- Created: Sunday, 09 December 2012 20:10
For any MIL / LE folks that had their eyes on the Sparrows Tuxedo Set, this new Sentry set is certainly worth looking into. The main upgrade is certainly the case where it is made to mount on both PALS and velcro. The unit comes with a long Malice clip for solid mounting and then the hook velcro spots on the back offer quick attachment to loop velcro that is commonly on tactical vests as well. The quick velcro attachment isn't meant to be a duty mount as something like a sling would knock it off, but works great to take it out of storage and apply to one's front for easy "hands free" access and then can stow away once done. The pouch design includes a stiffened flap to make it default to a great access position when open rather than flopping all the way down. A back sleeve accommodates the lock picks while 3 smaller sleeves work great for organizing the tension wrenches. On the other side, the interior back, is another sleeve that makes a good secondary pick placement slot if one decides to further expand their tool selection.
Although the current mount setup does work, the upside-down long malice and PALS webbing formation seems a little odd to me. As a design change I'd recommend just having a short Malice clip and arrange the PALS webbing to be 3 rows all touching with hook velcro sewn on the webbing exterior. This way the smaller clip size offers more mounting options such as being easier to put on a belt while keeping the velcro functionality.
Tool wise the Sentry set comes with 3 twisted tension wrenches of varying size and instead of the extra straight tension wrenches seen in the Tuxedo Set, it comes with more pick tools:
1 x Best Buster Snake rake 0.025 Thick
1 x Worm Rake 0.025 Thick
1 x Small Half Diamond 0.025 Thick
1 x Steep Hook 0.025 Thick
1 x Offset Hybrid 0.025 Thick
1 x Standard Short Hook 0.025 Thick
1 x City Rake 0.025 Thick
1 x High Reach 0.025 Thick
With this lineup you get the go-to rake tools along with the expanded hook selection to be able to really get in there and do detail work on pesky locks. For those wearing kit and rocking locks on the job, the Sentry set can really help on saving time and encumbrance to complete the mission safely. Currently available in ACU and Coyote pouch colors.
With different lock types typically comes the need for different tools to defeat them. When multi wheeled combination locks come your way, the Ultra Decoder is the one stop solution to defeat the vast majority. Rather than dealing with pushing pins in common locks, the decoder is more of a feeling device. Made of very thin metal it allows the user to place it to the side of the wheels to search for changes on the axle. While moving the wheels one feels for any changes that occur from flat spots or grooves that in turn reveal the unlock code. In my experience so far, the technique certainly takes trial and error on getting the right angle to feel out the axle, but like many things becomes easier with more practice. Alignment will depend on the lock type so once all grooves are found, the user should try to unlock and if unsuccessful shift all the numbers by 1 and try to unlock, repeating the process until unlocked. Of course stop if repeating already tried combinations as this would be a sign of a failed decode.
Since shim-like the decoder is slim so takes more care than a standard pick tool, just keep in mind the goal is to feel instead of manipulate and all should be well. Once you learn what to feel for it is a reliable tool. This particular version sports a coated grip for added comfort, a great addition to a pick set.
Snap guns have been around for a while, but Sparrows makes a pretty sweet ready to go set with their Flash Snap Gun. The main functionality of a snap gun is to push lock pins all at once to give a bump key like effect. Using a needle pick instead of a key makes it a more flexible tool for a variety of locks. With even just minimal practice the snap gun can be a very fast lock pick device where defeating a lock commonly can be done in 1 to 3 "snaps". 3 standard needle picks are supplied while an angled needle is even included for low and tight working areas. I've given them a good beating so far and they have been holding up as expected being similar to sparrows hand lock pick tools. 3 varied size tension wrenches are included which is good as they are still required to pick locks while using the snap gun. Offhand I wish they were the twist style wrenches for comfort, but straight will make do.
The gun itself is made of quality materials using an all steel body and internal components to be prepared for rugged use. Screws are used for the main construction rather than rivets to allow long term life maintenance. A classy touch is even added with the black and gold color scheme with tastefully done sparrows logo. For finer control, the L / H knob adjusts tension on the needle. For me being new it is a bit hard to perceive the change, but never hurts to have more precise control options as I gain experience.
To seal the deal the Snap Gun comes with a nice case, hardened in a similar style to cases for sunglasses. Not only is it a nice padded place to store everything, but the need of a case becomes more apparent when otherwise trying to find a safe place to store the gun with needle still installed. If just stashed half hazard in a pocket it is just asking for your needle to get all bent up. Although most will probably store the case in a larger bag, it is a nice feature that it will fit in a typical military pant cargo pocket.