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Hazard 4 Patrol Pack: For Those Who Adventure

Designed in California as an intermediate backpack, the Patrol backpack by Hazard 4 provides the functionality of a day pack and the storage capacity of a 72-hour bag. With its unique features and padded reinforcement, carrying the Patrol will be comfortable regardless if its to the range or on the trail.

Exterior

The exterior of the Patrol involves a number of unique elements that Hazard 4 has developed to extend the role of its product. Starting at the front, the Patrol prominently features an 8.3″ (L) x 4.3″ (W) x 1.2″ (D) pill-shaped pocked with thermoformed shell, and secured via zipper.

Below pill-pocket is a 10.6″ (L) x 8.9″ (W) x 1″ (D) administrative pocket secured via zipper. On the exterior of the admin pocket are four strips of folded material (on non-Scorpion variants it is nylon) that are stitched to create MOLLE-compatible spacing. Between these strips are two (female) hook-and-loop strips for identification tabs. On the bottom of the admin pocket are two drainage grommets.

Inside the admin pouch are two document sleeves, two pen sleeves, two accessory sleeves, a card pocket, and two MOLLE straps to clip items on to. These sleeves are all made out of a smooth, logoized nylon material.

On both sides of the Patrol are multiple nylon MOLLE straps, two compression straps with plastic slide-release buckles, and a slide pocket. At the top is a durable plastic carry handle, hook-and-loop access tab for a hydration tube, a small access zipper into the main compartment, and two plastic slide-release buckles that anchor the shoulder straps. Under the slide-release buckles is a zipper-secured pocket for a hydration bladder or laptop.

On the back panel are multiple thermoformed pads to provide comfort and rigidity to the overall frame, but also insulate/pad the hydration bladder pocket.

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Included with the Patrol is a mesh padded, removable waist strap to help mitigate the weight of the pack during long-term use. It can be removed to be worn as a stand-alone belt to hang accessories from while walking. The waist strap features Hazard 4’s patented locking buckle that prevents accidental uncoupling. Along the waist strap are two bands of the same folded material as on the exterior of the admin pouch, stitched into MOLLE-compatible spacing.

The shoulder straps are padded and contoured to maximize comfort of the user with an adjustable sternum strap. They have a strip of MOLLE-compatible folded material down its length, with plastic slide-release buckles on either end for rapid removal of the pack if needed.

On the bottom of the Patrol is a nylon grab-handle over which are two additional compression straps. The bottom of the Patrol also is coated in a PVC/rubberized material to prevent saturation of the pack if placed down on a wet surface.

Interior

On the interior of the Patrol backpack, and behind the admin pocket, is a 17.4″ (L) x 10.5″ (W) x 0.8″ (D) zipper-secured laptop pocket with a smooth, logoized nylon liner.

The main storage compartment is fleece and nylon-lined and measures 17.7″ (L) x 12.6″ (W) x 8.7″ (D). It also includes an internal sleeve for documents or other flat items, with a single drainage grommet on the bottom.

The overall Patrol backpack measures 20.9″ L x 12.6″ W x 10″ D and has a storage capacity of 31.8 liters of space. Its overall materials vary depending on color. The Black and Coyote variants are 1000D Cordura and treated in a PUx2 water repellent coating. The Scorpion (featured) and Grayman are made from polyester. The Grayman variant of the Patrol also features less MOLLE straps on the sides, zippered opening at the top, and no rubberized bottom so as to maintain its low visibility profile and thus it costs less.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): At an MSRP of $209.99 on Hazard 4’s website, but marked at $167.99 at the time of this review, the Patrol backpack is found online for as low as $107.79 depending on color. For a 72-hour backpack, the Patrol is moderately priced under other manufacturers like Tactical Tailor, 5.11, and Blackhawk who make comparable products. But the offset in price is likely due to opting for alternatives in design, such as MOLLE nylon webbing or hardware (discussed in Durability and Functionality).
  • Comfort Excellent (5/5): The Patrol’s soft polyester frame design and thermoformed back panel help give it a high degree of comfort when worn, even fully loaded. The contoured shoulder straps helped distribute the weight across the upper torso evenly and are a far improvement over competitors. Using the removable waist belt (either as part of the backpack or as a standalone belt) also aids in taking some of that load off the shoulders and distributes it to the waist as well thanks to its large padding.
  • Durability – Fair (2/5): The packs polyester gives the Patrol a high degree of durability in terms of abrasion resistance from general wear. But the zippers (specifically the hardware) felt thin which was disconcerting for a pack that is expected to sustain a heavy amount of use. Hazard states these are YKK zippers but in comparison to other 72-hour packs using the same brand, there is a clear difference in feel and function. I also question the option to use folded material on the exterior of the admin pouch to form MOLLE straps. Traditionally these are made from nylon for their strength in hanging more pouches and accessories from, same as those found on the sides of the Patrol pack. But Hazard attempts to offset the difference in material on the front by extensive bartack stitching. It should be noted this choice of material webbing is only on the Scorpion variant of the Patrol, whereas the Black has nylon webbing and the Grayman has a completely discrete exterior design.
  • Functionality Excellent (5/5): As a 72-hour backpack, the Patrol has a fair amount of functionality incorporated into its design. This was highlighted in the pill-shaped hard case on the exterior to protect essential electronics, such as GPS, range finders, or optics and the rubberized bottom to prevent moisture penetration. Even when detached, the waist belt doubled as an impromptu gun belt with plenty of MOLLE webbing to hang holsters or pouches from. With over 30 liters of storage space there was more than enough room to serve as a Bug Out Bag or recon pack. The only negative from a functionality aspect would be that only several zippers feature a hard-plastic lining over the pull cord, whereas most did not. I would have liked to have seen all pull tabs with that protective lining as it aids in drawing the zipper shuttle, and strength of the pull cord.
  • Weight Good (4/5): Weighing 4 pounds (empty), the Patrol is on the average weight of most 72-hour packs on the current market thanks in part to its lightweight polyester design and thermoformed padding. By keeping the design to the essentials and keeping the lining material to light nylon, the overall weight of the Patrol while empty was negligible. Once you begin to add items into the pack however, the weight can easily rest on the shoulders and hips thanks to the included straps.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

Product Link: https://www.hazard4.com/patrol.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.

 

Streamlight Racker Forend Shotgun Light: For the Bump In the Night

Released for SHOT Show 2020, the Racker by Streamlight is a new edition for the company’s line of weapon mounted lights, and its first integrated design for the Mossberg 500/590 line of shotguns.

Intended as a drop-in replacement for the Mossberg’s forend, the custom light optic produces a focused beam with peripheral illumination that reaches 283 meters before dispersal.

In front of the optic, the Racker included Borofloat glass is designed to have a high degree of heat and impact/abrasion resistance.

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The Racker’s integrated weapon light produces 1,000 lumens (20,000 candela) off of two CR123 batteries that give it 1.5 hours of run time.

Along both sides of the Racker, the 4.5” ambidextrous pressure switch allow the operator to select between momentary and continually on function.

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The impact-resistant housing of the forend is almost 8” long and made from a polymer/nylon resin that provides ergonomic handling for the support hand.

The Racker is Mossberg compatible to the 7 3/4″ Action slide 500® and 590® series, or works with Remington 870s (with the exception of the Remington 870 Express Supermag).

With its sealed rubber gasket endcap and enclosed housing to provide waterproofing the Racker is IPX7 rated; waterproof for up to 30 minutes.

The Racker comes in Black (featured) and Orange.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostExcellent (5/5): Coming in at an MSRP of $225, the Racker is a larger, intergraded WML for the more common shotgun styles on the available market. With a light source throwing out 1k lumens, the Racker gives as much light output, or more as other long-gun weapon lights. The closest comparator would be Surefire’s line of forend lights for the Mossberg 500/590 ($399-$599) and Remington 870 shotguns ($399-$599). For a short time EOTech also did offer its Integrated Forend Light ($243.70) forend light, but has since discontinued it. Regardless, as technology has developed, Streamlight’s new Racker is an inexpensive alternative to Surefire’s dominance in the market for intergraded shotgun lights.
  • Comfort Average (3/5): For its textured grip and rigid chassis, the Racker proved to be a very comfortable fit in the support hand that, combined with the angled housing of the light module, served as a good hand stop by which to control the forend. The switch module ran nearly the full length of the grip; however, there wasn’t much of a raised or textured surface on the switch to delineate the tactile feel between that and the chassis. The result was sometimes having to look down to check the position of the thumb on the switch. A recommendation to Streamlight would be to improve the comfort of the switch would be to raise the switch’s surface into a rounded or rubberized feel.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): The ABS polymer housing of the Racker took a good beating yet never failed. The chassis was struck against the wooden frame of the nearby shooting bench five times each side (10 total strikes) before loading and firing the shotgun, and at no point did the material separate nor become compromised beyond minor surface marring. The light module itself remained firmly inside the chassis and it and the switch module continued to function as normal.
  • Functionality – Average (3/5): Functionally, the Racker was designed to be a drop-in replacement for the stock Mossberg forend while adding an integrated weapon light. Its installation was easy and straight forward; however, it would have been nice to have an included forend removal tool, similar to what was included with the Magpul MOE M-LOK forend replacement. Users should take care in ordering the correct Racker for the Mossberg line of shotguns as the 500/590 variant of the Racker (Part # 69600) is slightly different than the 590 Shockwave (##69602) Racker. The latter will still fit on the full-length 500/590, just with the chassis’ shorter overall length it required a spacer to accommodate for the difference. The 1,000 lumens thrown by the Racker made illumination of interior spaces very easy, with a solid central beam for getting into dark corners. The hand strap of the 590 Shockwave variant did not have any adjustability, and did little to secure the forend to the hand. The switch module did have a tangible feel to it that denoted the Racker’s ON/OFF operation. The battery endcap was a little tricky to remove because of its position/angle, but with a wide flat-end screwdriver it was removed to allow access for the CR123 batteries. The Racker did lack the “Safe ON/OFF” feature as found in its other pistol WMLs, such as the TLR-7 and would have made for a nice feature. All of these gave the Racker an appropriate (or average) score with some room for improvement in function.
  • Weight Excellent (5/5): Depending on the model selected (the Mossberg 500®/590® weighed in at 10.78 oz. while the Remington 870 will weigh in at 11.08 oz.). The weight will vary due to the overall size of the chassis and associated ABS polymer. The switch and light modules are the same in both versions and thus had the same mass. In comparison, the DSF-500/590 forend replacement from Surefire (with 600 lumens) weighed approximately 18.2 ounces and its heavier mass is due to the thicker chassis and rubberized features for added grip. When in production, the IFL from EOTech (with 250 lumens) weighed 12.2 ounces and with its integrated light and design was a closer approximation of Streamlight’s Racker. However, in both alternatives the Racker (with 1,000 lumens) was still the lighter option and demonstrated the excellent lightweight design with current LED technology to deliver superior light output.

Overall Rating – Good (21/25)

Product Link: https://www.streamlight.com/products/detail/index/tl-racker

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.

 

Streamlight TLR-8A FLEX: Blending Lumens and Lasers

Introduced in early 2018, the TLR-8 by Streamlight was an adaptation of the TLR-7 but with the added benefit of an optional red or green laser. Designed to fit with compatible conceal carry-sized handguns, the TLR-8 offers professional, competitive, and individual shooters with a steady source of light and pinpoint reference in an otherwise dark environment.

Compact in design, the TLR-8 was an improvement over the previous TRL-4 models in both appearance, size, and light output (measured as lumens). Its 6000 Series aircraft-grade aluminum housing ensures the light’s robust ability to withstand heavy usage.

In 2019, Streamlight added a new switch design to the TLR-8, designated the TLR-8A FLEX that allows for ambidextrous operation with the support hand by pressing forward on the rear-mounted high or low switch control. This is an evolution over the previous butterfly-style switch of the TLR-1 through 4, or the side buttons of the TLR-7. Each FLEX comes with both switch controls to allow the user to choose which best suits their preferred style. The FLEX rear-mounted switch controls allow the operator to select between three modes: Laser Only, Light Only, Both Laser/Light. Once selected, the additional strobe function for the light can be selected (if activated) by double tapping either switch within a ¼ second. The custom light optic produces 500 lumens (or 4,300 candela) in a narrow beam with peripheral illumination that reaches 140 meters before dispersal. In front of the optic, the TLR-8A glass is a Borofloat high temperature glass designed to have a high degree of heat and impact/abrasion resistance.

The TLR-8A FLEX is powered by a single CR123 lithium battery that provides the light/laser an average 1.5 hours of continual runtime, or 60 hours with just the laser only. The battery compartment is sealed via rubberized gasket to avoid penetration of moisture. A special design feature of the FLEX includes the same “Safe ON/OFF” design built into the facecap of the lens as the TLR-8 and TLR-7 that prevents accidental activation.

A series of different mounting keys are provided with the FLEX that provides platform compatibility across a wide variety of handgun platforms.

The FLEX has an overall measurement of 2.58” (L) x 1.18” (W) x 1.50” (H) and an operating range between -20 degrees Fahrenheit, to 120 degrees. It is sealed against moisture thanks to a rubber gasket and enclosed housing to provide waterproofing. It should be noted that the TLR-8 series is the red/green laser variant of the TLR-7.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Good (4/5): At an MSRP of $236.99 the price online can vary depending on retailer and availability of sales/coupons. At the time of this writing it is available for as little as $194.05 on third-party sites, but take care. Overseas counterfeits of weapon lights proliferate sites like Ebay and Amazon. For the MSRP, the TLR-8A FLEX is well below the cost of a Surefire XC1-B (the closest comparable competitor at $299 with 300 lumens) and almost half the size. Alternatively, the Olight Baldr Pro ($149.95) is a more reasonable choice economically, but at twice the bulk.
  • Comfort – Good (4/5): Very light. In comparison to other weapon lights that lead the industry, the TLR-8 FLEX was almost half the weight and was hardly noticeable on the end of the pistol. There has been some Interweb debate on the designs of previous Stremlight switches, requiring the support thumb to come down and to either press inward or down, negatively effecting shot placement. However, the new FLEX switch design allowed the user to continue supporting the firearm in a natural position and driving the support thumb slightly forward. The size of the individual’s hands and grip dictated the choice of a high or low switch.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): Amazingly durable. The course of fire selected for testing the FLEX involved 10 magazines, each with 10 rounds, at a 15-meter target. Between magazine changes the light was struck a number of times on the housing and lens cap with the ejecting magazine before a new one was loaded. The process repeated itself until all rounds were fired. At no point did the TLR-8A light flicker or fail in the firing process, nor drift from center mass. The testing did result in some minor (cosmetic) surface scratches, but nothing that would impact the functionality of the light.
  • Functionality – Good (4/5): Aside from the traditional ON/OFF and momentary light functions, the TLR-8A FLEX has an optional strobe feature that comes from the factory disabled. The laser also came from the factory engaged, so out of the box both light and laser functions are available. It took some time to try the different high and low rear switch options for the FLEX, and find one that was most comfortable. For the user with larger hands on a compact handgun (in this instance a Gen 5 Glock 19 was used) the high switch proved a more comfortable option with its taller profile, and with less distance (however minor) needed to move the thumb down and forward to engage the switch. Smaller hands may like the low switch option, as it enabled the switch to be directly in line with the thumb and thus drive the thumb forward into the switch. In all, preference was determined by the user, and the only way to figure out which option worked best was through trial and error. The FLEX switch design differs from previous switch designs in its alignment with the thumb allowed the support hand to retain its support while still actioning the switch. This is not to say it was better, nor worse than other Streamlight designs—just a different alternative. It was a little tricky to get the rapid nine clicks of the control switch fast enough, then hold the 10th to engage the strobe feature. But once engaged, the strobe easily functioned on the second press of the switch as designed. Disengaging the strobe feature was again little tricky, but after a few tries was successful. The TLR-8A FLEX also had the same “Safe ON/OFF” feature as the TRL-7 that had a tangible/audible click at the detent that indicates it is “Safe” or fully engaged. In essence you are unscrewing the battery connection to the point (or detent) that the connection to the battery became separated. It was a nice feature in application that clearly limited the risk of negligent light discharge when the weapon light is not in use. One notable positive of the TLR-8 (or other dual light/laser combos) was that although the light did disperse as distance increased, the laser dot remained clear and crisp. This could be of an added benefit for family members who are perhaps unfamiliar with WML or handgun function and use the laser as an impromptu point of aim.
  • Weight – Good (4/5): Weighing a mere 2.64 ounces (with provided battery) the TLR-8A weighs about one ounce more than the Surefire XC1-B (1.6 ounces), but provided 200 more lumens. The Olight Baldr Pro (4.55 ounces) was nearly double in weight and drew upon two power cells for its function. In comparison, the TLR-8A weighs half of a TLR-1 but also provided 200 more lumens. Thus, when considering the current market of available weapon lights, the TLR-8 and 8A FLEX were under the average weight of other legacy devices (including other Streamlight units), but comparable to newer models. The weight did not pull the muzzle of the handgun down nor have a notable impact to target acquisition while firing.

Overall Rating – Good (21/25)

Product Link: https://www.streamlight.com/en/products/detail/index/tlr-8-a

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.

 

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