What’s the Best Plate Carrier in 2020?
For comfort and mobility it seems to be the Crye Precision JPC (Jumpable Plate Carrier) (Buy on Amazon).
It’s been described as the “most balanced minimalist plate carrier family on the market.”
A minimalist plate carrier would be a good option for a home defense plate carrier.
But, this is a versatile PC that could be used for: training classes and courses, a SHTF setup, home defense, LARPing, MilSim, active shooter kit, and more.
Plate carriers with plates are popular for training – because the weight of those plates have a big impact on how you move and how you shoot.
So, whether you are LEO, Mil, or just a concerned citizen – plan to train like you’ll fight – and that means in your full kit.
Here’s the items we will review in this article.
The Crye Precision JPC 1.0 Vest (Buy on Amazon) is a ballistic plate carrier (sometimes abbreviated as PC) from Crye Precision.
By the way, “jumpable” means it is compatible with parachute harnesses.
Shown here in Multicam camouflage pattern.
NOTE: The Crye Precision JPC does not come with ballistic plates – nobody would sell you a PC with plates – the plates come separate. So you can choose!
Add the 10″ x 12″ plates of your choice.
Sizes are based on the size of the ballistic plate.
This is the extra large model – referring to the plate size it will accommodate – not your shirt size.
It is also available for medium and small plates as well.
The JPC gets rave reviews for being light-weight and minimalist, but also durable.
The JPC plate carrier itself weighs just over one pound (16 ounces). It is meant for maximum mobility, and pack-ability.
If you spend a long time seated or are in and out of a vehicle frequently, this is a recommended plate carrier (PC).
Is it expensive? Yes. Is it overpriced? No. This is Crye Precision gear which is top notch.
Buy once, cry(e) once.
The JPC is Berry Act compliant – made in the US with all-US made materials.
The JPC includes 3 built-in mag pouches with bungee style mag retainers.
As such, the Crye JPC is not really compatible with quick-change placards – there’s no place to mount them.
This is a good turn-key solution that you can use without having to add any extra pouches.
There is also an admin or map pouch behind the hook and loop (velcro) on the front.
There’s MOLLE/PALS webbing front and back as well.
Even though this is a minimalist, all around plate carrier the full MOLLE means you can customize this as you see fit.
NOTE: The recommendation from the field is to use the JPC as intended, and not overloaded, as it isn’t designed to be a rigorous load bearing system for a lot of weight.
The JPC plate carrier features the Skeletal™ cummerbund system with a patented integrated attachment system that allows pouches to be mounted on both the inside and outside of the cummerbund, shedding unnecessary weight and bulk while improving ventilation.
Other features of the JPC include:
- Integrated triple mag pouch on front of carrier
- Built-in admin pouch in upper portion of front carrier (holds pistol mags, chem lights, maps)
- High performance stretch material that allows for different thickness of plates
- Padded ventilation on interior panels of vest for added comfort
- Quick-attach side loops for add-on coverage
- Durable anti-slip shoulder straps
- Groin protection attachment point
- Low-profile cummerbund attachment that provides maximum adjustability and allows for chest expansion
- Single strap side closure option for ultra-lightweight configurations
The JPC can be combined with these Side Plate Pouches (Buy on Amazon).
These pouches each hold one standalone 6″x6″ plate or one low-vis 6″x6” plus a soft armor backer.
The pouch attaches directly to the front plate bag or can be woven onto the AirLite™ cummerbund. These stretch to fit contents. A left and right pouch are included.
Let’s look at another contender.
Ferro Concepts Slickster
When talking minimalist, versatile plate carriers, there’s another name that inevitably comes up every time.
The Ferro Concepts Slickster (Buy on Tactical Distributors) is affordable, simple, low profile, and has a well thought out design.
It is made in the United States.
The Slickster can accommodate a variety of plate types: SAPI, ESAPI, XSAPI, Stand Alone Level 4, Swimmers Cut, and Shooters Cut armor plates.
As with the JPC, the “size” is the size of plates it will accommodate – not your shirt size.
It weights about 14 ounces.
The Slickster is not as good as the JPC, according to many on reddit, but it is about $100 cheaper.
FirstSpear – First On Plate Carrier
Want simple? Really, really simple?
The FirstSpear First On Plate Carrier (Buy on Tactical Distributors) will hold a front plate and a back plate – and has 2 integrated mag pouches and one radio pouch up front.
It is the cheapest option we have to highlight here.
No MOLLE, no cummerbund – that’s not what this plate carrier (PC) is about. It is a true minimalist plate carrier.
The other big benefit of the First On Plate Carrier is that it is easy on, easy off.
Plate Carrier Accessories
Looking for more PC accessories?
You can add the Haley Strategic Partners Flatpack with Straps, Coyote via the MOLLE on the back.
This is a great way to add some assault pack functionality and storage space to your plate carrier.
As you can see, there’s MOLLE on the Haley FlatPack that you can use to attach to the plate carrier.
The Haley FlatPack is about 600 cubic inches, or just under 10L in capacity.
- Haley Strategic Partners, Flat pack, 8"x12", 500D Cardura Mil-Spec Nylon material, includes Lower Straps with 1" Male Side Release Buckles, Coyote Finish
- this is a nationwide distributor of firearms and shooting sports accessories
- This product is manufactured in United States
This would be a great solution for combining a hydration bladder with your JPC.
Just remember the advice about not overloading the JPC. It’s not meant to be a heavy load bearing solution.
Keeping Straps In Place With A Pack and Plate Carrier
Using an assault pack and a plate carrier?
Keeping two sets of shoulder straps in place is a challenge – the pack straps tend to slide off the PC straps, and right into your arm pits.
Mystery Ranch has created the Mystery Cinch – you simply weave this into the PC front MOLLE and use it to keep the pack shoulder straps in the right place.
How To Carry a Hydration Bladder With a Plate Carrier
Here’s an innovative product you can use with just about any plate carrier: the Qore Performance IcePlate (Buy on Amazon).
What is it? It’s an innovative hydration bladder shaped such that you can fit this between your base layer and plate carrier.
You freeze the water inside to keep cool (and drink it as it melts) , or you can fill it with warm water for cold weather.
- HYDRATION: Holds 50 oz. (1.5L) of water. Proprietary TotalDrain Technology lets you finally drink all the water you are carrying, meaning no wasted weight. IcePlate is 4 pounds when fully filled and is worn close to your body, distributing the minimal weight of the IcePlate evenly across your back or chest. Anti-Kink Spring prevents hose from kinking or other damage.
- HEATING AND COOLING: IcePlate is a multi-season solution. In summer: Fill with water and freeze for 4-6 hours. Wear frozen for conductive cooling effect for 2-5 hours. Drink water as it melts to stay hydrated. In winter: Fill with hot water from the tap (160 degrees). Wear over base layer for conductive heating effect and added hydration.
- SLIM DESIGN: 10" L x 12" H x 1" W (Same size as a medium SAPI). ONLY 1" wide, allowing IcePlate to be worn between your base layer and your plate carrier, as an insert in your backpack, or fixed to the outer portion of your pack. No more bulk. Game changer for Military, Law Enforcement, MilSim, Airsoft, Industrial, Travel, Commuting, and EDC. See video below for different kit set-ups.
- QUICK DISCONNECT (QD) COMPATIBILITY: QD is compatible with most QD systems and accessories on the market.
- BPA-FREE AND DISHWASHER SAFE: Made from a taste-free, BPA-free thermopolymer; Dishwasher safe (No cleaning kit required). Made in the USA.
Again, the innovation here is the shape and form factor.
Dimensions are 10″ L x 12″ H and only 1″ wide. This is the same size as a medium SAPI plate.
It holds 1.5L (50 oz) of water.
It is meant to be worn underneath the plate carrier (not in the plate pockets), but it can also be worn external to the plate carrier.
It can also be carried inside an assault pack or ruck sack as well.
It will fit inside the Haley FlatPack we described earlier, any of the GORUCK bags (except the Bullet), and the 5.11 Rush series (except the Rush12 – the smallest one.)
This is the best hydration bladder to use with a plate carrier – but also the best bladder to help you keep cool for a backpack too.
Users indicate the IcePlate is great for all sorts of things – working outdoors, endurance running, and more.
Want to mount it external to your PC or rucksack?
Add the IcePlate MOLLE Sleeve (Buy on Amazon) for the best results.
It’s a sleeve sized perfectly for the IcePlate – with plenty of MOLLE webbing to make it work with just about any gear.
(Isn’t MOLLE webbing just amazing?)
- DURABILITY + PRACTICALITY: Rugged 500D Nylon construction features 6 full rows of MOLLE. Full three Row MOLLE Loop field for identification measures 8.5" w x 3" h.
- NO-FAIL EXTERNAL MOUNTING: IMS6 lets operators mount heavy tools (AT4s, Base Plates, etc.) on the outside of a hydration source without rupture concern.
- LIGHTEST IN CLASS HARD CELL HYDRATION: Combine IMS6 with the Qore Performance IcePlate (sold separately) for optimized water carry. At just 1" thick, this combination provides the thinnest solution on the market. Side-mounted Drink Tube Retention Loops.
- EASY ACCESS: Custom-cut, bottom YKK Zipper with IcePlate PVC Zipper Pull. Bottom-loading design allows for quick IcePlate change-out. Top-access YKK Zipper with 550 Cord pull allows access to IcePlate screw-top to refill or add electrolytes without removing IcePlate.
- MADE IN THE USA: 100% Made in USA from US Materials.
Here’s another option for carrying a hydration bladder external to a Plate Carrier.
The Tactical MOLLE Hydration Pack (Buy on Amazon) can hold a 3L hydration bladder – and has two additional storage pockets.
The beauty of this product is that it will fit a full 3L hydration bladder, and has another main pocket to be used for anything else you need to carry.
It’s available in a variety of colors – but the “multicam” camo option doesn’t look to be official Multicam.
Here’s the side that attaches to the PC:
How To Hang A Plate Carrier In The Closet
A fully loaded plate carrier is going to be heavy – so the best way to store it in the closet is to use a Tough Hook (Buy on Amazon).
(Otherwise, it’s gonna mess up weak little regular hangers.)
What is this?
It’s the world’s toughest coat hanger.
It will support up to 150 lbs and the I beam construction ensures this is near indestructible.
Just be careful to not rip the shelves out of the wall…
What is especially great about this is how they’ve provided the hooks on the top to secure the shoulder straps.
Here’s the other genius thing – it’s symmetrical – so flip it around and use the hand grip to carry – instead of the hook.
It’s a great design.
The Tough Hook is great for use in vehicles too.
Made in the USA.
Best Plate Carrier for 2020 – In Summary
There are lots of options for Plate Carriers (PC).
But if you want a minimalist, versatile PC the JPC is a great place to start.
Add some vital accessories, and you have everything you need.
Last update on 2020-11-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API