Monday, 16 February 2009

First and Second Line Options

I've rebuilt the Hellcat rig by swapping around some of the pouches on my first line and the Pointman pouches that I reviewed elsewhere on this forum. The whole thing now consists of the following:

First line: TAG Padded Patrol Belt, (L to R) Tactical Tailor triple pistol pouch, Pointman medium utility pouch, Maxpedition medium roly-poly, Pointman large utility pouch, Pointman double frag pouch.

Second Line: SOTech Hellcat Mk2, custom PLCE X-Harness, Tactical Tailor general purpose pouch, Blackhawk admin panel, Tactical Tailor canteen pouch, Viper triple pistol pouch, UKDPM Camelbak 3L (on back).

The first line is now usable on its own as it can carry 3 pistol mags, 3 M4 mags and two frag grenades. Add a pair of HSGI suspenders and an HSGI drop holster and it should hold up quite nicely as a lightweight urban doorkicking loadout for the summer.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Belt Kit

I thought I'd stick this up here as well. This is my first line battle belt. It sometimes comes with a pair of HSGI braces (I refuse to call them suspenders) and an HSGI drop leg holster, in this instance, they're not pictured.

It's labelled up, so I don't really need to over what each bit is and what it's for. Loose ammo usually goes in the canteen pouch and stuff like a monocular, cam cream, tools and the like go in the GP pouch. not much more to say really.

It fits in with most loadouts. The HSGI braces came off as it was very rarely heavy enough to warrant them except when the holster was also being used. It fits in nicely with most loadouts and can carry a load of stuff in conjunction with something low-profile like my SOTech Hellcat. The belt is comfy and doesn't slip down and the whole thing carries everything short of mags. I might get a M4 magazine subload for it to make a nice tidy first line that can be used without a vest.

As well as the super high-speed belt kit, I also have a full set of customised PLCE that has been with me for ages and has gradually improved with age. It's just about exactly how I want it now, with the possible exception of a sandbag across the back of the yoke and some sniper tape instead of the nasty brown electrical tape securing the loose straps. No point in going over what's what, it's all pretty straightforward. double ammo, triple utility, medic pouch, single ammo and a FFD pouch on the yoke. All this sits on a PLCE belt with rollpin ends and a hippo pad underneath.

Home-made X-Harness

I saw on a forum that someone had made an x-harness for their webbing. It looked pretty straightforward so I had a go myself.

Essentially, it's a PLCE side-pouch yoke with all straps removed. I got a roll of 2" OD webbing (very dark OD, I have to add), some 2" lock monster buckles (free, as a result of a bit of begging to the manufacturer) and went to work with the sewing machine. This is what came out the other side of a few hours work...

Airsoft Carbines

As I've photographed everything else, it didn't seem right to leave the gats out.

Guarder Colt Canada metal receiver
Marui M4 guts (upgrade on the 'to-do' list) & stock stock pad
DBoys RIS, delta ring, foresight cup
DragonRed L119A1 barrel
Blackhawk mag pouch
Guarder oversized grip
Cheapo torch with DBoys switch and mount

M4 metal receiver
Marui RIS & fittings
Spiderfire torch with DBoys switch and mount
SPR-style flip-up foresight
CQB stock (can't remember the make)
G&P Aimpoint with DBoys mount

Still on the to-do list is a full internal upgrade for the L119A1, and possibly a 10" L119A1 CQB makeover for the shorty, but might leave it and spend the cash on a DMR/sniper rifle (AW338 or SPR). Haven't decided yet.

GEAR REVIEW - Snugpak Response Pack

This thing is genius. It’s technically a bum bag, which immediately makes it really uncool (my girlfriend actually laughed at it, which is not unusual when I buy tactical gear, but there you go). On the plus side, it has a carrying handle on the top so it can easily be grabbed out of the boot of a car, or from under the bed, for example and the belt strap can be tidily tucked away inside the back, where there are also MOLLE straps to allow it to be attached to a battle belt or MOLLE vest, or something along those lines.

There are four main compartments. A small one at either end, big enough for a small first aid kit, Petzl Tikka head torch and multi-tool (which is how mine is equipped) or similar sized goodies. The main compartment is big enough to keep a well appointed first aid kit, a ’58 pattern canteen, cup & hexi-burner (maybe not quite that much) or something along those size lines.

I keep a bunch of bugout bag essentials in mine; mini-maglite, survival tin, hexi-burner, monocular, chemlites, titanium spork and a few other odds ‘n’ sods. The fourth compartment is a zip up wallet-like secion on the front with a mesh pocket inside suitable for smaller bits and pieces: triangular bandage, silva compass, led torch etc.

There are a million and one things that you could use one of these for. As mentioned above, I use mine as a sort of emergency, bugout & camping bag (see pics) to keep a load of bits together in the same place that may or may not come in handy on days out camping, hiking or skirmishing. they retail for about the £17 mark so they're also cheap enough to have a couple.

As you can probably see, you can get a hell of a lot of stuff in them (the '58 pattern bottle and mug are carried in a seperate pouch mounted on the belt. I've been carrying it in the boot of my car during the recent bad weather and found it so useful, I bought my girlfriend’s brother one for Christmas. He uses it when he’s out on his motorbike.

GEAR REVIEW - Warrior Pouches

Triple 5.56mm Pouch £12.95
NEW from Warrior, a triple 5.56mm mag pouch that holds 6 x M4 5.56mm or 6 x SA80 5.56mm mags. There is plenty of room inside these pouches and the addition of non slip internal linnings and elastic retention means that even single mags will not rattle round, the tension is just right. There are 4 x attachement arms on the back for secure and sturdy fastening to any molle style rig or platform. Made from 1000D Cordura.

Small Vertical Pouch £8.96
New from Warrior the Small Vertical Pouch with dual zips and full opening for easy access. Allows the organised storage of numerous small miscellaneous items. An internal mesh pocket can hold a mobile phone, Multitool etc and opposite 2 molle loops can hold chem lights, knife etc. The main compartment will accommodate and or hold medic kit, gloves, hat, glasses, NVG monocular, binos, compass, torch, note book or GPS.

I can’t say much more about the Warrior pouches than has been said above. The construction is excellent, especially the mag pouches which have a nice rubberised section on the flap that sits on top of the magazines and, presumably, reduces wear on the cordura, and the elastic retention is really tight, tight enough to hold a single mag in without it moving around. They are a little bit snug with two mags in when new but will presumably loosen up a bit. The utility pouch was a bit of an impulse buy, partly to see what the quality of the gear is like and I’m not sure what I’m gonna use it for, but I’m sure I’ll find something. Keys and mobile phone when skirmishing spring to mind as there is a mesh pocket (ideal for a phone) and elastic loops (keys secured via karabiner perhaps). I’m sure there are a million reasons.

I’ve put the pouches on my SOTech plate carrier for the time being. This wasn’t for any particular loadout (although it is suitable for some PMC urban shenanigans), but with the addition of a Blackhawk Serpa holster and a SIG226, would do for UKSF.

Having bought these pouches from UKTactical, I’m seriously thinking about getting myself one of their RICAS vests. Under a hundred quid for a fully loaded releasable plate carrier sounds too good to be true, especially when you compare it to a similar product like the Eagle plate carrier, which is more than that on it’s own. If the construction and quality of these pouches is anything to go by, it’s not.

GEAR REVIEW - Pointman Gear Pouches

I saw a load of these pouches for sale on eBay from ‘pointman9665’, made by POINTMANGEAR.COM. They usually have a few different ones for sale in either British desert or temperate camo, most commonly, double frag, two sizes of utility, assorted grenade pouches and hydration carriers as well as MOLLE vests. Having looked at their website, this is about the entirety of their range. All the items on ebay are all listed as brand new factory seconds, due to slightly untidy stitching, although I can’t find anything wrong with the ones I received.

The two utility pouches are as good as any I’ve seen. Good, useful sizes with the smaller of the two being ideal as a backup mag pouch (although might rattle a bit as there is no elastic retention) easily holding three magazines, possibly four with a squeeze. The larger of the two will hold 5 (possibly 6) mags, canteen and mug plus extras, or something else along those lines. Both are of solid construction, strong straps and poppers on the bag for MOLLE attachment, and both Velcro (with integral optional Velcro blanking flap to reduce noise) and quick release buckle to keep them shut. £5.99 for the large one and £4.99 for the small one (plus shipping, which is combined if buying multiple items) ain’t a bad price either. These retail on their website for £11.99 and £10.99 respectively, again plus shipping.

The Frag pouch is where my only criticism starts. The MOLLE attachment on the double frag pouch is only about two inches wide, which doesn’t allow you to bridge two rows of PALS webbing without squashing it together. I couldn’t get it to fit onto a MOLLE vest and so had to stick it onto my TAG patrol belt, which has both single and double width PALS. The poppers are bloody hard to do up too as the double over at the back, making a sturdy fastening, but also means that it sits under the PALS webbing. This is okay with the larger pouches, where you have more room to manoeuvre, but not with the frag pouch, which would have benefitted from a more conventional fastening. For £4.99 (£10.99 from the website) though, it’s worth the punt, and they do sit nicely as part of my first line.

The other thing worth mentioning here is that because they are seconds, they come directly from the factory, which is in Singapore. It still only takes about five days, but is longer than expected (especially when you don’t read the delivery info like me) and they do mention that you should allow 7-10 days for delivery.

Official retailer Bumpf...


PLEASE NOTE: These pouches are a factory seconds that’s why we are selling them cheap. The pouches are in 100% fully working order and the only thing wrong with then is the stitching is not neat and tidy, that’s why we can’t sell them at the full price. These pouches are a bargain and are excellent for personnel that are just getting into Airsoft or Paintballing and would like to keep the budget low.

Fabric & Construction

This pouch is made of waterproof DPM Invista 1000Denier nylon Cordura, the same fabric used in the British army PLCE equipment. This pouch has double layered construction for maximum durability. All stress points are bartacked in place which ensures strength and durability. The pouch edges are held together and finished off using 1 inch edge binding tape. The pouches are stitched using Mil-spec nylon bonded thread ensuring tight, strong, hardwearing seems.

Uses & Configurations

The pouches can be used in many applications and attached to any kind of molle style platform including osprey body armour system, vests, patrol packs, thigh/leg platforms, chest rigs etc… this gear has lots of potential whist on ops. Once you buy the pouches you can swap and change onto any platform into whatever configuration you desire.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: As these pouches are factory seconds they will be sent direct from our factory. Please allow 7-10 days for delivery, please be patient during this period it will arrive. In the unlikely event it doesn’t arrive within this time period please contact me and I will investigate.

GEAR REVIEW - K J Eriksson Mora clipper knife

I’ve been meaning to buy a decent bushcraft/camping/general purpose outdoor knife for sometime but have, for various reasons, only just got round to it. I don’t need a massive Rambo style survival knife, just something that I can use for a bit of cooking, whittling, and in a pinch, any emergency cutting scenario that, god forbid, may arise on the odd occasion that I veer awar from central heating and readymeals. In the end, I went for a Swedish Mora knife. There are various types of these available under a variety of similar names and all fall around the £10-13 mark, which isn’t bad when you actually get the knife and weigh it up.

Much more than just a glorified kitchen knife (which is very much how it appears in pictures), it is very much more. It has a weighty blade and a nice, hefty, ergonomic grip made from what feels like very durable, grippy rubber. It feels very reassuring in your hand, like it’s not going to break on you at the first attempt to cut anything particularly sturdy, the blade is four inches long and etched with the manufacturers name of KJ Erickson of Sweden. It is surprisingly thick, razor sharp and should hold the edge nicely for a while before needing to be sharpened. The knife, overall is about nine inches long.

The sheath is a nice heavyweight plastic with a positive hold on the knife when it’s inserted. There is a chunky belt clip on the back that should accommodate most belts, although some sort of loop to stop it coming off in extreme circumstances is missing and would be a worthy addition.

I paid £4.99 plus £2.50 postage and packing for this knife from ebay. I dare say if you lurked there for a while, you could get one a bit cheaper, but a knife this versatile and useful is well worth seven and a half quid of anyone’s money.