5.56 Timeline

Tactical Assault Gear (TAG) Marine Gladiator Chest Rig w/Bib

There are so many choices when it comes to chest rigs.  I wanted to get a chest rig that was not going to blow up my wallet and give me the function and features I wanted. I was looking for more than a basic magazine (mag) pouch chest rig, that was uncomfortable, with flimsy straps across your back. I wanted a slim rig that held more than four (4) mags (without being double stacked), had stable rear strap system, and would evenly distribute the chest load.  After looking at the choices out there, I chose the TAG Marine Gladiator Chest Rig w/Bib.

TAG Marine Gladiator w/Bib front
TAG Marine Gladiator back
TAG Marine Gladiator back

The TAG Marine Gladiator may have a higher price point than other standard chest rigs but it also has a lot of additional features you don’t get with a standard chest rig. Plus, this rig has the ability to carry a hydration system. Once I opened it up, I immediately noticed the craftsmanship of TAG gear, and I was very excited to start using this rig. I could see the rig was constructed with high quality material and stitching. There is no doubt that TAG products are built very strong and will stand up to whatever punishment you put them through.

Typically, the only thing I worry about with gear is can it be adjusted to fit my size. In reading some comments posted about the TAG Marine Gladiator, some stated they could not get the rig tight enough on their body. However, the rig appeared to be fully adjustable in my opinion. At 5’10” and 165 pounds, I found it easy to adjust this rig to fit my body type without wearing body armor to fill the gap.


The TAG Marine Gladiator has four (4) pouches in the front of the chest rig, an admin pouch in the chest bib, a pocket behind the mags, and two (2) pouches on each side of the mags.  All of the pouches have pull tabs to separate the Velcro holding them closed.  The back of the TAG Marine Gladiator is a hydration pack carrier. You can place a hydration bladder in the carrier or use it as a mini backpack to hold extra gear. The hydration carrier also has a Velcro loop strip for adding patches. The hydration carrier has seven (7) rows of MOLLE/PALS webbing and a drainage eyelet at the bottom of the carrier.

TAG Marine Gladiator Bib pocket
Magazine Pocket
Side Magazine Pocket
Hydration Bladder Pouch

With the TAG Maine Gladiator Chest Rig, you have the option to run the rig with or without the bib. With the bib strapped to the shoulder straps, you are able to use the admin pouch, and it also provides more stability to the shoulder straps. There are three (3) rows of MOLLE/PALS webbing if you wish to add anything to the bib and Velcro loop strip for patches.  To run the rig without the bib, you simply undo the Velcro straps on the back of the bib, and fold it down behind the mags. With the bib down you can also use the quick release buckle on the shoulder strap if needed.  Personally, I like the extra stability of the bib as it relates to the shoulder straps (prevents them from sliding off your shoulder). Nonetheless, the removable bib is a nice feature to have. The front of the rig also has loops on the right and left sides at the bottom for attaching carabiners or other gear you might want.

With Bib
Bib folded down / Quick release buckles

The shoulder straps are nicely padded, making the TAG Marine Gladiator very comfortable to wear.  They are fully adjustable and the excess adjustment straps feed back onto the padded portion.  The shoulder straps also have MOLLE/PALS webbing and bungee straps for holding gear. The bungee straps come in handy for holding the water tube coming from the bladder pouch. The quick release buckles on the rig are robust and easy to use one-handed.  The waist adjustment straps have Velcro hook and loop tabs stitched into the end to roll and strap down the excess length.

TAG Marine Gladiator Harness Padding
Molle Webbing / Elastic Straps
Quick Release Waist Buckles / Adjustment Straps
Quick Release Waist Buckles / Adjustment Straps

The TAG Marine Gladiator holds six (6) thirty round 5.56mm mags across the abdomen area. The rig design provides a smooth, thin, and non-bulky feel while still giving you 180 rounds at the ready. You do not notice the 7 1/2 lbs of six (6) loaded mags. One thing that made me look at this vest was the straight mag pouch configuration, which allows you to lay flat on your stomach in the prone position. This allows for a stable shooting platform while on your stomach.

The mag pouches cover about 75% of the mag body, have thick shock cords and pull tabs for easy mag removal, and eyelets at the bottom of each mag pouch for water drainage.

I found the mag pouches are generous in length to accommodate PMAGS. However, when using USGI mags without Ranger Plates or L-Plates, the shock cords seemed loose and ineffective. There was no real purpose/use for the shock cords when using this mag configuration. Since I typically run L-Plates on most of my mags, I found this to be the perfect combination. They added enough length to the mag to allow tension from the shock cord straps without it being too hard to clear the pull tabs.

Six (6) Magazine / 180 Round Capacity
Three rows of MOLLE Webbing for accessories
TAG Marine Gladiator

For Women:

My wife was interested in the TAG Marine Gladiator and wanted to try it on.  After a quick/minor adjustment, she tested it for a while.  Here are her comments:

“I found the TAG Marine Gladiator to be surprisingly comfortable. I was pleased to find it was not heavy to wear. Carrying my kids or my purse is heavier and more cumbersome than wearing this chest rig. The shoulder straps are really well padded and didn’t dig into my shoulders. I thought that it might fit a little strange for me, since I am a woman, have narrow shoulders and a chest, but it didn’t.  I’m 5’4″ about 135 lbs, and I’m kind of busty. I was concerned that the chest rig would be too tight on my chest, making me feel like I was wearing a corset, but with the bib up or down it wasn’t too tight. If you are really busty, then having the option to have the bib down is definitely a plus with this type of chest rig. I was able to adjust the side straps to fit securely around my waist. If I were to add a tactical belt, or kydex reinforced belt with tactical pants, it would still fit fine.

I like the extra pouches to be able to carry additional gear and water. The pouches are nicely lined and could work like the pouches in your purse. In the top pouch, I would put some gloves and a small medical kit for emergency use. I have no complaints about the TAG Marine Gladiator. I’ll be on the lookout for my own patch for it!

Knowing that there are military units in Afghanistan testing female specific gear, I feel a woman could use this rig, until a female specific product is available. I would have no problem strapping the TAG Marine Gladiator on!”


Gladiator for ladies with Bib
Gladiator for ladies without Bib
Cassie's Colt LE6720 w/ Tag Marine Gladiator Rig.
Cassie’s Colt LE6720 w/ Tag Marine Gladiator Rig.
TAG Marine Gladiator for Women

Overall Impressions:

The TAG Marine Gladiator Chest Rig w/Bib has exceeded all my expectations.  It is extremely well made and very comfortable. I have taken it out on several occasions, wearing it all day, working hard in the heat, and sometimes forgetting I was even wearing it. The fixed shoulder straps, rear hydration pack carrier, and the rig’s ability to evenly distribute load carrying weight contribute to the overall comfort of the rig.

I highly recommend this rig for the Law Enforcement Officer who wants an all day training rig, long assignment search/perimeter rig, or an active shooter rig. A law enforcement officer can simply throw it over their patrol body armor and go. With its ability to adjust to multiple body types, female officers should consider the TAG Marine Gladiator Chest Rig w/Bib.

For range day and average plinker use, the TAG Marine Gladiator will exceed all expectations. The options and versatility of this rig beat most of the dedicated chest rigs out there.


For USGI magazines with Magpul L-Plates, click the following link: http://looserounds.com/2012/10/14/magpul-l-plates/

Tactical Link Convertible Slings Part 2

In Part 1, (Tactical Link convertible slings & mounts, Part-1) we covered the basics of Tactical Link Convertible Slings and Mounts. Specifically, we discussed a Standard OD Convertible Sling and a FDE Convertible Bungee Sling. Here in Part 2, we will review sling performance during transitions and movements with and without load bearing gear. For this part of the review, I used the slings in different shooting sessions with and without gear to cover different shooter needs.

Without Load Bearing Gear:

My first session involved using the Convertible Slings without wearing load bearing gear. I only wore equipment typically used at a patrol officer/instructor range day. For example, a Safariland duty belt with magazine pouches and a drop-leg holster. I used the slings while performing basic patrol rifle shooting, using techniques a patrol officer or a savvy armed citizen might employ.

Using the Convertible Slings in a two (2) point configuration, I aggressively and quickly shifted between multiple shooting positions. The high quality Tactical Link Convertible Slings performed as expected and allowed for fast and smooth movements.

The one (1) point configuration allowed for smoother dominant-to-support hand transitions and the employment of more advanced and complex shooting positions (versus those performed while in the two (2) point configuration). The ability to rapidly change the sling between one (1) and two (2) point configurations demonstrated the versatility of the Convertible Slings, as well as allowed me to make better use of available cover and limit my body’s exposure to threats.

While running the two (2) slings in what I considered to be a typical training day environment for a patrol officer or savvy armed citizen, I found that I preferred the Standard Convertible Sling over the Convertible Bungee Sling. The Convertible Bungee Sling is longer in length than the Standard Convertible Sling. I am 5′ 10″ about 165 lbs, and even after adjusting the Convertible Bungee Sling all the way down, it was still longer than where I had adjusted the Standard Convertible Sling. The Convertible Bungee Sling was approximately six (6) to seven (7) inches longer than the Standard Convertible Sling.  The Convertible Bungee Sling simply hung lower on my body than I preferred, making the bungee feature cumbersome.

Wearing bulky upper torso equipment, such as a tactical vest, plate carrier, body armor, or similar items will also affect individual sling sizing. For example, even when wearing level IIIA body armor, that most police officers wear, the Convertible Bungee Sling may still prove to be too long and cumbersome for smaller individuals. Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind; these are my personal preferences, as other individuals (i.e. taller/larger) may feel differently.

With Load Bearing Gear:

My next session focused on using the Convertible Slings while wearing load bearing gear. In the two (2) point configuration, the Convertible Slings allowed for better rifle control and wear comfort.

In my opinion, the two (2) point configuration is the most comfortable setup for patrolling, and it is the best configuration for rifle control, retention, or performing dynamic movements with gear. Furthermore, the two (2) point configuration is better suited for movement across open areas, conducting searches, or handling/moving equipment. Not to mention, situations where one hand is controlling the rifle while the other hand is being used to complete other tasks. Having the sling in the two (2) point configuration also allows you to transition to your sidearm by dropping your rifle, immediately drawing your sidearm, and avoiding the classic barrel smack to the nuts/knees you get from a one (1) point sling.

As previously discussed in Part 1 with searching and handcuffing, the one (1) point configuration has advantages as well.  Having the ability to rotate the rifle to your back allows for transition to your sidearm without your rifle obstructing your movement.

As previously discussed, the ability to quickly reconfigure the sling from a one (1) point configuration to a two (2) point configuration makes the Convertible Slings adaptable to specific environments and/or missions. This capability offers many advantages and benefits and allows one to adjust rapidly to developing situations.

The one (1) point configuration minimized sling/gear entanglements, enabled better dominant-to-support hand transitions, and increased rifle readiness during scenarios involving vehicles and buildings.

I found it easy to move my rifle back and forth between my dominant and support hands during building entries or when approaching obstacles from different angles.

For vehicle movements, I used a 2011 Ford Taurus (depicts the size/space of current patrol cars in use today). I had no problem sitting in the passenger seats, exiting the vehicle, or engaging threats from both right and left sides of the vehicle. It is important to note the ability to rapidly exit a vehicle depends on the rifle system and vehicle being used. I find that is much easier to use a short barrel rifle with patrol cars but it can be done with a longer patrol rifle.

Tactical Link’s main focus with product development is to engineer equipment to stand up to the harshest combat environments, to exceed user performance expectations, and to minimize user safety concerns. Having used Tactical Link products for almost a decade in real-world encounters as a Law Enforcement Officer, as well as a Civilian Shooter, the Tactical Link Convertible Slings are at the top of the list for me.

While testing and evaluating the Convertible Slings, I discovered my personal choice between the two (2) slings provided to Loose Rounds was the Standard Convertible Sling. In my opinion, the Standard Convertible Sling provides the best all-around options for the average Patrol Officer/Civilian Shooter.

Although individual size considerations always exist, I recommend the Convertible Bungee Sling for use by Military or Law Enforcement SWAT/Specialty Units that wear heavy and bulky upper torso gear.

Having a sling that is only capable of either a one (1) or two (2) point configuration limits user options. Tactical Link Convertible Slings and Mounts allow users to take advantage of the benefits of both a one (1) point sling and a two (2) point sling at the same time, providing Military/Law Enforcement Professionals and Civilian Shooters with the best all-around option out there.

Going forward, I will be using Tactical Link Convertible Slings and Mounts with several of my rifles.