The Pantac Tactical Chest Rig is an all encompassing load bearing option that despite it’s lack of MOLLE, is extremely diverse in the equipment it can carry. As with all other Pantac USA products, it is covered by their lifetime warranty which makes it just that much more attractive.
The TCR is a chest rig similar to the very popular 1961 line made by London Bridge Trading Company. It includes two shoulder straps and a waist strap to secure the rig. The main features are as follows:
Attachment system: The shoulder straps are nicely padded and feature tube/wire keepers. They are adjustable for spacing between the shoulder blades and length at the front. They can be completely removed via Fastex buckles as can the rear waist strap. All loose webbing is secured with elastic keepers.
Large admin pouch: This is a large flat pouch closest to the wearer’s body. I used it to store maps and other admin items but it would be very easy to store a pistol or radio there as well. A kydex holster or pouch could easily be screwed into this pouch to add organization.
2x tall/flat pouches: I can’t decide what to call these pouches because they are so versitile! The TCR has one of these on either side
of the rig. They have elastic to hold them flat and a strap with buckle closure. These can be used to hold anything relatively tall and flat, including a radio, pistol, breaching charge, parts of an MRE, additional magazines, etc…
2x General purpose pouches: The general purpose pouches are attached directly over the tall/flat pouches. The feature a flap closure and include a snap in elastic cover under the flap to enable them to act as dump pouches. I don’t recommend the use of these pouches as magazine dump pouches though magazines will fit in them. They would be best utilized carrying the miscellaneous food, medical supplies, spare batteries and tools that ride along in your kit.
2x frag grenade pouches: These pouches fit a frag grenade perfectly and have a Fastex buckle closure. They could also hold 40mm grenades or other similar sized items.
4x double M4 style magazine pouches: These pouches cover the front of the vest and feature tuckable flap closures. They can also fit AK variant and other form factor magazines though due to their size they may be
limited to one per pouch. These pouches could also hold a radio or serve as a holster.
2x pistol magazine pouches: These are attached to the front of one of the M4 magazine pouches and have a flap closure. These fit my Glock (double stack) and 1911 (single stack) magazines just fine. I was actually able to fit 2 1911 magazines into each pouch and close the flap.
3x multi function pouches: These are attached to the front of the remaining 3 M4 magazine pouches. They have a single strap closure which is held in place by Velcro, and are perfect for small items such as a strobe, small first aid kit or a Jalapeno cheese spread packet. I was able to squeeze an M4 mag into one of these pouches but it was very tight.
The best feature of this chest rig in my opinion is that it can carry your entire loadout. In a world where guys wear first, second and third lines of gear you can simply walk over to your vehicle, toss this over your head and walk on the field ready to play. Less down time means more game time and this is good. This also allows you to quickly adapt to an evolving mission by quickly donning or doffing your fighting load.
The symmetrical design of this kit means that it is equally easy to use as a right or left handed shooter. I am left handed and this is a big deal to me because I can use this for my own kit and loan it to my right handed teammates as needed.
The shoulder and waist straps are completely removable, so the chest module can be hung in various places with some simply DIY hangers to give the user a load bearing panel anywhere.
Price. The TCR comes in at less than $100 and includes a lifetime warranty.
The admin pouch is very large. That said, I felt that the space almost went to waste because there are limited organizational tools inside. I would have loved to see a couple pen loops and simple pockets for my notebook and phone.
I greatly appreciated the ability to carry 8 M4 style magazines across the front of the TCR. However, I would have liked to have the flaps adjustable and removable. I also wished there was elastic integrated into these pouches to give better retention when the flap was not in use. This would also have been nice to see in the pistol mag pouches.
Last, I wasn’t able to find too many uses for the small pouches in front of 3 of the rifle magazine pouches. I would have liked to see them given a better closure like a strap or simply omitted as I was able to store all of my small items in the more secure general purpose pouches on either side.
LBT 1961a: This is a similarly laid out chest rig made by one of the top tactical nylon manufacturers in the U.S. This is the tip of the proverbial spear when it comes to quality and you’ll pay $277 to get it.
TAG: Tactical Assault Gear has a line of very well put together chest rigs known as Phalanx. The Phalanx Type 1 chest rig comes in at $114 and features almost the same set up minus the frag grenade pouches and small pouches in front of the mag pouches. It does sport an organizer in the admin pouch and advertises that the mag pouches can fit 7.62 magazines. For an additional $46 you can get the front pouches covered in MOLLE and a couple additional details.
Condor: The Recon chest rig by Condor is a somewhat similar piece of kit, It includes sewn on pouches for 6 M4 type magazines and 6 pistol magazines. The sides are covered with MOLLE to accept additional pouches. This can be had for $40 but does not include any warranty.
Voodoo Tactical: Voodoo’s offering, simply called the Tactical Chest Rig includes 5 M4 magazine pouches, 4 pistol mag pouches and 4 small general purpose pouches for $55. This is a very different layout which may be better for long patrols but it looks too tall to be comfortable while sitting down. Again, no warranty here.
If you are looking for a grab and go kit for a rifleman, designated marksman or grenedier and you won’t be spending an extensive period on your stomach this is your kit. It will especially shine in immediate response and vehicle supported operations.
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