Tactical Tailor

Sneak Peek – Skeletonized Magazine Retention from S&S Precision

Meet the MOLLE Killer…it seems like S&S Precision has been quiet for quite some time unveiling only incremental improvements to their flagship product, the PlateFrame. But late last week they invited us in for an exclusive sneak peek at what they’ve been up to. Get ready to throw away all of your nylon magazine pouches.

The SMR’s (Skeletonized Magazine Retention) genesis goes back to 2004 when one of the members of S&S Precision hand built a mag carrier from Kydex harvested from a Safariland holster. It was used on multiple combat deployments as a belt mounted, quick magazine holder for that first reload.

S&S Precision was founded in 2007. Interestingly, in 2009 that custom built mag carrier concept led to the larger development of load carrying systems which caused S&S Precision to concentrate on the groundbreaking PlateFrame which, after two years of internal work, was released in 2012. Around the same time the Kangaroo Insert was created for use with the NSW issue LBT plate carrier but the team at S&S Precision wasn’t satisfied that it was as refined as it could be. Consequently, they’ve turned their attention back to the initial focus of magazine retention.

But they aren’t satisfied with just making yet another mag carrier. The point of their development is Magazine Retention with as little material as possible to properly do the job. Additionally, the design needs to be modular so that it could be adapted to a wide variety of platforms. Specifically, it had to Integrate with PlateFrame as well as first line belt and PALS.


The system consists of two primary components; the SMR which is the actual magazine holder itself and the BasePlate aka “The Docking Station” which serves as the platform. For additional use with belts and PALS, they’ve also produced adapters for single SMRs.


A Rhodesian-style chest rig is also in the works that accepts the BasePlate.


Sure, we’ve seen other Kydex and Polymer magazine pouches, but everyone of them has used a more traditional mounting system such as a PALS derivative or a simple loop. The SMR concept takes modularity to a different level and looking at it, I can see multiple other ways that these pouches can be integrated unto other surfaces. Additionally, as you can see, so far they are only for 5.56 mags, but I can see a multitude of other SMRs available as well.

Coming soon from S&S Precision.


57 Responses to “Sneak Peek – Skeletonized Magazine Retention from S&S Precision”

  1. Weaver says:

    Good at cutting down weight, but it won’t keep dirt out of the magazine. Snuggle up tight to the ground in dust or mud and you’ll end up introducing it straight into your chamber.

    • SSD says:

      Oh ye of little faith.

      • Doug says:

        I’m sorry to pile on but Weaver appears to be correct. The system looks good but real world experience has taught me that it’s important to protect the feed lips and top cartridges in your magazines. I would not use this to carry magazines intended for life saving. I would be more comfortable with this concept if it was altered so that the first two inches of the magazine was completely protected.

        • SSD says:

          Yes, once again, oh ye of little faith. Don’t you think a couple of guys who used to shoot booger eaters in the face for a living might have worked this out?

          Just because you haven’t seen it yet doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Concentrate on what you see. What you are concerned about has been answered. More will be revealed the closer this gets to release. S&S Precision isn’t going to show the competition how to do everything right up front.

  2. Matt says:

    Baseplate MSRP $59.99 and Mag Pouch $39.99? I bet I’m close 😉

  3. Zach says:

    This isn’t the “big” announcement you said was coming today is it?

  4. Buck says:

    Looks like you could seat a Pmag almost completely, pop on the included dust cover on the mag, then fully seat it. When you pulled out the mag, the side retention tabs would pop off the dust cover.

  5. Zach says:

    No no, not downplaying this at all. It is a magnificant achievement and great piece of equipment. I was just hoping it was going to be a camo announcement lol.

  6. J Lawrence says:

    What is that belt in the picture with the Plate Frame? I can’t say I have ever seen it before and it looks very low-profile, but sturdy. If I am looking right, it would allow complete modularity from the plate frame to belt attachments, depending on how you want to situate your load. Any info available on it?

    • SSD says:

      I’ve been waiting for somebody to notice it. At this point I’d call it a developmental item. It features a PU insert for stiffness and is made from a material no one else has ever used.

  7. blue says:

    Not bad but S&S stuff is to damn pricey. $200 for a weapon retention, or $180 for a light mount almost $400 for their plate carrier. Thous prices are fine for FEDs and large departments with huge budgets. but thous of us who are in small and med departments or have to buy stuff on our owm dime, i Bet this system is going to be over $100 per each mag

    • ian carlin says:

      I agree. The cost and proprietary nature means that this is a nitch product for units with a no questions asked budget.

  8. Wilhelm says:

    I’d say since it’s an injection molded part with no electronics that the pricing may not be as expensive. Hopefully, it would be “affordable”

  9. FJS says:

    Safariland has a MOLLE baseplate, as does G-Code.

  10. Chris K. says:

    How much does a single SMR with base plate weigh?

  11. ODG says:

    Hey guys, first off I had a chance to run the proto-types this week they are awesome! (The dust/mud in the mags has been worked out) I also had a chance to see some other projects that are coming that are ground breaking! S&S is really doing some awesome stuff this is just the tip of the ice berg you can be expecting some more very exciting new gear to follow. To address all the comments about pricing the number one rule that I learned early in adult life is; “You get what you pay for.” Remember, if you want to drive a Ferrari you have to pay for a fucking Ferrari. Good dependable gear is worth the price.

    • ian carlin says:

      The funny thing about Ferraris is that you pay 10x the price for something that has the same 0-60s as a 75000 Tesla. You are buying a logo not performance.

      How much does the banshee plate carrier weigh? Does that 3x cost of competetion retention allow you to repel with your sidearm?

      The era of no question asked budgets rubber stamp requirements and blindly signed PR&C are over.

      • SSD says:

        You want to be a Luddite, feel free, be my guest. But don’t come on acting all high and mighty about something you don’t know anything about. Remember, that Banshee threatened somebody else’s worldview at some point too.

        • ian carlin says:

          Being in a g8 I know money and they’re barking up a tree that just got cut down.

          Unless they bring the cost down and license they will never make a difference or have a customer base over 1000

          Molle was a revolution because it was a standard.

          • AV says:

            S&S has a customer base significantly over 1000 users. Standards change based on innovation and usually there are detractors when innovation first comes along. Bottom line is that the fiscal environment has changed, as you stated. The companies that will thrive and survive are those that continue to innovate. To paraphrase a friend ‘If you get it, you get it.’ There’s no harm in not getting, eventually you will…

  12. Chuck says:

    Ease of modularity just went through the roof.

  13. Strike-Hold says:

    This is without a doubt the most revolutionary development in load-carrying solutions that I’ve seen – so yes, SSD was right to call this a major announcement.

    The one question that I have – ODG might be best able to answer this since he’s used it – is how flexible / pliable is that baseplate? Its kind of hard to tell from the photos.

  14. Doug Ralph says:

    I have been waiting to weight in on this category and get an initial opinion. We start preorders in a few weeks and I can send you one if you are interested in reviewing it. Thanks.

  15. markg says:

    I ran this gear with ODG it is first rate kit, solid, well thought out, and feathery light, when ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain that matters.
    These are proto types, the dust/ dirt issue is being addressed, given the backgrounds of those at S&S, no one should be supprised.
    Strike-Hold base plate was solid, mags were quick to get out of the carrier, but stayed put until needed. Other mounting options are in the works… along with a few other cool things from S&S.

  16. Ruiz_26 says:

    damn i have been thinking about an idea for a magazine carrier just like this, bad for me not having the resources to make it happen.

  17. Jon Meyer says:

    The revolutionary idea isn’t the mag carrier, it is the mount itself. If they can incorpate that into standard nylon pouches and other equipment carried on plate/armor carriers, battle belts, packs, etc. it will be huge. No longer will you need to spend ungodly amounts of time weaving and unweaving pouches to set up your equipment for a specific mission; you will just unmount one thing and mount another in a heartbeat. It is all about modularity. Hell if a company doesn’t want to pay a license fee to use the mount system or an individual doesn’t have the budget to buy the system, S&S could make a mount that can attach to standard molle pouches so any joe schmoe can convert his current gear and make it compatable (if they havn’t already thought of this though I am sure they have).

    Genius. I TELL YOU! (in Indian accent).

  18. DCH says:

    SSD, are you saying this has the chance to replace molle as an attachment system? Maybe its just the pic but I do not see it. The beauty of molle is its modularity. This is due in large part to the fact that it is open source. Anybody can sew the pattern and have a product that works. It is hard to see the back plate of this system being worked into pliable spaces where single, double, or even just triple row molle is useful. It looks innovative on the front of a plate carrier but where else will it apply? A couple points that I will counter Joe above with is that the trouble and time spent weaving on molle pays off when that pouch never comes off due to external stress. When properly constructed the fabric, sewing, and weaving of molle makes a platform that has a greater modulus of elasticity reducing the likely hood of ripping off. And the final point here is i do not see this as weight savings when it will require an additional adapter to connect to molle/pals or even just attaching to a plate frame over say a 10 speed mag pouch. Which by the way covers the open end of your magazine protecting those critical 62 gr objects you so desperately need.

    • SSD says:

      Could it replace MOLLE? Sure…maybe. Something is going to.

      One thing you get from SSD that none of the other blogs/websites can offer is the long view. I’ve got a historical perspective that no one else can offer. Take for example your comments about MOLLE being open architecture. It wasn’t always that way. It’s only been around since the mid-90s and was based on another commercial system from JS Industries called the soft-snap. JS Ind became Paraclete and some folks at Natick took the basic idea of a weavable attachment system and changed the dimensions and added an actual snap rather than the soft-snap’s tuck system. Then, they patented it. In the mid-00s BAE had the MOLLE contract and sent out loads of cease and desist letters to companies manufacturing PALS. Just recently, the patent for PALS expired. Now, anyone can build it. But why? It’s outdated. I’ve heard 30 cents total cost for every PALS bartack.

      But just take a look at the market. Already, there are a multitude of new attachment systems and even the new Soldier Protection System calls for a PALS alternative as does the AFSOC variant of SOFLCS. PALS’ days are numbered.

      PALS is not the be all, end all attachment system. And if you aren’t going to move the pouch, using MOLLE is downright stupid. It is heavy and expensive.

      Additionally, for some reason you can’t seem to read any of the comments posted before yours. S&S Precision has developed a solution for the issue of protecting the opening of the magazine. We just haven’t shown that to you yet.

  19. Nate Hale says:

    I’ll wait to see before i judge the dirt/mud issue, but i do have one question: I’m a relatively big guy (6’4 250). If i am doing my thing and i have to drop hard to my chest with one of these on front and the mag in my rifle (leaving a slot empty), does it fold or flex or bend out of the way? Or do i start buying epoxy to hold broken and cracked pieces together until i can afford to replace the SMR?

    • SSD says:

      Out of all of the comments, Nate has gotten to the biggest question. What happens when Private Baby Hughie dirt dives with the SMR under him, particularly an empty SMR. The materials are out there to protect the SMR from his big ass. We just have to see if S&S uses them.

  20. Ghost says:

    look good. But can they be stacked like the softer mollie pouches? don’t know about you but i like to have a litle more then 3-4 mags on me…
    but they still look very sleck and good.

  21. Corey Moore says:

    I can see a lot of practical applications for this system in the personal and corporate security area. It looks as if it’s extremely light weight and modular. I’m impressed. Good stuff.

  22. Will says:

    Hate to be a wet blanket but I just cant see high priced items like this being super popular in the future. Sure, certain units may pick it up but I believe the industry is going to have to adjust to selling to individual customers not big fat contracts. In the last month I have had at least 10 Federal/SOCOM professionals ask me about plate carriers that they intended to purchase with their own funds. In fact I recently purchased two kits with my own funds. Companies are going to have to start addressing customer service and pricing. Just my .02.

    • SSD says:

      What is going to have to happen is that individual military personnel are going to have to realize that if they want nice things, they must be prepared to pay for them themselves. That is how it was done before the war and how it will be done now.

      I can tell by your comment about “fat contracts” that you don’t know anything about the industry that supports the Soldier. Contracts might have been big but the margins have always sucked.

      Additionally, Government pricing is ALWAYS lower than retail. That is Business 101. Prices are not going to come down. In fact, the reverse will happen as production runs become smaller.

      • Will says:

        It will be interesting to see what happens. Being an end user I hope you are wrong but you are right in the sense that I’m not terribly connected with the military side of the contract world. I hope you have a great weekend, you seem a little tense…..

  23. Patrick says:

    While I hate to bring this up, there is a new polymer magazine carrier that doesn’t expose the open end of the magazine and has a MOLLE fast attachment mechanism that doesn’t require a dock like the S&S model. It’s offered at a reasonable price too. You can check it out a LimitlessGear.com.

    The video linked below can also provide a few more details if you’re interested.