Edit Content


When I make a product recommendation, the quality of that product is my first consideration. I will never recommend a product to you based solely on my financial interest in making the recommendation.


But, when possible, I will use affiliate links when sharing quality products in order to monetize the website. If a manufacturer I recommend does not offer affiliate marketing, I always link directly to their website. When you use these affiliate links, I receive a small commission on the sale. These links do not increase your cost on any item.


Currently, Newgrange Precision and its publications use the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, audible.com, and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.

If you’re going to carry a rifle, you should first ask yourself “what am I trying to do here?”

Second line gear should supplement the survival items you’ve mounted on your belt, but be tailored to the specific goals and purpose of your outing. As always, the items recommended below are all high quality options for mission fulfillment gear and no recommendation will be made on the basis of my own financial interests.

Chest Rigs

For those who want to expand their carrying capacity or do some patrolling but don’t expect to find themselves on a two way range or want to keep their mobility high, a chest rig may be the solution. A chest rig on the second line can more than double ammunition capacity and put a general purpose pouch close at hand without the added weight of plates. In the last several years, with the tactical gear market exploding, shooting enthusiasts have more good options available to them than ever before in practically infinite configurations.

The Spiritus Systems Micro Fight chest rig is a standout in the chest rig market. It is a modular product like most of Spiritus Systems’ offerings, meaning that it can be purchased as a chest rig or as a front placard for a plate carrier. That also means that the price you see when looking at the chassis is just the barebones placard. You will still need elastic magazine inserts, a half or full flap for the front pocket, shoulder straps, and a back strap. While the Mk4 chassis is currently $75.95, a full setup will run you closer to $185-$200 or more depending on your configuration.

For those looking for a lower profile option, the newer Mk V chassis loses the integral front pocket and adds a MOLLE panel for mounting their general purpose CCS Pouch or other MOLLE compatible pouches. This gives the wearer the option for staying low profile or adding storage.

Spiritus Systems Micro Mk 4
Spiritus Systems Micro Mk 5

The Hayley Strategic Partners D3CRM Micro offers a complete solution rather than taking a modular approach. The $175 rig requires only the addition of a magazine retention insert. Both their 5.56 insert and their SMG insert run approximately $30. Spiritus Systems full width inserts are $24.95 and do fit in the D3CRM, so if you happen to be placing an order with both Spiritus and HSP, you can save a few dollars on the magazine insert by mixing and matching.

Mayflower has several good offerings. They don’t come with the hype of the above mentioned products, but they are quality, battle-tested products nonetheless.

Outside a fighting context, there are good chest rig setups for a variety of outdoor pursuits. I might discuss or review gear like the Stone Glacier Skyline bino harness, or the Kifaru Steelhead fishing pack and so on at a future date. These rigs are perfect for preseason game scouting, or recreational hikes in the woods, but they are out of scope for a tactical gear guide.

Plate Carriers

The plate carrier is the bread and butter of second line gear. If you need protection from a variety of threats and room to carry the tools to engage them, a plate carrier offers more versatility than a simple chest rig.

There are so many good options for plate carriers these days that it can make choosing one a pain. This is especially true for civilians who might never have worn one and almost certainly haven’t been sized for one. A few things to keep in mind while looking through the scant information available on sizing:

  • Plate carriers are sized to plates (medium fits medium, large fits large, etc), and plates are sized to your body.

  • Start with a nipple-to-nipple measurement and a measurement from the suprasternal notch (above the sternum and between the clavicles) to a few inches above the navel. Hesco recommends 4.5″ above the top of the service belt, so that the plate does not ride up when seated. Find the plate that fits closest.

  • You’re not going to get perfect threat protection. I know when I was first looking, I found my nipple-to-nipple measurements put me on the border between medium and large. I could have sized up to be certain my vitals were covered, but sizing up leads to the following consideration.

  • You don’t want to throw away your mobility by going too large. Plates are heavy, and although a larger plate will protect a greater surface area, you’re going to need to move around in these things for an extended period of time. Additionally, you need enough remaining space on your shoulder pocket to actually mount and fire your weapon.

  • The vast majority of males will be well served with a size medium.

The Shaw Concepts ARC, the Velocity Systems Scarab, the Spiritus Systems LV-119, and Crye Precision’s Adaptive Vest System and Jumpable Plate Carrier all make good starting points when looking for a good feature set.

Day Packs

Adding a small pack to the second line gives you the ability to carry food, water, extra clothing, additional ammo, and any tools that otherwise can’t be mounted on a belt or carrier. If your plate carrier supports it, you may be able to get a small, zip-on pack for the back plate. These panels are not standardized, and you will generally be limited to panels made by the same manufacturer as your carrier.

Alternatively, you can use an actual backpack, sized appropriately for 24-48 hours of gear depending on your needs. Many of these double as great range bags. The Mystery Ranch 2 Day Assault Pack, the Mayflower 24 Hour and 48 Hour Assault Pack, Kifaru’s entire day pack lineup: all of these are well suited options.

At the very minimum, Camelbak’s hydration packs will keep you from getting thirsty and in many cases can be mounted to a rear plate MOLLE panel.

Beyond the Second Line

The second line can help you move beyond mere survival or self defense and into a position of tactical advantage. But when you need to sustain yourself more than one or two days, you need to incorporate a third line.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top