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Posted: 6/24/2022 1:49:46 PM EDT
Hi there. I've seen a million threads with titles like "help me buy a plate carrier/chest rig/plates etc" that then have no information about what the OP actually needs or wants. I have a few ideas of plate carriers I might want as well as my "requirements" for their specs so I figured I'd put that information out here and hopefully get some guidance/criticism to help me finally make a decision.

If I'm forgetting any crucial points here let me know.

Purpose: I am a civilian end user and want a plate carrier to have armor and basic fighting gear given, you know, current events. This would be used defensively and probably not for long term sustainment in a rural area/rucking. Getting in and out of vehicles is important.

Budget: Not against spending $450+ on just the plate carrier setup, I just want something that's done right.

Previous carriers: I currently own an overt Spiritus LV119 setup with the tubes cummerbund. I was dissatisfied by the lack of padding, straight shoulder straps, and the non-elastic nature of the tubes cummerbund. I probably went too minimalist here. These are all things I'd like to remedy with a new purchase.

Plate compatibility: I will be using <1" thick SAPI cut medium sized multicurve plates. Nothing unusual.

Color: I would prefer something available in ranger green to match my other kit and that of the people I train with. Seems like most brands offer RG nowadays.

Placard mounting: I intend to use a placard (looking at the Combat Wombat from Arbor mostly) so swift clip compatibility and a lower velcro field is a must, or the ability to add these features.

Cummerbund design: I would really like something with elasticity and QD function (FS tubes or similar). I am split on whether I'd prefer a Spiritus elastic style cummerbund with integrated pouches or something like the Arbor Arms MOLLE cummerbund where the MOLLE itself is made of a semi-elastic material which would be more breathable and weight bearing but less streamlined. I only anticipate storing 1-2 magazines or other small items on the cummerbund itself. Overall I am leaning most towards adapting the Arbor Arms cummerbund to something.

Shoulder pads/padding: Spiritus was a mistake here. I definitely want something wide set that has a fair amount of padding. I really like my friend's VS APC and am considering the VS SCARAB carrier(s) strongly as they basically have an improved version of these shoulder pads. I also like the look of and what I read in reviews about the Agilite K19 regarding padding and comfort. I would probably have to adapt my preferred elastic cummerbund to either of these however.

Comms: I would like to have some accommodation for comms routing and a mount location for a U-94 PTT. I am unsure about where I would actually store a radio, likely in a velcro attached expander pouch that goes under the placard that gets sucked in under the cummerbund. Something like the Spiritus expander wing. I could use some guidance here.

IFAK: Either in a dangler or similar arrangement to the radio pouch. I have done a rear belt mounted IFAK before and did not like it, I prefer to have a large and capable IFAK and this gets quite uncomfortable on the back of a warbelt.

Hydration: This is the only thing I could conceivably see myself using a back panel for. I've considered using the SCARAB with a zip on panel and 3L camelback/source bladder in it or the Esstac Daedon hydration carrier MOLLE'd directly to the back of the carrier. Not sure, no experience here really. Perhaps mounting canteen pouches would be better?

That's about it off the top of my head. My top considerations at the moment are the VS SCARAB (LE front with LT rear), Agilite K19, and Arbor Arms FLEX carrier. I would probably adapt any of these to use the Arbor elastic MOLLE cummerbund attached via tubes to the Arbor Combat Wombat placcard on the front of the carrier.

Nothing set in stone, if something I've suggested in ridiculous or ignorant please tell me and I'm very much looking to discover options I haven't heard of or considered.

Link Posted: 6/26/2022 11:57:55 AM EDT
[#1]
It might be far less expensive to "upgrade" or otherwise modify your existing PC, if the issues you mention are capable of being addressed--and seems like it would be possible.

Link Posted: 6/27/2022 7:07:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: TDawesome] [#2]
The scarab is one of the more comfortable carriers I've ever used on a daily basis out of all the carriers I've worn so far (APC, ULV, Scarab, JPC, etc).

You can order the scarab in your configuration that you want, then order it with comm loops and no cummerbund so you can get whatever cummerbund you want. You can run JPC cummerbunds too using an adapter (Arbor Arms makes one too).

The only thing is, if you want any of those custom things done to your Scarab, you'd have to contact Velsyst directly to do so. Their online shop won't allow you to.

ETA: As far as radios go, I use dual Crye Airlite radio pouches under my cummerbund. They're highly adjustable in height, elastic sides, and made out of their laminate which is much tougher than cordura and doesn't sag.
Link Posted: 6/27/2022 10:05:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: GunnyFitz] [#3]
Though I most often run a TRex AC1 I found this particular Shellback Tactical 3.0 Carrier to be very comfortable, especially in the shoulder pads.

Defense Mechanism 4 AR Mag Placard System
Link Posted: 6/27/2022 1:13:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: KaerMorhenResident] [#4]
In my honest opinion you should view a plate carrier like you would an AR15, as a modular item that should be modified to fit your specific needs.

I think too many people get into the mindset of thinking that if they buy "Brand X" of plate carrier then the shoulder pads, the cummerbund, the placards, and so forth all need to also be "Band X."  So let's break down what is important with each part of the carrier and then you should think "which brand offers the best option and will they play well together?" Like an AR15, if you put something aftermarket on it will it work well with it? Like you purchased a suppressor, but will that require a change to the buffer sort of thing.

Plate Bag:

The most important thing here is will it fit the plates you want to put into it and hold them well.  Some carriers have a lot of adjustment to fit different sized plates, but the trade off is typically that they don't hold the plates as well as those carriers that are made to have a real tailored tight fit to certain plates.  Does it stretch, where is the stitching and how will it hold it up?  The second most important thing is the attachment of the shoulder straps to the plate bags, primarily the front plate bag to shoulder strap angle.  This is largely subjective depending on body type, I like the way that my Ferro FCPC strap angle is, BUT I know that for guys under 5'10" that the adjustment to shorten the straps is lacking. I'm exactly 5'10" and the straps are adjusted as short as possible, if I were even an inch shorter I don't think it would ride well without modifying the straps to shorten more.  Good wire management and Push To Talk spots are also key here. Are you going to run a Smart Phone in a Juggernaut case? You'll need to work that out with how you'll fit that and a PTT.  

Shoulder Pads/Socks


IMHO, you want the minimalist shoulder pad you can get that still retains good comfort.  This is dependent on the weight of the carrier. If you're loading up with a ton of weight even if the shoulder straps have a good angle for your body type you still will want some padding.  The wider the pads the more weight distribution, but the more your mechanics are hindered like shouldering your rifle.  Shoulder pads can cut into necks as well if they're too wide for your body type and they're going to collect neck sweat.  Comms routing is key as well, this is the modern age and you're going to be running wires so wire management is key.  Make it easy to hook in headphones through your shoulder pads.

Cummerbund

No perfect solution here, only trade-offs.  Some guys like elastic, but elastic doesn't hold weight well.  Some guys like structured, but structured don't flex well.  Some guys like velcro attachment to the rear plate bag, which makes it easy to switch out cummerbunds. Some guys like that elastic paracord type attachment to the plate carrier to give the cummerbund some more give and flex, but that makes switching out cummerbunds or adjusting them (like around winter clothes or side armor) a pain.  I like quick release cummerbunds, but some dudes don't want to give up that MOLLE real estate and are fine with velcro.  Some guys want to wear wing pouches under the cummerbund and quick release can make that hard to do (although I think wings SUCK in terms of comfort to the point I don't use them anymore).  Are you going to wear side armor plate pockets, are you going to go pretty slick or do you need pouches on your side? Answer these questions and get the right cummerbund.

Placard.

I think everyone is in agreement that quick change placards are the Way (chant in unison "This is the Way").  The only question is how big/bulky you want to go and whether you want an ITW clip in or G-hook style attachment, each has their pros and cons.  Sky is the limit here and it's basically down to personal preference.  So many great outstanding placards and it really comes down to what you want personally.  

Integration

One factor that doesn't get looked at much is how well your plate carrier will work with back panel attachments or packs.  I don't like zip on panels of packs that are MOLLED on, but some do.  I have my own specially rigged up Eagle MAP V2 that I use a sort of modified Haley Strategic piggyback set-up to wear on my back that let's me access my pack without assistance, but holds it on firm and in place.  Think about your back, what do you need to have on it.  Some zippers don't play well with other brands of back panels or maybe they do play well, but the back panel doesn't sit well once on.  

Summary:

No matter what you do you're going to end up rebuying components. A cummerbund you thought was going to rock might suck. The plate pockets might suck or maybe you buy new armor you really want and then it sucks.  A true warrior is constantly modifying his tools of the trade to reflect the lessons learned.  You're basically like the Mandalorian Din Djarin going on missions, learning what works, saving up your Beskar and getting new cool shit that makes you a more effective Mandalorian.  It's not an inexpensive thing, it's not a buy once and done thing, it's a journey and if you embrace that it can be fun and enjoyable.  Once you get your kit right and you're training in it with things working well together it's like "WOW" you really feel the difference and feel the improvement in your capability over wearing shit that hampers and fights you.  After years I've finally got to that point where it's a marriage of armor and man and it's just awesome man, but my set-up is for me specifically and unfortunately isn't plug and play for anyone else who isn't my genetic twin (they say everyone has one out there).  

Good luck and remember the journey is the Way.  


Link Posted: 6/27/2022 1:31:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: KaerMorhenResident] [#5]
In the Civilian clothing market you have "off the rack", "tailored", "made to measure" and bespoke right?  

The best fitting suit would be one that was bespoke where a unique pattern was made just for you and then sewn to your measurements.  Those suits are expensive and time consuming to make and to my knowledge there isn't anyone in the tactical world making bespoke plate carriers that are unique in pattern and made to each end user's measurements (maybe there should be someone like that?).  

We don't even have made to measure as far as I'm aware of where a preset pattern is used to your specific measurements.  What we have are the off rack options and then a few individuals out there who will modify or "tailor" their own personal plate carriers.  

With "off the rack" being the only options then I think the best way to get that more tailored fit is to start mixing up the components instead of going with an entirely one source preset off rack option.  

Link Posted: 6/27/2022 6:55:56 PM EDT
[#6]
I suggest the OP take a look at the K19 from Agilite.

Extremely comfortable with all of the options someone might want.
Link Posted: 6/28/2022 2:59:14 PM EDT
[#7]
I respect all the comments above, but I reiterate my suggestion that OP might be able to modify/alter existing PC into something that suits him for far less than buying another PC.  That is, as long as his fundamental PC generally suits him, and that the upgrades/mods are available.

I understand that OP might buy another PC, perhaps (or not) better suiting his needs, and then re-coup part of his expense by selling old PC on the EE.

Sometimes carefully modifying existing gear can be less expensive than new gear, and work out at least as well as the new gear "might" do.




Link Posted: 6/28/2022 9:50:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Acebris] [#8]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By GunnyFitz:
Though I most often run a TRex AC1 I found this particular Shellback Tactical 3.0 Carrier to be very comfortable, especially in the shoulder pads.
View Quote


Second for the Shellback.

Swapped out the existing shock cord in the back for 1/4 inch shock cord, the existing shock cord felt too springy.  Now its tight, but does allow for breathing and movement, personal preference.

I didn't like storing mags in the cummerbund, it brought the mags too close to my body and I didn't feel like I had enough space to draw mags.  Went with HSGI mags to stand them off a bit and going to convert a few to shock cord retention. Trying to work out another use for the space in the cummerbund.

ETA: Raf makes a good point about customizing an existing carrier.  But judging by the OP's post, it sounds like he's heading towards (to me, looking at the carrier he has) the limits of that gear.  Running comms wires and antennas, padding, etc.  He may be modifying it so much that he'd be better buying something purpose-built.  That also assumes he's capable of modifying the existing gear properly.

The Shellback has padding aplenty, and wires and tubes (hydration bladder) can be ran easily enough through the shoulder straps (plenty of space).

I can say OP's planned carrier is probably a lot lighter than my load out so the gear he wants will fit comfortably on the Shellback.

Link Posted: 6/30/2022 10:44:21 AM EDT
[#9]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By raf:
I respect all the comments above, but I reiterate my suggestion that OP might be able to modify/alter existing PC into something that suits him for far less than buying another PC.  That is, as long as his fundamental PC generally suits him, and that the upgrades/mods are available.

I understand that OP might buy another PC, perhaps (or not) better suiting his needs, and then re-coup part of his expense by selling old PC on the EE.

Sometimes carefully modifying existing gear can be less expensive than new gear, and work out at least as well as the new gear "might" do.




View Quote



Companies like AXL and VXV Concepts make adapters that allow pretty easy adaptation of existing plate carriers to fit various aftermarket components.  So, definitely think about raf's comments and don't think that you're limited in terms of adaptation to having to do serious tailoring/sewing or any even permanent alteration even.  You can definitely save some money by adapting an existing carrier.  I'd say the only tough thing to alter would be how the front and rear plate bag shoulder straps are positioned and so if you find that the shoulder straps are positioned in a way that isn't comfortable I'd suggest maybe looking into different plate bags with a shoulder strap angle you like.  Some times carrier strap angles are sort of built for bulky guys or maybe for thin guys and of course if you're on the extreme of either end (bulky or thin) finding the right shoulder strap angle might be a challenge because these gear manufacturers are of course making things to fit the 80th percentile meaning that 20 percent of dudes are left wanting.

Link Posted: 6/30/2022 1:46:28 PM EDT
[#10]
One thing to consider when buying gear as a civilian is the ability to not visibly attract attention or look like you're dressed tactically. In a variety of realistic situations, the visible appearance of camo tactical gear is likely to create more problems than it solves, compared to the potential signature reduction benefit of a camo plate carrier against the probably-not-camo clothes that you'll likely be wearing it with.

So try to steer towards something in a solid color rather than a camo pattern, and try to steer towards things that can easily be concealed under shirts, sweaters, and jackets. Select plates that are thin and easy to conceal, although if you're a prepper in eastern Europe for example and are designing your armor decisions around common calibers in the Russian army, then it's understandable why you might trend towards thicker and heavier plates that can stop big Russian AP rounds.
Link Posted: 6/30/2022 4:34:08 PM EDT
[#11]
The Scarab is a great choice, I'd also suggest looking the LBT 6094. It lacks some of latest gadgets but continues to be used by DEVGRU and other special forces units, by choice. It is great for carrying a medium load out and will never be accused of being too minimalist.
Link Posted: 6/30/2022 6:31:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: raf] [#12]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Brian01:
One thing to consider when buying gear as a civilian is the ability to not visibly attract attention or look like you're dressed tactically. In a variety of realistic situations, the visible appearance of camo tactical gear is likely to create more problems than it solves, compared to the potential signature reduction benefit of a camo plate carrier against the probably-not-camo clothes that you'll likely be wearing it with.

So try to steer towards something in a solid color rather than a camo pattern, and try to steer towards things that can easily be concealed under shirts, sweaters, and jackets. Select plates that are thin and easy to conceal, although if you're a prepper in eastern Europe for example and are designing your armor decisions around common calibers in the Russian army, then it's understandable why you might trend towards thicker and heavier plates that can stop big Russian AP rounds.
View Quote
Good advice, but if wearing any sort of external armor over garments, regardless of camo/color, you probably have identified yourself in one way or another.

The less color contrast between external armor carrier and garments worn underneath the armor carrier the better. but at some point (distance) an observer can detect the armor carrier.

I'm still sorting-out some soft armor platforms, suitable for wearing inside "loose" outer garments, and I can say for sure all of them are heat-retentive.
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