**📝MOLLE, PALS AND OTHER LOAD BEARING SYSTEMS | BASICS

ÍNDICE

Escrito por: EL ESPECIALISTA

Analyst, Researcher and Advisor focused on professional tactical, police and military equipment. Worker from Defense and Security Sector with the Geography and History degree started, and waiting to be finished. Military/Security equipment Collector, Buyer and Seller Collector, Buyer and Seller Passionate about Militaria, Military History, Geopolitics and Armed Conflicts as an object of study.
BASICS-Molle-pals-alice-other-load-bearing-systems-militariageneral-in-english
4 Jul, 2021

🧾 INTRODUCTION

In this post we will to speak about everything that has to do with the MOLLE System and PALS panels, so if you are interested in the next points, I recommend you that take a loook at our words.

  • What are PALS Panel and MOLLE System.
  • Differences between MOLLE System and PALS Panel.
  • How to braid MOLLE correctly.
  • PALS and MOLLE History
  • Other light load bearing systems 
  • Buying MOLLE Pouches recomendations 
  • MOLLE System and PALS Pannels types
  • And much more…

Keep in mind, this post is wroten in the way everybody can understand it, so we will speak about basic things that arent so basic for many people. If you are an experienced man with all this kind of stuff, be patient and read only the info you are interested in. The table of contents will help you very much in this task.

❓ ABOUT PALS AND MOLLE

MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PALS AND MOLLE

Before start with this post main plot, I think is very important to distinguish both concepts, since they are usually used as synonyms and are often exchanged between them when the reality is that they are two different things.
So let’s start by making it clear that both are systems for transporting cargo in a modular and personalized way through pouches.

While the PALS Panel is the base we can see in a good part of the current military / police equipment, the MOLLE is another compatible system with said PALS panel.

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*Pouch: Little bag to store things, like magazines, Canteens, bullets… that you can connect with normal belts or PALS panel vests, for example. Not all pouches are MOLLE one.

The PALS Panel with the MOLLE System combination (or other systems compatible with PALS) replaces the old vests with sewn pockets that forced the user to carry a fixed, invariable load capacity. Limiting it both if you needed to carry fewer tools, as it would carry empty pockets, or if you needed to carry more load capacity.

And it is in this matter where the PALS panel stands out over the fixed transport bases, since it allows the user to customize them to transport the necessary load in the most comfortable and practical way possible.

The MOLLE System is the most widespread, well-known and famous modular charging system of all, and it is the one that best boxed with the PALS Panel. That is why they are usually closely linked most of the time, and why they are often confused with one another, but we must remember that they are actually 2 different systems (although compatible with each other). However, there are other systems that are also compatible with the PALS Panel, which we will see later in this publication.

PALS EXAMPLE

In this image you can appreciate perfectly all the PALS grid, which is the base to add MOLLE pouches later.
IMAGE: 🗄️ 6B45 (6Б45) VEST | REFERENCE.

MOLLE EXAMPLE

Russian Ratnik Program Buttpack pouch back. Here you can see the MOLLE System.
IMAGE: 🗄️ 6SH11X RATNIK PROGRAM LOAD BEARING VESTS (6SH112, 6SH116 Y 6SH116) (6Ш112, 6Ш116 Y 6Ш117) | REFERENCE 

INTRODUCTORY CONCEPT “THE POUCH”

“POUCH” DEFINITION

Pouch: Is a small bag where you can carry specific or generic things. For example, Magazine pouches are for magazines… but if  is an double magazine pouch without spacer, probably you can carry a little water bottle.

One important thing is, pouches doesnt need to be MOLLE because yes… in fact, there are pouches used in other load bearing systems as ALICE, Velcro ones etc…

Its why if we are going to base on our load bearing platforms in PALS Panel, we have to assure ourselves that all pouches we are going to use are compatibles. In my opinion, MOLLE ones are the most compatible and adaptable ones.

IMAGE: Back part from a magazine pouch in ALICE System (Vietnam dated)
SOURCE: Varusteleka

The purpose of these pouches is to be able to adapt the equipment to the needs that are going to be had while it is used, that is, to customize the equipment for each activity … in such a way that we can carry everything we need without missing or about anything, at the same time that we do not carry extra things.

Thinking about it from a civil perspective, it would be like compartments of a backpack but instead of coming sewn together, they can be attached in the desired way, putting some bigger or smaller, longer or shorter … all depending on the capacity load that we need.

PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System)

PALS DEFINITION

PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) is, as its name suggests, a ladder pouch attachment system.
It is called “ladder” precisely because of the shape it has, as can be seen in the following image. Due to this morphology, it allows coupling pouches along the entire panel.

PALS WEBBING TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

The classic PALS Panel is composed of a network of horizontal cells created by a nylon strip sewn on the surface of the base to which it is desired to attach.

IMAGEN: Forma de «escalera» del entramado PALS con sus correspondientes medidas. FUENTE: Wikipedia.

The PALS Panel has established measures to ensure the universality of its coupling, which are 25x40mm (25mm high of the nylon strip and 40mm of space between each cell, seam and seam. However, in the imitation of the PALS Panel of non-NATO countries and in some commercial products, slight differences in measurements can be seen. We imagine it will be for licensing reasons.

1/2 PALS WEBBING

I really don’t know if this grid version has a proper name or if it is registered / patented by some company.

Be that as it may, there are some companies that manufacture equipment with half the vertical grid of the conventional PALS grid.

This “new framework?” allows better attachment of pouches on small surfaces, such as minimalist belts.

IMAGE: Templars Gear PT5 Belt. If you are interested in this, we recommend you to read: 🔎 TERMPLARS GEAR PT5 BELT | REVIEW.

MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment)

MOLLE DEFINITION

MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) is a modular light load transport system. It is the most widespread and widely used modular charging system in the world today. The most practical and the one that best fits the PALS Panel.


IMAGE: MOLLE shovel pouch attached to the side of a backpack with a PALS panel on its surface.

📋 PALS AND MOLLE HISTORY

PALS WEBBING HISTORY (Pouch Attachment Ladder System)

The PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) was invented and patented by the Center for Engineering, Development and Research of the United States Army “Natick Soldier” in the late 90s, although when it began to be seen assiduously it was with the IBA (Interceptor Body Armor) around the early 2000s. Especially after the Invasion of Afghanistan at the end of 2001, which was a significant advance in terms of the distribution and use of PALS media. Several units were also seen in the Kosovo War.

MOLLE SYSTEM (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) HISTORY

The MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) was invented in 1997 [SOURCE], also by the Center for Engineering, Development and Research of the United States Army ‘Natick Soldier’, and was adopted by the United States Army shortly after it was developed, like the PALS.

And again, like the PALS, it will not be until the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan that it will begin to spread among US troops.

⚙️ PALS/MOLLE FEATURES 

ALLOWS TO CUSTOMIZE THE EQUIPMENT TO OUR INDIVIDUAL NEEDS

It doesn’t matter if you are left-handed or right-handed, whether it is more comfortable to have the pockets higher or lower, or the size of the vest you are using… with the PALS and the MOLLE you can place the pouches where it suits you best.

INFINITE VARIETY OF POUCHES

It is not like the base sewn pockets of a backpack… with the combination of PALS and MOLLE we can buy pouches in a multitude of shapes, sizes and colors.

ALLOWS TO ORDER THE LOAD IN A MORE EFFICIENT WAY

By placing the pouches (pockets) where you want, you allow you to mentally order your load and be able to use it quickly and precisely if needed.

"EQUIPMENT/GEAR CAN BE LIGHTENED"

And I put this in quotation marks because in order to take advantage of the use of PALS / MOLLE we would have to be in a situation in which we would need 2 or 3 pouches, since if we were to use a conventional pocket vest, we would have a lot of empty pockets with fabric extra that we are not getting profitability.

However, we have to bear in mind that the MOLLE and the nylon tape of the PALS framework weigh their own, so it would be necessary to assess whether this advantage exists depending on the configuration that we are going to use.

👨‍🏫 HOW TO USE PALS AND MOLLE SYSTEM

HOW TO INSTALL MOLLE POUCHES

Although it is something that looking at how the PALS Panel and the MOLLE are made up, you would be surprised at the number of people I have seen with badly  braiding pouches, including members of the military and some airsofters.

HOW TO INSTALL MOLLE POUCHES VIDEO-TUTORIAL

It must be taken into account that the PALS Panel and the MOLLE System were created in a certain way to be able to couple with each other in a very specific way, so if we do not do it as it should be done, it can have unwanted consequences.

  • BAD LOAD DRIFT: Carrying a PALS base loaded with poorly attached pouches means that with each step we take it is going to move much more than if we were wearing them properly, which means that we are going to get more fatigued.

  • MATERIALS LONGEVITY REDUCTION: By holding the pouches by a few PALS strips, it makes the load spread over less surface, and therefore ends up unnecessarily overloading the nylon strips to which we anchor it.

HOW TO REMOVE MOLLE POUCHES QUICKLY

MOLLY STIX

Two simple plastic strips with a cord tied at the top and that act as if they were MOLLE.

With the difference that thanks to the cord and the low friction index that the strips have due to the material they are made of, they are easier to remove.

HOMEMADE WAY TO DOING IT

Soon…

🧳 OTHER LOAD BEARING SYSTEMS

PALS LASER CUT

Commonly referred to as MOLLE Lasercut, it is a new PALS concept that seeks to replace the nylon mesh strips with laser cuts on the fabric itself.

This has the advantage that it achieves somewhat lighter equipment, since apart from dispensing with the nylon strips, it ends up cutting parts of the strip to make the ladder framework. As a great counter it has that the set is much weaker than with the classic nylon strips (which provide rigidity to the sets that wear it), apart from being difficult to repair (compared to the classic PALS) since in case of suffering damage to the fabric would have to be repaired.

IMAGES: 🔎 TASMANIAN TIGER WARRIOR BELT LC (LASER CUT) | REVIEW Laser cut detail 

PLCE (Personal Load Carrying Equipment)

The PLCE is a British load bearing system designed quite cleverly for what it is.
It is based on an equipment carrier belt (to which straps can or may not be added later, depending on the user’s preference) which, through different vertical notches throughout its length, allows PLCE pouches to be hooked.

This system has the great advantage that it is much more horizontally configurable than the PALS Panel, and this is due to the short distance between each of the grooves in the girdle, so the pouches can be adjusted practically to the centimeter.

However, its great disadvantage is that since it is based on a belt, it is not vertically configurable, in addition to not being compatible with the PALS Panel. (Although yes with MOLLE pouches)

IMAGE: Detail of how the pouches are distributed throughout the entire belt.

IMAGE: Detail of how the pouches are attached to the belt using the PLCE system.

ALICE SYSTEM (All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment)

The ALICE is the most immediate previous load carrying system to this day.
Known above all from Vietnam, it is an entire equipment system made up of several pieces, although what we care about about that for this publication is one of its joining elements: the ALICE clips.

🧩 PALS COMPATIBLE COMPONENTS

As we will see below, the PALS Panel is compatible with a multitude of elements that will allow us to dock objects and pouches in multiple ways. We have seen some before, but now we are going to see even more.

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CARABINERS

They are a fairly useful and relatively inexpensive option for anchoring everyday objects to a PALS surface.

There are a thousand and one types, and even those designed in such a way that they can house tools in their structure.

It is always advisable to have at least one attached to our PALS surface to be able to hang gloves, keys and other small objects that we want to have at hand.

GRIMLOCs

They are a kind of plastic carabiners but smaller and designed mainly to anchor them to PALS panels.

We recommend the ITW ones, although if you are only going to use it to hang light things, there are somewhat cheaper options on the internet.

Iput you a video where he explains how they can also be used to attach small fanny packs and covers to backpacks, although as a personal recommendation I would suggest leaving them only for small things such as hanging gloves or something light, since although they still hold it yours, they are still plastic pieces with a fairly small anchor, so if they are forced too much they can break easily.

TEK-LOKs

It is a belt/girdle anchoring element (although depending on the shape of the Tek-lok in question it can also be anchored to PALS panels.


They are a very useful option to be able to screw them to rigid covers.

MOLLE-LOKs

It is exactly the same as a Tek-Lok, with the difference that it is specially designed to be anchored to PALS panels as if it were MOLLE.

ALICE CLIPS

Also named  as “Slide Keeper”, they are clips designed to act as an intermediary between the gear bases and the pouches, allowing them to be hooked together. It is an old and not very configurable system, so we simply put it here to mention it and let our readers know of its existence, although we do not recommend it because it is impractical. ALICE clips are compatible with the PALS Panel.

CLIPS MALICE

MALICE clips are plastic clips compatible with the PALS Panel and used to join 2 PALS panels together.

Another very interesting use they have is to be able to screw them to solid surfaces (such as solid magazine holders or small containers) or rigid covers to turn them into a kind of MOLLE so to speak.

“SPEED CLIPS”

The most famous are those of the brand «Blackhawk».

They are simple plastic pieces that allow their shape to act as if they were the MOLLE tapes, to join a PALS pouch to a PALS surface.

CORDS AND ELASTICS

One option that we can do if we do not want to invest a lot in any of the systems that we have mentioned above, is to use simple thin ropes (such as paracord for its resistance and malleability) or elastic to attach different elements to our PALS panel.

This is extremely useful to attach some rigid covers that are made with hollow sheets, since we can easily pass the rope through there and play with the braiding of it between the cells of the PALS panel and the sheets.

PERFORATED PANNELS

They are plastic or metal panels that have been cut to give it the shape of a PALS panel, preserving their measurements to be used with MOLLE pouches.

They are especially useful for use in the car, attaching them to certain parts of the trunk or on the interior sun visor of a car. And there are even textile versions that are literally PALS panels.

🔧 MOLLE/PALS MODIFICATIONS

TRANSFORM RIGID CASES INTO MOLLE ONES

We can do this through any of the systems that we have mentioned previously, such as the Tek-Loks, the MOLLE Loks or the MALICE Clips.

💬 PERSONAL RECOMENDATIONS

FORGET ALIEXPRESS POUCHES

Unfortunately, the purchase of chinese low-quality “Tactical” ???? equipment on portals like aliexpress to save a few euros is a fairly widespread practice among some workers in the defense and security sector.

However, from the MilitariaGeneral team we cannot do more than not recommend this type of equipment under any kind of equipment, because although at first it may seem cheap, in the long run it ends up being a completely unnecessary expense due to their poor quality.

And we know that normally the salary of those who usually need it does not make things easier, but sometimes it is better to invest than to spend, and we believe that buying good material is always an investment, and not an expense as happens with airsofter and chinorro material. We believe that it is important to differentiate between airsofter equipment designed to be worn once a week and professional equipment, which is designed and manufactured for intensive use for days. Because although the first type of equipment can do the trick, depending on it in a difficult situation is depending too much on chance. In addition, on many occasions the replicas and chinorro equipment end up equaling and even exceeding the price of professional equipment from good brands. In this regard, we recommend investigating stores, media, getting into the Surplus market (military / police surpluses), because sometimes there are real bargains.

TAKE A DEEP LOOK TO THE POUCHES DESIGN

We also believe that it is important to look at how the pouches are built and see how they would fit into our main gear-base.

Apart from the cut they have, looking at how they wear the MOLLE can make us discard some models instead of others.

For example, a personal case was my choice of the 5.11 IFAK UCR  to combine with the Tasmanian Tiger tourniquet pouch. I thought that the PALS on the side of the kit would be enough to add the bolt holder on the side, but unfortunately it was too low. Fortunately, I was able to fix this by simply sewing 2 nylon straps on the side, expanding the PALS Panel from 2×2 to 3×2.

The main objective of the conjunction of the PALS Panel with the MOLLE pouches is to achieve a MODULAR platform, so it makes no sense to buy pouches that do not serve us for this function. Take a good look at what you are going to buy, watch reviews, videos, ask questions and do research to get an idea of ​​what a pouch would look like and assess whether it is worth it or not.

AVOID SNAP FASTENER POUCHES. SELECT RIGID MOLLE

If you have the possibility, try to get pouches with a rigid MOLLE, either through a plastic sheet or a reinforcement in the fabric of the MOLLE tape, because in the end the brackets only end up giving problems: They end up rusting, deforming and with the time they end up getting tougher, apart from adding unnecessary weight to the whole.

📜 SOURCES AND CONSULTED MATERIALS

  • My own knowdeledge, adquired by years buying/selling, testing and working with too much gear.