Showing posts with label fighting load. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fighting load. Show all posts

Friday, May 12, 2017

Systems and Progress

My BOB is repacked. I still need to add a couple things but the core of it is set up. I need to add one of those recharging things as well as a phone charger. Also a couple maps specifically for the bag. My safe stuff (cash, vehicle titles, etc) is in a small backpack ready to grab in the safe.

I repacked my Go Box A to reflect my current firearm stash. So .22lr for the 10/22, .380 for the LCP, 9 for the Glock, 5.56 for the AR and 7.62. A couple mags for the core guns and one each for the nice to haves plus a mag pouch for the AR, a holster for the Glock and cleaning stuff round it out.

A pair of pants sit by the speedy cabinet with 2x each Glock and AR mags n a holster. That sits on a very comfortable pair of leather slip on shoes. By that is a PC with 2 more AR mags, a Glock mags an a med kit. With that set up I would have 3 spare Glock mags and 4 AR mags. For me that's all I can see needing these days. Sure if things went totally to shit I might want more but that won't happen overnight and I have another rig for that anyway.

I would like to go to the new Haley DC3 rig and eventually I will.

At the current juncture I am pretty happy with this system. Next is the heavy bug out stuff. Also I might make a full on mad max set up just for fun.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Fighting Load Evolution

I took a kydex OWB holster and put it on a pair pf cargo pants. Stuck a cheap folding knife in the pants pocket. Put some medical stuff on the cargo pockets. A flashlight in the off hand front pocket. On the weak side I put a condor double rifle pistol mag pouch. Put it in the bottom of my nightstand with a pair of boots.

Good: Now I could wake up and throw on a pair of pants n boots in a hurry. Open the quick access safe to grab the Glock 19 and or AR and I am good to go.

My new set up and a slight change in my light/ summer EDC means my handgun and knife are always in the same place. This obviously has a significant benefit in terms of simplifying my life.

Made entirely of stuff I had on hand. 

Bad: Generally that it is all cobbled together and not necessarily with components that are fit for prime

The belt sucks. It is just a generic nylon web belt. I need to put a dedicated gun belt on there. That means I need to replace the one I am currently wearing and retire it to this rig. The new Magpul belt looks promising. Though I may just replace the one I have with another Blade Tech. The one I am wearing has been my only belt for 3 years and still works good. Just aging past every day wear for cosmetic reasons (mostly because I spilled some paint on it). As I write this it is clear I will buy the blade tech belt.

The knife isn't great. I have a serious case of missing knives in my residence. At least 3 good folding knives are MIA in my residence. Honestly I don't plan to do much cutting with it so the Wally World knife is fine for now.

I am going to think about the mag pouch situation. Maybe to make it lower profile I could put a double pistol mag pouch on the belt (I have a good TT one somewhere) and stick a spare rifle mag in the cargo pocket. Honestly I'm not too worried about doing rifle mag changes in my house.

The flashlight needs a more secure situation. It is just flopping in the pocket. It probably came with a pocket clip which I might still have. 5.11's have a pouch that would work if I could find a pair in my place.

I can probably fix most of these issues by spending a day digging through my house.

Holster- It probably won't work well with a ruck. However realistically I can't see myself carrying a ruck much. If I do I'll probably stuff the pistol in a rifle mag pouch or something. Also I could just use the old belt for that unlikely scenario.

Also my current holster will not accommodate a weapons light. I have mixed feelings about this.

I will play with scientifically tactically test it some and let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Fighting Load Revision

I have lately realized I probably need to redo my fighting load, specifically the pistol belt portion. I am pretty happy with it as a home defense/ assault type set up. It mirrors what a lot of smart people do for that. The issue however is in my civilian capacity I can not see any realistic situation where I would use it.

I can see situations where I would want most of that stuff but not carried that way. It is way too overt and not especially vehicle friendly. The lower and pretty far from the body Safariland holster was necessitated in order to use a ruck. Upon further consideration I do not see myself doing that much and if I do I'll probably be lazy and stick my holster in a mag pouch on my chest rig.

I am thinking hard about setting up a leaner rig on a relatively normal but thick nylon tactical type belt with an OWB holster and a couple pistol mags. If needed I could toss the Costa Leg rig on to have the rifle option. For my house rifle I'll just slap a spare mag on the butt stock. Honestly I cant see using near 56 rounds of 5.56 for home defense. One way or another at in house ranges it will be over halfway through the first mag. Worst case I could draw out the second mag for plenty long enough to have the entire police department show up.

The lost space for medical stuff will be made up with by the cargo pocket of the pants the belt lives on.

This type of setup is a lot more low key. I could reasonably conceal it under a sweatshirt or shell jacket. This is the type of thing I could see wearing around in a regional disaster. Also if there is a bump in the night at 3 am it puts my wearing a pair of pants which is not a bad thing.

The only purchase I will need to make is a kydex OWB holster that supports my G19 with a light. Honestly I'll probably just buy a pair of them one for light and one non light.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

RE: Max Velocity Gear: Patrol Packs & Sustainment Loads

A valid post worth thinking about.

Many people speak of these huge bags and it is very clear they aren't ever actually carrying them.

It is so easy to just say 'more, more' and keep adding on stuff. Actually carrying the bag is a good counter to that train of thought.

The balance between weight and redundancy in important areas is a hard one. Having complimentary items in different layers of a system is the answer I like. Maybe a folding knife in your pocket and a fixed blade in a fighting load.

The right gear/ logistical set up for a given situation always varies a little bit. Still a well thought out kit will be mostly the right answer. It is too easy to add another days food or slim down the shelter, etc as needed.




Thursday, January 21, 2016

Checking Batteries and Fighting Load Out Conveyance

While on vacation I visited some family in Montana. We did some shooting. Took out my AR for them to play with. While shooting it the illuminated reticle on my Burris MTAC died. I did not have another battery readily available and forgot about it.

Later that trip I grabbed a random mag light (they are fairly cheap and I have a half dozen or so) to use in the dark and it didn't work. Grabbed another one and got on with my day.

There is not a good excuse for my failure to keep a good battery in the MTAC. I check it most times when I handle the rifle but the way it died after 5 minutes on the range showed that plan is a failure. Clearly I need to just replace the battery at some regular interval like 2x a year. The only plus side is with the MTAC you an still shoot just using the normal reticle. Granted that is less than optimal at night but if I am shooting a long gun at something in the dark it will probably be pretty close. Also I may want to look into one of the pistol grips that would hold a set of batteries for the rifle and maybe some spare parts.

Went to change the batteries in the darn mag light and I guess they had corroded in there. Managed to knock them out by slamming the light on a hard (carpet over concrete) floor. Went to put new ones in and they would not go in as it was corroded. When I have my tools back I will scrape it out and try to put some batteries in, mostly just to see if it still works.

At the start of this move I wanted a relatively discrete way to move my rifle and fighting load into and out of places. Went with a pretty standard gym bag because well I had it. All I did was put my rifle, pistol, pistol belt and chest rig in the bag. The bag is a bit short for the rifle, it fits but not optimally, though otherwise it works OK. A better bag is eventually in order but right now I am working with that I have.

Got to thinking about what I might reasonably do with that system to enhance it.

-First I want to put some more first aid gear in a side pouch. Something closer to a trauma kit than an IFAK.

-Second as noted by the recent issues with batteries a small container with spare batteries, cleaning stuff and some likely to break parts would be a good idea.

Since I can do these largely with stuff I have on inventory it is an easy decision to implement. This should leave me with a discrete way to transport (albeit taken down) my rifle and fighting load plus some likely to be needed items. A simple grab and go solution.

I am curious about whether any of you have thought about this issue and what you have done. Bonus points if the answer isn't throwing money at the problem as I'm not long on that these days.

As always the comments section is open

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.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Max Velocity Talks Normalacy Bias and Load Out's

Posts that directly inspired this:

To Chest Rig or Not? This is a well thought out post that has, itself, little I disagree with. However the comments coming from it have brought some strong opinions and interesting discussion.

John Mosby talks Normalcy Bias

Max Velocity talks Normalcy Bias

Max Velocity talks Two Tactical Worlds

First I want to address the mindset issues here. The reason for this is mindset is more important than stuff. Also that mindset drives stuff, not the other way around!

John Mosby's points that you need to 1) Accept that “normal” is no longer “normal.” This requires more than simply telling yourself. It requires internalizing it as reality and truth. It’s great for patriotic, conservative, Americans to long for yesteryear, and the greatness of the Pax Americana. It’s also completely fucking delusional. America is only a superpower now, among nation-state actors. The transnational terrorist groups do not recognize American sovereignty and superiority. If they did, they would never have started fighting, or would have yielded by now. A wall along the Mexican border is great…except we already know there are more tunnels than an goddamned ant farm, traversing the border. So, sure, let’s drop several billion dollars building a wall that won’t be any more useful than the locks on your car door are (remember, as my grandfather told me when I was a kid, “car locks only keep honest people honest.”). Illegal aliens are going to continue crossing the border, and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it, outside of genocide, or the total collapse of our economy. 2) Recognize what the “new normal” implies for you and yours. This may range from reduced police presence in your neighborhood or community, especially for dealing with property crimes and other “minor” issues. Think about what happened in NYC last year after two officers were assassinated, sitting in their cruiser. If you live in a really shitty neighborhood, where people are as likely to assault cops as help them, you should—justifiably–expect the same thing. As my wife pointed out yesterday, when she heard that people were “acting out” in Ferguson, on the anniversary of the Wilson-Brown shooting, “if I was a cop, I wouldn’t even respond to calls in their neighborhood. Fuck them. If they hate me, why help them?”

Ryan here: 
I think it is worth noting the situation at an individual level is very localized. I'm talking tank of gas and maybe the nearby big town you go to quarterly for doctors appointments, to the airport, etc. While national trends and events are symptomatic of a larger issue they are mostly just noise. Case in point I could give a rip about Detroit turning into Tijuana or Ferguson because I am nowhere near them. However there are some trends that are truly nation wide like say certain groups being given special snowflake status which further emboldens bad behavior and individuals of non special snowflake status almost certainly getting the book thrown at them for legitimate self defense. Also that, while crime rates may not be that high on the large average predominantly urban problems slipping out to the burbs, small towns and rural areas.

Max (Actually some guy named DIZ on the MVT forum) describes the 'new normal of today' and 
'what may reasonable come in the near future' as  conventional crime and unconventional crime. 

I think this is an OK way of putting it though a bit binary. Reality is a lot more of a continuum of potential outcomes ranging from rising crime and a bad economy (we are very arguably there now) on one end through some sort of unrest and a full on economic collapse through civil war and eventually passing the historically likely to say an EMP and then ending with a strait up nuclear war.

Also I feel strongly that we should put more energy into preparing for the statistically much more likely events than less likely ones. You are way more likely to get in a fist fight that may go to concealed handguns than do battle drill 1A for real out in the woods with your buddies. It is important to prepare for the less likely contingencies but you need to survive today to get to that potential dark future. I think a big part of preparedness is preparing for various scenarios we might face now in order to minimize their impact on us if/ when those events happen. Tactical Tommy might be preparing for a car jacking or an active shooter situation as his worse case scenario. However Survivalist Sam is training for that and to do battle drills with his buddies.

I think that sufficiently covers my opinion on the mindset piece.

Now onto gear.

It seems logical to me that we would first decide on how many mags to carry and then on the best way to carry them. Of course not all defensive carbine related scenarios are created equal. Here is my take on some realistic scenarios. Lets presume a pretty standard 30rd magazine. Just my opinion.

Home defense: 1-2 reloads. Even in the wildest and least likely scenario of 3-4 Goblins all off whom have guns this is still PLENTY of ammo. At in house ranges no way I am shooting off that much ammo without stopping the bad guys or getting stopped by the bad guys.

Active Shooter: 3-4 reloads. Lets say Mumbai or crom forbid Beslan type with multiple shooters armed with rifles. Honestly this is more from an LEO type perspective because Ryan is going to GTFO of one off these situations and won't need that much ammo. However an LEO might get in a relatively prolonged fight and or potentially use some fire and maneuver techniques.

Some sort of riot or localized civil unrest such as say Hurricane Katrina for the most part falls into this range also. That being said I see long guns as having a narrow role here. If I was moving around it would almost certainly be armed with a concealed pistol and maybe a rifle handy. I find it unlikely that I would be moving around with a rifle because well it would cause attention and potentially get me arrested.

Lets say I was say helping a friend guard their pawn shop LA Riots or Hurricane Katrina style. I would be quite comfortable with having about this much ammo on my body. Sure there is some violence in this type of scenarios and gun fire people are not, to the best of my personal knowledge, getting in tons of crazy gun fights. Since the only place I would really be wielding a rifle would be a fixed location a few mags in a bag or something would be available for resupply.

Full on fighting load. Like for a war or some sort of Mad Max ish scenario: 6+ reloads. We could quibble about exact numbers but they would be situational/ mission dependent. For reference I think my battle belt is set up for 10. My pistol belt with Costa Leg Rig and chest rig holds 9 or 10.

Now to how to carry this ammo.


The fluidity of events combined with the benefits of keeping things the same as much as we can in our setups heavily favors some sort of tiered system.

For the home defense setup if a person decided on one reload they could legitimately have it on the gun, like a ready mag or a buttstock pouch. More than that and you need some sort of gear. It could be a pair of pants with some pouches on a belt, a chest rig, a battle belt or a PC set up with your stuff on it. [As a tangent I generally disfavor this method except at the real bottom end. If you are going to have 2-3 reloads, maybe a med kit and a knife AND plan to use a PC I'd just put the stuff on the PC. This really tops out at the 'active shooter' ammo count.]

After a lot of consideration I went with a pistol belt an Costa Leg Rig.
 From left to right Costa Leg Rig with 2x rifle reloads, 1x pistol reload, flashlight, TK4 Tourniquet and Compressed Gauze. Safariland holster with ghetto rigged leg strap and kabar knife. Not shown Glock 19 with Streamlight TLR-1.
 As worn with the front to the bottom. Costa Leg rig on one side, knife and holster on the other.
Leg rig up close. Yes that is tape holding it in place.

To do:

There are some non padded belts that have inner loops which would be great for this. Might upgrade from this decade old TT belt at some point.

Get a pair of light suspenders. For prolonged use my lack of behind or hips tend to make it move towards the ground.

Get a small admin pouch that could hold a few items like a compass and a lighter. Maybe a NOD pouch too.

Active shooter setup: I don't really have a great plan for this. It would be my pistol belt plus a way to carry a bit more ammo and maybe an admin pouch. Guess either I would add a couple mag pouches on the front of a PC or use one of those minimalist chest rigs that are all the rage. Or slap a mag on the butt stock of my rifle/ put one in a pocket and call it good.

Full on Fighting Load: Pistol belt plus chest rig. The chest rig isn't totally set up but I'll get there. Honestly I need to think this out a bit. I have a chest rig and a variety of pouches so I probably have a 75% solution in the garage.

The modularity of this setup is handy. I could remove the chest rig, say when doing work, around camp, etc but keep the pistol belt and have a pretty decent bit of capability.

I am not ditching the battle belt as it has a place but I think this setup is forming into my go to. 

Thoughts?

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.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Eureka!!! Potential Battle Belt and Sustainment Load Solution

I was about at the end of my battle belt journey. Was looking at transitioning to a pistol belt with my Costa Leg Rig (review coming whenever I get to it) and a chest rig like the Blackhawk one I got some time back in order to transition away from the ALICE pack. My two biggest issues with the battle belt concept were that I wanted to carry a modern reasonably comfortable ruck and the whole vehicle problem.

For some reason this weekend I got to thinking "I wonder if just maybe my battle belt will work with an issue MOLLE ruck?" Since there was one in my garage I figured it wouldn't cost anything to try. TURNS OUT IT DID!!! The ruck was just squat enough to work and the hip belt/ pad (the problem I had with more modern civilian type bags) was thin enough not to get in the way. This had potential.

Yesterday I took the combination out for a quick little ruck and it worked fine. It wasn't conclusive because my ruck wasn't really loaded, it just had whatever happened to be in there.

Fast forward to today and I put all of my gear into the issue Multicam ruck that was just sitting in the garage. Took it out and did an easy little 20 minute ruck and the combination worked good. My battle belt and the ruck worked well for the most part.

The issue of vehicle use is still present but I can't see too many situations in a civilian emergency context where I would want to wear a battle belt and be driving around.

That means the battle belt is going to stick around. Since I am wearing it low (to clear a ruck and or PC) and relying on suspenders I might as well up the mag count. Also my Safariland 6285 holster doesn't really work in this context. It really needs a tighter belt to be able to get a decent draw out of. So the holster isn't really working well and it monopolizes a ton of MOLLE space. Also the suspenders are not really working for this (heavier than originally planned) concept.

I went back and looked at Max Velocities battle belt for inspiration. Think I am going to change my belt over to be a lot more like his. I will transition to a Condor Tactical H- Harness and add a 4-6 m mags worth of 2 mag shingles (or maybe 3 mag ones) to boost the mag count to about 10. Also plan to change to a basic Condor holster. The sacrifice is I'll have to ditch the light on the pistol to make this work.

[Note the reason  I am leaning towards Condor is it's servicable and affordable enough to experiment and maybe end up tossing items in the 'random gear' box without going broke. I've probably bought too much expensive high end gear for the project without getting my hands on it first. Might just do a garage sale.]

Anyway that is where I stand with things today.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

From Around The Web

Turns out EZ Pass's are being used to keep track of speeding ....and (I suspect) probably other record keeping/ surveillance functions.

T Blog found a pic post on The Equipment of Vietnam MACV/ SOG soldiers. Interesting stuff.

I'm having trouble focusing on what I am supposed to be scared of. A pretty interesting article. I think a sense of balance between being informed about world events and getting worked up into an information overload panic.

 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Product Review: Midnight Rider Loaded Battle Belts

I talked about the Midnight Rider Loaded Battle Belt a week ago. Now I'm finally sitting down to write a proper review. First a broad overview of the product:
Basically $110 (shipped so equivalent to other folks charging $95ish) gets you a ready to go battle belt setup with a decent budget IFAK and some other items. A breakdown of the components is:

  • Padded War Belt:  The core of the Midnight Rider battle belt is a new USMC-issue Padded War Belt (NSN 8465-01-615-5140).  This comes with an as-issued "Y" harness but has extra attachment points to be compatible with four-point "H" harnesses.
  • GP Pouches:  We add two surplus USMC-issue general purpose/IFAK pouches (NSN 8105-09-000-2725).  These pouches have a convenient internal subdivider and measure about 6"x6" with about two to four inches of depth, making them great general purpose pouches as well.
  • Canteen Pouch:  Each belt is equipped with a NEW USMC canteen pouch.  These have a convenient buckle closure and fit a canteen with cup.  Each pouch has side pockets useful for water purification tabs, paracord, or other small accessories.  
  • Mag Pouches:  Finally, we round out each belt with USMC double magazine pouches.  These pouches will fit two standard capacity 30-round AR-style magazines, including PMAGs.  Small belts can fit only two pouches, medium belts fit four, and large belts can pack six.  If you don't need to carry magazines they provide handy storage for smaller items like monoculars, NVDs, or radios.  Some of the surplus pouches show some evidence of wear but most are in excellent shape.  You could use magazine shingles under these pouches to increase the capacity of your belt system.
  • "LOADED!"  The "LOADED" battle belt also comes with a USGI canteen and the Midnight Rider Patrol Pouch (consisting of Trauma, First Aid, and Patrol Modules -- see below for details).  I toss in a canteen cup for free, but these cups are not to milspec and thus won't nest with the canteen.
As to concept of use and where this system fits in the big picture. It is definitely a high value to cost system. A full USGI (vs airsoft type stuff) battle belt with pouches and an IFAK for $110 is a great deal. Especially considering the price includes shipping it compares more equitably to other setups in the $95 range (shipping for a large flat rate box is $17.). For a person on a budget who wants something more modern and ergonomic than ALICE that is not going to fall apart the first time you take it out training with somebody like Max Velocity or John Mosby this would be a fine choice. The person who put this together has been using one exclusively for awhile. It works fine and I would have no issue using it exclusively.

What I really like this setup as is a sweet spot between expensive new gear and budget but aging and not exactly ideal ALICE stuff. I believe every rifle needs it's own mags and fighting load. That means per rifle not per platform. So if you own 3 AR's it would be three separate sets of gear. The cost of doing that at $200+ a pop can get cost prohibitive in a hurry. At the same time I would like something more along the lines of my primary rig than the old ALICE. That's where Midnight Rider's Battle Belt's come in.

Now we can cool at some pictures. Sorry for anybody still on dial up.
The Midnight Rider Loaded Battle Belt as it was shipped to me. For a general non AO specific set of gear Coyote AKA tan is a fine option. It works pretty decently in most areas. I appreciated how it came set up so I could check it out right away (note apparently this is not standard though it's available for $15). For the less experienced user this would avoid MOLLE madness and let them get strait to using it.

What Midnight Rider Outfitters calls a 'patrol pouch'. Basically it is an IFAK plus some other stuff. A little disposable poncho, some matches, etc. I also showed the canteen and canteen cup.

This is my battle belt. I showed the picture for comparison and because I do not really have a good picture of it's current configuration.

My battle belt with components shown. Again mostly for future reference and so show you how my gear is set up.

The Midnight Rider Battle Belt as I started putting stuff into it.

Top view

It got dark but here is how I set the Midnight Rider Battle Belt up. For testing I wanted to put it like I would actually use it. The changes are addition of a pistol mag in a pouch and reconfiguring the pouches a little bit. I put the canteen on the right side and shuffled some stuff around. From left to right: pistol mag, 2x rifle mag, 2x rifle mag, first aid non IFAK items and various stuff, chow and bino's (those two may be the other way, I don't recall), canteen, Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, Military Green, 4.1-Inch , IFAK in a 2x mag pouch and 2 more rifle mags.

I did not put a holster on this setup because holsters can go in a lot of directions and I wanted to stick to the fairly common setup of the rig.

Now finally on to the normal review format. Since  I have talked a lot already this will be somewhat abreviated.

The Good: A ready to go battle belt setup made of quality components with an IFAK for $110. This is a good well thought out set of gear at a very fair price.  The belt is fine, the pouches are G2G and the suspenders are really nice. I like them a lot and plan to get a set for my personal battle belt. 

I may pick one up some day to use as a back up rig for a spare/ back up rifle. At that price why not.

I also like that it comes with a basic but serviceable IFAK. The only not perfect item is the TK4 tourniquet, some folks criticise them. I reviewed the TK4 tourniquet awhile back and think they have a role for back up's and folks on tight budgets. If you don't like it go out and buy a CAT or SOF-T. Too many people, especially new folks or those on a right budget might forget to get an IFAK. This setup starts you out with one.

The Bad: The canteen cup is not nesting with the canteen. I put it in one of the sustainment pouches on the bottom. That could work but is not ideal. Additionally I would be lying if I think the canteen cup is a particularly durable piece of kit. If/ when I get one of these I will replace the canteen cup.

Additionally while I do like the IFAK and Canteen/ Canteen Cup being included I am underwhelmed with the other stuff that comes in there. A might work once disposable poncho, a little packet of water, a couple water purification pills and matches. I know what they were trying to do with that but as a perspective buyer would rather not pay for that stuff. Along those lines while I do like the IFAK what is someone just wants the belt kit and already has plenty of medical gear?

Generally speaking I would like to see an uncoupling of the core belt/ pouches and the IFAK/ patrol pouch components. Maybe they could just offer them as an add on.

The Ugly: The pouches are definitely 5.56 specific. They are designed for AR mags. It is probably reasonable to assume they would take Mini-14 and most other double stack mags that are shaped similarly. It is not compatible with AK or 7.62 mags. So this system is really only viable if you are shooting an AR or similar rifle.

Also if you for whatever reason do not want Coyote the options are to choose another setup or try dying it yourself.

Overall Assessment: This is a high value system that is a good affordable option to use as a primary system and has a nice niche as a back up battle belt. I am sad to be sending this Battle Belt back and  would like to purchase one in the future.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday Special Midnight Rider Loaded Battle Belts

Awhile back an invisible friend reached out. I was asked to review a battle belt system for them and talk about it. The gear was sent and I have been testing it. Ashamed to say I am woefully behind on getting a full review done on this set of gear.

Basically $110 (shipped so equivalent to other folks charging $95ish) gets you a ready to go battle belt setup with a decent budget IFAK and some other items. A breakdown of the components is:
  • Padded War Belt:  The core of the Midnight Rider battle belt is a new USMC-issue Padded War Belt (NSN 8465-01-615-5140).  This comes with an as-issued "Y" harness but has extra attachment points to be compatible with four-point "H" harnesses.
  • GP Pouches:  We add two surplus USMC-issue general purpose/IFAK pouches (NSN 8105-09-000-2725).  These pouches have a convenient internal subdivider and measure about 6"x6" with about two to four inches of depth, making them great general purpose pouches as well.
  • Canteen Pouch:  Each belt is equipped with a NEW USMC canteen pouch.  These have a convenient buckle closure and fit a canteen with cup.  Each pouch has side pockets useful for water purification tabs, paracord, or other small accessories.  
  • Mag Pouches:  Finally, we round out each belt with USMC double magazine pouches.  These pouches will fit two standard capacity 30-round AR-style magazines, including PMAGs.  Small belts can fit only two pouches, medium belts fit four, and large belts can pack six.  If you don't need to carry magazines they provide handy storage for smaller items like monoculars, NVDs, or radios.  Some of the surplus pouches show some evidence of wear but most are in excellent shape.  You could use magazine shingles under these pouches to increase the capacity of your belt system.
  • "LOADED!"  The "LOADED" battle belt also comes with a USGI canteen and the Midnight Rider Patrol Pouch (consisting of Trauma, First Aid, and Patrol Modules -- see below for details).  I toss in a canteen cup for free, but these cups are not to milspec and thus won't nest with the canteen.
[Edited to include:
For any readers that are on the fence, They are offering a Thanksgiving/Black Friday special this week.

BLACK FRIDAY DEAL! All orders placed between 28 November and 5 December will receive a FREE mystery item! Items could be more MOLLE pouches, rifle targets, an extra tourniquet or med gear... who knows! Additionally, for every two belts you order, I will throw in a free hydration carrier (while supplies last) or free assembly for one belt (please indicate choice when you order). Finally, for each LOADED belt ordered during the holidays, a portion of the proceeds will support the TOYS FOR TOTS drive run by the USMC Reserve. What a deal!

A sampling of the mystery items I've shipped out this week:
- .22 rimfire scopes
- Hydration packs
- Backpacks
- Extra MOLLE pouches
- Random upgrade to handpick stuff (like nice nalgene)
- Extra tourniquets and random med stuff
- Rifle slings
- Pistol Holsters ]
This is a solid system. You can certainly assemble a better one out of new top tier (HSGI, etc) gear but can easily spend twice as much money in doing so. Depending on your budget and priorities they are both valid options.

As to concept of use and where this system fits in the big picture. It is definitely a high value to cost system. For a person on a budget who wants something more modern and ergonomic than ALICE that is not going to fall apart the first time you take it out training with somebody like Max Velocity or John Mosby this would be a fine choice. The person who put this together has been using one exclusively for awhile. It works fine and I would have no issue using it exclusively.

What I really like this setup as is a sweet spot between expensive new gear and budget but aging and not exactly ideal ALICE stuff. I believe every rifle needs it's own mags and fighting load. That means per rifle not per platform. So if you own 3 AR's it would be three separate sets of gear. The cost of doing that at $200+ a pop can get cost prohibitive in a hurry. At the same time I would like something more along the lines of my primary rig than the old ALICE. That's where Midnight Rider's Battle Belt's come in.

A full review will follow in due time.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Battle Belt and Level 2 Thinking Revisited

I am reviewing a battle belt package setup for a guy. More info will come about that later and for the sake of the rest of this post it isn't really important, except that it got me onto the topic of battle belts.

The MOLLE fun and comfort of these has taken off in recent years. Some folks run a battle belt like a big foamy pistol belt with just a couple mags on it. Others like Max Velocity use them as a new school LBE. Mine, which I am too lazy to find a good picture of is sort of in the middle.

Carrying your equipment around the waistline held up mostly by the shoulders is probably the most comfortable overall option. However it comes with couple real limiting factors. This option is, in all but the lightest pistol belt like configurations, is unanimously voted to be a an uncomfortable, and in some cases even physically impossible option for vehicle based operations. It is difficult to get in and out of a vehicle, buckle up, move inside, etc with a huge ole tire of gear around your waist.  Not something you would want to do then spend hours in a vehicle day in, day out. Less frequently mentioned is the disadvantage in urban operations. Try climbing through a window with a big ole LBE/ battle belt around your waistline. Additionally the added width makes you more likely to get snagged/ caught up on stuff moving through buildings.

Another issue with the battle belt is that, for most people, it limits your options in terms of backpacks that can be carried.  For level  2.5 day pack/ assault packs pretty much any option works fine.  However for level 3 sustainment loads the only real widely available option is the ALICE. Note that I said for most people here; obviously individual load out's and body types matter here.

So while I really like the battle belt, or as I prefer to call it war belt, for dismounted patrolling and with a level 2.5 load it sucks for being in and around vehicles and is at a disadvantage if you are truly living out of a ruck. The more I think about it the more I am less and less certain this should be my primary fighting load. Honestly it sort of feels like it could be more of a nitche piece of gear.

 We talked about this awhile back. In the meantime I built a battle belt. What has made me rethink previous potions?

Honestly I am really tired of trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. To be more clear I am tired of trying to jerry rig and work around the inherent limitations of the ALICE pack. Not saying they are exactly a bad pack, lack of comfortable aside, just that they are what 1960's technology? Lots of things have come a long way since then in terms of materials, fasteners and ergonomics

So what does that leave me for options. I can't claim credit for this concept as I stole it from John Mosby.

-Something along the way of a pistol belt with a couple reloads and a knife. This is really the wild card. I have a cobbled together setup now. If I were to have a system show up at my door tomorrow it would be an Endom MM belt, a Costa Leg Rig (reviewed by TEOTWAWKI Blog), a  Safariland drop holster or at least for awhile the Safariland 6125 I already own and a pair of very light/ thin suspenders.  Somehow or another I will slap a knife on there. The concept is to have what I would call an enhanced level 1 load in a package that can work with a real decent backpack. I don't think the suspenders would be needed for weight but to let me drop the belt an inch or so and to hypothetically prevent the darn thing from maybe falling around my ankles if I moved a certain way or whatever.

-Chest rig, probably the Blackhawk one I already have.

-Stripped plate carrier

-Some sort of a new, yet to be purchased, backpack to haul my sustainment gear.

The end result would be a scalable, vehicle compatible setup that allows the use of a quality modern pack. Or that is the goal anyway. It is good to have goals.

So that is where I sit with all of this stuff today. Likely in the near future I will put some money where my mouth is. Thankfully I own many of the components listed so this setup could be elevated from pieced together to fairly intentional for $150ish.

Thoughts?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dreams, Caches and Cabins

Maybe dreams are messages for us or something from our deeply hidden unconscious or maybe they are just some random stuff that pops into our heads. I do not know or particularly care. Anyway I had a rather odd one last night and wanted to remember it.

Was in the woods. It was the sort of dense low pine forest on flat terrain that we have here in CENLA but really could have been any woods down here from east Texas to the eastern Seaboard

I say we because I was with two people from work who we will call B and L. They are co workers and good people. I wouldn't necessarily call us friends but work friends is appropriate. The type of people you BS with in slow times, go to lunch with, hang out with at mandatory social events, etc.

We were on foot. We were not running away like folks with dogs were in pursuit or something but were moving deliberately in a situation that was not good.

We came into a small clearing, like the kind where there is still a bit of a canopy but the under growth is largely absent. It was clear this was where we were going, though it seemed to be a temporary stop to resupply.

The (I presume MY) cache was in a CONEX. It was not buried like the one in terminator though it was sort of obscured/ concealed so it was not readily visible.  We all went inside. At least part of the inside were shelves and racks full of various stuff.

We arrived partially equipped. It seemed like a larger group or camp got caught by surprise and folks scattered to the winds with whatever they could grab in a few seconds. Somehow I had a rifle and a FLIC or something holding ammo, another guy had a rifle but no gear and a third had only body armor. B who was short a FLIC quickly claimed and much admired my war belt. I recall thinking we would have to sort of who got which of MY fighting loads later but that it was not a concern for right now. L felt a lot better when I handed him a rifle.

We seemed to be getting ready to go do something or another. If we were going back to wherever we left or elsewhere was not clear. In any case when we were mostly equipped the dream faded out.

Discussion: I have put some energy and resources into caches in the last couple years. Am not quite where I want to be but am closer than ever before which is something. Would like to set up a couple more small caches and a big one.

- For the small ones I would need to purchase the more expensive items which would go in them so there is a cost factor of a few to several hundred dollars. One would likely be more rural patrolling/ E&E based and the other more urban based. Very realistically I could do one of these per year for the next two years and have that knocked out.

-The big one would be on a piece of land I own ideally with some sort of structure. In this situation I would seriously look at doing a Sarah Conner Baja style cache. Thanks to Alexander Wolfe for having the pic ready to find when I typed Sarah Conner cache into google.

Though more realistically 2-3 smaller ones in 3-4ft pieces of culvert or water tanks would probably make more sense. Smaller caches would keep all off my 'eggs' from being in one basket and also be easier to put in discretely and incrementally as finances allow.

We looked at a place not too far back but it didn't turn out to be such a good option after a deeper look. Money is definitely a consideration here. If the perfect place came up we could swing it now but that would not be smart. We are going to need to do some saving to make it work in a reasonable and responsible way. I would like to say this is a realistic 5 year goal but baring a significant cash influx or finding the perfect place and just saying 'lets do it' I suspect closer to 10 is likely.

So anyway I had a dream and have been thinking about caches and cabins. Hopefully this rambling monologue was interesting or informative for some of you. Happy Saturday!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Official Results

To recap here is what the excellent prizes are:

1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.

 The winners are:

Mike P-18
Kang-16
Carry Alert-15
Prairie Patriot-10
Meister-9
Jake-8
Max Velocity-6

If you won please contact me using the email your post was submitted from  and include your mailing address within 7 days. Note that #1 gets to pick between the Lucky Gunner stuff or the HERC so please specify. I realized I still need to figure out the wild card so I'll do that ASAP. 



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Results

#1 Prairie Patriot
10.00%
10
#2 Max Velocity
6.00%
6
#3 Alexander Wolfe
0.00%
0
#4 Don in East Texas
2.00%
2
#5 Joe
0.00%
0
#6 Inventive
0.00%
0
#7 Jake
8.00%
8
#8 Mike P
18.00%
18
#9 Archer Garrett
0.00%
0
#10 B Troll
1.00%
1
#11 Ragamuffin
3.00%
3
#12 High Desert Livin
4.00%
4
#13 by KJ
0.00%
0
#14 Carry Alert
15.00%
15
#15 Greg
3.00%
3
#16 Meister
9.00%
9
#17 Chris
0.00%
0
#18 by Crankjob
0.00%
0
#19 John Dozier
2.00%
2
#20 Chris's Go To War Rig
3.00%
3
#21 Kang
16.00%
16
Total100

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #21- Kang

Today I am proud to bring Entry #21 of our Fighting Load Contest by Kang

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.


The contest is closed and this is the last entry that will be posted. Voting will start early next week. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....


My Fighting Load  -- Kang














This is my complete fighting load, including chest rig, plate carrier, battle belt, rifle, and 'assault pack'. The rifle is a bushmaster/rock river AR mutt with an eotech 512 (because AAs are easier to find), a magpul STR stock for carrying replacement batteries, light, BUIs, single/double point sling and ready mag system that lets me carry 2 mags on board for extremely rapid reloads (excuse the pink tape...). To Be Done: the rifle is lined up to be painted once temperatures permit.

Chest Rig



  
   
The chest rig is an HSP D3 chest rig, it carries 4 rifle magazines, 2 pistol magazines, multitool, admin stuff (notepad, pencils, etc) and an Israeli bandage.  To be done: I need to purchase another tourniquet to go in/on my chest rig.

Battle Belt




The battle belt is an HSGI sure grip padded belt with riggers belt.  It carries 2 Esstac single mag pouches for quick reloads and 1 Esstac pistol pouch.  A dump pouch, tear away first aid pouch (with israeli bandages, tourniquet, gloves and other stuff), a 1 liter water bottle pouch that holds my 1st line survival gear (steel water bottle, cordage, firestarter, compass, water purification, folding knife, gun lube, etc) and has a giant Shadowtech bushcraft blade whose name I don't recall (I can't say enough good things about Shadowtech's blades, check them out).  Finally a G-code holster carries a Springfield XDM9 as my backup firearm. To Be Done: I need to replenish my stock of Datrex ration bars after I introduced them to my daughters.

Plate Carrier

       The plate carrier is a Mayflower from Velocity Systems.  I have ceramic front and rear plates, and steel side plates.  The D3 chest rig snaps directly onto the plate carrier, and additionally, I have two 3 magazine pouches in the side plate pockets (for a total of 14 AR magazines, if required and 4 pistol magazines), and a 'flat' style Source 3 liter hydration carrier attached to the rear (I've found it's really hard to carry packs with one of the standard cylinder style hydration pouches on your back).

Assault Pack

 


      Last is the 'assault pack', which is a Tactical Tailor bag whose name escapes me.  It carries a standard camelback 3 liter hydration bladder (total of 7 liters of water immediately available), enough ammo for 10 magazine reloads in bandoliers / stripper clips, a Striplula for rapid reloading, poncho, cordage, headlamp, spare batteries, food, and firearms cleaning kit. To Be Done: more food, I think. See Datrex bars above... Also, I just realized I carry no additional 9mm ammo.
The best aspect of the D3 chest rig is how modular it is.  I can carry just the rig on its own, strapped to the plate carrier, as in the above pictures, or I can even attach it directly to the assault pack.  I can wear just the chest rig under a jacket or even a sweater if I'm trying to be low profile.


 The assault pack even fits quite nicely on the back of my 3rd line gear pack.

Ryan here: As always thanks for the entry. I should note Kang used this setup at Max Velocity's 5 Day Combat Rifle and Contact Drill /Patrolling class and it worked well for him. As to the setup I like it a lot. Modular and good for a variety of situations. General notes:
1) Do not see a way to purify more water. He could have a little bottle of the purification pills someplace and have overlooked mentioning it. If not I'd add some and or a small filter like a Sawyer Mini.
2) The assault pack has plenty of ammo which is great but I would look at the clothing situation. At a minimum a set of spare socks would be prudent.
3) You mentioned an IFAK type kit but what about more common injuries? Some band aid's, asprin, moleskin, etc is a good idea.
4) You hit on it (think it got eaten) but incorporating some food into your fighting kit and more into the assault pack is a good idea.

With those modest additions (that can probably be found lying around in 20 min at home) this is an excellent setup.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Post #20 Chris's Go To War Rig

Today I am proud to bring Entry #20 of our Fighting Load Contest by Chris formerly of AK.

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.


The contest is closed but we still have a few more posts to show due to my technological issues and some field time. Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....

 Awhile back Chris sent in a post on his budget travel rig. Now we get to look at his primary setup.  

Ryan,

The first submission I put in was my "on the road" low quality comblock kit that lives in the trunk as I was travelling.  Now that I'm home I figured I'd share my primary rig.  I'm not trying to game the system -- just figured I'd get some feedback and maybe give some ideas.

I have a flexible setup which revolves around a few key components:
- 3A Vest
- DBT "Victory Vest" slick plate carrier
- Tactical Tailor Mini Mav Chest Rack
- Eagle War Belt
- FLC
- LAPG "Zombie Hunter" bag

The idea is that you layer with whatever is needed so you can adjust your profile as needed.  Some examples:
- "Low Profile:"  Slick plate carrier or soft armor under sweatshirt or soft armor with LAPG Zombie Hunter bag close to hand, and normal CCW/duty belt.
- "Medium Profile:"  Slick plate carrier or soft armor with Tac Tailor MiniMav, plus LAPG zombie hunter bag close to hand.  I call this medium profile because even under a sweatshirt, a chest rack + PC is going to show.
- "High Profile" Vehicle Ops:  Slick PC with FLC
- "High Profile" Dismounted Ops:  Slick PC with War Belt and Chest Rack.  Option to ditch the PC and/or chest rack depending on METT-TC.

I'll walk through the contents of each of the key components next.

3A VEST
- Sourced from BulletProof Me.  Nothing fancy.  Just a basic NIJ 3A soft vest.  Pairs well with the mini mav or LAPG bag for a lower profile.

PLATE CARRIER
- Diamond Back Tactical Victory Vest.  DBT went out of business and sold off their gear at pennies on the dollar.  It is all made in the US, GI spec stuff.  I picked up a bunch of PCs (some slick, some with molle) for about $20 each.
- 3A inserts:  I repurposed NIJ inserts for the soft frag armor.  The vest is intended to take special SPEAR or BALCS cut armor but the NIJ stuff fits fine; I just get a little less coverage.
- Plates:  I run medium SAPIs and have steel as a spare/training set.  My wife runs 8x10 level IV ceramics with steel as a spare/training set.

MINI MAV
We each have similar mini-mav chest racks.  These are pretty low profile and can fit under a bulky sweatshirt as well.  The idea here is that I could run with nothing but my standard CCW stuff and a mini-mav and be able to fight.  From left to right as pictured:
-  Tactical Tailor small radio pouch with FRS/GMRS
- TT tourniquet pouch with CAT
- Velcro for ID/morale patch on triple shingle (20 rders)
- Single mag pouch:  Usually used for a Surefire G2X but will also fit a pistol mag or multitool

Future thoughts:  I am considering swapping out the 20-rd shingle for a full-size 30-rd shingle and putting an admin pouch on the front.  The admin pouch would let me store key documents as well as give one more flashlight/knife sized pouch at the cost of increased bulk in the front.  Right now the CAT is "squishy" so it isn't bad to get prone.


WAR BELT
This is a medium USMC surplus molle belt supported by a Tactical Tailor "fight light" harness which is super comfy, even under armor.  I have a total of 5xM4 mags and 1xpistol mag on here.  Combined with the minimav that's 8xM4 mags on board.  Otherwise I envision this as a dismounted patrol load suitable for a day or night out.  From left to right, as pictured:
- Tactical Tailor "kangaroo" magnapouch.  Holds an M4 mag and a pistol mag on top in "quick draw" fashion.  These are expensive so I just opted for one on the centerline.  I shoot pistols right handed and rifles left handed so there's no ideal place for the fast reload (my rifle reloads should be on the right, and pistol mags on the left) so I figured centerline with a bias towards the fast pistol reload was a compromise.
- Double M4 pouch (USGI surplus)
- USMC surplus canteen pouch.  Upgraded with nice Nalgene brand 1qt canteen.  Side pockets hold water purification tablets and matches.
- 100 round SAW pouch at small of back.  Currently empty.  I can stuff it with mission-specific gear.  As a default some snacks and maybe spare socks go in there.  As it is on the small of my back I don't like to put hard metal things there but you can fit 3xM4 mags easily.  My NVD would fit too.
- Surplus IFAK pouch.  Set up as a combined IFAK/patrol pouch.  The front subdivider has a compact TK4 tourniquet (not as good as the CAT but compact), an H&H Israeli-style compression bandage, triangular bandage, and an NPA.  All the stuff I'd want quick access to.  The large big compartment has a baggie with first aid "boo boo" stuff:
Sterile Gloves, 3xAspirin Doses, Medi-Lyte (electrolytes for dehydration), Diamode/Loperamide (diarrhea medication), Bug Sting Wipe, Antiseptic Pads, Alcohol Prep Pads, Two 2" gauze pads, 3" wide elastic wrap, 2x4" moleskin strips, EMT Shears

That won't sustain you long but should be good for a day or two until you can get to a bigger medic supply stash.

The IFAK pouch also has some misc "patrol" stuff:  Mylar blanket, Single-use poncho (green), 4 oz emergency water pouch, Water purification tabs, Uncle Ben's DEET Bugspray Wipe, SPF30 Sunscreen Wipe, Cyalume Milspec Glowstick, "Foamie" Ear Protection.

- Tactical Tailor MOLLE holster.  This is sized for a Beretta 92.  I do not like this holster in this application.  It rides way too high for an easy draw.  Additionally, our primary household sidearm is the S&W M&P, and TT doesn't make a pouch for that.  My wife just has a cruddy condor pouch on her belt for now until I find/finance a better solution.  There's some good low-ride MOLLE holsters out there but they seem pricey.
- Single grenade pouch riding on TT holster.  Currently I have a $10 NCStar 8x monocular in there.  It seems to work fine.  The location is easy to access.
- Double M4 mag pouch.  For mags, and my NVD will also fit in there.

My wife's rig is identical except her belt is smaller, so she is down two M4 mag pouches.  Her kangaroo pouch rides on top of a single M4 shingle though, so she has a total of 2xM4 mags and 1xpistol mag.  Given that her primary role is close escort for kiddo she doesn't need as much ammo anyways, so a self-protection load is sufficient.  With her mini-mav she's up to 5xM4 mags.

I can easily layer this with the minimav plus an assault pack (for more gear such as a woobie and poncho, or even goretex) or a simple camelbak carrier.

Future thoughts:  I am considering adding two double mag shingles, one on each side of the buckle.  This would either up the mag count by four, or let me replace a double M4 mag pouch with a double pistol mag pouch for a flashlight and multitool without losing AR mags.  Right now between the war belt and minimav I don't have a good way to carry a multitool or other knife.  I'm also a bit worried that if I lost the minimav and was down to just the belt I'd have no light source other than the glow stick.  So ditching a double M4 pouch for some utility pouches seems reasonable, especially if I offset the lost M4 pouch with some shingles.


FLC

The concept of the FLC is vehicle mounted ops which require something more robust than the minimav.  The war belt is just not super comfortable in the car when seated.  The pouches are empty as I currently only have enough gear (other than mags) to keep one set of LBE stocked.  I'd have to transfer the stuff off the mini-mav/war belt onto the FLC.  Total mag carriage is 10xM4 mags and 1xpistol mag.  

The detail photos show the left and right sides of the FLC.  The side on the wearer's left is equipped as follows:
- Double pistol mag pouch, for pistol mag and surefire
- Double M4 mag pouch x 2
- Canteen pouch (identical to battle belt)
- Up on the mesh vest:  Small radio pouch for GMRS, grenade pouch for monocular

The other half of the FLC on the wearer's right has, from centerline out:
- Double M4 mag pouch x 3
- IFAK pouch set up as on war belt
- Up on the mesh vest:  Multitool, CAT, grenade pouch for admin items (will fit a basic flip cell phone)

The FLC is paired with a thigh drop holster.  I have a Serpa drop leg left over from work which also carries a spare pistol mag, so currently use that until funds allow a nice Safariland.

I am considering dropping 2xM4 mag pouches and replacing with a 100 round SAW pouch for more utility storage space for stuff like nomex gloves and a stripped MRE.  That would drop the total M4 mag count to 6.

Finally, I had a bunch of ACU pouches laying around so I got two cheap ACU FLCs from ebay and set them up similarly as backups.  They will be stashed in cars soon, I think, unless I can think of a better cache setup.

NOT PICTURED:  "LAPG Zombie Hunter Bag"

LAPG has some neat bailout bags.  They are super simple but pretty handy.  Contents of mine:
- 3 x M4 mags
- IFAK pouch contents set up as on war belt
- Compartment for handgun (I don't like off-body carry but it is an option)
- Compartment for radio (CB handheld or GMRS) -- normally the CB lives in the car but it could move to the bag if the threat level increased
- Water bottle
- Cheapo "tactical" light
- Ear Pro

The zombie hunter bag can be used to keep a lower profile, or to supplement the FLC/mini-mav in a vehicle-ops mounted role.  If you have to dismount you can grab the bag on the way out for a few more reloads.  They also work great as range bags.


FINAL THOUGHTS

I feel like this gear lets me adjust profiles from low, to medium, to high.  I can be comfortable for dismounted ops or in the car with similar rigs.  Coyote brown is nice as it blends with lots of colors/environments, and it isn't camo pattern (any LBE will draw attention from onlookers; camo LBE doubly so).

Big picture I want to continue to get more gear to round out the FLCs so they are "grab and go" ready all the time, but surefires and leathermans are expensive.  I also need to continue to work towards fixing the pistol situation on the war belts, and ditching the SERPA for my FLC rig.  I also do not have a great way to carry a knife right now other than maybe a multitool.  I have some KABAR adapters for my mini-KBAR but no good place to attach them.

To keep costs low, I used USGI surplus where possible and supplemented with Tactical Tailor as needed, taking advantage of their annual 30% off sale to get the key gear that just couldn't be sourced with cheap surplus.  TT is not too bad if you stick to the smaller utility pouches and their "fight light" line.

Please feel free to weigh in with any questions, spears, or comments.

Cheers,
Chris


Ryan here: As always thanks to Chris for playing. He liked doing the first post so much he did a second one! Thoughts in no particular order.

Why the Mini Mav vs a rig that can hold more mags? Most folks will go lighter on the warbelt and heavier on the chest rig. If the rig held 2-3 more mags you could arguably eliminate the need for the FLC kit (except as a backup). 
On the subject of the Mini Mav I disagree with the 20 rounders and would replace them with 3x standard 30 round magazines post haste. That gives you 30 more rounds on the kit.  A small admin pouch would be a good idea. 

War Belt: Yeah I have that same holster. They are OK but sit pretty high. Personally I keep my mags on the off hand side so all my rifle mags are on the left side. The exception is my second pistol mag as it went where it could fit (the other option was not having it). 

You mentioned not having a place to put a more robust knife. Why not on the War Belt? You could Jerry Rig it so the knife was just below the belt (thus not taking MOLLE space) and held on my a couple of big zip ties or something. 

The bail out bag should have some food in it, probably some clothing too.

Agree with ditching 2 mags from the FLC to create an admin pouch for some food and various stuff. 

I love how your system is modular so it can work for a variety of situations. 

Thoughts?

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