The INVRT Bandolier From IC13: The Modern Bando

Web gear, chest rigs, load-bearing gear, that MOLLE crap… regardless of what you call it, we all know what it is. It’s the gear you wear on your body to carry your essential gear. For most of us, that’s rifle and pistol mags, an IFAK, and similar tactical gear. For others, it could be a radio, a fire shelter, a flashlight, or general survival gear. Who knows? Today, it isn’t so much about the gear we carry but how we carry it. A company called IC13 aims to add an extra option with the INVRT bandolier. 

I actually have an interesting history with bandoliers. When I was a Marine, I was a machine gunner who often carried belts of ammo. Those don’t fit in a standard magazine pouch. Still, as a Marine, I often had to bring my rifle to every field op and training and conduct both machine gun and rifle training. 

Invrt being worn
The INVRT has enough room for up to three pouches, plus a few extra slots on the top and bottom.

Swapping pouches on my plate carrier or vest was a hassle. Then, I found a modern MOLLE mag pouch that came with a strap for a bandolier, and bam. I just donned it when I had to use my rifle. It became a part of my squad loadout in Afghanistan for those times when I had to switch from machine gun to rifle. Ever since then, I’ve appreciated bandoliers. The INVRT looks to be the most modern bandolier on the market. 

Inside the INVRT 

The INVRT bandolier isn’t made to replace your plate carrier or chest rig, but instead, to be an alternative option for specific situations. The INVRT bandolier doesn’t quite carry a fighting load of gear and ammo. It typically packs a few spare magazines, an admin pouch, and a spare pistol mag pouch. However, the user can, of course, customize the INVRT to fit their specific needs. 

The INVRT, at its core, is a MOLLE panel that latches across the body, primarily across the chest. As with any MOLLE panel, it can be customized for your chosen loadout, but it won’t offer you the same room as something like a chest rig will. 

Invrt hanging
The INVRT keeps things plenty simple.

The idea behind the INVRT is to provide the user with something that can be quickly donned and utilized in an emergency scenario, taking no time to don. If you were a police officer responding to something that required a rifle, you could toss on the INVRT and have two to three spare mags on tap.

Unlike a chest rig or other vest-style rig, this is something that can be donned in a flash and put into action on the fly. You can grab it and toss it on as you move towards the emergency. It’s super small and compact and can be easily stashed in a bag, a trunk, or nearly anywhere else. 

Invrt with rifle 2
The INVRT proves that the bandolier is far from dead.

What’s INVRT Mean 

INVRT is a reference to the bandolier’s ability to be worn inverted. The magazines and gear can be worn facing downward. This keeps it from poking up and in your face as you run and move. This position also makes for a fast reload. Of course, you need a magazine pouch that can retain the kit. The INVRT can be purchased as just a bandolier or as a kit. The kits include two magazine pouches for your respective platform, a pistol mag pouch, and an admin pouch. 

Man wearing invrt bandolier
The INVRT is easy to use and is quick to put on. It’s an emergency option for ammo and gear.

The platforms include ARs, AKs, AR-10s, MP5s, Glock extendos, and more. My kit uses Scorpion magazines. The pouches are friction-fit with a spandex-like design. This allows you to run the mag inverted and still have easy access to your mags. The mag pouches are set so the user can add a bungee cord to add a degree of active retention. IC13 even sells the bungee if you prefer active retention. 

Invrt mag pouches
You can add optional bungee cords for retention if you so choose.

The rig was simple to set up. The main body of the rig goes across the chest, and a third strap secures it under the arm. That strap can be connected via a clip or a hook-and-loop fastener for easier attachment. The user can choose what works best for their needs. 

Going Ham With the INVRT 

Scorpion magazines come in numerous capacities, from 10 to 40 rounds in basic stick mag variants. The 10-rounders are too short, and I don’t have any of those anyway. I’m the type that feels that more is better. Again, I was a machine gunner. I loaded up some CZ 20-rounders, 30-rounders, some 35-round P-MAGs, and 40-round ETS magazines

Donning the invrt
The Invrt is quick and easy to toss on and rock and roll with.

I did a few different tests, mainly grabbing the rig and tossing it on as fast as possible with loaded mags and shooting. The drill was as simple as setting the rig on a table and using a shot timer to start the drill. When the timer gave that loud beep, I grabbed the rig, donned it, loaded the Scorpion rifle, and fired a single shot to end the drill.

Drawing from invrt
The inverted mags are quick to pull and use.

The INVRT takes no time to don. It’s easiest with your firing hand. Grab the kit with your firing hand and swim into it. If you have the time, latch the third strap down. However, you can latch it down on the move if you use the hook and loop portion of the strap. You can even put it on with a rifle in your hands. 

Man reloading rifle
Running reloads with the Invrt was simple and intuitive.

After practicing some basic don-and-shoot drills, I tested the retention with various mags via a series of sprints and box jumps onto a tractor tire. The 40-round ETS magazines are too long and tend to walk their way out. The 35-round PMAGs did fine on sprints but would start to slip on box jumps. The stock 30-round magazines did quite well, and the 20-rounders were better. They all still started to slip with box jumps, so retention bungee cords would likely be a good addition. 

20 Round Perfection 

Even though the 30-rounders worked fine, they would still benefit from the bungee cord retention strap. The 20-round magazines seem perfect for this kit. They fit well into the pouches and keep the kit very low-profile. 

If I were leaving this in a patrol car or emergency gear bag, I wouldn’t want the magazines to snag onto something as I’m rushing to pull the kit out and get it on. If I’m reaching for the INVRT, I don’t have time to dilly-dally and worry about gear malfunctions. 

Bungee cords on mag pouch
A little bungee for retention is suggested.

The 20-rounders sit deep into the magazine pouches, but they are still plenty easy to retrieve. I was skeptical of running the kit inverted. It didn’t take long to convince me of the benefits. I reloaded and practiced with every sized magazine, and the downward angle made reloading super easy. 

I didn’t need to use any fancy grip or have to turn my hand a specific way. Instead, I just grabbed the mags, pulled them out, and shoved them into the gun. There wasn’t much to it. It might be the fastest way to reload from a chest rig. 

Finding Purpose 

The purpose of the INVRT is to provide the user with an emergency amount of ammo and gear. For police officers and armed security, this kit makes an absolute ton of sense. It’s easy to throw on and get down to business. For the average Joe, it’s a great piece of kit if you keep a truck gun for emergencies. It’s small, well-made, and stashes easily. 

The INVRT is not your average piece of kit. It’s not for everyone or every purpose, but it’s the quickest donning piece of load-bearing gear out there. I’m betting it’s the more realistic option for most people when it comes to tactical gear. I’m starting to want an INVRT kit for just about every platform I run. I think a shotgun is next…. Check out the INVRT at IC3.US

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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