There are a lot of gear makers today all competing in a hot market. Coming out of active duty military service, I knew that I wanted to replace some of the gear that I turned in during my out processing from the military. I looked around at a lot of different makers and while there is a plethora of great designs available, nothing really reached out and grabbed me.
Then through a series of conversations with Andy at Gadsden Dynamics, the idea of a custom design chest rig was brought up. After a series of quick sketches and more messages, the Cohort 4 Chest Rig was born. It quickly became a collaborative work. I was looking for a chest rig that was low profile, with a center mounted tourniquet holder. I wanted the capability of mounting the rig to a plate carrier as well. The 80% solution was foremost in my mind as was certain historical applications of the chest rig.
Andy surprised me with his ideas of including elastic between the MOLLE on the two inboard magazine pouches.
He kept me informed as the construction went along. I could not wait to get my hands on it. Upon its arrival and unboxing I was immediately impressed with Andy’s level of craftsmanship and attention to detail. His simple yet durable method of shoulder strap adjustment made sense. You just adjust the QASM buckles up or down the MOLLE on the shoulder straps to get the height just right. The center mounted tourniquet is easily reached by either hand and the shock cord adjustment holds it firmly in place.
The magazines are held in place by removable kydex inserts that Andy made himself, and directly behind the tourniquet is a small compass/notebook pouch. On either side of the compass pouch are two small strips of velcro that are used to help secure the chest rig to the front of a plate carrier. When the rig is used alone, they are covered with two removable padded velcro covers that are lined with neoprene.
On the front of both outboard magazine pouches are two small general purpose pouches that are permanently attached and closed with velcro fastened flaps. They are big enough to hold a field dressing like the Israeli bandage, yet do not add any undue bulk to the overall design.
The ability of clipping the rig into a plate carrier was part of the design from the start. The plate carrier that I am wearing in the picture above is a Ferro Concepts Slickster. Due to the cumberbund design, I rigged a couple of shock cord connectors that route through the cumberbund. Do not worry, any normal plate carrier connection kit will fit the Cohort 4 chest rig to any normal plate carrier.
On the back of the harness is a reinforced drag handle and a section of MOLLE. One of the first things I found out when I donned the chest rig is that I needed the lower waist strap to be a bit longer. A quick message to Andy and a longer one was on the way. Okay, I get it. I am bit bigger. That is something I am remedying.
For being my first experience in custom gear design, Andy made it a good learning experience. Yes, this rig was influenced by other designs and ideas out there in the shooting environment. However, I think we developed a good, solid, general purpose chest rig that can serve an active duty service member, the sworn law enforcement officer, or the responsibly armed citizen.
If you are looking for gear made here in the USA, do yourself a favor and check out Gadsden Dynamics.