Gear, Parts and Accessories

Four Must Have Products for the Outdoor Enthusiast

Picture shows a black modern sporting rifle.

As your premier outdoor outfitter, everyday, Cheaper Than Dirt! adds hundreds of products to its website. If I listed every single one of them, you would be reading for a week! I have picked out four products that I think are worthy of more than a mention.

Sometimes, the newest products are not brand new concepts—such as Metro Arms American Classic Commander 1911 and MasterPiece Arms’ twist on the AR-180. Wilson Combat gives us the toughest, most reliable 1911 magazine on the market and SteriPEN’s new Ultra water purifier makes questionable water safe for drinking in less than a minute.

Picture shows a silve and black duotone Commander-sized 1911 handgun with wood checkered grips.
At half the price of other 1911s of the same quality, I do not know why anyone would pass over the mil-spec American Classic Commander.

Metro Arms American Classic Commander 1911

With the ingenuity and attention to detail that goes into a high-end, custom and competition 1911, former STI International engineer, Hector Rodriguez introduces a new and well-crafted—not to mention beautiful—1911 with an amazingly affordable price tag. For those of us who want the $1,000 quality, but do not want to take out a second mortgage, the Metro Arms American Classic Commander 1911 certainly does not look like the company has cut any corners. At half the price of other 1911s of the same quality, I do not know why anyone shopping for a 1911 would pass over the Eagle Imported mil-spec American Classic Commander.

Not hiding behind the outside upgrades, besides the Novak-style rear sight, flared and lowered ejection port, extended slide stop and combat hammer and trigger—internally, these 1911s are just as pleasing. The frame of the American Classic is 4140 steel with a 4140 hammer-forged steel slide and throated, forged steel barrel. These full-sized 1911s have a 4.25-inch barrel, Beavertail grip safety, thumb safety and sleek checkered wood grips with a diamond cut. Chambered in either .45 ACP or 9mm, the American Classic Commander is currently available in deep blue, shiny eye-catching hard chrome or my personal favorite, duo tone.

Specifications and features

Caliber: .45 ACP
Barrel: 4.25″
Capacity: 8 rounds
Frame: 4140 steel
Slide: 4140 hammer-forged steel
Action: Single action
Sights: Dovetail front and Novak-style rear
Safety: Beavertail grip and extended thumb safeties
Grips: Checkered Mahogany wood grip with diamond cut
Overall length: 7.5”
Barrel length: 4.25”
Height: 5.5”
Width: 1.25”
Weight (empty): 35.2 oz.
Can be fitted with any aftermarket Novak style rear sight and any dovetail front sight dimension of 65 (degrees) x 330

Wilson Combat 1911 Elite Tactical Magazine, .45 ACP

Picture shows a silver 1911 magazine with round count window on the side.
After a year of experiments and testing, Wilson Combat, the 1911 gurus, releases the toughest and most reliable 1911 magazine yet.

No more worrying if your magazines’ springs will wear out. No more trolling forums to answer the “keep ‘em loaded or not” question. After a year of experiments and testing, Wilson Combat, the 1911 gurus, releases the toughest and most reliable 1911 magazine yet. Wilson Combat swears these stainless flat wire MAX springs and stainless steel ETM tubes will never need replacing even after “extreme” use and abuse. Yep. That’s right. Never. Need. Replacing.

Unlike all other 1911 magazines, Wilson’s exclusive flat wire will never stress or lose tension. Besides that, its design aids in locking back your 1911’s slide every single time. These heavy-use eight rounders have a low profile base and handle hollow points and +P like a boss. No joke, these Wilson Combat 1911 Elite Tactical mags are flawless in every single way and though they may cost a tad more than other magazines, if you spring forth the cash there is absolutely no risk involved—you get by far the best 1911 magazine on the market. If not, Wilson Combat promises to replace it.
Generally, 1911 magazines do not come with this many promises, but the new Wilson Combat Elite Tactical 1911 magazine sure does. Just check out all the benefits and features.

Specifications and Features

  • Increases reliability in all 1911 pistols
  • Corrosion-resistant aircraft-grade certified stainless steel tube
  • Strongest magazine tube yet developed, virtually eliminating feed lip
  • Refined radius for each bend in the tube to take advantage of the strength in the stainless steel
  • Proprietary, custom-designed welding process
  • Proprietary multi-step tumbling and finishing process
  • Rear tube observation slots
  • Innovative follower design with its extended skirt ensures stability in Operation
  • Minimizes creep from the tube when the magazine is empty
  • Fiber-fill nylon self-lubricating follower
  • Smooth round feeding
  • Positive slide-lock after the last round has been fired
  • Seats and locks in the weapon with the slide down
  • Removable base pad
  • Lifetime of smooth and reliable operation
  • No-risk service policy
Picture shows a black modern sporting rifle.
MasterPiece Arms threw a twist on the traditional AR-180 design by adding the traditional M4 collapsible stock that also folds to the side of the rifle.

MasterPiece Arms MPAR 556 Rifle

If the MasterPiece Arms MPAR 556 rifle looks a little off, it’s because it is. The untrained eye might not see much difference, but the MPAR is not an AR-15. It is based on the AR-180, a rifle ArmaLite developed in the late 60s as an improvement on the AR-15. Though it shares a few similarities with the AR-15—such as the fire control group—internally the MPAR modestly differs. When broken down, you will notice the AR-180 triangular bolt. Externally, the biggest noticeable difference between the AR-15 and the MPAR is the left-side charging handle, which also doubles as a forward assist. This design allows the shooter to keep the weapon shouldered while charging it.

MasterPiece Arms threw a twist on the traditional AR-180 design by adding the traditional M4 collapsible stock that also folds to the side of the rifle. You can fire the rifle with the stock folded, as it stays clear of the ejection port.

The MPAR operates on a short stroke piston system and has a 5.56mm chambered, non-chrome lined, 1:9 twist 16-inch barrel. It accepts standard AR-15 magazines.

Though the AR-180 is a solidly designed rifle, it never saw much commercial success. While ArmaLite briefly brought back its AR-180, the company chose to use a polymer lower receiver. MasterPiece Arms sticks to the traditional design with a stamped steel receiver.

The lightweight, free-float handguard comes with rails, so you can add accessories. MasterPiece’s MPAR 556 rifle gives you the opportunity to own the best of both worlds—the smooth functioning AR-15 and the Widowmaker—a design that influenced such great rifles as the Steyr AUG and H&K’s G36.

MasterPiece Arms has priced this sturdy rifle competitively—especially if you are looking for something reliable and accurate outside the world of the traditional AR-15.

Specifications and Features

Caliber: 5.56mm NATO (accepts .223 Remington)
Barrel: 16.26″, 1:9″ twist rate
Operation: Short stroke piston design
Non-reciprocating side charger with forward assist
Stock: MPA side folding collapsible buttstock
Handguard: MPA aluminum handguard with full length top rail
Finish: Black phosphate, hard coat black
Weight: 7.8 lbs

SteriPEN Ultra UV Light Water Purifier

Picture shows someone purifying water with the SteriPEN Ultra UV light water purifier
Throw a SteriPEN Ultra UV light water purifier in your gear.

After seeking shelter, safe drinking water is your second priority in a survival situation. Whether through travelling around the world, camping, hiking, backpacking, natural disasters or if you need to bug-out, throw a SteriPEN Ultra UV light water purifier in your gear. The SteriPEN Ultra uses Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) to prevent the DNA of water contaminants that make you very sick from reproducing in your body. SteriPEN kills 99 percent of bacteria, viruses, cholera, cryptosporidium, E. coli, Giardia, hepatitis, legionella, protozoan, salmonella, shiaella, and campylobacter without adding any chemicals to your drinking water. The SteriPEN Ultra uses a harmless UV light, just like municipal water treatment plants and many commercial water-bottling companies to make questionable water safe to drink.

To use the SteriPEN Ultra, simply remove the cap and push the button on the front of the easy-to-read OLED display once for a full liter and twice for a half a liter until the UV lamp comes on. Stick the pen into your water bottle and stir. It will take about 48 seconds to purify a half a liter and 90 seconds of stirring to purify one full liter of water. When the SteriPEN is finished purifying, a smiley face appears on the display screen, letting you know the water is safe to drink. In addition, on the high-contrast screen is a low-battery indicator and a count down for how long you have remaining before water is purified.

The SteriPEN Ultra has an internal rechargeable lithium battery that charges via USB on your computer, AC adapter or a solar panel. Included in the package is a USB cable. Once fully charged, the SteriPEN Ultra will purify 100 half liters or 50 one liters of water before it will need another charge. If you are using your SteriPEN, charge it every three to four days. While in storage, SteriPEN will only need charging every three to four months. The lamp and rechargeable battery will last for 8,000 total liters of purifying.

The tapered design of the SteriPEN Ultra fits easily into most plastic water bottles. The UV lamp is encased in an extremely durable quartz housing that has been drop tested to 50’. The SteriPEN Ultra comes with a protective case. Convenient to take with you in your pack, the SteriPEN only weighs 4.94 ounces and measures 7.3 x 1.6 x 1.3 inches. The SteriPEN Ultra is one survival product you seriously cannot live without.

Remember to filter water of particles before purifying with the SteriPEN Ultra.

Specifications and Features

UV Lamp Life: 8,000 treatments
Battery: Internal rechargeable lithium ion
Battery life: Up to 100 half a liter treatments per charge
Bottle fit: 0.8-inch minimum bottle diameter
Weighs: 4.94 oz.
Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.6 x 1.3 inches

What do you think about the MasterPiece Arms MPAR 556 Rifle? Tell me your thoughts in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (7)

  1. BTW… I neglected to mention I already have a good midsized 45… ie… Springfield V -10 Champion with 10 Wilson Combat Magazines. The AR I don’t need. My M1A works just fine.

  2. I used to tie a coffee filter over the intake filter but recently I discovered something right here at CTD.
    A small ceramic filter used inside the camel-back type bladders,allowing unfiltered water to be poured directly into the bladder and used.
    I replaced the intake filter with the ceramic/carbon attachment and, basically, double filter my water.
    Works terrific.

  3. Well, Flick has a valid point. I used a “PUR” BACKPACK SIZE WATER PURIFIER for 18 months while living off the land. It took care of 98.9% of pathogens harmful to humans. The longevity of the purifier element is directly related to the clarity of the water being processed. All of my water sources were clear mountain lakes and streams. There is no MSRP listed for that uv lamp and the solar panel necessary for charging in the woods, but I would suspect the cost is substantially more than the $80 I spent on the PUR system… A simple hand pump. A large partial filter is built in.

  4. The Steri-Pen is a nice, well made pc of equipment.But UV purifiers scare me.
    As,very basically,a non/hvy duty flashlight if it falls/drops/etc or the battery is toast so, possibly,are you.
    A basic filter, even one of the El Cheapos,paired with the UV is a much better set up.
    The extra weight penalty of a good water source is much offset by the need for reliable, clean water EVERY SINGLE TIME you take a drink.
    As a resident of a hot climate,a 3rd World visitor and a survivor of ameobic dysentery,I can attest to the validty of statement:
    Without clean safe water, you will die.
    A light just isnt enough.

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