Review: the Crye Precision Modular Pouch aims to be the one MOLLE pouch to rule them all
Can you really use the same pouch for everything?
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Let me get one thing out of the way upfront: this single MOLLE pouch is $75. Welcome to the world of Crye Precision.
Crye was the first premium tactical brand that I became aware of when I first got into gear back in 2014. “Is that real Crye?” became a common phrase whenever someone saw a person who had tactical pants with integrated knee pads or anything that looked like a JPC, so memetic was the Crye design language. I can’t overstate the impact that Caleb Crye, Gregg Thompson, and their gang of designers, textile workers, and engineers have had on the world of tactical nylon. But that comes at a price.
The subject of today’s review, the Crye Precision Modular 152/Bottle/Mag Pouch, looks like a normal Multicam double magazine pouch with the addition of a removable top bungee and side bungees. In nearly every aspect, this seems like charging 7 times the price for the beloved Eagle Industries magazine pouches that you can buy at any military surplus store. But this pouch features more than meets the eye, seeking to provide a one-stop pouch solution for your magazines, radios, small first aid kits, and water bottles, as well as (probably more realistically) logs of dip, energy drinks, and spitter bottles. When you consider that Crye products are also made in the U.S. of top-quality materials, and you look at who chooses to use them, the price starts to make a little bit more sense.
Crye keeps it extremely simple with its packaging in spite of the price tag. The pouch came in a clear plastic bag with a liner card, the pouch, and that’s basically it. The card has some very vague instructions on how to web the pouch onto the standard MOLLE system, how to secure it to their proprietary Adaptive Vest System arm, and how to attach it to an ordinary rigger belt. Other than a tag that reassures you that it’s made of authentic Multicam (which I’d hope, since Crye invented Multicam), that’s it for packaging.
The pouch looks like a slightly longer double magazine pouch with added bungees, with the trademark Crye Precision tapered velcro flap. The entire pouch is made of Cordura and, as an item that units can specifically order for issue, is near-IR safe. The front features a velcro flap closure, a removable top bungee with a velcro patch on one side for retention, a paracord loop behind the flap to retain the other side of the top bungee, and Hypalon MOLLE webbing and straps on the back. On the bottom, there’s a small drainage hole to ensure that if you decide to recreate a Navy SEAL recruiting ad, you won’t be walking around with MOLLE-webbed water balloons.
Setting up the pouch for whatever carrying task you have in mind is a matter of adjusting the lateral bungee for width, and doing a simple change of the top closure method. To set it up as a magazine pouch, you remove the top bungee, which is as easy as removing the front tab from its velcro, and either tucking the flap and the top tab of the front velcro portion inside to go behind the magazines, or closing it over top to function as a closed-top magazine pouch. If you prefer a bungee-type magazine pouch, you can move the velcro panel on the top bungee as far down as is required to provide magazine retention. To set it up for your A/N PRC-152, 148 (God forbid), 163, or whatever other green brick that you’re being issued, you tuck the top flap inside the pouch, and attach the top bungee, which you loop over top of the radio and in between the knobs and connectors, and then tighten accordingly. If you intend to use this pouch with smaller radios like the A/N PRC-153 or for a civilian radio if you’re not using this in a military context, you may have to fill the bottom of the pouch with something to make it not swallow the entire radio whole. Thankfully, Crye does make a shorter pouch that’s better for this purpose, and a little bit more magazine-friendly, as we’ll soon see.
The Hypalon MOLLE webbing on the back is of particular note because, though I’ve seen it used before for removable MOLLE straps, I’ve never personally used pouches that also feature Hypalon as the webbing material to weave against the MOLLE on whatever gear you have. The webbing straps are thinner than their nylon counterparts tend to be, and that makes weaving the MOLLE easier in terms of dealing with slightly out-of-spec MOLLE. It compensates for possible lateral movement by the fact that the Hypalon is very grippy against cloth, which ensures the pouch stays where you put it, provided that you know how to properly web MOLLE.
How we tested the Crye Precision Modular Pouch
I tested every stated purpose of the Crye Precision Modular Pouch and then some, as well as how it attached to various types of MOLLE. Numerous people had pre-warned me that this singular pouch was “the best pouch they’ve ever used,” but I tried to come in with an open mind and a critical eye, because again, this thing costs $75. So I pulled out my tactical gear and began work attaching this pouch.
The MOLLE webbing is very grippy against both the normal MOLLE on my USMC flak and the laser-cut cummerbund of my personal plate carrier and doesn’t seem affected at all by the straps being thinner than normal MOLLE. I don’t have a Crye AVS to test the AVS arm mounting solution, but the belt loop on the back is just the right size for a MCMAP or rigger belt, if you prefer to have a belt-mounted pouch on a non-MOLLE belt. For those of you who use an outer belt that features MOLLE, like I do, you can just use the MOLLE straps for a better and more secure fit.
But first, let me perform a durability test, since the stitching on pouches is always the first point of failure. To test this, I grabbed the velcro flap and forcefully yanked it in every direction, and lifted the entire carrier (weighing 25lbs of plates, full magazines, and nylon, without a full hydration carrier), which it passed. To then add stress, I shook the carrier while suspending it from the pouch flap, which it also passed. I then repeated this test with the rear belt loop and the Hypalon MOLLE webbing on the back of the pouch, which it also passed. Anecdotally, I’ve heard that Hypalon can be stretched out over time and lose its form, but in the relatively short amount of time that I had it to test, I didn’t notice any deformation or stretching.
The most obvious test for the Crye Precision Modular Pouch was to test its capabilities as a radio pouch, since that seems like the primary purpose out of all the various functions advertised. To do so, I used a TCA replica of the A/N PRC-152, which is a functional, realistically weighted replica of the real deal that uses commonly available radio internals. The pouch worked well, and the lateral bungee sits exactly at the point where the body of the PRC-152 narrows, which provides some added security for use in the field. The pouch, when converted to the bungee retention option, allows for access to the top connectors and the function knobs. The only downside that this pouch has when compared to a purpose-built radio pouch, like the Tactical Tailor Fight Light, is that there’s no way to access the front keypad without taking the entire radio out of the pouch, or having to use some kind of universal KDU (Keypad Display Unit) with your ATAK/THS end-user device.
Testing the pouch for use with magazines, I found that it’s flawed in its execution for use with most types of AR-15 or M4 magazines, also known as STANAG magazines. Crye Precision states that one of the capabilities of this pouch is that it can be used as a magazine pouch. It does, but only sort of. The pouch is slightly too tall for STANAG magazines, and even if you fold down the front velcro flap and use Magpul PMAGs, it’s still not easy to retrieve a magazine, especially not with gloves on. Other options, like aluminum GI-style magazines and Daniel Defense 32-rounders were similarly difficult to retrieve quickly. If you’re on the “you see Ivan” train and you use a Kalashnikov-pattern rifle, you might have better luck. Since I don’t have an AK, I tested a Magpul 40-round PMAG, which is a little longer, but it still worked. Crye also claims that this pouch can fit a 7.62 NATO SR-25 or HK417-style magazine, but I don’t have one on hand, and I wouldn’t try that with how deep the pouch is. The verdict here is that for use with 30-round STANAG magazines, this particular pouch isn’t optimal. The shorter modular pouch that Crye makes would likely serve the dual purpose as a radio and magazine pouch a little better.
As a bottle pouch, the Crye Modular Pouch excels, mostly because it’s pretty hard to fuck up a pouch where you put a bottle of whatever. I tested the normal bottles that you’d expect to stick in a pouch, such as a Hydro Flask, 20 ounce soda bottle, Gatorade bottle, or pint-sized water bottle. Additionally, I tested how it would hold things like energy drink cans (it does) and logs of dip (it holds two), as well as seeing if it’ll hold a tall boy of beer.
When I initially previewed this article concept on social media, several people suggested “realistic” pouch tests, fitting their lifestyles. Tim asked if this pouch can hold a 40 of malt liquor, which it cannot, although most Nalgene bottle pouches can. LCpl Roach asked if I can fit an entire bucket of Stoker’s dip in there, which it also cannot, although I know for a damn fact Stoker’s includes a dip can for you to take on the go. Jason asked if it can hold a can of Navy SEAL beer; it can, but the 12 ounce can will drop to the bottom of the pouch and be hard to retrieve, like the magazines. Pint cans only.
What we like about the Crye Precision Modular Pouch
This is a really well-made, well-thought-out pouch that is probably the best velcro-flap pouch on the market at this point in time. Every detail is designed to make this pouch work for you, whatever you throw at it, be it as a radio pouch, magazine pouch, or dip spitter bottle pouch. The use of Hypalon for the MOLLE webbing is another great decision, as it provides extra stability and ease of use when webbing into a MOLLE system. On top of that, you’re not stuck with it as a MOLLE pouch and can easily belt-mount it or use it with a Crye AVS. The flexibility in retention options is great as well, with the options of a top flap or top bungee, which means that you can easily move between different usages or retention options for magazines. Finally, the usage of lateral bungees means that you can accommodate different sizes of radios or bottles.
What we don’t like about the Crye Precision Modular Pouch
This is kind of a case of a pouch that does it all sort of well, and none of it extremely well, and there are some design shortcomings even in what it accomplishes properly. For starters, it lacks a lot of the quality of life features that many dedicated radio pouches have, such as the ability to access a radio keypad easily without removing it from the pouch. This particular pouch is too deep to easily use with M4 magazines, which the vast majority of professional users will be using it for, and tucking the velcro flap in works in that I can do it, but I’d really prefer if there was opposite-side velcro on the inside of either side to be able to fold down the front velcro flap and tuck the top flap in and have it stay there.
This pouch is part of a family of multi-use pouches known as “smart pouches,” and this family features a smaller Modular Pouch. For the serious user who relies on their gear to get the job done, I’d recommend purchasing that smaller version of this as a closed-top magazine pouch over almost any other option on the market. Convincing people to buy a pouch that can cost as much as $95 is going to be the harder option. The truth of the matter is that those “serious users” likely have supply chiefs who can go and order these things for them as part of their unit issue, since the entire Crye catalog is in the U.S General Services Administration catalog, and all items carry NSNs. But if you’re the sort of person who’s seen some MARSOC, Green Beret, or Navy SEAL-type running around with some cool shit and you went “huh, I like that,” then this is a great option for you. It’s quite literally, for my money, the best option for a cloth closed-top velcro magazine pouch, as long as you size it properly for the magazines you’re carrying.
The model number for this pouch is SPS-068-02-000, and the model number for the shorter one that’s better for AR magazines is SPS-067-02-000. This is going to be very important in making sure you pick the proper pouch for the job you want. If you want something more focused on carrying bottles, the A/N PRC-152 radio, or Kalashnikov magazines, this is the better option. If you’re looking to carry STANAG magazines and sometimes a radio, then the smaller one is the better option.
A workaround for being unable to access the keypad while the radio is in the pouch is to fold the velcro flap down in front of the pouch, and hold it in place with the velcro panel of the bungee strap. Then, to access the keypad, you pull the radio up against the bungee to expose the keypad, hit whatever controls you need, and then replace it. It’s an imperfect solution, but it works.
FAQs about the Crye Precision Modular Pouch
More questions? Here’s Task & Purpose’s additional brief.
Q: How much does the Crye Precision Modular Pouch cost?
A: $75 on Amazon. Elsewhere I’ve seen it as low as $53.70, and in other places as high as $94.50.
Q: Where is Crye Precision made?
A: Crye Precision products are made in New York City, which could partially explain some of the cost. But with that cost comes the knowledge that you’re paying American workers to make an American product, and if our comments section is any indication, our readers like that.
Q: Is Crye Precision worth the money?
A: Crye Precision is better than what you’re issued. Full stop. Unless you’re some Tier 1 dude reading this article (in which case, hi, how are you, when is your book coming out?) you probably don’t get issued stuff of this caliber. Their combat uniforms are especially good, being the gold standard to which all other combat uniforms are measured, to the point where the Army had Massif copy them for the Army Combat Pants.
Q: You buy all this Gucci gear, Matt. Are you going to get Cryes for the Marine Corps?
A: Shit, I wish. Anyone wanna give me 900 bucks for a pair of pants?
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Matt Sampson is an 0861 in the Marine Forces Reserve and a Virginia native. In his past life, he worked in tactical gear retail and is an avid firearms enthusiast. The farthest the Marine Corps has sent him from home is Oklahoma.