*Disclaimer: my title was edited. This article is my personal opinion that I share to help the guys on the frontline*
This is one for the beer drinking Belgians! Apologies to my other followers.
Issued kit. Most of the time it is not of great quality and the same piece of kit is distributed to everyone, all with a different task.We aren’t all Danish and get issued equipment made by Tyr Tactical.
This is one of the reasons why a lot of soldiers buy their own plate carriers, pouches, clothing, etc.
For legal, regulation and stubbornness reasons, some kit has to be used. One of those items is body armor. In the Belgian Army, we now get issued the QRV or Quick Release Vest.
Those who follow my IG (@firemissionblog) may have seen me posting my frustrations about this vest.
I’m not really known for my standard kit… but to give you guys some options and “lead by example”, let’s attack this beast! I reconfigured my 2nd line to the QRV.
To highlight some of the problems I have with the QRV:
- Bulky: It’s basically a cheap CIRAS. Using some “modern” techniques, like laser-cut, on a 90’s design.
- Cummerbund: the cummerbund is designed to hold side plates, which is a good thing. The problem with the cummerbund is that you still have to lift the front flap to put it on. I never like this because your fit is never the same. It also has a weird elastic band that goes over your belly.
- The front flap: as mentioned I don’t like lifting that flap everytime I’m putting on my vest (Tubes for the win!). Another problem I have with it is that they used the cheapest velcro available. So cheap that when you pull out a magazine from a pouch, the velcro is so weak that you pull the flap loose. But of course they have a solution for this! They just added two snaps on the bottom to keep it closed. Face palm. The front flap is also a weird 8 molle wide, instead of the industry standard 6 molle.
- Shoulder straps: These are actually ok. They have a lot of padding and have internal cable management loops. They are a bit thick, so not ideal when wearing a pack.
So, how can we solve some of these issues?
Front flap: Sumo Gear placard adapter & TQ pouches
I asked my buddy at Sumo Gear to make me a velcro panel and some TQ pouches. As always he delivered! Top notch quality and the use of laser-cut backing makes the panel lightweight and flat. I know there are several other brands and options that make a similar product. But with the recent situation, let’s buy local.
He also made two TQ pouches that fit the CAT TQ (Belgian Defence SOP) perfectly. It’s a well made pouch, also using the laser-cut backing. I’m still a bit on the fence about this pouch as it doesn’t protect or cover the whole TQ. A JTacticalsolutions might come in the future.
Using the velcro panel, flanked by the TQ pouches, I have completely covered the front flap. As you could see on my LBT 6094, I like this setup. 3 mags up front, with a TQ at each side.
Now, why did I want a big patch of velcro on the front of the vest? To rock a bunch of patches? Of course not! It’s not all for the gram!
I got some female buckles from the awesome guys over at British Tactical to attach the Spiritus Systems Mk3 Micro Fight Chest Rig. As you might have seen on one of my IG pictures, I’ve added a Microbat Candy pouch to the front of it, as well as a zipper mod. The zipper mod turns the front pouch of the Micro Fight into a compact admin pouch. Perfect for my slate cards, römer and writing utensils. Using the buckles and the velcro panel, the Micro Fight Rig stays securely attached.
Chest area: KAGWERKS EUD case
Because the QRV was not greatly designed, the top molle strip is…not a molle strip, but velcro. Because of this any EUD case is hard to attach. I just cut a small piece loose and will sew the sides back closed in the future. Maybe.
The quick release system I was able to move away without hindering the use of the EUD case by KAGWERKS. I’m still able to use the QR system.
Cummerbund: Sumo Gear QRV Cummerbund
Because Sumo Gear saw the issues with the standard QRV cummerbund, he made his own.
It utilises ROC tubes and a lightweight, compact laser-cut material. Because of the tubes, you can just close those annoying snaps on the bottom of the flap and just use the tubes! This is so much easier and quicker!
On the back, he made a strech part so when you’re running or moving, the cummerbund allows you to move and breath. He also has 5 slits in the back, so adaptable for every posture, while still being able to use the quick release system.
Sumo gear also makes side pouches for the ABL side plates.
Shoulder straps: HSGI shoulder pads
My favorite shoulder pads have always been the High Speed Gear ones. They are comfortable, wide, but flat! Them being flat is the big reason I like them so much. They are very good even when wearing a pack. The HSGI ones are also very easy to run your cables trough.
So of course they had to replace the issued shoulder pads!
The HSGI pads work great with the QRV.
Backpanel: Tyr Tactical zip adapter.
As on my LBT 6094, I’ve installed the Tyr tactical zip adapter. This is because I carry the PRC-117G from time to time.
I wear my radio in the Tyr tactical Direct Action Assaulters Pack which zips on my back.
If needed, I can just wear the pack with the shoulder straps. I use it that way when I’m working with a vehicle.
The zip adapter gives you the possibility to change your back setup fast.
I also have the Raptor Tactical relocator pouches for my antennas. These have a lot of wear, but the guys over at Raptor have sent me a new pair! Great customer service.
Do these updates make the QRV a great vest, no. But it does make the vest a lot more versatile, adaptable, comfortable and modern.
I set up some other pouches that I also had on my previous carrier. These hold my Izlid, PVS-14, extra Mics/ptt, batteries, etc.
If you have to use the QRV, take a look at these upgrades.
Disclaimer: I bought all these upgrades (excluding the Kagwerks case) with my own money and I’m not bound to write a positive review.