Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ITW Grimloc D-Ring and ITW Web Dominator reviews

I decided to visit Tactical Tailor's factory store in Lakewood, WA today. It's just a stone's-throw south of Tacoma, on I-5. My primary mission was finding a high-quality multi-tool sheath or pouch for my Victorinox Swisstool, my new Leatherman Kick, and maybe my new CRKT ZillaTool. Carrying devices for such outstanding products are always a manufacturer afterthought. Leatherman's leather sheaths are durable and serviceable, but they stink like...well, leather, appropriately enough, and I'm not a fan of snap-closures. The ZillaTool sheath is ok, but doesn't seem to be designed for long-term use. Ironically, the Swisstool, my preferred multi-tool, and one of very high quality, came with one of the worst-quality cordura sheaths I've ever used. I replaced that sheath with one I purchased from a former employer, a knife shop, around the turn of the Century, maybe 2001-ish. That sheath has worked fine, but the velcro is losing steam, so it was time to find a new option. I will review Tactical Tailor's awesome $12.00 USA-made multi-tool pouch at a later date, but today is all about little plastic gear accessories.
I first saw ITW's Grimloc carabiners on tadgear.com maybe 2 years ago. I was impressed, but didn't see a need to rush and order a pack immediately. They are a small, spring-loaded locking D-ring for attaching gear to other gear, something I'm all about. I was surprised at the small size when Andy at Tactical Tailor showed me how they work, they have a slot that will fit standard military or outdoor webbing and make attachment to almost anything a breeze, hell, they'd even make a fine keyring, as you can easily snap the thing on and off a belt loop one handed if the situation calls for it.

Grimlocs come in black [my preferred tactical-mall-ninja color], OD, or tan. The spring loaded release pin doubles as what ITW calls an "SP", that is; self-purge, or sand-pump which allows grit, dirt, water or debris to be pushed down and out of the device to avoid malfunction. The spring is stainless steel and is said to hold up very well to adverse enviromental conditions, as Grimlocs were designed in conjunction with, and widely used by military units worldwide, most notably the USMC.

I'm very impressed by the simple function of this design, I've currently got a Grimloc on my keyring, next to a Wilson Tactical Kuba-Im impact spike. I'll put my other Grimloc on my Eddie Bauer daypack most likely for attaching/securing my Klean Kanteen water bottle. Grimlocs seem to run in the $2.00 USD neighborhood, with some retailers offering 4-packs between $7.00-$10.00 USD. Very reasonable for a small and lightweight solution for gear attachment. The composite material that Grimlocs are made from is slightly textured, and from my kitchen-sink-test, they seem less slippery when wet than my aluminum Omega carabiner, and they're a hell of a lot lighter, smaller and more discreet. It should be noted though, that Grimlocs are designed to break away in serious emergencies, say if your Grimloc-attached pouch snags on a tree limb and you keep going. They are not load-bearing, and really don't need to be, their intended use is for small-gear attachment to straps and webbing. The uses for these awesome little devices are limited only to your creativity.

Tactical Tailor also hooked me up with another briliant solution for small-gear attachment and excess-webbing management. ITW also makes the Web Dominator. The Web Dominator allows the user to roll, secure and fasten excess webbing and straps, while keeping your pack adjustment friendly. The pictures explain it all better than I can with the written word. The Web Dominator clips will be very useful to me on my pack, as I never use the waist-straps that so many pack makers are fond of including. I cut them off of my last Eddie Bauer pack, and it looked shoddy. The WD's will allow me to keep those waist straps out of the way, but ready if ever needed. There's a little elastic shock cord that is fastened to the opposite side, you can even use these to attack small micro-lights, as pictured. A popular military application for the web dominator is to keep a hydration pack's hose right on the shoulder of a ruck or body armor, so all the user needs to do to drink, is turn his head.

I'm impressed by Tactical Tailor's retail shop and quality, as well as their willingness to carry products like these from ITW, along with a full range of Pentagon Flashlights and Surefire gear. If you're ever down my way and have some money to spend, Tactical Tailor would be a great first-stop for clothing and gear for military, law enforcement, shooters and outdoorspeople. Tactical Tailor's prices are outstanding for American made tactical nylon gear, and their quality is known worldwide.Tactical Tailor is here

ITW has a unique line of products for military use that cross over into civilian application.ITW is here

More reviews to come. I got a duo of Tactical Tailor's outstanding multi-tool pouches, as well as their heavy duty zippered utility pouch, which I'll write about soon.

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