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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Gearing Up!: Some Assembly Required

Ladies and Gents, thanks for tuning in once again to Animal's Rock Block... Ah screw that I'm a terrible DJ.  Welcome one and all to another chance for Animal to stand foolishly upon a soapbox.  Today we're talking about chest rigs and vests, more specifically why I use one, and a little about how one lays their pouches out on one.

"Firebirds" (1990)  I promise you it makes sense in context.
Before we go any further I should go ahead and share a little personal information:  Due to the genetic lottery, I'm right handed like most of you.  Unlike most of ya I'm left eye dominant.  Unless you use some sort of monocular device like a scope, night vision, or head mounted display you can go your entire life without ever being impacted by eye dominance.  For an example in media of how this might impact you, check out the 1990 film "Firebirds" with Nicholas Cage and Tommy Lee Jones.

The upshot of this is that I learned to shoot rifles and archery from my left handed father, leaving it feeling right to do so.  I however have had no such issues with pistols, since one need only align the sights to their dominant eye. This means I shoot differently with different types of guns/blasters, and have slightly different layout issues than others. As such I will not refer to Left and Right, but to Strong and Weak side, in order to try to keep from flubbing the labels in the article.  For clarity the Strong side will be the side on which you hold your weapon.

Source: Friedman Handgun Training
Now to answer the question of why use a vest or chest rig (for brevity "rigs") in the first place.  Often people will ask me why I use a chest rig instead of a belt.  The fact is that I use both.  It's not an either or proposition, you can have both.  Part of the reason is that I can swap my rig out for review of products, while keeping some of my gear the same between loads.  The primary reason I use a chest rig though is that with your load on your chest, you are less likely to bump it into something.  It's already inside the triangle of space created by your shoulders and the muzzle of your blaster, instead of on your hips making you wider.  It also puts what you need closer to where you need it.  Phrased differently it's a shorter reach for a fresh mag, or handful of darts depending on what type of pouches you run.

The lowest cost rigs tend to have fixed, integrated pouches that are located on the center of the rig to make them balanced and for the most part ambidextrous.  Higher end rigs may have integrated pockets but will most likely have PALS webbing on which you place your own selection of pouches to suit your needs best.  Here I will say that optimally your Strong hand never leaves the grip of your preferred instrument for sending the living-impaired back to their graves.  This leaves your Weak hand to handle reloads unless you are some variety of mutant.  This means you will be grabbing fresh mags with your Weak hand, and all ammo needs to be accessible with your Weak hand.  In my case this means all my CS-18 mags must be reachable with my right hand, along with my dump pouch since I like to take care of my mags.  In your case they will probably be center and left on your gear, whether that be a rig or a belt, or both.  If you carry two blasters that handle ammo differently this can be a problem because they begin to compete for space.  Think carefully about which you're going to need more quickly.
A doodle of my own chest rig.

Lets get back to that Strong hand on the trigger thing for a moment.  Strong hand on the trigger means you're not going to be getting to anything on that side too quickly.  Throwables that take two hands might go there, secondary weapons, bottles of water for downtime.  Another good thing to go there is loose ammo for reloading your mags, since that generally takes both hands.

So what does all this mean for my rig?  Well since I use the Gryffon Golem, my mag pouches are fixed in place in three pouches in the middle, my loose ammo is in a pouch on my right, and a panel of individual darts is to my left to support my Sweet Revenge.  My pistol hangs on my right hip, with my dump pouch over my right butt cheek.  And now that I'v put that unpleasant visual in your head: How do you guys arrange your gear?

1 comment :

  1. Sad thing is, we both caught the long odds on that genetic lotto. I just got the opposite end of things. I'm ambidextrous. same thing applies, though. I'm primarily a righty cause that's just how the world works but I switch shoot. it's also why you'll see me talk about sidearms in pairs, cause that's how I carry. means i tend to centralize things. I also carry lower than Animal, cause I'm what is know around these parts as "a big guy".

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