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Choosing the Right Body Armor Platform

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If you’re in the market and looking to buy body armor, the numerous options available can be a bit overwhelming. When you’re shopping for body armor, we suggest first identifying the emergency scenario (civil unrest, active shooters, etc.) you’re anticipating and then plan your gear accordingly. A good place to start is the “platform” or kit you’re looking to build as this will help you quickly narrow down your options. In this article we’re covering the four most common body armor platforms: tactical carrier, active shooter, wraparound and concealment vests.

Tactical Plate Carrier Body Armor Platforms

These “Tactical” kits are the traditional style of plate carrier and body armor combos that you commonly see used by Military and Law Enforcement (such as S.W.A.T or Border Patrol Agents). The benefit of these platforms is fairly straight forward; they are designed to carry more gear and allow for the greatest customization options. This allows you to create a kit specific to the scenario/mission you’re anticipating. The ability to add magazine pouches, tools, medical kits, etc. makes this platform very attractive for the person who wants to be prepared to survive  various scenarios.

Core Benefits:

  • Easy to add accessories that are purpose/mission driven
  • Accept a variety of different body armor plates in standard sizes
  • Carriers are usually constructed from a high strength nylon fabric
  • Many are capable of holding side plates for extra protection
  • More padding to help reduce friction and fatigue
  • More points of adjustment
  • Numerous points of attachment via mole or Velcro
  • Admin pouches or additional built in storage options are common
  • Armor chambers usually have space for trauma pads or secondary armor

Example Tactical Platform Products

Wraparound and Concealment Body Armor Platforms

Wraparound body armor does exactly what it says, it’s a vest that utilizes Velcro straps to quickly wraparound the upper body. This armor typically doesn’t offer much opportunity for customization, but it’s lightweight and easy to wear for long periods of time. This is why wraparound body armor is a common choice by Law Enforcement Officers and Security Professionals. Wraparound body armor typically comes with flexible level IIIA body armor panels and can contain secondary chambers for body armor plates to provide added protection.

Concealment Body Armor kits are very similar to wraparound body armor in that they fit close to the body, however they utilize a plate carrier to hold low-profile body armor such as our level IIIA Flex Fused Core™ soft armor. The concealment carrier itself is typically scaled down quite a bit with fewer features to maintain the desired low-profile form. Concealment plate carriers are usually capable of holding other plates, such as steel core body armor. This allows the wearer some flexibility should the necessity for higher rated body armor arise. Concealment plate carriers such as our Spartan DL carrier have built-in handgun magazine pouches making it a great option for EDC (Every Day Carry). Our International Wraparound vest even has molle to attach gear as well as a chamber to fit 10”x12” body armor plates, allowing you to quickly swap out plates as the situation and threat level dictates.

Core Benefits:

  • Easy to put on and wear for extended periods of time
  • Flexible and easier to conceal under clothing
  • Typically have the ability to add additional body armor plates
  • Lightweight and can be more comfortable than hard plate body armor
  • Greater range of motion, typically will not affect shooting stance or ability to go prone

Example Wraparound/Concealment Platform Products

Active Shooter Response Body Armor Carrier Platforms

Active Shooter kits offer many benefits found in both tactical and concealment platforms.  Most of these body armor kits are slimmed down tactical carriers that do not have a cummerbund, making them quicker to put on in emergency situations. There’s still some ability to customize Active Shooter Response plate carriers by utilizing the available molle webbing or Velcro. Platforms such as our Tactical Response Kit are designed to be stored in your trunk and can be put into action on a moment’s notice with the click of 2 buckles.

Core Benefits:

  • Quick and easy to put on, very user friendly
  • Ideal for emergency “active shooter” scenarios
  • Capable of holding various types of body armor in standard sizes
  • Typically includes a storage bag for easy transport
  • Lighter than traditional tactical plate carrier platforms
  • Allow multiple points of attachment via mole webbing or Velcro
  • Armor chambers usually have space for trauma pads or secondary armor
  • Usually constructed from a high strength nylon fabric

  Example Active Shooter Platform Products

So which body armor platform should you buy? There’s no one-size-fits-all response to that question because each platform is designed with a specific scenario in mind. Sometimes the scenario you have in mind may fall within a grey area between two different body armor platforms. We’re happy to answer your questions and help you choose the body armor that’s right for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

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