Disclaimer: This item was provided free of charge by Platatac for testing and evaluation purposes. There has been no exchange of money, and the terms of the item being provided are that if I like a product, I review it, if I don’t like a product, it gets sent back. With this is mind I always remain as unbiased as possible, my thoughts are my own, and the sole purpose of this blog is to provide helpful information to someone who might actually need it to find the right solution for their problem.
Night vision systems are by far and away one of the most expensive responsibilities an infantry soldier will be entrusted with on a regular basis, and the advantages they provide you can be the difference between dominating an enemy and being caught in a fair fight, somewhere you do not want to be. Despite both of these facts the humble NVG is something that is often neglected both by the Army, and the soliders carrying them.
Throughout my time in service a common sight was someone walking out of the armoury throwing their PVS-14, j-arm and rhino mount all into a dry bag together, clipping it shut, and shoving it into a daysack alongside belts of ammunition, spare barrels, radios and a whole host of other hard and heavy objects. Remarkably despite this risky strategy of putting something so essential into what is in essence a blender of sharp heavy metal shit, the amount of fully broken units I encountered was limited to those run over by a digger on Salisbury plain.
What is often encountered instead is a PVS-14 unit that while working, has been battered to within an inch of its life. Scratched lenses are the most common complaint, but wobbly switches and damaged battery caps are also a regular appearance. In a culture where your socks are supposed to be double waterproofed, I have always found it baffling that there was never an issued way of protecting such an important item.
As a result of this, I have for the last few years been looking around for a decent NVG pouch that doesn’t break the bank, and short of the Warrior Ass Systems offering I’d come up trumps. After leaving the forces naturally my need for NVG protection disappeared, until recently when I took the plunge and bought a unit for myself. With the search resumed, I stumbled on what looked like the perfect pouch in a place that I can’t believe I hadn’t checked yet. Platatac.
With interest peaked I got in touch with the guys down under and asked if I could pinch one to take a look at, and they very nicely sent it over to me for T&E.
Materials and construction
The Platatac Tactical Electronics Pouch (TEP) is made from the high quality materials you would expect from a contracted “milspec” manufacturer. The build quality throughout is excellent with double and triple stitches in high stress areas, and a MOLLE footprint that is unlikely to rip off or come unstuck easily.
The vast majority of the pouch consists of a 500D cordura, with colour matched 4-way stretch, velcro, mesh and paracord within. For hardware the TEP sports ITW buckles and a YKK zip, both of which are exactly what you would expect to find on Plat products.
Where the TEP differs from your average GP pouch is in the walls, which are reinforced and padded to protect whatever is inside it. This padding is serious, and can be found in the sides and front pace of the TEP. Supporting this padding, there are also rigid inserts in the sides and front which provide both a physical piece of armour to the pouch’s contents, and also provides an element of crush protection, although it probably isn’t effective against fucking diggers.
Design and layout
Something that has really impressed me about the TEP is that it is teeming with features, which I don’t always expect from products that are designed to be squaddie-proof. The overall design of the TEP is a flip top box pouch with internal dividers to secure whatever you put inside. This system works well and is present on a lot of other NVG pouches.
Where the TEP stands out is the inclusion of an external tweave pocket, internal mesh pocket and the efforts taken to make one handed operation easy. Starting with the external pocket, it covers the entire front face of the pouch, and is closed at the top by a reversed YKK zipper which is covered by the pouch lid when closed. This tweave pouch is perfect for holding the usual ancilliaries to night vision systems like a lens cleaning cloth, spare LIFs and sacrifical lenses. When nothing is stored in this compartment it sits perfectly flat thanks to the 4-way stretch characteristic.
Inside the TEP we have our second ancilliary pouch, this time located in the lid of the pouch. constructed from a sheet of colour matched mesh fabric, and with a velcro closure, this is the ideal place to store spare batteries for your NVG, and will comfortably hold CR123s and AAs. The velcro closure is located on the “in” side of the lid, towards the hinge, meaning that should it fail your batteries will fall into the pouch and not out onto the ground to be lost forever.
Also inside the TEP there is a convenient sleeve behind the velcro in the main compartment designed to take flat items like cables, cards etc. Just above this sleeve there is also a row of paracord loops sewn in to provide anchors for multiple dummy cords. There is one particular use for these two features that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, but I’ll get onto that in a moment.
Finally I’m a big fan of the efforts taken to make this a one handed pouch. While when used to house NVGs you will likely have both hands available to open and close it, there are a host of other applications that are more likely to happen when you have a weapon in your right hand. To achieve this the lid has been shaped so that it easily finds its was over the body of the pouch, and has the female portion of the SRB hard attached to it. The male buckle is then located on a long webbing strap that is attached on the underside of the pouch and is located smack bang in the middle.
Personally I would have preffered the SRB to flipped upside down, with the female portion locked onto the body of the pouch and the male dangling from the lid, but this isn’t possible due to the tweave front pocket which I feel is a much more useful feature than the slight optimisation of which way round your buckle is.
Tactical electronics pouch in practice
Having played around with the TEP for some time now I’ve got a pretty good handle on how I will be employing it in the future. For me I have acquired this solely as a way of keeping my NVG on me at all times when at events, as some pikey cunt deciding he wants to do a runner with my tube is a nightmare we all face. In this role I’ve found that the pouch works best with my GT-14 and j-arm seperated by the internal divider. This 2 thirds / 1 third layout holds both items securely, but still ensures I can get them out easily enough.
I had previously tried removing the divider and stuffing the two in assembled together but in practice it was simply too tight of a fit, and in that case also nullifies the padding of the pouch by pressing the unit right up against it, meaning any impact would be transferred directly into my NVG.
Depending on the type of event I’m attending I’ll either have the pouch stowed in a daysack, or mounted to my person somewhere (most likely a belt). In the latter configuration the one handed operation of the pouch is a real help, as I prefer to have it mounted to one side so that I don’t sit on it when in vehicles etc.
One factor in all this that has really impressed me has been the total lack of bulk from the TEP, which while by no means small, is not a pouch that dangles like fuck and sticks out 10 inches from your body. For this very reason I doubt you’ll be getting dual tubes in it anytime soon, but for a mono it provides protection without the cost of being awkward and ungainly.
With the NVG application taken care of, I’d also just like to touch on the versatility of the TEP, as it is not intended solely for protecting your NODs. The other key area it excels is in navigational equipment. Compasses, LRFs and GPSs. Every British squaddie is familiar with the good ol’ rollmat protector for your compass, but this is far from an ideal solution as it leaves you with a case in hand whenever you take out your compass to shoot a bearing.
By employing both the 2 third / 1 third divider layout, and paracord dummy loops you can secure your compass right into a padded corner of the TEP, and tie your lanyard to it for good measure. This combined with the one handed operation of the pouch makes getting your compass out quicker and simpler than delving around a utility for your old ball of rollmat and sniper tape, without sacrificing much if any protection.
With your compass secured you then have the majority of the pouch for a small LRF, Kestrel or large GPS, and have onboard compartments for other map reading essentials like a small protractor or distance measuring line, and even a little pinhole nav torch in the lid.
Overall I have been really really impressed with the Platatac Tactical Electronics Pouch, and can definitely recommend it to anyone who owns or is responsible for a standard sized night vision monacle. It is clear that this is one of those products that has been designed to fix a problem, and hasn’t just been made for the sake of it.
I’m really not a fan of any bit of gear that tries to do multiple things at once, so it’s nice to find a pouch that has clearly been built around a designated purpose, and does it well. As with all Platatac gear, it is also priced so competitively that it’s hard to say no to. Retailing at 70AUD (~£40) it is more than affordable, and as it is designed to protect something with a value in the 4 figure range, you’d be a fucking tool to say “it’s too much”.
I’d just like to say another massive thanks to the guys at Platatac for sending this over, and if you’re interested in picking one up for yourself then I’ll drop a link here.
Thanks for sitting through my review of the Platatac Tactical Electronics Pouch, if you’ve got any question about this item or any others don’t hesitate to fire them over to my Instagram @thegeardocrow. If you just want to call me a cunt, you can send it there too. Cheers.