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Spartan Armor Leonidas Plate Carrier: Strength of 300

As a Berry-compliant product, the Leonidas Plate Carrier by Spartan Armor Systems gives the wearer a comfortable level of personal protection, while drawing its legacy design from years of field usage. The Leonidas is a stand-alone plate carrier, or is part of a package by Spartan Armor that includes its progressive levels of body armor.

Using its 500D Cordura fabric, the Leonidas also includes extensive bartacking at key stress points to ensure maximum protection of the material and its components.

The front and back carriers of the Leonidas are designed to fully-enclose SAPI/AR500 armored plates (not included), secured via hook-and-loop flaps, and include premium upgraded shoulder pads over adjustable slide-release shoulder buckles. Both the front and back carriers also feature (female) hook-and-loop panels for identification panels or morale patches and extensive MOLLE webbing.

The front plate carrier has an upper, zipper-secured admin pouch, and a lower kangaroo pouch for smaller items. The back of the Leonidas features a reinforced drag handle designed to support the weight of the wearer (up to 500 pounds) and includes hook-and-loop to keep the handle secured.

The Leonidas cummerbund features MOLLE webbing on the sides (interior and exterior), is compatible to carry side plates (via included pouches), and uses hook-and-loop fields at the ends and back to join at the front and back carriers at corresponding hook-and-loop fields. The cummerbund ends are then secured via a corresponding (male) hook-and-loop flap with MOLLE webbing on the carriers, that folds over the cummerbund ends. In lieu of the cummerbund, the Leonidas also includes a (removable) slide-release buckle system as a secondary means of securing the carriers.

The interior lining of the Leonidas features a moisture-wicking air foam-mesh lining that helps assist in mitigating heat from the body.

Also included in this evaluation was a set of Spartan™ Omega™ AR500 Level III ballistic plates. These items were included to assist in evaluating the plate carrier’s functionality, comfort, and durability, and themselves are not included as part of this review. The Omega ballistic plates will be featured in a later product review.

Specifications:

  • Front/back plates up to: 10” x 12”
  • Side plates up to: 5” x 15”
  • Sizing: Medium – XLarge (38” – 46” chest)

The Leonidas is available in Black (featured), Ranger Green, Tan, and Multicam.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): At $180 for a full-coverage plate carrier, the Leonidas is well priced within the current market of similar designs. This includes the TTRAC by Tactical Tailor ($379), the TacTec by 5.11 ($199), and Voodoo’s MOLLE carrier ($167). The variances in prices for plate carriers is directly attributed to the denier level of the involved materials, design and hardware of both the carrier and cummerbund, and amount of bartack that provides additional reinforcement. Thus, within the overall market the Leonidas is of median cost to both newer plate carriers and more traditional designs.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): The Leonidas was a very comfortable, full-torso plate carrier that supported the weight of ballistic plates evenly across the shoulders and around the midsection. However, because of its legacy-based design (fully enclosed cummerbund), the Leonidas lacked the breathability around the midsection found in more modern carriers using skeletonized or elastic. The Leonidas does offset this by including thick air-mesh/foam padding on the backpanels of the front/back carrier to try and increase airflow, but significant body heat was still retained. The cummerbund itself was fully adjustable in both the front and back, as well as the length of the shoulder straps that ensured proper fit of the carrier.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): The full-torso design of the Leonidas is one that has a proven track record of use in the field. The 500D nylon that comprises the overall material offered a good balance between abrasion resistance, weight, and flexibility. There was extensive bartack noted at all stress points along the shoulder connections, cummerbund, and MOLLE webbing that ensured extensive reinforcement. Box and X-type stitching helped ensure hook-and-loop fields didn’t pull or separate from the material.
  • Functionality Average (3/5): From a functional aspect, the Leonidas had an extensive amount of MOLLE webbing on the plate carriers and sides that would enable for accessories and pouches to be mounted, thus increasing its functional use. The cummerbund could be removed if desired, and the secondary slide-release buckles could serve as the means of securing the plate carriers (but then there is the loss of having the side MOLLE and side plates).  One negative noted was the slide-release buckles of the shoulder straps would loosen inadvertently when donning/removing the carrier due to the weight of the AR500 plates. Spartan Armor could potentially improve on this by considering alternate means of hardware like enclosure/tube type quick-release buckles.
  • Weight Good (4/5): At 2.3 pounds (without plates) the overall Leonidas carrier is of lighter than average weight for the amount of nylon involved. This is attributed to the use of 500D nylon over nylon with the heavier denier found in other carriers that, while it would improve abrasion resistance, would be heaver and less flexible. As noted above, alternate carriers range in weight from 2.5 pounds (TacTec) to 4.3 pounds (Voodoo Tactical) which places the Leonidas as one of the lighter full-torso carriers on the market.

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

Product Link: https://www.spartanarmorsystems.com/spartan-armor-systems-leonidas-plate-carrier/

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.

 

TRU-SPEC® 24-7 Pro-Flex Pants: Blending Tradition and Flexability

Debuted at SHOT Show in 2019, the Pro Flex Pants are one of 12 variants in TRU-SPEC®’s 24-7 Series® line of tactical trousers. The Pro Flex blends all the best features of TRU-SPEC®’s original 24-7 tactical trousers, and adds in the same four-way stretch material from the Xpedition® series to key stress points.

Constructed from a 65% polyester / 35% cotton blend in a rip-stop weave pattern, the principle fabric in the Pro Flex pants are also dipped in a DWR water-repellent. Four-way accents on the pants are a 91% nylon, 9% spandex, and double weave for added flexibility and breathability.

At the waist, the Pro Flex pants have seven belt loops (two on the front, five on the back) with an elastic slide adjuster on both sides of the waist that adds an extra 2” overall to the waistline. Four-way elastic accent material is added at the hip yolk for added flexibility and air flow, a feature that is then repeated above the knees.

The cut of the Pro Flex pant is a straight hip-to-ankle, with slots designed into the inside of the reinforced knees for adding knee padding. The two front pockets are a deep slash pattern with small accessory pockets behind them for carrying EDC items or pocket knives. The rear low-profile back pockets are zipper-secured on the right side. The Pro Flex pant features TRU-SPEC®’s PYRM snap closure with a YKK brass zipper fly.

Mid-thigh features include a billowed, side gusset cargo pocket and accessory pocket on each side secured by hook-and-loop. Inside each cargo pocket is an internal pocket designed to accommodate an AR magazine or other accessories. Behind each cargo pocket is a DropN dump pouch intended to accommodate most modern smartphones.

Lastly, the Pro Flex include a gusset in the groin using the four-way accent material for increased range of motion. Behind each reinforced material at the knee is an inward-facing slot for inclusion of soft knee pads.

The Pro Flex pants come in six colors including Coyote, Black, Navy, Ranger Green (featured), Khaki and Green/Black. Its sizing runs from 28” – 44” waistlines with a 30”, 32”, or 34” inseam, or 28” – 54” waistlines with a 37” unhemmed inseam.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): At $63.95 the Pro Flex has all the tactical advantages of the Xpedition and the practical cost of TRU-SPEC®’s Original tactical trousers. One can find the Pro Flex online at third-party vendors for down to $53 with the use of specialty coupons. Overall, for the purpose of a light-moderate tactical pant the Pro Flex is very well priced amid the market of Propper, 5.11, or Blackhawk that would put them on par with the competition.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): While not as breathable as the Xpedition, the Pro Flex still maintained some degree of air circulation during stressor drills (lunges and sprints). It is likely that these will be more comfortable in mild-to-colder temperatures than the Xpedition as there is more trouser material and less four-way accents. There was enough flexibility in the gusset and accents that the pants were consistently comfortable. The elastic waistband material ensures that regardless of changes to waistline, you will still find a comfortable fit. It should be noted for the consumer, like the Xpedition pant, the Pro Flex runs on the long side of inseam measurement, and TRU-SPEC® confirmed this is on purpose so as to accommodate for rise in the pant while taking a knee or wearing boots, so the buyer need not add to their current inseam length when ordering.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): Although there is no Denier rating for the Pro Flex’s 65/35 polyester, the 6.5-ounce polyester/cotton blend used is among some of the industry standard for a wide array of tactical clothing. This combination offers a solid balance between abrasion resistance and flexibility. The added rip-stop pattern used to weave the polyester ensures that if any damage does occur, it does not compromise the overall garment. Despite stressor drills I did not observe any tear or sudden wear that would indicate problems. There is extensive bartack at key stress points throughout the Pro Flex, specifically at the corners to all pockets and gusset, that will help ensure longevity.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): The Pro Flex reaps the benefits of two of TRU-SPEC®’s bestselling tactical trousers; the Xpedition’s flexibility in the knee, waist, and gusset and the durability of the Original. Unlike the Xpedition however, the Pro Flex pockets are designed to dominantly be accessible from the outside, whereas some of the Xpedition’s pockets were concealed or inside other pockets. Given the intent of making an affordable tactical trouser, without going down the full rabbit hole of all the bells and whistles the market has to offer. The Pro Flex are a good balance between TRU-SPEC®’s innovation and consumer affordability.
  • Weight Average (3/5): The weight of each pant varies depending on size due to mass of material used in different waistline and inseam measurements. In this case, the featured pants were a 38” waist and 34” inseam that weighed 1.6 pounds. This is lighter than the average tactical pants, in part due to the lighter four-way accent material. However, often heavier tactical pants on the current market include features the Pro-Flex did not include in design, such as additional snap enclosures, external knee pads, or thicker polyester. In comparison, if you want the advantages of the Xpedition but not the expense, then the Pro Flex is the perfect option.

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

Product Link: https://www.truspec.com/24-7-series/pants/mens-pro-flex-pants

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.

 

ProTac Rail Mount HL-X: Turn Night Into Day

Designed as a dedicated long gun light, the ProTac Rail Mount HL-X by Streamlight offers an affordable and durable light for rifles or carbines. Introduced in 2017 for shooters in a professional, competitive, or personal setting, the ProTac series provides the user with flexibility and function.

The ProTac Rail Mount HL-X is one in a series of lights that includes its predecessor; the Rail Mount 1, the Rail Mount 2, and the alternative Rail Mount HL-Xs (with laser). These different models afford the user to select the best light necessary for its application.

IMG_0630

Its 6000 Series, aircraft-grade aluminum housing ensures the Rail Mount HL-X has a robust ability to withstand heavy usage. It features a tailcap switch control or an included remote switch allowing the operator to select between the preprogrammed HIGH/STROBE, HIGH, or LOW/HIGH modes. Included with the Rail Mount HL-X is a two-button remote switch with the necessary mounting hardware to attach it to a Picatinny/MIL-STD-1913 rail.

While each model within the ProTac line has a different light output, the Rail Mount HL-X produces 1,000 lumens (or 27,600 candela) on HIGH or 60 lumens (or 1,600 candela) on LOW. Its narrow beam has a peripheral illumination that reaches 332 meters on HIGH or 80 meters on LOW before dispersal. C4 LED technology gives the Rail Mount HL-X’s light element a 50,000-hour lifetime, and impervious to shock. In front of the optic, the light has Borofloat glass designed to withstand a high degree of heat and impact/abrasion resistance.

Different models within the ProTac line accept a variety of power sources. The Rail Mount HL-X accepts two CR123A lithium batteries that gives the light a battery life of 1.5 hours on the HIGH beam setting, or 22 hours on the LOW.

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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 Rail Mount 2 has an overall measurement of 5.43” (L) x 1.45” (W) x 1.72” (H) and an operating range between -40 degrees Fahrenheit, to 120 degrees. With the standard tailcap, the Rail Mount HL-X has passed the Immersion Water Test (IPX7) and with the remote switch has passed the IPX4 test and is rated waterproof up to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes.

The Streamlight Rail Mount HL-X is only available in Black (featured).

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): Available at a variety of secondary vendors from $99 to $163 (depending on discount/coupon availability), the Rail Mount HL-X offers Streamlight’s legacy of durable Weapon Mounted Lights (WMLs) at an inexpensive cost. The obvious market competitor would be Surefire’s Scout series of WMLs with remote light switch ($389 – $479). Inforce also offers a Gen 2 WML ($130) that does not include a remote switch, rather it is integrated into the housing.
  • Comfort Average (3/5): In addition to its tailcap switch, the Rail Mount HL-X came with a 3 ¾” pressure switch that has a 7” length of cable between it and the base of the WML. The included rail grabbing segments allowed the user to position the switch in a comfortable position (in relation to the Rail Mount light housing) where it was easily selected while maintaining a positive grip on the handguard. The included zip-ties proved critical (although not aesthetic) in keeping the switch solidly mounted, otherwise there was notable movement. Alternatively, the Rail Mount HL-X came with an adhesive pad if the user elected to use it rather than the rail grabbers. It would be recommended to Streamlight to invest in improving the rail switch design (the biggest impact to the overall Comfort score) to make it independently more secure on the rail, or for consumers to consider a switch mount similar to ones by Cloud Defensive.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): With a housing made entirely from aircraft-grade aluminum, the Rail Mount HL-X had a durability level comparable to the leading market competitor—Surefire. This ensured regardless of the WMLs position on the rifle, or situation employed, the Rail Mount HL-X held a high-degree of impact resistance. Another feature tested was the Borofloat glass by striking it and the WMLs bezel with a loaded rifle magazine 10x before rifle drills. This neither impacted the ability of the Rail Mount HL-X to function nor damaged the front-end glass or the LED element. The main housing (on both ends) had a rubber O-ring that ensures maximum resistance to moisture penetration. The most notable negative aspect of the Rail Mount HL-X’s durability was in fact the rubberized padding of the remote switch, as it immediately attracted all the range dust possible, and will likely wear out over time (as most remote switches do). Review of customer input confirmed the remote’s durability is dubious, but not the Rail Mount HL-X itself. Customers overcame the shortfalls in the remote switch by converting to the tailcap switch. A recommendation for Streamlight would be to improve the remote switch control’s durability and its wiring if at all possible.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): From a functional aspect, the Rail Mount HL-X had the ability to select between HIGH/LOW functions and STROBE thanks to its “TEN TAP” pre-programming. It was a little tricky to get the 10 clicks and select the next cycle program, but manageable. This gave the Rail Mount HL-X an added function over its competitors, which only have a single throw switch between ON and/or STROBE settings. This added functionality to use either a LOW or HIGH/LOW beam will prolong battery life at the lower power settings. As noted in the comfort aspect, the included rail switch is also an improvement over Streamlight’s competitors in that for most WMLs the switch is sold separately, or adds to the cost of the light itself. The rail mount of the WML housing was solid and the clamp maintained a secure hold regardless of rounds fired. It did stick out a little however, risking hang-ups if not noted by the shooter. It would be an improvement to the functionality if Streamlight would have either a low-profile rail mount, or use a locking throw lever to minimize bulk.
  • Weight Good (4/5): At a lightweight 5 ounces, the Rail Mount HL-X weighs less than Surefire’s M622 (7.5 ounces w/1,000 lumens), M612 Ultra Scout Light (6.6 ounces w/1,000 lumens), and its M312 Scout (5.9 ounces w/500 lumens). So, in aspect to other WMLs with variable switches, the Rail Mount 2 has a very good balance between overall weight and light output to other vendors.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

Product Link: https://www.streamlight.com/en/products/detail/index/protac-rail-mount-hl-x

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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