There are a few items I've had praxis requests from other Irregulars on that I lack enough experience to speak intelligently on. Perhaps someone would like to pass on their experiences with the following. Kindly do not post them as comments here, but email me at GeorgeMason1776@aol.com and I will combine them into discrete praxi.
1. Binoculars. Years ago (decades, actually) I was given a pair of World War II U.S. Navy 7x50 "night binoculars" by a veteran of the War in the Pacific. They are marked "US NAVY BU SHIPS MARK 32 MOD. 7 237687-1943 ANCHOR OPTICAL CORPORATION NEW YORK, N.Y." These gather an incredible amount of light and probably represent the acme of American traditional optics. They have served me well over the years, being toted from militia FTXs to recon operations of neo-Nazi terrorist-wannabes in the 90s to college soccer games. Each eyepiece is individually focusable. Here's a closer look at a similar pair.
They are by modern tactical standards too heavy, too fragile and frankly a museum piece that I ought to retire to my personal collection of relics from campaigns past.
Can some Irregular (or two or three) send in their own experiences with modern tactical binoculars? Which are best? Which are the best trade-off between price and quality? Please deal with field tips for maintenance, how best to locate them on a LBV, etc.
2. Combat knives.
Early in my misspent youth I carried a Vietnam bring-back Gerber Mark I combat dagger in a rig under my coat. Later, I sold it for a ridiculously low price to a buddy and picked up a Mark II like this one.
Gerber Mark II
Now one of the problems with combat daggers is that you can beak the point off distressingly easy when you are using them. I discovered that one balmy afternoon back in the late 70s when I was working store security for Woolco on the south side of Columbus OH. (There's a question that you can date somebody with. Who here remembers Woolco?) I was attempting to persuade a shoplifter to cease pulling out of the parking lot by carving on the sidewall of his car's front tire when the Gerber's point broke off, leaving it and me in a cloud of dust as he sped away. (The story had a happy ending. His madly-deflating tire only got him ten blocks where he was picked up by CPD.)
Anyway, I had the point reground and sharpened, but I later came to favor the Marine KaBar for an all-purpose knife for militia FTXs and camping.
However, for Christmas, my son Matt got me one of these:
MOD Beshara XSF-1 Dagger
When I slid it out of the sheath, I thought, "Darn, the point's broken off." It isn't. Brent Beshara, a former Canadian special operations soldeir, designed it that way and the knife's partisans call it "the ultimate evolution of the combat dagger." It has a unique triple-edged point design eliminating the tip weakness found on traditional combat daggers while still providing great penetrating power.
It is precision machined from either tough A-2 tool steel (Diamond Black DLC coated) or solid 6 AL/4V titanium (matte bead blasted) -- I have the steel version. It has contoured handle slabs and an integral double guard for a positive grip when dry, although I want the Trainer to examine it to see how we might make the grip even more positive when in use (there is nothing slicker than blood on an unprepared knife grip). I must say that I am impressed by the design (although I doubt I'll be using it in extremis any time soon).
The edge as it came from the factory is dull and the techniques used to sharpen it are somewhat different than a standard blade. Lacking time, patience and expertise, I will probably just send it back to have a factory killing edge put on it.
I'd be interested to know what experiences folks have had with the XSF-1 in particular, but the praxis responses should cover combat knives for militia use in general.
Malcolm X, his carbine and two thirty-rounders taped together.
3. Thor Defense Multiple-Magazine Holder
Years ago, at the height of what I now call "my Benedict Arnold period," I used to carry a sawed-off M-2 carbine with two "jungle clips" as they were called taped together a la Malcolm X in the photo above. A real Symbionese Liberation Army kind of thing. Of course that's fine for robbing a bank, I suppose (not that I ever got around to robbing banks), but how do you get close to the ground with such a thing? Answer: you can't. The other problem is that you can't keep dirt out of the mouth of the upside down magazine, although the Army procured rubber M-1 Carbine magazine covers for that purpose.
Carbine magazine dust covers.
The problem is that such a dust cover (while certainly protecting the magazine and ammo) is cumbersome to use and thus anybody going into harms' way is going to remove it, losing it or discarding it deliberately.
American GI's have been taping magazines to achieve greater firepower positioned at the ready since at least WWII and the M-1 Carbine's 15 rounders. Of course the problem comes when you empty the second one and have to put the empty somewhere. GI's in a hurry would simply dump the lash-up and get two more from the supply sergeant -- not an option open to us poor militiafolk without a taxpayer funded logistical tail.
Still, the idea must have some continuing allure because the U.S. military is procuring these:
National Stock Number 1005-01-562-9455, the Thor Defense Multiple-Magazine Holder for M-16A2 Rifles and M-4 Carbines.
This item, a kit really, consists of an accessory clamp, a Magpul magazine pull tab, a clear dust cover and an ACU pouch big enough to accept the assembly when empty (although with the clamp sticking out on the sides and hanging up on the fabric it is problematic getting the assembly in and out of the pouch). Here is what it looks like assembled (although in this pic someone has added a superfluous Magpul on the second mag):
So, my question is: Are there any Irregulars out there having experiences with these things? If so, how do you rate them?