So myself and "Charlie Whiskey" over at Random Thoughts Of An Unconventional Person went around Virginia Beach looking for Outdoors and Tactical stores in the area, we got lucky and found a few. I ended up playing with a few things I have been wanting (Leatherman EOD MUT, Benchmade Infidel, Surefire G2X Tactical, Surefire A2, Surefire M6, and the Gerber Multi-Plier 600 to name a few). I don't remember exactly what order we went to these stores in but I'll do my best. Naturally I had my new Folding Razel on me and I kinda forgot it was there most of the time, it does disappear even though it was in my back pocket and I was sitting on it (sort of, more like right next to it but you get the picture) which is nice. I also had my Leatherman Skeletool and Surefire G2 with me so I pretty much had the full load out. I went just to see what was available locally but also to look at a few things in particular, those were: Vibram FiveFingers KSO Shoes, Pelican 1010 case, and 5.11 Holster Shirts. I ended up finding that a Pelican 1060 case was going to work best for me and nobody had a 5.11 Holster Shirt, but I did try on some FiveFingers and I like them.
G2, Folding Razel, and Skeletool CX, honestly the light just got in the way as I was not wearing cargo shorts or anything and the multitool made in uncomfortable to carry my phone, I need to sort out my carry options (and get a small single cell LED). Speaking of the Razel, I had called 2 places looking for a Folding Razel in the area before I bought it from BladeHQ and while they both stocked CKRT Knives, they did not have any Razels.
The first place we went to was Wild River Wilderness Outfitters, I wanted to go here to look at the Vibram FiveFingers toe shoes, I was honestly not as impressed as I thought I would be but they are nice shoes, hand stitched and quite comfortable. I also found 2 brands that I am currently researching and looking at, the first is ExOfficio, They have very comfortable and subtle wilderness clothes and pants from the looks of it. The second brand I am interested in is called prAna and I was looking at a pair of shorts they make that looked very nice and were very lightweight, I liked their design of it and made a note to check them out later. Over all I was very impressed with Wild River, they specialize in Kayaking as half of their store is dedicated to that but they had a great selection of products for camping and general outdoors activities.
Tactical Distributors. This store was pretty hard to find as it is tucked away in an office park on a quiet road but they do pretty much all of their business online. I recommend this store highly for any purchases you want to make for any tactical gear. When I get any new pieces of gear, I will be buying it from them. Tactical Distributors also has a pretty sweet logo as you can see above, I got a sticker and a business card from them. While I was here I played with a Surefire G2X Tactical, Benchmade Infidel (Awesome because there is no way I could legally buy this knife), Leatherman MUT EOD (I do want one of these, playing with it just makes me want it more), and a few of the high end watches they had from Luminox and Casio. Their showroom was quite small but very relaxed, the guy I talked to was very professional and knew what he was talking about, if these guys don't have what you are looking for, they will go find it and get it for you. Awesome group.
After that it was on to Blue Ridge Mountain Sports to see what they had, they also carry the FiveFingers toe shoes and they are more centered towards rock climbing but they had a good selection of stuff to choose from, I played with a Leatherman Freestyle CX here as well as a CKRT KISS which is basically a money clip knife. I also found that a Pelican 1010 case is too small for me to fit my Razel in but a Pelican 1060 Case fits perfectly. Other than that I would really go to Wild River before I would go here, nothing against Blue Ridge, the people there are awesome and very knowledgeable, they just don't particularly cater to my personal tastes (If you like rock climbing, this place is for you). This was the largest store I went to today but it is very spread out on the inside.
While at Blue Ridge we found out about our 4th stop in this great adventure, Drajon Tactical Outfitters. This place was pretty big for such a niche store but had a great selection, "Charlie Whiskey" picked up a gun holster here for a decent price (He stupidly got the wrong one so were going back, but I'm getting my Razel sharpened there for $5 so I'm happy). Drajon usually carries the 5.11 Tactical Holster Shirt but they were out today, I've been wanting one to carry my keys and maybe a small knife/light combo eventually while running.
Blackhawk! tactical gear (I have one of their duffel bags, but it is AWOL at the moment, I will review it when I can find the stupid thing...) Blackhawk! is based in Virgina Beach but only sells through authorized distributors which is odd, but Drajon carries their products. The staff here was very friendly and answered all our questions knowledgeably. Every other Saturday they have a guy come in to sharpen knives so I'm heading back tomorrow as he is going to be there.
For the next 3 stops all the stores were closed, we stopped by some small store with a 5.11 banner hanging but there was no indication that the place was even open for business as there was no store name or hours posted, there was a lot of gear inside and I'm pretty sure I was the shirts I was looking for but as I said they were not open. The next place was Tidewater Tactical, I have a sticker from there that I really like but I had never been there so I was really disappointed that they were not open. The online store looks good design wise but is slim pickings for gear. I'll be checking back tomorrow but I don't have high hopes, they should be open Tuesday but I won't be going there to check, I'm not exactly rolling in cash and gas is expensive... The second to last stop was Global Supply Solutions but to be honest I can't navigate their website easily so I have no link to an online store, they do seem to sell to the public at their store but online seems to only be for companies buying in bulk or government contracts. Again, I will be going back sometime I'm just not sure when.
The last stop was actually purely by accident, we stumbled upon Little GI Joes Military Surplus and decided to check it out. I ended up finding a few toys to play with such as the Surefire A2 Aviator which I have decided to buy soon, it has both long lasting LED lights and a powerful Incan bulb in a 2 123 cell body with tail switch. The next toy was one I was really looking forward to but rather disappointed with, the Surefire M6, I'm fairly confident that this one had been abused and the batteries were almost dead but it was really dim and felt cheap because the battery holder would rattle around on the inside. While it is nothing major it struck me as odd that they would try and sell the light for over $200 in that condition. The last toy I played with there was a Gerber Multi-Plier that they wanted way too much for, in fact, everything at that store was overpriced and a lot of it was actually in used condition. The service was not too impressive either and walking out we overheard a conversation about some unpleasant dealings with one of the previous employees so I don't think I'll be going back, it was nice to actually hold those Surefires and see what they are made of though.
All things considered it was a pretty good day, I learned about a few things I am interested in buying, got to try them out and form my opinions about them, and found a few local stores I can support. I will be buying and supporting Tactical Distributors, Wild River Wilderness Outfitters, Drajon Tactical Outfitters, and I still want to know about Tidewater Tactical as I have heard good things about them. If you are in the market for anything these guys sell or can get you, I seriously recommend going to them. And hey, tell them you heard about them on Nemesis' Blog, maybe I'll get some more gear to review!