In the Basics
In the Basics
Making a faithful reproduction of the original Pattern 83 chest rig was difficult for us. To do it right we had to stick to the source material, and pretend like it was still 1983. It’s a testament to the South Africans that their 40 year old design works as well as it does, but if you look closely there are signs of age.
As we dove into the details of our reproduction, an idea began to take shape. “What if we did more than copy the past? After all, the core design principles of Pattern 83 are solid. With a few tweaks and updates, it could be a serious contender in the 2020s…”
We tried to ignore it, but eventually that nagging voice in our heads got the upper hand. As work continued on our Pattern 83 reproduction, we spun off an ambitious project — Pattern 84.
The process of modernizing a design like this is a balancing act. Change too little and there’s no benefit to the end user. Change too much and you might ruin what made the original good.
In our view, almost everything about the P83 rig was done right the first time. The philosophy of the SADF is clear, and we agree with their conclusions. We were careful not to reinvent the wheel with P84 — instead we focused on improving what was already there.
MultiCam — It and it's derivatives have taken over the world because of it's proven effectiveness in nearly any environment. The MultiCam ecosystem is very mature with countless off-the-shelf products ready to pair with P84.
Why MultiCam Black? — It caters to nocturnal use. We've personally tested many patterns and colors in realistic outdoor lighting conditions, and MCB performs excellent in both visible and NIR spectra at night.
There will be more patterns & colors available in the future. Stay tuned.
General purpose pouches with large hook and loop contact areas allow both small and oversized items to be safely secured — everything from radios, IFAK items, and GPS devices, to smokes and additional STANAGs...
The sides of the rig feature small utility pouches, perfect for pen flares, multitools, compact folding knives, and double-stack 9mm pistol mags.
P84's specially designed magazine cells accomodate almost all semi-auto rifle mags. No inserts needed.
We've certified many different types of magazines, but the sky is the limit — in a pinch, even pistol caliber carbine mags will run in our rig.
P84 can acomodate most users without modification. But if you need special equipment, there are plenty of options.
To make P84 more flexible, we added two rows of laser-cut MOLLE to each side. These low-weight, low bulk laminate pannels lay flat when not in use and prevent snagging on slings, straps or equipment.
The rig is also fully 'dangler' compatible thanks to a hook and loop pocket underneath the magazine cells.
We kept the rear-facing admin pouch from Pattern 83 — because as the saying goes "if it ain't broke don't fix it."
This 9.5" x 7.5" flapped sleeve is accessible while wearing the rig, making it perfect for notebooks & pens, IDs, maps, and other documents.
It's also perfect size for chest seals and other lay-flat medical equipment.
If you're using a popular, semi automatic magazine-fed rifle, odds are P84 fits at least 6 of your mags. Want to know for sure? We've tested dozens of platforms and detailed our results below.
You can help expand this 'verified compatible' list by submitting your results to firstname.lastname@example.org
In most cases we reccomend the standard 2 magazines per cell for a total of 6 mags. This will work with nearly all metal and polymer 'AR-15 type' mags on the market. However you can chose to 'overload' each mag cell with 3 standard capacity metal STANAGs for a total of 9 magazines.
Note: When overloading, we reccomend inserting magazines in a front-to-back order, with the segmented pocket closest to your chest taking the final 2 magazines. Not all polymer mags are 'overload' compatible.
AR-Adjacent platforms with similar magazines such as the 30/35 rd. 5.56 Galil, HK93, G36, and others will fit at least 6 mags, but we have not tested their 'overload' compatability.
Longer magazines like the 40 Round Magpul PMAG and the propprietary Steyr AUG 42-Rounders will fit with a total of 6 mags in the rig. If you're crazy and use the Surefire 60-round 'quad stack', we tested that too. each mag cell can fit 1x 60 rounder plus 1 standard capacity STANAG.
Each mag cell holds 2 magazines comfortably. Standard Capacity AKM, AK101, and AK-74 Magazines will fit just fine. Plastic, metal, and bakelite all work, although you should not expect to quickly"re-index" your AK mags.
Wealso tested 40rd 7.62 and 45rd 5.45 RPK mags. While they physically fit inside the pouches, 7.62x39 40 rounders can't take advantage of the flap closure. Retention is acceptable thanks to the elastic, but it certainly isn't a "jumpable" configuraiton.
It's much the same story for 5.45 45 rounders — they fit side by side better than the x39 mags, but still can't take advantage of the flap closure.
P84 accomodates 20 round .308 mags for the AR-10, HK G3, MR308, FN FAL, and SCAR-17 without issue. The rig will comfortably fit the standard 2 per cell for a total of 6 mags.
We've tested the much less common SCAR & FAL 30-round magazines, and they also fit without issue, even with baseplates attached.
Magazines such as those found in HK MP5s, B&T GHM/APC/TP Platforms, CZ Scorpions, Grand Power Stribogs, UZIs, Colt AR-9s, and Glock 'stick' type mags will fit, but with a catch: They must be placed side by side in order to maintain retention.
The best way to run PCC magazines for maximum retention is to place 4 in each main mag cell, two in the back division and two in the front.
Results may vary with magazine extensions and different types of base plates. Compact pistol magazines, such as those used by the Glock 19, may be too short to use effectively in P84's main pouches, but will fit in the multitool pouch if you want to carry them on your rig.
Chest rigs occupy a unique space in modern LBE, somewhere between the bandolier and the plate carrier. It’s an awkward spot to be. In order to be useful, a good chest rig has to incorporate aspects of both without becoming either.
On the ultra-minimalist end, chest rigs can be uncomfortable or simply ineffective. We’re never going to argue against having two magazines and a tourniquet ready to go. But do you really need a chest rig for that? Is the weight, bulk, and strapping really justified or would you be better off putting those things in a good pair of pants?
But as you add pockets, pouches and equipment, mission creep sets in. Weight increases. The ‘what ifs’ multiply, and before you know it you’ve reinvented the ALICE system or made a plate carrier that doesn’t carry plates.
It’s like the rocket equation of tactical gear, and that happy middle ground is hard to find.
Simply put, we made P84 because we were unhappy with the existing options. P84 stands squarely between lightly featured micro rigs, and overcomplicated harness style systems.
P84's Cross-back strapping with 1000D Cordura-encapsuled foam padding spreads the weight across your entire upper back and torso. The result is slim, comfortable, and very hard wearing — no aftermarket padding needed.
The rig's wide profile sits tight and secure against your body's center of gravity and minimizes where the 1" webbing digs in under load.
Custom NIR-Compliant mesh on the back of the rig mimics the original SADF-spec material.
This semi-rigid strucutre helps make P84 breathable and load bearing without adding excess weight .
The mesh also aids in drainage, allowing the rear admin pocket and other areas of the rig to shed water.
P84's generous range of adjustment allows the rig to be worn over body armor and other bulky clothing.
Intergrated web-keepers police slack webbing, keeping you slick and snag-free (without the electrical tape.)
Like it's South African forefather, P84 is robustly constructed with several layers of 1000D Cordura.
Every hook-and-loop contact area is overbuilt, and all load bearing areas are reinforced with machine sewn bartack stiches. P84 is roll, slide, and drag-proof.
Despite this, the empty rig weighs just 1.4 Lbs. Thats It. P84 is a little heavier than a fully loaded STANAG magazine.
The pattern 83 is fantastic, this here 84 just goes over the top. If you're looking for quality. This is it.
The biggest downside is that there is no quick release but it is comfortable and it is very durable.
One word Awsome!!!!
It was remarkably difficult to find a quality chest rig that had just what I needed without all the gimmicky stuff that I don't. The Pattern 83 is end of the search for me. It's sturdy, comfortable, and fills the requirements I had been looking for. It has the most fit adjustment I've seen on any chest rig, which offers some nice flexibility when needing to wear armor or rucks. I especially appreciate the big chungus admin pouch, which fits maps and leaders books perfectly. After a couple field problems, I can pretty confidently say that this rig fits the bill and will have a respectable service life of hard use.
Awesome chest rig. Lots of pockets. Fits great, feels durable