Raytheon ExoskeletonThe U.S. military listed off the companies its working with thus far to develop a tactical suit for special operators that is often compared to the suit worn in the Hollywood film Iron Man.

Many of the companies listed on the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) are the usual defense regulars like Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. There a few other athletic wear companies like Nike and Under Armour. And then there are a few outliers that have left some in the industry scratching their heads like National Public Radio and Red Bull Air Force.

Military leaders to include Adm. William McRaven, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command, have touted the suit as a next generation capability that will change how Special Forces operate. Leaders like McRaven want it to provide troops super human strength, the ability to see through walls and a bulletproof skin, among other capabilities. [click to continue…]


Vertx - A-Range bag - 1Several of our minions have been playing around with elements of the new Vertx EDC lineup – the A-Range Bag is particularly good to go. This isn’t to say we don’t like what we’ve seen of the whole line, we do, but the A-Range Bag is what we’re most intrigued by. We’ll warn you up front, the price point on some EDC pieces will make you work to justify the expense to Household-6. They range from $150 for the satchel up to $220 for the Gamut Plus. It’s worth the purchase in our estimation, just not something you’re going to pick up for a few bucks at the PX as an impulse buy.

There are 7 pieces in the EDC lineup total – Commuter, Satchel, Gamut, Gamut Plus, Courier, A-Range and the limited edition version of the Gamut Plus. All of them have a lot of Velcro real-estate, largely because of their “Tactigami” add-on (this Tactigami stuff would be worthy of a short article itself, so watch for that). Below are a couple of videos from the new series. To our minions’ minds, the best piece of the line is the A-Range bag. It is, as the name indicates, a modular range bag. It’s very well designed and has some great features. Good for an individual/family visit to the range though obviously it’s not going to be something that carries everything you need for everyone during a qual day.

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A military police officer says he and his colleagues should be allowed to carry their own guns on bases while off duty to help provide security during mass shootings or other incidents.

The debate over whether to allow troops to carry personal firearms on military installations has gained momentum after the recent shooting at Fort Hood, Texas — the site of two mass shootings since 2009. [click to continue…]


Enduring FreedomCommon sense tells you that wearing your helmet and body armor in combat will increase your odds of survival, but British Army researchers said evidence to objectively demonstrate the advantage of body armor is scarce.

A British medical unit mapped the surface wounds of all NATO and Afghan troops treated at the field hospital at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, from July 8 to October 12, 2012. The doctors and nurses compared the wounds with the body armor the soldiers wore.  They also mapped the wounds of those who did not have the protective helmet or armor on at the time they were hit.

And what they found was that troops wearing a helmet were 2.7 times less likely to sustain a fragmentation wound to the head than those that were unprotected. Body armor made it 4.1 times less likely that the soldier would suffer a fragmentation wound to the chest or abdomen, while a pelvis protector improved the wearer’s odds against a wound to the pelvic area by 10 times. [click to continue…]



Sig Sauer has a new, self-defense ammo that looks promising.

Elite Performance Centerfire Pistol Ammunition features the SIG V-Crown stacked hollow point design that “provides a smaller additional hollow point cavity behind the main cavity. This design, along with V-shaped jackets skives and scores provides controlled, uniform expansion at all effective distances and velocities,” according to Sig officials.SIG-Ammo-Web-New-Cutaway

It has a “unique toothed cannelure located halfway up the shank of the bullet to more effectively lock the jacket and core. This feature provides exceptional structural integrity in a jacketed design, ensuring maximum weight retention and outstanding terminal performance.”

Elite Performance ammo has a nickel-plated, brass case to reduce corrosion, enhances lubricity, and improves feeding and extraction, Sig officials say.

Sig Sauer has a detailed video on its website. Elite Performance is available in .380 AUTO, 9mm Luger, .357 Sig, .40 S&W and .45 AUTO and retails for $16-$22 for a box of 20.


esfk_smThere are many sparking fire starters out there, and most perform pretty well. The SOLKOA Survival Systems Faststrike appeals to me more than many because it features a three-inch hacksaw blade as a striker to accompany its ”ferrocerium high-energy sparking rod.”

“Besides acting as the striker for the sparking rod, the hacksaw can be used for cutting of course and also produces excellent sawdust for use as additional tinder for a survival fire,” SOLKOA Survival Systems officials maintain.

I know this is not a new idea. I made a similar striker for my Light My Fire Swedish Fire Steel a couple of years back. It works well, but I would have just purchased this one had I known it was available.

The saw teeth create a good shower of sparks compared to the cheap sliver of metal that comes with most fire steels. Truly, a Bic lighter is the best fire starter, but the gear head in me always wants a fool-proof back up in my pack.

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This is an interesting concept. Exoskel Urban Climber X2 shin guards look like they would be right at home in a “Mad Max” movie – or on infantrymen climbing through windows and scrambling over walls on a house-to-house search operation.

“Exoskel has been created to assist the user to rapidly ascend urban obstacles. After constantly failing to negotiate obstacles when rushed and weighed down, and after many cuts and damaged lower limbs, Exoskel was developed, according to the Exoskel website.

“Its primary use is to provide leverage while ascending obstacles and negotiating uneven terrain. Armed with teeth to lock on to obstacles in any environment, and lift the user, via the stirrup system, up, over, and on… Exoskel protects the shin when scrambling over sharp and dangerous terrain and stabilizes the user on uneven ground and in awkward positions.”

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