Best Plate Carriers of 2019 – Complete Round-up

Are you looking for the best plate carriers? If you are, then you’ve come to the right place. Finding the right one based on the best quality and reliability can be challenging but, if you know what to look for, the search itself won’t be so difficult.

To give you a headstart, we’ll be taking a look at a list of six of the best plate carriers that are currently on the market. If you have no clue what these are, don’t worry. We’ll tell you what they are and what they do. We’ll also talk about what size you need and the other characteristics that consist of a great plate carrier.

So before we get to our list, let’s talk about the basic stuff about plate carriers.

Comparison of the Best Plate Carriers

Product

Rating

Price

Condor Defender Plate Carrier

Best Overall

GLORYFIRE Tactical Vest Modular Assault Vest

GLORYFIRE Tactical Vest Elite Molle Law Enforcement Vest Assault Chest Modular Vest (TT)

Runner-up

ATG Lightweight Tactical Vest MOLLE and PALS Fully Adjustable Law Enforcement

ATG Lightweight Tactical Vest MOLLE and PALS Fully Adjustable (Tan, 11'x14')

Best for the Money

5.11 Tactical Tac Tec Plate Carrier

Best from 5.11

Condor Modular Operator Plate Carrier

Best from Condor

Rothco Lightweight Plate Carrier Vest

Most Lightweight

What is a Plate Carrier?

Plate carriers are a type of protective vest. Most of them will be able to protect you against rifle attacks from assailants. This vest will cover enough of the vital areas, keeping your heart and other vital organs protected from gunfire.

But it may lack the kind of protection that is often provided by either soft or heavy armor. These will come in handy when you’re in self-defense or tactical situations. These types of vests have long been used by the military for light combat applications. 

What Size Plate Carrier Do I Need?

While a plate carrier is wearable, the question that needs to be asked is: what size will fit you best? Finding the best one that fits you might be a challenge. Not only do you want something that fits, but you want something that won’t give you any grief.

Sometimes, a tightly fit plate carrier will limit your mobility and even change your firing stance. That alone can alter your shooting ability. The best thing you can do is take measurements of your body.

Some have often measured their bodies and made cardboard mock-ups of plates. They will determine which size is more comfortable before proceeding to order the carrier itself. One rule of thumb to remember is to never purchase plates that are undersized.

Most plate carriers will accommodate different sizes, but the first thing you’ll need to do is take body measurements and go from there. 

What Makes a Great Plate Carrier

Knowing the characteristics of a great plate carrier is key. It will allow you to distinguish which plate carrier is excellent in quality versus something that is considered poor in quality. The last thing you want to find is a plate carrier that is ineffective. Especially when it’s something that is designed to protect your life. Here are some of the characteristics that make a great plate carrier:

Durable Material

Durability should be one of the most important characteristics to look for. Especially when you’re looking for a plate carrier. Remember, this is a protective vest. Inferior durability can be dangerous and the consequences can be fatal. It’s important to find durable material like kevlar to ensure that it will have the ability to stop an attacker’s bullet. 

A Good Fit

Obviously, a great plate carrier will be something that will fit you perfectly. As mentioned above, you’ll need to find one that will fit you perfectly. Make sure that you take the right body measurements so you know which size will fit you best. Once you’re able to properly measure yourself, you’ll be able to determine which size is best for you.

Price

You might be looking for a plate carrier but have a budget to work with. We understand that there are plate carriers that are on the pricey side. But one thing to note is that the price should not be the final decision when it comes to a purchase.

You need to hold quality to the highest importance. Especially when you’re looking for a plate carrier. Find the best quality that you can afford, despite the price being on the higher end of your budget scale. We cannot stress the importance of quality when it comes to something like a plate carrier. 

Review of the Best Plate Carriers 

The following is a list of the six best plate carriers that are currently on the market. The list might be subject to change between now and the next year. For now, this will give you a chance to see which plate carriers are popular on the market right now.

One of them will be yours if their features or functions match what you’re looking for in an ideal plate carrier. Now, let’s kick off our list by unveiling our “best overall” choice for best plate carrier:

Pros

  • Easy Adjustability
  • Materials are Excellent in Quality
  • It can be Used to Hold Hard Plates and Soft Plates
  • All Kinds of Velcro, Makes Fastening the Vest a Lot Easier
  • Fits Comfortably for Most Sizes (Depending on Which Size You Choose)

Cons

  • One Reviewer Says Its a Challenge to Put it on Quickly
  • Some Have Complained About it Being a Little Too Heavy at Times
  • Some Say the Material is a Little Stiff, But Durable Enough to Protect You

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers tried on this vest while at the range. They are able to move around in a “run and gun” situation. At the same time, it’s more comfortable for them while they are in the standard firing position. Some say it was a little hard to move in at first. But once they’ve gotten used to it, moving around is a lot easier.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This has the ability to not just accommodate plates, but it will also work with most soft armors. The better protection you’ve got, the better off you are in a combat or a home defense situation. We cannot say enough about how easy it is to wear. You have all sorts of velcro to the purpose of wearing it and tightening it to your exact comfort. So, you don’t have to use them all but, you can use just enough.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used in combat or self-defense situations. But if you’re looking to test it out in terms of mobility and ease of use, you’ll definitely need to take it out to the range for an intense run-and-gun practice session. Expect law enforcement and military personnel to use this the most but, it isn’t rendered useless for civilian use.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the things that we think can be improved is possibly reducing weight. It might be possible to find durable material that can also be lightweight and provide enough stopping power. This will also allow for better mobility and easier movement. Heavyweight will definitely reduce your mobility and can be dangerous in a combat or self-defense situation. If a plate carrier is too heavy, either adjust the weight by adding fewer plates or find another plate carrier that is lighter in overall weight.

Bottom Line

If you’re simply looking for the best of the best, the Condor Defender Plate Carrier might be exactly what you’re looking for. You have all kinds of adjustable options to ensure that it will fit you perfectly while giving you the option to add on more plates or armor for better protection. If you want a plate carrier that will give you all kinds of adjustments and customization options, this could serve you best in the long run.

GLORYFIRE Tactical Vest Elite Molle Law Enforcement Vest Assault Chest Modular Vest (TT)

Pros

  • Easy to Add Additional Plates
  • Easy to Adjust and Accommodate Other Sizes
  • Easy to Move Around Thanks to the Light Weight
  • Easy to Put it on Quickly, Especially in High-Stress Environments
  • Extra Compartments are Available for Holding Additional Magazines and Other Accessories

Cons

  • May be Too Big to Carry Some Plates
  • Some of the Cross Straps May be Difficult to Put on or Adjust
  • Some Have Had Issues With the Back Strap Not Fitting Certain Waist Sizes

​What Recent Buyers Report

The GLORYFIRE definitely allows for quicker, more fluid movement in self-defense situations. Most of the recent buyers have reported confirming that. They were able to move faster wearing this when compared to other plate carriers. They are able to run fast in run-and-gun situations (while testing at the range). You’ll be confident in knowing this will work to your advantage if and when the real deal happens.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The design itself looks minimal. But surprisingly, it will give you a great deal of adjustability to accommodate almost any sized shooter. Whether you’re on the short side or big and tall, there will always be adjustments that will fit you. You’ll still get the best kind of protection no matter what. It still has a good deal of stopping power despite being a lightweight plate carrier.

​Who Will Use This Most

Law enforcement and military personnel will likely use this. This will also be available for civilian use. This will definitely work to your advantage if you ever find yourself in a home defense or combat situation. Either way, you still have a great deal of protection to work with.

​What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the things that might be improved might be taking a look at the straps that will make fitting around the waste a little easier. There have been some recurring complaints regarding this. Despite this having the ability to fit almost any shooters, it’s surprising to see. So the waist adjustments might just make this a little better.

​Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a plate carrier that isn’t overwhelming in design but will definitely give you the best adjustment abilities possible, the GLORYFIRE plate carrier might be right up your alley. This will definitely give you the best protection no matter what your size is. You have the right kinds of adjustments handy and the best coverage possible in the applications where you need this the most.

ATG Lightweight Tactical Vest MOLLE and PALS Fully Adjustable (Tan, 11'x14')

Pros

  • Very Comfortable Fitting
  • Fits Snug and Doesn’t Reduce Any Mobility
  • Just Enough Velcro for Compatible Add-Ons
  • Excellent for Combat and Self-Defense Situations
  • Easy to Adjust to Accommodate Most Shooter Sizes

Cons

  • Some of the Buckles Might be Suspect
  • Might be a Little Too Large for Some Shooters
  • Some of the Strap Settings Might be a Little Off

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were satisfied with the light weight this plate carrier had. They had an easier time adding on additional plates for extra protection. For a budget plate carrier, it’s durable, lightweight, and definitely worth the investment. Of all the budget plate carriers, most buyers say this was the best in value.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is another minimal design that gives you all kinds of coverage. It will definitely serve you in the long run and protect your vital areas in a combat or self-defense situation. For the price, this is as high-quality as your going to get from a plate carrier. It isn't cheap, but it gets the job done. The adjustments are all in the right places. With the right kind of adjustments and minimal design that doesn’t look overwhelming to the average shooter, this was a no brainer in choosing this for our list.

​Who Will Use This Most

This will be used for civilian and law enforcement applications. This was originally made for law enforcement use. It will also be used by all kinds of shooters who are different in size and height. Regardless, they’ll still get a good deal of protection even with as many plates as possible. So long as they are not undersized, they should be good to go.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the things that could be improved with this plate carrier would be making it available in more sizes. It’s currently available in two different sizes, but it should be available in a couple more in case one or the other might not fit regardless of the levels of adjustments they try out.

​Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a high-quality plate carrier that won’t break the bank, there’s a good chance you’ll settle with the ATG Lightweight plate carrier. This will definitely work to your advantage in the applications where these come in handy. You’ll be able to move around more fluidly and still be able to get out of a dangerous situation alive, and best of all, this fits most budgets and is no “cheap” plate carrier that is inferior in quality.

Pros

  • Easy to Put on or Take Off
  • Very Comfortable Fit For Most Users
  • Fits the Plates Perfectly With No Issues
  • Easy to Maneuver and Move Around In
  • Great for Not Just Self-Defense, But Can Also Double as a Weighted Workout Vest

Cons

  • Shoulder Pads May Be Stiff Initially
  • Some Have Had Some Issues Putting it on Quickly
  • Some Were Not Satisfied With the Webbing On Parts of the Plate Carrier

​What Recent Buyers Report

These were usually buyers who have purchased from 5.11 in the past. As expected, they were satisfied with the plate carrier being very lightweight and allows for better mobility in all kinds of situations. Even buyers who haven’t bought a plate carrier before were happy with the overall quality. It’s durable and definitely has a very comfy fit. Some of them have used them as weighted vests for workouts like running the Murph.

​Why it Stands Out to Us

The 5.11 brand is probably one of the more reliable brands in terms of tactical gear​ but, we didn’t choose this on the name alone. It’s got a great amount of coverage to protect your vitals. It also allows you to add on a good amount of plates for extra protection. The overall design itself looks pretty rugged.

​Who Will Use This Most

This can be used as a workout vest for those who want to get the most out of their intense workouts. You can add on additional weight to make running The Murph or any other workout very intense. But it can also be used in a combat or a self-defense situation. Either way, you have a plate carrier that is reliable for almost any non-combat or combat purpose.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the things that might be improved is making the shoulder pads a little more comfortable from the start. It might be one of those pads that will make the first use a little rough. Other than that, some other improvements can be to include some compartments for magazines or additional plates.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a brand that might be your go-to brand for years to come, it never hurts to give the 5.11 brand a shot. What better way to get the know the brand better by trying out their plate carrier. Whether you’re using it for an intense workout or an intense combat situation, this is the plate carrier that might be your best friend no matter what.

Pros

  • Light in Weight
  • Covers the Vitals Quite Well
  • No Mobility Restrictions Were Reported
  • Excellent to Use in a “Just in Case” Situation
  • Adjustments are Not Stiff, Straps are Durable and Easy to Move Around

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

This was easy to move around in according to most recent buyers. The material is breathable and allows for excellent mobility. Of course, let’s not forget the fact that the material itself is durable but not heavy enough to limit your movements. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This has the potential to give you all kinds of customization options with the amount of velcro that it comes with. Additional compartments for magazines? Extra plates? By the looks of this plate carrier, the sky is the limit so to speak. Add on the adjustments to fit all kinds of shooters and you have the total package.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used mostly for self-defense or tactical situations. It can also be used for everyday carry by law enforcement and military personnel. Since you’ll have a lot of velcro to work with, this will come in handy for the user who will want to carry around additional accessories in case they need to use them. 

What Could Be Improved and Why

Despite no obvious cons, one of the things we might suggest is adding on some additional compartments that might fit some standard sized magazines. The compartments can be enough to fit maybe a few pistol magazines or even shotgun shells. This way you’ll be able to have additional rounds handy and you can quickly reload them in case of jamming issues or if you emptied out a mag.

Bottom Line

If you're looking for a plate carrier from another reliable brand like Condor, this might be right up your alley. Not only does it give you a great deal of coverage, but it also gives you the opportunity to customize it so you have some additional accessories handy.

Pros

  • Very Affordable for Most Budgets
  • Adjustable and Fits All Kinds of Shooters
  • Light in Weight, It Doesn’t Affect Mobility
  • Easy to Add on Additional Plates for Extra Security
  • Minimal Design, It Doesn’t Look Complicated to Adjust

Cons

  • May Have Some Excess Threads
  • Some Have Complained About the Odd Sizes of the Plate Pockets
  • Some Have Complained That There is Not Enough Velcro Available for Customization or Additional Pockets

What Recent Buyers Report

This was a very comfortable plate carrier that covers the vitals properly and doesn’t hinder any movement. This was great for run-and-gun range sessions as well. Most of them were confident that with this plate carrier, they were prepared for the real thing if and when it happens (i.e.-- self-defense situations).

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is yet another one of the plate carriers that has a minimal design. So it’s easy to use, even for those who have never used a plate carrier before. We see this as a possible starter plate carrier for the newbies. It’s durable and isn’t that complicated to put on or take off. Other than that, it sticks out as a rugged looking plate carrier that can be used for just about any necessary application.

​Who Will Use This Most

This will be used by tactical shooters or law enforcement but, that doesn’t mean it can’t be used for civilian purposes. If you’re looking for something that will be put to good use when the time comes, this might be your cup of tea. This will also be a good thing to put to the test when you’re practicing your self-defense shooting at the range.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the things that might improve is distinguishing which pockets are based on size. It should be a no-brainer. Smaller pockets for your pistol magazines or shotgun shells. And maybe some larger pockets for more plates or even some accessories that might come in handy in some applications.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a rugged and reliable plate carrier that has the potential to be your in the field buddy, this plate carrier by Rothco could be your best option. You’ll be able to move around more freely and keep yourself protected in the situations that are high-stress and where your life should be placed on the highest of importance.

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Option

Investing in a quality plate carrier has its perks. Especially when it comes to something that has the ability to protect you from harm and potentially save your life. Why is quality important to a plate carrier? Here are some benefits you’ll get to enjoy finding the best quality option for you:

You’re Better Protected

If the plate carrier is high in quality, you will be better protected since it will cover your vitals. At the same time, it will be thick enough to provide enough stopping power against an attacker’s bullets. Plus, with the ability to add on more plates, it will even increase your chances of survival.

It Won’t Get Damaged, Even in High-Stress Situations

Better quality will most likely lead to peace of mind. The peace of mind in knowing that it won’t rip, fray, or get damaged while you’re in a situation where a plate carrier is needed. Without it, you place yourself in a very dangerous situation. 

You Can Evade Quickly if Needed

Sometimes, you’ll need to evade oncoming attacks to preserve your own safety. A high-quality plate carrier will allow that. So you need to make sure that you are still able to move around while you’re wearing the plate carrier you choose. 

Conclusion

Finding the best plate carrier is important. Especially when you’re usually in situations that can be potentially dangerous to your safety. If you want a plate carrier that will protect you in a self-defense or tactical situation, one of these six listed above might be the next one you get. Be sure to find the one that will give you excellent protection, better coverage, and better ability to move around in order to protect yourself from harm.

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