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Military Surplus - What is Real, What is Not
This entry was posted on October 16, 2012.
One of the many fun things I look forward to is getting a call from someone at the Best Glide A.S.E. Inc. office telling me "There are four pallets of surplus for you to go through!".
When I get to the warehouse and catch that smell of both old canvas and the smell of an old armory with decades of gun oil and gunpowder (that's what it smells like to me anyway) I get a little curious to see what we got and what condition its in.
Digging and sometimes diving into the large cardboard crates that this stuff usually comes to us in, I have yet to receive a crate that did not have something not related to the items we ordered... perhaps an old ammo pouch mixed in with hundreds of canteen covers, or the variety of items I find when I sort those canteen covers... ear plugs, those tiny Tabasco bottles, even a pretty rock someone found and forgot about. And then, there are the knock-offs.
This other category of items is the focus of this blog entry... and that is what many call "knock-offs" - that is what many in the Survival Equipment industry are selling with descriptions like "USGI - Type", "GI -Type", "Military Approved", etc.
While sorting through the many items we receive, I will usually come across one of these knock-offs. I've seen many of these items, and some of them are very, very close to the USGI design, and some are pure crap. I can understand how they get mixed in with the rest of the genuine USGI MilSurp items, and that would be when a Soldier, Airman, or Marine is turning-in his issue equipment for whatever reason, and they are missing an item of issued gear. Or, sometime while on bivouac, an item is lost and after returning to post, a quick trip to a local Army Surplus store results in the replacement of the missing item.
Trouble is, unless the person buying it is aware of the subtle and sometimes not so subtle differences, he or she will end up turning in a knock-off, and it eventually finds it way to us or any other dealer in USGI MilSurp.
Now, the gist of all this...
Knowing what to look for when shopping for genuine United States Government Issue (USGI) Military Surplus (MilSurp) is very important when you want to ensure you are getting the real thing.
One thing you want to look for is a very obvious set of words and numbers either printed directly onto the item, or on a tag attached to the item, like the tag on a mattress, or the tag on the inside collar of a shirt. These letters, numbers and words comprise the nomenclature of the item, the NSN (National Stock Number) and the manufacturer. Please keep in mind that there are often many manufacturers of the same item with identical NSN numbers.
For instance, one of our Genuine USGI MilSurp Canteen Covers has the following printed directly onto the nylon cover the following:
COVER, WATER CANTEEN, LC-2 1 - QUART
REYES INDUSTRIES, INC.
That is just an example - the important thing to remember that no matter what item you are considering purchasing, if it is advertised as "USGI-Type" or any other description EXCEPT USGI Issue, then it is most likely a knock-off.
Even a small item like a P-39 or P-51 Can Opener will have, at the least a "US" stamped into it. I have seen P-38 and P-51 Can Openers with “US – Type” stamped onto them… no thank you, Mr. Knock Off.
If you aren't sure if the item you want is genuine USGI MilSurp - inspect it if you can. If it is a textile product (bivy cover, sleeping bag, canteen cover, Fox-style pouch, etc. it WILL have the nomenclature and NSN number on it, or on a tag sewed into the item.
There are exceptions - one of the better ways to know is to ask your supplier. If they can't answer your question, keep looking for your answer if authenticity is important. If you still can't find out, call or email me - I will do my best to find the answer for you.
When you buy what we advertise as a USGI MilSurp item from us, you can rest assured that you are buying an item that came from an agent acting for the DRMO - Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office - US DoD.
Sometimes, we get items in used up to Very Good and Like New condition with "DRMO" stamped or printed onto it. This does not take away from the usefulness of the item in any way. It simply means that a branch of the US Military has replaced an item in its inventory, and the replaced item has been processed with other like items as obsolete inventory, and it has been sent for distribution to the DRMO who will auction it off to approved markets, or destroy it.
"Obsolete" as a term applied to the MilSurp items we are discussing, does not mean it is garbage - it simply means it has been replaced and will no longer be serviced or maintained by the manufacturer or any licensed contractors of the US Governemt.
When we receive a new shipment of USGI MilSurp items, it is inspected, categorized, and packaged usually right out of the crate. We will soon be offering some of the items that for aesthetic reasons are considered below the "Used" category. These may be items that are very usable, but have small tears, rips, holes, large stains, etc. on them. We will be very clear in our descriptions, but as with our other items, we will always go to the next lower level of description when judging the condition of an item.
If I can get a MilSurp item in usable condition that usually sells for $75 somewhere, and all I have to do is a little repair work that won’t take 10 minutes to do, and all I paid was $25 for it – then I consider myself smart. To be honest – I don’t really care what an item looks like (alright – a few exceptions - – no hot pink “Hello Kitty” sleeping bags for me) as long as it works.
One more thing. I take it for granted that any item I obtain knowing it is MilSurp - I do not expect it to be new and unissued uless that is the way it was found by me or advertised as such. Seeing the way we receive these items from the liquidator, I have ascertained that many of the crates of items are stored in dusty warehouses and the items in the crates are often thrown on the ground while being sorted, and even a new, unnisued, unused item is going to have dirt and dust on it.
The United States Government equips its troops with some of the finest equipment in the world. A lot of what ends up as MilSurp can still be very usable and utilized for many years to come. We are always looking for the best deals on quality MilSurp that we can pass on to you at the lowest prices, and one thing I will promise you: If we wouldn't use it - we won't sell it.
Keep an eye on our site for new items, especially in the MilSurp category - we've got some good stuff on the way!
Remember - " Fortuna favet præparaverat - Fortune Favors the Prepared!