About the Author

Woody is a 10 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A few thoughts on pistol sights

AmeriGlo Hackathorn sights on my Glock 19 slide
If you were to thumb through a Brownells or Midway catalog, you'd see an entire section dedicated to pistol sights.  Sights of all shapes, sizes, and colors can be found with a quick Google search.  Even many tactical trainers and training companies have their own sights.  "Why so many sights?" you might ask.  Well, for one thing, sights are pretty easy to change out.  Sights can also be a very personal choice.  Much like a grip material or style, a lot of people have very deeply held feelings about what type of sights they like.

For me personally, I generally have two main criteria: I want a front sight that draws my eye and can be seen under a variety of light conditions, and I want a rear sight that has a ledge to allow me to rack the slide one-handed if I need to.

The two sights that I tend to rely on are the Redback One (RB-1) sights designed in conjunction with 10-8 Performance, and the AmeriGlo Hackathorn (GL-433) sights.  The RB-1 sights reside on my Glock 17, and the Hacks reside on my Glock 19.  The RB-1 sights were my first sights that I ever changed out on a pistol, and at the time, they were ideal.  The front sight is a narrow blade with a tritium insert.  The rear sight is plain black, serrated to reduce glare, with a wide notch to allow me to pick up the front sight faster.  It has just enough of a ledge to catch the edge of a holster to rack the slide with a single hand.  The combination of the narrow front and wide rear is not ideal for longer-range precision shots, but really does lend itself to fast sight acquisition at normal self-defense ranges.  The Hackathorn sights are similar, but an improvement, in my opinion.  The front sight is still tritium, but it's surrounded by a fiber optic ring that increases the sight's visibility in brighter conditions where the tritium isn't effective.  The rear sight is similar to the RB-1, but with a slightly larger ledge.  Both rear sights slide into the standard Glock rear sight cut and are held in place with a set screw.  I used blue Loc-Tite on the set screw, but both sights fit into the sight cut tight enough that I'm not really worried about them moving.  Both sights shoot point of aim/point of impact.

Both sight sets are excellent choices, but if I had to choose a favorite, it would be the Hacks.  The addition of the fiber optics to the tritium insert really, really draws the eye, and is more applicable in a wider variety of situations.  I highly recommend them to anyone looking to replace their stock Glock sights.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Special Operations Department (SOD Gear) Para One Pants Review

I first stumbled across SOD Gear when I was looking for a smock for winter wear.  As I reviewed here, I'm a huge fan of their clothes, so when I went looking for a set of combat pants, naturally I ended up on their site again.  While there are many manufacturers of combat pants in today's world, including Crye Precision, Tru-Spec, Propper, UF Pro, Helikon-Tek, Sabre, Applied Orange, and Molay, there were a few things I was looking for that led me to purchase the SOD Para One pants over the others. 

First, the Para One pants minimize the use of hook and loop.  While hook and loop has its place, it is noisy, gathers dirt, and tends to wear out fast.  With their new uniform announcement, big Army has moved away from hook and loop as a method of closing pockets due to soldier complaints about the closures failing (the Coast Guard actually figured it out before the Army, and deleted hook and loop pocket closures after their first uniform redesign at least 7-8 years ago).  In my years in, I've worn the BDU, ACU, ODU, and Crye Precision field and combat uniforms, and I still prefer buttons over hook and loop for most applications.  Even better than the deletion of hook and loop is the use of the Canadian or NATO pattern buttons, which attach via a strip of webbing or fabric instead of the US method of attaching with only thread.

Second, the pants are reinforced in all the right areas.  High stress areas such as the pockets, belt loops, knees, and leg hem are all reinforced with Cordura nylon.

Third, the pants are cut more form fitting.  This is both a good and bad feature, but I think it weighs more heavily toward the good.  As an American, I am used to the very baggy BDU and ACU.  While it is very comfortable for low-stress wearing, excess material can present problems as well, including snagging and bunching.  Plus, for me, the standard BDU can be constrictive when kneeling or lifting my legs high.  This would seem counter-intuitive, but that's my observation.  With the tighter fitting pant, I feel like I actually have a larger range of motion.  The tighter fit does take some getting used to, though.  For one thing, the crotch just feels different.  It was never uncomfortable, I didn't experience any pinching, but it just feels a little different.  This also changes the sizing a little bit, but mostly the pants are true to size.

Fourth, the kneepads are well executed.  The pants come equipped with soft knee pads, which fit inside a hook and loop closed, Cordura reinforced pocket.  Due to the athletic cut of the pants, I found that the knee pads stayed right where they needed to through-out the range of motion.

Overall, these are some outstanding pants.  I personally like them better than the Crye pants I had previously been issued.  Customer service was also outstanding. I corresponded via email due to the time difference, but all of my questions (especially sizing) were answered quickly and to my complete satisfaction.  Some other features of the pants include a hidden pocket inside the waistband for E&E items, and padding in the waistband so that you can wear equipment on your pants belt without the need for any additional padding.  Also, the belt loops are big enough that you can run a belt with Cobra buckle through with ease.

Rear view
Front view

The Para One pants come in 11 different colors in 50/50 NYCO or Cotton, depending on the color, and can be purchased at http://www.sodgear.com/product-detail/en/sod-combat-line-para-one-pants-12-hcs.