Category Archives: Equipment

Gear & Equipment (Stuff that helps us accomplish the mission)

Introducing the Vanguard GT Holster

CTT Solutions and Gunterest would like to announce their new Vanguard GT holster for the Glock 19. It was designed by Mike Pannone (CTTS) and Mia Wood (Gunterest) for effective, minimalist concealed carry. It combines all the best-known features of safe, secure, and tested minimalist holsters. Originally conceived as a female-friendly concealed carry holster, it is unisex in design. • The trigger guard with Ulti Clip affixes the gun directly to your waistband. • No belt is needed. • No extra girth or bulk is added to your gun’s profile. • Both right and left-handed wingclaw options are available. • The holster is also adaptable for purse carry. A cord or carabiner can be looped through one of the holes to anchor into a purse when drawn. The design arose from Mike and Mia’s beta class for women’s concealed carry. They tested several different holsters, ways to carry, and drawing and shooting with various types of clothing. This first Vanguard GT model was designed for Mia’s primary carry, the Glock 19. Only 100 have been made and are sold ONLY on www.gunterest.net. The cost is $50 + S&H. Please specify right-handed or left-handed upon ordering. The holsters will also be

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Legal Aspects of Warrant Service with NVG

One of the things I like best about being a travelling instructor is meeting cops from all over the place and talking about the similarities in the job regardless of jurisdiction. Some of the similarities are funny; like nobody has ever owned the pants they were wearing when dope is found in the pockets, “These ain’t my pants Officer”. Some similarities are also command staff personnel who are living in the past and are actually roadblocks to progression. Some of this based on how we did it back in the day, disconnect from the street, and some of it is not embracing technology due to bad information or lack of knowledge. All of those things seem to manifest themselves in regard to NVG use for Warrant Service by SWAT units. “There’s case law that says you can’t use NVG as cops!”, my response has always been “What is the case?”. And then I get the blank….. Here is the reality, there are plenty of cases that talk about NVG and Thermal image intensifying devices in regards to the government using them to obtain information to obtain search warrants. One of the earliest was U.S. V. Lee, a prohibition era case

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Tomahawk Selection

I have had a few questions in regard to selecting a tomahawk for police work. I am no expert on 'Hawk construction but a few things to consider would be type of steel used. Tool steels like D2 are good, it is no secret that I love the American Kami stuff, DJ uses S7 which is used in high impact/shock applications like jack hammer bits. http://www.americankami.com/impact.html The second would be a full tang, meaning that it is made from a single piece of steel rather than having a head with a partial tang supported by a handle. Remember that you are going to be beating the piss out of this thing and it needs to hold up to the punishment. Handle material is also important so it should not be slippery and provide a solid gripping surface that fits the hand to prevent rolling and so forth. The shape is also important, I need a spike that is thin enough to fit most locks hasps so I can break them. I also need it think enough to withstand the prying and twisting that is required for doors. I bought an AK Micraxe prior to knowing that DJ also makes a

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The Gun Elitist Debate

There are some who will argue pure price point in both the excessively cheap and unnecessarily high extremes when it comes to guns and gear. Some are brand oriented and brand loyal - for whatever reason. My XXX Brand has never had a failure (because it gets a magazine shot through it once maybe twice a year). Some people get angry when the term "duty" comes up in regards to a level of quality. The term professional gets turned away as well due to people not having a frame of reference as to what it really means. Here is some insight to the duty quality, professional use, gun snob, elitist debate - life dependant is the qualifier. Home defense, personal defense, duty, and SHTF all have one similar concept - life dependant on the weapon to work as needed and as expected. Not only does the weapon need to function reliably, it needs to be able to achieve an acceptable (if not greater) level of accuracy. If you choose a subpar option for the above situations, be aware you are taking a risk. Many (yes, many - not all) of those who have carried a gun for a living understand

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PSA for Buying Night Vision/Thermal Equipment

When buying 'new' gear, please take the time to find out some pertinent info: 1. Who is selling it and what is their role in the sale? 2. Who is building the equipment and what qualifications do they have? 3. What are the warranty and return terms? I was recently asked to check a pair of goggles over that had been purchased by an individual from a 'dealer'. The individual had some concerns with a few things and shipped them to me. Upon inspecting them I discovered several used parts, pieces missing (o-rings etc) and poor workmanship. The tubes performed terribly on my test set and I opened them up to discover a pair of Russian Gen 2 WP tubes (believed to be Ekran) and not the L3 WP Filmless that they were sold as. If anyone has any concerns regarding an item they have bought I would be happy to help and can walk through what 'red flags' to look for at ryan@nightlongind.com.
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Ballistic Helmets, Construction, Testing, and Ratings

So, after one of my gear reviews, I received so much feedback, I decided to clarify/expound. It seems most end users are merely consumers. They want to give you their want as they see it, and they expect you to point their nose at an easily affordable product without any real regard to their needs. This problem is compounded by the fact that unsavory companies will do just that…on the surface…while easily disconnecting said consumer from their money. The problem isn’t always on the behalf of the business. As with anything we purchase, we know that with quality comes monetary compensation, so where do we draw the line and how do we spot these companies? That is easy my friend, it is called education. For today’s entertainment, I will discuss ballistic helmets, how they are rated, and why some companies offer them at a different price break. We will also talk about the simple solution for finding a good helmet that won’t break the bank. First of all, I am no “expert.” I am mostly just experienced and educated. Having procured, tested, evaluated, and taken to combat many different systems, I have learned a lot through a few decades. While

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Choosing a Protection Level for Rifle Plates

Armor 101… I tell customers that armor is one of the most confusing commodities in the defensive industry. Understanding the rating systems, the materials, and the capabilities associated with each is a must for one to make an educated armor choice. When selecting armor, start with the most likely threat that you may face (be realistic) and work from there. It is always a trade-off (protection, cost, durability, weight, thickness); just balance the capabilities to arrive at the best available solution for your requirement. RATINGS/LEVELS (Rifle Threats) Rifle Plates and Levels. NIJ is the rating that drives the armor train (for now). It is horribly outdated and does all of us a disservice. But NIJ is the only girl left in the bar and it is 2am...so it is what it is. So why is the NIJ rating system "out of date"? Well, the CONUS bad guys aren't shooting at us with 30.06 AP rounds for the most part. The current certification does not account for common threats such as 7.62x39, 5.56 (ball, M855, AP), or 7.62x54R. Rifle plates are rated to stop 6 hits of 7.62 ball (Level III) or 1 hit of .30cal Armor Piercing (Level IV). These

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Materials Used in Hard Armor

*Editor's note: NiJ ratings do not consider 5.56 in classifications. If something is rated level III it will stop .308 but not necessarily 5.56/.223. Currently there are four common options for Level III plates:  5-6 mm steel (AR500/R50c/AR46100) plates: Level III steel plates offer a very thin profile, but are a bit heavier (6.5-7.5 lbs for a 10x12 plate) than some other options. They are very durable and offer inexpensive multi-hit capability against even closely spaced non-AP 7.62 x 39 mm and 7.62 x 51 mm projectiles, as well as for heavier 5.56 mm loads, including 62 gr M855 “green-tip”. Unfortunately, many lightweight (55 gr or less) 5.56 mm loads will defeat steel plates, including the extremely common 55 gr FMJ loads like M193. It is a VERY good idea to wear level IIIa soft armor underneath steel plates. *Spall is a great safety concern. Hard compressed polyethelene (Dyneema/Spectra) plates: These are very lightweight (3-4 lbs for a 10 x 12 plate) multi- hit capable level III plates that will stop closely spaced hits of both the lightweight 5.56 mm ammo that defeats steel, along with the 7.62 mm threats stopped by steel, as well expanding rifle ammunition in many

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Critical Equipment

This article began as some thoughts when I was listening to the P&S Kyle Defoor interview a few months ago, and I am finally putting thoughts on paper (or the internet’s version of paper). “Tell me about your rifle” (here) was Kyle’s question that started me thinking. On a similar vein, more handgun-focused, was the phrase “tell me a story about your pistol.” Ask yourself “How confident am I in my gear?” In that worst case scenario where a failure of your gear means grave bodily injury or death, can you count on it all the time, every time? If not, why not? How can you bring your gear up to that level of trust? Watching videos of many violent encounters, you quickly realize how vital the opening moments are. As someone closes distance, can you guarantee that your handgun is where it should be? Will it have fallen out, shifted position drastically, or otherwise become unavailable? When you press the trigger, how sure are you that the gun will fire, and that is will hit at the point of aim of your sights? If you grab your rifle, is your optic going to be on? Will it have shifted to

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Sucked Down the Tube: A Failure in Training

Much, if not all training and practice is conducted on flat ranges under calm conditions with no surprises. We shoot steel and paper that we purposely place and identify. We have lanes and all sorts of safety considerations that make a day at the range a pleasant experience.  This is fine for most of us but can lead to some critical failures if you are in a line of work that may not look the same as the flat range.  For those that form either the thin Blue or Green Lines targets will probably appear in from unknown positions and ranges. Many people preach situational awareness but fail to account for it in our training. COL Boyd gave us the OODA loop, which on the surface, is a rapidly trainable flow of Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. It is a loop because as soon as you act you start over. Observe. To hit a target, you must first observe it. You could possibly be an intergalactic grand sensei with Generation Next hardware and you will still miss a target you didn’t see. With the proliferation of magnified optics, the tendency of getting sucked down the tube is becoming more prolific

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