AR500Armor.com has been a leader in quality, budget minded armor for a while now. For a little over $130 you can add Level III rifle plates to the carrier you already own, or buy a complete package, including the carrier, for about $250. AR500Armor’s Concealment Plate Carrier includes a Tactical Assault Gear concealment carrier; one of the few plate carriers on the market that will reliably conceal full sized rifle plates (and I have done the research for you).
LE take note; you can wear this carrier over a t-shirt and cover it up with a black Polo and none but the trained eye will notice it. There are very few rifle plate carriers on the market that will do this for hard armor.
While the concealability feature may not much use to the tactical load-out/gear bearing harness setups out there I will note that having a molle-free carrier underneath the vests and harnesses gives you the option of only having to purchase 1 carrier and have a carrier that offers both concealability for off duty and compatibility with a large h-harness or tactical vest for on duty and training. Even other low-profile carriers will still sometimes include front clips that can be used to hang a small mag pouch setup on, and these clips will often “print” on polos and the like. This is part of the reason I opted for this particular carrier when I decided to test this package; I wanted to test the concealability of the carrier with NORMAL plates. I say normal because more often than not these low-profile carriers are designed to be used with soft armor because they are more conforming and offer more of a “print-free” wear experience; something important as we don’t want to needlessly startle people while we go shopping for groceries after our shift, etc.
One item I decided to add to the package was a sideplate-pouch-sized medical kit that included a few of the bare necessities when dealing with a gunshot wound. As advertised, the whole pouch arrived in a waterproof zip-bag that stored neatly my left sideplate pouch. It did not noticeably add to the size of the left side plate pouch when stored there.
So on to how it feels. It is important to realize a few things before getting into the wear comfort of this build:
- It is a budget carrier built for concealment , not comfort
- It included no padding on the shoulder straps (again, for concealability, as we humans rarely have skinny strips of padding running over our shoulders underneath our Polo Shirts)
- Hard Plate will never be as comfortable as soft armor when compared in the same carrier. This is just a fact we have to live with. If we want the benefit of Level 3 hard plates, then we are going to have to sacrifice some comfort in the flexibility department.
Ok, now with that said, I have to say that for a carrier of this type, with hard plates, it was an enjoyable experience. A few days after receiving this package from AR500Armor I wore it an entire evening of driving and even sat though a 3 hour Terrorist Emergency Response class at a county level training course. It was not the most comfortable experience in the world, but I will say that I got used to it, and for a moment, even forgot I had it on. For a carrier in this price range, I was impressed with the build quality and stitching. Tactical Assault Gear has out done themselves, and offers a a great piece of kit.
I will also say that some states and cities have laws concerning armor and readers should check these before making any purchases.
So, when shopping for a pair of plates for yourself or a loved one, keep AR500Armor.com in mind.