Streamlight TLR-7 & TLR-8, beginning at $215
Streamlight continues to impress the heck out of us and its new TLR-7 and TLR-8 continue that streak. Not only have they caught our eye, they have given consumers what they have been asking for: a professional-quality, flush-fit white light for compact pistols.
From its success with its miniaturized TLR-1 and TLR-2 pistol lights that do not protrude beyond the front of the muzzle of a Glock 19, or similarly sized compact pistols, Streamlight has made lights even more concealable.
While the TLR-1 at times was challenging to conceal inside the waistband (IWB) in certain attire, the new TLR-7 and 8 changes that dynamic and provides Dad with a concealed advantage with always having a white light mounted on his carry pistol.
Streamlight’s new TLR-7 offers 500 lumens of focused white light emitting from a high-output LED for up to 1½ hours. The unit runs off of a single CR123 lithium battery, which can be easily swapped out by unscrewing the front lens assembly. This is advantageous when we start talking about the TLR-8, which offers a red aiming laser integrated into its housing. Because the battery change doesn’t require the removal of the unit from the host pistol – simply zero it once and never worry about it again, just leave it attached to your gun.
Switch operation is completely ambidextrous and provides constant-on, momentary and strobe settings. The unit securely attaches to your pistols railed dustcover via a rail clamp system. Should you need to remove it, simply use a flat-head screwdriver or the rim of a cartridge case in a pinch.
For more information on this and other Streamlight products, visit their website (streamlight.com).
Streamlight PolyTac X Rechargeable System
While the staff at Guns & Ammo are huge proponents of firearm mounted white lights, most of us carry handhelds on a regular basis. Keeping them powered is a constant concern, but Streamlight has that solved with a trio of power options for its PolyTac X lights.
While most of its competitors are just catching onto the dual-fuel option of powering their lights, Streamlight has its PolyTac X lights running off of a pair of CR123 batteries or also on the popular 18650 rechargeable battery.
Typically, 18650 batteries require a charging cradle and a 115V outlet, then several hours of charge time. Ingeniously, Streamlight has developed an 18650 battery that not only charges from a common cradle, but also features a micro USB port in the side of the battery’s housing. This convenience allows batteries to be charged on the go, and for the traveling tactician, greatly reduces the number of accessories needed for the road.
Pack a couple of batteries and an USB-to-micro-USB cable that fits anywhere and you’re good to go. Extra points if you use an Android-style phone, as its charging cable is the same.
The PolyTac X series lights offer 600 lumens of white light when set on high for 3½ hours, 260 lumens for 5¾ hours on medium and the low setting provides a very useable 35 lumens for 36 hours.
Talk about a general use light, the PolyTac X is it. Additionally, the unit features Streamlight’s popular TEN-TAP programming that allows the user to choose between several operational menus based on their preference.
The PolyTac X is available in black, coyote and yellow color options and comes complete with a limited lifetime warranty.
For more information on this and other Streamlight products, visit their website (streamlight.com).
Leupold LTO Tracker HD $1,300
Hot off the assembly line and updated for 2018 is Leupold’s new LTO Tracker HD. Fitted with a higher resolution thermal sensor (320×240 with a frame rate of 25 Hz.) and capable of detecting medium-sized targets out to 750 yards, the new Tracker is perfect for filling out Dad’s field pack.
Leupold markets the LTO Tracker HD as a thermal observation and game recovery tool, which it does a fine job at, and because it is thermal and not night vision, it can be used during the day as well as the night. It’s the kind of tool Dad should always have with him when in the field, as its small enough to literally fit in his front pants pocket.
Constructed of durable, lightweight aircraft-quality aluminum and featuring three control buttons, the Tracker offers magnification up to 6X. One button turns the unit on and off, another controls magnification and the third toggles between eight different color palettes shown on the unit’s LCD display. Colors include white hot, black hot, white highlight, green, red, blue, etc. The unit operates off of a single CR123 battery for 3 hours and features an automatic shut-off after 15 minutes of inactivity.
As an added bonus for Mom – aside from letting Dad effectively identify any bumps in the night – she can now task him with checking the walls for proper insulation coverage or where heat could be escaping the house, then put Dad to work fixing it.
On this and other Leupold products, visit their website (leupold.com).
Safariland Electronic Ear Pro $260
Just like holsters, finding the right electronic ear protection can be a chore with a lot of trial and error involved before you get it right. Skip the experimentation and treat Dad to Safariland’s Liberator HP ear pro, some of the most comfortable ear protection we have used in quite a while.
Here’s why we like them so much:
First, aside from excellent sound quality and a super comfortable headband, the ear cups are made of gel. That’s right gel. Foam offers short-term comfort but doesn’t seal around the ears when wearing eye protection, nor provide the level of comfort that gel does. Dad will immediately thank you as soon as he puts them on.
Second, think dual-fuel. This is the wave of the future and Safariland is already there. Dad likely has a good supply of CR123 batteries in his range and kit bags, but if he doesn’t – no problem. These puppies will run off a single CR123 battery or a pair of common AAAs, powering these muffs for up to 300 hours. Proprietary high-definition speakers and dual ambient microphones allow Dad to maintain superior 360-degree situational awareness and even hear whispers across the range.
Third, it comes with active noise cancellation (ANC). The Liberator HP offers what it refers to as active noise cancellation. This mode cancels any ambient noise and is especially useful for use in indoor ranges. It offers a 24-decibel noise reduction rating.
The Liberator HP comes with a thin headset suspension system and low-profile earcups that fit well beneath modern protective helmets. The earcup design also works well when shooting precision firearms, thanks to their compatibility with a high cheekweld.
For more about the Liberator and other Safariland products, visit their website (safariland.com).
Patriot Products, Combat Optic Tool, CSAT tool $20
Some Dads keep pens in their pockets, others keep spare change, your Dad is going to want to keep a Patriot Products’ Combat Optic Tool CSAT in his, right next to the full-size pistol reload he totes around.
The CSAT is proudly made in the United States and is compatible with the majority of the combat optics currently used by the military, law enforcement and civilian competitors today.
This unique tool features a 3/8-inch/10mm box wrench that’s compatible with LaRue Tactical and Aimpoint 3X Twist Mounts, as well as a half-inch, open-face wrench for Leupold, Warne, Geissele and other half-inch, cross-bolt scope mounts. It will also adjust windage and elevation turrets found on Aimpoint Micros, Comp M2, M3, and M4 series sights, EOTech holographic sights, Trijicon ACOG, MRO and RMR optics, Leupold LCO, DEVO and the DeltaPoint family, as well as most factory mounts from these companies.
The CSAT features a punch to push through pins on Glock pistols, as well as fining tuning AR-15 iron sight windage and elevation adjustments on the fly. The quarter-inch hexagon hole allows the CSAT sight tool to be used as a T-handle wrench for torx, hex and screwdriver bits, and boasts a lanyard hole to ensure the tool is never misplaced. As a bonus, the tool also acts as a beverage entry tool after a long day in the field.
For more information on the CSAT, go to the Patriot Products’ website (patriottargets.com).
Vortex Crossfire $220
Even ol’ Dad knows irons sights are borderline archaic at this point in the game and knows it time to jump on the red-dot bandwagon. Help him make this transition with Vortex Optics’ new Crossfire miniature red-dot sight.
If he’s still on the fence, tell him the new Crossfire features an adjustable 2 MOA red dot with 11 brightness settings for use in all lighting conditions. Let him know the dot is easy to acquire and promotes rapid engagement of targets, while also providing a crisp precision aiming point for pinging those long-range targets he was able to hit 10 years ago with his irons. That ought to get his attention.
Also let him know, that as a bonus, he gets a skeletonized mount that offers two height options: a tall mount for a lower-third, co-witness height that’s ideal for use on his AR and then a low mount for use on shotguns, scout rifles and pistols.
Dad might not hit the gym like he used to and thankfully Vortex thought of that too. The new Crossfire tips the scales at only 5.2 ounces with the mount, so the Crossfire will go unnoticed until needed and that’s a good thing.
Battery life is a claimed at 7,000 hours when set on medium and the sight is completely O-ring sealed to fully resist the elements.
Lastly, this thing is an absolute bargain at $220. With a little shopping, we found it for as little as $140, now that’s a deal!
For more about the Vortex and other Crossfire products, visit their website (vortexoptics.com).
ExoTac Titan Lighter $50
Lighters are an essential item for anyone who spends time outdoors. Treat Dad to one of the best on the market – ExoTac’s new TitanLight.
So, why not a good ol’ Bic lighter you may ask? Well, the TitanLight is a fire starter, not a disposable lighter and is designed for extended use in the field.
The TitanLight is made in the United States and is precision machined from aircraft-grade aluminum and is O-ring sealed to prevent your fuel from evaporating or leaking when not in use – a problem plaguing many refillable lighters. There is nothing worse than needing a fire and having an empty lighter and no spare lighter fluid.
Speaking of fluid, the ExoTac runs off of standard lighter fuel – we used Zippo brand – and is refillable by accessing the reservoir located at the base of the unit. The high-spark flint wheel is good for about 500 strikes and the wick and flint are fully serviceable and easily replaced.
The TitanLight uses patent-pending air vents located below the flame to reduce wind disturbance, as well as a flame guard designed to provide maximum protection against the wind. Although the flame more closely resembles that of a typical lighter, instead of a blow torch, we found these enhancements to work quite well to buck the wind. Available in gray, black, orange and green.
For more on the TitanLight, visit ExoTac’s website (exotac.com).
Arc’teryx Naga AR Pullover $250
Finding the ultimate do-it-all garment has been a frivolous exercise – until now. Arc’teryx LEAF, one of the leaders in the outdoor apparel market recently released its new Naga AR. The Naga line has been wildly popular since its release in 2012, spawning new and updated models since then. The Naga is an air-permeable stand-alone garment designed for high-output activities in cool weather, or as an insulated mid-layer in cold conditions.
Hybrid garments are all the rage and the Naga AR fits the bill. The body of the garment closely resembles the companies Atom LT insulated vest, while the arms are constructed of a 6.8-ounce Polartec power stretch hard face fleece that is resistant to pilling and features a smooth face to prevent binding when layered with other garments.
The Naga AR has a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating that ensures precipitation beads up and brushes off, instead of soaking in. Thanks to its Climashield insulation, even if the Naga eventually wets out, it will continue to keep you warm, even when saturated.
Other notable features include a quarter-zip closure that enhances ventilation, while wrist thumb holes for expedient coverage of your upper hands when used without gloves. A low-profile, left-chest, zip pocket allows for storage of small, essential items. The new Naga AR pullover is available in either black or crocodile (olive-tan) colorways, sizes small to XXL.
For more about Arc’teryx products, visit their website (arcteryx.com).
YETI Panga 75 From $250
Dad is an outdoorsman and loves hunting, fishing and just camping out with the family. Dad also hates putting on wet clothes after his overnight bag took a swim in the river or an unexpected storm rolls in and soaks camp.
Yeti is a brand name that has become synonymous with burly. If you’ve ever used their tumblers or coolers, you know they’re built to last the test of time. Constructed using the same materials as their Hopper line of coolers, the new Panga line of dry duffels keeps mother nature’s worst out. In fact, the bags are completely submersible, should your adventure require scuba diving into your destination, kind of like 007. Not that you would, but it’s nice to know you can.
The Panga is available in 50-, 75- and 100-liter sizes and are available in any color you want, as long as it is storm gray, for now. The EVA foam molded bottom acts as a landing pad and provides an extra level of protection and minimizes the bumps and bruises to contents. The padded bottom also acts as a comfortable back panel when the Panga is used as a backpack, thanks to padded, integrated shoulder straps. If using the bag as a pack isn’t your style, six lash points and tough-as-nails Metallock hardware ensure this bag isn’t going anywhere when strapped down.
The contents are easily accessed thanks to a generous T-handled, Hydrolok zipper. When it comes to organization, the Panga is more than just a bomber, water-proof duffel, it has two easy-to-access mesh pockets that keep valuables separate from the rest of your stash.
Strap the Panga to the front rack of your ATV, toss into that spare seat in the kayak or use it as an all-weather range bag and have confidence that its contents will remain dry and protected, season after season. Pro-tip: pack each end of the bag first to avoid that pregnant look.
For more information on this and other Yeti products, visit their website (yeti.com).
SB Tactical PDW Brace $300
SB Tactical, the originator of the pistol-stabilizing brace, now offers a collapsing personal-defense-weapon (PDW) brace for AR pistols, available in black or flat dark earth (tested).
Aside from its stunning good looks, the length of pull is adjustable to fit a wide range of arm lengths and collapses down for ease of storage.
Unlike many other PDW-style units, the SB Tactical version allows the use of a standard bolt carrier group, instead of a shortened version coming with it an additional cost. The cheekweld is all buffer tube, a familiar feeling for AR shooters and which is much more comfortable than wire models. Dad will actually want to shoot this version, not just stand there looking handsome.
The kit is three-position adjustable and comes complete with a proprietary receiver extension and utilizes your standard bolt carrier group. Just install, enjoy and sit back knowing Dad is going to be the envy of all his friends with SB Tactical’s PDW brace attached to his shorty.
For more information on this and other SB Tactical products, visit their website (sb-tactical.com).