Showing posts with label chest rigs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chest rigs. Show all posts

Friday, June 1, 2018

Free Form Friday

On a positive note it is Friday. Its hot and sunny here, definitely feels like summer.

In no particular order:

-Grades came in and I got an A and an A-. So, unless somehow I missed a class or something, the masters program should be complete. That is good. Hopefully it pays off in the long run but at least now I am done.

-A positive side of all the shooting I have been doing in the last year or so is that I have rotated a bunch of older ammo out. Lots of random boxes which had been around for awhile have gotten shot up. Don't worry I am replacing it, if not 1:1 (somehow I ended up with a bunch of #8 shot I have no need to replace, etc) at least generally.

-I do not believe in constantly changing gear. Find something that works and stick with it. Replace stuff when it wears out or if something significantly better comes along.

-Carry the same guns in the same ways. For example I concealed carry AIWB. If I am carrying outside the waistband, which is defacto openly (not to be confused with 'open carry' like the guy who has to show off his Kel Tech, XD or 1911 in a shitty holster and scare soccer moms at the grocery store) in a heavier gear for training or whatever it is on my strong side hip. I shoot Glocks. The guy who carries a Glock appendix today and a 1911 at 3:30 tomorrow then a Beretta 92 in a shoulder holster this weekend is just asking for trouble. He has to remember under stress where the gun is and what gun. He also has to (though he probably doesn't train or practice) train with all these different guns. Furthermore constantly changing guns makes having systems difficult. I have Glock 9mm mags all over the place. They are on my pistol belt, my PC/ chest rig, in the glove box, in my kits, etc. If I traded pistols every other week during the course of normal life I might find myself with the wrong stuff.

-Along these lines I am not a fan of the idea of having a dozen different sets of gear. The guys who have a different set of stuff for IDPA, another for 3 gun, etc, etc. These days I have 3 active systems: a CC set up, a pistol belt and a chest rig. I own different stuff and have multiples of fairly similar stuff but I don't want to be thinking about whether this is the set up that has flaps on the pouches or tab pulls or friction retention or the one where the mags are here or there or whatever.

-Along these lines my current fighting load (civilian context) is an old TT pistol belt with a costa leg rig and a safariland holster. There is a medical kit on there as well. I would like to add a fixed blade knife but haven't figured out exactly which way that will go yet.

I have fiddled with this setup before and generally like it. Its sufficient for any realistic home defense type situation and most training. Admittedly it is ad hoc from stuff I had on hand. I think a dedicated gear belt (which is also thicker and heavier) is the way to go over carrying this type of load on a rigger belt which also holds up my pants. So after an iteration or two I am back to this. If the concept sticks I will start window shopping to potentially upgrade the components down the road.

For the rare moments when this isn't sufficient I have a chest rig, mostly to hold more rifle mags. It can be used alone or mounted to a plate carrier. When mounted to a PC I keep the straps handy in case there is a need for modularity.

The combination of a pistol belt and chest rig/ PC gives a lot of modularity. I think it is the way to go.

-If you can have a duty sized pistol and a smaller one that are different sized versions of each other that is ideal. A Glock 26 and 19 (or M&P/ .40/.45 equivalent) is a great example of this. You get the same trigger, sights and controls all the time. The upwards compatible mags are huge too.

-Along these lines I am looking hard at getting a Glock 26.

-If you all have any questions or ideas for posts you want please let me know. I will try as much as I can to accommodate you. Remember this is your chance to have content you want here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What Have You Done To Prepare Lately

I picked up a couple of budget chest rigs to fill some gaping holes in my gear stash.

The FAL needs a chest rig so I got this
I want an MVT Versa Chest Rig but right now the tactical nylon budget is tight and while I do love the FAL it is kind of an ancillary rifle. I'll probably pick one up this fall/ winter when the fairly predictable run on politically incorrect guns as well as the mags/ ammo that feed them happens.

For the old Commie Warhorse I got a

Also bought some silver a week or so back when it was under $15. These days I would say silver is a deal under $20, under 16 and fugetaboutit. The rest of my discretionary funds are getting stashed for another ammo purchase. Probably a case of 7.62x51 but if I get impatient might just get more 5.56.

Other than that there has been a renewed effort on diet and physical fitness plus some dry fire.

So that is what I have been up to. What have you been up to lately?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

MVT Versa Chest Rig!

The MVT Versa Chest Rig is now available in Multicam and Coyote Brown.

This is a cool rig. I favor single stack chest rigs with integral pouches for their thinness and ease of use. This setup fits that to a T. Additionally it is pretty darn cool that the MVT Versa Chest Rig lets you change between calibers by swapping an insert. So the same chest rig can work for 5.56, 7.62x39 and 7.62x51! A very cool setup. Granted I think you need a dedicated rig per rifle but that might be a budget rig of some sort, ALICE gear or whatnot. Being able to use your same go to setup with different weapons types is huge.

I want to buy an MVT Versa Chest Rig to use as my personal go to chest rig. It is on my list for sure. Being able to switch between 5.56 and 7.62x51 like the rig below will be nice.

The price on the MVT Chest Rig is $240-245. At first that seemed a bit steep to be but then I really looked at it. First of all it is made in the US which just costs a bit more. Second of all it is an integral rig that is really ready to go. It has mag pouches, pouches for gear, NOD, etc and a nice padded H Harness. Best of all you get a second 'insert' so you can choose 5.56/7.62x39, 5.56/308 or 7.62x39/.308. It is basically (except for the redundancy) 2 chest rigs for the price of one. If you buy a chest rig without mag pouches you immediately spend a hundred bucks on mag pouches and then $60+ on pouches for other stuff. If you buy a chest rig with integral mag pouches you immediately spend $60+ on pouches to hold everything else. Also most companies charge an added premium for a good harness like the nice padded H Harness on the Versa. So basically it costs the same as other comparable quality US made chest rigs, they are just being honest about the cost instead of nickel and dime ing you.

It is a cool rig and I want one. Cursed infinite desires and limited resources. Still I will get one at some point.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Max Velocity and Alexander Wolfe Talk Gear

Max Velocity is ditching his beloved battle belt for a much more modern setup of a lightweight battle belt with a couple rifle mags and a pistol plus his sweet new MVT CUTT chest rig by AMH Tactical. I think this sort of system brings a lot to the table.

As you may well know I have a heavy battle belt/ modern LBE a lot like what MAX used to run. 

Both Max Velocity and Alexander Wolfe pretty much lay down the same thinking on the pro's and cons of the heavy battle belt.

Pro's-  Probably the most comfortable way to carry a fair bit of weight in a fighting load. It also lets you go prone comfortably and open the belt for even more comfort if you are say lying in an position for hours.

Cons- Not so great for vehicles as it's lots of extra stuff around the mid line on your sides and back. This isn't a huge deal for me as I can't see too many situations where I would be driving for any distance and having it sitting by me would not be sufficient.

Not scalable. These are all or nothing and they are fairly heavy. Mine is (IIRC) almost 20 pounds with ten or so loaded AR mags and 2 Glock mags. This brings a couple of issues. First for most realistic civilian situations I am not going to need to be carrying a dozen AR mags. The option to have a couple reloads for my long gun is a handy one that fits a whole lot of realistic scenarios. If I was say, going a block over to check on a neighbor, even during the nastiest situations to hit the US is recent memory, the LA Riots and Hurricane Katrina, I would feel quite comfortable with my AR and 2 reloads.

Second people who haven't done much field time fail to realize this stuff gets heavy. When people get back into camp after a long hard day of patrolling the first thing they want to do is take off all their heavy stuff! If people are going to be doing work around camp the first thing they want to do is take off all their heavy stuff! A big ole battle belt might get left behind under a bunk or in a shelter.

Personally despite the fact that I am selling stuff right now you note my battle belt is not for sale. I believe that system has a valid niche and plan to keep it. That being said...

I do have another 'prime time' (not to be confused with various ancillary backup stuff) system. That system is a 2 part tiered system. The first part is a Costa Leg Rig (reviewed at T Blog) with a good heavy duty belt and a holster. I currently have this set up for home defense so instead of rifle mags it is holding shotgun shell cards for my trusty 870P. A benefit of this system is I could swap it to use with my AR tomorrow, a PTR-91 the next day, whatever.

I could attach a fixed blade knife and a TQ to this system and it would be plenty for most scenarios. Certainly even in a nasty situation it would be enough to wear while doing chores around the house/ camp or relaxing after a tough day of fighting off Chinese hordes/ Zombies/ whatever. 

The second part is a chest rig, probably my MOLLE II TAP panel because it can easily be used with body armor or solo. That gets the mag count of this system to a respectable level and gives places to put necessary stuff.

Which system do I prefer? It is definitely situationaly dependent. The tiered system is a lot more versatile. Honestly I can see my battle belt ending up in a cache at some point. It would be great for going all Red Dawn but I can't see wearing it in a hurricane or riot where I can definitely see the pistol belt from the other system being a constant companion.


Monday, June 16, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I bought ten gallons of gas to fill up my last two empty fuel cans. Received a tactical tailor Glock 9mm/ .40 drop holster. It will give me the option of an overtly tactical holster for a Glock 9mm without a light which is something I was missing.

Also it will give me the option of switching to a lighter setup based on a duty belt that is compatible with a modern backpack which is a nice option to have. Granted it means I totally need a chest rig as part of the setup but it gives some good options. My gut says that if occasionally carrying a ruck combined with a lot of local patrolling was the order of the day I would use the battle belt and an ALICE pack. On the other hand if I needed something vehicle friendly or knew I would be rucking a whole lot it would be a lighter rig and a modern, much more comfortable ruck.

On my current lifting program it was max week. Here is where I ended up:
Military Press (standing, strict)- 135x1
Dead Lift- Did not beat my 2 month ago max of 360x1 though I am stronger now. It was a long day.
Bench Press- 265x1 honestly a whole lot better than I expected.
Squat-225x4. This is pretty wimpy though in my defense I have been focusing more on a strict 'ass to the grass' squat than weight. Still the squat has not been getting the attention it deserves and I need to do better.

(Edited to include: I did squats today (6-17) and went 245x3 to a good depth with solid form. That is probably a more realistic assessment of my current max.) 

Am at a steady state with the garden and chickens. The plants are growing like crazy and the (4) hens are averaging 3.5-4 eggs a day so that is good.

Probably did something else but I cannot remember what it was.

Next week I plan to purchase some spare parts for a rifle, hopefully get some mags, sign up for a class, plant some seedlings and PWN the gym.

What Do You Do To Prepare This Week?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Range Report and Strike Hard Gear AK Chest Rig Initial Impressions

Went to the range today. I had the privilege of coaching a person who had never fired a handgun before. He did well which is always good for positive reinforcement. I think he plans to shoot more often then eventually purchase a handgun of his own.

I shot OK considering it's been awhile. Revolvers are always fun to shoot. It also helps on ammo that they only hold 5-6 rounds and do not reload as quickly. So a 50 round box lasts a lot longer than with a 17 round Glock 9mm.

Rifle shooting went well. Honestly the setup where I was didn't have sufficient range to test that much but I was able to do CQB type stuff plus a few longer shots out to 150 meters or so.

I was able to find ammo locally to shoot though it took going to a few stores. That was good as I only flew with a small amount of ammo and my Lucky Gunner purchase is still en route.

My Strike Hard Gear AK-47 Chest Rig showed up in time to come along on the trip. I went with the padded H harness and am very happy with it. They charge $8 or something for the padded H whic is very reasonable and totally worth it. I especially like that the harness attaches to the rig with buckles so you've got a variety of options. Adjustment was simple. It is also pretty comfortable as well as low profile. The 4 mag pouches with small admin pouches on the sides and a read map pouch is a nice configuration for most civilian needs. They make an add on shingle to take it to 8 mags if you want. The front has MOLLE so you could stick on all manner of pouches to suit your needs. Mags are secured by tabs (designed for AK mags) held by elastic cords. It is a nice simple system. Access to mags in a hurry was great, I was able to do a few shoot 5, reload, shoot 5 drills and it worked well.

Overall for $75 plus 8 for the H harness I think this setup is an excellent buy.

We had fun shooting up all the ammo we could afford to shoot. Got home then I oiled up the guns because it was pretty wet. Tonight after the kids go to bed I will bring them out to do a real cleaning.

Shooting is fun. How was your last range trip?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tiered Gear: Bringing It All Together

I've been struggling with this mentally for about a year. I keep putting together more and more kits. I basically had 3 'survivalist' kit as well as 3 militaryish kits (home defense, fighting load, ). I had my EDC, EDC bag,  a get home bag and a Bug out Bag. I also had a home defense setup, a fighting load and a never totally put together but always on the radar full on red dawn/ Doug Carlson type ruck. It has been a big mess for awhile.

Anyway here is where I am going. 

Level 1- Normal Everyday Carry. I keep some extra stuff handy in case a knife/ lighter doesn't get moved from one pair of pants to the other.

Level 2-HSGI War Belt, Chest rig (Probably MOLLE II review to follow), Body Armor as appropriate. It's a decent bet but I'm hoping the war belt works out. If the chest rig which ups my rifle mag count from 2+1 to 10+1 is coming the body armor almost surely would be. There is potential to add a camelback if the situation dictates. Camelbacks (and other hydration systems) are an interesting discussion for another day. Suffice to say I like the option of wearing one but they are a hassle when wearing a ruck or a bulkier assault pack.

Level 2.5-Get Home Bag/ Assault Pack. This is sort of an awkward to define but useful kit as I have talked about before. Mine is primarily set up as a get home bag though since it's mostly empty could easily be set up with mission specific gear in a more assault pack fashion. While it would suck it is compatable with attaching to my ruck. That would put the total weight close to 90 (70-75 w/o armor) pounds which is getting silly but I guess it's good to have options. Also if I ate the food and drank the water in this kit the weight would drop considerably to a more reasonable level. The immediate survival type portion of this kit might live in my Hill People Gear kit bag.

Level 3- Bug Out Bag/ Ruck. Tonight I began the conversion from an excellent civilian backpack to a surplus ALICE bag. The reason is the ALICE is high enough to work with the war belt. Also while I dislike carrying them the damn things last forever. If things go all Mad Max/ Red Dawn this is the uncomfortable bag I want to be carrying.

Do need to pick up a couple more pouches to make the transition work. The ALICE is big enough but most of the space is in the main pouch. I like being able to be a touch more organized than that I will probably pick up some MOLLE sustainment pouches to fit onto the sides. Also maybe a pouch of some type for the bottom. I have plenty of space NOW but probably not enough for a slightly heavier winter module. Anyway I'm working on it.

Discussion- In normal times the war belt will be my bump in the night kit. No real changes needed though I will probably add a burner cell phone and photocopy of my drivers license. Also the level 2.5 will live in the vehicle I drive to and from work.

One of the biggest benefits of simplifying the amount of kits/ systems I am using is that it will let me combine stuff to have overall better setups. This will let me have better gear present without breaking the bank. Also it just makes things simpler which is good.

So that is my thinking for where stuff is going. As always your thoughts are welcome.

Monday, September 30, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Now that we are starting to get settled this reoccurring feature is coming back. So what have we been up to?

-Filled up all the water cans.

-Filled up all the gas cans.

-Organizing stuff and figuring out where the food storage is going to live.

-Went to a local surplus store. Purchased a 2 quart USGI canteen with OD cover and carry strap. On the way out saw a MOLLE II chest rig at a very nice price. Snapped that up, they are a pretty cool piece of kit I will be talking about at some point.

-Moved guns from their temporary home to our new place.

-Put some effort into getting a local cache set up. Mentally taking notes for what to add on my next trip there.

-Hitting PT hard and trying to eat fairly well during the week and not totally loose my mind on the weekends.

That is all I can think of right now. Anyway it's been a pretty productive week here. Getting back to a decent baseline of preparedness which makes me feel a lot more comfortable and able to weather out whatever may come.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Friday, September 6, 2013

"Battle Belt" And Overall Tiered Gear Rethinking

Max Velocity's Gear Philosophy Update got me thinking. First it rekindled last year's battle belt/ war belt train of thought. It got me to thinking. The idea of a more modular setup appealed to me. Being able to have a decent setup that can work for home invasions, a Katrina like event, training or as a base for a more substantial setup would be nice.

I used a system similar (a TT rig that was  probably not stiff enough) to a battle belt long ago and found it unnecessarily cumbersome. Granted gear has moved a long way in almost a decade but a big padded belt is still a big padded belt. Without being able to fiddle with one I am concerned the same issues will pop up.

One option I previously considered was just doing it on a rigger belt. The downside of this plan is that your gear does not stay securely in place. Some systems have come along recently that let you retain PALS type gear on standard belts. I fear the cost of that option would get silly fast and it adds another variable to go wrong. So I did some more looking. There are some PALS compatible single row belts out there. This one from SKD seems nice. Others are available from quality makers. Has anyone done a battle belt on a belt like that?

Then again enough really smart people who actually train with their gear (specifically John Mosby and I think Max Velocity) are pro battle belt that there is probably something to the general configuration of a 3 row PALS padded belt.

Regardless of the belt I'd basically do the same thing. My plan would be to put on a pair of HSGI double taco's, a compass, flashlight, pistol, knife, plus a small water bottle. I would probably use suspenders for every use except home defense.

This got me to having an overall gear setup. Right now my BOB/ ruck (Tier 3) is a commercial style hiking backpack. It's integral padded hip belt would not work with a battle belt. The simple solution would be to swap the pack out for an ALICE which is already on inventory. Since it's free that is easy enough. Not as comfortable but it's utilitarian ruggedness has some benefits.

So down the rabbit hole of gear reshuffling I went. Thankfully there are some nice tools and pieces of kit already on inventory. That means instead of a huge shopping list it's more about choosing what goes where. So basically I have no immediate plan to fund this trip down the gear porn road or an idea about what exactly the main component is going to be. Honestly I may have just written about it because so much time was wasted thinking on it.

Of course input is appreciated.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Quote of the Day

"As a prepper there may be situations where you want to come back and get them (magazines) but don't get so paranoid about losing your magazine that you get yourself shot."

-Maine Prepper

From his video Self defense chest rig and components.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Initial Impressions on the Blackhawk Enhanced Commando Recon Harness

My recent gear order showed up which was pretty fast for over here. Today I am going to talk about the Blackhawk STRIKE Commando Recon Harness. Since I just got the thing a full up review would be a bit premature but I do have some thoughts.

Quality of material and manufacture seem very good. I am pleased that the webbing and MOLLE straps are also multicam instead of green or tan like some I have seen. No complaints at all there which isn't suprising. The company has a good reputation and I know folks who wore this (or a very similar) setup over multiple deployments.

As to the design and layout. This setup holds 8 mags in pouches built into the rig itself. I like this type of setup because it lets you carry a good amount of mags but is still relatively compact and balanced. The downside is that getting some mags into play (the ones towards your strong side) would be slower than if they are all on the weak side. However A) the ratio of carrying to shooting is aweful high and this is a comfortable setup and B) If I burn through half the mags this thing carries at some point I will be under cover and can move mags towards the weak side. Reasonable folks can go either way I suppose.

The mags are secured in place (though they sit deep enough it shouldn't be a real issue) by elastic straps with big reinforced tabs on top to let you get them out. The elastic is adjustable via the inside pouch of the rig with nice little fasteners. I know this setup is designed for AR mags but it can probably fit a reasonable variety of fairly similar mags.

Built into the main part of the rig is a nice pouch running the whole length of the inside. I especially like that the back the this inner pouch has MOLLE webbing. In my TAP Pannel (a fairly similar setup) the stuff in the pouch floated around willy nilly. You could easily stick pens, knives, lights or anything with clips to the webbing and it would presumably stay in place. The webbing would make dummy cording super easy if you arre so inclined. Also you could put a small pouch in there to hold stuff like ear plugs or whatever. This is a really nice touch I have to give them credit for.

The shoulder straps are wide and padded but not excessively bulky. They come in an X (the strap that goes over your left shoulder connects under your right and visa versa) configuration but can easily be put in an H (both straps to strait over the shoulder and connect under it) with the aid of a velco doohickey that connects the straps together across the back. The straps have a single row of webbing across the back half and a couple small D rings on the front for wolf hooks or whatever. The front and back of the shoulder straps have fastex buckles which lets you switch configurations easy. This would also be nice if you want to ditch the straps and attach the rig strait to body armor.

That brings us to an interesting part of this chest rig. It is capable of holding a front rifle plate. There is an optional attachment to put on a back plate and turn this thing into a full on plate carrier. I didn't buy it for this purpose and in fact picked up a plate carrier on the same order but that doesn't really relate to this discussion. You could choose to put a plate in it, or just keep the panel in place to mound some stuff on. That is the area where people typically mount holsters if so inclined.

The price is around a hundred bucks. Not cheap but not crazy expensive either considering it is a quality chest rig made by a well known brand. One nice thing about this sort of setup is that you do not need to buy a bunch of mag pouches to have it work. (It holds 8 mags, another in the gun and maybe a couple on a war belt and you are good for about anything but Roukes Drift). Also the little stuff fits just fine into the big pouch in the rig. Just add an IFAK and you are good to go. Though if you want to carry a NOD or like to have a ton of various stuff an admin pouch or two may be needed.

Anyway while it is too soon to know for sure I am pretty happy with this purchase.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Warbelt Fun

As I set up the personal gear I want the topic of pistol belt/ war belt's has come up. Got to love the name these things got. Probably some marketing genuis, the old give it a cool CDI Rambo sounding name so folks will buy one plan. Basically the war belt is a padded, molle type belt or belt sleeve one which stuff like a holster, mag pouches, etc can be mounted. Anyway the ability to mount all manner of MOLLE stuff onto a belt easily would be nice.

Thanks to the joy of the internet I got to look at a lot of other people's setups. One of the more comprehensive and interesting threads is the Ultimate Battle/Scout Belt Thread; formerly Sigboy Scout Belt  over at Zombie Squad. Folks seem to go in two directions. Some basically do a modern version of the old school LBE. These folks are running 4+ rifle mags, 2+ pistol mags, a holster, a knife, some admin pouches, maybe a canteen or two. These folks definitely run suspenders, often big padded H type ones we remember from the LBE era. Other folks use it more as a beefed up pistol belt with some mags, a holster, etc. Depending on their body type and how many mags they are running these folks may go with a thin set of suspenders or not. These folks will typically use a chest rig or run additional pouches on a plate carrier if needed.

So I have been thinking this could be a good way to go. I am definitely going to fall into the second group. I will rock the gear but I am not so sure about the big ole MOLLE belt. I have seen setups like this on a normal rigger belt. Just a pistol, 1-2 spare mags each rifle and pistol and maybe a knife. To me the idea of having what basically amounts to a pistol belt set up for the range, home defense and times where I want a gun but don't need a full load out is appealing. Also something that would work as part of my overall setup instead of a whole nother rig appeals to my cheap side. 

I still have to do some thinking on the matter but this is my plan. An ATS or HSGI war belt, two double taco mag pouches (though the cheaper condor rig I just bought may fill the role in the short term due to cost), a holster probably from Safariland, a knife, maybe a small admin pouch to hold a compass, etc to fill out the level 1 kit, and possibly a minimalist trauma kit.

Are you running a warbelt? If so what type and how do you like it over just a pistol/ duty belt?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Stuff From The Interwebz

How to live in your car

A very nice minimalist chest rig for an AK. I think they also make a 4 mag model. I will probably pick up one of these when I get around to filling out my whole AK setup.

A gal talks about how to carry a gun and a baby. I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for women who carry handguns that are not a) subcompact/ cracker jack box sized or b) in a diminutive caliber like .32 or .380. She is not a big lady or wearing a "I have a gun vest" or a parka.

Highlight, quote and understatement of the day "if your child can get to the trigger that is bad." My .02 cents on that topic. First put on your gun then grab the kid. Kid doesn't go where the gun is because it wouldn't be comfortable for everybody involved. I carry appendix inside waist band slightly to the right. Kiddo either goes on the left hip if he is just riding or in my chest area if I am doing the comforting screaming baby thing. Since we are talking about kids and guns it is worth rehashing my core belief on this topic. Simply put guns are secured or under the physical control of an adult. In other words lock it up or carry it.

Today I have been intrigued by Iceland's reaction to the whole great recession/ economic collapse thing. 1, 2, 3.

Also I stumbled into a new blog Jerking the Trigger andreceived an email about the Open Garden project.

Hope that stuff gives you something to read and enjoy or at least think about. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bags VS Chest Rigs/ LBE's

Bags that are expressedly built to carry the necessary stuff for a rifle fight (but not fit the rifle itself) have started popping up over the last few years. I got to thinking about them today because I saw someone talking about them on some blog. After some reflection here are my thoughts.

As a replacement for a chest rig/ lbe rifle bags are junk. They are hard to carry under less than casual walking around conditions. Seriously when was the last time you tried to run a couple miles with a fairly heavy duffel bag flopping around all over the place? Bet it wasn't real comfortable. What about trying to overcome real world type obstacles with a duffel bag getting hung up on everything?

I know that no matter what I am doing with a chest rig/ rack or to a slightly lesser degree an LBE (they flop around more) I know exactly where my mags are and can get them out quickly. My IFAK is in the same place also, not burried in a small duffel bag flopping around someplace.

If I saw a realistic chance of anything happening I would toss a legit chest rif inside of a duffel bag to carry it around conveniently and discretely if need be. So a 'rifle bag' does not replace a chest rig/ rack/ lbe for likely combat type situations. I would not say that doesn't mean they cannot have a legitimate nitche. What is that nitche exactly?

To me that nitche is as more of a tactical equivalent of a range bag. There is not a known or likely scenario where you see yourself using your rifle. You are just going camping or on a road trip or like to keep a gun in the trunk or whatever. While you aren't planning on anything really bad happening having 4-6 mags, a few extra boxes of ammo, maybe a tourniquet or two and some misc gun stuff just makes sense. Instead of having junk all over the place it is desirable to keep everything nicely organized in a purpose built bag.

A bag of this type is on my long list of gear.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

We had a pretty darn good preparedness week. First we went and got a bunch of extra formula for Walker which was really good. We already had a stash but now it is a pretty solid stash. Next I put a small Gerber folding knife onto my keychain. I just about always carry a knife anyway but knowing that if I am out of the house I have at least one knife won't hurt. Next time I go to the clothing and sales I will get a small led light to go on there also.

After a lot of consideration I decided that instead of getting body armor at this point I am going to take care of a couple things that have been on the list for a long time and a couple recent additions to the list that we can just really use. I ordered a Bianchi 100 Professional IWB holster for my Glock 19. I really wanted a good holster for it to carry while I am home on leave. I have holsters (full sized Glock size) that fit the 19 but not perfectly. The difference between a real good fit and an OK fit is readily apparant in concealed carry.

When it comes to ancillary equipment for my AK I have been way off of my own desired levels (for a rifle like this 3k roounds and 20 mags) for a long time. For awhile it wasn't really even on the radar and after that it has been towards the bottom of the list. It has been on the list for awhile now and the ammo was even on this years New Years Resolutions or at least the first round of them. I should also be able to get a full case of 9mm JHP ammo by years end.  So I went ahead and ordered a case of 7.62x39 JHP Wolf ammo and 10 Eastern European surplus mags to round things out. I will go home and toss that stuff into an ammo can and aside from picking up a couple boxes now and then to go shooting not need to think about it.

Also I went out and ordered a brand new ECWS 3 Piece Sleep System. Now both Wifey and I have one. We have a couple other sleeping bags floating around but these things are a really good piece of kit.

I feel relieved to have the AK setup finally meet my own rather ambitious standards. Especially given that AK stuff is almost universally imported it gives me a lot of peace of mind to know I have a comfortable amount of ammo and plenty of mags put away. Before I had enough mags and some ammo for me to use but not much of a margin for field loss or helping a friend. Now I have that margin. Having another serious sleeping bag coming into the inventory is sure a good feeling.

I am going to let our Awesome Ammo Giveaway Contest go for a few more days as technological issues and life have put it, despite my best intentions, a bit onto the back burner. Seriously it amazes me how many people will gripe and complain about how expensive ammo is and how they can't afford it but won't put forth a little bit of effort to get a solid chance at willing a half case of the stuff for free. If you don't own any of the calibers you could stand to win (9/40/45) then enter anyway and sell or trade the stuff and buy something you want.

Also if you want extra special reader points (redeamable for all kinds of great prizes and trips) then please mention this blog to a friend, family member, gun buddy or like minded individual. Send them a link to your favorite post or just the blog itself or tell them our name and let them look us up on google.

I have some awesome stuff in store for next week so stay tuned. Got one in my head about staple cooking. Another one about chest rigs and gear. Maybe one about knives too. Probably something or another about money or home finances. Best of all you just might hear from Wifey.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Kit

I wrote about chest rigs awhile back. That post got me thinking and then acting on something I had been wanting to do for some time. I use a standard issue MOLLE FLC. Money isn't an object I just like these a lot as a platform. I don't like conventional chest rigs for a couple reasons. The first reason is that unlike a conventional chest rig (they are generally a 6 inch or so panel with 2-3 rows of the modular strapping stuff) with these you can attach stuff basically anywhere on the front of your torso. Secondly in my experience chest rigs have all kinds of straps all over the place and getting them comfortable is pretty hard. Makes adjusting a shoulder holster seem easy. Also I like that the load is evenly distributed widely over your shoulders instead of on a 1 1/4 inch area.

However the FLC as issued has a serious flaw. In the back there is this big stupid strap in the back. You can rotate the biog dumb belt thing all the way around so there are just straps in the back. However doing that has the cost of not being able to open the FLC in the front. That wouldn't be a big issue except for the fact that we wear body armor. It is awful darn convenient to be able to put your FLC on and off with the IBA instead of having an extra step of pulling it over your head every single time. The picture below shows what I am talking about. (Yeah by the looks it is some Marine guys stuff but it's the first good picture which clearly shows what I was looking to show.)

Seriously the FLC is like we had a great idea and then somebody said it had to have a huge stupid thing going around the back. I think it was some old guy who just couldn't deal with the kit not being based around a big belt thing. I have tried the FLC as a rack/ chest rig with the big stupid pad rotated to the front and in its conventional way and found both setups to be wanting. Basically I prefer the FLC over a chest rig but I want it to not have the big stupid belt thing in the back and also be able to open in the front. Yeah I like to have my cake and eat it too.

So I had an idea. My idea was to replace the big stupid belt thing. You need to secure the back so it doesn't go flopping all over the place when you lean over or whatever so just having it open isn't an option. I considered a piece of 550 cord but decided against it because the Army is really anal about this stuff so it needs to look legit. Another consideration on my options was that if God forbid I am seriously injured and somebody grabs that strap to drag me I need the darn thing to hold. In full kit I probably weigh 230lbs and if you factor in momentum and someone pulling on a single point that requires a strong strap. I settled on simple 1 1/4 inch webbing with a buckle in the middle. There are hooks for webbing on the FLC right by the middle of the front (where the zipper is) so you hook it through them and it is attached. The webbing on the FLC's stupid belt thing is the same size so it is too easy. I then sat on the idea for some time.

The day I wrote the blog I decided to just do it and put my kit into the configuration I wanted. Since we are in Germany I ended up having to scavenge the webbing. I had a Tactical Tailor chest rig I never really got comfortable with sitting around and decided to scavenge from it. Unfortunately that meant  cutting straps but I left enough on the side I had to cut from (it went to a clip on the other side) that I can later just get some more webbing and hook it together with a buckle. Anyway I got it done and though I haven't used it much yet am quite happy with the results. 

As worn.

Left side has 4 double mag pouches. They can hold 8 M4 (or I guess others of comparable size) mags or 6 mags and a pistol or NVG monocle or whatever. Figure another in the rifle and possible on the butt stock and I am able to carry 270-300 rounds. Can't see carrying more on my kit though if need be I would bring a bandoleer or something.

Right side from center; medical pouch, radio pouch, 1 quart canteen pouch to hold night vision goggles with the Rino mount and J arm, on the top is a compass. The only addition I intend to make is a small random pouch to hold little stuff. Most likely my compass will move down between the radio pouch and the NVG pouch and said small random pouch will go where the compass pouch is. I carry water in a camelback and sometimes stuff a couple granola bars or whatever in a random pocket. This setup is sufficient for operations of at least several hours. If I was going out dismounted for longer it would require more water, more than a couple chewy bars and probably some sort of sleeping gear. In that case an assault pack with a 2 quart canteen or two would come along.

Well that is what I carry.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Valid Question

Blogger Chief Instructor said...Question: What's the deal with the chest rigs? I honestly have not even considered them as part of my preps. If I'm on foot, I'll have a backpack. Is the idea of the chest rigs that you can have easier access to magazines? Is that it or am I missing something? They seem like they'd be used if you had a bug-out location and were patrolling the grounds. Are there other uses?
Answer: Chief Instructor,  Look at it this way.  I know you do some defensive pistol shooting type competitions. Would you consider keeping the spare mags you need during a course somewhere in a back pack? I don't think so. You almost surely have them in a mag pouch so you know where they are and can get at them in a hurry. Makes sense right? 
I think every pistol should have a holster, a belt and a mag/ speed loader pouch in addition to a cleaning kit, mags and ammo. With that pistol you need a place to carry it except your hand which means a holster and then you need a belt to put it on. Don't want to have to try and stuff it in your pants awkwardly. You also need something to hold spare ammo in lest you find yourself riffling through a backpack. For each pistol a holster, belt, mag/ speed loader pouch as well as mags/ ammo are ancillary equipment.
Why is a rifle any different? You need a hands free way to carry it as well as something to store spare ammo and whatever else you may need. I would say chest rigs or an LBE or whatever sort of setup you prefer is part of the basic ancillary gear for a rifle (along with a sling, cleaning kit, mags, ammo, etc).
As for my preference for chest rigs in particular. They are what modern professionals use for a lot of reasons. Sort of how quite a few police departments use Glocks and not many  use 1970's era Ruger or Smith and Wesson semi automatics. Chest rigs are very ergonomic and you can wear them and run or whatever. Very hard to change mags at more than a snails pace if they are buried in a backpack while given a little bit of practice a chest rig is really fast. So part of it is that they are a necessary piece of equipment to get the most out of whatever rifle you have. As for their exact niche as a prep....

Does a chest rig fall into the Blackhawk Down/ Red Dawn category? Maybe. Admittedly it would have to be a pretty dark scenario for you to need a chest rig and a rifle. However like so many low probability high impact events when you need it you really need it. I bet there were a few average Joe's in the LA Riots or Katrina who would have liked a convenient and quick way to carry spare ammo. If things are so screwed up that you are grabbing a rifle or a shotgun you need a good way to carry ammo (and other stuff) for it.

Also as criminals operate in more larger more organized and violent manners the need to prepare for a nasty and prolonged gunfight is there. Truly this is probably the most realistic niche for this type of gear. Yeah at 10 feet in the living room it will not take long for an outcome but if people get behind concealment/ cover or there are multiple tango's you might shoot a lot more than you imagine. If you consider the possibility of having 3-4 armed tango's a couple spare mags would be awful nice.

For whatever my advice is worth I think you should have a chest rig or an LBE or a set of whatever type web gear suits you as part of the ancillary gear for each defensive rifle you own.

Chief, I hope that answers your question.

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty good week here. Somehow I seem to have a cycle where I save then buy. This is kind of a buy week. I ordered some more ingredients so I can do a couple more batches of beer. This time it is going to be a good strong Belgian beer. I will be able to stop spending bunches of money on Chimay and be able to enjoy great beer more often. Not that there is anything wrong with a generic American light beer but I want to be able to drink good beer more often.

I also ordered some one ounce silver bars. I think silver is still sanely priced. Plan to keep buying it for at least the rest of the year. One nice thing about silver is that you get a far more gratifying amount of stuff than with gold. Spend a couple hundred bucks on silver and you get a nice handful of coins. Spend a couple hundred bucks on gold and you get a little coin.

I ordered a cold steel push knife. Those things are just nasty. I have done some thinking on it and any real use I would have for a fighting knife is going to be up close and very physical. These things are really intuitive which helps a lot.

I am sticking with the weight room which is good. It is a nice transition between work and home. Also I just feel better when I life.

Lastly I am finally happy with where my MOLLE chest rig is. I feel like I finally got that piece of gear to how it really should be. I will probably write specifically about what I did at some point. However to do that I will need to take pictures and such so it will be awhile. I replaced a pair of triple mag panels with 3 two mag pouches. The panels do not flex and just felt like a big thick board on my off side. The 3 two mag pouches hold the same ammo in the same place but since they aren't connected have a lot more flex and give. I can toss another one on down the road which I would want for Afghanistan but don't need for here. Also I replaced a random pouch that was holding my MBTR radio with a legit radio pouch. At some point I can use a random little pouch to hold stuff but that is a back burner priority.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty good week here. I got a real nice Craftsmen tool kit which I've been wanting for awhile. Also I made some modifications to my chest rig that I have been thinking about for some time. It was kind of a pain but I think it's really going to pay off for me by making the setup a lot more useful and comfortable. I need to get 3 pouches or so and it will be complete. More to follow with pictures on that one.

I got a Ludvig von Mises book in the main from Amazon which I will read at some point. We made our usual extra large payment on my student loan. Not having that money to put towards other things hurts but seeing that loan amount dropping fast is really nice. We have recently been tightening up our budget some and it is working.

Hit the weights a few times this week and did some good stuff during morning PT. I am getting into a routine and while it is too early for results am certainly enjoying myself. I cut sugar out of my morning coffee which is a big diet improvement for me.

What did you do to prepare this week?
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