I have an LBV from the mid 80s i think, with pouches for m16 mags, a web belt, loops on the shoulders, and big comfy pads. I use it all the time in coordination with a buttpack and I can carry an immense amount of useful stuff on it/in it without getting overloaded. Since its a Load Bearing Vest...i dunno if its a tactial vest or a combat harness ...since its the type used in combat...its more a harness now that i think about tactical vests.
I've never wore a vest personally but to me it appears as tho they would be a tad more comfortable. Maybe the "Gunny" will jump in here on this one as he has made a few vests in the past I believe and can probably she a little light on the subject here.
I saw the US tactical vest on some photo's, but it looks very fragile to me. All thoose pockets from thin material. But, I don't know it for sure, because I never saw it for real.
From my own experiance, I had a harnassystem when I entered the Dutch Army. It was a one piece system, where we could add all differant pockets and pouches on. It wasn't realy comfertable. Now we have a tacticalvest, wich is much better during long marches and shooting. It looks cool also ! It has zipper pockets (Velcro made to much noise), and the magpouches (2 X 3 mag left and wright) a press/ pull system (like your old M16 puches with the grenade pockets on each side). Works great, and the vest is modular, so it can changed the way the person wants.
But, again, I don't know how the US gear works, wears, feels. So forget what I said !
The first one (I got it around 1990) was a weak product. Really thin fabric, poor components, and was very hot to wear over an extended period.
The second one (the current issue with mesh panels) I received about three years ago. It's a more durable design; however, it still has the weaknesses of the older design (only room for 6 magazines and two grenades, hard to seat your weapon due to the fat shoulder pads, silly adjustment cords that get in the way, still too hot).
My favorite vest are the Arktis models that the Brits use. Here's one of my favorites:
This is one of their latest...couple of cool features about this thing:
1) This vest does away with the pistol belt entirely.
2) Instead of canteen covers, there are two large accessory pouches in the back (kidney area). The pouches can also be used for other things (like grenades) in you opt for a CamelBak.
3) Underneath the left upper chest pouch is a hidden pocket designed for a hideout of some sort. I understand that it'll fit a Star PD/Officer's ACP sized auto.
4) I believe this thing will hold something like 12 M16 mags (or 8 M14/other 7.62mm magazines).
Silverman's in England is the only place I know of that stocks this particular vest. That's where I got this photo, and they have quite a few more posted. Arktis has an American website with an online store, but I don't remember seeing this one there. They offer their gear in a multitude of patterns (even off-beat ones like Australian Camo), and the prices aren't that bad, either.
The skinny on LBE (load bearing equipment)vs LBV(vest )vs chest rigs is this
In today's mobile Infantry it's much more comfortable to sit and ride in your designated vehicle with the LBV/chest rigs.
A down side is in the prone it CAN be uncomfortable.
Having served in a transition and wore both patrolling,with a LBV and pistol/cartride belt combo it was easy enough to add 2 M16 poches
and increase mag capacity to 12.Carry a camel back and 2 -1qts
Between was a S.A.W. pouch for other mission essential items.
Butt pack with "ranger roll" pouncho and liner,USMC individual first aid pouch on left,same pouch on rt but configured with E&E stuff.
Inside extra emergency rations,and what ever personel gear.
Some of the LBV/chest rigs,most infact,have the pouches sewn in place.
Thus limiting your configuration.
I use a S.O.E. Patrol rig,will hold 8 M14 or 12 M16 mags.
Add 2 SAW 200rd poches ,a butt pack,and a camel back.I can carry all I need,with my unframe Alice med pack used as a patrol pack,carrying MEE
(mission essential equipment)
The SOE has "internal "hide pockets too.
Here's SOE http://www.geocities.com/fhurst1st/Soegear.html
There really is a plethoria of new "web" gear out there.
OH BTW I've never been anything but a GRUNTASOUROUSREXUS
MARINE RECON ,,,then,,10th MTN SEMPER FI
I used both in Afghanistan and I hated the vest. The standard LBE is so much easier to customize. I, and lots of my ilk, liked the ability to add mag pouches etc. The vests look cool in movies and the deskbound types seemed to think it was the best thing since sliced bread, but the old system worked better for me in the field. I do like the blackhawk padded pistol belt though.[/img]
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