I usually tend to write up reviews of gun, and usually my reviews tend to be my impressions after only having the guns for a few days. This time, I'm reviewing a vest that I've had for a while and actually have had a chance to field several times and thoroughly test.
I ordered this vest from Jeroon at Army Issue last winter in preparation for this summer's gaming season - my first season as a player vs being a collector. At the time, I didn't really know what to look for in a vest. I wanted something in CADPAT TW to match my CF theme. I had no interest in issue vests or replicas, due to the serious lack of ammunition-carrying capacity and the general disdain actual soldiers have for their issue vests. And having just spent a small fortune on other stuff (guns), I didn't want to have to break the band buying a vest. I eventually stumbled upon this vest posted in the Army Issue thread in the Buy & Sell section.
Photo from armyissue.com and not of my actual vest
The vest is made of medium-heavy cordura and polyester mesh and seems quite tough and durable. The main vest body of the best is mech and that helps with breathability on a hot day. Having played on some really hot days, I was thankful for that. Yet, it's strong enough to hold everything together nicely. The CADPAT patterns looks very authentic with the correct colours and pattern. I'm not sure if it's made from licensed material or not, but it sure looks authentic whether it is or not.
It has 6 double M4 mag pouches built-in, although the one of the far right is sewn a bit tight and can't fit more than 1 mag. Not really a problem though, because 11 spare mags is quite good. I usually carry 10 spare mags and put my speed loader in that extra pouch. The mag pouches are held securely by velcro and have yet to open unintentionally. They can also easily hold single AK mags or 3 MP5 mags each, making it quite versatile despite it not being modular.
It's pretty lean in terms of other pockets. There's a radio pouch on the upper left shoulder, and 2 breast pockets that can carry a few small items. I use one for my compass, and one for my cigarettes and lighter. (Gotta prioritize! LOL) The right side breast pocket has an outer velcro strip, and well as one inside that holds a shotgun shell holder that can be attached to the outside of the pocket to carry 5 shells. There are 2 waterproof internal pockets large enough to carry maps and documents and such as well.
There seems to be some unused space on the front of the vest that could easily have been used for another couple of small pockets or grenade pouches, so I don't think the overall design was thought out as well as it could have been. Even a pistol mag holder or 2 would have been great additions. However, all pouches and pockets are located at easy-to-reach positions and work well.
The lack of pouches is made up for by pouches on my belt. The vest has adjustable belt loops, so you can attach your belt to the vest to carry a heavier load on the belt without it constantly dropping. The belt loops have both velcro and dome snap attachments, making attaching or removing a belt quick and easy, and strong enough to hold a belt securely, even with a heavy load. I usually carry a buttpack, 2 SAW box mag pouches (I use them for utility pouches), my drop leg holster, and my drop-leg dump pouch. Fully loaded, my entire rig weighs 42 lbs, and it feels quite comfortable and nothing moves or droops.
The front closure is a zipper. The zipper is a no-name zipper with plastic teeth, so I can't say it will be the most durable. I would have preferred a good metal YKK brand zipper that I know would last for the long haul. But to date, the zipper's held up well.
In terms of size, it's a one-size-fits-most
design. The sides of the vest are adjustable with paracord lacing, and there are velcro adjustments on the shoulders to adjust for body length, so it should pretty much fit most people easily. I'm 6 feet tall and 210 lbs, and I'm not even near the size limit of this vest.
On the back of the vest, there's MOLLE-style webbing to attach a hydration carrier, but the webbing isn't standard MOLLE size. I attached a MOLLE hydration carrier with MALICE clips, but had to actually cut some of the webbing seams to attach it. Once attached though, it fits firmly and comfortably.
I've now gamed this vest on 4 occasions, including 2 skirmishes and 2 full-day milsim events (Op Drug Bust & Border Wars 2), and it's performed admirably to say the least. It bears and distributes your load well. Even with my heavily loaded rig, it's not uncomfortable and doesn't shift or dig into my body in any way to make it uncomfortable. To me, comfort is a big issue. We play airsoft for fun, even though we have a heavy burden of gear to carry in the field. Nothing puts a damper on the fun factor like wearing uncomfortable that hurts or doesn't bear a load properly.
- Solid and dorable cordura construction
- Comfortable and bears a load well
- Good ammo-carrying capacity
- Good CADPAT pattern
- Price - about $90
- Not modular
- webbing on the back is not MOLLE and requires light modification to use with MOLLE items.
- No grenade pouches, which could have easily fit in some of the unused space.
If you're looking for the "tacticool" factor, then you're not getting it with this vest. It's very plain and doesn't look cool However, if you want a very practical and versatile CADPAT vest that works very well, this is the vest for you. It's certainly not the best vest out there, but for a casual player regular player who doesn't care about customizing his rig and wants a basic loadout with lots of ammo capacity, this is a great vest. IMO, it beats the issue CF tac vest by a landslide, and is more practical than some more expensive vests and chest rigs I've seen on the field so far and cost twice as much. All in all, I think this vest is a good investment for anyone looking for a CADPAT vest for their Canadian loadout.