The Plate Carrier

Our interactive plate carrier setup offers tips & tricks that you may find useful. It is tailored towards individual use, and is not role specific.

DISCLOSURE: the advice displayed through this page represents our most current and preferred setup. It is not the only setup out there, but it is our own; is has been proven and it works, derived from real-world experience and proper training. If you disagree, then move along. The images displayed may not reflect our advice or recommendations, they are simply the most suitable images that we could find; rather pay particular attention to the written advice. We do encourage constructive comments below.

INSTRUCTIONS: move your mouse curser or use your finger to press & drag over the images displayed below. You may zoom if you feel the need. Areas will highlight when interactive content is available. A quick tap of your curser/finger will open an information panel. Press the “x” or tap outside of the screen to exit the panel and continue browsing.

Plate Carriers
ID Panel Shoulder Pads Drag Handle Magazine Pouches Back Panel HAM Radio The Cummerbund Sizing Panel Ballistic Plates & Soft Armour Breathable Padding MOLLE

ID Panel

The Identification Panel has a number of cool & sometimes essential uses. Here is a list of some ideas and tips to help you get started.

  • Use it as a forward facing display of your favourite morale patch (this one is obvious I know 🤪 )
  • A place to display your country’s flag or your unit/regiment logo
  • Your blood group and any important medical allergies should go here, this one is vital
  • Consider wrapping 2 or 3 individual iodine/water purification tabs in foil, and securing them behind a morale patch as a means of purifying water should it become scarce
  • If radio speaker mic’s or PTT’s lose functionality of their attachment clip (they sometime break), secure a piece of hook velcro to the back of your speaker mic and secure it to the ID panel

Shoulder Pads

  • These can be removed for a more low-profile carrier, particularly when used with a backpack or grab bag
  • If you decide to keep them attached, you may use the loops or padding to secure & conceal drinking tubes and comms wires

Drag Handle

  • Test your drag (or grab) handle by asking a teammate to vigorously drag you around during training. Also, drag someone around yourself; simulate an immobilised casualty and learn from the experience. This allows you to get a feel as to what what its like being dragged in a plate carrier, whilst also giving you an idea as to the high levels of stamina required to do so effectively
  • This process will concurrently test the quality and stitching of your setup, ensuring that it will withstand arduous use when needed
  • Don’t worry too much about this breaking; if you’ve purchasing a high-quality system it will endure, and if not, then maybe it’s time for an upgrade

Magazine Pouches

  • A low-profile setup will benefit from 3x universal mag pouches attached to the carrier’s front panel
  • When selecting pouches, stitching is far more durable than plastic systems containing screws. These have a tendency to come lose through arduous use
  • Modern universal pouches allow for a variety of magazines – AR-15, AR-10, AK-47, etc – without having to change the setup
  • Double-stacking magazines adds weight, and raises the profile of the carrier which creates additional exposure when firing from prone, while also providing more area to snag on seat-belts and other items when operating from vehicles/amongst thick vegetation. I only recommend double-stacking magazines if your role requires you to do so
  • Make sure all magazines are properly retained and fit snug. Some physical training/hand-stand press-ups in full kit will be a good indication of this
  • The HSGI Taco and G-Code Scorpion mag pouches are good examples of rapid-access universal pouches
  • Make sure your magazines are always orientated correctly. The preferred method is for magazines to enter the pouch cartridge-first, with bullets pointing towards your weak hand. This allows the magazine to be properly indexed for a smooth reload

Back Panel

  • Unless your role requires you to do so, avoid adding pouches or permanent packs/hydration bladders to your back. This only makes things difficult when carrying heavy loads or grab bags later on
  • Imagine trying to fit a 72-hour grab-bag to your back with grenades and IFAK pouches permanently attached. These setups only work for certain roles, and those operators already know what kind of setup they require, so keep the back free from permanent MOLLE attachments
  • Rather use should straps for compact hydration packs and bug-out bags, otherwise have a look at the Hayley Strategic Flatpack, which can be emptied and compressed when not in use

HAM Radio

  • A two-way UHF/VHF radio must not be neglected
  • It is important to train yourself in operation, troubleshooting and voice procedures, and keep all useful frequencies committed to memory or laminated and secured on your person at all times
  • The left or right side of your carrier beneath and just forward of the arm-pit is an ideal location for your radio. Consider placing it on your strong-arm side, as this provides less interference on the opposite side when drawing pistol/rifle magazines from a battle belt
  • Avoid attaching radios to MOLLE loops via radio clips. Under arduous use, these more than often tear free and fall to the ground. Instead, use a pouch that offers proper retention
  • I prefer securely attaching my radio to the inside of my plate carriers cummerbund on my right side. I place a soft piece of 5-10mm foam against the radio control panel to prevent accidental operation should the radio’s lock feature disengage

The Cummerbund

  • The cummerbund wraps around the body and allows for sizing adjustments which create a snug fit
  • Quick release buckles, standard buckles/clips and velcro (hook and loop) panels are most common
  • Once the place carrier is correctly adjusted, it makes things easier leaving one side permanently fastened – typically the side which accommodates your HAM radio. This allows you to slip your arm through the carrier and buckle up only one-single side, resulting in less interference with radio wires and speaker mic’s
  • Plate carriers must be correctly sized and fitted allowing them to cover and protect the human vital organs
  • The front plate should sit at the width of two fingers beneath where your collarbones meet, just above the bodies sternal angle. This is higher than what most people would expect
  • The rear pouch should sit two vertebrae (approx. 1-inch or 2.5cm) beneath your vertebra prominens; an inch beneath the 7th cervical vertebra characterised by a prominent spinous process which can be felt at the base of the rear neck

Sizing Panel

  • Many plate carriers have an adjustment/sizing panel at the rear. This conceals a series of adjustable shock-cord settings which loosen or tighten the cummerbund
  • Always make sure the plate carrier is securely fitted and correctly sized during your initial setup. It should fit snug enough so that it doesn’t move freely when running or exercising, but not so tight as to constrict the chest and put any unwanted strain on the lungs
  • The velcro flap/panel which conceals the adjustment area works well in securing and hiding radio wires when needing to run them along the back of the carrier and up towards the ear

Ballistic Plates & Soft Armour

  • Some ballistic plates work in conjunction with soft armour, while others are capable of working alone and are known as stand-alone plates
  • When using hard and soft armour together, it is important that the soft armour sits closest to your body, while the hard armour will face outwards making first contact with any incoming projectiles
  • Multi-curve plates provide the best fit as they are contoured along two or more dimensions to fit your torso better

Breathable Padding

  • Each plate carrier has its own type/design of breathable inner padding
  • Wash or soak this area with clean water every so often or after heavy use, as this will remove sweat, salt particles and bacteria, increasing longevity of the carrier
  • If used for extended durations, wear and under-armour layer to keep the body cool and prevent skin inflammation and blistering, which may otherwise form from repetitive rubbing of the carrier against your skin (cotton t-shirts become wet and crease, which will aggravate hot spots after prolonged use)


  • MOLLE – or modular light-weight load-carrying equipment – has rows of heavy-duty nylon fabric called PALS (pouch attachment ladder system) which are stitched onto or laser cut into the carrier, providing an attachment point for pouches and gear
  • It is vital that MOLLE is weaved through the PALS when fitting pouches or accessories onto your plate carrier. This means that when fitting gear to your carrier, you must alternate weaving between the webbing of both the pouch and your plate carrier, creating a super-secure bond

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