TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

KommandoStore is one of the major players in surplus South African web gear. The venerable Pattern 83 chest rig and battle jacket have started drying up and prices are climbing. KommandoStore started making a reproduction Pattern 83 chest rig to meet that demand. They also created a modernized model, called Pattern 84, which is the subject of this review.

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Disclosures are an important part of any review. KommandoStore gave me this chest rig for use in content. I have a thing for South African gear and shoot Galils, and they thought I might be interested in it. This review is my first real interaction with the company.

History

South Africa’s Pattern 83 system of web gear was ahead of its time. That system included a backpack, a “battle jacket,” and a chest rig. I own both the Pattern 83 chest rig and battle jacket. The battle jacket is a truly unique piece of gear and a modified version featured prominently in Mad Max: Fury Road. As cool as that is, the sheer volume of chest rigs on the market compared to essentially one battle jacket shows which piece of kit has more longevity.

The standard Pattern 83 chest rig is a very simple design. It has three magazine pouches, each sized to hold two R4 (Galil) magazines, as well as some small accessory pockets. However, the mag pouches can handle a variety of common patterns such as G3, FAL, and AR-15 magazines. Its simple design, rugged construction, and wide range of compatibility have made the Pattern 83 one of the classic chest rig designs.

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

Chest rig family photo: Pattern 84 (top), Pattern 90 (middle), well-worn Pattern 83 (bottom).

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

The Pattern 84 (top) has more useful pockets than the Pattern 83 (bottom).

Features

While the Pattern 83 chest rig is a legend, it is not perfect. Some of its features could use an update. The most obvious change to the Pattern 84 rig is the color. Gone is the solid nutria brown fabric. It has been replaced with two Multicam options, the classic (useful) pattern shown here, and Multicam Black.

Another departure from the Pattern 83 rig is the accessory pockets. Instead of small pouches tailored to particular kit items that most people will not have, general-purpose utility pouches flank the magazine pouches. The three central magazine pouches remain in the same location. Each has an internal divider and is surrounded by thick elastic for retention. The lids on the pouches close with hook-and-loop and there are extended flaps inside the pouches to accommodate larger magazines.

So what fits in the magazine pouches? Two of each of these magazine fits in the pouch, with the lid closed:

  • AR-15 magazines (either metal or polymer)
  • Galil magazines (obviously)
  • AK-74 magazines
  • HK-91/G-3 magazines
  • SR-25 magazines (metal or polymer)
  • Sig 55X magazines
  • PMAG 40
TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

Most common (and uncommon) magazines fit the Pat 84, including (L to R) Sig 550, G3/HK-91, Galil, PMAG 40 and AK-74 mags.

The accessory pouches can be used to carry more magazines or for things like radios or first aid. They also accommodate an Enola Gaye Mil-X smoke grenade. The pistol magazine pouch on the rightmost magazine pouch accommodates common mags like 9mm Glock, 10mm Glock, and the Browning Hi-Power. It could also hold a multitool or folding knife.

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

KommandoStore included some Super C sweets in the pistol magazine pouch.

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

The pen pocket can hold a wide Sharpie.

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

The pistol magazine pouch fits common pistol mags like 9mm Glock, 10mm Glock, and Hi-Power (shown here).

Bulking Up

If you want to add even more magazines, additional pouches can be attached to the laser-cut sections on both sides of the fixed pouches. Some AOR1 magazine pouches from my gear bin fit perfectly on those fields. With two 30-round magazines in all five fixed pouches, plus two in each added expansion pouch, that totals 14 standard magazines or 420 rounds total (nice). I call this “beast mode” as an homage to the F-35 loaded up with external weapons. This could go even higher if the six center magazines are 40-rounders, but the weight gets to be a lot.

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

Beast Mode loadout with a wide range of AR magazines like Gen 2 and Gen 3 PMAGs, Duramag steel and aluminum, and even an Israeli Orlite.

Other pouches could obviously fit on these fields as well. I tried some Eagle Industries canteen pouches but they were too wide to fit comfortably. These would be good spaces for additional first aid, radios, batteries, or snacks.

In Use

The five main pouches are sewn into the body of the rig. While this is less modular than a MOLLE system, it is also lighter. Personally, I think the combination of sewn-on pouches with some additional MOLLE is the right mix. Three dedicated magazine pouches and two accessory pouches (for smoke or radios or first aid) are generally what I would choose to run even if I could change them out.

Reloads from the Pattern 84 are quick and easy. They work about the same as any other hook-and-loop pouch type. The straps are padded enough that they don’t cut into your neck when loaded up, but are not so bulky as to be annoying. The rig itself is also light which is always a nice feature.

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

It works great for hauling Galil magazines, in true South African fashion (note the South African dual magazine coupler).

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

Just in case you were wondering, a Beretta 84 fits in the accessory pouch.

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

You can bless the rains down in Africa with a BRN-10, or the snows of the high desert.

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

AK-74 magazines fit great on the Pattern 84, shown here with the PSA AK-105.

Gripes

This is a short section. Some extra loop fabric on the front of one (or some) of the pouch lids or above the pouches on the body of the chest rig would be nice. Tactical goods are meant to have lots of Velcro adornments so we have places to put all of those patches. Additional color options would be good as well, perhaps ranger green or tan. Those are my only real complaints, and they are both cosmetic, so that is a win.

Conclusion

The Pattern 84 chest rig is a solid choice if you are looking for a non-MOLLE chest rig. It is made in the USA, it carries six magazines of almost every common pattern, and it has logical accessory pockets as well as expansion space for some extra pouches. This is a great option if you want to haul magazines without needing armor, or if you need to add a chest rig over a slick carrier. Check it out at KommandoStore, where it is in stock in Multicam and Multicam Black as of writing.

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

TFB Review: KommandoStore Pattern 84 Chest Rig

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