Today we’ll be taking a detailed look at a European tactical gear manufacturer from Poland, Templars Gear and their second adaptation of an already good item. Every successful manufacturer collects info from their users and implements that knowledge in their new products, which is more than evident from the next item in our review, the PT2 Tactical Belt, provided in Pencott Greenzone pattern. Since this was my first encounter with items from Templars Gear, I will also be taking a look at some of their pouches in the same pattern. Let’s get it on.
Our team got familiar with Templars Gear products last year on 2015 IWA trade show, where old and new manufacturers get to meet and show off their capabilities. What they saw was a relatively new company producing high quality tactical gear which was worth a closer look. You can read more about Templars Gear products like their TPC plate carrier in a different review made by our team HERE.
As mentioned, this was my first encounter with Templars Gear products, so I was looking forward to seeing what the actual feel and look would be like. Right after taking the gear out of the box I immediately saw I was in for a treat. The items felt compact and the materials tough. Everywhere I looked, all stitching was done with care, so I was itching to see if the gear performed as well as it looked. Being really old school, this was also one of the first actual hands-on experiences with laser cut MOLLE and I must say I was not disappointed.
My load baring setup mostly consists of a TT MK2 chest rig and a medium-large backpack. The pistol is located in a Blackhawk SERPA leg platform holster on the right and if required, I add a drop leg dump pouch on the left. So why am I telling you this?
Well I’ve been looking for a comfortable and usable “battle belt” system for a while, but could never find something that was comfortable during prolonged activities. Everything was fine for a few hours, but soon it started to get very annoying and sort of in the way. So during the years I learned to live without it and adapted my existing gear to be as comfortable as possible around the standard riggers belt.
As soon as I put on the Templars Gear PT2 I thought “well butter my butt and call me biscuit, they did it”. The thing sat on my hips perfectly which no belt has managed before. I saw some harness loops and couldn’t wait to put it under load.
MATERIALS AND WORKMASHIP
The main build materials are 500D Cordura and 500D PU coated Cordura. Some “Kydex” stiffeners are present in the pouches as well as some anti-slip synthetic material. These materials while being tough as nails, also meet the military specifications for NIR compliance. All items in this review were supplied in Pencott Greenzone camouflage pattern which already established itself as a very adaptive pattern and is gaining in popularity fast.
When looking at classic molle webbing on tactical gear, what is the first thing you notice? The webbing. In single colour products, this is not an issue. It does however become an issue when using camouflage materials. The webbing almost always breaks the pattern, even if it’s printed over with the same pattern. This is why Templars Gear uses laser cut technology and layered PU with cordura to build their products. It’s not so much to save weight but rather to not break the camouflage. It does however weigh the same as a tactical belt that offers less attachment points. 650 grams to be exact. Take a standard British military MTP hip belt for example. It offers only two rows of molle in comparison to the Templars Gear PT2, which offers four rows of laser cut holes.
The cuts are perfectly aligned and very precise, exactly 125 mm apart. Their shape allows for easier weaving of pouches and the round ends nicely support any shock cord you might want to attach. Compatible with all different manufacturer “styles” of attaching the pouches like PALS, MOLLE, MALICE, ESP speed tabs and the like.
All stress points are reinforced with at least a double stitch. All the laminated pars are sewn together on the edges to secure the materials in place in any and all conditions. The lamination of materials could deteriorate with time. A single stitch around the edges secures the materials and ensures normal operation even if de-lamination occurs.
The shock cord provided on the pouches is thick and strong and does its job flawlessly. The tension adjustment is super-fast and can be done single-handed. Templars Gear provide enough of it already on the pouch, so the user can securely store different size items in them.
The hardware on the products comes from a mixed combo of manufacturers. The D-rings for example are made by ITW, while the plastic stoppers are unbranded. The main buckle of the reviewed belt is also a polymer ITW and AustriAlpin colab., GT COBRA. 500 lb (227 kg) of tensile strength on it, all polymer construction.
The zippers are all unbranded, but the work just like their high end counterparts. The main belt webbing is made of nylon and quite soft. The material is very robust, as it did not start fraying and puffing up when some hard rubbing and velcro were introduced.
The pouches include all the best features as well. They are precisely cut and assembled just like the rest of the gear and give the user a reliable feel right from the get go. They all feature some sorts of drainage. Either a metal grommet or a mesh, smaller objects and liquids are taken care of. We’ll go into further details in the next section.
DETAILS AND PRACTICAL USE
THE TACTICAL BELT
As mentioned all previous belts I’ve tried out were only semi-comfortable. Either to stiff, too narrow or just bending in all the wrong places. As soon as I put this one on, I felt the difference. The trick is that this is a profiled “battle belt”. It’s ergonomically shaped and thus fits perfectly on 95% of the users. If you happen to be in the remaining 5%, well just get yourself a different size. The back portion sits lower than the sides, which allows for easier kneeling and getting over obstacles.
It features all the details that a tactical belt needs. The best part? You don’t need to buy a separate inner belt. On this tactical belt, the inner belt is made from two pieces of 45 mm wide webbing, sewn into the belt itself on two ends. The stitch is secure and doubled up, sewn through multiple layers of fabric which looks sturdy and durable. So why not.
The size can be adjusted on both sides of the main buckle, simply by pulling on the free end of the webbing. Once adjusted and stuffed back in the slot the webbing came from, it will stay in place until the user wants to move it.
The tactical belt is lined with PU foam and 3D distance knitted fabric. While some venting channels would be welcome, the existing padding does its job fairly well. With unzipping the hidden opening on the bottom back, we gain access to the inside of the belt, which holds the padding and a plastic stiffener that cover the whole area of the belt. Again, these do exactly what it says on the tin, but some venting holes could be present to maximise air flow. These can be alternately made by the user themselves, but one needs to keep the primary function of the padding and stiffener panel in mind constantly. This zippered compartment can of course also be used to store maps, documents or other thin objects. Just make sure they are waterproof, as the compartment can get quite damp after prolonged use. Since this is a prototype, the actual product may already be equipped with the new insert that Templars Gear designed for their belts.
The main/outer portion is where this tactical belt really shines and shows that the team at Templars Gear really knows their business. First let’s talk about the attachment system. As mentioned, its laser cut and features eighteen columns and four rows of holes. If we translate that into webbing, it would need to have three strips stuffed together to accommodate as many holes on the same area as the laser cut system. That would add some weight and bulk. A different company tried this and I can say from experience, it rarely works.
The back panel is single a piece of fabric, consisting of 6 x 4 holes. Plenty for bigger pouches and bags. All the holes are positioned up high, so if you attach a bigger pouch, it will still mostly rest on the belt and not on your body.
The sides are divided into three multi-use cells. Each cell can be separately tailored to the user’s needs. If you just need a molle attachment panel, one cell offers two columns of four rows. Any rifle mag pouch can easily be attached.
On the bottom, a cell features a 50mm laser cut-out. This is used to gain access to the inner belt, while leaving the upper attachment points usable. Drop leg holster systems, leg platforms and pouches can all be attached to the tactical belt through this opening.
If needed, you can also bypass a cell completely and run the inner belt over it. This is used to attach belt pistol holster systems and other variations of drop leg items that don’t normally fit through the aforementioned opening.
When bypassing the whole cell, the inner belt has some up and down play in it. Not good for drawing a pistol. Luckily, Templars Gear already thought of this and added a layer of the same fabric combo just underneath the point where two cells end.
While testing out the capabilities of the system, we found out that there is almost no holster attachment system on the market that would not fit onto the tactical belt. With some imagination and the use all assets the belt has to offer, you can mount any system to the platform securely. We also “needed” to test the overall strength of the materials. Just out of curiosity. We attached a safety lanyard to just one loop of material on one end and the other to a tree branch. It held 85kg of person effortlessly. The material stretched a bit but did not fail in any way. Needles to say, we were very pleased with the results.
When fully loaded, the belt can gain some significant weight. Especially on long recon patrols. Usually, that means tightening your belt to hold everything up. Needless to say, that gets really old, really fast. On the Templars Gear tactical belt, this was not necessary, as it features four polymer D-rings for harness attachment. Templars Gear offer a great harness which allows you to carry even more, but we just used a standard British military MTP hip belt harness, since compatibility with other manufactures is superb. Quick “on-the-fly” attachment was possible without removing the belt itself.
Returning back to the load bearing story, i tried the belt in combination with the chest rig. It was exactly as i thought. The combination still allowed complete movement. It was so comfortable, i even tried adding a waist pack.
And it’s not the smallest waist pack either. This one felt a bit crowded, but it could work in some situations. Aside from this the combination of the belt with any other vest is perfect. When adjusted and carried properly, it’s never in the way, but always at hand.
All pouches that came with the belt, share its overall high quality. While there is only so many actually useful pouches on the market, a manufacturers best bet is not to deviate from certain features and create odd new ones, but rather to improve on the existing ones. The pouches in the kit were:
- Stacked rifle/pistol fast mag pouch
- Single rifle fast mag pouch
- Single pistol fast mag pouch
- AZ1 tear-away first aid pouch
- Dump bag long
- Small utility pouch with organiser
All pouches use a “fold back” closing system on their attachment straps similar to Spar-Tac and Mayflower. This is a good system as the end tabs are reinforced with plastic and can be used for easier weaving with leaving the rest of the strap soft and manageable. Once done weaving, you just fold the tab back into the slot on the pouch. These tabs are great, as the stitch is located a bit away from the end. This creates a pull tab for the fold and it will catch on the next slot if you somehow manage to forget to fold it in after attaching. There is no way the pouch can fall of on its own.
STACKED AND SINGLE RIFLE/PISTOL FAST MAG POUCH
The Fast mag pouches are built traditionally. A piece of Kydex for the shape and the surrounding material held together with a shock cord. On the inside, these pouches are lined with a non-slip material which helps to further secure the magazine in all conditions. They can fit a wide array of items besides magazines, therefore they can fit all magazines too. AR to AK, even M14 and G36 magazines are no problem. The mags can be drawn as quickly as they can be put right back.The 10rd AR mags sink a bit low and can’t be quickly drawn without some sorts of mag pull. In this case just insert a foam spacer on the bottom and set the height as you desire.
On the outside, the rifle and pistol single pouches feature more laser cut holes for further pouch layering. Two columns of four rows for the rifle mag pouch and a single column with four rows for the pistol mag pouch. The width they offer on the outside is the same as the width they need to be properly mounted.
The stacked rifle and pistol fast mag pouch construction is the same and is assembled together permanently. The two compartments are sewn together and offer a single column of four rows of holes on the outside.
Retention force can be adjusted with the use of a plastic stopper on the bottom of the pouches. We suggest you find a medium to hard tension for the item that will mostly occupy the pouch, make a knot on the shock cord and trim it down. No need to have 15 cm of cord dangling from under the pouches.
AZ1 TEAR-AWAY FIRST AID POUCH
The AZ1 tear-away first aid pouch is and enhanced version of the standard IFAK pouch. On the inside, it features the same layout as a standard first aid pouch with two mesh compartments, two big and four elastic loops an a shock cord utility holder. Its zipper runs 3/4 around so the pouch can be fully opened either when removed or while still attached to the users gear.
On the outside, it features a single zippered pocket for “quick fix” items like alcohol preps, band aids and medicine tablets. This pocket also sports two layers of “loop” part of Velcro material, sewn in a way that creates a two colour cross, which can also hold other medical patches like blood groups, etc.
On the bottom of the pouch, we can find yet another shock cord utility holder. This is the perfect place for your “immediate access” items. Usually that would be a tourniquet, but it might as well be anything else.
On the back of the pouch, there are two wide strips of “hook” part of Velcro sewn from side to side and a nylon pull loop is attached on top. With these “hook” strips, the pouch connects to the “loop” panel which is mounted to the users gear.
While the panel is four columns of molle wide, it’s connected to other gear with just two straps. This might seem weird at first, but when you properly fill your first aid pouch and attach it completely, the sides of the panel take the shape of the pouch, moving away from the gear it’s attached to. This frees up a single column of molle on each side and thinner pouches can be attached. It also makes the Velcro connection even stronger.
The dump pouch also shows some clever design features. Its roll-up capability allows the pouch to be neatly packed away when not needed. By pulling on the cover flap closed with Velcro, the bag unrolls and takes its shape quickly. The cover can then be folded and pressed together to protect the Velcro from dirt. It can also be used to close the bag shut, when it’s unfolded
The main opening is lined with a thin polyester material, closed together with a shock cord, just like your standard dump pouch. The size of the opening can be fully adjusted by the means of a plastic cord stopper hidden between the dump bag and the mounting panel. Two straps attach the dump bag to other gear.
The bottom portion of the bag is made from a mesh material. This allows the dirt, sand and fine material to fall out and not pile up inside. This s a great feature as sometimes my dump pouch feels like throwing a mag in a sandbox.
The utility pouch is a small versatile piece of gear. It’s front side is lightly padded and lined with a thin strip of plastic. This protects more delicate items like navigational devices, environment measurement tools, cell phones, etc.
It unzips 1/2 of the way on top with a two-way zipper. On the inside, there are two smaller compartments, one of which is closed with a red zipper and the big main compartment. The inside is lined with a hi-viz coloured polyester material. We’re not sure why, but our best guess would be that the user can immediately spot of they left the pouch open.
Although the pouch is connected to other gear with two straps, it’s four columns wide. While not bending like the first aid platform, one can still find many uses for the free column of molle on each side of the pouch. Knives, pens, chem sticks, you decide.
To sum up, i personally have only high praise for this company and its products. The belt turned out to be extremely comfortable to wear even when fully loaded without and with a harness. The pouch designs are filed down to the smallest detail, serving the user with their full potential. It really shows how mush thought goes into their product designs. Highly compatible with other manufacturers, all items can be mixed and matched without a problem.
Thanks to Templars Gear, i have found new interest in laser cut products, as they clearly demonstrated that the words “excellent quality” and “reasonable price” can be used to describe the same product. All the gear is up to modern standards and specifications and is more than appropriate for recreational as well as professional use.
If you are interested in acquiring Templars Gear products, be sure to check their website for a dealer near you. The PT2 is available in sizes Small, Medium and Large and several single colour as well as camouflage patterns like Multicam, M81 Woodland and of course Pencott Greenzone. Be sure to check what patterns and colours are available at your shop. Also be sure to go “Like” their page on facebook to stay up to date with all their latest news.
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