Choosing the Right Gear for You
January 11, 2013
I get a lot of questions on Facebook about plate carriers. Sometimes my coworkers and I post pictures of me in my plate carrier and my tactical gear on Facebook, and next thing I know I’ll receive questions asking me what plate carrier am I wearing. After playing airsoft for 7 years and being a firearm enthusiast for 4 years, I have found the plate carrier that is built for me, suitable for my body ergonomics, and perfectly set up.
Airsoft is military simulations; therefore, most airsoft players imitate real world operators. What a lot of airsofters do not realize is that there are specific reasons why real world operators set up their gear a certain way. Gear set up is dependent on different missions. The point I am trying to get across is the fact that what works for them may not work for you. I believe and highly encourage you to test out your gear before actually going into the airsoft battlefield, because what might work for real world operators or even your team might not work for you.
Enough talking about that, first let me show you how I set up my plate carrier. If you really like my thought process and my set up, I will also include a very similar set up which you can purchase at AirsoftGI.com. Starting from the top, I have a Shellback Tactical Banshee Plate Carrier. I chose this plate carrier because it is very low profile and low visibility, but it still can accommodate my body size and plate size (large plates). On the front of the plate carrier, I have 3 BAE Eclipse Open Top M4 Pouches. These pouches are very low profile, and they hold the magazine very securely, but I am still able to get them out easily. Since the Banshee has a kangaroo pocket, I purchased 2 kangaroo inserts for M4 magazine by SKD Tactical so I can have 2 additional M4 Magazine on the front, right behind the 3 BAE Eclipse Magazine Pouch.
On the left cummerbund, I have two USGI Taco Pistol pouches, which can hold my single stack (1911) or double stack (Glock) magazines. They are open top design, which hold the magazine securely but are still easily accessible. On the inside of the cummerbund, I have a Blue Force Gear Ten Speed Triple M4 Pouch. These pouches are extremely low profile, and when there are no magazines in them, they lay flat against the vest. The reason why I have a Triple Ten Speed M4 Pouch on the inside is I will only put additional magazines in them when I need them. I usually leave them empty normally, especially when I am using high capacity magazines like the G&G 450 round magazines. This pouch came in handy at Lion Claws XI, when I was only allowed to use mid capacity magazines. Just in my plate carrier alone, I carried 8 mid capacity magazines during the operation.
On the right cummerbund, I do not have any pouches and accessories mounted. The reason behind this is the fact that I always have a secondary weapon system sitting right underneath it. I do not want anything to hinder my secondary coming out of my holster. When I first started airsofting, I had a utility pouch on my right cummerbund. When I went to draw my handgun out my utility pouch prevented the secondary from coming out. I was shot on numerous occasions because of that. If my secondary was successfully drawn from my holster, the outcome would have been extremely different.
On my Back, I have an item which is very important to every airsofters and athletes: water. Since I chose a low profile plate carrier, a normal hydration carrier would be too big and awkward on my vest. Luckily, Source Hydration came out with the Kangaroo 1L hydration carrier, which goes perfectly on the back of my plate carrier. Over the years, I found out that I do not even come close to finish 3L water during an airsoft operation, so there is no need to carry all the extra weight. The 1L hydration pouch is perfect, and it will be less weight on me. Just like the saying, every ounce counts, as ounces lead to pound, pounds lead to pain.
If you are considering running a low profile plate carrier set up like the one I am using, you can check out the following set up; It is extremely similar to my set up and my thought process. So here we go. First, the plate carrier, I like and highly recommend the new PANTAC plate carrier, the PANTAC 1000D Cordura LT6094 Plate Carriers. The plate carrier is made with 1000D Cordura Material, which is excellent against wear and tear. The PANTAC LT6094 is a low profile plate carrier, just like my Banshee. It comes with shoulder pads, which helps a lot when you carry a lot of equipment and accessories. There is a drag handle on the back, so when injured, your buddy can drag you to a safe location.
There are a lot of hook and loop straps strategically placed on the plate carrier. They are for your communication wiring and hydration tubing. The MOLLE is well stitched. There is a hook and loop area located at the chest area, which is perfect for your patches. Just like my Banshee Plate Carrier, it has a Kangaroo pocket. With the right Kangaroo pouch, the user can put magazine kangaroo inserts to allow the vest to carry more magazines. Last but not least, there are two built in radio pouches pouches on the plate carrier, but i would use at least one of them for magazine pouch, as most of us don’t carry 2 radios.
For the magazine pouch, I like the PANTAC Triple M4 Pouch. This pouch is very well made and is designed to last for a very long time. For hydration, I like using the Source 1L hydration Kangaroo pouch. The 1L is perfect for airsofting because it is not very heavy. PANTAC has an excellent reputation of manufacturing high quality gear within the airsoft industry and even the real firearm industries, which is why they are a little bit more expensive than other competitors.
Running a low profile plate carrier has a lot of benefits. There is a lot of room left over on my torso for me to run a battle belt, but that is another article. When I decide that I want to go full on assault, like Operation Lion Claws XI, I would run my plate carrier and my battle belt to carry the maximum amount of ammo and equipment. But when I want to be light and fast, I could just use the plate carrier and a holster for my secondary. Another advantage of running a low profile plate carrier is that it makes you a less of a target. In the end, you still have to go try out this type of set up. I am Andrew, stay safe, and get out and play airsoft.