​Why Run a Plate Carrier for Training: My Setup

Posted by Tim Marshall on Mar 18th 2024

​Why Run a Plate Carrier for Training: My Setup

In the realm of tactical training, there's no piece of equipment more crucial than a plate carrier. It's not just a load-bearing vest; it's a shield against potentially life-threatening situations. Today, I want to delve into the intricacies of my plate carrier setup, explaining each component and its purpose in my training regimen.

My Use Case: Training

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let's address the fundamental question: Why wear a plate carrier for training? For me, it's all about safety. In live fire close-quarters battle (CQB) scenarios, a plate carrier is a required piece of safety equipment. Equipped with rifle-rated plates, it serves as a vital layer of protection, mitigating the risks associated with training alongside others using live rounds. While I've been fortunate enough to never encounter a situation where its necessity was tested, I view it as an essential piece of safety equipment.

But wearing a plate carrier isn't just about meeting minimum safety requirements. It's about conditioning myself to operate effectively under duress. Admittedly, plate carriers aren't the epitome of comfort, especially if you're not accustomed to wearing them. That's why I incorporate them into my training routine more frequently than mandated. Whether it's CQB drills, carbine classes, or breaching exercises, donning the plate carrier allows me to fine-tune my gear placement and familiarize myself with its nuances.

My Plate Carrier Setup

Starting with the carrier, I utilize an MEPC in size extra large to accommodate my frame comfortably. This serves as the foundation of my load-bearing system.

Building upon that, my placard system houses the majority of the kit I use during training. Starting with AR mags, I keep one on my belt and one on my placard. Although this may seem minimal, shooting is not the sole purpose of the average CQB class. Most of CQB is navigating your environment and being able to communicate effectively with your team to solve problems. My kit reflects this in what I utilize.

I also run a Flat Pocket and Zippered Half Pocket Placard Expansion for versatile storage space depending on the class I’m taking. Notably, I run my flat pocket zippers to the left while keeping my half-pocket zipper closed on the right. This configuration reduces confusion during distressful environments and helps me focus on what is important. In the remaining space, I run a shears holder and multitool, all being housed with a MOLLE Placard Wrap to secure them in place.

Let's delve deeper into the versatility of my placard system with the addition of side ride and side kick components. On the right of my carrier, I've integrated a Side Ride Mini Cutters Pouch, offering a discreet and stealthy solution for chain-link work. Nestled behind it lies the Flashbang Side Kick Pouch, complete with our innovative Rattle Stop feature to minimize unwanted noise. Meanwhile, on the left, I've outfitted my setup with a Breaching Wedge Side Ride and a strategically positioned Flashlight Side Ride. My go-to flashlight for this pouch is the high-output Cloud Defensive MCH, reserved mostly for secondary or tertiary searches within dynamic environments. Communication is a paramount aspect of CQB, which is why my radio finds its home in a Side Kick Radio Pouch, conveniently accessed when needed. To maintain cable management for my push-to-talk device, I rely on the integrated cable pass-through channels within the MEPC, complemented by a simple PTT Holder.

To hold it all together, I use a Structural Molle Cummerbund equipped with QASM buckles for me to easily attach a Recondite Rear Bag if the situation calls for it. Assembly of this pack onto my plate carrier is simple and allows me to store batteries, snacks, and other essentials right on my person.

Crafting a personalized plate carrier setup is essential for elevating your training experience. While meticulously tailored to my individual needs, your ideal setup may vary based on training objectives and comfort. My plate carrier isn't just gear; it embodies my training ethos, optimizing readiness and effectiveness in high-stress environments.