The hard plate might be the stuff stopping the bullet but choosing the correct plate carrier for your armor is just as important. The ballistic protection isn’t worth anything if it isn’t covering your vitals, and you should be able to move in it freely.
There are good options on the market, and regardless if you are trying to emulate the army or simply need something to protect you during dangerous jobs, there is a plate carrier that will be adequate for your needs.
Generally, there are three ways to go after selecting a good plate carrier:
- By the weight and size of the plate carrier itself
- Accessing the additional features and possible attachments
- Searching for a specific feature or option
Ideally, you will want your PC to be good across the board and maybe excel in the places you really need. And, as there are multiple options, you shouldn’t settle for ‘just okay’ but rather try to find something that you will really use.
1 Best Plate Carrier by Weight
This is probably the easiest way to select your PC. There are three main categories when it comes to weight, and you will know exactly which one you will want by simply looking at the carrier.
Primarily, there are large tactical carriers with armored cummerbunds that are meant to hold both the heaviest of armor plates and a lot of additional gear. These models are usually used for full units where the versatility of your gear is more important than individual mobility.
In the middle, there are hybrid models, like the HPC™ Hybrid Plate Carrier, that aim to combine the benefits of both heavier PCs and the very light ones by staying very modular and trimmed down to basics, but still covering all of those basics.
Finally, there are the lightest models which are basically just wearable hard plate sockets that have a single use; to keep your plate where it needs to be. Models like the WPC™ Weightless Plate Carrier are less than 8 ounces but lack some features available in larger carriers.
2 Selecting by Utility
This basically comes down to the possible attachments and protection capabilities of the carrier.
The most basic thing to look for here is the MOLLE webbing, as something most PCs will have. But there are also Velcro® pads and clips that might keep a chest rig or a similar addition to the plate.
Thankfully, most PCs will have this clearly stated on the armor, as well as visible from the get-go.
3 Some Things Break the Mold
Your mission, and how to complete is most effectively, is the main thing to look for when selecting a PC. And, for some missions that means thinking outside of the box and needing something to give you that cutting edge.
Now, what that might be, really depends, and can range from something simple like ventilation to high-tech attachments that you need to carry. Regardless, if that means that you will be safe and win in the end, you should go for that before anything else.