The development of military kit rarely stands still and following the introduction of the General Purpose Ops Waistcoat we looked at here, improvements were sought to improve its tactical utility. Following experiences of troops in the War on Terror, a new design was introduced that radically changed the concept of load bearing vests by offering troops much greater flexibility in configuring the pouches to specific needs, preferences and operations. The new waistcoat has separate pouches, which will be the focus of a future post, tonight we will concentrate on the vest itself:The vest is made of desert DPM fabric and has numerous sewn cotton loops, front and back, called ‘modular lightweight load-carrying equipment’ (MOLLE) straps :These are sewn all over the vest and pouches have two or more heavy duty straps that pass through the MOLLE loops and are secured with press studs in the PALS system (Pouch Attachment Ladder System):These allow any variety of pouches to be attached according to need. The vest itself has a pair of zipped pockets built into the front for storing papers, a pistol etc. with loops inside the pockets for this purpose:The front of the vest is secured with three plastic fasteners:Elasticated paracord ties down each side allow the vest to be adjusted to fit over body armour:The rear of the vest shows a set of clips top and bottom. These are to allow a water pouch, often called a Camelbak after the leading manufacturer, to be clipped to the vest:Note also the same open weave fabric under the straps used to reduce heat retention that is also common to earlier equipment sets. The inside of the vest has the stores label sewn in, with space for the owner’s name and number:The future of load carrying equipment does seem, for the moment to be moving more towards this modular approach, one American tactical blog speculates on the future:
The advent of modular lightweight load-carrying equipment meant a more modular system for attaching gear to a load-bearing platform. But anyone who’s spent time weaving MOLLE pouches onto a vest knows how laborious it can be. MOLLE has given the end user more options, but switching between those options isn’t a fast process. Recently, gear companies have begun to offer solutions that allow the user to quickly change loadouts. Velcro-backed panels and chest rigs combined with quick-detach buckles allow for fast changes between different combat loads. Adjustable pouches can carry a wider variety of magazines, tools, radios, and other equipment. There are now even plate carriers built from the ground up to have adaptable components. All this makes it even easier to use one load-bearing platform for multiple roles.