TYR Tactical

FS Friday Focus – Partner Series – SKD Tactical

FS OEM Partner Series - SKD

Occasionally in the FirstSpear Friday Focus we take a look at their OEM partners. This time, we’ll examine SKD Tactical and one of the pieces of kit FirstSpear builds for them: the STT Plate Carrier.


This particular STT is quite special. It’s a one-of-a-kind version in Kryptek Highlander. One-of-a-kind, as in you can’t purchase it. However, you can win it, in a Facebook contest, but more on that later. Now, on to some really cool background.

What drove SKD to get into products manufacturing versus just being another retailer?
When we first got involved in the Tactical gear market in 1999, we recognized pretty early that there were a lot of things that could be done to improve existing product designs. While technology was advancing products in other industries at breakneck speed, tactical gear was still pretty much some modified derivative of LBE’s or RACK systems. Our first step into “making” gear was getting Eagle Industries to modify the Paul Howe Universal Chest Rig for us. After that initial success, we realized that we could differentiate ourselves in the market by modifying and improving other products we already carried. This led to the easy transition of designing our own gear from the ground up. When tactical gear innovation really started exploding during OIF/OEF, we were well positioned to be able to take part in the new wave of gear designs.

Why “made in America?”
Making our gear here is woven into our identity. We as a nation have lost the quality edge on a lot of different product segments to overseas manufacturing, but America is still the best in the world at designing and manufacturing tactical gear. This is an undisputed fact. With partners like FirstSpear, continuing to make quality gear in the US is what we intend on doing for as long as long as we remain in business.

How did the relationship between SKD and FirstSpear begin?
Our relationship with FirstSpear began ironically at Eagle Industries. We were already making our own products with Eagle when they were sold in 2009. Visiting their design shop and factory was a regular occurrence. When Eagle eventually closed their factories in St. Louis, we were pleasantly surprised that many of the key players we dealt with at Eagle had moved on to start up FirstSpear. Working with a manufacturer that already had decades of experience making the world’s finest gear was a no brainer. Even before we actually began carrying any FirstSpear labeled products, we had inked a deal for First Spear to take over production of the PIG Plate Carrier.

What drove the development of the STT?
We were always impressed by the innovative technologies of FirstSpear’s Tubes and 6/12, but the price considerations of the Strandhogg were not a good match for our market. It was during a visit at FirstSpear that we came across a simplified version of the Strandhogg that was done for a major LE agency–we immediately had a “eureka” moment. When we realized that we could make the STT with the ability to accept PIG Airflow and Comfort Pontoons, and price it in the void that was left empty by the disappearance of the Eagle Plate Carrier, we knew we had to execute.

Were there previous iterations of the STT or any major changes through development?
Coming from an already existing platform, the development process was pretty linear. We went from flash to bang in about 3 months, which was pretty fast for us. We did experience a bobble at the release however- we only had one cummerbund size available. FirstSpear was really good about working with us to get the other sizes online and manufactured within weeks.

Are there any other FS/SKD partnership projects on the horizon?
We don’t have anything to announce at this moment, but we are always trying to come up with sneaky collaborations with FirstSpear, who is our premiere manufacturing partner. The quality and consistency they’ve turned out over the course of making thousands of PIG Plate Carriers has been nothing short of brilliant. We try and utilize both our Facebook pages and newsletter for product announcements, so please like both the SKD and FirstSpear Facebook pages and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest news.




Facebook STT Plate Carrier Contest

At the beginning of the article, we mentioned that you can win the one-of-a-kind STT Plate Carrier in Kryptek Highlander, which comes with a FirstSpear M4 3-Mag “Ranger” Shingle. For full details and to enter, ‘like’ both the FirstSpear and SKD Tactical Facebook pages and share the contest post on the FirstSpear page. Good Luck!



Tags: ,

11 Responses to “FS Friday Focus – Partner Series – SKD Tactical”

  1. Chuck says:

    I’m glad to see this Friday Focus on SKD especially. I was a long time fan of Eagle Industries, and believe the RLCS and SFLCS were really revolutionary. I think SKD and First Spear are a match made in heaven. Here’s hoping to seeing some newer advanced materials (airlite, molleminus) coming into the lineup some time in the future.

  2. mike says:

    This is damn hot. I don’t care what anyone says about what camo pattern, this is a cool carrier.

  3. netrunner says:

    this is cool as hell

  4. derp says:

    For $200, it’s an alright deal (just talking about the carrier itself, not the contest nor pattern which to me is meh, K typhon looks better). It loses the spacer mesh (I love this stuff) in favor of pontoons (better than nothing). I guess $200 off is due to the spacer mesh not being sewn on, but it still doesn’t come with any soft armor nor could it even hold it if it did. I like the tubes, but the velcro 6/12 slots are annoying and cumbersome to deal with. The entire thing is more or less velcro and your pouches end up messing with it/slightly offsetting it. Sure the 6/12 pouches look sick and may work better, but that’s more money. 6/9 equipment is meh as its pals/molle without the end button snap. I’ll pass and keep rocking my kdh gen 1 with it’s crappy side clips (wish I could use the cummberbund yet retain the pull tab ease of getting out)

    • derp says:

      First spear replacement cummberbund I mean

      • B says:

        What is the name of the carrier you and your company developed? I would love to try it.

        • derp says:

          You are either first spear/SKD or just looking to jest which is fine. I do not make any plate carrier nor do I have “making gear” industry experience so if you do, I will concede to you(especially in the cost to produce department).

          I have worn the strandhogg with armor in to have an opinion and have done enough infantry exercises with armor to also have an opinion (let’s avoid playing the war card as that tends to be blown way off basis). In terms of easy don and doff and maritime based pc’s, I would argue (with floatation add on’s that cost plenty, but I am sure aren’t cheap to make) that the Strandhogg is one of the best around bar none, but as a regular pc for land combat, I think it has something to be said in terms of coverage and overall effectiveness. It can not fit the thicker, yet lighter in weight plates (at least for the esapi version I tried, but I’m not sure if most pc’s can carry thicker plates) which is the biggest knock against this kit.

          I believe velcro in its entirety needs to be reconsidered and if you want to pull the exp card, I dare you to go ask any of the grunts who used the velcro style cummberbund plate carriers (perhaps why FS went and designed tubes? Don’t know why they kept velcro for the 6/12 tho). It’s loud, easy to misalign and wear out, as well as get filled with dirt/stickers/parts of brush.

          Overall, just an opinion I formed from MY experience. Take it with a grain of salt and I am not posting to boast about any pc as they all have their flaws/environments they are better suited for.

        • derp says:

          And I would personally like nothing more than to utilize a first spear replacement cummberbund, specifically for the tubes, yet retain the quick release functionality of the KDH (sagging side plates are one of the biggest drawback, but can be tightened to a degree). However, that again is then dealing with velcro as well as downsizing the 8×6 armor to a now 6×6 section. Again, everything has drawbacks, nothing is perfect

  5. robyn cobb says:

    love this piece of equipment. esp that it’s made in the USA

  6. John Sabado says:

    What color is this plate carrier that is displayed above? Would love to order this.