In today’s world, having a plate carrier is no longer reserved for military and law enforcement personnel. It has become an essential piece of equipment for civilians who want to protect themselves in emergency situations or just enjoy outdoor activities like hunting and shooting. A plate carrier can provide you with the protection you need while also offering plenty of storage space to carry your gear.
But with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to find one that meets your needs and fits within your budget. To help narrow down your choices, we’ve put together a list of the seven best plate carriers for civilians and especially for home defense.
From lightweight vests designed for comfort and mobility to heavy-duty models built for maximum protection, there’s something here for everyone — regardless of their budget or intended use. So read on to find out which plate carrier is right for you!
Best Plate Carriers for Civilians and for Home Defense
What to look for in a plate carrier?
Several factors must be considered when choosing a plate carrier to ensure that you select the one that best suits your needs. Here are some important characteristics to look for in a plate carrier, including the level of protection, comfort, durability, weight, and compatibility. By understanding these factors, you’ll be able to choose the best plate carrier that meets your specific needs and requirements.
- Use: The intended use of the plate carrier is an important consideration. Plate carriers designed for tactical operations will differ from those designed for home defense or emergencies. Ensure that the carrier you select is appropriate for your particular use case.
- Types: Plate carriers can be either overt or covert. Overt carriers are designed to be worn over clothing and are therefore visible, whereas covert carriers are designed to be worn under clothing and are therefore concealed. Typically, overt carriers are bulkier and offer greater protection, whereas covert carriers are lighter and provide greater concealment.
- Durability: The plate carrier should be constructed from high-quality, resilient materials that can withstand the rigors of regular use. Look for carriers made from materials with a reputation for durability and abrasion resistance, such as Cordura nylon. The stitching should be sturdy and reinforced, and the carrier should be wear-resistant.
- Fit: The carrier’s ability to provide adequate protection is contingent on its proper fit. Look for carriers with straps and buckles that are adjustable so that you can achieve a snug and comfortable fit. The carrier must fit properly and not shift position during movement.
- Comfort: A plate carrier should be comfortable to wear for long periods of time. To ensure a comfortable fit, search for baby carriers with padding and ventilation. In addition, some carriers include adjustable straps that allow you to adjust the weight distribution, thereby reducing fatigue and discomfort.
- Webbing: Plate carriers feature webbing or MOLLE systems that permit the attachment of pouches, holsters, and other equipment. Look for carriers with sufficient webbing to attach the necessary equipment. Ensure that the webbing is of high quality and durable enough to withstand regular use.
- Ease of use: The carrier should be simple to put on and remove quickly, particularly in emergency situations. Some carriers are equipped with quick-release buckles that allow you to quickly remove the carrier in an emergency.
- Weight: Weight is also an important factor to consider, especially if the carrier will be worn for extended periods. Consider carriers made of lightweight yet protective materials. The carrier should be well-balanced and should not cause back shoulder, or neck strain.
- Other things to consider: Price, color, style, and the reputation of the brand are additional factors to consider. Choose a plate carrier that fits your budget and aesthetic preferences, and make sure the brand has a solid reputation for manufacturing high-quality plate carriers.
In conclusion, selecting a plate carrier requires consideration of the intended application, type, durability, fit, comfort, webbing, usability, and weight, among other factors. By considering these factors, you can select a carrier that provides the appropriate level of protection, comfort, and compatibility for your requirements.
1. 5.11 Tactical Tac Tec Plate Carrier
The 5.11 Tactical Tac Tec Plate Carrier is the best plate carrier for civilians and an exceptional piece of tactical equipment designed to offer superior protection, comfort, and versatility to those who require dependable body armor for home defense. The 5.11 Tactical Tac Tec Plate Carrier is the best plate carrier for home defense and a premium product that offers an unmatched combination of performance and durability.
The 5.11 Tactical Tac Tec Plate Carrier is distinguished by its tensional bands, which allow for a custom fit that can be tailored to your body size and shape. This ensures that the plate carrier remains securely in place and does not shift during vigorous movement. The adjustable waistband provides additional support and stability, reducing the risk of injury and ensuring the plate carrier remains in place during strenuous activities.
The 5.11 Tactical Tac Tec Plate Carrier can accommodate medium or large ballistic plates, making it ideal for individuals who require enhanced personal protection in hazardous situations. The plate carrier’s back yoke shoulder pads are designed to distribute weight evenly, allowing you to wear it for extended periods of time without experiencing discomfort or strain.
In addition to its protective capabilities, the 5.11 Tactical Tac Tec Plate Carrier provides enhanced comfort and freedom of movement, which is essential for individuals who must maintain agility and flexibility in high-stress situations. Even in the hottest and most humid conditions, the plate carrier’s oversized airflow panels promote airflow and ventilation, keeping you cool and comfortable.
The plate carrier is also equipped with an extendable GrabDrag handle for emergency exfiltration, allowing you to quickly and easily escape from potentially hazardous situations. In the event of an emergency, the one-handed quick-release feature allows you to remove the plate carrier without having to fiddle with complicated buckles or straps.
The 5.11 Tactical Tac Tec Plate Carrier is constructed from high-quality, abrasion-resistant 500D nylon, ensuring that it can withstand the rigors of rigorous use without tearing or wearing out. The plate carrier is also water-resistant, allowing it to be utilized in a variety of weather conditions without becoming saturated or cumbersome.
In addition to its tactical applications, the 5.11 Tactical Tac Tec Plate Carrier can accommodate weighted plates for increased resistance training, making it suitable for fitness training. This makes it an excellent option for those who wish to increase their strength, stamina, and self-defense skills.
The plate carrier is compatible with medium (12.5×9.5x2in) and large (13.25×10.25×2.25in) SAPI plates with a width of 24mm, making it a versatile piece of equipment that can be tailored to your specific needs. Additionally, the MOLLE/Velcro accessory attachment system provides ample space for additional pouches, holsters, and other tactical equipment, allowing you to tailor your setup to your specific needs.
The 5.11 Tactical Tac Tec Plate Carrier is an exceptional product that provides both functionality and durability. It provides superior protection, comfort, and versatility for law enforcement and self-defense personnel seeking dependable body armor. The adjustable fit, water-resistant coating, and extendable GrabDrag handle make it an ideal option for individuals seeking dependable body armor for a variety of uses, including home defense. Overall, the 5.11 Tactical Tac Tec Plate Carrier is a premium product that comes highly recommended to anyone looking for high-quality, dependable body armor.
- Lightweight and comfortable for movement.
- Compatible with medium or large ballistic protection plates.
- Back yoke shoulder pads evenly distribute force.
- Waist and tensional bands that can be adjusted for a customized fit.
- Some users may find the MOLLE/Velcro attachment system to be less user-friendly.
2. Blue Force Gear Plateminus 3 Plate Carrier
Blue Force Gear’s Plateminus 3 Plate Carrier is an ultralight, low-profile plate carrier designed for maximum mobility and adaptability. It is ideal for those who require a dependable plate carrier for low-visibility work or everyday use. The PLATEminus plate carrier is constructed with innovative materials and design features that set it apart from other plate carriers on the market.
The lightweight construction of the PLATEminus carrier is one of its defining characteristics. This plate carrier is designed to be as light as possible without sacrificing functionality or protection. The PLATEminus carrier is one of the lightest plate carriers available, weighing only 12 ounces. This makes it ideal for use in law enforcement and military operations where mobility and swiftness are essential.
Additionally, the PLATEminus carrier is fully MOLLE compatible, allowing it to be customized with a vast array of accessories and attachments. This makes it an ideal platform for transporting all of the mission-required gear and equipment.
The plate pockets on the PLATEminus carrier are made from color-matched CORDURA material, which reduces your signature and eliminates the need for separate plate socks or painting.
Shoulder straps are another innovative feature of the PLATEminus carrier. These straps are fully length-adjustable and feature hook-and-loop fasteners that are compatible with the LMAC Enhanced Shoulder Pads. Additionally, the shoulder straps include sewn-in One-Wrap for cable and hydration routing, allowing for simple and efficient cable management. The shoulder straps are edge-stable and can be trimmed by the end user to reduce additional weight and bulk.
In addition, the side straps of the PLATEminus carrier are made of 1-inch webbing with elastic expansion sections to absorb movement and provide breathing space during strenuous activities. The side straps are fastened with side-release buckles for speedy donning and doffing.
The Blue Force Gear Plateminus 3 Plate Carrier is the best plate carrier for civilian use due to its superior quality and durable, low-profile design. Its lightweight construction, MOLLE compatibility, and versatile design make it ideal for a variety of applications, including military, law enforcement, and everyday wear.
Whether you require a carrier for daily use or high-stress situations, the PLATEminus carrier provides exceptional performance and security. You can rely on the PLATEminus carrier to meet your requirements and provide the highest level of protection for civilian use.
- Its lightweight and low-profile design makes it ideal for low-visibility work and undergarments.
- MOLLE compatibility allows for the attachment and personalization of various accessories.
- Plate pockets constructed from color-matched CORDURA and Tweave materials reduce signatures and accommodate plates of various sizes and shapes.
- Adjustable shoulder straps with sewn-in cable and hydration routing provide added convenience and customizability.
- Users who require more carrying capacity or protection may find the minimalist design unsuitable.
- The use of elastic expansion sections in the side straps may compromise the durability and long-term dependability of the carrier.
3. Ace Link Armor RECOIL PLATE CARRIER
The Ace Link Armor RECOIL PLATE CARRIER is the best plate carrier for civilians and home defense, as it is designed for law enforcement, the military, and outdoor activities such as hunting and hiking. The plate carrier’s slim profile and adjustable fit options make it an excellent choice for anyone seeking a daily-use, high-quality plate carrier. The carrier is made from high-quality materials that provide durability, comfort, and functionality, allowing you to maximize its use.
The design of the RECOIL PLATE CARRIER renders the plate carrier both lightweight and extremely durable. All weight is evenly distributed across the shoulders during use, and the entire system will not feel cumbersome or difficult to wear. This design ensures that the carrier is comfortable to wear for long periods of time, making it an excellent option for anyone who needs to wear it for extended periods.
The RECOIL PLATE CARRIER is a lightweight and functional modern minimalist plate carrier. The carrier is designed for use with RECOIL PADS, which provides additional comfort and protection. These pads are constructed from high-quality materials and are intended to reduce the impact of any blows or impacts you may sustain while wearing the carrier.
Additionally, the carrier is MOLLE compatible, allowing you to attach additional pouches and accessories as needed. This is an excellent feature for those who need to carry additional equipment while wearing the carrier. The MOLLE webbing cummerbund system allows side armor MOLLE pouches to be mounted as desired while keeping your front and back armour plate carriers in place and allowing your body to remain cool in warmer conditions.
The RECOIL PLATE CARRIER is constructed from high-quality materials, ensuring its durability and longevity for many years. The carrier is made from a combination of the strong and durable materials Cordura and Nylon. Additionally, the carrier has reinforced stitching, which increases its durability and ensures it can withstand heavy use.
The design of the carrier also makes it user-friendly. The adjustable shoulder straps and cummerbund make it simple to adjust the carrier to your body, ensuring a snug and comfortable fit. The carrier’s drag handle makes it simple to transport a wounded individual to safety.
The Ace Link Armor RECOIL PLATE CARRIER is the best plate carrier for civilians who need to wear it for extended periods of time because it provides both comfort and durability. It is also an excellent option for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hunting or hiking. With MOLLE compatibility, you can add pouches and accessories to tailor it to your needs. The adjustable straps and cummerbund allow for a secure and comfortable fit.
It is constructed of durable, high-quality materials designed to last for years. Additionally, the carrier includes a drag handle, which is essential for home defense and rescue situations. The Ace Link Armor RECOIL PLATE CARRIER is the best plate carrier for home defense and for anyone who requires a functional and comfortable plate carrier.
- With its slim profile and adjustable fit options, it is suitable for daily use.
- High-quality materials that provide durability, comfort, and functionality.
- Weight is evenly distributed across the shoulders, making it easy to wear.
- Possibly insufficient protection for high-risk scenarios.
4. RTS Tactical Advanced Sleek 2.0 Plate Carrier
The RTS Tactical Advanced Sleek 2.0 Plate Carrier is a state-of-the-art piece of tactical equipment designed to meet the needs of warfighters, operators, and law enforcement personnel in rapidly evolving tactical situations.
The RTS Tactical Advanced Sleek 2.0 Plate Carrier is a high-quality plate carrier suitable for civilians, especially those interested in personal protection or outdoor activities such as hunting or hiking.
The Sleek 2.0 is designed to be lightweight, durable, and comfortable, making it an excellent option for anyone seeking a regular-use plate carrier. This plate carrier is a low-profile option that offers complete active ballistic protection while remaining discrete and easy to don and doff.
The sleek and lightweight design of the Sleek 2.0 is one of its key characteristics. This carrier is designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, allowing the wearer to maintain anonymity. Despite its lightweight design, the Sleek 2.0 makes no concessions in terms of protection. It has been rigorously tested in the most extreme environments and conditions to ensure that it can withstand the most difficult obstacles.
Additionally, the Sleek 2.0 was designed with comfort in mind. The elastic side construction of the carrier keeps the armor inserts snug against the body while in motion, allowing the user to wear the carrier longer without experiencing discomfort. This is especially crucial for law enforcement personnel and operators who may be required to wear their armor for extended periods.
The Sleek 2.0 is compatible with a variety of plates, including 10×12 Level lllA Soft, 10×12 Level lll & lll+ Steel, and 10×12 Level lV Ceramic. This allows users to select the plates that meet their needs and preferences the best. The size of the plate carrier allows for a secure fit, while the plate carrier itself remains lightweight and unobtrusive, making it an ideal choice for those in need of a concealable plate carrier. Moreover, its tough and durable construction provides excellent protection without sacrificing mobility or agility.
The Sleek 2.0 is quick and simple to don and doff, making it ideal for covert operations requiring speed and discretion. The carrier is designed to be intuitive and simple to use, allowing the user to put it on or take it off without difficulty.
Overall, the RTS Tactical Advanced Sleek 2.0 Plate Carrier is an exceptional piece of tactical equipment that offers complete active ballistic protection while remaining sleek, lightweight, and comfortable. It has been rigorously tested in the most extreme environments and conditions to ensure that it can withstand the most difficult obstacles. The Sleek 2.0 is an excellent choice for warfighters, operators, and law enforcement personnel who require a low-profile, highly effective plate carrier.
- The carrier’s low-profile design and elastic side construction provide the user with comfort and mobility.
- It provides complete active ballistic protection, making it suitable for covert missions and operations.
- To ensure durability and performance, the product is subjected to rigorous testing in hostile environments.
- The price may be a bit high for some users.
5. Black Hawk FOUNDATION SERIES PLATE CARRIERS
The Black Hawk Foundation Series Plate Carrier is one of the best options for civilians who require a highly modular and adaptable armor carrier system. It is the best plate carrier for civilians who need to lose weight where it counts due to its lightweight design, which is made possible by the use of cutting-edge fabric technology, such as laser-cut laminate 1000D/500D nylon. The strength of this carrier system is not compromised, allowing the user to travel further, longer, faster, and stronger than ever before.
The modularity of the Foundation Plate Carrier is one of its defining characteristics. By utilizing detachable split-bar buckles and interchangeable standard placards, it is possible to rapidly reconfigure the equipment for the next mission. This allows for simple scaling between Foundation Plate Carriers and Foundation Chest Rigs, giving the user the ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances.
The Black Hawk Foundation Series Plate Carrier is designed to be universally sized, with SM/MD accommodating plates measuring up to 9.5″ x 12.5″ and MD/LG accommodating plates measuring up to 10.5″ x 13.25″. The elastic cumberbund offers superior flexibility and comfort, making it easy to wear for extended periods without experiencing discomfort.
Foundation Plate Carrier’s lightweight design is achieved through the use of cutting-edge fabric technology, such as laser-cut 1000D/500D laminate nylon. This material achieves the lowest possible weight without sacrificing strength. The resulting carrier system weighs only one pound without armor, making it one of the lightest carrier systems currently available.
The Black Hawk Foundation Series Plate Carrier is offered in a variety of colors to accommodate the preferences and needs of users. Black, coyote tan, ranger green, and multi-cam are the colors available. Black is a timeless color that is both stylish and functional, making it ideal for those who wish to maintain a low profile.
Overall, the Black Hawk Foundation Series Plate Carrier is an excellent option for those in search of a highly modular and versatile armor carrier system. Its lightweight design and superior comfort make it ideal for extended use, and its modularity makes switching between Foundation Plate Carriers and Foundation Chest Rigs simple. Utilizing cutting-edge fabric technology, this carrier system is not only lightweight but also strong and resilient, making it a dependable option for any mission.
- Highly modular.
- Utilizing cutting-edge fabric technology, an extremely lightweight design was created.
- Modularity is provided by detachable split-bar buckles and standard, interchangeable placards.
- Elastic cummerbund provides superior flexibility and comfort.
- Sizes that fit all may not be optimal for all users.
6. UARM RPC Robust Plate Carrier
The UARM RPC Robust Plate Carrier Near-Infrared is the best plate carrier for civilians, providing an advanced armor carrier system designed to protect the user in the most dangerous situations.
The RPC combines a familiar plate carrier design with the requirements of the modern battlefield, providing unmatched durability and compatibility with all types of modules. The optional armored cummerbund, neck, shoulder, intestine, and groin modules provide additional ballistic protection for high-threat environments.
The RPC is compatible with SAPI/ESAPI plates, adhering to the industry standard for optimal comfort and performance. For an effective and compatible fit, it is crucial that the size of your plate corresponds to the size of your vest; this is an essential step in constructing the ideal rig. The RPC has ventilated panels, padded loadbearing points, and premium multilayered liners that provide superior comfort and thermal management, allowing you to fight longer and harder.
The UARM RPC Robust Plate Carrier Near-Infrared adheres to MIL-SPEC specifications to ensure uncompromised combat functionality, durability, and longevity. The product is durable and manufactured with dependable quality, which could save lives in dangerous situations. In addition, the RPC is constructed with NIR (near-infrared) materials that significantly reduce your detectable heat signature, aiding in camouflage against enemy night vision systems. This enables the user to blend into their environment and carry out their mission undetected.
The RPC is highly adaptable and is available in sixteen size configurations to perfectly fit the operator. The vest is also available in four sizes that correspond to the four SAPI/ESAPI standard sizes. Four sizes and three types of modular cummerbund options are available, including skeletal (lightweight), pocket (compatible with soft armor and hard side armor), and elastic (better fit).
Additionally, the RPC is compatible with two types of chest rigs: straps (durability) and laser-cut (lightweight). On both the back and front of the RPC is a comprehensive array of gear attachment PALS loops, allowing the user to attach various accessories as needed. Additionally, the RPC is compatible with eight FAS Full Armor System modules.
Materials-wise, the UARM RPC Robust Plate Carrier Near-Infrared uses Murdock Webbing, Texcel, and Cordura fabrics to ensure combat durability and longevity. The design prevents gear clashes by balancing the weight with an ergonomic fit and incorporating lightweight, breathable shoulder pads for added comfort. In addition to a front and back Velcro panel for ID attachments, the RPC features an interior attachment for EVV Exchangeable Vest Ventilation.
Overall, the UARM RPC Robust Plate Carrier Near-Infrared offers superior protection and comfort in the most perilous situations. The RPC’s customizability and compatibility with a variety of accessories make it an adaptable option for a variety of missions, and the use of advanced materials and skilled craftsmanship ensures that it can withstand even the most extreme conditions.
- Superior protection system designed for use in hazardous situations.
- Complete compatibility with every type of module.
- Armoured cummerbund, neck, shoulder, intestine, and groin modules for enhanced protection in hostile environments.
- Standard compatibility with SAPI/ESAPI plates for optimal comfort and performance.
- The product is hefty and cumbersome due to its premium materials and cutting-edge design.
7. Shellback Tactical Defender 2.0 Plate Carrier
The Shellback Tactical Defender 2.0 Active Shooter Kit is an all-inclusive solution for preparing for an active shooter situation. This package consists of the Shellback Tactical Defender 2.0 Plate Carrier and the Shellback Tactical Kit Carrying Bag. The Defender 2.0 Plate Carrier is made from 500 Denier Nylon and is designed to carry 10 x 12 shooter-cut plates.
The Defender 2.0 Plate Carrier provides exceptional comfort and mobility due to its lightweight laser-cut MOLLE, fully adjustable side straps and shoulders, and integrated padded shoulder pads. Front and back MOLLE loop panels allow for the attachment of placards and patches.
In addition, the Shellback Tactical Kit Carrying Bag is designed to hold a fully-loaded plate carrier, making it simple to transport and store. With all of these features, the Shellback Tactical Defender 2.0 Active Shooter Kit is an excellent option for anyone looking for dependable protection in a plate carrier size that fits the majority of individuals.
The lightweight laser-cut molle system allows for customization and flexibility, while the fully adjustable shoulder straps and side straps provide a comfortable and secure fit for the majority of body types. Even with prolonged use, the integrated padded shoulder pads provide added comfort.
The front and rear molle loop panels permit the attachment of placards and patches, allowing the user to customize the carrier to their liking. In addition, the carrier has two integrated kangaroo M4 magazine pouches with bungee retention for easy access to additional ammunition.
The carrier also has an integrated tourniquet pouch with a red tab for easy identification, ensuring that this essential tool is always within reach. A drag handle on the back of the carrier makes it simple to extricate the wearer from perilous situations.
The Shellback Tactical Kit Carrying Bag is designed to hold a fully loaded plate carrier, providing a secure and convenient storage solution. The bag is made from 500 Denier Nylon and has two carrying straps for convenience. Loop panels allow for the attachment of ID placards and patches, and a zipper closure protects and secures the carrier during transportation.
The Shellback Tactical Defender 2.0 Active Shooter Kit is an all-inclusive solution for those who wish to be prepared for active shooter situations. The carrier’s design provides ample storage space for vital equipment and ammunition.
The Kit Carrying Bag offers a secure and convenient storage solution for the carrier, making it simple to transport and store when not in use. The Shellback Tactical Defender 2.0 Active Shooter Kit is an excellent investment for those who wish to remain prepared and protected in high-risk situations due to its durable construction and lifetime warranty.
- Complete kit for being prepared for a situation involving an active shooter.
- Durable and lightweight 500 Denier Nylon construction.
- Fully adjustable shoulder straps and side straps for a custom fit.
- Integrated M4 magazine and tourniquet pouches for added convenience.
- Both the plate carrier and kit carrying bag are covered by a lifetime warranty.
- Full protection requires the addition of personal hard armor plates.
- Only available in a carrier-only configuration, requiring the purchase of additional components separately.
Finding the right plate carrier for your needs can be a daunting task. From lightweight vests designed for comfort and mobility to heavy-duty models built for maximum protection, there’s something out there that will fit any budget or use-case scenario.
When looking for a plate carrier for civilian use, be sure to consider the weight, storage capacity, and comfort level of the vest.
Overall, we hope this list of the seven best plate carriers for civilians has given you an idea of what is available on the market today so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.
Whether it’s home defense or just enjoying outdoor activities like hunting and shooting, having the proper equipment is essential in keeping yourself safe from harm while still being able to enjoy life!
Thanks for reading and stay safe!