There are a lot of differences in the designs of various tactical nylon companies but if you care about getting something that is not stamped with the Made in China on the tag, you’re going to spend a few bucks more but you might get a better warranty and customer service. Customer service is something that is less common than quality products. We’ve dealt with some major gun manufacturers that had a level of elitism about their products and would refused to acknowledge design flaws, while others valued our opinions and hinted that they were on the ways of making some changes. We are still up in the air about what types of Kydex holsters we should be stocking in our store and it’s basically because we have not got consistent customer feedback about styles or brand names.
When it comes to which brand of tactical nylon gear, we have narrowed it down to only about 5 companies. The 5.11 bags that we have in our store are extremely popular with EMS and Paramedics because so many people have held them in their hands and know what they are getting. The Rush messenger bags have been widely used in Hospitals in our area and several Chester Police Officers here in Pennsylvania are using the 5.11 bail out bags for their bug out gear. Having a good active shooter bag means having foot, first aid, ammunition and possible something like bottled water or a juice box. It’s always nice to to walk into a store and be able to open the bags up and check the zippers and stitching quality out. 5.11 Tactical might not be the best for everyone, but they make a lot of goof products.
We’ve been trying to find out what all of the issues are with the availability of Glock Magazines. We still find several local police departments are having issues getting ammunition and gun parts because so much of it has still been dried up. Whav a few of the 45 GAP magazines in stock but frankly, that’s just because hardly anyone uses the Glock 38 and it’s really the 9mm and 40 cal and 45acp that everyone uses. Glocks are still the most popular gun for Police in our County although the Sig 229 has a strong presence. The Glock 21 45acp magazines are probable the most sought after gun magazine in our area and I have yet to see a single magazine available through any of our distributors. I find the Glock 21 to be too heavy of a gun let alone putting a light on it and having a giant bulky gun holster. Many of the Upper Darby Police Officers in our county are putting lights on their guns but that is for duty, not for CCW.
I find the Glock 30 to be a good in between size gun but the Glock 36 seems to not be very well balanced. If I knew I could get a hold of Glock magazines for a good price without all of the price gouging that went on after the Sandy Hook incident. Now that this Country is being awakened to the fact there are serious social issues going on and people are joining the NRA or getting firearms for the first time but paying attention to the availability of parts is something you will want to think about. Several People I know have found out the hard way when an extractor or firing pin failed on them and they couldn’t even acquire them for months.
It’s really a good idea to test all of your magazines out and not leave them in their new packaging. We recently had a recall on Magpul Generation 3 pmags after several Police Officers complained to us that they were not dropping free from their AR15 rifles. I personally asked them to bring them back in and tested them out myself in my LWRC M6A1. All of the mags I tested out hung on me and I went on AR15.com and found several people complaining about this on youtube.com and other places. Obviously Magpul was pumping out magazines without doing a very good quality control. I also found that several of the AK magazines I had for various guns I owned did not work in all of my AK rifles. Didn’t know until I pulled them out of storage on a range day.
Even if you are stocking up on pistol magazines you really should take them out of the rapper and do a quick magazine drop test. I own several 1911 pistols and various brands of 1911 magazines did not drop free but all of my Chip McCormick magazines did. Many competition shooters want longer base plates on their pistol magazines because they can grab them and pull them out while moving through a course. I’ve seen the look of shock on some first time IDPA shooters when had a gun on an angle or where using inferior “range mags” that weren’t there CCW mags. Don’t buy the cheap stuff because there are sometimes unintended consequences to buying second rate magazines.
I have several 1911 handguns that I have run over the years and still prefer the GI M1911 styles with some slight changes like the sights. I’m a big fan of the Trijicon HD or high definition sights because they are so much better than the traditional tritium sights. Much brighter in the day time, too. I’ve messed around with the Glock 30 and the Glock 21 but I find the Glock 21 to be entirely too big of a handgun for CCW and just something so well balanced as the 1911 just can’t be beat. The Sig 220 is a close second but the trigger pull differences between a single action and a SA/DA is considerable if you are looking for first hit accuracy. I love my Sigs but they are not going to be as consistent with the first shot being so much hard to pull.
Wilson combat makes a lot of gun parts for the 1911 and you can customize this gun in just about any way you want. Hand sizes can vary so customization of a firearm is important but the one thing that I find constant is my Wilson Combat Magazines are always going to be running in all of my 1911 handguns. I prefer the 8rd ETM magazines because they feel a little stronger and with the numbers being printed on the bottom of the magazines its easy to keep a track record of my magazine rotations when I am shooting IDPA or other competition events. I’ve also noticed a much better knock down ration with 45acp ball ammo on steel plates and that’s really just what is so good about the 45acp.
Most of you know that I have bad feed and I am not always the best source for giving good opinions about various tactical gear because I just can’t always use it in the manor that it is meant to be. I have been wearing the 1232 boots for about 4 years and noticed some production chances that have really cut back from the small number of complaints about the boots to ZERO. The Original Swat boots have a stitched toe that was previously just glued on and this gives it more durability for kicking into objects. In this industry you aren’t just running and sometimes have to kick in a door or kick a bad guy down on the ground. I’ve seen people break zippers on some of the Original Swat boots and I heard there is a production change to the new 2013 production but those complaints were few.
The YKK zippers and the designs have gotten even better and Original Swat pays far more attention to backing their products than most customers. I am now wearing the Chase Series Original Swat boots and the traction on these is far superior to the that I was wearing before. When you are choosing a Police Boot you do have to think about traction because there are many different pros and cons of each style. Some people want safety toe and others don’t and if you want Waterproof boots you probable aren’t going to be wearing them in the hot summer. Lace up or side zip are also things you need to decide on. The 1151 coyote boot is a very eye catching product we like to keep out on display because it’s the least tactical looking color but still has applications to people working in the Industry.
We endlessly have customers walk in our doors and ask us simple questions that always need follow up questions. Tactical gear is so specific to the job that is being done that we really need to know what you want before we can give you an answer. Questions like ” I need comfortable holster” are so general and preference driven that we can’t really answer that. Some of the more comfortable holsters are usually the leather/Kydex hybrid holsters but some people just find that too cumbersome to put on that they give it a pass. I’ve used the Galco Kingtuk holsters for a Sig 228 for over a year and it has not broken while several other kydex holsters I’ve used have broken on me.
Nylon gear can be broken down into two categories when it comes to marketing, MADE in the USA and NOT MADE in the US. People look at some nylon gear and thing it’s too expensive so they go for the Bulldog gun cases or sometimes Uncle Mikes. All of these brands have their pros and cons but it sometimes just boils down to your personal preferences and your budget. I’ve used gun socks and the economy gun cases as well as some of their pistol rugs and I basically feel like a spent a few bucks at a grocery store instead of feeling like I walked out of a jewelry store. Cell phone cases, wallet id badges and range bags be very different and it’s up to you if you want a bug out bag or a pistol or rifle oriented product.
It amazes me the improvements and advances body armor has made over recent years and how the military issued stuff has trickled down to Law Enforcement and Civilian use. Plenty of people that have money carry guns and sometimes want body armor because being have a certain amount of money opens you and your family up to home invasions, hostage taking and kidnapping. People that live in the limelight are also sometimes the targets of some of the professional criminals and total wack jobs. All you have to do is look at what happened to John Lennon and the background of the person behind the attempt at killing President Reagan. Ronald Reagan was actually suppose to be wearing a bullet proof vest on the day he got shot and choose not to have it on that day.
Police Officers are often called to the scene of dangerous situations and you don’t always hear about all of the casualties that can occur besides stabbings and shootings. Sometimes Police end up with Hepatitis C if they got stuck with a needle or lost an eye because they didn’t have ballistic eyewear on like the Smith Optics Elite eyewear that we have been carrying. The tactical sunglasses we sell are very well received by local Law Enforcement because they can walk in our store and try them on. All of the 6 tactical sunglasses we sell have different fit and it’s not one of those things you just buy online. We have a very high satisfaction level from our customers that are wearing them.
We just had our Tru-Spec Rep in our store and he showed us several of the items that we did not currently stock. It’s funny that customers tell us they are afraid to order certain things online, and we tell them “we are the same way when it comes to bringing in new inventory”. We see new tactical clothing products listed on some of our distributors websites but all it is at first is an image and a bunch of words. We still don’t know what the big deal is about various tactical jackets or winter clothing because it’s not until somebody walks in our store or gives us positive feedback on a softshell jacket, parka, or rain coat that we actually take a serious look into whether or not we should stock it. The 24/7 Series is a very good product line but it still has some room for grown. Various camouflage patterns have come and gone and now just about everything is going multi-cam.
Digital pattern and some tradition camo patters are still available from Tru-Spec but we are watching that closely. The TruSpec outwear is really geared more towards law enforcment becaues of the badge designs but the Softshell tactical jackets have a much broader appeal. We offer Free Shipping on orders over $150 and now have a rewards program running on all of our product and with the Tru-Spec line, we offer a free 1 time exchange. There are varying degrees of warmth for each of these items but a medium weight jacke that keeps you dry and is of good quality is not that common. We see lots of military surplus gear but even though TruSpec has a military look, the quality is much better than what you’d get at a traditional Army Navy store.
We get probable 3-5 customers a day calling us on the phone and asking about the clothing we sell and how it will fit them. We have various sizing charts but they are different for each brand that we sell. I wear a large part of the clothing we sell, and I see big differences between the fit even if my sizes are all the same. I always like the Woolrich Elite line but the fit of the shirts was a little off for my body type with the shoulder lengths. We tested out some of the 5.11 tactical shirts and the 5.11 t-shirts which many of our Police Officers know and wear but we are very picky about what we stock because we don’t sell clothing to just weekend warriors we sell clothing to people that aren’t going to want to deal with discomfort if they don’t have to because they all know that body armor is almost always something they want to get off as soon they are back in the Office and no longer out on deployment.
In regards to the entire Tru-Spec product line, there are differences in the fit of the various uniform and 24/7 Series shirts. Some people in this industry need to have their Tru-Spec shirts tucked in and have a tighter fit on the shoulder while others may have a more relaxed style like the 24/7 Polos, the tactical polos and the performance polos are very well received and I personally have not had any shrinkage problems. The Polyester cotton rip stop shirts are lightweight and ultra lightweight designs and you really may want to take a trip to our tactical store to really understand how they will feel and fit you. Everyone’s torso and arm lengths can vary and if you don’t know already, you’ll want to do a walk through before you buy online and have to deal with returns or exchanges with online purchases.
We recently got some negative feedback about a Fobus holster we sold to a customer and then went back to Fobus’ customer service to find out what the issue was. Apparently there are some fit issues with the different Generations of Glock guns and Fobus holsters so now we have to be more cautious about selling them to customers that walk in and buy them for Glocks. The gun will fit into the holster but the amount of force you need to do to “click” it into the holster and then draw it out is excessive. If you put a hair dryer to the holster and edge something in it you can soften the holster up to get it to fit properly but that’s a headache for a first time Fobus holster customer. In 2013 we’ll probable bring in more of the Fobus E2 holsters because there is more adjustments you can do with the tension.
Fobus holsters are the first paddle holsters we suggest to customer if they ask for a paddle holster because after that, you normally have to move up to the $40 dollar range and usually that means a sale for the Safariland holsters. I do like Fobus holsters myself and they are great for winter carry and I normally carry a larger frame gun in the Winter and this is a much more comfortable way to carry instead of IWB. The Sig 226 in .357 Sig is my preferred gun for winter because the more penetration through clothing is something that many of my Law Enforcement customers suggest because of all of the statistics on what happens when bullets go through clothing.