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What is MOLLE system and how to work with it?

Tactical equipment Tips & tricks

The MOLLE system is a generic term for a modern carrying system that consists of a very strong PALS lattice binding. The main advantages of this MOLLE are low weight, easy handling and above all modularity.

What is MOLLE system and how to work with it?

What can you read in this blog? 

  • What is the MOLLE system? 
  • The difference between MOLLE / PALS / Laser Cut
  • How to work with the MOLLE system

What is a MOLLE system? 


The MOLLE system is a generic term for a modern carrying system that consists of a very strong PALS lattice binding. The abbreviation MOLLE is based on the English name Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. The main advantages of this MOLLE are light weight, easy handling and above all modularity. The system was first introduced in 1997, however it did not come into widespread use until after 2001 by the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, when it replaced the existing simple ALICE (All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) harness system.  At the time, it was still mostly the first version of the SDS MOLLE, which was built on a plastic frame that was often uncomfortable for soldiers and caused bruising and abrasions. Since then, the carrier system has undergone significant evolution to its modern form, which uses standardized PALS or newer Laser Cut ties. 

Both PALS and Laser Cut bindings use the same standardized strapping dimensions of 25 mm (1 in) high and the individual slots are 38 mm (1.5 in) wide. Together the weave forms one complete grid through which webbing from bags and other gear is threaded. A wide range of MOLLE compatible pouches can be found in our range.

Difference between MOLLE / PALS / Laser Cut


In practice, the terms MOLLE and PALS are commonly used as one and the same thing. Although it may seem like it, they are not the same thing and it is good to know why. The MOLLE acronym is simply used as a generic term for a carrying system that includes standardized ties. These bindings are for example PALS or nowadays the more modern Laser Cut. Both of these bindings are fully compatible with each other, so anything that contains this binding can be labeled "MOLLE compatible" (and vice versa). 

Laser Cut

Having mentioned the state-of-the-art Laser Cut binding, it would also be useful to mention how it differs from the original PALS binding and what it brings to the table. PALS binding uses extra sewn webbing, which generally adds extra weight. With poor quality production, this can cause the webbing to tear. Laser Cut, on the other hand, has the individual slots burned directly into the fabric of the gear, so there is no extra material added. The disadvantage of this weave can be damage to the fabric caused by careless threading of the individual slots. Repair is then noticeably more difficult compared to PALS weave.

How to work with the MOLLE system


Although attaching gear using PALS/Laser Cut ties may seem obvious and no explanation is needed here, the opposite is true. Many users of MOLLE systems make the job easier and attach the pouches by threading the first and last slots (see photo #1). The holster holds at this point, but it is not sufficiently tightened to the vest and the holster risks coming loose when you move it. 

It is important to thread the stripe of e.g. the sumac through each possible slot in turn. That is, once a slot on the vest, once a slot on the sumac and repeat as long as you can. At the end, the stripe is usually finished with a stud or thinner piece of fabric that you tuck back into the slot. We know that this method of attaching gear can be more tedious, but the convenience of pulling gear out of the sumac without the sumac arbitrarily moving back and forth is worth it!

In case you own a pannier without attachment straps, it is possible to use external ones like Malice or TacTie.

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