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Best Plate Carriers for Big Guys

Best Plate Carriers for Big Guys: Top 5 XXL Picks

If you’re over 250 lb. can you even find gear to fit you? What if you’re bigger than that? The best plate carriers for big guys is covered in this review. The best one for you is one that fits and that meets most of your mission needs.

If you’re a bigger guy or girl you know how difficult it can be to find the right tactical gear to wear. Thankfully, product engineers at the highest level are making great gains in all areas. They’re doing their best to make strong, durable, and epic tactical plate carriers to protect you from many types of incoming rounds.

Table of Contents

Rts

What to Look for When Buying a Plate Carrier for a Bigger Sized Body?

  • Material Quality – Most plate carrier companies are using high-strength materials to create their products. When you see a review or gear round-up on Tactical Brute, you can be sure we’re only showing you top quality gear. If a new material is used in the product that we are not aware of, we do the research to find out whether it’s on par with industry standards.
  • Durability – Gear companies that release new plate carriers every couple of years are getting better at design, durability, and comfort. Being on the bigger side, these things matter more to you. Buy from a company with a proven record because their products will last.
  • Webbing – Plate carriers must have a lot of PALS/MOLLE webbing to satisfy today’s warriors. If given the choice between cost and getting a vest that has more webbing, I’ll choose the webbing and pay the price. It’s that important. Pay attention to webbing style and get laser-cut PALS whenever possible.
  • Design – Decide early on whether you need a minimalistic or full-armor setup. Not every vest is designed for bigger framed people. You’ll find many small differences even in similar vests. Choose a design that supports your mission. Spend a little extra if necessary and get the right one, not the least expensive one. I learned this by making mistakes!
  • Cummerbund – Plate carriers with cummerbunds can increase stability, space for gear, and add to your physical comfort of carrying a heavy carrier. In the latest plate carriers, buyers are opting for rigidity and comfort in a cummerbund-enabled vest.
  • Comfort – Wearing an uncomfortably small plate carrier for days or weeks at a time will kill your spirit. You may take out plates to make them more comfortable. Bad idea! Find the most comfortable setup that protects you and that can handle most of what you need in a carrier and don’t look back.

Quick View of the Best Plate Carriers For Big Guys

#ImageProductScoreBrowse
1Best Plate Carrier for Big GuysUARM FRPC FAST RESPONSE PLATE CARRIER9check price
2Spartan Armor Systems Legion XLSPARTAN ARMOR SYSTEMS LEGION XL PLATE CARRIER9check price
33. AR500 Armor Testudo Lite (Gen II)AR500 ARMOR TESTUDO LITE (GEN II)8.5check price
4LBT 6094 G3 PLATE CARRIERLBT 6094 G3 PLATE CARRIER8.5check price
5No3 best plate carrier - FCPC v5FERRO CONCEPTS PLATE CARRIER (FCPC V5)8.5check price

Best Plate Carriers for Big Guys

So, if you’re having trouble finding well-made plate carriers for bigger framed guys and girls, keep reading. We cover three of the best plate carriers made by respected companies in the tactical gear space. One of these is likely the right one for you.

1. UARM FRPC Fast Response Plate Carrier

One thing that jumps out at me immediately is that this UARM Fast Response Plate Carrier (FRPC) has 16 sizing options. Each size has 4 adjustments to cover the range of sizes. UARM USA Corp puts a premium on their very fast quick release system using ROC tubes. This is a well-designed plate carrier system for the modern battlefield.

  • Their focus for this plate carrier is time savings. You can remove the carrier in 1 second using the ROC tubes.
  • High strength and durable materials conforming to military specs.
  • Sizes: large (vest – 43.6″ to 46.7″; cummerbund – 38.8″ to 41.8″), x-large (vest – 46.8″ to 52.8″; cummerbund – 41.9″ to 48″).
  • Colors: black, coyote, multicam, ranger green.

Durability

A team of engineers ensures the highest quality materials, stitching, and design are used to create a durable piece of kit you can use for years. UARM is a US based company out of Delaware with a great reputation and they have an extensive collection of tactical gear that lasts.

Material Quality

UARM uses Murdock Webbing, Texcel, Velcro, and Cordura in the manufacturing process for one of the best plate carriers for big guys, the FRPC. All of these materials are well-known and used in some of the best tactical products on the market. You’ll repeatedly see these trademarked names pop up in the tactical gear space.

Comfort

The extra size of the large and extra large plate carrier vests will help larger framed people with comfort on long deployments. The cummerbund comes in multiple sizes and the Elastic style is made specifically for higher comfort levels. But remember, the Pocket style allows side armor plates!

Size

UARM’s large to x-large sizes cover a range from 43.6″ to 57.8″ for the plate carrier vest. The large will hold 10.1″ x 13.3″ hard plates under 1″ thick. The x-large will hold 10.9″ x 14″ thick hard plates under 1″ thick. The large and x-large cummerbund covers waists 38.8″ to 48″ and the Pocket style holds up to 6″ x 8″ hard plates.

Webbing

PALS webbing covers the front and back of the vest, including Velcro at the top of both the front and back. In addition, the vest is compatible with 8 modules of the Full Armor System (FAS).

Cummerbund

The cummerbund comes in the same four sizes (s-m-l-xl) and is usually included with your plate carrier purchase and comes in 3 styles. 1. Skeletal (lightweight). 2. Pocket (accepts soft and hard side armor). 3. Elastic, fits snugly and is more comfortable.

What Sets It Apart from Competitors?

This plate carrier comes in x-large sizes and is made of very durable materials by a company who has been making gear for three years in the Ukraine. The company is based in the USA (Delaware).

The director of the company in the Ukraine is on YouTube taking a shot in the chest by an AK-47 and it seems like he doesn’t even notice it. He laughs afterward!

If you want a hard armor plate carrier that absorbs an AK-47 round like a bb-gun, this plate carrier and hard plates may be just what you need.

Best For

Best for battlefield use and all other less strict environments where a comfortable multi-use plate carrier is needed.

This plate carrier was created with the intention of saving time and lives in scenarios where speed and functionality is most important. Military, local law enforcement, search and rescue, and other groups will find this to be excellent body armor.

Pros

  • X-large sizes in both plate carrier and cummerbund.
  • Carries up to 10.9″ x 14″ hard plates not thicker than 1″.
  • PALS/MOLLE all over front and back.
  • Modular attachment-ready.
  • Emphasis on comfort and 3 types of cummerbund in 4 sizes.
  • Not for bodies bigger than 52.8″ chest or 48″ waist.
  • Shoulder pads are lightweight, you may want thicker pads.
Performance CategoryRating Score
Durability9
Material Quality8
Comfort10
Design9
Webbing9
Cummerbund8.5
Overall Score9
Product Rating Table

2. Spartan Armor Systems Legion XL

The Spartan Armor Systems® Legion XL Plate Carrier is strong, durable, reliable, and one size fits all the extra large body frames out there from 50″ to 60″ chest. This rig holds 11″ x 14″ and 6″ x 8″ Level III protection body armor plates.

  • Filled with PALS/MOLLE webbing on vest and cummerbund.
  • Fits up to 60″ chest size and holds 11″ x 14″ hard plates.
  • 1000 Denier nylon strength and durability.
  • Sizes: The XL covers 2 x-large (chest – 50″ to 52″), 3 x-large (54″ to 56″), 4 x-large (58″ to 60″).
  • Colors: black, coyote brown, spartan green, gunmetal gray, multi-cam.

Durability

Spartan Armor Systems is known all over the world as a quality manufacturer of durable and tough to break plate carriers and gear of all kinds. The Spartan Armor Systems Legion XL Plate Carrier was designed to be used on the battlefield and is rugged and reliable.

Material Quality

1000D Cordura nylon and AR500 steel plates. Strong webbing, Velcro, raised netting, and reinforced stitching.

Comfort

Extra thick shoulder padding and supportive cummerbund that can take hard side plates combines comfort with functionality. There are pads under the front and back plates. Raised netting covers pads to promote air flow.

Size

The extra large sizes will be welcome by some of the bigger guys and girls out there who can’t find something to fit. The fact that Spartan put XL in the name of the carrier means the entire rig was designed with big folks in mind. Total weight without plates is 3 lb. 9 oz.

Webbing

I was disappointed to not find laser-cut PALS webbing for MOLLE attachments on the vest or the cummerbund. That’s the one major drawback I found with this plate carrier. Sure the webbing is strong and durable, but my preference is for the laser-cut style now that I’ve used it.

Cummerbund

The integrated cummerbund is strong enough to support heavy side armor plates up to 6″ x 8″. It can also be completely removed and replaced with a battle belt.

What Sets It Apart from Competitors?

The extra large chest capacity in the plate carrier sets it apart from other rigs. The quality of Spartan plate carriers is always very high and indicative of quality.

Best For

This plate carrier is good for any use by someone with a bigger body frame than most people because it’s the biggest you can buy. This includes battlefield, local law enforcement, wildlife rangers, search and rescue, or even paintball leagues.

Pros

  • Big Sizes (2 x-large, 4 x-large) holds 11″ x 14″ and 6″ x 8″ hard plates.
  • 1000D Cordura nylon.
  • PALS/MOLLE all over the front and back and the cummerbund.
  • Cummerbund accepts 6″ x 8″ hard side plates.
  • Velcro front and back and thick shoulder pads.
  • Using a cummerbund is a must as there are no belt straps.
  • No laser-cut webbing.
Performance CategoryRating Score
Durability9
Material Quality9
Comfort8.5
Design8
Webbing9
Cummerbund9
Overall Score9
Product Rating Table

3. AR500 Armor Testudo Lite (Gen II)

  • Accepts 8″ x 10″ or 11″ x 14″ hard plates or soft plates and up to 6″ x 8″ hard side plates.
  • Weighs 3.6 lb. Saves 1 lb. of weight over the full-featured (Gen I) plate carrier.
  • Sizes: One size fits most. Covers medium to 3 x-large.
  • Colors: black, coyote, multicam, olive drab.

Durability

AR500 products have a long history of rugged durability during hard use. The company has a cult following that tends to buy their products repeatedly.

Material Quality

Made with mostly 500D nylon and bar tacks generously placed to reinforce all common stress points.

Comfort

First of all, it’s big enough to fit almost anyone. In addition it has customizable features that go on all day. Modularity and a huge grid of PALS webbing ensures you can add whatever you need to your rig.

Shoulder pads are anti-slip and padding under the plates is thick and anti-chaff.

Size

While not coming out and saying one size fits all big guys, that’s what they mean with ‘one size fits most.’ They have one rig and it fits everyone from medium to 3 x-large.

Webbing

There is plenty of PALS webbing on the front, back, and cummerbund.

Cummerbund

Six inches thick and able to accommodate 8″ high side plates, the cummerbund is not as strong as it could be. This means hard plates move around too much.

Product Evolution

The original AR500 Testudo Plate Carrier was a full armor carrier that was very popular and sold well for years. AR500 decided to offer a “Lite” version that weighs a pound less because they found reasonable ways to save weight.

What Sets It Apart from Competitors?

It is slightly lighter than other plate carriers, but when the hard plates are in it’s quite heavy and you are not going to notice the pound of weight you saved. It’s probably better to get Gen 1, the non Lite version unless you’re running soft plates.

Best For

To be honest, the Lite designation means you should run soft plates in this carrier, not the heavy plates because they don’t feel good in this one. The hard side plates are unstable and move around too much unless you really clamp them down tightly and then it’s not comfortable.

Pros

  • Holds hard and soft plates under 11″ x 14″ on chest and back and up to 6″ x 8″ side plates.
  • Front has vertical PALS loops for chest rigs.
  • All weight bearing surfaces have 3-D mesh and generous padding.
  • Must use with cummerbund or the vest flops around.
  • No laser-cut webbing for MOLLE gear.
  • Cummerbund uses 6″ thick Velcro connections instead of quick release buckles.
Performance CategoryRating Score
Durability8.5
Material Quality8
Comfort9
Design7.5
Webbing7.5
Cummerbund9
Overall Score8.5
Product Rating Table

4. LBT 6094 G3 Plate Carrier

London Bridge Trading has nothing to do with trading, but they do make some tactical gear that is well thought out, durable, and functional. This LBT 6094 G3 Plate Carrier is version 2 of their lightweight modular plate carrier. This version has been updated with better materials and functionality.

Note – LBT offers 9 tactical plate carriers, a huge selection that most companies cannot compete with.

  • 1000D Nylon construction.
  • Laser-cut webbing.
  • Lightweight mesh cummerbund included (swappable).
  • Sizes: small, medium, large, x-large.
  • Colors: black, ranger green, Multicam, coyote brown.

Durability

Building on the success of their previous 6094 plate carrier, v2 promises to be tougher by using stronger 1000D nylon. This next-generation technology is lighter weight, more abrasion resistant, and weather resistant.

Material Quality

1000D laminate nylon is one of the latest materials being used for plate carriers and a number of other top tactical companies are upgrading their plate carriers to use it.

Comfort

This is a well-padded design that incorporates air flow through the vest and keeps the user cool.

Design

Foam Air-Channel pads are optional and attach with Velcro to the inside of the pocket for the front hard plate.

Webbing

There is laser-cut webbing on the front and back panels. The top of both front and back also have Velcro.

Cummerbund

A rigid mesh system allows attachments. Replaceable with other LBT cummerbunds.

Product Evolution

The previous version of the 6094 plate carrier used 500D Cordura® nylon and was upgraded to 1000D nylon in v2. The new material is stronger and more resistant to snags, abrasion, and weather changes.

The new vest has routing slots through the shoulder pads and a new admin pouch on the front. They added some more webbing slots on the MAP area for comms routing.

They reinforced the carrying handle. They included a rigid mesh cummerbund with slots for MOLLE kit.

What Sets It Apart from Competitors?

This plate carrier is lightweight, breathable, strong, and highly modular. There is quite a bit of aeration with the optional front air-channel pads and hard mesh cummerbund on the sides.

Best for

Law enforcement, range use, tactical teams, survivalist, and air-soft. Soldiers have taken LBT gear onto the battlefield. There is something of a legacy about this company that has been in business since the 1990s.

Pros

  • Filled with laser-cut webbing for MOLLE attachments.
  • 1000D Nylon for weight savings, strength, and durability.
  • Easy to add front panels with a variety of connections.
  • Can add side panels with hard plates.
  • The cummerbund bothers some people as it is too rigid, even for the mesh design.
  • More padding in shoulder straps and on the chest would be nice without having to purchase it separately.

OUR RATING

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
Durability8.5
Material Quality8
Comfort9
Design9.5
Webbing8
Cummerbund9
Overall Score8.5
Product Rating Table

5. Ferro Concepts Plate Carrier (FCPC v5)

The Ferro Concepts Plate Carrier (FCPC) has been under constant improvement since 2012. They use direct feedback from the special ops community to improve on their plate carrier designs. The FCPC v5 is the latest iteration of their top plate carrier and it has quite a following.

  • Works with all Ferro Concepts plate carrier accessories and components.
  • Side zippers for Ferro Concepts rear panels.
  • Holds different size hard armor plates with Tweave stretch pockets.
  • Sizes: medium – use with plate carriers measuring 10 x 12 x 1″, large – use with hard armor measuring 10.75 x 12.75 x 1″.
  • Colors: black, ranger green, Multicam, coyote brown, wolf gray.

Durability

Ferro Concepts uses 500D Cordura® laser-cut webbing, strong hook and loop, and double layers on wear points. A mini-Cobra quick-release buckle for one shoulder strap is interchangeable with a steel ring for the other side.

Material Quality

The FCPC v5 uses 500D Cordura® material and laminate to replace other weaker materials, saving weight and increasing strength where needed. Double-layer Cordura® material is used in the high wear and tear areas.

Tweave Durastretch® panels were added to increase armor plate fit and retention.

Comfort

This is a lightweight setup that weighs just 15.2 oz for the medium and 15.8 oz. for the large (without cummerbund). The AC3 cummerbund by Ferro Concepts has some stretch to it but is a rigid weight-bearing design.

Shoulder straps rotate to fit better but come with no padding. You’ll need to add some even if running a light setup.

Design

The FCPC v5 was developed with simplicity and functionality foremost in mind. The precision pattern matching on the body and armor shows attention to detail.

Shoulder straps have pivoting attachments providing greater comfort than static straps.

The carrier allows layering of back panels – like adding a panel on top of your water bottle.

Webbing

Laser-cut webbing is present on the front and back panels. Includes some laser-cut vertical slots for attachments.

Cummerbund

There is no cummerbund with this plate carrier. If you add one, it must be 4″ wide or less. There is a Velcro cummerbund attachment under the cummerbund flap.

The Ferro Concepts ADAPT 3″ Assault Cummerbund 3AC is the right belt or you can use one from another manufacturer.

Product Evolution

In the FCPC v4, the shoulder straps were held on with G-hooks. In v5 they use a solid metal ring and a micro Cobra fast-release buckle on the other side.

The Air-Flow cummerbund on the FCPC v4 has no webbing and is not structurally functional. It’s primarily for comfort and to keep the vest from moving too much.

What Sets It Apart from Competitors?

The highly modular system of stackable rear panels (zip-on back panels) is fast and convenient. The 3″ AC cummerbund adds a lot of functionality and most people buy it with the plate carrier.

This is a lightweight hard armor carrier that gives most wearers what they want, a convenient and strong carrier they can customize and rely on for just about any purpose.

Best for

If you need a highly modular system that swaps out panels fast, is comfortable, and is full of laser-cut MOLLE slots, this plate carrier is for you.

Pros

  • Laser-cut webbing throughout.
  • Very customizable. Zip-on back panels that are not proprietary.
  • A stiff cummerbund with some stretch is ideal for most people.
  • Accepts G-hook placards and holds them very securely.
  • On the expensive side, especially after buying the separate cummerbund.
  • For small framed individuals of medium size (5’7″ and 155, for example) the plate carrier sits too low on the chest and no amount of adjustment will raise it high enough. You may need to cut the velcro off the straps and place it higher up, sewing it on securely. Or, you might want to just buy another plate carrier.
  • Cummerbund must be 4″ wide or less to fit the space allowed by the plate carrier.

OUR RATING

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
Durability9
Material Quality9
Comfort9
Design9.5
Webbing9
Cummerbund9
Overall Score9
Product Rating Table

Key Takeaways

The best plate carrier for big guys is one that is comfortable, rugged, durable, and that protects you. These are the minimum features you must insist on in a plate carrier because there’s no more important piece of gear except maybe your helmet!

In the past, durable gear that protected soldiers was enough. Today we’re seeing a move toward more comfortable plate carriers with more options for attaching gear and that can be worn for longer.

Extra padding and an emphasis on air flow and elevated mesh to keep you cool have become essential and you should try to find as perfect a vest as possible.

Your life depends on it!

Vern Lovic

Reviewed by Vern Lovic

Vern Lovic is a veteran of the United States Air Force. He served in the heart of the Pacific (PACAF) on Oahu, Hawaii at Hickam Air Force Base. For the last twenty years, he’s done hard time in Thailand’s jungles teaching visitors and locals how to manage their deadly venomous snake population. Read bio!

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