fabrics are constructed of a face fabric (usually some type of nylon), a waterproof breathable membrane (i.e. GORE-TEX, eVent, etc.) and a liner fabric that rests against the body. The outer fabric is typically treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) to help water bead up and roll off. It is extremely important that we keep these fabrics in top shape.

Many soldiers think that GORE-TEX and other waterproof breathable fabrics are fragile and should not be washed, but this is not the case. Cleaning technical fabrics only improves their performance; however, it is extremely important that you use a specialized cleaner. Typical “household” cleaners contain heavy residues, optical brighteners and fabric softeners which can also impact performance.

The chemicals used in fabric softeners build up and leave residues on your garment. These residues will cover the DWR coating on the outside of the item, which will allow water to spread out and soak into the fabric instead of beading up and rolling off. Residues from fabric softeners also tend to remain in the clothing fibers. The residues from fabric softeners can also affect the breathabilty of the waterproof breathable membrane as well.

Picture a water repellent as millions of tiny hairs standing straight on end. When a bead of water falls from the sky and lands on the hairs standing straight on end, it simply rolls off. With time, you get a build-up of dirt, smoke, body oils and other residues which tend to weigh down on those hairs standing straight on end. Now they are now longer standing straight up and when a bead of water falls from the sky, it begins to wet through the fabric as opposed to rolling right off. When this happens, you need to wash the garment with a cleaner that will remove all the residues and particulates without leaving behind additional residues.

All that said, it is extremely important that you use a clean rinsing detergent like ReviveX Synthetic Fabric Cleaner ( to rinse away the dirt, oils and residues which prevent the water repellent from shedding water and which also tend to clog the GORE-TEX membranes.

Once you have cleaned the garment with a specialized cleaner, many times you can restore the DWR and get the jacket to bead-up again by simply placing it in the dryer. If the DWR is still present, the heat will re-activate those tiny “hairs” and cause them to stand straight on end again. If the jacket is not repelling water after cleaning with a specialized cleaner and drying, then you will need to re-treat it with an aftermarket water repellent like ReviveX Durable Waterproofing ( Start with a clean garment, spray it down with ReviveX Durable Waterproofing and dry according to the manufacturer’s recommendation or air dry for 48 hours.

Another benefit of the water-repellent finish (DWR) is that it allows passage of vapor more readily from inside the garment. Without this water repellent on the outer fabric, water can soak in and cool the surface as it evaporates. Moisture generated by a soldier’s body in the form of vapor can pass easily thorough the membrane unless the vapor contacts a cool surface; then it condenses into liquid (just as warm breath condenses into a liquid when it contacts a cool piece of glass). This is another reason why the water-repellent finish and the garment should be kept in good shape.

We all know that garments that wet-out and aren’t able to breath can lead to some pretty miserable times. With proper maintenance, however, we can prevent those uncomfortable moments outdoors and keep our garments dry while enhancing performance.

This post is brought to you by McNett. McNett offers products for maintaining, repairing, and waterproofing gear and clothing, and water purification, as well as microfiber towels and tactical products including lens cleaner and anti-fog, survival products, and Camo Form camouflage wrap.

Nanotips On Kickstarter

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014


Nanotips is a conductive polyamide liquid solution which mimics the touch of human skin. It’s designed to be applied to gloves to make them touchscreen compatible by creating a conductive bridge between the finger and the touchscreen device. It comes in two solutions: Nanotips Blue for use exclusively with fabric gloves, and Nanotips Black for leather, rubber, and other thicker material gloves. Each application can last from a few weeks to several months, dependent on how the gloves are used, and can be reapplied as needed.