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Magpul roared onto the firearms scene in 1999, helping to usher in the era of tactical chic. Their magazines were the gold standard for AR-15 rifles; their accessories style became as universal as suspenders on hipsters. Over the last couple years we’ve watched as their thunderous expansion (at least in firearms accessories) has slowed to a dull roar, tentatively creeping into other platforms like the Remington 870 and Ruger 10/22, but not appearing to commit the same level of effort as their AR-15 line. Now it appears that Magpul is preparing to make their biggest transition as they move from a company that dresses rifles to a company that dresses shooters . . .

Troy McMullen, their director of gear, put it best: “the world doesn’t need another tactical costume company.” The number of manufacturers cranking out shirts and pants which are 100% comfortable on the firing line but 100% unacceptable for a night out with your girlfriend is as numerous as old fat white guys on the NRA convention floor. Not many people have found a way to square that circle, producing garments that have some “tactical” application but still look right on, say, the trendy streets of Austin, Texas.

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Magpul has made it their goal to do just that. From semi-formal shirts with concealed compartments to “normal” looking pants with extraordinary capabilities they’ve rolled out a complete solution on day one that aims to suit most shooters.

The strategy makes perfect sense. With opportunities for expansion in the firearms accessory line dwindling, Magpul needs to find a new market to keep growing. The tactical clothing market is jam packed right now, and while some existing companies are dipping their toes into more casual designs, Magpul is diving in head first hoping to out-maneuver the competition.

It’s basically the same strategy they used with the magazine and accessory markets and they did a bang-up job there. Given their past success I have high hopes as to what they can accomplish.

52 Responses to Magpul Pivots Towards New Identity as Lifestyle Brand

      • Littler known fact; shaved faces came into fashion out of WWI gas mask usage. A baby-smooth jaw is the original “Tacticool.” The modern beardos are simply a kow-tow to strict Islamist societies overseas, whom our soldiers found they could interact with more easily by emulating (even more effective were Viagra bribes)

        Seriously, how the heck do those guys eat food with that jazz on their head? Or keep it clean (and brushed & conditioned, from what I can tell)? It’s literally as awkward as an equal-length Mohawk.

        • Actually it was so the original Spec Ops troops working in Afganistan wouldn’t stand out when observed from a distance. Then it became the defacto uniform for anyone remotely associated with Special Ops that didn’t have to wear an O2 or gas mask routinely.

      • So that photo shows a couple what-heads???

        Very underwhelmed by Magpul booth compared to Indy14. The bus was WAY cool two years ago. The VW 21window was WAY cool. NOTHING similar?? No awesome booth babes. No nifty swag (as dryfire dummy rounds in vintage cigs box). Not so much as a nice sticker. Yawn, yet more rags. Whatever the legend. Girl stuff.

        And screw Austin.

        • Swag was a bit short this year but that was primarily to do with the accelerated pace we have been releasing products since Indy (NRA 2014) at an average pace of 50 per year (just over one a week for the last 2 years). A few of these include…
          -PMag D60
          -Remington 700 SA Hunter stock with mag adapter and ACIS PMags.
          -X22 Hunter stock for Ruger 10/22
          -PMag Glock line
          -PMag AK47 line
          -AK47 furniture
          -Entire MOE line (handguards and accessories) converted to MLOK
          -MOE SL line (handguards, stocks and grips)
          This is just some of the stuff we released and does not count what we announced at this year SHOT and NRA show.

          This said we hope to get a new sticker pack released before mid year (seriously)

    • The two beards you see won 6th and 7th in an Austrian Beard competition last year (yes that is a thing).

      Ironically (despite the inference of the photo) they are not part of the clothing design. One is graphics and the other does carry items such as the DAKA pouches. The gal (in between the beards) is the only one in the photo on the clothing design team.

    • I would like to see magpul could be the premier after market magazine company if it wanted to. Not make Glock or Beretta or XD or M&P or CZ or what have ya. But instead it does this crap.

  1. I guess it was too much to hope for that Magpul wouldn’t become a lifestyle brand.

    Now we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we ditch our Magpul gear we’ll look like hipsters fighting the creeping corporate behemoth. If we don’t ditch the Magpul gear (which we already own) we’ll look like we’re trying to be hipsters. There’s no winning. (Kind of like the upcoming presidential election.)

    Do these tactical dress shorts make my ass look big?

    Sigh.

    • I switched to Lancer mags before it was cool. I’m not giving up my 5.11 tactical khakis though, gusseted teflon coated ripstop cargo pants that bead water are a godsend.

      • I’m not giving up my 5.11 pants either, because they’re expensive as shit.

        I hope the hipsters don’t come for my cargo pants or I’ll have to go naked.

        • As a former rock climber, mountaineer and LEO, I was wearing 5.11’s back when they were still “Royal Robbins”.
          (My first rock climbing shoes were the old blue suede RR’s back in the 70’s.)

          I drove myself nuts looking to purchase additional pairs of the canvas pants and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why they were no longer on the Robbins site…until one day I came across something very similar on the 5.11 site and my prayers were answered. Little did I know that RR had sold the line.

          I’m with you guys…I’m not giving up my 5.11’s.

    • The concept of clothing came about over seven years ago when we wanted pants and shirts that our instructors could use on the range but were also low profile enough to stop by a gas station or restaurant on the way without drawing unwanted attention (which happens when you are wearing military camo utilities or some other tactical uniform). As we tend to test our products in all conditions and found that we were accessing our clothing as we were testing product so the expansion made logical and financial sense.

      We actually made a very small production run on both pants and shirts back it 2007 but decided against releasing them due to manufacturing inconsistencies and cost over runs. Some of these actually showed up on ebay from former instructors.

      About three years ago we had the chance to hire a number of skilled people with specialized knowledge in this field and so re opened the project again. This kicked off a two year design project to bring the concept back to life. The issue was that Magpul Dynamics had morphed into Magpul Core and no longer were Core guys primarily on the range, they were traveling world wide so the single range pant and the shirt line were expanded.

      The initial release of pants and shirts hit specific mission requirements used in Magpul Core but all maintain the low profile silhouette of the original designs from almost a decade ago.

      All this said, over 95% of what we do is still directly related firearms engineering and that is not changing anytime soon nor are we going to stop expanding our design reach.

  2. Those are awesome beards. I’ve thought about going full Gandalf before, but when it gets long enough to dangle into my food at the table or get pinned under the seatbelt (both of which I’ve experienced) I’m out of the race. Long beards look cool, but they’re not very practical.

  3. I’m waiting with baited breath to see if their upcoming Spring clothing line includes a tactical seersucker sport coat with molle and integrated AR500 plates, or maybe some plaid gingham pants with integrated battle belt and tactical high speed low drag velcro fly for when you have to take a tactical piss (or covert black ops sex) whilst using C clamp grip on your unit, or maybe a tactical paracord bowtie with tiny red lobsters in micro print. The possibilities are just endless, endless I tell you!

    • Clothing is sourced in places we determine the best QA and manufacturing skill is at. This includes India, Mexico, Vietnam and of course the United States (Tejas gun belts and DAKA pouches are made here).

  4. ‘The number of manufacturers cranking out shirts and pants which are 100% comfortable on the firing line but 100% unacceptable for a night out with your girlfriend is as numerous as old fat white guys on the NRA convention floor.’

    Why did you feel the need to say ‘old fat white guys?’ Who are you trying to impress with that particular self-loathing cliche?

    • Cliche or painfully apt? The average ‘white guy’ of any age is fat, now, and political conventions don’t attract the 18-34s, so…

      • Got something against whites? The average American of any race, sex, or age, is overwieght.

        • Not having been to the AM, I can only cite my observations at the range. They skew a bit short on the melanin count.

        • Well, if you use the national average as a marker, the average asian american is not overweight.

        • I’ll have you know my midichlorian count is actually high for my specie… oh wait, you said melanin.

  5. Meh. I’ve never been all that impressed with Magpul. Their AR15 mags are great, and their pistol grip is good, though I don’t see how anybody could screw that up…

    But I bought a MOE fore end, and it broke the very first time it suffered a slight impact (rifle fell onto wood floor from standing on butt/leaning on wall), and the only thing I have found that can induce a Glock failure (besides serious limp-wristing) is a Glock Pmag. I have an AK that came with a Magpul mag, and that thing is such a flimsy POS that guys with Tapco mags in their WASRs laugh at you…

    They have put out some videos that are short on information and long on production values and the c-clamp..

    So, I think they’ve pretty much always been a lifestyle-branding company.

    Except for the AR Pmags, which are legit.

    • Glad you like the PMag. Your experience with the other items is not typical.
      -The MOE handguards are a staple OEM item for major firearms manufactures almost a decade now and is the most widely utilized aftermarket handguard in AR history. It also started the negative space attachment system that lead to the development of M-LOK and keymod. If you broke one we will be happy to replace it at no charge and let you know what issues caused the problem.
      -A quick review of Glock specific forums confirm that the current PMag GL magazines continue to run extremely well across the board from unmodified Glocks to highly tuned set ups. Again if you have issues please contact us and we will attempt to troubleshoot your set up to determine the issue.
      -The AK PMag has a far greater tensile strength than the TAPCO mag you mentioned so by touch alone it is noticeably more rigid (less flimsy). This is really apparent if you fire over 1000 rounds through each magazine as the PMag will not show accelerated wear at the feed lips like the Tapco version.

    • On the videos, all of our media is made in house by the same people inputing on the products and gear. We do not use any outside media agency for this or our printed material.

      As for information I would say our videos are very informative such as the Primer on T-shirts video below shows…

  6. WTF is up with those stupid beards? Oh, and clothes that look used…That’s right, it’s “trendy”.

    • The apparel line was created with the goal of being equally at home in a restaurant, an airport, or a market, and not look like some sort of costume, as “tactical” or “performance” clothing often does.

      The styling the exact opposite of “trendy”, we focused on timeless styles that can remain stable–so that shirt that you really like is available to purchase next year, and not discarded with the seasonal fads of fashion.

  7. I have a Red Magpul iPhone case.
    – Easy to spot in the recesses of my briefcase
    – great protection w/o bulking up the phone like the Michelin Man
    – unlikely someone will mistake your phone for their phone.
    – Cheap

    Great product.

    • Thanks for your kind words.

      We were one of the first companies in the US to manufacture the iPhone case competitively here in the US using US manufactured tooling.

      That was back in 2010 with the iPhone 3. Interestingly enough the online commentary back then was similar to this story.

    • As stated before , the apparel line was created with the goal of being equally at home in a restaurant, an airport, or a market, and not look like some sort of costume, as “tactical” or “performance” clothing often does.

    • I worked at the “real” Abercrombie & Fitch, (360 Madison Ave, NYC, Backpacking and Mountaineering Dept. on the 8th floor), after graduating college for a couple of years up until the company went Chapter 11 in 1976.

      It was pretty friggin’ horrifying to see what happened to that classic old name in the outdoor industry when it was purchased and turned into anathema.

      I shudder to think what we have in store with this story…Magpul daiquiri glasses perhaps? His and her capri pants? Sigh…

  8. Diversification makes sense as a business strategy for growth, but a horizontal move like this into an already overcrowded field like apparel seems questionable to me. It’s hard to argue that the world really needs another clothing company, and chances are good that whatever market segments and quality level Magpul is aiming for, there is already another company there doing it better.

  9. No photos from the firearm side, Nick? Pretty busy over there, so I understand. Support for AKs, Rem 700, 10/22, Glock, and continued development of AR products like the SL, SL-K, and SL-S stocks, M-LOK, updated UBR and PRS with more features and better value, and an ultra reliable 60 round drum Magazine…to the tune of about four dozen firearms accessories products every year–I’d say that qualifies as serious about firearms. The soft goods and hard goods sides of the business are separate in execution, but joined together by the same teams developing requirements for both. Yep, Magpul only announced two new firearms products this year at NRA, the PMAG12 GL9 12 round Glock 26 mag with integrated extension for an extra 2 rounds, and the takedown Hunter X-22 but, there’s a stack ready for SHOT. The NRA AM is a show to meet the real customer, and new products don’t always align with show schedules. It’s too bad you didn’t take the time to talk to someone from development on the firearms side, or at least didn’t write about it, as they probably could have shown you around what Magpul has been up to.

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