Chest rigs are possibly the most important part of tactical gear, as they make it possible for you to carry the rest of your tactical gear around. A good chest rig will be able to provide you instant access to the equipment you need during an emergency. 

Today we’re not going to be talking about which chest rigs are best but how to use them. We’re going to cover what chest rigs are, why their important, and the key things you should consider when using a chest rig. Shall we dive straight into it? 

What are chest rigs? 

Chest rigs are a form of tactical gear storage that is mounted on the chest.  These can be worn on top of a tactical vest, and sometimes come as a part of them. As we mentioned above one of the major benefits of chest rigs is that they allow you to carry a lot of tactical equipment, whilst keeping your hands free. 

Chest rigs do not feature any protective plates, although they can be worn on top of them. They are lighter than a tactical vest, if you do not need any plate armor then chest pieces may interest you. 

They come in many forms and sizes. They will often feature MOLLE* webbing, or pockets. Ideally, your chest piece would feature both. 

*MOLLE webbing is the load bearing webbing of choice for the majority of NATO countries’ armed forces, including the USA and UK armies. MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. Here is Wikipeadia’s description of the system: 

‘The system’s modularity is derived from the use of Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) webbing equipment as rows of heavy-duty nylon stitched onto the vest to allow for the attachment of various compatible pouches and accessories. This method of attachment has become a de facto standard for modular tactical gear, replacing the All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) system used in the earliest modular vest systems (which is still in use with many police forces).’

Why are chest rigs important? 

As we mentioned above we well functioning chest rig can be one of the most, if not the most important item in your tactical gear collection. It allows you to carry a large amount without having to use your hands. 

There are two main reasons to use a chest rig, (1) for protection, (2) to store more tactical gear. 

For protection 

The Encyclopedia Britannica has got us covered for this explanation,

‘All unprotected portions of the body are vulnerable to modern weaponry, but protection of the head and torso is especially necessary to prevent serious injury or death. To protect the critical areas of the body, modern armed forces have developed combat helmets and body armor.’ 

To store more tactical gear

As we mentioned above, one of the key features of a chest rig is the amount of pockets and loops they come with to store your gear. The more gear you can carry the more emergencies you are prepared for. The better prepared you are, the more likely you are to survive. 

How to use a chest rig correctly  

There are three mistakes that people most frequently make when using and purchasing chest rigs. This section is designed to help you avoid making those mistakes. 

If you’re looking for the best chest rigs on the market and need help picking one out, see these chest rigs

Choose the right color 

If you are planning to use your chest rig in Alpine environments then you should not be buying a chest rig covered in desert camo. The same goes for any chest rig with cool motifs like dragons or flames – no matter how dangerous you think they make you look. 

Choose the right harness 

Chest rigs come with two types of harnesses, X harnesses and H harnesses. Both harness types can be worn by anyone, but you may find one more comfortable than the other. People with smaller body frames generally find X harnesses less invasive. They are slightly more top-heavy. Women may find that an X harness provides them with better chest and back support. 

H harnesses tend to spread the weight more evenly across the body. This distribution tends to suit people with bigger builds better. 

Choose one you can use easily 

More capacity is not always better. It is important that you can easily stow and remove items in your chest rig. If the rig has too many pockets you may find things get caught or you cannot find them in an emergency.