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G-Solutions
06-06-2012, 4:38 AM
By Uli Gebhard (http://www.gebhardsolutions.com),
Suarez International Staff Instructor Los Angeles

How much gear to you need to run your rifle? I'm not talking about just the one mag that you just slapped into your weapon, hoping that those first 30 rounds will get the job done. The question is, what do you need as a bare minimum in terms of support gear to be an efficient fighter with your long gun?
During my last rifle class, every student had a different approach to his support gear and all of them worked very efficiently with it.

http://www.gebhardsolutions.com/images/2012-05-05_crm-group-lr.JPG
Three Students, three approaches to carry their gear - what are the pro's and con's?


The Shoulder Bag
Let's start this review with my personal favorite: the dedicated rifle support bag.
There are quite a few different versions out there. Here is what most of them have in common: They are designed as messsenger-style shoulder bags, that one can quickly sling and get going. Some have additional straps, allowing to secure them with a belt or leg strap so that they will stay in position while the operator moves around. Inside the bag are typically compartments for rifle mags, a dump pouch compartment to accept empty magazines and additional pouches or pockets for other support gear such as pistol magazines, flashlight and a trauma kit.
The big advantages of this type of bag are that it allows hiding the gear in plain sight and that it is a very fast system to get into action. Throw the bag over the shoulder, grab your rifle and go! It does not get a whole lot faster than that.
Disadvantages are weight distribution (everything is suspended from one shoulder) and location of the mags on the support side only, which makes ambidextrous reloads a bit more difficult. Weight can be an issue and it is a really good idea to keep the gear don to what is reasonable. An unlimited supply of ammo is great - unless you have to log those twelve-hundred rounds for a couple of miles. Four mags in the bag plus one in the rifle is what was sufficient for high-round-count class segments, including laying down cover fire in partner drills.

Concealed Carry Vest
Another option is a concealed carry vest. Many of them have two vertical pocktes on the front that are designed around typical rifle magazines such as th ones used in theAR-15. Just like the bag, these vests hide the support gear in plain sight, albeit since the original "photographer's vest" has been retasked quite a bit for this kind of use, it is more of a known what the true purose of this gear is. While this is a convenient and somewhat efficient solution, I would not use it because of this give-away.

http://www.gebhardsolutions.com/images/2012-05-05_concealment_vest.jpg
Concealed Carry Vest: all gear is close at hand and out of view.

In regards to keeping reloads and other gear at hand, everything is in its place and close to your body - it will not flop around, which makes fast movement with this gear carrier easy. However, the setup is fairly rigid and will make ambidextrous operation difficult. With a big rear pocket, there's usually a decent option for a dump pouch, however, it is all the way in the back, which makes for long and potentially awkward maneuvers to retain partially depleted mags.
However, a vest like this one in the trunk of a car is not very likey to raise any red flags.

Belt-Mounted Pouches
Third basic option: mag pouches on a regurlar belt, paired with a foldaway drop pouch. This is the most compact setup that one can get to keep the rifle running. All gear is stored close to the body - which makes concealing it with an oversized shirt truly possible. It takes a bit time to get the gear set up. Mag pouches need to be secured on the belt by threading it through or clipping the carrier around the belt, but this in turn provides a very secure setup that will not shift or swing around. With magazine carriers on the right and on the left, this also allows for swift ambidextrous reloads. The student who ran this rig in class found out that a drop pouch with a larger mouth does not take up significantly more real estate on the belt, but allows for significantly easier magazine changes.

http://www.gebhardsolutions.com/images/2012-05-05_belt-mounted.jpg
Mags and dump pouch stacked on the belt.

Keeping everything on the belt provides a very small amount of bulk - which comes in handy when fighting in tight quarters, but it also limits the amount of gear you can keep at hand. There is not a whole lot of room for a full-blown trauma kit. With this approach one will most likely have to settle for the compact version that will fit into the thigh pocket of a pair of cargo pants.


The Best Solution?
Which one is the best solution? The version that works best for your particular situation. Did you get stuck in a Katrina-like scenario and expect potential hostiles trying to evacuate? A belt-mounted system covered up with an oversized shirt might be the best option. If you want to keep your gear at hand for rapid deployment in the trunk of your vehicle? The re-tasked photograper's vest or the shoulder bag will most likely be better. As stated before, my personal favorite is the shoulder bag, such as the Terrorist Interdiction Bag from One Source Tactical, since it is very low profile, fast, versatile, and holds all my gear in one compact package.

I have several of them, set up for the different rifle types that I frequently use, such as the Saiga in 7.62x39 or a Marlin lever action in .357. For the latter, I have the rounds stored in an elastic loop panel from Minuteman/OST to keep them organized and ready for swift access.
They all sit stocked next to my rifle storage ready to get paired up with the long gun that will be the most suitable for whatever our family is up to on a particular day.

Uli Gebhard (http://www.gebhardsolutions.com) is Suarez International Staff Instructor in the Los Angeles/Southern CA Area.
Please click here (http://www.gebhardsolutions.com/2012_training_schedule) to find out more about him and the classes that he has currently scheduled.

The War Wagon
06-06-2012, 5:13 AM
Concealed Carry Vest
Another option is a concealed carry vest. Many of them have two vertical pocktes on the front that are designed around typical rifle magazines such as th ones used in theAR-15. Just like the bag, these vests hide the support gear in plain sight, albeit since the original "photographer's vest" has been retasked quite a bit for this kind of use, it is more of a known what the true purose of this gear is. While this is a convenient and somewhat efficient solution, I would not use it because of this give-away.

http://www.gebhardsolutions.com/images/2012-05-05_concealment_vest.jpg
Concealed Carry Vest: all gear is close at hand and out of view.

In regards to keeping reloads and other gear at hand, everything is in its place and close to your body - it will not flop around, which makes fast movement with this gear carrier easy. However, the setup is fairly rigid and will make ambidextrous operation difficult. With a big rear pocket, there's usually a decent option for a dump pouch, however, it is all the way in the back, which makes for long and potentially awkward maneuvers to retain partially depleted mags.
However, a vest like this one in the trunk of a car is not very likey to raise any red flags.


A very good article, and of course, the important part is, to TRAIN with WHATEVER you use, so as not to fumble EVERYTHING under pressure, when you actually NEED it! :o

That said, I would speak to the vest from personal experience. Because of my line of work, and manner of dress, I can actually wear my vest (particularly in the coooler/colder mos. here in PA) and get away with it around the uninitiated (which is MOST of the folk I work with - LEO types would obviously spot it RIGHT away).

Mine is a 5.11 vest, for what it's worth, and I have trained with it, so I will issue these two bits of caution.

1) If you carry a pistol strong-side (any side really, if you're wearing the vest!), PRACTICE clearing the vest on presentation. A LOT! With SNAP caps, of course, OFF the range. Even a blue gun might be good to practice with, if you LIKE your pistol's finish; I snagged my pistol once (dryfire exercise), and ended up sort of 'throwing it' at the "target." Ooops. :o

2) You CANNOT stage the rifle mags in the outside pockets. Period. I tried this during a training course in OH once. Once we started moving drills, I moved... the mags promptly stayed on the deck. Ooops. :o The flaps MUST be closed, because if you try and tuck them BEHIND the mag, the mags will flop right out, the moment you crouch, turn, brush against something, strongly hiccup, et.al. The vest is soft, and LOADED mags just tumble right out.

Once again, this calls for practice. Even though they're velcro, you DON'T want to fumble mag changes over a pocket flap, because you CANNOT get around the flap.

That said, a vest as 'urban camoflage' works for me... so long as I know how to work WITH it. Train, train, and train... some more!

Richard Erichsen
06-06-2012, 5:56 AM
I like the diaper bag approach. Simple enough even a knuckle dragger can figure it out and everything stays put. One side is for full mags and the other side is for empties (or used diapers, as needs dictate).

R

G-Solutions
06-06-2012, 11:11 AM
Thank you gentlemen for your feedback.

War Wagon - you're spot on to train with the gear that one will actually use. It's the only way to find out how well it will work out!

As far as the tactical diaper bag goes, I want to quote the remark of a friend who commented several years back after sifting through my bag when I needed an extra hand to take care of our oldest son: "Hmmm, Diapers, wipes, ointment, HK, Mags,.... Yep! we're good!

BucDan
06-06-2012, 11:37 AM
I'm a big fan of the belt mounted pouches, it is probably the most slim setup and lightweight of them all. Because it keeps the body sleek, I enjoy it the most. I'm not a fan of bulk around my body.

G-Solutions
06-06-2012, 8:39 PM
After working with the student in this class, I'm tempted to pull my HSGI Taco pouches off their chest rig and try running them on the belt....

smittty
06-06-2012, 9:59 PM
It all depends on what the purpose is. I can see having a belt rig hanging in the safe ready to go with a loaded gun, loaded mags and maybe a flashlight. Hear a bump in the night and snap the belt around your waist sort of thing.

I'm not that prepared. I'd be lucky to grab the right key for the safe if I heard something in the night. And my safe is too small for a loaded gun belt.

G-Solutions
06-07-2012, 8:21 PM
Actually for that scenario a small shoulder bag is even faster.... I'm thinking 5.11 PUSH pack or the Condor Tactical equivalent....

Dhena81
06-07-2012, 9:05 PM
I have a HSGI belt set up with 4 taco rifle/pistol mag pouches I like it because it will accept M4 and AK mags and any pistol mags. I also have a dutch pouch and a IFAK and my holster its really nice but wasn't cheap.

FourLoko
06-08-2012, 4:05 PM
After working with the student in this class, I'm tempted to pull my HSGI Taco pouches off their chest rig and try running them on the belt....

as a skinny dude, a chest rig sucked, I barely got it tight enough and then the mags were still a ***** to pull out

if I could get a belt setup to fit it would have to be the ideal choice, a chest rig would just bet even more backup ammo which most of us don't really need

zfields
06-08-2012, 4:41 PM
Uli,

I'm curious, but what is the point of a dump pouch if you are talking combat shooting? I know for range use and what not, its nice to keep your empty mags, but in a "fight", wouldn't be more imported to get loaded and back shooting as soon as possible? Or is the point of the dump pouch more for just partial mags?

G-Solutions
06-08-2012, 7:19 PM
Primarily to retain the partially depleted ones in case they are needed later.

However, it's always good practice to hold on to empties as well to reload them later.

russ69
06-08-2012, 8:08 PM
If I'm at the house, my wife can hand me the mags. If I'm in a car, I'll be using a handgun (and the gas pedal).

G-Solutions
06-09-2012, 6:52 PM
Well, let's see things this way.... if we were to encounter a situation where fighting to protect the home calls for a rifle, my wife will have her own long gun and support bag.

A pistol in the car would be my choice as well, as long as the car can move. On road trips I usually have the Saiga or Marlin as a trunk gun.

skylovia
06-09-2012, 7:36 PM
EXCELLENT post.

laabstract
06-09-2012, 7:51 PM
Very good read, but I still prefer a good leg drop setup.

zfields
06-09-2012, 8:29 PM
Primarily to retain the partially depleted ones in case they are needed later.

However, it's always good practice to hold on to empties as well to reload them later.

Was curious. Right now my quick go to is a Chinese 5 cell magazine "purse" as my girlfriend calls it. May rethink that for a more bob setup.

Sent from my Incredible 2 using Tapatalk 2

Squidward
06-10-2012, 5:24 AM
+1 for the 5.11 PUSH pack. It carries well and has a belt loop to secure it to your body. It also was pals loops on the flap if you feel the need to carry more 'stuff". Caution however, it is easily over- packed and can get heavy. :D

easy
06-10-2012, 12:45 PM
Chinese 5 cell magazine "purse" as my girlfriend calls it

Pics please.

G-Solutions
06-10-2012, 4:55 PM
+1 for the 5.11 PUSH pack. It carries well and has a belt loop to secure it to your body. It also was pals loops on the flap if you feel the need to carry more 'stuff". Caution however, it is easily over- packed and can get heavy. :D

No kidding on the overpacking. The danger of that happening increases exponentially with larger bags... Don't ask how I've arrived at that knowledge :o

zfields
06-11-2012, 7:10 AM
Pics please.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-HSwcxs4jVh0/T0cs48APmwI/AAAAAAAABXw/3qBQ7Yutg4E/s720/IMG_0875.JPG

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-VceQFjrF9MY/T0cs4iQ2vsI/AAAAAAAABXk/nlxIUUlyKeM/s720/IMG_0876.JPG

G-Solutions
06-11-2012, 9:10 PM
That is about as compact as it gets for 150 rounds extra ammo!

zfields
06-11-2012, 9:11 PM
That is about as compact as it gets for 150 rounds extra ammo!

300 rounds.


I have two of them ;)

Sent from my Incredible 2 using Tapatalk 2

Richard Erichsen
06-12-2012, 10:55 AM
Uli,

I'm curious, but what is the point of a dump pouch if you are talking combat shooting? I know for range use and what not, its nice to keep your empty mags, but in a "fight", wouldn't be more imported to get loaded and back shooting as soon as possible? Or is the point of the dump pouch more for just partial mags?

The small amount of time you save dumping a mag willy-nilly could leave you with an gun that is not only empty, but doesn't even have a magazine left to reload. It always looks cool to see empty magazines flinging all over, but when the fighting reaches a lull, weapons are cleaned and magazines reloaded, if you have any.

R

chead
06-12-2012, 11:52 AM
Any recommendations for a sling pack that can hold a 26"-ish rifle? The 5.11 COVRT isn't quite large enough.

cabinetguy
06-12-2012, 3:28 PM
I like the ammo bag method, It is not as clean as a vest or a belt, but is very quick to get and use. I am not planning on cleaning out the neighborhood, I just want some mags on hand for the house.