Plate Carrier, Tactical

The Plate Carrier Recommendation Guide – Part 2

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PART 2

The Plate Carrier Recommendation Guide

Plate Carriers (PCs) are a vital piece of equipment in the tactical environment, however, the one that was issued to you may not be the best one to meet all of your needs. PCs also have a lifespan, and eventually the MOLLE sags, the velcro loses its effect, and there becomes a history of failed customizations to try and make it work.

My advice: Retire it, you look like shit.

There are better options out there for you., I’ve curated a list of 12 PCs just for you. I know, because I’ve been there. I wore mine for way too long only to find out the one I was wearing wasn’t the right fit.

These 12 options will make you one of the most informed operators so that you will know exactly how to prepare for your or your team’s next mission. Check out Part 1 of The Plate Carrier Recommendation Guide for the first six and stay here for the rest. For each Carrier covered, we will hit the company summary, carrier overview, features, and lastly an overview of the tactical situation that pairs with the carrier.

ATS - AEGIS Plate Carrier V2

$239.99 - note this is just the plate carrier no other accessories
© Photos by ATS

Company Summary

ATS is a Tactical Gear Store located outside the gates of Fort Campbell, KY, home to 5th Special Forces Group. This Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned small business is devoted to “Outfitting the World’s Finest Warriors.”

Plate Carrier Summary

This carrier, named after Zeus’s shield, is everything you would want in a PC. A scalable carrier with enough real estate for all of your war wielding equipment. Carrying all your gear in the Afghan summer heat can be a brutal task. The Aegis PC has made it sustainable.

© Photos by ATS

From the inside out, Aegis is designed for comfort. Aerospace wicking material forms a base layer that works to reduce rubbing and chafing. Then closed-cell foam pads strategically placed under the front and rear carrier pockets add support to the PC while enabling airflow underneath the PC which keeps you cool and comfortable all day long.

Features

  1. Material: Finest Quality Mil-Spec, Berry Compliant materials
  2. Cummerbund: Three-row Cummerbund that will accept 6×6 side plates
  3. Weight: n/a
  4. Carrier Accessories
    1. Thin Closed Cell Foam Pad and Aerospace wicking material
    2. PALS webbing for attaching MOLLE pouches
    3. Drag handle 
    4. Clips for Placards

Refreshing to see quality workmanship that comes handmade from our vets. I ordered a bag and it was exceptionally well made. I’d recommend this company to anyone I come across. Thank you for your service and what you continue to do for us by offering quality American made craftsmanship.” (Emilio, 2017)

Situation Recommendation

The AEGIS Plate Carrier V2 is comparable to a lot of carriers I’m going to cover in the rest of this post and of the Velocity Systems Scarab LT, that I covered in Part 1. This Carrier isn’t a minimalist carrier like that of the JPC 2.0. It has a lot of real estate and comfort.

I would use this kit for a multi-day mission where extra gear and support is needed. If I’m not going to be taking my kit off for a hot minute, it has to provide comfort and breathability. The Aerospace wicking material is a key selling point for anyone that suffered from heat rash in the summer sandbox. If you’re an operator that goes out on multi-day missions, runs hot, and needs a carrier that supports all your accessories, this might be the carrier best for you. Load it up with tactical delectables and take pleasure in putting your kit on for once.

Beez Combat Systems - APTIUM

$199.80 - note this was my PC build

You have the option between 1x Front Plate Bag, 2x Back Plate Bags, 7x cummerbunds, 2x shoulder pads (See Below)

  1. APTIUM Front Plate Bag – $69.95
  2. APTIUM OVERT Back Plate Bag – $69.95
  3. APTIUM AR Elastic Cummerbund 4 Cell – $39.95
  4. APTIUM Shoulder Pad – $19.95
© Photos by Beez Combat Systems

Company Summary

Beez Combat Systems is a tactical manufacturer that serves Military and Law Enforcement all around the world. They utilize feedback back from Operators at the highest levels to be on the frontier of tactical innovation. Beez develops first-class MOLLE and Laser cut assault gear to produce the highest quality gear.

Plate Carrier Summary

The Beez Combat Systems Aptium doesn’t come as a complete Carrier. Much like the Spiritus Systems – LV119 you piece together the Front Plate Bag, Rear Plate Bag, Cummerbund, and Shoulder pads to your liking. I really dig this concept because you can tailor the Carrier to your specialized mission set.

© Photos by Beez Combat Systems

The APTIUM is adaptable, it was designed to be used in a tactical or low vis environment. Beez took the mess of comms cords in account on their design, with attachment points on the front bag to control the chaos of cords management. 

Beez has an ever evolving carrier accessory line and a  huge selection of cummerbunds from, elastic 4 cell, to their grid cummerbund, and a skeleton cummerbunds if that’s more your style. The Aptium has “g-hook” front flaps (Placards), for interchangeability.  The Beez Combat Systems APTIUM is a complete system and is adaptable as the Operator donning it.

Features

  1. Material: 500 denier Cordura/GRID | MIL-Spec thread and velcro
  2. Cummerbund: Your choice
    1. 3” Elastic Cummerbund
    2. 3” and 5” Grid Cummerbund
    3. 4 Cell Elastic Cummerbund
    4. Skeleton Cummerbund
  3. Weight: Not available
  4. Carrier Accessories: 
    1. Supports Juggernaut™/Kagwerks smartphone attachment
    2. Kangaroo pocket supports up to three mag insert
    3. Laser-cut for comms/data/PTT/cable management and chest rig attachment points
© Photos by Beez Combat Systems

Received my Plate Carrier the other day and absolutely love it, will be doing business with Beez Combat Systems again in the future.” (Ken Ta, 2018)

Situation Recommendation

The Beez Combat Systems APTIUM setup is comparable, almost identical to the Spiritus Systems LV-119. The APTIUM system is ridiculously modular, you have the choice between COVERT and OVERT front plate bags, shoulder pads, and cummerbunds– providing the exact carrier you want, without any waste. 

Now, I haven’t torture tested this Carrier, but I am curious as to how it’s nearly half the price of Spiritus System’s LV-119. If you want all the functionality of the LV-119 but not the price that comes along with it, the APTIUM will serve you well.

Crye Precision - AVS

$692.30 - note this is just my build of only the plate carrier no other accessories
  1. AVS Harness $259.30
  2. AVS MBAV Plate Pouch Set $345.50
  3. AVS 3-Band Skeleton Cummerbund $58.40
  4. AVS Padded Shoulder Covers $29.10
© Photos by Crye Precision

Company Summary

Crye Precision has been the gold standard for military running gear for all of GWOT.

“Crye Precision designs and manufactures truly innovative equipment for American’s fighting forces.” (Crye Precision, 2020)

Plate Carrier Summary

The Adaptive Vest System by Crye, we covered the JPC 2.0 in Part 1,  is a formidable design that allows the user to change from a low vis carrier to a fully tactical loadout. Crye engineered the AVS with interchangeability of Plate Carriers as the problem and the AVS was their solution.

Changing calibers? Simply switch out your front mag panels. Switching load-outs? Quickly slide off your modular pouches without unweaving them. Shifting threats? Just add or remove armor panels without having to modify your gear load out. Varying missions? Configure it as a load bearing vest for recce work and switch right back to a fully-armored configuration with ease. Attach packs, zip-on rear panels, StKSS™ load supports, and many other accessories – the options are infinite.” (Crye Precision, 2020)

© Photos by Crye Precision

This PC may be your answer for covering down on multiple mission sets and multiple loadouts. It was my personal favorite on my trips to Afghanistan. The AVS Harness was the key selling feature, I was able to get my dual PRC152s off my hips and it was more comfortable than Crye’s JPC 2.0 for multi-day missions.

Features

  1. Material: Durable proprietary material 
  2. Cummerbund: 2 or 3 Band Skeletal Cummerbund
  3. Weight: N/A 
  4. Carrier Accessories
    1. AVS Harness
    2. Drag Handle
    3. Interchangeability from low vis environment to tactical load-bearing vest
© Spc. Garrett Shreffler/Combat Camera Documentation Specialist/75th Ranger Regiment Public Affairs.

“The AVS is a game changer for guys that have been doing the deed for a grip. Eventually your shoulders and back start to give, having the AVS harness enables you to keep going without the expense of your body.” (Willging, 2020)

Situation Recommendation

The AVS is the PC you want if you’re working a fully loaded Tactical Kit on the reg — if you’re running multi-day missions, base defense, if you’re a contractor, or if you have a kit on the majority of your working day you need the AVS. The AVS is definitely bulkier than your minimalist Carriers, but it’s the better solution for comfort and weight distribution. 

If you’re comparing this PC to the ATS Aegis Plate Carrier, the main differentiator is the AVS harness that distributes weight and provides structural support. If you’re someone that has shoulder or back issues, I’d suggest the Crye AVS. If you run hot and need the breathability for your long duration ops, I’d suggest the Aegis PC.  

If there’s a need for you to go minimalist, the AVS can still meet that requirement. Remove the AVS harness and you have a carrier similar to a JPC.

Esstac - Daeodon Plate Carrier

$250 - note this is just the plate carrier no other accessories
© Photos by Esstac

Company Summary

Esstac is an American owned business that devotes itself to making some of the most effective and masterfully built tactical gear — specializing in Magazine Pouches, Plate Carriers, and Chest Rigs.

Plate Carrier Summary

The Daeodon Plate Carrier has some ingenious designs that set it apart from your standard PC. The first being the ITW QASM buckle (Quick Attach Surface Mount Buckle) that comes standard on this Carrier. Allowing you to run any number of Esstac variations of front panel pouches or other placards that we covered in Part 1, delivering interchangeability for any mission set instantaneously. 

The second unique design to the Daeodon is the cummerbund, not so much the type of cummerbund — elastic, skeleton, 3 row MOLLE, etc, but the cummerbund adjuster. The cummerbund adjuster design is unique and unlike anything we have covered. The adjuster is a doubled 6” elastic panel with “G hooks” on the ends that connect to the PALLS of the cummerbund. This enables super quick adjustment of the cummerbund, unlike adjusting bungee cords or MOLLE from other carriers. When you’ve adjusted it to the custom fit you need, you place it on velcro under the back carrier flap and you set. The cummebund adjuster makes it easy to change the sizing of your kit, making it easy to go from summer operators to winter when you need an extra layer of clothing.

© Photos by Esstac

The elasticity of the cummerbund adjuster gives an added bonus of expansion and contraction during dynamic moves required of Operators. If you need more stretch out of your cummerbund, try releasing the middle “G hooks.”

The last unique design element of this Carrier, is the adjustable padded shoulder straps. It’s really not a shoulder strap, it’s actually a sleeve setup with built in padding, The shoulder sleeves has a female-end on the front of the Plate Carrier and a male-end on the back of the Carrier, with a piece of velcro at the core to attach the two ends

Features

  1. Material: Cordona (not specific on type) PALLS and MOLLE 
  2. Cummerbund: Standard Cordona with 6” tall webbing or 2” belt setup with ITW 2” Cobra buckles 
  3. Weight: N/A 
  4. Carrier Accessories: 
    1. ITW QASM Buckles
    2. Cummerbund adjuster
    3. Adjustable Shoulder Sleeve
© Photos by Esstac

These guys are top shelf. They make amazing products that stand up to the punishment you will throw at it. I have their shooter’s belt, KYWI mag pouches and Daeodon plate carrier. Everything I own from esstac gets punished and keeps on going. Oh and the staff is pretty cool too…. i guess….” (Talley, 2018)

Situation Recommendation

This may take the cake as my favorite Carrier on this list, but I never had the opportunity to suit up with the Daeodon for a rotation. I didn’t know about Esstac till I got the recommendation from a MARSOC Bro. Their designs on the Daeodon are unique only to Esstac and their line of carriers. The shoulder sleeve with built-in padding is a dream for comfort, with no need to purchase additional shoulder pads to relieve discomfort in your shoulders. The ITW QASM buckles aren’t solely unique to the Daeodon, but they do come standard and Esstac has an impressive line of Plate Carrier Accessories that make this Carrier a multi-mission set beast. 

The engineering of the cummerbund elastic sleeve is a phenomenal design. Adjusting it is a breeze and it allows for constant tension, contracting and expanding like the Autofit Cummerbund of S&S Precision. This should be a high consideration when deciding on what PC to purchase, dynamic movements are inevitable in the tactical environment. This is a Kit that has everything that I look for — interchangeability, durability, customization, and adaptability. If you need a carrier that can do it all — lightweight for single POD (period of darkness), comfort for long-duration missions (72hrs +), interchangeability for multiple mission sets, this might be the carrier best for you.

Note: If you need PALS webbing for a EUD device, Esstac can make modifications to this carrier if you need to run that setup.

RE Factor - Advanced Slickster

$299.99- note this is just the plate carrier no other accessories
© Photos by RE Factor

Company Summary

 RE Factor is a SOF Veteran led tactical gear company that produces all of their products in the US.

“.. a company with the mission of providing special operations with Unconventional Solutions™ that are essential for adapting to unconventional problems on the battlefield. After lessons learned from decades of combined field experience in military and paramilitary special operations we recognize that specialized equipment is a necessity for mission accomplishment.” (RE Factor, 2020)

RE Factor has teamed up with Ferro Concepts to create the Advanced Slickster. This partnership is between two phenomenal companies to create an equally phenomenal Plate Carrier.

Plate Carrier Summary

The Advance Slickster an evolution of the Slickster by Ferro Concepts covered in Part 1 of this series. This carrier uses the base of the Slickster and has been enhanced to fit wide-ranging of mission sets from low vis to a full-tactical loadout. RE Factor looked at the modern Operator and saw that Carriers haven’t adapted to the needs of modern Operators. Operators now need a PC that is designed to manage — dual radios, flexible Mastodon Antennas, dual comms setups, ATAK EUD (end-user-device), and a hub system to provide power and connectivity to the EUD. It’s a shit load of cords.

© Photos by RE Factor

This PC created a system to incorporate and secure the spaghetti mess that comms cables create. The edge of the carrier comes standard with elastic loops to slip your comms cords and antennas through. Included in this carrier are two internal pockets for dual comms setups. If you only rock one radio, you can utilize the other pocket for other tactical paraphernalia such as — turnequets, extra mags, cell phone, VS-17 panel, civilian radio, VDL (video down link), etc. 

No need to upgrade the cummerbund on this kit, RE Factor has hooked it up and made the elastic four pocket cummerbund standard on the Advance Slicketer. The elastic cummerbund has been outfitted with adjustable elastic retainers that will keep all your tactical goodies secure. 

You get a lot of Carrier for the price. A PC that was built from an accomplished low vis carrier and now has all the necessities of a PC to don for battle. Dress it up or strip it down, the Advance Slickster will serve you well.

Features

  1. Material: Laser cut laminate, MOLLE slits
  2. Cummerbund: Elastic 4 pocket cummerbund with adjustable elastic retainers 
  3. Weight: n/a 
  4. Carrier Accessories:
    1. Ferro Concepts tested Slickster base
    2. PTT Loops on front of the vest
    3. Integrated Kangaroo pocket for magazines/essential equipment
    4. Elastic comms wires 
    5. 2 x integrated radio pouches capable of fitting up to a PRC-152 Radio
    6. 4 x 6″ Zipped admin pocket capable of holding a passport or similar sized item
© Photos by RE Factor

“I’ve gone through countless plate carriers and sewn a multitude of items onto my carrier to meet different needs. It seems as though someone finally put some thought into making a plate carrier that fits all of the common things that people wear on their kit. It’s super comfortable and so far I am very impressed.” (Jakob, 2019)

Situation Recommendation

I really dig the partnership between Ferro Concepts and RE Factor to bring into existence the Advanced Slickster. This carrier can be utilized in the same low vis environments that the original Slickster was intended for, or decked out for a full combat load out.

The Advanced Slickster definitely took into consideration an operator with dual comms, which I personally appreciate. If you are an operator who utilizes dual comms, this might be the best carrier for you. Twin radio pouches, comms elastic loops, elastic 4 pouch cummerbund, all come standard on the Advanced Slickster. This is a turn-key plate carrier for all mission sets.

TYR Tactical - PICO

$695.95 - note this price is the Plate Carrier and soft armor
© Photos by TYR Tactical

Company Summary

TYR Tactical is a beast of a tactical equipment company. Their three brands TYR Tactical, Huron, and Revere K9 are known all across the globe. TYR tactical was built to serve the end-user — US Conventional and Special Operation Forces, Law Enforcement, and Federal agencies.

“TYR Tactical® products push the standards of today’s tactical equipment, define modularity and scalability and are custom made for you, The Next Generation Warrior®.” (TYR Tactical, 2017)

Plate Carrier Summary

The TYR Tactical PICO Assaulters Plate Carrier, an oldie but a goodie. This carrier was designed and built to provide the customer with unparalleled comfort and have assaulter friendly attributes. Durability, lightness of weight, to reduce bulkiness that are inherent of Carriers were the objectives of TYR Tactical. They achieved it with the PICO Assaulters Plate Carrier.

© Photos by TYR Tactical

This is the last PC on the list and the most expensive, but I wanted to get it on here because TYR has some very interesting material and design that they put into their Carrier line-up. Their patented PV® “Pluma Vires®” is the material they use to construct the PICO, it offers weight reduction and abrasion resistance. The antimicrobial Spacer Mesh is the material that is pressed up against the body and it wicks away moisture, it is additionally IR/FR treated. The Spacer Mesh integrates raised padding to provide much desired airflow. The Patented Ballistic Vein provides suspension and eliminates sagging in the carrier.

“Our Plates Carriers and Tactical Vests feature the patented Integrated Ballistic Framework which increases overall structural integrity, ballistic protection, decreases side-spall and reduces back face deformation.  The five piece design includes a panel suspension and energy disbursement frame.” (TYR Tactical, 2017)

The TYR Tactical PICO Assaulter Plate Carrier is skilfully crafted for comfort and has a ton of real estate for the mission where you have to be fully up on supplemental tactical delectables.

Features

  1. ultra-tight weave to maximize abrasion and tear resistance. 
  2. Cummerbund: 3 Row PALS/MOLLE cummerbund
  3. Weight: 4.90 lbs Medium Carrier with T52/SP Soft Armor
  4. Carrier Accessories: 
    1. Zip-on back panel capable
    2. Hydration and Comms tabs for routing
    3. Removable MOLLE Kangaroo Flap
    4. Reinforced Drag Handle
© Photos by TYR Tactical

I have the base model PICO. I love it. It’s fairly minimalist but still has enough coverage and real estate for someone who needs it. I like that I can add panels for more molle or side plates as I need. Right now I run my sides completely slick except for one panel to hold an IFAK. The front flap can be switched out for different options. The front is too narrow to run a Swift Clip setup, unfortunately.” (Proquo, 2019)

Situation Recommendation

The TYR Tactical PICO is a Herculean of a plate carrier. It has a ton of real estate and added comfort. The PICO is going to cover down on the multi-day mission sets providing the comfort and moisture wicking necessary for maximum performance. This Plate Carrier has been the favorite of many service members serving and will continue to be. If you are rolling over to the desert and are looking for a PC that will provide comfort and breathability for daily use, this might be the carrier best for you.

WRAP-UP

The Plate Carrier Recommendation Guide

Carriers are not one size fits all, everyone has very different opinions on the kit they like to run with. Body types, mission sets, load-out, all affect what carrier you should purchase. When making the decision, look at a PC that offers interchangeability, durability, customization, and adaptability.

Carrier Recommendation Recap

Single POD: Daeodon, Advanced Slickster

Low Profile: Advanced Slickster

All-Around Tactical: Daeodon, Aegis, Advanced Slickster, APTIUM

Multi-Day Missions: AVS, Aegis, PICO

What your Unit/Command decided to purchase will conceivably get the job done, but it’s probably not the best plate carrier for you. They perhaps chose one solely based on pricing or what will work for the majority of people. But you’re not the majority, you have a select mission set. If you’re not satisfied with your current setup, one of the 12 PC’s we’ve gone over is going to work for you. 

 

It’s just up to you to decide which one.

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