Kit Review – Voodoo Tactical 15-7866 Large MOLLE Tobago Pack, A-TACS…

Have you ever needed the right piece of kit?  I was going to be travelling soon and I needed a pack to haul about two days worth of gear including a suit.  I didn’t need a standard issue suitcase because 1) I wasn’t being saddled with the wife or kid which demanded packing for every contingency and 2) I didn’t feel like checking any luggage (not to mention being raped for $100.00 bag fee).  I thought about using my standard Blackhawk! A-TACS3-day pack which would have worked but left me with zero room for the inevitable gear you pick up on a trip.  I needed something I could comfortably get my gear into and not have to sit on or fight the zippers to close up.  As it turns out, I was on my way to the local gun range to get my Glock 35 hot.  After my usual 300 rounds, I was poking around the retail area and ran across the Voodoo Tactical display.  Nestled in with an assortment of gun cases, range bags & pouches was the Large MOLLE Tobago Pack, A-TACS in desert tan.  I greedily picked it up for a close inspection.  The pack itself is 20″ x 19″ (at the widest point) x 12″ with two large pockets on the back and two additional pocket on each side.  You could add to it using the many MOLLE PAL attachment points.  It also features internal pockets, two radio pouches and room for two hydration bladders of three liters each.  The thick padded adjustable shoulder and sternum straps can be removed to convert the pack to a carry-all by using the top and side nylon carry handles.  The pack is large but no crazy large.  Perfect.  At the MSRP of $ 159.95, I picked it up.  The next evening I began packing for the next morning’s flight.  As my wife always does, she folded up my suit with the same precision she puts into her Japanese Origami.  The articles fit nicely into the main section of the pack and were secured with the internal tension straps.  Nice.  My other two sets of clothes, shoes and assorted gear also fit nicely into the main section.  I closed that up and unzipped the main outer pocket.  Plenty of room for my notebook computer, reader, assorted charging cables and readily accessible for the friendly TSA guy with the rubber glove.  I still had one good sized pocket for my 1 quart sized clear plastic bag of liquids and shaving gear.  This left me with to radio pouches on either side of the pack.  I decided to use one for my water bottle and the other to temporarily hold my wallet, watch, etc… as I go to meet the aforementioned  TSA guy.  “…Be gentle and don’t touch my junk!…”  We’ll in the Voodoo Tactical A-TAC pack, I have definitely found the right piece of kit.  After it was fully loaded, I slung it over my shoulders and adjusted the shoulder-straps.  The pack was very comfy with or without the sternum strap.  In this case, I elected not to use the detachable kidney pad.  Even though this was just a weekender to Wisconsin and not a trudge through some Afghan $hit hole (what’s the difference?), the pack performed well.  I was able to navigate the airport terminals with my hands free and my load evenly distributed on my back.  Depending on your particular needs, Voodoo Tactical offers the A-TAC and several other packs and MOLLE gear at a reasonable price.  They are definitely worth a look.

Kit Review – Blackhawk Night-Ops Ally

So I was standing in line at my local gun retailer waiting to pay for one of the last few remaining boxes of 12 ga. ammunition I could get. I just happened to glance down at the end-cap display of the isle I was near and saw a few Blackhawk! tactical lights. Being the owner of a couple Sure-Fire lights, I initially didn’t give them a second look. I was however curious about how many Lumens of brightness the compact light put out, so I picked up the Night-Ops Ally. Night-Ops AllyWhile looking through the specs, what grabbed my eye first was the Multiple-position rotating switch (High, Med, Low, Strobe, and Safety Off). I read on… Wow! 100 lumens (max output) from a unit running on 1 x AA battery. Ok, you’ve got my full attention. The med. and low setting offer 40 & 5 lumens respectively through the High-output CREE® XP-E LEDs. All this in a package just 4.5 in. long. With an MSRP of $59.99, I decided to give it a try; the Sure-Fire lights I own are great but they sure can eat up the batteries. I finally made it home (after the usual risking of life in the SoCal traffic) and was eager to fire-up my new torch. I liked how the unit could be held and operated in a variety of ways to suit the user’s needs and at just 4.1 oz. (with battery), it felt very light in my hand. At this point, I could hear my dogs going berserk about something in my yard so I decided it was time for a field test. After releasing ‘the hounds’, I trailed behind them as they began their search pattern. I turn the light on ‘low’ and could easily see my surroundings out to about 10-15 feet with the assistance of that evenings moonlight. I adjusted the rotating switch to ‘med’ and was amazed at the brightness (40 lumens) that illuminated all three of my dogs as they continued their patrol. I swung the light to my left and clearly made out several sets of rabbit eyeballs in the thick brush. I instantly switched the light to ‘strobe’ mode to see their reaction. As the rabbits scattered and my dogs yelped in hurried pursuit, I dialed back to ‘high’ (100 lumens) in an effort to spotlight more ‘infiltrators’ for my squad. After a few minutes, the threat had fled through the fence preventing any hope of tracking. Live to fight another day… As my squad re-grouped on me for some much earned attention, I switched off the light with the satisfaction that I had purchased a quality, well made and (for its size) powerful light. The only feature request I have would be for a low power red-light option for situations calling for stealth and/or the preservation of night-vision. Checkout the Blackhawk! line of tactical lights, I think you will find one that meets your needs and won’t rape your cash flow.

Kit Review – Meister Aviator

I appreciate a fine watch as much as the next guy but I don’t have the budget to support my habit.  I tend to not pay more than $300.00 for a timepiece and in my opinion, beyond that you are paying for a brand name and not much else.  I’m all about function over style and what catches my eye in a wristwatch is a large (not bullshit rapper large) face with easy to read markings with a second-hand.  I like chronographs vs. digital, leather/rubber wrist bands instead of metal.  I can’t stand a watch that ‘flops around’ on my wrist.  I’ve had plenty of Casio, Citizen and Seiko pieces over the years and they were and still are all fine timepieces.  They all kept accurate time, took a beating, etc.  No issues.

I recently found myself bored with my daily selection and would usually put on a small digital watch to get out the door.  Thought the day I would occasionally glance at it to see where I stood in my indentured servitude to ‘the man’ and in doing so I would perpetuate my problem.  Enter the Meister Aviator.

mstrAs soon as I took the watch out of the box, I loved it.  I excitedly set the time and ran across the only criticism I have which is not being able to set the date without winding the hour & minute hands through a full 24 hours to advance the date indicator.  Although the watch was designed for an aviators needs, I think it functions equally well in the field.  I like the matte finish on the stainles steel case and the canvas strap feels good on my wrist.  In the dark, the dial indicators glow just enough to read the time at close range so no worries about being stealthy.  The chronograph offers a simple start/stop & reset buttons for the hour and minute indicators adding to the clean look.  I like it.  Almost instantly I began receiving complements and inqueries into the watch.  Cool.

A wristwatch is one of those things that defines the man.  It tells you something about the man wearing it and it’s a conversation starter.  If you are looking for a wristwatch that isn’t boring, has a clean look and functions well, give Meister a look.  Don’t expect to be disappointed.

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