Many people have asked us, how do you choose your plate carrier and do you have any suggestions?
Our main focus here today is to provide a simple guide to selecting plate carriers for airsofters. In the airsoft world, plate carriers serves three purposes, providing basic protection against the environment, carrying training plates and carrying magazines / other items. Modern plate carriers are usually adapted to ESAPI plate sizes, typically Medium or Large SAPI plates, occasionally some were built in Swimmer Cut plates, which gives slightly better agility around the shoulder area. So how does the plate size affect you? The plates are only supposed to cover your vital organs from your collar bone to your naval, the bigger you are, the larger the plate you need. Most plate carriers found nowadays are made around sizes for Medium SAPI plates and Large SAPI plates (some low grade replicas would not specify themselves, so a Medium plate tends to fit in them better).
Other than sizes, there are other factors that one should consider when choosing your plate carrier , which could be listed in the following points:
Usability (Speed and Drag)
Being comfortable means everything, if it doesn't feel right, you would not want to operate wearing it, which tends to deplete your morale and fighting ability way quicker than you realize. Breathability, padding and finishing of the plate carrier would affect how comfortable the plate carrier is. Having mesh / airways on the body side of plate carrier would help to keep your body well ventilated and stopping you from building heat too quickly. Shoulder padding is another key feature to look for, as a well padded shoulder pad will help distributing weight of your plate carrier, leaning to the front or back would affect your balance.
Material used for the plate carrier is also vital, the tougher the plate carrier is, the better, you do not want it to break while you are on the field, typically Condura 500D does the job pretty well, 1000D would have been over doing it and would add a lot of redundant weight. Hyperlon and Laser cut materials would also help to reduce the weight, but sometimes tends bend easily and could not hold form unless backed by other materials.
Practicality of the plate carrier is determined by how much gear it could carry, could it be switched to other configurations easily and how much the plate carrier could do without adding extra weight to it. User-friendliness is also vital to the user, if putting the plate carrier on takes forever, your fight would have ended before you are done putting your gear on, hence having some sort of quick release feature or pull tabs for the flaps, zippers and cummerbund will facilitated quicker actions, especially when seconds count.
The current trend with plate carriers would be High-Speed - Low - Drag, which means picking the plate carrier that is the most slick, does not have protruding bits, and doesn't affect your mobility while providing vital protection to your vital organs. We have listed a few examples of our selection of High-Speed - Low - Drag plates carriers:
Esstac Daeodon Plate Carrier
The Esstac Daeodon plate carrier is one of the best if not the best plate carriers that one could get, manufactured in USA and had collected ideas from Veterans to create the best plate carrier available. Without sacrificing covertness, it provides maximum comfort and adaptability to almost any placard / assault panels in the market with velcro and two ITW QASM buckles. And it would actually fit both SAPI M size and L size with one plate carrier, without having to change plate carriers when you change plates.
LBX Armatus II Plate Carrier
LBX is the airsoft / training division of LBT (London Bridge Trading), and the Armatus plate carriers were a collaboration with industry leader Chris Costa that provides a minimalistic plate carrier that utilizes the Modular Assault Panel system that enables quick interchangeability between settings and platforms.
*Note LBX Armatus series could only use LBX MAP panels, other aftermarket panels / placards would not fit.
*Note 2 Armatus are manufactured in two sizes, Medium and Large, please purchase the according size for the Medium / Large SAPI plates you have.
RWA X Mission Spec Essential Only Carrier (EOC)
INTENT OF THE ESSENTIALS ONLY CARRIER (EOC):
To build a light weight low profile plate carrier capable of accepting level IV body armor with a full PALS grid. The EOC was built with three individuals in mind: Law Enforcement for either undercover (concealed) use or to keep in the cruiser for active shooter type situations where level IV armor is needed. Military Special Operations where weight savings here can allow for other essentials (water and bullets). The Civilian who understands he or she is ultimately responsible for their own safety and wants every advantage they can get. Sized for Medium SAPI plates.
ANA FSB M2 Plate Carrier
This new FSB plate carrier produced by St. Petersburg company ANA was created specially for FSB and MVD (SOBR Units) similar to the modern Western Plate Carriers today. Created for modern urban operation, Forest and high mountains. The main feature of this vest include being minimalistic, lightweight and robust. Sized for Medium sized SAPI plates or Granit plates.
TMC Jump Plate Carrier 2.0
The Jump Plate Carrier is a minimalistic plate carrier that combines laser cut fabric and a skeletonized cummerbund, it provides the very bottom line of protection to the user so one could fight light. Sized for Medium Sapi Plates.