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How Much Does a Plate Carrier Weigh

How Much Does a Plate Carrier Weigh?

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Are you looking for the perfect piece of gear to complete your tactical kit? A plate carrier might be exactly what you need. Plate carriers are a great way to provide protection without sacrificing mobility, and they come in a variety of sizes and styles.

But one question that often comes up when looking for a plate carrier is how much does it weigh?

The answer depends on the type of material used in its construction, the plate carrier type as well as the size and number of plates included with it.

Generally speaking, most standard-sized plate carriers without plates will range from 1 to 4 pounds, and with hard armor front and back plates it will be between 8 and 24 pounds.

Now in this article let’s take a closer look at how much different plate carriers weigh and the factors that affect the weight of a plate carrier. So, let’s get started!

What Is a Plate Carrier?

First of all, let’s talk about what a plate carrier is. A plate carrier is a piece of body armor designed to be worn over the torso. A plate carrier is a type of body armor designed to carry ballistic plates in order to provide protection from high-velocity rounds, shrapnel, and other ballistic threats.

Plate carriers themselves are just specific vests that carry plates, usually in a pocket on the inside of the vest. Generally speaking, those vests themselves don’t provide any protection, they simply hold the plates.

They generally have two inserts for plates, one in the front and one in the back. Some plate carriers also have inserts for side plates to provide more coverage. Also, most plate carriers can be fitted with extra side plate holding pouches thanks to the MOLLE attachment system.

In addition to providing protection from ballistic threats, plate carriers can also provide additional pockets and compartments for storing other equipment like magazines or medical supplies. They are usually covered with MOLLE webbing, which allows for the attachment of additional pouches and accessories.

AR Concealment™ Plate Carrier
AR Concealment™ Plate Carrier
Spartan Armor Systems Sentinel High Mobility Plate Carrier
Spartan Armor Systems Sentinel High Mobility Plate Carrier
AR500 Armor Testudo Lite Plate Carrier
AR500 Armor Testudo Lite Plate Carrier

Why Is Weight Important in a Plate Carrier?

Just like with any other type of tactical gear, weight is an important factor to consider when we look at plate carriers. The weight of the carrier affects your mobility, and a heavier plate carrier can cause more fatigue.

The heavier your plate carrier is, the more of a strain it puts on your body. On the other hand, a lightweight plate carrier can be worn for longer periods of time without causing as much fatigue or discomfort.

Also, remember that considering weight is important for both the carrier vest and the ballistic plates. Every pound you save on the plates adds up to a more comfortable experience when carrying your plate carrier.

How Much Does a Plate Carrier Weigh?

Now let’s get to the main subject of how much plate carriers weigh. When we talk about the weight of a plate carrier we should distinguish between the weight of the vest, the weight of the plates, and the weight of a fully loaded plate carrier setup.

As the weight of the vest itself is quite small compared to a plate carrier loaded up with plates or with a full-blown tactical loadout.

So let’s take a look at the weights of each of the three.

Weight of Plate Carrier Vest

So first up, the weight of the vest itself. Plate carriers are actually usually made of relatively lightweight materials, such as some specific polyester blend or nylon. There are plate carriers that are made of ballistic materials like kevlar, but these are very uncommon.

The average plate carrier vest weighs between 1 pound and 4 pounds. You most likely won’t find anything under 1 pound, but there are definitely heavier plate carriers than 4 out there.

At the lower end of the scale at 1 to 1.5 pounds we usually have very minimalistic plate carriers that are either meant for concealed carry or are just very basic. These carriers often don’t have any additional features, might not even have any MOLLE webbing, and usually don’t have a cummerbund.

At 1.5 to 3 pounds we have pretty much normal plate carriers. They are full-sized plate carriers that still take a bit more minimalistic or at least a low-profile approach. They are not too bulky, but still, have enough features and MOLLE webbing to accommodate additional pouches and accessories.

And at 3+ pounds we have what is considered heavy-duty plate carriers. These carriers are usually a lot bulkier, have a cummerbund, they have a much larger cut, and have more features (like admin pockets, drag handles and etc.).

Weight of Plate Carrier Plates

So we took a look at the weight of the carrier itself, and now let’s take a look at the weight of the plates. These are the “bad boys” that are going to add the real weight to your plate carrier.

Now, the weight of the plates is affected by a few factors like type, size, cut, extra coatings, and material. We will take a closer look at those factors later on in the article.

For now, let’s just focus on the average weight of a plate carrier plate. An average front (or back) plate is around 3 to 10 pounds. And you will have two of those (front and back), so the plates will add a total of 6 to 20 pounds to your plate carrier.

As we have mentioned a few times in this article, plate carriers can also have side plates. Side plates are a lot smaller in size and also lighter. The average weight of a side plate is usually around 2 to 5 pounds, so if you add two side plates (one on each side), then that’s an extra 4 to 10 pounds of weight.

So with both the main plates (front and back) and side plates, we are looking at a total of 10 to 30 pounds of additional weight. Now when we add the weight of the vest itself as well, then we are looking at about 11 to 34 pounds. Without the side plates, it’s gonna be 7 to 24 pounds.

Weight of a Plate Carrier Setup

You should have a pretty good idea of what both an empty plate carrier and one loaded with plates weighs, so now let’s take a look at how much weight you are looking at when you add other tactical gear to your plate carrier setup.

First a quick overview of some of the most common pieces of gear that you might find on a plate carrier setup. The average plate carrier setup consists of magazine pouches, medical gear, utility pouches, and accessories like patches and etc.

So an average soldier will have a minimum of 3 magazines on his/hers plate carrier (but it can reach up to 9). The average weight of an AR15 loaded magazine is around 1 pound, the magazine pouch itself. An average IFAK pouch that is loaded up with first aid gear will weigh roughly 1.5 pounds.

It’s impossible to give even a rough estimation for other pouches and accessories that some people use as it simply varies too much from setup to setup, but let’s say that’s an extra 5 pounds.

And let’s say that the average plate carrier weighs 3 pounds and the plates are 8 pounds each.

So let’s calculate: 3 magazine pouches (3 pounds) + IFAK (1.5 pounds) + Other pouches (5 pounds) + your plate carrier (3 pounds) + 2 plates ( 16 pounds) = 28.5 pounds!!!

Now as you see that’s a lot of weight. But that’s just a rough estimation and a lot of people will have a lot more stuff on their plate carrier setup so it could easily add up to 25-50 pounds or even more.

Premier Body Armor Stratis Level III+ Enhanced Plate
Premier Body Armor Stratis Level III+ Enhanced Plate
AR550 Body Armor Shooters Cut Set Of Two
AR550 Body Armor Shooters Cut Set Of Two
AR500 A2 - Alloy Body Armor
AR500 A2 – Alloy Body Armor

What Affects the Weight of a Plate Carrier?

We have already discussed the average weight of a plate carrier and its plates, and we have also already mentioned some of the factors that affect the weight of the plate carrier. But let’s take a quick look at these factors.

  • The type of your plate carrier.
  • Materials used to make the plate carrier.
  • Size of the plate carrier.
  • Even additional features add weight.
  • What plates you use.
  • The cut of the plates.
  • The material of the plates.
  • Size of the plates.

In Conclusion

  • A plate carrier without plates will weigh around 1 to 4 pounds.
  • A plate carrier with front and back plates will weigh around 7 to 24 pounds.
  • A plate carrier with front, back, and side plates will weigh around 11 to 34 pounds.
  • A plate carrier setup will weigh around 20 to 50 pounds.
  • The weight of the carrier depends on the type of carrier, materials used, size, and additional features.
  • Plates also vary in weight which depends on their material, cut, and size.

So overall, the weight of your plate carrier will depend on many things, and the weight of your whole plate carrier setup will depend on the types of gear that you decide to use.

When you are choosing the best plate carrier for your needs, make sure to take into consideration not only comfort and protection but also the weight of your setup. Knowing these factors will help you choose a plate carrier that meets your needs and is comfortable to wear.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about finding what works for you and what will fit your needs. But do remember that the more weight you are carrying, the more strain it will put on your body.

Hope this article was helpful! Thanks for reading.

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