Category Archives: Blog

Funny Ways to Rate Underachieving NCOs

Time to knock out some NCOERs?  Don’t know how to rate that underachieving Non-commissioned officer who hasn’t seen his feet since basic training?  Well, with the help of some awesome fans we have put together a few bullets for you to help ensure they are quickly promoted to the next rank of awesomeness because let’s face it, if you put a rucksack in formation long enough they will put stripes on it.

 

 

West Points’ Recommended Reading List

-Works well when supervised

Consistently sets own standards and then fails to meet them

-Help build local economy by frequenting local strip clubs

-Received McDonalds customer of the year award for most visits to on post restaurant

-Unsuccessful in locating bag of grid squares

The Commandant of the Marine Corps Professional Reading List For NCOs

-Consistently leads subordinates, to local bar

-Was caught selling APFT insurance

-When combining 3 performed APFTs over the year soldier earned a score of 275

-Ponders while others are in action

-Maintains a low speed, high drag demeanor

-I cannot think of a national emergency that would warrant a promotion

-Officer should go far, away

-APFT score would make a good room temperature

-Fell out of family tree

Works well with shiny objects

-Should attend Ranger School, for DFAC detail

-Performed job of latrine security guard with valor

-Managed to not be found restrained to floor buffer by power cord this quarter

-Thinks AR-670-1 is more of a fashion guide than a regulation

-Displays a Be, Know, Don’t attitude.

-Becomes hungry when called butter bar

-Soldier would be out of his depth when standing in a puddle

-Social hand-grenade

-Consistently carries out duties to own satisfaction

-Almost found North on a map

-Candidate for Darwin award

-Caught making coitus with BN Commander’s daughter during Army Ball, promote immediately

Don’t want to be one of the aforementioned NCOs, maybe read this blog.

Here Are Some Tips To Protect Yourself On Facebook

With the increased use of Facebook worldwide, hackers and foreign intel services now have more access than ever to open source information.  Because of this, we have grouped with some of the industry experts to help inform operators, service members, and citizens how to protect themselves when using Facebook.  We have provided a set of easy-to-follow pictures to help you change your account for increased security.  Please keep in mind these are only suggestions on ways to keep yourself safe and you should contact a professional or Facebook for expert advise.  RE Factor Tactical does not guarantee any information provided in this post will keep your information or account safe and it is up to you to take the correct actions.

Rules:

1) You should always treat Facebook as an open source medium and assume anything you say and or post can be used in a criminal manner by an outside party.  Even with complex passwords, adding full profile protection and only being friends with those you trust and know, your information can still be viewed or stollen by someone with little knowledge.

2) Only add friends that you know and trust.

The easiest way to access Facebook information it by viewing a profile through other individual’s updates.  This means that when you are tagged or mentioned in a photo or post, that photo/post is visible to anyone that may be friends with the person mentioning you and their friends will then see that information.  In many cases someone could browse your friend’s open profile to view and gather information about you through any mutual posts or pictures that you appear in.  Encourage your friends to take the same precautionary measures as you.

3) Facebook constantly updates their timeline and privacy settings.

Ensure you are up to date on the most current timeline and privacy settings as they change.  This post is up to date as of 16 January 2013.  We will update as we find out more but we always suggest knowing how your information is shared.

Logging in: When logging in you should develop a password that is at least 10 characters long and contains at least 1 upper case, 1 lower case, 1 number and 1 special character.  i.e #[email protected] Always avoid using passwords that look like words such as pa$$wOrd as well as keyboard “waterfall” combinations such as 1234qwerasdfzxcv (if you look on your keyboard these are the first 4 keystrokes going from left to right in succession.)

When hackers attempt to break your password they will use these type of pre-constructed passwords first and often have databases of millions, yes millions, of preset passwords that they will push through an account.  No matter what password you develop keep in mind it can be cracked and use the next steps to truly protect your identity.

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About Section:

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Your about section has a plethora of information. In many cases, someone can access your free information to see where you live, where your family lives, your phone number, date of birth, place of work, birthday and anything else you put in there. For military and SOF types this is something that could be very useful to the enemy especially if you ever found yourself in an interrogation room.  All someone would have to do is hack your FB account and completely dispute any information you may be trying to send their way. Civilians, while you may not find yourself rolled up in some type of situation where you or our national security is at risk, but with the information found on this page people can begin to steal your identity.

Think about it like this: if I break into your email (which is extremely easy), I can search your messages for “bank” and find out what bank you most likely use based on the emails they send you on a regular basis.  I can then go into your bank account and hit “forgot password” where I am most often challenged with your name, birthday, challenge word such as where did you go to high school (that is provided in your timeline) or your mother’s maiden name (if you have relatives listed this is easy to obtain) and then have them send a new password to your email that I know have access to.

From here I can generate a new bank account password and will then have access to your bank account.  Once you have a routing number and bank account number the possibilities are endless. To correct this only provide as little information as possible.  In reality, no one cares where you went to high school, college or any other type of institution of higher education.  Most of your friends most likely know where you work and your relationship status is only to make your girlfriend/boyfriend less jealous because you are openly telling all the other past people you were in a relationship with that you are now taken.  As far as birthdays go, give Facebook a fake one, don’t worry the joy you get from having a bunch of friends who forgot it was your birthday anyways, write on your wall saying the exact same belt-fed response of “happy bday!!! :)”, isn’t worth the potential identity theft.

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Privacy Settings: To access your privacy settings go to your timeline main page

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Security:

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Your login approval allows for one more level of security when accessing your account by forcing the person logging in to send a verification code to your cellphone that you then enter into FB for approval.

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Privacy settings: Your privacy settings will allow you to manage who sees your posts.  If left alone anyone on FB can view just about anything you post from relationship status updates to you telling the world that you will be out town for the holidays and that your house is free to rob.  To combat this, ensure all posts are viewed by your friends only.

Also, don’t forget to change who can look you up.  If you allow anyone to look you up then you are open to search by anyone on FB.  A good option is to limit only your friends to having access to search for your account.  You will still be able to find others but it will keep you from receiving random friend requests from individuals that you don’t know as well as reduce your overall footprint on FB. FB-Privacy-11-1024x575[1]

Search Engines: FB gives you the option to make your profile searchable in different platforms such as google, yahoo or bing.  To keep someone from finding your profile through google leave the box unchecked.

Facebook-search-engine-1024x559[1]Timeline and Tagging: Recently, Facebook changed to a new timeline platform which offers a more secure experience when used correctly.  Your photos, profile or information may be displayed to others if you do not limit your tagging.  When you are tagged in a photo a notification goes out to your friend’s newsfeed telling them that you have been tagged in a photo.  If you don’t limit this the photo can be displayed to just about anyone on Facebook and you will quickly become searchable.

Even though you may take steps to keep your photos available to your friends only they might not be as reserved with the photos they share of you.  Again, always remember to encourage your friends to take the same secure steps as you to ensure the utmost security. In addition to tagging, Facebook has begun to use facial recognition software that will analyze your face and suggest to others to tag you in a photo that you may appear in.  This facial recognition has negative implications if put into a database and the results are still pending on what criminals and foreign intel services may be able to accomplish with your information.  To combat this, go into the Timeline and Tagging section and only allow tagging of you after it has been approved by you.  In addition, turn off Facebook’s facial recognition.

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Blocking: You should always block anyone who attempts to add you as a friend who you don’t know, especially if their profile looks fake.  Blocking suspicious apps will also help avoid any unwanted third-party apps from accessing your information.

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Followers: If you leave your posts public, people will be able to subscribe to see anything you post even if you don’t allow them as a friend.

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Apps: This is one of the biggest reasons for the illegal dissemination of information.  When you subscribe to an application it will most often take your basic or detailed information and stores it in its system.  This system is always prone to hacks and if the app is untrustworthy they may attempt to sell your info to an outside source, regardless of what they tell you.  Apps can be created by just about anyone and when they have access to use your profile they have access to all your information.  Ensure all apps that you aren’t using are deleted and only use apps if absolutely necessary.

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FB Ads: Facebook’s adds and monetization platforms are constantly changing and being updated.  The way FB advertises to you is that it looks at your interests listed on your profile or pages that you like and recommends ads that are similar in nature.  However, as FB increases their advertising there is no telling where they might end up and any information you allow them to access may be used for adds targeting or as integration into other platforms.  To reduce your signature we recommend changing your adds setting so that FB can not use your information in the future.

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Again, these are only suggestions and will not completely protect you or anyone else from identity theft.  If you have any others please feel free to share them with the community so we are all kept up to date as possible.

Why We Made The RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap

After going through countless “tactical” hats that never fit properly and wear out quickly, RE Factor Tactical decided to take matters into our own hands and create the most advanced tactical hat on the market.  To us, a hat isn’t just something that covers your eyes from the sun, especially when used in an operational environment.  Because of this, we sought out to develop a hat that is specifically designed for use in the field.  For years the owner of REFT has been modifying Flexfit hats by sewing velcro on them for use downrange.  Because of this, we met with Flexfit and developed a hat designed specifically for the operator.  Below are just a few of the features of this hat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4k2rUbrLBY#! To purchase the RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap go to http://www.refactortactical.com/Blasting-Cap-p/reft-bc.htm   Problem- Many tactical hats are uncomfortable out of the box and take prolonged use before breaking in. Solution- We made our hats on a Flexfit base which offer a perfect, comfortable fit right out of the box.  The hats come in S-M and L-XL for a universal fit.

Blasting Cap™

We teamed up with Flexfit to offer the highest quality possible

Problem- Most tactical hats on the market come with only one Velcro patch that frays quickly due to shoddy sewing. Solution- We asked Flexfit to embroider the outside edges of the front and rear  2.5″x3″ Velcro patches.  These allow for a more durable hat and multiple removal and adhesion of Velcro.

Embroidered edges allow for prolonged Velcro use

Problem- Most tactical hats place velcro patches on the front but nothing on top for identification from aircraft. Solution- We placed a 1″x1″ velcro patch on the top of the hat, specifically designed to accommodate an IR patch

A 1″x1″ Velcro patch on the top of the hat allows for use of an IR marker

Problem- When not using IR patches, Operators will take them off and can often lose them or forget to put them back on before a mission. Solution- We placed a 1″x1″ velcro patch on the inside of the hat for storage of the IR patch when not in use. To purchase the RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap go to http://www.refactortactical.com/Blasting-Cap-p/reft-bc.htm

An interior 1″x1″ velcro square allows for storage or IR patches when not in use.

Problem- VF-17 Panels are cumbersome to carry and are often left behind due to space restrictions.  However, these are essential when marking the Operator’s location during daylight hours. Solution- We tasked Flexfit with finding the brightest neon orange possible and then integrating it into the cap.  This allows the Operator to have the ability to be seen in emergency situations or as a near recognition signal.

A VF-17 panel is sewn into the hat for emergency signaling

Problem- Most tactical hats offer no breathability in hot environments. Solution- We outfitted the back half of the Blasting Cap with a sport mesh, breathable material for rapid cooling during extraneous activity or in hot environments.

The back half of the hat comes with sport mesh for increased breathability in hot environments
The back of the hat comes with a 2.5″x3″ patch in the back

In addition to fixing common tactical hat problems, we added a few extras.  First, we reduced the pitch of the front of the hat allowing for a lower profile look.  In addition, we added the RE Factors of various explosives along the inside of the hat for quick reference for breachers, EOD and anyone else working with explosives.

The Top 10 Tactical Hats (Reviewed)

Finally, on the tag, we included the RE Factor Tactical TNT molecule logo.  To add to this, our Operators tested the hats downrange prior to releasing them on the market to ensure 100% quality and usability to the end-user.  We firmly stand behind our products since we trust our own lives to their dependability.  For more info on the hat or to purchase visit  http://www.refactortactical.com/Blasting-Cap-p/reft-bc.htm To purchase the RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap go to http://www.refactortactical.com/Blasting-Cap-p/reft-bc.htm

Alternate use of the velcro for a headlamp adhesion pad

To purchase the RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap go to http://www.refactortactical.com/Blasting-Cap-p/reft-bc.htm

Ways to use your Operator Band

40mm

The Operator Band is the first 550 cord band specifically designed to meet the needs of the Operator working in semi and none permissive environments.  The band’s components were chosen after attending the US Army SERE Level C Course as well as spending years down range.  We have provided a small but not complete list of some of the uses of the Operator Band.

30′ 80lb Test Fishing Line: –       Fishing Line –       Sewing thread –       Lashing –       Snare line –       Net building –       Shoe Laces

FISHING

 

18″ 40lb Test Snare Wire: –       Snare –       Lashing –       Fishing Line –       Fishing Lead –       Fire wire

LEADER

 

P51 Can Opener: –       Can Opener –       Rope Cutter –       Fire Striker

P51

12′ 550 Paracord: –       Lashing –       Rappelling line –       Fishing Line –       Bow String –       Tourniquet –       Belt –       Backpack strap –       Shoe Laces –       Snare Line –       Net –       Bear Bag Line –       Laundry Line –       Candle Wick –       Restraint –       Rifle Sling –       Swiss Seat

PARACHORD

Fishing hook: –       Fishing Hook –       Sewing Needle –       Compass Needle

Small piranha fish caught in Amazonian basin
Small piranha fish caught in Amazonian basin

 

Handcuff Key Buckle: –       Handcuff Key

 

Handcuff_1

Handcuff Key Gif

Flint Fire Starter: –       Fire Starter –       Sinker

FIRE

fire-spark
For more information on the Operator Band visit https://www.refactortactical.com/shop/operator-band/

Why We Made The Trauma Shear Holster

The Trauma Shear Holster was developed after losing countless trauma shears during operations and not having them on us when it came to TCCC.  The Trauma Shear Holster is a cheap, durable and easily installable item that will keep your trauma shears on you throughout the entire operation. Adhesion methods: The Trauma Shear Holster can be adhered either using the hook Velcro on the back or by weaving in through MOLLE gear.

Natural Bag Enhancement: The Enhanced Kit Bag

Installing the Trauma Shear Holster:

Also available in black:

Made to withstand the stresses of combat:

The RE Factor Tactical Trauma Shear Holster is available for $10.95 at http://refactortactical.com/products/medical/trauma-shears/

What to pack in your E&E Bag

Why We Made The Tactical Tourniquet Holder

After spending years downrange and conducting countless missions the owners of REFT decided it was time to find a solution for carrying the Combat Tourniquet.  This came after a failure to find a product that allows the user to carry their tourniquet on a number of different platforms and access it using one hand.  After creating the prototype, the owner took the tourniquet holder downrange for testing and was initially disappointed with the results.  However, after an extensive redesign and another tested deployment REFT is proud to introduce the RE Factor Tactical Tourniquet Holder to the public.

What to pack in your E&E Bag

We designed the tourniquet holder to be as accessible as possible.  The tabs that hold the tourniquet in place are sewn together to allow for a one-handed release, something that is crucial when accessing a tourniquet in a life or death situation.  In addition, the tabs have an elastic base to help hold the tourniquet in place using slight retention and allows for the holder to fit most issued tourniquet to include the C-A-T and SOF Tactical Tourniquet.

The tourniquet holder can be mounted to kit either through a MOLLE weave, hook Velcro adhesion or by looping the tabs around a belt or webbing.

The tabs on the tourniquet holder are spaced to adapt to standard-issue MOLLE gear.

Natural Bag Enhancement: The Enhanced Kit Bag

The hook velcro on the back allows the tourniquet holder to be mounted to low vis velcro vests, inside a vehicle, on a medical bag or any other loop velcro surface.  This also allows the tourniquet to ripped off the platform and given to someone else in a medical situation.

The Tourniquet holder can also be mounted to a belt or similar platform.  This is perfect for low vis operations or police officers as it allows the user to carry the tourniquet on their persons and still reach it using both hands. All RE Factor Tactical Tourniquet Holders are Made in the USA and retail for $18.95.  For more information or to purchase visit http://www.refactortactical.com/product-p/reft-tourniquet-holder.htm   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNR2JF0o4ys

What’s In Your Go Bag?

Essential Combat Guides

RE Factor Tactical presents Combat Reference Guides.  After receiving such good feedback on our original 9 Line MEDEVAC stickers we decided to showcase 4 more combat reference guides that we feel are essential in combat.  Included in the REFT Combat Reference Guide list are: 9 Line UXO Report 9 Line MEDEVAC 9 Line NATO MEDEVAC Call For Fire Format Close Air Support Format.

How To Call In A 9Line MEDEVAC And MIST Report

Each small Combat Reference Guide is specifically cut to fit on the back of a PRC-148 Radio or the buttstock of a rifle for ease of use.  This allows the operator to keep from having to put down their weapon when calling airstrikes, MEDEVACs, UXO reports or close air support.  Our most recent round of stickers were also upgraded to a tough marine grade material to help withstand battlefield elements and ensure longevity.

Glow in the Dark 9 Line MEDEVAC

The combat reference guides were developed by one of our operators, who constantly carried laminated Call for Fire, 9 Line MEDEVAC, Close Air Support and 9 Line UXO reports in his cargo pockets.  These laminations were easy to lose and took his hands away from the tools required to complete mission.  By printing the different formats to a premium grade sticker the operator can now place the stickers on radios, the buttstock of a rifle, vehicle dashes or any other clean, flat surface. Each small sticker is $4.95 and can be purchased at http://blog.refactortactical.com/products/stickers/combat-reference-stickers/   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwc8TOY3Df8

Guide To Traveling When In The Military

After spending some time traveling and seeing the ever so common soldier in uniform traveling through the airport, telling everyone about how they single-handedly took over Iraq I decided to put out a few ideas to take into consideration.  Most of these are common sense but as you read through them you will see they are things that a lot of military personnel violate.  Traveling gives someone the most exposure possible to criminals and foreign government personnel and is usually where many victims are initially targeted.

1. Leave the uniform behind Unless you are reporting to training or are required by your commander to travel in uniform there is no reason why you should be wearing one.  Uniforms give the enemy everything they need to determine who you are (name tape), where you are from (unit patch and where you are headed to/coming from), what branch of service you are in, specialty schools you have attended, and rank. Based on these pieces of information anyone could start to develop a very comprehensive packet on you to use later down the road.  In addition in the event that your airline/bus/train etc is taken over, you will be the first one targeted (check out flight TWA 847 where a sailor was tortured and murdered during an aircraft hijacking.)  The bottom line is that you gain nothing from wearing your uniform other than a maybe a little recognition or a free drink at the airport bar. However, what you do lose is your identity or ability to rise to the occasion if a terrorist situation were to present itself.  The best rule of practice is to be the sleeper and keep your military/contracting affiliation to yourself.

Protect Yourself When You Travel

2. Lose the telltale pieces of military gear Leaving the uniform at home is the first step of many in helping to lower your overall profile. Chances are your hair, posture and general way of interacting in public will tell others that you are in the military. However, things like molle laden backpacks, your basic training t-shirt, visible tattoos, Oakley glasses, suunto watches, and dangling dog tags are a for sure giveaway. By simply bringing a civilian bag, wearing a buttondown shirt and not saying hooah after every sentence you will greatly reduce your signature and just come across as a very confident, young professional. Again by bringing your backpack with every unit you have ever been in and every school you have ever attended sewn on the side you gain absolutely nothing other than showing everyone around you that you have no idea how to be humble about what you do for a living.

3. Always travel in cabs that look like other cabs. I know this sounds like common sense but you would be surprised how many people get rolled up or at least just ripped off because they thought the cab with three wheels and an off-colored door looked “honest.” Before getting into the cab tell them your destination and be sure to negotiate your price and come to a solid agreement.  Even cabs that have meters in them will rig it so you get charged 5 times as much than the locals. (In Argentina I got into a cab and the cab driver hit the meter so that we were charged a $5 a block. It took us two blocks to realize it and it turned into an argument that could have spun out of control quickly.)

Best Travel Insurance for Veterans

4. Bring cash, lots of it In the US we have a luxury of using credit cards that few countries share. When traveling abroad you should avoid using your credit card at all costs. It is way too easy to have your numbers or identity stolen or to be charged the wrong amount and not know it.  Always have at least $200 in reserve cash ($100 local currency, $100 US) and only use that in extreme circumstances. When traveling with cash be sure to segregate it in a number of different places such as under the sole inserts of your shoes, a money belt, zipped pockets, your backpack, or underwear (hey it will never get stolen.) This way if you are ever mugged or ripped off then you will only be down a couple of twenties rather than your entire reserve. It’s usually good practice to carry both local and US currency and always be sure to exchange your money at a bank or legitimate vendor (a buddy of mine lost a couple of hundred dollars when we were in the Czech republic because he exchanged money with a local who offered him a great rate. Turns out he got Hungarian notes in exchange.)   5. Never leave your identity unprotected When you leave your hotel room always turn your tv on, and take all forms of ID with you.  The tv will keep housekeepers and third party individuals from coming in when you aren’t there and going through your stuff since it’s harder to tell if you are in the room or not.  Even the common room safe isn’t all that safe and can be accessed by just about anyone because the passcodes are controlled by the hotel managers. You should always suspect everyone is out to get you and plan for the worst.  When traveling never leave your identity in your bag, especially if you plan to sleep. (In Germany I saw a girl who had put her wallet and passport in her bag and then fell asleep with it at her feet on the train. When she woke up her bag was gone along with everything in it.)   6. Do as the locals do The best way to not make yourself a target is to do your best to look like those around you. Buying local clothes, learning local norms and customs before arrival, and using a few local phrases will at least make you not look so much of an American ass hole.  In general, the rest of the world isn’t too fond of the US so you won’t gain much by refusing to blend in. Remember just because it’s ok in the US doesn’t mean it’s ok somewhere else.

7. Avoid confrontation at all costs Your vacation to Mexico is no time to prove to the world how awesome of a fighter you are. The local police will almost always take the side of the locals and if you wind up in jail you will have a whole new set of problems to worry about. The best option if you get burned, ripped off or in an altercation is to take a breath, eat the cost as a loss and move on.  Never ever should you result to violence as 100% of the time it will end poorly for you.

10 Reasons to get Travel Insurance

8. If the local girl seems too good to be true then she is Just because you came to a new country doesn’t mean you are all of a sudden good looking. Guys are suckers for hot women and will lose everything because they think they just landed their future ex-wife.  In Hungary, a common practice is for girls to take guys to a bar of the lady’s choice and have the guy order a drink for them. The drink ends up costing the guy $200 and after he has ordered 3-4 and wants to take the girl home he is all of the sudden presented with the bill and the option to pay or get a one night stand with a 280lb Serbian gorilla name Dimitri.  The bottom line is girls can be alluring and will most often lead to trouble in the end.