Dan Costa the Founder of 5.11 Tactical, has created a new cutting edge company called “First Tactical”


By: Baraka Ulrich James, Founder/Chairman MASF Modern American Safety & Firearms 501(c)3 nonprofit education organization.

Late last year, care of my good friend David Reeder of RECOIL Magazine and Breach Bang Clear, I was invited out to First Tactical’s first ever Range day and shoot at CowTown Range in Peoria Arizona.

I received a formal invitation via email and a full itinerary including airline and hotel accommodations. When I arrived at Phoenix Arizona’s Sky Harbor International Airport I was met by First Tactical’s representative and former LEO Bill Whelehan. Bill picked up myself and another gentleman and took us to our nearby hotel. After checking in at the front desk I headed to my room where I found this note:

20151106_074349I was provided a pair of Performance 9” Socks, a Tactix 1-day plus backpack and lastly a pair of Tactix pants, Men’s Tactical Pants.

After a good nights rest we headed to CowTown Range in Peoria Arizona early in the morning.

20151106_09563620151106_10594120151106_110242There was a small select cadre of media including Eric of Soldiers Systems daily, Iain and David of RECOIL Magazine, just to name a few.

At this point you might be wondering, “What is First Tactical?” First Tactical is a new tactical company founded by Dan Costa (pictured below). If the name Dan Costa rings a bell, that is no surprise. Dan was the founder of 5.11 Tactical.

Dan Costa

Dan founded 5.11 Tactical in 2003 and sold in December 2003. Per modbee.com’s article, the Stockholders did very well. Dan Costo sold 5.11 Tactical for $305 Million dollars.”About $240 million of the sales price was distributed among 5.11’s “stockholders,” Costa said. While not all of them became millionaires, some got a check this week for three times their annual salary, he said. As part of the deal, Costa bought back a 20 percent share in the company for about $60 million, which he said will ensure that he has an interest in the company’s growth. That’s a change of habit for Costa, an entrepreneur with an established pattern of buying or founding businesses, making them into highly successful entities, then selling them. Costa has owned and sold the Velvet Creamery restaurant chain, Velvet Foods, Mallard’s Restaurant in Modesto and Stockton, Mallard’s Foods pasta plant, Davis Lay Food Service Inc. and Royal Robbins outdoor clothing. He continues to own and develop NorthPointe Shopping Center in north Modesto, which is anchored by Costco and Lowe’s. Costa said 5.11 may be the most unlikely success he’s had. When he bought Royal Robbins in 1999, vendors told him the company gave them constant headaches. He discovered that one pair of 5.11 Tactical cargo pants cost nearly twice as much as cargo pants from competitors. But law enforcement officers loved them. Originally designed as ultra-sturdy pants for mountain climbing, some Colorado-based FBI agents who were also climbers discovered 5.11 trousers were good for work and play. Eventually, the pants ended up at the FBI training center in Virginia. When top officers from around the world began wearing 5.11 products they got from the FBI, other officers wanted their own, Costa said.” – Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/news/local/article3098287.html#storylink=cpy

Dan Costa, along with his his daughter Kelsie (pictured below), have launched this brand new company First Tactical as of July 2015.
20151106_124745Dan describes what First Tactical is all about in the video below from their YouTube channel.
Why We’re Different: First Tactical thrives to create high quality products at a low cost. We listen to the end-users to make the changes needed for everyday operations. Our engineering process leads with innovation to develop products that balance price without risking quality. After real operators in the field have tested our products in the most demanding conditions, modifications and improvements are made based on fundamental feedback. Our process allows us to eliminate the middleman, delivering top-quality products direct to you.

First Tactical’s mission statement: Made to serve those who serve others
Their business model is: Direct to consumer pricing.

1st tactical with WMFirst Tactical™ makes functional gear created for professionals. Guided by the principles of innovation and reliability, First Tactical works first–hand with real–world users to create durable products that meet the needs of public safety.

Fist Tactical employs many former Law Enforcement officers such as my friend Todd N. who served 25 Years in the San Jose Police Dept.

Now we head back to my experience as a guest of First Tactical and what that entailed. The day started off with a company introduction by Kelsi immediately followed by a presentation by First Tactical’s product development mastermind Cory Nykoluk (pictured below). 

Cory walked us through their full product line with hands on demonstrations from their gloves, boots, pants, shirts, belts, bags, knives and flashlights. Cory and his team literally go over every detail of each of their products. They discuss, test and cover every aspect of their products from functionality, comfort, design, resilience, durability down to the minute details of stitching, buckles, zipper placement and “what if” scenarios”.

After the product demonstration we had an awesome catered lunch. We then headed down to the range to test some of their products in action. In the picture below I am wearing a pair of Performance 9” Socks, First Tactical Patrol Gloves and lastly a pair of Tactix pants, Men’s Tactical Pants.


I am shooting Russell Phagan’s SinistralRifleman.com KE Arms post sample machine gun with their forged upper and lower and 9″ keymod handguard and 7075 t6 charging handle. I am wearing the new First Tactical Patrol Gloves.  This awesome Photo is by John of Down Range photography.

We brought the day to an end with the honor of Dan Costa himself grilling us the best tasting steak and lobster tails. This restaurant owner explained the whole prep process as he trimmed and grilled, it was like watching a cooking show!

In conclusion, the hospitality shown to me by First Tactical was beyond what I could have ever expected. I feel truly honored to have been at their first range day as well as being gifted some of their superb products which I am proud to be still using today.

Please check out take a moment and check out First Tactical’s pages: