Tactical Gear Steals Spotlight at SHOT Show 2016

Like many people, I spent a good deal of time perusing the internet looking at photos and videos from this year’s SHOT Show in Las Vegas. It goes without saying that I’m a gear nut and enjoy seeing the new equipment on display. Everything from packs to knives to electronics catches my eye.

Many companies use SHOT Show to debut new products to the media. Some update existing lines of equipment while others show off completely new pieces. One such company doing so was Maxpedition, and it made a move that I believe solidifies a trend in the tactical nylon industry.

Maxpedition just released its “Advanced Gear Research” line of packs, bags and pouches with streamlined construction and materials that give the products a low profile look, yet maintain the functionality of tactical products with molle webbing and hook and loop panels. The products seem geared for the urban jungle with looks that would draw less attention to the user than, say, a 3-day assault pack. They’re not exactly “covert” since they look like something Ethan Hunt would use in the sixth Mission Impossible movie.


Maxpedition’s release in my opinion signals what could now be considered an actual movement in the tactical nylon business. Tactical companies have long been making products with a “discreet” or “covert” appearance. The only thing separating these products from their military style counterparts was a lack of molle webbing and at times dedicated compartments for laptops and other items carried on a daily basis by someone working a regular nine to five.

For many years, there have been problems in design. Large companies known for good tactical products would release “covert” products that would carry awkward and at times unappealing looks. While function comes first, appearances matter. In order for a bag or pack with tactical functions to blend in, it has to appear like a product from any standard retail outlet.

The past year has seen a huge leap in design across multiple companies. After years of testing and product upgrades, we’re finally seeing products that are designed from the ground up with tactical function and civilian fashion both in mind. These packs and bags now blend in with a crowd, yet carry items such as dedicated hook and loop pockets and interior panels that allow the user to ultimately decide how to carry equipment. Companies like Maxpedition, Vanquest Condor and 5.11 have introduced designs and in some cases whole product lines that revolve around discreet tactical functionality.

For us gear nuts, it’s an exciting time. We can expect to see products that allow us to carry EDC and anything other gear in a package that fits into our surroundings. People who commit to preparedness now have more options to carry their equipment without standing out in the city. With increased competition between companies to draw out customers with such demands, the race for better equipment will continue to put out more promising material designed around the end user.

Want to see more from Maxpedition? Click here to check out their catalog.