Finding the right rig can be hard to do. Getting one that fits right, carries what you need and comes in the color or camouflage pattern you want is a whole other adventure. There are so many options out there from plate carriers to chest rigs; black to multi-cam—the options seem endless. That’s where we come in, to show you the good stuff, like the Matrix Special Forces High Speed Chest Rig in Digital Woodland from evike.com. This chest rig really caught our eye. It is loaded with features and has enough pouches to carry your major needs on the field. Beyond its capabilities, the Special Forces Rig is also available at a great price that’s affordable for just about any level airsofter. But enough with the chat, let’s get into this rig.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Evike Matrix
VEST: Chest Rig
MOLLE COMPATIBLE: N/A
MATERIAL/ PATTERN: Nylon/ Digital Woodland
OVERALL CONSTRUCTION: Good and solid. Constructed from high durability 1000D Cordura.
CAPABILITIES: Can hold radios, M4 mags, pistol mags, frag grenades, small smoke grenades, GPS, compass, and has buckles on the rear to attach a hydration pack.
WEIGHT- Any chest rig is lightweight and this one is no exception. Even with its many layers of material and countless pouches it’s still lightweight.
MODEL NUMBER: Vest-7347
HOW MUCH: $99
Overall, the Matrix Special Forces High Speed Chest Rig in Digital Woodland is a well-constructed vest. The materials used are good quality, the zipper is heavy duty, the straps are easily adjustable and the overall value beats out the price.
Star rating (1-5) = 3.5
+ Large magazine capacity
+ Different sized pouches
+ Solid stitching
+ Space for radios
+ Split front to make it easier to get out of
+ Space for hydration tubes
+ Buckles on rear to attach a hydro pack
– Visible white material
– Needs a few pull tabs
When I first saw the Special Forces Rig I didn’t think much of it. It seemed like just another chest rig. Yes, it’s in a Woodland Marpat Camo style pattern, but that’s all that seemed to set it apart. Well, I was wrong there! There is certainly more to this rig than meets the eye. The black buckles are sturdy and have a rough texture. The black zipper in the center, for the split front, is solid and held in with double stitches. They did not skimp out on the Velcro when making this vest, either. There is plenty of it. The sizing range on this chest rig is pretty good, although it would be very loose on someone with a small build. The Marpat-like pattern is very nice. You might find a thin white strip where the fabric was folded over in stitching but it doesn’t really show when wearing it. The vest could use a pull tab on some of the mag pouches to make it a bit easier to separate when loading magazines.
Before every game I think about what I’ll need to sustain myself in the field. Just the bare essentials, right? Then before I know it my vest weighs more than I do and I can barely move! With a chest rig this isn’t a problem. You still get your full range of motion uninhibited by real or fake armor plates and extra Cordura. So in my testing the night before game day I wanted to see what this gear could hold.
I carry an M4-based replica and I threw my mags in to start with. Without even trying, I was able to fit two M4 mags in each pouch—four in total. I then added my two 1911 pistol mags into their special pouch on the outside of one of the M4 pouches. I was not able to fit any MK23 mags in but those are some of the biggest mags on the market. I was able to fit them into the other wider pouches on the front where I could also have put one 40mm grenade. I added my small Motorola radio and it dropped into the pouch and disappeared; there is enough room in there for a full-size police issue radio. In one of the large general purpose pouches on the front of the radio pouch I was able to fit a full bag of .25 golden ball BB’s (4,000 rounds). In the other, I put in a thermo barrack grenade and two smoke grenades (cold burning pull pin for field regulation) as well as a few spare LiPo batteries. In the radio pouch attached to this I was able to fit my 1911. But that’s not all! There was enough room for two Frag grenades so I pitched in two Dummy Frag grenades. You can also fit two pea grenades if you prefer. The vest now had a little weight to it but I had enough space for ammo and grenades for a long event like Pine Plains or even one killer fire fight. I had the maneuverability I needed and the padded shoulders made it pretty comfortable.
IN THE FIELD
I put this vest through the paces the next day at the field. It was an open game day so the games would only last up to an hour and a half. However, I wanted to see if I could make it through the day with this vest. And I did. I was able to fit a speed loader into the map pouch located behind all the mag pouches. There was one on each side, so on the other side I added my red rag for those “few” times I get shot. This vest was holding up great and it was easy to get to anything I needed with the exception of one M4 mag pouch, the only pouch on the vest that did not have a buckle and Velcro closure. There was no pull tab to separate the M4 pouch from the pistol so I kept opening the pistol pouch by accident instead.
Having the bungee run across the back was a great feature for making rapid and drastic movements. It allowed the vest to have some flex but kept it from doing any harm to my back. The zipper in the front made the vest very easy to get out of when needed between games, but it still held it together without issue when in the field. Having it in a Woodland Digital pattern that closely matched my Marpat was awesome. I was nearly invisible on the field. The one thing the vest did not come with was a hydration carrier. Staying hydrated is a major factor in any sport or physical activity and it is important to keep cool and hydrated. Even in those cold winter months a player should be drinking plenty of water. The vest does, however, come with two buckles on the rear shoulder straps that I would assume can accommodate an external hydration carrier.
THE LAST WORD
Overall, I am very impressed with how this rig worked. It held everything but the dump pouch. Having everything I needed on one rig was great for a day of playing in the woods. Having the Digital Woodland worked out well, making me nearly invisible to the enemy. If you’re a newer player or someone just looking for a new relatively low cost vest that has what you need to get the job done, this is it! All the buckles and Velcro anyone could need, plus a sleek camo pattern and the ability to attach things to the rear. What more would you ask for?
Matrix, www.evike.com, 626-286-0360
Words: Jimmy Beckett Photos: Walter Sidas