Gear Clone Rage

Like to thank a good bloke who I’m quite privileged to call an internet-buddy for reminding me about this topic the other day.

Thinking back, if I’m honest I have had a few DMs replying to story posts on my IG account where I’ve just had to leave the sender on read, because frankly they’ve been acting like this wojak. The TLDR is: While there is more than 1 way to skin a cat, there aren’t that many ways to skin a cat and there certainly aren’t all that many which make a lot of sense.

The first thing you must understand is the concept of multiple discovery, read up on that one because it’s very real.  Sure some unscrupulous type could use it as an excuse for intellectual theft, but it is also absolutely a thing that happens and it was going on waaay before the tactical nylon business existed. Another bloke I’ve been fortunate to chat to who owns a very high profile and successful kit business uses the phrase ‘all roads lead to rome’ when summing up the topic.

One thing I can say from going to SHOT a few times and really bugging various vendors until they talk to me, is that pretty much all the smart ones understand that the gear business is by it’s very nature rather incestuous. These are the people who’ve built something significant and theoretically are hit hardest by copies, but all the ones I’ve spoken to on the topic say that as long as a product isn’t a stitch-for-stitch clone (aka chyna) they generally don’t care much because, that’s just the way of things.

For some reason, consumers also care less and less about IP integrity as a product ages; as if it gets more ok to copy a design as it ‘settles’ in to the market and that design just becomes the norm. But, when something is within a year or so of release, it’s absolute sacrilege to make anything remotely similar and we must grab our torches and pitchforks? The irony is that that does actually make sense, because the market will pretty much separate the wheat from the chaff over time and the best designs should become the standard upon which everything is based. It’s just the change in anger/care levels over time that’s puzzling to me.

It’s all subjective though! 💁‍♂️  Which is why some folks will say a product design is cloning/stealing/IP theft and some folks will say the same product is just fine.  None of this excuses people who do just piggyback on an idea and don’t bring anything at all of value to the market, but unfortunately the truth of whether they did put some original thought in to an item or not may often purely reside within their own brain and nobody else will ever know.


  1. Orlan

    I am finding out the hard way that your past observations about Arktis Ltd. were, and are, very accurate. They’ve become rather contemptuous of loyal, legacy customers and if SHOT 2024 is any indication, they’ve have adopted a new business strategy of riding the coattails of big name YouTube e-celebrities and selling to their tacticool fans.

    I suppose it may work well for awhile owing to the sheer numbers of Redditors and YouTubers they can reach – at least until the credit cards in America all max out.

    Love your site, please keep up the excellent work.

    • Comment by post author


      The problem I’ve had with Arktis is much of the stuff they’ve been making the past decade or so has been bad both in design and manufacture; which looks to be changing with their new line. The change in business strategy is, tbh, just what you have to do if you want to make a lot of money in the business of tactical kit. None of that means you should treat long term customers poorly of course.

      • Orlan

        Time will tell if they’re able to make a lot of money, or not. Maybe, but I have lived long enough to know that solid customer relationships trump short-term volume sales hustles over a long time horizon, but they don’t care.

        2024 is not a good time to be opening a new division up in America as they’re set to do in May. Layoffs there are accelerating and retail customers are already overly indebted and/or broke, with flat wages and skyrocketing inflation. Perhaps the coming world war will be Arktis business model salvation, or not. The French Army contract is going away with Belgium and Ireland switching to Multicam variants. It will be interesting to watch, but we won’t doing business with them any longer.


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