Chest Rig vs Plate Carrier vs Range Belt? It all depends. How you carry your gear and ammo, and which gear and ammo to carry, is determined almost solely by the context you expect to be fighting in.
Unfortunately, a lot of people new to thinking about bug out or combat scenarios will often spend money on things they don't need–mostly based on marketing and advertisers rather than on common sense.
As with a lot of important decisions, context is king when it comes to what and how you'll carry.
Gearing Up for Long-Haul Carry
I call this the chest rig or "Ranger rack" because I'm able to carry everything I need for scouting, reconnaissance, and long-range missions. These missions might require that I climb up mountains and over obstacles for many miles. I don't want to force myself out of the fight because I carried too much of the wrong stuff.
Gear for the Long Range:
- Rifle with suppressor and longer-range optics.
- Chest carry filled with magazines, survival gear, medical supplies, plus plenty of food and water.
- High quality radio communications and land navigation.
- And of course the everyday carry items of flashlight, knife, etc.
What Not to Carry:
- No pistol (this will simply be dead weight on long distance missions)
- No body armor (this will hurt more than it'll help while traipsing through the woods and mountains)
In this context you'll be working around obstacles such as cars and buildings and corridors, and it's much more likely that you'll be seen by the enemy before you see them.
Gearing Up for Urban Carry:
- Rifle with sights for CQC and suppressor
- Pistol (very useful in close quarters and working around walls)
- Body Armor and helmet
- Of course, plenty of high quality communications, light, knife, food and water
- Chem lights and zip ties also might come in handy here
What Not to Carry:
- You probably won't need your GPS and land navigation
- You can cut back on your survival gear and bug spray
Obviously for the range you’re moving more quickly and the important factor is speed and comfort.
For this application, you can usually get by with a minimal amount of gear.
Gearing Up for the Range:
- A quality gear belt is probably a must.
- Sturdy gloves for grip and when the gun gets hot.
- A choice of rifles and pistols based on the types of drills.
- Comfortable clothing
What not to Bring:
- Leave your ego at home
Whatever gear you choose, remember to Train Hard. Train Smart. Use common sense about all these gear options out there.