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When I joined the Army back in the mid-1980s, the gear we were issued was often manufactured by the lowest bidder, and that usually resulted in the military getting what they paid for with gear that could be counted on to tear, spring a leak, or break a buckle just when you most needed it to perform. Another problem with gear back then was that it seemed to take so long to get through all of the levels of approval needed to get it issued that by the time it made its way to the troops, it was often obsolete!

Well, let me tell you, times have changed since I began my military career almost four decades ago. I have witnessed nothing short of an “industrial revolution” in terms of the quality, selection and relative lightning-fast speed that it takes to get new gear to the troops.

There are several companies that could be considered the “usual suspects” when it comes to innovation, selection and quality tactical products. Brands such as Blackhawk, 5.11 Tactical, Spec-Ops Brand, Condor and a relative few other elite manufacturers have historically led the pack in tactical gear and clothing production. But, when it comes to innovative and versatile gear with an out-of-this-world level of quality and price points kept down here on Earth, First Tactical is not only on par with more widely known tactical gear producers, they have earned a spot at the tip of the spear. Their large selection of top-quality gear is offered at prices that are reasonable enough to make their products realistic options for everyone from elite military, LE and first responders to those of us who have to watch our budgets like a hawk!

With my past experience in using First Tactical clothing and gear, I’d be lying if I said that my expectations were not extremely high when my editor asked me to review a few of their newer products. What follows is my experience with products from three different categories: bags, knives and flashlights.

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About American Survival Guide

American Survival Guide December 2019, How-to: Survive Beastly Bites, Santa's Short List + Wordsmith Knife Tests, Prepping in the City, And More...