Absolutely, but only if you care whether you live or die.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about plate carriers:
How to choose one, how to select the right plates for it, and how to wear it.
I’ll even share a tiny bit of history to help you appreciate the incredible technology that is AR500 armor (the two slabs of metal you'll eventually slide into your plate carrier’s pockets).
So, let’s get to it before zombies, thugs, and freedom-hating communists catch us unprotected!
Well, now you can be!
At least as far as the vital organs in your chest go.
If you’re currently in the market for a plate carrier with quick release, you couldn’t have chosen a better time!
2020 was a hell of a
Riots spread to just about every major American city: Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Atlanta, Salt Lake City...
Hundreds of businesses were trashed. Scores of people (Black and White) were killed.
Ordinary citizens were pulled from their vehicles. In at least one instance, “mostly peaceful” protesters fired bullets into a passing car, murdering an 8 year old girl.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but body armor might have saved her life.
It can save your life, too, which is why you should be wearing it the next time you're forced to drive through “mostly peaceful” protests on your way to work, to the store, or to the pharmacy.
A plate carrier with quick release is simply a vest with pockets in the front and back designed to hold heavy, bullet-deflecting plates (usually made of metal).
Unlike medieval European armor which could take almost 10 minutes to put on (with help), or Samurai armor which could take 5 minutes, modern plate carriers have quick release buckles enabling you to put it on and take it off in seconds.
There are many types of body armor, but nothing protects you like a plate carrier with quick release!
When people say “bulletproof vest,” they usually mean soft body armor made from an alien material called Kevlar. Kevlar is lightweight and flexible, but only strong enough to protect you from pistols.
Undercover cops and FBI agents love bulletproof vests because they’re thin enough to wear underneath clothes.
Soldiers at war do NOT wear Kevlar as their primary means of defense. It isn’t strong enough.
They wear a plate carrier with quick release!
Plate carriers are so robust, they must be worn over the clothes. That’s fine, as soldiers have no reason to hide their body armor anyway.
They simply need the best protection they can get, not only from little pistol rounds, but from powerful rifle rounds which travel fast enough to turn Kevlar into swiss cheese!
Pistol rounds, rifle rounds, knife attacks, shrapnel.
If a karate master tries to punch you in the chest, he'll break his hand!
If a “mostly peaceful” protester fires a gun into your vehicle (as you slow down and swerve to avoid hitting him), you have a much better chance of survival while wearing a plate carrier than if you're unarmored and squishy, like a freshly molted arthropod.
No! A flak jacket is form of soft body armor designed to protect against shrapnel.
When large artillery shells, grenades, and land mines go off, little bits of metal fly through the air like murderous, supersonic darts.
A flak jacket, worn properly, protects your vital organs against the debris, but they were not designed to stop bullets of any kind.
They were popular in WW2 and in Vietnam, but modern soldiers have better options, so the flak jacket doesn’t get as much use today.
A plate carrier with quick release is purely a defensive tool. It protects your vital organs from bullets. That’s all.
No one has ever been killed by a plate carrier with quick release.
So, why do the members of a certain political party in America want to ban them?
Do we really have an epidemic of ruffians committing crimes while wearing body armor? If not, well then...
Might there be some other reason why corrupt politicians want to ensure law-abiding citizens (like you and me) can be easily mowed down by gunfire?
Sure does make you think, though, doesn't it?
In any case, if you ever planned on acquiring a plate carrier with quick release, now is the time, BEFORE they make it illegal.
Of course it's legal! For now.
People get confused about that because of two reasons:
First, the media puts out a lot of very subtle propaganda in regards to body armor. Hollywood only portrays civilians wearing body armor if they’re robbing a bank, or working as assassins for the mob.
They never portray American civilians wearing body armor in a positive way.
Second, some manufacturers of body armor only sell to military and law enforcement, leading some of us to falsely believe we aren’t allowed to own it.
The laws change all the time and they vary from state to state, so do your own research before buying.
But I will say this:
Everyone has the right to protect themselves and their families from all threats: foreign or domestic, zombie or human.
That's a sacred law of nature, and it supersedes the constantly changing assortment of regulations the rich and powerful make up for their own benefit.
It’s a myth that only knights were allowed to wear armor during the middle ages.
Civilians had armor, too.
It may not have been the highest quality. It may not have been an entire suit of armor, but they most definitely had gear!
In fact, some cities legally required civilians to store and maintain their own armor (and weapons).
In times of trouble, the commoners became the militia, and it's hard to defend your city from bad guys with only your skin to deflect swords, axes, and arrows.
Medieval European armor, as well as the equally bad-ass armor of the Samurai, became largely obsolete with the invention of guns.
There was no cost-effective way to create armor light enough to be worn in battle, but strong enough to stop musket balls and cannon fire (let alone projectiles moving at over 3000 feet per second, as they do now).
Thank god technology always progresses.
Throughout almost all of human history, armor was extremely expensive.
A full suit of armor in medieval times could cost anywhere from 6 months to 2 years salary! The further back in time you go, the more precious armor was.
That's why one of the themes of the Trojan War was the constant stealing of armor! Anytime a hero fell, his killers would immediately rush in to strip his armor, while his friends would try to save it.
That was the bronze age.
I love Achilles, and by all accounts, his armor was the stuff of legend.
Today, however, bronze is for suckas!
This is the AR500 age.
Plates aren’t cheap, but what you’re about to buy costs a tiny fraction of what the Greeks and Trojans paid for their armor, and its far superior in every way.
Hector and Achilles would be Jello.
The carrier and plates are usually sold separately, although you could buy everything as a set. If you buy them separately, figure out what size plates you need first.
Unless you’re very small or extremely large, you probably need medium size plates.
80% of people use medium (10 inches x 12 inches).
If you fall into this category, get a carrier with pockets designed for that plate size!
If you’re 6’1 or taller, consider large plates (usually 11 inches x 14 inches).
If you’re smaller than 5’6, consider small plates (8 inches x 10 inches).
A good set of plates should come with pads to make your armor more comfortable.
But keep your cats away from them!
The main thing is this:
Once you’ve chosen your plates, make sure to buy a carrier designed with pockets to hold that specific size!
Each plate must fit snugly in its pocket in order to stay in place (instead of sliding around and exposing your heart and lungs to supersonic lead).
Don’t be like me.
I’m 5’8, but the first plate carrier I bought came with pockets that were way too small to hold medium plates. (I actually think it might have been designed for kids playing airsoft.)
Make sure you get a vest that fits you, and that it has great reviews in terms of durability and comfort.
For EXTRA protection, you can get a plate carrier designed to hold 4 plates, covering your font, back, and SIDES.
This one is bad-ass. It has over 2000 reviews on Amazon with an almost perfect rating.
Just remember it takes 6 inch x 6 inch side plates.
Most plate carriers come with molle style straps so you can easily attach and detach accessories as needed (like ammo pouches and holsters).
As far as color goes, just get whatever looks cool to you.
Black is a bit more stealthy than other colors, especially when you’re moving about at night.
Camo looks awesome and can help you hide when you’re bugging out in the woods.
OD Green provides some camouflage as well, but its a bit less “loud” compared to camo.
Whatever you get, make sure its durable!
You’re going to need two plates: one for the front, and one for the back.
The gold standard for bullet proof material is AR500 steel (that means “Abrasion Resistance = 500”). Steel this hard can withstand most high speed rifle rounds, which is what we want.
Make sure your plates have a good anti-spall coating! (It looks like rough black paint.) This is crucial.
When a bullet hits your armor, it doesn’t just pancake, then fall harmlessly to the ground. It fractures into a deadly cloud of tiny, red hot pieces of flesh-penetrating metal!
That cloud of metal is called “spall,” and it can kill you just as surely as a bullet can, especially if a piece hits you in an artery.
Youtube has plenty of videos demonstrating how upon impact, spall often flies upward toward the throat!
Anti-spall coating absorbs and deflects that junk.
The higher the level, the more protection body armor gives you.
Most soft body armor is level 2 because it can only stop pistol rounds. Not all pistol rounds, but most.
3A is also soft body armor. It can stop nearly all pistol rounds, but not rifle rounds.
After 2 and 3A comes Level 3! AR500 plates are rated level 3 because they can stop both pistol AND rifle rounds.
Level 3 plates won't protect against armor penetrating rounds like .556 green tips or .30-06. For that, you would need level 4 body armor. It's more expensive, but so is the medical bill for plugging bullet holes in your chest.
Then again, if you're a normal person leading a normal life, you're probably not going to be shot at with armor penetrating bullets.
If you do expect that to happen, or you just have a few extra bucks in your pocket and want the best protection you can get, get level 4! Otherwise, normal AR 500 plates should be more than adequate.
Ceramic plates are incredibly effective at stopping rifle rounds. They naturally absorb spall, too (no coating necessary), and they are much lighter than steel.
While medium steel plates weigh close to 8 pounds each, ceramic can be as light as 4.5 pounds!
That's a huge difference in weight, and it gets more noticeable the longer you wear them. Believe me.
As with the "ring of power," these seemingly magical properties don’t come without a cost.
Ceramic plates are quite a bit more expensive than steel.
They’re usually rated to absorb only 1 to 3 hits (not in the same location, Crom be willing). And after any hit, the whole thing must be replaced.
Also, most manufacturers put an expiration date on them, generally 5 years.
Do they really go bad in 5 years like a can of the finest spam?
Ancient ceramic artifacts like cups and plates have been found intact from civilizations thousands of years old, but let's defer to the manufacturers on this one.
When it comes to getting shot in the lungs by bullets, you can never be too cautious!
The first time you wear your plate carrier, its going to feel heavy, clumsy, and unnatural.
Keep wearing it!
The more you wear it, the more comfortable it will feel!
Take it to the desert and practice shooting with it. Go hiking with it - you’ll get a better workout. Walk around the house with it.
Watch TV with it.
That last suggestion may sound silly, but believe me, every minute you wear your body armor counts, and will pay dividends once the apocalypse cometh.
Which it will.
It might seem cool to have armor covering your entire body like Ironman, but without an arc reactor (yet to be invented), you wouldn’t be able to move!
The modern plate carrier with quick release is designed to protect only your most vital organs, while still allowing you to move freely.
That’s important for running, crouching, fighting, and operating your weapon.
AR500 steel plates can deflect multiple shots.
You can theoretically wear it as long as the anti-spall coating doesn’t wear off, at which point pieces of burning hot shrapnel will fly into your throat, sending you on your way to the boatman.
Ceramic plates are not really designed to take multiple shots and should be replaced after 1 hit.
Whether you're wearing steel or ceramic, if you ever take multiple shots to your body armor and you’re still alive, the gods of war must be protecting you, so you probably didn't need that armor anyway.
Most new owners wear their armor too low, as if they're trying to cover part of their stomach. But your heart and lungs are in your thoracic cavity, NOT your abdomen, so pull that sucker up!!!
Adjust the straps so that the top of the front plate is at about the level of your collar bone.
The back plate should be at the same height.
Now, if you can move your arms freely, you can bend forward enough to touch your toes, and it doesn’t flop around too much when you jog in place, then you’re wearing it right!
Yes, but only if you spritz it with holy water, or dip it in the river Styx.
Wearing a plate carrier signals to everyone around that you probably have great skills.
Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.
So, yes. It will.
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But I promise I'll NEVER recommend anything that sucks!