Gear Review: A Look Back at 2012

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by David Higginbotham

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Well 2012 has come and gone. The Mayans missed it. I’m still hankering for zombies, if only to quell the relative boredom. While I wait, I’m taking stock of what has come and gone. Part of what defined 2012 for me was a deluge of guns and gear. With the new year just around the corner, and new products ready to be launched, I thought I’d take a minute and go through the highlights of 2012.

This is the best of the best gear I’ve reviewed in 2012. Not all of what follows made it onto the site, but most did. Some of this is still waiting to be reviewed. So here it is. Some flashbacks, some previews.

1. Maxpedition

One of the best all around products I saw for the first time in 2012 was the Jumbo EDC from Maxpedition. But there backpacks are great, too. For this installment, I’d like to highlight their Compact Range Bag. This small bag is ideal for keeping things organized and is made to the same rigorous standards as the rest of Maxpedition’s gear. The Compact Range Bag has an MSRP of $138.59.

2. MultiHolsters

Tony Catner at MultiHolsters is one of those rare craftsmen truly dedicated to what he does. I own several holsters that he made, and all are perfect. He’s my go-to for hard to find Kydex, and for new guns. As a review writer, I see sometimes see guns early and need to have a holster before a gun has hit the market. Tony is willing to work with my quirky requests, and knows his craft well.

This one below is an IWB for the new Colt Mustang. Flawless fit and a really subtle sense of style that fits nicely with the Mustang.

3. Leupold

When Ruger sent us a 10/22 Takedown to review, Leupold upped the ante with one of their fixed power rimfire scopes. This tiny gem is ideal for the .22LR. The FX-1 Rimfire doesn’t overpower the look of the Ruger, nor is it unreasonably powerful for the .22LR round.

While the Leupold is pricey (MSRP of $274.99) at least in comparison to typical .22s, it truly brings out the potential of the rifle.

4. Aimpoint

One of the finest precision optics I saw in 2012 belonged to Aimpoint. Their Patrol Rifle Optic is designed espescially well, and it ideally suited for the fighting AR platform. The Micro T-1 is a bit bigger than most reflex sights, but it is like a scalpel. I ran it on everything that had a rail, from shotguns to ARs, and it performed incredibly well.

5. Eotech

While the Aimpoint Micro T-1 worked well on a shotgun, it could be considered overkill. A true reflex sight is faster, which is something, in theory at least, that would recommend the Eotech Mini Red Dot. This little gem is built like a tank. Many reflex and red dot sights feel like they should be babied, protected like eggs. Not the Eotech. This is the only other optic maker I reviewed this year who makes gear that is solid enough for a life of service.

6. Pelican Case

If you travel with guns, odds are you’re already aware of Pelican. They make a wide variety of cases. They’re waterproof, dustproof, and relatively crushproof. These are incredibly durable. The Pelican 1750 Long Gun Case is perfect for flying, and rugged enough to be tossed into the back of a pickup. The foam inside is customizable to fit a variety of guns.

I was playing with layout below, and think it would be easy enough to get in a long gun and an AR (here an American Rifle, from Ruger and a LE-6920 from Colt).

7. Pro Ears

I’m sold on Pro Ears. I use them every time I shoot. I have a pair of passive Pro Ears and a pair of Predators that are active in their noise reduction. I even have a pair for my son, who sometimes has to suffer through my testing (which can get a bit loud sometimes). If you don’t have good hearing protection, you should. And Pro Ears is solid.

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