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Maple Flag
12-16-2015, 11:40
I recently trained with CROPS in the UK, taking their Rural Surveillance Management and Tactical Photography courses (www.crops.uk.com). The training itself was great, provided by Ben Wall, a former British Army surveillance unit member. The training consisted of a total of 12 days of classroom theory, practical field training on the CROPS training grounds to get familiar with hide construction and equipment placements, and lots of field exercises in the surrounding towns and farmlands. It was long hours, day and night, but a great training experience. The training culminated in a multi-phase test overnight exercise that tied in almost all the skills learned over the duration of the courses. A written submission was also required for accreditation.

Provided by CROPS for the duration of the training was personal radio comms and safety equipment, as well as OP specific equipment, including a DSLR, various long lenses, video cam, tripods, binoculars, base station radio comms, coax cables and antenna, extraction point signal device, hide construction materials and other items all carried in modified British army 40 litre (2,750 cubic inches) rucksacks the CROPS team has spray painted with a home grown camo pattern I’ll just call “field mud”.


The CTR Rig

Knowing that this course involved a lot of field work, including cross land navigation, obstacle crossing and a need for camouflage and concealment, I brought my usual personal field gear to the course, and found that most of it was not well suited for rural surveillance and reconnaissance work. My woodland BDUs and web gear largely stayed in my own rucksack back in the training room, swapped out for low signature earth tone country wear and a beat up old Barbour coat, with face veil, protective gloves and eye-wear, personal radio comms, blow out kit and other basic personal gear concealed underneath, making a much lower profile set of personal clothing and equipment better suited for quickly and quietly exiting cars at insertion points in the dead of night and spending pre-dawn hours of the morning crawling through English brambles that make barbed wire fencing seem redundant.

I was also introduced to and ended up acquiring the CROPS CTR Rig. It comes in three variants: a belt line rig, and chest rig, and a shoulder harness style rig. All are focused on keeping your essentials close and snug to the body, minimizing noise and visible printing through outerwear, as well as sagging and interference when spending a lot of time in unusual body positions, especially when building and occupying OP hides. This review focuses on the belt line rig.

The rig comes in basic black, a good choice given that they are meant to be worn under clothing and also to be suitable for low profile urban wear. They are made from stiff heavy weight nylon and heavy elastic webbing that holds contents firmly and without shifting. If a user intends to wear it outside of their clothes, they can be spray painted, as some snipers using this rig apparently have done here:http://thereptilehouseblog.com/2014/02/23/crops-ctr-update/

The design is also flexible, with four compartments sized to accept rifle mags, but also, because of the use of heavy elastic, useful for just about any item that will fit in. One larger compartment can carry note books, and IFAK, or other items, and the last compartment is personal radio sized. A segment of heavy nylon webbing also allows attachment of a pistol holster for right side “belt” carry.

Construction is very good quality.
Key advantages:
- slim profile for wear under clothing
- smooths out and reduces equipment printing through clothes when compared with standard belt pouches, etc.
- solid construction

- flexible in terms of equipment that can be carried
- light weight
- keeps you to just the essentials

More info can be found here:

http://soldiersystems.net/2014/02/19/crops-ctr-belt/


I'll post a few photos shortly.

Maple Flag
12-16-2015, 11:46
Below are two pics.

Big_King
11-06-2016, 19:50
Tried firing you off a PM but no dice.

Would be interested in hearing whatever you're willing to share WRT the course and kit used.

Maple Flag
11-07-2016, 12:01
Hi,

Nothing landed in my PM inbox (still 0 messages), though I don't really check it that often.

I'll try and send you a PM now. Failing that, we can discuss here if you're good with that.

Maple Flag
11-07-2016, 12:03
Problem is at my end. Apparently I have the PM option turned off. Will try and sort it out tonight when I have a few minutes. Check for a PM from me tomorrow.

Cheers.