Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: Platatac MAC Front opening panel

I made some additions to my collection of rigs recently, and wanted to give you a heads up. As you're probably aware, if you are a regular reader, I am all in favour of modular, adjustable and multi-function gear, because I'm of the mind set that when disaster strikes, you will need to adapt to the situation, rather than simply stick with a static plan and outlook. Things will NOT go according to plan, and having a means to quickly adjust is of vital importance. So when I look to add to my collection of things, I look to what I already have, and how I can make sensible additions, rather than just "another cool gadget, gizmo or piece of kit to lug around". Or at least, I try to. I think with this item, I was spot on the money, however.

This is the Platatac MAC Front Opening Panel which I picked up as a very attractive and highly recommended bundle with the MAC BackPack I strongly recommend if you are looking for a good deal, to check it out. I'll be looking at the MAC BackPack soon, but for now, lets look at this Front Opening Panel.

So, how does the Front Opening Panel attach? There are Fastex style shoulder buckles which mirror the shoulders of the MAC Front Panel and mate with the Back Panel buckles, feeding through the D-Loops, and elastic webbing, if that is the way you want to go. The side buckles also mate to the back panel, in the same way, although these buckles are not used with the MAC Front Panel, if the plate carrying Modular Cummerbund is worn, The "back" side buckles fold away into the Back Panel. You can see it above mated to the the MAC BackPack here.

The MAC Front Opening Panel is designed to work with the MAC back panel, which is the back piece of my previously reviewed and much loved Medium Armour Carrier. The idea being that in situations where a "low level carriage option" is required, the front armour carrying panel can be swapped out for the lighter and breathable front piece.

That "swap-out" component is of considerable interest to me, because whilst wearing my MAC front panel, with its inserted Ikea-cutting-board strike plate substitute is all good and well, (mock all you like, I don't have access to ballistic plates, and thankfully don't have a clear and present need for one, but that cutting board will stop or slow and cut or thrust I've put at it, and spreads out blunt force considerably) sometimes a rigid, closed front panel is cumbersome and not fit for purpose.

The Front Opening Panel features a top row of 5 PALS/MOLLE channels, and three rows of 6 channels below this, as well as a heavily stitched reinforcing webbing for the shoulder straps including two loop-fields for attaching the shoulder strap ends. The bottom of the Panel also features a couple of the adjustable hook-and loop and press-stud belt attachment loops which are a great addition and can really assist in securing the vest, both vertically and horizontally.

As well as integrating with the MAC Back (and MAC BackPack) modules the Front Opening Panel offers the option to one more accessory that I made use of recently. In the spirit of "time to get our of Dodge" disaster preparedness, I wanted to have a little experiment, and perhaps some fun whilst at it. I strapped Tactical Baby into her Baby Bjorn carrier, and then threw my Mac Front Opening Panel / Back Panel / Gunslinger Belt combination over the top.

Laden down with pouches filled with bottles, formula, nappies, wipes, snacks for Triceratops Girl (out of shot), I was able to effectively load up a days worth of family needs and other needful accessories, (yes, like my laser-tagger) and spend the day milling through the crowds at Manifest. Tactical Baby was rocking out her "Zombie Hunter" patch and I wore her, her needs, and carried Triceratops Girl on my off-arm, tagger at the ready (or slung) in the other.

To do this, I just strapped the Bjorn on, filled it with Tactical Baby goodness, threw the rig on and buckled it up> it needed a couple of placement adjustments, because both she and I needed to be comfortable, and I needed to be able to get at all my pouches, or they would have been redundant. All in all, it worked out really well. I now have a Tactical Baby compatible load-out. Need to get ear protection for her though, you know, to drown out the zombie moans and such...

So. The Platatac MAC Front Opening Panel: definitely a success. It offered me a lightweight, breathable low profile platform to both carry my accessories, but also to mate to my back pieces. That modularity will mean that I will be able to fit out this piece, and have it "ready to attach", to my other pieces, in moments, giving me more grab and go options, should disaster strike.

1 comment:

  1. I never thought of this. You. Are an inspiration!!! XD


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