Must-Stock Tactical Accessories

When selling accessories, don’t just think about optics, slings or holsters. Your customers will want, or need, good shoes, pads and more.

Must-Stock Tactical Accessories

We were instructed to perform a couple of routine moves on the range, acquire the targets and fire at will. Then we were informed about dropping to our knees and elbows to shoot prone under a barricade. I mentally winced. The ground was a mix of dirt, pebbles, an occasional rock or two, and empty casings.

We were dressed for the occasion, in long pants and closed-toe shoes. Nothing out of the ordinary. The range was substantial, safe and fun. Who doesn’t like a cool shooting range with obstacles, windows of a “house,” old cars and other things? But I hadn’t considered the possibility we’d have to shoot prone. Silly me, it never crossed my mind — although it should have, because that’s what you do on ranges with obstacles.

I wanted a nice pad to lay on, and maybe some knee pads and elbow pads, too. My inner softie was showing. “Dang, if I only had …” lasted for a few seconds as we got started. Remember as a kid when you shot your first big rifle or shotgun and was worried about recoil, but didn’t feel it because you were focusing on the shot? Same thing. “Go” meant you didn’t think about the ground. You took off, focused on doing what needed to be done: attain the best position, acquire the target, shoot and move to the next one.

For your customers who want and need gear for range training or professional duties, offering the best options is critical for sales. If you have products on-hand, you can show, discuss and go over what they want or need. If not, or if they want something specific, with today’s ease of ordering and shipping, you can have it overnight or within days. Supply chain issues may be easing, at least compared to the last 18 or so months. “Sorry, we can’t get that” likely isn’t heard as much today. The train may not be chugging along at full speed like it once was, but it’s not sitting at the rail yard gathering dust, either.

Here are some options to consider for customers seeking accessories to help their shooting range experiences.



Tactical vests provide myriad options for carrying gear at the range and in professional settings. When fitted properly, they shouldn’t be bulky or obstruct any positions while shooting. Prone may not be as comfortable, of course, if you’re lying on a couple of extra magazines. But most shooters will have those on a sturdy belt, though, often at the hip; some will carry on the front of the vest if necessary or they prefer them in that position. A vest such as the Leapers UTG 547 is a solid option to consider. It is composed of rugged 1680 Denier polyester, adjustable in girth and length, and comes with four rifle magazine pouches with hook-and-loop closures with elastic strap retention and drain holes. The vest has a detachable right-handed cross-draw holster, back panel webbing for attaching extra gear, a reinforced drag handle, internal zippered pockets and a mesh pocket on the back for a hydration bladder. Vests with these features, along with the ability to modify for preference, are worth a look. Paintball enthusiasts also need and want vests with such options, so don’t overlook that possibility for extra sales.


Ground Mats

Being able to unroll a mat and lay comfortably — which may be relative, of course, depending on the terrain — for a shot or series of shots definitely can help the final score. Ground mats should be of durable construction and material, typically a tough Denier fabric, and may have some internal padding. If so, it usually won’t be too thick; mats must roll or fold for easy transport and light weight. More materials mean more weight, which doesn’t help when moving around. Stitching at the seams and drag handles or slings are also important. Anything that comes undone, frays or tears apart becomes a liability.

One great option is the Blackhawk Long Gun Sniper Drag Bag, which offers three uses: as a shooting mat, rifle carry case and drag bag. It’s made of 1000 Denier nylon and closed-cell foam, offering just enough cushion. The removable, adjustable shoulder strap has a non-slip pad, and it has internal securing straps for a rifle. It is 51 inches long and 11 inches wide when folded.



Many shooters have a love-hate relationship with gloves. They love them for the protection afforded in different situations, and to provide grip in sweaty or wet conditions or during cold weather. They hate them sometimes when the trigger finger fabric is too thick and thus creates questionable situations during the shot. I’ve talked with those who wear them and don’t, for all of those reasons. Everyone is different. Some shooters who wear gloves cut off the tip of the index finger so they can feel the trigger. Others adjust, learning to shoot with the full glove and retain the protection of that fingertip. Being bothered by a cactus spine, briar, splinter or ripped fingernail doesn’t help when you’re trying to press the trigger repeatedly.

Fortunately, gloves come in a wide variety of styles for hot and cold weather and different levels of protection. Mechanix gloves are popular, affordable and have numerous options. Ditto for the ones from Blackhawk. Shooters can choose from minimal gloves with good wrist straps and grip, for hot or cold conditions, and for added protection thanks to thicker materials. Some, such as the Mechanix M-Pact Wolf, have thermoplastic overlays on the hand and fingers (not the palms) for impact protection. Others, such as the Blackhawk Patrol Elite, are form-fitting neoprene and provide dexterity and protection but minimal impact protection. Stocking a varied supply gives your customers options.


Knee-Elbow Pads

Knee and elbow pads certainly are a plus for range work when you’re diving behind or crawling around obstacles to shoot. No one likes a rock in a knee or elbow; it hurts, no matter what you’re doing, and can create hesitation. DAA Elbow Pads from Double Alpha Academy are made from a high density EVA foam and designed to move easily and comfortably. They’re 90 percent polyester and 10 percent Spandex, with a smidge tighter piping at top and bottom to prevent slippage. They’re also machine washable. Knee pads come in myriad options; many have hard polymer protective cups over the kneecap. Blackhawk’s Advanced Tactical Knee Pads V.2 (and elbow pads) have closed-cell foam padding and a rigid nylon cup for impact protection. Condor Outdoors offers a line of knee and elbow pads with adjustable hook-and-loop straps.


Eye Protection

Sunglasses aren’t just for looking cool, although that might be a factor for some customers. The foremost reason should be for protection, and then for better acuity for sighting targets. Sunglasses are a personal choice. You can’t, and won’t, satisfy everyone. Good glasses are like good optics, too; the highest price doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best option for the buyer. Sunglasses should cover the eyes without being distracting. Lenses should be big enough to allow for good peripheral vision but not too large. They also should block peripheral light, at the outer edge of the eye, and protect from dust or debris. The nosepiece should be comfortable and not slip, and the eyepieces should fit under ear muffs. Shooters who wear in-ear protection won’t worry about the latter, though.

For years, Oakley and Wiley X have been solid choices for shooters for several reasons. Oakley Prizm TR 22 and TR 45 and the Wiley X SG-1 and Gravity models are rated highly for impact protection and meet military standards. Lenses cover the eyes and provide a tight fit. They look good, of course, sleek and stylish on the range or elsewhere. Radians also provides a good, affordable line of protective lenses for those wanting something for range duty but not wanting to spend hundreds of dollars. Bushnell makes a super line of affordable eyewear that offers solid protection from impact and glare while providing visual enhancement, and Leupold’s eyewear line is taking off in popularity, too. Talk with your sales reps about the top options at different price points and provide customers with a good selection.



Shoes and boots are similar to sunglasses in that you cannot please every customer. I’ve seen men and women at the range in 8-inch lace-up Oakley and 5.11 Tactical boots, and others in Salomon or Altra trail running shoes. Some want ankle support, so they choose the boots. Others opt for the low-cut trail shoes, which have aggressive lugs for better support on sand, dirt, hardpan, mud and rocks. Trail shoes also offer, usually, more cushioning, a protective toe guard and possibly a rock guard in the sole; each helps if you’re moving around in rough terrain. This might be a good time to have conversations with your customers about what they prefer, and then consider contacting sales reps to add some new merchandise that could bring in more sales.


One More Thing

A new accessory, the Q-Collar from Q30, is the first FDA-cleared device that protects your brain from concussive head impacts and traumatic injury.

According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, more than 333,000 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI) since 2000. Helmets help reduce traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, but do not prevent movement of the brain in the skull. This movement, known as “brain slosh,” occurs during rapid acceleration and deceleration, which can twist or tear neurons and cause TBI or concussion.

Q30 officials say multiple studies indicate the Q-Collar, properly used across military and law enforcement applications, could significantly reduce the risk of TBIs. The company says the Q-Collar is the first and only product authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help protect athletes’ brains during head impacts to combat slosh and its impact on the human brain.

It is intended to be worn around the neck of individuals aged 13 years and older to aid in the protection of the brain from the effects associated with repetitive sub-concussive head impacts. The C-shaped collar applies mild, compressive force to the neck and increases blood volume to help reduce movement of the brain within the cranial space. The device may reduce the occurrence of specific changes in the brain that are associated with brain injury.

The results of one clinical study with SWAT personnel subjected to low-level blast exposure during breacher training suggest that the Q-Collar could reduce the risk and severity of TBI from blast waves, in addition to collisions.

The Q-Collar is made in Wisconsin and is Berry-compliant. Each product has a unique serial number and goes through a strict quality assurance process. The Collar is designed to be low profile and provide an ergonomic, secure fit, even under wet conditions. It is impact and chemical-resistant and weighs less than 4 ounces. The tactical version is available in blackout or MultiCam versions. Each one is painted and dipped by U.S. military veterans. The Collar has also been tested for compatibility with most of the current military- and government-issued helmets.




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