What is the difference between chest rigs and plate carriers?
There are 3 basic types of load bearing equipment that we use in airsoft. Chest rigs, plate carriers and vests. A chest rig is a light weight load bearing piece of gear that is designed to carry spare magazines and other equipment in a compact package. The advantage of a chest rig is that it allows you to be more maneuverable while carrying the essentials. The disadvantages of a chest rig is the limited amount of space / pouches you have to carry items. There are premade chest rigs that have all of the pouches already sewed on. These are great because it is a complete system that is ready to go. If you're looking for a more customizable option, you can get a chest rig with MOLLE webbing that allows you to attach any type of pouches that you want. Matt at Fox Airsoft personally uses a Blue Force Gear chest rig due to the weight savings it offers him vs a full plate carrier option. One disadvantage of this is that there is not a great spot to carry anything for longer missions such as a hydration pouch. It's best to consider your mission and then build your loadout to suit what your needs are.
The other main option is a plate carrier. The name comes from the ability to carry armored plates. In airsoft we have no need for real ballistic armor, but it gives a very authentic look to what most soldiers are wearing. Something to note with these types of loadouts, you will want to purchase airsoft SAPI plates to fill in the void that the real armored plate would normally occupy. Most plate carriers also feature MOLLE webbing which is used to mount pouches and customize to the individual user. Make sure you get the correct number of pouches to house your airsoft gun magazines and other airsoft accessories. Since a plate carrier features more real estate than a chest rig, it's easy to add more magazines pouches, admin pouches, grenade pouches, or anything else that you need for your mission. Since the back has full MOLLE webbing as well, it's easy to attach a hydration carrier, giving you the ability to easily carry the water you need for those longer missions. The ability to customize your loadout for the mission makes these the most popular. Players who have been playing for a long time build multiple loadouts, a lightweight and a heavier loadout that they can use for different missions.
The last type of option is the tactical vest. Vests were very popular in the early 90s when we were moving away from the old style web gear that used to be the main tactical gear option on the market. Vests feature sewed in pouches that give you a complete loadout with very little customizing options. These are popular with younger players because it is the easiest way to get what you need and get on the field. One of the drawbacks is that it traps more heat against your body than a chest rig or a plate carrier would.
With all of the options on the market, there is something to suit your needs. If you have further questions on loadouts or what options you have, make sure to give us a call at 1-888-316-7816 to talk with one of our expert staff members. You can also feel free to email us at email@example.com
Q & A:
Q: What is MOLLE?
A: MOLLE is the military webbing system used to mount different pouches and customize it for individual users