Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Review: Civilian Labs - Hazard4 - Loader RG Harness

Ages ago I covered an essential piece of my EDC, my custom made EDC holster harness. This faithful piece has been with me for years, and has reached the end of its life. I had contacted Darrin Talbott of Extreme Gear Labs to commission him to build me something, but alas, he's just far too busy to make a wacky one-off custom job for a blogger.

Check out his Facebook to see the cool Operator gear he makes. That news sent me looking for an alternative.

I was lucky enough to spy the Jerking The Trigger post on the Hazard4 Poncho and following the links, saw that Hazard4 offered a modular holster rig! Tay from HorNest did me a solid, and shipped some over.

Hazard4 are the "Tactical" arm of Civilian Lab makers of fine modular kit. The link I followed brought me to these, this is the Loader rig
with the optional extra anatomic harness.

What it is is two sets of the Escape Rig, one for each side. The two halves are identical, so I'll cover them as just the single unit.

Here are the two Escape halves, with the Anatomic shoulder harness, and another piece at the bottom to hold them together for stability.

The pouches are made of Dobby Nylon and have "PU X 2" treatment, and measure 12.5 x18 x4 cm
(~5" x7" x1.5") externally. The main panel is faced with two hook and loop closing pockets, one that fits my Surefire 6PX like a glove, and the other which his more squat. Both of these pockets are elastic sided, and open cornered. Bear this in mind when looking to fill them.

In this shot you can see some of the rotating buckles  that are fitted to each corner, each backed with a tab of the same padded material that backs the pouch for wearer comfort.  This is some very thoughtful and innovative design. no more buckle-pinch!

You can also see one of the tri-glide buckles that sit on the middle of each of the four sides. These are for accessory loop and strapping, and I'll get into that a bit later.

The 2013 version of this pouch has all black labeling and non-reflective zippers and fittings, for even lower profile wear.

The "back pocket" of the pouch is an open slot, wide enough for my receipt and card filled wallet, and is mesh-sided to cut weight and improve breathability and drainage. (Luckily Australian money is plastic, in case I ever take a dunk...) You can see another of those elastic-looped tri-glides here, to which I have dummy-corded my wallet. No more dropping it into the toilet, off piers, or leaving it on cafe counters for me!

My iPhone sits in the corresponding other side.

What you cant see is the wide swathe of black loop field, for affixing a hook-backed holster, like the Stick-Up.

You can also see the double zipper here of the inner pocket. Very useful!

Inside that inner pocket, you see where some real thought has gone into making these pouches. As well as the tough nylon outer, they are lined with quilted micro-suede

They also feature a series of webbing and elastic channels to fit your tools and needful gear, I have my SAR Dead Ringer comb and CRKT K.I.S.S. folder in mine on this side. Passports, and paperwork on the other side.

The pocket opens all the way to the bottom, but, like a good admin pouch, it has webbing retainers, keeping it from flopping flat, but catching it at about 45o so your pens, USB sticks, or whatever don't tumble off into the wide blue yonder.

The back pocket has a press stud on webbing closure, with two sizing options, which is great. I tend to clip my wallet in with the big, and my phone in with the snugger length.

The back of the pouch features a belt loop,wide enough for all the belt I tried it on ( both my 5-11 TDU belts, the 215Gear Ultimate Riggers belt, and the PM Leather Hobble Belt.

It also features a press-stud flap option, for quick-release needs.

Why even have a belt loop? Modularity!

 Those corner buckles attach to the included cross-straps, which are two fully adjustable nylon webbing straps, with a press-stud in the middle, to connect the two.

One of the coolest things about this whole system is that it can be worn so many ways.

All of the straps will "double-back" through the buckles for a really secure fit.and the tri-glide attachment points allow you to rig any number of stability or alternative attachment options. The rotating corner clasps mean that the straps stay flat no matter what configuration you wear them in, and they stay upright as you move, depending on how you wear it.

The included cross-straps are a little more versatile than the Anatomic straps, but not nearly as comfortable. The pouches can be worn under the arms, holster style, singly or in pairs, horizontally or vertically, but also on the hips on a sling, as a backpack, slung cross-ways like a bandoleer, on the thigh as a drop-leg or on the front of the chest or even as a shoulder bag.

I used one of the cross-straps to act as a kidney-height stabiliser,  having found that on their own, the pouches slid forwards when i bent over without them.
 Here's the package insert, showing some of the carry options.....

One last thing. Each of the pouches comes with a "Shuttle Pouch" which is made from the same Dobby Nylon, and lined again in the quilted micro-suede with mesh pockets along with nylon strapping. The Shuttle pouch is designed to fit into the "Back pocket" of the main pouch,and be clipped in. It features waterproof zippers and a set of webbing eyelets on each of the four back corners for dummy-cording (mmm, dummy-cord: looks silly, keeps your gear on you...)

This was a seriously feature and function filled set of kit.

I've been wearing it now for a few weeks, getting the configuration and fit right and I must say, it has been one of my better EDC investments for some time.  I wear it every day, almost all day in some cases.

I don't feel "dressed" with out it, and it really is my go-to item when it's time to run out the door; be it emergency, fire, flood or groceries.

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