Airsoft FAQ: What is MOLLE?
What is MOLLE? - Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment
MOLLE is widely accepted as the term to describe the current generation of pouch attachment system used by NATO and beyond, though it is derived from the US Army's MOLLE system which entered use in the early 2000s.
The MOLLE system replaced the ALICE (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) system in US Army service and PLCE (Personal Load Carrying Equipment) with the British Army and has gone on to set the standard in what is expected of a loadbearing system designed for combat applications.
At the time of writing, MOLLE is present across almost all tactical gear produced in the last decade from around the world and has replaced many nation's homegrown webbing systems, providing greater access to a wide variety of pouches in many different patterns and allowing each user to customise their load bearing equipment for their role while keeping the base vest standardised.
The heart of the MOLLE system is PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) loops, a system of 1-inch (25mm) wide webbing sewn in a ladder configuration with 1.4-1.6 inches (35-40mm) between each vertical sewn line. PALS loops are generally laid out in rows with 1 inch (25mm) spacing between each row.
The exact specification of PALS is 25mm webbing sewn in 38mm increments, but in practice increments of 35-40mm are generally considered to be MOLLE compatible.
In 2023, MOLLE is available in two common forms and both are compatible with all MOLLE pouches. Standard MOLLE is the sewn loop style attachment interface described above, and Laser Cut MOLLE is a lightweight alternative which uses slots cut directly into a single piece of fabric.
Laser Cut MOLLE has the advantage of reducing the overall weight of the rig, especially when it comes to larger tactical vests and carriers which would usually have a large area covered by conventional MOLLE/PALS loops.
MOLLE/PALS loops can be found primarily on tactical vests, belts and backpacks designed for combat use but have more recently been appearing on backpacks for hiking and other workwear designed for civilian use.
The advantage of using a MOLLE/PALS equipped tactical vest for Airsoft over a vest with fixed pouches is its modular nature; MOLLE allows you to fit pouches exactly where you need them, run only the pouches you use while avoiding excess weight and change your pouch configuration easily for an alternative battlefield role.
With innumerable primary weapons to choose from all with differently shaped magazines, MOLLE allows you to chop and change your loadout and run everything from an M4 to a P90 using the same base rig, changing the pouches out to suit different magazine styles and accompanying equipment.
Now you know a bit more about MOLLE perhaps it is time to check out some rigs. If so, you can hit the button below to see our selection of plate carriers, chest rigs and tactical vests or you can read our Assault Vests, Chest Rigs and Plate Carriers buying guide here!