I received an awesome mail call from Zorn Holsters today. The updated Skinny Rig is super slick. The molding is well executed, and the retention has an audible click when the pistol is holstered. I’ll have a first-impressions review up in the next few days, with an in-depth review after I’ve given it a good go at EDC and range use.
If you’ve been following TST since the beginning, or even if you’ve just checked out the site, you’ve probably noticed a lack of posts for almost a year. You see, back in June, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. About 11 months and six surgeries later, I’m finally starting to feel halfway normal. Now, this isn’t a pity post. Don’t cry for me, TSTers. I just want to apologize for my absence and let you know that I’m getting back in the swing of things.
Expect a review of my Blade Tech Klipt to drop tomorrow, plus some upcoming articles on alternate carry methods and competitive shooting for the thrifty tactician.
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I’ve got appendix rigs from Peach State Concealment and Zorn Holsters getting pressed and ready for me to try out. From PSC, I’ve got a Glock G3 Carry Kit en route–a minimalist holster and mag pouch utilizing G-Code’s new clip. And from Zorn, I’ve got a Skinny Rig on the way. I’m super excited to try these rigs out, since I love quality kydex from custom shops. If you hadn’t figured that out already. First-impressions reviews will be up after I get them, with detailed reviews after a minimum of two weeks running each.
Hilton Yam of 10-8 Performance and Modern Service Weapons posted a short article the other day on his initial experiences with Korean Glock magazines. I’ve been using the same six KCI brand Korean 9mm magazines for the at least four years now, so I thought I’d share my long-term review of the inexpensive ammo-feeders.
I bought my Korean mags from CDNN over four years ago at a sale price of $6.95. I wish I had bought more. While descriptions of the magazines on retailers’ sites describe them as “exactly” like the OEM magazines, it’s easy to spot some differences just by picking up a Korean mag. First, the metal lining of the magazine has a different, shinier finish–I suspect it’s a completely different alloy than stock mags. Secondly, the finish and texture of the polymer is slightly different–the Korean mags are shinier and a little smoother to the touch than stock. The followers of the Korean mags are very good copies of the Glock mags, but the magazine springs are a bit “crunchy” feeling when new. Mine, after thousands of rounds and four years, have smoothed out considerably. The springs are very strong in mine–except for two, which I’ll get to in a moment. All of my KCI mags drop free and lock the slide open after the last round.
Before buying my KCI mags, I bought two Korean mags from Sportsman’s Guide. Those two turned out to be Khan brand, and they neither drop free nor consistently lock the slide back after the last round. So, they’re basically paperweights for me.
When the KCIs went on sale, though, I thought I’d give them a try, and I’m glad I did.
After my first few range trips with the magazines, I remember being incredibly pleased with them–except for their baseplates. As Hilton Yam notes in his article and photo, the baseplates are pathetically fragile compared to Glock baseplates. After a few good drops on concrete, or several on gravel, they’ll make Humpty Dumpty look like Iron Man. I initially swapped the KCI plates out for Magpul Speedplates, which I still have on two of them. (While the idea of a Magpul for pistol mags sounds cool, I never really used it as a pull and the “loop” eventually pulled off the plate, leaving behind useful and sturdy, regular plates.) I have since put Vickers Tactical extended baseplates on the rest and all of my Glock duty mags. I love those plates–read my review to read more about them.
After switching plates, my KCI mags have ran flawlessly for every range trip, training, and competition I have attended in the past four years. The set of mags have fed a minimum of 5000 rounds to my various 9mm Glocks, and I have never experienced a magazine-related malfunction. The mags have been dropped, thrown, stepped on, and otherwise abused, and they just keep running. Their feedlips are chewed and gnarled, but they keep feeding my Glocks like an all-you-can-eat brass and copper buffet.
While I can’t seem to find Korean mags for $6.95 anymore, I can still find them at J&G Sales for about $16. Occasionally they’ll go on sale at other sites, and I’ll be sure to post any deals I find on them. For the price, they make excellent training mags. Replace the baseplates and abuse them. I still carry my OEM mags when I’m off the range, but my plastic Asian ammo packers have made me a believer.
Wanna use SR-25 mags–read “Pmags”–in your SCAR-Heavy? Cavalry Manufacturing has a lower for that. It’s not thirty at $390, but you’ll save major bones on mags. Oh, and it’s not the serialized part, so it ships to you.
Anyone see the post on Modern Service Weapons about the new injection-molded line of ALS holsters from Safariland? I’ve been using a 6360 on duty for a few years and love it. I’m interested to see the price point on these. For a duty or plain-clothes holster with retention, I think the ALS models are hard to beat. A 6378 can already be found at under $40, so I’m excited to see where the new 7TS series falls.
Photo from MSW:
As promised in my long-term follow up on my SOE Cobra belt, I’ve given the Talon Tactical Ring Buckle Gun Belt in brown several days of EDC and have some first impressions for you. Honestly, today is the first day since I got it last week that I haven’t worn it. I’m impressed.
The weight of the belt, or lack thereof, was the first thing I noticed after receiving it. It’s a featherweight compared to other riggers or Cobra-buckle belts. Constructed of a double-layer of proprietary 1.5″ webbing, the belt uses custom glass-filled nylon rings as the buckle system. Most riggers belts use a heavy buckle and/or v-ring, but the nylon rings on the Talon belt make traditional buckles feel like bricks. The two layers of webbing are held together with six rows of stitching: two near each edge and one in the center. The edges are nicely finished, with heat applied to the ends to prevent fraying. The construction of the belt shows serious stitching skills. Talon knows their nylon. Mike at Talon Tactical informed me that their belts are designed to adjust up 2 inches and down 2 inches from the listed size, so I ordered a 34, since I’m a 32 without gear but up to a 36 depending on what I’ve crammed inside my waistband.
Being so light–and relatively thin–the belt did not immediately win me over as a heavy-use gun belt. I have labored under the assumption that to support all my EDC gear, the belt has to be stiff and substantial. I carry a G17 with light, a spare mag, a Surefire 6P, my badge, and a BUG with reloads in my pants pocket. That’s a lot of weight. The Talon Tactical belt, though, proved me wrong.
I immediately put the belt to use as soon as I ripped it from its package. The belt is rigid, but flexible. Imagine one-and-a-half layers of SCUBA webbing (if that were possible), and you get the idea. It was easy to thread through my pants and holster/mag pouch, and it was a breeze to thread through the nylon rings and cinch tight. And once cinched to a comfortable tightness, my gear stayed put. There has been no sagging, no flopping, and no rolling over of the belt since then. The belt formed to my gear and waist, and I could go about my day without even thinking about the belt.
While I have yet to put the belt to any hard use, it has proven itself a very capable concealed-carry belt. Most importantly, it’s thrifty–at only $40.50 shipped, it beats most gun belts by $20 at least. I’ll have a long-term follow up after more time with the ring belt, but I’m impressed so far.
About eight months ago, I got a 1.5″ Rigid Cobra Duty Belt from Original SOE Gear, and I posted a first-impressions review of the belt. Everything I said in that review still holds true, so I won’t repeat what I wrote in that post. Instead, I’ll focus on two aspects of the belt that have become apparent in the eight months of use.
I’ve worn the belt almost every day, and it’s been threaded through belt loops and holster loops and mag pouch loops hundreds of times. This use illustrated the stiffness of the belt and what hard kydex belt loops will do to the inner loop velcro. First, the stiffness of the belt is what I love most about the belt and what I hate most about the belt. Once the belt is on, it’s stiff enough to comfortably support any EDC load. Seriously–if you could find someone to make custom kydex for a M1 Garand, you could wear it on your hip and not care. It conforms to my waist very well, and it has never created pressure points or pinch spots. However, it is sometimes too stiff. (That’s what she said.) It can be a little bit of a chore weaving the belt through pants loops and holster loops, especially if the holster loops are tight and rigid. While I wasn’t sweating and cursing after putting the belt on, it wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I’m the kinda guy that wears my jeans for a few days in a row, though, so it wasn’t a daily feat of nylon, denim, and kydex origami.
All of this threading through belt loops also took its toll on the inner loop-velcro lining of the belt. The velcro was stitched to the belt just a bit in from its edge, leaving it open to polymer pillaging. It started to unravel worse than a sweater in a Weezer song. Every few weeks, I have to cut loose threads from the belt. The loop is still securely stitched to the belt, so it really seems to be more of a cosmetic issue. Eventually, there won’t be any loose end left, so the problem will solve itself.
I’ve also started to wear the belt as an outer low-profile duty belt and competition belt. You can see pics of the belt in action from the photos of my first shooting match. I bought a cheap Bianchi inner belt covered in hook velcro off eBay, which I mate with the SOE belt. While the Bianchi belt is pretty flimsy, it creates a very solid system once the SOE belt is in place. I can leave items mounted to the SOE belt and easily don or doff my gear. Plus, I can wear the belt with my suit, since the Bianchi belt will fit my dress pants’ belt loops. Under a suit jacket, the SOE belt looks pretty classy, I think. And not many will suspect that I’ve got a full load-out of gear under my jacket.
For a belt that was about $70 after shipping and got to me in less than 3 weeks, the SOE belt is an excellent choice for a Cobra belt. It’s comfortable and more than capable of carrying the heaviest EDC load without flopping or sagging. And aside from fraying velcro, the belt has held up well to daily wear.
Stay tuned for a first-impressions review of the ring-buckle Gun Belt by Talon Tactical–at only $40.50 shipped, it might be the thrifty alternative for those wanting a gun belt, minus the Cobra buckle.