I'm in the market for a carrier to hold my NIJ IIIA panels plus the hard plates I'm in the market for. I've read the other threads, been over to the 10-8 forums, Lightfighter, etc. All of that research has brought up a few questions:
1. The CIRAS carrier seems to be able to hold the NIJ panels - anyone actually try this yet? I have XLL panels.
2. The Eagle plate carrier can also accommodate the soft armor panels?
My primary use for the gear will be training classes involving significant movement, vehicle operations and exfil, and team tactics scenarios. Potentially catching a 'friendly' round in these situations is possible. I also shoot outlaw (non-USPSA) 3-gun and would use the LBV minus the plates.
I'd be adding enough mag pouches for 6 M4 mags + 4-6 pistol mags, trauma kit and hydration system. 12 ga pouches are another possibility.
The plate carrier is appealing for the much lower price, but I don't want to sacrifice comfort for long term wear. Can anyone give me an apples to apples comparison and confirm that one or the other will fit my requirements?
The eagle plate carrier doesn't hold soft armor unfortunately.
Also- fitting your particular vest to a CIRAS is going to be dicey- the CIRAS is made for a specific shape of vest... your panels _may_ fit in the CIRAS and they may not. And if they don't you're returning or re-selling a $500+ vest.. No fun!
In your position I would stick with whatever carrier you already have for the NIJ panels and buy an eagle plate carrier to hold your plate/pouches and wear _over_ the carrier