Once again we have an opportunity to review some of the SPECOPS products, particularly MOLLE style pouches.
SPECOPS started to provide small parties of their products as early as in 1994, though officially company was founded much later - in 2005. Nevertheless early projects were designed to be put forward in bulk production. Tested pouches are from the newest production line and are available in the latest company offer. They are made of Cordura DuPont, with STOCKO naps, ITW buckles and Velcro.
At the first glance, magazine pouches are thicker and more rigid than most of the other brands. Thanks to this quality, each pouch weights a little more than most of the competitive brands. Rest of the pouches, designed for other purposes, are made by standard one Cordura layer. On a closer look, you may see that pouches are made well with big precision. There are no protruding threads, seams are properly finished with some number of back-turning stiches and what is important they are secured in every part which might be exposed to damage. All of the pouches are in MOLLE system, though way of strap's finishing is various. Some have most common naps, some use glids. This choice is not made on random basis, it refers to designation of a pouch, and to its size.
Below some tips on following pouches and accessories:
- 3x KBK Beryl mag pouch in MultiCam;
- 3x pistol mag pouch in black;
- 2x UMP mag pouch in MultiCam;
- medical kit pouch in black;
- cargo pouch in black;
- buttpack in '93 Polish Army pattern;
- handcuffs pouch in black;
- GPS/iPhone/PDA pouch in '93 Polish Army pattern;
- radio pouch in '93 Polish Army pattern;
- gas mask pouch in black;
- chest pistol holster in black;
- shotgun bag (carried on the back);
- MOLLE leg panel in black;
- primary weapon single point sling in black;
- primary weapon two point sling in sandy khaki;
This time we have received pouches not for test purposes, but just to prepare some review description, so we had no chance to fatigue them in the field but basing on the first glance we may assume durability should be same as previously tested SPECOPS pouches. Therefore we would limit this review to exterior and functionality.
Flaps and external part of each side are made of double Cordura layer and what is more, on the edges material is twice tucked up. It looks solid and durable, and as a small side effect it keeps the pattern also on the inside part of the flap.
Pistol mag pouch would go with any standard pistol mags like Glock, Beretta, SIG and so on. Beryl mag pouch would also work with AK series, though they are pretty tightly. It should fit also M-series mags, it is not that loosy, though pouch is too high - some magpull might be necessary.
UMP mag pouch would fit long pistol mag like G18C and as well 9mm SMG mags like MP5. What might be important, it would fit also UMP .45 ACP mag (which is common in most of the airsoft replicas).
Medical kit pouch makes a good impression. As for its size, there is a lot of rubber bands helping to arrange and firmly place equipement. There is also a red net, for larger diameter equipement. In the bottom, there is additional cordura belt secured with nap, to secure i.e. bandage roll.
On the exterior side, there is velcro along with one row of PALS system. I cannot imagine what could be mounted on one set of PALS, though there are some people who believes that any free space should be covered with straps.
Medical pouch set is mounted in permanent way which makes it difficult to access it. I am convinced that possibility to tear off medical kit, and quickly help injured is off major importance. I.e. medical kit pouch with a velcro panel which can be torn off with one move.
Cargo pouch is slightly bigger than medical kit pouch. There is only one pocket separated with net inside. Outside three PALS rows.
The biggest disadvantage of both medical kit and cargo pouch, are zippers. Standard, neither dust nor water-proof. Producer assured us, that pouches are from test series and production line pouches would be equipped with splash-proof zippers, though I suggest to inquire on that before placing order.
Buttpack might be a choice for short trecking trips. It provides space for small size equipement which would not fit to other pouches, but are necessary during one/ two days excursion, when you don't really want to take a backpack. It would give five to seven litres space and thanks to additional neck, it would keep equipment dry or just let you use buttpack space to the edge. Flap has net pocket where you can put your wallet or ID. Most outer side goes with PALS system, and both sides have para-cord to easy compress not fully packed buttpack. Back side has as much as five mounting belts - which fits every PALS cell - not which is common every second. This solution provides firm and solid mounting and chances to better distribute the weight of equipement.
Handcuffs pouch is covering handcuffs fully. It is closed with Velcro.
Electronic device pouch was made of Cordura in '93 Polish Army pattern. It is designed for general purpose, though with its size it would best fit devices like iPhone or PDA or some of mobile GPS. Radio pouch is very similar, it differs only by size and elastic ribbon.
Gas mask pouch is a horizontal type one. It is designed to take out gas mask with your right hand on the right side of your back. If you would like to mount it for the left hand, it would have to be put upside down. Outer side goes with 4 PALS rows. In the lower edge of the pouch there is a wide rubber which helps to pack gas mask with filter outside. Like buttpack, gas mask pouch is mounted with whole surface which prevents from loosy trembling. Wide and rigid flap is accessible in gloves, and is easy to open with one move of a hand. On photos you may see Avon S10 gas mask and it fitted very well. American MCU-2/P was not easy to fit, even without protective cover. With additional screen it was impossible to fit.
Well made and convenient chest pistol holsters are pretty rare on the market. Chest holsters are unarguably most convenient in situations like driving a car or climbing a ladder and so on. Some people would even claim it is more convenient even in other standard situations. Holster is made of Cordura with plastic filling. It is designed for Glock 17/19 and other pistols would rather not fit well (I tried with Beretta M9 and SIG P226). Holster goes with velcro for identification banner (it is requirement for LEP). It is secured with standard thumb-break with additional rubber string preventing from droping a gun. Holsters in offer are available in versions for both left and right handed users.
Shotgun holster worn on the back is another scarcely seen solution on Polish market. Short shotgun used to open doors has a few holster types. I personally think that there are better solution than a "quiver" on the back, though it is important to have some options to choose between. Holster we have a chance to review was another test series and unfortunately couldn't avoid mistake (holsters presented later like those on Europoltech fair were corrected) and too narrow entry made it impossible to fit a shotgun in it.
Holster should be mounted on the back vertically so the pistol grip would stick over your shoulder. You take out a gun by pulling it up. It is also covered with PALS system, which makes it possible to place some more MOLLE equipement on it.
Last presented piece of equipement is leg panel for pouches. Inner side is equipped with an air permeable net. It has two stabilizing belts, and inner side has bonding material which should guarantee firm placement. Belts are put through the panel beneath the Cordura layer, which makes it impossible to tear off it as it may happen in other common solution, where belts are sewed to the edges of a panel. Mounting to waist belt has three point buckle making it easier to mount and dismantle the whole set.
Along with pouches we had a chance to check out two slings. Both slings go with ITW "MASH HOOK" system. It is convenient solution which makes it easy to lock a gun and providing smooth movement. Both slings are simple and dependable. Double-point sling was made of 2" ribbon, while single-point sling was made of 1" ribbon. What is more single-point sling has a quick-release buckle.
SPECOPS accustomed us to products of highest quality, worth to pay its price. Regardless mistakes of pre-production series and assuming those would be corrected before production line starts, high quality and smart solutions reaffirm SPECOPS reputation. Undoubtedly those pouches may be recommended to any user who would need extra durability and reliability. I would just wish that SPECOPS products would become more available to individual consumer, apart from occasional throwing of leftovers on auction website Allegro.
Pouches were tested thanks to producer SPECOPS from Poland
Translation by Bukhart