Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ballseye's Gun Shots 103 / Gun Gear Review / Tru-Spec Double Magazine Pouch

Back when I was still in Phoenix, I purchased a double magazine pouch for double stack magazines. I planned on using it mostly for carrying my issued SIG 229 magazines and that is pretty much all I have carried in that pouch with the exception of once or twice carrying Glock 19 mags in it. Although I bought it back in April, I did not start using it until well after I got home later that month. My best guess is that I started using it in about June or July of this last year - 2010.

Since then it has seen almost daily use by me. I wear it on the front left side on my belt. I mention where I wear it not to suggest you should wear yours likewise but because it is important to understand that it has not been jutting out to the side on either hip and banging into things. Even if it had been, as had pouches I wore in the past, it should never have arrived in the condition it is in today. Yep, you guessed it, it is not in good condition, in fact it is falling apart. After only about 5 to 6 months of almost daily normal wear (no rough and tumble stuff at all), this magazine pouch is literally unravelling at the seams and other stress points. The fabric seems to be about the worst I have ever seen used for the purpose and I can say without a doubt that this mag pouch is, in my opinion, the worst piece of junk I have ever purchased as far as pouches and other nylon accessories go.

Previously, I used Uncle Mike's Double mag pouches. I think I have owned three of them over the past 15 or so years, probably more years than that. The first one lasted a long time, I am figuring at least 10 years. It took a lot of abuse and was replaced with the same thing. The second one lasted a year or so and had problems with the snaps falling off. I go in touch with uncle Mike's (Michael's of Oregon) and they replaced it free of charge. That last one lasted a few good tough years then it tore on something into which my overfed bulk decided to walk into to, I do not remember exactly what it was. That tear was small but slowly and surely got larger and I decided I needed a new mag pouch back this past April because I had the cash and would need the pouch soon.

I looked for another Uncle Mile's because I liked the design. basically it was a plastic box made to snugly fit 2 double stack magazines in two compartments side by side (no space between them but the wall of the box), the box was covered with what I think was Cordura. It had two flaps fastened into the body of the pouch by Velcro at the back and by snap closures at the front. The Velcro made it adjustable for different sized magazines. I did not change it much and the Velcro never got worn out or clogged with lint as it will sometimes do. The snap closures on the front assured that if I ever need to access a magazine more quietly than ripping open Velcro, I could do so. I much prefer snap closures. The belt loop on the rear was made of plastic and I always thought that a poor choice but to tell the truth it never failed. The loop was big enough to accommodate at least a 2 1/2" belt. Very good to excellent mag pouch, thing is though - I could not find one when I needed a replacement after trying about 5 or 6 gun stores and a few police supply stores.

While in the last police supply store that I visited, another mag pouch caught my eye. It was made by Tru-Spec. It looked similar to those made by Bianchi - double pouch for double stack mags with two snap closures on each flap and the other end of the flap sewn into the pouch. Adjustable depending on which snap you used but sometimes the snaps were actually noisy with a slight rattle because one on each flap was always not fastened. This pouch was wider than the Uncle mike's because each pouch was separated by about a finger's width of space. There was no plastic box inside the pouch on this one either, just two side by side pouches made out of black nylon of some sort over what seems to be another fabric like material. Not much to my liking but I figured I needed or would need a new pouch soon because the old one was failing so I bought it. I don't remember the price but am thinking it was about $15 to $20.

Surprisingly, well not really to me, I misplaced the new pouch and kept wearing the old one. it held up pretty good through June or July. I had found the new one again sometime between April and then and started to use it about the same time that the old one was on its last legs, or at least what I thought was its last legs, truth is compared to the Tru-Spec, I am pretty sure the Uncle Mike's would have gone on for another year or so. The Tr-Spec is ready for the garbage can and I mean that most literally.

The problems with the Tru-Spec pouch started about 3 months ago. I noticed that the material of which it is made was unraveling on the front of the flaps. I examined the rest of the pouch, back then, and the rest of it looked okay.I figured I must have somehow really raked the front of the flaps across something abrasive but for the life of me I could not remember hitting anything hard enough to tear fabric nor could I remember squeezing past anything that might have caught on it. It was just unraveling. About a month later I realized that a seam was beginning to open on the front of one of the flaps. This worked its way over the top of the flap to the back of it. Then, about a week ago, I noticed that one of the belt loops on the back of the pouch begining to come apart just a bit too. Within a week the belt loop was literally falling off, the fabric all around where it was sewn to the pouch was unravelled and the seam had opened up much more.

This damage was not there when I first noticed the damage to the front of the pouch flaps. I thought and thought again if maybe the pouch had gotten caught on something when I was wearing it, then it hit me that I would have had to have been moving backwards for that to have happened because the belt loop that has come loose with all the unravelled fabric around it is the one that sits mostly to the left and rear rear when I wear the pouch. In fact, the area of damage on the front of that flap is opposite of where it is on the other - I would have had to have gotten it caught twice - once in one direction then once in another to have ripped it. As I said though, I don't remember ever having it get snagged on anything, not even once so it just did not get damaged by me. Since that is the case, I have to think it is just piss poor manufacturing that is to blame.

I will be in touch with the manufacturer, Tru-Spec, to see if they will back up their product and send me a replacement. That is if I can find a customer service contact number or email address for them. I have always been a fan of Tru-Spec products, well, at least since I bought some BDU pants made by them many years ago. They were of good quality and products I have bought from them recently also seem to be of good quality - that is clothing products. This mag pouch is the first thing other than clothing that I have purchased that bears the Tru-Spec label. It may be the last, other than clothing, too. of course, that depends on their response and how well any replacement they offer stands up to normal use.

I ordered two of the Uncle Mike's pouches and hope they arrive soon. While they seemingly are not quite as well made as they used to be, in my view they sure beat the Tru-Spec pouch in question by a long shot.

All the best,
Glenn B