1 issue items made specifically for DOD. like issue uniforms, helmets, MOLLE II, FILBE and other things of that nature used by most conventional forces
2 items made with DOD or more specifically SOF in mind but were also available to the general public with some differences or later in production. a lot of items used by special operations forces like SF, NSW, MARSOC, AFSOC that are made by eagle, lbt, paraclete, aba and others fall into this category for me
3 items made for military and the civilian market that are known to have been used but were available to the public during the entire or most of the production with no real difference between the items that DOD or SOF teams/units/groups ect bought and the items sold to everyone else. a lot of Spec ops, tactical tailor and Blackhawk gear falls into this category for me
4 fakes, airsoft / milsim junk and "tacticool" items that were made to cash in on that market. stuff made by LBT under the brand name LBX, items made by flyye, semapo, toy soldier, condor and the rest of the long list of overseas made or mostly poorly made knockoffs you never see anyone but the backyard boys out of Ft couch use while they sling plastic at each other.
basically that's how I categorized stuff for a long time but I have noticed some items out of category 4 being used by SOF and regular forces. on one hand I find it disturbing as most of this stuff is absolute junk and when you see it come back from being used down range its falling apart and ready to be tossed in the trash. its scary to think that someone actually relied on this stuff and what may happen because of it. I mean its not a huge deal if a pouch fails but some of these companies make safety gear like personal retention lanyards and rigger belts and what if your out in the middle of nowhere and your plate carrier falls apart? I remember when I was in the Army buying a set of cheap boots and having them fall apart during a ruck march. lucky for me a extra set of boots was part of the pack list but I don't know anyone that packs a spare plate carrier around with them. from a collectors point of view its not much better for reasons that I am sure are obvious.
well that's my take, what is are your thoughts on this?