What is Quality?

Matt Landfair

Matt Six Actual
Staff member

By Darin Talbot




What is quality? According to the American Society of Quality, quality is –

1. the characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs;
2. a product or service free of deficiencies in“fitness for use;” or in a “conformance to requirements.”

You see the problem lies in a consuming public not knowing what really constitutes well made gear.

If you have condor gear in any color outside of multicam or ATACS AU and it was purchased between 2012-2013 then chances are it was made with us made MC and Atacs raw fabric out of Duro and Schott Performance.

That said, the geometry and methods used to construct their products are substandard at best with frequent deviations from specifications (most noticeably in PALS channel formation)

Sometimes the stitch length is as big as 4 stitches per inch on major surfaces up to 6 SPI, when your break strength is about 11lbs per stitch it does count when you start applying a warload.

Take a ruler alongside your stitches and see for yourself. .. measure the pals Webbing too, 1.5″ on center, 1″ gap in between

Rarely do you see any reinforcement to critical load bearing or contact surfaces (where material exposed to plate surfaces, or where Webbing is interfaced with platebag)… any sewn down Webbing should be finished in such a manner that there are no exposed ends to fray out and render that Webbing useless

It is stitched up just to be functionally able to act in its intended form, to hold a plate in a static form… but due to movement and the way things move in a dynamic sense, stress loads previously not present upon the sewn structures will suddenly undergo loading that will exceed stitch capacity and then pop goes the article.

Dimensionally speaking ALL pouches should fit exactly in between one or more pals channels and NOT extend beyond into another channel on either side

So is all this worth it to you? If you rationalize a 50.00 condor plate carrier as good enough, then I would submit that you need to reassess what is critical instead of getting something just because someone else is getting one too

That said, this is what I set out to compare yesterday… I bought a Condor Gunner release able PC, and a Mayflower / Velocity Scarab Light PC to compare both ends of the cost/build spectrum in terms of what 100.00 retail gets you and what 315.00 will get you.

First off, the Condor Gunner release able PC

“New with tag”

5 Stitch per inch throughout

Rear face of PC

Top half of rear face with “drag handle”
More on that later

That drag handle, a single thickness of 17337 webbing and it’s already pulling away from body face… not reinforced nor does it extend throughout the body of the pc to distribute it’s loading

Stitching to “taper” the handle.. not quite symmetric

Unreinforced joint interface… at least bartack or run multiple stitches through to keep in place

Loose thread from and unreinforced joint

Poorly prepped piece of loop with non-symmetrical stitching

Pals spacing… deviations

Front cbund flap with “kangaroo pouch” outboard channels are larger than spec

Stitching on QR pull tab

Stitch alignment and lack of symmetry against pc body edge

That close to edge increases likelihood of seam failure

Unfinished raw edges of nylon, and velcro… along with loose stitching

Deviations of PALS “gap” spacing. . Should be 1″

Gap spacing… should be 1″

Cbund flap / kangaroo pouch… unfinished… leads to unintended bulk and a failure point

Another view of joint of kangaroo pouch… this will tearout since it isn’t reinforced

Another view of joint, raw edges could simply be dealt with by rolling in the finished edging and then stitching down

Already pulling apart… not even had a player loaded

Front platebag flap… note unevenness of stitching

Platebag joint

Plate bag closure loop… it’s sewn onto the space mesh externally to mate with the hoop on flap. Problem lies in the material piling when exposed to hook snagging. Also note the stitching to the left… that’s for the two inch wide strap that hold the plate in

Detail of stitching through the spacer mesh for the loop inside the platebag. This means your plates are suspended by the spacer mesh only and is not reinforced

Detail of flap retainer strap… misaligned stitching

Hook side of front cbund flap/kangaroo pouch… all that loose threading was there at purchase time

Loops idea of front cbund attachment… notice lack of stitch “squaring” symmetry and non alignment of stitch boxes – off center

Single lines of stitching hold Velcro loop in place excess overhang can snag and tear out, and the closer the stitch line is to the edge… higher chance of tearout

Overhang .. should not be this much

Loose thread and misaligned stitching

The single point release derived from CIRAS SPR, uses a 1 in Webbing tab in lieu of a ripcord and dacron loop assembly. Once stacked, this assembly adds a full 1.5″ of depth to your setup

Unfinished edge on reverse side of SPR cover flap

Obverse of SPR cover flap

Stitching on cummerbund extension. .. note high tension cased malformed stitching “loops around Straight taut thread” appearance

Shoulder pads assembly

Shoulder strap with QRV release tunnel… showing exposed melted end rather than a folded over end to prevent friction fraying

Now the Velocity Systems Scarab Light PC (medium SAPI) but fitted with VS ULV 4mm plates Scarab with front cbund flap removed. Non releaseable system no drag handle

Full width bartack on PALS

Representative stitch line found through this rig

8 stitch per inch

Stitching parallel to edging with reinforced layer joints

Laser cut finished edging on shoulder straps

Loop finishing… almost boring regular straights and alignments

Loop Webbing detail

Dimensional regularity

Reinforced points, but nowhere is the mesh lining stitched through

Rear face showing stitching alignment

Layering reinforcement where a second layer comes to an end over another

Bartack closeup

Bartacked pullflap

Channel alignment

Let’s stitch AND Bartack a cummerbund extension!
American Society of Quality. As a 30+ year Senior member of ASQ and an ASQ certified mechanical inspector (CMI), I will point out that the proper name of ASQ is American society "for" Quality. Apologies if this appears as a nitpick.


Regular Member
Hey Guys. Well, this is a pretty good example of the difference between something made in a factory that mass-produces all sorts of sewn goods, under contract, for a set price, versus someone like Velocity/Mayflower, that specializes in sewn tactical gear, made for specific mission sets, with QC that reflects how it will be used and what it needs to withstand. In this instance, you do indeed get what you pay for (or not).

And Mojo, nit duly noted.

Darrin is very familiar with Poynter's Parachute Manual, Vol 1, which lays out sewing materials, techniques, and standards for parachute work, which is actually quite transferrable to what we are talking about here. Not to get all nerdy on you, but a couple of things stand out. When we are joining "rolled goods" (grunts: cordura nylon), you are looking for the right combination of needle, thread, stitches per inch, and lastly sew pattern. Of these, the two most abused are stitches per inch (SPI), and sew patterns, or really the lack there-of. What is readily obvious from Darrin's fine tutorial is that for general work in nylon tac gear, a std of 6-8 SPI is preferred for all around strength, durability, and in some cases, some elasticity. What is glaringly obvious is that a general sewing contractor is using the biggest stitch he can get away with, just to join things together, quickly and efficiently, with little thought to how it would actually stand up under real use.

The second point is that mass-produced sewn goods are frequently sewn together with little to no appreciation of how webbing/velcro/rolled goods interact under load. So straps n flaps n stuff frequently fail under a real load. An example would be a webbing strap that is merely inserted in between layers of cordura and sewn across 2-3 times. As opposed to others who will "box "X" it in place and/or bar tack it. This is frequently seen in cheap back packs, chest rigs, and here in PC's.

It is sometimes hard to convince folks that the inexpensive stuff you see at gunshows and so forth is not up to a minimum standard for serious work. The old saw of the 2 K gun in a cheap nylon holster. Same deal here, 1K worth of plates in the cheapest PC they can find. But this here example should go a long way.


Great Post. There are many people that need to see this. I work with a lot of officers who buy cheap kit and say it is "just as good". The worst I ever witnessed was a guy who wanted a $100 optic that was a 4-16x scope / red dot / laser / flashlight combo and tried to convince our Range Master to let him run it on his patrol rifle (he was politely told no). I have always been bothered by people who want to buy poor quality equipment when their own, or others lives may depend on it.