Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Product Review: Magnum RD Tactical Short Sleeve Shirt
Gear reviews on hunting gear are typically performed while hunting and fishing gear is tested while fishing. Most of the time I follow that rule, but not this time. This time I wanted to think outside the box a little bit. The good folks over at Magnum Boots sent me their RD (Rapid Deployment) Tactical Short Sleeve Shirt to do a review on before it hits the market in mid-July. I had to think long and hard on how I wanted to approach testing it out. You see, I know that you can take it hunting, fishing or shooting, but I wanted to also apply it to everyday use. So, at first I took it fishing, but that was too boring a review for me. 

SCB EDIT: After discussing this review with a few people, I realized that I didn't list any pro's and con's, likes or dislikes to help my readers out. I have to say I don't know what I was doing because I normally do that first thing. To make it right, I am now posting them.

Testing it at my fishing hole wasn't going to cut it.

So, I did the next best thing. I took it to Disneyland! Yes, you read that correctly, I took it to Disneyland and if you read on you will understand why.

Who would have thought that Disneyland was a tactical testing ground?

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, here are the specs from the Magnum website:
  • Available Mid-July 2011
  • 5.4 oz. 100% cotton ripstop
  • ColorLock fabric dying process ensures garment color match
  • EEMS (Escape & Evasion Money Stash) pocket inside rear collar
  • Combat sharp collar design
  • RSCS (Rapid Shed Closure System) non-shine all buttons
  • MVBCS (Multi-Vented Body Cooling System) works with and without body armor (Patent Pending)
  • Vertical access Nelson pocket on left chest with low profile zipper
  • Drop stash pocket on right chest with low profile zipper
  • ACEP (Ab Concealed Equipment Pocket) on 2 sides
  • Notched side access points
  • 6-Month No Fade Guarantee

Why did I take it to Disneyland? As a hunter, I like to wear hunting clothing. As a father with a 2.5 yr-old, I have to bring a lot of stuff with me when I venture out with her. I wanted to be able to have some things close by and not taking up space in my pants pockets where items get crushed or your pockets feel bulky. I thought that this shirt might be a solution to that problem.

First off, let me say this - I don't like wearing short sleeve, button up shirts unless they are jet black. I usually feel like a total nerd because they don't fit right. It is very rare that I will wear one and be happy with it.

When I first put the Magnum RD Tactical Short Sleeve Shirt on I was amazed at how comfortable it was. Most tactical shirts are bulky and the pockets poke you in some way or another. This shirt was different because it felt like an ordinary button-up shirt, but it hid some very cool features. The fit was right on, too. After recently losing 47 lbs. (the right way), I wasn't sure how the shirt would fit. I would normally wear an XL shirt. Still, I asked for a L and the shirt fit very perfectly. Actually, it had a little room to spare. Excellent! The RSCS (Rapid Shed Closure System) - ok, the buttons - are actually snaps that go together easily and look sharp. I actually wore the shirt on the Disney Jungle Cruise ride hoping to get asked if I was a tour guide. Alas, the tourists were far too smart for my trickery.

Now on to the functionality. This shirt performed beautifully for walking around Disneyland. Not only was it my kind of sporty shirt, but with all of the pockets I could carry what I needed to without things getting bent or broken like they would in my pants pockets. The shirt itself has many pockets. 3 are very visible and two are hidden. The drop stash pocket on right chest was difficult for me to find. I had to ask a buddy of mine for help. He saw the zipper sticking out from the right breast area and pointed out that maybe he should do the review. Thanks, Gabriel! I guess I wasn't as observant as I needed to be! The right breast pocket closes with a zipper, but also has a small flap that covers the zipper. Makes the pocket almost invisible to the naked eye. Here I could keep my license, credit cards and other loose items. The left breast Nelson pocket opens on the side and I was able to store my camera in there with ease. I even had room left over for other items, if I wanted. There is a small Ab Concealed Equipment Pocket on either side of the the front of the shirt, too. One fit my cell phone with ease and the other was able to hold my sunglasses very comfortably.

The pockets were cool features, but I do have some likes and dislikes. I like the fact that some of the pockets have the mesh backing, but should you be out in the Southern California hot weather and you start to sweat, pray that you have nothing in the pocket that will get damaged due to moisture. I think having a solid backing for at least the bottom half of the pocket would be more beneficial than a full mesh pocket if you want to keep things in there.


One of the things I really dislike about the shirt is the pocket in the collar. I could also carry my cash inside the EEMS (Escape & Evasion Money Stash) pocket inside the rear part of the collar, but the pocket seems very small. Still, who would think to look there? Well, the pocket is only a few inches wide and has no way of closing. It remains open, so if you are busting brush or a stiff wind lifts the collar, some cash may decide to take flight. I recommend that Magnum either give it a zipper or a small button to keep it closed. Also, make it a little bigger! You do have an entire collar to work with.

ACEP (Ab Concealed Equipment Pocket) on right side.

ACEP (Ab Concealed Equipment Pocket) on left side.

One nice thing about the shirt is that it is breathable. You can open the pockets and vent it out if you are too warm, but it also has a built-in vent in the back. The fabric on the inside of the pockets and at the vents is mess and it worked very well. The MVBCS (Multi-Vented Body Cooling System) works with and without body armor, or in my case - a backpack. I would also carry my 2.5 yr-old daughter through the park from time to time and I always felt cool air on my back. Never did I feel overheated. The lightweight fabric never felt itchy, or uncomfortable.

The MSRP for this shirt is $55, which I feel is a bit steep.  Why do I feel it is steep? Well, I don't do a lot of tactical work. I am a DIY hunter and my gear has to function well, but at a reasonable cost to me. I like the shirt and all, but for $55 I can buy 2 of just about any other 'good' shirt. A more reasonable price might be closer to $45 instead.

For a great looking shirt, that functions like a tactical shirt should, I would recommend this to any outdoorsman and any person who wants to look good, feel comfortable, but most of all be able to access what you need at a moments notice. It'll hold your valuables and keep you cool while looking sharp.

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Disclaimer: The reviews on The SoCal Bowhunter are solely my honest opinions. These products were either provided to me for the purpose of review or I purchased them myself. I receive no monetary compensation in exchange for these reviews.

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