Central War Gaming Blog

Central War Gaming Blog


Monday, May 30, 2016

Pull Forward to Tighten

Chest rigs and vests don't really work unless they fit you. That means they snugly grab all over your torso. If you need wider or padded shoulder straps, you probably don't have it tight enough.

But the makers don't encourage this behavior. They tend to have one or two side release buckles (SRs) which also adjust it if you pull to the rear, and are then secured with a triglide so they never change. You are apparently supposed to set it up in the squad bay, then never change it.

But we have fat days, cold days where we wear more clothes, etc. We change, and need to be able to change the size of our rig, ourselves and as we wear it, easily.

The principle, if there is one, is to switch to pull-forward-to-tighten. A single adjustment, ideally, that allows the user to change the diameter of the rig as they need. Since a front adjustment or anything else would be a massive redesign, all we need for the gear makers to do is change the buckles to have the adjustments on the front edge. Then we could reach just past our hips, grab the spare strap, and tighten (or grab the SR and loosen).

Well, we can't do that (easily: some will do it if you custom order), but we can re-rig the webbing sometimes. I just did it on my new Hellcat so thought I'd explain that in detail as an example for you all. If this ever bugged you, now you'll maybe be able to fix it.

First, don't cut anything. You can probably do this just by taking apart your adjustment bits and running them different directions. If not enough webbing or you want more hardware, then go buy it. I'd also keep the old parts and webbing so you can go back to the original config it you want, or you need to sell it.

Anyway, first, we take it all apart. My rig has 2" SRs on either side. Between the two runs a single piece of webbing, which passes through a tunnel in a hydro bladder I have on it. This is a good thing for what we will do.

In my case, I set aside the original webbing and am using 2" seatbelt webbing. It is slicker so reduces friction, but maybe too much so we'll see if it releases on it's own. But, I could have done this with the original webbing it came with. 

I secured the new webbing to the left SR. I sewed it down, but you can finagle it with just threading through and tape or maybe a few hand stitches so it stays put.

Then, I rant the webbing through the tunnel to the right SR, and wove it through the buckle like usual. The biggest trick involves this. We don't change how it works, but it will still pull to the rear to tighten.

Except, we now have a lot more webbing. So, take the long loose end and run it back through the tunnel. It will end up hanging loose on the left side.

I like to adjust things with the left hand, so the right can keep securing a rifle. Often I want to adjust this while actually on the move, so it allows that more easily. You can switch sides, of course. 

Put it on, and you will find you can easily reach right behind the rear-most pouch and find a hunk of webbing hanging. Pull and it tightens up the rig! Reach around the right side, and you grab the right-hand buckle and tilt it up to release and loosen.

Now, you don't want loose webbing so another thing is to secure it. I made a bunch of extra, and sewed over the end. Then, my left-most pouch is the IFAK, so not used much. I run the loose end up and across the lid of the IFAK. The sewn end should snag on the lid so it doesn't come out.


  1. I think this is where the USMC chest rig got it right. There is a strapon both the male end of the buckle that you can pull forward and on the female end that pulls to the rear.

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  3. I need details on that. "USMC Chest Rig" is too vague for me to find.

  4. http://ciehub.info/equipment/loadbearing/FILBE/ChestRigMC.html

    I can send pictures of mine to you separately if you want a closer look.

  5. Yeah, I am not following how it works worn alone, and I guess never understood there WAS a free-standing (free-standing-able?) chest rig. Thought it was all MTVs and so on. Show me how that works sometime.


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