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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Back in the day, the military surplus store was a ton of fun to wander through. There was a musty authenticity to the silent racks of boots and fatigues, flight suits threadbare at the elbows and battered old helmets that had lived at altitudes I could only dream of reaching.

    There was an air of old memory to the warehouse-shadows, a sense that the items were both the raw material of history, and could be part of mine: I could find broken-in jungle boots that served me perfectly well, and all manner of other gear and supplies, with their air of lived-in purpose, their edges rubbed smooth from honest use.

    I stopped by a new surplus store on the way home a couple of days ago, and I hardly knew what to make of it. There was none of what I remembered. Everything was factory-fresh, with professionally printed cardboard tags from the manufacturer and all the latest styles on the rack. As near as I could tell, there was no actual surplus; it was all surplus-themed, custom-manufactured for a niche market, as trim and trendy as a high-end outdoor shop.

    It was a cute little boutique store, apparently catering to people who like their camo rucksacks spotless and new, with no more history than a Jansport from Sam's Club. There were "pre-fired" .50-cal. rounds on little cardboard tags for $19.95 apiece, and manly-looking BDUs that had never been outside. Plus military-themed sports drinks, bumper stickers, and--I kid you not--air fresheners.

    There was a guy behind the counter with forearms sheathed in tattoos, with a too-cool-for-civilians attitude and a computer that absorbed his attention. There was no air of memory, no sense of having stepped into a near-forgotten past; only plastic modern commercialism, just another strip-mall retail space. Is this what all surplus stores have become?

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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Welcome to the tacticool phenomena with all the teenagers and young adults hooked on CoD/Battlefield/etc games wanting to look like military, yet unwilling/unable to actually join the military.

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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Yeah, the only reason I'd ever set foot in the surplus store anymore is to replace my own battleworn boots.

    Not that I would ever get rid of the boots that marched me across 5 countries...

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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    also with the massive drawdown in the overall numbers of troops in US armed forces after switching to an all volunteer force and then the end of the cold war changed the market too. The was just less surplus to go around and with more stores the ratio was even worse. . . companies that made stuff for the military first started to produce extra runs for the stores and then related civilian versions. . . and then what you see today. . . similar thing happened with Hot Topic and the goth/punk scene

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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Varusteleka in Finland is a mix of good ol' military leftovers as well as newer stuff & repro (because you simply can't get the original stuff anymore). I like it that way. Delicious. Mmm. The store is very honest about the quality of their products (I love their description of a Bulgarian backpack), and when something is said to be good and durable, it for sure is. Some of the bags have a life long guarantee. If it breaks, ya get another one for free. If my feet weren't so demanding, I'd get all my shoes from there too. Durable, reliable things, that army stuff.

    ... what I find ridiculous is some fashion stores selling army looking stuff, going at 200 bucks and beyond (you know, those gaudy shirts with some glued on insignia and such). I've also seen some places sell used BW shirts for 50 and more, when in reality they aren't really worth over 5-10 dollars. FA-SHAWN STAY-T'MONTS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Welcome to the tacticool phenomena with all the teenagers and young adults hooked on CoD/Battlefield/etc games wanting to look like military, yet unwilling/unable to actually join the military.
    There ya go.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FinnLassie View Post
    I have no idea what my point was in this post, I must sleep, must get the brains
    Brains were on isle five. But they sell knock off HALO patches there now.

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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Originally Posted by Brother Oni
    Welcome to the tacticool phenomena with all the teenagers and young adults hooked on CoD/Battlefield/etc games wanting to look like military, yet unwilling/unable to actually join the military.
    "Tacticool" describes it pretty well, or at least what it's trying to be. My first impression is that it's for people who want to project an air of stylish militarism, without going to all the trouble of actually serving.

    And FinnLassie's point about prices is true enough. Part of the appeal of the old surplus stores was that you could get a perfectly good pair of boots for $5.00. I hiked the continental divide in Costa Rica with those boots; that's good value in my book.

    I didn't check the prices on the boots at the boutique place, but they wanted $95.00 for a camo-pattern rucksack. Absurd.

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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    We have both types of surplus stores. One of them is horrible, selling new merchandise for well more than it should go. It's trendy and the staff is largely terrible. They also have a reputation for arbitrarily refusing to sell people items citing nonexistent laws. Like the time they said I couldn't buy a knife because I was under 25. Not an automatic knife, just any knife. They wouldn't sell me a pocket knife.

    The other one is a true surplus store. I think the only new thing they sell is some candy bars up at the register. I much prefer this one.
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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    OP: Assuming you're stateside a ton of military surplus is being snapped up by local law enforcement or other federal agencies like Homeland Security. There isn't as much to go around as there used to be.
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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Welcome to the tacticool phenomena with all the teenagers and young adults hooked on CoD/Battlefield/etc games wanting to look like military, yet unwilling/unable to actually join the military.
    Hey, it's not my fault, my teeth broke!


    Yeah, no. I probably would have washed out. It's hard to tell; the only similar thing I've ever done I failed on a week long, no sleep, no food rotation, and back when I was applying I was still angry at the cosmos in general. Who knows?


    I have noticed 'military surplus' has become the new Hot Topic as far as quality though.


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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    "Tacticool" describes it pretty well, or at least what it's trying to be. My first impression is that it's for people who want to project an air of stylish militarism, without going to all the trouble of actually serving.
    It's not my word, it's the one that's currently in use. As Bhu said, a lot of the surplus military equipment is being snapped up by law enforcement who also buy into it (boys and their toys, regardless of age), resulting in utter idiocy like this:

    Spoiler: Spot the mistake
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    The sight's on backwards, which means the NYPD SWAT officer above hasn't even sighted in his weapon after fitting it (or if he has, he has no idea what he's doing).


    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    Hey, it's not my fault, my teeth broke!
    In my case, I failed the medical on eyesight (must have at least 6/36 uncorrected) and having surgery automatically disqualifies me.

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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    I went to a surplus store about a month ago. I'd recently taken up hiking, and wanted to get some fatigue pant to wear in the woods. To my surprise, all the pants were (as others have said) new and more expensive than I wanted to pay. I ended up getting SWAT-style pants and a pair of shorts, which were cheaper.
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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post

    In my case, I failed the medical on eyesight (must have at least 6/36 uncorrected) and having surgery automatically disqualifies me.
    I never bothered applying. I knew I'd fail for a variety of medical reasons.

    Decades ago we used to have a military surplus store in a nearby city. It was pretty decent besides one small problem: they got gigged for gun running. The military frowns upon you selling their guns and whatnot, particularly if they're still full auto. Damn shame too they used to have some really neat stuff
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    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    Brains were on isle five. But they sell knock off HALO patches there now.
    Well, in my life I've learned that Halo is not Half-Life the hard way, but I still don't know what it is, so, reference flew over my head there.
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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    I tell you what though, even for us don't-feel-like-joining-the-military folks, those giant rucksacks make AWESOME game bags. You can fit like 10 or 12 board games in one and have room for 3 decks of playing-card-sized games.
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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    "Tacticool" describes it pretty well, or at least what it's trying to be. My first impression is that it's for people who want to project an air of stylish militarism, without going to all the trouble of actually serving.
    Basically this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    It's not my word, it's the one that's currently in use. As Bhu said, a lot of the surplus military equipment is being snapped up by law enforcement who also buy into it (boys and their toys, regardless of age), resulting in utter idiocy like this:
    Spoiler: Spot the mistake
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    Spoiler: Answer
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    The sight's on backwards, which means the NYPD SWAT officer above hasn't even sighted in his weapon after fitting it (or if he has, he has no idea what he's doing).
    Haha hahah hahah
    Have you seen the most tactical AR15 ever? and the most tactical load out ever . Warning, the above contain people and guns, a bit of profanity and A LOT of parody, if any of those things bother you, then don't watch those links.

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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Quote Originally Posted by FinnLassie View Post
    Well, in my life I've learned that Halo is not Half-Life the hard way, but I still don't know what it is, so, reference flew over my head there.
    Halo is an Xbox franchise. Alternately, a high altitude jump wherein you open your parachute at low altitude.

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    Last edited by SiuiS; 2014-08-03 at 11:42 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by TheThan View Post
    Have you seen the most tactical AR15 ever? and the most tactical load out ever . Warning, the above contain people and guns, a bit of profanity and A LOT of parody, if any of those things bother you, then don't watch those links.
    Heh. I've posted this elsewhere, but in case you've missed this class example of tacticool: The Art of the Mag Flip.

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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    This reminds me of an online friend who wants an Anzio Ironworks 20mm Mag-Fed for 'home defense'.

    He lives in an urban apartment complex...
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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bhu View Post
    This reminds me of an online friend who wants an Anzio Ironworks 20mm Mag-Fed for 'home defense'.

    He lives in an urban apartment complex...
    I need it for hunting...volkswagons.
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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bhu View Post
    This reminds me of an online friend who wants an Anzio Ironworks 20mm Mag-Fed for 'home defense'.

    He lives in an urban apartment complex...

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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    There's both styles around, but the old style is much rarer. I can name 5 military surplus places within 150 miles of me, and only one is of the old school. (That one is small, but seriously awesome. One of the men that works there is an expert on the German army and air force. All of it, as long as there has been a group identifiable as Germany. Haven't found a patch he can't identify yet.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhu View Post
    This reminds me of an online friend who wants an Anzio Ironworks 20mm Mag-Fed for 'home defense'.

    He lives in an urban apartment complex...
    Why do I get the sneaking suspicion that the apartment complex walls could easily be shot through, and anyone on the other side is hosed if he uses this for "home defense"?
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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Over here they mostly sell a mix of used and new military stuff ( a lot of that to go around as we have 2 fairly large reserve units in town). And for some reason not all of it is Canadian issue, I got an israeli gas mask (for the time I dressed as a fallout character for halloween, the lesson there being that a gas mask and a heavy wool trench coat are not appropriate for an indoor party) and an austrian tactical vest there. Army surplus stores also tend to sell paintball and airsoft equipment, probably because they noticed that they got a lot of paintball players as clients.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Why do I get the sneaking suspicion that the apartment complex walls could easily be shot through, and anyone on the other side is hosed if he uses this for "home defense"?
    It's a magazine fed 20mm anti-materiel rifle with a range of three miles. If he could get one, and was ever stupid enough to use it, he'd be in prison for life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Why do I get the sneaking suspicion that the apartment complex walls could easily be shot through, and anyone on the other side is hosed if he uses this for "home defense"?
    There's a little excerpt I like to pull out for these sort of things...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhu View Post
    It's a magazine fed 20mm anti-materiel rifle with a range of three miles. If he could get one, and was ever stupid enough to use it, he'd be in prison for life.
    Hell, even with "only" a 12.7 you can only realistically fire from the prone, preferably with a bipod. 20mm!? What's his plan, mount it on a tripod permanently pointing at the front door?
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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Liffguard View Post
    Hell, even with "only" a 12.7 you can only realistically fire from the prone, preferably with a bipod. 20mm!? What's his plan, mount it on a tripod permanently pointing at the front door?
    He probably doesn't realize how big that rifle is.
    to put it into perspective, that rifle shoots vehicle mounted cannon sized ammunition.

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    Default Re: What Is It With "Surplus" Stores These Days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Liffguard View Post
    Hell, even with "only" a 12.7 you can only realistically fire from the prone, preferably with a bipod. 20mm!? What's his plan, mount it on a tripod permanently pointing at the front door?
    or he expects to have a steadycam mount built for it at some point. but a bipod and a window for zombie/rioter/black helicopter hunting is more likely what is going on in his head.

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