Something I’ve been meaning to set up for a good year or two has been a dedicated MP5/future subgun rig. So far I have simply been using my standard rifle kit and while this works, it doesn’t quite fit the reasoning behind me having an MP5 in the first place which was to have a cheap but fun spare gun, that was small enough that I could pack it in a small bag and use it for quick impromptu night games. Having to rely on something like a plate carrier to carry your mags completely nullifies this, and so it was time to find the solution.
I’ve been a big fan of Eagle Industries gear for quite some time now, it is very well made and remarkably simple. It just does the job it was designed for. Another advantage of Eagle kit is that it is some of the more affordable modern AOR1 gear out there. It is currently issued in large volumes to a wide variety of America’s damp SF guys, and this means that a fair amount of it turns up on this side of the pond for a not totally extortionate price. I’ve been on the lookout for a subgun rig since getting my MP5 and so when the venerable GFXVII got some in I impulse bought the shit out of it.
This won’t be a review of the Eagle MP7 rig per se, mainly because the things that I like about it can be described in one sentence (it just works without making a song and dance of it), and the things that I didn’t like have now been expertly rectified by my new favourite stitch wizard Cellar Gear. This will instead be a write up of these mods and why I chose to have them done.
Round 1: Chest Width and PTTs
The first batch of mods came about shortly after receiving my MP7 rig. Something I hadn’t realised when buying it is that the shoulder straps attach to the top of the rig spaced an alarming distance apart. Now I can’t comment on why this was done, only to assume that it has something to do with being worn over armour by guys who can bench a considerable amount more than me, but still, it was squeezing me in a way that developed cleavage and had to be sorted for vanity’s sake.
Something that was also missing was the ability to load any comms gear onto the shoulder straps. Now again, I’m sure there is a very good reason for this in real life, but for my uses this was definitely an area that was lacking. These were very small modifications that I could have done myself, but I have also been on the lookout for a decent tailor ever since my disastrous encounter with Mael Eoin, so decided to put the word out. I was recommended to this new bloke starting out called John who works from his cellar and decided to give it a whirl.
At this point it’s worth mentioning that John was happy to do the work for free, in return for a review of the work he did. Well 2 months later we’re finally here. My review of his work? Outstanding.
Moving the shoulder straps in was a simple job done simply by opening the “pancake” of fabric on the top edge of the rig, moving the straps inwards, and resewing. This has been done very neatly, and has been triple stitched shut again with an exactly colour matched thread. The next part of round 1 was creating PTT hangers on the left shoulder. For this John simply took some of the excess AOR1 webbing from the waist strap and repurposed it for PTT use. Again this has been done very neatly, and the stitching is bombproof.
The true result of these mods however was my confidence in John, and as soon as I got the rig back I started making plans for more modifications.
Round 2: Fucking X Harnesses
Once I had the MP7 rig back in my hands immediately decided that John would be okay with some more crazy modifications. It is no secret that I absolutely and totally despise X harnesses. They’re antiquated and shit and I don’t understand why they keep appearing. Despite this I had been happy to buy a platform with one, only because it was the only harness option for a chest rig that I liked.
Something that I realised though is that it would be possible to utilise the double-layered nature of the shoulder straps to bring the rig into the current decade. By removing the 1” webbing adjustment straps and opening the 2” webbing sandwich you could make an overlap if you cut them away from the fold and on opposite sides, and then sewed the two onto each other. It would then be very simple to fold the straps through 90° on either side, sew them down and then reattach the 1” webbing.
Sounds a bit complicated right?
Well based on pretty much that description and some drawings that could have been done by a 10 year old John absolutely smashed it. The result is that I now have an H harness that from the outside you wouldn’t be able to tell was custom, and from the inside is again triple stitched and absolutely fucking bombproof.
The one issue that I have had with this is that the width of the backstrap is not 100% perfect for my body, but that is nothing to do with John’s work and is all to do with me eyeballing the measurements. What it does mean though is that the straps sit ever so slightly wide on my shoulders. They are in no danger of falling off, and I don’t need to have the issue rectified, but just feel a tad out there. The only reason I bring this up is if you are going to have this mod done, do your measurements properly.
The key to this second round of mods though is that I paid for them. I went from a “free trial” of John’s work to sending my rig straight back down to him for more complex and expensive work. This free trial also led to the birth of my FaceHof jacket which is just another testament to this guy’s skill with a sewing machine.
Much like the FaceHof review this might sound like one big plug for Cellar Gear, and you know what, it is. Besides the very small mods I received for free, I have no other reason to promote his work other than the excellent service I have received and the standard of the modifications that have been returned to me. Having dealt with some absolute cowboys in the past, it is very refreshing to once again have confidence that if I send my very expensive toys to someone they will not only do excellent work to them, but will also stay in contact throughout to stop me from panicking that they’ve done a Keith Brown.
If you haven’t read my review of the FaceHof jacket, then I’ll leave a link to it here. If you have a crazy little project growing in the back of your mind then I’d strongly advise you to drop John a DM on his Instagram @cellar_gear . I’m looking forward to seeing how these items hold up in the future, and will hopefully be able to revisit them for a thorough Pt.2 down the line.
If you have any questions or just want to call me a shill, head over to my Instagram @thegeardocrow and leave them there. Cheers.