Fire Mission FFE, Over!

Welcome to my blog!

It will be a blog where I review tactical and military gear. These reviews will be truthful and unfunded. The reason behind these reviews is that, beside myself, a lot of military members, armed civilians and airsofters are looking for quality gear. To help them in this “neverending journey”, I will explain why some products work or don’t work for me.

I hope you’ll find what you’re looking for.

FMB

Show of Force

BLACKFOLIUM ISKIT

One of the pillars of survival is signalling and communication.

Signalling can be done in various ways, depending on the time (day/night), location and situation (emergency/tactical). As with your communication plan, you should have a PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency) plan for your signalling, while it being compact and lightweight enough to carry at all times.

Introducing the ISKIT!

The great Italian company BLACKFOLIUM sent me the ISKIT to try out and I was amazed by the innovation behind it. I’ve never seen a more complete, adaptable and compact kit like this.

Overview

The Individual Signal KIT (ISKIT) is, as the name implies, an individual kit that carries multiple ways to signal.

Pouch

The kit itself is carried in a lightweight wallet type pouch. Roughly the size of a pack of smokes when filled, it fits perfectly in the “dip pouch” of the Crye or Arktis combat pants. For the last year I’ve been carrying in that pouch of my Arktis C222 pants and I don’t even notice it’s there.

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The pouch is closed by a Hi-Vis elastic attached cord that wraps around it. On the side, it has an elastic attached that can hold an Cyalume Chem light.

On the inside, there are two pockets. One is designed to hold the BLACKFOLIUM H70 signal panel ( included, more on that later). The other one is for a signal mirror ( up to 2×3″), button compass, survival blanket, etc ( these items are not included). Inside the second pouch, the Hi-Vis thin cord is attached that holds the Cyalume Chem light.

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The pouch is available in Multicam, black, coyote and green.

H70 Signal Panel

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A VS-17 panel is very know by most and is a good tool for daytime signalling. The problem is that a regular VS-17 panel can be heavy and cumbersome. The H70 Signal Panel by BLACKFOLIUM is their solution to this.

Packed up, this lightweight panel fit the ISKIT and is roughly 3,5″ x 2,5″ x 1″ or smaller. Folded out it’s dimensions are 27,5″ x 27,5″.

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One half of it is orange, the other half is magenta giving you the option to make certain signals.

On one side, there are two 1″ square velcro patches to attach IR or visual reflective patches.

On the four corners, there are loops and thin Hi-Vis cord attached to attach the panel to your pack or something else.

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Picture by BLACKFOLIUM

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Cyalume Chem Light

The ISKIT includes either an IR (military) or Green (military, civilian, rescue) chem light. The chem light is attached to the pouch with the thin cord as already mentioned, but can be quickly replaced.

The reason for the chem light is for your night time signalling. By swinging the chem light in a circular motion, you can create a “buzzsaw” that can be seen pretty far with NVG’s. I’ve tested it with this one under NODs and using the pouch as a handle and it worked flawlessly. Because the cord is also sewn to the inside of the pouch, it won’t fly away.

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Opinion – review

The ISKIT solved the gap in my survival kit. I did have a heavier signal panel in my Smock vest, but it was far from ideal so I usually did not carry it.

I currently carry in my ISKIT the following:

  • H70 panel
  • IR chem light
  • Square signal mirror
  • Survival blanket (to be added)
  • ESEE survival cards (to be added)

Because the ISKIT is so small, lightweight and complete, I have been carrying it permanently in my combat pants.

The kit itself is very well made and designed. The communication with BLACKFOLIUM has been perfect and they usually have a bunch of them in stock.

In my opinion, If you are in the military or do some hikes, mountaineering, etc you need a good way for emergency signalling and the ISKIT would be my advise. I carry it while working, but will get another one for my hiking backpack.

I have advised this kit to a lot of people already because I really like it.

You can find the ISKIT here

You can find the H70 here

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Disclaimer:

BLACKFOLIUM provided the ISKIT to me for free. As always, I’m not paid by them and the review is unbiased.

 

British Tactical Mag Pouch Radio Insert

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Sometimes different missions call for different gear setups. Sometimes I run 1 PRC-152 & 1 PRC-117G in my backpack, sometimes I run 2 PRC-152’s. The ability to change setups easily is thus desired.

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With the radio insert by British Tactical, this is done easily. Just switch out the flap on their Mag Pouch with the radio insert and you’re good to go!

If I don’t need an extra radio, I can just put the flap back and increase my magazine amount with 2 extra mags.

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The insert is very adjustable, either with the bungee cord on the back or with the Velcro tab on the front.

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The backside is attached with a soft velcro strap.

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The front is made of a lasercut piece, backed with hook Velcro.

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As always with British Tactical, the quality is top notch! Even in the most simple of things, they strive to get towards perfection.

The radio insert works great with the PRC-152, is easily adjusted and uses the mag pouch that you have already attached. A small piece of kit, that is worth a look.

British Tactical Radio Insert – Currently not listed on their website.

~FMB

 

MICROBAT SYSTEMS Candy Micro Gen 2 Pouch

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Recently, the use of small chest rigs has been on the rise, again. This time not being used by MACV SOG in the jungles of Laos or by the Rhodesian Selous Scouts in the bush. Nowadays, the small chest rig is seen from civilians to SOF operators. This time, the more known versions are the Haley Strategics D3CR, the British Tactical Chest Rig and maybe the most famous of them all, the Spiritus Systems Micro Fight Rig.

With the increase in popularity, there is also an increase of “aftermarket” products for these chest rigs.

In comes MICROBAT SYSTEMS. Microbat is an American company that reached out to me to have a look at their Generation 2 of the Candy Micro pouch. I was delighted because the pouches got my attention after they started popping up on the Spiritus Symptoms FB page.

After a small week, the Multicam version arrived in my mailbox and I have to say I’m impressed by the craftsmanship.

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The Candy Micro is a small pouch with a Velcro backing that can attach to the front of the Spiritus Micro Fight. Of course due to the velcro backing, you can also attach it to the back of your helmet, velcro panels, plate carriers and all in between.

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The pouch also has a Velcro hook panel on the front to attach IFF, moral or your cool-guy patches.

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Inside is just a simple black lining.

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The zipper is covered in a rubber to minimize the sound it can make.

So what is it’s use?

I will be using it for spare CR123 & AA batteries to run my NVG’s, Surefire, MS2000 and Petzl headlight.

You can of course use it to store your favorite candy as the name suggests… or just condoms or morning after pills for you ladies.

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All in all, it’s a usefull little pouch that fits perfectly on the Micro Fight.

I’ve seen these available in Multicam, Multicam Black, Multicam Arid, Coyote, Wolf Grey, Ranger Green & M81.

Microbat currently doesn’t have a website, but they’re working on it. If you’re interested in this pouch or one of their other offerings ( like a cool NVG tethering pouch), hit them up on IG!

MICROBAT SYSTEMS IG: @microbatsystems

~FMB

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British Tactical: 5 inch ‘Mad Jack’ Knife Sheath

“Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.”

John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill AKA Mad Jack

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It’s easy to understand why this knife sheath by British Tactical is named after Mad Jack.

If you don’t know Fighting Jack Churchill or Mad Jack, look him up. It will be a good read.

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I received this knife sheath from British Tactical to use with my SOG SEAL PUP knife. Since receiving the sheath, I’ve switched knives. Lately I have the excellent Casström Lars Fält knife on my belt to use it as a bushcraft knife when out on the field.

Luckily for me (and because I did the research) the Casström knife fits perfectly in the sheath.

Now let’s talk about the sheath itself.

What is it made of?

The pouch itself is made with Cordura and has some Laser cut 500D Laminate on the front and back.

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Looking at the cordura sheath, you can see it’s built like a tank! with an extra edge for added durability. Just look at that stitching!

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The laser cut laminate MOLLE grid on the front and back correspont to eachother. Because of this you can “sandwich” the sheath between your belt and another pouch with ease! On the front, behind where your knife handle would be they attached a vertical piece of laser cut laminate with loop velcro on the back. This it to attach the velcro retention, but we’ll talk about that later.

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I currently use the front laminate to attach my Hultafors fire steel.

How can you attach the sheath to your gear?

On the back, there is a Molle attachment system that covers 1 MOLLE width and 5 MOLLE height (9 total coverage). So it can be securely attached when using a wide belt or backback without it taking up a lot of space in width. I have it attached to my SUMO GEAR belt and it’s very secure. At the end of the strap, British Tactical has attached a small strip of plastic that aids in the routing of it.

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How is your knife secured?

There are three ways of securing your knife:

  1. Velcro strap
  2. Elastic band and tab
  3. Combination of the velcro strap and the elastic band

I use the combination of the velcro strap and the elastic band because the Casström knife has a pretty slippery handle, resulting in the elastic band slipping off. But to each it’s own.

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Is the cordura enough to protect you and the knife?

Of course not! Because everyone knows that a good knife is a sharp knife! Sharp knives can cut through cordura, so British Tactical has made an HDPE card insert that covers the complete blade. The insert just slips into the sheath and I have never had any issues with it. Having the only “hard part” of the sheat on the bottom also helps with the comfort. Sitting in a vehicle with a knife sheath attached to your belt can be troublesome, but the knife can move out of the way while still being secure!

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Some specifications from British Tactical:

Pouch Weight:

  •   68 grams (Without Knife)

Pouch Dimensions:

  • Width – 6cm
  • Height – 25.5cm
  • Depth – 1cm (with card)

Blade Dimensions:

  • Length – 5 inches
  • Width – 1 1/4 inches
  • Hand Guard length – 4 1/2 inches

MOLLE Attachment/Coverage:

  • Attaches to 1 wide by 5 high.
  • Covers 1 wide by 5 high.

Conclusion

I like this sheath. It does what it needs to do and is customisable to your needs for securing the pouch and the knife.

It’s available on the British Tactical website in Multicam, black and of course Coyote Brown for £24.60. They also have 6 and 7 inch version, as well as one specially made for the SA80 bayonet.

I’m now thinking of buying a Multicam one for my outdoor belt.

If you’re looking for a good sheath for military or outdoor use, go check this sheath out!

British Tactical 5 Inch ‘Mad Jack’ Knife Sheath

British Tactical Reviews

~ FMB

British Tactical – Chest Rig Triple Mag Insert

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One of the accessories or add ons for the Low Profile Chest Rig by British Tactical is their Triple Mag insert.

You might think “Oh no, another generic elastic mag insert with some bungees”. Well, then you haven’t taken a good look!

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The insert fits perfectly in their chest rig. It’s made a lot different from the other inserts I’ve seen.

Usable with 5.56 & 7.62 Mags, it has angled sides to separate the three magazines and prevent snagging when taking them out.

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On the front, there is a loop strip of velcro. The back is covered in hook velcro. This means it can be securely attached inside the Low Profile Chest Rig, as well as some other plate carriers.

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On top of the front and back pieces, there are laser cut laminate cord attachments for the supplied elastic bungee cords with pull tabs. These are great if you need the extra retention.

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Talking about retention, the inside of the insert is covered with a felt-like loop velcro. This allows you to attach kydex inserts. I’ve been using the kydex inserts and they work flawlessly. I still use the bungees, but that’s because I use this setup as a recce rig and I want the extra retention.

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Having your magazines securely attached inside the rig, means you open up some real estate on the front it. Because of that I was able to add an admin pouch. If you would like to add more magazines, British Tactical also has an admin insert which looks promising!

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Photo courtesy of British Tactical.

The Triple Mag Insert has an innovative design and is made in the UK.

Current price is £18, which is very decent!

The insert can be found here.

~ FMB

 

British Tactical

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Gear companies – Every day a new one emerges and another dies down.

From time to time you find a manufacturer that provides quality gear for a decent price. Even rarer is finding such a manufacturer that also has a good customer service. If you’re very lucky, that company let’s you customize the product using several options. That company is British Tactical.

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The company reached out to me trough Spotter Up to test out some of their new products. Looking over their website and reading the reviews, I was intrigued. A British company that makes everything in the UK, has several types of pouches I’ve been looking for and hadn’t found before, options and attachments to their pouches,… great!

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They also started working together with FLIMMUUR Tactical for the new range HORIZON Laminate. definitely worth checking out.

After some time-delay because of bigger and more important orders than a tiny reviewer, I received a big box of gear. Over the next several weeks, I will review these items.

On this post I will bundle all the different reviews:

  • 10X3 Chest Rig (Website / Review)
  • Chest Rig Triple Mag Insert (Website / Review)
  • Low Profile Chest Rig SHoulder Pads (Website / Review)
  • “Mad Jack” Knife Sheath (Website / Review)
  • Tactical Beer Koozie (Website / Review)
  • Double Universal Mag Pouch (Website / Review)
  • Mag Pouch Radio Insert (Website / Review)
  • Smoke Gren Pouch (Website / Review)
  • A5 Nyrex Stealth Admin Pouch (Website / Review)

~ FMB

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Helmet setup – Ops-Core

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Having done an overview of my 1st and 2nd line, it is time to show how I protect that ugly head of mine.

The standard helmet of the Belgian Armed Forces is an old design, similar to the PASGT, that is uncomfortable, outdated and doesn’t give the opportunity to wear ICW a headset.

For that reason, I used the MICH 2000 for several years. This was self bought, which caused some issues.

Luckily our higher-ups deemed it necessary that all TACP should be issued the Ops-Core FAST helmets. These were already issued to the SFG and Pathfinders. Rumours are that all combat units will get these issued, but “when?” is the big question.

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Let’s go over how I have set up my lid.

I’m using the solid stretch cover by First Spear, which is excellent! It camouflages and protects the helmet, while having enough loop velcro to attach counterweight, patches,… etc. This cover has seen a lot of use during the last 8 months, but is still looking like new.

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On the front, I installed the NVG lanyard attachment by Down Range Gear (sourced at OPTACTICAL.COM) which already saved my PVS-14 from a nasty fall.

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PELTOR COMTAC III’s dual-comm allow me to talk to the Fly boys and my Teammates. They also protect my already diminished hearing. Loving the gel cups on these. They are attached with the normal ARC adapters by Peltor. Maybe I should upgrade to the Unity Tactical ones, but for now, they do their job.

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On the back, I have the FLIMMUUR copy of the TNVC MOHAWK. Reason for the copy, is that they don’t ship outside CONUS. It’s a great piece of kit that really helps to balance the Ops-Core when I’m using NVG’s. I’m currently also testing the new AGILITE counterweight, which is performing great already!

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Inside the counterweight pouch, there is one of the Spiritus System inserts with some AA batteries for my MS2000, PETZL and PVS-14.

On top of the pouch I have the old and trusty MS2000 that  I spray painted when I was bored.

I used to have a Princeton Tec MPLS attached to the side rail, but that one was lost coming back from deployment. Great piece of kit that I use all the time.

I hope you guys liked seeing this quick overview. If you have any questions or recommendations, let me know.

~ FMB20190222_160236

 

Agilite Bridge – First impression

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No matter how good your helmet is fitted or which suspension system it has, wearing NVG’s makes it imbalanced.

That was very clear to me when I was going down a rocky hill, wearing full kit and a heavy bergen, using NVG’s on my old MICH helmet. The front of the helmet kept shifting down over my eyes. At that moment I decided I needed a counterweight.

My first counterweight was the Flimmuur copy of the TNVC Mohawk. The reason why I bought the copy is because TNVC doesn’t ship outside the US. (Yeah I know Tim from Heresy Group, it’s a copy!) It’s a good design that I really like, the only thing that gives me doubts is that I check from time to time if it’s still attached. Reason for this is that the top part is attached by only a small part of velcro.

A couple of weeks ago, I received the Agilite Bridge for testing. This isn’t my first Agilite product and will definitely won’t be my last! The first time I saw the Bridge was on Shinobi’s IG (@shinobi275), you know,the guy with all the silk kit?

Overview

The Bridge has a rear “pod” that accommodates most battery packs (from what I hear, because we only have the PVS-14) and counterweights. The battery pack or counterweight is protected by a piece of polymer. At first I was sceptical about this part, but in my opinion it’s a good way to protect the battery pack without adding to much bulk or weight.

The “pod” is more than just a way to carry a battery pack or counterweight. On the left and right it has several elastic loops that can hold batteries (AA and CR123) or other small items.

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On the bottom, it has loops where you can store your PTT cables from your Liberator or Peltor headset.

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On the back, there is a loop panel to attach IFF/IR patches. Rest assure, there is enough velcro on the Bridge to hold all the patches or accessories in the world.

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Following the “vertical strip” towards the top of the helmet, you can see that Agilite added a bungee system to attach IR strobes, cameras or manage your comm cables.

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On the end of the vertical strip, you have a horizontal one that attaches with velcro to the velcro patches on your Opscore. This part comes in two different sizes, for different sizes of helmets. It’s also elastic.

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Conclusion

Overall, the Bridge is a solid built, function packed counterweight pouch. You can tell that Agilite has done its research before designing it.

This is only the first overview and impression. Now the Bridge will be used during upcoming trainings and I will update you guys on how it holds up! You can’t test tactical gear in a week or two!

The Bridge can be bought here.

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Disclaimer: I received this product from Agilite Tactical for testing. I am in no way bound or paid to write a positive review.

Rufus Breacher: Ferro Concept Slickster Plate Carrier Setup & Review

This is an article not written by FMB but by “Rufus”. He is a currently deployed Recce dude and former contractor that is an obvious gearwhore. He’s got a great IG that for some reason features a plastic chicken from time to time.

So, grab a cup of coffee and start reading!

I used to work with a JPC for several years now, and I decided to adopt a new load out, a fresher one.
Don’t misunderstand me, my JPC did his job pretty well, and remains a reliable Plate Carrier.
But since it was a bit damaged at the bottom of the Kangaroo Pouch (After all these years, fair enough), I decided to buy a new one and try my chance with the Ferro Concept Slickster.

One of the reason, is that I was really seduced by the idea of the elastic cummerbund with additional compartments in it.

My setup

As I was working with a MRAP-style Dingo 2 vehicle, wich is really tight inside when it’s full, I wanted to get rid of my so much loved tactical belt.
Putting my magazines, IFAK and grenades on my Plate carrier instead of my belt was an option I had to consider.
So the elastics compartment were coming.
The basic product is made for lighter tasks, able to be worn concealed, as well as overt.

My basic load requires me to carry 10 magazines for my SCAR L, 3 Magazines for my sidearm, the FNH 5.7, some grenades, an IFAK, a radio device and some small equipment, I decided to add to the basic Slickster, the Ferro
Kangaroo flap pouch. On the inside, I added a triple Mag turnover pouch.
Without adding any equipment to that configuration, It provides you 4 compartments each side, and three more on front, giving you the capacity to fit 11 items of your choice directly on the Slickster.

Two compartments were used for the IFAK from ITS Tactical (Slim Pouch) and an additional Israeli bandage.
Four other compartments were filled with 4 AR Magazines, plus 3 in the kangaroo flap pouch.
The radio fits in another elastic pouch on the cummerbund.

To that, I still had to add 2 pistol mags with an unusual size, so I needed some stretchable double mag pouch…
Found it with Tasmanian Tiger, as well as a double grenade pouch to carry a frag and a Flashbang.
I never had been a big fan of TT products, but I have to admit that some of them are up to the job.

As I needed to add some personal equipment but didn’t wanted to encumber myself with an admin pouch, I decided to try and put a Shock Cord Insert from ITS Tactical on the velcro surface above my Magazine.
On it, I attached a Gerber Filter Torch, the PTT for my Radio device, etc…

I also added some shoulder pads for my own confort.

Finally, I reached my goal with a plate carrier that fits perfectly to the job, getting rid of my tactical belt to only keep my Sidearm, a tourniquet and a dump pouch.
Carrying 7 AR Mags, and 2 5.7 Pistol mags and some grenades on the slickster, 1 AR mag on my assault rifle, 1 on my sidearm,
2 additional mags in my “Bug Out bag” from 5.11 Tactical as well as some smoke grenades, white and colored, a PR Kit, an MRE, some extra medical equipment and a softshell jacket.

My thoughts about the Slickster

After almost a month of deployment, spending most of my nights patrolling outside the wire, I find that configuration really handy and feel really comfy using it.

I will just add side soft ballistic inserts in the next few days to fit the standards imposed by my higher echelon.

In the vehicle: gain of mobility going in and out of the MRAP, even with the M249 of my colleague in the way…

The only disadvantage i saw so far is about the elastic slot of the cummerbund. Be careful about the equipment you fit inside, like the IFAK for example… the friction due to the movement sometimes ejects the soft equipment parts. Think about a way to attach it, like i did with the ITS pouch and some bungee rope. But prefer to use these slots for “hard” equipment such as mags, radios,etc , that stick into the pouches without any problem.

My conclusion is that the slickster remains an affordable multi purpose plate carrier, you can use it for overt as well as for covert kind of mission.

I hope you guys liked his article like I did.

Go check out his IG (@rufusbreacher) if you did.

~ FMB

Blackfolium MARS

The quality of the MARS sling is out of this world! Get it? … ok, enough with the jokes.

For the last two year I’ve been using the Magpul MS3 sling. It was my favourite up until I received the MARS from Blackfolium.

First, let’s talk about the company. Blackfolium is an Italian company that is steadily growing. They work with current and former Italian service members for their testing and development.

They contacted me via IG to test their new sling. It took a while for it to arrive, but that was a positive thing. They kept improving the sling using feedback from their contacts in Iraq.

Eventually I received the sling and it’s a beauty!

Multi-Adaptive Rifle Sling

As the name suggests, it’s multi-adaptive. But what does that mean?

You can buy the sling in one point, two point or switchable 1/2 point configuration. This all depends on the hardwear that you choose.

I chose the HK sling hooks so I can switch between a 1 point and a 2 point sling. Plus they fit the sling loops of my SCAR perfectly.

By giving you the option in hardware, Blackfolium didn’t create one, but several types of slings.

But what makes the MARS different from others?

Let’s look at the material:

They’ve used Cordura 500D – DWR/nIR for their central body. The thicker part that helps carry your rifle comfortably for a long time.

Inside, they used a closed cell padding that doesn’t absorb water. So perfect for you diving lot (or the guys like me that tend to fall into the river when crossing it).

The webbing is a high quality, abrasion resistant variant that after hard use, still looks great!

Their hardware is mostly metallic making it highly durable. I haven’t had any problems so far and the sling remains quiet in use.

Now let’s have a look at the design:

When ordering, you can choose between the single point, dual point and switchable version. Afterwards, you choose the hardwear you want to include (A: the attachment closest to your stock. B: the middle piece of hardwear to switch between 1 and 2 point and C: the part closest to the barrel).

After you’ve made your choice, a technical drawing is displayed! Pretty neat to see what you’ve chosen.

Picture courtesy of Blackfolium. A: Mash hook. B: D-ring. C: Clash hook.

As you can see on the drawing, above hardware C is their quick release buckle. This allows you to adjust the length of sling very fast. The use of the rubber and the plastic tab makes gripping it with wet, cold, gloved or bloody hands easy! In my opinion, this is one of the best parts of the MARS.

The MARS is available in Black, Coyote and Multicam. The price depends on the hardware you choose.

Did I mention they have a lifetime guarantee? The guarantee provides for the repair and replacement of structural defects in the fabrication, according to their website.

My thoughts:

I’ve been using the MARS sling very hard the last couple of months. It has taken me longer than expected to write this review because I’m very hard on weapon related items. If a weapon attachment or sling breaks, it can have serious consequences. So to the guys over at Blackfolium: sorry for the wait, but I’m sure you fellas will understand!

I’ve used the sling on the range, during the patrols in the Belgian streets, during a couple of FTX’s and during close combat training.

So what do I think about the MARS?

First if all, I can honestly say that after this review, I will keep using this sling.

The fast switch between 1 or 2 points, the oversized quick release buckle and the padding are everything I needed without knowing it.

I constantly use the quick release buckle to switch from a close “patrol setup” to a looser “shooting setup”. After some training, it becomes second nature.

The sling has held up to the abuse I’ve trown at it and then some!

The padding in the middle is great for me, but I can imagine that some might not need or like this. Maybe Blackfolium can make this also an option on their website.

My sling came fully assembled and after some small adjustments in size, everything is stowed and fitted. No loose straps because of the included elastic bands and hardware. The attention to detail is amazing on this one.

I can only recommend the MARS sling from Blackfolium. Go check these awesome dudes out!

IG: @blackfolium

Website: http://www.blackfolium.com

~ FMB

Disclaimer:

I’ve received this product free of charge to test and evaluate. I am not bound or payed to write a positive review. This review is completely honest and unbiased.