Simple carriers provide a place to hold hard plates designed to stop high-velocity rifle rounds. The plates themselves can be made of simple steel or complex materials. Their weight varies based on their construction, and several sizes are made to accommodate different needs. Many stand alone, providing single- or multiple-hit protection. Plate carriers can be designed to be incredibly simple, or highly modular by providing pockets or a means to attach accessories. Others are designed with the ballistic armor built in, providing an outer carrier that does it all. It really depends on the operator’s needs.
The following is a roundup of some of the newer systems available today.
AR500 Armor Sentry
The Sentry Plate Carrier Package from AR500 Armor packs everything you need into one ready-to-go kit featuring the Sentry plate carrier, Level III body armor, a MOLLE chest- mounted pistol holster (uni￼versal), a double M4/AR-15 magazine pouch and a double pistol magazine pouch.
The plate carrier itself is made from 600D nylon to combine light weight and rugged strength. The carrier also includes adjust- able padded shoulders, a drag handle, hydration tube/radio guides and quick-release side buckles. The carrier features a cummerbund-free design that reduces bulk on the sides and helps improve airflow.
For more information, call 602-501- 9607 or visit ar500armor.com.
BlackHawk’s STRIKE tactical armor carrier is available in both cutaway and non-cutaway versions. The cutaway versions can be removed when needed with the simple pull of a tab on the vest, offering quick access for medical personnel, for instance. This armor accepts all BlackHawk soft Level IIIA armor as well as armor plates (up to 10.5 inches by 13.25 inches) on the front and back. It can also accommodate collar, groin yoke, side plates and bicep protection. The carrier offers STRIKE/MOLLE webbing all the way around, and the shoulder/waist adjustment system provides for a tailored fit.
For more information, visit blackhawk.com or call 800-379-1732.
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus V2
The PLATEminus was designed from the ground up to be one of the lightest plate carriers available. The PLATEminus has eliminated all of the unnecessary bulk, enabling it to be worn under outer garments while still being fully MOLLE compatible.
The PLATEminus V2 has the same great lightweight plate carrying capabilities as the original PLATEminus, but with the added benefit of side plate capabilities. The cummerbund, fully adjustable and featuring military-grade Ten-Speed elastic, can also hold magazine pouches or similar-sized items, such as trauma dressings.
For more information, visit blueforcegear.com or call 877-430-2583.
Eagle Industries CIACS
The Combat Integrated Armor Carrier System (CIACS) from Eagle Industries provides a modular, fire-retardant armor carrier. Made of 1,000-denier nylon, it is incredibly strong. Eagle’s patented single-pull cable releases only the plates instead of the entire vest. The CIACS can be ordered as a standalone vest, with or without ballistic protection, along with armor for your collar, groin and shoulders. The CIACS also features internal and external cummerbunds for a tight, secure fit, and the system is completely adjustable for both height and girth, so it’s easy to fit to most operators. Full MOLLE webbing allows operators to add pouches and accessories where desired. While designed for aircrew personnel, it is well suited to any tactical need where complete ballistic protection is required.
For more information, visit eagleindustries.com or call 888-343-7547.
Elite Survival Systems MVP
Elite Survival Systems’ Modular Vest Panel (MVP) tactical vests feature interchangeable pieces, or panels, affording the user more options and greater customization. Each component of the system is constructed of 1,000-denier nylon, heavy-duty zippers and hardware, and nylon mesh.
All front panels have non-slip texturing and Velcro attachment areas. The MVP balances the need for modularity—a crucial element in world of tactical vests—with the functional stability and reduced cost of a fixed-panel system. A variety of panels are now available, including a cross-draw holster panel, an ammo panel and a MOLLE panel, which can be integrated with other panels for greater versatility. This modularity allows the user to adjust their vest to meet their requirements as needed. Additionally, the shoulders and waist can be adjusted to fit users in the Small to 2X sizes.
For more information, visit elitesurvival.com or call 866-340-2778.
EnGarde Body Armor has developed a plate carrier system that is designed to offer users the dual benefits of ease of use and protection against rifle rounds. Designed to accept standard 10-by-12-inch hard armor plates, the TRUST plate carrier offers users both front and rear protection. Plates are inserted into the carrier through the bottom, being held in place by hook and look and snap fasteners.
The rig, which can be adjusted to fit a wide range of body types, is manufactured from high-strength Cordura nylon that is covered in PALS webbing. This facilitates the easy attachment of accessories and gear. Easy to don quickly, both sides of the carrier are open and fasten with a quick-attach buckle. When equipped with Level IV hard plates and soft Level IIIA panels, the entire unit weighs just over 18 pounds. Using just Level III rifle plates will get the weight down to between 8 to 9 pounds.
For more information, visit engardebodyarmor.com.
Point Blank APC
The Paraclete Advanced Plate Carrier (APC) from Point Blank Enterprises combines the functionality of a tactical vest with the simplicity of a plate carrier. It is designed to accept soft ballistic panels, Level III or IV hard armor plates and equipment pouches. Features include a single- point release system, a low-profile cutaway handle, a wire management system, an external bottom-loading front and back hard armor plate pockets, and the ability to accept soft armor inserts. To enhance user comfort, the APC employs -a releasable internal “belly band” that provides additional stability and adjustment. Available colors include MultiCam, Ranger green, coyote, digital ACU, OD green and basic black. Optional ballistic collar, throat, biceps, abdomen, lower back and groin protection supplements are also available.
For more information, call 800-413-5155 or visit pointblankenterprises.com.
SKD Tactical PIG
SKD Tactical has been long known for its no-nonsense business model and straightforward gear designs. The company’s Patrol Incident Gear (PIG) plate carrier is a perfect example of this mindset. Designed with continuous input from working professionals, it is one of the most popular plate carriers on the market today. The PIG is designed to plates of your choice high on the torso, allowing for ￼￼belts and other tactical gear. The plates are held all the way up to the top of the carrier with no left or right movement thanks to a patent-pending plate centering feature. Padded shoulder straps provide for incredible comfort. Various clips can be used to accommodate quick-detach systems, water carriers and other gear. Several cummerbunds are available for use with hard plates and soft armor. I’ve used one for years now, and it is one of the most comfortable and well-designed plate carriers on the market today.
For more information, visit skdtac.com.
SureFire Institute Armor
SureFire Institute’s ballistic plates employ Nano technology and they are very lightweight at only 6 pounds, especially for their level of protection. Front, back and side plates are available, and they’re housed in a carrier designed by Bill Murphy of the SureFire Institute. Designed to fit in most carriers, each plate is water- and weatherproof, and utilizes a comfortable triple-curve design. Bill Murphy states that these plates are the “only standalone plates able to ￼withstand three .30-06 armor-piercing (AP) rounds. They have also withstood 12 hits of various 7.62x39mm rounds, including API loads.” Using over 10 years of law enforcement experience, Murphy has de- signed a comfortable and simple carrier perfect for most any use.
For￼￼ ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼more information, visit surefireinstitute.com or call 714-701-9918.
Survival Armor X50
Survival Armor’s X50 provides the latest protection for today’s warfighters. Designed from the ground up to provide optimum protection with the most versatility and ease of movement, the X50 is state of the art. The X50 uses a patented shoulder strap system that is ergonomically designed to reduce felt weight by up to 50 percent. A unique Shoulder Sling Trap keeps your rifle sling off of your neck. Plates are loaded from the top for easy of removal. The X50 can be ordered with protection for the collar, biceps, throat, shoulder and cummerbund. Tourniquet attachments are available that can be placed anywhere you have MOLLE straps. Breathable mesh ensures proper airflow and increased comfort. The Wire Management System (WMS) makes it easy for operators to route radio and other cables, keeping them away from gear and obstacles.
For more information, visit survivalarmor.com or call 866-868-5001.
Designed to carry both soft and hard armor plates, Tacprogear’s HBAV is waterproof and flame retardant. The HBAV is constructed using Grid-Hercules engineered material provided by Absecon Mills, Inc. Grid-Hercules is a highly-specialized, unique polymer coating that, applied to an advanced textile fabric, enhances its physical properties, such as impact resistance, abrasion resistance, heat resistance, flame resistance, tear strength and tensile strength. Completely MOLLE compatible, it accommodates any pouches or gear necessary for the most demanding operation.
For more information, visit tacprogearblack.com or call 561-865-7279.
TYR Tactical PICO
The PICO Assaulters Plate Carrier from TYR Tactical is designed to provide a lightweight and thin carrier that is extremely comfortable while also rugged and durable. Mission adaptable, the PICO is designed to allow the user to configure the system as needed. An external cummerbund offers the user a platform for adding PALS adapter panels for modularity, and antimicrobial-treated and padded spacer mesh inside the carrier enhances user comfort. In addition, hydration/communication tabs allow the user to route tubes and wires out of the way to prevent snagging.
For more information, visit tyrtactical.com or call 888-602-7667.