A lot of people ask, what gear do WE use when in the hills, at a comp or on the range... Time for a quick run down!
(LVG MK3 Can Bag, LVG Shooting Mat, LVG ZipSack G4 Large trueing ballistic data recently).
I am a bit biased, because we obviously make our own gear... Everything from the previous life is either in a box or has been sold / given to people along the way to help them along and get involved.
My priorities are:
1. It must be FUNCTIONAL and practical.
2. It must be LIGHT enough to carry a long way / all day with other gear.
3. It must FILL A ROLE that cannot adequately be completed by another piece of gear already selected.
We generally carry a fair amount of kit around but try to abide by the above guidelines. Try to keep things fairly simple... If you NEED something then it comes, if it's a nice to have and you'll use it reasonably often then you may as well bring it, if it's a gimmick item that doesn't really fit into what you are trying to achieve then keep it in the car or leave it at home.
Why do we wear camo in our photos? Not in the Army anymore... It's because the LowVisMrs gets snarky at me for constantly ruining my 'nice' clothes! I hunt as often as possible so train and practice how you roll in the hills.
We are also a brand partner for A-Tacs camouflage in the USA, we are constantly working to raise awareness of these outstanding patterns that work better than anything else in our region. Go and suss them out! We have managed to get Armageddon Gear and Precision Rifle Solutions to make their gear exclusively for LVG in the amazing A-Tacs Intermediate Extreme (above) pattern, you can't get this gear ANYWHERE else in the world... Which is solid.
Before we kick off, I am well aware that different shooters have different needs, different people have different backgrounds, that everyone has an opinion and everyone is an expert in their own eyes... This is NOT the list of all lists, the kit guide or is it trying to fill a hole in internet knowledge. If it helps a new shooter find some direction then that's great.
Other companies make some absolutely outstanding gear, some stuff I use we don't sell because we don't copy people, we don't hide things and it's not awkward for me to have something that another company made. I guess I do feel some pressure to use and spread the word on gear we use and import explicitly of course however I will try to not be biased, close minded or one sided.
Low Vis Gear is a small gear workshop, time is hard to come by and we don't have unlimited funds or we'd be running the best of everything kit wise... Maybe one day we'll be able to justify spending $6,000+ on a spotting scope! That would be nice... The Swaro twin eye optics are glorious!
Less talk, more gear.
General Shooting Gear:
(LVG MK3 Can Bag & LVG Shooting Mat with the Browning Hells Canyon Long Range 300WinMag).
When shooting from a bench, prone or in the hills I usually have my Low Vis Gear MK3 CAN BAG (image above). MK3 weighs 660 grams and is about the same size as a large can of tinned food. It is pliable enough to provide confident elevation correction while being solid enough to not flop over under the stock. Lay it flat to keep a fairly low profile or stand it on an end to raise the butt stock right up. It works well under the fore-end of a stock on a log or rock also... Very versatile. We make a heap of other Rear Bags that are excellent in their own ways, the MK1 rectangle does almost everything well. The MK2 (Square) is similar. The MK5 Dim Sim is perfect for the weight conscious hunter. The MK6 XRay attaches to the rifle for comp work.
(LVG Shooting Mats in use by us and Orange Accuracy at the Victorian PRS shoot).
For field firing, if we are walking into the hills to set up for a while I carry and use the Low Vis Gear - Shooting Mat (image above). They are LIGHT, SMALL and PRACTICAL, you won't find a more compact shooting mat on the market. Padded elbow area helps provide some basic comfort on hard surfaces. If you want to get out of the dirt then this is it.
If we aren't rucking everything in and space / weight isn't an issue I use the Triad Tactical - Padded Shooting Mat (image below) as it is a large, padded, extremely comfortable mat from my mate in the USA. It doesn't weigh much but takes up a reasonable amount of pack space.
(Triad Tactical Padded Shooting Mat, glorious!)
We also recently brought in the first batch of Armageddon Gear Ultralight Shooting Mats that are an IN BETWEEN compromise with both padding and a practical sleek profile to minimise bulk.
Tripod Shooting Gear:
(Precision Rifle Solutions SSP1 Cradle -narrow on a Slik Mini tripod under the AI AT).
Precision Rifle Series SSP1 rifle cradle, I use the SSP1 on the light weight Slik Sprint mini tripod for hunting with my 300 win mag in the hills. The PRS cradles are excellent in how they act as a third hand and help you really build a good solid position quickly with no fuss. Hunting, when time is an issue, spotting an animal, dropping your pack, pulling the tripod out, splaying the legs, sitting down behind it and you're done... Set the tripod up at a reasonable sitting height and you have a readily accessible, fluid platform to shoot off. Don't think that you NEED a clamp tripod head to shoot well, with poor fundamentals ANY tripod will attack your accuracy! Without exaggerating, every single hunt and field shoot I've been on since I purchased this mini Slik and SSP1 tripod back in maybe 2010, it has been in my pack... Critical gear, excellent for spotting scope, LRF and bino work also.
(ShadowTech Hog Saddle atop the Manfrotto 190XPROB alloy tripod, training).
For PRS and comps, I use the heavier, screw clamp Hog Saddle (image above) rest with the AI as it helps to manage recoil for multiple target, rapid movement and follow up shots. This is in conjunction with a heavier tripod that I can stand behind and load up. The clamp tripod cradles are good for leaving the rifle in position and for really building a solid platform with a sling.
(Night Goggles Inc, 'Night Stalker' carbon fiber tripod with Arca-Swiss ball head working with the Really Right Stuff direct AI AT mount).
Alternatively, clamp the rifle DIRECTLY to the tripod with the Arca-Swiss rail system. The Night Goggles Inc tripods we have brought in come with an Arca-Swiss compatible ball head that interfaces with the Really Right Stuff rail on the AT as seen below. This is another excellent way of getting things to work together.
Admin & Storage Gear:
(LVG ZipSackG4 loaded up with gear).
Low Vis Gear - Zip Sack Large G4. Stores my SORD Ammo Wallet with spare rounds, Kestrel Weather Meter in the Armageddon Gear - Kestrel Pouch (critical piece of kit!) and Sig Kilo 2200MR LRF along with a simple Data Book, spare ear plugs and batteries for both tools. I keep it in the top of my day pack as a 'Shoot Kit'.
(Triad Tactical Spotting Scope Cover over the Bushnell Legend Tactical spotter).
Triad Tactical - Spotting Scope Cover for the Bushnell T Series Legend 15-45x with Mil Hash Reticle. Excellent optic for the price. This spotting scope cover is a work of art, nothing else even comes close to the quality of this cover!
(Kestrel 5700 Applied Ballistics - Sportsman weather station in the Armageddon Gear kestrel pocket).
Another critical piece of equipment is the Armageddon Gear - Kestrel Pouch, this is like a sunglasses box on steroids. Protect your $1000+ investment when it's in your pack!
Competition Specific Gear:
(Hot Pink Armageddon Gear OG Game Changer and Fat Bag Large working the barricade).
The Armageddon Gear Game Changer, (pictured above is the OG Game Changer, slightly heavier, slightly bigger, no top straps - another EXCELLENT piece of kit) is really at the top of the pile when it comes to barricade shooting rests. They're NOT CHEAP however you get what you pay for and these are the one to go for. Removable straps let you attach the bag to the rifle so when you move, it follows. These can be removed of course for a cleaner platform which is what I've done when getting into small barricade holes.
(Armageddon Gear Game Changer and Fat Bag Medium working the barricade).
Paired with that, the Armageddon Gear - Fat Bag (Large) and (Medium) size bags to help build a more solid shooting platform by supporting an elbow on a knee or filling a hole between you and an object. These are absolutely worth their weight in gold when doing awkward positional shooting.
(Kestrel Sportsman with Armageddon Gear Data Armband, keep your data close!).
Armageddon Gear - Competition Data Armband. Helps control your DOPE for the next stage... Comes with two white boards that velcro off for quick change, cleaning wipes and a couple of pens. Excellent stuff.
Various Other Equipment: My completely unbiased opinion.
(Vortex binos, Sig Sauer Kilo2200MR LRF and Bushnell Legend Tactical spotter).
Weather Station: Kestrel 5700 Applied Ballistic Sportsman with Bluetooth link. This is a great unit, hands down a worthy piece of gear in your kit bag. If you have one or two rifles and only a couple of different types of ammunition then the Sportsman or 'Lite' software package should do you fine however if you have multiple rifles and multiple rounds then you will inevitably create more than 3 profiles and want to keep them at hand to avoid the hassle of sending and clearing data from the unit. Being that I shoot two different 308 rounds, two different 260 Rem rounds and two different 300 Win Mag rounds I have vastly outgrown the software. The elite version also has a drop chart and more advanced software that makes the Elite version more appealing from the beginning if you can afford the jump in price... The amount of information you can get from the Kestrel is amazing, a helpful tool, just don't get too focused on technology. Before this I had a 4500NV from a deployment back in 2009, the 4500 did not have a ballistic solver on board so required yet another piece of equipment to get a firing solution on the fly, the 5700 is so much easier to use with the bigger screen, the Bluetooth link and iphone application to create profiles remotely... Definitely worth the investment.
(Kestrel Sportsman working up a load with the Applied Ballistics engine and the Hornady 180gr SST Superformance 300 WinMag ammo).
Laser Range Finder: Sig Sauer Kilo 2200MR. Ranging reticle version, being a 7x lens it isn't overly helpful being in 5 mil increments but the LRF is sensitive enough to get good returns on small steel targets consistently out past 1,000 meters which is good. For the size, this or the Leica's are what I'd be looking at unless you can afford a Vectronix of course. The Really Right Stuff tripod mount makes getting further readings a lot more achievable. Over the past 10 years, I have owned three different Bushnell LRF's, a Swarovski Laser Guide that was excellent and now this Kilo2200MR. The emphasis has always been on less reflective target detection in field conditions. You get what you pay for to a point, things are really improving on the LRF front these days, units are getting extremely powerful for a reasonable price.
Spotting Scope: Bushnell Legend Tactical 15-45x. This is the Gen2 spotter with a mil-hash reticle. The focus ring is ultra sensitive but the lens is clear, the reticle is helpful and much better than the original mil-dot. I'm happy with this spotter, for the price they're hard to beat and the reticle is First Focal Plane unlike some others. When paired with the Triad Tactical spotter cover this is good to go. Nightforce makes an outstanding spotter, the Leupold MK4 with TMR is also another good option. Vortex are hard to beat price wise and have a great micro-adjust focus ring on some models that's worth checking out.
(Badger Ordnance K5 picatinny rail Kestrel mount. Directly interfaces with the Bushnell spotter. Manfrotto 322RC2 grip head).
Binoculars: Vortex Crossfire 10x42. Unkillable, comfortable and practical. The eye box is small however light transmission is quite good and for the price you can wear them in a rig or throw them in your pack and not be too concerned. When using them with a tripod, the Precision Rifle Solutions - Universal Optics Mount helps keep them up top for hands free scanning (image below, different binos).
(Vortex binos with the Precision Rifle Solutions - Universal Optics Plate and Slik mini tripod).
Packs & Bags:
As for packs... That's another subject all together however we have had a lot of excellent use from the Platatac - Bullock Echo Large, holds all our comp gear (pictured at the very top of the page!). For field use, the High Ground Gear field pack holds everything with room to spare. This is an ongoing evolution area, on a quest for the ultimate pack. Have used Mystery Ranch, SORD, Various ALICE packs, Osprey, Eberlestock etc... Haven't found the catch-all yet.
For small day packs, the High Range Outdoors SR20 made in Australia by my very good mate Ben is built like a tank and carries gear extremely well!
(High Range Outdoors SR20V2 day pack, excellent quality, Australian made!).
We also sell the Platatac - Good To Go pack that is an excellent, light weight day bag that can be rolled up and kept in the top of your field pack for quick runs. (image below).
(Platatac Good To Go day pack, light weight, compact and practical).
It doesn't matter how much money you spend, how much stuff you carry, how much gear you have. As long as it's important to you, fills a need and makes you more effective then it's worth carrying.
We at Low Vis Gear are ALWAYS more than happy to help you get on your way and fill a skills gap or equipment deficiency.
We proudly represent and distribute products for Triad Tactical, Precision Rifle Solutions, Armageddon Gear, SORD Australia, Platatac and work closely with sound Australian companies like Tier Gear in Tasmania and High Range Outdoors up in Canberra. We have access to a LOT of gear if you let us know what you're chasing.
We have a lot of friends at different companies such as Delta Tactical, Huntsman Aus etc that are also beyond willing to help out. If we don't have something but they do then we will always let you know... We are a small community and need to look after each other!