Magpul MOE Handguard

Magpul has recently added a full length model to their popular MOE Handguard series for use on AR style rifles with direct impingement or external-piston gas systems. The handguards are made of light weight polymer and are easily installed by anyone competent enough to replace the standard AR handguards. Probably easier given the finger bashing, sweating, and swearing the standard guards take. Slots at multiple locations along the handguard allow for the attachment of Picatinny rails making the MOE a reasonable alternative to pricier aluminum rails for the budget minded shooter. I wouldn’t go mounting any optics to it, but they should suffice for mounting accessories like lights, hand grips or bipods.

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County Comm Embassy Pen

Pros

  • Takes readily available Fisher Space Pen refills
  • Will write in nearly any condition
  • Solid construction
  • Strong enough to use as a kubaton
  • Screw on cap is very secure

Cons

  • Cap does not fit onto back of shaft

There are a few tools that everyone should have on hand at all times. A good pen is one these tools. Whether you’re signing a credit card receipt, making at the range, or taking down the license plate number of that Corolla that just knocked you into a dish, you want a pen that works. Upside down, underwater, in orbit, or while laying in a rain swollen ditch watching tail lights fade into the distance, a pen that doesn’t work when you need it is good for only one thing; changing the time on the dashboard clock of Chrysler vehicles. Okay, two things, but how many of you run into Benny The Jet at your high school reunion? I’d say ten of you, fifteen tops.

A good pen can be hard to find though. Expensive pens are easy to find. An expensive pen is almost as easy to find as a cheap pen. Go to any office supply store and you can pay either $1.50 or a $150. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle room, and very few of them are the kind of pen you’d want to rely on when trying to defend yourself against a kickboxing basque terrorist.

So where do you get a pen that writes smoothly, takes abuse, and could likely open the jugular of a hash crazed terrorist attacking the flight cabin door with a fire axe? You get it from County Comm, a government contractor who mills the pen from a single piece of aluminum. Or stainless steel. Or titanium. Or even copper.

The Embassy Pen is simple and elegant, little more than a hardened armor shell for a Fisher Space Pen refill. The cap screws off, meaning there’s no springs, or moving parts to foul or break. The shaft of the pen is machined with knurls for a positive grip. The clip on the cap is strong but flexible and secured with two hex socket screws.

There are some oddities here though. Because the cap screws on and the base of the shaft is the same diameter as the cap, the cap does not fit onto the end of the shaft. If this is a big deal for you, then this pen will probably drive you a little batty. It doesn’t bother me, but if you’re the kind of person that habitually loses things, this may not be the pen for you.

For some reason, the point of the shaft, once unscrewed, screws into the cap. Evidently this design peculiarity was by specific request of the customer it was commissioned for. I can’t say that I understand the usefulness of the feature as clipping the pen into a pocket in this stubby configuration is bound to lead to ink bleeding out. If that sounds a little confusing, then take a look at this video County Comm produced highlighting the features of the pen.

I’ve been using this pen for a few weeks now. It writes smoothly, clips easily into a jacket pocket. It’s just the right size to clip into a front pocket without getting in the way of keys, or stabbing you in the thigh when you sit down. I’m not sure if it’s TSA friendly, but I suspect it is, and it’s the right shape and heft to make an effective undercover kubaton.

You might be able to hammer it through a baseball, I’m not willing to try that just yet, but I doubt it will then float and contact aliens. Despite that, I’m betting the Embassy Pen will take a beating, and even give one when needed.

The County Comm Embassy Pen gets a 5/5.

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Kershaw Knives on Discount

L.A. Police Gear is having a sale on Kershaw knives. Prices appear to be well below MSRP, but no telling how long this will last. I only own one Kershaw knife, a K.O. Vapor Plain Edge, that has been a pretty solid performer for me. Smooth action, blade holds an edge and keeps it, and the locks seems solid for a liner lock. Mine picked up a little surface rust on the blade when I was in the Caribbean, but that was easily remedied. At less than $25, it’s a good deal.

Kershaw K.O. Vapor

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FR Shemaughlava

What was that? Were you just thinking “If only someone would combine a balaclava with a shemagh!” No? Well, if you were, then 782 Gear heard your cry for help and has released a product with the tongue twisting name of FR Shemaughlava.

For the life of me, this seems like a product trying to find a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Unless, I guess, the problem is you find a shemagh difficult to don.

Whether you call it a shemagh, a keffiyeh, or a ghutrah, this simple head dress has been a nearly ubiquitous staple of the middle east for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It’s a lightweight square of woven cotton or a cotton wool blend that shields you from the sun, keeps the night chill off your neck and filters dust from the air. As headwear, it literally does not get any simpler and donning it is just as easy.

Wrapping a shemagh lands somewhere on the complication scale between tying your shoes and folding a towel.

I guess the FR Shemaughlava may be made with some space age moisture wicking, UV blocking microfiber embedded with infrared IFF markers, and these special material properties are what’s so innovative about the product. That would mean that the problem it’s solving is one that hasn’t been an issue with generations of desert dwellers. I suspect though, that the problem being solved here, is the low margin of return on selling a shemagh made of cotton and or wool.

I’ve never actually worn one though, so I could be wrong, but at $40 a pop, I’m not likely to find out either.

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Gun Blade

Merging guns and knives is nothing new. Military rifles have featured bayonets almost since the introduction of firearms into combat. Knives and swords that fired bullets as a last ditch offensive attack were introduced shortly thereafter. What I’ve not seen before, for what appears to be good reasons, is a knife that featured a repeating double action firearm as an integral part of the weapon.

Global Research and Development has managed to fill that very narrow market niche with this AOW product that puts a five round .22 caliber revolver in the handle of a knife. The product appears as interesting as it does pointless. The defensive capacity of f rounds of .22 is dubious at best, especially when it’s contained in the handle of another, more formidable weapon. The trigger assembly pops out of the knife’s handle, requiring what appears to be a very awkward and unsafe grip to work the action. Additionally, it’s unclear if the trigger can be restowed without firing a round, a prospect that should make any eyebrows raise.

In case you’re still interested though, they make a model that will fit on an AR platform bayonet lug. You know, just in case you wanted three weapons in one hand.

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Anzio Ironworks 20mm

When .50 BMG just isn’t enough, there’s the Anzio Ironworks 20mm. Mag fed bolt action rifle that can reach out to 3000+ meters. You can even get it in a take down model. Watch that recoil though. Tactical Life has some more details on this rifle, and the historical use of 20mm as a long range anti-material round.

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Gepard GM6

The Hungarian Gepard family of rifles has a bumpy history. The first models were difficult to reload and the soviet 12.7 x 108 mm round had significant and uncomfortable recoil. Future models mitigated these problems by eventually introducing semi-automatic actions and a recoil system that featured a reciprocating barrel. The 12.7x108mm round is similar to the revered .50 BMG, but has a longer case and 20% more powder, resulting in slightly higher muzzle velocity and comparatively extended range.

This is the GM6, the last iteration of the Gepard series of rifles. It is, in a word, nuts. It’s a recoil operated, semiautomatic bullpup antimaterial rifle with a five round magazine that can be fired from the hip. As if that wasn’t enough, the designer evidently believed the 12.7x108mm round, while still among the most powerful in the world, was inadequate. So the GM6 is chambered for 14.5x114mm, the same round used in the ZPU antiaircraft guns. The ballistics on this round are, also, nuts, delivering a .57 caliber armor piercing and incendiary bullet at a muzzle velocity of 1000 m/s resulting in 32,000 Joules of energy delivered on target.

How bad ass is all that? Check out this video and see for yourself.

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Another Video of the Ares Armor RAD Pack

Ares Armor has released another video of the RAD pack. The video demonstrates some more of the pack’s functions and deployment, showing how you can use it to deploy body armor and weapon from concealment in a matter of a few seconds. For some reason they spend a lot of time trying to convince us that it’s a real product and not edited in some way. I guess some people just don’t get it?

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Spyderco Navaja

If you’re a close follower of Spyderco, you may have heard about the Navaja. It’s part of Spyderco’s Ethnic series, and inspired by the the traditional Navaja Carraca knives of Spain. The Navaja was rumored to be in design for several years, but details have been scant. The rumor also alleges the reason for the delay were attempts to replicate the unique ratcheting sound made by the lock of the traditional carracas. I’m a big fan of Syperdco, I’ve been carrying a Delica II for more than 10 years. I’m an advocate for their brand. Despite that, I can’t say that I’m crazy about this blade design.

Ed Schemp addressed rumors about the lock sound, and concerns about specific design elements in a December post on the Spyderco forums.

My goal in knife design is to put a very usable blade in the hands of the ELU. I chose the Corsican version as inspiration for the knife. I own a handmade Corsican Navaja made by my Corsican friend Alexander Musso. My interpretation is stylized with Spyderco and my style influences.

The Carraca mechanism is self destructive. The mechanism in the Spyderco Navaja is not part of the lock and on a different axis of impact from the original inspiration for this piece. This knife should bring Spyderco’s reliable high performance to this centuries old ethnic design.

My opinion about the design of the blade aside, it appears to be a smoothly functional knife. Here’s a video of Mike Janich demoing the knife at SHOT Show. Mike says in the video that the Navaja is in the 2011 catalog and will be available soon. Keep an eye out towards the end of the video as Mike casually deploys the blade with his ring finger in a reverse grip.

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Ares Armor RAD Pack

You can’t always wear an outfit that easily adapts to concealed carry, so civilian styled bags that offer hidden and easily accessible firearm storage are just about everywhere these days. They tend to range from Pretty Good to Dangerous. The Ares RAD Pack stands apart from the crowd though, for one simple reason. It’s also got body armor. And it deploys in seconds.

If your enemy brings a gun to the fight, One up him with a full armor system and a weapon of your own.

Watching the demo video of the product in use leaves me with two impressions. This is a simple idea implemented elegantly, and, why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?

Ares Armor is taking pre-orders now for delivery in February, and they’ve knocked $170 off the price.

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