After writing about Komelon’s LED-equipped tape measure, Amazon started showing me sponsored listings for a Spec Ops-branded tape measure.
I have never heard about Spec Ops Tools before – have you?
The Specs Ops tape measure, with black and military-like coyote brown accent color, is heavily marketing with military-themed language.
Military-Grade Composite Case.
In the product title, Spec Ops also says that “3% [is] donated to veterans,” but the product page doesn’t clarify as to where donations are made.
Brands and products that support and benefit veterans’ causes are always a good thing.
I’m willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt, and assume that beyond the “tacticool” marketing the brand is really trying to do good.
Ignoring all that, here are the important specifics behind the 16′ and 25′ tape measures themselves.
The Spec Ops Tools 16′ tape measure is said to be 20% more compact than “standard tape measures.”
It has a 1-1/4″ blade, 10′ of blade standout, double-sided markings, and a 360° non-slip hook.
The 25′ tape measure is largely the same, but with a longer blade.
Both tape measures feature military-grade composite housings, but there is zero mention about drop ratings or how that military-spec claims translate to durability expectations.
It is also interesting that the 16′ tape measure is said to be more compact than standard tape measures, but features the same blade width and standout length as a 25′ tape measure.
Many times, 16′ tape measures are a little narrower than 25′ tape measures. That the 16′ tape measure blade shares some of the same properties with the 25′ blade isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I would suppose that perhaps this was done to ensure users don’t lose any standout length.
Personally, I would rather have a more compact 16′ tape measure, even if it meant losing a little on standout.
Looking deeper in the product description, Spec Ops Tools says the 16′ tape measure is 20% more compact than “the rival 16′ tape measure.” Which is the rival brand?
this tape measure is ideal for pocket carry or for operators looking for a more compact tape measure.
Is there a military-grade standard when it comes to tape measures or plastic-cased tools? Do operators require mil-spec tape measures? I’m asking this seriously.
Are these Spec Ops Tools tape measures being marketed to military users, or civilians that might be tempted by the military-speak marketing?
Where are these products made? The Spec Ops Tool brand popped up only recently, and in addition to tape measures they have a broad selection of tools being sold on Amazon.
Given the pricing, I would assume that most of the tools are made in Asia, where there are many OEMs that can help companies create custom-branded hand tools with a unique look.
Pricing: $12.68 for the 16′ tape measure, $14.26 for the 25′ tape measure as of the time of this posting
Buy Now: 16′ Tape Measure via Amazon
Buy Now: 25′ Tape Measure via Amazon
Speaking candidly, there is nothing in the current marketing language about the tools themselves to compel me to give these Spec Ops Tools tape measures a try.
They need to do more “showing” and less “telling.” For me, the military-speak marketing seems to distract too much from both the tools and the company.
Have you used any of this brand’s tools before, or are they new to you as well?
Wow this oozes tacticool.
I bet five-ten minutes of searching would find this exact tape on Alibaba.
“Pffft” is exactly what I said when I read the headline.
Looks like it’s all just marketing – like calling a product’s aluminum parts “aircraft grade”. I don’t have anything against it. Military looks seem to be very popular with some, so here’s a selection of tools they can buy. Doesn’t do anything for me though.
I found their website, I think that 3% that goes to veterans goes through The Gary Sinise Foundation and the Navy Seal Foundation. It also says that all of their stuff is made in Asia (China, Vietnam, Taiwan).
Their website is pure cancer, a bunch of pictures of flames, sparks, and videos of guys under the hoods of olive drab vehicles turning a screwdriver on a non-descript part.
“We take the 50% profit margin we make off China sourced tools and donate 3% to a feel good charity.”
I guess you could say the same for a bunch of the major brands but they don’t give the 3%.
I picked an item at random from their website and was able to find the item it was a rebrand of in one search.
Their item (rebrand):
If nothing else, their marketing is good for a laugh.
I hate to say it, but… As much as I am ENTIRELY one of those Tactical Design fanatics… These feel… Dirty… Somehow. I know this is hypocritical of me, to some degree, because I am usually the FIRST to point out that I can, and DO, regularly buy Military grade MOLLE equipment for my EDC from AliExpress, at fractions of the costs of what US companies CALL “Military Grade”… But this particular company doesn’t feel right.
Now… In Scouting, the Motto is “Be Prepared” so… I can see where that motto might stick with a lot of people who have been through the Scouting system, and drive them to want more serious things for their version of an EDC. Maybe they DO want a more rugged Tape Measure on the go “Just in Case” and maybe they DO want a better Utility Knife, or Bag, or whatever… In fact that describes 100% of my EDC, except for my Cell Phone, which is just something we all seem to just have these days.
Somehow this company seems like they should leave the tool manufacturing/branding to other companies, and just act like a Military/Veterans Charity Foundation, connecting companies like SBD, TTI, Makita, Bosch, and Metabo HPT with the correct press materials, branding livery, and charity logos to be added to the tools they want to make this exact same donation to.
As to Amazon… I’ve noticed that a great number of the sellers on Amazon Marketplace are no longer Amazon Marketplace usuals, they’re Alibaba/AliExpress network stores, operating AS Amazon Marketplace resellers. I have even browsed Amazon for my usual types of things I grab from AliExpress, and found that I didn’t just have the IDENTICAL product, it was the identical Price, identical Shipping, and Identical STORE NAME as I have dealt with on AliExpress.
So… The theory that this seems right off Alibaba? I give full credibility to that theory. Except… this is one of those “Don’t Touch” knockoff type products.
So I’m sure there is a military spec for a tape measure. I am also sure it would have something like MIL-STD-________ and at least 5 digits after it and if you find the spec it most likely calls out a stanley produced tape measure that stopped production in the early 80’s.
failing all else – a fool and their money . . . . . . .
Saw these on the ‘gram a while back and it’s just 100% rebrand marketing. Nothing innovative, just some vague claims (“MiLiTaRy GrAdE!”) with no data or certifications to back it up. I am all for supporting veterans but even their claim of 3% is vague….3% of profits? Gross sales? Call me a cynic but this whole line screams BS.
Thanks, I hate it.
Best new word I saw within the past week was “ammosexual.” This would fit that well.
I like that.
Would that involve “nano bullets”?
That is great.
Mike (the other one)
I’m a little tired of all the “tacticool” merchandise. Adding greebles and making it brown doesn’t make it any more rugged.
It’s a fashion trend at this point, just like Realtree camo on items that would never be used for hunting.
Agreed! Just what I need (to lose) A tan/brown/black tape that I use around tan/brown/black lumber. First time I set that down, it disappears into another dimension.
There is a reason I like BRIGHT yellow, orange or red tapes.
Does it come in M-LOK? I’m not buying one if I can’t attach it to my AR-15.
Now this is funny
No, but it has “SRS compatible retention,” whatever that is. I tried to look it up, and only found information about combat helmets.
Perhaps “supplemental restraint system” (like an airbag in a car)?
Maybe they just mean its capable of being duct taped to things.
I assume it has a belt clip.
Good lord I bet it can attach to a mich helmet like a set of nods. That would be hilarious.
This seems geared to someone who thinks they need the most durable set of tools without being highly informed. Especially because the pricing isn’t much better than what you get when higher quality tapes from Milwaukee and others go on sale.
“This seems geared to someone who isn’t remotely informed.”
Fixed that for you.
Even if it were the best tape measure on the market, I wouldn’t use it. It’d be too embarrassing.
lol if they just went the extra step of making a KeyMod attachment I’d buy it for the comic value
Pretty much simple rebrand of basic tools, and nothing more, I’d guess. Manufacturer X, please make products x y and z with a different color scheme.
I assume it comes with a reduced scale to make your dick measure bigger too?
Now that’s funny.
After serving in the military I can assure you that “mil-spec” generally means crap when it comes to marketing. Key words is that it needs to EXCEEDE mil-spec.
Also…why the hell would I want a subdued tape measure??? I drop that stupid thing it’s gonna be harder to spot than a bright colored one.
1) The big tang/end on that tape is a joke and will get bent easily (Like the real early Milwaukee tapes–I straightened all of mine, cut most of it off and synced them to be accurate with each other). 2) “No name” tapes generally aren’t accurate–never a good thing but a HUGE deal when working w others.
I’d bet it’s not accurate, and even if it is, it won’t be for long with that big end on it.
give. me. a. break.
Wait you guys don’t build the latest instagram gizmo from upcycled pallets while in a sustained fire fight? Those orange tape measures are a real give away to your stealth capabilities.
I guess the $0.38 to mil charity and laugh factor if you gave one to a buddy might be worth it. On second thought it’s not funny enough for me to spend $13. And typically they say most charities that are worth their salt should be donating 90% of the proceeds to their target. Only 10% for administrative. This brand is ot a charity but there are better places to donate. Hard PASS
Thanks Stuart for posting this. There is some comment gold on this one. “ Reduced scale” ….im still laughing
Gary Sinise Foundation is legit. But I agree. I despise the Wounded Warrior Project for the fact they spend entirely too much for admin and very little goes to servicemembers/veterans. They didn’t do crap for my guys who got messed up other than give them some schwag. The Special Operations Foundation on the other hand went above and beyond for everyone I knew and their families. As a result I donate regularly to them.
I agree with most of the comments…what is military grade for a tape measure…a lot of marketing terms…how much quality can you get at what is a pretty regular price for the better known tape brands.
But, the ratings and reviews are interestingly quite good. I know some Amazon reviewers can be lame at times, but when you have over 300 reviewers and a 4.5 rating; there are lots of good reviews and many sound quite reputable.
I would definitely like to get one in my hands before passing judgement.
As an ex-infantry sergeant paratrooper I am SO happy to see even more O.D. green crap sold to our wanna-be chairborne warriors as they continue to militarize themselves, because that’s REALLY what we need more of as a culture right now… Killer tape measures. Wait, I mean, ELITE killer tape measures. There; that’s better.
It’s time to bring back practiCOOL.
Features I might want in a tactical tape measure: silent retraction with a soft close mechanism, quiet and quick belt clip, a satin or matte coated blade, slimmer profile, ultralight impact resistant housing (maybe kevlar or carbon fiber bonded), factory kydex holster option.
But heck, if it was really veering into survivalist considerations, then maybe something more like a rugged, no stretch, tailor-style flat tape with a 750 lb load rating so it could be repurposed on the fly.
These “Spec Ops” looks like the kind of crap that I fell for a few years before https://toolguyd.com/quickdraw-pro-tape-measure-deal-122016/ Please stick to name brand tape measure. (Lufkin, DEWALT/Stanley group, Milwaukee, etc.) Everything about the QuickDraw Tape measure feels cheap: plastic case, and spring. I bet that this SpecOps are the same.
Like some others here I’m also a vet.
Yes the Gary Sinise Foundation is legit but it just means they kick GSF a check once in a while.
I buy tools (hell, anything actually) based on the performance I need to do a particular job or fill a need – not on who their pet charity is.
I donate to charity, but I do it directly myself.
Every time I see someone trying to market themselves or their stuff by pushing their veteran status or implying some tacticool military whiz-ban application (like ‘battle-tested, bomb-proof’ tape measures and hammers) – I puke in my mouth a little bit.
If you can make a better mousetrap (or hammer) then go ahead and just do it.
Then sell us on how & why its actually better – don’t blow smoke up my 5th point of contact about how it’s tactical, military-grade, battle-tested or made by a vet owned company.
If you make absolutely great ‘whatevers’, atva decent price point and just happen to be vet owned….. Fantastic, I’ll take two.
Otherwise its’s just cheap, sad and flippin pathetic.
Spec Ops Tools
Hey guys, we appreciate everyone’s honest comments and feedback on our website and marketing. As many of you have taken the time to review our website, we hope you’ll also take the time to get to know our brand a little better. Since we are founded by veterans and also employ vets, our tools feature the military-inspired design and language to stay true to our brand roots. Like many other brands, our tool design is handled in-house by our team, while production is handled both in-house and outside of our team. Our goal is through collaborations and direct investment, to bring more USA production online in the future and to tie in with our goals of employing more vets and support of USA production. Our current philanthropy partners are as stated on our website (The Navy SEAL Foundation and The Gary Sinise Foundation) and they are under contract allowing us to highlight our relationship. We also allocate funding to The Green Beret Foundation and are hoping to have that relationship contracted in the near future. The current break down of our charitable contribution is approximately 3% of sales with approximately 1% going to each partner. Donations are made on a quarterly basis to each charity and are an intrinsic part of our core mission. We understand many of the comments are based on our marketing, but we’d like for everyone to get a feel for our tools and to see how they actually perform. As a thank you for providing feedback, we’re giving a limited-time code to the first 20 people who want to try out our tools for free. Simply go to our website http://www.SpecOpsTools.com, add the 20 oz hammer with soft face (SPEC-M20SF-S) and the 8-piece screwdriver set (SPEC-S-8PK) to your cart, then at checkout use the code TOOLGUYD which will issue a 100% credit. We look forward to hearing more from you once you have the chance to demo the tools.
Thank you for that generous promo code Spec Ops. I already had bought a 16′ tape measure and am testing it out, was previously using the Milwaukee stud 16′. Happy to hear you’re trying to move the manufacturing here to the US.