Having worked for a long time in law enforcement and then having moved to the private security industry, the best plate carrier for me has always been one that allows me a lot of freedom of movement, as opposed to one that feels like a compression vest. After spending some amount of time in futile research, I decided to go in for a product used by one of my friends in the military. Called the Recon Chest Rig by Condor, this unit has provided me with all I could possibly ask for – easy movement, easy access to ammunition and most importantly, health kits.
Two years since my first purchase, the unit has also held up well against wear and tear, and combined with its features, this has made it a great investment for me. However, I realize that not everyone looking at a plate carrier is in my industry, and I have therefore analysed a few possible shortcomings of the product as well. I shall discuss both the positives and negatives in the detailed review below.
High Quality Velcro Enclosures and Nylon Build
Anticipating the amount of wear and tear involved in regular use of a plate carrier, this unit is capable of providing a decent lifespan courtesy of the heavy duty Velcro enclosures used to secure the multiple pockets. Equally commendable is Condor’s use of military grade nylon to provide users with a rig that doesn’t fray at the seams or tear as time goes on.
Excellent Cross-back Design with minimal interference with Mobility
The unit comes with a cross back design that provides much needed comfort through adequate padding on the top of the straps. Further, these straps do not merge into a bulky front, but meet directly at the base of the rig. This base, in turn, is made of only the pockets and the necessary nylon lining needed to keep them in place. Together, they ensure that while the rig is never in danger of wobbling or coming off, it is not a hindrance to the times when one has to crouch or sit in awkward positions, thus providing unmatched mobility.
Kangaroo Pouches with special MOLLE pouch
It is widely accepted that Kangaroo pouches are the easiest to get ammunition out of and also the easiest to put empty magazines back into. Given the focus of this unit on those involved in light combat, the pouches come with enough capacity for six M4 magazines and an equal number of pistol magazines. Located along the front of the vest, these units are easy to access and even easier to reload with new magazines when the old ones run out.
Further, the unit comes with a special MOLLE pouch that houses the first aid kit. Located to one side, the kit can easily be accessed by a comrade-in-arms in an emergency, and then replaced using the simple flap-style opening.
Swivel Button Release Buckle For Easy Wearing, Removal
While it is not expected of a combatant that he will remove his vest while fighting, the manufacturer nevertheless allows this plate carrier to be removed easily using the swivel button push-release buckles that have been provided at the front and back of the unit. Since each strap has its own buckle, it is even possible to remove one while still wearing the vest, in order to accommodate some other gear.
Some Issues To consider
Though the unit provides for easy access to necessary equipment, it is true that the unit is suitable only for those engaged in light combat. Those on the front line would need to consider the heavier units capable of carrying not only more ammunition, but other vital products like flashlights, water bottles, maps, etc.
While this plate carrier is meant more for law enforcement and light combat operations, it does a sterling job. Combining the mobility of a simple and light design with the utility of one that has the pockets in all the right places and in the correct amount, this carrier is sufficient to provide support and mobility to a wide range of operatives. Further, it leaves enough space for a belt, so in case one needs to attach one, this unit can accommodate itself well, thus enhancing one’s combat capacities.