SKD PIG BRIG Mk-2 Shoulder Pads: For Added Comfort

The Mk-2 is the second iteration to the popular PIG BRIG Shoulder Pad Set from SKD Tactical, and is part of SKD’s larger SYSTEMA line of tactical gear. Released in 2015, the Mk-2 is an advent over its predecessor in that it features a full enclosure over the shoulder padding, while allotting for cables or tubes to be threaded underneath.

With an overall length of 10”, the Mk-2 runs 1” thick open-cell foam, wrapped in Drilux treated Cordura for moisture wicking and anti-bacterial function the entire length of the pad—this despite only needing 8” of shoulder strap material on which to mount.

The Mk-2 uses a fold-over flap design, secured via hook-and-loop, to attach to the shoulder strap and includes a band of corresponding hook-and-loop (male) fabric along the length of the interior for shoulder straps that use a similar female band of fabric to anchor shoulder pads. However, the overall length of the Mk-2 does not necessitate this and is designed to offer full coverage between front and rear carrier.

The PIG BRIG Mk-2 is available as a set in Multicam (featured, Black, Coyote, and Ranger Green.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostExcellent (5/5): With a list price of $40, the PIG BRIG Mk-2 brings together modest open-cell padding and Cordura nylon to give the end-user an optional after-market accessory to help improve the comfort and fit of plate carriers. Often companies put only a cursory thought into elements of a carrier like shoulder padding, so the Mk-2 provides a solution for those who seek to make their preferred carrier more comfortable. In contrast, the Shoulder Pads ($50) from Ferro Concepts, the Plate Carrier Shoulder Pads ($49.00) from Raptor Tactical, or the Deluxe Shoulder Pads ($69.30) from First Spear illustrate that for comparable products with similar thickness, the Mk-2 is the lowest cost and at an excellent price point amid the market of alternatives.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect, the Mk-2 added approximately 1” thick padding (via the foam stitched into the underside of the shoulder pad sleeve) which easily improved the comfort to a variety of plate carrier straps. The wide hook-and-loop material used to secure the wrap-around fabric was wide enough to appropriately accommodate various strap thicknesses, or when threading through hydration tubes/communication cables. The hook-and-loop also had a very good level of retention between both sides of the fabric, and the corners did not curl or become excessively abrasive against exposed skin. The overall length of the shoulder bar itself also ensured the pad didn’t slide or move and become lop-sided.
  • Durability – Average (3/5): The Mk-2 had a majority of typical Cordura fabric in its design, which was appropriate (or average) for the market of similar products (and indeed the overall tactical gear industry). This gave it an average balance between abrasion resistance and flexibility to contour as needed, and not be excessively rigid or abrasive. Minimal bartack stitching was noted along the stitch lines (appearing more to end the line rather than to reinforce the material) and some over-threading was noted that had to be removed. In addition, the thread lines themselves were mostly straight, however a few were clearly noted drifting as the stitch machine was in operation—but not to the detriment of the product’s function. This is common when products are sourced overseas or made in haste.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): Functionally, the Mk-2 was very simplistic. As an aftermarket solution, it augmented either pre-existing minimalist shoulder padding, or added to that which was non-existent on other carrier types. It attached easily, and presented a flush exterior without any features that otherwise snagged or became abrasive. The noted length of the overall pad was enough to fill up the entire length of the shoulder strap from front to rear carrier, and maintained the pad in a solid position. Those who utilize a shortened length in shoulder strap however (such as women) may experience some overlap/conflict of material as the Mk-2 is clearly designed with the average length of shoulder strap in mind. There was no noted “small” version of the Mk-2 available, so presumably this is a one-size-fits-all product, or not at all. There was no external loops or tabs that would otherwise be encumbering for hydration tubes or communication cables, and by routing them under the Mk-2 enclosing flats it provided a flush profile. The nylon mesh material over the open-cell foam padded also ensured appropriate drainage and avoided from saturation remaining behind after exposure to rain or sweat, with the added benefit of also controlling odor.
  • Weight Good (4/5): Weighing in at 3.6 ounces (for the pair) the PIG Brig Mk-2 was a very light, and breathable product that added little to the overall weight of a fully encumbered carrier. It was also light enough that it didn’t pull or become fatiguing on the shoulders while worn, nor feel on the torso as if it were pulling down into the body and allowed for good dispersal of the overall weight. In contrast, the Shoulder Pads (2.2 ounces) from Ferro Concepts, the Plate Carrier Shoulder Pads (2.72 ounces) from Raptor Tactical, or the Deluxe Shoulder Pads (16 ounces) from First Spear all illustrate the variance in products and corresponding weight—and placed the Mk-2s within a good weight amid the overall market of products utilizing similar materials and design.

Overall Rating – Good (20/25)

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I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via High Ground Media, LLC, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

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