Plate carriers are among the most fiercely debated pieces of kit on the market today and it’s easy to see why. With so many options and prices that can range from thirty bucks to three hundred, just about everybody has an opinion on what you need for your purposes. Like most things, it’s been my experience that neither the cheapest nor the most expensive options on the market are right for most users, and what really matters is finding the kit that works best for you, rather than the one that’ll score you the most cool-guy points in the Tacticool subreddits.
AR500 offers a number of different kinds of plate carriers meant to meet various needs and budgets. I opted to review the Testudo Gen 2 because it can support both standard 10″ by 12″ ballistic plates as well as the larger 11″ by 14″ plates reserved for those of us that shop at Big and Tall outlets. I’m not as skinny as I was on active duty, so the Testudo also offers the added benefit of not making me look like a gorilla in a tank top.
I ran this carrier with plates provided to me by ShotStop that are among the lightest on the market, which when combined with the 3d webbing AR500 uses on most of the interior of this plate carrier, made running and gunning in the Georgia woods survivable even in June when the humidity is just north of what you’ll find in the Amazon rain forest. The combination of light weight and breathability made my range session not only tolerable, but as pleasant as Georgia summers can get.
At $160, this probably isn’t the right plate carrier for preppers that like to stockpile their gear but rarely run and gun in their kit. If, however, you’re a bigger dude that wears your plate carrier for work, the 3D webbing and good quality stitching make this an excellent choice. That same 3D webbing, however, can be pretty abrasive if you’re wearing a thin undershirt. I’d imagine that gets better over time, but at least so far, I’ve stuck to thick tee shirts and had no trouble.