Which vest / plate carrier?

For about a year I have been toying with the idea of getting some kind of vest for when I teach classes or go to the range. Some of the crap I see going on in public range sessions can be scary, and while I usually remove myself from these situations when I see them happen, never say never. Then you have Chris Kyle getting shot by his student and that attempted murder suicide, where the video became viral this week... really has me thinking now is the time to get something.

However I'm new to this type of kit so looking for recommendations. I'm thinking of some kind of plate carrier with molle so I can customize any accessories or pouches, if any. I kinda like the idea of this carrier... thoughts... XL Plate Carrier

What do you wear?



Take a look at the Shellback Tactical Banshee. I got the Banshee Elite 2.0 for the same price as the older Banshee when they introduced the new version. This was a limited time offer.

As for hard plates, I use AR500 Armor® Lightweight Level III+ 10x12 ALSC multi-curve with build-up coat and additional trauma pads. They are about 5.5 lbs each.

There is a recommendation by experts about adding soft body armor between the hard plates and the trauma pads or just simply replacing the trauma pads with soft body armor. The idea is that when hard plates fail, they tend to fracture and fragments enter the body. Soft body armor would catch those fragments.

Read this thread as well: AR500 armor.
Thanks for the tip on the plate carrier. There are so many brands and makers out there, that it is daunting. You can find plate carriers from $100-$1,000 for what, in pictures, looks to be nearly the same. Obviously they aren't the same!


CATI armor plates (level III / AR525), pretty good anti-spall, in testing over 100 rounds of different types on the target and no penetration.

Patriot is also good and they have a deal going on right now on their level III. (Includes Sentry Plate Carrier, 2 Curved Steel NIJ Level III Plates, Holster Right-Hand, Double Pistol Mag Pouch, Double M4 Mag Pouch all for $210.) Performance is comparable to CATI. Veteran owned and operated company, their NIJ Level III Ballistic Steel Plates, are made in Florida. Only downside maybe is I have seen a report indicating that Patriot delayed in sending out product, so call before you order and ask how much time it will take for the order to be made and sent to you before you commit.

This is Patriot's 80-round test, they do have anti-spall coating on all their plates, comparable to but not quite as thick as the CATI anti-spall.

I concur with the thought from bofh about soft armor under the hard plate.

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