Vogue vests

Adapting tactical wear for CSI needs

     Maxpedition also produces a number of small pouches, reminiscent of small camera pouches, some with internal compartments, others with no separators. These include the Anemone, Cuboid Series, Triad pouch, Barnacle, Three by Five and Four by Six pouches. Maxpedition also produces the Keyper, a heavy-duty snap hook that attaches to a belt, strap or PALS loop by a VELCRO keeper. The company also markets the Grimloc D-ring, a heavy-duty carabineer-type ring designed to attach various items to loops or other holders. Finally, it produces the Slikclip, a locking S hook designed to attach items using non-PALS strap to a PALS system.

     Tru-Spec also manufactures several items that expand the tactical vest's appeal to the crime scene responder. The 100 Round SAW Pouch, designed for the magazine for the military's squad automatic weapon, is about 50 percent wider than a 20-round magazine pouch for the M-16. Tru-Spec's Medic Pouch provides a 6-inch square storage pouch, 2 inches thick. The M-16 Bandoleer/Shoulder Bag can be worn as part of a MOLLE ensemble, or shoulder slung. The shoulder bag features three pouches for 30-round M-16 magazines, and the face of each pouch is also PALS enabled, permitting one to stack additional components on the unit.

     But the MOLLE Compatible Deluxe Butt Pack is the winner as a large equipment storage bag. Designed for either MOLLE use or to be slung as a shoulder bag, it features a 450-cubic-inch main compartment, three exterior, Fastek-type closure pouches on the sides, and a small, zipable pouch on the main compartment lid. Plus the inside of the main lid also has a zippered compartment, while the main compartment has a snorkel liner that can be pulled up and out to form a waterproof top for whatever materials may be carried inside. One or two of these, attached to the back of the vest, would provide carriage for equipment or evidence.

     5.11 Tactical also provides a number of useful pouches. Its 6.6, 10.6 and 6.10 pouches — named for their dimensions in inches — provide about 2 inches of expansion, and PALS webbing on the front side to allow stacking. The Med Pouch is basically the 6.6 pouch with the addition of zip-shut mesh pockets on the front and back inside walls, providing yet more storage abilities.

     A series of pouches with tremendous potential and capacity are 5.11's Drop Pouches. The Drop Pouch was designed for combat troops' use — changing magazines, it gave them a method to quickly recover magazines rather than fumble to reinsert them into magazine pouches, or abandon them on the scene. 5.11 produces medium, large and X-large Drop Pouches. They may be opened and used for equipment carriage, or left folded for compact profiles and opened on scene to provide off-scene transport for collected evidence. The X-large Drop Pouch has a capacity of more than 1 cubic foot.

     An interesting item from 5.11 is its Chest Rig, which is designed to hold magazine pouches, a radio pouch, or similar items on the wearer's chest. It consists of a mesh platform with an inner document pouch, which is worn on the chest with straps wrapping about the chest and shoulders. While not replacing the versatility of the vest, it provides a PALS system to which a few pouches may be attached, for dedicated use. For example, select pouches could be attached to form a fingerprint platform, permitting the investigator to carry brushes, powder and lifting supplies, keeping hands free while working a scene.

Tool attachment

     How to attach these pouches to the platform? Tru-Spec uses the original, military-developed Natick Snap system, a laminated strap of polyethylene plastic and ballistic nylon, anchored at the top to the pouch, with a large snap at the bottom. The strap is then woven through the PALS webbing on both the platform and the pouch, and snapped at the bottom. 5.11 uses a similar system, but has modified it from a soft hinge at the top to a plastic keeper, through which the strap slides vertically. Calling it the Slikstick, it makes the weaving of the strap easier for the user.

     Maxpedition uses the Malice clip system, as do some other suppliers. A 1-inch wide plastic strap is woven through the webbing; the lose end is then inserted into a locking section on the other end, resulting in a strong connection which takes a significant internal pressure with a screwdriver or other pointed object to dislodge. Some products include VELCRO patches to permit the attachment of VELCRO-backed items. Further, items such as the Grimlock D-ring and Slikclip permit mounting of items not designed for PALS attachment.

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