Tag Archives: tactical

Review: 5.11 RUSH 24 Backpack

If you’ve read any of my recent reviews you’ll already know that I am a big fan of 5.11 Tactical’s range of products. There’s good reason for this as it is well known that the company produces outstanding products at a reasonable price. I also believe that part of their success is due to the research and development that they put into each and every item that enters their production line. And when I say “research” I don’t mean guys behind computers punching keyboards! What research means to 5.11 is consulting with law enforcement and military personal, to establish what will best suit their needs in real life situations.

For review I was sent a Multi-Cam RUSH 24hr backpack which is certainly no exception to the 5.11 standards of research. The RUSH pack is part of the VTAC series of products which were designed with the help of Special Operations Combat Veteran Kyle E. Lamb. Kyle has a long list of decorations which includes his involvement during a battle in Somalia which most of us will know from the movie Black Hawk Down. Kyle spent 17 of his 21 years in the Military as a member of Special Operations so I think we can safely assume that he knows his stuff.

The RUSH 24 is (as the name implies) designed to be used as a 24 hour backpack, which basically means that you should be able to fit enough equipment into it to get you by for a day, without the need for additional supplies. The dimensions are 20”H x 12”W x 7”D (inch’s) which is quite big for a 24 hour pack. I would be very surprised if you couldn’t extend it to a 48 hour bag as there really is a lot of room for extras. Yet with its large capacity it doesn’t tend to be cumbersome or bulky when in use.

The RUSH is made with water resistant 1050 denier nylon which I can verify does exactly what 5.11 claim it does. During the course of a 42km walk I got soaked by some steady drizzle, but everything inside the pack stayed dry and moisture free. The nylon also seems durable and other than a few scuff marks it’s been holding up really well. During testing I managed to lean against a bushfire burnt tree which left a thick layer of soot all over the pack. The dirt just simply brushed off the nylon and left only a little trace that it had been there at all. It’s nice to know that cleaning is an easy task.

The RUSH Compression strap

The zippers are heavy duty YKK and have solid pull taps attached to each one. They haven’t failed me in any way and given their design, I doubt they ever will. They are silky smooth and can be operated with one hand with little effort. I’m always looking for weak zipper designs because they’re usually the first thing to fail on cheaper items. However, I’m yet to see a fault occur with any of the YKK zippers.

The one major complaint I had with my previous backpack was the lack of pockets and it was nice the see that the RUSH has pockets to spare. There are honestly that many of them that I wouldn’t have enough room in this article to go over them all. But I will say they are very well incorporated into the pack and it seems like each pocket has been purpose built for something. My favourite is the fleece lined sunglass pocket that is located on the top of the pack. It’s great having somewhere to keep your glasses protected and yet still be able to easily locate them. The side pockets are also handy and I find them great for storing drink bottles, torches and large knives.

There is also a hydration pocket which allows you to fit a water bladder. There are two exit holes for the hose which then attaches to either of the packs shoulder straps. I was using a Deuter 3 litre bladder which fitted well but I did find the drinking hose a tad on the short side for this pack. Each brand (and model) of bladder will differ but in any case it’s an easy fix if you want to extend the tubing.

The main compartment of the RUSH 24 pack features compression straps which allow you to either extend or decrease the storage capacity of the bag. I found that during basic day trips such as hunting or bushwalking, the straps can be tightened all the way up giving the bag a smaller profile which is handy when trying to stalk through timber. If maximum capacity is what you’re after then keep them relaxed and you’ll be surprised at how much the bag will fit.

The large shoulder straps!

The shoulder straps are quite wide which helps distribute the weight and I found the RUSH to be extremely comfortable during all levels of testing. I’m yet to find a backpack that can compete with the RUSH 24 in the comfort category.

There are MOLLE attachment points at the front and sides of the pack which gives users the ability to add additional pouches and accessories if needed. I don’t own a lot of MOLLE compatible pouches but just about anything can be rigged to fit with a little ingenuity and a couple of cable ties.

The fleece lined glasses pocket on top of the pack

The RUSH 24 is available in a range of colours with the Multi-Cam being the newest offering. I like the camouflage pattern but if you find it too wild for your liking then there are plain variations available.

The front pocket and it's usual occupants. First Aid Kit, Survival Kit, Pens, 2x Emergency Blankets plus heaps of room to spare.

Overall I’m really impressed with the RUSH 24 which I can’t say is a surprise given that it’s got the 5.11 logo on it. You can see by the features that a lot of thought and effort has gone into the design and the quality indicates that it’s built to last. 5.11 Tactical gear can be obtained through Kizylars website or the 5.11 Australia site which will be linked below. As the Multi-Cam is a more complex pattern, there will be an additional cost over the standard coloured versions.

For a full run down on all the packs features, check out the video from 5.11 below.




Review: 5.11 ATAC 8″ Duty Boot

As hunters we spend a lot of time on our feet, whether it’s walking to and from targets or walking the hills in search of game. It’s because of this that we often feel the need to upgrade our footwear. For many years I got by with the traditional Blundstones but as I started spending more time in the bush, I also started to realise that I needed something with more ankle support. I went through a few different types of boots, and I eventually settled on an expensive set of Merrell hiking boots.

I’ve been using the Merrell’s for a while and they are a nice comfortable boot. However, it didn’t take long to figure out that they have almost zero traction when conditions turn wet. I found myself double guessing every step and spending more time looking at my footing than I spent looking for game. Eventually I decided it was time to see what other options were available.,

Given that I had heard and seen good things from the 5.11 Tactical gear, I decided to look into their range of footwear. I was surprised at the choices available and after doing some research I picked the ATAC 8” boot in my size and waited for them to arrive.

The ATAC's tread design!

The ATAC (All Terrain All Condition) is designed as a patrol boot, which means that certain features have been incorporated into its design. Firstly it has been built to keep the overall weight as low as possible, which has the dual purpose of less fatigue and, of course, extra speed in “operational” situations. There is also an oil/slip-resistant outsole, which is said to provide positive traction, even on wet surfaces (more on that later).

Comfort is something that 5.11 have put a lot of effort into. There is a list of features incorporated into these boots which includes a Shock Mitigation System, antibacterial lining, open-cell foam cushioning, dual density ‘polyou’ cushioning and an injection-moulded phylon midsole. What does all this mean to us? Well it means that 5.11 haven’t taken any shortcuts in the comfort department.

Perhaps the most interesting feature is the side zipper which allows you to remove the boots without having to untie the laces. You can put the boots back on by simply sliding your foot in and  doing the zipper back up.( One of the things that I had hated about lace-up boots was the time taken to remove  them, and then put them back on, when visiting homesteads. It’s a task that takes some time, but I’d had no way around it if I wanted a fully supportive boot.) I was a little concerned about how secure the zipper would be and also if the supportive features of the boot would have to be reduced in order for the zipper to operate. Only time would tell if my concerns were warranted, but so far, so good.

The ATAC boots have a polished leather toe, and a full grain leather and nylon upper section, which gives the boots a smart look about them. The shoelaces are anti-static, anti-snag and are made to be strong and durable. There is also a hidden pocket on the upper part of the boot which can be used to hold a small pocket knife, or perhaps a flint or a lighter.

That's one heavy duty zipper!

So now that the brief overview of the features of the ATAC’s is out of the way, it’s time to see how they performed in the field. Over the course of this review, I managed to clock 60-odd kilometres of bush use, and that’s not taking into account the amount of street use they saw. (I rarely activate my GPS when walking on the street, although it might be a good idea considering the amount of times I can’t remember where I parked my car.)

The first thing that I noticed was the comfort of the boots. As you would expect from all the effort put into the design, they are extremely comfortable. I had heard mention from other users that there was no breaking-in period needed, but I found that it took a little over the 7km mark before they softened fully. However, even during this period there were no blisters or rubbing to cause concern. The boots weighs 653grams each, which is 100grams heavier than my Merrell’s but the Merrell’s are only a six inch boot and the ATAC’s are an eight. In any case, they are light and comfortable.

The grip of the ATAC outsole is simply amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a boot that grips as well as these. Even in wet conditions I felt confident that the boots wouldn’t slip out from under me. The traction was excellent and they are a huge step up from the Merrell’s in that department.

When I first laid eyes on the boots I was a little apprehensive about how secure the zippers would be and whether the supportive features of the boot would have to be reduced in order for the zippers to operate.  As it turns out the side zippers functioned faultlessly the whole time. Once the laces are done up tight, the zipper is used to remove the boot. The zipper can be a little tight when doing them back up, but that’s because they need to be, in order to keep the full support provided by the laces. If it feels overly tight, you can simply loosen the laces a touch to your perfect fit. The zippers never jammed and they are one of my favourite features of the ATAC’s. There is now no excuse for walking cow dung through a homestead!

The water resistance of the ATAC’s is also very good. Early morning walks through the wet grass will still see your feet remaining dry and warm. After all the rain we’ve been having here lately there have been plenty of chances the get them wet and the only time the boots took on water was when I was forced to walk up a shallow creek, against the current. (Another bonus of having the side zipper is that the boots can be opened up beautifully to allow for an airing or a drying out if you have blundered into deep water and got them wet.)

The hidden pocket comes in handy for a wide range of object.

When I first saw the hidden pocket on the ATAC’s I thought it was a bit of a gimmick, but they are actually very useful. They fit a Leatherman Micro very snug and there’s no chance of it falling out whilst on a walk. You don’t feel any bulge from the contents of the pocket on your foot. In the other pocket I keep a few Band-aids which I always seem to be going through due to my habit of being accident-prone. You could easily fit in a length of fishing line and a hook or other small but useful items.

Even after all the testing of these boots, they cleaned up remarkably well. I got away with wearing them as a dress boot to a family members wedding and I can guarantee that I had the best footwear there! The outsole has stood up remarkably well and I’m sure they’ll last longer than my Merrell’s which have already lost a few chunks of tread.

As you can no doubt tell, I’m really impressed with the 5.11 ATAC boots. They are made exceptionally well and they cost a lot less than you would expect for such a great quality product.. You can pick a pair up for less than $160.00 which is a fair bit cheaper than what my Merrell’s are retailing for.

Check out 5.11 Tactical’s video below which spends a couple of minutes going over some of the best features of the ATAC boots.


Review: 5.11 Deflect Protective Eyewear

Over the last several years there has been a vast improvement in regards to shooters being aware of the need for PPE (personal protective equipment). As with any sport, shooting has the potential to inflict long term damage if certain precautions are not adhered to.

When attending a range session you will see shooters wearing hearing protection but remarkably few will be wearing the just as important safety glasses. I’m not talking about normal sunglasses or prescription lenses, I’m referring to impact resistant and standard approved protective eyewear.

I can understand why some people may have been reluctant to wear safety glasses in the past. They usually consisted of these huge goggle like lenses that scratched easily and made the wearer look particularly goofy like. However with today’s fashion based society, it wasn’t long until we had access to some exceptionally sexy (and functional of course) protective eyewear.

There are quite a few companies that sell safety glasses but the ones that I was most interested in were the 5.11 Tactical Deflect series. Not only did I like the look of the glasses but I also wanted something that had inter-changeable lenses. Protective glasses are something that you are going to have for a long time so it’s worth buying a quality product. 5.11 have an excellent reputation in this regard and some research showed that their glasses are highly rated.

I approached 5.11 Australia for some further information on their eyewear and they kindly offered to loan me a pair of Deflect glasses so I could review and test them for the readers of this site.

The durable protective case

One of the first things that I noticed with these glasses was the protective case they come concealed in. The case is compression moulded which gives it a hard outer shell that helps protect the glasses from accidental damage. There is a MOLLE attachment system on the case which can be modified to fit belts, bags and a range of other accessories. That’s the great thing about MOLLE attachment points is that they can be readily modified to suit the user. The inside of the protective case is lined with felt which further helps to protect the glasses. Because the case is zipper operated, I was curious to see if the glasses could at all be exposed to the metal zipper. Close inspection showed that the case interlocks in such a manner that there is no risk of that ever happening. The protective case is well designed and the materials are built to last.

Inside the protective case is a product information leaflet which should be read before using the glasses. It contains all the warranty and certification data but it also provides information on the proper care and cleaning of the eyewear. I’m usually the last person to read the instructions first but in this case it’s worth adhering too.

The spare lenses come in a protective cloth bag which has dual opposed openings. The lenses are further protected inside the bag by a divider that ensures the lenses don’t scratch against each other. Both ends are sealed by a drawstring and you need to make sure the ends are closed before transporting them or you could end up with the lenses on one side falling out.

As I mentioned earlier, the Deflect series of glasses come with interchangeable lenses. There are three lenses to choose from, Plain Smoke, Ballistic Orange and Clear. The Plain Smoke lenses come fitted to the glasses and they are the ones that you would use in bright conditions. They have a light transmission rating of 15% and during the testing they performed exceptionally well. In bright conditions my eyes had no problems relaxing and they absorbed the glare better than I had expected.

The Ballistic Orange lenses were just as impressive. Designed for use in semi low-light conditions, they have a light transmission rating of 53%. I used these on overcast days and in these conditions they were fantastic. They seem to take in all the available light whilst still keeping your eyes relaxed. Whilst wearing these I managed to spot a feral cat at the entrance to a cave that I’m sure I would not have been able to distinguish without the glasses on. After trying these I’m now sold on Orange lenses for these conditions.

The extra lenses and the protective bag that they come in

The Clear lenses are obviously designed for low-light and dark conditions and have a light transmission of 89%. Whilst I didn’t get around to doing any spotlighting with these lenses, I can imagine that they would be perfectly suited for the task.

The lenses are distortion free and provide 100% UVA and UVB protection. They are scratch, crack and craze-resistant. Scratch resistance is a hard thing to reliably test but after the reviewing stages were completed I checked the lenses thoroughly and couldn’t see any detectable scratches. Of course it always pays to be careful with your lenses and always follow the proper cleaning procedures.

The glasses/lenses exceed the standards for high velocity impact and optical requirements which ensures the user that the eyewear will serve its primary purpose. The lenses are also available to purchase individually just in case you manage to find a way to damage or loose the original ones.

The frame of Deflects is both stylish and functional. They’ve been comfortable to wear and on occasions I’ve forgotten that I had them on. The frame is made from Grilamid TM TR-90 which is basically a material that allows high bending strength, low density and a high resistance to both chemical and UV damage. What all that means to the user is that the frame is built to last and withstand exposure to the elements.

The very functional soft nose piece

The nose piece on some glasses can often be uncomfortable because they are designed for the “average” nose. Luckily the Deflects feature a soft and adjustable TPR nose piece which is a great feature from a comfort point of view.

5.11 Tactical eyewear is created in partnership with Wiley X which is well known for producing quality products. As with most of the 5.11 products available they have been designed from input given to them by law enforcement and special operations personnel.

There is a bit of a trick to changing the lenses so make sure you read the instructions before trying to remove them. I’ll attach a video below this article which shows you exactly how to perform the task without damaging the lenses or frame.

The 5.11 Deflects are available from Kizylar Australia’s website and they are currently listed for just under the $100 mark. These glasses will last you many years if properly cared for so in my opinion the asking price is well justified. There are quite a few styles of glasses from 5.11 so there will be something to suit everyone. Make sure you check out their website for all the models available.


Mossberg’s 464 SPX Tactical Lever Action.

Well the SHOT Show is happening right now in Las Vegas, Nevada and the US blogs are all posting cool stuff at a blistering rate, We’ll try out best to tell you about the things that are relevant to Aussies or just plain awesome. Or in this case a bit of an obscurity:

The Mossberg  464 SPX Tacticool Lever Action, coming with adjustable stock, picatinny rails, fibre optic sights and a flash supressor (Though if it ever lands here it wont have the suppressor).

The rifle will be available in 22LR with a 18 inch barrel and 13+1 shots as well as a 30-30 with 5+1 shots and a 16″ barrel.

I don’t know what to make of it, seems a bit strange to me but good to see the old workhorse of the west get a modern tacticool facelift anyhow.

[Hat Tip: The Firearm Blog]