In this review we will have a look at one of my favourite load bearing solutions, the Mayflower Pusher chestrig, also called the UW Gen 6 chestrig. Despite platecarriers being out there, chestrigs still got their place, especially in applications where you need to carry bigger amounts of gear or where you simply need a free back for air circulation, when you carry a ruck or when body armor isn’t an advantage. Mayflower RC is a veteran owned business that is known for their no bullshit approach in designing and manufacturing tactical gear. They produce lightweight, yet useful tactical nylon gear, cutting away every inch of unnecessary weight and bulk while retaining a mission specific, functional setup.
I already owned a UW Gen 4 chestrig almost 10 years ago, back then it was made of 500DEN Cordura, an approach that was kind of a revolution in cutting weight. The harness itself was made of a soft 300DEN Cordura, which is more comparable to garment fabric in weight and feel. It was simple, rugged but light-years ahead of its time. UW Chestrigs have since then became something like a gold standard in load bearing rigs and they are seen in use by many special units around the globe.
The basic setup of all of Mayflowers UW Chestrigs is focused on a solid combat loadout made up by four magpouches, two large GP/radio pouches, two medium sized and two small utility (tool) pouches, all rounded up by some 9mm mag pouches and some cable management loops.
So as you can see, this really comes close to what I call a realistic combat loadout.
As time progressed many manufacturers started to copy Mayflowers approach. In the meantime, Mayflower RC wasn’t sleeping and released two new incarnations of the UW Chestrig. There is a Gen 5 splitfront variant and a Gen 6 “Pusher” variant.
The Pusher Chestrig.
While both had a smiliar basic setup the “Pusher” version focused more on the use of lightweight materials and retains a solid front. The chestrigs body is entirely made of 500DEN Cordura.
The main feature of the Mayflower RC Pusher Chestrig is a modular magpouch system, which means you can use inserts for multiple calibers and magazines. This is achieved by two velcro lined kangaroo pockets that will each fit one double magazine insert. Just like you know it from platecarriers. The Pusher Chestrig comes with the following inserts:
- 2x Double AR15 Insert, Bungee Retention
- 2x Double 7.62×39 Insert, Bungee Retention
- 2x .308 Insert, Bungee Retention
- 1x Zippered GP Insert
This makes the Mayflower RC Pusher Chestrig a completely modular system that can quickly change between multiple combat loads. On the center pointed sides of the kangaroo pouches, Mayflower did add some elastic PALS webbing for small tool pouches or for adding a Tourniquet by simply shock cording it to the rig.
Behind the kangaroo pouch you find a hidden document Velcro pouch which runs through the complete chestrig. The opening is wide enough to accept one of the inserts, especially the zippered insert, so you can either expand your combat load or create an easy acess admin pouch. The opening is also wide enough for a SAPI plate, we will talk about the reason for this later on in this review.
The front of the Pusher chestrig consists of multiple GP pouches. Since the UW Gen 4, Mayflower decided to streamline the system even more by replacing the pistol pouches with PALS webbing and using only one small GP Pouch (“Tool pouch”).
On the outer left and right side you will find two large GP Pouches. The left one features a Velcro flap which can be tucked away. It can be used either as a GP Pouch or a med pouch. On the front and on the sides of the pouch Mayflower decided to go with PALS webbing to let you attach grenade, pistol mag or similar sized pouches. Supplied with the chestrig comes a medical insert for the GP pouch, made of packcloth. The insert features a pull handle and a square piece of Velcro. It can be ripped out of the pouch one handed and fits a standard IFAK.
The right pouch features no flap retention, but a bungee tab. The bungee is attached by a big hook Velcro field and makes this pouch ideal for large radios, Nalgene bottles, even double magazines. I would have liked an additional flap on this pouch too, but the enduser that Mayflower designed this chestrig for obviously didn’t. Instead you find some elastic loops in front of this pouch, for holding chemlights, flexcuffs and the like.
Left from the center you find two medium sized GP pouches , they fit plenty of things, like frag grenades, smokes, GPS, compasses, Kestrels and similar sized items. They are the simplistic “multi mission pouches” Mayflower is well known for that magically forfills almost every role without getting bulky. They are closed with simple Velcro. The one located besides the center also got a loop field on the front for ID patches etc.
Center right of Mayflowers Pusher Chestrig you find a tool/ flashlight/ pistol magazine pouch. Its also a simple Velcro solution and fits all but the larger multitools like the Leatherman OHT.
Right of the aforementioned pouch jou find a flapped admin pouch that fits an A6 notebook and writing equipment. It can also fit range cards and similar sized equipment. It may also bee used for your occasional can of dip, lighter and phone.
On the back of the Pusher chestrig you see a large square of hook velcro, protected by a cover. This piece of velcro, combined with the male 25mm buckles, left and right of it, make the design SwiftClip compatible, which means you can clip it to any platecarrier with female QD buckles located on the upper chest. This makes the Pusher able to be used as a quick combat loadout for any slick or minimalist carrier. For short periods this will work as a standalone solution, but if you plan to mount this chestrig for a prolongued time span, you should get a SwiftClip or Chest Rig Adapter Kit by Velocity Systems to stabilize your load.
It’s a nice option to attach this system to a vest or carrier, but the main intent of the Pusher Chestrig is to wear it “rhodesian style” , meaning you will use the supplied shoulder harness. The shoulder harness is made of Blue Force gears proprietary UltraComp fabric. It is best described as a Hypalon like material.
The harness is made in “H-Style” which has proven to me being the most comfortable way of carrying a chest rig, because it negates the danger of the Harness slipping over your shoulders. The load gets well distributed all over your shoulder belt and your neck because of the broad and thin material, this eliminates the need for padding which may conflict with bakcpacks. On each shoulder strap, you find two elastic loops for routing comms and hydration.
Its also important that the slim harness doesn’t restrict your shooting stance and always enables you to build a propper rifle pocket.
To expand the load bearing capacities of the Pusher Chestrig Mayflower released the “Pusher backpanel”. The Pusher backpanel works as a load bearing backpanel and also as a makeshift armor carrier. Its worth to note that the backpanel is sold separately and is not included when your purchase a Pusher chestrig.
When you first look at it you see what seems like a random load of pouches. So lets start by explaining them.
On the top of the Pusher backpanel you find a zippered pouch for an hydration bladder, the bladder is retained by a piece of one wrap. Its also noteworthy that this pouch isn’t restricted to a hydration bladder, you can also throw your MRE, water bottle or rain gear inside of it.
Just under the bladder pocket you find a kangaroo pocket, this is made to secure breaching tools.
Left and right of the hydration pouch Mayflower adeed a single column of PALS webbing, great to attach TQs or small MOLLE pouches.
An IFAK pouch is located on the lower left of the Pusher backpanel, it has a envelope and one wrap to secure trauma scissors and another set of loops to attach a tourniquet to the outside. On the inside its your typical IFAK pouch with elastic loops.
On the right side you’ll find a long pouch made of LiteLok material. It is a sewn on version of Mayflowers Master Breacher pouch. You can use it for breaching charges, it opens quietly with a 20mm fastex buckle and a magnetic (!) closure system. With the panel comes a padded pouch that opens with a zipper, it is intended as a NVG pouch, so when you don’t caryy charges you can stuff it inside the charge pouch and you get an easy access NVG storage.
Also supplied with the Pusher backpanel comes a helmet spider with a cutout for your NVG. It is simply attached by ITW G-Hooks and enables you to, well, carry your lid on person.
Located on the bottom of the panel is a Velcro opening where you can insert your ballistic backplate, more on this later. On this opening you can also attach two other supplied pieces of kit by simply Velcro sandwiching them separately or together into the opening. First of there is a horizontal double mag pouch, which is easily accessible, even from the prone position, it expands the number of possible magazines to six.
For those situations where you quickly need to access a poncho or puffy jacket, Mayflower included a stash jacket pocket. This is a great feature, especially for combat patrolling and other semi prolonged operations where you don’t carry a jacket with you.
Last but not least let’s talk about the possibility to quickly up-armor the chestrig. As we said before the front document pouch is wide enough to accept a ballistic plate. Mayflower didn’t do this without purpose, as there is a front plate sleeve that is made of tweave to accept a wide variety of plates. After slipping the plate into the sleeve you simply slide both inside the document pouch and secure them with Velcro. So the plate is kept in place by the shoulder harness and friction. It widely resembles the well known eagle RRV bib, just without the keepers. Oh, I forgot that you will also have full field of Velcro PALS on your chest, if you want a proper admin pouch or similar items.
The back plate can simply be slided into the back panels plate pocket to give you a makeshift assaulters hard plate carrier. So its possible to go on recce with a light Rhodesian rig and keeping the backpanel and plates inside your ruck while being able to kit yourself up into a full assault setup.
The Mayflower Pusher chestrig is a great system on its own, at the moment I consider it as the most versatile chestrig solution for military applications on the market. You get a multi caliber load bearing platform that also works as a placard for your platecarrier or armor vest. This is especially important when you talk about loadout continuity.
Combined with the Pusher Backpanel you get a load bearing solution that takes the humble Eagle RRV to the 21st century. The pusher chestrig is entirely modular without the use of unneeded PALS webbing and streamlined to the level of pure functionality.
If there is anything i´d like to change, it would be adding a flap to the right GP pouch of the chestrig to make it even more versatile. The System is very comfortable, of course you wont experience the same comfort that a padded plate carrier would offer you, when you wear it completely up armored, but as I said before the armor capability is a gap solution.
You can get the Pusher Chestrig, front plate sleeve and back panel directly at Velocity Systems.