Plate + Carrier

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Plate Carriers

Whatever activity is on your list – guarding, military operations, hunting or shooting on the range, a plate carrier is a must-have piece of equipment. Put on a carrier vest and feel protected thanks to inserted armor plates and ready to face the enemy thanks to functional MOLLE webbing on front and back.

BattleSteel offers a range of proven plate carriers. Browse our catalog to pick the one you need.

What is a plate carrier

Plate carrier vests are the tactical gear designed to serve two main purposes: carry armor plates to protect the vital organs of the wearer, and to attach and hold various tools and equipment thanks to webbing systems that come as a standard part of practically any armor plate carrier.

There are several types of plate carriers based mostly on their overall weight and coverage: heavy, medium, light and slick types. In addition, some vests are designed to insert hard armor plates, while others are designed for soft armor plates so they can be concealed under clothes.

Tactical plate carriers for sale often come in three variants:

Tactical vests

Ok, technically these are not plate carriers, but in many online shops around they are named as such. But don’t be fooled: tactical vests do not offer any protection per se and do not allow inserting armor plates. They do have MOLLE webbing and are useful to keep your equipment close and instantly at reach. But if you need protection, you should specifically look for plate carrier vests.

Tactical vest carrier with plates

Tactical plate carriers on the market often come in set with armor plates. The set is designed for turnkey usage, so it is one of the best options when you just need body armor and inspecting and comparing hundreds of brands available on the market is not exactly your cup of tea.

Body armor plate carriers

Body armor plate carrier is a tactical vest designed to hold armor plate inserts. Most often than not it is shipped as is, without any armor plates included. In our catalog you can find this type of plate carriers for sale too.

Who needs tactical plate carriers

Plate carriers are widely used by various military and police forces all over the world. Here are some most obvious examples:

  • Security officers. Security forces plate carrier is typically soft armor intended to prevent occasional bullet or knife damage. A security plate carrier is designed to provide to its wearer as much agility as possible while combining it with a decent protection level.
  • Police & law enforcement. Police plate carriers are different in design and capabilities depending on tactical goals and missions of law enforcement officers. Sometimes it is NIJ Level II or Level IIIA soft armor when it comes to dynamic entry police operations. Other situations may require NIJ Level III or Level IV bulletproof armor to stop high speed bullets and corresponding plate carriers alike.
  • Military. Military combat missions have special requirements to equipment. That is why you can easily distinguish military plate carriers from other types of vests just by looking at them. More Velcro fasteners, quick release or emergency doffing systems, compatibility with tactical hydration systems and many other options rarely seen in typical police or security vests.

Plate carrier main features

What to look for when buying a plate carrier?

  1. Protection. You are purchasing a plate carrier to insert armor plates into it. So you need to make sure the plate carrier can hold armor plates you want. In addition to front and back armor plates, you may also want some extra side protection, so verify if the model of a plate carrier does support that.
  2. Fabric. The plate carrier itself is not designed to stop any ballistic threat. But it still needs to bear heavy loads. Modern synthetic fabrics like nylon are the best for that, so aim for plate carrier models that explicitly use contemporary synthetic materials. You do not need to compromise your protection due to wear and tear of the carrier vest.
  3. Adjustability. The plate carrier must sit on your body perfectly. Adjustable straps help you achieving the best possible fit of the plate carrier.
  4. Quick release system. The quick release buckle system or an emergency doff allow single-handed release of the vest to quickly take it off in case of emergency, for example when immediate medical assistance is required, or if the wearer is on fire.
  5. Velcro fasteners. Your mission requires certain tactical or medical equipment as well as tools. One of the quickest ways to attach and detach equipment is Velcro fasteners. Typically, they come in multiple rows on the front, back and sides of the vest.
  6. MOLLE webbing. Modular lightweight load carrying equipment or MOLLE allows you to attach vital equipment and gear to the vest using straps. This way your med kits, flashlights and radio remain in your direct access, but do not hinder your mobility thanks to firm attachment to the vest.

How to choose the plate carrier cheap

Basically, choosing the right plate carrier is all about selecting the right size, cut, cummerbund and additional features like webbing. Let’s briefly look at the primary noteworthy points.

  • Purpose. This is where you begin. You should decide how you will be using the vest. Depending on particular situations you expect to use the plate carrier in and your activity, you may need different types and models of plate carriers. Take an occasional shooter at the range and a military. It is apparent they need to select different types of gear.
  • Size and cut. You need to know your preferred cut of armor plates to insert in the carrier. Some plate carriers are designed for only specific SAPI cuts only, others are more universal. Pay attention to recommended sizes and the ability to adjust straps for better fit of the plate carrier vest as feeling comfortable is vital.
  • Weight. A heavier plate carrier probably won’t do if your activity involves a lot of movement. Also, see pt. 1 above.
  • Cummerbund is what hold back and front parts of the plate carrier together. Make sure it’s adjustable. Sometimes you may need a cummerbund with an embedded quick release system.
  • Webbing. MOLLE webbing is somewhat standard today for tactical plate carriers. But pay attention to the amount of space they provide – the webbing must accommodate all the gear you will be taking with you on a mission.


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