When it comes to tactical gear attachment, one often comes across terms like PALS and MOLLE. Though these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they refer to distinct components of tactical load-bearing systems. In this article, we will explore the differences between PALS vs MOLLE, and how these systems work together to provide a versatile and reliable platform for organizing and carrying equipment.

PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System)

PALS is a webbing system designed to attach modular pouches, holsters, and accessories to tactical gear such as plate carrier vests, backpacks, and belts. The PALS grid consists of horizontal rows of heavy-duty nylon webbing, spaced at intervals of 1 inch and stitched to a larger piece of fabric at regular intervals.

These rows create a series of loops that enable the attachment of MOLLE-compatible accessories. Developed by the United States Army Natick Soldier Center, PALS was first introduced in 1997 as part of the Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) system.

MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment)

MOLLE is an overarching term for a modular load-bearing system that encompasses various components, including the PALS webbing, attachment hardware, and compatible pouches and accessories. MOLLE was developed to replace the outdated ALICE (All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) system and aimed to provide greater versatility and customization options for soldiers in the field.

MOLLE uses the PALS webbing as the foundation for attaching gear and typically employs straps with snap fasteners or nylon stiffeners, known as MOLLE straps or MOLLE clips, to secure pouches and accessories.

How to Use MOLLE

Straps from the MOLLE accessory are woven through the opening of the PALS webbing to create an ultra-strong weave with multiple attachment points. Many first time users make the mistake of just putting the MOLLE strap straight through the PALS webbing. This makes the attachment less secure, and looser. MOLLE straps are made to be woven in and out of each PALS ‘ladder,’ and will be loose if not.

How to use MOLLE
How to Use MOLLE

Similarly, weaving the strap in and out means the pouch will remain secure if the snap breaks, and I have seen pouches remain secure when this happens, even under weight. This creates an ultra-secure attachment method, especially considering most attachments use several straps.

The MOLLE system allows for the integration of different pouches and accessories to create a customized load-out tailored to individual needs and mission requirements.

The Relationship Between PALS and MOLLE

MOLLE attachments

To better understand the differences between PALS and MOLLE, consider PALS as the foundational component of the MOLLE system. PALS webbing provides the grid-like structure on which MOLLE-compatible pouches and accessories are attached. In other words, PALS is a part of the larger MOLLE system.

MOLLE, on the other hand, refers to the overall load-bearing system, which includes the PALS webbing, attachment hardware, and compatible accessories. It is a comprehensive approach to equipment organization and modular attachment that allows for customization and scalability based on individual needs.

PALS webbing typically comes in two main varieties. Laser cut is an inexpensive and low-profile method of producing the ladder system. Standard PALS is typically more secure, but bulkier, and can be spaced out to reduce weight.

Laser cut MOLLE
Standard PALS and Laser Cut PALS

In summary, while PALS and MOLLE are related, they refer to different aspects of a tactical load-bearing system. PALS is the webbing grid that enables the attachment of modular accessories, while MOLLE is the overarching system that includes PALS webbing, attachment hardware, and compatible accessories.

Both PALS and MOLLE work together to provide a flexible and customizable platform for organizing and carrying essential gear in various tactical scenarios.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Tacticon Armament.

2 thoughts on “PALS vs MOLLE: Differences and How to Use

  1. Ben Campbell says:

    I have learned I have been doing it wrong this whole damn time -.- I appreciate this very informative instruction!

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