Team Room Discussions: Plate Carriers
Ever since gear has been issued, Soldiers have been finding ways to modify or make it work better for them. Rarely does something work great in every situation, but at least with modern equipment and the flooded market there are companies making high quality, modular gear that can be easily adapted to the mission.
On deployments I spent every mission in a Crye JPC 1.0 with minimal complaints compared to other issued plate carriers at the time. Small enough to fit just the essentials and then use assault packs/3day bags for anything else I wanted to bring in the gun truck. I also used this plate carrier in many training exercises and tactical shooting competitions without issue, the JPC 1.0 is a solid piece of gear for relatively inexpensive.
Features about the Crye JPC 1.0 I liked:
-Built in mag pouches
-Open molle cummerbund with shock cord to give some flex
-Thin shoulder pockets (my buttstock isn’t hitting on a bulky quick release buckle like the Crye AVS)
Over the years the gear industry took many other people’s firsthand reviews and added extra bits here and there that made to where you can order exactly what pieces you want and nothing you don’t want. Fast forward to 2020 and Spiritus Systems is on the map pumping out quality gear with all the features I could want. I competed in a Battle Rattle (Tactical Tough Mudder style event) and won a full Plate Carrier setup off the prize table and began using that as my main rig for work, competing, and training.
Well, Spiritus Systems and Crye both took those designs and went the next step further for modularity. Ill mainly focus on Spiritus LV119 setup. They added in even more modularity with the ability to choose your cummerbund and its locking mechanism (Tubes are much quieter and easier than the big Velcro flap of the JPC 1.0).
LV119 Front Bag:
The rise of the modular placard system really lets the user quickly change their setup based on the mission (and even use other brands). No more weaving and unweaving pouches for mission changes the day prior to use different weapons platforms. Clip in to the plastic clips, fold down on the velcro and go!
Left to right:
-Spiritus MK4 Placard with 3 M4 inserts, large flap for storage of equipment, Raidworx IFAK, shooting gloves on a locking carabiner. (Also used with shoulder straps as a stand alone chest rig). I use this placard on my plate carrier if there is a wide variety of things I may do, especially anything primarily involving vehicles to have a large configurable storage space on my PC.*The Raidworx IFAK pushes the placard too far when used on a plate carrier, recommend for use when using placard as a chest rig only.
-Spiritus Triple 556 flat folding placard is the most slim and low profile of the three, unlike other flat folding pouches these have extra material to keep the magazines from getting pushed upwards over time like the Blue Force Gear pouches can do. Magazines are very secure and tight to the body, not very easy to re-index magazines in while performing a tac-mag reload. Would recommend for situations you want to be the most streamline and negotiating obstacles constantly.
-21st Tactical Molle placard with Kiwi Esstac mid height triple pouch has built in kydex lips to allow positive retention and reinsertion of magazines very easily. They lean slightly forward from the plate carrier compared to ^, but allow a much faster and easier draw. The dangler pouch allows me to carry spare smoke grenades, marking devices, small tools, or other items I would need on the objective. I primarily use this setup for CQB or situations I will be primarily on my feet, moving and shooting more often.
The Raidworx IFAK is designed to sit between a triple M4 placard held on only with velcro on each side. It adds about an inch from the plate carrier to where the placard sits. I would recommend using this if you use the large velcro flaps for your cummerbund (like on the Crye JPC), with the tube style system pictured it does not provide enough velcro for any of my placards to feel secure enough.
However the IFAK works great on a standalone chest rig as mentioned earlier.
Rear LV119 Bag: The back zip panels are a nice touch to add or takeaway depending what you do or don’t want to carry on your pack. You can easily take off your rear panel if you will be primarily strapped to a seat in a truck and throw on an assault pack when needed to dismount or use any type of rear panel that is setup for doing primarily dismounted ops.
I was hesitant to try the dangler pouch from not wanting more crap banging against me as I am running, climbing, or crawling but I have found it useful for quick storage of small items I might need that aren’t jammed down in my cargo pockets or if I am not always nearby a larger pack. (Gloves, map markers, lighters, batteries, headlamp, zip ties, electric tape, multi tool). There are plenty of other ways to carry these small items, but the dangler is an option to consider.
There are plenty of options these days for plate carriers on the market (along with loads of china knockoffs), when looking to get into a new plate carrier take the time to decide which features you like and offer modularity to suit your potential needs.