By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
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February 19, 2013
Last updated on 2/27/13.
The hottest new products in the tactical body armor systems category at SHOT Show 2013 were ultra-lightweight low-profile/low-visibility minimalist modular tactical armor plate carriers. These new carriers are made entirely out of DuPont Hypalon-type polymer/synthetic rubber laminate material with cutaway MOLLE (non-MOLLE Molle systems where material is cut out/removed to creat the attachment points) despite the fact that they're limited in terms of weight bearing and mission profile. One of these new systems is the Blue Force Gear (BFG) PLATEminus lo-pro/lo-vis minimalist plate carrier system, made from BFG ULTRAcomp lightweight hydrophobic material (Hypalon-type BFG-proprietary material) and utilizing BFG MOLLEminus cutaway MOLLE (non-MOLLE MOLLE) attachment system.
Blue Force Gear public relations rep Brittney DeVane showed DefenseReview (DR) the new PLATEminus plate carrier and BELTminus battle belt/chest rig/harness system, as well as the previously introduced "minus" product, the SPLITminus Chest Rig/harness system. Obviously, the PLATEminus carrier is much lighter and more minimalist than the BFG Lightweight Modular Armor Carrier (LMAC), although the former obviously gives up a significant amount of loadbearing capability and mission versatility versus the latter.
Everything's usually a tradeoff. Most of the time, if you want super-minimalism, you don't get a lot of mission versatility. Sorry, that's just the way it is. At just 11 ounces (11 oz.), you would think that the BFG PLATEminus system is just your basic run-of-the-mill mission-specific ultra-minimalist plate carrier designed for low-profile/clandestine missions, vehicle ops and short-duration missions where you don't need to carry a lot of tactical gear and/or more than three or four spare mags max on the carrier itself. However, Brittney DeVane, BFG's PR rep, told DR during a post-SHOT-Show phone conversation that it's her understanding that the PLATEminus carrier's UlTRAcomp material and MOLLEminus cutaway MOLLE system are strong enough to handle a full tactical load, just like larger, more conventional carriers.
This is important, since even Direct Action (DA) missions can require you to carry a signficant amount of gear on the carrier, including at least 5-6 loaded mags, side plates, tactical hydration, tactical medicine equipment, etc. All-Hypalon-type lo-pro/lo-vis carriers are normally designed specifically to carry a lighter load consisting of front and rear plates (hard armor plates), 3 to 4 (max) spare mags and not much else. The PLATEminus carrier may prove to be the exception to the rule, there.
But the proof is in the running, and Defense Review hasn't run it at the range, yet. We're particularly interested in how it stacks up against the latest Crye Precision ultra-minimalist plate carriers, specifically the Airlite EK01 and Airlite EK02, which DR will be covering soon. Even if the PLATEminus carrier is competing with the Airlite carriers, it still comes in MultiCam camo as an option, so Crye gets paid anyway.
Editor's Note: "Non-MOLLE MOLLE" is DR's term for cutaway MOLLE, not an official term.
Company Contact Info:
Blue Force Gear, Inc. (BFG)
P.O. Box 853
Pooler, GA 31322
Email Contact Page: http://www.blueforcegear.com/contact/
BFG Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/blueforcegearinc
Cage Code: 3X9S8
Duns Number: 152028291
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