One thing I’ve found, in both my current and previous employment, is that decent kit actually does last a lifetime.
We live in a disposable world where people often opt for the cheaper version of the same thing, only to have to replace it in no time at all.
I have friends that do this, more often than I sometimes believe. The conversation starts around some kit I have, one of the teams have or something we come across out and about. A buddy will then ask what it’s worth and recoil when they find out how much decent kit actually costs. A week later theyve a cheaper version/Chinese knock-off etc etc. Never lasts long!
I’ve been fortunate, I’ve bought well over the years, been given kit through work and amassed a stock of ‘go to’ kit, bags and bits! Also, my various employment and pastimes have put items into my hands made by world-renowned firearms and knife manufacturers, all of which I’ll get round to, certainly those worth special mention.
A couple of brands have stood out over those years, ones we’ll get on to! Some people spend a fortune on kit they never use properly or spend as much as they can, chasing a brand, thinking that’s the easiest way to guarantee quality!
But there is another way!
Decent kit can serve more than one master faithfully! There is no reason why this kit can’t be passed on, sold or traded, still working perfectly for its new incumbent!
If it’s been looked after, was of a high quality to begin with and the mindset of the owner isn’t a materialistic one (it’s got to be new and shiny!) then why not share the love!
Bags, packs and blades are the most obvious ones! Rifles increasingly if well selected and looked after. A bag can become a best friend, as can a small pack and even more so a well purposed knife! I have a rifle that protected me from wild boar in the pitch black in a Hungarian forrest once when ‘the wheel came off’, nothing flash or expensive but I had 100% confidence in it, a rare thing these days.
I have bags I will never get rid of, that have served me well and I’ve shown them the respect you would any old friend, favourite gundog or time-served tool!
A few brands have impressed me very much over the years, I’m still finding new ones as I scramble about the world. Brands that offer things like ‘no questions asked lifetime warranty’ and customer service departments that will fix things that fail without question are few and far between, and when you find them they deserve the acknowledgement for their efforts, even though they often fit the ‘unsung hero’ pigeon-hole very well.
Also, let’s not kid ourselves, used/pre-loved/2nd hand kit offers a significant saving and positive impact on material use and recycling etc. If you are someone who has been about a bit, seen poverty and knows what ‘having nothing’ feels like then new isn’t your first option. If it’s good quality and it works then let someone else drive the new car off the forecourt!
The more I think about it the more sense it makes! What’s not to like?
Here are a few brands that do exactly what I have discussed, offer the best quality kit with real durability and a customer service approach that shows it’s genuine. There others out there and I’ll be glad to talk about them one day, but we’ve got to start somewhere!
5.11 – http://www.511tactical.com/
I’ve been using 5.11 kit for 10 years plus. In that time I’ve bought, borrowed and been given all sorts of gear, pants, bags, knives, caps, the list goes on. What’s remarkable is that I don’t ever recall any of it breaking/tearing or being thrown away!
There is no surprise that military, LEO and sporting shooters us it heavily! It’s incredibly well made, stylish, discreet if needed and pound for pound great value!
Yeah, I’ve more expensive kit, especially rifle bags and camera cases, which are excellent in their own right, but there is just something about 5.11 that sits perfectly with me.
Tim Kennedy, a chap I’ve got a lot of time for, especially his stance on preparedness, medical training and active shooter response, is their brand ambassador and not without good reason! https://www.facebook.com/TimKennedyMMA/
The kit is so hard wearing I have no reservations whatsoever about taking it second hand, or even giving it away, knowing it won’t fail who it’s going to! It never fails to surprise me how much 5.11 kit is floating round on fleebay or similar, reasonably priced and in excellent ‘loved’ condition!
I’ve bought direct from 5.11 many times, their customer service is exceptional, but recently I’ve also found excellent service in the UK from Tactree – https://tactree.co.uk . They know how to keep the price as real as possible and their customer service is excellent!
I could itemise my kit, a Rush12 that has followed me around the world, a Flag bearer cap that fits better than any cap I’ve ever owned, my favourite MOAB10 range bag or the defender jeans I’m sat in as I write this blog! (By the way, the best range pants I’ve ever owned!) But the list would be too long. I rate this kit very highly indeed, it’s yet to let me down!
I’ll review some of these things in the future, give them the coverage and time they deserve, fairs fair after all!
But for now all I can say is that if your needs are for well made, stylish, battle proven, value for money tactical kit then look no further! And if money is tight, meaning new stuff is beyond your pockets then let me know, I’ll source you a pre-loved one!
More to follow…………