Ronin 4+3 harness (see review) and various other belt based pod haulers.
Spyder Imagine, 20oz, 3A 16" bbl, BSA 30mm red dot sight. Blackpoint (Jet City Specialties) Offset Sightrail. Stock bolt
PMI TTracer pump, Thunderpig springs, Stock except Palmers Pursuit ported my stock bbl, and went thru it for me.
Low Cost, Quality Materials. Small Profile, Suspender Hooks
Poor Engineering, and a lack of forethought cripples what could be an outstanding product.
After playing for a while with my Ronin 4+3, I decided I wanted to have the option to go with a remote setup, and also to drop a bit of the bulk I was carrying with my 4+3 Ronin Harness. I almost never carry the extra 3 tubes, because it is almost imposible to get a pod back into the elastic loops while your wearing it anyway, so why not go with a 4+1 and rig out a remote?
OK.... So after reading all the reviews I could find, and asking everybody I could find that was wearing one what they thought of this unit, I went ahead and bid on one from II Sports thru EBAY. Funny thing is, they were out of stock at II Sports for several days after I won the bid. (gee isn't a company not supposed to post auctions on items they do not currently have stock on)?
Anyway after they finally send the thing to me I am amazed. Not because they screwed up my order again (said they shipped my 30 day back ordered suspenders but forgot to put them in the box ). I mean after dealing with II Sports for this long on different items and issues, I pretty much expect them to screw up on the order, or have a backorder problem, or some other small but significantly annoying problem.
No I was amazed at how well made this unit was, and yet, how poorly designed (or poorly executed) the design was. Wow, a nice low profile 4/140 harness with a center bottle holder.... man, life should be good now!
Alas it is not..... I keep hoping that I will be able to report that a product they (II Sports) ships me is going to please me to no end. They have yet to be able to perform this even once. (ok, my smoke 140ball pods work as advertised, but other than that......)
Now before you start hammerning me about this I will tell you right up front. I do not expect the quality and workmanship of a $70 harness for $20... but for the most part, I am amazed because that is exactly what I have gotten. The harness is sturdy, and the pod holders are of the keep open stiff design. Bravo Ronin! I check the stitching and at least on this example I find no obvious defects in workmanship, (unlike my Ronin 4+3 which started loosing Velcro off the pod holder closures on the very first day ) Again Bravo Ronin! Excellent craftsmanship!
But this harness suffers from products built by factories or designed by engineers that are CHEAP SOB'S. Why would I say such a thing? Simple. After taking a look at this harness I can see that they tried to save a few cents by only putting about 1.5" of Velcro on the straps that hold the CO2 bottle in. This means that you can not adequately cinch the bottle into the pocket because they also scrimped maybe another 6 cents worth of Velcro pile on the pocket front itself. This means that the straps only loosely fit across the top of the bottle allowing it to wobble and bounce in the pocket.
While I found the vertical bottle pocket big enough to hold a 20oz CO2 bottle with probably an inch of slack around the bottle, in a one size fits all world, it is a poor fit. I will admit that they have tried to improve this, by adding the horizontal straps that go over the outside of the pocket (though difficult to tighten) these at least helped to marginally stabilize the bottle.
Alas these straps also cause a problem since they lay right where the Velcro tabs should hit the currently non existent Velcro pile material. This problem could be fixed either by adding more Velcro Pile material on the outside of the bottle pocket, or even more cheaply (are you listening Ronin factory?) by adding a couple more inches of Velcro HOOK on the bottoms of the straps. Man, don't you guys test your gear before you put a Design into production?
This design defect could almost be overlooked if it were not for the second glaring example of trying to shave a nickel and that is the waist strap. Instead of the wonderful wide, comfortable and stable Velcro rig of the 4+3, they went with a big plastic snap style buckle that digs into your gut when you try and get behind a bunker!
For crying out loud people!!!! You are selling to AMERICANS, You know... land of the Big Mac and Super-size everything! This waist strap can barely and I mean barely make it around my 38" waist, and the thing has to ride under my gut (yea I got a gut, you would have one too if you review beer for a living!) Come on! How much would an extra 6" of strap cost you?
The unit has none of the wonderful Velcro and Elastic adjustments of their 4+3, No lumbar support and as far as I have found, none of the nifty key pockets accessory pockets, or squeegee loops you find on the 4+3. Someone said it will fit up to a size 42, well maybe his will, but I assure you, this one will not even comfortably fit on a 38 waist.
Now to it's credit, yes this is a smaller unit, and does not have room for ALL of those nifty things, but This unit has none of them. It does have the attachments for a set of load bearing suspenders to help distribute and stabilize the load, but since they can not seem to ship those things to me I can't really include them in the review.
As for all this malarkey about the Ronin Gear Logo patch on the thing, come on!!! Get a Life! All I see is people running around with Jersey's and T'Shirts with logos and company names plastered all over them, and almost every mask I see has the company name if not their logo emblazoned on the strap! So Ronin gets hammered because they do it too? It ain't that cheesy and looks better than a bunch of the stuff I see on people most any day. Get Over It!
Since It comes with 4ea of their 100 round pods I guess I should say it has even more value for the dollar spent. But these pods are very very cheep pods and the construction indicates they would be better used in camp to top off your hopper before going out instead of in the field where you might actually be under some pressure and forget to treat them with kid gloves.
OK, My final thoughts on this are this.
For a $20 harness it is a really good value. For $0.25 more it could have been an outstanding one!
Quality of workmanship on my unit at date of receipt: 10
Design functionality: 8
Execution of the design: 5
Overall Value for the money spent:10
So after hammering it for all this time the Ronin 4+1 harness itself gets an overall score of 8.
But since the largest single distributor of this product seems to be II Sports the best I can give them is a 6, (for choosing II Sports as their Dealer/Distributor). This company has some of the worst luck with all things customer related.
By the Way II Sports......where is the replacement for my defective Slide Check Bleed Valve I sent you 10 days ago? Why did I have to pay shipping to return to you a defective item YOU sold me? Did I mention the suspenders?
6 out of 10
Last edited on Monday, April 26th, 2004 at 12:07 am PST
I know how you feel about the II Sports man. I've had tons of problems with them. My friends have too. My friend ordered a black rebel and they sent a blue one. PLUS, it was free 2 day shipping. It took 3 weeks....
Also, I sent my Regulator back because it was the wrong color also. They are obviously color blind. They have lots of paintball gear, just not enough costumer support....