The Mil-spec PCS Encounter vest is proof positive good things come for those who wait. Its the PCSH Tactical vest, magnified. Inspired by soldiers who take everything into battle-Can hold up to 11, 140 round pods, 4 spare air cylinders, a high pressure system, one hydration system, six paint grenades, wallet, keys, radios, lenses, and a support belt to help players carry the vest and to keep your belongings in place.
Removable storage compartments
Holds up to 1540 rounds (11x140)
Inner back support accepts hyrdation systems
Heavy duty cordura construction
The Pursuit Combat Sytems (PCS) Encounter Vest is newer, so it should be commonly available, both new and used.
Horizontal Air supply
LOTS of cargo room
Air supply NOT modular, only right handed
Loops on pod containers break easily
True to the manufacturer's blurb about this it is very close to a police/military tactical vest. The base construction of the vest is from a very tight mesh cordura/synthetic canvas mesh. The pockets on the front of the vest (3 grenade, one box w/10 rnd. tube/12gram Co2 shotgun style loops, 2 small utility [roughly about the size of a credit card], 1 radio, one flat box w/ ID window) are re-arrangeable via a very secure dual hook & loop (Velcro) system. Once you place the pockets, they won't go anywhere without a good amount of direct effort. Easy to remove/replace with purpose, not easy to do so accidentally. All aspects of the fit of this vest are adjustable (shoulders, side openings, internal chest keeper) The tank keeper on the back sits at shoulder-blade level and points the opening of the tank to the right and has 3 straps and 2 clamps to keep it in place. The pods sit at the bottom of the vest, in a 5+6 config (5 sit in velcroed holders, 6 in elastic bindings). The vest is kept in place by an internal 6" wide velcro/elastic chest keeper, a zipper closure on the front and (optional, not included) web belt.
The ability to re-arrange the front pockets makes the equipment fit you, not you fit the equipment. Don't like the box on your upper right? Move it to your lower left. This can be done with all the pockets on the front. Adjustments again, make the equipment fit you and not the other way around. The horizontal air supply on the back allows for shorter remote hose reach, keeping brush and such from getting tangled. The pockets allow you to carry just about anything you might need into the field with you. The overall configuration of the vest spreads all weight evenly over your body, allowing you to carry a heavier load comfortably. The heavy fabric won't tear or fray under a good amount of abuse.
The lack of a modular air-supply pocket on the back means those who are left-handed are a little left out. I myself attempted to use my marker left-handed and found that the remote was a little awkward coming from the right side. I broke all 6 loops on the elastic pod holders within 2 hours of play with this product. The heavy construction, while making it durable, does not allow the vest to breathe well. Also, the elastic pod holders make it difficult to replace pods. (Although most players won't need to carry that much paint)
Aside from the tank configuration (which does not affect me as I fire right handed) and the loops on the elastic, this vest perfoms solidly under duress. I didn't loose a single item from the vest (and trust me with what i was crawling through, that is a testament). For these reasons and the modularity I highly reccommend the encounter vest. At the MSRP, you won't find a better built vest with nearly as many features
I won this vest as part of a scenario door prize. I've gotten to take it out a few times into the field. My vest experience prior to this with the Flurry Emissary vest, so I'll be comparing those two for the most part.
The PCS Encounter vest with the mesh base breathes a lot more than the solid Flurry vest. While it is not as cool as running with a pod pack, in warmer weather you can stay cooler with the Encounter than you could with the Flurry.
The Encounter vest and Flurry vest are fully adjustable for people of different sizes, so they are about equal in this field.
The Flurry has a pouch on the back of the vest to accept a hydration bladder for longer games, but as of yet I have not been able to find one in the PCS Encounter vest.
The Flurry is effectively a 4+1 pack with a vest structure. With the two elastic straps, you can max out at 6 pods and one air tank. With the Encounter, you are comfortably at 5+1 and with the elastic straps up to 11 pods and one air tank (6 straps, 5 pod pouches).
The Encounter has more pouches on the front than the flurry, and they are modular. The Flurry has no modularity.
In conclusion, comparing two vests of similar cost, the Encounter is superior due to its modularity, improved breathability, and the ability to carry a larger load into a bigger game. If you have to carry a hydration bladder though, look into Flurry's vest or into one of the Special Ops vests.
Tippmann A-5 with flatline
32 degrees remote
Can carry a large quantity of pods.
Efficient use of space on back.
The smallest size is still kind of large.
Large front pouch jiggles slightly when running.
Here are the things I was looking for in a vest and found in this vest:
-pods on the back(i dont wany any on the front, my preference)
-horizontal air harness(uses space on the back more efficiently this way. more room for vertical pods)
-pouch for radio
-pouch for my camcorder(which my helmet cam records to)
-ability to carry at least 800 rounds(my 68/4500 will last me about 1000 rounds so I want to be able to carry that amount of paint to match. 800 in pods and 200 in hopper)
I had looked at many different vests and this is the only one that met all of those criteria. I was also considering the Flurry Emissary, but the Emissary doesn't use the space as efficiently on the back(vertical air harness) so theres less room for pods, which means I couldn't carry my 800 rounds back there. The PCS vest does not have these issues.
Ive used this vest about 5 times now.
I like that is has a pouch for a camel back bladder. That wasn't really a requirement for me but I will definitely use it(once it gets hotter).
Another plus is that there are some loops near the shoulders that I can run the wires through for my helmet cam and radio so that the wires dont flop around.
Its nice that everything is modular and can be moved around, but I like its current configuration and dont plan on moving stuff around.
The velcro on the large front pouch is placed in such a way that its not entirely tight against the vest, causing it to flop a little bit when i run. Not good since I keep my camcorder for my helmet cam in there. I can probably secure it more tightly with some sewing so new big deal.
The main complaint is that the small is still pretty large. Im 5'9" 140 lbs. Im kind of a small guy, but not tiny. I have the adjustment straps on the side pulled as tight as they will go and its still a little loose. The crappy thing is that they could have easily made it more adjustable, because there is some slack on the nonadjustable side of the straps. If they would have just took up some more of the slack this wouldn't have been an issue.
The price of $100 wasn't great(especially compared to Flurry), but I was still willing to pay it.
Overall Im happy with it. I prefer it compared to any other vest on the market right now. It carries a lot and uses space wisely. If youre as small as me, or smaller, you may want to try one on first. The small size is still a little large.