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Posted: 4/22/2004 7:35:32 PM EST
Howdy All,

This is to all the gear vendors who frequent these boards.

After an exhaustive search for a holster for my USP and Hatch gloves for my brother in Iraq, I have to say this: a vendor that can tell me immediately when going to a site that they have the product I need in stock, even if priced 10-15% higher than their competitors, will get my business everytime.

It seems as if every other type of web business does this but tac-gear vendors. Most all of them require you to either e-mail them for stock info and hopefully hear back within a week, call them and leave a message, or order the product then find three days later that your CC has been charged but your products are back-ordered an indefinite time. Hell, I can find pet food stores that offer this system.

Current offenders (to me) are as follows, Lightfighter.com, Texas Tactical, Police Tactical Gear, Blackhawk.com, and a few others I forget. Places getting a thumbs up are adcofirearms.com, tacticaladvantage.us, cqbsolutions.com, and botachtactical.com (I know, surprising to a few).

Hopefully, a few of you can chime in with your experiences with different places, but I am more interested in same day services, not "well, within a week or 2 we got everything settled". Some of us need items ordered ASAP, and next week will not cut it, and we should be able to know if an order can be filled immediately or not, and not tying up funds on my IMPACT, govt cc, or personal cc.

Don't get me wrong, good service will have me come back to a vendor that makes me wait a couple of days, but often times that is not an option.

Is that this too much to ask?

Link Posted: 4/23/2004 3:02:48 AM EST
Link Posted: 4/24/2004 4:47:55 AM EST
a company to add to your list of "bad" company's is A.F.M.O. (Armed Forces Merchandise Outlet). I am a cop, and have a SWAT competition at the end of the month. I looked all over for a Safariland 6004 series holster w/the ability to accomodate a tactical light (for a Sig 226). I called AFMO and asked if they had it in stock, they tell me they do. I then ask if they can get it to me before April 28. They reply in the affiramtive. So i give the CC #. About 7-10 days later I get an email stating its on backorder. I call them back and ask WTF? They say the one they have is for a 92F. I say I want to cancel the order. They don't give me a problem. I then get an email from them stating that my order was cancelled, but pursuant to their policies i will be charged 15%!! For something they lied about over the phone!! BTW the holster was over $100!

peace out!
Link Posted: 4/24/2004 5:58:19 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/24/2004 5:59:04 PM EST by Hoplite]
just call or send an email. Lightfighter hasnt let me down yet and the people on the phone are very helpful
I spoke to one person for about a half hour on body armor and he was very helpful.
Link Posted: 4/25/2004 3:58:52 AM EST

Originally Posted By Lightfighter:
The new Lightfighter website allows me the capability to list the number of items in stock. I have the option of displaying it or not displaying it. On the surface this sounds like the easiest thing in the world to have; but in reality there is alot to it that could send you away (as the customer) alot madder than if we leave it alone. The problem is one of logistics and it comes in two forms:

1. If you buy an item from my website, I have to have someone change the website to reflect this change in our inventory. Without custom inventory and invoicing software that integrates with the website (not an affordable solution), this will not happen in real time. What this mean to you is that if the website says that an item is in stock, but someone called on the phone and bought the last one twenty minutes ago but it is not reflected in the online inventory staus -- then you will be LIVID with our service because we lied to you. Most, if not all, of the high end gear manufacturers and resellers are small businesses. The largest companies in this arena have less than 300 employees -- only about half of what the federal government considers a 'small business'.

2. No one has anything that you want in stock; and not for a lack of trying. The sellers can not order it fast enough, the factories can not make it fast enough, and there is no commonality in production lead times. Often, the item that you want, such as a USP holster, is so low on the list of priorites for these companies that are trying like hell to get items that deploying units need, that they might not even plan on making an item like that for a few weeks or months. To make this short, when a shop runs out of something, they don't know when they will get more of it and they don't know how much of what they ordered will actually show up. There is no planning or forecasting possible and anyone who tells you on the phone what day your backordered package will arrive is lying to you.

The trick, if you need something for an upcoming gig, is to call any of the companies on the phone. The better ones have easy phone serivce, are honest and work hard; and they shouldn't try to bullshit you about lead times. I instruct my order taking pros to be honest and tell you that they don't know (when pressed, they might give a 'best guess' but will not tell you something that they don't know to be true). None of this makes us perfect, but shops like mine can't afford to embellish.

Ditto everything Brad said.

I try to be as straight up with people about what I have in, or dont.
Link Posted: 4/25/2004 4:13:45 AM EST
I'm finding that EBay gives me the best real time sales.
I always try Lightfighter, first.
Link Posted: 4/25/2004 10:12:17 AM EST

I always try lightfighter first, but I often don't have the luxury of waiting for months.

Recently, I've had good luck calling the manufacturer direct if they take phone orders.

Also: strategosinternational.com has the "in stock" feature that has been accurate so far.

Link Posted: 4/25/2004 4:33:40 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/25/2004 4:34:28 PM EST by Redfoot]
I appreciate the replies!

A USP holster may be an obscure part, but Hatch kneepads and gloves I think would be more mainstream.

I will not attack Lightfighter personally on this thread, other than the fact that recently this was the second time they did not come through for me, but at least this time I did not have to deal with getting a charge removed from my card. I am still wating on a callback or email on the availbility of Hatch Shorty Operator Gloves in medium/sage green. Others have had better service, and have already chimed in to state that.

On the other hand, Texas Tactical and Adcofirearms.com have responded with the quickness, even if it was to say that the product was not available.

I guess I really do not know much about inventory at a small(er) company, but I would think it would make things more efficient save the cost of hiring people to answer phones, and end up with happier customers. On the geek side of things I order parts for my CPU's and even the smallest companies seem to have this integrated into their website. However the reasons you have listed are noted.

My frustration deals with the fact that companies state "just email or call us!" and often you either get a busy signal, recorded message, or wait awhile for an email. Heck, even if you do not have the product in stock, at least if you get back to me quickly I will probably frequent you again.

I guess you can write these posts off to sheer frustration with trying to get the gear my brother and I need ASAP, but I think I make some valid points. I know tac gear companies are in a crunch right now, but how do you thing the Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Seamen feel, especially when we are not issued the gear we need and have to resort to personal funding for essential items, only to have such purchases delayed for (insert reason here).

I am used to issues getting gear on the military side, but I guess I figured obtaining them on the civilian side would be easire. Wrong!!

Thanks for your time and reccommendations.

Link Posted: 4/27/2004 11:19:10 AM EST
I just made an order from Eagle and the items were as usual in stock.

I also just made an order with Lightfighter and I made a note about needing to know if they couldn't fill it by June, and I didn't hear back so I'm guessing they can.

I don't expect anything in a week, but I hope to get items in less than 2 months, if a vendor can't do that, they need to find another business, or drop the items that they can't ship in several months. It sucks if you put out the money to have gear for a deployment and then have to deploy without because someone is too slow, but that isn't a vendors fault if you are ordering a week prior to the deployment.
Link Posted: 4/27/2004 6:44:12 PM EST
Well, I have my gear, so that is not a problem. My brother did too, until he got a little too close to a mortar blast. I think we are all taught to have all of our shit together ahead of time for anytime we can get called out, so it pays to order early and often. This also leads to a dent in my wallet and blue balls lately.

I am glad that you are getting what you need, and I will too, just not from Lightfighter.

Have a great day.


P.S. Still waiting on that email.
Link Posted: 5/3/2004 4:20:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/3/2004 4:23:37 PM EST by Green0]
My lightfighter order was pretty smooth, I made the order added a note of when I needed it, they had about 2 of 9 items in stock, I cancelled the 7 bought the 2 and got 6 of the 7 remaining from Tactical Tailor.

TT (as always) shipped in 3 days, those guys unlike others (SOE) actually have their products in stock. By the way TT even sold me some non-cataloged fastex buckles-- going the extra mile in my book. I'm going to use the extra set of buckles to rig my SOE DA chest rig directly to my IBA without straps, and I'll keep the straps for non-armored use.

Unfortunately TT doesn't stock Lightfighter.com baseball caps, that was the MIA 9th item
Link Posted: 5/11/2004 10:42:24 PM EST
Yes, real time inventory, that is automatically updated as web purchases come in would be great. I know Natchezs & ARC have it.

Ebay is a good source for in stock gear. Factory "stores" like SOE has in oceanside is another option. Mail order is about the worst option for gear when it comes to back orders. I currently have back orders in all over the place.
Link Posted: 5/12/2004 10:54:17 AM EST
Thanks for the heads up on TT. I had not known they sold directly. I just went and placed an order o their website. They had a couple products listed that some of my favorite gear connections either dont carry, or dont list on their webstore.
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