Experience changes your perception of what works. When I first started shooting, I built a MOLLE chest rig in anticipation of my first carbine course. Nearly every column of webbing on that rig was filled with a pouch of some sort. I could cram 8 magazines into it and it looked awesome. That chest rig didn’t survive the transition from looking cool in the living room to actually being used on the range. It was bulky, heavy, and hot. It interfered with my draw stroke, my sling, hydration back pack straps, and anything close to natural movement. Lesson learned.
I am a slow learner and, while my chest rig choices have gradually gotten smaller, simpler, and lighter, I feel like I have still been trying to learn the lesson from that first chest rig… until now. Several months ago I picked up an ATS Low Profile Chest Harness. The “Low Profile” part of the name is very fitting. It is a very different rig from that first rig all those years ago.
The ATS Low Profile Chest Harness (LPCH) is definitely an exercise in “everything you need, nothing you don’t”. It can hold 3 primary magazines in “shingle” style on the center of your chest. There easy to use shock cord retainers on each magazine pouch. On either side of the magazine pouches is a utility pouch that is roughly the size of a 32 ounce Nalgene bottle. These pouches can be used for your blow out kit (in fact, ATS makes a medical insert for the pouches that is sold separately), various range items, extra magazines, or what ever else you can fit. The body of the rig is made from double layer 1000 denier Cordura and the space in between the layers can be used for storage as well (small, flat items work best here). The entire rig is covered with PALs webbing so you can add additional pouches.
The harness on the LPCH is basically perfect in my opinion. It features a non-padded “H” harness with a generous Velcro field in the center of the back for adding patches. The loose ends of the straps can be tucked into the body of the body of the chest rig which is an excellent feature. Many chest rigs have heavily padded shoulder straps or harnesses which may be necessary for an over loaded rig but they make using wearing a backpack a real pain. “X” harnesses also tend to pinch the neck, especially when you are wearing a pack so the “H” harness design of the LPCH is a welcome change. I tend to prefer flat, wide, non-padded shoulder straps, especially now that I have learned my lesson about overloading a chest rig. For those who feel that they need a padded harness, ATS makes one that can be purchased separately.
The LPCH is lightweight and very compact. Its footprint is very small on your chest. This is what initially drew me to this chest rig. The chest rig is small enough that it doesn’t really wrap around your chest like many chest rigs. It almost fits perfectly between the straps of my backpack. That, coupled with the thin “H” harness, makes wearing a pack with the LPCH much easier than with other rigs.
The magazine pouches are well designed. They are deep enough to retain the magazine quite well (even without the shock cord retainers) but they still allow you to get a good grip on the magazine body. A good grip on the magazine is essential to a fast and sure handed reload. No one wants to be the guy who is throwing magazines down range because their magazine pouches only allow a finger tip grip. The pouches even work reasonably well with AK Magazines (though some AK mags will be a tight fit).
I like to wear my chest rigs pretty high on my chest. This accomplishes 2 things: 1) it is more comfortable in the prone position and 2) it minimizes interference with other gear like your handgun holster. Some rigs are limited as to how how they can be run because of their padded shoulder straps or harness. This is not the case with the LPCH which can be adjusted to ride very high on the chest. The LPCH works very well with a belt rig. I find that I reload fastest from my belt, so having a chest rig that can be used effectively with my belt rig is big positive for me.
The ATS Low Profile Chest Rig probably won’t make your reloads any faster. It won’t make you lucky with the ladies or help you re-grow hair. It will do a very good job of carrying magazines and other essential gear on the range without over loading you or getting in the way. If you too have learned that less is more when it comes to chest rigs, then you might find it to be a good choice. I liked it so much that I bought one for my wife too. Even she likes it.