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Air Fresheners

 

St. Michael Air Fresheners

So V Development Group decided to do something fun, they have three different air fresheners they just dropped.  St. Michael in the coffee smell for those midnight shift cops, a V Logo that has that new car smell, and a Choco Taco that has a chocolate smell because we will not be trodden on!



Steiner DRS1x - Initial Impressions

Steiner DRS1x



The Steiner DRS1x, has a window size is .96 x 1.26 in. (height x width), and its the answer to those who want a better version of an Eotech-styled optic, but want robust, lightweight, and overall real-world adaptable RDS (red dot sight) with build in person-ranging reticle.


In the box, you get the DRS1x, two batteries, and a manual.  The batteries I got were DOA, but thankfully this takes AA batteries, which is one of the main reasons I purchased this optic for T&E.


It came with Energizer, I use Duracell.  The DRS1x has the ability to work with only 1 AA battery which is pretty cool, and again one of the selling points for me.  The battery caps are retained with a rubber attachment, and they have a rubber gasket which means they have a water rating.


You do not need a specialized tool to screw or unscrew, the battery caps, you can hand tighten them and it works fine this way.


The DRS1x has a built-in Picatinny mount with a screw system that you can hand tighten as well, but I give it an extra 1/4 turn to torque it in place. 


As you can see it mounts over three rail slots, batteries towards the muzzle.


Zero knobs can be moved via 223/556 rounds, or Philips/flathead screw drivers.  You will need to mark them once you zero the gun though, no way to secure them unless you want to tape them in place.  I like that they are essentially flush with the body of the DRS1x and that makes for better zero retention. 


2 MOA dot is very crisp, it has 4 daylight visible settings and 3 NVG settings, I have not had a chance to test the NVG settings on the range, but I will snap some photos in the future.  The daylight visibility of the 2 MOA dot is very crisp, at max brightness, it becomes a star (pictured above) but does not affect functionality.  If you are using it indoors CQB max brightness will be too bright.  I prefer smaller MOA dots for every RDS I use, 2 MOA is very crisp and provides an easy way to zero for max point blank range.


The DRS1x has three reticle options that you can cycle through using the power button in order.  The second dot setting is the center dot with the two hash lines on the left and right of the dot.  As you can see from the above graphic, you can use it to range find an average male of combat age at various distances.


The third reticle adds a 13.6 MOA dot to the bottom, below the 2 MOA dot, and the distance between the 2 MOA dot and the 13.6 MOA dot is 27.6 MOA, which is about 28.7" @ 100 y, and is 14.3" @ 50 y, you can figure out what that measurement is good for.


Overall I mean impressed with the features and the overall size versus the weight of the DRS1x.  I compared it against my Aimpoint T1 and you can literally put the T1 inside the window of the DRS1x so that answers that question for me.  





In my opinion, this is part of the "new age" of RDS optics that are picking up where Eotech messed up, except without all the issues.  There are a lot of pros for setups like this, which is why a lot of bigger name companies are moving towards this type of topic setup.  What sold me on the DRS1x is that it takes AA batteries and can work on one battery only, it has an auto shut-off (just like the MPS, which is a feature I like), it has a 2 MOA dot where others have 4 or 6 MOA dots, it's pretty light versus its size, built-in mounting bring the optic higher in the eye line, or can be used with a minimal riser because it only takes up 3 rails, and the ranging function which most probably will not use, but cool to have.  


Macro

 


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Uvalde: Reality of Police-work and Weak Leadership

 

uvalde robb elementary school tx shooting active killer

A tragedy happened in Texas, in a place called Uvalde, in Robb Elementary School, where 19 fourth graders, and two teachers, were murdered.  That morning a POS perpetrated these evil acts. While he was solely responsible for what occurred, there were, are, and will continue to be a lot of questions of various circumstances and issues about what happened, and who took what actions when.  As with any situation like this, we have to wait for information to come out. We have to contrast that information with objective reality, and universally applicable logic, applying experience where applicable only when beneficial to understanding the situation at hand.  We have all read the articles, saw the media brigade against the responding law enforcement officers, as well as the heroic mentions of various federal special, or tactical, unit personnel.  Everything has to be put into proper context, then all this information has to be filtered through reality, as the media can sensationalize things in the wrong direction very easily.  This article will cover the issues leading up to this situation on the LE side, the pitfalls, the things that should have happened, the consistent failure of weak leadership, and what needs to change for this type of thing to never happen again.


There are many different government-funded, free to law enforcement and citizen, programs (1) that help to educate, prepare and equip for these types of incidents.  The fact of the matter is that nearly every single teacher, LEO, and FD/EMT person involved in the vast majority of these incidents have been through these types of training, often times more than once.  Of course, training is not the same as reality, and merely checking the box of doing one day of training, in service, once or twice a year, does not prepare anyone for anything, but that will get covered later on in this article.


It has been reported (2) that a Uvalde teacher had propped open a door with a rock, and then shut it after either hearing the gunshots, seeing the shooter outside, or for some other reason, but the door did not lock properly.  One of the main hardening points of any school is the doors.  Most schools that receive any kind of state or federal funding are required to have minimums for buildings, that include certain types of doors, certain types of locks, certain types of door frames, certain types of class layouts, and there are also local fire codes, as well as other codes, that all of these types of buildings must meet.  Robb Elementary was no different, except that on this day an outside door was propped open. Due to the door's faultiness or the teacher's sheer negligence, the door did not close or lock properly.  This directly contributed to the POS making uninterrupted entry into this school.  If this is, in fact, the reality of what happened, that means this teacher is directly responsible for creating an entryway in what would otherwise be a hard-to-enter target.


Once the POS was inside the school, he made his way into the first open classroom door he could find, which happened to be either room 111 or 112 per this graphic provided by local/state Texas law enforcement.  These doors were either left open or left unlocked, again this is something that goes against most school security training procedures.  It is also not known if there was an active shooter, or lock down alert sent out right before this happened, and if it was sent out before the POS made his way into the school uninterrupted, these doors should have been closed and/or locked, to begin with.  Those things did not happen here, they did not happen because the POS made his way into this classroom and this is the classroom where the murders occurred.  Yes, it is difficult to cast personal liability on those teachers that were killed, but to reject the concept because of emotion would go against learning from these incidents.  This is why we must know why those doors were open, and the exact circumstances why they were not closed and locked.


After the POS made entry into this classroom, he closed and locked the door behind him to stop LEOs from getting into the room, he then murdered children and teachers, and barricaded himself inside preparing for what was going to inevitably happen, some LEOs were going to show up with guns and eliminate the threat.  There are just a few issues here that need to be addressed before that happens, and to address them, there has to be some background information and knowledge-through-experience presented so that those who are not full-time LEOs can gain some perspective.

jersey tactical claw
The Problem:

There is no indication that the Uvalde SWAT team responded, that a SWAT trained officer responded, or even a SWAT equipped officer responded.  In fact, there are no reports of any officer responding with specialized "SWAT" type tools or equipment.  This is important to understand for two reasons:

The vast majority of public schools in the US have outward opening steel fire-rated doors with steel fire-rated frames, with security locks on the doors.  These are the types that you cannot just lockpick open quickly, and if you can, do you want to stand next door, picking a lock that someone may start shooting any second?  Many of these are also extremely difficult to open even with a conventional crowbar, and unless you have a halligan tool in your patrol car (extremely unlikely) you are not going to be equipped properly to open a door like this.  These doors are extremely difficult to open outwards without specialized breaching tools, like the JTC Claw from Jersey Tactical, that have been documented to save lives but are not issued to street officers in most places, which leads us to the bigger issue.

The vast majority of street-working officers do not have breaching tools.  They do not have access to breaching tools, they cannot request in writing up their chain of command to be issued a breaching tool, they cannot requisition one, and most often their department or agency policies forbid them from buying their own and bringing it on duty with them.  This is, and of itself, is a twofold problem as well, specifically because the average street officer is not trained in breaching of any kind (other than simply kicking a door in or breaking out the glass, which is less training but more commonly practiced) and there is big liability attached to having street officers trained and equipped with breaching tools because street officers that are equipped with breaching tools will use them when needed, which is to say more than zero if they do not have them.  This is something that makes the average commander, top brass, or otherwise chief of a department or agency shiver with disgust.

The average street officer has had some form of active shooter training, but it has very rarely involved breaching doors, it has very rarely involved locked doors, it has very rarely involved SWAT trained officers available with these tools, and this is not going to change anytime soon because of a failure in leadership in the vast majority of police departments and agencies.  Most top brass who make these policies refuse to even hear the question - "what happens when..." on any of these real-world issues.

SWAT personnel does not sit around in full kit, in the back of a bearcat waiting to be called out.  They are almost ways doing something else, or somewhere else.  Especially with smaller departments or agencies without full-time teams, if you are fortunate you have one or two SWAT trained officers show up with bits and pieces of their SWAT kit, and that's IF they even show up at all, some might be out doing police work.  The general public seems to believe that SWAT personnel and the average street officer are equipped similarly and immediately deployable with all of this "SWAT" type equipment.  This has not only never been true, but it also will never be true.  This idea needs to be immediately dispelled for the vast majority of departments and agencies in the vast majority of the USA.  It is simply a fantasy.

Uvalde was no different, and they will not be any different after this.  That is because of two reasons, the cost of implementing, training, equipping, and recertifying, and the supporting legal fees that result from having SWAT trained, and equipped street officers, as well as, weak top brass leadership who either have not enough street experience to understand this very real problem and/or are too afraid of bad press/media and do not want their street officers equipped properly to handle all types of tactical problems that they can just wipe away with the broad brush that is SWAT.  The reality is that the first officers on the scene in Uvalde were likely street officers, and being unable to breach this type of door for more than 5 minutes is a clear indication of their policies, and lack of training, which caused this bottleneck to occur, ultimately costing lives.  This started off as a training issue and quickly morphed into an equipment issue.  The topic of who makes the call to make entry into a room/structure will be covered later in the article.


Another tool that is very much needed for the average street officer, and usually only provided to SWAT officers is a ballistic rated shield.  Some info that I was sent detailed that several US Marshalls arrived on the scene and provided their issued rifle-rated ballistic shields to the CBP BORTAC officer that responded and ultimately made entry, I have not been able to 100% verify that this is the case, however, I know that around 2014 the USMS upgraded their armor and began to issue rifle rated ballistic shields to many of their agents who work the field.  Blueridge Armor supplies some of these shields.  I have personal experience with their products and I can tell you that they are good to go.  But at $2000+ for a rifle-rated ballistic shield, the average patrol officer is going to have a hard time buying one on their own dime, then add training with one, then add the fact most department policies do not facilitate having a shield at all, under any circumstances.  If the average patrol officer showed up to their department range to qualify with their duty firearms and brought a shield with them for the qualification they would either be laughed off the range or written up for being out of policy, yet in Uvalde, this is exactly what saved the entry team and the BORTAC officer who ended up putting the POS down.

Remember that every single piece of equipment, either issued by a department or agency, and every single piece of equipment that an LEO is allowed to purchase on their own and use on the street has liability attached to it, that means some lawyer in some office makes the determination, and recommendation, to some weak top brass loser who also sits in some office that street officers do not need any of this stuff.  Entry tools? Shields? They do not need them every day and they will not use them every day, so why should we spend the money to equip, train, certify and litigate the liability of these tools when we do not need them?  Tell that to the families of Uvalde.

It may come as a shock to most, but there are plenty of LEOs in the USA who do not have issued rifles or hard armor of any kind, this is especially true in very large cities that stick to the "pool" rifle thought process (just like their cars) and some of the most rural departments and agencies do not have the money for any of those things either, usually allowing their officers to purchase their own if they want to, but again, most rural departments are not very well paid, and the average LEO spending $2000+ on a shield, $300+ on a Jersey Tactical CLAW tool, $500+ on armor with plates, then add in training, self-certification, and requalification, and so on, that is a lot of money.

cqb

Then we get into the overarching topic of CQB - Close Quater Battle, or CQC - Close Quarter Combat, whichever seems to be hip to say nowadays.  The fact is that the vast majority of LEOs in the USA do not have any CQB training at all.  This is where the "train the trainer" and "check the box" training pitfall comes into play really hard.  A department will send a group of officers, in-service, to a day or two of "CQB Training" that is part of some sort of liability driven, lawyer generated, this class that is mandated to be taught to remove liability from the department and place it onto the individual LEOs.  This is usually taught by in-house "tactical" officers who may have actually gone to a good school and trained with qualified instructors, once.  This does not, in any way, shape, or form, generate proactively competent CQB-employing LEOs.  Worse yet, the average SWAT school is between 40 and 80 hours in the US, most of that school is CQB or the little concepts in action that build up to CQB concepts.  Some will argue and say that you do not need to be CQB trained to use breaching tools, ballistic shields, hard armor, or individually issued rifles, yet most departments or agencies opt for the most basic possible training available, and as few times as possible.  Just enough to check the box saying that the LEO was trained in a court of law because that is how it works legally, courts do not care that it does not work, they only care that the attempt was made to train the LEO.  If the LEO messes up because of bad or lack of quality training, the department or agency will simply wash their hands of that LEO and run them over with as many buses as possible.  If you do not believe this is true, go look at the courtroom testimony during the trial of ex-officer Kim Potter during her murder trial when she shot Daunte Wright while believing she was deploying her taser.

southland police show


The Reality:

A group of LEOs responded to Robb Elementary in Uvalde with all the basics in training that the average LEO would have in the USA, no less, likely no more.  They were equipped with the same tools that the average LEO in the USA would have, no less, definitely not more.  They met a hard-locked door obstacle that they were not prepared for and definitely were not equipped to handle.  Some reports state that not only did the first responding officers get shot by the POS either inside the school or just outside the school, but the Uvalde police chief may also have given the order to stand down, and not to enter the room because the shooter is "contained" (3) if this is true it would be dogmatic boomer tactics at their worst.  There is even the possibility that the chief did not have a radio in hand during this entire situation, which still needs to be figured out if true.

The most obvious issue that came up in the aftermath, especially on social media, is that people began to virtue signal saying they would have gone in regardless of the circumstances.  This is a childish fantasy, inspired by watching too many police-related fantasy TV shows.  In these shows the good guys usually win, the bad guys usually lose, and everything is resolved and everyone is happy.  The clear issue here is that is just not how reality works.  The only reason the BORTAC officer even went in is that he had a shield (and likely a few buddies with rifles and training) and that his chain of command did not have to do with the local police department, so his policies and protocols allowed him to disregard local brass orders.

"Well, how come the officers at the door did not just go in?"

The issue here is that if the top brass gives a order and an officer does not follow it, then either gets killed or gets wounded, that department or agency is completely within their rights to not cover that officer for any of those actions.  What that means, in reality, is that if an officer decided that they were going to shoot the lock off that door, rip the door open, make entry, and then get killed in a shootout with the POS who was in a barricaded position inside that classroom, the brass could turn around and fight any benefits for that officer's family, any pension benefits, any funeral benefits, any possible death benefits all because the officer disobeyed a direct order.  You may be thinking many things about this, but the fact is that weak brass, and even weaker lawyers of a department or agency, drool at the idea of not having to pay out for an LEO's LODD (line of duty death) and set an example of what happens when someone gets killed or injured disobeying a direct order; this is peak power ego tripping and I have absolutely zero doubt something like this can, and will, happen to give the opportunity.

Regardless, those officers should have gone in right?  Not having the equipment, the training, nor given authorization by their brass to go in, they should have disregarded all of those things and still made entry, because *insert the emotional response reason here*, and we all understand that this is a very hard situation, and even harder realization to have to come to.  This is what happens when the average street LEO is given bare minimums in training, bare minimums in equipment, and then led by cowards.  How could anyone have ever expected anything different to have happened in one of these types of situations?  This was inevitable, if it did not happen in Uvalde, it would have happened somewhere else, but it would have happened.

The issue is that most events like this are resolved by responding street LEOs who get there and stop the threat.  This happens so often, throughout the entire USA, that people seem to think that these types of situations should immediately be resolved this way, but that is simply not true, it was not true in Uvalde, it was not true in Virginia Tech, it was not true in Sandy Hook.  Back on October 2nd, 2006 a POS killed 5 Amish school students inside West Nickel Mines School, they "held" entry until the shooting started in that situation, and this was 7 years after the Columbine High School massacre.  

The policies existed during all of these incidents to "stop the threat" and whatever other verbiage used in department or agency policies, but the fact of the matter is that LEOs are not trained, equipped, or backed up to take these actions.  Weak top brass always defaults to non-violence responses and to get their "special" units to respond and to take whatever actions they believe are necessary because they are the ones that the budget allocated all the training and equipment to, not the street officers that almost always beat these "special" unit types to the scene.

There is no other profession where we would expect, and then get angry if they did not follow through, in certain situations of exigency.  Do we expect teachers to come to different students' houses every single night of the week to help them with their homework?  Do we expect ER doctors to make house visits to their patients once they are released from the ER?  Do we expect firefighters to run into a burning building without the proper oxygen or fireproof gear? Do we expect a bus driver to come and pick up a person in their personal car if they need a ride but no bus is running? Do we expect pilots to fly without the proper training?  Can you think of one situation where any other profession is expected to act during an exigency without the proper training, proper equipment, proper protocols, or policies to back up their actions?  

If you want LEOs to take extraordinary actions, you must require them to have extraordinary training, equipment, and policies that reflect, support, and provide immunity for these types of extreme exigent circumstances, but how do we get to that goal is always up for argument and interpretation.


The Answer:

This will not come as a surprise to anyone who reads my articles, but SWAT qualified, and equipped, street officers should be the absolute minimum standard for every single street LEO in the USA.  This can be done, it just costs more money and takes more time than the traditional boomer dogma allows for.  This is something that some departments are moving towards in a smaller version, by mandating that every single working street squad of LEOs have at least two SWAT qualified, and equipped, officers at any given time.  This model seems to be a compromise, but something is better than nothing.  You still risk the possibility of not having those specific officers responding right away to these types of calls because they are tied up doing other police work-related things.  This is always an issue, but if all officers are SWAT qualified and equipped that possibility is reduced.  Of course, the quality of these particular officers may be reduced because of how many would be trained in this manner but is still better than not having any responses.  

All of this costs money, a lot of money, and it requires candidates who are in the top 30% of all applicants in the USA.  But this is how you fix the current issues within LE, and this would have directly positively affected situations like Uvalde.  This is the answer, and while it is not an answer that most top brass would intentionally accept, they should not have a say.  Top brass does not want working LEOs to be equipped and trained properly, they want an army of yes men, and women, who will stand idle following orders when there's a room full of children getting killed.  Make no mistakes about this situation, the failure of this police response falls squarely on the shoulders of the current and previous top brass in the entire country.  The majority would do this given the chance because they do not care about lives, they care about their own careers.

If the general public wants thinking LEOs, those who know that it is their decision to make on the spot, and they are trained properly, equipped proportionally, with the policy that backs them up for taking this type of exigent action, then the general public must act in their own self-interest by pushing for these things.

It is paramount for schools to follow protocols, for teachers to follow proper protocols, utilizing the locked doors and safety protocols that nearly every single school in the USA has in place to stop this exact type of scenario.  Beyond that, schools should be the hardest of hard targets, they should be staffed with SWAT trained and equipped LEOs from their local departments, supported by tax dollars, and utilized effectively to not only stop these types of threats when they arise but to be effective in deterring any possible assault of this nature.  Making a school, or anywhere else, a hard target does not stop with a "gun free zone" sign, it starts with putting a competent and capable LEO with a rifle and the training to back it up on those grounds.  It starts with putting laws on the books that allow for teachers who are willing to carry a firearm in defense of their students.

Active SWAT units should be given more specialized training in hostage-type situations.  These types of situations that the average street LEO may be trained for but would not be able to respond to effectively because of their nature of them.  SWAT units should work as a primary assault force for extremely high-risk situations that SWAT-trained street officers are trained to supplement when, and as, needed.  No one is saying the average street officer is going to be riding in helicopters to calls, repelling off roofs, doing pitch-black hostage rescue under night vision, but the average street officer should not be ruled out from being able to do those things, especially if they are among the first to arrive and must take direct action.  This is where the average police officer in the USA should end up, but that is the end goal, not the starting point.

If you are a responsible citizen reading this, and you want to know how to help, go to your local schools, go to your local police departments or agencies, and ask them what their policies are and how you can help.  Talk to the street LEOs, not the brass.  The brass will give you some canned, prescripted answer, the average street LEO will tell you exactly what the issues are.  Go to your local police-related budget meetings in your city, town, or county.  Ask them if every single officer has a rifle issued to them if they have breaching tools and training if they have hard armor if they have SWAT-type training if they do not ask the people there why not.  When they tell you, "it's just unnecessary" remember what was written in this article, and fight back against them.  Ask the schools if there are medical kits, and tourniquets, in every single classroom, the answer will always be no, but that is an easy fix.  Medical supplies and the training that goes with them are widely accepted, but most schools disregard them because the "it won't happen here" mentality prevails in many of these institutions, and this is where the local community can get involved and get medical items that are designed for these types of places.

If you want to put your money where your mouth is, get a collection setup for buying these items for your local departments and agencies.  Every single police car should have breaching tools and rifle-rated ballistic shields in them, and every single street officer should be trained on their operation and implementation.  It is a start because like with all things, this is a marathon and not a sprint.  The biggest thing to keep an eye out for is boomer weak top brass that refuses to progress with the times.  There are tons of current LE-industry standards nowadays that most top brass disregard because "it does not apply" to their department, except it does.  I am willing to bet that the previous chief of Uvalde also did not believe these tools and that training was worthwhile, this is an endemic issue with police brass that needs to be rooted out one by one.
 
If you are a street LEO or a supervisor under the brass rank in a department or agency, take a hard look at your policies and if you can purchase a personally owned breaching tool and/or rifle-rated ballistic shield.  This is expensive, and maybe get the community involved in setting up a fund for this type of thing, because as with many things in police work, you do not think you need them until you realize you may not survive if you do not have them, or worse yet others who were counting on you to save them do not survive because you do not have them.

(1): https://www.cisa.gov/active-shooter-preparedness https://www.fbi.gov/about/partnerships/office-of-partner-engagement/active-shooter-resources https://www.avoiddenydefend.org/
(2): https://www.forbes.com/sites/zacharysmith/2022/05/31/uvalde-teacher-closed-a-propped-open-door-before-school-shooting-police-reportedly-find-contradicting-earlier-claims/?sh=522c701121fb
(3): https://nypost.com/2022/06/03/uvalde-police-chief-pete-arredondo-had-no-radio-at-texas-shooting-report/

The Current State of the Pistol Mounted RDS

The above photo I was sent was posted (and taken) by @realdirtyharry on IG, it's an Aimpoint ACRO P2.  From what I could gather, he didn't drop it, but simply was shooting it and the glass cracked.  So my interest was peaked and that started me down a rabbit hole trying to get answers, find info, and survey various people that I know who have pistol-mounted optics of various types, using them in training real-world applications or otherwise have had the applicable experience to my query.  This led me to a broader look at the industry, the current state of the pistol-mounted RDS development in the industry, and where we may want to see it go.  I reached out to Strohman Enterprise, who I used and recommended others to use, for LE discount preorders for Aimpoint ACRO P2s and asked if there is a recall and if so, if the P2 I ordered was affected. 



This email confirms that there is a recall on the ACRO P2, but anyone who purchases from Strohman was not affected by it, yet.



So the obvious question I had that I asked a bunch of people I knew could have access to this information, was how many people did they personally know who either posted about or already had replaced, a broken/cracked ACRO P2.  The answer was about 10.  Not exactly a groundbreaking number, but that number is likely higher than that because most people do not post about these issues, they just reach out to the company to get the product warrantied.  The fact remains, however, that many of us preordered the ACRO P2, paid in full, waited for nearly a year, and some of these products performed, and were generally far below, the quality we had wanted them to be.  Did Aimpoint Amber Heard the bed, or was it our perceptions and expectations contrary to reality?  That is what I am going to explore in this article.


In late 2014 I wanted to see what the rage was about, and I ended up getting an RMR cut slide and got an RMR for use.  At that time pistol mounted optics were not that great, and even though RMR changed just slightly since then, the general issues of pistol-mounted optics have been fixed, sort of.  Fast forward to 2017, I wrote an article talking about how the RMR is nice but just does not do it for me in terms of pistol-mounted optics.  Since then I have tried various different setups, including an Aimpoint T1 on a pistol, the SRO, the P1, MPS, and the current issue ridden P2.  In between these optics that I have personally owned, some carried, and used, I have tested various other pistol-mounted RDS like those from Vortex, SIG, Leupold, and a few others. Now in 2022 I settled on the Steiner MPS.


So what are the current issues with the ACRO P2?  Even though we waited for almost a year from the announcement to get the ACRO P2, the P2 is a lot of what the P1 was before.  The ACRO P2 came out because the ACRO P1 was a flop, and I outlined the issues of the ACRO P1 in an article I wrote in July of 2020.  The biggest, and the most obviously glaring issue is that the ACRO P2 is literally just a P1 with a new body kit and some new buttons, and it can take the 2032 battery.  Dimensionally, dot size, settings, etc it is nearly identical.  This was a giant missed opportunity for Aimpoint, and this does not make an iota of sense to me.  But, of course, the same people who sang the praises of the ACRO P1, were the same people to sing the praises of the ACRO P2, and they have been failures to do anything other than a shill for Aimpoint in order to keep the stream of free products coming.  Like most others, I had to pay for mine just to find out first hand it is definitely not what I had hoped it would have been when Aimpoint announced their intention to make another ACRO version.  There are benefits however, first and foremost the addition of the 2032 battery gives it extended battery life over the ACRO P1.  The P2 design has indents for covers of some kind (not that you would cover the lenses on a pistol optic), and Aimpoint has them available, also some other companies do as well, but on a pistol optic, they make little to zero sense.  I have yet to see anyone actually use them for EDC carry, and the argument for these types of micro optics mounted on a rifle is another completely different article (spoiler: hard no).  Otherwise, you get the same eye box, the same size MOA dot, and the buttons feel mushy to me but they are new so that may change.  I cannot understand why they would not redesign the whole optic, or at least make it different in more ways than not.  NV settings seem to be similar, although I have not had a lot of time with the ACRO P2 under nods to really give a great review of that functionality.  Add in the fact the ACRO P2 glass breaks for no apparent reason, and I have to say I am disappointed in the  newest ACRO version.  


The current favorite, and recommended optic, is the Steiner MPS.  Obviously, I am affiliated with a company that sells them, and Steiner did send me one for free for testing and evaluation, hence my full disclosure here, and before in posts.  The MPS, however, does a great job at being a new-to-market closed emitter pistol-mounted RDS.  The eye box is wider than the ACRO, the dot is slightly smaller and crisper (to my eye), and the overall design is more appealing to the eye, not that aesthetics should play a role but it always will on some level for the average consumer.  The MPS also has removable/replaceable side panels that I am personally waiting for someone to start 3D printing or making cool versions of.  Some people have issues with the MPS, so much so that Steiner has released a firmware updated V2 of it (the same thing just has the ability to turn off the auto 13 hour off feature).  The user can turn off the auto shut-off feature, but it removes the top brightness setting on the MPS.  The reason behind this is that if you set it to the top brightness setting and then leave it on, the battery life is measured in days not months.  This is likely true with the ACRO P2 as well, but no one actually sets it to the brightest setting and leaves it on.  I actually prefer the auto 13-hour shutoff because it does two things, number one allows the MPS to save and extend battery life, but also requires the end user to check for functionality.  You should always check your tools when you put them on, this is a normal protocol everyone should follow but few actually do it seems.  Whenever I put my pistol on, I check to make sure it is loaded, I check some of the ammo, I do some dryfire, and then draw from concealment, all to make sure the pistol is functional and my equipment is not compromised.  I also turn on the optic and set it to the brightness I need it to be set to for that particular day, brighter for sunny days, less for cloudy days.  I have long wondered why people have transferred Aimpoints "constant on" marketing from rifle mounted RDS to pistol, it is not a transferrable concept and I would not want it to be for obvious real world applicable reasons, no two days are the same and just because you left the optic in one setting does not mean it will be applicable when you go to use it.  On top of all that, how often do non-LEOs carry a firearm for more than 13 hours straight?  If you do end up doing so, regardless of where you are the lighting conditions most likely have changed and you will need to readjust your dot brightness.  How many other EDC electronic items do you turn on to the preferred setting and keep running while you are not in immediate use of it?  Is there a single electronic item you keep on just in case you need to use it?   Set and forget brightness on a pistol-mounted RDS is not something that I want as of now.  Will there be AI-powered RDS in the future that change and adjust to the light conditions, I hope so, but that leads us to wonder, what would make a top-tier pistol-mounted RDS with today's technology?

What features do we want to see on a pistol-mounted RDS, and how much are we willing to pay for it?

This is the question I posed to several folks in the 2a, training and firearms industry over the last week or so. I got back varying results, here is a wish list of things people would like to see, many were repeated by numerous people:

1.5 Month constant on
Better battery choices
Ability to change battery without having to re-zero or remove from pistol
Actual dive rating, with proof
Different reticles
Smaller Dots - 1MOA and the like
Different dot colors - Green
Two real NV modes - super NV bright and low NV bright
Titanium Construction
USB powered charging and firmware updating - which also means hackable
Two screw mounting construction
Variable or modular mounting ability - especially retrofitting onto RMR cut slides - without plates
Onboard extra battery storage from the factory
Anti-reflective coating on both glass
Has to be closed emitter type optic
Lockable adjustment dials, or a return to or set to zero
Less 'sidewall" and more glass / bigger eye box window
4 main brightness modes
Dot remembers prior brightness setting
Selective auto-shut off timer
....and a few others that were too pie in the sky to mention

Without nerding out too far with this exercise, I think that the average serious pistol-mounted RDS enjoyer would easily pay up to $999 for a top of the line RDS that is purpose designed for pistol mounting and has some key features that every other optic on the market seems to have missed the shot on.  What features would I personally like to see on a pistol-mounted RDS that could cost up to $999? Specifically, a battery or battery system (USB charging included) that creates worry-free functionality and allows the RDS to stay on for at least a full month (30 full days = 720 hours) at maximum brightness.  I think USB-C charging is something every single electronic EDC device should have today, RDS are no exception but cheap and easily purchasable batteries can replace this as long as they offer the performance.  A 1 MOA dot option, red and/or green.  Yes, green, it is great and I prefer green dots.  Some type of waterproof or water resistance or water depth rating, since it has to be a closed emitter it has to have some sort of liquid sustainability.  A way to lock out the adjustment knobs, I do not like marking anything up with a pen, and marking optics for zero is 1980s technology, why are we still doing it?  Should be able to lock out the zero once it is set somehow.  Glass reinforcement of some kind, either through double glass or hardened (gorilla type) glass, or some other way to make the glass very hard and very difficult to break or crack.  Personally, I prefer to have an auto-shut-off setting, but I understand some users may not, we can split that down the middle and make it a user customized setting.  A bigger glass window to sidewall ratio, more window, more eyebox, definitely bigger than the P2.  Finally, the optic has to be American-made, by American labor, preferably having some sort of government berry compliance.  I refuse to purchase 2a products made overseas, especially not from communist China.  I would gladly pay more for American labor.




The issue that I have mentioned previously in other articles is that the consumers in the industry still buy some of these faulty RDS products, even though they have issues because every small incremental step is still better than the previous and this is the American Capitalistic way of product development.  I am hopeful that other companies like Trijicon, Vortex, and Leupold make closed emitter pistol-specific RDS products.  I also hope they do not send their products to known industry shills who will tell them whatever they want to hear in order to keep getting products sent to them.  These are some of the biggest issues in the industry, shills, and industry celebs are the reason why we have garbage products and why people still use the RMR on duty guns because it is on the "approved" list for departments while literally the current best pistol-mounted RDS on the market, the Steiner MPS, is not.  Sometimes we are our own worst enemies in this industry, but we have to move beyond these issues and into the arena of the real world.  

If someone reads this article and has a direct hand in making decisions at one of these companies, reach out, I want no money, I just want an end product that I would recommend for people to use in the real world, and use myself on a daily basis.  This is an area of the industry that can move forward very quickly given the correct motivation and product development, big steps forward can be had, these companies just need to listen and not use the end users as test subjects.

Lum-Tec Solar Marine


Description:

The Lum-Tec Solar Marine comes in three different styles, all three have 316L steel cases with a bead blasted finishes, one version comes in all black, one with a silver rotating bezel, and this one with a bead blasted case but with a black bezel.  As usual, Lum-Tec delivers a very densely spec'd out watch, that does not cut any corners.  The Solar Marine comes with a solar-powered movement that requires a single minute of direct sunlight to run for the day, and once it's been in direct sunlight for about 5 hours you get six months of charge.  As always you get the legendary lume application that Lum-Tec offers, there is no other company that even comes close.  This is my second solar-powered Lum-Tec and I got it for purposes of reviews before release.  The retail price will be in the $500 area, and you get the typical warranty from Lum-Tec.  I would recommend checking out the long spec sheet of the Solar Marine on their website.    


Reason For Purchase:

I always enjoy dive watches, tool watches, dive watches that are tool watches, as well as, new technology in watches. Solar-powered watches are likely going to start being more and more available and the fact that Lum-Tec jumped into this arena should give everyone a reason to consider solar-powered movements seriously. This watch comes in at about 39mm, which may be a little too small for some that are used to wearing larger profile watches.  It also comes with a NATO strap for the "military" or "tool" feel of this watch.  


The Solar Marine comes in the standard Lum-Tec white box.


Inside the white box, you get Lum-Tec's leather watch box, which has a spot for the watch and two compartments for other straps or hardware, also a sleeve for the warranty information. 


First Opinion:

The Solar Marine is a light watch, especially with the nylon NATO strap.  you can immediately tell there was a lot of attention to detail when this watch was made.  



The few most obvious and most visible features, like the double AR (anti-reflective) coating on the sapphire glass, the lume markers, and the solar panels behind the dial are very eye-catching.  I personally like the second hand having a red tip and the bezel lum marker having a red filling.



A decently sized "LT" labeled screw-down crown is the other clear feature that many people will be interested in.  The crown is sized just right and tightens to keep the water out.  It is a "dive watch" after all.



The bead blasted case does well to matte out the light, and it is aesthetically pleasing, especially in this two-tone model.



The nylon NATO strap feels like a quality strap in my hand and the hardware is bead blasted in the same color to match the case.  Aesthetically and functionally pleasing.


In The Field:

The Solar Marine keeps near perfect time, I would say it's +-0.01 over two weeks at most, even then it's barely noticeable.  The only reason I even mention it is because I set the watch against time.gov to the second  It is supposed to be a digital movement so, of course, I wanted to see how accurate it is.  I also put the watch into a dark box with no sunlight for 5 days to see if it would lose power or stop keeping time properly, only after wearing it out one day.  It did not lose time or stop ticking, I am sure it lost power but no way to gauge it without taking the case back off and using a voltmeter before and after.



Ownership and Usage:

If you are a fan of NATO straps this is a very nice strap, covering the case back and allowing you to figure out which direction you want to loop the tail of the NATO, forward to backward.  I will probably be changing the strap out as I do not prefer NATO straps, but as far as NATO's go this one is a better quality version than others on the market.  



The bezel clicks very audibly and has a similar firm feel that divers 5x have.  The lume bead in the bezel is very bright and very visible.  It compliments the dial face an the function hands very well.  The sapphire glass is very clear, no magnification, and the double AR coating is very visible when you are out in direct sunlight at the right angle.


The NATO strap held up well and does not show any signs of wear, nor does the bead blasted hardware.  Definitely designed for work.


Final Thoughts and Recommendations:

I prefer watches that are bigger, 43mm+ although some 42mm watches wear larger.  This watch comes in at 39mm, and if you prefer smaller watches with a lot of function this is probably an instant buy for you.  I would recommend you read the spec list for this watch, it has all the details that everyone who is looking for a quality tool watch would want.  Lots of really specific attention to detail that watches in the same category do not have.  While Lum-Tec ships this watch with a quality NATO, it may not be your style or speed, but it is very easy to replace a different strap, lots of different types out there to select, I think I will end up getting a black or similar color profile to the NATO nylon strap for this watch down the line.  The smaller profile helps with daily wearing, as does its weight.  Check it out on their website.

EDC AIWB / IWB UPGRADES!