Most nylon gear manufacturers start from a military end user perspective and while the gear can be successfully adapted to use by civilian shooters, it would be nice to have gear that is purposefully designed for the prepared citizen. This is why a new tactical gear company called UW GEAR is unique. They build rigs with designs and features that are geared toward what they like to call the Armed Citizen (AC).
UW GEAR is a new company but one of the founders of the company, Diz, is anything but new to making nylon gear. People who have been around tactical gear for a long time will no doubt recognize Diz’s work. His gear has been sought after for years for its unique design and custom quality. Now, after a time away from custom tactical gear, Diz is back.
UW GEAR’s first offering is the AK MINUTEMAN Mk. II Chest Rig. As the name implies, this rig is made for the AK series of weapons and is available in both 7.62×39 and 5.45×39 versions. UW GEAR doesn’t build one size fits all chest rigs, instead preferring to tailor each rig to the specific magazine of each weapon.
The AK MINUTEMAN Mk. II Chest Rig has a number of standard features that tailor it to the AC. The most obvious example is the flap closure system or that the pouches are even covered with flaps at all since most chest rigs are moving away from full coverage pouches. Many chest rigs make extensive use of hook and loop material or bungee retainers to close pouches. UW GEAR wanted something quieter, more robust in harsh conditions, and easier to repair in the field than hook and loop so they designed a system that consists of a tab that can be inserted into a small retainer slot. This provides great retention and full protection from the elements while still providing easy access without the noise of hook and loop material. It is a very slick innovation.
Magazines, both empty and partially full, are precious to an AC since they do not have the benefit of a supply chain. They have a finite number of resources with which to continue the fight, so UW GEAR thoughtfully added a magazine retention pouch on the back of the rig. At first glance, the pouch looks like any other map pouch that is commonly found on a chest rig but this one is a bit different. The main difference is the length of webbing that runs from the bottom of the pouch up to the opening where it forms a small tab. This acts as a small “lever” that makes the insertion of a magazine quicker and easier. Again, it is a very slick innovation.
AK magazines are somewhat bulky and really need to be carried in a single layer that is close to the body. This is why the older green and brown Chicom chest rigs are still so popular today – they carry AK mags exactly the way that they should be carried. The AK MINUTEMAN Mk. II Chest Rig is similarly configured. It features 4 pouches that hold the magazines very close to the body without any extra layers like MOLLE webbing or pouches. If the user does want to add additional pouches there is MOLLE webbing on the sides of the rig.
The AK MINUTEMAN Mk. II Chest Rig looks like one heck of a chest rig for civilian shooters. Be sure to watch the video to see the above features in action.
UW GEAR is also currently working on a version for the AR-15. Check out UW GEAR on their website and their forum where you can interact directly with the owners and read more about the philosophy behind this rig.