Friday, July 13, 2012

Initial Impressions on the Blackhawk Enhanced Commando Recon Harness

My recent gear order showed up which was pretty fast for over here. Today I am going to talk about the Blackhawk STRIKE Commando Recon Harness. Since I just got the thing a full up review would be a bit premature but I do have some thoughts.

Quality of material and manufacture seem very good. I am pleased that the webbing and MOLLE straps are also multicam instead of green or tan like some I have seen. No complaints at all there which isn't suprising. The company has a good reputation and I know folks who wore this (or a very similar) setup over multiple deployments.

As to the design and layout. This setup holds 8 mags in pouches built into the rig itself. I like this type of setup because it lets you carry a good amount of mags but is still relatively compact and balanced. The downside is that getting some mags into play (the ones towards your strong side) would be slower than if they are all on the weak side. However A) the ratio of carrying to shooting is aweful high and this is a comfortable setup and B) If I burn through half the mags this thing carries at some point I will be under cover and can move mags towards the weak side. Reasonable folks can go either way I suppose.

The mags are secured in place (though they sit deep enough it shouldn't be a real issue) by elastic straps with big reinforced tabs on top to let you get them out. The elastic is adjustable via the inside pouch of the rig with nice little fasteners. I know this setup is designed for AR mags but it can probably fit a reasonable variety of fairly similar mags.

Built into the main part of the rig is a nice pouch running the whole length of the inside. I especially like that the back the this inner pouch has MOLLE webbing. In my TAP Pannel (a fairly similar setup) the stuff in the pouch floated around willy nilly. You could easily stick pens, knives, lights or anything with clips to the webbing and it would presumably stay in place. The webbing would make dummy cording super easy if you arre so inclined. Also you could put a small pouch in there to hold stuff like ear plugs or whatever. This is a really nice touch I have to give them credit for.

The shoulder straps are wide and padded but not excessively bulky. They come in an X (the strap that goes over your left shoulder connects under your right and visa versa) configuration but can easily be put in an H (both straps to strait over the shoulder and connect under it) with the aid of a velco doohickey that connects the straps together across the back. The straps have a single row of webbing across the back half and a couple small D rings on the front for wolf hooks or whatever. The front and back of the shoulder straps have fastex buckles which lets you switch configurations easy. This would also be nice if you want to ditch the straps and attach the rig strait to body armor.

That brings us to an interesting part of this chest rig. It is capable of holding a front rifle plate. There is an optional attachment to put on a back plate and turn this thing into a full on plate carrier. I didn't buy it for this purpose and in fact picked up a plate carrier on the same order but that doesn't really relate to this discussion. You could choose to put a plate in it, or just keep the panel in place to mound some stuff on. That is the area where people typically mount holsters if so inclined.

The price is around a hundred bucks. Not cheap but not crazy expensive either considering it is a quality chest rig made by a well known brand. One nice thing about this sort of setup is that you do not need to buy a bunch of mag pouches to have it work. (It holds 8 mags, another in the gun and maybe a couple on a war belt and you are good for about anything but Roukes Drift). Also the little stuff fits just fine into the big pouch in the rig. Just add an IFAK and you are good to go. Though if you want to carry a NOD or like to have a ton of various stuff an admin pouch or two may be needed.

Anyway while it is too soon to know for sure I am pretty happy with this purchase.

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