I was fortunate enough to get one of Crye Precision’s new lightweight plate carriers a couple of months ago. This post will cover the basics of the carrier; physical construction, features, and accessories. I will write about my evaluation of the carrier in an upcoming post. Here are a few things up front so you know where I am coming from and what you are looking at exactly. I am 5’6”, 185 lbs. The ESAPI plates, soft armor inserts, and the carrier itself, are Medium.
This carrier is not for everyone. It is a minimalist concept where weight management was paramount. The biggest visual example of this is their “Air-Lite” skeletonized MOLLE cummerbund; more on that later. Going with their basic set up, the only protection it offers is in the front and back. No side or shoulder protection. Side SAPI pouches are available as an option, as well as a soft armor compatible cummerbund. I purchased this carrier for use during training classes, so the need for me to carry 40 lbs of gear is not necessary.
The plate pouches have what I believe to be a 500D nylon front with a 2-way stretch material on the sides and back that wrap around the plates for a nice snug fit; whether you are using soft armor inserts or not. There is a black padded mesh at the inside top of each plate pouch for “ventilation”. I don’t know exactly how this is supposed to work, but they wouldn’t have wasted their time, money, and resources to put it there unless it was worth it in the long run.
The plates are held in place by a Hook and loop flap on the bottom that secures to the inside of the pouch. The flap does have a pull tab; but I really don’t see the need and secured it within the pouch.
The front of the carrier has three rows of Hook and loop across the top, two of which are stitched down to be used as PALS webbing if desired. Behind the Hook and loop is a hidden admin slot with elastic. It extends down to the top of the cummerbund flap and will fit chem lights, pistol mags, Sharpies, etc. Just like the carrier itself, this admin area is very minimalistic. Even though these items might fit in there, I see it possibly causing problems when drawing your rifle magazines. Your mileage may vary.
The cummerbund flap has an integrated three magazine pouch. There are dividers separating the mags. This is where it gets cool. There is a panel of Hook and loop that assists in keeping the pouch flat when not being used. They included three small Hook and loop disks for you to attach to the bodies of your magazines to add more retention. Simple, but very effective. There is elastic shock cord top retention that I promptly removed. I am personally not a fan of shock cord top retention. To each their own.
Underneath the cummerbund flap is the standard Hook and loop that we all expect to see, except this time, Crye added a 1” strip of Hook and loop on the bottom that is stitched down to be used as PALS webbing if desired.
The Shoulder straps are a three piece design. They are stitched down to the front side of each plate pouch and attach to each other via Hook and loop. The third piece is the Multicam sleeve that covers the strap and provides hydration tube and commo retention on each shoulder. It came with the loops on the edge of the straps. I rotated them so they were lying on the straps themselves; just a personal preference.
The cummerbund is made up of two layers of standard PALS type webbing sewn to each other with an inner layer of HDPE plastic for the added stiffness required to assist with keeping its shape since there is no base layer of nylon that it is sewn too. There is a single vertical section of what appears to be edge taping with more HDPE sandwiched between it on each side as a stabilizing support.
The cummerbund is secured to the back of the carrier via 3/16” shock cord. There are webbing guides sewn to each side of the back plate pouch that the cummerbund goes through to help secure its placement. Once again, it is simple but very effective. There is Hook and loop on the inside of the center strap of the cummerbund to assist with the optional side SAPI plate pouch.
As an alternative to the cummerbund, Crye Precision also included a single strap system that secures to the back panel via a ladder lock and hook and pile under the cummerbund.
Construction is top notch, as to be expected from a company like Crye Precision. It rides really well against my torso and does not interfere with rifle/carbine stock placement what-so-ever. For me, that was my tipping point on buying it. When I tried one on back in October that was the first thing I noticed. The rifle mags are covered more than what I prefer, but do not hamper the drawing of them from the pouch. My freedom of movement is unmatched to other carriers that I have either owned or have worn in the past. Like I said in the beginning, this rig is not for everybody; but it is just what the doctor ordered for this old Jarhead.
I will be kitting her up and posting more pics and start a discussion for everyone to chime in on what they think or any questions you may have.
Until next time,