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Testimonials

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ViktØs Strife (Mid) Boot: Where the Adventure Takes You

Introduced in 2018, the Strife (Mid) Boot by Viktos balances the rugged demands of life at work, in the field, or on range, with the urban comfort to a tactically inspired lifestyle.

The upper half of the Strife (Mid) Boot is made from leather and nylon segments stitched together using double-line nylon thread.

The hardware includes unique metal hook lace brackets with a pass-through eyelet that allows the wearer to choose which style fits their needs best. The laces are Dupont nylon with plastic tips.

Sidewalls on the Strife (Mid) Boot are also made to Viktos’ patented Parariggers™ sidewall that gives the boot structure along its sides, while mitigating potential fold-over or failure of the material.

IMG_4313

The interior lining includes a breathable/waterproof lining to help ensure your feet remain dry but breathe adequately. A 6” throat on the boot provides the ideal height to support the ankle in light/moderate environments.

The Strife (Mid) features the same sole as other Strife/Johnny Combat series footwear, drawing on its combat-focused outsole that gives the wearer a solid grip in a variety of environments. The lug design gives the sole a self-cleaning flex that helps ensure debris or rocks do not remain lodged.

The reinforced toe box to the boot is rounded rather than tapered to accommodate the natural splay of toes as the foot rolls under the body’s natural weight.

Specifications:

The Viktos Strife (Mid) Boot comes in a Gunstock (featured) or Nightfall color and is available in sizes 7 through 15. Viktos states maintaining the Strife requires “…treating all leather products with a cream or water based wax treatment. Please note that leather treatments may alter the leather’s original appearance, however, it will not affect the performance properties of the leather”.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): At an MSRP of $140, the Strife (Mid) Boot has an affordable blend of materials and design that excels in urban or moderate field environments. There is an equal blend of leather and nylon that will help ensure the product’s longevity. Generally, the cost of boots in this category can run the gambit and are radically affected by; materials, source manufacturing, colors/dyes, and branding. Bearing in mind the Strife (Mid) is designed to be an urban/suburban/EDC boot – other market alternatives would include but not limited to; XA Forces (Mid) boots ($169.95) by Salomon, the Moab 2 boot ($139.99) by Merrill, or the Raide 2 (Mid) boots ($109.95) by Bates. As such the Strife (Mid) is in the moderate (or average) range of price, and duly affordable by the consumer in comparison to other quality manufactures for the materials used.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): Sizing for the Strife (Mid) ran true-to-fit (meaning a size 11 will fit as a US-sized 11 shoe – not based on the actual physical length of the foot). It took about a week for the leather to break in but when it did the Strife was very comfortable. The heel was very well supported, and the boot held strength from the heel, up the Achilles line, and across to the laces. Thus, it was apparent the boot was designed to give support when needed. The sole held a shock-resistant steyr foam lining on the outer edging that helped support and pad the foot bed. The toe box did indeed feel wider and accommodated the natural splay of toes when under heavy load (with a test case using a 70lb sand bag with stressor drills). Traditional boots often have a tapered toe box that harken back to ancient times when boots needed points to aid in mounting horse stirrups. Even today that design can pinch your toes or jam them when under load. The Strike (Mid) was very comfortable and over the course of a 30-day evaluation cycle fit comfortably. One suggestion for Viktos to improve the Strike’s comfort rating would be to add (even a minimal layer) of padding to the tongue of the boot. The tongue was not stitched/attached up to the top of the throat and given the thin material it easily folded over to create minor pressure points if laced tightly. Any added padding would not only improve comfort but mitigate the pressure on the front of the foot.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): Over the course of testing; worn as EDC and range boots, the Strike (Mid) held a good level of durability given its tested environment (which included pavement, grass, loose rock, water and mud). The intent for the Strike (Mid) by design is as an urban/suburban/EDC boot, and as such the materials were intended to excel in those settings. The leather exterior took a good amount of rough edges and abrasion, with only light/moderate scarring to the material itself—none of which penetrated the inner layers of the leather. The nylon and interior lining aided in breathability and flexibility to maneuver various terrain. The double line stitching and very thick bartack provided a very good level of durability to prevent any separation of the materials. The only one negative aspect noted in evaluation was some minor edge separation between the steyr foam and leather due to use of the heel to grab at barriers as well as a few frayed threads. The lack of a polymer toe and heel cap would detract from taking the Strife (Mid) into more rugged field terrain, but for the city or suburbs it will do very well.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): Perhaps the biggest functional improvement of the Strife (Mid) Boot was its toe box, with its rounded design rather than tapered. A clear benefit to this was as the foot rolled on the ball, toes have a natural tendency to roll and splay open. The rounded toe box accommodated this and thus made the boot more comfortable under load. The leather sections were all in high stress points of the boot for added strength and stitching ensured the boot held up under use. The tread was similar to other Strife/Johnny Combat boots by Viktos with its self-cleaning lug design that did keep small rocks and debris from building up. It was noted mud did cake up in the serrated toe and trusstic of the sole, likely because of the arch design, but was easily knocked out. At no point did moisture penetrate the interior in light/moderate rain. The only negative aspect noted from a functional point was the plastic tips on the laces started to wear/split, and it would be recommended to Viktos to consider using the same metal tips they use in their combat line of boots.
  • Weight Average (3/5): Each individual boot weighed in at 1.6 pounds (or 3.2 pounds for the pair) which is reasonable considering the use of leather and thick lug design, but the weight became exacerbated when mud became caked into the bottom serrations. In comparison to the market alternatives noted above; the XA Forces (Mid) boots (1.02 pounds per boot) by Salomon, the Moab 2 boot (1.15 pounds per boot) by Merrill, or the Raide 2 (Mid) boots (1.2 pounds per boot) by Bates show the diversity in footwear weight. However, in the market alternatives they have differing lug design and some underlying materials, thus the variance in weight. As a whole, the features of the Strife (Mid) Boot—although heavier—helped ensure it not only lasted in the daily life of a tactical mindset, but on the range as well.

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

Product Link: https://www.viktos.com/products/strife-mid

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.

 

Shadow Fast Fit Tactical Gloves: Protect the Digits

Designed as a lightweight, breathable and tactical glove for use in varying conditions the Shadow Elite Fast Fit Tactical Gloves by The Requirements Group (TRG) give the shooter not only an added layer of protection, but keep their tactile sense and dexterity.

Made with a synthetic leather palm and printed silicone padding in key areas, the Fast Fit (FF) gloves are one of several varieties in hand protection offered by TRG. The design of the silicone “Gel” and other foam-padded areas will reduce friction and impact. Elsewhere, the fingers and palm feature silicone prints for added grip.

The backhand material to the FF gloves comprises of Nylon Lycra, a lightweight and moisture wicking mesh, that affords flexibility and breathability. The index finger and thumb also feature touch-pad sensitive tips that are compatible with most touch-based electronics.

The FF gloves will secure above the wrist bone by an adjustable hook-and-loop strap. Inside of the wrist strap are two retention lanyards.

Sizes range from Small to XXL, and come in Coyote (featured) or Black.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): At $18.20 the FF gloves are very will priced considering the materials and design. In comparison to other similar shooter-style gloves, the Fast Fit actually cost less for the same design used by other manufacturers.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): The flexibility and breathability in the backhand material make the gloves very flexible when donning or removing. There is also a an added guset material between the thumb and forefinger that improves the range of motion.
  • Durability – Average (3/5): Given the thickness of the lycra/leather materials, these gloves will most likely only last sustained hard use for a short time, much like SKD’s PIGs, and then need replacing. But that is per design and not an indictment against the Fast Fits. Gloves that have greatest tactile function like the FF gloves will wear out over hard use. One notable issue however, was the hook-and-loop of the wrist strap on one glove will catch and fray the material of the other glove between the leather and lycra when contacted.
  • Functionality – Good (4/5): Overall the Fast Fit gloves functioned as intended as shooter gloves. Positive tactile sensation was maintained to the trigger and dexterity during magazine changes and function drills were not impaired. It would be nice if the retention lanyards were made of parachord rather than a thin strip of material, as using them for storage or to assist donning the gloves feels frail at best. The only negative note would be the touchscreen pads were difficult to use as the contact pad on the glove moved to the side while wearing them, but would still function.
  • Weight Average (3/5): At 2.2 ounces for the pair, the FF gloves are actually lighter than SKDs or Mechanix variant of the same glove. But otherwise its weight is comparable to other similar style shooter gloves.

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

Product Link: https://therequirementsgroup.com/she-2369/

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.

Grey Ghost Gear UGF Battle Belt: Platform Compatability In One Belt

The UGF battle belt system, with accompanying Slimline Medical Pouch and Accommodator pouches by Grey Ghost Gear (GGG) provides an ideal platform for any shooter looking for a solid range belt, in competitions, or within a professional setting.

UGF Battle Belt with Padded Inner Belt

Initially branded the Banshee belt, GGG’s two-part belt system later became dubbed the Unicorn Gun Fighter (UGF) belt supposedly by US Border Patrol who apricated the system’s comfort and ability to meet a variety of configurations. As is, the UGF belt is a two-part range belt with an outer utility belt secured via hook-and-loop to an inner belt that is worn through the belt loops.

The inner belt is a 1.5” closed-cell, padded belt with 1.5” (female) hook-and-loop on the exterior that mounts to the corresponding (male) hook-and-loop field on the outer belt. The inner belt is worn through the belt loops and sizing is adjusted via an adjustable 1” tab that is secured using the available hook-and-loop field. At three points on the inner belt are rubberized nylon loops, reinforced with X-stitching, used to mount the belt to the UGF suspenders (sold separately).

The outer belt itself is a 2” SCUBA webbing belt (meaning a blend of 500D nylon and polypropylene) that has a low-profile AustriaAlpin EDC buckle to secure it. Sizing is adjusted via an adjustable 1” tab that is secured using the available hook-and-loop field. The outer belt also comes with a removable/adjustable elastic belt keeper bearing the GGG logo.

Along the exterior of the outer belt are two 1” bands of nylon webbing that are spaced ¼” apart (as opposed to the more traditional 1” spacing found in standardized MOLLE). The bands are then reinforced with bartack stitching at every 1” increment throughout the length of the outer belt to make it compatible with MOLLE/PALS accessories.

Along the interior of the outer belt is a 1.5” (male) hook-and-loop field the length of the belt that is used to mount to the corresponding (female) hook-and-loop field on the inner belt.

Belt Specifications:

  • SM: 34″-36″
  • MED: 37″-39″
  • LRG: 40″-42″
  • XLG: 43″-44″
  • 2XL: 46″-48″

Product Link: https://greyghostgear.com/collections/belts/products/ugf-battle-belt-with-padded-inner#shopify-product-reviews

Slim Medical Pouch

The Slim Medical Pouch (SMP) is one of two Individual First Aid Kits (IFAK) offered by GGG and is designed to carry most standards immediate aid items. Made from 500D Cordura, the SMP is a 5″ (H) x 4″ (L) x 2.5″ (W) clamshell design that is intended to minimize the width taken up on the main belt while still offering a full IFAK within reach.

The SMP has a shock cord retention system with ITW cord locks on the exterior to secure various items, under which is a 2.25” square (female) hook-and-loop field to mount medical or morale patches. On either side of the bungee system are two MOLLE sections.

Two zippers (one down either side opening completely to the bottom) and an oversized pull tab keep the SMP clamshell design secured, but enable immediate access if needed.

The rear of the SMP has five bands of nylon webbing, similar to the UGF belt, that are reinforced with bartack stitching (evenly spaced at 1.5”) down the center to provide the field to weave the provided MALICE clips through. On the bottom of the SMP is a single drainage grommet.

On one side of the interior to the SMP is a 3” (W) x 5.5” (L) pouch, on top of which are two 1” elastic cuffs of different lengths. Oppositely, is a single 1” elastic cuff the length of the interior, under which are three smaller 1” cuffs. All of these are intended to ensure items in the SMP are kept secure.

Product Link: https://greyghostgear.com/collections/pouches/products/slim-medical-pouch

Accommodator Rifle Shingle/Pistol Pouch

The Accommodator Magazine/Panels by GGG are the company’s take on providing a universal pouch that will accept any common, box-type magazine. Both the rifle and pistol pouches are made from 500D Cordura and feature an interwoven shock cord retention system that is adjustable and secured via an ITW cord lock. By adjusting the shock cord (with the magazine inside the pouch) the user can adjust the width and retention to fit any magazine.

For added retention, the Accommodator also include shock cord retention with nylon pull tab on the top of the pouch.

On the front of the pouches are two bands of nylon webbing that are reinforced with bartack stitching.

The rear of the MAP pouches have three bands of nylon webbing, reinforced with bartack stitching to provide the field to weave the provided MALICE clips through. Pistol pouches merely lack the webbing’s center division.

Accommodator magazine pouches do include a rare-earth magnet sewn into the rear of the pouch that can be used in lieu of top retention cord or to augment it further.

Accommodator Specifications:

  • Rifle: 5” (H) x 4” (L) x 1.5” (W)
  • Pistol: 4” (H) x 2.5” (L) x 1.25” (W)

Product Link: https://greyghostgear.com/collections/pouches/products/accommodator-rifle-panel

Product Link: https://greyghostgear.com/collections/pouches/products/accommodator-pistol-mag-pouch

Belt and pouches are available in Ranger Green (featured), Black, Coyote, and Multicam.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): The overall evaluated GGG setup varies in price due specifically to the color selection purchased by the individual. The UGF Belt itself is between $160.99-$164.99, the SMP is $41.99-$44.99, and the Accommodator (rifle) is between $25.95-$29.95 whereas the Accommodator (pistol) is $19.95-$21.95. It should be noted that most colors were on the more inexpensive side of cost, whereas Multicam (a licensed pattern) cost slightly more. The total cost for the system evaluated would be approximately $294.78 (before tax). Comparable, full battle belt systems that could be seen as market alternatives would be G-Code’s Assaulter’s System ($295) or a customized system by HSGI ($364). Thus, for its cost and the included items, the GGG UGF battle belt system is very well priced.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): The wear of the UGF belt was very comfortable thanks in large part to its thick padded inner belt. That inner belt was also comfortable when worn as an EDC belt. Research of other customer input on websites showed complaints as to placement of the inner pad and outer buckle pinching the wearer, but upon examination of usage (via user’s photos) it was recognized individuals were incorrectly wearing the UGF system. The inner belt is designed, by virtue of placement to the hook-and-loop panels that secures both inner and outer belt, to be worn offset with the inner belt’s cinch loop to be at either the 11 o’clock position or 1. Thus providing the outer belt, with the EDC buckle worn at 12, sufficient overlap in padding and avoid pinching the wearer’s body. When worn correctly, the UGF system was very comfortable and distributed the weight around the waist appropriately. While the SMP did take up minimal room on the UGF belt, this was in exchange to it sticking out a considerable distance off the body and easily caught corners or was uncomfortable against the back while sitting in a vehicle (it would have almost been preferred to mount it horizontal rather than vertical but that was not part of its design). The SMP is likely ideal for those already running a crowded battle belt and want a full IFAK with the reduced tax on real estate. Use of the Accommodator pouches provided good retention of the magazine once they were appropriately sized. The overall loaded weight of the UGF system can further be offset by using the UGF suspenders (sold separately) and transferring some of the weight to the shoulders if desired.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): This is an area where the UGF system really excelled in, given almost every aspect of the belt, the SMP, and Accommodator pouches were completely reinforced with either double-line stitching or bartack. The AustriaAlpine buckle also translated to significant durability as the buckle has been well known to sustain its locking mechanism against significant weight. This translated to a high degree of durability and strength that would make the UGF at home in either a professional or competitive setting. Tactical Tailor does stand by its products offering a 100% warranty if, at any point, their product fails through defect but this does not extend to misuse or inappropriate care by the user.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): From a functional aspect; the UGF system, SMP, and Accommodator pouches all provided a very solid platform for shooters.
    • Donning and removing the UGF belt was very easy given when it was appropriately sized for the waist. The inner layer of the UGF belt was even functional as a stand-alone EDC belt that would make reacting to an active shooter or any situation as easy as reaching for the exterior belt. The spacing between the nylon bands on the exterior of the belt was an atypical ¼” spacing that made mounting MOLLE/PALS hardware somewhat difficult, but by pinching the material was still readily achieved.
    • The SMP provided almost an immediate access to its medical contents in that the pull tab and dual zippers opened the pouch completely to the bottom. The elastic cuffs inside the SMP provided good retention although the single long cuff for chest seals had almost an excessive amount to be useful if used for other items. That aspect could be improved by Tactical Tailor by dividing it into two different length segments, or by making it an adjustable strap with a small slide release buckle.
    • Being able to use either .223/5.56 or .308 magazines in a single pouch gave the Accommodator platforms a good level of functionality for its broad magazine commonality. There was a little movement in the Accommodator pouches once mounted into each webbing loop, but not sufficient to cause significant problems. Getting magazines in the Accommodator pouches was a little more difficult than when drawing them, simply because these pouches are nylon based and not kydex so the material gives a little when pushing the magazines in and occasionally snagged on the magazines. One suggestion here would be to offer some level of rigidity to the opening that would not hinder the adjustable elastic of the Accommodator pouches and make getting mags down into the pouch at any angle easier.
  • Weight Good (4/5): While each component of the UGF battle belt system obviously weighed differently, their combined weight was what bore on the body. Coming in assembled at 2.21 pounds (empty) the UGF system was still remarkably light. This in comparison to G-Code’s Assaulter’s System (2.15 pounds), or the HSGI system (2.1 pounds) all of which effectively balance functionality with lightweight materials/design. These aspects, without becoming excessively heavy, as more traditional systems in either leather or thicker nylon do, give the UGF battle belt system a solid scoring.

Overall Rating – Good (21/25)

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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