FirstSpear Strandhogg MBAV 5 minute review

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  • This topic has 10 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 6 months ago by onegunshort. This post has been viewed 556 times
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    • #139011
      onegunshort
      Participant

        I upgraded my plate carrier from a terrible HSGI made a decade ago. It was never comfortable because it didn’t have enough adjustment and too much internal play in the plate pockets despite being made for SAPI 10×12 plates. My plates are multi-curve, heavy and always dug hard into my sternum even with supplemental padding and a Level IIIA vest underneath.

        The FirstSpear Strandhogg MBAV is a completely different animal. I added their pads thinking the multicurve would require them. Likely not since the carrier has ample padding and holds the plates in the proper location vertically.

        Workmanship is excellent and I didn’t see any loose threads. All parts made sense without reading a manual or watching a video. I stuffed the plates and pads into the carrier, loosened the shoulder straps by 1/2″ and was wearing it within five minutes. My vitals are covered from the sternum notch down. Sitting is not a problem and it does not ride up. As I write this, I am not overheating unlike what would happen with the HSGI carrier.

        Bravo FirstSpear! Your products are impressive. B-)

      • #139016
        Max
        Keymaster

          I wear the FirstSpear Assaulter Armor Carrier.

          From what you wrote, you may benefit from looking into new plates. What plates do you have? They sound terrible. Weight? Type?

        • #139021
          onegunshort
          Participant

            I wear the FirstSpear Assaulter Armor Carrier.

            From what you wrote, you may benefit from looking into new plates. What plates do you have? They sound terrible. Weight? Type?

            Hi Max,

            Yes, these are some terrible 9# SAPI Level IV ceramics plates (“Do not drop. Do not expose to heat. Do not use outside. Do not use inside except in air conditioning.” OK, I exaggerate just a bit). They’re state-of-the-art circa 2005.

            I’ve been looking at the ShotStop Duritium GT’s at 4.7# (9.4# total) or their IV’s shooter in front and SAPI in back for a total of 10.6#. I am inclined toward the GT’s due to 1/2″ thickness and weight savings (50% versus 40% with the IV’s).

            Threat assessment is that marksmen with bolt actions tend to use 308 and that seems to me to be a very real concern in the near future. But, then again, they do head shots so it may be a wash on threat level. Freedom of movement versus shooter versus speed, I guess.

            Questions from this are:

            1) I see the IV’s are only single curved. The Strandhogg plus pads with 9# multicurve plates is quite comfy. How much of a comfort difference is there between multicurved and single curved plates? I am worried that a single curve plate will create a hot spot on the rib cage somewhere, but have no experience with them. Comfort will matter and a GT worn is better than a IV at home.

            2) I have the MBAV. The SAPI cut Strandhogg and AAC won’t be available for 3 months and I won’t have it for a HEAT class. The MBAV extends up into the shoulder pocket a bit more than their SAPI cut Strandhogg. I have to place the rifle butt plate out a bit. Do you think I would benefit from a shooters cut plate in front?

            3) Should I consider side plates? The Strandhogg has pockets for them. Are people typically using them?

          • #139024
            Max
            Keymaster

              Quick from the gym: your para 2 has me confused by your meaning?

              I prefer GT plates. They will also stop that 308 you are worried about. They are thin and curve nicely to the body.

            • #139027
              onegunshort
              Participant

                Quick from the gym: your para 2 has me confused by your meaning?

                I prefer GT plates. They will also stop that 308 you are worried about. They are thin and curve nicely to the body.

                OK, I’ll go with GT’s.

                Regarding paragraph 2, is that referring fit of the plate carrier in relation to shoulder pocket?

                It seems that there is a bit of interference due to the wider top of the carrier. I’m wondering if a shooter cut plate will help. Not sure though. Have you seen this before where the carrier interferes with the rifle stock placement and what’s the solution?

              • #139031
                JustARandomGuy
                Participant

                  Oh yeah, FS is by far one of my favorite/go-to manufacturers for the simple fact that their stitching is usually *perfect*. I only had 1 item from them over the past years that was less than.
                  Also as a previous fellow member of the 16-and-over plate weight club, I feel your pain, and frustration with this.

                  That being said, you should still be able to use your MBAV carrier with regular SAPI plates; it’s just that there will be nothing filling out the fabric at the upper corners, so it really shouldn’t make any difference in shouldering your rifle (other then the potential for other long-term fabric wear on the excess material).

                  Plate cut- if you’re enjoying the increased comfort of your far better choice in plate carriers (especially considering the ‘Hogg IS one of the most well-renowned comfy carriers on the market), you’re going to want to stick with multi-curve plates, unless you want to take a big ol’ step back in that area.
                  Single curve plates don’t sit flat against the upper portion of your chest, and, at least in my experience, it’s not fun.

                  You don’t need side plates “right now”. Not to beat that dead horse to much, but it’s really up to your perceived threat, environment (urban vs field), and of course fitness.

                  Threat assessment is that marksmen with bolt actions tend to use 308 and that seems to me to be a very real concern in the near future. But, then again, they do head shots so it may be a wash on threat level. Freedom of movement versus shooter versus speed, I guess.

                  You don’t need a level 4 plate to stop .308.
                  Level 3 plates are already NIJ rated for .308 M80
                  Level 4 are NIJ for (IIRC) ONE hit of 30-06 AP, and will likely also stop the SAME thing the level 3 plates will stop as well.
                  Of course, some of what each plate will stop ASIDE FROM their NIJ rated rounds/multi-hit count will vary by manufacturer, so check their official specs.

                  The headshot thing is kinda nonsense; unless your standing perfectly still, in which case, range dependent, most “marksmen” are going to plug you center mass anyway, because it’s a big-ass target they’re more sure to hit.
                  Helmet ain’t gonna save you from literally any rifle hit either, so…my vote is run faster. Something I suck at… haha

                  optactical[DOT]com has Strandhogg SAPI cut carriers in stock right now – size Med in MC and Lg in Coyote

                • #139037
                  onegunshort
                  Participant

                    Here’s the obligatory money shot:

                    FirstSpear Strandhogg MBAV with three FS Multimag holders, an HSGI single taco with 20 round PMag (doesn’t interfere with anything but the longer 30 round mag does), and a Ragnar pistol pocket holding two Glock 17 mags.

                    Belt is an old HSGI with two double tacos, a single pistol taco holding a 20 round Magpul magazine, dump pouch, and Safariland ALS holding a Glock 17. I need a medkit and it should fit behind the pistol mag. Maybe Max will start selling a premade kit for a reasonable price.

                    I get a total of seven 30 round mags and one 20. The verdict is out on the 40 round PMag; I just stuck it in there for the picture since I happened to grab it out of the box. It may be useful as a longer monopod; I did read the discussion on using the 40 round PMag as the loaded mag for initial contact. That could make sense if it doesn’t interfere with the prone position. Not sure on that and will test in training.

                    Rifle is a BCM Midlength Mod 0. It’s fairly old but only has about 3,500 rounds on it. Includes sling, handstop, Vickers light mount and a decent light. Muzzle device is an old BattleComp 2.0, which I think I will replace with a plain old birdcage. A BCM Gunfighter charging handle is installed. I think the grip is Magpul, but what’s important is that the trigger guard doesn’t irriate the finger. BADD ambi safety that I run only with my thumb. Optic is a Burris MTAC 1-4x on a PEPR mount. I have to run a tube optic due to my eyesight. I do have an Aimpoint Micro T1, but I see three dots due to my eye glasses and can only get 4-6″ groups at 100 yards with it. Plus, I cannot find targets past 150 unless they’re recently spray painted white.

                    I wore the Strandhogg all morning as I experimented with the setup. It was very comfortable even with 20# of plates. Nothing rubs or interferes with my arms or between pieces of gear. I can drop the HSGI double tacos in favor of singles if they stick out too far or get annoying in some way. Administrative movement of the mags can be difficult with the dual tacos, so I may replace them with singles.

                    All the “black” color needs to go. The rifle needs to be painted, as do the mags. I’ll probably paint the Safariland ALS green or something. I think I should drop the knife and replace it with something to hold a multitool and batteries. But, it’s been on there for over a decade and lives there for now. If I keep it, I’ll paint the sheath green or mess around with some patterns.

                    I’ve enjoyed reading the forum back posts. I studied them for small details that would make things better. I am not so satisfied with the HSGI tacos or the FirstSpear MultiMag holders, so I’ll be researching updates for that this week.

                    Now I just need a HEAT 0.5 :)

                    Thanks all!

                  • #139059
                    gatlinggun
                    Participant

                      I ordered an AAC plate carrier (in multicam) from First Spear not more than two weeks ago. It was an online order and I received an email saying the lead time for the AAC was 8-12 weeks and did I want them to go ahead process the CC charge and wait or cancel the order and reorder closer to their availability.

                      On 02/03/20 it arrived on my doorstep. I ordered a large with a medium cummerbund but it arrived with a large cummerbund. Too big!! I called them and they are sending the proper size with a return label for the large cummerbund.

                      My first impression is that this is a top shelf product. Expensive…. but what is your life worth?

                      I have it set up with two 100 round SAW pouches on the front, one 100 round SAW pouch will go on the cummerbund under my left arm and one two mag taco under my right arm.

                      If you are wondering about the SAW pouches, I have one of Fightlite’s belt-fed upper receivers for the AR. It has a binary trigger in it so its effectively a “poor-mans” SAW. Weight is 14 pounds loaded with 100 rounds.

                      Anyway you might call First Spear and inquire about their current lead times.

                    • #139064
                      onegunshort
                      Participant

                        They told me via email and phone that lead time on a ‘hogg SAPI or AAC medium was 10-12 weeks. No worries. This seems to work.

                      • #139065
                        JustARandomGuy
                        Participant

                          Are you left handed?
                          Wondering about mag orientation on BB vs PC.

                        • #139090
                          onegunshort
                          Participant

                            Yes, I am.

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