I’m a total fanboy of Blue Force Gear’s Vickers Slings and have spoken favorably of their chest rigs and pouches before. This is my first experience with one of their plate carriers. The Plate Minus is an interesting, lightweight design. It uses BFG’s Ultracomp material to be super thin and lightweight while have 4 times the abrasion resistance of Cordura. I’m not gonna lie the first time I saw and felt the Plate minus I felt it was lacking. I usually associate lightweight and thin with cheap.
However, once you really start going over the material and really examining the plate carrier you can tell its well made. The laser cut MOLLE compatible slots are certainly different from what I’m used to. I did find weaving gear in and out of the laser cut ladder system very easy and much less frustrating than standard MOLLE webbing.
Plate Minus What?
Plate Minus is an odd name, but it starts to make sense when you consider what the plate carrier is used for. This is simple a front and back carrier. There are no side plates and the carrier is minimalist to the extreme. It’s far from a flack jacket and made to provide protection to your most critical areas. Everything outside of the heart and lungs area is fair game.
I haven’t ordered hard plates for the Plate Minus but installed a set of Level IIIA soft plates. They fit perfectly in accordance with the vest’s size. They fit perfectly and soft armor and minimal pouches the vest itself could be concealable under a jacket or a hoodie. It’s also a solid choice to toss in a duffle bag and keep in the car for those less permissive situations.
The inside material of the Plate Minus is actually very soft. It feels like the material you’d find in a fire resistant combat shirt. It feels great against the body. Again I don’t have hard plates, but the top straps are comfortable. They don’t dig and support the carrier well. These tops straps are completely adjustable for people of a variety of different sizes. After you adjust them they can also be trimmed if you’re OCD about strap length.
The side straps are nice too. They are adjustable, and the end of strap is elastic so it can be really tightened down while staying comfortable. The Plate Minus feels like it’s gonna be a great plate carrier. What’s left is some long-term use, getting some real plates tossed in, and a little run and gun to see how it stands up.