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Old April 30, 2011, 01:38 AM   #1
Jim March
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Location: Pittsburg, CA, USA
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The evolution of a handgun-oriented gear carrier - the "plate 'o stuff"

A couple of years ago I was in a grocery store checking my own stuff at one of those "robo-clerk" stations. You know the type: you scan your stuff, bag it, one human hired by the store monitors four of these "self serve" checkouts.

At the time I was carrying my beloved SA wheelgun plus a "belt slide" 12rd bullet holder.

Well the damn checkout thingie wasn't working. It was failing to scan some stuff. I tried a few times, asked the human what was up with that thing, and he said with a grin "just shoot it".

"No, I carry but that's not what it's for..."

"I know man, I'm just joking but we hate those things and I saw your ammo."

My jacket had ridden up over my ammo as I bent over to get into the cart.

Well this being Arizona it was no big deal, and that clerk wasn't freaked or anything, but it was still troubling.

What I needed was a way to get the ammo up higher, so that if my jacket rode up, the ammo wouldn't be seen.

At around that same time the local Tandy Leather had some scrap "Latigo", massively thick "plates" of leather. And thus was born the "Plate 'O Stuff", Mk1:

It was made out of pieces of a cheap leather "belt slide" ammo carrier that I didn't like, plus that Latigo plate, plus holders I made for some other stuff.

It worked OK but there were two problems: it was too "tall and thin" plus the ammo carriers were a bad joke - I wanted to be able to pull out six rounds at once on a speed strip but the belt loops really weren't optimized for that. What may not be obvious is that the "tall and thin" layout may work great while standing, but when you sit it leans backwards and makes an odd "poke" at your jacket...quite annoying.

So I rebuilt it on a different plate as the "Mk2":

This one had a wider, lower stance for less "flopover effect", and the ammo carriers are much better. Each is a kydex strip somewhat molded to the bullets and then sewn down to the back-plate with heavy thread. The shells go between the threads. It's hard to see but there are also small kydex "wedges" on top of each speed strip that helps hold each strip down. Access to each strip (top first of course) is very fast and effective.

I later scored a good used Swiss Army Knife that I liked a lot, and a much better, longer CR123-powered flashlight, so it was time to do the "Mk3", shown here:

This longer, lower "D-shape" runs around my right hip and strongly resists "flopover". The same ammo carrier kydex strips from the Mk2 plate are recycled but now they're stacked such that the top carrier is the block for the bottom carrier, and in this pic you can see both the small kydex "wedges" sewn to the back-plate just above the top ammo carrier. Each kydex strip (and the wedges) are made out of thick .125" grade kydex. The wedges have a "knife edge" ground into the face pointing at the speed strips, forming a "speed bump" that the carriers don't want to jump over unless pulled - but they do come out very easily.

Oh, and the flashlight in this position can actually be left on if you're walking in the dark and want both hands free.

The "D" shape is lop-sided - lower in the rear than the front. That's deliberate - it eliminated the last vestiges of "poke out in the rear when I sit" issues.

At the backside you'll see I didn't care how the stitching looked:

I also added a small, thin leather pouch to hold a couple of extra CR123 batteries plus some extra paracord stuffed in both to secure the batteries and for "whatever needs some paracord"...last week it was to help hold up my buddy's brake carriers while we dropped the tranny on his Kia and changed the clutch.

You can also see a weird trick I used on the holster to get the gun to hug my body closer.

Anyways. Here's the thing. I don't think there's any commercial value to the "plate o' stuff" concept. You can learn from my developments and take it whereever you want. It does have some neat advantages: it get spare ammo up high for the reasons stated (mags, speed strips, speed loaders, whatever) and gives a bunch of places below that to attach whatever you want. There's literally no limit to what you could do with this: grab some leather, cut it into a "D" shape like this to fit your bod, sew on attachments for whatever stuff you have. If you don't have thick leather, no sweat, sew two sheets of thinner leather together.

It could be "daily carry stuff" like I do, or specialty stuff just for range trips or specific activities.

It's...yeah, it's weird, it gets funny looks sometimes, but it works and it might work for somebody else .
Jim March
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Old April 30, 2011, 01:49 AM   #2
Join Date: August 13, 2008
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i can't speak for anyone else, but i love it. seems like a great idea, keep the inventions coming!
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Old April 30, 2011, 02:12 AM   #3
Bill DeShivs
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I think I would just get a vest, and load it up with all that stuff. That's what I did when I was working.
Jim, you definitely think outside the box!
If you had one of my DeLight 2s, you could lighten your load considerably, and probably have a more useful, brighter light.
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Old April 30, 2011, 02:40 AM   #4
Jim March
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Location: Pittsburg, CA, USA
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Bill, you're probably right. That Duracell is a little bit less money, and for sure bulkier. It runs on a pair of CR123s and puts out 160lumens per the manufacturer. Probably isn't quite that but it's more than enough for my needs.

What I like about this is that yeah, it's big, but it's also tough and can be used as a "thwacker" at both ends (kubaton, more precisely). The tail end has a recessed on/off cap and a good aluminum wacking edge around that. So, this is actually my primary "non-lethal" weapon as long as I don't conk somebody upside the head with it. This rig allows fast access to it with either hand as well as doubling as an on-position holder.

I actually don't like a lot of stuff in jacket pockets. They fall out if I take the jacket off and throw it over a chair, and if the jacket is very light as I sometimes wear purely as a weapon cover, stuff in the jacket makes it lumpy and lopsided.

And this being Arizona, I sometimes do without the jacket and still have this stuff on me.

Comedy note: I was fixing a computer over at the Pima/Tucson Women's Commission, which is as you'd expect not a place to open carry . So I have this stuff on, I'm buried in this crappy old Dell desktop, one of the gals is watching me. I need a flashlight, so I reach under my jacket and it pops out. She says "you're prepared!". I'm not thinking about it, I nod, I need some pliers, I grab that. She giggles. This dang power connector won't come off right away, I don't want to force it, so I've got the flashlight in my mouth, transfer the pliers to my left, go for the Swiss army knife in my right, pop the screwdriver open, start to go back in there, she busts out laughing and says "OK, what the hell? Where are you carrying all that crap?"

"Umm...yeah, I'm kinda into that whole "prepared" thing..."

She pulls my jacket aside, sees the plate with ammo and says "yeah, you ain't kidding!"

Fortunately by then she knew I was harmless, I can go jacketless in there if I want and no biggie.

Interesting icebreaker when dealing with that sort...I explain that the whole "Heavily Armed Christian Conservative" theme is just so overdone here in AZ, my holster and carrier are sort of a "counter-point"...
Jim March
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Old April 30, 2011, 06:53 AM   #5
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By the time you get finished loading all the stuff, you might as well be wearing a molle vest....probably be a lot more comfortable too.

But....I don't mean to take away from your idea. Very inventive but sure does not look comfortable.
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Old April 30, 2011, 11:14 AM   #6
Jim March
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Join Date: February 14, 1999
Location: Pittsburg, CA, USA
Posts: 7,413
I've tried all kinds of other ways to carry this much stuff as daily-without-fail. This is both easiest and most comfortable. Sitting or standing I don't notice it's there - nothing "digs in". I put the whole plate on at once as the belt goes on - that helps with the whole convenience thing too. And most of all I don't have to have anything across the small of my back or kidney areas, as I would if I had separate carriers for everything.

The way this holds the flashlight for both use and draw with either hand is really useful too.
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