Arbor Arms – Gear by Those Who Live It
The other night Tactical Bacon and I were invited to the Varusteleka dinner meet. While there, we met with a rep from Arbor Arms USA. These guys supplied the QD clips used on the plate carrier that Jari of Varusteleka used in competitions like Desert Brutality and Finnish Brutality.
After getting to the Arbor Arms booth this morning, we got to chatting with co-founder Jonathan about their offerings. After reintroducing ourselves, we asked if he could give us a summary of their history and show us some products that showcase what his company is about.
Jonathan described himself as growing up in the gear industry. He explained to us that he had spent time in the Marine Corps and that’s were he started sewing. He started getting some banter from his fellow Marines and then praise for help he provided with a needle and thread. This is also where he took his first crack at making gear by making a ghillie suit. After the Marines, he spent time with Aries and left to work with his current business partner Nick. (Editors note: True as fuck. As a Marine, they’ll figuratively suck your dick in bootcamp if you know how to sew)
One thing that really impressed me was their proprietary slotted MOLLE elastic bands, the modularity to their designs, and that they accounted for 36 size permutations for their gear, both for men’s and women’s sizes.
They offer their most well known plate carrier, the Flex CAS for about $500 starting, and the Minuteman for around $100 starting if I recall correctly. Another really cool show of their design philosophy is shown in the “Combat Wombat.” This is a pouch that can be attached to their plate carriers and when fixed in place, does not sacrifice the usual tight fit and keeps slack from forming on the user.
However, what I found to be the most interesting offering was the VHS (Visor Harness System). The VHS is a minimalist velcro plate setup designed around allowing the user to store an IFAK, a radio, or their prized collection of lewd anime patches on their car’s sun visor. The base price of the VHS is about $50, and they offer their own IFAK, radio/gps holder, and the straps extra from there.
The best part? It’s not just a patch panel. This rig really made the minimalist in me smile. The VHS has a pocket in it that you can use to store two AR mags, a pistol, or your NSWF patches when family is around. It even has a clip to attach a Kydex holster to if you so wish. It gets even better though! How? Well, you can also get additional straps for it to transform the VHS into a plate carrier. While you may only get a front plate’s worth of protection, the everyman is not usually going to find himself in battlefield conditions. I can see myself using the VHS as a personal defense rig for the traveling man. At SHOT, they displayed the black colored rigs, but ranger green is also an option on their website, with Multicam and coyote tan in the works. Tell Nick you like it, should you buy it. This is his baby after all.
Below are the videos we did on Arbor Arms: