Ever since Haley Strategic previewed the new “X” iteration of their well known D3CR Disruptive  Environments Chest Rig, fans have been asking themselves:

“Do I need to upgrade to the X version?”

Or:

“Should I buy the X instead of the standard D3CR?”

The truth is, both rigs are excellent. The user’s decision will largely depend on an assessment of the X’s features; benchmarked against those of the standard D3CR.

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So, in way of a review, I’ll present an overview of the X and then a comparison between the X and my existing D3CR. Although not strictly necessary, my detailed review of the D3CR – and Haley’s MP2 mag inserts – can be found here.

However, the very best overview of the D3CR is provided by Haley Strategic themselves and 90% of its features are common to both variants.

The X was kindly provided for review purposes by Tactical Kit. Regular readers will already know they’ve been my go to tactical gear retailer for some years.

D3CRX – Reptile House Overview

The D3CRX – or simply “X” – is a new variant of Haley’s D3CR micro chest rig. Like its forebear it is discrete, light and composed of 500D nylon.

It packs down small.

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As its name would suggest, it features an X-pattern harness.

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It also exhibits a dual-layer pouch array which consists of:

Left to right, front row

  • 1x General Purpose (GP) pouch – hook and loop closure and additional loop field external to flap
  • 4x Multi-Mission Pouch System (MMPS) pouches – elasticated and containing rare-earth magnets; will fit pistol mags and other slim items
  • 1x General Purpose (GP) pouch – hook and loop closure and additional loop field external to flap

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Back row (closest to user)

  • 4x 5.56 mag pouches; not overly fitted, so that some AK mags can be used

The MMPS and 5.56 pouches come topped with shock cord pulls, featuring chunky, textured hypalon tabs. These are great quality items and not an afterthought, unlike some OEM bungees.

I’ve removed them from the X, however, because I will be using Haley MP2 mag inserts for retention in the 5.56 mag pouches. The MMPS pouches provide enough retention for my uses as they come.

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On the rig’s reverse is a hook field, which is covered during normal use with a corresponding 500D-backed loop cover. Along with Fastex buckles and removable harness and waist strap, this hook field enables the X to be paired with any compatible plate carrier.

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Comparison Between X and Standard D3CR

The rigs are essentially the same size and shape. Where features are common, the same materials are used – like 500D.

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However, up front the X (top) exhibits a significant change over the standard D3CR in that it does not feature a stuffit pouch. For me, this is an improvement. While the stuffit has been useful in keeping a water bottle to hand, it makes the front of the rig a bit busy. I’ve not experienced a hang up with the stuffit’s shock cord, but in using a VTAC two point sling it is a concern when I have my PTW cinched close to my chest.

The stuffit is replaced on the X by two additional MPPS pouches (four MMPS pouches to the standard D3CR’s two). An excellent substitution.

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Additionally, the X’s MMPS pouches are colour matched to the rig’s Multicam, instead of the coyote used on the D3CR.

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A nice touch.

This is one area where the X scores highly for me, because with the change in pouches it feels even more high speed low drag than the standard D3CR. That’s not something I ever thought I’d say.

At the rear, the hook and loop field is considerably bigger on the X (top).

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This delivers a greater surface for adhesion when using the X with a plate carrier, but also provides a bigger area for expansion items to be attached. Haley makes a whole ecosystem of these items. The Mag Wedge, for example.

There’s also a superficial difference in the hook and loop colour tone throughout. X, left, is less disco:

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The second significant difference between the X and the standard D3CR is the harness pattern.

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The standard D3CR (left) features an H-pattern harness, whereas the X (right) features an X-pattern as mentioned.

Notably, the X-pattern harness features a webbing loop which guides and helps self-centre the shoulder straps when worn. One strap passes through the loop and is held captive. It’s an interesting feature which I’ve not seen before.

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It’s strange to think of a chest rig that’s potentially more limpet-like than the standard D3CR. But that’s what an X-harness promises and is presumably why Haley implemented this configuration.

However, there is an opportunity cost. It’s often easier to don and doff a rig with an H-pattern harness. Some may need to take this into consideration

Equally, some people will get on with one harness over the other down to physiological reasons; which is why the choice between H-pattern and X-pattern is a personal decision.

How The X and Standard D3CR Fit Me

Firstly, I like to wear chest rigs pretty tight and quite high. Not everyone wears them that way, so please take this into consideration as I discuss how the X and standard D3CR fit me.

First pic is the X. It’s pitched at the perfect height for me.

Ideally I would wear a high-collared top with the X to prevent chafing from the shoulder straps. I usually wear an Arc’teryx LEAF Assault Shirt, which provides ample protection in this area.

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Standard D3CR. Again, good height, but note that the shoulder straps are spaced more widely. This is a real benefit of the H-harness for me, so it doesn’t all go the X’s way.

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At the rear, I was unable to utilise the X’s webbing loop to keep the shoulder straps captive. This is down to how tight and high I like the rig; it isn’t a problem when worn in a more moderate way. It’s something to be aware of, but isn’t a deal breaker because you don’t have to use the webbing loop.

Here’s the X pictured without using the webbing loop. The X-harness is perfectly centred and feels solid.

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Standard D3CR’s H-harness, for reference.

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Incredibly, the X is indeed more limpet-like than the standard D3CR and aside from my need to wear a high-collared top, it’s extremely comfortable; moving with me, not against me.

Conclusion

Which rig would I choose if I was going to buy one or the other?

I’d go with the X. The pouch configuration is spot on. I can live with the shoulder straps being closer to my neck, because the X-harness truly does provide a ‘tactical hug’.

Easy.

The more difficult question is whether I would buy the X if I already owned the standard D3CR? Well, since I do consider the X to be an upgrade, yes I would buy it.

While the gains for some would be marginal, they are significant enough for me to want to trade up.

However, I’d also like to see the X and the standard D3CR merchandized in their component parts. Who’s to say some users wouldn’t benefit from the X pouch array mated with the H-harness, or vice versa? They are cross-compatible.

Hopefully something that will be addressed in the future.