For some time now we’ve been DIGGING on a CAROLINA GUY with an EYE FOR INNOVATIVE GEAR AND GADGETS…so, after a quick Q-&-A Session back-channel over on the NCAirsoft.Org website, where he’s often dispensing PRICELESS GEAR ADVICE and selling his expert services and products, too…we’ve got an IN DEPTH interview with MATTAC head-honcho, MATTHEWS himself!

We’re going to put the HOT LINK for Matthews Tactical at the top and bottom of this one: MatTac’s FACEBOOK PAGE: Get over there and LIKE ’em and be sure to hover and bookmark his updates in your feed, too! : LINK HERE

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Here’s our Questions and Answers session with THE MAN behind MATTAC!

THUMPY: WHO are you? Name, little background on you personally…only as much as you want to have out-in-public.

MATTHEWS: My name is Andrew Matthews, originally from the South Charlotte, NC area currently at school in Columbia, SC for Mechanical Engineering. Currently empolyed as a military gear salesman here at US Patriot Tactical (Ft. Jackson), and take a real interest in helping warfighters find better solutions to combat gear. Unable to serve in the military myself due to medical reasons, I consider it the least I can do to contribute to soldiers and milsim enthusiasts alike with new gear ideas and my own technical experience.


THUMPY: How long have you been making/modifying your gear? How long playing?

MATTHEWS: I’ve been playing airsoft/milsim for about seven years now since I started college at Clemson University in 2005. Unlike a lot of hobbies, it really stuck and I just started hording as much gear as I could get my hands on. The more gear I aquired the more I felt like I could improve what was out there and let’s face it, sometimes it’s more fun to do it yourself.
I have been sewing and customizing old surplus gear for about a year or so now and just recently decided to try my hand at custom Kydex gear. I usually see something I want on the real steel market, that isn’t offered at an airsoft price or isn’t currently available, so I just try to replicate it from pictures. (FAST helmet, MOLLE gear, Vest Components, Custom Pouches, etc.)
I take a lot of inspiration from the SFLCS, AI/EI, and LBT lines of gear but always try to tweak the design to my personal needs. They say “Necessity is the mother of all invention” and I have personally found that to be the case in my military simulation experience.


THUMPY: What’s your “philosophy” on building a good rig? How do you treat your customers?

MATTHEWS: My personal philisophy in creating a new piece of gear is to start with something familiar or currently available and modify it to an individual need. I like it to look like a high end piece of equipment available to the SOF community, while serving a specific requirement for milsim such as hiding an HPA regulator, carrying my Polarstar Tank, or making it easier to don and doff my rig in a hurry. I am a huge fan of gear modularity, where all pieces of equipment exist and function individual of the other gear, and try to integrate that concept into most of my gear.
I am a fan of finding cheaper, more readily available solutions to most problems I run into on the field. With the radio pouch I came up with, I wanted a pouch that would fit my Wouxun Dual-Band radio, that allowed me to easily see and manipulate the screen, while still being attached to my MOLLE system.


As for my customers, I don’t really do the work to turn a profit but a lot of my custom gear is the result of a request for a gear solution that isn’t currently available or may be too expensive. I am always happy to provide my technical experience and I consider it a challenge to try and find a custom solution for an individual whether he be heading downrange to Afghanistan or just upstate to Fulda Gap.

My customers include milsim friends and teammates, local LE/SWAT officers, and even members of the SOF community currently deployed in Afghanistan. Even though most ideas originate from an personal need, I have had the opportunity to contribute to those who serve and ultimately look forward to benefiting the military community.

THUMPY: What rigs are your favorites? Why?

MATTHEWS: My favorite rigs are generally the more simple time-tested designs such as the RRV and other chest rigs. I like plate carrier vests that are designed for mobility and ease of movement instead of the larger releasable designs like the CIRAS and RBAV carriers. I like to focus on lighter, smaller, faster by trying to integrate as much as possible into the design while providing modularity where I can for optional add-on requirements. I loved the RRV + Integrated MAP design but I never felt like it fit the way I wanted it to and I didn’t like how it lacked the rigidity of a plate carrier, even with a plate installed.


Right now I use an LBT 6094 for it’s size and SAPI cut design which maximizes operator mobility. I found that the included MOLLE cummerbund was a great solution for most setups but doesn’t quite satisfy every requirement. For a higher mobility Direct Action kit where less MOLLE real estate is needed, I made a 4″ elastic cummerbund to free up my sides and added extra pouches to my belt.
In order to carry more magazines with faster access, I decided to build a MOLLE Quick Release Panel to store four extra 5.56mm mags, a Polarstar regulator, and a suppressor right off the front of my rig.
I also like the rigidity and authenticity of soft armor inserts but, like anyone, didn’t care for the added weight. My solution was a set of cordura laminated dense foam inserts replicating soft armor as well as rigid SAPI plates made from everyday packing fabric and foam board.

THUMPY: Know you are a PolarStar guy…so, is there enough custom gear to help P* owners build a reliable and comfortable set of gear…or do you have to modify to get it right?

MATTHEWS: The best thing about military simulation is the ability to adapt real military gear to fit a specific need or hide a non-military piece of equipment. Since no warfighter would be carrying an HPA tank on his back to run his Polarstar weapon, I had to figure out a way to hide the tank and air system in currently available gear or if need be customize a new piece of equipment for that purpose.


The AI/EI – style MAP Backpack fits the largest tank on the market and is a current component of the real SFLCS kit. The LBT 6094 includes velcro radio cable administrators to run my air hose though. The only thing I had to fabricate specifically for my Polarstar system was the secondary regulator pouch, which houses my FPS regulator so I can see the PSI gauge and adjustment knob without removing it from the MOLLE system. In everything I design or customize, the main focus is ease of use, convenience, and expedience all while being hidden or disguised as military kit.



THUMPY: Anything else you think folks would find interesting…torture test your gear? Worst Fail/Best WIN from using your -gear….

MATTHEWS: As with any design process, some of my ideas haven’t worked out so well in the field and ultimately, all gear is a constant evolution integrating new ideas and materials to produce a better solution in the field. I don’t torture test my gear but the stuff I’ve made is still in great condition after three Fulda Gaps, four Lion Claws events, and countless skirmishes. I use only 1000D Eagle Cordura and I am getting better at stitching/bar-tacking everyday. I have actually had personal custom gear hold up better than its Chinese Voodoo Tactical and Condor counterparts, so that is something I am proud of.


All in all it is a great hobby and continual learning experience. It is personally fulfilling to contribute new designs and ideas to the military and airsoft communities alike. It is always a pleasure to make it easier on those who serve while doing what I love.

You do great work and folks need to know!


Thanks Alan! I am excited to see so much interest in my craft.
Please use any pictures you’d like and let me know if you have any other questions. I hope the info and answers provided are helpful, and once again, thank you for featuring my stuff.

Take care Alan,


MatTac’s FACEBOOK PAGE: Get over there and LIKE ’em and be sure to hover and bookmark his updates in your feed, too! : LINK HERE