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FirstSpear Retro-Fit Cummerbund Kit, Tubes and 6/12

FirstSpear recently introduced a Retro-Fit Cummerbund Kit that features their Tubes and 6/12 technology (Tubes and 6/12 explained). Soldier Systems has been all over the coverage of the new kit.

The FirstSpear Retro-Fit Cummerbund Kit converts your old Velcro secured cummerbund to accept the Tubes closure system. I am not necessarily as Velcro-phobic as some people but plate carriers tend to use it extensively enough that it can become an issue. Velcro wears out, makes noise, and, perhaps worst of all, loses function if it gets extremely dirty (clogged with snow, mud, or other debris). FirstSpear Tubes shouldn’t really suffer any of these issues. All reports say that they are quiet, durable, and very resistant to the elements. This kit should also make a typical Velcro secured plate carrier much faster and easier to don and doff.

FirstSpear is offering a special deal right now that lets you get into a Retro-Fit Cummerbund Kit at a very reduced price. You just have to trade in your current cummerbund. You can find more details on the FirstSpear website.

Review: UW Gear Bandoleer

I have had the pleasure of trying out the UW Gear Bandoleer for both the AR and AK for the last several months. In that time, I have grown pretty fond of them. They have really impressed me with their low profile and versatility beyond just their intended purpose. These are more than just grab ‘n’ go rigs.

UW Gear Bandoleers for the AR (left) and AK (right)

Overview

The UW Gear Bandoleer is a pretty straight forward design. It is basically just 3 magazine pouches with a shoulder strap and a waist strap. The magazine pouches are secured in the pouches with UW Gear’s ground breaking flap closures (see the UW Gear Minuteman MKIII review for more details on the flaps). The pouches also feature UW Gear’s clever sewn in drainage holes.

The body of the Bandoleer is constructed on 1000D nylon. The shoulder strap and waist strap are constructed from comfortable 1.5″ webbing. All of the usual details that I have come to expect from UW Gear are present like box stitching wherever the webbing meets the bandoleer, rounded corners, straight and even stitching, and quality hardware throughout.

The UW Gear Bandoleer uses the same excellent pouches as the Minuteman MKII chest rig.

There is enough room to easily clear Magpuls no matter how you have them attached.

Intended Role

The UW Gear Bandoleer is designed to function as a grab ‘n’ go or quick reaction rig. It is quicker to don than a chest rig and offers more concealability. This rig is designed for when the fight comes to you and you just don’t have a lot of time to react. It is the type of rig that you might want to store right next to the rifle that you use to protect your home and property. It is perfect for use with a truck or tractor gun.

I know there are people out there who are bound to say something like extra magazines are overkill in these types of scenarios. However, it should be remembered that carrying extra magazines is not just about carrying extra ammo. Extra magazines are an essential part of clearing malfunctions. If at all possible, you should always avoid reinserting the same magazine that you just malfunctioned – hence the need for spares.

Back of the UW Gear Bandoleer

In Use

Much of the versatility of the UW Gear Bandoleer comes from the different ways that it can be worn. I can quickly throw the shoulder strap on and then go, only fastening the waist strap if there is time. It can be worn low on the support side so that it doesn’t interfere with a side arm worn on your weapon side. It can also be pulled around toward the wearer’s front where it serves as a sort of chest rig.

When pushed to the side or even slightly behind the hip, the Bandoleer conceals easily with a light jacket or even a button up shirt. This concealability really makes the UW Gear more than just a grab ‘n’ go rig for me. I can see a lot of value in having a way to very discreetly and securely carry rifle magazines in certain situations that an armed citizen may encounter.

Retrieving a magazine from the UW Gear Bandoleer will likely feel like second nature to those of you who are used to belt rigs. The Bandoleer rides low and is positioned much like pouches on a belt rig (though slightly higher). This is an extremely fast place to draw from even with the full coverage pouches.

The waist strap can be wrapped around the body of the pouch for more streamlined storage so you have less straps to deal with when donning the Bandoleer. It unravels easily with just a tug when you are ready to fasten it around your waist.

The waist strap can be wrapped when storing the UW Gear Bandoleer.

Crossing the straps like this at the rear will keep them in place but still allow you to free them with just a tug.

UW Gear places a side release buckle on both straps. This makes it very easy to doff the rig, even in an emergency.

It can be difficult to remove a magazine from the rig if the waist strap is not buckled. The entire rig seems to lift as you try to lift a single mag. This is more pronounced with curved AK mags and less of an issue with the straighter AR mags. It can be overcome with a small shake or by sharply jerking the magazines out of the pouch. The moral of the story is that you should be fastening the waist belt if you have the time because this will cure the issue.

You can cinch the UW Gear Bandoleer down pretty tight and it will resist shaking while moving. However, it will never be quite as locked down as a chest rig. This isn’t a dig on the UW Gear Bandoleer but rather an observation of all bandoleers. They are not meant to take the place of a dedicated fighting rig.

UW Gear continues to impress.

Conclusion

While the UW Gear Bandoleer is great as a grab ‘n’ go rig, its concealability and variety of discreet ways that it can be worn make it more than just an emergency rig. I continue to be impressed with the quality and thoughtful designs that UW Gear offers.

Check out the UW Gear Bandoleer for the AK-47 (and AK-74) and the AR-15/M-16/M4.

Note: The Bandoleers shown are early models. Current production models have 2 SRBs instead of 4 and use 1.5″ webbing for both straps.

Review: Fight and Flight Tactical Shot Shell Carrier

As if the Fight and Flight Tactical Hybrid Patch Panels aren’t already versatile enough, now you can add even more functionality with the addition of a Shot Shell Carrier. While this Shot Shell Carrier is designed specifically for use on the Hybrid Patch Panel, it works as a stand alone unit as well.

Fight and Flight Shotgun Shell Panel

Overview

The Fight and Flight Tactical Shot Shell Carrier is a pretty straight forward design. It is constructed from 2 pieces of 2″ webbing that are sandwiched together to make a backing. The back features a single row of MOLLE webbing and the the front has 5 elastic loops to hold the shotgun shells. It is designed to be attached via ITW Annex Clips which allows it to be attached to just one row of MOLLE webbing, making it more compact than most shot shell carriers.

The ITW Annex Clips seen here on the back of the panel make the small size possible.

In Use

There were no real surprises in use. It functions much like other elastic loop shell holders. It retains the shells well and allows them to be inserted with the brass up or brass down. Choosing whether the brass should be up or down is largely a function of preference and where the Shot Shell Carrier is mounted on your gear.

Many MOLLE compatible shot shell carriers are somewhat large. This isn’t necessarily because the size is needed to carry the shells but rather because a certain amount of size is necessary to attach to MOLLE webbing in the traditional way. This Fight and Flight Tactical Shot Shell Carrier is far more compact thanks to the use of the Annex Clips. They are really ideal for pouches like this that lack the vertical height needed to allow the weaving of MOLLE webbing.

Fight and Flight Shotgun Shell Panel Mounted on a 4x4 Hybrid Patch Panel

Conclusion

This is a simple, straight forward design that works and that is a pretty high compliment. It does what it needs to do – hold shotgun shells – and it doesn’t take up a lot of extra space while doing it. It works in conjunction with the Fight and Flight Hybrid Patch Panels but it also works just as well alone.

Check out the Shot Shell Carrier on FightandFlight.com.

Disclosure: This item was provided to me, free of charge, for review by Fight and Flight Tactical.

Blue Force Gear Ten-Speed Chest Rigs with MOLLE

The original Ten Speed Chest Rigs from Blue Force Gear were well known for their light weight, low profile, and versatility. However, they weren’t user configurable. Blue Force Gear went back to the drawing board and has returned with a new design for the Ten-Speeed Chest Rigs that gives the user even more flexibility.

The key to the original Ten-Speed Chest Rig’s lightweight, low profile, and versatility was the unique design of the Ten-Speed magazine pouches. This new version has the same pouches but there are fewer of them. The outer pouches have been replaced with MOLLE webbing so the user can add their own pouches like a blow out kit or admin pouch. So, the Ten-Speed Chest Rigs with MOLLE have the versatility of the Ten-Speed elastic mag pouches that can carry just about anything that you can fit into them along with the versatility of MOLLE webbing. Math isn’t my strongest subject, but I am pretty sure that equals more versatility.

Check out the Ten-Speed Chest Rigs with MOLLE on BlueForceGear.com.

UW Gear Update

There is plenty good news coming out of UW Gear lately. The biggest news is that they have streamlined their ordering process. You can now use a credit card or Paypal when placing an order. I know a few of you were holding off until credit card ordering was available. Now you don’t have an excuse for not owning some great UW Gear products.

UW Gear has also expanded their standard color/camo selection to include A-TACS FG and A-TACS AU. Both A-TACS patterns are available on all UW Gear items. John at UW Gear has put together a great series of photos on the UW Gear forum showing how A-TACS FG works in his area.

Stay tuned for the upcoming review of the UW Gear Bandoleer.

 

The Chest Rig from High Ground

To Say that The Chest Rig from High Ground is light weight would be an understatement. The entire rig with straps included weighs a scant .7 pounds. That is not a typo. It weighs only 7 tenths of 1 pound.

This is accomplished by removing all but the absolutely essential parts of a chest rig. All that is left is a MOLLE webbing matrix that is reminiscent of the cummerbund on the Crye JPC.

Light weight doesn’t necessarily mean light on features. This chest rig can accept any MOLLE pouch just like a typical chest rig. It can also be easily configured as a stand alone chest rig or docked on High Ground’s plate carrier. It also happens to be reversible – Multicam on one side, Coyote Brown on the other.

Check out The Chest Rig on HighGroundGear.com.

Coyote 498 Grande Patch Panels from OC Tactical

The recent review of the Multicam Grande Patch Panel from OC Tactical was a hit. Now OC Tactical is following up the Multicam Grande Patch Panel with the new Coyote 498 Grande Patch Panel.

Like the Multicam version, this new coyote brown version features 4 grommets for tons of hanging options, color matched edge binding, and 1000D nylon backing. It can hold a ton of patches on its 18″x24″ Velcro surface. You won’t find a more bomb-proof way to display your patches.

Check out the new Coyote 498 Grande Patch Panel on OCTactical.com.

 

Review: Fight and Flight Tactical Leader’s Arm Board

When I first received the The Fight and Flight Leader’s Arm Board I didn’t anticipate how useful it could be to a non-military user like myself. I was actually a bit surprised that Dave, owner of Fight and Flight Tactical, even sent it to me at all. I have never needed to carry around pictures of high value targets or anything like that. After spending some time with it, I was surprised at just how many uses I found for it.

Fight and Flight Tactical Leader's Arm Board

Overview

At its most basic, the Leader’s Arm Board is an organizer for important information that must be available to you quickly. It attaches to your wrist (or a number of other places) and allows you to carry and quickly view information like maps, pictures, ballistic information, or anything else you can fit on a note card.

The top flap opens to reveal the first vinyl window. This window can be loaded quickly without unfolding the arm board.

The Leader’s Arm Board is constructed from 1000D nylon. It features 3 clear vinyl windows that can be used to display information. These windows are layered over one another so that they can be unfolded one at a time. All 3 of them are covered by a flap that is not detachable but can be secured out of the way with hook and loop. There is an elastic pen loop on the interior for securing a pen or alcohol marker for marking directly on the vinyl windows. A removable kydex stiffener is used to allow the Leader’s Arm Board to hold its comfortable curved shape and to provide a solid backing for writing on the vinyl windows.

The exterior of the Leader’s Arm Board features a 2″x3″ panel of loop material for attaching various types of patches. It also features a wrist strap that is removable, reversible, and completely ambidextrous. The wrist strap is threaded through webbing that can be used to attach the Leader’s Arm Board to any MOLLE interface using something like MALICE Clips. The webbing is covered with loop material so the panel can also be affixed via hook and loop.

After lifting the flap and first vinyl window, two more windows are revealed.

Quality

The Leader’s Arm Board shows the type of quality that you would expect for something that is designed to be exposed to the elements constantly and take a beating. There are bar tacks everywhere you would expect to find them. The hook and loop areas that will be stressed frequently are double or triple stitched. All of the cloth edges are covered and reinforced with color matched binding tape. The wrist strap is wide enough to be comfortable and has rubber threads woven in to keep it from sliding around on your arm. There is a lot of hallmarks of quality and attention to detail in the execution.

In Use

I used the Leader’s Arm Board the hardest for some navigation. I like to hike a local orienteering course whenever I can sneak away and this turned out to be a tremendous tool for tracking and organizing navigation information. I carried coordinates, location clues, UTM cards, small maps, quick reference information right on my wrist and in an easy to access format. I also found that the grab handle on the exterior flap was the perfect place to mount a small compass like a Suunto Clipper for a quick direction check. These are the types of things that you might like to have handy on any hike.

I also found it useful for carrying ballistic information like hold overs and reticle dimensions. I can also use it to outline the drills that I pre-plan for a day at the range. So, while I have never been in the military, I found a lot of use for this.

The top most window will easily accept a 3×5″ index card but the inner two windows required that the card’s width be trimmed. I would deal with a fraction of an inch more width for the ability to use full size index cards. This is definitely something that I would change.

The clever backing allows it to be mounted on the wrist, MOLLE webbing, or Velcro (hook and loop).

The design of the Leader’s Arm Board allows it to be worn comfortably over a wrist watch. If you are wearing something like a Garmin Foretrex, you will want to mount it on the opposite arms since they don’t really fit together comfortably.

The kydex stiffener is easily removable. If you are going to mount this to MOLLE webbing, you will need to remove it. I found that it was comfortable to wear with or without the stiffener but if you are going to be marking the vinyl windows, the stiffener really helps.

The back of the Leader’s Arm Board has loop material for attaching the pouch to a hook and loop surface. Most surfaces that you would want to attach this to, like the top of a plate carrier, will also be loop material so you will have to make some field expedient adapters. This can be accomplished easily by cutting a few strips of adhesive backed hook material and folding it onto itself so that it can be used to join two loop surfaces.

The outer most vinyl window is accessible from the outside of the Leader’s Arm Board. When it is curved around your forearm, this opening pulls open a bit which could allow rain or debris to enter. It isn’t gaping open and I didn’t have any issues, but a bit of hook and loop to close the opening might go a long way.

The Leader's Arm Board can lay flat for more mounting options when the stiffener is removed.

Conclusion

Like I said above, I was surprised at just how many uses I had for the Leader’s Arm Board once I spent some time with it. The quality is very good and the design is functional. I can’t speak to it’s uses on the battle field, but this blogger found it to be useful in my fields of pursuit.

Check out the Leader’s Arm Board on FightandFlight.com.

 

HSGI Mag-Net

There is no shortage of dump pouches on the market so it takes some unique features to set a design apart from the crowd. The new HSGI Mag-Net brings a handful of those unique features and it certainly doesn’t look like anything else on the market.

The most noticeable difference between the Mag-Net and other dump pouches is that it is made of heavy duty mesh. This allows for items in the Mag-Net to be visible to the wearer and for the items inside to drain easily when wet or dirty. It also keeps the weight down.

The opening is reinforced 2 ways with vinyl tubing. The perimeter of the opening is reinforced with a loop of the tubing to allow it to stay open but still be folded and packed in a tight bundle. The opening also has two retention flaps that extend over the opening which are also reinforced with the tubing. This type of opening allows the user to quickly place a mag in the pouch while still offering decent retention once you are moving and the mags are bouncing around.

Like other pouches on the market, the Mag-Net folds up relatively small when not in use. The flap that holds the Mag-Net in a variety of colors but the mesh that makes up most of the body is available in more limited colors. Check out the Mag-Net on HSGI’s website.

UW Gear Mag Pouches

Now you can add the same great retention, speedy access, and reliable simplicity of the Minuteman MKII Chest Rig pouches to any MOLLE platform. UW Gear has adapted their great Minuteman MKII Chest Rig pouch design to stand alone magazine pouches. The new pouches have all of the same innovative features of the chest rig pouches including the flap closure design and sewn in drainage hole.

Left to right: AR-15, AK-74, AK-47

The new UW Gear Mag Pouches are available in a single magazine and double magazine configuration and they are available for the AK-47, AK-74, and AR-15. They can be mounted to any MOLLE platform via Tactical Tailor MALICE clips or similar mounting devices. These should be especially well suited to plate carriers and armor.

Left to right: AR-15, AK-74, AK-47

You can check out my previous review of the Minuteman MKII Chest Rig for more details on how these pouches work and what makes them unique. Head over to UWGearInc.com to order your own UW Gear Mag Pouches.

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