Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tactical Tailor Mini-MAV

A while back I was looking for a small rig to carry a few AR mags and a couple handgun mags.  Nothing complex, just a way to carry ammo and avoid the gear overload a full out load bearing vest can generate.  A good chest rig.

A while back I snagged a Chinese AK chest rig for under $10.

It's the best photo I can find... but it's a rather ubiquitous item.

It's a great set-up, in theory.  Three 30 round AK mags, and four grenade pouches.  I don't regularly carry grenades, so those pouches are usually empty though (except when I dressed up as an Afghan for Halloween. Then they were great for my wallet and cell... Man-Jammies don't have pockets...)

Most importantly, it's simple, and hold just enough for a quick response scenario.  I actually tend to keep it in the trunk of my car, as a WASR makes a great trunk gun.  My only complaint is that there's no way of swapping out at least a couple of the grenade pouches for a couple pistol mag holders of some sort without extensive modification of the rig (OK, not that extensive, but not MOLLE convenient.)

So I decided that I wanted a small rig for 3-4 AR mags, in single holders (ever try going prone with double pouches?) and at minimum, one spare double-stack 9mm mag.  MOLLE is great, since modularity is dang nice, and if I were to switch from an AR to something else, I would only need to swap pouches instead of the whole rig.

So I poked around the ol' interwebs, and in a mildly round-about way, came to the Tactical Tailor's web store.  Tactical Tailor was not a new name to me, and I doubt to many others.  They've built up a good reputation for putting out quality American made gear, and backing that gear with great service.

What was new to me was their "Mini-MAV" chest rig platform.  A simple MOLLE platform slightly smaller than the trusty Chinese rig, but sporting a ton of improvements.  So I ordered me up some Multicam goodness and looked forward to the brown truck of happiness dropping it off in a couple weeks.

First impressions are everything, and the Mini-MAV did not disappoint.  Read more after the jump-

It's made from 1000 denier Cordora with mil-spec webbing, Fastex buckles, and three rows of MOLLE loops to attach your gear too.  The main panel itself is double layered to provide a solid platform, and full camo coverage.

All the seams and stitching is nicely done, with no loose ends dangling and waiting to unthread for you.  There's plenty of webbing to adjust the fit.  I like to keep it tight and high, and I don't regularly wear body armor, so the shoulder straps are taken pretty far in.

The Fastex buckles are also a massive improvement over the simple metal loops of the Chinese rig (whose waist strap doesn't have any buckle, so you have to tie it in back like an apron.)

I picked up some Condor pouches (they were on sale, and when they fail I'll replace them with better stuff) and got some Esstac 556 KYWIs (KYdex Wedge Inserts) from SKD Tactical when I ordered my shotgun cards so I could ditch the elastic chords from the mag pouches after sling-shotting a mag across the range with one.  They're not much to look at, which is fine since they fit entirely inside the single mag pouch.  They work by squeezing around the mag, with the little ledge at the bottom of the mag catch bumping up against the crease in the side of the insert.  I've flipped the whole rig upside down with fully loaded PMags and shook the crap out of it, and the mags stayed.  They've also worked flawlessly with my full spread of AR mags, M&P15-22, Magpul, Tango-Down ARC, Lancer, and Mil-spec aluminum.

One upside of the Condor pouches is that rather than simply using Coyote webbing, they have folded Multicam material for the outer MOLLE loops (there is regular webbing on the back) so it doesn't break up the Multicam pattern as much.  To be honest, I never run anything on top of my mag pouches anyway (I like to keep it low profile) so it would be great if there were single mag pouches without the front MOLLE webbing in Multicam...

I'm less than enamored with the pistol mag pouches however.  I've added some 550 chord pulls to the flaps (the pull tabs are laughably small) but the shear amount of Velcro on the flap has caused them to stick to my gloves, and the flaps are nice and heavy so they'll close before you can grab the mag.  Somewhere I have an embarrassing video of me ripping the damn thing open three or four times before I even get to the mag...  Thankfully the whole rig is low profile enough that wearing a pistol and pistol mag pouch on your normal belt line is more than possible (which is half the reason I like the platform) so, in theory, if I need to get to a third and fourth pistol mag I probably screwed something up pretty massively.

Another awesome point of the Mini-MAV, is that it is super low profile, especially with the single pouches.

I'm wearing it under that jacket, completely loaded with 2 M&P9 mags, and 3 M&P15-22 mags, which are slightly longer than their 5.56 cousins.

It bulges a little funny with that coat, but I got the jacket purposely snug fitting.  I've tossed it on under my "civilian" style winter coat and you don't even notice it.

If you're in the market for a low-pro, grab and go, SHTF type of small rig; be it for under cover narcotics busts or simply for a basic range rig, the Tactical Tailor Mini-MAV is well worth looking into.


James said...

As far as single pouches go, I haven't found any better than the Emdom IAP. I have four of them in MC. They're basically ITW fast mags re-invented as fabric pouches.

See here: http://prostores2.carrierzone.com/servlet/emdomusa/Detail?no=78

And here:

Fred said...

I'll have to check those out.

Tendrax said...

You could also check out Blue Force Gear's Ten Speed pouches.


I haven't used them personally, but Nutnfancy uses them in his run and guns and they seem to work fairly well.