5 Best Plate Carriers - MidwayUSA (2023)

Plate carriers are major upgrades over normal chest rigs because they carry all your gear while also providing some protection in the form of ballistic plates. Somethings to consider are the size and weight of the plate carrier. Some low profile plate carriers only provide thorax protection while some have room for side plates. Most plate carriers will have molle webbing to attach molle accessories, like mag pouches. If what you are looking for isn't on this list, you can check out all plate carriers here.

5 Best Plate Carriers - MidwayUSA (2)

Grey Ghost Gear SMC Body Armor Plate Carrier

The Grey Ghost Gear SMC Body Armor Plate Carrier is Grey Ghost Gear's most advanced carrier design to date. Secretly in development for the past 2 years, the SMC (Shoot, Move, Communicate) is everything you've wanted in a lightweight, combat-ready plate carrier. Designed to carry a pair of 10x12 hard plates or most large SAPI plates (no plates included with this carrier), the cummerbund features MOLLE/PALS style webbing for the addition of pouches for side plates if you prefer your kidneys remain non-perforated. The front panel also features an open pocket for maps, water/cable retention or enough room for a fleece watch cap or gloves. This carrier is “one size fits most” thanks to its adjustable shoulder straps and cummerbund, ensuring a snug fit for just about every warrior’s body type. Should you find yourself on fire, trapped in a tight spot or unexpectedly going for a swim, the new ROC buckles on each shoulder strap and either side of the cummerbund can be rapidly released in case of emergency. These also make putting on the carrier much more convenient when you are in a hurry. The secret sauce behind the SMC is literally in the back. All these panels are compatible with SOCOM issued carriers with zippered back panel systems. View the whole line in the SMC Back Panel collection. As for the SMC carrier, breathable mesh is built into the cummerbund and inside faces of the carrier body for enhanced comfort. Interior padding enclosed in tweave gives the wearer additional comfort and air channels to wick away moisture. Longevity is also increased as cut edges do not fray after they are heat sealed with the laser.


  • YKK Zippers and webbing on the back panel
  • Six rows of MOLLE/PALS style webbing with built in matching loop material
  • Laser cut laminate nylon gives you all the modularity of traditional MOLLE webbing at a significant reduction in weight
  • Designed to carry 10" x 12" plates
  • Weight without plates: 1.5 lbs.

What Customers Are Saying


Trust me. Spend the extra money and you wont be disappointed. Very comfortable. Feels very high quality like it will last for years to come. The inner material is very breathable and stays surprisingly cool. I want to get a second one for my daughter.

- Texas patriot, 7/13/2020 Shop Now

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Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6 Plate Carrier

The Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6 Plate Carrier is built with the same fully MOLLE compatible MOLLEminus platform as the original PLATEminus. This provides fully modular load carriage capability but significantly reduces weight and bulk over traditional armor carriers. PLATEminus 6 is designed to hold ESAPI/SPEAR armored plates and has fully enclosed plate pockets which protect the plates. “Plate 6” provides users with built-in 6”x6” side plate pockets and cummerbund side closures. It also has a flat admin pocket behind the front loop field and a drag handle on the back.


  • Ball Loaded Index Points
  • Drag handle and Eyelet for Radio Back
  • Able to carry two magazines
  • Fits 6" x 6" side plates
  • Medium fits 9.5" x 12.5" plates
  • Large fits 10.125" x 13.25"

What Customers Are Saying

First-Class Fit, Finish & Quality

Excellent Quality. Actually designed to fit a large American Male. Actually well though-out and designed instead of a "me-too" carrier. Excellent use of cutting edge fabrics for lightness and durability. I have a lot of Blue Force Gear mag pouches and the like. All excellent quality and this carrier is the same.

- Greg, 7/22/2022 Shop Now

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5 Best Plate Carriers - MidwayUSA (6)

Velocity Systems SCARAB LT Body Armor Plate Carrier Nylon

The SCARAB LT features Velocity Systems patented swivel shoulder straps that were designed to alleviate common fit issues with traditional fixed angle shoulder straps (US Patent No. 9,894,962). The narrow ULTRAcomp shoulder straps articulate on a D-ring allowing them to sit correctly and comfortably on any user, regardless of neck thickness or shoulder broadness. The ULTRAcomp Shoulder Straps are adjustable for length and have a padded sleeve, that can also be used for cable routing.There is a color matching hook-and-loop Panel on the upper chest, a front expanded kangaroo pouch, and Integrated SwiftClip buckles for rapid on/doff of auxiliary chest worn equipment such as Chest Rigs and SwiftClip Placards. Color matching hook-and-loop on upper rear for Identification. The SCARAB LT also accepts Zip-On Back Panels. The SCARAB LT is sized to hold plates of corresponding sizes to the carrier, for example a size large carrier holds size large ESAPI Plates.

The SCARAB LT/LE Cummerbund has a hook-and-loop One-Wrap fingers that slide inside the button holes on the rear of the SCARAB LT carrier and affix to the interior wall of the plate pocket. 1” of Multi-Layer Elastic is built into each cummerbund finger to give some stretch. Each finger can independently be let in or out of the plate bag to accommodate different body figures, and they can be angled for correct armor placement. All hook and loop material used is color matching hook-and-loop fasteners. SCARAB LT Cummerbund is a lightweight and breathable cummerbund with MOLLE webbing on the exterior and interior. The SCARAB LT Molle features three rows of MOLLE webbing on the outer side / Three internal elastic mag pouches / Soft armor pocket with hook-and-loop closure / Plate pocket holds 6”x6” side plates when Side Plate Retention Strap is used.


  • Patented swivel shoulder straps with D-ring attachments (US Patent No. 9,894,962)
  • Narrow ULTRAcomp Shoulder Straps
  • Sized to hold plate of corresponding carrier size
  • Front expanded kangaroo pouch
  • Integrated SwiftClip buckles for rapid on/off
  • Color matching hook-and-loop Brand Loop Panel on the Upper Chest
  • Accepts Zip-On Back Panels
  • SCARAB LT/LE Cummerbund
  • Large fits 10.25" x 13.75" plates
  • Medium fits 9.5" x 12.5" plates

What Customers Are Saying

Best carrier hands down.

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Wore this carrier through a 5 day course in Camden Tennessee. With plates and mags. Worked great, distributed weight perfectly, best carrier I have ever worn. Worth every penny. My Haley strategic mag carrier clipped right to it.

- Jbud, 2/10/2020 Shop Now


5 Best Plate Carriers - MidwayUSA (8)

AR500 Armor Veritas Modular Plate Carrier

The AR500 Veritas (Latin for “Truth”) is the smaller and more modular design of its big brother, the Testudo. The Veritas is comfortable, well-ventilated, and lightweight plate carrier for 10”x12” hard armor plates. Although the carrier has a minimalist profile, it doesn’t sacrifice real estate. There are plenty of PALS webbing on the front of the carrier for attaching MOLLE-compatible pouches, holsters, and accessories. It is also easily customizable with the possible additions of a skeletonized cummerbund, multi-caliber Kangaroo triple mag pouch, padded side plates, and much more.


  • Constructed of genuine 500D Cordura nylon and bar-tacked at all stress points
  • Padded 3D mesh for comfort and ventilation
  • Military-grade, impact resistant American-made buckles
  • Vertical chest rig mount adapter webbing, vertical rear backpack mounts
  • Dual admin pockets with Hypalon easy-to-grip pull-tabs, upper admin pouch features elastic keepers for utility, front & rear hook and loop ID Panels.
  • Designed for 10" x 12" trapezoidal plates and will not work with square plates

What Customers Are Saying

Very good medium to small rig

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I brought this for my wife since she is a smaller framed person about 5' tall. It fits her very well as this is the biggest she would ever wear. The construction is very well done. Sewing is a hobby my wife and I share and we both looked over every stitch and stress points with a critical eye. The Velcro patches are insanely strong!!! Especially the internal flaps that hold in the plates. Be warned though as they're very rough and can abrade the skin of your hands while you're in contact with when adjusting the plates/pads.While not made in the USA (made in Vietnam). For the price point and the quality, I've no problems with purchasing this and using it.

- BlueKat, 6/22/2021 Shop Now


5 Best Plate Carriers - MidwayUSA (10)

Mayflower Assault Body Armor Plate Carrier Nylon

The Mayflower Assault Plate Carrier (APC) is designed to provide the wearer with a high degree of mobility while providing ample surface area for mounting mission essential pouches. The upper front of the APC contains an integral admin pouch with internal elastic loops to retain pens, pencils, chemlites or similar items. The front lower half of the APC has an integrated kangaroo pouch sized to hold up to three M4 sized magazines. The shoulder pads are made of a stretch woven material that allows enough elasticity to permit room for cable/hydration tube routing. The plate pockets are sized to accommodate Stand-Alone or ICW ESAPI or Swimmer cut plates. The APC comes with the Standard MOLLE, Plate Pocket Cummerbund (CBN3). The Standard MOLLE, Plate Pocket Cummerbund (CBN3) is designed to accept 6"x 6" hard armor plates or side soft armor inserts. All hook and loop material used is color matching hook-and-loop Fasteners.


  • Plate pockets are sized to accommodate Stand-Alone or ICW ESAPI or Swimmer cut plates
  • Integral admin pouch with internal elastic loops hold small accessories
  • Integral kangaroo pouch can hold up to three M4 magazines
  • Stretch woven shoulder pads offer elasticity
  • Hook and loop material is color matching hook-and-loop fasteners
  • Standard MOLLE, Plate Pocket Cummerbund (CBN3) model


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  • S/M APC fits size small, medium and 10"x12" sized plates
  • L/XL APC fits large and X-large plates
  • Armor/Plates Sold Separately


  • All Plate Carrier sizes S/M comes with Medium size CBN3 which fits (40”-50” Waist)
  • All Plate Carrier sizes L/XL comes with Large size CBN3 Which fits (44”-54” Waist)

What Customers Are Saying

Awesome carrier for a great price.

This isn't my first Mayflower carrier, and I'm got nothing but praise for Mayflower. They make a quality product you can roll around in the dirt with and trust it to not fall apart on you. I got a second carrier because I want to set up a carrier for a .308 rifle without taking apart my current 5.56 setup, and this was on clearance sale so it was the perfect opportunity to get a new one.For future reference, I ordered a Small/Medium size for plates and the carrier came with the Medium sized CBN3 Cummerbund. I didn't have an option to select what sized Cummerbund, but that is a Midway problem not the fault of Mayflower. Medium Cummerbunds are for 42-52" navels, and they are expensive to get a spare/replacement so be wary if you're a larger person.

- Basketball Bears, 3/8/2019 Shop Now


What are the best plates for a plate carrier? ›

Made in the USA, the RMA Defense Level IV NIJ . 06 Certified Hard Armor Plates (1155) are an ideal choice for anyone who might need ballistic protection against larger ballistics or firearms. This is the best-selling armor plate brand among law enforcement officers in the US.

What is the best armor plate carrier? ›

  • DL Plate Carrier + FLEX FUSED CORE SOFT ARMOR PLATES by Spartan Armor Systems.
  • TacTec Plate Carrier by 5.11 Tactical.
  • Modular Operator Plate Carrier by Condor Outdoor.
  • Modular Plate Carrier by LBX Tactical.
  • Banshee Elite 2.0 Plate Carrier by Shellback Tactical.
Oct 17, 2022

What plate carrier does the FBI use? ›

TYR Tactical has been creating female body armor since 2013 and has several patents based upon its unique shape and design. Over the years, the extensive testing that has taken place is applied to this carrier's design for the FBI.

What brand of plate carrier does the military use? ›

The Soldier Plate Carrier System (SPCS) (also known as KDH Magnum TAC-1) in MultiCam pattern is the standard- issued US Army plate carrier. The current Air Force plate carrier is the Tyr Tactical EPIC plate carrier.

What plate carrier do Navy Seals use? ›

The plate carrier most often seen is the Crye Precision AVS, although JPCs, slick carriers and chest rigs have also been used.

What body armor do Navy Seals use? ›

SAPI and ESAPI are the most technically advanced body armor fielded by the U.S. military, and are constructed of boron carbide ceramic with a Spectra shield backing that breaks down projectiles and halts their momentum.

What plate carrier does Delta Force use? ›

Plate Carrier and Pouches

That being said, I've seen the Crye Precision JPC 2.0 most commonly, followed by the Crye Precision SPC. They are also arranged according to each operator's preferences and speciality. Medics, breachers, and assaulters will all have different set ups that allow them to do their job the best.

What plate carrier do Marine Raiders use? ›

The plate carrier you most often see on Marine Raiders is the Crye Precision, Cage plate carrier. They are often pictured with the full assortment of Crye pouches that comes in the Crye Smart Pouch Suite.

What are the strongest armor plates? ›

NIJ Level IV body armor is the highest level of ballistic protection, according to the National Institute of Justice. There are hundreds of body armor companies that sell personal ballistic protection.

What kind of plate carriers do SWAT use? ›

Tactical Overt Carriers

For this reason, the SWAT and tactical teams often use overt bulletproof vests, when they go into the field.

What is the highest level plate carrier? ›

The highest NIJ body armor plate level rating is level IV, which will stop rounds of up to 30/06 steel core armor-piercing bullets.

What level plate does the US military use? ›

The U.S. military wears only NIJ-Listed Level 4 plates in active combat environments, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and small conflicts in Africa and South America. The reason they always wear 4 is the protection it offers versus Level 3 plates.

Who makes the new USMC plate carrier? ›

Marines will soon be getting their hands on a new lighter and better fitting plate carrier. On Wednesday, the Defense Department announced that a five-year contract of $62,612,464 was awarded to Vertical Protective Apparel LLC, a New Jersey-based company, to produce the Corps' Plate Carrier Generation III.

How heavy is a USMC plate carrier? ›

The plate carrier alone will weigh 7lbs at least and can go up to 30. When you include the helmet, arms, mags, and all the additional gear, these can add up really quickly.

Does the US military use ceramic or steel plates? ›

The US military uses ceramic plates for their rifle-rated plates. Having a plate for protection prevents blunt force trauma and stops rounds outside of Kevlar's certified threat level of protection.

What size plates do I need for my plate carrier? ›

The most common armor plates' size is 10x12 and it should be enough to cover vital organs for more than 80% of the population.

What should I attach to my plate carrier? ›

Outside of the kit, tourniquets should be distributed across the body where they can again be accessed by both hands. Individual application will vary, but generally speaking at least one tourniquet should be attached to the plate carrier, even when worn in conjunction with a duty belt.

What brand of plate carrier does the USMC use? ›

The Scalable Plate Carrier (SPC) is a plate carrier used by the United States Marine Corps as an alternative to the heavier Modular Tactical Vest (MTV).

Are AR500 plate carriers good? ›

AR500 Armor has some pretty decent plate carriers. See them all here. The first one we tested was the Testudo carrier which was very padded, had a side cumberbund, and the most comfortable shoulder pads I've used. Plenty of molle to attach anything you'll need.


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