Gear! Gear! Gear!
January 13, 2012
Over the years, I have been to numerous airsoft games and I found the common mistake that airsofters make (including yours truly) is not setting up your gear properly. A lot of airsofters imitate military operators (Navy SEALs, U.S. Marine Force Recon, etc) and do not realize there are reasons why military operators set up their gear a certain way. Setting up your gear correctly can increase your efficiency and minimize the chance of you getting shot.
After years and years of T&E (Testing & Evaluating, courtesy of my boss :D), I found out that keeping it simple is the best way to go. Obviously, I am not telling you to go out there and copy me or anyone else. I am telling you to test out your gear before you spend your hard earn money on unnecessary gear. There are a few things that are extremely important for me when I am looking for any tactical gear. First thing I look for is the material. Since I use the same gear in airsoft and real steel, 1000 Denier Cordura is a must on all my tactical gear, especially my plate carrier. 1000 Denier Cordura is more durable, more reliable, and more tear resistance than any other nylon out there. Every products Specter Gear, J-Tech, and Pantac manufactures is 1000 Denier Cordura. Second thing I look for in my tactical gear is stitching. Believe it or not, I have ripped a MOLLE loop from mounting a pouch. It is heart breaking when you thought you had bought a decent piece of gear. Stitching on Specter Gear and J-Tech (Taiwanese Military) is good, since it is designed for the military and law enforcement community. Pantac made its reputation a long time ago as the top of the line Airsoft gear. Third thing I look for in my tactical gear is modularity. I need to the ability to customize as much as possible. Therefore I do not like any type of cross draw vests. With MOLLE plate carriers and most chest rigs, I have the ability to customize where I want my gear, such as pouches, hydration, etc. The final thing I look for is comfort, especially on my plate carrier. Since all the weight is on my plate carrier (ballistic plates, fully loaded magazines, even airsoft magazines eventually get heavy), it is smart and logical to have a little bit of comfort when carrying all that weight. Setting up for success Currently, I run a low profile plate carrier and a battle belt to hold all of my life support equipment ( mags, med kit, etc). First, on my battle belt, starting from left to right, I have 3 pistol magazine pouches, followed by 3 rifle magazine pouches. After that, a utility pouch sits right in the middle of the back side, followed by a rip away IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit). On the 3 o’clock position (right hand side), I have a G-Code R.T.I. holster which contains my secondary. The reason why I have a battle belt (first source of ammo) is because if for some reason I have to ditch my plate carrier, I still have my basic life support equipment (3x pistol mag, 3x rifle mag, utility pouch, medical pouch, and my secondary).
On my low profile plate carrier, I have 5 Rifle magazine pouches (2 hidden) on the front, 2 pistol magazine pouches (both hidden) on the left.
As you can see below, there is absolutely nothing on the right side of the plate carrier, because there is a pistol sitting below it. Over the years, I have seen airsofters have a medical pouch sitting right on top of the handgun, and whenever they had to transition, the pouch became an obstruction. I have seen many cases where players were shot because of it. If you are an operator in Durka Durka Stan, and you could not get your handgun out in time because of the medical pouch, you are going to need the med pouch. SO KEEP YOUR HANDGUN SIDE FREE!
If you run a secondary (pistol) or you depend on your secondary, it is extremely important you get a decent holster to support it. The support equipments (pouches, holster, etc) are as important as the gun itself. I have seen airsofters use those soft drop leg holsters in airsoft games. First problem, the holster sit all the way down at the knee, little movement will make the holster swing back and forth. The correct way to wear a drop leg holster is high in the groin area, where it is low enough just to clear your gear. Second problem I see often, is losing magazines. Since the soft holster is flexible, it has a tendency to hit the magazine release button while running. I have lost a dozen magazines over the years because I used soft holsters. In big operations such as Operation Lion Claws, Red Storm, New Horizon, and even normal weekend games, it is impossible to find your lost magazines. Third problem I always see is operators losing their secondary. Since soft holsters do not form to your guns, the operator must engage the retention device after re-holstering the gun. However, the retention system on soft holster is inadequate. The operator needs to take both of his/her hands to engage that retention. If the operator “forgets” to engage the retention, the pistol is more than likely to drop out. That is the last thing I want to happen to me in a gun fight (or airsoft game), when you need to transition to your handgun and there is nothing to grab in your holster. Choosing your holster is extremely important, because running an inadequate holster is just as bad as not running one. That is the reason why I chose the G-Code holster as my real gun holsters as well as airsoft holsters. If you are not familiar with G-Code holsters, HERE is the review for it. The retention systems on G-Code holsters are phenomenonal. It has a Pro Safe Tensioning, which allows you to adjust the friction of the holster, as well as a hood just like the Safariland! And did I mention every part of the holster is manufactured in the United States of America and G-Code offers a Life Time Warranty?
In conclusion, I am not here to tell you what to get and how you should set up your gear. I am here to guide you, and urge you to get quality gear. Just remember this, if you get quality gear, you only have to buy once; if you buy cheap gear, you will buy twice! So do your research, make sure the gear you bought (or are buying) is made with the best quality. Another thing to keep in mind is setting up your gear properly. Only put on the necessary pouches, and do not put any pouches above your handgun. Until next time, I am Andrew, stay safe, and get out and play airsoft!
A brief video of this set up!