Army equipment officials are asking gear companies for new ideas to reduce the weight of soldier protective kit by as much as 40 percent.

The Oct. 6 Request For Information asks for proposals to lighten the Soldier Protection System Torso and Extremity Protection, or SPS TEP.

The SPS TEP design consists of four components — Modular Scalable Vest, Ballistic Combat Shirt, Blast Pelvic Protector, and Load Distribution System. The Army has awarded multiple indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contracts for all of the components of the system, which weighs in at 16.14 pounds for a size medium.

“This RFI is to gain information on industry’s capabilities to further lighten soldiers’ load by 10-40% or better when compared to the legacy SPS TEP,” according to the RFI. “Significant potential exists in further reducing the weight of the SPS TEP components due to continued improvements in both ballistic and non-ballistic components.”

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Magpul’s new AR Enhanced Magazine Release is now available.

The EMR “provides an enlarged contact surface for quick and fumble free magazine changes,” Magpul officials maintain.

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If you live to lighten your kit, Emdom USA’s new Fight Light MALICE Clips might help you shave a few ounces of your MOLLE gear.

“These are identical in function to the previous version, but they’re thinner, lighter, stronger, and much easier to weave,” according to Emdom officials.

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Soldiers began the U.S. Army’s Best Warrior Competition 2015 Oct. 4 by zeroing an M4 Carbine on a 25-meter indoor range.

During the week-long competition, competitors will take a physical fitness test and demonstrate their proficiency in the Army’s 40 Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills.

Participants must also complete a written essay to demonstrate communications skills and cope with a mystery event that’s designed to see how well they can think on their feet while under both physical and mental stress.

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Daniel Defense recently unveiled its newest rifle chambered for 7.62 x 51mm NATO – the DD5V1.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way this rifle turned out,” said Daniel Defense president and CEO Marty Daniel, in a recent press release.

“Our engineers utilized existing technology where appropriate and developed entirely new designs when necessary to optimize the performance of this gold-standard rifle. Those who demand … the increased range and terminal ballistics of 7.62mm ammo are going to be very pleased with this rifle.”

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Retired Command Sergeant Major T.S. Decker provides some helpful information on how to use mission-specific kit for tactical operations.

Decades ago, troops donned a pistol belt made of canvas to carry a sidearm with holster, magazines, a canteen, a first aid kit, and compass pouch, he said. In the modern era, they wear something similar but with synthetic material that’s more lightweight and durable — in addition to body armor, he said.

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Remotely-controlled weapons stations have drastically reduced the number of soldiers needed for perimeter security at an expeditionary base camp at Fort Bliss, Texas.

“Every Soldier I have assigned to securing the perimeter is one I don’t have that can execute support missions,” said Lt. Col. Raphael Heflin, commander, 142nd Combat Service Support Battalion, or CSSB, 1st Armored Division, in an Army press release

At a conventional combat outpost, it takes four to six soldiers doing eight- or 12-hour shifts to man one weapons system on the perimeter, he said.

Using relatively new remote control weapons systems, he said, pointing to a series of unmanned, weaponized towers at the edge of the razor wire, two soldiers inside the base camp tactical operation center can do the security work once done by 10.

The towers are fitted with a Browning M-2 50-caliber machine gun and a .338 Lapua sniper rifle.

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