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Magpul BEV Block: An Essential Tool for Your Bench

Introduced in 2014, the BEV Block was part of Magpul’s effort to diversify beyond its magazine line and into other areas of interest. The Barrel Extension Vice (BEV) Block allows the individual to properly mount the AR15/M4 upper receiver for maintenance or light-to-moderate gunsmithing.

The BEVB lock is made from a combination of Magpul polymer to protect the finish, and hardened steel for strength. It is an all-in-one tool made for workbench vices to service elements of both the upper and lower forged and billet receivers to include; barrel nuts, handguards, flash hiders, triggers, pistol grips, and more.

The upper portion of the BEV Block includes a forward-facing barrel extension with solid-steel locking lugs that positively engage the inner lugs of the barrel.

The rear of this extension also features a rubberized O-ring post that is used to slide the AR15/M4 bolt into the upper receiver and mount to the rear extension. This and the included receiver pin, positively locks the upper receiver to the BEV Block. The upper portion of the BEV Block has a full length support shank deep inside the inner portion of the body for maximum strength.

The lower portion of the BEV Block allows for solid insertion and lock into the magwell of the lower receiver for work on trigger groups, buffer components, and other things.

The BEV Block is available in only in Black (featured).

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Good (4/5): At $49.95 the BEV Block is made dominantly from Magpul’s polymer blend with a solid steel locking lug adapter and core for added rigidity. There is no direct comparator for the BEV Block in terms of all-inclusive armorer’s tool for both upper and lower receivers. Other market alternatives, such as the Delta Block ($29.99) by Wheeler Engineering or Real-Avid’s Smart-Fit AR-15 Vice Block ($34.95), only allow for an either/or design whereby the polymer blocks or vices only can be used for one receiver and not the other. Other all-steel reaction rod type tools, such as Geissele’s Reaction Rod ($99) or the Upper Receiver Rod ($104.95) by Midwest Industries, again are only suitable for upper receiver and barrel work.  And while the BEV Block is best used for maintenance and moderate gunsmithing, for its cost and ability to support both upper/lower receivers it had a very good price point for the end-user.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): Used for a variety of rifle builds, the BEV Block did well to hold up to consistent use, especially against the pressures of being in a bench vise and the impact use of a hammer. Only minimal surface marring was observed throughout use, with no evidence of hairline cracking or compromise of the polymer exterior. It is most likely that over-tightening of the bench vise would eventually lead to some level of damage, so end-users should take care in this aspect.
  • Functionality – Good (4/5): Functionally, use of the BEV Block was straightforward. On the end for the upper receiver, even with using the associated BCG for added stability, there was still a little wobble in the overall upper—but was suitable for maintenance work. However, the BEV Block’s didn’t confidently lend itself to fully supporting the overall upper receiver for tightening aspects like barrel nuts or muzzle brakes to the appropriate torque, and may be something Magpul explores in improving in later iterations. Likewise, the opposite end for lower receivers did well to fill the magwell of multiple AR-15s, positively engaging the magazine release in doing so and keeping a solid lock on the receiver. This helped greatly in trigger work and other aspects. One recommendation for Magpul would be to look into having an interchangeable barrel extension whereby the end-user could swap out the upper receiver component for other caliber of AR rifles. This would expand on its overall functionality.
  • Weight – Excellent (5/5): At a demure 11.2 ounces the BEV Block owes a lot of its light weight to its blend of polymer and a sufficient level of steel to ensure rigidity. As with Cost, it is difficult to find a direct comparator to the BEV Block as most gunsmithing tools only enable for one to work on either the upper receiver or the lower, and not both. As such, the Delta Block (21.6 ounces) shows the lightweight characteristics of similar polymer blocks, whereas the all-steel Upper receiver Rod (5 pounds) from Midwest Industries shows how heavier the more denser gunsmithing tools can go. As such the BEV Block is an excellent weight for the given function of servicing both the upper and lower receivers.

Overall Rating – Above Average (17/20)

Product Link: https://magpul.com/bevblock-ar15-m4.html?mp_global_color=undefined

I 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.

Tactical Tailor Rogue Plate Carrier: Start Your Kit with a Solid Foundation

Designed as a minimalist plate carrier, the Rogue by Tactical Tailor gives the wearer a lightweight, base setup that can be easily customized to meet a variety of missions.

Introduced in 2017, the Rogue offers a number of advantages as the market for ballistic plate carriers has shifted over the years, to more minimalist designs that hold the plate and carriage tighter into the body.

The front and rear plate carriers feature a split tweave and rubberized nylon design that offer enough flexibility to accommodate standard SAPI/AR500 plates, odd-sized plates, or allow the wearer to size up one plate size. The interior of the front and back carrier also have dual padded bars to help improve airflow and comfort.

Each carrier also has a (female) hook-and-loop panel for identification or morale patches, and the rear carrier has an associated drag handle with its own hook-and-loop to secure it when not in use.

The shoulder straps are secured via hook-and-loop fields that allow for height adjustment using pull tabs. Each side includes webbing to pass either a hydration tube through or communication wiring.

In addition, the rubberized nylon has laser-cut MOLLE channels for added strength and two chest loops to hang pouches or accessories from. The Rogue is compatible to other Tactical Tailor accessories, such as the Rogue Adaptable Chest Rig, RRPS pouches, or other MOLLE-compatible attachments from the Tactical Tailor line.

The cummerbund is made from milspec-grade elastic with eight slots (four per side) for rifle magazines (up to 7.62/.308) or accessories. They join the front and rear carriers by associated hook-and-loop fields and are fully adjustable. The rear carrier has the hardware for the elastic cummerbund to be replaced and exchanged for the Rogue Skeletonized cummerbund (sold separately).

The Rogue plate carrier is available in Ranger Green (featured), Black, Multicam, and Coyote. Also in this evaluation were a set of Spartan™ Omega™ AR500 and UHMWPE Level III ballistic plates. These items were included to assist in evaluating the plate carrier’s functionality, comfort, and durability. The plates themselves are not included as part of this review.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): At an MSRP between $204 and $271 (color dependent) the Rogue is moderately priced as a minimalist plate carrier and amid the market for similar setups. The Rothco Lightweight ($88), the Crye Jumpable Plate Carrier ($245), and the Scarab LE by Velocity Systems ($329) all demonstrate the depth of cost for minimalist plate carriers and the differences, just as with the Rogue Plate Carrier, comes down to included features, materials, and design.
  • Comfort Average (3/5): Initially used with a set of UHMWPE plates, they proved perhaps too light to adequately keep the Rogue in place. During shooting evolutions, the front of the carrier would creep up and end up in the throat, either due to the elastic or movement of the carrier. However, when the plates were swapped out with more traditional AR500 plates that weigh significantly more, the Rogue held its position regardless of body movement and the issue of “creep” by the carrier was resolved. Otherwise, with adjustable shoulder straps and cummerbund the Rogue was just as easy to attain proper fit and comfort as any competitor. The padding and tweave on the interior added to the comfort vale and kept the Rogue at a solid average scoring.
  • Durability – Average (3/5): Given the majority of the Rogue is a split rubberized nylon and tweave material, the overall durability of the plate carriers with added ballistic plates was good during evaluation. They held up during drills that would have otherwise stressed the material to gauge its ability to avoid becoming compromised. That said, the weaker elements of the Rogue were in its elastic cummerbund. The constant action of donning/removing the cummerbund caused some edge separation between the hook-and-loop fields, though did not compromise the stitching, and is common for such designs. This could be alleviated by adding a pull tab or loop to the corners or ends, similar to Blue Force Tactical’s BLIP tab, that would transfer a lot of the “tearing” motion/stress to a dedicated, hardened point rather than grabbing at the edges. Tactical Tailor appears to have addressed this issue by adding the Rogue Skeletonized Cummerbund (sold separately) to its product line that can be added to the Rogue Plate Carrier in lieu of the elastic cummerbund that comes with it.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): As a minimalist plate carrier, the Rogue did as needed. It bore both UHMWPE and AR500 plates acceptably and still left extensive room for additional features to include pouches, modified chest carriers, and other hook-and-loop accessories. Meanwhile, the carrier itself did not detract from usage by either weight nor flexibility. Because of the ability to improve on the Rogue Plate Carrier with other Rogue-line accessories (such as the skeletonized cummerbund mentioned above) by Tactical Tailor, the carrier offers a good base from which to build a customized kit.
  • Weight Excellent (5/5): Weighing in at 1.05 pounds, the Rogue Plate Carrier lends a lot of its lightweight design to the split rubberized nylon and tweave of the front and back carriers. The Rothco (1.5 pounds), Crye (1.4 pounds) and Scarab (2.2 pounds) minimalist plate carriers detailed above, all came in over the weight of the Rogue despite sharing many of the same features. This ranking places Tactical Tailor’s plate carrier as one of the lighter on the available market and perfect for those looking to keep weight to a minimum.

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

Product Link: https://www.tacticaltailor.com/rogueplatecarrier.aspx

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.

 

Black Scorpion N3 Package: Everything Needed for Competition

Offering their own rigid competition belt and magazine holsters, Black Scorpion Outdoor Gear has several combination packages that can outfit any shooter for IDPA or USPSA matches. These packages vary between the Combo Rig N3 and more advanced setups.

The Combo Rig N3 is the base combination package offered by Black Scorpion that includes the new Pro Heavy-Duty Competition Belt and four Storm Grand Master magazine holsters. The belt is similar to other dedicated competition belt styles in that it is a two-belt system consisting of a rigid outer belt and a soft nylon inner belt.

The outer belt is made with a 5mm High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) core that gives shooters a rigid platform by which to hang pouches or accessories. The inside is lined with (male) hook-and-loop to join to the corresponding field on the inner belt to provide a solid platform on which to hang holsters and accessories. Accompanying the outer belt is a logoized belt keeper.

The inner belt is made from 2mm HDPE to give a balance between a flexible belt with some rigidity by which shooters can use for regular wear during a day on the range, or in-between stages. The outside is lined with (female) hook-and-loop that joins with the corresponding field on the outer belt.

IMG_8710

Intended for right-hand shooters, and accompanying the Pro Heavy-Duty Competition Belt in the N3 package, are four Storm Grand Master magazine holsters. They are available in single or double-stack versions and made from a durable polymer molding. Hardware in the holsters are stainless steel for added strength, and the angle of the holster can be 360-degree customizable. Tension on each magazine can be adjusted with the newly designed spring system for improved release during the draw.

Belt Specifications:

  • M (32″ to 34″)
  • L (34″ to 36″)
  • XL (38″ to 40″)
  • XXL (42″ to 44″)

The Black Scorpion Combo Rig N3 only comes in Black, and has a lifetime warranty. Also featured is a Apparition kydex holster by Spectre Holsters, but not considered in part of this review.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostExcellent (5/5): Currently priced at $139.99, the Combo N3 package is still significantly priced below what each individual item would cost (belt-$47.99, mag holster $34.99/ea.) from Black Scorpion so there is immediate cost savings. However, in comparison to other vendors offering a similar setup, such as by Double Alpha ($170, holster dependent), Black Scorpion is still a better value for a full setup. Even when considered just as its base components, the belt alone is still under the price of its competitors, such as Double Alpha’s Premium Belt ($54), the CR “Speed” Belt ($49) from Shooter’s Connection, or Tuff Product’s Surefit Competition Belt ($49).
  • Comfort Good (4/5): As a whole, the two-part system made wearing a pistol and magazines very comfortable. The rigid HDPE core of the outer belt supported a large percentage of the overall weight with/without fully-loaded magazines, while the hook-and-loop sections between the inner and outer belts helped ensure no excessive movement of attached items. Worn as just a general use belt, the inner belt was flexible enough to be both comfortable and functionable. The adjustable springs and hardware to the Storm magazine holsters made each draw very smooth and consistent, and allowed for customized tension to each magazine at any location around the belt.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): In comparison to its competitors, the Pro Heavy-Duty Competition Belt has important elements in durability that others did not. Right out of the box there were no loose/excessive threads, and the amount of material along the outer belt edge was even and noticeably larger in surface area than other competition belts. This translates to longer use in the repetitive action of peeling the outer belt off of the inner belt, and less chance of separation between the belts and hook-and-loop sections. While the Storm magazine holsters themselves were made from a high-density polymer, it is likely the hardware or threads could be the weakest point in the design over the long-term, and given continual use. It would be nice if the vendor offered a replacement parts kit for the hardware or the front/back plate to further support its overall product line in the event of cross-threading.
  • Functionality Average (3/5): Overall the functionality of the Pro Heavy-Duty Competition Belt was pretty straightforward. The two-part system held enough rigidity to maintain its shape, with minimal warping (despite the weight of loaded magazines and holstered weapon). The Storm holsters themselves provided a great deal of functionality enabling the approach angle for the draw to be 360-degree customizable. The one-piece belt loop of the Storm holsters were very tight in relation to threading the outer belt through them, resulting in some separation of the hook-and-loop/thread at the outer belt’s tip. It remained uncertain if prolonged usage would result in further separation, or if the overall stitching will hold. It was noted that other Black Scorpion magazine holsters allowed for full disassembly/reassembly directly onto the belt, which would have avoided the issue on the Storm holsters.
  • Weight Average (3/5): At approximately 2.15 pounds total, the overall Combo Rig N3 was amazingly light considering the amount of materials. The use of the polymer core in the outer belt added some weight, but not significantly more than other market alternatives. The bulk of the weight stems from the Storm magazine holsters, which weighed approximately 5 ounces (without magazine) each. In comparison, the weight of the Combo Rig N3 was similar to that of other setups, such as a Double Alpha belt with Racer magazine pouches (approx. 2 pounds).

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

Product Link: https://www.blackscorpiongear.com/collections/combination-sets/products/combo-rig-n3-1-competition-belt-4-pouches-storm-grand-master

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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