> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Review: Esstac KYWIs (Kydex Wedge Inserts)



Review: Esstac KYWIs (Kydex Wedge Inserts)

I reviewed the HawkePak Quick N' Dirty a while back, and found it to be a pretty good bag with some shortcomings. One of my original complaints was the lack of good retention for the magazines without the annoying elastics. The mags are loose and will dump all over the place with any kind of dynamic movement--dropping to prone, whatever.With the elastic retaining straps, the interior of the bag becomes one big confused tangle...not a good thing when you're trying to access magazines in a hurry.

I tracked down a product made by Esstac, called the KYWI or Kydex Wedge Insert. The kydex wedge slides down into a regular mag pouch, velcros into place and then aides in retention without the need for annoying covers or bungies. They are made for Esstac's line of chest rigs, but I'd read varying reports about how well they function in other manufacturer's mag pouches. They're $6 a pop, so I ordered up a set of three for the QND.

The KYWIs fit easily into the QND's mag pouches, interior velcro mating perfectly. However, the QND's mag pouches were a bit oversized, which meant there wasn't a whole lot of pressure being placed on the KYWI, which meant retention wasn't great. The mags would still dump out when inverted.

KYWIs installed in the QND, with cardboard shims.
To adjust the tension, I cut out some pieces of cardboard and inserted those into the mag pouch, alongside the KYWI. These cardboard shims added additional pressure to the wedge, which helped to secure the magazines properly. Now they work as desired, with a pretty good retention. The bag can be inverted without the mags dumping out and they stay in place during movement. Not as good as a dedicated kydex mag holder but pretty darn good.

Aside from much better retention, the KYWIs also hold the mag pouch open, even when no magazine is present. This makes tactical reloads MUCH easier, with no fumbling to get the mouth of the replacement mag back into the pouch. A huge improvement.

I'm very happy with the performance of the KYWIs and recommend them highly, if you keep in mind that they are fit to Esstac chest rigs and you may need to do some modification to make them work. If you can get them to work though, they make plain-ol' mag pouches much faster to access and much easier to tactical reload. They're pretty awesome, really.

Esstac KYWIs are available only from SKD Tactical; find them right here.