About The Vest
The IDF Recon (SF Combatant?) Vest is made by Marom Dolphin in Isreal for the... Obviously, IDF.
Mfg Website: http://www.marom-dolphin.com/English.asp
Since the website is undergoing changes right now and my camera is not accessable, the exact vest is here: http://www.zahal.org/gear/p20.htm
The MSRP is (I believe): $225.00 USD as listed on the Zahal site however I cannot confirm as the Marom Dolphin site is under construction. I've seen them in the US for 225.00-400.00 so the price is fairly different getting them in North America.
IDF Tactical Logic (http://www.idftacticallogic.com/stor...phin-p-32.html
) has them for 235.00 US, I got mine on ebay however for 225.00 so I don't have any experience ordering from IDF Tactical Logic.
The Vest has a 2" Velcro Strip Closure on the front, complimented by 2 1" SR buckles at the top/bottom and a central 1 1/2" SR buckle which I removed along with the top 1" buckle as they got in the way and were imo unnecessary.
It adjusts for size via 3 1" webbing strips with triglides on each side.
The front lowers are padded w/ removable foam, the back has 2 4" strips of padding running vertically down the length of the vest, on either side of your spine.
4 Mag Pouches - Each hold 3 M4, 2 AK, 2M14/G3, 4 MP5, 2 Coupled M4, 2 G36, and similar mags, all w/ or w/o magpuls. I have not tried P90, but I assume it will hold 4 and still secure closed... I'll try and test that. The front left mag pouch has a ID foldout flap on the lid, which I removed, as I found it useless, more info on that later.
4 Pistol Mag Pouches - 1 on each side of the rifle mag pouches
4 Grenade Pouches - Each hold a... Well, a grenade. 2 on the upper left chest, 2 on the right side
Knife Sheath/Slot - Behind the rifle mag pouch on the right side, is a knife sheath for a combat knife/bayonet, with velcro strap closure
1 Medical Pouch - Holds a GMRS or similar sized radio nicely as well, on the upper right chest.
1 Long Utility Pouch - It's a thin/long pouch on the left side
1 Large Utility Pouch - On the lower back, opening out to the right side
1 Rope bag - on the middle back
1 Radio/Helmet bag - on the upper back, I removed this as well as I found it got in the way
First and most importantly, it's a comfortable vest. In fact, I'd say it is the most comfortable system I've tried to date, and I've tried a lot of different rigs and vests.
It isn't heavy or bulky, it doesn't give me the 'constricting' feeling a chest rig does (one that's secure enough not to flop around anyway), and it can carry a decent fighting load. The pads on the back cradle your spine in a very comforting and comfortable way which I really like. The front pads sit against your stomach just below your chest, surrounding your lower ribs/stomach with padding, also nice and comfortable. The shoulders are also padded. It isn't overly hot or stuffy in hot weather.
The closure is solid, the velcro is military grade, and I don't see it wearing out anytime soon, the buckles seem to be a more flexible plastic then I am used to but they havn't failed yet and having more than one closure type is always a good thing. I removed the larger center buckle and the top buckle as they got in the way and weren't needed imo. The shoulder straps close w/ a velcro & webbing system which works really well, it's a little hard to explain I'll detail it w/ pics when I get the camera back.
The back pouches are a bit limited in their use, as you have to take the vest off to get at them or have a buddy get at them for you. I would rather just a pack instead, especially the helmet/radio bag at the top back, which I removed. I left the rope/large util at the middle/bottom back although I don't really use them. I also added a hydration panel on the back so I can use a hydra bladder w/ the vest w/o having to get an external hydra pack.
The mag pouches are simple, and they work fine. They are just a simple pouch, with velcro flap closure, and have long lids/flaps to accomodate a wide variety of mags, the pistol mag pouches are the same. They used the KISS principle which I like, doesn't matter what kind of mag, you can just stuff em in and not worry, no fancy closures, no internal dividers/sleeves.
When using M14/G3 mags it is a bit hard to extract them sometimes as the pouches are quite deep and the mags sink below the lip of the pouch, having magpuls on them would alleviate the issue but it's not a huge deal I only found it to be a minor nuisance.
I turned the double grenade pouch sideways for easier extraction with my left hand but it wasn't bad the original way and there was nothing wrong with it. I also removed the fold out ID panel that was mounted on the flap of one of the rifle mag pouches, I didn't use it and I found it kind of got in the way.
The knife pouch is lovely, although I havn't used a real knife in it as I cannot see/tell if it actually has protection for the blade in it or if I'll slice up the vest, It looks to me like it doesn't have protection and is designed to have an existing sheath slide into it although it's pretty tight for all the sheath's I tried and I tried a Ontario Knife M9 Bayonet sheath which was way to thick, and a cold steel recon tanto sheath, which was to wide... Works beautifully for a rubber knife though.
-Good Closure/Adjustment Systems
-Utility pouches hard to access
-Back pouches hard to access
-Top back pouch bulky
-No integrated hydration
A good vest and system all around. For airsoft purposes, more mag pouches would probably be better and as such the user will probably have to find a way to carry additional mags depending on how happy their trigger fingers are. That aside, the lack of integrated hydration pouch doesn't make sense to me seeing as they have more pouches mounted on the back anyway, reducing it's ability to comfortably take a pack in conjunction with the rig so why not include hydration. But, regardless it's a fine vest and I would certainly recommend it. I would maybe take off the back pouches or at least the top back pouch as I did and add a hydration pocket as I did, but other than that I have no complaints and nothing that i would say needs changing.