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Essential Tactical Gear for the Enthusiest

Jul 23, 2008
I don't care if you use tactical gear for your livelihood, recreation, a hobby, or you just like having cool stuff. It's important to know what's out there and spend your money wisely. Obviously, if you're in a profession that requires you to make use of tactical gear in your day-to-day life you may have more of an interest in buying quality equipment, but that's not to say the rest of us don't as well.

Let's look at some of the more common (but maybe still essential) tactical gear, how it's used, and what features to look for when purchasing.

Eye Protection
Call them goggles, sunglasses, eyewear, or tactical eye devices - they all offer the same thing: eye protection. Protection from what? Well, lots of things, really. Sun, dust, debris, glare, sand, you name it. There are few things that will put you out of commission faster than an eye injury, and few things that are more dangerous than not being able to see what you're doing. All the rest of your tactical gear and tactical equipment becomes useless if you can't see what you're doing

Yes, I said footwear. Another basic item of tactical gear that we overlook far too often. If you can't walk, run, jump, or stand, you can't participate in whatever activity it is you're interested in. Again, both professional and recreational enthusiasts will be sidelined without proper footwear. And by footwear I don't just mean boots and shoes. I mean socks, foot powder, blister relief, and more boots and shoes.

Global Positioning System
They're not just for the elite anymore. For a number of years now, dependable, accurate, useful, and user friendly tactical GPS units have been available to the masses. If you remember the old military PLGRS, you probably aren't filing the memories away in the 'good tactical gear' category. Fear not, things have changed drastically. Gone are the days of poor signal processing and overhead foliage ruining your reception. Gone are the days of cryptic menus and poor user interface. Today's units are the real deal.

Ah, the trusty compass. The sidekick of explorers throughout history, and probably one of the most fun things you remember playing with from your childhood (to the younger audience, we didn't use to have Nintendo and X-Box). Who knew it was actually useful for real-world navigation? The things to look for when purchasing one are phosphorescent markings (for low-light use), operating range over temperature (-50 to +150 is good), needle lock for long term durability, damping, adjustable declination to match your locality, and a built in protractor.

How are you going to navigate with your compass unless you have a map of the area you're operating in? There's plenty of different sources to find military grid coordinate maps, civilian lat/long maps, topographical maps, geological maps, and any other type of map you can imagine. The important thing to remember with this tactical gear is to look at the map and know what you're doing before you're in a situation where it's your last resort! Trust me - I've done a lot of map reading and land navigation (without GPS) in my day. There's nothing quite like the sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize not only are you in the middle of nowhere, but you're nowhere near where you though you were heading for the past six hours.

Cold Weather Gear
Do not - I repeat, do not - get caught in a situation where you're not prepared for a climate extreme or a local nighttime temperature anomaly. This is a very dangerous situation to be in, and can lead to hypothermia, and well, you know the rest. I can remember one situation where I was participating in some SCUBA training where I was the only guy in a 3 mil wetsuit. Not bad in warm water, but when it's cold and everyone else has an 11 mil wet suit on, you're toast. I had an 80F core temperature before the rest of the group realized they were even in cold water. While the temperature loss isn't as extreme on land, the end state is the same. Without the proper tactical gear, you're out of commission, done having fun, and possibly in big trouble if you're by yourself and have no way of warming up.
About the Author
Allen Wright is a freelance author who writes about anything that holds his interest, including tactical gear and some on the tactical gear red dot scope.
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