SPOT GPS

As much as he helps out with Gun Carry Reviews, my father is getting up there in age.  He has become a little worried about something happening to him when he goes out by himself hunting or fishing.  So I was looking for a solution to insure his safety.  What I found was Spot GPS. The Spot GPS unit is a simple GPS tracker that acts as a messenger to transmit it’s location at preprogrammed intervals to a satellite that records the location in your account so that your loved ones can see your location when they log in.  We chose to track the location every 10 minutes.  He simply turns the unit on before leaving the house and uses the included caribiner to hook it to a belt loop and off he goes.  When we logged into the account we can see the location of each ping. The unit includes programmable message buttons that will text or email your chosen contacts with your predetermined message.  In our case we set the OK button to tell contacts “I’m Here” so we know he had arrived at his location.  We programmed the Help button to notify us if he needed someone to come help him in a non-emergency situation and provide his location. Lastly, there is an Emergency button that notifies the GPS company to send emergency services to your location for rescue.  The monitoring team will then call in all emergency responders to the location pinged by the SPOT unit.  […]

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First Tactical

I came across First Tactical at Range Day ShotShow 2016, they had a small booth in front of several AR-15 firing lines. I vaguely remember seeing some hats, not knowing what they were about and assuming that they were associated with one of the AR-15s on the range behind them. I was obviously wrong. This year I happened across them at Range Day again and saw a booth that was enormous by comparison. First Tactical had grown and seemed to be making a little bit of everything. They were now making tactical clothing, boots, bags, and now knives, lights and even watches. It was one of the watch prototypes that stopped us in our tracks. They had a shockproof watch with digital compass that was appealing to my father, being a carpenter by trade, he can be quite rough on a watch. Our willingness to work on a watch review opened a marketing dialog and we were given a couple media kits. After a few discussions, things cooled down and I thought we may or may not be working with First Tactical and it was no big deal either way. Later things changed when I went through the media kit. Inside there was a catalog, contact information and a pair of socks. Socks? I have seen companies add small products to kits plenty of times. Most of the time the items are more about being cool than useful. Something that would make you remember the company that gave it to […]

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Fathom Stainless Steel Dive Watch by First Tactical

As I mentioned earlier, a watch was part of the reason we spoke with First Tactical in the first place. Then First Tactical sent along the Fathom. It’s the nicest watch in their line and I like watches. I have about a dozen that I rotate in and out of wear. Most of my watches are for looks and I tend to protect them from hard labor, not so with the Fathom. Instead, each time I had work to do whether it was landscaping, carpentry or gunsmithing the Fathom was there for the ride. All those jobs that would potentially scratch or crack something saw the Fathom on my wrist. To this date, the Fathom remains unscathed. So lets talk basic function. First and most importantly, it keeps good accurate time. Regardless of what else we can or want to do with a watch, it is useless if it doesn’t keep time. The Fathom is a Japanese quartz movement. The origin of the movement wasn’t listed on the website which seems like an oversight because a good movement makes a sale in the watch world. The next big point for me is readability. The watch is easily read in normal conditions but this is listed as a dive watch. So what about poor conditions? I can tell you, the photoluminescence of the face glows better than any watch I’ve seen. The glow makes the watch completely readable in the dark based only on collecting ambient light in the office. I […]

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Pack-it Jacket by First Tactical

The Pack-it Jacket was also sent along to me. Available in sizes up to 4XL and that’s exactly what I got. When was the last time you saw a light windproof, waterproof shell available in a size that big? Even better, the sleeves have velcro cuffs that make it fit my short arms just fine. It’s great. The jacket is super thin and light so I don’t get hot when I need it. The jacket cuts the wind if I need just a little something to keep me from getting cold. Best of all it’s a quick and easy way to shed the rain when I need to deal with a little weather. It has zippered front pockets, a velcro front breast pocket (large enough to act as a pseudo shoulder holster) and a huge inside pocket on each side. When its time to store it away, just ball it up and shove all of it into one of those interior pockets. It will compress to the size of an Ipad mini in a leather case. So it’s easy to keep as EDC gear and much easier to use and store than any sort of poncho.  

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Specialist Tactical Pants by First Tactical

That’s right, I said pants! This short, overweight reviewer found professional tactical pants that fit. First Tactical offers pant sizes up to a 54 waist. The sizing is true to expectations and the waistbands have a little bit of elasticity to them. They give when you move and are heavy weight fabric but comfortable. As with the bag above, the design is well thought out. The pants allow for great freedom of movement. The cargo pockets have flaps with interior lamination that keeps the pockets flat and professional. The front pockets each have loop inside at the top of the pocket to hang keys inside the pocket. The Cargo pockets have 2 extra compartments sewn into the back side to keep them organized (iphone in one and card wallet in the other for me). Of course you have the 2 back pockets you would expect but that’s not all. There are extra utility pockets (perfect for a tip down pocket knife or tactical light) just above the cargo pockets on the front and back side of each leg. Lastly, these pants have a built in knee pad pocket. You can actually slide your pads inside so they stay out of sight, you stay professional and your knees are protected without a hot, uncomfortable wrap around each knee. These pants come in several hemmed lengths with the extended sizes coming unhemmed. The downside for the short folk in the extended sizes is the location of the knee pad pocket. In my […]

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The Ascend Messenger Bag by First Tactical

The Ascend Messenger Bag from First Tactical is the most well thought out bag I have ever seen. With approximately 27 pockets or partitions (1 hidden), 3 Velcro attachment areas and 4 MOLLE areas you can make it into whatever you may need. The flexibility is astounding. It keeps my laptop and all its accessories, back up drive, meds, 1/2 gal of water, First Tactical Pack-it Jacket, documents, flashlight, knives, and so much more. INCLUDING or maybe ESPECIALLY my coffee in one of the two zip open bottle holders. The straps are removable and well padded with a rubberized underside for grip on your shoulder. The back of the bag has a luggage strap for travel. The buckles are covered with elastic material to protect them and keep them in place. The flap has Velcro closures with stow away covers that allow you to choose whether or not you want the flap to self secure. When I say it is the most well thought out bag ever, I mean that. The hidden pocket isn’t just another zipper pocket in the back like most bags. That pocket exists but the hidden handgun pocket is closed by Velcro inside that pocket in such a way that it’s not even visible when closed as the edge is tucked under the overhanging zipper. Speaking of zippers, many of the pocket zippers are dual sided so they can be opened from either side. The laptop pocket is well padded. In fact, I accidentally tested that […]

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Kore Essentials Trakline Gun Belt

At Shotshow 2016 I came across the first track adjustable belt I had seen.   I was approached to review that company’s offering of a Tactical belt and what I found was instead a great dress belt with lots of wonderful features but I never wrote a review of the belt. I don’t bring you products that don’t work well as advertised and so I never mentioned that belt or the company that sent it to us. They called it a tactical belt and it just couldn’t live up to that name. It wasn’t suited to carry more than a pocket pistol. This year I was approached by Kore Essentials with what appeared to be a similar product, the Trakline belt. I say it appeared similar, but in fact, they had released a proper gun belt. The difference is all in the function. In the case of the Trakline it carried my daily load of over 5 lbs of firearm, spare mags and keys plus attached perry style suspenders and the multitude of gear in my EDC kit without so much as a dent or mark for weeks. So lets break this down to what has been in direct contact with the belt: on the strong side was an IWB kydex holster carrying my fully loaded Springfield XDm 3.8 45, the weak side held a StealthGearUSA IWB double magazine carrier with 2 fully loaded extended mags and a lump of keys that would choke a hippo. Each day the holster was […]

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Rocky Outback Gore-Tex Waterproof Hikers

Prior to ShotShow 2016, I laid out a challenge to the various footwear companies. The shear enormity of ShotShow, with so many acres of concrete floor space is murderous to anyone’s feet. Couple that with my own personal difficulties and the week of ShotShow is down right painful. During ShotShow 2015, I would return to my hotel nightly with take out food in hand because it was too painful to get to my feet once I got off of them for any time at all. My challenge, after such an experience, was to ask who had a product that could get me through ShotShow pain free? Rocky Boots stepped up to meet that challenge for ShotShow 2016 with a pair of Lakeland hikers and the difference was astounding. The problems to overcome are as follows: Range Day – 9 hours of continuous walking on uneven rocky terrain. ShowShow – 4 days consisting of 9 hours of continuous walking on concrete floors. Personal issues – extra wide, flat, diabetic feet carrying 300 lbs of person plus camera equipment, audio equipment and promotional information. I maintain that the choice of Rocky to send the Lakeland hikers last year was the best possible shoe for the rigors of ShotShow. If there was one thing lacking in that boot it was the tread. While clearly the best for hard floors a slightly more aggressive tread may have improved the boot for outdoor use. This year Rocky decided to try again and sent over the Outback […]

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Krudo Knives Dao Folder

Over the years I’ve written about several types and brands of knives. When discussing folders, I’ve given a list of hard to find wants that aren’t often found together in a pocketknife. In January 2016, I met Louis Krudo at shotshow. He was showing off his prototype Dao folder and my list flew out the window. Yes, Krudo supplied a sizable blade. Yes, Krudo certainly had the innovation covered. But nothing mattered more to me at that moment than the Krudo aesthetic seen in the Dao folder. From the first moment I was hooked by the shear attitude of this knife. The look of the Dao folder is certainly unique. While the design is very forward, it conjures images of back alley straight razors. It’s an intimidating look to say the least. It throws out the usual folder ideas and shows us that more inspired designs can be just as functional. Starting with the blade shape. The Dao shape is not one that you would think of as a piercing tool. However, after a little time with the Dao you come to realize the point is more accurately described as well supported. The point is far from blunt and has so much steel nearby in the spine, it seems indestructible. While the wedge of steel leading to that thick spine may slow a straightforward stab, an upturning motion would use the curve of the blade to your advantage allowing the curve of the tip to slice its way in. And […]

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Colter Co. Bandanas

Much of what I write about is expensive or highly technical or at times the height of innovation, but there is one other aspect of products that I look for, at times it’s the most important of them all.  I look for items that are down right useful.  Colter Co. has released a pair of bandanas that fit the bill just in time to make a great stocking stuffer for your favorite prepper or EDC enthusiast.  Who can argue with making your bandana into a multi-tool? Bandanas are already a favored item in the hiking or bug out bag.  They can keep the sweat out of your eyes, bandage a wound, become a bindle to carry berries etc. or even be a step in water filtration.  Now the Colter Co. has a “Stargazer” bandana and a “Know Your Knots” bandana. This isn’t rocket science but it’s a great idea.  The Stargazer bandana is a star chart of the night sky. If you find yourself lost at night in the wilderness you need to navigate by stars to find a simple direction.  Like most I simply look for the north star to get oriented.  But you may not be able to see that beacon in your location because of a very narrow view of the sky.  Now what?  A star chart would be a godsend and with this option you aren’t adding to what you’re carrying, instead you are just upgrading what you already had in your pack.  Just when you thought it wouldn’t get any better, […]

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