BALLISTIC PLATE CARRIERS
When you're heading into battle, a properly worn plate carrier setup can provide the advanced ballistic protection you need to face potential high-velocity threats. The terms "plate carrier" and "tactical vest" are often used interchangeably (and incorrectly). Although they sometimes share similar features, such as MOLLE webbing and mag storage, they are different in one critical way. Keep reading to learn more!
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WHAT IS A PLATE CARRIER?
Ballistic plate carriers have compartments designed to hold ballistic body armor plates, including soft armor side plates and hard armor plates. In contrast, tactical vests do not accommodate hard armor plates. While tactical vests are useful for low threat situations, such as scouting and special operations, ballistic plate carrier vests are much better suited to active combat.
WHY DO I NEED A PLATE CARRIER?
When combined with ballistic plates or soft armor inserts, plate carriers can protect your vital organs from injury during combat. However, it's important to know that, even with the best ballistic plates money can buy, no plate carrier is ever truly" bulletproof."
At US Patriot Tactical, we believe we have a responsibility to provide the most accurate information about our products so you can make the best decision possible. If you ever come across a retailer that claims to sell "bulletproof vests", we strongly encourage you to take your business elsewhere!
That being said, let's dive into the different types of plate carriers and their uses.
MILITARY PLATE CARRIERS
Any military personnel will tell you that a quality plate carrier is worth its weight in gold. That's because tactical environments can turn into a battle zone in the blink of an eye.
There are many different types and styles of military plate carrier setups to choose from, so it's always important to carefully review the regulations of your branch of service. Members of the US Army must conform to AR 670-01 regulations, which state that soldiers of all ranks must wear body armor according to manufacturers' instruction when participating in combat or hazardous duty.
The Soldier Plate Carrier System (SPCS) (also known as KDH Magnum TAC-1) in MultiCam pattern is the standard-issued US Army plate carrier. The current Air Force plate carrier is the Tyr Tactical EPIC plate carrier. Generally speaking, Coyote Brown, Multicam, or Scorpion OCP plate carriers are approved for US Army and Air Force use, but be sure to check with your CO before purchasing.
AIRSOFT PLATE CARRIERS
Although civilians don't typically encounter ballistic threats in their daily lives, there are situations when even a civilian should consider wearing a plate carrier. Seasoned or otherwise, every airsoft player can benefit from soft armor inserts to protect them from BB shots.
Avid airsoft players also know how vital storage capacity can be. The last thing you want is to find yourself out of ammo during a close game. Lightweight airsoft plate carrier setups provide ready access to extra ammo, repair kits, CO2 canisters, and backup weapons, while evenly distributing your load so you can move freely.
WEIGHT VESTS FOR WORKING OUT
Another off-battlefield use of plate carriers is at the gym. Traditional Crossfit weight vests are great for kicking your workout up a notch, but plate carriers evenly distribute your load so you can take on more intense workouts without sacrificing comfort.
Whether you're on the field or at the gym, your plate carrier should fit snuggly to avoid irritation and injury, so choose one that has adjustable straps and a sturdy plate retention system. Another important feature is lightweight, breathable material with moisture-wicking properties to help prevent overheating.
WHAT IS THE BEST PLATE CARRIER?
There are many styles of plate carriers and choosing the right one for your situation can be a difficult process. In our opinion, the best plate carriers are made from durable materials that can withstand hard use. They also must have an emergency drag handle, adjustable shoulder straps and harnesses, are MOLLE compatible, and accept standard sized plates.
WHAT ARE PLATE CARRIERS MADE OF?
The best plate carriers are made from durable materials, such as CORDURA® nylon, that can stand up to hard use. Heavy-duty hardware, like Duraflex buckles and YKK zippers, help ensure many years of loyal service. Many of our top tactical plate carriers also have breathable air mesh liners to keep you cool when the heat is on.
HOW SHOULD A PLATE CARRIER FIT?
The best plate carrier is the one you'll wear, so choosing one that fits you properly is critical. When trying one on, always set up your plate carrier with plates first. Position your front armor plate in the middle of your chest just under your collar bone, then adjust the shoulder straps until the plate is securely held in place.
Next, tighten your side straps and fasten. Your plate carrier should fit snuggly but not so tight that it interferes with your breathing. Once your plate carrier straps are tightened, double-check the placement of your front plate to make sure it's still positioned correctly.
Finally, test your plate carrier's fit by lifting your arms, bending at the waist, and twisting your torso. To guarantee you've got it right, try doing a few planks or burpees. If you notice that your plates are shifting, make the necessary adjustments until you find the right balance of weight distribution.
WHO MAKES THE BEST PLATE CARRIERS?
In our humble opinion, the Crye Precision Jumpable Plate Carrier is the best plate carrier money can buy. This military plate carrier setup has it all, from a rugged build to performance stretch plate pockets that can accommodate plates of various sizes. Low-profile MOLLE reduces bulk while simultaneously enabling full customization.
When you need heavy-duty ballistic protection, reach for the Shellback Rampage 2.0 Plate Carrier. This MultiCam plate carrier features adjustable shoulder straps and an adjustable cummerbund that fits close to the torso without restricting movement. A removable front MOLLE placard and multiple rows of MOLLE webbing on the back of the carrier enable virtually limitless modular configurations.
With combat-focused features, the Agilite K19 Plate Carrier is ready to face any challenge that lies ahead. This military plate carrier features the Egress quick release buckle system and Fast-Adjust™ cummerbund, enabling a perfect fit. Mil-Spec ballistic nylon and hardware withstand abrasion, compression, and impact, while Agilite's proprietary "V" shaped harness with fusion foam padding evenly distributes your load.
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