Arguably, Crye’s Detachable Flap M4 isn’t just the coolest AVS flap out there, it’s also the coolest triple.
Whether it’s the most practical or not is also arguable. It’s not the easiest to get mags out of, or back in to – but just look at it. It’s easily recognisable; some might say iconic.
So, it’s really annoying that it only fits AVS spec PCs like the AVS (REVIEW) itself, JPC 2.0 (REVIEW) and Airlite SPC (REVIEW). But I wasn’t going to let that stop me fitting it to my Crye Precision Airlite Convertible Chest Rig (REVIEW).
2. Market Review
Out of due diligence I surveilled the market and asked around for a likely adaptor.
I’m sure a product like Sabre Solutions’ Multi-Purpose Panel (thanks Fred from The Geardo Crow) would absolutely have done the job, but it’s designed correctly to put the mags at a lower level to where I think they should sit on the Airlite Convertible Chest Rig.
What I mean by this is that if you start threading PALS where it starts on Sabre’s product, the top of the AVS flap would be level with the top of the rig, which isn’t optimum.
That said, Sabre’s product is perfect to adapt the flap to a non-AVS spec PC; and while it could well be made to work here (by slipping its PALS through the uppermost two slots before contacting the rig), after the awesome job my friend Andy at TacBelts did on the recent Convertible Chest Rig Velcro Panel Hack, I decided to design my own in consultation with him.
3. The Design Process
I started out by measuring Crye’s flap. Just to say, it’s not symmetrical. It’s no issue in use, but makes deciding on ancillary dimensions more thought provoking than my experience with their precisely laser cut laminate.
3.1 Articulating The Design Visually
After kicking around a few formats on paper, I transferred what was the simplest design onto pics of the flap – to add context. The diagrams needn’t be to scale, but the stated dimensions are of course important to Andy, so that he can make vector diagrams for his laminate cutter to interpret.
The laminate used, is Squadron, incidentally.
I used imperial measurements pretty much throughout as that seems to be what Crye measures in, being a US company.
3.2 Design Consultation
Next, Andy and I did a face to face Skype call to bottom-out the details and make sure there was a verbal memorandum of understanding.
By the end of the process, we decided to leave off the popper that I’d originally envisaged in my diagram. Instead I wanted to bind the relevant structure on the flap, to minimise its size. I used McNett Camoform.
I won’t be tearing the flap upwards like I would to doff my AVS, so the button – which prevents this happening accidentally – is surplus to requirements in this application.
4. The Finished Product
The next thing I know, the item was finished and Andy sent through the following pics showing everything as we’d agreed:
In the design, I made the stitched divisions of the top webbing ribbon pretty wide at 2.5”. This is because I find the tighter channels that Crye uses to help attach the flap at the front the AVS fairly vexatious. It also allows for Crye’s tolerances (remember I said the flap isn’t symmetrical?)
Note that on the rear of the adaptor the 6×6 PALS lattice begins 2” from the top. This locates the AVS flap at the correct height for a magazine pouch when used on the chest rig, with the the mouth of each pouch pocket level with the uppermost PALS slots.
If I simply lined up the top of the AVS flap with the top of the rig, the mags would sit weirdly low; but it’s an easy error to make, because until you look at the issue in some detail it seems to be the most intuitive way.
Also of note, I decided in this implementation to dispense entirely with integral PALS straps and instead utilise WTFix straps (REVIEW). These are used to attach the adaptor onto the front face of the chest rig.
5. The Adaptor Arrives
As expected, Andy’s attention to detail means the adaptor has been cut and sewn flawlessly, with neat, regular stitching and a highly professional finish. A true artisan, and I think he secretly enjoys it – who would put up with kit fiends otherwise? It arrived really fast and I think it’s important to make the point that Andy turns stuff around as fast as he can, even in lockdown when it’s not so easy getting to the post office.
Although Andy and I had gone to great lengths to ensure the correct fit, unless he has physical access to the items in question the finished product is only as good as the design submitted.
Luckily, fitment is perfect.
I didn’t think I could like the Crye Airlite Convertible Chest Rig any more than I did, but I do.
The added AVS Detachable Flap M4 isn’t the most user friendly solution, but it looks the money.
My only quandary about this project was whether adding another adaptor would add too many layers to what is supposed to be a minimalist rig. I’d already added a velcro panel to the back, to support dangler-style pouches.
While doubling up does indeed add to the rig’s thickness, it’s not overwhelming. In any case, since both velcro panels front and back are modular, they do not represent permanent changes and can be added or removed as the use case requires.
With all that said, I then realised that while the AVS flap adaptor is fitted the user can simply use it as a velcro sandwich (to carry a dangler); dispensing with the rear velcro panel altogether.