[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 [email protected]