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High End Gear Buying Guide


hrturner

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Okay so lots of people have asked me about gear, what I buy, where I buy, how to find good deal on quality gear, etc. So I decided I would take some time to type this up. First off I am a gear whore. I don’t buy shit. Say what you want about your condor/pantac/whatever I don’t care this write up is for quality gear that will cost you extra but will out last your grand kids (should you actually meet a girl who can put up with your play army antics.)

 

 

First off vests. The defacto today is the MOLLE (Molly) platform.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOLLE_%28military%29

 

This system uses nylon webbing to attach pouches to the main carrier. Its very efficient and highly variable. There are pouches for everything and if its not made already it can be. Currently having an M60 barrel pouch made by Tactical Tailor.

 

Common MOLLE vests:

 

The Interceptor Body Armor (IBA)

450px-Interceptor_body_armor.jpg

 

The Combat Integrated Releasable Armor System (CIRAS)

CIRAS.jpg

 

 

There are many others but I am only using those two as examples. These vests are made of 1000D (denier) Cordura nylon. What is denier you ask? Well young grasshoppa, denier refers to the linear mass density of the fibers within the fabric. I hear you out there, “I already know that higher is stonger, blah blah blah.” Well for those who didn’t, now you do. Now on to one of the most important parts of the vest; the stitching. This is where the weakest part of any vest will be. This is due to the fact that it is the part that receives the most straining and stressing. Some important things too look at involving stitching:

 

*The number of stitched rows (single/double/triple/quad)

*Bartacks – reinforce high stress areas such as bottom of zippers and pockets. Typical look like a series of zig-zags.

*Back Stitching – This is when you start the next stitch at the halfway point of the stitch prior to the new one. Looking at this photo the square hoops that go through the beads are the backstitch. (Sorry best picture I could find that explains the concept).

 

backstitch_bead_emb.jpg

 

 

Now that is all out of the way lets look into some quality gear makers. Now this is by no means a complete list as new manufacturers come and go, but here is a list to get you started.

 

SDS – Specialty Defense Systems

TT – Tactical Tailor

T.A.G. – Tactical Assualt Gear

Eagle Industries – Maker of the CIRAS

BHI – Black Hawk Industries (not a personal one but lots of people like them)

BDS Tactical - Not highly known but most of their stuff is 1000D and quad stitched

 

 

Here are some others that I have had good luck with and make quality gear as well.

 

Blackwater Gear – No longer around but gear is still available second hand.

VooDoo Tactical – Quality gear but you have to search for their 1000D items. They cost more but are loads stronger.

MaxPedition – Good for light to moderate use.

HSGI - High Speed Gear Inc

 

Stuff I personally stay away from (and strongly suggest you do too):

Condor

Diplomat

almost anything from Cheapthandirt.com

 

Again what is that whiny sound I hear? Oh that’s you out there screaming at me about how awesome your condor rig with pouches from airsoft banned that you spent 80 bucks on and got 12 pouches with. Well that’s great but if you haven’t torn it yet, then you don’t play airsoft nearly as hard as you think. I tore a condor drop leg clean in half in the first 15 minutes of a firefight. The rig came loose so I went to pull the strap tighter and BAM strap torn and buckle broken. Call it what you want but I want stronger gear than that.

 

Anyways, now how to find gear so that it doesn’t break your piggy bank. My personal favorite method is ebay. I have gotten loads of good gear for dirt cheap. In fact just this evening I bought a T.A.G. MBITR radio pouch and a Blackwater 200rnd pouch for $34.62 shipped and new. The T.A.G. pouch retails for 45. Now on to how to sift through the ebay pool.

 

When you type tactical gear, assault vest, or even molle into the search you will gets thousands of hits and only about 2 percent of those will be quality gear. My first indicator is when the titles says “tactical assault molle vest CIRAS IBA MLSS 12 pouches” Its not going to be a good vest. 11 times out of 10 this will be a crappy vests from China. The best searching method for ebay is to find something specific and search for it. Example; Tactical Assualt gear MBITR Pouch. If that doesn’t work search for the name of good manufacturers. This will pull up anything with the name of quality manufacturers. Once you get this list look at the photos of the gear. My rule of thumb if they don’t have a picture of the “name brand” tag then I wont buy it.

 

Now the hardest part of this whole thing is money. In all honesty you will spend more money replacing vests as you break them then you would if you just bought good ones to begin with. Just save the money up and buy the good stuff the first time. It does add up but If you want to put your gear through hell when you play or if you want your gear to pull double duty, then buy it right the first time.

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My suggestions for quality gear... Get on eBay and troll the internet in general. I just got real Crye Fabric Multicam uniform for around 30% and ended up paying the same price that I would have for Propper, which is shit for Multicam gear. You can find good gear on the internet for the same price as Condor for 10x the quality. Also, real gear keeps a much greater resale value than Condor. I'm not a fan of 5.11 VTAC gear. I had a medical pouch that tore up much faster than anything Condor I've owned... Just a heads up!

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Not a fan of 5.11 either. I have one of their re-branded packs and its falling apart after a year of light to moderate use.

Sometimes getting a cheap piece of gear is not a bad idea. Simply because that particular piece does not exist in high-end brands. I have a couple condor radio pouches because they fir my radio like no other.

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Sometimes getting a cheap piece of gear is not a bad idea. Simply because that particular piece does not exist in high-end brands. I have a couple condor radio pouches because they fir my radio like no other.

 

 

If that's the case, send photos of the product to any of the companies listed and they can make it. :D

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If that's the case, send photos of the product to any of the companies listed and they can make it. :D

 

+1, I believe TAG will make custom products, in addition to customizing their own for operator-specific needs.

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+1, I believe TAG will make custom products, in addition to customizing their own for operator-specific needs.

 

So does Tactical Tailor and BDS Tactical. Most of these companies, if you give them a general idea what you want they can usually make or modify something that fits the bill.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am a gear whore. I don’t buy shit.

I like your style. B)

I too am a gear whore. Tactical Tailor is my drug of choice.

 

If you cruise classifieds on many different sites, it's easily to get quality gear on the cheap.

Or, just buy it straight from Harvest. :lol:

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I enjoy pantac gear, been using pouches from them for years with no problems yet

 

I just got my Pantac MBSS pack the other day in the mail. According to the packaging, it has a lifetime warranty, which isn't even offered by some other high end gear manufacturers. I hear good things about FLYEE and OPS gear as well.

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I just got my Pantac MBSS pack the other day in the mail. According to the packaging, it has a lifetime warranty, which isn't even offered by some other high end gear manufacturers. I hear good things about FLYEE and OPS gear as well.

 

 

The only one I know that doesn't offer a lifetime warranty on everything is BHI....

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Has anyone used any of Flyye's gear?

 

If so, give us a run down of their stuff. They use 1000 Cordura, but I have never owned one of their items.

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I think flyye is rebranded pantac honestly

 

Its something like that. One of them is the re-brand of the other. Both made in the same place just different specs. I cant ever remember which one is which though. I think Flyye is the better but I wouldn't quote me on that...

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I believe that Flyye & Pantac were at one time the same company called Phantom but then separated into two different companies (This is based on hearsay from ASF & more ). So their gear should be similar.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Have you ever heard of the brand Leapers? I was considering buying a rig from them, but after seeing this topic about gear, I started wondering...

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Have you ever heard of the brand Leapers? I was considering buying a rig from them, but after seeing this topic about gear, I started wondering...

 

Leapers/UTG is roughly the same thing as far as I know... and their is better gear out there more than likely ;)

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What Eagle said. Not totally sure but I am fairly confident Leapers and UTG are the same brand or one is a rebrand of the other. Definitely better gear out there. I would recommend VooDoo tactical before UTG/Leapers.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I enjoy pantac gear, been using pouches from them for years with no problems yet

Same for me, my vest is Pantac, had it for almost 4 years now, and still going strong, got it from redwolf airsoft, they have a great selection of pantac.

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  • 11 months later...

Having used Pantac for real-steel USMC training, it holds up very well and I would have no problems with it in Afghan.

 

My compaint is their color choice. They have two earth colors, one light Tan and the other Coyote Brown. One is too light and the other is too dark for the standard Coyote Tan issued by the USMC.

 

Brands I use to great great results incude:

 

1. Emdom USA (Known for making unusual pouches and innovative features. Lifetime Warranty)

2. EcLipse (Made by BAE Systems, standard issue for USMC presently)

3. Camelbak Delta-5 Vest (High Quality, comfortable, and holds water better than an exterior pouch)

4. Blue Force Gear (Known for their "ten-speed" collapseable pouches. Lifetime Warranty. Just released a new system for mounting to MOLLE that cuts weight by almost 50%)

5. Safariland (Makes a great M9 mid-ride hard-shell holster)

 

Others that I have experience with and will speak positively of:

1. PPI (makes the USMC MTV)

2. Eagle (Former USMC standard issue. Makes USMC LWC) **Side note- Very expensiv new!

3. Tactical Tailor

4. HSGI (Loved their WEEsatch, but hated that it was loose once magazines were used)

 

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I've used Pantac as well as Flyye and both have held up great. Are they on par with higher end gear? No. But they will get the job done for weekend warriors. Flyye is typically (atleast at this point in time, they seem to eb and flow) the better brand of the two.

 

I picked up T.A.G.'s Banshee during their Black Friday sale and I love it. Compact, robust, and a no BS carrier.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been lookin at some vests on ebairsoft.com and i was aonderin if TMC is something to look at, cause they have a good selection of it.

 

You get what you pay for when it comes to clone gear, but I've heard pretty good things about TMC gear, as in quality on par with Pantac/Flyee, and superior to Condor. Of course it won't be Eagle Industries or Tactical Tailor in quality, but its good gear for those on a budget or whom don't have a rough play style and abuse their gear. Just remember, you get what you pay for!

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Stuck between a T.A.G Phalanx Chest Rig Type 4 Fury and a BDS Tactical Modular Vehicle Operators Chest Rig. T.A.G comes with mag puches and a radio and medical pouch and it is cheaper, but BDS is custom made. Whats your guys imput. Really not sure.

Edited by Capt. Vitrano
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Weird..... I literally had the same battle. Originally I was going to do the TAG rig and have some modifications done to it at the time of mnufacture but ultimately I went with the BDS 308 Rig instead. My thoughts on the BDS rig. Its big I mean BIG. I'm not a small guy (6'3" 190lbs) but this rig is a little loose on me even. If I wear plates or soft armor its fine but if you dont want to run plates/armor, the vest will be too big for you. As for the build, the two companies make perfect gear thats backed up with a lifetime warranty so I have no fear from either of those. I cant speak for TAG's turn around time but BDS' turn around time is easily 2 months. It says 4-6 weeks when you check out but thats 4-6 weeks before they START MAKING IT. Misleading? Yea..... Once its in production though they send you and email at each of the steps in the process (stiching, molding, shipping, etc) and you can expect it in 2-4 weeks depending after they start producing the vest.

 

Honestly though, you can go wrong with either brand. You will be able to beat the $h1t out of either brand and if you happen to tear it up while doing so, thats fine they will fix it for you for free. I dont see condor offering that....

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