Category Archives: Reviews

Dye Sublimation vs Screen Printing Camo Patterns

I use a lot of screen printed fabrics. Everything from MultiCam to various digital patterns to Kryptek. There has always been an issue with putting todays complex camouflage patterns onto some of the more robust and “course” fabrics that are popular today. Think of 1000 Denier CORDURA type materials. Most of the time the pattern doesn’t look that sharp. In a nutshell the less Denier the smaller the yarns and fibers will make for a sharper image. If you need more explanation on this see this video I made on another account many years ago.

I have recently been using a few printed fabrics in my work that used the Dye Sublimation process. Instead of screen printing [See this video produced about DURO Industries (no longer in business) if you want to see screen printing in action]. Dye Sublimation is a bit of a strange process and is less efficient over large scales than screen printing but you get the benefit of being able to make smaller batches and even customizations. In a very brief nutshell Dye Sublimation take several color inks as solids and heats them up to the point where the sublimate. This means that they go from solid to gas. Skipping the liquid state. The colors are applied (under pressure) to the fabric and “sink” into the fibers. The ink/dye then returns to its solid state as part of the fabric fibers. This allows for incredible detail. Nearly any color and even gradients. It’s also known to not fad as badly due to scratching, abrasion, and washing.

Kryptek Highlander pattern comparison between Dye Sublimation and Standard Screen Printing on 1000D Material.
Kryptek Highlander pattern on 1000D material. Dye Sublimation printing from DutchWare [Left], Screen Printing from Brookwood Roll Goods [Right]

The Story

I needed a small amount of fabric in the Kryptek Highlander camo pattern. What I didn’t need was an entire roll of Highlander from Brookwood Rollgoods who currently produces Kryptek and MultiCam patterns on CORDURA materials. So, enter Dutchware. Dutchware Clips, LLC. They have a bunch of fabric offerings. One being a 1000D CORDURA print on demand service and have procured the licensing to print these patterns and can get them to your door in under a week. I didn’t really know what to expect but when it arrived I was very surprised with how sharp the pattern was. I was also afraid that a printed pattern would easily scratch off. Not the case. As stated before, Dye Sublimation is fairly resistant to abrasion. I have just started working with these materials but with about 4 weeks in I am not seeing any abnormal or early signs of wear.

A zoomed in picture of the Kryptek Highlander Pattern on a Dye Sublimation and traditional Screen Printed 1000D fabric.
The same materials as above but zoomed in. Kryptek Highlander pattern on 1000D material. Dye Sublimation printing from DutchWare [Left], Screen Printing from Brookwood Roll Goods [Right]

What’s the difference in the material?

You can see the materials in the picture. One is Brookwood produced screen printed 1000D CORDURA nylon material. The other is the 1000D Dutchware produced textured polyester digitally print on demand offering. Both are licensed by Kryptek. If you are comparing to purchasing the traditional screen printed materials by the roll then the Dye Sublimation printed material is much more expensive. But, you are able to buy less that 50 or 75 yards at a time. That makes a difference to smaller shops or those building gear in their basement. The three main differences I noticed:

  • The dye Sublimation material is left bright white on the back side. This could be an issue if you ever reverse hem your fabric and expose the back side. If so, you might have to alter your design(s).
  • The Dye Sublimation materials is also stiffer than the screen printed material. Likely nothing that will prevent you from working with it but if you already thought 1000D was to stiff then you might want to avoid this polyester.
  • There was no Urethane (UC/PU) Coating on the back of the digital print offering. This aids in the materials water repellant properties and keeps exposed edges from fraying so badly.
Even further zoomed in look at the difference between Dye Sublimation and Screen Printing.
Zoomed in further. Kryptek Highlander pattern on 1000D material. Dye Sublimation printing from DutchWare [Left], Screen Printing from Brookwood Roll Goods [Right]

What about Near Infrared?

These days everyone is worried about the NIR (Near Infrared) performance. As you may or may not know. I have tested a bunch of camo patterns in this manner and posted the findings here with more to come.

I’m afraid I have bad news. If you were hoping for these Dye Sublimation printed fabrics to be NIR compliant then you are in for disappointment. I have pieces of both the Kryptek Highland and Typhon patterns in hand. Below you can see the results. With both Gen3 and Digital Nightvision.. the moment the IR light hits the fabric the camo pattern completely disappears. Just so there is no confusion I think it is important to point out that the traditional screen printed Kryptek materials by Brookwood Roll Goods performs pretty well under IR interrogation. You can see those results here.

Kryptek Highlander

Kryptek Typhon

SIONYX Aurora Black very very first impressions

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.

The Sionyz Aurora digital night vision camera.

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.

Color night vision captured through the Sionyx Aurora Black.
Color night vision image from Sionyx Aurora Black

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.

What We Saw – Season 2: The Cold War – Documentary Review

I love reading and learning about the Cold War. I don’t exactly know why. Perhaps it’s due to the severity of the events contained within it and how close the entire world came to pushing the button on a few occasions. It was a war unlike anything the world had seen before. Two sides were diametrically opposed in doctrine on just about everything, yet they were unable to commit to hostilities against each other directly due to the inevitable outcome of destroying all of civilization. Both sides possessed the firepower to do it.

So, when The Daily Wire announced their second season of the documentary “What We Saw” would feature the Cold War, I was excited to say the least.  Before we go on, I must first bring up the equally intriguing and masterfully put-together first season of “What We Saw” regarding Apollo 11 and everything it took to get the United States to the moon.  In both series it is Bill Whittle at the helm sharing not only the historical record but also his own personal experiences having lived through most of the events covered in both seasons.  Whittle’s enthusiasm for each subject is impossible to ignore.  He clearly loves the effort of putting together a comprehensive narrative and of presenting it in such a masterful manner.  Had all 13 episodes of season two been released at once I would have been tempted to commit to a marathon viewing.  However, it was probably for the best that I was forced to leave an entire week between each viewing.

“Season 2: The Cold War” begins with World War Two.  It paints a picture with just enough detail to allow you to gain an understanding of the motivations and fears of both sides.  Sure, you can go to other publications and get a laser focused report on certain subjects (e.g. The Cuban Missile Crisis, The Vietnam War, Sputnik) but Whittle literally takes us from the beginning to the end covering a HUGE number of incidents and persons. This is a shotgun approach, but spreading it out over 13 episodes allows for just enough coverage to feel like you got the entire story.

By the end of season two I guarantee you are going to have a new appreciation for several of the people who literally changed the world with their actions during this time period.  Your opinion of some other individuals might suffer as well – both Soviet and American.

I have no affiliation with The Daily Wire. I have only consumed some of their content, and I am perfectly comfortable saying that if you go in with an open mind you will greatly appreciate this documentary series. That is, unless you are a communist.. Then you might have an issue.  If it isn’t obvious, I highly recommend “What We Saw: Season 2: The Cold War.” It is an outstanding piece of work and all I can say is that I can’t wait for the third season. Perhaps it will be “‘The Tech Bubble” or  “The Housing Market Crash of 2008”?  It should be noted that you must be a paid subscriber (at least currently) of The Daily Wire to view either season of “What We Saw.” They do have lots more great content, but that is out of the scope of this write-up.  The Daily Wire seems to always be running some type of discount code for an annual membership. I can’t give this series (both seasons) high enough praise. 5/5. Or 10/10. I suggest you give it a shot, and I don’t think you will be sorry.

Official Trailer

Official Links

Watch now (subscription required) – The Daily Wire.

Books about US Army Special Forces

There are a lot of books about Special Forces. Some written by former SF individuals and some not. To be clear this post is regarding books about the specific unit in the United States Army known as Special Forces or otherwise as the Green Berets. Other “special” units are often confused with the term “Special Forces” by our media and those not in the know. In most foreign militaries the term “Special Forces” does encompass all “special” units within. But this is not the case for the United States. When referring to US Military units there is only one Special Forces. Navy Seals, Airforce TACPs, MARSOC and so on are NOT Special Forces. They instead ALL fit under the larger category of Special Operations Forces (SOF) along with SF.

These are the most memorable and informative books specifically regarding Army Special Forces that I have read. I would recommend every one of them to anyone wanting to learn more about Green Berets.

The Only Thing Worth Dying For

by Eric Blehm

Image from
Continue reading Books about US Army Special Forces

I review the Phantom Hill CTF2 Laser Aiming Module

The Phantom Hill CTF2 is a modular laser aiming device for night vision shooting. Here are my thoughts on it.

Disclosures: No money exchanged hands for this review however I was provided the CTF2 by Phantom Hill for the purpose of review.

You can find this product on the Phantom Hill website:

The Kiji IR Illuminator head was loaned by GP Armory for this review.
Check them out for great IN-STOCK night vision, thermal, and light products.

The SureFire head was loaned to me by a good friend. Check out his links below:

Continue reading I review the Phantom Hill CTF2 Laser Aiming Module

Chinese made automatic webbing cutter. Should you even look at it? A DIY Gear Review of the RbaySale

This review is mainly targeted at the DIY tactical gear makers out there. Anyone from the hobbyist to the guys running side gigs making gear out of their basement, garage, extra bed room. If you fit into this spectrum then you have probably considered getting a digitally automated hot/cold webbing cutter for your shop but cringed at the prices.

Image from listing.
Continue reading Chinese made automatic webbing cutter. Should you even look at it? A DIY Gear Review of the RbaySale

Review of the Nocturn Industries Onyx Filter. Turns your night vision black and white.

Video description: The Onyx Filter from Nocturn Industries can take your green or white phosphor night vision tube and turn it into a soft black and white image. Here, Mission Spec discusses the first impressions of the Onyx Filters.

Note: Depending whether or not your have a green or white tube. You will want to make sure you get the corresponding filter for correct use.