When I first started looking for a plate carrier I was overwhelmed with all of the options there are on the current market. There are so many companies making plate carries these days with various options and features. I would mainly be using my plate carrier for working out and range training. When I first came across the 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier, I was intrigued in both features and price, so I ordered one online. Upon receiving the carrier I was immediately impressed with the build quality. The best feature in my opinion are the very comfortable shoulder straps that are adjustable and allow for the routing of comm wire and/or hydration tubes. The straps are wide and have a good amount of padding to keep you comfortable while wearing the plate carrier for extended periods of time.
The plate carrier is made from 500D nylon and can accept multiple size armor plates to include the most popular sizes (12.5H x 9.5L and 13.25H x 10.25L ). The front and back panels are covered by 9 rows of MOLLE webbing high and 8 rows wide, with the top 6 rows being laser cut and the bottom 3 rows being traditional nylon webbing. I personally like that the vest is 8 rows wide and able to accommodate more pouches compared to the industry standard of 6 rows wide. The top 6 rows of MOLLE on both the front and back are covered with velcro for attaching various patches. The front side also has a built-in admin pouch which is a good size with plenty of storage.
The 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier has a quick detach system that is very easy to reset which is a great feature considering you have to unweave the cable in order to adjust the size of the cumberbund and shoulder straps. You can also choose to release either the whole carrier or just one side, depending on your needs. The release handle is stored at the top of the front side of the carrier either on the outside or inside of the carrier depending on your preference. There is a skeleton style cumberbund that is 500D nylon with a bungee material weaved in to it.
The cumberbund is 3 molle rows high and the length varies depending on how you have it sized. Due to the design you can either mount your pouches vertical or horizontal and either on the outside or the inside of the cumberbund. On the back of the carrier is an emergency drag handle that unfolds when pulled to allow your buddy to drag you to safety while being able to stand in a more vertical position.
Overall I think the 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier is a great product, especially for the price and features included. The only improvements that I could see useful is if the cumberbund had a more rigid material built-in to it to add support. Getting the plates into the carrier is also a kinda annoying process due to the velcro straps inside, but the straps due allow for a wide variety of plates to be carried. While the plate carrier only comes in one size I could see a smaller framed person not finding it a good fit, especially if combined with some sort of police type duty belt.
Author – Cameron Paidousis is a former Police Officer and is a current member in the Air National Guard where he serves in Security Forces. For his civilian job he works as security contractor for the U.S. Government. When not working he enjoys spending time with his family along with kayaking, hiking, and traveling.