SEAL Team - Behind the kit - Low Profile Gear
SEAL Teams are taught to operate overtly and covertly. The overt posture in SEAL Team sees Bravo; infiltrating via HAHO onto a mountainous landing zone, conducting sub-surface entries to maritime targets or trekking through the harsh jungle environment to their objective. Their second posture, covert, requires the team to; operate with less kit and equipment, work close to targets and be reliant upon continuous accurate intelligence to allow them to take out a target in a densely populated area, snatch an HVT from a busy market or conduct reconnaissance against a hostile force in broad daylight. The low profile gear fits neatly between the two postures, whereby a level of kit and equipment is needed such as armour, magazine carry capacity and comms but with the trade off of no dense impactive armour or ability to carry additional equipment.
Across the 3 seasons Bravo do deploy in covert roles in Europe and across the globe facing a number of threats. Whilst these factors vary, Bravos equipment changes little. Again proven gear battle tested, refined and suited for each operator means that their low profile gear remains consistent. Devoid of any insignias or identifying patches and wearing civilian clothing the low profile criteria is somewhat met. The objective is to be the grey man, to blend in and when the time is right, strike.
With the kit and equipment used being low profile and lightweight in nature, there are only a few manufacturers used, namely;
Concealable Body Armour (CBA)
The use of CBA was only seen once in Season 1 Episode 8 'The Exchange' and the manufacturer and subsequent line was identified as the Crye Precision LVS. There are a number of manufactured versions, however the two variants used by Bravo are the LVS Base Vest Patrol Cut (BVPC) in 'gray' and the LVS Overt Cover (Mag Pouch) (OC) in black. Both are lightweight, breathable and can be adapted if required.
Soft 3D forming technology matches contours of body
No external carrier required
Adaptable as allows ancillaries to be added
2 built-in pockets (fitting; radio, rifle mag, pistol, pistol mags)
Anti-microbial fabrics used
Certified NIJ-0101.06 Tpye IIIA
The LVS BVPC is near identical to the standard LVS Base Vest, however the front panel of the BVPC is cut to allow greater mobility. When viewing the second image below of Ray, the subtle plate shape and cut underneath the straps clearly identifies is as the BVPC variant. In addition to Ray, Trent also wears the BVPC and of note is that when worn, they both utilise the Spiritus System Mk4 Micro Fight Chassis instead of using the built in pouches under the arms to carry any magazines or equipment.
Integrated mag pouch for 3x 5.56 magazines
Can fit rifle plates / concealable plates
Large velcro patch at front and rear
The LVS OC as mentioned above does allow the wearer to carry 3x 5.56 magazines however, plates are separate and additional pouches are required for the radios. Jason, Sonny and Brock all utilise the LVS OC. Additionally they use the Crye Precision 5.56/7.62/MBITR pouch in black for carrying their AN/PRC-148 MBITR.
Whilst the two CBAs are important items of equipment, strangely their use is overlooked even when Bravo are deployed to other high risk environments in a low profile role. This was potentially down to an editorial decision such as not wanting the CBA to be a distraction for the cast or viewer. If anything, their inclusion added a layer of realism.
Micro Chest Rig (MCR)
The MCRs used by Bravo across the episodes when in a low profile role are those manufactured by Spiritus Systems and are the Micro Fight Chassis Mk4s in Wolf Grey. MCRs are designed to be lightweight and configurable for a multitude of requirements. Throughout the 3 seasons, the format changes minimally, with the only noticeable thing being the colour variants used in season 1.
The Spiritus System Micro Fight Chassis Mk4 forms the basis on which all of the low profile modifiable platforms are built. At its core are 7 key components;
The chassis is able to fit 6x 5.56 magazines and being versatile can be configured in a number of ways i.e. magazines at rear, 40mm grenade and pistol magazines at the front etc... Configurability also allows users to add or remove various additional parts such as the SACK or wings.
The wings provide the user with 2 additional pouches that are able to fit radios, magazines and other required equipment. They're attached to the Mk4 using the large velcro pads.
These straps are wider than the standard skinny straps allowing comms aerials or comms cables to be threaded through the elasticated loops. The loops further enable users to attach PTTs / lights. On the rear of the strap is a velcro patch for ID markers. Clips on the front allow fixing to the Mk4 chassis.
The SACK (Sub Abdominal Carrying Kit) is designed for attachment under the Mk4 via a large velcro flap and can be used for medikits, pyrotechnics or can be used as a GP pouch. Features large and small internal pockets. Drainage holes on the bottom allow cord to be threaded through and a tourniquet fixed to it.
The flap is affixed to the inside of the rear pouch of the Mk4 and can be used when the front pouch of the Mk4 is used as a GP pouch preventing equipment falling out.
This strap wraps around the users back and prevents the Mk4 from moving if running.
The inserts are affixed to the interior of the Mk4 and are made using elastic and are available to fit a number of magazine types, typically 3x 5.56 magazines.
As mentioned, with the interchangeable configuration and variety of available pouches, the Mk4 can be modified to suit most scenarios and whilst small in nature, configured correctly you'll never have anything out of arms reach whilst it remains lightweight.
It's only in Season 3 that Bravo first use helmets coupled with their low profile gear.
The standard helmet setup is as follows and is near identical across all of the team;
Black TW cover
Fabric L3Harris Counterweight Pouch
1st Line Gear
When Bravo are deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Season 2 Episode 14 'What appears to be' in low profile gear, the heightened security and high risk environment they're deployed into causes them to further carry 1st Line Gear due to them operating far from a safe location, likely requiring more ammunition capacity and to prep for any helo extractions. This 1st Line Gear used is the standard utilised by Bravo across deployments and was covered in a previous blog 'Seal Team - Behind the kit - 1st Line Gear'.
Yates 463D Cobra CQB Riggers Belt - Terra
Belt cover outer
Crye Precision Modular Riggers Belt (MRB) Gen 1 - Various colours
Crye Precision Smart Pouch Suite (SPS) Frag pouch - Various colours
S&S Precision Gear Retention Track (GRT) Webbing Adapter + Trifecta Connecta - Black /
Safariland 6378 holster - Gearskin wrap various colours
Medical / Life saving
Yates 566 Personal Retention Lanyard (PRL) - Terra
London Bridge Tactical Medikit pouch - Various colours
Carabiner Brotree 12kN - Black
Cyalumes ChemLight 4" - Orange
3rd Line Gear
Bravo sometimes utilise 3rd Line Gear, and only on a couple of occasions whilst using low profile gear have they had the necessity to use backpacks / rucks.
Deployed to Serbia in Season 3 Episode 1 'Welcome to the Refuge' to hunt down a terrorist organisation, Bravo are deployed into an urban environment and therefore need to be light on foot, equipped for a multitude of situations and be able to hold their own for a period of time. The backpacks used by Bravo are the London Bridge Trading (LBT) 14L Day pack - Low vis in Wolf Grey worn by Ray, Sonny and Brock. The 14L Day pack is also seen in black worn by Ray in Season 3 Episode 11 'Siege Protocol: Part 1' when Bravo are deployed to Caracas to rescue American hostages. Zooming in on Ray in the 3rd picture above you can make out the yellow and black LBT label above the exterior bottle pocket.
The packs are as expected lightweight and simplistic ensuring that Bravo can fit all required equipment inside.
Durable 400D Pac cloth
2 front pockets
2 bottle pockets
Padded laptop sleeve inside
Weighs only 1.25 lbs
In addition to the 14L packs used, Brock was also seen in the Caracas episode to be wearing the LBX Titan (3-Day MAP Pack) in Wolf Grey identified by the prominent LBX label on the top right hand side of the pack in the below image.
The larger pack allows the team to carry additional gear, likely medical and breaching equipment.
Velcro panel on front allowing fixture of mag pouch
Laptop storage at rear
Molle webbing loops on sides
Configurable / compartmental interior
Whilst not required all of the time, the 3rd Line Gear has been of use to the team when needed.
Thoughts and opinion
Aside from the overt armour and primary weapon carry, SEAL Teams are also required to operate in low profile gear or covertly. The inclusion of these low profile missions again helps to provide viewers and the eagle eyed to identify new kit and equipment used by Bravo.
Low profile gear has its place, being low profile means being lightweight which is a positive but it's also a major drawback as you're reliant on additional 1st Line Gear or 3rd Line Gear to house the extra ammunition / medical equipment you may require. For short term deployments on specific operations i.e. an HVT snatch etc, a low profile setup will be beneficial, however when running the risk of an op being extended or the environment being a higher risk, avoid. We've all seen Black Hawk Down when the Rangers left behind their Night Vision goggles and we all know what happened...
The low profile gear setup is affordable when looking in the right places and doesn't require many parts to get right, especially if you're wanting to replicate the kit and equipment used by Bravo team. The simple real steel setup does; cost more money, it is superior in regards to manufacturing quality but again it is dependable. I for one know that if ever deploying into any environment in low profile gear, the first thing I'd pack is the CBA...
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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.