We all know that Crye’s solutions are creative, but sometimes their products also seem incredibly niche. One such item is their Side-Pull Mag Pouch, and it’s one of my favourite Crye products.
It’s not a pouch with a million imitators; the design isn’t unashamedly borrowed as often as one of Crye’s core products like the JPC. That said, I always find it incredibly useful to have to hand and it’s still proving its worth after two years of use.
Crye’s Side-Pull Mag Pouch is designed, ostensibly, to be located at the rear of a PC. That’s where you’ll find it in most reference pics, especially modern CAG ones; but it can also be used at the front. In both cases it usually attaches to the base of the plate bag, utilising the velcro mating surfaces at the flap.
The pouch’s backer is stiffened, which prevents it bobbing about as the user ambulates. That’s assisted by the plate above it, acting as a bulwark.
The backer is also slightly concave, so that when it’s applied to the curve of a plate (or a chest, as I found out) the pouch doesn’t pucker or warp out of shape. A clever touch and something we’ll come back to later in the article, when we look at the use of this pouch with Crye’s Convertible Chest Rig.
One face of the pouch (the outwards face when used with a PC) exhibits a PALS daisy chain, upon which MOLLE items can be piggybacked.
Mags are retained using bungees but the pouch mouths also exhibit elastic, which makes reindexing doubly hard. This is often something that users think makes the pouch unusable.
But, there’s a hack. There’s always a hack…
3. The Kydex Hack
I wrote an article about the Kydex hack for Crye’s Side-Pull Mag Pouch in early 2019. This section represents a quick run through of what’s required.
3.1 The Problem
The main problem is the mouth of the pouch. It really needs some form of reinforcement to keep it open and receptive.
3.2 The Solution
First I got rid of the bungees. These get in the way – just bin ‘em.
Next I stretched both compartments of the Side-Pull Mag Pouch, over a number of days. I did this by keeping the mags in situ and wedging MALICE Clips down all four sides (finally a use for MALICE Clips). The pouches are already tight and stretching them makes space for the use of Kydex inserts.
Meanwhile, I repurposed some old Kydex inserts I had laying about. Doing this from scratch, I’d try thinner Kydex, but this is what I had spare. The result isn’t pretty, but it works. As usual with my hacks, proof of concept comes before pro version (and I still need to get the pro version done by someone good with Kydex).
The aim of the Kydex is, of course, to form a receptive mouth which stops the pouch mouths collapsing; but also to add sufficient retention to the mag. However, I actually needed to take as much of the usual hourglass shape out of the Kydex as possible. The Side-Pull Mag Pouch compartments are so tight that the Kydex leaf spring affect needs to exert very little force on the mags to keep them secure.
Kydex is a thermoplastic which responds well to heat. A hot hairdryer or mini blowtorch can be used to reshape it.
It took a few goes to work out what was best for me in terms of Kydex size and shape. I settled on allowing the Kydex to protrude way beyond the pouch mouth. This makes it easier for me to guide the mags back in as I reindex.
The Kydex itself is still retained by the compartment and its elastic, so it doesn’t fall out when the mag is drawn. Mags are now really easy to draw and much easier to reindex.
4. Side-Pull Mag Pouch Use with Crye’s Convertible Chest Rig
So, onto the money shot…
As regular readers will attest, I’ve been tooling around for some time with what I regard to be the very best chest rig out there. If you want to know why, my two part review is linked below:
- REVIEW: Crye Convertible Chest Rig Part 1 – Initial Opinion
- REVIEW: Crye Convertible Chest Rig Part 2 – Long Term View
Bodging a bit of Kydex into some mag pouches obviously wasn’t going to be the only hack in this article, because I recently worked with my friend Andy from TacBelts to hack the rig itself; furnishing it with a rather dapper Mayflower standard velcro backing, for use with all the best dangler type pouches.
It’s fully documented in this article.
The Crye Precision Side-Pull Mag Pouch is something I’ve seen on the front of a PC (a UKSF one in a reference pic, not some random) but I’ve never seen one on a chest rig. Because of that, I just assumed it wouldn’t work.
I don’t mean it wouldn’t fit, because the velcro on the pouch is orientated the Mayflower way – the universal placard standard that’s been adopted on most modern chest rigs. What I mean is that once installed, the pouch would be too rigid to conform to the user; or be too cack handed to be of any use; or simply stick out too much and encumber the user.
I was wrong.
Remember the slight concave of the backer? The pouch is designed to curve around plates and by extension – as I found out – chests, too. Equally, it doesn’t stick out as far as the rig’s flanking pouches. So, it doesn’t feel like a pair of handlebars.
Not only that, but the vertical rigidity of the backer stops the pouch flapping about. However, with no plate above it, it still has some flex. Crouching or taking a knee, the height the pouch is held at (and its size) means it doesn’t conflict with the user’s thigh. It’s also set at a much more ergonomic position to get mags in and out than when used at the front of a PC, in my experience.
So, the lesson here is to try out those seemingly stupid ideas, because you may find out something that isn’t commonly known or has been forgotten. Whether it’s desirable or not is a different matter and will, I suspect, vary from use case to use case. Yesterday I put one of the chest rig pics up on my Instagram story with no explanation. I’ve never had so many messages asking me about the Side Pull Pouch, or how the rig was put together – mainly the latter.
But don’t forget this: the Crye Side-Pull Mag Pouch isn’t just something that can only be used with Crye’s Convertible Chest Rig. It can be used with any Mayflower spec rig.
For instance, you could do this with:
Need two additional mags on your Micro chest rig without stacking mags or resorting to wings? This works. Need easy to reach mags while prone? This works. Everyone has their own requirements. More choice means more opportunities to optimise and fill that niche.