SO YOU WANT A DROPLEG:
-Tired of trying to put something substantial in your pants cargo pocket only to have it chafe and bruise you after a mile? Then a dropleg (also known as subloads, leg panels, and thigh rigs) might be for you.
Moving weight off your back and shoulders helps spread out one's loadout weight and when secured properly, droplegs do not hinder most movement. Although one can get by putting a drop leg onto a typical belt, a duty belt with some stiffness is recommended. Otherwise the belt will get a bit bent up. The most common connection is a simple velcro wrap, sometimes with a flap with hook on 2 sides to stick to duty belts with velcro already on them. There are also different ways to mount your dropleg, but in my opinion, mounting on a battle belt is the way to go. Using extenders such as Emdom's drop leg hanger allow one to mount a drop leg to one's vest/carrier. This is a solid platform, however: weight is now mostly right back on your shoulders, leaning side to side movement is restricted, and if you take off your vest/carrier you also need to take off your dropleg(s). Another option if the dropleg is built for it, is a direct belt mounting behind the pannel with no velcro strap. This is the ultimate in a "high ride", but the user must bend the whole drop leg panel everytime their leg moves. This occurs since usually the vertical belt connection strap is the pivot point, but on a direct belt connection the pivot point is the belt and the back mount loops, which as you guessed don't pivot at all.
If you do go the belt route, keep in mind the option for suspenders if you attach substantial weight. The belt should keep most of the weight on your hips, but the suspenders are a backup to make sure they stay there. The suspender option also should be considered if only one dropleg is worn. The weight of the dropleg setup almost guarantees the belt shifting down to one side. Going with 2 droplegs keeps things a little more stable during activity and in general. Some dropleg draw backs mostly zone in on confined spaces. Droplegs will make going through tight aisles like on airplanes harder or other similar instances such as holes in walls. Tight transportation such as in a packed hummer can be an issue in which most people just temporarily move their dropleg(s) ontop of their thighs if seated. The packed seating problem of course depends more on user size in which big guys already barely fitting in their seat will have more room issues with droplegs than smaller guys.
That covers the basics, now I'll go over some of the differences in drop leg design from different manufacturers. The most common shape is a rectangle with tapered top with 1 vertical belt strap and 2 leg straps. The Specter, TAG and Blackhawk drop legs are a classic example of this and Tactical Tailor has a very similar setup. Differences include a SRB (Side Release Buckles) standard on the Specter, TAG, and Blackhawk vertical strap and Tactical Tailor lacks this, but has ToughTek anti-slip material on the whole backside. Although not shown, the latest Tactical Tailor droplegs being sold have the 2 prong vertical velcro belt connection which is to get around pant beltloops. Note the SRBs on the Tactical Tailor pics are not included when purchased.
From here come the slight adjustments. The Phantom dropleg has no vertical SRB and tries to get away with just 1 leg strap. On that note, I bet it gets a bit floppy when loaded since the single strap is all the way at the bottom. I mostly feature this as an example of the direct to belt loops on the back. The ICE-TAC approach was to raise the PAL webbing space up and the leg straps appear remove-able. The AITES design starts off very standard, but comes with a not so standard option of a SRB vertical connection that can be a velcro wrap or a PALS connection strip.
Breaking the classic shape, we get into the more unique designs. Blackwater went with a triangular shape with 1 leg strap. It also includes a fairly large inner pouch area for extra armor or a pistol. I question if the single leg strap is adequate enough when fully loaded, but the triangular shape should help this a little. HSGI uses a diamond shape with no vertical SRB and is one of the few droplegs to use mesh as a part of the main construction. Offhand I wasn't so sure about the mesh durability wise, but I've heard more than one personal reports that it has performed well for extended periods. The part mesh construction makes it one of the most ventilated dropleg for its size. I need to test it under heavy loads, but the diamond shape appears to help the single leg strap causing floppyness issue. Other users have told me that once the straps are properly adjusted that it works quite well. The main pannel has 2 layers to make a semi pocket for a knife sheath. Blackhawk makes another dropleg called the CQC tactical dropleg. This one is a bit proprietary in which it has no PALS and only works with Blackhawk CQC pouches/holsters. Not exactly my first choice, but the 2 vertical belt straps with Rotating "Swivi Locksters" SRBs are worth noting.
Next come the more mini-size droplegs. Spec-Ops makes one that is 4 PALS channels when most of the full size ones are 5. This size along with the placement of the single leg strap make it a more practical application of a single strap. The two long and separated vertical belt connections is a new approach and the main bulk of the dropleg appears to be mesh for ventilation. Tactical Tailor makes an even smaller 4 channel dropleg based on their full size version. This size mostly appeals to holding just a modular holster. Sord Tactical went slimmer in the other direction with their "Slick and Tight" leg pannel. They went with 2 legstraps despite the 3 PALS channel height and have a 2 strap vertical belt connection with even more spacing between the straps than the Spec-Ops one.
When you do figure out which dropleg is for you, the general rule is keep it light on your loads. A couple extra MAGs, perhaps a medic pouch, or a drop pouch are some common loadouts. A SAW pouch with a 200 round box would be an example of something unrecommended. WIth that kind of weight no amount of grippy webbing leg straps are going to keep it in place while running.
In closing, while shopping around you will likely see some dropleg extenders. I don't know who the hell is using these since most droplegs are adjustable to "way too long" by default. One practical use for them, however, is to convert non SRB vertical belt connection straps to having a SRB. SRBs (Side Release Buckles) greatly assist in the speed of taking droplegs on and off. The next to last picture shows some of the problems with mounting on vests/carriers. To get maximum ride on the emdom hangers, one mounts them upside down, but this causes quite a bit a fabric strain to both the hanger and what it is mounted to. Do keep in mind that they work perfectly fine in their normal SRB down position, but become more like extenders. The final picture is a poor man's vest/carrier SRB system I came up with. Just take 2 short MALICE clips and use them upside-down to mount a 2" SRB. I added shock cord for additional support. Approximate cost $3-$4. I only went over modular droplegs in this article so it isn't already longer than it is. With limited browsing efforts you will also notice many dropleg variants with permanent pouches such as a dump pouch and pistol holsters on the market.
I hope this article has been helpful. Bug me if you see anything you feel strongly against, but messaging me just to say you liked the information is good too. You can watch the progress of my own dropleg idea on my prototype page: <link>