||G&P FSBE Vest Review
G&P had laid low for quite some time in the past, only
to surface just during these past couple of years as a major
airsoft aftermarket accessories supplier; and a good one
at that! Having launched their complete AEG series earlier
last year, it looks like they have managed to secure quite
a big piece of the airsoft market pie. Inside that piece,
lies a respectable quantity of replica vests and body armor
that were produced in recognition of the bitter pricetags
that come with the real deal vests.
The Full-Spectrum Battle Equipment (FSBE) Amphibious Assault
Vest (AAV) vest is essentially a combination of a MOLLE-covered
rig for load-bearing purposes, with ballistic (body armor)
properties. The real FSBE costs more than $500, and that
is without the body armor plates that provide the bulletproof
capability. The G&P FSBE, providing maximum ballistic
protection against 6mm BBs, comes at just the one tenth
of that price, essentially giving a breather to those who
are after some expensive-looking kit but afraid to get their
moth-ridden wallets out.
|So, why go for the G&P FSBE?
Well, how I ended up with one of those is pretty ironic.
My trust usually lied (and in part still does) in Guarder,
another renowned airsoft product company, which produces
their own line of FSBEs (renamed MOD II for what I understand
to be copyright reasons) but back then they had yet to produce
the vest in desert tri-color camouflage pattern. G&P
did, and in addition to that, theirs was around 30 bucks
cheaper than Guarder, so that made the deal even better
Once you pick up the FSBE, you will find that it is neatly
constructed and made out of Cordura, with the interior filled
with some kind of hard foam to loosely simulate the ballistic
plates that are used in the real AAV. Being foam, it basically
replicates the bulkiness of the plates, rather than their
weight but die-hard nuts... erm
players, can even
replace the foamy contents with phony plates or even the
real deal ones if they have them.
Both the front and back side of the vest is ridden with
one-inch webbing, which is compatible with all MOLLE, BALCS, Paraclete SOF-SNAP, Blackhawk STRIKE and MALICE pockets and pouches.
|The front, seen here with an assortment of pouches.
||The back can be used to hold MOLLE compatible hydration
packs, radio pouches, backpacks or canteens. You can
see the drag handle on top, and the quick-detach handle
on the bottom.
|Taking this vest into action is a testament
of what the word
'modular' really means...
Ding, Ding, Ding! Did someone say "pouches"?
I knew I had forgotten something
Well, what did you
expect? For $55 you only get a the replica AAV and a total
of ZERO pouches to go along with it, so if you thought you
would get away with grabbing a complete vest for that pricetag,
think again. Regardless, this is undoubtedly an eyebrow-raising
fact for many, meaning that you will probably spend another
two-figure number to get some pouches to go along with this
vest, that is unless you plan on wearing something else
on top of it (i.e. a bandoleer).
But that's not G&P's fault now, is it? Surely not.
Back to vest, it also features two things also found on
the original one: The first, is the rear drag handle stitched
to the top back, which is there for your buddies to grab
a hold of in order to pull you back from danger, or drag
your sorry injured self to the respawn point. I am sure
that more recreational uses have been devised by the more
creative bunch of airsofters... The second, is the quick
release handle, which lies below the front side of the vest.
The handle is there for you to pull when you need the vest
to collapse on its own, essentially separating the two sides
(back and front) from each other. It may be a lifesaving
feature in real life, but in airsoft I would not ditch my
vest that way because it is a real pain to get it back to
one piece after you have done that. Still, it is good that
the feature is retained in the repro, regardless of the
fact that you need to give it a good pull in order to make
PS: Wiggly white
tail not included...
How the vest actually performs is dependent on what kind
of combination of general use and/or ammunition pouches
the wearer ultimately decides to go for. Since there are
no pouches in the vest package, you can set off to find
the ones you want
or purchase G&Ps SPEAR vest package that more or less contains all the pouches you will ever
need in your life:
Yes, it is expensive, as it retails in
HK shops for $165 but chances are that your quest for five
to six ammo pouches for example will cost you around the
hundred dollar mark anyway, so I just felt like listing
your options there for you.
Going back to the stress test, you can be sure that the
outer shell itself can withstand a lot of contact with dirt,
mud, bushes and anything else you might encounter while
you're moving during a prone position. By all means do not
be afraid that the webbing will get loose after getting
soaked wet or anything like that since those things are
triple stitched and believe me when I say that when you
secure a pouch through them, it ain't coming off
than that, there's nothing more to say.
This review was brought to you
February 15, 2006. Athens, Greece.