The Basics of setting up fighting gear

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The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Dave_M » Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:28 am

The basics of setting up fighting gear

There are many many ways to setup your fighting rig. The first question you need to ask yourself is, “What kind of rig do I need?” For a working rig, the answer to this question usually falls into one of three categories:
-Overt Rig
-Low Profile
-Minimalist (Get Home Rig)

In this thread, we’re going to focus on overt rigs.

These aren’t necessarily hard rules but before you start making extreme changes, you have to have a good base first. If you have not tried any of the broad strokes listed in this thread, it would be prudent to give them a fair shake before you discount them because what you do, “feels better” or is, “more comfortable”. When it comes down to it, shot clocks don’t lie. Everything in here is based on ergonomics and speed. There is nothing ground breaking in this thread but there may be some things for you to think about.

Let’s think about some basics. There are a few rules that need to be followed whenever possible:
-Strong hand is always on the rifle during manipulations (reloads, malfunction drills etc)
-Everything is placed for speeds sake. Comfort is secondary to time on target
-Everything is done the same way

Since your strong hand is always on the rifle, this means that your weak hand will be doing most of the manipulations, IE: Pulling the magazine out of its carrier, inserting into the magwell, hitting the bolt release etc

With this in mind let’s look at our gear:

Vest/Chest rig
Assuming the weak hand is the left hand (reverse for lefty shooters) your rig can be broken up into two halves:
-Fighting gear (magazines!)
-Admin/med/reserve gear

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Regardless of your base (plate carrier, MOLLE platform etc), fighting gear should be on the left, admin gear on the right. Extreme left or right doe not make a difference IE: Directly at your 9 or 3). Like I said, if you are left handed and left-eye dominant, reverse this...

Having your rifle mag pouches centered is OK so long as you practice moving your magazines (when time allows) from the right-to-left, since you should be drawing magazines from left-to-right. Your next magazine draw should always be in the same place if at all possible. Also, whenever possible, avoid a cross-body (awkward and slow) pulling of magazines. As far as what kind of pouches to use, you have a wide variety available and that will be covered in a further thread.

For example: Although symmetry looks good to the eye, sticking a pistol pouch on either side of the rifle magazine pouches doesn't make much sense when it comes to gunfights--trying to cross your body with your weak hand for a reload is setting up for failure.

So what’s the right side for? Reserve (magazines), admin (maps/GPS), and medical gear. With the exception of the magazines, the gear on your right side mostly involves gear that requires two hands to use. Due to this, smokes & frags also may hold a place on the right side if your mission requires it. When you use this gear, your rifle will be hanging in front of you or tucked behind on a sling.

Avoid putting any pouches above your rifle pouches if at all possible. It is common to see pistol mag pouches haphazardly placed about rifle pouches as just a, “place to go”. You do not want to make drawing your rifle magazines any harder than it needs to be. Sure, you might be able to do it the comfort of your bedroom but under stress everything will take far longer. If you are going to have any pouches above others, it is better to do to the gear on the right (reserve) side of your rig. Just ensure not to impede a the buttstock as you bring it to bear onto your shoulder.

Pistol rigs

We are big proponents of carrying your pistol and other leg rigs (if that applies) on a belt separate from your vest. This is for a couple of reasons:
-If you have to take off your chest rig for whatever reason, you are still armed with your pistol
and
-If you have to take off your pistol (to use the bathroom for example), you can still have your armor on and have access to your rifle magazines.

Whenever possible, keep your pistol on your beltline. Sometimes, when your chest rig is too bulky, this is not always practical. This is why you see pictures of guys in the sandbox wearing drop-leg holsters. If you happen to use a drop-leg, you want the pistol to ride as high up as possible without impeding your other gear. Drop-legs worn too low will make it harder to run and enter and exit vehicles.

Consider drop-legs to be less of a, “thigh holster” and more of a, “low-hip holster”. Some common drop-legs come with two leg straps. If you have the rig up as high as it would be in an ideal setup, unless you are very tall, the topmost strap will crush your testicles. A common solution is to take off the top strap completely.

In general, avoid cross-draw holsters because they take up much needed space better used for rifle magazines. There are some situations where a cross-draw is advantageous and almost all of them involve constantly driving a vehicle or riding a desk. Holsters mounted on the right side of chest rigs have also gained some popularity. The advantage of this setup is that your gear is all-in-one and ready to go in one piece. The disadvantage of this setup is that the pistol ends up taking vital real estate better served to hold med gear or reserve magazines.

You may find it more comfortable to carry your pistol on a patrol type belt that goes over the top of your regular belt. Even with heavy riggers belts, carrying your pistol or drop platform on it can cause the belt to sag. This problem can be avoided by using a thicker, more robust over-belt. Pretty much any, “tactical gear” company has these available.

Your pistol magazines should be on your beltline at the 9 o’clock position. The magazines should be held vertically, base plates up, rounds facing front. That way when you draw the magazine you will not have to adjust it until it is in your pistol’s mag well. There is much more debate as far as rifle magazines as far as positioning them in holsters which will be covered in further threads.

The best way to test your gear is to run drills or even better, take a training course. Poorly placed gear becomes obvious very early on. Many of you have rigs not setup in the manner which I have described. That’s okay. Like I said in the beginning of this thread: If you have not tried any of the broad strokes listed in this thread, it would be prudent to give them a fair shake before you discount them
Last edited by Dave_M on Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by TDW586 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:33 am

Nice write-up, Dave. Do you happen to have a picture of what you consider to be a "good" setup, preferably on a common vest like an OTV or maybe on a plate carrier?

EDIT: The only thing I'm having trouble with is not placing pistol magazines above rifle magazines, I just tend to run out of real estate. I see the problem with having pouches above, I've always just tried to mitigate it by placing them far enough above the rifle magazine pouches that they didn't impede.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Dave_M » Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:37 am

TDW586 wrote:Nice write-up, Dave. Do you happen to have a picture of what you consider to be a "good" setup, preferably on a common vest like an OTV or maybe on a plate carrier?

EDIT: The only thing I'm having trouble with is not placing pistol magazines above rifle magazines, I just tend to run out of real estate. I see the problem with having pouches above, I've always just tried to mitigate it by placing them far enough above the rifle magazine pouches that they didn't impede.
More pics coming.

As far as pouches above mag pouches, yes, if they are high enough above some of the problems can be relieved a bit. That said, just how fast and ergonomic is reloading your pistol from pouches that high up? Not very. I can see reserve pistol mags (mags you re-fill your primaries from) up there but not your first reload by any means.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by TDW586 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:46 am

DavePAL84 wrote:
TDW586 wrote:Nice write-up, Dave. Do you happen to have a picture of what you consider to be a "good" setup, preferably on a common vest like an OTV or maybe on a plate carrier?

EDIT: The only thing I'm having trouble with is not placing pistol magazines above rifle magazines, I just tend to run out of real estate. I see the problem with having pouches above, I've always just tried to mitigate it by placing them far enough above the rifle magazine pouches that they didn't impede.
More pics coming.

As far as pouches above mag pouches, yes, if they are high enough above some of the problems can be relieved a bit. That said, just how fast and ergonomic is reloading your pistol from pouches that high up? Not very.
Point taken. I'll be interested in seeing more pics, verbal descriptions never get the point across to me. I wish the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group thought about this kind of thing; you should see the monstrosity I'm wearing these days. Picture an OTV carrying shotgun rounds (buck and slugs) M4 magazines, M9 magazines, an admin pouch, OC spray, cuffs, CS canisters, gas mask, radio, an IFAK, and an M9 holster. Yes, that's all attached directly to the vest, and using MOLLE old enough it's in tricolor woodland.

/end rant.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Hachiman » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:13 am

TDW586 wrote: you should see the monstrosity I'm wearing these days. Picture an OTV carrying shotgun rounds (buck and slugs) M4 magazines, M9 magazines, an admin pouch, OC spray, cuffs, CS canisters, gas mask, radio, an IFAK, and an M9 holster. Yes, that's all attached directly to the vest, and using MOLLE old enough it's in tricolor woodland.

/end rant.
Yeah, looking forward to your pics too.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by TDW586 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:24 am

Hachiman wrote:
TDW586 wrote: you should see the monstrosity I'm wearing these days. Picture an OTV carrying shotgun rounds (buck and slugs) M4 magazines, M9 magazines, an admin pouch, OC spray, cuffs, CS canisters, gas mask, radio, an IFAK, and an M9 holster. Yes, that's all attached directly to the vest, and using MOLLE old enough it's in tricolor woodland.

/end rant.
Yeah, looking forward to your pics too.
Pretty sure there's OPSEC regulations against posting pics of it, but I'd love to, just for laughs.

Disclaimer: we are ordered to set it up that way, with diagrams and everything. It makes me long for the days when all I had was an M16A4, magazines, and an admin pouch on my gear.

Back on track; Dave, what do you think of the EGL "Monkey Stomper" pouch? It's been catching my eye for a while, and it seems like replacing one of the standard magazine pouches with one of these be a great way to carry a decent load (say, 8 AR magazines and 2-4 pistol) without running into the complications you mentioned.

This might be suited better for the later thread on magazine pouches you mentioned, sorry for the semi-derail.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Jeriah » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:34 am

DavePAL84 wrote:
TDW586 wrote:Nice write-up, Dave. Do you happen to have a picture of what you consider to be a "good" setup, preferably on a common vest like an OTV or maybe on a plate carrier?

EDIT: The only thing I'm having trouble with is not placing pistol magazines above rifle magazines, I just tend to run out of real estate. I see the problem with having pouches above, I've always just tried to mitigate it by placing them far enough above the rifle magazine pouches that they didn't impede.
More pics coming.

As far as pouches above mag pouches, yes, if they are high enough above some of the problems can be relieved a bit. That said, just how fast and ergonomic is reloading your pistol from pouches that high up? Not very. I can see reserve pistol mags (mags you re-fill your primaries from) up there but not your first reload by any means.
Another option re: pistol mags, would be if you have your rifle mag pouches across the bottom front, to put pistol mag pouches only over the rifle mag pouches on the right. That way, they only slow down your right-to-left transfers, which ideally are not being done under fire, and not your drawing mags from the left pouches and putting them in the rifle, where time is critical.

Another option would be pistol mags on the same belt as your pistol, and keeping them off your armor entirely. My problem with this is that I require my fighting rig to be able to be compatible with my ruck, and belt-mounted mag pouches may get in the way. This isn't because I necessarily plan on fighting while wearing my ruck, although in a bugout this may indeed be necessary, but rather because I may need to transport both my fighting gear and my ruck on foot at the same time.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Murph » Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:35 am

TDW586 wrote: Back on track; Dave, what do you think of the EGL "Monkey Stomper" pouch?
I was just about to suggest a pouch like that for your case. I've heard them refered to as Kangaroo Pouches though. The name "Monkey Stomper" did give me a chuckle though.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by elricfate » Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:35 am

I'd like to see pictures as well as setups for the "get home" rig and the low profile rig. Especially the low profile rig.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Sworbeyegib » Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:53 am

Awesome write up, I can't wait to read your other ones.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Brendan Sullivan » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:43 am

Fucking wicked writeup, DP. Precisely what step of my preps I'm working on, and a very informative launching point.

Got an opinion on choosing pouches specifically for 30- or 20-round mags? I hear some guys try to run 20's so you can still fire when prone, but they actually seem harder to find.

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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by ninja-elbow » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:57 am

Your pistol magazines should be on your beltline at the 9 o’clock position. The magazines should be held vertically, base plates up, rounds facing front. That way when you draw the magazine you will not have to adjust it until it is in your pistol’s mag well. There is much more debate as far as rifle magazines as far as positioning them in holsters which will be covered in further threads.
First, good thread and much needed.

Second, I have very little to no training in these kids of things other than what I got in the Navy (so, very little to none) and what I've gleaned off my cop and military friends or read about in books.

In the above I have a question. You mention bullets facing front when pistol mags are stowed. I like them facing rear - and this is from me reversing the action of reloading my pistol, it's how I learned that one. Is this improper and why?
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Keith B » Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:13 am

Personally I use 20's for my speciality ammo(tracers, cor-bon, incindernary), the 30's have `the regular stuff in them.

underail/ I have been thinking about putting together a MOLLE high profile rig for a while now, this has given me some awesome ideas.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by whisk.e.rebellion » Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:24 am

ninja-elbow wrote:In the above I have a question. You mention bullets facing front when pistol mags are stowed. I like them facing rear - and this is from me reversing the action of reloading my pistol, it's how I learned that one. Is this improper and why?
I'm sitting here at my desk going through the motions...

If the bullets are facing forward, the natural arc of motion brings the magazine up to the pistol with no extra movement; just bring your hand up and across your body.

If the bullets are facing to the rear, you have to either flip the magazine in your hand or turn your wrist upwards while moving your hand across your body.

Wow. I described that poorly.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Murph » Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:40 am

whisk.e.rebellion wrote:
ninja-elbow wrote:In the above I have a question. You mention bullets facing front when pistol mags are stowed. I like them facing rear - and this is from me reversing the action of reloading my pistol, it's how I learned that one. Is this improper and why?
I'm sitting here at my desk going through the motions...

If the bullets are facing forward, the natural arc of motion brings the magazine up to the pistol with no extra movement; just bring your hand up and across your body.

If the bullets are facing to the rear, you have to either flip the magazine in your hand or turn your wrist upwards while moving your hand across your body.

Wow. I described that poorly.
If they're facing forward you can grab them with your thumb on the back of the mag and your index finger running along the front of it.
It is very stable to hold that way, and makes it very easy to insert the mag into the pistol.
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Courtesy of: http://www.concealablecontrol.com/reload.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by ninja-elbow » Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:06 pm

Aw... I was also going off the baseplates up. In effect: mags upside down bullets rear in pouch. Grab, pull up towards base of pistol and the natural arc puts them baseplate down and bullets forward. Slide into well.

If I have time tonight I'll take pics.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by whisk.e.rebellion » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:05 pm

ninja-elbow wrote:Aw... I was also going off the baseplates up. In effect: mags upside down bullets rear in pouch. Grab, pull up towards base of pistol and the natural arc puts them baseplate down and bullets forward. Slide into well.

If I have time tonight I'll take pics.
I was talking baseplates up, too. Murph brought up another good point, but it wasn't what I was trying to get at.

I don't find either method (bullets facing to the front or the rear) to be more comfortable, but I do find I have to move my hand and wrist a bit more if the bullets are facing to the rear. I suppose that makes bullets facing forward faster -- in theory -- but I'm slow enough that it doesn't make a difference for me :lol:
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Gatorfarmer » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:14 pm

Have you ever met Tom Perroni? He teaches classes in NoVa. He teaches placement of pistol mags with the bullets facing away from the body, claiming that it makes for a faster reload. It avoids the wrist twist. It seems to work quite well.

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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Jeriah » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:25 pm

Murph wrote:
TDW586 wrote: Back on track; Dave, what do you think of the EGL "Monkey Stomper" pouch?
I was just about to suggest a pouch like that for your case. I've heard them refered to as Kangaroo Pouches though. The name "Monkey Stomper" did give me a chuckle though.
I like the looks of that thing. I'd like to hear a first person review, and it ain't cheap, but it looks kick-ass. Is there any functional problem with having the pistol mags on top of the AR mags? Even harder to go prone, I guess...
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by somberbear » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:56 pm

i got a monkey stomper and like it... there is much compression on em though , the big problem i have with it is that it incresses your profile a bit... its just as big a pain to go prone as any other vest i have used. i normaly just keep my couple of replacement mags there and keep my primary on my belt. and re fill those out of the stomper. if i cut my 2 extra outta the 4 , then it holds a flash light and multi tool well. it takes 8 single stacks of 4 double stacks well and the retention is pretty good.

when i break the camera out for other stuff ill see if i can take a snap of my rig and dave can go over it if he feels like.

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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by offcamber » Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:41 pm

I'm not in the military, so I would love a critique of how I have mine set up. I have been meaning to posts pics for a while, but never got off my ass to break out the camera, so I figured this was a good a time as any.

Dave, most of your recommendations apply to my rig, everything except the pistol mag location. I have them mounted on the molle webbing on my AR pouches. I seem to have quick, unhindered access in this set-up, but then again I have never been in a combat situation to know if it is acceptable or not.

So here is what you are looking at: Left side (ammo side) from top to bottom is four 30rd Ar mag pouches with two double stack pistol mag pouches attached. Above it is my multi tool pouch, radio pouch, and a small rescue hook pouch.

Right side has a utility pouch on top that is clear of my rifle, my knife, an E&E pouch, and a flashlight pouch off to the side.

The belt has a drop leg pistol holster and drop leg 4X 30rd mag pouch. If you notice, the upper leg straps have been removed. Im glad to hear that is the norm. I like mine as close to the belt as possible, and the upper straps were a definite hindrance.

How do you all feel about drop leg mag pouches? It gives my rig a total of 8 mags available, but I don't know how functional it is carrying the weight off the belt.

Sorry for the mismatched color scheme, I buy the best that I can afford, and that usually means closeout gear from Tactical Tailor, TAG, Specter etc.. all good stuff, again but mismatched. I figure function is better than nothing though.

The entire setup is designed to work with my TAG pack on which has a right side mounted Kifaru gunbearer holster for my AR15.

So, that said, fire away with the pros and cons of my setup!

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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Merovech » Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:07 pm

Wow... good post.
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Murph » Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:34 pm

offcamber wrote: So here is what you are looking at: Left side (ammo side) from top to bottom is four 30rd Ar mag pouches with two double stack pistol mag pouches attached. Above it is my multi tool pouch, radio pouch, and a small rescue hook pouch.
I looks like it would be hard to clear the mags from the pouches closest to your center line because of the MultiTool and Radio being in the way.
Does your BOB at least have: water, basic tools, fire, food, first-aid kit, and shelter?
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Re: The Basics of setting up fighting gear

Post by Deschain » Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:57 pm

Murph wrote: I looks like it would be hard to clear the mags from the pouches closest to your center line because of the MultiTool and Radio being in the way.
I'd move the radio as close to your face as possible as well. The multitool should probably be mounted higher, too. Maybe even on the other side of the vest to mirror the radio.

Deschain
Control the things you can control, maggot. Let everything else take a flying fuck at you, and if you must go down, go down with your guns blazing.- Cort

I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I'll kill you all.
-General Mattis

De-Domesticating the Modern Male

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