Plate carriers, Tactical Vests, Chest rigs, and half a million other terms can be applied to what is called the second line of tactical gear. Unlike the first line, which I talked about in my last article, which sits on your waistline or legs, the second line is suspended off your chest and shoulders.
It is where you should place the vast majority of your tactical supplies. It is where the majority of your ammunition, water, comms, and other accessories should be placed. There are three major types of second line tactical gear; Plate carriers, Tactical Vests, and Chest Rigs.
A basic LBT 6094
These staples of the airsoft battlefield are used in Real-life situations to hold ballistic plates to protect the wearers' vital organs. These plates are usually the source of rigidness in the plate carrier, which will fit poorly without either real or fake plates. These carriers can come with or without MOLLE webbing, and those, which do not come with webbing usually, have built in pouches. These plate carriers without webbing are referred to as "slick" carriers and are intended to be worn in combat paired with a Chest Rig.
This allows for a very lightweight, modular, and protective platform for nearly any situation. These modular systems vary greatly in price, from $25 dollars for Condors cheapest plate carrier to well over $1000 for a Crye CPC with custom ceramic plates, there is bound to be a plate carrier in your price range and in the color, you need if you look hard enough.
The low-budget player's best friend, they are rather cheap, lightweight, and modular systems. Hey can be had in a plethora of colors and arrangements, from an OD pistol vest from Fidragon, all the way to the newest LBT tactical vest in multicam, they are a go-to choice for anyone in need of multiple set-ups on a budget. They are usually made of very breathable materials and a lot of them come with built-in magazine pouches and other features. They start around $10 for a used LBE at your local surplus store, on up to the LBT vest, which is only 40 dollars with no pouches.
It is this one piece of tactical gear that is used by the most inexperienced of players, and the most high-speed beard-growing operators to ever operate. They are the most versatile and lightweight pieces of any players kitbag in existence. They are just the right size to hold all of your gear and hydration, but without the constriction and breathability issues with tactical vests and plate carriers. The probably cover the widest range in colors, variations, and prices. You could have a Gryffin Golem rig used for as little as $5 to the new LBT and HSGI combination rig, coming in at a whopping $800.
A slick plate carrier under an LBT 1961
Next time on "A Chip of the Block," we will go over pouches for use on first and second lines. As always, this is not a complete guide and if there are any unanswered questions, either ask them in the comments below, or go check out the gear threads over in the forums. Until then, use eye pro and keep your guns out of public view.
Don't be the idiot that gets it banned for us all.
Author Steven 'Chip' Statzer's "A Chip off the Block" is a weekly column dedicated to helping beginner airsoft players become better, and giving veteran players a place to go to brush up on their skills.