Review: Mid-Evil Industries Overwatch Commander is a versatile shooting platform
Shooting sticks, bipods, or even standard tripods can’t approach the lightweight, multi-positional shooting capability of the Overwatch Commander
A few years ago, a California-based company called Mid-Evil Industries came out with a vertical foregrip that was revolutionary. The 360 VFG connected to your weapon on a ball joint, allowing you to point the grip in a wide array of angles.
Building on that tech, inventor Steve Azhocar extended the reach and usefulness of the 360 VFG by creating a number of additional products. These ultimately combined to become the Overwatch Commander, a versatile shooting platform from just about any position.
Reaching new heights
At SHOT Show 2020 I got to see the Overwatch Commander up close. The basic idea of the system is a monopod with a low, tripod base.
The first portion is the modular direct connect, a vertical foregrip that has a sleeved connector at the bottom. This clicks into a ball and socket joint at the top of a small tripod with three legs that are about 5 inches long.
The joint allows you to have a wide range of motion for pointing your rifle up or down and it can be locked into position with a knurled knob on the side. The feet can be staged at various elevations but overall, this section of the Overwatch Commander puts your rifle in the 8-11-inch height range, making it great for shooting prone or seated from a bench.
The bottom of the QD tripod plugs into yet another sleeved connector for an extension. The next portion is a QD adjustable monopod that has telescoping and locking sections to give the system more height. For greater elevation, you simply unlock the monopod and extend to the height you prefer before locking it back into place. The collapsed length is 17 inches but when fully extended, the monopod reaches 47 inches.
With yet another QD monopod base giving a non-adjustable 16.5 inches, this puts you well into the range of most standing shooters, regardless of height. These support feet, like the QD tripod above, are configurable at different angles and lock into position. They can also collapse like the QD tripod near the top of the system for streamlined carrying or stowing in packs. The base feet are 14 inches long though and are quite stable.
Where the base monopod meets the supporting feet, there is yet another ball socket, allowing the user to configure the angle of the entire monopod. Again, this is supported by a locking knob you can use to loosen or tighten to suit your needs.
At Mid-Evil’s booth during SHOT Show 2020, I met Jason, an Alaska DOC officer who was there demonstrating the Overwatch Commander. He uses the platform in a professional capacity and described its greatest benefits as being versatile and lightweight. He and his team respond to critical incidents at prisons and they typically have to get on a plane with an Alaskan State trooper in order to respond. Because of this, there is a mandatory weight limit of 35 pounds for gear. The 6 lb. Overwatch Commander is an easy choice for folks who might be assigned to overwatch on an operation.
A few months later I received one to try out myself. Despite the light weight, the unit is extremely solid. Azhocar used aluminum for the majority of the system and the attention to detail is impressive.
When deploying, the feet of the tripods each have three angles where they stop. At these various stages, they lock into place and a button must be pressed to get them to advance or retreat. The quick detach sections have sleeved collars covered in grip tape. They are easy to manipulate and the entire system feels like assembling Legos to build up what you need. In short, it’s intuitive. It differs from the traditional tripod in that all assembled, it is still a monopod. There are not three tall legs supporting all the way to the top. The base is low, and there is only a singular pole supporting all the way to the rifle.
I attached the modular direct connect to a mounted Picatinny rail on the bottom of the Daniel Defense Delta 5, likely the most accurate rifle I’ve fired. I wanted to see how these two paired up. With a Vortex Razor optic mounted, the Delta 5 weighs in around 13 pounds so it’s not lightweight as rifles go. I staged the pic rail as far back as I could in order to try and link up the Overwatch Commander near the center of balance. I got pretty close, but it still favored toward the buttstock. After heading out to the range I deployed the Overwatch Commander and snapped the Delta 5 in with the QD sleeve. I had the monopod almost fully extended so it could be around my eye level of 6 feet.
It stood well and after a few shots, I adjusted the upper ball joint to get the perfect angle on my target. I found that if I lowered it a bit, I could lean in a little and get more stable. Having three points of contact was a lot more stable, even shooting a bolt rifle, from standing. The nice thing was, I had also deployed the feet on the upper tripod and, after a few rounds, detached it from the main monopod. I then laid out prone on a shooting mat and was able to continue shooting.
I cannot say I’ve ever seen a shooting platform that was this capable. Shooting sticks, bipods, or even standard tripods can’t approach the lightweight, multi-positional shooting capability of the Overwatch Commander. While simple physics dictates you are more stable the closer to the ground you are, I was pleased with the accuracy I achieved. I shot from the bed of a pickup, the side of a hill, seated, and laid out prone. I was able to lock in the best angles and achieve repeatably consistent shots at various distances.
As mentioned above, this system consists of several products combined. You can start with a 360 VFG and QD tripod combo called Tactical Edge. It costs $290.00. There are several other options you can combine to increase the functionality ending with the Overwatch Commander, which costs $1,020.00.