The important and key feature of this vest, we have to say, is the place it has fallen into in our dear hobby. Pantac, Blackhawk and the like are the sorts of companies that make the high end premium products which we can rely on to be the closest practical thing to indestructible that most of us can get. China made mass produced products are probably the lowest quality vests around yet for those prices they?re virtually disposable so no big deal there.
Players who can afford the like of Pantac may invest in one or two such vests typically, each one fulfilling a distinct critical role as the base load rig on which their hardcore loadout is built. China vests are good for the beginner or otherwise more casual player who may only squeeze in a game once every couple of months in which case any old thing will do and China vests look the part without breaking the bank. Then there are the veterans who mix a couple of premium vests and dozens of cheap vests in an attempt to flesh out their personal armories, completing their collection but only putting their real money where they feel it really needs to be.
Socom Gear?s new foray into the world of vests was subtle, it slipped under the radar for most so of course being Redwolf we have to do our due diligence in bring to you the review of this little ninja.
Made of decent quality high strength Nylon but not Cordura; good, solid composition from a mixture of heavy and dual stitching. The build quality of this vest is great and while it probably won?t handle being dragged by a BMW for very long, it will handle the normal rigors of Airsofting like a pro.
Pantac vests replicate military models which suits the milsim crowd well and China vests will either attempt to replicate real models of settle for something original which ends up not unlike a military styled MOLLE jacket rather then something more milspec. Socom Gear take a more novel approach; styled with the same flavor as milspec models but taking a more utilitarian approach. Their design is very professional looking but is also designed specifically for Airsofters.
The vest has padding; not pockets for plates, not super warm layered fabric or foam but instead a plastic wire web-mesh that performs exactly like a foam pad but is far more comfortable in terms of heat management. Straps number and are formed exactly as needed; no unnecessary real steel copying for show, no skimpy canvas straps, just good solid nylon straps and plastic clip buckles as they need to be wear the need to be.
Abundant MOLLE straps for your choice of loadout yet not right up to every nook and cranny on your torso yet not cheap skating with a tiny 6 by 6 inch patch on your abdomen either. 75% on the front, about the same on he back and side panels as well. Furthermore, the side panels act as side armor but can be removed as the buckled nylon straps underneath are the actual load bearers so panels can be removed for a light rig.
It stops BBs as good as any good brand but without the need for SAPI plates; as for turbo powered super high end springs, a premium vest with plates may be needed but with 85% of Airsoft you?ll be fine with this. It looks the part, the lack of real steal emulation gives this vest a keen PMC look, very rogue operator.
All in all, our verdict is that this vest is a good solid choice for the not totally-off-his-head-nutty hardcore Airsofter but great for most normal outdoorsy types. It stops BBs well enough to do its job, it has enough coverage and MOLLE to get the job done, it has all the right straps to do the job. It has decent enough bulk to be combat vest flavored yet is light and thin enough not to impeded your agility or comfort as much as a full blown plate carrier.
This good quality all-round performer prices in at less then half of a Pantac vest of the same build style but more then twice the cost of a disposable China vest. It may not be flashy but folks, take it from us, if you?re shopping the vests then take a good look at the Socom Gear. In the future, keep a close eye on this brand too; if this vest is anything to go by, we could be looking the future of the mainstay norm of Airsoft vests.