This is a current issue IOTV Side SAPI Plate Pocket (KDH Defense Systems) rebuilt and extensively modified to customer specifications. Although the current design had some interesting characteristics, it is clear that it has been largely optimized for mass production and has limited functionality outside of it’s intended purpose. The customer wanted these shortcomings addressed with three modifications:
1. Push MOLLE straps closer to the edges of the pouch in order to optimize the load on the PALS grid. The current MOLLE straps on the back of the plate pocket are narrowly set at nearly 2″ from the edges. With the weight of a SAPI plate, this makes for an attachment point with a relatively narrow center of gravity. The load is better balanced if the straps are spaced widely apart, as close to the edges of the pouch as possible.
Relocating the straps was a straightforward process. First they had to be separated from the pouch by carefully cutting the seam away. Care was taken not to damage the pouch. The straps were moved as close to the edge as possible and robustly stitched down. Displacing the snaps took more effort. These literally have to be destroyed in place and removal leaves holes in the pouch. After they were extracted, a webbing backer was sewn into place to reinforce the fabric under the new snaps. The entire bottom section of the pouch was covered with a second layer of 500D Cordura fabric, identical to the base material. This had the added benefit of reinforcing the parts of the pouch that tend to take some of the most severe abuse when worn on armor in field conditions. The new snaps were punched to line up with the displaced strap system and aside from the unauthorized redesign, the whole thing looks factory new.
2. Add 3 row PALS grid to front face of pouch. The original pouch design does not anticipate the end user’s need for a modular system. The customer was very specific about spacing and PALS column alignment. The stitching is robust with multiple passes and lines that go past the webbing to preclude failure under load.
3. Reinforce construction throughout the structure at critical load bearing seams and stress points. For a piece of equipment that is typically attached on the outside of an armor system and takes substantial punishment in field conditions, the issued plate pocket is severely under built. The two seams that hold together the sides of the pouch were only single stitched (though properly secured at both ends.) Worse still, there was no reinforcement of the PALS webbing sewn into those seams. Needless to say, this was rectified and critical seams have been reinforced.
Because this is issued gear, care was taken to remain true to the original design, at least from an outwardly visible standpoint. That requires a critical eye when fully disassembling the pouch and a professional finish as it is rebuilt. We don’t just slap these together. Everything is done right. Things like straight stitch lines, properly folded seams, careful alignment and assembly are critical to the professional end result. It’s what our customers expect and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Side SAPI plate pouches are a fairly boring, largely under appreciated piece of gear, but it is very clear that the end users need issued equipment to do more, perform better.