THE OUTDOOR TECHNICAL TACTICAL EQUIPMENT BLOG. Join us where we talk all things industry, gear, lifestyle, design and just all round fun.
Recently, I had the opportunity to put OTTE Gear’s new Universal Armor Carrier System to the test, as I had signed up to do OPFOR for a course at the Direct Action Resource Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. I spent an entire week wearing the set up for multiple hours each day, so I became very familiar with the features and benefits of the UAC. With this being a force-on-force course, I was going to have to wear full PPE and have equipment that could withstand simunitions fire.
I needed to utilize the placard for ammo carriage, and therefore selected a simple configuration of the triple 556 pouch and wide flap for the admin section. Not so much for medical gear, but more so for extra coverage from SIMs. I did run the dangler pouch and stored some ammo in the elastic cummerbund.
I ran the carrier with a set of Hesco 3810s, which are my preferred plate for duty/overt applications. It’s not a heavy plate (4.8 lbs), and it features a soft backer. The UACs shoulder pads were great for added comfort especially after hours of action each night.
The quick attach system for the cummerbund was very easy to utilize, and found myself operating it by feel the longer I used the carrier. This was useful in low light environments and when my vision was obstructed by face protection.
One of the major characteristics about the carrier that was a huge plus for me was its minimalist design. The sleek design in conjunction with the UNITY Tactical FAST mount I was using made shooting my rifle with NODs and a gas mask perfectly comfortable. With some carriers and/or incorrectly sized plates, shouldering a rifle and getting a good sight picture can require added attention to one’s shooting technique, so I’m happy to report that was not the case with the UAC.
I also converted the placard to a chest rig with our Universal Chest Rig Harness which shows the versatility of the whole Universal Armor Carrier system. While this set up had reduced coverage and ammo capacity, I gained a lot in mobility and dexterity.
Overall, I was very happy with the UACs performance as a plate carrier and can recommend it to those looking for a plate carrier that offers plenty of ammo storage and modularity while still staying light and comfortable.
SHOT Show 2023 felt like old times! The pandemic mostly in our rear-view mirror, and folks were out and about and enjoying themselves. It was good to see all of our old friends who couldn’t make show since Jan 2020. 10 months in the war in Ukraine, many of our European friends are now seeing a spike in business. Recon and TACWRK in Germany, TR in France, Endeavour Tactical UK. Entities from Asia were also back; Lin from Survivor tactical Taiwan made the trip.
Our helmet bag, rash guard for conceal carry, shade shirts, and new Andrew Bawidamann Hawaiian shirts were the most popular items checked out in the booth! People also like our classic packing cubes, range bags and LV insulated jackets. Eric Graves from Soldier Systems Daily came to check out our new chest rig/placard and cummerbund attachment system. we are putting on our new chest rig and UAC (Universal Armor Carrier) plate carrier. We are also selling these parts to other nylon gear companies and the reaction was amazing! They are both a lightweight and elegant way to attach your gear together.
We also saw:
- Tom Marshall from Recoil Magazine
- Dana Gleason and D3 from Mystery Ranch
- David Kramer from MagPul and SOC-F
- Ernesto, Matt and Greg Thompson from Crye Precision
- Joe Savio from Modern Material and Holosun
- Zane and Adam from Spiritus Systems
- Jon of Larp Labs
- Zach Stone, Christina Rhine, and William from Son Of Liberty Gun Works
- Chip Lasky from Unity Tactical
- Zach with Cana Provisions
- The TNVC crew
- Don Edwards, Eric and Sam Houston from Greenline Tactical
- Redbeard Tactical
- Christian Craighead, who told us about his “adventure” in Nairobi Kenya
- Social Media personality and Army soldier, Hailey Lujan hung out in the booth for some laughs
The daily after-show parties were also a lot of fun! SOC-F (Special Operations Care Fund), kicked it off the good times at the Leatherneck bar! Also sponsored by us, Sons of Liberty Gun Works, and Big Tex Ordnance with affordable drinks, sausage, and meatball buffet! Garand Thumb was also spotted prior to his food poisoning as well.
The Blackwater party was fun over at the Battlefield Las Vegas property. We had fun playing on old armor fighting vehicles, watching old Blackwater training videos projected on massive screens, and gorging ourselves on burgers from the In-N-Out Burger trailer.
Every year the Crye Precision party is always a special event, and this year it did not disappoint! Held in a massive arena, this year’s theme was Honey I Shrunk the Party – Buzz & Woddy’s Sausage Fest. It included massive life-sized games from our childhood, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Rock’em Sock’em Robots, Legos, Operation to name a few. Some of our new team members had never been before, so at closing time we had to drag them out as the gravitational pull was so strong. Pretty sure we also forgot Austin and he had to catch an Uber back.
The industry has its challenges, a popular culture and big tech that has a love hate relationship with the gun and adjacent industries as well as political head winds. That said I feel pretty optimistic about the state of the industry and its future. Enjoy the rest of 2023 and see you next year!
-Todd Fairbairn (Founder and CEO)
My son is a High School senior and a football player. He loves the game. He loves the workouts, the lifting the physicalness of the sport. He loves the showmanship and the battle on the field. He loves his teammates. Midway through the season his bicycle got run over by a car, when I grilled him about it, he told me one of his teammates ran over it. When I asked which teammate, he refused to tell me, he said that the football team was his other family and that “snitches get stitches” …
At the beginning of the season his team lost players to some of our local private schools that are known to poach the best public-school players. He was devasted and upset that they lost their “secret weapons”. There were no longer any superstars on the team. My son and his teammates realized that they couldn’t rely on a few great players to do all the work… they were going to have to do it themselves… This was probably the best thing that could have happened to them. With no egos to get in the way, they jelled, the seniors and juniors bonded and supported each other, they really became a family, on and off the field. The English language doesn’t really have a word for this bond, the closest word we have is love, these kids loved each other, they played with heart and passion and it showed. It was, esprit de corps. They were not the fastest, or biggest and went up against some bigger dogs and won.
They went 4 and 0 when their fortune ran out and lost to a big powerhouse team. At the end of the day football is an arms race, and if you have bigger, faster, stronger, well coached players you usually win. My sons team bounced back and ended up winning their conference, the first time 34 years and qualified for the state tournament. There were seated 6th in their bracket and went up against an undefeated 3rd seat. They game was close at the half however they lost by two touchdowns. My son came home at 10pm still in his uniform, dirty, grimy, eye black smeared on his face and he just looked at me gave me a big hug and then started sobbing… I didn’t say anything, I just hugged him. That is when I understood, he wasn’t crying about the loss, he was crying that it was the end of his football playing career. He would never put the pads on, never have summer practice, it was the end of an era, that chapter of his young life was over. For that he was sobbing, the loss of his football family.
I remember 8 years ago when he stated playing football and the main stream media was talking about concussions and the long-term effects of football on the brain and body, especially in kids. People were predicting the end of football. My wife and I weighed letting him play. In the end we felt that keeping him from playing with his friends would be more damaging than whatever blows he would be delt on the gridiron. Boys and young men need a tribe, they need competition, they need to be physical. Denying that would have been devastating on the boy… I feel that football has taught my son a lot about life. He can work on a team; he can take coaching and make the appropriate corrections. He can work for a goal bigger than himself. He knows how to lead and he knows how to follow. He can listen. He knows the beauty of victory and the sting of loss.
Some of you have been part of something, sports teams, military units, law enforcement departments, fire fighters, first responders, gyms, clubs. I hope your experience was as rich as my sons was and you found your tribe…
-Todd Fairbairn (Owner/CEO)
Tom Marshall of RECOIL OFFGRID covers our LVZ OVT pate carrier in a recent review
RECOIL OFFGRID is a magazine dedicated to preparation and survival; featuring articles on making knives, building shelters, bug out bags, and gear reviews. The magazine primarily offers educational articles on how to survive a life-threatening situation or a man-made or natural disaster. As a perfect group of experts to test our LVZ/OVT carrier, they finished the review stating "We’ll continue to test the OTTE Gear LVZ OVT plate carrier in both training and daily “grab-and-go” use as able but, overall, we think this carrier offers a whole lot of bang-for-buck value, especially if you’re in the market for a first-time buy or want to pare your collection of carriers down to a single, modular setup that fills both concealed and overt needs. Stay tuned here and at OTTE Gear as they continue to expand their in-house line of plug-and-play accessories for the LVT OVT line."
That blog on the RECOIL OFFGRID website is available here.
And continue to test it, they did! Tom also wore our plate carrier to HALEY STRATEGIC KALASHNIKOV: THE BASICS OF SHOOTING AN AK
For this class, Tom's loadout consisted of "OTTE Gear LVZ OVT Plate Carrier with G-Code Scorpion mag pouches, which flex to accommodate the odd shape of 5.45x39mm magazines."
For that article as well, check it out here.
// FEATURES //
▪ Constructed of 500D Nylon
▪ Adjustable Hypalon shoulders
▪ Two areas of loop for identifiers
▪ Integrated nylon vertical strips to accommodate QASM buckles (not included).
▪ Removable triple rifle mag shingle included
▪ Fully adjustable Cummerbund Overlaps itself on the front and back area making
it extremely adjustable in or out depending on your size.
▪ Cummerbund has 4 pocket areas on each side for magazines or radios
▪ Interior has 3D style spacer mesh
▪ Plate pockets load from the bottom and will accept up to 10x12 Level 3 and 4
ESAPI OR SIMILAR PLATES and Plate Backers
// SIZES //
The LVZ / OVT FITS - MEDIUM SAPI, ESAPI, SWIMMER PLATE, 10"x12" up to 10”x12.25“x1”
The size of the carrier has nothing to do with your shirt size but everything to do with the
size of your armor plate.
OTTE & QILO are NJ neighbors and it’s about time we made something together.
Introducing our Convertible Pouch in Andrew Bawidamann’s iconic “Poppies of War” print.
-Constructed 500D Cordura
-Made in USA with US-sourced materials
Drops on the site on Friday, 6/25 at 3PM EST.
Whether for fashion or for function, camo is never totally off-trend. And at the present moment in men's style, it's as relevant as ever. Streetwear's been using it since the beginning. Hip-hop style got a hold of it in the '90s and hasn't let go since.
With summer winding down and fall right around the corner it’s that perfect time of year – not too hot and not too cold, just right for adventure. Preparing for these adventures means selecting your best gear that is not only reliable and time tested, but also really sharp looking. Getting disorganized, overpacking, or not packing enough are an adventurer’s enemy. And nothing will make you more frustrated than getting to the range or campsite ripping through all your gear looking for that one thing (you know that ONE necessary piece of gear that you absolutely needed) only to realize that you left back on your kitchen counter next to the note that says “DO NOT FORGET!” OTTE Gear has developed the best packing cubes and pouches for men. They are sure to help you stay calm, cool and organized so that you can focus on the fun and adventure.
Compact Solutions: OTTE Gear Utility Pouch Sets
Now when I say “endless uses” for the Utility Pouches I truly mean it. The Utility Pouch Set by OTTE Gear is the perfect example of something you never knew you needed until you got it, and now you end up using them for everything. This is the best travel pouch set because it can protect your EDC, make the packing process efficient, and is an antidote to overpacking. Nothing’s worse than fishing around for things small to mid-size things in a fully packed bag, that is why the 3 sizes of pouches you get in the set are amazing. I have stored ammo, tools, guns, electronics, charging cables, medical supplies, my wallet and treasured watch, car keys…the list goes on. Utility Pouch Set comes with three 500D Cordura flat zippered bags: 8”W x 6”T, 10”W x 7”T, or 12”W x 9”T. Now the hard part comes in deciding which color suits you best: MultiCam, MultiCam Black, MultiCam Arid, MultiCam Tropic, and MultiCam Alpine. Or stock up on them all and consider yourself the king of ORG. Whether you are going on a trip or just need help in your everyday performance, you won’t realize all the uses for them until you try them out yourself.
Systematic Solutions: OTTE Gear Packing Cubes
One thing I have learned in my constant travels is that peak performance comes from feeling in control, looking good and feeling good. A great discovery was OTTE Gear’s series of packing cubes and, to be hones, I feel like I have unlocked my peak packing potential. Packing Cubes are like the big brother to my Utility Pouches. As with the UPS, these are made 500D Cordura and finished with YKK zippers and locker loops. They come in a 4 sizes:
- Small: 12" x 7" x 5.5" & 7.5 liter capacity
- Medium: 13.5" x 8.5" x 5.5" & 10 liter capacity
- Large: 14" x 11" x 6" & 15 liter capacity
- X-Large: 14.5" x 16" x 6.5" & 22 liter capacity
The OTTE Gear Packing Cubes give you the option of storing larger items that you cannot fit into the Utility Pouches. I have stored ammo, guns, boots, a spare change of clothes, blanket, medical supplies. I have used them to protect my expensive insulated jacket and to keep dirty gear separate from clean, unused clothing. It makes laundry at the end of a trip much easier too. My favorite part was picking color options: Coyote, Ranger Green, MultiCam, MultiCam Black, MultiCam Arid, MultiCam Tropic, and MultiCam Alpine. Everywhere I go, I get compliments on them since they are unique and practical. Available as singles (you could get a different color cube for every day of the week!) or take advantage of a discounted 4-pack.
At the end of the day, we all spend a lot of money on our equipment so organizing and protecting are mission critical objectives.
Belly up to the bar with….Dave Young
For this month's GAB, we probed the soul of Dave Young aka @youngbuckdave. He is a true friend, an artist, and frankly a sub-par shooter...more of a spray and pray kinda guy. Just Kidding. His encyclopedic knowledge about guns informs his tactical photography which captures the people and products he is so passionate about. When you meet him ask him about his dad, the old school lawman. Read on.
Be TacticalOTTE Gear sent our very best Zach Stone to the The Tactical Games last week which took place at the epically cool GTI facility in Barnwell, SC, a decommissioned nuclear processing facility that really puts the athletes in the mood. Price of entry was being an endurance athlete with tremendous shooting precision, also known as ass-kickers, door-kickers and Tier 1 operators. Besides participating in the competition, OTTE Gear is also a sponsor of the games and proudly outfits the TG staff with our DK Jackets. At the end of the day, Zach hosted an impromptu party at our tent for all of the worn-out athletes.
Belly up to the Bar with @robomurray
An uncommon day (February 29) seemed like a fitting time to feature an uncommon dude, Robo Murray, as our Grab a Beer With OTTE Gear interviewee. We learned about Robo from our Canadian friends at Parabellum Prime who said we should definitely check him out. While his day job is in the Information Security space focused on OSINT, his passions are Firearms, Firearms training, Airsoft, and Milsim which led him to his pursuits working for WGT Consulting on the side. Somehow he also finds the time to create rad combat-inspired casual clothing (http://www.robo-apparel.com/). You can learn a lot more about him in our interview below, or by visiting his various social media platforms.
January 2020 – William Todd Fairbairn, Founder & CEO of OTTE Gear
Climbing is a sport where no matter how hard you train and prepare there are always elements that are out of your control, not least of which are the weather and your DNA. These was front and center as I attempted to climb Aconcagua last month, Argentina’s and South America’s tallest mountain. The mountain reaches 23,000 feet. The air gets thin and hard to breath the higher you climb. It is not considered tall enough to require bottled oxygen and while there are drugs you can take to help mask the physical pain of the high altitude, only your DNA will predict how you perform up high. Needless to say, my DNA did not help me. I woke up gasping for air and moved extremely slowly above 14,000’.
OTTE Gear Multicam Gaiters (shown in photo)
One lucky person will win over $4000 in prizes from OTTE Gear and our sponsors. All you have to do is start following on Instagram.
1). Follow OTTE Gear
2). Follow as many of our other sponsors that you want
( the more you follow, the more chances you are entered to win! )
December 2019 – William Todd Fairbairn, Founder & CEO of OTTE Gear
It has been 15 years since I entered this industry with the 2004 SHOT Show debut of my brand, OTTE Gear and I think it’s about time I let folks know a little about me and the brand. The whole idea for the brand was born after hearing from our friends that were deployed to Afghanistan. They told us that the clothing they were using did not work well in the Himalayan environment nor did it hold up to their use and abuse. Many opted to use their civilian clothing in the most subdued colors available and black out the logos with a Sharpie marker. They knew that my partners and I had worked for The North Face so they reached out and asked for help designing better clothing systems.
Thanks to its long-standing team up with Andrew Bawidimann, we think of Otte Gear as the original purveyor of tactical artwork. Its Poppies of War print is an almost subtle mash-up of toes-in-the-warm-sand comfort and Taliban-era sentiment. At first glance, it’s a broad, vaguely organic pattern; but a focused gaze reveals a smattering of weapons that are familiar to anyone who’s spent some time in Afghanistan.
We met Joe Savio on the range a while back and were instantly charmed by his skills and his humor. He is the owner of GST Training & Consulting, partner in Modern Materiel, the first and only New Jersey AR-15 manufacturer focusing on law enforcement, and Relations Manager for Holosun Optics among other firearms and defense industry companies. Drummer/Shooter/Tequila connoisseur...clearly he is a very good guy to know.