MOLLE gear

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by lionking, Sep 20, 2021.

  1. lionking

    lionking Member

    Jul 6, 2006
    Never used it, have used ALICE gear before.Thinking of getting some MOLLE gear now. Looks like the FLC vest is a easy use which seems discontinued now in favor of IOT vest. Any benefits and hindrances between the FLC and IOT along with assorted pouches and back packs available?

    One thing I would like is to keep using the Bianchi UM holster (really like that holster) prefered on a belt side strapped ,would a ALICE belt work ok along with MOLLE gear?

    Also which brands of MOLLE gear are better than others? They are all over Amazon and Ebay
  2. Victor252

    Victor252 Member

    Jan 26, 2021
    Near D.C.
    I still have my old FLC and I still like it. You can get an ACU (digital cammo) or other patterned FLC and triple mag pouches dirt cheap.!22204!US!-1
    Some people hate the ACU pattern but when you have pouches and gear strapped to the FLC, you can't see the FLC cammo pattern anyway. Other people just dye their ACU gear.

    I think ALICE clips are fine (and work with MOLLE loops) but the military is still using MOLLE so you will have more options. Military surplus will be the best value, but you can always by the Gucci gear from Blue Force or Tactical Tailor.

    I would never ever want to buy one of the large MOLLE packs with the plastic frames. They just hurt your back. The old ALICE rucks were better.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2021
  3. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    Birmingham, Alabama
    What do you want this gear to accomplish? And what’s your budget? Good gear gets expensive. Overall Molle gear is very flexible in the type and location of the pouches and is a big step up from the Alice system.

    If you’re looking for function over trying to recreate a specific historical setup, I wouldn’t touch a FLC. There’s a reason why everybody who has an option either wears a plate carrier or a chest rig.

    A plate carrier (like the IOTV) is going to give you the ability to carry armor. Some will have provisions for only plates, while others will have a larger pocket that allows you to include soft armor as well. Adding soft armor gives you a larger coverage area, often including your sides, but that usually only gives you pistol/frag protection for that area (as opposed to rifle protection from the plate). This is one of those areas where your threat profile dictates what you choose. A carrier with both hard and soft armor will give you better protection than a carrier that has just a plate, but it will also be heavier and hotter.

    A chest rig gives you less space for pouches and gear and generally doesn’t have provisions for armor, but it is usually a decent bit lighter and allows you to stay a lot cooler while carrying all the gear (open back and less on the front gives you more airflow). A PC will generally support more weight than a chest rig, but that’s not always a good thing. Sometimes less weight is better. You can also put a plate carrier over a slick (no pouches) PC. For what it’s worth, I greatly prefer a Rhodesian style Molle chest rig.

    Honestly if you want to go with a plate carrier, I think you’d get a better result getting commercial gear rather than a military surplus. There’s LOTS of cheap stuff out there that won’t last, so make sure you get a plate carrier/chest rig from a good company. General rule of thumb - if it’s on Amazon or eBay, it’s probably cheap crap that won’t hold up to serious use. There are exceptions, but if you want to use the gear, buy it from a reputable source.

    I have seen some good surplus chest rigs out there. Eagle makes a good Rhodesian style Molle chest rig, and there are some Tactical Assault Panels that are a good low cost (and low feature) chest rig. The TAP can also be attached to a plate carrier with the right buckles, so it can technically serve two purposes.

    Pouches are a great thing to get as surplus, and it saves a lot of money. Buy more pouches than you expect to need. As you try different things, you’ll be glad to have extras as opposed to having to decide you want to make a change then place another order. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve pulled off a pouch and put it in the bin and then later decided that pouch would be perfect for some other use.

    One trick I’ve learned is to look at how knowledgable people have their rigs set up and note the similarities and differences. My gear has gone through many different revisions based on my experience and priorities changing, so just expect to swap things around once in a while.

    As a general rule of thumb, medical, TQ, and 3-4 mags will get you a decent baseline setup. Don’t put anything on your back - keep everything where you can reach it. If you plan on fighting standing up (raids, working from vehicles, that sort of thing) doubled up mag pouches can be useful. If you plan on fighting from the prone, single mag pouches on your chest let you get closer to the ground (and spreads out the weight a bit more).

    I feel like I’ve talked a lot about PC’s and chest rigs…

    Belts - you can use an Alice belt with Molle pouches, but things will move around. I used some high test fishing line to keep pouches roughly in place, but I eventually moved to a battle belt with Molle loops. There are some Air Force battle belts out there right now for cheap that use the Alice belt (that specific battle belt has a sleeve for the Alice belt to actually be used to secure everything) so you might be able to reuse your holster while also having Molle for the pouches.

    Packs - avoid the army’s Molle ruck sack. Everything I’ve heard about it is that it’s very uncomfortable. The USMC FILBE is a decent pack, but it is massive and heavy. My pack (empty) is 10 lbs (more than double my commercial pack of a similar size). Also keep in mind that it is designed to be worn while you’re also wearing a plate carrier. It is still definitely useable without a plate carrier, but it is not going to be as comfortable as a commercial pack. The USMC ILBE pack was made by a commercial manufacturer and is reportedly very comfortable as a pack, but doesn’t fit very well if you’re wearing armor.

    The FILBE also has an assault pack that connects to the main ruck, and the assault pack itself is a pretty decent day pack.

    Another thing - there’s nothing wrong with an Alice pack, but the FILBE frame is Alice compatible and allows you to use the Alice pack with the (much more comfortable) FILBE and/or Molle straps and hip belt (you can buy the parts individually).

    Cost wise, right now an ILBE is probably around $200-$250, a FILBE is around $100-150, and last time I priced setting up an Alice pack with the FILBE gear it was about $60-75 (without the actual pack). Also consider that the ILBE is in woodland Marpat while the FILBE is coyote. The FILBE doesn’t stand out quite as much as a “military” pack if you’re hiking with it.

    My general thought is that the FILBE assault pack is a decent buy, but unless you need the specific advantages of a military ruck (LOTS of space, NIR compliant if you’re using night vision, or need something that works while you’re wearing armor) a commercial pack will serve you better than a military pack. That said, if you’re on a budget the military packs definitely work.
    NIGHTLORD40K likes this.
  4. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

    Feb 10, 2016
    Fl panhandle
    MOLLE gear is superior to the older ALICE gear in construction and attachment methods, and the ability to configure your kit into any configuration you could imagine. The are some really good makers like Crye, Paraclete, and so on- also very expensive and typically in use by SOF units with never-ending budgets. There is also some real garbage out there from overseas. Your best bet (for the $) would be to get items that are surplus and actual US mil issue from a surplus store or sources like sportsman guide. The US mil has been through several versions of this gear in several colors/camo patterns. What you get may not be the newest, coolest camo pattern(s) but if it is actual surplus issue gear, it will be durable and effective enough for most any civilian use. As far as your M9 holster, there are adaptors to make older gear work with MOLLE setups.
    NIGHTLORD40K and Victor252 like this.
  5. M-14

    M-14 Member

    Mar 21, 2020
    The woods of NH
    +1 surplus MOLLE

    Victor252 likes this.
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