One of my life’s many bug-bears has been an obsession with finding just the right pouch for each tool, which has led to many instances of buying, selling, chopping and changing a setup in order to find the “perfect” home for each item. In a military context this is often just a case of shopping around, and being prepared to fork out for the rare niche items that command a premium because they’re well sought after. But what happens when you start trying to find a pouch for something that isn’t an accepted standard, especially not in the military world?
For me, the biggest struggle has been trying to locate a home for my Dynatec Blank Firing Grenades (a re-usable time delay airsoft flashbang) that hits the trifecta of working, being in the pattern I want and being available. The problem with this is that while Dynatecs are similar to a run of the mill smoke grenade in terms of circumference, they are a fair amount shorter meaning they either get lost in the depths of a pouch or are not held securely by the pouch’s lid.
There has always been the solution of simply padding out the bottom of a smoke pouch with foam, but my OCD has never been okay with this as a permanent fix and so the hunt for a dedicated pouch has gone on and on.
Cellar gear smoke grenade pouch
As with all things of the weird and quirky nature the easiest option in this situation was to go custom, leading me back to the venerable Cellar Gear. John has done several bits of work for me over the last year and I have been mightily impressed with all of them, so when I saw he was making is own simple smoke grenade pouches I decided to give him his latest in an ongoing string of headaches, and ask for a pair to be made to some both vague and weirdly specific measurements.
Design & Construction
As these pouches are simply a rescaling of an existing design this part of the review is also relevant to those looking for the proper, full smoke grenade sized pouch.
The first thing that caught my eye is the distinctly “330D-ish” look of John’s design, which is more akin to the prototype Crye thermo pouches than the finished product. I’ve always been a big fan of the shape of the covering flaps on both the proto-thermos and the 330D magazine pouches, and like that they are just a simple velcro shut system. I know there are a lot of shortcomings for velcro, but for my needs simplicity is king as I don’t expect I’ll ever really run anything hard enough for it to fail while I’m playing with a bunch of grown men in the woods. In the tip of the flap is a short length of paracord, sewn into place to give you a knuckle to grab and open the pouch while wearing gloves.
The main body of the pouch is also inherently simple. No pull straps, no grippy internal fabric just a plain old box shaped pouch made from 500D cordura, with a strip of elastic around the middle to keep anything inside from making a dive for the exit should the pouch be left open. In the bottom of the pouch is a simple drainage grommet to stop any water from being held around whatever munitions you are choosing to keep inside it.
With the theme of keeping it simple the pouch is attached by the standard soft MOLLE arms, with a rigid insert in the end that relies on you tucking it back into the MOLLE of either the pouch or the platform it’s attached to to keep it in place.
I’m not one for stitch counting, but it’s clear even from a cursory glance that the stitching is immaculate throughout, double and triple stitched where necessary. As mentioned above I’m no longer in a position to test things to failure, but I have seen a lot worse made items do some serious mileage, so have no qualms at all about the strength of Cellar Gear’s work.
The weird fred aspect
All of the above covers the basic platform that my design was built from, this is the part where I put my own weird spin on it. To make sure that the pouch fit my needs exactly I sent John a mishmash of measurements that I can only imagine caused a quiet “oh fucking hell” to escape his lips, but he took to it well and got the information he needed off me. The one oddly specific request I had was that the entire pouch be no taller than 5 inches, so that it would sit perfectly within the bounds of a 3 band cummerbund.
I opted for this to get around the problem I’d had with other smoke pouches. I’ve used Eagle Industries, Blackhawk, Blue Force Gear, Paraclete, Crye etc in the past and all have suffered from the grenade sinking so deep into the pouches that the Protection of Military remains act could declare it as a sunken grave. Conversely, the Dynatec is also too large to fit in any known frag grenade pouch. By limiting the height to 5″ the Cellar Gear pouches sit perfectly in the middle, and fit my Dynatecs like a glove. The flaps of the pouch have also been cut to just the right length to sit perfectly over the grenade, without either dangling below the bottom of the pouch or only just being able to hold onto it’s loop counterpart.
Something I also really wanted to avoid was excess width. This isn’t a problem with the likes of a Blue Force Tenspeed smoke, but with some of the older examples they can have a tendency to man spread a little and cause bunching if run directly adjacent to another item. By giving John the absolute max width of the grenade, he was able to make a pouch that sits perfectly within 2 vertical MOLLE columns.
I always try and poke holes in a product, even if it’s been made exactly to my specification. In this case it is my specification that’s at fault. While the 5″ overall height is perfect for fitting the grenade is was intended for, it always seems to give the impression that the pouch sticks out a lot from my body. I know this is ridiculous, as the pouch will only stick out as far as what’s inside it, but even still compared to it’s droopier counterparts the pouch seems to make itself a little more known to the inside of my arms than others.
I’m really splitting hairs at this point however, and count this more as the trade off for being able to actually reach my Dynatec in its pouch than a flaw in my otherwise perfect and in no way made up on the fly measurements. To get around this, I’ve instead decided to run both of my Dynatecs on my belt line which previously was a struggle as other smoke pouches would dangle below the MOLLE, giving little resistance from which to pull the velcro open, resulting in the entire pouch angling up rather than the flap coming open.
Overall I’m once again impressed by John’s handiwork with a sewing machine, and his ability to grasp what I’m after with little to no actual useful information. Alongside these pouches he also made an excellent replica of my C2R flashbang pouches in a matching black and woodland colour scheme that made use of the mod I made to my original C2R’s.
If you’re also on the hunt for the perfect Dynatec pouch then I absolutely cannot stress enough how much time and money will be saved just by asking Cellar Gear to make you some up. If you’re just after a smoke grenade pouch then sure, there are lots of others out there doing the same job, but if you want to support someone in the UK then John’s are more than good to go.
It’s hard to write a positive review without sounding biased, but in the case of everything John has made for me so far he’s yet to miss a beat, and has always received my stupid ideas with open arms.
Thanks for reading my review of my Cellar Gear custom flashbang pouches, if you’d like to get some for yourself I’ll stick a link to his Instagram account here. If you have any other questions about them, or simply want to give me some abuse, you can fire it to my Instagram account @thegeardocrow.