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BFG – Touniquet Now! Pouch: A Pouch To Stop the Bleed

In the world of tactical minimalism, Blue Force Gear excels at keeping things simple. And with the Tourniquet Now! pouch it keeps the tourniquet easily within reach and available for immediate deployment aside from the larger medical kit.

The Tourniquet Now! (TKN) pouch is an open clamshell design that wraps upward to enclose the tourniquet itself. The overall material is 500D Cordura, and the pouch can accommodate any CAT-sized tourniquet or similar typed life-saving strap.

Exterior

The front exterior of the TKN pouch has a black/white “TQ” identification panel stitched into the front for clear visibility.

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At the top, the fold-over lid is secured via hook-and-loop and has a Ball Loaded Index Point (BLIP) that helps provide maximum tangibility regardless of conditions.

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The rear of the TKN pouch has Blue Force Gear’s proprietary Helium Whisper MOLLE mounting system made from ULTRAcomp laminate, giving it a threaded strength greater than 1000D nylon.

Interior

The inside of the TKN pouch is a nylon sleeve that secures the tourniquet once the pouch is opened. Users merely have to slide their hand down the length of the open pouch and the tourniquet slides readily out.

Specifications:

  • Overall Size: 2″ (W) x 2″ (L) x 7″ (H)

The Tourniquet Now! pouch is available in Multicam (featured), Black, and Coyote Brown.

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Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostFair (2/5): The Tourniquet Now! (TKN) pouch is listed at $29.95 which, for a dedicated pouch that provides near-immediate, simplistic access, is a reasonable price. Other market alternatives include the C-A-T Holder ($19.95) by North American Rescue, the Tourniquet Pouch ($20.24) by Tactical Tailor, or the Gen2 Tourniquet Pouch ($24) by T3 Gear. These comparisons would place the TKN at the higher end of the current market, and a most likely reason for this would be inclusion of the BLIP and Helium Whisper mounting system.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect, the TKN provided near-immediate access by allowing the pouch itself to fold away, and expose the tourniquet for easy reach. The BLIP provided easy tactile recognition, even when the pouch is placed out of direct sight. The oversized “TQ” in clear, contrasting colors made it obvious to others that its contents could be of life-saving use if the shooter should become immobilized.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): The material of the TKN lends itself to the overall durability of the pouch, and gave the pouch good marks for its blend of 500D Cordura and ULTRAcomp laminate. A little wear was noted on the hook-and-loop tabs on the Helium Whisper mounting system, but this minor wear was consistent with other products using the same mounting system—nor compromised the integrity of the product itself.
  • Functionality Average (3/5): Functionally, the design of the TKN pouch allowed it to open up and fall away is a very simplified manner. The tourniquet itself also slid away easily and was not hindered by the elastic material. The only negative aspect evaluated was the length of hook-and-loop material on the lid, as it was consistently not long enough to cover the entire tourniquet once placed in the TKN. There was still sufficient material to close the pouch, but the BLIP stuck out annoyingly.
  • Weight Good (4/5): At 41 grams (or 1.44 ounces) empty, the TKN was of a lighter weight than the previously mentioned market alternatives, most likely due to its lightweight materials and mounting system. In comparison, the C-A-T Holder (2.4 ounces) by North American Rescue, the Tourniquet Pouch (2.56 ounces) by Tactical Tailor, and the Gen2 Tourniquet Pouch (2.89 ounces) by T3 Gear were all above the weight of the TKN but represented the average weight to be expected for a dedicated MOLLE/PALS pouch.

Overall Rating – Above Average (17/25)

Product Link: https://www.blueforcegear.com/tourniquet-now-pouch

IMG_2889I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Vortex Strikefire II: Performance Glass For Your AR

Released in 2014, the Strikefire II represents one of several red dot reflex sights currently in the Vortex Optic lineup, and an evolution over its predecessor in terms of battery life and design. Powered by a CR2 lithium battery, it offers shooters a ruggedized and reliable reflex optic at an affordable price.

From the exterior, the chassis of the Strikefire II is made from a single piece of aluminum, resulting in a shock-proof housing. The outer layer of the chassis is then hard-coat anodized in a matte black to provide the shooter with a low-glare surface. Both lenses in the Strikefire II are sealed in multiple anti-reflective coatings that maximize clarity. Both fixed endcaps to the optic cannot be removed in lieu of other aftermarket designs. Finally, the internal space is purged with nitrogen gas to cut down fogging at all extreme temperatures.

The Strikefire II comes in two models (one Daytime Red Dot reticle and another in dual Red/Green) with each featuring a 4MOA dot (the only ones offered by Vortex at a 30mm lense diameter) that is ideal for reflex target acquisitions. The reticle has 10 intensity settings (with the lowest two compatible for night vision devices). Power life for a single CR2 battery in the Strikefire II is approximately 300 hours on the brightest setting, and 6,000 hours on the lowest. To give you an idea of some of the improvements to the Strikefire II’s design, the previous Strikefire model only had 100 hours of battery life on the brightest setting.

The picatinny rail mount for the Strikefire II is a lower 1/3 co-witness, cantilever-style.

STRIKEFIRE-RSpecifications for the Vortex Strikefire II include:

  • Magnification 1x
  • Objective Lens Diameter 30 mm
  • Eye Relief Unlimited
  • Adjustment Graduation 1/2 MOA
  • Travel Per Rotation 25 MOA
  • Max Elevation Adjustment 100 MOA
  • Max Windage Adjustment 100 MOA
  • Length 5.6 inches
  • Weight 7.2 oz

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Good (4/5): At $239.99 the Strikefire II is of significant value for a mid-level, red dot optic with quality glass. Given the size, lenses, hard-coat anodization and other aspects of the optic (in comparison to the market of other similar optics), the price is affordable to most shooters looking to move from iron sights to red dot reflex sights.
  • Comfort – Average (3/5): With its 30mm objective lens, the Strikefire II gives a large amount of eye relief, and is comparable on an AR to an Aimpoint PRO in terms of field of view. Yet given the size of the optic and mount, the Strikefire II is best suited for a full-length rifle, and not an SBR or AR pistol because of rail space limitations when considering other accessories (such as a magnifier).
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): There is an excessive number of videos on the internet speaking to the durability of Vortex optics, and the Strikefire II is no exception. The single piece chassis, O-ring gasket seals, and anodizing ensure the optic will continue to function regardless of impact, temperature, or moisture. But one of the areas Vortex shines over its competitors is its no-questions-asked Vortex VIP Warrantee where if the optic becomes damaged accidentally at any time, they will replace it (although they will want to hear the story). The only note impacting the overall durability of the Strikefire II is its lack of an automatic shutoff feature (found in the original Strikefire version) to extend battery life. With only 400 hours of battery live at max brightness, the CR2s won’t last long.
  • Functionality – Good (4/5): In our “Daytime Red Dot” model tested in this review, functionality was easy and straightforward. Adjusting the brightness via the left-side button console was smooth and each button had a slight tactile feel to each click. Likewise, adjusting the optic to zero was easy with both windage and elevation dials having a clear audio and tangible 1.2 MOA click to them. Really the only negative factor to functionality is the limited 400 hours run-time to the CR2 battery, but considering the vintage of the optic and technology at the time, that is to be expected.
  • Weight – Average (3/5): At 7.2 ounces the Strikefire II is comparable to other 30mm lens optics in the current market, and indeed within Vortex’s own red dot line. Yet for its weight and size, the Strikefire II remains very well anchored on the cantilever mount and retains zero. You can’t test the stand-alone center of gravity on the optic due to the cantilever mount, but the user will find a comfortable spot for it on their rail.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

Product Link: https://vortexoptics.com/red-dots/vortex-strikefire-2-red-dot.html

IMG_2889I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Tour of Duty Backpack: Have Pack, Will Travel

Designed to serve as an advanced 72-hour bag, the Tour of Duty by TRU-SPEC® is a variant to the original “Gunny Approved” pack. It provides an alternative to the Pathfinder 2.5 Backpack by providing a more durable internal frame, compartmentalization, and a removable waist belt for hours of wear, while minimizing stress to the upper torso.

Introduced in 2018, the Tour of Duty is made from either 500D Cordura (Multicam Black) or 1050D polyester (Olive Drab, Black, or Coyote) that offers mid- or high-end abrasion resistance. At 18” (H) x 10” (W) x 10” (D) its overall carrying capacity is approximately 37 liters of cubic space and features an included internal frame to maintain its structure.

Exterior

On the exterior of the main compartment, is a 5” (H) x 8” (L) document pocket (with a hook-and-loop/MOLLE compatible exterior) that includes; a key lanyard and ID card window.  Below that is a larger 9” (H) x 9” (L) storage pocket that has a zippered accessory pocket. Both exterior pockets are secured by dual zipper drawstrings.

The center compartment is secured via dual zippered drawstrings and has a hook-and-loop secured pocket, a MOLLE field for mounting accessories or pouches, and a mesh pocket on the internal side of the opening.

Around the exterior are four 5” (H) x 3” (L) accessory pockets (one with a bonus 3.5” (H) x 2.5” (L) accessory pocket riding sidecar) secured via drawstring zipper for immediate access to essential items. Additionally, there are two hydration/communication cable access tabs secured via hook-and-loop that give allow passage into the main storage compartment.

Around the exterior of the Tour of Duty are three integrated nylon carrying handles to maximize handling in an aircraft, bus, or transport.

The adjustable, contoured, dual harness retention system features a dual shoulder strap design with integrated accessory pockets and adjustable sternum strap. Air mesh padding is segmented throughout the pack’s rigid back panel, and both sides have zippered access behind the support frame.

The 4” waist strap is padded on all sides and secured with a large 2.25” wide slide-release buckle. The waist strap can be removed and because of MOLLE fields on both sides can serve as a stand-alone impromptu utility or range belt.

Throughout the exterior of the Tour of Duty are multiple MOLLE straps for added compatibility.

Internal

The internal storage compartment to the Tour of Duty is reinforced on either side of the exterior with side cinch straps to ensure the stored items remain secure. The main storage space includes a laptop sleeve and internal administrative organizer that includes; three zipper-secured pockets, a hook-and-loop pocket flap, a business card window, and three pen sleeves.

Specifications:

  • Available in 500D Cordura or 1050D polyester (color dependent)
  • 37 liters of combined storage space
  • Heavy, reverse coil zippers throughout

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): Priced between $145.95 (for polyester colors) and $177.95 (for the Multicam Black in 500D Cordura) the Tour of Duty Backpack (TDB) has a significant amount of material and hardware for its price, which is reflected somewhat high. For this review, the 500D Cordura version was tested. In comparison, popular alternative versions of backpacks with a similar storage volume include Tru-Spec’s Pathfinder 2.5 Backpack ($119 @ 39L of storage) or 5.11’s Rush24 Backpack ($129.99 @ 37L storage space). These alternative backpacks, while having comparable storage capacity, lack the compartmentalized design (externally and internally) of the TDB which may explain its somewhat higher price. Ultimately that is a decision the consumer must make.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): As with most packs, their comfort level is best determined by how the design was able to distribute the weight across the upper torso and waist (if including a waist belt). When attached, the width of the TDB’s waist belt was very comfortable against the hips, but lacked means of stowing the belt when not in use (so it was an all or nothing use) other than complete removal. For its design the TDB used both shoulder straps and the removable waist strap to effectively distribute the weight out across the upper shoulders and waist. And while not as thickly padded as the Pathfinder 2.5 backpack in the shoulders and backpanel, the TDB foam padding did allow for some heat dissipation and airflow. The compression straps helped keep the weight of the pack close into the body, and during stressor drills the TDB shoulder and waist straps kept the pack tight.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): In the variant tested, the 500D Cordura material gave the TDB a good level of abrasion resistance despite being thrown around in a truckbed to/from the range. Significant levels of bartack, X-pattern, and double-line stitching was noted throughout the pack at stress points, MOLLE fields, and over the internal frame. All of which gave the TDB good marks in durability for testing, and over the long-term. As like the Pathfinder 2.5, the hardware is more likely to wear out before the pack’s material will.
  • Functionality Average (3/5): The TDB is clearly designed for those on the move, with significant compartmentalization and readily accessible pouches. The multiple storage compartments made it a good fit for EDC use, air travel, or use in the field. All zippers had weatherized overlap material to limit moisture penetration, with cord pull tabs (would have preferred to see rubberized tubing or something a little more durable). The bottom compression straps didn’t fit completely between the side accessory pouches so when cinched, it did pinch the top of the pouches slightly and inhibited immediate access. The padding material to the backpanel and shoulder straps was notably thinner than other backpacks on the market, which did inhibit wear on the user over an extended duration (2+ hours).
  • Weight Average (3/5): At approximately 5 pounds for 37L of combined storage space, the Tour of Duty Backpack made for a good-sized 36-hour backpack, more than capable of storing items for a day travel or hike. In comparison, Tru-Spec’s Pathfinder Backpack (3.35 pounds @ 39L of storage) or 5.11’s Rush24 Backpack (3.79 pounds @ 37L storage space) reflect the differences in design and materials, with the Tour of Duty having more pouches and compartmentalization—and thus weighing slightly more.

Overall Rating – Above Average (17/25)

Product Link: https://www.truspec.com/backpacks/double-strap/tour-of-duty-backpack

IMG_2889I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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