Maglite Drop in LED: Updating a Classic

The Maglite dominated the “tactical” market for many years until the market shifted from large lights to the handheld lights that are now popular.  Unfortunately Maglite didn’t keep up with the technology to match the performance of the more current offerings from companies like SureFire, or StreamLight.  Despite the poor performance, there is something comforting about the size and heft of the of the old school Maglite.

But, there’s an option to bring back that old maglite out of retirement.

20160813_165851There are a few companies that are making drop in LED modules that replace the incandescent bulb.  The unit I found claims to upgrade the output of the light to 140 lumens.  I can’t substantiate the output, but it does substantially boost the performance of the light.

Maglite with Terrlux LED module
Maglite with the original incandescent bulb


The photos show how much better the light output is.  The module also doesn’t require any modifications to the light itself, so you can still use the spare bulb that is in the tail cap if needed.

Maglite bulb assembly
Maglite bulb assembly
LED Upgrade Slips Right In
LED Upgrade Slips Right In

There you go, bring your Maglite out of retirement for less than $20.  We will bring you a performance review in the near future.

Remington V3 Field: First Look

Recently we received a new 26″ barreled Remington V3 Field sport.  Here’s a quick look before the full testing and review.

20160429_185517TSG’s example is a black synthetic version.  There are also camo patterns available, and wood stocked version that’s due to be available in late summer of 2016.

broken down V3
broken down V3
Piston system located under the barrel, just forward of the receiver.
Piston system located under the barrel, just forward of the receiver.
Unfortunately there are dimples on the mag tube that will need to be removed in you want to use a magazine extension.
Unfortunately there are dimples on the mag tube that will need to be removed in you want to use a magazine extension.



The Remington V3 utilizes the same VersaPort system as the successful Versamax released in 2010.  The difference is that the V3 is able to shoot 2 3/4″ and 3″ shells while the VersaMax can shoot from 2 3/4″ to 3.5″ shells.  This makes the V3 lighter, as the receiver is shorter.

Here’s an animation of how the VersaPort system works:

The v3 field is actually pretty light in weight as far as auto loaders go, weighing in at 7.25lbs (and 47″ overall with a 26″ barrel).  Even with this lighter weight, Remington claims it is one of the softest shooting shotguns on the market.  Remington also claims that this system leads to very little fouling of the shotgun.  Reports from Versamax owners are that the shotgun is very reliable, and hopefully that will carry over to the V3.

One note that might be of interest, is that none of the mechanism of the shotgun is housed in the but stock.  This might lead to various collapsible or folding stocks from the aftermarket, and possibly from Remington as well.  Time will tell what will be available, as the V3 is still very new to the market, and there is still no word from Remington if there will be a tactical, or home defense model offered (though, Remington does have a very full line of tactical models of their shotguns, so one would presume there will be something down the line).

The shotgun come included with three choke tubes (IC, Mod, and Full), a choke wrench, a magazine plug, and the manual.

Once we are able to put some rounds through the shotgun, we’ll be better able to give the highs and lows of this shotgun.  Stay tuned for the updated reviews.

Review: Karrimor Sabre Delta 25

Here’s the feature list from the website:

“With the Coolmesh windtunnel back system the Delta 25 allows moisture to evaporate and be carried away from your back.

Main fabric, KS100e:

KS100e is a 1000 Denier Nylon fabric coated with a Silicone/PU elastomer for improved tear strength and flex resistance. Finished with a fluorocarbon durable water repellent (DWR) that improves the water resistance of the fabric.


  • Coolmesh Windtunnel back system
  • S-shaped shoulder harness
  • Sternum strap
  • One main compartment
  • Mesh side pockets
  • Hydration system compatible
  • Compression straps
  • Shock cord carry system
  • Crampon loops
  • Ice axe holder
  • Map pocket
  • Rotproof thread
  • Reinforced with bartacks
  • Durable water repellent (DWR)
  • YKK Zips

Volume: approx. 1,525 cu. in”


I was very impressed with this pack when I first opened the box.  The Karrimor Sabre Delta 25 immediately exudes quality when you handle it.  The shoulder straps and back are thickly padded, the stitching is beautiful, and the product’s finish is exceptional.  Did I mention I was impressed?

Starting with the exterior, the two mesh pockets are decent for water bottles, or small items you might need right away.  There are ice axe and crampon loops, which will never get any use from me, so I can’t comment on their effectiveness, but the shock cord is perfect for stashing a light jacket.  The map pocket is sized for smaller items at about 10″ x 8″, and the compression straps do a good job tightening up the pack when it’s not full, or securing the loads inside.  The zippers are nice YKK units with paracord pulls.  I particularly like the rubber lined main zipper.  Topping the pack is a nice large grab handle.  Next to the grab handle is a large pass through that goes from the top of the pack down into the main pocket.  The back panel of the pack has a deep channel and mesh for cooling.  There’s a nice sternum strap with elastic for ease of movement.  There’s also a wide, but un-padded, stabilizing hip/waist strap.  The mesh where the strap attaches to the bag is a nice detail.  The top of the pack features stabilization straps normally found on much taller packs.

Inside the main pack is one large main pocket with a small divider presumably for a hydration bladder and a small zippered pouch.  I’d love a few more smaller pockets or dividers in either the main pack or the map pocket for more organization, as the pockets tends to “black hole” my smaller items.  The pass through at the top of the pack is interesting.  It’s much larger than a normal hydration tube pass through.  You might make use of this pass through for carrying items longer than the inside of the pack would normally allow.  We are going to have to test what type of options this give us in the future.  The strap stabilization straps might be there just for this purpose.

The pack feels very form fitting and aerodynamic when worn.  It is very comfortable even when carrying 20lbs.  The channel between the pack and your back is also great as it allows for airflow to cool and dry the middle of your back.  More testing needs to be done to test the water resistance of the fabric, but it did work for a very light drizzle that lasted about 10 minutes.

At just under $120 ($117.49), the Karrimor SF pack isn’t exactly cheap, but…seems to buck the old saying “you get what you pay for”.  I’d expect this pack to be more in the $150-$175 range, and expect it perform with $200+ commercial hiking packs.


The back of the pack; note the compression straps, mesh, and shock cord
The front of the pack; note the compression straps, mesh, and shock cord


Padding on the back of the pack. The channel promotes air flow.
Padding on the back of the pack. The channel promotes air flow.


Load adjustment points on top of shoulder straps
Load adjustment points on top of shoulder straps
Rubber zipper covers help with water resistance
Rubber zipper covers help with water resistance


Pocket on the front of the pack
Pocket on the front of the pack


Inside the main pocket of the pack. Sleeve against the back of the pack, and a small zippered pouch on the front side.
Inside the main pocket of the pack. Sleeve against the back of the pack, and a small zippered pouch on the front side.


Cramp-on loops...I doubt I'll ever use these.
Cramp-on loops…I doubt I’ll ever use these.  The mesh pockets work well for holding smaller bottle and items.  the standard Nalgene bottles are too large.


Grey Ghost Gear

How Predators Choose Their Target

“There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory acts of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

“However, when there were cues given by potential victims that indicated they would not go easily, the cons said that they would walk away. If the cons sensed that the target was a ‘counter-predator’, that is a sheepdog, they would leave him alone unless there was no other choice but to engage.”

Lt. Col. David Grossman

Denial Kills You Twice

“Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: You didn’t bring your gun; you didn’t train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by fear, helplessness, horror and shame at your moment of truth.”

Lt. Col. David Grossman

Review: Strongsuit Gloves

TSG has been using a new pair of gloves from Strongsuit — specifically the Q-Series Enforcer TAC Night Camo. 

Night Camo Q Series Enforcer TAC gloves from Strongsuit.

The company has pulled in Gary Quesenberry,  Top Shot All-Star finalist, to design a line of gloves for shooters.

We have to say that we’ve been a fan of the Mechanix tactical gloves for a long time. But we are always on the look out for a thin, supple shooting glove, which is why we tried out these gloves from Strongsuit.

First, these gloves are pretty high tech. They feel completely different from any kind of glove we’ve normally used. The only “organic” textile identifiable is the completely useful terry cloth wipe on the back of the thumb portion.  The rest is totally manmade.

Good tactile feeling while offering protection.

They are very thin and the palm portion is made up of some sort of material which the company calls TAC-Sense. It’s a smooth material that does a good job of transmitting feel. It’s not sticky or tacky, but yet gives a good grip.

These gloves have some great features:

  • A large carabiner clip grommet built into the cuff so you can clip them together or clip them to your rig or harness.
  • Form-fitted, pre-curved fingers making for a better fit than flat gloves.
  • Breathable fabric on the back of the hand to keep them cool.
  • Terry cloth portion on the back of the thumb. The company says it’s for sweat, but these are fantastic for the runny nose you get when it’s cold.
  • Velcro wrist closure strap.
Palm is a synthetic material that offers a good balance of feel and grip.
Palm is a synthetic material that offers a good balance of feel and grip.

While showing the Night Camo model here, the gloves are also available in Black, Desert Tan, Sage, Camo, and Pink Camo.


  • Very thin, good feel.
  • Very comfortable, breathable.
  • Carabiner clip for keeping these gloves organized and available.
  • The terry cloth portion is perfectly positioned for wiping the sweat from your brow or the runny nose we all get in cold weather.
  • Good value for the cost.
  • Good wear for thin gloves. They’ve used shooting, setting up and tearing down targets and frames, and weightlifting.


  • The sensation is diminished at the very fingertips where the seams come together, just like every other glove. Not a deal breaker.
  • Here’s one that is totally not the fault of the glove — they do not keep your hands warm when it’s cold. But then, they are not designed to and we know we were using them outside of their intended mission. In one case, we were freezing during a night shoot on the range and they were the only gloves available. In another case, we used them outdoors in the snow knowing they would not be warm. These gloves are supposed to give you some protection while still allowing good tactile sense.


  •  $24.99 retail at a gun store.

Review: Kali Combatives with Master Apolo Ladra

We recently took a Kali combatives seminar with master Apolo Ladra.

Check out the video below for an overview of the style of Apolo Ladra:

As you can see, Kali can use empty hands, blades and sticks. It is the national martial art of the Philippines. Apolo volunteered to us that he looks at the stick training as a way to introduce students to the blade. “We didn’t drive out the Spanish with sticks,” he said. “We used machetes.”

The course I took was open to anyone from 13-years and older. The class was a mix of teens and adults, mostly karate practitioners and beginning Kali students.

We have to include ourselves in this description. We have very little formal Kali training. Although the little training we’ve had allowed us to get a glimpse of what can be possible through some hands-on demonstrations and individualized attention from Apolo.

First of all, Apolo Ladra is a fantastic instructor. He is engaging, funny, and adept at teaching to the level of the individual student. He can take complicated concepts and techniques and make them easily understood.

Apolo Ladra teaching at recent Kali seminar.
Apolo Ladra teaching at recent Kali seminar.

What is also extremely attractive is his answer to the second and third question — the counter to the counter to the counter. You know, the questions that always come up, “Yeah, but what if he does this?” “What if he grabs your wrist?” “What if, what if?”

Apolo’s mastery of the subject matter is evident in that he effortlessly shows you the counter to the counter. And then shows you the additional counter to the counter while bringing you back to the original technique or concept he was first teaching. 

This is important as a student, because you get this ah-hah! moment where you see what we are trying to accomplish. Getting back to the original technique or using a technique we just learned is extremely important in building confidence that the technique or concept is sound.


  • Apolo Ladra’s teaching style and presence make for an very enjoyable seminar.
  • The concepts were very easy to pick and an apply in a short time.
  • Apolo’s demonstrations with his assistant instructor showing how the techniques flow into advanced self-defense techniques.
  • The drills allowed you to see how the techniques worked.
  • The seminar was useful for all ages and abilities.
  • The seminar was a “learning” seminar that gave ample time for drilling and practicing the techniques with a partner. It was not designed as a “smoker” session which tested your fitness levels. Nor was it a “competitive” session that pitted you against other students in sparring or grappling.
  • The length of the seminar was right for getting a good amount of information while keeping up your concentration.


  • It’s hard to find any — except for intermediate and advanced practitioners would not benefit from the basic level of instruction. But, keep in mind, this was billed as a seminar helping a school introduce Kali to area and their students.


  • $50 for four hours of instruction and training.

Self-Defense Lessons from Concealed Handgun Carry Course

This article originally appeared on the Defend University web site and detailed a number of items which apply to everyone carrying a concealed weapon for self-defense from an instructional module in a high level executive protection course.

This particular course had representatives from the military, law enforcement and the security industry. There was also a very skilled martial artist taking the course as a way to get into the executive protection business.  Many of the students have experience at the highest level of the special warfare and special forces business.

The lessons learned by the experiences that happened during this course are the same that instructors will see time and time again — and they have direct applications for any one carrying a handgun for self-defense or for the defense of others. What this class presented to these students was a good dose of stress (much of it probably self-inflicted since they wanted to pass the shooting module to graduate from the course), movement and drawing from concealment.

My observations:

  1. Shooting a handgun quickly and accurately involves perishable skills.  All of the mechanics that go into smooth, effective and accurate handgun shooting are fine motor skills — and that means they don’t hold up well over time without practice.  I witnessed operators with world-class experience right out of the hottest combat zones having a difficult time presenting and shooting their handguns well. I’m not saying they were terrible — they were adequate, but I could tell visually that there was a lot of rust in their technique and it was not what you would expect from this strata of operators. Their comments to me indicated they were not happy with their performance. The comments were not so much an excuse, but more of an explanation like “sheesh, I’ve not really shot my handgun in the last 18 months” or a lot of head shaking and muttering under their breath. It’s obvious there was room for improvement. (To be fair here, it’s a whole different story with other courses I’ve done with active military personnel that involve carbines. Obviously, the M4 is their sword and the one that they spend their time shooting and not handguns.) All of the students’ targets improved significantly as the course went on, some from getting back into the groove of their potential skill level and other because they were benefitting from the instruction and coaching.
  2. Shooting is not a natural behavior. It’s a skill that requires putting together multiple actions over a short period of time. There is a grip, presentation, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger press and follow through. Then there are other aspects like ammunition management and the re-holster. That’s a lot of thoughts and actions in what should be a simple sequence. It’s a bit like golf in that regard. To become a superior golfer, you need instruction. To become a superior gunfighter, you need instruction. Practice and then get more coaching. Practice what you’ve been coached on. The most proficient shooters where those who have been taught an efficient drawstroke and delivery of rounds on target. They have practiced and can smoothly repeat the action over and over again. The self-taught and uncoached students were inconsistent and seemed to be searching for an answer to their inconsistency during the course. This second group of students did benefit significantly from the instruction (my point in #1 above), but they were still outshown by those who had good technique to begin with.
  3. Practice with your concealment equipment. This is probably the number one problem I observed during this course. A good number of the students have not regularly shot from concealment. Police officers and military members are almost always overtly armed and carry a duty rig that is configured the same all the time. Security personnel and citizens almost always do their shooting on the range. But carrying covertly or concealed means you will have some sort of garment covering your holster. In fact, many people carry a different type or sized handgun for concealment than they do for duty or the range. Many people then use a different type of holster for concealed carry than they do for duty, range or competition. Let’s look at this — shoot all the time on the range with one handgun and one holster on a belt, but now carry a different handgun in a different holster under a garment for self-defense. See where I’m going with this? I saw some serious flubs on draws caused by unfamiliarity with the concealed carry. I saw draws that got tangled up in shirttails. I saw two students fumbling with the safeties and magazine release buttons on unfamiliar pistols. I saw a student literally draw his holster — his paddle-style holster was still attached to the pistol when he drew it. It had come right out of his waistband. I also talked with one operator who carried a compact .45 semi-concealed on his plate carrier in Afghanistan only to find out one day that it had become rusted sometime during his deployment. Practice with what you are going to carry. Shake down your set up. Does it work? Does it work under stress? You should probably rethink your handgun system. Instead of having different types of handguns for different activities, take a look at having the same handgun in different sizes, i.e. duty, compact and subcompact. For Glock people that could mean a Glock 17 full-sized handgun for duty or range; a Glock 19 compact model for concealed carry or a Glock 26 subcompact model for deep concealed carry. In this example all of the models use the same caliber (9mm) and are the same size with the exception of shorter barrels and grips for the compact and subcompact models. If you are a .40 caliber fan, then you could repeat this system with a Glock 22 full-sized handgun for duty, a Glock 23 compact for concealment and a Glock 27 subcompact. Staying with one handgun system means the same manual of arms, the same sight picture and the same “feel” for all of the handguns.

Your super-stressful self-defense incident should not be the time to be figuring out your equipment. It should not be the time to find out that you haven’t kept up your skills.

There will be no warm up.

You will not have time to get ready — you will have to be ready.

Train like your life depends on it.

Review: Speed Marksmanship with J.J. Racaza

TSG signed up to take a course with J.J. Racaza called Speed Marksmanship held at the Clark County shooting facility in Las Vegas. Some of you might know the name from the television series “Top Shot” and some of you might know his name from the competition world.

J.J. Racaza instructing students at Speed Marksmanship shooting class.
J.J. Racaza instructing students at Speed Marksmanship shooting class.

But what most don’t know is that he has spent a substantial part of his career dedicated to the Department of Homeland Security in operating and training.

That combination of competition and practical firearms perspective made this course extremely interesting.

First things first: this a high-level class. It is not for beginners. The subtle concepts will be lost on those who have not attained an advanced level of skill. Seriously — if you are not willing to explore the advanced concepts of trigger control for 6 hours, this is not the class for you.

The exciting aspect of this course was the focus on breaking through the “normal” concepts of shooting and give you a doorway into the physical and mental aspects of the world’s fastest competitive shooters. It is designed to ruthlessly push your boundaries and force you onto a whole new level of shooting. And J.J. does this in a really, really engaging way.

That being said, J.J. emphasized the “marksmanship” aspect of the course title. It doesn’t matter how fast you are shooting if you are not hitting your target. He reinforced this concept during some of the competitive challenges during the course — only the times with hits were counted. In other words, students with extremely fast misses were disqualified leaving slower students who achieved hits as winners.

Here is a video from the course showing J.J. coaching Brad. The goal of the drill is to increase the speed of the shot transitioning from the near paper target to the far steel target.

As you can see, J.J. is saying Brad had a “delayed press” on the first string. He is coaching him to begin prepping the trigger even as he transitions from the paper target to the steel one about 15 yards beyond. The coaching yields a dramatically improved time for the second string.

Speed Marksmanship Course Concepts

  1. The fundamentals mastered.
  2. Trigger control.
  3. Presentation.
  4. Target transitions.

Class Pros and Cons

These are impressions coming from our experience for one particular day.  Remember that variables such as a different day, a different location or a different group of students can have an effect on the course experience for you. In other words, your mileage might vary.  Also take into account the yin/yang aspect of a positive aspect creating a corresponding negative aspect. Increased personal attention and coaching = pro. The corresponding drag on the rest of the class = con.  You decide what’s more important to you.


  • J.J. has an engaging personality and his teaching method is a good blend of friendly and firm. He’s the type of instructor who pushes you in a way that makes you want to perform.
  • Surprising amount of personal coaching and one-on-one time.
  • The concepts are extremely advanced which challenge you.
  • Instructor who DOES what he is teaching.  J.J. demonstrates the concepts giving you concrete examples for some very esoteric information. Demonstrating the drills and the concepts at a very, very high level also reinforces the credibility of the instructor. In this case, J.J. makes most of it look easy.  When he pushes himself towards the upper limits of his own speed, you start to see his accuracy degrading — just like students experience.  In business leadership, this expression of vulnerability (J.J. showing us he is human as he begins to “fail”) establishes trust among the group.
  • The concepts are measured. The shot timer is out and used religiously giving students a very real barometer of performance. This is important because some of the methods, particularly for transitions between targets, are perceived to be “slower”, yet the timer proves they are actually faster.
  • Friendly competition and making a game out of the drills adds to the fun and keeps interest.


  • The length of the course might challenge your concentration and attention for a skill  that demands concentration and attention.
  • The personal coaching time for individual students leaves the rest of the group with some down time. This is great for reloading magazines, hydrating, snacking. But it can make the overall course tempo feel somewhat slower — particularly later in the evening.


$250 for 9 hours of instruction and training.  Expect to shoot about 500 rounds.

Check out more background on J.J. in the video below:

Mindset of Successful Defense Against Knife Attack

We have another post concerning a murder spree in  New York where Maksim Gelman killed four and injured another five people during a 28-hour rampage with an 8-inch chef’s knife.

His rampage finally ended on the subway when he ran into Joseph Lozito, a 40-year-old ticket seller at Lincoln Center.  He had noticed Gelman earlier and pegged him for a suspicious type. When Gelman tried to break into the motorman’s car and was repulsed by the cops there, he ran back through the car lunging toward Lozito yelling “You are going to die!”

Lozito’s actions and his story is a brilliant example of the successful self-defense mindset.

Lozito instantly counter attacked, taking down Gelman with a leg sweep. Gelman produced the 8-inch knife from under his jacket and began slashing at Lozito who was grappling with the killer, trying to control his wrist. During the onslaught, Lozito suffered a number of slash wounds to his head, hands and arms — typical

Joseph Lozito knife injuries
Joseph Lozito’s actions stopped the murder spree. (Photo credit NY Daily News)

defensive wounds suffered by stabbing victims.

Tying the bad guy up gave enough time for New York’s finest to charge onto the train and subdue the attacker.

Let’s look at the lessons we can take from Lozito’s brave and unselfish actions on that train:

  • Lozito is basically an untrained fighter although he is described as a “MMA buff” who watches the UFC on television. If he can do it, you can do it.
  • Lozito was highly aware of the suspicious nature of Gelman.  ”You could tell this guy was shady,” he said. “I had my eye on him”.  AwarenessHe was already ‘switched on’ to possible danger and was not surprised when the confrontation began. 
  • Lozito reacted to the threat immediately, most likely crashing into Gelman as the madman lunged forward, then kicking or sweeping the attacker’s legs out from under him. “I wouldn’t win any style points for taking him down, but it did the job,” he said. You are not in a competition, no one is scoring you on the looks of your techniques. Only the effectiveness of the techniques count. Remember, there is no second place in a lethal force encounter. 
  • His bulk (he is 6-2 and 270 lbs.) undoubtedly helped negate the charge from Gelman. Mass and firepower count in combat.
  • Lozito had a clear sense of his mission — take the bad guy down and control his wrist.  Concentrate on the immediate task at hand. Reject negative or disassociated thoughts that can enter your mind. Keep a clear mind and focus on what needs to be done right now, which is stop and secure the weapon. 
  • During the attack, Lozito pressed for a psychological advantage by telling Gelman, “You better hope that I die because I’m going to come kill you.” The tide of a battle or a deadly assault often turns in favor of the combatant with the sheer determination to fight to the end, to never give up.
  • Lozito’s commitment is obvious and he continued to fight despite being slashed severely.  However, as is often the case in the heat of defending against a murderous attack, he was unaware of his injuries until after the event when blood was pouring out of his wounds. You might have already been stabbed, cut, shot or knocked down. But that’s not the end of the fight. You must press on and persevere — finish the fight! Heinous injuries are survivable and modern emergency medical services will be there shortly to give you the best care on the planet. Better to act and be injured than freeze and allow yourself to be killed.
  • Lozito said, “I’m glad he picked me. There were a lot of women and children on the train who couldn’t defend themselves. He picked me and instinct kicked in.” You are morally justified — indeed morally obligated — to protect the weak and innocent from evil. 
  • He had something to live for.  After the cops subdued Gelman and a good Samaritan came forward to put pressure on Lozito’s wounds, he said, “I told him, you gotta get me out of here. I can’t die on this train.  I have a wife and two kids.” You have something bigger than yourself to live for: your wife, your kids, your parents. Don’t let him cut your life short — you have more to do in this life. You were not destined to die on the floor of some subway train or in a filthy gutter or deserted ditch. Keep fighting to preserve the life you deserve.

“I wasn’t going down without a fight,” he said. “I took his best shots and I am still standing.”

Kudos to Joseph Lozito for modeling the way of a successful defender.

This post has been revised from the original on the Defend University website which no longer features articles.