Nemesis Chest Rig from Warrior Assault Systems
Construction After what I would regard as an overdue period sticking to 1000D cordura (which put me off the brand for some time) Warrior has finally seen the 500 denier light and this rig was one the very first items they produced to the new lighter, less bulky spec, in-keeping with trends seen throughout the tactical gear industry. After a few years of not picking up any WAS gear I was curious to know if the very high standard of durability in construction and mil-spec materials were still in place and I'm happy to report they are. The cordura, webbing, thread, bungee cord, elastic, polymer hardware, metal grommets, velcro and zip all meet the top-end standard and you'll find just the same materials in this rig as you would in something from Blue Force Gear or Tactical Tailor. WAS stuff is put together in China hence the low prices compared to US made gear, but the materials are all imported from elsewhere (primarily the US) which makes it ideal for the airsofter who wants the maximum possible skirmish outings per £/$/¥/€ spent. Primary Feature The 4 integrated magazine pouches are the flagship element of this chest rig and though it may appear to be a dedicated 5.56 STANAG setup on the face of things, that's actually far from the truth. Options per pouch include the following:
1 or 2 30rnd STANAGs or PMAGs, the pouches are fairly generously proportioned so you won't have to battle with it too much to get the second mag in (will also hold 20 rounders and one Surefire 60 or similar)
1 or 2 AK mags (best suited to 545, probably not ideal for 762x39 due to the curvature more than anything but most should fit)
1 Legacy 7.62 NATO Rifle/SR-25/SCAR-H mag
1 H&K G36 mag
Some small/medium radios would also be a possibility along with some kind of EDC style medical kit or a sport sized smoke grenade/other pyro deivce; but you'd struggle with something the size of a military smoke.
Each pouch features a bungee retention loop with folded webbing tab for ease of manipulation. The length of these loops can be quickly and easily adjusted to size, all the way from securing two 762x39 AK magazines down to just one 30 rnd STANAG. This is achieved via the cord-loc stashed away inside each individual chest panel; simply adjust the loop to the size you want, set in that size with the cord-loc and the excess bungee is all kept neatly out of the way inside the rig itself. This is a feature you'll not generally find on other chest rigs or shingle pouches out there on the market, more often than not you're left with that bungee just swinging in the breeze and either just have to live with it, or break out something sharp and make a permanent modification.
Also Showing To my mind, split front chest rigs are the way to go. I find that being able to shrug on a piece of gear in the same way you do a jacket or coat is infinitely preferable to faffing around getting stuff over your head then tightening it all down. You gain maybe an inch or two of load carriage area in the very front of a a system like this by not having that zip at the 12 o/clock; space which is useful there's no denying. However, are you really making your equipment that much harder to access by shifting everything towards your back by a single inch? Generally, I'd imagine you're not. I've owned numerous variants of this style of chest rig over the past 7 years or so and have been skirmishing them on and off pretty much since I started in airsoft. The Tactical Tailor 2-Piece MAV (and the BULLE MLE that copies it) for example, are both excellent split-front setups in a very similar vein to the Nemesis and both work fantastically well for any sort of gaming when you really only want to carry the small amount of equipment that's actually necessary for Sunday skirmishing; especially as an optional alternative to putting everything on a belt. At the higher end you have various options in this style such as the FirstSpear Split-Front Tubes rig, the Mayflower UW GEN V and the Blue Force Gear SPLITminus all of which enable the sort of quick, hassle free donning and doffing that makes life so much more pleasant during those breaks between games. Airsoft is after all an enjoyable with a fast paced sporting element that doesn't require anyone to suffer the rigours or military service or deployment, anything which makes me that bit more comfortable during a game day (primarily during the breaks) is very much welcome.
The Nemesis achieves its' split front functionality in a simple, robust fashion with the minimum of fuss. An extremely chunky YKK zip is mounted upside-down between the two panels and the combination of the large teeth and slider with the inverse mounting makes it super easy to line up and get started every single time, almost zero chance of annoying malfunctions and having to wrestle with this thing when it goes out of kilter on you. The teeth and slider are then covered up by a double flapped closure of velcro and webbing to maximise camouflage, minimise noise and hold down the pull on the slider to prevent it rattling around for all the world to hear. The outer most flap has 2 webbing pull tabs so you're not left to get frustrated while trying to peel up one corner of the velcro in your gloves. There are also elastic loops on the outside of this closure to hold 2 cyalumes, which personally I feel is rather pointless and would've preferred these be omitted since I'd never mount chemical lighting sticks in that position, but that's a really minor niggle and there are a few potential other uses for the elastic such as storage for paracord or other simple survival items.
Moving around the sides of the integral mag pouches we have a field of PALS webbing on each panel, measuring 3 columns by 5 rows. These two areas give you plenty of space for any combination of pistol mags/radio pouch/med kit/smoke grenade/GP pouch/40mm etc to fit your personal requirements and supplement the rifle magazines carried up front. This isn't alternately spaced webbing either, so you've got guaranteed solid mounting for pouches of any height, including the less common ones built to be an even number of PALS rows tall. Most companies will shave off some weight (and more importantly, cost) by avoiding solid PALS implementation, so it's particularly nice to see this on such a competitively priced rig. The amount of stitching is almost over the top with bar tacking used very liberally indeed throughout the Nemesis, as seems to be characteristic with Warrior. This construction style does not make for a super light or supple piece of gear, but with a bit of break in it's perfectly comfortable and you'll have to really work on it to cause much in the way of wear or damage.
On the inside of each chest panel there is a mesh pocket with a small velcro tab to for closure, handy for safely holding thinner administrative items. Or indeed potentially a place to keep your smart phone and wallet, safe from BB hits; depending on the thickness of those items and how bothered the wearer is about having solid items pressed directly against the body.
The Harness All the above is great, but you'll need some kind of strap system to attach it all to your body. Luckily the harness on the Nemesis does a good job of that, with plenty of features built in to it. The harness comes as standard in an H configuration which is good as that is generally the all-round better option, but if you did want to convert back to an X you could remove the crossbar and very easily do so. The primary straps that bear the weight comprise 1.5” webbing (which is a lot stronger than cordura) going over the shoulders and 1” webbing to make the connections around the back between the shoulders straps and the panels themselves. You then have a large amount of padding sewn on to the primary areas at the front and top of the 1.5” webbing, which significantly cushions out the harness. Ideally we'd have seen 3D spacer mesh underneath the padding to increase airflow and moisture wicking, but then of course the price would've increased and on a comparatively small surface area like this the moisture retention issue should be fairly minimal.
For communications cable and hydration tube routing there are webbing strips attached perpendicularly to the upper area of the harness straps, as well as cordura panels with velcro on the of each strap to form an enclosure wrap. Each of these has elastic loops protruding from their outer edges to form another channel for potential use. There are also PALS-like webbing points integrated to the front of each routing enclosure, which are ideal for attachment of ITW Grimlocks/Web dominators and PTT devices. Sufficed to say if you have a hydration system and/or comms setup on the back or sides of this chest rig you are extremely well catered for.
One would assume that Warrior plan to release specific hydration carriage backpack or rear panel for the Nemesis as it comes with a pair of (currently) superfluous side-release buckles attached to the top of the shoulder straps. There may be some potential for hanging other PALS mounted packs or hydration pouches to these but their positioning is generally not ideal for such a setup. The entire harness features numerous points of adjustment to allow the Nemesis to fit a very wide range of builds, all facilitated via side-release buckles. The lower back strap is rather excessive on hardware with large buckles on both ends which are frankly unnecessary, especially on a split-front rig that does not require this strap to be released for donning. The user sets it in place once, secures the excess webbing strap with the supplied elastic loops and will then not need to touch this strap again unless they perhaps add significant extra clothing or body armour.
In Conclusion The Nemesis represents very high durability of construction standards at a budget-mid level price point. As Warrior are historically well known to do, this rig provides value for money by the truck load to the skirmish user and is in many ways the ideal type of LBE for the practical airsoft player. Apologies for the cliché phrasing, but this rig would genuinely make an excellent investment for a player new to the sport as well as continuing to be a very sound choice for long time players. It will not make you look like an SOF operator and will cost you more than a low level 'ACM' rig would. It perhaps won't look as cool as a plate carrier or PALS vest, but it'll be much cooler in terms of massively reduced heat retention; having such a comparatively small footprint is of course very useful for outdoor games in the summer. But if you want something that will last for many years, be comfortable and practical, as well carrying just a basic loadout of magazines comfortably accompanied by a small amount of extra equipment; then do strongly consider the Nemesis.