Tactical Tailor

First Tactical Launches

5.11 Tactical Founder Dan Costa sold his brand several years ago and rode off into the sunset, or so we thought. At SHOT Show I heard some rumblings that a new company was in the offing and yesterday didn’t disappoint. Although First Tactical officially launched on April 1st, I didn’t want to post something and confuse readers who might think it was a joke, because this is very serious business. It is going to have some companies reevaluating their business model.


First off, Dan Costa knows what he is doing. He’s a very savvy businessman and not only built 5.11 into a ubiquitous brand but then sold it for an astonishing amount of money rumored to be nine figures. Second, he took lessons learned from building 5.11 Tactical and will concentrate heavily on product development. While First Tactical is in the same business space, they will do some things differently. The biggest take away is that they are cutting out the middle man. That’s right; no retailers and that means lower, direct to consumer pricing.

Just Us

This short video gives you a few more insights.

First Tactical will begin to take orders on the 4th of July.


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29 Responses to “First Tactical Launches”

  1. Awesome, good luck to Dan and his team. I hope that they keep it 100% US made.

    • Kord says:

      Its a great concept, and it seems like they have the skills and finances to pull it off, but that’s my question as well. Will they be producing in the U.S.A.? From the site and video commentary they seem more focused on LE, Fire, EMS, then on the Military, but with the “On Scene” date it’s hard to tell.

      • LCSO264 says:

        Has 5.11 Tac ever been truly/specifically geared toward military sales use, it always seemed to me to be geared toward LE, Fire, EMS. I ask because I don’t really know.

        With that, it seems reasonable that First Tac would be geared toward the same market that made Costa very wealthy previously.

        Again, because I don’t know; aren’t there about a bagillion companies making uniforms, boots, and kit, who are specifically oreinted to Mil purchasing, both Gov contracts and individual soldier/sailor/marine/airman purchasing? There really aren’t that many quality companies to choose from when it comes to LE and Fire uniforms, especially as you get away from traditional class A type uniforms. If Costa can maintain (or surpass) the quality of current 5.11 uniforms, and come in at a lower price point, he will make a mint.

      • rtt-cqb man says:

        You can air in from overseas – provided you have production time scheduled well in advance, 30 days to manufacture/come off the line and then 3-5 days to air in. Customs is a different story.

        Also, importing into Los Angeles is a complete shit show right now. We have freighters stacked up half way to San Diego waiting to offload goods and its affecting everyone from Williams Sonoma to Mechanix. Odds are they are airing in initial batches.

        • SSD says:

          They don’t start taking orders until July 4th.

          • TacticalNuts says:

            This is nothing more than 5.11 2.0 (the sequel). But Dan is cutting out all the dealers who helped him build and sell 5.11. And he still owns 20% of 5.11.

            • undermining & mean says:

              Dan Costa is just trying to destroy the company he developed on the back of American businesses and now is being greedy and wants more.

  2. SShink says:

    If it’s not domestically sourced, you can add freight from a foreign country to the cartoon.

    • SSD says:

      Most companies that are marketing to LE are paying that. Aren’t many Made in USA commercial brands.

      • Riceball says:

        Not to mention that if shipping from overseas was so expensive then hardly anybody would be making things overseas and shipping them to the US. With the cost of labor so cheap in places like China it’s cheaper to ship raw materials over to them, have them make the product, and ship it back to the US than making it all domestically.

        From a personal stand point, if it means a cheaper product then they should by all means make their product overseas. As long as they maintain strict quality control standards then everything should be fine, esp. for the average mall ninja who is only going to be wearing this stuff to the range. I don’t know if they can manage the quality well enough for it to be good enough for serious users but if they can then the more power to them.

        • Texas-Roll-Over says:

          That’s why they hire us manufacturing engineers who like to travel! hint hint lol

        • SShink says:

          Not necessarily making a comment + or – for sourcing overseas, just pointing out that it isn’t as simple as the cartoon implies. There are plenty more difficulties with Chinese sourcing than just paying freight.

          For example, turn your back for a minute and Chinese suppliers cut corners left and right. Traveling or in-country engineer (or production babysitters as i call them) cost $ and that is rolled into the cost of the product. Lots of products are currently being re-patriated as a result. It is tough to react to variances in Chinese manufacturing. That sometimes equates to air-freight vs boat to meet customer delivery deadlines – that adds cost.

          Join another note; To make the second scenario in the cartoon compete with the first, you can drop the profit margin on your sell cost at wholesale. When you make the volume case, the increased sales will typically more than make-up the difference in margin loss. In addition, the significantly increased volume you get with a wholesale/distributor/retailer model lowers your production cost.

  3. Texas-Roll-Over says:

    Now you must make value stream map, and road map for future VSM and Kaizen you’re way into the future!

    jk. good luck dudes…but really, good process flow map.

  4. TCBA_Joe says:

    Isn’t part of 5.11s success that it’s basically available in Wal-Mart? Customers who are hardly tactical gear connoisseur are able to get their duty gear locally at gun and uniform supply stores.

    Unless he’s planning on competing with every other online company from TAG to LBT?

    • mike says:

      The bigger impediment is touching/feeling/trying before you buy. I would never buy a pair of shoes I couldn’t try on first. Even if shipping was free I still have to go to the post office to return it or print a call tag to have it picked up. I’d rather not have my money tied up in something that doesn’t turn out to be the thing and possibly miss the thing elsewhere. If the prices are right, that might be enough.

      We are living in the future I read about in Boy’s Life with cars that drive themselves and tvscreen shopping, I wish it would smooth out that whole “touch it before you buy it” gamble, but it’s still cool to see companies pushing us further into the future.

  5. Mark Gale says:

    “That’s right; no retailers and that means lower, direct to consumer pricing.” – Only until the business model doesn’t live up to expectation then all bets are off.

  6. tacman says:

    Dan owns 20% of 5.11 still. Dan still works for 5.11 then? Is this part of 5.11 Tactical?

    • IGOR says:


    • TacticalNuts says:

      Dan does in fact own 20% of 5.11 Tactical still. Call 5.11 and ask them. But this is a new company he is starting to compete with 5.11 and other in the uniform space.

      This isn’t the early 2000’s anymore when 5.11 first came on the scene so I doubt this will explode like 5.11 did. Plus without stores selling it for people to look at and see I think it will be harder for them.

      On top of that Dan will have to deal with 5.11, Propper, Tru-Spec, LA Police Gear, Blackhawk, and fill-in-the-blank who all make gear and clothing these days.

      I hope he does something that blows my mind.

      He is probably going to try and sell this company in a few years so they will need to show profits. I doubt the prices are going to be as low as we might think.

      Whatever happens this development will make things more interesting. Competition is always good for the consumer!

  7. Lasse says:

    help, I didn’t catch what type of business they were in!! could you please say “tactical business” 10x in the next video.

  8. James says:

    So they really did not say where they were buildng… it will be interesting to see…

  9. Dog Off Leash says:

    Did that dude seriously throw up a crown at the end??!!

  10. TacticalNuts says:

    Thats funny. Don’t hold back FNB. Sadly everything you are saying is 100% correct. I would bet dollars to donuts a lot of this First Tactical stuff will be made in the same China factories as 5.11 Tactical.

  11. Mandingo says:

    Retailers, remember this initial stance when they realize they need you.

    Those greedy, greedy retailers that fill an entire store with merchandise, in hopes that they’ll be able to handle the random customer request. Yea, screw those guys, who needs them.

    • Washington says:

      it’s 2015 and the internet exists, god forbid we just once don’t needlessly stay stuck in doing the same shit over and over that’s been rendered obsolete just because that’s what’s always been done

  12. Ed says:

    Can you say “disintermediation”?