If you’re looking to grab a new plate carrier for personal protection, your job, or even a unique workout, you’re in the right place. We ran the numbers on the top-selling carriers in the GovX catalog.
The first thing you’ll want to ask yourself is what you’re using it for. The different plate carriers can be used for different things: some are better if you’re wearing it for a workout, and others are better suited for the gun range.
Weight is an important factor whenever you’re buying tactical gear. If you’re planning on wearing the vest all day or night on duty, you’ll want a lighter option.
But, if you’re using the vest for exercise—an activity that’s growing more and more popular in the days of rucking and tactical training—you might want a heavier one to increase your resistance and maximize your training.
Finally, if you’re looking for a vest for home defense, a vest that provides adequate protection and is can be be thrown on in seconds is absolutely essential. When it comes to home defense, the personal protection a plate carrier offers is arguably just as important as the weapons you use.
Plate carriers offer various levels of adjustability. Most of the plate carriers available on GovX are one-size-fits-most, but if you’re on the smaller or bigger side, look for a more adjustable vest. The last thing you’ll want to consider is attachment capabilities. You can attach different mag pouches, ID tags, and patches onto your plate carrier, and some have more space for attachments than others.
5.11 Tactical – TacTec Plate Carrier
An all-time bestseller in the GovX catalog, this 5.11 carrier is designed to be lightweight and universally well-fitting. This plate carrier is perfect for workouts, and more. The yoke shoulder pads make this plate carrier easy to wear on a run, or if you’re at the range all day.
The skeletonized waistband will help keep you cooler when you’re out in the heat. The TacTec carrier also features a one-handed quick-release and can hold medium or large plates. If you’re wearing this to workout, you can insert steel plates to add weight or use SAPI plates.
Material: 500D nylon
Weight (without plates): 2.5lbs
Compatible plate sizes: Medium (12.5″ H x 9.5″ L x 2″ W) and large (13.25″ x 10.25″ x 2.25″) SAPI plates.
Rothco – MOLLE Plate Carrier Vest
This Rothco vest is built to be rugged and lightweight, and designed to offer ballistic protection with four plate armor pocket inserts. The padded shoulder straps are adjustable and offer a more comfortable fit all day.
This vest includes an adjustable and detachable cummerbund with side armor pockets, giving you the option to insert four plates: front, back, and sides.
If you’re looking for a protective vest at a great price, this is one of your best options. The MOLLE webbing makes it ideal for attaching mag pouches to the side or front, along with your other essential gear.
Material: 600 Denier Polyester
Compatible plate sizes: Medium (12.5″ H x 9.5″ L x 2″ W) and large (13.25″ x 10.25″ x 2.25″)
Shellback Tactical – Banshee Elite 2.0
This Shellback plate carrier is trusted and worn by military professionals worldwide. It offers excellent protection and all of the features you want in a high-quality military plate carrier.
Similar to the Rothco plate carrier, this one has a detachable cummerbund that includes bungee retention pockets with room for 3 M4 mags on each side, or a radio. The PALS webbing covering the front, back, and shoulders of the vest enables you to attach the other accessories you need, and the zippered admin pocket on the top front has room for small tools or a notebook.
This vest has a lifetime guarantee and heavy-duty bar tacking at key stress points for durability in the roughest environments.
Material: 500D Cordura Nylon
Compatible plate sizes: 10” x 12” shooter cut plates, Cummerbund accepts 13.75″ x 5.5″ soft armor inserts
Condor Outdoor – Modular Operator Plate Carrier
This plate carrier from Condor covers all of the bases at a reasonable price. The removable low-profile shoulder pads make this vest less bulky. MOLLE webbing surrounds the carrier for your attachments and personalization, and there are loops to attach other accessories with a hook or clip.
If you’re on a tighter budget, this plate carrier is easy to adjust, comfortable enough to wear all day and gives you the all-around protection you require.
Material: 500D nylon
Compatible plate sizes: Medium or Large Swimmer/ESAPI plates up to 10.25″ x 13.25, cummerbund accepts soft armor inserts up to 6″ x 11″
Fox Tactical – Vital Plate Carrier Vest
This Fox Tactical plate carrier offers the protection and adjustability you need in every circumstance. The plate carrier can hold front, back, and side plates, and has MOLLE all around for multiple attachments. The adjustable padded shoulders and sides with quick-release buckles offer a comfortable custom fit.
This vest works great for people of all sizes, and the mesh lining adds extra comfort when you’re wearing it all day. If you’re looking for a plate carrier that offers high levels of protection, and quality for a good price, this is a great option.
Material: 600 Denier Cordura Nylon
Compatible plate sizes: Front & back plate pockets fit up to 10″ x 13″ plates, Side pockets fit up to 6″ x 8″ plates
Tasmanian Tiger – Plate Carrier LC
Tasmanian Tiger has been a premium supplier of professional military, tactical, and police equipment for over 20 years. This plate carrier looks smooth and offers lightweight comfort and protection.
The laser-cut MOLLE allows for multiple attachments on the front and sides, and the back is specifically designed to attach the TT Medical Assault Pack. This plate carrier is a great mid-range option, and pairs perfectly with other Tasmanian Tiger gear, if you’re looking for an entire setup.
Material: Cordura 700D Nylon
Weight (without plates): 1.8lbs
Compatible plate sizes: Designed for SK 4 panels
White Horse – EXTSEC External Carrier
This carrier allows for fast on-and-off, rapid response to emergencies and is the perfect choice for detectives, security officers, firearms instructors, and anyone who doesn’t need to constantly wear concealed body armor.
This vest is designed for concealed soft armor ballistic panels, or an internal 5×8 soft armor trauma pad pouch. It doesn’t have MOLLE attachments, so we suggest pairing it with a duty belt if you have other gear that you need. The vest does have velcro to attach patches or a nametag.
Unlike most, this vest is available in various sizes, so you can expect a truer fit compared to the one-size-fits-most vests.
Material: 500 Denier Cordura
Weight (without plates): 1.5lbs
Voodoo Tactical – Heavy Armor Carrier
This carrier by Voodoo Tactical offers excellent protection and has a professional streamlined look. It is well-built and accommodates both soft and hard armor. The side panels might feel a bit bulkier, depending on what you’re accustomed to, but you’ll still have plenty of room for maneuverability.
The seven rows of MOLLE webbing on the front and back make this a very versatile carrier. The sides provide excellent wrap-around coverage when using soft armor, but there aren’t compartments for side SAPI plates. The velcro strips on the front of the vest provide room for department patches and name placards.
Weight (without plates): 3.2lbs
Compatible plate sizes: Fits 10”x12” plates and/or soft armor
Rothco – Lightweight Plate Carrier
Weighing in at just over a pound, this Rothco plate carrier is extremely lightweight and versatile. The front and back of the vest has an integrated MOLLE system and mag pouches.
The stretch mesh material adds extra comfort and ventilation. Skeletonized MOLLE cummerbund system is designed to ensure optimal fit, minimal weight and added ventilation.
This tactical plate carrier does away with the bulk of a typical tactical vest offering an ultra-lightweight and low-profile fit and feel.
Material: 600D Polyester
Weight (without plates): 1.2lbs
Compatible plate sizes: Designed 10” x 12” armor plates.
Shellback Tactical – Stealth Low Vis Plate Carrier
This Shellback tactical plate carrier is designed to be a super low-profile and lightweight plate carrier. This is a great option if you’re looking for something that can be worn under a jacket, during surveillance operations, or just as a slick plate carrier. This is one of the most concealable plate carriers, and won’t add any unnecessary weight or size.
This carrier doesn’t have MOLLE for attachments, but it has pockets for two M4 mag, side cummerbund pouches for magazines or radio, and a front admin pocket. There are also loops on the front to attach a chest rig. This vest gives you the option to add extras, or stay low-profile, depending on your specific needs.
Material: 500D Cordura Nylon
Compatible plate sizes: Designed for 10×12 Level III or Level IV hard armor plates. It can also accept 10×12 soft armor style plate backers
There are a lot of options for plate carriers out there, you just need to find one that meets your preferences and needs. We hope this article helps you make the right decision.
If you didn’t find exactly what you’re looking for make sure to check out all of the plate carriers we offer. GovX also offers accessories and add-ons that go perfectly with your new plate carrier.