A lot of the time when I get some custom piece of cordura gear made it ends up appearing as a highly successful commercial product about 12-24 months later purely down the the principle of multiple discovery. Multiple discovery being a term I just had to google myself and references different people who’ve never communicated with each other all coming up with the same idea at the same or similar times. It’s pretty well documented through history back to the inventions of weapons like bows and arrows may thousands of years ago.
All that in mind I wanted to post up my very recently acquired iteration of a modular placard that I’ve had made by Roman Kurmaz. Obviously there’s no huge revolution here for the most part it’s generally a combination of ideas others have had before me, but to my personal tastes this is the ‘best’ that a placard can be and it forms the ideal core to my notions of a supremely flexible load carriage system for box magazines.
If you’ve not seen the previous blog post that details my ideal of a system of plate carriers and chest rigs that can very rapidly adapt to any common magazine type then you can check it out here:
The key element with the above system is the placard itself, or chassis if you use the Spiritus terminology. It is the almost-literal glue that binds everything else together and connects the magazine specific inserts to the mounting platform of your choice.
On the market at the moment there are already some great options for modular/convertible placards that will accommodate various mag types by swapping inserts. Prime examples would be the Spiritus Systems Mk3 Chassis, Whiskey Two-Four PIMPs Accessory panel, Haley Strategic Partners D3CR-M and the Ferro Concepts Kangaroo front flap.
They’re all brilliant options in the world of gear, but me being me I didn’t quite find any of them to be 100% absolutely perfect. So, as per usual, I formed a mental list of what I wanted in a panel/placard type micro chest rig kinda deal.
1. Single cell format like the Ferro kangaroo, to create a slim profile and migrate extra kit that might be stored in a front pouch to extra PALS pouches at the sides of a PC/Chest rig. I have a real thing against any stacking of gear where at all avoidable and I never use more than 1 mag even in a double magazine pouch.
2. Somewhat taken as read, but it needs to be compatible with the Mayflower/Vel Sys mounting spec that’s become standard in terms of size and the placement of 1″ male buckles along the top as well as the inclusion of a hook field on the rear. While the Ferro Kangaroo fulfills requirement number one it also features G-Hooks at the top instead of 1″ plastic hardware and most brands have taken the side release buckle route. I also hate G-Hooks in almost all applications.
3. Another size consideration is being able to fit all the best inserts on the market. The Spiritus chassis is, as I discovered a bit too late, too small to contain the inserts made by Ferro and thereby presumably HSP as well. The Spiritus inserts are great for a lot of reasons; very light, fast and effective, compact to store and economical to buy with a wide selection available. I’ve tried them out and like them a lot. I just want the very maximum possible modularity here and it only takes a very small amount of extra cordura to achieve that.
4. Full interior lining comprised of loop for compatibility with the Spiritus inserts (of which I have many) as well as the HSP inserts when I try them out in future. Ferro and WTF inserts will work with the simple addition of a piece of hook sewn back-to-back with another piece of hook.
5. Ability to hide the four 1″ webbing loops on the sides for placard use when a harness/back strap is not clipped directly to the chassis.
Number 5 is for the most part a vanity/OCD consideration on my part and it was the one feature I can most definitely say that I devised for myself and I’m fairly sure has not been done previously in this context, or any other context I’ve seen for myself. The 1″ webbing here is of course adjustable in position via the velcro and the fact there’s additional hook on the rear face means there’s no loss of staying power when the placard is mounted. All very minor considerations, but considerations none-the-less. It’s not necessary for one end to be free and un-sewn of course to remove the female buckles given the advent of split-bar field repair hardware, but it is actually slightly less awkward to remove the buckles this way. Side benefits (apart from hiding the webbing when desired) include the ability for a manufacturer to use all the non-split bar hardware in their inventory if that’s all they have and if the end user wants to swap the female buckles for expander wings of some sort that attach via closed loops of cordura they can do so, which is a lower profile option compared to adding yet more layers of velcro between the placard and mount (and those layers really add up if you’ve got expander wings, a drop pouch and whatever else in the mix).
The size requirements, mounting spec and fitment of inserts are of course all also covered off. As you can see the Ferro Kwik Triple Shingle that incorporates the HSP MP2s fits in beautifully and 30rnd 556 mags are retained in what I would personally call the ideal fashion if one is not hopping out of an aircraft. Further down the line I’ll be showing off the F9 Placard (which is what I’m calling this specific configuration) in other setups, fully loaded with SMG mags and attached to a plate carrier etc etc.
There are certain companies in the cordura world I’m a big fan of and use/buy from extensively as many of you will have seen, but my philosophy remains that I’d rather integrate the best features of a variety of the best brands out there where I can. You never know, maybe someone might see them and take the ideas and bring them to a wider audience. Not something I can personally do on account of not owning a large nylon sewing business.
If you want one of these for yourself, drop Roman a message and show him one of these pictures or ask for the setup Chris got, he’ll know what you mean and he can make them in a variety of colours I’m sure. Mine only cost in the region of ~25-30 Euros or so which is great for scratch built gear. If anyone gets one, first off let me know and if you can get a good enough picture I’ll feature it here as well.