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How to Choose the Right Plate Carriers

How To Choose The Right Plate Carrier

With so many options, how do you pick the right Plate Carrier?

Selecting the right plate carrier is essential for military personnel, law enforcement officers, and civilians who need reliable protection from ballistic threats. Plate carriers are designed to hold armor plates that offer protection against various types of ammunition, and they also provide a platform for attaching tactical gear

However, finding the perfect plate carrier can be a daunting task due to the multitude of options available on the market. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the crucial factors to consider when choosing a plate carrier and provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

1. Purpose of the Plate Carrier

The primary consideration when selecting a plate carrier should be its intended use. Are you a tactical operator or law enforcement officer requiring a durable and reliable plate carrier for high-risk operations? Or, are you a recreational shooter or airsoft enthusiast with more basic needs? Understanding your specific requirements will help you narrow down your options and ensure that you select a plate carrier that meets your needs.

For example, tactical operators should prioritize plate carriers designed for high-intensity operations and built to withstand extreme conditions. These carriers typically feature additional pockets, reinforced stitching, and adjustable straps for maximum comfort and protection.

2. Types of Plate Carriers

Plate carriers can be broadly categorized into three main types based on the cut and design:

  • Full-cut plate carriers offer maximum coverage and protection, with large front and back panels to hold armor inserts.
  • Shooter’s cut plate carriers are smaller and more lightweight, providing adequate protection for most users.
  • Swimmer’s cut plate carriers are the lightest and most minimalistic, focusing on mobility and speed.

When choosing a plate carrier type, ensure that it suits your intended usage and provides the necessary balance between protection, weight, and mobility.

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3. Sizing and Adjustability

Plate carrier sizing depends on the size of the armor plates you intend to use. The most common armor plate size is 10×12 inches, which will fit most people’s needs. However, larger 11×14 and smaller 8×10 plates are also available.

When selecting a plate carrier, make sure it can accommodate the size of plates you plan to use. Additionally, the carrier should be adjustable to ensure a snug and comfortable fit. Look for plate carriers with adjustable shoulder straps and cummerbunds that can be customized to fit your body type.

4. Cummerbund Options

The cummerbund is an essential component of a plate carrier, as it holds the front and back panels together and ensures a secure fit. A good cummerbund should be adjustable and made from durable, lightweight materials like ripstop nylon or Cordura.

Many plate carriers feature cummerbunds with MOLLE webbing for attaching additional gear and may also include internal compartments for side armor plates or magazine pouches. When choosing a plate carrier, ensure that the cummerbund meets your requirements in terms of adjustability and storage options.

5. Weight Considerations

The weight of a plate carrier is an essential factor to consider, as it can significantly impact your mobility and comfort. Plate carriers themselves typically weigh between one to a few pounds, but the addition of armor plates and tactical gear can significantly increase the overall weight.

When selecting a plate carrier, consider the combined weight of the carrier, armor plates, and any additional gear. If mobility is a priority, opt for a lightweight plate carrier that minimizes bulk without compromising protection.

How To Pick The Right Mag Pouch/Ammo Pouch - Tactical Guide - Plate Carriers

6. MOLLE Webbing and Attachment Options

Most plate carriers come equipped with MOLLE webbing, allowing you to attach various tactical pouches and accessories. MOLLE webbing is available in two styles: classic webbing with loops and laser-cut webbing with pre-cut slots for easy installation and a more streamlined appearance.

When choosing a plate carrier, ensure that it offers sufficient MOLLE webbing to accommodate all your tactical gear and allows for customization based on your specific needs.

7. Plate Carrier Color and Camouflage

The color or camouflage pattern of your plate carrier is an important consideration, as it can affect your visibility in various environments. Plate carriers are available in a wide range of colors, such as black, coyote brown, MultiCam camouflage, and more.

Choose a plate carrier color or camouflage pattern that matches your intended environment and tactical gear. If you are in military service, ensure that your plate carrier conforms to your unit’s regulations and uniform standards.

8. Additional Features

Some plate carriers offer additional features, such as drag handles, loop Velcro panels, and built-in pockets or pouches. Drag handles enable quick extraction of the wearer in emergency situations, while loop Velcro panels allow for the attachment of patches or other items.

When selecting a plate carrier, consider any additional features that may be beneficial for your specific needs and ensure that the carrier includes all necessary components.

9. Price and Budget

The cost of a plate carrier varies depending on the quality, features, and brand. Budget plate carriers can be purchased for under $100, while high-end carriers designed for military or law enforcement use can cost several hundred dollars.

Determine your budget and prioritize the features that are most important to you. Remember that investing in a high-quality plate carrier can provide better protection and durability in the long run.

10. A Brand you can Trust

Here at Chase Tactical, we take our manufacturing process VERY seriously because our product can make the difference between life and death to our customers. We are a premier manufacturer of tactical equipment, including plate carriers. 

Our plate carriers are made of high-quality nylon and manufactured with U.S. sourced, Mil-Spec materials designed to endure and outlast any military or law enforcement mission.

A prime example of our many plate carriers offerings is our Modular Enhanced Armor Plate Carrier (MEAC). This carrier is  a lightweight modular plate carrier that works with any set of hard armor plates and soft armor backers. It also features a triple magazine front panel secured with hook & loop into the carrier that can fit 3x 30 round 5.56mm magazines.

Before you chose your Plate Carrier

Choosing the right plate carrier is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration of factors such as intended use, type, size, adjustability, weight, and additional features. By evaluating these factors and conducting thorough research, you can find the perfect plate carrier to meet your specific needs.

Remember that investing in a high-quality plate carrier from a reputable brand, such as Chase Tactical, can provide better protection, durability, and performance in the long run. Selecting the right plate carrier will ensure that you stay protected and comfortable in any tactical situation, while also providing a versatile platform for your gear.

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