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  1. 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.
  2. FirstSpear Pockets and the 6/12 System Following the initial inceptions of PALS load-bearing rigs and MOLLE pouches, the designs being produced did not see a great deal of innovation for a long period of time. The same materials, construction methods and attachment systems remained fairly standardised for a significant number of years. While this was good for the end-user in the sense that they would always know exactly what they were getting, it created a rather stagnant environment in that particular industry. 1000D rigs and pouches are extremely robust when built to a high standard, but by comparison to the new wave of tactical soft-goods that have been surfacing over the last 2 years or so, they entail a lot of weight. Weight which just isn't necessary if modern materials are applied in the proper places. As an example, Blue Force Gear have entirely replaced the standard nylon webbing attachment straps on their pouch line with their new Helium Whisper backings/straps. They have also since that point licensed the technology to both Tactical Tailor and Mayflower R&C. Two of the best known and highly regarded manufacturers of tactical gear in the US. It is my personal belief that for the vast majority of airsoft players who are using their gear on an infrequent basis and for short periods of time, that this new generation of lighter, slicker load bearing equipment is the way forward. Financial constraints will of course be a deciding factor in a hobby much more than they are in the real world. However, if a load bearing rig or pouch is designed to just last a single 4-6 month deployment rather than multiple deployments, that same item should still last a considerable length of time for the average airsofter. Granted this will vary quite substantially based on the individual's play style, the types of skirmish field they attend and various other factors. But I still feel for that the majority of players this lighter pattern of gear will provide a length and quality of service more than adequate to justify the cost. Bearing this in mind I've been purchasing quite a few items from the FirstSpear, Blue force Gear and Tactical Tailor lines of newer, lighter equipment over the last 12 months or so to see how they hold up within the airsoft arena. My personal findings have been extremely positive and it would appear FirstSpear did not entirely hate the video reviews of some of their products which I posted to YouTube. They recently got in touch and sent over a small selection of their pockets which use the new 6/12 attachment system for video review. These can be seen below by anybody who wants to get a better view of the products than picture alone provide. Those videos are deliberately generic and not directed at the airsoft market specifically, so here's a bit more information and imagery relevant to this forum. General Information A few points on construction that apply to all of the following items (where applicable with specific regards materials): Entirely Berry compliant/US Made Mil-Spec throughout All multicam items are directly from Crye Precision 500D Cordura Extensive use of grosgrain ribbon in place of webbing where appropriate ITW Nexus Polymer and metal hardware YKK Zips with paracord loops and polymer termination locks All hook and loop direct from Velcro (including both standard product and the 6/12 materials) Jacquard webbing is the new standard on all products, printed webbing has been phased out Thread - Bonded nylon, A-A-59826 Type 2 Elastic - MIL-W-5664D, Type 2, Class 1 Drainage Grommets - Variant of MIL-G-16491, Type 1, Class 3 with an enamel finish Available with either FirstSpear's 6/12 attachment system or 6/9 which is 100% backwards compatible with PALS rigs I'll be the very first to admit I don't have a clue what most of those numbers mean towards the end, but I got an e-mail from Ronnie Fowlkes who is the Director Of Business Development at FS and he kindly provided the tech specs, so I'm just passing on all of the information I have. Sufficed to say, it's awesome *suitcase*. M4 Magazine, Speed Reload, Single http://www.first-spear.com/product.php?productid=17598&cat=259&page=1 Not just for M4/M16/AR pattern weapons of course, that's just FirstSpear's nomenclature. Pictured holding a Lancer Systems L5 Lancer 30 round magazine, which doesn't fully seat in to the pocket on account of the external geometry of this particular magazine. So if you've got the King Arms replicas, take note. But rest assured your mags will still be retained securely even without the bungee. I also tried out a PTS TMAG (identical shape to the M-Version PMAG), PTS EMAG and a KWA LM4 magazine. Pictured with the bungee hooked on, but tested without. Removing the bungee retention is a 10 second job and entirely reversible. My findings have been that there's absolutely no reason to keep it on, the real beauty of this pocket is the fact it will securely retain basically any 5.56x45mm 30 round style magazine while allowing for instant, unhindered access when required by the user. Regardless of whether you're using super light plastic midcaps for your AEG or LM4 GBBR magazines (which are the heaviest STANAGs/PMAGs out there to my knowledge). The bungee really does nothing but diminish this quality, though if you really are uber-worried about losing magazines then feel free to keep using it. The pull tab itself consists of a strip of webbing encased in the same Trelleborg material that BFG use to make their Helium Whisper backings, which adds a significant amount of grip texture vs. the nylon fabrics most manufacturers employ in this area. There's also a trough of loop inside the pocket. This allows for velcro retention of the magazines, if that's something you want to use on top of the security provided provided by the polymer insert. An insert which (surprisingly) seems to add almost no weight at all to the pocket, which is impressive indeed. If you're looking for that ideal pouch to mount on your hip for that go-to speed reload mag, this is the one you want. M4 Double http://www.first-spear.com/product.php?productid=17600&cat=259&page=1 This basic design is one that most people are going to be familiar with, almost every manufacturer of PALS pouches makes it. That said, there are a few key factors which make the FirstSpear iteration stand out from the crowd. First off is the weight, or lack thereof vs. the same pouch made to the 1000D pattern with webbing straps/press stud attachment; there is a very noticeable difference. Second is the use of webbing for the lids rather than multiple layers of cordura. Webbing is a highly resilient material, a fact that is going to come in handy if you put one of these pouches in the standard place on your carrier and go crawling along the ground. Third is the space inside and the elastic retention. Unlike a lot of so-called double pouches you can actually get two magazines in here without entering in to a pitched battle, but if you tuck in the lids you've instantly got shingles and a good level of retention is maintained on a single magazine. The tabs on the lids along with the shaping of them makes access to ammo with the lids secured an easy matter when you really need more rounds right this instant. Also worth reiterating is that the jacquard webbing shown on my pocket is the way that FS now make these pockets, despite the image shown on their website. Pistol Magazine Pocket, Speed Reload, Double http://www.first-spear.com/product.php?productid=17623&cat=260&page=1 The version I have here for review is constructed to fit M9 and P226 magazines. Despite the similarities in size, Glock magazines will not fit this pouch (tested with RS & KWA G17 mags). So you'll need to be sure to buy the pocket that fits to your specific handgun. The following types are available: 1911 M9/226 G17/19, M&P 9mm, USP-9, P2000 & P30 G22/23 G21 Compared to a BFG Pistol TenSpeed or pistol TACO, there isn't a lot of versatility, it has to be said. However, if you're primarily just running one type of pistol, then the functionality is certainly there in spades. Essentially what you have is a miniaturised version of the Speed Reload M4. So the polymer insert is present inside as the primary retainer and you've also got the option of bungee and velcro retention on top of that if you so choose. That said, my recommendation is to get rid of the bungee and forget about velcro, because the retention on my TM P226E2 magazines simply using the basic pocket was excellent. I'd almost say they were perhaps held a little too tightly to facilitate optimal reload speed, but that might be partially be a case of wear-in. Either way, I'd rather have to put a bit more effort in to grabbing my magazines than have them fall out on to concrete and break/fall out in to the dirt and get lost in the woods. Overall, provided you're able to work with the specificity of the design, the pure simplicity of it really shines through. Smooth and extremely easy to insert and draw from, no bungee to adjust or move out of the way, no lids to slow you down. Some of those areas being points which the Tenspeed and TACO fall down on. General Purpose Pocket, Medium http://www.first-spear.com/product.php?productid=17655&cat=265&page=2 For all those spare batteries, tools, cyalumes, gloves, scrim nets/dead rags, pens, maps, phones, wallets, snack bars, widgets, stuff and things. There are many, many utility/general pouches on the market and they come in every shape, size and style imaginable. What they don't generally do which this one does, is sit extremely flat when empty (or minimally filled) while still allowing a lot of room for expansion when needed. Basically the same way the thigh/cargo pockets on your combat cut trousers sit flat normally and expand when necessary. Just the right height to place on a standard PC cummerbund or on most chest rigs. The zip is robust, relatively quiet and doesn't have nearly as much of that annoying tendency to go in to an awkward shape which means you have to end up using your spare hand to put some tension on the pouch to straighten out the teeth. The redundant closure using a G-Hook on a strip of webbing is unusual, also surprising given that they're trying to save weight. But the pocket is still extremely light overall and it does help with the zip issue, as well as keeping the actual opening of the pocket more consistent, rather than having the whole thing drop right open and spill your gear when you've got items held in the elastic retainers on the far side from your body. The elastic is sewn to provide 3 medium sized stowage spaces near the body, with 4 small spaces on the far side. This really does help in terms of preventing battle rattle, as well as making it significantly quicker and easier to withdraw small, thin items. Since they're presented to you in an easy to grab vertical alignment as soon as you open the pocket, rather than gradually slipping to a position of lying down in the bottom amongst everything else. In Conclusion Unfortunately as with so many other things in life, the more you improve something the harder it is to make significant performance gains and even small positive increments become expensive. It is my opinion that at this time FirstSpear's products are at the pinnacle of PALS pocket design, especially with regards materials usage. Innovation and quality come at a cost and these items are certainly not cheap, indeed they're probably not value for money as far as a hobby is concerned in quite a few respects. But if you've already loaded yourself out with conventional 1000D pattern kit and you're looking to take the next step towards lighter, more functional, lower drag equipment, this is the way forward. All the conventional colours are available throughout the entire FS line of pockets as well 6/12 and standard PALS compatible attachment. Everything is very thoroughly planned out with an attention to detail which is meticulous when really examined, yet not obvious upon initial inspection. Whether the prices are justifiable to you as an individual is of course highly subjective. But you can rest assured when you do buy a FirstSpear product you're investing in quality and innovative gear which will function incredibly well for you in the field.
  3. 0241Tactical

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    From the album: 0241Tactical

    Backpack Covers available at www.0241Tactical.com

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