OK, the last month I finally had enough time to get a little quality time in with these latest purchases...
Esstac Single M4 Pouch with depth adjustable bungee retention:
When this mag change goes well, it is lightning fast. The pouch is well made and has excellent retention. Here is what I discovered....
The pouch is best used mounted outboard. You should come from behind the mag and sweep the bungee off towards your inboard side. I mounted my Maxpedition RolyPoly on to the exterior of the Esstac pouch and it was a good combo for fast access...when the mag change was fumble-free. The downside is the bungee retention requires more training to master. If you use any type of magpul or Ranger plate, the material is a little more grippy and retards the bungee sliding off - a slick normal GI floorplate works best. Also if you use a magpul or Ranger plate, the bungee occasionally slides off those items but hangs on the corner of the mag body. Though it doesn't seem possible, this can be enough to seriously retard the mag change. The third item is that if your hand traps the bungee while you are removing it, the mag change gets seriously hosed. When you execute well, the bungee system is great and perfect runs of this showed it to be about 0.2 sec faster than the traditional flap system for me. The downside is when you fumble this mag change it is SLOW to recover. I think this would be even faster with A) slick GI floorplates B) mounted outboard, if you carry your mags inboard toward the chest, it will be slower.
One other comment, although these are "depth adjustable" the mag is basically held in by a single ribbon of nylon. If you lift the nylon/velcro attachment, it also lifts the bottom depth of the mag, so the depth isn't really all that adjustable (though it does adjust enough to notice theh difference).
The next item was the BDS Tactical (formerly SOE Gear) Six-Mag shingle:
Good news: lids are adjustable and work with both Ranger plates and the longer H&K mags. Bad news: The pouches are very, very tight. You can use Ranger plates or GI floorplates; but anything that grips the exterior of the mag (like an old-school Magpul) is a non-starter. Besides that it was a great pouch, the flap system is slower than the bungee retention on a perfect run; but generally performs better. The worse problem I had with the BDS was that the friction on the mags was so great I would sometimes grab the mag and my hand would slip off when ripping the first mag out of the two mag pouch. A Ranger plater or paracord rig for the first mag in the pouch is highly recommended. The good news about the BDS is when you fumbled a mag change it was a much quicker recovery than the bungee system.
Both systems were good quality and had a great deal of attention to stitching, durability, retention and other issues.
Is this an assertion, or really your experience?
It's a serious question, and the reason I ask is because I have both bungee retention on my Wee, and a couple of the Esstac mag pouches, and on both, I have serious problems with the floorplate retaining tabs on the bottom of the mags snagging the bungees as you try to sweep them off to the side. The only fix I see for this is ranger plates or magpuls.
I use ranger plates on my mags. I fucking HATE the bungee retention. Here's my experiences with it:
Getting the bungee off has the problems listed by the thread starter. When you leave the bungee on a Ranger Plate for an extended period of time, it pushes the thing down in the middle, creating its own little divot for the bungee to rest. Not a big deal, except that you have to lift the bungee up more to get it out of the recessed part of the Ranger Plate.
My big problem is getting the mags back into the pouch with bungee retention. It's a pain in the ass. I retain mags back into pouches whenever possible. It's a two-handed job requiring some cuss words occasionally to get the mags back into a fully loaded rig. The tightness of the rig pulls the pouches shut by itself. But when you try to pull the bungee up or to the side to clear the re-inserting mag, it pulls the pouch shut. Combine that with the fact that the mag always tries to catch on the retention insert and pulls it loose from the inside of the pouch sometimes, and it's frustrating. Mags come out pretty easily. They fight like the dickens to keep from going back in. Administrative tasks like moving your loaded mags to your main reloading side become time consuming.
I prefer normal snap-flaps BIGTIME, and so do a lot of the people that I sold EssTac gear to before the switch to bungee, but they didn't recieve their gear until after the switch, and they got the bungee they didn't want nor like. Stuart basically said "tough shit," and those people either had to just suck it up, or they had to go through a dealer of EssTac stuff to try to force Stu to send out some flaps. I myself, when I was WORKING for Stu, had to have his wife and employees MAKE me some flaps because he wouldn't do it. So caught up in the novelty of bungee cord.
Yes, I noticed the divot phenomenon myself after maybe 10 minutes or so of use.
Well BEST may be too strong since I have only tried it with Ranger plates and GI floorplates. It works better with GI floorplates than Ranger plates. This is based on my limited experience; but the difference was consistent enough I think others will see the same thing.
I am coming from behind the magazine and sweeping the bungee retention forward (inboard) with the web of my hand as the fingers grasp the mag.
Good write up,
I have had a little different experiance but not much. I use mainly Magpuls or nothing on the base of my mags, Ive never used Ranger plates, mainly because they're a PITA to mess with when using Gov't mags (mags I dont Own) , Anyway, using the Bungy retention took a little getting used to, but just like anything else it becomes more fluid, and now Un-noticable to me when training and on operations. I currently run a BOAR over my IBA which is essentially 8 singles like you have above, behind a chest rig. I also run a Double and a single like yours on the front if needed, Dependant on the mission. The thing thats nice about The ESSTAC singles and doubles, is that if you do stack a pouch on them, Like a Rolly-polly, The pouch is heavy duty enough to support it. In addition unlike many other "Shingle" type pouches on the Market, the ESSTAC ones hold there shape, this makes loading back up a bit easier with all your gear on. Plus I think the thickness rates about a Level 2 Ballistic protection
These are a Great addition to anyone's kit, and I would Highly recommend them.
Too late. Stuart dropped the project, and didn't ever stay in touch with Mike Benedict to get the prototype worked out. There is another single-man operation that is in contact with Mike now, picking up where the thing was left off. It'd be a good idea, if possible, to snag some of the final product, once it's completely worked out. I have a feeling that it'll be compatible with the EssTac stuff, even if it's designed to fit another rig. It'll be attaching to the inside of the pouch the same way it would in a Boar.
I agree, though, that Kydex inserts, if done correctly, would be the absolute best balance of speed, retention, and reinsertion.