Budget Modern Gear Links For Everybody
December 2, 2014 at 11:46 pm #104973
I am NOT plugging or promoting any vendors in particular here. As you can see it’s a wild assortment of gear from, well… everywhere.The intent of this post is simply to provide options for folks on a more limited than average budget.
A long time ago in when I was involved in another sport I ran across a fellow who was having some issues with gear. He was using a battle-belt-ish setup, and was contemplating a third belt, the first two having had material/workmanship related failures, as they were of unsound quality manufactured by a company that apparently sold things more for looks than to actually use. The only thing I remember thinking listening to the problems he was having was “why would you go back and buy a third of the same proven mediocre product, when you already broke two? “
When I got into the good ol’ “Merican past time of “guns and gear”, I saw the same things happening- from guns to optics to gear, and everything in between, it was almost like people seek out the junkiest stuff they can buy, and somehow think they got a good deal, solely because it was cheap and looked cool (or whatever the reason). Thankfully, after making a few of my own mistaken purchases, I learned my lesson, started doing research, and was saved by some really helpful folk elsewhere on the internet.
But it was clear that the misplaced trust in “cheap” gear was indicative of a larger problem- people just don’t know what they’re looking at or for.
I could go on a real skullstomper of a rant here about this subject, and maybe I still will (it’s in the launch tube with the key in the ignition…), but… In the spirit of helping folks out, which this post is intended to do, instead of simply arguing, we’ll get straight to the point.
Many people look to surplus stores for gear, and this is a great approach, but often you can do better than the old ALICE kit (unless you’re a fan) and get modern gear, by simply buying “last gen” stuff, or things in less desirable colors…..
First off, retail gear.
If you’re on a budget and haven’t shopped with Tactical Assault Gear (TAG) yet, then you need to. Quality stuff, and for plenty reasonable prices. Their MOLLE strap attachments can be a little clunky because they use doubled webbing, but as long as you stay away from the open-top bungee pouches it should be ok.
Their Banshee plate carrier ( http://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com/bansheerifleplatecarrier.aspx ) is widely regarded as one of (if not *the*) best budget PC on the market and it’s currently only $115 bucks. You can’t do any better than that for a decent PC.
For around $270 for kit in Coyote Brown, you can get the Banshee, a flapped triple shingle (M16) rifle magazine pouch, double pistol pouch, a pair of GP/IFAK pouches, and a spare $25 budgeted for either a small GP/Radio pouch, or extra single double-mag M16 pouch, or a little less for a grenade pouch if you’ve got those. That’s a pretty good start to any PC, and you’re still 30 bucks under what many big-name Plate Carriers START at.
If it was me personally I’d also add the Zipper Kangaroo Pouch, and *maybe* a basic admin panel (as well as a water bladder carrier, but not from TAG, $30-ish) which would raise the price to around $344- still far under what a more expensive PC would be able to be outfitted for.
However, by picking stuff in ACU/ABU most of which is currently HEAVILY discounted at TAG right now (for example the linked GP/IFAK would drop from $32 to $13), it would allow for a few other accessories if needed, like a can of krylon.
Total for the entire thing in ABU with optional accessories (less the water bladder bought elsewhere) would be $224, or $198 without the optionals.
Rifle M16 Flapped: http://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com/mollem16magpouch.aspx
Double Pistol: http://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com/mollepistolmagpouch.aspx
MOLLE GP/IFAK: [urlhttp://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com/mollesmallutilitypouch.aspx][/url]
Low Profile GP/IFAK: http://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com/molleutilityminipouch.aspx
Small GP: http://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com/mollesmalluputilitypouch.aspx
Optional Kangaroo Zipper: http://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com/kangaroozipperpouchforbanshee.aspx
Optional Admin Panel: http://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com/molleadminpouchwithflashlightpouch.aspx
If plate carriers aren’t your thing than a couple of TAG’s chest rigs are worthwhile- the Marine Gladiator w/ Bib ( http://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com/marinegladiatorchestrigwithbib.aspx ) is currently about $67 if you don’t mind ACU. I don’t feel like it’s worth the extra money in any other color, but YMMV.
The Phalanx Type 2 MOLLE ( http://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com/phalanxchestrigtype2molle.aspx ) is probably their most promising design (even though I still don’t like some of it, YMMV),and also currently $59 if you don’t mind ACU/ABU, which is cheaper than the basic Gladiator. It would run $160 in any other color, which may still be worth it.
December 2, 2014 at 11:47 pm #104974
Also on the list, for certain select items is BDS tactical. Personally I think their stuff is a little clunky and outdated, and frankly I feel like TAG’s stuff is a little nicer. BUT…. They do make decent quality stuff, for some things- for example, their bungee mag shingles, pistol pouch, med pouch, and a couple chest rigs (albeit their chest rigs can be a bit ginormous, but if you’re a Dwayne Johnson sized dude…maybe it’s for you ). Expect to wait a few weeks for their stuff as well.
Other things, like their double-mag “Stacker” M4 pouches, PC, some belts, and others are to be avoided due to the mediocrity of the design. Items of interest;
Single M4 Bungee- $13: http://www.bdstacticalgear.com/pd-bds-tactical-simple-stacker-1-magazine-pouch.cfm
2-Mag ShingleM4Bungee-$19.50: http://www.bdstacticalgear.com/pd_bds_tactical_simple_stacker_2_magazine_pouch.cfm
3-Mag Shingle M4 Bungee-$22.75: http://www.bdstacticalgear.com/pd-bds-tactical-simple-stacker-3-magazine-pouch.cfm
Single Pistol-$13: http://www.bdstacticalgear.com/pd-bds-tactical-single-pistol-magazine-pouch.cfm
Double Pistol-$16.25: http://www.bdstacticalgear.com/pd-bds-tactical-double-pistol-magazine-pouch.cfm
Modular Med Pouch-$26: http://www.bdstacticalgear.com/pd-bds-tactical-modular-medical-pouch.cfm
Basic Modular Battle Belt-$26: http://www.bdstacticalgear.com/pd-bds-tactical-molle-belt.cfm
V-Ops Micro Semi-Customizable Basic Chest Rig: $55.25 http://www.bdstacticalgear.com/pd-bds-tactical-v-ops-micro-rig.cfm
V-Ops 5.56 Customizable Fullsize Chest Rig-$81.25: http://www.bdstacticalgear.com/pd-bds-tactical-molle-vehicle-operators-chest-rig.cfm
V-Ops AK47 Customizable Fullsize Chest Rig-$94.25: http://www.bdstacticalgear.com/pd-bds-tactical-modular-ak47-vehicle-operators-chest-rig.cfm
There’s also AWS, which makes the OCPC ( https://www.awsin.com/proddetail.asp?prod=52813 ), which is a great plate carrier that runs around $150, and is similar to the LBT 6094. While it skimps on some small details, it’s still worth it for a budget carrier. They make other pouches as well, but I have no frame of reference on them and cannot comment.
For around $180 you can get into a Paraclete SOHPC Plate Carrier, which is pretty darn good stuff….Do I really need to say any more? http://www.skdtac.com/Paraclete-SOHPC-SKD-Spec-p/par.106.htm
December 2, 2014 at 11:47 pm #104975
For chest rigs, the options are even more varied and numerous; we’ve already covered offerings from TAG, as well as the TT MAV.
Other complete or semi-complete chest rigs of excellent quality and reasonable price include;
SKD PIG UCR: http://www.skdtac.com/PIG-UCR-Universal-Chest-Rig-p/pig.667.htm
8 rifle mags, 4 pistol pockets, 2×4 MOLLE on each side, $99
ATS Slimline Chest Harness http://www.optactical.com/atsslm4chha.html
4-6 rifle capacity, 3×3 MOLLE on each side, $100
Not a fan of the slick rifle pouches on the front, and at times ATS can be a little wild with their stitching, but otherwise it’s good stuff. (As a side note, ATS also makes a decent battle belt- you will need to provide your own belt. This is probably best used with a lighter more form-fitting load, due to design: http://www.optactical.com/atsmopawarbe.html )
Ares Armor Atalanta; Ares makes solid gear, and the Atalanta is a good option for those who don’t mind an X-harness to get a semi- modular rig for a good price. You’re starting out with space for 4 or 5 rifle mags, with plenty of MOLLE space left over for other gear, or more ammo.
There are three versions, currently all are running around $80;
Slim Light: http://www.optactical.com/araratslchri1.html
4 Mag Slick Front: http://www.optactical.com/araratslchri2.html
5-Mag Split Front: http://www.optactical.com/araratslchri.html
For the folks that don’t like the layout of any of the above, you can get a straight up “slick” all-MOLLE rig, and set it up however you want.
ARES Armor Atalanta Slick- $80: http://www.optactical.com/ararararatsl.html
ATS Slick- $68: http://www.optactical.com/atsfslchrig.html
Tactical Tailor MAV- 1piece- $65: http://www.tacticaltailor.com/mavbody1piece.aspx
Tactical Tailor MAV- Split Front-$78: http://www.tacticaltailor.com/mavbody2piece.aspx
December 2, 2014 at 11:47 pm #104976
Now, of course, with a “slick” all-MOLLE rig you need to add your own pouches.
For some people this added expense may outweigh the modularity benefit, BUT there is a small trump card you can play- as mentioned previously, using “last gen” gear can be an advantage. The GWOT has been going on for over a decade, and what was top-notch gear in the early 2000’s has now been changed and improved upon. HOWEVER, it’s still great stuff, and it’s still a lot more modern than 80’s era gear.
Great pouches can be had on Ebay, often at ridiculously low prices from Eagle Industries and Paraclete, among others. Be sure to actually search for “eagle industries” not just “eagle”.
Below is an example of one of the Paraclete Medical/GP pouches- For a brand new pouch, $7.50 is well within any budget…. The ebay seller of this pouch also has a pile of other Paraclete gear for excellent prices.
Other examples of available surplus pouches:
2x Double M4 magazine pouches- $16.50: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAN032-Double-M-4-Buy-1-get-2-Smoke-Green-Paraclete-1000D-Only-16-50-/331330057254?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d24cf7426
2x SAW/GP pouches- $10: http://www.ebay.com/itm/SDP077-2-for1-Saw-GP-Utility-Pouch-Smoke-Green-Paraclete-1000D-Only-9-95-/331133095394?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d19120de2
Double SR25 Pouch (.308 size magazines)- $6.50:
NVG/GP Velcro Pouch-$7.50:
2x Double M4 pouch, ACU- $3.00: http://www.ebay.com/itm/ADD019-Double-M-4-ACU-1000D-Only-2-95-each-/331353154889?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d262fe549
Eagle Industries general “pouch” search. You can always find bunches of USMC issue stuff from them- be aware of what you’re buying and assure it’s authentic stuff as occasionally some knockoff stuff pops up:
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2047675.m570.l1311.R5.TR11.TRC1.A0.H0.Xeagle industries&_nkw=eagle industries pouch&_sacat=0
Lot of 6 Eagle 9mm pouches- $36: http://www.ebay.com/itm/LOT-OF-6-9MM-15RD-MAG-POUCHES-MP1-M9-FB1-MS-SCOY-NEW-EAGLE-INDUSTRIES-/291306226841?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43d3344499
Lot of 6 Eagle 1911 .45 singlestack pouches- $30: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lot-of-6-Eagle-Industries-45-Magazine-Pouches-Single-/121499102986?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c49e92f0a
Paraclete general “pouch” search- http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=eagle industries double&_from=R40|R40|R40|R40&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR10.TRC0.A0.H0.Xparaclete pouch&_nkw=paraclete pouch&_sacat=0
December 2, 2014 at 11:47 pm #104977
As far as packs go, everyone here is already familiar with dear ol’ ALICE, which is pretty much the ultimate “budget pack” option, so no need to go into detail there. But going back to Ebay, if you search for “USMC ILBE” or “USMC FILBE” you can find some smokin’ deals on both the main rucks and smaller assault packs.
The FILBE is the new USMC pack system by Eagle- the whole thing includes a main ruck, detachable assault pack, and detachable water bladder, plus some other stuff I think. Unfortunately, the main FILBE packs are currently very hard to find in good condition, currently running around $200, the assault packs around $115, however, from time to time the entire thing pops up for good prices.
The ILBE assault packs are generally running $30-50, with the main packs from $75-150- be sure to get a Gen 2 version (tan padding/hardware).
Be advised that if you’re planning on plates, the old ILBE does not wear well with armor. Also, both the ILBE and FILBE are pretty huge packs, so may not be for everybody.
Kelty makes some pretty good packs, that can be had in both tactical and civilian colors.
They may or may not be as bombproof as some other brands or surplus packs, but they do have a good rep.
Their Redwing 50 S/M size pack is generally runs around $124 on Amazon, currently on sale at OpTac for $105. The Redwing 32 would also be a great assault/vehicle pack and runs around $75 on Amazon.
Personally I like the design of the MAP3500 (which is generally a highly recommended all-around budget bug-out pack) or Raven 41 better, but they’re on the more expensive side.
Kelty RW50 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kelty-Redwing-50-Liter-Backpack-Forest/dp/B009R6B3NQ/ref=sr_1_4?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1417407134&sr=1-4&keywords=kelty map 3500
Kelty RW50 OPTac: http://www.optactical.com/kre50ml.html
Kelty RW32 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kelty-Redwing-Backpack-Caper-32-Liter/dp/B00G6KU96S/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1417408637&sr=1-1&keywords=kelty peregrine
The 5.11 Rush 72 is a decent option a lot of folks like. It is a pretty big pack, with lots of room inside and out, and at least some form of waistebelt. Personally I’m not a fan of 5.11’s stuff- I kind of feel like it falls into the realm of “overpriced budget gear”, but with Camelbak’s pack quality apparently not being what it used to, the 5.11 pack gets the vote simply because it’s LESS overpriced than Camelbaks offerings currently are. The RUSH 72 runs around $127 on Amazon. Of course the smaller versions like the 12 and 24 will run less, and may be more appropriately sized, depending on intended use.
Also, in the “hundred and change” price range is the Tactical Tailor Urban Operator pack, currently $135 from TT. Great little mid-size assault/patrol pack. Not a ton of molle for expansion, but on the other hand, in a boring color like black, could also double as a good EDC/”get home” pack.
TT Urban Operator: http://www.tacticaltailor.com/urbanoperatorpack.aspx
I could go on about the packs for a while longer, but in a nutshell, if you can shell out 60 bucks or so for a basic chest rig, you can match that, plus a little more for a halfway decent pack. They’re kind of like boots for your back, and should be approached in the same way you would look for a good pair of said boots.
A final thing to think about in regard to packs is often civilian hiking packs can offer a better value (and occasionally still come in reasonable colors) than military-style packs- especially the ultra-basic mil-style designs, or knockoffs of same, which offer a lot of space but little comfort. The Kelty packs linked above are a great example of crossover civilian packs, as are other brands like Opsrey.
So, in closing, prices and availability of all the above items do fluctuate, but you could outfit an entire team for pennies on what other gear costs with a little smart shopping, and not have a need to settle for mediocre knockoff gear.
December 2, 2014 at 11:47 pm #104978
December 2, 2014 at 11:48 pm #104979
December 2, 2014 at 11:54 pm #104980
December 2, 2014 at 11:54 pm #104981
December 3, 2014 at 4:37 pm #104982
If I may make a few recommendations for gear:
IFAK/Utility pouch – $4.50 each
USMC First Aid Kit Pouch – The Marine pouch hold about about 2.2 liters. This is a screaming good utility pouch, since you can pick one up from Lee Surplus Outlet for under $5. There is an internal pocket divider, allowing you to separate your goods. I can put a US Poncho in the main compartment and an Elzetta flashlight and a small bottle of hot sauce.
There is no Velcro on this pouch, as it closes via buckle only. Unfortunately, the strap on which the buclke is attached is not adjustable at all, meaning that you can’t cinch the pouch down. This is disappointing, but completely understandable, since the pouch is designed to carry a very specific load (The USMC first aid kit).
Belt kit – $100 (plus shipping)
British Tactical 3-Row MOLLE Hippo Belt
Review posted in the gear section here on MTV: LINK
Double magazine pouch – USMC MOLLEII pouches – 5 for $19
Can be found on ebay here.
December 3, 2014 at 9:39 pm #104983nonconformistParticipant
`A slightly different subject but what I consider a good buy for the budget watcher- Burris Optics is offering $100 rebates on their AR-332 and AR-536 prism sights through the end of the month. I have the 332 and
have been pleased. It’s usually priced at $300-$340, I actually found one at $256, but their supply ran out. After rebate, $200 for this quality is hard to beat.
December 3, 2014 at 10:42 pm #104984
53GR That med pouch and pile of mag pouches is a great find.
Consulted another gear expert on the med pouch- looks like some early Eagle/Ally[sp?] stuff.
December 3, 2014 at 10:46 pm #104985
December 4, 2014 at 9:52 pm #104986
Here’s a couple places to get budget gear. http://www.fortbraggsurplus.us/Default.asp
I’ve got a buddy that gets most of his gear from Uncle Sams retail outlet and vendors at gun shows. I tell people that are just starting out that they don’t need to spend a shit ton of money on this stuff right away. A person can get by quite nicely on surplus gear alone if they need to. If they’re going to splurge a little but still save a bunch I recommend to them that they buy a nice battle belt (I like the HSGI) and then go with surplus pouches all around.
December 4, 2014 at 10:47 pm #104987
Noncomformist, go with a Primary Arms 4x compact sight. You won’t be disappointed.
Here’s the link to the review I did.
Sleep is a crutch. It’s time for me to hobble along.
I was always curious about that PA sight.
Might buy it to be a sight on my back up guns (my primaries run Aimpoint PRO or EOtech 512)
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