One of the most viewed posts on DEVTSIX forum (www.devtsix.com) is from LBT Fanatic and opens a good discussions regarding IDing gear and tactical gear makers.
How to ID Gear
A key part of being a geardo is being able to ID gear, yet this isn’t something that is easy, especially if you are new to gear. So what steps do you take to IDing gear?
The first step is to know what various gear manufacturer’s products look like. To aid in this I have compiled the following list of major gear makers, as far as pouches, armor, and soft goods go, in America, Australia, and Canada. My knowledge of European tactical gear is far from comprehensive so if someone wants to add them they’re welcome too.
As you can see there are a TON of gear makers out there, each of them making plenty of items. You should familiarize yourself with them, what products they make, what their design features are, and so on so that IDing gear is easier.
Now it is far to arduous to go to each individual website to ID something, therefore you should take advantage of the following sites:
Each of these sites boast dozens of brands, and are helpful for quickly browsing the various types of gear you may want to ID. OPtactical is primarily tactical equipment based, SKD leans more towards shooting gear, TNVC towards helmets and night vision accessories, LAPG towards the kind of stuff police officers use, GSS towards supplying SOF, and ADS various things focusing broadly on more niche stuff like comms and dive equipment.
This is ultimately what IDing gear is all about, familiarity with the most common brands, but there are many shortcuts we can take to ID stuff.
First of all this guide is written for real gear, not repro, if you find a repro that looks close chances are the person is using the real version that was knocked off. Secondly, don’t work harder than you need to. Tactical companies also copy each other, for a multiplicity of reasons, but in the end they compete for the same contracts and customers, and there are only so many ways to reinvent the wheel (mag pouch). Compare how similar Eagle, LBT, and Blackhawk! offerings can be. Another helpful tool is a Google Reverse Image search, or any other engine you may like with the same functionality, and see if someone has IDed it already. Your best results will be way back in the result pages, usually Asian blogs, use Google translate and you will save yourself the effort.
Finally, make sure that you are looking at the largest, highest rez, image possible. Google image search is also handy for this, just click “all sizes”, and find the largest, clearest one.
Here’s Google’s guide on how to use this search: https://support.google.com/websearch/an ... 5808?hl=en" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Let’s try to ID the pouches on A45X’s backpanel.
Those are tactical pouches, so the best sources will be OPtactical, SKD, than the others.
We open OPtactical’s website and navigate to closed top magazine pouches, looking for a mag pouch that has those two loops, shock cord around it, and a closed flap. Lo and behold, we find it, a Tactical Tailor Fight Light double mag pouch.
Next we ID the radio pouch on the right side. Strikeouts on OPtac and SKD, so we move on to LAPG. Remember, while we are looking for an exact match a pouch that is very similar could be a different variation, letting us know which manufacturers to focus on. LAPG carries both belt and molle pouches, that is obviously MOLLE mounted, so we search “molle radio pouch”, a nice broad search term. Right in the first couple responses is a pouch that looks promising, the Blackhawk! Strike MBITR radio pouch. Next we google the pouch and look for pictures from the same perspective as the one in our reference photo. This one gives us the answer we’re looking for.
Now there is one pouch left, the large one, which could be a GP, medical, or even hydration pouch, necessitating a wider search. Strikeout on OP and SKD, so we move on to LAPG, and sort to their pouches section, selecting both medical and utility/GP. Medical is a dud, so we turn towards GP pouches, looking not for the same coloration, but design features. Finally we stumble across the Tactical Tailor Zipper Utility, it looks similar, so we Google it, using the same color as the pouch we want to ID. “Tactical Tailor Zipper Utility tan (or brown)”. Now it looks much better, but some of the results have tan zippers, not black, what’s going on? Congrats, you’ve discovered that like a lot of things, tactical stuff has different generations. The black zipper is an older model. This pic shows an older model in use, note the black zipper.
Now I’ve shown you how effective using these websites can be, provided you use them correctly. You see OP carries stuff LAPG doesn’t, and LAPG stuff OP doesn’t, so you need to go through the list effectively. For NVG stuff TNVC carries a lot of it, but some stuff you’ll need to google the individual manufacturers, Norotos, Wilcox, and other big players. It’s also important to know what the issued pouches look like, familiarize yourself with the V1 and V2 Eagle Industries suite of pouches, they’re very common, and unfortunately not on OP, SKD, or LAPG.
Now sometimes we discover a pouch that our normal method doesn’t work for, nothing is to be found, in that case it’s important to note design features more than ever. What kind of Velcro, what are they using for zipper pulls, what colour is the zipper? All these questions help us ID the manufacturer, from then on we can work backwards to the specific pouch.
A47X (the guy holding the timer) has a number of pouches that are difficult to ID, and will require a different approach, so let’s get moving.
Let’st start with the greyish pouch on his back, it could be a GP pouch, but that flap on the top points towards a medical pouch as well. It sorta looks like an Eagle V2 medical pouch, but the zippers and webbing are all wrong. All the usual websites yield nothing (or perhaps they do, if you’re hyper observant, but we’ll get to that). The next step is to Google image search it, which is frustrating. Now our priority is to find a perfect match, but design features are useful too, so we look for pouches with those same zipper pulls. Good search terms are broad “molle gp pouch” or molle utility pouch”, or even “molle medical pouch”. Now if you noticed the same design features on LAPG good for you, or maybe you found them on the Google page, nevertheless we discover that it looks like a S.O. Tech pouch. Going to their website makes it clear that it looks like their medical pouch, but there are differences, so we do a Google search for “Sotech medical pouch” and start scrolling through images. It takes some scrolling, but we discover the identical pouch, it is an older gen pouch.
Now we move on to another pouch that greatly frustrated me, or two to be exact. The following photo shows two SF guys with shingles on their front panels, but which shingles?
The on the Crye AC guy looks easier to ID, so let’s start with that one. It’s obviously tanish, and close analysis reveals that there are three stitch lines going up each cell, something that is helpful. A search of the usual suspects makes it seem like it’s Tactical Tailor, so we search “tactical tailor mag shingle”, lo and behold, it is Tactical Tailor.
Now we move on to a challenging pouch, the one on the other guy. For this one the only feature that is really clear is the stitching on the bungees, oh well, it’s better than nothing, and who doesn’t like a challenge. As we go through OP we google the shingles shown, trying to see the bungee stitching, perhaps you find your match on OP, or you may need to move on to SKD, where I found it, but non the less we discover that TT Fight Light shingles have that distinct pattern.
Hard Goods and Uniforms…
I’m not going to lie, I personally find IDing this stuff much more difficult, but it doesn’t need to be. Hard goods fall into many categories, ranging from weapon accessories to small gadgets. ADS will be very handy for small miscellaneous things, as will Google. If you know (or think you know) what it’s job is, than Google it and look at the pictures! As for weapon accessories and the like familiarity is again key, familiarity gained from AR15 or other gun forums. Now TNVC is very good for NVG and helmet related stuff, so use them first, but sometimes it’s more obscure and you need to look farther. Use your brain, and search away.
Let’s do a quick example, this is an SF-attached CCT. Let’s ID his NVG mount and weapon accessories.
Let's ID his NVG mount, first stop, TNVC.
We navigate to their mounts and mount systems pages and start looking, it’s apparent quite quickly that it is Norotos, we search trying to find a pic from that exact angle (since there are a lot of similar looking NVG mounts!) lo and behold, it’s a Norotos AKII (2). He’s using an Ops Core Maritime, which, as normal, has an Ops Core VAS shroud, the normal one, not skeleton. For his NVG strobe, on the back of his helmet, we navigate to IR Markers, and recognize that it is either a Helstar 4 or 5.
Remember what I said about Google spitting out answers? Well it’s true for his flashlight. Image searching it reveals the following AR15 post, where it is IDed as a Surefire X300U. Now we shouldn’t blindly trust anything on the internet, so make sure to confirm by comparing pictures.
Now his sight is an Eotech EXPS, Eotech's and Aimpoints are common and you should be able to recognize them easily. As you can see, the resolution is high enough we can read the identifier, SU-231A, which is an Eotech EXPS3. Always try to get multiple angles of the same thing.
Now all that’s left is his backup sights, foregrip, and laser system. Differentiating a PEQ-15 and LA-5 can be difficult, so I refer you to AAC’s guide, which is excellent.
As you can see, it doesn’t have the blue screw on the right side, and has ridges for the button on the top, therefore it is a LA-5. SKD doesn’t yield anything on his sights, so I pursue a hunch, that if a backup sight is on an MK18, chances are it’s KAC. No kidding, the back sight is a KAC 300m, the front the KAC MK18. This leaves the foregrip, here SKD is helpful, and we recognize it as a Magpul AFG. SKD also lets us know his rail panel is a 6" TangoDown SCAR one.
Uniforms are somewhat harder, but your best source is to go through the list I already gave of SKD, OP, and so on. You need to know what the common clothing looks like, so familiarize yourself with Crye, Drifire, Patagonia, Beyond, Massif, and so forth. Google again is a great resource. Ebay is also a great source, look at both current and ended listings with broad search terms. Finally, sometimes you just don’t know, and your search methods come up empty. This happens to all of us, so don’t worry, keep IDing other stuff, knowing that the odds are higher of the item having the same manufacturer as other stuff being worn. There are also a lot of small shops out there who make niche items that most people don’t know of, so don’t sweat it too hard. Finally, if you have no idea, ask away! Maybe someone else knows what it is. We have an ID That Sh*t thread for a reason. Hopefully this guide will prove helpful to anyone seeking to ID gear for airsoft or impressions, or whatever it may be, as always comments and questions are welcome.