I’m sure you guys are sick of me talking about 40mm accessories, but too bad, I’m still excited about it.
Back in 2006 prior to deploying to Iraq my peers and I (but mostly me) spent lots of time in the various tactical stores in Oceanside California spending money on all sorts of stuff that was mostly useful.
One of the new guys was assigned to carry a M203. Well many of them were, for some odd reason the platoon I was in was very M203 heavy. About two of them per team vs the normal one per four man fireteam. Our guys were not issues any pouches for holding 40mm rounds, so they were often dumped in a cargo pocket or saw drum pouch. But one of the guys in my platoon found and purchased a Blackhawk 40mm pouch and I always thought it was a pretty neat piece of kit.
There are similar pouches out there, and some of the other ones look quite nice. But the ones I’ve seen also appear bigger and bulkier than this one. I wanted to get a pouch to hold 40mm rounds, so I started looking for one of these Blackhawk pouches. Many places labeled it as discontinued, or had new old stock at very high prices. I did end up finding a seller that had these new for cheap. I paid less than $15 shipped. I’m very happy with that price. Part number is 37CL59
This pouch is pretty big. The back has MOLLE/PALS/Strike/ETC webbing. Blackhawk includes their “speed clips” for mounting it. There is also a thicker webbing section so you can use ALICE clips. The pouch is fairly deep so you can put longer illumination/flare rounds. Velcro on the flap allows you to velcro the flap open. There is also a snap for additional retention along with a sizeable amount of velcro hook and loop. The fine sand in Iraq could gum up hook and loop material so having a snap gives you another option in inclement conditions.
I don’t think I have seen the Blackhawk Speed Clips before. They are much faster to attach and remove than MALICE or TacTies, etc. I question if they are as durable or good a choice for long term/permanent mounting. I found a good video showing their use on Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DdEGCxxcgw
Elastic straps in the pouch allow you to secure 6 rounds in side the pouch. It isn’t hard to stuff an additional 2 between the two rows. If you were not using the straps you might be able to stuff in even more rounds, but I haven’t tried yet.
The pouch is pretty big if you stuff in 8 rounds, but the cover handles it just fine. With the recommended 6 rounds the pouch is about 6 by 6 by 3 inches.
One last major note is that the bottom of the pouch is mesh. This lets water and debris fall the out the bottom. It also lets all that water and debris in the pouch to begin with. Eh, IMHO it isn’t a good or bad feature.
Now you might be asking, why not just use a bandolier?
Back in 2006, I don’t think any of us had seen a modern 40mm bandolier. There were the fabric 6 shot ones that 40mm rounds came in, but I didn’t see a modern bandolier until we saw the Army guys rocking them. We would see Army and National Guardsmen carrying around 20-30+ 40mm rounds. Hell, our guys were lucky if they had 6 HEDP at any given time. For us, a bandolier would have been overkill. I’ve read grenadiers complain that the 40mm bandolier would flop around, be slow to reload from, allowed rounds to get dirty and damaged, and that the bright gold nose cones of HEDP would draw attention and be a target indicator for the enemy.
I think it partially comes down to what you need. If you need to carry a bunch of 40mm round, a bandolier would be handier than several pouches. Or if you are handing off the launcher from one person to another a bandolier could also be transferred easier. But for a few rounds for my own launcher, I’d rather have them in an enclosed pouch.