Since Afghanistan, the Canadian Forces have been testing various replacements for their current issue assault vest. Our current vest can hold a grand total of 4 AR magazines, and barely has any modularity (except for the side pouches which can be changed). The problem is with the CF, it has used some sort of weird Velcro and tab system. This means we can choose between either a SAW pouch, or a canteen pouch.
With this being said, the current vest being tested is the Special Operation Research and Development SCS (SORD Classic System). The system consists of two back options, and three fronts. The backs are either a slim MOLLE-type panel (4 columns wide), while the other comes in various sizes and can facilitate a plate. The fronts are a regular type of chest-rig (called the DH) an assault-vest type (called the SCS LBV) and plate carrier type (called SCS Chest rig).
The components are assembled together by Velcro on the shoulders, with an overlapping band for a more secure fit. Using this Velcro you can adjust the vest depending on the height of the user. Each setup closes on the sides via buckles. Each components feature some amount of padding, but I wish there was more. This is purely a personal preference, when worn over a body armor there is no problem at all.
The LCS we are issued comes with a variety of pouches to accommodate the needs of the individual soldier (ranging from magazine pouches, SAW pouches, etc). Mine is built as a basic rifleman kit: 7 magazines, DAGR GPS, 1L Nalgene bottle, field pad, map, frags, and other random items. Even with all that kit I still have plenty of space on the vest, and nothing interferes with my movement. SORD utilizes MOLLE webbing on the side of the pouches, allowing you to mount smaller pouches closer. I run my NODs in a small Fastex utility on the side of my Extra Large. It kinda fills the gap created when a vest ”rounds” around the body.
I personally run the plate compatible chest rig front and back. While the larger back fits perfectly over our issued frag vest, it’s slightly loose when only wearing a combat shirt.
The whole SCS system (and pouch) is constructed of 1000D cordura, and features bar-tacked MOLLE webbing. The SORD MOLLE columns are some of the most consistent I have ever seen. There appears to be no variation whatsoever. One of the downsides on their pouches is their utilization of ITW NZ Fastex, which are not compatible with ITW buckles found in North America. This is true even when you order pouches from SORD USA (located in Kentucky). Vests are lined with a softer material to reduce chaffing against the body and I found this a nice touch. Of course, the downside is that you have two layers of nylon instead of one, keeping even more body heat inside. Should this be a concern, SORD offers a mesh version to allow greater airflow to the body.
I am not running any type of admin panel on mine because SORD incorporated a large mesh compartment on the inside of the front panel. I store my map in there with no discomfort. I wouldn’t run oddly shaped objects in there for the obvious reason that it is right against my body.
The SORD SCS isn’t a cheap system, each front panel retails for about $100, and the backs around $70. What you are building is a vest that will last you for many years regardless of the use.
Colorwise, SORD SCS offers their products in: SBC (close to Eagle Industries MJK), Coyote, Multicam, ATACS-AU and black.
I really like these vests, especially compared to our previous load bearing vest. I consider SORD SCS a top quality product, on par with: Eagle Industries, London Bridge Trading, or First Spear. They have innovative products and their service is excellent. Give them a look at here.