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Tag Archives | tactical gear

BCS 20 Round AK47 Chest Rig

20rd AK47 chest rig 1

The Hungarian “Tanker” magazines are some of my all time favorite AK-47 magazines. They have a 20 round capacity which really reduces weight. They are less bulky, easier to handle, and they use the same springs and followers as standard 30 round mags so finding spare parts is easy. Beez Combat Systems is now offering a variant of their AK-47 chest rig that is designed to take these 20 round magazines. If you have standardized on 20 round AK mags, then this rig should be perfect for you.

You can read more about it on their blog or on BeezCombatSystems.com. Stay tuned for some more cool developments from BCS.

Kryptek Comes to Grey Ghost Gear

Kryptek Grey Ghost Gear

Grey Ghost Gear will be rolling out their Lightweight Assault Packs and Stealth Operator Pack in Kryptek camo. They will be available tomorrow so keep an eye on their site.

Check out GreyGhostGear.com.

Grey Ghost Gear Kryptek Stealth Operator

Tactical Tailor Licenses Blue Force Gear’s Helium Whisper

From Blue Force Gear…

Helium Whisper

SAVANNAH, GA—December 17, 2012—Blue Force Gear® announced today that they will provide their weight-slashing Helium Whisper™ pouch attachment system to Tactical Tailor.  Tactical Tailor is the second company to license Blue Force Gear’s Patent pending Helium Whisper and this technology will enhance the products they currently provide to elite users.

“Providing exactly what the customer requires is our goal, incorporating this technology into our product allows us to do it very easily, that’s exciting,” said GW Ayers, Tactical Tailor’s Director of Sales.  “Helium Whisper will support our efforts to fulfill an immediate SOF LCS Contract requirement.”

“We are excited to have engineered a system that other respected load carriage companies are choosing to utilize,” said Ashley Burnsed, Blue Force Gear’s CEO.  “At the end of the day, we are all working towards the same goal – to improve the soldier’s safety and survivability.”

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pouch backs to be constructed from a single piece of high-performance laminate versus the multiple straps and snaps of outdated designs.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.

Review: UW Gear Swampfox MKII Chest Rig

Start with one of the excellent UW Gear Minuteman MKII Chest Rigs, add a magazine pouch, and split the front. That is, in an over simplified way, exactly what the new Swampfox MKII Chest Rig is and that is a very, very good thing.

UW Gear Swampfox MKII


The Swampfox MKII is a split front chest rig that utilizes the excellent pouch and flap design for which UW Gear has become known. It has 4 integrated magazine pouches (2 on each side of the split) and a 3×3 PALS panel on each side of the rig.

The magazine pouches have the same design as those that I have already documented on the Minuteman MKII Chest Rig and the UW Gear Bandoleer. That means that the great parachute rigging inspired flap closure system, sewn in drainage holes, and tall, well fit pouch design is intact.

UW Gear Swampfox MKII Closure

The “H” harness is also largely unchanged which is great because I find them to be the best executed harnesses that I have ever used. They are made of multiple layers of webbing and folded 1000D nylon to give them structure. Their width and structure make them very comfortable to wear without having to add the bulkiness of padding. UW Gear also avoids bulky hardware on the front of the harness so there is no interference with the buttstock of your carbine.

As is typical for UW Gear, the quality of this chest rig is excellent. There is a box stitch at nearly every point where webbing is joined to the body of the chest rig. Every conceivable stress point is reinforced. The stitching is straight and clean. There isn’t a cloth edge visible anywhere on the rig. You won’t even find a bare webbing end on this rig; it has all been meticulously melted, folded, and sewn down.

UW Gear Swampfox MKII Harness Detail

Observations from Use

This is the third magazine carriage rig that I have been able to review from UW Gear and I can safely say that this is my favorite so far due in no small part to my appreciation for split front chest rigs. Split front chest rigs are exceedingly easy to don and doff. They keep bulk off of your sternum for an added measure of comfort when you are prone and most breath just a bit better than a one piece chest rig thanks to the gap in the middle.

Even though the Swampfox MKII is basically a split front version of the Minuteman MKII, it feels quite different. The Minuteman MKII feels fast and light while the Swampfox MKII feels more conducive to carrying more gear. It is sort of a cross between a chest rig and a load bearing vest. That is not to say that the Swampfox MKII is a bulky or heavy chest rig. It isn’t. Split front chest rigs just seem to work better with side pouches and hydration carriers. Speaking of hydration carriers, UW Gear is working on one that will integrate with their chest rigs. I hope they complete it soon because the Swampfox MKII’s more load bearing theme would be well served with one.

UW Gear Swampfox MKII Folded

The Swampfox retains one of the best and least talked about features of the Minuteman MKII – it can be adjusted to ride just as high. UW Gear’s harness design can accommodate a wide range of ride heights. UW Gear makes the best harnesses that I have used.

One thing that the Swampfox MKII lacks is any kind of admin storage or magazine retention pouch like the Minuteman MKII. These kinds of features are less common on split front chest rigs but it would be cool to see something like a Minuteman MKII magazine retention pouch on each side of the split. I suppose the pouches might not be as easy to access due to the shoulder straps and this is likely why they are not included.

The Swampfox MKII works with the same designated speed reload pouch technique that I use on the Minuteman MKII. I simply fold one of the flaps back behind the magazine in the pouch. UW Gear designed the pouches to do this and it works quite well. The main difference with using this technique with the Swampfox MKII is that with 4 magazine pouches and the split, the outer magazines end up pushed pretty far off of your center line. This means that the fastest, easiest to reach magazine pouch may not be the one closest to your support side arm.

UW Gear Swampfox MKII with Pouches

Wrap Up

UW Gear stuck to the formula and created a pretty darn good chest rig. Their magazine pouch and flap design isn’t broken and I certainly don’t want them to fix it. It is great to see them adapting the same design to a 4th platform (Minuteman MKII, Bandoleer, standalone magazine pouches, and now the Swampfox MKII).

If you are deciding between this and the Minuteman MKII, you have your work cut out for you. If you want a chest rig that is as trim and light as possible, go with the Minuteman MKII. If you want one that can be pretty trim and light but also scale up to carry more, check out the Swampfox MKII.

Learn more about the UW Gear Swampfox MKII on UWGearInc.com.

UW Gear Minuteman MKII – All Your Questions Answered

John from UW Gear produced this video to address several of the most common questions that they receive about the Minuteman MKII chest rig. We love these chest rigs and I highly suggest you take a few minutes to learn more.

Beez Combat Introduces Padded Hydration Harness

Beez Combat Solutions has just introduced a new Padded Hydration Harness that works with their chest rigs. As the name implies, the new harness is designed to allow the user to ingrate a hydration carrier with their AK47, AK74, Recon, 762 and Combloc chest rigs.

The harness is lightly padded to improve comfort. It features a very cleverly executed drag handle that lays flat and out of the way until needed. There are a total of 3 rows and 6 columns of MOLLE webbing on the rear of the harness. The top 2 rows have loop material sewn on so the user can affix patches and identification. The shoulder pads also feature 2 routing points on each for managing comm cables and hydration tubes.

Read more about the new Padded Hydration Harness on the Beez Combat Blog.

Review: Shellback Tactical Shoulder Pad Set

The Shellback Tactical Banshee Plate Carrier is now widely known as a tremendous value in the plate carrier market. When I reviewed it, I was blown away by the combination of quality, features, and functionality that it offers for the relatively low price. Shortly after I purchased my Banshee PC, Shellback Tactical introduced a set of shoulder pads that were made for the Banshee (and other plate carriers that Shellback Tactical offers) that promised to make an already comfortable PC, even more comfortable. I had to try them so I purchased a set while they were on sale.

The shoulder pads have a wrap-around design that makes them very easy to install and remove. They offer quite a bit of padding – enough that you will likely have to adjust the shoulder straps to get the plates to ride at the same height as they did without the shoulder pads. The inside of wrap around portion of the pads is lined with rubber no-slip material which does a good job of locking them in place.

Each pad has 3 elastic loops that can be used for routing cables or hydration tubes. The loops are generously sized enough that you can pass the mouthpiece of a hydration tube through them fairly easily. If you don’t want or need the elastic loops, they can be trimmed off easily.

These pads are very comfortable. They provide quite a bit of additional padding in both thickness and length. The design is such that the padded piece is much longer than the wrap-around portion. This allows the shoulder pad to bridge the gap between the pads on the Banshee’s build in shoulder pads.

I really haven’t noticed any difference in the mobility of the plate carrier with the pads installed. I also haven’t noticed any change at all in how the rifle is shouldered with the additional padding. The extremely compact design of the Banshee (which is part of what makes it great) is basically not changed in any noticeable or functional way by these shoulder pads except for the additional comfort.

Given the versatility of the simple wrap-around design, these shoulder pads will fit many other plate carriers from other manufacturers. They are not limited to use with just Shellback Tactical’s plate carriers.

Overall, I am very pleased with the extra measure of comfort that these pads provide. They are versatile enough to work with many carriers but seem to be very clearly designed to work well with the Banshee.

Check out the Shoulder Pads at ShellbackTactical.com.

Review: Echo Nine Three Dual Mode Sling (DMS)

Slings can be very simple. Some do little more than tie your rifle to your body. Slings can also be very complex with various sliders, clips, buckles, tabs, adjustments, and more. The Echo Nine Three Dual Mode Sling (DMS) is neither very simple nor very complex. It splits the difference by offering fairly basic sling functionality with a dash of modern features.


The Echo Nine Three DMS is a sling that designed to work with the Echo Nine Three Sling Plates and the standard front sling attachment of your typical AKM. It attaches via HK style snap hooks. It also offers the ability to configure the sling as a 2 point or single point sling on the fly via a piece of custom hardware that acts as a hub and allows you to attach the front snap hook to the sling itself.

The DMS is a bit different in concept than most 2 to 1 point convertible slings. Most of them are built to be 2-point slings that can function as a 1-point when needed. The DMS is designed to be a 1-point that can function as a 2-point. The 1-point functionality is the emphasis of the DMS. As a result, the 2-point sling functionality is pretty basic.

This custom piece of hardware is the key to the dual mode functionality of the DMS.

Observations from Use

The hardware makes the DMS sling work. The HK style snap hooks work very well with the AK front sling mount and the Echo Nine Three Sling Plates. They also work very well with the custom hub hardware that Echo Nine Three uses to give the DMS its 2 to 1 point functionality.

Converting the DMS to 1-point configuration is as easy as attaching the snap hook to the hub.

The DMS sits very comfortably in both configurations but really shines as a 1-point sling. It is successful as a 1 point sling thanks to how well the snap hook interfaces with the custom hub piece. The hub has straight sections instead of being rounded. These straight sections seem to encourage everything to lay flat and hold the 3 intersecting sections of the sling at comfortable angles.

In 2-point configuration, the DMS is basically just a strap. It lacks any type of quick adjustment that would allow transitions. This is due to the 1-point first design of the DMS. 2-point configuration basically just serves as a more stable carry option. If the user thinks they will need to do a lot of transitioning from shoulder to shoulder, they should put the DMS in 1-point mode and transition to their hearts content.

The DMS is designed to work with the standard AK sling mounting point at the front…

and with an Echo Nine Three Sling Plates as the rear mounting point (though it will work with any application that will accept snap hooks).

The webbing that I used has somewhat harsh edges. I carried an AK using the sling for full day of training and several other shorter sessions without issue but some users may find the edges of the webbing to be harsh against their skin. On the plus side, the webbing is fairly slick which allows it to slide easily as you manipulate your AK.

There were no durability issues at all with the DMS except for the paint wearing off the snap hooks which is to be expected. The construction quality is excellent with heavy stitching and box stitches locking everything in place. It is hard to imagine that this sling won’t last a long, long time.

I did find that the tri-glide that is used to adjust sling length can slip a bit as you are donning the sling – especially if the sling is in 2-point configuration. I am not sure if this is happens due to the tri-glide or because the webbing is fairly slick. It doesn’t slip while the sling is in use and the webbing is pulled tight. It really only happens when you are donning the sling. It happened enough to be mildly annoying. Thankfully, the tri-glide slides well enough that it is easy to adjust even when you are wearing the sling (if you lift the AK slightly to give the sling some slack).

Echo Nine Three DMS in 2-point configuration.

Wrap Up

The best thing about the DMS is its simplicity. Even though it has the modern 2 to 1 point convertible feature, it is still very simple in its individual configurations. The custom hub hardware works very well with the snap hooks and the DMS itself works very well with the Echo Nine Three Sling Plates. If you are primarily a 2-point sling user, then the DMS may not be for you. If you are primarily a 1-point sling user but are looking for something with a more stable carry option, then this will be right up your alley.

Check out the DMS on Echo93.com.

Fight and Flight Tactical 5×3 Hybrid Patch Panel

The Hybrid Patch Panel product line from Fight and Flight Tactical is now one product larger. The new 5×3 Hybrid Panel is the latest entry into this versatile line-up.

The 5×3 is sized to carry a single AR-15 (or similar) magazine or other items that will fit like smart phones. Of course, it also still does a great job of displaying patches. It comes with a shock cord (bungee) retainer for use with a rifle magazine and a webbing strap for securing smaller items.

Check out the latest Hybrid Patch Panel from Fight and Flight Tactical.

BCS AK47 Chest Rig

The Beez Combat Systems (BCS) AK47 Chest Rig has now been around for about a year. In that time, it has seen use in Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries around the world.

There are a few key features that seem to be the reason for the popularity of this rig. First, it is very low profile – low profile enough to wear over a plate carrier without excess bulk. Second, the buyer can choose whether they would like a 3, 4, 5, 6, or even 7 magazine configuration. Third, the pull forward design of the harness makes adjusting the rig easy, even while you are wearing it.

BCS continues to listen to end user feedback to refine this design. Check their post about 1 year with the AK47 Chest Rig on the BCS Blog.

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