When it comes to rifle placards, it seems like there is at least one new placard coming out like every week – which is a good thing. A good thing because having a plethora of placards available wont hurt anyone. Anyways, we usually find three categories of placards out there. Namely the self explaining hard-sewn and elastic placards, as well as the scalable placard solutions like pioneered by Spiritus Systems.
The Arbor Arms Combat Wombat is a try to somehow combine the ruggedness and dedication of hard sewn placards, the „as-needed“ footprint of elastic placards and the flexibility of adaptive placards into one package without much compromise and adding a few new features while doing so.
Looking at the placard the first time you will see it as a three mag velcro placard with removeable velcro inserts. Nothing we havent seen before. There is some lasercut PALS webbing at the front, nothing new. But once we insert magazines we see that there is something going on. „Arbor Arms, are you kidding me?!“ was my first thaught after seeing that the magazines did sit pretty darn lose. But when I inspected the Placard further I recognized that inserting three additional mags wasnt a problem. But still everything felt lose.
The real magic of the Arbor Arms Combat Wombat is revealed when you actually use it and dont try to just review it in your basement. The whole kangaroo pouch is sewn in a bellowing fashion, allowing it to get compressed by your platecarriers cummerbund, which either interface via FS Tubes or Taktic buckles.
In the end this means that no matter if you carry 6 mags and writing equipment. or just three mags; the placard sits snug and retains everything. Its elastic without being made out of elastic fabric and adaptive without the need to change any velcro inserts.
LAYOUT & CONSTRUCTION
The placard is made out of 500D lasercut laminate at the front, this laminate is reinforced by a semi rigid sheet of plastic, making the placard compress in an even fashion. The top and bottom are sewn in a traditional way, making use of the right constrcution technique at the right spot.
On the sides youll find a lasercut interface for the various cummerbund QD attachment methods. If you dont use a QD cummerbund, but a traditional velcro one, Arbor Arms got you covered and included another interface so you can put tension on the pouch via interwaving shockcord.
The sides also feature drainage grommets, so you can attach a Tourniquet to each side. The top corners of the pouch itself feature shock cord routing channels and interfacing points for magazine kydex inserts.
The inside is lined with hook and loop velcro. First thing you can mount into it is the flat document pouch, which is about the size of a medium sized tablet device. It features a button hole for cable routing and velcro to properly mount it. You can fix it to the back or front of the placard. Of course, you can also completely ditch the document pouch.
The back of the pouch features hook velcro and two 25mm velcro webbing tabs that allow you to either add 25mm male buckles or metal g hooks. You can also adjust ride height of the placard this way, which is a nice touch that many placards lack.
The magazine inserts are made out of laminate and while feeling more rigid than other inserts, can accept kydex inserts sold by Arbor Arms. The inserts also come with shockcord pull tabs for retention. The ride height of the magazines is adjustable by a velcro one wrap lip placed in each of the three cells. Elastic dividers enable the insert to expand its size to fit up to six 308 magazines or six 223 magazines + document pouch. The Combat Wombat adapts to the mission by being expanding and contracting, not by you guessing whats needed nd changing inserts.
The drainage holes at the bottom of the Combat Wombat also dont only serve as a way for liquids and debris to exit the pouch, they are placed in a way that allows you to mount an addtional Tourniquet.
All seams are stitched with at least 6 stitches per inch and even small details like labels sewn attached by double stitching. Bartacking is applied where it is absolutely needed. Arbor Arms applied some great engineering and craftmanship here. One can find some lose threads on the inside of some pouches, other that that no issues have been found.
FUNCTIONALITY & CONCLUSION
in theory the Arbor Arms Combat Wombat is a decent and innovative product. But how does it hold up in use? Qualitywise we didnt manage to damage the Combat Wombat over months of testing, which is nothing special for an US made quality product. The combat Wombats functionality is where it really shines. Having the ability to carry more than three mags in a small package in front of your chest is a real game changer. I seldom carried all six mags, but a fourth mag is often a welcome addition, and the ability to store the magazine you usually have in your rifle on your chest is great during breaks in training.
Adding some PALS webbing instead of a „velcro puzzle“ style front was a great decision by the designers as you can add the dedicated pouches you need instead of some generic velcro cubes. I usually carried my raptor scissors, batteries and a sharpie in a BFG elastic shingle in front of my placard.
Now, there is a lot of positive aspects regarding the Combat Wombat, sadly there is one point that annoys me. If you dont run the optional Kydex inserts, the soft velcro magazine inserts of the placard tend to be a bit to stiff, resulting in the lips of a magazine sometimes getting stuck during reindexing, especially when using more than three mags. Arbor Arms could change this pretty easy by either making the insert less reinforced or actually hard sewing the insert into the placard.
Also, if you are running the shock cord rentetion I highly advise you to dont route the shockcord through the insert but through the front of the placard, as the shockcord wont get in the way of your mags this way. The shrink wrap shown on the bungees on most pictures is a mod done by me to reduce that common problem of bungee retention even more.
All in all the Arbor Arms Combat Wombat is perhaps the most versatile and innovative „triple“ placard on the market. It manages to maintain a small footprint, despite having the potential real estate of what would be threee double magpouches, three TQ holders and an admin pouch.