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Deep Dive into PALS and MOLLE

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If you’re new to the world of plate carriers and body armor, then you’re likely new to PALS and MOLLE. These days, PALS webbing has become the standard means of attaching MOLLE accessories to tactical gear such as plate carriers and backpacks. PALS is an acronym for Pouch Attachment Ladder System. PALS is designed to work in conjunction with MOLLE, which is an acronym (commonly pronounced “molly”) that stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. PALS webbing allows you to attach MOLLE accessories. Where this often gets confusing for people new to body armor is that the terms PALS and MOLLE are typically used interchangeably. Think of PALS and MOLLE as you would Velcro, both the soft and hook-loop sides of Velcro are required to attach 2 items together. In this article we’ll be covering the general uses PALS webbing and the most common MOLLE accessories for plate carriers.

 


Most plate carriers feature PALS webbing on the chest, back and cummerbund. This allows you to attach MOLLE accessories almost anywhere on your torso. However, this freedom to place stuff on your plate carrier comes with some responsibility. Just because you have all that real estate doesn’t mean you should use every last loop “just because”. If you’re new to body armor, then it’s likely that you’re new to all the MOLLE accessories on the market. There’s a MOLLE attachment for most “tactical” gear you can think of, ranging from magazines to radios to handcuffs. It’s important to do a little homework on each accessory to know just what you’re getting yourself into. For example, a loaded magazine of 5.56/.223 typically weighs a little over one pound. By adding double decker mag pouches to your carrier you would be increasing your load by at least 6 lbs. It doesn’t take a whole lot of gear to push your plate carrier north of 30 lbs (most body armor plates weigh around 6-8 lbs each). If you’re concerned about the overall weight of your loadout, we suggest lightweight body armor such as our Elaphros level III UHMWPE armor or our Level III+ Composite Ceramic Multi Curve armor . The moral of the story is that you should consider the weight of each item being placed on your carrier, or stop skipping leg day at the gym.


Lightweight Rifle Rated Body Armor

 

How To Attach MOLLE Accessories Correctly

It’s easy to attach MOLLE accessories incorrectly if you’re new to the subject. At first glance, it may appear that the MOLLE straps just slide through the required number of loops and then snap-on to the accessory. This is NOT the correct way to attach MOLLE accessories as it will result in your gear flapping around as you move/run. Another consequence of incorrectly attaching MOLLE gear is that it will be so loose that it can easily get snagged in tight quarters. In order to attach MOLLE accessories correctly, you must weave the MOLLE straps through the PALS webbing in a very specific manner. This takes a little more time and effort, but you’ll find that the results are worth it. When MOLLE gear it attached correctly, it takes a bit of effort to remove it. This means that there is little to no chance of your leaving a trail of gear and pouches behind you as you run. Here are a couple videos showing how to attach common MOLLE such as that from Condor or HighSpeedGear.


High Speed Gear Molle Instructions



Condor Molle Instructions



Now that you know what PALS and MOLLE is, it’s time to do some actual shopping. Below are the most common MOLLE accessories for plate carriers. We’ll quickly cover each one and provide basic tips and suggestions.


Magazine Pouches

Magazine pouches are hands down the most popular MOLLE product and it’s pretty clear t see why. You need to carry magazines and magazine pouches allow you to carry more magazines. Seems simple right? Yes and no. There are standard single mag pouches such as the Condor M4 mag pouch and there are much more advanced magazine pouches such as the HSGI X2RP Taco™ Double Rifle and Single Pistol Pouch . In some scenarios it pays to have a large amount of magazines at the ready, in other scenarios it’s better to be more lightweight and agile. It’s also important to note that a large amount of magazines strapped to your carrier can also impede or reduce the effectiveness of certain motions such as going prone. Another consideration is how the magazines are retained in the pouch itself. Some magazines pouches use tension, which leaves the magazine exposed and easily accessible. Other magazine pouches are “covered” with a big loop of material. The covered magazine pouch keeps our magazines more secure, but less accessible. Magazine pouches can also be used beyond their stated purpose. It’s common to see mag pouches used to hold flashlights and other gear that fits in the pouch.

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Medical Kits

Med kits such as an Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) and our Advanced First Aid Kit (AFAK) should be one of the first pieces of gear you buy. If you’re planning for worst case scenario, then you should be factoring in a means of treating traumatic bleeding in the event you or someone around you is shot or stabbed. In many cases, you’re more likely to need a medical kit than most other types of gear. Med kits can be easily stored in backpacks, glove boxes, etc. Whether you’re at the gun range or in a car accident, a simple tourniquet could mean the difference between life or death. All of our med kits come with MOLLE straps and can easily be attached to a plate carrier.


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Holsters

Holsters such as the Condor HT Holster can be easily attached to PALS webbing. While it can be cumbersome and there are some draw backs to placing a holster directly on your plate carrier, MOLLE allow you to attach to any PALS webbing accessory. This means that you can use secondary mounting accessories such as war belts or leg rigs.

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Flashlights

While many magazine pouches can easily be used to hold flashlights, some are better suited than others. A flashlight can be a vital piece of equipment and it might not always make sense to depend on a weapon mounted light. The size of the flashlight is obviously a factor so you will want to make sure that the flashlight you plan to use has dimensions relative to that of a magazine that fits in the pouch. For example, the HSGI® Polymer Pistol Taco™ and the Condor Single Flash Bang Mag Pouch are great pouches to use for small pieces of equipmen t such as flashlights.



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Multi-Purpose Pouches

A general MOLLE pouch is a great option if you have a variety of gear that you want to carry, but don’t want to clutter up your plate carrier. Say for example you want to build your own custom med kit or a survival kit with lots of small items. Having a multi-purpose pouch that attaches via MOLLE could be the perfect solution. Here are a few options to get you squared away:


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It’s worth noting that MOLLE has it’s pros and cons. Not everyone is a fan of MOLLE, but the good news is that there are some alternatives that you can use with most MOLLE accessories. You’ll find that most MOLLE accessories have removeable MOLLE straps. This means that you can try out other attachment systems such as MALICE clips made by Tactical Tailor. In the end, the key to remember is that your gear should be snug and secure as you move. There are far too many types of MOLLE pouches and equipment to mention in this brief article. You can shop our line of MOLLE accessories by clicking the link below. If you have questions regarding our body armor products and tactical gear, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

SHOP ALL POUCHES & ACCESSORIES


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