bout 7 years ago one night a bunch of us were spending a weekend at a cabin, drinking a few beers and training some individual and team tactics. That night we got talking about our needs for a perfect chest rig and how none of the models on the market back then seemed to address those needs. So we decided to build a batch of our own chest rigs.
Now note this was back when laser cut equipment didn't yet exist and plate carrier <-> chest rig interchangeability was just arriving to the commercial market, so these days you'll find many options on the market but back then this design was our solution.
The main features we wanted to have were:
- Shoulder straps should be able to integrate with a small assault pack
- G-hooks to connect the assault pack on the waist level
- detachable bip allows downs scaling when no admin pouch is needed
- Able to attach to a plate carrier with fastex
- Two sets of shoulder straps; one set lightly padded for regular use, one set with no padding for use with backpack
- Ability to use shoulder straps in H- or X- configuration to suit different sizes of users
- Loops on the outer edge shoulder straps to manage wires, hydration tubes, antennas
- Back-strap out of 1" webbing with additional pad for those who need it to suit different users
- Internal pocket for documents or padding
Materials we decided to use to accomplish this were:
- 500D Cordura (Multicam)
- MIL-W-17337 1" webbing for PALS (Multicam)
- ITW Nexus 1" clips (CB)
- ITW Nexus QASM clips for pack attachment (TAN)
- ITW G-hook for pack attachment straps
- 1" Elastic webbing (CB) for shoulder strap loops
- 1-1/2" webbing for non-padded shoulder straps
- 1" and 2" velcro
- 3mm padding for padded shoulder straps
The rig design was a great success and became the favourite rig for most of the guys in the group. Since then a couple of the rigs have gone outside our group and they too have loved them based on their feedback.
Some things we noticed after our first versions were that actually we started to prefer separate small assault packs not integrated ones as balancing the load was always a big issue, although we still have the ability to integrate Packs to the rig if we want to.
The detachable bip has been handy when changing the rig based on the role, personally I've often been in the squad leader role and having the bip has been necessary to carry required admin stuff, but when I'm out of the role I can easily scale down to less admin stuff on the rig.
We also noticed that actually we didn't need the second slim set of shoulder straps for situations where we are wearing larger backpacks as the 3mm padding was so slim that it goes really well under backpacks.
Having the ability to choose wearing between H- or X- configuration for the straps was great so that also bigger framed guys could use the same rig comfortably.
The height of the rig is also just right so that it allows admin pouches to be worn on the bip while not obstructing magazine pulls out of mag pouches. The width is just right accommodating enough primary magazine pouches and required utility pouches.
As the rig is built out of 500D Cordura it's lightweight but durable, and if you're looking for extra comfort you can add a custom pad inside the rig to prevent pouches from chafing through the rig's Cordura. My personal preference has been not to have the padding and still the rig is really comfortable.
The shoulder strap thickness is perfect out of all chest rigs I've ever used, the right mix between rigidness and comfort. Like said they'll even nicely go under a heavier and larger ruck sack on longer marches.
While it's attachable to plate carriers we haven't had much experience with those setups yet, so I'll write more about that once we know more.
All in all, I would say our MS One design found the right mix between comfort and functionality. A rig that can be tailored to all sizes of users and tasks.
Once you have a rig like this, it's the only one you'll need.