Does anyone have a BHI DOAV vest?
How well constructed/durable is it?
How do you like the way it's set up?
What do you perceive as it's strengths?
What do you perceive as it's weaknesses?
I'm in the initial stages of picking out a vest and I kind of like the way this one looks & the features that it has. But, DAMN!, that's a lot of coin to part with for a vest. BUT...I want something that I can depend on that's more comfortable and efficient than "standard-issue".
Why? Here's the situation I may potentially find myself in:
I'm planning on enlisting in a local National Guard unit around the first of the year(Gotta lose a few more pounds & get in better shape first...). It's a TOW company in a Light Infantry Battalion.
The TOW's are usually mounted on HMMWV's, but the launchers are sometimes taken off of the hummers & set-up in a fixed position. Even so, I'd still probably have my vehicle nearby most of the time. But, I still want to have something that can carry a fair amount of necessary gear & a hydration system as comfortably and as easily as possible.
Elements of the Battalion have already been notified that they will be deploying to "The 'Stan" to help train their fledgling National Army this Fall & Winter. This is already public info, so don't flame me about OPSEC...
So far, the company I will be joining hasn't been identified as having anyone included on the deployment...yet. That could change or this particular company could be chosen to participate in a later training deployment.
So, what I'm trying to say is that there is a fair chance that I'll actually be deployed sooner or later...I'm trying to get some ideas for what kind of vest upgrade over the "standard-issue" Enhanced LBV I should be looking at.
Any first-hand experience would be greatly appreciated...
I rec'd one about a year ago and was not overly impressed w/ the overall quality of the vest. One of the pack attachment straps literally fell off the back of the vest :(
After talking w/ BHI R&D, they understood the problem and actually took a suggestion I had for reinforcing the attachment points. Looks like the problem has been taken care of and I have not heard of any additional issues since last year.
The vest is a cool concept but felt too bulky for me. When it was loaded up the weight distribution was even provided I had a 3liter Camelback installed.
For the money, I think you should explore some of the other options out there.
I was also looking at the Tactical Tailor line of vests. I like the way the hydration system pocket is on the outside of the vest.
What attracted me to the Blackhawk DOAV was the detachable packs on the back. Looks like you could put a fair amount of gear in them, if need be. Also looks like you could drop them pretty quick if you really needed to bug out in a hurry. But, then again, you could do the same thing with a regular day-pack.
I want to make sure I could carry a drum or two of SAW ammo for my SAW gunner...
Decisions, decisions, decisions...
The TT MAV and SOTech Hellcat have thin, flat shoulder straps that won't interfere with the straps of a day pack or assault pack and they are both modular so you can attach SAW pouches however you want. An assault pack or day pack is a better place for the hydration bladder anyway.
Still looking for some input on this topic...
From an EX TOW gunner,light Infantry,(M151 era),I wouldn't spend the coin on a DOAV.
Depending on your unit and mission,dismounted ops can range from a few feet from the vehicle,to parking the vehicles at BN motorpool and moving around by air,either way each team member will be humping some serious gear,,,30lbs. and up of missile system.Generally you won't be moving to contact,and won't need high speed harnesses,more like a mule harness,hehehe.
We did dismounted ops without TOWS(anti armor ambush and 'tank killer' teams),in which case you'll be loaded down with LAWS(or current),mines,dragons,etc,and working WITH the line Co.s or recon grunts providing 'security'.
If you really want to spend some money I would go with a GOOD pack then an assault pack,and
wait till you 'see' your job before buying webgear.