After reading favorable posts by Hawkeye and Chromeluv (Derek) elsewhere about Diz's work with nylon gear, I contacted him about putting together a custom chest rig for dedicated use with AK magazines. I wanted something that approximated the Eagle M4FB rig that I use with the AR with some minor changes and Diz and I emailed back and forth a few times to fine tune my ideas and select colors etc.
The chest rig finally arrived last week, and at first glance I was very impressed. The stitching and materials appear to be top-quality and the mags I tried in it all fit well. Because we are dealing with AK mags, inserting them is a bit of a pain due to the mag latch tab on the back of the mags but this does not reflect on Diz and is only a cost of using an AK. The mag pouches are kydex-lined, but where as Eagle wraps the mags around the front, back and sides, Diz's rig wraps the mag around the sides and bottom. Diz's liners are also attached via velcro and are therefore removable. Initial pics below.
In comparing the rig to the Eagle, there are some basic differences. Some were specified by me, some are just quirks of the AK mags, and some are touches that Diz added on his own. The first difference is the lack of buckles on the front of the rig. This was something I asked for and Diz obliged.
Another change is the way that Diz wraps the molle continuously from side to side. This is his design, but I like it as I think it makes the rig stronger.
Diz also attaches the shoulder straps and back strap to the molle itself compared to the way Eagle attaches them separately. I don't have an opinion on this one way or the other, but may develop one as I run the rig.
Comparatively speaking, the Diz rig holds the mags higher on the chest plate than the Eagle. Again this is something I don't have an opinion on one way or the other, but at first glance I like it a little better as there is no material behind the mags making them easier to grab. Because I speed-load the AK by bashing the old mag out with the new one, having a good grip on the fresh mag is essential.
I got the chance to briefly run the rig this past Tuesday night, and I only have two minor gripes. I've emailed Diz about both and he's offered a one-day turnaround on correcting both of these, but I have a class next week that I'm running this rig in and I want to see if I come across any other quirks before I send it back.
Quirk 1 is that I specified molle straps on the left shoulder strap to hold a Pentagon Molle Light
, and the straps are a hair too tight to insert the light. Diz has suggested changing out the straps to elastic which I think will work out well.
Quirk 2 is that there is material on the rig that hangs below the waist belt. This corner edge starts to roll out a bit and rubs the inside of the arm when they're hanging at my sides. Diz stated that he put the belt a bit higher to ensure that it will clear my pistol which I always carry in a high-ride holster. He suggested rounding the corners to keep them from rolling out, but I think that "cropping" them as shown below will work out better.
So far, despite the two minor quirks, I like the rig. I will have a much better idea after my class next week and I live in it for three days. AK mags, even the polymer ones I use, weigh a good deal more than AR mags so we'll see how I like the extra weight on a rig like this.