Tony at Retro-Tactical has made it his mission to provide tactical gear for the weapons that the majority of the tactical gear makers have forgotten, ignored, or never even heard of. I first came across his work when I was looking for a MOLLE mountable 10/22 magazine pouch. He makes some really interesting items for everything from 1911s, to PSLs, to revolvers… that’s right, tactical gear for revolvers. When Tony offered to send me some pouches to review, I jumped at the chance.
The quality of these pouches is immediately apparent. The stitching is straight and clean. Many of the edges and seams are taped (though not all of them). The materials that Tony uses are top notch. The pouches are constructed from double layered 1000 denier nylon. It should take you a lifetime to wear a hole all the way through one of these pouches.
The attention to detail is very good. Tony uses two layers of nylon in the construction of the pouch and sews them so that the stitching from the hook and loop closure won’t show through to the front of the pouch. This gives a very clean look. This is the kind of detail that most users will never notice, but Tony took the time to think about.
The hook and loop closure on these pouches is very well designed. The hook side is oriented vertically on the underside of the lid and the loop side is horizontal on the front of the pouch. This allows the lid to be fastened as tight or loose as the user wants. The design and execution of these pouches is very thoughtful.
Loose Ammo Pouch
The first pouch that I tried was the MOLLE version of the Loose Ammo Pouch (there is a belt version as well). This is one clever pouch. It is designed to hold loose ammo in a way that is secure and easy to access. As you can imagine, designing a pouch that holds loose rounds as small as .22LR without spilling the while the user is moving takes some time at the drawing board. Tony designed this pouch with a flap of lightweight ripstop nylon that is secured at the front of the pouch (the side away from the wearer). The other side is secured with a piece of elastic. The flap completely covers the mouth of the pouch but is easily pushed to the side as you access the ammo. It is ingenious.
I tested this pouch several ways. I loaded it with 50 rounds of .22LR ammo, turned it upside down and shook it. It did drop some rounds but that was to be expected. Next, I conducted the same test but with the pouch right side up. The pouch retained all 50 rounds. This is more accurate test of what it will be like when worn. I also did the same tests but with the flap secured tightly. Nothing escaped. Finally, I secured the pouch to an out of the way spot on my MOLLE belt rig and ran through carbine drills on the range. I didn’t access the pouch for the drills. I just wanted to see how it would perform while the user was running, dropping into prone, and doing other shooting related activities. At the end of the day, all 50 rounds were still in the pouch.
This pouch is perfect for those who have tube fed rifles chambered in .22LR. It could be attached to the MOLLE belt pad of a pack (like those from Mystery Ranch or Kifaru) or a belt to keep your ammo right at your finger tips when you are small game hunting or hiking. It can even hold boxed .22LR ammo. I found that it would fit 2 boxes of .22LR with room to spare.
I’ll say it again: This is one clever pouch.
Ruger 10/22 Dual Magazine Pouch
The next pouch that I tried was what Tony calls the Ruger 10/22 Dual Magazine Pouch. I had the MOLLE version to test (there is also a belt version). It is essentially a revolver speed-loader pouch which I have found to work very well for the 10/22 10 round rotary magazines. I have been using a belt mounted speed-loader pouch for years to carry my 10/22 magazines so I was very pleased to find that Tony offered a MOLLE mount version.
The interior of the pouch has webbing straps (just like a speed-loader pouch) that help retain and stabilize the magazines. They work well to stabilize the magazines but they can be a bit of a pain when you are trying to insert a magazine into the pouch. They tend to smash down under the magazine instead of wrapping around it. However, once the mags are in place, the straps do a fine job of retaining them. I also found that it become easier over time to insert the magazines. I am not sure whether that was because the straps loosened a bit with use or because I got better at inserting them.
It might also be nice if this had a split lid so that one magazine could be removed without fear of accidentally dumping the other magazine. That didn’t happen to me in testing but I could see how it might.
This pouch is great for mounting on the MOLLE belt of my favorite packs – the Kifaru MOLLE Express and the ZXR. It allows me to easily carry a couple of spare magazines for my 10/22 when small game hunting or hiking. The pouch allows very smooth reloads. The user clears the flap and presses up on the bottom of the pouch under the magazine that they wish to remove. The magazine slides up into the hand is ready to be inserted into the 10/22. It is quick and smooth. I envisioned this pouch on the waist belt of a pack all along and I am very pleased with how it worked out.
Attaching the MOLLE Pouches
I should say a few words about attaching these pouches to MOLLE webbing. MOLLE pouches are threaded onto the MOLLE platform and typically this requires at least 3 rows of webbing vertically on the back of the pouch to do effectively. The above pouches are so compact that there is only room for 2 rows vertically.
I found 3 methods that worked very well for attaching them. The first was to use zip ties which actually worked really well. Tony has written about this on his blog.
The next method that I tried was the use of short MALICE clips. This worked but quite a bit of the clips were visible below the pouch. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but it did render an extra row of MOLLE webbing useless.
Finally, I remembered that I had some ITW Annex Clips. These were the perfect solution for the short pouches. I attached them to the lower row of MOLLE to prevent the pouch from rocking up when I tried to lift the flap. They hold very securely while still allowing the pouch to be moved easily.
The final pouch is easily my favorite of what Tony sent me (and that is saying a lot). Retro-Tactical makes the Universal Gunsaddle for several rifles, including the 10/22 version which Tony sent me. This pouch is just too cool. It is essentially the same pouch as the 10/22 Dual Magazine Pouch above except it is sewn to buttstock saddle. It allows you to carry 2 spare magazine for the 10/22, unobtrusively, right on the buttstock of the rifle.
Like the 10/22 Dual Magazine Pouch above, I believe that the Universal Gunsaddle could also benefit from a split lid. However, in my testing, it worked fine as is.
Attaching it is simple. You just loosen the cord-lock, slide the whole Universal Gunsaddle onto your rifle, and then tighten the cord-lock (more detailed instructions can be found on the Retro-Tactical Blog). There are webbing loops on the saddle portion of the pouch that has para-cord routed through them. This creates the “Universal” part of the pouch because it can be readily adapted to fit a wide variety of stocks. I tested it on a factory birch stock, the old style factory polymer stock, the new style factory polymer stock, and a Hogue stock.
The saddle part of the pouch is only as thick as 2 layers of 1000 denier nylon so it doesn’t interfere with the cheek weld at all. In fact, it is an improvement over the Hogue stock which can feel a bit slimy on a hot day. It would be cool if Tony could offer these with closed cell foam padding in the saddle to act as a comb riser for those who need it. Since Tony does do custom work, I suspect that he could easily accommodate that.
This Gunsaddle is just so handy. You can carry all of the ammo you need for an afternoon of small game hunting right on the gun. If you keep a 10/22 as a truck gun or a survival rifle, this pouch would be perfect for storing the ammo in such a way that it was always with the gun.
I am very happy with these pouches. The materials are top notch and the construction is very good. The designs and attention to detail are excellent. They function well and fill a void in my gear. Tony has shown that he definitely knows how to fill a niche. I had an absolute blast reviewing these pouches.
You can check out Tony’s whole niche filling product line at Retro-Tactical.com.
Disclosure: I received these pouches free of charge for review from Retro-Tactical.