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Rob Curtis, long-time senior photographer for Military Times, is now the new, Staff Features Editor for Recoil Magazine.

This is a pretty big win for Recoil, a tactical firearms mag launched in 2012. Rob has become one of the most knowledgeable small-arms and gear writers in the business.

I have known Rob for about 16 years. For 11 of those years, we worked together at Military Times. We had our first real-world assignment together in June 1999 when the U.S. Peace-Keeping Force went into Kosovo. Four years later, Rob and I found ourselves together again during the start of the ground invasion of Iraq in 2003. We swallowed the same dust in an all-day street battle, shadowing soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division in Karbala.

Since then, Rob and I have worked together, argued like brothers and competed against one another covering weapons and gear used by the U.S. Military. He has also been a mentor as I still struggle to learn photography.

Rob is a skilled photographer and videographer, but he has also branched out and developed as a writer. He was the driving force behind the creation of GearScout at Military Times several years ago. Some of the leadership was skeptical of the concept at the time, but Rob has built the site into a respected source of behind-the-scenes gouge on the military small-arms and gear industry.

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Sniper training provides ‘combat multiplier’ for Iraqi ArmyThe U.S. Army wants to buy a clip-on thermal sight to help snipers see through heavy fog or sand storms to find and kill their targets.

Army Contracting Command issued a March 17 draft solicitation to rifle-optics makers for the Family of Weapon Sights – Sniper, or FWS-S. The system will need to be a lightweight, self-contained, battery operated, thermal imaging system for surveillance and target acquisition that’s designed to work with the M107 Long Range Sniper Rifle, M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System, M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle, and the Precision Sniper Rifle, according to the document.

“The FWS-S will be a critical enabler that will allow the sniper to detect, observe and engage targets in low light, adverse weather, and limited visibility conditions with minimal or no interruption or impact on the sniper’s normal daylight tactics,” according to the document.

The concept is similar to the Army’s AN/PVS-30 Clip-on Sniper Night Sight since it is designed to be mounted in front of the day optic sight on the M110 SASS and the M2010 ESR. The Army also has the AN/PAS-13(V)3 Heavy Weapon Thermal Sight for the M107 LRSR. [click to continue…]

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Scary. But awesome at the same time.

The Ion Productions Team recently unveiled its new XM42 handheld flamethrower.

“We wanted to develop something fun that looked and performed awesome,” according to company’s website. “With the help of local machine shops, we were able to bring the design to reality with a quality working prototype.”

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Army-M4-600x400This morning, we published a piece by Matthew Cox on the new upgrades the Army is looking at for the M4A1 to include performance, accuracy and even color.

What’s that? You also noticed the Army just ended its M4 Product Improvement Program by choosing to go with the M4A1 that U.S. Special Operations Command was already issuing to operators.

So there is some speculation about what this latest effort will yield but the Army has said it wants to survey what the small arms industry has to offer as far as better rails, triggers, charging handles and sights for the M4A1, Cox wrote. [click to continue…]

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Mil-Spec Monkey has a highly-adjustable Wrap Holster for worth checking out.

It’s made for EDC-style bags with loop/pile interior zones. This pouch was originally sized to fit combat pistols, but it also fits rifle magazines and “flat” electronics such as smartphones.

“After using many velcro backed holsters that always seemed to snag on the front sight during a draw, we came up with this one to offer clean draws even on full-sized pistols with suppressor sights and or tac-lights,” MSM officials say.

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Joe Florko — a former federal law-enforcement officer and wilderness ranger for the National Park Service for nearly 10 years – has started an emergency-preparedness company that assembles gear packages for first-responder and aid worker types.

As a gearhead, I love putting together my own emergency kits and sometimes spend a week or so organizing just the right combination of gear.

But I suppose there are some people out there who just need a good assortment of kit and need it fast. So for these lost souls, there’s Florko’s Zyon Systems.

“We offer professional-caliber, configured emergency kits,” he said in a recent email. “I’ve used my experience responding to emergency calls and hauling people out of the back-country to build completely turn-key emergency response packs.”

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FORT BENNING, Ga. – It’s been about eight years since the U.S. Army first deployed its smart-soldier technology to war. Now soldiers are finally viewing this digital, situational-awareness gear as a trusted piece of soldier kit.

The Army’s Experimentation Force, made up of soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment here, recently tested the wearable, command and control gear known as Nett Warrior Future Initiative during the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment.

The Nett Warrior system is a Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphone worn in a chest-mounted pouch and connected to networked radio such as a Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-152A wideband networking handheld radio or the older General Dyanamics AN/PRC-154A Rifleman Radio.

Without getting too far into the weeds, Nett Warrior Future Initiative is equipped with a special software package that helps the system handle multiple intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance sensor feeds such as video streams from unmanned aerial systems.

So a platoon leader can share these video streams from a company-level Raven UAS and a platoon-level InstantEye UAS with his squad leaders.

Spec. Erin Broihier, a radio operator with A Company, said he has been impressed by how much Nett warrior has improved over the past four AEWEs.

“Every time they have brought it back, it has gotten better and better and better,” he said.

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