Gear Giveaway – En Garde Protective Vest

vest3Hi Gearheads!  We are very excited to announce that our friends at EnGarde have generously donated a bulletproof/protective vest as a promotional giveaway to our fans.  The vest is new, size Large, and comes with NIJ Level IIIA Dyneema soft armor panels which are guaranteed to keep their ballistic properties for 10 years. The vest also has pockets for two optional Level IV panels to protect the wearer against higher caliber fire.









There are TWO ways you can enter to win this vest (and help us grow our audience in the process):

  1. “Like” the Facebook post that corresponds to this article on our Facebook page.
  2. “Share” our Facebook post on your Facebook page.

This contest ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, May 12, 20014.  The winner will be chosen randomly from all entries and notified via Facebook message.  Tactical Gearhead will ship the vest to the winner free of charge.


Please note: This vest was provided by EnGarde as a promotional item.  Any views or opinions posted on this website are our own and the winner accepts all legal responsibility for ownership of the vest.  Some states may not allow private citizens to own bulletproof vests and most states prohibit convicted felons from owning them.  Do your research on your local and state laws before you enter, because Tactical Gearhead and EnGarde do not accept any accountability or liability.

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iOS GPS apps traffic comparison.

Bad weather in Cleveland makes for a fascinating study in traffic data and GPS routing systems. According to ODOT and confirmed by Web-Cams. both 480 and 80 are closed in different sections. Mapping around town shows the following:

Google Maps = Traffic seems to have realistic estimates of traffic, however insists on routing users across traffic and a road they mark as closed. Selecting no highways as an option yields “no routes found”

Waze my normal favorite shows the incidents on the road, but doesn’t know about the road closures. Despite dozens of the crowdsourced users reporting traffic at a standstill (even including photos of it), the program routes me through traffic, and doesn’t seems to accurately reflect the time it should take. It is giving me a 32 minute time from home to the airport, despite a closed highway and standstill traffic. Not possible.

Finally, Apple maps (which was down initially) was my last pick. Its traffic info and navigation have been less than stellar in the past. Apple both showed the ODOT reported road closures as well as plotted routes around these closures. Travel times were within the realm of possibility, but I suspect they were overly optimistic by 15%
What are your experiences with the traffic avoidance features of the latest GPS apps for mobile phones? ‪#‎WazeFail‬ ‪#‎GoogleMapsFail‬

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Optics Planet OPMOD P.A.C. 3.0 Personal Articles Carrier Bag

The folks at Optics Planet sent us this OPMOD P.A.C. 3.0 Personal Articles Carrier Bag for review.

Posted in Bags, MOLLE gear, Tactical Gear | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bates Zero Mass Tactical Boots from MilitaryDirectBoots.Com

One of the most important pieces of gear that everyone needs is a good pair of boots.  Our friends at Military Direct Boots sent me a pair of Bates Tactical Boots to test and I had a great experience.

The Zero Mass Side Zip Tactical Boots come in two styles, 6 inch and 8 inch; I was sent the 6 inch version in black.  The side zipper is a new feature for me.  I really like it because I’m lazy and it makes it so you don’t have to tighten and tie the boots every time you put them back on.  In many countries, especially those in Asia, you have to remove your footwear whenever entering a building.  The zipper makes this easy and convenient, especially when you have to keep a tight schedule or risk missing a meal.  After removing the boots via the zipper and putting them back on several times, you do have to tighten and tie them again.  They eventually loosen up and risk rubbing on your feet if you do not.  While convenient and great for situations when you need to put them on quickly, using the zipper the majority of the time could lead to some nasty blisters.

These boots were also very light and extremely breathable.  After wearing them for a short period of time, you forget that you are wearing such rugged footwear.  My feet were protected completely and did not feel sore no matter how hard I was on them.  The boots have shock-absorbing molded midsoles and an additionally cushioned insole that is also mildew proof and anti-bacterial.

The boots are built tough and look like they will last for a long time.  They are also lower profile and more sporty looking than your typical tactical boots.  I like these boots a lot and look forward to wearing them for hopefully a long time.

Note: These boots were provided to me as a promotional item and these are my own personal views and opinions.

Posted in Footwear, Hiking, Tactical Gear, Travel Gear, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Danner Tachyon 8” Hot Military Boots

Danner’s Tachyon 8” boots is the perfect solution for trekking in all terrain, but with long distances and hot weather in mind.  If you’re looking for a cool and comfortable military style boot in extreme heat, I would have to recommend this.  Designed for combat training and daily use for military personnel – these boots will still suit the active civilian that needs durable, sturdy, lightweight and cool comfort in their footwear for active lifestyles.  Since I am an outdoors woman, my review is based on civilian hiking, in the Midwest, on rocky and wet terrain next to and crossing rivers and lake sides, with some additional testing in a work environment where bending and standing for 8+ hours at a time.

For women’s sizes, order 2 sizes down.  For hiking, I would have to say these are the lightest boots I’ve ever worn.  At a total weight of 26 oz., but without sacrificing all of the other features of Danner’s heavy-duty boots, I’d have to give this a full 5 stars.

The upper (the entire boot excluding the bottom), is entirely synthetic, which makes for fastest drying time if you need to cross a river bed.  The outsole, which is the part of the boots exposed to wear and tear, are full rubber material which aids in traction and keeps the boot front durable as well.  As light tan as the color is, the boot still washes well when I got it completely muddy and took a hose to it and let it air dry.

The toe box and shank retains its shape and maintains good foot support, and makes the long hikes more enjoyable when you aren’t thinking about your feet whatsoever.   The 8” boot height supported my ankle well during long hikes, and like I said, in my opinion, the perfect boot is something that you wear and completely forget about when you’re wearing them.  There is no inside slippage inside the boots when climbing, even when the boots are wet; and traction was excellent with the deeply designed rugged soles.  I went as all out as I could when putting these to the test and I was very pleased. 

I have never been disappointed with Danner boots; these are my 2nd – my first was used for hunting –for warmth and all-day comfort, they meet all of the features they promise, I am a loyal Danner customer.


Posted in Army Surplus, Clothing, Footwear, Hiking, Tactical Gear | 3 Comments

The Tactical Warriors Guide to Protective Body Armor

If you take some time and spend it on the web, you will find thousands of websites and blogs dedicated to body armor, ballistic plates, armored piercing this, level II that, and so on.  The reality is that many people don’t know what these phrases mean.  This article from our friends at Safeguard Clothing outlines some guidelines that can be used when looking for various kinds of body armor.

Please note, that this article is not a buyer’s guide.  When you are looking for a bulletproof vest and want to know what type will be the best for you, remember that this is just a simple introductory guide to body armor for tactical purposes.

Velocity Systems Plate

There are two principal forms of body armor – soft and hard. Body armor can be manufactured from various materials, including ceramic, titanium, steel, polyethylene, and Kevlar and can be employed to protect from anything; starting with .22 caliber gunfire (NIJ Level II) to .30 caliber fire (NIJ Level IV).  It is important to note that body armor is designed and tested to stop various calibers of bullets for a reason.  To provide consumers with vests that are lightweight with greater maneuverability, but as a result provide less protection, or heavier with less maneuverability that provide greater protection.  In essence, the various vests are designed in relation to the level of expected threat.  For example, many police officers wear Level IIIA bulletproof vests, because they often have to cope with smaller caliber pistol projectiles, while soldiers mostly wear Level III and Level IV bulletproof vests to resist higher caliber rifle ammunition.

The US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sets the guidelines related to bulletproof vests and is the establishment that defines the meaning of each level.  There are six main categories of bulletproof body armor according the NIJ: Level I, Level IIA, Level II, Level IIIA, Level III, and Level IV.  There are also special categories that permit manufacturers to fit particular threat-specific armors in their personal category.  Although these categories are mostly technical and are dependent on the vest’s condition, type of the bullet, weight of the round, and velocity of the round, they may be simplified to a particular extent with the use of the guide provided below.

Level I

This is soft armor and is the lowest bulletproof vest category. It stops .22 caliber bullets with a 2.6 g average mass.  This bulletproof vest is quite light.  Level I armor offers the lowest ballistic protection needed for every law enforcement representative.  The vest has to be worn, when on duty, throughout the day.

Level IIA

This is also soft armor.  It stops 124 grain 9 mm full metal jacketed bullets and 180 grain .40 S&W full metal jacketed bullets.  Once again, it’s essential to remember that this vest doesn’t stop just any 9mm or .40 S&W bullets.  A lot of solid core 9 mm bullets can penetrate through Level IIA bulletproof vests.  Nevertheless, this seems to be one of the most maneuverable and lightest armors on the market today.

Level II

Once again, this is soft armor.  This category basically represents a small step up from the previous category, offering a bit better protection. Level II bulletproof vests can stop the majority of 9 mm full metal jacketed bullets, and 1158 grain .357 JSP projectiles.  This is also lightweight armor that provides less protection, but good mobility.

Level IIIA

Same as the three previous categories, Level IIIA armor is also soft.  It is meant to stop most pistol ammo and is the highest rated soft armor to date.  This bulletproof vest stops up to a 240 grain .44 magnum jacketed hollow point bullet.

Level III

This is hard, flexible armor.  This type of armor is mostly meant for low caliber full metal jacketed rifle bullets, including the AK-47 7.62×39 bullets.  Although this vest is able to stop some rifle rounds and is quite lightweight and maneuverable, it cannot stop the majority of armored piercing and sniper bullets.

Level IV

Like the previous category, this is also hard and flexible armor.  This is the highest category provided by the NIJ and is developed for the majority of armored piercing rifle bullets up to 166 grain .30 caliber.  This bulletproof vest can stop most sniper rifle bullets, including the Dragunov 7.62x54R bullets. This category also features the least maneuverable and the heaviest vests of all.

Special Category

These armors are generally special threat plates, developed to stop the majority of common bullets found in a particular operation area.  Many Special Forces units employ special threat panels so they can be protected from common firearms and stay mobile due to the lightweight of this armor.

ICW – In Conjunction With

Many plates are frequently worn with soft armor as a configuration known as “in conjunction.”  Conventionally, a plate is worn above Level IIIA armor insert, which makes it either threat specific or Level IV.  This makes the plates and total set weigh less.  Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that when a plate is ICW-specified, it means that it will only provide proper protection when used together with a Level IIIA bulletproof vest or otherwise specified insert.


Please Note: This information was provided by our friends at Safeguard Clothing (

Posted in Body Armor, Clothing, Concealed Carry, Tactical Gear, Vests | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Andreas reviews the eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender convertible bag

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United Cutlery M48 Apocalypse Fighter Knife

Last week we reviewed the M48 Hawk Tactical Tomahawk by United Cutlery.  The M48 Apocalypse Fighter Knife is another member of the M48 Kommando Collection and the subject of today’s review.

Priced at a very affordable $10, the Apocalypse Fighter was an impulse purchase backed with a little purpose.  I’ve been looking for a very basic knife to take camping/hiking and when I saw that the Apocalypse Fighter came with a free paracord bracelet, I couldn’t pass it up.

For those of you not familiar with it, paracord is a general purpose utility cord that is very thin (usually 5/8″ diameter) and very strong.  Made from nylon, it is composed of individual strands (usually seven) that are surrounded by a woven sheath and Type III, the most common type, has a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds!

The woven paracord bracelet is made of ten feet of cord and fits up to a nine inch wrist.  There is also an additional ten feet of paracord woven around the handle of the knife.  In a pinch you can unwind the entire length for a makeshift rope or cut off a segment to tie down or repair a piece of equipment while in the field.

 The knife itself has a very simple, yet effective design.  Made of AUS-6 stainless steel with a black finish, the knife is an impressive 11.5 inches long.  The full-tang blade is 5 inches long and incorporates a partial sawback into the design.  The knife is very thin, yet sturdy and durable.  After using it for various tasks, it retained it’s extremely sharp edge and did not warp or permanently bend when used to pry or dig.

The knife also comes with a nylon belt sheath emblazoned with the M48 logo.  It’s not the sturdiest sheath, but it does the trick by keeping the knife in place with velcro closures.

Overall, I think that the M48 Apocalypse Fighter Knife is a great product, especially when you consider the price point.  It is a very durable and effective blade and provides you with 20 feet of paracord, which can be an invaluable tool in the field.  The color of the paracord is a little too loud for my taste and the sheath could be a little higher quality, but for $10, I consider this knife a steal!

In the future I hope that I get the opportunity to review several other items from the United Cutlery M48 Kommando Collection.  Items like the Survival Hammer and Spear seem like they would be great additions to my collection.  Now I just need to find the excuse to buy them.


Please Note: This item was purchased with my own money and these are my own thoughts and opinions.

Posted in Accessories, Deals, Knives, Survival Gear, Tools, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Safeguard Armor Stealth Pro Vest Giveaway

This afternoon I was contacted about a great giveaway from our friends at Safeguard Armor that I needed to share with our readers.

Starting today, through June 28th, they are holding a drawing for a free Stealth Pro vest (Level 3a ballistic, Level 2 Stab and Spike and two Polyethylene plates).  In order to enter the drawing you must ‘Like’ them on the Safeguard Armor Facebook Page and ‘Share’ the giveaway post on your page.

While you’re at it, if you haven’t already done so, make sure you ‘Like’ the Tactical Gearhead Facebook page too!  It’s a great place for our fellow gearheads to hang out and discuss our favorite products!

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United Cutlery M48 Hawk Tactical Tomahawk

United Cutlery is very well known in the cutlery world.  They create high-quality knives and swords for the collector, outdoor enthusiast, and military.  The M48 Kommando collection is an example of some of their more functional tactical tools while adding a little bit of attitude.  The items in the collection are geared towards the military and outdoor enthusiasts and include everything from knives to a tactical shovel.

The M48 Hawk Tactical Tomahawk is designed to be the “ultimate tactical weapon”.  It has a large 4″ sweeping blade on one side which is designed for chopping and slashing and a slightly hooked double-edged blade on the back, which is designed for puncturing and tearing.  The 8″ head is cast from sturdy anodized stainless steel and is attached to a  fiberglass reinforced (30%) nylon handle with three separate bolts.

The Hawk comes with a nylon sheath, that uses snap buttons to secure the head.  A small belt loop is attached to the sheath so you can secure it to your belt, pack straps, etc.  The handle also comes with an attachment point that is a perfect spot to attach a length of paracord.

I think that the Hawk is a great piece of equipment, especially considering that it is generally priced between $30-$60.  It is so lightweight, around 1.5 pounds, that you barely notice it hanging from your belt.  Even though it is so light, it is still an extremely sturdy tool.  The head slices through heavy tree limbs effortlessly and can penetrate drywall, sheet metal, and plywood very easily.

The only complaint I have is the sheath.  The belt loop is small and makes it difficult to thread anything but standard width belts (1.5 inches and under) through it.  The use of snap buttons on the sheath also makes it difficult to remove or secure the tomahawk quickly.  In combat situations this could be a problem, but anyone looking for something to take camping or to use for demolition should be more than happy with the M48 Hawk.


Please Note: This item was given to me as a gift by my father and the views and opinions in this article are my own.

 Al Reviews the M48 Apocalypse Fighter Knife From United Cutlery

Posted in Accessories, Hunting, Knives, Survival Gear, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments