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Posted: 2/17/2009 10:32:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Wolfcri]
The following is a review of the MOLLE Fighting Load Carrier Vest (FLC) which I believe to be a GREAT piece of gear for an unbeatable price.  I humbly submit this review for consideration by my fellow Arfcommers.




I recently decided to revamp most of my tactical gear.  I had a lot of cool stuff that I didn't use and I realized that there was a lot of simple "low speed but low drag" gear that would make my life a lot easier.

After a lot of consideration I decided to try to find the vest that I had worn through Marine Combat Training (MCT) because the vest had held up incredibly well to the abuse of many Marines who circulate through MCT and the School of Infantry.  I couldn't begin to guess how many Marines must have used that same vest that accompanied me through my 1+ month stay at Camp Devil Dog and the surrounding terrain.  I can tell you that Marines abuse the hell out of their gear but my vest was still going strong when I turned it back in to supply at the end of my training, and I venture to guess that some Marine is freezing his ass of in it right now.

Well, after the decision was made, and after I figured out what exact piece of gear I had been using, I located the vest for sale at a few online vendors.  I got my vest for $12 at cheaperthandirt, brand spanking new in the original plastic wrap with the NSN sticker on it.  HOWEVER, they sold out in the last few days.  Sportsmans Guide still has some HERE  ...If you need help locating one I'd be more than happy to help.  The manufacturer is Specialty Defense Systems and the model is the MOLLE 2 FLC.  There is a new model of this vest also available that has slightly different features, but I am sticking with the "Tried and true".



The vest is a zipper front design with an integral padded waist belt that buckles inside the zipper, and a sternum buckle on the exterior of the vest that helps keep stress off the zipper itself.  The buckles are MADE IN THE USA just like the rest of the vest and they appear to be the fastex type.  They are compatible with the buckles on all of my other gear.  The zipper is a YKK and is very sturdy.

STERNUM BUCKLE


BELT BUCKLE (Hidden when vest is zipped closed)



YKK ZIPPER





The upper chest part of the vest is made of a very strong nylon mesh that does not easily snag and seems very difficult to tear.  I think it would require a very sharp object to tear this mesh material and the way it is assembled makes me think that it would not just begin to unravel if torn.





The vest is very well assembled.  The stitching seems thorough and sufficient everywhere it needs to be.  Although I know NOTHING about thread, it appears strong and does not snap or stretch when I yank the hell out of it.





The vest is adjustable for the height and girth of the wearer via classic webgear adjustment buckles and a unique "T" shaped device.  The "T" shaped attachment is made of flat webbing strip that is reinforced with sewn-in plastic.  It is permanently attached to the rear of each side of the vest and is inserted between the PALS webbing on the padded belt to modify the vest for waist size.  (God, I hope what I just said makes sense to somebody.)






The FLC has some other features that I found very useful.  It has two inside pockets for maps, etc. (one on each side) and loops that can be used to attach carribeaners, hydration tubes, or other gear towards the top of each side of the vest.  It also has a drag handle on the back.







Here's a pic that shows the desert camo pattern for anyone who is not familiar.




Someone asked about the adjustability of the waist belt.  I opened it all the way up and my tape measure says that it maxes out at about a 56" waist.




Here's a pic of the Tag




I am no expert tailor or super cool gear guru, but for the $12 I paid for this vest, and the quality piece of gear I received, it is my opinion that this is one of the BEST possible load bearing gear options available.  It works great for me, and other Marines I know feel the same.  It is very comfortable, can be worn with a pack, a hydration bladder, and even adjusted to fit over body armor.  That said, I hope this review helps get a quality piece of gear into the hands of someone who needs it, at an unbeatable price.


I will edit this thread with more information later after I set up one of my vests with pouches etc.
Questions and comments are welcome.
Link Posted: 2/17/2009 11:22:24 PM EDT
[#1]
Do they come in XXXXXL  ?



Link Posted: 2/17/2009 11:28:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Wolfcri] [#2]
Ok, my IM'box just exploded with interest.

I got this vest at cheaperthandirt for $12 but they must have run out in the last few days.

Here is a link to the vest at sportsmans guide.  LINK TO SPORTSMANS GUIDE

Good luck.

They can be found if you search SDS (brand) FLC vest molle on google too but they are woodland or ACU and cost more.


ETA: the other colors seem to be over $45 or 50.

I just ordered myself 2 more from sportsmans.
Link Posted: 2/17/2009 11:50:06 PM EDT
[#3]
I had my e-mail forwarding to my phone...  Poor blackberry almost vibrated itself to death.


The vest looks like it can be adjusted out pretty far.  Not sure exactly how far because I have a 32" waist but I am guessing at least 40"
Link Posted: 2/17/2009 11:51:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: --bullseye--] [#4]
Just ordered myself one from SG. Thanks for the link!
I apparently had a one month complimentary Buyers Club membership (I've ordered a lot from SG in the past...every year around February they let me "try out" the Buyers Club one month for free). Didn't realize it until I clicked submit order. Got it for $13.47 + shipping. Came to $18.96 shipped for one.
Now I sort of wish I would have ordered two...along with some ammo.



 
Link Posted: 2/17/2009 11:53:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: --bullseye--] [#5]





Originally Posted By Wolfcri:





I had my e-mail forwarding to my phone...  Poor blackberry almost vibrated itself to death.
The vest looks like it can be adjusted out pretty far.  Not sure exactly how far because I have a 32" waist but I am guessing at least 40"



How did it fit on you? I've only got a 30" waist...seems a lot of "tactical gear" is made for XXXL armchair commandos...never can find anything that fits my 'skinny as a rail' build.







 
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 12:08:49 AM EDT
[#6]
Originally Posted By ––bullseye––:

Originally Posted By Wolfcri:
I had my e-mail forwarding to my phone...  Poor blackberry almost vibrated itself to death.


The vest looks like it can be adjusted out pretty far.  Not sure exactly how far because I have a 32" waist but I am guessing at least 40"

How did it fit on you? I've only got a 30" waist...seems a lot of "tactical gear" is made for XXXL armchair commandos...never can find anything that fits my 'skinny as a rail' build.
 


Thats exactly what I loved about this vest in MCT.

I was CONSTANTLY running around and jumping etc.  The vest can be adjusted to hug your body really well.  It doesn't want to flip up over your head if you bend down or hang, like a lot of chest rigs do.  It stays put and the mesh makes it breathe really well.  Depending on how you set it up, its great in the prone and doesnt ride up badly if you low crawl backwards
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 1:15:02 AM EDT
[#7]
I have two of those in DCU and one in ACU.  They are an excellent piece of kit for cheap (at least the DCU ones).  

I have one set up for my M4.........................one set up for my M1A................... and I'm working on one for my AK.  

Great write-up OP!!!
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 1:55:26 AM EDT
[#8]
Is there a manual for these things?  I have 2 of them and I just don't get the sternum belt and waist belt or how they are supposed to be set up.

I got mine from a in state arfcommer, they each came with 2 canteen pouched and 6 grenade pouches.

O got some used mag pouched from Old Grouch.
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 2:31:18 AM EDT
[#9]
I adjust my waist belt by those "T" contraptions and then adjust the back straps to the right length in the mirror.  You may have to take it off and adjust it and then try it on again a few times.  I just coil up the sternum strap and belt straps and buckles, tape them with electrical tape, and tuck them in.  they are mainly used for when you throw the FLC on OVER a flack (body armor) and cant zip it up.  In that case you can wear the zipper open and use the 2 buckles like the ole MOLLE 1 vest.

I'll post more pics when i finish putting this one together.  I'm almost done.
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 2:49:16 AM EDT
[#10]
tag!
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 3:51:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: Wolfcri] [#11]
I am sure there are a number of ways you can go about adjusting the vest but here's how I did mine.

1) The vest is designed to sit at about kidney level or a little lower so that you can wear a backpack waist strap without having to move things around too much.  I find that this also allows for use of a pistol belt.  You can even use a police style nylon duty belt connected to your trouser belt with keepers.    

So.....   Put the vest on.  Zip it closed, hold it so its just above trouser belt height.  Estimate how much slack you need to take out and then take the vest off.  Now, using the "T" contraptions, take half of that slack out of each side of the vest evenly.  This will insure that the vest sits right when you are done.  If you have to make it uneven by one PAL's width, that's ok.  





Since you will most likely only need the waist belt if you wear the vest unzipped over body armor on occasion, you can wrap the belt slack and buckle up and tape it with electrical tape and then tuck it into the cavity in the vest that the belt travels through.  Tuck it on the side of the padded belt away from your body so the buckle doesn't cause a bulge against your torso.  Do this to both sides of the belt.  It will have a clean look when you are done like there isn't even a belt in there.






2) The back straps are designed to hold the rear portion of the belt up and hold the sides of the vest back and against your torso for a snug fit.  When adjusted properly, the vest won't move a lot even when it is loaded down while running etc..   The straps that go from the rear on the belt up to the shoulder harness should be taught and near vertical when adjusted right.  



The straps that continue from the shoulder harness to the sides of the vest should be on a diagonal.  



You may have to but the vest on, try it out, take it off and perform adjustments a few times to get it to where you want it.  After you have it adjusted, roll up the excess webbing and tape it with electrical tape.  



Then use the integral elastic loops to secure the bundle of rolled webbing.  



I suggest taping it because if you only use the elastic, the bundle can be knocked out and unravel during use.  The dangling strand can become a trip hazard or snag on something (ie get closed in a car door).  I suggest using electrical tape because it is less likely to leave a residue than duct tape and you can reuse it if you have to make adjustments, even after a long period of time.  Take note that I left myself a couple inches of adjustability between the webbing bundle and the buckle so I can adjust a few inches in either direction without undoing the bundle.  This allows you to make small adjustments for thicker clothing.



You may want to wait to do some adjustments or finalize bundling the webbing until after you try the vest on with all your gear in it so it is at operating weight.  Make sure that the MOLLE and mesh front of the vest is up high enough on your shoulder like this.




This will ensure that the drag handle isn't riding on the back of your neck.

Here are a few pics of how I set mine up.  With all of the pouches on the vest, I can still comfortably wear my assault pack and use the pack's waist strap.  With a loadout like this you can go for miles without your gear bothering you at all.




I hope this helps.





Link Posted: 2/18/2009 5:49:38 AM EDT
[#12]
Originally Posted By ––bullseye––:

Originally Posted By Wolfcri:
I had my e-mail forwarding to my phone...  Poor blackberry almost vibrated itself to death.


The vest looks like it can be adjusted out pretty far.  Not sure exactly how far because I have a 32" waist but I am guessing at least 40"

How did it fit on you? I've only got a 30" waist...seems a lot of "tactical gear" is made for XXXL armchair commandos...never can find anything that fits my 'skinny as a rail' build.
 


Or...  muscular guys who also wear body armor.
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 5:57:42 AM EDT
[#13]
Originally Posted By jtb0311:
Originally Posted By ––bullseye––:

Originally Posted By Wolfcri:
I had my e-mail forwarding to my phone...  Poor blackberry almost vibrated itself to death.


The vest looks like it can be adjusted out pretty far.  Not sure exactly how far because I have a 32" waist but I am guessing at least 40"

How did it fit on you? I've only got a 30" waist...seems a lot of "tactical gear" is made for XXXL armchair commandos...never can find anything that fits my 'skinny as a rail' build.
 


Or...  muscular guys who also wear body armor.



I was waiting for that.    The vest is adjustable for both.
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 11:26:31 AM EDT
[#14]
For those that are wearing body armor, you can pull the padded waist belt completely out, re-thread it through the bottom of the vest, and use the included belt by snapping it at the small of your back. In this configuration, the zipper is left zipped-up permanently, the drag handle rests on the neck guard of an IBA, and the whole thing wears more like a chest rig. This is helpful if you have to repeatedly don and doff your pouches off your armor for entry into confined spaces (like tank hatches). If I was dismounted regularly though, I would definitely want to wear it the regular vest way.
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 11:31:21 AM EDT
[#15]
Yeah, in my opinion, belt reversed is the ONLY way to wear it with armor.

That's what I'm using now.  I tried some other stuff, but the FLC is free and it seems to work.  I put it over my IOTV(fuck a quick release), and it rides a bit higher as well(good).
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 1:07:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: --bullseye--] [#16]





Originally Posted By Wolfcri:







Thanks for the update!


Where'd you get those mag pouches?





 
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 3:09:04 PM EDT
[#17]
Just ordered one from SG. My buddy has one that a friend of his gave him after a deployment –– I just had no idea you could get a new one so cheap! Thanks for this post!!

So, is there a good way to make the old ALICE M16 mag pouches work with this MOLLE setup?
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 3:34:04 PM EDT
[#18]
Althought SDS's quality can be hit and miss, the FLC in it's various incarnations is one of the better-thought out rigs the government has mass issued in the last few years.

If you can't afford a good chest rig or high end armor system/load bearing system, the FLC will "get it done cheap" and still do okay.

If you need a spare couple load bearing rigs in case the world flushes itself and you happen to have friends over and guns-n-gear to spare, the old school LBE or an FLC is a good basic rig.


Always check Supplycaptain.com for good inexpensive gear, they carry a lot of SDS stuff and bargains pop up occasionally.
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 3:39:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Wolfcri] [#19]
Originally Posted By ––bullseye––:


Thanks for the update!


Where'd you get those mag pouches?
 


The pouches are from EMDOMUSA.com

They make some awesome gear.  Very well made.  Can be pricey though.

The rifle mag pouches I have hold either 2 AR or 2 AK 30rounders.  The Pistol mag pouch holds up to 6 single stack 1911 mags or up to 4 double stack mags.  With the rig set up with those pouches I can use it for a lot of different weapon combinations.
Link Posted: 2/18/2009 4:32:12 PM EDT
[#20]



Originally Posted By skywarp989:


Just ordered one from SG. My buddy has one that a friend of his gave him after a deployment –– I just had no idea you could get a new one so cheap! Thanks for this post!!




So, is there a good way to make the old ALICE M16 mag pouches work with this MOLLE setup?


http://store.oldgrouch.biz/moadlotof2.html



 
Link Posted: 2/19/2009 2:49:14 AM EDT
[#21]
They sell it in OD or woodland?
Link Posted: 2/19/2009 3:05:14 AM EDT
[#22]
Originally Posted By ViaDolorosa:
They sell it in OD or woodland?


Woodland US Army-issue in versions I and 2.
Also seen them in USMC Coyote Brown in V2

Link Posted: 2/19/2009 6:21:31 AM EDT
[#23]
tag
Link Posted: 2/19/2009 12:06:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Old_Town] [#24]
I got mine on Ebay $13.95 delivered! This is damn good gear at any price. It is the best deal going.
Link Posted: 2/19/2009 2:28:58 PM EDT
[#25]
I've seen them in Woodland, 3-color Desert, and UCP (ACUPAT).

The older generation Woodland isn't quite as nice but still gets the job done. The 2nd gen ACU model had input from Iraq. For a budget rig, it works well enough. I personally use a 1pc MAV.
Link Posted: 2/21/2009 3:25:29 AM EDT
[#26]
Very nice indepth-review. I think I want one of these vests now :O
Link Posted: 2/21/2009 8:45:11 PM EDT
[#27]
Great review.
Just a fluke, but I orderd 2 from Ebay for $16.90 delivered and then checked here for reviews!
I got mine setup half way....need more mag pouches.  As others have stated, very good NEW quality for the money...
Buy them while you can.
Link Posted: 2/22/2009 1:17:23 PM EDT
[#28]
The FLC is a pretty nice vest, you can hang a lot of equipment off of it as well, especially when you use mag shingles. When we got issued them at RFI they were set up to be able to carry 12 magazines in 2 3x shingles and 3 double mag pouches. I currently have mine set up with a canteen pouch on my left side to carry my PVS14s, ear pro, IR strobe, and pulse oximeter, 3 double mag pouches next to that (those come up to the left side of the zipper). Above the mags I got 3 flashbang pouches to carry tourniquets. I bought a Patriot Gear Blow Out Kit pouch from Brigade Quartermasters before we left the states that works great, carries everything I need to treat a causality without having to bust into my aid bag. Above that I've got two frag pouches which I use for 3" medical tape and a 3" roll of duct tape. Next to the blow out kit I've got a seatbelt cutter and next to that my IFAK.

All that shit fits on the FLC, I couldn't carry that much by just mounting stuff on my IBA and I don't think a lot of other tactical vests would have that much "real estate" for gear.
Link Posted: 2/22/2009 4:47:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Cole2534] [#29]
I just ordered one of those from SG, and a hydration pack.  Now where to start on this thing?  I guess it will be with mag pouches and a first aid kit.

 
Link Posted: 2/22/2009 11:49:34 PM EDT
[#30]
For a basic setup I'd pick up 3 mag pouches and put them on whatever side you don't hold your rifle with, get an IFAK off ebay you can get one fully stocked, and get a canteen pouch to throw random odds and ends in and throw those pouches on the other side, the IFAK being the one closest to your firing arm. If 6 magazines isn't enough for you and you want to break your back, pick up a magazine shingle or two and then put all the aforementioned crap on top of those.
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 1:28:30 PM EDT
[#31]
You F'in guys . . . . . THIS is the best deal going on the DCU FLCs, because

. . . . thank me later.
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 9:53:15 PM EDT
[#32]
Originally Posted By FaceTime:
You F'in guys . . . . . THIS is the best deal going on the DCU FLCs, because

. . . . thank me later.


 holy fricken high dollar shipping batman

Link Posted: 2/24/2009 10:22:10 PM EDT
[#33]
Originally Posted By goldeyeslayer:
Originally Posted By FaceTime:
You F'in guys . . . . . THIS is the best deal going on the DCU FLCs, because

. . . . thank me later.


 holy fricken high dollar shipping batman




Thats a good find, but Holy Cow!  They want at least $11 for shipping and $7+ for the vest.  I think you can get cheaper elsewhere.  When I got mine from CTD the vest was only $12 and the shipping was $7 for a whole bunch of stuff that I ordered.  Its not a horrible price in total for the vest though.  It just kills me when places charge high shipping prices for no reason.

Maybe if you guys did a group buy you could get them cheaper.  The vest will fit in a flat rate priority mail envelope that costs $5.60 to ship.
Link Posted: 2/25/2009 8:41:44 AM EDT
[#34]
Originally Posted By Wolfcri:
Originally Posted By goldeyeslayer:
Originally Posted By FaceTime:
You F'in guys . . . . . THIS is the best deal going on the DCU FLCs, because

. . . . thank me later.


 holy fricken high dollar shipping batman




Thats a good find, but Holy Cow!  They want at least $11 for shipping and $7+ for the vest.  I think you can get cheaper elsewhere.  When I got mine from CTD the vest was only $12 and the shipping was $7 for a whole bunch of stuff that I ordered.  Its not a horrible price in total for the vest though.  It just kills me when places charge high shipping prices for no reason.

Maybe if you guys did a group buy you could get them cheaper.  The vest will fit in a flat rate priority mail envelope that costs $5.60 to ship.



I don't know where you got the $11. shipping from . . . . .  But when I ordered a few of them the other day, they only charged me $7.95 for USPS Priority Mail.

Link Posted: 2/25/2009 9:55:09 AM EDT
[#35]
Thats what I did, used the usps priority.  $8
Link Posted: 2/27/2009 9:59:05 PM EDT
[#36]
Thats a good find . . . .


By the way, you provided an excellent review of this vest!  Great pics + write-up . . . . and from a former Marine!
Link Posted: 3/7/2009 7:25:07 PM EDT
[#37]
Damn, the local Army Navy surplus store wants  $69.95 for one of these.  
Link Posted: 3/7/2009 8:30:06 PM EDT
[#38]
So who's got the best deal on ACU? And even betwe if they offer miitary discount
Link Posted: 3/8/2009 6:47:00 PM EDT
[#39]
I bought one from sportsmans guide, it was new in wrap and dated 2002.  I also ordered the pouches that they billed at "radio pouches" which they were.  These were also new but billed as used.  The pouches were 5 for $20.  I placed 2 on my right side and 3 on the left side they were in the desert color like the vest.  These pouches hold 2 ak-47 mags in each or 3 ar-15 mags with magpuls attached.  I have my in the "low profile position" on the original style ones.  I made this up as the AK rig so it will be carrying 8 mags and the 5th pouch will be a med pouch.  Grand total was $35 for a "tactical rig"  Not too shabby.

Hope this helps someone


DAROUGE1
Link Posted: 3/9/2009 2:49:22 AM EDT
[#40]
the nylon webbing would be in OD while the padded areas would be in woodland camo...not very many to be had, bear in mind the very first iterations of the FLC were 2pcs  a mesh /webbing panel set and a separate belt assembly.

It is what it is, and there were auctions on Egay for qtys of 500 carriers for the unit price of 5.00 a pop...  never bought into it, and it looks like SG and CTD may have bought into them.


for those low on discretionary funds, it may be an option.  

have fun.
Link Posted: 3/9/2009 5:36:41 PM EDT
[#41]
Could I run this LBV (2nd line) with the ATS war belt (1st line) or would it be better to just have the LBV and put what I would have in 1st line on it as well as second line stuff?

Sorry to the noob question, just all the line stuff is new to me.
Link Posted: 3/9/2009 6:36:28 PM EDT
[#42]
Originally Posted By eggrolly:
.... bear in mind the very first iterations of the FLC were 2pcs  a mesh /webbing panel set and a separate belt assembly.


I had one of those years back. I did not really like it, but i really wish I had kept the belt
Link Posted: 3/10/2009 12:17:55 AM EDT
[#43]
Originally Posted By H2O-Wolf:
Could I run this LBV (2nd line) with the ATS war belt (1st line) or would it be better to just have the LBV and put what I would have in 1st line on it as well as second line stuff?

Sorry to the noob question, just all the line stuff is new to me.


Whats the ATS warbelt?  Am I having a brain fart?
Link Posted: 3/10/2009 10:31:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Old_Town] [#44]
Here is a pic of my woodland vest. This is good, cheap gear. Very well made.



Link Posted: 3/10/2009 11:47:01 PM EDT
[#45]
Originally Posted By Old_Town:
Here is a pic of my woodland vest. These is good, cheap gear. Very well made.



http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g48/Old_Town/vest2.jpg


Cool! Where'd you find that one? I was thinking of dying my tan one (not a lot of sand up here in MN...) but if there's green ones out there for $15 or so I'd just buy another....
Link Posted: 3/11/2009 2:14:32 PM EDT
[#46]
I got mine from ebay for about $30 USD delivered. It even came with three USGI pouches.
Link Posted: 3/11/2009 3:37:34 PM EDT
[#47]
Originally Posted By Old_Town:
I got mine from ebay for about $30 USD delivered. It even came with three USGI pouches.


cool! thanks. Not sure why I couldn't find them on there before... got one for $21 shipped (no freebies though).
Link Posted: 3/11/2009 7:36:45 PM EDT
[#48]
This thing is pretty comfy.  I have 6 M4 mags, an Emdom 6o4, and a Sig226 on it now.  I actually slept in it the other night for fun and it wasn't bad.
Link Posted: 3/12/2009 6:06:06 PM EDT
[#49]
I got one of these on ebay for a .01 and paid like 9.75 shipping.  There are still several available if anyone is interested.  Just do a molle vest searcha and a few should show up.
Link Posted: 3/12/2009 9:16:16 PM EDT
[#50]
is this still current issue??
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