fully tactical gear

Has The Whole Tactical Gear Thing Gotten Out Of Hand?

For everything, there is a season and for everything there is (usually) a purpose, such as tactical gear. There is a use for tactical gear...but the question becomes, at a certain point, if perhaps it has gotten out of hand.

Granted, there are people who need it. If you're in the armed forces - reserves or otherwise - a police officer, federal LEO and/or on a SWAT team, then you probably need it. It's sort of like carrying spare ammo; some insist that those extra magazines or speedloader is vital for the uniformed officer, but not that much for the civilian concealed carrier.

But if you work in an office...get real, would you please? And how many things have to be tactical? The term is in danger of losing all meaning and frankly, "tactical gear" is starting to get out of hand.

What Does Tactical Even Mean Anymore?

tactical gear meaning

Frankly, the word "tactical" has become - in and of itself - meaningless. Oh, you think you know what it means, but it has in fact become a buzzword that applies if some item has certain attributes, certain materials it's made out of, colors that it is finished in and so on.

If an item is made with those materials, or finished in those colors, it can be said to be "tactical" and then a fool and his money are soon parted certain folks are more interested in it. Here are some of those things:

  • Black nylon cloth or webbing
  • Black nylon polymer
  • Desert tan
  • "Coyote" brown
  • MARPAT or other non-hunting camo
  • Paracord
  • MOLLE webbing in inappropriate places
  • Design elements similar to certain military items
  • Because the person selling it says so and some people are gullible enough to believe it

And so on and so forth. This is essentially what "tactical" means now, thanks to the "tactical" industry which now sells its wares to civilians, though it's not too difficult to surmise that people who have no actual use for tactical gear now buy most of it.

Tactical Assault Gear Has A Purpose...Sometimes

tactical assault gear

There are absolutely some uses for tactical assault gear! For instance, people who actually use it for work. People in the military, law enforcement and so on. Makes sense for them, because that's what they do.

As for the rest of you…

There are practical applications for some tactical gear. For instance, tactical gloves with knuckle protection. Those are actually quite handy under the hood, as anyone whose hand has slipped off an oil-slicked socket driver and hit their knuckles on an engine block, engine bay, wheel well or anywhere else under a car or heavy equipment can attest. It SUCKS.

Knee pads are only tactical depending on whose wearing them. The rest of the time, they're just knee pads. They're also necessary if you're doing tile or wood flooring.

Tactical pistols, shotguns and rifles have purposes as well. Target shooting, home protection and some people will concealed carry a pistol with a full rail. Whether a duty pistol used by the military is considered tactical as a default is debatable; some insist the accessory rail has to be there to attach a light. The Colt SAA was a military pistol after all, which arguably makes it tactical...and that's a .45 single-action revolver. You even have to carry it with an empty chamber, so it isn't high capacity either.

That said, a lot of modern "tactical" rifles are chassis-based, rather than bedded on a stock. That makes them a number of pounds overweight and are therefore lousy hunting guns. Great for long-range shooting events, to be sure. Tactical shotguns are much the same story; you can't carry more than three in the gun while hunting and they usually chop the barrel.

So maybe they're good as a turkey gun...but remember that velocity correlates to barrel length.

A tactical folding knife can also be a good pocket knife, so long as it isn't too bulky and you aren't overpaying for it like a sucker.

Tactical belts, as it happens, make pretty darn good gun belts. Nylon web can have incredible tensile strength, though some think a leather gun belt makes a bit better appearance.

Let us also be honest, though...cargo pants are very useful. They're comfortable. They're practical as all get out. Solid colors, such as black or OD green, work well with many outfits. However, if you wear MARPAT to the office...you might want to rethink a few things.

Ridiculous Tactical Gear

tactical gear ridiculousness

So, there is some "tactical gear" for EDC that is, in fact, quite useful. However, there are also some terrible gimmicks that are clearly just cashing in on the "tacticool" craze.

For instance, Ka-Bar makes a tactical spork.

A number of companies make tactical flip-flops.

A company in India developed a tactical golf cart for the Mumbai police.

There is also a tactical pizza cutter. They even mount a laser on it. Granted, the laser shows a straight line so that does kind of help you get perfect slices.

A few short-lived companies were making tactical corsets and there are also a few that make tactical kilts.

And so on and so forth.

Granted, if you're having fun with it, then by all means, do so! But this tactical thing has gotten a little out of hand.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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