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Retired US Army Sgt. Aaron Combs (Below)
Tactical Universal Clip Review
Aaron Christopher Combs
January 27 2014
One evening about 2 months ago while my insomnia was kicking my butt, I was surfing Facebook and came across a friend of mine’s post about a new product called the Tactical Universal Clip. This product intrigued me as I am always looking for new ways and products to make every day tasks and simple ideas even simpler. I have always used and preached the K.I.S.S. Method. For those that are not used to this standard military Acronym it stands for keep it simple stupid. This product has done just that!
So back to my insomnia fun filled evening. I contacted the company through an email at about 3AM my time (EST) and was obviously not expecting to hear back for a few days to a few weeks as per usual with customer service departments. This however was not the case! Three hours later I was contacted by a phone call not by a customer service rep but by the creator and brainchild of the TUC; Mr. Nelson Ascano. Needless to say I was rather surprised and our conversation was even more delightful. We talked for almost an hour and Mr. Ascano told me that he would send me a sample to try out. Two days later three samples are at my door. Two TUC units and the rifle stock unit.
Upon receiving the units I was overjoyed that they were as described as well as the same as the pictures and the few videos that had been posted. I put them straight on my Condor Plate carrier and proceeded to begin my muscle memory training with the new system. Being Combat arms in the Army for 9 years I have used many different type of retention systems and slings were useful but always a headache. As with anything new, if you want to be proficient with a piece of gear you need to practice. So I had to break myself of the old way of thinking and try out this new system. After about 200 “updowns” as I call them which is nothing more than un-holstering and re-holstering my AR. I moved around my house entering and clearing every room. My wife thought I was a little crazy while I was doing this. What I was doing was practice before I started putting rounds down range. I did this for about a week or two until I thought I had it down. Then range day!
On the day of the range I decided to go over to a friends house instead of out local private range due to what I wanted to do. Plus they had a pond in which I wanted to take a “swim” with the TUC. I started with the basic shooting at targets and transitioned to pistol and back to rifle I did this 20 or so times. The transition between the two was seamless and quick. I couldn’t help but think back as to my combat deployments to Iraq where this would have come in handy! Next I tried switching shooting sides, left to right, right to left. Again the process was seamless and there was no sling to get in the way.
Next was the fun part. I did some combat drills such as rushing, running, and 3 second drills, I also did some barricade shooting. The weapon held firm in the TUC and did not slide out of the plate at all. There was a little wobble and sliding but for a system with no positive locking this was to be expected. The only issue that I had is if your Weapon is holstered on the TUC going to the prone can be challenging. I found that if needed to go prone for whatever reason dropping to the knees and guiding the weapon to the ground while going prone works as well as picking a side to lay on and then on your stomach. Going prone on your back and the rolling over to the stomach works as well however all are decently uncomfortable due to the weapon being on your front. The other drawback to this is that one has to lay on the weapon itself. SO I am forced to conclude that unless one really NEEDS to lay on their weapon in the prone it is probably better to have it in hand instead of lay on it.
The TUC in the Vehicle was comfortable as one can expect; not very, however I did find it easier to get in and out with the TUC than with a sling. With the sling the weapon can get caught on anything and everything from the turn signal to the wiper knob. Also if one needed to shoot from the vehicle the sling can only allow you to do so much. The other advantage to the TUC is you can stow the weapon off of the person and when needed clip it in when dismounting.
Repelling with the TUC was fun to say the least as I already like to repel and fast rope. During the regular repel and fast rope I had a blissful 200 feet of no issues. The Rifle stayed where it needed to be close to the body and at the low ready. Un-holstering from the TUC while on the line was not much of a challenge however I am very used to being on a rope. Doing this for a less than experienced person could prove challenging and isn’t recommended but it is doable. All I can say if your line of work requires you do do this, practice, practice, practice. Due to the design and the lack of the positive locking feature as of right now the Australian repel produced less than desirable results as the weapon will fall out of the channel of the TUC. So unless you are wanting to send an expensive and life saving piece of hardware to the ground while your still hanging from the rope go for it. The retention strap that is provided with the TUC does not hold the rifle well enough to “Aussie” repel. In this instance I do think a sling or a short retention strap attached to the butt stock would be better.
Water operations are a breeze with the TUC. I found no issues with retention or reliability of the TUC. The only issue I did find was that the four screws on the plate start to rust when exposed to water or moisture and should be cleaned and oiled after use in water. TUC has fixed this problem with their solid plate piece with no screws. I have not been SCUBA diving with the TUC but plan on it when I get a chance.
The last two notes that I have found with this that I would like to share with everyone is this the TUC was designed for tactical operations and with that come certain risks. One of these risks is the use of night vision and thermal optics by active shooters against police departments and the enemy, whomever that may be at the time of conflict” of the United stated Armed Forces. In speaking with Mr. Ascano a test had not been performed before last week on these signatures off of the TUC. So with the help of his FLIR camera and my PVS-14 we did some “research” the FLIR did not pick up any heat signature as I can only assume that even when worn for a long period of time that the material that is used is not very conductive of heat. As far a the IR signature goes. There was none. It seems that the TUC even though it is shiny, black, and oily looking seems to absorb IR light and gives no reflection.
The second point that I would like to bring up is that on AR style rifles the castle nut needs to be pinged to keep it from loosening the buffer tube. This happened to me while I was field testing the TUC and the constant drills and how hard I was on the equipment allowed the TUC to work my buffer tube loose . This however is not a negative on the TUC but the rifle. The TUC worked as expected. Just know that this IS a possibility so make note to ping your castle nut or you could loose the back end of your rifle and trying to find or chase after springs and pins from the rifle is never fun.
Over all my impression with the TUC and the company itself has been extremely positive and highly recommended. While there are always pros and cons to everything on the market I have found it very difficult to find many faults to this. This is a new company and with any newer company and product there are always kinks and bugs to work out, but the crew at TUC seem to know what they are doing and are open to any and all constructive criticism.