Defender Plate Carrier: A Plate Carrier Made With the Xl Community in Mind
I chose the Defender because it could fit a plus-sized, tall individual (me at the time) and wasn’t going to rip my bank account apart just for the carrier. It also had options for side plates and the ability to easily contain my hydration tube, wires for headsets, etc.
At the time, the Defender Plate Carrier, DFPC, was unique with its larger size; it was adjustable from a chest size of 42-44 up to chest size 50-52 and was longer than other plate carriers at the time, both size parameters made a big difference to me.
- Defender Plate Carrier – Coyote
- Fits L-XXXL
- Accommodates 10×12, Medium, and Large ESAPI plates front and back
- Accepts side plates 6×6″ or 6×8″ with built-in pockets.
- Emergency drag handle
- Accepts BALCS/SPEAR armor* Condor-specific
- Release buckles on shoulders and waist strap
- Can be worn with or without cummerbund
- Water Resistant
- 1000D Polyester (Solid colors) -Fabric is foreign
- 1000D Nylon (Camo colors) -The fabric is made in the USA and is licensed
- Shoulder pads have loops for equipment and/or hydration tube
- Adjustable to fit chest size 40-42 up to chest size 50-52
The Defender Plate Carrier is designed with heavy webbing on all sides for any MOLLE-compatible gear and accessories. The DFPC also features an internal cummerbund and padded shoulders support and comfort. The DFPC will allow you to use both BALCS Inserts (level II or level Ia) and/or Rifle Plates (level III or IV), depending on your preference for protection level. The inserts cover a much larger area inside the plate carrier, are flexible, and provide additional protection against trauma and pistol rounds that don’t hit the plate. You can wear the DFPC with just the plates or just the inserts, or you can wear both the inserts and the plates for maximum protection.
I’ve used my DFPC now for 9 years with great results. I’ve had multiple molle accessories attached to it, I’ve fallen with it, ran through brush, into trees, rolled in the dirt, poured massive amounts of sweat into it from our oppressive Florida summer heat and humidity, hosed and scrubbed it clean and then done it all again. Multiple times, and it keeps coming back for more. It’s comfortable, or at least as comfortable as 40lbs of nicely distributed dead weight can be in our NWFL August, and hasn’t failed to perform up to expectations when I’ve needed it to. It doesn’t rub my shoulders raw even though I have it adjusted all the way out to fit my frame, and it pairs especially well with various combat shirts available from surplus stores, Amazon, or other retailers.
As shown below, the DFPC will accommodate side plates and Inserts as well as plates in all pockets.
I stand 6’7”, and from my waist to my shoulder is approx. 30”, but the DFPC accommodates my frame with no difficulty and can easily hold two rows of mole accessories whether in a single layer, as shown below, or dual as I have before. The back area is the same size as the front, with no skimping or cheating, and the side panels have 4 rows of Molle, so your choices on how much and where you carry it can be as varied as your imagination, strength and endurance allow. I show a setup that I have at the moment for illustration only; we will have a kit setup review/discussion in the future when I get some assistance and different setups.
I appreciate the amount of space available to mix and match what I want/need based on what the current mission dictates. These days, my high-speed operation tempo is pretty limited, but if this carrier keeps performing the way it has been, I’m going to be passing it down to one of my Grandsons or at least another family member.
Not every piece of gear is perfect, including those I like, and the DFPC has some minor flaws that I have or will overcome.
The first one being, it was a pain to take on and off. You had to reach under the front, undue almost all the Velcro flap to get access to the cummerbund, and then peel the Velcro to the cummerbund off to remove it from the side. Putting it back on was a reverse of the process, both done usually with a belt on loaded with gear/mag pouches, etc, and doing it all by yourself. You could get help dressing yourself, but that would mean enduring the ridicule of comments like “Didn’t bring your Mommy to dress you?!” and who needs that, right?!
So, enter the quick release system popular nowadays on many other plate carrier systems, sold by Amazon and installed by, yours truly. It’s a game changer for this particular DFPC model, fast easy and simple on and off.
Grasp the attached lanyard and pull out with the lanyard out, pull the panel up, BOOM!
The second minor issue has to do with a side flap coming from the back panel. It doesn’t attach/stay in line with the cummerbund. It leads to some flapping on the side when you’re moving through the brush and in tight spaces, plus it generally doesn’t look very professional. It didn’t used to be an issue when I was over 350lbs, the panel was flap was hidden and not in the way, but now that I’m all slim and trim it’s an issue. I’m betting it’s an easy fix with hook and loop tape and some fabric glue from my local hardware store or craft/sewing shop. I’ll have that fixed and be able to report on it by the time we have our kit setup review.
I know a lot of people these days are going for smaller carriers and lighter plates all in the name of less weight to carry and I can appreciate that, I’m looking into lighter plates myself. But if you are a larger person like I am, some of those plate carriers won’t cover your chest, and they end up looking stupid on you, like someone bought you a size Large when you ordered a 3XL. The good news is your plate carrier doesn’t have to be that way. No matter what you carry on it, you can have one that fits YOU.
As always, thanks for reading!