Recently I've observed a proliferation of personally procured plate carriers in my unit motivated by the disparity between the RFI issued SPCS/Gen.4 IOTV and CIF issued IOTV Gen1/2/3. Lots of dudes (and leaders) are going out and buying plate carriers ranging from JPCs to ADS, LBT, Condor, airsoft, and everything in between. This is in violation of division policy to wear only issued body armor.
Now, personally I am all for Soldiers having the equipment they need. They shouldn't have to buy it themselves, but sometimes that's inevitable. However where I take issue is that people are buying plate carriers with no soft armor backers at all.
I'm given to understand that our ESAPIs are rated ICW and cannot provide their stated ballistic performance without it. Is this actually the case, or just a vestige of old thinking from the days of turtle warfare? I've searched this forum (and the internet in general) for a direct answer to this question, but I haven't found a direct answer.
Is there a memo, a study, or any sort of actual evidence to back up whichever is the case? I've been meaning to approach my command about the issue but can't do so with nothing to go on but "this dude on an internet forum said X." Personally I think people should be allowed to buy and wear their own gear provided they wear it correctly (meaning soft armor and overall quality of construction) but I think this increasing use of low quality body armor is putting my Soldiers' lives at risk.