You have seen Ronin. Right? You know what I’m talking about. The scene. The Hereford boathouse. The coffee ambush… DRAW IT AGAIN! Ok if this doesn’t mean anything to you then you have got plans for the night. Go get Ronin . One of the best movies ever made. After you see it come back here and pickup the first piece of 30MC merch. The Draw It Again T-Shirt. Let everyone know that you know exactly how NOT to conduct a 2 shooter ambush on a vehicle.
Are you familiar with TUBES from First Spear? They are a great buckle. But expensive. So expensive that in my day job as a gear designer I pretty much consider them cost prohibitive except in the case of a custom built piece of gear. That really is to bad as I would love to use them more often.
Just in case you don’t know
In case you are not familiar with TUBES they were developed by First Spear and produced (for First Spear) by ITW. They come in two lengths (widths might be a better way to look at it). 2″ and 4″. Normally you will find the 2″ versions securing a quick detach shoulder strap on a plate carrier while you will find the longer 4″ holding the cummerbund to the plate bag. Each of the two sizes are also available in a solid-bar and a split-bar (field repair) configuration. The split-bar allows you to slip the TUBE onto a loop of webbing (if configured correctly) after it is sewn down.
Why are they good?
TUBES do a couple of things REALLY well. They can stabilize a piece of fabric (think of a cummerbund for a plate carrier) along an entire edge of that piece with only a single interface. They also offer an easy method of extracting ones self from a plate carrier. Simply pull out and up/down at the same time.
Most gear designers, gear DIY’ers, and gear-heads know of the First Spear TUBES. But, you may be interested to know there are other similarly functioning buckles. You might call them TUBES-Adjacent. All are acetal polymer construction and all are solid options with slight variations in the way they operate.
The Tactik Buckle from DuraFlex
The DuraFlex Tactik buckle first came on the scene (for me) in 2018. It was being showcased at different industry tradeshows. Originally advertised as having 1″, 1.5″, 4″ versions available. It then kind of went dark for a while. Then, all of a sudden it came available not to long ago. Well, the 4″ version anyway. We still have yet to see the 1″ or 1.5″. Like the TUBES the Tactik buckle came in two configurations (other than size) solid-bar and split-bar (for field repair or installation after production of the host piece of gear). Both pieces are 4″ tall. There are two main differences. 1) The Tactik buckles comes with the pull lanyard that is used to release the buckles. On the TUBES you normally have to make some kind of paracord pull for this function. 2) the gesture used to release is different. On the TUBES you must pull out and either up or down. This releases the locking mechanism (No springs. Everything is molded) and the up/down slides the male side out of the female. On the Tactik buckle you only pull outward on the lanyard which releases the entire buckle. One isn’t necessarily faster than the other as both releases are accomplished with a single motion. They just work a little different. I have never seen either system fail.
The Aspetto KWIQ-Clip
The KWIQ-Clip from Aspetto is the most different and I haven’t ever actually integrated them into a piece of gear. But I do have a few… because you never know. It also has no individual moving parts just like the others. Again, the release is managed by pulling on and deforming the acetal polymer material to release a latch. I believe you call this a “living latch”. The KWIQ-Clip is a full inch taller than the other buckles referenced in this write-up. The reason being is that it allows you to interface the buckle to the gear via 3 pieces of 1″ webbing. Each separated by 1″. Sounds perfect for a 3-row skeletonized cummerbund. With the other two you have to be a little creative in your gear design as they both interface with the gear using 1.5″ webbing. This usually isn’t what you find on a cummerbund. So, the Aspetto KWIQ-Clip has an advantage here in helping your gear stay simple but I can’t help but think a 5″ tall buckle has a great chance of jabbing you in the ribs or pelvis when you bend or lean. Is the 1″ difference really enough to matter? I don’t know. But that is something to keep in mind when planning your next build. The manufacturer claims a 300 lbs Tensile Strength.
Where can I get them?
First Spear TUBES
You can now get TUBES direct from First Spear. This is fairly new. You use to have to be an approved gear producer. Beware that most of the time TUBES are sold as their individual separate components (Male and Female). You need to purchase both sides. Not always though.
Direct link to 4″ Female Split-Bar on First-Spear.com
4″ TUBES Male/Female Split Bar on Agelitegear.com
DuraFlex Tactik Buckle
This buckle is sometimes sold as Male/Female or Male/Male. Make sure you get what you need.
Aspetto KWIQ-Clip on QorePerformance.com
The AB Suppressor AH6-Littlebird 22 can. There is a good chance you haven’t heard of this one. But you are going to be glad that you did. This can has a very unique and interesting design. If there are any downsides I sure haven’t found them.
I have received a few message from some of you DIY gear makers about how the new(ish) ATACS U|CON pattern compares to traditional MultiCam. Here is a quick look that includes a piece of fabric, webbing, and chest rig of each. I plan on getting some NIR testing done here soon and will add that to the list of patterns in the “Is It NIR” section.
If you follow me at all you have seen these posts before about individual patterns and fabrics (yes, even DogeCam [MultiDoge]). I figured it would be a better resource for all your gear builders to have it compiled in one place. Well, here you go. I will be adding more and more to this as I have time to take more pictures in the dark.
Not a tutorial but a look at what you can output when you put your creativity to it. This is a one-piece custom MultiCam Tropic chest rig that I put together a few weeks back. As I state in the video description. There isn’t really anything hard about sewing your own gear. The machine can be intimidating and yes it can hurt you. But it is really all technique. You just need to put in some hours to start getting awesome results. There are resources here on 30MC that can help you. Look in the nav bar under “Tactical DIY”.
Rumble backup link: https://rumble.com/v39heaf-building-your-own-tactical-gear-30-magazine-clip.html
I have had the Aurora Black digital night vision in my hands for about 1 hour. This is NOT intended as a full on review. That might come later.
Yes I know
Yes I know this is not a new system. Yes, I know the new SIONYX Opsin is out and is a much more capable system. I purchased this digital night vision system as a cheap(er) way to record my other night vision activities while I am wearing my generation 3 system.
Very First thoughts
The unit looks great. About the size of a PVS-14. The case it comes in feels substantial. The first negative I noticed was that there is no included lens cover. I thought that very strange.
I have spent a lot of time looking through generation 3 night vision. I am very use to green and white phosphor images. So, when I took the Aurora Black into my back yard there was a bit of a shock to see a color image. I knew this is what the system was capable of but it still took me by surprise.
I can see the benefit of the color image. The Aurora doesn’t come close to the fine detail you can get out of your average generation 3 analogue NOD. But, I can see how the color image could give back some object discernment that you would otherwise lack with a monochromatic image. Especially for static observation (pointed out by some friends). In the image above there are no lights on my property. The illuminated house past the fence is a good 100ft away.
Super Low Light
Here is where you are going to see the biggest difference between analogue gen3 and digital night vision. In super low light situations the digital Aurora Black just doesn’t cut it. It will require an IR illuminator. I have a dark garage that only has light coming in from small windows at the top of the garage door. With my gen3 system I am able to see. It’s dark and grainy but I can see without additional illumination. The Aurora Black was just showing static. No image at all. I will have more direct comparisons on this later.
More to come
I will have more thoughts to come at some point in the near future. The price difference between the Aurora Black and a traditional analogue generation 3 night vision system is so big that they aren’t really in competition (in my opinion). I am in no way regretting the purchase. I think this digital solution will accomplish exactly what I intended it for. Easily recording night time events.
You truly can add this music to anything and make it better.
Guns look cool. Painted guns look better. Rattle canned guns look even better-er. I don’t know why. Something about character or whatever. I think most shooters (and even some gun-guys) out there have used the burlap method. Putting down a base coat of tan paint and then spraying that “snake skin” like pattern using the burlap as a stencil. It’s cool and can look great but is there something else?
I have to tell you a quick story. I design tactical gear for a living. While at the SHOT Show: Supplier Showcase a couple of years ago I stopped by the APEX Mills booth to take a look at the new nits, meshes, and 3D spacers that they would be offering. As is the norm at trade shows I got some samples (below). In this case, a booklet. A short while after returning home I received a second booklet at the office. Once a vendor scans your badge at SHOT Show they pretty much have all your information including your address and some of them just starting mailing stuff. At the time we were only ordering DNB138 Airmesh from APEX Mills and didn’t need to add another material to the inventory. So, on the shelf the booklets sat.
About a year and a half later I had put together a new AR and it needed some paint. But I didn’t have any burlap. Working in the office a few months ago I was looking through samples I had received in the past and came across these two booklets again. I started flipping through and wondered why different meshes [spacers, knits too] from the same mill had different patterns. Why not just find a good one and stick with it? Somehow my mind jumped to that AR I had been meaning to paint for months and I realized I was holding several different “stencils” in my hand. If I wanted to get a varying pattern on the rifle then this could be a way to do it.
So I dismantled one of the booklets and was left with a bunch of different individual pieces. About half of them were not suitable for spray painting but it left me with these pictured below.
I did some testing on cardboard just to see how the different patterns would look and was greatly encouraged by the result. No pools of paint or issue with the mesh pieces sticking after drying. Just a bunch of very clean and different patterns. I was ready to commit.
It was about this time that I realized I also had a Ruger Precision Rimfire rifle that I had wanted to paint. I decided to hit it first. The results are below.
I was happy with the way it ended up on the Ruger so it was time to move onto the AR. All of the images below are after the fact. So don’t worry.. I did remove the Dbal (laser) first. I put down a base coat (green this time) and let it dry over 24 hours. Then I pretty much wrapped the entire rifle in different types of meshes, knits, and spacers. Do be careful with how your spray hits the materials. It can blow them around and smear the result. I learned that it was best to shoot straight down on the fabric with the spray.
I was again very happy with the results. The pattern varied just as I had planned. Giving it a chaotic and natural feel.
I tried something a little different with the stock. I had noticed that on the spacer mesh (specifically the DNB118 material) there was a HUGE difference between the two layers (the area between these layers is the “space” in spacer). One side was a very fine weave and the other fairly coarse. Perhaps if I laid the coarse side on the rifle (the side that would normally be in contact with the human body if this mesh was being made into a piece of gear like a plate carrier) and sprayed through the fine side it would diffuse some of the paint and give a 3D look. You can be the judge from the pic below but I think it turned out great. I might end up doing a whole other rifle in this style.
Some people will hate this right from the start. Either they think rifle painting should be done professionally with a coating or perhaps that they shouldn’t be painted at all. I have always loved the look of a rattle canned rifle and the purpose of this blog is to simply share things that I like.
Where can you get some airmesh?
Well, I don’t think APEX Mills would be to happy if all of a sudden a bunch of non-customers start contacting them asking for sample booklets and I can understand why. But lucky for you there are tons of places on the internet where you can purchase small amounts of airmesh. You also shouldn’t overlook just heading out to your local fabric store and taking a look at the meshes there. There is no reason your paint stencil needs to be milspec and/or berry compliant. If you need some web suggestions for materials such as this you can take a look at the DIY Materials and Sources section of this website. There, I am compiling an ever-expanding table of materials.
Zussman is one of DODs premiere MOUT (Military Operation Urban Terrain) training facilities. Located at Ft. Knox, KY. I found this video on an old camcorder of my walkthrough of the facility as it was in 2009. Many updates have been made. Don’t forget to subscribe to the official 30MC YouTube channel. I may have move videos like this coming out.
This video was never intended to be a tour. Rather a personal record. Sorry about the video quality and poor camera work. The audio mutes because the files were damaged. Instead of just playing the loud static sound that was present I muted it out.