Category Archives: Ancillary gear

Accessories needed for shooting

Safariland ALS Holsters, the gold standard 

As seen on


When I started a gun-belt project some time ago, I didn’t realize how far down the velcro-lined hole I would get. I also never anticipated spending so much money on holsters, but necessity makes permissible things that otherwise might be forbidden. 

I say I spent a lot of money on holsters, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. I guess I may have become just a bit of an addict to Safariland’s ALS holster lineup, and today I am going to share some of my sickness with you.

I have long wanted a good gun-belt, and for it to be proper I was going to need a good pistol holster. To that end I found myself endlessly scrolling through Safariland’s website trying to decide on which one I liked the best. That was three holsters ago, and there are no signs of stopping. 


The Safariland ALS holster uses their level 1 retention system, using a thumb lever to release the pistol from the polymer holster. There are also other levels of retention that require multiple release movements by the user to get the pistol from its holster. I also have a level 2 retention holster, and believe it or not, it’s still very quick to get out and on target.

The ALS line of holsters are professional grade products, more likely to be seen on a duty belt than tucked under your rhinestone studded cowboy shirt and jeans. There are various models, but the ones you’ll see here today are not for CCW users, but more for sport or duty.

This model doesn’t feature the optics hood that flips open as you draw, but I still like it.


Safariland ALS holster Review

The ALS system uses a polymer block that hinges inside the holster to lock onto the slide of your pistol. The block is attached to a thumb lever perfectly placed on the side of the holster to release as you draw the pistol. The tight fit, and required retention demand that the holsters be custom fit for each pistol model or family.

The pistol I have shown here today is a Shadow Systems DR920, which is a Glock 17 clone. So I ordered a Glock 17 holster design which fit my pistol perfectly. In addition to ordering the holster custom sized to your pistol, you’ll also need to specify if said pistol will carry a red dot or not, as well as a weapon light if applicable. And of course there are many different red dots, and weapons lights, and as you can imagine the plethora of different models that Safariland has to model. To their credit it seems like they have achieved a good system to order holsters from their website by selecting popular models of pistols, sights, lights, and other options. Both right and left handed models are available, and add to the mix the dozens of different colors and wrap patterns they offer and the whole thing becomes overly impressive. 


My first holster came in, and I’ll admit I was a bit unprepared, and I’d neglected to order the appropriate Safariland accessories needed to properly position and mount the holster to my belt. Safariland offers a wide variety of positioning pieces and connecting hardware to fit almost any purpose. 

This is my SLS holster for my Sig Sauer P320 Legion and 5.11 Accessories

Later I purchased the Quick Locking System (QLS) which utilizes a rapid snap-on system to attach and remove the holster from the belt. This was an absolute must have, mainly because I have multiple belts for multiple purposes, and having the ability to swap from one holster to another is extremely convenient. The QLS system is robust and easily operated by a single hand.

This is starting to sound like some really nice gear right? Well I for sure think so, but let me warn you about the dangers of becoming an addict like me. All this equipment is very handy and definitely will help improve your high-speed operation (whatever that might be). But it won’t take long before you are signing your paychecks over to Safariland if you aren’t careful. 

Pros & Cons


  • Very high quality product
  • Adaptable to your needs
  • Very modular products
  • Great selection of styles and colors
  • If it doesn’t improve your game, you’ll at least look good


  • Not inexpensive
  • Can be a little intimidating to pick right 
  • Can you believe Safariland is based in California? The irony.

Shop Safariland Products at Brownells
Or shop Safariland products at Palmetto
Firearms Depot also has Safariland products

First Impressions

Every Safariland product I’ve bought has come with extra fasteners, tools, washers, etc. This is very handy as you try to configure your equipment. There are also several sets of fasteners with different lengths, to allow you to mount in different configurations. 

There are also detailed instruction pamphlets that come with them to help guide you in your installation. I of course threw those out like most guys, and figured it out on my own. I got a couple extra QLS forks to attach multiple holsters to my different belts, that’s something I would strongly recommend. The quality of these products speak for themselves, that said I am quite sure that someone who is far more tactical than myself will step in to say they aren’t durable enough for his needs.

And I’m sure there are plenty of folks who have managed to break this gear, which is no surprise. I mean c’mon it is only plastic, and it weathers with use and sunlight so it won’t surprise me if someday something snaps. I’m just glad that it is unlikely I’ll be hanging off the side of a helicopter when it does. But Safariland products come with a two-year limited warranty if such a thing happens.


ALS retention system

The ALS system does a fantastic job of keeping your pistol secured in the holster. You can run, jump, roll around on the ground, bail in and out of vehicles and your pistol will stay safely on your side. 

Notice the optics cover folded out of the way as the pistol is drawn

It’s also extremely easy to get your pistol out when you need it, with just a quick swipe of your thumb, the pistol slides smoothly into action.

Polymer housing

The polymer housing of the holster makes a soft touch that won’t damage the finish of your pistol. But I can tell you after much use, you will still start to see some rubbing evidence. But the holster does a great job protecting your pistol, muzzle, red dot and weapon light safe. The holster is closed at the end to keep dirt and debris from getting into your muzzle. At the top of the holster there is a winged hood to protect your red dot, it also has a flip up cover to keep your red dot window from collecting Cheeto dust between shots.

Tension Screw

Tucked neatly behind the holster and out of the way, there is a tension screw that you can adjust with an allen key to increase or reduce the tension against your pistol inside the holster. There is a soft pad on the inside that is progressively pressed against the pistol frame as the screw is tightened. This allows you to customize the feel of your draw, as well as reduce rattling of the pistol as you run back and forth at the range.

QLS change system

The QLS system is awesome for swapping one holster to another on your belt. The fork attaches to the holster, and the receiver mounts to your belt. You can slide the holster into place making the same motion you would to holster your pistol itself. Then the locking lugs at the end of the fork engage the receiver securing the holster to your belt.  I found this feature a must have if you are getting in and out of vehicles. While you certainly can wear the holster as you drive, it is much more comfortable to pop it off for longer drives. 

the QLS system allows easy removal and installation

Cordura Wrap

As an aspiring mall-ninja, I love the fact that most any Safariland holster can be ordered with any of their Cordura wrapping patterns. So if you are a multicam nerd, there are almost too many different options to choose from, like multicam tropical, or my favorite Tiger Stripe.

Read more about this and other great products at


If you do much pistol shooting, you are probably going to love the Safariland ALS holsters, the same way I have. They give professional grade performance to anyone willing to buy them. I absolutely feel like it has helped me get better and faster at drawing my pistols, and I love how they function. 

I typically wear one or another of these on a daily basis, if only to get more practice in. On any given day I draw my pistol from one of these holsters no less than many dozen times. If you are looking into a retention holster, I can strongly recommend the holsters from Safariland.


Relentless Knives Perpetual Edge™ Fillet Knife

Filleting Fish

I’ve been cutting up fish one way or another for most of my life, the fishing bug bit me as far back as I can remember. And like many parts of the outdoor lifestyle, it took some time for me to figure out the proper way to do things.

Catching and cutting up fish has since become second nature, and a great filleting knife has long been my companion. But today I want to show you something new, the Perpetual Edge fillet knife from Relentless Knives.

The Perpetual Edge

The technology behind the Relentless knives edge is borrowed from nature, the idea taken from the sharp bite of the beaver.

The edge of the Perpetual Edge blade has two sides, like most blades. The one side however uses a carbide/crushed diamond surface, which makes that side of the knife particularly hard. The rest of the blade is made from titanium, which is much softer.

Much like the self sharpening teeth of the beaver, the softer side of the blade wears before the carbide side, which causes a natural wear pattern that thins the angle of the cutting edge. Keeping it sharper than it would be if both sides of the cutting edge wore at the same rate.

Sucker for sharp edges

I am a sucker for sharp knives, just ask my wife how up-tight I get when my good knife edges get too close to something hard. I keep a knife sharpener in my pocket and in my office, the soothing therapy of smoothing and polishing knives to a mirror shine is a favorite pastime.

I am constantly checking and correcting the cutting edge of my pocket knives, hunting knives, and fillet knife. Because I can’t stand the idea of a knife not being razor sharp, there are few things more satisfying than a clean cut.

Field Testing Relentless Knives Perpetual Edge

I wanted to see how the sharpness of the perpetual edge stood up to some modest filleting work. Rainbow Trout is a far cry from saltwater fish, but unfortunately thats what I have at the moment. I wish I would have had this knife to fillet the dozens of Red Drum and Sheepsheads I caught on my last trip to the gulf. Filleting and preparing all that fish for a large crew would have been easy work with this knife.

The model shown here today is the seven-inch curved blade model. They also make a six-inch, and nine-inch curved blade models. There are also two straight blade models in lengths of eight and ten-inches.

Check out the full line of Relentless Knives

The seven-inch model should easily handle most of the fish I typically fillet, which besides trout might include lots of striped bass, sunfish, Walleye, Channel cats, and the occasional salt water fish like those mentioned above, and the occasional mackerel if I’m lucky.

But today we are just filleting freshwater Rainbows, as that’s what I have for the frying pan. I must say that before I even got to feeling the edge of this knife, the handle had already caught me. The texturing of the grip area is so sticky and course to your hand, I don’t think any amount of fish slime could cause it to slip.

I sliced through the skin towards the bones behind the head, the narrow tip of the knife made for some very tactical maneuvering and slicing to avoid wasting the tender meat. I could easily finesse the sharp tip around in the tight spaces behind the collars, and as you might imagine, the blade zipped through the bones.

The sharp edge perfectly sliced the flesh away from the bones, taking off whatever it touched. And cutting the meat away from the skin was just as smooth.

After cutting up a half a dozen fish, I was quite pleased with the performance, but c’mon, a bunch of soft trout is hardly enough to dull a good knife right? I think the only choice I have to truly test this edge is to go catch a dozen Yellow Tail Mud Tarpon out of the marsh near my house, and run them through.

The thick scaly carp that live there are full of tough bones, and scales as thick as fingernails sometimes. That would really be a good test of how long this edge stays sharp, and if it truly does sharpen as it cuts like its manufacturer suggests.

I’ll have to update you all on the performance thereafter, and as this knife ages I will update this article with some additional developments.

Pros & Cons

The knife is certainly sharp, as are most blades when they come from the factory, I polished it up a little bit to enhance its slice. The design of the blade leaves the carbide side of the edge flat, so there is no ground angle to the edge. The ground angle is only on the opposing side of the blade, where you do any sharpening if needed.

I did find that the knife doesn’t cut straight because of this uneven profile on the cutting edge, it sort of slices to one side like you might imagine. This of course is not a big deal, and something you will simply adapt to as you continue cutting through fish after fish.

The sheath of the knife if you care about using it, is strong and will protect the edge of your knife. Though I wish it had a slightly better way of securing it to the handle.

Final Thoughts

I can’t wait to get my hands on more fish, and see how this edge holds up. I often use my fillet knives for boning out deer and elk as well, so it might show up on my butcher table as well this fall.

It’s not uncommon for me to cut through a pile of a couple dozen Stripers, and turn them into a clean pile of scale-free fillets that eventually turn into fresh made fish tacos. I am sure the sharp edge of this Relentless Knife will make short work of them when the time comes.


Accuracy Solutions bipod EXT


I’ve been shooting precision rifles for a few decades now, and I’ve seen a few things come and go.

Many devices and technologies are introduced every year, and about the same amount are discarded from previous introductions. I was familiar with bipod extending and the stabilizers, though I wasn’t sure how valuable they were in practical use.

So when I was offered a chance to try the BipodeXt PRS Competition Pro Stabilizer from Accuracy Solutions, I figured it was worth my time to see once and for all if these things were worthwhile.

The BipodeXt stabilizer claims to greatly reduce the ‘wobble’ (my word) of the shooter and rifle while targeting a particular object.

It does this by extending the pivot point of the whole contraption further forward and thus widening the stance of the rifle and shooter combination. A simple physics analysis would likely prove that on paper it’s a great idea, but is the increased consistency enough to justify adding the apparatus to your rifle?

The BipodeXt is not a large piece of equipment, and adding it to your rifle can change more than just stability. With this premise, I decided to approach the project objectively to see if it was worth it for a shooter like me, a professional plinker of sorts.


When the BipodeXt showed up at my house, I was quite excited to get it opened and inspected. The unboxing was actually pretty impressive for me, in just a few seconds I realized the quality of the manufacturing they maintain at Accuracy Solutions.

I lifted the stabilizer from its foam celled box. Initially, it seemed pretty light, considering its size. The stabilizer is built from multiple telescoping carbon fiber tubes that collapse into each other, each section of the tube secured by a clamp.

The largest tube serves as the base that mounts to your rifle, and it can be done by either connecting to a Picatinny rail or ARCA rail.

The stabilizer came with picatinny clamps installed already, but also included in the box were ARCA clamps. On the end piece of the telescoping tube there is a robust set of picatinny rails that you can use to attach a bipod and any other device you might need for way out there.

I was planning on running the BipodeXt on my Desert Tech SRS M2 which has a built-in ARCA lock rail along the bottom of the foregrip. So using an allen wrench I pulled the Picatinny rail clamps from the stabilizer and swapped them out for the ARCA clamps.

There were a few bipod options I could have used, but in the end, I chose to go with the Atlas 5H bipod. Since adding this device to my rifle would greatly reduce its mobility, I figured who cares if I use a big, heavy and stable bipod?

Adding the stabilizer and bipod to the rifle at a bare minimum would add a good deal of weight to the rifle, and that alone would probably help me shoot more consistently. All that was left was to get the gun in the field and see how stable it could become.

As I broke down the unit to mobilize, I was quickly confronted with one of what we’ll call a drawback. The SRS is a pretty compact rifle, but once you add the BipodeXt stabilizer, there is definitely an increase in mass.

This is obviously remedied quickly by flipping the clamps open and removing the stabilizer. That said, I imagine on a conventional rifle it would be even more awkward to try and maneuver the rifle without removing the stabilizer.

Either way, I don’t picture this to be for the guy who is moving around a lot, whereas if you are shooting from a static position and plan on doing it for a while, it seems like this could be a great asset.

WEAPON ATTACHMENT TYPE:                    Dual QD Arca Swiss, Dual QD Picatinny
MOUNTING REQUIREMENTS ARCA:          5 in / 127 mm, Picatinny: 13 Slots (5 in / 127 mm)
MAX CALIBER ARCA:                                        .300 WM
MAX CALIBER PICATINNY:                             . 375 CheyTac
MAX RIFLE WEIGHT:                                         25lbs/11.34kgs
BIPOD MOUNT TYPE:                                      ARCA Swiss, Picatinny, Harris
PRODUCT WEIGHT:                                          34 oz / 964 g
PRODUCT LENGTH CONTRACTED:            16.5 Inches
PRODUCT LENGTH EXTENDED:                   31.5 Inches


High Quality construction
Carbon fiber and aluminum for light weight
High quality clamps and fasteners
Easily installed and removed
Onboard bubble level
Compatible with countless configurations

Adds weight and size to rifle
Not ideal for movement


I must admit that I was quite impressed with the quality of the product right from the start. Quality carbon tubes and the well-machined aluminum parts make this thing just a handsome piece of kit.

The double clamps to attach it to the rifle ensure even better stability without any flex added. The little bubble level mounted at the bottom of the stabilizer can be used to ensure your whole rifle is level, and it’s out there far enough to ensure you can see it without having to get out of position.

The bipod mounting foot at the end is also pretty genius, allowing either Picatinny to be used or it can be flipped over to install a bipod mounted with ARCA. The additional pic rail sections mounted on the tube can be used for other accessories. It had occurred to me it would be a good place to perhaps mount a chronograph bayonet.

Once I had everything loaded up, I headed into the snowy mountains above my home. My Desert Tech SRS was currently configured as a 338LM instead of the 6GT it had been shortly before. This was by design because I wanted to see how well it worked with a heavy recoiling cartridge.

Once in my shooting position, I was quite pleased with how easy it was to quickly install the stabilizer. I left my bipod folded and attached, which made it a simple package to collapse and stash in my shooting bag.

Once I started shooting, I could definitely feel a difference in how the rifle moved. As I expected, the additional weight was definitely keeping the rifle from jumping as much.

I shifted my position to look at a distant ridgeline, something towards the end of the Lapua’s effective range. As I lay there breathing, I focused hard on my reticle to see just how much it moved. Sure, as the snow is white, it sure seemed steady. Now all I needed to do was test the difference between the extended BipodeXt and without.

I decided I would try shooting a group in the distant dirt, and see how good a group I could shoot, and then swap out the stabilizer and repeat the process to see if I could tell the difference and, if so, how much.

I also installed the BipodeXt on another rifle just to see how it felt and interacted with that one as well. The rifle was a Savage 6.5Creedmoor in an MDT chassis, which also included a built-in ARCA rail along the bottom of the handguard, making the install a piece of cake.

There was a slight difference in the feel between the two rifles, but the overall impression was about the same. They were both a lot easier to maintain steady, and both were just a little bit more challenging to move around and shift shooting positions.

The longer stance of the rifle using the BipodeXt adds stability, but it also increases the radius needed to pan the rifle. This may or may not be a big deal depending on what you are shooting at.


Perhaps one of the best functions of the stabilizer is the ability to quickly install or remove the product from your rifle.

The high-quality clamps around the carbon tube make the stabilizer easy to extend or retract as needed. The BipodeXt can be extended fully or at reduced lengths depending on your shooting real estate.

With either of the extension clamps, it is easy to level the rifle by letting the carbon tube rotate until level, and the added benefit of the bubble level makes it easy to do without getting back on the gun.

The stabilization of the rifle is the main purpose of the BipodeXt, and it does a fine job of adding stability to the rifle to a degree that can be measured.

Read the Conclusion

Kore Essentials B1 Battle Belt Review


Today, we will have a close look at the Kore Essentials B1 Coyote Battle Belt, a system designed to support your pistol and any ancillary gear that needs to go with it. I’ve been on a battle belt kick for a minute now. You might have already read my other piece about Building your own battle belt.

Battle belts are designed to distribute the weight of a sidearm and other equipment across your waist without becoming cumbersome. At the same time, they securely hold your gun and gear right where you need it. The B1 Battle Belt from Kore is custom fit to the user and promises guaranteed satisfaction and compatibility with whatever gear you choose to put on it.

The B1 uses a ratcheting buckle to keep it tight, something a little different than some other belts. But like other belts, it utilizes an internal velcro belt that goes inside your belt loops, to which the outer belt attaches by both velcro and the ratcheting buckle.

Having used a couple of other belts, I was curious to see how this different design would fit my taste. However, I found myself already quite excited and happy with the belt in a very short time.

Kore essentials b1 battle belt review


Kore Essentials B1 Battle Belt


Perhaps the crowning feature of the belt is its ratcheting buckle, which makes donning the belt very quick and easy. This belt is a great option for people who regularly carry a gun, with the ease of quick and easy removal. It’s available in several colors, which can easily match any of your daily wear. And with complete external molle loops, you can add any of your necessary accessories like magazine pouches, knives, and such.

The internal velcro belt is black and quite smooth, but for the velcro outer surface, the outer main belt measures 1.75 inches wide to better support your holster and other accessories. Both belts feature a rigid polymer internal core (or Kore) to increase the stability of your weapons and other gear. The idea is to keep things where you want them and not flop around as you move.

I would have zero concerns putting my full-size P320 holster on this belt, but for this review, I used a much smaller system, mainly just to try something different. I recently got one of the new Taurus TX22 Compact pistols, which fit perfectly into a Blackhawk SERPA G26 holster.

I figured it would be fun to try this little pistol out attached to the B1 Kore belt. In just a few minutes I had everything together and ready to start my drawing practice.


Kore essentials b1 battle belt review

After opening the box and reading most of the directions, I was slightly intimidated, finding out that I had to cut the belt to length.

I know how important it is to get these belts to the right length, so I didn’t want to screw it up. The Kore B1 belt comes with a measuring tape to measure directly through your belt loops for the exact right length.

Just to be sure, I cut it a smidge longer than needed, but it turns out that wasn’t necessary. But should I gain a few more pounds, I might be glad I did.

After cutting the inner and outer belts to length, I singed the edges with a lighter to prevent fraying. The inner belt has a thin hex tip that is easily threaded through your belt loops.

The outer belt, after cutting, needs to have the buckle installed. The buckle is installed using a couple of hex-head screws that thread into the buckle and compress the end of the nylon belt. There is also a foldable claw that aggressively bites into the nylon belt to secure it while the screws are tightened. The tongue end of the outer belt has nylon teeth on the inside that are secured by the buckle latch.

Installing the belt is pretty simple. You fish the inner belt through your pant belt loops, then cinch it down until it’s as tight as you’d like it to be. Then the outer belt is carefully attached to the velcro outer part of the inner belt. This is done while aligning the two belts around your waist as you put them on.

Lastly, you cinch down the outer belt into the buckle. Both the buckle tension and the engagement of the velcro make the belt very firm and secure.

Kore essentials b1 battle belt review with taurus tx22 competition

I installed my holster on the outer belt before putting it on. And adding a few accessories is also a good idea BEFORE you put the belt on because once it is on, it’s far too secure to add things then.

Once I had everything installed, I hit the shooting range to see how well the belt held my gun. I’m sure that a bigger gun would be a little more cumbersome than this little thing, but the belt feels so secure I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. The belt’s rigidity felt fantastic, and I carried my gun that way for a week before I even messed with how it rides.

The daily putting on and taking off made the design of this belt shine. I really liked the way it fit me and how easy it was to fit my gear as well.

I’ve only had it for a few weeks, and I’m already considering another one, and since they are so easy to custom-fit to each person, I think it’d be a great gift. Continue reading here

Building a Better Case: Pelican Vault 730 & Magpul DAKA Review


Pelican cases have been the standard for firearm protection for years. Their new Vault series, combined with the new Magpul DAKA case organizer, is proving to be a truly innovative firearm storage option.

The Vault series carries the Pelican name and warranty; like other hard gun cases, it features six locking latches that seal the case water-tight using an O-ring seal around the perimeter of the case.

From my perspective, the Vault line of cases appears to be a more affordable line of cases for those who take protecting their firearms seriously.

Get your own Pelican case

The DAKA grid organizer from Magpul makes customizing your hard gun case much simpler than before and gives you the option to alter it as well. If you were one of those weird Lego kids growing up, you’re gonna love this.

I’ve owned Pelican cases for years, and I’ve hauled guns all over the world in various case configurations with hard foam, soft foam, and textile interiors. So I was very excited to see an actual development regarding hard-case storage options.


As I mentioned, I’ve owned quite a few hard cases over the years. It seems that there comes a time in a gun owner’s life that he wants to take his most prized rifle and cut the foam in a hard case to fit it so he can pretend to be the assassin in a Bond film as he un-cases it out at the range.

It’s nice to have a custom foam-fit hard case for your rifles, but it also usually means you need several hard cases or sets of foam for each rifle.

The DAKA organizer system allows you to custom-fit the foam in your hard case to fit your rifles without using a knife. And you can also rearrange it to fit the next rifle by simply pulling the foam pieces apart and stacking them into the position you want them in.

The DAKA system is much like Legos, they are foam blocks with molded lugs that allow them to be stacked together like the famous toy blocks.

They come with a base plate that is essentially a foam pegboard, and an assortment of two and three-lug sections that you can plug into the baseplate in whatever configuration fits your chosen firearm. Then just as easily as they went in, you can pull them apart to reconfigure the case for a different firearm.

The whole system, when dropped into the Vault 730 case, makes for a very multi-use and secure transport for your weapons. The secure locking latches of the Vault 730 keep it secure, and it has the typical lugs at the ends to secure it with padlocks.

Handles on three sides make it easily maneuvered and/or tied down, and the low profile wheels at one end are nice for rolling the case across hard surfaces like those long walks through airport security. The Vault is available in a couple of different sizes, so you can customize your options.


I was excited to see the case when it arrived, I had seen several of the Vault cases while at SHOT Show 2023. And if the DAKA system lived up to my expectations, I knew I would have a very handy transportation system for my rifles.

First thing I opened was the Vault case. It came with a few layers of its own foam. I was quite pleased with how easy the latches were to open single-handedly.

Many cases I’ve used in the past have been far too stiff to release easily, and they sometimes seemed to bind on the locking mechanism. These were extremely easy to undo, and while opening all six latches to get into the case can sometimes feel like a bit much, I would rather have them than not. Especially after watching luggage workers toss things at the airport.

The lid of the Vault case is sealed with an O-ring. It also features a few interlocking molded dowel pins around the lid mating surface to help secure and keep the two parts aligned.

Inside I found a few sheets of the standard foam that comes with the case. I set them aside as it was time to open the box from Magpul.

The DAKA system came in a smaller box than I had anticipated, and I was even further surprised to see it appear nearly half empty. I thought they had surely sent me half of what I needed, but to my surprise, as I opened up the pieces, everything was there to make my case a safe storage place for my rifle.

I installed the base plate of foam into the bottom of the Vault 730, it was a snug fit, but I assume that is by design to keep things from sliding around inside the case.

I then laid my rifle into the case and started lining up with the patterns in the foam to see where my best fit would be. Installing the foam blocks came next, fitting them as close as I could to the rifle without compressing it.

I quickly was made aware of one thing I’d consider a drawback, attaching the foam blocks in such a way that would tightly hold my rifle was harder than I thought.

The interlocking teeth of the DAKA system are an inch or so wide, meaning that unless your rifle has the perfect proportions to match those spacings, you will have a little movement inside the case.

For the most part, that may not be a big deal, but if you have a very heavy firearm, this could result in significant shifting and potentially breaking through the foam blocks.

After I got my rifle situated and surrounded with foam blocks, it actually looked pretty good and snug. I closed the case to see how it carried, only to find that there was just enough flex in the case to cause a slight deformation from the installation of the foam baseplate.

The case mouth opened just enough to have to squeeze it to get it closed and latched.  Having let the case sit and rest with latches closed for a day or two has helped reduce the issue as both foam and plastic learn their new locations.

Making room in the case for things like accessories, boxes of ammo, and such was very easy. Much like an old game of Tetris, you could organize the blocks of foam to hold both your rifle and some shooting accessories around it in a very organized manner.


Hauling the case back and forth to gun shops and shooting ranges, I have come to appreciate it.

The case does seem to handle better than my old Pelican or SKB cases, perhaps due to less overall weight making it easier to handle.

The handles themselves are also pretty robust and big enough that even when the case is loaded fairly heavily, it’s easy on the hands. The latches and other parts of the case seem very reliable and robust, so much so that I don’t anticipate any issues to come.


My impression is that the Vault case and DAKA organizing system are worth their asking price. It does seem just a little less robust than the actual Pelican branded cases, but with a price of $200ish dollars, it is still worth it in my opinion.

And the DAKA system gives you some impressive improvisational gun storage options, though I think it came with even a few more blocks. Looking at Magpul’s website, it appears that they even have differently shaped blocks and other accessories on the way to improve the system. Continue reading here…


Eberlestock Cherry Bomb: a perfect EDC backpack


There comes a time in a guys life, where he has to choose between a couple different ways of living. Whether its gym membership or a hiking regiment we make choices that effect our future activities. While many of these choices are about the mundane and everyday tasks we engage in, some of them can be life-changing, like whether we carry a gun, or a pocketknife.

You clicked on a backpack article right? Well the Eberlestock Cherry Bomb is in fact the subject of this article, but we are going to talk about how a backpack choice can effect your life.

Eberlestock is well known for making top-quality backpacks and other outdoor gear. While their products are probably most popular among outdoor types like hunters and backcountry hikers, they are also quite popular with just plain gun folk. I first heard of them years ago when my brother bought one of their Gunslinger backpacks, so when the time came for this project, my eyes turned toward Eberlestock.

Carrying a gun is a big deal that hopefully everybody takes with extreme responsibility, but there are many who take it to the next level. Your reasons might be professional such as public service or private security, or you might just work in the firearms industry or play with a lot of guns. On a day to day basis, a person not unlike myself might usually have a pistol and a rifle or two. One of those weapons should be ready to party at any given minute, and as a superior option to a handgun I would prefer the rifle. I wanted to see if the Cherry Bomb pack from Eberlestock would be suitable for an every-day carry backpack.
Having a rifle close and ready can certainly provide you with the upper hand should you need it, so after doing some measuring and research I decided to get a Cherry Bomb for my Desert Tech MDRX Micron.

The Cherry Bomb

The Cherry Bomb is a multiple compartment backpack that could easily be mistaken for a nice laptop carrier. It has an internal space of twenty-four inches by eleven inches wide, and has several dividers for storing assorted organized “things” inside. The pack comes with a removable waist-belt should you choose to use it, and it is available in a few different color schemes which don’t scream “Gun Inside”. The shoulder-straps are well padded and adjustable to fit most anyone, I chose to remove the waist-belt mainly because I don’t need it for carrying it on a daily routine.

Like all Eberlestock packs it is extremely well built, strong stitching and tough seams and zippers make it very robust and reliable to open and keep closed. There are two small zippered compartments at the bottom on each side, as well as a cunningly placed rainfly stowed in the very bottom. The interior of the pack has several dividers for keeping things like laptops from getting rubbed against your rifle. It also has some internal pockets for keeping small things like those you’d keep in your pants-pocket, but you have a backpack now. Next to the rigid weapon compartment there are also two pockets that are just right for holding extra magazines, complete with bungee retention.

The Grey man

I wont bore you with the grey man theory but to mention that the Cherry Bomb is a good start to your grey man kit. As I mentioned above it could easily be mistaken for a computer carrier or biking backpack. Carrying a concealed rifle around is easy with this pack, and you can do it with comfort and without attracting attention.

Stowing my rifle

Opening up the Cherry Bomb for the first time, I was excited to see if my measurements had been correct. I had my short-barreled MDRX ready to load up, and I was excited to see that not only would the rifle fit, but even with a shorty suppressor installed I could just squeeze it in. With a low profile red dot installed on the rifle, and a loaded 20 round magazine, the MDRX Micron SBR dropped right in. I stuck two additional thirty-round magazines into the pockets, as well as some other things that go well with a little rifle and zipped it up. The pack features zipper pull-tabs, and they are built well just like everything else. I zipped them both up to the middle-top of the pack, and decided to go for a walk. With a couple water bottles added to the outer pocket, I figure it probably weighed around fifteen pounds with all my gear comfortably stowed. The Cherry Bomb could easily carry much more weight comfortably, especially if you use the waist belt. Using only the shoulder straps for support I found it to be quite tolerable, and without the waist-belt it was still easy to maneuver and quickly remove the pack.

Shop Eberlestock products at Brownells

Just as important, I wanted to see how quickly I could pull my rifle from the bag, and be ready to shoot should such a need arise.
With both zipper-pulls at the top, I found it easy to “peel” the pack open like a banana, and the rifle was easily extracted by either pulling at the butt-hook of the stock, or just grabbing the sling and pulling it out. I also tried slinging the pack off of the shoulders and around the front using the waist-belt to keep my entire kit attached, which also worked out as a suitable option. After a little practice, either way I did it made for a fairly quick deployment. This is where the benefits of the bullpup MDRX were most apparent, most AR15 and similar SBR’s need either a folding stock, or be of the collapsible type. This requires an additional step upon removing the rifle from the bag, but my little Micron is ready to go with a slap of the charging handles as soon as its free.

The Cherry Bomb (center bottom) is a perfect fit for stashing your SBR

The Cherry bomb quickly became a briefcase for me, traveling to and from the office with me every day. Easily stored documents and other everyday items were also stashed inside. To be completely honest, it almost seemed like a little bit of light duty for the Cherry Bomb. But the opportunity to put it into another role would soon arrive.

The Hunt

With the local deer and elk hunts inbound, I saw the opportunity to test a couple things using the Cherry Bomb. I have backpacks all over, but my wife would be coming along on this hunting trip as well. I figured the comfy straps of the little Eberlestock might make her day a little more pleasant. So as opening day arrived, I cinched the shoulder straps way down to fit her petite shoulders and replaced the waist belt. We were only planning on being out for the day, with hopes of getting our hands on an elk. But because anything can happen, she loaded up the Cherry Bomb with all kinds of gear.
She wanted her thermos of hot tea, water bottles, plenty of snacks, extra jacket, knives, ammo for her rifle, and of course an emergency shit-kit and so on. All the things she thought we may need fit snugly into the little pack, and she slung her rifle over the shoulder strap.
Its a good thing she went prepared that morning, as she was seconds away from plugging her first elk. But instead we ended up packing out a deer, and by the time we made it back to the vehicles we had exhausted the snacks, water, and even the tea. They were replaced by a rifle and some backstraps. All the while I kept asking her how she liked the pack, and if she was comfortable. It was quite apparent from her attitude that the pack was indeed comfortable, and I had to wrestle it from her the following weekend to take it hunting myself.


Part of the reason I went with the Eberlestock from the beginning was because I was confident I would like it. With their well known reputation for quality, my assumption that they would think it through was correct. The Cherry Bomb is an excellent backpack, whether you are using it to stow your daily rifle, as something to carry your daily effects to work, or to haul pieces of game from the bottom of a steep canyon draw. It’s adaptability to a variety of uses is perhaps it’s strongest point. I love carrying it wherever I go, knowing that readiness waits inside the Cherry Bomb.


Western Rivers Mantis Pro-400 Electronic Call

Electronic calls have become very popular over the last decade or so, hunters of all types have found value in the ease and convenience of simply pressing a button. Of course there are die-hard’s that must use mouth calls or something more natural, and there is certainly some additional skill and finesse with that approach. But for those of us who live fast and hunt hard, there is something to be said for the modern convenience of an e-call.

I have a somewhat perplexing past when it comes to hunting coyotes, I’ve tried my hand a calling them, ambushing them, and even downright chasing them. There seems to be a kryptonite like shield between me and coyotes, I usually miss ten for every one I do shoot. So I was intrigued with the opportunity to try out a new tool in my efforts to land another.

The ability to drum up any animal call you want on demand has obvious advantages when hunting. But would a device that claims to do just that for hunters actually work in the field? Or is it just a fancy gimmick? I decided to give it a try with the compact, remote-controlled Mantis Pro 400, which I recently tested in the field on some actual hunts.

The Western Rivers MP-400
The Mantis Pro is a compact remote controlled call. The remote controller fits easily into the palm of your hand, when it is not snapped into the main housing of the call. The Mantis Pro boasts quite few features that I hadn’t expected to see, but the more I found out about it the more I liked it. It can be powered by AA batteries, or plugged into an alternate 12v power source, And it can also be plugged into other call units or external speakers to give multiple sound emittance. In addition to the sounds that come pre-installed on the MP-400, you can add your favorite sounds using an SD memory card. The sounds on the card can be arranged and edited via a micro USB port, and if that wasn’t enough, you can also bluetooth connect the MP-400 to your phone and play whatever sounds you might have stored there. The MP-400 also has a port for a decoy (sold separately). Continue reading here…

Two Legs to Stand On

Rifle-shooting has changed a bit over the years, many still use the same practices that generations have been using for years. One of the many things that has been born of the current precision rifle shooting craze has been a plethora of new support options and devices. Bipods are just one of the many front support options, today we hope to help you wade through the selection of all the legs and feet that make up the bipod market.

Why a Bipod?

Bipods are easily attached to the front of your rifle, and extend to give a solid front shooting support. Many have used backpacks, shooting sticks, and other things, but it is hard to beat the sturdy rigidity of a good bipod. Continue Reading Here…