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LTL509

Buying The Whole Schabang. Thoughts?

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I have been lucky enough when I got back into umpiring 3 years ago a good friend that did some Big 12 ball back in the day but had quit about 10 years ago gave me all his old gear.  It has done it's job but I've moved up into some higher levels and I know it's time to invest in myself.  I am buying a new mask, cp, and shin guards.  I am curious would you go with all one brand like Wilson or Force 3 for all 3 items or mix it up?  I am currently leaning towards the Force 3 V2 mask, gold West Vest, and All Star System 7 guards.  It really looks to me that its hard to go wrong with any Force 3 products or the Wilson stuff but I know many of you have far more experience buying gear over the years.  Thanks in advance for the discussion.

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Unless you get a discount from the vendor for buying all the same brand, there's no need to match.

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I have too many masks to know what to do with, a WV Gold and a System 7 chest protector, and Wilson Platinum shins. Do what works best for you. If you're not comfortable and if you don't trust your equipment, you're not going to be able to lock in.

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Unequal shin guards are what I use... They absolutely rock.

For CP I have the All-star UMP4000 which provides excellent collar bone protection, removable inner pads for easy washing, the System 7 harness and fairly easy adjustments. I believe @grayhawk is using this rig as well with a modification he made for the upper arm pads.

Masks... so many choices. 

 

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Force 3 shin guards...There are no better. The next time I hear an owner say they're not the best shins they've ever owned will be the first.

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F3 shins are not the best for me that I have worn. 

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Buy the best equipment you can afford. You will only regret spending the money at the time of the initial purchase.  As proof I have a eBay rating to prove the other side of how not to do it.  Buy and wear what works for you.  Dont get too caught up in what others are wearing.  There is no magic cloak of invincibility.  Best of luck.  

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, JoHart10 said:

F3 shins are not the best for me that I have worn. 

Well, now I know one. :D

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7 hours ago, LTL509 said:

I have been lucky enough when I got back into umpiring 3 years ago a good friend that did some Big 12 ball back in the day but had quit about 10 years ago gave me all his old gear.  It has done it's job but I've moved up into some higher levels and I know it's time to invest in myself.  I am buying a new mask, cp, and shin guards.  I am curious would you go with all one brand like Wilson or Force 3 for all 3 items or mix it up?  I am currently leaning towards the Force 3 V2 mask, gold West Vest, and All Star System 7 guards.  It really looks to me that its hard to go wrong with any Force 3 products or the Wilson stuff but I know many of you have far more experience buying gear over the years.  Thanks in advance for the discussion.

I really like Force 3 gear, especially the shin guards.  Everybody that has worn these shin guards swears by them.

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43 minutes ago, Richvee said:

Well, now I know one. :D

I liked the design and weight, but took a bad ankle shot that cost me a couple games and I went back to the platinums. 

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I have multiple sets of gear. I end up using my Force 3 shins every game. In fact I got two sets so I never had to wear anything else. I also have a Force 3 CP and a West Vest Gold. I much prefer the Force 3.

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

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Don't skimp on your mask or chest protector.  These are the two most important components.  Back when I started and was choosing between two chest protectors, the price difference was $50 which also happened to be my co-pay for an ER visit.  I dropped the extra $$ and have not regretted it since.

As some folks have noted, matching is not necessary.  Wear what you are most comfortable with and provides the necessary protection.

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16 hours ago, LTL509 said:

I have been lucky enough when I got back into umpiring 3 years ago a good friend that did some Big 12 ball back in the day but had quit about 10 years ago gave me all his old gear.  It has done it's job but I've moved up into some higher levels and I know it's time to invest in myself.  I am buying a new mask, cp, and shin guards.  I am curious would you go with all one brand like Wilson or Force 3 for all 3 items or mix it up?  I am currently leaning towards the Force 3 V2 mask, gold West Vest, and All Star System 7 guards.  It really looks to me that its hard to go wrong with any Force 3 products or the Wilson stuff but I know many of you have far more experience buying gear over the years.  Thanks in advance for the discussion.

don't forget Douglas ..... thin, light, super durable, protective stuff!

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I can verify @KenBAZ's armory. And, I endorse @Thunderheads mention of Douglas.

Never buy a manufacturer's "starter" or umpire kit. Ever. You are paying for the packaging of mediocrity, often in generic or improper sizes. Rarely is this kit gear a company's best, and if you identify a flaw or failure of one of the components, you are locked into dealing with them all.

Now, if a retailer or outfitter provides a package discount, it is something to consider. If this package has been selected by the outfitter (such as U-A does), or is a discount applied to the buying of components together (such as Force3 does), this demonstrates or gives you a choice in the matter. Options and choice are good.

Gerry Davis is a great example of choice being exercised – Wilson makes the DaviShins and the DaviShield, with their logo all over 'em... but what is the mask? A Davis-branded Diamond. Huh. So Gerry Davis himself doesn't use or endorse a Wilson mask? Nope. Oh sure, he may have worn one at one time or another, or certainly has used Wilson pads that are likely given to the Major League umpires in bulk (and because Diamond pads are pathetic).

Most guys here know my loathing disdain for Wilson. It has nothing to do with the products themselves. If you determine that a Wilson Platinum is the best CP for you, and buy one gently used from another umpire or source at a really attractive price point, then I'll crack open a tasty beverage with you and toast your success. If you get a modified one with a Flex-style harness and a TW retro-pad job in it, I'll even splurge on the champagne (of beers)! But if you buy a "new", stock-standard Platinum from Wilson or another retailer at $180+, you're mad... or an idiot... or a mad idiot. Why? Because Wilson hasn't done a single thing to improve that unit in nearly 10 years (15 if the Gold).

It's odd that you omit saying what other gear you'll likely get when you invest in yourself – such umpiring necessities as a personal protector, baselayer clothing, uniforms, hydration products, etc. Everyone omits these from discussion because we see them as trivial accessories that we try, evaluate and either keep or pass on depending on how we feel they worked for us.

So why is it that we don't apply the same perspective to gear items such as the mask, CP and shinguards? Hmmm.

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I appreciate everyone's input.  Now I just wish there was an umpire superstore down the street so I could try on some gear but I think I'm locked in on F3 mask and shin guards and still up in the air on CP.  Those that use the F3 mask do you switch out the pads or use the stock pads?

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8 hours ago, Thunderheads said:

don't forget Douglas ..... thin, light, super durable, protective stuff!

And you can buy extra padding from him.

38 minutes ago, LTL509 said:

I appreciate everyone's input.  Now I just wish there was an umpire superstore down the street so I could try on some gear but I think I'm locked in on F3 mask and shin guards and still up in the air on CP.  Those that use the F3 mask do you switch out the pads or use the stock pads?

Keep the stock pads. They are made specifically for the mask, are excellent pads, and most other pads don't really fit the F3 very well.

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10 hours ago, Thunderheads said:

don't forget Douglas ..... thin, light, super durable, protective stuff!

Love myself a Douglas. You could always undertake the MaXV CP project, which can be found in part here:

 

 Whatever you pick, I'd highly recommend a flex style harness. You don't understand the difference it makes until you put it on. The F3 harness is the least expensive but still awesome.  

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4 hours ago, LTL509 said:

I appreciate everyone's input.  Now I just wish there was an umpire superstore down the street so I could try on some gear but I think I'm locked in on F3 mask and shin guards and still up in the air on CP.  Those that use the F3 mask do you switch out the pads or use the stock pads?

There's the problem.  A lot of the fit issues won't always reveal themselves in the dressing room.  What seems like a mask that is not really heavy is an anchor by the start of the second plate of the day.  That "MLB"cp that fit tight is now drooping and leaving you exposed at the neck no matter how tight you pull the straps. Those expensive shins are just a little too long and they spin when you run.  Like I said, been there done that.  

At least if you buy from U-A they have free returns.  Some retailers have lower prices but really expensive restocking fees.  

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The mask and cp is important and all that stuff, but the best piece of "low cost" gear I have ever bought is a nutty buddy. 

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It is all personal preference. What works for me and my body type, stance, experience and level of working might not work for you. For me I use Wilson Dyna Late Steel (I have one Alum too) Masks with Team Wendy Pads on them, West Vest Gold with Team Wendy pads and Force 3 Shins (absolutely the best). I also recommend that you get a harness for your CP from Ump-Life and ditch whatever brand harness comes with the CP. 

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