July 21, 2017 at 1:29 am #47081HitsCountParticipant
I’ve been working with the AO Chest Rig for a few weeks and feel comfortable enough with it to write a brief review.
For reference, I initially started with experience using the interceptor vest and USGI TAP (which is a large, heavy chest rig). I replicated that with a tactical tailor two-piece MAV which was an improvement in some ways as it was easier to get on and off.
Fast forward a few years and I had downsized to the Tactical Tailor mini-mav… Funny how we move towards the “fight light” concept over time!
The mini-mav has worked ok for a few years but it has a few failings:
– Straps easily tangle
– Baseline straps are a X (not H)
– No map pocket
– Edges are shorter a row which complicates some pouch placement
– No integration with more modern placard style systems
Since I upgraded to a plate carrier with swift-clip style integration I decided to try the HSGI AO chest rig to integrate with it.
The HSGI has a few nice features I appreciate:
– Eight full columns of MOLLE allows lots of flexibility.
– Integrated map pocket. This is big enough for maps/documents, and will also accommodate a soft armor panel (5.5×11″ cummerbund style). If you use a soft armor insert, opt for Level 2 which isn’t as stiff as 3A. A 5.5×11″ armor panel isn’t much but it does ride just about right to cover a good chunk of my thoracic cavity.
– Swift clip compatible. The back of the map pocket has a velcro panel as well which slaps onto a modern PC nicely.
– Grab handle makes it quick to fish out of a bag.
My rig is setup with a Bleeder pouch, Grey Ghost Gear double M4 pouch and a smoke pouch. I also have a triple mag shingle under the double M4 & smoke but usually leave it empty so things lie flatter. That means loadout is:
– IFAK + TQ
– 2 x M4 mags
– 1 x pistol mag and 1 x multitool
– 2 x lightsticks
– Smoke pouch used for more ammo (2xmags), monocular, pogey gear, or smoke
– Option to plus up +3 mags in the shingle
I have found the HSGI rig to be an excellent “grab and go” rig:
– It can integrate nicely with a plate carrier, which allows you to be very flexible with your loadout and keep all your kit in the same place for muscle memory purposes.
– The rig is a bit larger than the TT mini-mav but has a reasonable footprint. It is way more manageable than the old-school TAP or TT MAV; under a large sweatshirt it is semi-concealable.
– It isn’t so large that you’re tempted to overload it, but it carries a reasonable amount of kit.
The only other option I see as being similar in flexibility to integrate with a PC or be run solo with a fairly light profile is something like the Velocity Systems Placard Chest Rig Carrier plus a quality placard, which is going to end up running around double the price.
All in all this was a good piece of kit. It gets used regularly for practice and the muscle memory transfers over 100% when layering up to a PC because everything remains in the same place.
You won’t like this kit if…
– You want to carry a ton on your chest rig
– You want a two-piece rig to get into and out of faster, or for ventilation
– You don’t have a PC that takes advantage of the swift-clip system, or you plan on wearing a PC 100% of the time and have no need for the lighter chest rig option
– You want an even lower profile chest rig (something that has only six columns of MOLLE)
– You want a fully integrated solution with no MOLLE
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