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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gearing Up!: Condor 25 Round Shotgun Reload Platform

When I started with the Gearing Up! project I knew from the outset that the mission was to take on some of the risk of trying out existing accessories.  Try them out so you don't have to so to speak.  Some things work, others don't, and others are still a little more complicated.  The Condor 25 Round Shotgun Reload platform is one of those things.  As such this won't be as much a review of the product itself as information on how to adapt the product's concept to foam warfare

The platform mounts very securely and unobtrusively to MOLLE platforms, and as such will also mount to most belts simply by feeding the belt through the loop created when the MOLLE straps are properly woven.  I like the orientation of the shell holders and love the way the pouch stays out of the way when not being used but holds ammo ready to be retrieved.  Such a thing makes all the difference in the world when the undead are after your brains.

The platform obviously wasn't designed to work with Elite darts, and this is where we run into trouble.  Shotgun shells are shorter, thicker, harder and heavier than Elite darts.  This means a few things for us:

    BuzzBee Shells standing in
    for shotgun shells
The loops are spaced for the shorter shotgun shells, leaving the elite darts overlapping the rows.  When I load mine I skip the middle row on each side of the pouch and still run into some spacing issues.  This means of course that the pouch is dependent on you view, too short for 3 rows or too long for 2 rows.  With them spaced out from each other it can be a fumbling experience to find your darts when you need them in that excess real estate.

The loops are about 50% wider than one would expect for an Elite dart.  And under most circumstances this is not a bad thing.  The loops are tight enough to hold a dart without risking crushing and deforming the dart.  However the loop spacing isn't the most consistent thing in the world, meaning that some of the loops are a bit wider, taking the dart fit from just right to too loose.  This wouldn't be too bad at all if the rows were spaced a the right distance for elites, then they would just sit on top of one another inside their cozy loops.  With the excess space however they can fall out of the loops.  The spacing however is less critical for a shotgun shell because it can be held far tighter due to is hard shell and dense innards.

If you're the local BuzzBee aficionado
you're in luck.
And this brings us to the weight issue.  Shotgun shells are much heavier than Elite darts.  I don't think it would be stretching much if at all to say an order of magnitude heavier.  The upper portion of the outer section of the pouch is designed to flop down when opened, hanging four shells to the outside of the pouch where they can be easily grabbed.  Our problem here is of course that our darts aren't heavy enough to hang that way on weight alone.  I have a solution to this that I'll get to in a bit.  Additionally once you use the upper eight darts, those on the flap and those on the upper row of the back of the pouch, you have to rip the velcro of the rest of the pouch open to get to any further shells.  This leaves the outer side of the pouch flopping around below, without enough weigh on it to stabilize it when you want to access two thirds of the darts in the pouch.

Hook fastener to hold the flap open
My solution to the lack of weight is fairly simple.  Add hook side velcro to the outside of the pouch front, and divide the pouch front into three sections instead of the current two.  This way when the pouch is opened, the outer section can be secured against the outside of the pouch, and when the first section is emptied, the outside can be pulled down further to reveal the second rows of ammo.  This would also leave less flopping around when one goes for the last rows.

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