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Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

FirstSpear Friday Focus – Reusable Face Mask

Friday, April 10th, 2020

FirstSpear has announced they are manufacturing a reusable face mask and making them available right away. 100% Berry compliant one size fits all mask with a 4 point reinforced closure for long term security. Colors will vary based on availability, the construction will vary between a nylon cotton or polyester cotton blend also based on material availability. The mask can be laundered for re-use and it is recommended to hand wash each day with a mild antibacterial dish or laundry soap and hang dry over night.

Currently available in ACU and Sage Green.

FirstSpear has stated orders are being filled as quickly as possible but as always FS prioritizes government agency, law enforcement agencies, hospital and EMS requests first. Production is on going and individual orders will be filled in the order they are received.


SureFire Field Notes Ep 57 – How to Mount Your Scope with Michael Baccellieri

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

Michael “Buck” Baccellieri grew up in the Pacific Northwest where he started his military career at age 17.  He joined the Army National Guard while still in high school, attending basic and AIT, and spent three years as an infantry rifleman. Upon completing a deployment to the Middle East, he cross-decked to the Marine Corps, where he spent four years as an infantryman, assault climber, CWSS swimmer, and Scout in an STA platoon. Baccellieri later returned to the Army National Guard, taking up a slot in a sniper section and, after completing sniper school, moving on to the role of sniper team leader. He finished his career as an instructor at the Fort Chaffee sniper schoolhouse in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Baccellieri now works for Leupold & Stevens, Inc., as the lead optics and firearms instructor for all military/LE training. He fills his time between classes by performing military business development for the Oregon-based company.



USAF Special Instruments Training Course Instructors 3D-Print Medical Supplies

Thursday, April 9th, 2020


The 312th Training Squadron’s Special Instruments Training course instructors have begun using their skills to 3D print prototypes to supply the medical facilities in the area with N95 face masks and face shields.

A neurosurgeon in Billings, Montana, worked with a dental company to create reusable plastic N95 masks using 3D printers. In an effort to help protect those caring for sick individuals around the world, he made a model available online for a free 3D printable, high-efficiency filtration mask with a design that allows reuse of the mask several times due to the replaceable filtration device.

Instructors got the idea from Air Force Quarantine University, a public Facebook group for innovative learners to connect during the COVID-19 crisis, where they saw other organizations modeling and printing these supplies.

“We saw other people 3D printing medical supplies and we thought we should try printing things like face masks and face shields,” said Master Sgt. Manuel Campo, 312th TRS SPINSTRA flight chief.

SPINSTRA has an innovation lab containing four 3D printers as well as 3D modeling software. Although they are unsure of the needs of the 17th Medical Group and surrounding hospitals, they plan to continue to create these medical supplies in case they are needed in the future.

“We plan to present what we have created to the medical group to see if we can meet their needs and print what they need,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bahr, 312th TRS SPINSTRA instructor.

Medical professionals wear personal protective equipment to protect themselves and minimize exposure. This PPE usually consists of a face mask, gloves, and goggles or a face shield.

“The most realistic option for us to make was the face shields,” Bahr said. “The purpose of the face shield is to extend the use of the face mask. The goal is to reduce the number of masks being used and thrown out after one use.”

In the future, if more masks and shields are needed to be printed, they plan to allow students to begin assisting in this project. Instructors have also reached out to other facilities on Goodfellow AFB with 3D printers to provide more medical supplies. There are even instructors with personal 3D printers providing more supplies from home.

“If we can use our skills to help, we plan to do so,” Campo said. “We want to do everything we can to help.”

By Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

ISAF TACP – From the Battlefield to the Ring, the Mission is to Win

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea —

With piercing blue eyes and unwavering confidence, a man walks into life’s arenas and envisions success. Whether exchanging blows in an octagonal ring or climbing snowy mountains to call in airstrikes, his visions of prosperous outcomes cancels out the deafening noises.

Being distracted can be the difference between life and death, or standing upright versus tumbling down. Knowing the severity of a miscalculated move, his passion and professionalism keeps him in the fight – one that parallels the worlds of MMA and being a U.S. Air Force TACP.

“Being in the ring and being a TACP are very similar,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Bunkley, 607th Air Support Operations Group tactical air control party (TACP). “The feeling I get going into the ring, is the same feeling I felt when I stepped out of my vehicle for the first time in Afghanistan and charged my weapon.”

Bunkley continued to explain the butterflies deep in his stomach from the uncertainty of what’s going to occur, which were flooded over by the trust he had in himself and the troops by his side.

“In combat, you don’t know if you’re going to hit an improvised explosive device or if you’re going to start taking contact,” Bunkley said. “You have to be on your toes the whole time. Same with in the ring, you don’t know what your opponent is planning. All you know is that they’re trying to defeat you.”

Whether Bunkley is observing his opponent from a higher terrain or is face to face with them, his goal is to be victorious. The amount of hours, days, months, and years of training can make or break him.

Life as a TACP

“As a TACP, you have to be able to multi-manage, which is something that doesn’t come naturally,” Bunkley said. “It’s not natural to talk to you, this guy over here and then three different people on the radio. You have to train a lot to obtain the ability to multi-manage in these situations. You have to be able to take information given and act in a quick manner that’ll make sense to get effects on the battlefield.”

His mission is to supply multilateral communication between aircraft and ground troops in the battlespace. He’ll either give the “cleared hot” order to aircraft for close air support or receive a bigger picture of the battlefield from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.

“The challenges of being a TACP drew me to the career field,” Bunkley said. “I was 18 years old going through the schoolhouse and all I wanted was to do something that would be meaningful and make a big impact on my life and others.”

Going into the initial stage of TACP training, Bunkley doubted whether he would make it through to graduation. He knew in the back of his mind there was an incredibly high attrition rate for special warfare Airmen.

Now after nine years of service, Bunkley has become extremely well versed in his job. He has deployed and has had the opportunity to be an instructor in the special warfare pipeline.

“Sometimes I think to myself, ‘I can’t believe I get paid for this,’” Bunkley said. “We get to call in airstrikes, shoot guns, go skydiving and experience many different combat courses. But with all that comes the sucky moments, like hiking up a snowy mountain to get a good observation point. You can stay in the field for days at a time in extreme heat or cold; it can be wet or dry.  Through the good or the suck, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”

Bunkley’s two worlds meet

In January 2020, the Las Vegas native was one of nine U.S. Air Force special warfare and combat support Airmen to receive an opportunity to visit the Ultimate Fighting Championship Training Center. During this visit he was able to meet and train with some of the top UFC fighters.

“It was totally awesome to get the opportunity to go out to the UFC Training Center and train with Dustin Poirier, Forest Griffin and Stephen Thompson,” Bunkley said. “We were able to hear their stories of past fights, how they came up and some of their challenges they’ve faced.”

The goal from this opportunity was for the U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service to strengthen their partnership with the UFC, which provided the Airmen and fighters a look into each other’s worlds.

“I’m definitely not able to be a top UFC fighter and be a TACP at the same time.” Bunkley said. “Being a MMA fighter is a full-time deal. My plan is to continue fighting amateur and get my experience up and hopefully fight at the pro level in the future.”

Bunkley’s experience in the ring includes three amateur MMA fights, more than 80 jiu jitsu competitions and a couple of Army combative matches.

“I grew up wrestling and didn’t get into MMA until my deployment to Africa,” Bunkley said. “I had a group of friends who trained a few times a week and started to join them. I got addicted to it. I started training once a week, then twice a week and later found myself training almost every day.”

“Took my first fight on a seven hour notice”

“I was back home and a buddy of mine, who helps promote amateur and pro-level fights, noticed me competing in jiu jitsu,” Bunkley said. “He called me and said, ‘Hey man, I know you do jiu jitsu but do you want to fight in the cage tonight.’”

Bunkley surprised and confused, ended up agreeing to the fight.

“I just went for it,” Bunkley said. “I took my first fight on a seven hour notice in Las Vegas on the strip.”

At this point in Bunkley’s experience, he had primarily done ground combatives and only two or three sessions of striking.

“The whole feeling of having my music played while walking up has no comparison,” Bunkley said. “The adrenaline and excitement overcomes you before you start throwing fists. And it’s all very real. These dudes are straight up trying to knock your head off.”

As soon as the bell rang, Bunkley’s nervous feeling faded away. His focus was on how he could defeat his opponent.

“Very quickly, I realized this guy’s striking was a lot better than mine,” Bunkley said. “I was getting hit over and over, but I just kept watching him looking for my edge. When I got the chance, I took him to the mat. It was over. I knew that’s where I had him. From there, every round I took him down.”

The years of high school wrestling and jiu jitsu payed off for Bunkley in this match, which came down to the very end.

“I played my strength,” Bunkley said. “I was tactical about the fight and it all came down to the judge’s decision. Standing there felt like forever for them to announce the winner. And with a unanimous decision, they raised my arm in victory.”

Story by By SSgt Ramon A. Adelan, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Photos by SrA Denise M. Jenson

Warrior Wednesday – ADS Introduces Warrior Edition

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

ADS, Inc. is excited to present the ADS Quarterly Publication: Warrior Edition, an 84-page magazine filled with top products from industry-leading suppliers and informative articles to help you increase lethality, maximize survivability and optimize performance. We offer access to the largest selection of products and services, the broadest array of procurement and contract options, as well as world-class expertise and support to assist you—every step of the way.

Running 24/7, and Limited Only by Imagination: U.S. Marines Put 3D Printing Skills to Use in the Fight Against COVID-19

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

MCAS FUTENMA, Okinawa, Japan. – For Staff Sgt. Michael P. Burnham and Sgt. Blaine E. Garcia, a trailer-sized workspace filled with sweltering heat and the constant whine of over a dozen machines running at full speed is simply the setting for just another day. This day, however, sees these leaders bringing 3D printing to the fight for 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, using their manufacturing skills against COVID-19.

For Burnham, who originally joined the Marine Corps as a machinist working with ground ordnance, and Garcia, who started his career working on jet engines, the process of 3D printing has become less of an unexpected turn in their service and more of a passion. Garcia alone has several 3D printers of his own, once used for hobbies and now put into the effort by III Marine Expeditionary Force to print the frames for thousands of masks and face shields. Posters surround the machines churning away, each one highlighting a success story for 3D printing in 1st MAW and an example of the sort of additive manufacturing both Marines have spent years perfecting.

Today, Burnham and Garcia have put their experience into the fight against the COVID-19 virus. In their workspace on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, the two have turned their workspace, ordinarily used for 3D printing parts for aviation maintenance, into a PPE factory. The goal of the overall effort, Burnham explained, is to reduce the need for medical-grade masks and respirators by providing an alternative supply of frames for masks and face shields to Marines and Sailors assigned to III MEF and its supporting units, particularly those directly engaged in first-line medical care and screening.

The plastic frames being printed, Burnham said, started as 3D models on a computer, designed with input from medical professionals and incorporating open-source ideas from others in the 3D printing community. Once the design is settled, a program “slices” the model into a series of programs for the 3D printer, which can then assemble a complete object from up to thousands of layers of two-dimensional patterns formed by cooling jets of molten plastic. The mask frames themselves can be created in a number of different plastic materials, and create a complete mask using elastic bands, cords, or other fasteners, along with an easily washable and readily available cloth cover. The plastic frame creates a seal around an individual’s mouth and nose, as demonstrated by Garcia, wearing the end result amidst the 3D printers at work.

The face shields are a more complicated product, also developed in concert with the U.S. Naval Hospital on Okinawa. Garcia has designed the face shield frames himself, with hospital public health officials providing quality assurance. “We start with a number of different prototypes,” he explained, demonstrating a number of designs that public health experts had directed alterations to. “We look at all the ideas, and each prototype goes through the QA process.”

The final design, he said, is deliberately simple but effective, an arc-shaped piece of plastic with a series of pegs and hooks along the outside edge. “We send the frames to the hospital,” Garcia explained, demonstrating the process of making a face shield with the frames using a plastic sheet protector. “They’ll clean them and use a plastic similar to the overhead transparencies they use in schools, with holes punched in them to fit over the knobs on the front.”

MALS-36 will be producing the face shield frames going forward, as part of III MEF’s overall effort, with other elements producing mask frames at a similar rate beyond the 1,000 already produced by MALS-36. This is nothing new, from Garcia’s considerable experience in the burgeoning field. “Any part that we print for an aircraft goes through reviews by engineers and experts,” Garcia said, “ensuring that [the parts] fit the tolerances needed and can stand up to the conditions. Once that’s done, it’s available to every Marine and Sailor who can print,” allowing the services to rapidly disseminate the designs that make the cut.

This division of labor, with different units producing parts and medical personnel taking the mass-produced frames for masks and face shields and overseeing the distribution, allows the MALS-36 team to focus on rapid and sustained production. 3D printing, Garcia noted, has a longer lead time initially than simply ordering parts that are in-stock, but once the initial design is finished, it allows for faster, cheaper, and more responsive delivery of parts – and it allows entirely new items to be created from scratch in remote conditions.

Around the clock, Burnham and Garcia oversee the process of production. Maintaining their distance from each other in both time and space, the two Marines work in shifts, with Garcia laboring to keep the morning’s mask and face shield production going and Burnham arriving in the afternoon, after Garcia has departed, to remove the finished products from their print beds and begin the process yet again. Despite the long hours, Burnham emphasized that 3D printing is not necessarily labor-intensive once production has begun. “We print them in stacks,” Burnham said, against the backdrop of another set of mask frames being printed. “Most of the time, if there’s a mistake, it’s in the first layer, so we can tell right away if we need to stop the machine and reposition.”

From there, the frames can be left alone, the workspace growing noticeably hot inside as a dozen nozzles spread heated plastic out in an exacting pattern. After 11 hours, the frames are ready to remove from the printer and separate into individual items – and at two to four stacks of ten mask frames each per machine, this adds up quickly, allowing any similarly-appointed workspace to create over 800 mask frames per day.

This output, according to Burnham, is a process that can be kept up 24/7. To accomplish it, the machine’s print head moves from side to side, while the print bed itself, the large plate upon which the object is printed, moves forward and back. Each layer of the object is painstakingly assembled by the minute, programmed motions of the print head, feeding a heated stream of molten plastic precisely into place. The smaller machines print more slowly, but use a smaller filament, allowing for finer detail to be captured.

The entryway to Garcia and Burnham’s workspace is decorated by evidence of this fine detail, with everything from rocket parts and ornate, twisting test pieces to minutely-detailed decorations arrayed on tables in 3D printed wood, metal, and plastic. Even the fixtures within the workspace are 3D printed, with the handles suspending first aid kits and most plastic parts of the 3D printers themselves bearing the fine striations that mark a 3D printed product.

“With 3D printing,” Garcia said, “you’re really limited only by your imagination.”

Story by 1st Marine Aircraft Wing COMMSTRAT

Cutting the Risk of Traumatic Brain Injury on the Battlefield

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

From Special Operations Forces under fire to SWAT teams responding to an incident on the street, defense and law enforcement operators need to have complete confidence in their personal protective equipment (PPE). As well as being rugged, reliable, and deploying the most advanced technology available, an operator’s PPE must also be as comfortable, mobile, and lightweight as possible. This is particularly true of the ballistic helmet; which operators may be required to wear for extended periods in challenging environments.

The helmet system is comprised of an external hard shell; an internal liner and suspension system to achieve a customized fit and minimize head acceleration and deceleration. Internal pads provide impact protection and comfort, and the retention device (such as a chinstrap) keeps it all in the correct position. The helmet’s purpose is to protect against a range of ballistic threats and also to help reduce the risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI).


The average U.S. warfighter carries at least 60 pounds of gear, with an extended patrol often double that weight. Every component and accessory increases the load, which is particularly felt when added to the helmet. “We often hear the old adage that ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain,” says Bill VanMullekom, Executive Vice President of D3O, LLC. “Hence the critical need to drive weight out of every element of the helmet system.”

Every component of a helmet is optimized to enhance the safety of its wearers. Understanding the end user’s environment enables those involved in the supply chain, such as 3M, to push the technology envelope on design and manufacturing. They then work with their industry partners, such as D3O, to explore enhanced impact protection.

“The geometry and mass of a helmet’s accoutrements can affect its blunt impact protection and comfort,” adds David Jackson, U.S. Defense Program Manager at D3O, who has more than 25 years of defense experience. “Also, impact energies are increasing. As we move from the requirement for a helmet to resist an object with an impact speed of 10 feet per second to 14 feet per second and beyond, it’s vital that the helmet shell and suspension pads work together.”


Current and future defense and law enforcement personnel will benefit from innovations in materials, geometries and design, combined with new manufacturing equipment and methodologies.

“We have found ways to lay the suspension pads in the helmet to increase the number of contact points with the head, thus maximizing comfort,” says Bill VanMullekom of D3O.

The outcome, believes Jackson, will be helmets offering maximum protection at the lowest weight and with the greatest possible comfort: “D3O has the proven capability to adapt products to end user needs so they can focus on the task at hand, enhancing survivability and enabling the successful completion of the mission.”


Curt Caruso, a 25-year veteran of the USMC, knows first-hand the importance of head protection while in the field. “Being in the military, protection is vital for us. Having confidence in the protection we have, whether it’s a helmet, plate carrier, protection in the elbows and knees, everything like that does help enhance our motivation, our confidence to go in. As technology advances, it is saving more and more lives. All it does is build confidence in you and make you do your job a lot better.”

Hear more of Caruso’s story in D3O’s InsideOut video:


As of 2020, the General Services Administration (GSA) has approved three D3O TRUST (Trauma Reduction Unrivaled Shock Technology) solutions to be sold through its online shopping and ordering system, GSA Advantage. Valid for 23 years, the contract via D3O partner TSSi enables federal, state, and local government entities to easily and conveniently purchase D3O TRUST products amongst others at pre-negotiated terms and conditions.

D3O TRUST solutions for defense, law enforcement, and tactical gear are tested and trusted in some of the world’s harshest environments. Available in seven and nine pad configurations, the TRUST Nimbus and TRUST Stealth helmet pad systems are designed to comfortably fit the wearer’s head shape while providing high-performance deceleration under blunt impact. TRUST Nimbus is the most recent and lightweight helmet pad system from D3O, exceeding the required level of protection at 10ft/sec by 50% in a polyethylene shell and 39% in an aramid shell.  

Brigantes Issue Essentials – Bolle Tactical Combat Ballistic Glasses  

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

Each week we bring you products that should be on all military standard issue kit lists. This week it’s Bolle Tactical Comat Ballistic Glasses.

Bollé delivers the highest quality sunglasses and goggles for performance and protection.

Their latest generation of Combat hybrid ballistic glasses complies with STANAG 4296 and EN172 goggles with a unique modular system thanks to the continuous, easily replaceable lens in the versions clear, smoked glass and CSP and the combined headband / headband system (with or without foam).

Each pair of Bolle’s ballistic glasses have had their signature platinum treatment. This permanent coating applied on both surfaces makes then highly scratch resistant (1.4 cd/m²) , gives them high resistance to the most aggressive chemicals and slows the appearance of fogging. In any circumstances and at every moment, Platinum provides the highest safety for eyes.

The combat glasses’ revolutionary B-Flex technology offers unique flexibility. The B-FLEX nose bridge is light, flexible & adaptable in all directions. Due to the shape memory material, it fits in all directions and to all face shapes. In addition to this, the combat glasses are 99.9% UVA and UVB protection.

Bolle’s CSP (comfort sensitivity perception) coating, like ESP, is an effective solution for all activities that alternate exposure to bright light and low light, while also being suitable for extreme temperature environments. Ideal for cold and hot countries, from the Far East to Siberia. CSP technology to filter blue light is combined with the exclusive Platinum coating, to sustainably combat fogging and provide permanent visual comfort from a single pair of glasses.


Bolle Tactical’s combat glasses are a perfect fit for all elements of military exercise and deployment. Combining patented technology with comfort and durability means that they are the perfect solution for the military user in any weather condition or terrain.

For more information contact international@brigantes.com

For UK sales contact warrior@brigantes.com