Monday, November 26, 2012

Product Review: UAG Tactical Vest

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Initially, my bug out bag also held all of my spare weapons and ammunition. Already being 85 pounds, you can image what an additional 6 30 round magazines of .223, 6 magazines of 1911 .45 ACP, and associated other bits shot the weight through the roof. Not only was the weight untenable, but the access to these items was also precarious. I don't want to have to go digging into my bag for an extra magazine.

So, I was in the market for a tactical vest. Not having much experience, I used product reviews on Amazon to gauge what I really needed. There are several companies out there to cater to my needs. Those being budget minded, but also having a healthy respect for functionality and dependability.

Like everything in life, you can spend as much as you want on tactical vests. But my list of requirements were fairly loose. All I really needed was a plethora of magazine pockets, good straps, and quality workmanship having used UAG before, I knew they were OK. I knew I might have to make some modifications, namely for my height and stature. I have extremely broad shoulders despite being a very short man. You can imagine what it's like to wear large or extra large t-shirts.

So, after shopping, it looked like I was  going to spend between $40-80 and could have my choice of colors and patterns.

I selected the digital camo print in this vest:

Here is the product description:
Official Ultimate Arms Gear New Generation Lightweight Edition Tactical ACU Army Digital Tactical Assault Vest (Right Handed). A true tactial vest made with high grade sturdy and weatherproof nylon loaded with features designed for military/law enforcement purposes, and can also be used for airsoft or paintball. Completely breathable mesh ventilation system for enhanced comfort and heat release. Features a behind the neck rescue pull handle for extraction of a wounded team member, a reinforced and texturized shooter/sniper non-slip shoulder pad, The back of the vest features sturdy nylon horizontal webbing loops to hold swords, shovels, or other gear as well as a large secure webbing pocket for hydration systems/bladders or a ballistic shield . The front of the vest features: 3 Rifle Mag Pouches for All Size Magazines, 3 (Upper Left) Universal Pistol Mag or Flashlight/Grenade Pouch, 1 Radio/Cell Phone/Light Pouch, and Also features 2 (1-right 1-Left on inside of the vest) large internal zippered secure pockets for maps or documents, and a Universal Pistol holster w/ additional mag pouch. The holster can be easily removed or adjusted to a customized position. One size fits most, fully adjustable in height and girth to fit from a small to X-Large adult. Great for hunters, military, and law enforcement.

So, yall are here to read about my thoughts:
  •  Well, it's a $40 tactical vest. The small mag packets on the left chest are perfect for your 1911 and also for a compact flashlight. The large pockets on the lower right are ok for 30 round magazines, but they really excel for coupled magazines. I feel like the single mags can fall out.

  • I dislike the sidearm holster. It is removable, velcroed and strapped in. Yet, the straps do not remain tight. That goes for all the straps, actually, even the ones that hold the sidearm in the holster. I would much prefer this to be integrated or not there at all. I had to modify the straps by wrapping them in electrical tape at the length I wanted.

  • The integrated belt is nice. It keeps the whole vest from swinging wildly in a run. I removed mine, but more on that later.

  • The whole vest is very versatile in size. However, that comes at the expense of having a LOT of loose straps floating in the breeze. Those of you preparing for the zombie Apocalypse should read about my modifications later.

  • The vest is very well ventilated and light. A definite plus.
So, of course I made some modifications. Wouldn't be fun, otherwise. Here is what I did:
  • I integrated my digital camo Camelbak into the back of the vest. Essentially, I stripped all the straps off the Camelbak and threaded in the adjustable back straps from the vest. Boom. Integrated hydration.
  • I adjusted the sidearm straps to the right lengths, then tightly wrapped them in electrical tape. This was done not only to the straps that hold it in the holster, but the straps the hold the holster to the vet.
  • I shortened and taped up all loose ends of the adjustable straps. You don't want to give anyone the ability to grab you. Especially by those straps. They won't break.
  • I swapped the factory belt for a UTG shotgun bandoleer belt. Now even my shotgun ammo is housed on my vest
  • I added a UTG drop leg holster to this belt.
So, as far as armament, the vest holds:

  • QTY (4) 30 round magazines accounting for 120 rounds of .223/5.56mm
  • QTY (5) 1911 .45 ACP magazines accounting for 40 rounds of .25. There are 3 in the chest pockets, plus 2 in the sidearm holster
  • QTY (25) rounds of 3" 12 gauge buckshot on the belt bandoleer
  • QTY (1) magazine of .45 ACP magazine and backup pistol in the drop leg holster
  • QTY (1) compact flashlight
  • QTY (1) Camelbak hydration system