Bucking the Trend
- Monday, 09 July 2018
The Flying Cornishman reviews the Paladin Apex Modular Rig (AMR).
Before I go into detail about the AMR I thought it would probably be worth giving you an insight into my kit and why I’ve fallen in love with The Paladin Apex Modular Rig.
When it comes to my stalking gear I’ve tried to streamline what I carry over the years, I’ve not rushed out to buy the latest and greatest shiny bit of kit, but instead carefully chosen practical pieces with a genuine function rather than a gimmick.
After several variations of stalking bags I’ve found myself using more and more military type kit, which these days is fairly cheap and easy to get your hands on due to the civilian market, I guess overweight adults running around playing airsoft does serve a purpose after all…
My current setup is a simple webbing belt with a few pouches to carry my first aid kit, tools for gralloching and spare ammunition. I now also wear a ‘bino bra’ as I call them, after getting sick of policing my swinging binos like a pair of unruly goat’s testicles every time I duck under branches to get closer to my quarry.
(Above: 'The rig turns into a 'Bino Bra on steroids!')
It was on a recent trip to Spartan Precision HQ where Rob Gearing (Mr G.) and I found ourselves in the now increasingly common scenario of ‘geeking’ out over the gear we like to use. Mr G like myself is all about functionality, if it doesn’t work or doesn’t serve a purpose then why carry it!?
Over a large tumbler of G&T whilst stood admiring the brand new Spartan Sentinel Tripod, I was presented with Mr G’s spare Paladin Apex Modular Rig as a gift and told to “give Matt March a shout, he’s a great guy with great kit”.
So on my drive into work one morning I jumped on a call with Matt (who’s based in Australia) and picked his brain about the rig before trying it out myself the following weekend at The Capreolus Club’s Long Range Day.
The rig itself has two primary functions, the first in the form of balanced load bearing and the second it’s hard wearing and quality made Reflex™ Quick Release System (RQR).
This system allows for a rifle, shotgun, bow, camera tripod (I’ve even seen a chainsaw strapped up!) to be vertically secured to the users back using two sturdy Velcro straps and the RQR system. Allowing it’s user to go hands and shoulder strap free whilst approaching a hunting position.
The main application for British Stalkers for this function would of course be when stalking on the hill or during extraction. There is of course the ability to use this on low lands and woodland settings, but in the later there may not be room to move quietly and effectively under a tight woodland setting.
(Above/left: The Rig is superb for those that hunt in inaccessible places)
I did however think back to my youth on the farm when the inevitable scenario would arise, I’ve taken an air rifle or .22lr and this is more of a shotgun job, or vice versa. The Paladin rig would of course see an end to this conundrum, something which may have further application for game keepers or someone doing vermin control on foot.
Equally I think the rig would really lend itself to fishing, either fly or more along the lines of what I’m used to, off the rocks of the Cornish coastline into the sea. It certainly goes without saying that the Paladin AMR would be perfect if one were attempting the Macnab.
The back panel can also take a 2 litre water bladder making it perfect for those hunts where you’ll need to keep your fluid intake up.
If you’re not into the idea of using the rig to carry your rifle the entire back panel comes off and with the extra webbing straps provided the rig turns into a ‘bino bra’ on steroids. With enough pouches for most of your gear, including a healthy sized front utility pouch for items like a first aid kit (if you don’t already carry a decent first aid kit you really need to!), spare ammunition, and much more using the additional side pockets that attach to the webbing straps.
The rig also boasts a magnetically closing pouch for your binos in the traditional chest area complete with bungees for attachment, as well as pouches either side for a phone, range finder or GPS (for those of you that struggle to find your way around the British countryside in low light).
Now at this point I can understand some of you may be shying away from the idea for fear of looking like a “weekend warrior”, but lets be realistic, we venture out at first and last light and I would image most of you wear practical trousers and jackets in dull colours, or in some cases camo with binos, a rifle and some form of bag- this rig really isn’t much more of a stretch from that.
When discussing the merits of the rig to a colleague recently he noted that usually when he’s up on the hill with a friend or ghilli, one of them will carry a bag and the other the rifle- but the beauty with this piece of kit is that you can do both without it being a necessity that it’s either one or the other, this is in part due to the way the rig sits on the shoulder allowing the user to address the butt of the rifle or shotgun comfortably without getting in the way.
If you’re into some of the more extreme hunting trips around the world where you need to trek or pack into the hunting or fishing area, you can remove the back panel of the rig, place it in your backpack and wear the chest panel whilst carrying a Bergen style bag on your back. This versatility and practical thinking is testament to Matt’s time spent in the Royal Australian Infantry and his no nonsense approach means that everything on this rig has a practical application.
I spent a good portion of a rainy day in this rig, both on foot and in a high seat and I really can’t say enough good things about it.
It’s hugely practical for a shooter, fisherman or hiker’s needs, sits comfortably on the shoulders and is capable of carrying the lion’s share of your stalking gear in one easy to carry place without having to stuff latex gloves, knives and car keys into trouser leg pockets. It even kept my phone dry through all the rain.
There are a few different packages with these rigs and some even come with a webbing style belt to add even more storage.
A few cons for you in the interests of a balanced review, the AMR bino pouch is made for roof prism binos which are basically the standard type of hunting bino, but you should check that your model fits just to be sure. You do need to make sure your shoulder straps are adjusted correctly so they don’t obstruct you when mounting the rifle or shotgun. You’ll also need to take the rig off to re-mount your firearm of choice once the Reflex Quick Release (RQR) has been deployed, but this is something that’s quickly done with a bit of practice.
Lastly, and here’s the big one, you can’t currently buy them in the UK. However you can contact Paladin directly and they will work to get you what you require, you’ll just need to save some change for the shipping charges.
The Paladin website also has all the info you could ever want on the rig itself with a comprehensive manual for all the AMR configurations.
I think this piece of kit certainly delivers on Paladin’s mission statement “to empower our customers to go further, faster and harder to reach their objective” and I look forward to really putting it through it’s paces this year as I head out on my own as part of the ‘Capreolus Club PLUS’ scheme.
We look forward to more reviews in the coming months.
In the mean time to read more from the 'Flying Cornishman' follow this link: a-driven-bird-first