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Looking for a "Husky" mans Armor Plate carrier

Discussion in 'Gear & Accessories' started by Mason3379, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Mason3379

    Mason3379 Oregon City Active Member

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    Hey all,
    I am looking to invest in an armor carrier system. I don't want to brake the bank but I am willing to spend a decent amount to get a comfortable and functional carrier. I have been looking at the Eagle Industries as what is on the link below:
    Home :: Vests :: MOLLE Vests :: MARCIRAS™ Maritime Combat Integrated Releasable Armor System

    I would like to stay in the $500-$700 ballpark. Here is the kicker....I need an XL-XXL Carrier. I am 6'4" and weigh about 280...Any input from the double XL crowd would be appreciated.
    Any other brands I should look at?? Does anyone offer the XXL in a decent carrier?
    Thanks everyone for your input!
     
  2. Mason3379

    Mason3379 Oregon City Active Member

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    Sorry for the confusing info. I am new to this type of stuff. I am looking for something like what the link showed. I actually shot with a guy that had the same setup as the link it was just not big enough for me...
     
  3. Mason3379

    Mason3379 Oregon City Active Member

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    He had the Large. It was not large enough for me. The XL may work but I had the understanding Eagle made an XXL but their customer service seems to be lacking and they do not return phone calls...:huh:
    I did know the plates were not included. I figure I can get those later, I just want to get the setup and molle gear then I can order up the plates. It is going to be in parts and pieces so I can work it in the budget whatever I do.
     
  4. mortar maggot

    mortar maggot western wa Active Member

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    Plate carriers and body armor are spendy. I was looking at the Eagle PIG carrier $300, ceramic plates $300, soft armor backing $300, pouches $200-400.

    You can take out the ceramic plate option and go AR500 steel and save $100-150.

    I need some more education before I buy any of it.
     
  5. ArBrnSnpr

    ArBrnSnpr PNW Active Member

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    TYR Pico, or FirstSpear Strandhogg would be my choice and can be had with soft armour within your budget. If looking into eagle Industries be warned that their stuff started being manufactured in the Dominican Republic a few years ago and is by no means of the same quality it was when being made in the US.

    The Pig is nice, but as far as fit and comfort, the PICO or the Strandhogg would be my only recommendations for your price point. (If you really want to drop some money you can check out the Crye CPC which does offer a huge range of adjustability).

    I've worm the LBT 6094 and it's pretty comfortable, but the height of the vest means you cant wear an admin pouch without it hindering your ability to don/doff the vest if mags are in the mag pouch - stupid design flaw in my opinion and caused me to dump the vest after about a week.

    While deployed, I've used the Eagle PC, SO Tech PC, and a Diamondback fast attack carrier - all were decent but had their own quirks and short comings.

    I currently run a Ranger Green FirstSpear Strandhogg and couldn't be happier. The air channels keep me from getting too hot, and the Tubes quick release buckles are TITS! I have tried on a Crye CPC and I can confidently say I'm happier with my Strandhogg and extra $300.00! If I wasn't going to run the FirstSpear vest, I would have gone with a Pico from TYR. The Pico can be had for around $690 with soft armor included unless a military discount would apply to you. I haven't trained with one, but have a friend who runs one as well as some other guys on his team and he loves it and switched to it from a Crye CPC.

    TYR often runs sales on their vests and with X-mas coming up I'm sure they will offer something. I know their Black Friday sale was awesome and took a serious chunk of my bank account.
     
  6. ArBrnSnpr

    ArBrnSnpr PNW Active Member

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    Judging by your screen name I'm guessing you might have been or are a mortarmen - if so a lot of gear manufacturers offer military discounts. That said I would hold a SAPI plate in one hand and an AR500 in the other before deciding that $100 is worth saving. If that doesn't change your mind, then wearing a flat piece of steel vs a body contoured ceramic plate will likely make your mind up! Further - after shooting AR500 targets with M855, I'm not sure I would want to trust my life to it.
     
  7. Mason3379

    Mason3379 Oregon City Active Member

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    So I looked at the FirstSpear and the TYR. The FirstSpear looks cool but the plastic buckle system leaves me wondering if that is really the best system...I know it is cool and fast but I feel like there is a reason everyone uses the good old velcro. The Eagle I am looking at is pre-Dominican Republic and that is the reason the vendor is clearing them out is because he quit buying from them when they moved out of States. The vest he has are left over from the "Good ole Day's" I guess you could say. I do like the FirstSpear just have some reservations about it as far as the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" stuff they have added to the vest. I am not military such as you so I am more willing to listen to your input seeings the items you use are being tested in real world war environments.
    If you had the American made Eagle vs. TYR vs. FirstSpear which would you choose?

    BTW THANK YOU for your service!
     
  8. ArBrnSnpr

    ArBrnSnpr PNW Active Member

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    I see what you're saying but the theory of a velco closure system by no means falls under the "not broke" category. Velcro is extremely loud which I will say is at the bottom of my concerns list as I rarely am doning/doffing my vest in a tactical environment - it's either on or off prior to movement. Only reasonable situations I can see needing to drop the vest would be in an unplanned water submersion incident - in which case who cares if the velcro makes noise - in a situation like this, I want the vest off ASAP. "ASAP" however is not an option with velcro unless the pull chord emergency release system is present (the maritime CIRAS does have this). I personally hate this system though as it adds weight to the vest, will leave the vest useless if it ever fails, and allows the vest to separate into a minimum of 4 pieces (3 of which you'll typically find...).

    Other situations where the vest would need to come off during mission would be to tend to a casualty (expose and treat wounds). Or possibly if you're leaving a patrol base as part of an R&S team and speed is of more value than protection (not a likely situation stateside)

    More important reasons that a lot of manufactures are switching away from velcro (or adding a secondary closure like buttons or a zipper) as a closure system on modern plate carriers is velcro's life span. It lasts a pretty long time if your vest stays in a closet most days, but if you're doning/doffing the vest daily, it will fray out quickly and the cumberbun will be useless unless you tie it closed with 550 chord (which is only a field expedient solution). You can have a sew shop replace the velcro panel throughout the life of the vest if you have access to the materials and a sew shop, but that's not a contingency I want to plan or rely on.

    Also, velcro closure systems get gunked up with every piece of grass, dirt, and sand around if you're really "using" the vest - all this crap gets stuck in there and makes the velcro act as if it has frayed out from use and again makes it not work as intended. Same reason the Army is switching back to buttons as pocket closure method - velcro didn't survive the cut.

    Also, with velcro closure systems the vest never indexes the same each time you put it on - you can lay the velcro panel any way want, there is no "return to zero" like there is with a buckle. Not a concern for some, but if you train for perfection as you should be, you want your kit in the same place each time - slide buckles will provide this.

    The Tubes buckles are solid! They're made by the same company that makes all other buckles on most vests. They allow the cumberbun to return to the same location each time, allow the vest to be dropped extremely fast without allowing the pieces to separate, and are quite. In my opinion - those buckles address every concern I have in a plate carrier besides comfort and weight.

    That being said - comfort is an ever changing and improving theory in the gear market. What was accepted as comfortable used to be a leather pistol belt, then came suspenders, then came flak jackets, then plate carriers. Somewhere much farther down the timeline than Eagle Industries came along TYR and FirstSpear! An basic Eagle plate carrier is not uncomfortable, but it's better than a CIRAS. The CIRAS is a relatively heavy vest that is far too bulky and far too reinforced in areas that it doesn't need to be reinforced in (think 1000D doubled over Codura, VS 500D) That all adds weight which the CIRAS has plenty of. I would be willing to bet that my Strandhogg with soft armor will weigh less than a CIRAS without. Always remember - "ounces equal pounds- pounds equal pain"

    Out of an Eagle Plate carrier, Eagle CIRAS, TYR Pico, and a FirstSpear Strandhogg I would rate the CIRAS last on comfort, convince, and durability.

    If I had to pick one of the above vests as to go to war in, or to protect my home in - I would (and did) pick the FirstSpear Strandhogg. The Tubes system was what it took to edge out the TYR vest. The mobility is excellent, the comfort is excellent, the fit is excellent, the material is excellent, the durability has been excellent, and the vest is LIGHT!

    The same kind of forward thinking that caused Eagle to win so many mil contracts is present in this vest. The CIRAS and the Eagle plate carrier were great vests in their day, but Eagle isn't keeping up with technology because they were bought out. The technology that made the CIRAS and Eagle PC great has since been passed over. Luckily the people who started Eagle industries now work for TYR and FirstSpear and the gear progression mindset is present in both companies.

    There are a lot of nice vests on the market that edge out mid-2000's technology Eagle kit, but none push it over the cliff in the way TYR and FirstSpear do (in my opinion)!

    One final thought though that you might want to look into is that TYR has a custom shop and will make items to order - with fitment in mind, I'd contact both companies and ask what they suggest. I haven't dealt with FirstSpears customer service as I just ordered their product and havent had a reason to speak with them, I did have to contact TYR's once (sent me the wrong color pouch) and they were EXCELLENT! The lady who I dealt with let me keep the wrong pouch they sent me and had a replacement in my hands in under 48hrs.
     
  9. Mason3379

    Mason3379 Oregon City Active Member

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    So what you are saying is, at this point, you would go with the FirstSpear hands down over anything else that you have tried? I will go ahead and look into them a little more. Might you know a vendor that deals with them? Also, the soft armor is the better way to go? I know I shoot AR plate and too close in and the .223 burns right through them, better results with the soft armor?
    Thanks for your input and knowledge. This is an armor lesson for me!
     
  10. ArBrnSnpr

    ArBrnSnpr PNW Active Member

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    Correct that I would not suggest anything other than the FirstSpear vest. The only contingency to that would be if FirstSpear's largest vest would not be suitable for you. In that case my second choice (and suggestion) would be to contact TYR and ask them to make you a larger sized Pico plate carrier which they will by all means do. Baring that, the Strandhogg has me that impressed that there's nothing else I can suggest with the same enthusiasm.

    As far as where to get one, DSGarms.com out of Texas is one of the only places I know that keeps a physical stock on hand and offers good prices. They are also another great company to deal with!

    As far as armor goes - I would suggest both soft armor (which is designed to stop most handgun rounds and shrapnel) and SAPI plates to stop direct impact rifle rounds. I know some guys run AR500 steel plates but in my opinion those are a heavy, cheap, insufficient solution to ballistic protection. Anyone who has shot M855 at steel plates can attest to their lack of ballistic stopping capabilities. Milspec plates are nice, and can be rated up to a .50 AP with the appropriate plate backers, but there are some really nice plates available on the civilian market that offer up to 30.06AP ballistic protection and weigh much less and are much thinner. If on a budget though, I'd spring for plates first, then pick up soft armor as finances allow.

    If I was going to only run one or the other, I would run SAPI plates if the possibility to take a round was present, and soft armor if I was just shooting steels and concerned with ricochets.