If you are planning on wearing body armor or other tactical gear (such as a tactical plate carrier), whether it is for your job or self-defense, you need to have the right plate carrier. When you step into your local gun shop to buy a plate carrier or plate carrier vests, you will get a lot of options, including those for law enforcement officers. From size, material, and camp to magazine pouches and other features, there is a lot you need to decide on. Soldier plate carrier system (or so-called military plate carrier) can be complicated and choosing the right pick of one of the tactical plate carriers is not easy.
How to pick the right size?
Before everything else, you need to make sure that you get the right size. Now, let’s say you wear a large size shirt, that doesn’t mean that you will need one of the large-sized plate carriers. To be true, any of the plate carriers will fit anyone because they all have adjustable shoulder and side straps. It’s a common feature of tactical plate carriers or more generally tactical gear to be adjustable this way.
Then, why do plate carrier vests have sizes? Well, they are sized according to the ballistic plates you are going to use, not necessarily the size of the person. So, first, you need to find out what size ballistic plates or tactical plates you are going to use. Here are some important things to keep in mind.
- You need a plate that is large enough to cover all of your vital organs but is still small enough that it doesn’t restrict your maneuverability.
- Make sure that the armor plates aren’t too wide, to get in the way of your rifle’s stock.
- Make sure that you can hold your pistol in your isosceles or weaver stance without the plate interfering.
When you sit down or bend over, the plate carriers and their plates should not hit your belt or any pistol you might have in your holster. Having an emergency drag handle is also an important feature, not all tactical plate carriers have it.
Ballistic protection is a basic function for tactical plate carriers. In general, armor plates come in four sizes, that is, small, medium, large, and extra-large. There are some sizes in between as well, but they usually have a very minor difference in size. Small plates are 8×10 inches in size and are ideal for people with a smaller frame. These plates are usually used by women or men with smaller frames.
Medium plates are usually 10×12 inches and are suitable for most males with an average height and stature. Large plates are 10×13 inches, and the XL plates are 11×14 inches.
So, the best way to determine the ideal plate size for you is to try different sizes. You want the plate width to be just inside your nipples side to side. You want the plate height to cover from the top of the breastbone down to a couple of inches above the belly button when you are sitting down.
Some people also opt for one size larger, so that they can fit bigger plates in the back of the carrier. This gives extra coverage on the back and also counters the weight of the gear and pouches you have on the front of the carrier.
How to wear plate carriers?
Once you have the right size, you need to know how to wear your plate carrier. Ideally, plate carriers needs to be snug. Plate carriers shouldn’t be too tight, so that you can’t breathe, nor should they be too loose that it shifts when you move.
A great rule of thumb is that when you take a deep breath while wearing your armor, your check cavity should feel tight against the plate. Another excellent exercise to determine the fit of your armor is to do a couple of burpees while wearing plate carriers. This allows you to feel a complete range of motion, and feel and disturbances caused by the armor.
Also, try bending on both sides, and twist your torso, if the plate shifts and snags, tighten it a little, and if it’s decreasing your range of motion, loosen it. That’s the best way to adjust tactical plate carrier.
Don’t buy cheap plate carriers
Body armor can be heavy, especially if you’re using steel plates of level 3a and 4 body armor. Therefore, when you move around in a combat or emergency situation, the plates will likely be jostled around the carrier. Cheap materials can fall apart in such situations, and lead to problems in the field.
Keep in mind that most cheap plate carriers are made for airsoft or weight exercises, and aren’t designed for real combat. Therefore, whether you are buying a plate carrier for your job, or to wear in a self-defense situation, it is important that you don’t compromise on quality.
How to pick the color and camo of the carrier?
Now, for the most part, this comes down to personal preference or the requirements of your personal uniform. However, for civilian use, I’d suggest monotone carriers instead of camo. A plate carrier even in a plain color will make you stick out in public, therefore, going for camo just makes you more visible in urban environments.
Either way, if you are a civilian, it all comes down to preference. You can buy any color you like, however, black, and desert camo are the most common colors.
How to set up your plate carrier?
As you most probably know, plate carriers are only good for carrying armor plates, you can also add pouches to the front and sides of your plate carrier to carry extra magazines, health kits, walkie-talkies, and other equipment.
Now, for the most part, the way you set up your plate carrier depends a lot upon your application; however, here are some general things to keep in mind
If you are going to be in a vehicle, you should try to keep a low armor profile. The front and sides shouldn’t be too bulky so that they snag and get caught on something while entering and exiting the vehicle. A bulky setup can also make it difficult for you to go prone. For combat situations, it is also important to have some sort of medkit on your carrier.
Another tip is that you should attach a carabiner or a buckle on the shoulders of your plate carrier, and pass your rifle sling through it so that it doesn’t dig into your neck while moving around.
Either way, keep the application in mind while you are setting up your plate carriers, and try not to add any unnecessary pouches or attachments.
So, protection is essential in any kind of combat or self-defense situation, which is why many people, both civilian and law enforcement, want to wear body armor. Choosing one of the plate carriers or tactical plate carriers is not an easy task (for example when you’re a law enforcement agent you need to consider many functions of it).
You need to have the right plate carrier to complete your combat or self-defense kit. Though it can be difficult to find the right pick, we hope that this post helps you out.