Modifying VSM Jungle Mag Pouches

I recently got some VSM 5.56 jungle mag pouches.   They are very good but not exactly what I wanted.  

So I did this.

After cleaning, I re-assembled them for top flap marking.

Then I added a new piece of webbing for the tuck tab.

 

 

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

Original Post

Next I sewed in the tuck tab.

And triple rolled the pull tab.

Next comes the tuck tunnel.

The back was cut down.

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

And the finished pouch.

Side by side comparison.

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

Now what's my thinking here.  Well, I have found that the tuck tab is just the way I like to roll.  Velcro and SR buckles have their place, but for a smooth, one-handed technique, I haven't found anything else that works as well.  So with that in mind, I tore these down and put my preferred method of closure on.  

There are all sorts of justifications for this.  It's one-handed, it's silent, there's nothing to break, and probably lighter.  But the main thing for me is it just works, period.  A quick pull down and out, and the flap is out of the way for a reload.  And to plus back up, a quick flip of the tab into the tuck tunnel and you're done.  

Now to some this may seem like way over thinking it, but to me, stealth is life.  When you are in a small team, with no support, your goal is probably going to be to break contact, and get as much distance between you and the contact as possible.  Then as you rally up, you take stock of your situation, including re-distributing/plusing up ammo.  Still possibly being in the middle of indian country, you want to do this as quietly as possible.  This is the main reason I think ammo pouches need silent closure.  Also, being able to do this, one-handed, with rifle in strong hand, while you scan your sector for hostiles.

You may also have noticed I cut all the attachment system off the back.  This is because I'm building a new belt kit, with direct-sewn pouches.  Once you figure out where everything needs to be, removing all that webbing saves a lot of weight.  Not only dry but wet as well.  So yeah, this is the first step for a new belt kit system.  The goal being to make it as light weight, water-shedding, and comfortable, as possible, working with a good external frame rucksack, like a DG-3 or DG-16.           

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

The tuck tab is a piece of .80" kydex, sewn in between two layers of webbing.  I've worked with various lengths, and materials to find the optimum combination of things.  You have to get the tab long enough to stay tucked, but short enough to un-tuck.  It's a balancing act for sure.  Depending on the app, you can cheat it one way or the other.  For mags, I like it a little faster.  For canteens, and other admin, more secure but harder to open. 

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

Can we get a series, or brief video, of how you are securing and releasing your specific tuck tab? Not 100% sure I follow your procedure, especially having played with some attachment stuff in the last few days. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

It appears he just tucks it up beneath the flap. A portion of the tab slides up into the slot?

 

Thats how I’m reading it.

Know thy enemies, but be aware of thy friends...

 

The average age of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:
from bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;
from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency;
from complacency to apathy;
from apathy to dependency;
from dependency back again to bondage."

Yeah, for example, just been having clearance issues messing with stuff so when loaded with mags wanted to see how he's tucking it. With gloves? In the cold? Etc. 

Not griping, wondering. Might well copy it, but want details! 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

This is just pure gear education for me.

Having not had to use any of this, it shows me the hows and whys of doing things certain ways for different things.

Diz, I'm sure that you could sew a silk purse from a sow's ear.

_____________________________________________

 

Doug

If I mention Corona, I ain't talking about beer.

 

"It's your turn to do until it's not."  TA

 

"Afterall.... if you get yourself into a fair fight.. you really haven't learned anything in all the time you have spent on Lightfighter, your tactics suck, and you don't deserve to breed."  David Reeves

 

JOINED:  9/20/09     LOCATION:  Outside of KSA Finally!

Yeah, there are many apps (surprisingly) when you want to be quiet before going loud. One of my mentors, a Vietnam vet would hit you in the middle of a linear DA drill.  Light you up when you had half your team across.  If that wasn't bad enough, then he'd go silent, and wait you out.  It takes some heavy discipline not to scurry around in that sit.  With your team split, you have to act tactically instead of trying to mother hen everybody back together.   So plusing up a rifle in that scenario is but one example.  Pitch black, can't see more than 10m; sound will give your position away; enemy is probably within 25m, just sitting there, waiting for you to grow impatient and move.  Typical NVA tactic.

I will try and get somebody to photograph this stuff.  In the meantime, check out John at UWGear.  He used to have a bunch of youtube stuff that demonstrates this plus a lot of other stuff.  He makes custom chest rigs, pouches, etc. with my tuck tab design.  There was also another vid on "MAC" (Military Armament Channel) which is pretty amusing as he chucks a bandoleer (with tuck tabs) across a field to demo how secure it is.      

All I can tell ya is I've used them for about 10 years now; my bud has used them on multiple deployments, both urban Iraq, and mountain Afghan stuff.  I have personally used them in field training, from about 20 deg to up around 100.  So like cold weather; depends on your contact gloves.  I have used up to OR PL400 gloves and can still manipulate them.  Basically if you can change a mag, you can flip a tab.  The kydex will stiffen up a bit, but still works just fine.  On the flip side, the kydex does soften up a bit in extreme heat, but again, it still works just fine.  Actually, a little flex helps the cause; it's easier to get into the tuck tunnel.  

But it's a fair question.  The secret is in the tunnel design.  You have to goldilocks that motherfucker.  It takes a little R&D but eventually you'll get it.  Experiment with the width of the tunnel.  It's gonna vary depending on the webbing you use (thickness, stiffness).  That's why I prefer a piece of 2" webbing, when you'd think 1 1/2" would do the trick.  It does, in some apps, but not for mag pouches.  With 2" webbing I can fine tune the tunnel width.  For example, with Murdock webbing, I'm using approx. .250" ED from each side.  You might realize that's right on the edges of 1 1/2" webbing.

Also, you have to tailor the pull tab.  I set it at a length that I can manipulate with gloves on.  Again, not too short, not too long.  And I triple roll the tab for more positive feel through the gloves.

There is a technique to it, but after a few reps, it becomes pretty instinctual.  You have to pull down first, which kinda "un-locks" it, then pull upwards.  Sounds slow but it isn't.  It's actually just as fast as a bungee pull tab.  You can say, well, I can prep the cord to the side; well, I can tuck the flap behind, too.  

To secure it.  You insert mag(s), then roll flap over top, find tuck tab with index finger.  Touch/index tunnel with "social" finger (the birdie), then using index or social finger, guide tab to tunnel, by pushing on tip of tab, opening up tunnel, and then "flipping" tab underneath it.   Voila.        

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

They sent me a test version with a Velcro flap and snap, akin to the popular British mag pouch mod. They did this to every ammo pouch they sent me. The only reason I didn’t return them, I live in Canada and returning items to the USA is a pain

____________________________"Train for Peace, not war it is safer" Canadian Forces Light "You are on your way to visit death and destruction upon a village full of mouth breathers who would rather fuck their buddy than their uneducated toothless wife and who's most glorious moment in thier worthless lives is when they dance three circles around a meteorite and then cast stones at an imaginary devil. Ahhh, the simple pleasures", To quote GG

Yes, I can’t post pictures as I’m in school in another city now. 

____________________________"Train for Peace, not war it is safer" Canadian Forces Light "You are on your way to visit death and destruction upon a village full of mouth breathers who would rather fuck their buddy than their uneducated toothless wife and who's most glorious moment in thier worthless lives is when they dance three circles around a meteorite and then cast stones at an imaginary devil. Ahhh, the simple pleasures", To quote GG

Ok let us know how they work for ya.  The snap is a better deal than a SR buckle, as far as ease of use goes, but still not as good as a tuck tab, IMHO.  

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

FerroConcepts uses a silent flap feature on his backpanel using shock cord and triglides. I have one and haven't lost anything out of them. I imagine his system could transfer to normal mag pouches as well.

----

 

Ditch Medic

Joined: October 2009

Location: Washington State

OK that's pretty innovative; gotta give him that.  But.  That's also two things to wear out or break.  Nothing to worry about on the tuck tab.   That's the beauty of it.  I can leave it in the sun all day and not worry about the shock cord.  I can step on it and not worry about crunching the hardware.  

I guess the difference is, as a civilian I am concerned about longevity as well; I'm not getting a new one issued every pump.  My gear may have to last a long time without re-supply.  That may/may not be an issue for mil or LE.        

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

On another note, after playing around with the VSM stuff, I've noticed that the weight savings and water-shedding thing is not just about the base material; it is also about shit-canning all the binding tape and webbing.  That stuff adds weight and soaks up H2O.  So if you are building something, try minimizing the tape and webbing; and if you're at that point, try direct-sewing it together, vice molle-everything.

This may require some re-thinking.  As a PR, I've always sewn "net" and just taped everything up afterwards.  This has always worked well for the heavy build-ups we typically make.  But. We may want to re-consider that.  Learning how to sew "inside-out" like the rag trade may be something we want to explore.           

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

You're saying no taped seams and sew it inside out?

That sounds like crazy talk. 

_____________________________________________

 

Doug

If I mention Corona, I ain't talking about beer.

 

"It's your turn to do until it's not."  TA

 

"Afterall.... if you get yourself into a fair fight.. you really haven't learned anything in all the time you have spent on Lightfighter, your tactics suck, and you don't deserve to breed."  David Reeves

 

JOINED:  9/20/09     LOCATION:  Outside of KSA Finally!

Diz posted:

... You may also have noticed I cut all the attachment system off the back.  This is because I'm building a new belt kit, with direct-sewn pouches.  Once you figure out where everything needs to be, removing all that webbing saves a lot of weight.  Not only dry but wet as well...

I don't think you have mentioned, to what are you sewing this stuff? 

And then I might ask: how? 

Because, you left the pouch backing on, but when I recall modding old direct-sewn stuff I have had to use back in the day, they weren't pouches; as heavy as they were, generally the back of a pouch was just the platform itself.

So that made me think: do you need to sew them to a platform at all?  Couldn't you just sew every pouch, edge to edge*, add on clips, adjustment straps, shoulders straps as usual for the belt kit, and have a rig with that much less material, and no place there are needlessly two layers of fabric stuck together to hold water, snakes, etc. 

 

* Don't worry about details. Sure, a tiny strip between each would probably be better. I can go on and on down this rabbit hole (edge attachment system; turn it into a modular line!) for a long time. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

shoobe01 posted:
Diz posted:

... You may also have noticed I cut all the attachment system off the back.  This is because I'm building a new belt kit, with direct-sewn pouches.  Once you figure out where everything needs to be, removing all that webbing saves a lot of weight.  Not only dry but wet as well...

I don't think you have mentioned, to what are you sewing this stuff? 

And then I might ask: how? 

Because, you left the pouch backing on, but when I recall modding old direct-sewn stuff I have had to use back in the day, they weren't pouches; as heavy as they were, generally the back of a pouch was just the platform itself.

So that made me think: do you need to sew them to a platform at all?  Couldn't you just sew every pouch, edge to edge*, add on clips, adjustment straps, shoulders straps as usual for the belt kit, and have a rig with that much less material, and no place there are needlessly two layers of fabric stuck together to hold water, snakes, etc. 

 

* Don't worry about details. Sure, a tiny strip between each would probably be better. I can go on and on down this rabbit hole (edge attachment system; turn it into a modular line!) for a long time. 

Ummmmm...I sorta tried that.

Stitched a water bottle carrier to each side on the bumpak (web to web), then a length of web belt to the WB carrier.  Clipped ammunition or utility pouches between the WB carriers & belt buckles.  Ran a PLCE harness to the bumpack & pouches.

Issues:

A: Stretch- the waist assembly was prone to stretching more than a continual length of web belt

B: Unit failure- a pouch or component failure buggered the entire assembly

C: Rotation- replacement of a component or swapping out pouches (say rifle for MG) becomes a workshop task

D: Padding- you need it, even if it is a little bit

E: Location- the belt aided greatly in locating the rig where you wanted it

F: Stand off- the belt aided in allowing a minor gap between you & rig that reduced chafing, allowed some air flow

G: Strength- a belt is very resistant to being ripped from you, pouch to pouch stitching not so much

My thoughts & worth what it cost you.

Good thinking gents.  Yeah I was thinking about that in the middle of the MCM.   Maybe just stringing all pouches together, without a "belt" per se.  Now we're getting into the ultimate light weight vs "sturdiness" debate.  

So if, we string a set of pouches together, using each pouch back as the padded belt segment, with webbing on both ends to connect and adjust the whole thing.

Pros: 

Very friggin light weight.  I mean you've just eliminated the whole padded belt.   Not to mention all that   connecting webbing n hardware.  So you can carry your kit much more efficiently.   

Will not absorb a lot of water, without all the webbing and binding tape.  Which means it will stay light   weight, even when soaking wet.  So when your kit becomes heavier, due to fatigue, you won't compound the problem with added water weight.

It's custom made to your exact specs.  Meaning you have pouches for exactly what you want to carry and nothing else.  No extra straps, hangers, etc.  But it can be set up exactly for your mission (as long as that is clearly defined).    

Cons:

You don't have the structure of a hip belt.  It might not cinch down as well, or stay in place.  

It might not be as sturdy as a belt with pouches attached.  You are now depending on sewn joints in rolled goods, i.e. cordura, versus the strength of webbing and hardware.

It is not modular; in fact it's the exact opposite of modular.  If you require a different set up you need another rig.

It's not anything close to "off the shelf", meaning it must be custom made and maintained.               

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

So drilling down a little deeper.  

Why is light weight so important.  I just ran a marathon last weekend.  This illustrates the point nicely.  Although I maintained the same pace, more or less, the level of perceived exertion went progressively up.  By mile 20, your effort has practically doubled to maintain the same pace.  By mile 23, I would say it took 4x the effort to maintain pace.  As your muscles and connective tissue break down, over the course of an endurance event,  they become weaker, and it requires more effort, just to keep doing what yer doin'.

Crossing this over into a ruck march, the principle is much the same.  The extra weight you are carrying greatly accelerates the rate of break down and increased level of exertion.  I feel the same breakdown after just 3 miles as you experience late in a marathon.  The amount of weight you have to carry correlates exactly with how long you can go without feeling the breakdown.  I'm not a friggin scientist and can't "prove" any of this, only to say I've experienced it enough to understand it's there. 

So the upshot of all this.  Going as light weight as possible definitely has big benefits for us.  The lighter you are, the longer you can carry the weight, and still be able to do something, once you get to where you're going.  Sounds so easy when you just lay it all out like that.  But the fact is, ounces DO become pounds, and pounds become pain.  

You might not think it's any big deal to shave a few ounces off your kit, but it actually is.  And typically it's more than just a few ounces.  All the molle on a typical ruck weighs close to 3 pounds.  By removing all that, you have a huge savings.  All the webbing n stuff on a belt kit would come in pretty close to that as well.  I wouldn't say it was much of a stretch to shave off 5-6 lbs by re-designing both.  That's effectively 10 lbs when you're fatigued, and even 15 lbs when you're really smoked.  It do make a difference.      

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

So going light weight does has merit, as long as you can pull it off.  Now, bearing in mind, this is purely experimental stuff; I don't know what's going to happen.  But I'ma gonna find out.

Here's what I'm thinking.  Each pouch will have an extra back (conveniently provided by VSM in this case) which I will use to add some light padding underneath.  Right now I'm looking at polyester "batting", that's typically used for quilting, but also works well for padding low profile shoulder harnesses, drag bags, etc.  Because it's very light weight and porous.

Now you COULD connect each pouch with a short length of webbing (like two pieces of 1" webbing) for the ultimate weight savings.  But, I'm thinking for just a little extra, you could use a continuous piece of webbing, which will give you a bit more structure, and act more like a belt, instead of a cummerbund.  So right now I'm planning on sewing in a continuous piece of 2" webbing, between the first, and second pouch back.  This is a compromise of sorts, but a good one I think.  

The buckle will be a polymer cobra with two way adjustment.  Not only for weight savings but for jungle ops; any metal buckle that is constantly wet may have an issue.

The pouches will have fully enclosed top flaps, with tuck tab closures.  The pouches will also have loops for shoulder strap attachment.    

The shoulder harness will be lightly padded, with poly fill, and have 6 straps like the Brit designs.  It will be designed to work in conjunction with a full ruck.  I'm thinking a hybrid "H" design here.

So yeah, we may be re-inventing the wheel here, but what the heck.            

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

I think it's interesting to track how modular kits and ones with permanent pouches fall in and out of favor. It seems like modular choices (m1956-57, ALICE, MOLLE) make the most sense for mass issue ($$), though dedicated kits (bar belt, chicom, various tac vests and LBT's 1961 series, modern chest rigs and this custom belt kit) offer peak performance in a specific area. It's almost like every other venue - my SUV does lots of things pretty well (like ALICE/MOLLE) but isn't awesome at any one thing. Anywhoo...just an observation.

On a separate note are you planning on mounting the front pouches higher on the "belt" so they don't interfere with leg lifting or kneeling? I had a buddy lower the attachment points on his ALICE mag pouches and hook the suspenders to them rather than the belt. It effectively moved them up a bit and got rid of that annoyance when high stepping/going up steep hills.

The pouches on belt kit need to stop at your pants pockets, not wrap around to the front, that way they won't hit you on the top of your thigh., and you can get that much lower to the ground in the prone.

I've mostly switched back to belt kit for Infantry operations as well. My issued plate carrier does have the adapter buckles installed on it so that I can swap to various Mayflower/ Velocity System Placards and chest rigs If I find myself conducting Vehicle Ops or a lot of MOUT again.  Ran with cobbled together belt kit for Trident Juncture in Norway and it worked out well, Even operating out of BV-206's, Actually it worked better than most of the guy's who had pouches directly attached to their plate carriers, That made them too wide to easily fit in the front cab seats.... I would just unbuckle the belt and sling one shoulder out of the suspenders and set the rig on my lap as I got in and then throw it back on as I got out. Gave me access to my stuff in the vic and didn't slow me down during dismount.

I am thinking about getting some of the VS jungle pouches as the First Spear AK doubles I was using ( Our new M3 Pmags don't fit real good in our issued mag pouches, but AK pouches work great and I had some Coyote ones laying in a bin.....) Worked okay but I would like to get all six mags (SOP still has us carrying seven rifle mags ,6 in gear/ 1 in rifle...) to my weak side. Right now I have them on both sides and it's slightly annoying to move them across as you use them. Can anyone confirm that the VS jungle pouches will hold 3 M3 Pmags  or are they more 3 metal AR mag sized?

I also found a British surplus shop in Plymouth England when we stopped on the way back and bought a complete set of British issue Para webbing in MTP, Cost me 70 pounds, which I think is like 100 bucks so I figured it was worth it to play around with. Playing with it on the ship makes me a little jealous that we don't issue something similar to our dudes, It is much better for what we do as Marine line infantry than some of the stuff we've been doing recently. Our Molle belt that replaced the LBV is a step in the right direction, if we could get a decent set of suspenders issued to go with it we would have a halfway decent jungle/Cold weather/ GP infantry rig available to us.... instead of just hanging everything off our PC's like we did in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

"If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism."         - Thomas Sowell

"A Republic, if you can keep it" - Ben Franklin

 

LOCATION: Jacksonville NC

JOINED:  Feb 2012

     

Yeah ditto on the P-mags.  I am playing around with them now and am using 3 gen 2 Pmags.

As an update, I shelved the "individual padded pouches" idea, in favor of getting a belt kit up and running, right now, for humping.  

Yeah the Brit belt kits are something else.  I'm using them as a pattern for what I'm doing.  I don't know why we have never adopted something similar.     

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

rcbusmc24 posted:

Our Molle belt that replaced the LBV is a step in the right direction, if we could get a decent set of suspenders issued to go with it we would have a halfway decent jungle/Cold weather/ GP infantry rig available to us.... instead of just hanging everything off our PC's like we did in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

I cut everything else off an LBV yoke (below the ladder buckles) to use as suspenders for my belt rig.  If you're carrying a ruck or pack and not wearing a plate carrier it works well, and not too bulky if over a carrier and under assault pack straps.

rcbusmc24 posted:

 

...I also found a British surplus shop in Plymouth England when we stopped on the way back and bought a complete set of British issue Para webbing in MTP, Cost me 70 pounds, which I think is like 100 bucks so I figured it was worth it to play around with... 

I probably should have bought more, but totally have and am currently using on that rig I keep sharing photos of, several of the SAW pouches and a couple admin pouches from probably the same kit you have, when I hit up that great surplus store wherever I was (I forget) in the North. Some is a bit heavy, but it's pretty nice stuff and for the money I paid, worth it. 

Not sure I saw a whole rig together there, so show yours off sometime. I may be sad I missed out. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

Very interesting gents. 

I am currently working on a new belt harness, which is pushing me towards something very like the old LBV model.

The interlocking thing, yeah was thinking of something similar, along the lines of what Crossfire has done with 1" loops and tabs.   

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

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