Over the past three decades, bulletproof vests have saved the lives of more than 3,000 police officers in the U.S.
One officer that was saved by his ballistic vest was Dustin D.
One day he responded to a domestic violence call in La Crosse, Wisconsin. When Dustin asked the suspects to come out of the house one of them pulled out a gun.
The suspect shot Dustin once in his vest. He returned fire striking the suspect several times.
The officer was injured in the shooting but made a full recovery and is back on the job.
Thanks to his bulletproof vest, the bullet didn’t penetrate Dustin’s chest.
A few weeks before the shooting, the La Crosse Police Department held a demonstration regarding the safety of bulletproof vests.
At their shooting range, they showed how the Kevlar fibers stopped bullet rounds.
Not only that, but the department also had an officer that was attacked by a suspect with a screwdriver.
But when the screwdriver hit the vest it pushed the screwdriver away from the officer’s body.
And body armor has come a long way since it was first worn by police in the 1970s.
The weight of the bulletproof material is not as heavy as it used to be.
In the past, wearing a heavy vest for 10 or 12 hours a day would be tiresome so a lot of police officers did not want to wear a ballistic vest.
These days, most police departments in the U.S. provide their officers with ballistic vests, and most require patrol officers to wear the vests daily.
Furthermore, under federal law, it is legal for civilians to own body armor – unless you’ve been convicted of a violent felony.
The thing is, how we carry our gear and what we wear during a survival situation can make a big difference.
When it comes to gear we wear on our bodies there are plenty of options: chest rigs, plate carriers, tactical vests, and other chest-mounted carrying equipment.
However, there are two main types of chest gear – plate carriers and chest rigs.
So, here is a comparison so you know what would be best for your situation.
What is a plate carrier?
A plate carrier is a chest-mounted system that is designed to hold armored plates.
The plates are meant to protect vital organs as well as the upper parts of the chest and abdomen.
Depending on the specific plates, they can stop different calibers of bullets, along with stopping knives.
The difference between a plate carrier and a bulletproof vest is that plate carriers are usually smaller and more useful, because they do more than just provide body armor.
Also, with a plate carrier, the plates can be removed or changed out.
Plate carriers include more than body armor such as straps, pockets, mounts, and holsters.
The benefits of a plate carrier are that it can protect you from serious harm. This is what sets them apart from other types of rigs.
Yet, plate carriers are also heavier compared to other types of gear. They can lead to fatigue. They are also more expensive.
What is a chest rig?
A chest rig is essentially a plate carrier without the plates.
Chest rigs are very popular because they allow you to carry additional gear and provide storage options. Plus, the gear is within reach at a moment’s notice.
Also, they do a good job of distributing the weight across your chest and body, and are a lot more comfortable and lightweight compared to plate carriers.
Chest rigs have mounting systems that consist of various straps, holsters, and pockets that can be worn on the chest.
They are commonly made of nylon and hold items such as knives, pistols, magazines, food, and other gear, but do not have any type of body armor at all.
Similarly, a tactical vest is like a chest rig, but usually, it’s a smaller version.
A lot of folks use the words plate carrier and chest rig interchangeably, but they are very different.
A plate carrier’s primary function is to protect the vital organs with body armor.
On the other hand, chest rigs are designed to carry equipment.
Which one is best for you?
The choice between the two comes down to personal preference and what your needs are.
If protecting yourself is a big concern, then I would go with a plate carrier.
But keep in mind the drawbacks. If you plan on hiking away from danger remember that you will have the added weight.
On the other hand, if you are looking for an inexpensive way to organize and carry your gear, then a chest rig is the way to go.
The decision depends on your bug out plan and how far you need to travel.
Plate carriers and chest rigs both have their benefits and drawbacks, and you can’t go wrong with either.