RAPID CITY, S.D. — Tactical gear company Cole-TAC left the east coast and headed to Rapid City in 2021, and about a year later, the business has already outgrown its building.
“It’s been a great move… we’ve grown significantly since that time,” says Cole-TAC president Dustin Coleman. “The only reason we’ve been able to do that is because- I know finding employees is difficult- it’s way easier here than in other places in the country.”
Cole-TAC produces gear for all kinds of shooting, whether it’s a day on the gun range or a hunting trip on the front range.
“It’s all sewn products for the shooting, hunting and tactical markets, so different bags, pouches,” Coleman says, describing his gear. “We really focus on niches that are more high end or more specialized. A lot of times, you know, people are trying to compete at higher levels and the gear, just generic gear doesn’t necessarily quite work well for them. We can really use our skills as far as engineering and manufacturing to make a specialized product. Suppressor covers are still our biggest item, we do a lot with ammunition storage. So people who are reloading or carrying large amounts of ammo, we’ve got a really neat solution that fits well in packs.”
The company gets inspiration for their specialized products from competitive hunters and shooters as well as those who carry firearms at work.
“We work closely with a lot of different law enforcement and military groups that they say, ‘Hey, we’ve got this issue. Can you guys come up with a solution?’ And, you know, that’s where a lot of our ideas come from,” Coleman explains. “Otherwise, I try to stay active in the competitive shooting world, and so a lot of my ideas came out of I’m sitting at a match and I wish I had something…and come back and start tinkering on an idea.”
On-site production helps Cole-TAC know exactly how each product is made, and then they can be tested too.
“All of our materials are sourced here in the U.S., so we’re buying fabric straps, buckles, all made right here in the U.S. There’s only a couple of small specialty items that are made over in Europe, but I mean, even our threads are made here in the U.S. so that helps. We can have a better understanding of our quality,” Coleman says.
Plus, the local manufacturing helps them test and tweak products.
“We’re making this gear months, several months in advance and sending them out to be tested either by ourselves or we have, you know, partners that we work with who are in the real world environments using this gear. And a lot of times the original design gets tweaked along the way because of stuff that we find in that development process,” he adds.
Dustin adds that these quality controls are especially important in the firearms industry.
“There’s several reasons why tactical quality tactical gear is important, and it comes from either performance or even safety. A good suppressor cover, if you don’t have one or if it falls off that suppressor is, you know, hundreds if not over a thousand degrees hot – a quick touch and you’re already searing your hands, and that can be a real dangerous situation. Even just for hunting, if you start getting mirage coming off the suppressor, you can’t see your target. So having those high performing pieces of gear are really important, and even just bags and pouches, knowing where your gear is at and keeping it neat and organized in case of emergency is critical.”
For more information on Cole-TAC, slick here.