Monday, August 6, 2012

Review: Platatac SCAR Mini Chest Rig

It's been a while since I've covered any purpose made tactical gear, having spent quite a few posts going over the pretty awesome set of birthday knives I received (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) so I wanted to get back into it with some really functional and multifaceted kit, such as seen with this, the SCAR mini Chest Rig, by Platatac. I took a departure from my usual khaki colour scheme, mostly to allow an option of distinguishing one set of kit for another when romping around doing Stargate LRP.

Unlike my full MAC rig, which I'd reviewed a while back, which offers front and back, side to side and sternum to belly coverage, with all the bells and whistles, the SCAR mini rig is a substantially cut back, being in principle a front piece, with shoulder and waist straps to keep it on. However there are still a number of features that Platatac have added to make it more than either just a plate carrier, or mag-rig.

The bottom half is made up of s set of four integral shingle pouches, each with a drainage grommet and featuring a three row, ten channel PALS/MOLLE field. Each of the shingles is closed by a loop of shock cord which feeds through the top row of MOLLE loops for each pouch, and back rough additional row of MOLLE loops above e shingles, Wu a reinforced tab of webbing for each shingle to act as a draw-toggle. Each shingle is reported as being able to carry 2x M4 magazines, or a single Styre magazine.

As well as the thorax belt of shingles, above is the SCAR rig features a sternum piece which offers a further three rows of six channels of PALS/MOLLE attachment goodness, although the heavy fastex type chest buckles do cut into the available space a little, and would make for a very snug fit if a pouch was fitted adjacent to them. This sternum panel is interesting in that it is not permanently attached to the chest straps, but rather feature a pair of press-stud loops which attach either through the plastic D-loops or webbing loops on the shoulder pieces. As well as the PALS/MOLLE field, this sternum piece also features a hook-and-loop closing map/document pocket at the top lip.

Looking at the inside surface of the rig, you can see the wicking mesh that lines the otherwise all 1000d cordura construction, but also the back of the shingle/thorax region has a built in pocket, and the sternum region a corresponding wide band of elastic material to accommodate a chest-plate, should that be required for your kind of activity. (as with my full MAC rig, I'll probably cut down a polycarbonate cutting board to fit in mine, for look and feel if not the innate properties of a cutting board). However, and here is where the SCAR rig shows the clever design thoughts put into this range of products, again, if all you need is a magazine platform, and are not going to be wearing a plate, the sternum piece can be unclipped from the shoulder straps, and folded down behind the thorax belt, dropping your profile, and heat retention.

The wide shoulder straps, which feature loops to secure cables or hydration tubes loop around the arms and fasten back around under the arms, and a similarly broad waistband secures the rig with another large fastex style buckle on one side. I found that when jumping about, the shoulder straps tended to slip somewhat, which is a situation I'd rather avoid in a crisis. To avoid this, I took the MacGuiver approach, and swapped out one of the shingle shock-cords and fitted it as a loop behind my shoulders. This might act as a slight delay if I had to shed the rig entirely, rapidly, but I'm not expecting to be sprayed with acid-for-blood xempnomoroh gore any time soon. Returning the now bereft single to normal function was just a matter of looping the cord through two sets of MOLLE, and as I also dnt expect to be dealing with extra tall magazines any time soon, not having at extra slack isn't much of a worry to me.

This is a pretty cool rig, a lightweight, low-profile platform, which I intend to use to supplement my available loadout options depending on the situation I find myself needing to respond to. Adapt, innovate overcome.

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