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Archive for June, 2008

MSA ACH – Accessory Rail Connector

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

ACH Accessory Rail Connector

The Accessory Rail Connector MSA has been showing since SHOT 06 is finally available. Designed by Ops-Core and licensed to MSA, the accessory rail provides a Mil-Std 1913 rail to the sides of the MICH or ACH helmet. In fact, they also will fit any of the TC series of helmets from MSA. They are very lightweight and extremely strong. The glass reinforced nylon rails come from the factory in black but are easily painted to any color. My helmet has had a set since last November and accepted tan Krylon without a hitch. Each set of rails comes with two accessory adapters.

New ACH Accessory Rail Connector

For a list of retailers contact Paraclete Armor.

Keep Those Tips Rolling In

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Interested parties can contact Soldier Systems Blog at [email protected]

We welcome comments, tips, and guest articles.

Off Duty Wear – Pt 1, the Suit

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

So you’ve retired from the military or Law Enforcement and are entering the wonderful world of work. For years you have gotten out of bed and known exactly which set of clothes to put on. Now, its completely up to you. So what do you do?

Over the next few weeks I will be publishing a series of articles on some great options to wear out of uniform. Whether its business or casual, we all need some alternatives to the uniform. Oftentimes we will gravitate toward outdoor clothing but today, I want to concentrate on helping you with a new form of camouflage; the suit. There are times you will need to blend.

This article was suggested to me when I left the military a few years ago. I hope you find it as informative as I do.

Courtesy of The Morning News.
Men’s Fashion: Part 1, Suits
It’s the one thing every man should own: a suit. THE EDITORS salute the suit’s ability to withstand expiration, bask in its enduring appeal, and offer advice on what to look for when you’re off to buy your own. If only we could be there to say, “Suits you, sir!”

On Suits
Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.
—Cary Grant

Without suits, men would have nothing. In the hierarchy of style, a good suit remains a man’s only trump card. Even in this sad age of casual-wear, the suit still carries an air of success, taste, and sophistication. It is designed to make you look better, to break boundaries between social classes, to make a small man tall with pinstripes or a fat man rich with soft wools. The suit looks good in restaurants, trains, dinner parties or Paris; in short, everywhere you want to be. It is, in its best forms, a complete outfit that will never fail you.

And that is exactly what it will do, if you treat it right. Unfortunately the majority of suits you see look awful. This isn’t necessary. Even if you work ten hours with your jacket on, being mindful of your clothing will keep you ready for cocktails after work. Too many men either don’t care or don’t know how to wear a suit, and, suitably, look like shit. This is worth avoiding.

To start us off, a few general rules should be observed when approaching a suit, and most apply to good dressing in general:
The suit, no matter the style, needs to fit your body, closely. This means all pieces should be cut and tailored appropriate to your form. Surprisingly, this doesn’t require a lot of money ($500 can, in fact, get you a good suit) but it does take an eye, and the strength to ignore any saccharine compliments from salesmen.
Trends have six-to-eighteen-month shelf lives. If you plan to retire your suit in this window, feel free to splurge. Otherwise, shop considerately.
Suits are made of wool or cotton, and their variations. Additional fabrics need not apply.
You are an interesting, confident, multi-hued man. Let others learn that from how you behave, not from the label on your jacket.
A suit jacket goes with suit pants, not with jeans or chinos. If you want a casual jacket, buy a sport-coat or a blazer. Stand-up comedians are regularly shot over this rule.
If you’re not comfortable—if you don’t feel the suit’s appropriate for you—the salesman’s looking out for his commission, not your style.
A modestly, well-dressed man has never failed to impress. Yes, never.
Assuming you’re not an investment banker, you don’t need ten suits; you only need four. This means you can be a discerning shopper and spend time accumulating, then keeping your suits in good condition (dry clean once a year, then more for spills; don’t you dare iron it yourself). Think of the process in terms of collecting, spending years searching for that one original-packaged Chewbacca.

The Fab Four
1. The Standard Blue: Great for business, lunches, New York Mayors, summer dinners, or casual parties. Can be worn with black or brown shoes, even white if you’re daring. Reflects well by a pool. Standard blue means navy, with no room for paler shades, even if you went to U.N.C.

2. The Classic Gray: Appropriate for everything and even makes a red-head look dandy. Grays also are the best with patterns, especially anything in the chevron family. Start with plain, move to window-pane. Even such, the gray is never controversial. It’s the Switzerland of suits.

3. The Basic Black: Our favorite and the perennial classic, it’s a fit at the Oscars or your sister’s wedding, the perfect compliment to a good white shirt, beloved by gangsters, designers, and undertakers (those jobs with the highest doses of fashion-conscious aptitudes; respectively, aggression, vanity, and wisdom). If you only own one suit, this is it. You can even be buried in it.

4. Any of the above, with pinstripes.

The Jacket
So. You’ve picked your color and you’re ready for the fit. First comes the jacket. Never was a suit bought for the pants and repeatedly worn afterwards. Pants are easily adjusted by a tailor, jackets can only have minor improvements. Think of true love: it must be close to just-right at first, with a slight thrill when you put it on, the coup de foudre as the French say.

First off: are you a single-breasted man or a double? While both styles can fit most body types, single-breasted jackets tend to flatter the slim while double-breasted jackets make the broad look mighty. This doesn’t imply being “skinny&” or “fat,” it’s simply about your tits; hence the term “breasted.” Choose the jacket style that you can best fill out—from there you’ll always look best. David Letterman, who can rarely be found not wearing a double-breasted jacket, skirts this rule by sitting behind a desk. Notice how uncomfortable he is during the monologue, fussing with his buttons while standing full-view before the camera.

To those opting for the single-breasted jacket, you’ll have to choose how many buttons you want. One? Hmm. Two? Excellent. And returning in popularity. Three? Certainly good, and was much sought-after in the recent past though it’s now reached near total market saturation. But, still classic, and hopefully always available.

Of course, jackets also come in four-, five-, and six-button styles, each with their own fifteen minutes of fame. Four-button jackets have been sported by everyone from The Beatles to Steve Harvey. Can you sport one? Of course! But no, not this season…

Last, the fit. Like we said before, close to the body, but no wrinkles when you button. Vents, double or single, are preferred to the vent-less jacket that, nine times out of ten, looks like a giant condom from behind. Shoulder pads should be avoided—you’re no linebacker—but a tailor will gouge you if you show up post-purchase and ask him to reduce the heft.

Finally, before we move onto trousers, there is one ticklish in-between: the vest. We can put this simply. If you’re ready to buy a vest, you’re either old enough to sport one or dangerously disillusioned. A good rule of thumb: Alfred Hitchcock looked great in vests. Young Jimmy Stewart looked out of his league. Pick your man.

The Trousers
You must now choose a trouser style. There have been, in the history of men’s trousers, a few trends that fucked with a good thing: bell-bottoms, bibs, clam-diggers, “cargo.” Unfortunately, all of these styles eventually found their way into suits.

Men, generally, will take any pants that come with a jacket. Being men, we want some control over how they look—“How they work,” thinks the man—but not too much. Hence, the cuffs-or-no-cuffs debate. Ask a man what he thinks of his pants and he’ll say, “Yeah, I had to go no-cuffs.” We won’t help you here except to say: cuffs are older, no-cuffs are not. Choose according to your image of yourself.

Next comes the pleats question: The only times pleats are wanted is in the single-pleat case, on a pair of wool pants. The case should be that the pants look crisp and well-folded, rather than puckered. How to tell the difference? Think of a pair of pants recently back from the dry cleaner. Remember the line down the middle of the leg. Does your new pleat-to-be look like that? If not, drop the hanger and run.

After cuffs and pleats, you need to worry about waist, swish, drape, belt-loops, ass-hugging, crotch-dangling, and whether or not you need a watch pocket. This is beyond our advice. Suffice to say, your ass is probably less than marble, though it shouldn’t be treated like a towel hook. Pants shouldn’t blow like a scarf in the breeze. The best way to judge a pair of pants is to ask yourself, “Would I wear these pants on a date without the jacket?” If so, they’re fine. If not, move on.

Finally, a salesman will often ask if you’d like to buy two pairs of pants for the suit. The idea is you can alternate pants with the jacket so they wear evenly over time, but since pants can be so easily ruined, you always have a back-up pair. This is similar to electronics store people trying to sell you insurance on an air conditioner; if you have the money, it’s not a bad idea, but it also isn’t necessary.

So now that you’ve picked out your suit, you have to know how to wear it. We’ll assume you know the basics of putting the thing on. (Yes, the jacket part goes on top.) And this brings us to buttoning. It is a historic dilemma, faced by every man. Here, for you, is our easy-to-remember rulebook:
Two-button jacket: Button the top button, only, ever. Button the bottom button and you’ll look like a stooge. That’s really all there is to it.
Three-button jacket: Button either the middle button alone or the top two. Important: the bottom button does not meet its hole. It will plead before a date, just when your stomach’s boiling, “Hey! Friend! Button me once, please. I’m sure we’ll look fine. Come on! Just once!” But you will not give in, you will be strong.

* * *

Now the suit’s on, and you’re ready to go. Comb your hair, have a cocktail, head out for the evening. Travel lightly when you go, meaning don’t bulge your pockets with a Bible-sized wallet. Your outside jacket pockets, in fact, should never be used unless your companion asks; at that moment chuck your pretensions and stuff them full. When you get home, brush down the suit, hang it evenly, and keep it in a bag. Wear it often, with pride, and don’t take shit for looking good. After all, no one can be Cary Grant, but everyone can try.

Oh yeah, another thing: Don’t roll up the jacket sleeves Miami-Vice style. We say this now, but then again, considering the fickle nature of fashion, don’t hold us to it.

—Published April 15, 2002
Copyright 2002, The Morning News

Sling Bag, MOLLE’s Latest Addition

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Sling Bag

I wanted to post this Army news release to show that the Army is on it. The item is entering production and will soon see issue. Please notice that this article is from December of last year. That is a pretty good turn around.

Sling Bag for Soldiers
Army News Service | December 27, 2007
NATICK, Mass. – Finding a way for Soldiers to accomplish their missions more easily is what lies behind the design of many products created by the Individual Equipment Lab at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center here.

“Part of our job is to spend time with Soldiers in the field and look at what they are doing, and see if there is a way we can improve how Soldiers carry their equipment,” said Richard Landry, equipment designer. When service members tour the SSC, their ideas and suggestions for individual equipment are considered to determine if they are practical.

Currently, the lab is working on a tactical sling bag, a project created by the SSC load-bearing team for the Product Manager Clothing and Individual Equipment group under the Program Executive Office Soldier.

“Soldiers use the MOLLE [modular lightweight load-carrying equipment] assault pack, which is like a daypack, and they love it,” Landry said. “But one of the problems is that they can’t sit in a vehicle while wearing it.” It is also difficult for the Soldier to access equipment inside the packs when it is on their back, he continued. And, during the time they have to stop to put on or take off their packs, they are left in a vulnerable position.

Landry said the sling bag could be slung over a Soldier’s back, out of the way. The bag could be rotated to the front if the Soldier needed to access equipment or get into a vehicle.

“We started by looking at civilian carrier bags,” he said. “We needed to find one that could be used not only inside a vehicle where they could reach items easily, but something that could be effective throughout their mission.”

The team from the Individual Equipment Lab looked at commercial bags, but couldn’t find one that met the necessary requirements. The current prototype created by the lab has about 700 cubic inches of space and is slung over one shoulder. It has MOLLE webbing on the front so the user can add various pouches from the MOLLE system. It also has a secondary security strap to ensure it stays in place with a pull-tab for quick separation when needed.

Sling Bag

He thinks the sling bag would be a valuable tool for medics. “This would essentially give medics a hands-free capability while ensuring their supplies are easily available,” Landry said. “Additionally, if the medic came under fire while treating a casualty, they wouldn’t have to worry about leaving supplies behind. They could always be attached to his body.

Although the sling bag has been roughly sized around the combat lifesaver kit, Landry and other service members already see plenty of additional uses. “This bag could be helpful for anyone who will be carrying small electronics,” he said. “…even laptops.” The Chaplain at SSC was also recently looking for something for the components of the resupply kit. “He thought the sling bag was a good fit,” Landry said.

From here, the idea will be to incorporate the sling bag into the MOLLE system as an accessory item. Landry concluded by saying, “The MOLLE system is constantly changing based on what we learn from Soldier feedback.”

Photos courtesy US Army, by Sarah Underhill, AMC, December 20, 2007

Canadian CTS News

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

The latest news from the Clothe The Soldier office is that the experimental CADPAT boot is out and a new smooth leather chocolate brown version is in. Aside from technical challenges facing the CADPAT boot project, the boots would have cost more as each Soldier would receive two colors of boots. The chocolate brown blends better with both the temperate-woodland and arid versions of CADPAT.

DPM – Camo Across the Pond

Friday, June 20th, 2008

British Soldier Systems industry sources have indicated that the MOD is poised to announce next week changes to the temperate and arid variants of the Disruptive Pattern Material camouflage. Testing of a digital version of the pattern has been halted and in its place both the arid and temperate styles will see a slight palette change in order to better accommodate scrub brush. Additionally, an entirely new variant of DPM is set to be unveiled that is intended exclusively for field equipment and is a compromise between the two current patterns.

EOTAC Operator hat

Friday, June 20th, 2008

EOTAC Operator Hat

OK, so you got a Surefire helmet light but you don’t wear your helmet everyday. EOTAC, the guys who used to be Backyard Outfitter and developed the Woolrich Elite line, came up with this unique Operator Hat at the request of those in the tactical firearms training community. The helmet light attaches to the hat’s brim by means of a polymer mount developed in conjunction with Tango Down, LLC. These will be available soon.

The one-size-fits-all Operator Hat is an all cotton low profile design and has the following features:

– No Button on Crown
– Pile Tape on Crown for Combat ID
– Sewn Eyelets in Each Crown Panel
– Low Profile Shape
– Adjustable Back Design
– Surefire Helmet Light Quick-Release Mount on Visor
– Removable American Flag Patch
– Water Repellent Cotton
– Colors: Khaki, Black, Olive

*Surefire is the registered trademark of Surefire, LLC. Helmet Light not included with Operator Hat.

Custom Metal Tags

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Have you ever needed to mark a bag or a box for deployment? One of the best ways is to attach an embossed metal tag to the item. Another great use for a “Dog Tag” is to record lock combinations and always wear the tag. Getting custom tags can be difficult because most veterans want something of the same quality as a set of the classic “Dog Tags” that they wore while in uniform. Considering that the ID tag hasn’t changed since WWII, there must be something to the design. One source for such tags is My Dog Tags. They produce military style tags with any message and have templates on their site for those who want the correct information for each service on their tags.

For more information contact My Dog Tag.