This will be the first in a series of reviews on gear that I currently use, or have used. I have spent my own money on this gear, so these reviews will remain unbiased.
I do not have my SMR currently, but some pictures showing the ELOS and GRT will be at the bottom.
The ELOS is a semi-rigid magazine carrier made out of an elastic material. It is super durable, and very quiet. It attaches to both MOLLE and belts via the S&S GRT system. Some may view that as yet another breakable piece, but I have yet to hear of or have any issues with the GRT. This also allows the end user to scale their kit to the mission. The ELOS has built in drainage ports which are very useful even outside of maritime ops. I’ve had sand and dirt cake in around my mag after proning out, but was able to get most of it out easily by utilizing these ports and my finger. The ELOS will also partially collapse when under load, allowing for the utilization of the micro terrain. The ELOS covers a little under half of the inserted mag. This, coupled with the overall build of the pouch lends itself to a good level of retention without making it difficult to draw the mag. The ELOS, like just about every other pouch also comes with a bungee retainer. Personally, I will keep it on the side of the mag or not use it all. This can be a minor pain when you are trying to perform administrative reloads as it may sneak into the pouch without you noticing. If you are like me, you only conduct administrative reloads when there is a lull in the fight. Trying to hand jam mags into a pouch during a firefight is not the best idea. I’ve had no problems using Gen M2 and M3 PMAGs or USGI mags in the ELOS. The ELOS can be doubled up with another ELOS, by placing it either parallel or below the opening of the first. The price is somewhat high, especially when you add the GRT. This is one of those items that requires some thought before you buy it. People in combat arms are not the same when it comes to gear preferences. I like being able to reindex mags with ease, and I don’t like kydex. I like being able to scale my gear to the mission. I don’t like loose cut mag pouches. The ELOS checks off all of the boxes that I want checked off. It has left me completely satisfied at this point, and I don’t see it failing me.
The SMR is rigid polymer magazine carrier. It is made to be as light weight as possible, while being robust. It utilizes the same GRT system as the ELOS, allowing for swapping them based on the mission. The SMR has little material on it, which allows for dirt and debris to come and go. I have only utilized the SMR on my belt and have not had an issue with debris. If you are using it on a plate carrier, I would recommend getting the Dust-E. This will keep most, if not all of the debris out. I know NCOs who will make their soldiers do things to get dirt and debris into their mags when they use pouches like this. Apparently asking a soldier “Why are you using that pouch?” is too hard. I’ve never experienced it, but I do get called high speed. The SMR is a minimalist mag carrier. There is no doubling them up. There is no adjusting the height. It carries a mag, and is not a platform to extra gear on. The SMR allows you to reindex mags with ease. It doesn’t have a bungee, so if that is absolutely necessary than you should consider the ELOS. The SMR can be found online, sold with the belt GRT for the price of your average MOLLE or kydex pouch. So instead of buying another admin or general purpose pouch that you don’t need, get the SMR/GRT combo and try it out. If you don’t like it, just give it to a buddy.
If you’re looking at or choosing a company like S&S, it’s for their smart and innovative approach to common items. They are not for everybody though. Consider all of your options before you start dropping coin. S&S does have a lead time, so know that you may have to shop around online for what you need.