So you have your rifle of choice, and plenty of mags and ammo. You have your pistol of choice, and plenty of mags and ammo. You have food and water. To fight and survive with all that stuff you need a way to carry it. There are two requirements that seem pretty contradictory at first—your stuff needs to be secure on your person, but at the same time it needs to be easily accessible. Stuffing pistol mags into your pants pockets and rifle mags into your waistband is not going to cut it. You need a dedicated solution here. Fortunately, there are several options.
Most of us start out with a vest that is already set up and ready to go. This ModGear vest has space for six AR-15 magazines (if you double up, two per pouch), three pistol mag pouches that will hold even thick double-stack pistol magazines, and a built-in cross draw style holster that holds another spare pistol mag. It even has a do-it-all “admin” pouch where you can store small items like tools or hearing protection. The good news is it costs about as much as a decent pair of blue jeans. The bad news is that you better like all these pouches located right where they are, because they are permanently attached to those spots. This means, for example, that lefties will want to avoid this rig due to the location of the pistol holster.
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This version of the vest gets rid of the pistol holster in favor of more rifle magazine pouches, five in total so you can carry ten 30-round mags. You still get pistol mag pouches as well, and the admin pouch has webbing to load up five shotgun shells within easy reach. You could stash more shotgun shells behind the webbing in that admin pouch too. All the pouches are mounted to a mesh base so the rig doesn’t get too hot, but its still pretty tough—I did some summertime 3-gun competitions in one of these vests for a couple of years and never broke anything on it. And again, the price is just $50.
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If you are really tough on your gear or you don’t like the pouches and their positions on the ready to go vests, it’s time to step your game up to a MOLLE platform vest and build yourself a custom rig. This is going to cost more money, but for some of us the benefits are well worth it. This 5.11 Tactical vest is built very stout, but all you get is a bunch of MOLLE webbing, a hydration pouch pocket in the back, and a hidden document pocket on the inside. Everything else will need to be purchased separately, a piece at a time, and then mounted to the vest using the MOLLE system. This gives you great flexibility and modularity—if you shoot a 7.62 NATO main battle rifle, for example, you can buy mag pouches that fit that G3, FAL, or AR-10, and not even mess with trying to make AR-15 style magazine pouches work.
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If you want the flexibility of a custom MOLLE setup but don’t want to blow 80 bucks on the 5.11 version, Cheaper Than Dirt is here to help with a ModGear MOLLE chest platform. This is nothing but a bunch of MOLLE webbing and some straps to hold that webbing to your chest. If you want to build a basic modular setup for survival or competition and money is an issue, this unit is just ten dollars! Not everyone does HALO parachute jumps or deploys from submarine torpedo tubes to swim to their local shooting range. I’m planning on picking up one of these chest platforms myself—it will be the basis for a dedicated 12-gauge ammo carrier on the cheap. Isn’t modularity cool? Like it? Buy it!