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Everything posted by zackmars

  1. The place is still owned by whoever owns the rest of seawolf park. I don't think they can really afford to do anything with it, too many resources being gobbled up by the sub and DE. I think it's kinda neat that these are the only pictures around of the inside of this place. We really don't get a whole lot of abandoned buildings here like up north.
  2. Less than lethal is a broad category, it can encompass things like stun guns, tasers, paintball guns, to all manner of sprays. Lots of people carry less lethal tools, but not too many understand the issues and potential downsides of them. Keep in mind, I do not think LTL are useless, but like everything else, they have their place, and knowing what that place is, is absolutely critical to being able to properly defend yourself. I've been pepper balled (long story) tased and hit with a stun gun (volunteered), and been pepper sprayed (i was curious) so I understand how these things work, and i know they can/can't work. I'm not here to poo poo these tools, I'm not some badass that can get tased a million times without flinching. This isn't a thread about how lethal force is the only way, but downsides are downsides, and deserve to be pointed out To start us off, there is no such thing as "non lethal", not anymore. "Non-lethal" is a very dated term, minted back when things like tasers and stun guns first hit the scene. The early versions of these tools were weak, and designed to cause absolutely zero permanent damage to people. Unfortunately people are not all the same, designing an incapacitation tool that won't harm a small, skinny person meant that many people could just shrug off whatever was thrown at them, so more powerful versions were designed, and the margin of safety became smaller and smaller. Plenty of people have had their hearts stopped by stun guns and tasers, and plenty of people have suffocated from pepper/bear sprays. One key thing to know about self defense, is that it is very hard to stop people. People have taken multiple .50 cal hits, have been blown up, shot in the head, fallen out of airplanes, lit on fire, and continued to function. Be it a Glock, or a taser, never pick something up expecting it to stop a person from functioning 100% of the time, this is why redundancy is important. Always have something to fall back to, even if it's your fists. So, lets talk about stun guns and tasers! Stun guns are close contact weapons, and have two metal prongs next to each other. Electricity flows through, and will go into whatever it touches. Issues are, #1, it might not phase an attacker. If they are wearing thick clothing, a stun gun can be almost useless #2, the second it no longer touches the target, the effect stops. When defending yourself, distance is your friend. When using a stun gun, you are banking on the chance the attacker is not willing to press on their attack after being zapped #3, you are in close with an opponent. Without good training in hand to hand, you can easily find yourself on the ground, and at an extremely huge disadvantage. #4, most rely on batteries, so preventative maintenance is absolutely critical The market is absolutely flooded with cheap zappers. If you've ever been to a gun show, you know what I'm talking about. The most effective part is the extremely annoying "ZAKZAKZAKZAKZAKZAKZAK" noise they make. Really, the only good things i can say about these is that the noise might intimidate an attacker (DO NOT RELY ON THIS) and you can find them pretty cheap. I don't think I can reccomend one of these. If you are willing to spend more money, get a really bright flashlight with a crazy aggressive bezel. Tasers. Tasers and stun guns are names that are used interchangeably by many, but since I'm talking about two distinct things here, it's best to seperate them. "Taser" is a specific brand name that makes a specific style of stun gun. Other companies also make their own interpretations of "tasers", but i have no experience with them. Tasers have one thing over stun guns. You can have a bit of a stand off with them, while also being able to use it as a stun gun for super close in. But this comes at a cost. #1, if you are too close, and the barbs don't get a good spread, they are less effective. If you hit a target under 3-5 feet, the barbs will be less effective #2, heavy clothing can greatly reduce the effectiveness of the barbs. The current can "jump" a bit, but it's still going to reduce the effect. #3, cartridges are expensive. Tasers (the brand) tend to come with 2 cartridges. A two pack of replacement cartridges is almost $80 USD. doesn't sound like a big deal, but remember, practice is absolutely critical. #4, if you incapacitate a threat with a taser, they can still quite often recover from a hit. Depending on the situation, this can make escape quite dangerous/impossible. Though you can continue pumping current into a target with barbs in them, so you don't have to be right up on them to keep them incapacitated. The taser is pretty expensive, a bolt is about $300, and if you want to go all out, an M26c advanced is $700 to $600. If tasers are legal to carry where you live, but firearms aren't, they are probably going to be your best choice. I can't speak for everywhere, so do your research. As with any less lethal option, it is not guaranteed to work. Yes, there are tons of vids showing cops and soldiers getting shut down with a taser, but those are in conditions where the taser is given ideal conditions to work. No super big guys in marshmallow jackets pumping full of adrenalin getting hit at near contact distances, or only getting hit with one barb. If you pick this, get some good hand to hand training. (You should get this no matter what really) (I EXTREMELY reccomend watching this guy's stuff, tons of good info concerning all sorts of self defense stuff) Paintball guns. One popular option for LTL is to carry a small paintball pistol loaded with pepperball rounds, like this tippmann TiPX Tippmann TiPX 10x concentrated pepper balls These use regular Co2 cartridges, and will only break the seal on the cartridge when you first pull the trigger, so no leaking. These offer better range compared to a taser, and regular paintballs can be found dirt cheap, so practice is nice and cheap, but pepper ball rounds aren't, but will be far more effective than some paintballs Downsides are #1, pepper balls have an area of effect, and if you aren't careful, you can incapacitate yourself quite easily. #2, pepper spray/pepperballs are easy to defeat, if an attacker has enough brain cells to wear eye, nose and mouth protection, you basically are reduced to a gun that shoots fragile plastic balls. I will point out here that plenty of people have pushed through pepperballs/pepper spray with no trouble, with no protection #3, even the smallest paintball guns are large. Carrying them can be a pain, to the point carrying them off-body is the only practical solution. And off-body carry is a really bad idea. A small paintball gun and pepper ball rounds pretty much bridges the gap between a taser and pepper spray, and suffers from many of the drawbacks that every LTL option is burdened with. One upside of pepperballs are that you get range, and incapacitation can potentially take out an attacker for a good while, so it's less risky to remove yourself from an area, but remember, the chemicals in the pepper ball rounds don't discriminate. I know people who keep these in their desks at work in case a bad guy comes through, but none ever seem to realize that hitting a guy possibly near your escape point with pepper ball rounds means that even if the attacker is incapacitated, that whole are is a no-go zone, some pepperball rounds are even potent enough to turn an open area on a windy day into a place that makes you want to take a milk shower. You could use this to take on multiple threats, but you are putting lots of faith on the ability of the pepperballs to incapacitate people long enough to stop the threat, and escape, but it's better than trying to fight them off with a stun gun, or trying to reload with a taser and hoping the first guy is down, and will stay down. Pepper spray/bear spray Many issues with pepper ball rounds apply here, but unlike the pepper balls, you will need to be closer for the spray to be most effective. On the upside, you can get sprays in all manner of shapes and sizes, from giant fire extinguisher looking ones, to tiny key chain fobs. Smaller sprayers tend to be cheap, but always check the MFG date. If you are in sensitive areas, this may be your best option. Issues, #1, area effect, but you are closer to your target. Crazy easy to take yourself out with this. At least with pepper balls you can move away from an attacker, making it less likely you'll incapacitate yourself #2, indoor use will ruin your day. They few sprayers I've messed with put out a lot more capsicum than a few pepper balls. And again, depending on effectiveness of the chemicals, and location, this can work for/against you. #3, again, easy to defeat. Since you aren't launching a projectile and might be close to an attacker, I reccomend training both with whatever spray you carry and get some hand to hand instruction. If you carry a spray or pepper ball rounds, i reccomend exposing yourself to what you are using, simply so you know what to expect, and don't freak out when you use it. You don't want to spray an attacker and start freaking out because your eyes are watering and its hard to breathe. People will bring up the idea of carrying bear spray. Keep in mind that it is less powerful than regular pepper spray. This stuff is to make bears go away with absolutely no long term effects, and since bears here in the US tend to have various protective laws surrounding them, manufacturers tend to be careful with this stuff. Plus there is a fundamental difference between making a bear go away, and making a person physically unable to do anything other than cough and rub their eyes violently. Bear sprays tend to have spray nozzles that are designed to act more as a fogger. This not only greatly decreases range, but also makes it much less useable indoors. Wasp spray is meant for wasps. Whereas pepper spray is an inflammatory agent, wasp spray is a neurotoxin that isn't really effective on humans. It is toxic, and can cause immediate adverse effects on people, but that is extremely rare, and most people who get tagged with wasp spray are able to drive themselves to a hospital for care, and only ever suffer from minor discomfort. Just compare a human to a wasp. Wasp spray use in violent attack Now that I've done that blathering, I'll talk about what I'd do. Now, i live in Texas, in the USA, so I have the right/ability to carry a firearm, and i do so everyday. If you have this same right/ability, i reccomend that you do so as well, but if for some reason I could only use one of the LTL options I've listed, I'd think I'd pony up the cash for an M26c advanced and some cartidges. I avoid any area effect, and get a medium range weapon with an ability that lets me use it as a contact weapon, in addition to getting more hand to hand training. Even though this thread is dedicated to LTL, I feel a sort of disclaimer is needed. Despite being far more likely to kill an attacker, handguns (what most people tend to carry for self defense) still aren't very lethal, even solid center of mass shots with good ammo isn't guaranteed to incapacitate a bad guy, even if there are multiple good hits, but it is still much more likely that the bad guy will die, but that is the trade off, for that, you get range, stand off ability, no need to remain with the threat to keep them incapacitated, no area effect that can hurt you, (relatively) cheap way to practice, and if the threat persists despite being tased/zapped/sprayed, lethal force can be easily achieved with a firearm, compared to other options. But again, that option might not be available for you, so do your research, and decide what works best for you, and your needs.
  3. From what I've heard from my parents, it used to have a concession stand, and maybe something else, but they cant remember. We really wanted to take a look at the old Falstaff brewery, because that thing is absolutely massive, but there were crews working, and we wouldn't be able to do much after spending time looking for an entrance, since we all had to run some errands a bit later. And we were a bit intimidated by its size, lol.
  4. More pics that didnt make the cut
  5. Any rules on sap gloves or caps? Guessing they're illegal too, but you never know...
  6. Thanks! And yeah, not having many options always sucks. If it was all i could have, i wouldn't feel too bad with a small can of pepper spray. Just gotta be mindful of where you are and where you gotta go.
  7. LTL options with real guns Some people who can own/carry guns may still want to carry rounds that aren't as lethal as FMJ or soft/hollow point rounds. I do not reccomend this, a firearm is a deadly weapon in the eyes of the law, and where a taser or paintball gun might have some form of legal protection, firearms typically won't, outside of laws allowing OC/CC, castle doctrine, etc. You will want to do lots of research here. To start off, i want to say this, since it's true of everything on this list. Nothing here has a method of incapacitating an attacker. So keep that in mind, since i didn't feel like being a broken record Rubber bullets. Easy to find in shot shells, but suffer from light weight (about 4 grains per rubber ball), slow velocity, and general uselessness I'm pretty familiar with rubber buckshot, a previous neighbor had a very aggressive pit that made several attempts to kill my dog and my chickens, and I tried a few rounds of s&b rubber buck. I shot 3 rounds, each one as it ran towards me. Issue #1, effectiveness vs range was really obvious. Light rubber balls do a very poor job at retaining velocity. Only at about 7-8 yards did the dog actually seem to notice that something was hitting him, the hit at 3 yards made him run away. Issue #2, lack of effectiveness. Sure it can change an attackers mind, but there's no incapacitating effect, no more than a cheap airsoft gun Issue #3, ricochet. A sphere is the most likely shape to bounce back right to it's origin point, especially if it's made of rubber. It's extremely unlikely, but you run the risk of putting out an eye. Honestly, if i had to pick these or a slingshot with some glass marbles, I'd pick the slingshot. You can find specialty loads for all sorts of calibers with rubber projectiles, but these should be avoided. They won't cycle semi autos, are extremely inaccurate, and are made by people in their garages, which should throw up every red flag possible. You can occasionally find rubber baton loads, and while I've heard lots of good about those, I have no experience with them. I did mess around with some bean bag rounds, but if the 5 i got, 2 flung off in some random direction, and the other 3 were torn apart and left 2 holes each in the target. I imagine other brands arent as bad, but i haven't checked out to see the options For pistols, rifles, shotguns, revolvers, you can get simmunitions, and other brands of marker rounds. I have a decent little bit of experience with these, and got hit in my arm (plus a bunch of armor shots) by a sim round when helping a local PD train for active shooters, so i can say with no uncertainty they sting. But remember, if you're using a firearm, chances are you aren't playing paintball. Issues #1, cost. You can get kits for most types of guns, assuming they are popular, but you can be looking at spending anywhere from 200-700 us dollars. Thats not counting ammo and magazines which are typically proprietary #2, availability. The kits, ammo and mags are avalible to the public, but it's not a hot commodity item, so most places don't bother stocking it. The places that do tend to be LE distributors who might only order enough to fufill a LEA contract #3, again, it's not going to be very effective. It's a compressed round of dust going pretty fast. While it's great for FOF training, not so much for trying to stop a threat #4, the kits are designed to not function with real ammo, nor is the ammo designed to function in real guns, so Dutch loading (which is already a terrible idea) won't work. Blanks. Really, here all you have is the hope the guy gets scared and runs off. I criticize LTL about how incapacitation isn't guaranteed, so you can guess how i feel about these. It is worth noting that people have died from close up shots from blanks, so they are not without risk The problem with LTL out of real guns is that superior purpose built LTL tools exist, and accordingly (potentially) have features that make them better suited for their roles as LTL tools, for example, tasers can apply a constant shock to keep someone down. Pepperballs/pepper spray will temporarily effect a persons vision/respiratory system so they will have a hard time functioning. Rubber buck and sims rely on someone REALLY not wanting to get shot, to the point where making a finger gun amd whispering "bang" might send them scurrying. And they might, but they might pop a few very real rounds back at you and duck out, or start shooting back, and keep shooting. Unless you are Carnac, you won't be able to predict which. So if you have the means to own a real firearm, but aren't willing to use it defensively if a persons life could be ended, put the gun in the safe and get a dedicated LTL option. If you are willing to use a firearm defensively even if a bad guy might not make it, load up with some decent self defense ammo and remember that you are most likely going to be reacting to a threat, and that time is way too critical to mess around with a few rounds of, what is basically nonsense in the form of ammunition.
  8. zackmars

    Picture a day thread!

    Santa Fe FT
  9. Yeah, I was going to do a bit about melee weapons, particularly batons, but they can easily be lethal if you aren't careful Thanks!
  10. zackmars

    Picture a day thread!

    Night pics
  11. zackmars

    Magpul X-22 backpacker and ruger 10/22 takedown

    I used to have a kel tec p32 in my BoB, but it disassembled itself, and is currently sitting in a box, waiting to go back to kel tec. Otherwise, i don't keep any firearms in my BoB, just more mags and ammo for my ar and ppq. I have a ruger 22/45, but its a beast, and weighs a ton, and the other .22 pistol we have is a taurus pt22. And that thing is gross and i don't trust it, lol
  12. I've had my 10/22 takedown for a few years, and it's been a good gun, accurate as any other decent stock 10/22, and was as reliable as they come. The takedown system never really did much for me, however. It was simple, and was about as painless as it could possibly be, but i found that i never really used it. Dealing with the rather cheap backpack was annoying, and it didn't take long for it to get all nasty and dirty. Meanwhile, Magpul released the X-22 backpacker, at about a $100. Thanks to sales and coupon codes, i got mine for about $70 The main draw is that the forearm can lock under the stock, making for an extremely compact and handy package But thats not it's only trick, the stock has 2 storage compartments, the biggest one is underneath the cheek rest, where you can store three 10 round mags, or a 50 round box of ammo and 1 ten round mag. It should be noted that plastic boxes will not fit without modifying the stock. The cheek rest can be replaced with a riser, which is included with the stock The second compartment is in the grip. A small tab secures a waterproof plug that gives you a decently sized pocket. I just have 20 rounds of .22lr in a zip-loc in here The stock has 4 places where you can install a magpul type 1 QD socket. These are located on the main stock body, so it can still be easily carried when taken down, downside is that nothing secures the barrel assembly and reciever together, at least without modification The mechanism to hold the barrel under the stock is very well thought out, a rubber cap towards the rear holds and protects the rear of the barrel, while a tab and groove lock up the front. To pull out the barrel, all you have to do is press in the two buttons on the fore end, and pull it out. There is an angled cut on the rubber to make this easy The stock is very nice, and is extremely well thought out. The foreend even has a removable channel sleeve if your takedown has a bull barrel. Tbe lockup between the forend and stock is very secure, you have to push in both buttons to remove it, so theres little chance of it getting bumped off on its own. The one complaint i have is that i wish it had some regular old footmans loops. QD is nice, but a single type one QD cup is like $15 Imho, this makes the 10/22 takedown the gun it always should have been. Turning what was mostly a gimmick into a practical feature, and it feels very sturdy, without weighing too much more than a standard polymer stock. Some might not like how short the forend on this is compared to the standard stock, but it's a necessary sacrifice to have the locking system. I'm personally fine with the length, it's not like I'm Chris Costa'ing the thing. In the end, if you own a 10/22 TD, and want a new stock, this is one of the best
  13. zackmars

    Picture a day thread!

    First shot with new christmas gift, a Nikon D3400 This is Mongo. We had 2 litters of kittens, but some animal killed them off, except this little guy, so we brought him in.
  14. Before we delve in, some house keeping #1, Is body armor legal? While I can't speak for other countries, here in the U.S., body armor is pretty much legal everywhere unless you are comitting a felony. Make sure to read up on any laws your state/country has regarding this. #2 Is buying armor off ebay/amazon a good idea? No, typically not. It can be hard, if not impossible to tell where the armor came from. I wouldn't be too concerned if I got a plate carrier off amazon or ebay, but BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL ABOUT AIRSOFT COPIES. Stick to trusted vendors. I will link to a number of them (that I have personally delt with) throughout and at the end of this post. FTR, I'm not a fanboy of any specific company, nor am I connected to any of them in any capacity beyond being a customer. Some gear was purchased off amazon, like holsters and pouches, but I made sure the products were legitimate. #3 At certian points, I will refrence NIJ ratings, these let you know what a specific armor plate can stop, I will go over the levels in more detail, and will link to the ratings there. #4 Is homemade armor a good idea? No. Without access to specialized ceramics or steel, you run the risk of creating more debris that can enter a wound. You will also need much more material to stop a projectile. This will greatly hinder your movement. Don't waste time or money here, unless you happen to love plans coming together, enjoy building tanks out of corrugated tin, or pitty fools. #5 Which is better, ceramic armor, or steel? Depends. Ceramic can be lighter while having a superior rating, but for fewer hits. Steel is often heavier, can take more hits, but more energy will be transferred to the torso. This can be alleviated by a trauma pad, but this adds more bulk, though it will still be thinner than a ceramic plate. Steel is also much cheaper than civilian SAPI/ESAPI alternatives, but some good ceramic plates can be had for not much more. It's generally reccomended to have a yearly X-ray done on ceramic plates. You really don't need to worry about this if you take good care of your plates, and don't treat them poorly. If you want to X-ray your plates, see if a local vet or dentist is willing to help. #6, What experience do you have with body armor? I've done simunitons training with my local PD several times, local multi gun events, airsoft, and paintball, all wearing various vests. Go ahead and laugh at the last two, but it can help you figure out what works, and what doesn't, as far as pouches, and getting used to movement goes. This doesn't make me some expert though, so if you know better, be my guest. I'm certainly no special ops door kicker, so I welcome any input. #7, I don't need/want armor, but still want a fighting rig, should I set up a plate carrier with no plates? In my opinion, no. It's not that a plate carrier can't be used without plates, but rather better, purpose built options exist that might meet your needs better. If you still want a set up that can hold rifle and pistol mags, first aid and water, get a chest rig, or get an old USGI ALICE gear belt and harness. These will be less bulky, and can be really lightweight. Barring that, you can find all sorts of surplus rigs that can be built into a great setup. #8, wearing armor sucks. You can throw money at this problem, and make it suck a bit less, but most people aren't made of money. By wearing armor as much as possible and staying in shape, wearing armor will still suck, but it won't feel like you got spinal damage at the end of the day. #9, I don't have the benefit of having a military behind me, so my set up is geared towards me, as an individual. If you are LEO/SWAT/.MIL, you will most likely want a different set up. Even if you are like me, what I've done might not work for you, so please do your research. I will provide info on what I've used, but I haven't used everything, so keep in mind what I have to say is not gospel. Now, on to the real stuff. What vest should I buy? Generally, you'll get what you pay for. A $200 vest will be worlds ahead of a $70 one, but the $70 one can be just the ticket if you are looking for something to get started with, or are ballin on a budget. So to start off, figure out what purpose the carrier will be used for, a KISS rig will be different from a carrier you plan on using to fight Nazi pig bikers from Saturn. Second, decide on how much you want to spend. Certian types of vests will cost different amounts, but quality will cost. The rule of diminishing returns still very much applies. If possible, setting aside 100-200 dollars for the carrier will net you many high quality options, no matter the type. A good entry level vest would be something like this, a condor mopc. It's not very comfortable, and is cheaply made, but it has room for 4 plates. It's covered in molle webbing, so you can hang all sorts of stuff off of it. If you want, the cummerbund can be removed for a lighter weight, lower profile rig. It has a number of loops on the shoulder pads, so managing wires and hydration tubes is nice and easy. Price ranges from $50 to $70. A great mid to high end carrier would be something like this AWS OCPC. It's a clone of the LBT 6094A, but it is a bit heavier (and arguably more durable) due to thicker material. It's also a good bit cheaper. The weight increase is minor, at about 2 ounces. This vest also has loops for wires/hydration tubes. Price is $150. (To be clear, AWS and LBT both produce this vest for the US military, neither one is a knockoff). One quirk of the OCPC is that it has 7 MOLLE loops on the front, so most mag pouches will have to be set off to one side, by one inch. I don't have an issue with this, but some people with OCD will be driven up a wall. You can often find military surplus carriers, either online, or at surplus stores. These are ok, and most come with soft armor inserts. One thing they have over some other options, is the ability for some vests to add extra soft protection. Soft armor groin protecters, throat protecters, ABS armor (abdominal ballistic system), and shoulder pauldrons can be added, albeit at the expense of mobility. Common surplus carriers are the IBA (AKA Interceptor), the IOTV, the MTV, and the British Osprey. While most will include soft armor inserts, be sure to check the MFG dates on the pads, since they do have a shelf life. I reccomend sticking with the IBA and IOTV, since I'm certain the MTV was designed by satan. I have no experience with the Osprey, unfortunately. Price will vary wildly, but for all the surplus vests I listed, $100 to $400 is average depending on extras, condition, and supply/demand. Interceptor, AKA IBA MTV, AKA agony Should you go this route, be aware of stolen government property. If it comes with green ESAPI's, that's a clue that the vest is stolen. PASGT, and previous generations of frag vests are relatively cheap and common, however, I DO NOT reccomend these, while internet tests show them to offer between level IIA and IIIa protection they've never been tested by the NIJ, and since kevlar degrades over time you are really taking your life in your own hands. If you prefer mobility over protection, there exist a few options, some vests will not have a cummerbund and won't be able to mount side plates. Others might have a skeletonized MOLLE rack, while others will have a side release buckle. A cummerbund adds weight, and makes it a bit more time consuming to don and doff, but is far more secure and easier to adjust than other options. It also lets you add side plates with less bulk compared to MOLLE side plate pouches. I'm not going to list any here, simply because I'm not experienced enough with them to say which is the best, or worst. However, I can tell you that you can spend anywhere from $40 to over $200 on them. Obviously quality will depend on budget. People will always ask about airsoft plate carriers. While some can be quite faithful to the real thing, many are made to a far lesser degree of quality, molle webbing can be out of spec, stitches can blow out, it can be made out of inferior materials, the carrier might not actually fit a hard armor plate, and if it will, the carrier might not be secure enough to hold a plate, or the carrier might not be sized properly, letting the plate shift around. Airsoft gear is extremely common in the world of firearms/soft gear/medical, so do your research and stick to trusted sources. I own several carriers, the condor, the OCPC, MTV, an interceptor, and have experience (but do not own) with many other carriers, a PIG PC, mayflower APC, IOTV, BCS PC, shellback banshee, warrior DCS, LBT 6094A, and a few slick sided carriers. Of them all, the OCPC/6094A is my personal favorite, so I'll be building up the OCPC. Even if you decide on a different carrier, the same principles will still apply, but remember, what works for me might not work for you. Most carriers come in multiple different colors/camo patterns. I like solid earth tones, brown and green. Theres noting wrong with, say, multicam, but in some situations it can really pop out compared to a solid color. Most companies will also charge more for camo patterns that need to be licensed. I tend to go for coyote tan. It's a very effective color that can blend into a wide variety of environments. Plates. Hopefully by now you know what kind of carrier you want, so now we'll move on to plates. Before you jump at the first set of plates you see, remember that carriers are sized to the plates. A good way to pick your size is to measure the distance between your nipples. The plate should cover both, and have about half an inch on either side. Since the job of a plate carrier is to protect the vital organs as best as possible, you will want to wear it high, so that your heart is in the center of it. Like this picture. Getting too small a plate will save weight, but reduce coverage, too large a plate will restrict movement, and add unnecessary weight. Many plate carrier Mfg's will size according to military ESAPI measurements, conversely, most armor plate Mfg's will use inch measurements (ie, 10×12). Below is a table that shows you some common measurements. Be sure to do research on the carrier and plates you are looking at. Side plates will range in size from 6×6, to 6×8, and cover the sides of your body. You'll generally want them to ride pretty high, but you still want to have the largest range of motion you possibly can, without sacrificing too much protection. Obviously the larger your arms/shoulders are, the smaller you will want your side plates. I prefer a 6×6. Ratings There are a number of different ratings for body armor. For soft armor; NIJ I, which can stop .22lr and .380, NIJ IIa, which can stop lower powered 9mm parabellum and .40 S&W NIJ II, which can stop higher power 9mm parabellum and .357 magnum NIJ IIIa, which can stop hotly loaded 9mm para from longer barrels, and .44 magnum Those are all soft armor, and can be worn daily without much, if any, loss of movement, and don't add much weight. Soft armor is also often needed in conjunction with hard ceramic armor to achive full protection. Hard armor (AKA rifle) plates; NIJ III, which can stop up to a .308 M80 ball round. In some situations, a close range shot from a 5.56 M855 round can penetrate a level III plate NIJ IV, which can stop up to .30-06 APM2. 5.56 cannot penetrate a level IV plate, unless the plate is ceramic, and the shooter scores multiple hits extremely close to one another. .30-06 APM2 is a bit of an odd duck nowadays, but it was quite common when body armor became more popular, and to this day, is still an extremely effective AP load that can still be occasionally found. There are also plates known as "III+". This is an industry specific term meaning that a level III plate is specially made to be better able to stop close range 5.56 m855 hits. Otherwise, it still meets the level III requirements. The plates I am using will be III+. NIJ ratings A plate will have all the protections of the lower levels of protection, so the myth that .22lr can penetrate higher rated armor is false, the same goes for soft armor. Plate options Some plate manufacturers will present you with several options when it comes to the front/back plate, including low weight (aka swimmers cut), multi curve, build up coating, and advaced shooters cut. Swimmers cut has extra material removed from the corners of the front/rear plate. This makes it lighter, and allows for more movement. Downside is that this plate will cover less area. Personally, I'm not a fan, but there's nothing inherently wrong with them. When using a lightweight front plate with a regular rear plate, you can balance out any front weight added by mags, or anything else. Multi curve makes the plate conform to the torso a bit better. Build up coating adds a thicker/more durable anti spalling coating to the plate. This, and multi curve are pretty much no brainers, imho. Advanced shooters cut removes a bit of material from one top corner of the plate, so you have more room to shoulder a stock. Just pick the shoulder you would place a stock against, and you're set. Side plates will often have low weight, multi curve, and build up options. Multi curve and build up coats are well worth the additional cost, and unless you are on an extremely strict budget, it's a no brainer to spring for the creature comforts. Wearing armor sucks, but with a few more dollars, it can suck just a little bit less. When picking out side plates, you can get more rectangular ones that will protect more of your sides, but it can be a major pain dealing with the plate pocket always being in the way. Also, some carriers like the OCPC, will only take 6×6 plates. So as usual, do your research. While you can purchase plates made specifically for back protection, there is something to be said for having two of the exact same plates front and rear. comfort, weight, and having a similar backup plate are all things worth considering. Oh, and don't forget trauma pads, make sure they measure the same as your actual plates. The front and rear plate I'll be using will be from https://www.ar500armor.com , the side plates are from https://www.spartanarmorsystems.com . All plates have built up coatings, multi curve forms. None of these plates are lightweight. Before we go any farther, lets step back for a second, and look at money. My set up, not counting pouches or the war belt, costs almost $600. That's a lot of money. But if you want to save some, you can easily find full set ups, not including pouches for about $200. Like this What to put on the plate carrier It's tempting to stick every pouch you can on your new carrier, but it's a bad idea. Having too much stuff can wear you out fast. To put this in perspective, a USGI AR mag, loaded with 30 rounds of m193, weighs in at just over 1lb. A 3L military camelbak weighs over 7lbs full. Some vests when loaded with plates, can weigh over 20lbs. Get the vest too heavy, and it can be near impossible to stand up, let alone scale an obstical or run. So that said, you obviously want to have as little as possible on the vest, so what do you pick? Pick what you need the most, the fastest. Mags, a tourniquet, water, comms (if applicable). Other small stuff, like maps, some glow sticks, and a general purpose pouch lend themselves well to being put on a vest. Many people like to keep a pair of sheers on the upper part of the front on the carrier, interweaving it through the molle can keep it nice and secure. Things like an IFAK, sidearm, dump pouch are IMO, best kept on a war belt, but more on that later. When it comes to toting mags, there are tons of options, for simplicity we'll be focusing on 30 round 5.56 ar mags. I've messed around with all sorts of options, HSGI double decker and regular tacos, ITW fast mags, milsurp shingles, etc. By far my favorite mag pouches are the blue force gear 10 speeds. The HSGI's are good, but tend to angle forward really bad and mag retention can be an issue, though this can be adjusted. ITW and HSGI will take up room even when not loaded, and most milsurp shingles have top flaps, which I don't like, but they can be had quite cheap. The BFG 10 speeds hold mags well, and anything else I can cram into them. I have a 3 mag shingle on the front, and a 2 mag shingle on the left cummerbund flap. A 2 mag pistol shingle, again from BFG, is kept towards the end of the right cummerbund flap. It's really nice to just be able to take out the mags and have a really low profile set-up. Only downside is that its a bit annoying trying to re-insert mags, but a dump pouch makes this less of an issue. You can pretty easily see the difference between the BFG 10 speeds (left) and the HSGI taco on the right I don't have much reason to carry around a radio, but on other carriers I still kept a pouch for one. This OCPC has pockets in the cummerbund for radios or other items, like more mags. Time will tell how this works out, but I appreciate the idea of no longer having a random empty pouch sitting on my carrier for the times I'm not using a radio. If your vest doesn't have built in pockets for a radio, and you want one, I recommend the 5.11 pouch. Hydration For water, I prefer bladders, some people prefer canteens, which can be easier to refill, but are a bit cumbersome to use when not at rest. Bladders can be separated into two categories, military and civilian. Civilian bladders are often cheaper, but far less durable. Military bladders are the opposite, tough and expensive. Military bladders often have better insulation, from the tube to the carrier, comes in more subdued and camouflaged colors, and often have bite valve covers. Canteens are easier to refill from things like creeks, and easier to purify water with. Downsides are that it takes up room when empty, less flexible when it comes to mounting, and you can't maintain situational awareness when drinking. Durability is a draw, I've seen a number of military camelbaks get run over by trucks, even full ones. No matter the case, many options for both exist, but we'll be looking at bladders. My more used camelbak (a milspec antidote) has clips (in addition to regular straps) that hook on the back of the plate carrier, so removal, cleaning and refilling is nice and easy, though you will need a buddy to help you, or take your armor off. The only criticism I can really level at camelbaks is that the caps/lids can be a huge pain to deal with, like a bottle of water that has a cap that doesn't want to thread on right. A more "innovative" option is the ice plate from Qore performance. Instead of hooking it to the rear, you mount it inside of the carrier, against the rear pannel. If you freeze it before you set out, the ice will melt over 2-4 hours (depending on activity level and temperature), the ice will cool you off, and keep the water cold. It also works with hot/warm water in cold weather. Downsides are that it only holds 1.5 liters and it is a pain to refill, but on the flip side it opens up the rear pannel of your carrier, so you have more room for packs, pouches, etc. It uses standard hydration tube adapters, so you can use whatever you want, though it can be purchased with a tube directly from Qore. Personally, I'd get a camelbak or source tube with insulation and a bite valve cover. Source hydration makes some very good bladders, and I am currently testing a 1L and 3L one out. I've fallen in love with the idea of using the iceplate in conjunction with a normal bladder in a pack, like this Haley strategic flat pack. This particular combo only nets me 2.5 liters, but with larger packs and bladders, I can get up to 6.5L. And if I'm truly insane, I can double up on the iceplates (one in front of my chest and the other against my back) and get 8L+. Really, the options here are endless. Having my water split between a pack and the carrier lets me keep some water regardless of me scaling up or down, and for this reason I reccomend using the regular straps on a pack when wearing a plate carrier, so you don't have to remove your armor to access a pack, or to refill your bladder. End of part 1 Sorry for this post being so janky, busy schedule makes it hard to go over what all I've written, and to get halfway decent pictures. I will come back and do some edits as time allows.
  15. Yeah, if i were more into precision rifle, I'd be more in the war belt camp, but even when wearing my thickest armor combo with mags (one of the surplus rigs with ceramics and 3a backers) and an assault pack), I'm still going to have to get off the ground just a bit more to use my AR with a 30 round mag. The haley rig with the adds the same amount of thickness to my front as the OCPC with steel plates does, while being close to 16lbs lighter
  16. I typically keep the chest rig and the belt in my truck. The armor is just too bulky for that. I only really use the armor for competition and training, and for SHTF should i need it. I suppose i could get away with wearing this carrier under a jacket in the winter, but i think its still a bit too bulky for that. I don't have any experience with newer ballistic shirts, so you might still need to be careful with water, sweat, humidity and UV exposure. Using a concealable 3a vest under a shirt is more common here in the US
  17. Chest rigs get love too I want to briefly cover chest rigs as well. Sometimes, you just don't want armor. Moving through thick woods, or on long distance patrols/hikes/etc, armor can be more trouble than it's worth, but you'll still want to carry gear that lets you fight. In comes the chest rig. There are many options here, from vests (not armor vests) covered in molle webbing To rigs that are just a few pouches sewn together, and can't be modified much. Point is, there are a lot of options here, and I've used a whole lot of them. Since I dont want to drone on and on, I'll toss out my 2 cents on the various types, and will go more into detail on what I use the most The MOLLE vests are cheap, but you'll still need to buy pouches. So you aren't going to save much by going this route, compared to newer pre designed rigs, BUT, you aren't stuck with the layout. Don't like a pouch? Get rid of it! Only issues I have with these is #1, they don't quite fit me that well, and #2, the MOLLE webbing adds a bit of bulk and weight, on something I'd prefer to be as light and idiot proof as possible. Comblock vests, like this chinese SKS rig, are cheap, and are pretty durable, and are drop dead simple. For the SKS specifically, where ammo is kept on stripper clips, its one of the better options, though I've had rounds get pulled off the clip when being removed from the pouch. It fits ok, the back needs to be tied, so getting it secure, or getting it off can be a PITA. The pouch flaps can also be a pain, to the point it's near impossible to open or close the flap if 2 10 round clips are in a pouch. You can also get them for AK's, and will work just as well, and won't rip rounds out. Cross draw vests. Most all are made in China, fit is really poor, and pouches are rather poorly thought out, and are sewn in. Most have a really poor fitting cross draw holster licated over the wearers stomach, and have a belt (often a USGI pistol belt knockoff threaded under the vest itself. You can find some higher quality ones, but you're still going to have to deal with poor pistol retention, primary mags that are difficult to reach, and a lack of any sense of practicality. Leave these to the movies. The last common type are similar in layout to the old comblock rigs, where pouches are sewn together and kept in a straight line. However these are made of more modern materials, and fit (me, at least) much better, donning and doffing is also much easier. Since these are more modern, they fit more common mags (like ar15 style mags) better. Haley strategic, SKD, Blue force gear, Mayflower, all make good options, and all have differences that may or may not matter to you, so do your research. What I personally prefer is the Haley strategic D3CRX combined with the Haley flat pack. I really like this combo because the side buckes on the flat pack work seamlessly with the D3, so no extra straps to deal with With this set up, I get 4 rifle mags, 4 pistol mags, and a small assault pack all in one rig. The 2 front pockets contain a small boo boo kit and an adapter that lets me fill my hydration bladder from the tube with a faucet or bottle, a tourniquet, and a few small misc items, like some MRE cheese spread, maps, etc. The flat pack is kept the same from when I'm using it with armor, aside from the added chest rig, so I still keep some water and food with me. I keep my ammo loadout similar to my armor set up, 4 rifle mags and 2 pistol mags, 2 of the pistol mags on the carrier are used to keep a flashlight and a multi tool, though in the pic I have an extra pistol mag. The D3 has bungee retention pull tabs for both rifle and pistol mags. I'm typically not a fan, but the rifle pouches are too loose to securely hold an AR mag on it's own, so I actually like the bungee pulls here. As for the pistol mags, you also have the bungee tabs, but are too long for most 15 round pistol mags. The tabs are adjustable, but the pouches hold glock mags well enough for me not to worry about loosing them, though if you use metal mags, you'll want to make sure it's properly adjusted. The chest rig is pretty much my go-to set up, it's nice and light, and has what i would consider the bare essentials for fighting and surviving.
  18. zackmars

    Picture a day thread!

    Old crashed boat
  19. Part 2, warbelt boogaloo. The war belt. Everything in this post can certainly be put on a plate carrier, but this will create space and weight issues. You also have to ask if putting all your eggs in one basket is a good idea. You'll probably see this brought up multiple times, so yeah, it's pretty much the overarching theme of this post This particular set up is an HSGI pad with a "klik belt". Any belt with cobra buckles will work, and will make a nice and secure lockup that can still be shed easily if you need some out of reach gear. Note that if you use a groin protecter or ABS armor, a battle belt can interfere with movement, and can be almost impossible to don or doff with any sense of urgency. Personally, if I had to pick between extra soft armor or a war belt, I think I'd go with the war belt. Having extra soft armor can be a great life saver if explosives and shrapnel are a threat, but that simply isn't a reasonable concern for me, especially considering how unlikely it is I will ever need this armor for any serious situation in the first place. But I like cool stuff, and might as well ensure it's functional as well. Before we go deeper, war belts (same for vests) should not be tailored to what you see other people use, or what you think looks cool, take for example the pad I'm using, an HSGI suregrip. It works very well for me, and is rock solid, but if you don't like them, don't sweat it. Heck, some people keep war belts threaded to their pant's belt loops (typically a military thing, where combat attire is more or less "permanent"), but still... Now on to the show... Lots of people like putting their handguns on the lower corner of their vests, but I've never quite liked that, since there are several downsides to this. It can crowd the area directly in front of you, and in some situations, like in a vehicle, it can greatly limit what can be put on and used on your vest. A different approach, but with similar downsides, is to set it so that it rests directly above the panel most vests use to secure the cummerbund flaps. This can make reloading your primary a pain, becase the gun can get in the way of your primary mags. If you are a pilot, or a driver, and a handgun is the biggest thing you can easily use, having it up there might make sense, but for others, more "flexible" solutions exist. Both this and the previous method can also cause you to sweep people in front of you with your muzzle. There is also the concern that if you need to ditch the vest, you will no longer have your holster. Having the handgun and IFAK on a war belt lets you keep some important gear on you, and should you be alone, having an IFAK on the belt lets you easily access it, compared to having it on/near the back of the carrier, like I've seen some people do. The dump pouch (from LBX tactical) is there partially to get it a bit out of the way, and to move it lower so I don't have to search for it under my armpit, like I did when i had it on another vest. Posistion is up to personal preference, but you will obviously want to keep it on your weak hand side, since you will most likely be using your dominant hand to maintain control of your firearm As far as the knife goes, this is just a glock knife. I don't have much to say about this subject, the knife I originally wanted to use was an ASEK, but it didn't quite work well with how I wanted to have it set up. I briefly entertained the idea of the OKC3S, but bayonets, as cool as they are, are just too impractical compared to other options. I'm not going to say much about the IFAK either, other than to read THIS excellent post by @dthomasdigital The holster is a SAFARILAND ALS, with a molle plate adapter. I wanted to keep it as close to my normal carry position as i possibly could. I reccomend skipping drop leg holsters, since they will often drop the gun so low you may need to lean into your draw, or crouch down slightly. I will add that if you plan on wearing a handgun openly, try to find a quality hardshell holster with some form of retention. I really like SAFARILAND, but others exist, though I would steer clear of blackhawk, as I've seen several of them get ripped clean off belts with little force. Whatever you choose, be sure to train with it. A lot. Since a war belt is not threaded on to your carrier, you can do like I do, and get away with using multiple plate carriers but only one belt, so whatever gear you have on your belt (IFAK, holster, dump pouch) only needs to be purchased once. The hips can also better support weight. However, too much stuff can catch on the bottom of your carrier, and can make it difficult to move. I tried to keep the belt as low as possible to prevent it from interfering with the vest, but i did cheat on this just a little with a kangaroo HSGI taco, so named for the smaller pistol mag pouch on top of the rifle mag pouch. This frees up some space, without adding too much bulk. Keeping some ammo on he belt is a good idea, since ditching my armor would cost me most of my ammo. I've long held the thought that the war belt should be the Alamo of battle gear, you might not make it out, but when shits going all over the wall, the war belt will have the stuff needed to keep you in the fight, albeit for a somewhat short period of time.
  20. It's a small forum, not everyone can spare the time needed to start long and involved topics Thats in addition that most people here aren't going to say anything unless they have something to say Even facebook at one point only had a few members and was slow.
  21. zackmars

    Hi all new guy from GA.

  22. What i typically carry. Or rather, a pool of stuff i pick from The holsters directly under the handguns are safariland ALS's, for a glock 19 w/ TLR-1, and a walther PPQ. Not big on open carry, but the shop i work at likes it when employees OC. If I'm not working, i almost always carry the Walther PPQ in an aliengear. I didn't get a light bearing holster (or even look for one) because I didn't like how the light sat so far forward. Normally at work, I carried the G19 because it works so well with lights, and finding a good light bearing holster was easy, but i shoot so well with the PPQ i carry it a lot too. The PPQ in the safariland also hides better when a shirt is pulled over it. One spare mag in left pocket. Kershaw leek Surefire g2x Wallet Cell phone (not pictured) Belt is a magpul Tejas El Burro gun belt. It's a PITA to put on and take off, but once you get it, and a hoster on it, it's like they are JB welded in place
  23. zackmars

    Real solution

    I'm gonna lock this. If you have a business you wish to advertise here, post it in Here. Thanks.
  24. zackmars

    First Aid

    Where there's money to be made, counterfeiters can be found. Fake stuff is real popular with airsofters, the chinese stuff is often cheaper, and gives the right look, but since no one is getting real GSW's, it doesn't need to be real. unfortunately, these sometimes find their way into the hands of people who need the real thing. I've got a topic in the works that kinda talks about this, might need to add a few more paragraphs...
  25. zackmars

    First Aid

    All the time. I think CAT tourniquets are the worst. Most, if not all fakes come from china This is the label on a real one