What is Tactical Gear?

  • Tactical gear is an amorphous term. Essentially, any item that is used by military and law enforcement professionals falls under it. This may range from the clothing worn by soldiers, such as the GEN III ECWCS system, to weapons accessories and the cases used for carrying gear. If a piece of equipment is used in battle or in any other capacity by the military or law enforcement, it is considered tactical gear.

    The GEN III ECWCS clothing system is considered a recent development in such equipment. As a replacement for the GEN II, GEN III is more than a cold weather clothing system. Designed for all climates, this recent ECWCS uses seven levels of protection that includes base, insulation, and shell layers. Used in training, operating, and combat, GEN III is 25-percent lighter than the previous ECWCS system and will protect soldiers in temperatures ranging from -40°F to 60°F.

    More specialized gear includes FREE and PCU systems. FREE, or Fire Resistant Environmental Ensemble, is another multilayer ECWCS for soldiers but is used specifically for workers, such as aviators and fuel handlers, exposed to fire hazards. PCU, or Protective Combat Uniform, has similar qualities as GEN III and ECWCS but is designed for temperatures ranging from -50°F to 45°F.

    Aside from the clothing a soldier wears, tactical gear includes items used by military and law enforcement professionals. Weapons accessories, such as rails, scopes, and sights, all fall under this category. Sights, for example, improve the user's accuracy for small arms and increase target recognition and acquisition. Holographic weapon sights, additionally, give the user this type of aim and accuracy in light and dark conditions.

    Clothing and weapons accessories are only portions of the extensive options for tactical gear. Some items that fall into hiking and backpacking uses, such as hydration packs, are also common pieces of tactical gear. These items may be modified to fit the needs of the soldier, such as with the addition of MOLLE attachments or a concealable design.