Thread: FASTmag Carrier Review
24 March 2009 23:29 #1
FASTmag Carrier Review
The following is a review of the FASTmag carrier manufactured by Downeast Inc. The field test was conducted by a close friend who has the means to torture it far worse than I. Most of the following words are his.
Product Description – the FASTmag is constructed of a non-fragmenting polymer clamshell with rubber friction pads on the interior to increase retention. A thick rubber band, similar to the “Live Strong bands” can be added and acts as a secondary means of retention. The elastic jump strap can also be used to keep the mag in place or tucked behind the carrier when not in use. It is compatible with the MOLLE/P.A.L.S. 1” Web system and can be mounted up or down. The carrier is designed to be used with standard M4 5.56 magazines.
Field Test – This test was conducted in Ft. Benning, GA. A wonderful landscape of pine trees, swamp, deadly heat, and prema-staining red dirt. The carriers were used during a close-quarters battle training cycle. A good, solid week of day/night iteration shoot house runs for a solid 8-12 hours a day. I consider a night time shoot house run, no white light, live ammo, and ballistic breaching a good evaluation of product performance.
CQB is where the FASTmag comes into its element. It’s a fast and calculated environment where seconds in the real world can mean the difference between click and boom for you and the bag guys. That being said, the FASTmag absolutely delivers on its design premise. Much like the Redi-Mag, without adding even more to your weapon, the FASTmag is there and waiting when you need it. Unlike bungee pouches and pouches with the flap left open for quick reloads, you don't need to worry about leaving a mag trail through the house. I would never substitute regular mag pouches for all FASTmags. I think two on my rig at most would suffice. I hope and pray I'm never in a real world situation that will require me to make more than 2 mag changes without a break in the fight...that's a bad day. After all, you can always take a tactical pause and reload your FASTmag from a mag pouch.
Environmental Issues - The FASTmag is an open-topped speed reloader pouch designed to reduce mag change times by giving the user a straight shot to the magazine - no flaps or pockets to fumble with. Unfortunately, while this improves the "draw" of the magazine, it also leaves it open to pretty much any environment you are operating in, unless that environment happens to be a controlled house isolated from the elements. If you plan on running around in the jungles or desert, keep in mind your mags are going to be out there exposed to the elements. Rain, blowing dust, mud, and everything mother nature can deliver will get into your magazines. Not a problem for a quick stint outside the wire, but more so if you plan on extended outdoor activities.
Another issue comes into maneuverability. With any open-top design, just be weary of "the urban ninja" dilemma as I call it. If you are going to be chasing people, jumping walls, climbing ladders, and all things agile and hostile, there is a chance your mag will get caught on something and get ripped out. The bungee cord is nice, but don't plan it coming between whatever is ripping your mag out of the pouch and the mag skipping down the street. It’s a nice feature, but one I probably won't ever use. If I wanted a bungee pouch, I'd get a bungee pouch...accessibility, that's what this pouch is about.
Both issues aren’t necessarily specific with the FASTmag, but more general issues with open top mags and can be alleviated by putting it in a smart place.
Conclusion - The FASTmag definitely performs in an urban setting. When you need it, it's there. Once that muscle memory was down with some mag change drills, and a few day runs, night was no problem. I'd definitely have it on my kit overseas for anything urban I do, however in the woods and doing long patrols (3-5 days) I'd probably leave it with my CQB kit.
Downeast Inc. has taken input from end users to create a Gen III model. Some of the improvements include the ability to stack or "shingle" other FASTmags or pouches. Another improvement is the use of rubberized attachment straps and the prototype appears to have no jump strap either. More information on this new model can be found here.
Last edited by Uglyduck; 21 July 2009 at 13:04. Reason: input larger photos and added an additional photo-Mitch-
26 March 2009 12:10 #2
Outstanding review, very nicely written, and aside from being small, the pictures as good.
Seems like a good test was done, pros and cons all make good sense to me.
26 March 2009 14:06 #3Contributing Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2008
A very nice review!What can one man do? You never know until you try.
28 March 2009 23:42 #4
Thanks gents. I think this would make a great addition to an active shooter vest or a tac-rig, it has some downsides but everything does.-Mitch-
25 April 2009 21:28 #5
Here's a photo of the updated version courtesy of soldiersystems.net
27 April 2009 00:22 #6
very cool the idea.. funny thing is, I was just looking into options this week.. to bad it is a bit pricey though, you could buy 2 magazines for the price of the magazine holder
27 April 2009 00:46 #7
27 May 2009 18:50 #8
Another quick update ITW/Downeast
Last edited by Uglyduck; 27 July 2009 at 17:19.-Mitch-
27 July 2009 17:19 #9
Gen 3 released
ITW has released the Gen 3 FASTmag carrier. Changes include a new attachment method that uses a rubber strap instead of webbing and a snap, this new method makes it possible to "stack" the carriers on top of one another via slots of the front of each carrier. These can be seen in the photo below. The slots will also fit Malice clips but not PALS/MOLLE webbing that uses a snap, as the snap is to large to feed through the slot. There are two versions now, one with PALS tabs, and the other without for use on a belt or stacked on top of another carrier. The jump strap has also been removed and the rubber friction pads have been moved to the rear and lengthened to increase retention. Better photos to follow.
Gen 3 on the left & Gen 2 on the right-Mitch-
28 July 2009 05:07 #10Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
- Baghdad, Iraq
I've been using a Gen 2 for roughly 4 months now. I've used it during day-to-day mounted and dismounted patrols to time sensitive raids.
I was initially concerned about the increased exposure to the elements as well but it hasn't been an issue. I clean my magazines on a constant basis and I've never really seen any difference between my magazine in the Fm and the magazines in my pouches. The dust does not discriminate between the two.
I've also have never had any retention issues (removed jump strap and moved elastic band to upper-most slot). Even after climbing over walls, falling over walls (with style of course), kicking down doors, falling into shit water filled fields, and getting in a full out brawl with an HVT resulting in a butt stroke to his head, my magazine has never fallen out.
Overall I'm pleased by its performance. As UglyDuck stated in his review, I wouldn't replace every mag pouch for Fms, but I'm confident that the one I do run will continue to provide that one life-saving reload without fail.
Oh, and you can blame the SOFA for the cleanliness of my gear. I spend more time cleaning it than wearing it now-a-days.
Last edited by TheGhazManCometh; 28 July 2009 at 15:56.