This interesting take on a no flap mag pouch was designed by DownEast Inc. and is being distributed by ITW Military Products. The main idea is to hold 1, 30 round NATO magazine securely with no flaps or straps. The core design is 2 pieces of high-impact resistant polymer that are snapped together at the bottom.
This creates a wedge effect on the opening where the FASTMAG can be bent to open, but will keep constant pressure on your mag. The material is made from similar goodness the MOLLE frame is made of which is very strong, temperature resistant, and reasonably flexible. If shot or destroyed the polymer has anti-fragmentation qualities as well and will not turn into shrapnel. For additional pressure, an elastic band wraps around the exterior, which can be removed for easier magazine removal. To enhance the grip, 2 rubber-like friction pads are inside the pouch with 1 on each side. The core snap connection has a dual purpose in which they are also snaps for the PALS straps. Although these are not made to weave, they will allow the FASTMAG to be placed on any PALS webbing equipped gear. At the top are 2 PALS stabilizer tabs to keep pouch movement low when twisting and using the FASTMAG. When mounting the pouch, first the tabs are inserted under the PALS, then the straps are routed to the snaps at the bottom. The tabs do a good job at keeping the FASTMAG stable on your kit, but also can make the magazines a little harder to grab onto since so close to one's body. If this is the case, you can still securely attach with PALS straps only. Thing will be a little more floppy, but easier to get a grab onto the mag.
Now the thing that makes the FASTMAG cool to me it that it can be mounted upside-down. The grip is strong enough where one can do plenty of vigorous activities without the magazine inside shifting or falling out. For those who like a little backup or are doing airborne operations, a shock-cord and pull tab "jump" strap is included to further make sure your mag doesn't go anywhere. When the strap is not in use, the back- bottom of the FASTMAG seems to be the optimal place to store it.
When using the FASTMAG one should grab the magazine inside and give a horizontal twist while yanking out with authority. The twist causes the friction pads to be pushed away from the magazine to allow an easier release. I find the upside-down mounting direction to be the fastest since it requires less wrist movement to grab onto the magazine. Effective mounting areas include the lower chest / sides, belt, and droplegs, but other users may find other mounts useful as well.
For those in the know, you are probably asking "What does this do that a Kydex mag pouch doesn't?". Well the main thing is that is has enough grip and friction to allow upside-down mounting. Next, the friction and grip possibilities are more varied. Kydex pouches may have a tension screw if you are lucky, but one can tweak their FASTMAG further by using different elastic band strengths. A super tight kydex is just stuck super tight, a FASTMAG can have friction temporarily decreased when twisting the magazine out. Open top Kydex pouches also typically never come with a jump strap. Lastly, the FASTMAG polymer is much more temperature resistant than Kydex which can be negatively affected by extreme temperatures.
As for the size, the FASTMAG is a little bulky and one can only fit 3 pouches where they could put 4 typical mag pouches. This noted, only 1 or 2 FASTMAGS were intended to be used at one time when designed. As seen practiced by Special Forces units, having an easily accessible magazine amongst the normal pouches can increase battlefield effectiveness. The normal pouches are used for the bulk when behind cover, but when the shit hits the fan, the FASTMAG will give the speed advantage.
I will keep beating up on mine and keep you folks updated. The design at the moment only works on NATO 30 round magazines and kind of works with 2 double stack pistol magazines. The pistol mags are more of a note that they just happen to fit and are not particularly easy to extract out of the FASTMAG. AK magazines are too thick to fit and M-14 mags are too wide. If I were to change something, it would be having a built in wedge/slant to the back that would slightly push the magazine away from the user's body. This would allow for more hand room and thus an easier grab when using the PAL stabilizer tabs. Be sure and check out my video demo:<FASTMAG DEMO>
Design notes: <www.downeastinc.com/FASTmag/FASTmag.html>