There are far too many fans of the Soviet Saturday Night Special for our taste around here. Next thing you know, they’ll be driving Trabants and watching FPS Russia on Youtube. Thankfully these also work with AR mags. Mad Duo
Raven Moduloader Review
Often the greatest innovations occur when two companies that produce very different products come together in joint projects. One such innovation is the combination of HSGI’s excellent Taco pouch and Raven Concealment’s Moduloader frame.
HSGI is renowned for making some of the most well designed and durable load carrying solutions in the nylon market. Raven Concealment (or the Wizards of Kydex as I refer to them) produces holsters that surpass anything that’s ever held a blaster. I’ve spent many a hard earned below-the-poverty-line dollar on both companies’ excellent offerings. I swear by Raven’s Phantom line of holsters and the Taco series by HSGI. The perfect storm of Raven and HSGI has produced the Moduloader mounted Taco, and this product is something that should appeal to everyone from the casual shooter to combat infantrymen.
I came across the Moduloader/Taco combination during my eternal quest for a better way to carry AK series magazines. The harsh curvature of the AK magazine does not fit well in anything designed for other platforms or modern carry methods. There is a reason the Russians still overwhelmingly use flapped pouches for AK mags: the magazine is best retained with a flap. However, flapped pouches are slow to reload from and use more material, which translates into more weight. I’ve used about every option for AK mags on the market and have modified others, all in an attempt to find something that reloads faster than flapped pouches but still retains adequate retention. Flapped pouches were a non-starter for me so I moved to open-top solutions. However, there are few purpose-designed AK mag open-top pouches on the market. This led me to use 7.62 NATO-issue pouches, with unsatisfactory results.
After spending a depressing amount of money on this crusade I came across HSGI’s Taco. I found in the Taco an open-top pouch that not only fits AK mags, but doesn’t need a bungee and pull tab to provide adequate retention. To compound these positive features the Taco also allows the user to switch platforms without changing pouches. The second generation Tacos also introduced a different outer lip that allowed the locking tab on AK mags to insert into the pouch easier.
However, there were down sides to the Taco. Mounting them to a platform was rather frustrating (needle nose pliers and flathead screwdrivers aren’t necessary when mounting other MOLLE-compatible pouches). And when using AK mags the magazine leans away from the platform. This outboard lean causes snagging. The only time this did not happen was when Tacos were mounted to a platform that had structure to it such as armor carriers or war belts.
That lean/snagging issue pushed me away from the Tacos. I found myself frustrated with other options I tried and wished I could find a solution to mount Tacos without having to use a plate carrier or war belt. The Taco was by far the best multi platform and, more importantly to me, the best AK pouch I had ever used.
Raven Saves the Day
When Raven began advertising their new Moduloader frames I thought they might be on to something. The Moduloader was a simple frame that mated to a Taco and allowed direct belt carrying capability. I found this to be superior to having to use a full blown war belt to carry a few magazines. The model I selected was the Five Finger frame which is sized to mount two rifle size Tacos. I chose the paddle option as it allowed the Moduloader to be quickly taken on and off the belt. I added two double decker Tacos so I could carry two pistol and two rifle mags. The frames arrived without the second paddle mount, and true to Raven customer service they sent another paddle mount within a few days.
Assembly is easy as Raven provides a brutally simple diagram that even a PFC could follow. One thing of note is to make sure you test fit the whole frame and Tacos before applying Loctite for final assembly. On my Moduloader I mounted the pouches to the lower portion rather than high ride to clear other equipment.
Abusing the Moduloader
As soon as I trained with the Moduloader I knew it fit the intended role. It provided a mounting solution for Tacos that kept the mags from leaning. The Moduloader also felt very compact. When rolling or getting into different positions on the ground it did not feel like I had four magazines on my hip. I was also pleasantly surprised at how rugged the Moduloader frame was. Early in testing I would absentmindedly drop into positions that, had been thinking about it, I would have avoided for fear of snapping the frame. My fears were misplaced, as the frame always held. Another concern was that the paddle attachment would work its way loose during movement. But the paddle never came loose (and almost takes too much effort to remove). The Moduloader also does not interfere in the low ride height with other platforms such as chest rigs. If using side plates I would however recommend using the subload frame option.
The Moduloader/Taco combination does everything I need it to. It provides a multiplatform magazine carriage method perfect for those who don’t use a chest rig, plate carrier or war belt. For AK users it provides a perfect belt-mounted, open-top option. An example of this product’s usefulness: during a range session last summer I invited a friend who collects Combloc weapons. I had been running a Tavor and Glock 17, and my Tacos held Pmags and G17 plus-two mags. Later in the day we switched to AKs and TT33 pistols. To transition from 5.56mm and double stack 9mm to 7.62x39mm and single stack 7.62x25mm, all I had to do was insert the new magazines. This is where Tacos and Moduloaders truly shine. You would be hard pressed to find another product that can so seamlessly transition between platforms.
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About the Author: Sean “Groz” Burke is a former Assault Section Leader in the Marine Corps infantry with combat deployments to assorted sunny Middle Eastern and African locations. During his tenure as a gyrene many doors were kicked, gates blown and people’s days excessively ruined. During these deployments Sean often instructed the use of foreign weapon systems, helped his command understand the armament capabilities of the enemy and was his unit’s resident “terp wrangler.” He attended numerous PME schools, including Sensitive Site Exploitation and the Iraqi Arabic and Culture Course. After departing the Marine Corps Sean graduated Temple University with a degree in history and is now (no shit) a high school teacher. When not teaching he continues to compulsively study foreign weapon systems, world affairs and foreign policy. Groz is one of the biggest geardos the Mad Duo knows (which is really saying something). He is a wealth of information regarding al things Cordura, Steel and COMBLOC.
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