I’ve recently been diving into body armor. I did a post on concealed soft armor and wanted to do the same for concealed hard armor. Soft armor is designed specifically to defeat most handgun threats. It doesn’t do anything to protect you from rifle rounds. For protection against rifle projectiles you need hard armor and a way to carry it. What about a concealed plate carrier?
Concealing hard armor on your body is next to impossible. Even a guy my size would need a giant-sized hoodie to even attempt it. Even then, wearing and carrying hard armor all day is going to be next to impossible while being discrete. Wearing hard armor concealed isn’t an option, but carrying concealed hard armor is. In fact, I’m going to show a way to carry a concealed plate carrier without anyone batting an eye.
How to Carry a Concealed Plate Carrier
Discretion is still the name of the game. I’m not suggesting that tossing a plate carrier in a gym bag is a concealed plate carrier. My solution is the Escort Briefcase concealed plate carrier from AR500 Armor and made by Phalanx Defense. The Escort Briefcase carrier is compatible with both soft and hard armor. Anything can carry soft armor, so today we are going to specifically focus on hard armor. This concealed plate carrier is designed to work with AR500 armor plates up to 10×12 inches. The carrier can work with steel or ceramic plates without issue.
The Escort Briefcase Concealed Plate Carrier is exactly what it sounds like. On the outside it looks like nothing more than a canvas briefcase. It’s what’s on the inside that counts right? On the inside you are packing two hard armor plates. The briefcase has internal pockets for both, and on the inside of these pockets are straps to secure your plates and to keep them in place. Installing the plates is simple and I went with lightweight steel plates from Premier Armor. These are Level III Durus plates and you can see a full review here.
How it Works
It’s simple. The Briefcase has a full-length zipper that connects both sides of the carrier together. The briefcase is outfitted with two handles, and one is marked with a small red square. The red square lets you know this is the front portion of the concealed plate carrier. The zipper itself is beefy and sits right below the handle.
You got the Escort Briefcase with you and you’re doing your day to day thing. Bam, shots ring out. Maybe you are in the office, or maybe in parking lot, or God forbid a classroom. You grab the carrier rip the zipper down and around the package. You basically turn the bag inside out and it will only be connected by the shoulder straps of the plate carrier.
The User throws it over their chest and pulls out the rear straps from their hidey hole. The front of the carrier is outfitted with a healthy sized rectangle of hook and loop and so are the rear straps. Connect the rear straps to the front and you are now wearing your not so concealed plate carrier.
For surviving, not Fighting
The Escort Briefcase and the plate carrier it hides is not for fighting. This model does not carry a fighting load. It’s designed to save your life. Part of that lifesaving may be allowing you pulling your CCW and defending yourself, but don’t expect the Escort Briefcase to be outfitted with MOLLE and Mag pouches.
Admittedly it took a few tries for me to deploy the concealed plate carrier quickly. I practice without plates at first, just to get used to the motions. Once I found plates I did find it a bit easier to don. I did find myself swinging my arms a bit to find the straps once they were behind me.
With a little practice I could get in on in about 5 to 7 seconds. Admittedly this isn’t the most comfortable carrier. The boxy shape of the briefcase translates into a boxy carrier. The shoulder straps are also thin and can dig in when worn for extended periods of time. There is also only a little adjustment possible.
If this was a traditional plate carrier this wouldn’t be acceptable. However, as a concealed plate carrier there has to be compromise. Keeping in mind that this thing isn’t for fighting but surviving puts the design into perspective.
It’s designed to be put on fast, by a wide variety of different sized people. Its job is to get you off the X with all your blood still in your body.
The concealed hard armor is invisible when the carrier is in briefcase form. It just looks like a normal laptop bag. It hides in plain sight very well. Carrying this thing daily is easy, discrete and offers you the opportunity to survive and thrive in violent active shooter scenarios. Find it here at AR500Armor.com.