A few weeks back I asked the gang from the TFB Gear chat room (chat link is here: https://discord.gg/bcVD9zw) to recommend a few minimalist chest rigs. I wanted a small, light rig for 3-4 AR or AK mags, and the Discord boys made a number of suitable recommendations. I liked the Blue Force Gear 10 Speed for less than $100, but the MOLLE wings made it less minimalist and more mediumist than what I was looking for. I favored the Zulu RSCR, but $150 seemed steep for a 3 mag minimalist setup. I looked at the Spiritus Micro Fight for $76.95 and thought I had a winner, especially because I love Tropical Multicam, which was one of the many patterns available.
But then I realized what an absolute cluster it is to try to order the Micro Fight: When you order the rig, you get an $80 empty pouch only. You still have to order the shoulder straps (Fat for $50 or Skinny for $20), plus the backstrap ($10), plus the $25 insert for 3 STANAG mags. And God help you if you don’t order the right version of the inserts for your harness, as the site warned:
*** MK3 Chassis require the updated Rifle Insert Mk3 for proper operation. All other previous generation components are cross compatible.***
I started to assemble my Micro Fight. No, there is no package option either, that’d be too easy. You have to locate all of the individual pieces yourself, so I hunted, gathered, and added it all to my cart.
Was that everything? Did I miss anything? What kind of assembly time and I looking at here for my 4-piece minimalist chest rig? Did I get the right version of pouch insert? Is everything in stock? Wait, they are sold out of Multicam Tropic Fat Straps? Do I just order all of the other stuff in Multcam Tropic in case they sell out of that too, and just wait for the straps to come in? Hold on, my total is $165?
(I am aware that (1) I may be actually insane and (2) there is a colorable argument for this fiercely a la carte system that ostensibly permits the end user to have a more modular product, but as far as I see it…)
Enter: The Spiritus “Bank Robber”
Fortunately, I found the Bank Robber. The across-the-board 5-star reviews helped me decide to try it, like this happy owner:
Everything you need to carry what you need, nothing you don’t. This is THE low profile chest rig to get. The materials are durable, the sewing is sturdy, and the retention of the pouches is great. Not much more to comment on. It’s four pouches, six buckles, and two elastic retention bands of pure genius.
A minimalist review for a minimalist rig.
Spiritus describes the Bank Robber as such:
The Bank Robber Chest Rig is a low profile minimalist chest worn load carriage system.
The Chest Rig is constructed entirely out of elastic material. This enables it to conform and retain oddly shaped items such as smoke grenades, flash bangs, magazines and tourniquets.
The Bank Robber comes standard with 4 Elastic cells and two retention bungees designed to hold tourniquets or other like items.
Due to the minimalist nature of the Bank Robber, it does not come with Velcro to mount sub loads or attach it to a plate carrier.
*Shown with optional items, not included.
Note the multiple warnings about the fact that you still have to hunt for other items [and hope they are in stock] in order to have a complete harness. I had to also locate a back strap and shoulder straps. It’s still a little too much work for my taste, but the Bank Robber looked like what I wanted. Three components I could do, but four components plus compatibility requirements plus overall cost killed the Micro Fight for me. Moreover, the name – “Bank Robber” – evoked a Michael Mann-ish, Vincent-Collateral-approved Heat vibe that pushed me over the edge. So I committed.
Nope, wait, strike that, the Spiritus web shop had the straps in black but not the black pouch, just regular Multicam. And Multicam’s cool, but I am buying a “Bank Robber” and there wasn’t any Multicam in Point Break. So I had to order from O P Tactical, which, fortunately, had all three pieces I needed in bank-bustin’ black:
Spiritus Systems Bank 132HEAT 1 47.95 Color = Black Robber Chest Rig (Shipped) Spiritus Systems Micro 132MFSS 1 19.95 Color = Black Fight Skinny Straps (Shipped) Spiritus Systems Micro 132MFBS 1 9.95 Color = Black Fight Back Strap (Shipped) Subtotal 77.85 Shipping 5.00 Tax 0.00 Total 82.85
A mere $83 for a complete rig and shipping? I don’t need to knock over a bank for that kind of scratch. But how good can a chest rig under one Benji be?
First impressions? Good. Setup was easy, construction was solid, and while the stitching was a little uneven on the pouch, it’s hardly noticeable and doesn’t interfere with the function. This was exactly what I was looking for – as low-profile as you can get without just duct-taping P-mags to your teats.
Dimensions are near-perfect for STANAG/AR-15 magazines. As you can see here, this brOver-The-Beach setup includes two Magpul P-Mags, a Troy Battlemag, and an Okay Industries USGI aluminum mag. All four inserted and removed easily and quickly, and they are really well-contained in the pouch. The shock cord is a nice touch that allows you to hold some smaller, lighter items like an empty orange-flavored sugar-free Monster can and a pair of sunglasses. Not that you would carry these objects. But you could.
Extra points for contrasting well with a jungle-themed mank.
Using the Bank Robber: Mag retention was perfect – using AR-15/STANAG mags of any flavor, they were in there nice and snug but could be removed easily.
It’s easy to slip the BR on. Adjust the straps to fit, and it’s a matter of buckling the two shoulder straps and the back strap. Three snaps, 15 seconds, and you’re ready to rock.
The rig itself is simple but sturdy. There was almost no wiggle once I properly adjusted the two shoulder straps and the back strap. I also barely noticed that I was wearing this rig, as it was so light, and it evenly balanced the weight across your chest and shoulders. Remember, though, we’re talking about four mags only, so that isn’t a ton of weight, but I was still very impressed by how I would literally forget that I had the Bank Robber on me.
More to that point – skinny straps are fine for this rig. You are throwing money away if you buy the much more expensive fat straps for the Bank Robber. This rig won’t be heavy enough where the fat straps will help, and I say this after I wore this rig for a 10 hour day of shooting.
The wells are deep on the Bank Robber, and the mags are packed close together, which makes it only marginally more difficult to grab and index a magazine, but the trade-offs are worth it. In exchange for deep pockets you get outstanding retention (and you could probably use 40rd mags comfortably as well), and by giving up some space between the mags, you can comfortably squeeze four AR mags across your bread basket. This may rule out using AK-47 magazines, but admittedly, I didn’t try it. This is an all-elastic rig anyways, so you could probably get anything to work if you believe in yourself and you put your mind to it. The sky’s the limit, kids.
I did experiment with MP5 and MPX magazines and they worked also. Not as snug as the AR15 mags, and I didn’t try to force two mags in each pouch for fear of stretching them out, but it handled the SMG mags well also.
Because these are elastic pouches, I wouldn’t plan on an administrative or tactical reload – it’s hard to re-insert mags one handed because the elastic pouches are (understandably) shut tight when empty. Just wring your mags out and chuck ’em.
Summarized, the Bank Robber was precisely what I was looking for. I wanted a fast and light minimalist rig that was well-constructed and easy to use for less than a bill. This is it.
And damn, it looks good too.
In short, the Bank Robber worked perfectly. This was the exact minimalist setup I was looking for, and it cost me less than $100 – there’s more money in a gas station till after midnight. Bear in mind that I wanted a minimalist setup for one-use mags only. If that’s not what you are looking for, then I would suggest a larger rig. For me, I couldn’t be happier with the Bank Robber. (Well, maybe if it were in Multicam Tropic.)
Verdict: I’m more amped than Lieutenant Hanna about this rig.