TACTICAL COMMENTARY: You Are Not a Navy SEAL Sneaking up on Someone, so When You Say “Velcro is Too Loud” You Sound Like an Idiot

This is the type of guy who worries about stealthy mag pouches for sneaking up on Charlie – don’t be that guy

So I was showing this guy here in Iraq one of the Zulu M-4 Mag Pouches I have and the first thing he said was “the Velcro is too loud, people will hear you use it” or something to that effect.

I was like “dude, you are a medic on a Helicopter, seriously?” – but he would not consider buying that pouch because in his mind it would somehow tip-off his location to the Ninjas or whatever he would be sneaking up on [presumably after already blasting off 30 rounds and jumping off a helicopter].

Normally this would not have stuck in my mind but like 3 days before another guy said he didn’t like one of my knives because it had a stainless blade that “would be too visible in the dark”. He is a blond guy who runs down the roads in Iraq in a 30 truck convoy in huge pick-up trucks with his PMC’s name written down the side. I was like “sure dude, they will never see you coming if you got a blacked-out blade”

This is a common affliction affecting many people in the tactical community going back as long as I can remember. It is sort of the same thing as guys who carry 148 rounds of ammo and 3 pistols everyday “just in case they have to get it on in on some sort of epic gun-battle at Starbucks where they burn through 5 mags.

When I hear people discounting a solid product because of a reason like noise or someone seeing their knife it just makes me shake my head. Especially when the kit and person will never be in a situation where any of their concerns would be valid.

So my fellow tactical enthusiasts don’t be a Tacticalous Douchebagnus and I promise after you light off 30 rounds from your M-4 it won’t matter if your mag pouch makes a little noise when you open it.

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~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 has traveled to over 50 countries chasing fortune and glory. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and Sneaking up on people. James G. on FACEBOOK

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69 thoughts on “TACTICAL COMMENTARY: You Are Not a Navy SEAL Sneaking up on Someone, so When You Say “Velcro is Too Loud” You Sound Like an Idiot”

  1. If that guy can actually hear velcro in the middle of an operating chopper,
    I’d seriously suggest he find his career in music industries

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  2. While I do agree with the velcro argument (really, more noisy than 30 rounds?) with the small caveat of faulty magazines I do see the point of the knife argument.

    Now, I’m part of a regular infantry formation and quite a lot of what we do it about keeping our asses down in forests and the such. Reflections off a knife blade (that one uses quite a lot after all) will be seen a long way, especially if the enemy is equipped with recce-units (planes, patrols etc).

    The bad dudes along a road i Iraq prolly won’t be (making my point moot), but if I buy a piece of gear I’m always considering toe-to-toe conventional war vs the Russians.

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    1. I first heard the “velcro is too noisy” crap when someone was whining about the pockets on the (then) new army combat uniform.

      My first thought was “dude, if they’re close enough to hear you open your fucking pockets you’ve got better things to do anyway”.

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      1. The only thing I hear after 30rnds is this ringing noise in my ears, can you please make that quieter… so the ninjas don’t hear me reloading?

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  3. The guy kinda sorta has a small point, but in an urban area in an arid region it is lost. Maybe in the forest or jungle, sound and light travel that much more?

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    1. In a tacical sleath mode…light, movement & noise are our worse nightmare….however…I do like clips, duct tape & velcor and the problem is “no matter what you do” all of it is gonna make noise when the firefight starts. And in a daylight combat mode when the “Rock & Roll” is in full game mode “light and noise” discipline no longer matters. You better be ready way in advance, that means your mags are already in place or layed out for easy reach so you can get back in the game damn fast. And you better be able to do so wether its daylight or nightime with minimum thinking required. You gotta keep that situational awareness 24/7, if your mind is not in the game, then its time to get the hello out. And yes “Light & sound” does travel real damn far in the jungle, just like “cigerette” smoke. Keep up the great work James, Pimp On

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  4. All velcro has a pretty big sound profile so why people shit brick when velcro makes noise makes no sense to me.

    The knife arguement only applies if you are in a recon unit trying to scout out enemy in conventional type warfare.

    Personal opinion its cool guy shit people want they idolize the SF wear whatever you want attitude but thats a douchebag attitude and serves no tactical purpose. Being a geardo I have more than my fair share of shit Ive tried out its just getting used to it and a matter of personal preference and a big measure of the problem is the Tacticalous Douchebagnus types buy blackout blades and other relatively useless items and bawk at issue esque items.

    I love the new Blast belt and plate carriers and shit but Issue items are tried nd true KaBars and LBE’s .45 Colts and M14’s. I stick with what is comfortable to me and stay away from the really ridiculous shit.

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  5. I did look into the mag pouches and I like how they are built very nice find James. Really innovative idea in a huge pool of the same design in mag pouch construction.

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  6. Trust me guys – you will never need a blackened out blade to sneak up on someone or stay in cover [unless you are extremely high-speed Teir-1 type], if you like black blades because they look cool [like I do] then just say so

    ~James G

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    1. OK, I agree. Blacked out blades look very cool.
      and I would rate as an “extremely Low speed, high drag, Tier-17″ personality.

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      1. surprised that the mall ninjas don’t want camo blades, since ya know black maybe too black

        LOL

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  7. James,

    I have to say ROTFLMFAO in short. Like all of the BS they have hanging off their “Battlerattle” doesn’t make enough noise, and if in a firefight you need to do a mag change your enemy as well as your ears are ringing. plus gross motor skills i.e. hearing in a “Oh shit” situation “dimish”…. So if velcro is such a problem fold the flap behind your mags and you wont have that problem.

    Just my two cents for what its worth

    Jeff

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  8. Oh and BTW Jim Who won the DVM patch giveaway? Because I STILL WANT MY DVM PATCH TO PUT ON MY BULLET BOUNCER DAMMIT!!!!! LOL

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  9. Here is a quote for all the Tacticalous Douchbaganus types who are geardos to the core like the guy encountered-

    “Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn’t worry about what workout to do – his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about ‘how hard it is;’ he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn’t go home at 17:00, he is home.
    He knows only The Cause.”

    ^ Yeah, better have that silent velcro! hahaha.

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  10. Good article and I find myself smacking people in the back of the head all the time for this reason.

    Also, kind of like when guys say, I only wear fatigues when I go hunting cause they have a button fly instead of a zipper. It’s at this point, I’m wondering exactly WHY that matters outside of taking a leak. But I try not to go down that road.

    And Steve S. as far as all Velcro making that God awful noise, it’s not all like that. There’s one brand of Velcro that’s practically noiseless. Of course, it’s also hellishly expensive and hard as a rock. It’s an all plastic form of Velcro that I think 3M makes. The only thing I’ve seen it on however; is the back of my turnpike EZ-Pass pay system. That and buying it separate. But I couldn’t see putting this on anything ‘tactical’. It’s just not sensible. Besides, if you’re THAT high-speed, by the time you need to whip out a mag, you’ve already got your position away anyhow.

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    1. That is correct. I sell it, Its called Dual Lock and is like velcro, but as you have pointed out its plastic and expensive as all hell. Think like $5.90 a linear foot. It is much quieter, but it is not hi-speed at all. Its a pain to open it and even harder to close it as you have to force the two pieces together. We use it in the cleanrooms we make. It only comes on a 150′ roll (at least that is all I have seen). The adhesive is stronger than death and holds at high temperatures 135˚ F.

      Great post!

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  11. Peoples gear choices are up to them, they can use whatever – but when some guy hates on a piece of solid gear because of some ridiculous idea they are a spec-ops ninja sneaking up on someone and they are 100% serious about it – well, it annoys the fuck out of me

    ~James G

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    1. Amen, brother!

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    1. HA!! I love that!!

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    2. Jealous of that sweater?

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      1. Holy shit theres the solution to the mystical velcro issue now to solve the yelling part

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    3. haha! Just tried that – it really works.

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    4. I don’t know where you can get these at, but I did see them rated on Good Morning America a month or so age-They rated poor.Try installing a tniseon rod(wal-mart, K-mart) with sheers on them over the outside of the door.The tniseon rod makes it easy to put up and take down so you don’t have to leave it up all the time.

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  12. It’s always some guy who is least likely to actually use his gear in action.

    And as to “what special forces guys are wearing” I could pull up a ton of pics of SF, SEALS, etc. with velcro mag pouches. And as to the knife thing…someobody should tell Ek that their knives are too shiny to be used by real operators and that they need to start putting a goofy tiger stripe pattern on their blades.

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  13. James,

    You need to quit writing these type articles as once again, I am GUILTY! Ha ha.

    Let me start off by saying that dude is an ass-hat. But, I have always shied away from chromed or stainless guns due to the shine. I would say that shine may give you up. That is not to say that a lot of “blued” guns dont shine, but not as much.

    I dont really care about the shine of knives. Speaking of knives, any new news on the DVM Production Model? The proto was sweet!

    As far as velcro, I think FreedomOutlaw summed that up pretty damn well. Good job “FO!”

    Thanks,

    Matt

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  14. Ok on the knife thing it don’t shine if its in its sheath, it could be safety yellow and that dam leather/kydex/SUPPER SF MAGIC material hides all that shit. Just sayin.

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  15. Dynamite article. I know more than I couple people I’m going to forward it to. Though I’m sure they’ll all assume it applies to someone else…

    My question for a lot of the kinds of people this piece is aimed toward; when did everything GET “tactical” anyway? What, exactly, are “tactical socks” (which I’ve actually seen for sale). For a while I assumed vendors were confusing Tactical with Mil-Spec. But having inspected some of the cheap crap I know THAT can’t be it.

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    1. “Tactical” Socks are regular tube socks in Coyote Tan at double the price with a cool add in SWAT Magazine

      ~James G

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    2. “When did everything get tactical anyway?”

      THAT is the question. Short answer: when people realized how much money was to be made off the million Chairborne Rangers out there who will buy that shit up.

      And, they’ll keep modifying gear (ever so slightly) so that guys will keep buying it.

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  16. Well first of all I’d really, really think you’d already have a mag in your M4 & cocked & locked to begin with so there isn’t ANY reason to open that “noisy”
    mag pouch to start and second of all if your in a convoy or being inserted by helo… ummmm I honestly think the element of surprise is OVER WITH ya clown.
    Now if your on an op where your assaulting a commune of DEAF rag heads I wouldn’t worry about that gawd awful rippppp from your Velcro mag pouches or anything else for that fact !!
    [img]http://www.deathvalleymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Picture 046.jpg[/img]

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    1. Good shit and dead on Merc Dave…

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  17. I wish I had a dollar for every time some want to be, opened their mouth about velcro noise.

    I show them the gear I have carried for ever in Israel and it has velcro everywhere. I ask these guys if I have just fired 60 rounds from my M16 or mini Uzi is velcro louder than me shooting all these rounds?

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  18. A sound signature from velcro now-a-days IS blending in…Sucks, the ninja assclown you quoted had to be a Medic…Makes the rest of us hard-working medics look bad.

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  19. Reminds me of my friends who bitch about me carrying a 5 round revolver stateside as a civilian… I’ve got a speed strip if I need more ammo, and if I need more than 11 shots, something’s gone horribly wrong and I probably need a rifle anyway.

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  20. While I do agree with the velcro argument (really, more noisy than 30 rounds?) with the small caveat of faulty magazines I do see the point of the knife argument.Now, I’m part of a regular infantry formation and quite a lot of what we do it about keeping our asses down in forests and the such. Reflections off a knife blade (that one uses quite a lot after all) will be seen a long way, especially if the enemy is equipped with recce-units (planes, patrols etc).
    The bad dudes along a road i Iraq prolly won’t be (making my point moot), but if I buy a piece of gear I’m always considering toe-to-toe conventional war vs the Russians.
      

    You realize you just made james’s point, right??????

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  21. As a former Scout/Sniper (Army), with a lot of time in LRRS-D, I will say this, the POG-ish concern about velcro on your mag-pouches is a ridiculous gripe that I have only heard from the Fobbits who have never been in a situation where they have needed to reload after “going loud”. As stated above, your ears are ringing, and so are the enemy’s, they know where you are, and the last thing on your mind, is your fucking velcro.

    As far as the blade color concern goes, a real operator will not likely have a black blade either, as the black coating trends to wear off, and expose the rust-prone metal underneath (save for the really high-end blades that the maker treats the metal on
    before coating). I use the SOG Seal 2000 (I know it sounds super queer) and the blade coating has been perfect after nearly 8 yrs of hard use.

    All that said, use whatever-the-fuck you feel safe using, and are willing to bet your life on.

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  22. Just shake your head and drive on…what else can you do?

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  23. A good satin finish stainless isn’t shiny. If you had a high polished blade I could see the argument that it could possibly be seen from miles away but not a satin blade.

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  24. Another great article James! I hope that if any of these PMC’s ever call me, that I get to work with someone of your thinking and not any of the various types of douchebagnus.

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  25. I have a pair of “tactical” black finish trauma shears… You know, for when the occasion arises…

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  26. I once as a kid pretended to swim like a dolphin, which is also an aquatic mammal so almost makes me a SEAL.
    Now I am off to purchase some of the nosiest velcrow I can find…and a shiny knife.

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  27. Good article James! Nice morning treat to go with the espresso.

    These topics frustrates me just as much as squaddies coming up to me telling me not to put my Alladin mug (a small flask) in my right hand ammo pouch. Seriously, if we do suddenly get issued grenades how long will it take me to move the flask down my brecon pouch (down the smock)?!!

    Samw way that people say you must put mud on your white wings badge. If the enemy is that close they can spot that I’ve got more serious concerns..

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  28. Great article and it makes a lot of sense, I’ve never really thought of it but you’re absolutely right about the noise from velcro being a moot point in the middle of a firefight. The other thing is that most combat ranges, even if everybody’s ears aren’t ringing, you are highly unlikely to hear any velcro unless it’s the dead of night and it’s deathly silent or you have bionic ears.

    As far as the knife goes, I really can’t understand how anybody would think that the blade color would matter at all unless they see themselves going all Rambo Commando taking out sentries at night. Most of the time your knife is going to be sitting in its sheath so it won’t matter if the blade is shiny or black.

    One piece of velcro gear I do think is a bit silly, at least for some, are the velcro watch covers that used to be sold. They’re billed as being designed to keep your watch covered so that it doesn’t reflect but you can pull the cover open to read it. My main beef about it is that if you’re in a situation where shine from your watch is a concern then shouldn’t the noise from the velcro as you open the cover to check the time be an equal issue too?

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    1. Well it all depends. I’ve seen pictures taken from afar (by plane) of my unit and the smallest things will give you away (like the tritium off someone’s fancy watch at night), I’ve been “smoked” during drills by arty because the enemy recce teams saw the glint of someone using his shiny field knife to cut some foilage for his cover.

      Now, I really wouldn’t know the first thing of using a knife to kill people all ninja and I’m such a clumsy POS that my feet and arms are probarbly more noisy than any velcro. But the glint and glare are things that competent recces find and use to kill your ass. Shit, when I was in basic we were shown pictures from a SF-37 Viggen that showed the glare of an un-taped water bottle in an otherwise well hidden ‘motti’. Quite worrying for someone who only has a shirt and some soft plates for protection.

      Note: This only applies to leg infantry fighting a peer enemy. If you’re rolling behind armour I’d really not give a fuck. I am however worried our (the west) recent experience fighting insurgents is damaging our old skills of sound- and light discipline.

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  29. This ding-A-Ling is probably the same guy that would also carry a cell phone into a situation requiring stealth and forget to turn the volume down. But hey, his non-velcro mag pouches didn’t give him away! Attention to detail is this guy’s middle name!

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  30. great article man, insightful and funny…

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  31. Mr. G.,
    Before I make a decision I like to get all the information. To that end, may I ask what your credentials in the tactical field are? This truly is not a comment but rather fact finding before I make a comment.

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  32. James, I’m very respectfully disagreeing with you on this one. There’s nothing worse than sharing a tent with 40 other guys when one dude comes in after lights out and starts de-velcroing and jiggling the buckle on his rigger belt while everyone else is trying to sleep.

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  33. Oh dear god… wannabes are so damn sad… I feel so sorry for people that feel that their lives are so damn boring that they have to make crap up – when they start pulling out the imaginary field experience… that just makes it worse.
    I will agree that there is a lot of “Sierra club” quality gear out there, but, in this case – you are dead on. The first question should be does the gear fill its intended purpose effectively. Not “does it make a noise louder than a flea fart when used”…

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  34. As a former Scout/Sniper (Army), with a lot of time in LRRS-D, I will say this, the POG-ish concern about velcro on your mag-pouches is a ridiculous gripe that I have only heard from the Fobbits who have never been in a situation where they have needed to reload after “going loud”. As stated above, your ears are ringing, and so are the enemy’s, they know where you are, and the last thing on your mind, is your fucking velcro.
    As far as the blade color concern goes, a real operator will not likely have a black blade either, as the black coating trends to wear off, and expose the rust-prone metal underneath (save for the really high-end blades that the maker treats the metal on
    before coating). I use the SOG Seal 2000 (I know it sounds super queer) and the blade coating has been perfect after nearly 8 yrs of hard use.
    All that said, use whatever-the-fuck you feel safe using,and are willing to bet your life on.  

    Need we say anything more? There is no better testimony than this. Thanks for posting man.

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  35. Honestly, the only sort of situation I’ve ever been in where velcro was detrimental was doing stage work -and even then it wasn’t a huge issue, more of a personal preference. I have the worst timing, so I always managed to whip out the Leatherman or flashlight at the single most inopportune moment. You wince a bit at having made what seems like the loudest sound imaginable. Of course, worst case scenario, the director is pissed off, or you lose a job. The audience rarely opens up that quickly on the crew ;)

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  36. Honestly, the only sort of situation I’ve ever been in where velcro was detrimental was doing stage work -and even then it wasn’t a huge issue, more of a personal preference. I have the worst timing, so I always managed to whip out the Leatherman or flashlight at the single most inopportune moment. You wince a bit at having made what seems like the loudest sound imaginable. Of course, worst case scenario, the director is pissed off, or you lose a job. The audience rarely opens up that quickly on the crew   

    Whoa, another stagehand that reads DVM? Fuckin’eh man.

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    1. That caught my attention too… I’ve been a professional actor and sometime stuntman since the Carter administration. RARELY do I hear any discussion on DVM type stuff from people in my chosen field. Did my heart good to see one of is post a comment here…

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  37. The Velcro on the Army uniform sucks. It doesnt hold terribly well, and it does make too much noise. If you need to check some intel right before you breach a building, or some other unforseen shit before the enemy knows you are there, it CAN give you away. Plus, the name tape and patch thing is bullshit. I loose too many of them by it grabbing onto something else.

    However, velcro mag pouches and shit isnt too big of a deal. If you are in a firefight and need to change mags, the sound of the mag pouch isnt going to do anything.

    Yes, I am a Soldier in the Army. Yes, i hate the velcro on the uniform. No, I dont hate the velcro on pouches. Before you tear in on me for my opinion about the velcro on the uniform, Fuck you and EABOD.

    -SSG Orion.

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  38. Velcro is the Western World’s evidence of superiority. It is our calling card and when the enemy hears it they know they have only moments to live. Lesser nations wish they had such technology, I say open those mag pouches with pride.

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    1. Velcro is the sound of freedom… I LIKE it!

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  39. This is not my fight and I don’t care about the Velcro but I do have a comment on shiny blades. I live in Florida, I have lived in El Paso, Tx. I am not concerned with “giving away my position” but a POLISHED SHINY blade is risky to use in the full sun when you are out all day. Have you ever looked in a mirror with the sun behind you? Even satin finish can hurt sometimes. If it is a problem for you, satin finish Krylon paint (pretty much any medium to dark color) works; only small areas wear through at any one time and it is easy to touch-up. It also helps with rust in a humid area.
    Just a guy on the outside.

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  40. Peoples gear choices are up to them, they can use whatever – but when some guy hates on a piece of solid gear because of some ridiculous idea they are a spec-ops ninja sneaking up on someone and they are 100% serious about it – well, it annoys the fuck out of me~James G  

    I had a guy on the PD I work Reserve on say something similar. He said it was too noisy and would alert a perp that he was sneaking up on him. I then responded by pointing out the obvious. Which was the dude is 6’6″ 300+ pounds of dog crap and lumbers around about as quiet as a freaking rhinoceros and couldn’t sneak up on a dead person. I mean seriously how many people in the business we are in could consider themselves nimble and ninja like.

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  41. Not for nothing, deer can hear Velcro from 60 yards.

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  42. Dude, my hearing is getting so bad, I don’t think I could hear the thirty rounds most of the time, much less, the Ninja sneaking a spare mag out to do his “tactical reload”.
    James, did you tell the douche bag to get rid of this velcro shoes then???

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  43. I just don’t like velcro on some pockets because I tend to overstuff them and shit falls out all the time because the velcro gets loose (my fault, I know, I could understuff them but what’s the point of having deep pockets?). Snaps are the way to go for a lot of things, but on mag pouches, I couldn’t give half a shit. If it gets the job done, then it’s good enough.

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  44. You know what it is….

    It is the years of being told by your sergeant about light and noise discipline.

    Years of emnuing and using spraypaint on your gear (including your E-tool), painting the brass on your pin on rank. So it is second nature to be apprehensive about shit that shines and makes noise.

    Has it gotten to the point that it is almost ridiculous? Yup.

    Would you give yourself away with your shinny knife as you open your suculent MRE? Probably. Will your life be put in danger when you open your velcro pocket? Your team mates are probably the ones who will kill you from being a dick and develcroing your body armor in a tent full of sleeping joes…

    Do you have to be a Tier one operator to be concerned about light and noise discipline? Nope. But it probably does not matter in the end.

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  45. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSK3maq8Cyk&feature=player_embedded#at=35

    The super-secret velcro technique passed down father to son through the ages. lol.

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  46. That type of thinking exist everywhere. I had a very high ranking supervisor (civilian cop world) who didn’t like night sights on duty weapons because someone coming up behind you would see them. I was like if someone is that close behind me and isn’t a friendly I have bigger problems than my sights…

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  47. Got to say I HATE VELCRO! It is too loud – I hate it when you get a group together and you ask for something and all you hear is velcro.

    I hate that it makes it difficult to get magazines out, I hate that it is on everything. What the hell is so wrong with other options, like buttons on pockets!!

    As for the stealth addiction of some people, I blame Hollywood.

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  48. That guy have a \’croed up tactical cap on his noggin?

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