Spiritus systems mk4

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Using Velcro on tactical gear is hardly a new concept, but to make it a central element of the design and to use almost nothing else? Whoa, there’s an idea!

So how does a company come from nowhere, with a product that’s so different to the norm, and somehow produce something that’s now considered a benchmark of modern chest rig design?

Formed in 2013 by 82nd Airborne veterans Zane Vogel, Adam Holroyd and Adam’s wife, Nichole; Spiritus Systems has developed and put to market a number of well received products, none more so than the signature Micro Fight Chest Rig.

Despite being a relatively new company on the scene, Spiritus Systems has rapidly become a household name within the tactical gear world and for some people, an absolute obsession.

The Spiritus Micro Fight range exists not only as a mere chest rig or placard, but as a suite of components developed to work together as needed and using Velcro as its primary attachment method.

One key benefit to this method is it’s adaptability for different load carriage requirements, and the ease at which it can be reconfigured to fit almost any end user need.


Within this review I’ll cover the basic chest rig package set up, comprising the following components:

  • Mk.IV Chassis
  • 5.56 Magazine Insert
  • Micro Fight Full Flap
  • Fat Strap (H Harness)
  • Back Strap

In addition, I’ll briefly look at two other popular additional parts to the system:

  • Pistol Magazine Insert (double)
  • Micro Fight Half Flap

The last two items are not included as part of the basic chest rig package but are available separately, as is the case with all individual Micro Fight components.

Before we continue, I owe a massive thank you to my good friend Alex from GWOPGOONS for lending me his Spiritus set up, it was provided as a favour to me alongside his JPC 2.0 (reviewed here). I’ve borrowed it for literally months now and has given me time to properly test and review the kit, meaning that I didn’t need to rush the review. (Sorry for all the cat hair! 😽)


Micro Fight Chassis MkIV

The primary component of the Fight Light system is the Chassis, a central hub to which everything attaches.

The chassis is a simple enough design; Simply put, it consists of a pair of rectangular box shaped sleeves stitched to one another. The innermost sleeve sits tight against the wearers body and the outer sleeve sits on the front face of the rig. A loop field sits on the inner face of each sleeve, designed to allow the attachment of a plethora of inserts, flaps and organisers.

The front pouch is slightly smaller than the rear from top to bottom, but remains the same width as the rear pouch. Due to this difference in height, magazines placed in the front pocket can be seated higher than those in the back. Not by much, but enough to aid in drawing a magazine from the front row without being obstructed by those in the back.

Six webbing loops and their associated buckles allow the attachment of the chassis to the included “Fat Strap”harness, or even directly to a plate carrier (Many plate carriers now come with suitable attachment points for micro rigs). You even have several third party options such as harnesses such as used on Crye’s AirLite or Haley’s D3CR chest rigs.

A pair of female buckles sit on the top of the chassis, one each side for the attachment of shoulder straps or to mount to a compatible carrier. A further four male buckles sit on the corners of the chassis, positioned to keep the chassis firmly in place and providing anchor points for the shoulder and back straps.

The rear of the chassis is dominated by a large hook field, ready to be used to attach the chassis to virtually any loop fronted plate carrier. The Mk.IV’s panel is bigger than that used on the Mk.III Chassis, providing slightly more security when attaching to a plate carrier. A blanking panel is provided for the hook field to allow comfortable standalone use.

A single drainage grommet sits on the bottom of the rear sleeve compartment, with an additional pair on the bottom of the front compartment. These grommets offer adequate drainage and can be used as attachment points for a tourniquet using Spiritus’ own Universal Retention Kit.


Rifle Magazine Insert (5.56 Triple)

The 5.56 magazine insert is undoubtedly the most commonly used component (aside from the chassis itself), a simple design comprising of an elastic band that’s sewn vertically into three sections.

This band is held firm within the chassis via squares of hook field Velcro that are stitched directly to the elastic. The insert is open bottomed and lacks a stirrup bar, allowing taller items such as small personal role radios etc to fit within the very same sleeve as rifle magazines.

The retention is good and doesn’t require any additional guard against magazines falling out, they’re also relatively resistant to wear, but as they’re removable, it’s not unrealistic to consider them as a perishable/replaceable item should you ever need to in the future.


Micro Fight Full Flap

The Full Flap can be used to cover the front section, turning the front sleeve of the chassis into a single large pocket. Although it’s often discarded in favour of other options, if you’re looking to keep the rig minimal or need the entire front pocket covered, it’s actually a great addition.

A small webbing loop provides a pull tab to help the wearer open any pockets and a loop field prevents any noticeable loss of loop real estate whilst being used.


Micro Fight Fat Strap

The “Fat Strap” is how Spiritus Systems refer to their H harness system, comprising of a non-padded, low profile section of cordura which is formed into an H section (the upper/rear “arms” of the H being made from standard 1” webbing).

The Fat Strap includes a pair of female buckles to provide attachment to the top of the Chassis, it also has a few other nifty features that help the rig remain low profile whilst offering a few choice attachment points for gear and equipment… Each female buckle is tucked behind an elastic retainer, these stop the shoulder straps from tucking up under themselves (as can happen with some other rigs), a nice touch and one I’d certainly incorporate into any future bespoke harness I have made.

A pair of horizontal webbing strips flank an additional elastic retainer on the upper section of the harness’ shoulder straps, these are perfect attachment points for PTTs or small navigation devices such as the Garmin Foretrex GPS… They also make great retainers for comms cabling or hydration tubes.

On the rear of the Fat Strap is a section of loop Velcro to allow attachment of marking strobes/patches. Be careful what you place here, it could come into contact with your weapon sling and get ripped off.

The Fat Strap has enough excess webbing on its upper arms to allow for a wide range of adjustment, catering for most body types as well as those who wish to use a Micro Fight chest rig over covert body armour.


Micro Fight Back Strap

The Back Strap is a simple 1” webbing strap, both ends terminating in a male buckle. The excess webbing is held in place via a pair of triglides and each end of the webbing is heat sealed to prevent fraying. Some manufacturers will fold and stitch the ends of their webbing, but this is case in point that it’s not necessary.

So that rounds up the basic chest rig package, but before I get into the overall pros and cons of the chest rig and give you my overall summary, I’ll show you some additional bits that are commonly used to expand upon the chest rig’s capabilities.


Pistol Magazine Insert (Double)

One of the most commonly bought additions to the Micro Fight is the Pistol Magazine Insert (Double), this allows you to carry a pair of Glock (or similarly sized) pistol magazines. These are closed at the bottom, meaning that short magazines cannot fall through the bottom of the insert, it does mean that taller magazines will stand proud of the insert, but testing with regular sized Glock and Beretta magazines, I’ve not noticed any retention issues so far.

They are held in place (front and back) with a full length strip of hook Velcro, meaning that they are pretty stable from top to bottom and tend to resist lateral movement very well too.


Micro Fight Half Flap

The Half Flap is a logical pairing with the double pistol insert, the same design as a full flap, simply half the width. Using the half flap allows you to convert one half of a chassis sleeve into a pocket whilst leaving the other side free for one of a number of options such as a single rifle mag pouch or a double pistol magazine (as shown in this review).

There isn’t much more to say about the half flap other than it’s a solid choice and remains the simplest way to retain small devices such as mobile phones or rite in the rain notepads… Or something to keep the chills away on a cold lonely night.


Summary

Overall, the Spiritus Systems Micro Fight is a fantastic carriage option, managing to be incredibly customisable whilst remaining incredibly simple. There really isn’t anything novel about the way it’s made or any secret ingredient that makes it special, but it still manages to be one of the best chest rig options available despite it’s simplicity.

The quality is good overall, but for the price you’d expect that. The material and hardware are also of very good quality and shouldn’t let you down, even when abusing the chest rig. And combined with it’s no-nonsense design, this makes it a hard product to beat.

Is it worth getting? What makes this better than one of the many clones and copies on the market? Well, it’s down to QC. With a product so simple, it’s easy to go ahead and buy a Chinese clone at a third of the price and think you’re beating the system, but what you risk is buying an item that uses poor materials/hardware, has almost no quality control and lacks the tolerances that make this product work.

When it fails, and I have personally seen buckles and stitching fail on clone Spiritus and Haley rigs, you’ll be left with a £60 hole in your wallet and a shit weekend trying to carry mags in your pockets. You’ll always have copycats when you do something well, the Spiritus design is no exception, everyone from TMC to Viper have got their dirty little rat claws on the design and managed to copy it, some with acceptable results, others… Less so. Do yourself a favour and buy genuine, it’s the only way to be sure.

In use, the chest rig performs very well. Attaching it to either a Ferro Slickster or Crye JPC 2.0 provides a good amount of storage, right where you need it. The modularity of this design means that you’re as much to blame for any carriage issues as Spiritus themselves, there’s a real danger that people fall into, adding too many pouches and add ones to a micro rig, when all you really need is Ammo, Med Kit, Beer and Dope.

When configured as a standalone chest rig, it’s comfortable and light. The straps providing enough support for the rig’s modest payload, but not feeling underwhelmed when the chest rig is expanded upon with dangler pouches, expander “wing” pouches or even modular chassis carriers such as Spiritus’ own “The Thing 2”.

Negatives? Well it’s Velcro. Velcro tends to lose some of its effectiveness when very wet or dirty. This doesn’t actually present as many issues as you’d think, the Velcro elements are generally static when out in the wild, the inserts shouldn’t need re-sticking unless reconfiguring the entire rig and even removable sections such the full/half flap have a significant area to ensure you get some grip, no matter how filthy the rig is.

The only other negative is much the same as any other modular system, it’s only as good as the guy sticking it together. It will take a few goes to find a set up that works for you, but that’s also half the fun. As mentioned, you should be wary of adding unwanted bulk to this rig… It’s called a Micro Fight for a very good reason.

There’s very little you can’t do with the Micro Fight, with Spiritus’ own range of add ons being complemented by an ever-growing number of aftermarket accessories from the likes of AXL, Microbat and even through using competitor products (such as The Reptile House’s use of a Crye Airlight Harness), you should be able to find a set up that provides you with everything you need.


The big question though is, would I recommend it to a friend? Well… Yeah.

I actually ended up buying a complete Spiritus Micro Fight set up in Ranger Green from Tactical Kit during a recent re-stock, so it’s fair to say that after getting hands on with the rig, I really didn’t want to give it back!

The Spiritus Systems range is available directly from their own site for US, Canada and Mexico customers (and those serving abroad with an active APO/FPO/DPO address). For those outside North America, Tactical Kit UK are the approved retailer for Europe and depending on your location, can ship to most of the world.

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airsoft, Chest Rig, gear, gear review, gwopgoons, loadout, milsim, mindset, Multicam Black, seal team, Spiritus Systems, Tactical Kit

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New Spiritus Systems Micro Fight Chassis MK4, Multicam

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Spiritus System MK4 vs Emerson MK3 chestrig

1. Introduction

No MOLLE, but sold on its modularity? This is the system which sparked the micro chest rig revolution; spawning a febrile, comprehensive third party ecosystem, where the only limit to adaptability is the user’s imagination.

Spiritus made their reputation by making products for unoccupied niches and the Micro Fight is their flagship chest rig offering. Other companies talk about disruptive events and paradigm shifts, but it was Spiritus who came out of nowhere to totally change the narrative.

Over the last few years they’ve become massively popular, with an army of loyal fans based around their IG account, and a highly active Facebook appreciation group – The Spiritus Symptoms – started by none other than Chris from The Full 9.

Spiritus’ marketing is on point, often leveraging graphic design redolent of the 80s. As such, anyone who didn’t live through that decade may reasonably conclude that it was a very, very cool time. This nostalgia for the 80s leads me to what I think is a legitimate question for potential micro chest rig purchasers.

1.1 VHS or Betamax?

True initiates of the 80s will be familiar with the video tape format war. One of the reasons JVC’s VHS was the eventual winner is because the company would license its system to anyone who wanted it – meaning that the format was well supported by a lot of other electronics companies.

Twisting this aspect in to some sort of analogy, is the Micro Fight the VHS to everyone else’s Betamax? Spiritus has by far the most third party support. While I may not necessarily think the Micro Fight in its basic form (as featured in this article) is technically better than any other micro chest rig on the market; with its strategic modularity and broad spectrum ecosystem, the Micro Fight is way more customisable and therefore capable of more.

This represents the Micro Fight’s unique selling point: more opportunities for adaptability, and consequently the solid support it’s received from the likes of AXL, Microbat and Wild Bill – all contributing some very clever ideas.

And yet, fewer choices keep the user honest about what they need to carry; and also less likely to constantly change setups. So there are pros and cons to both outlooks.

1.2 Mk3 and Mk4 Chassis

I reviewed my Spiritus Systems Mk3 Micro Fight at the start of 2018 which, even then, was quite late in the day. Since then, Spiritus released a Mk4 version with marginal improvements (more like a Mk 3.1). I bought the Mk4 chassis recently to replace my Mk3, so thought it was time to refresh my review.

2. Micro Fight System Components

Rather than cherry picking from individual components which are sold separately, The Full Kit featured here is bought as a turnkey solution and represents Spiritus’ chest rig base configuration.

It consists of the following items:

  • 2.1 Mk4 Chassis
  • 2.2 556 Rifle Insert
  • 2.3 Full Flap
  • 2.4 Fat Strap and Back Strap

2.1 Mk4 Chassis

The Chassis is the Micro Fight system hub and the Mk4 revision differs only slightly from that of the Mk3.

When compared to the Mk3, the Mk4 exhibits:

  • A more expansive hook velcro field at the rear
  • An increased number of drainage grommets in its base*

*For use with Spiritus’ Universal Retention Kit (URK) to attach, for instance, an underslung TQ.

So, if you already own the Mk3 there’s little point in buying the Mk4 – unless you desperately want URK functionality.

On the reverse of the Chassis, the velcro field is one of the universal standards in chest rig design. Along with the top mounted integral male Fastex clips, it allows the chest rig to be attached as a placard to an appropriate PC.

Notwithstanding, in PC placard or chest rig mode, this velcro supports the attachment of Spiritus’ Expander Wings and/or a drop pouch such as the Spiritus SACK.

Here I’m using AXL’s SLAP to mount a Crye 6x6x3 GP as a drop pouch:

And here Ferro’s excellent The Mini Dangler, which complements the Micro Fight form factor perfectly.

The Chassis is divided into two, stepped, loop velcro-lined compartments.

These compartments have similar dimensions where it matters, in order to optimise the Chassis’ modularity.

That said, while the front compartment doesn’t extend quite as high as the rear, its base is higher.

This means that if a second 556 Rifle Insert is used to create space for six mags, the three mags up front will be slightly proud of the rear set. This helps, marginally, with extraction.

2.2 556 Rifle Insert

The Insert is composed almost entirely of elastic and accepts three 556 mags or other similarly sized objects. Hook velcro is attached to both sides, to secure it within the Chassis.

Readers may note that there’s no base to the insert. This is a slight drawback, because it means mag height cannot be determined by the user. It’s not a massive issue in use, but it is curious nonetheless.

Once secured within the Chassis, the insert forms mouths which remain open and receptive. It’s actually easier to reindex mags than it sounds, with a bit of care and practice. The difficulty increases when six mags are carried, however, as things are bunched up.

Of course, the user isn’t limited to 556 use and this is another massive selling point of the Micro Fight (which was unique until it was copied). It’s really easy to switch to a 417 mag insert or a sub-gun mag insert, for instance, just by swapping stuff around. These and other additional inserts are available separately.

2.3 Full Flap

Opening with a webbing tab, the Full Flap converts the Chassis’ front compartment in to a flapped GP pouch.

However, to do this the Flap must be secured by velcro into the rear Chassis compartment. velcro also allows the flap to be secured shut. Yet more velcro on the face of the Flap is colour-matched for morale patches, etc. Yes – Spiritus likes velcro.

A generous single utility pouch is a breath of fresh air. One flap, one sizeable opening to get my (massive) hand in – and velcro-in organisation that the user can buy separately if required.

Spiritus also produces a Half Flap, should the user wish to use half of the front compartment as a GP pouch and the other half to carry, say, an additional mag (they also make individual 556 mag inserts, as well as pistol mag inserts for this configuration).

Again, this is all part of the system’s modularity and is what sells the Micro Fight and powers its wider, third party ecosystem.

2.4 Fat Strap and Back Strap

With the addition of the included four female Fastex clips at the Chassis’ flanks, the Fat Strap shoulder harness and Back Strap are added for chest rig mode.

The Back Strap is nice and simple – just 1″ webbing, triglides and male Fastex clips. I’d like to see an elasticated version of this, as I’m rather used to the one which comes with my Crye AirLite Convertible Chest Rig.

An area where chest rigs so often fail, Spiritus’ strap system has been properly thought through. For a start, the Fat Strap is an H-harness (which many prefer to an X-harness).

Secondly, it has a wide range of adjustment. Often, chest rigs straps are sized to work over a slick PC. Consequently, you find that some won’t cinch down effectively for use without armour – especially if the adjustment system is captive (feeds into itself, rather than leaving ends free). Luckily, Spiritus’ adjustment mechanism is free at the ends.

Thirdly, the Fat Strap has no padding, is flat and is just over 2.25″ wide; making it low profile and very comfortable. I don’t think I’ve once had it wander towards my neck where chafing can occur, nor has it impeded my sling.

As for details, the Fat Strap exhibits horizontal mounting platforms, composed of webbing or elastic. These can be used to route comms or hydration, for example.

The Fat Strap’s Chassis attachment points are also fully featured: the female Fastex clips are protected from knocks and held captive by elastic.

Being held captive, it’s really easy to connect everything without the clip flopping about. It also means that the portion of the strap which extends behind the Fastex clip doesn’t fold back on itself by accident, when donning the rig (unlike some competitor systems).

There’s also a loop field at the rear of the Fat Strap.

3. Micro Chest Rig Form Factor Notes

In chest rig mode the Micro Fight rides high and stays put. I think part of this is to do with the Chassis itself having such a small footprint: it seems that the wider the chest rig, the less conformal it becomes and the more it bounces with exertion. That may not be science fact, but it’s what I’m inclined to pursue until proved otherwise. I’ve noticed the same with other micro chest rigs, so this isn’t limited to the Spiritus.

Similarly beneficial, the Micro Fight’s form factor is such that the user’s sides are completely free of clutter. This is particularly useful when using a sling, for example, as there’s nothing for it to get hung up on. Again, this is a feature shared with all micro chest rigs, but it’s worth noting here.

4. Conclusion

It’s been two and a half years since my last Micro Fight review and in that time the platform has changed very little, because Spiritus pretty much got everything right with Mk3; Mk4 just finesses that idea.

What has shifted, radically, is the Micro Fight’s aftermarket of add-on modifications. And it’s this, along with excellent marketing, which I believe has allowed Spiritus to pull ahead of peer systems.

It’s no secret that in its base configuration (Mk4 Chassis; 556 Rifle Insert; Full Flap; Fat Strap and Back Strap) this is not my favourite micro chest rig. However, taken in the round – with all of its OEM and third party customisation options – the Micro Fight offers an unbeatable ecosystem.


Want more Spiritus Systems reviews? You can find a whole list of them here. The list is updated as more reviews are published.


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Sours: https://thereptilehouseblog.com/2020/06/27/review-spiritus-systems-mk4-micro-fight-chest-rig/

Mk4 spiritus systems

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Spiritus Systems Micro Fight MK4 - WHY HAVE A CHEST RIG AS A CIVILIAN???

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