The Pantac Integrated Chest Rig is a well built piece of kit with 6 integrated mag pouches, an admin pouch and a hydration sleeve in the back panel. However, it comes in at almost twice the cost of my beloved Condor Modular Chest Set. So how does it stack up?
Pantac Integrated Chest Rig First Impression
The Pantac Integrated Chest Rig is made from 1000D Cordura with a Teflon coating for water resistance. It uses quality Nexus buckles and is covered by Pantac USA’s lifetime warranty. MOLLE is all evenly spaced, stress points are stitched multiple times and overall it feels very sturdy. The rig looks and operates much like the HSGI Weesatch with some notable differences.
On the front of the chest rig are 6 integrated magazine pouches with adjustable closures. 5 of these closures are hook and loop with a pull tab and the 6th is an adjustable bungee closure intended to secure a radio. All closures can be removed so that the bungee closure can be placed on any pouch and any the pouches can be used without any closure at all. Inside the main body of the front panel is an armor plate pouch sized for a large SAPI style plate and has grommets for drainage. The upper section of the front panel can be flipped down for a more traditional chest rig coverage and it conceals a very deep flat pocket.
The back of the rig is a large hydration/armor pocket covered in MOLLE. At the top is a large, sturdy drag handle, and at the bottom of the are 2 slots for the waist strap to ride in according to your height. Inside the pocket is a divider which separates your plate from your hydration carrier and carries your plate at the proper height. This pouch, like the front is sized for a large SAPI style plate and has grommets for drainage..
The vest is held together by 2 inch wide webbing straps. Buckles on the upper chest and right side allow for rapid entry/exit and provide a solid connection. Removable shoulder pads ride on the shoulder straps and provide a place to secure wires or hoses coming over the shoulder.
Condor Full Review
In Favor of Pantac
This chest rig does a lot of things right, and the number one thing is choosing side entry over front entry. Vests with removable or flip down bibs have never been very good front openers which is proven in the Condor Chest Set.
I also really like the way Pantac decided to provide removable/adjustable closures for all of the integrated mag pouches. The single bungee retention is a plus too as it gives me a great way to secure my radio.
Also, the fabric lining the magazine pouches on the Pantac rig is much less flimsy than that on the Condor rig. This prevents hard magazine corners from pressing into your stomach as you move.
Furthermore, the Pantac Rig is able to carry front and rear ballistic plates along with a hydration carrier. The Condor vest does not have any armor capability.
The Pantac Chest Rig also carries Pantac USA’s lifetime warranty Pantac will repair or replace your chest rig if it should fail under normal use. While I wouldn’t expect to ever need to use this warranty, it is comforting to know it is there.
The integrated pouches on the Pantac rig are capable of holding 2 AK magazines each, and the Condor vest’s pouches hold only 1 M4 magazine each. While I absolutely like the extra room on the Pantac rig, i feel that their current depth is a bit much for a rig that is designed to be low profile. When these pouches are used to less than their maximum capacity, the material separating them tends to bunch up and catch on gear.
I would recommend that the dividers between the integrated pouches be made out of elastic. This would give each pouch it’s own level of retention without the need for the hook and loop closures, making magazine extraction quicker. It would also double as a way to get rid of extra fabric when the full width of the pouch is not being used.
I am unsure why the front admin pocket on the Pantac rig is so deep as it is almost impossible to retrieve small items from the bottom of it while wearing the vest. I would have expected a shallower admin type pocket here, possibly with an organizer inside. If this pocket was designed this way for a reason, I would love to know what it is!
It would be great to see a hanger in the hydration pouch. This prevents your carrier from bunching up in the bottom of the pouch as it gets empty. A simple clip or paracord loop would do nicely.
The only other thing I would like to see change on the Pantac rig is I would like to see a buckle on the left side strap to compliment the one on the right side. There may be an instance that an operator needs to hang a pouch or run a wire along the right side straps and may need to enter the vest from the left side.
In Favor of Condor
Price is the main factor that the Condor set trumps the Pantac rig in. At $45, the Condor set is just less than half the cost of the Pantac rig. Although the Condor has a few bugs that need to be addressed out of the box, this is hard to beat for an all inclusive kit.
The bib on the Condor vest is completely removable and I really like this feature. Simply folding a bib down under the main body of a chest rig creates a large mass of crumpled fabric that can become uncomfortable and chafe. I would really like to see the bib on the Pantac vest be completely removable, though I have yet to see a removable bib that is 100% secure when attached to the vest.
Buy the Pantac Integrated Chest Rig if…
You want a high quality, refined, all in one integrated vest that is both a plate carrier and a chest rig and is covered by a lifetime warranty.
Buy the Condor Modular Chest Set if…
You don’t mind making a couple modifications in order to have a vest that can be adapted to almost any mission set and have no need for ballistic protection.