Tactical Vest, Chest Rig and Plate Carrier Reviews

You have entered into the plate carrier zone – welcome. Here you will find my personal reviews of the best plate carriers and protective ballistic vests on the market today. As you are here I can only assume that you are in the market for tactical gear yourself. Lucky for you I have done all the research on the top plate carriers and compiled it all here in one place so that you can access it easily.

Whatever the reason you want to get a plate carrier, it is certainly a very useful piece to have. It can be a very effective body armor and it can also help you to efficiently carry your mission supplies. Different plate carriers have different strengths and I have highlighted the strong points of the ones that I reviewed so that you will be able to decide which one will be of most benefit to you. Read on and check out my reviews to find the one that you need.

Best Premium Plate Carrier Overall

This Crye Precision plate carrier is both smart and innovative, and this is why it is the vest of choice for many who are shopping for a high quality protective vest - even though its hefty price tag will put it out of reach for many. You can't put a price on your life, however, and if you have the budget to get a superior plate carrier like the Crye Precision JPC, then I say go for it! You will not likely regret it.

Minimalist Design

Although this plate carrier does have a minimalist design you will still be able to load it up with all your necessary gear if you have the need to do so. The design of the vest discourages you from taking unnecessary items while allowing you to pack it with the minimal amount of essential items you will need. This plate carrier truly has a nice balance between being lightweight and having adequate load capacity. Limiting your load to just the bare essentials means that you will be carrying a lighter weight and have more control over your body movements as a result.

Plate Versatility

Whether you want SAPI or stand-alone plates you will be able to use them in this plate carrier, as it was designed to accommodate both types. The vest is even more versatile in that it can be used with operator cut and swimmer cut plates as well. There are plate bags at the front, rear, and both sides to offer you the most protection. The plate bags at the front and rear can be secured with a velcro strap and they both have a pull tab that you can use to quickly release the plates if you need to do so.

Best Modular Chest Rig Plate Carrier

I was not at all surprised that they called this the Modular Chest Rig – it has tons of heavyweight webbing that you can use to attach different modular attachments. You will not be short on space with this rig, for sure. Even if you need to take out an entire army you will be able to carry enough ammo in this modular plate carrier to get the job done by yourself – OK, well maybe not an entire army, but you will be able to carry lots of ammo for sure.

So Much MOLLE

When you first look at this tactical vest all you will see is rows and rows of thick webbing for modular attachments. Aside from all those MOLLEs there are also two inside mesh pockets, six M4 mag pouches and shoulder straps with some more webbing on them, just in case. With so much room to hold you stuff you should be able to take everything that you will need with you and keep them all securely close to your body where they can be accessed easily. The vest itself is very adjustable to accommodate persons of every size and build, although a few users did comment that it fits larger persons of 200 pounds or more better than smaller persons.

Hydration Carrier

A built-in hydration carrier is always a good thing to have on your plate carrier, especially if you will be in action for many hours without ready access to water. There is no bladder included but if you really need one you can always purchase one separately. Whether you are playing a serious round of paintball or out fighting for your country on enemy soil, when you are wearing this modular chest rig its good to know that you will have the hydration that you need as well as all your ammo.

Best Multi-Functional Camo Vest

This vest from OneTigris is my ideal type of tactical vest – it provides good body protection and it has lots of MOLLE to carry stuff. It also looks darn good in the camo print and, and because camouflage is my print of choice I selected this very useful, multi-functional vest as the best camo plate carrier. However, if you are not a fan of camo you should know that it is also available in black, green, and tan.

Quick Release

Sometimes when you are in the heat of the moment, on the battlefield or on the hunting ground, you need to remove your vest quickly to get to your supplies that are not accessible from the front. In situations like this you will be better off in a plate carrier like the OneTigris Hunting Military Molle FSBE, as it is designed so that it can be released quickly on either side or over the shoulder. In the moments when it counts the most, being able to release your vest quickly can mean the difference between life and death.

Fully Adjustable

You plate carrier should fit snugly and very close to your body, but it should not feel tight or uncomfortable. Although it is not a “one size fits all” vest, both the height and the girth are fully adjustable to make it more comfortable for the wearer. The shoulders and waist can also be adjusted to allow for a more even distribution of weight. If you decide to get one of these bad boys just be sure to check the size before you order so that you get one that fits you perfectly.

Best Rapid Assault Chest Rig

As the military is currently moving away from the use of MOLLE attachments on plate carriers I thought it would be a good idea to look at some chest rigs, as they are a great alternative and they can also be worn over plate carriers if you need the additional MOLLE loops. This rapid assault chest rig from Condor is lightweight and well-made, so if you need a little more than what your plate carrier can provide, it is certainly worth considering.

Lightweight Design

Perhaps the most appealing thing about this rapid assault chest rig for me is its weight. Without any gear in it the vest weighs a very manageable 1.2 pounds. Most plate carriers that I have encountered weigh more than this, and when you load them up with your rounds and other supplies they can get very heavy, very fast. So I would definitely be willing to consider using a chest rig like this one instead of the more traditional body armor plate carrier. If you pack this chest rig with six 30-round magazines it will end up weighing about 7.2 pounds; that is super light, if you are used to carrying lots of heavy equipment on your tactical vest.

Rapid Reloading

As it was designed for rapid reloading, this chest rig has six M4 mag pouches in the front to give you quick access. These pouches all have open tops that make them even more accessible in those situations where you will need to reload in the shortest time possible. There is also a hidden pocket in the very center, just behind the mag pouches, where you can keep your pistol or important documents. If you need additional storage, no problem. There are three rows with 12 webbing where you can attach other modular pouches as well.

Best Classic Molle and Body Armor Tactical Vest

The CAMTOA Tactical Vest is a classic tactical vest with a few upgrades that make it a great choice for anyone who is thinking about purchasing a plate carrier. This vest has body armor and several MOLLE slots, and it comes in a wide variety of colors. Ammo, meds, whatever supplies you will need for your mission – this Tactical Vest from CAMTOA is sure to be able to handle the task.

Good Construction

It is important that your plate carrier is well-made, as the last thing that you want when you are out on the battlefield is for the seams to unravel, causing your vest to fall off and leave you unprotected. The CAMTOA is well-constructed. It is made of a high-quality nylon material that is durable, flexible, and comfortable to wear for long periods and the front of the vest has very tough, hard plastic plates to make it effective as body armor. To top it off, the manufacturers also tested this vest to make sure that its design is ergonomic; it will cause minimal fatigue and discomfort when worn for long periods of time.

Color Options

Color maybe not be the deciding factor for most people who are looking to buy a plate carrier tactical vest, but for those who like to have options this CAMTOA vest is available in all of six different color variations. You can choose to get it in a neutral tan color, a deep army green hue, or one of four different camo prints. Whatever purpose you will be using this vest for – paintball, hunting, or shooting – you will be able to find it in a print that works the best for any scenario.

Best Law Enforcement Plate Carrier Vest

Law enforcement is dangerous work and when the possibility of you getting shot at on any given day is so real, you have to take the necessary steps to protect yourself the best that you can. A good plate carrier is just one of the things that you need to have when you are in law enforcement, and the UTG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest is arguably one of the best ones that you can buy today.

Ventilation System

Chasing down bad guys is difficult enough as it is, but when you have to do it wearing a plate carrier loaded with supplies it can get hot and sweaty very fast. If you are wearing a tactical vest like the UTG 547 with its signature mesh ventilation system, however, things will be a lot cooler; when you are under pressure to get those bad guys quickly, cooler is good. A very breathable mesh material is incorporated throughout the design of the vest so that it can help with the release of heat from your body and keep you much cooler than you would be otherwise. The large mesh pocket located at the back of the vest can also double as a hydration bladder holder if the need arises.

All the Right Details

I must say that the manufacturers of this vest did a very good job paying attention to all the little details and it is this type of thoughtful design that makes the UTG 547 stand out from the crowd, even though its price would lead you to think that it is only an entry-level vest. It may not have as many small MOLLE slots as some other plate carriers but it is by no means lacking in space to carry supplies. There is a pouch for your radio, ammo, mags, holster; whatever mission-specific gear that you need to carry, and then some. The loop system at the back of the vest ensures that you will have more than enough additional space, should you need it. Other details like the rescue drag handle and the drain holes in the pouches are further evidence of the detailed planning that went into the design of this vest.

Best Budget Tactical Paintball Combat Vest

Even though a plate carrier's ability to protect you and potentially save your life is priceless, it doesn't hurt if you can save a little cash by getting one that is budget-friendly like this Tactical Molle Airsoft vest. It may not cost as much as most of the plate carriers that you will find on the market but it performs just as well as, if not better than, some of them.

Great For Paintball

If you are just taking up paintball or airsoft I think this vest is a great choice, and I am not saying that just because it's affordable, although the price does play a part. This is a good-looking tan plate carrier that also has a removable joining sheet on its interior to help protect your body from the unexpected shots that your paintball opponents are sure to keep firing at you. Made with a high-quality nylon, this vest is strong, flexible, and comfortable enough that you will be able to wear it for long hours without any aches and pains.

Lots of Storage

This vest has more than enough space to store all your ammo and other supplies. The Molle design on the front of the vest makes it very suitable for carrying many different small items. It has three load item bags that are 100% removable and can be used to hold items that are relatively small in size. A fourth, larger accessories bag is also on the vest for you to easily store away items that are too large for the three smaller bags.

Last Round on the Reviews

There you have it, the best plate carriers you can buy on the open market. Each one with its characteristics that make it ideal in certain situations. My aim was to provide you with the most relevant information about each one of my top picks so that you will be able to choose a vest more easily. Hopefully I was able to capture the essence of each plate carrier and you were able to find the one that works best for you.