Probably the most complex item to select outside of which replica to choose would be your LCE, or “kit”. This is the gear you use to carry your magazines, loose ammo and grenades. Depending on personal preference and the game scenario you might also carry a sidearm, radio, water, clothing, a combi tool and food. The main types of LCE are:
- Chest rig: Strip of pouches which sits across the front of your torso, usually held by crossed shoulder straps
- Assault vest: Covers your entire torso like a regular vest, maximising area available for pouches.
- Plate carrier: So named because they are designed to hold armour plates in the real world, these usually wrap around your waist and sides like a big chest rig with an additional small panel higher on your chest.
- Belt kit: The more traditional method of carrying gear, this is a waist belt with the pouches mounted on it, usually with a ‘yoke’ over the shoulders to support the weight
In the last decade ‘Molle’ has become a firm favourite system for real and airsoft LCE. It takes the form of vests and carriers with no pouches; instead they are covered with horizontal loops of material at set spaces to which you attach special pouches. Pouches of every conceivable size and shape are available, these have matching loops and vertical strip of material which is woven through the pouch and vest loops. The end result is that you can constantly re-configure your entire LCE for personal preference or endlessly alter it to suit each game or weapon system.
It is a good idea to purchase LCE in a solid colour such as black, brown or green. When you buy jacket/trousers in a new camo pattern you may then need to replace your LCE too, if you have bought LCE in a specific camouflage pattern.
All players, especially new ones, should also be wary of wearing all enclosing or thick skinned LCE such as assault vests as it is very difficult to feel hits through them. You must learn to tell when you have been hit from sounds and other signs, not so easy if you don’t yet know what it’s like to be hit!