LAS VEGAS – TOPS Knives will soon be selling a folder version of its popular Tex Creek fixed blade.

The Tex Creek is one of my favorite TOPS designs, but I have no need for a fixed blade. Leo Espinoza, vice president of TOPS Knives, has apparently heard this before.

“There are a lot of people that wanted the same style blade, but they didn’t want to carry it on their belt,” he said at SHOT Show 2015.

The Tex Creek folder prototype at the show is so new, it didn’t even have an edge on it yet. It has a four-inch, 1095 carbon steel blade and black linen Micarta handle.

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I sat down with the new commander of Program Executive Soldier, Brig. Gen. Brian Cummings recently. It was a refreshing change since the last two heads of the organization responsible for soldier equipment were shy about talking to the press.

Cummings assumed command of PEO Soldier in October. One of his top priorities will be to launch a new focus on the weight of soldier equipment.

“I would like to take that one on,” Cummings said Tuesday.

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ACCOKEEK, Md. —’s Brendan McGarry and I got a chance to shoot Beretta’s newest version of the M9 9mm pistol Monday during our visit to Beretta USA.

In December, the company submitted the new M9A3 as an engineering change proposal to the U.S. Army‘s existing M9 contract. The move was intended as an alternative to the service’s Modular Handgun System program — an effort that could result in a the selection of a new service pistol for the Army and potentially the entire U.S. Military.

Beretta USA also plans to offer the new pistol to the civilian market.

The M9A3 is a new attempt to address the alleged complaints from the field that have surfaced over the years against the M9 design, company officials maintain.

Whether you love the M9 design or despise it, you have to acknowledge that the M9A3 sports plenty of new features.

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ACCOKEEK, Md. — KitUp visited Beretta USA on Monday for a closer look at the new Beretta M9A3.

We received a detailed briefing on the engineering change proposal to the U.S. Army’s existing contract for M9 9mm pistols. We also had the chance to shoot the new pistol at Beretta USA’s on-site firing range.

I wrote a Jan. 9 story that described how Army weapons officials have decided not to evaluate the new M9A3 as an alternative to launching the Modular Handgun System competition. If successful, the effort would replace all Army M9s and potentially become the new sidearm of the entire U.S. Military.

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Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army, is greeted by Command Sgt. Maj. Bryant C. Lambert, 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command (South) command sergeant major, as Col. Karl D. Reed, 82nd Airborne Division and RC(S) chief of staff, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Shirley, Kandahar Airfield command sergeant major, look on as Odierno arrives on Kandahar Airfield Dec. 20. Odierno visited the region to meet with task force and headquarters leadership, talk to servicemembers, and assess the current situation in the battle space. (Photo/U.S. Army Sgt. Amanda M. Hils)

It’s been about eight months since the U.S. Army selected a new camouflage pattern, but even service’s top uniformed officer still can’t remember its name.

The Army adopted the new Operational Camouflage Pattern, or OCP, this spring, but Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno called it MultiCam yesterday during a virtual town hall meeting with soldiers.

A soldier stationed in Korea asked if the new camouflage uniforms would be issued or would soldiers have to purchase them.

Odierno had this to say.

“We have done a significant amount of analysis that tells us the ACU doesn’t do very well at camouflaging us and protecting us in multiple environments and that the MultiCam that we are using in Afghanistan does a much better job,” he said. “So we are going to go to the MultiCam uniform.”

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size0 (1)U.S. Army weapons engineers have begun fielding a new lightweight 81mm mortar that’s 14 percent lighter than current 81s.

The new M252A1 81mm mortar is 12 pounds lighter than its predecessor, the M252.

“The new lightweight system reduces the load for dismounted battalion mortar platoons, while retaining the same durability, rates of fire, and range of the legacy system,” Lt. Col. Will McDonough, Product Manager Guided Precision Munitions and Mortar Systems, known as GPM2S, said in a recent Army press release.

The Army began delivering the first 81mm M252A1 systems to units at Fort Bragg, N.C. earlier this month. The goal is to replace all current M525 systems in 2016, Army officials maintain.

The Army began fielding the lightweight M224A1 60mm mortar in 2010.

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U.S. Army testers are scheduled to evaluate an experimental, air-bursting 40mm grenade next summer.

If successful, the Small Arms Grenade Munitions, or SAGM, will transition to Project Manager-Maneuver Ammunition Systems by the end of fiscal year 2015 to become an official Army program of record.

The 40mm counter-defilade round will be twice as lethal as the current 40mm grenade against targets in defilade, according to Army officials from the service’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.

Grenadiers are not as effective as they could be at delivering accurate fire against enemy behind cover, Army officials maintain.

But to become an Army program of record, “we must demonstrate a certain level of functional reliability over selected target sets,” SAGM Project Officer Steven Gilbert said in a recent Army press release.

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