Note: This is a crosspost from my Patreon, which can be found here.
Many of you know that, by and large, I am a man of the outside. My gear for the most part is catered towards rural and semi-rural outdoor patrols and engagements. My primary rifle has a 16" barrel with a 1-6x LPVO. Most of my setups are chest rigs or load bearing belts, with only two plate carriers vs five unarmored setups (six if you count just an assaulter's belt like my BFG CHLK). I have been told before I was part of the 2021 "recce" trend, for better or worse.
I am going to be the bearer of bad news to tell you that the small, modular "micro" rigs are still going to be useful, hell even mandatory depending on where you are at. What I do not ever really show you is the setups I have that are more "low profile" and meant for use and wear under clothes or in a more active urban environment. If you are one of the many people who sold their Spiritus, RDR, or Enamel Pie setups in favor of a VelSyst Jungle Rig or Crye Precision AVS chest rig, I hate to tell you that you may have to backtrack and pick up something more minimal.
For starters, the absolute vast majority of you live somewhere that is a mix of urban and rural. Many of you eke out your living in suburbia. In the event of some massive upheaval, invasion, or war, you will either leave if the area is too hot, or you will try as best as you can to continue life. You may even decide that there are things you may have to do that require you to be the "aggressor" (relative term, as if you feel you need to go and paint some local criminal's room red, chances are enough has been done to warrant such a response from an average joe). You are probably going to be alone or at a tremendous numbers disadvantage, so a direct assault is out of the way if you did want to take the fight to an occupying hostile force. So your moves are going to require stealth and subterfuge. Are you going to carry your ten magazine load bearing belt up with you in a hockey bag? Probably not.
Therein lies the first advantage to these small rigs: they are light and easy to store. This is a huge advantage, do not ever forget that. A micro chest rig with thin straps will maintain a small ass footprint, especially if you don't burden yourself with a radio or IFAK. If anything, even something like a Blue Force Gear ten speed bandolier will accomplish the same. For someone concerned with evading a military checkpoint, the small nature of rigs like this let it be hidden easily. Be it wearing it under a winter jacket, or gutting the upholstery and sliding it inside the seats of your car, these rigs fill that gap for someone trying to have gear but not look like they have gear. Something like the below chest rig fits in anything from a Jansport to a Dewalt toolbag. A Sig Rattler and a HSP D3CRM fit inside a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. Use that information for whatever ends you need to. (I DO NOT ADVOCATE FOR NERD RAGES AGAINST YOUR SCHOOL OR WORKPLACE, GO GET LAID) Consider that you may be in a situation where you are following or tracking someone by vehicle or on foot. Are you going to wear your RRV all day, or are you better off wearing something like the TRex Arms Ready Rig in case the vehicle stakeout turns into an impromptu raid? You might think this is stupid, but consider that any intel gathering in an urban environment probably won't be against someone oblivious and unarmed. If you, as a regular man, are conducting urban reconnaissance, chances are you are doing so because you have to.
This does not only extend to the man wanting to influence things or otherwise survive in the concrete jungle. If you are anywhere "popular" to hike in (National Parks especially), these areas while offering nice woods or remote land to move thru also attract tourists, hikers, hunters, explorers, vandals, etc. Having a setup that you can easily stow away in a hiking pack along with a rifle you can stow away can pay dividends for the man trying to move thru without any signature. I have been asked a ton "How do I go train in the woods, all the places around me have people on trails or hiking around?". Here is the answer: get a small, unobtrusive setup. Figure out what is the absolute essential and what is fluff, cut the fluff out. If you have a modular setup, consider removing things like expander wings, stowing them somewhere else in your pack to make things fit. Kydex inserts might have to be relocated or replaced in favor of elastic, flattened inserts. You may want to swap to thinner or less padded straps. For your rifle, consider splitting upper and lower (if AR) and fitting it inside a camera tripod bag, or a fishing rod holder, or just stuffing it inside your pack (with or without trashbag wrap to evade a casual glance). There are other options, and I am not going to elaborate heavily on the matter but make sure not to buy anything the market sells as "grey man" gear, everyone knows the brands and their logos or what the bags look like, do your own homework for this.
Tangentially, consider keeping those small chest rigs with your spare loaner rifle. If you ever plan on giving rifles to your close friends and loved ones in a catastrophe, chances are if they don't have their own gear already they probably have never worn or owned gear. If you have something small, light, unobtrusive on hand, its a great way to get them to wear it. Your neighbor who you just conscripted into the neighborhood watch will be reluctant to throw on your spare ALICE setup with loaded buttpack and canteens. He will be better off with a Micro Fight chest rig with two mags and a radio. It is also infinitely better than telling him "just shove mags in your pockets. I may be going against what I stated earlier, but there are moments to blend in and there are moments to project force, and you are more "threatening" with load bearing gear on and a rifle than just a rifle and magazines in your pocket. Gear implies competency (whether or not it is true), keeping last season's micro rig for a loaner is much better than telling someone "figure it out".
This is not usual form for me, hell, some of you may disagree with me. All I'm saying is this: you may find yourself in a moment where you will only want a few mags on hand with a "long gun", don't trendhop and forget what makes these small rigs useful. Have your infantry rigs, but have your CrimeGang rigs handy as well.