By Doug Gilmer
Doug gives us a fresh look at tactical inventions or product enhancements that are crossing over into the hunting world.
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- There has been a huge boom in business for the military, tactical, and law enforcement markets of the shooting and outdoor industry over the past 15 years.
This is the result of being a nation at war, a need to protect our homeland from threats, media, and for at least the past eight years, a push to restrict Second Amendment rights. Along with an increase in market share has come a great deal of innovation and quality crossover gear.
The following are just some of the tactical inventions or product enhancements crossing over into the hunting world.
Single Point Slings
I’m not sure who invented them but I love Single Point Slings. They work great for slinging my M4 rifle on the job, but are equally effective in the woods. I'm a pretty diehard handgun hunter but on occasion when I carry a rifle into the woods it's generally a compact lever action carbine. I can attach the single point sling to the saddle ring or to the rear sling swivel and keep my hands free while I walk or to use my primary hunting handgun. It's comfortable and fast to get the rifle into action. The more compact the rifle the better; you don't want the muzzle to touch the ground.
The Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR).
You don't have to like them to recognize more Modern Sporting Rifles are showing up in the hands of hunters today. Service members like the MSR because its a familiar rifle platform. Others like them because they can. The popular 223/5.56 chambering is great for varmints and predators and some, with the right ammunition, will use it on deer sized game. Today, however, these rifles can be had in a number of cartridge options, including the 308 and its sibling cartridges, the 300 Winchester Magnum, the 450 Bushmaster and 458 SOCOM, and capable of taking any game in North America. The MSR is a favorite of hog hunters.
Nearly every firearms scope manufacturer makes military style sighting systems today compared to just a few years ago when these electronic or Tritium powered sights were made by just a handful of companies. Available in all price points, and varying quality, these new optics choices allow one to shoot fast, with both eyes open, and deliver accuracy as far as can be expected or needed. Trijicon scopes and optics have led in this area, especially with the military, and could be considered the standard bearer in variations and quality.
I remember when the first generation night vision hit the commercial market. Today, thanks to advances in technology, we have more and choices available, in varying price points, and with the ability to be used as handheld or in gun mounted options. For hog and predator hunters night vision technology from companies like Flir has been revolutionary.
The 30-06 and the 308 began as military cartridges and are now mainstream. Since the 5.56 (223) made its debut in the Vietnam era we have seen a shift from the 55 grain bullet to heavier bullets such as the 62 and 77 grain projectiles. We’ve also seen a challenge to build better cartridges for military and tactical applications. The 6.8 SPC, 300 Blackout, 338 Lapua, and 458 SOCOM, were developed for special applications and are now seeing mainstream use by sportsmen. Today, the 6.5 Creedmoor is taking the hunting market by storm while at the same time proving popular in the tactical arena as well.
Clothing and Soft Goods
The race to build better fitting, more functional, moisture wicking, warmer and dryer clothing for the military has found its way to the woods. Hunting clothing today does not come close to resembling the plaid wool and canvas jackets worn by most years ago. Even the storied brand Carhartt has a line of technical hunting clothing. Backpacks and associated gear have also benefited from stronger and lighter fabric. Added pockets and functionality have further redefined what hunting packs have become. While I do not get hung up on traditional “twig and leaf” camo patterns I do prefer clothing able to keep me warm and dry. Normally this meant wool but I am certainly open to trying new things.
Companies such as 5.11 and Blackhawk which began making products for military and tactical applications have successfully crossed over to the general hunting and shooting markets. The guys at Kryptek, combat veterans, brought their knowledge of military technology to the hunting market, perfected it, and have seen crossover back into the tactical market.
Improved Global Positioning System technology has trickled down to the commercial market and is being used effectively by hunters to locate treestands, trail cameras and to keep them from getting lost. The accuracy of today’s technology is far beyond what we had just a few years ago. Companies like SPOT have Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger devices to not only keep you from getting lost but also communicate with others when out of cellphone range and bring you help in an emergency based on its locator technology.
I am more of a traditional hunter, preferring wood stocks, wool, a Buck 110 knife and a compass. There is no denying the impact the military and tactical market has had on hunting and will continue to do so for some time. While I will never carry an ozone machine into the woods or hunt with a laser guided shooting system I do try to keep an open mind.
If a new piece of gear can help me stay warm, dry, safe or make me more effective at taking game, without compromising the tradition of the hunt, it is worth consideration.
About Doug Gilmer,
Building on his over 20 years of law enforcement and military experience, Doug began writing law enforcement and tactical articles as a way to break into the outdoor market. Today, Doug is published in Grand View Media. He also provides content to a number of other traditional print and digital publications. As a professor of Adventure and Outdoor Leadership at Liberty University, Doug is a mentor to dozens of students each year. He's also a frequent seminar and conference speaker and author of Backcountry Devotions. Also known as the Backcountry Chaplain, Doug and his family make their home in northern Virginia.