Communism was fought across the lands of Midgard. From the forests of Vietnam to the Tropics of Africa. As it happens, in a land called Rhodesia, a piece of the Red Tides equipment was modified by troopers of the SAS. From Rhodesia this kit, a method of storing rifle magazines on the chest, morphed into the chest rigs of today. These rigs have reached the paragon of excellence in the design by Travis Haley.

The first time I was exposed to the plate carrier/chest rig combo was during deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the southern islands of the Philippines. Rigs were created to-order in a sew shop on base. The magazine pouches snapped on with Velcro and metal buttons. This was the only option, apart from wearing a chest rig over your plates. Alas and Alak young children, these were the dark days before MOLLE. Oh those young to the world, mention not that spawn of Hel, ALICE. 

With the adoption of MOLLE, magazine pouches could be attached directly as they are now. An issue came up when one wanted to dump protection, and opt for speed/maneuverability.  Especially when higher-ups mandated the wearing of soft armor under plates.  Anyone who has worn the soft/plate combo for a while will let you know maneuverability is an issue. Speed is fine for short bursts, but escape and evade over a distance and one is going to chunk those things. Now where do I put my magazines?

On deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) I took notice of the concealable soft armor under the BDU, then a plate carrier, and then a chest rig on top. This is a more modular concept and allows one to use the same chest rig setup on longer patrols in say, the tropical jungles of Southeast Asia, without footing an arm and a leg for equipment (or toting boxes upon boxes of gear for different mission sets).

Enter the D3CR Chest Rig. This rig has all the bells and whistles one would want in a chest rig. Freya, Goddess of Battle surely whispered sweetly into the ear of Travis Haley during the conception of this Chest Rig. The DCR3 comes built for 5.56 magazines. There is also a DCR3 Heavy that will hold 7.62 if that is more to your fancy. An option for all users, or as Thor might say, ‘A Hammer for any Nail’.  The version I am familiar with, and pictured below, is the 5.56 version.

Haley Strategic D3CR Chest Rig
Pink and blue paint is from a force-on-force less-lethal training scenario.

The rig will hold 4 standard 5.56 magazines. It will also accommodate 2 pistol magazines. The pistol magazine pouches are built with elastic sides, so it should expand to fit most pistol magazines. There are two general purpose pouches on each side. These pouches Velcro shut, and have standard Velcro squares for all ones patch swag needs. There is also a small expandable pouch next to the pistol pouches. I imagine this would be good for a small radio, large GPS unit, or medical kit. 

Item description (per

“The rifle magazine pouches accept AR type magazines as well as AK 7.62 x39mm and 5.45 x 39 magazines. The Multi-Mission Pouches accept 1911, Glock, Sig, M&P, XD and other standard double or single stack pistol magazines, as well as many handheld lights and multi-tools”.

Haley has pretty much thought of everything in the design of this rig. There is a Velcro patch on the back of the rig that will accept another double magazine pouch. Haley, being a good American Capitalist and not an evil Red Communist, sells these as well on his site here.

Another place the Haley rig really shines, is in magazine retention. You can use the industry standard elastic pulls, or add in a set of kydex retention magazine pouch inserts. These inserts are awesome and lower the profile of the D3CR. They make getting to your magazines easier, and don’t clog up your chest with elastic pulls.

Haley Strategic D3CR Chest Rig
Magazine inserts fully in pouches.
Haley Strategic D3CR Chest Rig
Exposed magazine inserts. These save space on your kit, and make drawing a magazine easier.

What if I hate wearing chest rigs over my plate carrier? Lucky for you, if you are willing to donate some of your paycheck to the veteran owned business, Down Range Gear, you can purchase a Chest Rig/Armor interface kit.

Odin All Father is all about options. Now one can snap this bad boy onto that plate carrier, or with the straps wear it as the traditional chest rig that evolved from those Rhodesian SAS as they moved about militaries and as mercenaries in the 80s. 

Haley Strategic D3CR Chest Rig
Using a chest rig/armor interface kit, I attached my chest rig to my plate carrier.
Haley Strategic D3CR Chest Rig
Close up on the Chest Rig/Armor interface kit from

(Note(s):  This is not a commentary on the Brush War in Rhodesia. You will be the envy of your fellow warriors as you dine in the halls of Valhalla)

Magnus RuppertMagnus Ruppert served on SFODA 153 B Co. 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) from 2004-2007 where he deployed three times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Magnus continued service in the brown-water Navy on an Expeditionary Intelligence Team deploying to Africa and the Mediterranean.  After leaving the Military Magnus became a Federal Law Enforcement Officer.  He currently works as a Firearms and Less-Lethal Instructor in the Pacific Northwest.  When not spending time under body armor, Magnus spends his time under a ruck enjoying time hiking with his wife and son in the mountains of Washington State.  He will occasionally play the gray-man as a GoRuck weirdo.