Chest Rig Review – Haley D3CR (2 years of abuse)

So, Where to begin with such a well known rig… what could I possibly write about that’s going to educate you guys on the Haley Strategic Partners Disruptive 3nvironments Chest Rig (D3CR)

The veritable Daddy of the Haley rig range, with the D3CR-H, D3CRX and D3CRM now available… Is this still potentially the right option for some people? In a word… Yes. The Haley range is such that even the first generation of D3CRs still has a valid place in the modern range, depending on what your carrying. Sure, it’s been discontinued but there’s enough of them around at the moment that you’ll not struggle to find one if the need should arise.

As I mentioned in the retrospective Rich at The Reptile House asked me to write, The D3CR is part of my continual evolution in kit, I’m sure one day it’ll be fully replaced but it’s been a solid part of my gear pile for quite some time.

After reading a certain post regarding the D3CR in use with MARSOC and looking at replacing a Warrior Falcon Chest Rig, I happened to spot a D3CR for sale, and luckily it was a guy I know, Mark (D-01 From Team Diablo) and the price was a very acceptable £100.

Let me get one thing straight, this isn’t a straight forward review of the rig out of the bag, rather an insight into how it’s held up, Why I use it and some of the specific things I’ve done with it to make it suit my needs.

Now as much as I’d heard nothing but good things about the D3CR, Initially I didn’t think I’d be that blown away by the rig, it’s pretty similar to the Warrior rig I’d replaced and if I’m honest I bought it because of the label and the MARSOC connection. However on arrival I could see some key features which were so perfect for my needs I’d wonder how I managed without them so long…

First up, the mag pouches… supplied by Mark with the MS2 Kydex inserts and the bungee retention as standard, it’s able to securely hold 4 x STANAG 5.56 magazines (or their Airsoft equivalents) I’ve removed the bungees as the MS2 inserts are more than up to the task of retaining the magazines, Even when running or moving through obstacles. Indeed the MS2 insert is well renowned as a leader in its specific field, superior even to the Esstac inserts available for kangaroo/shingle STANAG pouches and I’d go as far to say its an essential addition to the rig.

I did for a brief time use S&S Precision Pull tabs on the main mag pouches, but despite their obvious benefits over the standard tabs, I still found no tabs at all a better option than even S&S tabs… these have since found their way onto the front “Multi Mission” pistol pouches which ironically enough are hardly ever used for pistol mags, usually a multi tool or flashlight will be found nestled inside.

At either end of the rig lies the Velcro flapped GP or General Purpose pouches, despite the official line with HSP being that the rig does not contain a dedicated radio pouch, either of these two will easily accommodate a Baofeng UV-5R with extended battery, they’re also perfectly sized for 2 TLSFX smokes or Thermobarics (My Pyro of choice)

The “Stuff It” pouch is a novel idea, it’s not something I’ve found to be of massive benefit but it does allow for the carriage of many different items that otherwise wouldn’t easily be carried in this rig. Water-bottles, Smoke Grenades… even a small “Blowout/Trauma Kit would easily fit in this pouch, at the moment I’m using it to hold a Gas Can disguised as a flash bang, this helps keep those GBBR mags topped up when out on extended missions.

Thats pretty much it with regards to storage… there’s no modularity with the pouch layout, what you see is what you get… however here lies one of its greatest assets… MOLLE adds weight, the absence of MOLLE reduces the end users ability to add surplus weight to the chest rig.

Overall, build quality is very good. I’ve got a couple of areas of wear on my rig (non structural), but it’s been going longer than I’d expect it to last if issued… It’s that same old story of an Airsofters expectation of durability vs a soldiers ability to replace worn gear. The stitching and materials overall are superb, bar tacked where needed and made almost exclusively from 500 denier nylon and webbing. The only significant wear is on the front loop field which due to a fair amount of abuse and being the first thing to get dragged through the dirt has frayed enough to start to come away. Not a massive deal and it gives the rig a “salty” look that helps with the overall battleworn impression. It’s also worth noting this is independently stitched and won’t compromise any other individual part of the rig.

there’s only two ways to add to this rig without heavy modification, And both of these can add a considerable amount of load carriage if required.

The first being with a hanger pouch… Haley produce a great, Square hanger pouch which attaches via the Velcro back panel on the rear of the rig (Although I’ve opted for a Ferro Dangler as I had one before and got on well with it), This allows for additional storage of ammo, bangs, smoke and tools or… Haribo.

The second option is to add a Flatpack or Flatpack Plus to the rear… this replaces the harness that comes with the bag and allows the storage of some bigger essentials such as a stormshell and/or water on the back. This in turn helps balance the load and gives you the option to hold a great many items, you can even store a fully loaded D3CR inside its own Flatpack. Just a small thing to note, Having owned a repro Flatpack and seeing a genuine one up close I can tell you now that your going to want the genuine article. Don’t cheap out on knock off load bearing gear. That’s not to say there isn’t other, well made options… but don’t buy the shitty Chinese knock offs.

The straps on the D3CR are in an H Harness configuration, It appears that HSP later revised this to a cross harness with their D3CR-X, Although I quite like the H set up and I’m not alone, many others who have used both prefer the H… but I make a point of not arguing with Travis Haley…

The straps join the Chest panel via ITW clips, there’s a separate strap for the waist as well. The main strap also has a few loops for mounting comms wiring and other bits and pieces, they are also MOLLE compatible should you feel the need to add a small tool/strobe pouch or such to the harness.

One of the key features of this rig, and indeed a pronounced uptrend in chest rigs over the last few years is its ability to interact with ITW QASM clips to attach directly to a plate carrier. The immediate benefit to this is the ability to scale up/down your load carriage as required, for Airsoft it means having the same pouch configuration for both CQB and woodland games, for real steel it could be having a slick armour carrier with the ability to add ammunition without changing your armour.

There are many options available for those looking to buy a Chest Rig, indeed I’ll happily wear an Arktis rig from 30 years ago or a number of other rigs by Mayflower, Platatac, Spiritus Systems and others… but the one I really like is the Haley. I’ll be grabbing a D3CRM (Micro) as soon as it hits the UK shores, probably with a quad SMG insert for my MP7… It won’t replace this rig but I’m eager to see how they’ve improved upon an already fantastic chest rig.

Keep your eyes out for an upcoming review on the D3CRM, although it looks like there might be a little wait for it in the UK due to high demand in the US.

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