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For our second Spotter Up review of the Warrior Assault Systems product line, Chase Tactical sent a Pathfinder chest rig, and I was equally impressed as with the first hands-on of the Warrior Assault Systems Covert MK1 Plate Carrier.  Chase Tactical is a veteran-owned company, which specializes in providing kit and necessary equipment items for the warfighter and public safety communities.

Brent and the crew strive to provide only vetted and proven equipment, and we are honored to be a part of those trusted to input feedback to that end.  That’s a fact.  Nothing on the Chase Tactical website is fluff or items being sold just to move some product.  If you’re looking for key mission-related items in one proven source, www.chasetactical.com should be on your favorites list.

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The Pathfinder feels like a quality piece of kit the moment you open it up.  Heavy duty stitching, reinforcement points, drainage grommets and heavy-duty buckles are just some of the well-thought out features.  A few points should be made why any chest rig is a good or viable option for the end-user.

Certainly not a new concept, some forms of what could be considered a chest rig or a souped-up bandoleer can be found in use as early as 1900’s by European troops in African and Asian campaigns.

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But while it may be a common belief that Rhodesian military invented the chest rig in the 1950’s, they actually perfected an adversary’s design and made it a better product in the long run.  The original chest rigs as they are used today were more or less invented by the Communist China to accommodate a combat load of AK magazines.  Commonly referred to a Chicom, it was later adopted to SKS magazines, and historically probably saw more “bad guy” use.

Vietcong chest rig

Later years saw addition of grenade pouches and custom, field-rigged configurations to accommodate mission needs.  Like any product, there isn’t a one size fits all solution, and the design and utilization of any chest rig is mission specific.

In that regard, a chest rig offers a unique advantage over a plate carrier or vest which carries a necessary combat/mission load, aid kit, grenadier’s kit, or whatever the specialty is.

A benefit of having multiple loaded rigs is that a troop can quickly swap them out just by donning the whole thing, or clipping it to the front working area of plate carrier or vest.

The buckles are usually universal, and that aspect of compatibility should be considered way prior to field use.  In civilian law enforcement, the idea of a chest rig has been underestimated and seldom used until recently.

The typical configuration based on need, is a plate carrier with the required ammo and other items.  But with the improvement in ballistic protection, a response to an active threat can be enhanced when an officer is already wearing a higher rated armor, and simply needs to throw on a chest rig to get into the fight.

Similarly, tactical teams and specialized team members can exchange one rig for another, based on need.  For example, several team members can accommodate the changing situation of a high-risk standoff which becomes a rural tracking problem, by swapping their chest rig, and leaving the more cumbersome armor in place.

Rus chest rig

As we continue to train to meet the modern threats and asymmetric battlefield requirements on our streets, the adaptability and mentality is changing.  Chase has partnered with a former Navy SEAL Chris Sajnog to deliver training for the modern warfighter.

The US has used our version of a chest rig in the form of Load Bearing Equipment/Vest/TA50 (LBE/LBV) for many years, although it traditionally lacked adaptability which resulted in many great designs we see today.  As early as WWI some US models can probably interpreted as a predecessor to the modern chest rig, with Vietnam war seeing major kit implementation as we know it today.

The Pathfinder rig offers unique adaptability, based on the modern requirements.  Still very much a low profile chest rig, it is set up to carry at least 4 magazines.  The backbone of Pathfinder is an H-Harness with a fully adjustable 4 magazine setup.  The bungee cord pulls are Velcroed in, and are completely adjustable or removable.

Large pull tabs are easy to manipulate in gloves, and with frozen fingers during Midwestern winter.  Personally, I prefer the H-harness to the X varieties.  To me it offers a more comfortable and quicker was to don the rig, and an easier grab handle to move a downed casualty.

 

The Warrior Assault Systems’ H-Harness is strong enough to do that, and also offers a back Velcro panel for proper identification.  In addition to the base 4 mag configuration, 2 utility pockets are sawn on the left and right magazine pouches.

Again, they can accommodate necessary filed items, and can fit a 6” unopened Israeli bandage with some room to spare, a red dot or similar sized scope. Both have enough Velcro on the flaps to close as high as the top of the magazine behind it.  Outside of both flaps also has functional Velcro panels.  The flaps offer heavy-duty pull tabs, which again is a testament of how much thought went into the design.

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Elastic sewed into the sides of the end mag pouches allows for additional retention should you remove the bungees, and adds in structural quality.  The 2 middle mag pouches have MOLLE webbing, and the Pathfinder comes with 2 slick front utility pockets to fill it.  These are truly utilitarian, made tough, and offering an inner rubber lining.  This not only allows for additional magazine placement, but also for safely securing items which you may need in a hurry.

Overall this makes the front of the Pathfinder very slick and professional in appearance, all in stock form.  As in any custom configuration, imagination and usage will be the only limiting factors.  Should your circumstance dictate a heavier load, you can sacrifice some of the flexibility, and replace the 2 front slick pouches with a larger EOD or Med IFAK.  I choose to only use one side to unbuckle when donning the rig, or undo the Velcro when using a vest.  That means the other side will either be taped, or just not used.  This allows additional placement of a designated kit item.

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The H-Harness itself is comfortable.  The straps are thick enough to be tough and allow for a drag if necessary, but not overbuilt.  As a low profile, the Pathfinder doesn’t need the extra meat.  Frankly, even with a heavier load I don’t want a thicker and heavier strap or shoulder pad.  I want the ability to add one if needed, but chances are the rig will probably go over some form of armor, which has padding already.

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The entire harness can be unbuckled from the working front.  This gives user additional options to use it, and store it until it is to be used in an even slicker shape.  The back of the main rig has a large Velcro panel, and it total offers 2 top and 2 each side of universal buckles.  The Pathfinder can be secured to just about any plate carrier out there.  Removing the back Velcro panel expose hook part close to the body, but allows for a more concealed wear if your mission requires it.

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The shoulder straps also offer MOLLE on the front, which can be used for securing what you need, or routing comms and hydration tubes.  There is a lot of adjustment room on all of the straps, and it’s very easy to cinch up on the fly, and when transitioning from one environment to another with bulkier or lighter clothing.  My initial feedback was going to be about the small piece of nylon of the shoulder straps, which extend under each of the front buckles.When donning the rig in a hurry, they tended to roll under.  My initial reaction was to keep straightening them out, but I realized that it’s just appearance and not at all an issue.  When taking a few extra seconds to put the Pathfinder on, these pieces of nylon provide a comfort buffer between the buckle and your body.  Again, a design plus.

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The Pathfinder chest rig by WAS, distributed by Chase Tactical is a well-designed, functional and great looking piece of kit.  It comes in ATACS, coyote and Multicam, and is one of several chest rigs carried by Chase.  The Gladiator and Falcon offer heavier, mission-specific configuration.  The Pathfinder lists for $173.  Check the Q&A page on their site, and you’ll see some pricing incentives info for military and law enforcement, as well as a free shipping option.

Warrior Assault Systems is a UK-built brand, with US sourced materials.  Much like on the battlefield, this has proven for a great relationship.  WAS is a tremendous value, offering top-notch quality, scalable and completely customizable systems, and a lifetime warranty.  If you’re headed downrange, prepping your next adventure training, or optimizing your patrol and response options, I urge you to visit Chase tactical for great products and customer service.

Disclaimer

I received this product as a courtesy from Chase Tactical so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

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Brought to you from the dudes at Spotter Up!

 

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About The Author

Rob has been in public service for some 17 years, holding several specialized assignments, and becoming a law enforcement and emergency services instructor. He has 10 years in the military and currently serving as a reservist, fire team leader and medic. He enjoys learning, writing, doing grunt work, and helping other vets in need. To further that goal, they started Grunt’s BBQ and Easy Company. A future mobile chow hall, coming to an AO near you.

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