If you’re reading this, then like me, you probably have a self-control problem. You just don’t know when to say no. Something new and different lures you in and before you know it you’re up to your eyeballs in confirmation emails and express delivery packaging.
The premise was simple. A few days on the pistol range. A deep hatred of the leg holster. The need for somewhere to put pistol magazines. The market is awash with a variety of different solutions from paddle holsters all the way to full rigs that allow you to covertly carry your pistol and magazines within your trousers but still allow you to draw and reload quickly. Unfortunately, we’re bound by Pamphlet 21 and the General Service Pistol Pamphlet so my restriction was something that I could mount the issued level 3 Blackhawk holster to. Fortunately, there is no rule around belt mounting it utilising adaptors so a MOLLE belt is fine.
This is where the lack of self-control comes in. I have a MOLLE belt. I love my MOLLE belt. It’s been around the world with me and has never let me down. All I need to do is spend a few pennies on some magazine pouches (or dig deep into the spares bag for issue tissue ones) and the job is a good ‘un. Or I could go mental.
The OPS Modular Belt Mount MOLLE Panel allows you to quickly adapt what you’re carrying around your waist. Each panel consists of 4 columns of 3 rows of MOLLE centrally and then an additional 1 x 1 column on each edge, for a total of 6 columns. The panels are laser cut and are capable of being fitted to up to a 1.75” belt. This is done by treating the panel as a sleeve for the belt. So far so simple? To keep the belt (and therefore the panels and the load on them) secure, you can weave the belt in and out of vertical cuts in the rear. Not only does this allow you to create more friction between belt and panel to stop unwanted sliding, but it also means you can still use your belt to keep your trousers up. Bonus! Especially if you decide that you absolutely must have a Ferro Concepts EDC belt to go with the panels and can only really afford one. With my, shall we say slim figure, my 32” waist can accommodate 3 panels with a bit of buggering around.
Construction wise, these panels are constructed of 500D Cordura with a Hypalon lining. This means that it is resistant to extreme temperature fluctuations, chemical damage and ultraviolet light. The MOLLE and belt mounts are laser cut and reinforced with stitching, which should stand up to some pretty tough use. The panels are currently available in 11 different patterns, from Ranger Green all the way to Kryptek Mandrake via Multicam Tropic, with prices varying from £13.50 to £14.99 per unit depending on pattern.
Although they are very thin and lack padding they are extremely comfortable to wear and support whatever you’re putting on them pretty well, so long as you’re sensible. With a triple pistol magazine pouch, HSGI Blow Out pouch and belt mounted pistol fitted there was no slippage of the belt as it was weaved through a few times, there was very little sagging of the panels and no rub experienced. The belt has now evolved for future use with VIRTUS in mind. Featuring double magazine pouches, HSGI Blow Out pouch, HSGI Pogy pouch and British Tactical Smoke pouches mounted on a stealth admin pouch it should be a suitable battle belt for additional on the man kit that can be easily donned and doffed for vehicle use. It fits comfortably whilst wearing ECBA, OSPREY and VIRTUS.
As it stands my only gripes with these panels are how difficult it is to get the panels to interact with each other and getting everything attached to your trousers if you’re so inclined. Both ends have a pretty solid tab that has hook Velcro to the MOLLE side and loop Velcro to the body side. These panels mean that it is very difficult to get the panels to line up side by side and maintain the consistency of width between MOLLE columns. It can be done, but it just takes a bit of practice. Also, if you insist that you have to use the rig to keep your trousers up at the same time as holding your kit then be prepared for 5 or so minutes of messing around, and then no desire to remove it from your belt loops in the foreseeable future. I got around this problem by buying another EDC belt (see, lack of self-control).
These panels are extremely good value for money. If you’re in a situation where you may find yourself needing to swap things in and out rapidly on a very low-profile rig then they’re ideal. Just try to avoid the temptation to buy more and more of them to fit to your ever-expanding collection of pouches.
- Cost : £ – £13.50 – £14.99 depending on pattern. Find me a functional piece of laser cut, Hypalon lined 500D for less.
- Value for money (1-5): 4 – The item itself is extremely good value for money. Just stop adding things to your basket to fill those extra MOLLE columns.
- Ease of use (1-5): 4 – Fiddly at first, but once you get the hang of using multiple panels together it’s as easy as putting your arm in a sleeve.
- Construction (1-5): 5 – So simple it would have been harder to construct this poorly.
- Allyness (1-5) : 3 – You’re barely going to see them. But when someone does spot them it’ll probably be the first time they’ve seen them, what is ally if it’s not blazing a trail?
This Kit Pest Review was written by Sam “Longshanks” Watt. Hopefully you enjoyed it and if you have any thoughts or comments related to this article then leave a comment!