When you are out in the field for hunting or anything close to shooting, it is very vital to own a good quality armor. This equipment will ensure additional safety and proper functionality. The best plate carrier has the ability to save your life and providing you with great comfort in your hunting and shooting journey.
There are so many brands that promise to manufacture the best plate carriers on the market that you might get confused while buying. That is why it is very important to follow a proper guide that can help you know the best type of armor to fulfill all your requirements. To help you find the best armor for yourself, we have carved an organized guide. Delve into the article to know everything about buying a plate carrier vest.
The Best Plate Carrier: Buyer’s Guide
What Exactly is a Plate Carrier? What Purpose Is It Used For?
The plate carrier is a protective vest developed by the US army as an alternative of a tactical vest. It is far more comfortable and lightweight than the outer tactical vest. The comfort provided by them is the reason why it increases the mobility of the person using it.
It is used for protecting your body from rifle threats during a war, hunting, and so on. Therefore, it is very important to find a budget plate carrier that can protect you during the war times and serve your other military purposes.
Things to Look For While Choosing a Plate Carrier
NIJ Rating Levels
You must look into the NIJ rating while purchasing the top plate carriers for yourself. Three things to keep in mind while following the NIJ rating include the weight, cost, and the threat level. Deciding the threat level is the most complicated factor while buying an armor. The different levels of ratings for body armor by NIJ as follows:
- Level I: This level armor will protect you against .22 caliber LR LRN bullets at a velocity of 320m/s.Itt will also protect you from 380 ACP FMJ RN bullets at a velocity of 320m/s.
- Level II-A: It protects against 9mm FMJ RN bullets at a velocity of 332m/s and against .40 S&W FMJ bullets at a velocity of 312m/s.
- Level II: It protects against .357 Magnum Jacketed soft point bullets at a velocity of 425m/s. Also, against 9mm full jacketed bullets at a velocity of 358m/s.
- Level III-A: It protects against .44 SJHP at a velocity of 426m/s. Also, against 9mm FMJ bullets at a velocity of 426m/s.
- Level III: It protects against 7.62mm FMJ bullets at a velocity of 838m/s. Also, it protects against 5.56mm FMJ, 12 gauge rifle slug, and 30 Carbine FMJ.
- Level IV: It protects against armor-piercing bullets of up to .30 caliber at a velocity of 868m/s.
Now that you know which level of NIJ rating provides what sort of protection, make sure that you choose the best plate carrier for yourself as per the requirement.
Weight is a very important factor while buying an armor. Remember that the plate carrier you buy must not weigh anything more than a few pounds because when you load sheets in it, t will obviously gain more weight. A carrier having two large and two small steel sheets will weigh around 30 pounds or more. However, if you incline towards soft sheets, you can find armors that weigh 10 pounds less.
Now, the decision of whether you should be investing in a soft or hard material absolutely depends on the threat level. Also, your budget will play a determining factor in this. But anyway, whatever be the material, you can find a cheap plate carrier with proper market research. Further, we have discussed more regarding the sheet material.
Best Fabric and Built Quality
According to the plate carrier reviews, 500D Cordura is the perfect material to choose while buying armor. This fabric has the perfect built quality of a rock-solid. It will prevent your stuff from winding up on the grounds at the hour of need. Also, if there is any molle webbing, then that must be designed with rugged nylon mesh. The fabric must be such that the closures on the pockets are reliable, and the zips work all the time perfectly. Therefore, try to find an affordable armor material that complies with the above-mentioned properties.
Best Plate Material
There are three different types of top-rated plate materials to be kept inside the best plate carrier 2023.
- Steel: In case you are looking for the best protection, know that there is no substitute for steel plates in the market. It weighs around 10 pounds more than the optimum weight, but what makes it special is the high protection provided by it. Buy yourself a plate carrier with plates made of steel so that you can stand two shots at the same spot.
- Ceramic: It is also capable of providing robust protection, but it cannot stand more than one round. It is made in a way to get destroyed in the first round itself. Therefore, it cannot stand a second attack. The ceramic sheet is mostly used in low-profile plate carriers. Ceramic sheets weigh much less than steel ones.
- Soft: It is made of UHMWPE (ultra-high molecular weight polythene). It follows a gel spinning technique. When attacked, the round gets distributed evenly in the gel fiber and the fiber melts to seal the bullet. According to plate carriers reviews, it cannot stand long rifle attacks, therefore, it does not provide high protection.
Molle webbing is made of sewed heavy nylon loops on the exterior of the: low profile, minimalist, Multicam plate carriers, and in various other types of armors. It helps you attach whatever you want to carry in your carrier. It is cheap, versatile, lightweight, and the best in the market. Molle webbing will help you get easy access to all your stuff, unlike the concealable plate carriers.
Pockets: Number and Quality
Make sure that whichever armor you choose has good quality pockets in it. Well-built pockets will help you store everything in an organized manner. Also, keep an eye on the reliability of the zips even in the smallest pockets. We recommend you invest in armor with at least 4 pockets, two in the front, and two in the back for better usability.
Tactical Plate Carriers vs Tactical Vest
A tactical vest is basically a personal equipment carrier. It has many pockets for keeping rifle and pistol magazines. But mostly none of them is suitable as sheet carriers. Whereas on the other hand, a tactical plate carrier is actually made in a way more adaptable to carry sheets in a compact space. Compared to a tactical vest, it is strongly built to protect you from bullets in combat. Therefore, it is always suitable that you invest in a tactical modular plate carrier if you want to use it for a real-life battle situation.
FAQ on the Best Plate Carriers
Can I Wear Body Armour in Public?
Well, the answer to this depends a lot on where you stay. Most of the places do allow wearing body armor in public. But if someone is found committing a crime wearing body armor, then the laws are going to be stricter for them. That is why you have to be very careful in conducting yourself while wearing body armor in public. Therefore, you can wear a minimalist plate carrier in public if the armor laws of your country permit.
What is the Lifespan of Plates?
According to NIJ, a plate once bought can be used for not more than 5 years. But know that the lifespan also depends on how much you use them. Also, if they get attacked by bullets, then their life will expire faster. So, the lifespan of sheets varies as per the use, attacks, and so on.
Are Plate Carriers Composed of Kevlar?
Most of the USMC uses Cordura for making armors but a few are made of Kevlar too. Kevlar is a soft material with high tensile strength, that is why it is used as an alternative. Kevlar is a good material and can be relied on.
Verdict and Recommendations 2023
We hope this article was able to help you know everything about the best plate carrier in 2023. Make sure that you keep in mind the above-mentioned points while investing in armor. Also, be careful while deciding the usage and the threat level while buying a carrier. For buying the best quality armor, you do not need to spend a huge amount. All you will have to do is good research to find armor shops that match your budget. So, when are you planning to buy for yourself a plate carrier? We would love to know!