First of all, let me say that this piece is mainly for fun. If you’re expecting a deep thought provoking article, this isn’t it! With that out of the way, I wanted to talk about swag. Namely, free promotional items included in orders from manufacturers and distributors. Almost every company includes stickers or some advertising material these days, but one company in particular actually includes legitimately useful stuff.
The first time I went to Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, PA, the owner of Tactical Walls jokingly complimented me on my “three thousand dollar hat.” He was referring to the Larue Tactical cap that I wore. While in fact it was really only about a thousand dollar hat, the humor wasn’t lost on me. I had actually received the cap when I had ordered an optic and mount combo instead of a rifle. Sadly, draconian state laws prohibit me from purchasing the Larue rifle that I want. Anyway, let me briefly describe the cap. In short, it is designed for shooters. There is no top button to interfere with over the head ear protection, and there are loops sewn into the sides to hold eye protection earpieces over the ear muffs. It’s a really good range cap, and while the products it accompanied weren’t cheap, it was technically free.
There are further examples of the value of Larue Tactical swag. Almost anybody familiar with Larue Tactical is also familiar with a Dillo, otherwise known as the “Larue Tactical Beverage Entry Tool.” I have received enough of these to give a few away to friends over the years, and it’s a neat bottle or can opener. With a Dillo, you can twist or pry off bottle caps, and the tail can be used to pry up can tabs as needed. Not a bad little trinket to find in the shipping box, and they make good stocking stuffers for your buddies at $10 apiece.
Next up, Dillo Dust. This is something that, to my knowledge, you can only get as swag included with orders. As such, it’s really good incentive to order more stuff! For all I know, you can buy it locally in Leander, but I’ve never been able to find it on the website. Dillo Dust is a spice blend and meat rub that I’ve used on everything from chicken and pork to fish and beef. My wife loves the stuff. Texas is known for good barbecue, so it’s no surprise that a Texas company can come up with a good spice rub. (Having been raised in the South, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on barbecue and its preparation.)
Finally, the most unusual and the most innovative swag I’ve ever gotten… the Larue Tactical Battle Mixer. When I first found one in a box, I had a “what the hell is this” reaction. I tossed it in drawer in the garage and forgot about it. Months later, when it came time to paint my daughter’s nursery, I remembered the Battle Mixer. The damned thing is actually quite simple yet ingenious. It’s a gallon paint can lid that has a pour spout and two blades on the bottom to stir and mix paint. Take the lid off the paint can, replace it with the assembled Battle Mixer, agitate it like a washing machine, then pour the paint into your pan. The plastic washes clean with water in the sink and it seems virtually indestructible. I’ve repainted three rooms in my house so far, and I’ve used the Battle Mixer every time. If you have to paint a room, do yourself a favor and spend the $5.00 and order one. Or, if you’re lucky, you’ll find one included in a shipment from Larue!
Obviously, there are always bumper stickers in the box, but I don’t really believe in wearing my heart on my bumper. Instead, those go on my gun safe and some other cases.
To be fair, Larue isn’t the only company that sends out valuable swag. My BCM upper came with Panteao DVDs, for instance. SOB Tactical has Combat Bands. Many trainers hand out patches or hats. But Larue consistently sends good stuff. As evidenced by the amount of swag I describe above, there are quite a few Larue products on carbines in my safe. There’s a reason for that, and it’s not the swag.
As I said above, this post has mainly been for fun, so just take it as such. As always, I have no affiliation with any of the companies mentioned other than as a paying customer. What has your experience been with swag? Share below or on our Facebook page. Thanks for visiting the blog!