There are times when experiencing dangerous circumstances is inevitable. Being in that kind of situation is typical for military personnel, law enforcement officers, first responders, and more. Good thing there are accessories created to provide ultimate protection, and these include plate carriers. The best plate carriers are designed for modularity, so they are handy for a variety of mission sets.
Besides impressive modularity, the best plate carriers also offer the highest safety, comfort, toughness, and adaptability. Because of what they can offer, it is surely great to own one. Now, finding the right plate carrier can take your precious time since there are so many variations on the market. For that reason, this guide is created. This review will save you from unnecessary trouble and inconvenience. But before knowing the best plate carriers that stand out in the market today, let’s know about them first.
Don’t go elsewhere. Just explore this review to find the best plate carrier for you.
What Is A Plate Carrier?
A plate carrier, also known as a plate carrier vest or tactical vest, is designed to hold and protect ceramic, steel, or composite plates that provide additional protection against firearms and other ballistic threats. Plate carriers are commonly used by military personnel, law enforcement officers, and first responders who must protect themselves in high-risk situations.
Moreover, plate carriers come in various designs and configurations, with different features and capabilities to meet the user’s specific needs. Some plate carriers are designed for maximum mobility, while others are designed for superior protection. Some plate carriers are also modular, allowing users to add or remove pouches, holsters, and other accessories.
Overall, plate carriers are an essential piece of equipment for those who require maximum protection in high-risk situations. That’s why they make a suitable active combat setup, providing the advanced ballistic protection required for potential high-velocity threats. While they share similar features to tactical vests, they provide far more superior protection while offering space to carry gear.
Now that plate carriers are defined, let’s dig more and discover the purpose of having one.
Purpose Of A Plate Carrier
Primarily, the purpose of a plate carrier is to provide additional ballistic protection against firearms and ballistic threats. Obvious of its name, a plate carrier is also specifically intended to hold ceramic, steel, or composite plates inserted into pockets within the carrier. Often, it also has the capacity to carry the rest of your fighting gear and combat loadout. There are countless possibilities for the amount and type of items that can be securely stored in a plate carrier.
While many items can be stored in a plate carrier, it is important not to be carried away with what it can do since pieces of stuff that add quickly can weigh you down. Hence, limiting the setup to what is only necessary is a must to avoid dropping items down the road. Back to its protection capability, a plate carrier generally comes with an extra layer of protection that helps stop bullets and shrapnel, reducing the risk of serious injury or death.
One thing is certain, plate carriers allow wearers to respond more effectively to threats, knowing they have an extra layer of protection. Plate carriers may also carry other tactical gear, such as ammunition, medical supplies, and communication devices, making them versatile and essential for those operating in high-risk environments.
Why Do You Need A Plate Carrier?
You may need a plate carrier in a profession or situation with a high risk of exposure to firearms or other ballistic threats. While plate carriers are commonly used by military personnel, law enforcement officers, and first responders who must protect themselves in high-risk situations, you can have one if you like going to shooting ranges. Whether you work in those fields or are just part of shooting ranges, it will be beneficial to own a plate carrier.
There are several good reasons why you might need a plate carrier, and that includes the need for an extra protection layer that can help stop bullets and shrapnel in a shooting range and the need for gear to carry other tactical gear, such as ammunition, medical supplies, and communication devices. Since a plate is a versatile gear to wear, investing in one is great. After all, trying one can take your experience going to the shooting range and other tactical activities to the next level.
Impressively, plate carriers can shield your vital organs from damage during combat when worn in combination with ballistic plates or soft armor inserts. However, it’s important to remember that no plate carrier is ever completely “bulletproof,” not even with the strongest ballistic plates money can buy. It is strongly advised to go elsewhere if you ever come across a retailer that markets “bulletproof” tactical equipment.
Ultimately, choosing a plate carrier will depend on your individual needs and the risks you face in your profession or tactical activities. Lucky for you, this guide covers compiling some of the best plate carriers that stand out in the market today. Check them out below.
9 Best Plate Carriers
When choosing a plate carrier, you must consider your specific needs, such as mobility, protection, and storage. There are many types of plate carriers, and deciding which is best for your needs can be difficult. With this in mind, we recommend the best plate carriers. These are excellent options that outperform any standard-issue plate carrier in the military so you can ensure a high value for your money.
Here you go, so have a look.
1. 5.11 Tactical Prime Plate Carrier
Intentionally designed to offer exceptional protection for your vitals along with mission-ready versatility and adaptability, the 5.11 Tactical Prime Plate Carrier won’t fall short of your expectations for a reliable plate carrier. In fact, it boasts a flexible mission-ready design with top-notch security features. This modular bulletproof plate carrier may carry more gear with hook-and-loop attachments for a full-on tactical style, or it can give a low visibility approach when modest protection is necessary.
When it comes to fitting, it may be readily adjusted thanks to the quick-release buckles, waist belt, and adjustable shoulder straps. Furthermore, it has stretch-woven body panels with padding to provide more comfort and extra mobility. That is why it will be rare to encounter issues regarding comfort in this plate carrier. That sounds great since you probably don’t want to wear gear that will only cause trouble to your body and action, right? Luckily, this plate carrier vest comes in different sizes, so you can ensure that one fits you best.
Aside from the exceptional protection, carrying capacity, and comfort of this 5.11 Tactical Prime Plate Carrier, you will like it more since it is available in budget-friendly. With that said, there’s nothing that should stop you from getting it. After all, it is also available in different colors so you can find your ideal choice. Why don’t you grab the chance today?
2. Grey Ghost Gear SMC Plate Carrier
What makes the Grey Ghost Gear SMC Plate Carrier one of the best in the market today is that it is an advanced plate carrier that can do it all. It can help you take your Shoot, Move, Communicate actions to the next level. Hence, the name SMC. With its advanced design, it is everything you need for a lightweight, combat-ready plate carrier. That’s why you don’t have to hesitate to store some necessary items with it. The lightweight body won’t add up to weight, so you can expect no hassle and stress if you wear it.
In terms of capacity, this plate carrier vest is made to accommodate a pair of 10”x12” hard plates or most large SAPI plates. Thanks to its MOLLE/PALS style webbing, there are additional pouches for side plates. Hence, you can trust that you can securely store more of your gear with this. Additionally, there is still the front panel that provides space for different items. You can fit maps, water/cable retention, a watch cap, and gloves in the front panel. Basically, there is the space needed, but be careful with it so you won’t weigh down the carrier.
Another impressive highlight of this Grey Ghost Gear SMC Plate Carrier is its one-size-fits-most advantage. It is a perk that is generated by adjustable shoulder straps and a cummerbund. Thanks to the designs, this gear can provide a snug fit. So, there is really no reason to provide unnecessary effort to get your size. That is actually a good thing since you won’t have to feel bothered if you ever gain or lose weight. Thus, you can use this carrier vest for a very long time, giving you more value for your money.
On the other hand, if you are done for the day or facing some emergency, you can easily have a rapid release through the new ROC buckles on one shoulder strap. Since this plate carrier can easily be released out of the body, it is obviously convenient to put on in a hurry. It can be worn with the right fit on your body in just a few minutes. Definitely, there’s nothing to feel bothered about with this aspect of this plate carrier vest. And this is considered a great selling point about it.
Besides the one-size-fits-most advantage, this SMC Plate Carrier also boasts a fantastic back part. Featuring YKK Zippers and webbing on the back panel, it allows the attachment of any MC zippered back panels. That means you can add further tailor design adjustments to fit the carrier ready for your tactical mission. Luckily, you might only need to tailor a few changes for the carrier setup since it already excels in terms of designs and features.
For starters, it is built with breathable mesh and interior padding that improves comfort and wicks away moisture. Meanwhile, the laser-cut laminate nylon brings all the modularity needed and a significant weight reduction. Despite the cut in weight, the resistance to strong water/chemical stays. Hence, you can expect longevity with this plate carrier. All in all, it stays true to the fact that it is a plate carrier that can do it all.
The Grey Ghost Gear SMC Plate Carrier is definitely on the cheap side, but given that it is also not created to be low-quality, it is worth trying. If you are searching for a plate carrier that can last with you for a long time, this won’t disappoint.
3. Velocity Systems Scarab Light Plate Carrier
If you need a reliable plate carrier vest you can trust for your personal protection, then the Velocity Systems Scarab Light Plate Carrier makes an outstanding choice. What makes this a great choice is that it is lightweight and has the ability to shave weight from plate-carrier setup, enhancing the carrier fit. Appearance-wise, it comes with great space for a better carry of items. You can keep your gear compact and securely stored.
Like other best plate carriers, this one also features specially designed shoulder straps for an improved carrier fit. The straps are better than the old, commonly used fixed-angle shoulder straps. Hence, you can say that this carrier vest has advanced features. In addition, it is also rigged with a D-ring attachment system that shifts the neck and shoulder sizes. Therefore, it is easier to find the ideal fit and comfort.
Moreover, this plate carrier vest highlights a few more selling points, including a hook-and-loop Admin panel, a kangaroo pouch on the front, and Velocity Systems SwiftClip buckles. Jam-packed with great features, you know that the Velocity Systems Scarab Light Plate Carrier is great to try. While it is adjustable in some sizes, it is available in different sizes. So it is important to choose the right fit.
4. Blackhawk Foundation Series Plate Carrier
Sporting a classy look in Black, the Blackhawk Foundation Series Plate Carrier is great for having cutting-edge fabric technology. Hence, it delivers a highly modular armor carrier system. As a result, it features an incredibly lightweight yet adaptable setup ready for any tactical mission and shooting adventures. Every weight matters when it comes to comfort, so it obviously makes nice fighting gear. Therefore, you can go faster, longer, and farther with this plate carrier. It doesn’t mess up your mobility while letting you carry must-have items.
The impressive mobility of the plate carrier is achieved using the laminate 1000D/500D laser-cut laminate nylon. Hence, peak weight reduction happens, which is the one that gives way to better mobility of the carrier. As this carrier vest is lightweight, there’s no need to sacrifice your strength, so you can really go farther, longer, faster, and stronger than before. No matter your mission or activity, this plate carrier is ready for it. After all, this carrier is made ready to adapt with you.
Besides being mission-ready, the Blackhawk Foundation Series Plate Carrier also boasts an elastic cumberbund that promotes superior comfort and flexibility. Surely, it can work like it is intended to. Get this while it is still on sale so you can save while getting yourself a high-quality plate carrier. If that sounds like a good offer, don’t miss out on this chance.
5. NcSTAR Plate Carrier Vest
Interestingly, the NcSTAR Plate Carrier Vest is designed simply without too many details. Despite the simplicity, you can trust that it can get the job done in terms of protection and the ability to help you carry must-have items. For starters, it comes with PALS webbing for easy configuration, along with removable shoulder pads. That’s why it has an impressive level of comfort and mobility.
What’s more, the shoulder straps and side panels are made to be fully adjustable, allowing them to accommodate different sizes while increasing optimum mobility. In terms of suitability, it fits medium to 2X-Large. Meanwhile, the cummerbund expands from 32 to 48 inches in length. That is not too bad, given that this plate carrier vest still promotes high comfort, even if it is in a budget-friendly price range.
Regarding how it functions as a true carrier, it comes with hook and loop panels included on the back and front of the vest. These panels will allow you to carry accessories needed in your tactical or shooting mission. With its nylon material, you can trust that it is sturdy and ready for any activity. So if you want a simple and budget-friendly plate carrier that you can count on. This plate carrier proves that you should not hesitate to get a plate carrier if budget is your issue.
6. Grey Ghost Gear Minimalist Plate Carrier
As the name implies, the Grey Ghost Gear Minimalist Plate Carrier comes with a minimal design. Despite that, it has everything needed to keep you protected without bogging you down and constricting your actions. The highlight of this place carrier is its lightweight construction and functional design. Hence, you will never encounter any issues regarding weight, so you won’t feel that it is too much of an effort to wear a plate carrier. Expect you can stay mobile with this.
Quite interesting, this plate carrier still has its own secrets, even having a minimalist design. In fact, it has a discrete stash pocket on the front which serves as a secure space for your essential items close at hand. You no longer need to feel bothered about keeping your most important pieces of gear with you. What’s greater, the front pocket doesn’t mess with mobility. There is no negative effect in the straightforward, compact design. This plate carrier vest will let you easily carry 10 x 12 hard plates or large ESAPI plates.
Moreover, this Grey Ghost Gear Minimalist Plate Carrier boasts an air-mesh inside that brings a good level of ventilation. That advantage will help you avoid feeling stuffed while wearing the carrier, and you won’t sweat. On the other hand, the lined plate pockets are tough enough to provide good resistance to abrasion and damage. So even though it has a minimalist design, it still has everything that makes it reliable for different applications. Hence, proving that it has great value for money.
7. GLORYFIRE Tactical Vest
The GLORYFIRE Tactical Vest is a plate carrier that comprises 1000D fabric, high-tensile strength thread, and webbing. It has three heavy-duty modular mag panels, a map bag, and two secure side straps. The padded shoulder straps are also adjustable. Meanwhile, the airsoft vests keep you warm by allowing air to circulate and are completely cushioned with breathable 3D mesh. Construction-wise, you can expect that this is high-quality.
Moreover, this GLORYFIRE Tactical Vest has MOLLE webbing attachment points and customizable customization areas. Map compartments with snap-and-hook cutbacks keep essential items safe, and plate pockets offer fast access to soft pockets as required. Hidden shock cords and cord locks in the vest’s back allow for size and waist arrangement and increased convenience. With that said, you can trust that this tactical vest is really well-built for good value for money.
The perfect size ranges from S to XXXL, with a maximum waist measurement of 52 inches and a minimum waist measurement of 32 inches. The retro kit seamlessly connects to carriers with hook-and-loop flap mechanisms to support multiple waist sizes. Shoulder straps and waist belts are also useful in obtaining the desired outcome. This army vest offers a 12-month warranty, so you can report the situation immediately if you experience any quality problems with this tactical vest.
With how the GLORYFIRE Tactical Vest is designed, you can be well-impressed by how it is accessorized with everything that enhances its functionality and comfort. But what can actually amaze you more is that it doesn’t come with a pricey tag. So if you want to experience an ideal tactical vest that will not cost you much, this one might be the best choice.
8. YAKEDA Tactical Vest
This tactical vest is the newest evolution vest from YAKEDA. It is designed to be lightweight and versatile, allowing greater mobility without compromising protection. It is made of robust, tear-resistant 1000D nylon with high tensile strength, aberration resistance, and sturdiness. This vest has the quality of a highly durable tactical vest that is worth every penny. It can surely remain tough for different tactical adventures.
Moreover, the shoulder tubes can quickly adjust to the wearer’s height and length. The waist tubes quickly lock and unlock with just one hand. It also can disassemble the vest so that you may replace any component on your own. The design is highly convenient, so you can count on its protection and functionality to carry items in times of need.
Additionally, the YAKEDA Tactical Vest has adjustable and breathable one-size padded and strengthened shoulder straps with 6″ – 8″, length: 14″, wide: 12″, Waist adjustable with 29″ – 49″ to cover your sides with secret hook-and-loop utility pockets. Additionally, it has removable mesh padding for good airflow during gameplay.
The laser-cut MOLLE system 3” by 6″ patch panels on the front and back for name and morale patches are all around for your gear and hydration pack, easily expanding the carrying capacity. Basically, you can trust that this tactical vest can get the job done for a long time. If you need a plate carrier that can be with you for a long duration, this one makes an ideal companion.
Check out the product link below to see what more it can offer you to know if it fits your needs and references.
9. WarTechGears Tactical Fast Vest
This plate carrier is best for its zipper fastening. WarTechGears Tactical Fast Vest is waterproof, windproof, and wear-resistant. That’s why it is ideal for outdoor activities such as CS war games, airsoft shooting, paintball shooting, fishing, and combat training. It can come ready for any mission and adventure.
This tactical vest has a breathable mesh design covered with thick PAL webbing on the front, sides, and back, and it can hold any optional extra items required for the tactical scene. The vest has three adjustment belts on both sides, and the elastic cord on the back can be adjusted to match your body shape and size at any time. It uses the JPC 600D Oxford cloth, which is strong, durable, scratch- and wear-resistant.
The WarTechGears Tactical Fast Vest is the go-to choice if you need a tough and reliable plate carrier for different applications. The best selling point is that it is available at a reasonable price. Hence, it will be worth trying it.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want to know more about plate carriers, here’s a quick list of some questions frequently asked about the topic and more:
What is a plate carrier made of?
The best plate carriers are constructed from strong materials, such as Cordura nylon, that can withstand heavy use. Heavy-duty hardware, like YKK zippers and Duraflex buckles, helps guarantee many years of dependable use. Several top plate carriers also have breathable air mesh lining to promote ventilation and help you stay cool while the heat is on.
Can plate carriers be worn over clothing?
Yes, plate carriers can be worn over clothing, but it is recommended to wear them over a protective undergarment for added comfort and to prevent chafing. While it might be advantageous to wear plate carriers, it is important to always check comfort before wearing one.
How much do plate carriers weigh?
Plate carrier weight can vary depending on the design and materials used. Generally speaking, most plate carrier vests weigh between 2 and 5 pounds without plates.
What are the differences between plate carriers and chest rigs?
Interestingly, plate carriers and chest rigs do have similarities to each other. The primary differences are their design and functionality. Chest rigs are typically lighter and have more mobility compared to plate carriers. Yet, plate carriers are the only ones that come with ballistic protection.
Can plate carriers be used for airsoft or paintball?
Yes, plate carriers can be used for airsoft or paintball, but it’s important to choose a plate carrier specifically designed for these activities and to only use it with appropriate protective gear. After all, suitability is the real key when wearing a plate carrier.
Can both men and women wear plate carriers?
Yes, plate carriers can be worn by both men and women, but it’s important to choose a carrier that fits well and is adjustable for your body type.
How to properly take care of a plate carrier?
It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance. You can generally clean your carrier with a damp cloth and mild soap and store it in a cool and dry place.
How should a plate carrier fit?
The proper fit of the plate carrier is a must because it is a critical factor in determining comfort and functionality. When wearing one, it is important to position the carrier nicely on the body and adjust the shoulder straps for a secure hold. The fit should be snuggly, not so tight, to have no problems regarding breathing. Test the plate carrier by lifting your arms, bending at the waist, and twisting your torso to see the comfort and fit. Make necessary adjustments if needed.
Where to buy the best plate carriers?
Luckily, there are several trustworthy sites where you can buy the best plate carriers, and that include Cabela’s, Brownells, Amazon, and Palmetto State Armory. What’s more amazing about these sites is that they offer great-quality plate carriers at reasonable prices. Plus they also provide excellent discounts and deals.
In conclusion, a plate carrier is an essential piece of equipment for tactical adventures. The right plate carrier should provide protection, comfort, and versatility in various situations. The 9 best plate carriers on the market today listed above provide outstanding features, construction, and versatility to meet the needs of a wide range of users. Hence, feel free to choose one that suits your liking and needs.
Your specific needs will determine the best plate carrier for you, but with the options mentioned above, you will surely find a product that meets your requirements. The high-quality plate carriers listed are a must-have for your gear collection, whether in the military, law enforcement, or simply enjoying participating in tactical activities.
More guides and helpful reviews like this can be found on the Survival Gear Shack website. Aside from best plate carriers, other topics covered include shooting, hunting, survival, and the outdoors. So, take a look around the site today to know more about amazing information.