The question up front: I can get a ~3lb PC from the likes of Mayflower/Velocity/Paraclete for about $180...and it will come with a cummerbund that can integrate soft armor and side plates. I can create/buy the same functionality from an uber cool, new school PC for $450-485 from Crye/FirstSpear/BFG. What does that extra 300 bones really get me?
I've noticed a certain trend towards minimalism or light weight, over all. Folks like Blue Force Gear, FirstSpear, Crye are experimenting with material selection and construction in a way that is clearly intended to minimize weight and bulk...cool. I think BFG did the "minus/minimus" negative space PALS first. Crye skeletonized the shoulders and even removed the standard front flap on JPC 2.0. I know that ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain...and that we're talking about a 50%+ weight savings in some cases...however, that's generally the difference between 2 lbs and 3 lbs...pretty negligible once soft armor and plates come into the mix, to say nothing of gear. I love the new tech, and I love that people are innovating...go, Capitalism, go! That being said...I'm not sure if I don't hit diminish returns somewhere around the $250 dollar mark. The progression of features versus price seems pretty linear to that point. This is all work related - the 82D is getting increasingly interested in jumping/wearing armor. I've gone through the OTV to the iOTV Gen1, 2, and 3...and this latest generation is, my opinion, garbage. Even armor has fallen victim to vanity sizing...I'm in a size Small now (though I think that started with iOTV Gen 2). Thus, I don't need a minimalist PC. I'm looking for a fully featured PC that can, at a minimum, carry my ESBI (and ideally, soft armor) to act as a scaled down iOTV. Ironically, it seems like the lower price points better meet that need.
Related question: anyone rocking the Crye AVS in this config? Super pricey at $660 or so for the setup...but, modularity is the way to a gear queer's heart (you know who you are!).
I'm looking to borrow a buddies JPC 1.0 for the week, hit up some field training and get an impression of how PCs fare overall for me. Naturally, I'll be more or less stuck rocking the TAPS on top of whatever I wear (still with the UCP under OCP pouches...because I refuse to sign for an entire rifleman's kit for the once piece of gear I need).