July 28, 2011
The Gear: A-TACS Army Combat Uniform Coat
We recently acquired several A-TACS coats for use in our combative behavior training. We have used the shirt in a variety of training scenarios, including cold weapons adversary training (BattleHand), BB Pistol adversary shooting training, and tracking training. The coats have proved to be useful in a range of training activities that we use them for. A big thanks to Jesse from PredatorBDU for getting the coats to us so quickly.
: We take a considerable amount of body shots with rubber, wood, and metal, and the coat has stood up to the abuse. As well, we are training in Northern Arizona summer weather of 95+ degree heat, and the coat is surprisingly breathable. (Left: BattleHand live blade training, both men wearing the A-TACS Coat)
Adversary Firearms Training: In our adversary shooting training we use CO2-powered Daisy BB Pistols at ranges of 30ft and in. Generally the trainee side wears minimal protective clothing (all participants wear full face protection); the ICS instructor side wears enough protection to know he’s been hit but without receiving serious pain. The A-TACS coats are perfect for the instructor side in our BB Pistol adversary training, as they provide more protection than typical blouses without being too heavy. Also, the neck protection provided by the Velcro strap lapel is useful for protecting the throat from BBs. (Below: ICS Instructor on right wearing the A-TACS coat and getting shot with metal BBs)
Tracking training: Here we get to use the coats both for their camouflage abilities and their protective abilities for moving around in the woods. The coats perform well in both accounts. The terrain that we work in is Northern Arizona “red rock” country that has a very rusty color to the earth, and the A-Tacs pattern does well to match the terrain. Aside from the A-TACS coats that the ICS instructors wear, we purchased a few extra coats (XL & L) for others to throw on over whatever they’re wearing so that they can play OpFor in different scenarios.
Hopefully in the near future we will be able to do a comparison with the new A-TACS TAC.U Combat Shirt. Coming soon!
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March 21, 2010
The Gear: The Phoenix combat blade made by Kizlyar
A good combat blade is a well designed knife that can be effectively and repeatedly used in armed lethal combat. For our purposes, we consider the Kizlyar Phoenix with the assumption that the end purpose of this knife is for combat. It was not designed for “knife fighting.” It is not for slashing. It is not for looking “tactical.” This knife is for use on the battlefield: it is designed to puncture through armor, bone, and flesh, to cause maximum pathological damage. With this in mind we conducted our review.
Kizlyar is a Russian knife company that makes a range of blades from hunting knifes to tactical knives. The Phoenix is the most popular seller in their tactical line. It is a relatively large knife, with an overall length of 13 ¼” and a blade length of 8 ¼”. The blade is one piece of z60 steel, with an optimal hardness of about 59 Rockwell. The blade shape is similar to a spear head and includes a bilateral ridge that expands near the tip, which is a classical point design for breaking through armor.
Because the most pathologically effective use of a blade like this is a thrust, we tested the penetration capabilities of the Phoenix. For this we tested single-handed thrusting of the Phoenix through a NATO ballistic vest and a NATO ballistic vest into a canvas bag filled with sand. With good thrusting
technique—that is, using body-weight to provide the power for the strike—and a trained grip, we were able to put the Pheonix through the Kevlar into the sandbag. Having sharpened the point of the Phoenix to where it was fine enough to penetrate the Kevlar, the point and cutting edge maintained sharpness even after several thrusts through the Kevlar into the bag of sand. As well, the edge and point were easy to re-sharpen after they were dulled. The blade shape proved its viability in violent thrusting use.
The grip section is made of a non-slip rubber and is designed to fit into the hand in a way that allows you to commit powerful thrusts with high impact forces. The grip is designed effectively enough that during our puncture tests, our fingers never actually touched the bottom of the hand-guard, meaning that our hands did not slip up the grip. As well, the material of the grip allows the knife to be effectively used while wearing gloves.
Importantly, the Kizlyar Phoenix has a deadly feeling to it upon first gripping the knife. The ridge that runs along both sides of the blade gives the knife a useful heft. You know upon holding it that you aren’t going to be slicing skin with it; you are going to be thrusting or dagging through flesh and bone. Also, the metal of the one-piece blade is exposed at butt of the knife, and is usable as a hammer (striking or as a tool) and has a small hole for a lanyard.
Overall, the Kizlyar Phoenix is a great combat blade for the money. Kizlyar also makes a shorter version of the Phoenix, called the Phoenix-2, which has a blade that is about an inch shorter than the Phoenix but maintains the same rugged quality of the Phoenix. Also in their tactical line is the Korshun, which has the same material properties as the Phoenix but a slightly different blade shape.
If you are interested in purchasing the Phoenix or other Kizlyar combat knives, visit www.TsuwamonoConcepts.com
and click on “Combat Blades.”
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March 13, 2010
The Gear: US PeaceKeeperTM Rapid Deployment Pack
Go-bags come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, but there are simple principles that decide if a particular go-bag is an effective piece of kit. A good go-bag contains what you might need in a situation of quick action in an effectively accessible way. It is something that carries unobtrusively in your car, or subtly sits by your desk at work, or perhaps sits on your shoulder at the store. When you need it you can grab it, rip it open to pull out the needed contents, and run, jump, dive, shoot and reload with it slung to your body (and not getting in the way).
Enter the US PeaceKeeperTM
Rapid Deployment Pack. Unlike so many other shoulder bags, this one is fairly small (main compartment is 8.5”h x 7.5”w x 2.5”d). This means that you aren’t likely to over-stuff it. If you’re intent on carrying a lot of gear, it might as well be strung on both shoulders in the form of a backpack, not heavily bouncing around your body as a shoulder bag. The US PeaceKeeperTM
Rapid Deployment Pack forces you to keep the contents of your go-bag to your basic necessities. Also because of its size, you are more likely to keep it with you where ever you might go. It hangs in low profile from your shoulder whether you’re hiking, carrying other gear, driving, or just walking down the aisles at a store. This makes it that much more likely that you will be armed and prepared during a potential fast action incident. It is designed very well for an ergonomic fit on the body. It can be comfortably worn while driving (especially if the bag is slung on the door-side), and the pistol contained within is can be easily drawn from this position. As well, it rides well while operating a motorcycle at high speeds. Importantly, the Rapid Deployment Pack is subtle. The bag doesn’t stand out as a military bag yet still maintains ruggedness.
The US PeaceKeeperTM
Rapid Deployment Pack has three layers of compartments. The first, which rides closest to the body, is a small zippered enclosure designed for holding a pistol and includes a removable Velcro® holster strap. Drawing the pistol from this pocket is generally smooth and easy, although a small lip on the cover and the opening being perhaps an inch too short cause the occasional snag during repeated fast draws. Importantly, the shape of the bag and this compartment allows the pistol to be drawn strong-side by opposite hand cross-draw.
The second pocket is the main compartment used for your go-bag necessities. It has a zippered U-shaped cover which allows very easy access to the compartment. The third layer of pockets include 2 semi-open flap-cover rifle mag pouches, a flap-cover pistol mag pouch, and a no-cover synch closed pocket that would be suitable for a small radio or water bottle. One of the best features of the compartments of this bag is that having a loaded bag and/or having the bag pressed against your body does not tighten the opening of the pockets.This means that you can get to your needed items or firearm easily without taking the bag off.
Over all, the US PeaceKeeperTM Rapid Deployment Pack is a good piece of kit for daily civil life that will see daily use. Once you have one you’ll wonder what you used to do without it. Tsuwamono Concepts, the clothing and gear retail section of ICS, sells the US PeaceKeeperTM Rapid Deployment Pack loaded with some basic essentials that we see as useful in a good go-bag. Our loaded go-bag, the “Quick Action Kit” includes:
· US Peacekeeper Rapid Deployment Pack
· NEBO CSI Luma 35 LED
· Cold Steel Canadian Belt Knife
· Bushnell Powerview 8x21 Compact Binoculars
· Leatherman 830017 Kick Outdoor Multitool w/ Nylon Sheath
· Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight and Watertight .5 Kit
If you are interested in the loaded US PeaceKeepers Rapid Deployment Pack, visit www.tsuwamonoconcepts.com and click on the Quick Action Kit under “Gear”.