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Tactical Assault Gear Blog

  1. Top 5 Things to Have in Your Pack

    Top 5 Things to Have in Your Pack

    Whether you’re going into the woods for a few days of solitude or just prepping for the unexpected, don’t leave home without these five things in your pack.

    1. Keep a Jack-of-all-trades in your pocket with any of our multi-tools. The Leatherman MUT is the Corvette of multi-tools, made with both the practical and tactical in mind. Features an open-tooth blade to resist catching on things like wet wood, handle bit storage, wire cutters, a saw, pliers, a hammer, an electrical crimper, a bottle opener and more. It makes the pocket knife you got when you were 8 years old look like a stick from your grandma’s garden.

      MEME - I Got 99 Problems but a Multi-Tool ain't 1

    2. When you’re trudging through brush or racing through obstacles, XGO undergarments keep the chafe away. These boxer briefs are a patented blend of modacrylic and rayon, with a flame retardant base layer. Also shrink proof and moisture-wicking, so the only nuts you have to worry about are the ones in your trail mix.

      TAG Photography - Warfighter in the Woods

    3. Brave the storm with the Snugpak RJ-1 Rain Jacket. This waterproof, breathable outer shell jacket can be worn alone, but also complements any of Snugpak’s insulated jackets. The two-way side zips make accessing things like a belt radio, pistol, or other waistline equipment easy. A pack essential for battling the elements.

      MEME - DIDN'T PACK FOR RAIN...DS MAKES IT RAIN

    4. Don’t overlook the simple things in life — like a pair of socks. Walking in boots with wet socks or no socks at all would suck. Keep extra pairs of our Darn Tough socks, which are designed for cold climates and rugged terrain, in your pack at all times.

      TAG Image - Boot being tied

    5. When it’s time to rest, use any of the Tactical Series Snugpak sleeping bags. The water resistant outer shell and the thermal suede lining make them some of the most sought-after sleeping bags on the market. The Reflectatherm tech uses your body heat to create warmer temps. Stuff some clothes into the zipper compartment of the hood of the bag to make a pillow. Lay your head down. Sleep. Wake up. Go again.

      REVENANT IMAGE - Sleeping inside an animal carcass

    Did we miss anything crucial? What are the top 5 things you pack? Comment below.

    Read more »
  2. GOT GEAR? 4 Hacks for Survival

    GOT GEAR? 4 Hacks for Survival

    Some things are easy to detect — like a poser in uniform. You can spot them a mile away. Other things are like ocean tides and can shift without warning. Whether you're a civilian in the wild or a soldier in the field, it's impossible to anticipate every situation. But the difference between not knowing and survival is preparedness. Check out these four gear-based survival hacks. All you need are the right tools and a little savvy.

    1. Need a fire? Use your knife. Cut the bullshit.

    Get a knife that can do double or triple duty. Pocket knives are great, but heavy duty knives that hold up outdoors and have other features- like fire starters, make things like matches inconsequential. Magnifying glasses are cool and so are batteries, but as a gearhead you're less likely to carry those on body. Stick with a fixed-blade like the SOG Series SEAL Strike knife that can harvest kindling and start the fire all on its own.

    Benchamde Pocket Knife in Hand  VSSOG Fixed Blade Knife in Hand

    2. Put the shirt on your back to good use. 

    Boiling water for purification isn't always an option. Collect safe drinking water with a t-shirt or bandanna by soaking up rainwater or dew from various plants and wringing it out into your canteen or water can, it takes some time but if you're far from a freshwater source and without a way to boil water, it's your best bet to stay hydrated and a hell-of-a-lot better than drinking your own urine!

    Bear Grylls MEME - Sun's Going Down - Better Drink My PISS

    3. Bite the bullet and make a whistle. 

    If you're in deep brush or heavy terrain, help potential rescuers hear you before they spot you by using a bullet cartridge to make a survival whistle. All you need is a casing, a rock for sanding and sawing, and some patience. Check out this video for a how-to tutorial:

    4. Use water and wire to find your true north.

    The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, that much you know. But at high noon and surrounded by trees, hell if you know which way is which without a compass. Make your own using water, some wire, and the earth's magnetic field. This tutorial shows you how:

    Got other survival hacks? Share them with us in the comments. 

    Read more »
  3. Talkin' About Gear - Take 2

    Talkin' About Gear - Take 2

    SOG Seal Strike Fixed-Blade Knife

    SOG takes what it learns from the field and packages it right into their products. The SOG Seal Strike is the newest member of the fixed-blade knife family, but there’s nothing infantile about it. It’s a heavy-duty companion whether you’re outdoors or underwater, boasting a AUS-8 stainless steel and partially serrated blade. Born from real-world deployment experience, its ergo non-slip handle grip keeps it stable when the going gets wet. Features like a fire starter, a built-in sharpener, and a window breaker at the base of the handle ensure that you’ll be at the ready, no matter what lies ahead.

    Read more »
  4. TAG Partnering with Hope for the Warriors

    TAG Partnering with Hope for the Warriors

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    May 11, 2017

    Durham, North CarolinaTAG is championing its mission of supporting military families through its partnership with the non-profit Hope For The Warriors during the month of May.

    In honor of our country’s servicemen, servicewomen, and veterans, TAG has partnered with Hope For The Warriors for Military Appreciation Month. Hope For The Warriors is a non-profit that “believes those touched by military service can succeed at home by restoring their sense of self, family, and hope.” It advances connections to community resources and provides comprehensive support programs for service members, veterans, and military families.

    Hope For The Warriors’ purpose goes hand-in-hand with TAG’s mission to support military families and veterans. In honor of their shared values, TAG will be donating 10 percent of its profits during the month of May to Hope For The Warriors.

    "Partnering with Hope For The Warriors in their mission to make a difference for warfighters when they return home is a natural extension of our mission," said Jeffrey Hawting, President. "We are proud to serve the military community with products designed to make them safer and more comfortable when they are defending our country."

    TAG offers a lifetime warranty on all of its manufactured nylon products against any defects in materials or workmanship. TAG products keep warfighters safe in the line of duty, and when a soldier returns home TAG keeps that protection going with its product lifetime warranty.

    TAG nylon products are all made in the USA. TAG empowers consumers to tailor their gear to any mission, as all are designed with the serious operator in mind. TAG’s lifetime warranty, products, and mission truly embody its belief in liberty and gear for all, and TAG is proud to serve as a Hope For The Warriors partner.


    About Tactical Assault Gear

    Since 2001, TAG® has designed, built and supplied best-in-class products for the outdoor, shooting, hunting and tactical market place.  Using an excellence from experience approach, TAG hand selects every item with in-house industry experts.  Whether it’s your passion or your profession, TAG® has all of the gear, equipment, clothing and tools you’ll need to perform with confidence.

    Read more »
  5. Talkin' About Gear - Take 1

    Talkin' About Gear - Take 1

    We got some Marines together to talk about gear. We call the video series Talkin’ About Gear. Get it? Anyway, check it out. In this first video, we discuss discuss the 2-point Adjustable sling.

    Here, you can learn more about using our E&E bag as a quick-release med kit in the field.

    You saw our Sustainment Pack featured on The Loadout Room. Hear what these guys have to say about the versatile bag.

    Read more »
  6. TAC Hacks REWIND

    TAC Hacks REWIND

    TAG PRESENTS - TACTICAL HACKS: REWIND EDITION

    Taking a look back on our FAVORITE TAC HACKS!

    We design products for warfighters and law enforcement professionals. But, we also cater to weekend warriors, civilian gun enthusiasts and outdoorsmen/women who demand high quality tactical gear. In our pursuit of excellence, we regularly test products in the wild. Sometimes we run into new and innovative ways to use our products. Below are our best discoveries thus far...

    • #1 - Our Water Jug Lantern Hack

      In our introductory TAC Hack Video, we showed you a SUPER Easy 3-Step Process to make a Lantern out of a Headlamp and an empty Water Jug/Milk Container.

      • STEP 1: Get an Empty Water/Milk Container and a Headlamp --- MAKE SURE TO CLEAN IT OUT FIRST...MILK JUGS CAN GET NASTY!
      • STEP 2: Place Headlamp (light facing inward on jug) around jug and tighten as needed.
      • STEP 3: Turn on Headlamp....TA-DA!

      AND, if you need a New PETZL Headlamp SHOP THE HACK NOW

    • #2 - Our LoopRope Organizer Hack

      With this HACK, we showed you how to straighten up your messy garage/workshop/shed/man-space situation, in 4 Easy Steps

      • Step 1: Get your LoopRope and two sturdy screw eyes.
      • Step 2: Screw the eye bolts into the wall about 5 feet apart.
      • Step 3: Use the LoopClips to attach the LoopRope to the screw eye.
      • Step 4: Fill the LoopRope with yard tools.

      See, now you're ORGANIZED!

      AND, if you need a LoopRope SHOP THE HACK NOW

    • #3 - Our Water Can Shower Hack

      In this hack, we are focused on your health and well-being...mainly because those around you will stop being around you and you will die cold and lonely if you don't wash some of the FUNK off!

      • What you need: A 5-gallon water can, watering can nozzle (we used a Fiskers nozzle from a local hardware store), and a ¾ inch female threaded connector for a hose.
      • How you build: First, connect the watering can nozzle to the 5-gallon water can. Second, tie some paracord around the can handle and base. Third, hang the can from a tree branch the way a purse hangs from an arm.
      • What you do: Stand under it. Soap up. You know how to bathe.

      With this Tac Hack, you won’t smell like sweat and woods and the person(s) you’re sharing your tent with will accept you back into the warm protected slumber spot. Then, when you wake up all well rested, you can do your dishes or some laundry under the makeshift shower—depending on how ambitious you’re feeling.

      You can NEVER have too many of these BAD BOYS -SHOP THE HACK & GET YOUR WATER CAN NOW!

    We're here to help --- STAY TUNED FOR MORE TAC HACKS COMING SOON!!!

    Read more »
  7. TAC Hacks #6 - LoopRope Organization

    TAC Hacks #6 - LoopRope Organization

    TAG PRESENTS - TACTICAL HACKS

    Here’s the issue: before you have some guy time at the range, you have to organize the garage. Because if you don’t finish that honey-do list, you’re certainly not getting a new gun any time soon.

    Well, we can help.

    • Step 1: Buy a LoopRope and two sturdy screw eyes. SHOP NOW
    • Step 2: Screw the eye bolts into your garage wall about 5 feet apart.
    • Step 3: Use the LoopClips to attach the LoopRope to the screw eye.
    • Step 4: Fill the LoopRope with yard tools.

    With your garage in order, you’re free to pack a bag and head to the range. Now, if only we had a TAC Hack that made it easier to stop and buy flowers on the way home from work…

    More TAC HACKS to come, so stay tuned!!!

    Read more »
  8. TAC Hacks #5 - Water Can Shower

    TAC Hacks #5 - Water Can Shower

    TAG PRESENTS - TACTICAL HACKS

    So you are out in the woods for the weekend, and you start to smell. Your tent mates say you have to sleep out in the cold alone because your musk is unbearable. But fear not! We have you covered.

    • What you need: A 5-gallon water can, watering can nozzle (we used a Fiskers nozzle from a local hardware store), and a ¾ inch female threaded connector for a hose. SHOP NOW
    • How you build: First, connect the watering can nozzle to the 5-gallon water can. Second, tie some paracord around the can handle and base. Third, hang the can from a tree branch the way a purse hangs from an arm.
    • What you do: Stand under it. Soap up. You know how to bathe.

    With this Tac Hack, you won’t smell like sweat and woods and the person(s) you’re sharing your tent with will accept you back into the warm protected slumber spot. Then, when you wake up all well rested, you can do your dishes or some laundry under the makeshift shower—depending on how ambitious you’re feeling.

    You’re Welcome!

    Read more »
  9. SHOT SHOW 2017 – RECAP

    SHOT SHOW 2017 – RECAP

    TAG always has a BLAST at SHOT Show, and this year was no different - IT’S VEGAS BABY!

    Getting to meet the Operators & LEOs that use our gear on a daily basis just reminds us why we do what we do.

    We also love having the opportunity to introduce our NEW Gear for 2017... 

    &&& Show-Off some of our existing gear that you might not have seen yet…

    Not-to-mention, getting to highlight some of our new Vendor Partnerships with GREAT Brands like Crye Precision.

    All-in-All SHOT Show 2017 was a success and we hope to see you all there in 2018!

    P.S. - Check Out More Videos from SHOT 2017 on our YouTube Channel!

    Read more »
  10. TAC Hacks #4 - Velcro Refresh

    TAC Hacks #4 - Velcro Refresh

    TAG PRESENTS - TACTICAL HACKS

    In our next TAC Hack Video, we're showing you howto REFRESH you Velcro gear.

    You love your Tactical Gear, but the Velcro is full of fuzz and lint. Run over the Velcro with your razor, and it’s new again... If only real shaving took away years...

    More TAC HACKS to come, so stay tuned!!!

    You’re Welcome!

    Uncle Chris

    Read more »
  11. TAC Hacks #3 - Packing Your 3-Day Pack

    TAC Hacks #3 - Packing Your 3-Day Pack

    TAG PRESENTS - TACTICAL HACKS

    In our next TAC Hack Video, we're showing you how to pack your 3-Day Pack.

    Preparation is key to any successful operation. So what should you always keep in your assault pack to stay ready? This is what we suggest.

    Our 3-Day Pack must haves:

    • (1) First, you need a good, sturdy pack. Our Chaos 3-Day Assault Pack is made in America and guaranteed for a lifetime. With plenty of room for gear, it also holds a hydration bladder. SHOP NOW
    • (2) Rain gear is a must. Our GORE-TEX reversible Woodland/Desert jacket rolls up and fits nicely in your bag. SHOP NOW
    • (3) Our GORE-TEX Woodland trousers will keep you warm and dry when the weather turns. SHOP NOW
    • (4) Shooting glasses are always a must, and we love all the brands we carry - ESS Eyewear, Wiley X, Revision and Smith Optics. SHOP NOW
    • (5) A good pair of gloves. TAG proudly carries TOP BRANDS like Mechanix Wear. SHOP NOW
    • (6) Nobody travels without a good knife. We love the Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner Knife. But you can shop the WHOLE Benchmade Catalog on TAG's site. SHOP NOW
    • (7) And of course, one of our TAG t-shirts. With breathable, soft fabric, any one of the designs is perfect for a hike or underneath your cold-weather layers. SHOP NOW

    These are our must-haves for a 3-day Pack. Shop this packing list, or tell us in the comments what favorite must-haves are for a weekend mission.

    More TAC HACKS to come, so stay tuned!!!

    Read more »
  12. TAC Hacks #2 - Skivvy Roll

    TAC Hacks #2 - Skivvy Roll

    TAG PRESENTS - TACTICAL HACKS

    In our next TAC Hack Video, we're showing you how to make a Skivvy Roll with a Baselayer Set and Tactical Socks.

    • STEP 1 - FOLD - The baslayers in on themselves.
    • STEP 2 - ROLL - The folded baselayers around the socks (make sure the cuff of the socks are outside the roll).
    • STEP 3 - TUCK - The cuff of the socks down over your roll.

    Another simple, yet helpful HACK to simplify your life and help you PACK-IT-DOWN!!! 

    SHOP Baselayers Now!

    SHOP Tactical Socks Now!

    More TAC HACKS to come, so stay tuned!!!

    Read more »
  13. Which Branch of the Military Should I Join?

    Which Branch of the Military Should I Join?

    “ I have a question; should I join the Army and be a Ranger to get myself ready for BUDS or go to the Marines and go to the Recon community because they work in the water too?”

    Answer: Neither!!! The other service branches are not f&%*ing stepping stones for BUDS. These highly successful units are not some weekend getaway experience so you can find yourself. Tony Robbins (who I love just FYI) would tell you to go f#$% yourself for being so stupid (watch I’m Not Your Guru on Netflix). His advice is really no different than mine. Do some research; watch the documentaries, and speak to the recruiters at all the branches. Be careful, they do not care about you or your future; they have a monthly quota to hit. It’s like a sales goal at a used car lot, they will tell you whatever you want to hear and make you believe that the job you are signing up for was really your idea. Do not sign anything unless it is exactly what you want. You will be doing this job for 4 years at a minimum or at least 3 years if you fail selection.

    Military Branches

    If you want to be a Ranger, SEAL, MARSOC, Battalion Recon, Force Recon, PJ, CCT, Special Forces etc. Pick one and do it. That’s it. That is the magic answer. I personally did not go into the Marines because I wanted training. I had to because I was a criminal with a record and drug use. I never thought of being a Marine until the Navy said “you’re a shithead; we have plenty of those already, thanks but no thanks.” So I went next door and 5 days later was stepping on the yellow foot prints at building 622 aboard MCRD, San Diego. I had to get a waiver FROM a 2 star General who chewed my ass out over the phone while I begged him to give a chance to prove myself. This is what is called A REALITY CHECK. I was in artillery for 4 years and I am here to tell you it sucked. I paid my penance in the desert of 29 Palms for years. But it’s what I needed and I am extremely proud to have served as a Marine. I took to their discipline like a fish to water, pulled my head out of my ass and when my 4 years was up, left and joined the Navy.

    Chris Osman - Marine & SEAL

    You need to do some soul searching ask yourself these questions and answer honestly;

    • Why do you want to serve?
    • Do you like doing tedious mind numbing repetitive work with no explanation why?
    • Do you want to risk your life for strangers?
    • Are you willing to lose life, limb, site and skin for your team?
    • Do you have attention to extreme detail?
    • Are cold and pain your friend? If not, can you function in extreme adversity?
    • Do you want the body of a 60 year old when you are 30 FROM stress, injury, and back breaking work?
    • What happens when you DON’T PASS selection/BUDS?
    • Can you work with and respect people FROM all walks of life, FROM Compton to Harvard and everything in between?
    • Can you think fast, taking in an abundance of information in milliseconds of time and make a life or death decision?
    • Do you enjoy being yelled at daily and told how F$#!ed up you are?
    • Are you afraid of heights?
    • Can you swim? and yes, I mean like a fish for hours on end
    • Can to run until someone else says stop?
    • Do you truly possess the inner fire to never quit regardless of the personal cost?
    • Are you just doing this to prove you can? --- GREAT! You passed. Now you're in a 3rd world country being shot at
    • Are you a physically/mentally hard animal that can compartmentalize fatigue, pain, stress, cold, fear and still perform?

    Perseverance - "Continuous Effort is the Key to Unlocking Your Potential" - Winston Churchill

    There are no right answers to these questions. It’s up to you and you alone if this lifestyle is what you really, really want. Branch of service does not equate to bravery. The different branches offer a different job, that’s it. It’s a job nothing more, nothing less. If you cannot decide what service branch to join, trust me you’re not ready for any of them. Get focused, get ready; stay ready so you will always be ready.

    Read more »
  14. TAC Hacks #1 - Water Jug Lantern Hack

    TAC Hacks #1 - Water Jug Lantern Hack

    TAG PRESENTS - TACTICAL HACKS

    In our introductory TAC Hack Video, we're showing you how to make a Lantern out of a Headlamp and an empty Water Jug/Milk Container.

    It's really simple:

    • STEP 1: Get an Empty Water/Milk Container and a Headlamp --- MAKE SURE TO CLEAN IT OUT FIRST...MILK JUGS CAN GET NASTY!
    • STEP 2: Place Headlamp (light facing inward on jug) around jug and tighten as needed.
    • STEP 3: Turn on Headlamp....TA-DA!

    See, so easy even a Window-Licker can do it!

    Don't have a headlamp? SHOP OUR TOP BRANDS NOW

    More TAC HACKS to come, so stay tuned!!!

    Read more »
  15. How To Choose The Right Plate Carrier

    How To Choose The Right Plate Carrier

    What is the best plate carrier for me?

    This is a very common question.  I have always deferred to this question; what are you using it for? Do you need it for work, play, home protection or so you feel better having it in case something catastrophic happens and you want to be prepared?  My answer is the same. PAY FOR THE BEST. Why? Because if you really need it, your life or someone else’s life is at risk and you are now holding a weapon in your hands.  Plate carriers are more than just a convenient way to carry a few magazines. It holds the only thing that will save your life from multiple ballistic threats, which cannot be stopped by soft armor alone.  You do not want to leave it to chance or buy something cheap because it looks cool but in reality is not used by the professionals. 

    What size should I get?

    Size your carrier correctly by first buying the right sized armor plates.  10” x 12” is the most common size sold today.  If looking online this will be a size Medium plate.  If you are larger you need to use a large plate.  Buy the carrier for your plate size, not body size.  The cummerbunds on all the brands I will recommend are fully adjustable and come in multiple sizes.  This is how you size the carrier for your torso circumference.  If you then plan on adding soft armor to the sides and wearing internal magazine pouches I would highly recommend bumping up one size for a proper fit.  I personally use a medium plate carrier and a large cummerbund set for this reason.

    What Armor Plates should I use?

    This is a great question and one that has been debated since man first hand-hammered metal and hung it around his neck.  This is based solely off of the projectile threats you will most likely face.  For decades, the military has gone overboard and created threat requirements for armor that will stop armor piercing 30.06 rounds.  When has this round ever been shot at an American in combat….well, NEVER.  So now the government has spent millions of dollars over-engineering armor our troops really don’t need. Currently, they are working to change the scope to defeat actual threats in an effort to reduce the overall weight of the armor issued.  I will leave it up to you to decide what threat you are trying to stop. Here is your dilemma, do you buy level 4 stand-alone armor plates (which are cheaper and require no soft armor behind them) to reduce your financial costs, while weighing significantly more, OR do you buy Level 3 In-conjunction armor, which is lighter but requires soft armor behind it, defeating less threats and costing a lot more?  I carried over 40lbs. of light-weight equipment when I was active duty, so in reality one component may be lighter but as a whole you are not going to be light.  Armor, gear, water, medical equipment, batteries, ammunition (depending on caliber and how many you carry) and your weapon all adds up to be anything but light-weight.  If you can combine all the above (minus your weapon) into a system that weighs less than 25lbs. you will be in great shape.

    What should be on my carrier?

    I recommend a minimum of 6 magazines (5 on gear 1 in gun) 28 rounds per magazine (5.56) for 168 rounds.  Pouch for a GPS/radio system, water system (usually, 70-100 ounces), medical kit (within reason do not go overboard with a massive medical kit), an admin pouch for a multi-tool, pen/waterproof paper etc. You can and should wear your pistol on your pants belt along with your pistol mag pouch.  Depending on mission type (military) and how often you are in and out of vehicles I would also recommend wearing your medical kit and (2) hand grenade pouches on your pants belt.  Remember, just because you have free space it doesn’t mean you need to make up a reason to add more pouches and weight!  Carry what is needed to do the job, do not “What-If” yourself into carrying 10 pounds more kit than you need. Now, for companies that I think are the best in the industry.  My opinion is formed from using products from most if not all of them, years of seeing bad products fail in the field and not work as advertised, company experience, quality of raw goods used to make the gear and company reputations from within law enforcement and military units respectively.  Most importantly, I base it on long lasting gear that has a combat proven reputation for not failing when needed the most.


    S and S Precision - Plate Frame – Retail Starts at $423.00

    S&S Precision LogoS&S Plate Frame - Toadvine

    https://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com/gear/plate-carriers/tag-plate-frame.html  


    Crye Precision - Jumpable Plate Carrier (JPC) – Retail Starts at $248.00 (ONLY $229.99 on TAG!)

    Jumpable Plate Carrier Crye Precision Logo

    https://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com/gear/plate-carriers/crye-precision-jpc-jumpable-plate-carrier.html   

    TAG (yes I founded the company, so there will always be bias) - Vanguard Plate Carrier - Retail Starts at $299.00

    TAG-Logo-GreenTAG - Vanguard - Skeletal Cummerbund

    https://www.tacticalassaultgearstore.com/gear/plate-carriers/vanguard-armor-carrier-w-skeletal-cummerbund.html


    First Spear - Strandhögg SAPI Cut Plate Carrier – Retail Starts at $441.32

    First Spear Logo

    http://www.first-spear.com/product.php?productid=17618  


    London Bridge Trading - 6094 Plate Carrier – Retail Starts at - $442.92

    London Bridge Trading Company Logo

    http://lbtinc.com/vest-h-gear-carriers/plate-carriers/modular-plate-carrier-c.html  


    TYR Tactical - General Plate Carrier – Retail Starts at $339.95

    TYR Tactical Logo

    http://www.tyrtactical.com/products/details/bpc-gpc/general-plate-carrier-gpc/  

    Regardless of what brand you choose, BUY QUALITY.  Train in your equipment often enough that you can comfortably shoot, move and communicate in it effectively for an extended period of time.

    Read more »
  16. What Does The Backwards Flag Mean?

    What Does The Backwards Flag Mean?

    A Little History

    As a small child I watched the movie First Blood with my father (I was in second grade - Thanks Dad, nothing like quality parenting!). Seeing the American Flag on Sylvester Stallone’s OD Green M-65 field jacket not only had a huge impact on me and what it stood for; but this movie and image is the catalyst for my wanting to join the military.

    This jacket was a movie prop; the Army never had this as a regulation.

    John J Rambo - First Blood

    During my childhood, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D) attempted a daring mission; named Operation Eagle Claw to rescue the American hostages in Tehran. Part of their mission uniform was the flag sewn onto the left sleeve of their black M-65 field jackets.

    Delta Force 1980 boarding a cargo plane for Operation Eagle Claw
    Delta Force 1980

    Because we did not have subdued flags like today, they were covered up with duct tape until needed.

    Not until 1989, during Operation Just Cause, did America really see for the first time troops openly “flying” the flag on their uniforms. Again, Delta Force sewed the Red, White and Blue flag to their left shoulder.

    Delta Operators prior to the Carcel Modelo Prison raid to rescue American hostage Kurt Muse in Panama during Operation Acid Gambit.

    Delta Force - Operation Acid Gambit

    During Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm (2 August 1990 - 28 February 1991) Special Operations units (from all branches) were used largely for reconnaissance missions. All of the uniforms were “slick” with no flag patches due to the nature of that type of mission. Somalia was the next place we would see the American flag flown in the face of the enemy. This time by SEALs, Delta and Rangers during Operation Gothic Serpentin 1993.

    Navy SEALs, Somalia 1993

    Navy SEALs in Somalia 1993


    Delta Operators, Somalia 1993

    Delta Operators - Somalia 1993


    Army Rangers, Somalia 1993

    Rangers - Somalia 1993

    From 1995 (when we officially left Somalia) until 9-11, units and individuals in special ops units had no rhyme or reason to the use, color or placement of the flag on either body armor or the uniforms. It was mainly a personal decision and was not mandated. Most units still chose to run slick with no country identifiers.

    Navy SEAL platoon, March 2001, I am front row, kneeling second from the left with my .300 win mag sniper rifle.

    Navy SEAL Platoon - March 2001

    Post 9-11, almost immediately every special operations unit put the American flag on without orders or official uniform regulation; we took a "Pride Conquers Allapproach.

    Same Platoon Dec. 2001 Afghanistan. All of us have a subdued flag on our left shoulders. I'm in the front row, standing, 1st on the left.

    Navy SEAL Platoon - Afghanistan - December 2001

    Now that it is a part of the uniform regulations, special operations units allow individuals to put the flag where they want (another benefit of being in spec-ops). Regular ground forces do not have this type of flexibility and wear the flag on their right shoulder per uniform regulations. Big center mounted flags are starting take over again, as well as people going overboard with them on their helmets, shoulder and body armor. But, can you really bring too much American freedom to a firefight? No!

    Navy SEAL, Afghanistan

    Navy SEAL - Afghanistan

    Navy SEAL, Afghanistan

    Navy SEAL - Afghanistan

    Army Ranger, Iraq

    Army Ranger - Iraq

    Army Rangers, Afghanistan

    Army Rangers in Afghanistan

    Delta Operators, Iraq

    Delta Operations - Iraq

    Delta Operators, Iraq

    image-14-delta-ops-iraq 

    The Official Regulations

    The U.S. Code states "no part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica should be worn on the left lapel near the heart." The U.S. Code does not address the positioning of the flag patch. It is appropriate to wear an American flag patch on the left or right sleeve. When worn on the left sleeve, the union would appear towards the front and the stripes would run horizontally toward the back. When worn on the right sleeve, it is considered proper to reverse the design so that the union is at the observer's right to suggest that the flag is flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward. Army Regulation 670-1 states, “The American flag patch is to be worn, right or left shoulder, so that “the star field faces forward, or to the flag’s own right. When worn in this manner, the flag is facing to the observer’s right, and gives the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward.” The flag may only be worn on the utility and organizational uniforms. The flag may only be worn during joint-duty and multi-national deployments. When the service member returns to home station, the flag must be removed. A new message and amendment to this regulation went out in February 2004 changing this restriction, and making the U.S. Flag a mandatory uniform component for all soldiers, effective October 1, 2005. Whatever you do, however you are allowed to wear it, wear it with pride in the face of our nation’s enemies. No retreat, No Surrender!!!!

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  17. AR-15

    AR-15

    Today's world is plagued by violent acts.  We as a law abiding society need the ability to defend ourselves, families, friends and innocent people. Most people do not have any real training, have never been in a gunfight or a loud non-permissive environment where chaos, confusion and casualties are and everyday reality.  

    The fear hyped up by politicians and the news media should largely be ignored. Why? Because they are no different from what I have just described. The difference between you and a politician is that politicians are surrounded by the very weapons they want to ban you from owning. Ask yourself why is an AR-15 style rifle "Okay" for their family and for their personal protection, but not yours. Our elected officials are elected by us...the US citizens, by a political system that is, of the people, by the people and for the people. You cannot argue, control or eliminate an active threat with words. No society in modern history has been able to fight armed combatants with words. The first thing dictatorships do is take the weapons away from its people. Why? So they cannot defend themselves from tyranny and oppression. This is why the United States traditionally in the last 100 years has sent its young men and woman to war, to defend those who cannot defend themselves. What do we bring to these places of conflict and war? Weapons.   It's OK to have situational awareness, to ask questions, to get the best training you can afford, to arm yourself and protect the very rights our men and woman die to give total strangers in other countries. Take a look at Mexico and the war on drugs. Mexico has a total ban on any and all weapons and the possession of bullets of any kind. In Mexico the murder rate has steadily, if quietly, outpaced the number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.  The Mexican government released new data showing that between 2007 and 2014 — a period that accounts for some of the bloodiest years of the nation’s war against the drug cartels — more than 164,000 people were victims of homicide. Nearly 20,000 died last year alone. Why does this happen?  Because only criminals have weapons in Mexico.  You cannot stop criminals from being what they are and Mexico is a border state. This is not happening 8K miles away in a mountain top outpost you cannot see on a map. This happens every single day and is a very real reason and reminder for you the US citizen to exercise and protect your 2nd amendment rights that millions of men and woman have died to enact and protect. Dom Raso a fellow SEAL, firearms, combative and training expert has released a video that will give you an even better understanding of what I have talked about here. Dom is a Patriot an American by birth an Operator by choice and I am proud to call him a friend. Please watch his video and share it with everyone you know. You're welcome America!!!

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  18. How does a MOLLE System work?

    How does a MOLLE System work?

    MOLLE is a latter locking attachment system, more commonly referred to as “basket weaving.” You take any pouch place it where you want it and begin weaving the straps in and out. If you have pouches with tuck tabs (also called soft snaps) once there is roughly 1.5 to 3” inches hanging out, you will tuck the plastic tab back in under itself locking it into place. If you have an older style snap system there will not be any excess length. You will simply weave the 1” strap until you can snap it down. The video below give you a good look at how both systems work:

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  19. What should I do to prepare for BUDS?

    What should I do to prepare for BUDS?

    I am often asked "What should I do to prepare for BUDS?". Great question, it can be answered very simply. NOTHING. Nothing you do will prepare you for BUDS. BUDS sucks, it's filled with challenges testing your mental and physical commitment to a process designed specifically for you to not succeed at it. Training your mind, in my opinion, is more important than the physical aspects of BUDS. You will need to have both and understand that BUDS is like the game of golf. You cannot beat it, you can only play it. What I mean by that is, there is no great or best run time; you cannot run fast enough ever. Same goes for the swims, the obstacle course etc.…For example, say you go out for a 4 mile timed beach run and you beat everyone and finish in 25:42. Great right? Well, the next time you run that, say you get 25:58. You will be crushed by the instructor staff for going slower than they know you can go.

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    BUDS is about total commitment to self-improvement, team work and a never ending process of constantly improving both as an individual and as a class. You are also there to prove to the instructor staff, at all three phases of training, that you deserve to serve in a team. Remember their teammate’s lives will depend on your ability to perform under extremely difficult circumstances and they have a responsibility to thin the herd of turds. So here are some tips to help you prepare physically for BUDS:

      • Stop doing CrossFit. You will not be doing WOD's and AMRAP’s nor will you do Olympic style lifts or double-under’s with a jump rope. You will however do a lot of body weigh exercises, pushups, pullups, dips, sit-ups, leg levers and flutter kicks. Master these; you are trying to survive 6 months of training, not beat the guys time next to you.
      • Swim your ass off. The SEAL team water work is what has traditionally separated us from other SOCOM units. Swim with fins and a mask, and only practice the combat swimmer side stroke. Stew Smith is an excellent instructor and has tons of videos about the CSS.

    • Running. You should be running - long slow runs, fast shorter runs and sprints. DO NOT do this with a weighted vest on. Get better at running with pants and boots on.
    • There is no need to over train, just train properly. I like to train for what will actually happen. Do not try and put yourself through BUDS before getting there. The goal here is to give yourself the confidence to compete and keep up with the class.

    All exercises are done at a basement level then build from there. You do not need to be able to do 30 pull ups and 200 pushups non-stop. My suggestion for pushups is to start by doing 10 sets of 20 reps resting 1 min between sets. Once this is relatively easy, increase to 30 reps, then 40, than 50. You should be able to knock out 8-10 sets of 50 pushups with a 1 min break between sets before going into training. Pullups, start with 6 dead hang pulls ups, clean reps kipping is not allowed, so never train like this. 6 reps, 10 sets with a 2 minute rest between sets. Increase to 8 reps, then 9, then 10. Break it up and test your one time max once per month, your goal should be to do 20-25 in clean pull-ups and 90-120 push-ups. If you can do 6 sets of pull ups 12 reps each you will be just fine. You should be able to run 10 miles at a decent non heart popping pace once every other week. Run 4 miles in under 30 min. consistently once per week and run 2 miles in under 11:30 no matter what 5 times a week.

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    My personal times when I did the BUDS screening; Pushups 112, sit-ups 90, pullups 18, 500 meter swim 10:20, 1.5 mile run 11:00. These scores are real, and they really sucked but my final PT test at BUDS scores were; Pushups 130(max for the test) sit-ups 120(max for the test) pullups 29, there was no swim, 1.5 mile run 9:15. 2 mile run 13:57, 4 mile run 29 min.

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    Consistency is key, do not get down on yourself, listen to your body, sleep a lot, do not over train and injure yourself. Drink a lot of water, a gallon a day if you can do it. DO NOT TRAIN 7 DAYS A WEEK. Take days off, no more than 5 days a week. If your body is hurting, rest more.

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    Be smart about your training and most importantly - DO NOT TAKE TRAINING ADVICE FROM ANYONE WHO HAS NEVER BEEN TO BUDS, GRADUATED BUDS AND WAS A SEAL. Why? Because they have no frame of reference, and do not know what the F@!K they are talking about.

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  20. The Marine Corps or the SEALs?

    The Marine Corps or the SEALs?

    I am constantly bombarded about this subject by young hopefuls wanting to join the military. Some do not believe that I did both and I am lying.  There is nothing better in this world than a disabled veteran with 3 combat tours, being called out by people who are either in high school, never served or worse, literally couldn’t even qualify to join the military due to being overweight.  But I digress, yes it is possible to serve in multiple branches. The question I ask most often is why? If you want to be a Marine join and be a Marine.  If you want to be a SEAL, join the Navy and become a SEAL.  If you are already in the Marine Corps, do not get out.  Screen for MARSOC, build your operational reputation there.  If you leave the Marines and fail out of BUDS there is no going back.

    From my experience, the biggest ego shattering experience in life would be to go from being a Marine in any MOS to being in the fleet Navy after failing BUDS (you are fleet bound) to get ordered around by some fleet shoe fat bastard. Good luck with that. The likelihood is very great due to the sheer historical percentage of all who fail the program.  Since 1943, roughly 17%-19% have graduated.  To put that into perspective, more guys are drafted into the NFL every year than graduate BUDS. Currently, there are more Green Berets on active and reserve duty today than all the living men who have graduated BUDS.  The numbers do not lie; the program is difficult at best and crushing at worst.  The good news is there is a ton of info about BUDS today. There is no reason to not be physically prepared to take this on.  The mental game and the water are a whole other animal.  No one likes to be cold.  To be in a constant hypothermic state, wet and shivering absolutely sucks! I say it all the time; "Anyone can carry a heavy pack and do land navigation or shoot on a flat square bay range, not everyone is able to handle the water."  If you want to go to BUDS be mentally prepared to be wet and cold every day for 6 months. No, the Marine Corps will not prepare you for BUDS.  I get asked this question all the time.  Or I will hear “hey man, I’m going to do what you did, join the Marines and get ready for BUDS, then join the Navy”.  My answer is always the same.  I joined the Marines because I had to.  I had a criminal record and drug use.  I paid for my transgressions in the Marine Corps.  I served in Artillery for 4 years doing back breaking work so I would have a clean record of performance to qualify for BUDS and to get a contract.  I would never change it because of the experiences and combat in Somalia, but I do not recommend this route.  Why? Because the Marine Corps does not exist to train BUDS hopefuls, its sole mission is to make Marines and support the warfighter.  Nothing you do in the Marine Corps will prepare you for BUDS, other than cleaning the barracks and standing duty.  From the moment you join the Navy you will feel out of place, because the Navy (while it is the military) is NOT like being in the Marine Corps.  Here you can see how weak even Army boot camp is compared to the Marines.

    This is why if you have been a Marine you can join any other service without going to boot camp again.  However, if you want to be a Marine you must, there are no waivers or exceptions YOU MUST go through Marine Corps boot camp.  Here is a link to Navy boot camp.  It is basically a joke to say the least, and if you want to go to BUDS, you must endure possibly the worst part of the process…Navy boot camp.

    ...this is a short video with a small taste of BUDS.  You will notice it’s not a “screaming at you program.”  You either perform or you do not, that’s it.  You make the standards or you are out.  By their very nature, SEALs are a lot of things-but the rebellious, think-outside-the-box with a general disregard for traditional military discipline, is what makes SEALs…SEALs. It is exactly what the Marine Corps hates about the Navy and the SEALs, the two services and communities are basically polar opposites in every way. SEALs are their own animal, with a very small community. 30,000 people become Marines every year.  There has not been more than 18,000 men to graduate BUDS since 1943, that’s roughly 232 a year

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