In 2012 before deployment my squad leader pulled us all in and asked us if we all wanted to know the secret to being an awesome gunfighter. As he looked at me I kinda laughed and shook my head because we had just done a deployment to Afghanistan together and I knew that something ridiculous was about to come out of his mouth. All of our junior Marines replied “YES” and waited in anticipation for the key to success on the battlefield. He brings everyone in closer and says “the secret is…. if you look good as hell, you will fight good as hell”, ok maybe he used some other choice words other than “hell” but I digress.
Enter Ferro Concepts, based in Canada, these guys have produced by far some of the lightest kit I have come across. So light in fact whenever I received the FCPC-Base in the mail before I opened the box I thought they had made a mistake because there is no way a whole plate carrier fits in this tiny box and weighs so little. To my amazement I opened the box and out popped what became my primary plate carrier from here on out.
The FCPC- Base does not come with everything you need right off the bat, the cummerbund and front flap are sold separately but can also be found on the Ferro Concepts website. Considering the FCPC- Base MSRP is only $155.63 USD you will still be able to complete this kit for right about $200.00 depending on exactly what route you go. This plate carrier is currently offered only in Multicam and Coyote as far as colors go and for sizes Medium is your only choice. I am 215lbs and 6-foot-tall and when I put this on I get the exact feel that our Canadian brothers were going for, minimal and light weight. Don’t mistake lightweight for weak though, the construction of this bad boy is very robust in the stitching areas and I do not foresee any stitch busting problems like we have seen from some of the lower budget plate carriers.
The front of the carrier has a Velcro lip that will allow you to attach an array of different flaps to the front and holds it on very securely. Currently Ferro offers an option with or without a kangaroo pouch. Just above the flap attachment point on either sides are a row of vertical molle that will allow the use of swift clips for the quick attachment of chest rigs if that is the route you choose to go. Moving inward from the swift clip attachment points is a 3×4 plot of Velcro molle that you can use to attach your favorite patches if that’s your thing. Probably one of my favorite things about the carrier is what is hidden behind this Velcro molle, a utility pouch that closes at the top and has elastic bands on the inside. This is the perfect size for note taking gear, kill cards, reports, some cigarettes, or a multi-tool which is what I stash there. Finally, on the top corners of the front plate carrier are convenient tabs of hook and loop for running comm wires or whatever other high speed kind of toys you could think of.
On the back panels are the shoulder straps that connect the front and back panels together by way of fully adjustable 2-inch laser cut laminate and a metal G-HOOK that provides an very low profile connection point. The good thing about these G-HOOKS is that it allows you to shoulder a weapon very easily without having to deal with the dreaded “Budge” right where you bury your buttstock in your shoulder. The shoulder straps are very strong despite appearance but do tend to get a little uncomfortable during a run so I choose to use HSGI shoulder pads with mine. The bottom of the back panel has a flap that allows easy access to the point where the cummerbund marries to the plate carrier. Unfortunately Ferro Concepts discontinued their original Airflow cummerbund and that is why I am running on mine a Crye precision skeletal 3 band cummerbund but it will accept most of the cummerbunds on the market. Again, Ferro Concepts offers several versions of the cummerbund themselves so that may be a route to look into.
In the end the Ferro Concepts Plate Carrier Base is a great place to start when piecing together your kit. It has most everything I look for in a plate carrier. Its light, durable, well thought out, and looks cool as hell. It is a piece of gear I would definitely recommend to everyone. Its moderate price point and durability will make this a very worthwhile investment. My only concern with this is that if you are running ceramic plates it may be a pretty tight squeeze if you want to put soft inserts also. It can be done but it takes some elbow grease.
Author – Wes Nanny is currently a Sgt in the Marine Corps until January at which point I will be ending my career with the Marine Corps to join the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Texas. I did 8 years as a grunt being a team leader and squad leader. I deployed to sangin, Afghanistan in 2010-2011 with 3rd battalion 5th Marine Regiment. After that I stayed with that unit and went on the 15th and 31st MEU’s. Iv attended numerous schools like CLS, TCCC, Assault climbers course, combat hunter trainer course, HRST masters course, infantry squad leaders course, raid leaders course and some others I cant think of. In my spare time when im not with my family I like to climb, shoot, and hike. I stay very current on firearms and fear of all sorts. I also did some side work with custom kydex for the last two years.