Thursday, August 29, 2013

BAK gear: MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) Muddy Buddy suit

The MEC Muddy Buddy is a suit designed to keep the mud, rain, puddle, snow from ingress. Worn as an outer shell, the suit will keep your kid from getting wet, provided, they don't pour water down their neck. It's a nylon material with a DWR coating. It also includes taped seams, and has dual zippers running down the front to easily evacuate the suit. This suit has been superseded by what MEC is calling the NEWT. I'm assuming its better technology in some cases. However there are stories that the Newt is not as durable especially at the taped seams. If you live close to a MEC not a problem with their warranty program.
The muddy buddy is not a CBRN suit, so don't throw biologicals or chem like gasoline onto the kid. It will ruin the fabric. I probably would also refrain from subjecting your kid to nuclear or radioactive material. Trace amounts of tritium OK though. It's more akin to being part of an ECWCS, granted its not Goretex - your kid, they don't need it. (for the record I DO NOT CONDONE subjecting Bad Ass Kids to any NBCD, although they think bathing in J&J all-in-one is death)
This suit has elastic cuffs for the legs and arms. Ideally, you would have rainboots and gloves for the kid (might I recommend Kamik) that you would slip over top the boots. Because it is not insulated, be sure to dress your kid accordingly. Underneath the suit you see the MEC fleece for kids (think layering ala ECWCS). You might be gawking at the price for a muddy buddy / fleece combo, but I have found that the MEC fleece is a performance fleece and does hold insulation well when compared to fashion-grade fleece. As you can see from this picture, the hoody is also elasticized, but nowhere do you see drawstrings or cords, probably because they are strangulation hazards.
There really isn't much else to say about this item. It works as intended, its worth the money for it especially because its backed by MEC. It comes in HiViz colours. If your Bad Ass Kid prefers the outdoors then this is the shizzle. If you can still find one on ebay or craigslist pick it up now. The Newt is relatively new, so I'm not going to buy one just yet, but by all accounts the muddy buddy work as intended.

BAD Gear: Allen Gun Works (AGW) Linear Muzzle Brake

I have a NEA PDW (North Eastern Arms Personal Defense Weapon) with a heavy 7.5" barrel. Very very short. I have my own reasons for running such a small barreled gun. Concealment, movement with vehicles, movement in buildings, etc. This rifle isn't being used to
engage targets more than 100m, this is for bad breath distances and Holy Shit Contact distances. I find that the A2 Birdcage it came with tended to dissipate the gas and the noise back into my face. The use of eye and ear pro mitigated most of that. But, my shooting partners, or the folks on my team, they no likey being too close. So I looked into finding something that would lessen the effects of gas and noise on the shooter and those beside.

I landed upon the AGW Linear Muzzle Brake. Note that this is not designed to be a Flash Suppressor or Hider like the A2 cage is. So you will get fire breathing. That's cool though, cause if the guy in front of me is going to get a bullet hole, he might as well catch on fire too. I bought the brake from Darren at whom I believe have an arrangement with Allen of AGW to stock these at a very good price of 50 bucks. Now, there are linear brakes out there that also combine some aspect of flash hiding: ATRS Eliminator,  Battlecomp Comps, or even the Levang Linear brake.  However, for the cheapness and no hassle and simple design of the AGW LMB, I'd give it a try (also a bonus is that its made in Canada).

My impressions after 6 months of use is that it is durable (thus far). It is a fire breath SOB. It does do what it asserts to do, that is: Reduces felt recoil, Straightens the escaping gas from the muzzle (the muzzle climb is directed rearwards instead of up or down), Forces muzzle blast down range instead of sideways, and it is Low profile and fits into most rail systems. It is made with 4140 HTSR and finished in a Salt Bath Nitride. The outer dimensions are L2" x W1" with a 1/2-28" threading. The interior diameter is bored out for firing .223/5.56 projectiles. There is also .308/7.62 version available.

The design features include a notched barrel end for wrenching. The muzzle end is crowned and bevelled inwards, with 6 gas ports surrounding the muzzle in cocentric circle.

It does extend the barrel length by 2 inches, but on a PDW like mine, it's well worth the extra length. Apparently, through testing, AGW claims it "dramatically improved cycling. You could empty a mag as fast as you could pull the trigger with no issues. This is a result of the increased back pressure..."

So far, I am quite happy with the results I am getting with it. I've had zero cycling issues typical of a PDW-sized weapon. I'm hoping in future releases some measure of flash hiding and shortening of length (towards an A2 size) would be available and at the similar pricing.  I'd recommend this as a solution for those running PDW's.

Friday, August 23, 2013

BAD Gear: Tactical Starbucks 16oz. Flex handle Stainless Travel Mug (MOLLE Compatible)

Somebody at the airport stole my Aroma Starbucks mug. So I got this one. This is probably their best style mug in my opinion. It has the standard features that I normally enjoy:

  • Double Wall stainless steel for Hot/Cold insulation
  • Texturized Handle for extra tactile grip during tactical situations
  • Screw-top lid with no-spill valve
  • Slim and sleek design
  • Non-slip bottom surface
  • It fits within a standard vehicle cup-holder
  • Simple 'Starbucks' vertical graphic
  • 16 oz volume = 1pint !
Now the unique features I like about it:
  • Flexible handle grip. means I can still put it into my tactical attache bag with the handle sticking out, or hang it off the back of the transport seat.
  • The grip features a clip system, enabling me to attach it and secure it to MOLLE systems
That is the biggest draw for me. Every Bad Ass Dad will have a tactical something or other. Pack, Body Armour, Chest Rig, Thigh Rig, Apron. The ability to harness the power of the MOLLE system and append the Coffee Mug is key. Look how beautiful it is. It uses 1 column, two rows to attach, very small footprint. You could attach it to a battle belt, and use it as a pistol mag dump pouch if necessary. So let's take a closer look at this clip attachment system.

The clip system is your standard back-pack style quick release. The male end is located on the grip, while the female end is attached to the mug. When attached there is no wiggle room. To release just squeeze on both sides with deliberate equal pressure. Through this design, a conscious effort is required to release the grip therefor preventing accidental release and possible spillage of lager -

Upon closer examination, it looks like the quick release buckle utilizes a retaining pin to hold secure it in place. Not a bad design. You can see a small gap where the femal end attaches to the mug. Although it is secure right now, I can see through lots of hostile movements, this could be a failure point. It looks like is uses a steel S-shaped flat piece of metal welded to the mug, and the plastic is glued over top of it. I'd probably use some sort of epoxy bedding compound liek JB Weld or even Goop to fill in the gap and provide no space for the plastic to shim around. 

The lid is a standard screw-top lid with a rubber gasket to seal in that perfect cup of shite airport coffee. Although the literature states that it is NOT a NO SPILL/DRIP lid, in my experience it doesn't at all - if you follow these procedures.

Note that the flip-top is a two piece design enabling the flip cap to fold all the way back. Also note that the two rubber plugs meant to cover the vent and sip holes respectively. To prevent spillage, always bring the small piece over first, and then the large piece, this ensures that the vent will be secured. Else, if you were to just secure the large piece without firmly pressing on the green piece, the vent will not be plugged properly and the airport dogs will be going berserk.
So far I am impressed with the fit and finish of this product. Functionality-wise, this goes in my EDC pack, travelling everywhere. I filled up my coffee at 07h00, now it is 11h00 and it still warm. I also like its body-type. Thinking of it as a woman, it is technically an inverse triangle, but because of a very shallow taper, its more closer to a rectangle, therefore facilitating near equilibrium balance.

Although it is recommended to handwash, every so often I'll send it through a high-temp dishwasher just to clean out the evil swill crustys. Probably a dose of boiling water and vinegar could do the trick, and probably easier on the finish but whatever. Its been through the top rack 3 or 4 times and its still OK. I don't put the lid through it because of its rubber gasket though.

Ok, so you bad ass dads, moms, world travelers, get this mug if you are in the market for one. I see that the Starbucks store online doesn't carry these, but last I checked the airport ones and probably the in-store retailers have it. There is no part number to look up though. sorry. Also, check out ebay. 


Full Disclosure: Unless noted, Bad Ass Dad has not been compensated in any means to review this gear. It is all his own, procured through pro-channels, retail, or issuance.