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Updated on April 15, 2015
Tactically proficient and all-around entertaining, the Mad Duo really knows their stuff when it comes to gear. The team writes primarily for their blog, Breach Bang Clear, but they also contribute occasionally to other publications like Military.com, RECOIL Magazine, The New Rifleman, Concealed Carry, Law Enforcement Today, Monderno and numerous firearms/tactical magazines. We were lucky enough to have them utilize their incisive wit, comical insight and expert knowledge to put together their ultimate wish list. That’s 10 hand-picked pieces of gear with the Mad Duo stamp of approval. Check ‘em out.
Product: Vertx A-Range Bag
Mad Duo says: We like Vertx apparel the way Germans love David Hasselhoff, especially Vertx pants. But not as much as we like the A-Range Bag. It is outstanding. It’s well-thought-out and has great features. Between the members of our writing team we own several. Get black if you don’t want it show dirt or wear as much. Get grey if you’re metro-tactical like we are — grey is the new FDE.
Product: Lowa Zephyr GTX Boots
Mad Duo says: It’s been our experience that you can’t go wrong with any style of Lowa boots. We’ve worn several pairs and have loved them all. You probably won’t have to break them in the way you usually do (true story), and they will withstand tremendous punishment. Our suggestion is to get a “civvie” color though, so you don’t look so much like Mr. Beardy McTactical. Remember to pronounce it “LOW-vuh.” That’s how they prefer it.
Product: 5.11 TMT A1 Flashlight
Mad Duo says: This is a great, reliable light that doesn’t put too much hurt on the wallet. We’re gay for flashlights, but more of our minions carry 5.11 lights for EDC or task lights than any other brand. One of them has been in constant use since they first came out — it’s a little battered now but fully functional. The quality and consistency of light throw is good. The switches are reliable and not too sensitive. And you don’t have to have access to CR23s to run it.
Product: Oakley Gascan Flag
Mad Duo says: Oakley’s HDO lenses are good to go, and the glasses will take a beating. Two of our minions were at the Special Forces Association Pro-Am recently, and both wore a pair of the Gascan Flag shades. What’s not to like about having the flag on your glasses? We’d prefer the bronze ones for the contrast, though that’s an aesthetic tacticool notion, not a functional one.
Product: Suunto Core Watch
Mad Duo says: More than just a simple timepiece, the Suunto Core has features that appeal to both the doorkicker and the outdoorsman. It’s a tough watch with an intuitive interface (this is a good thing as we lose the manuals to everything). Suunto has a lifetime warranty so if you do manage to break it, they’ll replace it. Although it doesn’t look as badass, we highly recommend getting one with a lighter faceplate so you aren’t constantly hitting the illumination button to grab a glance at the time.
Product: Blackhawk Stealth Weapons Catch
Mad Duo says: Uncomplicated and obvious, it’s essentially a nylon-clad spring steel form with an elastic band and synthetic hook. It’s a straightforward method to tuck your gun out of the way when you need to go hands-on. These excel at securing stubby breaching shotguns that would otherwise be a pain in the ass while you’re maneuvering with your primary.
Product: Benchmade Presidio Ultra
Mad Duo says: As best we can tell the first of our minions was issued one of these bad boys back in 2008. We have been beating the hell out of it and a couple others ever since. The 3.47” blade is perfect for slitting both MREs throats, cutting 550 cord and opening up enemy sentries so the world can see their insides. The 440C stainless steel takes a great edge and holds it like a newborn baby. Rest assured, no matter the environment or task, this blade will deploy like a ball bearing, and the Axis lock will make it feel like you are working with a fixed blade! It’s one of our favorite EDC blades, and unless you’re a crayon eater, you will agree.
Mad Duo says: This lightweight, amazingly compressible sleeping bag is one of our favorites. It’s rated to 11°F and will go below that if you layer with thermal layers and your trusty woobie. The adage of “pack light, freeze at night” goes out the door with this bag! It stands up in the elements, weighs in at only 74 oz. and can be stuffed nearly anywhere you can fit a football-sized package. Having carried one for years, and sleeping on three continents (so far) in one, it remains our go-to bag for all climates. Soft and easy to maintain, this bag belongs in everyone’s ruck for three-season field ops and any sleepover with sorority girls in skimpy pajamas.
Product: 5.11 Grab Drag 11”
Mad Duo says: You’re gonna think we’re kidding, but we’re not. This is one of the greatest pieces of retrofit gear you can find. If you don’t agree, you’re either a hippie or a sissy or you just don’t understand how gear works. Throw this thing on a rig or a vest, and suddenly you can handle a man down effectively without doing the Quasimodo Shuffle. Put one of these and a spare TQ on your gear today. Great gift for under $30.
Product: Surefire V2 Vampire
Mad Duo says: IR flip filters are a great idea in theory but not always in practice. The Vampire doesn’t have that problem. We’d have given out handies in trade for one of these in Afghanistan, true story. With other lights, you have to wrap the edges in duct tape to keep white light from bleeding out; that defeats the whole “quick change filter” purpose. This has an integrated white and IR light. We’d still be willing to give a handy for one, but we’re older now, and our arms hurt so it would probably take a lot longer. Not a task light but badass for its intended purpose.
What do you think of the Mad Duo’s picks? Leave a comment below.