Since the widespread introduction of mechanised vehicles into the British Army, there has been the problem as to how to adequately arm drivers and crew so they have protection if they are forced from their vehicles. Various pouches have been tried over the year to allow a man to have sufficient ammunition if he needs to bail out, but they all suffer from being uncomfortable when worn sitting down driving for any length of time. More recently the British Army have been using a ‘grab bag’ approach, with kit and ammunition stowed in a satchel that can just be grabbed along with a weapon if men need to leave their vehicles. As with most modern British Army load bearing equipment, the grab bag is made from infra-red resistant Cordura nylon and initial production was in desert DPM camouflage:The bag has three large ammo pouches across the front, each holding three SA80 magazines for a total of nine magazines:These have elastic inside to help hold the magazines tight, a large velcroed flap allows the closing to be adjusted depending on the number of magazines in a pocket:A large pocket is provided at one end that perfectly fits a smoke grenade:This is secured by a tan plastic Nexus fastener:Two further pockets are provided at the opposite end for anti-personnel grenades (as usual apologies for the anachronistic 1970’s training grenade but I don’t have a modern one and it conveys the idea):The main body of the bag is secured with Velcro, but a separate flap is provided on the top, with elasticated edging, that allows the wearer to reach into the bag without fully opening it and prevents things from accidently falling out:A broad strap is fitted, with a large padded section to help make it comfortable on the shoulder:As usual a label is sewn into the body of the bag giving details of the item and its NSN code:These bags were not universally popular amongst drivers and troops, but did see more use for commanders who could keep maps, etc all in one place. The following comments come from someone with experience of the various forms of load carrying equipment in use in Afghanistan:
The manbag is the dogs balls if you’re a commander. All your maps etc in one handy to reach place. If you’re just a grunt, then personally, I don’t see the merit. I used mine once then slung it in my box. The assault vest I had did the job fine. …As I say, unless you’re a commander, it’s not doing anything a good vest can’t, and it’s also all your eggs in one basket. So god forbid you have to bug out asap and you leave it behind. At least with an always on vest, it’s not likely you’ll leave your torso behind. (Unless it really has gone wrong).