TIRED OF BEING FED BULLSH*T FROM A DISTRIBUTOR, SUPPLIER, MANUFACTURER OR SOME RUN-OF-THE-MILL INTERNET TROLL WHO FOUND YOUR BID ONLINE AND UNDER-CUT YOUR CHOSEN SUPPLIER’S PRICING - ULTIMATELY PROVIDING YOU WITH AN INFERIOR PRODUCT
It’s happened to most of you – our market is no different than any other. Unfortunately there are liars, cheats, questionable products and of course – “the country of origin issues” – a case of where the product you’re being sold or quoted actually was manufactured and we’re not talking about countries such as the U.S., UK, Switzerland, or Canada for example – we’re talking about countries like China, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
Some distributors are so “out of it” the photos they use to advertise their ‘products’ were obviously provided by the overseas manufacturer. The photos were undoubtedly taken by the overseas manufacturer in a plant and country that doesn’t know sh*t about U.S. tactical operators or how to build product for them. We’ll post some of those types of photos here for you to make up your own mind in the near future.
The worst of the worst are those individuals who will “TELL YOU ANYTHING IN ORDER TO SELL YOU ANYTHING”. As Atlantic Signal has grown and begun to earn more of the market share, some competitors have chosen to flat out lie about our company and our products. We’ve spent 26+ years establishing our reputation and we’ve decided to no longer ignore these issues and remain silent.
As a result, we’ve established the “SAY WHAT?” blog. We’ll remain above board and not directly call out the companies and/or individuals by name BUT we’ll provide you enough information to help you better educate yourselves and avoid costly purchasing mistakes in the future.
LET’S GET STARTED……
SAY WHAT? #1
Atlantic Signal is proud to be a value added supplier to 3M/Peltor as well as being one of their Top 5 distributors in the United States.
Recently we’ve been approached too many times to ignore what is being said about the 3M Peltor ComTac III ACH headset we distribute and add our push-to-talks, custom cables and accessories to. In a nutshell here’s the BULLSH*T
Employees of a competitor are stating that the Peltor ComTac III ACH headset has a built-in defect – namely that when there is any noise 82 decibels and above (flash bang / gunfire) in an operator’s environment – the electronic hearing protection in the headset activates to protect the wearer’s hearing BUT cuts off all incoming radio transmissions. Furthermore these employees are stating that the headset their company distributes does not have this issue because their products has “two speakers”. This is not an isolated story. For example, we heard it from three different SWAT operators, representing three different departments, at a recent trade show that both our company and the competitor referenced here attended,
WE CALL BULLSH*T!
The 3M Peltor COMTAC III ACH headset, utilized throughout the world, including all branches of the U.S. Military, Special Operations, Federal Agencies and thousands of state and local law enforcement teams DOES NOT, we repeat DOES NOT cut off radio, intercom, smartphone or any other incoming comms when noise levels in an operator’s environ meets or exceeds 82 decibels. Fact is – it NEVER cuts off incoming radio comms.
As for the competitor’s comments regarding their headset not cutting off comms in high noise environments because the headset has two speakers…. We call DOUBLE BULLSH*T. We’re not even certain what that idiotic claim means. The 3M Peltor COMTAC III ACH has two speakers and two ambient microphones just like the competitors.
Let’s get real here – do you really think the headset used by more U.S. military operators than any other headset on the market – cuts off incoming comms when noise in their environment exceeds 82 decibels???????
If anyone tells you this story about the 3M Peltor COMTAC III ACH headset we suggest ending the conversation – you’re being lied to and the BS will likely get deeper as the conversation continues!
SAY WHAT? #2
We’ve included a few photos of a couple of styles of remote finger switches offered by multiple LE/Military communication distributors/resellers here in the U.S. We grabbed these images off of Google.
We found it odd that this finger switch popped up all over the internet and was offered from $18.95 up to $55. We also found it on ‘air-softer’ websites as well.
Why did we find that odd? Because we received a half a dozen samples of these 2 models of switches in the mail several years ago from a manufacturer in China. In fact, we’ve received other free samples from this same source at other times – other products that are being marketed to tactical operators today.
This particular Chinese manufacturer, as many others do, simply sends unsolicited free samples to American companies they’ve likely Googled or have done business with in the past. They target any company that they believe might possibly buy and distribute their product at a wholesale price.
You can call this particular item a tactical product but we won’t. We were quoted a wholesale price of less than $2 for these cheap switches by the Chinese manufacturer. It’s obvious to us this switch wasn’t designed for or by tactical operators. This is a cheap piece of crap – what we would refer to as a ‘throw-away’ product. Numerous companies are passing this off to you at a ridiculous marked up price.
Below is a photo of one of the Chinese samples sent to us several years ago. Look familiar?
SAY WHAT? #3
Picture #1 – MSA/Sordin “Avenger” Headset – manufactured in Sweden
Picture #2 – Tactical Command (aka TCI) “Liberator II” Headset – rebranded in the USA
All three of these headsets are manufactured in Sweden by MSA/Sordin. The headsets are manufactured in a horizontal frame version (pictured) as well as a vertical frame model. Both TEA and Tactical Command have attempted to modify the headsets and offer a ‘rail mounted’ version as well – to include using Velcro as the fastening mechanism to the helmet.
We point this out in an effort to make the buyer aware that there are headsets out there on the market being differentiated by a label strategically placed over the MSA/Sordin screen printed logo on each ear cup. In reality there is one headset with different ‘badges or ‘names’. We don’t know why MSA/Sordin would allow a company, or in this case, companies to change the name of their product and/or hide the MSA/Sordin logo but it appears they are aware and allow it to happen.
It’s important for operators to be aware of this situation as we have learned from several teams, when trying to get their headsets repaired, they were instructed to send the headset back to Sweden and were limited to one headset at a time. The cost to send overseas, not to mention the time lost, seems ridiculous to us, to say the least.
Atlantic Signal, on the other hand, is the largest value added distributor of the Peltor COMTAC III ACH headset in North America. We repair Peltor headsets in house and stock replacement parts. We also offer the only approved method of mounting the headset to high-cut helmet rails (as shown below). We do not rebrand Peltor’s products nor try to hide who the actual manufacturer is. With well over 300,000 Comtac III ACH headsets sold worldwide, we’re proud of our relationship with 3M/Peltor and equally proud to offer THE HEADSET fielded by US Army PEO Soldier and USSOCOM.
SAY WHAT? #4
As early as the mid-90’s we began to see other companies introducing bone conduction headsets to the U.S. market. Two things were immediately apparent: #1 the headsets were definitely not designed with tactical users and applications in mind and #2 the headsets were not manufactured in the United States but rather overseas – most of the models coming from locations throughout Asia.
Nothing has really changed – Atlantic Signal continues to manufacture all models of our tactical bone conduction headsets here in North America (Kansas and Canada) while the market is glutted with knock-offs, inferior products and an incredible number of companies marketing the same headset with different names and logos.
We caution you - the operator – to dig for and demand information from your suppliers. Have them provide documentation defining where the headset you’re considering is manufactured – not assembled but actually manufactured. Does the supplier own the molds? Did the supplier design the headset? Hopefully you’ll receive an honest answer. Another thing you can do – is search the web for ‘bone conduction’ headsets under the sub heading ‘images’ – look for headsets that look the same. Click on each link – see if the product being offered has a different product name or a different logo. Chances are high you’re being sold a headset not manufactured in the U.S. and likely not designed with the input of actual operators.
ALL Atlantic Signal Tactical Bone Conduction Headsets were designed and are manufactured in one of our two facilities in North America – Topeka, KS and Toronto, Canada. We do not carry or offer any headsets manufactured in China, Malaysia, Vietnam, and so on. You get the idea.
Below are a very small group of pictures pulled off the internet of ‘tactical bone conduction headsets’ readily available from distributors and suppliers in the United States – being marketed toward you – the operator. Take a close look at several of the models – the exact same headset from a myriad of suppliers – some with identifying bone conductor covers – others with none. We’re not accusing any specific supplier or distributor of misleading operators. We’ll let you make that call. We’re simply pointing out what appears obvious – Buyer Beware!
SAY WHAT? #5
Say What? #6
Well, here we go again. There appears to be some shady information, products and practices out there with regard to rail mounted comms headsets. So let’s expose the misinformation and get down to the truth.
Within the past couple years TEA headsets began to buy ARC rail kits and modify them to fit on MSA/Sordin brand headsets – aka the TEA branded Tier One or HTH / High Threat Headsets. Subsequently 3M/Peltor terminated their distribution relationship with TEA for several business factors including the intended misuse of this product.
Since then another competitor, Tactical Command Industries aka TCI, began exhibiting their re-branded MSA/Sordin headsets (aka the Liberator series) using a modified design ARC rail kit.
3M/Peltor designed, in response to operator demand, the ARC Rail Mounted COMTAC III ACH headset. The ARC attachment and COMTAC III ACH headset had to go through rigorous testing to include the all-important hearing protection element of the product’s design and operational performance. It was further tested, evaluated and approved by our US Natick Laboratories for implementation in the field by our US Special Forces operators on the Ops Core FAST helmet.
3M/Peltor DOES NOT authorize NOR condone the use of its ARC attachment on any headset except the model they build – the COMTAC III ACH. Furthermore, modifying the attachment and attempting to fit it on some other brand of headset potentially places an end-user in danger of hearing damage/loss. Furthermore, 3M/Peltor does NOT CONDONE NOR WARRANT any level of hearing protection when their ARC attachment is utilized with any other headset.
So apparently, some companies have chosen to trick the consumer into believing a Sordin or rebranded Liberator, High Threat or Tier One headset coupled with a 3M/Peltor ARC attachment includes laboratory certified hearing protection – or any form of proven hearing protection. We call BULLSH*T!
3M/Peltor has now chosen to restrict the sale of the ARC attachment to a few select distributors or value-added suppliers – our company is one of the select few. This is in an effort to prevent other companies from modifying their attachment and adding it to another headset – ultimately confusing the end-user not to mention potentially causing the end user hearing loss.
Restricting the sale of the ARC attachment has resulted in black market rail attachments surfacing in the market. We’re now seeing them here in the United States from Asian manufacturers. While it is assumed these knock-offs were manufactured for the Air-Soft markets, we’re hearing there’s a company out there using an air soft adapter and attaching it to a rebranded Sordin headset and subsequently marketing it to US Law Enforcement operators.
So how do you tell if you’re being lied to/misled or not?
First of all, the only certified ARC attachment available in the United States is manufactured and branded by 3M and it must be attached to a 3M/Peltor headset to certify the hearing protection.
Does the ARC rail attachment you have on your kit have the PELTOR logo and Part # Z3AD stamped into the backside of the rail adjustment component? (see photo below) If it doesn’t it’s an inferior knock-off. If it does have the 3M logo and Part # but is connected to any brand headset other than a 3M/Peltor headset you’re running with a kit that has no hearing protection certification whatsoever.
One more thing – there have been companies buying the hard hat version of the 3M ARC adapter through 3M distributors and modifying it to fit on MSA/Sordin and rebranded MSA/Sordin headsets.
SAY WHAT? #7
At the inaugural Tac Ops West Conference and Expo this Spring we had a couple operators walk up to our booth and ask us about our ability to interface a smart phone into a tactical push-to-talk Comms suite. We first showed him our mannequin featuring the Warrior Tri-Comm system we designed for the FBI Special Operations Units nationwide. Then we showed them the DOMINATOR II Suite we designed for Naval Special Warfare Development Group. One of the operators asked how long we had these systems in the field and we advised we introduced the first smart phone capable tactical Comms system in the United States in 2011 and the two previously mentioned clients alone represented over 2,000 such fielded Comms systems and literally thousands more had been produced by us and purchased since by clients. We asked why he seemed concerned and he advised that another Comms 'vendor' at the expo had told him and his fellow operator that his company was in the process of introducing a smart phone capable Comms package into the tactical market but it was taking time as it was difficult to interface all of the various smartphones into his company's push-to-talks. When one of the operators mentioned he had seen several smartphone systems at our booth earlier in the day when walking by - the vendor informed him that "Atlantic Signal hadn't had any more luck than his company in interfacing a smartphone to our tactical communication systems".
Once again - one of our 'competitors' lies through his teeth as the company he works for falls farther and farther behind in the marketplace.
Piece of advice to this vendor - your constant lies, lack of customer service, inability to repair the products you distribute and the fact that your reputation is catching up with you is really unbecoming and does a huge disservice to the clients we serve.
If you can't tell the clients we work with the truth we suggest a change of employment - how about politics? We think you would fit right in!