I got in on the emergency food thing several years ago after Hurricane Sandy hit the New Jersey Shore and even though that is not the State we live in, our area outside of Philadelphia had plenty of havoc placed on it from the storm. It’s amazing at what hi-winds and heavy rains can do and it’s not always from a major storm that you had a week or more to plan for. Many of the worst storms I have lived through were considered Thunderstorms, but those freakish high winds would knock out electricity in certain areas for weeks sometimes. Most of our society has lost the whole Boy Scout “Be Prepared” thing and many in the Northeast have politics that make them wide up for problems because they think the Government is going to help them in a crisis.
There is no reason to not have at least 30 days of emergency food in your how where you can just use water to cook it. Stores like ours get runs on because we are the only really one of the only Tactical Stores in the Philadelphia area that caters to Law Enforcement and Civilians for medical supplies like QuikClot or National American Rescue. There are many things like self defense,preventing infections, blood loss, and starvation that are personal responsibilities and all of those area easy to prepare for. The shows you see on cable TV may be extreme, but sometimes its a good thing to think about extreme circumstances so you have the knowledge to survival.
There a warning signs when checking out on The Wilderness belts website about making sure you measure yourself before buying because their belts are made when orders are placed and they do not accept returns. We on the other hand are stocking dealers and only stock even sizes from 30 waist to 48 waist so if someone needs to move a size up, it’s not that hard for us to just swap them out. Having a store front where you can walk in and try something on and get it right the first time is a major plus. These have velcro on them and there is no belt holes to adjust sizing and if it’s not attached properly to your waist size you will not get full use of the belt.
I personally have worn these belts for over 10 years and have good luck with them. One of the best things about investing your money in The Wilderness belts as when the velcro wears out you can just have it redone for a small fee and not buy a whole new belt. This is something that has only happened to me one time in over 10years of use. You can use these as rescue belts or as a CCW belt and it will give you very good support for large frame guns. I went from a regular dress belt to a Wilderness belt and the difference in support for my Colt 1991A1 was tremendous. I could barely feel the weight of the gun where I could feel the pull when I was wearing my dress belt. Lots of people don’t use the right kind of belt for their guns and The Wilderness isn’t going to let you down.
We still long for the SigTac jackets that were big sellers years ago but they are long gone. Only the Woolrich Elite Series Twill Jacket has gained our respect, but we have been crossing our fingers and hoping for more tactical jackets and coat options from Tru-Spec. Tru-Spec had somewhat have a B average with their jackets because so much of it was modeled after military style clothing and it was either better than military issued, or not as good. There are plenty of 3 Star and 4 Star reviews about their outwear but from what we’ve seen for 2014 products, there are going to be better things coming your way from Atlanco.
I got a hold of the Tru-Spec Element Jackets and was very impressed with the fact they came out with a jacket that had a liner. It seems that many of the TruSpec jackets made before like the M65 had a liner but were very much old school, and not something modern. There seems to be a major face lift going on with the company and their new website shows us some of the new concealed carry jackets and many of our gun owners and Law Enforcement Communities are going to want. The Tactical Softshell jackets have gotten 5 star reviews from our customers and many have driven several miles to just stop in and try things on.
I remember upgrading from the XENON bulbs to LED Upgrades on several of my flashlights a few years ago. I was using Streamlight Scorpions and Surefire G2 flashlights that I believe were around 80 lumens each and I was impressed back then at how bright they were. The only piss off I had with them was how the bulbs didn’t really last that long and I didn’t really like the lack of reliability, regardless of how bright they were. The Streamlight Scorpions were upgraded to about 130 Lumens with the Upgrade kit, and the first thing I did was mount them on my AR15 rifle. I was very happy having a weapon mounted light on my guns when I was up in the woods of Pennsylvania but I also choose to put a flip on red lense because I learned in Boy Scounts that bright lights can ruin your vision at night.
The old Army Flashlights had multiple lense on them for variations on lense width always came with a red or blue lense. I don’t know why people forget this when they buy high lumen Streamlight Flashlights and thing 300 Lumens of light is going to win a fight when having low light abilities and being fast on your feet is a much better strategy. Streamlight is a very good company to choose from and their price points and warranties are going to make our customers feel like they spent their money wisely. Remember that the light you have on your firearm is not the light that you should always use for searching for something. Having two flashlights on your person is really the way to go.
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.
The new shooters are usually the ones that come in and ask the most generic questions but we’ve trained our staff be polite, even when asked those silly NEWBY questions. I am going to be writing up a sheet and put it on our wall with all of the basic questions that people ask and they’ll have to think it over and come back to us with all of the answers. This week we put in our orders for the 2014 products we will want to bring in stock for our Tactical store. Many of the leather products are what fits the bill for our customers but they are about 2x’s as much as some of the paddle holsters and the inexpensive Galco stow-n-go holsters. Those usually run in the $30 range but there are some drawbacks to those designs.
First of all, it’s better to have a holster than no holster but Kydex has gained a lot of traction in the CCW world because if you can adjust to them, they are a very good option to eventually consider. The only problem with the Galco holsters with the Stow-n-go style is “reholstering.” Once you draw the gun from the holster, it’s not really a good idea to shove it back in. There are some safety issues to think about when using some IWB holsters that are nylon or of a very soft material. I have seen some accidents with Glock handguns where people have a shirt or string that gets caught in the holster area and they gun holster pushes the gun too hard and it sets off the trigger. It’s much better to unclip the holster and then reholster, and then tuck it into your waste.
We get tons of people walking in the door hear looking for a holster that they can use for their gun with a light attached to it. The majority of the time it’s the Surefire X300 or the Streamlight TLR-1, TLR-2 or sometimes the TLR-4 light. Every police department in our area has some variation of those light either on their AR15, G36 or their handguns. There are a lot of options out there for paddle holsters and in 2014 we will be bringing in more and more of the Fobus gun holsters and the Safariland holsters. One thing we’ve learned is if you don’t have a Glock, 1911 or a Sig 229, Sig 226 or Sig 220. You are going to be limited to customer kydex or a very few manufacturers.
We have a large number of customers that want something other than the Blackhawk Serpa and when it comes to light attachments, they are very limited. There are going to be big increase in the number of Safariland holsters in our inventory this year because so many CCW holders are using them because they are much sturdier than Fobus gun holsters. They are more expensive but I have yet to have someone walk in the door with a broken gun holster. Even the local State Police are buying our holsters because they have switched from the Glock 38 to the Glock 21 like many of our local Police have.
Many people I know go to gun clubs with inexpensive eyewear that they may have picked up at a hardware store because it was only $7.99 and they didn’t want to spend the money on something they hardly use. It still amazes me to this day the number of people that don’t where eyewear when shooting but I learned my lesson the hardware, or better yet, avoid serious eye injury. Years ago I had a magazine blow out on me on cheap surplus ammunition and if I hadn’t been wearing my WileyX ballistic eyewear I might have lost an eye. I’ve heard horror stories of soldiers in Iraq getting eyewear from family members or purchased themselves that they thought was ballistic but after an IED went off, they lost an eye.
People don’t realize that in a major gun fight, fragmentation is a serious issue and it’s not only the bullet that can cause injury. Take a shot at a 300yd target with an AR15 about 3 feet in front of your target and watch how many fragments of stone, rock, lead, or steel will fly through paper. Our chosen ballistic eyewear has been the Smith Optics Elite eyewear and a large selection of ballistic sunglasses and tactical googles since many of the Elite Military have given us positive feedback. The Outside the Wire Turbo fan is probable the highest price ballistic goggles we sell but in most situations, having a fan vent out moisture is going to get you through the fight and not relying on a piece of eyewear to not fog up.
We know the elephant in the room in this tactical industry is 5.11 tactical. We have had 9yrs experience dealing with lots of competitors and even though they are very small in contrast, there are so many ways of making tactical clothing, especially tactical pants that it’s really going to come down to this…. Price points, quality control and person preferences. There are going to be some that don’t like baggy pants and some that want a straight leg tighter fit. I have been wearing Blackhawk Warrior Wear for over 2yrs, Tru-Spec 24/7 tactical pants and Eotac and Woolrich Elite pants for almost 5-9yrs and they all fit me slightly different but I’m the same waste size in all of those brands.
This year I will be testing the waters with Vertx line even though I get sticker shock when I look at some of their products, but you do get what you pay for in tactical clothing. The Tru-Spec 24-7 Series pants I wear are probable the best priced tactical pants I own and with the sales that the company does every year, you sometimes can get them for under $30 if you do your shopping during the promotions. The new Gunny pant has larger knife or flashlight pockets and a straight boot leg cut. I personally like the gunny pant more but I wish it has elastic straps inside the cargo pockets. If you wear 5.11 tactical clothing you might save a few bucks and consider the Tru-Spec tactical apparel line for Military and Law Enforcement as well as those who CCW.
I still don’t know how to say who makes the best backpacks in this industry because every week we have another person asking if we carry a certain brand of bags. From Maxpedition to US Patriot and Elite Survival and Voodoo Tactical. We’ve checkout our Voodoo Tactical and Condor stuff for several years but we mostly stock the stuff that moves the quickest. The 5.11 tactical product line has been out there for a very long time in the Tactical and Emergency Management world and lately the term “bugout bag” gets thrown around a lot but not everyone uses the same bags for the smae thing. The Rush Messenger bag and the Bailout bag are used for these terms as well as “active shooter bags.
We have been stocking most of the higher end tactical nylon gear, namely anything made in the USA, but not everything we carry online is stocked here. The most commonly asked about questions when it comes to tactical bags are the 5.11 bags like the Rush 12, Rush24 and Rush 72 Bags. Many of our local customers are Paramedics and they use the Rush 24 and the Rush 72 bags in black or tan. These bags have been through a few changes but we continue to stock the Multicam bags for all of these various sizes. The 5.11 MOAB is also a very commonly sold, Online or In store pick up item.