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Viktos Johnny Combat Ops Boot: Support From the Street to the Field

Introduced in the fall of 2019, the Johnny Combat Ops (JCO) Boot by Viktos brings a minimalist approach to tactical footwear without sacrificing any of the comfort or durability.

The upper throat of the JCO Boot is made from a nylon/synthetic combination that provides the ankle support with minimal weight over traditional materials.

The hardware includes standard pass-through metal eyelets that allow for smooth movement of the laces. The laces themselves are Dupont nylon with plastic tips.

Sidewalls on the JCO Boot are also made from a split nylon/synthetic pattern that give the boot structure and support along its sides, while allowing for flexibility over repetitive flexing of the materials.

A 6” throat on the boot provides the ideal height to support the ankle in light/moderate environments. The rear of the throat features a pass-through thumb loops for assisting in donning the boot, while the tongue also holds slim nylon loops for running laces or to aid in attaining a comfortable position for the boot.

The JCO Boot 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 Johnny Combat Ops Boot are available in Ranger (featured), Coyote, and Nightfall with sizing that ranges from a Size 6 to 15

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostExcellent (5/5): At $110 the JCOs are made of a material that is both a nylon/synthetic in design and common in most modern footwear. This allots for breathability of the foot, flexibility of the shoe, and protection where needed (both for the shoe and wearer). The most appropriate description for the JCO would be as a moderate-warm range boot that affords a lightweight yet functional use in most conditions. The closest comparator would be Salomon’s Quest ($239), or 5.11’s Taclite ($124.99), or Merrill’s Strongfield Tactical 6” ($170). It should be noted that the JCO is the predecessor to Viktos’ Johnny Combat ($95) boot, but that is being phased out in favor of the JCO which blends aspects of the Johnny Combat with their Strife ($150) boot that is also being rotated out. In all, at $110 the JCOs cost has a number of features that make it an excellent fit on the range, while keeping materials lightweight and flexible.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): Much like the Strife (Mid) boot, the JCO 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 several weeks for the nylon and synthetic material to break and even then the boot retained a tight fit to the heel and ankle for support. The heel itself was very well supported, and the boot held strength up the Achilles line, and across to the laces. Thus, it was apparent the boot was designed to give continual support to the ankle. 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 (using 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 JCO was very comfortable and over the course of a 30-day evaluation cycle fit comfortably. Given the testing included Jan/Feb winter temps here in Missouri, the cold (down into single digits) could be felt seeping through the nylon of the toe box because of the material’s breathability, thus why the JCO would be better suited for moderate-warm environments—and something the consumer should be aware of.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): Over the course of testing; worn as EDC and as range boots, the JCO held a good level of durability given its tested environment (which included pavement, grass, loose rock, water and mud). The intent for the JCO by design was as a dedicated range/field boot, and as such the materials were intended to excel in those settings. The synthetic exterior sections took a good amount of rough edges and abrasion, with only light/moderate scarring and water/mud residue to the material itself—none of which penetrated the inner layers of the boot. The toe and heel caps did their fair share of taking the brunt of use on the range, either from dynamic movements or different firing positions. The nylon exterior and interior lining aided in breathability and flexibility to maneuver over various terrain. The double line stitching throughout provided a very good level of durability and prevented any separation of the nylon and synthetic materials.
  • Functionality Average (3/5): Functionally, the JCO gave a good level of support to the ankle and width in the rounded toe box. The exterior synthetic sections were in appropriate places that provided reinforcement to the boot, as well as bore the more aggressive environmental conditions (specially on rock). The nylon loops on the top of the JCO’s heel and on the tongue definitely aided in donning/removing the boot. The EVA 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 either at the range or once dried. At no point did moisture penetrate the interior when introduced (not submerged) to moisture (mud or water). Some negative aspects noted from a functional point was cold winter air did get through the nylon of the toebox, and the plastic tips on the laces were tipped in a plastic wrap but IMG_7225would be better served if, as a range/field boot, the laces were metal tipped. In addition,we observed uponopening that there appeared to be some type of post-manufacturing oil residue/stain on the exterior of one of the boots that had not been identified during QC. When contacted, Viktos said that under normal conditions these boots would be immediately replaced under their warranty program provided the consumer contacts Viktos upon opening the box and not prior to wear.
  • Weight Good (4/5): Each individual 6” boot weighed in at 1.3 pounds (or 2.6 pounds for the pair), which is reasonable considering the use of nylon/synthetic materials and thick lug design. The weight did not become exacerbated when mud became caked into the bottom serrations only to be shed later through use. In comparison to the market alternatives noted above; the Salomon’s Quest (2 pounds/pair), or 5.11’s Taclite (3 pounds/pair), or Merrill’s Strongfield Tactical 6” (3.7 pounds) were mostly above the weight of the JCO’s in large part to the JCO’s split materials and efficient use of nylon over heavier fabrics, such as suede or leather. Viktos has found a good balance between a lighter range/field boot using their Strife design, but in the Johnny Combat Ops Boot.

Overall Rating – Good (20/25)

Product Link: https://www.viktos.com/collections/boots/products/johnny-combat-ops?variant=30278724386912

IMG_2889_TackenbergI 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.

 

TLR-1 HL Weapon Light: Challenging the Competition

Introduced in 2013 as the High Lumen (HL) variant to Streamlight’s TLR-1, the HL model remains one of the more popular and practical lights in the TLR line. Adaptable to both a handgun or carbine, the TLR-1 HL can fit a variety of personal, competitive, or professional roles to shed light in an otherwise dark environment.

The TLR-1 HL is a full-sized, Weapon Mounted Light (WML) and part of Streamlight’s “Tradition” line. It has a higher lumen output over its predecessor the TLR-1, improving beam length with minimal impact to overall battery life.

IMG_0830

Its 6000 Series, aircraft-grade aluminum housing ensures the TLR-1 HL has a robust ability to withstand heavy usage. It features ambidextrous butterfly-type switch control allowing the operator to select between momentary, steady ON/OFF, or the pre-programmed strobe light control (if activated). A remote switch and pressure pad are also available for the TLR-1 models (sold separately)

The light optic in the HL model produces 800 lumens (or 15,000 candela) in a narrow beam with peripheral illumination that reaches 245 meters before dispersal. When compared to the initial TLR-1’s 300 lumens (or 12,000 candela) the HL is a notable improvement while keeping the same dimensions and mounting system. LED technology gives the HL’s light element a 50,000-hour lifetime, and impervious to shock. In front of the optic, the TLR-1 HL has a high temperature Borofloat glass designed to with a high degree of heat and impact/abrasion resistance.

The TLR-1 HL is powered by two CR123A lithium batteries that provide the unit 1.75 hours of continuous runtime. This is a minor reduction in the initial TLR-1 runtime of 2.50 hours due directly to the HL’s higher light output requiring more power in either operational mode.

IMG_0845

Different mounting keys are provided with the TLR-1 HL that give the platform compatibility with a wide variety of handguns. The principle mounting system is a Picatinny/MIL-STD-1913 tool less rail clamp that enables the user to mount/remove the WML without placing the hand in front of the muzzle.

The TLR-1 HL has an overall measurement of 3.39” (L) x 1.47” (W) x 1.44” (H) and an operating range between -40 degrees Fahrenheit, to 120 degrees. It has passed the Immersion Water Test (IPX7) and is rated waterproof up to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes.

The TLR-1 HL is available in the standard colors of Black (featured), FDE Tan (featured), and FDE Brown.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): Between $109 to $165 (color dependent) the variance in price is due to differing secondary vendors and coupon availability. If the consumer can wait for peak savings (usually Independence Day, Labor Day, or Black Friday) they can maximize their potential deals. Past monitoring has shown the TLR-1 HL for as low as $99 during special promotional events. The most direct competitor to the TLR-1 HL would be Surefire’s X300 WML ($299-$429). But the X300’s higher price point reflects its higher lumen output (1000) and slightly larger body. Another close competitor would be Olight’s PL-Pro Valkyrie ($129) that is closer in size comparison to the X300 body but still has a higher lumen output (1500). Consumers should be aware, in research it was identified counterfeits being sold via third-party sites like Amazon and Ebay, and individuals should exercise caution when choosing a vendor. While not the brightest WML of its size, the TLR-1 HL was one of the more affordable, giving it a good scoring.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): The overall size of the TLR-1 HL made it more comfortable on a full-sized handgun, such as the P226, leaving it near flush with the handgun’s muzzle. When matched with a G19 however, the TLR-1 HL protruded the length of the lens cap beyond the muzzle, so that consideration will need to be made by the consumer when matching the WML to its platform. The butterfly switch was easily within reach of the support hand and comfortable. Obviously with the added rail space, mounting it on a carbine allowed its position to be customized.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): The durability of the TLR-1 lay in its aircraft-grade body, and sealed battery compartment/light element. Because of its base material (6000 Series aluminum) this had a direct negative effect to the overall weight of the WML, making it one of the heavier WMLs in comparison to the X300 or PL-Pro. That said, it also added to the durability and made the housing and enclosed electronics nearly crush/shock proof. Internet research showed a number of owners putting the TLR-1 series through various torture tests; freezing, submerging, thawing, dropping, and driving over the modules. The course of fire selected for testing the TLR-1 HL involved five rifle and five pistol magazines, each fully loaded, at a 15-meter target. Between magazine changes the light was struck a number of times on the housing and lens cap with the ejected magazine before a new one was loaded. The process repeated itself until all rounds were fired. At no point did the TLR-1 HL light flicker or fail in the firing process, nor drift from center mass. The testing did result in some minor (cosmetic) surface scratches, mainly due to holstering, but nothing that would impact the functionality of the light.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): From a functional aspect, the TLR-1 (regardless of model) was designed to fit handguns; but when mounted on the top rail of a carbine, had the added flexibility to work on rifles as well. The important aspect was to ensure the butterfly switch was within reach of the support hand regardless of configuration (something that if mounted on the side of a rifle, rather than the top, was a little more difficult without the remote switch). Employing the butterfly switch allowed for easy selection between momentary ON and STROBE, or to flip the switch in the opposite direction for continual ON—all without any accidental emission when manipulating the firearm. The TLR-1 HL itself threw an intense wide-area beam with an intense focal point that light up the room, hallways, and just about anything nearby when indoors or out. The array of rail keys accommodated a large variety of platforms, including the available Sig, Glock, Springfield 1911, and an AR-15.
  • Weight Fair (2/5): At 4.18 ounces the TLR-1 HL is heavier than either the PL-Pro (3.25 ounces) or X300 (4.0 ounces) WMLs. Thus, while the weight was more than either of its direct competitors, its weight was still neither detracting nor placed the weapon off-balance significantly. Its weight was more notable when mounted on a handgun rather than a carbine, and the TLR-1 HL did pull the recoil action forward slightly (as other WMLs do) when mounted as such. Streamlight has expanded its WML line to include lighter, more compact WMLs such as its TLR-7 HL and other models.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

Product Link: https://www.streamlight.com/en/products/detail/index/tlr-1-hl

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 Impact Rangefinder: Range Distance With Confidence

With the approaching hunting season, shooters will need to prepare for taking the long shot. Whether this is in a tree, on the ground, or stalking among the trees the ability to accurately judge distance and the affects on shot placement can spell the differences between a successful season or getting skunked. The Impact rangefinder by Vortex allows for all-season, accurate range estimation that will help hunters and distance shooters.

The Impact 850 rangefinder is a precise laser ranging device that can register objects up to 850 meters (for reflective targets) or 400 meters (for targets that absorb the laser light, or “soft” targets). It’s accuracy and lightweight, minimalist design can benefit both rifle/pistol shooters, hunters, and competitive distance shooters.

Internally, the Impact is sealed with all external openings or compartments having rubberized O-rings that prevent penetration by moisture. The optical and laser lenses are coated in multiple layers of anti-reflective sealant that maximizes light emission from the rangefinder to the target and back. The adjustable optical lens includes an adjustable eye relief to adjust the image focus.

Features of the Impact include a two Mode function:

  • Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) mode for angle compensated ranging to give bow and rifle shooters the critical distance data needed to make accurate shots.
  • Line of Sight (LOS) mode displays actual line of sight range.

While the Impact includes angled compensation, the user can also select between “METER” or “YARD” range displays. By holding the “Measure” button, the Impact also uses a continual “scan” feature that allows for on-the-move tracking of the target if needed.

The Impact 850 is powered by a single CR2 battery that gives the rangefinder approximately 5,000 cycles. With the programming’s included auto-shutoff feature, after 10 seconds of inactivity the Impact will turn off. This ensures longevity of the rangefinder, along with the included wrist lanyard that prevents accidental droppage.

Specifications:

  • Range Reflective (yards) 850 yards
  • Range Deer (yards) 400 yards
  • Accuracy + / – 1 yards @ 100 yards
  • Max Angle Reading + / – 60 degrees
  • Magnification 6x
  • Linear Field of View 341 feet/1000 yards
  • Angular Field of View 6.5 degrees
  • Eye Relief 15 mm
  • Length 3.77 inches
  • Width 2.95 inches
  • Weight 5.5 oz

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): At an MSRP of $269.99 the Impact is the base model of rangefinder by Vortex, and the most affordable in its rangefinder lineup. It can be found on second/third-party vendor websites for as low as $199, but again care needs to be exercised in choosing a credible retailer. In comparison to market alternatives, the Leupold Marksman 1000 ($229), Sig Sauer KILO 1600 ($299) and Bushnell NITRO 6×20 ($299) all exemplify that the market on rangefinders is diverse and the Impact remains one of the more affordable and simplified rangefinders.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): Roughly the size of a 3×5 index card, the Impact fit nicely in the palm and was large enough to be held by one hand (although using a single hand is not ideal for rangefinding). The MODE and MEASURE buttons were oversized and made pressing them with any finger easy. The light weight also made the Impact easily carried and something that, when added to a vest or lanyard, not uncomfortable or tiresome. The eye relief was adjustable so although wearing eyeglasses was not feasible, the adjustable field of view for the Impact was able to be easily brought into focus.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): The Impact had a rigid polymer housing similar to other laser rangefinders on the market. This provides a significant level of protection to the light emitter inside. The buttons, lenses, and battery compartment were all sealed with rubberized O-rings and gave the Impact a moderate degree of water resistance (for rain or droppage into a puddle or stream). The demo model provided did not come with a wrist lanyard, but typically the Impact would have one to secure the device to the wrist. In the event there is any problems with the Impact, like all Vortex products, it is covered under Vortex’s no-questions-asked VIP Warranty.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): While the digital programming of the Impact allowed for a significant measurement of distance; other functions aided in proper shot placement, range estimation, and evaluating angles. Using a .308 caliber rifle, our local range only allowed us to evaluate the Impact’s performance as it related to functional performance—not skill of the shooter to place shots. The angled HCD function would be ideal for those utilizing tree stands during rifle or archery season. The LCD display clearly read out the distance, current mode, viewing angle, and battery life. Although the Impact was tested for several hours, the CR2 held at full battery strength.
  • Weight Average (3/5): The overall Impact rangefinder weighed just 5.5 ounces, and was lighter than most field equipment that would otherwise be carried. This makes the Impact’s functionality and comfort very important and, when combined with its affordability, a very beneficial part of range shooting or hunting. In comparison, other units vary in weight, such as the Leupold Marksman (6.2 ounces), Sig Sauer KILO (5 ounces) and the Bushnell NITRO (5.5. ounces) but not to a significant degree. This makes the Impact of average weight within the current market.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

Product Link: https://vortexoptics.com/catalog/product/view/id/1833

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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