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Chest Rigs and You: What to Look for When Buying a Chest Rig

What kind of load bearing equipment do you buy when it’s too hot for a plate carrier, but you need more storage than you can get on a belt? You buy yourself a chest rig, that’s what!

Chest rigs are perfect for summer time airsoft play because they are light weight and allow for a ton of airflow! Picking the right one for you can be difficult though, so we recommend following these simple steps.

 

Step 1: How Modular Do You Need It To Be?

Chest rigs are relatively unique in the tactical gear world, as they often come pre-equipped with pouches, but that’s not always the case. Much like a plate carrier, chest rigs can also come sans pouches, and instead be smothered in MOLLE webbing.

This is important, as it gives you a choice between modularity, or a one-and-done setup that you don’t have to think very much about. If your chest rig is going to be the rig you utilize all of the time for every scenario, we’d recommend investing in one with MOLLE webbing, so that it can be as versatile as possible. However, there are plenty of merits to a pre-built set up as well.

Often times, a chest rig is something you only pull out in the summer, and it can be much more cost effective to utilize a pre-sewn setup to avoid the extra expenditure that comes from buying even more pouches or the time sink that is moving your existing pouches back and forth from your other setups. Often times, because the pouches are pre-sewn on these sorts of rigs, they can also squeeze in a few extra items that you’d be otherwise prohibited from carrying if you went with a modular MOLLE setup.

Step 2: Straps and Harnesses

Chest rigs can come with a variety of harness choices in the rear that can both negatively and positively impact your user experience. From the broad shouldered H-harness, to an X-Harness that is friendlier to smaller users, there are all types you can choose from.

The H-Harness provides the most comfortable dispersion of weight, but it isn’t ideal for everyone. Smaller players, or players with less broad shoulders may find the H Harness is simply too wide for their body type, and it sloshes around or comes loose during play. However, if the H-Harness fits you well, it is ideal, as it avoids a common tendency to ride up that you see with other styles.

The X-Harness features a pair of adjustable straps that form an X on your back which give it the name. This harness is excellent as it sizes up or down well for a much wider selection of players. However, from experience, X harness setups can bunch up, ride up, and cause issues when utilizing secondary storage like a back pack or a two point rifle sling. The upside is that this X harness is perfect for smaller framed players who need to lighten their load for the summer!

Lastly, you may find an older vest with a Y-Harness. These are an older style (and more common on old ALICE gear than chest rigs). We’d recommend avoiding these at all costs (unless you’re building an ALICE set up). They tend to not distribute weight evenly across your body, instead pulling on your shoulders and causing strain. There’s a reason these fell out of favor, and we strongly urge you to consider the other type.

You may also find chest rigs that replace these straps with a hydration harness, armor plate bag or other supplemental options like a backpack. These are great options as well, so long as they fit your needs.


Step 3: Carrying Capacity

The last thing to consider when buying a chest rig is carrying capacity. Your new set up does you absolutely no good if it can’t carry your mission essential items. Make sure you consider the items you wish to carry with you and try to pair down to the essentials to get the most out of your chest rig. This means carrying spare magazines, speed loaders, or a pistol may be a high priority, but loading up on things like grenades, radios, and bolt cutters would be a waste of space.

Some chest rigs accomplish this very well. If what you want is magazine storage, the Condor Barrage is built to carry nothing but magazines. Some of Lancer Tactical’s offerings are a bit more versatile with carrying space for additional items like your dead rag, or a grenade or two. Analyze your typical loadout for a game, pair it down to the bare essentials, and work from there. If you can squeeze a few extra items in, and still be light weight, that’s just icing on the cake!

 

Lastly: Choose What Works

Ultimately, everyone’s gear choice is about personal preference. Much like the harness styles, or MOLLE vs Pre-sewn gear, you’ll just need to try some stuff out, and see what fits your needs. Hopefully, our excellent selection of tactical equipment at Airsoft GI can help you find what you’re looking for, and this article has enlightened your thought process about buying gear!


Stay Hydrated In the Summer Heat!

Have you ever tried playing airsoft in 105 degree summer heat? It adds to the MILSIM experience, for sure, but oh boy is it unpleasant. Sometimes you just need to get your airsoft fix though, and that means you’re going to go out and play no matter what! Here’s a few tips to stay cool in the summer during your BB Wars games!

1. Start Drinking Water Early

The secret to staying out of the Urgent Care facility during some summer airsoft fun is to start your hydration regimen a few days ahead of your game day. This means you need to quit drinking soda, energy drinks, sweet tea, and all of the other unhealthy beverages we put in our bodies (yes… even the adult ones.) What you are sweating out on the day of the game is the contents of what you have been drinking for a few days prior, so it’s best to flush all of that out of your system early. We recommend starting a minimum of three days out for a small weekend pick up game, but if it’s going to be a longer event, or the heat index is going to be especially high, add a few extra days to that just to be on the safe side.

 

2. Make sure you’re stocked up on water for game day

Whether you have to stop at the local gas station by the field, or you prep ahead of time at a big box store, make sure you have a few extra gallons of water with you for a hot day over what you’d usually bring. the few liters in your hydration pouch will simply not be enough to stay in the fight all day long. The additional upside is that having a few extra water bottles or a spare gallon bottle around will help you make a few new friends with the people who didn’t prepare as well as you have!

 

3. Get your Kit right!

Unless you have some excessive kit requirements for a hardcore MILSIM game, consider lightening up your load out for the day. Some things to consider are the following:

If your kit is too heavy, you’re going to expend more energy getting around the field. This is solid advice all year-round but it helps immensely more during the summer months. On top of that, light weight kit like a chest rig or battle belt will allow for more airflow to help carry heat away from your body as you sweat. Lastly, make sure that kit has a way to carry additional water. Whether you prefer a water bottle or canteen, or a a hydration pouch attached to the rear of your vest, carrying water is a necessity, as is making sure you drink that water constantly during the day. As a good rule of thumb, if you aren’t actively engaging the enemy team, you should be drinking water to keep replenishing the precious nutrients you are sweating out.

 

4. Recognize the signs of heat exhaustion (and how to handle them)

Make sure you are able to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion when you’re playing airsoft in both yourself, and your fellow players. The CDC defines heat exhaustion with the following symptoms:

  • Heavy Sweating
  • Cold, Pale, Clammy Skin
  • Fast, Weak Pulse
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Tiredness or Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting or Passing Out

If you begin to experience these symptoms, or see another player experiencing them, take a second out of your gameplay and do something about it. These are not the kind of things that just go away without treatment of some kind. You can start with the following steps:

  • Move to a cool place
  • Loosen your clothing (remove your gear)
  • Put cool wet cloths on your body
  • Sip (don’t chug) Water

The CDC also recommends seeking medical attention immediately if you experience the following:

  • Throwing Up
  • Symptoms get worse
  • Symptoms last longer than an hour

Heat Exhaustion is no joke, and Heat Stroke is a serious medical emergency. It’s also a very real risk with playing airsoft in the heat, but can be avoided with the advice in this article. The important thing is to remember that we’re all a community, and we need to look out for each other. The adrenaline rush of airsoft can make you ignore your symptoms in the name of airsoft glory, but it’s never worth ending up in the ER over it.

 

Hopefully with these tips, you will be able to enjoy safe, fun, and action packed airsoft game play during the summer months. Just remember to follow the advice above, and be extra careful to look out for the symptoms of heat exhaustion in you and your fellow airsofters!

 


What’s more painful? Paintball or Airsoft?

Ever since I started working for Airsoft GI, I’ve heard this question at least 3 or 4 times per week. Does it hurt as much as paintball? The answer to that is no. A single shot does not hurt anywhere near as much as paintball. Although you can also say yes, because a lot of times, your average paintball guns aren’t capable of achieving over 20 balls per second (BPS).

From a single shot aspect your average airsoft gun (for outdoor play) will be shooting with about 1.48j (j=joules) or shooting a .20g BB at 400FPS (Feet Per Second). Joules is the amount of energy the BB has as it leaves the muzzle and the higher the joule rating the more pain is felt. Most paintball fields in Southern California have an FPS limit between 285-300FPS with a .68 caliber paintball. The average paintball (Some are denser than others) weighs 2.8g. At that speed and mass your typical paintball marker is shooting with 10.51-11.64j of energy. 7 times more energy on the lower end of the average FPS limit.

                                                                              Joules = 1/2 mass X velocity^2

 1.48 = .10 X 121.92^2                                                                                                                                           10.5 = 1.4 X 86.87^2

In paintball they hit much harder due to a bigger, heavier projectile being sent down range. Although, Airsoft is capable of having a much higher rate of fire due to the feeding systems being much better. Your typical high-end airsoft gun ($300-$400 USD) should be more than capable of hitting 20+ RPS (Rounds per second) on an 11.1v LiPo battery. The cost to make a gun shoot an incredibly high rate of fire is no where near as high to get a paintball gun to shoot close to 30. For the same price as an ultra-high-end paintball gun you can get an Airsoft gun to rip at 70 RPS reliably.

Airsoft hurts in volume while paintball hurts in every single hit. They’re different types of pain but both are more than manageable. Personally, I started in paintball and switched to Airsoft because the guns looked cooler and a day of playing as so much cheaper. Pain had absolutely nothing to do with it. If pain is a deciding factor for you Airsoft more than likely will be your choice.


The Best Airsoft Sniper Rifle Starter Package

While scrolling through the thousands of videos of Airsoft Snipers on YouTube, such as Novritsch, Swamp Sniper, The House Gamers, Jet the Desert Fox, and plenty of other channels with similar sniping content. You find yourself thinking more and more “Damn I want to get those sick shots”. So you walk into your local store or search the interwebs for an Airsoft Sniper Rifle and you come across Airsoft GI’s Best Airsoft Sniper Rifle Starter Package. You see everything this package comes with at the awesome price of $189.99 and before you know it you’re getting that knock at the door an UPS is giving you the Best Airsoft Sniper Rifle Starter Package. Now before you take that out to your local fields to get those long Novritsch kills there’s a few things we want you to keep in mind while you’re doing that. You have to know how to move, how well your gun can perform, and that patience is a virtue.

Knowing how to move is key to doing well. Not just as a Sniper, but as a player in general. If it’s dead quite in the woods then suddenly the squad of guys you’ve been stalking hears random twigs and leaves crack you might end up with a high cap getting dumped in your general direction. While moving you want to avoid dry, dead brush as much as possible to give off as little sound as possible. Using your environmental noises to your advantage is also key. If the field is near train tracks move when a train passes by, if someone’s car alarm goes off cover as much ground as possible before they turn it off, throw a rock in a completely different direction as you to get their attention off for just a split second.

We all want to be able to say that our gun can clear any map it walks onto but the reality is that Airsoft Guns have their limitations. Knowing whether your gun can hit a target or not is one of the most important things to know as a player and especially as a sniper. If you take a shot at someone and it falls way short but they see the round land that gives them the potential to spot you if they can remotely trace it back to it’s point of origin. However, knowing what your gun is capable of will keep you from making those simple mistakes and maximize your effectiveness on the field.

 

Lastly the practice of patience, and this mainly goes for sniping at bigger events, is probably the most important thing you can practice as an airsoft sniper. Sitting back and knowing when to shoot and when not to shoot can mean the difference between getting killed and getting your team the information to take over the game. A lot of people who have played the sniper role at bigger events know fully that they will primarily focus on getting intel with maybe taking a handful of actual shots over the entire weekend. If you shoot too soon you might alert several patrols as to where you might be at. Waiting for all of the right circumstances will reward you with quite possibly the most satisfying kill you have ever confirmed in airsoft.

 

Airsoft sniping is a very glorified role that is not for everyone. If you think you can go out and rock it, take these tips into consideration. Snipers offer a huge advantage to the team that knows how to use them properly. If you find your new love please let us know! You can find us on Instagram @airsoftgidotcom and on Facebook under “Airsoft GI”. We’d love to hear your Sniper stories.


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