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A tactop plate carrier, sometimes referred to as a soft armor vest, is a lightweight, low-profile piece of standard-size equipment that offers a low-cost, high-quality alternative to body armor for protecting the wearer’s torso at the front. They are most commonly used by police officers, security personnel and volunteers assisting at disasters. Some vests can be adjusted to conform to the wearer’s needs in terms of positioning and attachment to clothing or the type of belt they may want to wear, depending on their purposes.

There are two types of tactop plate carriers currently available. There are those made from a high quality nylon/leather mix, which are typically used for everyday duty or everyday use such as close protection to a person or vehicle and/or use in tactical situations. Then, there are those that are made from a mid-density nylon/leather mix for use in everyday or field wear that are more suited for use in tactical situations. Each carrier is constructed with the same features and strengths of its respective type. The biggest differences between these are the size and weight of the carriers, the number of attachment points (where you will place your vests or other accessories) and the configuration of the interior.

When shopping for a tactical plate carrier, it is best to consider what your needs will be and how much protection your body requires. If you are just in the beginning stages of being deployed or are not yet an Army recruit, it would be wise to purchase one of the more affordable tactical gear backpacks and vest to begin your protection at the front. As you become more protected throughout your career, you may need to upgrade or downsize some of your protective gear and move up to higher-end backpacks and vests with greater storage capacity and capabilities of armor options. It may also be helpful to speak to someone within your company that is an experienced soldier or marine about what backpacks and vests they have used in their years of service.