After doing quite a bit of research, internet browsing, and head scratching....... I finally decided on the tactical MOLLE rig that I wanted to run with my new shotgun set-up. The gear from Condor Tactical fit the bill perfectly and their price to quality ratio can't be beat.
I picked up the Condor MCR4 OPS Chest Rig, and three of the MA61 Shotgun Reload Pouches from OPSGEAR.com . Their prices were the best I could find anywhere, and they had a 20% off deal running through the month. I placed the order on Saturday, it shipped on Monday, and I received it on Wednesday. Now that is fast service!!!! I highly recommend this company and I will be returning to pick up a few more pouches and a holster from them later this week.
I am really impressed with the quality, fit and design of this new Condor gear. The chest rig and pouches are made in China out of a heavy Cordura nylon canvas, with heavy stitching and quality hardware. The MOLLE webbing is sized and sewn perfectly so you won't have any problem weaving on your various pouches. I chose the Coyote Tan color for my set up so that it would blend with just about any wooded or desert terrain and would also go with all of my camo gear. After seeing the color in person, I am sure I made the right choice.
Let's take a little closer look at the OPS Chest Rig........... This vest is designed to fit anyone from a size medium through a size XXL. Since I am on the thinner end of the sizing range, I had to adjust the rear waist strap close to its shortest length. This actually works great for me, as it allows the MOLLE "cumber-bun" portion of the vest to wrap around my belly and sides. All of the straps have a velcrow securing straps sewn to the bitter ends so you can roll up the excess and then secure it to the main strap. A quality detail and feature that you will really appreciate.
The main MOLLE portion of the vest is double thick with three built in pouches between the layers. There is a large 7x11 inch map pocket in the center lined with velcrow (soft "fur" side of the velcrow) on one side with a velcrow strip along the top edge to close it. On both sides of the map pocket is a narrower magazine pouch with bungee retainers on the top edge, and grommeted drain holes on the backside.
On the back side of the vest, there is an additional mesh pocket.
The shoulder straps are well padded , but not too thick. They fit quite well and are very comfortable. There is MOLLE webbing over the shoulders to allow the the attachment of a knife or other small pouch. All in all, the straps are low profile and do not interfere with shouldering a gun. The straps cross in the back and there is a velcrow securing band at the junction to keep them here they need to be..... another great little detail. The shoulder straps are attached with side release buckles in the front and button release, swivel buckles in the back. The buckles are not the cheap grade often seen on lower end gear, but are actually the heavy duty type seen on rigs at a much higher price-point.
I wanted to be able top carry a "significant" amount of shotgun ammo on my rig and the Condor Shotgun Reload Pouches fit the bill perfectly. Each pouch will hold 25 rounds of 12 gauge or 20 gauge ammo. With the three pouches I will be running on my rig, this will let me have one pouch for slugs and specialty rounds, one pouch for 00 Buckshot and one pouch for something like #4 Buckshot or target rounds. That is a pretty good selection at your fingertips! With the 7 rounds I can carry in the shotgun, this gives me a field load of 82 rounds! If you can't take care of things with that many rounds, you're in BIG trouble!!!!
The pouches are a "break-away" design that can be accessed in stages, or just torn open. The flaps are secured with heavy velcrow, and snaps. You can use the velcrow alone for quick, tactical access, or use the addtional security of the snaps and velcrow, if you really need to button things up tight.
The pouches can be accessed in "phases"......... first, the flap is lifted and the first, outer row of shells falls open. This gives you access to two rows of 4 shells and one horizontal shell.
You can then "tear open" the pouch the access the rest of the rounds, or move over to the next pouch and access the next "top phase" of shells. This gives you a faster, tactical reload option. When the initial engagement is over, you can then move on the the second "tear open" phase of the pouches. I will have to experiment with these concepts at the range to see how they play out in a "run-and-gun" scenario.
Here are a few more shots of the pouches to show you how they look all buttoned up and then expanded into their "torn open" configuration:
That about wraps up my review for today.......... I am sure I will have more to report after giving this new rig a workout at the range. For now I'm running the three pouches evenly across the front, but I may end up shifting them over a bit to one side after I add a holster for the Colt .45 .
If the rest of Condor's tactical gear is as well designed and constructed as these pieces, I will definitely be longtime customer and user!!!! http://www.condoroutdoor.com