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511 tactec gray plate carrier

5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier Review

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5.11 has been a leader in the tactical gear industry. The company uses quality materials to design and craft durable and cost-effective goods used every day by military, law enforcement, and armed citizens all over the world.

With the increased use of body armor, 5.11 has developed a product line to suit these needs, and the TacTec Plate Carrier is one such item.

We have put together a complete 5.11 TacTec plate carrier review to guide you on your purchase decision.

5.11 tactec plate carrier review

The 5.11 TacTec carrier has been designed to be lightweight to maintain good mobility, while still being built durable enough to handle hard, regular use. This carrier has also been featured in a number of high-profile arenas over the years, especially amongst participants in tactical sporting events.

  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Adjustable skeletonized waist bands (Sizes S-XL)
  • Extendable GrabDrag handle for emergency use
  • One-handed quick-release cable system
  • Laser-cut loop MOLLE webbing
  • 500D Nylon
  • Fits medium (12.5″H x 9.5″ L x 2″ W) & large (13.25″ x 10.25″ x 2.25″) ESAPI plates
  • Fits Rogue Weight Vest Plates

The TacTec comes in six color options, giving users the option to select a color which matches different uniform or duty parameters (many organizations allow only one or two colors options for its uniformed members). Especially for the price point, the TacTec plate carrier brings a feature rich option to market for just over $200.00


  • The TacTec by 5.11 uses an innovative built-in drag handle system which enables a buddy to easily drag a user out of harm’s way. This handle and the extension give users a mechanical advantage not achieved simply by a standard sewn on handle.
  • This product has gained a lot of publicity and use amongst tactical workout users and competitors. This is an emerging area in the industry, and the carrier’s use in these arenas has made it a top-rated choice.
  • 5.11’s TacTec carrier brings a lot of premium features to an entry level price point, allowing users to reconfigure and optimize their carrier setup without having to spend hundreds of dollars on new carriers.
  • This carrier seems to lack modularity in its design due to its intended use as a basic duty or fitness carrier.
  • The overall layout and size also do not provide an optimal configuration for smaller sized users.
  • The emphasis on the TacTec being used for workouts and duty may also turnoff some customers due to a perception the carrier is not optimized for hard duty use.


We review our products on a 1 to 10 scale. The higher the score the better the product quality is in the performance category.

Performance CategoryRating Score
Material Quality10
Overall Score9.5
Product Rating Table

You can also check out our best plate carriers buyer’s guide about the top 5 plate carriers on the market today!

Material Quality and Durability

This 5.11 carrier utilizes 500D nylon in its construction, with a water-resistant coating, to meet the typically standards for modern carriers. This carrier is also known to be very easy to clean and resistant to staining.

The material and construction maintain the expected levels of durability for duty and/or training use.


The TacTec has been used by the typical tactical groups, with positive feedback about how the carrier feels to use, especially since it was designed to be more breathable. The carrier has tall padded areas allowing for airflow between the body and carrier.

These comfortable attributes have also made this carrier a popular choice amongst people competing in CrossFit and tactical fitness events, since it can be easily worn all day across dynamic stages.

Weight and Size

This carrier has a waistband with some stretch built in, with a size range accommodating small to extra-large body sizes. The TacTec vest weighs about 2.5lbs by itself, again balancing a durable construction with a lightweight configuration.

The shoulder straps are padded and can easily be adjusted to fit a range of body sizes. The shoulder adjustments are reinforced by the way in which the quick-release cabling is woven into the carrier.


The TacTec will fit medium or large plates. The carrier is also marketed as being a very comfortable unit to use with non-ballistic training plates. Rogue brand plates are one such item marketed in tandem with this unit.

This carrier has an innovative built-in drag handle which extends out, to enable a teammate to recover their buddy in a more efficient means. The design of this drag feature gives a user more leverage to pull someone more efficiently over a longer distance.


The cummerbund will adjust between 52” to 57” and the factory configuration is both breathable and comfortable. With some modification, the unit could be sized for a smaller frame, and the carrier can also be made to accept other styles of the cummerbund.

Side panels can also be purchased and incorporated into this cummerbund system.


Laser-cut MOLLE webbing, a feature a high-quality carrier is expected to have anymore, allows the TacTec to be mission configurable, while maintaining a lightweight and streamlined design.

The webbing is also incorporated into the quick-release system, allowing for a rigid yet easily deployed QD configuration. This carrier is covered in MOLLE, so whether it is run minimally or fully loaded, the carrier can evenly support gear for any mission.

511 tactec plate carrier camo
5.11 TacTec plate carrier camo

Best Application

TacTec plate carriers are heavily marketed as a training aid in the gym or field, while also being a reliable carrier for duty use. Due to positive feedback by users, this carrier makes a great addition to any workout and can keep up with its user during any tactical competitive event.

This carrier would also make a great option for anyone who is new to body armor as it can be easily reconfigured as a user becomes more accustom to the employment of armor.

Relative Cost

Depending on the site and configuration in 2022, the 5.11 TacTec costs about $215.00.

This carrier can also be purchased with training plates for under $300.00. Other websites have bundles with ballistic plates, priced at competitive rates ($300-$600).

5.11 tactec plate carrier Setup

For any type of workout or dynamic fitness uses, the TacTec carrier is best run slick in its factory configuration. The carrier can easily accommodate any additional pouches or tools for tactical competitions. The TacTec also can be configured like any other MOLLE webbing based tactical carrier for duty use.

How does it compare?

The TacTec resembles many of the other offerings in the saturated category of tactical soft goods. The quality MOLLE webbing and stitching make it a comfortable carrier that can cover a variety of body and plate sizes.

The carrier is priced aggressively, and consumers can buy with confidence knowing it has a solid warranty and customer support from 5.11. The built-in quick release system also makes this carrier a safe choice to use in dynamic situations, as it allows users to quickly slip out of the carrier.

Key Takeaways

Overall, the 5.11 TacTec plate carrier allows modern users the ease and versatility plate carriers have come to be known for, coupled with the high quality and design of most 5.11 products.

5.11 has also produced a number of videos and guides to help users optimize their carrier for their applications. The TacTec plate carrier from 5.11 uses standard materials and construction, while also offering some different and useful features.

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