Saturday, July 7, 2012


   The Smersh webbing system is one of the most popular gears among the Russian special forces. It is well variable to the purpose you need. It can be a light weight webbing holding only mags and a few important stuff for a short skirmish, or it can be a large carrying system if you go out to the field.
Both cases you will have the ability to move  fast without difficulty and reach your stuff easily.
Once an American soldier said that the Smersh is, what the ALICE system could have been, if MOLLE wouldn't came.
The original Smersh was ALICE system but now it is also available in MOLLE.

Here is a small comparison of the two versions.

On the left you can see the MOLLE and on the right the ALICE version

In this article I will write only from the main parts, because both gear has some additional stuff, those will be a theme of another entry.

In this case both Smersh has the PLCE style shoulder strap, has 2x2 mag pouches, a day pack, medical, a large back panel, and an RS-31 webbing belt.

The base of the webbing system is the RS-31 belt, the large back panel and the shoulder strap.
The belt has a very strong Velcro in the inner sides so it can be adjusted easily to your size. The large back panel has some loops and inside the loops also Velcro to prevent its movement on the belt. It fits very tight. The shoulder strap must be attached to the large back panel and to the mag pouches, so the mag pouches are also among the base parts.

The shoulder straps:

The straps are very comfortable they have some foam inside and mesh in the inner side to help ventilation, and prevent heavy sweating. The older ALICE one has some loops to attachment, while the newer MOLLE has MOLLE straps all along.

Both tested piece is the PLCE style version. As you can see MOLLE version has straps on the back too, while the ALCIE one only has two loops for fixing, on the top, which was replaced on the MOLLE version for a grip, to pull out wounded or just carrying the equipment.

The mag pouches:

The main differences between the two versions are the locking system. The older has snap fastener combined with Velcro to hold the top of the pouch, while the newer version has an old style lock which could be familiar from the old US M56 magazine pouches. It is however works fine, very fast and silent.
To open the top is just one pull, so you can reach fast what you need, closing is a bit more difficult, but after a short time your hand gets use to the method.

Both can carry two 5.45 or 7.62 30 round AK magazines with the spacer inside, or 3-3 if you take out the spacer which attaches to the inside of the pouch with Velcro. So you can carry in the four pouches up to 12 magazines.

The older version has two grenade pockets on the outer side of the dual mag pouches, from the MOLLE one it has been deleted, and has been replaced with MOLLE straps on the sides and front.
Both dual pouch attaches to belt with loops no differences in that.

The daypack:

The two versions has the same size, only differences in the outer look and the attachment. Both attaches to the large back panel, however the ALICE version can be easily attached to a webbing belt. The MOLLE one has molle straps to connect to the back panel, which makes it able to connect on every other molle platforms. Also the back panels are different both are optimized to their system.

Both has an inner cover from a minor water resistant material, which can be fastened with a string. In the outer cover both has a small pocket.

On the sides the ALICE version has some straps for ALICE clips, the MOLLE one has on all sides MOLLE laces.

The daypacks also can be used as small backpacks. They have got 2-2 belts which can be attached to the shoulder strap, in this case the shoulder strap carries the weight, and the large back panel will be free to use for other pouches, or another daypack. If you have MOLLE version from both the daypack and the PLCE style shoulder strap, you can use the MOLLE to fasten your daypack as a backpack.

The overall conclusion is that, in function there are no big differences in the two versions. The MOLLE stlye maybe a bit more variable and in some areas has even tighter fitting than the ALICE. The small differences like the locking system can decide which would be better for ones need.

You may note differences in the colours, these are due to different production serials and periods

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