When I found out Brad Thor had designed a concealed carry jacket, I was intrigued. I figured it was just another jacket hurried to market to take advantage of his popularity, knowing that Brad’s name sells. So with unbridled skepticism, I went to his website to check out the product.
When you’re a successful author of suspense novels and you decide you want to be a concealed-carry garment designer, you better get your gear right — the gun community can be an unforgiving bunch. Putting your name on the jacket is even riskier, since it can label you as a maker of junk for the rest of your career.
I’m the guy that used to test products for the NRA and determine if they were good enough to bear the NRA label and be marketed to NRA members. Let me assure you that there is no tougher audience than NRA members and if you make claims that the product won’t support they will call you out with a barrage of four letter words. That means this test is written for people that work hard for their money and don’t have any extra cash laying around. More importantly, the product has to work correctly.
The claims for this coat were lofty. There is even a Sun Tzu quote on the website and acronyms like RAPs (Rapid Access Panels) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). Sounds good, but does it do what it was designed for – give me fast access to my gun? I’ll only know when it arrives. So I ordered one. They were out of stock. I wondered if it was because of good marketing or good product. To their credit, the product shipped when they said it would.
By all counts I’m an extra-large, but after reading the reviews of the jacket and hearing it runs big, I ordered a large. I’m 6’1” and 220 lbs and wear a 46/48 long jacket. I’m about as big as a large will fit. I’m thinking an XL would be about right for me if I had on body armor.
My first two thoughts when the jacket arrived were: This is a very expensive jacket to make and this is a very well-made jacket. The expense part is because of the sheer number of pockets and compartments built into the jacket. The quality is apparent in the stitching. It is tight — real tight — with incredible attention to detail.
The Brad Thor Alpha Jacket is the only garment you will find that comes with an operations manual. That’s because the jacket was not just designed for concealed carry, as we’ll see.