I checked with the bank account, and made myself an early Merry Christmas -- the zip front and stock class back, in Omnipat.
Number of downloads: 95
As this is my personal choice of a configuration, I shall evaluate both sides independently and then present an overall conclusion of the vest.
Number of downloads: 69
This particular back is made of a mesh material - something I highly favor for ventilation purposes. A pouch comes to include your hydration bladder for longer scenario games, which I'm quite happy about because I plan on using this vest for some major events in the future.
There are slots for 17 ten-round tubes: 170 paintballs on your back. It's easy to remove the tubes, but I found it difficult to replace them while still wearing the vest after they had been removed. My plan is to rig a dump pouch I have to my belt and just place the expended tubes there, though for a speedball game it would not be out of the question to abandon the tubes to retrieve them after the game.
The velcro back allows for the possibility of nameplates or patches. I've currently placed my 716th ID patch on the back as an example.
On the shoulders, there are an additional 8 tube locations (4 per side). These will serve well for either additional tubes or 12 grams. They are better seen in my front view photo, but they are on the back component of the vest.
For a stock class product, it's pretty nice. Forget nice -- it's the best stock class rig I've tried. My previous ten-round tube holder was a ronin harness rig, and the biggest objection I had to it was the tubes being up front instead of behind like a pod pack. Special Ops has offered an affordable alternative that removes that problem.
The Zip Front
I opted for the zip front as it was a light component, which matches the vest style I'm trying to maintain (that is, something ideal for pump/stock players).
Your lower left holds a utility pouch -- I didn't measure it exactly, but it'll fit my Icom radio in it (or a motorola FRS radio, or any number of other things). Perfect -- utility for the few items I need to take in the field besides my extra paint.
The lower right has two pouches on top of the other.
Perfect for Scenario ID cards...
Number of downloads: 7
Great place for a field map/document -- easily in sight when desired without removing it from the pouch
Number of downloads: 6
You all may laugh, but I've seen plenty of "map pouches" that are in just way too inconveinant a location to be of any use. This one I can see a map easily without removing the map from the pouch.
Putting the two together
So I have my complete vest, and it's time for the reviews of things that only by trying them together can you figure out:
1. Lightweight -- this is a perfect light setup for me. I've always thought of vests as comfortabe but bulky and heat traps. Not so with this vest, it's like having the perfect stock class option for me.
2. Breathability -- this goes right along with the lightweight. I haven't tried it in a hot climate yet (ha, as if Minnesota is warm in December ), but it looks like this will breath plenty well - something I usually complain about vests being unable to do.
3. Adjustable -- This vest can fit literally anyone, from the scrawniest player to someone bigger than me (and I'm a pretty big guy on the field). That's a huge selling point, and it's true guys - one size will fit all. I'm proof of that. Best of all, there are velcro tabs to keep the extra adjustment material tight to the vest so it won't flop loose (something I see in way too many other competitor vests).
4. Comfort -- While this vest is great on so many areas, it does shift a little during extreme motions. In all fairness, my Ronin rig was far worse and shifted over nothing. This is perhaps the only "bad" thing I can find about the Forge vest, and it's a non-issue to anyone who's using a back that has an elastic belt. It's only a minor nuisance, and still a big improvement on what I had to work with.
The Forge vest offers flexibility, comfort, and an excellant package for the price tag. I don't have experience with other SO vests for comparison, but this beats the competitor vests I've tried in the past for semi play (pods and the usual stuff over my stock class rig).
I can't wait for a chance to try this in an actual game of paintball.
Number of downloads: 61
A solid job well done to Spec Ops,
This post has been edited by Thalion: 03 December 2008 - 09:06 PM