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Specops Brand Battle Rig
Specops Brand is finally doing it; coming out with their own load bearing vest. This makes them close to the last of the big name gear makers to actually not have a vest of their own on the market. Not satisfied to simply rip off an established design, the Specops Brand battle rig is a hybrid system that incorporates a lot of unique materials and features. It is a hybrid design that bridges the gap between a load bearing vest and a tactical vest. What is not new is the concept of a vest that has panels of webbing that you attach various pouches to. Sure, everyone is doing it these days with standard PALS and MOLLE webbing, but the folks at Specops have made some subtle but significant improvements with their grid lock system. The Grid lock system is compatible with PALS and MOLLE webbing, but uses different materials which are engineered not to hold water. The vest will weigh the about the same as others of similar size and shape, but it will not absorb moisture like they do. In stead, moisture is drawn through to the outer surface for runoff and evaporation. You can actually sweat through the shoulder straps without them retaining much of the moisture. The vest integrates with the Specops Brand Battle Belt and has a conventional pair of attachment hooks on the back for butt packs that go on in the more traditional GI ALICE fashion used in their own SOB buttpack design.
Another major advantage of this vest is that it has more surface area for attaching more and larger pouches than most similar vests, and definitely more than their earlier prototype panels for upgrading the ELVB. The back is pretty standard to the ELVB design but integrates a drag/rescue handle.
Shown here from the back both with and without items attached, you can see how the battle rig can integrate the hydration system carrier (Specops Brand HUMP) and the SOB butt pack. The HUMP allows the user to carry almost any common hydration pack without using any additional shoulder straps that can cut circulation and limit access to items mounted on the front of the vest - a real problem when you wear a conventional camelback with a lot of tactical vests.
On the front, you have lots of options including just about any PALS/MOLLE compatible pouches or the excellent X system pouches. For example, there are a few good SAW pouches on the market from other makers, but only Specops Brand makes a pouch perfectly sized for the 100 round battle packs of 7.62 belted ammo used in the 240B and M16 machineguns. Now, a machinegunner or ammo bearer can set up a specialized combat rig using this system and still have room on it for plenty of other personal gear and mission oriented items. The configuration options are endless, but with the arrangement of the webbing and integration with the battle belt, you can get two full rows of add on pouches on the front without resorting to stuff that will hang very low, and you still have mounting points that will work with pouches that were originally made for ALICE gear. You also get enough clearance up top with the well padded but narrow shoulder straps to fit propertly under the shoulder pads of a PASGT vest of just simply over an Interceptor OTV.
Here you see the ability to haul a lot of gear in what still remains a fairly compact and modular vest system that wears like a conventional vest but has versatility like the ALICE gear and better new generation vests that are made to take modular pouches.
The battle rig comes in three different colors. Black, OD green and Desert Tan. It does not come in any "camouflage" patterns because it is made primarily of mesh and webbing, not much flat material at all. The camouflage pattern is derived from the color of whatever items you attach to the base vest. That gives a fair amount of versatility.
As of January 2004, these vests are just about to begin their first regular production run although some prototypes have already seen action in the gulf. Suggested retail is $199 per copy which is on the upper middle range for premium US made gear. As usual, this vest will carry Specops Brand no hassle lifetime warranty. Please note that a Specops Brand Battle Belt IS INCLUDED with every vest, but the X system pouches are NOT included and must be purchased separately.
$165 each, contact firstname.lastname@example.org Currently only available in OD green.
Specops Brand Battle Rig Modular Vest
Compatible with all MOLLE / PALS type pouches and most ALICE equipment.
Note, X systems pouches are priced seperately, but a Specops Brand Battle Belt IS INCLUDED with every vest. The Battle Belt is a $40 suggested retail value.