Monday, July 17, 2017

I Identify As a Tactical Vest

So you diligently packed your bug-out bag, great! But what about a tactical vest? You know some way to carry essential gear close to your body while on the move, dodging threats, returning fire, or all three of the above (unless you are actually planning on being a model citizen who "shelters in place" until the National Guard airlifts you from your roof).

This is the story of one man's tactical vest. It started several years ago when this single, childless man wanted to be tact-cool but has now morphed into essential emergency preparedness gear for the husband and father of today.

You have many choices for MOLLE vests. The big division is whether you want body armor or not. I couldn't afford the body armor version nor do I find it acceptable to armor myself while my spouse and child became de facto bullet sponges.

Next category choice is to be a minimalist (chest rig model) or to encapsulate yourself in a web of MOLLE straps. I opted for the latter because I won't be running that much (toddler can't stay on pace with me) plus my husky frame could support a tool chest of Craftsman's finest.

I went with the blank mesh 5.11 version. I skipped the "preset" choices because I don't want someone pre-determining my mag or pistol location (much like the President my pouches prefer to travel freely between Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago).

When placing pouches on my vest I kept in mind to respect the ease of removing items under duress, and balancing weight between right/left and front/back. This meant several painstaking cycles of securing and removing pouches to find what real estate was most affordable for them. I seriously had raw fingers after doing this. And Blackhawk "Speed" Strips my ass, they still take time to weave. One more thing, not all pouch manufactures have the same color match...I have the occasional sandstone / coyote tan / flat dark earth mixup.

Now, what should be in these pouches? That's a highly individualistic answer. If you live in the desert you might need a Camelbak hydration system and if you live in the swamps you probably need Zika-spreading mosquito repellent. Here's what I have pouches for (for whatever it's worth)

  • Pistol
  • Pistol magazines
  • Rifle magazines
  • Flashlight
  • Small monocular
  • Police scanner
  • FRS radio
  • Knife
  • Leatherman tool
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Handcuffs 
  • First aid / gun shot kit
  • Hydration bladder

I've been happy with it. But then I got an itch to make a second one. So now I have a duplicate in black, and exchange the rifle mag pouches for shotgun round pouches (because you never know).

Well, my secret is out. I have two tactical vests because I have commitment issues. What's in your MOLLE pouches?

-Scooter McGee

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