Flashback to 2016 to me, an advanced infantry school student, sitting in the pouring rain after being awake for 47 hours continuously and finding myself as the navigation man for the 5th straight patrol. Yet again it was dark and I was digging through my admin pouch for a red lens light and map pen thinking “there has to be a better solution for this”. The solution lies in a chest rig, made popular and mainly developed in the Rhodesian Bush War era.
I did some research and stumbled upon the Velocity Systems website. Upon looking at their different models, I decided to fit my needs the Gen VI “Pusher” fit my mission types and was suited for the rigors of my job. It has been on me for almost every kind of mission and has withstood the miserable terrain and conditions of “MWTC”, the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center high in the mountains of Northern California.
“The Pusher” comes with the capability to be configured in a multitude of options, and easily mounts to plate carriers for armored needs. At its bulkiest I have the ability to run the following;
- 8 Magpul Gen 3 PMAGs
- Surefire G2X Pro
- BlackDiamond Headlamp
- full blowout medical kit, map, compass, protractor, map pens
- extra CAT tourniquet
- firestarter, survival kit from ESEE
- PVS-14 Night Vision with mounting gear
- multitool, extra pocket knife, TOPS fixed blade
- PRC-152 radio, a Motorola radio, 2 radio batteries (1 per)
- I also had the Ferro Concepts “Dangler” attached to my LZ marking kit, and batteries to support night vision/GPS.
I patrolled endlessly covering approximately 70 kilometers or more through snow, mud and every terrain imaginable and the rig withstood it all. “The Pusher” allowed me to drop the bulky plate carrier and battle belt for one “do-it-all” system that held all the mission essential gear I could need.
Let’s get into the specs of “The Pusher”. It comes with two large pouches attached that can be configured to hold 7.62×51 or 7.62×39 mags, useful for AK variants or longer range rifle set-ups. If 7.62 isn’t your flavor you can insert the included 5.56 attachments and run up to 8 mags. If belt fed is your go-to there is an included zip-top enclosure to run approximately 200 rounds of 5.56 linked or 100 7.62 linked ammo. I have also used the zip-top to facilitate carrying a Nalgene or food for longer patrols. On the left side, there is a large radio pouch with an adjustable retention system to allow anything from small walkie-talkies up to larger military style radios, and it has chemlight retention loops included on the outside. The right side is a large Velcro pouch with an included “blowout” bag I used as a backup medical kit for buddy aid scenarios. Behind the magazine area, there is a large map pocket that closes securely. The front of the mag areas has 4 pouches, all sealed by Velcro, that can hold pistol mags, frag grenades, night vision, binoculars, or anything else you could imagine. The rig itself is constructed out of rugged nylon that handles abrasion well but remains light and flexible. The shoulder straps are my favorite part of wearing it as they are made of Hypalon. For those unfamiliar Hypalon is a rubberized extremely strong material that is very thin making this ideal for wearing under a ruck or just for extended periods of time. The straps won’t chafe the neck and are wide enough to distribute the load evenly.
Now finally I’ll give my pros and cons to “The Pusher”. Overall this is my go-to chest rig for missions and range days. It remains comfortable enough for hours of sustained wear and sturdy enough to handle a grunts full abuse. The rig will hold every piece of mission essential gear you could want from an overland trek, survival trip, range day, or military operation. The chest rig also, with use, becomes easily organized so that grabbing items becomes second nature allowing speed reloads or navigation to be a breeze. The only three cons I found with this gear were; price point, bulk during mounted operations (getting in and out of vehicles is a bit tight), and the sheer amount of space allows for overpacking of the rig. Overall “The Pusher” is a great chest rig that if utilized correctly will expand any individual’s ability to pursue adventure or operate in a multitude of environments. I have recommended it to several of my Marines based on its capabilities and feel it provides the “90%” solution to some common issues of load bearing equipment.
Author – Tanner Hodges is an Active Duty Marine Infantry man currently serving as a Platoon Sergeant with 3dBn 2d Marines. He holds two infantry MOS’s (0351/0365) and has completed Infantry Small Unit Leader’s Course, and Advanced Infantryman Course. He has trained in Mountain Warfare, Desert Warfare, and Jungle Warfare all around the globe.