The “Why” Behind the SNS-R
By Abner Miranda
In late 2012 I was working on an idea for a magazine carrier that was made for the rough and tumble world of vehicle operations. I’d just come back from a vehicle class where we were bailing out of vehicles through shattered windows. A lot of us were, regularly, losing mags and gear out of our belt carriers. I was running open topped mag carriers that were failing miserably. I came home from that class, did my homework, and found something called the “Sonny Rig.” It looked promising, I got a hold of one, and instantly regretted having ordered the thing. It was a floppy mess that couldn’t retain mags.
I remember sitting at my desk a few days after getting that awful rig and watching the cold rain spattering on the driveway. The words of my buddy, Daniel, came to mind "why don't you just design your own rig…” So I did!
Most think that SNS-R stands for Shoot-N-Scoot Rig. Nope, that’s just the catchy name I gave it. What those letters really stand for are Sympathetic Nervous System Rig. Simply put, when you have a lot of stress dumped on you, such as in a gunfight, your sympathetic nervous system will shift you into "fight or flight mode" and you’ll flounder during the most simple of tasks.
One of the things I most often see is guys depleting their sources of ammo to the point that a belt rig runs dry before they realize that they’ve run out of mags. Suddenly it’s time to consolidate ammo down from the chest rig and they’ve anywhere from four to six empty slots on their belt to fill. This is the moment where they start looking at their belt trying to figure out what goes where. The point is, they’re not looking at the threat anymore. Why is the consolidation of ammunition such a big thing? Because the ergonomics of a reload occur much faster from a waist borne rig than from a chest rig.
When I set out to design the SNS-R I drew from some of the lessons I’d picked up from a book I read many years ago called “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. It’s worthy of mentioning, and I would highly suggest you read it. It’s about how to inspire those within your sphere of influence. The book demonstrates how one can present ideas in a manner that gets others to get on board.
Sinek presents something called the “Golden Circle” as a model for getting ideas across. Imagine a target with three rings. The bullseye is “Why,” the middle ring is “How,” and the outer is “What.” Most companies and customers focus on the “what” in a product, and might even look at the “How,” depending on how hard they try to reach their customer base. Here’s an example of “What.” We make great rifles for customers who are looking for the best that money can buy. “How?” We make our rifles with only the finest components and procedures, etc. Seldom does a company actually know what their “Why” is. Why do you make that rifle, why is yours better than other brands? When you start by identifying your “Why” you’re more able to present your “How & What.”
Why The SNS-R
I designed the SNS-R by placing three items on my desk and photographing them. I placed a Glock 17 mag next to a Magpul PMAG, next to an INFORCE 6VX Handheld Light…done! That was it. I already knew my “Why.” I then needed to solidly identify my “What.”
I knew that when stress was poured onto the shooter they would need the simplest fastest rig I could give them to get the job done. I knew that the rig had to be tough, but flexible. It had to be light and comfortable, otherwise folks wouldn’t want to wear it. I knew that it also needed to be concealable because my “Why” also covered the needs of Dignitary Protection Units. DPU has to operate in a world where they have to be very low key, but at a moments notice they need to ramp up their load bearing capacity. It’s easy to throw a chest rig over your head and shoulders but it’s tough to add things to your belt in a hurry. The SNS-R hides under a suit coat, loose jacket, or baggy shirt, quite easily.
Well, there was my “What?” Now for my “How?”
Why Bravo Concealment?
I initially approached a couple of companies with the SNS-R, Bravo Concealment was the only company that responded. I remember the day well. It was a Sunday afternoon, I emailed them a quick email with some images of what I was after and about 30 minutes later my phone rang with a Texas number on it. The rest, as they say, is history. Bravo quickly sent me some proof of concept rigs. I ran them on my range, and at some classes. We shortened the body a bit, and brought the bottom up so as to keep it off the hips, for comfort. What you now see really only took two prototypes to reach.
The biggest thing for me was that the rig had to have very high retention. I needed to know that when I reached for something it would be there. I’ve explained the single rifle and pistol mags but the reason for the light is that this is the tool that most people often forget. They think that because they work in daylight hours they don’t need a light…until they need a light. That’s it, simple and fast.
The tactical industry often designs products for the "square range." The square range is the environment where you stand still and fire rounds at a static target. There are no variables to contend with. The tactically emergent environment is one that changes constantly. That is the SNS-R’s “Why.” It can exist in any environment without being obtrusive.
If you want deep concealment, swap out your 30 round rifle mag for a 20 rounder. If you’re job is high risk warrant service, then concealment is not you mandate. Swap out that 30 rounder for a 40 rounder and swap the standard pistol mag for a stick mag. I’ve got a buddy that works for an agency that doesn't have patrol carbines. He wears one as a detective and puts his iPhone in the rifle mag slot. Coincidentally you can remove the rifle mag and securely carry two extra pistol mags in the rifle mag slot or use it to retain partially used mags during a tac reload. Can you tell I put a lot of thought into this rig?
Being a member of the firearms media means that from time to time someone will want you to look at their product. Over the years I’ve had people offer me holsters and mag pouches and I respectfully turn them down. When I’m asked “why” my answer is immediately “because Bravo Concealment listened to my idea when no one else would. So I’ll stick with them.”
I don’t care about being rich or famous. I used to want such things but as I’ve grown older, I’ve grown wiser. And like it says in Proverbs 23:5 “…riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”
I truly couldn’t care less about such things. I do good work because some day, I trust, that someone is going to walk up to me, shake my hand, and say "I'm alive because of a product you developed, or technique you demonstrated that stuck with me.”
How many of us can say that there are products out there that they’ve helped develop that are designed to help the good guys defeat the bad guys. I love my job!
People don't buy “what” you do, they buy “why” you do it. The SNS-R exists because it’s a solution to a problem, rather than a solution looking for a problem. That is its “Why.”
As always, God bless you all, get those guns out and practice. Have a good one!
~Abner Miranda is a former Police Officer, an FBI trained Hostage Negotiator, a First Responder, and Spanish Interpreter. He is currently a Firearms Instructor, an Armorer, and a regular contributor to our industry of both written and digital media. You can see more of Abner’s work on his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/daddycop3