Recently I had been looking around for a good data book to go along with the Texas Brigade Armory M40A1 I have on order. I looked at several possibilities, both commercial and homemade before deciding to buy the Trigon NSW Sniper Data Book. I liked the fact that this book comes with several features I found very desirable. Each log book is individually serial numbered, and the unit consists of several components. On the outside is a zippered OD green Cordura case, roughly seven and a half inches long by five inches wide. The thickness of the unit depends on what the user crams into it, but mine is an inch and a half thick. The whole unit will fit in a BDU cargo pocket. Cordura is a durable, good-looking material but it is relatively "noisy" when rubbed against.
The case is well constructed. The nylon edging is double-stitched and the case uses a large zipper. The large zipper teeth are plastic and the mechanism is made of a non-magnetic metal, with a pull constructed of 550 cord. There are four loops (3 small, one large) of an elastic material inside the top cover and a thin pocket inside the back cover. The pocket is large enough to hold a Mil-Dot Master and other items. There is an 8 or 9 inch length of 550 cord attached to the unit interior so that snipers can add a windage/come-up card.
Also included in the package is a Silva Type 10 compass/thermometer. (Update June 2000: Apparently this compass/thermometer is no longer included with the package. Make sure that the package, or anything bought anywhere for that matter, contains what you think it does.) This compass is also marketed in the US and Canada by Brunton as the Nexus 10L Weather-Eye. Silva makes excellent compasses that are used by military units all over the world. The compass is a simple style (no rotating bezel or such) and is marked for 360 degrees in ten degree increments. The thermometer is marked from -20 to +120 degrees F and -30 to +50 degrees C. A simple wind chill chart is printed on the reverse side. I have the compass attached to the long piece of 550 cord, as shown in the photo. This is the second Silva Type 10 I have owned, I left my first one in my (black) car one day when the temperature hit about 105 degrees F outside, and the temperature inside my car was sufficient to burst the thermometer.
The heart of the unit is of course the pages of the book itself. The 4.25x5.5" pages are three-hole punched and attached to the book via 550 cord loops which may be untied, allowing the user to customize the order and contents. The data pages are made of DuPont Tyvek, a plastic material often found in large mailing envelopes. This makes the pages 100% waterproof, and for all intents completely tear-proof unless a cut is first made with a knife or scissors. Because the pages are made of a waterproof material, there is no coating to wear off or lamination to fall apart. Tabbed divider pages and several blank pages are included, also made of the same material.
Included with the other pages are several laminated reference cards. These are not laminated in the traditional sense, and appear to be very much like the material used on the other pages. The first page contains information on wind reading and elevation adjustments on one side, and the reverse has information on Mil-Dot usage, including exact Mil to MOA conversions for the Leupold Mk 4, Bausch and Lomb, and Leupold Ultra scopes. Another page is a two-sided range estimation chart which cross-references target size (actual) with target size (Mil Dot) to find the distance to the target.
The whole unit is designed to be waterproof, obviously to meet the needs of the NSW snipers like those on SEAL teams. The Navy's proprietary version of the unit also includes a set of classified inserts. Naval Special Warfare operators can order the restricted version of the unit directly from the manufacturer and have them shipped directly to their command by requesting NSWC Crane stock number 7610LLLT90404.
Most of the pages are typical data cards, in two formats for stationary (like a standard IPSC or "E" target) and moving (like an "E" Mover) targets. Information included on each card includes:
There are also 10 combination pages, which have a standard format range card one side and an observation log on the other.
This unit really has it all without being overly large or complex. I keep my Mil-Dot Master and Slope Doper in the rear pocket, and I've attached a small calculator to the top inside cover. The loops currently hold a pen, pencil, and a small (one AAA battery) Mag-Lite to which I added an extension (about a half inch of a .45ACP case taped on with OD duct tape) to reduce its signature. I will probably end up adding a red filter to this light once I decide how to rig it up properly.
The manufacturer recommends that a pencil be used on the data pages when they are wet. When I received my log book, I decided to run a test to see what worked best for writing on the pages, both when wet and completely submerged under water in my sink. I tried a #2 pencil, a ballpoint pen, a Sharpie "ultra fine point" marker, and an Eversharp Field Pen from REI, one of those pressurized pens that is supposed to work anywhere.
The only thing that worked with any reliability with the pages submerged was the pencil, so I can second the manufacturer's recommendation. I also recently read former SAS Sergeant Andy McNab's book, "Brave Two Zero", and he mentions that the SAS use pencils for the same reason, they work under any conditions. I ended up keeping the Sharpie pen in the kit for use when the pages are dry (which in my case will be most always) because the ink is permanent and it writes easier and more visibly than pencil.
I really like the NSW Sniper Log Book. It is expensive, typically running about $85, and the target styles may not suit every user, but I would not change anything with this unit so I can recommend it with only those two minor caveats. While I believe that Texas Brigade Armory carries the NSW Log Book, I purchased mine from Iron Brigade Armory. IBA specializes in products of interest to snipers, including the outstanding Death From Afar series of books, written by IBA owner/operators Norm and Roy Chandler. IBA also sells a Sniper Rifle record book for $9.95. Printed on ordinary paper, this booklet serves as a place to record your rifle's serial number, scope number, round count and maintenance.
Iron Brigade Armory
100 Radcliffe Circle
Jacksonville, NC 28546
Phone (910) 455-3834
Texas Brigade Armory
906 Middle Run
Duncanville, TX 75137
Also read the comments of other Sniper Country visitors on the Log Book.