A Guide to Molle Pouches
The molle system (pronounced molly) stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment and can be seen widespread in the U.S armed forces. The molle system is fairly new, as it was first introduced in 1997. The system utilized PALS webbing which allows the user to fully customize his or her molle vest or plate carrier. This versatility has made molle a favorite for soldiers, gun enthusiasts, and military re-enactors such as airsofters.
In this guide, I will be going over main types of molle pouches and their significance on the field.
Probably the most useful pouch on a molle rig is the magazine pouch. The magazine pouch, well, holds magazines. They allow the user to carry magazines for their gun, or airsoft gun, on their plate carrier or battle belt. Even though molle magazine pouches all have the same purpose, they vary greatly in their designs and size.
In respect to the size, most pouches are either M4 magazine pouches or AK magazine pouches. M4 magazine pouches are smaller and can usually only gold M4 magazines. On the other hand, AK magazines are larger and can hold almost any magazine out there. This versatility makes AK magazine pouches a favorite for G36, Sig 550/552, G3, FAL, AUG, and even for M4 users who like the extra magazine capacity and space the pouch affords.
Now as AK magazine pouches vary in their capacity for different magazines, M4 pouches vary in their designs. The two main designs are covered and open-top pouches.
A covered pouch has a Velcro flap that goes over the opening of the pouch. Covered pouches protect the magazines from dirt better than open-top pouches and also give a higher level of security to the magazines in the pouch. One drawback of covered pouches is that fact that the operator must pull back the Velcro cover every time he or she needs to reload. This causes a slightly slower reload and can make noise to give away the operator's position.
An open-top pouch is usually secured by a bungee string at the top. This allows the magazine pouch to stay open while the magazine is still secure. Usually open-top pouches allow for faster reloads as only the bungee string needs to be pulled aside. Unfortunately, this open design allows dirt to get into the pouches and into the magazine, especially when going prone.
I won't be going over pistol magazine pouches very much. They are essentially the same as rifle magazine pouches in having covered and open-top pouches, but for pistol magazines.
The dump pouch allows the operator to quickly dispose of a used magazine while reloading. Dropping the spent magazine into the dump pouch is much better than dropping it onto the ground and getting it all dirty, especially when playing airsoft. Usually, a dump pouch can retain about six magazines and has a retention string to keep the magazines from falling out. Most dump pouches also come with a hook and loop type strap instead of molle straps, so a dump pouch can either attach to molle gear or a duty belt. Unlike other pouches, dump pouches generally similar and are especially needed for rigs that carry a bunch of mags.
Normally, a molle plate carrier load-out also includes one or more utility pouches. A utility pouch holds any miscellaneous items. In airsoft, these can include tools such as hex screws and screwdrivers, extra BBs, speed loaders, a death rag, and other small items. In a real combat situation, EMT pouches allow soldiers and medics to carry medical gear. Utility pouches come in various different shapes and sizes, such as being vertical or horizontal. In any situation, be it in combat, in a SHTF, or in airsoft, a utility pouch allows the user to carry essential items in a convenient pouch.
A necessity in any environment is water. We all know how important it is to stay hydrated, and the hydration carrier does exactly that. The hydration carrier usually goes on the back of a molle plate carrier, although most of them have straps to wear as a backpack. The carrier houses a water bladder, which normally hold around 2.5 liters, and has a hose that leads to the front. This allows the operator to re-hydrate while on the move unlike a canteen that has to be taken out. Some hydration carriers also have utility pouches on the front that allows it to not only wear like a backpack but as like one as well.
The last pouch I will be going over is the admin pouch. Now, personally, I find admin pouches a bit pointless (since I play airsoft and I'm not in a real combat situation). I'll be getting into why later, but they do have their uses. Admin pouches usually come with Velcro covering the front to attach patches and a side pouch for a flashlight or extra pistol mag. Inside, the admin pouch can hold maps, pens, extra patches, IDs, money, and is essentially a very small utility pouch. In a combat situation I could see this being useful. But really unless I'm playing a day long Mil-Sim game, (or even if I am) I'd rather be carrying a couple extra pistol mag pouches and maybe a pouch for an airsoft grenade. That said, admin pouches do have their use in airsoft depending on one's playing style.
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That's nice to know, but where can I buy these pouches?
Molle pouches can be found online, at an airsoft store, or at the local military surplus store. The sites where I normally buy my molle pouches are either Amazon or Ebay.
For airsoft, I would recommend using Condor Outdoor, Pantac, and military surplus pouches.
For SHTF or actual combat situations, I would suggest buying Blackhawk, 5.11, and Eagle Industries gear as they are very high quality and created for soldiers and law enforcement.