Whiskey-5 is a recurring Solider Systems Daily feature that asks “Who, What, Where, When, and Why” of the industry. It is intended to give you a more in-depth look at those manufacturers, trainers and individuals that make our industry unique. We have found that these basic 5 questions are the most basic keys to understanding. Past Whiskey-5s have included such industry heavyweights as Kryptek, Wild Things Tactical, ADS Ventures, HyperStealth and even Tactical Fanboy. Today we’ll be sharing an overview of Grey Ghost Gear.
Grey Ghost Gear is a company that doesn’t spend much time touting the leadership team’s background. They seek credibility without chest thumping, dick measuring or tab checks, preferring to remain low key to avoid the sort of personality-driven perception that often trumps gear truth in other companies. This doesn’t mean they lack the background, to the contrary. They just prefer to let quality, flexibility and a nimble response capacity to customer’s demands establish their bonafides.
GGG is best defined as a ‘boutique’ tactical manufacturer, place where someone goes to get specialized gear instead of cookie cutter built kit. Make no mistake, there is some good equipment being built out there, but overall it’s mass manufactured and not absolutely focused on the end user.
Grey Ghost Gear evolved from Grey Ghost Outlet when the leadership recognized a significant void in the market. Rapid prototyping in the industry has largely gone away and massive consolidations were taking place. Many manufacturers, now frequently part of much larger organizations supplying huge contracts, have lost focus on the operator. GGG knew it could bring better, lighter weight gear to the market faster than anyone else—they could (and have) rapid prototyped it and gotten it to the end user in a quarter of the time anyone else could.
The background of the Grey Ghost team isn’t necessarily different than many other manufacturers operated or influenced by military personnel.What sets them apart is their constant active engagement with operators still using the gear on the ground. How many companies have leadership that can drop in on and attend a Designated Marksman course at Ft. Bliss, or visit a 4 star command group then have a beer with the Command Sergeant Major afterward? For that matter, how many companies remain as actively engaged with enlisted personnel via constant e-mail traffic, frequent phone/Skype calls and social media?
Grey Ghost Gear offers a way to eliminate bureaucracy and serve the shooters (and not just them). Regardless of what they say, a significant portion of the industry fails to listen to the end user. They may not ask for feedback at all, or they may ask for feedback and then fail to implement changes in a timely fashion (if at all)—this is often the case in companies with restrictive bureaucracies.
GGG does not suffer from this sort of inanity. An example of this is the LiteLok packs, which were manufactured and made available to the AO faster than anyone else, or a large scale rifle manufacturer who requested a modification to the rifle case they provide with their equipment on a military procurement contract. GGG had the change implemented and approved within 24 hours. More recently Grey Ghost was advised by men in the field of a very specific need for a low profile medic pack to be used for trauma and treatment kits by vehicle mounted medics. GGG took it from concept to first prototype in 72 hours. 72 hours after that they had accomplished the customer’s modifications. 48 hours later it was in production and they were getting purchase orders. Eight days from first phone call to ship-to-APO.
GGG is also less afraid than its competition to try new things. It makes short runs on patterns and styles and responds quickly to niche requests. They were the first company to build gear in the PenCott patterns (Badlands, Sandstorm and Greenzone and intend to use whatever camouflages don’t win in the Army selection this December short runs of specialty gear.
Future plans include distributing UK sourced Karrimor SF gear as well as manufacturing Karrimor SF here in the US so it is Berry compliant. They soon bring out a covert carry, low profile series of gear that will be truly low pro, unlike nothing else that’s out there and of course will continue developing specialized gear for unique units and missions as needed.
Grey Ghost Gear has been around for a little over 18 months now.
Grey Ghost Gear is based in Idaho, however the equipment is manufactured at vetted local locations with stringent quality control. They’ve never had a warranty related construction repair or replacement in their entire history. GGG is also working with industry partners for offshore manufacturing options for international sales (they’ve sold supplied 16 allied/Coalition countries to date).
Because the principals of the company are former soldiers with operational experience engaging the enemy. They’re actively engaged with the full spectrum military, and not just in the abstract. They work with all Tiers, literally, having sought response from Delta to mess hall cooks—true story. GGG routinely joins soldiers in MOUT sites, on the range and in classrooms, at dinner or a bar or a more visually appealing locale to hear what they have to say.
Many companies are focused (or say they are) on Tier One operators. Grey Ghost Gear doesn’t want just the snake-eaters to be using their kit. They want the guys with boots on the ground for months to afford and share the benefit of the use of their gear. As one GGG principal says, “We want an E-4, before he deploys, to be able to buy some gear from us and still be able to take his wife out to dinner.”
GGG remains dedicated to the end user and their communities. It is actively involved in the Point du Hoc Foundation, a supporter of the TACP Association and other organizations. They hope the customer loyalty earned by their philosophy continues to grow and are fully aware of the responsibility that loyalty entails. They intend to remain worthy of that loyalty or to get out of the business altogether.