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The Italian Army has long had a tradition of excellence with their equipment and uniforms. This load bearing tactical vest performed flawlessly in combat operations in Iraq when it was initially deployed in 2004 and saw service up until the Italian army ended their involvement in Iraq. With many pictures of this vest being worn in Iraq by the Pozzuolo del Friuli Brigade which is an amphibious air assault brigade, the bona fides of this vest are clearly established and legitimate.
Please view the pictures of this vest being worn by Italian soldiers in Iraq during operations in 2004. The solo soldier pictured wearing this vest is the Commander of the Lagunari Amphibious Air Assault Division. This vest was worn by soldiers with ranks ranging from enlisted soldier all the way to the top commander of the Italian forces in Iraq.
|Manufacturer||Italian Army Surplus|
|Construction||1000 Denier Texturised Nylon|
I have military gear from all the big name makers, LBT, HSGI, Eagle Ind so i feel i can make a good comparison.
I recently had to drive from hurricane ravaged Texas to Virginia. I had faith in my custom jeep and in all of the on the road supplies i carry in my "get home" bag, but while on the road it dawned on me that if I needed to abandon my vehicle (in case of road washout or gas shortage) that I really didn't have any way to organize the rifle magazines that I carry and that they would end up with a couple in my pockets and the rest in the bag, which would put more weight on my back as well as be uncomfortable in my pants pockets and not easily accessible, so i decided to pick up a vest to add to my vehicle bag, and found this.
Either my vest was brand new or it had been completely rebuilt because it was in new condition with what i assume are all of the straps it should come with...color is very close to the 1990s-2000s OD color scheme that the US Military used on TA50...closest i could describe it would be look at a new M12 holster and then ad a touch of extra forrest green to it...its a good match for any domestic gear.
First off, i was worried that the vest would be made out of poor quality materials, which couldn't be further from the truth, and the materials are easily on par with LBT and Eagle military gear. The straps and buckles are as strong and appear to be as good as US gear. The mesh is surprisingly strong and in my opinion far better than what used to be on some US military vests (ex 40mm grenadiers vest)
This is a BIG vest...i am 6'1, 215 lbs and usually wear body armor that is either large or extra large...with all the straps pulled down to within an inch of their buckles on the sides and front this vest is still a bit on the loose side when wearing a t shirt...it would easily fit over several layers of clothing, heavy jackets and i believe it would easily fit of body armor or a plate carrier.
The pockets were not quite as in the ad description, but this turned out to be a good thing:
Lower pockets: 3 on each side for a total of 6. Description stated that these were made to hold 2 STANAG mags each, BUT i found that they could hold 3 each, AND that that they could also hold 3 magpul pmags each...very happy about this since most military pouches do not accommodate the magpul 3o rd magazines that well...each closes by either using the plastic buckle, or by using velcro, which has an integrated tab that you can fold over ontop of the velcro so that you are only using the plastic buckle...so you can carry 18 30 rd magazines in the 6 (3 on each side) lower pockets. The lower pouches seem to be mounted on a a shingle that is attached via strong velco and snaps to the vest, the description makes these look like a velco/snap pocket that can be opened, which it easily functions that way, but the shingle comes completely off, and underneath there is webbing to help hold anything you put in there, like pens, chem lights, small profile flashlights...it would be a good place for any thin profile profile utility-admin pouch to help organize.
Upper pockets- right side: 3 of them, 2 large ones that seem to be more for pistol magazines than for stanag mags and a smaller 1 that would tightly hold a pistol magazines or a small flashlight...the 2 larger pockets seem to be too small for stanag mags, but i only had magpul mags and are too small for that, BUT seem to the perfect for a larger cal wide body pistol magazines such as a glock 21 or Para p14 magazines...the smaller pocket holds a small flashlight very well. - Left side: 2pockets, the most medial pouch holds a stanag mag (seemed like it was probably a smoke grenade pouch to me) and the lateral pouch seems to be for a radio, it has velco and button snaps at the bottom and a cinch strap at the top...idk what to do with the left side pouches, the magazine pouch will probably end up being more like an admin pouch with a little notebook, pen, spare batteries, multitool and pen/pencil...the radio pouch is pretty big, too big for a smaller profile walkie-talkie, but would hold a 6 inch Israeli bandage well, i might make it into a dressing pouch, or mess with it so that it holds a few shotgun rounds cards and velco one to the front...either wall all of the pouches are very usable and roomy.
The back had a row of what seemed like ALICE type webbing close to the bottom, a thinner webbing strap across the upper shoulders, as well as some cinch straps that can be seen in the picture. It seems it would be easy to attach a hydration pouch or small pack easily to the back of the vest. The shoulders are completely adjustable with straps AND large velco pads, and are comfortable.
Cons? I really don't see any. At first I thought the upper front closure buckle was a bit too high, but with adjustments to the vest it fits well and would be useful for keeping the vest tight overtop of body armor. There are lots of straps with plenty of length to them that, once fitted, will either need to be trimmed or taped down The only thing I would add would be possibly some MOLLE webbing to the back. I may take the upper pockets off and replace them with MOLLE webbing, but the vest is very functional as is so its not a project i am going to do right away....heck, at the price of the vest i might get another just to play with.
This is an excellent piece of kit and at this price you can't go wrong. Highly recommended.
$49.95 for a new vest that would otherwise cost $150-200. Perfect for M4 Mags and all your range stuff. High quality.