Crimson Trace

August 17, 2015

Gadgets & Gizmos

One of the advantages of doing what I do for a living is the opportunity to see a lot of the very latest equipment before it's formally announced. It's also one of the downsides of what I do. But the downside doesn't begin to diminish the fun of the early preview opportunities.

What because absolutely means is an instant spot inspection when I show up at an event as a competitor or hunter. Some guys who know me discretely eyeball my gear to see if there's anything new. Those who know me really well tend to start rummaging around in my gear bag like they have permission.

If I have something new, I don't mind. Seldom do I mind. But I do take great pleasure in hiding new stuff in plain sight. It's easier than most people think because there are certain items people expect to see.

Today, a quick look at a few small items that I have taken a big liking to.

It's pretty much invisible until you hang something from it (above) but the Magnetactical belt clip is capable of holding a full 1911 magazine. When viewed from the side (below) it's easy to see how you can effectively add a magnetic third hand -only when needed.

The first one hides on my gunbelt until I decide to give it away. When I do, I find myself having to explain something that should be ridiculously obvious. It's a little clip-on device called the Magnetactical belt clip, and it's exactly what it sounds like, a small clip-on polymer device that covers a powerful little magnet. If/when I have something in my hands (like a pistol magazine) and I need to either find a place to put it down or grow a third hand, I simply stick the magazine (in the illustration, one of Wilson Combat's awesome 1911 mags) to the Magnetactical clip, do whatever it is I need to do, then reach down and grab my mag when I'm done.

According to the company, it's capable of holding up to ten pounds, but I've never really tested it by hanging a firearm or anything heavier than a full magazine on it. But I have put mags on it, forgotten they were there and gone about my business until I happen to realize it's still there.

The creator of these ingenious little clips is a police detective and found in his work the occasional need to securely hold something while performing his duties. In his line of work, those "somethings" were frequently knives of small guns, so he started thinking about something that would hold an object without being obvious when it wasn't needed.

Enter the Magnetactical belt clip. And the company website (www.magnetactical.com) has testimonials from other officers who've found it useful for them as well.

Fortunately, my work doesn't involve those sorts of situations, but I have used it to hold pistol magazines, drill bits, small tools and the assorted nuts, bolts and washers I normally try to juggle when I find myself in need of a third hand when there's not a tabletop available.

If you think it might be something you'd use, you can check out their website and save a few bucks. Yesterday, when making certain they're still offering their clips, I discovered they're now being offered in three colors (black, sand and olive drab) for $24.99, not the original $35 MSRP. I had a pair, but gave the second to a young man who loves to shoot, but has the challenge of only having one arm. He says it helps -immensely.

The YPOD looks like a simple gun rest, but the ability to strap it around a barrel, rest it on a tabletop or on a treestand rail gives it a lot of versatility.
Something that's not nearly so subtle in my range bag right now is a new gun rest that I got last week, tested and promptly put into my bag. It's called the YPOD (www.theypod.com). It's one of those products that seems to have been designed just to fit the circumstances I occasionally find myself in.

It looks like a shooting stick gun rest. Except it's not. It's designed to be used in a more "natural" situations -like a shooting bench when sighting in or the rail of a tree stand. It's plastic and rubber, but has sturdy adjustments that allow you to get it to "just the right height" for wherever you're shooting. In fact, I used the nylon strap on top to put it across the top of my AR and use it as an impromptu monopod. I wouldn't recommend it as a replacement, but it did the job when I decided to give it a try.

It's so new that the only place I've found it for sale was Amazon, but it is there for $24.99 and has gotten four 5-star reviews from other users.

Tac Straps are tougher than standard rubber straps -and those swivel hooks make it easy to be certain they're securely fastened.
And I found the solution for how to stick the YPOD onto my range bag literally laying atop my work bench. Several weeks ago, I received a pair of Tac Straps from Tacshield (www.tacshield.com). They'd been laying on the bench, just waiting for the right time to get a field test. When I realized my bag was, as usual, overfull, I grabbed one of the TacStraps, passed it through the molle strap, made a couple of whips around the YPOD and realized TacStraps were cool for a couple of reasons: first, they stretch and hold and, secondly, they have swivel hooks at both ends for making certain they're really caught -without twisting or binding.

They're not as inexpensive as a rubber band or a roll of tape, but at $4.50 for either an 8 or 12-inch strap, a pair of them isn't a bad use for a $10 bill. You can get them at www.tacshield.com or from Amazon -although the seller there was asking $6.79 (caveat emptor, right?).

There's more hiding in that range bag, but I don't want to give away all my secrets before next month's Starlight 3 Gun Championships (as if any piece of gear could save me)...so watch this space.

--Jim Shepherd