|Posted by Ivarr Bergmann on August 16, 2019 at 11:40 PM|
The quest for a suitable Mini Survival and Battle Rig marches on. The current version I was happy with-but just. The weight was right, the length was somewhat right, functionality was right, mag changing was easy, the ergonomics were right and it was of suitable materials and CAMCON pattern with some help from a spray paint job. However with all that positiveness I mentioned it was just bugging me how thick it was in the prone, and in general. Fully loaded it was nearly 4+ inches thick from my body to the outside of the rig. And It didn't matter if it was raised high or hung low, if i went prone it felt like a stack of bricks was under me. It was a mess of mags, kit and materials between me and the earth-and I didn't mention the "airflow" mesh material velcro'd to the back of this thing that added unnecessary weight and girth.. I didn't like it.
As I worked with it I did get comfortable with the kit it held and how I was employing it. In other word i was growing a costumed to the idea and implementation of a Mini Survival/Battle Rig and working with less-much Less!. All the land nav kit was easy to get to and it was protected when I was not actively engaged in its use. None of the kit or magazines conflicted with one another on the rig and that's important to me. Kit conflicting with other kit will cause a liability when you can least afford things to fuk up. The mag pouch situation never really fixed itself 100% and it was still acting like a bull-dozed with it ill fitting mag wells. The magazine wells and the rigs girth being at the front both became subjects of concern for me and ultimately has become a deal-breaker between me and the rig. Regardless I was not going to be dissuaded in my search for an appropriate Minimalist Survival/Battle Rig. I made up my mind that it was time for a chnage and I was going to stick by that. I still had other plans in the works even as I started out with the first rig. I had started researching mini type rigs long before i happened upon the first rig. In that search i kept in mind price & function. I kept finding my way to the old school Chi-Com (PRONOUNCED CHIE -like DIE- NOT CHEE!) chest rig that's been in just about every conflict in humans history since the 50s. I found one at a reasonable price. They run super cheap for as little as 12$ and going up to 40$ depending on the vendor.
These are not new to anyone. But going permenantly- full on- with one as a Survival/Battle Rig is new for me. I dabbled with one or two in the past but thats is about the sum of it. These rigs come in a strait 3-4 cells and a 6 cell version where the mags store tandem in each of the 3 pockets. I chose the simple 3 cell version since Im a pretty small guy and these days I generally only carry 3 30rnd mags on stand by since I started using a D60 drum in my M4.. These rigs are made well and are battle proven. Sure some snobs wouldnt be caugh dead in one but most snobs are going to becaught dead in thier over priced rigs becuase they think they can buy thier way out of death when the hammer drops. I do more with cheap second hand store and homemade kit in a month then most do all year.
The first thing I did was removed the cleaning kit pouch and the extra ammo pouches making the side panels bare and ready for modification. A simple utility razor sufficed in this task. I sewed on some MOLLE tabs that would eventually allow me to add a utility/admin pouch on one side and a surplus USMC hard-shell holster on the other side. Once modified the left and right side panels would differ only in that the right side having horizontal MOLLE tabs applied while the left side would have diagonal MOLLE tabs applied for a canted cross draw for the pistol holster and Gerber knife. After adding the desired MOLLE tabs I got started on adding the suspension system. I stripped out the old canvas suspension webbing. I cut between the sandwiched canvas sheets that make up the main body panel and totally removed the entire suspension apparatus other then the rear metal D rings. Then I simply inserted the suspension from an old Grey-Ghost Rig MOLLE Rig that I cannibalized and sewed the seem back together to secure the new suspension system. I kicked around a few ideas and settled on just loading this rig exactly how I loaded the first rig since i worked well for me. At this point I see no reason to deviate since I had no issues evaluating the last rig and I was confident in my rundown.
I let the wood toggles fastener stay. I have no issue with them. They are quiet and practical and can be repaired very easy. Whats more is the cells close and no more bull-dozing!
M4 Mags fit well into the cells but there is always room left because they're shorter then AK mags, however I was pleasantly surprised to see that the MAGPUL mag pull-tabs reach the very lip of the mag cell with a lot of room for fingers, ESPECIALLY gloved fingers for winter use. Not so much room as to cause a burden or liability.
The decrease is the profile is very obvious. Its much more shallow then the first rig. from 4+ inches to about 1.5 inches in the front. A big plus for me. There is 100% no conflict with my D60 mag with this rig. In fact they work much better together then the D60 did with the other rig even after making the "Dangkler" pouch for it. As mentioned its the same kit but spread out and to the side. Not all crammed to the front. Thus I have a lower profile when prone and its relatively more comfortable. Relative comfort translates into less distraction and things going smother. Eveything is easy to get to without burden or liability. The only aspect i see me chnaging as of now is a smaller and more orginized Admin type pouch.
The Grey-Ghost suspension lined right up with the already installed Chi-Com suspension. It was super easy to replace the old webbing. Partially splitting the seems open with the utility razor to remove the old suspension left enough seem intact that the rig stayed together and was easily sewn back up. I used very strong nylon outdoor thread to resew the seems and on the project as a whole. its tough string that I cannot break with my hand and will run fine in a standard household sewing machine. Its very suitable for load bearing projects or this nature.
Im especially appreciating this USMC hard-shell holster and Gerber Knife combo set up.The knife location doesn't impede my draw at all. Replacing my pistol into the holster is NP either. I tested it many times. Dealing with predators here I got no time for dick games with my kit-especially firearms. I thought this may be an issue but i was surprised my hand slides under the knife very easy. . A gift of having tiny hands.. The knifes locarion It makes it super convenient to draw and replace for those fast one handed tasks I always find myself getting into. Those one handed operation are constant for me and having a conveniently placed knife on standby for those tasks has been a must for me for many many many years. The Gerber knife marries to the holster in an orchestra of utter convenience ive never experienced. I still plan to use my Kabar but on my trousers and not attached to the rig.
So now that I have this together and its a sound build and I just need to ruck up and get it to the Wilderverse and see what it can do for me. This whole mini-rig experience has been good for me. Its reinforced my confidence in my skills and assured me I'm still on the right track. Ive been a die hard belt kit guy for 20 + years. Its nice to have an entire belt kit full of equipment to help you survive but as time goes on and experiences grow things will inevitably change as you grow older. However no matter what Alaska will always have a say in the kit I take. All I can do is counter what I can counter with learning what she has to show me for the day the hammer drops and I dont come home. Its just the rule of the Wilderverse. She leads-I follow.
Note: the Scorpion/OCP camo blouse. I don't like Multicam AT ALL but I do like the Scorpion/OCP. They are very different camo patterns. Id have no issue using OCP mixed into my general roster of CAMCON clothing items. Its much duller and more muted then Multicam.. But this is for a different conversation..
Thank you for your time
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