5 essential features to look for in a tactical plate carrier
Your plate carrier or bulletproof vest is perhaps the most important part of your body armor system. A plate carrier is meant to securely hold your armor plates, and carry a wide range of tactical gear and accesories that you may need for your objectives. Therefore, it is essential that you invest in a reliable and high-quality plate carrier.
Now, there are various kinds of plate carriers available on the market. You can get anything from a concealable, or minimalistic plate carrier, to a fully tactical Military plate carrier. In today’s post, we are going to talk about what you need to look out for when you are buying a tactical plate carrier.
Essential features to look for in tactical plate carriers
There are several features that can determine the quality and effectiveness of a plate carrier, and here are the five most important features the best plate carriers should have.
Durability and high-quality construction materials
A Tactical Plate carrier needs to hold heavy body armor plates and be able to mount all kinds of gear. Additionally, more often than not, plate carrier vests are used in rugged environments. Therefore, it is really important that you choose a plate carrier vest that is made from Durable and high-quality construction materials, with high manufacturing standards.
These days, most quality plate carrier vests are made from super strong materials like 500D Nylon. Moreover, they use materials like Mesh EVA Foam, and moisture-wicking internal liners to improve comfort. The stitching quality also has a major impact on the durability of the plate carrier.
Therefore, don’t cheap out on your plate carrier, and opt for plate carrier brands like AceLink Armor, who make some of the best plate carriers on the market
Comfort and adjustability
Next up, you need to make sure that your plate carrier is comfortable to wear, and easily adjustable. Now, plate carriers come in various profiles, and types, and depending on their type, the level of comfort they provide can vary.
If you are going to be wearing your plate carrier vest for long periods of time, and intend to carry a lot of duty gear on it, you need something that is comfortable, and you should stick with either medium or heavy plate carriers. These tactical plate carriers are meant to carry heavy loads, therefore, operator comfort is an important element of their design.
These plate carrier vests usually have padded shoulder straps and cummerbunds. The back and front plate bags are also padded and have moisture-wicking internal liners to prevent sweat buildup. The mesh padding on the back of these plates makes sure that the plates don’t stick into your body. Moreover, it improves airflow behind the plates to prevent excessive sweating.
Adjustability is also an important factor for a comfortable plate carrier. The shoulder straps and cumber bunds on medium and heavy plate carrier vests are also adjustable, allowing you to get a good fit. This prevents the plate carrier from moving around and causing discomfort when you move, and it ensures more effective ballistic protection as well.
Compatibility with armor plates
Choosing the right size, and level of ballistic plates is essential for the best ballistic protection. Similarly, when you are choosing a plate carrier vest, you need to make sure that it is compatible with the armor plates you intend to use.
Plate carrier vests are sized according to the size of the plate they are meant to carry. So, before you can choose the perfect plate carrier, you need to know the ideal armor plate size for your body. The sizes can vary between different manufacturers, so it is better to try on different plates and see which suits you best.
An armor plate should cover all the vital organs in your chest area while being comfortable as well. It should hinder your ability to shoulder a rifle or move around in various positions. So, when you find the right size plate that fits these criteria, choose the plate carrier size accordingly.
As far as protection level is concerned, a plate carrier vest can carry any level plate, as long as it is the right size. However, keep in mind that the higher the protection level, the heavier the body armor plates will be. Therefore, for super-heavy ballistic plates, choose high-quality and rugged plate carrier vests that can support their weight.
Pouches and attachment options
Modern plate carriers don’t only have to carry your body armor plates but should be able to carry your tactical gear as well, like extra magazines, and all kinds of other dedicated pouches. This is why most plate carriers these days come with some kind of high-speed gear attachment system.
MOLLE and Laser Cut Webbings are the two most popular plate carriers tactical attachment systems used in the US and most countries around the world. Both these systems allow you to PALs compatible accessories and have their distinct advantages and disadvantages.
If you want a heavy plate carrier vest that is extremely durable and can carry a lot of gear, then Molle is the way to go, however, MOLLE plate carriers are slightly heavier. For MOLLE webbing, super durable straps of Nylon are stitched onto the exterior of the plate carrier. On the other hand, Laser Cut webbing is achieved by making precision cuts in the Fabric of the plate carrier, and the straps of the PALs compatible pouches and accessories can be passed through these cuts instead of the MOLLE straps. Laser Cut webbings also work great for most applications. They are lighter and better for concealment, however, they are also less durable than MOLLE.
A Suitable profile and modular design
As we have mentioned before, plate carriers come in different profiles, and you should choose a profile that best suits your intended use. Here are the four main types of plate carrier profiles.
Slick Concealable Plate carriers:
These are the simplest plate carriers you can get. They are simply a set of fabric pockets to hold your plates and don’t have much in terms of padding, adjustability, or load-carrying capability. These plate carrier vests are designed to be concealable and are worn under one’s clothes. High-quality slick plate carriers use Moisture Wicking fabrics to make them more comfortable, however, you don’t want to use these plate carriers with heavy body armor plates, and they aren’t designed to be worn for too long.
Minimalist Plate Carriers:
A minimalist plate carrier is designed for short missions, where you don’t need to carry too much gear. These plate carrier vests don’t have many pockets or pouches, however, they usually have a small section of Molle or Laser Cut webbing for mounting the essentials. They are usually more comfortable than slick plate carriers. The best minimalist plate carrier will probably have padded and adjustable shoulder straps, and be able to carry around 10 lbs of tactical gear.
REACT PLATE CARRIER
You won’t find a better tactical plate carrier than React. It’s the most concealed, affordable and reliable on today’s market.
If you want to stay low-profile while still protect yourself from various threats, then this is your go-to gear!
The React Plate Carrier was designed with input from law enforcement officers and soldiers who have worn our carriers in combat zones around the world. It’s made of ultra-light materials that are comfortable enough to wear all day long without sacrificing protection. This plate carrier features an internal cummerbund system that keeps your armor securely in place while allowing maximum airflow throughout the vest. You can also adjust it using just one hand so you don’t need help from another person when it comes time to put it on or take it off quickly during an emergency situation.
Medium/Standard Plate Carriers:
This is where things get serious, Standard plate carriers are the most popular kind of tactical plate carriers used by civilians, and law enforcement units. They are designed to carry front, back, and even side plates. Moreover, they have a loss of Molle Webbing and can carry around 20 lbs and 30 lbs of duty gear.
A standard plate carrier is ideal for all kinds of missions. It is comfortable enough to wear for a long time, has adjustable and padded shoulder straps, and can carry a lot of gear as well.
RECOIL PLATE CARRIER
With its slim profile design and adjustable fit options, this is a great choice for anyone looking for a high quality plate carrier they can use daily whether they work in law enforcement or military service or simply enjoy outdoor activities such as hunting or hiking through rugged terrain where additional protection might be required.
It’s a modern world plate carrier made from high-quality materials, and it offers durability, comfort, and functionality that will allow you to take full advantage of it. The design makes the plate carrier lightweight but very sturdy at the same time so when in use, all weight will be properly distributed across your shoulders and the entire system won’t feel cumbersome or hard to wear.
Heavy Armor Plate Carriers:
These are the biggest and most rugged tactical plate carriers out there and are usually used by soldiers, who carry multiple heavy ballistic plates. These tactical plate carriers have multiple pockets, a lot of Molle Webbing, big side plate pockets, and the ability to work with additional armor pieces, like shoulder, abdomen, and neck armor pieces. Heavy plate carriers can carry more than 53 lbs of gear easily and are very comfortable as well.
QUADRELEASE 2.0 TACTICAL PLATE CARRIER
The best-selling plate carrier is back and better than ever! The new design features a more snug fit, additional side protection together with all adjustments being made easier through precision cuts of high-quality 500D Nylon fabric. The Quadrelease 360 Protection Plate Carrier armor systems has front, back, and side armor panel pockets. It is minimalist and versatile and equipped with quick- release buckles.
This fully tactical plate carrier has been designed to provide quality front, back, and side protection to those who wear bulletproof body armor; from private citizens to military, or tactical response law enforcement, and any who rely on body armor plate carriers to protect and serve.
So, here were some of the most important factors that you need to consider when buying a plate carrier. You should understand that your plate carrier is the backbone of your entire tactical setup, and a bad plate carrier can lead to a lot of serious problems in the field.
A high-quality tactical plate carrier is like an investment, it will last you for a very long time, and allow you to stay protected with your body armor plates when you need them the most.