Choosing a lightweight, compact and feature-rich chest rig can be very challenging, especially if you don’t know what to look for in one. This is why it is essential to firs become familiar with different types of chest rigs, their primary action, basic functions and whether you should consider buying an actual rig or another similar piece of equipment that has relatively the same function, such as a battle belt.
This comprehensive product guide on how to choose the best chest rigs for #military will emphasize on the most important aspects one should pay attention to, before making a decision.
A Brief Overview Of Chest Rigs
What They Are And How They Benefit You?
Simply put, a chest rig is a piece of equipment that is specifically created to help you carry your combat kit, including your tools, rifle magazines, radio, grenades, pyrotechnics, medical kit and such.
This is a mission-specific type of gear that aims to help you transport your military kit in a fast, efficient and almost effortless manner, thus offering you quick access to all of the pieces mentioned above.
The chest rig is designed to be versatile and very easy to mount and adjust depending on each user’s needs, as it comes with hassle-free adjustable straps.
Differences Between Chest Rigs, Plate Carriers And Tactical Vests
When it comes to chest rigs and plate carriers, it must be said that these two pieces of equipment are radically different in terms of purpose and usage.
While chest rigs are primarily designed to help you carry ammo (along with water bottles and other essential supplies), plate carriers are specifically created to carry armor.
There are different types of plate carriers available on the market, and while some of them are exclusively designed for carrying hard plates, others are more volatile and can be used both for soft and hard plates.
Although plate carriers and chest rigs serve different purposes, it is not uncommon for soldiers and Marines to wear both of them, as chest rigs can be easily worn over plate carriers when extra protection is needed, without having to worry about adding any unnecessary bulk to your equipment.
Another significant difference between plate carriers and chest rigs is that they lightweight, given the fact that they only aim to carry medicine, ammo, water bottles and other similar supplies.
On the other hand, the plate carrier can be two to three times heavier, as it is designed to hold ceramic or steel plates – not only will this add extra weight to your body, but it can also build up body heat faster than a conventional chest rig.
Tactical vests and modular tactical vests are slightly different from chest rigs and plate carriers.
Created to provide the user with greater coverage of the torso, lower back and shoulders, the tactical vests typically feature numerous pouches, rifle bolsters as well as a high-end closure system along with a quick-release system that allow corpsmen to quickly remove the tactical vest, if the troops get injured/incapacitated.
Although tactical vests can truly be considered life savers in some situations, they are quite heavy whenever there is a full combat load attached to them, which makes them slightly more difficult to use compared to chest rigs.
Besides the fact that chest rigs are a lot more lightweight and versatile, they also offer more body coverage than the standard issue flak jackets – it is not uncommon for the flak jacket to sag sometimes, which means that some vital areas may be exposed during combat, thus putting the soldier’s life at risk.
How To Choose The Best Tactical Chest Rig For The Money?
Choosing the most suitable chest rig for you can be very time-consuming, but fortunately you can save a lot of time, money and trouble by reading our Tactical Chest Rig Buyers Guide.
First and foremost, it is essential to look for a generously-sized rig that features just enough mag pouches – the good news is that most modern rigs come with a webbed MOLLE space that allows you to easily attach extra pouches for your M4/AK mags, if needed.
Ideally, a chest rig should be able to hold at least 12 mags (M4 or pistol mags), and the pouches should be made from durable, lightweight nylon and should include either a basic non-slip traction coating or an elastic bungee/cord designed to keep the mags in the pocket, for extra security.
A good chest rig should also feature at least four to six open top M4 bag pouches and at least one First Aid Kit pouch – the number and type of pouches can make or break the entire chest rig!
In addition to this, you should make no compromise when it comes to safety – although chest rigs are designed for practical/functional purposes and they aim to help you carry your supplies easier and more efficiently, they should also feature a fast push-button release buckle that allows you to instantly remove your chest rig.
Comfort is another important factor that should not be ignored when looking for a good and durable chest rig: most of the rigs available on the market come with extra padded cross-back shoulder straps, which are very useful as they reduce the amount of pressure on your back and they allow you to carry your supplies over long distances without experiencing any back pain or fatigue.
Although troops are trained to handle all the weight and pressure, the padded shoulder straps certainly come in handy! Talking about comfort, chest rigs tend to be cooler than plate carriers and they do not cause you to sweat so much – however, if you want a truly comfortable chest rig then you should consider one with added mesh on the back.
Last, but not least, it is highly recommended to look for a chest rig that comes with one or two internal mesh pockets – although the external, open-top ammo pouches are certainly very useful during battle, you will need an internal pocket and a built-in hydration carrier as well. A feature-rich chest rig can be used not just on deployment, but also during combat training!
A Closer Look At Some Of The Most Sought-After Chest Rigs On The Market
There are hundreds of different chest rig models available and although they all serve the same purpose, they can be radically different in terms of weight, features, overall construction/sturdiness and safety. Having said that, here are some of the most appreciated chest rigs at the moment:
The Condor Recon Chest Rig
Best Chest Rig Under $100
The Condor Recon chest rig is a basic rig that offers a great value for the money – featuring three built-in kangaroo-type mag pouches that can hold up to six pistol mags and six M4 mags, this chest rig also comes with a swivel push-button release buckle as well as a padded cross-back shoulder strap that aims to evenly distribute its weight.
Although the mag carriers cannot be moved (unlike it happens with other chest rings, where the pouches are fully detachable), they are placed in the perfect position, allowing you to quickly pull out the ammo within seconds.
When it comes to the cross-back shoulder straps, it must be said that the Condor Recon chest rig’s straps are designed to fit snugly – even though you cannot attach the straps to a belt, you do not need to worry about the chest rig being loose.
A loose rig can be a serious problem during combat, if it interferes with your balance, but fortunately this will never be the case with the Condor Recon chest rig!
Overall, it is safe to say that the Condor Recon Chest Rig is one of the best pieces of equipment of its kind, and it comes with a cost-effective price tag as well.
Featuring durable and strong stitching coupled with heavy-duty Velcro and nylon, the chest rig comes with strong attachment points, it is very comfortable to wear and it also allows you to customize your gear carry, to a certain extent.back to menu ↑
5.11 Tactical TacTec Chest Rig
Best Tactical Chest Rig
The 5.11 Tactical TacTec Chest Rig is yet another versatile piece of equipment that can hold up to six mags, and it also features two outside pouches that can be easily converted into hydration carriers.
In other words, these two compartments can hold two 500ml water bottles, and this is certainly very important when you are out on the battlefield.
Another important aspect that makes the Tactical TacTec chest rig stand out from most of the other chest rigs on the market is that you can easily wear it in two different ways.
You can easily use the H-frame or the X-back, depending on how much load you plan on carrying.
The interior of the chest rig features a lightweight and breathable web platform that is designed to take the rig’s storage capacity to the next level: you can either use it for backup or for storing other items that you would like to keep out of sight.
At the same time, the rig features MOLLE attachments on the front which allow you to put both the IFAK and several extra mag pouches. The rig can be easily tailored and customized to meet the needs of every user, and the elastic bands can be quickly removed if you want to move around freely without feeling restrained in any way.
The chest rig also comes with a loop Velcro on one of the shoulder straps, for extra functionality!
When it comes to the construction of this tactical chest rig, it must be said that it is made from a thin and lightweight cordura material, and it is perfect for men with larger frames.
However, one of the aspects that users seem to be particularly satisfied about when it comes to this chest rig is that they can easily wear it throughout the day, without it getting sticky or wet from sweat. The material is designed to absorb the moisture and to keep your body cool during the hot summer days, and those who want to make the best of this chest rig can easily combine it with a vest.back to menu ↑
Condor Rapid Assault Chest Rig
Perfect For Larger Builds
One of the most important aspects you should keep in mind when choosing a chest rig is the overall construction of the equipment – some rigs are made for users with a thinner frame, while others are suitable for larger builds. Choosing one that matches your body frame is of utmost importance, otherwise the rig may affect your movement – not to mention that it would also feel uncomfortable, especially when worn for an extended period of time.
That being said, the Condor Rapid Assault chest rig by Condor Outdoor is specifically created for larger builds, it comes with six generously sized open-top M4 mag pouches, a padded cross-back shoulder strap and a D-ring, as well as a swivel release buckle that allows you to take the rig off with the single push of a button. Although the pouches are designed for M4 carbine ammo, they are spacious enough to hold AK mags as well.
The construction is very sturdy and durable, and the chest rig is versatile enough to be used both with and without the bungee retainers that come with the package. Also, the rig comes in a universal one-size-fits-all, and the straps have enough material to easily accommodate L, XL as well as XXL builds.
In addition to this, one of the most important benefits of the Condor Rapid Assault chest rig is that it can be easily used in conjunction with other attachments made by the same manufacturer, such as the Hydro Harness which can be easily attached to the rig. If you want to customize your chest rig even further and make the best of all the available space, you can easily use the MOLLE webbed space located on the front panel to store a holster, a knife or even some extra pistol mag pouches, as it is strong and secure enough for that.