Chest rigs are a great piece of tactical gear.
Carrying additional ammunition and other life-saving pieces of equipment is so easy thanks to the compact and lightweight designs of chest rigs available today.
Choosing a good chest rig is not easy. There are many choices on the market it can be overwhelming!
Our team of tactical experts breakdown the 14 Best Chest Rigs of 2021 - at all price points.
- 1 Reviewing the Top 14 Best Tactical Chest Rig
- 1.1 Condor Recon
- 1.2 Pros
- 1.3 Cons
- 1.4 Condor Outdoor Modular
- 1.5 Pros
- 1.6 Cons
- 1.7 Helixon Tex Range Mini
- 1.8 Pros
- 1.9 Cons
- 1.10 Condor Outdoor Ronin
- 1.11 Pros
- 1.12 Cons
- 1.13 OneTigris
- 1.14 Pros
- 1.15 Cons
- 1.16 Pros
- 1.17 Cons
- 1.18 Huenco
- 1.19 Pros
- 1.20 Cons
- 1.21 5.11 TacTec
- 1.22 Pros
- 1.23 Cons
- 1.24 Loaded Gear
- 1.25 Pros
- 1.26 Cons
- 1.27 OneTigris ROC
- 1.28 Pros
- 1.29 Cons
- 1.30 OAREA
- 1.31 Pros
- 1.32 Cons
- 1.33 Trido
- 1.34 Pros
- 1.35 Cons
- 1.36 Condor Ops
- 1.37 Pros
- 1.38 Cons
- 1.39 BLACKHAWK
- 1.40 Pros
- 1.41 Cons
- 2 Best Chest Rig Buyer's Guide
- 2.1 Why Do People Use Chest Rigs?
- 2.2 Comparison between Chest Rigs and Tactical Vests
- 2.3 Benefits of chest rigs
- 2.4 Downsides of chest rigs
- 2.5 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Chest Rig
- 2.6 Our Conclusion on Chest Rigs
These days, chest rigs are commonly used by anyone, and wearing the right chest ring ensures you have easy and fast access to your stack of weapons and other safety equipment whenever the need to use them arises.
Acquiring the best chest rig possible is essential, as it can otherwise compromise your effectiveness and safety when called to action.
Our guide makes your choice easy, as we give you all the information and review the top chest rigs around.
Reviewing the Top 14 Best Tactical Chest Rig
Now we come to reviewing our top 10 best tactical chest rigs on the market. Keep reading to see our favorites and why we like them.
The Condor Recon chest rig has built-in stacker style magazine pouches which allows the wearer to have fast and seamless access to mags for quick reload.
It is Available in 3 colors: black, brown and olive
The Condor Recon is fitted with Kangaroo style mag pouches and has the capacity to hold 6 M4 magazines and 6 pistol magazines. It also has adjustable and removable flaps on the pistol pouches allow user to carry small tools or weapons such as knives or multi-tools.
Other pouches and pockets include: a front pocket pouch for documents with hook and loop panel inside and a pistol holster that can accommodate pistols of different sizes with hook and loop retention to keep pistol in place.
The GPS pouch on the side for GPS or radio is handy with a small front pocket that has a velcro strap.
In terms of comfort, I found it easy and wearable for hours of strenuous activity. The Condor Recon rig has cross back shoulder straps that has webbing and D-rings for attaching carabiners. It is lined with a mesh liner on the straps to promote better airflow and comfort for hours of wear. The Swivel push release buckles are also easy to operate
And finally the vest is fully adjustable and is a one size fits most model.
The Condor Outdoor Modular Chest Set is one of the best selling chest rigs available on the market.
Available in 3 colors: black, green and tan, the vest is great value, practical and comfortable.
It is complete with padded shoulder straps and has 6 built-in M4 magazine pouches and two internal mesh pockets. The rig comes with heavyweight reinforced webbing for modular attachments.
It is a customizable chest rig and both the chest platform and the waist are adjustable and can be fitted to all heights and sizes easily
The mesh and padding makes it a comfortable and ventilated chest rig keeping the wearer cool for extended periods.
It also has a built-in hydration carrier for storing a hydration bladder which is very convenient
The Helixon-Tex Mini Rig is a mini rig, yet fits a load of magazines, extra ammunitions, tools and flashlights.
The main pouch has an internal organizer with zipped mesh pockets. The pouch and storage features of the chest rig include: 4 fixed pouches specifically designed for handgun mags, multi-tool, flashlights.
The rig has two fixed AK/AR specific magazine pouches as well as an exchangeable magazine and handgun insert. Mags can be stored in the double rifle magazine insert for 2 AR/AK magazines.
Other features include a pouch mounted by MOLLE specifically for a medical kit and two cord loops made for gloves and carabiners.
The MOLLE on shoulder straps and the bottom of the main pouch is great for adding extra pouches.
It is fully adjustable and has a removable and universal H-strap harness. The three velcro ID panels (2 in the front, one in the back) make adding identification easy.
Overall the rig is made from a very durable cordura 500D material and is available in 14 different colors.
This Condor Chest Rig is slightly different from the others as this has a H-harness on the back.
It has been designed for easy access with a quick-release buckle front and swivi-lockster (swivel push release buckles).
The H harness is fully padded and has heavyweight MOLLE webbing for modular attachments for radio pouches, hydration carriers or anything else you may need.
In total, the rig has 2 MOLLE panels and webbing on the shoulders and back panels.
We really liked the position of the MOLLE panels as it spreads the load on either side if you are carrying extra attachments, rather than having the weight all in the centre.
It also has hook and loop and D rings for attaching carabiners and on either side of the rig, is a mesh map pocket.
The chest rig is also fully adjustable, and the open front and back is a great choice if you are looking for something that is lightweight and well ventilated.
The only downside would be that this chest rig is more minimalistic that others, and won’t store as much as a more complex chest rig.
The OneTigris Chest Rig is built to fit 5.56/7.62 Rifle mag pouches and pistol pouches
It is a lightweight chest rig that is practical, functional and an effective chest rig with a range of storage.
It has fixed pockets including 4 mag pouches with bungee cords each with bungee cords and pull tabs on each for easy grip when grabbing a mag out
It also has 4 hook and loop closure pouch which stops the mags from falling out, a front pouch with lots of pockets and a clam design for fast access of your contents. These are all sewn onto the rig, so you won’t have to think about purchasing extra pouches
It has a cross shoulder strap fit which makes the rig easy to take on and off.
We found it to be comfortable with mesh padding on the back and fully adjustable for a one size fits most model
The rig is available in 3 colors: black, multigreen and tan.
The vAv YAKEDA tactical chest rig is a hybrid mix of a chest rig, tactical vest and plate carrier making it a multifunctional, uniquely designed rig. We like this chest rig as it is larger and more cumbersome than some of the other micro rigs on our list, as well as still being low-profile and lightweight.
In terms of fit, the shoulder straps can be worn in different configurations to suit your preferences and have padding for added comfort.
The rig itself is fully adjustable and can fit sizes S to XXL through adjusting the shoulder straps and waist straps.
The rig has 3 side by side magazine pouches to fit a total of 6 magazines. They have adjustable heights and so can fit both standard and non-standard magazine sizes (5.56mm and 7.62mm) for M4 and AK magazines.
Extra features include the exterior velcro for attaching ID patches and pockets for adding ballistic or weight plates.
The Huenco Camouflage chest rig is a high quality, reinforced chest rig made from 500D nylon. It is a durable, lightweight chest rig that has cross back shoulder straps with padding for added comfort. The shoulder straps and pouch have webbing for attaching MOLLE compatible accessories.
It comes complete with a triple mag pouch and two pistol pouches.
The rig is fully adjustable for a one-size fits most fit. It can also be used in conjunction with a tactical vest or tactical backpack or attached to a plate carrier.
7. 5.11 TacTec Chest Rig
5.11 is a highly reputable and popular tactical brand and their chest rig is no exception.
The 5.11 TacTec is a sturdy chest rig and what makes it unique is that it can be changed to be worn as either H-frame or X-back style.
It is made from rigid 500D nylon and has specialized stitching for added reinforcement and strength.
The chest rig has MOLLE webbing all over the exterior as well as front pouches, map and admin pocket. The MOLLE webbing has 14 columns for easily attaching pouches.
The front pouches can accommodate 6 AR/M4 mags and the bungee thumb pulls allow for mag pouch reconfiguration.
This is another lightweight comfortable chest rig with padded shoulder straps and an easy to adjust fit. Once fitted the rig hugs your body comfortably or can easily fit over a plate carrier or tactical vest.
The all-weather nylon material fares well in all climates and you won’t have to worry about any weather damage whilst wearing it.
The Loaded Gear chest rig is equipped with 3 dual mag pouches that can each fit two standard 30 round mags each (space for 6 mags).
Upon trying this chest rig, I was able to fit 6 pistol mags and 6 AR15 mags as well as a knife, radio and flashlight so it has a decent amount of storage for any small accessories you may have.
The rig has padded shoulder straps and can be adjusted to fit most sized adults, however it doesn’t have the most form fitting feel and feels a little loose.
The chest rig is top quality made from 600D lightweight polyester and is great for use in even the most demanding of conditions and has quick release buckles for easily taking it on and off.
The OneTigris ROC Chest Rig is made from a tough, durable 1000D nylon build with reinforced stitching. The rig is both dirt, water and abrasion resistant. The rig has cross back shoulder straps with mesh backing which enhances breathability.
It has a compact MOLLE panel in the centre for attaching tools and pouches as well as a 7” by 9” map pocket fastened by hook and loop.
The shoulder straps are detachable and have UTX D-flex clips. This chest rig is very practical in that it can be worn many ways. It can be mounted to backpack straps with carabiners with the 4 D-rings on the rig as well as attaching it to waist belts prevent it from sliding around when you are moving.
This OneTigris rig is a versatile low profile rig at an affordable price.
Best Micro Chest Rig under $100?
The OAREA chest rig is made from 500D nylon material, making it lightweight yet durable. Chest rig has X harness for added adjustability
The shoulder straps are padded for comfort and fully adjustable. The chest rig is one size fits most and has been redesigned to improve comfort aspect as well as add more storage options
An addition of extra pouches allows the rig to be more functional and streamlined and carry those extra essential items you may need on a mission. Such pouches include 1 recycle pouch, 3 5.56 mm pouch and 3 9mm mag pouch, but unfortunately it doesn’t accommodate AK mags very well.
It can be easily integrated with your tactical backpack or vest. The OAREA rig is available in 5 different colors to fit whatever color scheme you prefer.
Overall this is a really great choice for a reliable micro vest.
The Trido Chest rig is made from high quality 1000D nylon, which is durable and fully wear resistant.
The chest rig features lots of storage for mags and small accessories. It has 2 recycle pouches which can fit something like a walkie talkie, as well as 4 5.56 mg pouches, 5 9mm mag pouches, 2 mag pouch support frame and an LED flashlight pouch.
There is an adjustable parachute rope for keeping the mags held in place.
The H shaped shoulder straps are detachable and adjustable and the waistband can fit most people easily. It has quick release buckles, that are also handy for easily taking the rig on and off.
The straps also have MOLLE attachment for attaching compatible pouches. At the back of the rig it has velcro which can also attach accessories or works to attach your rig to a plate carrier.
The chest rig is lightweight and low profile and is perfect for use in any urban, combat, rural, personal training or exercise setting.
Available in two colors black and multicam.
The Condor Chest rig is sturdy and durable. You know that by buying a rig from Condor that you are guaranteed a high quality product.
This chest rig has cross-back straps with extensive padding for enhanced comfort. The shoulder straps have webbing and D rings
The MOLLE webbing is heavyweight and features not only on the straps but across the front panel of the rig for extensive attachment of any modular accessories.
Additional pockets include one open top utility pockets on each side as well as a mesh pocket on the interior.
The chest rig has 7” by 11” map pocket with hook and loop panel for storing any documents you may have.
The BLACKHAWK Chest rig is available in two colors: coyote tan and black made from 1000D nylon construction.
It has 4 main pockets which can each hold up to two AK47, three M16 or two M14 magazines. In each pouch there is a divider to prevent magazine noise and clatter which is ideal for when you want to be low-profile and move around quietly.
There are two utility pouches on the end of the vest which can accommodate smaller accessories like compasses, radios, GPS etc.
The inside back has another large utility or map intended pouch which is secured with a snap flap.
The chest rig has crossed shoulder straps with side release buckles. These straps are foam padded for additional comfort.
More features include quick release waist straps and belt loops which you can secure your vest to any webbed belt.
Best Chest Rig Buyer's Guide
Why Do People Use Chest Rigs?
If your job description requires moving around with many handy tools or equipment, your best bet is to put on a chest rig.
A chest rig will allow you to move effortlessly and efficiently without slowing down your stride or stopping you from carrying out other activities simultaneously.
Depending on your profession, there is a chest rig designed to suit and serve you excellently well.
Essentially, chest rigs are worn to reduce the load on your beltline and make it easy to move around. Fundamentally too, they help your spine stay straight and well-aligned, thus reducing the tension and strain your load might put on the lumbar vertebrae.
Comparison between Chest Rigs and Tactical Vests
Chest rigs are a convenient piece of equipment used by military officials to store extra tools and essentials such as pistols, magazines, radio, water carrier, etc.
On the other hand, tactical vests are a form of protective gear used by military or law enforcement personnel. Still, they can also be used to store ammunition, tools, and accessories ranging from flashlights, rigs, and other essentials.
Invariably, both can perform the same storage function. In any case, a tactical vest also offers protection to your torso, shoulder, and lower back.
Whereas chest rigs are meant to help military officers carry their kits with ease, a tactical vest can be used to hold ammunition and also keep you safe when engaging in outdoor sporting activities like paintball or airsoft since it involves firing dummy bullets at your opponents - and receiving some too.
Tactical vests also have extra space for armor plates that protect the chest area from harm during gunfire in the line of duty, unlike chest rigs that are primarily meant for holding extra ammunition needed for survival.
Chest rigs are a preferred choice considering the affordable cost and lightweight attribute compared to expensive and bulky tactical vests that possess an armor plate for safety purposes.
When making your choice between chest rigs and tactical vests, it is essential to consider a color that will suit (and blend into) your area of operation perfectly.
Furthermore, both can be customized easily. For instance, you can choose to add more pouches or leave them the way they were manufactured, depending on the purpose you want them to serve.
Comfort is critical when using a chest rig or a tactical vest to sustain mobility and speed.
The preferred chest rig or tactical vest should allow you to discharge your duties by moving your body parts freely within a split second without any encumbrances.
Benefits of chest rigs
Unlike the regular plate carriers and body armors, chest rigs are made from light, breathable, and well-ventilated materials that promote aeration on a hot day
Chest rigs blend easily with other tactical gears worn by military personnel without becoming a distraction
- When maneuvering a mounted vehicle, you will remain comfortable using your seat belt, driving, and also accessing items on the backseats without any form of inconvenience
- Ease of access to multiple pieces of equipment, considering that they are directly in your front
- Efficiency in movement, especially on level ground, since nothing is restricting your legs or back when kneeling or crouching
- It is convenient for moving in and out of vehicles
- Chest rigs also offer additional protection when on a mission if worn with plate carries.
- The multiple MOLLE attachments are perfect for attaching pouches for hydration carriers, first aid kits, or extra ammo.
Downsides of chest rigs
Wearing chest rigs reduces the surface areas on your body required for cooling off, considering that the body’s upper part is an increased blood flow area that constantly demands dispelling heat from the body.
There will be more strain on your core muscles because of the extra gear you are mounting on your chest, making you tire out quickly. A quick fix solution will be to put on a backpack with similar weight to counterbalance it and reduce the strain on your core and back.
The use of chest rigs will not allow you to lie completely flat on the floor during low-lying cover because of the gear on your chest, increasing your silhouette.
Lack of easy access to manipulate your weapons due to the bulkiness on both sides of your armpits, thus adversely affecting your arms’ natural swing.
Stuffing items such as knives and other sharp objects in your chest rig is counter-productive when you encounter roadside explosives, and you get hit, as the objects may get blown into your face, causing severe damage.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Chest Rig
In this section, you’ll learn some vital tips that will guide you as you go shopping for the ideal chest rig, thus saving you from wasting money or time unnecessarily.
The choice of color for the best chest rig will depend on whether you want to blend in with your surroundings or stand out and be conspicuous.
Picking the right color is essential given that your level of visibility can make or mar the experience, especially if you prefer to keep a low profile at every given opportunity.
As such, colors that will serve well as camouflage at any given time are Olive Drab and Coyote Brown.
If you are moving or working on a shooting range, they are your best options in a forest or field, unlike a black colored chest rig that will make you an easy target or give your position away.
Ultimately, your environment will be the key determinant factor.
Functionality - MOLLE
The chest rig functionality is based on the type chosen, which can be either a combination rig with MOLLE webbing and pouches or a full MOLLE rig with only webbing.
The choice of MOLLE is due to its specificity and multifunctionality, which is essential for outdoor activities.
If you are using a chest rig for the first time, you should choose a model with pockets or pouches in the front to reduce the challenges of searching for the right pouches to buy for your needs.
You should note, however, that you will be incurring additional expenses when making these extra purchases.
If the cost is not an issue for you, choosing the full MOLLE rig will allow you to easily customize your choice of webbed pouches to your taste.
Whichever you decide to go for will serve you well since you can attach magazine and grenade pouches of different sizes, first-aid kits, holsters, sustainment pouches, and canteen carriers for an adaptable and secure on-the-go accessibility.
The functionality of chest rigs makes them easy to put together quickly whenever you have a mission to attend to.
There are two types of harnesses available to choose from, depending on how much convenience and comfort you desire.
X-harness is a perfect chest rig that is suitable for people with small body sizes. It is ideal for going on special missions, low-signature operations, military free-fall, or long-range patrols.
H-harness is a better option for even weight distribution. In effect, it is not a great pick if you have a small body size.
With an H-harness chest rig, your comfort level is increased during operations or training.
Even though you require a different storage capacity or loads of gear, hydration, and food, choosing either X-harness or H-harness will provide you with the comfort, fit, and security to be at your best always.
Weapon You’ll Be Carrying
The weapon you’ll be carrying is another critical factor that should be given great thought when choosing the ideal chest rig.
Most chest rigs are suitable for handgun and 5.56 magazines since they come with weapon-specific magazines.
So, what you should do is buy extra pouches that will fit magazines that are above the regular sizes to suit your needs.
You need to familiarize yourself with the right pouch size for every weapon you will be carrying on your mission.
The storage or number of pockets you need to store gear and other equipment on your chest rig will depend on the mission you are going for and how quickly you can restock.
But then, you should consider the overall weight, as carrying too much may slow you down.
When packing gear, go for the essentials so as not to fill up all the pouches at the same time.
If the pockets on the chest rig are not sufficient, you can buy extra pouches for those extra gear you need on your trip, thanks to the additional webbed spaces.
During selection, ensure you can easily access the top pouches where you will keep your most essential items.
Comfortability is an essential factor that cannot be over-emphasized when on a tactical mission, in the forest or field.
Most chest rigs are designed to fit and also give you a low profile when on the ground.
To stay comfortable and avoid unnecessary backache, do not put much weight on your chest rig.
You have to ensure you are packing only the essential gear at all times to promote even weight distribution.
Chest rigs are generally meant to be lightweight, comfortable, and carry basic stuff needed for survival when on the move.
When you want to shop for your best chest rig, you’ll have to spend time deciding on the right choice and amount to spend to get a unit that will serve you well and also offer maximum comfort.
The most expensive chest rig might not always be the best buy: you should check out the quality of material, construction, and durability before giving out your hard-earned money in exchange for it.
There are many chest rigs from different manufacturers to suit your needs and budget per time, ranging from $18- $200 or more.
Remember, you might still spend additional money on pouches or pockets, but if you are a newbie, you can leave that out for now.
The difference between buying the best chest rig or a knock-off is the level of adjustability the shoulder straps offer.
It would help if you opted for a quality model with padded straps that can be adjusted to fit perfectly around your shoulder so that you can be comfortable all day long.
This feature will help determine if the rig will be suitable for a heavy-bodied or slim person.
Checking to ensure the pouches are designed with loop closures or hooks for quick access to ammo is equally vital.
Chest rigs should be made from quality materials to ensure their durability and safety.
Safety is a function of the quality of the fabric used. Such materials must be strong and tough enough to guarantee long-term use, no matter the intensity of use.
Always consider options with padded shoulder straps that will serve in reducing stress on your shoulder and back.
The pouches on the ideal chest rig should be stitched with military spec webbing and nylon for extra quality.
Also, the loop closure, hooks, and zippers must be from high-quality materials to withstand your gear’s weight.
Most chest rigs are made from a combination of nylon, heavy-duty cotton, mesh, and canvas materials to keep you comfortable and agile on a mission.
These materials should be breathable and lightweight to promote the free flow of air in hot weather conditions.
Our Conclusion on Chest Rigs
Despite the popularity of chest rigs among the military, it has now become a favorite for many professionals who need to have different bits of essential tools at their fingertips when outdoors doing their thing.
The best chest rigs are lightweight and designed to house many tools and kits without hindering the wearer from performing their task.
When making your choice among the numerous brands, you should not neglect functionality, storage capacity, and durability. They are the basic features to ensure you get value from it.
If there is any other information you have on chest rigs left out in this article (or questions you need answers to), kindly mention them in the comment section.