There are a lot of options out there from Tru-Spec, 5.11 Tactical, Blackhawk Warrior Wear and if you are lucky, regular clothing that you can pickup at a mall that gets the job done. One of the things we’ve learned in the tactical clothing industry is not everyone feels the need to buy it even if they exactly the customer that we think would want to. There are plenty of casual clothing companies that have shirts that are cut long or pants that have a lot of utility functionality but everyone is different. The hard thing about shopping for stuff like this is trying to find a business that actually stocks it so you can go in and try out a brand like Tru-Spec and see if there tactical shorts, lightweight shirts or whatever else you are trying out, will get the job done. There are often features designed into the clothing that have re-enforced knife pockets or the way the pockets are sown so that something like a firearm, won’t fall out of it when you are in the seated position and leaning backwards, it’s often the fail point of regular jeans or clothing when it comes to pocket carry.
Tru-Spec’s product line has dramatically grown in recent years and although the 24/7 Series was already and established product line when we came onboard, but when it comes to CCW and Summer clothing, the Tru-Spec Shorts like the new Simple Tactical Shorts especially the Cargo Shorts have been a big winner. We will be running a Summer promo on some of the camo pattern later this month because so many guys just wanted BDU Shorts with camo patterns. If you aren’t putting a lot of stuff in your pockets the BDU Shorts might cut it, but we highly recommend the Tru-Spec Tactical Shorts that are designed with the same pocket patterns as the 24/7 Pants which might make your Summer/Winter switch overs very easy.
This is a niche market but it appeals to a very hardcore group of people. Much of it is preference driven whether it’s Condor tactical vests, molle gear or Vertx product line. The costs of jackets could be from $89.99 to over $400 depending on what features and quality you want. We all remember what it was like to shop in an Army Navy store and buy surplus military gear, especially those of us that remember the fall of the Eastern Communist Countries and all of the stuff that was sold off in military depots. Some of that was cool to have, but the smell had to be washed out and most of it was in the BDU category and not a lot of features like some of the newer tactical clothing companies like 5.11 Tactical or Tru-Spec make.
We’ve seen various companies take adventures in making certain tactical pants but the quality was never there. Only hardcore clothing companies have been able to cut into the tactical clothing market and that is only about a half dozen companies that still make user friendly and quality shirts, pants, shorts, vests and jackets. Tru-Spec makes some new jackets that are knock offs of the old M65 jacket but once you put it on and feel the brand new quality, you’ll know why it was time to update or clean out your old jackets especially if you are concealed carry holder. It seems Woolrich Elite Series Tactical has been sold off so that’s another Fail for the tactical clothing world but you never know when someone has a new design that catches everyone’s attention.
This year was a very successful year for us in the Delaware County area in launching our tactical store and we double the size of our business in the first 6 months. People are still finding out about us via word of mouth whenever they need a new holster, police boots or even just Ambulance companies hiring and people needing to get a pair of pants. Much of the product line we stock in our store is for people to checkout instead of buying it online. Duty gear like handcuff keys and various police belts are things that people in the Law Enforcement industry lose or wear out over time and are always in need of. Police vests, tactical pants, uniform pants, belts, hydration unites, SWAT team bags are things that are always wearing out and need to be replaced.
We’ve learned there are so many types of handcuffs, swivel and hinged doesn’t always narrow it down, some are different weights and types of metal. The items we have brought in this year are the Safariland lightweight handcuffs and in our region there are no Philadelphia Police Supplies shops around here and many of our Law Enforcement Officers are very happy to see a business like this open up. Tactical vests, body armor are all things people need to be sized up on and this is something that has to be done right so that there are fewer returns. We stock a large number of Blackhawk serpa holsters, safariland products, pepper spray, mace, tasers, batons, police badge holders and more and more duty gear.
It looks like Woolrich Elite Series Tactical is no more and the clothing has been drying up for some time now. They never seemed to be able to move on and market their products after Backyard outfitter ceased marketing their products. Even after all of these years of selling things that competed in the market against the 5.11 products, we still have customers coming in and bashing the 5.11 product line as having sub-par quality control. It’s one reason why we don’t stock their clothing in large quantities. Much of the fabric shrinks or falls apart and we don’t want to deal with the customer complaints for tactical pants, tactical shirts, tactical vests or jackets since this happens so much. They are truely a monster of a company but there are better quality products out there for less money.
Finding shirts that fit you is something you are going to have to try out for yourself, the Blackhawk and Tru-Spec product lines have very good quality control, but sizing and fit are going to be different. Everyone asks us how the cut is and every shirt and even some styles are cut differently. TruSpec tactical apparel has uniform and tactical shirts as well as concealed carry shirts and the fabric, lightweight and ultralightweight tactical shirts are very different. The gunny tactical line gives a different angle to the product line and the Tru-Spec 24/7 Series clothing and the Tru-Spec Simple Tactical clothing is going to really cut into Blackhawk and 5.11 tactical market just based on quality control and price points.
There are many apparel clothing manufacturers out there and there is a lot of competition. Our selection of Tru Spec 24/7 tactical pants are designed by people that work and operate in the tactical operations community and also design and build firearms. The concealed carry market has expanded in the last decade and will continue to expand as firearms have been redesigned and become stronger and more reliable. Trying to find tactical pants that work for concealed carry and shirts that look nice but function properly on the firing range are not common. The Tru Spec tactical pants all have pockets that are perfect for pocket carry and tactical shirts. . The pocket designs and feel are very different.
If you are looking for tactical shorts and you aren’t sure what your options, the TruSpec 24/7 series tactical shirts have the exact same pocket placements and the famous 24/7 series pants. There are more TruSpec tactical shorts coming out later next month called the Simple Tactical shorts as well as more tactical pants. This isn’t more over designed products, they are well made shorts and pants and almost 40% below what most of the competitors tactical shorts are going for. There is also a month long promo on the Tru-Spec shorts where we are giving away a free knife for every 2 pairs of shorts you buy. These shorts all have a 9″ inseam and are made of a 65/35 poly cotton blend.
Now that so many people do their shopping on Cyber Monday or just order things from Amazon and Ebay, many small business have been put out of business. One thing that hasn’t changed though are returns and exchanges. Sometimes people mis ready technical details about the size of a product or they order a wrong color. When it comes to buying shoes and certain types of clothing, people really want to walk in a shop, hold it in their hands and then walk out the same day. We’ve had several people tell us that we should stock certain products and many of our nearest competitors do now. Nobody wants to walk in a retail store, order something online and then go back in and pick it up when you can easily go home and look it up on google and get it in a couple days.
With holster sizes, flashlight and laser accessories its very hard to know what you are getting with a gun holster. In the area we are in we draw a lot of customers looking for Philadelphia Law Enforcement supplies that are willing to drive several hours just to try it on and get it right the first time. You can be one size in on line of tactical apparel but another size or in between sizes with another and only when you are standing in front of a mirror will you know if it’s for you. Whether you’re looking for a gun holster for your Glock 21 with a TLR-1S light or a new pair of boots, we stock most of what local law enforcement personnel are looking for.
I just got off the phone with a customer that asked me if we sold clothing that was “true to size” i informed him in the last 7yrs of selling tactical apparel, that I can’t answer that question because the times that I did, it was usually a customer looking for an answer so that if the clothing didn’t fit, he’d blame me for tell him that it would fit him. We’ve sold many Wilderness belts over the years and although we never get complaints about how the belts hold up, there are so many sizing issues with these belts that even The Wilderness has a disclaimer on the end of their order processing about not taking back returns.
The differences between Blackhawk, Tru Spec, 5.11 tactical, Woolrich Elite and even the rare inventory of Eotac clothing that is floating around can sometimes have more to do with quality control than original design differences. We’ve pruned much of our tactical clothing product lines and discontinued much of what got too many complaints about. The differences in fit between such things as tactical polos is considerable and we’ve always been a big fan of the Woolrich Elite product lines although tru-spec has gained some ground with us.
It’s been a very mild Winter this year and hitting 70 degrees in March is a good sign that Winter is over. About 19 years ago we had one of the biggest snow storms that has ever hit Pennsylvania and it’s nice that we’ve pretty past the period where snow storms usually hit. Lots of winter clothing is going to be packed up and put in a closet soon because in these parts of the Country we can get all 4 seasons and Summers can be pretty hard for Law Enforcement because lightweight clothing is hard to find. Everyone knows that a t-shirt is about as light as you can get but there are some tactical shirt options out there.
The Woolrich Elite lightweight tactical shirts in style 44914 are very popular with our Military Contractors because they need the lightweight material and still need sun protection. The next biggest sellers are the tactical pants that are 100% cotton ripstop also and are the lightest tactical pants we sell. The Woolrich Elite style 44441 pants and style 44447 pants have very different pocket designs, but we’ll see how well the Tru-Spec tactical pants compete with them this year. The 5.11 tac lite pro pants are also a new product and we’ll watching our customer feedback.
I have yet to find a shirt that is considered to be tactical that actually fits me right. I’ve worn plenty of them while teaching handgun courses but there were either sizing issues with them or there were functionality issues. I never like the idea of having velcro on the pockets and the button down versions just seemed far more professional looking. Some of the early Woolrich Elite products really were a knock off of what 5.11 had, but the quality and slight design improvements were a big, big deal.
Tru-Spec tactical clothing is very much becoming my favorite and its’ mostly because the fit is probable the best for me. I will not go out and say that everything else in the tactical clothing world sucks because so much of this is about preference. Tactical pants, tactical shirts and tactical vests all have different purpose and sometimes you’ll want different clothing because of the weather. Heck there may be a time you might want to put your guns and gear down and put on EMS pants and brush up on your first aid training.
In 2012 you can be sure there will be some pretty big changes in the tactical clothing market. I expect there will be a few people fall to the way side because there are still production issues with making clothing in China and the economy isn’t getting any better. Lots of police and government workers are losing their jobs and that will eventually affect the people that supply them. Locally there were huge layoffs in the Trenton and Camden area and for the first time we saw unemployed cops.
Now that things are really getting tight, if you are looking for some really good deals please take a look at some of the great deals we have on clothing. There are some really good Tru-Spec, Woolrich Elite and Eotac tactical pants on clearance and on sale. We have a significant amount of the Eotac style 202 OD greens left. For $34.99 you are saving on money and getting a better quality product.