Today @ Down Range Gear

This Tactical Tailor MAV had likely already been through a deployment before the customer sent it in for an upgrade. Gear has a relatively short lifecycle these days with users constantly trading up. Gear doesn’t appreciate in value the longer it’s kept around and people don’t buy it with the goal of handing it down through the generations. New gear is constantly coming to market, fueling the demand and sustaining the industry.

This particular job was a case study in how useful it can be to make a functional upgrade to modify an existing piece of equipment to keep it current. The MAV is a very basic load carriage platform. That’s the appeal, but the customer wanted to increase it’s versatility in a number of functional areas.

First thing was to retrofit the chest rig to use the Chest Rig/ Armor Interface Kit. Adapting a current, conventional load carriage platform to clip directly onto an armor system is one of the most useful capabilities to add. On this MAV as on many other platforms, this comes down to refitting and reorienting buckle layout. 1″ (female) buckle bodies on the sides were added to interface with the PALS Shock Cord Anchors (the horizontal supports.) Compatible buckles were provided to support the MAV vertically on the armor system. In addition to two velcro wraps to protect the all important vertical support buckles (everything rides on these,) a third buckle body is always provided in the event of the need to replace a broken buckle in field conditions. These are known, real world issues issues, they have to be dealt with and it’s one of the few things that can’t be improvised or modified easily.

Again, like others, the customer didn’t want to forgo the option of continuing to use the chest rig with a harness. Fashioning a functional H-harness by cannibalizing webbing from the MAV was straight forward. The customer chose to upgrade the basic harness with Enhanced Strap Replacements for both the harness and the waist strap. These replace static webbing with shock cord sheathed in tubular nylon for a more comfortable fit. The shock cord keeps everything tight but allows for movement by expanding in ways that static webbing won’t. Making it better is the ergonomic, front pull to adjust length. One issue that arose was the overall width of the MAV combined with an inability of the Enhanced Strap Replacement to cinch down beyond a certain size lead to fitting problems. After considering many options, a few inches were taken off the width of the MAV. The customer’s express permission was obtained before proceeding. Because the MAV was built with some excess material along it’s peripheral edges and because space on a vest comes at a premium, all the original PALS columns were retained. The result was no change in functionality but a step in the right direction for a better fitting chest rig.

The customer also requested provisions for comm routing along the top of the MAV. Initially, the request was for elastic webbing. After some consideration because elastic deteriorates over time, the top edges of the MAV were fitted with 1″ webbing loops onto which removable triglides were slotted. These support velcro wraps to capture and route comm wire or antennas. Being able to close the Velcro over an antenna or wire can be more convenient than having to route it through an elastic loop, it can also be cinched down for a more secure hold.  The plastic hardware and velcro wrap were designed to be removable and can be replaced with a different system of the wearer’s choosing, such as shock cord (which was included to give the customer more options.)

Last thing on the list was a means to mount a trouniquet to the MAV in a horizontal orientation at the bottom of the panel. Realizing this as a realestate issue, a pair of triglides were mounted to pass through a set of PALS loops to offset the tourniquet while allowing co-use of the space for mounting pouches. As with the comm loops, Velcro wraps can be added to the triglides to secure the tourniquet.


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