Sunday, October 21, 2012

Custom Kydex Part 2

RIA 9mm 1911 holster and magazine carriers
Cranked out some more kydex work this weekend and the ATS War Belt was ready for action. I went out to burn up some Russian steel case with the DelTon AR 15 to get a feel for how this rig is going to work and what it will take to make improvements or adjustments in the future. I really like it. The ATS War Belt seems to require a pretty dialed in fit, depending on what I am wearing, and I am still figuring out where it is supposed to ride. But it is a belt and I found that I can put it basically over top of my pants belt and use it essentially the same way. With the correct tension it does what it should do, and fortunately the ATS inner belt is very easy to adjust on the fly. It was warm, overcast, and really muggy today so I didn't get to try it with any significant amount of clothing on, but it's late October and only a matter of time.

I got to gen 2 on the MOLLE attachment loops (I'll talk about it in the captions below) and I think I have come up with a complete solution that would allow the kydex kit to be fully modular for standard belts or MOLLE systems if I were to use eyelets. I settled on all the distances for the mounting holes and the holsters or carriers could have eyelets set at the correct spacing to accommodate 1.5 and 1.75 inch belts plus MOLLE with just a change of loops. In the images below you'll see where I need to make a few little tweaks but it all works really well. I can't recommend kydex enough to anyone who is looking for a new project that can easily result in some very useful kit.

The ATS War Belt is well made in the USA and works great. It is really nice to have everything already on the the belt when I go out to shoot. Throw it on, done. The main benefit I was looking for when I decided to go this direction was in cold weather. Once you get multiple layers on then some piece of clothing or another ends up over your kit, hung up in it, gets in the way of drawing mags or guns, and is just generally a pain in the ass. With the War Belt I can just adjust the size and strap it on over top with everything where it should be. So without further ado let's get into what I've learned and accomplished so far.
front view of ATS War Belt with custom kydex
After a short range session today. There is some standoff since .125 Kydex is rigid. I think that's a good thing. Tons of offset/standoff from the body like a IPSC rig not so much, but getting in the dirt in this wasn't uncomfortable. With a chest rig it can't hurt either and bulky clothing uses up the extra space pretty easily. For me, and my needs, I think it strikes the right balance.

DIY Kydex carriers
It's a wall of Kydex and you can see the offset really well in this image. I would love for all of it to take up less space, but considering what the War Belt is designed for and the fact that the 2nd AR mag is just behind my left hip, the space issue really isn't an issue. There is enough room on the back for 2 more mags if I wanted to go crazy but more likely an all purpose pouch of some kind will ride there instead. I think many users would have a first aid kit and maybe a dump pouch in that space.

I didn't get a shot of it from the rear but you can see that the two suspender loops would represent the center of my back, so in the end I don't really have an issue with the little bit of extra space used by Kydex carriers in this style. The second gen carrier is in the back at the far right. You can access all the screws with it attached. I will be getting Chicago screws with slots on both ends which will allow for extra torquing and also aren't as annoyingly shiny as the style seen here. They are black but as you can see, pretty shiny. The rivets actually have a brushed stainless finish that isn't very reflective at all and I actually kind of like it. Eyelets still make the most sense for modularity, which is something I'd like to have a shot at.

The problem I found is that I didn't mold those two tracks up high enough. You will be able to see in the image below that they don't fit as flush as I would like them to, but that's a very simple fix.

By putting the rubber O rings on the female side it will grab as I tighten the screws allowing me to get them nice and snug even though I don't have great access from the back side. If you look on the left side of the image you'll see the space created by the tracks molded into the back of the carrier. If I mold them an inch higher it will be perfect and these loops are very easy to thread into the webbing. I also took a little slop out of the loops and you can see how 3 rows of webbing fit nice and snug now.