When it comes to plate carriers and plates, I like to use the smallest I can get away with. Of course this doesn’t give the largest amount of protection, but it does cover the organs that matter the most. I like to be able to keep as much mobility as possible. Like everything, it is a trade off.
Here are pictures of my friends PC on the left and mine of the right.
He uses the Diamond Back Fast attack PC for work doing entries and other duties as an officer in his states SP SWAT team. Mine is the Shell back TAG Banshee. My friend uses Level 4 plates that are “stand alone, while I use the ESAPI plates with soft armor backers to keep weight down. The Level 4 plates are too heavy for my tastes. Mine are size small to allow as much movement as possible as well as trying to keep the weight down. his is the medium sized stand alone plates. Both PC has as little on them as possible with most relegated to belts.
This picture gives a good view of how the plates fight in the respective plate carriers.
Remember, you can not just throw on plates. It is important to make sure the PC fits correctly and the plates cover the area they need to and not set too low on the body.