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Copyright © Calibre Publishing 2017. All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
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Thank you for downloading this Edition of PMCI, the FREE digital publication dedicated to PMC Operatives. PMCI is written by
individuals with first hand knowledge and experience of the subject they write about - people like Col. Gerry Schumacher (USSF
Ret.), author Simon Chambers and ex-TL Dan E, all of whom have an intimate understanding of what the role entails and the day
to day challenges faced by PMCs.
PMCI will provide a platform to review and discuss the things to matter to all of us, such personal equipment, training, employment
and lifestylestyle management - and these are also our core fundamentals. We hope you enjoy this Edition of PMCI and if you have
any feedback or comments, or would like to contrubute to future issues, please let us know by email to:


Editor (UK): Bill Thomas
Editor (International): Dan Eastes
Deputy Ed (USA): Trampas Swanson
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In September 2017, PMCI travelled to the ExCeL centre in London to attend the Defence and Security
Equipment International (DSEI) Show. Whilst contentious in some circles this is an event that shows
the future for all things military and security oriented, and what a future it looks to be!


f you pick up any decent newspaper or visit any sensible
online news feed these days you are undoubtedly going
to find a story that relates to tightened defence spending,
if not outright cuts in funding. With procurement budgets
being sliced on an almost global level it becomes
increasingly important that new and innovative ways
are found to counter the prevailing threats that we find
ahead of us, and the DSEI show aims to showcase the
very best of them.

From bullets to bandages, and from fighter jets to warships DSEI
brings to the international procurement community a unique
format featuring 1,600 exhibitors with 40 international pavilions
that attracts over 35,000 visitors including international
delegations from existing and both traditional and developing
defence and security markets. The complexity of both national
and international security grows each and every year, and
DSEI aims to provide a “one stop shop” for inter-operability by
melding the areas of maritime, land, air and even cyber in one
place at one time.
It’s a bold show that has developed and evolved from
the traditional “Exhibition” format; between 1976 and 1991,
the British Army Equipment Exhibition and the Royal Navy
Equipment Exhibition were held on alternate years in Aldershot
and Portsmouth respectively. Overseas delegations attended by
invitation only.


In 1993 the two exhibitions were combined and held every
other year until the British government decided to privatise
the exhibition. Exhibitions company Spearhead launched the
first DSEI, then known as Defence and Systems Equipment
International, in 1999 at Chertsey in Surrey.

In 2001 it moved to its current location at the ExCeL Exhibition
Centre in London Docklands. DSEI’s name was changed in 2009,
replacing the word Systems with Security.
In April 2008, DSEI was acquired by Clarion Events. The Clarion
Events’ portfolio of defence and security events is acknowledged
as the world’s leading forums where high level government
officials and senior military personnel converge. Leading
global equipment and services providers meet to share ideas,
discuss industry developments, conduct business, and develop
partnerships and network for future growth. Whilst military
systems and technology are at the core of the industry and the
events, the sector is also diversifying and adapting to meet the
changing needs of the world. In addition to the threat of war,
national security can be threatened by humanitarian disasters
resulting in mass displacement of people or food and water
shortages, terrorism or pandemic.
All defence and security exhibitions in the UK including DSEI
can serve only the legitimate defence and security industry which
is the most tightly regulated industry in the world. This means
exhibitors and visitors must adhere to the highest regulatory
scrutiny, complying with UK and international laws, treaties
and conventions. DSEI itself works closely with government
departments including MOD, Foreign and Commonwealth Office,
BIS and Home Office to ensure this strict compliance with all rules,
regulations and laws. Furthermore, the UK Government itself is
responsible for inviting international delegations.


DSEI is divided into dedicated capability zones to make it more
manageable to navigate, as it truly is a gargantuan show! DSEI
2017 featured its strongest aerospace offering to date, comprising
fixed, rotary wing, and unmanned platforms. The popular Air Zone
was fully supported by the Royal Air Force and Joint Helicopter
Command and included a capability area dedicated to the
aerospace supply chain. With an impressive array of static displays
expected to feature around the ExCeL concourse, as well as a
notable line up of rotary assets operating in the maritime domain,

DSEI was the must-attend event for the entire aerospace sector. Air
Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier KCB CBE DFC, Chief of the Air Staff,
delivered a keynote address at DSEI on Wednesday 13 September
in the West Theatre. Chaired by Air Marshall Philip Sturley CB MBE
FRAeS and industry expert Howard Wheeldon, the Air Capability
Conference examined “The Next Generation of Air Capability”.
The Naval Zone was the most comprehensive dedicated Naval
Zone in DSEI history. In addition to the 1,600 DSEI exhibitors the
Zone incorporated over 50 specialist naval exhibitors and was
fully supported by the First Sea Lord and Royal Navy. The Naval
Zone was one of DSEI 2017’s greatest strengths with 16 nations
represented, twice as many than the 2015 show. It provided
the DSEI audience with unrivalled networking opportunities,
insights from key decision makers and the opportunity to see
first-hand the industry’s latest vessels in action with interactive
presentations and waterborne demonstrations. DSEI 2017 hosted
eight warships and a number of rotary assets that operate in the





maritime domain. Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC, First Sea
Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, delivered two keynote addresses
at DSEI 2017. The first on Day Zero, Monday 11 September at the
Maritime Capability Conference, and the second as the opening
keynote in the Naval Zone on Tuesday 12 September on the
exhibition floor.
The Land Zone for DSEI 2017 grew by 52% and surpassed the
achievements of the 2015 event by introducing new features
such as a dedicated showcase which opened up opportunities for
even more suppliers to attend. This was complemented by the
announcement of General Sir Nick Carter KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen,
Chief of the General Staff as keynote speaker. DSEI’s offering to
the land sector was further strengthened by the Land Capability
Conference which took place on Monday 11 September as part
of the DSEI Strategic Conference programme.
Led by the British Army, the conference focused on ‘The Future
of Robotics & Autonomous Systems in the Land Environment’.


The emphasis on land systems innovation continued into the DSEI
exhibition from Tuesday 12 September to Friday 15 September,
with the event’s extensive offering from specialist exhibitors
in the Land Zone. In addition, the Land Seminar Programme
followed four central themes: Develop, Deliver, Generate
and Operate, and People & Skills, focusing on transforming
productivity, Army adaptation and intelligent procurement.
Delegates saw speakers including Major General Chris
Tickell, Director Capability, and Lieutenant General Paul Jaques,
Chief of Materiel (Land) from the British Army.
The dedicated Security Zone showcased security equipment
and systems to counter priority threats, such as Cyber Attacks
and terrorism, as well as an enlarged Special Forces and tactical
equipment area. DSEI 2017 centralised the security sector’s
expertise with a bespoke community in order to
increase networking opportunities for both exhibitors
and visitors.



As well as this the Minister of State for Security The Rt
Hon Ben Wallace MP made a Keynote Address on the 13th
September. In 2015 the security zone was a huge success
which resulted in a record number first-time exhibitors
showcasing the latest equipment and technologies in
conjunction with a catalogue of prime contractors such
as Fujitsu, Dell, BAE Systems - Applied Intelligence, BT,
CISCO and Intel.
Showcased within the Security Zone were products
and services ranging from security & special forces
training, tactical equipment, perimeter security covert
& overt surveillance & camera equipment and PPE, with
exhibitors including CEIA, Palo Alto Networks, International
Armoured Group, Barrett Communications, SFD Global, H.
Henriksen, Bergans and BeaverFit.
DSEI 2017 also saw an enhanced Joint Zone with a
plethora of products from exhibitors within the following
sectors: C4ISTAR, Communications, DIO, Electronic Warfare,
Joint Enablers, Logistics, Medical, Robotics & Telemedicine.
Following the huge success of 2015’s Medical
Innovation Zone the area was expanded to include more
companies along with an award winning demonstration
area which once again was organised with a team from
Defence Medical Services (DMS) Medical Directorate.
General Sir Chris Deverell, Commander Joint Forces
Command commented; “DSEI 17 will offer Joint Forces
Command the opportunity to report on our plans for the
future, in particular on operationalising our Warfare In The
Information Age concept. I am looking forward to it.”




As with any major defence show DSEI has its share of critics, but
in a world where borders and allegiances are shifting seemingly
on a daily basis, the importance of the show as a benefactor to
the UK economy should not be undervalued. The UK defence
industry represents ten per cent of UK high technology
manufacturing and is the number one exporter in Europe,
second only to the US globally. DSEI, which is based at ExCeL
London, is a crucial part of that industry. The industry employs
over 300,000 people and generates over £35 billion per year
to the UK economy. The industry also works hand-in-hand with
the UK Armed Forces from factory to frontline, for example over
6,000 industry personnel are currently working alongside our
troops in Afghanistan.
The economic benefits are not just about the defence
industry either, but directly benefit the London economy itself.
The 35,000 exhibitors, visitors and contractors attending DSEI
occupy over 100,000 room-nights at London hotels during the
week of the event, generating an estimated £23m direct benefit
to the London economy in the process, even before taking into
account all of their associated expenditure on travel, restaurants
and the like across the capital during their stay.
We live in a world today where defence and security budgets
are all under scrutiny, if not direct attack, and the DSEI show
brings together the relevant “players” in the community in one
place at one time. If we are to be protected we must support
such shows as DSEI, not protest against them. It would be a
naivety not to acknowledge that millions, if not billions change
hands at shows of this nature, but if that money is well spent
to support a safer future for all then it should be seen as an
investment, and not a draw on increasingly limited funding.

DSEI 2019 takes place on Tuesday 10 September 2019 to
Friday 13 September 2019. The PMCI Team certainly enjoyed
their time at this year’s DSEI; we are but a humble publication in
a vast marketplace and our priority as ever is on the individuals,
the guys that will have their boots in the mud on the front line,
so we hope that you’ll enjoy this gallery of images from the
2017 show.



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Our training facility is based in the United Kingdom, close to the midlands and within 350 acres
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For more information please contact us at:



For this issue we are again pleased to be joined by Eli from Project Gecko, this time to give us some
insight as to how and why he and his team train their students the way they do when it comes to
the all-important Combat Stance.


ecently during one of our Project Gecko
shooting courses, I heard several students
arguing about whether a tactic or a shooting
stance should be 100% universal or on the
other hand a purpose designated (CQB / LR
context for example) stance that might not be
100% universal but more human behaviour
compliant and flexible.
Back to the students argument; I asked
the student: “What does a universal stance
mean for you?”
He replied that the stance can be used in a firefight, hand
to hand combat, in close quarters or on 200m. In a few
words something that is legit for every task, doesn´t matter
how different the context might be.
This sounds really efficient and simple in the first place
right? It left me thinking quite often about it, because each
fight has different priorities so the stance also has different
tasks to fulfil. Nevertheless, the utilisation of Tactic, Terrain
and Equipment plays a major role in our ability to do A B C….
As a small example you can ask a kitchen chef if he is
using only one knife to prepare his food?

The answer is clearly no, because every meat is different.
So is fighting.
So for those who want a short summary, there is no
universal combat stance, merely indifference’s that are
normally dictated by the designation of your task. Let’s look
into some fundamentals and principles.


When you ask the average shooter why the shooting stance
is so important, he will typically roll up his eyes and will say
“Tight grouping bro.” Not so correct.
A shooting stance, or lets be more accurate, a combat
stance, is a stance that allows you not only to be relevant
to the application of action itself (shooting /punching for
example), but also to what is going to happen straight after
you take the decision to pull the trigger or deliver a blow with
your fist. The combat stance should be one fluent movement
that will allow you to remain proactive and responsive. In
reality, human targets are extremely dynamic.
One of the most important characteristics of the combat
stance is mobility. But what is meant with mobility?

Mobility equals survivability. One of the key components in a
combat stance is applying a body posture that will allow default
behaviour compliant of different parts of the body for a dynamic
mobility. Majority of combat stances, like the German NSAK,
are quite good for shooting, but terrible for rapid reactionary
body mechanics such as moving away from the shooting tunnel
instead of moving into it.
Compared to the modified IDF combat stance that we teach
at Project Gecko, there is a huge difference in the leg position.
Through the different leg position we achieve the following

1. On Demand - In other words it has to be simple but effective
that the individual could employ the body posture literally on
demand as a behavioural default.
2.Proactive – In most cases entering a combat stance is done
in a reactive manner, as the need for the stance obviously is
triggered by something. But by being proactive for example you
can say this:

The initial posture in the modified Israeli combat stance nearly
forces the shooter into moving (not only stepping like NSAK)
sideways rather than in a linear manner towards his threat
(which increases fatality chances drastically).
3. Human Behaviour Compliant – We’ll get to this point later.
Additionally what we need to increase in our performance
tremendously is a solid manoeuvrability provided by the legs on
demand. Only through this we can maintain our centre mass in
balance while simultaneously being able to move in any given
direction as fast and safely as possible.
We reach this through bended knees and a nearly straight
torso. Through “squatting” we increase the muscle tension what
leads to a more stable position. The closer we get to the 90° in
the knee joint, the less mobile we are. So what we want is to
find the perfect balance between manoeuvrability and stability.
Typically we keep the hips projected in 45°, while the
opposite feet to the rifle pointing towards the threat or point
of interest.
Now after we talked about getting into optimal conditions
we also need to talk about how to hold them. Through the
physiology of the muscles we know that the leg muscles create
more energy when they get slightly stretched. So similar to a
sprinter getting ready at his/her starting block, we also get into
a slightly bended knee position to provide optimal conditions.


During long operations the soldier needs to carry all of his
equipment for days. Normally the weight of the average
assaulter loads out is around 25 or 30 kg. (Dependant on role).
Due to the fact that magazines and other essentials must be
reachable, most of the weight is normally in front.
So what happens now if we lean forward towards the
enemy? Our lower back needs to work more to stop us from




falling over. We talked about physiology of the muscle before,
so we want to continue here with more information about
Basically we can say there are 3 types of muscle fibres.
• Slow Twitch (ST) Type 1
• Fast Twitch (FT) Type 2a
• Fast Twitch (FT) Type 2b
We want to focus now only on Type 1 and Type 2b... Both
have different characteristics and we want to summarise
them quickly. Most muscles have both muscle types within
with different distribution which leads us to the following; we
can say that nearly all muscles fibres in the back musculature
are Fast Twitch, so quickly exhaustable. On the other hand is
the distribution in the Quads pretty even what leads to the
conclusion that the musculature in the legs can be stressed
longer before they show the same symptoms. So what we want
is a nearly straight back to reduce the stress on the lower back
to a minimum because a physical exhaustion will reduce the
capability and ends in a lower ability to work under pressure.


There is a motto in the German Army which says “Wirkung vor
Deckung” which means effectiveness before cover.
To minimize the vulnerability they teach you to stand with
the plates towards the enemy so if somebody is shooting
back the chance is higher they get hit in the plate. Before we
continue I want you to ask yourself a question; if somebody
is punching you, is your first natural instinct to go towards or
away from the threat?
So what happens now is that we try to change our deepest
instincts which only show up when it comes to life threatening
situations. We don’t want to get too much into the neurosciences
and human behaviour in a firefight but let me explain you
something with the example of “Neuronal mapping”.


To learn a simple movement it takes 300-500 repetitions.
To change the learned procedure it takes about 5000-7000
reps because as soon as you get tired you fall back into the old
pattern. This may come out of a sports related context but is
also expressive for combat.
So all this effort only to hope the enemy is hitting you in the
310mm x250 mm plate?
We asked ourselves the question: “Why are you taking the
risk to get hit in first place, when you also could get out of
line of fire first?” Additionally it is a fact that a moving target
is always harder to hit which increases our chances to survive
drastically. I think it’s also the place to note, that most tactics
were created in theory and a sterile environment where
everything is obvious and black and white. People are training
in a square area with the targets placed perfectly parallel to the
back because our brain tends to like everything in an exact order.


The problem is that the reality is a pure chaos and everything
else then sterile. So following the old saying “train how you
fight” we try to keep the stance as usable as possible to provide
optimal conditions to start a moving firefight. Having this in
mind it gets clearer that there is no use in finding a perfect
position to shoot in any given direction but more finding a
position which gets you out of the enemy line of fire as quick
and as safely as possible in the first place and second gives me
the opportunity to return fire as fast as possible.
Based on Bio-mechanics, Neurosciences, and Human
Behaviour under stress and years of combat experience we
designed our stance on the needs of a firefight to improve the
capability of every student from the beginning. Knowing that
every human is different we adapt on the individual needs of a
person through trained instructors with scientific background to
provide the best training progress possible.
Our thanks go to Eli for allowing us to share both the words
and pictures featured in this article; for more articles, reviews,
and details of the training courses offered by Project Gecko
please do visit


noses stuck to the screens they seemed to drift past me like
aimless ghosts. Crowded trains and tubes make line of sight all
but impossible, and the thought that the majority around me
were not in any way “switched on” had me shaking my head.

In this issue you’ll find the report and photo gallery of what
we saw at DSEI in London this year, and what a show it was!

I am not saying in any way, shape, or form that the threat of

However, when getting ready to head off to the city I found my

terrorist attacks should stop us doing anything, buy why will

head turning towards the current security situation; whilst I did

people not learn to be more aware? Skills that once were taken

not for one moment question my intent to attend the show it

for granted are perishable, and erode all too easily if they are

did go through my mind that I needed to, as they say, “have my

not worked on.

head on a swivel”.
Whilst PMCI is squarely aimed at, and indeed designed for those
Further recent atrocities, perpetrated by cowardly pond-life that

that wish to enhance their personal skillset for professional

live in the darkest pools of our ever more fragile societal lake,

reasons, it strikes me that we are becoming equally as valid as

bring personal safety and security to the forefront. This summer

a publication for the wider community. Surveillance and CQB

I have undergone major surgery and although fitness is returning

skills are not necessarily needed for modern everyday life, and

I am by no means at the top of my game right now. Physically

thorough knowledge of tactical clothing, equipment, knives and

I am slower and less agile than I would normally be, although

firearms are frowned upon by many, but it’s the mindset that is

mentally I hope I’ve still got all my marbles in the jar!

the thing.

I found myself thinking how I might be able to react if an

If the mindset to be aware, to recognise where and when you are

“incident” were to occur, but once I started out on my journey

in life, even to simply survive is lost then we truly have already

I realised that all things are relative. Mixing with tourists and

started to hand over to those that would see ill done to us both

commuters both it struck me just how unaware people are,

as individuals and as a society.



People were just not engaged in their situation, on the phone,

both spatially and situationally. Okay, I work day in, day out with
the firearms, training and tactical communities so perhaps I am

Wherever you may be people, switch on, train hard, stay vigilant

more aware than many, but the seemingly blissful lack of any

and keep safe.

kind of place and time in others shocked me more than I would
have liked.



“Dr. Martens” boots will be a familiar brand to many
of you as they have a long and somewhat colourful
history! But what happens when a boot maker best
known for “fashion” turns their attention to footwear
for the professional user?
If you’re of a certain age or a keen follower of fashion
then I’m absolutely certain that at some point you’ve
undoubtedly owned a pair of “Doc Martens”. Since the
first Dr. Martens boots in the United Kingdom came out
on 1 April 1960 quite literally millions of pairs have been
sold worldwide, but the whole story began much earlier
than that, and has a distinctly military heritage.
Klaus Maertens was a doctor in the German army during
World War II. While on leave in 1945, he injured his ankle
while skiing and after that he found that his standard-issue
army boots were too uncomfortable on his injured foot.
While recuperating, he designed improvements to the
boots, with soft leather and air-padded soles made of tires.
Using a salvaged cobbler’s last and a needle, Maertens
made a prototype shoe and showed it to an old university
friend and mechanical engineer, Dr. Herbert Funk. The two
went into partnership by using disused military supplies
to begin producing their unique shoes
In the late 1950’s , British shoe manufacturer R. Griggs
Group Ltd. bought patent rights to manufacture the shoes
in the United Kingdom. Griggs anglicised the name and
trademarked the soles as “AirWair”, and the rest, as they
say, is history!
Now Dr. Martens have produced “industrial” models
of their boots for years, but their “Service Collection”
marks the dawn of a new era in design and materials.
Dr. Martens have been collaborating extensively with
police and security officers to fully understand their
needs. This comprehensive research has culminated in
the “Skelton” which offers a unique sole with a high grip
tread that provides comfort, durability and outstanding
slip resistance.
The 8 inch boot is non-metallic throughout with sturdy
moulded eyelets, and benefits from a tough leather and
nylon upper with a very nicely padded bellows tongue, and
a padded collar. Inside you get a durable EVA (ethel vinyl
acetate) midsole; the midsole is that part of the boot that
effectively provides cushioning and stability for the foot
and you’ll find EVA in virtually all high quality performance
footwear, so this is absolutely spot on. The Skelton’s also
benefit from a “Softwair” insole and a moisture wicking
lining to help keep your feet comfortable for extended
periods of time.


I was lucky enough to be sent a pre-release sample of
the Skelton’s by the nice folk at Patrol Store a couple of
months ago, so I’ve been able to give them a really good
try before writing this review, and I have to say that other
than a prominent “Dr Martens AirWair” logo on the heel
cup you’d be hard-pressed to recognise these as “DMs”,
as the design is right on trend with the style of the very
latest tactical and professional boots out there.
Weighing in at just 735g per boot (size 10) The Skelton’s
feel light on the foot, and that special outsole really does
give you some bounce in your step! The toe and lower foot
area of the boot is of one piece leather construction, with
no seams to rub across your toes, and is a comfortable
broad fit. The heel cup however is relatively narrow, and
combined with a solid lacing system which keeps the foot
positioned well, and helps to avoid unnecessary movement
which could lead to blisters.
With the great British “summer” living up to its usual
mix of weather I’ve had chance to wear the Skeltons in
most conditions other than snow, and I have to confirm
that the moisture wicking lining does keep the foot dry
in the heat, again helping to avoid blisters or “hot spots”.
Whilst the boots are not quoted a being waterproof thus
far I’ve not experienced wet feet, and regular maintenance
of the leather and nylon elements will no doubt give
performance longevity.
I’ve put a fair few miles under the soles of the Skeltons
already and so far they’ve proved to be a comfortable and
protective pair of boots. With a UK retail price iro £73.00
these are a cracking pair of boots that will undoubtedly
bring even further success to the Dr. Marten brand, and
bring great performance to a whole new group of users!
Our sincere thanks go to the team at www.patrolstore.
com for providing the test sample, and you can expect to
see the Skeltons loading up onto their comprehensively
stocked web store in the very near future.


Visitors to the world’s leading Defence and Security
Trade event, DSEI, were able to see for themselves a
new fuel made from sugar beet which British soldiers
are now using to heat their combat rations and warm
their drinks. PMCI takes a closer look.


163 year old Cardiff-based survival equipment
manufacturers, BCB International Ltd, have developed
the world’s first solid bio-ethanol fuel called ‘FireDragon’.
Following extensive laboratory and field trials, the UK’s
Ministry of Defence (MoD) decided to replace traditional
hexamine fuel tablets with the novel ‘FireDragon’ fuel
which is made in Great Britain.
BCB International’s Managing Director, Andrew Howell, said:
“Warm food raises a soldier’s morale, energy and
concentration levels. Unfortunately, for far too long soldiers
were also unknowingly inhaling toxic fumes each time they
used hexamine fuel tablets to cook their food in the field.
“FireDragon is a safer and cleaner alternative. The
FireDragon fuel boasts many features. It is made from
sustainable natural ingredients, it is non-toxic, burns
cleanly, can be ignited even when wet and if necessary
can be used as a hand cleanser.”
Many Armies, and indeed Cnotracting companies,
worldwide are still issuing their personnel with hexamine
fuel tablets. But as Andrew Howell explained, the British
Army’s decision to make the switch to ‘FireDragon’ has
encouraged others to rethink their military rations heating fuel:
“There is a growing body of evidence about the health
risks associated with hexamine based fire-lighting fuels.
This combined with the UK MoD’s decision to use a superior
alternative, has led to those in charge of combat feeding
programmes in other armies to reconsider hexamine’s
suitability as a fuel for the future.
“We are currently in discussions with several armies
that are interested in integrating ‘FireDragon’ into their
operational ration packs.”
BCB formulated and developed the ‘FireDragon’ gel to
help people who venture in the great outdoors cook their
rations and boil their brews quickly, safeguard their health,
while protecting the environment. The fuel is non-toxic,
non-drip and made from 100% natural ingredients. It is
easy to light, burns cleanly and BCB’s research shows that
it boils quicker than meths.
FireDragon Gel fuel is an ideal companion when it comes
to efficient cooking in hostile environments. Whether in
driving rain, the freezing arctic or searing heat, the fuel will
perform in extreme conditions. The fuel is also relatively
inexpensive and comes supplied with a small lightweight
cooker which can be packed with three ‘FireDragon’ fuel

• Easy to Light
• Quick Boil – Boils quicker than meths.
• Non-Drip – The non-flowing gel and bottleneck widget
prevent leakage.
• Clean Burn – The gel produces very little soot.
• All Weather – FireDragon gel is waterproof and will burn
even when wet. The ultimate all weather gel fuel.
• Non-Toxic – Gives off an odourless clean burn.
• Environmentally Friendly – Made from 100% natural
ingredients, FireDragon is kind to the planet.
• FireDragon Gel is supplied in two sizes: 250 ml and 1 Litre.
For more information and some excellent video of the fuel
in use please visit



At IWA earlier this year we were introduced to some
great new additions to the Helikon-Tex line, and it’s
great to see those starting to filter through to the
market now. Bill has been testing a couple of items
from their “Outback” and “Bushcraft” collections and
brings you his initial findings.


I really like the fact that Helikon-Tex have started to
categorise their clothing and equipment as it makes life far
easier when you’re looking for a particular item. As a keen
outdoorsman I’m therefore every bit as interested in what
they have in the “Outback” and “Bushcraft” categories in
addition to the “Range” and “Patrol” lines as good outdoor
equipment can act as the backbone for any situation.
The “Outback Line” is their technical clothing and
accessories line concept; everything from baselayers
through all intermediate levels of insulation for both
dynamic and static activities to outer layers including
windshirts, softshells, hardshells and Climashield parkas
is included in this category. Accessories developed for the
Outback Line will focus on travel, gear packing and outdoor
It’s that time of year where I live where the north
wind is starting to pick up, and although I’m not yet
ready to transition into a fully-fledged hardshell I do want
something that can be worn over a microfleece to add an
additional layer against wind chill, and ideally I look for
garments that are lightweight and have a minimal pack size.
The new Windrunner windshirt is an ideal carry item
because of its minimum weight and size when folded. At
just 190g (size XL) it’s ultralight, tight-woven Nylon fabric
protects you from the wind, and if the DWR coating is
regularly maintained, also from light rain. The Windrunner
would also be an ideal garment for any kind of outdoor
training. Mesh ventilation slats in armpits allow increased
air circulation for when you’re really working hard, and
on a cooler day, worn on top of a fleece, it keeps your
all-important core warmth from escaping and protects
against wind chilling. A large front channel pocket easily
accommodates a cap, gloves or a buff , and two small flat
pockets inside the larger pocket help to organize small
items like smartphone or ID.
Additional features are sparse and minimalistic in
that there is a lightweight hood, elasticated cuffs and
a drawstring hem, and that’s it. On a garment like this
though you don’t need a massive amount of features as
that just increases bulk and weight.

The Windrunner has been with me a little over a month
now and I have to admit that I absolutely love it; it’s a
superb piece of kit that gives you just that little extra
protection when things start to get cooler, and therefore
I would thoroughly recommend it to you.
Body heat of course is all important when it comes to
your efficiency, and another recent release from HelikonTex is their “FIRESPARK” firesteel. Designed and tested by
specialists in bushcraft and survival techniques, a new
FIRESPARK firesteel is a modern rendering of classic piece
of equipment. A hollow aluminium handle may be used to
house water purification tablets, tinder or rolled banknotes.
Instead of the traditional carbon steel though the
FIRESPARK makes use of a long Ferrocerium rod; While
ferrocerium “steels” function in a similar way to natural
flint and steel in fire starting, ferrocerium takes on the
role that steel played in traditional methods; when small
shavings of it are removed quickly enough the heat
generated by friction is enough to ignite those shavings,
converting the metal to the oxide, i.e., the sparks are
actually tiny pieces of burning metal. This long spark rod
with durable handle make starting a fire with FIRESPARK
and knife a breeze; combined with my favourite bushcraft
knife created for me by Josh Curry of the Athena Knife Co.
in the USA, the FIRESPARK is absolutely awesome, sending
an array of sparks away with every stroke!
I am really enjoying the roll out of the new Helikon
categories, and rest assured I’ll update things just as soon
as another test piece arrives in the office!
For more information please visit www.helikon-tex.
com for country stockists, and in the UK check out www. for the very latest brand updates.



US Brand Cannae Pro are fast becoming known and
respected for their packs and bags, but they also make
some cracking clothing. The team at PMCI got their
hands on it and took a very close look.

Cannae Pro you may well ask, who are they, where have
they come from, and why should I be interested? Valid
questions all which I’ll endeavour to enlighten you on.
Cannae Pro Gear is now one of the fastest-growing
tactical brands in the USA, producing superior quality gear,
apparel and accessories. Based in Long Beach, California
Cannae Pro works with active operators from specials
operations units, law enforcement, first responders,
and enthusiasts who specialise in the tactical, hunting,
and active/outdoor markets to develop a cutting-edge,
practical and diverse product line.
Cannae Pro Gear was founded by Robert Hollander,
Chairman and CEO, a noted brand builder who has created
and successfully launched numerous products, including
those for the automotive industry and NASCAR, in addition
to his ground breaking marketing of the 1996 Summer
Olympics in Atlanta. Cannae’s experienced team is led
by the company’s COO, Andrew Work, who has built an
international reputation for product development, sales,
and merchandising of consumer products ranging from
outdoor, tactical, extreme sports, and lifestyle accessories.
Named for the famous battle at which Hannibal defeated
a vastly superior Roman force in 216 BC (historians consider
“The Battle of Cannae” one of the most brilliant military
victories ever!) Cannae Pro’s stated mission is to provide
the best possible products that they possibly can.



Although you might think that the gear is the high point of
what’s on offer from Cannae Pro I’d like to introduce you
to their excellent clothing range. It’s a tight, meticulously
thought out collection that right now amounts to just
six items, Operator Tactical Polos both long and short
sleeve, the Centurion Performance Pullover and Rig Fleece
Performance Pullover, a superb Battle Ready Tactical
Hoodie, and last but by no means least the Shield Soft
Shell Jacket.
The Shield Soft Shell Jacket is a comfortable, flexible
jacket which has been designed for the professional user.
Made from water and wind resistant Poly Soft Shell with
a bit of elastic makes this a lightweight, all-weather jacket
that provides soft and durable warmth with the flexibility
to “move and groove” in extreme situations.
Features include an easy-entry chest zipper pocket,
wide and deep abdominal side zipper pockets for heavy
objects/concealed carry, side zip openings for side holster,
generous sized inside pockets, and an easy-access left arm
zipper pocket. In addition, there are patch fields on both
arms to customise your ID or team patches, and velcro cuff
straps help keep the heat in and the cold out.

The Battle Ready Full Zip Hoodie is the ideal tactical hoodie.
Made from cotton, poly fleece and a little bit of elastic,
this lightweight tactical hoodie provides soft and durable
warmth with the flexibility to manoeuvre in extreme
situations. Features include easy-entry chest zipper pocket,
wide and deep abdominal open pockets for heavy objects/
concealed carry, easy-pull hood/hem cinch straps, and
easy-access left arm zipper pocket. In addition, there are
generous patch fields on both arms to customise your
identification patches.
Maximum comfortable and flexibility makes The Rig
Fleece ½ Zip Tactical Pullover the preferred choice of the
everyday user. Made from a durable polyester fleece with
a terry weave interior with a bit of flexible spandex, this

functional yet comfortable clothing and I certainly hope
that there will be more to come from them in this respect!
Scott Country International are currently busy sorting out
retailers in the UK and I’m absolutely certain that we’ll be
seeing a lot about Cannae Pro in the immediate future. I
for one am looking forward to really putting test pieces
through the mill, and I’ll report back in more detail when
I’ve done so!
For more details on Cannae Pro gear go on over to For the UK please do visit in the UK and simply type
“Cannae” into the search box!


lightweight tactical pullover combines the elements of
tactical manoeuvrability with everyday comfort. Features
include easy-entry chest zipper pocket, along with wide
and deep abdominal zipper pockets for heavy objects/
concealed carry.
Extreme situations call for high performance gear.
Engineered for flexibility, The Centurion Performance
Pullover provides the active user an ideal alternative for
any scenario. The arms, shoulders, and chest material
are made from a durable wind-resistant poly soft shell
to absorb the tough contact while the body is made of a
super soft breathable poly micro-fibre. Plus, a bit of flexible
spandex is added throughout for tactical manoeuvrability
with everyday comfort. Features include easy-entry left
arm zipper pocket, elbow patches for additional durability,
generous patch fields on both arms to customize your
identification. I have to admit that this style is being
discontinued soon, but my advice is to grab one if you can!
Last but by no means least are the two polos; The
Professional Operator Polo (long or short sleeved) is the
ideal attire for the everyday use. Made from soft and
comfortable cotton plus a bit of spandex, this polo provides
the user the tactical mobility and flexibility any job requires
while looking professional. Features include left arm
pocket organizer, radio clip openings on the shoulders,
and generous patch fields on both arms.
These are all really super bits of kit which really show
what Cannae Pro are capable of when it comes to highly


Although not “fashion driven” per se tactical clothing and gear brands appear to go in and out of vogue,
but there’s one brand that’s been with us for 50 years and that’s Propper from the USA; Bill takes a look at
the brand and what they have to offer us.


ver the years I’ve owned clothing and gear from just about
every major tactical manufacturer out there; some of it
has been absolutely first rate whilst other items have
been relegated to the “not fit for purpose” bin, and I’m
afraid to say that once I’ve found a brand wanting it takes
an awful lot to rekindle my faith in them.
Whilst I was living in the USA and out on the range a
lot more regularly than I am now I looked for relatively
inexpensive yet hard-wearing tactical clothing, and found it in the form
of the Propper BDU pant; believe it or not, even after many years and
many washes the pants are actually still going, although in fairness they
do look a bit beaten up and faded these days; that however is after
nearly 16 years of use, so I’m not going to quibble in any way that this
kit is not fully “fit for purpose”!


Founded by William S. Propper in 1967, Propper
International is a manufacturer of the American Army
Combat Uniform, Propper Battle Dress Uniform and
iconic white Navy “Dixie Cup” hats. Their line of products
includes high-quality tactical apparel and uniforms, military
footwear and combat accessories for Military and law
enforcement, service personnel, firefighting professionals,
public safety and outdoor enthusiasts. This year, they
proudly celebrate 50 years of providing outstanding
military, law enforcement and tactical apparel and gear
to folks like us who understand what it takes to get the
job done right.

And these already impressive numbers don’t even take
into account things like gloves, sleeping systems, webbing,
nylon gear, and even GORE-TEX rain suits (they’ve supplied
over a million GORE-TEX suits to the US military and
coastguard since 2004!) so you might say that this is a
company that know more than a little about making good,
solid, durable, and above all reliable clothing and gear!

You might think with all of this going on that Propper would
be pretty comfortable to rest on the laurels and just keep
cracking on with those military contracts, but that’s far from
the truth of the matter. Like any company worth their salt
they’re always looking at new fabrics, new technologies
and new methods of garment construction so that they
can offer the user the very best they can!
Whilst they do still manufacture both the classic
BDU and the more modern ACU in a massive array of
camouflage patterns (and yes, you can still buy M81!) it’s
in some of their latest directions that they’ve completely
re-kindled my interest. To go back to an earlier comment


The 4,000-square-foot Propper “think tank” is dedicated to
the research, development and design of new products. It’s
where Propper transform gear concept sketches to finished
prototypes that feel as authentic and durable as the real
thing. From there, their product development and global
sourcing departments work hand-in-hand to bring their
biggest and best ideas to life.
Propper cut and sew their clothing and gear in their
very own 9001-2008 ISO-Certified production facilities in
Haiti and Dominican Republic. Propper’s Berry-Compliant
production facility in Puerto Rico handles additional cutting
and sewing, in addition to pattern-grading, permanent
press, permethrin treatments, stone washing, enzyme and
garment dying, and certified GORE-TEX seam sealing.
Their 200,000-square-foot distribution center in Dickson,
Tennessee is EDI capable, RFID capable, and government

bill and hold capable, helping them deliver everything
users need on time, and on spec. Propper’s website tells
me that their core values are:
• Authentic - From design to delivery, we’re driven by
good people making really good gear. If it’s anything else,
it isn’t ours.
• Deliberate - We’re calculated when it comes to what
we make, how we make it and who we make it for – a
difference you can feel in every stitch, every seam and
every pocket.
• Responsive - Like our gear, our flexible service, fast
shipping and product customization are designed to bring
you more than you’d ever expect.
• Proven - We’re the leading gear and apparel supplier for
the U.S. Department of Defense, having met their evolving
needs for 50 years.
To put this last point in perspective for you in that 50 years
Propper has a hugely impressive track record, and the
numbers, whilst staggering, speak plainly for themselves;
• 120,000,000 GARMENTS produced for the US military.
• 30,000,000 MILITARY PERSONNEL have worn Propper
• 8,100,000 TOPS to the US Military.
• 11,800,000 TROUSERS to the US Military.


my Woodland ACU is years old now, but still performing, so
Propper are definitely a brand that I personally trust.
To illustrate what I mean about new directions though
I’m going to take a look at a few of their very latest
developments, starting with the FULL ZIP TECH SWEATER. At
£90.00 it combines the comfort of a stylish sweater with
the functionality of a tactical jacket. Featuring a full zip-up
front and stand-up collar, the Propper Tech Sweater is crafted
from high strength anti-pilling fleece fabric, which makes the
exterior durable but keeps interior warm and comfortable.
Reinforced fabric around the elbows and shoulders offer
additional resilience and durability, while elastic binding at
the sleeves make sure the sweater fits you perfectly during
any activity. Two dual zippered hand pockets and side zippers
allow quick access to bottom layer or your beltt, while the
vertical zippered chest pocket provides safe storage for
The Full Zip Tech Sweater from Propper offers excellent
freedom of movement with superb protection against the
weather and is perfect for casual wear as well as tactical use.
Priced at £56.00 the PROPPER V2 HOODIE is a classic bit of
design updated with some new twists; Crafted from highly
stretchable and lightweight smooth-faced jersey fleece
material, the Propper V2 Hoodie comes with 3/4 front zip
closure, contoured hood for added weather resistance, and
two zipped pockets for storing smaller tactical essentials.
Warm and comfortable, the new V2 Hoodie is perfectly
suited for both covert field duty and casual wear and is ideal
for a variety of outdoor activities. I love a good hoodie so


one of these will most
definitely be on my “wish
list” for the winter!
T h e P R O P P E R M E N ’S
PANTS come in at a walletfriendly £44.00; made of
durable and breathable
Polycotton Ripstop fabric,
these fully functional
Men’s Lightweight Tactical
Pants feature relaxed
fit construction with
action-stretch waistband,
reinforced seat and knees
for added durability and
durable YKK zip fly with
multiple easily accessible
pockets for all storage
needs. They’re perfect for
tactical or for everyday
use, so this is a case of
money well spent!
With a slightly higher price-tag of £62.00 the PROPPER
MEN’S STRETCH TACTICAL PANTS are made of highly stretchable
Nylon and Spandex fabric mix, these fully functional Men’s
Stretch Tactical Pants and feature relaxed fit construction
with an action-stretch waistband, reinforced seat and knees
for added durability and durable YKK zip fly with multiple
easily accessible pockets for all storage needs. These are a
bit more dynamic than the standard tactical pants, and it’s
certainly easy to see where your money is going here too.
Now I’m really just touching the tip of the iceberg with
these four garments. Speaking to the team at Military
1st they are aiming to offer their customers a massive
selection of Propper’s high-quality products, including a
comprehensive range of tactical pants, combat shirts and
field uniforms, waterproof jackets, hoodies, vests and soft
shells, as well as low-profile backpacks, duffles, gun cases,
utility pouches and accessories such as belts, hats, socks and
patches. It’s most definitely a case of “watch this space”!
Propper products are constantly being added at www. who kindly provided the test
samples for this article, so take my advice and
go and check out what Propper can offer you
at your earliest convenience!


We are extremely pleased that the PMCI team have been working closely with US Brand First
Tactical since they launched in Europe last year, as well as in America; since then they’ve gone
from strength to strength and Bill brings you the very latest updates on what’s new and innovative.


t’s really edifying when you support a brand that
enters the market and within a year you see them
gaining great plaudits from reviewers and users alike.
I’ve been very fortunate to have met the First
Tactical Team in person a couple of times now, and
they are super people that are intent on delivering the
very best tactical kit and clothing that they possibly can.
Solid as their initial “launch range” was it’s become
very apparent to me that they are not a company to sit on
their laurels though, and 2017 has seen some cracking new
designs launched, designs that are already hitting the stores,
and continue to do so!
Let me take just a moment to recap on who First tactical
are; essentially they are an American brand with “real world
roots” who are focused on providing the end user with a
product that is specific to their requirements, and guided
by innovation and reliability. Their design process combines
both advanced technical materials with state-of-the-art
components. First Tactical products are built to offer fully
functional gear precisely created for professionals in the
military, emergency and police services.


Working with real users from the tactical world, First Tactical
strives to fully understand customer demand through a
circular development process: Listen, Engineer, Field Test and
First Tactical listens to its customers through regular
product development sessions with real users in the field. They
also ensure they engineer cutting-edge product to transform
common gear into incomparable tools for professionals.
Through the use of Field Testing, First Tactical’s products
are put under scrutiny in the most demanding conditions to
ensure they withstand a variety of environments.
A year since I received it, and after some pretty extensive
“use and abuse” my original Tactix 1 Day Plus Pack still
looks and performs like new; I’m not at all kind to my kit as
obviously I need to give you all the “heads up” on where best
to spend your coin when you’re not exactly “loaded”, and
I’ve got to say that First Tactical is worth every penny. Based
on my experience of their nylon gear I recently got myself
one of their Canyon Digital Compass Watches which offers
the best of both worlds, durable enough to stand up to the
toughest jobs and environments yet sophisticated enough to
wear every day. Featuring an oversized display with a digital
second hand, compass function, and an innovative utility


As a few of us at PMCI have been running First Tactical gear
for a while, and have been extremely pleased with design,
performance and durability we know that they are a brand we
can trust, and in turn recommend to you, and the good news is
that new models currently being introduced have really moved
their game forward.

Earlier this year at SHOT their head designer, Cory, introduced
me to the new “Defender” shirt and pant, and I have to say
that this is to date the most overtly tactical clothing that they’ve
put together! First Tactical’s Defender Series Shirts are the best
of both worlds again; performance built to handle any mission
while maintaining the sharp look needed when on by the
professional user. In the performance department specialised
pockets boast ample space for oversized gear, a specialised yoke
eliminates unwanted bulk, and oversized sleeve pockets accept
patches or embroidery. Creating the perfect warm weather
shirt was at the forefront of their design as articulated elbows,


strap it’s a solid piece of kit that feels right as soon as you put it on.
The Canyon Digital Compass features an innovative digital
second hand allowing users to visualise seconds counting down
based on their needs, as they would with a traditional analogue
watch, and coupled with an enlarged time readout the digital
second hand enables you to complete any job with precision
and ease. Featuring a ruler (cm/in) and Morse Code guide on
the back of the band you will be equipped for any situation, and
STEALTH MODE switches the tactical watch to mute as you enter
silent tactical situations.
This however is not what I’d call “subtle” as at 2.4in / 60mm
long, 2.1in / 55.5mm wide, and 0.6in / 15.5mm thick this is
a timepiece and tool that looks like it really means business,
although the broad band width of 0.9in / 24mm makes it very
comfortable to wear, even for extended periods. Functions
include World Time and three alarms in addition to the compass
feature, and the watch is waterproof to 10 metres. So far it’s
proved to be a first rate watch, but of course I’ll report back later
with a long-term test report


running gussets, and vented mesh locations provide advanced
movement and breathability.
The Defender Series Pants offer a total of 28 (yup, you
read that right, 28!!!) specialised pockets which give ample
space for oversized gear, magazines, and all other equipment.
Articulation is at the forefront of design as articulated knees,
running gussets throughout, and vented mesh pockets provide
superb freedom of movement and breathability. Ventilation in
multiple key areas make these the ideal warm weather pants.
The Defender Fabric features a breathable cotton and Cordura
Nylon blend. The 2-way mechanical stretch Nyco, is one of the
first to the market and has double ripstop fabric that is moisture
wicking and perfect for warm weather.
Continuing down the clothing route, if you fancy something
that will be equally at home on the airsoft field as well as being
perfect for everyday use then the new Velocity Series Tactical
Pants are most certainly worth a look. With the Velocity Series
Tactical Pants, First Tactical took the fit and function of their
existing Specialist Pants and found innovative ways to provide
them at a lighter weight. The Velocity Series Tactical Pants
boast a double micro ripstop polyester/cotton blend fabric,
Teflon Shield+ stain repellent finish, and a mechanical two-way
stretch perfect for when you need flexibility and performance.
Running gusset construction gives you full motion ability, while
triple needle stitching at critical seams makes them bomber
tough and durable. The lightweight fabric and minimal layers
make these the ideal tactical pants for most of the year other
than full winter.
And there’s also some new accessories to round things
out even further! First Tactical’s Slash Patrol Glove combines


extreme tactility with long-term durability; featuring a Kevlar
lined palm, these great gloves will give peace of mind when
dealing with sharp objects either in the woods or especially in

an urban setting. Notching things up a level the Slash & Flash
Hard Knuckle Glove boasts a Kevlar lined palm that is Level II
certified and a flame resistant Nomex jersey so you can be ready
for any situation at hand. Finished with a hard, TPR knuckle
protection and TouchTac fingertip this design comes together
to give a really complete and functional tactical glove. In terms

of headgear new models include a new, fully adjustable ballcap
and a superb lightweight beanie for when things chill down.


that this type of model requires no maintenance! Absolute
“black arts and wizardry” that is…
All boots require maintenance (I’ll go into the whys and
wherefores another time…), but just because a boot is unlined
with an internal membrane or the like doesn’t mean it won’t
protect you IF you look after it properly.
But sometimes you just need a boot that suits your foot


One of the most regular debates I see online gear chat groups
is that of boot choice. Obviously for the UK a fully waterproof
boot is going to be a firm favourite, and recently I’ve seen some
absolute “BS” written about the efficacy of lined or unlined
footwear. Whilst a boot with a waterproof lining will give you
immediate protection from the elements it’s a huge misnomer

shape and your enviroment, and if you’re going to be more
in a CQB or range training setting rather than the dark, dank
backwoods then the latest model from First Tactical is going to
definitely be worth a look! Built for speed and comfort the First
Tactical Operator Boot features a lightweight yet tough synthetic
upper providing agility while welded construction ensures the
boots can stand up to high-level use and abuse.
Lightweight and breathable while maintaining an unmatched
level of durability needed for extended use the Operator Boots
benefit from a Torsion Flex fiberglass reinforced composite shank
that is 75% lighter than steel. The Operator takes inspiration
from athletic shoes, providing the flexibility and comfort you
expect from a running shoe but with the durability of your
favourite tactical boot. From Ortholite foam to enhanced airflow
pockets this boot is well ventilated and will provide comfort in
the warmest of environments.
Overall the latest additions to the First Tactical range of
clothing and footwear look absolutely spot-on, and test samples
of both the Defender Shirt and Pant and the Operator Boot have
been booked for further review. Be certain that I’ll report back
in more depth on these in the future.
First Tactical are most definitely a brand to keep an eye
on as they seem to be getting everything right so far. Their
range, although there are both male and female styles, is still
tight with strict adherence to the very best principles of both
design and quality control; speaking to the guys at Military 1st
they’re expecting the Defender gear to be landing with them
imminently, with the Operator Boots not far behind, so I’d
bookmark and keep up to date with
their Facebook page for updates!
To find out more information about the brand
please do pay a visit to either www.firsttactical.
com or For new products
please make sure to visit


When it comes to range training there are two absolute necessities that we need, commonly referred to
as “eyes and ears”. Whilst eyepro definitely has some “cool guy” appeal, looking after our hearing as
well as our sight is vitally important! Bill delves a little deeper.



ver the many years that I’ve been involved on
shooting it’s always been the case that I’ve
invested in my own eye and hearing protection,
and the advent of the “noise-cancelling” ear
defender meant that I could actually carry on a
conversation on the range whilst ensuring that
I was fully protected. As with “eyepro” hearing
protection continues to move forward.
In the not too distant past if you wanted “noisecancelling” technology then it was a case of over the ear muffs,
but as I’ve discovered from quite painful personal experience
having the ear completely covered and encased can lead to
irritation and even dry skin and rashes, especially in hot/dry
or hot/humid environments. Whilst all the leading “earpro”
manufacturers provide cleaning and sterilising “kits” for their
ear defenders they are not always the most convenient items
to carry with you; I always try to at least use a sterile alcohol
wipe at the end of each day of shooting, but even so there are
times when even this has been a challenge.
Over the ear “muffs” are not always the most appropriate
form of hearing protection either, and for those involved in
low profile Close Protection duties, the “muff” is a real nono; there’s nothing that screams out “I am armed” more than
darn great cans! To this end, for both personal and professional
reasons I started looking around for alternatives.

Etymotic Research, Inc. is an engineering-driven research,
development and manufacturing company. The name “Etymotic”
(pronounced “et-im-oh-tik.”) means “true to the ear.” Mead
Killion, Ph.D. founded Etymotic Research in 1983 to design
products that accurately assess hearing, improve the lives of
those with hearing loss, protect hearing, and enhance the
listening experience of all users.
With deep roots in acoustic research and the hearing aid
industry, Etymotic invented insert earphones in 1984. Etymotic’s
original earphone design used balanced armature receivers,
which established these speakers as the gold standard for
high definition in-ear earphones. The first versions were used
for diagnostic testing and precision auditory research (ER-1, 2,
3). Etymotic produced the first noise-isolating high-fidelity inear earphone, the ER-4 (1991), which became the basis of all
subsequent in-ear earphones and in-ear monitors worldwide,
and created an entire category of consumer electronics. The ER-4
earphones are still produced and channel-balanced to within 1 dB
in Etymotic’s labs in the US.
The early 1980s represented a new electronic age which
saw the introduction of numerous technical devices to assist
consumers in telephone communication and increase their access
to and appreciation of music. Products such as personal portable
radio/cassette players, FAX machines, cell phones and compact
disc technologies were introduced. This time frame was also a
period of advancement of in-ear technologies and greater public
acceptance of hearing aids. On September 7, 1983, during a routine
press conference, the news media observed that President Reagan
was wearing a hearing aid in his right ear, which proved to be a



priceless endorsement of hearing aids and helped boost sales to
record levels. In fact, in 1983, U.S. hearing aid sales surpassed the
one million mark for the first time in history.
This atmosphere of innovative technology set the stage for
the establishment of a new company that would focus on the
design of high-fidelity products that measure, improve and protect
hearing. Armed with two and one-half degrees in mathematics,
a PhD in audiology, and more than 20 years of experience in
electronic component manufacturing, Mead Killion took the giant
step forward to initiate his own commercial enterprise during the
summer of 1983. On the introduction of a mutual friend, Mead
was joined by Ed DeVilbiss, who brought a high level of sales and
business acumen, both of which were invaluable to the success
of the company.
The success of Etymotic Research is nothing short of
remarkable. Etymotic Research developed insert earphones for
audiometry and auditory brainstem response testing; otoacoustic
emissions screening and diagnostic devices; directional and array
microphones; a real-ear probe microphone for research; K-AMP
and Digi-K hearing aid circuitry; Companion Mics; Musicians
Earplugs; non-custom high-fidelity passive and electronic
earplugs; personal noise dosimeters; a sound level meter and
a direct-to-consumer personal sound amplifier. Along the way,
Etymotic created an entirely new consumer electronics category:
Noise-isolating, high-fidelity in-ear earphones.
Never losing sight of its mission, Etymotic Research has
expanded from audiology-based products to innovative devices
for the high-growth consumer electronics and telephony markets.
Etymotic has almost 70 employees and many consultants and
colleagues who contribute to research and product development.
Etymotic is rich in relationships with passionate people from all
over the globe. This amazing group shares a common goal: To
make the world a better place.



Adding electronic hearing protection to one’s arsenal isn’t new.
Hunters and marksmen have long been using passive earplugs
and over-the-ear style hearing protectors. However, an inability
to communicate while wearing some of these products, and
the instability of bulky headphone-style muffs on the head,
are clearly impediments. For these reasons, Etymotic’s in-ear
electronic earplugs have distinct advantages.
Properly sealed in the ear, electronic earplugs don’t move
around. More importantly, it’s their ability to automatically
amplify for better situational awareness, protect against
continuous loud noise and blasts, and pass through normal
sound that make Etymotic’s GunSportPRO electronic earplugs a
particularly good choice for hunters and shooters alike
The GunSportPRO model benefits from a Dual-Mode Switch,
Automatic Hearing Protection + Blast Protection Mode, and
allows natural hearing. They provides 15 dB of automatic
hearing protection when noise exceeds safe levels, and also
protect from blasts whilst amplifying up to 5X.
In The Box you will find:
• 1 pair electronic earplugs
• Assortment of ACCU•Fit eartips
• Durable neck cord
• Filter tool and ACCU•Filters
• Cleaning tool
• Batteries (#10)
• Protective case
• User manual
The GunSportPRO electronic earplugs are designed for gun
sport enthusiasts in the field or at the range where enhanced
awareness, clear communication and blast protection are
desired. They allow natural hearing when no background noise
is present and gradually protect from loud continuous noise
from vehicles, machinery or gunfire from nearby shooters.
At the flip of a switch sound is amplified, improving distance
detection up to five times for enhanced awareness.


The GunSportPRO electronic earplugs use Etymotic’s ACCU
Technology with high-definition balanced-armature drivers,
high-sensitivity microphones and proprietary wide-dynamicrange compression K AMP signal processing. The little units
amplify sound up to five times, but switch to noise-cancelling
mode when a blast occurs. And, they are much more natural
looking than either oversized muffs or those orange foam
plugs. Active circuitry allows the wearer to hear naturally as if
nothing is in the ears.
Innovation, education and hearing conservation are central
to Etymotic’s mission. Etymotic’s products are used by scientists,
hearing practitioners, hearing-impaired consumers, professional
and amateur musicians, and others who insist on superior sound
quality. Audio engineers, audiologists and musicians working
together have generated over 100 patents issued and pending.
And for us as shooters there’s the GunSportPRO, a dedicated
model that offers all the protection we need, along with light
weight and small pack size, so perhaps it’s time that
we all tried something new!
For more product and stockist details please do
visit Please note that PMCI
readers get 10% off at using the code
EHP10TP at checkout

Y 3-6.3.2



hall 9 booth 222
Large carry-all bag designed for bushcraft use – perfect for daytrips.
It has a wide shoulder strap, two zipper secured pockets for smaller items and PALS/MOLLE
compatible side panels with additional sleeves for folding saws, knives or axes.
YKK® zipper closure,
One external zippered pocket one internal,
2 internal waterbottle pockets,

Built in sheaths for Knife/axe/saw,
PALS/MOLLE side panels,
Compression straps,
Detachable, adjustable wide carrying strap.



If you spend a lot of time exploring the great outdoors, one of the most critical supplies you regularly
find yourself requiring is a tough blade. As Trampas has often expressed in his knife reviews, a good
handling knife can mean the difference between life or death in extreme circumstances.


nfortunately, terms such as “bushcraft” and
“survival” have been grossly over used and
misused for commercial purposes. Large name
companies are stamping out tools overseas
mislabeled for what they consider a new rising
market of bushcrafting seeing only profit to
be made. These companies often incorporate
famous faces, poor designs and inferior steel for
real world use. The truth is, the best bushcraft
tools are still being made by small companies, often in garages
and backyard shops outside of the manufacturers “day jobs”
right here in the good ‘ol USA.
So just what makes a good quality bushcraft blade? To not
only help answer that question but to build a perfect example
of a hard use tool, I reached out to my good friend and blademaking Viking madman, Wes Adkins of Adkins Wood and Knife.
Located in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Wes has been quickly
making a good name for his company in the blade industry
during the past few years. Prior to becoming friends with the
hard-working craftsman, I was a fan of his work long before.
One look at the unique designs and quality within the wide
range of noted projects from Adkins Wood and Knife will tell
you why Wes is on track to be a big deal within the industry
very soon.


Through my initial conversation with Wes about the project,
we agreed the blade would be designed to carry with minimal
equipment. This would require the knife to serve in a wide range
of duties such as a carver, skinner and chopper all in one. For this
to be accomplished, the blade needed to be larger than the small
utility blade from Two Rivers Knife Co that I regularly carry in my
outdoor kit in conjunction with a 19” camp axe from Hoffman
Blacksmithing Company. While not meant to be overly large and
prevent the knife to be easily manipulated in fine skill tasks, the
bushcraft blade would need a good “heft” to it to cut through
small timber. These parameters would still support my oftenstated opinion against “survival” blades over 12” in length.
Basically, in my humble opinion, “This isn’t the Australian
Outback and I’m no Crocodile Dundee!” If every presented against
a knife wielding threat, I dually plan on there being no, “That’s
not a knife, this is a knife”, scenario, it will be classified as a
shooting after the threat is introduced to my other daily carry, a
Glock model 19. Large knives look cool, but add bulk and offer
limited uses, most in which a good hatch or axe could do better.
As time progressed on with conversations weekly between
Wes and I regarding what would be labeled the “Bush Gator”
project, the design and build were slowly taking place. In true
bushcraft style, Wes decided the 4140 steel needed for the knife
would come from a repurposed guide bar from a saw. This was
an endearing gesture for us both since we have a huge passion
for reusing items from the past to give them new life and Wes is
a licensed forester by trade. Combined with a hollow grind, some
“experts” will say this wouldn’t be the best choice of material

and steel for a bushcraft knife. This was my first thought before
keeping in mind the wide range of uses the knife will have
to perform, the razor-sharp edge would be fairly easy to keep
honed. If this were to be a small blade, I would prefer a flat
ground edge in 1085 carbon steel or a Scandi grind on a large D2
steel blade for just chopping.
With a small treatment of Modern Spartan Accurizing Oil
applied to the slightly heated metal, the quench is in no way
affected and the microscopic pores are sealed with dry lube to
protect it from hours or even days of wet, muddy conditions as I
do with all my knives. After using this product for over four years
now, I have yet to need to clean any of my blades beyond rising
them off and wiping them clean.
The last thing discussed before Wes would shut the workshop
doors and complete the project would be the sheath. A simple,
straight forward Kydex sheath to hold up against the elements
sporting a BullGator Camo, “the meanest camo on the planet”.
I specified this camo pattern to match the camo attire my
Swanson Media Group team uses in the field due to its superior
performance in blending with a wide range of environments.
Combined with pull-the-dot soft loops, the sheath was meant to
be placed on and off belts and gear quickly as needed yet hold
the blaDE







Blade Length:
Overall Length:


Retail Price:



11 oz
4140 (Repurposed from a saw guide bar)
Hollow Grind
Raw / worn / oil quenched
Jade Ghost translucent G10 with carbon
fibre pins and tubing
Kydex featuring BullGator Camo with
Pull-the-Dot soft loops
Knife / $365 or complete knife
/ sheath package / $400

A few weeks after my last discussion with Wes Adkins, a
package from his shop arrived at my door containing the Bush
Gator. As I unwrapped it from the rustic burlap bag inside the
box and admiring the new Adkins Wood and Knife patch that
accompanied it, I finally had the custom knife in my hand.
I unsheathed the blade with a crisp “pop” from the kydex’s
secure grip on the knife and immediately liked the feel of the
knife. The contour of the 5” handle fit very well in my hand as
the 5” beefy blade was surprisingly well-balanced. Much to
my delight, Wes added a personal twist to the knife just below
the plunge line and above the guard. A recessed edge for
safely cutting fishing line and 550 paracord was added without
sacrificing the rigidity of the blade’s design.
The Jade Ghost translucent G10 grips featuring pass through
carbon fiber pins were well designed and offered a wide range
of benefits over traditional wood options. In the sunlight, these
grips would often resemble the under belly of an alligator.
The pass-through pins offer great lashing points to turn the
blade into a makeshift spear for fishing, hunting or predator
As impressive as the blade looked, I was ready to see how it
would perform. The following weekend, I took a trip out to our
private training grounds affectionally known as “The Swamp”.
This property offers a little bit of everything from a
bushcrafting / camp area, shooting range with movable steel
and paper targets and even a wetland access for torture testing
gear. With recent heavy Florida rains, the blade’s two-day old
Modern Spartan Accurizing Oil treatment would get just as
much of a test as the edge would.
As I started out with a few push cuts and light chopping to
gather materials for finer work later, I was welcome with a light
rain shower as I moved from task to task. The hand-cut thumb
jimping or groves along the spine allowed for great traction
in applying pressure as the blade sliced into small sticks for
notching. As the water began to bead off the knife, I found the
G10 scales to continue offering a secure purchase on the knife
during heavy chopping swings. The wide blade cut deep into

Another lesson learned came in the form of adding a length
of paracord for a lanyard. Two specific reasons come to mind
immediately. The first is for having an anchor for keeping control
of the knife when chopping for long periods of time and your
hand cramps causing the knife to come out of your grip. The
lanyard prevented me from having to search the immediate
area for where I may have pitched my knife. Secondly, the
lanyard offered extra cordage during one outing when I failed
to replace used cordage from a previous trip. By using the 550
paracord used for the lanyard, I saved myself a 45-minute
round trip to complete my outing. This could have been a much
greater cost if it had occurred during a weekend excursion deep
in the woods.


After spending a long, hot summer with the Bush Gator, I have
come to really appreciate its abilities as an overall bushcraft
knife. The goal of this project was to construct a blade that
could handle a wide array of tasks for the end user to travel as
light as possible when in the outdoors and still have enough
to survive. I feel like this is exactly what Wes Adkins provided
in the Bush Gator project with his unique style and top-quality
work. I enjoyed the way the knife handled during small, intricate
tasks while still offering enough mass and size to baton through
small logs and chop down tree saplings.
Retailing for US$365 without the sheath and US$400 with
it, the price is right in line with any custom, handmade knife on
the market. Sure, you can find cheaper knives, but to be able to
call up a craftsman like Wes Adkins at Adkins Wood and Knife
and have him build your dream knife to your specifications is
well worth every penny! I highly recommend taking the time to
discover exactly what your outdoor style and needs
are and then discuss it with Wes to start your own
bushcraft project soon. This is a first-class company
providing top notch blades for those who know
what they want. Don’t just take my word for it,
visit today and
find out for yourself!


the 4” tree sapling as I began to section it out. Before long, I
had enough wood to start splitting for firewood. I began to use
one of the small logs to baton the Bush Gator through the wood
like a hot knife through hot butter. Most of the timber used was
local white oak with a few small pines mixed in but it all split
easily while the blade still retained a sharp edge an hour later.
Once it was time to start a small fire and make camp, the
previously mentioned thumb jimping worked well in tossing an
arch of sparks from the ferro rod as I worked it. Within minutes,
the dry leaves and feathered wood I had protected against the
temporary shower went from smoking to a nice blaze in the
clean air. In no time, the larger sections of wood were ablaze
and I had a full on campfire thanks to the Bush Gator.
The cord cutter came in handy several times while
constructing toggles while stringing the cordage needed to
put up the temporary shelter utilizing a medium size tarp. I
have often had paracord skip off flat blades and send the
edge rocketing upward from the applied pressure, but the cord
cutter zipped through everything quickly and cleanly. Small
details like this instead of goofy saw backed blades and archaic
bottle openers are what make Wes’s designs functional while
remaining minimalistic.
After surviving its first day in “The Swamp”, I left impressed
with the new Bush Gator’s performance overall. While this
was just its first trip out for a couple of hours of bushcrafting
between photo and video shoots for other projects, I was
eagerly ready to schedule much more time with this knife.
Thankfully, my schedule opened a bit over the following
weeks allowing for several more trips to The Swamp. Thanks
to the metal treatment I did on the knife immediately after
receiving it, the elements did not harm the blade in any way
despite the less than optimum care I performed other than
re-sharpening the blade.
During one such trip, I inadvertently batoned the Bush Gator
through a nail that was lodged into the piece of wood I was
cutting. After realizing what had happened, I inspected the
edge for any deformation due to the nail. Other than a bit
of dullness, the edge was still perfectly intact. Any second
thoughts on using 4140 steel were completely out the window
at that point to say the least.





hen anyone discusses the topic of the
perfect carbine/rifle on the AR-15
platform, the answers vary everywhere
from traditional A2 sight 16” barrel
to sub-6 lb. carbon fibre ultralight
minimalistic configurations ranging
from 7” to 14” barrels. There have
been tons of books and even more
“experts” chime in with their builds
and theories to pigeonhole one set up to handle every situation
whether it was to sell guns, land government contracts or just
for the “warm-fuzzy” of being the one who came up with the
idea. The truth is, there is NO one singular perfect set up that
fit every shooter’s style or preference. What does exist however
is a certain basic list of items proven from in-the-line-of-fire
experienced shooters have come to agree should be on any
fighting rifle. Top quality parts consisting of iron sights, good
trigger and a white light for low-light fighting are all on the
must-have list.
As a former SWAT operator, current NRA certified firearms
instructor and gun writer, I have had the opportunity to shoot a
wide array of off-the-shelf AR-15 rifles. Some shot better than
others, some handled much better. A few rifles offered more
bells and whistles than others while discovering the price didn’t
always dictate every increase in any of the noticed results.
What I learned the most from every rifle I tested was, in
most cases I always had to add or remove some aspect of each
one. While it’s great to start with a rifle that just needs a few
tweaks, additions or subtractions I tend to see things

from an economic stand point due to the limited gun budget
most of us live with. Whenever you take parts off, you are
removing an item you paid for to be on the rifle only to buy
another part to replace it. This leads to wasted money sitting in


To start this project, I reached out to my good friends at Sons of
Liberty Gun Works (SOLGW) in San Antonio, Texas. These Lone Star
lead slingers (plus one wild Aussie) take their rifle craft seriously
and hold all their products to the strictest standards. SOLGW
has a great reputation for Mil-Spec (or better) 7075-T6 forged
lowers with their contours being fully machined leaving no flash
marks from the forging. Small details like that offer absolutely no
worries with combining them with other top-quality parts from
other areas of the industry. This would be the perfect place to get
a stripped upper and lower receiver for my new rifle’s skeleton.
Within a week, I had my rifle’s starting point on my office desk
and ready to move forward.


The next step was to find the heart and soul for instructor rifle
build commonly known as it’s barrel. This would be an important
factor in how my new rifle would accurately perform with various

available ammunition was well as handle around barriers and
obstacles when not on a traditional square one-way range. For
this choice, I reached out to Ballistic Advantage and chose their
economically priced Modern Series 16” 5.56mm government
profile barrel. These affordable barrels offer a lot of the same
qualities as high-end barrels offered by other companies and a
1 MOA guarantee where most do not. I choose to go with the
16” length to keep the rifle maneuverable without sacrificing
too much loss in velocity as a longer service rifle length while
also forgoing the need for a tax stamp that most of my students
wouldn’t have with their rifles either. Very rarely do I see ATF
classified short barrel rifles, aka SBRs, in my classes. To enhance
reliability, I opted for the med-length gas system and tube to
slightly reduce recoil and back blast commonly found in carbine
length systems.


4150 Chrome Moly Vanadium
QPQ Corrosion Resistant
Gas System Length Mid-Length
Gas Block Journal .750”
Twist Rate
1:7 inches
1/2x28 Threaded



a parts bin collecting dust. With an investment in time learning
some highly suggested AR-15 armorer skills and the right tools,
you can build a rifle to your exact specifications and forego
wasted money.
Recently, I decided to upgrade from the 10-year-old Smith
and Wesson Viking Tactics edition AR-15 I have been shooting for
1000’s of rounds over the hard shooting decade. To compliment
my old reliable rifle, I wanted a rifle specifically for teaching the
classes I offer through my company, the Swanson Training Group,
the sister company of the Swanson Media Group. The old S&W
rifle has served me very well through numerous classes I have
taken as well as taught over the years but as the industry changes
and technology improves, it was time to incorporate some newer
products on the market for a slimmer profiled rifle. To save money
and not waste unwanted rifle components, I decided to build my
instructor rifle rather than buy an off the shelf rifle.

One of the items I regularly stress to my rifle students is a good
trigger. Too often, I have seen good shooters ruin their shots
with gritty, overly heavy and poorly constructed triggers. For my
instructor rifle project, I chose to go with an ELF drop-in match
grade trigger from the great folks at Elftmann Tactical. I met
these guys at SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas earlier this year and was
immediately impressed with both them and their products.


When it comes to understanding what makes a lightweight,
100% reliable trigger for the AR platform, these guys “get it”.
The adjustable trigger ranges from 2 3/4 to 4 lbs. with the
heavier of the weights being what I left it set on. These triggers
offer almost a non-existent creep and one of the crispest
breaks of any trigger on the market. If you’re going take quick,
close quarter shots as well as longer range, precision shots, this
trigger is the one you would want to use.

To make the instructor rifle suppressor ready and to ensure
the best performance in suppressed and unsuppressed modes,
I chose to use the GemTech bolt carrier group and quick detach
flash hider. GemTech’s bolt carrier group offers a switch on the
side of the carrier to maximize performance when running a
suppressor. The quick detach flash hider allows for a simple
twist to remove the suppressor and result in saving a lot of time
when switching back and forth when gathering data.



For my choice for a handguard, I wanted to incorporate a design
Bill and I discovered earlier this year again at SHOT SHOW in
Las Vegas, NV. You may have heard of the company, Hardened
Arms, who have a very good reputation in the firearms industry
but you may not have seen their cutting edge white light
intergraded handguard combo titled the LumaShark. This M-Lok
compatible free float 12” handguard is designed to eliminate
bulky bolt-on lights and cables while giving the rifle’s overall
profile a slimline feel and look.
The LumaShark incorporates two pods under the rail
towards the muzzle end which house interchangeable twin
bulbs and easy click “on-off” tail caps. According the innovative
folks at Hardene Arms, these pods allow for CREE lights in
1,150, 500, and 200 lumen outputs as well as infrared and
laser offerings. What caught my attention immediately was the
equal access to light regardless of whether the shooter was
right or left handed. In a lot of my training, students shoot from
the weakside almost as much as they do from the strong side
once the basic fundamentals are achieved. This seemed like
the perfect item to incorporate into my instructor rifle.


During the process of deciding which parts I wanted to
incorporate into the rifle build, I had the good fortune to start
working with the folks at GemTech on a few future projects.
Through my interactions with the company, I really got to
see what top of the line products they produce and how it all
works hand in hand with their suppressors. One project I can
freely discuss now involves using the instructor rifle to test
ammo for reviews and feature the results with both suppressed
and unsuppressed data.


To finish off the major parts of the instructor rifle, I turned to
a longtime trusted source for rifle accessories, MagPul. All my
rifles feature some sort of MagPul product whether it be a pistol
grip, foregrip or stock. To keep the same feel and reliability as
my other rifles, I chose the MOE SL-S Mil-Spec stock, MOE K-2
Grip and the M-Lok MVG Vertical Grip.
Another set of standard equipment I like to use on most
of my rifles are MagPul’s MBUIS or back up iron sights. These
pop-up style sights are lightweight, reliable and simply work
well without breaking the budget. While offered in 5 different
colors, the traditional black sights have always stood out the
best when acquiring a quick sight picture.
In addition to these parts, I ordered a stack of new PMAG
30 round magazines and an extended magazine release button
MagPul calls their Enhanced Mag Release. The new magazines
will compliment all the exact same mags I use for all my
other 5.56 rifles. My general rule of thumb when it comes to
magazines in general is to have at least 10 per firearm I own.


With a parts kit from CMMG, buffer tube assembly from
Bravo Company and an ambidextrous safety lever from Strike
Industries, everything was in place to get the rifle components
finished and ready for assembly. If you have ever assembled a
rifle using parts from different manufacturers, you will notice
a lot of parts may be different hues of the same color such as
black. While this does nothing to the performance of the rifle,
I do prefer a clean and professional look to the rifle I will use
to teach shooters paying their hard-earned money for the best
services I can provide.
To add a good looking and durable finish to the rifle project,

I reached out to the Cerakote masters at Blowndeadline Custom
Cerakote. When it comes to firearm finishes, this company
is perhaps the best in the industry and comes with a lengthy
waiting list for projects, regularly between 6 to 8 weeks. When
you want the best, you must be patient. Trust me, this was well
worth the wait. Roughly six weeks later, my parts returned with
an amazing Multicam camo finish on them. After a couple of
hours in the shop, my new instructor rifle was ready for its new
optic to be mounted and sighted in.



able to hunt down a store that I can find a flat watch battery but
AAA batteries can be found everywhere including hotel remote
controls or a friend’s kestrel unit IF I were to need to “borrow”
one. Once mounted, the SPARC AR lined up perfectly with the
MagPul back up sights and my build was officially complete and
ready for range time.


Like a kid with a new toy, I couldn’t wait to get to the range and
put the new rifle through its paces. Once the red dot was bore
sighted, I shot all my test rounds from a bench rest to reduce as
much human error as possible. My first 3 round group at 50 yards
to start dialing in the optic. Striking high and to the left, I made
a couple of quick adjustments and sent the next 3 down range.
While not perfect, there was one round in touching the top of the
bullseye. One quick adjustment and my next 3 rounds where all
inside the bullseye. What impressed me the most was how tight
each 3-round grouping was. In each round of fire, at least 2 of the
3 rounds were touching.
Moving back to the 100-yard mark, I wanted to test my 50yard sight in and see what my hold under would be further out.
After the first 3 rounds went down range, I was roughly an
inch under the bullseye which was normal for a 16” barrel 5.56
rifle. The first group measured an impressive .76”. I returned to

Over the period of four months, a lot of thought and consideration
went into the instructor rifle build. I was able to catch up with
some good friends in the industry and see firsthand what new
products were on the market revolutionizing the rifle scene.
With all the lasers, lights, bipods and other accessories, it would
have been very easy to weigh my new rifle down with things
not required on the project. By doing the research and having
a realistic budget for the build, and spending the time on the
range getting it all dialed in, I feel 100% confident in my new
instructor rifle. In the end, my result was an affordable, accurate
and reliable rifle with a clean, professional appearance. What
more could you ask for?
If you are thinking about building your next AR-15 platform
rifle, I urge you to consider some of the great manufacturers
and products I had the pleasure of working with. I choose each
company based on their strong reputations for quality parts and
personal experience with how durable they are in the real world.
Below I have listed the name and websites for each company.
Until next time, Train Hard and Continue the Fight!


Sons of Liberty Gun Works - www.
MagPul -
Ballistic Advantage -
Hardened Arms -
GemTech – www.
Elftmann Tactical -
Blowndeadline Custom Cerakote – www.
Vortex Optics -


For the past 3 years, I have religiously used the SPARC II red dot
by Vortex Optics. This small, hard use optic ships with 3 different
mounting optics including the co-witness pedestal mount I often
use in conjunction with back up iron sights. For this new project
quickly coming to an end, I decided to update my optic to the
newer SPARC AR. This is a fixed pedestal mounted red dot with
all the great features of the SPARC II but runs on an easy to find
AAA battery instead a specialty watch battery most red dots
run on. A lot of times when I may have a battery fail, I am not

the bench and shot two additional 3-round groups at 100 yards
on the other two available targets on the board. The second
grouping measured .75” and .74” for the third. Without cleaning
the barrel, I decided to fire a fourth round of 3 shots which
resulted in another .76” group. To say I was happy with a subMOA rifle build was a huge understatement. The quality parts
from trusted manufacturers definitely paid off.
Over the next few weeks, the rifle would continue shooting
well during CQB drills as well as stretching out a bit to 200 and 300
yards on steel. I was very happy with the performance received
from the Ballistic Advantage barrel. With two builds pending for a
local not-for-profit, I can definitely see using these barrels in both
with no problem.
Two big differences in the new instructor rifle compared to
my old S&W rifle come in the light control and trigger. First, while
working through low-light drills on an indoor right, I was very
impressed with the LumaShark handguard / light combo.
This seemed to be quite the gamechanger for a fighting rifle.
I no longer had to over reach my thumb or hand during fire to
manipulate the white light and using the dual light mode allowed
me to determine just how much light I wanted to use on target.
Secondly, my old S&W rifle featured a Geisselle trigger that was
cutting edge for its time. The ELF drop-in trigger from Elftmann
Tactical cut all the felt creep out of the trigger and narrowed the
margin of error for other shooters who tried my rifle. I enjoyed
how crisp the trigger break felt with each shot and how short the
reset seemed to be. I found my shots came slightly faster while
still being as accurate due the smoother and shorter reset.


The firearms industry is a wonderful microcosm of the world financial market to observe with its trends, growth,
rise in popularity and success from big business and small entrepreneurs alike. Trampas gets together with one
of the latter to see what they have to offer!


or shooters like me who love the industry so much
that we invest our careers into both the “hardware”
(guns, ammo and equipment) and “software”
(training) aspects of it, one must always stay on
top of the newest techniques and products. As a
firearms instructor, I have noticed a huge increase
over the past 10 years in people from all walks
of life pursuing their state rights here in the US
to obtaining a concealed carry permit for their
handguns. As a direct result of this trend, the request from NRA
instructors such as we employ with my business, the Swanson
Training Group has sharply risen as well. As the managing
editor of the Swanson Media Group, my fantastic team is always
flooded with new firearms, gadgets and holsters claiming to
make concealed carry easier, more comfortable and efficient.
During my trip to this year’s largest firearms industry event
in the world known as the SHOT SHOW, I had the pleasure of
meeting a sharp minded inventor by the name of Graig Davis,
owner of a company by the name of NeoMag. Graig and I
discussed a few issues about carrying concealed which face
people who do so all the time.


The first was the lack of people carrying spare ammunition. I
mentioned to Graig the fact that when I was in law enforcement,
we carried not only the ammo in the pistol but an additional
two spare mags as well but when I was off duty, I normally
just carried the gun. The reason why was because when I was
on duty, I had a large utility belt to hang handcuffs, gloves,


Using the best quality materials available, Graig set out to build a
magnet based pocket clip versatile enough to be used with a wide
range of magazines. All Graig’s research and efforts resulted in a
product known simply as the NeoMag. Made from CNC machined
steel with a black nitrite finish, the NeoMag has a titanium pocket
clip and powerful neodymium rare earth magnet. The steel black
nitrite finished wings come in small, medium and large to secure
magazines from twisting out of the grasp of the magnet.
Graig told me;
“As an avid second amendment supporter and concealed
carry advocate I wanted the best way to carry a backup magazine.
I engineered the NeoMag to use the best materials in the most
minimal package possible. The NeoMag is completely made and
assembled here in the USA. My goal is to provide you the best
product and customer service possible.”
I left the show with samples of each size to try out once I
returned home to Florida. My choice in a daily carry firearm is
often dictated by weather and clothing choice and can range from
as small as a Glock 42 .380 (size small) and as large as my custom
Les Baer 1911 .45 ACP (size large). The highest percentage of
the time will find my Glock 19 9mm in an inside-the-waistband

holster with a size medium NeoMag. What makes the NeoMag
so versatile with only three size options is the open frame design
which accommodates single and double stack magazines. The
titanium pocket clip has a very strong retention to prevent it from
working loose out of your pocket. Even with a full-size magazine
sharing my front pocket with my wallet (you can thank my
chiropractor for that habit) the NeoMag comfortably holds the
magazine upright and ready for quick deployment.
Currently, I am well into my third
month using the NeoMag carriers
daily and I do not leave the house
carrying concealed without my spare
magazine and NeoMag. Retailing
for US$44.99 each regardless of size
ordered, you will find they quickly
pay for themselves compared to other
systems on the market you would
order and only use once or twice. I
should point out, if you are a fan of
using aftermarket pistol magazines
built mostly from polymer such as
Magpul and ETS magazines built for
Glock pistols, these mag carriers will
not work due to the lack of metal in its construction. The good
news is, if you use Glock factory magazines, the
NeoMag works perfectly! Look for NeoMag to become
a household name for shooters in 2017!
For more information on the very latest from
Graig and NeoMag please head on over to https://


holsters, batons, keys, and mag pouches on. Off duty, I could only
fit my wallet and cell phone into my Wrangler jeans. If I tried
to toss in a spare magazine, it would sink to the bottom of my
pocket wedged under my wallet or tangled into keys. As a strong
supporter of the right to carry a firearm concealed, Graig wanted
to create a minimalistic way to carry a spare magazine that would
help promote gun owners in carrying spare ammo.


Over recent years, the market has been flooded with a wide range of “multi-tools”. This is due to an increased
demand in “all-in-one” products for the growing public with the trend to streamline their lifestyles and yes,
even their tools.


general rule of survival, even in the “urban
jungle”, is to carry items that serve at least
three functions or it is just perceived as added
bulk to your daily carry. Products range from
bottle openers to lasers but all similar in shape
and size. Truth be told, the multiple purpose
tool platform has rarely changed from its Swiss
Army knife roots starting in 1891. Over the
years, various manufacturers have only added
bulk and reduced user friendliness in the process.
Earlier this year, SOG Tools debuted their take on the multipurpose tool in the form of what they titled the “Q” series at the
industry only SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas, Nevada. This new series
of tools takes the platform in a new and different direction by
simplifying and slimming down the traditional form by putting
it into a small baton. While only the pre-production models
were on display at the show, I arranged to get a sample of the
first two batons in the four-part series once they were released.
A few months later after a pair of push backs on the actual
production release, the SOG Q1 and Q2 batons arrived at the
office for review. Each baton comes in a clear plastic box similar
to a new cell phone accessory with only the baton and a one


page instruction guide. Each baton was roughly shaped like a
medium size highlighter in a very attractive black and matte
grey anodized finish. Both offered a SOG branded metal clip to
hold the baton upright in a pocket or backpack.

Q2 Specs
Closed: 6.3”
Weight: 3 oz.
Features: Straight edge blade

75 Lumen LED flashlight

Bottle opener

Flat screw driver
MSRP: US$67.00
I have been carrying both the Q1 and Q2 batons regularly for
over a month in my range pack and daily “go” bag with mostly
positive results. Let’s take a look at some quick “pros and cons”
have found during my time with these SOG tools.


I liked that the batons are slim and easy to slip into my pocket or
even clip into an outside Molle loop on one of my bags if I need to
quickly store them. There was no noticeable bulk and did not flop
around in my gear like a traditional multi-tool would.
The Q1’s replicable pressurized pen came in handy when
needed because I habitually do not carry an ink pen in my kit
although I am always finding myself in need of one. The fact I
can easily find inexpensive replacement cartridges for the pen is
a huge plus.
The Q2’s straight blade arrived out of the box razor sharp and
ready for real world use. I have used the blade regularly without
having to re-sharpen it yet.
The Q2’s 75 lumen LED light is bright, easy to use and holds
up to having been accidently dropped several times on tile,
hardwood and concrete. It’s tough, bright and very user friendly.
Changing out the battery is fast and easy. The use of a very
common AAA battery is a huge plus because it doesn’t involve a
trip to a specialty store to replace.
With the Q1, the scissors feature a few years ago would not
have very much use other than being the only allowed cutting

device to fit TSA standards. However, at this point in my life, I
am a father for two young daughters who are constantly buying
clothes, toys and other items in need of having tags, strings and
wire holders cut off in a hurry before the world ends. My formerly
least favorite multi-tool feature has now become one of my
most used. While a straight knife blade could do the same task,
the scissors offer a quick and safe way to cut small items while
having small children hovering about in the zone a straight knife
may swing once finally cutting through.


As with any product, there were things not very useful for my
daily duties such as the bottle opener. Again, looking at social
trends, the world is moving away from traditional bottles without
twist-off tops which made the bottle opener feature on both the
Q1 and Q2 an archaic item for my needs.
The flat head screw driver on the end of this opener tool was also
not much use as the world is predominantly full of Phillips head
screws if not individually licensed proprietary patterns. This space
on each baton would be much better suited by eliminating two
items for one decent sized Phillips head driver.
While I liked the Q2’s straight blade, I did end up poking
myself in the finger with it a couple of times when I first learned
out to fold the baton to expose it. The end of the blade is very
close to the top of the baton where the hand naturally wants
to apply pressure to fold it. There is a definite self-correcting
learning curve built in for most end users.


Coming away from the SHOT SHOW, I was concerned about the
MRSP of the Q series ranging from US$54 to over US$100 with the
Q4. The product offers a limited number of features for the price
of some full-size tools. After spending time with the Q1 and Q2, I
clearly see where the value lies.
Both batons reviewed were very well-made, light-weight,
easy to use and very durable. SOG has built a great reputation
for quality products in the industry and the Q series looks to be
yet another hit for this respected company. If you are
looking for easy to carry daily items that meet the
needs of urban survival, I urge you to check out the
Q series from SOG ( for yourself
and find out which is right for you.


Q1 Specs
Closed: 5.6”
Weight: 2.4 oz.
Features: Replaceable pressurized ball point pen

Flat screwdriver

Bottle opener

MSRP: US$54.00


Last month Andy brought us the first part of his tutorial and advice on shooting from vehicles, and this time
he wraps things up concentrating on the important differences in operating with Left Hand Drives.


o recap on the last issue as PMC’s we often find
ourselves in transit, be it on route to or from
work or with a VIP. The chances are that we will
be safe, if all goes to plan that is, but in our line
of work we all know that that’s not always the
case. In fact we should always plan for the worst
case scenario and train accordingly. Shooting
from vehicles isn’t hard to do, it just needs time
and practice to achieve the desired skill set.
Like all shooting skills, shooting from vehicles is a perishable
skill and will soon be lost once it has been mastered if you
don’t keep up to date with training.
This time I’ll concentrate on working from left hand drive
vehicles as we’ll often be needing to deal with these when
working overseas.


Use the right hand to release and remove the seatbelt. The
left hand and arm should be placed flat across the chest so the
seatbelt does not get caught up when it returns home. Lean
forwards and reach for the handgun with your right hand. It’s
important to make sure that the seatbelt is clear of your body
before you draw the handgun from the holster. The biggest
problem here is the proximity of the steering wheel.
Once the handgun is drawn and out of the holster trace
the muzzle of the weapon over the top of the steering wheel
as you present it to the threat. The method of tracing the
weapon over the steering wheel ensures that the muzzle of
the gun does not flash any part of your body nor is it likely
to be knocked out of your hand by catching on the steering
wheel itself. Remember not to present the weapon out of the



Use the right hand to release and remove the seatbelt. The
left hand and arm should be placed flat across the chest so the
seatbelt does not get caught up when it returns home. Lean
forwards and reach for the handgun with your right hand. It’s
important to make sure that the seatbelt is clear of your body
before you draw the handgun from the holster. Twist your
body towards the threat and and engage your target.
If you have a passenger in the vehicle, the first thing
that needs to happen is that the passenger needs to lean as
far forwards as possible. Remove the seatbelt as before and
grasp your weapon. Remember that the vehicle is dead so
you will not be trying to drive away. Draw your weapon being
cautious of the orientation of the muzzle at all times. Bring
the weapon up from the holster, with the muzzle pointing
towards the roof of the vehicle, then bring it around the back
of the passenger. DO NOT muzzle sweep the passenger. Extend
the weapon towards the threat. This will give you room to
shoot to the right with the weapon passing the passengers
back. Use your weak hand to assure the passengers position.
(This drill will ensure that spent cases will hit the
passenger seat and not the passenger also it negates muzzle
flash burns to the passengers face). Do not shoot in front of
the passenger as the empty cases and muzzle flash will cause
serious harm and burns to the passenger.


Again you still have to remove the seatbelt as described
above, however the draw is the simple task of presenting
your weapon to the target. Remember that care and attention
must be paid to safety. There is still a great risk that you can


The first action is for the driver to push themselves as far back
into the seat as possible. Reach down with your left hand and
unlock the belt from the anchor. The right hand and arm should
be placed flat across the chest so the seatbelt does not get caught
up when it returns home. With the seatbelt out of the way you
can lean forward and draw you weapon. Trace the muzzle of the
weapon over the dashboard to avoid the muzzle flashing any part
of your body. It is also very important to make sure you don’t
muzzle flash the driver also as you draw the weapon. Twist your
body to the left towards the threat. As you present the weapon
to the target, make sure your muzzle blast is clear of the drivers
face. Serious injury or death may occur if caution is not taken here.


Remove the seatbelt as before. The right hand and arm should
be placed flat across the chest so the seatbelt does not get
caught up when it returns home. Lean forwards and reach for the
handgun with your right hand. It’s important to make sure that
the seatbelt is clear of your body before you draw the handgun
from the holster. Twist your body towards the right and extend
the weapon towards the threat. Again remember to keep the
weapon in a close-quarters retention position and not to present
the weapon past the window in order to avoid the weapon being
taken from you.


Once the shooting stops or you have suppressed your adversary
enough it’s time to exit the vehicle. Using your weak hand, reach

for the door handle and open it. Use your outside foot to keep
the door open making sure it doesn’t swing back and close or
trap you as you exit. Exit the vehicle while keeping your eye
on the threat at all times and slowly retreat to the rear, or side
depending on the orientation of threat, of the vehicle. If the glass
in your vehicle is armoured then you will have to shoot through
the V created by the windshield and the door, otherwise you can
put rounds through the glass. Once at the rear, or side, of the
vehicle you will need to reload and quickly assess your situation.
The use of smoke, if you have it, can aid you in your extraction
and provide Concealment until you can get to safety or a backup
Studies show that most people tend to shoot at the biggest
targets and in this case it’s the vehicle, so try to put as much
distance between you and the vehicle as possible without
compromising personal safety. Of course you will have to have
anyone that is sat in the back of the vehicle exit while you are
giving covering fire.
Most vehicles are soft skinned and won’t stop a round. The
only parts of a vehicle that are most likely to stop incoming
rounds are the engine block and wheels, but don’t rely on these
to save your life. Even the bodywork can play tricks on you. A low
powered round may not penetrate the skin but can easily ricochet
off a flat surface, such as the hood, and skip right into you. A
general rule of thumb is to stay at a minimum of 6 foot away
from the vehicle to help reduce ricochets from hitting you.
Just like all shooting skills and drills this must be practiced
regularly for it to become second nature. Take it slow when
running this drill and get it right first time every time as you may
not get a second chance if you have to run it for real.


flag yourself (or passenger if your drawing the weapon from the
right) with the muzzle.
Unless you have armoured glass in your vehicle then all the
shots you fire can go straight through the windshield. Ejected
cases will be thrown to the right and may cause any harm to a
passenger sat beside you in the vehicle. Unless the passenger
takes action, instruct them to sit well back into their seat so as to
prevent empty cases hitting them in the face.



Our Editor Bill was interested to read in his “Instructor Build”
how Trampas had created a rifle that could be used equally
well both suppressed and unsuppressed as tactical marksmen
are employing low-signature firearms fitted with one or more
devices to reduce both the sound and flash of the gunshot more
and more.
When used with subsonic ammunition, a suppressed lowsignature rifle presents the ultimate in covert stealth for a wide
range of missions. Although I’m more than aware of the science
behind suppressors themselves I wanted to place this in a far
wider context so decided to do some delving into the subject and
came across “Tactical Use of Low-Signature Weapons for Military
and Police” and what a gem of a book it has turned out to be!
Online sources state that “A suppressor, sound suppressor,
sound moderator, or silencer is a device attached to or part of
the barrel of a firearm or air gun which reduces the amount of
noise and visible muzzle flash generated by firing. Suppressors
are typically constructed of a metal cylinder with internal
mechanisms to reduce the sound of firing by slowing the escaping
propellant gas.”
But reading “Tactical Use of Low-Signature Weapons for
Military and Police” takes this much, much further; it’s like
getting an exclusive look at the notebook of one of the eminent
experts on subsonic ammo and cutting-edge suppressors, Mark
White. In this slim book, White dispels the myths about silencers
and reveals the true nature of firearm suppression, including
an illuminating examination of subsonic ballistics, a topic that
usually gets short shrift in terms of research and development.
In clear and precise terms, he explains the science behind
the use of subsonic ammunition and suppressed weapons for
both military and law-enforcement applications. With the right
equipment and subsonic ammunition, a bullet discharged from
a suppressed .308 rifle can be quieter than an arrow shot from
a bow. My advice is to read this superb little book and find out
for yourself how professionals determine the best firearm and
ammo combinations for suppressed fire.


Paperback: 118 pages
Publisher: Paladin Press (1 Mar. 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1610046463
ISBN-13: 978-1610046466


Advanced Security Protection

Blackstone Consultancy;

AKE Group

Blue Hackle

Ambrey Risk

Blue Waters Partners Global


BP Global


Britam Defence

Aquatic Marine Ltd

British Maritime Solutions

Protect Asia Group

BW Offshore


Calibre International Security



Associated Risk Maritime Risk Management

Chiron Resources

Bancroft Maritime Security Solutions

Clearwater Special Projects

Bechtel Corporation

Control Risks

Black Pearl

Decatur Maritime Security

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