Despite all the reviews I do on 400 dollar tactical jackets, 300 dollar flashlights and 200 dollar knives the gear I use the most usually costs less than 50 bones. Unlike in action movies or on so-called “tactical” blogs written by guys who don’t even pull triggers for a living the most used gear are the simple things.
A pouch for holding your flashlight, QuikClot, Nokia Phone, or a sling to keep your arms from turning into jelly when standing on the side of some shitty Iraqi highway for 4 hours because another one of the old ass Scania tractor trailers in your convoy has broken down for the 7th time that mission.
Below are three of my most used 50 buck or less pieces of tactical gear, feel free to suggest you favorite sub-50 buck pieces of kit in the comments.
Unlike in action movies your rifle will spend 99.99999% of the time collecting sand in your hands. Having a good solid sling to distribute the weight from your arms and shoulders yet still handy for zapping fools is always a fight between practicality and comfort.
For road work I prefer the Single Point Style of Slings, for me they are a good tradeoff between fast on and off when jumping in and out of my gun truck, comfort and the ability to go from “just standing around” to “shoot a mother-fucker”.
I was turned on to the Original S.O.E. Single Point Sling by my brother who was using one for his FAL here in Iraq. After John Wills over at O.S.O.E. heard that I was using a sling made of 550 cord and duct tape he was cool enough to shoot me one of his Single Point Slings.
What sets the Original S.O.E. Single Point Sling apart from most other Single Point Slings is John uses two thinner bungees sewn together inside the sling instead of one single thick bungee like most other gear companies use.
The difference of using two thinner bungees vs. one thick bungee is the weight of your rifle is spread over two bungees instead of one, thereby distributing the weight of your rifle over a wider area. If you get a chance try carrying a rifle all day long one day with a Single Point Sling that has two thinner bungees and one with a Single Thick bungee and you will see the difference.
I have been using the Original S.O.E. Single Point Sling here in Iraq for about 5 months now and it is still like new, the bungee is still stretchy like it came out of the box and the nylon has not seriously frayed.
Original S.O.E. Single Point Sling Made in the USA 50.00 http://originalsoegear.com/1point.html
These days I tend to run a lot of missions at night so my flashlights have become my most used piece of gear. And for you guys who work with Iraqi Team members you know that not a damn one of them carry a flashlight so you end up handing out one of your lights 20 times a mission.
I also pack a green laser as a way to warn off cars driving aggressively into my convoy or into my AO when stopped on the side of the road. Then add my trusty Nokia and now I have four things to carry that I need immediate access to.
Stuffing them into my HSGI Warlord V-4 New Version’s admin pouch isn’t really an option because between all the other shit I already have stuffed in there I end up looking like a pregnant kangaroo.
So with the help of Kristopher DiMauro over at HSGI I grabbed one of their Pistol Magazine Pouches – Modular with the four mag pouches. The pouches are adjustable so you can fit anything from 5 ½ inch light to a 10 round pistol mag. The flaps are secured by side squeeze clips or Velcro [that can be covered so you can just use the side squeeze clips].
Now I can pack my lights, laser and phone in one convenient pouch that fits nicely on the side of my HSGI Warlord V-4 New Version via included MALICE clips.
HSGI Pistol Magazine Pouch – Modular/Quad Made in the USA 14.00 to 50.00 http://www.highspeedgearinc.com/proddetail.asp?prod=HSG-PMMOD
I have been a big fan of Blackhawk for a long time; good solid gear at cheap prices. The first piece of tactical gear I ever bought was a Black Blackhawk Tac Vest [90’s Style Baby!] that are oddly still popular to this day with British Security Contractors.
Anyway, I used to carry this massive FAK [First Aid Kit] that could mend the wounds of an entire battalion but after revamping my entire combat load for my latest gig I ended up thinning out my FAK to a more practical kit suited to a mobile gunfighter.
Originally I was going to buy a new pouch but after digging through my massive pile of tactical nylon gear I came across a BLACKHAWK S.T.R.I.K.E. Utility Pouch that I bought back in the day for carrying grenades. It ended up fitting all of the contents of my now thinner FAK with a bit of room to spare; the height was also low enough that it left a ton of space above it on my HSGI Warlord V-4 New Version when mounted low.
Even after using this pouch on and off for almost 9 years it still looks brand new. Despite BLACKHAWK using cheesy advertising and gay ass names for their gear, they make solid kit that won’t break the bank.
BLACKHAWK S.T.R.I.K.E. Utility Pouch Made in Some Sweatshop in Vietnam 22.00 - 40.00 bucks BLACKHAWK! S.T.R.I.K.E. Utility Pouch - Large, Coyote Tan
~James G Founder - Editor in Chief
James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and eating way too many lamb kebabs from dirty roadside Iraqi restaurants.