There are a lot of different philosophies regarding personal load-outs, from full on warfighter set-ups down to low profile concealed carry. Wading through all of the available options can be confusing to say the least.
To aid you in making critical decisions regarding your set-ups, I offer the following considerations.
This is where you need to consider what you need to accomplish. Aimlessly acquiring tactical gear will result in a full closet of kit and an empty wallet. By thinking critically you can focus your funds towards gear you will actually use.
A Drill Sergeant told me years ago, “Ounces equal pounds, pounds equal pain.” Over the years I have come to realize that many guys see gear as a kind of security blanket (aka ‘woobie’. ) The more magazines, admin kits, med kits, knives, the better. The only problem is that all of the equipment gets heavy and can greatly affect your ability to react. To put it simply, fatigue sucks- and it will make you do really goofy things.
Maintaining a modest level of fitness helps to mitigate the stress of carrying all of that gear but in the end, why bear the burden if you don’t have to? Think about how much faster, more focused, and comfortable you’ll be with a manageable weight. Comfort is extremely important, especially regarding equipment involved with concealed carry. Uncomfortable holsters result in pistols and spare magazines being left at home. Likewise, uncomfortable gear is left behind.
Your equipment should be easy to add on or take off. It should also allow to easily move in and out of various positions such as kneeling and prone. There’s nothing like finding out the hard way that a set of buckles grinds into your ribs, or a strap pinches your “tenders.” You may find situations where your kit is keeping you from getting the job done. We must always remember, this gear is to enhance our capabilities- not hinder them. In a future post I’ll demonstrate an enhanceable load-out.
A lot of elitists will tell you money is no object when it comes to life saving gear. Yes and no; but buy the best you can reasonably afford. Upgrade when the budget allows. Two things you shouldn’t cheap out on are belts and holsters. Cheap floppy belts can make a really good holster run terribly, and shoddy holsters can result in failed retention of your smoke wagon. Your pistol could come loose from vigorous activities such as running, or someone ripping it off you. Either one results in a bad day. There’s a lot of good stuff out there, hunt the reviews and pick your poison.
Form Educated Opinions
By running your gear at the range or in training you gain a two-fold advantage. You will establish what works as well and establish muscle memory such as weapon reloads with your actual kit. The worst case scenario is you will tear something up, but that’s a good thing because you’re part of the minority that actually uses the stuff! Just buy another one or upgrade to a more robust model/brand. You ever notice most reviews are ‘out of the box?’ That’s because for those guys it’s about being a gear collector.
Make sure your having fun with this, otherwise you’re doing yourself a disservice. Figure out what works for you and rock it.