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Archive for the ‘Materials’ Category

Sneak Peak – RailScales G10 KeyMod Grip Panels

Sunday, May 25th, 2014


Developed by Bill Coye of Coye Knives in collaboration with Derek Shelton of Asset Weapon MFG, RailScales grip panels are made from G10 and are designed for the KeyMod modular attachment system. The first offering in the line will be a four grooved black panel design which is reminiscent of a Coye Knives custom handle.


RailScales will officially launch with a soft date of June 11, 2014. Numerous lengths, textures, colors, and other G10 accessories are also being developed.

FirstSpear Friday Focus – Alligator Rapid Access System

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Although FirstSpear’s Alligator Rapid Access System debuted in the Summer 2013 catalog, we’ve never taken an in-depth look at it. This week’s Friday Focus does just that.

FS Friday Focus - Alligator Silent Closure

The Alligator Rapid Access System works as a one-handed silent closure system. Pouch contents can be accessed with a single tug of a gloved, mitted or naked hand. Additionally, it can be removed and replaced with a 1″ surface-mounted side release buckle, giving you one pocket with multiple options for access and security. It’s also streamlined and less likely to catchy on obstructions and it won’t break like traditional plastic buckles.

SOFIC 2014 – Warwick Mills

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

I had heard heard of Turtleskin slash protective armor in the past but didn’t know that it was a product of New Hampshire-based Warwick Mills. Turns out, they make all kinds of cool textiles like the dyed 100% Twaron fabric used in this ballistic combat shirt. That’s right, this combat shirt offers ballistic protection to the tune of 2gr @ 700 fps and 17 gr @ 1700 fps. The fabric also offers FR as well as cut protection.


They are also integrating this fabric into civilian clothing styles such as sport coats.

SOFIC 2014 – Armadillo Merino

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

UK-based Armadillo Merino specializes in next-to-skin, head-to-toe Merino Wool garments with NZ sourced wool and innovative designs.

The advantages of Merino wool are myriad including No Melt, No Drip, inherent anti-microbial which eliminates smelly wool, no spark for those in gaseous environments such as taking down clandestine drug labs or aircraft, and UV protection. It offers the same qualities you seek from synthetic performance garments, but naturally. Most of all, Merino offers comfort. These aren’t your grandad’s itchy wool drawers. Merino is comfortable against the skin, summer or winter.


Because Armadillo specializes in next-to-skin garments, they do a great job of offering designs that are comfortable. For example, there are no tags in the neck and their raglan sleeves keep seams off the tops of shoulders. Speaking of seams, they are all flat and they offer single panel from wrist to hip with no armpit seams. Additionally, they offer several weights of sock and headwear. The lightest, summer weight, garment is 140 grams per sq meter and the heaviest is a modest 190 grams per sq meter which is perfect for winter use.


Tuesday, May 20th, 2014


TALON Grips are a single piece wrap around adhesive grip designed to add a functional and positive interface between a firearm and its operator. Only .7mm thick, TALON Grips create no perceptible increase in grip thickness, and offer increased control, reduced muzzle flip, and better weapon retention. TALON Grips last upward of 3 years with normal use, 6 months with heavy use. They also peel off clean, leaving little to no residue, especially when compared to traditional deck tape.

TALON Grips are available as custom fit segments for dozens of specific firearms models in rubber or granulate texture. Also available for magazines, select phone models, and in full and partial sheets.

US patented and Barry compliant.

Safariland – Advanced Webless System

Monday, May 5th, 2014

During Warrior West, we got to take a closer look at Safarialnd’s Advanced Webless System. Brought to market under the Protech Tactical Armor line, it utilizes the HANK poly-fabric, an abrasion resistant FR fabric that incorporates laser cut holes that accept PALS compatible pouches.


This article is by no means definitive of what Safariland has created but we wanted to give you couple of candid shots of the technology that they have incorporated into their Soldier Protection System entry. Currently in source selection, SPS is a Multi-year technology demonstration tool used by PEO Soldier to identify promising Soldier Systems technology for outright fielding or integration a enhancements to currently fielded systems.


Safariland has also introduced the Advanced Webless System into a line of commercially available vests. As you can see, they’ve put a lot of thought into these designs which are completely scalable from simple plate carrier to integrated cummerbund to dictionary add-ons to enhance survivability.

Look for additional, behind-the-scenes coverage soon.

US Army Seeks Lightweight Tropical Uniform

Monday, May 5th, 2014

From the outset, I have to say that technically, the Army is just looking for a new fabric, as there has been no talk (at least publicly) about developing a specialized uniform layout for tropical environments. However, in addition to a new jungle boot that we talked about last week, Natick has released a Sources Sought Notice entitled, “Light Weight Tropical Uniform“. This is excellent news.

To read the meat and potatoes of what the Army is looking for, see it here at RFITropWeight.

This is an interesting move as it is an admission that the current fabric used in the ACU, a 50/50 NYCO or nylon/cotton blend adopted for the Enhanced Hot Weather Battle Dress Uniform in the early 90s isn’t really much of a tropical weight fabric. Prior to this, Hot Weather BDUs were made from a 100% ripstop cotton fabric. This came about as the Army “rediscovered” the need for a tropical weight version of the BDU during the invasion of Grenada in 1983. The Army had begun fielding the Woodland camouflaged BDU, made from a heavy, 50/50 nylon/cotton twill in 1981. Designed for use in central Europe, they were too hot for hot weather use. However, the comfortable, quick drying, 50/50 NYCO poplin fabric of the HWBDU was to be replaced within a decade.

Grenada BDU and ERDL

By the early 90s, a serious garrison mentality had taken hold in the US Army. Soldier were starching their HWBDUs and the process was wearing them out rather quickly, with fraying at the cuffs and collars in as little as six months. Instead of telling Soldiers to stop starching a uniform fabric optimized for tropical environments, the Army introduced a new fabric that would be more durable when starched and pressed under high heat. Unfortunately, this 50/50 NYCO fabric compromise fabric isn’t so great in the hot weather environments the uniform was intended for. The nylon content lowers breathability, making the fabric feel warmer. Operational capability was abandoned in favor of looking good in garrison. When the ACU came along, the Army incorporated that same 50/50 NYCO poplin fabric. Now that the Pacific Pivot is in, and the Army is scrambling to recreate capabilities like the jungle boot that it had abandoned years ago, it has dawned on somebody that they can find a better fabric solution and I am glad.

Granted, the Universal Camouflage Pattern is an issue in the jungle and Woodland EHWBDUs are will in use by some Army SOF and students at the new US Army Jungle School in Hawaii. Hopefully, the Army will work out a solution for this dilemma. But, we can always look back to a simple solution fielded during the Viet Nam War.

VN Jungle Fatigue

I’ve called it “The Greatest Uniform Ever Fielded By The US Army” and in my opinion, the OG-107 Jungle Fatigue in 100% ripstop cotton remains just that.


In fact, this uniform, as well as the ERDL camouflaged variant, continued to be worn well into the late 80s by Special operations Forces.


Rightfully so, the Army is looking, at a minimum (threshold), for a no-drip, no-melt solution fabric story. Naturally, if the star’s aligned (object) they’d like a full FR solution, although this is probably overkill considering the operational environment.

If you’ve got something that you think will work, the Army needs to hear from you by 1200EST on 08 May 2014. They’ll also need 5 yards of fabric (any color) and a the usual slew of technical data. Make sure you read the details in the amendments. The Army is going to use this data to help scope an actual requirement, making this is a very important part if the process.

With so much development in the textile industry over the past 10 years, here’s to hoping that the Army identifies a fabric optimized for use in hot-wet environments.

List of Manufacturers Adopting the New Magpul M-LOK System

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Earlier this week Magpul announced their new M-LOK attachment system for mounting accessories to rails. The list of manufacturers adopting the system has really taken off, thanks in part to the ongoing NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. I’m happy to see several of my favorites on the list.


Warrior West – Excel Wetsuits Launches Thermal Dry Celliant

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

I got a chance to check out a prototype of the new Thermal Dry Celliant wetsuit from Excel during last Fall’s Uber University. I was impressed.


Excel has adopted an entirely new next-to-skin material provided by Celliant which offers heat reflective properties; very important for wetsuits. It also helps to mitigate diver fatigue.

In addition to the new material story, Excel also is the exclusive offerer of Crocodile color from Arc’teryx.


These new suits also incorporate design features normally found in surf suits meaning more flexibility for these dive suits. Once again, very helpful for combat divers. They are offering these in 4 thicknesses – 3.5mil, 5.4 mil, 7.6 mil and 8.76 mil. Offered in full suits, shorties, farmer johns and hoods.

Made in USA in Hale Iwa, Hawaii. Available now.


Live Fire Gear – 550 FireCord On Kickstarter

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014


550 FireCord is a project currently up for funding on Kickstarter. It consists of 550 paracord with the inner core replaced with a composite that functions as an fire starting material.

FireCord is completely functional in all the same ways that standard 550 paracord is: it can be made into lanyards and zipper pulls, used as a survival material, etc. While the composite is encased in the paracord sleeve, FireCord is no more volatile than traditional paracord. Outside of the sleeve, the composite ignites with ease, burns very hot, features a long burn time for its volume, and is completely waterproof. Of course, the paracord sleeve is still functional even after the composite core is removed.