[Gear Review] Great gear that costs $40 or less

High quality gear and accessories do not have to be expensive. Over the last couple years I have had the pleasure of getting to use some outstanding products that were fairly inexpensive, yet yielded an incredible amount of value and utility. Below are 4 quality products that will not break the bank, and will perform very well.

Vickers Tactical Grip Plug/Take down tool for Glock pistols


The Vickers Tactical Grip Plug/Take down tool for Glocks, is a grip enhancement that stows in the pistol grip cavity of certain Generation 3 Glocks. Aside from sealing the grip cavity on a Glock pistol, the Grip Plug features a stainless steel rod that allows an end user to complete an armorer level disassembly, as well as enhance the grip and facilitate loading. The grip plug is available for the following models: 17, 19,22,23,31,32,34,35. The Vickers Tactical Grip Plug/Take down tool costs $12.95 and is available from Tango Down.


The Glock 19 on the left has the Vickers Tactical Grip Plug/Take down tool installed. The Grip Plug prevents debris from getting into the cavity. The Grip Plug allows the frame to flex, as designed, and in my opinion makes a Glock 19 feel like a Glock 17.


Vickers Tactical Grip Plug/Take down tool and Glock factory armorer tool. Either of these tool could be used for an armorer level disassembly.


Vickers Tactical Grip Plug/Take down tool and an Armorer Slide Cover plate. If you attend a Glock Armorer class, you will receive a Glock armorer tool (not pictured) as well as the Armorer Slide cover plate. The Armorer Slide Cover plate allows an armorer to check the Engagement between the Trigger Bar and the Firing Pin.


A picture from my Glock armorer manual showing the proper Engagement of the Trigger Bar and the Firing pin. With use, the Trigger bar will wear away. The only way to assess this is to replace the Slide cover plate with the orange armorer Slide cover plate and check for proper Engagement.


After replacing the Slide Cover Plate with the orange Armorer Slide Cover plate, one can check for proper Engagement. Why am I ranting and raving about armorer level  maintenance? I like to stow my Slide cover plate in the Grip Plug. I run into a lot of shooters who want me to do a quick armorer inspection of their Glock pistol. Since I ALWAYS have my Glock 19 close, that means that I always have the tools necessary to do a quick armorer inspection.


To keep the end plate in place and to prevent rattle, I simply mash a foam ear plug over the end plate. Larry Vickers did a great job with this product. My reloads have become faster, I can grip the pistol better and I like having the tools necessary to service my weapon when I am away from my home. With the dissolution of Alias Training, Larry Vickers has started a new training company called Aztec Training Services. Larry has done amazing things in the industry and I look forward to his future endeavors.

 Way of the Gun Proctor Sling


Earlier this year I competed in a 24 hour endurance race called Survival Trial. Since it was a timed event, and I was required to carry a pack with all the necessary equipment for the course, having lightweight gear was a must. Purchasing a digital kitchen scale, I started weighing all of the gear that I would be taking on the course. After weighing all of my gear, I balked when my calculator spat out a value of 56 pounds. 56 pounds of “essential gear” for 24 hours non-stop. No bueno! Time to start shedding weight. After eliminating or cutting back on my gear I looked at the hardware on my firearms. One area where I could probably save about 5 ounces was my sling. For Survival Trial I planned on using my trusty Patrol Sling from SPEC-OPS. Weighing the sling with the attached QD attachments,  I was amazed when the scale read 8.3 ounces. For reference 1 pound is equal to 16 ounces. The SPEC-OPS Patrol sling is a really good piece of hardware, but for Survival Trial 1/2 pound of nylon was to much. (I ultimately got my pack to 45 lbs) After some research I came across the Way of the Gun Proctor Sling. The Proctor Sling weighs 1.9 ounces, includes all the necessary hardware for quickly attaching to a rifle, and is actually quite comfortable for being a thin non-padded sling. During Survival Trial the sling performed really well. The Proctor Sling retails for around $30 and is available at the Way of the Gun online store. Frank Proctor did a really good job with this product. Frank discusses the sling in this video.


The Way of the Gun Proctor Sling quickly attaches using 550 cord loops.


I found that the Proctor Sling is a simple no nonsense sling that is very comfortable to wear.


The Proctor Sling on my light weight rifle. The Sling gives an end users a lot of flexibility in regards to mounting. When I guide the antelope hunts on the ranch this year, I will have this sling in my pack just in case one of our clients needs to use a sling for the day.


The Proctor Sling on a Legacy Sports Howa Mini Action rifle that I am currently testing. This is a very comfortable setup.


Gerber Big Rock Fixed Blade


The Gerber Big Rock camp knife is a 10.5 inch fixed blade, full tang knife manufactured by Gerber. The knife is made from 440A stainless steal and weighs 6.9 ounces. I have owned this blade for several years, and initially purchased it as a “beater knife” for use around the farm and the cabin. The blade itself is very easy to sharpen and holds an edge very well. This knife retails for around $30, and has become my go to knife for camping, hunting and light bushcraft.


The Gerber Big Rock comes with a decent nylon sheath. Since this knife has proven itself I will press out a nice kydex sheath in the near future.


When not being used for chores around the cabin, this knife sits in a kindling box near my wood stove. It is constantly used to make fine kindling during the winter time. You can see the back of the blade is slightly damaged from being batoned. This is a very tough knife.


When I go into the woods two items that will always be in my pack are the the Gerber Big Rock and my Swedish FireSteel ferrocerium rod.


Streamlight ProTac 1L


The most versatile light that I have ever used is hands down, the Streamlight ProTac 1L. I have been torturing these little lights since 2013 and have come to rely on them for hunting, fishing, farm and ranch work, every day/self defense carry as well as general tasks around the shop.

Key features of the Streamlight ProTac 1L

  • High setting is 180 lumens/3,800 candela and will run for 2 hours.
  • Low setting is 12 lumens/1500 candela and will run for 24 hours.
  • Strobe setting will run for 4 hours.
  • Runs on one 3 Volt CR123A Battery.
  • Features Streamlight’s Ten-Tap Programming. This enables an end user to program the light to run high beam only, low/high or high/strobe/low (high/strobe/low is the factory default).
  • Anodized aluminum body.
  •  IPX7 waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes. Impact resistant up to 2 meters.
  •  Pocket clip that is removable.
  •  The Streamlight ProTac 1L is 3.43 inches long and weighs 2 ounces.

These lights retail for around $40. I have given away about a dozen of these lights away to friends and family. I carried one of these during Survival Trial, and I trust my life to these tough little flash lights.


Way of the Gun makes the Proctor Light Mount which allows the Streamlight ProTac 1L to mount to a MILSTD/1913 Picatinny Rail. I wrote about this setup in this article.


Weighing 2 ounces, the Stramlight ProTac 1L can easily be clipped to a hat. This is my favorite setup when working outside, or while fly-fishing or navigating the woods at night.


While doing mechanical work, I have found that the Streamlight ProTac 1L can easily be clipped to a watch or other type of wrist band.


There you have it folks, 4 amazing products that cost less that $40. What are some other great products that don’t cost an arm and a leg?

As always, jokes, tips and humor are very much appreciated in the comments below!

Thomas Gomez

Thomas Gomez currently resides in the mountains of central New Mexico. He has an M.B.A, an Ar-15/M16/M4 armorer certification from Specialized Armament Warehouse as well as a Glock armorer certification. Aside from writing for The Firearm Blog he works as a Clinical Analyst for a large Hospital. He spends his free time farming, ranching, hiking, fly-fishing and hunting in the beautiful forests and prairies of New Mexico. He can be reached at LOADTHATBIPOD@gmail.com


  • Rick O’Shay

    As an alternative to the sling mentioned, I like the Stupid Simple Sling by Little Creek Trading, at about $15. I believe it’s been reviewed on this site before. Also a fan of the slightly more expensive version of it (at $20 or so) called the Stupid Quick Sling. Both versions have the ability to be used as single or two point slings. My favorite fixed blade knife is the Old Timer Sharpfinger, at about $20. Fantastic little skinning knife, and something my father and grandfather both carried. The sheath it comes with is absolutely terrible, so I had one custom made out of kydex, and it’s now my EDC knife.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Awesome. Thank you Rick!

    • Roy G Bunting

      That is exactly what I’m looking for in slings. Thank you for the recommendation!

  • Nagurski

    The Maglula UpLULA. This thing puts every other speedloader I’ve used to shame. I think if you have at least two handguns with double stack mags, it will be worth it to buy one.

    • QuadGMoto

      The Baby UpLULA is also excellent for smaller calibers.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      Last class I went to almost everyone had one and after that class everyone who didn’t was going to have one soon! Great piece of gear.

  • disqus_sgMcKYCZZ3

    Best knife under 40 USD is the Mora. Other gear under 40: light my fire seedish fire steel, king 1000/6000 combo wetstone, husqvarna hatchet, uplula mag loader, etc.

  • Harry’s Holsters

    I really want to try the Proctor sling. Looks like a versatile great piece of kit!

  • Nicks87

    Every glock owner needs one of Larry’s butt plugs!

    • Big Daddy

      I hope you wash them first.

      • Nicks87

        I like to put them in my mouth and swish them around a bit before inserting them.

  • Ron

    You need to add the Mag-Claw, Glock magazine base plate tool to the list

    • Thomas Gomez

      Wow. I had never seen that product.

  • Aaron E

    The Gerber Big Rock is attached to my sniper call-out bag and is amazing! Lightweight, great handle grip, and very sharp blade.

    The Streamlight ProTac 1L is a great choice too.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Hope this finds you well!

  • chris lynch

    My favorite cheap knife, by a long shot, has been my ESEE Zancudo. Solid framelock, great blade, nice handle. $32 prime.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Nice knife. Going to have to add one to the collection. Thank you Sir.

  • PeterK

    You sold me on the vickers tool grip plug thing. That looks awesome.

  • The first day I had the ProTac 1L I dropped it on concrete and broke the glass. But in the three years since, while the glass is all gone it has yet to stop working. So take that as you will.

  • Orion Quach

    Huge fan of Frank’s products especially his Y notch sights.

  • El Duderino

    I have Fox Tactical cheek pads/ammo holders on most of my solid stocked rifles and shotguns. They are about $15, do the job, and provide a place to store ammo, short magazines (3-5rnd hunting rifle mags, for instance), etc.

    I’m also a fan of the new Magpul Technical gloves. About $25, fit very well, allow use of a smartphone, good shooting gloves too.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Fox cheek pads are awesome. Thanks for the recommend on the Magpul gloves!

  • Greg Beals

    Thomas Gomez, what are you using in the above photos to hold the Streamlight pro tac 1L?

  • The_Automator

    The Vicker’s plug removes the best way to strip a mag during a double feed. It would be okay (still unnecessary) when used in conjuction with his mag baseplates, but as a stand alone product I wouldn’t recommend it. I believe it’s much more likely to experience a double feed than it is to have to completely disassemble your gun in the field.

    • Thomas Gomez

      On a double feed I lock my slide to the rear first, then strip the magazine, cycle the action, reload and get back on target. I have practiced double feed drills and have had no problems with the Vickers Plug. I like the Grip Plug because I have large hands. The plug makes a G19 feel like a G17.

      Hope this finds you well!

      • The_Automator

        That’s how everyone clears a double feed. However, the gap in the back of the Glock grip is there to reach a thumb into to strip the magazine. Filling it with a plug of nebulous utility prevents this and makes stripping a stubborn magazine more difficult than it needs to be.

        • Thomas Gomez

          I have never had to pull that hard to get a magazine out, even the ones that are full with a lot of tension. Typically when the slide is locked back, the magazine takes very little effort to get out. On an Ar-15 it can be a different story. Hope this finds you well.

  • Spencerhut

    While the Butt Plugs may aid in the esthetic quality of Glocks, and God knows they need it, it’s actually not a great idea. That little notch in the back of the Glock was intended to give you a place to “grip and rip” a stuck magazine. So when you fill that notch in it makes removing stuck magazines more difficult. Some people fill the notch and them put new notches in the sides of the grip, which is fine, but seems like a lot of trouble.

  • Machinegunnertim

    The Maglula for my AR mags I bought 10+ years ago has been one of the best pieces of kit I ever bought. Fastest way to unload a mag hands down!

  • jonjon7465

    Is the Proctor mount not sold anymore? I can’t seem to find one. It looks like a great lightweight mount

    • Thomas Gomez

      Hi Jon.

      Here it is. Frank beefed it up a bit.


      • jonjon7465

        Thanks. I like how minimalist and lightweight the first version was, but this version still looks lighter than most mounts and a little tougher.

  • Thomas Gomez

    Sweet knife!

    • kingghidorah

      The cons are: it’s a bit heavy, not a razor sharp factory edge and made in china, but the pro’s are the finish, handles, sheath and design. I honed it up using the bottom of a ceramic coffee mug.