High or Low: How to Wear a Chest Rig

I will always choose to train without a chest rig when possible. However, there are times when a chest rig is a must in order to have enough magazines on hand. I prefer to run a reload or two on my belt but sometimes chest rigs are just unavoidable. So, if you have to wear a chest rig, you might as well have one that really works for you and give some thought as to how you wear it.

This chest rig is being worn low on the chest where it can interfere with items on your belt like your handgun or spare magazines.

High or Low

Many people wear chest rigs so low that I wonder if it would be more accurate to call them gut rigs. It is true that the lower the chest rig is, the faster and easier you will be able to access magazines but that is not the only consideration with a chest rig. You must also account for a few ergonomic considerations.

When you shoot a rifle from the prone position, there is a natural space between your upper chest and the ground since you are up on your elbows. If you wear your chest rig too low, it will be wedged under your stomach which can be uncomfortable. If you can move it higher on your chest, it will slip up into the natural space between your chest and the ground, allowing you to get lower and stay comfortable.

A higher chest rig is also less likely to interfere with items on your belt like reloads and your handgun. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people training with chest rig straps covering their handgun. They would never be able to access it if they needed it. Simply moving the chest rig higher will prevent interfering with items on the belt and interfering with the draw stroke.

Wearing the chest rig higher on the chest keeps it from interfering with items on your belt and makes it more comfortable when prone.

Making Low Work

If you do have to wear your chest rig lower, there are some things that you will address. First, make sure that you keep it clear of items on your belt. This may mean that you have to use a drop holster to keep your handgun clear of straps (there are considerations for how to wear these as well). You may also need to figure out a way to lower any reloads that you keep on your belt as well

Second, keep your chest rig as thin as possible. You do not want a lot of bulk down around your stomach line where you will have lay on it in the prone and where it will block your draw stroke. If you do need to place something bulky on your chest rig, make sure it isn’t over your handgun.


I prefer to place my chest rig as high as I can while still being able to access the magazines and without interfering with shouldering a rifle. This may make magazine access slightly slower for some (magazine management can help mitigate this) but overall it is a better solution.

4 Responses to High or Low: How to Wear a Chest Rig

  1. Tony May 23, 2012 at 19:40 #

    The issue with having the rig high is magazine length. Its ok if you are using AR mags, but if one is using AR57/PS90 mags or PCC high capacity mags (like the Glock 33 round mags) the length of the mag becomes a hindrance, and makes drawing it hard.

    Perhaps a better solution in those cases, is a split rig, so that the mags fall either side of you, and going prone comfortably is still possible.

    Of course this does not address the issue of the belt and possible entanglement but it is food for thought.

  2. Raoul O'Shaugnnessy May 24, 2012 at 16:37 #

    I’d like to know who made that chest rig.

  3. Adam November 9, 2013 at 04:30 #

    Personel experience has taught me to wear my rig as high as possible. I havn’t read a single comment that takes anything into account other than being at the range shooting. When you are humping with body armor or just your rig, especially in uphill down hill scenarios, you want anything you are carrying as high up as possible. I used to wear my ammo down around the waist on an IOTV. This quickly tired me as it prevented me from making full movements with my legs and pivoting at the hips. I altered my IOTV and bought a rig sitting the rig as high on my chest as it would go. This vastly improves energy usage, maneuverability, and decreases muscle strain/fatigue. This set up also prevents your ruck from sitting improperly on your back, which is another issue entirely.

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