Gear Review: Notch hat; Practical tactical headgear (VIDEO)

The Notch hat is easy to understand.  It a baseball cap with two well placed notches strategically that allow the bent brim of the hat to clear the stems of your sunglasses.  This means you don’t have to choose between the two, or suffer the mild annoyance that comes from a hat that won’t fit quite right because of your glasses.

Notch cuts a section from each side of the brim so the hat actually falls over the edge of the glasses.  This notch is protected by a perfectly molded and stitched piece that feels like rubber.  That’s the main difference.  The cut-outs are barely visible from the wearer’s perspective.  They are there in your peripheral vision, but disappear when you wear sunglasses.

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The rest is a well designed cap.  They are available in stretch fit or with adjustable snap backs (depending on the color).  The stretch fit sizing is generous.  I wear a 7 5/8 fitted cap, and the L/XL fits well.  The front of the cap has a reinforced curve that will hold its shape well.  The caps are available in black, camo, grey, blue and white.  More colors are on the way (including the one I want most: I’m-not-a-deer-orange).  They’re in the process now of getting the rainbow of tactical colors, as well as ones with operator patches on the front and Velcro in place of the buttons.

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The hats are branded.  There’s a stitched logo on the front, but it is subtle.

Wearing the Notch

I can hear some of you snickering from here.  You may not have realized that this problem even exists.  But it does.  I wear hats everyday.  This isn’t some hyperbolic review trope.  I have, ever since I left high school (where I was forbidden to wear hats), worn a mix of baseball caps, ivy caps, 8/4s.  And I like to roll the brims so I’m looking through a bit of a tunnel.

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This means it is really hard to wear the sunglasses that double as safety glasses when I’m on the range.  My answer has always been to flip the cap around backwards.  But this gets awkward when I’m running the camera on the range, as I’m often wearing ear protection, a hat, sunglasses, and carrying two or more cameras.

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But for all of us, hot brass is an issue.  And so is other flying debris.  Safety glasses aren’t going to stop most bullets (some claim to stop birdshot and slow moving .22), but they’ll help.  The brim of a cap will block the sun, and debris that’s falling in an arc, that you might not see.  The combination seems logical.

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Paul Cunningham, the brains behind Notch, knows more about this than I do.  The former Marine identified the need and engineered the solution.  For shooters, Notch is convenient and practical measure of safety.  For everyone else, Notch is logical evolution of the hat.  Either way, the concept is gaining steam.  And it is an innovation you can feel good about, as Notch donates part of each sale to Children’s Hunger Fund, a group that helps feed hungry kids in the United States.

Simple, practical, and philanthropic.  Notch.  Prices range from $27 for the camo Notch, down to $24 for the fitted versions.  Check them out.

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