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Body Armor: Plate carriers + Top Plates Explained

Body Armor - Plate carriers + Top Plates

Classic Firearms Modular Armor Carrier (M.A.C) Lightweight Plate Carrier - Multicam

Classic Firearms M.A.C  (Modular Armor Carrier) Lightweight Plate Carrier - Multicam

Classic Firearms Lightweight Modular Armor Carrier (M.A.C) MulticamA plate carrier like the one shown above is essentially a vest used to carry armor, additional ammunition, and any other required tools. The armor plate and cargo capacity should be optimized for the intended scenario and use. Armor options vary between sizes, shapes, materials, and protection ratings. The most common plate materials, in order of weight from heaviest to lightest, are: steel, ceramic, polyethylene, and Kevlar. Each material provides its own pros and cons. Kevlar is lightweight, flexible, and concealable, but is not as durable as other options. Steel is stronger, more durable, and cheaper, but of course heavier than Kevlar. Ceramic plates are lighter but more expensive and less durable than steel. Advanced polyethylene offerings are generally the lightest and thinnest, but still the most expensive. Plates can be stacked and used in any combination that you see fit. Depending on the intended use, any of these materials might be the right fit for you.

Plate Ratings:

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has set the ratings for the minimum performance standards and testing methods. The classes are as follows:

Type IIA(9mm,.40S&W)

Type II(9mm,.357 Magnum)

Type IIIA(.357 SIG, .44 Magnum)

Type 3(Rifles, 7.62mm(.308))

Type IV(Armor Piercing Rifles)

Type III+ (vendor rating not NIJ)

Popular shapes include Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI), Advanced Shooters Cut (ASC), and square, in both flat and curved variants. Shapes generally refer to the chamfer on the top corners of the plate to allow for greater range of arm movement. An example like the shooter’s cut plate shown below offers more arm movement than a rectangular cut plate.

Guard Dog Body Armor Standalone 10X12 Level IV Ballistic Plate - Single Curve - Shooter Cut - Tested to NIJ Standards - IVPLATE

Guard Dog Armor Level IV Ballistic Plate

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