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SEPT 2015


Editor (International): Dan Eastes


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PROJECT GECKO CQB LEVEL ONE Recently PMCI had the opportunity to attend a CQB Level 1 Course run by Project GECKO to find out what tools we can all add to our “tactical toolbox” to help in a “close up and personal” encounter.


ecently PMCI had the opportunity to attend a CQB Level 1 Course run by Project GECKO to find out what tools we can all add to our “tactical toolbox” to help in a “close up and personal” encounter. I truly believe that you’ll have had to be living in a closed, dark room not to have seen the impact that’s been made over the past couple of years by the Project GECKO team, and especially their “main man” Eli; this is a guy that has “been there and done that” for real, and the videos available online show him plying his impressive skills across Europe with both professional and civilian groups. Using both live fire and airsoft as a training tool Eli has made it his mission to, amongst other things, instruct us in the dark and arcane arts of Close Quarter Battle. He and I have worked together on other articles, but until recently I hadn’t had the opportunity to witness him in action first hand, so when he told me he was coming to the UK to deliver his first course here, I knew I had to be there. CQB is one of the most dangerous and rapidly changing environments. Common CQB environments are problematic and complicated; there are no fixed solutions or procedures and too many problems. It is short range (under 10m), violent and has immediate effects which promote or hinder the individual from being proactive. As a rule CQB is all about finding an immediate solution to an immediate problem. The Project GECKO system is based on the Israeli counterinsurgency or COIN doctrine and Elis’ military experience in the IDF in one of their specialised

units. The focus of the system is to deal and solve a room from a tactical point of advantage. Eli does not believe in just running into rooms, or working in a dogmatic pattern. He believes in the idea that once on the door you can work more safely and more accurately from the frame while “solving” the room. This is done with careful manipulations of angles and a healthy risk assessment “muscle” that he develops with his students. All in all his system is true to reality and he will ensure that you will learn more than just ‘’running’’ into rooms looking for your corner. In his system he focuses on engaging the threat from an advantage perspective; he wants us to work as safely as possible while maintaining efficiency. Eli believes in the idea that most of the problems in the room can be examined and fixed, if necessary, from the outside of the room or with a deliberate manipulation of “angles” while sticking to basic principles. These principles will allow the individual to work and deal with threats with less risk. The Project GECKO system fits in principle to most scenarios or applications of actions (such as stealth, scan, swarm, dynamic or deliberate clearings) and ensures the individual has confidence in compliant tactics, which will not hinder the individual or put him at unnecessary risk. There is one thing that is critical though, even more than gear and tactics, and that is the human behind it all. Human behaviour and physics are what will eventually dictate your decision and your opponents’ reaction. Human behaviour plays a major role in individual ability to react, according to previous information or experience. Some call it fear, Eli calls it default.

With all this in mind before I set off on Friday 29th July I picked Eli up from the airport and together we drove north to Tac House Spartan in Chesterfield. I’d not been to this particular facility before so when we rocked up I was taken immediately by the imposing old factory buildings that make it up. Set over three floors it’s a maze of semi-lit rooms and warehouse spaces that sees a mixture of gaming, and training in relation to professional users. Eli and I were greeted onsite by Dave who runs the site logistics, and immediately he gave us a walk round of the ground floor and ushered us to where the majority of the weekend would be spent, the “Skills Room”; this is a self-contained space within the bowels of the site set up specifically for CQB training with multiple “room spaces” made from plywood that can be changed easily and quickly simply be opening and closing doors. The room also comes complete with an array of falling plate targets of different colours set at different heights that can be positioned anywhere as required.

Shortly after we arrived Martin, the Site Owner, joined us. No stranger to the CQB environment himself, he assured us that everything the course attendees needed would be provided. We were bunking onsite and he explained that there would be someone around to assist at all times. We were given free reign of a very impressive indoor training area that would be the classroom for Friday evening, and he provided constant hot



water for tea and coffee all weekend. I have to say that Martin is a thoroughly switched on yet friendly and approachable guy, and he and the whole Tac House Spartan staff could not have been more diligent nor done more to make us feel at home. By 2100hrs, the “kick off” hour for the course to start, the full group had assembled. John, Michael, and Anthony (soon to be known to one and all as “Ronin”!) had all trained together before. Tony was visiting from Hong Kong so took the opportunity to join us. Adam and Greg I’d met before and are solid guys. Percy joined us from the staff having been encouraged by Martin to do so, and Ajax (AJ), the youngest of the group, had taken it upon himself to come along and better his growing skillset. After introductions Eli immediately got cracking with the classroom part of the course. He first briefed us that the course would be all about identifying problems, and about solving them safely, efficiently and effectively. To start things off he showed us a short section of live-action video of different CQB situations from all over the world, and immediately encouraged us to share our thoughts about what we’d seen; from this point it was obvious that he intended to push the guys not just physically, but mentally as well! As the evening progressed Eli moved on with a superb PowerPoint presentation, discussing Room Anatomy, Common Room Shapes, Hard Corners, Soft Corners, Entry Angles, and introduced the principle of analysing a situation using this information, how we could work out the room in some cases before even entering by examining the external features.





Quietly spoken and humorous, yet authoritative at all times Eli encouraged input at every stage; his approach was that if we were asking questions we were paying attention. After an introduction to the Skills Room and to “Combat Stance” we’d already got to midnight so it was time for lights out, to lie in the darkness and assimilate all we’d learned.


After the late night finish, it was an equally early start. Eli would drive the guys forward with his passion and skill, and he seemed intent to deliver a thoroughly full course with each and every minute accounted for. Saturday morning, even at 0800 was bright and warm, and Eli opened the day outside with a pretty ruthless workout or “phys” session to get everyone switched on, and soon the guys were feeling the heat! I would stress here that any pictures you see where eyepro is off means that all rifles, carbines, and pistols were safe, with mags out. Once again, Eli worked on the

I woke early on Sunday morning to find a thoroughly silent bunkroom. As I made coffee for Eli and me, sleeping bags started to move and one by one the guys came awake and began to prepare for the last day. By the time other users of the site arrived “Alpha” and “Bravo” had already been at work for two hours, and the other visitors must have wondered who these silent individuals were that moved about the site with such assurance and purpose!



Drill followed drill and the pace continued unabated. By the time the course concluded with a “force on force” scenario (hence the use of airsoft replicas) the teams were working efficiently and cohesively, the skills and practices they had learnt flowing smoothly and naturally. Everyone had worked their backside off, they’d had highs, lows, and yet more exultant highs individually and together. They’d felt pain and sheer tired numbness and overcome these to achieve the fundamental basics that with time and diligence might become CQB excellence. And all of this was down to a superb training facility in the shape of the Skills Room at Tac House Spartan, and ultimately to one man. Eli pushed them to their limits; as a gifted instructor he broke them down, made them question techniques they had previously thought gospel, showed them new ways to work a scenario, gave them the skills to do so, and finally rebuilt them into a functional and efficient unit, building confidence with each and every “pie cut”. This is a man who has always had my respect, but seeing my friend in action has increased this exponentially, and I hope that he will return to the UK soon to run more courses. I’ll conclude this report with a blunt statement; if you are a physically fit individual, with a true desire to learn and a passion for enhancing your personal skillset, then you REALLY need to get yourself on a Project GECKO Level 1 CQB Course. You WILL be pushed to your limits, but the physical skills and the mind-set you learn will make you welcome in any group of like-minded individuals! I asked some of the guys after the course what they felt they had gained and Anthony pretty much nailed it: Anthony: I always look to improve and had been following Project GECKO for a while so when the opportunity came to train with Eli in the UK there was no hesitation. The 2.5 day course was jam packed with ways of understanding and processing the overload of information that is CQB into manageable chunks. That’s not to say it wasn’t physically and mentally challenging, and that’s how I like it. I slept well last night! I particularly enjoyed the “phys”, and overall it’s definitely made me realise some of the basics I’ve been getting wrong! For details of the CQB courses and other trainings available from Eli and Project GECKO you need to check out


“Combat Stance” and on muzzle awareness, having the guys advance on one another from different angles; in the pictures it may look confusing, but it was a very effective method. After this it was back to the Skills Room for more individual skills development and practice; this moved swiftly onto working as a two man team, then four. Eventually during the course of the day, eight individuals began to meld into teams “Alpha” and “Bravo”. As the day wore on though the sheer overload of information combined with the sheer physicality of the course saw attention beginning to wander as the “black dogs” of fatigue and stress kicked in. Things started going south, techniques got sloppy, mistakes were made, and frustration came to the fore. This was the low point for all, but Eli just pushed them harder telling them “to see the valley you must first climb the mountain!”, and the guys just dug in and got the job done. After a thirty minute break where everyone was told to eat and hydrate, the guys that I saw re-enter the Skills Room had changed. With just a short time to contemplate what they had learnt, there was a new drive and urgency about them. Eli took things back out into the sunshine for another short “phys” session and spirits seem to visibly lift as everyone begun to realise what they had gained from the course so far, tough, hard work now seeming straightforward. Back in the room scenario flowed to scenario and the guys rocked. As a “hostage” to rescue I screamed and hollered and they found me every time, leading me to safety outside. Assailed by “snipers” on the exfil, carrying a stretcher, and dragging me, the “hostage” they had rescued, pressure was piled upon pressure and they excelled each and every time with Elis’ critical yet supportive eyes upon them. After an hour stop for dinner where I introduced Eli to the delights of “fish n’ chips” (“a heart attack wrapped in paper” as he described it!) the guys were full of drive, and having sorted their personal admin, back out they went, and still they trained. Eli continued to push them, but they now seemed to relish the incessant tempo! Another midnight finish…


THE STORY OF AMISOMS SUCCESSFUL WAR AGAINST SOMALI INSURGENTS, 2007-2014 Black Hawks Rising acknowledges the formation and deployment of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) in March 2007. Initially confined to peacekeeping within the Mogadishu enclave, it transformed into a peacemaking mission. Many, including the author, who predicted the mission was a failure from the outset, gave it little chance of success. As a fighting force, however, AMISOM took on the Somali insurgents in 2010, expelled them from Central Mogadishu on Saturday, 6 August 2011, and expanded control of territory under the Somali Government in the succeeding years to most of Somalia. The opening chapters of the book take the reader behind the scenes to highlight the inconsistent, and sometimes disastrous, US policy in the Horn of Africa generally, and in Somalia (specifically dating back to the Kennedy administration in the early 1960s). Under President George Bush, the US strongly and vigorously opposed deployment of regional African troops in Somalia, instead sponsoring Somali factions to fight against each other and, when that flopped, egged on Ethiopia to invade Somalia in December 2006, which caused the rise of violent insurgency that spilled across borders. Young jihadists streamed from the heart of USA to fight the invaders. To clean up the mess, the Bush administration finally supported the deployment of regional troops. Black Hawks Rising captures intimately the stories of the men and women who made up AMISOM: their triumphs, setbacks and victories. The spotlight focuses on the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF), whose Herculean efforts supported by Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF), and later the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), Forces Armees Djiboutiennes (FAD), Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) and Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), were pivotal to the success of the mission. Their dedication, professionalism, ideological commitment, hard work and humanity turned Somalia from a wasted nation to one with hope for peace, stability and a better future for the Somali people. Like Heru, the Hawk-God of Ancient Egypt, AMISOMs new breed of African peace-warriors have demonstrated the capacity to work across borders regionally, continent-wide and globally to help resolve conflicts whenever and wherever they arise protecting lives and property, and preventing genocides before they happen. This look at a story thought to be already well documented gives the reader access to another part of it, to date little known. Opiyo Oloya is an educator, researcher and published author. His areas of interest include child-inducted soldiers; conflict and war in Africa; regional, continental and global security; and counter-terrorism and international affairs.

Author: Opiyo Oloya Publisher: Helion and Company Language: English ISBN: 978-1-910777-69-5 Hardback: 286 pages with colour photos and maps






TRAINING SUAREZ INTERNATIONAL SOUTH AFRICA. At PMCI we are always interested in looking at unique training courses and programs that will let serving personnel or those leaving the military hone certain areas of their skill-set. Recently I was lucky enough to speak to Gerald from SUAREZ International South Africa.


very so often a chance encounter opens up a new line of conversation, and so it was that Gerald and I started speaking. A small conversation on a matter unrelated to the tactical world led to us discussing wider topics, and I discovered that not only was the gentleman involved in the same world as I, but that he actively ran very unique training courses in South Africa.

My own late father, a former infantry instructor, called South Africa his home during the last years of his life; it was a country he came to love and to call his home, and my brief visits allowed me to share his joy of the beautiful wide open spaces there. Like me he was an outdoorsman and a keen shooter, and the wild terrain of South Africa was exactly his thing. However, sadly South Africa has a much darker side; in February 2007, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation was contracted by the South African government to carry out a study on the nature of crime in South Africa. The study concluded that the country was exposed to high levels of violence as a result of different factors, including the normalization of violence. Violence had come to be seen as a necessary and justified means of resolving conflict, and males believed that coercive sexual behavior against women was and is legitimate. High levels of inequality, poverty, unemployment, social exclusion and

marginalization mixed with this acceptance of violence create a turbulent melting pot that at any given time is liable to boil over. Gerald and his colleagues are at the forefront of training both civilians and professionals in the key skills of how to deal with a potentially violent attack, both inside and outside the home or workplace, and his links to the outspoken but nevertheless highly respected firearms trainer Gabe Suarez means that his trainees are getting the very best instruction possible. When I pressed further Gerald very kindly agreed to answer my questions and this is what he had to tell me. PMCI: So Gerald, in your own words please tell me what led you guys to set up the SUAREZ International South Africa training program? SISA: I have hosted Gabe Suarez here in Cape Town South Africa on two separate occasions, firstly in 2003 then 2010. This is where I graduated as an instructor under Suarez International USA Inc. From there I have adapted the original curriculum so as to make it more relevant for what is happening here in Africa or other areas where crime is out of control and personal security training is wanted. I served in the South African Navy back in 1992-1994 then the reserve forces for around 20 years. I was originally a junior engineer serving on mine hunters. I later tried out for and was accepted to attend the elite Navy Divers class. I passed and then served with the teams. I have completed studies in Brussels in terrorism

SISA: Our primary location is Kraaifontein Shooting Range, here in Cape Town. This range has 25 ranges and a kill house and is at an international standard. But in saying this I have run classes for clients who are on farms and the like, and we make up a safe shooting range with a mountain as a literal backstop. PMCI: Do you offer training in specialised equipment? SISA: Yes, although this is not a focus for the majority of our classes, PMCI: Do you have all the equipment available as part of your courses?

SISA: I have been running classes for some years now, but really got down to formally running SUAREZ International South Africa classes about three years ago. I travel to different locations within South Africa, and now run classes in the USA and Europe. My classes are fast becoming sought after. PMCI: Who do you see as your target customer for your courses? SISA: Primarily we target the civilian. What we find is that lots of people want to attend a military based class, but have very poor fundamentals and also in reality one doesn’t go shopping with your Tac vest and AR platform. I always say that even the “Green Beret” comes home and goes to the shops, looking like the average civilian. PMCI: Do you train military and police personnel or just civilians? SISA: Yes I do. These are more custom classes. We are developing a Non-Permissive Environment Survival class, which will not be for the feint hearted! PMCI: What exactly do you specialise in? SISA: In two words, personal security: This includes knife, combatives, pistol, rifle, and shotgun. This is all inside our structure, and what is becoming a very sought after class, our Dynamic Vehicle Combines class. PMCI: I know that you work with excellent training facilities; can you tell me more about those and what you do there?


PMCI: When and where did you start running your courses?


and counterterrorism. I have been blessed to train with some of the greats like Peter G Kokalis, Gabe Suarez, Dave Lamprecht and Kelly McCann over the years. I have trained with the South African SF units and worked in high end international dignitary VVIP operations. I firmly believe a curriculum is like a living, breathing, and maturing organism; it is always changing and moving in new directions to keep up with the ever changing criminal mind. The techniques we teach are simple, and work with your body type. The classes are NOT politically correct and we don’t beat around the bush. Honesty with a client is equally as important as safety.


PMCI: I know that you have a tie-in with Suarez International; could you tell me about that? SISA: I am the sole affiliate instructor for Southern Africa and own the brand Suarez International South Africa. Suarez Int USA is one of the leading firearm training brands in the world. It can be highly controversial but as one of my clients said, “Man this stuff is simple and works!!!” We maintain a very high standard of training, safety and professionalism, whilst making the training environment relaxed and open to learning. PMCI: Where do you see SUAREZ International South Africa evolving in the future?


SISA: Within a very short time we are becoming more and more sought after around the world. Our goal is to train up competent qualified SI South Africa instructors that are able to travel around within Africa conducting life-saving training. We are planning for the instructors a yearly symposium. To attain a Suarez Instructor rating will not be easy and will have to be earned. Current day firearms training is like a flight instructor teaching a new student. The instructor shows the client the plane, they get in the instructor takes off and once at cruising altitude they do some drills until the instructor is happy; then the instructor lands the plane and they both smile and part ways. What we are focusing on, it I can use the same analogy, is we want to teach the client to taxi to the runway, know how to speak to the control tower, take off, do emergency drills but land safely again. We teach our client how to set themselves up for success in their lives. Our training is holistic; I want the client to know how to carry, when to use, to think for themselves, to adapt and overcome, because nobody is coming to help you! As we have so many vehicle-related crimes in South Africa, my new book is titled “Dynamic Vehicle Combatives; An introduction to defending yourself inside and outside a vehicle”. This provides a look into our Dynamic Vehicle Combines class. There are many priceless nuggets thrown into the book that I personally use on a daily basis to set myself up for success; nuggets like keeping people away from your vehicle by using alternative methods, and nuggets from VVIP operations. This is focused on the civilian in vehicles but can be adapted for military or VIP operations. The follow up book due for release early next year is “Structure Combatives; Setting yourself up for success in your home”.

PMCI: Without going into specifics who do you and your successful trainees work with?

PMCI: If someone reading this article likes the sound of what you offer, what should be their next step? SISA: If you are interested in having me to run classes, I can be contacted on via mail address gerald@suarezinternational., or the Facebook page Suarez International South Africa. Our website gives further details on hosting requirements and benefit to the person hosting. You are required to answer some questions about yourself as do place restrictions on who we will train and where.

SISA: We have all from international security operatives and current SA special force operators to first time shooting divorce lawyers!

PMCI: Thanks so much for talking to us Gerald. We wish you every success with the books, and certainly look forward to working with you and SI South Africa more in the future!

SISA: Yes and no. We do have some equipment available for clients. The very restrictive firearm laws here in South Africa do restrict one from owning certain equipment.


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EDITORS COMMENT So, Issue 12 of PMCI means that it’s officially our second birthday and what a ride it’s been so far!

In future issues we’ll be expanding on this, particularly in relation to the great and oh, so important work being done by PMCs in the realms of anti-poaching. Many from outside the community will only see the images that appear in the mainstream press of heavily armed and armoured contractors going about their work in conflict zones, but few give a thought to the guys with their boots in the soil of “The Dark Continent” helping to preserve the mighty animals that we are so close to losing. Although our focus is on the military side of things of course there are also civilian contractors that are involved in every possible field; health care, security, engineering, education, construction, transportation, interpreting, telecoms, and the perilous task of mine removal. I sincerely hope that some of our reviews and reports will be of use to them too. On a really positive note, the time of writing this issue also coincides with the 5th anniversary of the Tactical Beard Owners Club (TBOC) which boasts many active PMCs amongst its ranks; Trampas, Craig, and I are proud and honoured to be members of this select group, and I asked Mike Hartmann, the founder of TBOC to grace us with a few words.

“Dear Brothers, it is a great honour for us to announce the 5th anniversary of the Tactical Beard Owners Club, founded on 24th of August 2011. What started with just one thought has become a solid institution in the tactical scene. In the last 5 years so much happened that we will only mention the most significant here. We have become a real vivid social club with a constitution, staff organization and multiple internet platforms. Our logo has become a distinctive mark for the tactical beard owner and we are well known now. We (have) processed 5000+ member applications to hand pick only 1600 of them (so far) to become our Brothers. The fluctuation is at a minimum; most original members are still here since the beginning, which shows what a loyal group we are. We have built 40 chapters (so far) all over the world to be bastions for beards to gather members who become brothers. We awarded honorary memberships and made contact with outstanding personalities to promote the tactical beard.



n the last two years the team and I have travelled near and far to bring you stories that we’ve found interesting, useful of just downright entertaining and we’ve been fortunate to meet some outstanding people along the way. With regular contributors from Europe and the USA we’ve now spread our net wider to look at what is going on around the world in relation to the Private Contractor and I’m proud that in this issue we have our very first feature from Africa.

Our joint network of tactical beard owners will continue to grow and in regard of what we want to achieve in the future it feels like we just started. We are excited to look forward to see what can be achieved in the next 5 years. Let us remember those who are not here with us anymore. We keep up the memory of our deceased Brothers. They will never be forgotten.” Wherever you may be people, train hard, stay vigilant and keep safe.



The PMCI team are always on the lookout for innovative new footwear models, and with indoor training really taking off in the UK we’ve found the perfect model in the new Tactical Sneakers from VIPER. It seems to me that the UK is really going through an epiphany in relation to purpose-built indoor training sites such as Tac House Spartan mentioned in our report on Project GECKO. The choice of kit for training on these sites will probably be radically different from what you would use on an outdoor range or training area as you do not have to contend with the environmental conditions so much. Outside for most of the year in the UK you’re going to need water repellent or waterproof clothing, along with some good Gore-Tex lined footwear. The footwear also needs to be of sturdy construction, offering high levels of support and protection, as you’ll need to be able to overcome uneven, maybe rocky, ground, along with muddy paths, wet tree roots, and loose brass underfoot. When it comes to training indoors however, things get a little more laid back in relation to your clothing and footwear. Yes, you’re still going to want to keep well covered against training strikes, and given the shorter engagement distances of “force on force” training turn to some type of full-face protection, but you can genuinely afford to run much lighter than outdoors. When I first received a pair of the new Tactical Sneaker boots from the lads at VIPER and lifted them clear of the box my first thought was “Wow! Now these are LIGHT!” and when I weighed one of the size 10s I was proved correct as the scales registered just 392g; you heard that right, a pair of tactical boots weighing under 800g a pair! If you consider that my Speedcross running shoes weigh 322g each this will help to put things in perspective. Available in UK sizes 6-12 the Tactical Sneakers are an ultra-lightweight boot which has a sports-fit. You might want to consider going up a size up from your standard tactical boot sizing; I’m usually a good size 9 and was advised to go for a 10 and the fit for me is perfect with no unnecessary volume, and no felt pressure in evidence. The boots have a Cordura side and tongue, and an overall suede finish which looks great; the clever choice of Cordura here means that the weight is kept down and the durability up. They also have a vented instep to help with breathability, and a multi-sectioned sole for better manoeuvrability and grip. The ankle cuff is reinforced with the same suede material as the toe area of the boots, and this helps both with comfort and support. The Tactical Sneakers are never going to give you as much ankle support as something like a full tactical boot, but there’s certainly enough there for indoor, especially as these sites all benefit from nice flat floors!


Available in Black, Coyote, and Tan these are great value at just £44.50. If you’re planning on training indoors, and you abide by the mantra that “light is right”, then the Tactical Sneakers could be just the footwear you’ve been looking for! For more information on the Tactical Sneakers and all of the rest of the great gear in the VIPER range simply pay a visit to

If you’re using a smartphone or tablet with a swipe screen then we have the perfect tactical gloves to suit your needs courtesy of HWI. More and more of us are carrying and using mobile devices with touchscreens these days and there are often situations where you need to be able to make use of them even whilst wearing gloves. Traditional glove design, especially for more “tactical” models, has meant that the fingertips of the gloves have been thick and durable and it’s not at all unusual to see fingertips cut off to aid in trigger finger sensitivity and use of mobile devices. The majority of the glove manufacturers have noticed the increased adoption of touchscreen technology and there has been a real race to bring models to market to reflect this trend. One of the vanguards of this has been HWI Gear. HWI Gear is a family owned business located in Colorado and their design and manufacturing are undertaken in the USA where they’ve been protecting police officers, military personnel, and other emergency professionals for over 25 years with over a million pairs of gloves sold! The Tac-Tex Tactical Mechanic Glove (MG300) is fit for almost any application. The glove offers a secure, snug fit and they have great flexibility and tactility thanks to a spandex knit back, high grade synthetic leather palm, and

special abrasion resistant PU palm reinforcement. They work extremely well with touchscreen devices thanks to a unique fingertip construction which allows you to swipe through on-screen menus quickly and efficiently. There is also sonic welded Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR) knuckle and back of the finger protection which is low profile yet highly effective, making them a real workhorse for both civilian and professional users. They are perfect for use in any shooting or tactical situation and keep the freedom of accessing important information from your touchscreen device with the special capacitive finger tips. I’ve had a number of pairs of HWI gloves over the years and all of them have been a great fit, their size Large being absolutely perfect for me with no “palm-bag” or mis-lengthened fingers, and the Tac-Texs’ are absolutely spot on in this respect. They are extremely comfortable to wear for extended periods thanks to the breathability of the spandex back. Once again HWI Gear seem to have the exact product when it’s needed, and at UK£35.00 a pair these are in no way going to break the bank. As with all HWI Gear gloves the Tac-Texs’ are tough and durable and are a worthy addition to any range bag. They are available in either Black or Coyote Brown, sized Small to XL. For more information and stockist details please visit





We always love finding new suppliers of top quality gear and really fits into that category; for those of you who have not yet discovered HUEYs you really, really should go and take a look as they carry a high end range of tactical brands, some of which are pretty unique like OPS UR-Tactical. Optimal Performance Systems (OPS) was established in 2005 and rapidly developed into a well-known tactical gear brand. They dedicate their efforts to innovation, the designs and the functionality of their products; all their gear is made of genuine, high quality materials to ensure durability and protection for the end user. The OPS Gen 2 Improved Direct Action Shirt is available in a number of colour and camo options and has an RRP of UK£78.75; it has a body area made from cotton jersey knit material resulting in more comfort. The under arm area of the features an elastic material, which again provides a better fit for the dynamic user; the shirt also has a high zip collar which is ideal for a little protection from the elements and helps minimise chafing under a plate carrier. The forearm has a low profile pocket with zip on both sides, and upper arm pockets with large velcro panels for patches and IDs provide extra storage. There are shaped elbows which are reinforced with 500D CORDURA and accept moulded / removable elbow pads which are included. As with the shirt sleeves the matching OPS Integrated Battle Pants 3D are made from sturdy 50/50 NYCO Ripstop. They are a little more expensive, coming in at UK£125.50 but boy, do you get a lot for your money! In terms of pocketing you get slash front and rear pocket for easy access, Two besom pockets for small or flat items, two accessory pockets with cover next to the besom pocket for multi-tools, pistol mags or flash lights and two large slash pleated bellows cargo pockets with a velcro flap closure. Fully shaped knees accept moulded knee pads which are included, with double sided Velcro and elastic adjusters that offer more comfort when tightening the knee pads and increases mobility. There’s also an adjustment strap for the height of knee pad. The lower leg of the is a single piece cutting, so there’s only one stitching edge on the lower leg providing a better fit and more comfort for the user. Overall these are beautifully featured and put together and when combined with the Direct Action Shirt offers a durable and highly dynamic uniform option. The OPS range includes a great collection of clothing, equipment and accessories, many of the items at surprisingly keen prices for the fabrics used and the obvious attention to detail that goes into the construction so do go and check out their gear and let HUEYS know that PMCI sent you!




Lowa have recently introduced a new lightweight category within their Task Force Collection to offer more of a range to the professional user, and they continue to increase their range of military and tactical boots which is making a lot of us users very happy indeed. Lowa have already introduced a new series of brown colour boots for the UK MOD in line with the recent change of colour and continue to offer a wide range of desert boots.

The Lowa Elite light Boot is Lowa’s new flagship lightweight boot, and it’s ideal for a full day on the range, long foot patrols or tabbing. With its lightweight construction along with the exceptionally high quality materials used in the construction it’s the perfect blend of Lowa’s military quality and the lightweight construction that is ideal for modern tactical users. Built using full grain leather at 2.2-2.4mm thick in all areas, the open hook lacing system allows for quick on/ off which is especially ideal at the end of a long, gruelling day. The Vitatex lining allows for comfort and dryness in all situations and the Vibram Aconcagua sole means that you can be assured you will keep sure-footed wherever you may find yourself; this top-notch outsole from another market leader provides excellent control on all surfaces, with special cleat orientation for perfect grip. The boots also offer great cushioning and have a microbe-resistant EVA midsole. Coming from the Task Force Collection these boots offer comfort and protection for everyday use; weighing in at just 1200g a pair, and available in UK sizes 6-13, I‘m really looking forward to putting these through their paces in the colder, wetter months of the year. What I can tell you after two straight months of use is that they mould quickly to your foot, work very well, offer great support and continue Lowa’s tradition of making great military and tactical boots perfectly. The Lowa Elite Lights are available from most quality retailers in Black and MOD Brown, costing UK£175.00; in my opinion this is excellent value for first-rate pair of boots made by one of Europe’s finest bootmakers. For further information and for stockist details please visit the UK distributor www.


Here at PMCI we’re big fans of Lowa boots, so now we take a look at the very newest addition to the Task Force line, the Elite Light Boot. I wear boots pretty much every day of my life and for the last two years, other than when I’m testing something new, that boot model is the Lowa Zephyr GTX. They’ve been through everything from hitting the range, walking the dog, and have even taken me up onto the top of Pen y Fan the hard way so you might say that I’m a true believer in the Lowa brand! For 90-plus years, Lowa have been acclaimed as one of the finest outdoor bootmakers in the world by climbers, mountaineers, hikers, the media and certified quality testers; from the number of Lowa boots you see on the feet of serving soldiers I believe their reputation is just as great there too. Their attention to every detail in design and European manufacturing has earned them a heady reputation for building the world’s most comfortable and durable boots since they started in 1923. Lorenz Wagner founded Lowa in the Bavarian village of Jetzendorf near Munich in the 1920’s with the production of brogue oxford shoes. The high quality of the handwork in the Norwegian welt-stitched shoes, a manufacturing process that stemmed from traditional techniques used in the Bavarian mountains required an expansion of the facility in the late 1920’s. In 1930/31 Lowa’s first manufacturing facility was built. The groundwork was laid for further success with Alpine boots for the mountain infantry as well as lace-up ski boots. Lorenz Wagner passed away in the 1950’s and the second generation of the Wagner family took the business over despite the tough economic troubles during the 1950’s and 1960’s; since that point they have gone from strength to strength! Lowa build their boots under the European Union’s most stringent manufacturing, environmental and labour regulations. They put into practice what many other companies only pay lip service to; clean manufacturing, minimal waste and fair labour practices. From start to finish, Lowa footwear is 100% designed, sourced, and handcrafted in Europe. Lowa is also the only outdoor footwear manufacturer in the world to be granted ISO 9001 status for the highest quality construction and process standards.



Over the past couple of years PMCI been working closely with cutting-edge garment manufacturer UF PRO and this month we take a close look at the very latest incarnation of their P-40 trouser range, the AllTerrain Pant. It has been a real pleasure for me to work with UF PRO since I met them at IWA in 2014, and it’s a relationship that has blossomed due to their openness and quiet professionalism. I speak to them in one way or another at least a couple of times a month, and head of marketing, Nejc Zavrl inevitably has something new to talk about. In April this year UF PRO made the announcement that 6-time World Champion IPSC target shooter Eric Grauffel will wear their clothing in his upcoming competitions. The 33 year old French native has won a staggering 191 Presidents Medals and 6 World Champions titles during his career. Eric won his first national championship at age 15 and became World Champion at age 18. More than a decade later, Eric is still unbeaten. UF PRO is very happy to work with such an iconic shooter as Eric. “His commitment to the sport of shooting and his relentless focus on every single detail shows the very same attitude we at UF PRO have towards our products, that is why it was an instant fit”, Nejc told me. Eric has already worn the P-40 All-Terrain pants for over a year and after testing them in various competitions, decided that UF PRO gear is the perfect fit for his needs; so what makes this model in particular so special? The P-40 All-Terrain Pants have been specifically designed to be the perfect all-round pants for various environments and activities. They allow the most dynamic of movement, while all functional elements remain in their most ergonomic position. An anatomic cut, as well as a breathable and hardwearing Schoeller dynamic stretch material in the rear of the pants provide excellent wear characteristics. The big thigh pockets of the All-Terrain Pants offer horizontal and vertical access to the main cargo area and inner compartments. The attached gear pocket can be easily secured with low profile plastic reinforced tab. A small gear pocket in the upper thigh area provides storage for smaller items like a knife, light, or a spare magazine. As with all P-40 Pants, the All-Terrain Pants can be equipped with UF PRO Flex Knee Pads. A unique design in the trouser legs makes sure that your knee protector always stays in place, without any adjustments, and CORDURA reinforced knee and instep areas provide durability in the longer term. The P-40 All-Terrain Pants can also be used in different environments and conditions from hot, arid terrains to cold mountain areas which makes them incredibly versatile. When it gets hot the mesh lined knee-protector pockets can be left open and thus provide additional air circulation.


For colder climates you can simply equip them with a detachable WINDSTOPPER lining which UF PRO offer as an accessory. The UF PRO P-40 All-Terrain Pants are currently available in a full range of sizes, and come in Coyote Brown, Brown Grey (RAL 7013), and Black. You can check on further details by heading to,

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ETYMOTIC HIGH-DEFINITION ELECTRONIC EB 15-LE BLAST PLG EARPLUGS Hearing Protect for Professional Users - By Craig Reinolds No matter what world you live in or should I say operate in, we as human being are extremely dependent on our senses. For most of mankind we are not currently running from predators or submerged into the food chain as our ancestors may have been. There are some, however, who have jobs, hobbies or indulge in sports that require us to use every sense available.


ake hunting for example, if you have spent any length of time watching and studying the habits of your prey, you get a perfect understanding of survival in action. You would see an animal making use of every sense the Creator instilled in him. A deer for instance; every step of all fours are planned not to make noise. His ears independently search like two satellite dishes rotating and scanning for the slightest noise that does not fit into the norm. His eyes constantly watch for any unusual movement and while his nose smells and processes every particle in the air. When the deer hears something, everything freezes; no more chewing and a pause in breathing, while all attention is on ears and eyes. Both ears focus on the direction he heard something and work together to pinpoint the source. If he detects an unusual sound it is a threat and he begins the warning stomp with a front leg. The funny thing is I have tried to hear the stomp and never have. Yet the other deer around him all go on full alert.

Just an interesting fact, recent experiments put the deer in the same range as humans as far as hearing abilities. So why can’t we hear? Well from my experiences we have allowed our noisy world to damage our hearing. For me, I have had my ears tested several times and they check out as perfect. So why can’t I hear some things? I think our world or mine at least is so loud my mind has blocked out the noise pollution therefore limiting what I hear. This brings me to the point of the article. I have started protecting my ears from noise that I previously never worried about before. Since retiring from the Fire Service, I now control the level of sound entering my ears. These days, I spend more time in nature, not in the modern, noise polluted world. To my surprise, my hearing and interpretations of what I am hearing have improved. To give you an example, watching the news would require the volume of the TV to be on at least level 22. Since taking more care of my hearing, I can now hear the news perfectly at level 8-10 depending on peripheral noise.


While in either mode, another positive benefit of the EB 15 is your ability to track the location of where an unknown shooter just fired. Etymotic has done extensive scientific testing with existing military hearing devices versus several of theirs. Etymotic’s openly published the impressive results along with the processes on their website. Needless to say, the results give a huge advantage to military and law enforcement to maintain communication, situational awareness and hearing protection with an added benefit of hearing enhancement.


EB15•LE electronic earplugs are designed for those who want to maintain natural hearing while protecting their ears from impulse and continuous loud noises like gunfire, explosions, vehicles, and machinery. Primitive hearing protection devices plug, cover or plug and cover our ears. These devices create a comical scene of people trying to communicate with no sense of hearing. This is just not practical and compared to today’s technology, it is completely out of date. Have you ever had a person in your group talking so loud, everyone in a half square mile radius could hear them? Sometimes that can be embarrassing, such as a guy yelling, “Hey man, I think that girl is checking me out!” Well, if she wasn’t, she and everyone in the restaurant are now. In the tactical community, communication and stealth are vital to the operation, yet the need for hearing protection not an option, it is an absolute must.



The challenge with hearing protection lies in trying to retain total environmental awareness without the risk of either acute or chronic hearing loss. So how can we improve our hearing and the minds ability to process what we hear while protecting a valuable sensory tool like our ears? The answer comes from the good folks at Etymotic ( . They have many high quality products to offer at affordable prices that will not only protect your hearing but improve the quality of the sound you hear to acceptable levels for the best interpretation. I personally have been using the “ETYMOTIC High-Definition Electronic EB 15-LE Blast PLG Earplugs”. These plugs are created for Law Enforcement, SWAT teams and anyone that may be in a combat environment. The EB 15 Blast Plugs are designed so you maintain your natural hearing while protecting your hearing from continuous and impulse noise above safe levels. When wearing the EB 15, you are still able to communicate without yelling, provided everyone in your party is wearing a pair. The sound is uncompromised even though you have the device in your ears. There are two modes on the EB 15. The first setting is an adaptive hearing protection while maintaining blast protection. The second setting offers 5 times the hearing enhancement while still maintaining blast protection. So what can the EB 15 offer for you? As a tactical squad commander, you could communicate with your team while maintaining normal hearing. Also, you could enhance your hearing by 5x the normal level with the same benefits, while being protected from damage caused by flash bang deployment or gunfire. Another added benefit with the EB 15’s enhanced mode comes in equipping you with the ability to hear more efficiently than your adversary, in turn giving you the advantage in detecting him before he does you.

GEAR ON TEST • • • •

In-ear design; the device fits both ears Proven 360° situational awareness (horizontal plane) Uncompromised sound detection and localization Unrivaled speech intelligibility in loud noise

Dual-Mode Switch

Mode 1: Adaptive Hearing Protection + Blast Protection • Users maintain natural hearing • 15 dB adaptive attenuation for sounds between 90-120 SPL, with increased attenuation up to the 35-40 dB limit of the eartip seal • Blast protection Mode 2: Hearing Enhancement + Blast Protection • Amplifies soft sounds up to 5X • Blast protection

In The Box • • • • • • • •

2 electronic BlastPLG® earplugs Durable neck cord 7 pairs of ACCU-Fit™ eartips Batteries Cleaning tool ACCU•Filters™ and filter removal tool Protective Case

Contains signal processing with wide-dynamic-range compression, plus variable recovery time with instant recovery from blasts and slower recovery of normal sounds for better speech intelligibility. BlastPLG earplugs have the highest bandwidth and the highest undistorted input capability of any active hearing protectors, hearing aids or personal sound amplifying devices at any price in any industry.


Noise Reduction Rating 25 dB Frequency Response 50 Hz – 16 kHz Transducers High-definition, balanced armature driver ACCU•Fit™ Eartips 7 pairs of eartips for seal and secure fit in most ears ACCU•Filter™ Replaceable Filters Filters shape frequency response and protect transducers from earwax Battery #10 Etymotic has a very informative website, from which you can find their many products, FAQ, technical information and scientific data. For anything I may have left out in this article you will find it here .


The EB 15 seems to do all they claim to do and there is plenty of scientific data to support the claims. There is more to them than just protection and enhancement. The experience of using the EB 15 in the 5x-enhanced mode is like unlocking another world. Some have said, it’s like rediscovering the world all over again.


I tried the assortment of ear tips until found the one that fit me best. I found I preferred the Gray 3-flange 8-13mm for most applications. If I am going to be doing activity where I am sweating for long periods of time, then small foam tips worked better for me and stayed in my ear more comfortably. I installed the #10 batteries and inserted them in my ear as the instructions stated. I clapped my hands to see if the Etymotic plugs electronically block out the noise like my other hearing protection does but instead, I just heard myself clap. I flipped them to enhanced 5x and bam! The world came alive! I normally did not pay attention that birds were chirping but with a flip of a switch, a couple of birds turned into the bird sanctuary at the zoo. I could hear every bird for more than a hundred yards away. It was amazing! I started walking and wondered what the noise was that I was hearing and I discovered it was grass and debris I was crushing as I walked. I use to pride myself in how quiet I could walk through the woods only realizing now, I was actually making a lot of racket. After this initial experience, I was very eager to test these on the range. I loaded up my gear and went to my swamp firing range to shoot some steel. While in normal mode, I began shooting and could still hear the handgun. I had to check my ears; yes, they were still in place so I continued shooting. Although I was able to hear everything at the level I could beforehand, my ears were not bothered. It was amazing to be able to hear the mechanics of the pistol operating and the lead from hitting the steel target was perceived so clearly. I could actually hear the lead landing all around me from the splatter. I flipped the switch to enhance and repeated the drill. These earplugs were awesome. I could not leave them in enhanced mode though because I kept thinking someone was walking up on me. When I would turn around to look, it was the palmetto blades brushing against each other or a bird digging around in the bushes. I have a trip to the Okefenokee Swamp coming up I can’t wait to use them there as well. In wrapping up, the last point I would make is the EB 15 doesn’t have to be used just for tactical situations. You could use them just as effectively bird watching, hunting, the opera or concerts. The EB 15 from ETYMOTIC can change your entire world and how you perceive it. Take a moment to visit the ETYMOTIC website and check out all there products and discover a new world like I did. Oh by the way, next deer season, we shall see if I can hear that warning stomp!

Patented Lazer Cut System


The new Viper Tactical Lazer Cut Molle System is a lightweight and innovative platform that allows the user to customize and alter to their operational needs. Using the most advanced manufacturing techniques, the Lazer Cut System is based on our strongest 600D Cordura which is cut out on the latest laser flatbed machines. It is then reinforced with tough, yet lightweight, webbing sewn onto the reverse side, adding strength and durability, making for a compact, lightweight and hard-wearing platform. Taking any Lazer Cut System product as a platform, a totally unique operational tailored setup can easily be achieved by simply adding or reducing compatible pouches and equipment. Our Lazer Cut System is compatible with other Molle/Modular systems. patent number: GB2491624

LAZER RECON PACK Capacity: 35ltr (approx) Material: 600D Cordura Dimensions cms: 45 x 25 x 33 Colours: V-Cam, Coyote, Green, Black Internal hydration sleeve Multiple compression straps Padded Ventex back and straps Waist strap Grab carry handle Velcro ID panel 2 x V-Lock 1 x D-Lock srp: ÂŁ45.00

LAZER SPECIAL OPS PACK Capacity: 45ltr (approx) Material: 600D Cordura Dimensions cms: 51 x 40 x 24 Colours: V-Cam, Coyote, Green, Black 3 zipped compartments Hydration system pocket Multiple compression straps Quick release belt strap Velcro ID panel 2 x V-Lock, 1 x D-Lock srp: ÂŁ59.95






The team at PMCI are always on the lookout for emerging brands, and although they are well known and respected in the USA First Tactical launched in Europe at IWA 2016 and are really making some inroads!



efore the team and I left for IWA in Germany earlier this year I was contacted by a PR company with details on a brand new to me that would be having their European launch at the show. The PR company told me that they would be happy to send me some products from US Brand First Tactical for me to check out before the show, and these duly arrived in my office. Once I’d had a chance to look the products over, and commented favourably on their design and quality I was then offered a chance to meet First Tactical at the show; this offer I gladly accepted. What I discovered was that First Tactical are focused on providing the end user with product that is specific to their requirements, guided by innovation and reliability. Their design process combines both advanced technical materials with state-of-the-art components. First Tactical products are built to offer fully functional gear precisely created for professionals in the military, emergency and police services. Working with real users from the tactical world, First Tactical strives to fully understand customer demand through a circular development process: Listen, Engineer, Field Test and Deploy. First Tactical listens to its customers through regular product development sessions with real users in the field. First Tactical also ensures it engineers cutting-edge product to transform common gear into incomparable tools for professionals. Through the use of Field Testing, First Tacticals products are put under scrutiny in the most demanding conditions to ensure they withstand a variety of environments. I managed to get hold of one of the first of their products to come into the UK and have been subjecting the Tactix 1 Day Plus Pack to some of my very own “Field Testing”. Available in Black, Coyote or Green, at 40.5L this is a well-sized pack that gives you more than enough space for one days-worth of gear; in fact with careful packing if could be used for multi-day use if you’re going to be re-supplied in the field. The Tactix Pack benefits from a Lynx™ Laser Cut Platform compatible with MOLLE/PALS, First Tactical’s Hook & Hang Thru™ System, and repositionable or removable compression straps with side release buckles. There is a divided front stash pocket for longer items, concealed drop pocket with hook/loop lining for utility pouch or holster, interior dual use hook/loop and a web platform for unlimited pouch placement. There’s an innovative removable internal backboard with a posture-conforming aluminium stay that may be used as splint, shovel or paddle, positional shoulder straps for the right fit, HD spacer mesh with dual density foam shoulder straps and back panel, and a fleecelined eyewear pocket.


First Tactical offers a full range of clothing and complementary equipment for tactical professions across all fields. The First Tactical range encompasses boots, trousers, technical shirts, outerwear, gloves, knives, flashlights, socks, packs and bags with more categories to follow. Many of the clothing and footwear models are also available in ladies fit which I think is tremendous. To give a snapshot of what’s on offer I’m going to pick out a few key pieces in their range that have really caught my eye. The Men’s Tactix Series System Jacket is the ultimate goto for all of your tactical jacket needs. The outer shell is 100% waterproof, breathable, blood-borne pathogen resistant, fully seam sealed wind resistant nylon, designed to move and breathe while keeping you guarded from the elements. The design is cut specifically to fit snugly, and a revolutionary 3-way adjustable hood design and a zip-in Softshell give this jacket the edge you need in the field. The tough seam-sealed outer shell is made of 100% nylon and is waterproof, breathable, and wind repellent. This superior material is sealed tight against the elements, while zippered ventilation provides breathability, and special underarm design allows for freedom of movement. The zip-out Softshell offers an additional layer of protection and comfort with water and wind resistant exterior and warm,

soft brushed fleece interior. This is perfect for wearing on its own in warmer conditions or zipped into the shell for extra warmth and comfort when the mercury drops. Priced at UK£219.95 this is a lot of jacket for the money, but if you require a longer length shell then there is also a Parka version available at UK£229.95. The Side Zip Duty Boot is a hybrid of practicality and comfort. Featuring an odour and moisture resistant interior sole, tough cowhide toes and two knife pockets, they are ideal for both tactical and endurance scenarios. A torsion-flex shank provides added flexibility in the sole to encourage comfort. A full grain leather toe and top quality leather throughout provides durability, and performance for the ultimate in durability, and with boots that are designed like running shoes, the heel strike window gives the user more cushioning while reducing impact on the feet and body while in motion. This neat leather boot is available in three variants; a 6 inch low, an 8 inch mid and an 8 inch Waterproof for the colder and wetter months of the year. The boots are available in UK sizes 6-15, including half sizes up to 11.5, and prices start at UK£84.95. At UK£39.95 First Tacticals flagship Hard Knuckle Glove is a tactical model that is both reliable and durable, without giving up the dexterity of lighter wear alternatives. Hard TPR knuckle protection reinforced with neoprene padding and TouchPoint™ fingertip design come together to give you a complete and functional tactical glove which is also fully touchscreen compatible. The isolated, hidden TPR knuckle design allows for independent knuckle splay and rotation, giving you amazing tactility while maintaining solid, reliable protection, whilst the closed cell, perforated foam offers bacteria resistant ventilation while keeping your knuckles sufficiently guarded and nimble. The mid-weight, snagproof stretch woven material offers the most precise, professional fit and appearance too, and the fit is spot on.


Made from a combination of 500D/1000D Cordura with a double layered base and featuring YKK zips and Duraflex hardware the pack is absolutely bomber-tough and thus far shows no signs of wear even after use in some pretty foul weather and being thrown in the footwell of the truck on many occasions! The back panel and shoulder straps are super-comfy even under load, and as the Tactix weighs in at just 1.9kg so you’re not adding much weight to your overall load.




Now as good as the clothing, footwear and accessories are the First Tactical “nylon” is absolutely first rate. I’ve been using the Tactix 1 Day Plus Pack on a daily basis now for a little over six months and have subjected it to much abuse; it’s still looking great and I’ve no negatives to report. First Tactical offer a full range of pouches, packs, guns bags and EDC items, and from this last category I really like the Ascend Messenger Bag; this messenger style office-to-field bag is designed to provide all of the room and durability you require to carry out your duty. The nylon fabric and premium YKK® hardware give you a sturdy exterior you can rely on. Foam padded main and computer compartments keep items separate and protected, while three inner drop pockets and zip out water bottle/gear pockets provide extra storage space with organization. These features, along with the hidden CCW pocket, set this case apart from other tactical bags. Made from a combination of 500D and 1000D Cordura this is a tough as you need bag, and at UK£79.95 is very well priced. Another design which I particularly like the look of is the Specialist 1 Day Pack priced at UK£89.95. Dual density shoulder straps, double layered bottom, internal hook/loop mounting platform, and a fully functional hook/loop web platform compatible with MOLLE/PALS set this tactical backpack apart from others in strength, reliability, and comfort for the wearer.

With 36L of space for essential gear, and featuring First Tacticals new Hook & Hang Thru™ System, the Specialist 1-Day is the ideal backpack for short, overnight missions. The main compartment opens to a single mesh pocket and 2 interior drop pockets with hook/loop cinch. On the back, a hook/loop organization platform allows for ultimate customisation. Overall the range is an exceptional one and I haven’t even got into all the other excellent accessories that First tactical offer! PMCI will continue to work closely with First Tactical both in the USA and the UK, and I for one am looking forward to seeing what new gear they have to offer at SHOT in January. First Tactical have now launched into the Europe as planned and the UK is particularly lucky as they have announced the opening of their first “shop in shop” which is on the first floor of the long established and well respected Trekitt mountaineering and outdoor store, which you’ll find at 51 Eign Gate in Hereford. You can also check this out via To find out more information about the brand please do pay a visit to either or





Close quarter combat (CQC) is by far the most intense situation one can ever find themselves involved in. Seconds feel like hours as every muscle in your body tightens. Fine motor skills quickly dissolve into only gross motor skills available. In many cases around the world, survival depends on two things, training and a dependable, readily available combat worthy blade. This month, we look at the right tool for the right job, the ONI by Gray’s Custom.


erived from Japanese folklore, the Oni traditionally translated to an ogre-like creature carrying clubs. As time went on, this lead to being regarded as being strong beyond strong and later, simply described as having one’s natural strength enhanced by the use of some sort of tool or weapon. It is in this sense Gray’s Custom’s new fighting knife is forged and brought to the market for those who take their survival by means of a blade very seriously. Knife maker, Javan Roberts, owner of Gray’s Custom used valuable input from the combat community to build his Oni design from the ground up as a medium sized, quick and well balanced fighting tool.


A couple of months ago, a sample pair of Oni knives arrived at my office for review much to my delight. Upon taking the blades out of the box, I couldn’t help but notice the comfortable “heft” of each blade. Just by weight alone, it was clear, these were not cheap Chinese made combat knock-offs. Each custom built knife felt well balanced with its weight distributed evenly. The Oni is made from 5/32 inch CPMS35VN, heat treated to HRC 57-59, with an overall length of 8.75 inches and 3.8 inches of razor sharp blade. Right out of the box, both blades shaved the hair off my arm in one stroke. This is a far cry from most blades that cross my desk with much inferior edges. The overall look for the knife has an attractive bead blasted bevels and ground flats. The sure grip handle was made of 3-D milled linen micarta held in place with 303 stainless steel custom hardware. The cherry on top for me with these two blades were the very well made kydex sheaths they arrived in. One sheath offered a Molle compatible option while the other had a great belt BladeTech style attachment. To give these purpose built fighting blades a full assessment of their capabilities, I called on good friend and resident martial arts instructor, Rodrigo Muller of Muller Consulting. Aside from having the honour to call Rodrigo part of my Swanson Media Group team, he comes from a rich background as a tactical instructor for the country of Brazil. Now relocated to Orlando, Florida, this 4th Ninjitsu Master is a wealth of information in the field of combat weapons. With a quick phone call to match up schedules, Rodrigo had a day of blade training set up to give Gray’s Custom’s Oni blades a whirl!


After a cool, overcast morning of assisting Rodrigo teach a handto-hand and intro to weapons class to a large group of members of the not-for-profit organization, The Well Armed Woman during their annual state shoot, we cleared the training ground and got down to business. Through a series of traps, strikes and moving inside out safely and efficiently, the Oni really showed the benefits of using a well-balanced blade. The blade’s drop point and fast handling overall size made the Oni easy to get strikes on target without feeling out of control. The angle of grip allowed for quick slicing motions to elbow joints, left and right strikes to the neck, knees and locking into the wrists. The exposed bird beak-like protrusion at the bottom of the Oni’s grip served perfectly to strike nerve clusters and apply debilitating pressure to joints in order to set up a secondary fatal stroke with the razor sharp blade. Watching Rodrigo go through a series of strikes while gripping and reverse gripping the Oni was just as much an art form as it was deadly. At this point, I do wish to take a moment and clearly state it is highly recommended to do any and all knife training with a partner through the use of rubber knives such as those by ASP. Hours of walk-through training was performed by both field testers prior to training with a “live” blade. I am very fortunate to have a highly skilled expert such as Rodrigo to be able to trust during training to be able to fully get a “feel” for this fighting knife in action while reducing significant training injury. One of our favorite mottos in regards to training is “if you ain’t bleedin’, you ain’t training!” This is particularly true in the realm of knife fighting. A big part of knife on knife combat is the acceptance that you WILL be cut. This is one form of combat that has no true winner if engaged in the real world, only survivors.





Aside from carefully and tactically carving me up like a Master Chief with a Thanksgiving turkey, several tests were done to really see the cutting power of the Oni. First up, using one powerful slicing motion from left to right by Rodrigo, a water filled plastic bottle was sliced cleanly in half without drag or slop! Many test blades have completed similar task in our testing but none as cleanly as the Oni’s cut. Next up, several layers of 550 paracord were strung up under tension to simulate muscle and tendons. With a quick forward right to left cut, all of the first set of paracord was severed along with the second set following a left to right back stroke. The edge still remained sharp and clean. The micarta scales that make up the handle provide such as secure purchase on the knife that even during cutting drills, the blade did not feel like

it wanted to roll or wiggle as compared to more rounded utility style handles. Rodrigo conducted several cutting test using large portions of raw beef and pork such as hams and shoulders in which multiple lacerations were made with forward and rearward strikes. Each cut was quick, clean and exceeded an inch through skin and muscles on average. Some of Rodrigo’s power strikes even sliced to the bone! Simple parrying strikes pierced a full ¾ of the length of the blade just by stepping into the strike.

Lastly, I wanted to see how well the Oni would retain its tip. With a needle sharp drop point, the Oni is just as adapt for stabbing as it is cutting strikes. To test this, I drove the Oni’s tip into a 2x4 and wrestled it out sharply at left and right angles. Over and over the blade popped out cleanly still retaining its tip. While these tests aren’t rocket science, they do focus on key areas of interest I feel are important to any blade being built for combat.


As with all the blades I have tested in the past from Gray’s Custom, the Oni is very well built to say the least. Where this knife excels past commercial production knives is in the details. The company’s owner, Javon Roberts personally grinds each blade by hand to achieve the perfect balance in each and every knife made. The only down side in this much care and quality comes in limited production runs and cost. With a retail price of US$275 for s35vn steel and US$380 for s110 steel, these are actually quite reasonably priced for customs that are strong enough to be viable combat blades. Our resident blade expert, Rodrigo Muller found the blade to Oni to be quite maneuverable and fast handling. Since the initial tests, Rodrigo has incorporated the Oni into his standard training kit as well as his daily carry. Due to the slim design of the well-made kydex sheath, the blade carries flat to the body while mounted on the belt. Currently I too, conceal the Oni as a close quarter back up to my daily carry Glock model 19 pistol. Living in Florida, the average dress attire does not allow for bulky concealment designed clothing so a well-made knife sheath to match a quality conceal carry holster for my Glock are a must. Again, Gray’s Custom did a great job in rounding out their product. I trust both to defend my life and help defend those of my family if the need should arise. I could not give any blade a finer recommendation than that! Give Gray’s Custom a LIKE on Facebook today and find out more about their company and great line of combat ready blades.


Over the past fifty years, warriors have been trying to come up with new and inventive ways to shorten the standard AR15 platform. One of the main reasons to have a shorter rifle comes in the form of transportation logistics. When going about in public with a rifle housed in a standard rifle case, it is obvious to onlookers as to what you are doing. This leads some shooters to lean towards costly SBR permits to have a rifle short enough to carry in a backpack or some “less-than-obvious” case for transporting to and from the range or field. Due to the basic design of the AR15 construction with its buffer, buffer tube and buffer spring, shooters have not had the option of a folding stock such as the piston driven Ak47 platform. Recently, this has changed thanks to a company named Law Tactical. Last year I met with the owners of Law Tactical in a private meeting to check out the newest version of their folding stock hinge. During our time discussing the product, it was obvious that a lot of time, research and money were spent to offer a military grade solution to a long-time issue. The Law Tactical Folding Stock Hinge allows standard mil-spec buffer tube / stock assemblies to be folded to the left of the lower receiver when transported in the hinge’s “open” position and fully functional when “closed”. Designed, built and assembled in the USA from CNC machined, 4140 steel, the Law Tactical adaptor is stronger than any receiver it could be mounted on. According to the folks at Law Tactical, the Folding Stock Adapter works with direct impingement or gas piston systems



and fits A2, carbine, mil-spec or commercial buffer tubes and stocks. It can be used with standard bolt carrier groups including full auto, semi auto, 5.56 to .308. Due to further testing and a huge back order prior to its release, it was a full year before a commercial ready sample arrived at our office for review. When the product arrived, I decided to make the .300 Blackout short barreled rifle I had on hand even better! By installing the Law Tactical hinge onto the SBR, it allowed for an already compact AR15 measuring 27 inches with the stock in the closed position down to only 19 inches with the stock now able to be folded. Installation was quick and easy thanks to a very simple set of instructions as well as the supplied tool for applying tension to the hinge flange. I was very impressed by how solid the hinge fit to the lower receiver as well as with the stock in the firing position. There was no slop or wiggle in the stock at all after installation in which would throw off a possibly important shot. A noticeable difference between the standard AK folding stocks and this AR platform device is in the lack of a mechanical lock position once the stock was folded to the side. Instead, the hinge had a screw the end user can tighten to apply the constant tension that will easily keep the stock in the folded position regardless of jarring motions caused by transporting the rifle. Before the armchair warriors start crying behind their keyboards instead of getting out in the field and training, I would like to point out the benefit of not having a folded position lock out. With the “tacti-cool” crowd, most devices involve small, cheaply made parts that require fine motor skills to operate. This may look cool and “cutting edge” but having survived a few running gun fights personally, those fine motor skills go straight out the window in a pile of broken Chinese made parts. The Law Tactical device works easily using only gross motor skills by using a large release button to fold the stock and a simple swipe of your hand or forearm to close back to the firing position.



As impressed as I was with the neat new gadget, I had concerns on how the hinge may affect function over the long run due to a rubber O-ring gasket being used on the supplied bolt extension. The only way to gain that answer I was looking for was over a period of several range trips and a few hundred rounds which is why I never do product reviews with less than 60 – 90 days of test and evaluations. Once in the firing position, the change to the rifle is only noticeably by the inch difference in “before” and “after” installation. A simple click of the adjustable stock forward, leveled this difference completely out. After the quick length of pull adjustment with the stock, my rifle’s zero was exactly the same as prior to installing the Law Tactical hinge. Throughout the training sessions, I switched back and forth from shooting right to left handed in order to find out if the slight protrusion on the left side of the hinge would affect check wield or sight acquisition. Again, there were no adjustments needed regardless of how the rifle was mounted and operated. After 300 rounds, I could see a faint wear on the rubber O-ring, but not enough to have any concerns about it lasting another 300 or 400 rounds. For those who are diligent on replacing everything that is subject to wear and tear, rest assured, replacement O-rings are very cheap ($5.99US for 10) and easy to obtain via their website. This also comes in handy for those who can’t resist forgoing the clearly displayed instruction to close the hinge before firing. So what happens when the rifle is fired while the stock is in the folded position? It fires of course. What doesn’t happen is the bolt being cycled to allow the spent round to be extracted from the chamber and another round loaded ready for the next shot. If this happens, simply close the stock to the firing position, cycle the charging handle and you’re set to continue firing. Long term use of this, will quickly damage your O-rings and does not offer a clear tactical advantage in using regularly. For the rest of us, common sense and routine maintenance will keep the entire rifle running great for a good number of rounds. Overall, not only was the Law Tactical Folding Stock adaptor a great excuse to shoot through a lot of ammo, it is a well built, functional device that serves a very specific purpose. Simply put, this product works and it works well. Military, Law Enforcement and PMCs can benefit from the discreet compactness a folding stock affords just as much as the regular citizen looking for a low visible means to carry his or her rifle to the range. Retailing for around US$279, the price does make a lot of buyers do a double take before researching the product. When compared to the advantages of other products in the same price range made for the AR15 platform, few allow the freedom of mobility the Law Tactical Folding Stock Adaptor offers and none are as well made. If you are serious about the space your rifle takes up or you are just looking to make your SBR even more discreet, this product is for you. To learn more about the Law Tactical products, visit them online at www.


AR FOLDING STOCK ADAPTER GEN 3-m The only AR compatible folding stock adapteR • Works with direct impingement or gas piston systems 5.56 to .308 • Fits A2, carbine, mil-spec, commercial or pistol buffer tubes and stocks


Low hinge reduces interference when charging weapon

Retaining Pin Uses standard, mil-spec buffer bu retaining pin


4140 HARDENED Steel Low-profile housing, locking lug and latch


Prevents adapter loosening from receiver

DLC finish

ADJUSTABLE hinge tension

TOOLESS BOLT CARRIer EXTENSION Install and remove without tools for easy maintenance REPLACEABLE O-RINGS Prevent additional damage to the adapter in the folded position SYMMETRICAL DESIGN Eliminates interference with buffer retaining pin Installation Tool and Flange included


Sling attachment point

SPECIFICATIONS Housing Weight: 8.5 oz Bolt Carrier Extension: 2 oz Adds 1.3 inches to length of pull CNC Machined 4140 Steel Copyright © 2015 Law Tactical LLC. All rights reserved.





By Trampas Swanson

Every month without fail, I receive emails from our great readers asking about tips and tricks on how to improve shooting and training techniques. Readers from all ranges of experience levels are all looking for that “Holy Grail” of aftermarket products to do the hard work of training for them and immediately make them a better marksman.

uestions about new grips, expensive replacement triggers, lasers and various other devices both new and old are regularly covered. While yes, there are tons of great products on the market to make life shooting sports more comfortable, my answers always gravitate back to focusing on the fundamentals of sight picture, sight alignment and trigger press. One of the best ways to practice all three aspects marksmanship and to obtain noticeable results quickly is with dry firing. Unfortunately for some pistols, high repetition dry firing can cause long term damage. With striker fired pistols such as the 80% of the world’s shooting population, the slide must be manually cycled to reset the trigger each time it is dry fired, which may cause the shooter the bad habit or “training scar” to break from their master grip during live fire in order to subconsciously try to cycle the slide as they would in dry fire practice. Fortunately for the majority of the industry’s shooters today, there is one product that will NOT do the hard work and time invested for you, but WILL give you the means to be able to make your time off the range just as valuable as the time spent with live fire. During the 2015 SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas, NV, I discovered the most innovative training tool I have ever seen to date, named the Shot Indicating Reset Trigger (SIRT) pistol produced


Modelled loosely after the most popular service firearm in the world today, the Glock model 17 9mm, the SIRT pistol is designed as an inert firearm shaped training device designed to teach proper, consistent manipulation of the trigger while allowing for quick and easy self-diagnosis without need of live ammunition or a training partner. With trigger control arguably being the single most important aspect of any shooting discipline, this device does not need snap caps or real firearms to work. Unlike standard striker fired pistols, the SIRT pistol is a fully self-contained unit using red and green laser technology with a resetting trigger to simulate that of the Glock trigger. By training to feel the break point of the trigger and watching the red laser projected under the barrel activated by interface of the trigger pull, one can learn what is commonly called the “Glock reset” drill and only let out on the trigger between shots enough to reset the trigger while not allowing slop or over travel in the trigger pull using muscle memory and the positive “click” and feel of the reset. Depending on model, the SIRT uses of either a second red (Model 110) or a separate green laser (Pro Model) mounted in the muzzle activated by the breaking the shot, the user can verify where the training shot would hit in relation to the authentic Glock sights mounted on the top of the slide and can be easily replaced with any appropriate aftermarket options. For the past year, I have been using a Pro Model SIRT Model 110 both for my daily personal training routine and as part of my range drills for the students I teach weekly. During this time, I have easily shot well into the thousands of simulated rounds

while seated in my office, practicing home defense drills walking through my house during the day and night as well as on the range between live fire exercises. Personally, I have seen three main advantages in this device since using the SIRT as part of my training routine.


by NextLevel Training. The company is headed up by SIRT inventor, CEO Mike Hughes. Those who followed television’s reality shooting show, TOP SHOT on the History Channel, may remember Mike as the season 3 finalist cutting the Superman-like physique and square jaw. What viewers didn’t realize at the time was Mike’s company was on the verge of creating what would change the training world for serious shooters in the form of its SIRT pistol.


Weight & Size – With the SIRT being almost exactly the same size and weight as my Glock 17, I can use my standard Streamlight attached to its railed dust cover, fit it into my standard training holster and safely practice my speed reloads using the weighted interchangeable magazines. Cost Efficiency – Powered by a single $3.00 US Lithium 123 CR camera battery, it is estimated the average user gets around $0.0002 per shot before having to replace the battery. Drills and shooting challenges can be performed in any room or back yard without the need of LIVE FIRE and range fees. Rapid Skill Enhancement – With my personal training, the SIRT pistol quickly helped give me feedback I could easily see for myself and help develop proper muscle memory when not on the range. The SIRT greatly enhances point shooting to the degree that you may sometimes start instinctively index shots before using the rear sights. The SIRT develops a strong trust in your natural aiming instincts. As an instructor, I have seen the SIRT quickly reduce recoil anticipation in my students by having them shoot a few shots with the SIRT before going to LIVE FIRE. During a student’s shooting


session, if I begin to see a pattern in their shots starting to routinely strike low, I will stop them, have them again fire the SIRT a few times and continue with LIVE FIRE exercises. Every time I have done this, the student’s shots will immediately return to point of aim / point of impact. The lack of recoil present while performing the same range of motions tends to carry over mentally back to the LIVE FIRE. When first performing this, you will see shooters possibly going back to anticipating recoil after a few shots, but as the switch back and forth from SIRT to LIVE FIRE, you will see a huge difference quickly.


So if the SIRT is so great, who would benefit the most from training with one? Let’s look at a list of top answers. - Firearms Instructors - Novice shooters learning proper technique - Experienced shooters looking for cost effective ways to train from concealment or dry firing a skill challenge - A shooter looking to cure training scars


- Tactical users such as Law Enforcement or citizens training to defend themselves in a CQC or Close Quarters Combat situation - New shooters seeking to learn proper safe firearms handling - Competition shooters looking to dry fire their course of fire during a walk through After reading the list, you may think this covers pretty much anyone interested in shooting. You would be RIGHT! The SIRT pistol offers something for all ages and skill levels to benefit from. The only change I would like to eventually see made to the SIRT is the implementation of a moving slide to simulate charging the firearm during training with changing magazines. With a retail price ranging from US$239 - $439 depending on which type of laser and slide material you may want, the benefits of having a child safe training tool you can work with any time of the day or night are personally well worth the investment. As a father of two small daughters, this was a huge bonus. By not being a live firearm, you can also travel anywhere with the SIRT and train without interrupting your regular training regimen. At the end of the day, if you are one of the millions who regularly shoot striker fired pistols such as over 80% of the world’s Law Enforcement carrying Glock handguns or over 70% of US citizens carrying Glocks as concealed carry weapons, you NEED a SIRT in your life. The SIRT training has proven to greatly enhance shooting skills safely and efficiently as well as promoting the desire to training more often outside of the range. This ultimately equates to more LEO and civilian lives having a much better chance of surviving armed encounters over time. Overall, I have been very impressed with the SIRT pistol and highly recommend it to fellow shooters and students. To check out a SIRT pistol for yourself, visit them at


SAFETY ON THE RANGE It is without question that safety in numbers is, for most of natures faults, true. Wildebeest migrating across the Great Plains and vast schools of fish in the ocean all mass together to beat the odds in being devoured by predators! - By Andy Nightingale


lthough we don’t have many predators, not of the human kind anyhow, I can think of one situation that I have found myself in, on more than one occasion, where safety in numbers does not exist; the Firearms Range. Studies show that there are very few singular firearms related injuries compared to injuries sustained whilst in groups. Whilst taking part in skills and drills sessions on the range, especially organised training drill sessions, there are an alarming number of incidents that should never have happened. I say incidents rather than accidents, because I personally don’t believe that there has ever been any firearms related accidents, ever. It’s all down to negligent behaviour. Guns don’t accidentally just go off. Guns, of any type, need human interaction and manipulation to be able to discharge a round. That is, the trigger must be pulled in order for the gun to fire. There is the argument that the gun could fire due to wear and tear, or mechanical failure. True. But like all things mechanical, guns need to be serviced in order for them to be operable and safe. It is up to the owner or user to make sure that the said firearm is in a safe and operable condition prior to use. If not it’s down to negligent use on the owner or operators


part. I don’t believe in AD’s never have, never will, only ND’s exist in reality. We all talk about safety when we shoot, and let me tell you this, Col Jeff Cooper got it right when he put together the 4 basic rules of safe gun handling. 1. Treat all guns as if they were loaded. 2. Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy. 3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless you intend to shoot. 4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond. I have, for many years, tried to prove this method wrong and I just can’t. It’s just a shame that many folk that have been shooting for quite a number of years, professionally and sporting, have never even heard of Col Cooper or even the 4 safety rules. I’ve been instructing in firearms handling for over 20 years now and most of my students that have come across the 4 rules have either had previous military or LEO training. The civilian students amaze me when they talk amongst themselves about the latest firearms and all the kit and caboodle but have no idea that there is a standardised set of safety rules.

Safety doesn’t stop at a few simple rules of safety though. We need to think of our own personal safety in the form of our hearing and eye sight. There have been countless times that I have attended ranges to find that shooters are not wearing adequate hearing and eye protection. I was told to mind my own business once when I offered a pair of shooting glasses to a shooter that thought his prescription spectacles were adequate protection. One gentleman even said he didn’t need ear protection because he was partially deaf. I wonder why? You only have one pair of eyes so protect them with a good quality shooting lens. The best you can afford. As for your hearing, you don’t have to fork out a lot of hard earned cash on the latest electronic set of ear defenders. There are many cheap but effective types of hearing protection available. One such cheap option is the foam ear plugs that are used in the construction industry. These tend to be a use once and dispose item. As an instructor my greatest fear is having a line-up of several students that have had previous shooting experience but have not had any quality or professional instruction at all. To my mind there are three types of student. The Nervous Beginner. The beginner should have no reason to be nervous if they are under the instruction of a qualified and competent Instructor. Once qualified to shoot safely the rookie shooter may still have an air of caution about their ability to be safe on and off the range. Just like when we first learn to drive a car, once we have a licence to go it alone we are still a little nervous until we grow in confidence. However it is up to the

seasoned shooter and others in the know with a wealth of quality range time to help and correct any safety issues that may arise. It makes no sense at all to allow someone that is struggling to shoot safely, carry on being unsafe to themselves and others on the range. As responsible shooters it is up to us to point out the obvious and help out. If you are unable to help then direct the unsafe shooter towards someone that can help. The Seasoned Shooter. In my opinion this person can be a nightmare to retrain if they require a refresher course or to bring them up to speed with new practices. There have been many a time when I have had to instruct someone to shoot that has had more years shooting than I’ve been alive. I once had an old boy ask if he could take part in a safe gun handling course at my local firearms club. This was mandatory for new members. When I asked him if he had any shooting experience he said he’d been shooting since he was a lad, about 60 years. I’m well under 60 by the way. The problem with seasoned shooters is it’s like trying to teach old dogs new tricks. Many times I have gone over the 4 rules of gun safety with students only to be told that they had heard them many years ago, but never really followed any of them. This was not because they were ignorant to them or that they felt that they were worthless, it was because they had been shooting for so long that they had forgotten them and never really thought about safety and just got on with shooting. This however led to unsafe shooting practices due to a relaxed approach. This is not just found with the old boy on the range. I once mentioned very politely to a chap in his mid-thirties that he was keeping his finger on the trigger all the time. His response




was very aggressive as he told me he knew what he was doing as he had been shooting before. My response was to report him to the range manager and he was seen no more. Teaching a complete novice is like starting with a blank canvas, but with the seasoned shooter it’s like making alterations to an already painted masterpiece. Near impossible but not completely. The Know It All. This is probably the most dangerous of all people that want to learn the art of the gun. Their willingness to learn the correct method of applications is near zero. I’m not saying all of them, but the percentage if frightfully high. This person, who’s the ultimate master of Gun-Foo and needs no instruction at all because he’s seen all the Die Hard films, is not only a danger to themselves and others around, but also a danger to the art of shooting. It’s people like them that get themselves shot purely because they are too busy making everyone think that they are the be all and end all in the shooting world. Instructing the know-it all is a complete waste of time as their desire to learn is nonexistent. And why would they need to learn as they have mastered the latest shoot them up video game at home. Now I spend a lot of my time researching and developing shooting techniques, not only myself but also with the help of other instructors with many years of experience. I still sit courses as a student as I believe that no matter how much we know or how much we think we know, we are always learning something new. So it really gets my back up when someone who’s a student in my class tells me I’m wrong or that, that technique is dated or doesn’t work. If that’s so then why are they the student and I’m the instructor? My way of dealing with this type of expert is to quietly pull them to one side and explain to them that perhaps this is not the course for them and they should seek instruction elsewhere. In doing so I can then concentrate on the rest of the class that does have the desire and willingness to learn. The


know it all is usually the one that ends up shooting themselves due to showing off and when displaying their latest Gun-Foo Black Ops Ninja technique to others. That, and not obeying the local range safety rules.


Being a firearms instructor can be hard work, but when you see a student start getting the results that they are working towards it becomes one of the most satisfying and rewarding moments of your career. Safety is paramount at any time when handling firearms, not only on the range but at all times. All newcomers to the range should undergo a safety course no matter what experience or qualifications they might hold. The same goes for any courses, no matter what level of instruction the course is for. At the start of each course my students go through the basic rules for safe gun handling as devised by Col Jeff Cooper. Even if all the safety rules are broken, if the muzzle of the gun is pointing in a safe direction there is very little chance someone will get shot. As a small token of thanks for being the course instructor, I give all my students a breach flag. I know it’s not much but it’s a physical reminder that they sat a course of instruction of gun safety and qualified. It’s something that they can put to use when being safe on the range. The use of breach or chamber flags is something I strongly recommend using on the range. Not only does it show that the gun is safe it also sends out the message that you the shooter are safe. This can be a strong sign that the shooters on the range are safe and dedicated to shooting. Safety should be the be all and end all when it comes to firearms. It must be implemented at the beginning, during and end of every shooting session. Only the fool will shoot with safety at the back of their mind.


SKILLS AND DRILLS: COMBAT MINDSET Mindset is the first step in combative/defensive shooting. Jeff Cooper, the father of modern hand gunning, said “mindset is everything, a willingness to take the step�. This relates to making the decision for a willingness to use deadly force to protect yourself and others around you. Not only in your line of work, but also in everyday life situations. By Andy Nightingale


ombat mindset cannot be stressed enough during training and also throughout your normal duties. Unlike the mindset that is achieved by sports shooters, such as in the Olympics, combat mindset requires much more mental focus. There is a huge difference between winning a gold medal for your country and fighting for your life or fighting for the life of others. Throughout your training you need to be totally focused and make your drills as realistic as possible. Mindset conditioning is applicable to all weapons platforms, so there is no need to transition from one state of mind to another if you need to transition from one weapon to another. Airsoft training weapons are a good way of conditioning mindset as well as physical shooting skills, but I will cover this at a later date. Combat mindset will put you in a mental state of mind that will make you want to learn more, and to be able to survive a violent encounter and win. It puts you in a focused frame of mind that will allow you to gain the upper hand during a violent encounter, and allows you to concentrate on winning the fight for survival. You will be able to remain sharp and notice things that may develop during the fight, that you may not have noticed if you were not conditioned in your advanced mental state.


During training drills, Combat Mindset conditioning will allow you to concentrate on such fine motor skills such as trigger press, for example. Whilst performing such skills you will be able to have total focus on that drill, notice and rectify any mistakes that you may make. If mistakes are made you should rest, breath and then carry on with the drill with total combat mindset focus. Murphy will always rear his ugly head and lay down the law, but with combat mindset you will be able to fight through and overcome any problems as they arise.


There is a direct link between combat mindset and marksmanship. Being focused on what you want to achieve will be passed on to your physical shooting skills during your training program; wanting to be the best that you possibly can be will undoubtedly make you want to practice your physical shooting skills even more. Dry fire practice can be done anywhere and plays a major part in becoming proficient at combat marksmanship. The more training you receive, the better you will become and you will become more confident in your training. This added to your combat mindset is the start to you becoming a skilled protector. You must have a desire learn and, a desire to shoot right from day one of your training program to become successful at combative/defensive shooting. If you are a good shot to begin

shooting course with their own version or view of mindset. That is, they think they can shoot another person, but in reality, that’s not the case. Once training starts, and the student begins to learn about shot placement and the effects of ballistics on the human body, they slowly realise that they have a different mindset to what is actually required and needed. Taking another humans life is a daunting prospect and not a decision that comes up in normal everyday life. The decision to end another persons life, by whatever means, shooting, stabbing or beating, has been closely studied and documented by many leading experts in this field. During the early 1990’s Dr John Woo, chief of Psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine wrote a report on Tachypsychia, a sense of your surroundings going into


with, you must have the right attitude for combative/defensive shooting also. The best shot in the world is worth nothing if you don’t have the right attitude to stand and fight. You must have the right attitude to be able to develop the correct combative mindset. With a positive combat mindset, you will find that you can carry out seamlessly impossible tasks and accomplish many feats with your chosen weapon, things that you could only have dreamed about before you embarked on your combative/ defensive training program. If ever the need arises for you to protect yourself or others around you, you will realise that you are capable of taking that first step, the step that Jeff Cooper refers to. Many students have signed up to a defensive or combative


slow motion, experiencing tunnel vision and audio exclusion (tunnel hearing). Woo studied cases where people who had survived near death experiences. He found that almost all had experienced Tachypsychia and had seen their lives flashed before their eyes. When asked what they had seen, the results were uniform. They had not recalled personal experiences, like winning awards or life achievements, but memories of their mother, father, husband, wife and children. It seemed they only recalled the people that they loved the most and had the greatest influences in life. The results are surprising. Further studies show that most people have a reluctance to harm another person, even if that person is being violent towards the victim. I once asked a female friend of mine, she had no previous shooting experience, if she could take the life of another person. She replied that she could never kill another person. I then asked if she could kill someone that was trying to kill her and her life was slipping away. Again she replied that there was no way that she could. I then asked her that, if she heard a noise coming from her 3 year old sons bedroom in the middle of the night and she opened the door to see a stranger ready to stab her child, and if she was armed, what would she do? She replied “I would shoot them dead�. So what’s the difference? It seems that we are not willing to defend ourselves from harm, but quite prepared to deliver extreme acts of violence to protect others and the ones we love. Combat mindset and practice in our physical shooting skills conditions us to perform tasks that we would never be able to achieve in normal everyday life. With the correct mindset we are able to automatically switch on survival mode and fight without the need to think; our training takes over. Mindset also plays a big part in your skill at arms. With the correct mindset, your ability to get shots on target with ease, leads to you being


comfortable with your training and the fact that you will be more able to cope with a violent encounter. When your training develops and gets progressively more challenging, you will feel a greater sense of pride with your new skills and abilities. As everything starts to progressively fall into place, and you feel more comfortable, you will start to feel more in control of your self-protection.


As our training and experience progresses, we can place ourselves in one of five categories of mindset. Much like the coloured belt grading system used by martial artists, this system will help the student understand how their own combat mindset is developing that will help them though their combative/defensive training. CAT 1: This category is classed as Incompetent. It means that they cannot grasp the importance of combative/defensive training and have no desire to learn. Someone in CAT1 is a waste of time during training and usually ends up being dangerous and a liability to the rest of the group. CAT 2 is classed as Unintentionally Incompetent. This person has the willingness and desire to learn, but has little or no shooting skills. Sometimes this person may show that they have little or no faith in their skills, and yet show they are capable of progressing further. CAT 3 suggests the person is Consciously Incompetent. This person knows that they need further tuition and training in combative/defensive shooting. No matter what level of skill they reach, they have the willingness and desire to further their knowledge in order to reach their goal. CAT 4 suggests this person is Consciously Competent. They

is a good skill to require. Is that man reaching into his jacket to draw a knife, or is he reaching in to grab his wallet? Condition Yellow is not a condition of paranoia it’s a mindset condition to enable you to notice the things you would normally miss. Condition Orange: This is the next colour that the Colonel refers to. This is a higher alertness that we jump to when something is, or about to become dangerously wrong. This is the time that we should take more notice of a particular situation that has caught our attention. You start to gather intelligence to determine what the danger might be. You need to be constantly looking, listening and analysing your gathered intelligence, constantly surveying your surroundings for avenues of escape and also avenues of approach from an attacker. You should also be noting any cover and or concealment that you may need to use if the need arises. Condition Red: This condition suggests an armed encounter or a fight or flight decision. It may not mean that you are directly involved in a situation, but you have noticed that a problem has escalated, and you may need to put as much distance between you and the problem as possible. It does not suggest that you stand and fight, although you may feel the need to have your personal weapon to hand and ready, rather, actively remove yourself from the dangerous encounter. Colonel Cooper added a faith colour, the colour Black to his code. This was intended to describe the fight for survival. Black suggested you were actively fighting and using deadly force to overcome your adversary. Condition Black was originally intended for military use and has rarely found its way into civilian situations. Condition Black is not a good place to be in. If you follow this code as it is intended, you should never be required to enter condition Black. At all times we should have a mindset to be in Condition Yellow. Not only will it help us through life, it will also prevent us from being taken by surprise if a violent encounter should occur. If we feel that something is not right, we should seek out that danger (but not engage it) in Condition Orange, and go back to condition Yellow if all checks out well. Mindset is the main part of the battle. Without it we may as well just give up the fight. Staying strong in the mind is what keeps us in the fight and on the winning end. Before you prepare your weapon for battle, prepare your mind first.


will be able to perform all their firearms drills whilst consciously thinking about them. This is the stage most of us are at before our skills become second nature. CAT 5: Unconsciously Competent. This is where our autopilot kicks in. During your training sessions you start to perform tasks without consciously thinking about them, whilst gaining the required results on the target. If you are embarking on a combative/defensive training program, then you have to remember that we were all started out as CAT 2 students. It’s through hard work and the desire to learn that we are able to climb the ladder and reach a higher standard and category of mindset. Colonel Jeff Cooper was also responsible for the four levels of awareness. Although not classed as true Combative/ defensive mindset, it doee fall within combative/defensive thinking. This is a subject that I teach my students embarking on both armed and unarmed defensive programs. Col Cooper describes the four levels in a colour sequence of consciousness, a threat awareness pyramid. The colours range in a progressive levels of threat ranging from White, Yellow, Orange and Red. Condition White: This is the most dangerous condition to be in. It suggests that the person is totally oblivious to their surroundings. Being in this condition would mean that they would miss any early warning signs of pending danger. They would be unprepared, slow to react and be surprised during a violent attack. The chance for survival for someone in Condition White is slim to none. Such persons in Condition White are persons using mobile phones whilst walking in a crowded public place, stood waiting at an ATM and daydreaming to name but a few. I like to call people in Condition White, “wide asleep”. Condition Yellow: This is described as a constant state of relaxed alertness by Col Cooper. The person in Condition Yellow constantly knows what is going on around them at all times. This does not mean that they should be paranoid or out actively seeking trouble. They should be able to close their eyes and describe what is going on in their surroundings, and in some detail too. I constantly live my life in Condition Yellow and found that, although I have noticed negative things, I have also noticed more positive things, things that have added light to my life that I may not have noticed before. Such things like random acts of kindness and things that make me smile. You will also become a people watcher in the sense of body language. This


SPECIAL REPORT LAYERING UP! The summer is a great season to get out and train with the minimum of kit needed, but this time our Editor Bill explains it’s also a good time to look forward to the colder months of the year and get your kit sorted in advance!



ith what, at times, has been a long, hot summer in the UK it may seem a strange time for me to be talking about kit for the autumn and winter but if you think it through there are many good reasons to be doing this sooner rather than later. I’ve often seen training events in the cold, wet months of the year have to be called off because course participants are ill prepared in relation to their gear. Getting the right clothing setup can mean the difference between a long, hard days training and an early trip home due to becoming mildly hypothermic (or worse!). You may think that this is a rare occurrence, but believe you me it’s more commonplace than you might think. Many individuals, even seasoned ones that I know will spend many hundreds of pounds on their tactical gear but very little on their clothing. I’ve heard the excuse “I don’t have the money for expensive winter gear” all too often, but what it really comes down to is a lack of forethought and preparation. Setting yourself up with a system which will allow you to hit the range year round is actually not as expensive as you might think. If, during the summer you budget for just a single piece of kit each month you’ll be surprised how quickly your system builds. Add to this that many retailers are selling off old stock at good prices to make room for new models and you can really snap up some “off season” bargains! First off though what do I mean by a “system”? Quite simply put a clothing “system” is a selection of garments that will work as standalone pieces in their own right, but that can be combined effectively to give you a set of gear that works all year round. This “system” will normally consist of: Base Layer – Your base layers are the items of clothing that are worn directly next to the skin. They come in different weights and thicknesses of fabric for summer and winter use, although a mid-weight set will work for different seasons. The fabric properties will be mainly to do with moisture management as they will actively “wick” moisture away from you skin, keeping you dry and comfortable. Mid Layer – The mid layer is all about levels of insulation, allowing you to regulate your body core temperature. Mid layers can be fleece or “lofted” insulation; it’s best to avoid down jackets and vests in the UK as we’re often dealing with wet cold rather than dry “snow” cold. If down gets wet it stays

wet and actually draws heat from your body trying to dry itself so it’s better to look at synthetic fills. Shell Layer – Exactly as it sounds; your shell layer forms the outer barrier against the elements. This layer will be of a waterproof and windproof fabric and these days may be either “hard” or “soft” shell; hard shells are normally fully waterproof with taped seams but many tend to be noisy due to the face fabrics used. Soft shells may or may not have taped seams and whilst they are sometimes not fully waterproof, they will be highly water resistant; they also tend to be made of softer, quieter fabrics. By understanding what you are buying and why the choice becomes straightforward. What you are aiming to do is create a set of gear that will actively work together. The base layer draws moisture away from the skin and lets it transport through the insulating mid layer. The shell layer allows moisture inside the system to escape whilst keeping wind and rain out. By juggling with these layers you can be comfortable in any climatic situation.


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, fleeces, synthetic fill vest and jackets and headgear are all available within their range. Helikon-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. The range that they now offer is proof that their decision was the correct one as they now have 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


Although I’ve highlighted the very latest additions to their extensive range over the last couple of issues I’ve been using certain items of their clothing for the last two years, so I’ll concentrate on the “tried and tested” garments. For my own system I will always look for 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.

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 nine 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. 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.


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 want 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!


When things get a little cooler you have two options really. 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 a 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 super fabrics that are extremely comfortable next to the skin. 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. If you really need to push up the insulation levels though, then 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 (water hating) 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; I’ll reiterate that 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.


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-Tex 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.


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. 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 (Advanced 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, making it highly breathable and 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. Helikon-Tex really are a brand that I know and trust as my heavyweight and hooded Patriot fleece jacket is now knocking on for six years old and is still performing splendidly. Looking at their ever expanding range of gear there will quite literally be something that will suit everyone, and at prices that won’t break the bank. Helikon-Tex offer their gear in camo and noncamo so if you want to buy gear that you can use away from the range then that’s no problem; as I will always say buy wisely and buy once, and use the summer months fully to your advantage! You can check out the full range and download catalogues by visiting All Helikon-Tex products are available in the UK from and most good tactical retailers.

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Harold W. Coyle is the author of over 15 works of historical and military fiction including the legendary New York Times bestseller Team Yankee. A 1974 graduate of Virginia Military Institute, he served for 14 years in the U.S. Army prior to his career as a writer. He currently lives in Kansas.

Book Review

This revised and updated edition of the classic Cold War novel Team Yankee reminds us once again might have occurred had the United States and its Allies taken on the Russians in Europe, had cooler geopolitical heads not prevailed. From memory I first read the original of this gripping book not long after its initial publication in the late 1980’s, and an old paperback copy of it, much thumbed, still resides on the bookshelf in my office. Formerly a New York Times bestseller, Team Yankee has now been updated with the latest knowledge of each side’s plans, technical capabilities, and armoured and air deployments at the time. For 45 years after World War II, East and West stood on the brink of war. When Nazi Germany was destroyed, it was evident that Russian tank armies had become supreme in Europe, but only in counterpart to US air power. In 1945 US and UK bombers sent a signal to the advancing Russians at Dresden to beware of what the Allies could do. Likewise when the Russians overran Berlin they sent a signal to the Allies what their land armies could accomplish. Thankfully the tense standoff continued on either side of the Iron Curtain for nearly half a century. During those years, however, the Allies beefed up their ground capability, while the Soviets increased their air capability, even as the new jet and missile age began (thanks much to captured German scientists on both sides). The focal point of conflict remained central Germany-specifically the flat plains of the Fulda Gap-through which the Russians could pour all the way to the Channel if the Allies proved unprepared (or unable) to stop them. Team Yankee posits a conflict that never happened, but which very well might have, and for which both sides prepared for decades. This former New York Times bestseller by Harold Coyle, now revised and expanded, presents a glimpse of what it would have been like for the Allied soldiers who would have had to meet a relentless onslaught of Soviet and Warsaw Pact divisions. It takes the view of a US tank commander, who is vastly outnumbered during the initial onslaught, as the Russians pull out all the cards learned in their successful war against Germany. Meantime Western Europe has to speculate behind its thin screen of armour whether the New World can once again assemble its main forces-or willpower-to rescue the bastions of democracy in time.

Author: Harold W Coyle Publisher: Casemate ePub: 9781612003665 Language: English ISBN 978-1-61200-365-8 Hardback: 336 pages

Although now a little dated in places Team Yankee is an eyeopening reminder of what super-power warfare truly entails, even if during the Cold War it did not come to pass; it’s a reminder of what could have been but thankfully never was.


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PMCI - September 2016  

This issue marks the two year anniversary of PMCI and what a ride it’s been! We’ve been lucky enough to speak to some of the best in the bus...

PMCI - September 2016  

This issue marks the two year anniversary of PMCI and what a ride it’s been! We’ve been lucky enough to speak to some of the best in the bus...