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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Western WA state
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    Default The RD-54: An insiders look

    Hello everyone

    It`s been a long while since I posted regularly and for that I apologize. I hope a quick writeup will make up for lost time?

    As some know I deal in military surplus on the weekends and specialize in what most would call "OPFOR" equipment and gear, that is to say Russian and Eastern European goods and support gear.

    I`ve wanted one of these since I first heard of them: the RD-54 webbing kit. The 54 is a war horse of an equipment set, the design dates back to the 1960s and remains in service largely unchanged into the 2010s and probably well into the 2030s or 40s. It`s designed for a Paratrooper/Airborne infantryman and with that in mind...it`s not a bad piece of kit.

    Overall the RD-54 is extremely simple - in issued form it is a complex consisting of a wide, flat, boxy daypack with two side pockets (very deep and narrow), a double frag pouch, an E-tool sheath and a double rifle mag pouch. I opt to ditch the E-tool sheath simply because I have little use for one when out in the woods. The shoulder straps for the daypack terminate in the pouches which both have belt loops on the back. This gives a huge amount of belt space to add extra mag pouches, holsters, IFAKs, etc.

    The daypack has nothing more than a heavy gauge wire frame to keep its boxy shape, and because of this the man in the field will feel everything in the pack on his back which quickly teaches the basics of how to correctly pack a rucksack. Because of this, I`m considering co-opting the German method and using a folding sheet of foam to act as a stiffener and back protector as well as pull double duty as a sleeping mat. It also features strings for lashing on additional equipment such as the Plash-Palatka shelter half.
    The mag pouches are, in my case, decidedly small and DEFINITELY made for a 5.45 AK mag, although a 5.56 would likely fit better still. The reason for this is that the pouches are straight, there is no curvature to them and so a traditional 7.62 mag with its signature crescent shape is going to make for a tight fit. My mags sit low in the pouch, which is fine for the man it was issued to (I doubt a paratrooper wants his mags coming loose during a jump) but I like to stuff a piece of closed cell foam in the bottom of either pouch to raise the mags slightly. The pouch closes on a traditional toggle button, as do the frag pouches.

    The shoulder straps are a tremendous pain in the ass to adjust, and honestly I remain unconvinced that I have done so properly because every message sent to a friend in RUS is only met with snickering and laughter. I got them as far as I could and secured them with Gorilla tape. Well enough for me. However, the sternum strap took some getting-used-to. It has two adjustments (loose and short), and nothing to secure it on the sternum. Because of this it often drops down to the wearer`s midsection, but still does a good job of supporting the load. I learned not to mind it, however if the mood strikes this Winter I may simply cut it off, salvage the webbing, D-rings and buckles and affix a new one with fastex buckles. We`ll see.

    All in all, the RD-54 is definitely a product of the good old bad old days. This is not necessarily a bad thing however, as in the role for which it was designed (Paratroopers and Airborne infantry, mind) it shines. I also see myself using it to great effect as a scouting rig for long hauls once I have the initial kinks figured out. The fighting capacity of it is low, but again this is not necessarily its fault - it is issue gear, made to be bombproof tough and grunt proof in the field. Not for a high-speed-low-drag counterterrorist. Would I take my plate carrier on a 16 mile trek over mountains, rivers and forests? The likelihood of that is roughly similar to showing up to a Bataclan theatre situation dressed like Jay or Silent Bob.

    To finish, I`ll go ahead and share some pics I took of my rig. I added a US M1916 leather holster for my 1911, a large double utility pouch at the rear and a good knife. This setup works wonders for quick patrols around the property or fast-action grab-n-go kit.







    "they have no basis of comparison and have trouble understanding how an education in violence is presented and have to struggle through the internalization of the topic."
    -Greg Nichols

    "mediocrity is the order of the day and everyone gets a trophy just for showing up."
    -Shooterb

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    NWFL
    Posts
    15,265
    This setup works wonders for quick patrols around the property or fast-action grab-n-go kit.
    Seems best for a fast-action grab-n-go kit and more than what I would want for a check out what the dogs or security sensors have found at night.

    I am most interested in quick response to defend my estate.
    There was previous discussion under the general rifle about light wt ballistic protection. I do not have such yet but will look into it after New Years day. A shoulder bag with tourniquet, pistol, spare ammo for either the shotgun or AR or AK pistol or carbine. Probably 10 rounds for shotgun in some sort of retention or an extra mag or two for the AR-AK braced pistol. I keep an extra 4 rounds on the buttstock of my house pump gun. The weapons should have lights on them. Ideally a helmet with NV would be good also. Good idea to keep a cell phone in your bag also.
    One who hammers his gun into a plow plows for those who do not....Unknown
    ...at the end of the day its not about anything else but YOU AND YOURS..... Gabe Suarez
    ....WANT not NEED is what America is all about. ..... Gabe Suarez
    Its not about how fast you can load, but about how well you can shoot ..... Someone being saved by a speed load is not something that has happened with any regularity. Gabe Suarez

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    9,957
    I am struggling to find any reason to own this over something more modern. I totally understand getting it because you think it's cool and want it but practically I can't think of anything this does that couldn't be done better with modern equipment.
    Greg "Hyena" Nichols
    Instagram: tacfit_az
    Facebook: SI Instructor Greg Nichols

    #thinkinginviolence
    #tactisexual

    Always entertaining, mildly offensive
    IANative: Indeed, when you grab Brent (or he grabs you), it feels like liquid unobtanium wrapped in rawhide... whereas Greg is just solid muscle wrapped in hate, seasoned w/ snuff and a little lead.

    http://www.warriortalk.com/showthrea...he-Obscenities

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Beyond The Wall
    Posts
    45,671
    No...I get it. It is a good piece of kit. And I understand its attraction...the history behind it, etc. But when we leave the culture, regional history, and ComBloc focus (and we used to be there), I gotta agree with Greg. When I venture into the back country I usually carry a modern 300 BO pistol/rifle, and my pack and kit are made by Hill People Gear and Kifaru. The RD-54, like an MD-65, is cool piece of gear and there is certainly a nostalgic attraction to it...but other than that...Just saying.

    Nice write up BTW.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Western WA state
    Posts
    1,285
    Thank you all.

    I posted the same overview elsewhere and received a much less positive response. C`est la vie.

    Don`t get me wrong, I understand the criticisms of those posted here. They are correct, entirely. I`d certainly not bring something like this to a Suarez class, I`d leave that to my HSGI micro rig or 5.11 Plate carrier.
    "they have no basis of comparison and have trouble understanding how an education in violence is presented and have to struggle through the internalization of the topic."
    -Greg Nichols

    "mediocrity is the order of the day and everyone gets a trophy just for showing up."
    -Shooterb

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Western WA state
    Posts
    1,285
    Quote Originally Posted by barnetmill View Post
    Seems best for a fast-action grab-n-go kit and more than what I would want for a check out what the dogs or security sensors have found at night.

    I am most interested in quick response to defend my estate.
    There was previous discussion under the general rifle about light wt ballistic protection. I do not have such yet but will look into it after New Years day.
    I can speak only for what I have used, but my 5.11 carrier with two LVL4 plates wouldn`t be a terrible choice for that job either.
    "they have no basis of comparison and have trouble understanding how an education in violence is presented and have to struggle through the internalization of the topic."
    -Greg Nichols

    "mediocrity is the order of the day and everyone gets a trophy just for showing up."
    -Shooterb

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    9,957
    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel Suarez View Post
    No...I get it. It is a good piece of kit. And I understand its attraction...the history behind it, etc. But when we leave the culture, regional history, and ComBloc focus (and we used to be there), I gotta agree with Greg. When I venture into the back country I usually carry a modern 300 BO pistol/rifle, and my pack and kit are made by Hill People Gear and Kifaru. The RD-54, like an MD-65, is cool piece of gear and there is certainly a nostalgic attraction to it...but other than that...Just saying.

    Nice write up BTW.
    ROTFL I suppose that's true, I still have my original Blackhawk Raid vest and LBV and neither are going anywhere any time soon.
    Greg "Hyena" Nichols
    Instagram: tacfit_az
    Facebook: SI Instructor Greg Nichols

    #thinkinginviolence
    #tactisexual

    Always entertaining, mildly offensive
    IANative: Indeed, when you grab Brent (or he grabs you), it feels like liquid unobtanium wrapped in rawhide... whereas Greg is just solid muscle wrapped in hate, seasoned w/ snuff and a little lead.

    http://www.warriortalk.com/showthrea...he-Obscenities

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