We search the internet for new products all the time, especially when customers ask us if we stock a particular item and we don’t have any idea what it is. There is always something new coming out each year, but there are plenty of products that get discontinued and it’s not always that it was not a good product, sometimes it just doesn’t catch the wave and from a Corporate production and sales situation, it’s all about dollars and cents. The Woolrich Elite Barn Coat was a neat idea and looked good but lots of people called us up asking about whether or not it had a liner or was insulated and not surprising it was discontinued that year because the company didn’t get it right. Our primary clothing line is now the Tru-Spec Tactical Clothing and given there long history of dealing with the Military, they do a much better job of keeping traditional looks but updating certain features like snap buttons and better zippers.
Probable our biggest selling jacket years ago was the old Sig Tac Jackets but like many products, the entire product line seems to have disappeared. This Winter was one hell of a winter and if you were one of the ones that picked up the Tru-Spec Element Jacket you probable got your money’s worth in the first 2 weeks of 2014. Up in the Northeastern United States it’s not always necessary to wear a heavy winter coat, but having one in your arsenal is thinking ahead. There are several Tactical Soft Shell jackets out there from Propper to Condor and Tru-Spec but our customer feedback told us the Tru-Spec outerwear had enough products to cover us for Fall, Winter and rain coats both insulated an none-insulated so check them out if you are looking for something new/
We have been expanding our product line with Tru-Spec, mostly because it really attracts the largest customer base, from Law Enforcement to Private Security as well as the average gun owner that just wants to carry a his everyday carry products and know it’s going to be the same spot. The 24/7 Series tactical pants are a staple in our showroom but there are several new things that we have been stocking. The Multicam Black combat shirts as well as the the Tactical Response Uniform pants in All Terrain Tiger, Multicam, Urban Digital and many more. Several SWAT Teams and tactical teams in our area have been using both the stand Combat Shirt as well as the 1/4 Zip Combat Shirt and The 1/4 Winter Combat Shirt.
Multicam for the most part has been steadily replacing all of the Digital Camouflage patterns that have been available for the last 10yrs. At first some may find spending $89.95 or $99.95 for a Multicam Shirt to be expensive, but the most expensive shirts have features built into them that all add to the cost. If you don’t want elbow pads built into the shirt then skip the Tru-Extreme shirts and move on to the 1/4 Zip Combat Shirts, but Multicam and Multicam Black all cost more for a reason and from our experiences these don’t fade like many of the cheaper products you’ll find in Paintball stores. The Polyester Cotton Ripstop products are all generally less expensive than the 50/50 Nylon Cotton shirts so make sure you look over all of the material and pattern designs and figure out what you really want.
It’s safe to say that the Glock 42 is the big hit this year and everyone is scrounging to pick one up. Hopefully, Glock Inc. designed the gun right and there aren’t any recalls on it, but in my opinion I doubt they’ll hav a problem putting a .380 pistol out there. From what we are gathering, the gun is a hot item, but hardly anyone out there makes a holster for it yet. New pocket guns seem to be the big draw because smaller usually meant more fragile and high maintenance, but technology seems to be advancing and that is changing. We carry a lot of different Kydex and Leather gear, but Elite Survival Systems tactical nylon gear is a staple in our product line because there are so many variables out there that the Elite Survival Belt Clip Holsters are the quick fix for our customers that walk in and just need a holster.
The belt clip holster is an ambidextrous holster and all you need to do is pop the clip out and switch sides depending on whether you are right handed or left handed. It is possible to use these Elite Survival Systems holsters as an outside the waist holster and for under $22 bucks, it’s a very versatile option. They were the first ones to get the LCP holsters with the Crimson Trace Laser and are often a multi gun holster option. Depending on the climate you are in, leather may not be a good idea because we’ve seen plenty of people rust out screws or barrels due to corrosion. These are extremely popular holsters for Kahr Pistols, Ruger LCP, Ruger LCR and small to medium frame semi-autos.
There6 are a lot of things that haven’t changed much with shooting firearms, but the way things are cleaned has changed. Gun Lubricants are mostly non-toxic anymore and they are much better at doing more than keeping a firearm running, they also help do what gun cleaners did and also help protect rifles and handguns from corrosion. I have gone through a few gun cleaning rods, all 3 piece ones, and it’s always the 22 caliber rifles that do in those devices. If you put the wrong cleaning patch on the rod you are going to get it stuck halfway in the barrel and might even not be able to pull the rod out. Not all firearms can be cleaned with a cleaning rod properly, the M1 Garand, and Mini 14 and Ruger 10/22. Sure if you want to clean it from the muzzle you can but that’s not the direction the bullet goes and isn’t recommended.
The only firearm that I don’t use a device like this in are my revolvers because I do find that I need a pistol cleaning rod to brush out the cylinder whenever I am shooting all lead bullets because the Hoppes Boresnakes just don’t seem to get it all. There are always reasons to have more than a few gun cleaning tools around but it’s also important to make sure you use the correct caliber sizes and don’t force it. I am presently using a 22 Caliber Boresnake on my AR15s, Ruger Mini 14s and Marline Model 882 and Ruger 10/22. Just soak the top of the snake just ahead of the bristles and drop the cord through the barrel and pull.
We have gone back and forth about which ballistic eyewear we should be carrying in our store because just like our tactical clothing lines, It’s hard to stick to one brand because there are so many preferences, seasonal changes and situations that one can be in that the same person make choose different brand shirts and pants and outwear. We always listen to what our customers are asking for and what we know is going to be a staple product line and with what we’ve seen in the last year, the Smith Optics Elite product line has become more and more accommodating to what our diverse customers need. The Boogie Regulator and the Boogie Sport can be had for $40-$60 for airsoft, paintball, motorcycle riding or jumping but that’s just the beginning.
Dropping $80-$95 on a kit might sound expensive but always keep in mind the costs of mishaps on firing range, not only are medical bills going to add up, how life altering is it going to be if you loose an eye or loose a level of vision from just a particle getting into them. We all know how annoying and uncomfortable getting dust or an eyelash is but Ballistic Eyewear is just like putting on a flak jacket or stab resistant vest. If you are in a dangerous situation you need the right safety equipment and it’s not something to skip out on. In the coming weeks we will have a fresh new product line from Smith Optics Elite that, if you checked them out before and it didn’t work for you, we have several new Protective Sunglasses and the Aegis Echo, and Eyeshields available in standard and Compact and now the new Boogie Sport and and Pivlock designs.
If we could offer an alternative to Magpul PMAGS, off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything but Lancer Magazines. These seem to be extremely popular with competition shooters because the Translucent body helps them know what they have left in a magazine but in the real world, I don’t think counting bullets matters that much. There are considerable differences between something like the Magpul window 30rd AR15 magazines and the Lancer, though. Lancer magazines have steel feed lips and the PMAGS do not. This is something that was somewhat of an issue with the Gen 2 PMAGS in extreme cold in Afghanistan because the plastic feed lips, at high altitudes and sub zero temperatures were cracking. The Lancer claims their magazines hold up below ZERO and up to 150 Fahrenheit so that should prevent anyone from thinking they are “plastic” magazines.
One thing you have to consider if you are looking to add to your collection is whether or not a certain brand is going to work in your gun and the mags will drop free. There are plenty of guns out there that are setup for USGI Magazines that may have issues with other brands, Lancer Magazines, Magpul, Thermolds, but you have to think about what AR15 magazines are being used out there and is your firearm up to modern specs and should you modify your magazine release or just change brands? There is some truth to “out of spec” magazines not dropping free, but you really need to do some testing in each of your firearms to know for sure if it works for you. There are 556 and 7.62 magazines from Lancer with the clear mags. The ability to count bullets on a magazine may not mean something to you but it “may” help you to know if you got plenty left or if you need to do a tactical reload.
We’ve seen a lot of recalls in this industry and it’s almost always a gun that just came out, and 6 months later you find out their is a magazine spring issue, extractor issue, or the barrels just don’t cut it and there has to be a Generation 2 or a slightly improved version. I remember learning this lesson years ago on a firing range when someone in the NYPD was telling me all of his friends were getting Kahr pistols because it had a consistent trigger pull like Glocks did so it was a very nice off duty firearm. Back then, the Kahr was kind of king of the small 9mm concealed carry crowd because it was very well built and seemed to have a good track record except for one thing, the early production firearms had issues with the trigger pins coming out.
Now that just about everyone and their dog is putting out a .380 handgun, watch and see how many recalls you see this year, or how many guns won’t be around in 2yrs. One thing for sure is that there isn’t going to be a shortage of getting Kahr Magazines if you end up choosing that design. Check out all of the gun holster options for Kahr and you’ll see how popular of a gun it is. Single stack magazines for 9mm, 40 S&W and 45acp are available. I’ve personally shot a lot of these guns and although I don’t own any, it’s definitely a product line that I would suggest to someone due to parts and availability.
There is always a very diverse crowd we have that buy from us, from competition shooters, Military Personnel, Law Enforcement and persons just looking for a better optic for the gun range. There are always price levels and depending on the features you are looking for, you are going to pay for what you get. There are plenty of less expensive optics on the market than the Trijicon ACOGS, RMRs, Accupoints ect, but what do you really want? Battery life is something you need to know ahead of time and if you don’t want to have to worry about turning your optic on and off it’s most likely going to be Aimpoint optics even though the very expensive Trijicon SRS01 and SRS02 are optics that can compete with Aimpoint on a durability and battery life expectancy.
One option to consider is if so many people are raving about the Aimpoint Micro optics there is an even smaller option called the Trijicon RMR sight. There are many dot sizes and normally the small the dot the more precise you can be, but now with red, green and amber dots, you should think ahead and decide what your eyes pickup better and whether or not you may end up using some form of night vision in the future. The Trijicon RMR sights with the Amber dots seem to work better with night vision and according to many statistics, the human eye picks up the green color in low light and at longer distances. There are several non battery operated options that fiber optics and will eliminate any need for spare batteries, normal battery life for the RMR sights is about 2yrs.
Most AR15 rifles being built today are way ahead of the rifles from 10yrs ago. I don’t hear about gas keys coming loose, gas tubes coming loose or firearms corroding like they use to. The metals used today are so much better than before and the way the are put together has also been improved. Now so many people are building their guns, sometimes from scratch and sometimes just purchasing the the upper receiver after building the lower. We don’t act like experts when it comes to all the technical know how with various magwell, barrel designs, quad rails or stocks, but we can offer advice to help direct you in the right direction. Recently we had a large purchase of Magpul magazines and all of the accessories that go with it and had push the product due to the departments lack of knowledge over the product line.
Most of the competition shooters know what all of the ranger plates and accessories values are what is just an over thought out product but sometimes it just comes down to the basics, to win a competition or to win a fight. Depending on the legalities of owning standard capacity magazines, Magpul 30rd pmags are by far the most recommended, although I would stick with the Gen 2 PMAGS because I personally have had spec issues with the Gen 3 pmags and we had to put a recall on them, but I would blame that on Politics and hyperactive demand for the product line. In this day and age, there are not a lot of GREAT magazines out there, but if your AR15 is not running with Magpul Gen 2 PMAGS or Lancer Magazines, I would highly recommend you consider taking the AR15 to a gunsmith to adjust the magazine release so the mags drop free.
We had our Tru-Spec Rep in our store a few days ago to show us some of the new stuff coming in right now and later this year. Everyone that goes to SHOT Show always talks about how it’s flooded with the same old same old, and rarely am I impressed by more than a half dozen NEW products each year. It’s usually a fad, or some high priced product, that we know we aren’t going to be moving in large volumes, so does it really matter to us or our customers? The problem we’ve had filling within our clothing line, was the customer base that wore the Woolrich Elite Series product line and the Eotac. Finding a company to make a 100% cotton ripstop pant that doesn’t shrink and was durable was a hard task. And since those companies are gone, we get a lot of customers that are looking to replace their old inventory with something new, but since so much of the tactical clothing market is filled with 65%/35% Polyester Cotton, it’s really hard to point people toward other brands.
I’ve got a closet full of tactical clothing from early product prototypes to 5.11 Taclite pros, and the Vertx 98% cotton 2% lycra. Although I like the Vertx pants I’m not a big fan of the pocket placements and if I have my car keys in my tactical pants pockets and my knife where the knife re-enforcements are, my knife always flies out when I pull something out of the hand pockets. I realize this is a preference but when you’ve been wearing the same style clothing for almost 8yrs, it’s hard to have to re-arrange your cell phone, keys, knife and flashlight locations. I like the Tru-Spec pocket locations but a large number of our customers don’t like the Poly/Cotton material. If you are in that category, check out the new All Nylon Tru-Spec Eclipse pant which we’re hoping our customers in the Southwestern United States are going to want to try out. It’s probable going to be a good option for you this Summer and we’ll be awaiting our customers feedback.