In my first look we covered what the Blue Force Gear Saw Pouch was made from. If you haven’t read that I suggest checking it out here. Today, I’m doing a pure performance review. The SAW pouch by Blue Force Gear is a big pouch. You can squeeze a wide variety of different pieces of gear into it. Ammo, magazines, food, water, all have a place in the pouch. A long time ago I served as a machine gunner in the USMC. I carried a beloved M240 and a M249 SAW during my first pump, and the M240 during my second. In that time I used a hodgepodge of SAW pouches to carry ammo. I still have two of these old pouches, and while they worked alright, they were far from perfect.
Problems with Pouches
First of all they weren’t water resistant, and there wasn’t a standard size. One fit a 200 round SAW drum or a 100 round belt of 7.62 NATO perfectly. The other could fit one 100 round cloth pouch, and about seventy rounds of 7.62. This lead to me being imaginative in carrying my ammo. I even utilized cloth bandoleers, as seen here.
Another issue is that it went flat as soon as the ammo was removed. When using the SAW we had a general rule that the disposable plastic drums were packed out. The idea that they could be used as bait for an IED clung to us. So when I had to reload in the middle of a gunfight I’d throw a new one on the gun and drop the plastic one. This kept me in the fight and made reloading quicker.
However, when it came time to move I had to grab the drum, move, drop the drum, and resume fighting. Alternatively, I had to move, carry the gun, and try to put the drum back into the pouch with one hand. Neither option was optimum. When I carried the M240 the larger ammunition and lack of drums meant I carried a 50 round ‘starter’ belt. That wouldn’t last long in a fight, so reloading was important.
Enter the Blue Force Gear Saw Pouch
The 100 round belt in my pouches didn’t fill the pouch, so it closed part of the way, so I would have had to wrestle it out and try my fastest to reload. The Blue Force Gear SAW pouch doesn’t have that problem. It stays opened unless pressed and held flat. Putting a drum back in, or pulling a belt of ammo out would be a helluva lot easier.
Nice and Wide
Unfortunately these days I don’t carry a belt fed weapon, and neither do most of us. What purpose would the Blue Force Gear pouch serve us? First and foremost it’s perfect to extend a pack, make it bigger, better, and more accessible. You can fit a day trips worth of chow and a few bottles of water in it easily. This keeps everything accessible and easy to find. This is a really big pouch, so you can do a lot with it.
I was running some magazine change drills and attached this to my Telor Tactical Go Belt. I didn’t use it as a mag pouch, but a drop pouch. During tactical reloads I found it to be incredibly easy to toss the magazines in pouch. The mouth of the pouch is always opened. I figured if it was hungry, I’d feed it.
I personally hate most drop pouches. They sag, and you have to really push the mag in, with this one I just drop it in. If I needed to move all I’d have to do is secure the pouch with it’s easy open lid. The pouch had no problems closing on 40 round PMAGs. So you can fit some tall things in there.
On the Drums
Speaking of PMAGs. Have you guys seen the new Magpul D60 drum? This pouch is perfect for it. If you wanted to run drums you’d need something to carry it. Let’s face it TACO pouches ain’t gonna work. The drum is big, but the pouch is bigger, so retrieval for reloads is simple. Also, FN is producing a semi auto SAW. So if you want one, you’ll need a way to carry ammo.
The pouch itself is resistant to almost any damage I’ve put it through. It went through some real extensive testing as a drop pouch for a SCAR 16s, a Scorpion Carbine, and on the trap range. It turns out a box of 12 gauge ammo fits in it perfectly when busting skeet. The pouch isn’t water proof, but it’s water resistant. Dew, mist, fog, aren’t going to settle on it and bleed through. The same goes for laying in wet grass. Your ammo is gonna stay dry.
The PALS webbing on the back is made from the same Ultracomp the pouch is. Because of this you get just a hair of flex. This little bit of flex makes it a lot easier to weave on tight webbing. The end of the PALS straps have velcro, which attaches the last rung of PALS. The ends have a fabric no slip cap, so if the velcro goes out the straps will catch on the webbing. This ensures the Blue Force Gear SAW pouch is always secure.
All in all, I’m glad someone is finally looking out for my belt fed brothers. The options for carrying ammo have always been small for belt fed weapons. It’s glad to see a high quality piece of gear that is built to last, and it seems to be perfect for belt fed ammo. This is the pouch I would’ve designed when I was carrying a machine gun. The Blue Force Gear Saw pouch is well designed, easy to use, and is a solid piece of kit.