Gear HSGI SureGrip Padded Belt: Fit = Function Freddy Osuna October 16, 2013 Are you carrying all of your essential gear on your back? Are you spread loading your kit in an appropriate manner to facilitate accessibility, ergonomics, comfort, agility, and plain old common sense? What one individual considers mission essential will no doubt change with the next, but what does not change is the human musculoskeletal system. It has areas that are best suited for the bearing of loads. Now, for just a moment I want you to look at the human body in the same manner you view the battle rifle platform. The modern rifle has been many years in the making and so has our combat load. My rifle, a base model PSA-15 w/ magpul flip ups and B-5 SOPMOD stock, is a simple gun that suits my primitive needs. When I start adding to this platform I must consider whether what I add impedes or improves the base model performance. I am proudly a base model dude; no bells and whistles here; what you see is what you get. This obviously does not mean there isn't a place for (or in fact the necessity for) ‘advanced model' platforms. Keep that comparison in mind when I ask if you are considering the use of a battle belt system and suggest that some of you should. If you are, I would highly recommend the SureGrip Padded Belt from High Speed Gear Inc. (HSGI). I had heard of them before; a friend from 2/4 snipers wore his to the ‘Stan for 2 deployments (Sgt. Yubeta!) and loved it; Dave (RECOIL web editor David Reeder) swore by his. However, I first put hands on one when it arrived at my house in anticipation of our 3 Day tracking class in Phoenix, AZ back in June [see page 138 of Issue 9]. I have used it in the field ever since. Before going into specifics, first let me provide some context on my specific load bearing theory. As a Marine I was trained to observe 3 levels of load bearing: Level 1 included what was necessary to operate for a 24 hour period; Level 2 included necessities for 3 day operations; Level 3 was all necessities for long term survival. At a minimum a Marine Sniper always has his Level 1 kit with him, even when he is on liberty. The various levels are adjusted (gear wise) depending on the level of environmental or atmospheric threats that exist. The HSGI SureGrip Padded Belt is my new Level 2 buddy. My initial setup for the belt included the Padded Belt, an internal HSGI Cobra Riggers Belt, 2x HSGI Double Tacos, a Bleeder Blow Out Pouch, Pogey Pouch, and a Raven Concealment Systems Glock 17 Holster. This set up allowed me to carry all of my basic necessities in a very functional manner while improving weight distribution and accessibility. The 1st and most impressive aspect of the belt is the comfort factor. I have had my hips rubbed raw for the majority of my adult life by utility belts and pack belts of various sorts. When I first tried this set up I anticipated that there would naturally be some level of friction. I was wrong! The neoprene, gel-like padding of the inside of the belt was amazingly comfortable, and because the neoprene gripped so well it caused less friction to the belt line. The belt’s ability to conform to the waist/belt line with that padding while simultaneously supplying positive grip reduces friction in this area like no other utility belt I have ever worn. We experienced temperatures of 106F during this event in Phoenix; 1 month later I found myself at 29 Palms California attending the USMC Combat Hunter Trainer Course where temps reached 110F. I actually took the belt off and viewed it through thermals in the high heat and found less heat conduction on the internal belt surface than what was seen in my arm pits and upper torso. The versatility of its MOLLE loops allow for customization of the belt to perform a wide range of tasks. For instance, in my current billet I do not need to carry a side arm while teaching. The belt allows me to carry many of my teaching aids where they are readily accessible; on my hips. (Note: Osuna's current job is the USMC Combat Tracking Subject Matter Expert for School of Infantry East Combat Hunter, Camp Lejeune, NC.) Since testing the belt out in both the Sonoran and Mojave deserts in the hot ass summer heat I have had the opportunity to train with the belt during many weapons manipulation drills. Again the belt's ability to grip enhances my life. While conducting magazine changes, the belt does not follow the mag , it simply grips as advertised allowing me to take from it what I need without fuss. Interestingly, the smallest student at the Greenside-RECOIL tracking course also found the HSGI Sure Grip to be an excellent load system. A very small framed female with a fierce love for White Cheddar Cheezits, she'd previously had difficulty managing a handgun and 2nd line gear due to lack of real estate and problems with comfort/accessibility; the padding and grip made her field experience much better. Having immediate access to a comfortable belt is a great convenience. I constantly use my Pogey Pouch for gloves, lasers and flashlights and it saves me a lot of time, because I no longer have to drop my pack and find those items. The battle belt system works so well for me I find constantly find myself thinking, damn I need more room on this awesome belt. Of course like all ground operators know, if you give us a bigger pack we will just find more stuff to stuff it with. Ounces equal pounds and pounds equals pain so get the monkey off your back and put it on an HSGI SureGrip Belt. 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