Firebase Parabellum – The Vertx Transforming Chest Rig

Firebase Parabellum chest rig
February 18, 2023  
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Categories: Gear Curious

Vertx took the world by storm a while ago with the release of their first dedicated chest rig. Let’s make my bias known. I love Vertx products. I’ve carried a Commuter for five years now and have always found Vertx products top-notch. As such, when the Firebase Parabellum premiered, I knew I had to have one, and as a man who tries to make his own dreams come true, I now have one. Building out kit and guns are my two favorite things to do so this and an 80 lower jig made my weekend a blast.

As such, I have the need to inform you just how well or how not well the Firebase Parabellum works.

Inside the Firebase Parabellum

The Firebase Parabellum comes in two configurations, a PCC model for your MP5s, Scorpions, Glock mags, and more. The second is your AR 15 variant. I currently have the latter and plan to get my hands on the PCC model next.

My first impressions were pretty strong. It feels very well made and looks well made. There were no stray cordage, fraying, or Irish pendants hanging off the thing. The stitching is even and well done. Everything is uniform and looks great. The term minimalist gets thrown around a lot these days, but the Firebase Parabellum truly inhabits the minimalist design.

Man wearing Vertx Firebase Parabellum and holding a rifle

It puts the minimal in minimalist.

It’s literally just four magazine pouches, and that’s it. I mean, sure, there is a map pouch behind the mags, but that’s it. We ain’t looking at radio or grade pouches, no MOLLE to expand the kit, or any other extra crap. It’s mag pouches, and that’s it.

Those mag pouches are tight elastic that squeezes around your magazine. A flap secures over the top via a button, and the mags ain’t moving. Be warned, this thing only fits 30-round mags. Even the Daniel Defense 32-rounders are a bit too big to fit in this thing.

Selling Points

Minimalist chest rigs are a dime a dozen these days, so why would anyone pick the Firebase Parabellum over all the other options? Well, the Firebase Parabellum isn’t just a chest rig. It’s a modular piece of kit that can act as a chest rig, as a placard on a plate carrier, or my favorite as a very modern bandolier.

Vertx Firebase Parabellum chest rig

I messed around a bit with the kit and was able to transform the kit into an underarm rig that could be easily concealed under my right arm. Heck, the future is bright for the Firebase Parabellum, and it’d be an easy system to adapt for various roles and could be easily adapted with aftermarket straps. In fact, a little aftermarket goodness would make the rig an even better underarm rig.

Hitting Chest with the Firebase Parabellum

Most people like chest rigs, and most people will likely wield the Firebase Parabellum as a chest rig. I get it, they are super popular, and most people find chest-mounted magazines quick and easy to grip and rip. In that role, the Firebase Parabellum excels.

The flaps are super easy to defeat, and the button unsnaps with nothing more than an upward motion as you grab the magazine. There is a generous portion of flap material that makes it easy to do away with the flaps, like a plastic surgeon and a rich white woman. While the elastic is super tight, it still lets the magazines go when you want them to let go!

Man wearing Firebase Parabellum chest rig with pouches upside down.

Run the mags up or down…and try to look cool by staring into the distance.

The shoulder straps adjust with ease, and you can size the chest rig for a person of nearly any size. I’m a huge dude, and I still have room to adjust. I can also lengthen and change the size of the rig to make it sit high or low.

Those same shoulder straps are immensely supportive, way more than they need to be just to carry four AR-15 magazines. I’m not complaining; I appreciate the additional support. I also appreciate how small this sucker is. It creates a breathable environment that’s quite cool and free in the summer heat of the swampland I call home. You can toss it on quickly and get into action without a problem.

Man holding rifle and drawing a magazine from chest rig

Drawing magazines requires a stout tug.

There is an optional body rig that adds some stability to the Firebase Parabellum, and I prefer it for the added tension. Without it, the chest rig tends to move when I draw magazines. As a chest rig, it works without issue. If you want more than four magazines, then the Firebase Parabellum isn’t for you. However, the small size does make it pretty easy to hide under a windbreaker and conceal if that’s your game.

Running a Bandolier

Confession time, I ran a bandolier from like 2008 to 2012. I was a machine gunner, and my plate carrier had pouches for belts of ammo, not M16 magazines. However, the Marine Corps still makes me run around with a rifle and do rifle stuff. I adopted a bandolier from a tacticool company called Spectre cause I got sick of MOLLE weaving different pouches every other week.

Man wearing the Vertx Firebase Parabellum as a bandolier

Running it as an upside-down bandolier is best. Excuse the sweat, it’s Florida.

I like bandoliers, and the Firebase Parabellum drew me in because I could use it as a bandolier. The kit is easily converted to a bandolier from a chest rig via the swapping of some straps. There are two bandolier configurations. One uses both shoulder straps, and one is more minimalist. I prefer the complete rig with dual shoulder straps.

It’s more comfortable for long-term use and a bit more stable. The minimalist mode uses a strap around the neck and a strap around the body. This makes the bandolier more akin to a man’s purse. The benefit of a minimalist kit is that it’s quick on and quick off.

Man wearing chest rig as a bandolier.

If you want a modern Bandolier then grab the Firebase Parabellum.

I love the Firebase Parabellum as a bandolier, and it’s my preferred method to use the kit. It’s super comfortable and very easy to draw magazines from. Better yet, it’s also much easier to conceal. I don’t need to conceal rifle mags, but I like LARPing like I’m McCauley from Heat, so deal with it.

Up or Down?

Finally, you can choose to use the magazine orientated up or down in any configuration. It’s nothing more than a swap of the straps, and now your mags are oriented north or south. The combination of the elastic and the buttoned flaps ensures your magazines stay in place. For a chest rig, I preferred to run the magazines facing north, but for the bandolier, I went south.

Vertx Firebase Parabellum chest rig mounted under arm.

Mounted under the arm is possible, although not an official configuration.

Both felt way more ergonomic and intuitive in their respective orientations. The magazines never gave me an issue when they ran upside down, and as you imagine, never gave an issue running right side up. Experiment and see what works for you.

That could be the tagline for the Firebase Parabellum. Experiment and find what works. The modular design takes the rig a step above what else is already out there. It’s a unique setup in a crowded world where everyone else is basically doing the same thing. Check out the Firebase Parabellum, and let us know below what you think about this piece of kit.

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Travis Pike

Travis Pike

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