A while ago I reviewed the SORD SCS that has been adopted by the Canadian Forces as the transitional vest until DND designs something else. While I still love my SCS and is a great system, I had the opportunity to get my hands on another cool SORD design which is their Chest Rig and Back Panel.

SORD Chest Rig and Back Panel

At first glance this is nothing different from the variety of ”rhodesian” type rigs available out there from companies such as Eagle Industries, TAG or LBT. While this may seem true, a closer look will unveil a few very nice upgrade from the usual rigs. But first off let’s get to the basics. The rig is built of 1000D cordura on the exterior while the interior and shoulder pads interior look more like a 400D soft packcloth to reduce possible chaffing from wearing. This alone is a great feature as it shaves some weight from the rig while augmenting the wearer’s comfort and of course keeping the exterior absolute bomb proof. SORD, like I’ve said earlier in my SCS review, has one of the best craftmanship out there. Their MOLLE channels are very constant and their stitching is built to hold up to anything you throw at it.

Now let’s start with the shoulder pads. While I’ve never used my old Eagle RRV for long period outside of some fun shooting, the thickness of the shoulder pads always bothered me when I used a day pack along with it. This point is something SORD understood well. They used just enough padding so the straps won’t dig into your shoulder while keeping them slim enough that you barely feel them under rucksack straps. In its most basic form, you can wear the front panel alone with crossed shoulder straps and a lower back strap. Pretty much like any other chest rig. When you throw on the back panel though, you get to use both side fastex clip for maximum support and snug fit. This is something I found lacking in the SCS is that you have a single strap on the side. The shoulder straps on the back panel also feature a cable routing sleeve for hydration tubes or comms.

SORD Chest Rig and Back Panel
Shoulder cable routing sleeve

Another key feature is the way the rig height adjustment is done. Most if not all chest rigs are adjusted via the side with an upward pull of the straps. This gets in an awkward position to try to adjust the rig snuggly. You either don the rig endlessly while making adjustment or you get a buddy to do it for yourself. Like any other ”bibbed” rigs, this one has tabs with snaps that loops through D-rings. Now the difference here is that those d-rings are not fixed but adjustable at 2″ intervals. You simply slide the d-ring through the MOLLE loop and put the desired tension in the strap that connects to the front of the rig. You don’t need to take off the rig to make minor adjustment or going from wearing a frag vest to the rig alone.

SORD Chest Rig and Back Panel
Upper adjustment D-Ring

Just like the SCS the CR is also able to carry ceramic plates both front and back. The plates fit in a 400D ”bed” (for lack of better term) reinforced on the edge with 1” straps. On the upper part the plate fits tightly in large 5″ elastic band. Speaking of the bib, SORD also expanded theirs to 6 column of MOLLE instead of the 4 usually found in the competition. Giving you more options of pouches to be mounted on the bib.

SORD Chest Rig and Back Panel
Ceramic plate front holder. Back is built the same way.

Having only worn this rig in winter condition so far, I cannot build a complete idea as to how I will like it in hot weather. But so far I really love this thing as it’s slightly smaller than the SCS while giving me plenty of space for everything I need.

Again for those who might have not read the review on the SCS, SORD is no cheap kit by any mean. You pay for top quality material and craftsmanship. Sale price reflects that with the front selling for 140 USD and the back panel for 100 USD. Available in SBC (khaki), Multicam and Coyote brown. You can get it in the US straight from SORD USA based in Kentucky.