This last month away from writing articles has kept me doing anything but relaxing, filled with long days and a filming schedule busy enough to slow a crack addict down. As most of our filming projects involved newly acquired gear, I have logged several hours of research and learning time. This schedule has kept me away from the training environment unfortunately, yet one piece of gear that came across the desk to film was from a company I've been familiar with for some time, Gear4Grunts. That piece of gear is called the RAMP.
RAMP stands for Rapid Access Magazine Pod, and you'll know why soon. The RAMP is constructed of military grade polymer that provides a strong yet lightweight system for carrying your AR or AK style magazines. It's simple construction and one piece design help reassure users of it's reliability as, well, more moving parts can easily mean more broken parts. Gear4Grunts designed the RAMP to be mounted directly to an MOLLE vest or surface, and stay in place during high stress, hard use scenarios. My RAMPs have found a home on my primary plate carrier as of nearly one year ago, and I have had zero issues, complaints, or experience of them accidentally getting pulled off of my rig.
Perhaps the most notable difference between the Rapid Access Magazine Pod and all other mag pouches on the market is that the RAMP holds the magazine in an inverted position. Upside-down was my first reaction when seeing it online for the first time. After reading through descriptions and watching video demos on the Gear4Grunts website, I learned that the inverted design of the RAMP is to allow more efficient reload mechanics by the user. That word, efficiency, is one that rings loudly in my brain when examining not only training tactics but also gear. To quote Rob Pincus of I.C.E. Training, "efficiency is achieving your goal with as little time, effort, and energy as possible". We all train and strive to trim the fat of our methods and movements, but the folks at Gear4Grunts have successfully designed a tool to further assist efficiency in combat.
Mounting a magazine in what is traditionally seen as an "inverted" position places your spare mags in the identical fashion as the mag well of your rifle. This allows for seamless transferring from the RAMP to your primary weapon system, and eliminates any extraneous twisting or rotating of the arm. The RAMP makes the inverted magazine placement possible by offering an incredible retention system, which essentially grabs the magazine the way the weapon's magwell would - utilizing a small tab inside the RAMP to "lock in" to the small notch on every magazine. This retention design is much faster and less cumbersome than traditional bungee or even Velcro covers that need to be located and addressed. That being said, the event of losing a magazine accidentally while using the RAMP is virtually none. Although it is "only" a small plastic tab locking the mag into the RAMP and can be defeated with a firm tug, it takes a firm amount of force, in the right direction, to release the magazine without being so tight that operators struggle for removal. I have run, crawled, jumped, dove, and rolled my way across training areas in a wide variety of inclement weather conditions and always found my spare magazines seated firmly in place inside the RAMP.
Talking about weather conditions brings me to my next selling point of the Rapid Access Magazine Pod. If there is one thing you don't want to deal with, be it in an operation/engagement or training class, it is weapon malfunctions induced by debris in your magazine. One thing that no other mag pouch on the market (to my knowledge) offers is protection from this debris. Being that the RAMP covers the top 1/3 of the magazine, it eliminates the risk of getting mud, sand, snow, etc. inside the magazine. Try carrying your spare mags in the traditional (bullets-down) manner inside any Velcro pouch you can find, and crawling through a pit of mud or getting wet in the rain before laying on soft, sandy ground. Many of you may have experienced these issues before, and if so, you are probably nodding your head as you remember trying to mitigate the problem in a timely way. The best solution to running traditional mag pouches in poor conditions, as far as keeping the mags clean and clear, would be something like the "dust covers" sold with Magpul PMags, that snap into place over the feed lips of your mag. This issue with this is fairly obvious, however, that should you need to reload your primary weapon quickly or under high amounts of stress, time and dexterity are not on your side. The Gear4Grunts RAMP offers this protection from the elements without any additional or cumbersome pieces involved. Top score!
Doug Mullen, the owner of Gear4Grunts and designer of the RAMP, is a former U.S. Army Ranger and his experience with different gear (sometimes less than ideal, I'm sure) in operational settings has helped fuel his passion for creating the RAMP. Through talking with Doug, several additional advantages of the RAMP were brought to my attention. One of those advantages he mentioned is what has become known as the "Buddy RAMP" system; which is simply mounting an extra magazine, or two, on the back of your vest using the RAMP. This allows your partner behind you to draw fresh ammo quickly and easily without tapping into their supply possibly. Think about the small amount of real estate one magazine takes up on the back of your rig, and the benefits of each man in a team carrying an additional 30 rounds for another team member; seems like a potential game-changer especially in close quarters. The reason the Buddy RAMP works so well is 100% due to the RAMPs characteristics I mentioned earlier. When you and your teammate are possibly both in motion, possibly even under fire or threat of some type, simple is better, and therefore the RAMP shines over a traditional Velcro/bungee mag pouch applied as a "Buddy" system.
To wrap everything up, the Rapid Access Magazine Pod took me by surprise and has not failed me in any way. It did take some a bit of time to get used to drawing the magazine straight down out of the RAMP, but I quickly became accustomed to it and actually prefer it now. To further the RAMP's appeal, my time spent in conversation with Doug Mullen has been some of the best customer service I've seen anywhere and a friendship has grown as he truly cares about his product as well as getting high quality, efficient and versatile gear into user's hands. I highly suggest contacting Gear4Grunts and trying the RAMP on your kit, you won't look back!
And for Law Enforcement readers out there, Gear4Grunts just released their RAMP DBA (Duty Belt Adapter) so that this incredible mag carrier can be run on a duty/riggers belt. We have one in testing right now and a video coming soon so keep your eyes open!
...we never quit!