Staying alive during combat is a common sense that you don’t require training for. With the odds in battle, taking the chance isn’t the wisest way to go. For this reason, plate carriers come into play. The survival equipment not only assists in stopping ballistic rounds but also store your own ammo and gears.
Plate carriers are worn at the front, back, and sides of tactical vests. With us is a review of the best plate carriers in the market to keep you alive!
How to Choose the Best Plate Carriers
We will look at some of the most important features to look for in plate carriers. If you want an effective and high-performing plate, these features should be in your checklist. With so many years of experience in the game, we can comfortably tell you the features to look for.
Types of Plates
The market has a vast option when it comes to the types of plate carriers to choose from. They are as discussed below.
Ceramic plates are common in stores for sale. There was a breakthrough in armor technology to design plates that were much lighter than those at the time. However, these plates are still heavy and bulky. With this plate, you have to weigh the pros and cons of their weight to determine whether they are worth it!
Most times in the military, people remove their plates to lower their weight and increase mobility. Also, the plates only design to stop one impact at a specific spot since they shatter easily when struck. However, amidst all these cons, these plates can take heavy impacts comfortably.
The name SAPI stands for Small Arms Protective Inserts and is used by all branches of the military. SAPI plates were designed as alternatives to Kevlar vests for more aggression to stop high caliber rounds. SAPI plates are somewhat similar to ceramic plates but covered with composite material for trapping fragments.
SAPI plates are of different kinds but are all made using either silicon carbide ceramic or boron carbide. The level of protection that they offer is great, but this comes with the price of weight. They are quite heavy compared to soft plates.
A major downside with SAPI plates is that they only stop one impact at the same spot. The reason for this is that they shatter once hit to absorb the kinetic energy produced.
Polythene plates are significantly lighter when compared to ceramic plates. Their manufacture involves using woven shield materials to spin a bullet and absorb the impact. What happens is that heat from the bullet melts the polyethylene and, in turn, stops the round.
The name should tell you that these plates are of steel. Steel has been in play for centuries and does a great job of stopping ballistic rounds. The plates were originally designed to stop musket rifle rounds but are still effective against modern firearms. One reason that we wouldn’t recommend this type is because of their heavyweight.
Heat and Weight
You will be wearing your plates for long periods, and sometimes under the scorching sun. You might, therefore, want to go for something lightweight. There is no harm in choosing a heavy plate for workouts and training.
Wearing a heavy plate limits your mobility. Moreover, you’ll tend to sweat a lot, leaving you soaked under your plate carriers. We recommend attaching a hydration bladder at the back to prevent overheating and keep you hydrated.
Different sizes of plates come with different weights. Extra small plates weigh roughly 2.8 pounds. A small plate carrier will weigh roughly 3.5 pounds. Medium plates come with a weight of 4 pounds while large ones are 4.6 pounds heavy. Finally, we have the extra-large plates, which weigh 5.3 pounds.
Attachments and Functionality
It is essential that you get a plate carrier with MOLLE attachments and pouches for storing your gear and ammo, especially for military plate carriers. Plate carriers with more pouches and accessories are better. MOLLE is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Loadbearing Equipment. The MOLLE system allows you to attach accessories, pouches, holsters, patches, and other equipment easily and quickly.
MOLLE system is way better than pockets and backpacks as it is more organized, and you can access the items quickly. High-quality plate carriers come with MOLLE as manufacturers are aware of how essential it is.
Fully loaded plate carriers are normally heavy, especially when carrying heavy body armor, and what suffers most is the user’s shoulders. The load becomes uncomfortable with prolonged periods. To reduce this discomfort, plate carriers come with shoulder pads made using gel or foam.
The pads also come with breathable mesh fabrics for added comfort. Other plate carriers have the pads detachable for easy removal when the need arises. For the most comfortable plate carrier, consider one that comes with allocation for shoulder pads.
5 Best Plate Carries Reviews and Recommendations
1.CONDOR Recon Chest Rig
If you aren’t new to the armory world, then CONDOR is a familiar name. The company is a big wig with numerous impeccable products. They are among the best brand in the game and hold a special seat in the table of the greatest. One of their most efficient and impeccable product leads our review – the CONDOR Recon Chest Rig. It is arguably the best plate carrier vest you’ll come across.
One of its unique features that must not go without saying is the kangaroo type of mag pouch that holds up to six pistol mag and six M4 mags. You should be able to reach out for the mags seamlessly for quicker reload. Well, that’s only the tip of the iceberg, a lot more is in store for you.
Pockets aren’t scarce with this carrier. It has a front pouch with hooks and loops on the inside, two top mag pouches on each side, and extra mesh pockets on the inside. Its pouches give this carrier the best plate carrier setup, especially for combat.
Finally, there is a padded shoulder strap with a cross-back design and the swivel buckles for a tight and snug fit.
- Perfect for training
- Secure buckles
- Numerous pouches
- Great quality
- Requires a long break-in period
- Lacks belt attachment loops
2.YAKEDA Tactical Vest
YAKEDA are prodigies of the game, with decades of experience making armory equipment. They weren’t left behind and provided their customers with an impressive plate carrier. A stare at this equipment, and you will notice the hard work put in it. What does this product bring to the table? Well, let’s find out.
First, the quality of the YAKEDA tactical vest is impressive. Its 600D polyester material is comfortable, high-density, and durable. Secondly, its design incorporates breathability, lightweight, and mesh. A lightweight plate carrier allows you to wear it for long periods without fatigue. Moreover, we liked it because it doesn’t limit any movements.
Moreover, this plate carrier comes with side and shoulder straps and also a belt design for a snug fit. It is available in ten different color options to choose from, all of which camouflage with nature. Its size makes it suitable for both small and big people and has a maximum waist of 57 inches. Finally, this plate carrier is a versatile one and is compatible for use in many fields: mountaineering, army fan, CS game, law enforcement, and soft and paintball, among other outdoor activities.
- High-quality material
- Compatible for a wide range of uses
- Lightweight and breathable
- Comes with side and shoulder straps
- Inaccurate sizing
3.GFIRE Tactical Training Vest
GFIRE took the market by surprise with its impeccable training vest. We’re used to plate carriers getting constructed using 600D polyester. Well, this isn’t the case with this one. The product incorporates higher quality 1000D polyester that is not only lighter but also stronger. Its stitches make use of nylon to make it more solid.
The carrier gets to boast about its high grade, high strength MOLLE design. Picking and retrieving items with this plate carrier shouldn’t be a hassle. What’s even better is that there are adequate pouches and attachments to carry along all your gear.
Another feature worth checking out with this carrier is its adjustable shoulder strap that takes off the pressure from you when loading heavy armory. It comes with loop guides and hooks, not to mention that it is anti-slip. The interior of the strap has a mesh lining to ensure that you attain maximum comfort.
Finally, this vest has a two-year warranty as proof of its durability and longevity. You are eligible for replacement or full refund in case of any defects on the manufacturer’s side.
- Has a two-year warranty
- Made using high-quality 1000D polyester
- MOLLE design for easy storage and retrieval of gears
- Padded interior lining for comfort
- The plastic shoulder straps are susceptible to breakage
4.Gray Tactical Gear Chest Set Vest
Gray Tactical Gear came up with an affordable vest that would serve its customers equally well as other expensive models. Talk of reasonable pricing, and this product is among the best plate carriers for the money. No need to worry when you’re tight on budget while this product is in the market. What is in store for you?
Well, firstly, its construction incorporates the 600D polyester fabric. Secondly, it has a MOLLE system to allow for easy storage and retrieval of items. Its front compartment can store up to three M4 mags and other smaller items. Also, the product comes with three simple color options to choose from- black, green, and CP.
Finally, this vest is suited for people with waists between 32 and 48 inches. If you are short of cash and want an equally good performing product, what better option to settle for? It is the best budget plate carrier you’ll ever get.
- Highly affordable
- Has foam insert to maintain its shape
- Breathable and comfortable
- Its seams can’t support heavy armory
5.Barbarians MOLLE Tactical Vest
Talk of the perfect tactical plate carrier and Barbarians MOLLE Tactical Vest comes to mind. Its all-black version is a cool one depicting serious business. The plate carrier is comfortable, flexible, and lightweight. It is suitable for wargame, airsoft, paintball, among other outdoor activities. Honestly, this plate carrier comes with everything that you could ask for.
We loved its side straps that are not only adjustable but also anti-slip. The designers added Velcro for a snug waist fit. The plate carrier conforms to people with waists varying between 36 and 50 inches. The vest length is between 39 and 43 inches. Accessories and attachments weren’t left behind with this product. We have the front pocket that has a Velcro close suitable for storing maps. There are also side pockets for tools, and lastly, a fastener place for stickers.
The material used in the construction of this vest, 600d oxford fabric, is breathable and long-lasting. Lastly is its MOLLE design that enables you to carry your tools and obtain them quickly at any time.
- MOLLE design
- Breathable, lightweight and comfortable
- Made durable to last long
- Lacks shoulder straps to keep the plate in place
There you have it- all the basic info you need to know about plate carriers. CONDOR Recon Chest Rig scoops the award for the overall best tactical plate carrier followed closely behind by YAKEDA Tactical Vest. We will award Gray Tactical Gear Chest Set Vest with the most affordable product. Barbarians MOLLE Tactical Vest came with the best design and setup.
All the above products will serve you to the fullest. By this, we mean ensuring you’re comfortable, having adequate pouches and attachments, having a snug fit as well being strong to take on ammo. While they will perform their duty, it is also essential that you take care of yourself out there by avoiding silly mistakes and being on the lookout always.
Consider our buying guide for the best purchasing practice. Sadly, that is the end of our article. Keep safe, and stay alive!