Selecting the best home and outdoor tactical gear is easy if you know how.
Here are 11 tips for doing this successfully
1) Understand your Needs
So why is it that you need a tactical flashlight or that watch or whatever? This may seem rather basic, but a tactical flashlight for EDC will be completely different than a light used with a handgun, and the two don't go together. In fact, some EDC lights can be disastrous when deployed with a firearm.
Similarly, a folding knife may not be the best configuration for a camping trip.
The point is that you have to determine what your needs are. Once you know this you can start to understand your options.
2) Be an informed consumer
Let's say you're looking for a light for your handgun. You kind of suspect you need it since most home invasions occur in the evening and you want to be prepared, but what else do you really know. Before you get into products and the often “10 best…” phony reviews, try Googling “why do I need a gun mounted light.”
You'll be amazed at what you'll learn and before you can even explore options, you need to understand “why.”
3) Beginning to Learn about your options
Knowing now that you need a light for your handgun, you can start to understand some of the available options. How do you do that? Google to the rescue.
Google “lights for handguns” and you'll be presented with a few ads (the first few listings with “Ad” listed on the first line). Then Google will usually pick a summary from one of the top posts and follow a number of posts they feel answer your question.
For the time being, ignore this and look at the bottom of Google under “Searches related to lights for handguns.” Make sure you take note of some of the words listed here like weapon mounted, Streamlight, and Picatinny rail. Explore some of these terms to increase your knowledge and understand some of your options.
4) Check out the reviews
I've discussed in another post how to determine whether or not a review is legitimate or not. Unfortunately, too many are more interested in getting you to buy something that really informing you, but there are legitimate reviews. Again, take everything with a grain of salt but that's how you learn.
5) Look at the Amazon reviews
What about Amazon reviews? Well, Amazon does have a “verified buyer status” that they post on reviews where that can be verified. Understand that people are more prone to review on Amazon when they're dissatisfied with a product and some of the poor reviews often are related to delivery issues or they put the battery in backward and it doesn't work, etc.
Also, it's possible to “salt” the review with phony positive reports. For these reasons, I don't place too much credence on Amazon reviews but I do consider them a secondary resource.
6) Don't forget YouTube
YouTube is one of the most engaging and informative resources you may ever encounter but you often have to specifically search for it.
Search for example, “best gun lights or gun light reviews.” YouTube has a ton of reviews, but without specifying “YouTube” you often won't see them – so you need to search “YouTube gun light reviews”.
7) Use the “Vs” concept
Once you start the review process you'll begin to see some of the manufacturer names and maybe some of the product listings. For example, under gun mounted lights you will notice the “Streamlight TLR-1.” Want to know the competitors of this product? Easy. Google “Streamlight TLR-1 vs ” and hit return and you're introduced to Inforce, another line of products you might want to check out.
8) Check out alternative occupations and passions
Want to know what the best tactical pants are? Look at other occupations and even passions. For example, certainly, you should check out the first responder stores, and see what brands they carry. Then check out backpacking stores to determine what they offer. They may deal with windproof, or breathable, or lightweight. You name it, now you're dealing with options that may meet your needs. Often these related product offerings are at a much lower price offering.
9) Sometimes you need to be hands-on
I'm a big proponent of buying online, but sometimes you really do need to be hands-on and that requires a connection with a local retailer. Unfortunately, most retailers don't have the ability or interest in providing all the various options and many times their return privileges are limited but…you can learn a lot by actually touching and inspecting the various offerings. Additionally, the sales rep just may know a thing or two which can really help or even set you off in a different direction.
Once you've established your needs better you can always switch to online.
10) Check with professionals who use the equipment
It never hurts to determine what the pros are using. For example, if you check out flashlight accessories, for example, holsters, you'll learn that they're only available for certain brands and models. What this is saying is that the pro's only use specific brands. Why? Because they have a level of confidence from past experience, that warrants using only these specific brands and products.
Additionally, the military and police department often review products and only cover products that they feel meet their high standards. It's not difficult to learn what these recommended products are by simply seeing what's offered at the various military and police outlets.
You can also, ask them if you have friends that are professional or know of professionals.
11) Finally, go to Amazon for your purchase
This may seem self-serving, and I apologize in advance, but there is nothing worse than being stuck with a product that doesn't work, and honestly, Amazon is amazing at returning products that are defective or simply don't meet your needs. Additionally, they will honor this for 30 days which is usually sufficient time to make an evaluation.
Additionally, there is virtually nothing that Amazon doesn't sell so you really have selections that are simply not otherwise available.
That's it, 11 tips for selecting the best tactical gear.
Hopefully, there are some new tactics and strategies that will help you in making the best decisions not only for tactical gear but for other purchases as well.
Feel free to check out my Recommend Gear page on the TactBright website.
Always be prepared. Be well.