At the outset of this review, the question I asked myself of the Disruptive Environments Chest Rig Heavy (known – variously- as the D3CRXH, D3CRH, or simply ‘Heavy’) was this:
Is it a dated design?
After grappling for a while with the various arguments, the answer is yes.
Yes, because evidently it is not a modular, micro chest rig: the current paradigm, heralded by Spiritus’ Micro Fight (REVIEW) and solidly answered by HSP’s own, slightly less modular D3CRM (REVIEW).
And no, because the D3CRH form factor is no less valid than a micro’s. Not only that but it is of a classic design; and classic is without age.
I’d say the same about Mayflower’s range of chest rigs, which started the modern lineage of which micro chest rigs are the newest iteration. Mayflower largely dispensed with MOLLE and instead provided a set of basics to which the user adapts (and not the other way around).
The D3CRH is the same deal: limited modularity, and stitched-on pouches but in the Haley format which gives you the essentials, aside from (some might say) IFAK and radio pouches. These, the company states, are assumed to be kept on the person at all times – with or without rig.
I regularly carry neither radio nor IFAK, so they’re not something that’s in scope for me. I don’t need to wear a belt to compensate, or attach widely available extenders to the placard’s flanks – although these are notable options if it’s in scope for the reader.
The Heavy is optimised for 308 mags, but my interest here is in its use for 556 – as an alternative to the D3CR and D3CRX; although some might say this newer instance of the Heavy suffers from the same blight as the D3CRX…the dreaded X-harness.
It’s not a deal breaker, just a preference, and I won’t offer hyperbole. Plenty of people like X-harnesses, myself included.
The Heavy’s X-harness iteration includes useful attachment/routing options, but also features a mildly vexing overhang behind the Fastex clip. Again, attitudes to this are 100% personal preference, as some people maintain that it adds comfort.
I see no benefit to it, as opposed to ending the strap as the clip begins (it’s certainly no more comfortable for me). The disbenefit, on the other hand, is that it’s just another thing to tweak when donning the rig, as it inevitably folds back on itself. If unchecked, in use it becomes a hot spot.
On the plus side, the X-harness is really easy to adjust and it’s possible to make tweaks with the rig in situ (provided the user hasn’t tidied away the excess strap in such a way to prevent this).
Which leads us on to another positive: there’s plenty of adjustment. While this does create a lot of excess strap for me, it also means that this rig will nicely slip over a slick PC.
Lastly, the harness straps feature webbing pass-throughs. These effectively canalise and centre the X-structure when in situ on the user.
With that being said, I don’t use this feature. The height/tightness I run the harness at means it doesn’t work as intended. For most people, I’d think this feature would be a big positive, however, as it helps to prevent the straps tangling when donning the rig.
2.2 Back Strap
The back strap is solid. It’s simple, but has well finished ends which effectively canalise the Fastex clips and prevent them falling off at the extremes of adjustment. Like the harness, it’s adjustable with the rig in situ on the user; and widely adjustable for use over slick PCs.
2.3 Bungees and Pull Tabs
My recommendation here is to dispense with the rifle mag bungees entirely and fit HSP’s excellent MP2 kydex alternative.
Again, this is a preference.
HSP’s bungee implementation is very good – so if the user needs additional retention, I can safely say that the chunky, texturised pull tabs supplied are amongst the best on the market.
This is the main act and the reason for buying the Heavy. Its benefits outweigh all other considerations.
The placard consists of a decent range of stitched-on pouches:
- 4x rifle mag pouches (308 or 556)
- 1x medium utility
- 2x pistol mag pouches
- 1x small utility
At the rear, the placard is PC and dangler compatible to the Velocity Systems/Mayflower SwiftClip standard:
The US Woodland-faced velcro cover is a nice touch, particularly since some companies simply face this area with a rough, unfinished loop panel. The velcro itself is extensive; not just a token swatch, but covers the entire reverse of the placard.
Drainage is provided at the base of the placard by a series of grommets.
Formalities over, let’s look at the placard’s excellent features.
2.4.1 Rifle mag pouches (308/556)
The biggest draw for me of any HSP rig, is the company’s excellent MP2 inserts. They work really well for 556 in the Heavy, despite its job ostensibly as a 308 mag carrier.
In fact, the Heavy is equally as good in the 556 role (if not better) than the D3CR/D3CRX. This is because the mag pouches are slightly bigger and thus easier to reindex; without the mags flopping about from too little tension.
This was a big test and the Heavy exceeded expectations.
Like its 556 rig equivalents, the Heavy features PALS webbing which interfaces with MP2s and prevents them from escaping the pouch as a mag is retrieved.
On both sides of the rifle mag area, we have elastic retainers.
I managed to just about squeeze a TQ in there.
2.4.2 Pistol mag pouches
Haley calls these MMPs – or Multi Mission Pouches – but basically they’re for pistol mags, although you can jam in a multitool or flapjack.
Sadly they’re surplus to requirements for my use case. I don’t carry a pistol and it’s a great way to corrode a multitool over a long period, by exposing it to the elements when there’s simply no need for fast access.
So, these are dead space as far as I’m concerned, but others will no doubt be as happy as Larry at their inclusion.
As pistol mag pouches go, they’re great.
Decent elasticated retention in the pouch body alone, or maxed out with HSP’s excellent bungee/pull tab combo. They also allegedly feature rare earth magnets, so probably best not to put a compass in one of the Heavy’s two utility pouches.
2.4.3 Medium utility pouch
Approximate dimensions, medium utility:
- Height: 5.0”
- Width: 7.0”
- Depth: 1.5”
This is a really cool, useful clamshell opening pouch with twin zips; way more useful than those utility pouches on the D3CR/X
Watch out when opening it, because the zip is free running and there’s no limiter.
Inside, one wall features elastic retention. Now, I prefer my utilities to be slick or replete with loop so that I can choose to add organisation. Utilities with organisation usually annoy me, but here the elastic is lo pro and discrete unless you’re using it.
On the opposite wall, there’s a transparent slip pocket. Again, this is cool as it stays out of my way.
As for the overall size of the pouch, it’s on the small size of medium. I’m sure for some users it would make a decent IFAK (although HSP states they don’t provide anything on the rig for that).
2.4.4 Small utility pouch
Approximate dimensions, small utility:
- Height: 5.0”
- Width: 3.25”
- Depth: 1.5”
Another really useful pouch which, in my worn pics, subsumes my Baofeng UV5R – although it would easily fit my mobile instead.
Nice and simple inside – trust me – and again featuring twin zips.
Why on Earth, in 2020, did I want to look at Haley Strategic Partners’ D3CRH?
Aside from the many plaudits from its legions of fans, in short, it was to complete the blog’s set of D3CR-series reviews:
On that note, whereas I’ve owned all the other variants, this instance was on loan from Tactical Kit. So, this article is a review of the rig’s design and I won’t be offering long term feedback in future.
That said, the other variants served me well and quality at this level of nylon gear is indisputable. One obvious indicator is the neat and task appropriate stitching, which is always a part of HSP products – with the D3CRH being no different.
As for what some may consider to be the weakest part of the package (the X-harness) there are various replacement options out there. I tried the harness from my Crye AirLite Convertible Chest Rig, which worked well:
You can read more about that in this article.
Regular readers will no doubt be aware that the MOLLE chest rig I favour most right now is the aforementioned Crye (REVIEW). I find it superior to everything else I’ve tried and that’s a long list. As such, I admit I did struggle at first with the doctrinally dissimilar D3CRH.
However, by the end of the exercise I realised that the D3CRH is the zenith of a different but equal chest rig design evolution.