Friday, August 1, 2014

Adaptability and Versatility in Gear

Adaptability and Versatility in Gear

Unless you’ve completely ignored Soldier Systems Daily (, you’ve noticed that one of the current trends in the gear industry is to make something more adaptable for multiple roles/applications. This can be for a variety of reasons, budget, various missions, necessity to switch roles/assignments frequently (sniper to assaulter to grenadier), going from lo-pro to full assault mode, etc. Out of this somewhat new phase, have come a lot of very slick gear options.

Most familiar to most readers are the adaptable mag pouches from Blue Force Gear’s 10 Speed line and the HSGI Taco line. Ability to go from AR-15 mags, to AK mags, to Flashbangs, to Multi-tools, to iPhones, to Tourniquets, etc. without swapping pouches out is awesome.

I first saw this concept with the classic Paraclete zip on back panels back in the mid 2000’s. I’m not sure which came to market first, the Paraclete version or the Crye Combat Chassis version, but they both seemed similar. Ability to zip on and off back panels based on your mission – assaulter, medic, remove for vehicle ops, etc.

On the market at the moment, I’ve observed the following options to stand out (in no particular order):
·      LBT Plate Carriers
·      Blue Force Gear LMAC and 10 Speed Pouches
·      Honor Point USA “ZOT” packs
·      First Spear 6/9 with "Missing Link" belt adapters
·      SKD Tactical “Systema”
·      Crye Precision AVS
Extreme Gear Labs "STUFFIT"
·      HSGI Tacos
·      Raven Concealment “Moduloader” frames with HSGI Tacos and Blue Force Gear 10 speeds or various holsters on the new Pocket Shield
·      Mayflower/Velocity Systems Plate Carriers with the Mayflower, Velocity, and LBT “Placards” as well as the EGL VOCR chest rigs and their spawn, the D3CR made for Haley Strategic.

Personally I love the Blue Force Gear 10 Speeds for about everything pouch wise, and prefer the pistol variant on the Raven Moduloader’s over the HSGI Tacos due to lack of bulk and my experience with things such as “tactical reloads.”

Classic "Basicload"rig with a basic load of Red Bull

SR-25 double mag bandolier holding 1 M-4 mag and 1 Glock 17 mag with Arredondo extension and 1 CAT Tourniquet

The classic Blue Force Gear “Basicload” chest rig has worked for me when I felt the need to carry extra rifle ammo, as well as would packing essentials in a low profile rig. The ability to stick just about anything I would need in a 10 speed single M4 mag pouch is a great versatile resource. In this rig I have L to R, 1 Celox Guaze roll, 1 CAT TQ, 3 M-4 mags, 2 Glock 17 mags with Arredondo Extensions. 

This is the "STUFFIT" from Extreme Gear Labs. It is also available as a standalone MALICE mounted pouch as well as part of the EGL VOCR chest rigs and the EGL designed D3CR chest rigs. This pouch is very nice for the ability so swap out what it carries with the tightening of some shock cord. I can go from carrying 2 chemlights in the EGL chemlight loops, to carrying 1 GPS, 1 M-4 Mag, 2 M-4 mags, 1 Radio to my choice canned beverage of the moment - Kill Cliff or Red Bull. 

Probably the 2nd most common "modular" pouch on the market is the HSGI "Taco." I personally find this pouch is the worst to mount due to its design, but is easier to mount on a Raven Concealment MODULOADER frame than anything else. I run a single rifle Taco on a 5 finger frame for slightly heavy concealed carry or for low profile overt carry where I don't need a full duty belt. The rifle Taco gives me alot of modularity, as seen in the following pictures.

Having the ability to swap out weapon magazine types, covert to overt, and load out levels (1-3 magazines to 6+) is very nice. Thankfully the industry has been focused on this recently. There are lots of resources that go into depth on this as well as more new pieces of gear that are adaptable coming to market on a weekly basis.