ARMOR CARRIERS - BUYERS GUIDE
Both Military and Law Enforcement personnel rely heavily on body armor and carriers to protect them during the course of their duties. Soldiers and officers alike require ballistic protection due to the tactical situations they often find themselves in, and will often times find themselves wearing their body armor for extended periods of times, as they wear their body armor throughout the length of their mission or work shift- at the expense of personal comfort. As a result, soldiers and law enforcement officers now have the ability to wear their soft body armor, with or without heavier hard armor rifle protection plates. The wearer may even choose to wear either only soft body armor for pistol caliber protection, or a plate carrier specifically made to hold front and back hard armor rifle plates such as those offered by 5 11 Tactical, Armor Express, and Ace Link Armor.
Body armor has advanced to the point that wearers have more choices in styles, models, and different versions of bulletproof vests or carriers than they can wear. Two basic designs that exist today are the plate carriers or tac vest, as they are sometimes referred to; each having distinct features, here is how they compare.
Plate carriers are specifically made to hold a front and a back hard rifle plate body armor as far as ballistic protection. Both the front and back of the plate carrier are able to hold hard armor plates using pockets, the plates are able to be inserted into- then closed to secure each plate inside. These tactical plate carriers can only hold hard armor rifle plates or same shape soft armor backing panels for ICW or spalling prevention if steel plates are used. The price for these types of tactical carriers is usually lower as a result as well.
Plate Carrier Vests are actually Soft Armor Panel Vests with individual front and back pockets built-in or modularly attached that allow the wearer to have both soft armor panels- with side protective extensions- for front and back pistol caliber protection; as well as, the added option of using the front and back hard armor rifle carrier plates pockets to have rifle caliber protection. This added protection offered by these types of carriers aids the officer in tactical situations, but as a result, these carriers usually come in at a higher price than the for-mentioned plate carriers.
Plate carriers or plate carrier vests were first manufactured in solid colors like black, tan, green, or blue; these solid colored vests were considered low-cost to make option, easy to market to government and police agencies, and easily repairable if there was a warranty claim. Due to the fact that the price for these was not high, they quickly began to be adopted by numerous police agencies across the country to the point that they became mainstream. Currently, tactical vests and armor carriers are manufactured in camouflage colors and patterns that are mainly driven by public demand, as these companies realized there is a lot of money to be made in the civilian market, whereas agencies are requesting manufacturers to produce colors that cover a wider variety of backdrop and backgrounds the wearer might find themselves in. The best armor carriers are now are available in a wide range of configurations from Multicam plate carrier covers, to neutral tone camouflage patterns such as subdued urban digital camo. Whereas on the civilian side, they will often by available in a number of color options and camo configurations that have been phased out or are not widely used such as Rhodesian Bush-stroke, Flecktarian, or Kryptek.
There are also multiple companies that produce plate carriers and vests. 5.11, AR500 , Ace Link Armor and Condor make armor plate carriers in popular styles and patterns that are widely used by both government and civilian sporting arms enthusiast alike. Ace Link Armor in particular offers a wide range of tactical carriers at lower price points than the competition. With a wide range of options available, a person can find the tactical vest that best fits the needs of the situation they will find themselves most likely to be in, at a price that will not break the bank. If when shopping around, you find that you cannot decide on the type of carriers you need, or what type of body armor would be best for your situation, feel free to contact us and one of our associates will be able to help you choose the body armor or carriers systems that will fit your tactical situation best.