Tag Archives | Mayflower R&C

Blue Force Gear Licenses Helium Whisper to Mayflower


Helium Whisper technology continues on its march toward MOLLE domination:

SAVANNAH, GA—February 19, 2012—Blue Force Gear® announced today that they will provide their weight-slashing Helium Whisper™ pouch attachment system to Mayflower Research & Consulting.  Mayflower joins the growing number of adoptees for Blue Force Gear’s Patent pending Helium Whisper and this technology will enhance the products they currently provide to elite users.  Mayflower anticipates full stock of their pouches with Helium Whisper backers in approximately 45 days.

“Mayflower Research & Consulting is proud to be working with Blue Force Gear moving forward with a great addition to our product lineup.  Blue Force Gear has made a giant leap forward in removing weight off of the warfighter’s back and we see it as a natural compliment to our philosophy of building products for the military athlete,” said Travis Rolph, Mayflower’s CEO.

“Quiet professionals know Mayflower to be a forward-thinking company and we have the highest respect for Travis and his team,” said Ashley Burnsed, Blue Force Gear’s CEO.  “We look forward to helping them improve the comfort, speed, and survivability of their customers with Helium Whisper.”

Helium Whisper allows modular pouch backs to be constructed from a single piece of high-performance laminate versus the multiple straps and snaps of outdated designs.  This amazing breakthrough increases strength and durability of pouches while eliminating failure points and reducing weight by up to 60 percent.  Helium Whisper licensing allows OEM customers to reduce sewing costs, minimize alignment errors, maintain or increase durability, and stay relevant to today’s weight-conscious military customers.

About Blue Force Gear, Inc.

Blue Force Gear® designs the best weapon slings and leads the lightweight equipment revolution with its Ten-Speed™ multi-use pouches.   They also reinvented MOLLE to be the world’s lightest with their revolutionary MOLLEminus™ technology and Helium Whisper™ pouch attachment system.  Unrivaled innovation and attention to detail set Blue Force Gear apart from others in the tactical equipment industry.

Press Contact:
Brittney DeVane
Blue Force Gear
(877) 430-2583

Licensing Contact:
Dawn West
Blue Force Gear
(877) 430-2583

Blue Force Gear, Ten-Speed, Helium Whisper, and MOLLEminus are trademarks of Blue Force Gear, Inc.  Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Visit BlueForceGear.com and Mayflower-RC.org

mayflower pouch with helium whisper

Review: Mayflower Research & Consulting APC

I have never had to wear one professionally, but in my experience, smaller is better when it comes to plate carriers (PC). There are, however, limits on how small a plate carrier can be. The size and shape of the armor plate constrains how small manufacturers can make their plate carriers. The PC has to be large enough to hold the plate. There is no way around that. So… smart gear manufacturers concentrate on making the plate carrier smaller in the right places. Mayflower R&C is certainly a smart gear manufacturer and they push all the right buttons with their APC.

Mayflower R&C APC

APC with chest rig attached

APC with chest rig attached


The APC, or Assault Plate Carrier, is a plate carrier that has been designed with a few important principles in mind. It must be lightweight and it must allow a high degree of mobility while still offering a large amount of real estate for carrying gear. To that end, the APC is just about as compact as it can be while still having a PALS compatible cummerbund. I suppose it could be more compact with a simple strap style cummerbund but would limit its load carrying capability.

Speaking of load carrying capability, the APC is designed to allow you to attach a Mayflower R&C chest rig to the front. Other chest rigs with the proper hardware configuration may also work. This is one of the key reasons that I chose the APC (more on this later). The ability to clip on a chest rig lets you scale up the load carrying capability of the APC with just 4 clips instead of spending time moving PALS compatible pouches around.

It looks good coming and going. This is the back.

It looks good coming and going. This is the back.

The APC comes with 3D mesh shoulder pads that have Velcro secured panels that allow you to route wires and hydration tubes. The shoulder straps are placed higher and closer together than on any other carrier that I have tried (more on this later).

The cummerbund can accept 6×8 side plates or soft armor panels. It is secured to both the front and rear plate pocket via typical Velcro flaps. The rearmost several inches of the cummerbund are constructed with a double layer of heavy duty elastic to allow the cummerbund to flex and move with the wearer.

The front plate pocket features a small PALS field on the top front. This PALS field is also covered in loop Velcro for attaching patches and identification. Behind this PALS panel is a small integral admin pouch with interior elastic loops for organization. The lower part of the front plate pocket has a typical 6 column by 3 row PALS field. There is also a “kangaroo” pouch behind the 6×3 PALS field which can accept an optional 3 M4 mag carrier.

Mayflower R&C APC with KPMI

SKD Tactical KPMI installed in cummerbund

The rear plate pocket has full PALS coverage. Both plate pockets have room for both hard and soft armor. There is a Velcro strap system inside the plate pocket that allows you to adjust the ride height of the plate inside the pocket.

Most models of the APC are constructed from 500D Cordura Nylon. However, there is a relatively new Multicam Lite-Lok option which makes an already lightweight plate carrier even lighter.

The front of the shoulder straps has bar tacks at the stress points and a large box stitch on the back.

The front of the shoulder straps has bar tacks at the stress points and a large box stitch on the back.

Observations from Use

You are never going to forget that you are wearing a plate carrier, but the APC does a better job of any that I have tried of staying out of my way. I said earlier that smart gear makers make their carriers small in the right places and the shoulder area of the APC is the perfect example of that. The straps lack hardware on the front and are located higher on the plate pocket and closer together than on typical carriers. This effectively clears the shoulder of obstructions, allowing you to shoulder your carbine relatively naturally which is pretty amazing if you think about. I don’t need to place the buttstock of my carbine on the plate with the APC. I can actually place it on my shoulder relatively easily. Amazing.

The shoulder pads themselves are very low profile and work well though the APC is quite comfortable without them. The pads have seams that go all the way around the perimeter. In my time with the APC I found that these seams can rub against your neck if you aren’t wearing a collar. So… wear a collar or remove the shoulder pads. Eventually, either the seams softened with use or my neck got used to it.

This flap on the shoulder straps can be used to secure tubes and wires.

This flap on the shoulder straps can be used to secure tubes and wires.

I have plate carriers that let me adjust the plates to ride as high as the APC does, but I don’t have any that do it as comfortably as the APC. Often, with the plates adjusted to ride as high as they should, a plate carrier will cut into your neck/throat when you lean forward into an aggressive stance. The APC is sized well enough and the plates are so well secured that I have yet to feel the plate or plate pocket creeping up onto my neck. The APC is compact enough and rides high enough that it does a great job of staying clear of your belt. It works in conjunction with a battle belt better than any PC I have tried.

The APC can accept most of the available accessory cummerbunds from Mayflower R&C. Eventually, I would like to try the mesh cummerbund but the one that comes with it is so good that I am not sure I will ever get around to it. The elastic sections at the back of the cummerbund are what make it great. The elastic allows enough flex for a forgiving fit and room to breathe when you are huffing and puffing without feeling like the APC is too loose.

The cummerbund can be adjust via this clever overlapping Velcro system. Here is spread out.

The cummerbund can be adjusted via this clever overlapping Velcro system. Here it is spread out.

Here it is overlapped. This offers quite a bit of adjustment.

Here it is overlapped. This offers quite a bit of adjustment.

The integral admin sleeve at the top of the front plate pocket is one of those features that sounds nice to have in theory but it is kind of a pain in practice. The pocket sits up so high on your chest and is pulled so tight with a plate and soft armor backer in place that access and capacity are limited. It will hold small items but I mostly just forget it is there. The APC doesn’t really need it to be great.

The admin panel's location and size make it difficult to use.

The admin panel’s location and size make it difficult to use.

I wanted to build a plate carrier that scaled up from a nearly slick configuration all the way up to being able to carry 4-6 mags without much work. In order to accomplish that, I placed a BFG Ten-Speed Helium Whisper Double Pistol and Single M4 mag pouch on the front. These pouches lay completely flat when I don’t need them. I placed 1 SKD KPMI pouch in each cummerbund. The KPMI are a perfect fit for the cummerbund and allow me to carry two M4 mags off the front of the plate where they are still very accessible but add no additional width to the front of the PC. They are also perfectly positioned to work with the chest rig when it is clipped in place. The result is a rig that can carry 2 M4 mags with no additional bulk on the front, 3 M4 mags when you utilize the BFG pouch as a designated reload pouch, and that scales all the way up to 6 mags when the chest rig is attached (4 in the rig + 2 in the KPMIs). It’s like magic but better.

The plate pockets have room for hard and soft armor with a strap to adjust the ride height.

The plate pockets have room for hard and soft armor with a strap to adjust the ride height.

Chest rig integration is fairly straight forward with the optional Slick Clip kit. However, donning and doffing is negatively affected when the chest rig is installed. You can get the hang of it eventually but it can be a bit of a pain. Donning and doffing without the chest rig in place is easy and drama-free.

There is no padding in the plate pockets but I found it surprisingly comfortable to wear with stand-alone plates. That said, it is far more comfortable with soft armor backers installed behind the plates.

The APC has a typical flap secured cummerbund.

The APC has a typical flap secured cummerbund.

Wrap Up

There is definitely a lot of to love about the APC. I love how lightweight and compact it is, how it moves with me, how high it rides while still remaining comfortable, how easily it scales up or down based on my needs, and how it just stays out of my way in general. I certainly haven’t tried every PC on the market, but the APC is far and away the best plate carrier that I have used.

I purchased my APC from Appalachian Training and Mike, the owner, was a huge help in walking me through the sizing and other considerations.

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