TACTICAL GEAR – FIELD TESTED: Three Great Pieces of Tactical Gear for 50 Bucks or Less

Original S.O.E. Single Point Sling, HSGI Pistol Magazine Pouch – Modular & the BLACKHAWK S.T.R.I.K.E. Utility Pouch – Shooting and looting kit for less than 50 bones a pop

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.

 

Original S.O.E. Single Point Sling

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

HSGI Pistol Magazine Pouch – Modular/Quad

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

BLACKHAWK S.T.R.I.K.E. Utility Pouch

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

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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 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.

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22 thoughts on “TACTICAL GEAR – FIELD TESTED: Three Great Pieces of Tactical Gear for 50 Bucks or Less”

  1. SOE gear is the heat. I have been using that single point for about 4 years and it will not quit. HSGI is pretty nice stuff as well, and as much as I want to hate Blackhawk, I can’t. I have never had a piece of their gear fail. Nice article James.

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    1. – It’s always good to have John along with us on the road. Not only does our frdsiiehnp span almost 40 years or the fact that John’s a truly gifted photographer; but he always brings the best coffee, really good corned beef, and great rye bread!!!HP

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  2. I feel the same about Blackhawk – even though it is commie made kit with what is probably the industries most stupid ass advertising every piece of Blackhawk kit I have ever used has NOT failed, I still have Blackhawk kit from the 90’s that is still good

    And they have great prices, hard to say many bad things about the value

    ~James G

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  3. Just one comment – I loved this article, hope to see more, as you said, not every guy can shell out the big bucks, esp. those on active duty getting the megabucks that Uncle Sam happily shares ;o)
    Have you ever checked out Maratac nylon / tac gear, from CountyComm.com?
    I have several pieces that are solid, strong and from time to time they have special sales on some of them, making them a great value. These were not around back in the late 60s or I would have put some to the acid test, but if I had to deploy anywhere today, I would not hesitate to give them a go.
    As long as I could carry my walking cane with a one point sling….

    Keep up the great work.

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    1. Been busy as fuck running missions bro – but many more articles on the way, thanks for being loyal to the DVM Family bro.

      ~James G

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  4. Must be the exclamation point that makes Blackhawk(!) gear last longer than similarly made kit. I’m not a huge fan of Blackhawk!!!!!! either for the reasons you noted, but I have one of the first SERPA holsters for my 226 that hasn’t quit yet.

    My favorite sub $50 has to be the Surefire G2 lights. Got one in my truck, on my motorcycle, on my duty belt, plus a few mounted to a few boomsticks of various bore. Can’t beat ‘em.

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  5. I’m flippin’ ALLERGIC!!! to BLACKHAWK!!!!s ADVERTISING!!! but shit, it’s cheap, good and paid for so I keep on using it. Doesn’t stop me feeling wholly inadequate as a human being when my mates rock up in their Gucci.

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  6. I am always impressed by James. He seems ti have a keen no bullshit sense of keeping this real. Btw James whats you recommendation for a good light?

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    1. Nothing Beats Surefire, they can be expensive but they are the best

      ~James G

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  7. My favorite piece of kit is my Gerber folding knife that I bought at a Sportsman’s Warehouse / Cabellas / Bob Wards, etc type outdoor store… Paid about $20 for it, have used it in every time of weather, climate, altitude, etc and the darn thing just doesn’t quit… It’s been dropped in mountain streams, left outside in snow and I even managed to run over it with the Suburban when it fell outta my pocket, and it’s only showing some minimal wear… I’ve got about a thousand and one knives around the house, ranging from assisted opens, to folders, to fixed blade trench sabers and this is the one that I carry more often than not…

    But, I have to agree, though, with Craig S. If I was going to have another favorite piece of kit under $50, it’d be the G2! Love that lite!

    My favorite sub $50 has to be the Surefire G2 lights. Got one in my truck, on my motorcycle, on my duty belt, plus a few mounted to a few boomsticks of various bore. Can’t beat ‘em.  

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    1. Same here Pat. Was an infantry squad leader for 8 years and must have tried 50+ knives and the most dependable one that I always went back to was a simple smooth blade Gerber Gator for about $25 – $30 at walmart. Cheap enough that I could buy two at a time, one to carry and a spare in my bag.

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  8. 550 cord and duct tape? Priceless… My first single point sling was a standard nylon sling with a small metal d-ring key chain holder ran through the sling attached to the sling swivel on the butt of my AR. It was ghetto/redneck fabulous and worked pretty good actually.

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  9. Great post James! I have been browsing the site for about a month now. I like the idea of gear fro around $50. As I am starting to buy my own tac gear I do not have the funds for all the crazy expensive gear. Would love to see some more like this. Maybe something with your top 10 must have pieces of gear for $150 and under?

    Look forward to more posts!

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  10. HSGI Taco. Around 30 bones, very versitile, and tough as nails. Been using them everyday for about 3 months in the stan, Climbing 6-9 foot walls (scrambling is a more accurate description), wading through nipple deep shit creeks, going prone in mud/gravel/sand/whatever, and they still do their job, with no sign of wear and tear. Rocked AR mags in em, smoke nades, 40mm’s, motorolas (back in the rear), a stick of old spice (R&R, didnt want the cap coming off in my bag, figured I’d try it, worked), and even used it as a coozie a time or two before deployment :). Best part of my kit, hands down. Keep on Pimpin’.

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  11. How is the attachment point to the Ak? Is it strong?

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  12. We need a “Review/Ratings” Tab on our web store for testaments like this one..

    Thanks Brother!

    Topher a.k.a. Kristopher DiMauro

    HSGI Taco. Around 30 bones, very versitile, and tough as nails. Been using them everyday for about 3 months in the stan, Climbing 6-9 foot walls (scrambling is a more accurate description), wading through nipple deep shit creeks, going prone in mud/gravel/sand/whatever, and they still do their job, with no sign of wear and tear. Rocked AR mags in em, smoke nades, 40mm’s, motorolas (back in the rear), a stick of old spice (R&R, didnt want the cap coming off in my bag, figured I’d try it, worked), and even used it as a coozie a time or two before deployment . Best part of my kit, hands down. Keep on Pimpin’.  

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  13. No problem man, I love yall’s gear. Great stuff. Im tryin to get my hands on the Warlord V4 Bravo. Heard nothing but good stuff about it. The rig I got just isn’t cuttin’ it, and Army gear, for the most part, is crap anyways.

    We need a “Review/Ratings” Tab on our web store for testaments like this one..Thanks Brother!Topher a.k.a. Kristopher DiMauro
      

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  14. James can you or someone do an article on what goes in to your FAK?

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  15. I dont know.. I own this sling and it feels really big. My rifle goes flopping around like a junkie in the venice beach bathrooms. Not a big fan. The quality is amazing. The price is steep. You get what you pay for. IMO, this isn’t the sling for me. I’m not a fan of bungie slings I guess.

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  16. when I first read this, I was on contract in W Africa – and I was meaning to make a comment about the best 50 bones I ever spent. I totally forgot until now.

    The best 50 I ever spent for shit in the field – used leatherman wave. I’ve used it for everything from reaching behind the desk to pick up shit, to forcefully encouraging ak parts to ‘fit’, to shoving the wires for my braces back in place (yes I wear orthodontics), to fixing other people’s shit.

    It’s easy enough to bring in country, and with a little ‘dash’ its easy to get it out.

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    1. I can’t edit my comment, but the next best under 50 item I bring with me, is my Starbucks coffee stainless steel mug with handle. I’m probably the only one around who does this. Albeit, its not easy to find good coffee here – all the french stuff, no drip.

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  17. James — good article. I, too, like Blackhawk and hate their advertising. At least the stuff works, have been using some of their gear for quite a few years. Best gear under $50? That really makes me think since everything seems to be $100+ these days. So, I’m going with what I use most — a fingernail clipper from AG Russell, some folding thing made in France, I think it cost about $25 when I bought it. Crazy sharp and has a lot of leverage, so I can clip paracord, twine, whatever with it and the nail file part has a pointy end for digging junk out of gear without it being so sharp that I’ll stick myself. Not exactly “tactical” but I use the little thing every day.
    Yep, I’m still alive. Sorry I haven’t sent you any articles in the past year, have been busy staying away from reality. Take it easy, good to see you writing again. I’ve got one written on the way higher than $50 American Tomahawk, have yet to figure out what to do with that thing but it does score a lot for just looking good. I’d still pick my fingernail clippers over it, though, for just being usable…
    Dave

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