Have you ever stalked a pouch? I don’t think I’ve ever been as obsessive about a piece of nylon as I have with Ferro Concepts’ The Mini Dangler.
Behaviours have included:
- Refreshing Ferro product page in case of secret drop
- Harassing overworked U.K. distributor for drop date
- Telling anyone who’ll listen that I’ll die if I don’t get one
- Walking backwards around black candles, humming Slayer
I think it was December 2019 when Ferro teased the first shots of The Mini Dangler.
The rest of the world was just about dealing with it being nearly 2020, while Ferro was firmly in 2021…the rascals!
I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but I really feel like the company has excelled itself of late. The ‘now’ feels like the culmination of a lot of hard work falling into place. ‘Nu Ferro’ is even more original, unconstrained and most definitely on a roll. Notwithstanding, there’s a palpable brand synergy between Ferro’s increasingly distilled designs and the images of those designs being used (and no doubt further distilled) by Forward Observations Group. It’s marketing genius, but it wouldn’t work if the product wasn’t stellar.
A couple of months ago I had the distinct pleasure of reviewing what I’d name as Ferro’s flagship product of its new era: the impressive FCPC V5 (REVIEW). Some may think of the Mini Dangler as just a PC or chest rig ancillary, but the same focus and clarity that guided the FCPC V5 has been leveraged to architect this drop pouch.
Like the original Dangler (REVIEW), which pretty much created the modern drop pouch template and rendered the term ‘dangler’ a generic description for that template, I think the Mini Dangler will change the market.
2. Form Factor
Ferro has gone wider than previously existing drop pouches; creating a new paradigm which will no doubt be furiously copied by all the usual suspects.
The Mini Dangler is shaped rather like a large pencil case and its stated dimensions are:
- Width 9.0”
- Height 3.75″
- Depth 2.0”
For a practical demonstration of volume, I loaded it up with four 556 Pmags:
Clearly there’s still room left, but you get an idea of The Mini Dangler’s capacity, and a hint at its malleability which I’ll highlight later.
I’m not sure it really deserves the ‘Mini’ moniker, because it doesn’t appear smaller in terms of volume than the original Ferro Dangler; more of a ‘midi’ if anything. And yet…it’s also a deserving name because while wider, the Mini Dangler is shorter than the original Dangler. This makes it lower profile.
I did worry initially that the extra width would annoy me while taking a knee, but unless it’s packed out solid that isn’t the case. A shorter pouch means a higher riding pouch.
As is usual with drop pouches, the Mini Dangler makes use of the appropriate velcro surface at the rear of a chest rig, or under a PC’s front flap. Because I run an AVS Flap on my Crye AirLite Convertible Chest Rig using a custom adaptor, that’s the way I have the Mini Dangler fitted in these pictures.
What is unusual about the Mini Dangler, however, is that its velcro hang tab – while wide – is short. According to Ferro, this serves to make the item compatible with the company’s similarly new and futuristic Bison Belt.
I’d estimate the velcro contact area is the same for the Mini Dangler as it is with legacy designs – just formatted in a different way.
When I retrieved the Mini Dangler from its bag, I was intrigued by the burrito-like folds at its corners. It’s almost as if Ferro stitchers roll the structure into a parcel.
The pics below show the folds from the inside and outside the pouch.
The first thing I’d like to highlight is that with a lighter load, the way the corners are folded helps the Mini Dangler keeps its shape. That’s really useful not only for looks, but to make sure it’s receptive when opened and doesn’t collapse in on itself.
The following three pics show the Mini Dangler lightly loaded while retaining decent and usable shape. Note the bottom corners of the pouch are angled, not square.
However – and this is my second point – the folds also act as gussets and allow some expansion of the pouch, allowing it to square-up at the corners for a little extra capacity. It’s a clever but curious design, which I don’t think I’ve seen elsewhere in a drop pouch.
3.1.1 Large zip opening
Ferro isn’t messing about in terms of access. The design of The Mini Dangler means its mouth is both cavernous and easy to access. Unlike a lot of drop pouches on the market today, Ferro hasn’t put the the main zip on top of the pouch but top front – which is absolutely crucial. It also means that in most cases the contents of the pouch can be eyeballed.
The zip itself is reversed – as has become standard with many tactical and outdoors implementations, providing a degree of water repellency. It’s not worth having a waterproof zip on a pouch like this, because while the zip won’t leak the Cordura will.
The twin zip pulls appear to be ITW GT Zip Lines and these sit nicely proud and easy to articulate when compared to simpler methods.
Out of interest, ITW says this about the product:
…will provide a streamlined, clean and neat cord pull that does not absorb water or body fluids, it is easily installed in many configurations using half hitch or girth hitch knots. Available in straight or loop tab design for both apparel and equipment applications. ZipLine performance features are derived from our proprietary visco-elastic material & molding process, with the thick strand variants capable of 80lbs tensile loads.ITW
On either side of the zip, there are really handy tabs which facilitate easy opening. I find these really useful and use them pretty much whenever I open the pouch. They’re a decent length – longer than most – and simple to find with gloved hands.
3.1.2 Colour-matched velcro field
As the title suggests, the Mini Dangler comes complete with a colour-matched velcro field on its face.
3.1.3 TQ garage
At the base of the Mini Dangler we find an elastic strap which can be used as a TQ retainer.
I have a TQ attached to the product in the worn pics which accompany this article and while it was retained fairly, I was expecting the elastic to be tighter. Clearly, with the pouch packed full the tightness will be increased, but the converse is also true.
Turning The Mini Dangler inside out, we can better inspect its internal provision and pouch quality.
3.2.1 Elastic daisy chain
I dislike busy pouch interiors, preferring to add my own organisation via velcro – if required. The Mini Dangler doesn’t include interior velcro, but it does feature an elastic daisy chain.
Spaced at intervals of 2.5″, this sits conformal to the rear wall and absolutely stays out of the way when not in use. I like it a lot.
3.2.2 Drainage grommet
By turning the pouch inside out we find the drainage grommet – nicely hidden from the outside by the elastic TQ garage.
I always turn inside out anything I’m buying that’s stitched – that includes pouches as well as apparel. Doing this to The Mini Dangler exposes excellent stitching of a standard I’ve come to expect from Ferro.
4. Use of The Mini Dangler With AVS, Using AXL Sub Load Adaptor
As mentioned earlier, the usual way to attach a drop pouch to a PC is via the velcro placard area; often under the platform’s front flap. On the AVS there’s a different, more useful way to do it – thanks to AXL.
Unlike chest rig use (where the user’s abdomen acts as a bulwark to the back of the drop pouch), PC users will note that the pouch often swings back and forth during activity – like a pendulum. This is because it is held away from the abdomen, with the front plate as a separator. Thus, it swings in both directions.
AXL gets around this with the AVS and CPC by leveraging Crye’s abdo attachment point, on the back of the front plate bag. AXL’s solution is their Sub Load Adaptor (SLA) which I reviewed last year. The company partners with Ferro in the sense that it produces Ferro-specific adaptors, so I thought the SLA may be of interest here.
As a side note, the SLA makes it possible to use a drop pouch with the AVS and fasten the AVS Flap‘s security popper. That’s simply not possible if the drop pouch is used under the flap.
In use with the AVS, The Mini Dangler stays put and it’s still really easy to access, despite the overhang of mags and plate. That’s because of Ferro’s clever zip placement – as mentioned previously.
It’s so easy to write about products that inspire me as much as Ferro’s, and The Mini Dangler is no exception.
As soon as I saw the pre-release images I knew that it would be absolutely perfect for my application, whereas competitor products (including the company’s original Dangler) have been and gone. In fact, I can’t even remember being particularly impressed with the original Dangler, but as I said in the introduction I think Ferro’s time is now.
I guess another point I want to make is that The Mini Dangler’s form factor is perfect for me, so I am well able to leverage the gains of its design. That said, it is such a smart design and a different form factor from the norm that I think anyone would be impressed.
Tactical Kit has these in right now, but I hear they’re selling fast. So, if you want one, don’t delay