Words and pics: Tactical Optician
Rich kindly asked me to sense check his review of the G-Code Scorpion Soft-shell magazine pouch with particular reference to a method of mounting that I’m fond of: inversion.
So a little background for those of you who haven’t come across my rationale in my previous ramblings.
I’m right handed, so handle mags with my left. A few years ago, I met a guy who showed me that an inverted mag on my weak side could make for a fast first mag change.
He had two upright mag pouches on his plate carrier, with an inverted one to the left just on the cummerbund. To me, this was genius. It presented the magazine in the correct orientation to be snagged with a beer can grip and inserted into the weapon.
When coupled with a left sided dump pouch, it made for a flow between stashing the empty mag into the pouch and then – as the hand returns to the weapon – it grasps the inverted mag and progresses smoothly to the mag fit. At this point, a disclaimer: all mag retention that I reference from this point on is purely airsoft – not the weight of 28 rounds, but of 90 bbs.
I’ve used this method for some time (after previously trying the Crye Horizontal mag pouch) and I’m a convert. My colleague was running a Gear For Grunts RAMP, but as I didn’t have one of these, I tried an ITW FastMag which did the job well. Retention is excellent; there is a degree of adjustment inherent in the FastMag design; and it performs well. Conversely it is a rigid design: a little bulky and can dig into the ribs if rolling while in the prone position. Plus, it mounts with a Malice Clip-like arrangement, which of course is the Devil’s own mounting system in my eyes.
So in the quest for ever better performance, I’ve looked at evaluating other options. Luckily for me, Rich has an eye for likely alternative pouches, and will steer me towards any that may fit the bill.
With a bit of a TRH tip, my next evaluation was the FirstSpear Multi Mag Rapid Adjust pouch (Rich’s review here). Although not designed for ultimate retention but for versatility, I could see potential in the adjustable BOA mechanism of the pouch. I’m a fan of BOA retention in running shoes, and it seemed feasible to be able to tweak the tension in order to safely retain an inverted mag.
The Multi Mag pouch is deformable so it isn’t going to present the same comfort issues as the FastMag, but I found at first that reindexing an empty mag into the pouch was fiddly. It required dialling out the tension on the BOA before inserting the mag and then re-tensioning. Although a moot point to dump pouch users, I like the ability to reindex mags on the fly. On more than one occasion I’ve hunkered down mid firefight to replenish mags before breaking cover and moving back into the fray. Often this has been in a scrape, depression, or other hard cover that necessitates retaining a low bodily profile while bombing-up.
In this regard I felt the Multi Mag came up short.
But as the design seemed inherently sound, I wondered if a bit of ghetto kydex might help. I sometimes run a C2R triple mag pouch across the front of my plate carrier (I highly rate this mag pouch), and thanks to the excellent DIY smarts of John Danter, learnt the art of crafting homemade kydex retention; a poor man’s EssTac Kywi, if you will.
So I swiped one of my home brew retainers from the C2R pouch and slipped it into the Multi Mag. It helps by retaining a good aperture for reindexing the mag, and even when the tension is wound off, it doesn’t slip out. The lips of the kydex, if cut to the correct length, will engage with the seams around the mag pouch pouch, and stop it tumbling out. Plus if I lose some kydex, the pouch works reasonably well without; and I can soon knock up another. Clearly not ideal if operating in the real world, but on an airsoft weekend, no biggie.
Recently, Rich mentioned the G-Code Scorpion Soft-shell mag pouch to me. He knows how I like to run inverted, so to speak. He seemed to think that it may be the best of both given what I’d run prior.
This pouch immediately won points for sporting a non-Malice mount; the plastic tines are reassuringly sturdy but easy to mount once you grasp the release mechanism. Certainly I’ve no concern about inadvertently releasing one. This is a consideration when running a pouch inverted which is not designed to do so, as most retention is secured on the pouch underside which naturally is uppermost on an upside down installation.
The pouch exhibits a gradual mouth which makes for straightforward reindexing of mags. It also has an adjustable tension in a similar style to the HSGI Taco (Rich’s Review here), but is relatively deformable. The retention straight out of the box is confidence inspiring, partly thanks to the high friction Santoprene inner lining which grips my Emags tenaciously.
However, drawing the mag is no trouble despite this. As a plus, there is facility to fit a small PALS compatible pouch onto the front; I’m looking at dropping a Blue Force Gear single pistol pouch on, in standard orientation. It may bulk things out too much, but I’m keen to evaluate the configuration.
Interestingly, despite the broad similarity between G-Code’s Scorpion Soft-Shell and HSGI’s Taco, I’ve not tried an inverted Taco. It may have potential.
In the meantime, my recommendation for an inverted ‘quick draw’ mag pouch based on my experience, would be the G-Code Scorpion Soft-shell.