Getting Started in Airsoft Part III
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- Last updated: 22/01/2020
Eyepro, an AEG, clothing and footwear may be the very first building blocks of your airsoft kit, but you’re going to need some gear to carry all the spare magazines, BBs, and associated gubbins! Fundamentally when it comes down to your Second Line Gear it’s very much personal choice, but to recap, what I’m talking about here is the fighting load which is essentially the way you carry spare magazines for your primary AEG. The light second line is for when you are trying to avoid a fight, and the heavy for when you definitely know you’re going to be in contact at some point in the very, very near future!
You could say that the template for your second line choice comes down to one of two things (I’m discounting old skool tactical vests here although they are still a valid choice!) and that’s a plate carrier or chest rig. I’ll start with the heavy option, which is what I personally use myself, but there are so many options for a plate carrier setup out there that you can easily find out what suits you best.
My choice is the DCS (Dynamic Combat System) from Warrior Assault Systems which is a lightweight, low-profile plate carrier system which is rugged, yet ergonomically designed to provide exceptional comfort and functionality. Designed with direct input from active S.F. personnel the DCS is suitable for all types of operating environment and is available in a number of camouflage patterns, plain colours and platform specific configurations. As well as the Ranger Green version shown here with the WAS Open Top mag pouches and admin/utility pouches, they also have closed top M4, G36 (which will carry 7.62mm mags) and AK specific setups available from stock; I specifically have chosen Ranger Green as it works well with my GreenZone kit, but also doubles up when I’m wearing plain colours for OPFOR/PMC roles in a game.
Fabrics and materials used are all top specification; 500D Cordura, MilSpec Webbing, UV and Mildew resistant nylon thread, and ITW military rated fixtures and fittings are used throughout. The shoulders are fully adjustable and have an Emergency Release on one side which frees the lefthand side shoulder section and allows you to remove the whole fully loaded, rig without having to remove a helmet if you’re wearing one. The Side sections of the DCS are fully adjustable for size and can be adjusted in under 15-seconds! 3D Spacer Mesh lining is used for comfort and allows body heat to move away from the body surface while assisting in air flow to provide cooling. Even when fully loaded and ready for bear this rig is extremely comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
I’ve been running this setup for a little over seven years now, upgrading it along the way with a tear-off IFAK, a forwardopening admin pouch and a MOLLE cargo pack on the back, and even with regular games and real steel range training sessions in all types of environments the DCS has stood up exceptionally well and has provided top rate levels of comfort and functionality; this is a set of gear that comes with my complete recommendation!
For some games though I like to keep things super-simple (and affordable!) and to run more of a Recon Rig, so for this I’ve dropped things down to lighten weight; this setup is also perfect for a longer duration Op where you need to stay switched on and keep fatigue to a minimum! My favourite item for this is currently a Guardian Chest Rig from Helikon Tex. The HTX Lines Project was created in 2016 as a whole new concept of product development within Helikon-Tex and they’ve been slowly but surely rolling it out since then. Initial concepts were turned into pre-production samples, the final versions of which are now hitting the stores worldwide. Everything went according to a plan, and Helikon-Tex enters the third year of their plan with continued energy and even more new ideas. Their assets are the right people combining to create one of the most innovative design teams in the industry.
The Guardian Chest Rig is a universal carry platform built to accommodate a basic ammunition load and personal equipment. Designed to work along with a backpack and belt kit, it can optimise the configuration of your shoot gear. Depending on the number and size of magazines the height of the fixed pouch flaps can be adjusted (think STANAG v AK), and exchangeable magazine/handgun inserts can be rearranged swiftly and easily.
The Guardian has a universal, removable and adjustable X- or H-harness, channels on straps for wiring, antenna, hydration tubes, exchangeable inserts (included), double pistol magazine pouches, double rifle/ carbine (AR/AK) magazine pouches and three fixed double rifle/carbine magazine pouches(AK/AR). There are height-adjustable magazine pouch flaps, two spacious cargo pockets (USGI canteen compatible) and multiple PALS/MOLLE panels for additional pouches / accessories. All in all, it’s a well thought out bit of kit, and the bonus is that the lightly padded shoulder harness actually makes it comfortable for extended periods.
If, however, you really want to run light then you can take things very minimalist, and the Training Mini Rig, also from Helikon Tex, is a great choice! This rig is specifically designed to work with a small pack and belt kit, and it offers a most effective way of carrying your essentials, those that you’ll need for a serious skirmish. It comes with PALS webbing straps around the rig for additional MOLLE attachments, multiple patches for hook-and-loop attachments of ID, morale patches or tags, and four flapped single pistol and four easily accessible-fromthe- top rifle ammo pouches; the pouches work with most AR and AK magazines so you’re set, whatever your choice of primary. Single pistol magazine pouches include adjustable hook-and-loop openings with pull tabs and position markers, while the standard rifle magazine pouches are equipped with quick release bungee retainers for retention and ease of use.
The whole rig is fully adjustable to any height and chest size. It features a simple waist strap and a comfortable H-Harness to help spread the load; I usually prefer an X Harness for simplicity. In this case though the H has been very well sized and cut so that it doesn’t ride up when you have a full ammunition load and catch on any plate carrier worn underneath (my rigs also go with me when I shoot real overseas), and the harness is reinforced both with quick release buckles and multiple loops for wiring, antennas, pitons or hydration tubes. There is a built-in utility pouch at the front equipped with two-way YKK zipper opening, multiple loops, slots and a zippered mesh pocket, and second MOLLE detachable pouch at the bottom with key grommet, two-way zipper opening and inner loop patches for hookand- loop inserts. This comfortable and sturdy Training Mini Rig can easily accommodate a basic load of magazines, some additional ammunition, multi-tool, flashlight and maps, which makes it an ideal choice.
Whatever you choose to run to keep your AEG beast fed, whether heavy or light, there are numerous manufacturers out there, from VIPER to Blue Force Gear depending on your budget, that make fabulous gear. Find out what works for you and be happy with your choice!
My thanks go to military1st.co.uk for supplying the gear from Helikon Tex; their excellent chest rigs are available in multiple block colours and camouflage patterns that will suit any loadout!