Equipment

IWA 2015 – Article 1

Hello readers,

 

I got home from IWA in Germany a few days ago. IWA is a yearly event and this was my second visit. I remembered it smaller, but the show floor is actually quite big and there were many companies present that made it’s way from overseas, which was a nice surprise.

The show is focused toward military, law enforcement, sports shooting, outdoors, hunting and so on. Of course I found a lot of very nice things to look at.

Here are a few:

 

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FrogLube CLP is adding a De-greaser to its repertoire. Looking forward to trying it. I also found out that their Solvents works in windshields. I’ve been using FrogLube in my AR15s for a while with good results, but I will also start using it in my AK after talking to Mr. Lube (?). Good stuff!

 

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Team Wendy had a booth at the show as well, reasonably priced and very comfy helmet liners made by one of the best in the business.

 

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I am a snow camo guy. There just isn’t that many good ones out there. Thankfully the last couple of years has provided us with a few; Kryptek Yeti, Multicam Alpine, PXL Snow and Pencott Snowdrift. The latter is shown here by Helikon-Tex who are developing an over-white set in the pattern. This is just a prototype and the production version will among other things have color matched zippers.

 

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Mechanix is releasing a new series of gloves called Tactical Specialty. Model names are TEMPEST, ELEMENT, PURSUIT, RECON, BREACHER and AZIMUTH.
Most models are flame retardent and no-drip made for military use. The AZIMUTH in the above picture is a Nomex flight-type glove with padding for knuckles and leather reinforcements. The BREACHER looks brutal, but felt very comfortable. The whole series seem to succeed in balancing both dexterity and protection and I am certainly looking forward to slipping my fingers into these beauties…

 

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Yes please! Who doesn’t want one of these babies?


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Since I am about to write a review of my Eberlestock Battleship I took the opportunity to talk to the very friendly Mr. Eberle himself and ask some questions about the Eberlestock product line.

 

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5.11 was of course present, as always. Very friendly crew, mainly from my home country it seemed. 5.11 seem to be moving away from the overly tacticool and into the realm of discreet preparedness, something I am very happy to see.

Oh, and thanks for the ballcaps guys! ;)

 

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Had to take a look at the stuff Heckler & Koch showed, a lot of RAL8000 as expected. A lot of stuff added to my Christmas wish list. ;)

 

 

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I’m no big fan of flaunting the joy-sticks and SERT offers some nice carry solutions for discreet shooters – be it Law Enforcement, Military or Civilians.

 

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Armourlite makes some interesting discreet yet functional watches. But can you rely on them in a crisis? A review is in the making.

 

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This might just be one of the biggest news coming from ATK! this year.
Former 160th SOAR Nightstalkers pilot and Air Crew Systems designer at Eagle Industries, Todd McDunn, the artist formerly known as “Chief McStache” is turning 50 this year and decided to remove his signature facial hair. Doesn’t he look younger though?


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Some of the Spartan Blades blades, note the very nice looking take-down chop sticks to the right. We all love Ti right? Very nice and polite guys as always.

 

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The italians are making some new very nice looking knife models. This one is made by Viper.

 

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I guess a lot of us have been looking forward to the Leatherman TREAD. For those of us that value readiness and preparedness, this is a very interesting tool / accessory. The well-known brand is also releasing a survival and bushcraft oriented tool with a lot of useful features in a SERE situation. The SERE multitool will be called SIGNAL. Didn’t get any pictures of that though, since some douchebag had stolen the one at the booth.

 

More to come!

Battlefield 4 Key Art kit

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A few years ago I was approached by the game developer DICE, short for Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment. They are located here in Stockholm and requested some input and advice regarding the characters equipment for their upcoming game. I was of course happy to give my input as best I could. In short; we played dress-up with models such as the one on the cover of Battlefield 4.

Without going into detail about the specific process and technical aspects of developing the characters, I hope this will give a few readers a chance to get to know some bits of kit in the game.

I will walk you through the key art character, the one on the cover of the game.

Firstly, the G3 Combat Uniform is made by Crye Precision, it is a sweet uniform with build in knee pads and moisture wicking material where you carry your body armor . In his leg pockets we find a SERE kit and First Aid.
On his shoulders the character wears a IR reflective US flag, Advanced Warfighter Solutions callsign patch, Calico Jack pirate flag patch and a light stick holder made by Explosive Ops Gear, in which there are a few 4” light sticks.
His pants stay up with the help of a London Bridge Trading rigger belt, from which a personal retention lanyard from Yates Gear hangs. He also carries an ITW Tac-Lock carabiner with a roll of electric tape and an Eagle Industries frag grenade pouch attached to the belt. On top of the rigger belt the operator wears a Tactical Tailor 40mm belt with a bunch of 40mm grenades for his m320a1.

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On his left fore-arm he wears a Diamondback Tactical Commander Arm Panel as well as a Suunto Core All Black. He wears Outdoor Research/Massif Overlord gloves and a pair of Lowa Zephyr Desert boots.

The holster used both on the chest and in the belt is a Safariland 6378USN in Multicam, attached either to a MOLLE attachment or a low-ride Universal Belt Loop.

The plate carrier is a London Bridge Trading LBT-6094B. The Magpul PMAG magazines are carried in a kangaroo insert and a ITW Fast Mag Gen 2, allowing the operator to quickly change magazines in the heat of battle. When he isn’t mounting the Safariland pistol holster at his chest, he chooses an Eagle Industries admin pouch with a Velcro attached 5×3” American flag. A Leatherman MUT EOD is barely visible attached next to the admin pouch on his chest. On the front of the kangaroo puch he also attaches ASP tri-fold restraints and a Tier One Quality Solutions MET Gen 2 (Military Emergency Tourniquet. Under his right arm you may spot a M320a1 grenade launcher holstered in a S&S Precision mount and there is also a Cammenga Tritium Wrist Compass attached to his right shoulder strap.

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The push to talk button for the radio is made by Tactical Command Industries, and he wears a pair of Peltor ComTac II over his Arc’teryx LEAF ball cap in one picture. The radio antenna is located at the operator back with the help of a TCI M.A.S.T kit. Also at the back is a London Bridge Trading 100oz MOLLE hydration pouch, a Diamondback Tactical HABD Pouch with a HABD air system inside, an Omega carabiner as well as two tri-fold restraints and two flash bang grenades, easily accessible for other team members.

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The helmet is a Ops-Core FAST Ballistic helmet with a First Spear  helmet cover, ACR MS-2000 Strobe, Explosive Ops Gear  counter  weight pouch, Princeton Tec MPLS light, Smith Optics  Elite Boogie Regulator goggles and a Norotos AKA-2 night vision  arm.

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About 90% of the equipment is real although I might be forgetting brands and models since it’s been a while now. The few things that aren’t authentic is hard to get a hold off or are unsuitable for untrained models to handle, like live firearms.

As you may notice there are a lot of different models and brands, the reason is simple: There are so many awesome gear manufacturers out there and none of them offers a complete package for everyone. Still there are a lot of brands and models I would like to get to know, but untill then I will only stick to those brands I am familiar with.
Since a few of my favs didn’t get mentioned in the article, here is a shout out: Eye Safety Systems, Wiley-X, Mechanix, Surefire, Vertx, Tactical Assault Gear, High Spear Gear Ind, S.O Tech.

Want to know more about the weapons? Stay tuned…

Any questions or comments? Send it: dave (at) therepublicofdave (dot) se

LBT + HSGI = <3?

 

London Bridge Trading recently released the following statement:

“London Bridge Trading is proud to announce that we are partnering with High Speed Gear to offer a Made in the USA Assaulter’s panel with Double Decker TACO’s® that is compatible with the new MAP (Mission Adaptive Panel) System designed with Chris Costa. A modular version is currently in the works as well to retrofit your existing LBT-6094. We at LBT feel that ultimately, by working with HSGI on this project, that we’ll be able to insure that the end-user will receive the highest quality product from the collaborative efforts of two companies deciding to work with one another manufacturing gear in both our Virginia and North Carolina communities.”10392475_739096462799351_1936356238150208109_n

 

 

 

 

Crye Precision’s new pallettes

This is probably news to no one, but Crye Precision has released a number of variations of their patented Multicam®.  Most of the new pallettes compliments and overlaps portions of the main MultiCam® pattern; so pairing MultiCam® gear with MultiCam Arid™ apparel results in a well-coordinated concealment system. All according to Crye Precision. What I undoubtedly like best though is the Alpine. Let’s do a quick run down.

Multicam Arid™ was developed to effectively reduce the visual and near-IR signature of a person operating in desert environments that predominantly consist of open sand and rock.

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MultiCam Tropic™ was developed to effectively reduce the visual and near-IR signature of a person operating in dense jungle environments, areas that predominantly consist of lush vegetation that remains relatively unaffected by seasonal changes.

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MultiCam Black™ pattern was developed to meet the unique requirements of law enforcement officers operating in high-risk environments. It projects a distinctly authoritative presence appropriate for domestic operations. MultiCam Black™ is designed to complement an officer’s existing equipment and present a sharp, professional image for top-tier law enforcement units. Compared to the A-TACS LE this seems both useful and sincere in its approach.

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MultiCam Alpine™ pattern was developed to effectively reduce the visual and near-IR signature of a person operating in snow-covered environments. It is intended to be used in every area of operation that receives significant snowfall. The MultiCam Alpine™ pattern can be paired with MultiCam® gear as needed to appropriately match the overall level of snow cover present.

Let us linger at the Alpine camouflage for a bit. In all fairness, there hasn’t been a lot of descent snow camouflages. At least not until recently. As the worlds conflicts are about to move from the Middle East to Eastern Europe and the Arctic it is a sensible decision, and Caleb Crye has always proved to be in the forefront of military equipment. In my mind MultiCam Alpine™ will do the job very well.

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Other winter-oriented camouflages that are getting in the fight are the Penncott Snowdrift, Kryptek Yeti (and maybe Raid, would be interesting to see) and the Stealth PXL Snow Camouflage used in Vertx’s Overwhite Suit.

Let’s hope this development continues.

The Division Computer Game – The art of survival

So I read an article in The Division blog called ‘Art of survival – The “Bug Out” Bag’. I have a few thoughts of my own. I will base this text on real world scenarios and things might differ from computer game mechanics.

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Being able to stay under the radar, blending in and looking like regular Joe may be the key to survival, I call this “covert”. It might not be ideal all the time, sometimes you may need to arm yourself with a rifle or wear armor which would identify you as a high level threat or someone to ask for help, I call this “overt”.  Although it has some drawbacks, it also allows you more freedom to carry offensive and defensive equipment.

In a WROL (Without Rule of Law) scenario you will need to be flexible in all aspect, transitioning from covert to overt and back to covert again. You will need to blend in to an ever changing environment; streets, woods or  the local population such as refugees. Camouflage are rarely your friend in these situations, try instead to use discreet solid colors and civilian looking garments. You can always strap body armor over your hoodie (or preferably underneath). Try to wear clothing that is able to hide any equipment that might identify you as a survivalist, such as armor.

First of all we will need to distinguish between a few different kits.

Every Day Carry – EDC
The basic kit is my EDC, and I always carry the following on my person:

Folding knife – This is mainly a tool used in accidents and random day to day activities but could function as a weapon if you know how to use it. There are many good ones out there, but I carry my Emerson CQC-8 or Extrema Ratio BF2

Flashlight – A flashlight may be used as a defensive tool or impact weapon. If you ever find yourself in a subway cart and the powers goes out you will love your little light. I carry one that uses a single AA battery, easy to find and replace, cheap to buy. The model in this case is the Fenix LD10 with 100 lumen maximum output and strobe as well as SOS Morse function.

Field dressing – Basic stuff, any will do.

Watch w/ compass
– A Suunto Core. It also has weather warning and most common functions.

BIC lighter – Cheap as dirt, buy a pack of them and stash them on your person, in your pack, car, bags and around the house. They are a blessing.

Smartphone – GPS, maps, guides, instructions, communications and more all in one, invaluable as long as the it has power and you have service.

Paracord 550 survival bracelet – A few meters of cord that will hold to 550lbs of pull that can be used for making shelter, makeshift stretchers, trauma first aid, pulling a kid out of a hole or restrain an assailant.

Some people would carry firearms as well, I don’t

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Get Home Bag – GHB
I use a discreet black backpack, a Kelty MAP 3500. It was developed for and with US Navy SEALs but it is still a civilian looking pack without MOLLE attachment. MOLLE (or PALs webbing) is a sure way to identify yourself as military, law enforcement or a tactical geek.
This is what I need to get home safely in case of an emergency. In this I carry:
Meal replacement bar – Keeps your motivation and morale up.

Military emergency tourniquet – If someone suffers from an arterial bleeding seconds count, keep it close and know how to apply the tourniquet, whatever model you choose.

More first aid – Combat gauze with clotting agent, SAM Splint, nitrile gloves, pocket mask and so on.

Medication – Imodium, Codein, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and puritabs.

Clothing – Spare gloves, Beanie and shemagh

Solar power charger, external battery and phone charger – Used in conjunction this will keep your smartphone and other electrical equipment going. I use a Powermonkey Extreme.

Leatherman multitool –
the most crucial tools in one item, make sure you get one with Bits. It also has a spare knife.

Spare batteries – For flashlight

Lighsticks – For marking, signaling or navigation. I don’t use IR lightsticks in my GHB.

Waterbottle – Remember to drink.

Stay alert gums – Keeps you up and going.

Sunglasses – Make sure they are approved eye protection as well. I use Smith Optics Elite, ESS and Wiley-X

Notebook and pen – I use Rite in the Rain and a Fischer Space Pen, but any will do.

 

 

Bug Out Bag – BOB
This is where it gets interesting. First of all; will you “bug in” or “bug out”? The first option requires a lot of food and clean water where you are staying. You need to be self-sufficient or have a plan to acquire sustenance, looting stores is a bad option since everyone not prepared will be there, and they will be desperate.
Bugging out would most likely mean that you leave the city, if that is where you live. Leaving means a helluva lot more than getting your BOB and heading out the door. How will you extract? On foot? In a motor vehicle? Is it prepared for this kind of emergency? What route will you take? What is your secondary route? Tertiary? How will you identify obstacles before you get stuck in a jam or are attacked by desperate sheeple? Do you have allies that will escape with you? Where will you meet up? Get maps of your surroundings, plan your route in advance, make sure you know all your options. If your phone still has service, use apps such as Waze to identify traffic jams and what routes to avoid, if not you may need eyes on recon from your intended route. Maybe scout ahead on a bike, it doesn’t use up gas and it is silent.

The BOB should keep you alive and safe for 72 hours. More than that and we are looking at an INCH. More on the INCH in a bit.

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Warmth
Keeping warm and dry is a good way of keeping alive. I use a Swedish Fire Steel for making fires, when I have to… That means ‘when I don’t have a BIC lighter somewhere’. After collecting hundreds of small fir branches in a dark, rainy forest I fail to find no pleasure fiddling with fire steel.  I’m just not that hardcore. After finding out that my BCB Strike Anywhere Matches didn’t ignite the hard way, I’ll never use them again.

 

Kitlist:
Swedish fire steel
BIC Lighter
Fastfire™ tinder – this is excellent when starting fires when it is wet outside. Possibly also an arsonists delight.
1 pair of spare socks and underwear
Beanie
Shemagh
Grid fleece under garment set (PCU lvl 2 clothing)
JetBoil – Warm fluids are great for keeping warm and keeping morale up.
Chopping knife – In order to make shelter

 

Hydration
Water purifier – Keep your drinking water clean
Oral rehydration salts
Puritabs – just in case
3L hydration bladder
1L Nalgene bottle

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Protection
In a WROL-scenario this is quite a large part of a kit. You will need protection against the elements and perhaps making shelter but also against aggression and violence.

Kistlist:

Emergency space blanket – This will allow you to keep warm for a while or you can use it as foundation for a shelter.

Helmet – This is certainly an ‘overt’ part of your kit. If you wear a helmet your automatically look like military or law enforcement. It protects against pistol ammunition, shrapnel and bumps. It is also the best way to wear and use your night vision. I’ve chosen an Ops-Core FAST Ballistic helmet, but cheaper helmets like the ACH TC-2000 is almost as good for less than half the money.

IR markers – Much like the author of the ‘The Division’ article I always carry a few IR lightstick in order to mark targets for myself or others using night optics. I always carry my Adventure Lights VIP Strobe with both green and IR lights, as well as MS-2000 strobes on my helmet.

Body Armor – In The Division you will be facing opponents in combat, in a real world scenario like the game you wouldn’t be facing artillery, mortars or grenades to any larger extent. A level IV plate will stop hits to your central nervous system, heart, lungs and parts of your abdomen. It will stop 7.62x63mm (.30-06) armor piercing rounds, not to mention 7.62x54R fired from a Draganouv SVD or PKP Pecheneg or a .308 from a Remington 700 or Mk17mod0. I wear my plates in a solid color (MAS Grey) LBT-6094 Slick, keeping it low-profile enough to wear underneath my jacket.
I would NOT use anything large and bulky, and if O need to carry magazines or other gear I prefer strapping a chest rig on top of my plate carrier.

Gas Mask – Get one that is CBRN-approved, which means that they are full face and will help against tear gas and other less-lethal agents.

Eyeprotection – You only got two eyes, keep them protected from debris and things that may poke you. If you fear facing powerful lasers, like we’ve seen in civilian uprisings such as Syria and Ukraine or that the military are using, get laser protective lenses, they are more expensive but it if you don’t want an IR-laser to cause permanent damage to your vision it’s worth it.

Earprotection – Preferably combined with communications. There are low profile systems out there from Nacre, Invisio and Silynx. Get any, and get a good radio too – communication is the key to success in combat.

This is a small part of a complete kit, one that I could get into great detail regarding. The most important part is to realize that you will need to maximize both your overt and covert ability and flexibility in transitioning between offense, defense and disguise.

London Bridge Trading – Evolution Line

LBT offers great quality equipment that is used in the harshest most demanding parts of the world, by perhaps the toughest guys out there. They come at a price though, and for those guys out there that don’t intend on using them like their lives depended upon the gear that price might be too high.

Enter the Evolution line of products. These products are Berry Non-Compliant, which I assume means that they are made in Asia, and developed by LBT in conjunction with ITOTA (International Tactical Officers Training Association) for Security and LE training purposes. The line offers loadout bags, duffels, messenger bags and range bags to name a few. And all are very affordable. The products comes in black and grey, great low-profile colors.

These would seem ideal not only for law enforcement but also competition shooters and private security.

Evolution @ LBT 

London Bridge Trading’s new hydration partner

Along with the news of the Arc’teryx Khard pack and the LBT-made insert pouches for it that I’ve posted about previously, LBT offered other interesting news at this year’s SHOT Show.

Among them were the new hydration bladders that LBT will be using in the future. LBT has previously offered Source hydration bladders with their pouches and packs. These were a lot easier to clean and maintain compared to its counterparts such as Camelbak and Hydrastorm at the time when they were introduced. Recently however LBT teamed up with HydraPak and is now (or soon) offering the HydraPak reservoirs with their products instead. These reservoirs feel a lot softer then the stiff Source bladders but have a similar top opening function as Source uses. However, these reservoirs can be turned inside-out and washed in a dish washer, which really sounds like and excellent solution.
This is what HydraPak has to say about their bladders themselves:

“Our First Wave Reservoirs are designed keeping the heightened abuse that may arrise in extreme situations in mind. The .4mm thick thermopolyurethane (TPU) is twice the thickness of our consumer model and comes with a reinforced slider top to match. Additionally, the First Wave utilizes our proprietary one-piece Hydrofusion Insulated Big Bore tube that is lighter than standard neoprene insulation and has the insulation applied to the tube rather than covered with a sleeve.”
Features

• SUPER DURABLE 0.4mm TPU THICKNESS
• REVERSIBLE FOR EASY MAINTANANCE
• INHERENTLY ANTI-FUNGAL
• RF-WELDED FOR STREGTH
• LIFETIME WARRANTY
• SLIDE CLOSURE WITHSTANDS 200+ LB.
• BEST SOLUTION FOR FIELD USE AND CLEANING

Although I’ll admit to owning my fair share of Source bladders and loving them, the HydraPak really seems like a great choice for London Bridge Trading. Ease of maintenance is one of my main considerations when choosing a hydration system.

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A-TACS LE Camo

When I met and spoke with the creators of A-TACS at IWA in 2012 they told me that a winter version of the camouflage was going to be the next one made.
At SHOT they unveiled the new LE variant instead, intended for SWAT teams and similar type law enforcement units.
Now, the first A-TACS pattern seemed great in urban and some rural or wilderness type terrains. I could imagine its effectiveness in places like Grozny, old eastern European villages or certain arid regions.
Then there was a Woodland version, it seemed too bright especially for the pine forests of northern Europe where I reside. A dark green version of the regular A-TACS would have been my ideal choice, although I can see how the A-TACS FG would be useful in certain forest types.

This latest creation however, may I call it “dolphins in the deep-pattern”? I honestly fail to see a reason why A-TACS would create such a pattern. Sure, SWAT teams also need uniforms. But in all honesty; there are no natural environments where this camouflage would be effective. A solid colored green uniform which already is commonly used by LE entry teams provides adequate functionality camouflage wise and still distinguishes the law enforcement officers from military units.

I was honestly disappointed that A-TACS was unable to provide me with a look of the Snow version at SHOT this year, something I was and still are excited about. Let’s hope they will soon though, and that it looks like if someone rolled around in sleet and mud, peed on it and then lived in it for 2 years. Like my military over-whites looked like.

 

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Arc’Teryx Khard Backpack

Arc’teryx Khard 30 backpack
This is a 30 liter, padded pack with a single compartment, lined with Velcro to allow many different pouch configurations. Arc’teryx teamed up with London Bridge Trading who makes a variety of color matched insert pouches for the Khard packs. Hopefully we will see everything from medical and SERE to different concealed carry options and camera equipment configurations in the future.

The pack come in the colors Crocodile, Wolf and Multicam.

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Khard 30 Backpack inserts @ Scribd

Arc’Teryx LEAF Website