In the past few years the security and military market has become flooded with many alternatives to the old body armour and assault vest combo. Although many modern armies have adopted Modular Body Armour vests such as Osprey or even the new British Issue Virtus they are often cumbersome and impractical for the blokes on the ground. Especially when you add webbing and daysacks into the equation.
One of the available alternatives and arguably the most popular the plate carrier. Unfortunately, like all non-issue kit, becoming popular often results in the market being flooded by cheap knock offs and overpriced items that do no better or worse than their budget counterparts. However, I’ve had the recent pleasure of using a plate carrier that does not fall into these categories, the DCS Plate Carrier Made by Warrior.
I’ve sorted this review into 5 categories (Cost, Value for money, Ease of use, Construction, Allyness) and each category will from 1/5 to 5/5.
Normally retailing for around £150, I found a brand new platform for £135 from UK Tactical, in Multicam. I’m sure if you look around you will find one on sale or maybe even a used carrier in good condition on the cheap but I’ve bought various items from UK Tactical and have yet to have an issue with any of their items, although their customer service can take a little bit of time getting back to you. However, if you’re one for the Warrior or 5.11 brands then they are definitely the place to go.
Value For Money:
As mentioned before, if you look around you could find one on sale or even a good condition used one on the old Ebay but when you could easily pay over £200 for most decent plate carriers I’d say £135 brand new is more than a reasonable price. Especially when you can consider what you get for this price, Genuine Crye Multicam Fabric, Mil-Spec Velcro and many other additions that make life easier.
Ease of Use:
Now if you’re anything like me (5ft 10” with a waist most women would die for) then the first thing you’ll discover is that you’re not the ideal build for this carrier. Although there is plenty room for adjustment made easy by the Velcro sections, if you are skinny then you will find yourself pushing the limits of how far you can overlap the Velcro straps without losing much in the way of a secure hold.
Besides this I’m yet to find any real hang ups. There’s plenty of MOLLE loops (8 rows on the Front/Back and 4 rows each side) you’ll also find an additional 2 vertical MOLLE loops on the front of the carrier for mounting T-Bars for all your sling or D-ring needs, there’s even a loop on each side of the front section made for feeding through a Camelbak/Hydration pack hose. Being in the cummerbund style there is sometimes concern in how well the cover flap’s Velcro can hold itself down in harsh conditions but, even after suffering torrential rain whilst rolling around in sand and mud, I can assure you it holds down tight.
Taking the carrier off is made simple by the two thumb loops at the bottom of cover flap and then a grab handle on each section of the cummerbund. If you’re the kind of person who likes to weigh yourself down with body armour plates in the sides then the option is there with side pouches that fit 6×8 plates or even level 3a soft armour. The front and back armour pouches do fit large and small cut SAPI Plates perfectly, both curved and flat, and can accommodate the square Osprey plates, although they will be a little loose and have a tendency to move out of place. My suggestion to solve this problem would be to pack it out with a level 3a soft armour backing which can also act as a percussion pad and catch any fragments or spalling.
The biggest problem with plate carriers at the lower price range is normally the materials that they are made from. This carrier however does not suffer from this problem. Made from genuine Crye Multicam it is treated against both mildew and UV rays ensuring that your carrier won’t deteriorate in the harsh sunlight or the damp cold. It is 100% water resistant (this I can attest to) but thanks to the 3D spacer mesh on the inside of the front and back panels it is still breathable so you have no risk of overheating or smelling it up with sweat. The biggest benefit of the water resistance however is that you don’t have to worry about being weighed down by water logged gear, or even waiting days for it to dry out.
Although there is no dedicated quick release system there is an ITW Military Rated clip that can be used to quickly undo the left shoulder strap and there is a grab handle located at the top of the back panel so your oppo has a secure hold to drag you out of danger should the need arise.
Other additions worth mentioning are the rows of Velcro MOLLE strips on the top of the front and back panels that can be used to attach various Velcro patches. The carrier also comes with a detachable pouch that attaches to the inside of the cummerbund and is cushioned against the body, I find this pouch is more accommodating of a radio but it could definitely fit a couple of 5.56 mags or even a 7.62 mag should you want to keep them for an emergency.
OK let’s face it, besides FALs and Carl Gustavs, plate carriers are probably the Alliest bit of kit out there so I’m not going to write a whole paragraph on how even the fattest of creatures look reasonably cool whilst wearing one. But, if you want to make yourself look even more ally then grab a tan baseball cap, get a beard (a no shave chit too for those serving), a UBAC (hero sleeves optional but highly encouraged) and an M4/C8 then you will have the full Operator look.
Overall, I’m extremely happy with the purchase and I can tell already I’ll be running this rig into the ground. I’ve never been one for brand loyalty but Warrior have really impressed me with this item and I’ve had a lot of interest from various people as to where they can get one themselves.
This KitPest Review was written by Robert Quinn.