Tactical Operations Products Magazine/Utility Pouch
Meet the Tactical Operations Products Magazine/Utility Pouch. My son made me a gift of one of these in coyote brown during a recent visit, and I have been playing around with it to see what multiple uses can be made of it. I came away impressed.
Though nominally designed for nine 5.56 thirty round magazines (three per pouch), it actually can hold twelve of the old standard aluminum M16 mags or nine of the wider 5.56 MagPuls; nine AK47 7.62x39 or AK74 5.45x39 thirty round mags; or nine M14, FN/FAL, G3 or AR10 7.62 NATO twenty round magazines!
Available in Coyote Tan, ACU or black, the bandoleer is made of 1000D maximum abrasion resistant Cordura. It has double layers at points requiring increased strength and utilizes UV stabilized webbing. Fully adjustable extra-length double layer flaps with full-length Velcro closures permit use with all the magazine combinations listed above including those with mag pullers. Webbing is bar-tack sewn to reinforce all critical stress points. In addition to the shoulder strap D-rings at the top, there are four black steel D rings mounted at each corner to allow 4 position carry and grommets are positioned at the pouch bottoms for drainage.
The MSRP listed at the manufacturer website here is $26.95.
Matt has found them for as little as $15.00 if you shop for bargains on-line or search out good used specimens in pawn shops and military surplus stores off-post of major military bases like Ft. Campbell, Ft. Benning or Ft. Bragg. Although there is (irritatingly) no dealer list that I can find on Tacops website, a google search turns up a number of them on-line with varying price structures.
The d-rings permit rigging it to a pack, or, my preference, hooking a universal load carrying strap as a waist belt to keep it from flopping. Although it comes with a perfectly serviceable and adjustable 1.25 inch nylon shoulder strap, I substituted a wider 2 inch strap to better distribute the load of nine to twelve fully loaded magazines.
One last point. It has no MOLLE attachments for hanging stuff on it. This is a good thing. The pouch filled with loaded mags is heavy and cumbersome enough without adding anything to it. Fight light, shoot and scoot and win. There are other rigs for full-scle combat operations. This is one elegantly designed for the armed citizen and his (or her) military pattern rifle.
This pouch is well-made, tough, and extremely versatile. It can be used along with the rifle alone as the Minutemen of old, or in combination with other gear systems. For those with several different rifles who are looking for one piece of gear adaptable to them all at a reasonable cost, this is it.
POST-IT NOTE: My son reminds me that these are used in Iraq as combat resupply units, ready to go. Your supply man can pre-load them and pack two of them in an empty SAW can. Call for ammo, and you've got it, ready to go and just as handy to distribute as ammo in bandoleers and stripper clips, though unlike them it is ready to go into the weapon instantly.
You'll need to tape down those D-rings if you're not using them - wouldn't want them to get hooked on something when you're crawling around.
Looks like a winner to me, I like the simplicity of being able to grab your rifle and a few mags and run out the door freedom. I also like the idea of not having alot of gear to hide if need be. I tend to be kind of a gear whore anyway and have to keep taking things away cause it's too heavy....or I'm too old.
It'd be better with snap closures or fastex buckles, or minimally, closures similar to the ones on the 1950's model M-14 pouches.
Current feedback from the troops i nthe field on "hook and loop" fasteners on uniforms also applies to gear:
Noisy when you don't want them to be, they fill with dirt easily, and they're generally a pain in the ass and become non-functional at the worst times.
And, as an aside, if they were found to be highly functional by the troops, why you can find them in good supply at local surplus stores and pawn shops (ok, so maybe they get enough for a 6 pack there) around major military installations. GI's usually tend to dump that which doesn't work or isn't needed.
In my experience, a good LBE/LBV supplemented by either the USGI bandoleers or other similar models is more than enough, so you can spend fewer dollars on supplements and save as much money as possible for ammo.
Just my opinion.
Check out a small company called Michigan Tactical Supply for some inexpensive, well-made bandolers.
Disclaimer here, I bought 4 sets of 3 of the sizes and was very pleased. Probably going to buy a few more.
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