RA-1 Military Free Fall Advanced Ram-Air Parachute SystemThe Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group was the first unit to field the new Military Free Fall Advanced Ram-Air Parachute System, RA-1, which is built for static line or free fall operations.

The RA-1 replaces the MC-4 system. The RA-1 allows soldiers to exit at altitudes between 3,500 feet to 35,000 feet Mean Sea Level. It also increases the total jumper exit weight to 450 pounds. [click to continue…]


Body-Armor-600x400A research team at MIT funded by the U.S. Army has developed a flexible armor using fish scales as inspiration, according to a study published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Produced by a 3-D printer, the material is a scale design that offers both flexibility and protection. The finished product is still in development and much more complex, but put simply, the outer layers are rigid and the under layers are more flexible and adaptive to the body.

The U.S. Army Research Office is the agency funding work done by the MIT mechanical engineer Stephan Rudykh. The famous engineering university has the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies on campus.

Army leaders have pushed for advances in materials to protect soldier as the service looks to lighten the load of soldiers. The Army has made strides to make body armor more form fitting, but this scale design would yield a major breakthrough in terms of comfort and weight. [click to continue…]


Screenshot 2015-04-08 14.18.52Last month we posted a video about a new handheld flamethrower on the market. Readers responded and wanted to know more about them.

Ask and you shall receive. Our film team broke down five facts you might not have known about flamethrowers to include the German firefighter who led one of the first flamethrower unit.

Check it out. Click here for mobile readers.


Surefire M300 Mini Scout Light’s are now available. The compact weapon light runs on a single 123A lithium battery and delivers 300 lumens for your carbine or rifle.

“Its LED-generated white light is focused by our patented TIR lens to create a high-intensity, far-reaching beam crafted for close- to mid-range engagements,” according to a recent press release. “The Mini Scout just might have the perfect balance of size and power for your long gun.”

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This is an interesting little gadget if you are into survival gear.

“The Grip-S, by SOLKOA Survival Systems, is a pair of adaptive handles that can do more field-expedient improvisation for you than any other multi-tool on the market,” according to an April 2 press release.

The Grip-S design comes from requests made by special operations aviators for evasion and escape purposes and general survival use, according to the release.

It’s machined from tough, high-grade 6061 aircraft aluminum and can hold standard flexible wire saws, any universal reciprocating saw blade and any round or hexagonal tool up to a quarter inch in diameter. Accessories are simply attached to the Grip-S handles using the supplied set screws.

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I covet Arc’teryx gear, but I wasn’t in love with the Atom LT Hoody the first time I wore it a few months ago.

It was a frigid December morning in Virginia. The high-30s thermometer reading felt below freezing in the 17 mph winds.

This might be a good time to admit that I hate being cold. I don’t mind winter as long as I have the right combination of snivel gear.

Anyway, I was not happy each time the biting wind gusts passed right through the new jacket’s thin, stretchy side panels. I quickly regretted choosing a polo shirt as a base layer.

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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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