4 PROJECT GECKO We speak to Eli at Project GECKO to get the lowdown on their specialist training packages. 10 ALL AT SEA; MARITIME SECURITY TRAINING IN POLAND! Getting to grips with the very latest maritime training courtesy of the European Security Academy 15 INDUSTRY UPDATE Hot topics in the world of the Private Military Contractor 16 FRONTLINE FOCUS Checking out the latest developments on The Circuit 18 BOOK REVIEW - “GREEN EYES AND BLACK RIFLES” 20 HEAD TO HEAD Looking to break into the world of the PMC? We talk to two industry veterans to get their insights on what it really takes! 24 GEAR FOR THE GOOD GUYS The PMCI Team make their recommendations on the latest gear to hit the market! 28 SNUGPAK; THE NEXT GENERATION! Checking out the very latest kit from UK gear manufacturer SNUGPAK 33 TACTICAL INNOVATION New and improved clothing systems from Helikon-Tex in Poland 37 FIREARMS MAINTENANCE Trampas checks out some great new products from RamRodz! 38 BOOK REVIEW - “ARMS OF LITTLE VALUE” 40 FIREARMS PERFORMANCE Revolutionary new firearms cleaning and performance products from Modern Spartan Systems in the USA 44 TECH AND TOOLS A new take on a classic tool; the Gerber Downrange Tomahawk! 46 INDUSTRY VACANCIES Looking for work? Just check here.
Editor (International): Dan Eastes Graphic Design: Havoc Design Publisher: Nigel Streeter PMCI Magazine is a digital-only publication, published bi-monthly and available FREE OF CHARGE via the PMCI app on the following platforms: Apple iOS, Android, Windows 8, and Windows Phone. For more information visit our publishing partner: www.PocketMags.com PMCI can also be read online at: www.issuu.com Calibre Publishing Limited Wyche Innovation Centre, Walwyn Road, Upper Colwall, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR13 6PL Tel: 01684 878 003 Web: www.pmcimagazine.com ©Calibre Publishing Limited 2014
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A number of us that contribute to PMCI are actively involved in tactical training and the product development that goes hand in hand with this. We speak to others involved in the industry worldwide on a regular basis and it’s always superb to see “new kids on the block” bringing something different to the table; in our opinion Project GECKO most definitely fit into this category! PMCI: Eli, in your own words tell me what led you to set up Project GECKO? The main aim of Project Gecko is to help and support, whether we help veterans or active duty personal (Mil, Leo, authorities) or civilians. Let me be more accurate; we don’t just train or teach. We help by developing and working in perfect alignment with people who are motivated and driven by same ethics and respect which I and Project Gecko stand for. I founded this company when I figured out that most people in the world today are working with false information or investing in training methods which are simply not realistic or non-behaviour compliant. Aside from guiding and showing the right way of doing a ‘simple’ CQB training to a young Bundeswehr soldier or doing a mountaineering expedition with full gear in the wild Austrian Alps one thing for me personally is certain. I want to help; I always wanted to ‘give’ to the other and I do that by motivating, inspiring, educating and empowering people. Those are not just people, those are people who wear uniforms and protect us, or law abiding citizens that help those in need. Those are the people who sit in the ambulance or climb up the ladder into a burning house. Those people help others. From experience and after a year of a strong traffic of different individuals in our courses I can tell you one thing. The effect on both mental and physical levels is enormous. I witnessed how
When and where did you start running your courses? We started officially in the beginning of 2014 in Germany. The first program focused on Patrol basics and land navigation under difficult weather conditions within a mountain environment. The program was physically difficult and mentally challenging to the average person as the participants faced long exposure to low temperatures (-10c) and a serious lack of sleep. The program was a success and a great satisfaction for me personally, but what really hit me was long after this program I kept getting messages from the guys who attended the programs, sharing with me their impressions and how much this ‘basic’ training helped them not
only on the professional level, but on a private level as well. Whether it was a civilian, business man or a military personnel, they were pretty much influenced from that training. From that moment on I kept developing that training concept and found it even more useful towards CQB development courses, That´s why CQB became our main goal for 2014, and I think we pretty much nailed it with over 10 programs oriented around CQB topics within less than a year.
a quiet, shy guy with no confidence became a leader after a three day intensive CQB course, and how a police officer gains more confidence in his skill. The point is, every person has potential, but to get to that potential you have to walk down the hallway and knock on each damn door. Most people simply continue to walk rather than trying to open a door. I hate to talk over my military background as it contains the two letters ‘SF’; two letters, which a wide spectrum of people like to use and abuse. But that experience within special forces brought me the ability as described above, the ability to create the possible out of the impossible on a daily basis. Whether by proving that it is possible to ruck around 200km a week or climbing up a hill with 60% body weight, it is all possible, the potential is there, but the question is are YOU there ?
What exactly do you specialize in? Project Gecko currently is specialize in wide selection of topics. Our goal for 2014 was to increase and develop a strong basis towards our CQB courses. In 2015 our goals are to establish a solid ground for our SUT & Land navigation courses. Aside from what we call ‘routine programs’ Project Gecko is also specialized at building & fulfilling expeditions to remote locations. Those expeditions normally contain a very specific educational topic & training concept. Last year Project Gecko performed a five5 day expedition to the Austrian Alps, and is expected this year to release 2 more expeditions. The topics are mountaineering & SUT oriented. Our strongest capability is working outside with nature. We already have a rich background of multiple types of what we like to call ‘’Green Side’’ programs. And we definitely look to push it even further. In the future we will offer Firearms training (which are currently available only via request) & sniper courses which are currently still under development. Who do you see as your target customer for your courses? We welcome anyone who would like to join, but of course with a reasonable manner. We look to those who are aligned with our core values and vision of helping others. Those types of people you will meet quite often at our courses & programs. To be more specific, our spectrum of customers is quite wide and flexible. It contains all type of backgrounds, from Military to Police, and from Hunters to Bankers. It is quite interesting to see this raw material once forged in a training. While we do open courses which contain the mix mentioned above we also have the privilege and honour to work privately with different government \ non-government organisations.
I know that you have excellent training facilities that you make use of throughout Europe; can you tell me more about them and what you do there? Correct. And that is a result of good reputation and no compromise over opportunities. Our current training facilities divide into two categories, Field and Urban. We are using different types of training grounds but the famous one is an ongoing project we have in central Germany which consists of an indoor complex, with a complete urban layout. We expect the project to grow dramatically during 2015 and hope to finally finish it around the end of 2015. You also provide field training; what does this entail? Correct. PG offers different levels of SUT and land navigation courses. Without exposing too much, in those courses we will teach our participants how to communicate, work together and go through a process of problem solving. Aside from the mental thing, which we like to develop within our students, this courses main goal is to teach different SOPs, which are an essential tool within field operations. Do you train just military and police personnel or civilians too? We have different classes and we run different courses. Some of them are highly suitable for civilians, some are less. The reality is that we have a few custom designed courses for a specific layer of clients. Other than that, we open our doors to the average civilian to join, learn or even just experience what itâ€™s all about.
Do you offer training in specialized equipment? Yes, due to the difficult gun laws in several European countries we found ourselves dancing between Lazer tech, AS and real firearms as its always the question of the
training needs, and how it fits to the country laws. We had on one occasion a private CQB course where we dealt with breaching and the utilisation of different available tools. There are few plans for the future, regarding the use of a very specific gear, from NVGâ€™s to breaching and concealment. It is worth mentioning, that we are planning a SUT course, which will include a free fall insertion, so yeah, we use different types of gear. Do you have all the equipment available as part of your courses? It depends on the country, or location of the training. Currently in Belgium for example we have the ability to rent out full sets of kit. In Germany we are still looking for a possibility and definitely considering a sponsor. However some items are always provided at our course. Once trainees have successfully completed one of your courses can they buy the equipment from you? Completing a course or program is not a must for buying a product from us. We also have the ability to sell our clients different types of tactical equipment, some made by us some made by other
particularly awesome companies. That´s why we created a second company under Project Gecko, the company is named GECKO Superior and its sole purpose is to act as a bridge and gateway to the efficient, durable and & unique equipment based on our field experience. As we like to say ‘’Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.’’ Once trained, how do those successfully attending your courses go about finding employment? This is a tricky question. The thing is, our clients currently divide into two categories, some who come with a skilled background and some who come with definitely nothing. We tend to keep contact with some of our clients and as far as I know, a few already enlisted in the military after visiting several of our courses. We also heard from several layers of backgrounds, that our training gives them confidence and a better glimpse of reality into their profession and what could possibly go wrong. Let’s talk over those with zero background who come to us though. This group itself is broad and wide and mostly based on civilian partcipants. The theme is mostly oriented around one topic; can I defend myself or others? Can I make a difference? Attacks are often brief, brutal and unexpected. Chances are you will be on your own with no policeman to help you at that crucial moment. If you have developed good avoidance and awareness skills (covered in our CQB courses, especially Level 1), you will dramatically increase your ability to stay out of harm’s way. Still, an attack may occur. If you have developed proper mental preparation, speed, and accuracy with a handgun, you will dramatically increase your ability to prevail over your attacker, no matter his size. So we focus not only on giving a guarantee or resume checkpoints, we focus on giving tools, a way and a solution to modern conflicts and dangers.
Do you offer your own services in your market area? Yes and no. We actually did already couple of private trainings in the area of North Germany, but ironically we found ourselves mainly around Central \ Western Germany and central Belgium. Those two countries are countries where we focus 90% of our current effort. Other countries such as Austria Czech and Poland received \ will receive our attention soon enough, this time open to the public. Without going into specifics who do you, and your successful trainees, work with? As mentioned above it highly depends on the course \ or program we talk about. Overall? We have a strong traffic of German Bundeswehr reservists & active soldiers now. As well we have had several clients from the firefighters or other emergency services. All in all it is very broad and different. Where do you see Project GECKO evolving in the future? I like to imagine our development as a walk down a corridor; there are many doors, and we tend to open each one of them. We have clear goals for the long and short term. We are definitely always looking to partner with professional organisations and to develop even stronger depth into our training concepts. To be honest, personally I think the next years in Europe will be the most challenging (geopolitical wise) and I am certain we will be able to sustain and differentiate ourselves form others. If someone reading this article likes the sound of what you offer, what should be their next step? They should first check out our website under WWW. PROJECTGECKO.INFO, or contact us via our Email contact. firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone: +49(0)42636758312
TRAINING: MARITIME SECURITY
ALL PICTURES COURTESY OF EUROPEAN SECURITY ACADEMY
MARITIME SECURITY BY ESA Already well known worldwide for its training programs for security professionals and contractors, the European Security Academy has jumped in at the deep end! Quite literally so, by conducting for the first time in Central Eastern Europe specific and targeted training for teams protecting ships, or Vessel Protection Teams.
ince its founding in 1992, the European Security Academy has been constantly widening its scope of training and services. The latest project is a course in the realm of ship protection, “Maritime Security Operative”, which aims to train personnel in protecting ships against sea pirates. The need for such specialists is growing; every year there are a large number of pirate attacks on trade and passenger ships.
“The most dangerous regions for these incidents includes the Gulf of Aden, the Strait of Malacca, or Niger Delta” says Bartosz Bryl from European Security Academy. All that is proven by a report of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a specialist unit at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), according to which in 2011 there were as many as 439 attacks! Maritime Security Operative – How They Train It is not easy to become a specialist in ship protection. It all starts with specific training, as the distinctive character of working at sea is diametrically different from working on dry land; “Companies that create Maritime Security Teams treat this element as a must in a CV” notes Bryl.
related to extinguishing fire on a ship, then, after covering the theory, each of trainees must undergo a practical training in conditions as real as possible. In Poland or elsewhere in Europe, there are a lot of companies organizing such training. “However, their courses take place mostly in lecture halls, which is very negative from the point of view of the graduates’ education” states E.S.A.’s boss.
At the European Security Academy, their foremost priority is the development of practical skills based on delivered theoretical knowledge. For example, if they teach about the procedures
“Maritime Security Operative”--First Steps The beginning of the Maritime Security Operative training at E.S.A. is connected with SSO and STCW 95 certificate. Throughout the theoretical and practical course, trainees must complete numerous paramedic courses, fire-fighting training (types of extinguishers, kinds of fires on ships, non-fire dangers connected with fire, specificity of cargo and actions of the crew, practical extinguishing of fires). They have expanded this training by ways of utilising fire-fighting equipment to defend the ship
TRAINING: MARITIME SECURITY
needs to be compact and must include a number of elements. The basics in Maritime Security Operative Course with the E.S.A. consist of integrated training in the scope of safety in accordance with STCW 95 (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping), which is necessary to start work on board, and an SSO (Ship Security Officer) course. STCW trainings are made up of first aid courses, utilizing pre-arranged and real-life situations; trainings in fire protection; personal survival techniques and personal safety and common responsibility. Whereas the SSO course, whose essential element is the basic knowledge of ISPS code (International Ship and Port Facility Security Code), has been expanded by rudiments of navigation, as well as tactics for preventing and repulsing terrorist attacks, i.e. counteracting boarding attacks. The E.S.A have expanded the SSO course by training elements aimed at mastering firearms with maintaining safety rules at the same time, as well as long-distance shooting.
Verification of Candidates At the European Security Academy, before they start a training course in protecting ships, a candidate must go through a verification process to find out if they are fit for the training. First stage is the medical examination, taken in order to obtain an international health certificate required to work on a ship. The results also reflect the ability to take part in the training, which is crucial for the safety of candidates. Next requirement is the presentation of a certificate of clean criminal history record, which is then verified, and a current professional experience history. The last part of the verification is testing the knowledge of individual and team tactics in case of the subject dangers. This element is extremely important in order to be accepted for the training, because in such a short time E.S.A are not able to teach the rudiments of tactics, but to hone them. “For our first training, out of over 60 candidates only 20 were accepted”’ recollects Bryl. ‘The interest in more training is also substantial” he adds.
TRAINING: MARITIME SECURITY
against pirates. They have also stress the understanding of the intelligence situation in the endangered regions, as well as on current international regulations governing activity of armed security staff on ships. The E.S.A have also included some elements of maritime law, and psychology. Yet another topic-module in the course is learning the specificity of a sea security worker. First of all, the trainees are made sensitive to what dangers they might encounter on duty (pirates’ “modus operandi”). Second of all, E.S.A analyse case studies of attacks in the past, and they teach how to counter them. ‘It is still before their setting their feet on board that we introduce the candidate to the personal equipment with which they will work on the ship, i.e. first aid kit, high-range walkie-talkie, tactical vest and personal safety techniques. For the candidate, we also pick their main and auxiliary arms (rifles and pistols),’ says one of E.S.A.’s trainers. Then, the trainers teach or hone the tactics of moving around the ship individually and in pairs, and securing the ship.
experts from the British Special Boat Service, famous for its actions in the water and at sea. TO THE MAX! To really get under the skin of what the E.S.A offer in relation to the Maritime Security Operative training, safety during the course and equipment, we talked to Tom Van Watermeulen, a former officer of a Belgian special unit, now an E.S.A. trainer for Maritime Security Operative. Tom, you are Belgian, have you ever heard of Maritime Security Operative trainings in Poland? No, I have not and I didn’t until I became a trainer for one! Frankly speaking, the specifics of the training market in Poland was not well-known to me, because, as you know, I come from Belgium. Even if there is another school than the European Security Academy which is able to cover the topic, I still doubt it could make it properly, therefore it may be said it’s the first training of this kind in Central Eastern Europe. We do not pay attention to so-called “competition”.
Before stepping on board, the trainees also practice at a shooting range. It is mostly there where they are trained in long-distance shooting at moving targets, (i.e. on rails). “We want the conditions to resemble those whilst at sea. In the range training we use Kalashnikovs, M4 and G36” sums up Bryl. The last element is training on board a ship in which the trainees develop previously acquired skills. Here, special attention is paid to the specificity of working on ship. The trainees learn the tactics in narrow rooms and hallways and staircases, as such spaces are most common on ships. The professional value of the training provided by the European Security Academy is proven by its training staff, which consists of former special units officers and Maritime Security operators, with longstanding experience of preventing and countering sea terrorism as members of state and civil structures. The training programme was created in consultation with
Has the training been visited by many journalists? You should not train people in hiding... We have nothing to hide. Just the opposite, we want to show to the public that such training, organised by a Polish company, is attracting people from all over the world. It’s something to be proud of. Am I right?
The training consists of theory and practice, but I can see that in spite of the first day of practical classes, the trainees are doing pretty well... How is that possible if the rest were in class? It is what makes us stand out of other companies which, as far as I know, sometimes teach how to set up pontoons, rafts, or put out fires through instruction films or power point presentations, with no practice at all. Life is not a film or a thriller novel. As far as possible, we verify in practice all our theoretical classes. We opt for maximum real-life situations and teaching practical skills. For example, the trainees are wear helmets and vests. But that’s not normally how we would see ship security staff? Let’s not forget it’s training. During all training at the E.S.A., the safety of our trainees is one of our priorities. Our trainees perform a lot of elements of the training for the first time in their lives under stress and exhausted (note: the interview took place when the training had already started a few days earlier). We also should not forget that we are on water, so it’s easy to get injured or to have an accident. That’s clear. How do you prevent such situations from happening? The trainees are equipped with goggles, helmets, safety vests, patches, and we keep a paramedic and scuba-divers in reserve. So, now you’ll tell me that because of that you practice with ASG? (laughter). We are aware that such trainings are not that rare, but we opt for maximum reality. That’s why we use real arms with FX colouring ammo. We do not use ASG replicas, because their
weight and the way they work diverge from the originals. And the shooting training is performed with live ammunition. Some companies providing MARSEC training boast a huge number of certificates. What is it that truly makes a valuable training program? There are a number of institutions, associations and unions which, for a suitable amount of money can issue quality certificates or grant training accreditation. We get quality certificates from every trainee, as it is them and the level of their training that is the best proof of our professionalism and of quality of the training run by the E.S.A. What is important in this trade is practice and constant training of skills, and if the trainees will prove their worth at work... I can see that the interest in Maritime Security is high? We have more candidates than we can take! For the July training, out of sixty candidates we have accepted twenty. The groups should consist of no more than twenty people, because we want to devote each trainee the maximum amount of time and attention, which translates into the quality of the training.
TRAINING: MARITIME SECURITY
You are training people for the position of a Ship Security Officer. I’ve heard that such a person has very specific duties? I agree that the term “SSO” refers to the competence of a member or members of crew, which the security staff does not necessarily need to belong to. Whereas people well-oriented in the trade will know that Ship Security Officer or Maritime Security Operative, or Ship Security Operative all mean the same, a person whose work is to provide security to the crew and cargo of the ship against pirates. And the rest is just a matter of nomenclature. Let’s leave that to academics compiling these.
Are your proposed courses equally popular? We are already full for the April training. It is of some importance that the trainees and trainers, recruited from all-over the world, make invaluable contacts for prospective job-searches in security, and that being not only ships. It also proves the reputation and professionalism of the European Security Academy. For more information on the European Security Academy, their courses, and to contact them please visit www.euseca.com
I N D U S T R Y
WE KEEP WATCH SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO
Things change constantly and rapidly within the contracting industry so this month in the first of a series of regular columns we’re very pleased indeed to have Paul Hutchinson, MD of Associated Risks Group based in the UK, join us to keep everyone updated on legal issues.
ver the years I have seen many individuals comment on social media about carrying a “Concealed Firearm” whilst on a Protection Detail in Europe, the majority of individuals remarking on how it will never happen. ”You will never carry a weapon. Fact”
Well, that’s quite wrong. Carrying a concealed firearm in the UK is in fact a criminal offence, it’s true. Carrying a firearm in other countries in Europe as part of a Protection detail though is not! Yes, every country has its own laws on who can possess, carry and use a firearm, and these laws are there to protect the citizens of that country and identify those that are deemed responsible to own a firearm. Let’s take France as an example; the centre of Paris this summer will be highly populated with wealthy individuals and their families. Some of these individuals will be Heads of States or members of Royal Families from around the world staying in possibly their second or third homes. High net members of Arab Royal Families and Presidents of African countries will travel with Diplomatic Protection teams that are not necessarily members of their own Nation. More often then not these operatives come from the UK. The reason? Well a number of issues. British Operatives are normally amongst the most experienced and highly trained in matters of Protection and Risk Management; this and despite the Hollywood image of CPO’s, the majority of High Risk VIP’s prefer to be surrounded by Quintessential Gentleman or Ladies who can blend into the background in a non-intrusive way and still provide the necessary protection whilst allowing the client to live their lifestyle. But that’s not the whole reason. It is more often than not the fact that a UK passport holder allows UK Citizens to enter most countries without hindrance allowing the administration process of protecting these individuals to be a much simpler one. This process is much simpler then people think. Lets hypothetically take the Prime Minister of Bahrain wants to travel to Paris. The Bahrain Office will inform the Kingdom of Bahrain Embassy in France on the details surrounding the visit, and who will be protecting him on the visit. The personal details from the Passport of each protection member will be passed to the embassy along with the full details of the personal weapons carried by the team. A letter stating the above, the reason of the visit and the time frames involved is then issued to each member of the team who will carry a copy this letter and their passport with them whilst they are on the Task.
And it’s as easy as that, social media has a lot to answer for but that’s all for now! Stay safe
ALL PICTURES COURTESY OF MOD
THE DRAW DOWN BY ROB WOOD American troops have a silent partner in Iraq; tens of thousands of contractors who support their mission in unsung but critical ways, serving food, providing security, and cleaning bathrooms. But as President Obama reduces the American military presence there over the next year-and-a-half, US commanders face the challenge of weaning themselves off the contractors’ services and sending them home.
he top US commander in Iraq recently issued a directive asking his subordinate commanders to reduce the use of civilian contractors on at least 50 bases and small installations across Iraq and, where possible, provide employment to Iraqis instead. Over the course of the next year or so, most of the 150,000 civilian contractors working in Iraq, more than the total number of US troops there now, will have to leave Iraq and return to Peru, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines as well as the USA. “This initiative supports our desired end state of a stable, sovereign, and prosperous Iraq,” General Odierno wrote in a directive dated Jan. 31. “It’s the right thing to do, so let’s move out.” Soon after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, US forces found they needed a corps of contractors to provide a number of services, from security to transportation to construction and translation. Over the years, the number of contractors ballooned to as many as 200,000. Controversies surrounding their role in Iraq began to emerge, as in the case of security firm Blackwater USA. But most contractors are doing work that the military doesn’t
have the resources to do. There are now 150,000 contractors in Iraq, comprising about 39,000 Americans, 70,000 “third country nationals,” and 37,000 Iraqis. A little more than half provide support to the more than 50 American bases and installations in Iraq, and they are the ones Odierno wants to phase out. His directive asks for a 5 per cent reduction in the use of contractors each quarter. Many will simply be terminated as the need for services like cleaning bathrooms and serving food ends with the US departure. But Iraqi security forces will take over other bases and the need for those jobs there will continue. Whenever appropriate, the remaining contracting jobs should be given to Iraqis, says Odierno’s directive.
The unemployment rate in Iraq is now about 18 percent, while 28 percent of men between the ages of 15 and 29 are “underemployed.”
But reducing the number of contractors may not be quite so easy. The support these contractors provide is sometimes critical, and difficult to eliminate quickly. Further complicating the matter is the fact that many of them use American equipment, which may or may not be left behind. As for hiring Iraqis, apart from the security concerns posed by employing them for certain jobs, many Iraqi workers need to be trained before they can take over jobs such as base maintenance overnight. A training effort is now being planned to ensure Iraqis have the skills to take over these jobs, say senior officials in Baghdad.
the ones that we’re using are really for specialised work”, he said. While the transition is critical to Iraqi independence, letting contractors go may not have much of an effect on US military forces, says Charles Ries, a retired American ambassador who oversaw the economic transition team for the State Department in Iraq until last August.
In the interim, US forces may be forced to fill the void left by some of these contractors on everything from training Iraqi security forces to driving trucks, which could take them away from their military duties, says a former senior commander.
But it could have short-term effects on the local economy. Although much of the economic benefits resulting from these contracts goes offshore, it also fills the wallets of workers who in turn spend it in the economy, says Mr. Ries. “The Sri Lankans [in Iraq] are making a lot of money, and they spend some of it in Iraq.”
“Coming at a time when there are requests for troop reductions, this exacerbates and complicates commanders’ issues,” he says. Nevertheless, the move away from contractors must eventually happen. He adds, “It’s a good thing, and has to happen. We’ve become too dependent on contractors, so it will be a tough thing for soldiers.”
The US has been training Iraqis to assume responsibility for many US bases. But it may take some years of such “capacity building” to get the Iraqis to adopt a “maintenance culture” that keeps base facilities, water treatment plants, and electric plants operating long after the US leaves, says Ries
Some bases use only a handful of contractors, say for translators, interpreters, and law enforcement and cultural advisers, and many of them are already Iraqi, according to Col. Walter Piatt, a Brigade commander in Salahuddin Province. Colonel Piatt, speaking to reporters last month by a videoconference at the Pentagon, said it’s hard to predict how quickly they will be able to reduce their use of the contractors. “There may be, in the future, a time when we can reduce other contractors. But the ones we have now, at least in my brigade,
“Employment of Iraqis not only saves money but it also strengthens the Iraqi economy and helps eliminate the root causes of the insurgency, poverty and lack of economic opportunity,” the directive says.
Looking at Iraq today and over the past 5 years we are seeing more and more contractors flooding back into the country; did they pull them too early or is it the fact that too many US and European company’s are moving in there to reap the rewards of multi billion dollar contracts for oil and minerals? These companies want western or westernised contractors for their security teams. We see today 14 different US and UK company’s working in Iraq. This has stabilised now and it is costing around 25 million dollars a day in security for the whole country to be as safe as it can be.
BOOK REVIEW green eyes & black rifles
GREEN EYES & BLACK RIFLES: WARRIOR’S GUIDE TO THE COMBAT CARBINE In 2013 it was my great honour and privilege to meet the author of this book in person. Sergeant Major Kyle E. Lamb (Retired) spent more than 21 years with the United States Army, more than 15 years of which were with the U.S. Army Special Operations. SGM Lamb has conducted combat operations in numerous theatres of operation, including Mogadishu, Somalia (Black Hawk Down), and has served multiple tours in Iraq and Bosnia.
and its value in training and actual encounters. So learn, enjoy, and most of all… Stay in the fight!”
SGM Lamb is the Founder and President of Viking Tactics, Inc. as well as the author of “Green Eyes and Black Rifles: The Warriors Guide to the Combat Carbine.” SGM Lamb is a highly sought after military and law enforcement trainer, conducting Leadership Training Seminars, Team Leader Planning Courses, Tactical Commanders Course, Active Shooter Courses, Dynamic Tactical Entry Courses, as well as Carbine and Pistol Courses, as well as now taking an active part in the development of clothing, gear and footwear for 5:11 Tactical. You could say then that this is a man who has spent a LOT of time behind his trusted carbine, and the book brings his vast experience of fighting with a rifle fully to the fore. In a very readable and no-nonsense style SGM Lamb offers a real building block system which allows you to understand how your own weapon should go together, looking at all the individual components that go into creating a fighting rifle. The book then goes into the fundamentals of marksmanship, basic ballistics, target discrimination, shooting posture and positioning, facing and moving, shooting “weak side”, transitioning to a sidearm, night shooting, weapon maintenance, and training aids. All of the tools of the trade and techniques discussed are illustrated fully in crisp black and white images. Although the book is centred around the AR weapon system, a system which SGM Lamb has carried into combat on numerous occasions, the general principles that he teaches are pertinent and transferable to virtually any rifle or carbine. This book is intended to enhance your shooting skills, and refine the tactical use of your primary combat weapon. Whether you are a new shooter or a veteran there will undoubtedly be something you can learn from this superb book.
Author: SGM Kyle Lamb (Ret) Publisher: Trample & Hurdle Publishers ISBN-13: 978-0615166544 Price: US$34.99
To put it in SGM Lambs own words; “You will find a wealth of information and numerous tools for your tactical toolbox. You will also see references to combat mindset,
HEAD to HEAD
In this new section for PMCI we decided to ask two guys who have worked “The Circuit”, one British and “new skool” and one American and “Old Skool” the same question to see where there are similarities or disparities. This issue my question to them both was “Why did you decide to get into the world of private contracting and how did you go about getting your first gig?” Richard S (UK) After serving 11 years in the British army and conducting several tours of Afghanistan, I found myself hearing stories about guys leaving the army to pursue work in hostile environments. A couple of guys from my unit had left the military for the circuit and got back in after completing 2 to 3 years in Iraq. After hearing all the stories about pay and the lifestyle the guys led, I had my mind made up and wanted to give it a go.
I completed my last tour of Helmand in 2010; I proceeded to sign off around September time and started my resettlement. Then came the dreaded hunt for courses; most of the lads with experience had recommended courses such a Ronin Concepts & Phoenix Close Protection. The guys also gave advice on other courses to guarantee you a job such as FPOS-I and MIRA-1.
One of the best aspects of the course was the community you enter on completion. You receive advice on writing a CV and cover letter, and they also run through advice on interviews and how best to sell yourself. Upon completion of the course Argus offers a private network of previous students. On here guys will share info on jobs and help each other with CV’s. On the Argus course you live closely with the owner and his family, and this way you are constantly assessed throughout your time there. Accommodation is good and you get everything you require provided. In addition students will receive team floats to pay for food, fuel and other expenditures you may become subject to. Whilst on my CP course I booked on to a FPOS-I course with Prometheus Medical Ltd for February 2011. I was recommended this by a friend at the time as Olive Group were using this course as one of their recommended qualifications.
After searching around on the net I found a course that offered a BTEC Level 3 in Close Protection & Surveillance called Argus Europe based in the north east of England. Although I had funding support from my ELCS (Enhanced Learning Credits) and resettlement funds I was on a tight budget. Argus offered more than any of the other courses. After digging around for info I found out it was run by former UKSF and Parachute Regiment guys so it had to be good.
On completion of my course I sat a SIA multiple-choice licensing test, which is mandatory for employment with a UK security provider. Applying for your licence can take time so sort out any applications forms once you receive your pass certificate. Another piece of documentation you require for work is a criminal record background check. Again I did this early and I applied through Scotland Disclosure. It took approximately 2 weeks to get it through.
I managed to book on last minute in January 2011. The Argus course was an intense 4 weeks long. The first 2 weeks consisted of surveillance followed by close protection.
I started my FPOS-I course (First Person On Scene Intermediate) around the 5th Feb 2011 with Prometheus Medical Limited. The course cost was around £850 and lasted 4 to 5 days. The
cost included food and accommodation and the instruction was second to none. All equipment required was issued and the training area was awesome. All of the practical work was carried out outdoors and was very well delivered by the instructors. Once you complete your test, you instantly receive a pass or a fail from the testing paramedic. You also receive your certificate prior to departure from the course, which is good to show any company during an interview.
the wrong place at the wrong times while growing up. I’m a real Virginia farm boy; yep, I grew up in the countryside of Virginia and Maryland. Hunting, fishing, hiking and doing mischief everyday which was normal back then for us kids.
I took all the advice that was given. Dress smart, be there early, have all your required documentation presentable and be confidant. My interview went really well, but they would not take me due to the fact I was officially still still being employed by the army. I went away feeling deflated as time was running short and I wanted to get employed prior to my leaving date.
I didn’t really find my first contract as it more or less fell in my lap. That was a long, long time ago and we didn’t have the internet. The people I associated with were right assholes of the time, world travellers that fixed problems in a not always proper way. They pushed me into the industry. Actually I’d say they tossed me into the business, referring me to a client who called me.
Mid April came and I received an interview invite from Aegis for the 1st May 2011. Having a couple of weeks to prepare I booked accommodation due to an early interview and made sure all my documents were in order. The 1st May came and I attended the interview guns blazing. They asked questions like “what are the benefits of having Local Nationals in your team”. Immediately after the interview I was offered a contract and to deploy within a week. It was for a position on a department of defence contract working for the US Government. The job was working as part of a security liaison team, conducting reconnaissance for escort teams and client site assessments.
Of course they forgot to tell me they were doing this so the phone call caught me off guard and I was little prepared. It goes to show that a good referral can really override lack of printed experience and chatter though. I can tell you almost all my work has come from people I know and I have rarely solicited a job. Ok, I may have solicited a few but they never worked out well for me in the long run. I know this isn’t the answer most just getting into the industry would like to hear, but I rarely meet anyone that applied for the jobs where I have worked. It is almost always we know someone and refer them. Even when I was in a position where I was hiring people, I sought out and contacted those I thought fitted the jobs best.
Once I had sorted the administration side through the military I deployed to Iraq the following weekend. I stayed with Aegis on 2 contracts changing from DoD to an oil and gas project. Due to the mundane work routine I decided to apply for something else. I left Aegis December 2011 and moved over to Global Integrated Services based in Afghanistan. Again it was a DoD contract working for the US Government. Starting off as a team driver/ medic I worked my way up to Team Leader. Due to the political climate in Afghanistan the contract ended March 2014. Since then I have been working in the UK as an advisor and sales manager for UK Tactical.
HEAD to HEAD
Having run out of funds on my resettlement I decided to get my CV sorted and started to push it out to all companies such as Aegis Defence Services, Olive Group, Control Risk Group, G4S (Armour Group) and more. It helps to know people who are already working for a company as they can just pass it up through their chain of command. However I did not have that luxury at that time and applied through company websites. My first reply came from Olive Group and had my first interview during mid March.
Funnily enough though, I also had the traditional family members and friends of the family who were veterans of previous wars, worked so called “naughty government jobs”, and other nasty sorts, that always told the stories that we as kids ate up. I’d listen to these stories for hours. Then run out and get magazines like SOF to dream of far off places and bad lands. I desired nothing else but the lifestyle. After a typical start like most, high school, some college and service (military and government) it was natural for me to gravitate to “contracting” as they call it today. It was the (19)80s and in that time it was not publicly discussed much but in the circle I ran with it was everything, the cold war being in its heyday and all.
I’m asked by many what they should do to get into the industry. I honestly can’t say, things have drastically changed. There are so many former military and law enforcment guys with actual combat (depends on how you look at it) experience plus college education out there bucking for jobs with fantastic paper backgrounds that the market is flooded, for most. Now it’s 100% about getting the right credentials and building up training, experience and sound industry contacts; you need to stand out from the herd!
Today the security Industry is rapidly changing and fewer jobs are available. My advice would be in order to secure a place on a team you must be able to stand out from the everyday applicant. The British Armed Forces are becoming smaller; soldiers are becoming redundant and looking for work. The security industry is flooded at the moment with guys trying to bag their first contract. Try to stand out and get Medical qualifications such as EMT-B & EMT-I, and most of all, experience. It is always best to have experience in both Hostile Environments and UK Based work. You never know where the next job will be. Stay active and keep you options open. Rob S (USA) So why did I want to get onto the circuit? I guess it boils down to knowing the wrong people and being at
MISSION PACK Capacity: Material: Colours: Dimensions:
38.5 litres (approx) 600D Cordura V-Cam, Coyote, Green, Black 52 x 24 x 32 cm
Internal hydration sleeve Ventex system back panel Adjustable hip pad/harness Padded shoulder straps and sternum strap with QR buckles MOLLE webbing attachments located on exterior pouches including D-Rings Multiple compression straps Hydration/coms outlet Side carry handle 2 x V-Lock 1 x D-Lock SRP £84.95
RANGER PACK Capacity: Material: Colours: Dimensions:
36.5 litres (approx) 600D Cordura V-Cam, Coyote, Green, Black 46 x 33 x 26 cm
Multiple compression straps 4 point, Ventex system back panel Padded shoulder straps and sternum strap with QR buckles MOLLE webbing attachments located on exterior pouches including D-Rings Side carry handle Internal hydration sleeve Internal retaining straps/bungees Felt lined exterior utility pouches Hydration/coms outlet 2 x Velcro ID panels 2 x V-Lock 1 x D-Lock SRP £84.95
IN ALL AVAILABLE BLACK OLIVE GREEN & V-CAM, COYOTE,
LOGUE S / FREE CATA FOR STOCKIST 0327 74 4 23 TEL 01
RECON EXTRA PACK Capacity: Material: Colours: Dimensions:
20 litres (approx) 600D Cordura V-Cam, Coyote, Green, Black 45 x 22 x 20 cm
Internal hydration sleeve Internal retaining straps/bungees Felt lined exterior utility pouches Hydration/coms outlet Multiple compression straps 4 point, Ventex system back panel Padded shoulder straps and sternum strap with QR buckles Grab carry handle MOLLE webbing attachments located on exterior pouches including D-Rings 2 x Velcro ID panels, 2 x V-Lock, 1 x D-Lock
MIDI PACK Capacity: Material: Colours: Dimensions:
22 litres (approx) 600D Cordura V-Cam, Coyote, Green, Black 43 x 23 x 26 cm
Internal hydration sleeve Padded shoulder straps and sternum strap with QR buckles 2 x side stow pouches Internal Nylon utility sleeves Mesh back Compression straps MOLLE webbing attachments located on exterior pouches including D-Rings 2 x V-Lock 1 x D-Lock
MINI MODULAR PACK Capacity: Material: Colours: Dimensions:
19.5 litres (approx) 600D Cordura V-Cam, Coyote, Green, Black 42 x 23 x 34 cm
Mesh helmet hammock located on front with compression straps for adjustment Internal hydration sleeve 2 x External side pouches Hydration/coms outlet Padded shoulder straps and sternum strap with QR buckles Multiple compression straps MOLLE webbing attachments located on exterior pouches including D-Rings Compatible with Plate Carrier 1 x Large Velcro ID panel 2 x V-Lock, 1 x D-Lock
ONE DAY MODULAR PACK Capacity: Material: Colours: Dimensions:
13.5 litres (approx) 600D Cordura V-Cam, Coyote, Green, Black 19 x 20 x 43 cm
Hydration/coms outlet Multiple compression straps Internal mesh pocket to accommodate hydration bladder Shoulder straps with QR buckles. MOLLE webbing attachments located on exterior pouches including D-Rings Compatible with Plate Carrier 1 x Large Velcro ID panels. 2 x V-Lock 1 x D-Lock
SHOULDER PACK Capacity: Material: Colours: Dimensions:
10 litres (approx) 600D Cordura V-Cam, Coyote, Green, Black 31 x 20 x 16 cm
Retaining straps/bungees Exterior utility pouches. Mesh back panel. Shoulder straps with QR buckle. MOLLE webbing attachments located on exterior pouches including D-Rings. 2 x Velcro ID panels. 2 x V-Lock 1 x D-Lock
SPECIAL OPS POUCH Capacity: Material: Colours: Dimensions:
5.5 litres (approx) 600D Cordura V-Cam, Coyote, Green, Black 20 x 15 x 18 cm
MOLLE webbing attachments located on exterior front External mag/phone pouch Sectional internals Fold out compartment Removable shoulder carry strap Compatible with Plate Carrier 1 x Large Velcro ID panel 2 x V-Lock, 1 x D-Lock
GEAR ON TEST ARC’TERYX ATOM LT HOODY
GEAR ON TEST
kay, so it’s not always going to be sun and sand when you deploy and a good jacket can make all the difference. For a while now my number one choice in this respect has been the Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody.
I chose this jacket as it’s not too heavy (380g) and can be stored or rolled up very easily and for travelling it’s ideal. Like the rest of the Arc’teryx range, either from their outddor performance or their impressive LEAF lineup, you can tell straight out of the packet it’s well made and the material used is every bit as good (if not better!) than the rest of the brands out that that make high spec jackets. Arc’teryx take a little step further to make it feel like a very special jacket when worn. The fabric used is cutting edge Polartec Power Stretch with Hardface technology and Coreloft insulation; this synthetic insulation is lightweight, breathable and thermally efficient. Made from 100% polyester it’s very compressible and has excellent loft retention. Let’s look at the jacket a bit closer; the hood on this is huge and it’s been designed to fit a helmet underneath and it’s great to keep the rain off you! It has a draw cord that can be used when you have not got a helmet on and it tightens up very well. The cut of the main body of the jacket makes it hug the body extremely well; I am normally a large but if you want to wear anything underneath the jacket you’ll need to go for an XL to give you room. Don’t worry too much as the jacket has two expansion panels down either side of it made of an elastic material that gives you a bit of stretch which is a neat feature. The cuffs on the jacket are made of a stretch material as well, but of a more waterproof material than the side panels, which cup your wrists and doesn’t let the cold and wet in which I like very much. Pockets on the jacket are substantial, only two but what more do you need, big enough to get your hands in with gloves on. All in all this is a very good jacket; I have had a lot of jackets before this one and I can say it’s a good buy and one that will remain with me for some considerable time! The Atom LT Hoody is available from all good outdoor performance retailers and retails in the UK for £180.00. It’s
available in small to XL and you can have it in black, red, blue, and orange.
UFPRO HUNTER SWEATER AND DELTA ACE PLUS JACKET
ver the last couple of years it’s been my pleasure to work closely with the great team at UFPRO in Slovenia. I’ve met with them the last two years at IWA and consistently they have had something new and exciting to show me.
GEAR ON TEST
They work with al l the very best manufacturers of technical performance fabrics and components, and their quality of construction is quite literally second to none. They also work closely with their retail partners ensuring that any information about their products is accurate, and that the technologies utilised are fully understood. Thus far I’ve been lucky enough to test out their “basic” P40 trousers, the excellent DELTA ACE Sweater and their top of the line STRIKER XT combat shirt and trouser. All have been superb, but this year in Germany I saw that these have already been upgraded to give even greater performance and functionality! Now that we’re heading out of winter in Europe though it means that it’s finally time to ditch, or at very least stow away, the hard shells and look for something that’s going to give both great weather protection, but also be more lightweight and flexible. The first of the garments I’ll look at this time is the Hunter Sweater; at this time UFPRO are only offering this model in CRYE Multicam and PenCott GreenZone so if you have uniform restrictions where you are you’ll sadly have to look at another model. The UF PRO® Hunter Sweater is the perfect piece of equipment for cold, windy or wet days. It provides superb comfort during outdoor activities in uncertain weather conditions. As it is light and nicely packable, it perfectly qualifies for longer outdoor activities and can be worn under tactical equipment or simply as “stand alone” whenever it’s getting cooler; if, like me you want it to sling on over your gear then I’d advise going one size up as the fit is athletic. The majority of the Hunter is water resistant, whilst the side stretch panels offer great movement and breathability. The whole thing is very snug though as it’s lined with 37.5™ COCONA microfleece. Overall this is a cracking bit of kit, to the point that I’ve actually bought one for myself after send back the test sample! If you want something a little more substantial then I’d advise you to take a look at the DELTA ACE PLUS Jacket. Available in Brown Grey, Black and Multicam, this jacket provides excellent comfort properties, maximum wind protection and permanently water repellent thermal insulation. In order to reliably protect the temperature
sensitive upper and lower arms against cold temperature, the sleeves are lined with G- Loft thermo insulation lining. Additional weather protection is provided by a permanently water resistant and windproof outer material of the sleeves. For efficient moisture management, the sides, the contours of the back and the armpit areas are made out of 37.5™ microfleece from COCONA, and protection against wind chill is provided with a two layer nylon ripstop-PU membrane laminate lined with the 37.5™ micro fleece. Comfort is significantly increased as the jacket benefits from air/pac® inserts in the shoulder and upper back areas. They offer enhanced air circulation and additional thermal insulation without increasing weight or reducing breathability. Once again, this is a very fitted garment; this helps to increase performance but you may want to go up a size from your usual!
KLARUS XT11, XT12 TACLITES AND REMOTE PRESSURE SWITCH
first came across the KLARUS brand of flashlights and tactical torches about three years ago and have had a couple of models from them in my gear pile ever since. My most regularly used flashlight, whether it has been for every day use in my pocket or rifle mounted for lowlight situations, is an original grey bodied KLARUS XT11; this wonderful taclite has given great service and is still going strong but I was excited to hear that it had been upgraded.
GEAR ON TEST
KLARUS may be a relatively new brand, but the people behind the development and manufacture of these LED torches have been designing and making top end flashlights for years. They came together to share their knowledge and expertise in order to create some of the most exciting and innovative CREE LED torches in the world. KLARUS torches are innovative, precision machined illumination tools that are built to high standards and designed with both function and form in mind. The latest version of the XT11 builds on all the great features of the original with improved performance and some great new twists. The XT11 Black Ops XM- L2 benefits from KLARUS’S dual button tail switch for complete one handed control, and it’s super fast to switch between light level, momentary on and strobe functions. It uses a powerful CREE XM-L2 and an “orange peel” reflector to give a smooth beam profile up to a maximum output of a whopping 820 ANSI Lumens; that’s 220 Lumens more than my Version1 XT11! The light is finished now in a deep matt black and features a steel strike bezel that can be unscrewed and removed for attaching accessories such as coloured filters. The new XT11 also comes with both a belt clip and a handy black webbing pouch. With simple, fast operation, a maximum beam distance of 180m and a runtime of up to 73 hours this is one powerful flashlight and is built to last; with an SRP of UK£74.95 this is really a bit of a steal. But the good news doesn’t end there! UK£84.95 will get you the new KLARUS XT12; this utilises a CREE XML2-U2 LED, delivering a HUGE maximum output of 930 ANSI Lumens, giving you more brightness than even the improved XT11. It’s powered by a custom KLARUS 2600mAh 3.7V rechargeable Li-ion battery using a Samsung cell, designed to automatically align +/- polarity regardless of which way you insert the battery. There’s a specially designed Direct Recharging function which means no need for battery removal or a charger, which makes the XT12 simple and light-weight; the patented self-locating Magnetic FAST Connection charging system is astounding
too. When the charging cable is within 1cm of the charging port, it self-locates to make the connection. The charging cable can be removed quickly and safely at any time, which makes it an effective flashlight to use in rapid response situations. It uses a standard USB port for charging, so you can recharge at home, in the office, airport, vehicle or anywhere that has a USB charging port available. As with the XT11 it has the dual button tail cap for ease of use, making switching between functions very fast indeed. It retains the strike bezel and is waterproof to 2m so all in all this is a solid, powerful piece of kit! And last but not least comes another industry first from KLARUS, the TR10 Multi Outlet Pressure Switch. This accessory replaces the dual button tail cap which is fitted as standard to the XT range and is absolutely superb. The constant-on switch (circular button) is on the remote pressure pad, so there’s no need to reach for the tail-cap of the flashlight to access the controls. The pressure switch provides multiple outputs and tactical momentary-on function. The constant-on switch also provides access to High-Mid-Low modes and strobe. There is a signal controlled switch which means no loss of efficiency. With many other remote switches the power efficiency is affected, which shortens the battery life and run time; in fact in super low standby mode (current 3uA) the switch consumes almost zero battery life! With the switch mounted to your rifle (there’s a velcro fitting system included) ease of operation is simplified once you work out the easy to learn sequence and there’s absolutely no need to move your hand. With a SRP of just UK£19.94 there is absolutely no reason I wouldn’t add this to my tactical setup. I have to say that I am incredibly impressed with these new additions and updates, and I can see that I’ll be continuing to use KLARUS lights in the future. There’s a great lineup of models in the range, quite literally something for everybody and I’d urge to visit www.taclight.co.uk to view them all and find stockist detail close to home!
GEAR ON TEST: SNUGPACK
Dare to VENTURE with Snugpak ONE OF THE THINGS WITH RANGES AND TRAINING SITUATIONS IS THAT YOU DO SPEND A FAIR AMOUNT OF TIME IN A COLD, STATIC POSITION; YOU MIGHT BE ATTENDING THE SAFETY BRIEFING FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, BREAKING FOR LUNCH, OR SETTING UP A BIVVY, AND IT’S A RARITY TO FIND A HEATED OUTDOOR TRAINING AREA! FOR YEARS I’VE ALWAYS HAD A SNUGPAK “SOFTIE” JACKET SCRUNCHED UP IN MY PACK FOR JUST SUCH TIMES, FOR WHEN YOU WANT A BIT OF INSTANT WARMTH. Now Snugpak have really upped the ante though, taking things to an entirely new level! Developed by Snugpak with input from professional navigators, mountain leaders, climbing instructors, meteorological staff, and military personnel, the new functional Venture range has been created to support the user in a diverse range of operational environments, especially when exposed to extreme cold weather. Snugpak are past masters ate this type of garment having dealt with insulation in both sleeping bags and clothing for many, many years. With the new Venture range though they have REALLY looked at their end users’ needs whether they be civilian or military. There is a common theme that runs through the Venture garments in that they are all pullover smocks; I for one favour this type of design for cold weather use as the absence of a full zip eliminates a potential cold spot. This type of design also usually means that you get a darn great handwarmer pocket across the front too! The break between models for civilian use and those intended for the military is just a single “M”; for instance you can have a Mountain Leaders smock designated “ML” or the mil version, the “MML”, the additional letter indicating military usage. The other main difference is the choice of colour in that the models intended for military usage come in plain dark colours and Multicam whereas those intended for civilian use come in the more traditional bright colours that you’ll see in any mountaineering or outdoor pursuits environment. Let’s break the new range down though and get some detail.
Top of the range for the civilian market are the Mountain Leader Smock models. The Snugpak ML Softie Smock is ideal for both mountain and lowland ventures, all year round, where the main environmental considerations are wind and cold weather. The Snugpak ML Softie Smock is a tri-layer garment and uses both Paratex Micro as a face fabric, and an internal Softie Premier fill, encapsulated with a Paratex Light lining. Designed to provide excellent thermal protection against
• ML3 (Softie 3) • ML6 (Softie 6) • ML9 (Softie 9)
0℃ to -5℃ -5℃ to -10℃ -10℃ to -15℃
The ML Softie Smock is lighter than normal expedition style jackets, and uses water resistant YKK zips, making it ideal for when size and weight need to be kept to an absolute minimum. It is ideally worn with a variety of base layers, such as the Snugpak 2nd Skinz Coolmax base layer, to move moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry and regulating core temperature. The quick drying, Paratex Micro 100% nylon material has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. Water repellency can be maintained with a cool tumble dry after washing and periodic re-treatment with suitable after care products, such as Nikwax and Grangers. The ML Softie Smock will keep you dry in a short, light shower, giving you time to find a safe place to stop and put on more effective hardshell waterproof layers, if required. The ML Softie Smock can also be worn under waterproof membrane hard shells in severe weather, still allowing easy access to your essential equipment. In dry, colder conditions, the cut of the Softie Smock enables you to layer effectively with additional thinner insulation, or warmer layers worn underneath so that core temperature can be effectively managed.
Next on the list is the Adventure Racing Smock. The AR Softie is ideal for mountain training, with overnight camps, as well as mountain marathons and XC adventures, all year round, although it’s equally suited as a lightweignt, low bulk insulator in any situation. The AR Softie Smock is a tri-layer garment and uses both Paratex Micro as a face fabric, and an internal Softie Premier fill, encapsulated with a Paratex Light lining. Designed to provide excellent thermal protection against the cold, as well as high protection against wind, the AR Softie Smock is available in Softie 3 weight. In dry, cooler conditions, the longer cut of the AR Softie Smock enables you to layer effectively with additional thinner insulation, or warmer fleece layers worn underneath so that core temperature can be effectively managed. In warmer months, it is light and cool enough to be worn to at higher altitudes or summer alpine mountain ranges. The AR Softie can also be layered with the Softie AR3 Vest, as an additional insulation layer for colder conditions and is designed to worn inside the Snugpak Softie Lightweight AR Sleeping System. There is also a straightforward AR Windtop in this range which simply ditches the insulation.
GEAR ON TEST: SNUGPACK
the cold, as well as high protection against wind, the ML Softie Smock is available in a variety of Softie weights, for the following temperature ranges:
Snugpak don’t forget the professional mountain user in this range as they have an insulated smock and uninsulated windtop specifically designed for Search and Rescue personnel. The S&R TS1 Smock is a dual layer garment and uses both Paratex Micro as a face fabric, and an internal TS1, Thermal Suede, lining. The S&R TS1 is ideal for cooler months, and is light enough to be worn all day long,
GEAR ON TEST: SNUGPACK
becoming a stalwart item of clothing for S&R personnel. The quick drying, Paratex Micro 100% nylon material has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. The Smock will keep you dry in a short, light shower, and it can also be worn over waterproof membrane hard shells in severe weather, allowing easy access to your operational equipment, such as radios, search packs and K9 equipment. TS1, which stands for Thermal Suede, is a lightweight soft polyester fabric that can be worn next to the skin, with a sueded finish, and uses a combination of yarns with different thicknesses; microfibre yarns (less than 1dtex) go on the outside, and macrofibre (3dtex) go on the inside. A Decitex (dtex) is a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibres and materials, expressed as grams per 10,000m. These macrofibre yarns are raised to produce a short pile, similar in feel to Suede and the overall TS1 construction exploits the basic physical property that water will always move from a low to high surface area or from the Macro to Micro filament yarns, thus moving water from the body towards the outside of the garment, allowing it to breathe through the Paratex Micro outer fabric. The S&R Windtop is a single layer garment and uses Paratex Micro. The single-layer windtop is ideal for summer months, and is light enough to be unnoticeable and worn all day; an additional windtop can be carried to protect casualties from the elements when found.
As a part of Snugpak’s new “VENTURE” range the MML Softie Smock is the flagship garment in the military lineup. It’s a tri-layer garment and uses both Paratex Micro as a face fabric, and an internal Softie Premier fill, encapsulated with a Paratex Light lining. The MML Smock is designed to provide excellent thermal protection against the cold, as well as high protection against wind, and it’s available in a variety of Softie weights, for the following temperature ranges: • MML3 (Softie® 3) • MML6 (Softie® 6)
0℃ to -5℃ -5℃ to -10℃
The MML Softie Smock is, as for the civilian version, lighter than normal expedition style jackets, and uses water resistant YKK zips, making it ideal when size and weight need to be kept to an absolute minimum. It is ideally worn with a variety of base layers, such as the Snugpak 2nd Skinz Coolmax base layer, to move moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry and regulating core temperature in extremes of cold. The quick drying, Paratex Micro 100% nylon material has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. The MML Softie Smock will keep you dry in a short, light shower, and
as with the civilian models it can also be worn under or over waterproof membrane hardshells in severe weather, still allowing easy access to your essential equipment. The MML Softie Smock allows equipment to be carried centrally, with easy access when wearing a day sack, bergen, plate carriers and webbing systems and maintains its core functionality with other operational equipment, such as body armour. The MML6 Softie Smock should be viewed as a long term investment, especially if you act as a range officer or an instructor; whilst students can easily head back inside to warm up an instructor or RO needs to be on task at all times shooting or training is in progress. The MML6 easily lets you do this so in my mind is an invaluable addition to your kit locker. Last but by no means least the Softie Shirt is a convenient piece of performance clothing that you can throw on quickly. It’s designed to be worn next to the skin, to draw perspiration away from your body, but as you’d expect from Snugpak, it comes with thoughtful extras! Snugpak have given their Softie Shirt the TS1 lining for greater warmth, coupled with a lightweight, waterrepellent Paratex outer shell which gives high wicking benefits to keep you drier on the inside. It’s an over the head design with two long, side venting zips and an ample sized front map pocket; thumb loops to prevent the sleeves from riding up your arms and side pockets to keep your hands warm. The Softie Shirt is available in Multicam, A-TACS AU, Black and Olive whilst the MML 3 and 6 are currently only available in Multicam. This really is a truly impressive lineup of new models, and there is quite literally something for every person and every task in the range. Whatever your needs may be in terms of protection from the elements Snugpak have you covered 100%. Samples of both the civilian and military variants have been provided for PMCI testing so expect to hear back from us in due course!
Helikon-Tex Clothing Pictures courtesy of Helikon-Tex When it comes to creating a hard wearing and functional clothing system you really have to work with manufacturers you can trust and for many of us one of the “go to” brands for this is Helikon-Tex. Trousers and shirts, waterproof and breathable jackets, fleece jackets and headgear are all available within their range.
The range that they now offer is proof that their decision was the correct one as they now offer a really comprehensive selection of uniforms, tactical clothing, backpacks, boots and equipment that have gained recognition amongst professional users, soldiers, law enforcement officers, survival and outdoor enthusiasts all over the world, and each and every year their offering drives forward with new designs. I always look forward to visiting their stand at trade shows as undoubtedly there will be something improved or even brand new to see. The range is absolutely huge these days and they offer all their clothing and gear in multiple colourways; should
you need camouflage they work with some of the most up to date, cutting edge patterns available but if you AO is such that you need to run “low key” then you’ll also find muted hues ideal for tactical situations. They also work very closely indeed with technical fabric manufacturers so when it comes to getting real performance from your clothing system then Helikon-Tex can pretty much guarantee they will have what you are looking for; if you visit their website and check out their “Partners” page you’ll see exactly what I mean!
A SYSTEM THAT WORKS!
First up I’ll pose the question “what are we looking for in our clothing system?” The simple answer for me is a mixture of three things; performance, comfort, and durability. Most of us need to travel light these days so you can add lightweight and packable as a sub-criteria. It’s a real struggle for many manufacturers to bring all of that together but not so with Helikon-Tex as they design all of their clothing to work together seamlessly.
GEAR ON TEST: HELIKON-TEX CLOTHING
elikon-Tex was established in 1983 and has been producing clothing for the military, emergency services and the police since then. When Helikon-Tex was established their business was mainly concentrated on military surplus sales. However, changing trends and a fast changing market in the mid-nineties demanded a new direction for them and in 1999 they decided to start their own military and security clothing production.
GEAR ON TEST: HELIKON-TEX CLOTHING
If you’re going to be somewhere hot then you want to look at clothing that offers good movement and ventilation. Quite often a simple polo shirt Such as the Defender will suffice when married up with a decent pair of tactical trousers. For my own system I chose the SFU NEXT pants in Coyote. Based on the classic Special Forces Uniform (SFU) design, the SFU NEXT trousers are made of durable and hard-wearing polycotton ripstop material and feature 9 easily accessible pockets, reinforced seat and knees, knee pad compartments, adjustable waist and cuffs, and D-rings for optional attachments. These breathable and anatomically cut tactical pants come with buttoned fly and additional compartments with elastic bands inside the cargo pockets for securing spare magazines, first aid equipment or other small tactical essentials.
The first is to layer up from the skin with a decent base layer. Helikon-Tex offer two levels of base layer, now in their third generation of development; the Level 1 lightweight underwear consists of light undershirt and leggings and was designed for use in mild climates to provide light insulation when worn next to skin. However it can be use also in colder climates as a base layer or in conjunction with other levels for added insulation and to aid in the transfer of moisture. Level 2 midweight underwear consists of a heavier shirt and leggings and was designed for use in harsher climates to provide more insulation. Both levels are made of supper fabrics that are extremely comfortable next to the skin.
Rather than the simple polo I chose to go with something a little beefier, the Combat Shirt in Olive green. This is a lightweight and breathable close fitting UBACS shirt, with a flexible 95% polyester/5% spandex torso, and strengthened polycotton ripstop shoulders and sleeves. There’s a nice high, “mandarin” style collar, bicep pockets and forearms pockets, and hard, removable elbow pads for extra protection. This shirt has been designed to be worn underneath body armour systems, assault vests or chest rigs.
The other option for adding insulation is to layer up externally, over your shirt and Helikon-Tex offer a fabulous selection of performance fleece products in various weights so you can custom tailor your gear to your own performance level or task. I decided to go with one of their new Alpha grid fleeces. This 100% polyester fleece is warm, comfortable and lightweight and a part of Helikon’s Urban Tactical line. It features a high collar with chin guard and a strong full-front YKK zipper, which can be fastened to the neck. It also has one zip chest pocket with a comms port inside, two lower zip pockets and an elastic drawstring with cord locks on both sides sewn into the waistband.
When things get a little cooler you have two options really.
If you really need to push up the insulation levels though, then
PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER!
Soft shell garments are becoming increasingly popular as they offer extremely light weight along with high levels of water/ wind resistance and breathability, and the “APCU Level V Version II” jacket from Helikon conforms very well to these requirements. The face fabric of the garment is a 98% nylon/2% spandex mix and feels surprisingly solid given its light weight. The cut is reasonably generous as it is designed as a predominantly “shell” or outer layer to be worn over other insulating garments. There is no lining and the seams are not tape sealed so I would never describe it as waterproof although the water repellancy applied to the outer face fabric worked well as new, and has given consistently good performance to date.
GEAR ON TEST: HELIKON-TEX CLOTHING
it’s seriously worth considering some form of lightweight lofted garment. Although Helikon-Tex offer a number of full jackets unless I’m going to be somewhere uber-chilly I find that a vest is often the ideal solution for this as it will pack down smaller. The Malamute Vest can be used as an individual layer or worn underneath outer layers, and has a high collar, full front zip and two chest pockets which are lined with fleece for extra protection against the cold. Its durable yet breathable Nylon outer layer provides wind and water resistance, and thanks to the hydrophobic properties of the 67 g/m2 Climashield Apex insulation it dries immediately when exposed to moisture, keeping you warm and dry in cold, wet weather conditions. These days I pretty much always go for a synthetic fill rather than down; synthetics retain a high percentage of their insulative properties even when wet whereas down retains moisture and will try to use your own core body heat to dry itself! The Malamute vest is also highly compressible and can be easily stuffed into a pack or cargo pouch without any damage to its properties which is yet another plus point.
To work alongside the jacket Helikon-Tex also provide a matching trouser. Their Soft Shell Trousers (Version II) are based on the Soft Shell APCU (Advance Protective Combat Uniform) Level V. They are designed to be worn in combination with various base layer garments when additional warmth and water resistance is required. The trousers are durable, yet lightweight and comfortable, and made from a 98% nylon/2% spandex breathable fabric. This stretch nylon soft shell fabric is water repellent thanks to a Du Pont protector, breathable and also windproof.
In terms of features the trousers have two front pockets, two cargo pockets with Velcro and button flaps and drawstring, elastic waist with provision for suspenders, side zippers at the hips, calf-high side-zippers with elastic cuffs, and polyester reinforcements on the bottom of calf to avoid abrasion damage. They are lightweight and easy to store, and designed to provide perfect protection against wind and water, whatever the weather.
To fully round things off Helikon-Tex also offer a great range of ballcaps, boonies, fleece watch caps and balaclavas. All of these are once again made of great fabrics and are lightweight and packable.
The jacket is well constructed, and although the seams are not “flat locked” they are very low profile. The main closure zip is a good quality YKK. In terms of features the jacket has a hood which rolls away into the collar, venting pit zips, two large venting pockets on the torso, and a small pocket on the upper arm of both sleeves. Wrist closures a simple, low volume fabric/”velcro” affair. There are drawstrings for the hood (including volume adjustment) and the hem. “Velcro” is used to good effect throughout, with space for your favourite unit patches and name tapes.
Are Helikon-Tex garments as good as the “big names”? Well, they certainly are a “name” themselves these days and time and wear will tell. On the surface there is no reason that with good maintenance all of the garments described should not perform every bit as well as the big brands; my heavyweight and hooded Patriot fleece jacket is now knocking on for six years old and is still performing splendidly. I’ll bring updates on the new gear as it get put through the wringer so keep an eye on our test section for updates. You can check out the full range and download catalogues by visiting www.helikon-tex.com. All Helikon-Tex products are available in the UK from www.military1st.com and most good tactical retailers.
The general purpose, short shaft cleaning swabs are excellent for cleaning inside the action of semi-auto pistols, cylinder cranes, and magazine s. When you are finished, you can simply toss the biodegradable product away with no hassle and very little clean up. With an average price of $15 per bag, you can also get a value in the form of a large pistol kit featuring all 6 sizes for $35. In the past, I have been known to spend a lot more on cleaning supplies only to end out with a lot less in results. The RamRodz Gun Swabs are definitely worth the money in my opinion. With their help, my firearms look like new.
In recent years, companies like RamRodz have simplified and sped up the cleaning process. Before readers start bringing up the concepts of ultrasonic cleaners and scrub sprays, no one can argue there is absolutely no substitute for actual hands on brushing and wiping down one’s firearm to ensure complete care and cleaning. RamRodz, a division of Innovative Products of America produce a product simply called the RamRodz Gun Swabs.
For more information on the RamRodz and associated products please visit www.ramrodz.com
These swabs closely resemble giant Q-tips but with much more technology involved. RamRodz Gun Swabs have patented, industrial grade, lint free cotton tips mounted on flexible bamboo shafts which come in various sizes. Aside from a short, general purpose size cleaner, the RamRodz come in 5 other sizes including .22/.233/5.56/.38 / 9mm/.40/10mm/.44/.45, and .50 caliber cotton tips. The average bamboo shaft is approximately 8 inches and can manage to clean most revolver and semi-auto barrels on the market with ease.
Combined with fast working Carbon Buster and Accuracy Oil by Modern Spartan Systems, the RamRodz Gun Swabs make short work of cleaning firearms. The flexible shafts come in handy for cleaning inside corners of AR-15 chambers, hard to reach spots of slides and cylinders and answer the issue I have always had with cleaning revolver barrels. On most firearms, it is recommended to always clean a barrel from the breach outward to the muzzle to prevent build up and damage to the last point of contact a bullet has with the barrel’s lands and grooves. With a revolver, the user traditionally would have to clean the barrel with a non-flexible rod from the muzzle towards the breach. The RamRodz’s bamboo shaft is flexible enough to easily bend enough to clean the barrel from the breach end. This flexibility also comes in handy for the normally impossible task of cleaning deep inside the action of a shotgun without complete disassembly. Despite the impressive flexibility of the bamboo shafts, the RamRodz’s shaft is still stiff enough to push through the barrels of tight fitting .22 caliber firearms in order to get a 360 degree scrubbing contact surface.
When I was a young man and just starting to explore my love for firearms, my father explained to me a well-made firearm shouldn’t last a life time, it should last multiple life times. All that was expected of me as a responsible firearm owner was to provide the proper maintenance and care needed to make them last. As with everyone else, I spent years with cumbersome rods, sloppy rags and patches to ensure my firearms were spotless after a day at the range. Not much has ever changed in firearm cleaning from the days of my Grandpa breaking down his shotguns after a day of dove hunting until now.
BOOK REVIEW “Arms of Little Value”
“ARMS OF LITTLE VALUE” In my opinion “Arms of Little Value” is an important book that anyone intending to head overseas in a security related role should read as its central tenet is how to better understand the very essence and nature of insurgency. The author G L Lamborn, a former soldier and CIA officer, provides insight into the true nature of insurgency and how it will continue to affect the United States and their allies in the future. Forged during the long years of the Cold War the American military no longer faces the threat of massive conventional warfare; the threat today is far more subtle than that with political and social conditions worldwide growing worse. Insurgency is possible not just in the countries of the Arab world, but in the marketplaces and shopping malls of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. What we have seen in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Kenya, and India is merely the beginning and it is widely recognised that we are entering and increasingly dangerous period in world history. The enemy combatant may still carry an AK47 but they are no longer uniformed and obvious. Lamborn has long been an observer, and indeed sometimes a participant, in various insurgencies since he first “saw the elephant” in Vietnam in 1969, and this book is really a distillation of the experiences bhe has gathered over forty years on four continents. Using his knowledge of contemporary American struggles in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with his experience directly working with insurgent movements in the 1980s he paints on a wide canvas. The book comprehensively and systematically uses case studies of insurgent operations as far back as the American revolution, through China, Cyprus and others to detail the root causes of revolutionary instability. Lamborn scrutinises insurgency from the perspectives of both the insurgent and the counterinsurgent, and lays bare glaring inadequacies in American military thinking and lack of preparedness of the American people and their government to handle the dangerous asymmetric wars of the future. WWII air force General Jimmy Doolittle said; “If we should have to fight, we should be prepared to do so from the neck up instead of the neck down.” G L Lamborn’s careful consideration of insurgency is an important step forward in being better prepared to fight far more intelligently than we have in the past, and this book should be on everyone’s “must read” list before deploying to any hostile environment.
G L Lamborn’s defence career spans 42 years, including 26 years with the Central Intelligence Agency. A trained operations officer, Lamborn specialised in insurgency and influence operations in support of US national directives during the 1980s and 1990s. Author: G L Lamborn Publisher: Casemate ISBN: 978-1-612000-104-3 Price: US$32.95/UK£20.00
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FIREARMS MODERN SPARTAN SYSTEMS
FIREARMS PERFORMANCE MODERN SPARTAN SYSTEMS By: Trampas Swanson
When it comes to the task of cleaning firearms, I am at a loss for a single shooter I know that genuinely gets excited about the task. It’s dirty, time consuming and all around NOT fun. For over 30 years now, I have been actively shooting and cleaning firearms in the same traditional manner as my father and grandfather. Break the gun down, clean the barrel with your rod and patch using the “old standby” name brand solvents and brushes over and over and over until your prayers of a clean patch come true just before you need medical attention for your elbow or wrist. Such was the duty of any responsible gun owner wishing to keep their firearm in top notch condition, that is, until now. A few months ago, I was introduced to a unique and very intelligent gentleman, Marcus Kahn, who heads up a company called Modern Spartan Systems. Along with his business partner, Justin McConnell, Marcus founded Modern Spartan Systems in 2013 to revolutionize the way shooters clean their firearms forever. Sounds like a tall order, but after testing their products extensively now, I have to believe they are on to something. Don’t let the newly formed company date fool you, between Marcus’s keen business talents and connections combined with Justin’s extensive military and firearms background, their shared passion for firearms kept them driving on through years of field testing and consulting with chemical experts to get the right formula to bring to market prior to 2013. If you’re like me, you are wondering how these new products are so different than traditional cleaners and lubes. My exploration into this began this past October after sitting down for a one on one meeting with Justin McConnell in Atlanta, Georgia. Over a course of two hours, I learned Justin and Marcus had teamed up with a brilliant engineer / inventor named Joseph LaStella and a highly decorated former Air Force captain, named James V. Janes III, who also happens to be a bit of a wiz when it comes to the field of experimental chemicals. Not to give away trade secrets, I can say the key to their flagship product, Modern Spartan Systems Accuracy Oil is its thin solution and ability to seep deep into the pores of the metal and remain there under extreme cold and heat to allow a noticeable difference in the action and performance of your firearm.
Secondly, this oil has the ability to break a cardinal rule of firearms cleaning, NEVER put oil down your barrel. With the company’s Accuracy Oil, they actually recommend using the oil as a bore treatment! This I had to see for myself as soon as I could get back home to Florida. I departed with a few sample bottles of the Accuracy Oil and a second product Modern Spartan Systems produces titled, Carbon Destroyer. A week later, I was back in my shop working on a few personal firearms and decided to try out the new products from Modern Spartan Systems. I decided to clean my AR-15 barrel and bolt with the Carbon Destroyer. After soaking the bolt, I begin what is always an arduous task of scrapping and scrubbing carbon. To my surprise, the carbon build up began to scrub away relatively fast and easily using just an old tooth brush. By the time I was done scrubbing, the bolt looked better and cleaner than it had in years. After a few scrubs down the barrel with my cleaning rod and patch soaked in Carbon Destroyer, I was pulling clean patches out of the bore in half the time it would normally take. To be honest, I was quite impressed already at that point. I went ahead and then used the Accuracy Oil through the bore letting it cover all sides before wiping to back dry and moving on to another rifle.
Approximately a week after cleaning my firearms with Modern Spartan Systems products, I drove to the range to run a few rifle drills for an upcoming training article I had been working on and needed some “action” photos. After running just over 200 rounds with my AR-15, I switched to a bit of recreational shooting with the Ruger 10/22. While working the action of both the AR-15 charging handle and the Ruger, I noticed it felt smoother. I could only loosely describe the action as now seeming a bit “silky” feeling. Usually as these two rifles’ round count reaches around 100 or more, the action feels a bit gritty, this was not the case now. As I started to check targets, I noticed my shots with the AR-15 seem to be tighter patterns on the 75 and 100 yard targets that normal by approximately ¼ inch and slightly high for the given dope on the red dot. This is a large
improvement for a constant change. My shots with the .22 calibre Ruger 10/22 did not reflect any noticeable change, but as I finished the day shooting the rifle, I pushed targets out to 100 yards and began to see not only tighter patterns but less bullet drop over the given distance. Once my range day was over, I returned home to my shop and set to the task of again cleaning both rifles. Surprisingly, clean up using the Modern Spartan Systems products took even less time than before. The carbon build up seems to be less than normal and started coming off the bolt with only a few brush strokes. The action of the Ruger 10/22 simply wiped clean with need of the brush only in the tighter, hard to reach areas. I was thrilled with how fast I was done and out of the shop with clean rifles! Something I haven’t mentioned yet in this review is the smell. Normally, cleaning products are so strong with the harsh smell of chemicals it causes me to start to get a headache within 15 to 20 minutes of opening the bottle. This was not the case with using any of the Modern Spartan Systems products. The water based products have a rather pleasant smell actually and easily wash out of clothing if spilled. Being so taken by the products success, I contacted Marcus Kahn personally to discuss my findings. In typical Marcus fashion, his response was a hearty laugh and appreciation to hear the good news. I mentioned to Marcus, I would be teaching a firearms cleaning class within a couple of weeks to relatively new shooters.
FIREARMS MODERN SPARTAN SYSTEMS
One of the dirtiest and most fun rifles to shoot that I own is a Ruger 10/22 take down model. As with any .22 rifle, the lead and powder build up is multiple times worse than any centerfire cartridge and probably gets shot 10 times to every one of my other firearms. Again, after minutes of running an old toothbrush through the action and the bolt, the carbon and gunk build up that have traditionally been difficult to scrape and scrub were removed in half the time with nearly the effort as before. I took the time to try the Accuracy Oil in the Ruger 10/22 as well, knowing it would not be long before I knew I would be shooting it again.
FIREARMS MODERN SPARTAN SYSTEMS
Marcus agreed this would be an excellent chance to obtain opinions from a wide range of skills levels and different walks of life for his products. Within a few days, a package arrived with enough individual 2 ounce bottles of Accuracy Oil and Carbon Destroyer to supply each attendee of the class with a pair of samples. After a four hour class of discussing different types of firearms and their actions, how they work, disassembly / reassembly and proper cleaning techniques the attendees on the course felt confident in properly caring for their firearms and were new fans of Modern Spartan Systems. I asked them as they departed to email me their comments and opinions on the products or any noticeable changes to their firearms during their next range trip. Within the next three weeks, I began getting emails about how the slide to their semi auto pistols seemed to be smoother and easier to cycle when charging the weapon or locking the slide back by hand. A couple of emails commented they shot better groupings with their firearms and felt the actions ran faster. During the class, several students commented on how pleasant the smell of the cleaning agents was and the sentiment continued to come across in their emails. Overall, the class and the products were a huge success and has since then lead to a strong relationship between the company and some keen new shooters. Admittedly, in order to honestly give Modern Spartan Systems products a try, I had to set aside everything I thought I knew about firearms cleaning and break from traditional habits. Since first using their products, I have noticed clean up time shrank to about 25% of the original time it would take to clean my firearms normally after being on the range.
I enjoy the fact the cleaning agents do not leave an oily residue on the firearm or your hands when finished. Due to the dry, non-greasy feeling of the oil, I have noticed over the past two months, my every day carry pistol is cleaner. One of the biggest issues I have with my concealed carry pistol is, by carrying it in my pocket, even inside of a holster, it used to attract a lot of lint inside the action and barrel. Since treating the small Glock model 42 .380, the action seems smoother and the lint does not seem to want to stick to the gun. I have also explored further into the results of tighter groups with the understanding using the oil as a treatment and wiping it clear of the barrel each time allows for the pores of the metal inside to fill with lube and allow for a purer interface between projectile and the rifling of the barrel. This causes a slight increase in velocity and tighter spin on the bullet which in turn will cause noticeable differences at distances beyond 100 yards and possibly increase barrel life as well. I’m no scientist by far, just a life-long shooter, who believes science is an ever growing, wonderful field that continues to better our products and change our traditional ways for the good. As the old saying goes, “If you continue to do as you always have, you will continue to get the results you always have got”. Outside the box thinking by companies like Modern Spartan Systems breaking from traditional ways to create better products is what continues to push shooting into the next generation of evolution. To find out more about Modern Spartan Systems, visit them at www.modernspartansystems.com.
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GERBER DOWNRANGE TOMAHAWK
TECH AND TOOLS
By Trampas Swanson t’s no secret that being “boots on the ground” in the military, law enforcement, and on contracts is a dangerous and dirty job. These brave men and women risk their lives to save ours on a daily basis and depend on top notch equipment to do so safely. For over 75 years, Gerber has been one of the top names in helping provide innovative and useful tools to ease the burden of an already stressful occupation. This review looks at a new twist on an old tactical favorite, the DOWNRANGE TOMAHAWK. With over 11 years of experience in SWAT operations, I have seen many situations where specialised tools such as axes, pry bars and hammers were needed to complete rescue and tactical missions. Those experiences have ranged from house fires, floods, drug raids and even children caught in tight crawl spaces of abandoned residences. When the average officer or even soldier is fully equipped, their load out can range from 22lbs to 50lbs of gear before you start to factor in specialty tools. In 2014, Gerber saw the need for a handy “do all” tool that would be light enough to not be left behind due to size or weight. Made from 420 HC steel finished in Matte Black Cerokote, the DOWNRANGE TOMAHAWK is a solid, one piece design featuring very nice set of G-10 Desert Tan handles for a sure grip in all weather conditions. On one side, a razor sharp axe blade opposite of a sturdy hammer head. In between the two, you find a grooved finger cut out large enough to fit a bulky gloved hand. At the other end of a 14 inch handle you find a handy pry bar bent outward to one side. Its pointy, split opening can easily slip under boards or between slants. To cover the axe blade and to make transporting the tool easier, the DOWNRANGE TOMAHAWK comes with a MOLLE compatible sheath that can fit on a back pack, tactical vest or belt without adding very much additional weight. Backed by Gerber’s fantastic lifetime warranty, you have a quality tool but to last a lifetime. Overall, this tool obviously has limited uses in general, but offers much more than the traditional camping axe to those who stand the line every day for our freedoms and safety. The standard Gerber quality gives the end user the confidence to know it will not fail them when it’s needed the most. For more information and for specialist enquiries please visit the Tactical area at www.gerbergear.com
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