The argument for a second look:
It is no surprise that airsoft and milsim players attempt to portray the brave men and women that defend our nation with their uniform and gear choices. It is also no surprise that many attempt to look like elite units due to their cool looking gear and weapons. Do not misunderstand me, I absolutely do the same and do not look down on the HSLD look one bit. I do however strongly believe that growth of skills should be much more important to every player than any kind of look, but that is another topic.
The new airsoft or milsim player, it may seem that one must purchase a complete MOLLE system in order to carry one’s field equipment efficiently. Yes, most people including myself do, but MOLLE systems do have their drawbacks. Most popular systems cover the front and back of the torso and therefore retain a large amount of heat. I have heard many discount this as negligible but it is a very serious situation in the Oklahoma summers. I myself experienced the beginning symptoms of heat exhaustion while wearing a lightweight MOLLE vest at OI6 (5-2011) and my unit sustained multiple heat casualties resulting in one hospitalization at Op Broken Home (5-2012).
This brings me to the Lc-2 or All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment system. No, you won’t look like a current Delta operator or DEVGRU team member but I believe that good old Alice gear deserves a second look by all airsoft and milsim players.
First of all, Lc-2 gear is CHEAP. I can outfit myself for $20-$30 for a skirmish or single day op. Yes, you might be able to find a China made tactical vest for that much but it will be of such low quality it will be destroyed in the field. My first airsoft kit was Lc-2 gear and I have used it for 8 years now with no rips, tears or breakages.
Second of all, Lc-2 gear is COOL. All of your gear is carried around the waist, and when adjusted correctly it is very comfortable. Furthermore, in the field Lc-2 gear does not interfere with going prone or “getting small” behind cover. It also does not strain your back while moving in the crouched position.
The System Itself:
Lc-2 gear was created by the Army to lighten the load of the individual soldier and issued as a set in 1973. It was in service until the MOLLE system was fully incorporated in 2000-2002. This amount of time speaks for itself as to the versatility and capability of the Lc-2 system. The basic system includes a belt, suspenders and a variety of pouches. Popular pouches include the m16/m4 30 triple 30 round mag pouch, 1 and 2qt canteen pouches, individual and enhanced first aid kit pouches, entrenching tool carrier, and the “butt” pack. For more information on the system, click here.
Lc-2 gear can be implemented very easily by the airsoft or milsim player. Players who want to remain true to the ALICE system will need to get used to the lack of a hydration bladder. While this isn’t difficult, there is actually a piece of gear that is called a “canteen straw” which replaces the lid to a canteen and includes a tube which brings the water to your mouth just like a hydration bladder does. Note: it is best to use a collapsible 2qt canteen to get the most out of this addition. Also, keep in mind that a 100oz hydration bladder equals carries about 3 quarts of water.
Another piece of gear that the Lc-2 system does not include is a dump pouch. Personally, I put loaded mags into the mag pouches upside down so that my paracord mag pulls face up. When an empty mag needs to be stowed, I can do one of three things with it. First, I can put it back into the pouch right side up. Yes, this is slow and I use it whenever I do not have to reload quickly. Second, I can dump my empty mag into the thigh pocket on my pants. I keep one button buttoned and the other open to keep mags and other gear from sloshing out. Thirdly, I can clip the paracord mag pulls to a carabineer or key clip attached to my belt. This is the fastest way for me to secure an empty mag.
Also, Lc-2 gear does not include an admin pouch, although I have seen some that were made as add-ons for the system. To make up for this, I use my shoulder and chest pockets, as they are not covered by the Lc-2 system.
Finally, the Lc-2 system does not have is a radio pouch. Tactical Tailor makes one that can be found at a decent price, or you can make your own from a mag pouch. Personally I cut the lid off a mag pouch and reattached the plastic clip with shock cord. One could also simply use a MOLLE radio pouch.
There are numerous other add-ons and modifications that can be made to the Lc-2 system and I do not have the time or space to get into them here. However, I do have an entire article dedicated to ALICE modifications here and a few of them are shown below. If you are unable to find a solution there, search the internet. I guarantee you, you’re not the first to need that modification! If you are still unable to find a solution, post up and I’ll do my best to help.
Lc-2 is cheap, well made, versatile, easily acquired, easily customized and does not hold in body heat. It does not look high speed (to most) but it functions just as well as any other system on the market. It is not perfect and it does take a little getting used to, but I’d challenge you to find any other system that is and doesn’t.