Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Bandolier for AR-15 magazine carry?

Written By: Bob - Mar• 07•13
Blue Force Gear 10-Speed magazine bandolier

Blue Force Gear 10-Speed magazine bandolier

I’ve already mentioned that I’m trying to strip my AR down to the bare minimum, and that I’ll probably ditch all extraneous gear other than my iron sights and my 12-o’clock-mounted Inforce WML. After doing some reading (including this post at PDB), I’m going to likely dump my current 25-meter zero for a 100-meter zero to minimize close-range hold-overs as well, again focusing on the KISS principle.

I’m also giving some thought towards the same sort of simplification with my ammo-carrying gear.

I’ve had various chest rigs and vests, and have come to like a few and despise a few more. The simple fact of the matter, though, is that I’m not prone towards getting into firefights here in central North Carolina (yes, I’m aware of Durham; no, I don’t go there when I can help it). Even if the fecal matter hits the fan and it becomes necessary to set up neighborhood zombie patrols, I’m not likely to run into any sort of conflict needing more than couple of 30-round magazines worth of ammunition.

Because of this, I’m giving some thought to stripping down to a “minuteman” kit of a simple magazine bandolier. No, I’m not talking the Vietnam-era kits that held 10-round stripper clips, but bandoliers designed to hold 4-6 30-round magazines with a minimum of muss and fuss.

There are Army surplus versions floating around eBay for $15 or less, and at the other end is  Blue Force Gear 10-Speed Six-Pack. I’ve recently found that Grey Ghost Gear has an even-more minimalist bandolier, though I’m not sure I like the feed lips of the magazine being exposed.

Grey Ghost Gear 6 magazine bandolier, designed specifically for modern polymer magazines.

Grey Ghost Gear 6 magazine bandolier, designed specifically for modern polymer magazines.

The upside of the bandolier is that it is lightweight, minimalist, quick to either don or ditch, cooler in hot climates (since it isn’t cinched right up on the body) and rather easily concealed under a jacket when it is cool.  The downside is that it flops around and can be noisy and in the way.

Frankly, I’m not sold on the concept as anything other than a get-out-the-door-now bit of kit or last bit of E&E gear for your bug-out bag, but I’m willing to entertain your thoughts and theories.

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  1. emdfl says:

    You might give a look at teh stuff from Michigan Tactical Supply(if they are still making their bandoleers. Good stuff at a very reasonable price. I use their carriers to carry mags for my ’15’s, FALS, M1A’s,’47’s and derivations of all of them.

  2. Austerlitz says:

    What have you got against the People’s Republic of Durham?

    I nearly misconstrued your post as suggesting I should be worried about living here. I hope you will clarify, Bob, or else I might feel compelled to speed up the process of moving to Person or Granville Counties.

    • Bob says:

      Durham is a nice place to live if you want to live under a city government that aspires to be Detroit South.

  3. Orion says:

    Gotta say I still love my old Army issue combat vest and ammo pouches – I’ve got mine with 1 3×2 bandolier and 3×1 pouches, but I use them just as pouches as I have yet to get my AR and am still hefting around my SKS when the zombies come a’callin’.

    In Iraq, I had mine set up with 2 of the bandoliers and 3 of the pouches because…well, why not! LOL (I’m an aviation mechanic, if I have to fire my weapon, the S has well and truly hit the fan). Drove my First Sergeant (former Airborne/Air Assault infantry) NUTS. He was always telling me I’d never see that many magazines.

    So when we were winding our deployment down we got to blow through our excess ammo and I loaded up to the RAFTERS. I had SIXTEEN fully loaded 30 round magazines on me. I made sure he got to see them.

    The pushups in full battle rattle with all those mags were TOTALLY worth it. LOL


  4. jm says:

    well i carried 12 mags on my vest, a bandolier with six mags next to me in MRAP and i had a 50cal can with like 20 megs in it ready to use or throw out to whoever needed it.

    a bandolier is a nice grab and go its easy and light almost better then a vest in a split sec grab.

  5. Bill Sturgeon says:

    Bob, I’ve been reading your site for a while and mostly agree with your points. However, I have done a bit of study on the subject of ar15 sight settings. If you give your idea some close scrutiny, I think you will find that a 100 meter zero will require more, not less, close range holdover.

    • bubba says:

      I’ve been through rifle and carbine classes offered by FAS (Firearms Accademy of Seattle – not in Seattle but in Chehalis) and they teach the 100 yard zero. I find that using the 100 yard zero works well in training and my shots land within 1-1/2″ of point of aim whether using my .308 or my 5.56mm.

  6. bubba says:

    HSGI makes a modular Battle-Belt that along with their Double-Taco mags and suspenders makes a comfortable and secure ammo carrier. The belt is stiff enough to mount my G-Code XST holster for my 1911. This setup is similar in style to what we used in the Army back in the sixties and seventies.

  7. Chuck says:

    I go back and forth on this…I have a battle-belt set up around an Emdom CM Belt with my Glock in a Bladetech DOH and two Glock mags in a Bladetech double mag pouch and two 30 round PMAGs in a Bladetech double mag pouch. I added a blowout kit (CAT, Izzy dressing, compressed gauze, NPA, gloves), knife, flashlight and roll up dump pouch. I have a stripped down MOLLE RACK chest rig with two x 3 mag shingles with 6 more 30 rd. PMAGs if I need to grab more ammo. But this set up is more of a home defense rig. I’ve spent years in the infantry and I don’t see this rig working very well with a heavy ruck if I’m humping it for days at a time through the heavily wooded rolling terrain of my AO. Especially in the humid summers around here. In that case, I’d probably strip down my battle belt to function purely as a pistol belt and move the rest of my kit to my MOLLE Fighting Load Carrier vest (I still have one of the older woodland versions in my pile of old TA50) because it’s easier to set up with everything I need and still leave the back and hip area slick to be compatible with my ruck frame and straps.

    BTW, I’m sticking with my Aimpoint (my eyes don’t do irons as well as they used to and I just plain shoot better and quicker with a RDS or ACOG), but other than that, I’ve been a fan of a stripped down fighting rifle all along. Nothing on mine but optic, fixed Troy rear sight, Surefire up front and sling. Experience tells me the sling is worth the tiny bit of extra weight; QD sling swivels front and back. Basic Magpul MOE mid-length handguard with one polymer rail section for the Surefire, no vertical grip.

  8. Richard says:

    I’m with you, Bob. KISS… I don’t own a battle rifle. I have a Marlin .45-70 Gov’t that stays loaded with another 10 rounds in a belt around my waist. Secondary is my 870 tactical 12 guage with 20 rounds. 10 on or in the gun and 10 in a belt pouch. I can feed with the right hand while I’m holding it. I will spend lots of money looking for the latest and greates. Keep It Simple, Stupid. In Vietnam we had that boxy pouch for our magazines. It kept them protected and wore like iron.

  9. Matthew Riehl says:

    I highly recommend the gear from Olongapo Outfitters. They make some really nice AR-15 “Grab & Go” magazine carriers.

    They’re made in the good ‘ole U.S. of A. by a Marine Corp veteran.


  10. Phelps says:

    I would go with a good molle battle belt. You can put standard mag pouches on it, and more importantly, you can put an IFAK pouch on the same belt. If you need the rifle and the ammo, you REALLY need the first aid.

    Also, you can get a set of suspenders for it, so that it can be worn both ways — strapped on in a hurry, and teh suspenders pulled over your shoulders if you have to hump it a ways.

  11. Lazarus Long says:

    I used a discarded Claymore bag. It held a lot of mags.