Based in sunny Phoenix, Arizona, Redwire is the brainchild of a former Marine and a current Army EOD tech. Yeah, I thought of Riggs and Murtaugh “red wire, blue wire, EOD never gets here on time…” I’m sure John Pinnix, owner of Redwire would be there when you need him, and yes, he hates The Hurt Locker.
John’s latest creation is the MK 82 SOB, which is a medical equipment pouch designed to be low profile, adoptable and easily deployed with one hand. While I focused on the intended use of the MK82 and the primary necessity of it for my purposes as an IFAK, or rather an IFAK on steroids, there is really no limit on what you can put in it. The elastic loops inside will hold anything your specialty dictates.
The principle of the MK 82 SOB is as direct as its deployment. A panel which retains the necessary equipment is deployed from the pocket of the MK82 by pulling onto the integrated Velcro cover of the panel. It is one fluid, instinctive motion to grab the outer cover, open and pull at the same time, exposing the interior pocket with its contents.
The design allows for clear observation and easy access of anything from a smaller nasal airway, to a larger gauze pack, occlusive dressing or whatever. The design of the MK 82 is honest, in that it doesn’t pretend to be a slim low profile pouch, where it doesn’t need to.
If you choose to pack your contents in a way that minimizes the signature, you can do that. There are some awesome IFAK fillers which come flat or Z-folded. If you think you can stuff more into it, and are ok with having it packed to the gills, it doesn’t take away from the capability of the product. Of course the more logically and thought out you choose to use the contents, the easier it will be to pack and retrieve them.
I have tried mounting the MK 82 SOB with the flap up and flap down. Either way, the access to the contents is fast and easy. The outer cover functions as a secure Velcro flap, and as a grab point to deploy the contents. Inside the pocket is another small Velcro patch which secures the cover and pouch to the pocket. Outside of the SOB features an ample Velcro panel for whatever you choose to throw on there. We suggest a Redwire and Spotter Up patches.
The material doesn’t skimp on nylon, using a heavier denier, which stands up to abuse. I used it during travel, on my kit, in training and on the range. The SOB went from being thrown into a ruck, tossed to a buddy, accessed for actual first aid, and mounted on the belt. The versatility is an awesome feature of this product, especially on the range. While your full aid bag may stay off the line (or away from the X), the option to grab the MK82 SOB, rapidly mount it on your belt or wherever you need it, and then having the ability to access the same familiar items with the same muscle memory is truly a distinguishing feature.
What I really like is the overall flexibility of the MK 82. It will fit a small IV setup, a basic IFAK load, additional tourniquets for a team medic or as an addition to an aid bag, can function as an organizational space inside a go bag or med pack, and with all that be moved from one area to the other.
I can picture a dedicated use for sniper ammo, or shotgun/less lethal loadout. It is also not limited on where you can mount it. While intended to be placed in the small of your back, it can be utilized anywhere as a regular pouch, ruck accessory or a simple throw-away kit inside a bag. What I love, is the fact that you can mount it anywhere. For years I have been rigging and modifying kit with the hope that someday a product would come out which lets us go from belt to vest or chest rig, without undoing a bunch of attachment points or having to completely disassemble your setup between missions.
You don’t change the types of holsters you use from one to the other, so why change your IFAK? The Z clips used by Redwire on the MK82 SOB let you do just that. With one push of each tab you can remove it from your vest, throw it onto a belt, go light, or swap from line 1 to line 2 gear within seconds. There is no need for modifications when moving from a MOLLE system, to duty belt, or regular belt. The clips are sturdy and secure, with enough flexion to get into loops.
They do not come undone unless manipulated by the user. In a few instances I ended up laying on top of the MK 82, or leaning against it while seated in a vehicle. The SOB remained as secured as I made it. As much as we harp to always have some med kit, IFAK or intervention option on you at all times, this product actually lets you do that with ease and functionality.
As with any successful product, Redwire is on a quest for feedback and continues improvement. I know John has a couple mods up his sleeve to make the MK 82 SOB an even more versatile piece of kit. And with the Army finally allowing to roll the sleeves, we just might see it soon.
Currently available in tan, black, Multicam and red, and listing at $59, the MK 82 SOB is a very competitive value. John defines his lifetime warranty as “if you break it, I’ll fix it. If I can’t fix it, I’ll replace it.” You can’t ask for more than that. The MK82 SOB and the rest of the Redwire product line can be found at www.redwiregear.com
I received this product as a courtesy from Redwire via Spotter Up 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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