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What do you look for in Gear when buying?

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I always wanted to know what people look for when buying gear. I have noticed that a lot of what is popular in Airsoft circles is either based on WHO wears it, How much it cost, or if it has real world backing (Deployed).

 

 

I see a lot of discussion about one thing being better than the other, but I never see any hard evidence to back that up. Am I mistaken when I say 1000D Cordura from one brand is the same as the 1000D from another brand? How many of you actually know what that means?

 

What is the thought process when deciding to go with one particular brand over another? Especially if the design of the gear is exactly the same.

 

 

Are Looks a huge part of it? Price maybe?

 

I just want everyone's opinion on what they look for. This is not intended to start a brand bashing fest, I just want to know how Airsofters approach this.

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Guest alberty

I usually superficially choose one brand over another if one has stronger material and better stitching/construction but the designs are the same.

 

For example, if I wanted an MBSS plate carrier replica I would choose Condor's instead of a cheap ACM one--I have owned both actually, so I do have firsthand experience in comparing them both. Between the two, the ACM versions come with thin, easy-to-break buckles, inconsistent spacing in the MOLLE webbing, sloppy stitching, and no stiff backer on the back panel. The Condor doesn't have those issues and only costs a bit more.

 

If I wanted even better material, I'd consider Pantac's or Flyye's version of the MBSS plate carrier since they make it with 1000D Cordura and also have good construction. But then the price goes up, which is why I'm currently using the Condor version.

 

I think another example you may know personally SHWELL is the battle belt. HSGI's Suregrip is out there, but many airsofters start learning or experience the battle belt trend with Condor's version. I've tried both, and while the Condor version is made fine, it just doesn't have the grip that the Suregrip offers and that ruins it for me. For stronger grip and material, better construction, and being made in the USA, I'd be willing to spend extra and go for the HSGI Suregrip instead.

 

Oh and same thing in regards to battle belts, Voodoo Tactical and NCStar make their own versions too. I would take Condor over those two. Most NCStar products I've seen just seem to have cheaper material and really bad webbing sizing. Voodoo Tactical is okay but sometimes the material used is heavy in comparison to the same kinds of products from other companies (like the roll-up dump pouch, feels twice as heavy as Condor's).

 

I guess sometimes color/pattern can come into play. NCStar's tan color is really weird sometimes, though their black and OD are fine. Condor, Pantac, and Flyye all seem to be able to use nice colors and pretty correct camo patterns like Multicam, Woodland, and A-Tacs. I think NCStar does not offer any "camo" patterns in their gear besides "ACU" (more like generic clone "digital grey").

Edited by alberty

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At first, I wanted to do a marine impression. But after a while, I though trying to imitate something would not be combat effective and purely for looks. So I look around for stuff that works for me.

 

I'll admit, some of the things I have is because Haley, or Costa run it, but a lot of the stuff I use was something I found on my own.

 

I just look for quality gear at a somewhat reasonable price. I won't spend more than $200 on a PC, but I have 7 HSGI tacos. :P

 

Anyway you guys are making me want a sure grip belt. :P I have a 5.11 Brokos belt that slips around when I'm wearing it alone. I love the stiff molle though. Absolutely no flop in a single pouch. How does the Sure grip fair with this?

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When I started looking at gear, I came across a CIRAS at one point. I thought it looked really sweet, so I ended looking into buying one. My research pointed me to 3 options; Flyye, Pantac, and Eagle Industries. When I was looking, EI CIRAS sold new for $400, no pouches. Then I found the Pantac at a midwest store, and for $215, I got the vest, and a bunch of pouches. Further research turned up that Pantac more than acceptable quality, and so since I was just using it for airsoft, I was happy with that. That was probably 4 or so years ago now.

 

Now that I am looking more into doing impressions (in this case a Marine Force Recon impression), and am slightly disappointed with the Pantac, only for the reason that it comes with an extra row of webbing. On the side it should only be 4 rows, whereas mine has 5. Not a HUGE deal, but after doing a bit of research into gear, it was enough to irk me a bit. Since then, I have been keeping my eye on Ebay for a reasonably priced EI CIRAS.

 

That being said, I am otherwise happy with my Pantac gears and have bought quite a bit of it. MAP, mag pouches, belt, drop leg, .45 cal pouches, etc. It has a quality that I am satisfied with, fulfills the roles and uses that I have it for, and doesn't make a huge hole in my wallet. That being said, once I have a career/steady paying job and have a little more disposable income than a college student (pretty sure disposable income and college can't be used in the same sentence), I will probably spend a little bit more to get more of the "name brand" stuff such as EI.

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1000D or 500D or even 330D is fine but that isn't what really matters. Chances are, the actual body of a plate carrier or chest rig will never tear in regular use. What matters is the thread being used for stitching and the workmanship. It doesn't matter if the PC is constructed out of 20 layers of 1000D if the shoulder straps rip out because a weak thread was used for stitching and the makers didn't bother to reinforce the stitching and bar tack when needed. That just scratches the surface of assessing gear quality.

 

Some non-USA brands do a pretty good job and some USA (I should say "USA") brands are pretty bad.

 

I buy my gear based on:

 

1.) how it fills in a capability my other gear is missing

2.) fit and function

3.) quality

4.) cost

5.) made in the USA

6.) looks

 

I do not do loadouts or impressions. I won't buy a piece of gear because it's issued or someone uses them. I buy and use my gear based on my own needs for carrying my airsoft equipment.

Edited by SecondWind

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<AT>shwell, Could you please elaborate? Also, I like how the Brokos allows you to "weave" the belt through and put open belt spots where you need it. It's also the most low profile belt I've ever seen.

 

I personally don't like impressions because if you want to look like a grunt, etc etc, join the military. Stop pretending to be something your not. That's just my opinion. As much as I'd like to dress up like a Marine, I find it disrespectful to copy them without even earning the right to do so.

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Guest alberty
I personally don't like impressions because if you want to look like a grunt, etc etc, join the military. Stop pretending to be something your not. That's just my opinion. As much as I'd like to dress up like a Marine, I find it disrespectful to copy them without even earning the right to do so.

 

Well, I feel there's a big difference between impression and impersonation. I have no issue with airsofters, re-enacters, history buffs, etc. who may like to dress up like real combatants for play/fun/events. Actually pretending to be them is where it gets into debate and legal trouble if misused, like stolen valor or something.

 

Part of airsoft's appeal is the simulation. We're all pretending to play war and be soldiers, or at least armed fighters. Going along with that, there's the whole "impression is the sincerest form of flattery" thing in which some people like to imitate the gear in tribute to these combatants or historical events.

Edited by alberty

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I think you should choose gear for airsoft based on function, durability, and looks. Since we are using them for airsoft anything other than that isnt to big of a concern except for price ofcourse. You don't really need a top of the line military grade vest for some woods skirmishes.

When I choose gear I look for:

  • The quality of the seams and stitching (snags)
  • MOLLE Straps are a must for me to be able to add and remove different pouches when necessary.
  • Can a replica be bought cheaper but still of decent quality
  • Weight and thickness of material
  • Looks of-course.
  • Price

 

The most important thing is finding the best quality item you can at your price range, while still making sure you have room for improvements like more pouches, add on gear, etc.

 

-B.A.B :a-cool:

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<AT>shwell, Could you please elaborate?

 

 

Search "Shwell11 HSGI" on youtube, I don't want to turn this thread into a review thread.

 

 

 

 

One huge reason I posted this is because I see quite a bit of Condor (Conderp) gear on this and other sites. Funny thing, while I served, there was quite a bit if Condor gear used for Deployments, as well as my personal experience with a lot of their gear. There will always be instances where products fail, and this can happen with any and all brands. You will find it easier to get that failure resolved by dedicated manufacturers and hard from some of your smaller airsoft companies.

 

I will check out all of my options before diving in because something is merely popular in the community. I have to make sure I am getting what I want, spending what I can, and not buying because everyone thinks something is better than the rest based primarily on price. LBT 6094, Shellback's Banshee, and a few other specific rigs are on my list, but while going through my options, I came across the Condor MOPC and found it to be quite a bargain for what I am looking for. There are real use reviews and enough information on build quality and reliability to list it as a great option for an Airsofter on a budget as well as your Prepper. The biggest thing the MOPC offers is value, it avg at half the price of the other types listed above, with the same functions. SO WHY pick the others over the Condor?

 

 

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I try to go completely real-steel. I see loadout building as a hobby in and of its self, so I try to avoid replica stuff. That being said, I think that you can play with condor-level gear just fine, and that it's not going to fall to pieces within minutes, and it's going to be fine for airsoft games :a-wink: As far as choosing brands, I go by reputation and my own opinion. If it's real steel, it's more than likely well built. If a replica pouch looks well built and has good hardware, it's probably fine. None of this is rocket science. :a-grin:

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O totally agree Boomstick. I try to keep my real steel shooting in mind when buying equipment these days. Most everything I have purchased to date has worked out well for me in that regard. If SHTF, I am sure I could outfit my family adequately if needed. No sense in having 2 sets for everything.

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O totally agree Boomstick. I try to keep my real steel shooting in mind when buying equipment these days. Most everything I have purchased to date has worked out well for me in that regard. If SHTF, I am sure I could outfit my family adequately if needed. No sense in having 2 sets for everything.

I'm a buy once cry once kind of guy. However the industry does sport some great gear at not so outrageous prices. My carrier rig is a banshee that cost me $100, the pouches and hydration from tactical tailer, tyr, and ATS ended up costing $200 alone. So I do shell out big bucks for real proven gear.

 

I will also always drop a little more for American made. All of my gear carry a lifetime warranty and I plan on shipping out with my banshee as a backup carrier. It'll already be sporting the best brands and material.

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I think about function in two ways. Airsoft, and the "impression" I'm doing. I do S.T.A.L.K.E.R. loadouts for the most part, although I still need to get some flavor stuff figured out. Body armor isn't a thing, at least not with any rule sets I've used. So I don't wear plate carriers. First I think of what would work best for me playing airsoft (light weight, good airflow, how much I need to carry), and then think about if that sort of loadout would need a change to fit the STALKER world.

 

For longer battles or bigger guns, I'll take a bigger rig with more space for magazines, extra bbs, and a camelbak (planning on rigging it up to look like a gas mask hose), while still trying to keep the covered area to a minimum. It's nice to have more gear to get hit on rather than clothes, but it's hot enough where I live that I care more about not sweating like a pig. For that, I think about what a stalker would bring with him for an assault on some enemy group.

 

For shorter battles or smaller guns, I go very minimalistic, maybe just a gun and a bandoleer. For that, I think of it as what a stalker would have if he was out searching for artifacts, but ran into trouble and ditched his ruck for mobility. That kind of loadout is nice because it means less horrible DOMS kicking my out of shape rear the next day.

 

I tend to mostly go for surplus gear if I can. It's cheap-ish, I usually buy it in person so I can pick a piece in good shape, and if I have any problems with it, odds are someone else has too, and I can do a DIY fix. Not to mention that all of that helps with the STALKER look.

 

When I'm not buying surplus, I'll generally go for middle of the road gear. Pantac level. I tend to be pretty hard on my gear, so I want something that will survive the dives, slides, and falls, but I'm also poor and cheap. And, to be honest with myself, airsoft and practical shooting is the most workout any of my gear is ever going to get. My life is never going to depend on my gear.

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It seems futile to say here on an airsoft board but the question I always ask myself when buying gear is, "Do I trust my life or my livelihood using it?" Frankly, I wouldn't even give airsoft (Condor) gear to a con on deathrow. I design construction gear for a living and I understand very well how quality makes a difference. The little things like stitching count, bartacks, and the material denier make a big difference in "good" gear.

 

In regards to combat gear I buy quality US made stuff because I would trust the gear to do what it was intended to do without fail. It also allows me to rely good "local" customer service, and most importantly it is supporting desperately needed American manufacturing jobs.

 

For China/airsoft gear the big thing I look at is quality of material and construction. Out of all of the brands available for airsofters the only ones I'd look at for the price/quality ratio would be Pantac, Emdom, and occasionally Flyye. There are probably more but I haven't had first hand experience using it.

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Guest alberty
It seems futile to say here on an airsoft board but the question I always ask myself when buying gear is, "Do I trust my life or my livelihood using it?" Frankly, I wouldn't even give airsoft (Condor) gear to a con on deathrow. I design construction gear for a living and I understand very well how quality makes a difference. The little things like stitching count, bartacks, and the material denier make a big difference in "good" gear.

 

In regards to combat gear I buy quality US made stuff because I would trust the gear to do what it was intended to do without fail. It also allows me to rely good "local" customer service, and most importantly it is supporting desperately needed American manufacturing jobs.

 

I appreciate your efforts at supporting your own economy.

 

I personally don't have too much real-deal, US-made gear just because of my actual usage and the prices involved. If I wanted a plate carrier or helmet for airsoft use, I most likely don't want to spend several hundred dollars on getting the real thing. Not only would it be cheaper to buy but it would also mean I would care less about it getting lost or stolen at an airsoft game.

 

Over time, I have tried to accumulate more US-made gear though, as after using some you definitely notice the quality that the China-made counterparts can't offer. As I get more into real steel shooting, I'll eventually be looking for nice US-made gear like chest rigs and battle belts. Those are great for both real steel and airsoft, so it's a dual-use thing.

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I think there is no reason you can't start with ACM gear. Typically, I'll test the idea in ACM, and go RS when I'm convinced. Save a few items. RS really isn't all that more expensive when it comes to little things like pouches. So I've owned very few ACM pouches.

 

For example, I bought an ACM serpa, and now I know I hate the Serpa. I'm not going to cry when I ditch the cheap serpa and get a G-code for triple the price.

 

IMO, I don't know how you guys play, but I'm generally tearing sh*t up. More so, IMO than some plinker in the RS world.

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All I care about is if it performs well and if it's going to last. I could care less about anything else. I just swapped out my load out and sold all of my Condor gear, since ya know, it's the welfare of airsoft basically. I know I won't have to or want to change this load out for at least the next 5 years.

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Personally? I go for how much it costs, as well as the brand. But before that, it was usually whatever I happened to have. I have an old fashioned 1990's ALICE belt strapped to a same era LBV with Alice Y-suspenders, two mag pouches and two canteens. I chose it because it was a proven reliable system for its time, and its lightweight and breathable for airsoft, while giving me perfect forward protection.

Why pay out of pocket for modern gear that EVERYONE has? Why not go old fashioned and be unique?

 

My BDU's? Chosen because they are classic, and I know for a fact they work. I run old M-81 woodland BDU's I picked up from flea markets and thrift stores. They were cheap, but they held together like a nail in wood, and they worked for my locale (Florida local). The pattern blended well in every situation I used them in, and they have yet to get teared or have a hole in them.

Quoting someone, "You can't fix what ain't broken!" meaning: If it hasn't failed you yet, why replace it?

 

Boots? Again, whatever I could get, based on price. I use two sets, a set of tan (this set saw service from what I can tell) desert combat boots, and a set of Vietnam era Olive Drab hard sole jungle combat boots. Both sets are tough and rigid, I payed a total of $8 for the deserts, and I got the Drabs for free from a friend of mine who served.

 

TL;DR: Go with your gut. Don't choose something because it's the highest brand, choose based on your wallet, and if it will fit your needs while providing the best quality for your buck.

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For me, it's stitching and weight distribution. I personally only buy real world tested, name brand stuff because if it's good enough for real world it's good for me. I'm talking Eagle, Paraclete, Crye, etc, not Condor, OE Tech or whatever other crap names you want to throw out there. I want a product that isn't going to rip when I dive hard or something to that extent. Seeing as I have played multiple 24 hour games and national ops, weight distribution and a good pair of shoulder pads is an absolute necessity. I don't want some crap rig that is going to sag forward the entire time

 

 

TL;DR: Buy once, Crye once.

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