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Boff's Belt System: Or Why You Don't Need A Vest!

Not sure if this is a general Nerf post or a modification so yeah... Either way, I thought I'd share some insights into some gear I'm putting together for myself. I got some free time this evening and got a little bit excited about Bristol Blast 6 weekend after next so fixed myself some kit.

First of all, I reinforced my black trousers that had failed at BB3. I resewed the seam, double lined it and added a couple more belt loops to spread the load. The stock trousers didn't come with tactical belt compatible loops so I added them. One thing that's not often talked about is tactical belts. I use a Viper Tactical Belt like this one but in black. It's my oldest piece of tactical gear back from the days when I used to use Viper's patrol pouches as Maverick holsters. I guess it's probably 5 years old now and has really stood the test of time. If you're doing anything Nerf related, you want a decent belt for carrying things on. A dress belt is a good start but the stiffened plastic in the Viper belts really comes into its own when you're carrying water and stressing it with drop-leg mounts and stuff.

So I started basic with magazine carriage. Normally, if I'm using a heavy vest load out I'll opt for 4 Mirandas but given belt space is limited I dropped to three. These sit between my 1 o'clock and 4 o'clock, wrapping around me. Remember I'm left handed and you want your magazines on your off side if you're using a belt. The one on the 4 o'clock is a tad difficult to reach but I usually don't go through more than 6 mags in a 15 minute games so I'm not too worried. I think with a bit of practice I can mange to move mags around to keep the 1 o'clock pouch fully loaded for burst engagements.

The other side of my rig. This is from my 11 o'clock on the left of the picture around to my 6 o'clock on the right. You've got an empty Small Zip Dump Pouch (SZDP) through to my water carrier and then my utility dump pouch on my back. The first SZDP contains loose darts for topping off magazines and generally dumping scavenged darts into. Water is essential so I always carry a bottle me. Finally the rear most SZDP contains my radio, my eye pro, hi-vis and a few other bits and pieces.

Of course, my trusty Stryfe sits on my left hand side on a single point sling. The great thing about the belt load out is that I can wedge the stock of the blaster between my water bottle and the rear pouch and it'll stay put out of the way. Very Happy

I might add my drop-leg MkIV Ultimate to my left leg as a side arm but I'm not entirely sure it'll be necessary. The adage of reliable primary, no need for a secondary applies. Unless someone throws special ammo types at me. Then the Cycloneshock comes out to play.


Differences versus a vest:
So I'm probably reasonably well known for my vest load outs that cover me in gear and generally turn me into an angry ball of kit. After much Discord discussion around vests, I elected to try something a little different. The key difference between a vest and a belt is that you're competing for a lot less real estate. You need to prioritise what's going where and make choices when scaling down.

The other key thing is that you're moving weight down from your chest to your waist. Normally, I'll be carrying between 12 and 16 magazines on my chest. That's a lot of weight but it's very dead centre and braced across my shoulders. As a result I can erupt into a full sprint from a standing start and scare the shit out of GC monsters. With more weight around my waist, I feel a little more ungainly. It's secure and not going anywhere, I'll just be a tad restricted in my ability to break out full tilt. That's not a bad thing in this scenario, indoor venues have little call for a 90kg ball of kit and player to go belting across a clearing leading a charge. I've still got my legs free so I won't be tiring myself unduly with distal mass and I can certainly turn on a dime still which is critical.

In all, it's been a nice exercise in applying the theory I work with everyday. I also hope it proves that vests aren't the be all and end all.  They're great to have but for indoor wars over short periods, you don't need much more than a well stocked belt.

I'll keep this thread updated after BB6 with my findings and results. I guess I should get my combat cloak sorted while I'm on a roll.... Very Happy

This is really interesting.  Thanks Boff

Now you tell me  Rolling Eyes
Great post, always interesting to see different load outs and hear about how well they work in battle. Look forward to seeing your findings after BB6

I see a lot of the Singapore guys running battle belts with fast mags and have considered the option but I just find it easier to reload from a vest, especially with my dump pouch located on the belt for storing spent mags. Also, just seems like the mags would get in the way of crouching if they were any larger than 12 rds. My light weight load outs are usually a triple jungle mag and no tac gear (stryfe) or a spare mag in my back pocket (springer)

There's the thing: a battle belt done properly puts the Mirandas at the same height as they would be on a vest but without the bracing that comes with over the shoulder attachment. On paper, you're actually worse off because the mass is centred around your waist but not effectively distributed or held in place from above. Either way, reloading a battle belt should be identical as the magazine pouches are front and centre as they would be on a vest.

I won't touch Fast Mags with a barge pole because I get at least 1 email a week from a Narrowbase customer saying it's worn out or broken and I've seen our prototypes go crunch. Upgrading to the 1mm prints meant the human came off worse during a fall which doesn't help. I had some nasty bruises for a while.

I've not had a problem with crouching with this system, with a bit of shimmy I can even go prone if I have to. I build all my kit with the 'lived in' idea in mind. I have to be able to do everything I would normally do around the house but in tac gear. That goes even for my full LARP body armour.

Sharp eyed users will also notice a lack of a magazine sized dump pouch. That's because if you cycle your Mirandas correctly you don't need one. I don't know how that's going to pan out in this situation since a vest allows you to have the nice and front centre for reloading. I guess I'll just have to practice and see... Smile

It should also be pointed out that with the advent of secre molle to belt adapters you now only need one type of magazine pouch- molle. I have had a belt system mated to my lightweight shoulder rig to increase coverage, it has several advantages vs a vest, I own several full rigs and still like my belt kit.
I too am not a rigid mag holder fan. You can't top off in situ, they are unusable for other things- my mirandas take water bottles and HIR bottles, plus they are comically expensive.
You will note that there is no vest in my "how to gear up for games" thread. I like them but they are not an esssential.

I developed an open top FAST Mag holder so you could top off and it's still shit. Very Happy

And you are correct, all Mirandas these days (unless you buy drop leg) are interchangeable in terms of mounting type. I'm so glad I finally got around to fixing that bug.

Chiming in as another advocate of belt kit (albeit with a yoke) over assault vest. I've never really liked the feel of assault vests - belt kits keep your upper body nice and open. I've never liked pouches directly on the front either. That mostly comes from back in cadets, when I'd be excepted to dive on the ground and still access mags whilst prone, but it's nice to know that if I do get an unexpected face-full of mud, I won't have bits of plastic digging into my waist/chest.

OldNoob wrote:
It should also be pointed out that with the advent of secre molle to belt adapters you now only need one type of magazine pouch- molle.

You can even, with a little persuasion, use PLCE belt loops to mount them directly and securely to PLCE webbing belts - the T-bar threaded onto the webbing of the loop stops the pouch from sliding along the belt (which has small locator slots for the bars to fit into) and the universal D-rings provide somewhere for the yoke straps to thread through. PLCE belt clips are equally good for securing drop-leg holsters to PLCE belts and stop them from shifting along the belt in-use.

Kabump! Ran this today at Bristol Blast and I think I can say that for 90% of players this is as high as you need to go. Barring one oopsie dropping my mags on one pouch when running, it went without a hitch. I needed to literally tighten my belt so I didn't have to keep my hand on the pouches when running but otherwise, it was tight and close order as you'd expect.

That said, I think I'll be moving back to a vest going forward. I need a full set of black armour that I can take off and add more components to for other reasons. There's less likelihood of pouch fouling with a piece of velcro to hold the pouch up and out of the way rather than twisting it to one side. For most players, that's not going to be an issue but for someone who plays as aggressively as me it did start to bug me.

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