Most shooters going to the range, tend to look at the weather report before hitting the range. Depending on how bad you have a gun addiction, you may fall into this category as well. For me, I’m like a gun crackhead looking for his fix and I will go to the range whether it’s rain or sunshine. I kept sinking more and more money into firearms because that’s my addiction, but after a few really miserable range sessions in the wind and rain, I started looking for some quality lightweight jackets I can throw on while I shoot. I decided to pick up a few different coats from FirstSpear and after a few months of owning them, I have finally had enough time with both to give a full review to you guys. Let’s take a closer look at the FirstSpear Wind Cheater and Halifax Jackets.
FirstSpear offers a number of options when it comes to apparel but I decided to try out their lightweight jacket options first since that’s what my biggest need was for range days. I started out with the Wind Cheater since it’s a full rain and wind jacket with a lot of purpose-built features for shooters. Later on I picked up the Halifax jacket which is built similarly to the Wind Cheater but with a couple of significant changes.
FirstSpear Wind Cheater
The Wind Cheater has been around for a number of years now and has really been one of the only jackets I’ve seen that’s been designed from the ground up for Military, LE and civilians that enjoy shooting sports. The Wind Cheater is 100% made in the USA and I’d definitely consider it a lightweight breathable shell jacket. FirstSpear considers this a lightweight shell but also built the Wind Cheater with a durable water repellant finish which leaves the jacket lightweight while still offering excellent water resistance if it starts to rain while you’re at the range.
There are a number of little details that really set the Wind Cheater apart from other jackets I’ve used in the past. The first is the extra-large hood that accommodates a helmet if you’re someone who likes using night vision. In addition to the larger hood, it also has a built-in Velcro strip on the top of the hood so users can install their strobe on the hood and still be able to stay dry in rain.
It’s the little details that show FirstSpear understands the need for quality gear while keeping safety in mind as well. There are a number of pockets for storage both on the arms and body as well as tightening bungees to tailor the jacket to your exact size. Airflow was a key goal for FirstSpear and as a result, they have these huge sections of zippered vents under the arm and armpit to give you a cover garment without being hot in warmer climates. Each arm has a velcro section on the arms to attach IR tags or name tapes if needed as well. The Wind Cheater is available in multiple solid and camouflage patterns as well with an MSRP of $210.08.
The Halifax jacket is the newest variant to come out from FirstSpear and it’s similar to the Wind Cheater in the material and overall cut. It has the same long tail as the Wind Cheater so you can tuck it in if you’re using a range belt or duty belt. The biggest difference between the Halifax jacket and the Wild Cheater is that the Halifax jacket has no hood. This is a simple jacket without a large hood and lacks the Velcro material on the arms. Without the large hood and Velcro tabs on the arms, the Halifax jacket seems a lot less tactical than the Wind Cheater.
Being able to have a lightweight breathable jacket that offers really good concealment for a firearm is well worth the price to me. It’s a jacket I can either wear to work, in everyday life or when I’m at the range and just want a light jacket. The Halifax jacket is currently offered in either black or grey with no camouflage patterns available at this time. MSRP on this bad boy is $159.99.
With the weather in Michigan being as predictable as a Powerball lottery, often times I will have a number of different gloves, jackets and other clothes to try and have all my bases covered for a Michigan range day. I’ve taken both jackets on a combined 14 range trips and most early mornings I started with one of these jackets on. One of my favorite things about these jackets is the fact they both fit true to their sizes. Nothing bothers me like a baggy jacket or set of pants so the fact they are true to size and fit well making moving easier.
The overall material and quality stand out since it stood up to some pretty terrible abuse when I was in weird positions on concrete and gravel. It didn’t tear any of the material or leave permanent marks. FirstSpear went with a material that makes no noise if you’re running or moving quickly. Most shell-style jackets make a high pitch swoosh sound whenever you move, but with both the Wind Cheater and Halifax, the material remains quiet even when moving quickly or running. It may not seem like a big deal but everyday use is more enjoyable and if you’re attempting to be quiet, it’s also a huge plus.
Two months ago, I went down to Texas for an Axis deer hunt and decided to take the Wind Cheater while I was riding around in the back of a Jeep. During that trip, it was sunny with a high of 85-90 degrees every day. This may not seem like a big deal to most, but my ghostly white Michigan skin isn’t used to that type of heat and sunlight during the winter months. After the first day, I was uncomfortably burnt. OK, so what’s your point, Matt?
My point in telling this story is the fact I wore the Wind Cheater every day with the hood up to block my sun exposure. Despite it being hot outside, I unzipped the air vents and was completely comfortable outside all day despite wearing a jacket in the Texas sun. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but having a “do-all” shell jacket that you can wear with a sweatshirt in 40-degree weather or unzip the air vents and use in the hot summer sun is truly a dynamic piece of clothing.
So I know you’re all asking yourself if you had to have one jacket which one would it be? I don’t really have a good answer to this question. The Wind Cheater is a very capable jacket that has been made for people in the gun world, it works well regardless if it’s chilly or scorching hot outside. The materials are top-notch and the price is high but the quality is there to back it up. When it comes to the Halifax jacket, it’s better for everyday use and more subtle in public. It works well for work attire and is a personal favorite for concealed carry.
These jackets may be made by the same company and materials, but they are very different in function and roles. Regardless, I’m very impressed and if you’re in the market for a new range or everyday jacket, I’d definitely check out these jackets. What do you guys think about having quality gear for range and everyday use? Is it a waste of money since range gear typically gets abused or do you think it’s worth the money? Let me know what you think down in the comments below. If you have questions about these jackets or firearm-related questions, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeperator. Stay safe out there.