Plate Carriers and how to set them up if you’re new.


B-ARFCOM member “Power2thePeoplestarted a thread about plate carriers the other day, it’s not a bad guide for people who have no idea how to set one up or what they do and do not need. I can quibble with him on his ideas of what’s needed and Isn’t needed. Which of course I will do below because I can.

The biggest issue that I see with uninformed plate carrier set-ups are the amount of garbage that people think they need to bring to the party.

Examples of things that will weigh you down, reduce your mobility, etc. :

3 liters of water on your back. Heavy. Hard to sit in a vehicle. Difficult to use with a pack. Not concealable. You don’t need that much water.

Depending where you live I think that claim is dubious. I think it’s best to have something like the WXP Source that easily clips on and off of any molle . Use what you think you will need.

Double-stacked magazine pouches.
In my junior days of being an infantry marine I fell victim to this. They’re heavy and bulky. They make it hard to get close to the ground when you prone out. They make vehicle use an obstacle. They make it extremely difficult to climb over walls, up ladders and generally reduce your range of motion when you need to go hands-on with someone.

overly-built magazine pouches with velcro flaps- Designed to secure your magazines before other methods were more popular (kydex, elastic, etc.) There are much lighter, better options.

LIghter options, yes, better? Debatable. Depedening on what you are doing, the extra security for the magazine could come in handy.

Too many magazines (yes, this is actually a problem) You can’t put your ammo fort on your chest no matter how much you want to. There are other options for resupply. Agreed

A giant rambo knife. Go fixed blade. Go lightweight and streamlined.

I have went back and forth over the years on the knife. I agree with the fix blade IF you are going to carry one at all. How many knife kills have been madein modern times? and how much use is a knife really if you are in a situation where you need a PC with armor plates?

A bunch of chem lights: LOL. Unless you have some very specific plans or SOPs for chem lights – which most of us don’t- they don’t make any sense.

Giant dump pouch. I don’t train to retain empty magazines. That’s a discussion for another day.

What do you absolutely need?
-Extra reloads for your rifle/pistol
-Medical supplies


When setting up your plate carrier, my suggestion would be to keep everything as tight to your body as possible. Find a brand of single panel mag pouches that get the mags as close to the carrier as possible.

In my opinion there should be a practical link between your CCW and your plate carrier. Most of us use plate carriers and rifles as a supplement to our CCW. Unless you know something is going to happen ahead of time, you’ll likely be throwing these on pretty quickly. If I’m grabbing mine from my truck, I’ll have my CCW with me. I, along with a lot of other people use my CCW as my nightstand gun. Because of this, I think it’s best that you set up your gear so that it is synergistic.

Plate Carrier:
My current plate carrier is a PIG Brigandine plate carrier from SKD. I use Hesco 4401 Level IV Stand Alone Plates. The front has a PIG BRIG CR, 3 Mag Carrier, a Blue Force Gear TQ holder and Helium Whisper single mag pouch. I currently use a Coyote Tactical Systems IFAK but I am looking for something that is more low profile.

My CCW is a Walther PPQ w/ TLR-7, RRT IWB holster and a spare mag in a JM Custom Kydex single IWB mag pouch. I train quite a bit and am comfortable carrying this appendix while wearing my plate carrier, but prefer to switch it to 4 o’clock IWB if I have enough time to do so. I also carry a RMJ Utsidihi fixed blade in my waistband on the support side.

LIke I said this is a prettu good primer and we will expand on this later this week when I talk about what I use and hopefully Howard will add to it with his.

original thread link


  1. Good to see the Walther PPQ get a mention. I have one and it’s a great gun with a very good trigger. They don’t seem to be as well known as they should, and the SIG P320 certainly seems to have all the limelight at the moment.

  2. I train not to retain mags either, however sometime, maybe in the future, the mags you have with you, may be all the mags you are gonna get.
    Just sayin’.

  3. The Iceplate has been on my back for years and barely notice it. The rest of my water is in a backpack. I’m really glad that the trend has moved to motility coz when I started out everyone and their mum had like 12 mags on em

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