Side pouches or not? Recommendations requested

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    • #143232
      Tony S
      Participant

        So based on a previous thread, I’m looking to buy a new PC in multicam and based on recco’s from that thread I’m looking at the Blue Force Gear PLATEminus carrier (this is to replace a Blackhawk STRIKE Cutaway carrier in Black.) The carrier comes with the option for 6×6 side pouches or not. Right now the option with the side pouches in size L is not available in MC, but the option without the side pouches is available. I sent an email to BFG asking when they expect the option with side pouches to be available, haven’t heard back from them after a week now.

        I was originally hoping to get a new PC before the March HEAT 1 class, now it looks like I’ll be using the black Blackhawk PC regardless, but there’s a chance I could get the BFG PC without the side pouches before then if I ordered soon. While I know a lot of this comes down to personal preference, anticipated mission, etc. I was hoping for some recommendations on whether to get the PC without the side pouches (and attendant MOLLE fields and option to add side armor) or wait for that option to come back in stock.

        For background, my plan is to upgrade my plates from Lev III steel to ShotStop and for that reason I’m avoiding the higher end PC options like FirstSpear. Several people had recommended the BFG PC, and the price point allows me to purchase both a new PC in MC and get the new plates. If I spend $500-$700 on a FirstSpear, I don’t have the funds to upgrade the plates. I’m just wondering if I’m better served using the black Blackhawk carrier until the BFG is in stock with side pouches, or should I get the MC option now and not worry about the sides?

        All wisdom and experience appreciated!

      • #143251
        AntMan
        Participant

          Do you mean side pouches for plates or general purpose side pouches?

          2xcqbc
          1xclc

        • #143252
          Tony S
          Participant

            Do you mean side pouches for plates or general purpose side pouches?

            Side pouches for plates. The option without them just has simple straps (maybe ~1″ wide) connecting back to front. The pouch option adds a pouch capable of holding 6×6 armor on each side, and also has MOLLE straps on it so you can mount additional stuff. Pics, hopefully, attached to post illustrate.

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          • #143261
            AntMan
            Participant

              Thanks, that helps. I would wait for the side armor pouches. I started not using my cummerbund, then after training, it has filled up with extra mags, tq, radio etc.

              2xcqbc
              1xclc

            • #143475
              hellokitty
              Participant

                If you plan to carry a pistol, you need to keep that side on PC slick so you dont impede your draw stroke. So dont get too crazy on the sides. If You have side pouches, keep them on opposite side of pistol.

                HEAT 1(CTT) X 3
                HEAT 2 (CP) X1
                FOF X3
                OPFOR X2
                CLC X2
                RIFLEMAN

              • #143543
                JustARandomGuy
                Participant

                  IMHO, never forgo an option you think you’ll need in the future over a quibble about the color of the product today.

                  Now, that aside, why the BFG carrier specifically? Is it doing something specific you want/need?
                  It seems to me that you are equally ok with either the side panels or not, so it’s not entirely clear why this is an issue either way, or why this carrier is your specific choice when there are a number of other Slick/scalable carriers in the same or lower price range… :unsure:

                  What role is the carrier going to fit with your gear; is it going to be a fully-loaded first-line/standalone piece of equipment? Or need to function like that at some point? Or will it ONLY ever be worn concealed or mostly slick with a full belt kit?

                • #143556
                  Tony S
                  Participant

                    Now, that aside, why the BFG carrier specifically? Is it doing something specific you want/need?
                    It seems to me that you are equally ok with either the side panels or not, so it’s not entirely clear why this is an issue either way, or why this carrier is your specific choice when there are a number of other Slick/scalable carriers in the same or lower price range… :unsure:

                    The BFG is because of a recommendation from another thread (it might have been the ‘equipping the newbie’ one, or something similar, I’ve been reading up on past recommendation threads as much as possible so I’ve lost track of the specific one) and price point vs. reputed quality. The reason I asked for input on the side panels is because the primary benefit I see from them, as someone with no practical experience with PC’s, is that it provides the option for side armor. I find the cummerbund on my existing Blackhawk Strike PC to be very annoying, both in terms of donning/doffing the PC as well as with items mounted on the panels, so having MOLLE on the sides isn’t a huge selling point for me. Keeping my kidneys from taking a round however is something I consider a worthwhile consideration (but to be fair I do not currently own, and it would likely be several months before I could purchase, any side armor anyway.) I suppose I was looking for input on how often/how common it is to wear side armor, especially in the Fight Lite approach to things.

                    Another reason I was gravitating towards the BFG was because I already had purchased several pouches for HEAT 1 that I was mounting on my Blackhawk PC and found the quality and shipping speed to be very quick. So I was hoping that if I could order this week, there would be a chance that I would get it before HEAT 1 and be able to test what I hoped would be my ‘real’ gear during the class, as opposed to a “this isn’t what I plan on using in real life, but it’s what I’ve got” gear.

                    What role is the carrier going to fit with your gear; is it going to be a fully-loaded first-line/standalone piece of equipment? Or need to function like that at some point? Or will it ONLY ever be worn concealed or mostly slick with a full belt kit?

                    Honestly, at this point I don’t know. I really don’t know what I should be doing with it, I never wore a PC when I was in the service so I have no familiarity with them in the field. My current thinking, which I’m sure will get heavily modified by HEAT 1, is to use a full belt kit for most of my equipment, but equip the PC with some fold-flat mag carrier on the front and possibly 2-3 other small pouches for things like TQ/IFAK/admin etc. I’ve never really considered the option of using the PC in a concealed mode — probably because the plates and PC I have at the moment are way too bulky for that to work. I suppose with the ShotStop GT plates this would be more likely to be possible, but I currently don’t envision too many situations where I’d use it in that manner. So my view of the PC is as part of first-line equipment in conjunction with a full belt, but setup in such a way that if all I can grab is the PC on the way out the door it has the capability to sustain me for a few minutes until I can reach the rest of my gear.

                    I really appreciate your questions/input here as well as the PM you sent!

                    If you plan to carry a pistol, you need to keep that side on PC slick so you dont impede your draw stroke. So dont get too crazy on the sides. If You have side pouches, keep them on opposite side of pistol.

                    I hadn’t considered that aspect yet, so thanks for that! I’ll keep that in mind as I go forward.

                  • #143610
                    JustARandomGuy
                    Participant

                      …The reason I asked for input on the side panels is because the primary benefit I see from them, as someone with no practical experience with PC’s, is that it provides the option for side armor. I find the cummerbund on my existing Blackhawk Strike PC to be very annoying, both in terms of donning/doffing the PC as well as with items mounted on the panels, so having MOLLE on the sides isn’t a huge selling point for me. Keeping my kidneys from taking a round however is something I consider a worthwhile consideration (but to be fair I do not currently own, and it would likely be several months before I could purchase, any side armor anyway.) I suppose I was looking for input on how often/how common it is to wear side armor, especially in the Fight Lite approach to things.

                      Yeah, I hear you on the annoying cummerbund thing. Nothing like fighting two flapping tails and a front flap trying to get the thing on and off… haha.
                      That’s why a lot of folks really like the First Spear Tubes system (and a number of other carriers now either have retro-fit options for, or alternate c-bund options).
                      I never bothered with side plates before since I’ve always lived in a very rural area. I actually sold my old plates/carrier a few years ago in favor of just running a chest rig and daypack since I’m 80% rural. But, the prospect of potentially moving to a more urban area has got me into plates again, and thinking about side plates as well.
                      Hence why I was asking if you may need/want to run it concealed at any point; not sure what your environment is going to be, but I’m assuming, since as you stated, you’re going full belt kit most of the time, then more foot/rural and less urban/vehicle?

                      Regardless, if you’re thinking side plates might be an option for you in the future…but you don’t need/want an excess of side molle… it sounds like you just solved the question here; wait for the BFG carrier with the side plate option. :good:

                      Another reason I was gravitating towards the BFG was because I already had purchased several pouches for HEAT 1 that I was mounting on my Blackhawk PC and found the quality and shipping speed to be very quick. So I was hoping that if I could order this week, there would be a chance that I would get it before HEAT 1 and be able to test what I hoped would be my ‘real’ gear during the class, as opposed to a “this isn’t what I plan on using in real life, but it’s what I’ve got” gear.

                      Yeah, BFG is really good to deal with (usually).
                      My ONLY gripe with them is some of their stuff is horrendously overpriced for what it is (not the carrier you want; that’s within price range for other carriers like it).
                      It sucks to not be able to get gear on time… but, on the other side, running your old gear could still teach you things. Who knows… you might discover something that could change your whole idea of what you need and make this current choice irrelevant before you even buy it…
                      I think we’ve all had that happen before when working out gear. haha

                      Honestly, at this point I don’t know. I really don’t know what I should be doing with it, I never wore a PC when I was in the service so I have no familiarity with them in the field. My current thinking, which I’m sure will get heavily modified by HEAT 1, is to use a full belt kit for most of my equipment, but equip the PC with some fold-flat mag carrier on the front and possibly 2-3 other small pouches for things like TQ/IFAK/admin etc….So my view of the PC is as part of first-line equipment in conjunction with a full belt, but setup in such a way that if all I can grab is the PC on the way out the door it has the capability to sustain me for a few minutes until I can reach the rest of my gear…

                      Nothing wrong with that idea of using a PC at all.
                      I would frankly say, take the carrier you have now, mount the exact pouches on it you intend to have on your new carrier in the future, and run it, at least for the first day or two of the class.
                      If you have your belt kit started, then add that as well- put everything as close to how you envision with what you have NOW before buying new things with the ‘expectation’ of them working out. I know I keep beating this dead horse, but I have bought SO MUCH stuff that I ended up never needing…

                      Here’s another angle to look at;
                      Per this- “…if all I can grab is the PC on the way out the door it has the capability to sustain me for a few minutes until I can reach the rest of my gear…
                      What will the rest of your gear be? A pack of some sort? Or your belt kit? Or both?
                      IF you are going full belt kit WITH suspenders…will you be able to put that on OVER the PC you are already wearing, or will you have to stop, take the PC off, get belt on, re-donn pc…?
                      Will the suspender straps even be comfortable for you when worn under a tight PC?
                      Or do you intend to have 2 different belts – like a “full” belt and a “light” belt?
                      Or…is there any likelihood you might already be wearing your EDC/CCW kit…and not be able to throw a new belt over it. In which case how might that affect your carrier loadout, or pack/extra support gear?

                      I’m not saying ANY of this to try and shit on your theory of use – you just happen to sound like you’re exploring a lot of the exact same options I wanted starting out, and these are some of the issues I ran into, which, along with my personal preference, played a large part in where I ended up with my gear today. Not that I’ve attained some level of gear nirvana mind you, I’m just red-teaming a bit here. :unsure:

                    • #143649
                      hellokitty
                      Participant

                        Something really simple I do that most never think about. I put my PC on/off by slipping it over my head like a shirt. So I dont have to worry about noise discipline or first spear tubes. I use a crye JPC btw. I comes off and on fast. With a full load out too. Dont over think it.

                        HEAT 1(CTT) X 3
                        HEAT 2 (CP) X1
                        FOF X3
                        OPFOR X2
                        CLC X2
                        RIFLEMAN

                      • #143688
                        DiznNC
                        Participant

                          For your initial training at VTC, I’d say the PC and belt kit is going to be just fine. I wouldn’t worry about additional side plates right now. You will be in a rural environment and doing high-stress physical training. You do not need to be all wrapped up in nylon around your torso and sweating your ass off. A skeleton or minimalist cummerbund would be optimal.

                          At some point, you may evaluate your personal sit and add them, based on your estimate of the situation. But for training, I’d leave them off. You may find that due to the heat and humidity, you may elect to run some drills without body armor. So be ready to run with just a belt kit, or have a detachable front shingle on the PC that you can run as a micro chest rig.

                          The training is what’s important right now, not necessarily the complete load out you might eventually wear. For example, I went to class at Bragg one time with a bunch of SF dudes. I showed up all decked out with a full combat load out. They all showed up with just what they needed for class; a belt kit with pistol gear and rifle mag pouches, and not much else. Learning experience. I shit-canned all that stuff and followed the pro’s lead. Only wear what you need at the time. Now is there training value to get all MIB’d up, sure, but it’s also a progression.

                        • #143701
                          Tony S
                          Participant

                            Something really simple I do that most never think about. I put my PC on/off by slipping it over my head like a shirt.

                            I’ve tried to do this, but can’t make it work for me — other than to create some epic fail situation that thankfully have never been shared via video.

                            For your initial training at VTC, I’d say the PC and belt kit is going to be just fine.

                            I received my JayJay’s kit today, so I should be good with that. I’m definitely going to ditch my current plates and just wear the PC without them since that’s 20+# of steel I’m not toting. Although my ShotStop plates might make it to me before HEAT 1 next week, I still might run the PC without them so I can concentrate on the training.

                            At some point, you may evaluate your personal sit and add them, based on your estimate of the situation. But for training, I’d leave them off. You may find that due to the heat and humidity, you may elect to run some drills without body armor. So be ready to run with just a belt kit,

                            :good:

                            The training is what’s important right now, not necessarily the complete load out you might eventually wear.

                            That’s my approach, the training is the most important thing, but I’m also trying to address equipment shortcomings as intelligently as I can within my constraints.

                          • #144245
                            rampantraptor
                            Participant

                              Kinda late to the party here, but I bought the last-gen version of the PlateMINUS last fall on clearance ($80, which was a hell of a deal, thanks again, Joe). The V2 with the sides was 20 bucks more, I stuck with the base model because I wanted something lightweight and slick without a bunch of MOLLE straps everywhere; also, I already had a bulkier AR500 rig that came with my plates I could use for a heavier loadout.

                              It’s a great little plate carrier, comfortable fit, I wore it slick under a jacket at Richmond and the only person who noticed it was a guy that bumped into me. It is very minimalistic which does mean it has limited real estate without the side panels. I do have some light infantry experience overseas and if I pair it up with a good battle belt and backpack I could still very well carry everything on it that I carried into battle overseas so I’m not disappointed. It is a great bit of “fight light” kit.

                              If the side panels were were removable or able to be folded away comfortably then I’d definitely jump on the version with the side panels but it looks like they’re there whether you like it or not so that’s a personal call.

                              I haven’t attended Max’s training yet but based on my other experience I’d also say you’d probably be better off not worrying about plates, once you get the basics down then I’d toss in the added weight of the plates, if you burn out under the weight you’ll be distracted from the training.

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