Over the last 10 years of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan the improvements to the standard of UK Military issue kit has been immense. The Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) process has meant that in theatre commanders can specify equipment that is then brought into service quickly and efficiently. This has meant that the MoD simply goes out and buys the best commercial boots, daysacks, gloves, torches etc that they can.
Despite this there are still areas that are not covered by issue items and it would appear that load carriage with body armour is one. The MOLLE webbing on Osprey allows soldiers to attach their pouches directly to it although they then tend to sit quite high which often interferes with the wearing of a daysack. This is why MOLLE â€˜battle beltsâ€™ which sit underneath and below the armour are becoming more popular. No doubt the MoD will catch up with supplying these soon but in the interim we hear anecdotes of Regiments using non-public funds to buy them.
Vanguard is a UK company which works closely with a number of specialist military retailers and uses operational feedback to improve their products. Their version of the battle belt is the catchily titled All Arms Modular Belt Rig (AAMBeR) which has been around for a few years. Available in Multicam and Coyote theyâ€™re good quality, robust items which also feature Vanguardâ€™s clever system to allow a yoke to be worn under armour without worrying about the buckles rubbing.
The latest evolution of this product is the AAMBeR Mk2 which features a number of significant improvements. The most obvious is changing the shape of the padding to provide more comfort over the area of the thigh and hip where your ammo pouches normally sit. Those with longer memories will remember the â€˜hippoâ€™ pads that used to go under webbing which featured exactly this design.
There are also changes to the belt which reduce sagging and make it easier to add a roll pin buckle, which is an obvious enhancement that weâ€™d strongly recommend. Vanguard have also added a smaller size which is clearly designed to cater to the increasing number of females that are being involved outside the wire.