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Tactical Gear brands and opinions

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Hello :)

I thought that we could share here our opinions about tactical gear brands, because many new players just don't have the feedback on gear quality, or if someone is looking for some new gear.

I'm gonna start with some brief reviews of the stuff i used:

ACM / 8 Fields - Basically lowest grade, and cheapest gear available, they use sub-par quality 600D cordura and single stiches, after couple months of using gear falls apart in hands.

 

Condor - Higher quality than ACM, usually quite well done, stiching quality is average, nothing much to complain about, basically You get what You've paid for. Good option for budget/intermediate loadout.

 

Flyye - High quality, well made, durable stuff, 1000D Cordura, double stiches, very well made, very comfortable to wear/use. Good option for intermediate/experience players who are looking for quality gear.

 

Blackhawk! - High quality, very durable gear favourited by many military operators. Blackhawk belts are legendary. Great holsters.

Mechanix - Excelent quality gloves. Every model, from originals to m-pacts are made to the highest standards.

 

Please keep adding more brands and Your personal opinions about them. I'm curious about Viper products, have any of You guys used any of their gear?

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Blackhawk? You come straight from 2005? Their stuff hasn't been any good for a long time now. When their stuff was made in the US it garnered a very good rep for some time, but they switched to cheap far east labour a long while back, the quality dropped and it stopped being at all popular. You'll barely see any of it in use by western SF or any military people in general these days; all the gear stores in the US have random assortments of Blackhawk crap left over in their sales/clearance/bargain bucket sections.

 

You say you have no RIFs and no loadout of gear, but you reckon you're qualified to make huge sweeping generalisations about every single product from a given brand? I'm not having a go, but I think you're being a bit too keen there. 'ACM' isn't even a brand, it's a term applied to literally thousands of different products that come from a number of different chinese factories and can vary in material/construction quality enormously. Also if you think a lower denier cordura is 'worse', you need to do a bit more reading tbh; Crye, FirstSpear, Blue Force Gear, Mayflower etc etc all use substantial amounts 500D and their gear is literally the best on the planet, in fact almost all the top level manufacturers use 500, or indeed even lighter materials in some cases for specific applications. 1000D is unnecessarily bulky and heavy when 'operators' need to maximise mobility.

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Mechanix gloves fall apart pretty quickly in an airsoft environment, If you want more durable equivalents get some motocross gloves! Saying that I have just bought another pair of Mechanix gloves coz they is bling lol.... and they are not exactly overpriced so don't mind replacing them every 6 months.

 

UFPro - Utterly awesome kit, uber cool, uber functional, uber durable...... and unfortunately uber price, love mine though.

Tru-Spec - Nice average quality kit for the money, stitching can fall apart though which is frustrating, their baseball cap is the best I've owned though - Multicam Tropic is ace for woodland

Helicon - similar to Tru-spec except don't come unstitched.

Viper - hit and miss with quality, some is utter garbage, but other bits are fantastic value for money and very durable for the price.

Nuprol - garbage heavy weight BBs, Black 4.0 gas is good though.

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@CKinnerley

Okay, let's clarify something: I've been playing airsoft for several years now, back in Poland. I don't have any gear on me here, in UK, where i live now.

I've been through quite a bit of gear throughout all the time i've been shooting.

All the Blackhawk gear i've had my hands on was high quality, and i definitely wouldn't say a word against it.

And about the "ACM" - yes, i've made a generalisation, but 95% of no name ACM gear i had my hand on, was useless.

I don't think that lower denier cordura is "worse". I'm just saying that what chineese brands call 600D cordura, is basically a rice paper.

 

What i was trying to do, is to just give a very vague description of certain brands, to do some kind of brainstorm just to help each other, but yeah, a new guy comes in, tries to do something productive, so instead of helping out in making something useful, let's start a shitstorm.

 

Well done, sir, well done.

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Okay, let's clarify something: I've been playing airsoft for several years now, back in Poland. I don't have any gear on me here, in UK, where i live now.

 

I've been through quite a bit of gear throughout all the time i've been shooting.

 

All the Blackhawk gear i've had my hands on was high quality, and i definitely wouldn't say a word against it.

And about the "ACM" - yes, i've made a generalisation, but 95% of no name ACM gear i had my hand on, was useless.

 

I don't think that lower denier cordura is "worse". I'm just saying that what chineese brands call 600D cordura, is basically a rice paper.

 

What i was trying to do, is to just give a very vague description of certain brands, to do some kind of brainstorm just to help each other, but yeah, a new guy comes in, tries to do something productive, so instead of helping out in making something useful, let's start a shitstorm.

 

Well done, sir, well done.

Hardly a shitstorm mate, you made some vague and baseless assumptions that are factually incorrect and you've been called out on on it. 'Trying to do something useful' isn't actually useful if the info you're posting is duff, it's indeed quite the opposite, because new players learn the wrong thing. There is NO shortage of gear reviews available to absolutely everybody with an internet connection that go in to great depth on specific products from any company a player might choose to buy from, your writing of half a sentence that generalises (incorrectly) about a certain brand is not some miraculous gold mine of super useful new-player advice. If you want to write short summaries about certain brands then hey there's no forum rule against it, it's not any real benefit given the wealth of reviews already out there but if you really wanna do it then crack on; however when the stuff you say is wrong then it's a different matter and if you publish things publicly online you need to be prepared that not everybody is going to shower you with compliments.

 

Also if you come in somewhere with 'none at the moment' next to your loadout description, do you expect everyone to dig around and find out your entire personal history in order to 100% clarify the 'at the moment' part? The fact you need to resort to make it personal and being sarcastically attempting to degrade my character because you can't justify your claims says it all. You, along with most airsofters realistically, also need to understand the difference between 'all the gear I've owned from X brand' and 'all gear from X brand', because that difference between the two is substantial to say the least.

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Hardly a shitstorm mate, you made some vague and baseless assumptions that are factually incorrect and you've been called out on on it. 'Trying to do something useful' isn't actually useful if the info you're posting is duff, it's indeed quite the opposite, because new players learn the wrong thing. There is NO shortage of gear reviews available to absolutely everybody with an internet connection that go in to great depth on specific products from any company a player might choose to buy from, your writing of half a sentence that generalises (incorrectly) about a certain brand is not some miraculous gold mine of super useful new-player advice. If you want to write short summaries about certain brands then hey there's no forum rule against it, it's not any real benefit given the wealth of reviews already out there but if you really wanna do it then crack on; however when the stuff you say is wrong then it's a different matter and if you publish things publicly online you need to be prepared that not everybody is going to shower you with compliments.

 

Also if you come in somewhere with 'none at the moment' next to your loadout description, do you expect everyone to dig around and find out your entire personal history in order to 100% clarify the 'at the moment' part? The fact you need to resort to make it personal and being sarcastically attempting to degrade my character because you can't justify your claims says it all. You, along with most airsofters realistically, also need to understand the difference between 'all the gear I've owned from X brand' and 'all gear from X brand', because that difference between the two is substantial to say the least.

 

Okay, those are just my personal biased opinions about certain brands, based on my personal experience with some of the gear of the certain manufacturers.

What i was hoping to achieve, is sort of a brainstorm, for example i say that brand X is good because of something, and You disagree because of something else, and somebody can make an opinion out of it.

 

And about "plenty of reviews". What i've noticed over the years, that very few people actually does their research. On every airsoft forum You'll see thousands of threads like "is X gun any good?" or "should i buy X or Y gun?", because people want to hear opinions from different sources.

 

I get the impression that You're an experienced player, so why won't You share some opinions with us, instead of having an argument? Let's help each other, and make something good. That's what this community should be about.

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Blackhawk? You come straight from 2005? Their stuff hasn't been any good for a long time now. When their stuff was made in the US it garnered a very good rep for some time, but they switched to cheap far east labour a long while back, the quality dropped and it stopped being at all popular. You'll barely see any of it in use by western SF or any military people in general these days; all the gear stores in the US have random assortments of Blackhawk crap left over in their sales/clearance/bargain bucket sections.

 

You say you have no RIFs and no loadout of gear, but you reckon you're qualified to make huge sweeping generalisations about every single product from a given brand? I'm not having a go, but I think you're being a bit too keen there. 'ACM' isn't even a brand, it's a term applied to literally thousands of different products that come from a number of different chinese factories and can vary in material/construction quality enormously. Also if you think a lower denier cordura is 'worse', you need to do a bit more reading tbh; Crye, FirstSpear, Blue Force Gear, Mayflower etc etc all use substantial amounts 500D and their gear is literally the best on the planet, in fact almost all the top level manufacturers use 500, or indeed even lighter materials in some cases for specific applications. 1000D is unnecessarily bulky and heavy when 'operators' need to maximise mobility.

 

 

I think your being a bit of a dick about this, some one comes a long with honest intentions and you come out with this^^^^^^^^^^

 

Last time I checked Blackhawk still made great holsters, and the molle leg rig I have from them seems well made, and his comment about 600D Cordura is valid.

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I think your being a bit of a dick about this, some one comes a long with honest intentions and you come out with this^^^^^^^^^^

 

Last time I checked Blackhawk still made great holsters, and the molle leg rig I have from them seems well made, and his comment about 600D Cordura is valid.

 

I'm not sure the comment about 600D cordura is valid... pretty much every item of gear I own is made from 500-600D (got a couple of 300D bits too!) and it's all really hardwearing stuff, not AS hardwearing as 1000D admittedly, but I don't expect any of it to wear out before my knees do.

 

As for Blackhawk! stuff, their holsters are 'acceptable' at best, they're certainly not one of the top hard holster makers anymore, the rest of the kit they make these days is fairly dire. We had a bunch of Blackhawk! Strike plate carriers issued on my most recent deployment and not one of them lasted more than 3 months without a seam fraying or a clip breaking. That's pretty shit considering the Osprey vests everyone else had (which are some really bargain basement stuff) held up fine.

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My quick thoughts based on kit I own and use:

 

Viper - low quality and would not to rely on it, however, for airsoft it does the job and is very cheap. Have a black tactical vest which although cheap, actually has 6 great pouches that are deep with good sized Velcro flaps that means when playing in the dark I will not loose items from. I also have their adjustable pistol holsters because they are one brand that I can fit my Mk23 into with suppressor attached.

 

5.11 Tactical - good quality, mid priced trousers and tops, well designed kit that I can use for real world activities and airsoft. Recommended.

 

Arc'teryx LEAF - very expensive, (professional range) good quality trousers and tops. The Talos trousers actually lack some of the innovation that 5.11 include. For example Talos lack magazine retainers in cargo pocket to keep 2 x 5.56mm magazines in place.

 

Warrior Assault System - good quality and affordable kit, made for real world use. Wide range of items perfect for airsoft, although they could do with larger pistol pouches and generally longer Velcro flaps to help retention. I am a fan of WAS kit.

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As for Blackhawk! stuff, their holsters are 'acceptable' at best, they're certainly not one of the top hard holster makers anymore, the rest of the kit they make these days is fairly dire. We had a bunch of Blackhawk! Strike plate carriers issued on my most recent deployment and not one of them lasted more than 3 months without a seam fraying or a clip breaking. That's pretty sh*t considering the Osprey vests everyone else had (which are some really bargain basement stuff) held up fine.

 

Out of interest what is bad about their holsters? I was running and stood on a rotten piece of chip board which caused my feet to shoot out from under me and I landed hard on my holster. There are some gouges in my pistol from it but the holster just has some minor scuffs on it.

 

I don't think they are particularly good value for money but that seems to be an English market thing more than anything.

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Okay, those are just my personal biased opinions about certain brands, based on my personal experience with some of the gear of the certain manufacturers.

What i was hoping to achieve, is sort of a brainstorm, for example i say that brand X is good because of something, and You disagree because of something else, and somebody can make an opinion out of it.

 

And about "plenty of reviews". What i've noticed over the years, that very few people actually does their research. On every airsoft forum You'll see thousands of threads like "is X gun any good?" or "should i buy X or Y gun?", because people want to hear opinions from different sources.

 

I get the impression that You're an experienced player, so why won't You share some opinions with us, instead of having an argument? Let's help each other, and make something good. That's what this community should be about.

You are definitely right, very few people actually do their research. However your original post in the thread rather comes across as being written by someone who's maybe not done their research to my mind personally, given how brief and in some parts, mis-informed, it is. Which is why I pointed out the disagreements I had with some of the things you said.

 

I've given advice, info, direct links and buying guidance to more new players than I could possibly count over the years on both this forum, multiple other forums, various social media and in person. Believe me I'm very much interested in ensuring that new guys coming in to airsoft spend their money well. However, to write any sort of all-encompassing 'guide' to explain every single choice regarding tactical kit or apparel as a resource for new players based on everything I've bought in the last decade+ would take far more time than I could ever devote to such an epic task. To truly do that sort of thing justice and do it properly would be an enormous under-taking and that's before even taking to account the fact that brands have peaks and troughs in quality of manufacture, not to mention quality differences from batch to batch or even item to item; so it's simply not possible to generally 'sum up' a given brand and all their offerings in a concise manner.

 

For brand new players coming in to airsoft in the UK, the advice I've given time and again has remained really quite simple over the years, so this would be my best concise guide to brands that have always been good and will work.

 

1. Eye pro, hit up sales from the quality gear stores or look for military issue stuff on eBay that's still new. If it's something like ESS, Smith Optics, Oakley or Revision it'll be easily and cheaply available with some searching and guaranteed to stop actual frag and 12 bore birdshot if not buckshot, so a BB will be just fine.

 

2. Go to Flecktarn.co.uk to get some BULLE load bearing kit or UKTactical for some Warrior stuff if budget permits. Both have an incredibly consistent reputation for quality while maintaining very low prices and compared to the other budget brands like Condor, Flyye, Viper and Highlander etc (all of which I'm constantly hearing about or seeing fail in some way or another) every single piece I've seen from BULLE/WAS has been extremely bloody good; quality above the asking prices. Of course checking ebay and the regular sales at the gear shops is a great way to bag some stuff by top end manufacturers for frequently less money than airsoft stores ask for Viper/Mil-Tec knock-offs.

 

Exactly which type of rig and/or pouches to buy is of course dependant on budget, the number and type of mags they have, type of games they'll be playing and aesthetic preferences.

 

3. Clothing; if the player wants more than their 'old clothes' or hiking kit, old standard issue CS95 is better on the quality front than the current PCS (MTP) overall and there's still tons of it floating around surplus. Even well used 'grade 2' stuff will last many, many airsoft games and even the lesser used stuff can be picked up for less money than some of the branded crap while being much better stitched together.

 

Budget boots I really don't know about so I'll not comment on as the brands change pretty frequently and they're not needed for CQB games anyway; and since this is a gear thread I'll leave guns out, but the good choices in terms of RIFs for the new player have been more than well covered on this very forum numerous times.

 

I think your being a bit of a dick about this, some one comes a long with honest intentions and you come out with this^^^^^^^^^^

 

Last time I checked Blackhawk still made great holsters, and the molle leg rig I have from them seems well made, and his comment about 600D Cordura is valid.

You're welcome to your opinion based on your personal interpretation of how you think I'm 'speaking' as it were. Of course when you choose to resort to the personal insults as well which I think says more about you than it does me, but hey I'm welcome to my opinion too as it happens. None of it means my intentions aren't also honest.

 

If you like the SERPAs that's fine, they're alright for airsoft, as long as you keep them clean. 'Great' is comparative and compared to other brands they have some serious downfalls which are well publicised if you'd like to do some research, but Blackhawk as a brand is not, overall, anything like 'top end' these days. Again it's always comparative, but the original statement was 'favoured by military operators' and that is simply incorrect and demonstrably so. You do not see military 'operators' (taken to mean SF colloquially) wearing blackhawk anymore, you simply don't. Crye, LBT, BFG, Salomon, Ops-Core, FirstSpear, C2R, Safariland and Eagle (to name a few); yes, but Blackhawk is most definitely conspicuous by its' absence from the loadouts of guys who demand top quality gear and that was the entire basis for my retort about them. They were great back in the day, not anymore and you often can't tell when the product you purchase has been manufactured.

 

The knock-off 600D cordura point doesn't really follow, because it's not actually cordura in the first place, it's just some cheap crappy fabric that's been mis-labeled. Genuine DuPont 600D (not that anyone really makes anything in 600D amongst the truly quality brands) would be fully up to real combat and more than up to the job of airsoft. If it's not real cordura though and it's just being called that by an unscrupulous company, then that's an entirely different matter and players need to look for specific reviews on the exact products that claim to be using said material in order to ascertain whether it'll fall apart on them after half a skirmish. 'ACM' is far too broad a term as I mentioned, you'll find so-called ACM products on the market which use good materials and some under the same name which don't, hence only differentiating by brand name rather than specific product would be very counter-productive decision for new players.

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You're welcome to your opinion based on your personal interpretation of how you think I'm 'speaking' as it were. Of course when you choose to resort to the personal insults as well which I think says more about you than it does me, but hey I'm welcome to my opinion too as it happens. None of it means my intentions aren't also honest.

 

I thought your initial post came across as quite hostile. You also don't need to call someone a slang word for penis for it to be seen seen as "personal". You normally come across as quite level headed, although not so much in that initial post.

 

The problem likely lies in how things are perceived in text, although I'm not trying to vouch for anyone as they are more than capable of defending themselves. It's why I prefer to talk to people over the phone as opposed to via email at work.

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Before you continue arguing with CK, may I suggest you take a look at his posts in the "what have you bought" thread.

He certainly knows what he is talking about.

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Like all things you get what you pay for. I tend to go midrange as I want something that will last but I do realise I am shooting people with and getting shot with plastic BBs. Unless you are spending 4+ days out in the woods milsim-ing you don't really need anything military grade.

 

Be comfortable, be quick and be happy. That is what airsoft gear should be about.

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Before you continue arguing with CK, may I suggest you take a look at his posts in the "what have you bought" thread.

He certainly knows what he is talking about.

 

I'm not trying to argue with anyone, we've just kinda misunderstood and overreacted. Now it's all good (at least on my side) :) So i'm hoping for more productive posts with some valuable insights :)

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Out of interest what is bad about their holsters? I was running and stood on a rotten piece of chip board which caused my feet to shoot out from under me and I landed hard on my holster. There are some gouges in my pistol from it but the holster just has some minor scuffs on it.

 

I don't think they are particularly good value for money but that seems to be an English market thing more than anything.

 

Their retention method is less than excellent (just holding the pistol on the trigger guard with no other means of retention. The lack of ability to buy a serpa that'll accommodate a pistol with a light (that isn't the frankly rubbish and overpriced xiphos), lack of protection given to the pistol, especially the muzzle being completely uncovered allowing for dirt to get in.

 

On top of all that, is the serious safety issue (not an issue with airsoft) in the way the release mechanism forces you to put pressure on a button right next to the trigger as you draw, it's impossible to draw a pistol from a serpa without having your finger at least adjacent to the trigger as the pistol comes out... people have shot themselves in the leg because of this:

 

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I thought your initial post came across as quite hostile. You also don't need to call someone a slang word for penis for it to be seen seen as "personal". You normally come across as quite level headed, although not so much in that initial post.

 

The problem likely lies in how things are perceived in text, although I'm not trying to vouch for anyone as they are more than capable of defending themselves. It's why I prefer to talk to people over the phone as opposed to via email at work.

Ok, that's an understandable interpretation, clearly I could've taken some more time writing in a clearer version of what I was saying. I don't particularly need or indeed welcome the assessment of my personality if truth be told, to me personally that comes across as condescending in the extreme on a very personal level going far beyond anything airsoft related, but I'm fairly sure that's not your intention so hey, I'm a' keep on strollin'.

 

I very much agree in the vast majority of situations, where practicable I'd rather speak to people on the phone than in any written format. Sadly the world is full of people who aren't able to think about how the things they say will come across even when actually speaking, but everything written down certainly takes on a negative intonation that it wouldn't do if spoken, 100-fold so when between strangers; takes a close relationship to take the piss in a text or facebok message.

Before you continue arguing with CK, may I suggest you take a look at his posts in the "what have you bought" thread.

He certainly knows what he is talking about.

lol, cheers, but I wouldn't claim that spunking a ton of money of gear necessarily makes me know what I'm talking about.

 

I have a reasonable idea about some stuff, but that's come from spending innumerable hours looking at reviews and articles produced by those far more experienced and knowledgeable than myself combined with simply experimenting and trialling things 'in the field' (airsoft and occasionally in a work context). There's loads of cool guy operators in airsoft who spend tens of thousands on nothing but Crye, but it doesn't necessarily mean they know anything about what actually constitutes good, effective/efficient gear; of course taking in to account there are exceptions in all instances. I've nothing against those people, it's their disposable income and they are more than welcome to do whatever they so please with it. But when some footballer buys a crazy Hyper performance sports car, it doesn't make him an awesome designer of motor vehicles.

I'm not trying to argue with anyone, we've just kinda misunderstood and overreacted. Now it's all good (at least on my side) :) So i'm hoping for more productive posts with some valuable insights :)

Spoken like a true intelligent individual.

Lets all agree to disagree before it all gets out of hand.

Your referring to other people as genitalia is the sort of entirely immature thing that makes debates get 'out of hand' in the first place. You're in no position to throw out memes as if to somehow imply it's what everyone else did that was a problem. If you don't want things to 'escalate', check before you assume, establish what's actually going on and don't use childish insults in the first place.

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Ok, that's an understandable interpretation, clearly I could've taken some more time writing in a clearer version of what I was saying. I don't particularly need or indeed welcome the assessment of my personality if truth be told, to me personally that comes across as condescending in the extreme on a very personal level going far beyond anything airsoft related, but I'm fairly sure that's not your intention so hey, I'm a' keep on strollin'.

 

Dont mean to be funny but a fair amount of what you wrote in this thread comes across as condescending. Maybe you didnt mean it that way but its still a bit of a pot, kettle black situation.

I think we all can post or read things that are taken wrong but its generally best just to let it go.

 

Regarding the topic the answer is in the title.

 

Opinions

 

Its what we all have some like to spend lots and get the very best others dont and both choices are correct to the individual who makes it.

Wouldnt it be boring if we all agreed and bought the same thing.

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Ok, that's an understandable interpretation, clearly I could've taken some more time writing in a clearer version of what I was saying. I don't particularly need or indeed welcome the assessment of my personality if truth be told, to me personally that comes across as condescending in the extreme on a very personal level going far beyond anything airsoft related, but I'm fairly sure that's not your intention so hey, I'm a' keep on strollin'.

 

I'm not quite sure where you are coming from with this. Feel free to drop me a private message if you wish to discuss this further.

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Dont mean to be funny but a fair amount of what you wrote in this thread comes across as condescending. Maybe you didnt mean it that way but its still a bit of a pot, kettle black situation.

I think we all can post or read things that are taken wrong but its generally best just to let it go.

 

And as you'll note from the above, when I perceive that people are doing that to me I often do let it go because I realise they probably aren't meaning to. I don't claim to be perfect and I'm sure you're the same.

 

 

I'm not quite sure where you are coming from with this. Feel free to drop me a private message if you wish to discuss this further.

 

I don't feel a need, but I appreciate the offer.

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