12 February 2011


I was recently at RTC training up for the mission we are currently on here in Iraq. In short, we're typically HMMWV people. We roll around in them; we mount our guns in them; we go to chow in them. However, this go around at RTC, we had the privilege of checking out some of the new hotness...and by that I mean the MATV as built by Oshkosh.

As you’ll see in one of the photos, we’re still HMMWV people, but we did get to check out the new monster and suffice to say…it’s damn cool!

This is not a review by any means. I simply wanted to share a couple of photos with that new little guy in the background. They’re pretty awesome folks!

08 February 2011

Lightweight Footwear

About 3 months ago I was looking really hard at light weight boots that would provide max breathability. I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions. As a lot of you know, we used to work with Wellco so my search started there.

Like I stated, my requirements included light weight and breathability, but I also wanted to run with something in a 6" height. I started with Wellco and found that their new GenII Jungle Boot-ELite fit the bill for light weight and breathability, and it had a very low profile sole. They are being billed as a sub-16oz. boot; which would be awesome! However, they do not, and will not make these in a 6" height so I moved on. The general consensus, based on research and feedback was OTB Bushmaster, with a hand full of Lowa Zephyr mixed in. So like any normal thinking human being would do...I bought both.

Some Specs on both

OTB Bushmaster: (Direct from OTB's website)
  • Mid cut height for those wanting a "faster boot", made especially for Special Forces units needing the best equipment.
  • High traction non squeak Vibram outsole and midsole unit. This provides the best combination of traction and cushion in a boot today.
  • Large mesh quarter panel with leather reinforcements make this boot cool even in the hottest conditions.
  • Double Reinforced lace loops are made not to fail in the field
  • Variable Sausage Laces will not come untied
  • Reinforced climbing rubber toe and heel to help when scaling walls
  • Dual Density cushioned footbed with Drill-lex lining for increased wicking and foot comfort.
  • Weight: 2.0 lbs per pair.
Lowa Zephyr:
  • Bi-injection PU midsole with cushioning and support.
  • Monowrap construction for stable, close to the foot fit.
  • LOWA Cross sole unit with three quarter length shank for stability.
  • Breathable textile lining.
  • Split leather and fabric uppers.
  • Weight: 2.40 lbs per pair.

Both of these pair of boots are all that they were billed to be. The Lowa's are a bit heavier but I don't think I notice the 4 oz difference. They both have merit in their own right. The Bushmaster's have some external features, such as the "sharkskin" on the toe and heel for abrasion resistance. While the Zephyr's fit nice and snug on your foot, almost like a sock with a boot sole on the bottom. There is but one negative to these boots and it is a negative of both. Because they are so light weight and breathable, they also allow your feet to get cold very rapidly. After all, breathability works both ways. However, when the heat of Baghdad kicks in here in a couple of months, I will be glad they work as billed. They've both taken a beating in the New Mexico desert prior to coming here, and have additionally been run through the Jan/Feb rain and mud here in Baghdad. Both have performed admirably in each setting and I would recommend them to anyone looking for "go faster" boots!

05 February 2011

Princeton Tec MPLS SWITCH

The SWITCH is Princeton Tec’s new dual light variant of their Modular Personal Lighting System (MPLS). Housings are available in either Black, OD Green (closer to a Ranger Green), or Sand (Tan). LED color options are Red, Green, Blue, or IR. All units second LED is White. Suggested retail price is $59.99

I picked one up back in December from Grey Group Training. I ordered an OD Green with the Blue/White light combo. Once I received it in the mail, I was surprised to note that there was no product info sheet or owner’s manual/pamphlet. All that was in the box was the light and three different mounting platforms; MOLLE/PALS, helmet clamp, and the “Reverse Picatinny” rail adaptor for the Ops-Core ARC helmet rail systems.

After about 20 seconds of playing with it, I figured out all of the mounting options and how to operate the two different LEDs. I’m a former Jarhead, so you all should do just fine with it.

The main body of the light is the ON/OFF button. Push it once and the colored light comes on at its low level. Double tap the button and it kicks the light up to the high output level. To turn the white LED on, hold down the button. It is just that simple.

The light attaches to all of the mounts the same way; it just twists on. Each mount provides 45 degrees of cant up and down/side to side. The only thing that I don’t like is that if you adjust the light one click too many, the light comes off. I think that it should have some type of lock to secure the light to the mount that is separate from the adjustment system.

I am still running a MICH/ACH at this time, so I am using the helmet clamp. One thing that I noted is that if you are using a helmet cover with the IFF tabs on the sides, this clamp would cover that area if you mount it directly on the side of the helmet. To prevent this, I chose to move the mount forward to the curve of the helmet where it drops down to cover your ears. It limits the adjustability of the mount, but it meets my personal requirements for use when wearing the helmet. Once I receive my new ACH ARC rails from Ops-Core, I will post some updated pictures.

Overall, I am very satisfied with this light. Whether it is being used as a helmet light or mounted on your PALS webbing, it far exceeds other models on the market in weight and adjustability in my opinion. Contact Grey Group and add one to your gear inventory ASAP.

Grey Group Training Link