Plate Carriers

A plate carrier is a type of tactical vest designed to hold ballistic plates, offering modular protection against high-velocity projectiles and shrapnel. Widely used by military, law enforcement, and security personnel, these carriers allow for the insertion of hard or soft armor plates, which are positioned to shield vital organs. The flexibility of the system permits users to customize the configuration with additional pouches and equipment, enhancing operational efficiency. Modern plate carriers are constructed from durable materials, ensuring mobility and comfort without compromising defense capabilities, making them indispensable in high-risk environments.
Overview Plate Carriers
By Mike Ball Last updated: July 10th, 2024

Plate carriers are a type of protective vest that can be equipped with ballistic armor plates in order to provide protection against threats such as handgun and rifle ammunition as well as shrapnel and other high-velocity objects.

These plates may be rigid and made from materials such as steel, ceramics or composites, or they may be soft plates made from materials such as Kevlar or Dyneema. Hard plates will weigh more and inhibit the wearer’s mobility more than soft plates, but will provide protection against the most dangerous threats such as high-velocity rifle rounds. Many tactical vests allow users to insert both soft and hard body armor.

Modular Plate Carrier Vests

Lightweight and low-profile Dragoon armor plate carrier by Adept Armor

Lightweight and low-profile Dragoon armor plate carrier by Adept Armor

Plate carriers will typically accept plates that cover the back and the front of the wearer, and some may also utilize side plates. Modular systems may allow the side plate pouches to be added or removed depending on the requirements of the mission. Fully-equipped plate carriers will provide protection for all the vital organs in the torso, including the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys, with adjustable shoulder straps to ensure a snug fit.

Modular protective vests may also allow the attachment of pouches via buckles or MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) loops. These pouches can be used to store essential equipment and supplies, such as magazines, radios, tools and medikits, and keep these items within easy reach of the wearer. They may also have strips of Velcro that allow attachment of patches, flags and insignias.

The heaviest and most protective systems are designed to be worn on the outside of clothing. Law enforcement and security personnel may use lighter concealed versions that can be worn under clothing such as jackets.