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Thread: Chest Rig 101- Introduction to the Art of the Chest Rig

  1. #101
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    Just finished this one. Split front buckle placement is done so that it doesn't look like a split front when worn.

    With the hydration pouch integrated, it really balances out the weight on front and back, even when the bladder is depleted. Doesn't feel like that lean-forward neck pressure of a webbing-based chest harness.







    Last edited by LRRPF52; 12-15-17 at 11:45.

  2. #102
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    A little history on where chest rigs started to gain popularity with certain elements within the US military.

    The Army SF personnel who led cross-border missions into Laos and later Cambodia from Studies and Observation Group frequently wore an NVA/Chicom AK chest harness over some type of M-1956 LBE or STABO rig.








    When I was in Corps LRS, I noticed some of the guys in the Company did it using Eagle or original Blackhawk chest rigs over modified LC-1 suspenders with all the meat hooks cut off, 4 x 30rd M16 mag pouches, canteen pouches, strobe lights, etc.

    What that offered was a way to carry smokes and frags plus a double basic load, while offering a slim/quiet set-up after you had set into a hide site. Your ruck and LCE would stay in the hide while going out on R&S, and you could carry what you needed in the chest rig for R&S without being burdened down with the LCE.

    I bought a British DPM chest rig from the local surplus store in Tacoma, which worked about the same but was made from better materials than Chicom garbage. I would use that for going to the range just to have a quick ammo load out to grab and go.



    At the time, 2/75 had contracted with the Tactical Tailor, Logan Coffee, to make their Ranger Racks, which were very minimal chest rigs that held a row of mags nicely over their RBA, with some pouches on the sides for additional items. That later evolved into the MAV. One of the best things that came from the MAV was the X harness, which is very similar to the British PCLE kit harness. The PLCE has mesh on the back panel, and several points of adjustment to fit the user up and down the back, very comfortable kit.

    My take on most chest rigs is that they have traditionally been approached more from an ease of manufacture than comfort and function perspective. I always feel like the load is trying to pull me forward due to the imbalanced center of gravity with everything on front, so they worked better when the load was kept to a minimum. The MAV X harness is the exception to that. Because pretty much every design I've seen is cut in a basic rectangle pattern, access to the side pouches often feels like trying to dig into your armpit, so ease of access to side pouch contents is cumbersome at best.

    Around that time, we started using the original black sleeved Camelbaks. We tried wearing them under BDU tops, attaching them to LCE, and guys in other places had pouches sewn onto their TAC vests that were popular in that era. Eagle made those, which were heavy mesh-based OD with the 6 M16 mag pouches with flap and hook/pile tape closure across the front. Tactical Tailor made his own versions of those with Camelbak pouches, but there wasn't really any good solution for Camelbak integration with chest rigs.

    I've taken all these design and performance considerations into account when I started making my own chest harnesses. Some of the things are really subtle, but make a huge difference compared to what we used to have.

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