Once upon a time, it was quite a hassle to install body armor. Today, this is not the case. In fact, some setups are so easy that even a beginner can get it done in just a few minutes. If you are new to body armor and want to learn more about putting plates in the plate carrier, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started.
1. Get the Measurements
Be careful when it comes to taking measurements, and don’t forget about all of the situations you may find yourself in. Always keep in mind that most plate carriers are modular, so you can add a variety of attachments.
The vest section of a plate carrier is where the plates are going to go. This section should be long enough to go from just above the belly button to the bottom part of your collarbone. Width-wise, the plate carrier should go from the the middle part of the pectoral muscle on one side to the same part of the pectoral muscle on the other side.
The cummerbund should be the same measurement as the circumference of your rib cage while you are in a resting position. It should be neither too tight or too loose. It is important to always choose the right size. You may think that it is necessary to have a larger vest to add more plates, but ultimately, this is just going to make it difficult to move around easily. Stick with the size that fits you best.
Check out our review on the best plate carriers if you are in a need of finding new ones.
2. Prepare the Carrier
Once you have your plate carrier in the right size, it is time to prepare it. You will need to have a flat surface for this step. Attach the cummerbund and adjust it to the right size. It should be attached in the back, and tied in the same manner as shoelaces so there is plenty of flexibility without having to worry about it coming loose.
Before putting the plates in, add any other attachments you plan on using. If you are using MOLLE, it is best to do this prior to adding the plates. Once the attachments are in place, put your hand in the plate pocket to make sure that it is smooth and there is nothing in the way.
3. Install the Plates
Now we come to the easiest part of the whole setup, installing the plates. In a newer, modular system, there will be a pocket for the plate. All you need to do is slide the plate into the pocket, as far as it will go. You will be required to place one in the front and one in the back. Once the plates are in place, close the pockets with the straps or Velcro, depending on which type is used in your carrier.
4. Secure the Insert
Before trying on the plate carrier, make sure that the insert is secured in place. Check the pocket to make sure that it is stable, and that the closure is where it is supposed to be. To do this, simply shake the carrier a bit to make everything is staying in place. If the plates move around, you will need to do a bit more adjusting.
5. Check Your Balance
Once you have everything all set up, you will need to make sure that the plate carrier and plates are balanced properly on both sides of your body. Everything should be balanced equally, even if you have extra gear attached to the plate carrier.
The easiest way to put on a plate carrier is to pull the carrier upwards with the plates inside, and slide into it, laterally. Then, jump in place. If you are pulled out of balance, adjust the shoulder straps and/or the cummerbund. Jump again. If things are still out of place, you will need to readjust the plates and the other gear attached.
6. Check the Positioning
The final step of the process is to check on the positioning. Once everything is in place, you will need to make sure the plates are in the right location. You should be comfortable while sitting. You may have to adjust the shoulder straps for this step, as well as tighten or loosen the cummerbund.
Depending on your situation, there may be times when you are going to need body armor. It is important that you understand how to properly set it up in order to make sure that it is not only effective, but comfortable at the same time.
Make sure you adjust, readjust, and readjust again so your plate carrier fits right and does the job it is supposed to do. We also recommend using MOLLE, which will make setup even easier.