Everyone has epiphanies in their lives. One of mine was that every woman needs to own tactical gear. The piece of gear that inspired this revelation is the Crye Precision Modular Rigger’s Belt (MRB). Why does every woman need a MRB? Well, it starts with making tactical decisions and ends with hips and taste.
This jaunt into the topic of tactical gear isn’t about a particular piece of gear. It’s about the truth that if you are going to invest in good gear, you should pick gear that fits and makes you happy. This article is about what’s missing in women’s understanding of “tactical” gear, and why we should try not to be ambivalent about what MultiCam and MOLLE item has become the latest craze. This article is about understanding that solid gear is good regardless for which sex it was made. A good piece of gear is indispensable, because it does what you need it to, as well as what you might not have realized it could do.
Invaluable gear fits in a way that allows you to move and complete your desired functions. Good gear stays in place when it should, and moves when it should, bending and conforming to fit your needs. I’d equate it to discovering that you can put a convertible strap on a bra and have four bras in one, but for gear that you use to accomplish less private jobs.
Hips Don’t Lie
I have drilled holes in a shooting belt and still wear said belt to this day because it’s perfectly functional. Later I found a belt that actually fit my hips, only it was being made for men.
Crye is a brand designed for serious military use—warfighter Gucci, if you will. One fall evening, my son’s friend said I should try his Crye belt in preparation for an upcoming competition requiring an MRB. The first thing I noticed was that this belt was contoured. For a woman with hips, this is a game changer—not a length of nylon webbing cut to length, but a very subtle C shape when it was laid out flat. When you wrap it around your waist, it fits the contour of your body (insert angels singing). No doubt, it was designed for long days of deployed soldiers carrying their gear. I was shocked that the first belt I’d fallen in love with wasn’t even designed for women. The outer belt with all its hook-and-loop, straps and well-thought-out design is just smart. (The MultiCam equivalent of a four-in-one bra.) This single experience made me stop and care about tactical gear. Maybe there were other items I didn’t know could be better! Maybe I was too busy rolling my eyes at what I heard about a brand and passed over their belt. Now I’m curious about other functional gear out there made by various brands I've previously ignored.
Form and Function
What really hit me from this experience is how women are often missing out on gear that could make enjoying firearms and self-protection easier and more comfortable. Those of us who have tried on all of the guy’s gear that didn’t fit (as a teenager in 1992, I competed in black, leather military boots because they supported my ankles while shooting sitting in high-power, but they were clunky and sized for men), I rejoiced when products designed for women started popping up. However, in my experience, many fall short, and I think we need to keep pushing.
In this day and age “women are considered the fastest growing demographic in gun ownership.” I think it’s on women to share what works, what they like and push brands to do more. I want to see a Crye-style belt for competition shooting, and for concealed carry. I want to see women’s options that are more than a men’s size small in “pretty colors.”
For years, some brands have been doing a great job of developing women’s tactical gear. 5.11 Tactical has used wear-testing by real women in their products before a product launches. Tactica Defense Fashion has some really thoughtful and stylish pieces for every-day clothing that facilitates concealed carry. Girls with Guns Clothing has introduced women’s range gear. There are many others making clothing and gear for women, but I want to remind women not to overlook the high-end tactical gear, even if it isn’t designed for women. There’s a reason it’s being used and sold. And it’s not about looks; it’s about form and function.
About the Author: Becky Yackley competes in the shooting sports across the country and around the world with her husband and three sons. She has spent much of the last 20 years holding down the fort while her husband proudly serves our country in both the Marine Corps and state law enforcement. Her writing, blogging, and photography are ways that she shares her unique perspective on firearms, competition, hunting, and the Second Amendment, especially as it applies to mothers on their own. She grew up the daughter of a gunsmith, and with her siblings competed in NRA Highpower and Smallbore, and she has since competed in more disciplines than almost any woman involved in the shooting sports. From IPSC, USPSA, Bianchi Cup, 3 Gun and more, she enjoys sharing that to be proficient and knowledgeable with a firearm is within the reach of anyone! She’s the founder a 501c.3, 2A Heritage Ltd., and works with industry partners and other volunteers who share the ethos of bringing new youth into the shooting sports with personal commitment to safely sharing an historically American pastime.