Field Gear vs. Street Gear vs...


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Nightcrawler
February 7, 2006, 09:12 PM
Okay, I've been thinking about this for awhile. My only real experience in actually carrying arms was in the Guards. That is, tromping around the woods with a SAW.

So, based on that experience, plus what I've seen/read/learned since, I have to wonder if there aren't different levels of "gear" out there to be had. That is, that which is suitable for field use, that which is suitable for street use, and that which is suitable for CCW use.

Take, for example, my pistol holsters. I have a Kramer and a High Noon, for my M625 and Colt, respectively. Both are retention level 0 and are open topped. The holster is held in place only by friction.

Now, these are designed as concealment holsters, and they work well for that task. However, I would not use either one as a duty holster, having no retention, and I certainly wouldn't use one if tromping around rough country. In my opinion, the same goes for all open-topped magazine carriers, holsters, etc. I'd worry that with no retention other than friction, if you had to low crawl, hop over a wall, or fell into a ditch, you'd lose your handgun/magazines/whathaveyou.

OTOH, some people use these types of equipment for shooting schools and 3-gunning, both of which can be physcially intensive (relatively). So I have to wonder about how useful CCW-type holsters are for situations like this. The same can be said for open topped ammunition carriers. www.3gungear.com

Street gear is kind of blurred between CCW gear and field gear. Street gear is typically what would be useful to a police officer or armed guard on patrol. Again, for situations like this, I wouldn't want open-topped ammunition carriers, but Blade-Tech, Safariland, and others all make such equipment. Well, I'd also worry about a bad guy (or some random dude, for that matter) running by and trying to snatch my magazines and whatnot.

For any use where running, jumping, or climbing is a possibility, would it be wrong to say that flapped, snapped, velcroed, or otherwise secured gear would be preferable? Or is there something I'm not seeing here?

Field use is what I equate to military use, or even for outdoorsey type stuff, wandering in rough country. Here again, especially, you don't want a retention level 0 holster. Also, for field use, I consider open bottomed holsters to be less than ideal. If you have to crawl around, you don't want all that crap getting into your pistol's muzzle.

Now, a flap holster is best for that, but makes for a painfully slow draw compared to any other type.

For my personal preferances, how much stuff I'd carry depends on the mission. If I was doing armed security or patrolling just, my gear would probably limited to a strong-side retention holster for the sidearm, plus flapped/velcroed magazine pouches for that and my long gun (if applicable). For field work, I"d probably want some kind of vest (not like a Blackhawk or Eagle vest, more like a GI LBV) or load bearing harness, with pouches for other stuff, like binos, food, water, a compass, maps, etc.

Holster wise, one can work for the other. There's no reason a police-type duty holster won't work for military/field use. Heck, a lot of "tactical/SWAT" type thigh holsters are popular in Iraq now. But you don't really need a level II or III retention holster for this type of work. Most military holsters (belt or drop leg) from Blackhawk, Eagle, Tactical Tailor, and others have only a simple thumbreak and are constructed of nylon and cordura.

So, what do you think, THR? What types of holsters and ammunition carriers to you use for the field, the street, and for CCW? Or do you even make the distinction? Would you use your CCW holster/equipment for an intensive training class, or for field work?

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Jeff White
February 7, 2006, 09:42 PM
Off duty (CCW for non-sworn members): Ky-Tac Braveheart kydex for primary w/kydex mag holders and Pocket Grabber pocket holster for BUG.

On Duty (Uniform Patrol) Safariland 6280 for primary on Bianchi Accumold duty belt and Eagle Industries mag pouches. Pocket Grabber pocket holster for BUG.

Tac team turn out: Paraclete RAV w/pouches from Paraclete and Eagle. Eagle Duty Belt w/Eagle mag pouches and dump pouch, Safariland 6004 for secondary weapon.

Jeff

NMshooter
February 7, 2006, 10:48 PM
I used to do somersaults to demonstrate how decent friction retention gear kept stuff where it was supposed to be.

Not quite the same as low crawling through a swamp, but I have yet to lose anything.

If I am really worried about things falling out I want fastex buckles, because velcro or snaps do not cut it. At least not when they fill up with sand or dirt. Fastex buckles do break, though.

Your IWB holster should work just fine. Except possibly for wrestling on the ground with someone trying to do you harm, but we all try to avoid that...

When it comes to the open carry duty type gear the officers on this forum carry the same stuff most of the local ones I know use, Safariland is pretty much it for duty gear.

You end up mixing and matching all sorts of gear, depending on what you are trying to do at the moment. At least I do, and it helps me to justify the large box of gear (okay, several large boxes...:o ) in the closet.

If you want specific types, I like the Galco Scout, Royal Guard, and Summer Special, to name some IWB holsters I have used. Galco also makes very nice plastic holsters that I like for open wear, though I do not use them in a duty environment. Open topped leather pouches hold magazines as well as kydex lined nylon pouches, and either work well for pistol magazines. I like the HSGI drop holster, with or without flap.

For other stuff, I currently like the Tactical Tailor 2 piece MAV with X harness. HSGI universal mag pouches are very well built, and really will hold AR, AK, or .308 magazines. Still trying to find something that holds less and takes up less space though. Eagle makes nice kydex lined double pistol mag pouches, I currently use those. I mix and match, no single manufacturer makes everything I find useful.

Sorry for the dissertation, hope you find this useful.

Nightcrawler
February 7, 2006, 11:15 PM
Hard to find. I have a couple of ancient Austrian leather magazine pouches (two mags, side by side). I have a couple of rubber German ones in similar configuation. I have some old Candian pouches, and some new ones from FMCO that close with a fastex buckle.

Problem with two-mag pouches that close with a buckle is that they don't automatically reclose, meaning if you're running or whatever you can lose your second mag. I don't know of any gear maker that makes a standard, two-mag .308 pouch that closes with Velcro. Tactical Tailor and the others all seem to use buckles on their .308s and velcro on their 5.56s. :confused:

I like Tactical Tailor's single mag pouch that holds the mag in with a bungee cord. Very fast, and easy to use. I used two of them in Qatar for months. The cord can wear on the corner of the magazine, though.

I wouldn't want a two-mag .308 pouch if the mag was to be hung on my chest. Too thick. For a belt, though, yeah.

You're right though. Getting (and justifying!) a big box of gear is fun!

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