Over at Military Times, my favorite column is "GearScout." They review all sorts of soldier stuff. For example, see this review of boots for the Afghan AO.
Yesterday they reviewed an interesting new mag pouch from High Speed Gear. Called the "TACO" Modular Single Rifle Magazine Pouch, it is so named because the main body folds around the magazine like a taco. The design allows you to use the pouch with virtually any kind of mag.
Here is the GearScout review. I will have more on the other side.
HSGI (High Speed Gear Inc) released their “Taco” in prototype form last year, and since then it’s become one of the best mag pouches that you’ve never heard of. What does the Taco do that makes it different? Simple, it uses polymer sides, cordura front and back, and shock cord lacing to lock just about any magazine into place. USGI, HK, PMAG, ARC, FAL, AK 30/ 40, LR20 and M14 magazines have all been swallowed and gleefully spit out on demand.
HSGI gives the following information on their website:
“TACO”, Modular single rifle mag pouch. This unique pouch, compared to similar mag pouches in it’s class, will hold more types of mags than just the AR series of mags. Not only will it hold AR type mags including P-MAGS, it will also hold Magazines for the AK, FAL, M14, SR25, M1A1 20 rnds, G3, Saiga 12, and more….. even some types of radios. It will also hold the large Flash bangs and the M-18 Smoke grenades. This mag pouch measure 3″ in width compared to the top selling mag pouch which is wider and disrupts much needed space on the user’s modular platform. Made of Cordura, Kydex and shock-cord, it is silent when stuck against and while extracting the mag. The “TACO” maintains a positive grip on the mag on which is adjustable and does not need any other use of a securing system unless desired upon by user preference. Webbing tabs are sewn in on the top for use of “over the top” bungee retainers if desired (not included). Additional loop velcro is sewn in the inside if the user wishes to use adhesive backed hook velcro on his magazine body for added security.
What we like about the Taco is the ability to switch different weapon platforms while not having to switch over all the ammo pouches. As nice as this is, I’m sure someone will point out that there are a lot of us who setup different carriers and equipment for different taskings, and I’ll agree. The next thing the Taco does is give smooth release on the magazines regardless of whether its wet, dry, hot, cold, muddy or clean. That’s something that can’t be said for all gear. Reloads are quick and easy thanks to the shock cord which laces the body. From inside a vehicle, or from body positions that make a direct upward pull difficult, the Taco has no problems. I’ve found it easy to pull forward (away from my body) and rip the mags free at an angle. This is all possible while still securely retaining the magazines.
Perhaps what has caught my attention most is the ability of the Taco to go from being a magazine pouch of various calibers, to being a grenade or other accessory pouch. While I prefer to have a strap locking my pistol into a holster, the Taco holds my Glock 19 very well, and while my days of throwing HE are largely over, flash bangs, smoke and CS grenades also work quite nicely.
In training, I’ve used this with LE as well as MIL gear, and I’ve loaned it out to others who have all come back with positive things to say. I’ve also used it when teaching younger kids reloads (my friends kids live interesting lives). I found out a long time ago that to see how well something works, give it to someone who has no artificial perceptions of how something should or shouldn’t work. Not only does this pass the test with novices, but with with guys who were crawling in jungles and hills when many of us were kids
HSGI went a step further with their Double Decker Taco. By taking the standard Taco and adding a pistol magazine pouch, they created additional room for secondary equipment. You can see in the below pictures that while one of the pouches is carrying a Glock 17 magazine, another one of the pouches is carrying a multitool. Flashlights are another item which fits nicely inside the pistol mag pouch.
While I have yet to see anything similar to the Taco, this idea is too versatile for people not to rip off, which is a shame, HSGI deserves solid credit for this creation, its a good one. The modular ability to hold multiple caliber magazines, as well as equipment make this an easy item for me to recommend. Even if you only have one or two on your rig, you’ll find they come in more than a little useful.
The video is from the HSGI website, it shows the Taco in use quite nicely.
Now at $28.00 a pop, these pouches are pricey to say the least. Here is the aforementioned video. Please watch and then see my comments below.
Number One: I'm sorry, but I would not use this guy as a factory rep demo-ing any military gear. This guy is a Taco Bell Grande.
Number Two: The boy's size merely accentuates the principal problem with front load chest rigs. You cannot get close to the ground, and if you throw yourself down on this array, you'll break your sternum and every rib you own and still be the most obvious target in the grass. (The popularity of chest rigs comes principally from the fact that you can get in and out of a vehicle easier than with other systems. This was -mostly - fine for Iraq missions. The troops in Afghanistan where the Taliban must be sought out and defeated on foot in a variety of rough terrain? Not so much.) But let's assume that the Taco, like any other mag pouch, can be arranged to the side and thus still be useful, which I'm sure it can.
Number Three: The value of a mag "pouch" which is versatile in terms of supporting any change of rifle mag or similar-sized piece of equipment or ordnance such as a radio or smoke grenade is to be appreciated. The value of a mag "pouch" which is a pouch that does not protect what it holds from the environment that it will be exposed to (mud, ice, sand, etc.) is less than fascinating in my opinion.
Number Four: As slick as it seems to be as a mag carrier for a "range rig," it is still overpriced by a considerable margin.
Interesting idea, though. I can see one or two of them being added to a rig for mission-specific items which change frequently, but to hold ALL the rifle mags that are your life insurance policy on the two-way range of life?