1B9 Evolution - 1st Line Gear
Updated: Jun 20, 2021
SEAL Team continues to provide viewers across the globe with action, suspense and for me a chance to add to the list, more and more tactical equipment that Bravo employs for identification. Bravo uses modern, tactically designed and robustly proven equipment and weapons whenever deployed, keeping updated with the ever changing tactical market and ensuring that the Tier 1 operators are equipped with the best. My previous blog SEAL Team - Behind the kit - Belts, covered in detail the manufacturers, models and uses of Bravos belts across the first three seasons. So what are the 'Lines' we talk about, how are they linked to belts, why should I care about belts and what's the advantage of using a 1st Line?
1st Line - belts, holsters, medkits - everything needed to stay alive if separated from plate carrier or rucksack...
2nd Line - plate carrier, armour, ammunition pouches...
3rd Line - rucksacks, other tactical equipment...
As echoed in my other blogs, each of the teams' 1st Line kit is personal. It's designed and equipped by each man to suit their needs, which do change between operations. In the majority of instances, the team don't overload their belts with pouches and attached equipment, rather, they utilise a number of streamlined necessary pouches, that are near similar to the other members of the team.
This blog is written around the screen accurate recreation of the 1st Line gear used by 1B9 (Jason Hayes). There were a large number of HD reference images used from promotional videos / trailers from the show from across the first three seasons and I used those to identify and collate all of the components of the 1st Line gear used to write this blog. Obviously pouches get moved, a coyote medikit pouch is swapped for a multicam version etc, but I have tried to be true to the original.
The above images of Hayes were some of those used to build the 1st Line. Having collected all of the relevant parts, and piecing them together it was time to write. As shown in the image below, now complete and laid on the floor there are minimal gaps between pouches. Once worn however, there are MOLLE spaces and gaps between pouches allowing movement which further ensure that the pouches don't snag on each other. Whilst minimal, the 1st Line is practical with ammunition pouches, secondary weapon and medical kit (albeit at the moment looking too clean!)
The photo below is an 'exploded' visualisation of the belt, pouches and ancillaries to illustrate the different components.
The sections below break down the individual components nearly all of which are real steel. I've added a summary about the item and links to where you can purchase them.
Yates 463D CQB Belt 1/75" in Terra
The Yates 463D CQB Riggers belt used by Bravo is a genuine mil-spec belt that provides safety to the operator as it's specifically designed for use in combination with the Personal Retention Lanyard (PRL), predominantly used for helo operations. The belt whilst providing rigidity to the outer belt cover, is designed to deal with large force, notably 4000 lbf (18kN) for the buckle and 5000 lbf (22kN) for the D-ring. The D-ring provides a strong connection point for the PRL. The Cobra buckle itself is manufactured by AUSTRIALPIN and is comprised of 7075 grade aluminium alloy, stainless steel adjuster and high grade rivets. The belt is dual layer Type 13 webbing providing strength and security to the belt. The belt is a very tight fit through the belt outer cover and takes some patience and care to not damage any of the stitching.
This is now my go to riggers belt and I use this on a number of setups. It's been extremely reliable and the secured buckle ensures that whenever used it won't fail me.
Belt Outer Cover
Crye Precision Gen 1 MRB (Modular Riggers Belt) in Ranger Green
The belt outer covers used by Bravo vary in colour between Ranger Green, AOR1 and Multicam and are the original Gen 1 MRB variant. The covers feature MOLLE compatible space onto which pouches, holsters etc. can be attached. The cover is lightweight by itself. The outer cover on the inside features velcro that runs the entire length which can be mated with the Crye Precision inner velcro belt (once threaded through trouser loop holes) to provide a stable and secure belt that won't move.
Whilst Hayes predominantly utilises a Multicam outer, he has been seen in a couple of episodes using a Ranger Green version which is what I've based this build on. Further to this the Ranger Green material works well when paired with AOR2 material. MRB Gen 1's are available on marketplaces although they only pop up every so often and the harder to get sizes (generally Small) are rarer.
Available on real steel marketplaces.
Personal Retention Lanyard
Yates 566 Extraction / Personal Retention Lanyard (PRL) in Terra
The PRL is designed for those who operate in and around aircraft, specifically helos. The PRLs main function is to provide 2 connection points; 1 on the operator (onto Mil-spec belt) and 1 on the helo which once connected together provide a lifeline that'll prevent the operator falling out from the helo preventing injury or death. The lanyard is rated at 4275 lbf (19 kN) and the Kong Tango hook is rated at 7425 lbf (33 kN). The KT hook is simple and easy to use and being double locking (requiring two points of pressure to release), this ensures that the hook won't become unfastened by accident and it'll remain securely attached.
In the episode 'The Graveyard of Empires' the PRL was likely what saved Hayes and the others in the team from falling out of the spinning helo hit by the RPG. Whilst not having used this practically, the reviews and studies undertaken on the craftmanship and quality of Yates gear massively reassures me. Predominantly the KT hook is connected to the vertical loop on the MRB, however on a few occasions, a carabiner has been attached to the vertical loop and the KT hook then connected to that carabiner, likely for ease and speed of connecting / disconnecting the KT hook.
BroTree 12KN Carabiner Tactical Black
The BroTree 12KN carabiner is a mil-spec carabiner designed to deal with static weight (approx 2600 lbs). Manufactured from 7075 grade aluminium it's lightweight and sturdy. On this belt it's used primarily as an attachment point for the chemlights, however it can also be used as the PRL hook connection point for ease.
The carabiner used by Hayes is hard to specifically identify and being small does not show well in images, therefore from looking at multiple images the BroTree matches the size and shape (but may not be the actual manufacturer used). Some further work to be undertaken to remove the markings and dull the shiny metal.
Available on real steel marketplaces.
Cyalume ChemLight (Gen issue) NSN 6260-01-282-7630 Orange
The Chemlights used by Bravo are the shorter 4" variant instead of 6" and have been wrapped in Ranger Green tape to lower the emitted light once broken and provide extra security to prevent accidental snapping or damage. The Chemlights are bound together using a coyote brown bungee cord allowing them to be hung off of the carabiner.
A number of the team including Hayes carry Chemlights through the seasons and in a few episodes they've proved invaluable. The 4" variants likely chosen to reduce weight (albeit small) and being compact.
Available on real steel marketplaces.
AOR1 M4 Single Magazine Pouch
Hayes favours an AOR1 single magazine pouch on his belt as do a number of the team. Designed to fit one M4 mag, it can be modified to fit 2 if needed.
The pouch used is believed to be the Crye Precision / Eagle Industries pouch however these are virtually non-existent and therefore a replacement pouch was used as a stand in (for now).
Reproductions available on marketplaces.
Crye Precision Smart Pouch Suite (SPS) - Frag pouch - MultiCam
The Frag pouch as the name suggests can be used for pyrotechnics (frag, smoke, flash) or to store other pieces of small equipment. The horizontal drawstring enables it to be tightened to stop anything falling out and the buckle clip on the flap can be tightened or loosened depending on the height of the object inside.
Crye Precision Smart Pouch Suite (SPS) - 5.56/7.62/MBITR Pouch - MultiCam
Standard magazine pouch seen used by the team, it's adaptable hence it's usage for mixed calibre magazines. Two standard 5.56 magazines or one standard 7.62 magazine can fit easily and with the horizontal drawstring, again aids in stopping anything falling out.
Medic Blowout pouch
LBT (London Bridge Trading) Small Blow-Out Kit Pouch in Coyote Brown (LBT-9022B-T)
The LBT medic pouch is made from strengthened and durable material which provides both rigidity and resistance to scratches or scrapes if caught on objects. Interior space enables the user to store a number of CAT tourniquets and 1st Line response equipment inside, which are accessible by pulling the aircraft cable quick release strap.
The team generally always have a Medikit fitted to their 1st Lines and the striking LBT identifying label does help to ID it when used. Medikits are also swapped for different colour variants through the seasons depending on environments.
Available at London Bridge Trading.
Holster Extender & Gear Retention Track
S&S Precision Holster Extender (HE) with Gear Retention Track (GRT)
The HE attaches to both the MRB and the GRT. The purpose of the HE is to enable the holster to be dropped an additional 0.5" > 3" from the belt line. It further pushes the holster 20 mm away from the body. The HE ensures that the adjustable holster fits the operators requirements and clears the holster and weapon being drawn from overhanging pouches or plate carrier side plates. The GRT fitting onto the MRB provides a MOLLE compatible fixing point for a number of other items including; HE, SMR (Skeletonized Magazine Retention), WeaponLink etc.
The HE & GRT were previously reviewed in the following blog HE & GRT here.
Safariland 6378 ALS for Glk 19 Tac Black RH - wrapped in Gearskin Multicam
The 6378 holster accommodates the Glock 19 (a Bravo favourite) and the Glock 26 comfortably. As per Bravo standard, this kit has been wrapped in the Gearskin Multicam wrap.
Hayes uses both the 6378 and the 6354 holsters, my personal preference was for the 6378. Additionally his holsters have been wrapped in Multicam and AOR1 pattern material, again my preference was for Multicam. The front and side screws are generally sprayed in a tan colour, however one image shows the screws fitted left black which in my opinion does look good.
Thoughts and opinion
1st Line kit is important to get right. Overload the belt and you'll struggle to find the right pouch in the middle of a firefight, under utilise it, and well, is it worth fitting a belt to yourself with only 1 or 2 pouches on it? It's important to think about what you actually might need to continue the fight if you lose your plate carrier or rucksack. The 1st Line kit is an entirely personal choice and the best advice is to try and test different configurations and design it to suit what your style is, what the mission is and what environment you're operating in. Two key factors in my mind are that the gear needs to be lightweight and necessary. Getting this balance right will lead to a comfortable and useful 1st Line.
If you want to start or finish that SEAL Team impression and want to follow the screen accurate route, money needs to be spent. As mentioned in my previous blogs, equipment is not cheap being real steel / military grade equipment. In my honest opinion, if purchasing real steel, be at peace knowing that you will be buying rigorously tested and proven equipment that won't let you down. It further depends on what you're wanting to achieve; screen accurate for looks as a wall hanger or screen accurate for actual usage in the real world?
The next blog will be SEAL Team - Behind the kit - 1st Line where I'll be going into detail around each of the team and a breakdown of their 1st Line gear to help those wanting to recreate a screen accurate setup.
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I am not paid for my blogs by the manufacturers or companies that I purchase my items from. I am not offered freebies to promote a product. These blogs are purely written from my own experience in truth to help advise and inform others who may wish to purchase the items or understand more about them. If I am sent a freebie to review this will be stated at the beginning to make you aware.