What is a Plate Carrier?
When it comes to protection, law enforcement, military, and government agencies rely on the best that money can buy. Plate carriers are the most modular form of defense that can be used in-field. It is a vest that can be adapted for use in extremely hostile environments. You can outfit extra pouches to carry extras such as additional magazines, flashlights, grenades and other accessories as part of your equipment set.
Compared to bulletproof vests that provide protection against low-caliber firearms, plate carriers are designed to handle higher-level ballistic threats such as 7.62mm full metal jacket rounds. These rounds are much more dangerous as they can be fired from snipers and assault rifles that can use these munition types. Plate carriers can also be heavier compared to bulletproof vests due to the weight of the plates inside of the carrier.
Despite the potential bulkiness of the plates, the protection that they offer will be worth it in the long run. Keep in mind that plate carriers are not meant to be concealed inside of clothes. If you need lightweight protection that can be hidden underneath your clothes and not draw unwanted attention, stick with the bulletproof vest.
Now that that’s over with, let’s move on how to set up your plate carrier:
How to set up a plate carrier
Plate carriers are pretty much easy to set up, as you will need to choose one that fits around the topmost portion of your body, from the chest down to the waistline. When you don it, you will need to ensure that rides comfortably on your body. If not, test out different sizes until you find one that works for you.
If you’re using plates, place them in the inserts of the carrier. The shoulder straps on the plate carrier will also need to be adjusted so that the front will align with your chest and not sag. Have a second person help you make the necessary adjustments before you head out in the field.
Filling out all of the pouches on the plate carrier are also not necessary. You simply need to carry enough gear for the purpose of the mission so that you will have easy accessibility to your accessories when the situation warrants it. If you don’t intend to use plates for protection and carry around only ammo instead, you might want to consider utilizing chest rigs in the field instead.
Our reviewers at PropertyGuardMaster.com went over several different brands and picked out some of the best plate carriers for you.
What size plate carrier do I need?
Determining the size of your plate carrier is dependent on the size of the plates you intend to fit into it. You’ll also want one that protects your vital organs so that a bullet (stray or otherwise), doesn’t hit you and you end up in a coffin.
The strap that locks to the side of your body (called the cummerbund) will wrap securely around your torso so that it will stay in place while you’re moving around. Make sure whatever side pouches you have on your carrier doesn’t interfere with your reloads, as the plates within the inserts are already heavy.
Your mission will give you context as to what you will need to carry with you to the field. Many plate carriers sold on the market will be outfitted with pouches that carry three magazines containing 5.56mm rounds, which can be used for the M4 and M16 assault rifles. They are typically situated to the front of the carrier due to the fact that they are easy and quick to draw out for quick reloads if you’re in the middle of a firefight.
When it comes to hostile situations, you will need to bear in mind how much equipment you carry on your person so that they don’t burden you with all the weight. Your weapon loadout usually dictates the extras that you will be bringing with you. Consider putting plates and equipment on the sides of the carrier to provide side coverage for your body in case you get hit.
Once you are out in the field, you will need to practice keeping your eyes downrange while drawing out spare magazines from your pouch. Arrange the extras in a manner where they can be easy to find so that you can get them out quickly. If you also have cabling for your comms gear, wrap them up neatly so that they don’t interfere with your arm movement and act as hazards that can inadvertently snag your firearms.
Your pistols should also be easy to draw out in the event that you run out of ammo for your main weapon. You can place the pistol on the front of the plate carrier or your gun belt where you can draw it out quickly. Run regular weapon draw techniques so that you can switch between your rifle or shotgun to your pistol with practiced ease