The Firebase Parabellum – A New Rig From Vertx

Chest rigs are a dime a dozen, right? They come in all sizes and for all weapons for sure but typically follow a very well defined genre and design influence. That’s fine; what works, works. There is always room for something new, and the Vertx Firebase Parabellum chest rigs are unquestionably something new. The Firebase Parabellum rigs bring a new type of innovation to the stale realm of chest rigs.

The Vertx Firebase Parabellum

Vertx is a company well known for its high-quality bags, clothing, and whatnot. My all-time favorite sling bag is the Vertx Commuter, and I’ve been using it for almost five years now without issue. The name Vertx means something. At least to me, it does. I expect a high-quality product, and I’m betting most people feel the same.

The Firebase Parabellum is the first chest rig that Vertx has made, and I approached it with caution. I hoped it would live up to the reputation Vertx is known for. What intrigued me most is that the Firebase Parabellum is more than just a chest rig. I wasn’t even looking for a chest rig when I stumbled across the Firebase Parabellum.

I want a modern bandolier. I’ve always liked bandoliers and found them quite handy. I was also thinking about a concealed fighting rig, and the bandolier seems to be much easier to hide than any chest rig. On my search for a modern bandolier, I came across the Firebase Parabellum, and my interest peaked.

2 in 1? 3 in 1? Modularity Matters

Vertx designed the Firebase Parabellum to be a modular fighting load carrier. Of course, it works like a chest rig and positions your magazines perfectly on your chest. The Firebase Parabellum emphasizes the idea of a minimalist chest rig.

It offers four magazine pouches, and that’s it. You don’t get MOLLE to expand the rig, no radio or tourniquet pouches, just four magazines and a small kangaroo type pouch behind the magazine pouches.

Chest rigs are great, but I wanted a bandolier. Well, I was in luck. You can do a magic trick in a matter of minutes and move some straps around, and bam, now you have a very modern bandolier.

Most bandoliers just kind of hang off your side like a man’s purse. These were an old school means to carry ammunition and tended to flop around and swing when loaded down. The Firebase Parabellum doesn’t face that challenge. Instead, it uses a series of straps that secures the bandolier in one location. It doesn’t flop or shift when you run. It barely moves and offers a consistent spot that allows you to access your magazines.

That’s two of the three functions. The third is removing all straps and the backing from the Firebase Parabellum and using it as a magazine placard. If you want to strap it to a plate carrier, you’re in luck. You can strap it inside a bag or on anything with hook and loop.

Setting Up and Going At It

Swapping between the different modes takes zero time, and you can run the Firebase Parabellum with the magazines up or down. The pouches are insanely tight, and Vertx included buttoned tops for active retention so they won’t flop out if ran upside down.

As a chest rig, I orientated the magazines upwards in a traditional configuration. I could ditch the flaps by tucking them rearward into the hoop and loop behind the magazine pouches. The pouches themselves are tight enough to retain the magazines without issue. The flaps button close and don’t present a challenge to reloading.

I could grip and rip and get the magazines in action with little effort. The Firebase Parabellum allows you to use an optional body strap, and I chose to do so. It offered the most support and tension to remove magazines.

As a bandolier, I ran the magazines downward and found them to be easier to retrieve upside down when using the Firebase Parabellum. Drawing magazines from this configuration took some practice to accomplish. I found a good way to orient the magazines and got quite quick with the entire setup.


When wearing the bandolier, I oriented the bullets facing forwards. One motion undid the flap and allowed me to grip the magazine and free it from its constraint. The magazine sits against my forearm and in my palm. This configuration makes reloading rapid and intuitive.

Beyond Comfort

It’s August as I type this, and I’m in Florida. As you’d imagine, it’s hot. As such, I gained an appreciation for the minimalist design. It keeps you cool and comfortable. The Firebase Parabellum itself is extremely lightweight and comes equipped with a set of robust shoulder straps. They are also lightweight and vented for increased comfort.

The setup is also incredibly adjustable. I’m a big dude, but the kit adjusts plenty to fit me. It could be adjusted for an even bigger dude if necessary. The entire setup is quite comfortable, and I’m not surprised after using the Vertx Commuter for so long.

The Firebase Parabellum is an exceptionally well-made rig that offers a high degree of modularity. If you already have the chest rig of your dreams, then this might not appeal to you. If you’ve always wanted a modern bandolier, maybe the Firebase Parabellum is for you. They also make a PCC variant I’m promptly ordering cause I need both in my closet. If you’re like me, click here to check it out.

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.