Being a regular participant in military exercises and also a part-time training instructor, I needed a product that would allow me to blend the diverse roles with ease. Following some trials and errors with other products, I found the Rothco product to be the best plate carrier for my needs.
However, I was unsure whether the unit would have the durability required of heavy military exercises although the lack of pre-fabricated pockets and presence of sufficient padding all matched my requirements perfectly. Two years down the line, I continue to perform my roles with ease since the product has not only continued to provide me with the features it initially had, but has proved highly durable as well. That said, I realize that not everyone would admire every feature of the product, and hence I have provided a balanced study of the pros and cons below.
Polyester Build with Molle Compatible Webbing
Ensuring that the product is light, comfortable and water-repellent at the same time, this best plate carrier contender comes with a polyester construction. Further, this polyester make is durable enough to survive the heavy friction and damage involved in military exercises and I would daresay, actual combat as well.
Covering the polyester is a fine layer of molle compatible webbing that ensures that the product fits the latest military specifications and provides unmatched protection for the wearer.
Easy to Use Zipper Closure with Simple Buckles
It is vital that a carrier be able to stay snug on the body without proving too difficult to take off. This Rothco product ensures this by providing a simple zipper closure that can be operated without much difficulty by any right-handed person.
While this makes the product easily removable, the presence of two additional buckles ensures a snug but not uncomfortable fit. These buckles move across the zipper and ensure that even if the zipper suffers from jamming or damage, the buckles can hold the vest together.
Drag Handle and Large Mesh Zipped Pockets
Though I used the product for military exercises, the presence of a drag handle meant that it could always be used for actual combat situations where a wounded soldier can be dragged to safety by a compatriot courtesy of the easily accessible drag handle.
Complementing its utility are two mesh zipped pockets that ensure that maps, flashlights and even small hydration bottles can be carried with ease without involving additional attachments.
Sufficient Padding on Shoulders
Unlike a lot of other products, this best plate carrier contender comes with a good amount of padding on the shoulders. Such padding is available for both shoulders, which allows this product to be truly ambidextrous since users firing the gun from either hand can count on the padding to provide them with adequate amounts of support. Such support, it might be added, ensures that sustained firing can be achieved with heavy weapons without causing damage or excess fatigue to the muscles.
Some Points to worry about
One of the major issues that can crop up involves the zipper. As mentioned above, the zipper is made for right-handed users and it may be somewhat difficult for a left-handed fighter to operate the unit. Since the product has padding on both shoulders and thus supports both left and right handed users, this omission will only crop up when the product has to be removed.
A second problem that may arise involves the positioning of pockets. The product does not come with inbuilt pockets, letting users attach pockets as they like. However, the possible number of pockets is fixed and since the unit does not work well with a separate belt, this may limit the amount of ammunition that can be carried with the product.
Although the lack of ambidexterity insofar as the zipper is concerned and the limitations imposed in the number of pockets that can be attached create limitations to the utility of this unit, the presence of Molle webbing, durable polyester and sufficient padding ensure that the unit is comfortable and durable enough for the shortcomings to be overlooked by a majority of users. Coupled with the easy operability of the internal mesh pockets and durable zipper system, these features can easily make this product a top challenger to the best plate carrier contenders in the market today.