All posts in Survival Gear

What is a Tactical Store?

We often get asked if we are a Uniform Store, from EMS, to Fire, Police and Military.  The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of variables with what “is” a uniform.  There are primarily Class A and Class B uniforms.  I often tell people we are closer to a Class B Uniform Store because we do not do tailoring, but it really depends on what you are doing for a living.  We do have a Federal Firearms License for doing firearms transfers and many of the products we sell like Streamlight Flashlights and Surefire Flashlights have a very broad customer base.   We like to market ourselves as a Tactical Store because we are not a Gun Shop or a Class A Uniform store.   We like to sell ourselves as more of a modern Army Navy Store and we also get a lot of National Guard and Military Personnel for backpacks and hydration.

There is another market we like to cater to and that is the Emergency Services and Survival.  There are many cross overs for rescue gear, First Aid, Camping, GoRuck and Hiking.  Some of the backpacks we sell can be sold to Emergency Rescue Teams that may be deployed looking for convicted felons or even lost children.  You need hydration for several days of hiking and what you want to do in that time period is survive.  There is a stigma against words like “survivalist” but it’s really a Boy Scout mentality that is very common with responsible people and prevalent with First Responders.   We tend to change up our product line with the seasons and the weather, emergency blankets, thermal gear in the winter and hydration and long term food storage in the Summer and Fall.   There are not a lot of stores  like ours, probable 1 for every 500 gun shops in the Country but get the word out that there’s a Tactical Store here in Pennsylvania.


New Tru-Spec Backpacks around and under $100

Nylon gear is about quality and mission purposes.   We have a very broad customer base that sometimes use the same products, just different colors, something like a Plate Carrier can look SWAT or Tactical in Black, Military in Multicam or Tan, and EMS in Navy or Red for Fireman.   The same goes for backpacks and molle gear.   We often brag to people about how anesthesiologists and a surgeons use some of the tactical bags were sell and they aren’t even gun people.   Sometimes it’s not just about the design of the bag, but the size of the bag.   Some of the Tru-Spec backpacks we have been selling like the Gunny Tour of duty bags are pretty nice, but some say they are a little heavy and a little bit of an overkill for their needs.   We recently listed their Trek Sling pack and a few others because the price point was very appealing to many of our customers.

One thing we don’t sell is low end nylon.   I’m not going to name, names, but if you think a $35 backpack is something that is going to hold up, well, you are going to find out after using it.   You can over pay for a brand name, but we always like to give people options,   the Tru-Spec backpacks are good quality nylon at a reasonable price and very versatile.    The Tru-Spec Circadian seems to be the most popular so far, just based on simplicity, design and cost.   The Signature Gunny Line Tour of Duty packs seem to be for camping or long term deployments.  Take a look and see what they have, these are definitely a big step up from some of the other backpacks Tru-Spec has offered.


Kimber Pepper Blaster II what’s so different about this?

Pepper Sprays

Kimber Pepper Blaster II

There’s a very short and simple answer I have for  you, people often get sticker shock and think “I don’t need to spend almost $40 on pepper spray” but when I explain to them the difference between key chain pepper sprays and a Kimber Pepper Blaster, well, put each one in your pocket or purse, then pull it out and point it at your threat, they realize that they did not know which directly the keychain pepper sprays were pointing until they looked at it.   A handgun is suppose to be an extension of your hand, it should be easy to point, a bottle or cylinder shaped object is NOT easy to point.   I’ve also been around enough deployments of pepper spray to know how sloppy they can be, and often there is blow back.

There are levels of self-defense, sometimes a flashlight can do the job, verbal defense, less lethal, and lethal.   For civilians, I highly recommend something like the Kimber Pepper Blaster II over any stun gun.  Lots of women come in our store looking for stun guns, but we recommend those for Father’s to give to daughters on Prom Nights or for College Dating, training with a weapon that you have to get up close and personal with is more of a liability than something that shoots 112 MPH and I can attest that they can shoot 13ft.  It gives you more of a splatter than a stream, which also makes it much easier to hit your target.   Also the velocity of the Pepper Blaster makes it hard to dodge.   The shelf live of these is 5 years and spending less than $80 for 10yrs of less lethal defense is not expensive.   I also highly recommend these has something anyone with a CCW should ALSO carry.


Elite Survival Pulse Backpacks, versatile, affordable and unique

What you do with a backpack is all about you, and products like these can be used for Military, Police, Campers, Hikers or for travel.   The color you choose can portray an image.    You can put any type of patch on these bags for Goruck, SWAT, Medic or just Team insignia.    I have several of camping and tactical bags that I love, but it’s probable been 15yrs since I thought about adding another backpack to my inventory.   There seems to be a sweet spot of “under $150” for which most people want to spend for one and many of the 5.11 bags we’ve sold in the past are getting expensive.   Elite Survival Backpacks has impressively expanded in the last 2yrs and they really are worth taking a look at.   There have been several new ways of attaching molle pouches to bags and this was the first bag I saw with outer molle configuration (which reduces weight).

The Elite Survival Pulse backpack has an impressive versatility and design.   Little things like having a backpack with mesh backing, proper cut for neck and well design support straps are what make or break sale.   The Elite Survival Pulse Backpack also has the ability to carry hydration, sold with or without.   This bag is definitely something we see broad appeal for for backpacking trips, tactical needs and survivalists.




Are Cold Steel Knives dangerous weapons or are they useful tools?

cs_logo_whiteCold Steel KnivesI’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but sometimes we need to remember, that with all of the stupidity in our society, that all those dangerous looking Cold Steel knives or any other tactical knife that you see on a tactical store, or hunting store website, are probable already in just about every household in the Country but with a slightly different handle or blade.  Any knife can be used for something productive, or something destructive.  How many people keep an axe in the shed, but having a Tomahawk in your car makes you a nutjob.   If you do some research you’ll find that many of the Tomahawk or Axes that we sell are actually considered rescue tools.  Any of your leftist anti-gun friends notice that many building keep an axe on the walls of buildings, RIGHT NEXT TO THE FIRE ALARM.  Gee, I wonder why?  So you can break down a door or a wall and save your life?

I recently got back from a Boy Scout Troop meeting where 11-16yr old boys were being shown all about the types of knives and how to hold, carry and deploy them.   God Bless America!   Cold Steel Knives can be use for cutting seat belts and pulling people from burning vehicles, it happens more than you think, and that guy you see carrying a knife with him, EDC, might be the one that saves someone.   I’ve even heard of people rescuing dogs that were being strangled on leashes or even a female that pulled a blade and held off a potential rapist.    You always have to balance your EDC knife with what is legal in your State so don’t get carried away and keep it out of sight.


You can blind fold me and I’ll tell you I have a Kershaw Knife in my hand

Kershaw KnivesIt’s not always just about the blade, it’s how you are intending to deploy it and how it fits in your hand. If you can flip it open or grip it properly, then it’s not the knife for you.  Many of these tactical knives or EDC knives are very different in contour and design and its yet another one of those things many people like to see before they buy.   Kershaw seems to be at the top of the pyramid as far as quality and name recognition and they have been often known to work with other companies to build unique designs.  They are one of the top gift knives that wives or girlfriends come in our store looking for around Christmas time.

Some of the Kershaw knives we sell are are that that expensive like the Kershaw Cryo assisted knives but they have very small blades about 2.75 inch blades to a little over 3″ in relation to the size of the grips.   Nothing wrong with that but I prefer a blade like the Kershaw Ken Onion blackout with a 3.25 Blade.   To each his own but in this industry blades, handles, materials all can vary but you are going to get a lot of use out of anything made by Kershaw.  For those of that do a lot up in the mountains camping the Kershaw Camp 14″ Machete can be very useful and not something that an EDC knife can do.


Don’t want to put together a Molle IFAK, see the NAR Individual Officer Kit IPOK

NAR Individual Officer KitFirst off, you don’t need to be a police officer to have the NAR IPOK, just like you don’t need to be in the Army to have an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit), that’s just what it’s called.   I’ve been on camping trips with Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops where I see 14yr old kids show up with this stuff, make me happy to see that level or responsibility at such young ages.  I was even up at the regional Boy Scout store Scout Stuff and they had quick clot and other first aid kits there.   It’s nice to see that lever of modern first aid in circulation.

So if you don’t feel like you have a place to carry a molle pouch around with and you’re not one of those people that tows a 3 day backpack or a go bag, there is definitely a place to get an updated first aid kit or a real easy buy is the NAR Individual Patrol Officer Kit, you get 2 Black Talon Gloves, 1 CAT Tourniquet, Flat Z-Fold Gauze and 1 Flat Trauma dressing in a sealed bag, the only negative about this kit it’s meant for being put in a BDU pocket and needs to be opened up, but you can always open it up and put it in a small box in your car and know that’s your go to place if you need it, your car is an excellent place to stock first aid supplies because most of the time, we’re not very far from it.


Ballistic Plate Carriers can make nice Molle Vests

When we first started bringing in all of these various Outer Carriers from 5.11 Tactical, Voodoo Tactical, Armor Express and Condor,  it was amazing to have to learn all of the pros and cons of each vest.  We sometimes just bring in something different and throw it up on a wall and see what our customers have to say about it.  One thing we’ve learned is price points matter.  Most of our customer base don’t seem to want to spend more than $230 on them and Tactical Tailor is about as high as we go with our present customers.  The Special Ops guys tell me a lot about London Bridge carriers and love them but they start around $300 on up to well over $1000.

Condor is considered entry level but we’ve outfitted more than a few Law Enforcement with them, many in this market have the vests in their patrol vehicle for the “what ifs” that their departments make mandatory. If you don’t need ballistic plates these carriers make nice molle vests.  There’s nothing wrong with spending money on these but if you are going to be loading them up with tons of full molle pouches don’t expect to have them last as long as products made my Armor Express or London Bridge.   We have gotten negative feedback about AR500 side plate fits on some of the Condor Plate carriers like the Operator II, and even the Banshee (made by shellback)  it seems that the the AR500 paxon build up makes the plates thicker and they just barely fit.  Do you really need side plates? We contacted AR500 Armor about this and they informed us that they are no longer selling the Banshee Carriers with the side panels and are now making their own custom redesign for another $35.  That puts the Banshee close to $200.  We’re moving towards stocking Armor Express ceramic plates and Armor Express Outer CarriersBallistic Plate Outer Carriers since they seem to be at another tier.


Range Trips and Carbine Course, think about Camelbak Hydration Packs

Camlebak Hydration PacksCamelbak ArmoBak MulticamThere seems to have been a major awareness taking place in our society about having a radio, water filtration and food storage. These were things that use to be taught in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, but I’m finding my generation was one of the last that actually went through these and membership to those organizations has dramatically declined.  Knowing how to pack for 3 days and have food and water or not “overpack” is a skill many do not have.   I often refer to Paul Howe talking about his time in Somalia where guys in Combat were taking helmets and plates off because it wore them down and they felt moving was more important than operating like a tank.

There are a great many things that have made life easier and performing in competition shooting events  isn’t just about how well you can point and shoot, it’s about your physical stamina.  I’ve heard of guys passing out on ranges because they were so out of shape that they passed out when they went prone.   Eating right and keeping hydrated is extremely important to prevent fatigue.   Camelbak Hydration packs aren’t complicated and are not that difficult to clean, the biggest warning I’d say it be careful what you put in them.  I usually use the Camelbak Elixir Lemon Lime but something like Tang or Gatorade are fine.  I usually water them down so it’s flavored water because the more sugary stuff you use the sooner you’re going to want to clean it up and the harder it’s going to be clean.  There are some really good Youtube videos from Camelbak that show you all of the functions of the pack.


Saving lives is a lot easier than you think, you just have to have the Combat Medical Gear to do it

Combat Medical SuppliesI recently heard about two accidental shootings, one during a SWAT training and one during a competition shooting event at My gun club last year.   The good thing about the SWAT training event was that there were SWAT medics on the scene and one of them told me that they needed two tourniquets to stop the bleeding after an Officer shot himself in the last when re-holstering his sidearm.  Now I keep two Tourniquets in my range bag.  The total cost of both of them a SWAT-T Tourniquet and a North American Rescue CAT Tourniquet.  There are different types of packaging for Quikclot but according to the people that use it there’s no practical difference between the Sport Quikclot and the Combat gauze.   They cost anywhere from $17 to $25 while the Combat Gauze is usually in the $30 range.

We are running a promo on some of the basic combat medical supplies and packing them ourselves to try and get our customer base, since the vast majority of them are around firearms, to spend $40-$80 on these basic life saving tools because stopping bleeding is not a hard thing to do anymore.  The vast majority of gun shot wounds are survivable due to recent technological improvements.  Last year, at my gun club during a 3 gun match, one of the people there shot himself in the foot.  Out of all of the people attending the match, only one person had an IFAK.  Those are pretty bad statistics and instead of 250rds of 45acp, maybe you should consider buying into this.

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