> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Discussion on Gear Evolution - Battle Belts, flexibility and plans

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4/11/15

Discussion on Gear Evolution - Battle Belts, flexibility and plans



Last week, MVT posted up a video talking through his current fighting gear / load bearing equipment, which includes a new chest rig made to his specs. It also includes a pretty cool first person run through a shooting scenario - worth paying attention here to pick up on some of the tactics/techniques that Max teaches.

The set up that Max shows here - a light battle belt and midweight chest rig is interesting in that it is a pretty significant shift from the heavy British Para-webbing style battle belt that he used to be a big advocate for--here's the most recent example that I can find:

Image via MVT.
10-12ish mags, handgun, 4x canteen pouches on the back and a couple handgun pouches to round it out. We'll call it a "British-style" battle belt for lack of a better name.


I toyed around with a British battle belt, similar to Max Velocity's, through part of last year. Went cheap on the belt - got a Condor knock off and their harness, bought a few surplus USGI canteen pouches and used pouches that I had lying around to cobble one together.

Found a lot to like about it - way better load carrying ability and generally more comfortable / better mobility than a comparable weight of chest rig. Gives you the ability to carry a decent amount of food, a canteen, survival gear and a big IFAK, which can be a challenge using other load carrying gear. Good place to put your sidearm and good access to it. Easily adjusts to different weights of clothing, too.

After a bit of T&E, I ended up giving up on a British-style battle belt for my purposes, at least for the time being. Why?

The big deal breaker is operations in/around vehicles, and to a lesser extent moving through structures/room clearing. Canteen/utility pouches on the back and triple-thick mag pouches on the hips extends your width pretty significantly and you start having to turn sideways to get through doors, can't sit in a normal car comfortably, etc.

Image via BPRE
There's also no lighter/low threat profile to choose from with just the heavy belt. A lighter battle gives you the option of operating with just the lighter, more comfortable, lower profile belt on. Options and flexibility are good.

Of course, this isn't exactly a revelation--Max's heavier weight battle belts were a bit of an outlier in the tactical gear world. Folks have been running lighter battle belts in conjunction with a lighter chest rig or plate carrier mounted pouches for a while.




It looks like Max has arrived at a similar conclusion and ditched his big ol' battle belt, at least for general use. In his recent write-up on the new chest rig featured in the video above, Max says:

I have most recently been settling on using a light battlebelt, which is comfortable enough to wear most of the time, augmented by a chest rig. I feel that this is the most practical application across operational environments; it works well for both dismounted operations, vehicle operations, and with or without armor.

This matches my own personal assessment after running a variety of gear - plate carriers with pouches directly attached, stand alone chest rigs of a variety of sizes, 'British' battle belt, etc.

I'm currently mid-process of re-building my kit to incorporate three different layers - light battle belt, chest rig and slick plate carrier. In conjunction with concealed carry/daily carry gear, these standalone pieces give you the flexibility of different profiles to address different situations. Slick plate carrier and CCW if anticipating potential trouble but need to maintain low profile. Light battle belt for running drills on the range or hunting. Throw it all together if the Nazi Zombies are at the front gates.

Chest rig and carrier are sorted out - HSP D3CR and a Velocity Lightweight Plate Carrier. I may down the line drop some coin on a custom rig from Extreme Gear Labs, designers of the D3CR, but generally the stock D3CR does what I need it to do. Looking forward to a couple of the enhancements HSP has in the works this year. The ability to directly attach the D3CR to the carrier, or run it as a standalone rig is money.

Battle belt is a work in progress - ideally want pistol, pistol mags x2, 2-3 rifle mags, dump pouch, IFAK, H2O of some variety, flashlight and multi-tool. Maybe comms, too. Not sure if I can manage all of that with the given real estate, but we'll see.

Follow up posts/reviews are incoming.

In my experience, most people are continually tinkering with/adjusting their gear. Trying new things, incorporating new ideas or revisiting old ones. Travis Haley makes a big emphasis on preaching the importance of staying dynamic and adaptive...and at worst, adjusting and evaluating what you're doing exposes you to different ideas and keeps you on your toes.

Interested to hear from the tribe - are you tinkering with your battle rattle? What gear ideas have you tried out recently and left by the wayside?

8 comments :

  1. I've been going up and down the rollercoaster of gear lately. Heavy LBV to carry lots of mags and other gear, medium battle belt to carry essentials and then some, ect. For right now, I'm pretty much where you guys are at, a light battle belt and a medium chest rig; although for my battle I'll be using an ALICE belt w/o suspenders to carry: holster, 2 pistol magazines, knife, 2 rifles mags, and a mini rolly polly dump pouch; this allows me to carry enough to break contact and the dump pouch adds a little versatility. I supplement this with a chest rig that carries 6 mags, rig is low profile enough to wear under a jacket and to go prone comfortably. I really think for our philosophy of use, armed civilians in defense of ourselves and community, it's one the best compromises. Good stuff Alex.

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  2. riverriderApril 11, 2015

    tinkering, every damn day for 30 years now. at this point i have 4 or 5 rigs set up for dif purposes but the poster above pretty much sums up my current carry gear. i'm more into e&e than slugging it out w/ the regime troopers at this stage in my career. travel light, freeze at night. live to fight another day and all that.

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  3. Currently using a Mayflower APC with D3CR. Belt is still a work in progress, currently keep it slick with holster and a Costa Leg rig (which I guess is technically the HSGI V1 now) running two rifle, two pistol and a multitool. Will look to add an IFAK and roll up dump pouch to the belt soon. Really like how it's working out, I can just run the belt with the leg rig for a super low profile / range work and armor up as needed. Will look to get the Haley flatpack when it hits the market so I can pair it with the D3CR for a light patrol set-up.

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    Replies
    1. I have and enjoy using a Costa rig as well. Two rifle, two pistol and a utility pouch is all that many carry on the war belt to begin with. Great piece of kit.

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  4. UGLY ROSTER
    Here's mine after about 6 years of SUT training, some instruction and T&E:
    Lvl I is basic EDC (pistol, knife, mags, tourney, light, Canterbury's 5C's)
    Lvl II is that plus rifle and basic chest rig (quick response, armour might or might not be used)
    Lvl III adds camelbak for patrol
    Lvl IV ditches II & III, replacing it with a full battle belt rig (serious battle gear such as if advancing from an ORP)
    Lvl V adds a 3 day pack to that if extended or remote

    The levels are for ascending reference only. Just finished patrol rifle instructor school. Some of the above info helped me move faster and more efficiently during drills. Loved it!

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  5. My rifle rig is similar to my shotgun rig (http://www.teotwawki-blog.com/2012/10/signature-apocalypse-weapons-update-7.html for my shotgun rig). TACO pouches instead if shell carriers, and a HSGI/ Costa leg panel on the left side. Right side sometimes has a GCODE Mule, sometimes kydex directly on the belt. Only one knife on the belt (none on the plate carrier... that was mall ninja mode for the contest), and typically a smaller blade.

    I also have a dedicated HSGI chest rig that holds 4 TACO pouches if I want to go lighter than a plate carrier. Any other gear (water, extra ammo, snivel, etc) is in a backpack.

    I'm a big fan of layers/ levels.

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  6. So, I have a meduim battle belt with a medium-heavy chest rig that I use most of the time.

    HSGI belt with 4 rifle mags, 2 pistol mags, pistol, compact IFAK, knife, nalgene pouch with bottle, cup, esbit stove, sawyer mini fliter and some drink mixes, A pouch with some cliff bars, GPS along with a portable radio. rounding out the pouches is a roll up dump-pouch.

    My chest rig is a TT MAV that has 8 rifle mags, two utility pouches that has some rifle/pistol cleaning supplies, Map/compass, chem lights, extra batteries, small notebook, pens, pencil. multi-tool, surefire flashlight and 550 cord. I am thinking of downloading this to 6 mags and installing HSGI Tacos so I can run this with either my M1A or AR. The only thing I don't like is that there is only tension fit and not a flap or something like that, I'm thinking of making some of my own.

    I'm currently setting up a super light belt for hunting that will probably hold two rifle mags and two pistol mags, maybe a canteen and cup (gotta have that coffee).

    All of this stuff used to be on the chest rig, well 10 mags total instead of 12, along with 2 grenades, 1 flash bang and a smoke grenade (When I was in the army)

    I have a IBA with plates. I don't like anything molle'd to the body armor if I want to or need to ditch the chest rig I can.

    I really like the idea of going with a belt and a chest rig because if I'm separated from the chest rig I can still fight or survive with just the belt (I might be up shit creek, but I have one paddle)

    My normal EDC carry is a pistol and two mags IWB so I can just pull out the pistol, transfer it over to the belt and stow the extra mags. I also carry on my person, a mini IFAK, (ITS EDC) along with a CAT TQ, an emergency blanket, phone, gum, No more cigarettes but a lighter and a pocket knife. Those things stay in the pockets generally.

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  7. Im trying to stay as light as possible with a belt kit as well. I normally run 5 mags in the belt and my thoughts are why leave mags loaded long term , when If I cant do it with 6-7 loaded day to day I should probably look at moving away

    I think low and under the radar with belt under a light jacket or smock is they way Im proceeding, Keeps things out of sight and mind. My primary is a Tavor sling with a single point under the jacket concealed, I like not attracting anyones eye

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