State of the Plate Carrier?

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).  

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Daggers Forward - Daggers In!

Essayons et Faisons

Original Post

At the higher end, you’re paying for materials, and design experience. 

 

What do I mean by that?

Ergonomical fit and how the item interacts with the body tends to be more of a thing than the lower cost item. 

 

Note I say “tends to”, it’s not an absolute. 

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Forward!
Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.

  

Location: Back in Bris-Vegas, wondering at the bright lights of the big smoke

I'm with you man. Anything over $250 is asking a lot of the carrier.  The best thing on the market right now is just running AVS plate bags in the plate carrier config (no harness). It has all the JPC 2.0 features for $100 less. I get the lightweight stuff but when I had a BFG plateminus - my plates sank to the bottom - medium carrier with medium ESAPI and without a plate hanger inside it wasn't worth it to me. Right now I have a modified JPC 1.0 that works just like a 2.0 and I'll rock that all day long. 

Bottom line, find what works for you.

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Joined: October 2009

Location: North Carolina

For my money, the First Spear Strandhogg is the most comfortable carrier I have ever worn. I do not have experience with the Velocity Scarab LT or Crye AVS.

Next down the price tier is the Crye JPC 1.0 and Velocity APC. Between the two, I much prefer the comfort and integration of Side plates that the JPC offers.

After that... is everything else.

I am back to using an APC right now, and wishing it was still a JPC or maybe a Scarab LT.

For what that is worth.


Put me in the “cheap” group too.

I’ve got a Velocity Systems LWPC that I’m quite pleased with. Just added the shoulder pads and swift clips to help stabilize my D3CR to the front of it.

I don’t mind not being able to affix a water bladder to the back (no molle) as I spend enough time sitting with it on. I also like that I can unclip the D3CR instead of having to unweave the molle if I need to wear plates under a hoodie or coat.

I am sometimes baffled as to the gain from the big money carriers.

EDIT: OPT has a LWPC version that has molle on the back if you fancy wanting to sit on a water bladder and explode it all over yourself. 😀

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What is left when honor is lost?

mff = military free fall?

I have an avs, its comfortable and holds soft and hard plates without sagging. some guys rock jpc. they both work, i think the avs carries loads on the sides a little better. but the jpc has less material in the shoulder pocket.

@TheTick Are you talking about the PC you showed me at FOP? That's a good setup, and it wasn't uber heavy at all. Given the option, I'd prefer MOLLE on the back of anything because I'm just used to having a bladder with me. It just lives in my ruck.

Joined: 30 May 2003                  Location: SE PA

hile posted:

@TheTick Are you talking about the PC you showed me at FOP? That's a good setup, and it wasn't uber heavy at all. Given the option, I'd prefer MOLLE on the back of anything because I'm just used to having a bladder with me. It just lives in my ruck.

Yup, that be the one. 

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What is left when honor is lost?

DJL2 posted:

 

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!).

 

What configuration specifically? I have used the AVS for a few years and ended up dumping the harness and just wearing the plate bags with cummerbund. I never had an issue with comfort - the harness didn't do anything for me other than add girth. For reference - this was worn daily in various middle eastern countries. If the AVS wasn't issued I wouldn't hesitate to go with a JPC instead. 

That said - I am not a 10 magazines on the vest kind of guy.  I always had 3 on the flap (with the ability to rapidly change from 5.56 to 308) with a 10 speed on the left side of the cummerbund that allowed me to add mags if required. Ill see if I can find any good pictures - but 3 magazines, two 152s, a compass, a cell phone mounted to the upper chest, with the option to add a back panel if required is as heavy as I ever went.  If your loadout is much bigger than that the AVS harness may come in to play - just didn't do anything for me. 

Rick

The essence of war is violence. Moderation in war is imbecility. John A. Fisher

Ive been rolling AVS plate bags with a 3 band cummerbund and the AVS padded yoke. The yoke between the platebags makes for quite a comfortable setup

I had the same issues with the harness as BooneGA. Too bulky on the flanks and shoulders with not enough benefit.

Similar loads carried. Triple mag pouch on the front flap, triple ten speed on the left cummerbund, 2x JPC MBITR pouches and a GRG pouch on the chest. I’ve got a frag and a bang pouch on the right cummerbund as well

I run a zip on panel on the rear though, either the zip on pack or a MOLLE one with 10 speeds and a utility pouch on the rear

I’m not overly enamoured with the AVS system. I think for what it is, it’s over complicated. The “quick change” front flaps aren’t that quick - I can remove a pouch and reattach a new pouch via MOLLE much faster than I can quick change the front flaps.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t DISLIKE the AVS system. I do like some parts of it. But if I was buying gear from my own pocket, I’d go with something else.

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sky potato posted:

Ive been rolling AVS plate bags with a 3 band cummerbund and the AVS padded yoke. The yoke between the platebags makes for quite a comfortable setup

I had the same issues with the harness as BooneGA. Too bulky on the flanks and shoulders with not enough benefit.

Similar loads carried. Triple mag pouch on the front flap, triple ten speed on the left cummerbund, 2x JPC MBITR pouches and a GRG pouch on the chest. I’ve got a frag and a bang pouch on the right cummerbund as well

I run a zip on panel on the rear though, either the zip on pack or a MOLLE one with 10 speeds and a utility pouch on the rear

I’m not overly enamoured with the AVS system. I think for what it is, it’s over complicated. The “quick change” front flaps aren’t that quick - I can remove a pouch and reattach a new pouch via MOLLE much faster than I can quick change the front flaps.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t DISLIKE the AVS system. I do like some parts of it. But if I was buying gear from my own pocket, I’d go with something else.

I also feel that the yoke, despite the comfort it provides, makes wearing a ruck with the plate carrier a lot harder.

I had two AVS setups. Both times I tried a harness, both times I ditched them - the harness adds too much standoff and the AVS harness/slip-on pouch integration sucks (remarkably so). Adding side armor with the harness isn't a simple affair either and I don't trust the resulting coverage, unlike say the Eagle MBAV design or the Eagle Aero (which I have also used twice and is my preferred carrier of the two from the SOFBAV suite). The Eagle Aero is a superior carrier in every way for comfort and integrating armor, but it is over-built by comparison.

That being said, avoid the first gen AVS bags if you buy used - Crye screwed up the construction and they tended to rip out the shoulder straps under load, which is why that area now has bartacks added (in addition to several other smaller sewing changes).

"We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful."

So why do I never hear about 5.11 PC's

I've rocked one for a few years now and find it to be a very nice fit except for when I allowed myself to get a little round in the mid-section.

Also, the internal Velcro design resists/doesn't allow MFF.

“Though defensive violence will always be ‘a sad necessity’ in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men.” —Saint Augustine

 

Probably because it's in the same class as Blackhawk and Condor?

Made overseas and not to the same standard in terms of quality of material and construction as ATS, BFG, FS, etc..

And that's from a guy who can get 5.11 at dealer cost, and wears their pants, shirts and occasionally boots.

Regards.

Mark

Formerly known as ML

OP specifically mentioned VS carriers--I can't say enough good about their customer service.  We currently have two of their carriers on T&E, a Scarab LT and a APC.  Constructions is pretty bombproof or appears to be, the way the shoulder straps attach on the scarab is simple and makes a big difference in comfort and movement without adding bulk to your rifle pocket.  The integrated admin pouch at the top of the APC is a damn good idea, wish the Scarab had it but we are CONUS SWAT guys, not .mil guys so the admin pouch might not be a thing for you.       Every guy we have put the Scarab and the APC on like them.  

I am currently wearing a 6094 variant made by AWSINC and I still say that for the money it would be hard to beat.  They're ~150 depending on current sales.  I have had it for 3 or 4 years now and have no complaints, I swapped out half my cummerbund for a First spear tubes conversion and use the integrated radio pocket in the other half.  

We also have a lot of JPC1.0 and 2.0 on the team, nothing wrong with those either and lots of dudes swear by them.  

I think if I was to buy again personally right at the minute, Id buy a Scarab and try to get it made with the built in admin pocket setup of the APC.  Id either buy another first spear conversion cummerbund, or modify a VS cummerbund with tubes, whichever turned out cheaper.  

I’ve never tried a Scarab, but if I were buying another plate carrier out of my own pocket, I’d buy another APC in a heartbeat

I actually have an APC, I cut all the MOLLE off and just left the swift clip attachment loops. I use it for a slick plate carrier. If I weren’t mandated to use the AVS, I’d be rocking an unmodified APC as well

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My department issues the Shellback Banshee. For a general issue item it isn't bad. It sure beats the heck out of the  KDH SPCS I had issued, that thing was garbage. My issues with it revolve around the buckle system used on the shoulder straps.

I have a Mayflower/Velocity Systems LWPC I picked up for a good price that I am very happy with. Though my experience is far more limited than many others here I have been quite pleased with it. The build quality is top notch, and it is a well thought out system. The only issue I have with it is I feel that it could do without the front cummerbund flap and have a front setup like what they have on the Low Vis Carrier in order to reduce weight and bulk.

In the event that I am deploying my PC I will probably be wearing soft armor underneath, but still choose to wear side soft armor and side plates in the carrier. For those in the LE realm how many are wearing any side armor (Soft/Plates) on their PC? For those that choose not to wear side armor in an LE role what kind of considerations did you have before making that decision?

I am issued a Protech Tactical TAC AR carrier loaded with IMPAC-RT Plus plates.  Good on the department for issuing a PC and plates per capita.  However, the TAC AR does not fit me and greatly restricts my movement.   I keep it loaded and ready to go for uniformity sake but purchased my own carriers.  I love the Crye JPC 1.0 but it is not available in black.  For now, I've settled on the SKD FirstSpear STT loaded with my personal plates.

I always wear soft armor.  I thought about side plates but think they would interfere with the gear on my belt.  I did, however, have the vendor size my soft armor so the sides completely double up.  I have no illusion that the doubled sides will protect me from rifle rounds.  Unless I can get rid of some of the belt mounted gear, I think this is how I'll have to run on patrol.

I dabble in gear myself and in most cases I think that with more expensive gear you are spending money on the technology and paying for R&D as well. In addition there are materials that would not be present on the base level.

Closed cell foam, mesh are the basics that are usually added to higher end carriers but we can get into proprietary fabric such as FirstSpear with their proprietary bonded Cordura to loop compatible fabric or  Crye with their carbon fiber in the cummerbund, VS with their triangle cut fabric on their scarab DLX etc

andrewsi posted:

 For those in the LE realm how many are wearing any side armor (Soft/Plates) on their PC? For those that choose not to wear side armor in an LE role what kind of considerations did you have before making that decision?

Reserve Deputy here.

I ran 6x6 side plates when I was running the Crye JPC on callouts. It is the only carrier that I have found that deals well side plates in both comfort and positioning realms. When we switched colors from MC to RG I stupidly switched carriers also.

I suspect that the Scarab quarter flap side plate bags will do about the same thing. It is the next carrier I will using.

I ran the ESAPI side plates in my plate carrier when I was assigned to non-uniform stuff.  I had a regular police style external carrier that I wore fro regular calls, patrol (we wore BDU pants and polos for community friendly-sake) etc.  But, I had the plate carrier with soft armor and plates that I would just swap for the soft armor outer vest if the need arose.

Uniformed patrol I never ran side plates or soft side armor.  I found it got in the way of my belt kit and, at the time, it was slow to put on.  The tubes system out there now might mitigate that somewhat.

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