Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Death Valley Magazine, The Old School Man and 1000 Rules

Allow me to introduce you to three interesting, informative and (especially in the case of OSM) hilarious websites.

I came across the Death Valley Magazine when, for some reason that I am eternally grateful for, DVM started following me on Twitter (cheers guys!). I duly read a couple of tweets, read a few more, then followed the links to the DVM website. I won't go into too many details about who writes DVM other than the fact that they are a bunch of witty and intelligent American guys who also happen to work in Private Contractor circles. Don't let that put you off though, they mock their own trade as much as anyone elses, ripping into the Urban Bug Out Bag in more or less the same breath as tactical baseball caps and Multicam whilst simultaneously praising old school weapons like the FN FAL, baseball bat and knuckleduster (just don't mention plastic knuckledusters).

Shortly after following the ling from DVM to Old School Man had me snorting in my tea, specifically the habits of old school man. This list is in much the same vein as the Chuck Norris facts that went round the internet a year or two ago, but geared more around Steve McQueen. Literally hilarious.

Considering how many men are in therapy crying about how their mommies didn’t breast feed them enough it is surprising that the Old School Man still only has 2 emotions: Angry and Not Very Angry.

The other link I found via the DVM site was 1000 rules for surviving the zombie apocalypse, a subject, as many of you are aware, is close to my heart. this site, presumable influenced by the recent movie 'Zombieland' takes the whole rules for zombie survival thing that much further.

Rule 997: Stay out of the woods. In the Zombie infected world the woods are only for deer and people who want to be eaten.

Give theses three sites a read and I guarantee you will laugh at at least one of them. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Monday, 22 March 2010

Gear Review - Condor Tear Away EMT Pouch

On my arrival at work this morning, sat on the reception desk waiting for me amongst the rest of the post was my long awaited Condor Tear Away EMT Pouch from the nice people at SOLO International.

Having waited since the beginning of November for this from another reailer before cancelling the order and re-ordering it from SOLO last week, I was looking forward to having a look at this and getting it installed.

The reason I bought this over other Individul First Aid Kit (or IFAK) pouches ws because this one is actually detachable from the base. The pouch can be mounted on a MOLLE platform in the same way as thousands of other different pouches, but this pouch is in two parts, the base, which attaches to the MOLLE platform, and the pouch itself which is connected to the base via hook-and-loop and a securing strap with a quick release clip meaning that it can be torn away from the base in the event of an emergency, or in the case that the pouch is simply easier to use when not attached to a belt, chest rig or plate carrier. Although designed as a medic pouch, I could quite easily see it in use as an E&E pouch or toolkit, especially in an EOD capacity.

The pouch is opened by means of two paracorded zip pulls which run around three sides of the pouch meaning it can be opened completely to allow access to the contents. Inside, there are two internals pockets in the back panel as well as a row of elastic loops to insert items into. A further two elastic straps run down the other half of the clamshell, and the pouch is completed by a zip-up mesh pocket attached to the bottom. There are also four paracord loops, one in each corner of the clamshell to attach clips, carabiners or lanyard to to secure loose items.

The overall quality of the pouch is pretty good. Although not top quality, I can see it taking a fair amount of punishment. The only area I would be concerned with is the quick release clip on the securing strap, this is made of quite cheap plastic and although it could be easily replaced, I would like to have seen a better quality item for the money, especially when the clips on other competitively priced brands such as Warrior Assault Systems have good quality plastic hardware. The same could be said of the zip, which also feels a little on the cheap side and is noisier than the zips on Warrior gear.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. Not sure what I'll use it for, as a medic pouch of this size just for airsoft is a bit overkill. You can get quite a bit of stuff in this pouch so it could easily double up as a medic pouch and tool kit with a bit of spare room left for the odd Mars bar.

Website Review: Intelligent Armour

A year ago I had an email from Alex, the owner of Intelligent Armour asking if I could post a link to their gear and training sites, which I was more than happy to do. Since then, Intelligent Armour has gone from strength to strength and now has a fully fledged and fully stocked web store with an excellent selection of gear, more reminiscent of a US based gear store than a UK one.

Intelligent Armour Limited provides tactical equipment solutions for individuals and teams. Our clients range from Government Agencies, Armed Forces, Police, and the Private Security / Close Protection sectors Worldwide.

Our aim is to supply the correct operational equipment at the best possible price, we seek to supply the most up to date field tested tactical products and body armour.

On first inspection the Intelligent Armour is well-designed, clear and easy to navigate. There is the usual selection of Oakley, Blackhawk and 5.11 gear, but further investigation leads to a wealth of unusual and interesting tactical gear aimed at law enforcement, military and private security, and also featuring equipment suitable for outdoorsmen, embedded journalists or anyone interested in high quality, hard wearing clothing and equipment, such as the Bugout Gear bags, Fjallraven clothing range. A the company name would suggest, an extensive range of covert and overt body armour, plates and ballistic helmets is also available. It is also nice to see a range of Fjallraven gear in ladies sizes and styles.

Fans of multicam will also be pleased to find a strong range of Blackhawk MOLLE accessories in this pattern. Whilst not particularly to my taste, it is a popular camo with geardos and airsofters and, due to it's recent adoption with the US army as well as the announcement of the adoption of the MTP camouflage pattern by the British Army, doesn't show any signs of going away in the near future.

My only criticism would be to say that there could be a bigger range of US brands on sale. I have nothing bad to say about the 5.11 or Blackhawk gear that I've come across, but it would be nice to see some others like Tactical Tailor or even some more esoteric brands like ICE Tactical or Maxpedition which you don't see very often on British retailer's web sites. That said, this is not so much a criticism of this site so much as an observation on UK tactical gear retailers in general. I'll freely admit that I don't know the politics behind the supply and demand of gear between the US and UK and this may be down to the US manufacturers and suppliers more than the UK retailers so I'll leave it here as a general observation rather than a criticism of what I have found to be a very impressive and interesting site.

My single favourite item on the site is the Fjallraven Vidda Trousers. At £110 they are not for the faint hearted. Fjallraven are new to me, but I am very impressed with what I have seen of them on this site.

If you are not convinced by the shop site, Intelligent Armour is part of Intelligent Holdings who also have Close Protection, Intelligence and Training divisions and are wholly owned by a former member of the British Army which suggests to me that this is a company that Knows what they are doing.

Intelligent Armour Limited supply to a number of Government units, and we have only recently opened up our marketing to Airsoft; and it's all going very well.

We try to keep our prices very realistic and ship to around 30 different counties each month; every month, our business is growing by 15-25%.

To finish off, a couple of point which may be of additional interest is that Intelligent Armour offer 10% discount to members of the armed forces and police services. A discount which has also very kindly been offered by Intelligent Armour to readers of this blog. Monthly product updates will also be a future feature. Stay tuned.

Massively Impressed...

SOLO International have managed, within a few days, to supply me with the Condor Tear-Away EMT pouch I've been after (from another site) since the beginning of the year. nice to have a good experience with an online gear store for a change. Thanks to Pete at SOLO for sorting this out.

I'll get a review of the pouch up when I get a chance.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

First and Only's new FIBUA Site near Leek, Staffs

Just received through Facebook from First & Only Airsoft, details of their new site near Leek in Staffordshire.

First and Only News!
New FIBUA site – Anzio Camp

First and Only Airsoft are pleased to announce the opening of our largest FIBUA/URBAN site.

This Site is located Near Leek in Staffordshire and is situated on a old British army camp. The site incorporates 17 buildings, many of which are double story, and range from large accommodation blocks and officers messes to smaller offices and armouries. There is also a large amount of woodland at the top of the site and even an Assault course!!!

For a map please look at Anzio Camp.

Open day Games will be run every 2 weeks at this site, with many special events and weekender's also run throughout the year.

We will be opening this site near the end of April, and will be opening bookings from the beginning of April. The opening day will be limited to 100 spaces.

There will be a booking thread on the first and only forums located at First & Only Forum.

For more information please e mail

This looks pretty special, and only 45 miles from Nottingham too. There are more details and some great pictures of the site on the Urban Assualt site (the urban explorers, not the Peterborough based skirmish site), and a map and some additional info on the First and Only forum.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Massively unimpressed (pt2)

I am sick of trying to buy gear online. In December, I contacted Condor about their Rip-away EMT Pouch. Condor replied promptly with a list of European suppliers. I placed an order with Soldier of Fortune at the beginning of January and I am still waiting for the pouch following them sending me the wrong colour (I sent it back, and paid for the postage myself with no attempt to refund this expense from SoF), and then an email informing me that a pouch had arrived from the US but had no pouch, just the velcro backing panel. Last I heard from them two weeks ago was that they are going to try and order me another and if they can't get one, and I quote, "nothing has arrived with my new order that arrived last week I am placing one more this friday if nothing arrives i will just refund you and have to forget about it as its going on to long".

I contacted SOLO International today and they have one in stock, so this might have a happy ending, thanks to SOLO.

My second gear failure was with Dropzone Supplies where I placed an order with them for a 5.11 watch cap. I got the confirmation email and despatch notification and everything. Having waited a week or so, I emailed to find out if the hat had actually been despatched. This was followed up with a voicemail message on my mobile telling me that they didn't actually have the hat in stock, had not sent it out and would not be having the item back in stock now or in the future. They refunded my cash.

My current bone of contention is with JD Airsoft. I found their website and noticed that they had the 5.11 watch caps in stock. When I ordered the £8.99 item and checked my cart, they quoted me £9.99 for P&P. I contacted them the same day by email with a query about their postage fees and got the reply that this was the rate for next day delivery and that their website would be updated with lower and slower postage charges in the next few days. This was a week ago, and the charges have not changed, their online shopping cart system has also been unavailable for the last few days. I phoned them yesterday and there waas no answer. I've emailed them today about when would be best to phone today and have yet to receive a reply, although the shop is shut on Wednesdays.

This is a bit of a moan on my part. I have ordered stuff online, and continue to do so quite regularly. In these hard financial times, yopu would imagine that retailers would bend over backwards for trade. I appreciate that these retailers also supply the forces and (I would imagine, to some degree) the emergency services and that they may, and quite rightly so, get priority on orders, but come on. three and a half months for an order to come from the US ? Am I asking too much ?

Friday, 5 March 2010

massively unimpressed...

with both Condor and Dropzone Supplies.

Let's see if SoF can redeem themselves and get the delivery from Condor and fulfill my order in the next week or so.