With violence prevalent in the motherland and abroad these days, more people are packing around protective plates.  True,  the majority of those people are law enforcement officers (LEO’s), active military or are in the contractor world.  Many more are civilians preparing for an event they hope never to see in their lifetime.  Regardless of profession or reason, every one of these people wants to get home at the end of the day.

With this in mind, I decided to dive back into the plate carrier market.  I’ve long known that the plate carrier advancements had transformed the market from a few simple options to a myriad variety of modular systems.  My last real experience routinely wearing a Plate Carrier was our old issued RBA (Ranger Body Armor).  It was decent, though cumbersome and bulky.  I took to the internet for a quick ride and the experience left my head spinning a bit with all the options and acronyms for the new systems.  Rather than earn my Masters degree in plate carriers, I started looking at well reputed manufacturers and found Velocity Systems.

Velocity Systems was founded in 2007 and the owners have over 75 years of combined experience in the armor manufacturing world.  They partnered with the well reputed Mayflower Research and Consulting for 7 years before acquiring the Mayflower RC brand.

No longer a SAW gunner, my need for a major league carrier like the Mayflower APC just isn’t there.  I wanted to try out some light carriers with a low profile and light weight.  I picked up two to test out and see which fit the bill.  These were the Law Enforcement Plate Carrier  and the Light Weight Plate Carrier.  These are similar basic setups with only a few differences.  Both have the awesome swiftclip placard system which allows you to swap out the front panel and all attached pouches in about 6 seconds.  Both have a modular cummerbund setup that allows you to change out the side bands to quickly transform between three options:  There is a low profile elastic band version, there is a full PALS equipped cummerbund variant and finally there is a “quarter flap”; a cummerbund with PALS section that allows the user to don and doff without lifting the whole front placard. The quarter flap is also capable of carrying a 6″ x 6″ side plate .  The real differences between the two come down to a thinner setup on the LEPC with a bit less padding, lending itself to a lower profile setup.  The LEPC also has a drag handle on the back, a removable front PALS flap and a wider velcro strip on the back for agency ID patches.

I unpacked the box the Plate Carriers came in and gave them both a close inspection: all the stitching is tight and uniform, the PALS strips are consistent and well sewn in and the materials used in construction are clearly top-notch.  The leather grab tabs on top of the elastic band that retains the magazines are comfortable to use and give a very solid grip.  There are adjustable internal suspension straps to hold the actual armor plates where you want them.  This helps to keep your plates from bouncing around in there which can be uncomfortable and leads to even more “battle rattle” when you run.  The kit came with the quarter flap cummerbund, the straight elastic cummerbund and the full PALS cummerbund.  I cannot find a flaw in craftsmanship.  Even the company logos are minimalist, certainly not like the NASCAR advertising some companies put on their gear.

(The photos below were taken on a dummy who’s a lot wider around the midsection than I, hence the poor fit.)

Velocity Systems: Speed, direction and protection
Flat cummerbund. Photo by Rex Nanorum
Velocity Systems: Speed, direction and protection
PALS quarter panel cummerbund. Photo by Rex Nanorum.
Velocity Systems: Speed, direction and protection
Full PALS cummerbund. Photo by Rex Nanorum

I took a few minutes to swap the modular cummerbunds and modular front quarter panels so I would have two distinct PC setups.  I slipped in my SAPI plates and my kits were ready to go.  My LEPC is now a thin, no frills setup.  Just a few mags and the thinnest, most comfortable setup I’ve ever worn with plates on.  Despite having a bit less padding than the LWPC, the LEPC carries very well and doesn’t weigh down on my shoulders even after extended wear.  I set up the slightly larger LWPC to be more of an all-inclusive setup.  I used the swiftclip placard that carries not only four magazines but also has three other pouches built-in.  With all the extra pouches filled, I found the LWPC carried its weight just as well as the LEPC and is equally comfortable.  This is due in part to the well designed, amply padded shoulder straps and also in part to the comfortable cummerbund that helps to keep the weight held snug to the body.

Velocity Systems: Speed, direction and protection
LEPC, Naked. Photo by Rex Nanorum
Velocity Systems: Speed, direction and protection
LEPC, PALS Flap. Photo by Rex Nanorum
Velocity Systems: Speed, direction and protection
LEPC with 4×30 Placard. Photo by Rex Nanorum
Velocity Systems: Speed, direction and protection
LEPC with Admin Pouch Placard. Photo by Rex Nanorum

I’ve had these carriers for a few weeks now and have worn them long enough to suss out any issues with basic construction and comfort.  The modular nature of these Plate Carriers is a major improvement over past technologies.  I haven’t even covered the other available accessories that add even more options.  One accessory that I’ll be adding are extra swift clip buckles.  You can add them to a first aid kit to make it a tear-away pouch or to a buttstock for a QD rifle retention point.  The comfort I had while wearing these PC’s is unprecedented in my experience.  I would like to see one new design option on the full PALS cummerbund though.  Unlike the quarter flaps, with the full wraparound PALS cummerbund you have to lift the whole front flap with all the magazines and pouches on them to get at the end of the cummerbund.  I would like to see a solution, perhaps using swiftclip buckles holding the left-side cummerbund to the front placard allowing the front flap to stay in place when I take my kit off. This is a very minor gripe but it’s my job to find something to balance out all the good things I have to say about the Velocity Systems products, they really haven’t given me much to work with in the complaints department.

Velocity Systems and their subsidiary  Mayflower R&C have made a powerful team and are knocking out top shelf products.  If you’re in the market for a body armor plate carrier, pouches or even the body armor plates themselves, give Velocity Systems a call.