Monday, 25 April 2016

Review: MazoFactory MOLLE Single Grenade Pouch (HSG1)

One of the common mechanics in Melbourne Nerf groups is the utility of "grenades", an ammo type that can be thrown or launched, which are usually designed and used to combat shields. They also often have special abilities if they directly hit a player. With the creation of shields for MLF, the continuing importance of grenades in MHvZ and the increasing usage of Demolisher rockets and other thrown ammo in my own games, I decided to get some dedicated grenade pouches to allow easier and faster access to any grenades I'm carrying. Enter the MazoFactory Grenade Pouch (HSG1-R2).
Note that a variety of objects count as "grenades" in Melbourne games, depending on the group and what is available at the time. Common "grenades" are Demo rockets and Vortex Pocket Howlers, although stress balls are commonly used in MLF. Pretty much any throwable ammo is applicable to "grenade" for this review.
The Mazofactory HSG1 has been designed specifically to hold either a Demo rocket or a Vortex Pocket Howler, though could easily be used for other similar sized objects.
The pouch is a reasonably simple design, a fabric box with tightening shock cord. The shock cord allows securing of objects, particularly smaller objects that aren't secured by the fabric.

The pouch fits a Demo rocket quite tightly, even with the cord loosened. The fabric box feels *just* large enough to fit a Demo rocket without significant squishing.
This is about the furthest I'd put a Demo rocket in such that it can be easily pulled back out. The head, being the stiffest part of the body, is the main part gripped by the fabric. Even in this position barely into the pouch, the rocket is held quite firmly in place, though can pivot a little.
The pouch is much deeper though and the rocket can be pushed further in if desired. Besides making it harder to pull out the rocket, the rocket is also even better secured and will not move of its own accord
The best technique I have for pulling rockets out is to put my index finger into the hole and pinch the rocket with my thumb and third finger. For Vortex Pocket Howlers, it is easy enough to just grip the shaft and yank it straight out. The Demo rocket however is very squishy towards the back, and thus is more difficult to quickly grab and pull out.
I would argue that perhaps the pouch should be a little looser - given the squishy nature of the rear of a Demo rocket, it is much harder to grab and pull the rear of it with significant force. The grip position required also forces a grip shift before loading the rocket into a blaster, as most rocket blasters take rockets on a rocket post. Smaller objects like Vortex Pocket Howlers would still be easily secured with the shock cord.
Alternatively, a pouch that holds a Demo rocket pointing up would also make life a lot easier, as grabbing and pulling the rather rigid head is far easier. It would also make reloading a little bit faster and more natural.
It should be noted though that like with a lot of other Mazofactory products, significant use loosens the pouch somewhat. This is particularly useful for Demo rockets, which remain secure but become a little easier to yank out quickly.

The Grenade Pouch attaches to PALS/MOLLE webbing, using a single column and up to 3 rows.
The strap has a fabric hook on the bottom which prevents the strap from retracting through the PALS webbing.

The way around this is to simply bend the top of the pouch backwards, exposing more of the strap on the bottom, allowing it to be fed back through the webbing.
Once out of the first row, the strap is easy to remove.

As with other PALS/MOLLE equipment, attaching the pouch to something else first requires threading the strap through the first row of webbing.
Once through, feed the strap through the first row of webbing on the back of the pouch...
...and flatten. Naturally with 2 rows of webbing still to be used, the pouch is not very stable and will flap about, but will not detach easily.
Repeat the strap threading process to fully secure the pouch.
Nice and secure, and loaded.
The pouches will fit in adjacent columns, they're *just* narrow enough to fit together nicely.
 This is how I currently have my grenade pouches set up, both just right of centre. Being that I wanted them in a throwable/reloadable at a moment's notice, I wanted them somewhere in the front facing columns. Since I'm right handed (and so throw better with my right), and fire a slung grenade launcher with my left, having them on the right is ideal. I had to do a little pouch shifting but settled on the pouch setup pictured above, which works well and has quite good symmetry.
Grenade pouches are in my mind far less important than clip/mag pouches, as grenades are a special use ammo type and are simply thrown, or directly loaded onto a blaster to be fired, and are far easier to normally carry. Unless you're playing sock ninja or similar, you'll probably be using throwables far, far less than you'll be switching clips/mags. Given their significantly smaller size compared to clips/mags as well as being squishable, it's a lot easier to carry spare grenades than it is clips/mags without tactical gear, whether it be in a pocket, squished somewhere on your blaster or even squished in one of your hands. Tactical gear is highly preferable for clips/mags as it is highly beneficial for them to be lined up properly for ease and consistency of reloading, as well as keeping track of which ones still have ammo. Additionally clips/mags of reasonable capacity can be very difficult to carry in significant number without appropriate tactical gear.
Mazofactory grenade pouches cost $15 each, which is probably more than most people would pay for something that holds a single grenade. Unless you're going for the tactical look or use grenades a lot, I'd say you could probably get away with stuffing them in your pocket or something. I personally like these separate grenade pouches as I find the grenades like to bounce out of dump pouches when running, and especially when I'm not using clip (mag) system blasters, use the dump pouch for loose darts.

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