It’s always a good topic – gear! I recently posted about how I had been making up my battle belt with a mixture of purchased, re-purposed and acquired pouches. HERE for the original post.
There were a number of things I didn’t like about the old set-up, so I have amended it. I bought a couple of pouches online to better suit the purpose of the belt.
Here is the old belt:
Here is a commercially available example of the Brit PLCE webbing belt that this concept is modeled after:
There are a number of issue with my original concept and set-up:
1) The original webbing set-up does not account for a handgun. It is designed on the idea that you will have two double mag pouches on each hip each one containing 3 magazines. That total of 12 magazines is great for feeding ammo to your battle rifle, but leaves you with no back-up handgun (the priority here is actually debatable, especially if you are in a team with others to back you up if your rifle fails).
2) You cannot have ammo pouches forward of your hip bones, forward of the front plane of your hips. If you do your thigh will bang into them every time you walk/run/go uphill.
3) In order to account for carrying a handgun on my right hip, I put a triple mag assembly on my left hip, to keep the magazine count up. This meant that it came a little forward of my hip bone, and was not ideal.
So really, the problem was to find a solution where I could keep the magazine count up, probably with magazines on both hips, but not forward of the hip bone, while still carrying a handgun as backup. Compromise would be needed, but I felt there was a better solution out there. There was. Here it is:
In this evolution, I have 6 mags on my left hip. Four are in flapped double mag pouches, two are in rapidly available open top pouches – I like this system, because it allows the battle belt to compete with a PC/Taco belt in terms of readily available mags.
On the right hip, I have two open top pouches, one double flapped mag pouch, and my handgun. So basically I put my handgun in place of a double magazine pouch on the outside of one of the open top mag pouches.
I have a double handgun mag pouch on the right side front, in front of the plane of my hips. Yes, I know, it should really be on the left side, but its a real estate compromise – and being right handed, when I take a knee, my right knee goes down – if the handgun pouches are on the left front, they jam between my thigh and gut, so not ideal for patrolling and taking a knee etc. You need to think about these little things, and try your gear out.
I had to lose the dedicated FLIR pouch in order to keep the ammo pouches back behind my hips.
Someone was waffling in comments that with a MOLLE handgun pouch there is no retention – all I was hearing was tacticool-repeated-but-not-understood-tacti-speak – well, it has a thumb break and also an elastic retention strap if I want to use it. I’m not really worried about it, and how I carry my handgun gives you a sort of idea of how high I prioritize the whole transition thing. I’m not worried about someone taking my handgun when I’m out on patrol, I rarely get stoppages on my rifle, particularly ones that I can’t clear in rapid time, and I expect to have team members to back me up if I do. I’m not in law enforcement, don’t want to be, a rig like this is for light infantry work out in the boonies, and those that focus on the tacticool often forget the primacy of TEAM in all this. Team is something that people’s eyes are opened to when they come on one of my CRCD classes
, and the force multiplying effect.
Here is a look in detail:
1 & 2: 4 mags total, this is a double flapped mag pouch. This pouch is attached to the MOLLE on the outside of pouches 3 & 4.
3 & 4: 2 mags in a double open topped pouch.
5: Medical pouch – enhanced IFAK (UFAK).
6: GI Canteen pouch – containing night vision: PVS 14 & FLIR Scout.
7: GI Canteen pouch – admin/emergency rations plus other bits and pieces, including a lifestraw.
8: GI Canteen pouch – BrtiMil black canteen plus metal mug.
9: MOLLE handgun pouch containing Glock 23.
10 & 12: Mirrors 3 & 4.
11: Single version of 1 & 2. This pouch has 2 mags in it. However, it does fit the FLIR Scout. So depending on the mission I can change out the FLIR with the mags and have it more handy. I can also put other stuff in there such as smoke. Remember that you should also have an assault/patrol pack and stuff can be prioritized and traded between.
13: This is a VTAC battle belt.
15: Blackhawk riggers belt. The roll-pin style belt is ideal.
The GI canteen pouches have little pouches on the sides which are really useful for stuff such as water purification tablets, lighters, batteries, paracord etc.
Does this gear have weight to it? Yes, it does, if you pack it up with mags and gear. That’s kinda the point – to carry the gear on your person. I’m used to wearing it all day every day, only taking it off to get into a sleeping bag, sometimes even sleeping on it to get off the ground. I wear it all day on the ranges on my CRCD class and Combat Patrol classes
– it’s tradition where I come from that range safety will dress as per the exercising troops, except they will not carry a rifle and will have high vis bands/vests on as appropriate. If you are going up and down the range with gear on, so am I. When I put a good battle belt like this on, unlike any other means of carry gear such as a vest or PC, I feel comfortable, it just feels right, like an MV comfort blanket.