In the quest to find an inexpensive chest rig, I came across this product (model number: MOLLE-714) on CheaperThanDirt.com Now, I’m understand that you often get what you pay for, and at $29+shipping, I wasn’t expecting much. So what did I get? Let’s take a look.
Construction / Features
I ordered this in OD, and was bit fearful, as many of the OD colored items on CTD’s website look more like seaweed than OD in the pictures. They assured me through my email inquiry, that the look much more OD than the pictures on the website. Upon arrival I was pleasantly treated by the color being quite OD, and definitely not seaweed.
First let’s take a look at the magazine pouches. These are made for M16 / M4 magazines. They each feature a molle strap for applying these to PALS / MOLLE webbing material. The snap at the bottom of the MOLLE strap appears sturdy and snaps crisply into place. The pouches appear to be constructed out of 1000D Nylon, although they did not come with any literature to say so. The pull tabs appear to be made of the same material, and the elastic straps appear sturdy. I was a little put off at the haphazard way they were attached to the chest platform. The rig comes with capacity to hold 9 magazines, but the rig is not wide enough for this (to fit snugly and comfortably). This did not deter me as I was only planning on having 6-7 mags on it anyway.
The chest platform itself appears to be made of a less dense nylon material, probably 600D. It is much more flexible than the pouches, and is quite light in weight. The stitching appears to be good quality, although I noticed that the webbing spacing (from the last stitch to the next row) is not standard width. This only appears to be a problem at the very left and right attachment points, and I’m sure if you tried, it’d still fit a standard MALICE or ALICE clip no problem. The utility pouch on the left shoulder appears to be made out of the same material, and the Velcro appears to be decent quality, but not nearly as strong as what you’d find on a more expensive piece of gear. The buckle attached to the waist strap appears to be decent, but feels like it could be much stronger. The shoulder straps are about what you’d expect from a mid-priced backpack, but nothing to rave about. The top front of the platform has a Velcro closure that covers an inner pouch. Here the Velcro is good quality, and the pouch is actually backed by what appears to be a vinyl material that could keep the contents dry. The size of the pouch is more than adequate to put maps and such in it as it goes the entire width and height of the platform.
I reconfigured the pouches to suit me better before going out to skirmish with it. I took off a double pouch panel (as the unit comes with 4 double panels and 1 single), so that the rig would comfortably hold 7 mags. I also attached my Maxpedition RollyPoly dump pouch onto the waist strap that goes around the back. At the moment I do not have an appropriate radio to put in the utility pouch on the left shoulder, so that was left empty. After a day of skirmishing this is what I found.
The padding on the shoulders is adequate for airsoft play. In the long run, I can see them wearing out, but for occasional play, or a short term use product, it filled the need. If I had been carrying metal magazines this might not have been as comfortable given the extra weight, but I do not have that many metal mags to test it.
The waist strap was adequate to hold the RollyPoly dump pouch in place, and it never felt like it was sliding around or too loose. I was able to comfortably able to place it at my left kidney area so as to have easy access, yet it was out of the way.
I did find that I was not 100% pleased with the MOLLE straps on the magazine pouches. They do not start at the top of the pouch and therefore make the pouches hang forward a bit. Not much, and while it never snagged on anything while I was using them, they could have been more secure. Now they do have traditional MOLLE / Pals webbing on them (both front and back), so they could be better secured with MALICE clips with no problem. I did find that I had to adjust the keeper straps for every mag pouch, as none of them were tight enough. While, not a problem, and once adjusted the stayed in place, it was a nuisance to deal with since there were 9 that had to be done. I did find that pulling mags in and out of the pouches was quick, smooth, and flawless. I was quite pleased at the fit of the mags in the pouches, as the keeper straps do not even seem to be necessary for all but the roughest use.
All the slide buckles and straps held together securely and were very easy to adjust. They handled a skirmish quite well, and while that was the case, serious players who are willing to get down and dirty, might want to consider the strength of these parts. They snap securely in place, and I did not see any deformation of any of the buckles, they did seem to be a bit fragile. This might just be my misconception as they are very light weight.
Over all, I like this rig as a temporary, or light use rig. If you’re new to airsoft, or do not skirmish frequently, this rig might just be perfect for you. On the other hand, if you’re the type of player who doesn’t bat an eye at jumping in a lake with your gear, or throwing yourself at the ground to avoid fire, then crawling in the mud to your objective… then you might just want to use this as a temporary rig until you can get a higher quality one.
Overall I have found that the high point of this piece is the good quality pouches. The pouches alone are worth the money for the entire rig. In fact, I’m thinking of just keeping the pouches and selling the rig when I get my next one. For all you new players out there though…. this is a decent rig at an excellent price, just understand that it was not constructed to last forever.
tags: airsoft cheaper than dirt chest rig review