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Chicom Chest Rig from 762Tactical

Simple, functional, low profile, effective, rugged, inexpensive… These are all words that can be used to describe the original Chinese Type 56 Chest Rig. The Type 56 chest rig and its variants are sometimes just called Chicom chest rigs. The venerable Chicom chest rigs are so well liked, that you occasionally see present day pictures of members of the Special Forces community wearing them for use as a simple lightweight chest rig. While the Type 56 is very functional, it is not very modern. It uses buttons to close the magazine flaps, heavy canvas material that retains moisture, and the straps must be tied around the wearer.

Now there is a custom gear maker that is making a name for himself by creating modernized versions of the Type 56 chest rig. The maker is 762Tactical and the chest rig is the Chicom Chest Rig. Just like the original, the 762Tactical Chicom Chest Rig is simple, functional, low profile, effective, rugged, inexpensive. Let’s take a closer look.

The Chicom Chest Rig's pedigree is clear the moment you look at it.

More Modern, More Functional

When you look at the trapezoid shape and criss-cross straps of the Chicom Chest Rig it is immediately clear that it pays homage to the Type 56. However, when you take a closer look, there is little doubt that this is a thoroughly modern chest rig.

The user no longer needs to tie a thin strap behind their back. Now they can simple use the durable National Molding side release buckle (SRB) to quickly put on or take off the chest rig.

The heavy canvas material of the original has been replaced with 1000D Cordura nylon which makes the rig more durable and more water resistant. It is also available in an assortment of modern colors. The rig that I have been testing features the Multicam pattern.

Slow toggle buttons have been replaced with hook and loop on the magazine pouch flaps. The flaps are also completely adjustable for magazine height. These flaps make the magazines much easier to access quickly and provides great protection from the elements.

The original Type 56 chest rigs had 3 magazine pouches and 4 small pouches for things like grenades. The Chicom Chest Rig from 762Tactical replaces the small pouches with something far more versatile – MOLLE webbing. It can be used to add a pistol magazine pouch, an admin pouch, or a blow out kit. If it is MOLLE compatible, you can add it.

The shoulder straps are made from a double thickness of 1.5″ wide webbing. This help distribute the load far better than the straps on the original Type 56.

Mags from left to right: 20 round AK, 30 round AK, 30 round AR

The same magazines as above but with the flaps secured.

The magazine pouches on the original Type 56 chest rigs were very deep. This made them difficult or impossible to use with just about any magazine other than 30 round AK magazines. The magazine pouches on the Chicom Chest Rig are sized in a far more versatile way. The pouches on my example (a 3 mag version) were useful for 20 and 30 round AK mags and 30 AR-15 magazines. In fact, the Chicom Chest Rig makes a great chest rig for use with an AR as well as an AK. It is very versatile.

There are other touches that let you know that you are dealing with a well made chest rig. For instance, the fabric on the lip of the magazine pouches is folded out and sewn down. This is a must for an AK rig that is often overlooked. If the fabric is folded into the pouch it creates a snag point for the locking tabs on AK mags. You will also find appropriate reinforcement of straps and stress points everywhere you look on the Chicom Chest Rig. Many of the rows of stitching have been gone over as many as 4 times to ensure that they never come loose.

In Use

I ran drills with this chest rig with both an AK and an AR. It performed admirably for both weapon types.

I found the pull tabs on the magazine pouch flaps to be large and easy to grab even with gloved hands. The pouches are generously sized, so inserting and removing magazines is easy.

The hook and loop that secures the flaps is also generously sized which makes it easy to angle the flaps to more tightly secure 30 round AK magazines. This also allows plenty of room to adjust the flap up and down to adjust for different magazine lengths.

Many people prefer open top pouches on their chest rigs but I really don’t mind flaps. Open top designs are faster, but I use my chest rig as a support item to my belt. I train to go to the belt for my reloads and my two fastest reloads are there in HSGI Taco pouches. I use the chest rig to keep my belt topped off and reload the rifle only when necessary so any small amount of extra time that a flap might add is not a big deal. In fact, it can be a plus with an AK since the flaps allow you to consider running your AK magazines with the bullets oriented up. This makes removing the AK magazines much easier and positions it better in your hand for insertion into the magwell.

The harness is wide enough to carry this chest rig’s light load very well. You really just can’t overload this rig and the harness is more than sufficient. It works very well.

The Chicom Chest Rig is very low profile and rides very close to the body.

I haven’t added any pouches to my Chicom Chest Rig (at least for now). I have really come to appreciate just how trim and light it is without any additional pouches. It is really only marginally thicker than the magazines themselves. The whole rig rides very close to your chest and is quite compact.

The trapezoidal shape puts a minimum of fabric around your body and makes the rig feel more compact than typical rectangular chest rigs. The shape also positions the waist strap midway up the chest rig rather than at the bottom as with most other rigs. I think this plays a role in how close to the body the magazines seem to ride. The higher waist strap doesn’t allow them to lean forward and away from your chest. It is a small but noticeable and welcomed difference.


I typically do not comment about price on this blog. I prefer to let you, the reader, determine what something is worth to you. I am going to break that rule here because price is part of the point of this rig. It is based on the very inexpensive chest rig (the Type 56) and it is very inexpensive itself – prices start at 44.99 which is a steal for a handmade rig of this quality. It may lack a few complexities that can be nice to have, like an internal type storage pouch or more side release buckles on the straps, but in the end these are NICE to haves, not NEED to haves for me. Again, the price is a steal for a rig made from these materials, with this quality, and this well thought out design.

Remember, 762Tactical is a custom shop. They can make modifications to this rig to your specs if it missing something that you just have to have. It may add to the cost though.


The 3 magazine version of the Chicom Chest Rig is a thoroughly modernized version of an already functional design. There is also something extremely cool about a modern chest rig based on a historic design. This chest rig might be the best value on the market.

The Chicom Chest Rig comes in 2 flavors for you to check out on the newly renovated 762Tactical website – the 3 mag version like mine (and the original Type 56) and the 6 mag version.

Disclosure: This chest rig was provided to me by 762Tactical, free of charge, for this review.

Klymit Inertia Recon X Frame Ultralight Camping Pad

Shaving weight off of your hiking/camping gear is never a bad thing. Shaving weight off of the load that a soldier has to carry is even better. The new Klymit Inertia Recon X Frame Ultralight Camping Pad strips the camping pad down to its barest essentials in order to save weight while still providing comfort.

Klymit has removed material so that you have padding exactly where you need it but nowhere that you don’t. The result is a sleeping pad that packs down to the size of a soda can and weighs only 9.1 ounces. As a result of the reduction in unused space, the pad only takes a couple of breaths to inflate. How cool is that?

Just because Klymit made this pad light, doesn’t mean it isn’t tough. The Inertia Recon X Frame Ultralight is made from 30 denier ripstop nylon on the top and coated 75 denier nylon on the bottom. It has a burst pressure of 10 psi.

You can check it out on the Klymit website and at the Extreme Outfitters webstore.

4Sevens Maelstrom S18

To say that the new Maelstrom S18 from 4Sevens is bright would be an understatement. The baseball bat sized flashlight that your grandfather keeps under his bed is bright. The Maelstrom S18 is face meltingly, eye searingly, hair singeingly bright and yet it still fits easily into your hand.

So how bright is it really? Well, it uses a cutting edge SST-90 LED that puts out 1200 lumens! Keep in mind, that is 1200 lumens after the losses to the lens and reflector – not the less honest lumens at the emitter that some other brands advertise. 1200 honest to goodness out the front (OTF) lumens. Perhaps the most impressive part is that the Maelstrom S18 can put out those 1200 lumens for .6 hours or a 1200 lumen strobe mode for 1.5 hours!

The Maelstrom S18 also sports an 80 lumen low mode that runs 17.5 hours, 400 lumen medium mode for 3.5 hours, and an SOS mode that runs for 12.5 hours. The modes are accessible by simply twisting the tailcap to the desired mode.

It is powered by 6 CR123A or 6 RC123A batteries and features reverse polarity protection in case you accidentally load one of those 6 batteries in the wrong direction. Speaking of protection, a light this bright needs beefy thermal management and the Maelstrom S18 has it. Thermal management allows the Maelstrom S18 to regulate its own output to protect itself from the heat that the LED generates.

This light is just ridiculously cool.

The Maelstrom S18 has a ton of other features that you will want to check out on the 4Sevens website.

Cane & Derby Paracord Survival Bracelets

Cane & Derby is known for their kydex holsters but they also make Paracord Survival Bracelets. Everyone loves paracord for its versatility and having some with you in an easy to carry way is a great idea.

Image property of Cane & Derby

Paracord Survival Bracelets aren’t really unique. You can get them from any number of places. There are two things that set Cane & Derby’s bracelets apart from most others. First, they are made in the USA. Second, Cane & Derby will donate a portion of the proceeds from each bracelet sold to a specific charity based on which bracelet you purchase (National Breast Cancer Foundation or Wounded Warrior Project).

Cane & Derby’s Paracord Bracelets can be found on their website. Check out the Cane & Derby blog for more details.

Eberlestock X3 LoDrag and X4 HiSpeed

Eberlestock has introduced a pair of new packs: the X3 LoDrag and X4 HiSpeed. Both packs are variations of Eberlestock’s X1A1 pack. Both packs are very similar with the main difference being the X3’s integral scabbard for carrying a rifle or shotgun.

The packs both feature plenty of internal and external MOLLE webbing for adding additional pouches. They offer easy access via a top opening and a front loading panel. The top panel has a mesh pocket to keep small items organized and accessible. There are internal portfolio pockets that are sized to carry documents and a full sized laptop and external water bottle pockets to keep your water bottle close at hand when you are on the move.

The thing that interests me most about these packs is the shape. They have a wedge shape that places the widest part of the pack high on the back. This promotes proper weight placement by putting the bulk of the storage capacity in the correct place on the back to distribute the load. That is some very clever design that, until now, I have only seen on more traditional backpacking packs.

You can find both the X3 LoDrag and the X4 HiSpeed on the Eberlestock website.

Review: X-Concealment “C” Series Compact OWB Holster

The leather pancake holster has been around for a long time because it works. Pancake holsters allow the handgun to be carried high on the belt and tuck the grip in very close to the body which makes them ideal for outside the waistband (OWB) concealed carry. As well as the leather pancake holster works, it can still be made better and that is where the “C” Series Compact OWB Holster from X-Concealment comes in.

Classic Design, Modern Execution

The “C” Series Compact OWB Holster is made from kydex rather than leather. It bridges the gap of the leather holsters of the past to the modern kydex holsters of today by combining classic design and aesthetics with modern functionality and manufacturing. It may look like a simple re-creation of a leather pancake holster in kydex but there are some interest updates that really make the most of the properties of kydex.

The front panel is molded from .093″ thick kydex for durability while the rear panel is molded from .06″ thick kydex. These panels are then glued together and rivets are used to reinforce the bolt loop area. The construction is very sturdy. The front and rear pieces are actually machined rather than being hand cut and this level of precision is obvious with the finished holster. The front panel can be ordered in either black or coyote brown. These colors, along with the attractive and unique faux stitching that is engraved on the front of the holster, make the “C” Series Compact OWB Holster look like a leather holster at first glance.

X-Concealment has really leveraged the unique properties of kydex in the creation of this holster. Kydex can be machined which gives a great level of fit, finish, and consistency to each holster. Kydex is also very rigid which allows the “C” Series Compact OWB Holster to be made more compact than its leather forerunners. It is about 2/3rds the size and weight (2.65 ounces versus 4 ounces) of a comparable leather pancake holster that I own. The holster provides all the coverage that you would expect from a good pancake design but there is far less material around the gun. This can be done without the collapsing and sagging that you might see with a leather holster. Obviously, trimmer and lighter is better for something that is designed to be concealed.

In Use

The particular holster that I have for evaluation is made for the Glock 17. I have used it for concealed carry as well as dry and live fire with a Glock 17 and 19 for the last several weeks. In that time, it has done nothing but impress me. The holster is molded with a very generous sight track that cleared my tallest sights with ease. The molding is very precise which allows a nice friction fit and a positive click when the gun is holstered.

The draw stroke is not unlike any other pancake design in terms of speed. However, it does feel smoother than leather which can tend to have more friction. The shot timer showed no real measurable difference is speed on the draw which is good news – it performs just as well as other classic pancake designs. The draw and re-holstering both feel more positive. Keep in mind that feelings are subjective.

It will be difficult to convey just how much of a joy it is to carry this holster. It holds the gun very close to the body and rides at just the right height on the belt for me. This, combined with its compact size, make for a very concealable package. This is easily the most concealable OWB holster that I own. It doesn’t pretend to be convertible to inside the waist band carry or have multiple bolt-on belt loop styles. It just excels at being a belt holster. It does everything a leather belt holster should, but it does it with less bulk, less weight, no sagging, and no collapsing. It is refreshing to find a holster that is so compact and comfortable at a time when holsters are getting bigger and bigger in the name of modularity (not that there is anything wrong with that).


The X-Concealment “C” Series Compact OWB Holster is manufactured using modern techniques and modern materials and the result is increased functionality. It leverages the lessons of the past and the technology of today to create a holster that is functional and attractive. This is a great holster from a company that is a joy to deal with. Where else can you find a kydex maker with a 3 day turn around time?

You can check out the “C” Series Compact OWB Holster on the X-Concealment website, it is only available for Glocks right now but more models are in the works. X-Concealment offers other great holsters and mag pouches as well.

Disclosure: I was provided this holster by X-Concealment, free of charge, for review.

Patch Collecting: 8.6.11 Tribute Patch from ITS Tactical

Normally, these patch collecting posts are a lot of fun but this one is going to be far more somber. 30 members of the Special Operations Community (22 of which were Navy SEALs) were killed by an RPG attack on the Chinook helicopter that they were flying in on August 6th, 2011. This represents the largest loss of life in a single day since Operation Red Wings. 30 families lost husbands, fathers, and brothers and our country lost 30 of its finest fighting men.

ITS Tactical has quickly stepped up to help the families of these 30 heroes. They have designed a patch that will serve as a remembrance of that costly day and a fundraiser that will help the families that were directly effected by this tragedy. The proceeds from this patch will be donoted to the Navy SEAL Foundation.

The following is ITS Tactical’s description of the patch:

These custom 100% embroidery patches measure 3.5″ wide x 3.5″ tall and feature a gold VI and 23 stars for men and lone K-9 of DEVGRU and Naval Special Warfare who fell. The 31 with the black band symbolizes the 31 members of the combined efforts of the Naval Special Warfare Command, Army National Guard and the Air Force Special Operations Command who gave their lives on August 6th. The red star marks the location in Wardak Province, Afghanistan the QRF (Quick Reaction Force) Chinook was struck with an RPG.

You can read more about the patch on ITS Tactical and it is available for pre-order in their webstore.

Giveaway: Revision Military Patches

I have 5 hook and loop backed patches from Revision Military to giveaway. You can’t buy these patches anywhere, but you can win them here. These patches are pretty large at 3″x2.75″ and they have some of the nicest embroidery work that I have seen on a patch.

To Enter:

All that you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post that contains a number between 1 and 1000 and your favorite style of Revision eyewear. Example: “332, Vipertail″


There will be 5 winners chosen randomly. The giveaway will be open until 8PM (EST) Friday, Ausgust 26th. Please follow the instructions carefully. Incomplete entries will be discarded. Please use a valid email address when you leave a comment so I can notify you. If the same number is chosen twice, the first person who posted the number will win.

Comments are now closed. Winners will be posted on Facebook and contacted via email.

Patch Collecting: Bacon, Raw

Take a mental snapshot of your surroundings. Someday you will want to be able to tell your grandkids where you were when you first saw the greatest patch in the world – the Bacon, Raw patch.

These patches are the brain child of a friend on the Usual Suspect Network, Ninjamaster. I was lucky enough to be able to purchase one of the prototypes of this patch and now I finally have a production version to show all of you. It took every bit of my self control to keep from sharing pictures of the prototype!

The patch features everyone’s favorite super food – bacon. It features the lighter brown, pink, and off-white coloring that is typical of raw bacon. This patch looks good enough to eat and is sure to make everyone who sees it hungry.

You can get your very own Bacon, Raw patch from the good folks at EDC Knives.

Adams Arms Evo Ultralight Uppers

One of the big knocks on AR-15 piston uppers is that they are noticeably heavier than their traditional direct impingement (DI) counterparts. Adams Arms’ new Evo Ultralight piston uppers attempt to buck that trend by shaving weight from several key places.

The uppers feature a lightweight .625″ barrel profile. Light weight barrel profiles are very uncommon on piston uppers. Adams Arms has also chosen to install the very light weight Samson Evolution Rail. The Evolution rail is actually lighter in weight than many plastic hand guards. Finally, the Evo Ultralight uppers feature a new low profile gas black from Adams Arms that is 1 ounce lighter than their normal gas block. Typically, gas blocks on piston ARs are blocky and heavy. This new low profile block is more svelte and lightweight while still retaining full functionality.

While the Evo Ultralight uppers are still not going to be quite as light as a similarly outfitted DI upper, it is the lightest piston upper on the market today.

Check out the Adams Arms website.

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