Well, after a long wait, I finally received my Phantom CIRAS Replica. In terms of my experience with gear, I've owned a BHI CCH, BHI Strike Recon Chest Harness and finally, a HSGI Weesatch. Not a long list, but I've got a sense of what decent gear should be. Lets get the party started.
Quality seems quite good. The attachment points seem to be stitched well, not anything I've noticed being terribly done over the rig. The outer pals are larger than the inners, but this was intended. Not sure if the real deal one is the same. As for the material, it's condura. Feels the same as the Weesatch's materials or any other HS gear I own. The package came with the following.
Basically, a single, double and triple double m16 pouch, dual pistol pouch, ID velcro panel. The flaps on the m16 pouches are overly long, so yes, they will fit larger mags.
Dual Mag Pouch Malice Attachments. Basically a decent copy of Eagles MLCS M16 Pouch.
Dual Mag pouch with TM M16 Lowcaps. Fairly snug fit.
The lids are adjustable/removable, so you can have that TX look if you want, or accomodate larger mags if you'd like.
This really makes me feel like Halloween candy. Those fuckers.
The plate assembly is hidden under the mesh velcro. It's quite thick, but really holds the form of the the rig together.
A shot of the internal retention system the CIRAS has. It's not down to detail, but it gets the job done, and yes, it does self destruct when pulled.
The highlighted area is where the pullcord is for disassembly. (more shots below)
Detailed shot of the internal retention system. Basically, there's a loop of paracord that goes through the rings of the cummerbund, as well as the shoulder straps. The wiring slips through this paracord loop, so when pulled, the whole attachment falls to pieces. From the real CIRAS's instruction manual, this is missing a few steps, but it's still gets the job done.
Real CIRAS Manual:http://www.finnrappel.fi/EagleCiras2.jpg
Phantom CIRAS Left, HSGI Weesatch Right.
1. Putting it on can be a chore with the velcro. (as opposed to a Weesatch, that quickly clips on and off)
2. Plates are internally sewn into the rig, so there's no getting them out. (Update: no longer a negative. They are removable)
3. Mag pouches are a bit big for m16 mags, but this can easily be solved by adding aftermarket pouches. (Update: They are adjustable, so this isn't a con anymore)
4. Pals not accurate. The Phantom has a 6x6 grid of pals, while the real deal has 7x8. (this may be modelled after a small size version, so this may be correct afterall)
That's about it for now, give me a month or so.
Christmas is here. The rig appears to be solid, to say the least, but I'll run it through the loops and get back to you guys in a few months. Feel free to add to any questions. I'll update this post as per requested.
Santa really went all out this Christmas.