Category Archives: evaluations

Duluth Trading Flex Fire Hose Work Pants

Tradesmen out on the work-site are exposed to all sorts of extreme conditions, from the weather, the terrain and just plain ole rugged stuff like sharp edges, splinters, sparks and abrasion.

These folks seek out heavy duty clothes and a company called Duluth Trading is trying to answer the call. They have come out with, what I consider a very strong contender to replace my 5.11 Tactical Pant inventory…the Flex Fire Hose Work Pant.

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Made of 8 oz. Fire Hose cotton canvas that’s lighter, but as abrasion resistant, as Duluth’s original “11.5-ounce Fire Hose® Work Pants” , the “Fire Flex” Pants add in 3% spandex to provide softer wear and more flexibility over the stiffer originals. And at 8 oz these pants are even lighter than the 5.11 Tactical’s which are 8.5 oz.

fabric2The material is also Teflon®-treated to resist stains and water. I’m sure that wear and washing will eventually diminish this feature, but water still beads on them after a few weeks of wear and multiple washings. Duluth ships these things “pre washed” so they are comfortable right out of the bag.

The Flex Fire Work Pant has plenty of pocket space. Compared to the 5.11’s the differences I have noticed are that the cargo pockets are a bit higher, the Flex Fire’s don’t have that small magazine pocket (which I never carry a magazine in anyway) and the rear pocket has a more traditional flap closure vs the “slit style” rear pocket on the 5.11. +1 for the 5.11 there in terms of ease of rear pocket access.

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The placement of the belt loops are perfect for my belt slide holster(s). Often times pants have that inconvienent belt loop right on the hip, which leaves me with two options; not using the loop at all which feels odd and causes the belt to sag a bit on the hip, or I have to wrestle with threading the belt through one side of the holster, through the loop and out the other side of the holster.

What the Flex Fire’s have going for them in terms of storage is the multi pocket approach to the cargo pocket.

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Compared to the 5.11’s Cargo pockets, the Flex Fire’s provide more organizational options. The each leg sports one main/large pocket that has an additional two exterior pockets on top.  This lets you arrange stuff on the leg vs stuffing it all into one large pocket. And, whats neat with the design on the two outside pockets is that one is closed when the flap is down and one is open. The “Always open” pocket fits my portable radio perfectly and the closeable one holds my cellphone quite nicely.

You may also note what appears to be the “extra velcro” on the pocket flap. Inside the main cargo pocket are two tabs that let you secure the flap inside the pocket so that they can all remain open with the flap held securely against the leg.

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I don’t have a photo of it, but there’s even a hidden pocket inside the pants at the left front waistband area. Great place to stash something like a hidden cuff key.

The waist closure is a traditional button/slot affair compared to the  5.11’s snap style closure.

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I’m not reccommending one style over the other in this department as either seems to work fine for me. I have seen some anecdotal reviews stating that Duluth’s buttons have (on occasion) been seen to fail by pulling out of the waistband material. From what I have seen that may have been more of an issue of too small a waist size being worn…I guess I will see but mine have had no issues.

At about $70.00 a pair you will be paying about $20.00 over the cost of a 5.11 and…as almost everything is these days…they are made in China. But so are 5.11’s (as well as other overseas manufacturers).

Light, tough, comfortable and practical. If you are seeking additional options for a tactical pant the Duluth Flex Fire Hose Work Pant’s are absolutely worth a test run. And with Duluth’s “No Bull” guarantee that they will refund your money if you are not satisfied, what do you have to lose?

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product evaluation: VG6 Gamma 556 Tactical Muzzle Brake

An “internet friend of mine” who works for Precision Delivery Systems (Firearms parts and accessories) sent me the VG6 Gamma 556 Tactical Muzzle Brake for little “sneak preview” evaluation.

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The Brake came professionally packaged and included a crush washer. The machining and finish were all  top notch. Taking my first look at the device I identified it as a hybrid Brake/Comp affair with some fairly standard brake vents on the sides and compensator slots at 12 o’clock.

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Although the instructions suggest a gunsmith install, installation was fairly easy. I only had one snag and that was with the timing of the device with the crush washer supplied. After hand tightening to the washer I put 360 degrees of turn on it and the washer still wasn’t crushed entirely. Rather than pushing my luck (or eating time sanding down the washer), I backed off and tried a different crush washer I had laying about. With that washer a 360 degree turn resulted in full crush and 12 o’clock timing of the comp slots.

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I’ve had my rifle out with it a few times since I installed it, but it took me till today to finally got around to getting some film.

Don’t let my shooting ability be your gauge for this brakes effectiveness ;). I’m happy with my results at 10 yds on a 2″ target (those would all be head shots on a standard silhouette) but I’m wagering that a better shooter than me could really show some impressive results. The recoil and rise with this thing on are almost nill. While the angle isn’t the greatest for comparison, the following video was shot with a standard A2 birdcage. You can see a bit of difference in how the rifle handled between the two.

I know that the standard line regarding brakes is that the noise/blast to the sides can make you a bad neighbor on the firing line, and there is some additional blast compared to the A2. But from behind the gun I feel almost no difference at all.

If you are in the market for a brake/comp the VG6 is definitely worth your while taking a look at.

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TacStrike Steel Target

A few months ago I decided to upgrade my range toys with a stationary steel target. What I wanted was something I could leave out permanently..at least over the summer/fall..instead of having to hump a plate steel gong downrange every-time I go out shooting.

After a little research I went with a 12″ x 12″ 3/4″ thick AR450 plate from TacStrike. It was in my budget range and was advertised as a “leave it out” target…exactly what I was looking for.

It took a few weeks to get it, but Rob at TacStrike was upfront with his production timeline and kept in contact with me via e-mail to assure me my item was on the way. On arrival my target looked like this:

This bad boy is HEAVY and is designed to be driven into the ground. I wanted to have the target closer to COM height so I drilled some holes in the angle iron stake and bolted it to a piece of 4″ X 4″ fence post:

Last Friday I finally had an opportunity to take it out to the range. I drove a steel fence post spike into the ground at an angle and mounted the post. I then had at it from about 75 yards:

Firing 55 gr Hornady FMJBT over 26.3 gr of W748, this target simply DESTROYED the projectiles, and because of the target angle (a little steeper than I really wanted…but Oh Well) all of the debris went right to the foot of the post:

If there’s any “wish” about this target I would make, it’s that I wish it would “ring” a bit louder. The rounds are so completely pulverized that many of them just make a flat “THWACK!!!” when they hit. But I believe that’s simply a fact of physics vs anything to do with the target.

All in all I’m very happy with this item. I only wish I had more ammo to burn. If you are looking for some steel give the folks over at TacStrike a look.

Product Evaluation: Hornady 75 gr. BTHP Match from Ammo.net

Not too long ago I received an offer from Mr. Jacobs of Ammo.net to evaluate a couple boxes of Hornady 75 gr. BTHP Match .223.

Ammo.net is an online ammunition supplier that offers a wide range of calibers and brands. What sets Ammo.net apart is that they let you decide what “pro-freedom” organization you would like a percentage of your order to be donated to. These organizations range from Blue Star Families to the NRA to Soldiers Angels. If you are in the market for some ammo give them a look.

The Round:

Hornady 75gr Match uses Hornady’s 75 grain BTHP “T1” bullet without a cannelure, a short cut extruded powder, traditional brass case with a head stamp of “Hornady 223.Rem” and a small rifle primer. The cases are boxer primed with no apparent crimp or sealing (nice for reloaders).

The case neck is crimped, which puts a faint crease in the bullet. In my opinion a crimp is a necessity in a magazine fed, auto-loading rifle like the M4, where striking the feed ramps could possibly force the bullet deeper into the case or knock it out of center.

The Range:

For my range evaluation I used the only .223 I own, a M4 carbine with a 16″ BCM mid-length barrel. The optic I used was an un-magnified EO Tech 512.

50 yards:

As I use a 50 yard zero, the first test I did was at that distance, the results were:

The smallest group was 1/2″ and the largest came in at 1-1/16″.

I’m confident that if I had more skill and/or a magnified optic I could easily have made them one hole groups. Even from the sandbag, that 1 MOA dot was a bit tough to be sure I was getting back to my exact POA. Perhaps my 40-something year old eyes are not what they used to be either.

100 Yards:

After confirming my zero at 50 yards I moved the target back to 100 and fired two 10 round groups.

PS- The target is that tiny white dot just over the center top of the chronograph.

Both groups were 3″ at the widest. At 100 yards I expected to shoot 1.5″ to 2″ high and the center of my groups were right in that neighborhood.

Again…remember that results here are how this ammo shot for me, at my skill level and through an un-magnified red-dot sight. That being said, 3-4″ at 100 yards is a head shot, so I was more than pleased with the ammunition’s performance.

Velocity:

Using a Shooting Chrony Inc. Beta Master Chronograph I measured the velocity of over 30 rounds and came to an average.

From my 16″, 1-7 twist barrel with the chronograph approximately 3′ from the muzzle I measured a top end velocity of 2576 fps, a low end measurement of 2465 fps and an average velocity of 2509 fps.

Conclusion:

In my experience, the Hornady 75 gr BTHP Match ammo appears to be a reliable, accurate round that I felt comfortable would hit whatever I was aiming at provided that I did my job from the trigger side. If you are looking for a heavier 223 round for hunting/defense it would be worth your while to take a look.

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