The idea of one plate carrier or chest rig with swappable placards is...
Viktos has made an unapologetic name for themselves in the world of tactical/EDC/adventure apparel and packs. Not satisfied to stop there, they recently announced their entry into the load-bearing gear market with the launch of two chest rigs: the Low Key and the Taculus. We’ve been testing out advance samples of both for the last couple of weeks, but this review will focus on the Taculus. The Taculus is meant to function as a range day and training rig, but also has great potential as a SHTF/emergency reaction rig, or as an active shooter response rig for law enforcement.
The overall design of the Viktos Taculus is incredibly straightforward but sports some well-thought-out features. The pocket configuration is fixed – three rifle mag pockets with a hard-sewn “dangler” or “drop down” pouch. The mag pockets do have rows of laser-cut PALS webbing for MOLLE accessories, which means the rig can be expanded upon. But the base configuration is not in itself modular.
The harness is a lean four-point design. The shoulder straps attach to the top of the rig via G-hooks, while the waist straps use small magnetic buckles that can be opened with a sharp tug. All four straps lead back to a padded rear yoke which is completely slick (no MOLLE or Velcro) keeping with the Taculus’ minimalist design. Two nylon “tails” are sewn into the top of the rig for the G-hooks to attach to. Each tail has several loops so the rig may be adjusted for ride height.
There’s a point to make here regarding the harness system. Neither G-hooks nor quick-pull magnetic buckles offer an especially bulletproof level of retention. Furthermore, the four-point system with its small, triangular side wings is going to be less secure than a traditional six-point harness with X- or H-configured shoulder straps and a dedicated waist strap, all with independent adjustment and buckle closure. The folks at Viktos are aware of the trade-offs and chose the slimmer setup for a couple of reasons.
The Taculus was not intended to be a “deployment ready” chest rig. While we believe it could absolutely function in short-duration urban engagements (like the aforementioned Patrol Officer responding to an active shooter) it’s intended purpose is for civilians to have a little bit of lightweight ammo carriage for a weekend class, action carbine match, or day at the range running drills. The other byproduct of this is the low cost. At $75 MSRP, this may be the least expensive chest rig we would actually recommend to you. We’re sure a simplified harness design contributes to that.
The back of the rig features a rectangular piece of grippy, rubberized material that’s held in place by Velcro. Peel it off and you’ll see two rows of hook-side Velcro, allowing the Taculus to be attached directly to plate carriers with Velcro face on the front plate bag.
The mag pouches are sized for 30-round AR mags, and we’re not sure you could really get anything else into them. Mag retention is achieved by the same rubberized material, which lines each mag pouch. While retention is not adjustable, we did notice varying results with different mags. The thick, textured polymer of PMAGs created the most amount of drag against the pouch lining. Metal DuraMags slid in and out the easiest (though they did not flop or bounce around in the pouches) – everything else was somewhere in between.
Below the mag pouches is the sewn-on dangler pouch. This is a slender pouch the width of the entire mag shingle, large enough to hold the contents of a Supplemental IFAK Resupply Kit (SIRK) by North American Rescue. These are trauma kits without the kits – contents only, vacuum sealed in a thick plastic bag. They are great for uses like this, where you already have a pouch and only need med supplies. The dangler pouch on the Taculus has two shock-cord loops sticking out of the bottom that are perfect for holding a tourniquet.
We mentioned earlier that the Taculus featured laser-cut loops on the mag pouches. We decided to put those to use by adding a few additional MOLLE pouches to our test sample. Namely, we added three Soft Shell Scorpion mag pouches from G-Code, in a two-tone colorway: Multicam Black pouch body with OD Green frame. We added one rifle mag pouch and two pistol mag pouches, loading the latter with Staccato C2 magazines. Finally, we used a drug store hair tie to secure an IWA International M13 thermobaric canister. While there is not a ton of MOLLE-estate on the Taculus, radios, small fixed-blade knives, smart phone trays, handcuff pouches, flashlights, multi-tools, and smaller general-purpose pouches can all be made to fit.
For a down-and-dirty load-out on the go in SHTF situations, we wanted to see how well the Taculus would play with a slick plate carrier. So, we broke out our First Spear Deceptor, cinched it down, and tossed the Taculus on over top of it. We ended up liking the way the Taculus fit over armor even more than when wearing it by itself. It’s likely a little bit of tinkering with strap length would change out minds on that, but it goes to prove that this rig can absolutely be worn over plates or soft armor and still be both secure and comfortable.
All in all, for a sub-$100 price tag from a well-established brand, we think the Viktos Taculus offers a straightforward product at an extremely accessible price that is a great display of elegance through simplicity. This rig should just be hitting the Viktos website as you read this, so head over there and check one out for yourself.