If you could design the perfect rig from the shoulders down to the belt and everywhere in between what would it look like? What would it do? How would it fit? What would it hold? Etc...? Thinking about a new product here and really want user input.
I tell you what.. In my opinion.. the perfect system is having an independent plate and soft armor carrier. And then a vest (like a Rhodesian to go over it). But the problem with the Rhodesian tends to shift and move around all over your torso when you are doing shit. Need something more stable such as a DOAV vest. So anything that's in the middle ground between a Rhodesian and a DOAV that is not meant to carry plates. That's personally what I would prefer.
Impossible task, too many roles, too many environments, too many threat levels. What works for a scout in the J isn't going to work for a bloke in a sustained fire machine gun platoon in the desert. To cover everything is going to require too many compromises which no longer makes it perfect.
Well, the idea here is to get input from more than one person and take the best ideas and develop a final product. Of course it won't fit every role, but using good ideas from several people that utilize gear like this will end in a good product.
Soft armor and hard armor with industrial velcro. I'm talking the mushroom sorta style that holds HARD. Put it on the outside of the soft armor, front and back of the hard plates, and inside of the vest. Rig the vest with the front and sides as one unit and 4 buckles on the sorta inside of the back panel so the back panel is one unit. Once you put it on and have it in place, you just press everything together and it's wearing and moving as one unit.
QD for emergency doffing via coated cables in shear and cable stows circa parachute rigs. Run around the area of the front panel/plate/armor so it comes off as front plate area, and shoulders/sides/back. Vest disconnect for don/doff with the same concept but an interlocking MOLLE spot with a pseudo 5.11 "Slickstick" setup. Slide through a set of interlocking MOLLE in shear, come across the front and snap together.
I like vests... more-so if they're comfortable and well designed. You can wear them with/over armor, you can wear them by themselves. The additional real estate of MOLLE lets you have the most latitude with placement of pouches or just having places to put additional stuff you need. MAV's are ok, having a straight hard/soft armor unit like an RBA is fine if your mission and/or unit dictates "you WILL wear armor every time". Having built in nooks for documents or spare stuff is nice to have but I would shy away from having actual mag holders built in because people vary in where they like their mags. A sleeve for a hydration system is ok, but you'd have to incorporate it in a manner that still allowed full use of the backside of the vest as well as a stow that you could slip the hydration tube through just to keep things clean and streamlined as well as away from where the load is worn on the shoulders so you don't create a kink in the hose or a pressure point due to load.
Making sure the vest can breathe as well for when it's worn solo would be nice.
I'll caveat this by saying this would work for me in my world. YMMV.
First, the plate carrier and soft armor carrier need to be a one piece unit. It should have the option of having plates in place or not, but the plate carrier should be integrated into the vest. If I'm reaching for that kind of carrier then I need both plates and soft armor. If all I need is soft armor concealed under clothing, then I don't need this carrier.
It should have some form of quick release system that doesn't take 9 years, a field manual, and a suture kit to reassemble.
It should be constructed in such a way as to not unduly interfere with mounting a long gun. This could be non-slip fabric, or a particular cut, but I need to feel confident and comfortable when I bring my M4 up to my shoulder.
Armor makes you larger, especially with pouches, so the whole affair should fit well to reduce the Michelin Man effect.
There must be a drag strap, sufficient hook/loop front and back to attach identifying panels, and a provision for side plates. It must also have the capability to route hydration tubes and commo wires.
As a system, the ability to attach bicep protectors, additional neck protection, etc. would be nice.
Built in M4 magazine pouches in the belly area are a nice feature that reduce overall girth compared to MOLLE pouches (at least, I think so).
I should be able to don it quickly, and it should provide adequate coverage (this is dependent on the cut and size of the soft armor).
I'm not a fan of loops on the bottom to attach it to a gun belt.
It should be made from material strong enough to be durable, but as lightweight as possible.
I was a big fan of the modular assault vest from tactical tailor, used it on two deployments and several years in training. I like to be able to run my armor slick when needed, so having a LBV type rig to put on and take off as need is a big help for me (infantrymen role). That said I do like having the ability to mount my gear on my armor as well, some missions require very little kit and more mobility, thus having one lightweight rig for some aspects is a plus as well.
In the instructional role, I prefer a molle belt set up almost like the old LCE’s. Suspenders, belt, needed pouches and kept very lightweight. If I was back in a scout plt or sniper section, I would probably run the molle belt with a simple plate carrier slicked down and easy to store in a ruck, etc.
Point being, I agree with digrar as there are way too many mission aspects to have a one size fits all rig. I think you would have better luck building rig’s for specific missions (i.e. a scout/sniper rig, a DA rig, and a general purpose rig).
I still wore the LBV when everyone around me was wearing the FLC. Still have it, still love it.
I'm taking notes of all suggestions. The challange will be picking the best. I like the mission specific setups idea, and that I think will be the foundation I start with.
for the most part agree with SOWT and dknob, though personally whatever would be made would enjoy something similar to blackhawk's rig with the internal flat against your chest mag layout to lower your profile should you need to go in the prone and also keeps the mags close to your chest so moving around close quarters you don't have to worry about double stacked mag pouches sticking out and possibly snagging something as you move.