First Impressions: Esstac Kywi Mag Pouches

Not all magazine pouches are created equal. There are a lot of good ones and bad ones out there, but I'm really digging Esstac's magazine pouches which I've recently got my hands on.

I finally got my hands a few Esstac Kywi magazine pouches. I’ve had my eye on these pouches for quite sometime after hearing a few different folks raving about them. My first impressions are very positive.

The simplicity of the Kywi pouches is genius. It begins with a well stitched pouch made from Cordura nylon followed by a Kydex wedge insert secured to the inside of the nylon pouch with a healthy amount of hook and loop. The result is an outstandingly durable magazine pouch with firm positive retention.

5.56 Triple Kywi Tall

The first of the three pouches I got my hands on was the 5.56 triple Kywi in the tall variation. The pouch is designed to securely hold three 5.56×45 STANAG (AR-15) pattern magazines. Note that AK magazines will not work with this pouch. In my opinion, this pouch is ideal for attachment to the front of a plate carrier.

The pouch is available in various different patterns including standard solid colors and a variety of camouflage patterns. It is available with or without PALS webbing on the front side of the pouch and three different heights: shorty, mid length, and tall. Single and double magazine configurations are also available. Optionally, the pouch can be purchased with or without four (4) WTFix straps. The pouch I received included the PALS webbing and the WTFix straps.

I initially struggled with attaching the pouch to the front of a plate carrier. The stiff Kydex inserts made it difficult to weave the straps between the PALS webbing on the carrier and the 5×6 grid on the back of the pouch. After realizing I was attempting to attach the pouch the hard way, I removed the Kydex inserts and found it very simple to attach the magazine pouch to the plate carrier. To be honest, I ended up using four long fight light malice clips from Tactical Tailor which made the attachment even easier than it was with the WTFix straps.

Inserting and removing magazines into and out of the pouch is a breeze. The magazine retention is excellent and the pouch is very securely attached. The pouch is excellent. I can live without the WTFix straps and prefer using malice clips instead. I can see the WTFix straps being more comfortable on a battle belt or on a cummerbund than a malice clip whereever the locking mechanism of the clip can press up against a person.

5.56 Single Kywi Mid Length

The next pouch I handled was a 5.56 single Kywi mid length magazine pouch. Like the triple pouch, this pouch is also designed to work STANAG pattern magazines and is available in all the same patterns, lengths, and with or without PALS webbing. Unlike the triple tall pouch, this pouch is available with either two (2) WTFix straps, two (2) 1.75″ belt loops, two (2) 2″ belt loops, or none of the above. The pouch I received included the PALS webbing and two 1.75″ belt loops.

The belt loops attach to the 4×2 nylon grid on the back of the pouch. This gives us the option to later remove the belt loops and attach it to other items with PALS webbing. Attaching the belt loops to the pouch is simple after the Kydex insert is removed.

Just like the triple pouch, inserting and removing a magazine from the pouch is simple. The retention is excellent and it sits comfortably when attached to a belt. While I haven’t had the opportunity yet, I am looking forward to making heavy use of this pouch when attending other training courses and carbine competitions.

Double Pistol Gap Kywi

The last of the pouches I got my hands on was a double pistol gap Kywi magazine pouch. Like the other Kywi pouches, it is available in the same variety of patterns. This pouch is available with an option of two (2) WTFix straps, two (2) 1.75″ belt loops, two (2) 2″ belt loops, or none of the above. PALS webbing is not available on the front of this pouch. There are variants of this pouch available without a gap between the magazines and in single and triple magazine configurations. The pouch I received included two 1.75″ belt loops.

Similar to the double 5.56 pouch, the belt loops are very easy to attach to the 3×2 nylon grid on the back of the pouch. This pouch is also very comfortable to wear on a belt.

The pouch is designed to hold two service pistol double stack 9x19mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP magazines. I’ve been using this pouch with 17 round VP9 magazines and they are retained perfectly. I see myself getting a lot of use out of this magazine pouch. Since receiving this pouch, I’ve been using it to conceal carry two spare magazines for the VP9.

Closing Thoughts

I have nothing negative to say about the Kywi pouches. I can clearly see now why the folks I heard talking about them were raving about them. In fact, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a few 7.62 magazine pouches and perhaps a 1911 magazine pouch (assuming they are compatible with Sig P220 10mm magazines).

My opinion on the pouches may change as I get more use out of them, but for the time being I suggest that folks looking for magazine pouches check them out.


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