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Viktos Zerodark™ Vest: Staying Comfortable Between the Seasons

Intended for the intermediate climates between the heat of the summer, and the frigid temps of the winter, the Zerodark™ vest gives shooters the ideal blend of core temperature comfort and freedom in range of motion.

Comprised of Fitelite™ nylon, the Zerodark™ vest has a lightweight outer chassis designed by Viktos with an added water-resistant Dupont™ Teflon® coating for longstanding outdoor use. The Zerodark™ vest also includes an inner layer of 100g Thermolite® insulation for temperature regulation and to serve as a windbreaker.

Exterior

At the top, the Zerodark™ vest has a high collar roll to protect from rifle sling abrasion or wind. A full length YKK zipper has a nylon pull tab with rubberized ends.

The sides include Viktos’ Attackposture™ design, that incorporate four-way, flexible back and underarm panels to give improved flexibility to accommodate a variety of shooting stances.

Along the bottom there are two chest-rig stylized cargo pockets in the front (one each side). These are secured by hook-and-loop, and include nylon draw-string tabs with shrink-tube ends. A low-profile side pocket on each side behind the cargo pockets include a zipper enclosure with a plastic pull tab.

Both sides of the Zerodark™ vest include Viktos’ Gunvent™ design, a unique, dual-zippered side that allows for immediate access to range belt or holstered sidearm while wearing the jacket.

Interior

The interior sides of the Zerodark™ vest have one large and one small angled accessory pocket on each side. In addition, the Viktos “Undefeated” logo appears on the right side front interior.

The Zerodark™ vest is available in Nightfall (featured), Ranger, or Coyote and sized between Small to 3XL.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): Viktos currently has the MSRP for the Zerodark™ vest at $120, but is discounting it to $102 as the company prepares to rotate stock for the 2020 spring. With its materials and design, the Zerodark™ vest is both lightweight and functional that keeps the upper core warm despite the wild environmental changes of the spring or fall. In comparison, vests of similar make/material include the 5.11 Peninsula Insulator Vest ($99), Triple Aught Design Syntax Vest ($170), or Arc’teryx Atom LT Vest ($189) – all of which demonstrate the market for designer tactical clothing. As such the Zerodark™ vest, at its current available price of $99, makes it very competitive and among some of the more balanced options on the market given its design and materials.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): Given its lightweight material, and thickness of the insulation layers, the Zerodark™ vest was very comfortable in the early spring weather here in Missouri. Worn in average morning temperatures of 50s-60s, rising to low 70s by mid-day, the Zerodark™ vest allowed for comfortable regulation of temperature and adjusting comfort. The only notable negative aspect was in light winds where the Zerodark™ vest was limited in keeping the overall comfort maintained simply because of the lacking sleeves. Viktos does offer a full-length light Zerodark™ jacket made from the same design and materials, should there be those more interested in overall upper body coverage. The high collar did an excellent job of mitigating abrasion from the sling, and the Attackposture™ design did well to adjust to the more dynamic movements of the upper torso on the range.
  • Durability – Fair (2/5): There was an almost grid-like stitching pattern on the outer shell of the Zerodark™ vest that lends to its overall strength in durability. The outer layer was permeated with Teflon which gave it an almost slick feel between the fingers, and helped resist abrasion from things like sliding slings, gun belt, or other accessories. There was minimal double line or overlap stitching, and what was observed was around the zipper or collar line to reinforce the material there. While some thread excess was noted (and easily removed), it was most likely attributed to the manufacturing process. However, prior to conducting range drills there were at least two missed stitches observed; one at the collar line and the other on the interior liner that could also be explained by lapses in the manufacturing process. While minimal, and unlikely to affect the durability of the product in the short-term, over a longer period the threading could become compromised. Indeed, following use on the range, the missed stitch on the collar had broken and the threads needed to be cut. Obviously one recommendation for Viktos would be to consider adding bartack stitching in/around the zipper, along the pockets and its hook-and-loop panels, or high abrasion/tension points.
  • Functionality Average (3/5): The Zerodark™ vest adequately fulfilled its role as a base layer vest for light-to-moderate use—as well as served as an alternative to the Zerodark™ jacket. In that role, the material did keep the user’s central core very comfortable, while the sleeveless design helped to regulate excess heat. On the range, the high collar proved well placed and the Attackposture™ panels did provide for good flexibility in more dynamic movements to the side or in twisting. The YKK zippers for the front and on the Gunvent™ sides provided for smooth and quiet function. The chest rig pockets were very wide and allowed for multiple rifle magazines to be kept there, though it did increase the bulk of the vest. There was sufficient material to close the vest with an IWB CCW holster worn, though access through the Gunvent™ was a little tricky as opposed to simply lifting the vest and conducting the draw. With a gun belt worn (secondary handgun, mag pouches, IFAK), the vest did not have sufficient material to cover the belt and still be closed in the front. It was only with the Gunvent™ open on the side, to allot for room for the OWB holster, was there sufficient material to close the vest. It was noted that much like the Gunfighter Flannel Jacket, the Gunvent™ zippers would inadvertently open from the bottom if the sides of the vest were slightly pulled. Again, this is a common problem with other fleece and light jackets with a similar side opening, and one resolved by having a covering material (secured via snap button) over the bottom of the zipper to secure it as well as reinforce the closure. Viktos may want to consider that as an improvement in its next Gunvent™ design.
  • Weight Good (4/5): Extremely lightweight, the use of the Thermolite as an insulation later allowed the Zerodark™ vest to weigh in at 13.7 ounces while still maintaining the core temperature without excessive bulk. The Zerodark™ vest was even light enough, that Viktos added a loop behind the collar by which to hang the vest to dry when wet. For tactical vests of this type, the market runs the gambit in both material and design (of various weight reflecting those factors). For instance, 5.11’s Peninsula Insulator Vest (16.8 ounces) runs the more traditional design, similar to the Zerodark™ vest with its insulation, pockets, and a quick access sides. Whereas in comparison, the Arc’teryx Atom LT Vest (7.8 ounces) is a more minimalist design we few pockets and intended more to serve as a base layer in conjunction with other outer garments. Regardless, the Zerodark™ vest was still one of the lightest vests available that offers insulation and some level of tactical function. Viktos could likely add additional reinforcement stitching to key areas without significant increases to the product’s weight.

Overall Rating – Above Average (17/25)

Product Link: https://www.viktos.com/collections/outerwear/products/zerodark-vest

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.

 

SLR Rifleworks Magwell Adaptor (Short): Give Your Glock Some Flair

Regardless if you need it for competition, EDC, or just personal preference—handgun magwell extensions aid in rapid reloads and allow you keep your eye on target while driving home the magazine. The Magwell Adaptor (Short) by SLR Rifleworks is one of many offered for the extensive Glock line of handguns, including the newer Gen 5, accomplishes those tasks flawlessly.

IMG_0973

Made from 7075 billet aluminum, the Magwell Adaptor Short for the Gen 5 G19 gives added purchase for the hand, similar to other magwells, without the added shelf for the pinky finger. This makes it ideal for EDC and duty applications without making the pistol grip bulky. The Magwell Adaptor (Short) is compatible with high-capacity or 10-round magazines, and includes a relief for Taran Tactical pins.

SLR offers magwells for each Gen 5 models with/without the half-moon cut in the pistol grip. These accessories are machine cut specific to the model, a process that negates excess movement that often comes from one-size-fits-all magwells.

The matched hardware for the Magwell Adaptor (Short) is merely a low-profile billet attachment screw that anchors the base of the magwell to the grip. Users should take care not to overtighten the attachment screw.

Please note: The Magwell Adaptor (Short) is not compatible with the additional Glock Gen 5 backstraps due to length of the attachment screw.

The Magwell Adaptor (Short) is only available in a matte black.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostExcellent (5/5): For all of SLR’s Glock Magwell Adaptors, each costs $79.99 and are available for Gen 3 – 5 patterned handguns. Each is made from hardened billet aluminum for long term durability. The magwell is also designed to fit that specific model of Glock so there is no gap, wiggle, or excess material that other “one-size-fits-all” designs. In comparison, other market magwells for the G19 would be the Magwell ($100) by Agency Arms, the PRO One-Piece Glock Magwell ($99-109) by ZEV Technology, or the Full-Size Carry Magwell ($89.99) by Taran Tactical Innovations. All of these market alternatives use the same materials and are above the cost of the SLR, thus making the SLR one of the more affordable magwells on the market.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): While somewhat subjective to the hand size of the user, for this review we were only able to evaluate the “short” variant of the Magwell Adaptor. The idea being that it would eliminate the half-moon cut in the Gen 5 grip and improve overall purchase of the firing hand on the grip. When properly installed (it clips in from the front and then a screw anchors the backstrap) it did completely cover the half-moon cut. The shortened lip of the magwell didn’t give the shooting hand a full shelf that presumably the longer version does, but the shortened version did provide a solid base for the overall grip on the front and sides. The subsequent funnel of the magwell did give an added benefit of driving magazines home, as the overall device comfortably filled up the bottom of the hand and channeled the magazines where they needed to go. Logically, the longer Magwell Adaptor would do this moreso.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): Made from 7075 billet aluminum the SLR Magwell had the same durability and performance as other guns and gun parts. This alloy is commonly found in most machined parts and is known for its ability to withstand both heat and friction, as well as corrosion. The difference over alloy magwells and polymer are obvious, both in durability and price. During evaluation, magazines were repeatedly driven home and showed no significant wear or marring on the Magwell Adaptor. At no point did the single retaining screw become loose nor back out. It is most likely that over time and with extensive handling some surface marring may build up, but not to the extent to undermine the underlying aluminum. Care should be taken by the user when anchoring the retention screws so as not to overtighten it and risk damage to the firearm.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): Functionally, the shortened Magwell Adaptor was simplistic in its installation and application. For a larger hand it comfortably IMG_2514covered the half-moon cut that was an annoyance to the bottom of the Gen 5’s grip, and gave it a minimal shelf. It felt the short version was better suited for EDC carry as it was flush with the bottom of the hand and kept a low-enough profile to not snag on clothing. Longer magwells often are larger and have significant bulk to them and are better suited for competition. The only negative from a functional aspect that was noted on the Magwell Adaptor was a small shelf just inside the well. This shelf is part of its design to snap into the front of the pistol grip. This shelf could prove problematic to those who load magazines from the rear of the handgun and cause a hang-up (a similar problem by those unfamiliar with the problems of the half-moon cut in the Glock’s grip to begin with). SLR may want to consider in the future angling the inward-facing side of that shelf (if it is necessary at all) and eliminate that problem. It would be ideal if SLR would include a longer anchoring screw, or make the Magwell Adaptor compatible with the different sized backstraps that come with the Gen 5 to improve its application to match the Glock’s customization.
  • Weight Excellent (5/5): Despite made from billet aluminum, the SLR Magwell Adaptor itself only weighed 0.6 ounces (with anchoring screw), making it very lightweight, and its application did not unbalance the handgun in any degree. In comparison; Agency Arms Magwell (0.7 ounces), the PRO Magwell (1.5 ounces), and the Taran’s Full-Size (1.7 ounces) had weights proportional to their size (short magwells v long). While flared, the shorter EDC-type magwells necessitate lesser material needed, and thus a lighter weight. As the longer version of the SLR Magwell Adaptor was unavailable for testing, it can be assumed it would weigh slightly more. Regardless either Magwell adaptor is still one of the lighter billet aluminum products on the available market.

Overall Rating – Good (22/25)

Product Link: https://slrrifleworks.com/gen-5-g17-34-5-17-mos-34-magwell-short/

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.

Propper Kinetic Trousers: A Fresh New Look

Introduced in 2017, the Kinetic clothing line by Propper apparel is designed as the next evolution in tactical trousers for professional and civilian use.

The Kinetic pants represent a refreshed approach to popular features found in Propper’s traditional tactical trousers that gives the Kinetic a professional appearance with new materials. Constructed of a 6.5oz polyester ripstop (79% polyester / 21% canvas), the material is made from NEXStretch fabric and treated in Teflon to offer a large degree of abrasion and water resistance be it on the job, at the range, or just as an every-day wear.

At the waist, the Kinetic pants have seven 1.5” wide belt loops (four on the front, three on the back) with an elastic slide adjuster on both sides that adds for an extra 2” in the belt line to both sides. The belt line is secured via a simple pass-through plastic button. At the front-most belt loops is also a tab for sunglasses or badge hook. Inside the belt line, the Kinetic has a single bead of silicone that runs the entire length and acts as a shirt stopper. Inside the inseam, the crotch has a minimal gusset for added flexibility. The fly uses genuine YKK zipper and the shuttle comes with a logoized pull tab.

The “classic” cut of the Kinetic pants offer a wide pant-leg from hip to ankle that maximizes maneuverability. It also has the standard four-pocket layout at the waist (two pockets in the front, two hook-and-loop secured pockets in the back), with the front pockets re-enforced to accommodate clip-on items (such as a pocket knife or flashlight).

Each thigh has a 4” wide low-profile pocket that will fit most modern smartphones or a single rifle magazine. Additionally, each leg of the Kinetic features an internally divided cargo pocket (secured via hook-and-loop). Above each cargo pocket is a single pen pocket. The knee is reinforced with a slot on the interior for adding a knee pad to each leg.

The Kinetic comes in Black, Charcoal (featured), Coyote, Khaki, LAPD Navy, Olive, and Sherriff’s Brown (featured) and is sized between 28 to 56 waist, and 30 to 37 inseam.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): Designed as the updated version to Propper’s traditional tacical trousers, the Kinetic has an MSRP of $54.99 and includes a thicker polyester blend (both in percentage and weight) that is impregnated with Teflon to be inexpensive, and provide moderate resistance to abrasion. Some comparable market alternatives would include 5.11’s CDCR Duty Cargo Pants ($52.49) or Stryke ($74.99), Vertx’s Phantom LT 2.0 ($58.95), or Tru-Spec’s 24-7 Pro Flex ($59.99). At its current list price, there are tactical trousers (such as by Crye) that far exceed the Kinetic in terms of cost, as well as some trousers (Condor) that are cheaper. As is, and among those competitors noted, the Kinetic is of median (or average) cost to the consumer for a light tactical pant.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): With a gusset in the crotch and inseam, the NEXStretch’s flexibility for more dynamic body movements (lunges and taking a knee) was greater than the HLX, and not restrictive in the upper thigh and inner groin to any notable degree. The overall material of the Kinetic felt heavier than the HLX pants, and the Kinetic felt more like the “classic” cut. The front pockets had an interior polyester lining on the bottom, and soft fleece on the top and were a nice improvement on comfort over other tactical trousers. The hook-and-loop-secured rear pockets felt nice and would kept the contents in place but the flaps could be easily opened. The inner lining of the low-profile pockets were also lined with fleece; however, it should be noted that the low-profile pocket will accommodate a rifle magazine or cell phone—but not a cell phone in a protective case.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): The Kinetic had extensive bartack throughout the pants and reinforced stitching was noted at key stress points to include at the belt loops, and pockets. The machining process for this also left a lot of loose or errant threads along the belt line that had to be removed or burnt. The Teflon application of the material did keep some moisture off (poured water) thanks to its repellent properties, but the long-term application of this treatment could not be tested. It is likely the Teflon will keep some aspects of moisture, such as rain or mud, off for a time, but not if submerged. The YKK zipper slid easily and did not cross-thread. Elsewhere, the plastic threaded button that secures the belt line was of some concern, as it felt flimsy and with its stitching could easily pop off if a gun belt or other item were pressed/pulled against it. From a durability aspect, the only thing recommended to Propper for improvement would to make the belt line button metal and integrated into the material, similar to what is on the HLX. This would make it more duty applicable.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): The Kinetic had many of the more obvious tactical aspects that the HLX did not, specifically, the inclusion of cargo pockets. As noted, there were a number of lose threads in and around the belt loops that was purely aesthetic. Elsewhere, the cargo and rear pockets were secured via hook-and-loop, and were easily opened (something that if grappling could result in spillage of contents). The elastic sliders on the belt line added up to 2” of length to each side, and made it extremely comfortable. It is recommended that consumers consider ordering at, or one size below, their actual pant sizes as Propper seems to run a little on the plus side in measurement, and the elastic sliders accommodated for this. The NEXStretch gusset was wider on the Kinetic than the HLX’s gusset material, and the improvement over flexibility in the upper thigh and crotch was apparent. Minimal areas of recommended improvement on functionality for Propper would be to change out the belt line button for the reasons noted above in the durability section.
  • Weight Average (3/5): Coming in at 1.98 pounds, the Kinetic was very lightweight, something attributed to the polyester and Teflon blend of its materials that balanced abrasion resistance with its NEXStretch flexibility. In comparison, the 5.11’s CDCR Duty Cargo Pants (2 pounds) or Stryke (2 pounds), Vertx’s Phantom LT 2.0 (0.7 pounds), or Tru-Spec’s 24-7 Pro Flex (1.6 pounds) all demonstrate the diversity in weight of tactical trousers, and put the Kinetic’s weighted materials on average within the market.

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

Product Link: https://www.propper.com/mens/pants/tactical-pants/propper-kinetic-pant-mens.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.

 

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