> TEOTWAWKI Blog

3/4/15

Zyon Systems Patrol Pack

Image via Zyon Systems

I have zero affiliation with these guys, but came across them the other day and wanted to pass this along.

Most ready-made kits are made with cheap Chinese-made dollar store stuff that will fall apart sitting in a closet, let alone being put to any real world use.

This ready-to-rock patrol pack, on the other hand, is built around solid quality, brand name stuff. It comes at an accordingly higher price, but you get really good stuff--a Camelbak HAWG, Leatherman Wave, Fenix Headlamp, QuickClot, Mechanix gloves, etc. Lots of personal favorites there. Impressive.

Maybe a bit light on shelter (comes with a nice Snugpak poncho, though) and you'd probably want to add some ancillaries like cordage, gorilla tape, canteen cup, water filter, but if you are in the market for an off-the-shelf bag, this is the best of I've seen.

One of these would be a great foundation for a cache, too.

Check out the Zyon Systems Patrol Pack >

3/3/15

In Memoriam: Rick's Beard, Season 1 to Season 5


You will be missed.

Also - Alexandria really needs Rick Grimes.

3/1/15

Project AR-(20)15 Complete...for now


Mk1 version of the rifle is complete. Click here for the 'before' view. Build is as follows:

Upper:
  • 14.5" ELW Barrel w/ BCM Mod 1 Pinned and welded to bring it to 16"
  • KMR 13 rail
  • Arisaka Defense DIY Scout light - Malkoff bulb, Arisaka body, Surefire tailcap, attached to the Arisaka Keymod scout mount
  • Aimpoint H1 on the Larue LT-751 Absolute Co-Witness mount
  • Troy folding battle sights
  • BCM BCG & Stag charging handle 
Lower:
  • Vanilla home-assembled CMMG lower
  • BCM Gunfighter handgrip
  • BCM QD Endplate
  • Magpul STR stock
  • Magpul BAD lever
Happy with everything at this point, and will throw out some more detailed reviews/thoughts around some of the components here in the new future.

Weight sits just under 7 pounds without a mag, over 7 pounds with a mag. Very handy, well balanced and comfortable AR. Pretty much exactly what I want.

The Troy's are much more what I am looking for in BUIS than the Magpul PROs were. The Arisaka light setup puts the light exactly where I want it, with a lightweight, low profile mounting solution.

The Microsight is slick and well proven, and purchased second hand for a pretty good deal. Went with the absolute witness mount as that's what I'm used to. I may get some kind of variable magnified scope to switch in and out in the future. Larue's really nice QD mount should facilitate that.

The Gunfighter grip is a huge improvement over the old Magpul grip that I was using, as it has an angle more appropriate for a modern shooting stance, and thus makes the AR a hell of a lot more comfortable shoulder. The old grips end up putting strain on my wrist, which gets annoying after a time.

Life, southern ice storms and waiting on optics and sights to arrive has delayed the initial break in. Should be sometime this next week, and I'm looking forward to throwing some lead with this thing.

As thread title suggests, I'm not entirely done. Need a better charging handle - planning on picking up a Raptor. Need a forward sling QD mount. Probably an upgraded trigger, too. And might swap out the stock.

The black rifle disease...it never ends...

More to come later.

2/26/15

On gear consolidation, Part Deux

Original post generated some good discussion, and I wanted to throw out a few clarifying points.

First, you of course have to use good judgement on your part. Selling something at a loss to only go a repurchase for substantially more is unfavorable math.

There's a bit of informal assessment to do when thinking about throwing something onto the trade blanket:
  • How useful is this to me? Can I re-purpose it?
  • How much can I get for this on resale?
  • What am I going to use those funds for?
  • Would I need to replace/repurchase this in the future? Will I be able to?
  • Will the item be worth more or less in the future if I hold onto it?
That kind of assessment should help guide good versus bad decisions. Useless, easy to replace, high value stuff that you're using to fund important project would be the sweet spot.

If you aren't really constrained for either funds or space, then selling off excess gear makes less sense. You don't need the $$$ to fund projects and you can store the excess away for a rainy day. Most of us aren't in that boat.

Personally, I go through a cycle of testing gear, selling off what doesn't work and then usually plowing those funds back into the same projects. Allows for progress while controlling (to an extent) the out of pocket costs.

That's why I refer to it as gear consolidation - selling an old stock and an unused hand guard to buy a new stock, selling an unused knife for a new / needed flashlight...clearing out the unused excess and turning it into something more needed/desired.

Of course, very often the keep vs. sell assessment often works out as a "naa, I'd better hang onto this", too.

2/22/15

On gear consolidating...

There aren't a lot of things that you can buy, use for a couple years, and then sell at a small loss, or in some select cases, make a tidy profit. But one of the great things about quality gun and knife gear is that it tends to hold its value pretty well.

Case in point: Project AR-(20)15 is largely being funded by clearing out unused stuff. Projects that ended up going no where, ideas that have been abandoned or gear that I wanted to upgrade anyways. Stuff that was of little/no use and was just sitting there, collecting dust, and that sold off pretty quickly, painlessly and in some cases at a healthy profit over what I paid for it a few years ago. Made enough money to fund the purchase of a very nice BCM upper with minimal out-of-pocket cash.

Should have done that a while ago!

Yes, you can keep stuff around "just in case", put it in caches, and so on, but there's a bit of a false economy to that. It might not cost you anything out of pocket to keep, say, an unused hunting rifle around, but it is an unused resource that can be turned into cash. Sell or trade it in, and a new purchase becomes a lot less painful on the budget.

Sure, in some cases it makes sense to keep extra gear around, but that's not always that case.

So - if you have been eyeballing a new project, go clean out the part bins/drawers/closets and see what shakes out.

2/18/15

Magpul MBUS Pros: Nope.


Picked these up for Project AR-(20)15, but they won't be hanging around here long term.

I know these are really popular, and they come in at a good price point. Nicely made and packaged, slim and fit nicely on the top rail. The front sight doesn't require a tool to adjust, which is awesome.

But the design has some deal-breaker flaws for me:
  • Slick / difficult to open. Especially with a pair of gloves on. If I'm going to need my BUISs, things aren't going well, and there's a pretty good chance I'm probably going to be wearing some kind of light glove, too. The low profile and smooth sides means the sights aren't easy to grab onto and flip open. It was taking me several tries to flip the things open, in the warm, dry, zero stress comfort of my living room. Cold, wet, stressful environment...even more trouble.
  • Don't lock open. The big deal to me is that they could get bumped, partially fold in and you not realize it, and then think the sight picture is still a good one. Then you're wondering why your shots aren't going where you intend them to go...that's bad. Less likely to happen, but completely plausible, especially with the front sight.
  • Rear sight's aperture. I prefer the 'big' aperture...the MBUS Pro's uses a 'nested' small aperture, that you have to flip out of the way using a finger nail to get to the big aperture. And then the small aperture piece is exposed and looks like it's just waiting to get snapped off...not a big fan of this.
So, nicely made, but design shortcomings were a deal breaker for me. Lots of people love 'em, but I am not one. Luckily purchase 'em from Amazon so the return process is simple.