By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
All photos and video contained in this article were shot by DefenseReview.com, and are copyrighted. DefenseReview.com owns the copyright on these photos. The photos and video clips embedded below were shot with a Canon PowerShot S90 10-megapixel digital camera (still camera with video capability).
March 20, 2012
While we’re on the subject of state-of-the-art tactical armor plate carriers/military body armor solutions, we should perhaps also discuss the S&S Precision Plate Frame tactical armor plate carrier system, as it’s another very interesting lo-pro (low profile)/minimalist plate carrier utilizing advanced, state-of-the art materials, manufacturing techniques and technology. Drew Borland, one of the company’s owners, took DefenseReview (DR) through the tactical and Maritime models of the Plate Frame system at SHOT Show 2012, and we shot some photos of the systems and video of the product demo (see embedded video below).
The purpose of the S&S Precision Plate Frametactical armor plate carrier system, which weighs 1 lb, 6 oz (1 pound, 6 ounces) appears to be to remove as much weight and size/bulk as is humanly and technologically possible, while maintaining the same level of tactical/combat-utility as heavier and bulkier carriers, giving the assaulter/operator/user everything he needs and nothing he doesn’t. The positively-buoyant Maritime Plate Frame model is even lower-profile than the standard/Tactical Plate Frame, and allows the assaulter/operator to run his mags inside the cumberbund, so they won’t catch on anything while he’s engaged in VBSS/MIO (Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure/Maritime Interception Operations) and GOPLATS (Gasoline and Oil Platforms) boarding operations/missions and various other CQB/CQC (Close Quarters Battle/Close Quarters Combat) ops.
The Plate Frame is custom-fit to the armor plate the assaulter/operator is running. The plate on the demo models at the show was a Velocity Systems “BZ plate”, which we assume means it was a Velocity Systems Phalanx VS-PBZ 7.62x39mm API (BZ) hard armor plate. “API” stands for “Armor-Piercing Incendiary”.
Tactical accessories/gear like mag pouches (rifle magazine pouches), radio pouches, and tactical hydration systems attach pretty much the same way they’d attach to a Cordura nylon carrier with PALS/MOLLE webbing. With the Plate Frame, the nylon attachment straps get “pinched” between the plate and the frame. Speaking of mag pouches S&S Precision mag-pouches are made out of a Hypalon-type 4-way-stretch polymer material. One of the demo Plate Frame systems at the show was outfitted with five S&S Precision rifle mag pouches. The mag pouches and other S&S Precision tactical armor accessories are available a la carte. While the first demo Plate Frame in the video sports a hydro-dipped Crye Precision MultiCam camo (camfouflage) pattern, the Maritime model demo’d sported a slate-grey color scheme on the frame itself, and some unidentified color scheme on the shoulder straps and cumberbund.
The Plate Frame armor carrier system will most likely be available in a variety of camo patterns, perhaps even including Hyde Definition PenCott (PenCott-Badlands, PenCott-GreenZone, PenCott-Sandstorm and PenCott-Snowdrift) combat camo patterns, Kryptek LEAF/Camo Technologies 3D combat camo (Kryptek Nomad™, Highlander™, Mandrake™, Yeti, Urban, and Typhon) combat camouflage, and/or Orion Design Group (ODG) ODTDM-2 combat camo.
A few initial questions Defense Review has are: 1) Have they actually achieved this goal (maintaining same level of combat-utility)? 2) Is the Plate Frame tactical armor carrier system as comfortable against the body as Cordura Nylon plate carriers? 3) How much weight and size/bulk savings does the Plate Frame actually achieve, all-in, once the system is fully kitted out with tactical accessories/gear? 4) What are the trade-offs negatives, if any? 5) Is RF welding all its’ cracked up to be? Does it have any deficits? 6) Does the Plate Frame’s “pinching” method work as well as, or better than, the traditional/conventional PALS/MOLLE system, and what are its drawbacks, if any?
In case you’re wondering what RF welding is, according to Borland, it’s “a way to put velcro to our material without using glue. So it’s like basically using RF energy [radio waves] to connect the velcro to the material. So there’s no more stitching. The QA is either it’s right or it’s wrong. There’s no stitch pattern you have to look at or weakness in the thread.” Borland goes on to say that the flexible Hypalon-type polymer material(s) used on the shoulder straps, mag pouches, etc. is “non-hydroscopic”, which DR assumes means its hydrophobic, i.e., water-repellant/water-resistant/waterproof, and it’s quick-drying, particularly in the sun.
Like the ArmorWorks Modular Plate Carrier (MPC), it’s up to military Special Operations Forces (SOF) assaulters/operators/end-users to determine just how good the S&S Plate Frame is. DR is curious as to how the two carriers match up with regard to utility, comfort and durability. We’ll try to obtain a Plate Frame test sample as soon as we can. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the following video:
The following information on the S&S Precision Plate Frame tactical armor plate carrier system comes directly from the company’s website:
Minimized rigid plate frame structure that grasps the armor plate and creates a rigid mounting base for accessory pouches
• Ultra light weight design, 1 lb 6 oz.
• The plate frame harness assembly uses a non-hygroscopic material manufactures in a non-stitch/ non-sewn process
• Available in L.E. and Tactical versions
• Accessory Pouches: Side Plate Pouch, 2-Magazine Pouch, 3-Magazine Pouch & Radio Pouch (Not Included)
P/N: PF-T001 (Plate frame, Tactical)
P/N: PF-LE01 (Plate frame, LE)
Products not available for purchase.
• Accessory Pouches include: Harness Assembly, Side Plate Pouch, 2-Magazine Pouch & 3-Magazine Pouch Radio Pouch (Sold separately)
• The harness assembly uses a non-hygroscopic material manufactures in a non-stitch/ non-sewn process
• Colors available: Black, Multicam and Alpha Green
P/N: Coming Soon”
Product Data Sheets:
Company Contact Info:
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