The diversity of gear on the market today is unprecedented with an equally impressive overall standard of quality. Chances are if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you’re probably not trying hard enough. Despite this, the need to improve on an off the shelf design, personalize it to meet a need or modify it to fit a specific role continues to exist. Customers want more from their gear.
This latest project is a case in point. The move to ballistic plate carriers from more comprehensive armor systems created a need for an aftermarket cumberbund. One company that ably met that need was Mayflower Research & Consulting. To customize it the customer turned to Down Range Gear.
The Mayflower Cumberbund was ordered to retrofit a plate carrier and improve the carriage of side SAPI plates. The cumberbund comes from the manufacturer with a PALS grid on the outside and a small mesh plate pocketon the interior. Because the customer’s plates would not fit in the interior mesh pocket, he opted to use his IOTV MOLLE plate pockets to attach them. Hanging plates to the outside of a cumberbund is less than ideal: it takes up valuable space and is a poorly balanced snag hazard. To allow mounting of the IOTV plate pockets, the interior mesh pocket had to be removed and replaced with PALS webbing. Additional upgrades were made to improve the function of the cumberbund.
The quick solution would have been to place webbing along the inside of the cumberbund, align it with the other side and sew it in place. That might have got the job done but the stitching would have shown through the other side and just… not looked right. Mayflower sets a high standard for quality in both form and function. The customer payed good money on his initial purchase and then again to have it modified… So the cumberbund was disassembled, and then reassembled with the requested changes. In essence, a part of it was rebuilt, if not quite from scratch. While it was on the “operating table” the customer approved the insertion of a firm but flexible plastic stiffener in order to give the cumberbund more structure and better support and distribute the weight of the plates and attached pouches. The elastic was reinfoced with a material that would resist rot and fatigue a little better. A reader would be incorrect to read this and come away with the impression that Mayflower gear is incomplete or leaves a lot to be desired, like everything they do, this add-on cumberbund it’s a well made, well thought out piece of gear.
The MOLLE IOTV side SAPI pockets required a little attention as well. The MOLLE straps are sewn really close to center, which is less than ideal given the weight of the ballistic plates. In order to make the laden SAPI pocket more stable, the straps were removed and sewn closer to the edges of the pocket, giving them a wider footprint, which should improve stability. When the straps were moved closer to the edges, new snaps were installed and the old snaps were removed with the holes were covered up with small metal grommets, making it difficult to tell the pocket was even modified (important when dealing with issued gear.)
This gear, along with it’s owner will shortly be overseas.