Regular readers of the website may have noticed a certain piece of gear popping up in pictures for the most part of this year. The multi cam plate carrier seen in most gun test reviews is a product of High Com Security. HCS very kindly sent me the PC and the rifle plates inside it, for testing and evaluation. I have had it since last winter and have been heavily using it over the past months. This review is the first part in what will be an ongoing longer term test and review. Since buying armor is not sexy and can be a considerable investment for most gun owners, I will be wearing and using the PC and armor heavily to report on how it stands up. I hope this will help decide for some of you who are on the fence about getting armor since I think everyone who can, should have it just as much as a gun for personal protection.
If you don’t know about HCS, I will post the blurb from their website to get you filled in since they can explain it better than I.
“At HighCom we design, develop, test, manufacturer, and distribute body armor and personal protective equipment including more than two dozen NIJ compliant hard and soft armor products.
We are in business for one simple reason to protect lives from bullets and bombs. For nearly two decades, HighCom has helped to save countless lives by supplying critical security products and personal protective equipment (PPE) to America’s federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and military branches.
We stand behind our armor and are proud to say that our products are manufactured in the United States. We are constantly striving to produce armor solutions that far exceed our customer’s expectations. We know lives depend on our commitment to excellence which is why we are constantly developing innovative armor solutions.”
- Premium Cordura Nylon exterior materials
- Shoulder inserts for comfort fit with spacer mesh lined padding
- FASS: Fully adjustable four-point suspension system
- 360 degrees MOLLE/PALS webbing
- External wraparound 6” x 11” cummerbund platform
- Velcro loop for identification placard
- Sewn on mic tabs on shoulders
- Front and rear plate pockets fit: 8 x 10, 10 x 12, SAPI S and SAPI
- Reinforced drag handle buddy strap
- DWR treated package for water resistance
- Warranty: 2 year on exterior cover material and workmanship
The carrier that HighCom sent me is the Trooper APC is Multicam and it has been excellent. The first thing I did after getting it together, was to bend over and touch toes, do some pushups, roll around on ground like and idiot and generally see if i had the full range of movement I would have with wearing anything. I did. This is the first PC I have tried that I feel like nothing about it hinders my movement. Is it comfortable? Yes. As comfortable as any of these things can be. Nothing grinds against you or sticks juts into any body parts. Sitting in a car is comfortable, laying prone is comfortable, climbing up ladders and through windows is no problem. Yes, the plates were inside the carrier during all this.
The carrier itself is made well with good stitching. Usually some of the lesser quality stuff will have some of the sub par sewing to bust and come loose. This has held up., I have sweated in it and its been soaked in rain and been in the sun for long hours and the material and colors have had no degrading.
The shoulder straps are the first I have ever used that actually felt comfortable and I could stand. Usually they dig into me and I detest them but not these. They have no imapct on shouldering a carbine/rifle for me either. The shoulder straps have a good range of adjustment to fit even the most hideous of mutant bodies.
One thing I really like is the plates go into a different pocket than the soft armor. The soft armor goes in through the bottom. The plates insert through a nice tight sealing velcro seem pouch through the top of the carrier. I really like this. The cumber bun of the carrier is familiar to anyone who has ever used a PC. Adjustable in the read and velcroed in the front for attaching under the front flap. The side of the cumber-bun will accept soft armor and the side SAPI plates for protecting you from broadsides.
Once I got the carrier fitted, I started adding a few things to it for use. I like to avoid putting a lot of stuff on my PC. I like the option of using it almost bare and putting on a chest right or TAP over it if need be. For this test, I added pouches right onto the PC to test out the strength of the stitching while I used it heavily this year. In this case, I have a double mag shingle, three pistol mag pouches and a IFAK that moves from it to a chest rig depending.
Obviously you can, and most likely will, add more stuff for whatever requirements you may have. Wearing the PC while shooting and moving around is easy and comfortable after a minute of two of getting used to the weight.
The plates ( front and rear) are the Guardian 4SAs7 model. This is a Level IV stand alone plate. You can use soft armor for a back up, (and certainly more is always better!) but this level is made to work on its own. You can also buy soft armor from HCS to add to your carrier in addition to the plates if you want it and can afford it. For those who choose to pass on soft armor for whatever reasons , you can still have more peace of mind with stand alone plates. If there is any true peace of mind that comes with the thoughts of being shot anyways.
I prefer this cut of plate but they offer various styles and types. This plate has the side angles at the top for better movement in the arms and shoulder and is curved for the body.
Protection: Level IV Stand Alone Armor Piercing
NIJ Standard 0101.04 (2005IR): This product has been certified compliant by NIJ
DEA: Hard Armor Protocol Compliant
RST: Rifle Special Threats Validated
Material: Ceramic strike face composite backing
Exterior Cover: 1000D Cordura®, Textured Nylon, Polyester Veil, Polyurea
Cut: The 10” x 12” shooters cut and multi-curve shooters cut plates are considered nominal and the actual measurement is 9.5” x 11.5”
- Warranty: 5 years on all ballistic material excluding exterior cover and 1 year on exterior cover material and workmanship.
- Disclaimer: Text shown on strike face is for marketing purposes only. The actual labels on HighCom products are NIJ approved self-adhesive labels.
The 4SAS7 plates are a really great deal. Getting stand alone plates at a reasonable deal is like finding some mythological beast. It is hard to say what “enough” body armor is. Any sane person would want as much as possible, n0 matter the cost or weight but that is just not practical or feasible for most of us. If your work place doesn’t give you armor and you have to buy it yourself, this is a great deal and a a level of protection that may go a long way towards making you feel safer while offering real, serious ballistic protection up to serious rifle rounds. Plates give a peace of mind you don’t have from soft armor that will stop a pistol round, stand alone hard armor will stop most of the common threat rifle rounds. To me that is priceless.
The days of scum bags only using .25s and .38special snub noses revolvers are over. If you have a gun , and master it and you are serious about your personal protection I can not imagine why you would not have armor if you could possible afford it. I know it costs money, but it will be more useful to you than those 3 stripped lowers or that 3rd glock and 8 inch barreled .44mag wheelgun that sets in the safe. I know some one out there is thinking of how many Mosins they could buy for the price of a PC and armor, but if you take your safety and this world seriously consider getting some armor of some type at some point. Every time I watch the news and see cities being burned and looted I am glad I have spent them on all the armor I have accumulated over the years.
I you are looking for some armor to protect your body from being shot by who knows what, go check out HighCom Security. You can find about anything you want armor wise and that can hook you up with a carrier to put it in. If you don’t like their carrier options, the plates will still fit in any other brand and they are great plates at a great price. Youtube is lousy with destructive testing of the HCS plates if you want to see if the proof is in the pudding before you buy. We even have some HCS plates being shot on video here. You can find those videos using the search bar. I know armor sits around most of the time and you could buy a gun with that money and all that, but it IS important if you really understand the world is a dangerous place and getting worse by the minute. If you take your safety and responsibility seriously and don’t have body armor for yourself or a family member(s), now is a good time to start thinking about it.