MVT Special Operations Rig Review 12 / 29 / 2016
Brian from Georgia
I’ve been using old ALICE gear for small units tactics (SUT) and Force on Force training. While the ALICE gear is durable and relatively low cost, it’s a little slow for reloads. It works well for dismounted patrolling type training but all the pouches inhibit seating and narrow door entry on CQB. That and everyone looks at you funny for wearing 80s surplus.
I decided to finally move up to a chest rig. I also have a USGI LBV, but it lacks modularity and the Velcro flaps are extremely noisy. The double stack mag also makes it difficult and uncomfortable to get low in prone.
I’ve trained at Max Velocity Tactical (MVT) in WV several times, taking Combat Team Tactics, Patrol and Force on Force classes. So when MVT announced production of their own line of chest rigs, it piqued my interest. From all that I read, MVT rigs appear to have been developed the right way: veterans with combat experience first established design features, applied military specifications and then employed top-notch craftsmanship to deliver a solid product. I thought I’d give one a try.
I opted for the Special Operations Rig on Ranger Green. MVT has active duty SOF train at their site and this rig was designed with their input. You can read all the specs here: https://www.maxvelocitytactical.com/2016/12/special-operations-rig-sor/.
I received the rig in a little over a week, not bad considering they are made to order. I was impressed with the craftsmanship and attention to detail. 1000D nylon is used for the pouches. Stitching is done to parachute riggers standards and it’s very clean. The tag on the internal compass pouch states it’s 100% Made In The USA (in fact in a small shop right here in Georgia).
The most unique and useful feature on the MVT Special Operations Rig is the four integrated open top mag pouches with kydex inserts. Both USGI and Pmags fit well; they “snap” into the kydex insert for positive retention. You could hang upside down and they wouldn’t fall out. There are no flaps, no noisy Velcro and no bungee cords to get in the way. If you’ve ever used flapped or non-reinforced pouches, mag extraction and re-insertion on tactical reloads can be slow. The kydex inserts in these pouches make it easy to quickly extract or insert mags one handed.
The rig has rows of MOLLE on it to attach pouches. I personally don’t see the need for MOLLE on the mag pouches since additional pouch attachments would negate the whole low-profile aspect for me. I might add a medium pouch on the side for a FLIR but I’m leaving the front clean.
The H-harness has webbing on it for hydration carrier attachment. I used a couple tac-ties to mate to the H-harness. I ran the rig’s lower back strap through the Camelbak’s lower D-rings. The addition of the Camelbak balances out the load.
The Special Operations Rig has pouches off the side for larger radios (AN/PRC 152 according to the website) and antenna loops. I don’t have a large radio yet but the pouches will in fact hold two each 30 round mags. It ought to hold a Baofeng or similar with no problems. The pouches also have small end compartments that would be perfect for a small flashlight, gun lube, chemlights or whatever.
The H-harness detaches from the rig courtesy of fastex buckles, allowing the rig to be attached directly to a plate carrier. It does require purchase of their PC adapter kit. I’ll eventually get some a plate carrier so this is a beneficial feature.
The compass pouch is sized perfectly for an orienteering style compass. A USGI lensatic compass will fit but it’s thickness may make things uncomfortable in prone. If you are running a lensatic, move it over to one of the side radio pouches. Right behind the internal compass pouch is an open top map pouch. These are nice additions for land nav usage as part of your small unit training.
The rig has performed well so far. Running some contact drills with position and mag changes, reloads are indeed fast, especially so if you are used to a chest rig set-up. I’m used to belt pouches so it will take a little time to develop a clean technique for standing or kneeling reloads. However, reloads from prone were stupid-fast right off the bat. No reaching back to the belt, no fooling with flaps or bungee cords: just grab the mag and extract. The kydex reinforced pouches allow the shooter to stay very low in prone while reloading. Take one of MVT’s Force on Force classes and you’ll understand the benefit.
Perhaps the only thing I would change is the location of the rear strap fastex buckle. It can be a little tough to access when putting on the rig. If it were moved up onto the side panel’s lower row of MOLLE webbing a couple of inches, it would allow improved two-handed buckling.
That minor suggestion aside, the Special Operations Rig is a well-built unit that is functionally efficient. Putting the rig through its paces makes it obvious that user needs drove the design. The high-denier fabric and mil-spec stitching lets you know right away that this isn’t cheap gear. It is intended for hard field use and indications are that it should perform well in that environment. The MVT rig is priced in line with other name-brand gear, is 100% made in the USA and developed by veterans with combat experience. Buy with confidence.