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Patriot Cases: A Review, or something.
Patriot Cases out of Smithfield, North Carolina is our next victim reviewee. Is that a word? Reviewee? Well if it wasn’t it is now. Somebody call Miriam-Webster and tell them to update the dictionary.
Patriot Cases is run by Brack Wilson. No relation to Wilson Combat, Tom Hanks’ volleyball, or that old dude Dennis the Menace terrorizes(seriously, why hasn’t that kid been arrested?) but don’t hold that against him. What you can hold against him, is the fact that he’s an Eagles Fan. Mr. Wilson started Patriot Cases WAAAAAY back in 2012, after leaving a pretty successful career at Starlight Cases.
They do things a little differently there, and that was one of the things I found really interesting. The bed of the case is not the pluck foam you’re probably used to. You know, that foam where you tear out little cubes until you get the shape you want. The bedding on Patriot Cases are made from a solid piece of mil-spec high density polyethelene. That basically means Brack Wilson goes deep into the forests of North Carolina twice a week and harvests the eyebrows of bears to make the stuff. You know why there are no bear eyebrow harvesting videos on Youtube? Because nobody has ever survived trying. Except Brack Wilson.
They make these for different guns, but since I have an AR style Modern Sporting Rifle, I thought it would be relevant to get an AR Case, which yes, I paid for, so shut up. Anyway, you’ve got this obviously oversized sort-of rifle shaped cut out, which you then cut to fit your rifle and put back in the case. Think about this for a second. If you have a bedding of pluck foam, once you’ve made the cut out a certain size, you’re stuck with it. If you put a shorter barrel on your rifle, or get a smaller optic, or decide to take the optic off completely, you can’t really put those little cubes back into the foam bedding. You just have to take the whole thing out and start over.
With this system, you can just cut a piece off the cut out, and re-insert it to fit your needs. Then, if you put a longer barrel on your weapon, get a bigger optic or handguard or whatever, you can remove the piece of foam and voila(that’s French for tada!)! Your case fits your gun more betterer than before.
Now if you look at the picture above, you’ll notice that I have a Burkett Offset mount on my rifle. That made finding a case that would fit my rifle properly kind of a pain in the butt, and I was fully prepared to bitch and complain about nobody making cases that fit guns with offset mounts. Do I get to do that here? Nope. I was expecting the case to not shut, or twist or stretch or in some way go wrong. As shocking as this may be( except to my wife), I was totally wrong!
The case fits fine, closed with out a hitch, and does not deform where the offset mount is. This required no special modifications on the case whatsoever, which is a big plus for shooters who have offset sighting systems, or some other modification on your rifle that makes it unusually large. Most cases, I’ve found, are built much more narrowly and won’t close properly if at all.
Another thing I like is the additional cutouts. There’s a place for additional ammo and 5 magazines if you live in Free America. If you live in one of the commie weirdo places like the People’s Democratic Republic of Kalifornia, you can put more ammo in there, or a cleaning kit or something, and leave your fixed 10 round magazine in the mag well.
This is the last thing I’ll say about the bedding and I’ll move on, promise. The foam is water proof and solvent proof, so you don’t have to worry about the Hoppe’s #9 or Fireclean or what ever your CLP of choice is eating through the foam.
Take a look at the lid. That LOOKS like your standard, piece of crap el cheapo egg crate foam, doesn’t it? Well it’s not. While it IS egg crate foam, it’s pretty dense. It also doesn’t fall out when you open the lid. These are good things when you want to protect your rifle.
The latches are sturdy, and snap shut solidly. There is no doubt the case is closed, but you don’t need three mules and a sledge hammer to get them to secure. If you’ll take a look at the picture to the right you’ll notice the subtle indicators pointing out the four padlock holes on the case.
I put a lock on one end, and tested how hard it would be to get to the gun from the opposite end of the case. It was actually really easy, as you can see below. I put a lock in the middle, and it was fine. The case is by no means insecure, but it’s going to bend when the only locking point is over 3 feet from the end you’re prying on.
One of the very few things I dislike about the case is the cut out in the back along the seam. I asked Brack Wilson about it, and he said the gap is caused by the dense foam, and will shrink as the foam settles. Fair enough, but don’t think you’re going to drag this case across the bottom of a jungle river and not get your stuff wet. When or why you would ever do that, I don’t know. Maybe you’ll be kidnapped by some super rich guy that wants to hunt you for sport but he’s giving you your rifle and choice of cases, and you have to carry the rifle in the case until you’re ready to shoot or something.
This case is not a replacement for a Pelican case or a Storm case. You’re not going to take this scuba diving, and it is, according to the illustrious Mr. Wilson himself, “not a deployment case.” This case is built to protect your rifle going to and from the range, and in most States(do your own research, this isn’t a definitive legal statement, I’m not a lawyer) it should meet the safe container law for the storage of a firearm standards. It has an ATA II rating, which means it IS rated for air travel, and meets TSA requirements. I didn’t get the chance to fly with mine, but Brack Wilson said he’s flown with the same case several times, and it’s still holding up fine.
This case is definitely best of it’s class. For the price, I was surprised at how well put together and how high quality the case was. It is definitely worth the money, and is a fantastic value. Even more so, if you have offset optics or an unusually shaped rifle. They’ve got over 100 sizes of case with all kinds of different layouts. Oh, and they just came out with rifle case bedding cutouts for AK’s and SCAR’s.
You deal with enough snot, poop, and yucky stuff to deserve a hazmat license. You are the gentle, safe place in every child’s heart. You are the warm smile and hug that makes everything ok. You are the magic, booboo healing kisses that we need when we get hurt. You are the stern look that keeps us in line, and the back hand when the look doesn’t.
Thank you for being so much for us.
Fellas – spoil those women in your life who are blessed with the job of “mom.” They deserve it.
One of our, shall we say, “less experienced” team members decided to challenge himself with some dryfire drills from PredatorTactical.com. Needless to say, he’s not quite as cocky as he was before trying the drills. Check out the Draw At The Beep if you want a great test of draw to first shot speed.
This section of the site has a ton of good drills to really challenge a shooter who maybe can’t find/afford the ammo to hit the range. There are some drills on there that also will give a shooter a more accurate assessment of their actual “draw to first shot”, as opposed to their “rip the gun from the holster and mash the trigger once it’s pointed in a downrange general direction.”
Equip, Train, Dominate!
We just moved to a new content provider. www.predatortactical.com will still have the same great gear and guns for sale at prices you won’t find elsewhere. We will also have some new features. Head on over and click around!
If you see something you don’t like, or don’t see something you do like, hit the new Help tab on top. There’s a nifty new helpdesk feature, a contact tab, and some other neat stuff. Let us know what you think, and if you have a suggestion on how we can make the site easier for you to use, fire away! After all, the website is for you, not us. If you don’t like it, then the site is kind of pointless.
Now here’s the discount for you: Until May 1st, all orders get free FedEx Ground shipping.
Equip, Train, Dominate!
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Now if you’ll recall from the last gear review, which I KNOW you read(Click here if you didn’t. It’s ok, I’ll wait), we did a review of a range bag from 5.11. After reading this review, Comp-Tac actually agreed to let us do a review of some of their gear. This company is not only THE name in competition belts, holsters and mag pouches, they are also very brave. They happen to have none other than Randi Rogers, one of the true luminaries of our sport on their team. That should tell people they’re doing something right, but I wanted to test it for myself.
They sent one of their Deluxe Pro Competition Kits, which has a 1 1/2 “ wide Kydex Reinforced Contour Belt, a Twin Mag Pouch, and an International model holster. They sent a long a couple of Tek-lok Single Mag Pouches too, so I could compare and contrast the Twin Mag Pouch vs. the singles.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the package was that the pouches and holsters had the same sized tensioning screws. The second thing I noticed was that they sent an Allen wrench with a set of instructions in a separate bag along with a pack of Smarties candy. Well played, Comp-Tac, but I will not be tempted by my favorite non-chocolate candy. Ok, yes I will, but it still won’t sway the review. That would have required some M&M’s, and maybe a bottle of Jameson.
The belt was thick, and wider than the normal belts I’m used to wearing. It was also kind of heavy for a belt. It makes sense when you consider that not only is this belt holding up your pants, it’s also holding up a gun and a number of magazines, and is expected to do so with out sagging or twisting. I can report that the belt did it’s job well. The holster and magazine pouches stayed upright and close to my body, and the belt didn’t twist or sag under the weight of the equipment. It fit properly, to the point that the belt kind of disappeared into the background. It was just something I didn’t have to think about once I put it on, which is exactly what you want in a competition belt.
The International series of holsters comes with different attachments so you can have a paddle holster, belt holster, drop offset holster, or paddle drop offset holster. The holster also has multiple options for cant in each configuration. All this leads to a very configurable holster, which is pretty nice. Be forewarned, though. While the International is USPSA legal in all configurations, there are a few set ups that are not IDPA legal. Check the rulebooks to be sure. Comp-Tac was kind enough to put that same warning on the bottom of the International product page.
The instructions that came with the holster said I should test it and make sure the fit is correct before use. With the level of professionalism you’ve come to expect, I did no such thing. I strapped the belt on, put the holster on, MADE SURE MY GUN WAS UNLOADED twice, and holstered. Drawing turned out to be a little problematic, in that the gun not only didn’t leave the holster, the overly enthusiastic draw, over tight holster, and really strong belt loops all combined into me giving myself a wedgie that would have lifted my feet off the gound had I been a cartoon character. Turns out, those instruction manual things are actually kind of handy sometimes.
I called Matt Burkett, and told him what I had done. He laughed at me. For about 5 minutes. Solid. Well I’m sorry, not all of us can be world class shooters, or have nice hair, or read instructions. After he regained his composure, he gave me some tips to help fit the holster to the gun(basically how tight was too tight), and how to position it on the belt for the best draw.
I put the belt on, put the gun on with the belt attachment in a no-cant, vertical position. I tried drawing a few dozen times, and learned a couple very important things.
First was that this holster can be a cruel mistress. If one does not draw the gun perfectly straight along the holster until the muzzle clears it completely, the holster will not let go, and you will give yourself another wedgie. This holster demands a good draw, and will get it, or you will not get your gun.
The holster can also be very rewarding. When one draws the gun correctly, the gun slips out of the holster, feeling like a hand just let go of the slide. There’s no scraping and no sensation of dragging the gun along the inside of the holster on the way out. It just glides out with what feels like no resistance. It’s actually really neat. You know when you’ve done a good draw, because it feels like there’s not even a holster there.
A quick word on the belt mounting attachment: There was no rattling it. It was not like some cheap holsters, where the holster can bounce around a little because the way it hooks to the belt is too loose for the belt. It was snug and secure.
I lucked my way into a few correct draws, and wondered if I hadn’t loosened it up too much, since the gun was coming out of the holster so smoothly when I did it right. I put on a pair of running shoes, stretched, and started running around my yard to see if the gun would rattle around or fall out of the holster. This is where I learned a couple more things, which I will lay out below.
1) The local Police Department becomes very interested in you very quickly when you start running around with a gun on your hip.
2) As innocently as you may mean it, the conversation with the local Police Department should not include the phrase “This holster has a really smooth draw, wanna see?”
3) Tasers really hurt. A lot.
I did also learned with the jumping around and cutting back and forth that the gun was secure in the holster. The draw was just that smooth when done correctly, straight up along the long axis of the holster.
My only complaint about the holster was that it left marks on the top of my Glock slide. It’s not exactly a safe queen, so it really doesn’t matter that the holster left a streak that was completely removed with a swipe of the thumb. But, it was there. I’m sure that over time that would go away as the holster broke in a little or my draw got better. (Note: After a couple days of drawing, the marks stopped showing up on the gun.)
The magazine pouches were actually kind of interesting in a geeky, attention to details kind of way. The double mag pouch attached to the belt using a pair of sturdy clips, while the single pouches used a system called Tek-Lok, which I’m sure you’ve seen before. There are a pair of black plastic locking bars on the back, which allows you to adjust the size of the Tek-Lok to fit your belt width. Pretty ingenious, I’d say. The back of the mechanism hinges closed, and two pressure clips snap into place. The back of the mechanism is further secured by an additional hook that keeps the locking mechanism in place. That magazine pouch is going nowhere. Where is that mag pouch going? Nowhere. By the way, that was a Boondocks Saints reference. If you haven’t seen it, shame on you. Click here for the youtube link.
Another thing I found kind of interesting was that on the Twin mag pouch, there were two tensioning screws on the rear pouch, and only one on the front pouch. Having learned my lesson from earlier, I checked the tension on each magazine pouch before putting any of them on my belt. One of the single pouches was loose, one was tight, and both required some adjustment. The Twin mag pouches didn’t require any adjustment.
Having learned another lesson from earlier, I put the pouches on and ran around my back yard, trying to see if I could get the magazines to fall out. No such luck. They stayed where they were supposed to stay until I drew for a reload. The magazines, like the gun, drew smoothly when called into service. A magazine pouch doesn’t have as much to grab onto, so you could twist or pull to one side and the magazine would still come out. It was more difficult, and I could feel the corners on the magazine scraping the wall of the magazine pouch on the way up, but they would come out with out me yanking my pants half way up my ribcage.
Now you may be asking yourself why on Earth I asked for the Twin Mag pouch and a pair of singles. Probably not, if we’re being honest, but there was a method to my madness. I wanted to see how the Twin would fair against a pair of single pouches. The single pouches gave me a much higher level of adjustability. They could go exactly where I wanted them on my belt, and you can adjust the cant on them too.
The Twin magazine pouch is not adjustable for cant, and you don’t really have any say on how far the magazines are spaced apart on your belt. As it turns out, that wasn’t an issue for me. The spacing on the Twin was right where I needed it, and the draw of the magazine was fine with out any adjustment to the cant. It’s a pretty good set up as is, no complaints.
The single Tek-Lok pouches ended up going about where the Twin was, and I found that the cant was fine at vertical. You may have to mess with it more due to about a billion different factors in how you’re built and what you’re used to, but that’s why it’s adjustable.
At Predator Tactical, we run on the theory that you should buy something good once, instead of buying cheap things multiple times, or having to upgrade your gear as your skill level improves. Just buy the best, and spend the rest of the money you would have spent replacing or upgrading cheap crap on ammo and training. The Deluxe Pro Competition Kit falls squarely into the category of something you purchase once.
Equip, Train, Dominate!
The cat is now out of the bag. Predator Tactical is now the official handgun of 3 Gun Nation!
We are sad to report the death of former Prime Minister of England Margaret Thatcher. She was a staunch ally of our country during the height of the Cold War, and a good friend of Ronald Reagan. Sadly, she was Britain’s last great leader.
Rest in peace, Maggie. Your courage and leadership will be missed.