Courtesy of Breach Bang Clear

Blackhawk D.O.A.V.: An Old School Load-Bearing Vest
Mike Kupari

What’s up, party peoples? Let me tell you a story. One upon a time, before MOLLE, before plate carriers and battle belts, before Cobra buckles, MultiCam, and Facebook, a fightin’ man’s gear options were rather limited. If you were in the bulk of the armed forces, what you got was an ALICE load-bearing setup: suspenders, a pistol belt, a pair of M16 magazine pouches, a pair of canteens and pouches, and a compass/first aid pouch. There were other things you could carry, too: buttpacks, extra ammo pouches, your entrenching tool, the old angle-head flashlight, your bayonet, and (if you were one of the few who were issued one), and M9 in a UM84 holster…unless, like our Editor-in-Chief, you sported a Holster Assembly, GUU-1/P for an M15 Combat Masterpiece.

Don’t forget your pro-mask, too. That had to be with you all the time.

The system was quite modular, but in most cases you were told how to configure it by your leadership and everything had to be dress-right-dress.

Body armor? What’s that? Other than your Kevlar, and the occasional odd PASGT flak jacket, you generally didn’t get armor. A much greater emphasis was placed on protecting you from chemical weapons than protecting you from bullets.

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