The convention floor at the Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington, D.C., this week was a maze of futuristic machines where one could have been distracted from these ready-to-use, affordable items capable of making tours at supply-stricken outposts more tolerable.
Here are a few accessories I spotted between the defense industry mega-booths that you might consider buying on your own dime before deployments if unit supply hasn’t already issued them.
Note: Cheaper versions of the equipment with similiar innovations may be available on the Web.
Revision’s Sawfly eye protection
The salesman at the booth folded the ballistic lens in half and twisted its frame around his finger. He released his grip and the eyewear snapped back to shape. Price: near $65
If authorized by the Army, Revision’s Hellfly, featuring a transition lens, will save soldiers from switching eyewear at dusk. Price: $130
SureFire’s GPX tactical (LED) light
This light is more than twice as blinding as models from the last few years (200 Lumens, compared to 80) for about the same cash—roughly $70.
As retail prices drop, look for reasonably priced models with infrared features.
Gerber’s strap cutter
Not long ago, some soldiers crammed medical scissors in first aid pouches and CLS bags. Now, for $20, a soldier can own a safer device to cut through uniforms.
Team Wendy’s knee pads
Camelbak Mag Force gloves
The glove’s protruding knuckle pads make them look motor-cross ready. But, if the $35 price tag is too much, you can buy softer, battle-tested gloves elsewhere (at places like Mechanix). Also consider fire retardant models, despite being twice as expensive.