Blackhawk RACK Vs Guarder MOD

Blackhawk
R.A.C.K v/s Guarder M.O.D

by
Comega and Lee

Pictures of MOD courtesy of Ramraid.

There
are not many people into airsoft who have not heard of Blackhawk
Industries, If you have been to a proper game you have probably
seen a Blackhawk vest or two. For those that don’t know, they are
a extremely large American manufacturer of Tactical clothing and
equipment.

Those of you
that watched Blackhawk Down, an interesting fact that you might
or might not be aware of is that Blackhawk Industries supplied all
the tactical gear for that, from harnesses to the vests and virtually
everything in between. Unlike the Taiwanese / Chinese tactical clothing,
Blackhawk usually stands miles apart in quality and feel and the
general look, enter stage right – Guarder (intrudershop) we shall
get into this a bit later on.

People don’t
often like to spend much on their tactical equipment but rather
concentrate on the weapons, sure that’s fine – but if you are anything
like me then you want to have the right look for the right guns,
and there is nothing more fun then setting your loadout to match
a certain era or perhaps a look, be it fictional or real life a
good example is all those Stargate fans out there.

So why
the R.A.C.K ?
Also
known as the Ranger Assault Carrying Kit ? Well the reasons behind
this are primarily the current operation going on in Afghanistan
paired with the movie Blackhawk Down meeting somewhere in the middle.
Now one thing I must point out at a early stage is that the “issue”
R.A.C.K is not made by Blackhawk but by a company known as Speciality
Defense (specialitydefense.com). I decided to go for the Ranger
loadout after doing some research and loosely basing it on the movie
as well (in terms of the body armour, BDU’s and boots).

So
what is it then?
The
Blackhawk R.A.C.K is a compatible component of the U.S. Issue MOLLE
system and will accept all MOLLE compatible pockets, this goes for
the Guarder one as well mentioned later on.

“It is the
current LCE for all riflemen at the 75th Ranger Regiment and many
other U.S. Special Operations Forces. It can be configured for Grenadiers
and SAW Gunners. All new modular pockets on the SPEAR System, AIRSAVE
aviators survival vest, Marine MOLLE, and Army Modular System (MLS)
are compatible with the BLACKHAWK R.A.C.K and Modular system. The
R.A.C.K frees up the hip and abdomen. Because it.s worn on the chest,
it does not conflict with a waist belt. The BLACKHAWK R.A.C.K also
helps protect the upper body from frag, bullets and trama because
it gets your gear up on the chest area for extra protection. The
R.A.C.K can be worn H harness style or with shoulder straps crossed
in the back. It works with or without packs/body armor. Each pocket
contains drainage grommets; pull tabs, and drawstring cords with
barrel locks. Ladder locks, D-rings, snaps and hook-and pile closures
encompass the RACK. The RACK can be configured in any way suitable
for your mission.”

Indeed it is,
the great thing about this vest like any MOLLE system is that it
can be configured how YOU like it, people with the generic Blackhawk
vests often find that they usually dont have enough pockets or have
too many, and usually end up adding on pouches on their belts which
are often the wrong shade and so forth, however that can work just
as good – as I have some on mine :)

With the R.A.C.K you
can configure it as YOU wish. The Complete Blackhawk system ships with
the following components :

1 x RACK
Chest Harness includes a stash away bib that provides additional space for
pockets; attaches on the shoulder straps D-rings; D-rings also act a base
for attaching any Blackhawk removable day packs, fins, radios packs etc.
Mesh pockets behind bib holds ANPVS-7D, M-24 mini binocular.
4 x Mag Pouches
each holds 2 M-16/M-4 magazine and two 12-gauge shot gun rounds.
3 x Grenade Pouches:
each holds a fragmentation grenade.
1 x Radio Pouch
(saber or similar).
1 x Utility Pouch
accommodates AN/PRC-126 radio or general purpose items.
1 x Canteen Pouch,
one quart with stash-away flap holds more frag, 40mm grenades, or NVG.s.
1 x Leg Pouch
snaps on/off via 2 side-release fasten adapters provides storage for protective
mask or general purpose, can also be worn on a sling.


The pouches are extremely easy to attach, and once fitted they sit extremely
snugly and can easily stand up to the fast mag pulls or used mag dumping
that you usually encounter in airsoft or for that matter real combat. My
current configuration is as follows :

1 x
Chest harness with the bib folded out.
3 x Grenade
pouches.
3 x M16
Mag pouches.
1 x Utility
pouch.
1 x Radio
pouch.
1 x Leg
pouch.

The
chest rig where all this attaches too can be worn in a H-harness style,
which I personally found to be VERY uncomfortable as it feels like its going
to just slide off.. or crossed on the back, which sits extremely well and
doesn’t move at all once locked into place. Opening up the bib allows for
the addition of more pouches, these can be full sized pouches or the small
grenade pouches. There is a zipped up document stash on the inside of this
which Blackhawk says can hold the “ANPVS-7D, M-24 mini binocular” however,
I find anything bulky in there gets quite uncomfortable especially if you
hit the ground hard. Documents, maps, perhaps a chocolate bar are what I
normally have in there.

The
grenade pouches will easily take the EG or the PDL grenades we use in airsoft,
or, one of the normal sized PMR Radio’s – I have my ALAN 456 in there without
any problems.

The
saber pouch can take any pistol and can lock it firmly into place, this
is a Radio pouch however and not a holster so don’t expect any quick pull
features and if you don’t lock it down firmly then you will find it falling
out. I use my WA 92f in the pouch without any problems. While the leg pouch
swallowed up a PASGT helmet easily along with 2 military smoke grenades.
If you want you can load it up with just smokes, it takes about 6 of the
Smoke Generators. It’s also good for dumping used mags into when you don’t
want to mess around with finding the pouch on the chest rig.

Then
we come to the mag pouches, As said earlier these can take 2 M16 magazines
or 2 G3 mags, no P90 mags in here like some of the standard Blackhawk vests,
however they could be dumped in the Leg pouch if you really wanted to use
the P90 or the Utility pouch I am informed, however not having a P90 anymore
I cannot verify this for you. Don’t let this put you off however, the amount
of pouches included with this vest means you can configure one of the large
pouches to go on your chest instead of the M16 pouch and you can easily
hold larger mags – for example the saber pouch holds 2 AK mags quite comfortably.

Velcro
or fast release buckle ?
Well you decide, the mag
pouches are held close by the velcro while the leg pouch and the saber pouch
has both, however you can choose which one to use as they come with a male
cover for the velcro should you not choose to use it and only use the fast
release clip. I personally use both for the extra added security and comfort
knowing what I put into the pouches stays in there. The grenade pouches
closed with press studs.

Guarder
M.O.D Vest
This
is where Guarder
(intrudershop.com.tw)
comes into the picture, they have recently introduced a new product
which seems awfully lot like the R.A.C.K, its called the Modular
Operation / Duty (M.O.D.) Tactical Vest. Simply put.. It’s a copy.
The material is made out of the similar stuff the Blackhawk kit
is made out of – DuPont 1000-Denier CORDURA. Price of this item
? Only USD $135 + P&P from HK or £120 for
Airsoft
Dynamics
.

What
does it come with ?
You can get all the
accessories for this vest which will make it exactly like the
Blackhawk vest, however they are not included, for the $135 you
get :

1
x Chest harness with foldout bib.
3
x M16 magazine pouches (which can hold 3 mags – unlike blackhawk
which takes only 2).
1
x qt canteen pouch (us issue water bottle fits without any hassle).
1
x Saber pouch (Can easily hold 2 AK mags).
1
x AN/PRC 126 Radio pouch (can easily hold 3 P90 mags).

This
will set you back $135.00 Anything else is extra.

The general
build of this vest isint as good as the Blackhawk’s,
some place do feel like they would rip after pro-longed rough use and could
have done with double stiching. The fit isint as comfy as the Blackhawk’s,
the bib feels a bit loose and a bit flimsy on the chest once attached to
the D-rings and just isint snug enough for my liking. The pouches lock in
a similiar fashion as the R.A.C.K – velcro and quick release tabs.

You
can swap the pouches between the R.A.C.K and as a matter of fact the MOD
is fully MOLLE Compatible, which is not bad considering the prices of MOLLE
kit.

One
of the quite obvious difference is the presence of Shotgun shell loops in
the Blackhawk Ammo pouches and not there in Guarders. The Above is me generally
just looking for the smallest faults I could find because this is that good
a replica ! In reality in my opinion this would last just as long as the
Blackhawk if treated well.

Some
of you might feel that I have not mentioned much about the M.O.D and concentrated
more on the R.A.C.K, the only reason for this is because there is not much
difference between the two, and could easily be mistaken for one another
if, you did not see the other one or if the everpresent and now infamous
badge of Blackhawk wasnt present on the inside of one of them.

Another
thing you might want to keep in mind before doing any future purchases,
which I certainly will is that Guarder
are set to release a whole bunch of products which are identifical to Blackhawk
and other major products on the market at the moment, one thing which certainly
takes my intreset is the M.O.D body Armour, which is a replica of the current
issue Interceptor vest.

PRICE
COMPARISON

Complete
Blackhawk R.a.c.k $399.95* (£254.85)

Optional
Accessories

MOLLE –
R.A.C.K. Chest Harness Woodland Camo $99.95
MOLLE – R.A.C.K. 40mm Single Pouch Woodland Camo $15.95
MOLLE – R.A.C.K. 40mm Double Pouch Woodland Camo $22.95
MOLLE – R.A.C.K. Hand Grenade Single Woodland Camo $24.95
MOLLE – R.A.C.K. M-4 Magazine Pouch (Holds 2) Woodland Camo $24.95

MOLLE – R.A.C.K. Radio Pouch (Sabre) Woodland Camo $29.95
MOLLE – R.A.C.K. Radio Pouch Woodland Camo $37.95
MOLLE – R.A.C.K. 1 Qt. Canteen Pouch Woodland Camo $39.95
MOLLE – R.A.C.K. SAW Pouch 200 Rnds Woodland Camo $39.95
MOLLE – R.A.C.K. Gas Mask Leg Pouch Woodland Camo $79.95

Guarder
M.O.D $135.00*

Complete M.O.D with all the same pouches as the R.A.C.K = $252.00*
(£160.66)

Optional
Accessories

Rifle Mag
Pouch for M.O.D. Tactical Vest Price: $ 30.0
Canteen Pouch for M.O.D. Tactical Vest Price: $ 30.0
Leg Bag for M.O.D. Tactical Vest Price: $ 45.0
Saber Radio Pouch for M.O.D. Tactical Vest Price: $ 30.0
Grenade Pouch for M.O.D. Tactical Vest Price: $ 24.0

 

* Please
note the above prices are the RRP from the manufacturer’s websites and do
not reflect how much you could get the vest somewhere else or on sale etc,
and they dont include the shipping costs either.

Now
as mentioned earlier, Blackhawk Kit is not too expensive but can get a bit
pricey, also it’s next to impossible to get hold of without a wait. A good
example would be my vest, I picked it up thru a source in the states for
$220 including shipping which gave me a considerable saving, I did order
one directly from Blackhawk and it has just arrived after a 2 month long
wait. However, If you are in the UK, and dont wish to order from the states
directly be it for whatever eason, then give Extreme Procurement a try.
As for the Guarder version, Airsoft Dynamics have been getting a lot of
the Guarder kit in, and they can supply this vest for £120.

Conclusion
: So which one to choose ?

If
you are on a budget and want to get basically a similiar-ish (not quite
the same) quality kit, which most people wont be able to tell the difference
between then go for the Guarder.

Its
nicely built and to be honest – very good for the money. Sure there is no
lifetime guarantee but I can not see it ripping anytime soon.
The grenade pouches and the leg bag ? You could always buy some MOLLE issue
grenade pouches (usually retail for $5 on ebay) which will fit, since this
is MOLLE compatible like the Blackhawk version. Alternatively you could
just go for Guarders version which are a bit more pricey, $24 for a Grenade
pouch and $45 for the leg bag.

Personally,
I would go for the Blackhawk kit. Why ? Simply because I have used their
kit for a while and am very satisfied with it, also if there is EVER a rip
or a tear or someway the kit is letting me down I simply return it to Blackhawk
– be it now or 20 years down the line and simply get a new one.. Blackhawk
are that confident this kit will last that they give you a lifetime guarantee.

I am
of the opinion that Blackhawk can be imitated, however it cannot be replaced.

External
Links:
TBA

Site
links:

TBA


Last modified:
Wednesday, May 9, 2001 9:37 AM copyright 2001 ArniesAirsoft




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