I would like to think i am fairly minimailst, but there is a balance here (ie, length of game vs likelihood of running out of ammo) - I prefer to err on the side of caution to keep me in the game as long as possible. As an AEG player, my kit is horrendosly over the top compared to most snipers.
I think in most cases everyone is running a fairly minimalist set up (stand fast mil sim guys who may be an exception to this depending on where they are/what they are doing). Ultimately, what do you really need on your chest rig?
Spare mags - quantity dictated by length of game and trigger finger.
Side arm - only 'really' needed if you are running a DMR/Sniper.
Grenades? - Techncially you dont NEED these, you could run without them we choose to take them.
Everything else (ive probably forgotten something obvious) is just down to personal preference, play style, game type and site.
Anyway, onto your actual question. Note, I started airsofting in Jan, so only got about half a dozen games to base my observations on. Also, there will be talk of speed loaders full of insane amounts of spare bbs - this is an untested recent addition based on observations from recent games. Ill post if its successfull or not after a couple of games with them.
I currently run a warrior systems PLCE webbing set with the following:
Left side, moving from closest to belt buckle to furthest away: Single fast mag, x2 double M4 velcro pouches (dump mag pouch sits under these).
Right side, moving from closest to belt buckle to furthest away: Small horizontal zip pouch (for Mk IVs and smoke).
Shoulder straps: Left side, radio pouch. Right side, velcro smoke grenade pouch.
Back: Small (<10L) MOLLE attached rucksack. Mostly for a water bladder, but also holds x2 500x BB speed loaders (no they dont rattle) and spare eye pro.
Pros: 600 rnds in M4 mags. Fast mag. x2 500 round speed loaders for me/buddies if anyone runs out of ammo. Ease of access to water for a whole day. Weight distribution is better than a chest rig (some weight sits on hips, rather than just the shoulders).
Cons: Probably not the most minamalist set up out there. Carriage on the shoulder straps is not optimal (i have torn rotator cuffs on both sides so its a means to an ends for me). Probably not the lightest set up. No room for a pistol. Buddy has to get the extra rounds as pulling the PLCE off to get at the speed loaders is not optimal.
a) You could run with a large utility pouch on the belt next to the horizontal utility pouch and sack off the backpack by puting 1L of water and probably both the 500rnd speed loaders in there. However, I have torn both my rotator cuffs so i cant get round that far.
b) TBH the water bladder is more there for film sim as i rarely need a drink mid game on skirmish days. On the other hand, having 1L of water in a bottle was handy for putting out a small fire after a bad smoke grenade set fire to the ground. The extra 0.5L of water i get over a 1L bottle in my 1.5L bladder does make a difference weight wise.
c) The number of times I or anyone else has needed spare ammos is a total of 3 times, and in two of three cases the rounds were needed within 5-10 mins of the end of the game.
d) I have a warrior systems battle belt, as a result the MOLLE does not come as close to the bult buckle as, say, old school S95 British PLCE. This is annoying as with my bad shoulders getting round to anything other than the very first MOLLE position (ie, the left side fast mag) is a little tricky/sore as they are about 3-6 MOLLE strap positions short of where i would like them to start.
e) This set up (as a result of the warrior belt) lacks room for a side arm. Not an issue for me as I dont run one (yet). I suspect that IF i can find a MOLLE battle belt that works with PLCE webbing and has another 3-6 MOLLE straps then i would move the right side utility forward and put a pistol holster on the 'hip side/3 o'clock' position.
f) In general, i find that the airsoft market does not provide enough options for MkV pyro, and typical smoke grenades and incendary smoke grenades, so finding efficent/effective pouches for them is hit and miss - my set up is not optimal here.
g) I have not tested the radio pouch position yet (first run out will be later this month/early next month). But i am interested to see if being on the shoudler strap causes issues with wiring/ptt location etc. - I will edit this post when i know more, but this may be a sub optimal location. In which case it will get mounted on the side of the right side of the webbing or in/on the back pack.
Looking to get soon - chest rig with gun belt:
As mentioned above, on account of my bad shoulders and on account of the fact I might want a side arm, I am looking into this set up for a chest rig:
Emmersongear JPC with the following attachments
Front: Has x3 M4 mag holders with bungee retainers built in. On top of these, i will put x2 single M4 mag holders with bungee retainers with built in pistol mag pouch (bungee draw string retaining system for the pistol mag) and some form of pouch for carrying grenades/pyro. Radio placement on the top section of the carrier (if that works for the PTT/wiring etc).
Back: Either the same rucksack as described above or a smaller one only for the water bladder.
Belt: Left side, single fast mag then dump mag pouch. Right side, pistol holster.
Pros: 600 rnds in M4 mags. x2 pistol mags (c.60-100 extra rnds). Fast mag. x1 500 rnd speed loader for me/buddies accessible on the chest plate. Ease of access to water for a whole day. Room for a pistol. Plenty of room on the belt for smaller/lighter items if needed
Cons: Weight is carried on the shoulders only. Radio location might not be optimal (again). Still likely to suffer for ease of access to grenades (probably less of an issue though than the PLCE). I am not a fan of the 'open retained' mag carriage on plate carriers - i accept its quicker to get into, but if your face down in the mud/crawing round bushes/trees there is more opportunity for grit/mud/water etc to get into your mags. Harder to hear/feel hits with full chest plates as centre mass is completly covered.
a) I suspect the chest rig set up will be preferable for ease of access, althogh I have never really had an issue with the PLCE so perhaps this is a 'false economy'?
b) Will almost certainly be more 'rotator cuff friendly' - hopefully this is not an issue for anyone other than me!
I will update this page if/when i get the chest rig.
Ways to minimise:
1) While in longer skirmish games I have come close to (or on one occasion run out of) BBs, in the case of both set ups, I could probably get rid of x2 M4 mags - expecially with the speed loaders full of extra rounds.
2) Water carriage. For skirmish i dont think I really need it, but for filmsim its probably a must. I could dump stuff off by getting rid of the rucksacks and any water carriage options.
3) Grenades. I am sure there are more effective/lighter/more minamilistic ways to carry grenades than I have at the moment. IMHO my set up is sub optimal as there are few options for the 'long and thin' MKIVs and similar (albiet fatter) smokes. I have seen some people running elastic bands laced into their thier webbing to slot the MkIVs into, just putting MkIVs into their molle straps or using shotgun shell holders for the MkVs - this could be more efficent as well as more minimalist? I dont know about the smokes?
4) Radios, most people i see mount their radios on their back/on their belt at the back and run the wires for the PTT etc through thier webbing. I personally dont like this as i dont like the idea of sitting/falling on the rad - but its a viable option and probably more efficent in terms of space and profile. Not so much a minimising thing as an efficiency/space thing.
5) Spare eyepro carriage. Almost certainly dont need it. Lets be fair, if it all goes wrong eye pro wise, its going to start the same way; call a ceasefire/eyepro to stop the game. Having eyepro on me just means I dont have to eave the field, go back to my kit and pick up the spare pair.
6) x2 500rnd speed loaders. I have two on the basis of 1 for me, one for a mate. Arguments can be made for 1 or none - both are valid.
7) In my case I could even theorhetically get rid of the dump mag pouch. When running my PLCE I have a field jacket with a HUGE zip pocket that I originally used as a very effective dump pouch. This wouldnt be an option on a chest rig, but then the rig I am talking about (and many others use) provide the option of quickly putting the mag back where it came from (even if not ideal).
Things I wish I carried but dont have room for:
Truth to tell, not a lot. I have only run out of rounds in one game in 6 days of airsoft, often times, I only use around 40-60% of my mags on any given skirmish game. Now I have the speed loaders I cant imagine ever running out of BBs. A leatherman type multitool, but cant imagine when i would need it and ultimately I have pockets? Same applies to fogging wipes/goggle wipes. Spare battery? Well I have tonns of room for this too, but just dont think its wise to be running around in a dynamic movement environment with a lipo 'death stick' on my person. Chocolate/sweets for a film sim day? Maybe, but again, i have room for this if needed.
Notes on your set up:
Medical kit - whats actually in it and what do you see it being used to fix? If you are seriosly injured odds are on that you aint going to be able to do anything to 'fix' youself as you will be in too much pain and a plater/FFD/paracetamol just aint going to cut it even if you can help yourself? Most of the time people/marshalls will just call for an ambulance for something serious. Many might not even think to look for/use a medical pouch on your kit unless they know its there (yes even with the big red cross on it!). For 'walking wounded' stuff, why not leave the pouch in your car/safe zone? For other people? - while I salute any good intentions I would advise extreme caution about rendering first aid unless you are properly trained.
- Gloves? Are you not wearing them? I would assume you would know if you are going to need them before a game starts so why not just leave them in your kit bag/car? I always wear gloves regardless of the heat or the game - first, a BB to the finger smarts and gloves help. Second, I have seen bad things happen with smokes, again, gloves protect a little/bear a certain amount of the brunt of it. Third, airsoft sites are normally woods or similar, with nettles/thorns/ferns (yes they can cut/scrape your hand if you get too personal with the stalks!) walls, rough wood etc - why wouldnt you wear gloves all the time? If they are spares, you could leave them in the car/safe zone?
- Spare tag rounds. As i mention above, this is totally personal preference, but I challange you to make an average count of how many tag rounds/grenade rounds you use during each game before you get back to the safe zone (over a couple of game days, ideally at different sites). If you find yourslef comin back with none or jsut one or two then then fair enough. If you are consistently going back to the safe zone with loads extra, perhaps you could minimse here and leave some in your car/kit bag?
- Not sure what your putting in here, but i think you mentioned speed loaders for your mid caps. You might consider doing what i have done? Nuprol do an M4 size speed loader that carries 500 rnds. You would only need one and it would fit in an M4 pouch. It might not suit you though as they are only (relitivly) quiet when they are full. They quickly become 'battle marackas' as you empty them. So perhaps 2-4 100 rnd speed loaders that you completly empty to fill one mag is preferable?
- Depending on what else you may/may not have in your utility pouch you might be able to get rid of it or replace it with a smaller pouch?
Hope this has been helpful?