By Spike Team Leader
April 15, 2013
If you are here visiting the SPIKE Website, chances are you are a gear guy or gal. Our SPIKE Team members have been training and testing gear from all corners of the globe for years. Some of our Team Members are innovative creators and modifiers of old and currently available gear. Whether on the battlefield, the competitive shooting range or in the high adventure camping world, we take our gear to the extreme.
While our group is made up of many former and current Law Enforcement and Military members, we have a real mixed bag of participants. These are good people from every walk of life and profession. That said we all get along great and tend to agree on most subjects. However when it comes to gear, everyone has his or her own favorite manufactures and styles.
Many gear conversations occur at our meetings and it turns into great fun. My favorite event is when someone swears on something and it fails, or swears they will never own “Tacticool widget” (you fill in that blank) and wind up owning and loving it. The guys with many tours down range often know what works, but sometimes are out of the loop for the newest and coolest gadgets. With the Internet and hundreds of armchair warrior experts, it is sometime difficult to cut through the BS and get an honest review.
We promise to bring you honest, first person, hands on reviews with photos and videos to give you a full experience. We will revisit some gear when things are upgraded, downgraded, no longer available or change materials or country of manufacture. While all of us here at SPIKE are fully supportive of the buy American and local movement, many of us favor a manufacturer that does not make it goods in the USA. That is a judgment call everyone has to make for himself or herself.
So a couple of rules we will suggest before we get started. First never purchase anything without thoroughly researching that piece of kit. If possible, try your buddy’s gear or put your hands on it somewhere before you buy. Second, buy the best gear that you can afford. Skimping on life support gear is a foolish mistake. Three, make sure you test your gear on an easy weekend before you are required to use it in a life and death situation. Four, when your gear breaks or fails in anyway, repair or replace it as soon as possible.
Once you have your gear, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Set your gear up in a way that makes the most sense; don’t go for the coolest tactical look. Developing habitual association with your gear is essential if you want to live through a dangerous or serious situation. Many hikers, campers and adventures have died with food, water and gear in their packs or pockets that would have saved their lives. Often because in the stress of being lost, injured or ill, they could not remember or find what they had with them.
When it comes to your shooting, first aid, navigation and communication gear, it becomes even more important. People develop habits very quickly and old habits die very hard. Set your gear up right the first time and try not to change it up once you have developed those habits. As a life long trainer of dogs and people, I can tell you that under stressful situations dogs and people will revert to their originally learned behaviors. You don’t want to grab your dump pouch when you need a fresh magazine in a gunfight. Grabbing a magazine when you require a flashlight can cost you heavily. These situations can be over in seconds, so if you program your mind (habitual association) where your gear is, it becomes second nature and your eyes can stay focused on your threat.
So, back to the fun stuff. One of our favorite events at our SPIKE meetings is our occasional Gear Swap Nights. You never know what kind of cool stuff will show up and get traded, sold, loaned or stolen. Okay, not stolen but for the prices I have paid some of my SPIKE brothers for cool gear, not yet at it’s expiration date, I sometimes feel like I stole it. So get together with you friends, neighbors, the guys at the range or wherever and start your own Gear Swap.
Please comment on our reviews and also let us know what you would like to hear about. We will never give a good review to anything we have not found to be worthy of going in the field. We won’t take bribes, free gear or advertising dollars in exchange for a glowing review. If we don’t like it, we will tell you on no uncertain terms. Some gear will require testing and retesting and endurance testing. We may reserve judgment on some kit until we have a chance to put it to the long-term evaluations it deserves. We may pass some gear around to other Team members for their input and opinions and you may see some disagreement between our Team Members. Anyway you look at it, our goal is to keep it real and bring you our findings.
So let the evaluations begin and please feel free to offer up your own respectful opinions and experiences.