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1 Make: LaserMax 

Model: Guide Rod Laser
Tested: Glock G19 Gen4 (#LMS-G4-19)
Available: Red, green, IR
MSRP: $319

LaserMax Guide Rod Lasers have been out for a while, but it’s a classic design that’s worth consideration. It doesn’t require a holster change, and it’s a simple user install. Very simple. The factory slide lock (takedown lever) is replaced with the LaserMax slide lock, which serves as the on/off for the laser. It has a rapid blink to aid in acquiring the laser, and the activation method allows you the choice to turn it on or not, unlike grip lasers.

It doesn’t require a change in how you grip it, because it’s tucked out of the way, and it can’t be bumped or knocked about. We dropped the G19 in all six different angles from a height of 5 feet, and the laser didn’t inadvertently turn on—but it did turn on when manually activated. Likewise, it did not activate inadvertently when the gun was fired, and when activated, it did not turn off when fired (although by design, it momentarily turns off when the slide is out of battery). Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

 

2 Make: TRUGLO

Model: Tru-Tec 30mm red-dot sight w/integrated laser
Specs: 2 MOA, 30mm objective, 14 ounces
MSRP: $368

For years, TRUGLO was putting out optics of okay quality. However, this isn’t that TRUGLO. We’ve had this one about four months, and it’s proven to be rugged, tough and reliable. I’ve dropped it, knocked it about and submerged it, and it keeps going. The 2 MOA red dot is bright enough to be seen on sunny days; plus, it’s got a coaxial green laser to project the dot onto the target. We’ve used it on a .458 SOCOM AR, and the reticle stayed true.

If it was off, it didn’t accidentally turn on when fired; and when on, it didn’t flicker or turn off. It comes with an integral mount machined in with a QD lever for quick removal. The caps for battery, windage and elevation are all tethered via wire, which doesn’t bind when screwed on and off, as does rubber. Battery testing is inconclusive after only four months, but it hasn’t had to be replaced yet. With a street price around $250, it’s tough to beat.

 

3 Make: Edge Eyewear

Model: Hamel
Street Price: $70

Edge has cornered the market on making industrial safety glasses that are also good-looking tactical and fashion glasses. They’re tested to be in compliance with ANSI Z87.1+2010 and MCEPS GL-PD 10-12 (that’s a lot of numbers). What it means is that the glasses must be able to survive a 17.6-ounce spike dropped 50 inches; a 1.56-ounce weighted needle dropped 50 inches; a .25-inch steel ball traveling at 150 fps; and a shotgun blast from 33 feet.

The Hamel is made from a nylon frame with soft temple tips for comfort (and they are extremely comfortable) and flat so they don’t interfere with ear protection. The frames have sleek lines that are good looking and give them a trendy appearance. The model tested had polarized copper lenses that block out 92 percent of light and 99.9 percent of UV A, B and C. Good looking and tough as nails. (Kind of like a certain editor we know … .)

 

4 Make: Real Avid

Model: Carbon Boss AR15
MSRP: $30

Because the Carbon Boss has 13 tools for every nook and cranny of your AR15 BCG, it’s the most comprehensive multi-tool we’ve seen. All the tools are attached to a solid piece of metal and then sandwiched between two pieces of high-impact polymer.

Each tool is labeled for use and locks into place via detent or liner lock. It even has a pin punch and cotter pin puller for easy BCG disassembly. It is designed well and makes efficient use of just about every inch of real estate in the conveniently shaped tool. Plus, the only tool on here that can wear out—the brush—is replaceable. A ballistic nylon bag has a strap for carrying on the belt and a metal loop for hanging off gear via carabiner.

 

5 Make: Thyrm

Model: CellVault XL
MSRP: $30 ($20 standard size)

Batteries are mission critical, and it can be hard to predict when they’ll go out. Up until now, we’ve always thrown spare batteries in a sandwich bag—not the most durable or waterproof solution. Then, we found CellVault.

It’s rugged and waterproof: In fact, we submerged it for more than 12 hours … and no water leakage. It’s MOLLE compatible and also has a lanyard loop at each end. It holds six CR123 batteries, four AAs, eight AAAs, two 18650s or a combination. Remove the inner divider, and other small gear can be stored. Simple concept, well executed.

 

6 Make: Predator Warpaint

Model: 3 Color Woodland Camo
MSRP: $15

Whether military or hunter, real men—and women—wear makeup. Boasting SPF 50 sun protection so you don’t look like a lobster when you take the Predator Warpaint off, it’s also hypoallergenic and scent free for those with sensitive skin. It goes on nice and smooth, stays on for more than four hours and doesn’t run, even with heavy perspiration. It’s water resistant, so it stays on even after submersion, yet it comes off with soap and water.

It comes in a metal-and-polymer container with a 2.5-inch mirror under the lid for camo application and survival signal. Best yet, after a hard day in the  eld, after the guns are cleaned and secured, you can kick back with a cold one, using the built in bottle opener.

 

7 Make: Decibullz

Model: Custom-Fit Bluetooth Wireless Earphones
MSRP: $120

We’ve used a lot of ear protection over the years. These earphones from Decibullz are the most comfortable of the in-ear type. Simply boil water, let one ear piece heat for five minutes, take it out, mold it to your ear, let it cool, insert the earphone, and it’s ready to go. Repeat for the other side. If you need to re-mold them, just re-heat. The instructions are simple to follow, and Web video support is available.

This product comes with two earpieces, two machined metal earphones attached with remote and microphone volume control. It also has two each of small, medium and large ear tips, along with a protective case and micro USB charging cable. It uses Bluetooth 4.1 and is voice control compatible. Music sounds great, thanks to AptX HD Audio Streaming, and phone calls are as clear as your cell reception allows. These earphones isolate noise and are rated at 31 NRR but are not sound amplifiers.

 

8 Make: 5.11

Model: Double Duty Pen 1.5
MSRP: $60

There are a lot of self-defense pens on the market, but what sets this one apart is its common-sense design. It has a flat, rubber-coated cap end, so if you choose to palm the pen in order to drive the point into an attacker, the cap end is not going to go through your own palm. Most of these types of pens usually have smallish, rounded cap ends, so if you actually had to use one of them in self-defense, it would hurt you almost as much as the attacker.

When in “pen” mode, the Double Duty Pen 1.5’s cap doesn’t just slip on; it screws on so that it stays in place. Rubber gaskets on both ends of the pen keep the lid on snugly, regardless of which mode it’s in (“striking” or “pen”). The gaskets also keep the cap on while using the pocket clip—no more coming loose while using the pen for EDC and getting ink all over the inside of your pocket. The striking point is sharp—which is a good thing—and can put a hole in a pants pocket liner if you are not careful.

 

Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the May 2017 print issue of Gun World Magazine.