There has been so much interest in the new Blue Force Gear (BFG) SPLITminus that I thought I would share some initial thoughts. Please keep in mind that I have only had one in hand for about 2 days. This is will be more of a set of initial observations – not a full review.
The rig certainly feels durable but that is pretty subjective. There is minimal stitching due to the nature of the MOLLEminus concept but the stitching that is present is straight and clean. There are heavy bar tacks at every point where webbing or buckles are joined to the body of the rig. The Multicam pattern appears lighter than it does on some fabrics. I am not sure if this is a function of the ULTRAcomp material that is used or if it is the typical variation that is sometimes seen between batches of Multicam. Overall, I would say that it is reflective of the typically high level of quality that we expect from BFG but time will tell the whole story.
MOLLEminus is another innovative idea from BFG that is in the same vein as their Helium Whisper Project. It utilizes their ULTRAcomp material which is laser cut with a series of slots and voids to create a durable and extremely lightweight surface onto which to mount MOLLE
MOLLEminus starts with a proprietary material that BFG calls ULTRAcomp which is extremely durable but still lightweight. The material is laser cut with a series of slots and voids that create a matrix to which MOLLE compatible items can be attached. By eliminating the need for sewn on grids of webbing, BFG is also eliminating weight, complexity, and potential failure points. MOLLEminus has many potential applications (cummerbund for the LMAC anyone?) but in this case it results in an extremely lightweight and durable chest rig that has a minimum of stitching.
The SPLITminus weighs only 250 grams (that is barely more than half a pound). According to BFG’s website, the SPLITminus actually weighs 5 grams less than the RACKminus which I suppose is due to the void in the center of the rig that constitutes the split front. The SPLITminus has 6 columns and 3 rows of PALS on each side of the split (total of 12 columns and 3 rows). The shoulder straps on the “H” harness are also laser cut to accept single column MOLLE pouches. They are backed with mesh and the voids not only allow the harness to breathe but also provide routing for cables or hydration tubes. It is only available in Multicam at this time.
BFG’s MOLLEminus rigs beg to be paired with their Helium Whisper pouches. I added 2 Ten-Speed Double M4 Magazine Pouches (one on each side of the split). This configuration allows the wearer to carry 4 mags in a rig that has a total weight of .8 lbs. and lays nearly completely flat when empty.
Split-front chest rigs like the SPLITminus have some inherent advantages over their single piece counterparts. They can be donned and doffed very easily like a vest. They also tend to breathe better and keep the wearer cooler thanks to the gap in the front. The gap in the front also prevents gear from pressing into your sternum when prone. The rig can even be unbuckled and spread open to completely clear the front of the wearer’s chest if they have to lay prone for extended periods.
I am looking forward to spending more time with the SPLITminus. This is the first experience that I have had with BFG’s MOLLEminus technology. When I hold the SPLITminus, I can’t help but think I may be holding something important. It is so thin, so lightweight, so simple, and so durable that it is hard to imagine that this isn’t where MOLLE gear is going or where it should go.
If you want a chance to win a SPLITminus, head over to the BFG Facebook Page. Post a picture of your chest rig on their page and tell them why it needs to be lighter (adding the weight of your rig is a plus). The picture of your chest rig will enter you for a chance to win a SPLITminus from BFG.
Check out the SPLITminus on BlueForceGear.com.